Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Pro Life Pretenders

January 27, 2017

Charles Camosy, Professor of Ethics in Fordham’s Theology Department, chided Sister Simone Campbell, spokesman for “Nuns on the Bus”, for calling “Pro-Life” proponents “Pro-Birth”. Once a baby is born it’s abandoned to the mercy of air, water, food and environment polluters and other merchants that put profit before life..

According to Reuters (7-14-05) Unborn US babies “are soaking in a stew of chemicals,” including mercury, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group based on tests of umbilical cord blood that reflects what the mother passes to the baby through the placenta. That stew of 287 chemicals includes 180 that cause cancer in humans, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. A Government Accountability Office report said the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the powers it needs to fully regulate toxic chemicals. “Pro-Life Pretenders” is the more accurate name for those want to weaken or eliminate the EPA.

Professor Camosy wants a Catholic religious (sharia) law to become a federal law that favors the “most vulnerable” but denies religious freedom to others. Dr. Camosy believes the most vulnerable in a pregnancy is a zygote (fertilized egg) although more than half of zygotes are not implanted. That 50+ percent would be the most vulnerable of the “vulnerable” because have no possibility of life. Yet, no one. including Camosy, proposes any effort to save them. They receive no religious rites and are treated as body waste without protest. Are they to be favored over a family? The mother loses her life, the children lose their mother and the father loses his wife. The family seems most vulnerable to me.

A nun suggested a federal law requiring a father to donate a kidney in exchange for a kidney for his fetus, baby or child should it require one. That seems a good law. The baby, fetus, child is clearly most vulnerable. Most fathers can live an ordinary life with one kidney and he would have some skin in the law. The law would be less prejudiced if the father were required to donate whatever could be transplanted—heart, lungs, liver, skin. So far, no Pro-Life Pretenders in politics, ethics or religion have made any effort to include the father in protecting the “most vulnerable.”

If it’s about “life” or “most vulnerable” which is more vulnerable, the father or the mother?

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Reagan’s October Surprise

September 1, 2009

In 1968, Lyndon Johnson, who was leaving the White House to go home to die, was negotiating a peace agreement with North Vietnam. Fearing that Johnson would succeed and that peace would win the November election for VP Humphrey, Nixon sent Anna Chennault, widow of Flying Tiger hero Claire Chennault, to secretly contact South Vietnamese president Nguyen van Thieu, to offer a better deal if Thieu refused to cooperate with the Paris peace talks.

In his biography of Kissinger, Seymour Hersh reported that US intelligence agencies discovered, “The idea was to bring things to a stop in Paris and prevent any show of progress.” In her autobiography, Chennault quoted Nixon aide John Mitchell telling her, “I’m speaking on behalf of Mr. Nixon. It’s very important that our Vietnamese friends understand our Republican position and I hope you made that clear to them.” Daniel Schorr reported that Ambassador Bui Dhien cabled Saigon with the message that “The longer the present situation continues, the more favorable for us.” Thieu withdrew from the peace talks.

Johnson and Humphrey believed that public knowledge of the treachery would tear the already divided nation apart. To keep it secret was the moral hazard of encouraging others to do the same. Four years later, 1972, Nixon betrayed Thieu by telling China the US would accept a Communist Vietnam. In the meantime, more than 20,000 Americans died.

In the 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan and Carter were about even in the polls. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage by Iran in retaliation because Eisenhower overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran and placed the Shah on the throne. Republicans feared that if Carter freed the hostages he would be reelected. If he didn’t, Reagan might win if 52 hostages were the center of the campaign.

July 1980 officials from the Pentagon met with Iranian officials in Athens and agreed to supply arms and spare parts for US weapons in Iran’s possession for the release of the hostages. Perhaps unsavory, but with the president’s authority government officials can bargain with representatives of other nations. However, it is treason for citizens to do so.

Reagan won the election and when he took the oath of office, the Iranians released the hostages. Reagan lifted the embargo so that Israel could ship weapons to Iran, a “state supporter of terrorism.” The US replaced the Israeli weapons. Retired General Yehoshua Saguy, head of Israeli military intelligence in 1980, said Prime Minister Menachem Begin claimed US approval for Israel’s secret weapons shipments to Iran but that the approval had not come from Carter, who had angrily objected to the shipments.

Although US media often refer to 1986 as the beginning of the US arms to terrorists program, in March-April 1981, airplanes carried US military equipment from Israel to Iran. In a PBS interview, Nicholas Veliotes, Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, said he first discovered the secret arms pipeline to Iran when an Israeli weapons flight was shot down over the Soviet Union, July 18, 1981, on its third mission to deliver US military supplies from Israel to Iran. “And it was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment…I believe it was the initiative of a few people (who) gave the Israelis the go-ahead. The net result was a violation of American law.

“It seems to have started in earnest in the period probably prior to the election of 1980, as the Israelis had identified who would become the new players in the national security area in the Reagan administration,” Veliotes said. “And I understand some contacts were made at that time…between Israelis and these new players.”

Iran’s acting Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh told Agence France- Presse (AFP) Sept. 6, 1980 that he had information that Reagan was “trying to block a solution” to the hostage impasse. Sept. 16, Ghotbzadeh was quoted, “Reagan, supported by Kissinger and others, has no intention of resolving the problem. They will do everything in their power to block it.”

October 1980, Frontline reported that according to French intelligence Salem bin Laden, Osama’s oldest brother, was one of the two closest friends of Saudi King Fahd and often performed important missions for him. The French report speculated that he was involved in secret Paris meetings between US and Iranian emissaries this month. Later Frontline noted that the meetings had never been confirmed but that some speculated that in these meetings Bush1 negotiated a delay to the release of the US hostages in Iran. If the French report was correct, it pointed to highly illegal behavior between the Bush and bin Laden families.

In May 1982, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon told the Washington Post that US officials had approved the Iranian arms transfers. 1983, Specialists from Lockheed went to Iran on English passports to repair airplanes the US had sold to Iran. By 1985, weapons were sent by airplane and ships, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.

When the Iran/contra crime was discovered in 1986, special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh suspected that the arms-for-hostage program began in 1980, since Reagan sold arms to Iran when they held hostages and when they didn’t. Investigators took a polygraph of Bush1’s national security adviser Donald Gregg. “Were you ever involved in a plan to delay the release of the hostages in Iran until after the 1980 Presidential election?” Gregg’s denial was judged to be deceptive.

Robert Parry reported that according to FBI wiretaps on Sept. 23, 1980, two men from Houston placed phone calls to an Iranian banker, Cyrus Hashemi. They informed Hashemi that a “a Greek ship captain” would deliver a $3 million deposit from Beirut to Hashemi’s offshore bank. One of the Texans, Harrel Tillman, was a 30-year friend of Bush1. Hashemi was acting as a principal intermediary for Carter’s efforts to free the hostages. Tillman also was a consultant to Iran’s radical Islamic government.

According to his brother’s sworn testimony, Hashemi arranged a secret meeting in Madrid between William Casey, chair of the Reagan election campaign, later to be Reagan’s Director of the CIA, and a radical Iranian mullah, Mehdi Karrubi, July 1980, to open a back-channel to Iran and disrupt Carter’s hostage negotiations. In mid-October 1980, while Hashemi pretended to help Carter resolve the hostage crisis, he worked with Republicans lining up arms shipments to Iran, including parts for helicopter gunships and night-vision goggles for pilots.

On Oct. 22, 1980, the FBI taped Hashemi’s wife scolding him about his double-dealing. Iran’s former Defense Minister, Ahmed Madani, testified

that he had chastised Hashemi for collaborating with the Republicans behind Carter’s back. “We are not here to play politics,” Madani testified that he told Hashemi. Oct. 23, Casey’s business associate John Shaheen used a bugged phone in Hashemi’s office to discuss developments in Carter’s hostage negotiations, keeping Casey informed about Carter’s strategies. When evidence of illegal arms trafficking by Hashemi went to a grand jury, May 1984, the Justice Department tipped off Hashemi, allowing him to cancel a flight to the US.

Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe said he was in Paris as part of a six-member Israeli delegation that was coordinating the arms deliveries to Iran. He said the key meeting had occurred at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. In his memoirs, Profits of War, Ben-Menashe wrote that he recognized several Americans, Republican congressional aide Robert McFarlane, CIA officers Robert Gates, Donald Gregg and George Cave, former CIA director George Bush and William Casey meeting with Iranian cleric Mehdi Karrubi.

Ben-Menashe said the meetings finalized a previous agreement to release the 52 hostages in exchange for $52 million, guarantees of arms sales for Iran, and unfreezing of Iranian funds in US banks. The hostage release was to coincide with Reagan’s expected inauguration. Heinrich Rupp testified that he flew Casey from Washington to Paris in mid-October.

French investigative reporter Claude Angeli said the French secret service confirmed that they had provided “cover” for a meeting between Republicans and Iranians in France on the weekend of Oct. 18-19, 1980. German journalist Martin Kilian heard the same from French chief of intelligence Alexandre deMarenches. David Andelman, deMarenches’s biographer, testified that deMarenches said he had helped the Reagan campaign meet with Iranians about the hostage issue in the summer and fall of 1980 but would not permit the story in his biography because it could damage the reputation of his friends, Casey and Bush.

1987, Iran’s ex-President Bani-Sadr made similar claims about a Paris meeting between Republicans and Iranians. In a letter to Congress, Dec. 17, 1992, he said he knew of the Republican hostage offer in July 1980 when a nephew of supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini returned from a meeting with Hashemi, who had close ties to William Casey, and his business associate, John Shaheen. Bani-Sadr said the Republicans were in league with pro-Republican elements of the CIA in an effort to undermine Carter and wanted Iran’s help. Bani-Sadr said he resisted the GOP scheme, but the deal was accepted by the hard-line Khomeini faction. In addition to Bani-Sadr, Foreign Minister Sadeq Ghotzbadeh and Defense Minister Ahmed Madani had noted the meeting in official records.

David Henderson, a State Department Foreign Service officer, said he heard about the Paris trip when a Chicago Tribune reporter said he had just been told by a well-placed Republican source that Bush was flying to Paris for a clandestine meeting with a delegation of Iranians about the hostages.

The House October Surprise Task Force pondered what would happen if they confirmed the treachery of two more Republican presidents and two CIA directors. Would citizens lose their faith in government? Would it destroy one of the two political parties? What would media blowback be? What would Republican retaliation be? While wrapping up the investigation they received a requested report from post Soviet Union Russia.

According to Russian intelligence, “On the supply of American arms to Iran according to available information, the Chairman of the R. Reagan election campaign, William Casey, in 1980 met three times with representatives of the Iranian leadership…At the meeting in Paris in October 1980, in addition to Casey, R. Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration for Jimmy Carter, and former CIA Director George Bush also took part. In Madrid and Paris, the representatives of Ronald Reagan and the Iranian leadership discussed the question of possibly delaying the release of 52 hostages…until after the elections that took place in November 1980. In exchange for this, the American representatives promised to supply arms to Iran.”

The task force agreed to ignore the Russian report that concluded that Reagan had offered more to hold the hostages than Carter did to release them, and other information still being received. January 1993, the task force concluded that “no credible evidence” existed to support allegations of Republican treachery. They were unable to explain an eight-day gap on one FBI tape or why eleven other tapes were blank. They made no effort to explain why none of the witnesses was credible. In the event of later disclosures or if complaints arose about selective omission of evidence, Task force chief counsel E. Lawrence Barcella suggested as a trap door, “This report does not and could not reflect every single lead that was investigated, every single phone call that was made, every single contact that was established…the task force did not resolve every single one of the scores of… question marks that have been raised over the years.” Barcella was a law partner of Paul Laxalt, part of the Reagan-Bush campaign.

In a 1993 press conference former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said he had read Gary Sick’s book, October Surprise, about Republican disruption of the negotiations to free the hostages. Someone asked, “Was there an October Surprise?” “Of course, it was,” Shamir responded.

Yasir Arafat told reporter Richard Fricker that senior Republicans had traveled to Beirut in 1980 seeking avenues to the Iranian leadership. In 1996, during a meeting in Gaza, Arafat told Carter, “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the elections.” Arafat’s spokesman, Bassam Abu Sharif, said, “The offer was, ‘if you block the release of hostages, then the White House would be open for the PLO.’ I guess the same offer was given to others, and I believe that some accepted to do it and managed to block the release of hostages.”

Jamshid Hashemi’s reaction to the Task Force report was, “Rubbish, that’s what I think. Just a whitewash of the whole situation. It’s a cover-up.” In a 1997 interview with The Consortium, Hashemi repeated that he and his brother were in meetings with Casey and representatives of Ayatollah Khomeini. He had testified to the task force because “I thought it was my duty that the people in the United States should know. They…should be the judge of it.”

Others thought the people shouldn’t know. On his first day in office, Bush2’s counsel Alberto Gonzales drafted an executive order for Bush postponing release of the Reagan-Bush records.

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

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