Geskiedenis Podcasts

Oliver Noord

Oliver Noord

InleidingOliver L. Hy is versierde Marine, 'n topverkoper-skrywer, die stigter van 'n klein onderneming, 'n uitvinder met drie Amerikaanse patente, 'n gesindikeerde rubriekskrywer en die gasheer van 'WarStories' op die Fox News Channel. Hy beweer dat sy belangrikste prestasie 'die man van een en die vader van vier' is. North is ook die stigter en erevoorsitter van Freedom Alliance¹, 'n stigting sonder winsbejag wat beurse bied aan die kinders van dienslede wat in aksie vermoor word. North gaan voort om te skryf en uit te spreek ter verdediging van Amerika se soldate. Hy is ook die voorsitter en medestigter van Guardian Technologies International, Inc., 'n vervaardiger van wapenrusting vir wetstoepassers in Virginia.Vroeë loopbaan en familieNorth is gebore op 7 Oktober 1943 in San Antonio, Texas, en is grootgemaak in 'n Rooms -Katoliek in die deelstaat Philmont, New York. Hy het die Staatsuniversiteit van New York in Brockport bygewoon voordat hy ingeskryf het by die U.S. Naval Academy, waaruit hy in 1968 gegradueer het. Hy is bekroon met die Silver Star, Bronze Star en twee Purple Hearts. Kolonel Noord was van 1983 tot 1986 by die personeel van die National Security Council in die Ronald Reagan-administrasie aangewys. Hy was betrokke by die beplanning van die redding van 804medisyne studente op die eiland Grenada in 1983, en speel 'n groot rol in die gewaagde vang van die kapers van die vaartuig Achille Lauro in 1985. aanval op Muammar Qaddafi se terroristebase in Libië, North was geteiken vir sluipmoord deur Abu Nidal (op bevel van Qaddafi), die berugte terroris wat in Augustus 2002 in Bagdad dood aangetref is. ingebed "by die Amerikaanse mariene en weermag -eenhede vir Fox News tydens Operasie Iraqi Freedom in 2003, het groot toejuiging gewen. Oliver North is sedert 1967 getroud met die voormalige Betsy Stuart en het vier kinders. North se lewe in die weermag en sy reis na geloof is onderwerpe waaroor hy openhartig praat: Hoe om die eise van 'n loopbaan te balanseer met gesinsverpligtinge, geloof en burgerlike verantwoordelikhede.Iran-Contra-saakNorth het beroemd geword-of berug, afhangende van die politieke standpunt-vanweë sy verbintenis met die Iran-Contra Affair. Hy was die sentrale koördineerder van die onwettige verkoop van wapens via tussengangers aan Iran, met die winste wat aangewend is om die kontra -rebellegroep in Nicaragua te help. Volgens die National Security Archive, in 'n e -pos van 23 Augustus 1986 aan John Poindexter², beskryf North 'n ontmoeting met 'n verteenwoordiger van Panama se sterkman, Manuel Noriega. "U sal onthou dat Manuel Noriega in Panama en ek 'n redelik goeie verhouding ontwikkel het," skryf North. amptenare kan 'help om sy beeld op te ruim' en die verbod op die verkoop van wapens aan die Panamese weermag op te hef, Noriega sal 'vir ons die' Sandinista -leierskap 'versorg'. North het aan Poindexter gesê dat Noriega kan help met sabotasie teen die Sandinistas. Hy stel voor dat hy Noriega $ 1 miljoen betaal - uit die kapitaal van "Project Democracy" wat verkry is uit die verkoop van Amerikaanse wapens aan Iran - vir die hulp van die Panamese leier met die vernietiging van Nicaraguaanse ekonomiese beleggings. , en in Julie 1987 is North ontbied om te getuig voor verhore op televisie van 'n gesamentlike kongreskomitee wat saamgestel is om Iran-Contra te ondersoek. Hy verdedig sy optrede deur te verklaar dat hy glo in die doel om die Contras, wat hy as 'vryheidsvegters' beskou, te help, en sê dat hy die onwettige Iran-Contra-skema as 'n 'netjiese idee' beskou. is in 1988 verhoor vir sy aktiwiteite terwyl hy in die Nasionale Veiligheidsraad was. Gesell op 5 Julie 1989 tot 'n opgeskorte gevangenisstraf van drie jaar, twee jaar proeftydperk, $ 150,000 boetes en 1200 uur gemeenskapsdiens. Ongeag skuldigbevinding het 'n appèlpaneel van drie regters North se skuldigbevinding twee weke later ongedaan gemaak, voor verdere verrigtinge op grond daarvan dat sy openbare getuienis moontlik sy reg op 'n billike verhoor benadeel het. Die VSA. Hooggeregshof wou nie die saak hersien nie, en regter Gesell verwerp die aanklagte op 16 September 1991, na verhore oor die immuniteitskwessie, oor vermaak van die onafhanklike advokaat. In wese is North se skuldigbevindings omgekeer omdat hy beperkte immuniteit vir sy kongresverklaring gekry het, en dat die getuienis geag het getuies tydens die verhoor te beïnvloed.Later lewe en politieke loopbaanIn 1994 verloor North 'n bod in Virginia as 'n Republikeinse kandidaat vir die VSA Een rede kan wees dat die voormalige presidentsvrou, Nancy Reagan, die pers in kennis gestel het dat North vir haar man gelieg het in gesprekke oor Iran-Contra. North se kandidatuur was die onderwerp van 'n dokumentêr uit 1996, 'A Perfect Candidate.' Onder vuur, Nog 'n missie, Oorlogsverhale - Operasie Iraqi Freedom, Missie in die gedrang, en Die Jerigo -sanksie. Hy is ook 'n gesindikeerde rubriekskrywer, die gasheer van die televisieprogram "War Stories with Oliver North", en 'n gereelde kommentator oor "Hannity en Colmes" op die Fox News Channel. Boonop is hy besig met die lesingbaan.Politieke en historiese nalatenskapNorth was 'n omstrede akteur op die Amerikaanse politieke verhoog, met ondersteuners wat sy vurige verdediging van sy optrede aanvaar het, en kritici wat die wet oortree. Ondanks North se geskiedenis, ontvang hy ondersteuning van sommige konserwatiewes. Ander meen dat North se doel om kommunistiese uitbreiding te verslaan regverdig was, en die manier waarop hy dit probeer bereik het, is nie relevant nie. Sommiges waardeer sy voorstander van konserwatiewe politieke oorsake. Noord -kritici beweer dat een man in 'n demokrasie en 'n nasie wette nie bo die wet kan handel nie, ongeag hoe regverdig hy meen dat sy doelwitte is. Sommige wys daarop dat sy bedrywighede wesenlik bygedra het tot 'n poging om 'n soewereine, demokraties verkose regering sowel as terrorisme in Nicaragua omver te werp - en dat dit Iran gehelp het, 'n nasie wat vyandig was teenoor die Verenigde State. Die antwoord hang oënskynlik af van die vrae: die president weet, en wanneer het hy dit geweet? Niemand behalwe die president en sy naaste medewerkers kon dit beantwoord nie. Tydens die verhore van Iran-Contra op 15 Julie 1987 oor die herhaling van geld uit wapenverkope, het hy gesê: 'Ek het 'n baie doelbewuste besluit geneem om die president nie te vra nie, sodat ek hom van die besluit kon isoleer en toekomstige ontkenning kan bied president. "Die bekwame ontkenning van Poindexter het die president bevry van die dreigement van beskuldiging en het die kongres bevry van die plig om hom te vervolg. "Deur toe te laat dat die optrede van diegene wat die administrasie gedien het, gekriminaliseer word, kon die administrasie self van die werklike verband hou," het North geskryf. 'Dit was goed met die kongres en 'n geskenk vir die pers.' Daar is duidelike lesse te leer uit die saak. Die Reagan -administrasie het uiteindelik die Koue Oorlog gewen. Is die bedrog en skynheiligheid op die Amerikaanse volk toegeslaan, uiteindelik die triomf van pragmatisme oor die reg?


¹Webbladsy vir die Freedom Alliance
² John Poindexter was adviseur vir nasionale veiligheid onder Ronald Reagan. Hy is skuldig bevind aan sameswering, vir die kongres gelieg, bedrog teen die regering en die vernietiging van bewyse in die Iran-Contra-skandaal.


Iran-Contra

North het tydens sy termyn as personeellid van die Nasionale Veiligheidsraad bekendheid verwerf tydens die Iran - Contra -aangeleentheid, wat die onwettige verkoop van wapens aan Iran behels om die vrylating van Amerikaanse gyselaars wat in Libanon aangehou word, aan te moedig. North het die tweede deel van die plan gevorm en georkestreer, wat die opbrengs van die wapenverkope sou aflei om die kontra -rebellegroepe in Nicaragua te ondersteun, wat spesifiek onder federale wet verbied is.

Oor die aangeleentheid het North gesê dat hy geen spyt het nie:

"Ek het die idee om die geld van die Ayatollah Khomeini te gebruik om die Nicaraguaanse vryheidsvegters te ondersteun, goed gesien. Ek doen dit steeds. Ek dink nie dit was verkeerd nie. Ek dink dit was 'n goeie idee en ek is hier om verantwoordelikheid te aanvaar vir dit wat ek gedoen het omdat ek trots is op wat ons bereik het. ”


Sandinistas in Nicaragua

Kort nadat die beheer oor die kongres oorgeneem het, het die Demokrate die Boland -wysiging aanvaar, wat die aktiwiteite van die Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) en die Departement van Verdediging (DoD) in buitelandse konflikte beperk het.

Die wysiging was spesifiek gemik op Nicaragua, waar antikommunistiese kontras teen die kommunistiese Sandinista-regering worstel.

Reagan het die Contras beskryf as die morele ekwivalent van die Founding Fathers.

Tog het die president sy adviseur vir nasionale veiligheid, Robert McFarlane, opdrag gegee om 'n manier te vind om die kontras met dwelms te help, ongeag die koste of polities of andersins.


DIE VOLK Die straf van Oliver North

GERHARD A. GESELL, die onvoorspelbare 79-jarige federale distriksregter wat voorsitter was vir die Iran-kontraverhoor van Oliver L. North, het 'n laaste verrassing gered deur laasgenoemde North te straf vir sy misdade met 'n vonnis wat 'n boete insluit , gemeenskapsdiens en proeftydperk, maar geen gevangenisstraf nie.

Mnr. North 's se bewonderaars en sy afvalliges het baie harder behandeling verwag, in ag genome regter Gesell se respek vir die nakoming van die wet, die erns van die aanklagte en 'n aanbeveling deur die onafhanklike aanklaer, Lawrence E. Walsh, dat mnr. Noord uitdien tyd in die tronk. Daarbenewens het regter Gesell geen huiwering getoon om hooggeplaaste regeringsamptenare tronk toe te stuur toe hy in die middel van die 1970's verskeie verhore met betrekking tot Watergate gelei het nie.

North, die voormalige luitenant -kolonel van die Marine Corps en assistent van die Nasionale Veiligheidsraad, is skuldig bevind aan die vernietiging van dokumente, die aanvaarding van die geskenk van 'n $ 13,800 huisveiligheidstelsel en die versperring van die kongres. Regter Gesell kon 'n maksimum boete van 10 jaar gevangenisstraf en boetes van $ 750,000 opgelê het. In plaas daarvan het hy 'n boete van $ 150,000 opgelê, twee jaar proeftydperk, 'n opgeskorte vonnis van drie jaar en 'n bevel om 1200 uur gemeenskapsdiens te verrig.

Met die versagting van die vonnis het aanklaers sonder kommentaar uit die hof gekom. En daar is verspreide kritiek van liberale Demokrate, soos verteenwoordiger Howard M. Metzenbaum van Ohio, wat gesê het dat die vonnis 'n teleurstellende verrassing is. , een van meneer North se skerper kritici, het niks gevind om oor die straf te kritiseer nie. Mnr. Hamilton, voorsitter van die Huispaneel wat Iran-kontra ondersoek het, het gesê die vonnis is goed en wys. ' '

Terselfdertyd blyk dit dat regter Gesell se toegeeflikheid 'n veldtog van konserwatiewe ondersteuners van mnr. North vir 'n presidensiële vergifnis afgebreek het. Bush, wat sy plesier uitgespreek het dat North geen tronkstraf gekry het nie, kan dus 'n polities beslissende besluit gespaar bly.

Die implikasies vir die oorblywende Iran-kontra-verhore was onseker. Regter Gesell het gesê dat hoër syfers in die Reagan-administrasie meer verantwoordelikheid dra vir die Iran-kontra-misdade as wat North gedoen het. Beteken dit dat toekomstige beskuldigdes 'n strenger behandeling kan verwag as hulle skuldig bevind word, as wat North ontvang het?

Nie noodwendig. Sommige regeringsamptenare het gesê dat die ligte vonnis blykbaar die posisie van die vier oorblywende beskuldigdes versterk, waaronder die voormalige adviseur vir nasionale veiligheid, John M. Poindexter, wie se verhoor later vanjaar sal begin. Hierdie beskuldigdes kan aangemoedig word om die vervolging kragtig uit te daag, en glo dat selfs al word hulle skuldig bevind, hulle ook 'n tronkstraf kan vryspring.


Ken die NRA werklik die geskiedenis van Oliver North ’s?

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Ek het nog nooit vir David Corn gevra hoekom, toe hy die redakteur van Washington was nie Die Nasie, het hy besluit om 'n aansienlike deel van sy lewe te bestee aan die loopbaan van die CIA-aktrise Ted Shackley, maar ek dink dit is 'n veilige kans dat hy nie 'n verhaal kon weerstaan ​​wat die Bay of Pigs verbind het met die inbraak in Watergate en die Iran-Contra-saak nie. Dit is 'n goeie idee dat al die lede van die National Rifle Association 'n eksemplaar van Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley en die CIA & rsquos Crusades gaan koop (beskikbaar in hardeband by Amazon vir slegs $ 3,99). Dit is waarskynlik die eenvoudigste manier om die mense te leer ken wat hul nuwe president, Ollie North, gebruik het om die kontras te finansier.

Wat die Iran -gedeelte van die skandaal betref, beveel ek & rsquod hoofstuk 8: die onderneming en sy finansies aan deur die onafhanklike advokaat Lawrence E. Walsh & rsquos se eindverslag vir Iran/Contra Matters. Dit is 'n aangrypende verhaal waarin 'n paar van die berugste booswigte betrokke was deur die are van ons nasionale politiek in die tweede helfte van die 20ste eeu. U sal nie verveeld raak as u lees oor die CIA -agente Rafael & ldquoChi Chi en Quintero, Thomas Clines en Edwin Wilson nie, vertrou my. En dit is altyd opwindend om te leer oor die lewenswyse van wapenhandelaars soos Adnan Khashoggi.

Dit is alles belangrik, want die ware karakter van Oliver North was nie ten volle begryp nie, selfs toe hy in die middel van die land se aandag was, en die verloop van tyd het in hierdie verband nie gehelp nie. 'N Deel van die probleem was dat die onafhanklike advokaat die meeste van die ernstige aanklagte teen North moes laat vaar omdat die bewys van sy skuld ingewikkelde inligting sou onthul het en omdat die kongres beperkte immuniteit verleen het en omdat sy prokureurs baie bekwaam en aggressief en gewillig was. om gryspos in sy verweer te gebruik.

Dit was altyd relatief maklik om simpatie met North te hê as u te veel oefen oor die onwettige operasie wat hy georkestreer het. Hy is gevra om die Contras aan die gang te hou in 'n tyd toe die kongres direkte hulp aan hul saak verbied het. Die president het gesê dat dit belangrik is en dat sy sekretaris van die verdediging, die CIA -direkteur en die nasionale veiligheidsadviseur alles goedgekeur het. Later is North gevra om te help met die vrylating van gyselaars wat deur Iranse gevolmagtigdes in Libanon gehou is. Dit was 'n topprioriteit vir Ronald Reagan. Dit kon ware Noord bedank het eerder as om iets onwettigs te doen, maar dit was ook maklik om te sien waarom hy voel dat hy iets doen wat gemagtig en patrioties was.

As North slegs die instruksies wat hy ontvang het, gevolg het, sou hy beslis as die valman beskou kon word. Sy meerderes moes voor die tyd in die dossier gewees het, en die president was uiteindelik die mees verantwoordelike party. Selfs sommige van sy leuens was begryplik, aangesien sy meerderes gelieg het en hom gevra het om te lieg oor aangeleenthede wat die buitelandse betrekkinge kan beskadig en bronne en metodes in gevaar kan stel.

Die probleem met hierdie vertelling is dat North nie net die instruksies gevolg het nie. Hy en sy luitenante Richard Secord en Albert Hakim het 'n uitgebreide plan opgestel om hulself te verryk ten koste van die Contras en die Amerikaanse regering. Hulle het dit gedoen deur die transaksies wat hulle met die Iraniërs, die Israeli's, die kontras en die regering gemaak het, af te skop. Dit is uit die Walsh -verslag:

Secord en Hakim het aansienlik baat gevind as gevolg van hul betrokkenheid by die Iran- en kontrabedrywighede. Secord het in 1985 en 1986 direkte persoonlike voordele van $ 2 miljoen van die Enterprise ontvang en meer as $ 1 miljoen kontantbetalings. Hakim in 1985 en 1986 ontvang $ 2,06 miljoen aan direkte voordele, en meer as $ 550,000 in kontant.

Die voordele het in drie breë kategorieë ingedeel: winsgewende uitkerings op verkoop van teenwapens, waarvoor elk $ 1,557,377 geld ontvang het uit Enterprise-rekeninge wat in Secord-Hakim-ondernemings aangegaan het, ten bedrae van $ 520,000 elk en fondse wat uit Enterprise-rekeninge onttrek is vir persoonlike gebruik, insluitend herstelwerk aan 'n Secord -vliegtuig ter waarde van $ 5,729, betalings van $ 20,000 elk deur Secord en Hakim vir 'n sakeonderneming in die Midde -Ooste en $ 3,000 elk vir belegging in 'n baber -onderneming.

North het toesig gehou oor al die aktiwiteite van Secord en Hakim en rsquos, en hy het sy eie smaak:

North getuig dat $ 4,300 se reisgeld wat Calero aan hom gegee het vir die operasionele fonds, en wat North by kruidenierswinkels, vulstasies en ander winkels bestee het, homself moes vergoed vir bedryfsuitgawes wat hy uit sy eie sak betaal het. Hy het gesê dat hy nie senuweeagtig was om die enigste rekord van die uitbetalings van die operasionele fonds te vernietig nie, want hy het nooit geglo dat hy ooit beskuldig sou word dat hy iets oneerliks ​​met die geld gedoen het nie.

North getuig dat hy $ 15 000 kontant in 'n metaalboks op 'n kasvloer in sy huis vasgemaak het, gered van sakwissels en 'n dekades oue versekering. North het gesê dit is die bron van geld vir 'n motor wat hy in Oktober 1985 gekoop het. North kon nie verduidelik waarom hy die motor in twee kontantbetalings betaal het nie en die tweede nadat North Secord besoek het. Hy het gesê dat hy nie die betaling van Oktober 1985 kan onthou nie.

North beweer dat hy nie bewus was van 'n beleggingsrekening van $ 200 000 wat die sakevennoot Albert Hakim van Secord en North in Switserland gestig het nie, hoewel hy toegegee het dat hy sy vrou Betsy in Maart 1986 na Philadelphia gestuur het om te ontmoet met Willard I. Zucker, die Secord-Hakim Enterprise & rsquos. finansiële bestuurder. North het gesê dat hy van mening was dat die doel van Betsy North & rsquos se reis na Philadelphia was dat sy haarself aan Zucker sou identifiseer as North nie sou terugkeer van 'n gevaarlike reis na Iran nie. North het gesê dat hy aangeneem het dat in die geval van sy dood iets gedoen sou word dat dit reg en eerbaar was en op geen manier verkeerd was nie, en ontken dat die beleggingsrekening 'n omkopingspoging van Hakim was.

[Hakim het in November 1989 skuld erken op 'n poging om die salaris van North aan te vul, deels gebaseer op die oprigting van die $ 200,000 -beleggingsrekening. Sien die hoofstuk van Hakim.]

North kon ander nie die skuld gee vir sy aanvaarding van 'n tuisveiligheidstelsel van Secord nie, behalwe om te verduidelik dat hy die stelsel aanvaar het in reaksie op aangemelde terreurbedreigings oor sy lewe. North het erken dat hy, nadat die Iran/contra-aangeleentheid openbaar geword het, valse briewe teruggegee het met Glenn Robinette, 'n voormalige CIA-beampte wat by Secord gewerk het om die stelsel te installeer, wat betalingsreëlings voorstel. & ldquo [I] t was 'n redelik dom ding om te doen, & rdquo North het gesê.

Baie van die geld wat Secord en Hakim verdien het, was óf deur die Amerikaanse regering te veel te hef, óf omdat hulle dit nie behoorlik terugbetaal het nie. Op 'n manier is hierdie soort aktiwiteite ingebou in die ontwerp van die operasie. Deur die Iraniërs en die Israeli's te veel te hef, kon hulle geld kry om na die kontras te gaan. Maar hulle het die Contras, sowel as die Amerikaanse regering, te veel gehef, en hulle het die geld vir hulself gehou.

Die belangrikste probleem met Ollie North was dat hy 'n onwettige operasie onderneem het wat deur die president en sy hele nasionale veiligheidspan gemagtig is. Die probleem was nie eens dat sy foute daartoe gelei het dat die Contra-operasie en die Iraanse wapen-vir-gyselaars-ooreenkoms blootgestel is sonder om die vrylating van gyselaars te verseker. Die probleem was nie dat hy dokumente in stukke gesny het en homself meegeval het nie. Die probleem was dat hy sy posisie gebruik het om te steel. En hy is beslis nie deur iemand gemagtig om te steel nie.

Terugskouend sou niemand argumenteer dat dit 'n wyse besluit was om Ollie North met hierdie operasies toe te vertrou nie. En die belangrikste rede waarom dit 'n fout was, was omdat North dieselfde mense gebruik het wat die Bay of Pigs -operasie in die wiele gery het, dieselfde mense wat die inbraak in Watergate gebreek het en dieselfde mense wat die vertroue gebruik het wat hulle in Laos gegee het tydens die Viëtnam Oorlog om Suidoos -Asiatiese heroïen in die wêreldmark bekend te stel. Moraal was nie die sterk punt van hierdie bemanning nie, en hul rekord van onbevoegdheid en blootstelling behoort legendaries te wees en in elke skool van klandestiene operasies onderrig te word.

Ek is redelik vol vertroue dat die mense wat die besluit geneem het om Oliver North die president van die National Rifle Association te maak, onbekend is met North & rsquos diefstal en meer toegewy is aan die mitologiese legende van North as aan die werklike man. Hulle sou egter beter sy werklike prestasierekord kon oorweeg. Sy pypleiding na die Contras is ontbloot toe die Sandinistas een van North & rsquos -vervoervliegtuie neergeskiet en Eugene Hasenfus, 'n veteraanvlieënier van Ted Shackley & rsquos Laotiaanse heroïenhandeldae, gevange geneem het. North & rsquos, vermoedelik geheime transaksies met die Iraniërs, is blootgestel wat die Iran-Contra-skandaal veroorsaak het, met al die regsprobleme wat dit bygewoon het, asook 'n politieke nagmerrie vir president Ronald Reagan en sy erfgenaam George H.W. Bush.

Noord weet baie oor wapens. Hy weet hoe om dit van internasionale wapenhandelaars en buitelandse regerings te beveilig. Hy weet hoe om hulle van plek tot plek te skuif. Hy weet wie om te huur om skulpondernemings te stig en gestuur en lugvervoer te koop. Hy weet hoe om elke transaksie af te skop.

Wat hy nie weet nie, is hoe om daarmee weg te kom. Wat hy nie weet nie, is hoe om die doelwitte te bereik wat hy gekry het. Die vryheid van gyselaars en rsquo is nie verseker nie. Die operasies het nie geheim gebly nie. Almal wat betrokke was, insluitend sy meerderes, het hul rolle ontbloot en/of hul voorblad gewaai.

Die belangrikste vir die NRA was dat North die geloof wat hy toevertrou het gebruik het om te steel, en sodoende selfs die heilige Ronnie Reagan self verraai het.

Die lede van die NRA behoort hierdie geskiedenis te ken, want alhoewel hulle daarvan hou as North sê dat ons deur vyf metaalverklikkers moet gaan om by ons kinders en rsquos -skool in te kom, het hulle daarvan gehou as North sy aard volg en per ongeluk 'n manier uitvind. ontbloot hul vuil wasgoed terwyl hulle hulle geld uitgee.

En met meer en meer bewyse wat daarop dui dat die NRA reeds kriminele gedrag op hul nek gehad het, wat die gebruik van buitelandse geld vir die onwettige bekamping van binnelandse politieke veldtogte betref, is dit nou regtig die tyd om iemand soos North met sy dekades oue konneksies in te bring debakel na die ander?


Die geheime Joodse geskiedenis van Oliver North

By die keuse van Oliver North om die kragtige voorgeweer-lobby te lei, kry die National Rifle Association (NRA) meer as net die brein van die Iran-Contra Affair en 'n veroordeelde misdadiger wat vir die kongres gelieg het. They’re also getting a rabidly pro-Israel Christian evangelist who for decades has been outing what he claims are anti-Semites in the U.S. government and chiding Palestinian leaders for not renouncing terrorism.

Just this past January, North led a 10-day trip to Israel for Freedom Alliance’s Holy Land Tour and Security Conference. “Together, we will visit Nazareth, the Jordan River, and the City of David we’ll dine on the Sea of Galilee and travel to places that make the words of the Old & New Testaments come alive,” wrote North in a letter to potential participants, posted on the website of Inspiration Cruises & Tours, which describes itself as a “Christian-owned and led company [that] turn[s] vacations into life-changing encounters in the best places on earth…. your opportunity to get away with God. … The privilege of serving the body of Christ and expanding His Kingdom on earth is what drives us to achieve ever-increasing levels of excellence.” The tour, North continued, would “explore the special relationship between the United States and Israel with informative seminars led by Israeli military, political and business leaders.” A “special relationship” in which North at one time was a key player. But I get ahead of myself.

North’s love affair with Israel is nothing new. At a 1989 Roundtable Prayer Breakfast for Israel at the National Religious Broadcasters convention sponsored by three Christian groups — the Religious Roundtable, the Brotherhood Forest of Israel, and Intercessors for America — North called on the Palestine Liberation Organization to condemn the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, the Ma’alot massacre of schoolchildren, and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro cruise ship. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, North also recalled the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, calling it “the day in which Adolf Hitler turned loose his jack-booted thugs to start one of the most murderous atrocities known to man.”

In his 1991 book “Under Fire,” North wrote that the U.S. government contained an “ingrained streak of anti-Semitism” and that the State Department exhibited a “long-standing and barely hidden pro-Arab tilt.” He also took on former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, writing that he “seemed to go out of his way to oppose Israel on any issue and to blame the Israelis for every problem in the Middle East,” attributing Weinberger’s antipathy toward the Jewish state to the latter’s “sensitivity about his own Jewish ancestry.”

But North of course is and always will be best known for his somewhat bizarre wheeling and dealing whereby this military assistant at the National Security Council oversaw arms sales to Ayatollah Khomeini-era Iran — he of “America is the Great Satan” — and used the profits to fund the anti-Sandinista campaign in Nicaragua by the Contras, in defiance of a Congressional ban on such assistance. In subsequent testimony before Congress, North himself termed the deal “a neat idea.”

In fact, the Iran-Contra deal was an outgrowth of secret arms sales of American weapons to Iran by Israel. Iran sought the weapons for its burgeoning struggle against Iraq, and in 1985 Iranian arms merchant Manucher Ghorbanifar and National Security Council consultant Michael Ledeen — the latter working for National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane — came a-calling in Washington. President Reagan himself approved the sales, funneled through Israel — which itself viewed this deal-with-the-presumptive-devil in the same “Godfather”-like terms held by the U.S., in which the enemy of my enemy is my friend — over the objections of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz. Saudi billionaire oil and arms trader Adnan Khashoggi also played a role in financing the effort. All of those involved became household names when the deal became public knowledge (via a report in a Lebanese newspaper) and an investigation was launched by a Joint House-Senate Committee, whose televised hearings were the biggest show out of Washington since Watergate a decade or so earlier. (Some termed the affair “Irangate.”)

There are those, however, who view North as having betrayed Israel with his plan to use the profits to fund the Contras. In order to do so, North removed Israel as the middleman in selling arms to Iran. Israel paid North back by cooperating with the congressional investigation, which resulted in the indictment of 14 administration officials (including Weinberger) and conviction of 11, including North. Of these, all either had their convictions reversed on appeal (mostly due to technicalities) or were pardoned by George H.W. Bush in the waning days of his presidency.

Some also see more than a modicum of irony in having North take the helm of an organization that pledges fealty to the U.S. Constitution, albeit mostly focused on one particular amendment to the founding organizational document of the United States.

“For an organization so concerned with law and order, picking a new leader who admitted that he lied to Congress is a truly remarkable decision,” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The gun lobby, continued Gardiner, “will be led by a man whose own concealed carry permit was revoked because he was ‘not of good character.’”


Oliver North - History

Furthering the Version

Reagan-myth worshipers would prefer to erase from the national conscious and conscience the embarrassing events of the final years of his second term, especially the entire Iran-Contra affair. It was, for a lot of people, yet another case of a Republican administration getting caught up in another humiliating scandal. In many ways, the Iran-Contra affair went far beyond anything seen in the Watergate hearings.

The threat of another Cuba had preoccupied the Reagan administration and, with the openly declared mission of the Nicaraguan Marxist regime to spread revolution throughout the region, the policy had been to arm and train right wing insurgent militias called the Contras.

However, direct funding of this insurgency was made illegal through the Boland Amendment -the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984, all aimed at limiting US government assistance to the Contras militants.

In order to circumvent these laws, senior officials of the Reagan administration decided to continue arming and training the Contras secretly and in violation of the law as enacted in the Boland Amendment. Senior Reagan administration officials started what they came to call "the Enterprise."

Additionally, in order to raise funds- obviously everything had to be “off the books”- another scheme was devised to finance their illegal funding of the Contras insurgency. At that time, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, one of our allies, had launched into a bloody war against Iran. Arm sales to Iran, a violation of the official US policy of an arms embargo, were established, initially through third parties and then directly, and the profits were funneled into funding for the Contras. (That is the shortest possible version.)

Eventually, as could have been expected, the whole thing, blew up in everybody’s faces. The Democratic-controlled Congress was enraged by the administration’s lies and conducted a bi-partisan investigation.

People forget and people forgive, but mostly they forget. However, I do recall North's six-day appearance before the a special joint House and Senate investigating committee investigating Iran-Contra events. He was for a lot of viewers one of the stars in what seemed to be a tiresome redux of Watergate. All summer long the hearings appeared on daytime television, like a third rate sumer stock production of an obscure historical tragedy.

Political bias along party lines was painfully clear. One one side, a group of white haired pale faced men made long monotone speeches that somehow became questions at the last moment. On the other side, another pale face, accompanied by a whispering lawyer, would usually answer, “I can’t recall that, Senator.” All the events seemed practiced and self-serving. Nobody seemed very interested in either asking the right questions or giving the honest answers. A sad spectacle, in every sense of the word.

Then along came Oliver North, the dashing ex-Marine, in full military regalia, a stamp collection of medals over his heart. Handsome and well-spoken, he oozed charisma and patriotism. This was a hero, people remarked at the time. When he spoke, it was difficult not to be moved. Unlike so many of those that testified before him, North appeared committed to his mission and stood proudly to defend his noble ideals. Based only on appearance, North was a hero in the Iran-Contra scandal. Yet, as details emerged from a closer committee examination, things were not nearly as black and white as they initially appeared.

Lt. Colonel North freely admitted that he had shredded documents, lied to Congress and falsified official records. Such seeming forthrightness was courageous and admirable. In a weird mix of political spin and legalese, North told the committee, "I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version."

The final opinion of the committee was not at all favorable to President Reagan. With the sharp criticism of the president, the report concluded that a “cabal of zealots” in the administration had managed to take control of key aspects of foreign policy. Among the targets of the criticism were Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, the former National Security Council aide Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter, the president’s former national security adviser William J. Casey, the former director of central intelligence and Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

Despite strong condemnation in the final report on the Iran-Contra Scandal. for a number of House Republicans, North was, and is still today, unquestionably a hero. Sean Wilentz points out in a New York Times' op-ed piece: .

At the conclusion of the hearings, a dissenting minority report codified these views. The report’s chief author was a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael J. Malbin, who was chosen by Mr. Cheney as a member of the committee’s minority staff. Another member of the minority’s legal staff, David S. Addington, was later the vice president’s chief of staff.

The minority report stressed the charge that the inquiry was a sham, calling the majority report’s allegations of serious White House abuses of power “hysterical.” The minority admitted that mistakes were made in the Iran-contra affair but laid the blame for them chiefly on a Congress that failed to give consistent aid to the Nicaraguan contras and then overstepped its bounds by trying to restrain the White House.

The Reagan administration, according to the report, had erred by failing to offer a stronger, principled defense of what Mr. Cheney and others considered its full constitutional powers. Not only did the report defend lawbreaking by White House officials it condemned Congress for having passed the laws in the first place.

Like so much of the Neo-conservative rhetoric, tin the dissenting report was much picking and choosing of statements made by founding fathers to give weight to their argument. For example, a bit of the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton’s remarks endorsing “energy in the executive” gave an aura of approval. If anything, according to the dissenting minority report, the powers of president should be less restrained and limited by the legal restrictions imposed by Congress. As Wilentz notes:.

Hamilton certainly desired a strong executive, but warned that it would be “utterly unsafe and improper” to give a president complete control over foreign policy.

In truth, as Mr. Cheney has also remarked, the struggle for him began much earlier, during the Nixon administration. A business partner says that Mr. Cheney told him that Watergate was merely “a political ploy by the president’s enemies.” For Mr. Cheney, the scandal was not Richard Nixon’s design for an imperial presidency but the Democrats’ drive for an imperial Congress.

Still, Mr. Cheney’s quest to accumulate unaccountable executive power — a quest that has received much attention of late — took a major turn 20 years ago. And part of Iran-contra’s legacy has now become a legacy of the Bush-Cheney administration.

The Federalist Papers , incidentally, have a great deal of interesting things to say about the potential for governmental abuse of power, such as, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” Those are, of course, excerpts that Dick Cheney would have skimmed.

Madison also warned against another kind of threat to the republic which would relate to North’s later career. In Federalist No. 10, for example, in answer to Hamilton, Madison warned against the the destructive role of faction in breaking apart the republic. He defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." He identifies the most serious source of faction to be the diversity of opinion in political life which leads to dispute over fundamental issues such as what regime or religion should be preferred.

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.

James Madison, November 22, 1787

In any case, in the minority report, we can see, perhaps, an unheeded warning for the future. For in different Republican administration, it was precisely this disdain of oversight and contempt for Congress- and the Constitution- that was to led to the abuse of the Bush II administration, with Cheney presiding.

Bungled Justice

Mr. North was eventually convicted of three federal felonies — receiving an illegal payment, obstruction of a Congressional inquiry and destroying official documents, although an appellate court held that his testimony delivered under Congressional immunity may have affected jurors and reversed one conviction.

In fact, North served no jail time whatsoever which left both his admirers and his detractor scratching her heads in disbelief.

According to a New York times article Mr. North, the former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide, was convicted of destroying documents, accepting the gift of a $13,800 home security system and abetting the obstruction of Congress. [Federal District] Judge Gesell could have imposed a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines of $750,000. Instead, he imposed a $150,000 fine, two years of probation, a three-year suspended sentence and an order to perform 1,200 hours of community service.

The decision was, no doubt, a sound political move. A campaign had been underway for a presidential pardon which would have put then president George Bush, Sr. in a particularly difficult situation. George Bush I, vice president for Reagan, along with others in the Reagan cabinet, had been the prime backers in the arms for hostages plan. No doubt Bush was delighted and relieved. Yet this decision was proof enough for most people that justice, according to the Far Right, was only an admirable but flexible ideal.

In fact, president George Bush, Sr., formerly vice- president during the operation, would later go on to pardon Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger. along with five other Iran/contra defendants.

The Weinberger pardon marked the first time a President ever pardoned someone in whose trial he might have been called as a witness, because the President was knowledgeable of factual events underlying the case. Apparently the prevailing notion was: some things are just too important to leave for justice to decide .

With each Republican cycle, the scope of the abuse of power seems to grow larger and affect more innocent lives. If Watergate was a sordid tale of a bungled burglary, Iran-Contra was a pathetic account of a bungled covert operation, and so many of the same players returned for the next act, in a deadly serious performance of a bungled war. Isn't it only fair to ask what the next bit of theater will be? A bungled overthrow of the government? A bungled Armageddon?

"Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of right-wing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by right-wing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.

Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists. DHS/ I & A is concerned that righ-twing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.

Race was also mentioned in the report.

He concludes with this rather cheap shot:

In his own mind and the collective mind of Fox news, Oliver North has been defamed and victimized and long misunderstood. He has said, "I'm like John Wayne. I only play good guys." (The operative word, one might assume, is "play.")

On a radio talk show with Randi Rhodes , North himself appeared to have swallowed his own revisionist history of the Iran-Contra events when he claimed "No-one even charged me of lying to Congress" Rhodes immediately pointed out that according to the Report of the Independent Counsel:


"Count One: The indictment charged that North and McFarlane obstructed Congress by falsely denying in three letters North's contra- assistance efforts.

"Counts Two, Three, and Four: False statements to Congress, charging specific misrepresentations in the three letters described in Count One."

Later he would tell listeners that "Lawrence Walsh had every record from my office, he had absolutely everything." Again the report by Independent Counsel prove the contrary.

Perhaps most outrageously, North refutes all the allegations against him despite the record.

Oliver North: "No-one ever convicted of me of lying to Congress" Randi Rhodes: "You were convicted in a court of law"

Oliver North: "I am denying it"

Report of the Independent Counsel:

"On May 4, 1989, he was found guilty of three counts, including aiding and abetting obstruction of Congress, shredding and altering official documents, and accepting an illegal gratuity from Secord."

Such confabulations shouldn't surprise anybody when the interview begins with a statement from North as, "Randi, Randi, one of the reasons why liberals don’t make it in radio is they can’t tell the truth. First of all. "

Forever Denied


According to the San Jose Mercury News Gary Webb’s expose and subsequent book Dark Alliance: the CIA, the contras, and the crack cocaine explosion cites the Kerry report on the connections between terrorism and drugs the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb charged that the Reagan administration shielded inner-city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras, especially after Congress passed the Boland Amendment , which prohibited direct Contra funding.

In 1987, the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations began an investigation focusing on allegations received by the subcommittee chairman, Senator John Kerry, concerning illegal gun-running and narcotics trafficking associated with the Contras. A two-year investigation produced a 1,166-page report in 1989 analyzing the involvement of Contra groups and supporters in drug trafficking, and the role of United States government officials in these activities. Allegations of cocaine trafficking by Contras also arose during the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh into the Iran-Contra affair. Drug trafficking allegations, however, were not the focus of that inquiry and the Walsh report included no findings on these allegations.

The Kerry Report was, in fact, a well-researched and scathing document which established a clear relationship between high level officials in government and drug cartels. Among the allegations, here are a few as stated in the introduction of the report which seem particularly relevant.

We learned how high United States officials, including Lt. Col. Oliver North, went to the Justice Department to intercede on behalf of a man convicted of a narco-terrorist assassination plot against a Honduran President--because the man had been the administration's liaison to the Contras.

We also found out that the State Department chose four companies controlled by drug traffickers to provide assistance to the Contras. As a result, drug traffickers got funds out of the United States public treasury as part of our Contra humanitarian assistance program.

We were told by the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency that someone at the National Security Counsel leaked information on a DEA drug sting operation against the Sandinistas in order to influence a congressional vote on Contra aid, causing the operation to abort.

After the Gary Webb report in the Mercury News, the CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz was assigned to investigate these allegations in 1996. Although the investigators promised to release their report in three months, it was only pressure by both the Washington Post and New York Times, that news stated that Hitz had found no “direct of indirect” connection between the CIA and cocaine traffickers.

When the report was finally the release, much of the controversy had dissolved. The implications of the report were virtually ignored by the media. According to the book, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press , by authors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, the Hitz report described a cable from the CIA's Directorate of Operations dated October 22, 1982, describing a prospective meeting between Contra leaders in Costa Rica for "an exchange in [the United States] of narcotics for arms, which then are shipped to Nicaragua." The two main Contra groups, US arms dealers, and a lieutenant of a drug ring which imported drugs from Latin America to the US west coast were set to attend the Costa Rica meeting. The lieutenant trafficker was also a Contra, and the CIA knew that there was an arms-for-drugs shuttle and did nothing to stop it.

The United States was not the only nation investigating North's involvement with shady organizations. For example, in the second report by the Costa Rican Assembly's Commission on Narcotics Trafficking , an examination of the explosion of cocaine and drug trafficking in during the 1980s, the commission recommended that that former ambassador Lewis Tambs , CIA station chief Joseph F. Fernandez , and Lt. Col. Oliver North be forever denied entry in Costa Rica, a recommendation adopted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

Easy Hero

North ran unsuccessfully as a Republican Senate candidate in Virginia. On the eve of the election, former first lady Nancy Reagan told a reporter that North had lied to her husband when discussing Iran-Contra with the former president, effectively stopping his campaign.

In this current Wonderland of Republican politics, who knows whether Palin might not choose him as her running mate? Given the respective characters at play, there is a kind of warped logic about it.

North has penned several books, fiction and non-fiction (though many reviewers wouldn't care to distinguish one from the other). It has been a gradual but steady rehabilitation of his image with the kind assistance of his Fox Friends.

In past years, with his pal Sean Hannity, he has helped organize and is the honorary chairman for the Freedom Alliance , whose mission, according to its website, "is to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense."

Freedom Alliance , a 501(c)3 educational and charitable foundation, was founded in 1990 by Lt.Col Oliver L. North, who now serves as the organization's honorary chairman. We will work to "keep America strong, keep America prosperous, and keep America free," said North upon the founding of Freedom Alliance.

For the last several years, Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance “charity” have conducted “Freedom Concerts” across America. The organization is raises funds for scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets. However, ultra-conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel charged that entire arrangement was nothing more than a scam.

In fact, less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

Freedom Alliance has strongly denied such allegations , calling them "false and malicious."

His last book, American Heroes he wrote "first hand accounts of faithful American heroes in the fight against global terrorism and jihad." Interestingly, but perhaps not unexpectedly, the book shares a copyright with Fox.

He has a comfortable life, I am sure, a warm home and a large family. North has four children, eleven grandchildren, and lives with his wife in Virginia.

He has plenty of people to share his thoughts with and a warm blanket. He is able to come and go as he pleases, and he has the luxury of choosing his meals. Whenever he wishes, he can step outside and look at the sky.

Not so far away from this decorated hero's Virginia home, however, in a Quantico prison, there is another soldier who is considered a hero by many. And, not unlike Oliver North, many consider him a traitor who betrayed his country. Without standing trial or without being convicted, Bradley Manning has already served more time in prison than Oliver North. Many patriotic Americans have condemned Manning. It is, for them, a clear case Manning swore an oath and he broke that oath, a crime that Oliver North shares with Manning.

North, at the commencement of his testimony before the Congressional hearings back in 1986, boldly stated something Bradley Manning might well have said, "I am here to accept responsibility for that which I did. I will not accept responsibility for that which I did not do. I came here to tell you the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. I never considered myself a fall guy. I know what I did. I know why I did it. I'm not ashamed of it."

However, the obvious difference between Manning and North is that North made this noble declaration, not facing life in prison or a firing squad and not in solitary confinement, but under a grant of immunity. Given Lt. Col. North's Fifth amendment objections when subpoenaed, the only way to obtain his testimony was to compel it through a grant of use immunity. Despite the fact that North was the target of an a criminal investigation, It was felt that without his testimony the record would have been incomplete. Nothing he told Congress would, or could, be used against him in a criminal proceeding. Being honest, therefore, would cost him nothing.

Under those circumstances,. it's fairly easy to be a hero.

Drawing Comparisons

This week, the military brought 22 new charges - including one that carries the death penalty - against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. That capital offense, according to the statement that outlined the 22 charges, was aiding and abetting the enemy- although it was not clear who the proposed enemy was. Presumably, the rest of the world.

While military prosecutors have recommended life in prison instead, "the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution's recommendation and impose the death penalty," according to NBC .

Manning stated in his private chats to an informer, “God knows what happens now.. hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. If not… than we’re doomed.. as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens. I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

On the other hand, perhaps the same defense could be used in Manning's case as well, Here is a statement made by Obama in a town hall meeting for the future leaders of China:


Oliver North - History

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Oliver North

The scandal grew worse for the Reagan administration after it became clear that National Security Council member Oliver North had ordered the destruction and concealment of documents related to the Iran and Contra arms sale. In July 1987, North testified before a televised hearing of a special joint congressional committee created to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal. North admitted that he had lied when describing the deal to Congress in 1985, stating that he had viewed the Nicaraguan Contras as “freedom fighters” engaged in a war against the Communist Sandinista government. Based on his testimony, North was indicted on a series of federal felony charges and ordered to stand trial.

During the 1989 trial, North’s secretary Fawn Hall testified that she had helped her boss shred, alter, and remove official United States National Security Council documents from his White House office. North testified that he had ordered the shredding of “some” documents in order to protect the lives of certain individuals involved in the arms deal.

On May 4, 1989, North was convicted of bribery and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term, two years on probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours of community service. However, on July 20, 1990, his conviction was vacated when a federal court of appeals ruled that North’s televised 1987 testimony to Congress may have improperly influenced the testimony of some witnesses at his trial. After taking office in 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued presidential pardons to six other individuals who had been convicted for their involvement in the scandal.


Oliver North Worked With Cocaine Traffickers to Arm Terrorists. Now He’ll Be President of the NRA.

The National Rifle Association has always been clear about drugs: They’re terrifying.

Last year, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre darkly warned that members of drug gangs “are infiltrating law enforcement and even the military.” In 2013, LaPierre proclaimed that “Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States” and are a key part of the “hellish world” that awaits us in the future. When Charlton Heston was president of the NRA in the 1990s, he declared that regular Americans would soon be besieged by 10,000 drug dealers freed from prison by the Clinton administration.

It seems odd, then, that the next president of the NRA will soon be Oliver North, who spent years in the 1980s working together with large-scale cocaine traffickers and protecting a notorious narco-terrorist from the rest of the U.S. government.

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This reality about North has been largely covered up, first by North himself and then by Fox News and the passage of time. Thirty years later, it’s been almost totally forgotten. But the facts remain genuinely appalling.

North was an active-duty Marine when he joined the Reagan administration’s National Security Council in 1981. One of Reagan’s top priorities was organizing and funding the Contras, a guerrilla military force, to overthrow the revolutionary socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. But the Contras engaged in extensive, gruesome terrorism against Nicaraguan civilians. Congress gradually reduced and then eliminated appropriations supporting them, leading the Reagan administration to secretly search for money elsewhere.

According to the report from a later congressional investigation, North was put in charge of this operation, which participants dubbed “The Enterprise.”

"Report of the congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra Affair,” U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, 1987

North enthusiastically looked for cash wherever he could find it and led many of the clandestine schemes that later became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. The Sultan of Brunei donated $10 million (which North’s secretary Fawn Hall accidentally wired to the wrong Swiss bank account), and Saudi Arabia ponied up as well. North also pushed what he called “a neat idea”: selling U.S. military equipment to Iran, with the proceeds passed along to the Contras.

Meanwhile, the Contras had a neat idea of their own: facilitating cocaine trafficking through Central America into the U.S., with a cut going toward supporting their war against the Sandinistas. Some Contras were themselves cocaine traffickers, and others were simply happy to make alliances of convenience with drug cartels.

There’s no evidence that North actively wanted cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. It was simply that he had other priorities. But was he aware of the Contras’ drug trafficking? Ja. Did he try to shield one of “his” cocaine traffickers from consequences from the other branches of the U.S. government? Ja. Did he work together with a known drug lord? Ja.

All in all, North’s connections to drug trafficking were so egregious that in 1989 he was banned from entering Nicaragua’s neighbor Costa Rica by Óscar Arias, the country’s president and 1987 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

This may seem shocking to the easily shocked. But it’s all been documented in various government investigations. All you need in order to learn about it is curiosity and an internet connection. For instance, here’s a screenshot from the CIA’s website about the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Democratic Alliance, or ADREN by its Spanish acronym, which was later folded into the Contras:

"Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States,” CIA, 1998

The full extent of North’s complicity in cocaine trafficking will never be known. When the Iran-Contra scandal story broke in November 1986, he ordered Hall to destroy so many documents that the shredder malfunctioned, and she had to ask White House maintenance to come and fix it. Moreover, when North was removed from his National Security Council job, he took with him 2,848 pages of daily notes — which legally belonged to the federal government. By the time a congressional investigation was finally able to examine the notes, North and his lawyers had redacted huge amounts of information. Nonetheless, 543 of the pages mentioned drugs or drug trafficking, with the probe finding that “in many of these cases, material in the Notebooks adjacent to the narcotics references has been deleted.”

"Drugs, Law Enforcement And Foreign Policy,” U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 1989

But despite North’s cover-up, what we do know for sure is incredibly damning.

Perhaps most significantly, according to North’s own notes he met with Panama’s then-dictator Manuel Noriega in London in September 1986 to collaborate on a plan for Noriega to support the Contras in return for American money and arms. They discussed sabotaging a Nicaraguan airport and oil refinery, as well as creating a program to train Contra and Afghan mujahedeen commandos in Panama with Israeli help. (It’s not completely clear, but North appears to have written that “Rabin” – i.e., Yitzhak Rabin, who was then Israel’s minister of defense – “approves.”)

North was clearly enthusiastic about the potential partnership with Noriega. In an earlier email selling the proposal to one of his superiors, he wrote that “we might have available a very effective, very secure means of doing some of the things which must be done if the Nicaragua project is going to succeed. … I believe we could make the appropriate arrangements w/ reasonable OPSEC and deniability.”

Email, Oliver North to John Poindexter, May 8, 1986

But of course, Noriega was himself a powerful drug trafficker. Knowing this didn’t require a top-secret clearance: It was published on the front page of the New York Times three months before North met with him. According to the Times article, “A White House official said the most significant drug-running in Panama was being directed by General Noriega.”

The North-Noriega operation ultimately didn’t come to fruition the Iran-Contra affair was exposed just two months after they met. But the planning that did occur is conclusive evidence that North eagerly worked with drug dealers operating on the largest scale imaginable.

“Panama Strongman Said to Trade In Drugs, Arms and Illicit Money,” New York Times, June 11, 1986

North also went to great lengths to protect an ally who was a key participant in what the Justice Department called “the most significant case of narco-terrorism yet discovered.”

In 1984, José Bueso Rosa, a Honduran general, plotted with several others to assassinate the president of Honduras. They planned to fund the hit with the proceeds from selling 760 pounds of cocaine in the U.S. The FBI, however, had the participants under surveillance, intercepted the shipment when it arrived at a small airfield in Florida, and arrested everyone involved.

But Bueso had played a key role in Honduran support for the Contras. So North went to work to get him off as lightly as possible. (Bueso had not himself been charged with drug trafficking, but wiretaps made it obvious he participated in that part of the project.)

In email, North explained his plans to “cabal quietly” with other Reagan administration officials “to look at options: pardon, clemency, deportation, reduced sentence.” Eventually, North planned to have the case’s judge informed “in camera” — that is, secretly — about “our equities in this matter,” in order to push for leniency. Then, North wrote, it would be necessary to quietly brief Bueso, so that he wouldn’t “start singing songs nobody wants to hear.”

North didn’t get everything he wanted, but did succeed in having Bueso transferred to a “Club Fed” minimum security prison. Bueso was released on parole after 40 months.

Daar is ook numerous documented examples of North being informed that members of the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, with no signs that North took any action.

For instance, after meeting with a key assistant, North wrote in his notebooks about a plane being used by the brother of a top Contra leader to ferry supplies from the U.S. to Central America. “Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans,” North jotted down, “is probably being used for drug runs into U.S.”

North testified in front of Congress that he’d passed this information along to the Drug Enforcement Administration. When later questioned by the Washington Post, the DEA, the State Department, and the U.S. Customs Service all stated that there was no evidence North ever said anything about the matter to them.

Oliver North, notes, August 9, 1985

The same aide who told North about the plane also informed him about the “potential involvement with drug running” of one Contra official and that another was “now involved in drug running out of Panama.” And after a call from another subordinate, North noted that the Contras were planning to buy weapons from a Honduran warehouse — and 󈫾 M to finance came from drugs.”

North was getting similar reports from outside the government as well. Dennis Ainsworth, a Republican real estate investor who’d volunteered to help the Contra cause, informed a U.S. attorney that the top Contra commander “was involved in drug trafficking,” but that the Nicaraguan community was frightened to come forward because “they could be blown away by Colombia hit squads.” Ainsworth said he’d tried to inform the White House about this but “we were put off by Ollie North,” and “I was even physically threatened by one of Ollie North’s associates.” (The U.S. attorney later wrote a memo with Ainsworth’s statements and transmitted it to the FBI.)

“Regarding Dennis Madden Ainsworth, Information Concerning,” FBI, January 6, 1987

North and the NRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this history. When North ran for Senate in 1994, his campaign spokesperson said his involvement with the Bueso case was “old news and garbage and nobody cares about it.” In a 2004 appearance on Fox News, North called a congressional investigation that focused on the Contra-cocaine connection “a witch hunt” with witnesses “who clearly had a political agenda.”

But the extraordinarily sordid nature of North’s past will be clear to anyone who appraises it honestly. In announcing North’s appointment, Wayne LaPierre said there’s “no one better suited to serve as our president,” and he’s correct. Óscar Arias wrote Thursday that the NRA “finds in Oliver North a leader worthy of its mission.” Peter Kornbluh, who was co-director of the Iran-Contra documentation project at the National Security Archive, is even more straightforward: North, he says, is “the perfect pick to further the NRA’s reputation for favoring bloodshed and criminality over responsible gun control and ownership.”


Kyk die video: Divertimento - Oliver Waespi door Koninklijke Harmonie van Peer (Desember 2021).