Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shocking New Evidence of Reagan's Treason


We move on from yesterday's posting, "Shocking New Evidence of Nixon's Treason," to today's posting, "Shocking New Evidence of Reagan's Treason," a review of Robert Parry's article in Consortiumnews.com:

"The Iran-Contra Cover-up

"Similarly (to the Nixon fable), Official Washington and many mainstream historians have tended to dismiss Ronald Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal as another case of some overzealous subordinates intuiting what the President wanted and getting everybody into trouble.

"The 'Big Question' that insiders were asking after the scandal broke in November 1986 was whether President Reagan knew about the decision by White House aide Oliver North and his boss, National Security Advisor John Poindexter, to divert some profits from secret arms sales to Iran to secretly buy weapons for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.

"Once, Poindexter testified that he had no recollection of letting Reagan in on that secret – and with Reagan a beloved figure to many in Official Washington – the inquiry was relegated to insignificance. The remaining investigation focused on smaller questions, like misleading Congress and a scholarly dispute over whether the President’s foreign policy powers overrode Congress’ power to appropriate funds).

"At the start of the Iran-Contra investigation, Attorney General Edwin Meese had set the time parameters from 1984 to 1986, thus keeping outside of the frame the possibility of a much more serious scandal originating during Campaign 1980, i.e., whether Reagan’s campaign undermined President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages in Iran and then paid off the Iranians by allowing Israel to ship weapons to Iran for the Iran-Iraq War.

"So, while congressional and federal investigators looked only at how the specific 1985-86 arms sales to Iran got started, there was no timely attention paid to evidence that the Reagan administration had quietly approved Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981 and that those contacts went back to the days before Election 1980 when the hostage crisis destroyed Carter’s reelection hopes and ensured Reagan’s victory.

"The 52 hostages were not released until Reagan was sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981.


"Over the years, about two dozen sources – including Iranian officials, Israeli insiders, European intelligence operatives, Republican activists and even Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat – have provided information about alleged contacts with Iran by the Reagan campaign.

"And, there were indications early in the Reagan presidency that something peculiar was afoot. On July 18, 1981, an Israeli-chartered plane crashed or was shot down after straying over the Soviet Union on a return flight from delivering U.S.-manufactured weapons to Iran.

"In a PBS interview nearly a decade later, Nicholas Veliotes, Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, said he looked into the incident by talking to top administration officials. '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,' Veliotes said.

"In checking out the Israeli flight, Veliotes came to believe that the Reagan camp’s dealings with Iran dated back to before the 1980 election. '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.'

"When I re-interviewed Veliotes on Aug. 8, 2012, he said he couldn’t recall who the 'people on high' were who had described the informal clearance of the Israeli shipments but he indicated that 'the new players' were the young neoconservatives who were working on the Reagan campaign, many of whom later joined the administration as senior political appointees.



"Neocon Schemes

"Newly discovered documents at the Reagan presidential library reveal that Reagan’s neocons at the State Department – particularly Robert McFarlane and Paul Wolfowitz – initiated a policy review in 1981 to allow Israel to undertake secret military shipments to Iran. McFarlane and Wolfowitz also maneuvered to put McFarlane in charge of U.S. relations toward Iran and to establish a clandestine U.S. back-channel to the Israeli government outside the knowledge of even senior U.S. government officials.

"Not only did the documents tend to support the statements by Veliotes but they also fit with comments that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir made in a 1993 interview in Tel Aviv. Shamir said he had read the 1991 book, October Surprise, by Carter’s former National Security Council aide Gary Sick, which made the case for believing that the Republicans had intervened in the 1980 hostage negotiations to disrupt Carter’s reelection.

"With the topic raised, one interviewer asked, 'What do you think? Was there an October Surprise?'

“'Of course, it was,' Shamir responded without hesitation. 'It was.'


"And, there were plenty of other corroborating statements as well. In 1996, for instance, while former President Carter was meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Arafat in Gaza City, Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations.

'There is something I want to tell you,' Arafat said, addressing Carter in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. 'You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election,' Arafat said, according to Brinkley’s article in the fall 1996 issue of Diplomatic Quarterly.

"As recently as this past week, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr reiterated his account of Republican overtures to Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis and how that secret initiative prevented release of the hostages.

"In a Christian Science Monitor commentary about the movie 'Argo,' Bani-Sadr wrote that 'Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation … which prevented the attempts by myself and then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 U.S. presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan.'

"Though Bani-Sadr had discussed the Reagan-Khomeini collaboration before, he added in his commentary that 'two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, … and the Reagan administration.'

"In December 1992, when a House Task Force was examining this so-called 'October Surprise' controversy – and encountering fierce Republican resistance – Bani-Sadr submitted a letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and his son Ahmad over their secret dealings with the Reagan campaign.

"Bani-Sadr’s letter – dated Dec. 17, 1992 – was part of a flood of last-minute evidence implicating the Reagan campaign in the hostage scheme. However, by the time the letter and the other evidence arrived, the leadership of the House Task Force had decided to simply declare the Reagan campaign innocent. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “‘October Surprise’ and ‘Argo.’



"Burying the History

"Lawrence Barcella, who served as Task Force chief counsel, later told me that so much incriminating evidence arrived late that he asked Task Force chairman, Rep. Lee Hamilton, a centrist Democrat from Indiana, to extend the inquiry for three months but that Hamilton said no. (Hamilton told me that he had no recollection of Barcella’s request.)

"Instead of giving a careful review to the new evidence, the House Task Force ignored, disparaged or buried it. I later unearthed some of the evidence in unpublished Task Force files. However, in the meantime, Official Washington dismissed the 'October Surprise' and other Iran-Contra-connected scandals, like Contra drug trafficking, as conspiracy theories. [For the latest information on the October Surprise case, see Robert Parry’sAmerica’s Stolen Narrative.]

"As with Watergate and Nixon, Official Washington has refused to rethink its conclusions absolving President Ronald Reagan and his successor President George H.W. Bush of guilt in a range of crimes collected under the large umbrella of Iran-Contra.



"When journalist Gary Webb revived the Contra-Cocaine scandal in the mid-to-late 1990s, he faced unrelenting hostility from Establishment reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. The attacks were so ugly that Webb’s editors at the San Jose Mercury News forced him out, setting in motion his professional destruction.

"It didn’t even matter when an internal investigation by the CIA’s inspector general in 1998 confirmed that the Reagan and Bush-41 administrations had tolerated and protected drug trafficking by the Contras. The major newspapers largely ignored the findings and did nothing to help rehabilitate Webb’s career, eventually contributing to his suicide in 2004. [For details on the CIA report, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

"The major newspapers have been equally unwilling to rethink the origins – and the significance – of the October Surprise/Iran-Contra scandal. It doesn’t matter how much new evidence accumulates. It remains much easier to continue the politically safe deification of 'Gipper' Reagan and the fond remembrances of 'Poppy” Bush.'

"Not only would rethinking Iran-Contra and Watergate stir up anger and abuse from Republican operatives and the Right, but the process would reflect badly on many journalists and historians who built careers, in part, by getting these important historical stories wrong.

"However, there must come a point when the weight of the new evidence makes the old interpretations of these scandals intellectually untenable and when treasured sayings – like 'the cover-up is worse than the crime' – are swept into the historical dustbin."



We'll probably never know the official death tally under the Reagan Administration, even the numbers of those who died of AIDS (http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Reagan-s-AIDS-Legacy-Silence-equals-death-2751030.php) because of the mean old man's inaction, but we now know one thing:  rigging elections is nothing new to Conservatives.

In either case, we must criminalize Conservatism if we are to continue to thrive in a world made dangerous to the People by Conservative capos, underbosses, and consiglieres.


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"The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful
weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."

Carlos Santana


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