Thursday, April 12, 2007

Notes On A Scandal: The Iran-Contra Affair

The Iran-Contra affair is way too convoluted to recount here in detail, but it does have a lot to do with today's secret goings-on in the Middle East. Basically, a bunch of people in the Ronald Reagan White House did end runs around the U.S. Congress and the bulk of the American people to do whatever the hell they wanted to. Specifically, they wanted to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and get hostages back in the Middle East without appearing to do either. In the mid-1980s, Reagan's people sold anti-tank weapons (secret deals sweetened with bizarre gifts, like an inscribed Bible and a cake shaped like a key, if memory serves) to Iran; Iranians were supposed to pressure Hezbollah in Lebanon to release hostages. At least 1,000 anti-tank missiles made it to Iran and a handful of hostages were released. Profits from the deal were funneled to the anti-Sandinista Contras. Drug-running operations added to the Contra coffers, and the CIA was involved in airlifting logistics. Israel was involved, as well: aiding and abetting the U.S. transfers to Iran, which was at the time fighting Saddam Hussein's Iraq (the gruesome Iran-Iraq War lasted from 1980 to 1988). None of this, mind you, is conspiracy theory -- it's all historical fact; though I'm sure there's more that is not yet known in the details. The U.S. also supplied weapons and logistical support to Iraq during the war. Reagan's clandestine operations in the Middle East went back to the waning days of the Jimmy Carter presidency, in fact, in a quid pro quo release of American embassy hostages held in Iran.

Some of the characters involved included Robert Gates, then in the CIA and now overseeing the Iraq War as Secretary of Defense (he met with Reagan's goon Oliver North and declared himself satisfed --in a memo -- that the CIA was "clean" as far as North's operations were concerned); and Dick Cheney, a man I loathed then and now, who pissed me off during the Iran-Contra investigations with his cock-eyed statements about anything and everything.

Today's Rune: The Blank Rune.

Birthdays: Mahavira, Tiny Tim (b. Herbert Butros Khaury), Herbie Hancock, John Kay, Lois Reeves, Amy Ray, Shannen Doherty.

Post dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (11/11/1922-4/11/2007).


Laura said...

Funny, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sheila said...

RIP Kurt! so sad.... so sad....

Lana said...

Government "by, for & of the people" my @$$. When will gov't officials be held to the same legal standards as the rest of us? Considering their positions of power, why are they not held to HIGHER standards than the rest of us?
Wake me when the revolution's here.

Danny Tagalog said...

Well, people have got to stand up and talk about higher psychopaths who control the media now.

I have next to little confidence in most of Them

Johnny Yen said...

There was a great book published about the Iran-Contra affair, "Landslide", in 1988. It was written by a couple of reporters, Jane Mayer of the Los Angeles Times and Doyle McManus from the Wall Street Journal, two pretty conservative publications. Their book takes on a tone of astonishment over just how bad things were.

I love the fact that like the current scandal, it was emails that are the smoking gun. While Ollie North, a colonel, was running US foreign policy out of a room in the basement of the White House like some mad wizard, the people involved were sending incriminating emails. They were erasing them from their own computers, without realizing that the emails were saved on the server. During the investigation, it was some young techie who pointed this out.

Landslide is, unfortunately, long out of print, but used copies are pretty easy to come by through the various internet bookstores.

Johnny Yen said...
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