George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography - Part 7 of 8

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GEORGE BUSH: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - PART 7 of 8

 

 

CHAPTER 18

PART 2

THE ATTEMPTED COUP D'ETAT OF MARCH 30, 1981

For Bush, the vice-presidency was not an end in itself, but merely another

stage in the ascent toward the White House. With the help of his Brown

Brothers Harriman/Skull and Bones network, Bush had now reached the point

where but a single human life stood between him and the presidency.

Ronald Reagan was 70 years old when he took office, the oldest man ever to

be inaugurated as President. His mind wandered; long fits of slumber crept

over his cognitive faculties. His custom was to delegate all administrative

decisions to the cabinet members, to the executive departments and

agencies. Policy questions were delegated to the White House staff, who

prepared the options and then guided Reagan's decisions among the

pre-defined options. This was the staff that composed not just Reagan's

speeches, but the script of his entire life.

In addition, during the early years of Reagan's first term, there were

enough Reaganite loyalists in the administration, typified by William

Clark, to cause much trouble for the Bushmen. But as the years went by, the

few men like Clark whom Reagan had brought with him from California would

be ground up by endless bureaucratic warfare, and their replacements, like

McFarlane at the NSC, would come more and more from the ranks of the

Kissingerians. Unfortunately, Reagan never developed a plan to make the SDI

an irreversible political and budgetary reality, and this critical

shortcoming grew out of Reagan's failed economic policies, which never

substantially departed from Carter's.

But apart from rare moments like the SDI, Reagan tended to drift. Don Regan

called it "the guesswork presidency"; for Al Haig, frustrated in his own

lust for power, it was government by an all-powerful staff. Who were the

staff? At first, it was thought that Reagan would take most of his advice

from his old friend Edwin Meese, his close associate from California days,

loyal and devoted to Reagan, and sporting his Adam Smith tie. But it was

soon evident that the White House was really run by a troika: Meese,

Michael Deaver, and James Baker III, Bush's man.

Deaver gravitated by instinct toward Baker; Deaver tells us in his memoirs

that he was a supporter of Bush for vice president at the Detroit

convention. This meant that James Baker-Michael Deaver became the dominant

force over Ron and over Nancy; George Bush, in other words, already had an

edge in the bureaucratic infighting.

Thus it was that White House Press Secretary James Brady could say in early

March 1981: "Bush is functioning much like a co-President. George is

involved in all the national security stuff because of his special

background as CIA director. All the budget working groups he was there, the

economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all

the meetings." / Note #1

During the first months of the Reagan administration, Bush found himself

locked in a power struggle with Gen. Alexander Haig, whom Reagan had

appointed to be secretary of state.

Inexorably, the Brown Brothers Harriman/Skull and Bones networks went into

action against Haig. The idea was to paint him as a power-hungry

megalomaniac bent on dominating the administration of the weak figurehead

Reagan. This would then be supplemented by a vicious campaign of leaking by

James Baker and Michael Deaver, designed to play Reagan against Haig and

vice-versa, until the rival to Bush could be eliminated.

Three weeks into the new administration, Haig concluded that "someone in

the White House staff was attempting to communicate with me through the

press," by a process of constant leakage, including leakage of the contents

of secret diplomatic papers. Haig protested to Meese, NSC chief Richard

Allen, James Baker and Bush. Shortly thereafter, Haig noted that "Baker's

messeng ers sent rumors of my imminent departure or dismissal murmuring

through the press." "Soon, a 'senior presidential aide' was quoted in a

syndicated column as saying, 'We will get this man [Haig] under control.'|"

/ Note #2 It took more than a year for Baker and Bush to drive Haig out of

the administration. Shortly before his ouster, Haig got a report of a White

House meeting during which Baker was reported to have said, "Haig is going

to go, and quickly, and we are going to make it happen." / Note #3

Haig's principal bureaucratic ploy during the first weeks of the Reagan

administration was his submission to Reagan, on the day of his

inauguration, of a draft executive order to organize the National Security

Council and interagency task forces, including the crisis staffs, according

to Haig's wishes. Haig refers to this document as National Security

Decision Directive 1 (NSDD 1), and laments that it was never signed in its

original form, and that no comparable directive for structuring the NSC

interagency groups was signed for over a year. Ultimately a document called

NSDD 1 would be signed, establishing a Special Situation Group (SSG) crisis

management staff chaired by Bush. Haig's draft would have made the

secretary of state the chairman of the SSG crisis staff in conformity with

Haig's demand to be recognized as Reagan's "vicar of foreign policy." This

was unacceptable to Bush, who made sure, with the help of James Baker and

probably also Deaver, that Haig's draft of NSDD 1 would never be signed.

The struggle between Haig and Bush culminated toward the end of Reagan's

first 100 days in office. Haig was chafing because the White House staff,

meaning James Baker, was denying him access to the President.Haig's NSDD 1

had still not been signed. Then, on Sunday, March 22, Haig's attention was

called to an elaborate leak to reporter Martin Schram that had appeared

that day in the "Washington Post" under the headline "White House Revamps

Top Policy Roles; Bush to Head Crisis Management." Haig's attention was

drawn to the following paragraphs: "Partly in an effort to bring harmony to

the Reagan high command, it has been decided that Vice President George

Bush will be placed in charge of a new structure for national security

crisis management, according to senior presidential assistants. This

assignment will amount to an unprecedented role for a vice president in

modern times....

"Reagan officials emphasized that Bush, a former director of the CIA and

former United Nations ambassador, would be able to preserve White House

control over crisis management without irritating Haig, who they stressed

was probably the most experienced and able of all other officials who could

serve in that function.

"|'The reason for this [choice of Bush] is that the secretary of state

might wish he were chairing the crisis management structure,' said one

Reagan official, 'but it is pretty hard to argue with the vice president

being in charge.'|" / Note #4

Haig says that he called Ed Meese at the White House to check the truth of

this report, and that Meese replied that there was no truth to it. Haig

went to see Reagan at the White House. Reagan was concerned about the leak,

and reassured Haig: "I want you to know that the story in the "Post" is a

fabrication. It means that George would sit in for me in the NSC in my

absence, and that's all it means. It doesn't affect your authority in any

way."

But later the same afternoon, White House Press Secretary James Brady read

the following statement to the press: "I am confirming today the

President's decision to have the Vice President chair the Administration's

'crisis management' team, as a part of the National Security Council

system.... President Reagan's choice of the Vice President was guided in

large measure by the fact that management of crises has traditionally --

and appropriately -- been done in the White House." / Note #5

In the midst of the Bush-James Baker cabal's relentless drive to seize

control over the Reagan administration, John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. carried

out his attempt to assassinate President Reagan on the afternoon of March

30, 1981. George Bush was visiting Texas that day. Bush was flying from

Fort Worth to Austin in his Air Force Two Boeing 707.

In Austin, Bush was scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of

the Texas state legislature. It was Al Haig who called Bush and told him

that the President had been shot, while forwarding the details of Reagan's

condition, insofar as they were known, by scrambler as a classified

message. Haig was in touch with James Baker III, who was close to Reagan at

George Washington University hospital. Bush's man in the White House

situation room was Admiral Dan Murphy, who was standing right next to Haig.

Bush agreed with Haig's estimate that he ought to return to Washington at

once. But first his plane needed to be refueled, so it landed at Carswell

Air Force Base near Austin.

Bush says that his flight from Carswell to Andrews Air Force Base near

Washington took about two and one-half hours, and that he arrived at

Andrews at about 6:40 p.m. Bush says he was told by Ed Meese that the

operation to remove the bullet that had struck Reagan was a success, and

that the President was likely to survive.

Back at the White House, the principal cabinet officers had assembled in

the Situation Room and had been running a crisis management committee

during the afternoon. Haig says he was at first adamant that a conspiracy,

if discovered, should be ruthlessly exposed: "Remembering the aftermath of

the Kennedy assassination, I said to Woody Goldberg, 'No matter what the

truth is about this shooting, the American people must know it.'|" / Note

#6

In his memoir Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger recalls, that "at almost e

xactly 7:00, the Vice President came to the Situation Room and very calmly

assumed the chair at the head of the table." / Note #7 Bush asked

Weinberger for a report on the status of U.S. forces, which Weinberger

furnished.

Another eyewitness of these transactions was Don Regan, who records that

"the Vice President arrived with Ed Meese, who had met him when he landed

to fill him in on the details. George asked for a condition report: 1) on

the President; 2) on the other wounded; 3) on the assailant; 4) on the

international scene.... After the reports were given and it was determined

that there were no international complications and no domestic conspiracy,

it was decided that the U.S. government would carry on business as usual.

The Vice President would go on TV from the White House to reassure the

nation and to demonstrate that he was in charge." / Note #8

As Weinberger recounts the same moments: "[Attorney General William French

Smith] then reported that all FBI reports concurred with the information I

had received; that the shooting was a completely isolated incident and that

the assassin, John Hinckley, with a previous record in Nashville, seemed to

be a 'Bremmer' type, a reference to the attempted assassin of George

Wallace." / Note #9

Those who were not watching carefully here may have missed the fact that

just a few minutes after George Bush had walked into the room, he had

presided over the sweeping under the rug of the decisive question regarding

Hinckley and his actions: Was Hinckley a part of a conspiracy, domestic or

international? Not more than five hours after the attempt to kill Reagan,

on the basis of the most fragmentary early reports, before Hinckley had

been properly questioned, and before a full investigation had been carried

out, a group of cabinet officers chaired by George Bush had ruled out "a

priori" any conspiracy. Haig, whose memoirs talk most about the possibility

of a conspiracy, does not seem to have objected to this incredible

decision.

From that moment on, "no conspiracy" became the official doctrine of the

U.S. regime and the most massive efforts were undertaken to stifle any

suggestion to the contrary.

 

The Conspiracy

Curiously enough, press accounts emerging over the next few days provided a

"prima facie" case that there had been a conspiracy around the Hinckley

attentat, and that the cons piracy had included members of Bush's immediate

family. Most of the overt facts were not disputed, but were actually

confirmed by Bush and his son Neil.

On Tuesday, March 31, the "Houston Post" published a copyrighted story

under the headline: "Bush's Son Was to Dine with Suspect's Brother." The

lead paragraph read as follows: "Scott Hinckley, the brother of John

Hinckley, Jr., who is charged with shooting President Reagan and three

others, was to have been a dinner guest Tuesday night at the home of Neil

Bush, son of Vice President George Bush, the "Houston Post" has learned."

According to the article, Neil Bush had admitted on Monday, March 30 that

he was personally acquainted with Scott Hinckley, having met with him on

one occasion in the recent past. Neil Bush also stated that he knew the

Hinckley family, and referred to large monetary contributions made by the

Hinckleys to the Bush 1980 presidential campaign. Neil Bush and Scott

Hinckley both lived in Denver at this time. Scott Hinckley was the vice

president of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation, and Neil Bush was employed as a

landman for Standard Oil of Indiana. John W. Hinckley, Jr., the would-be

assassin, lived on and off with his family in Evergreen, Colorado, not far

from Denver.

Neil Bush was reached for comment on Monday, March 30, and was asked if, in

addition to Scott Hinckley, he also knew John W. Hinckley, Jr., the

would-be killer. "I have no idea," said Neil Bush. "I don't recognize any

pictures of him. I just wish I could see a better picture of him."

Sharon Bush, Neil's wife, was also asked about her acquaintance with the

Hinckley family. "I don't even know the brother," she replied, suggesting

that Scott Hinckley was coming to dinner as the date of a woman whom

Sharon did know. "From what I know and have heard, they [the Hinckleys] are

a very nice family ... and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign.

I understand he [John W. Hinckley, Jr.] was just the renegade brother in

the family. They must feel awful."

It also proved necessary for Bush's office to deny that the Vice President

was familiar with the "Hinckley-Bush connection." Bush's press secretary,

Peter Teeley, said when asked to comment: "I don't know a damn thing about

it. I was talking to someone earlier tonight, and I couldn't even remember

his [Hinckley's] name. All I know is what you're telling me."

On April 1, 1981, the "Rocky Mountain News" of Denver carried Neil Bush's

confirmation that if the assassination attempt had not happened on March

30, Scott Hinckley would have been present at a dinner party at Neil Bush's

home the night of March 31. According to Neil, Scott Hinckley had come to

the home of Neil and Sharon Bush on January 23, 1981 to be present along

with about 30 other guests at a surprise birthday party for Neil, who had

turned 26 one day earlier. Scott Hinckley had come "through a close friend

who brought him," according to this version, and this same close female

friend was scheduled to come to dinner along with Scott Hinckley on that

last night of March, 1981.

"My wife set up a surprise party for me, and it truly was a surprise, and

it was an honor for me at that time to meet Scott Hinckley," said Neil Bush

to reporters. "He is a good and decent man. I have no regrets whatsoever in

saying Scott Hinckley can be considered a friend of mine. To have had one

meeting doesn't make the best of friends, but I have no regrets in saying I

do know him."

Neil Bush told the reporters that he had never met John W. Hinckley, Jr.,

the gunman, nor his father, John W. Hinckley, Sr., president and chairman

of the board of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation of Denver. But Neil Bush also

added that he would be interested in meeting the elder Hinckley: "I would

like [to meet him]. I'm trying to learn the oil business, and he's in the

oil business. I probably could learn something from Mr. Hinckley."

Neil Bush then announced that he wanted to "set straight" certain

inaccuracies that had appeared the previous day in the "Houston Post" about

the relations between the Bush and Hinckley families. The first was his own

wife Sharon's reference to the large contributions from the Hinckleys to

the Bush campaign. Neil asserted that the 1980 Bush campaign records showed

no money whatever coming in from any of the Hinckleys. All that could be

found, he argued, was a contribution to that "great Republican," John

Connally.

The other issue the "Houston Post" had raised regarded the 1978 period,

when George W. Bush of Midland, Texas, Neil's oldest brother, had run for

Congress in Texas's 19th Congressional District. At that time, Neil Bush

had worked for George W. Bush as his campaign manager, and in this

connection Neil had lived in Lubbock, Texas during most of the year. This

raised the question of whether Neil might have been in touch with gunman

John W. Hinckley, Jr. during that year of 1978, since gunman Hinckley had

lived in Lubbock from 1974 through 1980, when he was an intermittent

student at Texas Tech University there. Neil Bush ruled out any contact

between the Bush family and gunman John W. Hinckley, Jr. in Lubbock during

that time.

The previous day, elder son George W. Bush had been far less categorical

about never having met gunman Hinckley. He had stated to the press: "It's

certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to

him.... I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing

they had on TV, and the name doesn't ring any bells. I know he wasn't on

our staff. I could check our volunteer rolls."

Neil Bush's confirmation of his relations with Scott Hinckley was matched

by a parallel confirmation from the Executive Office of the Vice President.

This appeared in the "Houston Post", April 1, 1981 under the headline,

"Vice President Confirms his Son was to have Hosted Hinckley Brother." Here

the second-string press secretary, Shirley M. Green, was doing the talking.

"I've spoken to Neil," she said, "and he says they never saw [Scott]

Hinckley again [after the birthday party]. They kept saying 'we've got to

get together,' but they never made any plans until tonight." Contradicting

Neil Bush's remarks, Ms. Green asserted that Neil Bush knew Scott Hinckley

"only slightly."

Later in the day, Bush spokesman Peter Teeley surfaced to deny any campaign

donations from the Hinckley clan to the Bush campaign. When asked why

Sharon Bush and Neil Bush had made reference to large political

contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign, Teeley responded, "I

don't have the vaguest idea." "We've gone through our files," said Teeley,

"and we have absolutely no information that he [John W. Hinckley, Sr.] or

anybody in the family were contributors, supporters, anything."

Once the cabinet had decided that there had been no conspiracy, all such

facts were irrelevant anyway. There is no record of Neil Bush, George W.

Bush, or Vice President George H.W. Bush ever having been questioned by the

FBI in regard to the contacts described. They never appeared before a grand

jury or a congressional investigating committee. Which is another way of

saying that by March 1981, the United States government had degenerated

into total lawlessness, with special exemptions for the now-ruling Bush

family. Government by law had dissolved.

 

Haig Is Out

The media were not interested in the dinner date of Neil Bush and Scott

Hinckley, but they were very interested indeed in the soap opera of what

had gone on in the Situation Room in the White House during the afternoon

of March 30. Since the media had been looking for ways to go after Haig for

weeks, they simply continued this line into their coverage of the White

House scene that afternoon. Haig had appeared before the television cameras

to say: "Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice

President, and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the

President decide that he wants to transfer the helm he will do so. He has

not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending

the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something

came up, I would check with him, of cou rse."

The "I'm in control here" story on Haig was made into the leitmotif for his

sacking, which was still a year in the future. Reagan's own ghostwritten

biography published the year after he left office gives a good idea what

James Baker and Michael Deaver fed the confused and wounded President about

what had gone on during his absence: "On the day I was shot, George Bush

was out of town and Haig immediately came to the White House and claimed he

was in charge of the country. Even after the vice-president was back in

Washington, I was told he maintained that he, not George, should be in

charge. I didn't know about this when it was going on. But I heard later

that the rest of the cabinet was furious. They said he acted as if he

thought he had the right to sit in the Oval Office and believed it was his

constitutional right to take over -- a position without any legal basis." /

Note #1 / Note #0

This fantastic account finds no support in the Regan or Weinberger memoirs,

but is a fair sample of the Bushman line.

 

Manchurian Candidate?

What also interested the media very much was the story of John W. Hinckley,

Jr.'s obsession with the actress Jodie Foster, who had played the role of a

teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie "Taxi Driver." The prostitute is

befriended by a taxi driver, Travis Bickle, who threatens to kill a Senator

who is running for President in order to win the love of the girl. Young

John Hinckley had imitated the habits and mannerisms of Travis Bickle.

When John Hinckley, Jr. had left his hotel room in Washington, D.C. on his

way to shoot Reagan, he had left behind a letter to Jodie Foster:

Dear Jodie,

There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get

Reagan. It is for this reason that I am writing you this letter now. As

you well know by now, I love you very much. The past seven months I have

left you dozens of poems, letters, and messages in the faint hope you would

develop an interest in me.... Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into

your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to

gain your respect and love.

I love you forever.

[signed] John Hinckley / Note #1 / Note #1

In 1980, Jodie Foster was enrolled at Yale University in New Haven,

Connecticut, as an undergraduate. Hinckley spent three weeks in September

1980 in a New Haven hotel, according to the "New York Daily News". In early

October, he spent several days in New Haven, this time at the Colony Inn

motel. Two bartenders in a bar near the Yale campus recalled Hinckley as

having bragged about his relationship with Jodie Foster. Hinckley had been

arrested by airport authorities in Nashville, Tennessee on October 9, 1980

for carrying three guns, and was quickly released. Reagan had been in

Nashville on October 7, and Carter arrived there on October 9. The firearms

charge on the same day that the President was coming to town should have

landed Hinckley on the Secret Service watch list of potential presidential

assassins, but the FBI apparently neglected to transmit the information to

the Secret Service.

In February 1981, Hinckley was again near the Yale campus. During this

time, Hinckley claimed that he was in contact with Jodie Foster by mail and

telephone. Jodie Foster had indeed received a series of letters and notes

from Hinckley, which she had passed on to her college dean. The dean

allegedly gave the letters to the New Haven police, who supposedly gave

them to the FBI. Nevertheless, nothing was done to restrain Hinckley, who

had a record of psychiatric treatment. Hinckley had been buying guns in

various locations across the United States. Was Hinckley a Manchurian

candidate, brainwashed to carry out his role as an assassin? Was a network

operating through the various law enforcement agencies responsible for the

failure to restrain Hinckley or to put him under special surveillance?

The FBI soon officially rubber-stamped the order promulgated by the cabinet

that no conspiracy be found: "There was no conspiracy and Hinckley acted

alone," said the bureau. Hinckley's parents' memoir refers to some notes

penciled by Hinckley which were found during a search of his cell and which

"could sound bad." These notes "described an imaginary conspiracy -- either

with the political left or the political right .. to assassinate the

President." Hinckley's lawyers, from Edward Bennett Williams's law firm,

said that the notes were too absurd to be taken seriously, and they have

been suppressed. / Note #1 / Note #2

In July 1985, the FBI was compelled to release some details of its

investigation of Hinckley under the Freedom of Information Act. No

explanation was offered of how it was determined that Hinckley had acted

alone, and the names of all witnesses were censored. According to a wire

service account, "The file made no mention of papers seized from Hinckley's

prison cell at Butner, North Carolina, which reportedly made reference to a

conspiracy. Those writings were ruled inadmissible by the trial judge and

never made public." / Note #1 / Note #3

The FBI has refused to release 22 pages of documents concerning Hinckley's

"associates and organizations," 22 pages about his personal finances, and

37 pages about his personality and character. The Williams and Connally

defense team argued that Hinckley was insane, controlled by his obsession

with Jodie Foster. The jury accepted this version, and in July 1982,

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was remanded to St.

Elizabeth's mental hospital where he remains to this day with no fixed term

to serve; his mental condition is periodically reviewed by his doctors.

 

Bush Takes Over

Bush took up the duties of the presidency, all the while elaborately

denying, in his self-deprecating way, that he had in fact taken control.

During the time that Reagan was convalescing, the President was even less

interested than usual in detailed briefings about government operations.

Bush's visits to the chief executive were thus reduced to the merest

courtesy calls, after which Bush was free to do what he wanted.

Bush's key man was James Baker III, White House chief of staff and the

leading court favorite of Nancy Reagan. During this period, Michael Deaver

was a wholly controlled appendage of Baker, and would remain one for as

long as he was useful to the designs of the Bushmen.

And Baker and Deaver were not the only Bushmen in the White House. There

were also Bush campaign veterans David Gergen and Jay Moorhead. In the

cabinet, one Bush loyalist was Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, who

was flanked by his assistant secretary, Fred Bush (apparently not a member

of the George Bush family). The Bushmen were strong in the sub-cabinet:

Here were Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

John Holdridge, who had served Bush on his Beijing mission staff and during

the 1975 Pol Pot caper in Beijing; and Assistant Secretary of State for

Congressional Affairs Richard Fairbanks; with these two in Foggy Bottom,

Haig's days were numbered. At the Pentagon was Henry E. Catto, the

assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Catto would later be

rewarded by Bush with an appointment as U.S. ambassador to the Court of St.

James in London, the post that foreign service officers spend their lives

striving to attain. Bush was also strong among the agencies: His pal

William H. Draper III, son of the Nazi banker, was the chairman and

president of the Export-Import Bank. Loret Miller Ruppe, Bush's campaign

chairman in Michigan, was director of the Peace Corps.

At the Treasury, Bush's cousin, John Walker, would be assistant secretary

for enforcement. When the BCCI scandal exploded in the media during 1991,

William von Raab, the former director of the U.S. Customs, complained

loudly that, during Reagan's second term, his efforts to "go after" BCCI

had been frustrated by reticence at the Treasury Department. By this time,

James Baker III was secretary of the treasury, and Bush's kissing cousin,

John Walker, was an official who would have had the primary responsibility

for the intensity of such investigations.

At the Pentagon, Caspar Weinberger's d eputy assistant secretary for East

Asia, Richard Armitage, was no stranger to the circles of Shackley and

Clines. Bush's staff numbered slightly less than 60 during the early spring

of 1981. He often operated out of a small office in the West Wing of the

White House where he liked to spend time because it was "in the traffic

pattern," but his staff was principally located in the Old Executive Office

Building. Here Bush sat at a mammoth mahogany desk which had been used in

1903 by his lifetime ego ideal, the archetypal liberal Republican

extravagant, Theodore Roosevelt.

During and after Reagan's recovery, Bush put together a machine capable of

steering many of the decisions of the Reagan administration. Bush had a

standing invitation to sit in on all cabinet meetings and other executive

activities, and James Baker was always there to make sure he knew what was

going on. Bush was a part of every session of the National Security

Council. Bush also possessed guaranteed access to Reagan, in case he ever

needed that: Each Thursday Reagan and Bush would have lunch alone together

in the Oval Office.

Each Tuesday, Bush attended the weekly meeting of GOP committee chairmen

presided over by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker at the Senate. Then

Bush would stay on the Hill for the weekly luncheon of the Republican

Policy Committee hosted by Senator John Tower of Texas.

Prescott's old friend William Casey was beginning to work his deviltry at

Langley, and kept in close touch with Bush.

 

The Attempt on the Pope

Forty-four days after the attempted assassination of Reagan, there followed

the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a general audience in

St. Peter's Square in Rome. During those 44 days, Bush had been running the

U.S. government. It was as if a new and malignant evil had erupted onto the

world stage, and was asserting its presence with an unprecedented violence

and terror. Bush was certainly involved in the attempt to cover up the true

authors of the attentat of St. Peter's Square. An accessory before the fact

in the attempt to slay the pontiff appears to have been Bush's old cohort

Frank Terpil, who had been one of the instructors who had trained Mehmet

Ali Agca, who fired on the Pope.

After a lengthy investigation, the Italian investigative magistrate, Ilario

Martella, in December 1982 issued seven arrest warrants in the case, five

against Turks and two against Bulgarians. Ultimate responsibility for the

attempt on the Pope's life belonged to Yuri Andropov of the Soviet KGB. On

March 1, 1990, Viktor Ivanovich Sheymov, a KGB officer who had defected to

the West, revealed at a press conference in Washington, D.C. that as early

as 1979, shortly after Karol Woityla became Pope, the KGB had been

instructed through an order signed by Yuri Andropov to gather all possible

information on how to get "physically close to the Pope." / Note #1 / Note

#4

According to one study of these events, during the second week of August

1980, when the agitation of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc was at its

height, the Pope had dispatched a special emissary to Moscow with a

personal letter for Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. The Pope's message

warned the Soviet dictator that if the Red Army were to invade Poland, as

then seemed imminent, the Pope would fly to Warsaw and lead the resistance.

It is very likely that shortly after this the Soviets gave the order to

eliminate Pope John Paul II. / Note #1 / Note #5

With the Vatican supporting Judge Martella in his campaign to expose the

true background of Ali Agca's assault, it appeared that the Bulgarian

connection, and with it the Andropov-KGB connection, might soon be exposed.

But in the meantime, Brezhnev had died, and had been succeeded by the sick

and elderly Konstantin Chernenko. Bush was already in the "you die, we fly"

business, representing Reagan at all important state funerals, and carrying

on the summit diplomacy that belongs to such occasions. Bush attended

Brezhnev's funeral in November 1982, and conferred at length with Yuri

Andropov. Chernenko was a transitional figure, and the Anglo-American

elites were looking to KGB boss Andropov as a desirable successor with whom

a new series of condominium deals at the expense of peoples and nations all

over the planet might be consummated. For the sake of the condominium, it

was imperative that the hit against the Pope not be pinned on Moscow. There

was also the scandal that would result if it turned out that U.S. assets

had also been involved within the framework of derivative assassination

networks.

During the first days of 1983, Bush lodged an urgent request with Monsignor

Pio Laghi, the apostolic pro-nuncio in Washington, in which Bush asked for

an immediate private audience with the Pope. By February 8, Bush was in

Rome. According to reliable reports, during the private audience Bush

"suggested that John Paul should not pursue quite so energetically his own

interest in the plot." / Note #1 / Note #6

Bush's personal intervention had the effect of supplementing and

accelerating a U.S. intelligence operation that was already in motion to

sabotage and discredit Judge Martella and his investigation. On May 13,

1983, the second anniversary of the attempt on the Pope's life, Vassily

Dimitrov, the first secretary of the Bulgarian embassy in Rome, expressed

his gratitude: "Thanks to the CIA, I feel as if I were born again!" / Note

#1 / Note #7

Bush consistently expressed skepticism on Bulgarian support for Agca. On

December 20, 1982, responding to the Martella indictments, Bush told the

"Christian Science Monitor": "Maybe I speak defensively as a former head of

the CIA, but leave out the operational side of the KGB -- the naughty

things they allegedly do: Here's a man, Andropov, who has had access to a

tremendous amount of intelligence over the years. In my judgment, he would

be less apt to misread the intentions of the U.S.A. That offers potential.

And the other side of that is that he's tough, and he appears to have

solidified his leadership position."

According to one study, the German foreign intelligence service (the

Bundesnachrichtendienst) believed at this time that "a common link between

the CIA and the Bulgarians" existed. / Note #1 / Note #8

Martella was convinced that Agca had been sent into action by Sergei

Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome. According to author Gordon Thomas,

Martella was aware that the White House, and Bush specifically, were

determined to sabotage the exposure of this connection. Martella brought

Agca and Antonov together, and Agca identified Antonov in a line-up. Agca

also described the interior of Antonov's apartment in Rome. "Later,

Martella told his staff that the CIA or anyone else can spread as much

disinformation as they like; he is satisfied that Agca is telling the truth

about knowing Antonov." / Note #1 / Note #9

Later, U.S. intelligence networks would redouble these sabotage efforts

with some success. Agca was made to appear a lunatic, and two key Bulgarian

witnesses changed their testimony. A campaign of leaks was also mounted. In

a bizarre but significant episode, even New York Senator Al D'Amato got

into the act. D'Amato alleged that he had heard about the Pope's letter

warning Brezhnev about invading Poland while he was visiting the Vatican

during early 1981: As the "New York Times" reported on February 9, 1983,

"D'Amato says he informed the CIA about the letter and identified his

source in the Vatican when he returned to the U.S. from a 1981 trip to

Rome." Later, D'Amato was told that the Rome CIA station had never heard

anything from Langley about his report of the Pope's letter. "I gave them

important information and they clearly never followed it up," complained

D'Amato to reporters.

In February 1983, D'Amato visited Rome once again on a fact-finding mission

in connection with the Agca plot. He asked the U.S. embassy in Rome to set

up appointments for him with Italian political leaders and law enforcement

officials, but his visit was sabotaged by U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Raab. The

day before D'Amato was scheduled to leave Washington, he found that he had

no meetings set up in Rome. Then an Italian-speaking member of the staff of

the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was familiar with the Agca

investigation and who was scheduled to accompany D'Amato to Rome, informed

the Senator that he would not make the trip. D'Amato told the press that

this last-minute cancellation was due to pressure from the CIA.

Much to D'Amato's irritation, it turned out that George Bush personally had

been responsible for a rather thorough sabotage of his trip. D'Amato showed

the Rome press "a telegram from the American Ambassador in Rome urging him

to postpone the visit because the embassy was preoccupied with an

overlapping appearance by Vice President Bush," as the "New York Times"

reported. This was Bush's mission to warn the Pope not to pursue the

Bulgarian connection. D'Amato said he was shocked that no one on the CIA

staff in Rome had been assigned to track the Agca investigation.

The CIA station chief in Rome during the early 1980s was William Mulligan,

a close associate of former CIA Deputy Assistant Director for Operations

Theodore Shackley. Shackley, as we have seen, was a part of the Bush for

President campaign of 1980.

Mehmet Ali Agca received training in the use of explosives, firearms, and

other subjects from the "former" CIA agent Frank Terpil. Terpil was known

to Agca as "Major Frank," and the training appears to have taken place in

Syria and in Libya.

Agca's identification of Terpil had been very precise and detailed on Major

Frank and on the training program. Terpil himself granted a television

interview, which was incorporated into a telecast on his activities and

entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in the World," broadcast in January 1982,

during which Terpil described in some detail how he had trained Agca.Shortl

y after this, Terpil left his apartment in Beirut, accompanied by three

unidentified men, and disappeared. Terpil and Ed Wilson had gone to Libya

and begun a program of terrorist training at about the time that George

Bush became the CIA director. Wilson was indicted for supplying explosives

to Libya, for conspiring to assassinate one of Qaddafi's opponents in

Egypt, and for recruiting former U.S. pilots and Green Berets to work for

Qaddafi. Wilson was later lured back to the U.S. and jailed. Frank Terpil

presumably continues to operate, if he is still alive. Was Terpil actually

a triple agent?

What further relation might George Bush have had to the attempt to take the

life of the Pope?

 

Notes for Chapter XVIII, Part 2

1. Clay F. Richards, "George Bush: 'co-president' in the Reagan

administration," United Press International, March 10, 1981.

2. Alexander Haig, "Caveat" (New York: MacMillan, 1984), p. 115.

3. "Ibid.," p. 302.

4. "Washington Post," March 22, 1981.

5. Haig, "op. cit.," pp. 144-45.

6. Haig, "op. cit.," p. 151.

7. Caspar Weinberger, "Fighting for Peace" (New York: Warner Books, 1990),

p. 94.

8. Donald T. Regan, "For the Record" (New York: Harcourt, Brace,

Jovanovich, 1988), p. 168.

9. Weinberger, "op. cit.," p. 95.

10. Ronald Reagan, "An American Life" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990),

p. 271.

11. Jack and JoAnn Hinckley, "Breaking Points" (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books,

1985), p. 169.

12. "Ibid.," p. 215.

13. Judy Hasson, United Press International, July 31, 1985.

14. "Washington Post," March 2, 1990.

15. See Gordon Thomas, "Pontiff" (New York: Doubleday, 1983).

16. Gordon Thomas, "Averting Armageddon" (New York: Doubleday, 1984), p. 74.

17. "American Leviathan," "op. cit."

18. "Ibid.," p. 268.

19. "Ibid.," p. 75.

 

CHAPTER 19

PART 1

IRAN-CONTRA

"What pleases the prince has the force of law."

-- Roman law ""As long as the police carries out the will of the

leadership, it is acting legally.""

-- Gestapo officer Werner Best / Note #1 We cannot provide here a complete

overview of the Iran-Contra affair. We shall attempt, rather, to give an

account of George Bush's decisive, central role in those events, which

occurred during his vice-presidency and spilled over into his presidency.

The principal elements of scandal in Iran-Contra may be reduced to the

following points:

1) the secret arming of the Khomeini regime in Iran by the U.S. government,

during an official U.S.-decreed arms embargo against Iran, while the U.S.

publicly denounced the recipients of its secret deliveries as terrorists

and kidnappers;

2) the secret arming of its "Contras" for war against the Sandinista regime

in Nicaragua, while such aid was explicitly prohibited under U.S. law;

3) the use of communist and terrorist enemies -- often "armed directly by

the Anglo-Americans" -- to justify a police state and covert, oligarchical

rule at home;

4) paying for and protecting the gun-running projects with drug-smuggling,

embezzlement, theft by diversion from authorized U.S. programs, and the

"silencing" of both opponents and knowledgeable participants in the

schemes; and

5) the continual, routine perjury and deception of the public by government

officials pretending to have no knowledge of these activities.

 

Bush's Central Role

When the scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained

that he knew nothing about these illegal activities.

Since that time, many once-classified documents have come to light, which

suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, if not most, of the

criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures.

The most significant events relevant to George Bush's role are presented

here in the format of a chronology.

Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new

structures in the U.S. government:

/ Note #b^The "Special Situation Group," together with its subordinate

"Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group" (May 14, 1982).

/ Note #b^The "Crisis Management Center" (February 1983).

/ Note #b^The "Terrorist Incident Working Group" (April 3, 1984).

/ Note #b^The "Task Force on Combatting Terrorism" (or simply Terrorism Task Force) (July 1985).

/ Note #b^The "Operations Sub-Group" (January 20, 1986).

All of these structures revolved around the secret command role of the

then-vice president, George Bush.

The propaganda given out to justify these changes in government has

stressed the need for secrecy to carry out necessary "covert acts" against

enemies of the nation (or of its leaders). Certainly, a military command

will act secretly in war, and will protect secrets of its vulnerable

capabilities.

But the Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to

carry out "covert policies": to make war when the constitutional government

had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists

and drug-runners) who are the friends or agents of the secret government.

In the period of the chronology, there are a number of meetings of public

officials. By looking at the scant information that has come to light on

these meetings, we may reach some conclusions about who advocated certain

policy choices; but we have not then learned much about the actual origin

of the policies that were being carried out. This is the rule of an

oligarchy whose members are unknown to the public, an oligarchy which is

bound by no known laws.

"March 25, 1981:"

Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States

"crisis management" staff, "as a part of the National Security Council

system."

"March 30, 1981:"

President Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination.

"May 14, 1982:"

Bush's position as chief of all covert action and "de facto" head of U.S.

intelligence -- in a sense, the acting President -- was formalized in a

secret memorandum.

The memo explained that "National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis

Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the

Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in

anticipation of crises."

The memo in question also announced the birth of another organization, the

Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), which was to work as an

intelligence-gathering agency for Bush and his SSG. This new subordinate

group, consisting of representatives of Vice President Bush, National

Security Council (NSC) staff members, the CIA, the military, and the State

Department, was to "meet periodically in the White House Situation

Room...." They were to identify areas of potential crisis and "[p]resent

... plans and policy options to the SSG" under Chairman Bush. And they were

to provide to Bush and his assistants, "as crises develop, alternative

plans," "action/options" and "coordinated implementation plans" to resolve

the "crises."

Finally, the subordinate group was to give to Chairman Bush and his

assistants "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance

the likelihood of successful execution." It was announced that the CPPG

would meet for the first time on May 20, 1982, and that agencies were to

"provide the name of their CPPG representative to Oliver North, NSC

staff...."

The memo was signed ""for the President"" by Reagan's national security

adviser, William P. Clark. It was declassified during the congressional

Iran-Contra hearings. / Note #2

 

Gregg, Rodriguez, and North

"August 1982:"

Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on

national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central

Intelligence Agency.

Donald Gregg brought along into the vice president's office his old

relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager "Felix I.

Rodriguez". Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam.

Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976 -- when Bush was CIA

director -- through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with

President Carter and his CIA director, Stansfield Turner. Gregg was

detailed to work at the National Security Council between 1979 and 1982.

From 1976 right up through that NSC assignment, CIA officer Gregg saw CIA

agent Rodriguez regularly. Both men were intensely loyal to Bush. / Note #3

Their continuing collaboration was crucial to Vice President Bush's

organization of covert action. Rodriguez was now to operate out of the vice

president's office.

"December 21, 1982:"

The first "Boland Amendment" became law: "None of the funds provided in

this Act [the Defense Appropriations Bill] may be used by the Central

Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military

equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military

activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing

the government of Nicaragua."

"Boland I," as it was called, remained in effect until Oct. 3, 1984, when

it was superseded by a stronger prohibition known as "Boland II." / Note #4

"February 1983:"

Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she

worked with North on the development of a secret "Crisis Management

Center."

Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen

here managing a new structure within the Bush-directed SSG/CPPG

arrangements of 1981-82. / Note #5

"March 3, 1983:"

In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office

of "Public Diplomacy" to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the

Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of

the program.

Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the

effort. The unit was to work with domestic and international news media, as

well as private foundations. The Bush family-affiliated Smith Richardson

Foundation was part of a National Security Council "private donors steering

committee" charged with coordinating this propaganda effort.

A March 3, 1983 memorandum from Walter Raymond to then-NSC Director William

Clark, provided details of the program: "As you will remember you and I

briefly mentioned to the President when we briefed him on the N[ational]

S[ecurity] D[ecision] D[irective] on public diplomacy that we would like to

get together with some potential donors at a later date....

"To accomplish these objectives Charlie [United States Information Agency

Director Charles Z. Wick] has had two lengthy meetings with a group of

people representing the private sector. This group had included principally

program directors rather than funders. The group was largely pulled

together by Frank Barnett, Dan McMichael (Dick [Richard Mellon] Scaife's

man), Mike Joyce (Olin Foundation), Les Lenkowsky (Smith Richardson

Foundation) plus Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House. A number

of others including Roy Godson have also participated." / Note #6

Elsewhere, Raymond described Cherne and Godson as the coordinators of this

group. Frank Barnett was the director of the Bush family's National

Strategy Information Center, for which Godson was the Washington, D.C.

director. Barnett had been the project director of the Smith Richardson

Foundation prior to being assigned to that post.

The Smith Richardson Foundation has sunk millions of dollars into the

Iran-Contra projects. Some Smith Richardson grantees, receiving money since

the establishment of the National Security Council's "private steering

committee" include the following:

/ Note #b^"Freedom House." This was formed by Leo Cherne, business partner

of CIA Director William Casey. Cherne oversaw Walter Raymond's "private

donors committee."

/ Note #b^"National Strategy Information Center", founded in 1962 by

Casey, Cherne, and the Bush family.

Thus, when an item appeared in a daily newspaper, supporting the Contras,

or attacking their opponents -- calling them "extremists," etc. -- it is

likely to have been planted by the U.S. government, by the George Bush-NSC

"private donors" apparatus.

"March 17, 1983:"

Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide

Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then

recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert "Bud" McFarlane a

plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central

American nations including Nicaragua.

Gregg's March 17, 1983 memo to McFarlane said: "The attached plan, written

in March of last year, grew out of two experiences:

" -- Anti-Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam

from 1970-1972. These operations [see below], based on ... a small elite

force ... produced very favorable results.

" -- Rudy Enders, who is now in charge of what is left of the para-military

capability of the CIA, went to El Salvador in 1981 to do a survey and

develop plans for effective anti-guerrilla operations. He came back and

endorsed the attached plan. (I should add that Enders and Felix Rodriguez,

who wrote the attached plan, both worked for me in Vietnam and carried out

the actual operations outlined above.)

"This plan encountered opposition and skepticism from the U.S. military....

"I believe the plan can work based on my experience in Vietnam...." / Note #7

Three years later, Bush agent Rodriguez would be publicly exposed as the

supervisor of the covert Central American network illegally supplying arms

to the Contras.

Rodriguez's uncle had been Cuba's public works minister under Fulgencio

Batista, and his family fled Castro's 1959 revolution. Felix Rodriguez

joined the CIA, and was posted to the CIA's notorious Miami Station in the

early 1960s. The Ted Shackley-E. Howard Hunt organization there, assisted

by Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante's mafiosi, trained Rodriguez and

other Cubans in the arts of murder and sabotage.

Felix Rodriguez recounted his early adventures in gun-running under false

pretexts in a ghost-written book, "Shadow Warrior": "[J]ust around the time

President Kennedy was assassinated, I left for Central America.

"I spent almost two years in Nicaragua, running the communications network

for [our enterprise].... [O]ur arms cache was in Costa Rica. The funding

for the project came from the CIA, but the money's origin was hidden

through the use of a cover corporation.... The U.S. government had the

deniability it wanted; we got the money we needed....

"In fact, what we did in Nicaragua twenty-five year s ago has some pretty

close parallels to the Contra operation today." / Note #8

Rodriguez followed his CIA boss Ted Shackley to Southeast Asia in 1970.

Shackley and Donald Gregg put Rodriguez into the huge assassination and

dope business which Shackley and his colleagues ran during the Indochina

war; this bunch became the heart of the "Enterprise" that went into action

15 to 20 years later in Iran-Contra.

Shackley funded opium-growing Meo tribesmen for murder, and used the dope

proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance

Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John

K. Singlaub was a commander of MAG-SOG; Oliver North and Richard Secord

were officers of the unit. By 1971, the Shackley group had killed about

100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia as part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix.

After Vietnam, Felix Rodriguez went back to Latin American CIA operations,

while other parts of the Shackley organization went on to drug-selling and

gun-running in the Middle East.

By 1983, both the Mideast Shackley group and the self-styled "Shadow

Warrior," Felix Rodriguez, were attached to the shadow commander-in-chief,

George Bush.

"May 25, 1983:"

Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan,

trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the

U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision

Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart ("Proposed

Structure") showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority -- from the

President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant

secretary, down to an interagency group.

The last line of the Shultz memo says bluntly what role is reserved for the

Bush-supervised CPPG: "The Crisis Pre-Planning Group is relieved of its

assignments in this area."

Back came a memorandum on White House letterhead but bearing no signature,

saying no to Shultz: "The institutional arrangements established in NSDD-2

are, I believe, appropriate to fulfill [our national security requirements

in Central America]...." With the put-down is a chart headlined ""NSDD-2

Structure for Central America."" At the top is the President; just below is

a complex of Bush's SSG and CPPG as managers of the NSC; then below that is

the secretary of state, and below him various agencies and interagency

groups. / Note #9

"July 12, 1983:"

Kenneth De Graffenreid, new manager of the Intelligence Directorate of the

National Security Council, sent a secret memo to George Bush's aide,

Admiral Daniel Murphy:

"... Bud McFarlane has asked that I meet with you today, if possible, to

review procedures for obtaining the Vice President's comments and

concurrence on all N[ational] S[ecurity] C[ouncil] P[lanning] G[roup]

covert action and MONs." / Note #1 / Note #0

 

The Bush Regency in Action

"October 20, 1983:"

The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada was decided

upon in a secret meeting under the leadership of George Bush. National

Security Council operative Constantine Menges, a stalwart participant in

these events, described the action for posterity: "My job that afternoon

was to write the background memorandum that would be used by the vice

president, who in his role as 'crisis manager' would chair this first NSC

meeting on the [Grenada] issue....

"Shortly before 6:00 p.m., the participants began to arrive: Vice President

Bush, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, [Attorney General Edwin]

Meese, J[oint] C[hiefs of] S[taff] Chairman General Vessey, acting CIA

Director McMahon, [State Dept. officer Lawrence] Eagleburger, ... North and

myself.

"President Reagan was travelling, as were [CIA Director] Bill Casey and

Jeane Kirkpatrick....

"Vice President Bush sat in the President's chair."

Menges continued: "The objective, right from the beginning, was to plan a

rescue [of American students detained on Grenada] that would guarantee

quick success, but with a minimum of casualties....

"Secrecy was imperative.... As part of this plan, there would be no change

in the schedule of the top man. President Reagan ... would travel to

Augusta, Georgia, for a golf weekend. Secretary of State Shultz would go

too...."

Work now proceeded on detailed action plans, under the guidance of the vice

president's Special Situation Group.

"Late Friday afternoon [Oct. 21] .. the CPPG ... [met] in room 208.... Now

the tone of our discussions had shifted from whether we would act to how

this could be accomplished....

"[The] most secure means [were to] be used to order U.S. ships to change

course ... toward Grenada. Nevertheless, ABC news had learned about this

and was broadcasting it."

Thus, the course of action decided upon without the President was "leaked"

to the news media, and became a "fait-accompli." Menges's memo continues:

"It pleased me to see that now our government was working as a team....

That evening Ollie North and I worked together ... writing the background

and decision memoranda. Early in the evening [NSC officer Admiral John]

Poindexter reviewed our first draft and made a few minor revisions. Then

the Grenada memoranda were sent to the President, Shultz and McFarlane at

the golf course in Georgia....

"Shortly before 9:00 a.m. [Oct. 22], members of the foreign policy cabinet

[sic!] began arriving at the White House -- all out of sight of reporters.

The participants included Weinberger, Vessey, and Fred Ikle from Defense;

Eagleburger and Motley from State; McMahon and an operations officer from

CIA; and Poindexter, North and myself from NSC. Vice President Bush chaired

the Washington group.

"All participants were escorted to room 208, which many had never seen

before. The vice president sat at one end of the long table and Poindexter

at the other, with speaker phones positioned so that everyone could hear

President Reagan, Shultz, and McFarlane.

"The detailed hour-by-hour plan was circulated to everyone at the meeting.

There was also a short discussion of the War Powers Resolution, which

requires the President to get approval of Congress if he intends to deploy

U.S. troops in combat for more than sixty days. There was little question

that U.S. combat forces would be out before that time....

"The President had participated and asked questions over the speaker phone;

he made his decision. The U.S. would answer the call from our Caribbean

neighbors. We would assure the safety of our citizens." / Note #1 / Note #1

Clearly, there was no perceived need to follow the U.S. Constitution and

leave the question of whether to make war up to the Congress. After all,

President Reagan had concurred, from the golf course, with Acting President

Bush's decision in the matter.

"November 3, 1983:"

Bush aide Donald Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez to discuss "the general

situation in Central America." / Note #1 / Note #2

"December 1983:"

Oliver North accompanied Vice President Bush to El Salvador as his

assistant. Bush met with Salvadoran army commanders. North helped Bush

prepare a speech, in which he publicly called upon them to end their

support for the use of "death squads." / Note #1 / Note #3

 

Attack from Jupiter

"January 1 through March 1984:"

The "Wall Street Journal" of March 6, 1985 gave a de-romanticized version

of certain aquatic adventures in Central America: "Armed speedboats and a

helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency 'mother ship'

attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's

night in 1984.

"A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the

next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also

in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal

positions, Americans flew -- and fired from -- an armed helicopter that

accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided

sophisticated reconaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks.

"The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of

U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any

single event, it so lidified congressional opposition to the covert war,

and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last

CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984]....

"CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the

Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began

to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small "Latino" force....

[The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983,

against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline

at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't

lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and

the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no

longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua.

"The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining

strategy....

"The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a

private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field

service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters

could land...."

The reader may have already surmised that Vice President Bush (with his

background in "oilfield service" and his control of a "top-level committee

of the National Security Council") sat in his Washington office and planned

these brilliant schemes. But such a guess is probably incorrect -- it is

off by about 800 miles.

On Jupiter Island, Florida, where the Bush family has had a seasonal

residence for the past several decades, is the headquarters of Continental

Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA). / Note #1 / Note #4

This company describes itself as "an environmental consulting firm

specializing in applied marine science and technology ... founded in

1970.... The main office ... is located in Jupiter, Florida, approximately

75 miles north of Miami."

The founder and chief executive of CSA is Robert "Stretch" Stevens. A

former lieutenant commander in naval special operations, Stevens has been a

close associate of CIA officer "Theodore Shackley", and of Bush agent

"Felix Rodriguez" since the early 1960s, when Stevens served as a boat

captain in the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through the Vietnam

War.

During the period 1982-85, CSA was contracted by the U.S. intelligence

community, including the CIA, to carry out coastal and on-the-ground

reconnaissance and logistical support work in the eastern Mediterranean in

support of the U.S. Marine deployment into Lebanon; and coastal mapping and

reconnaissance of the Caribbean island of Grenada prior to the October 1983

U.S. military action.

Beginning in approximately the autumn of 1983, CSA was employed to design

and execute a program for the mining of several Nicaraguan harbors. After

the U.S. Senate restricted such activities to non-U.S. personnel only, CSA

trained "Latin American nationals" at a facility located on El Bravo Island

off the eastern coast of Nicaragua.

Acta Non Verba (Deeds Not Words) is a "subsidiary" of CSA, incorporated in

1986 and located at the identical Jupiter address.

"Rudy Enders", the head of the CIA's paramilitary section -- and deployed

by George Bush aide Donald Gregg -- is a minority owner of Acta Non Verba

(ANV).

ANV's own tough-talking promotional literature says that it concentrates on

"counter-terrorist activities in the maritime environment."

A very high-level retired CIA officer, whose private interview was used in

preparation for this book, described this "Fish Farm" in the following more

realistic terms: "Assassination operations and training company controlled

by Ted Shackley, under the cover of a private corporation with a regular

board of directors, stockholders, etc., located in Florida. They covertly

bring in Haitian and Southeast Asian boat people as recruits, as well as

Koreans, Cubans, and Americans. They hire out assassinations and

intelligence services to governments, corporations, and individuals, and

also use them for covering or implementing 'Fish Farm'

projects/activities."

The upshot of the attack from Jupiter -- the mining of Nicaragua's harbors

-- was that the Congress got angry enough to pass the "Boland II"

amendment, re-tightening the laws against this public-private warfare.

"April 3, 1984:"

Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as

President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new

"Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG)" reported to Bush's Special

Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant

counterterrorism assaults, on the Israeli model. / Note #1 / Note #5

 

"How Can Anyone Object?"

"June 25, 1984:"

The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush, and other top

officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 p.m. They

discussed whether to risk seeking "third-country aid" to the Contras, to

get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982.

George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting.

Bush said, "How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to

provide help to the anti-Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The

only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to

give these third parties something in return so that "some people might

interpret" this as some kind of an exchange" [emphasis added].

Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: "I

would like to get money for the Contras also, but another lawyer

[then-Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money

from third countries, it is an impeachable offense."

CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that "Jim Baker changed his mind [and

now supported the circumvention]...."

NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, "I propose that there be no

authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas

until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this

discussion will be made public in any way."

President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against

anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law:

"If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of

the White House until we find out who did it." In March of the following

year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the

Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S.

aid.

The minutes of this meeting, originally marked ""secret,"" were released

five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989. / Note #1

/ Note #6

"October 3, 1984:"

Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S.

secret war in Central America. This "Boland II" amendment was designed to

prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus.

This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it

was superceded by various aid-limitation laws which, taken together, were

referred to as "Boland III." / Note #1 / Note #7

"November 1, 1984:"

Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the FBI.

Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in

cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and

overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian

was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.

On Nov. 10, 1983, a year before the arrest, Felix Rodriguez had filed the

annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of

Latchinian and Rodriguez's joint enterprise, "Giro Aviation Corp." / Note

#1 / Note #8

"December 21, 1984:"

Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the vice president with Bush adviser

Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver

North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser

strenuously denied to investigators that he "introduced" his CIA employee

to North. / Note #1 / Note #9

"January 18, 1985:"

Felix Rodriguez met with Ramon Milian Rodriguez, accountant and money

launderer, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cocaine cartel.

Milian testified before a Senate investigation of the Contras'

drug-smuggling, that more than a year earlier he had granted Felix's

request and given $10 million from the cocaine cartel to Felix for the

Contras.

Milian Rodriguez was interviewed in his prison cell in Butner, North

Carolina, by investigative journalist Martha Honey. He said Felix Rodriguez

had offered that "in exchange for money for the Contra cause he would use

his influence in high places to get the [Cocaine] cartel U.S. 'good

will'.... Frankly, one of the selling points was that he could talk

directly to Bush. The issue of good will wasn't something that was going to

go through 27 bureaucratic hands. It was something that was directly

between him and Bush."

Ramon Milian Rodriguez was a Republican contributor, who had partied by

invitation at the 1981 Reagan-Bush inauguration ceremonies. He had been

arrested aboard a Panama-bound private jet by federal agents in May 1983,

while carrying over $5 million in cash. According to Felix Rodriguez,

Milian was seeking a way out of the narcotics charges when he met with

Felix on January 18, 1985.

This meeting remained secret until two years later, when Felix Rodriguez

had become notorious in the Iran-Contra scandal. The "Miami Herald" broke

the story on June 30, 1987. Felix Rodriguez at first denied ever meeting

with Ramon Milian Rodriguez. But then a new story was worked out with

various agencies. Felix "remembered" the Jan. 18, 1985 meeting, claimed he

had "said nothing" during it, and "remembered" that he had filed documents

with the FBI and CIA telling them about the meeting just afterwards. / Note

#2 / Note #0

"January 22, 1985":

George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez in the Executive Office Building.

Felix's ghost writer doesn't tell us what was said, only that "Mr. Bush was

easy to talk to, and he was interested in my stories." / Note #2 / Note #1

"Late January, 1985:"

George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State

Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in

El Salvador, in a false "private" capacity.

The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen.

Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: "Rodriguez has

high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Department] and DOD

[Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El

Salvador.

"It would be in our best interests that Mr. Rodriguez confer with you

personally prior to coming to El Salvador. I have some obvious concerns

about this arrangement...."

Felix Rodriguez flew to Panama to speak to General Gorman. They discussed

his covert aid to the Contras "since the early eighties." / Note #2 / Note

#2

Rodriguez, by George Bush's story the private, volunteer helper of the

Contras, flew from Panama to El Salvador on General Gorman's personal C-12

airplane. General Gorman also sent a confidential cable to Ambassador

Pickering and Col. James Steele, U.S. military liaison man with the Contra

resupply operation in El Salvador: "I have just met here with Felix

Rodriguez, [deleted, probably "CIA"] pensioner from Miami. Born in Cuba, a

veteran of guerrilla operations [several lines deleted]....

"He is operating as a private citizen, but his acquaintanceship with the

V[ice] P[resident] is real enough, going back to the latter's days as

D[irector of] C[entral] I[ntelligence].

"Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [deleted] where he wants

to assist the FDN [Contras military forces]." / Note #2 / Note #3

"February 7, 1985:"

The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the

Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the

Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a

"presidential letter" to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, "to

provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued

support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited

delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of

withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support."

The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989

Oliver North trial -- number 51 in a series of "stipulations" that was

given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.

"February 12, 1985:"

The government admissions in the North trial continued:

"52: ... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on]

the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by

Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message

[to the Honduran President] should not be contained in a written document

but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary." This was to be

George Bush himself.

Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as

to deceive Congress and the American population. / Note #2 / Note #4

"February 15, 1985:"

After Rodriguez had arrived in El Salvador and had begun setting up the

central resupply depot for the Contras, Ambassador Thomas Pickering sent an

"Eyes Only" cable to the State Department on his conversation with

Rodriguez. Pickering's cable bore the postscript, "Please brief Don Gregg

in the V.P.'s office for me." / Note #2 / Note #5

"February 19, 1985:"

Felix Rodriguez met with Bush's staff in the vice-presidential offices in

the Executive Office Building, briefing them on the progress of his

mission.

Over the next two years, Rodriguez met frequently with Bush staff members

in Washington and in Central America, often jointly with CIA and other

officials, and conferred with Bush's staff by telephone countless times. /

Note #2 / Note #6

"March 15-16, 1985:"

George Bush and Felix Rodriguez were in Central America on their common project.

On Friday, Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies

for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.

On Saturday, George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova.

Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery

of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's

government. This was the "quid pro quo": a bribe for Suazo's support for

the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra

military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.

 

Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 1

1. William L. Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of

Nazi Germany" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), p. 271.

2. Memo, May 14, 1982, two pp. bearing the nos. 29464 and 29465.

3. Testimony of Donald P. Gregg, pp. 72-73 in Stenographic Transcript of

Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination

Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

Washington, D.C., May 12, 1989.

4. "Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran Contra

Affair", published jointly by the U.S. House of Representatives Select

Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, and the U.S.

Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the

Nicaraguan Opposition, Nov. 17, 1987, Washington, D.C., pp. 395-97.

5. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 12.

6. Memoranda and meetings of March 1983, in the "National Security Archive"

Iran-Contra Collection on microfiche at the Library of Congress, Manuscript

Reading Room.

7. Don Gregg Memorandum for Bud McFarlane, March 17, 1983, stamped SECRET,

since declassified. Document no. 77 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

8. Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, "Shadow Warrior" (New York: Simon and

Schuseter), 1989 p. 119.

9. Shultz Memorandum, May 25, 1983 and White House reply, both stamped

SECRET/SENSITIVE. Documents beginning no. 00107 in the Iran-Contra

Collection.

10. De Graffenreid Memorandum for Admiral Murphy, July 12, 1983, since

declassified, bearing the no. 43673. Document no. 00137 in the Iran-Contra

Collection.

11. Constantine C. Menges, "Inside the National Security Council" (New

York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pp. 70-78.

12. Chronology supplied by the Office of the Vice President, cited in "The

Progressive", May 18, 1987, London, England, p. 20.

13. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 221.

14. This section is based on 1) literature supplied by CSA, Inc. and its

subsidiary ANV, and 2) an exhaustive examination of CSA/ANV in Jupiter and

other locations.

15. Scott Armstrong, Executive Editor for The National Security Archive,

"The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military

Assistance to Iran and the Contras" (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 55.

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), pp. 219-20.

16. National Security Planning Group Meeting Minutes, June 25, 1984, pp. 1

and 14.

17. This is an excerpt from Section 8066 of Public Law 98-473, the

Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985.

18. Armstrong, "op. cit.," Nov. 1, 1984 entry, p. 70, citing "Miami Herald"

11/2/84 and 11/3/84, "Wall Street Journal" 11/2/84, "Washington Post"

8/15/85, "New York Times" 12/23/87.

Armstrong, "op. cit.," Nov. 10, 1983 entry, p. 42, citing corporate records

of the Florida secretary of state 7/14/86, "Miami Herald" 11/2/84, "New

York Times" 11/3/84.

19. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 220-21.

20. Report of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International

Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate,

December 1988, pp. 61-62.

21. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 221-22.

22. "Ibid.," pp. 224-25.

23. General Gorman "Eyes Only" cable to Pickering and Steele, Feb. 14,

1985. Partially declassified and released on July 30, 1987 by the National

Security Council, bearing no. D 23179. Document no. 00833 in the

Iran-Contra Collection.

24. U.S. government stipulations in the trial of Oliver North, reproduced

in "EIR SpecialReport:" "Irangate...," pp. 20, 22.

25. Gregg Hearings, p. 99.

26. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 227.

 

CHAPTER 19

PART 2

IRAN-CONTRA

In July 1985, Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan

to lead the "Task Force on Combatting Terrorism".

Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of

government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the

Iran-Contra armaments schemes.

The task force had the following cast of characters: George Bush, U.S. vice

president: chairman; Admiral James L. Holloway III: executive assistant to

Chairman Bush; Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway; Vice

Admiral John Poindexter: senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush; Marine

Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: day-to-day NSC representative to George Bush;

Amiram Nir: counterterror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres; Lt. Col.

Robert Earl: staff member; Terry Arnold: principal consultant; Charles E.

Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group; Robert Oakley, director, State

Department Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group; Noel Koch, deputy

to asstistant secretary of defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group;

Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group;

Oliver "Buck" Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group.

The Terrorism Task Force organization, as we shall see, was a permanent

affair. / Note #2 / Note #7

"August 8, 1985:"

George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence

section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the

terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in

Germany, with 22 American casualties.

The officials discussed shipment of U.S.-made arms to Iran through Israel

-- to replenish Israeli stocks of TOW missiles and to permit Israel to sell

arms to Iran.

According to testimony by Robert McFarlane, the transfer was supported by

George Bush, Casey and Donald Regan, and opposed by Shultz and Weinberger.

/ Note #2 / Note #8

"August 18, 1985:"

Luis Posada Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being

held for the terrorist murder of 73 persons. Using forged documents falsely

identifying him as a Venezuelan named "Ramon Medina," Posada flew to

Central America. Within a few weeks, Felix Rodriguez assigned him to

supervise the Bush office's Contra resupply operations being run from the

El Salvador air base. Posada personally ran the safe-houses used for the

CIA flight crews.

Rodriguez explained the arrangement in his book: "Because of my

relationship with [El Salvador Air Force] Gen. Bustillo, I was able to pave

the way for [the operations attributed to Oliver] North to use the

facilities at Ilopango [El Salvador air force base].... I found someone to

manage the Salvadorian-based resupply operation on a day-to-day basis. They

knew that person as Ramon Medina. I knew him by his real name: Luis Posada

Carriles.... I first [sic!] met Posada in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia,

where we went through basic training together .. as U.S. Army second

lieutenants...."

Rodriguez neglects to explain that agent Posada Carriles was originally

recruited and trained by the same CIA murder operation, "JM/WAVE" in Miami,

as was Rodriguez himself.

Felix continues: "In the sixties, he reportedly went to work for DISIP, the

Venezuelan intelligence service, and rose to considerable power within its

ranks. It was rumored that he held one of the top half-dozen jobs in the

organization....

"After the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, in which

seventy-three people were killed, Posada was charged with planning the

attack and was thrown in prison.... Posada was confined in prison for more

than nine years...." / Note #2 / Note #9

"September 10, 1985:"

George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M.

with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El

Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various

points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more

of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According

to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of

the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.

Elsewhere in the diary pages for that day, Colonel North noted that

DelAmico had procured a certain 1,000 munitions items for the Contras. /

Note #3 / Note #0

"November 1985 :"

George Bush sent Oliver North a note, with thanks for "your dedication and

tireless work with the hostage thing and with Central America." / Note #3 /

Note #1

"December 1985:"

Congress passed new laws limiting U.S. aid to the Contras. The CIA, the

Defense Department, and "any other agency or entity of the United States

involved in intelligence activities" were prohibited from providing

"armaments" to the Contras. The CIA was permitted to provide communications

equipment and training. "Humanitarian" aid was allowed.

These laws, known together as "Boland III," were in effect from December 4,

1985 to October 17, 1986.

"December 18, 1985:"

CIA official Charles E. Allen, a member of George Bush's Terrorism Task

Force, wrote an update on the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran. Allen's

memo was a debriefing of an unnamed member of the group of U.S. government

officials participating in the arms negotiations with the Iranians. The

unnamed U.S. official is referred to in Allen's memo as "Subject".

Allen wrote: "[Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Hashemi] Rafsanjani ..

believes Vice President George Bush is orchestrating the U.S. initiative

with Iran. In fact, according to Subject, Rafsanjani believes that Bush is

the most powerful man in the U.S. because in addition to being Vice

President, he was once Director of CIA." / Note #3 / Note #2

"December 1985-January 1986:"

George Bush completed his official study of terrorism in December 1985.

John Poindexter now directed Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram

Nir.

Amiram Nir came to Washington and met with Oliver North. He told U.S.

officials that the Iranians had promised to free all hostages in exchange

for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, Pr esident Reagan was

persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran. / Note

#3 / Note #3

"December 27, 1985:"

Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including

five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's

office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began

planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis

and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the

Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks. / Note #3 / Note #4

Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in

mid-April 1986.

"December 31, 1985:"

Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi told Paris-based CIA agent Bernard

Veillot that Vice President Bush was backing arms sales to Iran, and that

official U.S. approval for private sales to Iran, amounting to $2 billion,

was "going to be signed by Mr. Bush and [U.S. Marine Corps commandant] Gen.

[Paul X.] Kelley on Friday." / Note #3 / Note #5

Loudly and publicly exposed in the midst of Iran arms deals, Veillot was

indicted by the United States. Then the charges were quietly dropped, and

Veillot went underground. A few months later, Hashemi died suddenly of

"leukemia." / Note #3 / Note #6

"January 2, 1986:"

Israeli counterterrorism chief Amiram Nir met with North and Poindexter in

Washington. The Bush report on terrorism had now been issued within the

government but was not yet published. Bush's report was urging that a

counterterrorism coordinator be named for the entire U.S. government -- and

Oliver North was the one man intended for that slot.

At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by

Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged

for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's

nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged

for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the

Contras. / Note #3 / Note #7

"January 6, 1986:"

President Reagan met with George Bush, Donald Regan, McFarlane and

Poindexter. The President was handed a draft "Presidential Finding" that

called for shipping arms to Iran through Israel. The President signed this

document, drafted following the discussions with Amiram Nir.

The draft consciously violated the National Security Act which had

established the Central Intelligence Agency, requiring notification of

Congress. But Bush joined in urging President Reagan to sign this

"finding":

"I hereby find that the following operation in a foreign country ... is

important to the national security of the United States, and due to its

extreme sensitivity and security risks, I determine it is essential to

"limit prior notice, and direct the Director of Central Intelligence to

refrain from reporting this finding to the Congress as provided in Section

501 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, until I otherwise

direct"" [emphasis added].

"... The USG[overnment] will act to facilitate efforts by third parties and

third countries to establish contacts with "moderate elements" within and

outside the Government of Iran by providing these elements with arms,

equipment and related materiel in order to enhance the credibility of these

elements...."

Of course, Bush, Casey and their Israeli allies had never sought to bolster

"moderate elements" in Iran, but overthrew them at every opportunity --

beginning with President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr. / Note #3 / Note #8

"January 7, 1986:"

President Reagan and Vice President Bush met at the White House with

several other administration officials. There was an argument over new

proposals by Amiram Nir and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar to

swap arms for hostages.

Secretary of State George Shultz later told the Tower Commission that

George Bush supported the arms-for-hostages deal at this meeting, as did

President Reagan, Casey, Meese, Regan and Poindexter. Shultz reported that

he himself and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger both opposed further

arms shipments. / Note #3 / Note #9

"January 9, 1986:"

Lt. Col. Oliver North complained, in his notebook, that "Felix [Rodriguez]"

has been "talking too much about the V[ice] P[resident] connection." / Note

#4 / Note #0

"January 15, 1986:"

CIA and Mossad employee Richard Brenneke wrote a letter to Vice President

Bush giving full details, alerting Bush about his own work on behalf of the

CIA in illegal -- but U.S. government-sanctioned -- sales of arms to Iran.

/ Note #4 / Note #1

"Mid-January, 1986:"

George Bush and Oliver North worked together on the illegal plan.

Later, at North's trial, the Bush administration -- portraying Colonel

North as the master strategist in the case! -- stipulated that North

"prepared talking points for a meeting between Admiral Poindexter,

Vice-President Bush, and [the new] Honduran President [Jose Simon] Azcona.

North recommended that Admiral Poindexter and Vice-President Bush tell

President Azcona of the need for Honduras to work with the U.S. government

on increasing regional involvement with and support for the Resistance.

Poindexter and Bush were also to raise the subject of better U.S.

government support for the states bordering Nicaragua."

That is, Honduras, which of course "borders on Nicaragua," was to get more

U.S. aid and was to pass some of it through to the Contras.

In preparation for the January 1986 Bush-Azcona meeting, the U.S. State

Department sent to Bush adviser Donald Gregg a memorandum, which "alerted

Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social

benefits from its [Honduras's] cooperation with the United States." / Note

#4 / Note #2

Two months after the January Bush-Azcona meeting, President Reagan asked

Congress for $20 million in emergency aid to Honduras, needed to repel a

cross-border raid by Nicaraguan forces against Contra camps. Congress voted

the "emergency" expenditure.

"January 17, 1986:"

George Bush met with President Reagan, John Poindexter, Donald Regan, and NSC staff member Donald Fortier to review the

final version of the January 7 arms-to-Iran draft.

With the encouragement of Bush, President Reagan signed the authorization

to arm the Khomeini regime with missiles, and keep the facts of this scheme

from congressional oversight committees.

The official story about this meeting -- given in the Tower Commission

Report -- is as follows:

"[T]he proposal to shift to direct U.S. arms sales to Iran ... was

considered by the president at a meeting on January 17 which only the Vice

President, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fortier, and VADM Poindexter attended.... There

was no subsequent collective consideration of the Iran initiative by the

NSC principals before it became public 11 months later....

"The National Security Act also requires notification of Congress of covert

intelligence activities. If not done in advance, notification must be 'in

timely fashion.' The Presidential Finding of January 17 directed that

congressional notification be withheld, and this decision appears to have

never been reconsidered." / Note #4 / Note #3

"January 18, 1986:"

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was directed to prepare the transfer of

4,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the CIA, which was to ship them to

Khomeini's Iran. Bypassing normal channels for covert shipments, he elected

to have his senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, handle the

arrangements for the arms transfer. / Note #4 / Note #4

"January 19-21, 1986:"

George Bush's deputy national security aide, Col. Samuel Watson, worked

with Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, and met with Col. James Steele, the

U.S. military liaison officer with the covert Contra resupply organization

in El Salvador. / Note #4 / Note #5

 

Bush Sets Up North

"January 20, 1986:"

Following the recommendations of an as-yet-unofficial report of the George

Bush Terrorism Task Force, President Reagan signed National Security

Decision Directive (NSDD) 207.

The unofficial Bush report, the official Bush report released in February,

and the Bush-organized NSDD 207, together p ut forward Oliver North as "Mr.

Iran-Contra." North became the nominal, up-front coordinator of the

administration's counterterrorism program, hiding as best he could Bush's

hand in these matters. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office

to Combat Terrorism), separate from regular NSC staff members.

George Bush now reassigned his Terrorism Task Force employees, Craig Coy

and Robert Earl, to do the daily work of the North secret office. The Bush

men spent the next year working on Iran arms sales: Earl devoted

one-quarter to one-half of his time on Iran and Contra support operations;

Coy "knew everything" about Project Democracy. North traveled much of the

time. Earl and Coy were at this time officially attached to the Crisis

Management Center, which North worked on in 1983. / Note #4 / Note #6

FBI Assistant Director Revell, often George Bush's "hit man" against Bush's

domestic opponents, partially disclosed this shell game in a letter to Sen.

David Boren (D-Ok.), explaining the FBI's contacts with North: "At the time

[April 1986], North was the NSC official charged by the President with the

coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible

for working closely with 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 Terrorism Task Force 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." / Note #4 / Note #7

The Bush Terrorism Task Force, having completed its official work, had simply made itself into a renamed, permanent,

covert agency. Its new name was "Operations Sub-Group" (OSG).

In this transformation, CIA Contra-handler Duane Clarridge had been added

to the Task Force to form the "OSG," which included North, Poindexter,

Charles Allen, Robert Oakley, Noel Koch, General Moellering and "Buck"

Revell.

According to the Oliver North diaries, even before this final phase of the

Bush-North apparatus there were at least 14 meetings between North and the

Bush Task Force's senior members Holloway, Oakley, and Allen, its principal

consultant Terry Arnold, and its staff men Robert Earl and Craig Coy. The

North diaries from July 1985 through January 1986, show one meeting with

President Reagan, and four meetings with Vice President Bush: either the

two alone, North with Bush and Amiram Nir, or North with Bush and Donald

Gregg.

The Bush counterterrorism apparatus had its own communications channels,

and a global antiterrorist computer network called Flashboard outside of

all constitutional government arrangements. Those opposed to the arming of

terrorists, including cabinet members, had no access to these

communications. / Note #4 / Note #8

This apparatus had responsibility for Iran arms sales; the private funding

of the Contras, from contributions, theft, dope-running; the "public

diplomacy" of Project Democracy to back these efforts; and

counterintelligence against other government agencies and against domestic

opponents of the policy. / Note #4 / Note #9

"January 28, 1986:"

George Bush met with Oliver North and FDN Contra Political Director Adolfo

Calero in the Old Executive Office Building. / Note #5 / Note #0 North and

Calero would work together to protect George Bush when the Contra supply

effort blew apart in October 1986.

"January 31, 1986:"

Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi was told by a French arms agent that

"[a]n assistant of the vice president's going to be in Germany ... and the

indication is very clear that the transaction can go forward" referring to

George Bush's supposed approval of the private arms sale to Iran. / Note #5

/ Note #1

"February 6, 1986:"

Responding to the January 15 letter from Richard Brenneke, Bush aide Lt.

Col. E. Douglas Menarczik wrote to Brenneke: "The U.S. government will not

permit or participate in the provision of war materiel to Iran and will

prosecute any such efforts by U.S. citizens to the fullest extent of the

law." / Note #5 / Note #2

"February 7, 1986:"

Samuel M. Evans, a representative of Saudi and Israeli arms dealers, told

Cyrus Hashemi that "[t]he green light now finally has been given [for the

private sale of arms to Iran], that Bush is in favor, Shultz against, but

nevertheless they are willing to proceed." / Note #5 / Note #3

"February 25, 1986:"

Richard Brenneke wrote again to Bush's office, to Lt. Col. Menarczik,

documenting a secret project for U.S. arms sales to Iran going on since

1984.

Brenneke later said publicly that early in 1986, he called Menarczik to

warn that he had learned that the United States planned to buy weapons for

the Contras with money from Iran arms sales. Menarczik reportedly said, "We

will look into it." Menarczik claimed not to have "any specific

recollection of telephone conversations with" Brenneke. / Note #5 / Note #4

"Late February, 1986:"

Vice President George Bush issued the public report of his Terrorism Task

Force. In his introduction to the report, Bush asserted: "We firmly oppose

terrorism in all forms and wherever it takes place.... We will make no

concessions to terrorists." / Note #5 / Note #5

"March 1986:"

According to a sworn statement of pilot Michael Tolliver, Felix Rodriguez

had met him in July 1985. Now Rodriguez instructed Tolliver to go to Miami

International Airport. Tolliver picked up a DC-6 aircraft and a crew, and

flew the plane to a Contra base in Honduras. There Tolliver watched the

unloading of 14 tons of military supplies, and the loading of 12 and 2/3

tons of marijuana. Following his instructions from Rodriguez, Tolliver flew

the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The next day Rodriguez

paid Tolliver $75,000. / Note #5 / Note #6

Tolliver says that another of the flights he performed for Rodriguez

carried cocaine on the return trip to the U.S.A. He made a series of arms

deliveries from Miami into the air base at Agucate, Honduras. He was paid

in cash by Rodriguez and his old Miami CIA colleague, Rafael "Chi Chi"

Quintero.

In another circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and

El Salvador's Ilopango air base. Tolliver said that Rodriguez and Quintero

"instructed me where to go and who to see." While making these flights, he

"could go by any route available without any interference from any agency.

We didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody...." / Note #5 /

Note #7

With reference to the covert arms shipments out of Miami, George Bush's son

Jeb said: "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped, but

does that break any law? I'm not sure it's illegal. The Neutrality Act is a

completely untested notion, established in the 1800s." / Note #5 / Note #8

 

Smuggling Missiles

Trafficking in lethal weapons without government authorization is always a

tricky business for covert operators. But when the operatives are smuggling

weapons in a particular traffic which the U.S. Congress has expressly

prohibited, a good deal of criminal expertise and certain crucial contacts

are required for success.

And when the smugglers report to the Vice President, who wishes his role to

remain concealed, the whole thing can become very sticky -- or even

ludicrous to the point of low comedy.

"March 26, 1986:"

Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to

procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well

as the customs services and police forces of several nations. The most

important component of such transactions, aside from the purchase money,

was a falsified document showing the supposed recipient of the arms, the

"end-user certificate" (EUC).

In the message he wrote, North said that "we have" an EUC; that is, a false

document has been acquired for this arms sale: "[W]e are trying to find a

way to get 10 BLOWPIPE launchers and 20 missiles from [a South American

country] ... thru the Short Bros. Rep.... Short Bros., the mfgr. of the

BLOWPIPE, is willing to arrange the deal, conduct the training and even

send U.K. 'tech. reps' ... if we can close the arrangement. Dick Secord has

already paid 10% down on the delivery and we have a [country deleted] EUC

which is acceptable to [that South American country]." / Note #5 / Note #9

Now, since this particular illegal sale somehow came to light in the

Iran-Contra scandal, another participant in this one deal decided not to

bother hiding his own part in it. Thus, we are able to see how Colonel

North got his false certificate.

"April 20, 1986:"

Felix Rodriguez met in San Salvador with Oliver North and Enrique Bermudez,

the Contras' military commander. Rodriguez informs us of the following in

his own, ghost-written book:

"Shortly before that April 20 meeting, Rafael Quintero had asked me to

impose upon my good relations with the Salvadoran military to obtain

'end-user' certificates made out to Lake Resources, which he told me was a

Chilean company...." / Note #6 / Note #0

The plan was to acquire false end-user certificates from his contacts in

the Salvadoran armed forces for Blowpipe ground-to-air missiles supposedly

being shipped into El Salvador. The missiles would then be illegally

diverted to the Contras in Honduras and Nicaragua.

Rodriguez continues, with self-puffery: "The Salvadorans complied with my

request, and in turn I supplied the certificates, handing them over

personally to Richard Secord at that April 20 meeting." / Note #6 / Note #1

While arranging the forgery for the munitions sale, Rodriguez was in touch

with the George Bush staff back in his home office. On April 16, four days

before the Rodriguez-North missile meeting, Bush national security adviser

Donald Gregg asked his staff to put a meeting with Rodriguez on George

Bush's calendar.

Gregg said the purposeof the White House meeting would be "to brief the

Vice President on the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras." The

meeting was arranged for 11:30 A.M. on May 1. / Note #6 / Note #2

Due to its explicitly stated purpose -- clandestine weapons trafficking in

an undeclared war against the rigid congressional prohibition -- the

planned meeting was to become one of the most notorious of the Iran-Contra

scandal.

"April 30, 1986:"

Felix Rodriguez met in Washington with Bush aide Col. Sam Watson.

The following reminder message was sent to George Bush:

"Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President"

Event: Meeting with Felix Rodriguez

Date: Thursday, May 1, 1986

Time: 11:30-11:45 a.m. -- West Wing

From: Don Gregg

I. PURPOSE

Felix Rodriguez, a counterinsurgency expert who is visiting from El

Salvador, will provide a briefing on the status of the war in El Salvador

and resupply of the Contras.

III. [sic] PARTICIPANTS

The Vice President

Felix Rodriguez

Craig Fuller

Don Gregg

Sam Watson

IV. MEDIA COVERAGE

Staff photographer. [i.e. internal-use photographs, no media coverage] /

Note #6 / Note #3

"May 1, 1986:"

Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix

Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S.

ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.

At this meeting it was decided that "private citizen" Felix Rodriguez would

continue his work in Central America. / Note #6 / Note #4

"May 16, 1986:"

George Bush met with President Reagan, and with cabinet members and other

officials in the full National Security Planning Group. They discussed the

urgent need to raise more money for the Contras.

The participants decided to seek support for the Contras from nations

("third countries") which were not directly involved in the Central

American conflict.

As a result of this initiative, George Bush's former business partners, the

Sultan of Brunei, donated $10 million to the Contras. But after being

deposited in secret Swiss bank accounts, the money was "lost." / Note #6 /

Note #5

"May 20, 1986:"

George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez and El Salvador Air Force commander

Gen. Juan Rafael Bustillo at a large reception in Miami on Cuban

independence day. / Note #6 / Note #6

"May 29, 1986:"

George Bush, President Reagan, Donald Regan and John Poindexter met to hear

from McFarlane and North on their latest arms-for-hostages negotiations

with Iranian officials and Amiram Nir in Teheran, Iran. The two reported

their arrangement with the Khomeini regime to establish a secure covert

communications network between the two "enemy" governments. / Note #6 /

Note #7

"July 10, 1986:"

Eugene Hasenfus, whose successful parachute landing would explode the

Iran-Contra scandal into world headlines three months later, flew from

Miami to El Salvador. He had just been hired to work for "Southern Air

Transport," a CIA front company for which Hasenfus worked previously in the

Indochina War.

Within a few days he was introduced to "Max Gomez" -- the pseudonym of

Felix Rodriguez -- as "one of the Cuban coordinators of the company."

He now began work as a cargo handler on flights carrying military supplies

to Contra soldiers inside Nicaragua. / Note #6 / Note #8

"July 29, 1986:"

George Bush met in Jerusalem with Terrorism Task Force member Amiram Nir,

the manager of Israel's participation in the arms-for hostages schemes.

Bush did not want this meeting known about. The vice president told his

chief of staff, Craig Fuller, to send his notes of the meeting only to

Oliver North -- not to President Reagan, or to anyone else.

Craig Fuller's memorandum said, in part:

1. SUMMARY. Mr. Nir indicated that he had briefed Prime Minister Peres and

had been asked to brief the V[ice] P[resident] by his White House contacts.

He described the details of the efforts from last year through the current

period to gain the release of the U.S. hostages. He reviewed what had been

learned which was essentially that the radical group was the group that

could deliver. He reviewed the issues to be considered -- namely that there

needed to be ad [sic] decision as to whether the items requested would be

delivered in separate shipments or whether we would continue to press for

the release of the hostages prior to delivering the items in an amount

agreed to previously.

2. The VP's 25 minute meeting was arranged after Mr. Nir called Craig

Fuller and requested the meeting and after it was discussed with the VP by

Fuller and North....

14. Nir described some of the lessons learned: 'We are dealing with the

most radical elements.... They can deliver ... that's for sure.... [W]e've

learned they can deliver and the moderates can't.... / Note #6 / Note #9

"July 30, 1986:"

The day after his Jerusalem summit with Amiram Nir, Vice President Bush

conferred with Oliver North. This meeting with North was never acknowledged

by Bush until the North diaries were released in May 1990.

"Early September, 1986:"

Retired Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub sent a memo to Oliver North on the

Contra resupply effort under Felix Rodriguez. Singlaub warned North that

Rodriguez was boasting about having "daily contact" with George Bush's

office. / Note #7 / Note #0

The Scandal Breaks

"October 5, 1986:"

A C-123k cargo aircraft left El Salvador's Ilopango air base at 9:30 a.m.,

carrying "10,000 pounds of small arms and ammunition, consisting mainly of

AK rifles and AK ammunition, hand grenades, jungle boots." It was scheduled

to make air drops to Contra soldiers in Nicaragua. / Note #7 / Note #1

The flight had been organized by elements of the CIA, the Defense

Department, and the National Security Council, coordinated by the Office of

Vice President George Bush.

At that time, such arms resupply was prohibited under U.S. law.

The aircraft headed south along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, turned east

over Costa Rica, then headed up north into Nicaraguan air space. As it

descended toward the point at which it was to drop the cargo, the plane was

hit in the right engine and wing by a ground-to-air missile. The wing burst

into flames and broke up. Cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus jumped out the left

cargo door and opened his parachute. The other three crew members died in

the crash. / Note #7 / Note #2

Meanwhile, Felix Rodriguez made a single telephone call -- to the office of

Vice President George Bush. He told Bush aide Samuel Watson that the C-123k

aircraft was missing and was possibly down.

"October 6, 1986:"

Eugene Hasenfus, armed only with a pistol, took refuge in a small hut on a

jungle hilltop inside Nicaragua. He was soon surrounded by Sandinista

soldiers and gave himself up. / Note #7 / Note #3

Felix Rodriguez called George Bush's aide Sam Watson again. Watson now

notified the White House Situation Room and the National Security Council

staff about the missing aircraft.

Oliver North was immediately dispatched to El Salvador to prevent publicity

over the event, and to arrange death benefits for the crew. / Note #7 /

Note #4

After the shoot-down, several elaborate attempts were made by government

agencies to provide false explanations for the origin of the aircraft.

A later press account, appearing on May 15, 1989, after Bush was safely

installed as President, exposed one such attempted coverup:

Official: Contras Lied to Protect VP Bush

By Alfonso Chardy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Nicaraguan rebels falsely assumed responsibility for an

arms-laden plane downed over Nicaragua in 1986 in an effort to shield

then-Vice President George Bush from the controversy that soon blossomed

into the Iran-Contra scandal, a senior Contra official said in early May

1989.

According to the Contra official, who requested anonymity but has direct

knowledge of the events, a Contra spokesman, Bosco Matamoros [official FDN

representative in Washington, D.C.], was ordered by [FDN Political

Director] Adolfo Calero to claim ownership of the downed aircraft, even

though the plane belonged to Oliver North's secret Contra supply

network....

Calero called (Matamoros) and said, "Take responsibility for the Hasenfus

plane because we need to take the heat off the vice president," the Contra

source said....

The senior Contra official said that shortly after Calero talked to

Matamoros, Matamoros called a reporter for the "New York Times" and

"leaked" the bogus claim of responsibility. The "Times" ran a story about

the claim on its front page. / Note #7 / Note #5

"October 7, 1986:"

Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tx.) called for a congressional investigation of

the Nicaraguan air crash, and the crash of a Southern Air Transport plane

in Texas, to see if they were part of a covert CIA operation to overthrow

the Nicaraguan government.

"October 9, 1986:"

At a news conference in Nicaragua, captured U.S. crew member Eugene

Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez, alias "Max Gomez," as the head of an

international supply system for the Contras. The explosive, public phase of

the Iran-Contra scandal had begun.

 

Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 2

27. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, pp. 13-14.

On Amiram Nir, see Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 225-26, citing "Wall Street

Journal" 12/22/86, "New York Times" 1/12/87.

On Poindexter and North, see Menges, "op. cit.," p. 264.

28. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 140-41, citing Senate Select Committee on

Intelligence, "Report on Preliminary Inquiry," Jan. 29, 1987.

29. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 239-41.

30. Oliver North's diary, since edited and partially declassified, entries

for "10 Sep 85." Document no. 01527 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

31. "Washington Post," June 10, 1990.

32. Charles E. Allen "Memorandum for the Record," December 18, 1985.

Partially declassified/released (i.e. some parts are still deleted) by the

National Security Council on January 26, 1988. Document no. 02014 in the

Iran-Contra Collection.

33. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 226-27, citing "Wall Street Journal"

12/22/86, "New York Times" 12/25/86 and 1/12/87.

34. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 231, citing "Washington Post" 2/20/87, "New

York Times" 2/22/87.

35. "Ibid.," p. 232, citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.

36. Interview with Herman Moll in "EIR Special Report:" "Irangate...," pp.

81-83.

37. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 235, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86,

12/27/86, 1/10/87 and 1/12/87; "Ibid.," p. 238, citing Tower Commission

Report; Menges, "op. cit.," p. 271.

38. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 240-41, citing "Washington Post" 1/10/87 and

1/15/87; Sen. John Tower, Chairman, "The Tower Commission Report: The Full

Text of the President's Special Review Board" (New York: Bantam Books,

1987), p. 217.

39. "Ibid.," pp. 37, 225.

40. North notebook entry Jan. 9, 1986, Exhibits attached to Gregg

Deposition in Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey v. John Hull, Rene Corbo,

Felipe Vidal et al., 29 April 1988.

41. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 258, citing the Brenneke letter, which was

made available to the National Security Archive.

42. U.S. government stipulations at the North trial, in "EIR Special

Report:" "Irangate...," p. 22.

43. "Tower Commission Report", pp. 67-68, 78.

44. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 266, citing "Washington Post" 1/10/87 and 1/15/87.

45. Chronology supplied by Office of Vice President Bush; Armstrong, "op.

cit.," p. 266, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86.

46. Deposition of Robert Earl, "Iran-Contra Report", May 2, 1987, Vol. 9,

pp. 22-23; Deposition of Craig Coy, "Iran-Contra Report", March 17, 1987,

Vol. 7, pp. 24-25: cited in "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.

47. Oliver Revell to Sen. David Boren, chairman of Senate Select Committee

on Intelligence, April 17, 1987; "Washington Post" Feb. 17, 20 and 22,

1987; "Wall Street Journal" Feb. 20, 1987: cited in "CovertAction," No. 33,

Winter 1990, p. 13.

48.

"Newsweek," Oct. 21, 1985, p. 26; Earl Exhibit, nos. 3-8, attached to Earl

Deposition, "op. cit.": cited in "CovertAction" No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.

49. Earl Deposition, "op. cit.," May 30, 1987, pp. 33-37; May 15, 1987, pp.

117-21 (Channell and Miller); May 15, 1987, pp. 131, 119 (private

contributors).

50. Donald Gregg Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President, Jan. 27, 1986;

released by the National Security Council March 22, 1988. Document no.02254

in Iran-Contra Collection.

51. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 275, citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.

52. "Ibid.," p. 280, citing the Menarczik letter to Brenneke which was made

available to the National Security Archive.

53. "Ibid.," citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.

54. "New York Times," Nov. 30, 1986, Dec. 4, 1986. See Gregg testimony:

Brenneke had M's number.

55. Quoted in Menges, "op. cit.," p. 275.

56. Deposition of Michael Tolliver in Avirgan and Honey, "op. cit."

57. Allan Nairn, "The Bush Connection," in "The Progressive" (London: May

18, 1987), pp. 21-22.

58. Nairn, "op. cit.," pp. 19, 21-23.

59. "Tower Commission Report," p. 465

60. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 244-45.

61. "Ibid."

62. "Schedule Proposal," Office of the Vice President, April 16, 1986,

exhibit attached to Gregg Deposition in Avirgan and Honey, "op. cit."

63. Office of the Vice President Memorandum, April 30, 1986, released Aug.

28, 1987 by the National Security Council. Document no. 02738 in the

Iran-Contra Collection.

64. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 245-46.

See also Gregg confirmation hearings, excerpted "infra," and numerous other

sources.

65. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 368-69, citing Senate Select Intelligence

Committee Report, Jan. 29, 1987.

66. "Ibid.," p. 373, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86.

67. "Ibid.," p. 388-89, citing McFarlane testimony to the Tower Commission.

68. Affidavit of Eugene Harry Hasenfus, October 12, 1986, pp. 2-3. Document

no. 03575 in the Iran-Contra Collection.

69. "Tower Commission Report," pp. 385-88.

70. "Washington Post", Feb. 26, 1987.

71. Hasenfus Affidavit, pp. 6-7.

72. "Ibid."

73. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 7.

74. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 508, citing the chronology provided by George

Bush's office, "Washington Post" 12/16/86; "New York Times" 12/16/86,

12/17/86 and 12/25/86; "Wall Street Journal" 12/19/86 and 12/24/86.

75. "Laredo [Tex as] Morning Times," May 15, 1989, p. 1.

 

CHAPTER 19

PART 3

IRAN-CONTRA

On October 11, 1986, the "Washington Post" ran two headlines side-by-side:

"Captured American Flyer to be Tried in Nicaragua" and "Bush is Linked to

Head of Contra Aid Network."

The "Post" reported: "Max Gomez, a Cuban American veteran of the CIA's

ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation, has told associates that he reported to

Vice President Bush about his activities as head of the secret air supply

operation that lost a cargo plane to Nicaraguan missile fire....

"Gomez has said that he met with Bush twice and has been operating in

Nicaragua with the Vice President's knowledge and approval, the sources

said....

"Asked about these matters, a spokesman for Bush, Marlin Fitzwater, said:

'Neither the vice president nor anyone on his staff is directing or

coordinating an operation in Central America.'

"... The "San Francisco Examiner", which earlier this week linked [Bush

adviser Donald] Gregg to Gomez, reported that Gomez maintains daily contact

with Bush's office...." / Note #7 / Note #6

George Bush's career was now on the line. News media throughout the world

broke the story of the Hasenfus capture, and of the crewman's fingering of

Bush and his underlings Rodriguez and Posada Carriles.

Bush was now besieged by inquiries from around the world, as to how and why

he was directing the gun-running into Latin America.

Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, George Bush described Max

Gomez/Rodriguez as "a patriot." The vice president denied that he himself

was directing the illegal operations to supply the Contras: ""To say I'm

running the operation ... it's absolutely untrue.""

Bush said of Rodriguez: "I know what he was doing in El Salvador, and I

strongly support it, as does the President of El Salvador, Mr. Napoleon

Duarte, and as does the chief of the armed forces in El Salvador, because

this man, an expert in counterinsurgency, was down there helping them put

down a communist-led revolution [i.e. in El Salvador, not Nicaragua]." /

Note #7 / Note #7

Two days later, Gen. Adolfo Blandon, armed forces chief of staff in El

Salvador, denied Bush's contention that Felix Rodriguez worked for his

country's military forces. / Note #7 / Note #8

"October 12, 1986:"

Eugene Hasenfus gave and signed an affidavit in which it was stated: "About

Max Gomez [Felix Rodriguez], Hasenfus says that he was the head Cuban

coordinator for the company and that he works for the CIA and that he is a

very close friend of the Vice-President of the United States, George

Bush....

"About Ramon Medina [escaped airplane bomber Luis Posada Carriles],

Hasenfus says that he was also a CIA agent and that he did the 'small work'

because "Max Gomez" was the 'senior man.' He says that "Ramon" took care of

the rent of the houses, the maids, the food, transportation and drivers,

and also, coordination of the fuel for the aircraft, etc." [emphasis in the

original]. / Note #7 / Note #9

His cover being blown, and knowing he was still wanted in Venezuela for

blowing up an airliner and killing 73 persons, Posada Carriles now

"vanished" and went underground. / Note #8 / Note #0

"October 19, 1986:"

Eugene Hasenfus, interviewed in Nicaragua by Mike Wallace on the CBS

television program "60 Minutes," said that Vice President Bush was well

aware of the covert arms supply operation. He felt the Reagan-Bush

administration was "backing this 100 percent."

Wallace asked Hasenfus why he thought that Gomez/Rodriguez and the other

managers of the covert arms resupply "had the blessing of Vice President

Bush." Hasenfus replied, "They had his knowledge that he was working [on

it] and what was happening, and whoever controlled this whole organization

-- which I do not know -- Mr. Gomez, Mr. Bush, I believe a lot of these

other people. They know how this is being run. I do not." / Note #8 / Note

#1

 

Cover-Up of Bush Role

"November 3, 1986:"

The Lebanese newspaper "Al-Shiraa" revealed that the U.S. government was

secretly dealing arms to the Khomeini regime. This was three weeks after

the Eugene Hasenfus expose of George Bush made world headlines.

"November 22, 1986:"

President Reagan sent a message, "through Vice President George Bush," to

Secretary of State George Shultz, along the lines of "Support me or get off

my team." / Note #8 / Note #2

"December 18, 1986:"

CIA Director William Casey, a close ally of George Bush who knew everything

from the inside, was operated on for a "brain tumor" and lost the power of

speech.

That same day, associates of Vice President George Bush said that Bush

believed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan should resign, but claimed

Bush had not yet broached the issue with the President. Donald Regan said

that he had no intention of quitting. / Note #8 / Note #3

"February 2, 1987:"

CIA Director William Casey resigned. He soon died, literally without ever

talking.

"February 9, 1987:"

Former National Security Director Robert McFarlane, a principal figure in

the Reagan-Bush administration's covert operations, attempted suicide by

taking an overdose of drugs. McFarlane survived.

"February 26, 1987:"

The President's Special Review Board, commonly known as the Tower

Commission, issued its report. The commission heavily blamed White House

Chief of Staff Donald Regan for the "chaos that descended upon the White

House" in the Iran-Contra affair.

The commission hardly mentioned Vice President George Bush except to praise

him for his "vigorous reaffirmation of U.S. opposition to terrorism in all

forms"!

The afternoon the Tower Commission report came out, George Bush summoned

Donald Regan to his office. Bush said the President wanted to know what his

plans were about resigning. Donald Regan blasted the President: "What's the

matter -- isn't he man enough to ask me that question?" Bush expressed

sympathy. Donald Regan said he would leave in four days. / Note #8 / Note

#4

"February 27, 1987:"

Cable News Network televised a leaked report that Donald Regan had already

been replaced as White House chief of staff. After submitting a

one-sentence letter of resignation, Donald Regan said, "There's been a

deliberate leak, and it's been done to humiliate me." / Note #8 / Note #5

George Bush, when President, rewarded the commission's chairman, Texas

Senator John Tower, by appointing him U.S. secretary of defense. Tower was

asked by a reporter at the National Press Club, whether his nomination was

a "payoff" for the "clean bill of health" he gave Bush. Tower responded

that "the commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and

[Senator] 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?" / Note #8 / Note #6

President Bush appointed Brent Scowcroft his chief national security adviser.

But the Senate refused to confirm Tower. Tower then wrote a book and began

to talk about the injustice done to him. He died April 5, 1991 in a plane

crash.

"March 8, 1987:"

In light of the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan called on George Bush

to reconvene his Terrorism Task Force to evaluate the current program!

"June 2, 1987:"

Bush summarized his findings in a press release: "[O]ur 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." /

Note #8 / Note #7

"November 13, 1987:"

The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the

Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior

Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms

Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent

result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned.

George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S.

secretary of defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.

 

The Mortification of the U.S. Congress

"January 20, 1989:"

George Bush was inaugurated President of the United S tates.

"May 12, 1989:"

President Bush's nomination of Donald Gregg to be U.S. ambassador to Korea

was considered in hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

What follows are excerpts from the typed transcript of the Gregg hearings.

The transcript has never been reproduced, it has not been printed, and it

will not be published by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is

evidently embarrassed by its contents. / Note #8 / Note #8

"Gregg:" [As] his national security adviser [for] six and a half years ...

I worked closely with the vice president keeping him informed as best I

could on matters of foreign policy, defense, and intelligence....

[After Vietnam] I did not see [Felix Rodriguez] until the early eighties

where he would drop into Washington sporadically ... we remained

friends.... So, some of those contacts would have been [1979-1982] when I

was at the White House at the NSC.

"Sen. Sarbanes:" And Felix would come to see you there?

"Gregg:" No, at my home.... [Then] he brought me in '83 the plan which I

have already discussed with Senator Cranston.... [At that point] I was

working for the vice president ... [which I began in] August 1982.

"Sen. Sarbanes:" In December of 1984 he came to see you with the idea of

going to El Salvador. You ... cleared it with the vice president?

"Gregg:" ... I just said, "My friend Felix, who was a remarkable former

agency employee ... wants to go down and help with El Salvador. And I am

going to introduce him to [State Department personnel] and see if he can

sell himself to those men," and the vice president said fine.

"Gregg:" Felix went down there about the first of March [1985]. Before he

went ... I introduced him to the vice president....

"Sen. Sarbanes:" So before he went down, you undertook to introduce him to

the vice president.... Why did you do that?

"Gregg:" Well, the vice president had always spoken very highly and

enthusiastically of his career [!], or his one-year as DCI [Director of

Central Intelligence]. I had gone out with him to the agency just after I

joined him in '82 and I saw the tremendous response he got there and he got

quite choked up about it and as we drove back in the car he said, you know,

that is the best job I have ever hadbefore I became vice president.

So here it was, as I said probably the most extraordinary CIA comrade I had

known, who was going down to help in a country that I knew that the vice

president was interested in....

The vice president was interested in the progress of the Contras.

There were two occasions on which he asked me, how are they doing and I, on

one occasion went to a CIA officer who was knowledgeable and got a run-down

on how they were doing from that and sent it to the vice president and he

sent it back with no comment.

On another occasion, he asked me again, how are they doing, and I went -- I

drew a memo up, I think on the basis of a conversation with North. Again,

he returned that with no comment. So he was interested in the Contras as an

instrument of putting pressure on the Sandinistas....

"Sen. Simon:" Let me read another section from Senator Cranston's

statement. I believe the record suggests the following happened: After

Boland II was signed in October 1984 [outlawing all U.S. aid to the

Contras], you and certain others in the White House were encouraged to

secure military aid for the Contras through unorthodox channels.

Your career training in establishing secrecy and deniability for covert

operations, your decades-old friendship for Felix Rodriguez, apparently led

you to believe you could serve the national interest by sponsoring a

freelance covert operation out of the vice president's office.

What is your response to that statement?

"Gregg:" Well, I think it is a rather full-blown conspiracy theory. That

was not what I was doing.... I was involved in helping the vice president's

task force on antiterrorist measures write their report. But normally I had

no operational responsibilities....

"Sen. Simon:" When did you first find out the law was being violated?

"Gregg:" By the law, do you mean the Boland amendment?

"Sen. Simon:" That is correct.

"Gregg:" I guess my knowledge of that sort of came at me piecemeal after

Hasenfus had been shot down....

"Sen. Simon:" So what you are telling us, you found out about the law being

violated the same time the rest of us found out the law was being violated?

"Gregg:" Yes, sir....

"Sen. Cranston:" From February 1985 to August 1986, you have acknowledged

that you spoke to Rodriguez many, many times on the telephone. Let me quote

from your sworn deposition to the Iran-Contra Committee: "Felix called me

quite often and frequently it was what I would call sort of combat

catharsis. He used to do the same thing in Vietnam...."

Now, is it still your testimony that Rodriguez never mentioned his deep

involvement in Contra supply activities during any of these phone

conversations?

"Gregg:" That is my testimony.

"Sen. Cranston:" Is it still your testimony that prior to Aug. 8th, 1986,

Rodriguez never mentioned the status of his Contra resupply efforts during

his numerous face-to-face meetings with you in Washington?

"Gregg:" Never.

"Sen. Cranston:" Is it still your testimony that Rodriguez did not mention

the status of his Contra resupply efforts in the very meetings that were

convened according to two memos bearing your name, for Rodriguez to "brief

the vice president on the status of the war in El Salvador and efforts to

resupply the Contras"?

"Gregg:" There was no intention to discuss resupply of the Contras and

everyone at that meeting, including former Senator Nick Brady have [sic]

testified that it was not discussed.

"Sen. Cranston:" As you know, it is difficult to reconcile those statements

about what happened in the meeting with the statement and memos from you

that the agenda was ... two things, one of them being efforts to resupply

the Contras....

"Gregg:" Those memos first surfaced to my attention in December of 1986,

when we undertook our first document search of the vice president's office.

They hit me rather hard because by that time I had put the pieces together

of what had been going on and I realized the implications of that agenda

item.

I did not shred the documents. I did not hide it.... [T]his is the worst thi

ng I have found and here it is, and I cannot really explain it.... I have a

speculative explanation which I would like to put forward if you would be

interested.

"Sen. Cranston:" Fine.

"Gregg:" Again, turning to Felix [Rodriguez]'s book ... Felix makes the

following quote.... This is the quote, sir: "... I had no qualms about

calling [Sam Watson] or Don [Gregg] when I thought they could help run

interference with the Pentagon to speed up deliveries of spare chopper

parts." That means helicopters.

"I must have made many such calls during the spring of 1986. Without

operating Hughes 500 helicopters it was impossible to carry out my strategy

against the [El Salvadoran] insurgents...." [There are] then documented

steps that Colonel Watson had taken with the Pentagon to try to get spare

parts expedited for El Salvador....

So my construction is this, sir. I recall that in the meeting with the vice

president the question of spare parts for the helicopters in El Salvador

was discussed and so that I think "what the agenda item on the two memos

is, is a garbled reference to something like resupply of the copters,

instead of resupply of the Contras" [emphasis added]."

"Sen. Sarbanes:" How did the scheduling proposal of April 16, 1986 and the

briefing memorandum of April 30th take place?

"Gregg:" They were prepared by my assistant, Mrs. Byrne, acting on advice

from Colonel Watson. She signed my initials, but those are not my initials.

I did not see the documents until December 1986, when I called them to the

attention of the House Intelligence Committee.... And if .. my speculation

does not hold up, I have to refer you to a memorandum that I turned over to

the Iran-Contra Committee on the 14th of May 1987....

"Sen. Sarbanes:" I am looking at that memorandum now.

"Gregg:" Okay. That has been my explanation up until now.

"Sen. Sarbanes:" But you are now providing a different explanation?

"Gregg:" It is the only one -- I have been thinking about these documents

for over two years, and it is the only thing that I can come up with that

would come close to explaining that agenda item -- given the fact that

there was no intention of discussing resupply to the Contras. That resupply

of the Contras was not discussed, according to the testimony of everyone

who was in the meeting...."

"Sen. Kerry:" Douglas Minarczik is who?

"Gregg:" He was one of my assistants in my office responsible for Mid-East

and African affairs....

"Sen. Kerry:" And he was working for you in 1985 and 1986, that period?

"Gregg:" Yes.

"Sen. Kerry:" Now, when I began first investigating allegations of the

"gun-running" that was taking place out of Miami, "Miami was buzzing with

the notion that the vice president's office was somehow involved in

monitoring that, at least" [emphasis added].

Now, Jesus Garcia was a Miami corrections official who got into trouble and

wound up going to jail on weapons offenses. Through that connection, we

came across telephone records. And those telephone records demonstrate

calls from Garcia's house to Contra camps in Honduras, to John Hull in

Costa Rica, and Douglas Minarczik in, not necessarily in your office, but

directly to the White House.

However, there is incontrovertible evidence that he had in his possession

the name of Mr. Minarczik, a piece of paper in our possession, in Garcia's

home in connection with monitoring those paramilitary operations, in August

of 1985.

Now, how do you account for the fact that Minarczik's -- that the people

involved with the Contra supply operations out of Miami ... had Minarczik's

name and telephone number, and that there is a record of calls to the White

House at that time?

"Gregg:" I cannot account for it. Could it have anything to do with our old

friend Mr. Brenicke [sic]? Because Brenicke did have Minarczik's phone

number....

"Sen. Kerry:" ... No. Totally separate.

"Gregg:" This is all new. I do not have an explanation, sir....

"Sen. Kerry:" Do you recall the downing of a Cuban airliner in [1976] in

which 72 people lost their lives as a result; do you remember that?

"Gregg:" Yes.

"Sen. Kerry:" A terrorist bomb. And a Cuban-American named Luis Posada

[Carriles] was arrested in Venezuela in connection with that. He then

escaped in 1985 with assistance from Felix Rodriguez -- I do not know if

this is going to be in the [Rodriguez] book or not --

"Gregg:" It is.

"Sen. Kerry:" Okay, and he brought him to Central America to help the

Contras under pseudonym of Ramon Medina, correct?

"Gregg:" Now, I know that; yes.

"Sen. Kerry:" ... [Is] it appropriate for a Felix Rodriguez to help a man

indicted in a terrorist bombing to escape from prison, and then appropriate

for him to take him to become involved in supply operations, which we are

supporting?

"Gregg:" I cannot justify that, sir. And I am not certain what role Felix

played in getting him out....

Committee Session June 15, 1989

"Sen. Cranston:" Before proceeding in this matter, I would like to state

clearly for the record what the central purpose of this investigation is

about and in my view what it is not about.

It is not about who is for or against the Contras....

Similarly, this investigation is not about building up or tearing down our

new President [Bush]. We have tried throughout this proceeding to avoid

partisan attacks. Indeed, "Republicans and Democrats alike" have sought Mr.

Gregg's withdrawal as one way to avoid casting aspersions on the [Bush]

White House.... [emphasis added].

Mr. Gregg remains steadfast in his loyalty to his boss, then-Vice President

Bush, and to his long-time friend, Felix Rodriguez. Mr. Gregg has served

his country in the foreign policy field for more than three decades.

By all accounts he is a loyal American....

As Mr. Gregg himself conceded last month, there are substantial reasons for

senators to suspect his version of events and to raise questions about his

judgment.

It does not take a suspicious or partisan mind to look at the documentary

evidence, the back channel cables, the "eyes only" memos, and then to

conclude that Mr. Gregg has not been straight with us. Indeed, I am

informed that more than one Republican senator who has looked at the

accumulated weight of the evidence against Mr. Gregg, has remained

unconvinced and has sought Mr. Gregg's withdrawal.

Mr. Gregg, this committee has a fundamental dilemma. If we are to promote a

man we believe to have misled us under oath, we would make a mockery of

this institution....

... [It] has been established that when you are confronted with written

evidence undermining your story, you point the finger of blame elsewhere.

At our last hearing you said Gorman's cables were wrong, North's notebooks

were wrong, Steele's memory was wrong, North's sworn testimony [that Gregg

introduced Rodriguez to him] was wrong, you concocted a theory that your

aide, Watson, and your secretary erred by writing "Contras" instead of

"helicopters" on those infamous briefing memos for the Vice President....

Incredibly, when senators confront you with the documentary evidence which

undermines your story, you accuse us of concocting conspiracy theories and

you do so with a straight face.

... I think it is clear by now that many important questions may never be

answered satisfactorily, especially because we have been stonewalled by the

administration.

The National Security Agency has rejected our legitimate enquiries out of

hand. The Central Intelligence Agency provided a response with access

restrictions so severe ... as to be laughable.

The Department of Defense has given an unsatisfactory response two days

late. The State Department's response was utterly unresponsive. They

answered our letter after their self-imposed deadline and failed to produce

specific documents we requested and which we know exist.

This Committee has been stonewalled by Oliver North, too. He has not

complied with the Committee subpoena for his unredacted notebooks. The

redacted notebooks contain repeated January 1985 references to Felix

Rodriguez which suggests North's involvement in Rodriguez' briefings of the

Vice President.

No member of the Senate can escape the conclusion that these administration actions are contemptuous of this

Committee....

"Sen. McConnell:" ... During the period of the Boland Amendment, were you

ever asked to inform the vice president's office or lend his name to

private, nonprofit efforts to support the Contras?

"Gregg:" Yes. I recall one instance, in particular, where there was a

request -- I guess it was probably from one aspect of the Spitz Channell

organization, which had a variety of things going on in and around

Nicaragua.

We got, on December 2nd, 1985, a letter to the vice president, asking him

to get involved in something called the Friends of the Americas, which was

aid to the Meskito Indians ... in Nicaragua that had been badly mistreated

by the Sandinistas.... And so I have a document here which shows how we

dealt with it. I sent it to Boyden Gray, the counsel of the vice president

and said, "Boyden, this looks okay as a charity issue, but there is the

question of precedent. Please give me a legal opinion. Thanks." ... Boyden

Gray wrote back to me and said, "No, should not do. Raises questions about

indirect circumvention of congressional funding limits or restriction,

vis-a-vis Nicaragua."

That is the only time I recall that we had a specific request like that,

and this is how we dealt with it.

"Sen. Pell" [Chairman of the Committee]":" ... First, you say that you

offered to resign twice, I think.

Knowing that you are a very loyal servant of what you view as the national

interest, and knowing the embarrassment that this nomination has caused the

administration, I was wondering why you did not ask your name to be

withdrawn ... to pull your name back.... [w]hich has been recommended by

many of us as being a way to resolve this problem.

"Gregg:" Well, I haven't because I think I'm fully qualified to b e

ambassador to South Korea. And so does the vice president [sic].

So I am here because he has asked me to serve....

"Sen. Cranston:" ... Senators will recall that on Oct. 5th of '86 a plane

bearing military supplies to the Contras was shot down over Nicaragua. The

sole survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, spoke publicly of the role of Felix

Rodriguez, alias Max Gomez, in aiding military resupply and noted Gomez's

ties to the vice president's office.

Could you please describe your understanding of why it was that the first

call to official Washington regarding the shootdown was from Felix

Rodriguez to your aid[e] in Washington?

"Gregg:" ... [It] was because on the 25th of June of that year he had come

to Washington to confront North about what he regarded as corruption in the

supply process of the Contras.... [H]e broke with North on the 25th of June

and has not been on speaking terms with the man since then.... [H]e tried

to get me -- he could not -- he reached Colonel Watson....

"Sen. Cranston:" As you recall, the vice president was besieged at that

time with inquiries regarding Rodriguez's ties to the vice president's

office. What did you tell [Bush press spokesman] Marlin Fitzwater regarding

that relationship?

"Gregg:" ... The thrust of the press inquiries was always that from the

outset I had had in mind that Rodriguez should play some role in the Contra

support operation, and my comments to Marlin ... were that that had not

been in my mind....

"Sen. Cranston:" Let me quote again from the "New York Times", George Bush

quoted October 13, '86. Bush said, "To the best of my knowledge, this man,

Felix Rodriguez, is not working for the United States government."

Now Mr. Gregg, you knew that Rodriguez was aiding the Contras and receiving

material assistance in the form of cars, housing, communications equipment

and transportation from the U.S. government. Did you inform Bush of those

facts so that he could make calculated misleading statements in ignorance

of his staff's activities?

"Gregg:" ... At that point I had no idea that Felix -- you said -- you

mentioned communications equipment. I had no idea he had been given by

North one of those encryption devices. I think I was aware that Colonel

Steele had given him access to a car, and I knew he was living in a BOQ at

the air base. He was not being paid any salary. His main source of income

was, as it is now, his retirement pension from CIA.

"Sen. Cranston:" ... You told the Iran-Contra committee that you and Bush

never discussed the Contras, had no expertise on the issue, no

responsibility for it, and the details of Watergate-sized scandal involving

NSC staff and the [Edwin] Wilson gang was not Vice Presidential.

Your testimony on that point I think is demonstrably false. There are at

least six memos from Don Gregg to George Bush regarding detailed Contra

issues....

"Sen Cranston:" Am I correct in this, that you have confirmed ... that

senior U.S. military, diplomatic ... and intelligence personnel, really

looked with great doubt upon Rodriguez's mission and that they tolerated it

only because Rodriguez used his contacts with the vice president and his

staff as part of the way to bolster his mission.

"Gregg:" ... I was not aware of the diplomatic; I was aware of the military

and intelligence, yes, sir.

"The committee voted in favor of confirmation." Cranston voted no. But

three Democrats -- Charles Robb, Terry Sanford and Chairman Claiborne Pell

-- joined the Republicans.

Sanford confirmed Cranston's viewpoint, saying that he was allowing the

nomination to go through because he was afraid "the path would lead to

Bush," the new President. Sanford said, shamefacedly, ""If Gregg was lying,

he was lying to protect the President, which is different from lying to

protect himself."" / Note #8 / Note #9

In George Bush's government, the one-party state, the knives soon came out,

and the prizes appeared.

The Senate Ethics Committee, including the shamefaced Terry Sanford, began

in November 1989, its attack on the "Keating Five." These were U.S.

Senators, among them Senator Alan Cranston, charged with savings and loan

corruption. The attack soon narrowed down to one target only -- the

Iran-Contrary Senator Cranston.

On Aug. 2, 1991, Senator Terry Sanford, having forgotten his shame, took

over as the new chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.

 

Bush and Iran-Contra

George Bush and his friends have repeatedly told political pundits that

America is "tired" and "bored" of hearing about the Iran-Contra affair.

Bush has taken a dim view of those who were not tired or bored, but fought him.

Oct. 6, 1986 was a fateful day in Washington. The secret government

apparatus learned that the Hasenfus plane had been shot down the day

before, and went scurrying about to protect its exposed parts.

 

 

Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 3

76. "Washington Post," Oct. 11, 1986.

77. "Washington Post," Oct. 12, 1986, Oct. 14, 1986.

78. "Washington Post," Oct. 14, 1986.

79. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 3.

80. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 241.

81. "Washington Post," Nov. 20, 1986.

82. "Washington Post," Feb. 12, 1987.

83. "Washington Post," Dec. 18, 1986, "Wall Street Journal," Dec. 19, 1986.

84. Donald T. Regan, "For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington" (New

York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1988), pp. 368-73.

85. "Ibid."

86. "New York Times," March 2, 1989.

87. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.

88. Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on

Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be

Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12 and June 15,

1989.

89. Mary McGrory, "The Truth According to Gregg," "Washington Post," June

22, 1989.

90. NEPL contributions 1985 printout, cited in Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 226.

91. Kissinger letters, declassified in 1984, photostats in "EIR Special

Report:" "Irangate...," pp. 52, 55.

Angleton quote in Tom Mangold, "Cold Warrior" (New York: Simon and

Schuster, 1991), p. 352.

92. Director FBI to D[efense] I[ntelligence] A[gency], Sept. 30, 1986,

classified SECRET.

93. Bush at Shelton, Iowa, July 31, 1987, quoted in "EIR Special Report:"

"Irangate...," p. 65.

94. Secord to North 5/5/86 memorandum marked SECRET, declassified Feb. 26,

1988 by Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, photostat in "EIR Special

Report:" "Irangate...," p. 31.

95. "Washington Post," March 27, 1989.

96. Corporate records of the First National Bank of Alexandria and the

First Citizens Bank of Alexandria, 1940s to 1960s, in "Polk's Bankers

Directory."

Clarence J. Robinson, "Reminiscences" (Fairfax, Va.: George Mason

University, 1983).

 

 

 

 

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