Archive for August, 2009

Drugs: The CIA Comes Clean

August 20, 2009

In 1989, newly elected president, Bush 1 pardoned Secretary of the Army Caspar Weinberger and other Iran/contra defendants ending the investigation of Iran/contra crimes. Stonewalling, perjury, obstructing justice, shredding evidence, retaliating against truth tellers had proved to be effective.

The Kerry subcommittee reported: “the saga of Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States…It is clear that each US government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellin Cartel. Manuel Noriega was allowed to establish “the hemisphere’s first ‘narcokleptocracy.’”

According to Noriega on March 18, 1988, he met with US State Department officials William Walker and Michael Kozak, who offered him $2 million to go into exile in Spain. Noriega said he refused the offer. Dec. 30, 1989 the US invaded Panama with the loss of 24 soldiers. Deaths of Panamanian civilians were estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 and 20,000 to 30,000 were left homeless. Noriega was brought to the US. At his trial, a government witness swore that the Medellin drug cartel had given $10 million to the contras, as reported by the Kerry subcommittee.

1996, Gary Webb began a series of stories for the San Jose Mercury Times connecting three career criminals to the CIA and the devastation of crack cocaine on black youth. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, “Freeway” Ricky Ross was L A’s most known crack dealer in the 1980s, Oscar Blandón Reyes, was described by one US assistant district attorney as “the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States,” and Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero was alleged to have brought Blandón into the drug business to support the contras and supplied him with cocaine.

The Washington Times used ex-CIA officials who had been part of the contra war to refute the charges. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times relied on the CIA’s internal reviews in 1987 and 1988 that had denied the spy agency was involved in contra drug smuggling. The Washington Post said it was old news, that “even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that those covert operations involved drug traffickers.” Besides, the traffickers Webb mentioned were small time. Blandon “handled only about five tons of cocaine,” although Norwin Meneses may have handled more.

Faced with major media criticism the Mercury Times published a front-page column criticizing Webb’s stories, stopped the newspapers contra-cocaine investigation and reassigned Webb. Webb resigned in disgrace.

1998 Rep. Maxine Waters placed into the Congressional Record a letter of understanding between the CIA and the Justice Department written Feb. 11, 1982. Scarcely a year after Reagan’s inauguration CIA Director William Casey requested that the CIA be freed from legal requirements that it report drug smuggling by CIA assets. Even that early, the memo was too late. Reagan, inaugurated in 1981, provided the CIA $19.9 million to organize a covert war against Nicaragua. ADREN contras had turned to crime “in order to feed and clothe their cadre,” according to a June 1981 CIA report. ADREN made the first delivery of drugs to Miami in July 1981. Months later Attorney General William French Smith agreed that the CIA need not obey a law they had already violated.

CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz confessed to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the 1987 internal investigation had lasted only 12 days, the 1988 investigation only three days. He promised a more thorough review. January 1998 Hitz’s first report revealed that CIA officials failed to investigate contra-cocaine allegations fully, withheld incriminating information when they had it, and thwarted official inquiries into the crimes.

The devastating second report was not released until December, 1998. Hitz identified more than 50 contras and contra-related entities implicated in the drug trade and revealed how the Reagan administration protected the drug operations and circumvented federal investigations that threatened to expose the crimes.

In 1980, Bolivia drug merchant Roberto Suarez bankrolled a coup in Bolivia that ousted the elected government with the support of Argentina’s military regime and made Bolivia the region’s first narco-state. Bolivia’s government-protected cocaine shipments turned the Medellin cartel into a huge operation delivering cocaine to the US. Suarez invested more than $30 million in various right-wing groups, including the contras. Argentine intelligence officer, Leonardo Sanchez-Reisse told the US Senate that drug money was laundered through front companies in Miami before going to Central America. There, veteran Argentine intelligence officers trained the contras. In 1981, Reagan ordered the CIA to collaborate with the Argentines in building the contra army that controlled no territory and attacked villages instead of the Nicaraguan army.

In 1981, Frank Castro, a veteran of the CIA’s Cuba operations was charged with four counts of narcotics trafficking. Castro pled guilty to a weapons charge and was fined $500. In 1983, Castro was alleged to be part of a plan to smuggle 425,000 pounds of marijuana to Beaumont, Texas. An unsigned, handwritten note read: “DOJ (Department of Justice) is willing to drop (charges) if (Castro) was in fact associated (with) Agency.” Castro financed a training base in the Everglades and a group that trained openly and boasted of plans to fight in Nicaragua without government interference. The drug charges against Castro were dropped. In 1986, the CIA withheld information about Castro from the Kerry subcommittee.

In 1982, the CIA sent to run the Costa Rica-based contra operations a “contractor”, known as “Ivan Gomez,” who had been working in his family’s drug-money-laundering business. “Gomez” directly participated in illegal drug transactions, concealed participation in illegal drug transactions, and concealed information about involvement in illegal drug activity. CIA officials protected “Gomez” from law enforcement and congressional oversight even after he left the agency in 1988.

In 1983, fifty drug traffickers were arrested near San Francisco. Contras in Costa Rica claimed in a letter to the federal court that $36,020 seized from a drug defendant belonged to them. CIA headquarters protested planned depositions of contra figures in Costa Rica. Assistant US attorney Mark Zanides was told by CIA counsel Lee Strickland that the CIA would be “immensely grateful” if the depositions were dropped. They were. The money was returned to Zavala. CIA headquarters sent a cable to the Costa Rica station about the CIA’s role in derailing the depositions: “We can only guess as to what other testimony may have been forthcoming.”

In 1984, a DEA report revealed that Meneses-Canterero, named in Webb’s story, was tracked by US law enforcement officials as early as 1976.

A December 1984 cable to CIA headquarters revealed Felipe Vidal’s ties to Rene Corvo, suspected of drug trafficking. Vidal had a criminal record as a narcotics trafficker but the CIA hired him to serve as a logistics coordinator for the contras. Corvo was working with Frank Castro. Oliver North’s liaison to the contras, Robert Owen, warned the National Security Council that the “Cubans (Corvo and Castro) involved in drugs.”

Fabio Ernesto Carrasco, a pilot for Columbian drug smuggler Jorge Morales, testified that in 1984 and 1985, he flew planes loaded with weapons for contras operating in Costa Rica. The weapons were offloaded and military bags of drugs were loaded on the planes for flights to the US. Carrasco also testified that Morales provided “several million dollars” to the contras. Morales did not testify about the contras but his non-contra DEA cooperation won him early release from prison.

July 1985, North noted a call from retired Air Force General Richard Secord in which the two discussed a Honduran arms warehouse from which the contras planned to purchase weapons with money Reagan secretly raised from Saudi Arabia. According to North’s notes, Secord told him that $14 million of the purchase money came from drugs.

1985, Two DEA agents testified that North had wanted to take $1.5 million in Medellin Cartel bribe money and give it to the contras. DEA officials rejected the idea.

The CIA knew that contra-cocaine tracked into Reagan’s National Security Council. Moises Nunez worked directly for the NSC since 1985 and for two drug-connected seafood importers, Ocean Hunter in Miami and Frigorificos de Puntarenas in Costa Rica. Frigorificos was created in the early 1980s as a cover for drug money. In 1987, the CIA asked Nunez about ties to the drug trade. “Nunez revealed that since 1985, he had engaged in a clandestine relationship with the National Security Council,” Hitz reported. “Nunez refused to elaborate on the nature of these actions, but indicated it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC.”

Joseph Fernandez, former CIA station chief in Costa Rica, said that Nunez “was involved in a very sensitive operation” for North’s “enterprise.” The nature of that NSC-authorized activity is still unknown. The CIA gave special prosecutor Walsh the material about Nunez’s claim of NSC authorization as part of a large batch of documents delivered at the end of Walsh’s North investigation.

Michael Levine, a former undercover DEA agent, reviewed the evidence of the Reagan administration’s role in the contra-cocaine operations and said, “…you have Oliver North, a high-level official in the National Security Council running a covert action in collaboration with a drug cartel. That’s what I call treason. We’ll never know how many kids died because these so-called patriots were so hot to support the contras that they risked several generations of our young people to do it…where does Congressman Hyde think the drugs went that paid for the contras’ weapons? Into kids’ bodies.”

Contra leader Adolfo Calero testified that SETCO Air, owned and operated by Honduran drug trafficker Ramon Matta Ballesteros, was paid from bank accounts controlled by Oliver North. SETCO also received $185,924 from the State Department for ferrying supplies to the contras in 1986.

1986, the DEA in Miami seized 414 pounds of cocaine from a contra operative in Costa Rica to Ocean Hunter. Federal prosecutor Jeffrey Feldman believed the evidence of contra crimes was strong enough for a grand jury. Feldman’s boss, Leon Kellner agreed. Attorney General Ed Meese flew to Miami. Kellner reversed himself, rewrote Feldman’s memo to reject a grand jury, signed Feldman’s name without informing Feldman of the changes and without permission. The revised memo was leaked to the media to undermine Kerry’s investigation.

1986, Owen wrote North that a Vortex plane being used to carry “humanitarian aid” to the contras was previously used to transport drugs. Vortex was partly owned by marijuana trafficker Michael Palmer. Despite Palmer’s history of drug smuggling and a Michigan indictment on drug charges, Palmer received over $300,000 to fly supplies to the contras from the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Office overseen by North, Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, and CIA officer Alan Fiers.

1986, Robert Owen sent a message about contra leadership, capitalizing the words, “THIS WAR HAS BECOME A BUSINESS TO MANY OF THEM.”

DEA reported that “intelligence information…shows that during the month of January, 1986, (Gerardo Duran) was in charge of a crew which loaded over 400 kilos of cocaine into an aircraft in Costa Rica piloted by a DEA (informant).” The DEA chose not to indict Duran.

1986, a Southern Air Transport airplane, the principal airline of North’s Iran/contra operations was shot down in Nicaragua. Ed Meese briefly blocked a federal investigation on national security grounds.

The Reagan administration planted stories in the media dismissing the contra-drug allegations as fiction. Reagan won congressional approval for the $100 million annual amount that contra backers claimed was needed to fund the war. That was in addition to drug cartel funding and $80+ billion in arms sales to Iran that was supposed to go to the contras.

1988, The politicization of the Justice Department became so bad that six Republican senior officials, including the deputy attorney general and the chief of the criminal division, resigned in protest.

In 1996 Washington attorney Jack Blum, special counsel to the Kerry committee testified that “The government made a secret decision to sacrifice a part of the American population for the contra effort.” Reagan officials were “quietly undercutting law enforcement and human-rights agencies that might have caused them difficulty. Policy makers absolutely closed their eyes to the criminal behavior of the contras.”

In 1998, when Hitz’s complete report of White House crimes was released, the media were too enraptured by Monica Lewinski to notice. George W. Bush moved into the White House, with the approval of five Supreme Court justices whose names will live in infamy, and Bush sealed the Reagan/Bush records that are the property of We the people because there was so much that needed to be hidden.

Daniel Ortega was elected president in 1984, failed reelection in 1990, was reelected in 2006, and is presently president of Nicaragua. Nicaragua continues to have a mixed economy and an opposition media.

For more information see the report of the Kerry subcommittee and the CIA IG report both available at (nsarchive.org) Also, Robert Perry, consortiumnews.com

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Drugs: Nancy Said No, Ronnie Said Yes

August 11, 2009

When Ronald Reagan died, his complicit enablers in the media lauded him for his myth-making “city on a hill,” ignoring the condemnation of the International Court of Justice that America had hidden its light under a bushel of terrorism. David Podvin commented, “On air and in print, the truth about the fortieth president was distorted beyond recognition by commentators determined to transform a bad leader (and even worse human being) into a hallowed icon.”

Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker wrote that Reagan “undermined environmental, civil-rights, and labor protections, neglected the AIDS epidemic, and packed the courts with reactionary mediocrities. He made callousness respectable.” Others pointed out that wealth was concentrated in the richest few, Reagan gave amnesty to almost 3 million illegal immigrants to break unions and drive down wages, and required workers and other taxpayers to help finance moving factories and industries overseas. After being president of the Screen Actor’s union, Reagan toured the country on the payroll of corporations denouncing unions and workers.

The health misery index rose. The costs of medical care rose more than inflation. Reagan gave employees and employers less incentive to participate in employer-sponsored insurance. People took on themselves the risks of health and high medical costs.

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman pointed out that despite the high price of oil due to the embargo the average economic growth rate of the Carter administration was slightly higher than the growth rate under Reagan, blessed with cheap oil caused in part by Reagan’s partnership with terrorists. Louis Bayard wrote that Reagan “left the percentage of national income diverted to federal taxes virtually unchanged between 1981 and 1989 — even as states went scrambling to offset cuts in federal assistance.” The federal debt tripled, reaching 63% of the economy.

Robert Sean Wilentz, author of The Age of Reagan wrote that Reaganism “was a blend of dogma, mythology and mendacity,” and that Reagan expanded “the police powers of the executive branch to a degree that would make even Nixon blanch.” “Reaganism” was politically correct for socialized business, the governmental deregulation that gave control of the economy to international corporations that owed loyalty to no nation and no people, not even their employees. The Saving and Loan collapse made the rich richer as taxpayers picked up the billions of dollars bill that they still pay. When Ken Lay was about Enron’s success, he said, “we are entering or in markets that are deregulating or have recently deregulated.”

When Reagan moved into the White House he declared “war on terrorism.” That included support for apartheid in South Africa. He recruited, trained and equipped extreme Islamists to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, supported the Zia ul-Haq dictatorship in Pakistan and ignored Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons. The extreme fundamentalist Arab state, Saudi Arabia, was his ally in the region, even more than Iraq.

According to a US Senate report, the war on terrorism also included supplying Saddam Hussein with Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax; Clostridium Botulinum, a source of botulinum toxin; Histoplasma Capsulatam, cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart; Brucella Melitensis, a bacteria that can damage major organs; Clostridium Perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness; Clostridium tetani, a highly toxigenic substance. Reagan also supplied Saddam with satellite images of Iranian defense forces so that he could use his poisons on them and Iraqi Kurds. Congress tried to impose sanctions on Iraq for human rights violations but Reagan opposed the idea.

Mark Weisbrot reported in the LA Times that in the 1980s, the CIA trained Battalion 316 that tortured and murdered thousands of Honduran political activists while Ambassador John Negroponte and the US Embassy looked the other way. The State Department doctored its human rights reports to omit the crimes.

After the US hostages in Iran were released Reagan sold weapons to their captors. The sale of arms continued although the terrorists kidnapped more Americans, killed more than 240 Marines, and blew up two US embassies. Exposure of the secret sale of weapons to terrorists and diversion of the money to support contras in Nicaragua ended the illegal enterprise. Little was written about the use of drug smugglers and profits from drug smuggling to aid the contras although it was an open secret.

Information regarding contra drug smuggling with protection from the Reagan administration is too vast to cover here. The best sources are the report of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on terrorism and narcotics, chaired by John Kerry, and the CIA Inspector General’s Reports. They can be accessed at the National Security Archives (nsarchive.org). Also valuable is Lost History by Robert Parry, an investigative reporter for both Newsweek and Associated Press, now editor of The Consortium. He and Brian Barger were the first to break the contra/drug story.

In 1985, Francisco Guirola Beeche’s airplane landed in Texas with nearly $6 million in suspected drug money on board. Reagan administration prosecutors released the plane and offered to free Guirola on probation. Federal prosecutors persuaded the judge to approve the deal.(AP June, 1985) A trial might have raised suspicions about Cuban-American Felix Rodriguez who oversaw the contra-supply operations for Oliver North. Rodriguez had been placed in El Salvador by the office of VP Bush.

In June, 1986, the New York Times published articles detailing years of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega’s collaboration with Colombian drug traffickers. In August, Oliver North, met with Noriega’s representative. North emailed Reagan’s national security advisor John Poindexter that if US officials “help clean up his image” and lift the ban on arms sales, Noriega would “‘take care of’ the Sandinista leadership for us.” At the 1992 trial of former CIA official Clair George, CIA’s Alan Fiers testified that Elliott Abrams and Secretary of State George Shultz supported the plan.

Throughout 1986, the Kerry subcommittee forwarded contra-drug evidence to the Justice Department, including the testimony of FBI informant Wanda Palacio, who gave an eyewitness account of Colombian drug traffickers loading cocaine onto planes belonging to the CIA-connected airline, Southern Air Transport. Palacio was one of the many corroborated witnesses whose information was rejected by Reagan’s Justice Department. When Kerry requested information from the Justice Department, Assistant AG John Bolton stalled. According to a congressional aide, the staff of Bolton, future US ambassador to the UN, worked actively with Republican senators to oppose Kerry’s efforts.

Bolton also refused to give documents concerning the Iran/contra crimes, and Attorney General Ed Meese’s involvement in them, to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. According to Hayden Gregory, chief counsel of a House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, when Congressional investigators were probing charges that the Justice Department had delayed an inquiry into gunrunning to the contras, Bolton blocked an arrangement by which his staff had agreed to let House investigators interview officials of the US Attorney’s office in Miami.

The House decided to have their own investigation. According to Dennis Bernstein & Leslie Kean, Henry Hyde, House manager in Clinton’s impeachment, blamed Congress for not funding the “freedom fighters” and found no fault with the CIA or the Reagan administration. Hyde claimed a report by committee staff member Robert Bermingham cleared the contras of drug-trafficking. The report offered “little documentation, not even identification of witnesses questioned. No excerpts from depositions, no quotes from files, no references to records examined, no citation of which governments had cooperated or how, no explanation of how accounts of drug trafficking were debunked.” Hyde signed off on the report and the media accepted it with a sigh of relief.

In 1984 General José Bueso Rosa and coconspirators hatched a plan to assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Córdoba financed by a $40 million cocaine shipment to the United States, that the FBI intercepted in Florida. Bueso was heavily involved with the CIA’s contra operations. Declassified email messages reveal that Oliver North led the behind-the-scenes effort to seek leniency for Bueso. US officials tried to get Bueso freed by “pardon, clemency, deportation, reduced sentence.” Bueso got a short sentence in “Club Fed,” a white collar prison in Florida.

The Kerry committee reviewed the case and noted that the man Reagan officials aided was involved in a conspiracy that the Justice Department deemed the “most significant case of narco-terrorism yet discovered.”

The CIA Central American Task Force chief testified, “With respect to (drug trafficking by) the Resistance Forces…We knew that everybody around Pastora was involved in cocaine…His staff and friends (redacted) they were drug smugglers or involved in drug smuggling.” Even after the State Department acknowledged there were problems with drug trafficking in association with Contra activities, the Justice Department adamantly denied there was any substance to the narcotics allegations.

Sworn testimony to the Kerry committee revealed that the contra-drug link dated back to the origins of the contra war in 1980, and the committee heard enough to demand information about Felipe Vidal, a Cuban-American with a criminal record as a narcotics trafficker. The CIA hired Vidal as logistics coordinator for the contras. The CIA withheld the data about Vidal’s drug arrests and kept him on the payroll until 1990.

In January 1986, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami seized 414 pounds of cocaine shipped from a contra operative in Costa Rica to Ocean Hunter, where Vidal worked. In 1987, the US attorney in Miami began investigating Vidal, Ocean Hunter and other contra-connected entities. The CIA’s Latin American division wanted a security review of Vidal but it was blocked by the CIA’s security office. When the US attorney requested information about “contra-related activities” by Vidal, Ocean Hunter and 16 other entities, the CIA responded that that “no information had been found regarding Ocean Hunter.”

The Kerry report in 1989 noted that Oliver North, then on the National Security Council staff at the White House, and other senior officials created a privatized contra network that attracted drug traffickers looking for cover for their operations, then turned a blind eye to repeated reports of drug smuggling related to the contras, and actively worked with known drug smugglers such as Manuel Noriega to assist the contras. The report cited former DEA head John Lawn testifying that North had prematurely leaked a DEA undercover operation, jeopardizing agents’ lives, for political advantage in an upcoming Congressional vote on aid to the contras.

The Kerry Committee concluded that “senior US policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the contras’ funding problems…It is clear that individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking. It is also clear that the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the US government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring or immediately thereafter.”

Oliver North claimed to talk show hosts Hannity & Colmes that the Kerry report was “wrong,” that Kerry “makes this stuff up and then he can’t justify it.” The Kerry committee was accused of wasting money; his staff was accused of obstructing justice. Newsweek mocked Kerry as a “randy conspiracy buff.” When a reporter at a White House press conference asked about report, a New York Times journalist admonished him to ask a “serious question.”

The heavily documented report of the Kerry Committee was ignored by the corporate media. They preferred Bermingham’s and Hyde’s evidence-free assertions. The only ones interested in the Kerry report were the future Swift Boaters. Kerry’s refusal to ignore a crime that everyone else wanted to bury enraged them, perhaps even more than his heroism in Vietnam. The media failed to note the connection. Reagan’s vaunted “teflon” was the creation of those that future White House spokesman Scott McClellan would ridicule as the “liberal” complicit enablers.

That’s only the beginning. Next: The CIA Comes Clean

Resurrecting Reagan

August 8, 2009

Poster boy of those who preach “family values” is Ronald Reagan who abandoned his family and married a pregnant mistress.

“Pro-selected life” citizens revere Reagan although as governor of California, Reagan signed the nation’s most liberal abortion law. As president he appointed three justices, only one of whom foreswore his oath of office in order to defend church dogma.

Fiscal conservatives extoll Reagan who promised to cut taxes and live on borrowed money. Let someone else pay. He increased the national debt more than anyone until George W. Bush.

Social Darwinists applaud Reagan for making government the problem for the poor and the solution for the greedy.

Veterans of the class war adore Reagan for union-busting, trying to cut federal funding for school lunches for poor children, and rejecting the notion that there was hunger in America. “Sure there is,” he said. “They’re on diets.”

Racists celebrate Reagan’s declaration that was no racism in America.

Anti-environmentalists praise Reagan who didn’t deny the dangers of increased ultraviolet radiation but suggested that citizens should wear sunglasses and hats. His government would do nothing for them.

Those whose pony was national security cheered when Reagan sent Marines to Lebanon where their mission was “presence” with orders not to assume a defensive posture, carry loaded weapons or fire until they were attacked. It was Reagan’s “Bring it on” moment. Judge Royce Lambert later wrote that the Marines “were more restricted in their use of force than an ordinary US citizen walking down a street in Washington, D.C.” A terrorist bomber killed more than 240 of them. Mission accomplished, Reagan ordered them to cut and run.

It was a bigger failure than Jimmy Carter’s ridiculed attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages, and running from terrorists might not have been a good plan, but the media blamed the victims. The Marines should not have housed themselves in a hotel that could not be defended. Reagan attempted to redeem himself by attacking an island that had no army, no navy and no air force for reasons that dissolved as quickly as Bush’s reasons for his war on Iraq. Later, citizens learned that most US casualties were caused by “friendly fire.” Another debacle.

It was only logical that while fighting a war against international terrorism, the Republicans would attempt to whitewash the soiled legacy of Reagan who was guilty of international terrorism.

Although the UN had accused Iraq of violations of human rights, Reagan supplied Saddam Hussein with arms, intelligence and agents necessary for the production of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. On his second meeting with Hussein, Rumsfeld conveyed Reagan’s secret message: publicly the US would denounce Iraq for using poison gas on Kurdish citizens and Iranian troops but privately Reagan didn’t care. Saddam would remain an “equal partner” and military aid would continue.

Shortly after he was inaugurated, Reagan began shipping arms to Iran with Israel as middle man. Supplying arms to Iran violated two laws, federal export laws and the requirement to inform Congress because Iran was officially a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

Reagan recruited Islamic extremists and trained and equipped them to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Some of them were trained in the US. Osama bin Laden built al-Qaeda while fighting in Afghanistan. In 1996, the Los Angeles Times found that Islamic veterans of the Afghan war had been implicated in all of the major terrorist attacks since the 1980s, destabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan. The CIA confessed to being partially culpable for the first attack on the World Trade Center. On 9/11 Counter Terrorism Adviser Richard Clarke said, “The chickens have come home to roost.”

But it was for Reagan’s terrorism in Central America, the genocidal wars against the Mayan Indians, particularly in Nicaragua, that America was found guilty of international terrorism. Those wars were funded in part by private contributors, nations such as Saudi Arabia, money from illegal sales of military equipment to Iran–a sworn enemy, and by illegal quid-pro-quo agreements with other countries. Additional funding came from drugs, the subject of another blog.

Regardless of Reagan’s crimes and the millions of dollars spent on his private armies, the subject of his wrath, Daniel Ortega, was voted out of office in a democratic election. He has recently been reelected president.

The World Court found the United States guilty of international terrorism. To protect Reagan and co-conspirators, the US had to withdraw from the Court that it was instrumental in creating, and had to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution requiring all nations to obey international law. Rather than a “city on a hill” America was a scofflaw nation, exempt from the laws that we demanded others obey. The administration itself was exempt from international law, domestic law, and accountability to the court, Congress, We the people, and the complicit enablers in the “free” press. The pretend-to-be-liberal media shoved the shame down the memory hole. And when George Bush announced his war on international terror few Americans were embarrassed by the hypocrisy.

Nixon, for whom I voted, was a crook but I was proud that Republican congressmen went to the White House and told Nixon he could resign or be impeached. Those who planned the Iran/Contra crimes learned their lesson: plan the crime but also plan the coverup.

Lawrence Walsh, lifetime Republican and special prosecutor of the Iran/Contra crimes wrote that Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger’s obstruction of justice “possibly forestalled timely impeachment proceedings against President Reagan and other officials… Weinberger’s concealment of notes is part of a disturbing pattern of deception and obstruction that permeated the highest levels of the Reagan and Bush Administrations…

President Bush’s pardon of Caspar Weinberger and other Iran-contra defendants undermines the principle that no man is above the law. It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office — deliberately abusing the public trust without consequence.”

The administration of George W. Bush also learned to cover up the crime and with some of the same tactics, lie, mislead, conceal, obstruct, attack those patriots who tell or report the truth.

Perhaps it’s best that we keep our eyes on the future, not the past. We “good Americans” have more important things to think about–our jobs, our security, our comfort. As Barbara Bush said, why should we clutter our beautiful minds with dead bodies.

My wife and I were in Australia in 1986. Aussies are not shy about speaking to strangers and one of them asked if I was an American. He then asked, “Aren’t you embarrassed to have a man like Ronald Reagan as president?” I said that I was. That was before the Iran/Contra crimes and coverup became known. Had I known, I would have said that I was also ashamed that a man like Reagan could be president. All Americans should be.