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

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

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:36 am

George Bush: The Company's Man. El Salvador and Nicaragua: U.S. Undermines Elections
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Number 33
Winter 1990



Cover Photo: George Bush as Director of Central Intelligence. Credit: Dennis Brack/Black Star.

Credit © Joost Veerkamp

Table of Contents

• Editorial
• Agents for Bush, by Bob Callahan
• Reagan's CIA, by William Blum
• The Terrorism Task Force, by Peter Dale Scott
• VP's Office: Cover for Iran/Contra, by Jane Hunter
• Skull and Bones
• Bush's Secret Team, by Jane Hunter
• The Republican Party and Fascists, by Russ Bellant
• Intervention in Nicaraguan Elections, by William Robinson and David MacMichael
• Book Review: The Christian Right, by Fred Clarkson
• El Salvador Elections, by Edward S. Herman and Terry Allen
• News Notes
• The Rise of the National Security State, by Diana Reynolds
• Dealing With Drugs in Cuba, by Debra Evenson
• Chile and National Security Doctrine, by Carla Stea

CovertAction Information Bulletin, Number 33, Winter 1990, copyright © 1990 by Covert Action Publications, Inc., a District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation; P.O. Box 50272, Washington, DC 20004; (202) 331-9763; and c/o Institute for Media Analysis, Inc., 145 W. 4th St., New York, NY 10012; (212) 254-1061. All rights reserved. Staff: Ellen Ray, William Schaap, William Vornberger, and Louis Wolf. Photography consultant: Dolores Neuman. Typeset by CAIB ; printed by Wickersham Printing Company, Lancaster, P A. Indexed in the Alternative Press Index. ISSN 027S-309X
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:37 am

Editorial: George Bush: From Langley to the Oval Office
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

A special issue on George Bush deserves a special editorial about George Bush. We therefore present an expanded version with some of our thoughts about the 41st President of the United States.

Who is George Bush and what is his agenda? We believe that, notwithstanding his reputation as a ''wimp,'' George Bush is crafty and dangerous.

He is crafty because he has lived much of his political life as a "yes man," and this approach has served him well. Bush was the perfect head of the CIA during troubled times. According to Stansfield Turner, Bush's successor as DCI, "The reason they had a great love for George Bush [at the CIA] was that he let them do whatever they wanted. He came in and said: 'What do you want to do?' And then he said: 'OK, go ahead and do it.' "

Congress also had a great love for Bush. A former Senator, as well as former Ambassador to China and the United Nations, Bush had credentials to impress the old boy network in Congress. He frequently testified before committee hearings and assured the overseers that the CIA was out of the assassination business for good. His deferential style made Members of Congress believe that maybe he was telling the truth.

The Wimp Factor

In the 1988 Presidential campaign George Bush faced the charge of wimpishness and he needed to look tough. What did he do? He paraded out a Black man named Willie Horton and assured the U.S. public that he would be tough against crime and not let all the bad guys out of jail. That is not only toughness, it is racist.

He imitated Clint Eastwood and exclaimed, "Read my lips." He beat-up on Dan Rather in a television interview. After the election his handlers staged photo opportunities of Bush driving a cigarette boat, and surf casting, or shooting little birds in Texas. Suddenly, George Bush has been "spun" into a "real man."

But then, after the election hoopla had died down, George Bush seemed to be back to his nondescript, vague self.

Ronald Reagan was no wimp. He was just plain stupid. He will be remembered as the president who proclaimed that trees are a major source of air pollution, that ketchup was a vegetable, and who routinely dozed off in Cabinet meetings. Reagan was truly "out of the loop" while the men and women around him played politics with Machiavellian vindictiveness. Witness Jeane Kirkpatrick, Elliott Abrams, Edwin Meese, Rita Lavelle, Raymond Donovan, James Watt, William Casey, Anne Burford, and other such notables.

George Bush is no Machiavelli but he is smart enough to be much more dangerous than Ronald Reagan.

CIA Chief

Bush was the master of the CIA when Edwin Wilson, Frank Terpil, Thomas Clines, Ted Shackley, and Rafael Quintero ran their arms and assassination business with special support from CIA proprietaries. He helped stall the investigation of the 1976 Letelier/Moffitt murders, and met time and time again with CIA asset Manuel Noriega.

Is it not ironic that Shackley, Clines, Quintero, and Noriega show up less than ten years later in the thick of another CIA scandal? Is it not also ironic that Donald Gregg, the Vice President's closest adviser on national security issues, would be caught running a contra resupply effort from the Vice President's office and that Gregg would later end-up as Ambassador to South Korea, where he served as CIA station chief from 1973-76. The intelligence business is a small world and the same players keep popping up again and again.

At the same time that Clines, Wilson, and Terpil were making millions of dollars selling arms and explosives to just about anyone, right wing extremists and CIA assets Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles were plotting acts of terrorism as revenge for Cuba's revolution. In October 1976, a Cuban airliner was blown out of the sky over Barbados and all 73 passengers were killed. A few days later, Bosch and Posada Carriles were arrested and eventually convicted of the act. Bosch later escaped from a Venezuelan prison, some say, with the help of the CIA. He recently turned up in Miami, fighting extradition and seeking assistance from Bush's son Jeb and the President himself.

Posada Carriles also escaped from prison and later surfaced in El Salvador helping Felix Rodriguez in a CIA "counterterrorism" operation. Rodriguez recently compared this operation to the CIA's "pacification" program he participated in under William Colby in Vietnam.

Rodriguez, as noted in the Iran/contra hearings, is a good friend of Donald Gregg's. He and Gregg served with the Agency in Saigon when Theodore Shackley was station chief.

How is it that George Bush, the man appointed by Ronald Reagan to head the South Florida Task Force and the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System, could be so tied-up with drug dealing?

Besides his relationship with Noriega, Bush had connections to other alleged drug smugglers. Rodriguez, besides being Donald Gregg's helper, allegedly passed money from the Medellin cartel to the contras. Richard Armitage was to be Bush's choice for Secretary of the Army, but declined the nomination. There is speculation that the confirmation hearings would have brought up unpleasant questions about Armitage's role in heroin smuggling in the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war.


What other secrets should we recall about George Bush?

Bush was brought in as head of the Republican National Committee during the downfall of Richard Nixon. Bush, no doubt at the instructions of his handlers, immediately got tough and tried to stop the Senate Watergate Committee's chief investigator, Carmine Bellion. The day after Archibald Cox subpoenaed the infamous "White House tapes," Bush jumped into the fray claiming that Bellion had himself tried to wiretap the Republican National Committee 13 years before.

Robert Mosbacher, Bush's friend, business partner, and campaign finance chair has had his share of shady dealings. Mosbacher made some interesting financial arrangements of his own. He collected millions of Credit: Associated Press dollars from a business deal in the Philippines which reportedly stole from the Filipino treasury and enriched not only Mosbacher, but Ferdinand Marcos as well. A few years later, in a toast to Marcos, Bush would exclaim, ''We love your adherence to democratic principles - and to the democratic process."

Bush has followed Reagan's tradition of placing buffoons in high places. Witness Dan Quayle. In the 1988 campaign, Quayle had a serious image problem so the Bush Campaign used a two-pronged approach to attack the embarrassment.

The first thing they did was to lock Dan Quayle in a closet and keep him as far away as possible from both the public and journalists. They also hired Stuart Spencer to be Dan Quayle's handler during the campaign. Spencer had experience and a reputation for cleaning up political embarrassments. Prior to his job as puppet master for Quayle, he had worked as a PR person for Panamanian General Manuel Noriega and the South African government.

When Ronald Reagan accepted the blame for Iran/contra, we interpreted this to mean, "I didn't really understand what was going on, but I'll still take the blame." When George Bush claimed to have been out of the Iran/contra loop, we knew that he was lying.

In this issue of CAIB we present a great deal of evidence to show that Bush's vision of a "kinder, gentler America" is also a lie. If Bush is so interested in a "softer" image why is the CIA intervening in the Nicaraguan electoral process, as William Robinson and David MacMichael show? Why does he support the murderous government of El Salvador, as Edward Herman and Terry Allen's article so eloquently points out? Why is the Republican party littered with Nazis and fascists as Russ Bellant's investigative report proves?

If George Bush is so interested in "a thousands points of light," why has he appointed ex-CIA officials as ambassadors to China and South Korea? If he has such a great vision for the U.S., why does he belong to clubs which openly discriminate against women and subtly discriminate against African-Americans and other minorities?

And while George Bush continues with Ronald Reagan's "defense" budget legacy of almost $300 billion dollars per year, where is Bush's kinder, gentler America for the poor, the unemployed, the homeless, and the people with AIDS?

And, if all this were not enough to demonstrate that George Bush should not be viewed as a wimp, but as a dangerous threat to world peace, his unconscionable invasion of Panama presents powerful confirmation. It is clear that he intends to continue the Reagan administration's complete disregard for international law.

A new president with an old agenda: Power politics, gunboat diplomacy, and privilege for the wealthy but alms for the poor. The former head of the CIA is now the head of the nation. As if the Reagan reign of error was not enough - we're in for a long four more years.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:39 am

The 1980 Campaign: Agents for Bush
by Bob Callahan*
Winter 1990



On Inaugural Eve, January 21, 1981, George Herbert Walker Bush, the new Vice President of the United States, could pause and look back on his own failed presidential campaign and yet feel satisfied knowing that the interests of the Intelligence Community would be well-represented in the new Reagan-Bush administration.

A tough Wall Street lawyer, and a strong advocate of covert operations, William Casey, was about to be installed as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). And George Bush, a former DCI, who also had many friends on Wall Street, was just "one heartbeat away" from the presidency of the United States.

To a great extent, George Bush owed his recent political fortune to several old CIA friends, chiefly Ray Cline, who had helped to rally the Intelligence Community behind Bush's candidacy in its early stages. It had been Ray Cline, after all, who had first started the loose organization of "Agents for Bush."

Bill Peterson of the Washington Post wrote in a March 1, 1980 article, "Simply put, no presidential campaign in recent memory -- perhaps ever -- has attracted as much support from the intelligence community as [has] the campaign of former CIA director George Bush."

It was true. By the first of March, Ray Cline had helped put together an intelligence community campaign support staff of such size, complexity and character, that, had the Bush campaign initiated its own covert actions, it undoubtedly had the capacity to bring down at least half of the world's governments based on its own past experiences and associations.

George Bush's CIA campaign staff included Cline, CIA Chief of Station in Taiwan from 1958 to 1962; Lt. General Sam V. Wilson and Lt. General Harold A. Aaron, both former Directors of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Also included were retired General Richard Stillwell, once the CIA's Chief of Covert Operations for the Far East, and at least twenty-five other retired Company directors, deputy directors and/or agents.

It is hard to overestimate the level of CIA support that then existed for Bush's presidential campaign. At the annual meeting of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) the previous fall, Bush's Virginia campaign coordinator (and the former director of AFIO) Jack Coakley, claimed to have counted 190 "Bush for President" buttons being worn by the convention's 240 delegates. [1]

CIA support for Bush was apparently not limited to off-duty or retired agents, either. One of Bush's earliest supporters, Angelo Codevilla, informed a Congressional committee that he was "aware that active duty agents of the Central Intelligence Agency worked for the George Bush primary election campaign." [2]

Codevilla made this statement in a sworn affidavit prepared for a 1984 House investigation. In an amended copy of the document, Codevilla later changed his statement from "I am aware ... " to "I have heard that active duty agents of the Central Intelligence Agency worked for the George Bush primary election campaign." [3]

It is an important correction (the possibility of jail hung on the distinction). Given the extent of CIA involvement in the Bush campaign, it is a wonder that "the spook issue" was not discussed more in the press. Some of Bush's CIA backers themselves worried that it might be. "I can see the headlines [now]," said one former covert operations officer, "Bush Sprinkles Campaign With Former Spooks." [4]

One person who wasn't surprised by the lack of adverse press coverage of the CIA's role in the Bush campaign was Ray Cline. Calling attention to his own resignation in disgust from the Agency in 1973, Cline claimed that he had been promoting the pro-CIA agenda that Bush had embraced for years, and that he had found the post-Church hearings criticism had died down some time ago. "I found there was a tremendous constituency for the CIA when everyone in Washington was still urinating all over it," Cline said, in his typically colorful manner. "It's panned out almost too good to be true. The country is waking up just in time for George's candidacy." [5]

Bush and Counterterrorism

The Bush presidential campaign not only set the tone for the role and structure of the intelligence apparatus in the new Reagan administration, it also took up a new foreign policy theme which would reap huge political dividends in the years to come. This new theme was terrorism/counterterrorism.

In July 1979, George Bush and Ray Cline attended a conference in Jerusalem where this theme was given its first significant political discussion before leaders of Israel, Great Britain, and the United States.

It would take an enormously important event to keep a major American presidential candidate away from campaigning on the Fourth of July weekend. For George Bush, the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism was such an event. The Jerusalem Conference was hosted by the Israeli government and, not surprisingly, most of Israel's top intelligence officers and leading political leaders were in attendance. [6]

Credit: Hoover Institute
Angelo Codevilla knew of CIA agents in Bush campaign.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin rose to the podium on July 2, 1979 to provide the conference with its opening address. By the summer of 1979, even Menachem Begin was willing to join in the bashing of his old Camp David friend, Jimmy Carter - a practice which had become almost endemic by the fall of 1979.

The Israelis were angry with Carter because his administration had recently released its Annual Report on Human Rights wherein the Israeli Government was taken to task for abusing the rights of the Palestinian people on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel's new anti-Carter tone was mild, however, compared to the rhetoric of the two separate U.S. delegations which attended the conference. The first delegation was led by the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington. It included the noted black civil rights leader Bayard Rustin; Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute; and Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter of Commentary Magazine. The members of this delegation were registered Democrats, yet all became very active in neo-conservative politics during the Reagan years.

The Republican delegation was led by George Bush. It included Ray Cline, and two important members of Bush's Team B from his CIA days -- Major General George Keegan, a Bush supporter who had served as intelligence chief for the United States Air Force; and Harvard Professor Richard Pipes. [7]

Looking for a mobilizing issue to counter the Carter-era themes of detente and human rights, the Bush people began to explore the political benefits of embracing the terrorism/ counterterrorism theme.

As Jonathan Marshall of the Oakland Tribune explains: "At the conference, Ray Cline developed the theme that terror was not a random response of frustrated minorities, but rather a preferred instrument of East bloc policy adopted after 1969 when the KGB persuaded the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to accept the PLO as a major political instrument in the Mideast and to subsidize its terrorist policies by freely giving money, training, arms and coordinated communications." [8]

In Ray Cline's imagination, terrorism had now hardened into a system -- an international trouble making system. Richard Pipes elaborated on the Cline hypothesis. "The roots of Soviet terrorism, indeed of modern terrorism," Pipes stated, "date back to 1879 ... .It marks the beginning of that organization which is the source of all modern terrorist groups, whether they be named the Tupamaros, the Baader-Meinhoff group, the Weathermen, Red Brigade or PLO. I refer to the establishment in 1879 of a Congress in the small Russian town of Lipesk, of an organization known as Narodnaya Volya, or the People's Will." [9]

According to Philip Paull, who wrote his master's thesis on the subject of the Jerusalem Conference, "If Pipes was to be believed, the Russians not only support international terrorism, they invented it!" [10]

The Bush/Cline/Pipes definition of terrorism was of course both expeditious and powerfully political. "Left out of their equation," Jonathan Marshall comments, "was any mention of terrorist acts by CIA-trained Cuban exiles, Israeli ties to Red Brigades, or the function of death squads from Argentina to Guatemala. Soviet sponsorship, real or imagined, had become the defining characteristic of terrorism, not simply an explanation for its prevalence. Moreover, there was no inclination whatsoever to include, under the rubric of terror, bombings of civilians, or any other acts carried out by government forces rather than small individual units." [11]

Within days after the conference, the new propaganda war began in earnest. On July 11, 1979 the International Herald Tribune featured a lead editorial entitled "The Issue is Terrorism" which quoted directly from conference speeches. The same day Congressman Jack Kemp placed selected quotes from the conference in the Congressional Record. In his syndicated column of July 28,1979, former CIA employee William F. Buckley blasted two of his favorite targets in one single mixed metaphor: "No venture is too small to escape patronage by the Soviet Union," Buckley stated, "which scatters funds about for terrorists like HEW in search of welfare clients." Then in August, George Will, who also attended the conference, wrote about it in the Washington Post.

Before the year was out Commentary, National Review, and eventually New Republic writers would all churn out yard after yard of copy on this theme. Soon after, Claire Sterling, who had also attended the conference, would create the first ''bible'' of this new perspective with the publication of her highly controversial book, The Terror Network. [12]

With the help of George Bush and Ray Cline, the Jerusalem Conference had managed to start a propaganda firestorm.

In the following decade, the theme of terrorism/counterterrorism would grow increasingly important to George Bush. He would become the ranking authority on this subject in the Reagan White House. Indeed, it would be Bush's own Task Force -- the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism -- which would eventually provide Oliver North back channel authorization through which he would bypass certain dissenting administration officials in his ongoing management of the Reagan/Bush Secret War against Nicaragua. [13]

Uncle Bill

As important as Ray Cline's advice and support had been to George Bush, the real turning point in Bush's quest for the White House came when William Casey convinced Ronald Reagan to choose Bush as his running mate. [14]

Bush and Casey were, after all, old friends. By 1979, the two had worked closely on a number of intelligence matters for over a dozen years. In 1962, for example, William Casey and Prescott Bush -- George's father -- co-founded the National Strategy Information Center in New York City. The elder Bush and Casey were both leading Republican conservative members of New York's Wall Street community, and both could claim a background in intelligence matters while members of the U.S. military. [15]

In subsequent years, the organization which William Casey and Prescott Bush created became increasingly embroiled in political controversy. The National Strategy Information Center had funded a series of Forum World Features publications until it was publicly revealed that the Forum was a CIA proprietary operating out of London and was engaged in a variety of anti-left disinformation campaigns.

The Bush/Casey think tank had also played a pioneering role in establishing chairs and scholarships on numerous U.S. college campuses where friends of the CIA were able to gain a modicum of intellectual credibility teaching courses on intelligence and national security issues.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), at Georgetown University, was in many ways an outgrowth of the original Bush/Casey think tank -- CSIS's illustrious faculty included Henry Kissinger, George Carver, Michael Ledeen, and Ray Cline.

William Casey's relationship with young George Bush culminated in 1976 when Casey was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and George Bush was appointed Director of Central Intelligence. It had long been William Casey's contention that the CIA's assessment of Soviet military strength seriously underestimated the potential Soviet threat. In his young friend, Casey finally found a CIA Director willing to do something about the problem.

William Casey.

What George Bush and William Casey actually did was to form their own study group to provide the CIA with some competitive analysis -- a new Team B analysis to contrast with the agency's own standard Team A analysis. Not surprisingly, the new Team B concluded that the CIA had indeed woefully underestimated the real Soviet threat. This argument was, of course, the primary justification for the massive U.S. arms build-up under Reagan. [16]

Team B was led by George Bush's future adviser, Professor Richard Pipes and by General Daniel Graham who later became a leader in the fight to develop Star Wars technology. Indeed, the entire anti-Soviet, "evil Empire" tone of the Reagan administration was set by this group of Bush-Casey analysts. The die, as they say, had been cast.

William Casey was entirely aware of this background when he approached the California governor with his recommendation for a vice presidential running mate. While some found George Bush too wimpish for their taste, Casey would not be so easily misled. Casey knew that when it came to issues of consequence for the CIA, George Bush could be counted on to do the right thing. It was spring at Langley, and the talk was of Restoration.



* Bob Callahan is the editor of The Big Book of American Irish Culture (Viking Penguin), and a former book columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. Bring Me Geronimo's Skull, the first in a series of George Bush comic books written by Callahan, and illustrated by artist Jim Pearson, will be published by Eclipse Books & Comics in the Spring of 1990.

1. Washington Post, March 1, 1980.

2. "Unauthorized Transfers of Nonpublic Information During the 1980 Presidential Campaign." Report prepared by the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), pp. 1112-14.

3. Ibid.

4. Op. cit., n. 1.

5. Ibid.

6. Philip Paull, "International Terrorism: The Propaganda War," University of San Francisco MA Thesis, San Francisco, CA, 1982, p. 8.

7. Ibid, pp. 103-07.

8. Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), p. 210.

9. Op. cit., n. 6, pp. 18-19.

10. Ibid, p. 19.

11. Op. cit., n. 6, p. 211.

12. See Frank Brodhead and Edward S. Herman, "The KGB Plot to Assassinate the Pope," CovertAction Information Bulletin, No. 19, pp. 13-24.

13. See Peter Dale Scott, "The Task Force on Combatting Terrorism," this issue.

14. New York Times, May 7, 1987.

15. Prescott Bush served in Army Intelligence during the First World War and William Casey was a veteran of the OSS.

16. The Nation, August 27/September 3, 1988, p. 158. See also, John Ranelagh, The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CM (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), pp. 622-24.
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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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