George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Information

Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:42 am

Ronald Reagan's Legacy: Eight Years of CIA Covert Action
by William Blum*
Winter 1990



Ronald Reagan was not the most interventionist American president of modern times. Dwight Eisenhower retains that honor, insofar as significant extralegal meddling in other countries' politics is concerned. Reagan intervened in the face of political obstacles which would most likely have inhibited Eisenhower or any other president to a marked degree.

Reagan presided over an American public grown extremely cynical and suspicious of the overseas adventures of the CIA, the U.S. military, and other arms of the U.S. Government. World opinion was yet more cynical. The previous decade had brought Indochina, Chile, Angola, Watergate, seemingly endless revelations about CIA misdeeds, exposes by former Agency officers, lengthy and relatively antagonistic Congressional investigations, oversight committees, professional CIA-watchers of the left and the center, and a media that had finally learned to ask some of the right questions and follow up on some of the right leads.

American destabilization and other covert operations of the 1950s did not have to deal with any of this; they did not face the glare of public exposure or censure until years after their occurrence, if ever.

In the 1980s, the information was leaked often within days, yet, in most cases, Reagan, CIA director William Casey, Oliver North & Co., et al., seemed unfazed by any of this.

CIA pilots bombed Indonesia in 1958 on several occasions, causing considerable death and destruction. In the United States, this was virtually a non-event. To this day, you will have to search long and hard to find any mention of it in standard works of reference, school texts, etc. In 1986, the U.S. bombed Libya and Reagan went on TV immediately to proudly announce the event.

For some 30 years, the CIA covertly funded foreign coups, counter-insurgency operations, politicians, political parties, labor unions, student organizations, book publishers, newspapers, and all manner of other, generally pro-capitalist and anti-communist institutions. Beginning in the 1970s, these activities, past and current, began to be exposed with alarming regularity and increasing embarrassment to Washington political leaders. Something had to be done.
What was done was not to end such activities. What was done by the Reagan administration was simply to make the activities ostensibly overt and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with covert activities. It was a master stroke. Of politics, public relations, and cynicism.

In 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was set up to "strengthen democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts." Funded by Congress, i.e., the American taxpayers, NED engages in much of the same kinds of interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries which are the hallmark of the CIA.

Some causes which have been supported by NED largesse were the following:

• Over $400,000 to the Center for Democracy, a New York-based foundation run by Soviet emigres which has used the Soviet human rights network, tourists, and "experienced" travelers to gather political and military information on the U.S.S.R. The Center has also smuggled American films with anti-Soviet themes (White Nights, Red Dawn and The Assassination of Trotsky) into the Soviet Union. [1]

• Several hundred thousand dollars since 1985 to La Prensa, the anti-Sandinista newspaper in Nicaragua, which can only be viewed as part of the Reagan administration's campaign to overthrow the government; several million more has been allocated to support organizations opposing the Sandinistas in elections scheduled for 1990. [2]

• Newspapers in other developing countries, including Grenada, Guyana, and Botswana. [3]

• Translation into Polish of a book that accuses the Soviet Union of a World War II massacre of Polish Army officers. The book was to be smuggled into Poland. [4]

• $400,000 a year to the Solidarity trade union in Poland, to clandestinely print underground publications, as well as funds for other political organizations, youth groups, and churches. This is in addition to several million dollars allocated to Solidarity by the U.S. Congress. [5]

• $830,000 to Force Ouvriere, the French anti-communist trade union which the CIA began funding in the 1940s.

• $575,000 to an extreme rightwing French group of paramilitary and criminal background, the National Inter-University Union. The funding of this group as well as Force Ouvriere was secret and is known of only because of its exposure by French journalists in November 1985. [6]

• $3 million to the Philippines, "quietly being spent to fight the communist insurgency ... and to cultivate political leaders there." Some of this money was channeled to the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections, which was set up by the CIA in the 1950s to support the presidential campaign of Ramon Magsaysay. [7]

The National Endowment for Democracy, like the CIA before it, calls this supporting democracy. The governments and movements against whom the financing is targeted, call it destabilization. The NED was not an aberration of an otherwise legal, accountable, non-interventionist Reagan foreign policy. Among the other stories of international intrigue and violence of the Reagan era worth noting are:

South Africa: Working closely with British intelligence, the U.S. provided South Africa with intelligence about the banned and exiled African National Congress, including specific warnings of planned attacks by the group and the whereabouts and movements of ANC leaders. [8] As part of South Africa's reciprocation, it sent 200,000 pounds of military equipment to contra leader Eden Pastora. [9]

Fiji: The coup of May 1987 bore all the fingerprints of a U.S. destabilization operation -- the deposed prime minister, Timoci Bavadra, in office only a month after being elected over the conservative former Prime Minister Ratu Mara, was intent upon enforcing the ban upon nuclear vessels in Fiji ports; two weeks before the coup, Gen. Vernon Walters, he of extensive CIA involvement over the years, visited Fiji and met with the army officer who staged the coup; at the same time, Ratu Mara was visiting U.S. military headquarters (CINCPAC) in Hawaii; the AFL-CIO/CIA labor mafia was well represented, working against the nuclear-free Pacific movement; and several other similar components of a now all-too- familiar scenario. [10]

Grenada: The invasion by the U.S. military in October 1983 was accompanied by a battalion of falsehoods that stands out even in an administration noted for its creation of dial-a-lie. The" democracy" installed in the country reached fruition this year when the government banned the importation, by name, of over 80 leftist books, and later suspended Parliament to block a no-confidence vote.

Libya: Along with Nicaragua, Ronald Reagan's manic obsession, culminating in the April 1986 bombing which took the lives of about 37 people, all civilians but one, and wounded some 93 others. The dead included Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's young adopted daughter; his other seven children and his wife were hospitalized. "Our evidence is direct, it is precise, it is irrefutable," announced the President of the United States in explaining that the bombing was in retaliation for the Libyan bombing nine days earlier of a West Berlin nightclub frequented by American servicemen which killed one soldier and injured many other soldiers and civilians. The evidence of Libyan culpability in the Berlin bombing, however, was never directly or precisely presented to the world.

Surinam: In December 1982, CIA Director William Casey told the House and Senate intelligence committees that President Reagan had authorized the CIA to try to topple Surinam ruler Col. Desi Bouterse, supposedly leading his country into "the Cuban orbit." Even though the committee refused to approve the covert operation, there is good reason to believe that the administration did what it wished. An invasion of the country was scheduled for July 1,1983 by Florida-based mercenaries - Americans and others. It was called off only after being discovered by the internal security agency of the Netherlands, the former colonial power in Surinam. [11]

Seychelles: The country's leader, France Albert Rene, amongst other shortcomings in the eyes of Washington, was a socialist, pursued non-alignment, and wanted to turn the Indian Ocean into a nuclear-free zone. For this he was the object of various American destabilization conspiracies beginning in 1979. In November 1981, the CIA reportedly was behind a mercenary invasion of the island nation which originated in South Africa and got no further than an armed battle at the Seychelles airport. [12]

El Salvador: The Reagan administration's bloodiest intervention. Largely obscured has been the extent of direct American involvement in the fighting. At least a dozen Americans have been killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas. [13] There have been numerous reports of armed Americans spotted in combat areas, [14] a report by CBS News of U.S. advisers "fighting side by side" with government troops, [15] and reports of other Americans, some ostensibly mercenaries, killed in action. [16] By 1983 there were more than two hundred U.S. intelligence agents (about two-thirds of them from the CIA) operating in El Salvador. At least until 1985, CIA paramilitary personnel were organizing and leading special Salvadoran army units into combat areas to track down guerrillas and call in air strikes. [17]

Lebanon: Another civil war the United States felt compelled to take part in, leading to the terrible bombings of the American Embassy and Marine barracks in 1983, followed, in December of that year, by American ships firing some 700 shells into the Beirut mountains, missing their military targets but causing destruction in civilian areas. In 1985, William Casey and a Saudi prince conspired to eliminate Muslim leader Sheikh Fadlallah, believed to be connected to the attacks on the American facilities. This plot culminated in March when the men employed to carry out the elimination drove a car bomb into a Beirut suburb near Fadlallah's residence. The explosion took 80 lives, wounded 200, and left widespread devastation. Fadlallah escaped without injury. [18]

Profits generated from the illegal sale of arms to Iran ... may have been used to fund UNITA.

Dominica: "Financial support to the Freedom Party of Eugenia Charles to defeat Oliver Seraphin in the Dominican elections." In 1980 Charles won the election. [19]

Mauritius: In 1981-82, financial support was given to Seewoosagar Ramgoolam in an attempt to bring him to power in the 1982 elections. Ramgoolam did not win in the elections. [20]

Chad: In 1981, the administration formally decided to supply Hissene Habre in his attempt to overthrow the government of Goukouni Oueddei. Through the CIA, Habre was supplied with money, arms and ammunition, and other equipment. "The operation was coordinated with Egypt, ... which furnished Habre with weapons and ammunition in exchange for U.S. replacements." [21] Sudan provided a base of operations and a supply-line. American commitment increased several times during 1981, ending with a total of about $10 million. In June 1982 Habre's men "took control of N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, and set up a provisional government." [22]

Afghanistan: Approximately $625 million was appropriated between 1980-84, "including about $40 million reprogrammed from the Pentagon budget and as much as $250 million in fiscal year 1985 alone." [23] Afghanistan has become one of the most expensive covert actions in American history. This money was used in continuing military aid to the rebel forces of Zia Khan Nassery, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Sayed Ahmed Gailani and to conservative mullahs "to harass Soviet occupation forces and challenge the legitimacy of the government of Babrak Karmal." [24] The Afghanistan rebels also received monies from the National Endowment for Democracy. This included one grant of $180,000 ostensibly for their school system; but in the extreme chaos of the war area, there can be no satisfactory way of determining what the ultimate disposition of the money was; this can only be viewed as part of the Reagan administration's campaign to overthrow the government supported by the Soviet Union. (This is ironic in light of the deep loathing Americans feel for the government of Iran, for if the Afghan rebels take power they will undoubtedly create a similar fundamentalist Islamic state.)

Ethiopia: A support operation of about $500,000 per year for the opposition to the so-called Marxist government. [25]

Cambodia: Several million dollars a year for the forces fighting against the Vietnamese-backed government, a policy which indirectly benefited the notorious Khmer Rouge. [26]

Angola: In 1985 the Clark Amendment banning covert military aid to Angolan rebels was lifted and Reagan ordered the release of $13 million in covert aid to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA forces. As Reagan left the White House, the CIA was reportedly expending at least $45 million annually to back Savimbi. According to government sources, profits generated from the illegal sale of arms to Iran, as well as money intended for the Afghan rebels, also may have been used to fund UNITA. [27]

Argentina: "Aid and training were provided (in 1981) to the contras through the Argentinean Defense Forces in exchange for other forms of aid from the U.S. to Argentina. This arrangement. .. avoided detailed congressional scrutiny and public explanations, and ... hid the cost in various aid budgets for Argentina." [28] CIA-Argentine cooperation ended when the U.S. supported Britain in the 1982 Malvinas War.

Nicaragua: A traditional, multi-level, multi-millions-of-dollars, CIA destabilization operation to overthrow the government: economic boycott and cut off of international credit; crippling of the oil supply by blowing up fuel depots, ports, and pipelines, and mining the waters of oil-unloading ports; extensive damage to the agricultural infrastructure; covert funding of private organizations and the Catholic church which were actively subverting the government; a major military campaign in support of the contra rebels, including U.S. reconnaissance flights over Nicaragua and U.S. pilots flying combat and supply missions; several attempts to assassinate the Sandinista leadership; a major attempt to undermine the 1984 elections which the Sandinistas won handily. [29]

Honduras: Honduras was turned into a launching area and support base for the Nicaragua operation: landing strips, docks, radar stations and communication centers were built under the cover of repeated U.S.-Honduran military exercises. For seven years, attacks were carried out against Nicaragua from the soil of a supposedly neutral Honduras. [30]

The eight years of the Reagan administration brought an unparalleled growth in CIA covert activities and U.S. intervention abroad. This listing is only a sample of hundreds of operations that sought to destabilize foreign governments and have diminished the prospects for international peace. The victims of CIA interventions will remember the Reagan years far into the future.

Now a new U.S. president is on the scene speaking of "a kinder and gentler America." How willing are the people of Angola, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cambodia to believe the former Director of Central Intelligence? George Bush will likely carry on the Reagan legacy, even in light of changes in U.S.-Soviet relations. It promises to be a long four years.



* William Blum is the author of The CIA: A Forgotten History, U.S. Global Interventions Since World War 2 (London: Zed Books, 1986). A revised edition will be published by St. Martin's Press in 1990. Additional research provided by Reginald McGuire.

1. Kevin Coogan and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, "U.S. Funds for Soviet Dissidents," The Nation, March 19, 1988.

2. New York Times, April 25, 1989, p. 8.

3. Laurien Alexandre, "War Without End: Propaganda and Public Diplomacy in the Reagan Era," Extra!, July/August 1988, p. 9.

4. New York Times, September 18, 1988, p. 4.

5. New York Times, July 10, 1988.

6. Liberation (Paris), November 27, 1985; Washington Past, November 28, 1985, p. A50; The Guardian (London), November 28, 1985, p. 6.

7. San Francisco Examiner, July 21, 1985; Raymond Bonner, Waltzing With A Dictator (New York: Vintage Books, 1988), p. 414.

8. New York Times, July 23, 1986, p. 1.

9. New York Times, August 20, 1987, p. 1.

10. The Nation, August 15-22, 1987, p. 117; National Reporter, Fall 1987, p. 33.

11. New York Times, July 19,1983.

12. Sunday Tribune (Durban, South Africa), November 29, 1981, pp. 1 and 52.

13. The Guardian (London), February 5,1983; New York Times, March 30, 1984, p. 1, October 20, 1984; San Francisco Chronicle, July 17, 1987.

14. Washington Past, February 14, 1982, p. 1; The Guardian (London), March 26, 1984, October 22, 1984; New York Times, February 13,1982, October 21, 1984, February 12, 1985, February 13, 1986, p. 3, April 1, 1987, p. 1; Michael McClintock, The American Connection: State Terror and Popular Resistance in El Salvador (London: Zed Books, 1985), pp. 347-48.

15. San Francisco Chronicle, June 24, 1982.

16. Washington Past, December 19, 1980, p. A26; January 1, 1981, p. A12.

17. Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1987, pp. 1 and 22.

18. Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), pp. 396-97.

19. Darrell Garwood, Undercover: 35 Years of CIA Deception (New York: Grove Press, 1985), p. 298.

20. Ibid., p. 298.

21. Jay Peterzell, Reagan's Secret Wars (Washington, D.C.: The Center for National Security Studies, 1984), p. 47.

22. Op. cit., n. 18, p. 215; Op. cit., n. 19, p. 299.

23. John Prados, Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations Since World War II (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1986), p. 360.

24. Op. cit., n. 19, p. 298; John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA from Wild Bill Donovan to William Casey (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), p. 682; op. cit., n. 18, p. 372.

25. Op. cit., n. 18, p. 373.

26. Op. cit., n. 18, pp. 216, 373, and 385.

27. William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History (London: Zed Books, 1986), p. 291; Sanford J. Ungar and Arnold Kohen, "An Angola Angle to the Scandal?" New York Times, January 20, 1987; Washington Past, April 25, 1989, October 23, 1989.

28. Ranelagh, op. cit., n. 24, pp. 680-81; CovertAction Information Bulletin, Number 16, March 1982, pp. 14-16.

29. Op. cit., n. 27, pp. 330-44.

30. Op. cit., n. 27, pp. 333-38.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:43 am

NED: Quasi-Covert Action
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

There are difficulties in many cases in learning exactly who wound up with National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) money or exactly what it was spent for. For one thing, the money passes through various hands - conduits, as they used to be called in the era of CIA exposes. The principal initial recipients of NED funds are publicly known: the AFL-CIO's Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI), the Center for International Private Enterprise of the Chamber of Commerce, the National Republican Institute for International Affairs, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. These institutions then disburse funds to other institutions in the United States and all over the world, which then often disburse funds to yet other institutions and individuals.

The FTUI, for example, funds three AFL-CIO regional institutes: the American Institute for Free Labor Development (Latin America), the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, and the African-American Labor Center. It happens that all three of these organizations were created in part by the CIA in the 1960s to work against leftist-leaning unions in the Third World. They each have more than 20 years experience in the art of fomenting economic turmoil against a target government, or keeping workers quiescent when the government is on Washington's favored-list. [1]

The FTUI channels NED funds to unions and other organizations associated with particular parties in Europe as well as in the Third World. It supports a "European organization" which has "infiltrators in Communist unions to report on their plans and activities." Making the details public would damage the effort, said the head of the FTUI. [2]

NED has funded a number of other activities in which no clear ideological line was apparent or relevant. The types of activities mentioned here, however, are indistinguishable from those carried out by the CIA during the Agency's heyday. In the 1970s, disclosures of such activities meant expose type headlines and condemnations from congressmen and other public figures. In the 1980s, they are greeted largely with a straight face, if not silence. A long article on the NED in the New York Times in June 1986 raised analogies with the CIA only timidly, and was headlined: "Missionaries for Democracy: U.S. Aid for Global Pluralism." [3]

The National Endowment for Democracy was the public side of Project Democracy, a White House program set up early in the Reagan administration to carry out foreign policy initiatives. The secret side was what the Iran-contra hearings were about. The two sides were not strangers to each other. Various organizations which were part of Oliver North's shadowy network received money from NED, including PRODEMCA (Friends of the Democratic Center in the Americas) which served as a conduit to Nicaraguan recipients and the Institute for North-South Issues which received almost $500,000. [4] PRODEMCA placed full-page advertisements in major newspapers in 1986 urging Congress to support Reagan's request for aid to the contras. [5]

Various organizations which were part of Oliver North's shadowy network received money from NED, including PRODEMCA.

Col. North - who passed top-secret intelligence data to Iran, [6] the kind of act for which many men now sit in American prisons charged with treason - used the name Project Democracy to describe his activities which grew into a parallel foreign policy apparatus, complete with its own communications systems, secret envoys, private employees and consultants, ad hoc foundations, leased ships, airplanes, offshore corporations and secret bank accounts. The operation was an expression of the administration's deep frustration over its inability to persuade the foreign policy bureaucracy or Congress to embrace the "Reagan Doctrine" of laissez faire intervention.

Congress agreed to fund NED only after CIA Director Casey promised that his agency would not use the organization as a vehicle for covert activities. As it turned out, Casey could make this promise because officials had decided to run the covert side from the National Security Council, to which North was officially attached. In 1983, Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive No. 77, a classified executive order that permitted the NSC to coordinate inter-agency efforts for Project Democracy. The directive makes no direct mention of the program's covert side, but does authorize "political action strategies" to counter moves by "the Soviet Union or Soviet surrogates." [7]

The primary purposes of these off-the-books operations, in addition to the personal enrichment of the leading operators, were: a) to assist the contra forces in Nicaragua in their war to overthrow the Sandinista government; and b) to get arms to the Iranian government in order to free American and other hostages.



1. Winslow Peck, "The AFL-CIA," in Howard Frazier, ed., Uncloaking the CIA (New York: Free Press, 1978), pp. 262-65; Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies (New York: Congdon and Weed, 1984), pp.341-46.

2. New York Times, June 1, 1986, p. 16.

3. Ibid., p. 1.

4. Washington Post, February 28, 1987, p. A13.

S. Washington Post, July 11, 1986, p. A19.

6. The Guardian (London), February 21, 1987.

7. New York Times, February 15, 1987, p. 20.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:46 am

Bush and North: The Task Force on Combatting Terrorism
by Peter Dale Scott*
Winter 1990



Media concern with the Iran/contra affair suddenly vanished in the spring of 1988, as soon as it became clear that George Bush, one of the scandal's dramatis personae, would become his party's presidential candidate.

On the surface, the Iran/contra controversy might indeed seem to have subsided. U.S. arms sales to Iran appear to have ceased. Overt military aid to the Nicaraguan contras now appears a remote possibility -- although we should not forget that its successor, "humanitarian assistance," was exactly what Oliver North called the arms he was supplying to the contras via Richard Secord's "Enterprise." [1]

And yet there remains a disturbing institutional legacy from the Iran/contra era which was responsible for the flagrant abuses of covert power. This legacy is the secret counterterrorism apparatus that was assembled under the auspices of then Vice President Bush and which became the vehicle for Oliver North's extraordinary influence within the government.

With the world-wide decline in the number of private terrorist incidents, there is even more reason to review the powerful and still intact counterterrorism apparatus organized under the Reagan administration whose overall coordinator in the National Security Council (NSC) was Colonel Oliver North.

The 1987 Congressional investigation of the Iran/contra scandal revealed in passing how North and his counterterrorism associates in other agencies abused the secret institutions of this apparatus to bypass legal restrictions and to further the controversial Iran arms sales. In fact, it was through the auspices of Vice President Bush's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism that North began his rise to power and infamy in the U.S. government.

Bush, North, and Domestic Repression

This article will examine how the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism served as the springboard for Oliver North's operations both in the U.S. and abroad. This revealing aspect of the relationship between North and Bush has often been overlooked in the mainstream media and provides evidence of just how deeply Bush was involved in the Iran/contra scandal.

We will begin by reconstructing from the public record what little is known of the North-Bush collaboration in the area of domestic repression, including the contingency plans developed by North (under Bush's auspices), for the roundup and deportation of "terrorist aliens."

The little-noticed secret relationship between North and the Office of the Vice President goes back at least to 1982, when North was the National Security Council staff coordinator for crisis management. Bush at this time was charged by National Security Decision Directive #3 (NSDD3) with responsibilities for crisis management, and had been reported to be the head of a Cabinet-level crisis management committee. [2]

North's secretary, Fawn Hall, joined him in February 1983, and the two then worked on the development of a secret Crisis Management Center. [3] North also met with members of the Office of the Vice President on such related committees as the Crisis Pre-Planning Committee and the National Security Planning Group.

There has been much debate as to what this first phase of North's work on crisis management involved. On July 5,1987, the Miami Herald reported that North "helped draw up a controversial plan to suspend the Constitution in the event of national crisis such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad." [4] The plan allegedly envisaged the roundup and internment of large numbers of both domestic dissidents -- some twenty-six thousand -- and aliens -- perhaps as many as three to four hundred thousand -- in camps scattered across the country.

In June 1986 a new "Alien Border Control Committee" was established, "to implement specific recommendations made by the Vice President's Task Force on Terrorism regarding the control and removal of terrorist aliens in the U.S." [5] One of its working groups was charged with conducting "a review of contingency plans for removal of selected aliens." [6]

These contingency plans "relating to alien terrorists ... anticipated that the INS may be tasked with ... apprehending, and removing from the U.S., a sizable group of aliens," and again called for housing "up to 5,000 aliens in temporary (tents) quarters" at a camp in Oakdale, Louisiana. [7] As the designated coordinator of counterterrorism in the National Security Council, North would certainly have known of these contingency plans, which, disturbingly enough, appear to still be with us.

"[North] was responsible for working closely with the designated lead agencies and ... facilitating the development of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism recommendations. "

In the televised Iran/contra Congressional hearings North was asked by Representative Jack Brooks (Dem.-Tex) to discuss the alleged contingency plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution. Daniel Inouye (Dem.-HI), the Committee Chairman, twice intervened, ruling that the question was "highly sensitive and classified," and should only be discussed in executive session. The next day North told Senator David Boren (Dem.-OK), a much more pliant questioner, that to his knowledge the United States had no such plan "in being," and that he had not participated in it. [8]

The Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism

In October 1983, under the guidance of the Vice President's Special Situations Group, North helped draft the National Security Decision Directive which authorized the invasion of Grenada. That winter the two men visited El Salvador, where Bush told local army commanders they would have to cease their support for death squads. North testified that Bush's action "was one of the bravest things I've seen for [sic] anybody." Bush has since reciprocated by repeatedly referring to North as a "hero." [9]

In April 1984 North drafted another National Security Decision Directive, creating a new counterterrorism planning group, the Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG), to rescue U.S. hostages in Lebanon (and above all CIA station chief, William Buckley). North became the chair of the new counterterrorist group and TIWG's first major action was the October 1985 interception and capture of the hijackers of the Achille Lauro -- which gave a big boost to North's prestige inside the administration.

The group's methods were rather unconventional, one could say heinous, but it had operated successfully for years. An example is the case of the "Palestinian" attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. That was, in fact, an Israeli "black" propaganda operation to show what a deadly, cutthroat bunch the Palestinians were.

The operation worked like this: Eitan passed instructions to Radi that it was time for the Palestinians to make an attack and do something cruel, though no specifics were laid out. Radi passed orders on to Abu'l Abbas, who, to follow such orders, was receiving millions from Israeli intelligence officers posing as Sicilian dons. Abbas then gathered a team to attack the cruise ship. The team was told to make it bad, to show the world what lay in store for other unsuspecting citizens if Palestinian demands were not met. As the world knows, the group picked on an elderly American Jewish man in a wheelchair, killed him, and threw his body overboard. They made their point. But for Israel it was the best kind of anti-Palestinian propaganda.

-- Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network, by Ari Ben-Menashe

In July 1985, the Reagan administration convened the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism. Then, on January 20, 1986, following the recommendations of an official report of the Task Force, National Security Decision Directive 207 institutionalized North's role as coordinator of the administration's counterterrorism program. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office to Combat Terrorism) that were kept hidden from certain members of the National Security Council.

Possibly the only official reference to NSDD 207 appears in a letter of April 17, 1987, from FBI Executive Assistant Director Oliver B. Revell to Senator David Boren (Dem.-OK), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, explaining some of the contacts which he and the FBI had with Oliver North. This document, which explains North's exact duties, is quoted here at length: [10]

At the time [April 1986], Col. North was the NSC official charged by the President with the coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible for working closely with the designated lead agencies and was responsible for participating in all interagency groups, maintaining the national programming documents, assisting in the coordination of research and development in relation to counterterrorism, facilitating the development of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism recommendations.

This description of Col. North's position is set forth in the public report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism, February 1986. There is an even more detailed and comprehensive description of Col. North's position in the classified National Security Decision Directive #207 issued by the President on January 20, 1986.

Two key members of Bush's Task Force staff, Robert Earl and Craig Coy, moved over to staff North's new office. Earl and Coy spent much of the next year working on the Iran arms sales and contra support operation, making it easier for North to travel. While working for North, Earl and Coy were in fact officially attached to the Crisis Management Center, where North had worked in 1983. [11]

Bush's Lies

Bush's political autobiography, Looking Forward, gave the impression that he had only minimal acquaintance with North and the Iran arms sales initiative. The Vice President acknowledged only two contacts with North: during the Grenada operation, and when he telephoned North from Israel before meeting that country's top representative in the Iran arms deals. He admitted knowing of the secret trip by North and Robert McFarlane to Teheran, but denied knowing of North's "other secret operations" before November 1986. [2]

North's diaries suggest, however, that in this period he was in recurring contact with Bush, Bush's advisers, and the other members of Bush's Task Force. From July 1985 to January 1986, when the secret end-run around George Shultz on Iran arms sales was devised, the available pages of North's diaries (most remained classified by the government) show only one meeting with President Reagan. However, the diaries show four meetings with Vice President Bush, either alone, or with Amiram Nir, the top Israeli counterterrorism expert, or in the presence of Donald Gregg. In addition there are at least six recorded meetings between North and members of the Vice President's Task Force during this period.

Credit: State Department
Robert Oakley, member of the Terrorism Task Force.

The Operations Sub-Group (OSG), [13] an interagency creation of the Task Force and NSDD 207, was convened for the first time on January 7, 1986 - the day that Shultz and Casper Weinberger vigorously opposed the Iran arms sales plan. The OSG met twice again that month but its members appear to have been already meeting with North, under the auspices of the Restricted Terrorist Incidents Working Group (RTIWG) months earlier. The diaries also show at least fourteen other meetings between North and the Task Force's senior members (Admiral James Holloway, Ambassador Robert Oakley, Charles Allen), its principal consultant (Terry Arnold), and its staff (Robert Earl and Craig Coy). [14]

In his testimony North suggested an even more intimate relationship with Bush. He told the Committee that "when my father died, there were three people in the government of the United States that expressed their condolences." Two of these were Admiral Poindexter and William Casey, his top bosses in the Iran/contra covert operations. The third ''was the Vice President of the United States." [15]

Though they seem to have worked chiefly on the Iran arms deals and the contra supply operation, North and his two staffers, Robert Earl and Craig Coy, operated at the heart of a whole complex of controversial secret operations in 1986. Earl himself testified that he spent between a quarter and a half of his time on Iran matters; his colleague Coy "knew everything ... about Democracy Incorporated" (the contra support operation). [16] Earl and Coy also took the minutes for the interagency Operations Sub-Group.

Others Involved

By establishing a special apparatus to combat terrorism, the Reagan administration, and the Bush Task Force in particular, created an ongoing network able to bypass normal channels and proceed with an Iran arms sales policy that was opposed by both Secretary of State Shultz and Secretary of Defense Weinberger, as well as the area desk officers in their departments and in the CIA.

It is therefore important to consider the other players involved in the counterterrorism apparatus because this will help demonstrate the scope and depth of the network. This apparatus, while clearly not some sort of well-planned and thought-out conspiracy, is more accurately described as a cabal. It was created as an arrangement which suited all parts of the Reagan administration, including those who preferred to have no responsibility for a policy (selling arms to Iran) which they could not bring themselves to support. This consensual sidestepping of responsibility (or what we might call "guiltlessness by dissociation") was not even limited to the administration.

The true cabal appears to have consisted largely of those middle-level operatives brought together by their responsibility for counterterrorism, a group including not only North and Poindexter but the CIA's Duane Clarridge and the quintet who moved from developing and reviewing the "counterterrorist" policies with North at the Bush Task Force Senior Review Group to executing them with North through the Operations Sub-Group. (The five were: Charles Allen of the CIA, Robert Oakley of State, Noel Koch of the Defense Department, Lt. Gen. John Moellering from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Oliver Revell of the FBI.) Some of these men survived in the Reagan administration unscathed, despite having responsibilities for the Iran/contra affair that would seem at least comparable to North's.

It can be argued that these men were not only accomplices of North's in the execution of the controversial Iran arms sales, but the true authors of the counterterrorism gambit which led a Marine Lieutenant Colonel to act in defiance of official U.S. policy.

For example, in 1985-86, Robert Oakley was the director of the State Department's Office to Combat Terrorism. In this capacity he served first on the Bush Task Force Senior Review Group, and then co-chaired the Operations Sub-Group (OSG) with North until about July 1986. He then resigned from the administration, allegedly because he disagreed with the Iran arms sales policy of North. One of National Security Adviser Frank Carlucci's early acts of post-Iran/contra housecleaning in 1987 was to bring Robert Oakley back from private life to the National Security Council. Oakley now serves as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that the Iran arms deals with Ghorbanifar, although they had been proposed as early as November 1984, were blocked until the Bush Task Force began to operate in July 1985. Thereafter the arms deals were handled by a number of bureaucrats whose common denominator, and whose means of communicating directly with each other, was their responsibility for counterterrorism. (These men were Michael Ledeen, Charles Allen, Duane Clarridge, Robert Oakley, Oliver North for the United States; Amiram Nir for Israel.)

By creating a counterterrorism network, with its own secure system of intelligence communications, channels had been opened whereby other bureaucrats, with opposing viewpoints, could simply be excluded. The counterterrorism network even had its own "special worldwide antiterrorist computer network, code-named Flashboard," by which members could communicate exclusively with each other and with their collaborators abroad. [17] Those involved in the Iran arms deals appear to have used "flash" messages on this secure system, as late as October 31, 1986. [18]

The Criminals Judge the Crime

When Ronald Reagan admitted in March 1987 that the arms sales to Iran were a mistake he asked Bush to reconvene his Task Force "to review our policy for combatting terrorism and to evaluate the effectiveness of our current program." [19] Having been asked, in effect, to evaluate his own creation, Bush's public response in June 1987 was predictable: "our current policy as articulated in the Task Force report is sound, effective, and fully in accord with our democratic principles and national ideals of freedom." [20]

Bush's public finding was truly ominous. The depositions that Robert Earl and Craig Coy gave to the Congressional committee investigating the Iran/contra affair reveal that the Office to Combat Terrorism had rapidly become the means whereby North could coordinate, not only the Iran arms sales and the contra supply operation, but also the domestic propaganda activities of Carl "Spitz" Channell and Richard Miller, the closing off of potentially embarrassing investigations by other government agencies, and the handling of rightwing contributors for illegal contra arms purchases. [21]

Thus the Bush people in the Reagan administration, having first used North and then acquiesced in his departure, would appear to have approved the continuation of most of his secret political activities in the name of combatting terrorism; they denounced only "the mistakes involved in our contacts with Iran." (These "caused a temporary reduction in credibility which has been regained as our resolve has become apparent.") In concluding his 1987 review Bush not only endorsed the achievements of the apparatus which North put together, but declared that we must "do better."

Credit: Wide World Photos
Robert Earl on his way to the Iran/contra hearings.

It is not surprising that the Vice President's Task Force should so exonerate the extraordinary abuses of power committed by the counterterrorism apparatus which it set up. To an extraordinary extent the men at the center of that apparatus were drawn from the Senior Review Group of the Task Force itself. That they should have been reconvened to evaluate what changes were needed was a sure sign, if one were needed, that the Republicans were determined to resist any pressures for significant change.


It is clear now that members of the Bush Task Force Senior Review Group used their counterterrorism channels to thwart official U.S. policy and to conceal their activities from their superiors. It is interesting to note that the Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair did a reasonable job of chronicling the "secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law" of "a small group of senior officials" but that it went out of its way to ignore the existence of the counterterrorism network that operated through its own institutions, institutions which at least partly still exist.

This should be a matter of grave concern to those who believe in the open and democratic determination of foreign policy, particularly in matters that could lead to war. As we have seen, members of the counterterrorism cabal, above all Oliver North, used the extraordinary powers of this apparatus to carry out a covert foreign policy agenda as well as silence domestic opponents of the administration's Central American policies. With this counterterrorist apparatus still intact, and with George Bush in the White House, there's no doubt it will be used again.



* Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat, teaches English at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include: The Politics of Escalation in Vietnam (in collaboration); Crime and Cover-Up; and The Iran Contra Connection (in collaboration).

1. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair (henceforward cited as The Iran-Contra Report), 100th Congress, 1st Session, H. Rept. No. 100-433; S. Rept. No. 100-216 (November 1987), p. 100.

2. Top Secret White House Memo of May 14, 1982, Subject: Crisis Pre-Planning (Bates No. N 29464); New York Times, April 12, 1981.

3. Public testimony of Fawn Hall, The Iran-Contra Report, June 8, 1987, p. 15.

4. See Diana Reynolds, The Rise of the National Security State, this issue.

5. Memo of September 15, 1986 from Immigration and Naturalization Service Assistant Commissioner Robert J. Walsh, quoted in Mideast Monitor, vol. IV, no. 4, 1987, p. 2. The Alien Border Control Committee was formally established on June 27, 1986, by former Deputy Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen.

6. Ibid.

7. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Investigations Division, "Alien Terrorists and Undesirables: A Contingency Plan" (May 1986), pp. ii, 19, 25; partially quoted in Mideast Monitor, vol. IV, no. 4, 1987, p. 2.

8. Public testimony of Oliver North, The Iran-Contra Report, pp. 643, 732-33.

9. Ibid, pp. 574-75; San Francisco Chronicle, December 14, 1987 and January 14, 1988.

10. Washington Post, February 17, 20, and 22, 1987; Wall Street Journal, February 20, 1987.

11. Deposition of Robert Earl, The Iran-Contra Report, May 2, 1987, vol. 9, pp. 22-23; Deposition of Craig Coy, The Iran-Contra Report, March 17, 1987, vol. 7, pp. 24-25.

12. George Bush, with Victor Gold, Looking Forward: An Autobiography (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1987), pp. 242-43.

13. The OSG is a subgroup of the TIWG to deal with immediate crises.

14. The preceding information is from Oliver North's diary pages in The Iran-Contra Report, Shultz public testimony, GPS-74-78, pp. 833-1037.

15. Public testimony of Oliver North, op. at., n. 8, p. 345.

16. Earl deposition, op. cit., n. 11, pp. 35, 98-99.

17. Newsweek, October 21, 1985, p. 26.

18. Earl Exhibit, nos. 3-8, op. cit., n. 11.

19. Presidential address to nation on March 4, 1987; Bush press release of June 2, 1987.

20. Bush press release of June 2, 1987.

21. Earl Deposition, op. cit. n. 11, May 30, 1987, pp. 33-37; May 15, 1987, pp. 117-21 (Channell and Miller); May 15, 1987, pp. 131,119 (rightwing contributors).
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:48 am

Out of the Loop: The VP's Office: Cover for Iran/Contra
by Jane Hunter*
Winter 1990



Throughout George Bush's presidential campaign and well into the first year of his presidency, polls consistently showed that a majority of the U.S. public did not believe Bush was telling the truth about his role in the Iran/contra affair. Of course, they were right -- he wasn't.

Bush's plea of ignorance of the arms sales to Iran, that "I was out of the loop," was widely repeated, and always certain to get a laugh. However, we should not forget that in reality, George Bush attended all but one of the important White House meetings on the subject. (The one he missed conflicted with the December 7, 1985 Army-Navy football game.)

Secretary of State Shultz testified before the Iran/contra committee that, at a key January 6, 1986 meeting about the "finding" authorizing arms sales to Iran, Bush had not supported Shultz's own vehement opposition to the plan.
This undercut Bush's assertion that he had had "reservations" about trading arms for hostages but just didn't think it was proper to reveal the counsel he had given President Reagan on the subject. [1]

During the course of investigating Bush's role in the Iran/contra affair both the U.S. Congress and several news agencies revealed that, contrary to his assertions of innocence, the president-to-be was up to his knees in "deep doo-doo."

The Harari Network

One of the most compelling revelations came in 1988 and related to the connection between Donald Gregg and the so-called "Harari network." The Harari network consisted of Israelis, Panamanians and U.S. citizens set up by the Reagan administration and the government of Israel in 1982 to run a secret aid program for the contras. Its namesake was Mike Harari, a longtime Mossad official, who since around 1979 has served as Israel's agent in Panama. [2] Still reliably reported to be a senior intelligence operative. [3] Harari supervises Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega's security arrangements and is credited with helping the general withstand a coup sponsored by the Reagan administration in 1988. Harari also acts as a financial adviser and business partner to Noriega. [4] Following the October 1989 coup attempt, Harari reportedly took over the day-to-day supervision of Panama's military intelligence. [5]

The existence of the Harari network became publicly known in April 1988, during testimony before the Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was looking into the connections between the war against Nicaragua and drug trafficking. It is, however, possible that the Congressional Iran/contra investigators knew all about this organization but, because the committee made a decision not to examine anything prior to 1984, it easily avoided exposing it.

Between 1975 and 1977, Sharon was a private citizen who was trying to build a fortune dealing in arms in Central America. He had a network of people working with him there, one being the disgraced Mossad agent Mike Harari, who had just left Israel because of his failure in the "Moroccan Waiter Affair," where the wrong man was shot dead in Lillehammer, Norway, during an attempted hit on Ahmed Salame, a Palestinian who had been involved in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Harari was a close associate of Panama's military intelligence chief, Manuel Noriega.

Sharon's network had been able to provide military equipment from Israel to various Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and even Mexico. This was never official Israeli government policy, and it was frowned upon by the cabinet itself, but Sharon was too wild a goose for anybody to handle. So Sharon's private network bought their weapons from Israeli government factories and got their export licenses from the Israeli government. Gates had developed a professional interest in the arms network that Sharon and his former intelligence cowboys were operating in Central America. By 1981, Sharon and Harari were running what Harari described as more of a CIA network than an Israeli operation -- and were filling their private bank accounts at the same time.

It was in 1981 that they started supplying a secret army in Central America, the contras, who were trying to destabilize and eventually bring about the downfall of the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, which had come to power in 1979. The contras did not have any money -- Congress was not then willing to fund them -- and desperately needed cash to buy their arms.

Sharon, with all his power, could not force the prime minister or the leaders of the Israeli intelligence community to pay for weapons from the slush fund that had grown out of the Iran arms sales. So, with the backing of Gates and the CIA, some members of the group created their own fund. They did this, according to Harari, by transporting cocaine from South America to the United States via Central America. A major player was Manuel Noriega, who had known George Bush since he had been the CIA chief in the mid-1970s. Hundreds of tons of cocaine poured into the United States, and another handy slush fund was created.

Because of the close relationship between Gates and Sharon and the special relationship between Robert McFarlane and Rafi Eitan, the strategic U.S./Israeli agreement sought by Sharon was reached. The signing of the strategic agreement by Sharon and the U.S. was made public, but the contents were kept secret and are still not available through any Freedom of Information Act requests.

However, one part of it was that any U.S. arms sold to Israel involving technology that was 20 years old or more could be resold at the discretion of the Israeli government. The agreement was very loosely worded -- it could be interpreted to mean that Israel was allowed to resell brand-new American weapons as long as the technology behind them was at least 20 years old.

This was our first ploy to overcome American denials, if any. If Israel were discovered to be selling arms to the Iranians, we would simply brandish the agreement the Americans had signed ... with its gaping loophole.

Our second protection involved the money from the arms sales -- when letters of credit or cash were paid to us to purchase U.S. arms, we simply and quite blatantly ran the sums through U.S. banks.

A letter of credit from the Iranian government would be issued to an Israeli "front" company by a European-based Iranian company through the London or Paris branch of Iran's Bank Melli. It would be endorsed by the National Westminster Bank in England, and we would then ask for it to be transferred to an American bank. Favorites were the Chicago-Tokyo Bank in Chicago, the Chemical Bank in New York, Bank One in Ohio, and the Valley National Bank of Arizona. Then the banks would have to explain these letters of credit, in U.S. dollars, to the U.S. Treasury if they were to accept them. According to U.S. Treasury regulations, letters of credit for sums in excess of $10,000 had to be approved by Treasury.

Since the sales were a U.S.-sanctioned operation, the CIA would have to ensure that Treasury issued an acceptance. Once the letter of credit was approved, it was moved back again to Europe. Except for the John Street operations in 1981 -82, this was to be the way almost all the American-supplied arms sales to Iran were handled from late 1981 until late 1987.

-- Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network, by Ari Ben-Menashe

In April 1988 Jose Blandon, a former intelligence aide to Gen. Noriega told the narcotics subcommittee, headed by Sen. John Kerry (Dem.-Mass.), that the Harari network had brought East bloc arms to Central America for the Nicaraguan contras and had smuggled cocaine from Colombia to the United States via Panama. Blandon testified that on occasion, the aircraft and Costa Rican airstrips the Harari network used for arms deliveries to the contras also carried narcotics shipments north to the U.S. [6]

Three days after Blandon testified, ABC News interviewed a U.S. pilot, who said he had helped purchase and deliver the Harari network's arms and had also flown drugs from Colombia to Panama. Using the pseudonym "Harry," the pilot said he had regarded Israel as his primary employer and the U.S. as his secondary employer. [7]

A short time later, Richard Brenneke, who was also involved in the Harari network, went public. Brenneke is an Oregon businessman who claims to have worked for both the Mossad and the CIA. Brenneke said he was recruited to work with the Harari network by Pesakh Ben-Or, the Mossad station chief in Guatemala. When he asked if the operation was approved by the U.S., Brenneke claims that Ben-Or gave him Donald Gregg's phone number in Washington, DC to call to verify that it was. He said that when he called Gregg on November 3, 1983 [8] Gregg told him that he should "by all means cooperate." [8]

ABC News reported that Israel had provided $20 million start-up capital for the Harari network and was later reimbursed from U.S. covert operations funds. Brenneke claimed that the funding, aircraft, and occasionally pilots for the Harari network and its counterpart in Honduras, dubbed the "Arms Supermarket," were supplied by the Medellin Cartel. [9]

According to United Press International, the Arms Supermarket consisted of three warehouses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which were filled with Eastern bloc arms. Brenneke stated that it was established "at the request of the Reagan administration" and "initiated jointly by operatives of the Israeli Mossad, senior Honduran military officers now under investigation for drug trafficking, and CIA-connected arms dealers." [10]

Brenneke, however, claims the Supermarket was a separate operation from the Harari network. This was because Pesakh Ben-Or did not get along with Mario Del Amico and Ron Martin, the CIA arms dealers connected to the Supermarket. [11]

Credit: Jean Marie Simon
Pesakh Ben-Or, Mossad Station Chief in Guatemala.

In a May 1988 article about the Arms Supermarket, Newsweek said it had possession of a 1986 report prepared for Oliver North by an arms dealer ''warning bluntly that disclosure of 'covert black money' flowing into Honduras to fund military projects 'could damage Vice President Bush."'[12]

Both Brenneke and ABC News identified Felix Rodriguez, the former CIA official who managed secret contra supply operations from Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador, as the Harari network's U.S. contact in Central America. [13]

Brenneke said that in 1985, after becoming disenchanted with the drug smuggling element of the operation, he called Gregg to warn him about the Harari network's connection to the Medellin Cartel. Brenneke claims that Gregg told him "You do what you were assigned to do. Don't question the decisions of your betters." [14]

Making Brenneke's allegations about Gregg more plausible are classified documents, which, according to Steven Emerson, author of Secret Warriors, "show that the National Security Council had assumed a new operational role as early as 1982, with Gregg serving in a key role as a pivotal player in the NSC 'offline' links to the CIA." [15]

"By early 1983," wrote Emerson, "officials of the NSC and the vice president's staff assumed authority over Central America policy having wrested control over it from the State Department." [16] Gregg was a lifelong CIA officer before going to work as a member of the NSC staff between 1979 and 1981, after which he became Bush's national security adviser.

In the Spring of 1983, the network began to turn its attention toward beefing up the Administration's capacity to promote American support for the Democratic resistance in Nicaragua and the fledgling democracy in El Salvador. This effort resulted in the creation of the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of State (S/LPD), headed by Otto Reich.

On May 25, 1983, Secretary of State George P. Schultz, in an effort to head off the creation of S/LPD, wrote a memorandum to the President asking for the establishment of "simple and straight-forward management procedures." [Schultz testimony, Exhibit 69a supra]. The memorandum to the President followed a discussion between the President and Schultz earlier in the day. In the memo Schultz said:

"… Therefore, what we discussed was that you will look to me to carry out your policies. If those policies change, you will tell me. If I am not carrying them out effectively, you will hold me accountable. But we will set up a structure so that I can be your sole delegate with regard to carrying out your policies.

"… What this means is that there will be an Assistant Secretary acceptable to you (and you and I have agreed on Tony Motley) who will report to me and through me to you. We will use Dick Stone as our negotiator, who, in conjunction with Tony, will also report solely to me and through me to you. Similarly, there will be an inter-agency committee, but it will be a tool of management and not a decision-making body. I shall resolve any issues and report to you."

The President responded with a memorandum, which stated in part:

Success in Central America will require the cooperative effort of several Departments and agencies. No single agency can do it alone nor should it. Still, it is sensible to look to you, as I do, as the lead Cabinet officer, charged with moving aggressively to develop the options in coordination with Cap, Bill Casey and others and coming to me for decisions. I believe in Cabinet government. It works when the Cabinet officers work together. I look to you and Bill Clark to assure that that happens." [Schultz Testimony, Exhibit 69B].

Attached to the memo was a chart placing the NSC between the Secretary of State and the President for the management of Central American strategy. Schultz had not only lost the battle to prevent the establishment of the office, he also accepted the NSC-sponsored candidate to run the office, and accepted the fact that Reich would report directly to the NSC and not through the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

-- An unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, that was suppressed as part of the deal to get three moderate Republican senators to sign on to the final report and give the inquiry a patina of bipartisanship.

When Vice President Bush challenged Richard Brenneke's credibility, Brenneke produced documentation that seemed to substantiate some of his claims. [17] Unfortunately, all he had to document his conversations with Gregg were his phone records.

In fact, Bush was so threatened by Brenneke's charges that he and his supporters decided a strong counter-attack was in order. Bush personally accused Sen. Kerry of allowing "slanderous" allegations to leak from his committee, which Brenneke had testified before in closed session. Bush also exclaimed that Newsweek, which used Brenneke as one of its sources for a report on the Arms Supermarket, was printing "garbage." Of Brenneke, Bush said "The guy who they are quoting is the guy who is trying to save his own neck." [18] It is important to note, however, that Richard Brenneke has never been indicted on any criminal charges (compared to Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter who all worked closely with George Bush).

Just Say No To Quid Pro Quo

After Bush was safely ensconced in the presidency it was revealed that in March 1985 he had served as an emissary to Honduras, as part of a Reagan administration effort to keep that government cooperating with its illicit support of the contras. Bush was sent a copy of a February 19, 1985 memorandum from National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane to President Reagan, in which McFarlane advised accelerating the flow of economic and military aid to Honduras as "incentives for them to persist in aiding the freedom fighters." [19] A second memo by McFarlane, dated the same day, suggested sending an emissary to then Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordoba to privately offer this quid pro quo. Another memo which gave details of this proposal was written by North to McFarlane the following day and had a notation by John Poindexter saying, 'We want VP to also discuss this matter with Suazo." [20]

The memos were two of six documents that were released during North's trial but which the Congressional committees investigating the Iran/contra affair never received. Another document, summarizing a phone conversation between Reagan and Suazo, had a notation indicating that Bush was supposed to receive a copy. [21]

Rep. Lee Hamilton (Dem.-Ind.), who chaired the House side of the joint Iran/contra committee, said the missing documents were "about as clear a statement of quid pro quo as you'll ever see in a government document" and did not discount the possibility that they would be cause to reopen the Iran/contra investigation. [22]

Not surprisingly, when the Senate intelligence committee did investigate the matter of the withheld documents, they concluded there was "no evidence to suggest" that the documents "had been deliberately and systematically withheld by the White House, or persons within the White House, from the Congressional investigating committees." [23]

Credit: The White House
Donald Gregg and his good friend, George Bush.

President Bush denied discussing a quid pro quo with Suazo and he refused to respond to the stories while North's trial was underway. Michael G. Kozak, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, told Congress that from his review of the documents, the plan to have Bush carry the message to Honduras had been killed. [24] He said he had a secret cable proving that Bush never explicitly linked contra aid and assistance to Honduras. However, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs pointed out that the cable, written by then Ambassador John Negroponte -- himself a main Iran/contra player -- would have been routinely sanitized (in this case, probably by Donald Gregg) before it was consigned to the permanent files. [25]

None of this back and forth even touched on a paragraph contained in a document submitted in Oliver North's trial. Referred to as an official admission of facts, the document summarized classified material North was not permitted to introduce. The government agreed, for the purposes of the trial, that the 107 assertions contained in its 42 pages, were true. The 79th stipulation recounts preparations for a Bush mission to Honduras:

In mid-January 1986, the State Department prepared a memorandum for Donald Gregg (the Vice President's national security adviser) for Vice President Bush's meeting with President [Jose] Azcona. According to DoS [Department of State], one purpose of the meeting was to encourage continued Honduran support for the contras. The memorandum alerted Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social benefits from its cooperation with the United States. Admiral Poindexter would meet privately with President Azcona to seek a commitment of support for the contras by Honduras. DoS suggested that Vice President Bush inform President Azcona that a strong and active contra army was essential to maintain pressure on the Sandinistas, and that the United States government's intention to support the contras was clear and firm. [26]

Gregg's Reward

Donald Gregg's reward for his loyalty to George Bush, as well as for his role in running the Nicaraguan contras, was to be nominated as ambassador to South Korea. Members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee had pleaded with the administration to withdraw Gregg's nomination, warning that to press on risked a reopening of the Iran/contra affair and an unraveling of the newly-forged ''bipartisan consensus" on foreign policy. The administration could hardly have withdrawn the nomination, as that would have been regarded as an acknowledgment of President Bush's own complicity in the illegal resupply of the contras.

According to Sen. Alan Cranston (Dem.-Calif.), Gregg's diplomatic nomination came after "key members" of the Senate Intelligence Committee blocked a move to appoint him to a "top CIA post." Gregg claimed that he lost out on the CIA job when discreet inquiries had revealed that his nomination to a top CIA post would embroil the Agency in questions over his role in the Iran/contra affair. [27]

Incredibly, when asked during his confirmation hearings why Bush had nominated him as Ambassador to Korea rather than taking him to the White House, Gregg said that Bush had a marked aversion to seeing the NSC take on an operational role. [28] Did he mean to imply that his assignment in South Korea was operational? Reflecting widespread disappointment with the nomination, an editorial in a South Korean newspaper asked whether Gregg's return to the nation where he had been CIA station chief from 1973-75 meant that "the U.S. regards Korea not as a diplomatic but as an intelligence and operations target." [29]

"If Gregg was lying, he was lying to protect the president, which is different from lying to protect himself."

The confirmation hearings that stretched over May and June 1989 were a test of strength, with the committee destined from the start to be the loser. Speaking -- under oath -- in an indifferent monotone Gregg baited Alan Cranston, chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs and his principal interrogator, with outrageous answers. For example, after denying that in 1985 he met with Oliver North and Col. James Steele -- then the chief U.S. military adviser in El Salvador -- to discuss the contra operation, Gregg coolly absorbed the news that Steele had confirmed the meeting. [30]

An indignant Cranston charged: "Your career training in establishing secrecy and deniability for covert operations and your decades-old friendship with Felix Rodriguez apparently led you to believe that you could serve the national interest by sponsoring a freelance operation out of the Vice President's office." [31]

Copters not Contras

The greatest moment of absurdity (and outright lying) came when Gregg offered what he called a "speculative explanation" for a reference to a mention of "resupply of the contras" in a May 1, 1986 memo, prepared for a meeting between Bush and Rodriguez. It was "possible," Gregg said, that it ''was a garbled reference to resupply of copters instead of resupply of contras." Later, Gregg remarked to reporters, "I don't know how it went over, but it was the best I could do." [32]

Cranston failed to question Gregg on a key point. Steven Emerson reported that he had seen a March 1983 memo prepared by Gregg which accompanied a plan to organize a "search-and-destroy air team." The plan was drafted by Felix Rodriguez and contained a map which "strongly suggested that targets inside Nicaragua would be attacked." Emerson said these "still classified" documents bore the handwritten approval of then National Security Adviser William Clark. [33]

Cranston repeatedly tried to crack Gregg's facade and Gregg continued to deny any connection to the contras or ever having discussed the mercenaries with Bush. He didn't even back away from his earlier statement that Bush had learned of the secret resupply network from an interview Gregg gave the New York Times in December 1986.

Cranston wondered aloud how Gregg didn't know that Rodriguez was involved with the contras when the NSC staff, the State Department, and Gen. Paul Gorman, head of the U.S. Southern Command, all knew that the illegal contra aid operation was Rodriguez's real priority in Central America. Gregg said he had to agree with Cranston's (heavily sarcastic) interpretation of his testimony: that Oliver North and his longtime friend Felix Rodriguez were conspiring against him! At his trial Oliver North testified that "I was put in touch with Mr. Rodriguez by Mr. Gregg of the Vice President's office" [34] and that Gregg knew about the arms shipments. During his confirmation hearing Gregg said North's statements were "just not true." [35]

Hopeless as all of this was, Cranston's interrogation hovered around the fundamental question. Recalling Bush's statement in October 1986 that Felix Rodriguez was not working for the U.S. government and Gregg's own knowledge that Rodriguez had received help from the U.S. military in El Salvador, Cranston asked Gregg, "Did you inform Bush of those facts so he could make calculated misleading statements, or did you keep him in the dark so he could make misleading statements?"

Gregg evaded the question, contending that Rodriguez was not being paid a government salary but was living off his CIA pension. He also insisted that Bush "made no misleading statements." [36] During the hearings, Cranston had accused Gregg of using Rodriguez's work with the Salvadoran government as "a cover story," to which Gregg replied that Cranston was providing "a rather full-blown example of a conspiracy theory." [37]

That Donald Gregg had blithely lied under oath was apparent to everyone.
Even one of his Republican supporters on the committee, Sen. Richard Lugar (Rep.-Ind.), said that some of Gregg's testimony "certainly strains belief." Another Republican, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, noted -- perhaps disingenuously, certainly inaccurately -- that other Bush ambassadorial appointments of individuals more heavily involved in the Iran/contra affair than Gregg had "sailed through." [38]

Ultimately it was power that overrode perceptions, not to mention truth. The senators did not really want to challenge Bush, whose popularity was soaring. Just to get the administration to release relevant documents it had been withholding, Cranston had to promise to schedule a vote on Gregg. [39]

Three Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee joined all the Republicans, in voting to report the nomination favorably to the full Senate. One of the Democrats, Terry Sanford of North Carolina, confirmed Cranston's explanation of his vote -- that he was afraid "the path would lead to Bush." "If Gregg was lying," said Sanford, "he was lying to protect the president, which is different from lying to protect himself." [40] Oh, really?



* Jane Hunter is the author of several books and contributor to several foreign newspaper as well as the editor of the independent monthly report Israeli Foreign Affairs, which is available for $20 per year from Israeli Foreign Affairs, P.O. Box 19580, Sacramento, CA 95819.

1. Joel Brinkley, "Bush's Role in Iran Affair: Questions and Answers," New York Times, January 29, 1988.

2. For more on Harari and the Harari Network, see Israeli Foreign Affairs, May 1987, and February, March, April, May and June 1988.

3. Andrew Cockburn, "A friend in need," Independent, March 19, 1988.

4. Uri Dan, "Israeli is Power Behind Noriega," New York Post, July 11, 1988.

5. Stewart M. Powell and John P. Wallach, "Israeli Working For Noriega," San Francisco Examiner, October 22, 1989.

6. Hearings of the Narcotics, Terrorism, and International Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 4, 1988.

7. Transcript, ABC News, April 7, 1988.

8. Jim Redden, "Burning Bush," Willamette Week (Portland, OR), July 14-20, 1988; United Press International (UPI), May 15, 1988; Robert Parry and Rod Nordland, "Guns for Drugs?," Newsweek, May 23, 1988.

9. ABC News interview, May 28, 1988.

10. UPI, May 15, 1988.

11. Interview with Brenneke, Israeli Foreign Affairs, June 1988.

12. Newsweek, May 23, 1988.

13. "Arms, Drugs and the Contras," a Frontline television documentary aired on U.S. Public Television stations in May 1988, also identified Rodriguez as the contact.

14. Parry and Nordland, op. cit., n. 8.

15. Steven Emerson, Secret Warriors (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1988), p. 129.

16. Ibid, pp. 125-26.

17. Brenneke's documents of his activities are reproduced in The Brenneke Report: An Assessment of the International Center's Investigation, Washington, DC, August 25, 1988. (Brenneke worked for the International Center for Development Policy after he went public.) For a more detailed examination of Brenneke's veracity, see Israeli Foreign Affairs, October 1988 and Jane Hunter, "A Renaissance Man," NACLA, Report on the Americas, September/October 1988. It must also be said that some analysts do not believe that Jose Blandon is the essence of credibility, either, even though his testimony was less disconcerting than Brenneke's.

18. David Hoffman, "Bush Lays 'Slanderous' Leaks to Kerry; Senator Denies Charge; Contras and Drug-Running Involved," Washington Post, May 17, 1988.

19. Doyle McManus, "Senate Panel to Probe Iran-Contra Papers," Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1989.

20. Sara Fritz, "Hamilton Prods Bush on 2 Papers," Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1989.

21. "Dispute over Iran-Contra papers grows," Washington Post, in Sacramento Bee, April 27, 1989, which notes that incomplete versions of two of the six documents had reached the committee.

22. Doyle McManus, "Details Surface of U.S. Deal to Aid Contras," Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1989; "Iran-Contra Prober Doubts Bush's Denials," UPI, San Francisco Chronicle, May 8, 1989.

23. Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, "Were Relevant Documents Withheld from the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair?" June 1989 (Doc. No. 199-533-89-1), p. 7.

24. Stephen Engelberg, " 'No Quid Pro Quo President Insists," New York Times, May 5, 1989.

25. Council on Hemispheric Affairs, "Bush, Gregg, Negroponte: Was There a Quid Pro Quo Deal?" Press release, May 16, 1989.

26. Government submission to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, April 6, 1989, Criminal No. 88-0080-02-GAG, pp. 31-2.

27. Gregg's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 15, 1989.

28. Ibid.

29. Chosun Ilbo quoted by Peter Maass, "Gregg Post Causes Ire In Seoul; Envoy's CIA Past Resented by Critics," Washington Post, January 14, 1989.

30. Robert Parry, "Bush's Envoy on the Grill," Newsweek, May 29, 1989.

31. Robert Pear, "Bush Nominee Is Quizzed Over Illicit Contra Aid," New York Times, May 13, 1989.

32. Joseph Mianowany, "Former Bush aide tries to explain Iran-Contra role," UPI, May 13, 1989.

33. Emerson, op. cit., n. 15, pp. 124-26.

34. "'Black Hole,'" Newsweek, April 24, 1989.

35. Lee May, "Panel Probes Ex-Bush Aide on Contra Supply Scheme," Los Angeles Times, May 13, 1989.

36. Gregg's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 15, 1989.

37. Joseph Pichirallo and Walter Pincus, "Gregg: Kept Bush in Dark About North Role; Senators Greet Ex-Aides' Contra Testimony with Skepticism," Washington Post, May 13, 1989.

38. Mary McGrory, "The Truth According to Gregg," Washington Post, June 22, 1989.

39. Walter Pincus, "State Dept. Budget, 4 Nominations Advance; Iran-Contra Questions Delayed 1 Appointee," Washington Post, June 9, 1989.

40. McGrory, op. cit., n. 38.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:49 am

Bush and Noriega
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

During the 1988 campaign, George Bush was repeatedly asked whether, when he met with General Manuel Noriega in 1983 and 1985, they had discussed the allegations that Noriega was involved in narcotics money laundering. Bush managed to neatly evade the issue with the response that he did not know about the reports of Noriega's involvement with drug trafficking until a U.S. court indicted the general in February 1988. Commented US News & World Report, "The best that can be said is that Bush displayed little curiosity in an environment rich with allegations about Noriega." A prosecutor who worked on Noriega's indictment said Bush "either closed his eyes to it or deliberately ignored it." [1]

Yes, but he got away with it. Bush himself said of the December 1983 meeting, "What I talked to the Panamanians about was doing what they could to get their banks out of laundering any money, that was laundering it for the narcotics traffic." A Bush spokesman said that Gen. Noriega was at the 1983 meeting, but he [Noriega] didn't "participate." [2]

Donald Gregg also attended the 1983 meeting [3] and, according to Jose Blandon, former intelligence aide to Noreiga, Gregg obtained Noriega's commitment "to help secretly arm, train and finance the contras in early 1984." Gregg, however, denies ever dealing with Noriega. [4] In September 1988, Panamanian Col. Roberto Diaz Herrera and Jose Blandon appeared in a British documentary, saying that Gen. Noriega claimed to have photographs and tape recordings made at this meeting that would show "Bush or his aides knew that the United States was helping to train Nicaraguan insurgents at a time when this was prohibited by American law." [5]

In December 1985, Bush met in Washington with the then U.S. Ambassador to Panama, Edward Everett Briggs. According to a memo prepared by Bush's aides to brief him for the meeting, its purpose was to "discuss U.S. relations with Panama and narcotics matters." In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Briggs had sent a number of cables to the State Department detailing allegations of Noriega's narcotics trafficking. [6] Nonetheless, Briggs later obligingly said he had lacked the evidence to brief Bush on that subject. That somewhat surprised a Treasury Department aide and two congressional staffers who said Briggs briefed them about the allegations 17 days after he met with Bush. [7]

In November 1987, [retired] Adm. Daniel J. Murphy, who had been Bush's chief of staff until 1985, visited Noriega in Panama. According to Jose Blandon, Murphy undercut U.S. efforts to persuade Noriega to retire by proposing an alternative deal and telling the Panamanian that "anything could happen" after the 1988 election. Accompanying Murphy on his trip was Korean lobbyist (and central figure in the Koreagate scandal) Tongsun Park. They reportedly promised to lobby for Japanese economic assistance, both with Japan and with the White House. A Bush spokesperson said that Murphy had spoken with Donald Gregg after Murphy returned from Panama. However, the spokesperson did not know whether the two had talked before Murphy left. [8]

What is known is that in 1988 the Reagan administration ordered the State Department, the Pentagon, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the CIA not to cooperate with the GAO (the investigative arm of the Congress) in a "case study" it had been ordered to conduct, using Panama as an example of how drug trafficking by foreign officials influences U.S. foreign policy decisions. "Democrats and investigators said the White House order was aimed at preventing potentially embarrassing disclosures from rocking the presidential campaign of Republican Vice President George Bush." [9]



1. Kenneth T. Walsh and Andy Plattner, "Miami Nice: George Bush as drug czar," US News & World Report, July 11,1988.

2. Jim McGee and David Hoffman, "Rivals Hint Bush Understates Knowledge of Noriega Ties," Washington Post, May 8, 1988.

3. Stephen Engelberg and Jeff Gerth, "Bush and Noriega: Their 20-Year Relationship," New York Times, September 28, 1988.

4. "More on Bush-Noriega," Newsweek, October 31, 1988.

5. Gerald M. Boyd, "Aides to Bush Move to Counter Report on Noriega," New York Times, September 23, 1988.

6. Stephen Engelberg and Jeff Gerth, "Officials Say Bush Heard '85 Charge Against Noriega," New York Times, May 8, 1988.

7. Stephen Engelberg, "Envoy's Account on Noriega Surprises Three He Briefed," New York Times, May 14, 1988.

8. Michael Wines and Ronald J. Ostrow, "Ex-Bush Aide Seen Spoiling Bid to Oust Noriega," Los Angeles Times, February 11, 1988.

9. Brian Barger, "White House Blocks GAO Report of Noriega," United Press International, August 18, 1988.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:51 am

Bush's Boy's Club: Skull and Bones
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990



To be a member of the ruling elite, George Bush must meet certain criteria. He must be white, he must be male, and he must be rich. He must also belong to certain elite clubs and institutions which help to distinguish him from those he is called upon to rule.

George Bush is a member of Skull and Bones, an elite secret society open only to a select 15 males in their senior year at Yale University. If this club appears somewhat exclusionary, don't worry; they have made great strides in the past few years. Recent Bones inductees include a few blacks, gays, and even some foreign students. However, it has been said that if women were ever allowed into the secret "tomb" (meeting place) of Skull and Bones, the tomb would "have to be bulldozed." [1]


The importance of Skull and Bones is not that it provides good gossip about young males doing strange things in tombs, but that it provides a certain bond between members which they carry for life. Membership to Skull and Bones is the first initiation into the world of power politics and capitalism. It is somewhat akin to a "junior" old boy's network.

One of the interesting aspects of this secret society is the number of Bones members who, after graduation, move on to do intelligence work. There has even been informed speculation that there is a "Bones cell" in the CIA.

Whether there is a Bones cell or not in the CIA is open to interesting debate. We can, however, examine the histories of several Bonesmen who have gone on to illustrious careers in intelligence work.

One of the most unusual Bonesmen is the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Known best for his anti-Vietnam war activities and his political activism at Riverside Church in New York City, Sloane Coffin was recruited by the CIA shortly after he graduated from Yale in 1949. Although his tenure at the Agency was short, he is one example of the CIA's use of the secret society to fill their ranks. [2]

Another illustrious Skull and Bones member with close ties to the CIA is arch conservative and renowned propagandist, William F. Buckley. According to several experts on the CIA, Buckley began his cooperation with the Agency while he was in Mexico City in 1952, where his good friend, E. Howard Hunt, was CIA station chief at the time. [3]

As an interesting aside, Buckley and Bush (as well as many other Washington and business elites) are members of the "prestigious" older-boys California getaway, "The Bohemian Club."

It is not surprising, given the Buckley family's wealth and status, that Bill's older brother, James Buckley, is also a member of Skull and Bones. From 1981-82 Buckley was Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology where it was his job to see that U.S. military aid went to support the right regimes. [4]

He once stated that CIA covert activities in Chile, which led to the overthrow of democratically-elected Salvador Allende, were necessary because, "It was only by virtue of covert help by the United States that these free institutions were able to survive in the face of increasingly repressive measures by the Allende regime. [5]

Buckley was also directly connected to the work of the Chilean secret police, DINA. In September 1976, DINA agents assassinated former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt in Washington DC. "Independent researchers verified through the FBI and Department of Justice -- that on September 14, 1976, one week before the Letelier assassination, Michael Townley and Guillermo Novo [two DINA agents involved in the assassination] drove to the office of Senator James Buckley in New York City for a meeting. Buckley had helped finance trips to Chile for Novo and others close to the killing." [6]

When CIA agent David Atlee Phillips was accused of being involved in the assassination he started an organization entitled "Challenge: An Intelligence Officers' Legal Action Fund." The board of "Challenge" included former CIA director William Colby, former CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick, former intelligence officer General Richard Stillwell, and interestingly, James Buckley. [7]

Hugh Cunningham, Bonesman from the class of 1934, is a Rhodes Scholar with a lengthy career in the CIA. He was in the Agency from 1947 to 1973 during which time he served in top positions with the Clandestine Services, the Board of National Estimates, and was the Director of Training from 1969- 73. He also served with the CIA's precursor, the Central Intelligence Group from 1945-47. [8]

William Bundy is a Bonesman from the class of 1939. Bundy began his intelligence career in the OSS during World War II. From 1951-61 he worked at the CIA, including at its Office of National Estimates. [9] During the Vietnam War, he was the Assistant Secretary of State for Asian Affairs and a vocal advocate for escalating the war.

A true Cold War liberal, Bundy expressed his belief in the necessity of CIA covert actions in his foreword to the book The Counter-Insurgency Era: ''The preservation of liberal values, for America and other nations, required the use of the full range of U.S. power, including if necessary, its more shady applications." [10] "Shady applications" is a veiled euphemism for covert activities which support dictators, overthrow legitimate governments, and contribute to the destabilization of world order.


From the class of 1950 comes Bonesman Dino Pionzio. His claim to fame was the time he spent as CIA deputy chief of station in Santiago, Chile in 1970, during the massive CIA destabilization of the Allende government. He is also a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. [11] The CIA proved not to be lucrative enough for Pionzio so he left his intelligence career behind and became an investment banker. As of 1983, he was a vice president at the investment firm Dillon, Read. (Just to illustrate how small these circles really are -- Nicholas Brady, the current Secretary of the Treasury was the co-chair of Dillon, Read and a graduate of Yale University. Brady, however, was not a Bonesman. He belonged to another Yale secret society called "Book and Snake." [12]

From the days of George Bush's father, Prescott Bush, comes former spook F. Trubee Davidson. Davidson, a Bonesman from the class of 1918, was the Director of Personnel at the CIA in 1951. [13] Davidson then begot little Bonesmen, Endicott Peabody Davidson and Daniel Pomeroy Davidson. Endicott Davidson went to work at the law firm of Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam, and Roberts (Henry Stimson was the Secretary of War during World War II and also a Bonesman).

Another interesting Bonesman is David Lyle Boren, the Senate Democrat from Oklahoma. While he is not an employee of the CIA (some say this is open to question) Boren nevertheless is part of the intelligence community because he is the chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Finally, but certainly not at the end of the list, comes Richard A. Moore. Moore began his intelligence career in World War II where he served as a special assistant to the chief of military intelligence. He was rewarded for this service with the Legion of Merit for Intelligence Work. [14]

In the 1970s, Moore was special assistant to President Nixon and in the thick of things during the Watergate scandal. At his recent congressional confirmation hearing for the post of Ambassador to Ireland, Moore was asked by one of the committee members if he was one of 14 unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators of the Watergate scandal. [15] Moore, however, emphatically denied the accusation. It is interesting to note that Moore, a Bonesman from 1936, was recently appointed to a high-level State Department post by George Bush, Bonesman, 1948.

The list of Bonesmen-made-good goes on and on and includes McGeorge Bundy (National Security Adviser to Kennedy and Johnson), William Draper (Defense Department Import-Export Bank, etc.), Dean Witter, Jr. (investment banker), Potter Stewart (Supreme Court Justice who swore in George Bush as Vice President in 1981), John Forbes Kerry (Senator from Massachusetts), Winston Lord (Kissinger protege and former Ambassador to China), Robert H. Gow (president of Zapata Oil, once owned by Bush and which had possible links to the CIA), and Henry Luce of Time-Life fame. [16]

This old (and new) boys network helps to illustrate the old adage "it's not what you know, it's who you know." Given the extent of Bones members in intelligence, it is also "how you come to know it."

A special thanks to Peggy Adler-Robohm who provided research assistance for this article.



1. Ron Rosenbaum, ''The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones," Esquire Magazine, September 1977; David Dunlap, "Yale Secret Society Resists Peek into Its Crypt," New York Times, November 4, 1988, pp. B1-2.

2. Ibid.

3. Donald Freed and Fred Landis, Death in Washington: The Murder of Orlando Letelier (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Company, 1980), p. 152; Winslow Peck, "Death on Embassy Row," CounterSpy, December 1976, p. 65.

4. Ronald Brownstein and Nina Easton, Reagan's Ruling Class (Washington, DC: The Presidential Accountability Group, 1982), p. 568.

5. Ibid., p. 570.

6. Freed and Landis, op. cit., n. 3, p. 168.

7. Louis Wolf, "Old Soldiers Fade Away ... Old Spies Lobby," CovertAction Information Bulletin, December 1980, p. 27.

8. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1974), p. 110-11; Yale Alumni Directory, I985.

9. Ronald Payne and Christopher Dobson, Who's Who in Espionage, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984), p. 110.

10. Douglas S. Blaufarb, The Counter-Insurgency Era (New York: Free Press, 1977), p. X, quoted from Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (Boston: South End Press, 1979), p. 373.

11. Members List, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1989.

12. Yale Yearbook, 1952

13. New York Times, July 5, 1951.

14. Intelligence Newsletter (Paris), May 24,1989.

15. Washington Post, August 8, 1989, p. A15.

16. Yale Yearbook, 1969.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:53 am

Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Bush's "Secret Team"
by Jane Hunter*
Winter 1990



The media honeymoon that marked the first weeks of the Bush administration soon gave way to complaints that the new administration had no overall direction and no foreign policy. In April 1989, New York Times White House correspondent Maureen Dowd noted that:

White House officials worry that the coming evaluations of the "first hundred days" will suggest that the President has done little of note so far. They are nervous that pundits will charge that Mr. Bush has no agenda, no money, no strategy, no message, no ideology, no world view and no explanation of his mysterious role in the Iran-contra scandal. [1]

It might take some time for George Bush to assemble a coherent foreign policy, even one simply for purposes of display. However, from the very beginning, the Bush administration has had the mechanism - and the actors in place - for pursuing a covert foreign policy.

The day after his election, Bush announced he would receive daily briefings from the CIA. According to a former CIA official, "This is a major change. It says that Bush wants a very close and direct relationship with the agency, without any filters in between. It says something about the role of intelligence and the degree to which the CIA, not the other intelligence agencies, is going to be a major influence on policy development. It says to me that the agency is back in the saddle." [2]

Well before he took the oath of office, Bush wrote a letter to UNIT A leader Jonas Savimbi assuring the longtime South African and CIA client of continued U.S. support for his war against Angola. One of Bush's first moves as president was to make a highly unusual appearance before the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committee, asking them to fund a CIA operation to influence the May 1989 Panamanian elections. [3]

Unlike the ideologues of the Reagan era, the Bush people have no driving need to unite the nation in a war against "godless communism." The new administration does not want to lead public crusades. Indeed. it does not want anyone to look at what it is doing, or even wonder about it.

It is possible to draw these conclusions by looking at the history of the people whom Bush has appointed to senior positions in his administration. By examining the record, we see that many of the Bush appointees were involved in the Iran/contra affair and should probably be in jail rather than making policy. Furthermore, some of Bush's new (and old) recruits are longtime intelligence operatives.

The New (and Old) Players

Robert Gates: Gates was deputy director of the CIA under the late William Casey, but Congress refused to consider him as Casey's replacement because of his knowledge of the CIA's role in the Iran/contra affair. Now, under Bush, he holds the position of deputy national security adviser.

At the NSC, it is Gates's job to convene a daily "deputies committee" meeting of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Deputy Director of the CIA, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and when needed, the Deputy Secretaries of State and Defense will attend. The idea, according to an administration official, is to avoid the plethora of inter-agency committees - the Restricted Inter-Agency Group (RIG) being the most infamous, which was devised to direct the secret war against Nicaragua. [4]

John Tower: One of several instances in which the President tried to repay those who helped him squeeze through the Iran/contra scandal was his nomination of John Tower as Defense Secretary. Tower, as the Reagan-appointed head of the Tower Commission, was the man who cleared Bush of complicity in the scandal - thus acquiring the moral status of co-conspirator. Bush stuck by Tower's nomination through weeks of revelations about the former Texas Senator's sordid past up until the time when the nomination went down in. a lopsided defeat on the Senate floor.

Tower was asked during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club whether his nomination was "a payoff" for the "clean bill of health" the Tower Commission gave Bush. He responded:

I think that when you consider the fact that the Commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie in addition to myself, that would be sort of impugning the integrity of Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie .... We found nothing to implicate the Vice President .... I wonder what kind of payoff they're going to get? [5]

Perhaps Tower did not consider Scowcroft's appointment as Bush's national security adviser sufficiently rewarding.

Thomas Pickering: In December 1988 Bush appointed Thomas Pickering, another Iran/contra player, to the prestigious post of Ambassador to the United Nations. Former Secretary of State George Shultz recommended him to Ronald Reagan, who sent him as Ambassador to El Salvador, as "the cream of America's career diplomats." 6

Yet during his time in El Salvador, from 1983-85, Pickering became entwined in the Iran/contra affair and never bothered to report some of his activities to the State Department. [7] In his (extensively censored) deposition to the Congressional committee investigating the Iran/contra scandal, Pickering admitted receiving a document in El Salvador from a representative of a "private" contra support group and delivering it to Oliver North in Washington, D.C.

The group was having trouble arranging for the delivery of the weapons and equipment - enough to outfit 4,000-5,000 contras - listed in the document and wanted it passed to contra boss Adolfo Calero. "At that point I had heard enough rumors of Ollie's activities in connection with private support for the contras that I thought he would be a useful address," Pickering told committee staffers. Later, he said, intelligence reached him that the weapons had been delivered.

Pickering also dismissed communications he received from Donald Gregg (at the time, Vice President Bush's National Security Adviser) regarding Felix Rodriguez as well as those from Gen. Paul Gorman, head of the U.S. Southern Command. Rodriguez was well connected to Bush and Gregg, as Gorman's communications clearly noted, and Oliver North wanted to use him as well. The general also spelled out that "Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [one word censored] where he wants to assist the FDN," the main contra force bivouacked in Honduras.

Nevertheless, Pickering staunchly maintained that his contact with Rodriguez mainly concerned the helicopter warfare techniques he was supposedly developing for the Salvadorans. [8]

Pickering's contention that, during his tenure as ambassador in Israel, from 1985-1988, he had no idea that the arms-for- hostages machinations might be closer to the truth. The Israelis would hardly want regular reports going to the State Department of how, working through friends in the White House and the Iran/contra network, they were guiding U.S. policy toward Teheran.

John Negroponte: Bush's choice as Ambassador to Mexico was John Negroponte, who was Ambassador - many thought the term proconsul was more descriptive - to Honduras between 1981 and 1985. A foreign service officer in Vietnam in the 1960s, then an aide to former Secretary of State Kissinger during the Paris peace talks, Negroponte was assigned in the early 1980s to oversee the assembling of the mercenary army that came to be known as the contras and to ensure continuing Honduran cooperation. [9] According to one report, Negroponte "allegedly helped [Gen. Gustavo] Alvarez create Battalion 316, an elite unit responsible for more than 100 death squad killings." [10]

Credit: Rick Reinhard
Robert Gates was slated to be head of the CIA but Congress refused because of his role in Iran/contra.

In a written response to a question posed during his confirmation hearing, Negroponte wrote: "I was net involved in the operational details of contra activities, and my contact with contra leaders was strictly limited." [11]

It is an open question as to whether Negroponte, whose last post in the Reagan administration was as deputy to National Security Adviser Colin Powell, is intended to preside over the dismantling of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) or to protect it from defeat by the ascendant coalition slightly to its left, led by Cuauhtemoc Cardenas. The Mexican government was unimpressed with Negroponte's reportedly close personal connections with Bush and hesitated a week before approving his appointment. "The impression people have is that you don't send Negroponte to a place where you don't expect trouble," said Jorge Castaneda, a Mexican political scientist. [12]

Melton and Others

Richard Melton: George Bush has picked Richard Melton to be Ambassador to Brazil. Melton was Reagan's Ambassador to Nicaragua until he was kicked out in June 1988 for helping to organize a violent demonstration. Melton has an interesting knack for turning up in unstable political situations - he was stationed in the Dominican Republic when the U.S. invaded in 1965 and was sent as Ambassador to Portugal after the overthrow of the military government in 1974.

Ironically, a bit of Melton's previous experience was gained in Brazil when he was a political affairs officer at the U.S. consulate in Recife in 1968. Ricardo Zaratini, now an adviser to a member of the Chamber of Deputies, recently saw a picture of Melton and recognized him as one of two U.S. officials who interrogated him in 1968. Zaratini, at the time a union organizer, says he had been arrested several days earlier and tortured before his confrontation with Melton. The encounter was brief, said Zaratini. "They were wearing short -sleeve shirts. They did not touch me." Melton, recalled Zaratini, "asked me what I had against the United States." [13]

Brazilian officials, who had expected Herbert Okun, a former U.S. consul in Brazil, to be appointed, were greatly displeased. [14] Brazilian government sources said that, while Brazil would not refuse to accept Melton, he would be put at the end of a long list of diplomats waiting to be officially received. [15]

Richard Armitage: Another Bush nominee - and Iran/contra activist - Richard L. Armitage, withdrew from consideration for the post of Secretary of the Army to avoid hearings "that were expected to include questions about his role in the Iran-contra affair" as well as allegations of drug dealing during his service in the Vietnam war. Armitage also resigned as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

In December 1985, Armitage discussed Iran arms sales with Menachem Meron, the director-general of the Israeli defense ministry, and, according to an unreleased Israeli report on the Iran/contra affair, told Meron that, besides Secretary Caspar Weinberger, he [Armitage] was the only Pentagon official "in the picture on the Iranian issue." [16]

Robert Kimmitt: Robert Kimmitt is yet another actor involved in the Iran/contra scandal who now serves in the Bush administration. Kimmitt was the executive secretary of the NSC during much of the Reagan presidency. As a member of Bush's campaign staff, Kimmitt is credited with dreaming up the choice of Dan Quayle for vice president. Kimmitt is a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran and is one of the only people to know if Dan Quayle is indeed "impeachment insurance" for Bush. [17]

According to one account, Kimmitt was not part of the Oliver North-Robert McFarlane inner circle at the NSC, [18] but he was involved in the quid pro quo deals with Honduras in 1985-86. (These were the agreements through which the Reagan administration secured Honduras's continued cooperation in the war against Nicaragua and in which George Bush played an important role.) As Bush's under secretary of state for political affairs, Kimmitt recently pressured Honduras into ignoring the agreement of the Central American governments to disband the contras and into dropping its demand that the mercenaries leave Honduran territory. [19]

Cresencio Arcos: Cresencio S. Arcos, Jr., commonly known as Chris Arcos was deputy director of the State Department's notorious Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Office between September 1985 and August 1986. Bush has recently chosen him to succeed Everett Briggs as Ambassador to Honduras. [20]

A career foreign service officer with the U.S. Information Agency since January 1973, Arcos had spent the five years leading up to his NHAO assignment as a public affairs counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras under then Ambassador John Negroponte.

While in Honduras, Arcos said he had the opportunity to meet Oliver North and Felix Rodriguez. Rodriguez, he claims, "was referred to me by Mr. Jorge Mas Canosa, who is the President of the Cuban-American (National] Foundation in Miami."

In his deposition to the Congressional Iran/contra committee, Arcos recounted meeting Rodriguez again, in December 1985 during a stopover in El Salvador on a one-day trip to Honduras he made with Oliver North and deputy assistant secretary of state William Walker (now U .S. Ambassador to El Salvador). Arcos said he and Walker became good friends when Walker was deputy chief of mission in Honduras from 1980-82.

Arcos also recalled sitting at a meeting of the Restricted Inter-Agency Group (RIG) and listening to Walker, Elliott Abrams, and NHAO director Robert Deumling, discuss a request by Oliver North to give Rob Owen a consultancy at NHAO. After his stint at NHAO, Arcos went to the State Department once again, this time as coordinator for public diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean. [21]

John Kelly: John Kelly, a long time State Department employee, has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. Before he left to begin work as Ambassador to Lebanon in August 1986, Kelly sought out Robert McFarlane (then no longer National Security Adviser) and asked for his help in obtaining release of U.S. hostages in Lebanon. Kelly is also known to have met with an assistant of Oliver North regarding the same issue. Kelly acknowledged having known McFarlane for over a decade and having met North during the Reagan years.

McFarlane told Kelly that he might be asked to help with a hostage release and three months later he was. Kelly admits that he followed instructions from Oliver North and John Poindexter, McFarlane's successor, communicating through a back channel without informing the State Department. Secretary of State George Shultz reprimanded Kelly for this breach and sent him back to Lebanon. Kelly's involvement might have been more extensive - much of the testimony he gave Iran/contra committee investigators has been blacked out. [22]

John Bolton: In February 1989, Bolton became Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. Until that time, he was Assistant Attorney General, a post he also held under Attorney General Edwin Meese. In the Meese Justice Department, Bolton sabotaged Sen. John Kerry's investigation into contra connections with drug trafficking, according to an aide to Kerry's subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations, by failing to provide requested information and by working actively with Republican senators who were opposed to Kerry's investigation. [23]

Herman Cohen: Cohen, the Bush administration's new Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, was formerly on the Reagan administration's National Security Council staff. According to the London weekly SouthScan, Cohen "emerged as a key actor in the arming of Unita through Zaire" [24] which the CIA began after the repeal of the Clark Amendment in 1985.

Lawrence Eagleburger: The refusal of Eagleburger, who made $900,000 last year as president of Kissinger Associates, to reveal the names of all the "consulting" company's clients during his confirmation hearing for Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush administration, provoked an outcry which led nowhere. (National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, another associate, salaried at $293,000, also refused this request during his confirmation hearing.25) Speculation on exactly what Henry Kissinger has been doing as a private citizen - and for whom - resulted in the portrayal of Eagleburger as a man who would have a special relationship with the political and corporate elites of the creditor nations.

James Lilley, who was the CIA's China station chief when Bush was ambassador there ... is now himself Ambassador to China.

Yet Eagleburger's involvement in the Reagan administration's covert partnership with Israel suggests that there will be an additional dimension to his function in the Bush administration, where cooperation with Israel is certain to be a key element in covert policy.

"Strategic cooperation" is the code phrase for U.S.-Israeli covert operations against developing countries that was formalized in three "strategic" agreements during the Reagan presidency. In 1983, a U.S.-Israeli political-military committee was established and David Kimche, director of the Israeli foreign ministry, and Eagleburger "were named as coordinators of the new strategic cooperation outside the Middle East." [26] Kimche and Eagleburger met at least three times, the last one being in April 1984, when a major topic on the agenda was Israeli support of the administration's activities in Central America.

In addition to Donald Gregg, [28] Bush has kept at least two other CIA veterans in circulation. James Lilley, who was the CIA's China station chief when Bush was ambassador there (and was most recently Ambassador to South Korea, following a stint at the NSC and in the Taiwan diplomatic office), [29] is now himself Ambassador to China, where he is well positioned to continue the covert relationship, most notably coordination of Cambodia policies.

Vernon Walters, formerly deputy director of the CIA and most recently the Reagan administration's Ambassador to the United Nations, is now serving as Ambassador to West Germany. [30] It is not clear whether Walters will continue the special missions to trouble spots around the world that kept him busy during his tenure at the UN. He has already made it clear, however, that he is dead set against the nuclear disarmament that West Germans are increasingly demanding. [31]

With this crew of Iran/contra conspirators assembled, it would be wise for the major media outlets to have reporters mulling over administration handouts and statements for subtle signs of purpose.

Perhaps now some of the highly regarded (and highly paid) columnists and news analysts who were so shocked when the Iran/contra scandal broke might not be so easily fooled the next time around.



* Jane Hunter is the author of several books and contributor to several foreign newspaper as well as editor of the independent monthly report Israeli Foreign Affairs which is available for $20 per year from: Israeli Foreign Affairs, P.O. Box 19580, Sacramento, CA 95819.

1. Maureen Dowd, "White House," New York Times, April 14, 1989.

2. News Conference, November 9, 1988; Stephen Engelberg, "With Bush in the Oval Office, Is the CIA 'Back in the Saddle'?" New York Times, November 13, 1988. The article notes that the CIA briefed Bush every morning when he was Vice President, after which Bush "usually attended the national security briefing for Mr. Reagan."

3. Doyle McManus, "CIA Aids Opposition in Panama Election," Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1989, citing U.S. News & World Report.

4. Bernard Weinraub, "Bush Backs Plan to Enhance Role of Security Staff," New York Times, February 2, 1989.

5. "How Tower Responds," New York Times, March 2, 1989.

6. John M. Goshko, "Low-Profile, High-Prestige Diplomat," Washington Post, December 7, 1988.

7. Walter Pincus, "Pickering Told Hill Panel of Aiding Contras; Bush Choice for U.N. Assisted on Donation," Washington Post, December 8, 1988.

8. Deposition of Thomas R Pickering, July 15, 1987, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, Appendix B: Volume 20, 100th Congress, 1st Session, H. Rep. No. 100-433, S. Rept. No. 100-216, pp. 950-996. Quotations, pp. 962, 973.

9. Adam Platt, et al., "Have Savvy, Will Travel," Newsweek, February 20, 1989.

10. "Bush's ambassadorial mistakes," Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Washington D.C., June 21, 1989.

11. Robert Pear, "A Bush Nominee Runs Afoul of the Contra Issue," New York Times, April 19, 1989.

12. Op. cit., n. 9.

13. O Estado de Sao Paulo, May 31,1989, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Latin America, U.S. Department of Commerce, June 1, 1989, p. 47.

14. Folha de Sao Paulo, May 27, 1989, FBIS Latin America, May 31, l989, p. 35.

15. EFE (Spanish News Agency, Madrid) 1400 UCT, June 2, 1989; FBIS Latin America, June 5, 1989, p. 42.

16. Andrew Rosenthal, "Armitage Withdraws as Army Secretary Nominee," New York Times News Service, International Herald Tribune, May 27, l989.

17. Joe Conason, ''The New Zoo," Village Voice, November 22, 1988.

18. Jane Mayer & Doyle McManus, Landslide (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1988), pp. 57-63.

19. "Honduras Bows to U.S. Pressure," Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Washington D.C., June 21, 1989.

20. Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Washington DC, July 5, 1989.

21. Deposition of Cresencio Arcos, May 11, 1987, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, Appendix B: Volume 1, 100th Congress, 1st Session, H. Rep. No. 100-433, S. Rept. No. 100-216, pp. 1239-1358. Quotations, pp. 1342 and 1253.

22. Deposition of John H. Kelly, June 10, 1987, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, Appendix B: Volume 14, 100th Congress, 1st Session, H. Rep. No. 100-433, S. Rept. No. 100-216, pp. 1153-1206.

23. David Corn and Jefferson Morley, "Beltway Bandits," The Nation, April 17, 1989.

24. "Hopes for Unita cut-off recede as Mobutu's dependence on Washington increases," SouthScan, April 5, 1989.

25. ''The out-of-office reign of Henry I," U.S. News & World Report, March 27, 1989.

26. "Israeli arms sales pick up," Latin America Weekly Report, January 13, 1984.

27. John M. Goshko, "Israeli Technical Aid to El Salvador Part of Meetings Here," Washington Post, April 21, 1984.

28. See Jane Hunter, The VP's Office: Cover for Iran/Contra, this issue.

29. The Today Show, NBC, June 8, 1989; Jim Mann, "Bush Reportedly Picks Ex-CIA Officer as Ambassador to China," Los Angeles Times, February 2, 1989.

30. See "Vernon Walters: Crypto-diplomat and Terrorist," CAIB Number 26, Spring 1987, p. 3.

31. Terrence Petty, "Bluntness is trademark of new U.S. envoy to Bonn," AP, Sacramento Bee, April 25, 1989.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

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Old Nazis and the New Right: The Republican Party and Fascists
by Russ Bellant*
Winter 1990



It is May 17, 1985: Ronald Reagan has been back in the nation's capital less than two weeks after his much criticized trip to the Bitburg cemetery in West Germany. Now, floodlights and television cameras that are part of a President's entourage are waiting at the Shoreham Hotel, as are 400 luncheon guests.

Ronald Reagan had recently characterized the Nazi Waffen SS as "victims" and these comments held special meaning for some of his afternoon luncheon guests. Although it was a Republican Party affair, it was not the usual GOP set, but a special ethnic outreach unit, the National Republican Heritage Groups (Nationalities) Council (RHGC).

The RHGC is an umbrella for various ethnic Republican clubs and operates under the auspices of the Republican National Committee. It has a special type of outreach and appears to have consciously recruited some of its members - and some of its leaders-from an Eastern European emigre network which includes anti-Semites, racists, authoritarians, and fascists, including sympathizers and collaborators of Hitler's Third Reich, former Nazis, and even possible war criminals. The persons in this network are a part of the radical right faction of the ethnic communities they claim to represent.

These anti-democratic and racialist components of the RHGC use anticommunist sentiments as a cover for their views while they operate as a defacto emigre fascist network within the Republican Party. Some of the unsavory personalities who were present in that 1985 luncheon audience would later join the 1988 election campaign of President George Bush.

This fascist network within the Republican Party represents a small but significant element of the coalition which brought Ronald Reagan into the White House. It is from this network that the George Bush presidential campaign assembled its ethnic outreach unit in 1988 - a unit that saw eight resignations by persons charged with anti-Semitism, racism, and even Nazi collaboration.

Axis Allies and Apologists

This network organizes support for its ideological agenda through national and international coalitions of like-minded constituencies which often work with other pro-fascist forces. This broader coalition ranges from Axis allies and their apologists to friends and allies of contemporary dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.

In the case of the Republican Heritage Groups Council, the nature of this network can be illustrated by briefly reviewing the backgrounds of some of the past and current leadership:

• Laszlo Pasztor: The founding chair and a key figure in the Council, Pasztor began his political career in a Hungarian pro-Nazi party and served in Berlin at the end of World War II. He continues to be involved in ultra-rightist groups and fascist networks while working with the GOP.

• Radi Slavoff: The RHGC's executive director is a member of a Bulgarian fascist group and leader of the Bulgarian GOP unit of the Council. He was able to get the leader of his Bulgarian nationalist group an invitation to the White House even though that leader was being investigated for concealing alleged World War II war crimes. He is also active in other emigre fascist groups.

• Nicolas Nazarenko: A former World War II officer in the German SS Cossack Division, Nazarenko heads the Cossack GOP unit of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and has declared that Jews are his "ideological enemy." He is still active with pro-Nazi elements in the U.S.

• Florian Galdau: He is a close associate and defender of Valerian Trifa - the Romanian archbishop prosecuted for concealing his involvement in war crimes of the pro-Nazi Romanian Iron Guard. Charged by former Iron Guardists and others with being the East Coast recruiter for the Iron Guard in the U.S., Galdau heads the Romanian Republican unit of the RHGC.

• Philip A. Guarino: He is a honorary American member of the conspiratorial P-2 Masonic Lodge of Italy, which plotted in the early 1970s to overthrow the Italian government in order to install a dictatorship. Guarino, an Italian Heritage Council member and Republican National Committee advisor, offered aid to those P-2 members being investigated.

• Anna Chennault: The newly-elected Republican Heritage Groups Council chairperson and fonder of the Chinese Republican affiliate, which for years has been closely linked to the authoritarian Taiwan regime.

The founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council was Laszlo Pasztor, an activist in various Hungarian rightist and Nazi-linked groups.

The names of all but one of the persons listed above appeared on the invitational literature for the October 1987 meeting of the National Republican Heritage Groups (Nationalities) Council in Washington, D.C.

History of the Republican Heritage Groups Council

Many of the RHGC leaders of Central and Eastern European nationalities were part of the post- World War II immigration from displaced persons camps. It would be unfair to suggest that all or even a majority of Eastern and Central Europeans were anti-Semites or fascists. Most displaced persons were victims of the war who played no role in collaborating with Nazism. Yet quite a few persons in the displaced persons camps were there as political escapees to avoid the consequences of their collaboration with the German occupation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The Displaced Persons Commission, which worked from 1948 to 1952, arranged for approximately 400,000 persons to come to the U.S. [1] Initially it sought to bar members of pro-Nazi groups, but in 1950 a dramatic reversal took place. The Commission declared" ... the Baltic Legion not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States." [2] The Baltic Legion was also known as the Baltic Waffen (armed) SS.

The final report of the Commission noted that the decision "was the subject of considerable controversy,,,3 as well it should have been. The Waffen SS participated in the liquidation of Jews in the Baltic region because the SS units were comprised of Hitler's loyal henchmen, recruited from fascist political groups long tied to the German Nazi Party. Anyone opposed to the German occupation of the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) was likely to meet a cruel death at their hands. They were now considered qualified to come to the United States, to become American citizens. Further, pro-Nazi elements from other parts of Europe came to the U.S. through nominally private groups associated with the Commission.

In 1952, the Commission completed its work. The Eisenhower- Nixon presidential campaign was on and the Republicans were charging the Democrats with being "soft on Communism." Talk of "liberating" Eastern Europe became part of the GOP message. That year, the Republican National Committee formed an Ethnic Division. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon "liberation" policy, were among those who signed on. This would become the embryo for the formation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1969.

In a sense, however, the foundation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council lay in Hitler's networks in Eastern Europe before World War II. In many Eastern European countries the German SS set up or funded political action organizations that helped form SS militias during the war.

In Hungary, for example, the Arrow Cross was the Hungarian SS affiliate; in Romania, the Iron Guard. The Bulgarian Legion, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Latvian Legion, and the Byelorussian (White Russian) Belarus Brigade were all SS-linked. In each of their respective countries, they were expected to serve the interests of the German Nazi Party before and during the war.

This should not be taken to suggest that all Eastern and Central Europeans were Nazi collaborators who participated in atrocities, but it is a historical fact that some rightwing elements from virtually every Eastern European nationality tied their nationalistic goals to the rising star of fascism and Hitler's racialist Nazism.

The Council's Leadership

The founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council was Laszlo Pasztor, an activist in various Hungarian rightist and Nazi-linked groups. In World War II Pasztor was a member of the youth group of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian equivalent of the German Nazi Party. [4]

When Pasztor came to the U.S. in the 1950s, he joined the GOP's Ethnic Division. One of the leaders of the 1968 Nixon-Agnew campaign's ethnic unit, Pasztor says that Nixon promised him that if he won the election, he would form a permanent ethnic council within the GOP, as the Ethnic Division was only active during presidential campaigns.

Pasztor was made the organizer of the Council after Nixon's victory. Pasztor claims, "It was my job to identify about 25 ethnic groups" to bring into the Republican Heritage Groups Council. "In 1972 we used the Council as the skeleton to build the Heritage Groups for the re-election of the President." [5]

Pasztor's choices for filling emigre slots as the Council was being formed included various Nazi-collaborationist organizations mentioned above. Each formed a Republican federation, with local clubs around the country. The local clubs of the various federations then formed state multi-ethnic councils. Today there are 34 nationality federations and 25 state councils that constitute the National Republican Heritage Groups Council.

According to RHGC delegates interviewed during the May 1985 conference, in setting up the Council, Pasztor went to various collaborationist and fascist-minded emigre groups and asked them to form GOP federations. It eventually became clear that it was not an accident or a fluke that people with Nazi associations were in the Republican Heritage Groups Council. In some cases more mainstream ethnic organizations were passed over in favor of smaller but more extremist groups. And it seems clear that the Republican National Committee knows with whom they are dealing. A review of the federations will illustrate this point.


One of the organizations which Pasztor approached to help form the RHGC was the Bulgarian National Front, headed by Ivan Docheff. As early as 1971, the GOP was warned that the National Front was beyond the pale. A Jack Anderson column quoted another Bulgarian-American organization, the conservative Bulgarian National Committee, which labeled Docheff's National Front as "fascist." [6] Neither the GOP nor the Nixon campaign took action. Professor Spas T. Raikin, a former official of the National Front, says the group grew out of an organization in Bulgaria that in the 1930s and 1940s was "pro-Nazi and pro-fascist." [7]

Docheff, age 83, is semi-retired from GOP activity, and the National Front is now represented by Radi Slavoff, Republican Heritage Groups Council executive director and head of the Bulgarian GOP federation. Slavoff also represents the National Front in several other Washington, D.C. area coalitions, including one that is Nazi-linked. [8]

While Docheff was representing the National Front, the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) was investigating him for possible war crimes he was suspected of committing while the mayor of a German-occupied city in Bulgaria. Docheff denies he ever committed war crimes, and the OSI never brought charges.

Docheff's political history, however, is not in dispute. Founder of a Bulgarian youth group in the early 1930s, Docheff met with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement's leading philosopher, Alfred Rosenberg, in 1934, shortly after the Nazis came to power. [9] Docheff then established the Bulgarian Legion, a pro-Hitler group that agitated for government action against Bulgarian Jews.


Romanian-American Republicanism is led by a retired priest who, in 1984, said that the most important issue for Romanian Republicans is stopping " ... the deportation of our beloved spiritual leader, Archbishop Valerian Trifa." [10] Faced with charges by the OSI that he participated in the murder of Jews as part of a coup plot in Bucharest, Romania in 1941, Trifa left the U.S. in 1984. But his political network stayed behind. The Romanian Republican priest, Florian Galdau, is part of that network.

After the war, Trifa was able to come to the U.S. and take over the Romanian Orthodox Church by means of physical coercion and with some help from the U.S. government. In 1952, Trifa became an Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church. [11]

FBI documents from 1954 and 1955 (which were used in the prosecution of Trifa) show that Trifa "is bringing Iron Guard members into the U.S. and installing them as priests." One of those priests, according to a document dated October 5, 1955, was Florian Galdau, whom an FBI source described as "a Romanian Iron Guard member and who at Trifa's instructions was elected Pastor of St. Dumitru," a Manhattan parish. [12]

Credit: Russ BeHant.
George Bush stands next to Bohdan Fedorak at the 1988 Captive Nations banquet in Warren, Michigan.

Friends of Dictatorships

Certain Republican Heritage Groups Council members have close allies in Italy who have plotted to overthrow the government and re-install fascism in Rome. Italy's problems with fascism have been much more recent than World War II. In 1981, Italian authorities uncovered a conspiracy in which a group of business, political, Mafia, military, and Vatican-connected figures planned to overthrow Italian parliamentary democracy and install a dictatorship. The group, called the P- 2 Masonic Lodge, had nearly a thousand members. The prestige of P-2 members (heads of the intelligence agencies, 38 generals and admirals, and 3 cabinet officers, for example), plus revelations of financial scandals, brought extensive European press coverage, the collapse of the Italian government, and a parliamentary inquiry. [13]

One American involved in this intrigue was Philip A. Guarino, 79, an adviser on senior citizens' affairs to the Republican National Committee, who was long active in Italian GOP politics. A theology student in Mussolini's Italy in the late 1920s and much of the 1930s, Guarino helped establish the ethnic division of the GOP in 1952. He was vice-chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council from 1971-75. [14] He attended the 1985 Council convention to ensure that his friend, Frank Stella, won the chairmanship of the Council in a tight race with former Cleveland mayor Ralph Perk.

Guarino was also described in St. Peter's Banker, a book about activities involving P-2, as an "honorary member of P- 2.,,15 Foreign members of P-2 were rare. Another member of the select group was Jose L6pez Riga, founder of the Latin American death squad group known as the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance (AAA).

Credit: Coalitions for America
Laszlo Pasztor, founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council.

Guarino was also involved in John Connally's Committee for the Defense of the Mediterranean, which disseminated propaganda on the Italian Communist Party (PCI) supposed threat to the West. [16] Connally was Richard Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury and member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Nixon and Gerald Ford. [17] In 1978, Guarino's friend and ally, Frank Stella, became National Chair of the "Heritage National Committee of Connally for President," when Connally sought the 1980 GOP nomination for president. [18]

Later Stella got on track with Ronald Reagan. Mark Valente, a Stella protege and suburban Detroit City Council member now serving as a Republican National Committee Ethnic Liaison staffer, says, "Everyone at the White House knows Frank." Stella's name has gone through the White House appointment process on several occasions. In 1981 he was nominated for the little-known Intelligence Oversight Board, which is supposed to monitor the legalities of covert operations of the intelligence agencies. [19] He withdrew his name after it had been publicly released. Stella was being considered for the post of Ambassador to Italy in 1985, but withdrew his name again, according to Valente. In 1983 he was made a White House Fellow.

Taiwan's Input

The Chinese-American and Asian-American Republican federations are led by Anna Chennault, who gained fame in the 19505 and 1960s as an ardent advocate of Chiang Kai-Shek's dictatorship of Taiwan. Both federations appear to be little more than adjuncts to Taiwan government activities in the U.S. This fact was highlighted at the 1985 RHGC convention when an official Taiwan Republican Heritage Groups Council delegation arrived at the meeting as part of a nationwide tour belatedly celebrating Reagan's second inauguration four months earlier. While the foremost visitor from Taiwan was the Deputy Minister for National Defense, the honorary president of the delegation was Ben John Chen, who also chairs the Asian-American Republican Federation.20 Other Chinese and Asian GOP federation members are part of trade groups linked to Taiwan.

The Republican Heritage Groups Council agenda was interrupted at the Chinese federation's request so that the delegation could present awards from the Taiwan government to Michael Sotirhos, the outgoing Republican Heritage Groups Council chair (who later became Reagan's ambassador to Jamaica). Also receiving an award from the Taiwan regime was Anna Chennault, who funds the Asian-American GOP federation, according to Chen. Chennault became RHCG chair in 1987.

Ethnic Realignment

The Republican Heritage Groups Council's ethnicity is broad, ranging from Albanians to Vietnamese. But two groups are missing at the RHGC. There are no African-American or Jewish Republican federations. Remarks by a number of delegates at the 1986 RHGC meeting made it clear that there was no desire to have either community represented on the Council. [21] Republican leaders say that African-American and Jewish relations are "special" and are dealt with in separate units of the GOP.

The key issues for every one of the Eastern European Heritage Council leaders interviewed were foreign policy issues. All of them called for more support for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Most called for the abandonment of the Yalta agreement, the major treaty that set the post-war features of Europe, and all want a far more aggressive foreign policy against the Soviet Union. The most public activity the RHGC participates in is the annual "Captive Nations" rallies held in cities across the U.S. "Captive Nations" is the term used to describe countries which have communist governments.

The Republican National Committee seems to identify the RHGC as one of its keys to past electoral success and future opportunities. Republican Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf told the 1985 Council meeting, "On behalf of the Republican Party I want to express thanks for all of you in this room who were such a vital, integral part of the great victory we achieved on November 6 last year. We couldn't have done it without you, and I want you to know that." [22]

A few minutes later, President Reagan told the meeting, "The work of all of you has meant a very great deal to me personally, to the Party, and to our cause .... I can't think of any others who have made a more vital contribution to the effort than those of you who are in this room today ....I want to encourage you to keep building the Party. Believe me, bringing more ethnic Americans into the fold is the key to the positive realignment that we are beginning to see take shape."

Former RHGC chair Michael Sotirhos said in an interview that "The Council was the linchpin of the Reagan-Bush ethnic campaign .... The decision to use the Republican Heritage Groups was made at a campaign strategy meeting that included Paul Laxalt, Frank Fahrenkopf, Ed Rollins, and others." He claims that 86,000 volunteers for Reagan-Bush were recruited through the Council. [23]

Forgive and Forget

The GOP cannot be ignorant of the backgrounds of their ethnic leaders. When Nixon was encouraging the growth of the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1971, Jack Anderson did a series of reports on the pro-Nazi backgrounds of various GOP ethnic advisors. Included in the reports were Ivan Docheff and Laszlo Pasztor. In November of 1971, the Washington Post did a story that elaborated on some of the fascist elements coming into the GOP. [24]

On August 2, 1988, many of the key figures in the RHGC were named as leaders of the George Bush presidential campaign's ethnic outreach arm, the Coalition of American Nationalities (CAN). These included Anna Chennault, Walter Melianovich, Laszlo Pasztor, Frank Stella, Radi Slavoff, Philip Guarino, and Florian Galdau. Other persons on the Bush ethnic panel with questionable views or pasts were Bohdan Fedorak and Akselis Mangulis.

In September 1988, Pasztor, Slavoff, Guarino, Galdau, Fedorak, Brentar, and Ignatius Billinsky resigned from the Bush panel following revelations about their pasts or views appearing in the Washington Jewish Week, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the extended version of this article which was published by Political Research Associates.

Bush adviser Fred Malek resigned from the Bush campaign after the Washington Post identified him as having compiled lists of Jews working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics on orders from the Nixon White House.

In early November, the Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about a Latvian member of CAN, which prompted the final resignation, that of Akselis Mangulis, charged with having belonged to the pro-Nazi Latvian Legion which had connections to the SS.

Credit: RHGC
Frank. Stella and Florian Galdau at RHGC Convention.

While Bush campaign spokespersons pledged there would be an investigation into the backgrounds and views of the CAN members whose resignations it had announced, no serious investigation ever took place, and the campaign repeatedly referred to the charges as unsubstantiated politically-motivated smears. Several of the persons who had been reported as resigning told journalists they had never been asked to resign and considered themselves still active with the Bush campaign. Furthermore, Guarino, Slavoff, Galdau, and Pasztor are still active with the Republican Heritage Groups Council.

As a candidate, President Bush defended Galdau, Pasztor, Guarino, and Slavoff as innocent of all accusations of collaboration, and insisted they are all honorable men. But the historical record belies his assertions.

The GOP for decades has misread ethnic America's concerns about crime, employment, anti-ethnic discrimination and the future of its youth. It has offered instead the fascism and ethnic prejudices of the Heritage Council, which focuses primarily on funding Radio Free Europe and stopping Justice Department prosecutions of Nazi-era war criminals who illegally entered the country.



* Russ Bellant is a researcher who has written extensively on the rise of the New Right in the U.S. This article is an edited version of a monograph by Political Research Associates. The monograph entitled, "Old Nazis, The New Right and the Reagan Administration," is available for $5 from: Political Research Associates, 678 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 205, Cambridge, MA 02139.

1. U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, Memo to America, The DP Story, The Final Report of the Displaced Persons Commission (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1952), p. V.

2. Ibid., p. 10l.

3. Ibid.

4. Jack Anderson, "Nixon Appears a Little Soft on Nazis," Washington Post, November 10,1971, p. B17; Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933-1945 (New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1963; Schocken Books, 1973), pp. 610-11, 644, 653-55, 662-64.

5. Interview with Laszlo Pasztor, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1985.

6. Anderson, op. cit., n. 4, p. B17.

7. Interview with Spas T. Raikin, by telephone, August 1986.

8. Interview with Ivan Docheff, by telephone, September 1984.

9. Interview with Professor Frederic Chary, Detroit, MI, August 1984. Chary is author of Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972).

10. Interview with Florian Galdau, by telephone, September 1984.

11. Howard Blum, Wanted: The Search for Nazis in America (New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1977), pp. 109-11, 114-16. Trifa offered an opening prayer for the U.S. Senate on May 10, 1955, at the request of Richard Nixon, who presided over the Senate as part of his vice-presidential duties.

12. "Viorel Donise Trifa," FBI Memo (April 6, 1954), p. 1; on Galdau, "Viorel Donise Trifa," FBI Memo (October 5, 1955), p. 2. Copies of these memos are in the possession of the author.

13. New York Times, May 25-June 10, 1981; Thomas Sheehan, "Italy: Terror on the Right," New York Review of Books, January 22,1981, pp. 23- 26. Also, Luifi Di Fonzo, St. Peter's Banker (New York and London: Franklin Watts, I983); Larry Gurwin, The Calvi Affair (London: MacMillan, 1983).

14. Who's Who in American Politics: 1987-1988, 11th ed. (New York and London: RR Bowker Co., 1987), p. 258.

15. Di Fonzo, op. cit., n. 13, p. 229.

16. Gurwin, op. cit., n. 13, p. 189.

17. Who's Who in America: 1984-1985, 43rd ed. (Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1984); Gurwin, op. cit., n. 13, pp. 12, 189-190.

18. Stella's curriculum vitae, 1986, p. 2.

19. Op. cit., n. 14, p. 767. The announcement was made October 20, 1981, according to an undated White House letter received by the author in February 1984.

20. The delegation's membership, their backgrounds and planned itinerary were described in a booklet distributed at the Republican Heritage Groups Council meeting, "President Reagan's (sic) Reinauguration Celebration Delegation" (Room 8, 11F, 150, Chi Lin Road, Taipei, Taiwan: Chinese Times, 1985).

21. A proposal to create such affiliates was roundly denounced by delegates at the June 1986 convention.

22. Quotations from the 1985 Republican Heritage Groups Council convention are from the author's own notes of the event.

23. Interview with Michael Sotirhos, Washington, D.C., September 1984.

24. Peter Braestrup, "GOP's 'Open Door': Who's Coming In?," Washington Post, November 21, 1971, p. A1.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

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NED Overt Action: Intervention in the Nicaraguan Election
by William Robinson and David MacMichael*
Winter 1990



A great deal of attention is being paid to the Nicaraguan election, to be held on February 25, 1990. While most outside observers see the elections as a contest between the governing FSLN (the Sandinistas) and their political opposition within the country, the Sandinistas view the elections as another stage of the struggle between the Nicaraguan Revolution and the government of the United States.

Although current U.S. strategy does not rule out a military element, its thrust is to transfer the anti-Sandinista struggle from the battlefield to the political arena. This strategy dates from the August 1987 Esquipulas Accords where the Central American presidents signed an agreement that sealed the defeat of Reagan's armed counterrevolutionary project. Even though the Republican right wing denounced the Esquipulas agreement and did their worst to undermine it, many Democrats and the more pragmatic Republicans accepted the contras' military defeat and made plans to exploit the political openings within Nicaragua. The slogan in Washington changed from "support the freedom fighters" to "democratization in Nicaragua."

The U.S. Embassy in Managua declared it was going to strengthen ties and gain increased influence with the "civic opposition." [1] The State Department put out a call for "other governments, foreign political organizations and private U.S. foundations ... to fund the Nicaraguan opposition." [2]

Soon after, the U.S. government began sending money, supplies, and political specialists to Managua in support of the anti-Sandinista opposition. This was the beginning of the all-out U.S. effort to create an anti-Sandinista political opposition.

The U.S. strategists faced a difficult task. For years the opposition believed that a contra military victory or a U.S. invasion would oust the Sandinistas. This left the internal political opposition fragmented and lacking any real grassroots political support. Splintered into some two dozen parties and factions, the opposition wasted its time on internal bickering. The U.S. largesse exacerbated divisions because it made money available for any professed opposition group. For many, anti-Sandinista activity was more business than politics.

In addition, many of the brightest potential opposition leaders left the country to join the constantly reshuffled ranks of CIA-organized contra political fronts. A Bush State Department official described the situation as, "Reagan's policy was to take the political protagonists out of Nicaragua; ours is to put [them] back in."

Thus, the first task for the U.S. was to bring the internal and external political fronts together: "Unification is the single most important ingredient for the success of the opposition." [3]

The U.S. needed to provide the opposition with a political definition that went beyond vague anti-Sandinista rhetoric. Next would come intensive training for "civic activists" and political instruction in building party infrastructures, youth and women's organizations. All these would then form the framework for the U.S. anti-Sandinista strategy.

As one Bush official explained, "The 1990 elections figure prominently in the administration's strategy toward Nicaragua. They give us a chance to test the Nicaraguans, to mobilize all international pressure possible against [the Sandinistas] ... ,to transfer the conflict in Nicaragua to the political terrain." [4]

The "Democracy Network"

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was set up by the Reagan administration in 1983 as an instrument to promote U.S. foreign policy objectives through direct political intervention in other countries. At the time of its inception, NED's founders explained that the public nature of NED activities would provide an important tactical alternative to clandestine CIA intervention. [5]

NED is funded wholly by Congress and its main purpose is to provide grants - in close consultation with the State Department - to U.S. organizations working to create and support the growth of pliant political institutions abroad. Although its charter defines it as "promoting democracy abroad," the NED 1985 annual report outlines its work as such: "planning, coordinating and implementing international political activities in support of U.S. policies and interests relative to national security."

There are four "core" groups which receive most of their funding from NED and which are tied to different facets of the U.S. political and foreign policy structure.6 These groups are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NOI) and its Republican counterpart, the National Republican Institute (NRI) (the international affairs departments of the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively), the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) (the operational part of the American Institute for Free Labor Development [AIFLD], whose ties to the CIA are well documented and which acts to generate moderate, pro-U.S. labor movements in Latin America), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center on International Private Enterprise (CIPE).

The logic behind this so-called "democracy network" is that the first two groups (NDI and NRI) form the bridge with political parties and organizations, the third (FTUI) forms ties with labor, and the fourth (CIPE) with private enterprise. The U.S. is using this intervention strategy throughout the world.

Beyond the "core" groups are a host of secondary organizations directly tied to U.S. foreign policy and intervention. These groups include Freedom House, the Center for Democracy, as well as many others who have received NED funding to begin election projects in Nicaragua. Among more "shadowy" groups receiving funding from NED for programs in Nicaragua are the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) , Delphi International, the Simon Bolivar Fund, and the Centro para las Asesoria Democratica (CAD).

In Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990, Congress appropriated $12.5 million for NED to use in the Nicaraguan electoral process. [7] If we just consider the $12.5 million of U.S. political aid this averages to about $10 per voter. It is the equivalent of a foreign power injecting $2 billion into a U.S. electoral campaign.

On August 4, 1988 NED held a major meeting in Washington, DC to map out "a more broadranging strategy" for developing the opposition. Present at the meeting were NED officials, core group representatives, and Richard Melton, the then recently-expelled U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua. The record of the meeting speaks of:

• " ... enlisting the support of the Central Americans generally.

• ... in preliminary phases - create lines of vertical command.

• ... continue to organize seminars and workshops, focusing on imparting group dynamics, styles of leadership, hypothetical situations.

• ... encourage more outside visitors to Nicaragua; visitors can provide moral and political support.

• .... try to establish a permanent [U.S.] presence in the country." [8]

In expectation of future funding the August 1988 meeting was used to map out a plan for expanding organizing activities in labor, the communications media, business, women and youth. A month later Congress approved $2 million which would go through NED to fund these programs. New contracting groups were brought in to administer the projects.

U.S. Parties Get Involved

NDI and NRI act as major conduits for NED funding of the Nicaraguan opposition and have received NED money for work on a "democratic development program" [9] in Nicaragua. The initial phase of this program called for formalized and systematic contacts with the opposition. An internal NDI document describes the initial efforts:

NDI and NRI, following conversations in Washington with visiting [Nicaraguan] party representatives and meeting with the other core institutes of the NED, visited Caracas, Panama, and Nicaragua to hold exploratory talks with civic opposition leaders .... Follow-up talks have also taken place and FTUI and CIPE have agreed to pursue opportunities for strengthening the civic opposition. [10]

NDI President Brian Atwood explained, "We have set about to unify the opposition and orient its anti-Sandinista activities." [11]

In 1987, NDI and NRI began organizing seminars with opposition leaders in Managua and abroad. According to an NDI official, these seminars "generate international support and attention for the opposition leaders, put the Sandinistas on notice, and explore the possibilities for the civic opposition to take major advantage of the Esquipulas opening." [12]

The seminars, funded with $600,000 in NED grants, "provide[d] training, in how to formulate organizational strategy and tactical planning, to the civic opposition ... designed around three core themes: party planning and organizational strategies, constituency building, and coalition formation .... U.S. and international experts will be brought in." [13]

These initial efforts also involved U.S. political consultants who analyzed the opposition groups' strengths and weaknesses. One NDI team went to Managua and reported:

The purpose of the mission was to find the answers to the following questions: 1) what are the prospects of democratization in Nicaragua? 2) what are the capabilities and needs of the democratic opposition? 3) what program(s) could be developed by NDI to assist the democratic opposition in presenting a unified, effective challenge to Sandinista rule?

On the surface, the overall environment for change in Nicaragua appears to favor the opposition. The economy is in shambles .... Poverty and despair are evident everywhere ... . It is hard to know where the Sandinista mismanagement ends and the country being bled white by the contra war begins. This should not be a problem for the democratic opposition; incumbents are almost always blamed for the mess at hand ....

But, the various political parties which are included in the opposition have been unable or unwilling to forge an effective coalition due to personal or ideological rivalries .... [14]

Delphi International Group

Another private organization central to the U.S. government's plan to influence the Nicaraguan electoral process is the Delphi International Group. In 1988, Delphi was the largest single recipient of NED funds.

Credit: Delphi International Group
Paul Von Ward, President of Delphi.

In 1988 Henry R. Quintero directed Delphi's Nicaraguan operations. [15] Quintero is an intelligence community veteran. Since World War II, he has served as an intelligence analyst with the Department of Defense, State, and U.S. Information Agency (USIA). He helped run the Institute for North-South Issues (INSI), which was exposed in the Iran/contra scandal as an Oliver North front group which had laundered illegal contra funds, while at the same time holding a $493,000 NED contract. [16]

Delphi's president is Paul Von Ward, a former government official who has held several delicate State Department posts in the U.S. and overseas between 1966-79. These positions included special personnel adviser to the Director General of the Foreign Service and U.S. coordinator of a special NATO committee on the "Challenges of Modern Society."

One of Delphi's projects is the "Nicaraguan Independent Media Program." This program is designed to strengthen the opposition media, including La Prensa. In 1984-85, La Prensa received $150,000 in NED funds. [17] Beginning with 1986, Delphi has acted as the conduit for NED funds to La Prensa, and more recently the amount of funding has jumped to almost $1 million. [18]

Delphi has also established the "Independent Radios Project" which equips and advises opposition radio stations in Nicaragua. It was begun with initial grants from NED totaling $150,000. In a memo from Delphi to NED the group stated that "Radio remains the best means for reaching the masses of Nicaragua ...." [19]

In August 1989, the Bush administration suspended the United States Information Agency funded contra radio station, "Radio Liberacion," operating from Honduras, and redirected its propaganda efforts to creating "Radio Democracia," a new outlet inside Nicaragua.

An October 19, 1989 letter from opposition leader Roger Guevara Mena to NED reported that the Board of Directors for "Radio Democracia" had been formed. The board was comprised exclusively of anti-Sandinista opposition leaders. "Radio Democracia," the letter explained, would serve as an "instrument of democratization and the formation of a civic consciousness, functioning both in the pre and post-election period, in order to offset the FSLN's instruments for consciousness formation."

Two of Delphi's Nicaraguan operations targeted youth and women, these groups were identified by NED strategists as special constituencies critical to the elections. Early in 1988, NED awarded Delphi $33,000 to create the Centro de Formacion Juvenil (CEFOJ) [20] and in 1989 another $118,000 to consolidate this new "civic youth organization." [21]

According to internal Delphi documents, their plan was to hold seminars throughout 1988 for a core group of youth leaders from rightwing political parties. As a paid national leadership, this group would identify regional leaders. These regional leaders would oversee local activists who would work in the nation's secondary schools, communities, and recreational centers to organize an anti-Sandinista political youth movement. [22]

This system of "multiplier" political training is standard in most NED-funded programs in Nicaragua. This method of political organizing is recommended in CIA, AID, and Department of Defense political operations manuals. [23] In fact, some of the language of the Delphi documents is remarkably similar to that of the CIA's 1984 contra "assassination manual" -Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare. One major difference is that the old reference to the "freedom struggle" against "communist dictatorship" has been updated to refer to the "civic struggle" for "democratic objectives."

Delphi's ''women's project" focuses on organizing efforts in the marketplace. "Nicaraguan women have begun to speak of the decisive role they must play in organizing rallies and protests." The document prescribes "seminars and workshops tailored to train 'multipliers' to train and motivate their peers to participate." [24]

Meanwhile, the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) worked to bring labor into the program. Like their political counterparts, the non-Sandinista trade union movement was splintered into small groups of diverse ideologies.

These groups include the Confederation of Trade Union Unity (CUS), two opposing Christian Democratic labor factions - both of whom call themselves the Nicaraguan Workers' Confederation (CTN), the General Confederation of Labor-Independent (CGTI), and the Communist party's Federation of Trade Union Action and Unity (CAUS). It was the U.S. government's strategy to unify the union movement. Thus, FTUI used $992,000 in NED money [25] to bring together the factions, at least nominally, in the Permanent Workers Congress (CPT). U.S. second secretary of the Embassy, David Nolan worked directly in this process. [26]

According to U.S. analysis, labor was especially critical to the election project. Although the Sandinistas had strong worker support, the U.S. strategy was to exploit Nicaragua's economic crisis in an attempt to turn the workers against the FSLN. From 1984 to 1989, FTUI received just under $2 million in NED grants for its labor programs; [27] this however does not include covert funding.

An FTUI internal document dated August 22, 1989 expressed satisfaction with its progress and described plans to spend $1 million more for mobilizing workers and their families. FTUI planned to organize 4,000 activists "to mount an effective, nation-wide effort to register workers and their families and then see that they vote." FTUI's training, supervision and direction of the effort was considered "crucial." The plan involved using a trained Managua headquarters staff to supervise an elaborate network reaching down to ten-member voter teams in towns and villages.

The United Nicaraguan Opposition

After months of negotiations, it was announced in June 1988 that the Union Opositora Nicaraguense (UNO) would be the formal coalition to represent the opposition in the upcoming elections. Their presidential candidate is La Prensa director, Violeta Chamorro.

Congress has stipulated that NED and its funding should only be used to "bolster democratic political systems ... [and] to support democratic activities in Nicaragua .... " [28] However, the majority of NED funding is going to specifically support UNO. In 1989, the CIA provided $5 million in covert funding for UNO "house-keeping," [29] and it is estimated that the CIA gave $10-12 million in the previous year. [30]

According to the independent research group, Hemisphere Initiatives, U.S. covert and overt support to anti-Sandinista political groups in Nicaragua totaled $26.1 million over the last five years. Added to this money is substantial funding provided by European, principally West German conservative foundations. [31]

In April 1989, the five Central American presidents signed the Costa del Sol agreement in which Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega agreed to call early elections. The U.S. took this as a signal to begin intensive efforts to organize the anti-Sandinista election campaign.

In an April 1989 meeting at the U.S. Embassy, NED representatives and charge d'affaires John Leonard planned the creation of the formal coalition which was later to become UNO. An internal NED document states that their primary strategy was to "organize the opposition around a single candidate. It should include as many parties as possible, COSEP and the labor movement, women and youth. The CDN [Coordinadora Democratica Nicaraguense] would form the core ... " [32]

NED had earlier given Delphi International $22,000 to consolidate CDN as the core group and to carry the unity process forward. [33] After the Costa del Sol agreement advanced the elections, a flood of visitors raced to Managua from Washington, DC to take part in the unity negotiations, including the president of NED, Carl Gershman. It was made clear to opposition figures that failure to get on-board meant no U.S. money. One top opposition leader confessed to a friend, "The pressures on me from the Embassy to join are really intense. They distributed a lot of cash; it's difficult for some to resist."

U.S. participants in the April meeting stated: " ... first [we must] successfully negotiate the conditions for the elections, the rules, and then they can squabble amongst themselves over the candidates." [34]

Late in April, representatives of the opposition were brought to Washington. In intensive consultations at the State Department, with members of Congress, and NED officials, the importance of unity was driven home. In June 1989, UNO was formally announced.

Via Civica

Another important component of NED's strategy was a non-partisan "civic group." An internal NED document of June 1989 stated:

There are three main centers of activity in this election. One is the political parties grouped in UNO. Another is the labor group in CPT. Each of these has come together fairly well and there is a good working relationship between them .... The third group is a civic group which has yet to solidify. Conceptually, this is a vital part of the democratic process .... The civic group needs to be independent and non-partisan, but it should also coordinate with the other two main groups and avoid duplication of effort.

On July 7, 1989, U.S. organizers and opposition representatives met in Managua. At a press conference shortly afterwards, they announced the formation of Via Civica, proclaiming it would press its cause "through ballots, not bullets." It was quickly dubbed "CIA Civica." Although Via Civica was announced as a "non-partisan grouping of notables," all ten members of its national executive committee were vocal anti-Sandinista activists. Three were UNO politicians, five were COSEP leaders, and two represented CPT unions. Olga Maria Taboada, named as head of Via Civica women's affairs, was a national coordinator of UNO's Nicaraguan Conservative Party.

In 1987 Taboada received $22,000 from NED to form a mothers of political prisoners group.35 The group considered all captured contras political prisoners, including the imprisoned former Somocista Guardsmen. Via Civica formed a youth organization which was headed by Fanor Avendano, also a leader of the Conservative Party and the director of CEFOJ.

With Via Civica established, the three separate components of the NED strategy were in place. As one NED document concluded, all three, UNO (political), CPT (labor), and Via Civica ( civic), were expected "to function during the election as a single unit." [36]

In 1989 NED allocated $540,000 - in three successive grants - to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to administer Via Civica. [37] On the IFES board of directors sit many Reagan-era contra supporters. The Chair of IFES is F. Clifton White (also on the board of NRI), who helped the CIA develop covert propaganda used to encourage the U.S. public support for the contras.

The IFES treasurer is Richard Stone, a rightwing Republican and former Senator from Florida. In the early 1980s, Stone was Reagan's roving ambassador to Central America where he played a key role in supporting the contras. Stone is currently the chief operating officer of the Miami and Washington-based Capital Bank, which houses the accounts of UNO and IFES. [38]

Robert Walker is another IFES official. He was a White House aide to President Reagan and is currently vice president of Coors Brewing Company, which provided millions of dollars in private contra assistance. Walker is a close personal friend of contra political director Adolfo Calero.

In June 1989, Henry Quintero, having launched Delphi's media, youth, and women's projects, transferred to IFES to oversee its Nicaragua program, Via Civica. [39]

The Flow of Funds

As in countless other interventions, the U.S. is attempting to buy the Nicaraguan elections. In pursuit of this goal, the U.S. is flooding the country with money during a time of general economic hardship. One observer calls this the "strategy of gringo dollars." In violation of Nicaraguan law, millions of NED dollars marked for political use have entered the country without being registered with the Central Bank.

As late as November 1989, UNO still claimed to have not received funding from the U.S. Yet, a Barricada report explains how U.S. payments to opposition groups are laundered. [40] The article reports that hundreds of thousands of dollars which IFES provided for UNO use in voter registration was laundered through a Nicaraguan company, Construcciones y Proyectos, SA (CYPSA). CYPSA is the local subsidiary of Inversiones Martinez Lopez (IML). IML was founded by a one-time Somoza minister of finance who moved to Miami after the overthrow of the regime. IML recently opened an office in San Jose, Costa Rica.

CYPSA's president is Jeronimo Sequiera, a COSEP and Via Civica leader. Via CEvica's president, Carlos Quinonez, acknowledges that he sent Sequiera to San Jose to meet with Henry Quintero and IFES president Richard Soudriette on August 1, 1989. [41] On August 28, Quintero entered Managua and registered with immigration officials as a "consultant for CYPSA."

On each of the four registration Sundays in October 1989, UNO party workers set up refreshment stands at registration centers, and gave out thousands of sandwiches, coffee, and cold drinks. The UNO teams were transported in flashy new Toyota jeeps. For many, these scenes recalled the days of Somoza elections when peasants were trucked to the polls and rewarded for their vote with a meal and cheap liquor.

Although UNO denies receiving any money from the U.S. government, it has requested plenty. Its campaign budget, drawn up by the U.S. Embassy in Managua, and made available by a UNO delegation which visited Washington, DC in September, totalled $5.67 million. This included $1.24 million in salaries for campaign staff: $2,000 a month for the national campaign manager; $1,000 for administrators and publicity directors; and $500 a month for sixteen regional administrators. There is also $337,000 in vacation pay budgeted, $525,000 to run rallies and meetings, $600,000 for poll watchers, and $50,000 for international travel.

Credit: CPAC
F. Clifton White, Chair of IFES.

Via Civica is also able to spend openly. It has budgeted $55,000 for salaries, but many observers regard this as money to be spent for buying votes. Henry Quintero has acknowledged that IFES is paying 1,500 Via Civica ''volunteers'' a dollar a day, a considerable inducement in today's Nicaragua.42 High school students at one registration center in Managua told reporters the CEFOJ activists were giving out free T-shirts and offering students 20,000 cordobas (about one-half days' wages at the time) to sign up with UNO. [43]

Centro para las Asesoria Democratica

The U.S. is also coordinating the opposition's campaign from three key offshore centers. They are Miami, Caracas, and San Jose, Costa Rica. The U.S. has also established opposition centers in every Central American capital and their activities are coordinated regionally from San Jose through an NED conduit, Centro para las Asesoria Democratica (CAD).

CAD began under the name "Asociacion Pro-Democratica" (APD). Between 1986-87, it received at least $250,000 from NED for the "training and civic education" of the Nicaraguan opposition.44 In 1988, NED decided to expand APD's role, and changed its name to Centro para las Asesoria Democratica. NED then gave CAD $247,000 to "improve the communications within and among the organizations of the Nicaraguan democratic opposition and promote regional solidarity with the non-violent struggle for democracy in Nicaragua." [45]

With the beginning of the electoral process in April 1989, NED decided to link CAD more directly to the specific NED electoral projects. CAD would reinforce the already existing programs run by Delphi, the IFES, the FTUI, and the NDI and NRI. The plan called for CAD to inject clandestine and overt support to bolster these projects. [46]

The range of CAD activities included sending "reporters" from Costa Rica to reinforce the La Prensa staff in Managua. It also purchased Toyota vehicles in Costa Rica for UNO and then drove them into Nicaragua in order to avoid paying Nicaraguan import taxes. [47]

The Miami Connection

The city of Miami, where there is a large Nicaraguan exile community, has been transformed from a contra rearguard to a base for the electoral effort. A number of new Nicaraguan "civic opposition" groups have been formed there. The largest is the "Committee for Free Elections and Democracy in Nicaragua," headed by Jose Antonio Alvarado. In September and October 1989, Alvarado, with help from NRI, raised approximately $30,000 to produce UNO T-shirts and baseball caps which were sent to Nicaragua for distribution during the registration period. Alvarado also confirmed that the committee was receiving private donations from "wealthy Americans." [48]

La Prensa has recently opened a post office box in Miami for all its international correspondence. La Prensa will send a courier three times per week to pick-up its mail and bring it to Managua.

An important element in the Miami operation is the television station "Channel 23," owned by the Spanish-language UNIVISION network. In early 1989, the State Department contracted Channel 23's Carlos Briceno to develop a television production facility in Managua. On September 15, 1989 NED approved a grant for $200,000 to begin the project. In October, NED authorized NRI and NDI to rechannel some $300,000 into the television project.

In a letter from Briceno to the anti-Sandinista opposition, Briceno states:

This production facility, in addition to producing commercials for the political campaign, will also prepare reports in English and Spanish on the electoral process, aimed at abroad, in order to keep the world informed on the Sandinistas' compliance or non-compliance ....

... If you participate in the elections and there are anomilies [sic], the opposition needs to have the capacity to almost instantly transmit an international condemnation of this fraud through the use of satellite signals ....

In early May 1989, Briceno met with Jeb Bush, son of the president and a close friend of contra leader, Adolfo Calero. A few days after the meeting, Bush sent Briceno a letter which strongly endorsed the television project and wished him "every success in generating political and financial support."

Briceno also received help from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose president, Edward O. Fritts, sent letters to NAB affiliates soliciting "broadcast equipment which would be used to establish a facility to produce TV programming on behalf of groups opposing the Sandinistas."

Briceno also has stated that he intends to violate Nicaraguan law by trying to avoid import duty on the broadcasting equipment. In a letter to Barbara Haig, program director at NED (and daughter of Alexander Haig), Briceno wrote, " ... According to Luis Sanchez (UNO's 'Communications Director'), I won't have any trouble introducing the equipment. In the worst case I would have to pay a 15 percent import duty on it, which would not be substantial since purchase receipts could be fudged down."

The Contra Role

The Bush administration has opted for the electoral route in Nicaragua yet it has refused to forsake the contras as a bargaining chip. Moreover, the old guard of the contra leadership retains a certain degree of clout because of its ties to Nicaragua's right wing opposition and the U.S. far Right.

Meanwhile, in Congress, the Democratic leadership entered into a bipartisan compromise which sent $47 million in "humanitarian aid" to the contras. It was understood that the contras were to remain in their camps and undertake no offensive actions inside Nicaragua.

However, there appears to have been some rethinking of this strategy after the 10th anniversary celebration of the Sandinista Revolution. This event produced a groundswell of support for the FSLN which greatly troubled the U.S. government. On August 8, 1989, the Central American Presidents signed the Tela Accords, calling for the demobilization of the contras by December 5th. This sent shock waves through the U.S. government as policy makers scrambled to find a way to stop the demobilization.

In August 1989, the contras announced that there would be a large increase in the level of contra infiltration from Honduras. The rationale behind this move was to avoid detection by the U.N. monitoring troops sent as a condition of the Tela Accords. By September, Nicaraguan intelligence found that this number had reached 1,000 a month.

It was clear that the reappearance of the contras was not separate from the electoral activity. Nicaraguan government officials believed the contra infiltrations would recreate fear in the rural areas after months of relative peace; thus the Sandinistas could not maintain their claim to have militarily defeated the contras. The lesson would be drawn that unless the Sandinistas were voted out, there would never be peace.

The contras also hoped to provoke government reactions such as a reintroduction of the military draft which would alienate voters or that could be denounced by the opposition as interfering with the electoral process.

Nicaraguan government reports and independent investigators (including the North American church group, Witness for Peace) state that the contras have both openly and covertly acted for UNO. In one case in the town of La Gateada in Chontales, in September, numerous witnesses testified that the contras, trying to pass themselves off as state security officers, murdered a local resident who had been accused of being a Sandinista infiltrator of UNO.

Elsewhere the contras carry and distribute UNO leaflets. Peasants have reported being threatened at gunpoint by contras who tell them they must vote for UNO. During most of 1988, contra military actions averaged about 50 per month. That figure jumped to 100 in the first half of 1989 and by October, it had risen to 300 actions per month. [49] Sandinista electoral officials have been threatened and murdered and during the October 1989 registration period at least 37 registration places had to closed because of contra military actions. [50]

In November 1989, Barricada caused a controversy by reprinting a letter allegedly from Alfredo Cesar to Enrique Bermudez that had appeared in El Tiempo, the independent newspaper of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In it Cesar tells Bermudez not to demobilize because the existence of the contras is necessary for a UNO victory.

Cesar denounced it as a forgery and former President Jimmy Carter, at an Atlanta conference, criticized the Sandinistas for dirty politics in reprinting the letter. However, until a few months ago Cesar, as a political director of the contra movement, routinely made such statements publicly.

As for Bermudez, in October 1989, he signed the following communique:

We want to express all our backing and unconditional support for the UNO candidates .... We are not going to put down our arms, we are not going to accept demobilization .... We will carry on in the mountains with our weapons loaded against Sandinismo. So as to avoid fraud, we are going to prevent Sandinista accomplices and collaborators from registering. We are going to assure the triumph of UNO. [51]

After a contra ambush killed 18 young reservists in route to their hometowns to register for the elections, President Daniel Ortega angrily announced the end of the government's unilateral cease-fire. UNO denounced Ortega's action as detrimental to the holding of free elections. The U.S. media and Congress reacted by condemning the Sandinista revocation of the cease-fire, not the killing of the reservists.


Whether the U.S. effort to oust the Sandinistas pays off in February 1990 remains to be seen. However, the long-term intervention strategy should not be lost sight of. University of Southern California professor, and executive director of Inter-American Dialogue, Abraham Lowenthal writes, "Even if [the opposition] does not win - and defeat is probable - the [electoral] effort opens the way .. .. In the long run, their best chance of countering the Sandinistas is by building national support step by step. Sustained internal opposition can eventually pay off." [32]

Credit: NDI
NDI President, Brian Atwood (second from left).

In its attempt to defeat the Sandinistas, the U.S. government has organized an astonishing array of resources and has expended huge sums of money. Even though NED claims to be a legitimate, above-board institution, it is in reality, a quasi-official conduit for U.S. covert and overt activities in Nicaragua and in dozens of other countries. [53]

NED claims it is building a framework for democracy in Nicaragua. However, a close examination of NED documents clearly shows it is attempting to manipulate the electoral process to U.S. government ends. Through NED's "legitimate" activities, the U.S. government obfuscates its true intentions for Nicaragua.

U.S. actions toward Nicaragua have a strange and disturbing Orwellian character. Intervention is defined as non-intervention. Non-partisan bodies are made up of highly partisan figures. Those who champion democracy in Nicaragua have shown contempt for democracy in the rest of the world.

This is the new covert action. Kinder, gentler and open to view - if you only know where to look and what to look for.



* William Robinson is the ANN (Nicaragua News Agency) correspondent in Washington, DC and co-author of David and Goliath; The U.S. War Against Nicaragua. David MacMichael, a former CIA analyst, is an outspoken critic of U.S. intervention who researches and writes on V .S. foreign policy.

1. See Central American Information Bulletin, February 24, 1989, special report, ''The Chileanization of the Nicaraguan Counterrevolution," William Robinson. See also, New York Times, August 26, 1987, October 15, 1987.

2. State Department briefing, August 10, 1987.

3. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), internal memorandum, "Nicaragua, Municipal Elections," the report is of an NDI survey mission, October 31, 1987, prepared by Martin Anderson and Willard Dupree.

4. Peter Rodman, National Security Council (NSC) representative, in testimony to the "Bipartisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," May 10, 1989, Washington, DC. Rodman is Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the NSC. He opened his statement confirming he was speaking on behalf of the administration.

5. Memorandum prepared by David MacMichael for the Institute for Media Analysis' "Nicaragua Election Monitoring Project," November 1989.

6. Carl Gershman, president of NED, public testimony before the International Operations Subcommittee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, September 28, 1989.

7. Congress approved $1.5 million in a special Nicaragua appropriation in September 1988, then another S2 million in June 1989. In October it approved $9 million, allocated specifically for the electoral process.

8. Internal NED document, August 1988.

9. Op. cit., n. 3.

10. Ibid.

11. Central America Information Bulletin, op. cit., n. 1.

12. NDI Program Assistant Michael Stoddard, in testimony before the "Bipartisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," May 10, 1989, Washington, DC.

13. NED's executive summary on Nicaragua projects, "Programs of the Endowment and its Institutions in Nicaragua," 1988; updated version, Fall 1989.

14. Op. cit., n. 3.

15. Phone interview with Delphi President Paul Von Ward.

16. Ben Bradlee, Jr., Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1988), pp. 233-36.

17. NED Annual Reports, 1985-87; op. cit., n. 13.

18. La Prensa began to receive covert CIA subsidies as early as 1979 to enable it to play the counter-revolutionary role that El Mercurio had done during the Allende years in Chile and that The Daily Gleaner performed in Jamaica in 1976-1980 in the anti-Manley effort. In Nicaragua, the result was that the incorruptible managing editor, Xavier Chamorro, resigned along with 80 percent of the staff to found the pro-Sandinista El Nuevo Diario. The new editor, Violeta's son, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, later went into self-exile in Costa Rica where, on a CIA salary supposed to have been several thousand a month, he published an exile edition of La Prensa and served on the contra political directorate.

19. "Support for Nicaraguan Independent Radios," internal Delphi document, June 1989; op. cit., n. 13.

20. Op. cit., n. 13.

21. Op. cit., n. 13.

22. ''Youth voter education project in Nicaragua," NED summary of the Delphi programs, June 1989; "CEFOJ Evaluation," internal Delphi evaluation of the first year of the program.

23. Department of the Army, "U.S. Army Guide for the Planning of Counter-insurgency" (Washington, DC, 1975); William Robinson and Kent Norsworthy, David and Goliath (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1987), p. 216.

24. ''Women's voter education and training project in Nicaragua," internal Delphi document presented to NED, June 1989.

25. Ned Annual Reports, op. cit., n. 17.

26. See William Robinson, "Special Report: The Melton Plan - Chronicle or a Destabilization Plot Foretold," Central America Information Bulletin, August 10, 1988.

27. Op. cit., n. 13.

28. AID Report to Congress on Public Law 101-119, November 1989.

29. Newsweek, September 25, 1989.

30. UPI Dispatch, August 1, 1988.

31. West German foundations which support UNO include the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Friederick Naumann Foundation. The West German donations alone are in the several million dollar range. For more information see, Ralph Fine, David Kruse, Jack Spence, and George Vickers, "Hemisphere Initiatives: Nicaragua Election Update Number 2-Foreign Funding of the Internal Opposition," Boston, October 16, 1989.

32. Internal NED document, April 1989.

33. Op. cit., n. 13.

34. op. cit., n. 32.

35. Robinson, op. cit., n. 1; op. cit., n. 13.

36. Op. cit., n. 32.

37. Op. cit., n. 13.

38. Holly Sklar, "Washington Wants to Buy Nicaragua's Elections - Again," Zeta Magazine, December 1989, p. 46.

39. Telephone interview with IFES Director. Richard Soudriette.

40. Barricada, October 10-11, 1989.

41. Ibid.

42. From a source close to IFES.

43. Barricada, October 9, 1989.

44. op. cit., n. 13.

45. Op. cit., n. 13.

46. ADF document, "Modified Programmatic Structure and Contents for NED Grant 89-08.0 (Elections Nicaragua-90)," July 1989. One of the U.S. conduits that NED used to fund CAD is the America's Development Foundation (ADF). This Alexandria, Virginia-based organization is headed by Michael Miller.

47. Internal CAD document, "CAD-Centroamerica, Participation Through Media and Civic Organizations," November 2, 1989.

48. Phone interview with Jose Antonio Alvarado, October 1989.

49. Nicaraguan Ministry of Defense bulletin, October 1989.

50. Official report on the registration process, Nicaraguan Supreme Electoral Council, October 1989.

51. Barricada, November 2, 1989.

52. Abraham Lowenthal, "Even Loss in Nicaragua Vote Can Be Gain," Los Angeles Times, September 20, 1989, Op/Ed page.

53. A policy report by the Resource Center provides good background material on NED activities. The report is due to come out in February 1990. For more information write, The Resource Center, P.O. Box 4506, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87196.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:31 am

The "Melton Plan"
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

In April 1988, Ronald Reagan appointed Richard Melton as U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua. Melton was in the Dominican Republic at the time of the 1965 U.S. invasion, in Portugal in 1975, and as the former head of the Central American desk at the State Department, worked closely with Elliott Abrams in Iran/contra operations. Immediately on his arrival in Managua, he declared his "militant anti-Sandinismo" and announced he would "go all out" to bolster the opposition. In May 1988, NED President Carl Gershman, a rightwing militant who had served as aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick at the United Nations, visited Nicaragua to synchronize NED activities with those of the Embassy.

In July 1988, an opposition rally in the town of Nandaime ended in a violent confrontation between police and opposition rioters. A number of opposition leaders were arrested, and eventually convicted on charges of incitement to riot.

The Nicaraguan government charged that the demonstration was organized by the CIA as a deliberate provocation. Authorities presented strong circumstantial evidence, and claimed that U.S. agents based in Costa Rica had done the footwork. Melton and six other Embassy officials were expelled from Nicaragua and in retaliation, the U.S. sent the Nicaraguan Ambassador, Carlos Tunnerman, and six of his staff members back to Managua.

At the time of the riot, the U.S. mainstream media belittled the charges of U.S. complicity in the riot. However, several weeks later, then-House Speaker Jim Wright (Dem. - Tex.) confirmed the Nicaraguan government's charges. At a press conference on September 20, 1988, Wright stated publicly that the CIA had admitted to Congress that they were manipulating the internal opposition in Nicaragua in order to "provoke an overreaction" by the Sandinistas.

Melton himself had appeared at an opposition meeting in Estell one week before the Nandaime provocation. At this meeting, the opposition called for the dissolution of the Nicaraguan government and its replacement by a "Government of National Salvation." Melton addressed the gathering, expressing U.S. support for the call and urging the opposition to unite around it. It is no coincidence that one year later, the UNO electoral platform states that if it wins the elections, the "united opposition" will form a "Government of National Salvation."

The U.S. government described the Nandaime incident as a Sandinista "crackdown" on civil liberties and an outpouring of anti-Sandinista propaganda followed in the media. The Right Wing called for renewed contra aid, but Congress instead opted for a special $2 million appropriation for NED activities in Nicaragua. The congressional vote showed that the choice had been made for the "political alternative" of creating and then directing an internal political opposition to oust the Sandinistas.
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