Olivier Nord

introductionOliver L. Il est décoré de Marine, un auteur à succès, le fondateur d'une petite entreprise, un inventeur avec trois brevets américains, un chroniqueur syndiqué et l'hôte de "WarStories" sur Fox News Channel. Il affirme que sa réalisation la plus importante est d'être "le mari d'un enfant et le père de quatre enfants". North est également le fondateur et président d'honneur de Freedom Alliance¹, une fondation à but non lucratif qui offre des bourses aux enfants des militaires tués au combat. North continue d'écrire et de s'exprimer pour défendre les soldats américains. Il est également président et co-fondateur de Guardian Technologies International, Inc., un fabricant de gilets pare-balles basé en Virginie pour les forces de l'ordre.Début de carrière et familleNorth est né le 7 octobre 1943 à San Antonio, au Texas, et a été élevé comme catholique romain dans le nord de l'État de Philmont, dans l'État de New York. Il a fréquenté l'Université d'État de New York à Brockport avant de s'inscrire à l'Académie navale des États-Unis, dont il a été diplômé en 1968. North a servi comme marine pendant 22 ans, y compris le service dans la guerre du Vietnam. Il a reçu l'étoile d'argent, l'étoile de bronze et deux cœurs violets. Affecté au personnel du Conseil de sécurité nationale de l'administration Ronald Reagan, le colonel North a été le coordinateur de la lutte contre le terrorisme du gouvernement américain de 1983 à 1986. Il a participé à la planification du sauvetage de 804medical étudiants sur l'île de Grenade en 1983, et a joué un rôle majeur dans la capture audacieuse des pirates de l'air du bateau de croisière Achille Lauro en 1985. raid sur les bases terroristes de Mouammar Kadhafi en Libye, North a été la cible d'un assassinat par Abu Nidal (sur ordre de Kadhafi), le tristement célèbre terroriste retrouvé mort à Bagdad en août 2002. La couverture médiatique des combats primée de North, alors qu'il était " intégré" avec des unités de la marine et de l'armée américaines pour Fox News lors de l'opération Iraqi Freedom en 2003, a été largement applaudi. Oliver North est marié à l'ancienne Betsy Stuart depuis 1967 et ils ont quatre enfants. La vie de North dans l'armée et son cheminement vers la foi sont des sujets dont il parle franchement : Comment concilier les exigences d'une carrière avec les obligations familiales, la foi et les responsabilités civiques.Affaire Iran-ContraNorth est devenu célèbre - ou tristement célèbre, selon le point de vue politique - en raison de son association dans l'affaire Iran-Contra. Il était le coordinateur central de la vente illégale d'armes via des intermédiaires à l'Iran, les bénéfices étant canalisés pour aider le groupe rebelle Contra au Nicaragua. Selon les archives de la sécurité nationale, dans un e-mail du 23 août 1986 à John Poindexter², North a décrit une rencontre avec un représentant de l'homme fort du Panama, Manuel Noriega. "Vous vous souviendrez qu'au fil des ans, Manuel Noriega et moi avons développé une assez bonne relation", a écrit North. les officiels peuvent « aider à nettoyer son image » et lever l'interdiction des ventes d'armes aux Forces de défense panaméennes, Noriega « s'occupera » de la direction sandiniste pour nous. Il a suggéré de payer à Noriega 1 million de dollars - provenant du capital du "Project Democracy" levé grâce à la vente d'armes américaines à l'Iran - pour l'aide du dirigeant panaméen à détruire les investissements économiques nicaraguayens. En novembre 1986, North a été limogé par le président Reagan pour son implication dans l'affaire. , et en juillet 1987, North a été convoqué pour témoigner devant les auditions télévisées d'un comité conjoint du Congrès formé pour enquêter sur Iran-Contra. Il a défendu ses actions en déclarant qu'il croyait à l'objectif d'aider les Contras, qu'il considérait comme des "combattants de la liberté", et a déclaré qu'il considérait le programme illégal Iran-Contra comme une "bonne idée". a été jugé en 1988 pour ses activités au Conseil national de sécurité. Gesell le 5 juillet 1989, à trois ans de prison avec sursis, deux ans de probation, 150 000 $ d'amende et 1 200 heures de travaux d'intérêt général. poursuites judiciaires au motif que son témoignage public aurait pu porter atteinte à son droit à un procès équitable. Les Etats Unis. La Cour suprême a refusé d'examiner l'affaire et le juge Gesell a rejeté les accusations le 16 septembre 1991, après des audiences sur la question de l'immunité, sur requête de l'avocat indépendant. Essentiellement, les condamnations de North ont été annulées parce qu'il avait bénéficié d'une immunité limitée pour son témoignage au Congrès, et ce témoignage a été réputé avoir influencé les témoins à son procès.Vie plus tardive et carrière politiqueEn 1994, North a perdu une offre en Virginie en tant que candidate républicaine aux États-Unis. L'une des raisons peut être que juste avant les élections, l'ancienne première dame Nancy Reagan a informé la presse que North avait menti à son mari lors de discussions sur Iran-Contra. La candidature de North a fait l'objet d'un documentaire en 1996, "A Perfect Candidate". North est l'auteur de plusieurs livres à succès, dont Sous le feu, Encore une mission, Histoires de guerre — Opération Iraqi Freedom, Mission compromise, et La sanction de Jéricho. Il est également un chroniqueur syndiqué, l'animateur de l'émission télévisée "War Stories with Oliver North" et un commentateur fréquent de "Hannity and Colmes" sur Fox News Channel. De plus, il est occupé sur le circuit des conférences.Héritage politique et historiqueNorth était un acteur controversé sur la scène politique américaine, ses partisans acceptant sa défense ardente de ses actions et ses critiques désapprouvant son infraction à la loi. Malgré l'histoire de North, il reçoit le soutien de certains conservateurs. D'autres pensent que l'objectif de North de vaincre l'expansion communiste était juste et que la manière dont il a essayé de l'atteindre n'a aucune importance. Certains apprécient son plaidoyer en faveur de causes politiques conservatrices. Les critiques de North soutiennent que dans une démocratie et une nation de lois, un homme ne peut pas agir au-dessus de la loi, peu importe à quel point il croit que ses objectifs sont justes. Certains soulignent que ses activités ont considérablement contribué à une tentative de renversement d'un gouvernement souverain et démocratiquement élu ainsi qu'au terrorisme au Nicaragua - et qu'elles ont aidé l'Iran, une nation hostile aux États-Unis. Apparemment, la réponse dépend des questions : qu'est-ce que le président sait, et quand l'a-t-il su ? Personne d'autre que le président et ses collaborateurs les plus proches ne pouvait y répondre. Au sujet du détournement de fonds provenant des ventes d'armes, lors des audiences Iran-Contra du 15 juillet 1987, il a déclaré : « J'ai pris la décision très délibérée de ne pas demander au président, afin de pouvoir l'isoler de la décision et de fournir un futur déni pour le président. » Le démenti habile de Poindexter a à la fois libéré le président de la menace de destitution et libéré le Congrès du devoir de le destituer. "En permettant que les actions de ceux qui avaient servi l'administration soient criminalisées, l'administration elle-même a pu s'éloigner des vrais problèmes associés", a écrit North. "C'était bien pour le Congrès, et un cadeau pour la presse." Il y a des leçons évidentes à tirer de l'affaire. L'administration Reagan a finalement gagné la guerre froide. Les tromperies et l'hypocrisie imposées au peuple américain ont-elles finalement été le triomphe du pragmatisme sur la loi ?


¹Page Web pour la Freedom Alliance
² John Poindexter était conseiller à la sécurité nationale sous Ronald Reagan. Il a été reconnu coupable de complot, de mensonge au Congrès, d'escroquerie au gouvernement et de destruction de preuves dans le scandale Iran-Contra.


Iran-Contra

North a pris de l'importance au cours de son mandat en tant que membre du personnel du Conseil de sécurité nationale lors de l'affaire Iran-Contra, qui impliquait la vente illégale d'armes à l'Iran pour encourager la libération d'otages américains détenus au Liban. North a formé et orchestré la deuxième partie du plan, qui consistait à détourner le produit des ventes d'armes pour soutenir les groupes rebelles Contra au Nicaragua, ce qui avait été spécifiquement interdit par la loi fédérale.

Parlant de l'affaire, North a déclaré son absence de regret :

"J'ai vu cette idée d'utiliser l'argent de l'Ayatollah Khomeini pour soutenir les combattants de la liberté nicaraguayens comme une bonne idée. Je le pense toujours. Je ne pense pas que c'était mal. Je pense que c'était une bonne idée et je suis ici pour accepter la responsabilité pour ce que j'ai fait parce que je suis fier de ce que nous avons accompli."


Sandinistes au Nicaragua

Peu de temps après avoir pris le contrôle du Congrès, les démocrates ont adopté l'amendement Boland, qui limitait les activités de la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) et du Département de la défense (DoD) dans les conflits étrangers.

L'amendement visait spécifiquement le Nicaragua, où les Contras anticommunistes luttaient contre le gouvernement communiste sandiniste.

Reagan avait décrit les Contras comme &# x201Cl'équivalent moral des pères fondateurs.&# x201D. Mais une grande partie de leur financement, à ce moment-là, provenait du commerce de la cocaïne du Nicaragua, d'où la décision du Congrès&# x2019 d'adopter l'amendement Boland.

Pourtant, le président a demandé à son conseiller à la sécurité nationale, Robert McFarlane, de trouver un moyen d'aider les Contras trafiquants de drogue, quel que soit le coût politique ou autre.


LA NATION La punition d'Oliver North

GERHARD A. GESELL, l'imprévisible juge du district fédéral de 79 ans qui a présidé le procès contre l'Iran d'Oliver L. North, a réservé une dernière surprise pour la fin en punissant M. North pour ses crimes d'une peine qui comprenait une amende , travaux d'intérêt général et probation, mais pas de peine de prison.

Les admirateurs de M. North et ses détracteurs s'attendaient à un traitement beaucoup plus dur, compte tenu du respect souvent exprimé par le juge Gesell pour le respect de la loi, de la gravité des accusations et d'une recommandation du procureur indépendant, Lawrence E. Walsh, que M. North purge une peine de prison. En outre, le juge Gesell n'avait montré aucune réticence à envoyer des hauts fonctionnaires du gouvernement en prison lorsqu'il a présidé plusieurs procès liés au Watergate au milieu des années 1970.

M. North, l'ancien lieutenant-colonel du Corps des Marines et assistant du Conseil de sécurité nationale, a été reconnu coupable d'avoir détruit des documents, accepté le don d'un système de sécurité à domicile de 13 800 $ et encouragé l'obstruction du Congrès. Le juge Gesell aurait pu imposer une peine maximale de 10 ans de prison et des amendes de 750 000 $. Au lieu de cela, il a imposé une amende de 150 000 $, deux ans de probation, une peine de trois ans avec sursis et une ordonnance pour effectuer 1 200 heures de travaux communautaires.

La clémence de la peine a laissé les procureurs traquer du palais de justice sans commentaire. Et il y a eu des critiques dispersées de la part des démocrates libéraux, tels que le représentant Howard M. Metzenbaum de l'Ohio, qui a déclaré que la phrase était une "surprise décevante". Mais certains autres démocrates, dont le représentant Lee H. Hamilton de l'Indiana , l'un des critiques les plus sévères de M. North, n'a rien trouvé à critiquer au sujet de la punition. M. Hamilton, président du panel de la Chambre qui a enquêté sur l'Iran-contra, a déclaré que la sentence était "bonne et sage".

Dans le même temps, la clémence du juge Gesell a semblé dégonfler une campagne des partisans conservateurs de M. North pour une grâce présidentielle. Ainsi, M. Bush, qui s'est dit heureux que M. North n'ait pas été condamné à une peine de prison, peut se voir épargner une décision politiquement délicate.

Les implications pour les autres procès Iran-contra étaient incertaines. Le juge Gesell a déclaré que des chiffres plus élevés dans l'administration Reagan portaient plus de responsabilité pour les crimes contre l'Iran que M. North. Cela signifiait-il que les futurs accusés pourraient s'attendre à un traitement plus dur, s'ils étaient reconnus coupables, que ceux reçus par M. North ?

Pas nécessairement. Certains responsables gouvernementaux ont déclaré que la peine légère semblait renforcer la position des quatre accusés restants, dont l'ancien conseiller à la sécurité nationale John M. Poindexter, dont le procès doit commencer plus tard cette année. Ces accusés peuvent être encouragés à contester vigoureusement l'accusation, estimant que même s'ils sont reconnus coupables, ils pourraient eux aussi échapper à une peine de prison.


La NRA connaît-elle vraiment l'histoire d'Oliver North ?

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Je n'ai jamais demandé à David Corn pourquoi, lorsqu'il était rédacteur en chef à Washington de La nation, il a décidé de passer une partie importante de sa vie à faire des recherches sur la carrière de l'agent de la CIA Ted Shackley, mais je pense qu'il y a fort à parier qu'il ne pouvait pas résister à une histoire qui reliait la baie des Cochons au cambriolage du Watergate et à l'affaire Iran-Contra. Ce serait une bonne idée pour tous les membres de la National Rifle Association d'aller acheter une copie de Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA&rsquos Crusades (disponible en couverture rigide sur Amazon pour seulement 3,99 $). C'est probablement le moyen le plus simple pour eux d'apprendre à connaître les personnes que leur nouveau président Ollie North a utilisées pour financer les Contras.

Quant à la partie iranienne du scandale, je recommande le chapitre 8 : L'entreprise et ses finances du rapport final de l'avocat indépendant Lawrence E. Walsh pour l'Iran/Contra Matters. C'est une histoire captivante impliquant certains des scélérats les plus notoires qui parcourent les veines de notre politique nationale dans la seconde moitié du 20e siècle. Vous ne vous ennuierez pas à lire sur les agents de la CIA Rafael &ldquoChi Chi&rdquo Quintero, Thomas Clines et Edwin Wilson, croyez-moi. Et c'est toujours passionnant de découvrir le mode de vie des marchands d'armes comme Adnan Khashoggi.

Tout cela est important parce que le vrai caractère d'Oliver North a été pleinement compris même lorsqu'il était au centre de l'attention de la nation, et le passage du temps n'a pas aidé à cet égard. Une partie du problème était que l'avocat indépendant a dû abandonner la plupart des accusations vraiment graves contre North parce que prouver sa culpabilité aurait révélé des informations classifiées et parce qu'il avait bénéficié d'une immunité limitée par le Congrès et parce que ses avocats étaient très compétents, agressifs et disposés. d'utiliser le graymail pour sa défense.

Il a toujours été relativement facile d'avoir de la sympathie pour North si l'on n'était pas trop exercé sur l'opération illégale qu'il a orchestrée. On lui a demandé de maintenir les Contras à flot à un moment où le Congrès interdisait toute aide directe à leur cause. Le président a déclaré que c'était important et que son secrétaire à la Défense, le directeur de la CIA et le conseiller à la sécurité nationale donnaient tous leur approbation. Plus tard, North a été invité à aider à obtenir la libération des otages détenus par des mandataires iraniens au Liban. C'était une priorité absolue pour Ronald Reagan. C'est vrai que North aurait pu démissionner plutôt que de faire quelque chose d'illégal, mais il était aussi facile de voir pourquoi il sentait qu'il faisait quelque chose d'autorisé et de patriotique.

Si tout ce que North faisait était de suivre les instructions qui lui avaient été données, il aurait certainement pu être considéré comme le gars de la chute. Ses supérieurs auraient dû être inscrits au rôle avant lui, et le président était en fin de compte la partie la plus responsable. Même certains de ses mensonges étaient compréhensibles puisque ses supérieurs mentaient et lui demandaient de mentir sur des sujets susceptibles de nuire aux relations étrangères et de compromettre les sources et les méthodes.

Le problème avec ce récit est que North n'a simplement pas suivi les instructions. Lui et ses lieutenants Richard Secord et Albert Hakim ont mis en place un plan élaboré pour s'enrichir au détriment des Contras et du gouvernement américain. Ils l'ont fait en écrasant les accords qu'ils ont passés avec les Iraniens, les Israéliens, les Contras et le gouvernement. Ceci est tiré du rapport Walsh :

Secord et Hakim ont considérablement bénéficié de leur implication dans les opérations iraniennes et contra. Secord en 1985 et 1986 a reçu 2 millions de dollars en avantages personnels directs de l'Entreprise, et plus de 1 million de dollars en paiements en espèces. Hakim en 1985 et 1986 a reçu 2,06 millions de dollars en avantages directs et plus de 550 000 $ en espèces.

Les avantages se répartissaient en trois grandes catégories : distributions de bénéfices au prorata sur les ventes d'armes contre, pour lesquelles chacun a reçu 1 557 377 $ d'argent de comptes Enterprise qui sont allés dans des entreprises commerciales Secord-Hakim, s'élevant à 520 000 $ chacun et des fonds retirés de comptes Enterprise pour un usage personnel, y compris les réparations d'un avion Secord s'élevant à 5 729 $, les paiements de 20 000 $ chacun par Secord et Hakim pour une entreprise commerciale au Moyen-Orient et 3 000 $ chacun pour l'investissement dans une entreprise commerciale de poisson-chat.

North a supervisé toutes les activités de Secord et Hakim&rsquos, et il a eu son propre goût :

North a témoigné que 4 300 $ en chèques de voyage qui lui ont été remis par Calero pour le fonds d'exploitation, et que North a dépensés dans les épiceries, les stations-service et autres points de vente au détail, devaient se rembourser des dépenses d'exploitation qu'il avait payées de sa propre poche. Il a dit qu'il n'était pas inquiet à l'idée de détruire le seul dossier qu'il gardait des décaissements des fonds de fonctionnement parce qu'il n'avait jamais cru qu'il serait jamais accusé de faire quoi que ce soit de malhonnête avec l'argent.

North a témoigné qu'il avait 15 000 $ en espèces dans une boîte en métal boulonnée au plancher d'un placard dans sa maison, sauvé de la monnaie de poche et d'un règlement d'assurance vieux de plusieurs décennies. Cela, a déclaré North, était la source de fonds pour une voiture qu'il a achetée en octobre 1985. North ne pouvait pas expliquer pourquoi il avait payé la voiture en deux paiements en espèces et le deuxième après que North ait visité Secord. Il a dit qu'il ne se souvenait pas du paiement d'octobre 1985.

North a affirmé ne pas être au courant d'un compte d'investissement de 200 000 $ créé par Albert Hakim, partenaire commercial de Secord, pour North en Suisse, bien qu'il ait admis avoir envoyé sa femme Betsy à Philadelphie en mars 1986 pour rencontrer Willard I. Zucker, l'entreprise Secord-Hakim. Manager financier. North a déclaré qu'il pensait que le but du voyage de Betsy North à Philadelphie était qu'elle s'identifie à Zucker au cas où North reviendrait d'un voyage dangereux en Iran. North a déclaré qu'il supposait qu'en cas de décès, quelque chose serait fait « qui serait approprié et honorable et qu'il n'y aurait rien de mal », niant que le compte d'investissement était une tentative de corruption de Hakim.

[Hakim a plaidé coupable en novembre 1989 pour avoir tenté de compléter le salaire de North, sur la base en partie de l'établissement du compte d'investissement de 200 000 $. Voir le chapitre Hakim.]

North n'a pas pu blâmer les autres pour son acceptation d'un système de sécurité domestique de Secord, sauf pour expliquer qu'il a accepté le système en réponse aux menaces terroristes signalées sur sa vie. North a admis qu'après que l'affaire Iran/contra est devenue publique, il a échangé de fausses lettres antidatées avec Glenn Robinette, un ancien officier de la CIA qui a travaillé pour Secord dans l'installation du système, suggérant des modalités de paiement. &ldquo[C]était une chose assez stupide à faire&rdquo,&rdquo North.

Une grande partie de l'argent que Secord et Hakim ont gagné provenait soit de la surfacturation du gouvernement américain, soit du défaut de les rembourser correctement. D'une certaine manière, ce type d'activité a été intégré à la conception de l'opération. En surfacturant les Iraniens et les Israéliens, ils ont pu obtenir des fonds à détourner vers les Contras. Mais ils ont également surfacturé les Contras, ainsi que le gouvernement américain, et ils ont gardé l'argent pour eux-mêmes.

Le problème fondamental avec Ollie North était qu'il menait une opération illégale autorisée par le président et toute son équipe de sécurité nationale. Le problème était même que ses erreurs avaient abouti à la révélation de l'opération Contra et de l'accord iranien d'armes contre otages sans obtenir la libération d'aucun otage. Le problème était qu'il avait déchiqueté des documents et s'était parjuré. Le problème était qu'il utilisait sa position pour voler. Et il n'était certainement pas autorisé par qui que ce soit à voler.

Rétrospectivement, personne ne dirait que c'était une sage décision de confier ces opérations à Ollie North. Et la principale raison pour laquelle c'était une erreur était que North a utilisé les mêmes personnes qui avaient gâché l'opération de la Baie des Cochons, les mêmes personnes qui avaient gâché le cambriolage du Watergate et les mêmes personnes qui ont utilisé la confiance qui leur a été accordée au Laos pendant le Vietnam. Guerre pour introduire l'héroïne d'Asie du Sud-Est sur le marché mondial. La morale n'était pas le point fort de cet équipage, et leurs antécédents d'incompétence et d'exposition devraient être légendaires et enseignés dans chaque école d'opérations clandestines.

Je suis assez convaincu que les personnes qui ont pris la décision de faire d'Oliver North le président de la National Rifle Association ne connaissent pas le vol de North et se consacrent davantage à la légende mythologique de North qu'à l'homme réel. Ils auraient peut-être mieux considéré, cependant, son véritable record de performance. Son pipeline vers les Contras a été découvert lorsque les sandinistes ont abattu l'un des avions de transport du Nord et capturé Eugene Hasenfus, un pilote vétéran de Ted Shackley à l'époque du trafic d'héroïne laotienne. Des accords soi-disant secrets avec les Iraniens du Nord ont été révélés, provoquant le scandale Iran-Contra, avec tous les problèmes juridiques qui en ont découlé, ainsi que la création d'un cauchemar politique pour le président Ronald Reagan et son héritier présumé George H.W. Buisson.

North en sait beaucoup sur les armes. Il sait comment les obtenir des marchands d'armes internationaux et des gouvernements étrangers. Il sait comment les déplacer d'un endroit à l'autre. Il sait à qui s'adresser pour créer des sociétés écrans et acheter des transports maritimes et aériens. Il sait effleurer chaque transaction.

Ce qu'il ne sait pas, c'est comment s'en sortir. Ce qu'il ne sait pas, c'est comment atteindre les objectifs qui lui sont assignés. La liberté des otages n'était pas assurée. Les opérations ne sont pas restées secrètes. Toutes les personnes impliquées, y compris ses supérieurs, ont vu leurs rôles exposés et/ou leur couverture soufflée.

Plus important encore pour la NRA, North a utilisé la foi qui lui était confiée pour voler, trahissant ainsi même St. Ronnie Reagan lui-même.

Les membres de la NRA devraient connaître cette histoire car même s'ils peuvent aimer quand North dit que nous devrions passer par cinq détecteurs de métaux pour entrer dans l'école de nos enfants, ils ont gagné comme ça quand North suit sa nature et trouve un moyen de le faire par inadvertance. exposer leur linge sale tout en les arnaquant de leur argent.

Et avec de plus en plus de preuves suggérant que la NRA a déjà été jusqu'au cou dans un comportement criminel impliquant l'utilisation d'argent étranger pour financer illégalement des campagnes politiques nationales, il est maintenant vraiment temps de faire venir quelqu'un comme North avec ses relations vieilles de plusieurs décennies à un débâcle après l'autre ?


L'histoire juive secrète d'Oliver North

En choisissant Oliver North pour diriger le puissant lobby pro-armes, la National Rifle Association (NRA) obtient plus que le cerveau de l'affaire Iran-Contra et un criminel condamné qui a menti au Congrès. 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 voulait 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? Oui. Did he try to shield one of “his” cocaine traffickers from consequences from the other branches of the U.S. government? Oui. Did he work together with a known drug lord? Oui.

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.

Il y a aussi 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.”


Voir la vidéo: Un olivier dans le Nord de la France (Janvier 2022).