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[back]Nicaragua

TheIranContraConnection:SecretTeamsandCovertOperationsin
ReaganEra
abookbyJonathanMarshall,PeterDaleScott,JaneHunter
[1987]Sourced
Thisexplosivebooklaysbarethefulldetailsofcurrentevents[circa1987],
exposingthepersonalitiesandinstitutionalrelationsbehindtheheadlines.It
goesbeyondthespecificeventsoftherecentperiodtodiscerntherootsof
contemporaryU.S.covertactivityinthehistoryofthepasttwodecades.It
delvesintothedetailsofCIAandextraCIAoperationsincludingdrug
trafficking,gunrunning,governmenttoppling,andassasination.
TheauthorsarguethattheIranContrascandalisnotmerelyaplangone
awry,butaconsistentoutgrowthofalongtraditionofcovertU.S.activities.
FromtheBayofPigsinvasionteamstotheNSCorganizationalteamfrom
theCIAandtheWorldAntiCommunistLeaguetotheIsraeliconnectionand
theStateDepartmentthisisthefullstory,unfetteredbyconcernsof
"damagecontrol."
Part1ContractingOutU.S.ForeignPolicy
Nicaragua:TheTestCase
ForeignMoney,ForeignArms
PersonnelandLogistics:GoingPrivate
Part2TheGrowthofReagan'sContraCommitment
Introduction:PrivateandOfficialDecisionMaking
Reagan,Deaver'sAmigos,andtheDeathSquads
Deaver,Taiwan,andWACL
TheRestorationofArmsSalestoWACLCountries
Argentina
Guatemala
Taiwan
Deaver,WACL,andtheContras
Singlaub,WACL,andLaRouche
TheStrategyofTension:CAL,P2,Drugs,andtheMafia
P2,theRepublicans,andLedeen
P2,theCalviScam,andNicaragua
TheCALReaganHelmsTriangle
Reagan,theContras,andNarcotics
Watergate,Contragate,andForeignCampaignContributions
Part3IsraelandtheContras
TheDictatesofIsrael'sArmsIndustry
OpportunityinCentralAmerica
Israel,theWhiteHouseJuntaandtheContras
''Strategic''Cooperation
AnEvolvingModusOperandi
Nicaragua.
MassiveIsraeliArmsShipments
TheAttractionsofObscurity
Part4Irangate:TheIsraelConnection
TheIsraeliInterestinIran
TheArmsChannelOpens
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Part5TheDeeperMalady:FromTerrorismtoCovertAction
ThePriceofCovertOperations
ABlankCheckfor"Counterterrorism"
ParadigmShift
LibyaBashing
UnleashingtheCIA
WashingtonBecomesMilitant
JeffMcConnellobserved:
LookingtotheFuture
Part6Conclusion
Irancontracontroversy
pvii
...ritualsofmystification...havebecomepartoftheAmericanexperiencewhenevertheintegrityofthe
governmentalprocessiscalleddeeplyintoquestion.TheWarrenCommissionReportafterJohnF.Kennedy's
assassinationinitiatedthiskindofexerciseinthepoliticsofreassurancethatnowseemsindispensableattimesof
publiccrisis.
pviii
Thepoliciesembodiedinboththe[IranContra]armssalesandthediversionoffundsforavarietyofdirty
purposeswerecarriedoutbypowerfultransnationalnetworksofindividualsandorganizationslongassociated
withrabidanticommunism,andcenteringonamixtureofformerCIAofficialsandantiCastroexiles,but
stretchingouttoincludemilitaryandciviliancentersofreaction,aswellasamercenarycadreavailablefor
lethalundertakingsofanysort.Anextremelydistressingelementinthestoryistheincrediblydurablehalflifeof
formercareerparticipantsincovertoperationsonlyforplutoniumisthedisposalproblemgreater!Formoney,
thrills,habit,andconvictionthesemenfindwaystoregroupintheprivatesectorandcarryonwiththeirefforts
todestroyprogressiveandnationalistpoliticalpossibilitiesinThirdWorldcountries,aswellastosellarmsand
drugs,andcarryoutanunauthorizedprivatesectorforeignpolicythatisviciousandinvisibleandacknowledges
nolimits.AnunappreciatedcostoftheReaganyearshasbeentointroduceintothesinewsofgovernmentthe
virusoffascistconspiratorialpolitics,especiallyintheWesternHemisphere.Inthisregard,therelianceonNorth
andPoindexterisnotamanagerialglitch,butratheradecisiontodependonthosewithsuchapassionate
commitmenttotheradicalrightwhohappenedtobepositionedforaction,andwouldbetrustedtoserveas
faithfulinstrumentsofpolicy,uninhibitedbyeitherstandardbureaucraticproceduresorconstitutionalrestraints.
pxi
TheReaganpresidencyhasrebuilttheformallegionsofcovertoperationsintheCIAandhas,aswell,givena
tasteofpowertotheshadownetworkofexCIA,exmilitary,exile,andextremistforcesinthiscountryand
abroad...Thisparamilitaryorientationravagessocietybypreyinguponitscapacitiesforlawandmorality,
infusingdrugs,corruptingpoliceandlocalgovernment,andconvincingthecitizenrythattheirlivesareplayed
outinavirtualcesspoolofviceandmenace,andthatactivismisfutileandunpatriotic.
***
ContractingOutU.S.ForeignPolicy
p7
Theimperialpresidency,temporarilycheckedbytheVietnamdefeatandWatergatescandal,hasreemerged
duringtheReaganyears.Asalways,thereasonliesinexcessivecongressionaldeferencetotheexecutivebranch.
Butsince1980,presidentialpowerhasbeenaggrandizedbytheReaganadministration'ssophisticatedstrategies
forcircumventingCongressintheshapingandimplementingofforeignpolicy.
PresidentReagan'ssecretweaponis"contractingout"suchnormalgovernmentfunctionsasfundingand
executingpolicytothe"private"sectorwhilekeepingpolicymakingitselfinthehandsofthestate.Butunlike
typicalcommercialexamplesofthepractice,theadministrationhascontractedtoagentswhoarethemselves
totalcreaturesofgovernmentinparticular,ofgovernmentintelligenceagencies.Intheir"private"capacities,
however,theseagentsnonethelessfalllargelyoutsidecongressionalpurview.
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Thisstrategyinvolvesmuchmorethanconfiningpolicymakingandimplementationtoatightcirclewithinthe
NationalSecurityCouncil,howevermuchadismayedSecretaryofStateGeorgeShultzhasfocusedpublic
attentiononhispersonalexclusionfromdecisions.PresidentReagan'sdependenceontheNSCtothenear
exclusionoftraditionalbureaucraciesis,afterall,farfromuniqueHenryKissingermasteredthatartinthe
NixoneraandforitwontheadmirationofCongressandtheAmericanpress.
Reagan'sinnovationwasmuchmoresignificant:whilebypassingstandardchannelsofgovernment,his
administrationfoundforeigngovernmentsandrichindividualstocontributethemoneyCIAandmilitaryspecial
operationsveteranstocontributethemanpowerandprivatefirmstocontributethelogisticsforitsoperations.In
effect,WhiteHouseoperativessetupaparallelTreasury,Army,AirForceandStateDepartmenttonegotiate
withterrorists,fightcovertwarsandsubvertthelawwherevertheydeemedappropriate.Farmingsuchcovert
operationsoutsideeventheCIAservedtoinsulatethepresidentandhisadvisorsfromscrutinyand
responsibility.
Asaresult,majorelementsofWhiteHousepolicyescapedpublicnoticeorcongressionalreview.Thisparallel
privatenetworkfunctionedoutsidenormallinesofoversightandaccountability,andoncesetinmotion,could
operateeffectivelywithminimalpresidentialguidance.Butasdistinguishedfrom"privatization,"atermoften
misappliedtotheIranandcontraaffairs,thecontractingmethodalwaysleftessentialpolicydirectioninthe
WhiteHouse.
TheReaganstrategyhaditsrootsintheclassicintelligencepracticeofusingproprietariesand"cutouts"to
effectpolicywhilepreservingdeniability.Alwaysusefulagainstunwantedpublicscrutiny,thesetechniqueswere
perfectlysuitedtothe1980s'politicalenvironmentofpresidentialactivismonbehalfofthe"ReaganDoctrine,"
thecommitmenttorollbackproSovietregimesintheThirdWorld.Congressionaldoubtsandpublichostility
madeovertpursuitofthatdoctrinedifficultorimpossible.EventheCIAwasaproblematictoolofpolicyowing
tolegalrequirementsthatitreportcovertoperationstoCongress.
"SincetheVietnamWar,"oneReaganNSCmembertoldareporter,reflectingthewidespreaddistrustof
Congressbyadministrationpolicymakers,"wehavehadthisgrowinginvolvementbythelegislativebranchin
thedetailsofforeignpolicythatyoucanmakeaconstitutionalargumentareproperlylefttothepresident.When
youdothat,youdrivehiminthedirectionofusingothertechniquestoachieveobjectives."
Ironically,however,deepcovercontractingalsoappealedtoadministrationactivistsfrustratedbybureaucratic
gridlockbetweenwarringdepartmentsandthetendencyofrivalpolicymakerstoleakdetailsofunpopular,
unwiseorillegalpolicies.
Suchrivalries"madeitimpossibletofunctionatall"exceptinsecret,arguedformerPentagonspecialoperations
plannerNoelKoch.ThelessonthatindividualslikeOliverNorthdrew,accordingtoKoch,was"Ifyou'regoing
todoanythingboldorinnovative,you'regoingtohavetodothingsthroughirregularchannels."
Orasanother"covertmissionsplanner"saidofNorth'sdecisiontorelyonformerPentagonspecialoperations
veteransforhissecretmissions"theCIAandNSChavenocapabilitytodothingsinasecurefashion.Youwant
todosomethingquietly,thenyoucan'ttellthebureaucracies.Here'saguywhocangotokeypeopleinforeign
countriesandgetthingsdone.Asaprivatecitizen,hehasnoobligationtotellanyone."
Andquiteapartfromthematterofcapabilities,manyinsidersdoubtedeventheresolveoftheCIAtoimplement
toughpoliciesabroad.AngeloCodevilla,ahawkishformerstafferontheSenateIntelligenceCommittee,
expressedtheviewofmany"rollback"conservativesinWashington:
TheDirectoroftheCentralIntelligenceAgency,WilliamCasey...personallyseemstofavorthevictoryof
liberationmovements.HisAgencyhasthecharterfordispensingtheaid.ButfromamongtheCIA'ssenior
personnelhavecomestrongechoesoftheStateDepartment'sviewoftheroleofliberationmovementsinU.S.
Sovietrelations.IntheirdealingswithCongressandtheNSC,CIAofficialshaveoftenoutdoneeventheir
colleaguesintheStateDepartmentinreticencetoprovideaidtosuchmovementsquantitativelyandqualitatively
sufficientforvictory,declaringthattheAgencywouldratherberidoftheburdenofsupplyingsuchaidatall.
TheWhiteHousedecisionmakingcenterforcovertoperationsandcontractingoutstrategylaywithinatinyteam
ofselectState,Defense,CIAandNSCofficialsknownasthe"208Committee"or"PolicyDevelopmentGroup."
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OliverNorth,theworkaholicorganizerofsecretcontrasupplymissionsandIranarmsdeals,wasoneofitsmost
activemembers.MeetingintheCrisisManagementCenterinRoom208oftheOldExecutiveOfficeBuilding,
surroundedbysecurecomputerdatalinkstotheNationalSecurityAgency,thisgroupcouldplansecret
operationsfreefromtheobligationtoreporttotheintelligencecommitteesofCongress.Itsmissionwasto
implementtheReagandoctrineoffightingSovietinfluencethroughouttheThirdWorld,whereverpossibleby
supportingindigenousforces.Itsthoroughoverviewofmissionsandlogisticsincludedsuchdetailsas"which
weaponswillbeshipped,whichsecretwarehousegoodsused,whichmiddlemenwilldeliverthemtoclandestine
airstrips."Forthemostsensitivepolicies,aswiththeIranarmsshipments,onlyafewmembersofeventhis
grouptookpartinpolicydiscussions.
ForNorthandothersinthisselectcircle,theguidingprinciplewaspowerandthetaskwastoexpanditwithout
answeringtootherauthorities.AsoneWhiteHousememofrom1982outlinedthemissionof"Project
Democracy"therubricunderwhichtheNSCbegantoundertakeforeignpolicyinitiativesofitsown"weneedto
examinehowlawandexecutiveordercanbemademoreliberaltopermitcovertactiononabroaderscale."i
Contractingoutprovidedmeanstosubvertthelawandstretchthescopeofexecutiveorders.
Nicaragua:TheTestCase
Nicaraguasawthefirstapplicationofthestrategy.TheReaganadministration'spolicytowardtheSandinistas
fromthestartwassummedupbythetitleofareportpreparedbythenStateDepartmentcounselorRobert
McFarlaneinearly1981:"TakingthewartoNicaragua."Butowingtocongressionalreticence,theWhiteHouse
hadtolieaboutitsultimateintentions,pledgingthatCIAassistancetothecontrasmerelyservedtoblock
SandinistaarmsshipmentstotheSalvadoranrebels."Therewerealwaystwotracks,"oneCIAofficialexplained,
"thepubliclystatedCIAobjectiveofinterdictingweaponstoSalvadoranguerrillas,andtheoverthrowofthe
Sandinistagovernment."OnMarch9,1981,PresidentReagantookthefirststeptolaunchingthecovertwar
underthatpublicgoalbyissuinganofficial"finding"thatNicaraguanarmssmugglingwasharmingU.S.
nationalsecurityinterests.
TheneedforcontinueddeceptionandgreateractionpromptedaNovember16,1981presidentialordertobegina
fullscalecampaignagainstNicaragua.Itauthorizedaninitial$19.5millionfortheguerrillawar,justifiedonce
againbytheneedforarmsinterdiction.Butasonecontrasourcesaidofthatrationalein1982,"Ifthat'swhatthe
CIAtoldCongress,theyforgottotellus."
TheNovemberorderspecificallydirectedtheCIAtowageitscovertwar"primarilythroughnonAmericans"
and"withforeigngovernmentsasappropriate."Inimplementingthatearlyversionofthe"contractingout"
strategy,theCIApiggybackedonoperationsalreadyunderwaybytwoothergovernments:ArgentinaandIsrael.
Thefirstofthese"deniable"partnerswasArgentina,whosemilitaryrulershad,sincethemid1970s,unleashed
anorgyofviolenceagainsttheirowncivilianpopulationinthecourseofstampingoutaleftistguerrilla
movement.ArgentineagentshadworkedinNicaraguaevenbeforeSomoza'soverthrowtohelptrackdown
ArgentineMontonerosguerrillaswhohadteamedupinexilewiththeSandinistastheyalsoadvisedsecurity
forcesanddeathsquadsinGuatemalaandElSalvador.NowArgentina'smilitaryjuntasuppliedasmanyas100
veteransofitsowndirtywaragainstthelefttotrainthefirstcontrasinurbanterroristtacticsandguerrillawar.
Thesewerenotjustanycontras:Argentina'sprotegeswereallrecruitsfromSomoza'sbrutalNationalGuard.
VisitstoBuenosAiresin1981bysuchReaganadministrationemissariesasJointChiefsofStaffChairman
GeneralEdwinMeyer,AmbassadoratLargeVernonWaltersandUNAmbassadorJeaneKirkpatrickhelped
establishtheallianceoftheCIAandArgentinemilitaryinCentralAmerica.ANovemberImeetingofCIA
directorWilliamCaseyandtheAmericantrainedleaderofArgentina'smilitaryjunta,Gen.LeopoldGaltieri,
cementedit.
Atthesametime,CIApaymasterswhohadallocated$50milliontothetrainingprogramprevailedonseveral
keycontraleaderstounifytheirantiSandinistagroupsbehindtheArgentinetrainedveteransofSomozas
NationalGuard.ThustheNicaraguanDemocraticFront,orFDN,wasformedonAugust11,1981,justwhen
Gen.GaltieriwasinWashingtononanofficialvisit.
ForeignMoney,ForeignArms

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MoneyforthecontrasthatonceflowedfreelyfromCIAcontingencyaccountsbegantodryupin1983when
Congressbegansettinglimitsonitsfundingoftheburgeoningandevermoreunpopularwar.Legislatorswere
finallyawakeningtothefactthattheArgentinetrainedSomocistaswantednotademocraticaccommodation
withtheSandinistas,buttheirouster.
OnDecember8,1982,theHouseofRepresentativespassedabillsponsoredbyRep.EdwardBolandof
MassachusettsbarringU.S.covertactions"forthepurposeofoverthrowingthegovernmentofNicaragua."That
newlawalonedidnotslowtheadministrationdown,butthedemandsofanenlargedwardid.Laterthenext
year,theCIAhadtoaugmentitsbudgetbypersuadingthePentagontodonate$12millionin"surplus"armsto
theagencyfordeliverytothecontras.ThatDecember,howeverCongressvoteda$24millionceilingonCIA
spendingforitscovertwarinthecomingfiscalyear.
InMay1984thathalfclosedspigotwasfullypluggedinthewakeofrevelationsthatCIAagents,actinginthe
nameofthecontras,hadseededNicaraguanharborswithmines.TheseagentsincludedSalvadoranHondurans,
Argentinians,ChileansandEcuadoransbutironically,noNicaraguans.Thatprovocativeescalationhadbeen
conceivedbytheNSCsOliverNorthandatopCIAofficerinchargeofantiSandinistaoperationstogetmore
bangforlimitedbucks.ButitoutragedManagua'sWesterntradingpartnersandchagrinedCongress,whose
intelligenceoversightcommitteesweretakenbysurprise.Thefictionofarmsinterdiction"heldupnolonger.
Congressrejectedasupplementalappropriationforthecontras.Threemonthslater,inAugust,itpassedthe
BolandAmendment,prohibitinganyadministrationagencyinvolvedin"intelligenceactivities"from
"supporting,directlyorindirectly,militaryorparamilitaryoperationsinNicaraguabyanynation,group,
organizationorindividual."
Thecontrashadsomeresourcesoftheirowntofallbackonmostnotably,weshallseeinChapterVI)profits
fromdrugtrafficking.ButwithoutmoresubstantialhelpfromtheUnitedStates,theircausestillseemeddoomed
untilNorthcoveredhisownharborminingfollywithanevengreaterone:theproposal(acceptedbyNational
SecurityAdviserRobertMcFarlane)tosubvertCongress'intentbybuildinga"private"fundingandsupply
network.NorthclaimedthattheBolandAmendment'sreferencetoany"agencyorentityoftheUnitedStates
involvedmintelligenceactivities"didnotapplytotheNationalSecurityCouncil.Hecrisscrossedtheglobein
1984and1985,raisingasmuchas$1millionamonthfromprivateandforeigngovernmentsourcestokeepthe
administration'sproxywaralive.North'sagentsinturncarriedcashfromhisofficesafetoCentralAmericafor
disbursementtotherebels.
OneofNorth'salliesinthisprojectwasElliotAbrams,theAssistantSecretaryofStateforInterAmerican
AffairsandanenthusiastofthecontrawaragainstNicaragua.Abramssolicitedmoneyfromothercountries,
ostensiblyforhumanitarianpurposes.Butheconsciously"decidedtousetheaccountopenedbyNorthwithout
proceduresformonitoringexpendituresfromtheaccount,"accordingtoaSenatecommitteereport.Thisstudied
lackofinterestcloselyparalleledtheClA'sownofficialpolicyofaskingnoquestionsabouttheoriginoflarge
sumsofmoneyinthecontras'bankaccounts.
TogetherwithAbramsandotherofficialsandprivateagents,Northraisedmoneyfromaremarkablevarietyof
sourcesoutsidetheUnitedStatesandthusoutsidethejurisdictionofCongress.AmosPerlmutter,anAmerican
politicalscientistwithcloseconnectionstotheIsraeligovernment,reportsthat,"AIIthosewhoareclientsofthe
UnitedStateshavebeentoldmoreorless,'You'vegottodosomethingforthecontras."
AccordingtocontrafundraiserandpresidentialcandidatePatRobertson,onehelpinghandfortheanti
SandinistarebelscamefromSouthAfrica.Forexample,someoftheplanesthatsuppliedthecontrasweremade
availablebyaSouthAfricanairfreightcompany,apparentlyaftertheheadoftheClA'sLatinAmericadivision
tookasecrettripto
SouthAfricainearly1985tosolicitaidfortheantiSandinistacause.TheSouthAfricanaidmayhelpexplain
Reagan'svigorousoppositiontoeconomicsanctionsandCIAdirectorWilliamCasey'seffortstolineupSaudi
oilfortheapartheidregime.
Brunei:Inthesummerof1985,duringthedryspellincongressionalaid,SecretaryofStateGeorgeShultzand
hischiefassistantonLatinAmericanaffairs,ElliottAbrams,approachedtheSultanofBruneiforadonationto
thecontracause.Thesultan,fabulouslywealthyfromoilandgasrevenues,reportedlydeposited$10millionina
SwissbankaccountcontrolledbyOliverNorth.HewasalsoacreditortothekeyIrangatearmsbroker,Adnan
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Khashoggi.SomeU.S.officialssuspectthattheSultan'smoneyneverreachedthecontras,butinsteadwentto
reimburseKhashoggi,whoadvancedmillionsofdollarstofinanceU.S.armssalestoIran.
SaudiArabia:CaseyalsoworkedonSaudiArabiasuccessfullytosupportWashington'scauseinCentral
America.TheCIAdirectormetwithKingFahdinFebruary1984topresshiscase.Workingintandemwith
Caseytopersuadetheroyalfamilyweretwoprivateindividualswithtremendousexperienceinthefieldof
Mideastarmssales:retiredAirForceGen.RichardSecord,whosteeredthesaleofAWACSsurveillanceplanes
toSaudiArabiathroughCongressin1981,andRobertLilac,formercommanderoftheU.S.AirForceLogistics
CommandinSaudiArabia,wholefttheNSCin1983andnowworksfortheSaudiAmbassadorinWashington,
D.C.TheSaudiroyalfamilyreportedlyturnedover$32milliontotherebelsinHondurasandCostaRicain
gratitudefortheadministration'ssuccessinovercomingtheIsraelilobby'sresistancetothe$8.5billionAWACS
sale.SaudimoneyalsosupportedanticommunistsinAngolaandAfghanistan.Mostrecently,evidencehascome
tolightthatSaudiArabiafinancedarmspurchasesbyitsfearedadversaryIran,inhopesofmoderatingthe
regime'srevolutionary,messianicmission.SomeofthesemoniesinturnwereallegedlydepositedbyIsraeli
intermediariesinSwitzerlandfordisbursementtothecontras.
SouthKorea:Lessvisibly,SouthKorea,too,hasgivengenerouslytothecontras,andonatleastoneoccasion
shippedthemarmspaidforbySaudiArabia.Ithasalsoprovidedanimportantbackchannelforarmsshipments
totheKhomeiniregimeinIran.ThearmsandfundingpipelinesfromSouthKoreawerekeptopenbya
combinationofWashingtonlobbyists,exCIAofficersandprivateorganizations,manywithtiestoSaudiArabia
aswell.
Nocountry,however,hasplayedamoresignificantsurrogateroleinbothCentralAmericaandIranthanIsrael.
Asearlyas1981,Israel'seconomicministerYa'acovMeridorhaddeclared,"Israelwillbeyourproxy."Although
Israelileadershaveofficiallydeniedaidingthecontras,therecordoftheirinvolvementisclearandunequivocal.
AsrecentlyasSeptember1986,accordingtoAssistantSecretaryofStateElliotAbrams,Israelsentthecontras
byseaalargeshipmentofSovietmadearms,presumablycapturedinLebanon.
Israel'sproxyactivitiesonbehalfofthecontrasgrewoutofalongtraditionofmilitarysupportforauthoritarian
regimesinCentralAmerica,includingthatofAnastasioSomozainNicaragua.Israelwasalsoinontheground
floorwiththecontraswhenSomozafinallyfledthecountry.HaifaUniversityprofessorBenjaminBeitHallahmi
reportsthat"whentheCIAwassettingupthecontraorganizationin1981,theMossadwasalsothere,carrying
outthetrainingandsupportforthefirstunits.
Finally,IsraelwasaleadingarmssuppliertoArgentinaduringtheperiodofitsmilitaryrule,despiteantisemitic
violenceandtheFalklandsWar.Indirectly,therefore,Israelbolsteredthecontrasbyarmingtheirdirectmilitary
supportersinthefirstyearsofopposition.
ThefirstmajorIsraeliarmsdeliveriestothecontrasappeartohavebegunshortlyafterthepulloutofArgentine
trainersandsuppliersfromCentralAmericaintheaftermathoftheFalklandsWar."Asearlyas1982,"according
toU.S.NewsandWorldReport,Gen.RichardSecordtookchargeofaPentagonoperation"inwhichIsrael
shippedtonsofweaponscapturedduringitsinvasionofLebanontoaCIAarmsdepotinSanAntonio.From
Texas,thegunswereshippedtothecontras.
Morethanarmsseemtohavebeeninvolved.ReplacingtheArgentineadviserswere"retiredorreserveIsraeli
armycommanders...hiredbyshadowyprivatefirms,"accordingtoTimemagazine.America'scontractorshad
apparentlysubcontractedthejob.
ThepointmanforthiscooperativestrategywasDavidKimche,a30yearMossadveteranwhorosetodirect
Israel'sForeignMinistryuntilthefallof1986.KnownasIsrael's"keycontrasspecialist,"hehasbeendirectly
linkedtosurrogatefundingofcontras.AnditwasKimche,byallaccounts,whoin1985persuadedtheReagan
administrationtosanctionIsrael'sarmspipelinetoTehraninordertoinfluencelranian"moderates."Kimche's
IsraelipatronArielSharonwashimselfanarchitectnotonlyofthecontrasupplyoperationbutalsoofIsraeli
armssalestoIran.AndKimche'sWhiteHousecontactsontheIranoperationRobertMcFarlaneandOliver
Northwereinturnthemastermindsofthecontraaidnetwork
Nearlyalloftheseforeignfundingsourceswereeitheruntraceable(AWACSkickbacks,Iranpaymentsthrough
SwitzerIandoruntouchable(Israel,SouthKorea).ACongressunitedbehindIsraelwasnot(andstillisnot)
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inclinedtoasktoomanyquestionsaboutitsarmsdeliveriesinCentralAmericaorIran.Nor,afterJimmyCarter's
abortivetalkofapullbackfromKorea,wouldCongresscutofftheSeoulregime.ThustheWhiteHousecould,
foratimeatleast,safelyflouttheintentofCongresswithhelpfromtheseU.S.aidrecipients.
PersonnelandLogistics:GoingPrivate
JustasCongresswasloathetotouchtheseoffshoresuppliers,sowasitreluctanttoreinintheelaborateoldboy
networkofretiredCIAandmilitarycovertoperatorswhocarriedoutReagan'spoliciesinthefield.Their
commonexperiencesrunthegamutfromtheCIAsponsoredwaragainstCastrointheearly1960s,tothecovert
warinLaoslaterinthatdecade,toshadyarmsandintelligenceoperationsinIranbythemid1970s.Outofthese
experiencescamesharedexpertise,closeknitcontactsandtrustingfriendshipsthatwouldbringthemtogether
againasacovertnetworkinthe1980s.
AmongthemostsignificantofthesefiguresisretiredGen.JohnSinglaub,aveteranoftheCIAandmilitary
"specialoperations"inIndochinawhonowimplementstheReagandoctrinethroughhisleadershipoftheWorld
AntiCommunistLeagueandhisPentagonadvisoryrole.HisspecialoperationscolleaguesfromtheVietnamera
runsimilaraidgroups,includingtheNationalDefenseCouncil,RefugeeReliefInternational,andAir
CommandosAssociation.AllthesegroupscoordinatedtheireffortsthroughOliverNorthontheNSC.
WorkingwithNorthandSinglaubinVietnamandLaosasanairsupplyspecialistonClAconnectedcovert
missionswas(then)LieutenantColonelRichardSecord.In1981,asdeputyassistantsecretaryofdefenseforthe
NearEast,AfricaandSouthAsia,heactedasthePentagon'schiefrepresentativeandlobbyistontheAWACS
salethatsetthetermsforsubsequentSaudikickbackstothecontras.Hisjobalsoputhiminapositiontofollow
Israel'scovertarmsshipmentstoIranintheearly1980s.Acareerlongspecialistincovertoperations,Secord
hadwhatonecongressionalsourcecalled"incredibleintelligencecontacts."Afterleavingthegovernmentin
1983,SecordandhisIranianbornbusinesspartnerAlbertHakimmanagedtheprivatesupplynetworkforthe
contrasunderNorth'ssupervision,usingSaudiandIranianmoneydepositedinSwitzerlandtopurchaseplanes
andothersupplies.SecordwasalsoakeylogisticsagentintheIranarmsdealsof198S86.Oneintelligence
sourcecalledSecord"the7Elevenofthistypeofintelligenceactivityopen24hoursaday."North'sown
assessmentwasequallyapt:"Amanofmanytalentsol'Secordis."
AnotherLaoseraassociateofSinglaubandSecordwasCIAofficerThomasClines.Asaprivatebusinessman
by1986,hehelpedSecordarrangeclandestinearmsdeliveriestothecontrasoutofPortugal,recruitedexCIA
pilotsforthesupplyoperationandhelpedOliverNorthobtainashipusedintheattempttorescueAmerican
hostagesinLebanon.
ClineshadbegunputtingtogetheraprivateaidnetworkevenbeforeRonaldReaganenteredtheWhiteHouse.In
1978,heandEdWilson,aformerCIAagentandfriendofSecordwhohassincebeenconvictedofsupplying
explosivedevicestoLibya,reportedlybegannegotiatinga$650,000dealwithNicaraguandictatorAnastasio
Somoza"tocreateasearchanddestroyapparatusagainstSomoza'senemies."Thenegotiationscommencedjust
astheIsraelisweremovingtosupplyessentiallyallofSomoza'sarms.BothIsrael'smunitionsrepresentatives
andClines,wholefttheCIAonbadtermswiththeCarteradministration,wereoperatingdirectlyagainstofficial
policytowardNicaragua.ButtheireffortsforeshadowedperfectlyReagan'smoremilitantstrategy.
So,itwouldappear,didtheworkofanotherretiredCIAofficer,FelixRodriguez,whohadservedunderClines
incountlessCIAoperationsinCuba,theCongoandVietnam.Inhis"retirement,"Rodriguezwenttoworkfor
Clinesinthelate1970sasarepresentativeofhisarmssalesbusinessinLatinAmerica.Rodriguezalsoservedas
anarmsbrokerforGerardLatchinianin197980.Latchinian,whowouldlaterbeconvictedofadrugfinanced
assassinationplotinHondurasforthebenefitoftheCIA'sfavoritegeneral,GustavoAlvarezMartinez,was
particularlyclosetoIsraeliarmsmerchantsinGuatemalaandMiami.ThusRodriguezappearstohavesupplieda
connectionbetweenClinesandtheIsraelisinCentralAmerica.Rodriguezwouldlaterbecomethecontras'
logisticsmastermindatIlopangomilitaryairportinElSalvador.
AhostoflessercovertoperatorsjoinedtheseprivateindividualsincarryingouttheaimsoftheReaganWhite
House.TheyincludedCubanexileterroristveteransofthesecretwaragainstCastrodirectedbyClinesfromthe
CIAstationinMiami,formerCIAcontractpilotswhoflewsupplymissionstoCentralAmerica,former
Pentagonspecialoperationsofficersskilledincovertmissions,andaprivateaidnetworkrevolvingaroundsuch
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organizationsastheWorldAntiCommunistLeague,SovereignMilitaryOrderofMaltaandCAUSA,apolitical
armsofSunMyungMoon'sUnificationChurch.
Servingthisgroupwasalsoanetworkofprivatecompanieslongexperiencedatservingundercoveroperations
ofthegovernment.ThebestknownoftheseisSouthernAirTransport,aCIAproprietarycompanysince1960
thatwassoldin1973toitspresident.Salesofothersuchproprietarieswereconditionedon"anagreementthat
theproprietarywouldcontinuetoprovidegoodsorservicestotheCIA,"accordingtoa1976congressional
report.SouthernAirTransport(SAT)wastheairlineofchoiceforboththeprivatecontraaidoperationandthe
deliveryofU.S.armstoIranin198586.ThesameaircraftthatdeliveredU.S.weaponstoTehranviaIsrael
pickedupSovietmadearmsfromIsraelicontrolledstocksinLisbonontheirreturntripstoCentralAmerica.
OneretiredAirForceofficerinvolvedinsupplyingthecontraswarnedcrewmemberstoprotectSAT'scover:
"Wedon'twanttogetSATorourselvesburnedwithaleakorgetmoneyhungupwherewewouldhaveto
exposetheop[eration]togetitback."
Inretrospect,thepracticeofcontractingoutforeignpolicytosuchprivateagents,withallitsdangersandabuses,
wasalmostinevitablegiventheconditionsoftheReaganpresidency.Amilitant,sometimesradicalgroupof
policymakersconfrontedamuchmorecautiousCongressandbureaucracy.Apresidentflushwithatremendous
electionvictorywasfrustratedbytheunpopularityofsomanyofhisspecificforeignpolicies.Thetemptation
undersuchcircumstanceswastoskirtthelaw,evenbreaktherulesinthefaiththatdeeplycoveredclandestine
actswouldgounnoticedandthatthePresident'spersonalpopularitywouldprevailinashowdownwithpolitical
critics.Thetemptation,inshort,wastousethecontractingoutstrategytoachievetotalpresidentialsupremacyin
foreignpolicy.Curbingtheabilityoffuturepresidentstoavoidpublicaccountabilitythiswayisanessentialfirst
steptowardalsocurbingthedomesticandforeignabusesthatresult.
TheGrowthofReagan'sContraCommitment
Introduction:PrivateandOfficialDecisionMaking
Byanyaccounting,Washington'sdecisiontocreateandsupportcontraswasaconsensualone,reachedinthe
heartoftheReaganadministration'sprofessionalbureaucraticapparatus.Therelativeweightofoutside"shadow
networks"andinsidebureaucratsingeneratingtheformalcontracommitmentisneatlysummarizedinan
excellentbookbyChristopherDickey,WiththeContras:
BeforeanyhardandfastdecisionsontheSecretWarweretaken,severalCIA'oldtimers,'releasedfromservice
duringthecutbacksofthe1970s,wereincontactwithantiSandinistaforces,actingasprivatecitizensto
reassurethemthatonceReaganwaselected,theirlotwouldimprove...Butwhilesomeofthesemeneventually
servedascontractagentsintheSecretWar,theirimportanceincreatingitis,Ibelieve,overstated.The
paramilitaryoperationagainstNicaraguaultimatelywasnotjustanoutofcontrolcreationofconspiratorialex
spiesandrightwingideologuesbutaconsciousdecisionbysenioradministrationofficialswhoconsider
themselvespragmaticpolicymakers.
Likeotherauthors,DickeylocatesthisconsciousdecisionmakingintheSeniorInteragencyGrouponCentral
AmericasetupunderNationalSecurityCouncilguidelinesandprecedents,andinitiallyresponsibletoCIA
DirectorWilliamCaseyandRobertMcFarlane(thenSecretaryofStateHaig'scounselor).Twonamesfromthis
initial"CoreGroup"setupin1981wouldfigureinthelaterContragatestory:NestorSanchez,aNewMexico
bornCIAveteranoftheGuatemalan"deathsquad"operationsin196768,(laterrepresentingthePentagon),and
ColonelOliverNorthfromtheNSCstaff.
Dickey'saccount,however,stressesthediscontinuitybetweenthe"pragmatic"bureaucraticconsensusof1981,
andtheconsensusofayearearlierunderJimmyCarter,whenthemessagetoCentralAmericangovernments
wasnotcounterrevolutionsomuchas"reform":
Despiteyearsofexperienceandseniorityintheforeignservice,mostoftheveteransassociatedwiththeCarter
policy[inCentralAmerica]werefired,forcedoutormovedtoobscureanddistantposts.Carter'slastassistant
secretarywassacked.HisprincipaldeputyforCentralAmericawastransferredtoKatmandu...[Themen]
broughtintoreplacethemwere,asoneputit,'actionoriented.

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Clearly,then,thechangeinpolicywasnotbureaucraticsomuchaspolitical.The1981purgeofthoseState
Departmenthandswhoallegedly"lostNicaragua,"likethe1953purgeofthosewhoallegedly"lostChina,"was
undertakentofulfillacampaignpledge,madeinresponsetoallegedlymassiveandillicitcampaigncontributions
fromtheinterestedregion.Thosewhoactedtogeneratethechangeinpolicywerenotjusttheselfimportant
CIA"oldtimers"towhomDickeyrefers.Theagentsincludedthesemen's"antiSandinista"alliesmostnotably
thedeposeddictatorAnastasioSomozaofNicaragua,andafterSomoza'smurderin1980,theGuatemalandeath
squadimpresario,MarioSandovalAlarcon.
Inthelate1970s...threeoftheforeignforceswhowouldeventuallybackthecontras(thegovernmentsof
TaiwanandArgentina,andrightwingforcesinGuatemala),hadtakenanimportantsteptoensurethemselvesa
voiceinWashingtonforanewU.S.foreignpolicyinLatinAmericatoreplacePresidentCarter's.Allthree
movedtohireastheirWashingtonlobbyistMichaelDeaver,themanthenmanagingthecampaignoffuture
presidentialcandidateRonaldReagan.
Afterthis,Deaver'sGuatemalanclients,followingvisitsfromReagancampaignrepresentativessuchasRichard
Allen,RogerFontaineandJohnSinglaub(theCIA"oldtimer"andfutureWACLChairman),begantoraise
fundsfortheReagancampaign.OnaBBCbroadcast,thesefundswereestimatedbyformerGuatemalanVice
PresidentVillagranKramerasamountingtoperhapstenmilliondollars.
Reagan,Deaver'sAmigos,andtheDeathSquads
ThegroupthatDeaverrepresentedinGuatemala,theAmigosdelPais(FriendsoftheCountry),isnotknownto
haveincludedMarioSandovalAlarconpersonally.Buttentofifteenofitsmemberswereaccusedbyformer
GuatemalanVicePresidentVillagranKramerontheBBCofbeing"directlylinkedwithorganizedterror."One
suchperson,notnamedbyVillagran,wastheTexaslawyerJohnTrotter,theowneroftheCocaColabottling
plantinGuatemalaCity.CocaColaagreedin1980toterminateTrotter'sfranchise,aftertheAtlanticMonthly
reportedthatseveralworkersandtradeunionleaderstryingtoorganizehisplanthadbeenmurderedbydeath
squads.
Oneyearearlier,in1979,TrotterhadtraveledtoWashingtonaspartofafivemanpublicrelationsmissionfrom
theAmigos.Atleasttwomembersofthatmission,RobertoAlejosArzuandManuelF.Ayau,areknowntohave
metRonaldReagan.(ReaganlaterdescribedAyauas"oneofthefewpeople...whounderstandswhatisgoingon
downthere.")
RobertoAlejosArzu,theheadofDeaver'sAmigosandtheprincipalorganizerofGuatemala's"Reaganfor
President"bandwagon,wasanoldCIAcontactin1960hisplantationhadbeenusedtotrainCubanexilesfor
theBayofPigsinvasion.Beforethe1980electionAlejoscomplainedthat"mostoftheelementsintheState
DepartmentareprobablyproCommunist...EitherMr.Carterisatotallyincapablepresidentorheisdefinitelya
procommunistelement."(In1954,Alejos'friendSandovalhadbeenoneoftheCIA'sleadingpoliticalproteges
initsoverthrowofGuatemala'sPresidentArbenz.)
WhenaskedbytheBBChowtenmilliondollarsfromGuatemalacouldhavereachedtheReagancampaign,
Villagrannamednonames:"TheonlywaythatIcanfeelitwouldgettherewouldbethatsomeNorthAmerican
residinginGuatemala,livinginGuatemala,wouldmoreorlessberequestingmoneyoverthereoraccepting
contributionsandthentransmittingthemtohisRepublicanPartyascontributionsofhisown."
TrotterwastheonlyU.S.businessmaninGuatemalawhomAlanNairncouldfindinthelistofReagandonors
disclosedtotheFederalElectionCommission.Others,whosaidspecificallythattheyhadcontributed,werenot
solisted.Nairnheardfromonebusinessmanwhohadbeensolicitedthat"explicitinstructionsweregiven
repeatedly:'DonotgivetoMr.Reagan'scampaigndirectly.'Monieswereinsteadtobedirectedtoanundisclosed
committeeinCalifornia."
Trotteradmittedin1980thathewasactivelyfundraisinginthisperiodinGuatemala.Themoneyhespokeof,
halfamilliondollars,washowevernotdirectlyfortheReagancampaign,butforadocumentaryfilminsupport
ofReagan'sLatinAmericanpolicies,beingmadebyoneofthegroupssupportingReagan,theAmerican
SecurityCouncil(ASC).ThefilmarguedthatthesurvivaloftheUnitedStatesdependedondefeatofthe
SandinistasinNicaragua:"Tomorrow:Honduras...Venezuela,theDominicanRepublic,Mexico...theUnited
States."
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Deaver'sAmigosandTrotterwereinextendedcontactwiththeASCoverthisproject.InDecember1979,and
againin1980,theASCsentretiredArmyGeneralJohnSinglaubtomeetGuatemalanPresidentLucasGarcia
andotherofficials.AccordingtooneofSinglaub's1979contacts,theclearmessagewasthat"Mr.Reagan
recognizesthatagooddealofdirtyworkhastobedone."OnhisreturntotheUnitedStates,accordingtoPearce,
Singlaubcalledfor"sympatheticunderstandingofthedeathsquads."In1980SinglaubreturnedtoGuatemala
withanotherapologistfordeathsquads,GeneralGordonSumneroftheCouncilforInterAmericanSecurity.
AgainthemessagetoLucaswasthat"helpwasonthewayintheformofRonaldReagan."
JennyPearcehasnotedthatSinglaub'sfirstASCvisittoGuatemalanPresidentLucastookplaceshortlyafter
Lucas'smeetingwithGuatemalanbusinessmen,whereheis"allegedtohaveraisedhalfamilliondollarsin
contributionstothe[Reagan]campaign."Sincethe1984Congressionalcutoffofaidtothecontras,Singlaub,as
worldchairmanoftheWorldAntiCommunistLeague,hasbeenthemostvisiblesourceofprivatesupporttothe
contras.HedidthisinliaisonwithbothWilliamCaseyoftheCIAandCol.OliverNorthoftheNationalSecurity
Councilstaff.
ButSinglaub'scontactswiththeWorldAntiCommunistLeaguegobackatleastto1980,whenhewasalso
purportingtospeakabroadinthenameofReagan.DidthehelpfromReaganwhichSinglaubpromised
Guatemalansin1980,likethe"verbalagreements"whichSandovalreferredtoatReagan'sInaugural,involve
commitmentseventhenfromReagantothatfledglingWACLproject,thecontras?
MikeDeavershouldbeaskedthatquestion,sincein1980hewasaregisteredforeignlobbyistforthreeofthe
contrasmostimportantWACLbackers:Guatemala,Taiwan,andArgentina.
Deaver,Taiwan,andWACL
ThroughhisCIAcontacts,SandovalhadalsobecometheleaderoftheGuatemalachapteroftheWorldAnti
CommunistLeague.Thischapter,partlyorganizedbyHowardHunt,wasalastingspinoffofthe1954CIA
operation.WACLasaworldorganizationhoweverwasprincipallythecreationoftwoAsiangovernmentswhich
owedtheirsurvivaltotheirwellorganizedlobbiesinWashington.ThesetwogovernmentsareTaiwan,which
wasrepresentedin1980byDeaverandSouthKorea,whichisrepresentedbyDeavertoday.
ThroughhislongtimeparticipationinWACLmeetings,SandovalhasdevelopedcloserelationswithWACL's
Taiwanorganizers.ItwaslargelythroughWACLthatTaiwanpickedupthetaskoftrainingCentralAmerican
policeforcesin"politicalwarfare"(i.e.counterterror),aboutthetimethatsimilarU.S.trainingprogramswere
terminatedbyCongressin1974.TodaytheTaiwaneseembassyinGuatemalaissecondinsizeonlytothe
AmericanandthroughGuatemala(andSandoval)TaiwanhasextendeditsinfluencetootherCentralAmerican
policeforces.Deaver'sdoubledutyasaregisteredTaiwanagentandReagancampaignorganizerin1980helped
generateoneofthemajorcontroversiesofthatcampaign.Tounderstandit,onemustgobacktotheoriginsof
Deaver'spublicrelationsfirm,DeaverandHannaford,whichheorganizedin1974.UntilthatyearbothDeaver
andPeterHannafordhadworkedforReaganintheCaliforniaGovernor'sOffice.In1974,asReaganretiredto
privatelife,thenewfirmundertooktobookReagan'spublicappearances,researchandsellhisradioprogram,
andghostwritehissyndicatedcolumn.AllthiswasarrangedwithaneyetoReagan'spresidentialaspirations,
whichDeaverandHannafordhelpedorganizefromtheoutset.
Nothingaboutthisarrangementwasespeciallyremarkableuntil1977,whenDeaverandHannafordregistered
withtheJusticeDepartmentasforeignagentsreceiving$5000amonthfromthegovernmentofTaiwan.This
sumwasnotparticularlylarge,andnotablylessthanthe$11,000amonthwhichthefirmwouldreceivein1980
fromGuatemala'sAmigos.ThefactremainsthatfundsfromthreecloselyalliedWACLcountries,Guatemala,
Taiwan,andArgentina,helpedpayfortheDeaverandHannafordoffices,whichbecameReagan'sinitial
campaignheadquartersinBeverlyHillsandhisWashingtonoffice.
QuestionsofconflictinginterestwereraisedwhenaReagancolumn,saidtohavebeenwrittenbyHannaford,
arguedthatnormalizedrelationswiththePeople'sRepublicofChina"couldprovedisastrous,notonlyfor
Taiwan,butfortheUnitedStatesitself."WhenCarter,undaunted,establishedfullrelationsinlate1978,Reagan
becameoneoftheloudestcriticsofthisaction.In1980Reaganstumpedthecountrywiththecatchphrase,"No
moreTaiwans,nomoreVietnams,nomorebetrayals."

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AsReagan'sCaliforniateamwasmeldedintoanationalone,bytheinfusionofoldNixonsupporterslike
WilliamCaseyandRichardAllen,Reagan'spositiononTaiwanappearedtosoften.ItwasAllen'staskatthe
RepublicannationalconventiontoassurereportersthatReagandidnotintendto"turntheclockback."
HoweverthemorebalancedpositionwhichAllenprojected,andwhichtheEasternestablishmentpresswas
eagertohear,wasmisleading.InMay1980inCleveland,almostthreemonthsafterCaseyhadbecomeReagan's
campaignchairman,Reagansaidinreplytoaquestionthat"OneofthethingsIlookforwardtomostifIam
successfulinthisreelectionistoreestablishofficialrelationsbetweentheUnitedStatesGovernmentand
Taiwan."AlthoughReagandidnotspellthisout,suchastepwouldhaveinvolvedarepudiationofCarter's1978
agreementwhichrecognizedthat"TaiwanispartofChina."
ThoughthenationalpressgenerallyignoredReagan'sTaiwanpositioninMay,theycouldnotwhenonAugust
16herepeatedhispledgetoestablish"anofficialgovernmentalrelationship"withTaiwan.Theoccasioncould
nothavebeencalculatedtoreceivebetterpressattention:Reagan'sremarksweremadeashewasbiddingbon
voyagetohisrunningmateGeorgeBush,asheleftonanimagebuildingmissiontoPeking.AsTimeobserved
disapprovingly,Reagan'sremarks"managedtoinfuriatePeking,"and"createtheimpressionofariftbetween
ReaganandBush."WhenanembarrassedBushtriedtoassurePekingofficialsthatReaganwasnottalkingof
relations"inadiplomaticsense,"Reagan(inTime'swords)"undercut"Bushbytellingareporterhestillstoodby
hisTaiwanstatement.IntheendReagangrudginglybackedoff("Imisstated"),whileanembarrassedCaseytried
todismissthewholeepisodeas"semanticmishmash."
ReflectingtheconcernoftheEasternRepublicanestablishment,Timeanalyzedtheproblemasoneofdivisions
betweenReagan's"uncoordinated"staff.ItclaimedthatthetopechelonofCaliforniainsiders(amongwhomit
specificallynamedDeaver)was"insensitive,"with"littleWashingtonornationalcampaignexperience.The
outsiderslikeCampaignDirectorCasey...dohavethatvaluableexperiencebutexerciselessinfluenceoverthe
candidate."
Onthecrunchlevelofforeignpolicydecisionmaking,thelackofcoordinationappearstohavebeenprimarily
betweenRichardAllen,whocarriedthetitleofForeignPolicyAdvisor,andDeaver.Therewassomeironyin
this,sinceDeaverandHannafordwerebusyprojectingimagesofReaganandthemselvesaspragmatists,while
AllenhadoncebeenunderCIAsurveillanceforhislinkstoTaiwan'sVietnamallies,andhadsubsequentlybeen
relegatedbyNixontoaminorrole.OntheissueofTaiwan,however,DeaverandHannafordwerethe
ideologues,andAllenrelativelyapragmatist.
Thoughhehadoriginatedwiththeideologicalright,by1981Allenhadacquiredfarmoreexperienceasa
registeredforeignagentthanDeaverandHannafordandunderlyingReagan'sTaiwanflapwasthefurtherirony
thatthegreatAmericanpatriot'sforeignpolicyformulationwasatthisstagealmostexclusivelyinthehandsof
registeredforeignlobbyists.ButAllenhadmorevariedandmainstreamclientstoworryaboutthanDeaver
notablyJapan,whichhadeveryinterestinpreventingCarter'sChinapolicyfrombeingderailed.TwiceReagan's
CaliforniateamwouldusethepretextofAllen'sJapanbusinessprofitstodrophimoncefivedaysbeforethe
election,andagainpermanentlyayearlater.Littlenoticedatthetimewasthefactthatthekeyarchitectinthe
plansforAllen'spermanentremovalwasDeaver.
TheRestorationofArmsSalestoWACLCountries
Deaver'sdoubledutyasTaiwanagentanddeputycampaigndirectorwasreportedintheU.S.press,whilehis
lobbyingforGuatemalanbusinessmenhasbeennoticedbyradicalLatinAmericawatchers.Noonehasever
notedthatthroughthe1980campaignDeaverandHannafordhadoneotherinternationalaccount:themilitary
dictatorshipofArgentina,byfarthemostnotoriousofLatinAmerica'sdeathsquadregimes.
Argentina
Argentina'simageprobleminAmericawasevenmoreacutethanGuatemala's.Howtoputaconstructivefaceon
thedisappearanceandpresumedmurderofbetween6000and15,000persons?TheresponseofDeaverand
HannafordwastobringtotheUnitedStatesasapologistthejunta'sleadingcivilian,EconomyMinisterMartinez
deHoz,andallowhimtoaddresstheUnitedStatesthroughReagan'sradiobroadcasts.Hereisasampleoftheir
descriptionofwhattheycalled"oneofthemostremarkableeconomicrecoveriesinmodernhistory."
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Today,Argentinaisatpeace,theterroristthreatnearlyeliminated.ThoughMartinezdeHoz,inhisU.S.talks,
concentratesoneconomics,hedoesnotshyfromdiscussinghumanrights.Hepointsoutthatintheprocessof
bringingstabilitytoaterrorizednationof25million,asmallnumberwerecaughtinthecrossfire,amongthem
afewinnocents...IfyouasktheaverageArgentineinthestreetwhathethinksaboutthestateofhiscountry's
economy,chancesareyou'llfindhimpleased,notseething,aboutthewaythingsaregoing.
DistastefulasthisDeaverHannafordapologeticsformurdermayseemtoday,therealissuegoesfarbeyond
rhetoric.ThoughDeaverandHannaford'sthreeinternationalclientsGuatemala,Taiwan,andArgentinaallbadly
wantedabetterimageinAmerica,whattheywantedevenmoreurgentlywereAmericanarmaments.Under
CarterarmssalesanddeliveriestoTaiwanhadbeenscaledbackfordiplomaticreasons,andcutofftoGuatemala
andArgentinabecauseofhumanrightsviolations.
WhenReaganbecamePresident,allthreeofDeaver'sinternationalclients,despiteconsiderableopposition
withintheAdministration,begantoreceivearms.Thisunderreportedfactgoesagainstthepublicimageof
Deaverasanopenmindedpragmatist,marginaltotheforeignpolicydisputesofthefirstReaganadministration,
sothathispre1981lobbyingactivitieshadlittlebearingonforeignpolicy.Thedetailssuggestadifferentstory.
ArgentinacouldhardlyhavehadaworsepressintheUnitedStatesthenwhenReagantookoffice.The
revelationsofAdolfoPerezEsquivelandofJacoboTimmermanhadbeenforsometimefrontpagenews.This
didnotdeterthenewAdministrationfromaskingCongresstolifttheembargoonarmssalestoArgentinaon
March19,1981,lessthantwomonthsaftercomingtooffice.GeneralRobertoViola,oneofthejuntamembers
responsibleforthedeathsquads,waswelcomedtoWashingtoninthespringof1981.Todayheisservinga17
yearsentenceforhisroleinthe"dirtywar."
ThoughtheAmericanpublicdidnotknowit,thearrangementsforU.S.aidtoArgentinaincludedaquidpro
quo:ArgentinawouldexpanditssupportandtrainingfortheContras,astherewasasyetnoauthorizationforthe
UnitedStatestodosodirectly."ThusaidandtrainingwereprovidedtotheContrasthroughtheArgentinian
defenseforcesinexchangeforotherformsofaidfromtheU.S.toArgentina."Congressionalinvestigators
shoulddeterminewhetherthecontemporaryarmsdealswithDeaver'sotherclients,GuatemalaandTaiwan,did
notcontainsimilarkickbacksfortheircontraproteges.
ButaidforthecontraswasonlyonepartofacovertReagangranddesignforCentralAmericainwhich
Argentinawouldplaytheactiverole.Thisinvolved,amongotherthings,...thetrainingofmorethan200
Guatemalanofficersin'interrogationtechniques'(torture)andrepressivemethods...participationinthetrainingat
U.S.militarybasesofofficersandelitetroopsoftheSalvadoreanarmy...trainingandcombatleadershipfor
incursionsbySomocistabandsbasedinHonduras...logisticandeconomicsupportforthe...plottooverthrowthe
Sandinistaregime...thedespatchofatleastfiftymoreofficerstoHondurasasparamilitarytroopstointervenein
counterrevolutionaryactivitiesthroughouttheregion,particularlyagainstNicaragua...thesupplyofarmsand
ammunitiontotheGuatemalanregime...directparticipationintorturesessionsinGuatemala,andtogetherwith
Israeliofficersthecreationofan'intelligencecenter'inthatcountry.
ArgentinaeventuallybecameoneofthetwoprincipalreasonswhyReagan'sfirstSecretaryofState,Alexander
Haig,resignedonJune25,1982.(TheotherareaofdisagreementwasoverIsrael'sinvasionofLebanon.)Haig
laterchargedthathisofficialpolicyofsidingwithBritainagainstArgentina(supportedbyReagan,whose
closestpersonalallyabroadwasMargaretThatcher)hadbeenseriouslyundercut,notjustbyAmbassadorJeane
Kirkpatrick,butbysomeoneaboveherintheWhiteHouse.
TherewerecontactsmadewithArgentinianofficialsbytheWhiteHousewhichwereneitherdiscussedwithme
norclearedwithmeandwhichhadthepracticaleffectofconfusingtheissue...Thishelpedconfirmthatthe
outcome[theFalklandIslandswar]wouldbeinevitable.
WilliamClark,Reagan'sofficialnationalsecurityadviser,purportedtorefutethischargebysayingthatallofhis
contactswithforeignofficialshadbeenclearedwithHaig.HoweveritwasDeaver,notClark,whomHaig
suspectedofoffsettinghistiltagainstArgentina."AtanNSCsession...HaighadobservedKirkpatrickpassing
Deaveranote.ConcludingthatKirkpatrickwasusingDeavertoprimeReagan...HaigtoldClarkthata
'conspiracy'wasafoottooutflankhim."Haig'sparanoiamayhavebeenjustified.SoonDeaver(alliedwithClark,
whomDeaverhadselectedasAllen'sreplacement)wastoplayaprincipalroleindroppingHaig,ashehad
earlierindroppingAllen.
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WhatreasoncouldanyoneintheWhiteHousehaveforputtingU.S.relationswithArgentinaaheadofrelations
withtheUnitedKingdom?Itishardtothinkofanyreasonmoreurgentthanthatofagreementforcovert
Argentiniansupportofthecontras,"whichwasbrokenbyU.S.supportforBritaininthe1982FalklandsWar."
AlthoughsomeArgentineadvisersremainedinHonduras,thepulloutoftheArgentinegovernmentproduceda
temporarysetbackincontraoperations,followedinDecember1982byamajorshakeupinthecontras'nominal
politicalleadership.
Guatemala
RestoringarmsdeliveriestoGuatemalaprovedalittlemoredifficultthantoArgentina."TheelectionofReagan
coincidedwiththebloodiestoutbreakofGuatemalandeathsquadactionsinhistory.Almostfivehundreddeaths
amonth,almostallattributedtotheright,werebeingreportedbytheAmericanEmbassy,buteventhatfigure
wasconsideredlowbymostothermonitoringgroups.Pilesofmutilatedbodieswerebeingdiscoveredevery
morningthroughoutthecountry."PresidentLucasGarcia,allegedtohavepersonallyraisedhalfamilliondollars
fromDeaver'sGuatemalabusinessmenfortheReagancampaign,wassaidinFebruary1981bytheNewYork
Times(citingAmnestyInternational)tobedirectlysupervisingthesecurityagencyinchargeofthedeathsquads.
TheMay4hearingoftheSenateForeignRelationsCommittee,inwhichtheadministrationannouncedthatit
wasdisposedtogiveaidtoGuatemala,followedtwodaysofhardhittingstoriesinthepressaboutthatcountry's
increasingviolence,includingthemurdersof76leadersofthemoderateChristianDemocraticParty.When
CongressbalkedatcertifyingthatGuatemalawasnotviolatinghumanrights,theadministrationacted
unilaterally,bysimplytakingtheitemsGuatemalawantedofftherestrictedlist.
Taiwan
OntheissueofrestoringarmssalestoArgentinaandGuatemalatherewasnodissentwithintheReagan
administration,allofwhomwereeagertorepudiateCarter'shumanrightspoliciesasquicklyaspossible.The
argumentsagainstarmssalestoTaiwan,however,weregeopoliticalaswellasideological.Themoreseriously
onechosetobelieveinaSovietthreat,themoreimportantitseemednottothreatenthegrowingstrategic
relationshipbetweenWashingtonandPeking.
Reaganwasconfrontedwiththisgeopoliticalconsensusassoonashetookoffice.Afterayearoffumbling,Haig
(State),Weinberger(Defense)andCasey(CIA)unitedonarecommendationtoReagan:Taiwanshouldnot
receivethenewweaponsitwasaskingfor.InAugust1982theStateDepartment,afteranothervisittoPekingby
GeorgeBush,announcedajointcommuniquewithChina,inwhichtheUnitedStatesundertookto"reduce
graduallyits[weapons]sales[toTaiwan]...leadingoveraperiodoftimetoafinalresolution."
Thisresultappearedtoexpertstorepresentavictoryof"GeopoliticsoverIdeology."Butwhilethecommunique
calledforareduction,armssalestoTaiwaninfactincreased,tonewlevelsof$530millionin1983,and$l,085
millionin1984.EachnewarmssalesannouncementwasgreetedwithloudprotestsfromPeking,andwith
increasingrumorsandreportsofSinoSovietrapprochement.Onceagain,wenowknowthatontheissueof
TaiwanarmssalesHaigattheStateDepartmentwasbeingoverruledbytheReaganWhiteHousestaff.
Deaver,WACL,andtheContras
ThelobbyingforincreasedU.S.armssalescameofcoursefromathomeaswellasfromabroadandprimarily
fromtheAmericanSecurityCouncil,thechiefreallifeincarnationofthatmilitaryindustrialcomplexwhich
PresidentEisenhowerwarnedthecountryaboutaquarterofacenturyago.TwoprominentbackersoftheASC
(oilmenA.C.RubelandHenrySalvatori)werealsopartofthetrioofLosAngelesmillionaireswhohad
launchedReaganintopoliticsaftertheGoldwaterdebacleof1964.
Thethird,HolmesTuttle,lenthisweighttothesmallmeetingofMay1974inReagan'shomewherethedecision
wasmadeforReagantobeginhisdriveforthepresidency.FourofReagan'stopaidesattendedthatmeeting:
Meese,Nofziger,Deaver,andHannaford.TheDeaverandHannafordagencywaslaunchedin1974aspartof
thatpresidentialstrategy.
TheinternationalclientstakenonbyDeaverandHannafordTaiwan,Guatemala,andArgentinawerelongtime
causesoftheASCaswell.Moreimportantly,theASChelpedoutTaiwan'sforeignpolicycreation,theWorld
AntiCommunistLeague,bysettingupanAmericanaffiliateforit,theAmericanCouncilforWorldFreedom
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(ACWF).TheyoungexecutivesecretaryoftheACWF,LeeEdwards,wasby1980theregisteredlobbyistfor
WACL'sTaiwanchapter,andalsoofArgentina.EdwardsalsowroteaReaganbiography.
In1976Edwards'ACWFpulledoutofWACL,onthegroundsthatitwasbecomingracist.ThenewU.S.WACL
chapter,theCouncilonAmericanAffairs(CAA),washoweveralsoheadedbyanASCman:RogerPearsonof
ASC'seditorialboard.By1980,WACLhadbeenlargelytakenoverbyformerNazis,SSmen,Nazi
collaborators,andoutspokenantiSemites.Mostembarrassing,fromthepointofviewofa"lawandorder"
candidatelikeReagan,wasthepresenceatWACLconferencesofwantedrightwingterroristmurderers,and,
perhapsworse,bankrobbers.
TheReaganteam,bothbeforeandafterthe1980election,appearstohaveadoptedatwofoldapproachtothe
problemofrightwingWACLterrorism.OntheonehandtheyfosteredacarefulprogramtoimproveWACL's
image,badlytarnishedafterBritishandAmericanWACLmembershadprotestedWACL'spenetrationbyanti
Semites.Ontheother,theymovedthroughDeaver'sclientsinGuatemalatomakeselectedterroriststhe
IynchpinsoftheReaganadministration'spoliciesinCentralAmerica.
Twomenappeartohavebeencentralinthisdoublepolicy:GeneralJohnSinglaub,whoafterReagan'selection
becameWACL'snewworldchairman,andMarioSandovalAlarcon,theGuatemalangodfatherandWACL
leaderwhogottodanceatReagan'sinauguralball.Thepublicrelationsworkforbothmen,atleastpriortothe
election,wasinthehandsofMikeDeaver.
SinglaubwasalongtimeveteranofCIAandDOD"unconventionalwarfare"operations,whichheonce
explainedasincluding"terrorism,subversionandguerrillawarfare...sabotage...supporttoresistancegroups
...blackandgraypsychologicaloperations."Singlaubwaslittleknownuntil1978,whenhewastransferredfrom
hisArmyCommandinSouthKoreaforpubliclydenouncingCarter'sannouncedplanstowithdrawU.S.troops
fromthatarea.AspiriteddefenseofSinglaubandhispositionwaspromptlypreparedforoneofReagan's1978
broadcastsbyDeaverandHannaford.
Littlenoticedatthetimewasthefactthattendaysbeforehisretirement,inMay1978,Singlaubattendeda
meetingofrightwingerswho"didn'tthinkthecountrywasbeingrunproperlyandwereinterestedindoing
somethingaboutit."ThemeetingwashostedbyMitchWerBell,aconspiratorialcolleagueofSinglaubfrom
theirOSSdaystogetheratKunminginChina.Aswehaveseen,Singlaubthenbeganaseriesofcoordinated
visitstoCentralAmerica,withGeneralsGrahamandSumner,layingthebasisforReagan'scurrentsupportof
thecontrasinNicaragua.Singlaub'svisitsfocusedonGuatemala,wherein1982WerBellwouldsupportacoup
attemptbytheNationalLiberationMovement(MLN)ofMarioSandovalAlarconandLionelSisniegaOtero.
Singlaub'slinkupwithSumnerin1980wasparticularlysignificanttotheGuatemalans,sinceforayearSumner
hadbeenoneofthemostprominentcontracontactsinWashingtonwhowas"lookingforsomewaytohelp
Nicaraguanswhowantedtofight"theSandinistas.Aftertheelectionthatmostprominentsupporterwould
becomeSinglaubhimself,byaseriesofeventswhichseemtohavebeenprearranged.
ThemostimportanteventwasthecreationofanewUnitedStateschapterofWACL,toreplaceonewhichhad
beentakenoverbycrackpotsandracists.SinglaubdidthisonNovember22,1981,fourdaysafterasecret
approvalbyReaganofaCIAplantobegindirectassistancetothecontras.
TheweeksafterReagan'selectionhadseenanumberofrapiddevelopments.SomeofSandoval'scontragroup,
headedbyColonelEnriqueBermudezwhohadbeenSumner'scontact,departedfortraininginArgentina.(This
wastraininginterrorismandoneofthetrainersisnowwantedforhisleadershipofacellattempting,by
bombingsandkidnappings,todestabilizethenewArgentineciviliangovernment.)TheSalvadoreandeathsquad
leader,MajorRobertod'Aubuisson,enteredtheUnitedStatesillegally(theCarteradministrationrefusedtoissue
himavisa),andhadconferences"withmembersoftheReagantransitionteamandwithmembersofthestaff
of...SenatorJesseHelms."
MeanwhileSinglaubflewtoAustraliatoaddressWACL'sAsiancontingent,theAsianPeople'sAntiCommunist
League(APACL).HecorrectlypredictedthattherewouldbecloserrelationsbetweentheU.S.andWACL
countries,andhintedthathehimselfwouldbehelpfuleventhoughhewouldnotbeamemberofthenew
administration.ThispublichealingoftheriftbetweenWACLandtheUnitedStateshadbegunthepreviousJuly
inGeneva,whenthenominalheadofWACL'sU.S.chapter(awhiteracistwhohadonceurgedhisstateof
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MississippitosecedefromtheUnion)wasupstagedbythepresenceattheWACLConferenceofSinglaub's
closefriendRayCline.ClinewasanotherstrongReagansupporterandaforeignpolicyadviserheflewto
Taiwanaftertheelectiontoconveythemessagethat"thenewReaganAdministrationwillenhanceU.S.relations
withTaipeiwithoutdamagingtieswithPeiping[sic]."
Singlaub,WACL,andLaRouche
InthelightofWACL'ssubsequentimportancetotheReaganpolicyofsupportingthecontras,itissignificant
thattheapproachesofClineandSinglaubtoWACLbeganbeforethe1980election.SinglaubandClinewerethe
logicalteamtoconsolidatetheReaganWACLalliance,sincetheiracquaintancewithWACL'smembersand
drugfinancedintrigueswentbacktothe1950s,ifnotearlier.SinglaubhadfirstmetCline,alongwithfourfuture
backersofCIACubanoperations(HowardHunt,PaulHelliwell,LucienConeinandMitchWerBell)inasmall
OSSmissionatKunminginChina,attheverycenteroftheWorldWarIIKMTdrugtraffic.Accordingtothe
WallStreetJournal,OSSpaymentsatthisbasewerefrequentlymadewithfivepoundshipmentsofopium.The
sixthandmostmysteriousofthesemen,MitchWerBell,wouldhimselfbeindictedondrugsmugglingchargesin
1976,twoyearsbeforehebegananextendedandlittlenoticedrelationshipwithJohnSinglaubandLyndon
LaRouche.
TheotherfivemenfromtheOSSKunmingmissionwentonintotheCIA,andinthe1950sservedinor
supportedCIAcovertoperationsinAsia.Helliwell,fromhislawofficeinMiami,organizedthearmssupplyto
GeneralLiMi'sdruggrowingKMTtroopsinBurma,ashewouldlaterorganizesupportfortheClA'sCuban
sabotageteamsinMiami.LucienConeinwentontobetheCIA'sliaisonwiththeCorsicangangstersofSaigon
and,accordingtoAlfredMcCoy,"didnotpasson"toWashingtontheinformationhelearnedaboutthelarge
shipmentsofdrugstheseCorsicansweremakingtoEurope,whiletheygavethe1965Saigongovernment"a
fixedpercentageoftheprofits."HowardHuntwasin1954assignedtoablackpropagandapsychologicalwarfare
operationbasedinTokyo.
MoredirectlyimpingingonwhatbecameWACLweretheactivitiesofClineasCIAstationchiefinTaiwan
(195862),andSinglaubasdeputyCIAstationchiefinSouthKorea(195052).Clineissaidtohavehelped
TaiwanfounditsPoliticalWarfareCadresAcademyatPeitou,whichhasthroughitstrainingprogramdeveloped
aconspiratorialLatinAmericanfraternityofthousandsofmilitaryandsecurityofficers,includingRoberto
d'Aubuisson.InthiswaytheKuomintangcreatedinLatinAmerica"carboncopiesofwhattheyhadcreatedin
Taiwan:apoliticizedmilitarywhosefirstloyaltywastotheparty,thentothemilitary,andfinallytothenation."
Allofthiswasinfulfilmentofrecommendationsdraftedin1959byGeneralRichardStilwellforaspecial
PresidentialCommitteeunderGeneralWilliamDraperreportingtoPresidentEisenhower:thattheU.S.help
develop"higherlevelmilitaryschools"withpoliticaleconomiccurriculaintheThirdWorld,toencouragelocal
armiestobecome"internalmotors"for"sociopoliticaltransformation."
FormerU.S.intelligenceofficershavealsosuggestedthatthefundingofAPACL,andoftheinitialpreparatory
meetingsin1958forWACL,camefromU.S.EmbassyCounterpartfundsinTaiwantowhichClinehadaccess.
AsCIAdeputychiefinSouthKoreaduringtheKoreanWar,Singlaubisalsosaidtohavehadahandin
developingwhateventuallybecametheKoreanCentralIntelligenceAgency,theotherchiefpartnerinsettingup
APACL
In1954,whenAPACLwasfoundedinTaiwan,itsfirstLatinAmericanaffiliatewasfoundedinMexicoCityby
HowardHunt.HuntdidsoinhiscapacityaspoliticalandpropagandachiefoftheCIAoperationinGuatemala
buthiscreation(theInteramericanCouncilfortheDefenseoftheContinent,orCIADC)wouldsurvivetobe
involvedinotherCIAbackedcoupsaswell,notablytheBrazilcoupin1964.TheCIADCsoonbecamea
vehiclefortheinternationalplottingoftwoofHunt'syoungGuatemalanproteges:LionelSisniegaOtero,whoin
1954wasemployedonclandestineradiooperationsbyHunt'sassistantDavidPhillips,andSisniega'smentor,the
future"Godfather,"MarioSandovalAlarcon.
Byaccidentorbydesign,thesimultaneouscreationofAPACLandCIADCin1954alsohadtheeffectof
creatingaconspiratorialChinaLobbyforTaiwanoverseas,atpreciselythetimethattheactivitiesoftheold
conspiratorialChinaLobbyinWashingtonwerebeingexposedandneutralized.Whenthefirstprovisional
steeringcommitteeforacombinedWACLwasannouncedfromMexicoCityin1958,itsGeneralSecretarywas
veteranChinaLobbyistMarvinLiebman,whoearlierhadorganizedWashington's"CommitteeofOneMillion"
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insupportofTaiwan.LeeEdwards,Liebman'ssuccessorattheCommitteeofOneMillion,organizedthefirst
U.S.ChapterofWACL,withofficersfromtheleadershipoftheAmericanSecurityCouncil.
FromtheChinaLobbybribesoftheearly1950stothecontraraidsofthe1980s,therehavebeencontinuing
reportslinkingTaiwan'sandWACL'sactivitiestoprofitsfromtheinternationalnarcoticstraffic(seeChapterIII).
Thesituationwasaggravatedbytheevolutionofthe1950sChinaLobbyintothe1960sCubanexileSomoza
Lobby,particularlywhenexCIACORUCubanslikeOrlandoBosch,droppedfromtheCIAfortheirterrorist
and/ordrugtraffickingactivities,weresimplypickedupbySomoza.
ItmadesensethatSomoza,whenhislongtimebackerswereabandoninghimin1979,shouldhavetriedtohire
Shackley'sassociateTomClinestoworkforhim,alongwithBosch.ShackleyandClines,bycoincidenceornot,
personifiedtheCIAmafiaconnectionthatsuccessiveCIADirectorsfoundimpossibletoeliminate.When
RichardHelmscloseddownantiCastrooperationsinMiami,disperseditsU.S.andCubanpersonnel,andsent
ShackleyandClinestomanagethecovertwarinLaos,thetwomenweremovingfromalocaldruglinked
operationtoamoredistantone.Significantly,theFloridamobwentwiththem.Twoyearsaftertheywere
transferredtoLaosinJuly1966,SantosTrafficante,akeyfigureintheClAmafiaassassinationplotsagainst
Castro,wasseencontactinglocalgangstersinHongKongandSaigon.
ButtheShackleyClineslinkstoLatinAmericaincreasedastheirformeragentsweredispersedthere.Oneof
thesemenwasJohnMartino,anoldmafiacasinoassociateofSantosTrafficanteinHavana.In1970,posingasa
mafiarepresentative,JohnMartinobecameabusinessassociateofPresidentArana,andtheCIAcontrolfor
MarioSandovalAlarcontwooftheGuatemalanswhoattendedReagan's1981inauguralball.
WeseethenthattheReaganWACLalliancewasforgedbytwomen,RayClineandJohnSinglaub,whose
connectionstoWACL'sAsianpatronswentbackthreedecadesormore.One'sfirstassumptionisthat,asloyal
Americans,theywouldbemorelikelytoapproachWACLonbehalfofReaganthantheotherwayround.
Singlaub,inparticular,hasareputationofbeinga"straightarrow,"a"boyscout,"forwhomsubversiveintrigue
wouldbeanathema.
TherearenonethelessdisturbingindicationsthatSinglaub,atleast,mayhavebeenworkingforahiddenagenda
thatwentfarbeyondnaiveloyaltytoaRepublicanpresidentialcandidate.Itishardtoexplainhisdealingsinthe
sameperiod197882withhisformerKunmingOSScolleagueMitchWerBell,andmoreimportantlywith
WerBell'semployersince1977,LyndonLaRouche.AbouthispoliticalactivitieswiththeLaRouchemovement
Singlaubhasattheveryleastbeenlessthancandid.WhatmakesthisdisturbingisthattheLaRouchemovement
wasthensuspectedoflookingforadissidentgeneraltoleadamilitarycoup.
WehavealreadyseenthatinMay1978,tendaysbeforehisretirement,Singlaubattendedameetingofright
wingerswho"didn'tthinkthecountrywasbeingrunproperlyandwereinterestedindoingsomethingaboutit."
ThemeetingwashostedbyMitchWerBell,whoin1982wouldtraveltoCentralAmericainsupportofan
attemptedGuatemalancouponbehalfofWACLleadersMarioSandovalAlarconandLionelSisniegaOtero.
WerBell'scareerofcovertactivitiesintheCaribbeanalsoinvolvedworkforCubandictatorBatistain1959,
DominicanRepublicdictatorImbertin1965,andacoupoperation(saidbyHinckleandTurnertohavehad
possibleMafiabacking)againstHaitiandictatorDuvalierin1966.
WerBell,whenSinglaubvisitedhimin1978,hadrecentlyevadedseparateindictmentsforarmssmugglingand
fornarcoticstrafficking.WerBellwasalsointouchwith"SecretTeam"memberssuchasTedShackleyand
RichardSecord,andallegedlywaspaidoncethroughthedruglinkedNuganHandBankwhenheconducted
"operationsforU.S.intelligence."MoreimportantlyhewasalsointouchwithCubanBayofPigsveterans
suspectedofinvolvementintheCORUassassinationofOrlandoLetelier.
WerBell,whenSinglaubvisitedhimin1978,wasemployedasthe"personalsecurityadviser"toLyndonH.
LaRouche,thentheleaderofthesocalledNationalCaucusofLaborCommittees(NCLC),agroupwhich
previouslyhadposedasleftwingbutinfactharassedantinuclearandotherleftwingdemonstrationswiththe
helpoftherightwingdomesticintelligencegroupknownsince1979asWesternGoals(backedprimarilyby
WACLdonorandTexanmillionaireNelsonBunkerHunt).SinglaubandanotherleaderofhisU.S.WACL
chapter(AnthonyKubek)joinedtheadvisoryboardofWesternGoals.ThoughSinglaubleftWesternGoalsin
1984,theorganizationiscontrolledtodaybyCarlSpitzChannell,whoin1986metwithOliverNorth"fiveor
tentimes"abouthisTVadvertisingcampaignsagainstpoliticalcandidatesopposedtocontraaid.
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In1979GeneralSinglaubconcededtotheNewYorkTimesthathehadmetwithtwoofLaRouche'sparty
officialsatthehomeofWerBell,butclaimedthathehad...sincerejectedtheorganization."Itwassocleartome
afterthefirstthreeorfourcontactsthattheywantedsomethingfromme,"thegeneralsaid."Theyhoundedme
formonths,theyfloodedmewithdocuments,theyshowedupatplaceswhereIspoke."
"Ithinkthey'reabunchofkooksoftheworstform,GeneralSinglaubwenton."I'vebeentellingWerBellthatif
they'renotMarxistsindisguise,they'retheworstgroupofantiSemiticJews[sic!]I'veencountered.I'mreally
worriedabouttheseguystheyseemtogetsomepeople."
ThegeneralwasaskedifanymentionwasmadeinhistalksofthepossibilityofamilitarycoupintheUnited
StatesanideathathasrecentlyreceivedcurrencyinthepartyasawaytoputMr.LaRoucheinpower."Well,it
didn'tcomeupinthatform,butitwassuggestedthatthemilitaryoughttoinsomewayleadthecountryoutof
itsproblems,"GeneralSinglaubreplied."
guessIsteppedonthemprettyhardonthat,anditnevercameupagain.Itwasoneofthefirstthingsthatmade
merealizethey'reabunchofkooks."
Singlaub'sworriesaboutaLaRoucheanmilitarysolutiontoAmerica'sproblems,althoughexpressedsostrongly
inthisinterview,donotappeartohavebeenveryprofoundorlonglived.AccordingtoScottandJonLee
Anderson,in1982SinglaubreturnedtoWerBell'scounterterroristtrainingcampinPowderSprings,Georgia,to
lectureWerBell'strainees.ManyoftheseweresecurityforcesfortheorganizationofLyndonLaRouche,thenthe
antiSemiticleaderofthesocalledU.S.LaborParty,whosesecuritydirectorwasWerBell.
TheStrategyofTension:CAL,P2,Drugs,andtheMafia
ReportslinkingWACLtodrugsbecameparticularlyflagrantintheperiod197680,astheriftbetweenWACL
andCarter'sCIAwidened,andasanewArgentinedominatedaffiliateofWACLinLatinAmerica(the
ConfederacionAnticomunistaLatina,orCAL)plottedtoextirpateradicalRomanCatholicpriestsandprelates
fosteringliberationtheology.
AhighpointorlowpointoftheCALplottingwasreachedin1980,whenArgentineofficers,bankrolledbythe
lordsofBolivia'scocainetraffic,installedtheBoliviandrugdictatorshipofLuisGarciaMeza.Twoofthe
ArgentineofficersinvolvedturnedouttobewantedItalianterrorists,StefanodelleChiaieandPierluigiPagliai
togetherwiththeveteranNazifugitiveanddrugtraffickerKlausBarbie,theneofascistsseizedtheradiostation
asasignaltolaunchthecoup.
BarbieanddelleChiaiewerebothdeeplyinvolvedintheCALprojecttoidentifyandexterminateleftistsand
radicalpriests.ThroughthisprojectdelleChiaiehadadvisedd'Aubuissonby1979andattheSeptember1980
meetingofCALinArgentina,delleChiaieandd'Aubuissonmetandarrangedforweaponsandmoneytobesent
tod'AubuissoninElSalvador.
That1980CALConferencewaspresidedoverbyArgentineGeneralSuarezMason,todayafugitivewantedon
chargesarisingfromtheArgentinejunta'sdeathsquads.InattendancewereBolivia'sdictator,GarciaMeza,
wantedbyU.S.drugauthoritiesforhisinvolvementincocainetrafficking,andArgentinePresidentVidela,today
servingalifesentenceforhispoliciesofmassmurderandtorture.Afeaturedspeakerattheconferencewas
MarioSandovalAlarcon,whohadbroughthisproteged'Aubuissonandarrangedforhimtobeputintouchwith
delleChiaie.
WhatwasbeingbrokeredattheSeptember1980CALConferencewasnothinglessthanan"Argentinesolution"
ofdeathsquaddictatorshipsfromBuenosAirestoGuatemalaCity.Theinspirationanddirectionofthisscheme
washowevernotjustArgentine,buttrulyinternational,involvingtheItaloArgentinesecretMasonicLodgeP2
(ofwhichGeneralSuarezMasonwasamember),andpossiblythroughthemthefinancialmanipulationsby
insidersoftheMilanBancoAmbrosianoandVaticanBank.
P2hascomeunderconsiderablescrutinyinItaly,whereitbegan,becauseofitsongoinginvolvementin
intelligencetoleratedcoupattempts,bankmanipulations,andterroristbombings.Allofthishascontributedtoa
rightwing"strategyoftension,"atacticofdevelopingapopularcaseforrightwingorder,byfomenting
violenceanddisruption,andblamingthiswhenpossibleontheleft.StefanodelleChiaiewasperhapsthemaster
activistforP2'sstrategyoftension,assistedbyagroupofFrenchintelligenceveteransworkingoutofPortugal
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asthesocalledpressagencyAginterPresse.TheAgintergrouphadtheirownconnectionstoWACLinLatin
AmericabeforedelleChiaiedid,especiallytotheMexicanchapter(thesocalled"Tecos")andtoSandoval's
WACLchapterinGuatemala.
AccordingtotheItalianParliamentaryReportonP2:
P2contributedtothestrategyoftension,thatwaspursuedbyrightwingextremistgroupsinItalyduringthose
yearswhenthepurposewastodestabilizeItalianpolitics,creatingasituationthatsuchgroupsmightbeableto
exploitintheirowninteresttobringaboutanauthoritariansolutiontoItaly'sproblems.
Del'eChiaiewasaprincipalorganizerforthreeofthemostfamousoftheseincidents,the1969bombinthe
crowdedPiazzaFontanaofMilan(16deaths,90injuries),the1970coupattemptofPrinceValerioBorghese(a
CIAclientsince1945),andtheBolognastationbombingofAugust2,1980(85deaths,200injuries).In
December1985magistratesinBolognaissued16arrestwarrants,includingatleastthreetoP2members,
accusingmembersoftheItalianintelligenceserviceSISMIoffirstplanningandthencoveringuptheBologna
bombing.Oneofthese16wasP2'sleaderLicioGelli,whohadspentmostofthepostwaryearsinArgentina.
Asmallgroupofanarchists,penetratedbydelleChiaie'smanMarioMerlino,wereblamedatfirstforthePiazza
Fontanabombing,eventhoughSismiknewwithinsixdaysthatdelleChiaiewasresponsible,andMerlinohad
plantedthebomb.
After1974,whentherightwing"strategistsoftension"lostcriticalsupportwiththeendingoftheGreek,
Portuguese,andSpanishdictatorships,theyappeartohavelookedincreasinglyfornewfriendlygovernmentsin
LatinAmerica.DelleChiaiebegantoworkforChile'sserviceDINAin1975,thefirstcontactshavingbeen
madethroughAginterbyMichaelTownley,whowouldlatermurderLetelierwiththehelpofCORUCubansfor
DINA.(DelleChiaieissaidtohavecomefromSouthAmericatoMiamiin1982,withaTurkishleaderofthe
fascistGreyWolveswhowasafriendofthePope'sassassinMehmetAgca.)
TheP2'ssupportforLatinAmericanterrorseemstohavebeeninpartamatterofinternalRomanCatholic
politics:anattemptbyonefactiontouserightwingdeathsquadstoeliminatetheChurch'sliberationtheologians
andmoderateChristianDemocrats.BoththecontrasandMarioSandovalAlarconwerepartoftheanti
liberationistcampaign:thecontraradiomaintainedasteadypropagandacampaignagainsttheMaryknollSisters
inNicaraguaLauofthecontrasmurderedArchbishopRomeroofElSalvadorandLau'spatronSandoval,atthe
11thWACLConferencein1978,denouncedthe"intenseMarxistpenetration...actingwithinthehighestechelons
oftheCatholichierarchy."DuringthetwoyearsaftertheCALadoptedtheBanzerPlanin1978,"atleasttwenty
eightbishops,priests,andlaypersonswerekilledinLatinAmericamostoftheirmurderswereattributedto
governmentsecurityforcesorrightistdeathsquads.Thatnumbermultipliedafter1980ascivilwarspread
throughGuatemalaandElSalvador."WehavealreadyseenhowReagan'sterminationoftheCarter"human
rights"policieswasfollowedbythedecimationoftheGuatemalanChristianDemocrats.
TheCAL/P2connectionwasandremainsadrugconnectionaswell.TheterroristdelleChiaiehasbeenaccused
oftiestosomeoftheFrenchConnectionheroinmerchantswhohadrelocatedtoItalywhileCALChairman
SuarezMason,accordingtotheItalianmagazinePanorama,became"oneofLatinAmerica'schiefdrug
traffickers."
ThisLatinAmericanWACLdrugconnectionappearstohavebeenoriginallyputtogetherbyformerArgentine
InteriorMinisterJoseLopezRega,aP2memberandGelliintimatewhowasresponsibleforrestoringPeronto
powerin1973andarrangingforEuropeanexpertsin"dirtywar"tacticstolaunchdeathsquadtacticsagainstthe
terroristleft.LopezRegawaslatersaidtohavebeendirectlyinvolvedwithotherP2membersintheArgentine
Paraguayancocainetraffic,andtohaveusedFrenchmembersoftheRicorddrugnetworkasterroristsforhis
undergroundAAA(AlianzaArgentinaAnticomunista).ExCIACubanexileterroristsinvolvedinthedrug
trafficalsoworkedwiththeAAA,aswellasforSomoza.
ParaguayanIntelligenceChiefPastorCoronel,aCALparticipantanddeathsquadcoordinator,wasalsoa
smugglingpartneroftheCorsicandrugkingpininLatinAmerica,AugusteRicord,whosenetworktrafficked
withtheGambinoMafiafamilyinNewYork.MicheleSindona,theauthoroftheAmbrosianoVaticanBank
connectiontoP2,hadhisownconnectionstotheGambinofamily,whichsurfacedwhenin1979heusedthem
tostagehisown"abduction"toavoidaNewYorkcourtappearance.AccordingtoPennyLernoux,"theP2
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crowdobtainedmoneyfromthekidnappingsofwelltodobusinessmeninEuropeandfromthedrugtrafficin
SouthAmerica.Sindona'sbanklaunderedmoneyfromthenotorious[Italian]MafiakidnappersofAnonima
Sequestri,whoworkedwith...OrdineNuovo."Significantly,MarioSandovalAlarconhasalsobeenaccusedof
resortingtothekidnappingofrichcoffeegrowersinGuatemalatogetfinancingforhispoliticalfaction.Since
thefalloftheArgentinejuntaandSuarezMasonin198283,theAAA,abettedbydelleChiaie,hasalsotakento
bankrobberiesandkidnapping.
P2,theRepublicans,andLedeen
ButP2hadequallystronglinkstoboththeCIAandtheRepublicanParty.UnderPresidentNixon,theCIA
allocatedX10millionforcentristandrightwingpartiesinthe1972Italianelections.TheU.S.Embassyin
RomewasacutelydividedoverwhetherthemoneyshouldgothroughSindona,whoappearedtohave"adirect
linetothe[Nixon]WhiteHouse,"orItalianIntelligenceChiefVitoMiceli,implicatedina1970CIAfinanced
coupattemptwithdelleChiaie.BothSindonaandMiceli,asithappened,werepartoftheP2connection.
Sindona'sU.S.investmentswerepartneredbytheContinentalIllinoisbankheadedbyNixon'sfirstTreasury
Secretary,DavidKennedy,andhisinterestswererepresentedbythelawfirmofNixonandhisAttorneyGeneral
JohnMitchell."InItaly,SindonaorchestratedtheeffortsoftheneoFascistdeputyLuigiTurchitogarnersupport
forNixon'selectioncampaign.SindonaevenofferedSImillion,onconditionofanonymity,toCREEPtreasurer
MauriceStans.Theofferwasrefused."Turchi'seffortswerecoordinatedbyPhilipGuarinooftheRepublican
NationalCommittee,aP2associatelaterimplicatedintheplottingtohelpSindonaescapeprosecution.
Wehaveseenhowin1980Cline'sassociate,MichaelLedeen,publishedanarticle(atthebeginningofthe1980
electioncampaign)"savagingAdmiralStansfieldTurnerforforcingTedShackley[oneofEdwinP.Wilson's
seniorCIAcontacts,aveteranoftheantiAllendeoperation]outoftheagency.AyearlaterMichaelLedeen,in
hisnewcapacityastheReaganStateDepartment'sexpertonterrorism,wasnowinapositiontohelpcloseoff
theinvestigationofthose(specificallyShackleyandvonMarbod)whowerebeinginvestigatedalongwith
EdwinWilson,perhapstheworld'smostnotoriousexCIAterrorist.
Ledeen'seffortsin1980onbehalfofShackleywereparalleledbyadirtytrickscampaignonbehalfofReaganin
alliancewithP2membersoftheItalianintelligenceserviceSISMI.Thechiefofthese,FrancescoPazienza,was
afinancialconsultantofRobertoCalviattheBancoAmbrosiano.PazienzawasultimatelyindictedinanItalian
court(withLedeenasanunindictedcoconspirator)forluringPresidentCarter'sbrotherBillyintoa
compromisingrelationshipwithQaddafiduringthe1980presidentialcampaign.AccordingtoEdwardHerman
andFrankBrodhead,theprosecutingjudge...hadevidencethat"SISMIwasthearchitectofthescandalover
BillyCarter,"andthatthematerialinthiscasewasgatheredmostlybyPazienzaandbyhisAmericanfriend
MichaelLedeen...."PazienzaavailedhimselfofSISMIbothfortheuseofsomesecretagentsandforthe
expensesoforganizingthescandalousplan.Itseemsthattheorganizersgotahugepayofffor'Billygate.'
Moreover,[SISMIchief]Santovito[aP2member]andPazienzagotgreatadvantagesinreturnfromAmerican
officials."
LedeenpublishedhisBillygatestoriesinthreeproIsraelipublications:theNewRepublicofMartinPeretz,and
twojournalscontrolledbySirJamesGoldsmith,thechairmanoftheBancoAmbrosianolinkedoilcompany
BRISA,andlateroneofthemultimillionairesconsultedbyReaganinhisProjectDemocracy.
In1980Ledeenwasalsoinhighgear,allegedlyagainwithassistancefromPazienza,asapropagandistforthe
notionofaterroristthreatrequiringabeefedupU.S.intelligenceresponse.Givenaccessin1980toaCzech
defectorfromtwelveyearsearlier(JanSeina),Ledeenelicitedfromhimtheinformation,whichSeinahadnever
volunteeredinhisextensiveCIAdebriefing,thattheSovietUnionmaintainedanetworkofterroristtraining
campsaspartofitsplanforglobaldomination.AccordingtoHermanandBrodhead,LedeenhadSeinareaffirm
thecontentsofapurporteddocumentonSovietsponsorshipofterrorismwhichSeinahadwillinglyclaimedtobe
authenticadecadeearlier,andwhichwasinfactaCIAforgeryshowntoSeinaforthepurposesoftestinghis
credibility.
ThisdocumentandcorroborationthenbecamecentraltothecasebuiltbyLedeenandhisfriendClaireSterling
toshowthattheKGBandBulgariandrugtraffickershadplottedtohavetheTurkishfascistMehmetAgcakill
thePope.Thisstorywasofcourseaugmentedbythe"confession"oftheassassin,whosetestimonywaslater
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discountedasnotcredible.ThisconfessionnowappearstohavebeengeneratedbyP2SISMIagentslinkedto
Ledeen,amongwhommayormaynothavebeenPazienza.'
WhatinspiredMichaelLedeen'szealonbehalfofReaganandtheshadownetwork?Europeanjournalistshave
suggestedthatanunspecified"hugepayoff"totheSISMIP2organizersofBillygatewasfollowedbyapayment
ofatleast$120,000plusexpensesfromSISMItoLedeenin198081,afterLedeen"soldoldU.S.intelligence
reportstoSISMIatstiffprices."ButthereareindicationsthatLedeenhadanaffiliation,notjustwithSISMI,but
(likehisallyPazienza)withP2.Thereareunexplainedstoriesthat"LedeenhadlinkswithGelli...andthat
Ledeen,onbehalfoftheStateDepartment,hadtriedtobuy480P2filesphotocopiedbytheUruguayaninterior
ministry"afteraraidprovokedbytheP2scandalrevealedbytheinvestigationofSindona.
ItisobviouslyaconvenientarrangementwhenP2contributionsandfavorstoarightwingU.S.Presidentcanbe
followedbythereleaseofS10millioninunvoucheredCIAfundsforpoliticalusebyP2.Nodoubttheir
knowledgeofsucharrangementsmusthavefuelledthezealofCarterandTurnertocutbackontheCIA's
clandestineservices.Conversely,theCIA'scutbackonclandestineoperationsandsubventionsspelledboth
politicalandfinancialdisasterforparalleloperations,suchasWilson'sandSindona's,whichhadfattenedonCIA
handouts.TheendofU.S.intelligencesubsidiestoWilson'scompanyConsultantsInternationalisclearly
responsibleforWilson'smoveintotheillegalLibyandealsforwhichhewaseventuallyjailed.Thesamedrying
upoftheCIAcashflowtorightwingassetsappearstohavecontributedtothefailureofCalvi'sBanco
AmbrosianoandofanotherintelligencerelatedbankwhoseoperationsinterlockedheavilywithWilson's:the
druglinkedNuganHandBankofAustralia.ThusCIAreformshadtheeffectofbuildingapowerfulcoalitionof
bothAmericans(oustedCIAclandestineoperators,theTaiwanSomozalobby,theASC)andforeigners(WACL,
P2),determinedtorestoretheclandestineoperationswhichhadbeencutbackbyfourdifferentdirectorsof
centralintelligence(Helms,Schlesinger,Colby,andTurner).
Whateverthedetails,itappearsthattheP2Republicanconnectionremainedashealthyin1980asithadbeenin
1972.LicioGelli,theheadofP2,wasinvitedbyRepublicanbigwigPhilGuarinotoReagan'sinauguralball.
P2,theCalviScam,andNicaragua
By1980thefateofCalvi'sBancoAmbrosiano(andhenceindirectlyofP2)dependedlargelyonananti
CommunistturnaroundinCentralAmerica.In1977Calvihaddevelopedcloserelationswiththeincreasingly
isolatedNicaraguandictatorAnastasioSomoza,andopenedasubsidiary(theAmbrosianoGroupBanco
Comercial)inManagua.ThroughanotherofhisAmbrosianocontrolledcompanies,CentralAmericanService,
Calvibeganprospectingformineralsandoil.AstheNicaraguansituationdeterioratedin197879,Calvi's
ManaguasubsidiaryreceivedasteadyflowoffundsfromCalvi'sBahamassubsidiary,whichhadcomeunderthe
scrutinyofItaliangovernmentinvestigators.By1979,
Calvi(probablywithGelli'sintercession)wasongoodtermsnotonlywiththethendictatorAnastasioSomoza,
butalsowiththeevermoremenacingSandinistaopposition.Totheendofhislife[in1982]heretaineda
Nicaraguandiplomaticpassport,andin1979CalviattemptedtolobbytheRomegovernmentforanincreasein
coffeeimportsfromNicaragua...[O]ftheforeignbanksinManaguaatthetimeoftheleftwingtakeover
in...1979,Ambrosiano'ssubsidiarywastheonlyonenottobenationalizedbythenewrevolutionaryregime.
CalvihadobviouslyestablishedabridgetotheSandinistajunta'sbankers,AlfredoCesarandArturoCruz,and
theiralliessuchasAlfonsoRobelo.By1982bothCruzandRobelowereworkingwiththecontras.Inevery
accountoftheP2/BancoAmbrosianobilliondollarscam,theroleofSomoza'sNicaraguaisprominent.
Accordingtoonesource,itwasGelliwho"smoothedtheway"forCalvi'suseofSomoza'sofferofbanksecrecy,
"afterseveralmilliondollarshadbeendroppedintothedictator'spocket.InthisperiodtheItalianconstruction
magnateMarioGenghini(whosenamewasalsoonGelli'sP2lists)"wasoneofthebiggestforeigninvestorsin
Nicaragua.In1978,toavoidaninvestigationbytheBankofItaly,Calvi"movedtheaxisof[hisinternational]
fraudtoNicaragua"oneyearlater,asSomoza'spositionworsened,thefraudwasmovedtoPeru.
In1981BishopPaulMarcinkusoftheVaticanBank"heldanumberofsecretmeetingswiththeconvictedCalvi,
whichresultedintheVaticanBankofficiallyadmittinganincreaseinitsoutstandingdebtsofnearly$1billion.
ThiswasthesumthatwasowedtotheCalvibanksinPeruandNicaraguaasaresultoftheirhavingloaned,on
Calvi'sinstructions,hundredsofmillionsofdollars"tocompaniesallegedlyunderMarcinkus'scontrol.Justone
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ofthesecompanies,Bellatrix,received$184millionforP2'spoliticalpurposes,whichincludedGelli'spurchase
ofExocetmissilesforArgentinaduringtheFalklandIslandsWar.
P2'spoliticalpurposesalsoclearlyinvolvedtheelectionofRonaldReaganin1980:
OnApril8,1980,GelliwrotefromItalytoPhillipGuarino...
"IfyouthinkitmightbeusefulforsomethingfavorabletoyourpresidentialcandidatetobepublishedinItaly,
sendmesomematerialandI'llgetitpublishedinoneofthepapershere."...Thefavorablecommentsabout
RonaldReagan,carefullyplacedbyLicioGelli,dulyappearedinItaly.InJanuary1981,LicioGelliwasan
honoredguestatthepresidentialinauguration.Guarinolaterruefullyobserved,"HehadabetterseatthanIdid."
In1981,theperiodofitsArgentinegranddesignforCentralAmerica,theReaganadministrationappearsinturn
tohavebeenexploitingP2pathways.OneofitsfirstenvoystoArgentinaandGuatemalaforthegranddesign
wasGeneralVernonWalters,amajorfigureintheBrazilianmilitarycoupof1964,andreportedlyaprime
architectintheblendingofthevariouscontraforcesintoaunitedFDNunderEnrigueBermudezin1981.InMay
1981GeneralVernonWalters...visitedGuatemalaasa'goodwillambassador'oftheReaganAdministration.At
thesametime,though,hewasrepresentingBRISA[BasicResourcesInternationalSA],whichwasseeking
permissiontoexportmoreoil.TheGuatemalanmilitarygrantedtherequest.
ThefateofCalviandhisallies,bythenominous,wastiedupwiththefortunesofBRISA,whosechairman,as
previouslymentioned,wasSirJamesGoldsmith.In1977theGuatemalangovernment(withMarioSandoval
AlarconasVicePresident)hadawardedanoilconcessiontoBRISA,oneofwhoseboardmemberswasCalvi's
representativeAntonioTonello.InMarch1981,astheItalianinvestigationofSindonaledtoGelli'sfilesand
Calvi'sname,theCalvicasewasnearingitsdenouement.OnMay20,1981,exactlyoneweekafterWalters'visit
toGuatemalaforReaganandBRISA,bothCalviandTonellowerearrested(andsoonconvicted).
TheCALReaganHelmsTriangle
In1980theincomingReaganadministrationhadlinkstotheLatinAmericanchaptersofWACL,notjust
throughP2,butevenmoredirectlythroughRepublicanSenatorJesseHelms.IndeedHelmsbecameafocal
pointforU.S.intelligenceandRepublicanconnectionstoCALinLatinAmerica,followingavisitin1975to
WACLheadquartersinTaiwan.HelmsalsotravelledtoArgentina(viaaWACLConferenceinRio)inApril
1975andatleasttwoofhisaides,RamonMolinaandNatHamrickreturned,alongwithDanielGraham,in
early1976,shortlybeforetheArgentinegenerals'coupofMarch24.Helms,accordingtoRamonMolina,
"actuallyencouragedthemilitarytomoveinanddeposePresidentPeron.
ThepresidentinquestionwasnotJuanPeron,whohaddiedinJune1974,buthiswidow,Isabelita,whowas
deposedinMarch1976.ThiseventfollowedfromthemoresignificantousterinJuly1975ofhermentorJose
LopezRega,theoriginalfascistarchitectoftheP2/ItalianterroristpresenceinArgentina.TheArgentinianarmy
wasresponsibleforbothousters,eachofwhichfollowedavisitbyHelmsorhisaides.
Thepresenceonthe1975Helmsdelegationoftwootherassociates(VictorFediayandJ.EvettsHaley),andthe
subsequentinvolvementofDanielGraham,mayhelpexplainwhytherelativelyinexperiencedSenatorfrom
NorthCarolina(hehadbeenelectedin1972)wouldinvolvehimselfinanArgentinianmilitarytakeover.In1975
Fediay(aRussianemigreandprewarPolishfascist)andHaley(aTexasrancher)hadjusthelpedwithRichard
Allentobrokerarequest(whichwaseventuallyturneddown)forU.S.backingbehindaEurofascistsecessionist
coupintheAzores(sponsoredbythesocalledAginterPresseintelligenceservice,withwhichdelleChiaiewas
affiliated).OnecanimaginethatthemessagetotheArgentinemilitarywassimilar:theU.S.couldsupporta
militarytakeover,perhapsevendeathsquadsandterroristslikedelleChiaie,butonlyiftheLopezRega
connectiontothenewlyformingFascistInternationalin1975waseliminated.
ThisU.S.Argentineconnectionin197576(Helms,Molina,Hamrick,RichardStone,andDanielGraham)
wouldbecomethehardcoreReaganSandovalcontraconnectionafter1980.WehaveseenhowGrahamand
SinglaubassuredGuatemalansin1979that"Mr.Reaganrecognizesthatagooddealofdirtyworkneedstobe
done.
ItwasHelmswho(afterhisaideJohnCarbaughmetd'AubuissonattheSeptember1980CALConference)
receivedSandoval'sproteged'AubuissononanillegalvisitinDecember1980.(SincethattimeCarbaughhas
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workedcloselywithMarioSandovalAlarcon'snephew,CarlosMidencePivaral,tofashionamoremarketable
and"Republican"imageford'Aubuisson'snewparty,ARENA.)Stone,alobbyistforGuatemalain1980,
becameReagan'sspecialambassadortoCentralAmerica.In198182,Hamrick,whileonHelms'staff,would
lobby,togetherwiththeheadoftheCostaRicaWACLchapter,forafriendlybaseforthecontrasinthatcountry.
ButthemostsignificantmemberoftheHelmsArgentineconnectionmayhavebeenRamonMolina,aCuban
AmericanBayofPigsveteranwhoin1976wastheapparentpointofcontactbetweenhistwoemployers,
NicaraguandictatorSomozaandSenatorHelms.In197576MolinaappearstohavebeenSomoza'sconnection
torenegadeexCIACubans,likeOrlandoBosch,whoseCORUassassinationactivitiesextendedtoArgentinaby
August1976.Itwouldappearthat,justasinthe1972electionManuelArtime(anotherexCIACubanaccused
ofdrugtrafficking)emergedastheconnectionbetweenNixon,Somoza,andtheWatergateburglars,sointhe
1980electionRamonMolinaemergedastheconnectionbetweenReaganandSomoza.
TheHelmscamphasbeenverymuchofarightwingembarrassmenttotheReaganadministrationsinceittook
office:in1984HelmsputthelifeofReagan'sAmbassadortoElSalvadoratriskbyleakingsecretCIAdata.In
1976andin1980,however,candidateReaganwasverymuchdependentonwinningthesupportofHelmsand
hisinternationalWACLnetwork.In1976theReagancampaignappointedDavidKeene,anoldLiebman
sidekickandWACLparticipant,tobechiefdelegatehunterinthesouthernstates.In1980acampaignaide,
BeldenBell,travelledtoLatinAmericaandmetbothDeaver'sAmigosandRamonMolinad.Whatmayhave
interestedtheReagancampaigninMolinawashiscapacityasarepresentativeofSomoza'spersonalfortune,in
whoseemployheusedhisCIAtrainingasastrongarmmanandenforcer(heallegedlyoncebrokethejawofa
SouthCarolinaconcretebusinessman).Somoza,untilhisassassinationinSeptember1980,wassaidtobe
fundingterroristactivitiesthroughCALasawayofbuildinganinternationalneofascistcoalitionforhisreturn.
Reagan,theContras,andNarcotics
SuchthenwasthestateofWACLwhenSinglaubbeganhismissionaryactivitiestoitonbehalfofReaganin
197980.ItmightbesaidindefenseoftheirpoliciesthatWACLrepresentedanoldU.S.intelligenceprojectout
ofcontrolandthatSinglaubhasworkedtobringitbackundercontrol.Alternatively,theWACLcollaboration
mightbeseenasakindof"constructiveengagement"withneofascism,offeringrightwinggovernments
equipmentandsupportservices,inexchangefortheirrenunciationofdeathsquadpoliticsthatwouldneverplay
wellinPeoria.
ItisclearthattheReaganadministrationhassincebackedawayfrommanyofitsoldCALproteges,usuallyafter
revelationslinkingthemtothedrugtraffic.Ithasrelegatedd'Aubuissontothebackground,afteraplane
belongingtooneofhisfinancialsupporterswasdetainedinTexaswithacargoof$5.9millionincash.Ithas
helpedextraditePagliai(theyoungerofthetwoItalianterrorists)fromBolivia,afterPagliaiwasdetectedbythe
DEAatahighleveldrugtrafficmeetingin1981.
EventuallytheReaganadministrationhelpedeaseboththeBolivianandtheArgentinedictatorshipsoutof
power.Afterthefailurein1982ofaGuatemalancoupplotbySandoval'sassociateLionelSisniegaOtero
(plottingwithWerBell,theOSScolleagueofSinglaubandCline),theU.S.eventuallyacceptedacivilian
governmentheadedbyaChristianDemocrat,ofthepartytargetedbySandovalandSisniegaforextermination.
Inmarkedcontrast,theReagancommitmenttothecontrashasbeenunswerving.Modificationstoitspolicyhave
beenlimitedtoasearchforbetterpersonnel,asCongressionaloppositionmountedtothecontrarecordofraping
peasantsandtorturingsocialworkerstodeath.InSeptember1982theCIAreorganizedthecontradirectorate,
andsentanewstationchieftoHonduras,withthetask"ofgettingtheArgentinesoutandgettingthewarback
undercontrol."Inlate1983theCIAbeganitsowncovertoperationsagainstNicaragua,cuttingoutthecontras,
andreorganizingtheirFDNdirectorateyetagain.
HowevertheCIA,inevitably,wasfacedwithadisposalproblem.Ahandfulofcontrafieldofficerswere
executedforvariouscrimes,chieflythemurderofoneoftheirpeers.ButtheCIAwasreluctanttosend
Argentineterroristsbacktotheirhomecountryatatimewhentheciviliangovernmentwasbarelyestablishing
itself.RicardoLau,themurdererofArchbishopRomero,wasdetachedfromthecontrahierarchy,butremained
inHondurastobethemastermindofthedeathsquadoperationoftheCIA'sandCAL'sHonduranprotege,
GeneralGustavoAlvarezMartinez.AlvarezwasthepointmanfortheCIAcontrapresenceinHonduras,and
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eventhegodfathertotheadopteddaughterofthenewCIAchief.Whenhewasoustedin1984theCIAchanged
itsstationchiefyetagain,andLaureportedlyleftforanothercountry.
ThesecosmeticchangesofpersonneldonotappeartohavereachedtothelevelofeliminatingtheoldCAL
presenceinthecontras.EnriqueBermudez,thelinkbetweenSandoval'sGuardiaprotegesandWashington,has
remainedthrougheachsuccessiveFDNshakeup.Asfortheinternationaldrugtraffickers,theirinterestin
maintainingthecontrastatusquoinHonduraswasrevealedwhentheFBIbrokeupadrugfinancedplotin
MiamitoassassinatetheelectedHonduranpresidentandrestoreAlvareztopower.
SinceDecember1985ithasbecomeclearthattheCIAcontraoperationhasbecomeasintermingledwithdrug
traffickingastheoldCIACubanexileoperationswhichhadhadtobecloseddowninMiami(seeChapterIII).
InDecember1985,...theAssociatedPresscitedaCIAreportallegingthata"topcommander"oftheCostaRica
basedguerrillashad"usedcocaineprofitstobuyaS250,000armsshipmentandahelicopter."...TwoNicaraguan
smugglersconvictedinthelargestcocaineseizureinWestCoasthistory430poundsadmittedthattheypassed
drugprofitsontothecontras...AleadingBayAreafundraiserfortheHondurasbasedNicaraguanDemocratic
Force,thelargestcontragroup,wasidentifiedin1984bytheDrugEnforcementAdministrationas"theapparent
headofacriminalorganizationresponsibleforsmugglingkilogramquantitiesofcocaineintotheUnitedStates.
ThepossibilitythatthecontraoperationservesasacoverfortheLatinAmericandrugconnectiondoesnotseem
tohaveoccurredtotheReaganadministration.Onthecontrary,itspressurestoresumeCongressionalaidtothe
contrasthisyearwerenotdeterredbytherevelationthattheFBIwas"examiningassertionsthatcocainewas
smuggled[intotheUnitedStates]tohelpfinancetherebels'wareffort."SincethenformerAmbassadorRobert
WhitehaschargedthattheAdministrationhasattemptedtokillthisFBIinquiry.Thestagehasbeensetfora
potentiallyexplosiveSenateinvestigation.
Watergate,Contragate,andForeignCampaignContributions
WhywouldtheReaganadministration,whoseideologyissupposedtobeoneofpatriotismmellowedby
pragmatism,havesuchahugeinvestmentinacausethatissocontroversialhereaswellasinLatinAmerica?
TheReaganresponseistopointtotheallegedhumanrightsviolationsbytheiropponents,andtotheCaribbean
basin'sproximityandstrategicimportance.Butithasbeensaidinresponsetobothargumentsthatthecontras,by
theirexcessesandsheerincompetence,areweakeningratherthanstrengtheningsupportfortheU.S.inthearea.
AdifferentquestioniswhetherthefundsfromGuatemala,P2,Somoza,andotherWACLsources,helped
generatetheprivate"verbalagreements"thatSandovalAlarconreferredto.TherecyclingofprofitsandAID
fundsfromforeigncountriesbackintoAmericanelectionsisperhapsoneofthelargestandleastdiscussed
scandalsofthelastthreedecades.WACLcountriesinparticular,whosesurvivalandaffluencesooftendepend
onU.S.support,haverepeatedlybeenatthecenterofsuchrumors.
ThiswouldseemtobeanappropriatetopicforanySenateinvestigationintoanyillegalcontraactivitiesand
coverups.ButCongressinthepasthasprovenmostreluctanttopursuethequestionofillegalforeignfundingin
electoralcampaigns.RenataAdlerhasdescribedhowtheCongressionalinquiryintoWatergatefadedatthepoint
whentraceswereuncoveredoflargefundspumpedintotheNixoncampaignfromtheFarEast.Nordid
Republicanspursuesimilarallegationsthatdoggedthecampaignofeventhatcleanestofcandidates,Senator
GeorgeMcGovern.Silenceonsuchmattersservestheinterestsofbothparties.
SomeofthepointsmadebyRenataAdler,amemberofthestaffinvestigatingNixonfortheHouseimpeachment
inquiry,bearcloselyontheReaganWACLconnection.Shereferredtotheories"thatNixonwasdrivenfrom
officebyaconspiracywithingovernmentitselfmorespecifically,withintheCIA."Andshedrewattentiontothe
inabilityoftheCIA"togiveanysatisfactoryaccount"ofitsinvolvementintheSoutheastAsiannarcoticstraffic
(whereitsairlineAirAmericacollaboratedwithmembersofTaiwan'sWACLChapterinsupplyingtheopium
growersoftheGoldenTriangle).
AdlerdidnotreferspecificallytotheveryefficientsabotagingoftheNixonWhiteHousebyHowardHunt,nor
tothefactthatHunt'sWhiteHouseserviceswentintotheirdisastroushighgearaftertheJune1971departureof
KissingerforPeking.ButshespecificallynamedAnnaChanChennault,perhapsTaiwan'stoplobbyistin
Washington,assomeonewhohadraisedcampaignfundsforNixonfromthePhilippines,HongKong,Japan,and
SouthKorea.Citingevidencetoocomplextoreviewhere,sheconcludedthat"theSouthVietnamese
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administration,notwantingpeacetobeathandjustyet,usedsomeoftheenormousamountsofmoneywewere
pouringintheretobribeourAdministrationtostayin."
Thebribeswereintheformofillicitforeigncampaigncontributionspossiblyin1968,andmoreclearlyin1972.
ThoughshereferstohimonlyasaNixon"WhiteHouseofficial,"Adlerreferstotwodistinctsubplotswherein
eachcaseaprincipalsuspectwasRichardAllen,themanwhoin1980becameReagan'sprincipalforeignpolicy
adviser.Inthe1968case,Mrs.Chennault'sactivitieshadarousedthesuspicionsoftheWashingtonintelligence
community,andaplethoraofagenciesseemedtobewatchingherclosely.Accordingtopublishedreports,the
FBItappedhertelephoneandputherunderphysicalsurveillancetheCIAtappedthephonesattheSouth
VietnameseembassyandconductedacovertinvestigationofRichardAllen.Then,afewdaysbeforethe
election,theNationalSecurityAgency...interceptedacablefromtheVietnameseembassytoSaigonurgingdelay
inSouthVietnam'sparticipationintheParispeacetalksuntilafterthe[U.S.]elections.Indeed,onNovemberI,
hereffortsseemedtohavepaidoffwhenPresidentNguyenVanThieurenegedonhispromisetoLyndon
Johnson...andannouncedhewouldnottakepartintheexploratoryParistalks.
ThereareenoughsimilaritiesbetweenAllen'scareerandDeaver's(bothmenhavinggoneonfromthepostof
WhiteHouseofficialtobecometheregisteredforeignlobbyistofAsiancountries)tosuggestthatAdler's
hypothesisfortheoriginsofWatergate(briberybyillicitforeigncampaigncontributions,andthepotentialfor
blackmailthuscreated)mighthelpexplaintheworkingsoftheContragatemysteryaswell.In1980asin1968
theWACLcoalitionapparentlydecidedtoconspireagainstanAmericanDemocraticincumbent,themain
differencebeingthatin1980therolebothofillicitforeignfundsandofAmericanintelligenceveteransappears
tohavebeenmoreovert.
Congressshouldcertainlyinvestigatethispossibility.Butthereisalsoachanceofasearchingandobjective
inquiryinthespecialprosecutor'sexaminationoftheaffairsofMikeDeaver.Deaverisalreadyunderscrutiny
forhislobbyingactivitiesinSouthKorea.SomeoftheseinvolvetheU.S.AmbassadorinSeoul,RichardWalker,
aWACLparticipantsinceasfarbackas1970.
Deaver'sconnectionswithSouthKoreagobackatleasttoFebruary1981,whenhe"usheredPresidentChunDoo
HwanofSouthKoreaintotheOvalOfficetomeetReagan."ChunwasinfactthefirstoftheWACLdictators,
shunnedbyCarter,tobereceivedintotheOvalOffice.Inasensehisvisit,likeSandoval's,wasatrialballoonfor
Reagan'snewpolicyoftiltingtowardsWACLandawayfromCarter'ssupportof"humanrights.
Chun'svisittoReaganissaidtohavefollowedaperiodofintenseinvolvementinLatinAmericanWACL
intriguebyCAUSA,thepoliticalarmoftheSouthKoreanUnification(Moonie)Church.(Thelinksbetween
Moon'schurchandtheSouthKoreanCentralIntelligenceAgencyaresoovertthatadecadeagotheyprovokeda
U.S.Senateinvestigation.)CAUSAofficialsarereportedtohaveoffered$4millionfortheGarciaMeza
BoliviancoupofJuly17,1980andoneofthemissaidtohavehadworkeddirectlywithKlausBarbiein
organizingthecoup.WhenCongressorderedacutoffofmilitaryaidtothecontrasin1984,CAUSAworked
withRefugeeReliefInternational,acreationofSinglaubandofWACL,toferrynonmilitarysuppliestothe
samecontracamps.Aninformedobserversaidthat"the'bigthree'countriesthatwereexpectedtoaidthecontras
[militarily]wereIsrael,SouthKorea,andTaiwan."RobertOwen,saidtohaveservedwithSinglaubasacutout
contactbetweentheNationalSecurityCouncilandthecontras,isaformerregisteredlobbyistforSouthKorea.
ItisunlikelythatDeaver'slobbyingactivitiesweremorethanasmallpartoftheapparatussecuringtheReagan
WACLconnection.Thefullstory,ifitcouldbetold,wouldprobablyleadtogreyintelligencepoliticalalliances
thatwerealreadyinplacewhenDeaverwasayoungboy.UndoubtedlyClineandSinglaub,nottomention
Reaganhimself,wouldknowmoreaboutsuchmatters.
Singlaub,atleast,probablyfacesaCongressionalinvestigationinthemonthsahead.ButContragateisnota
narrowlybureaucraticoradministrativescandal.Deaver'spost1984lobbyingactivitieshavealreadysuggested
tofederalinvestigatorsthathemayhaveviolatedU.S.statutes.Thushetoocanbemadetotalkabouthowthese
connectionswereforged.Underoath.
Part3IsraelandtheContras

ItisnoaccidentthatIsrael,ratherthan,forexample,SouthKorea,whichhasalsosolditsshareofarmstoIran,
wascaughtinthethickofthingswhenthetwoleggedIrangateschemewasexposedinNovember1986.For
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IsraelwasalmostcertainlytheintellectualauthoroftheplottomakeIranpayforthewaragainstNicaraguaand
Israelhadalreadybeensellingarmstothecontras,trainingthem,andotherwisehelpingReagantocircumvent
Congressionalrestrictionsonthecontraprogram.TofindtherootsofthisbehaviorwemustreturntoIsrael's
earliestdays.
SurroundedbyArabstateswhosehostilityenduredfromtheroutoftheirarmiesanduprootingofthePalestinian
populationastheJewishstateestablisheditself,Israelhasfromitsoutsetsoughtinternationalcontactbeyondits
confinementintheEasternMediterranean.ItsLaborZionistgovernmentpropoundedadoctrinecallingforthe
establishmentofgoodrelationswiththeperipheral,nonArabstatesoftheregion:Ethiopia,Turkey,and,of
courseIran.
Lookingfartherafield,inthemid1950sPrimeMinisterDavidBenGurionattemptedtoinvolveIsraelinwhat
wouldlaterbecometheNonalignedMovement,butwasatthetimealoosegatheringofnationsemergingfrom
colonialism.Israelwasbarredfromthenowhistoric1955meetingatBandung,Indonesia,becauseitwasseenas
anoutpostofEuropeancolonialism.
IsraelnextturnedtoAfrica,where,aftersomevigorousbehindthesceneswooingofGhana'sfoundingleader
KwameNkrumah,'Israel'santicolonialistcredentials(basedonhavingfoughttheBritishwhentheyruled
Palestine)wereaccepted.AsAfricannationsweregrantedindependence,Israelcommencedaprogramof
developmentassistanceonthecontinentthatwasnothingshortofspectacular,givenIsrael'ssize,itsresources
anditsownrecentestablishment.
InAfrica,andinpartofAsiaaswell,Israelitechnicianssetupexperimentalfarms,taughtagriculturalmethods,
establishedmedicalprogramsand"workersbanks,"helpeddevelopinfrastructureincludingroads,harborsand,
forGhana,ashippingline,andundertookyouthtraining,laborunionleadershiptraining,andcooperative
formation.Israelalsoestablishedcoursesforforeignstudentsinmanyofthesesubjectssothatbytheendof
197015,000foreignstudentshadbeentoIsraeltostudy.
DevelopmentprogramsrunbyIsraelweresuccessfulbecausetheIsraelistechnicianscamefromasmallcountry
ratherthanrecentcolonialmasters,andbecausetheIsraelismadeitapracticetoworkalongsidetheirstudents.
Howevertherewasalsoalesssavorysidetotheseprograms."Formanyyears...theUnitedStatessentmillionsof
dollarsincovertaidtoIsraelforoperationsinAfricathatincludedtrainingseveralAfricanintelligenceservices."
DuringthetenureoftheLaborgovernment(until1977)EuropeanSocialDemocraticregimesalsosupported
Israelidevelopmentactivities.Understandably,Israelamassedanenormousintelligencecapabilityinsub
SaharanAfrica.ThebigpowersoftenconsultedorcoordinatedwithIsraelioperatives.Militarytrainingandarms
saleswerealsoapartofIsrael'soutreachtoAfrica,alongwithitshumanitariangestures.Asaresultofallthis,
by196832AfricannationshadestablisheddiplomaticrelationswithIsrael.
Inthemid1960sIsraelexpandedtheprogramswhichhadbeensosuccessfulinAfrica(andinpartsofAsiaas
well)toLatinAmerica,aregionwhichneededlittlecourtingasitsalreadyestablishedgovernmentshad
providedanimportantblocofsupportingUNvotesin1947whenthatbodywasconsideringthepartitionof
PalestineintoPalestinianandJewishstates.
AfterIsrael's1973wartheOrganizationofAfricanUnitycalledforadiplomaticembargoofIsrael,andallbut
threeAfricangovernmentsMalawi,SwazilandandLesotho,allwithinthetightembraceofSouthAfricaeither
alreadyhadorshortlythereaftersevereddiplomaticrelations.Israelwasthenleftwithlittlechoicebuttofocus
ontheAsiannationswithwhichithadrelationsandonLatinAmerica.
Followingthe1973war,whichinturnhadfollowedthe1967warduringwhichIsraelhadoccupiedterritory
belongingtoJordan,SyriaandEgypt,theperceptionofIsraelasanunderdogbesetbyrapaciousneighborswas
wearingout.InmuchoftheworldIsraelwascriticizedforitsoccupationofArabterritory,itsoppressionof
Palestiniansinthatterritory,itsintransigenceinthefaceofallopportunitiesforpeace,and,increasingly,itsclose
linkswithSouthAfrica.Alsoaroundthistime,Israel'sfocuswasshiftingfromdevelopmenttomilitarypower.
By1980Israelwouldberailingatthe"petropower"oftheArabgovernmentsoftheGulfwhich,itclaimedhad
turnedAfricaagainstit,withpromisesoffundingformajorinfrastructuralprojectsandselling$1billionworth
ofarmstoacuriousassortmentofcustomers,includingsomeofitsformerAfricanfriends.Whileclingingtoas
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muchasitcouldoftheoldpatinaofthedayswhenitwasa"lightuntothenations,"Israelhadredefineditself
intoanarmsmerchant.
TheDictatesofIsrael'sArmsIndustry
Wellbeforetherewasastate,therewasanarmsindustry,producingsmallarmswhichtheJewishsettlersin
PalestineusedagainsttheArabinhabitantstheyfoundthere."
Inthelate1930sandearly1940sarmsacquisitionbyunconventionalmeans,includingsmugglingwarsurplus
fromtheU.S.,becameapreoccupationofZionistleaders.AftertheUnitedNationsapprovedthepartitionplan
establishingaJewishnationalhomelandinMandatoryPalestine,greatenergywasexpendedsecuringweapons
fromamostlyunwillingworldforthefightthatwasexpected,followingthewithdrawaloftheBritish
colonialists.
Thedifficultyexperiencedinobtainingweaponry,whencombinedwiththelegacyoftherecentlyabated
Holocaust,seemstohaveproducedacertainmindsetintheleadersofthenewstateofIsrael.Tocallit
determinedwouldbetounderstateit.
TheHolocaustreconfirmstheperspectivethattherearethosewhoseekthedestructionoftheJewsandthat
Jewishsurvivalshouldnotdependontheguaranteesoreffortsofothers.Thus,Israelseesthatitmustrelyonits
owndefensecapacitytoensureitssurvivalandprotectitspeople.
Emblematicofthisgrimdeterminationwasthedecisionin1952tocommitthefledglingnationtotheexpensive
andpoliticallyriskydevelopmentofnuclearweapons.
Asimilarlyfarreachingcommitmenttoestablishanarmsindustrywasmadein1967,whenFrance,atthetime
Israel'smajorsourceofweapons(andnucleartechnology),canceledcontractsformajorweaponssystems.
FrenchPresidentdeGaullewasangeredbyIsrael'sdecisiontogotowar.Alwaysresistanttopoliticalpressure,
Israelileadersdeterminedtobecomeselfsufficientinarms.
Theinvestmentwasapoliticalone,withoutathoughttoeconomiesofscalewhichwouldhaveshownittobe
foolish.ActuallyIsraelhadhadthebeginningsofaparastatalmilitaryindustryfrom1948,builtuparoundthe
secretmunitionsworkshopsoftheprestateperiod.i7Inthelate1960sandthroughthe1970snewcompanies
werefoundedandmajorweaponssystemsproduced.MuchofthetechnologyfortheweaponsIsrael
manufacturedcamefromabroad,firstfromFrance,thenfromtheUnitedStates.Investmentalsowasneeded
fromabroad,mostnotablyfromU.S.firmsestablishingjointventuresorsubsidiariesandfromthegovernment
ofSouthAfricawhichagreedin1976tosubsidizeresearchanddevelopmentonmajorIsraeliweaponssystems.
Israel'sarmyisrankedamongthebestintheworld,anditisverylargeinproportiontothecountry'stiny
population,butnomajorarmsproducingstatemanufacturesweaponssolelyforitsownmilitary.Inorderto
lowertheunitcostofweapons,theyproducemorethantheyneedandtrytoexportthedifference.InIsrael'scase
theproblemwascompoundedbecauseIsrael'spossiblemarketswereseverelylimited.NATOcountriesforthe
mostpartproduceforthemselvesandeachother,andlikewiseformembersoftheWarsawPact.Withsome
notableexceptions(Ethiopia,Indonesia,andrecentlythePeoplesRepublicofChina)thesocialistandIslamic
countriesshunIsrael.Sincethe1973break,mostAfricannationshavealsokepttheircontactswithIsraeltoa
minimum.WhatremainedweretheASEANnations,theproWesternAsiangrouping,LatinAmerica,andthe
pariah,oruntouchable,nationssuchasSouthAfrica,Taiwan,Chile,andGuatemala.LatinAmerica,wheremany
countriesfallintononeofthesecategoriesandmostoftherestfallintothepariahcategory,becameIsrael's
premiermarket,althoughrecentlyIsraelhaspickedupsomesalesinEurope.
ThetypicalIsraelicustomer,wroteoneleadinganalystofIsraeliarmsexports,
...ismostlikelytobeanonwesterncountrywithadefenseconsciousgovernment,rightistinorientation,in
whichthemilitaryiseithertheactualorproximatelocusofpower.Itisconfrontedbyasecuritythreat
originatingeitherdomesticallyorfromaneighboringcountry....[L]ikeIsrael,it,too,isisolateddiplomatically
andunderinternationalcriticism,andthereforeencountersproblemsinmeetingmilitaryrequirementsfromother
sourcesofsupply.
Israelnevermanagedtoproduceevenhalfofitsownmilitarygear.Butitdidbecomehookedonarmsexports,
whichrepresented31percentofindustrialexportsin1975,23andarenowthoughttocomprise30to40percent
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ofIsrael'sindustrialoutput..Twentypercentoftheindustriallaborforceworksinarmsproduction.By
aggressivelymarketingitsproductswhereitcould,by1980Israelhadmanagedtoboostitsexportstooverthe
$1billionmark.Withthepossibleexceptionof1983,theyhaveremainedatthatlevel,andarenowabove$l.25
billion.Moreover,sincethesenumbersareestimatesbasedonobservationsandaccountsoftransactionsinthe
internationalmediatheIsraeligovernmentreleasesnoinformationonitsarmssalesifanything,theyaretoo
low.
Yetthesesaleswereneverenough,especiallyafter1985,whenIsrael'sdefensebudgetbegantosufferregular
cutsandordersfromthemilitarydroppedaspartofanantiinflationaryprogram.Themilitaryindustrieswere
facedwiththenecessityofincreasingexportstosavejobs.
Theexportstatisticsdonotbegintodescribethepowerwieldedbythearmsproducers,muchlessthe"proarms
lobby,"awidergroupincludingtopranksoftheIsraelimilitary,directorsofvariousindustries,unionswhose
membersdependonincomingweaponsordersfortheirlivelihood,andseveralIsraelileaderswithclosetiesto
armsindustriesincludingShimonPeres,whoasaprotegeofBenGurionatthedefenseministry,iscreditedwith
beingthearchitectofIsrael'sarmsproducingsector,andMosheArens,aformerpresidentofIsraeliAircraft
Industries.
Somecriticsevenchargethatthedefenseministry,attheapexofthearmsproducingsector,hastakenover
Israeliforeignpolicy.Thatpolicyisdirected,theysay,forshorttermobjectiveswhichoftenforeclosethe
possibilityoflongertermdiplomaticaimswhichmightbringIsraeloutofitsisolation.Undertheswayofthis
system,Israel'soverall"conductofexternalaffairs...tendstobeunsystematic,withastrongemphasisuponshort
termcontingencyplanningandcrisismanagement.""Becauseofthefeelingwhichhastakenrootthatweapons
mustbesoldatalmostanyprice,countriesdescribedas'dirty'areattractedtousastoamagnet,"lamentedthe
militarycolumnistforIsrael'sleadingdaily."Theironyisthatmanyofthesecountriesareevenashamedto
publicizethefactthattheypurchaseweaponsfromIsrael,asthoughwewerelepers."
Compoundingthissituationistheprocessbywhichsalesareapproved.Itisconductedinsecrecybyfourmen
theprimeminister,thedefenseminister,theforeignminister,andtheministeroftradeandindustrywhoconvene
astheMinisterialCommitteeonWeaponsTransfers.AswithIsraelspartinIrangate,othercabinetministersare
keptinthedarkand,similarly,theKnesset,Israel'sparliamenthasneithertheauthoritynorthewilltovetoarms
sales.
NoneofthishasbeenwithoutitseffectonIsrael'smainstay,theUnitedStates,whichhasplayedacrucialrolein
Israeliarmsmarketinginseveralrespects.MuchofwhatIsraelhastosellcontainsU.S.technologyandthus
needsWashington'spermissionbeforeitcanbeexported,or,aswasthecasewithsomeofthesalestoIran,came
toIsraelthroughitsU.S.militaryassistancegrants.AstheJerusalemPostreportedinMarchof1985,its
economymseriousenoughtroubletowarrantasupplementaryU.S.aidpackageof$1.5billion,Israeltargeted
theUnitedStatesasanuntappedmarketforitsweaponsexports.
AninterestingintersectionwiththeU.S.,andonewithmuchbearingonIsrael'srelationshipwiththecontras,is
thesearchformarkets.IsraelhasaskedtheU.S.tosetasidecertainmarketsforexclusiveIsraeliexploitation.It
hasrequestedhelpinmarketing,andithasrequestedU.S.financingforitsweaponssalestoimpoverished
governments.IthasalsoaskedthatrecipientsofU.S.militaryaidbeallowedtopurchaseIsraeliweapons,an
unprecedentedbreakwiththetraditional"buyAmerican"practice,consideredtobetheunderpinningofU.S.
militaryassistance.
NoneoftheseelementswereoperativewhenIsraelfirstbeganmarketingitsmilitarywaresinCentralAmericain
1973.Israelsimplypushedintothemarketitself,introducingitsnewproductsatfairsandwithashipboard
showroom.Aidedbycontactsdevelopedduringthepreviousdecadewhenithadconductedtechnicalassistance
programsintheregion,IsraelsoldltscastoffFrenchcombatjetaircrafttoElSalvadorandin1975toHonduras
theseweretheregion'sfirstjetfightersandfirstsupersonicjets,respectively,andthebuyershadnotyetmade
peacefollowingashootingwarin1969andavarietyofarmoredvehicles,patrolboats,counterinsurgency
aircraftandsmallarmstothesetwonationsandtoNicaraguaandGuatemala.Beforeverylong,however,Israeli
saleswouldincreaseandthatincreasewouldbethankstoeventsintheU.S.,whichcreatedsalesopportunities
forIsrael.
OpportunityinCentralAmerica
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ThesameCarterhumanrightsdoctrinethatbroughtcampaigncontributionsfromwealthyGuatemalansto
RonaldReaganbroughtorderstotheIsraeliarmsindustries.By1978Nicaragua,ElSalvadorandGuatemala
werefoundguiltyofhumanrightsviolationsconnectedwithinsurgenciesarisingfromlongstandingsocialand
politicalinequities.U.S.militaryaidwasterminatedandallthreeofthesenationsthenturnedtoIsraeltofillthe
gapsleftbywithdrawalofU.S.aid.
AspartofthiswindfallIsraelsuppliedthemilitaryregimeofElSalvadorwithover80%ofitsweaponryforthe
nextseveralyears,includingnapalmforuseagainsttheSalvadorancivilianpopulation.Israeliadviserstrained
theSalvadoransincounterinsurgencyandinstalledacomputerizedintelligencesystemabletotrackinsurgents
and,bymonitoringUtilityusage,pinpointsafehouses.
Itisalmostcertainthattheseadvisersremainedafter1981whenWashingtonmadethecauseoftheSalvadoran
landowningoligarchyitsownandresumedmilitaryaid.TheIsraelisthushelpedtheU.S.exceedthe
congressionallimitationofU.S.advisersinElSalvadoratanyonetime.AccordingtoamemberofElSalvador's
shortlivedFirstJunta(197980),IsraeliadviserswhocametotrainofficersofANSESAL,theSalvadoransecret
policeoriginallyestablishedbytheCIAandcloselylinkedtotheinfamousdeathsquads,remainedinEl
Salvadoraslateas1983.
AlthoughincreasingU.S.militaryassistancecutintotheamountofbusinessavailabletoIsrael,Israelcontinued
itsrelationshipwiththeSalvadoranmilitary,mostrecentlyprovidingasophisticated"pacification"planwhich
involvestheforcibleresettlementofciviliansintocommunitiesundermilitarycontrol.Followingthefailureof
confidentlyannouncedU.S.plansto"wintheheartsandminds"ofthelongsufferingSalvadoranpopulace,the
Israeliprogram(fundedbytheWorldBank,theU.S.andWestGermany)isaquidproquoforElSalvador's
decisiontomoveitsembassyinIsraelfromTelAvivtoJerusalem.
IfSalvadoran"modelvillages"followthepatternofthoseIsraelhashelpedestablishinGuatemala,their
"citizens"willsoonbegrowingfancyvegetablesforexportinexchangeforbarelyenoughfoodfortheir
families,turningaprofitfortheirmilitary"guardians."TheagriculturaloperationsunderIsraeliadvisementare
likelytoorderIsraelihightechfarmingequipmentandIsraelishaveinvestedheavilyinGuatemala'sagricultural
sector.AlreadysomeSalvadoranofficersaretryingtoimitateGuatemala'sinvoluntary"selfdefense"forces,an
integralpartofits"pacification"program.
Since1977theGuatemalanmilitaryhasreliedheavilyonIsraelforeachphaseofitsantiinsurgencycampaign.
Israeliadvisersappearedonthescenewhenthemilitarygovernmentwasengagedinkillinganddispossessing
thelargelyMayanhighlandcommunitiesinanefforttosquashtheIndians'supportforarevolutionary
movementinspiredbytheincredibleinequalityoflandownership.Overthefollowingeightyears,Israeli
weaponsandadvisershelpedtheGuatemalanmilitaryhaltthegrowthoftheinsurgencybyamasscarnageofat
least10,000whichsomeobservershavenothesitatedtocallgenocide.
Israel,accordingtoBenedictoLucasGarcia,brotherofheadofstate(19781982)RomeoLucasGarcia,and
formerchiefofstaffoftheGuatemalanArmy,"didnotprovideuswithlargeamounts,butitwastheonly[state]
whichprovideduswithmilitarysupportsothatwecoulddealwiththeguerrillas."Thearmsmightnothavebeen
numerousenoughtopleaseLucas,butin1983aTimereportermarveledthat"theIsraelishavesoldthe
governmenteverythingfromantiterrorismequipmenttotransportplanes.Armyoutpostsinthejunglehave
becomenearreplicasofIsraeliarmyfieldcamps."
Moreover,IsraelalsoprovidedGuatemalawithtwocomputercenters,oneofwhich,locatedinanannextothe
PresidentialPalace,wasusedtomonitordissidentsandcompileanddisseminatedeathlists.Israelhasalsobeen
instrumentalinprovidingadviceanddirectionforGuatemala'saudaciousprogramoflongtermsocialcontrol:
four"polesofdevelopment"withdozensof"modelvillages"inwhichareinternedindigenouspeasantsdriven
offtheirlandorcapturedbythearmy.Wrestedfromtheircornorientedcultureandunderdirectmilitarycontrol,
thepeasantsgrowexportcrops.ThissocialexperimenttheGuatemalanofficerwhodirectstheprogram
comparedthemodelvillagestoIsraelikibbutzimhasenjoyedsupportfromtheU.S.religiousright.SouthAfrica
isalsoknowntobeassistingwiththe"resettlement"program.
Nicaraguaescapedthesamefate,butnotforwantofIsrael'sattention.Inthelate1970s,dictatorAnastasio
SomozaDebayle,lastofadynastythathadrunNicaraguaasafamilyfiefdomsince1933,wasfacedbyan
insurrectionofvirtuallytheentirepopulation,andin1978,atthelatterstagesofevents,theCarter
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AdministrationfinallycutoffU.S.assistance.Somozawasthenfacedwithafairlyrigorousinformalembargo
nocountryseemedwillingtosellhimweapons.
TheIsraeliswerequicktotakeuptheslack,andfromSeptemberofthatyearuntilthefollowingJulywhenhe
wasousted,IsraelsoldSomoza98percentoftheweaponsheusedagainsttheNicaraguanpopulation.Those
includednotonlyUzisubmachinegunsand"thousands"ofIsraelimadeGalilassaultrifles,butlargequantities
ofammunition,surfacetoairmissiles(theFSLN,theSandinistas,hadnoairforce),ninecombatarmedCessna
aircraftandtwoSikorskyhelicopters,whichSomoza'sGuardusedasplatformsformachinegunstrafing.
Sometimestheyrolled500poundbombsoutthehelicopterdoors.
WiththetacitpermissionoftheCarterAdministration,theIsraeliscontinuedtoshiparmstoSomozauntilthe
endofJune1979.Threeweeksbeforethedictatorwasforcedtoflee,Washingtonsaid"enough,"andIsrael
recalledsupplies(includingtwopatrolboats)thatwerethenontheirwaytoNicaragua.Fromexile,Somoza
frettedabouttheshipthatwasrecalledtoIsrael:"SomewhereinIsraelthereisalargeconsignmentofarmsand
ammunitionwhichcouldhavesavedNicaragua."Someday,hismenwouldreclaimthatcargo,butkilledin
Paraguayin1981,Somozawouldnotlivetoseethat,norwouldheseehowhardRonaldReaganwouldworkto
restoreNicaraguatohisNationalGuard.
Inresponsetocriticismoccasionallyleveledatitinsubsequentyears,Israelhasalwaysinsistedthatitstoodby
Somozabecauseofadebtdatingbacktothe1930s.Atthattime,andagainfollowingWorldWarII,Anastasio
SomozaGarcia,thefatherofthetoppleddictator,vouchedforweaponspurchasedinEuropebytheprestate
Zionistmilitaryforces,theHaganah.TheZionistswhodealtwithhimpaidSomozaextremelywellatthetime,
soitissomewhatludicrousfortheIsraelistoarguethattheywerehonorboundtohelphissonmurderthousands
ofNicaraguansdecadeslater.However,theyhavegottenbywiththislineofdefense,sincenoonewithany
leverageoverIsraelhaschallengedit,andthearmssaleswereverylucrative,probablyamountingto$250
million.
Israel,theWhiteHouseJuntaandtheContras
ThelackofcriticismfromwhereitmatteredtheU.S.Congressandinfluentialliberalandprogressive
constituenciesintheU.S.toanyofitsarmsdealingsinCentralAmericaemboldenedIsraeltocooperatewiththe
ReaganAdministrationinsupportingthecontrasintheearlydaysoftheprogram.Buttherecameatime,asearly
asthesummerof1983,whentheadministrationwantedmorefromIsraelthanIsraelwaswillingtorisk.The
tensionthatarosethenpersistedandalmostcertainlysetthecoursefortheschemewhichwouldbecomeknown
asIranContraaffair.
Whateverelsethestorydemonstrates,itshowsclearlythatIsraelmightcooperateextensivelywiththe
administrationoritscovertagentsinmanypartsoftheworld,butitisfarfromthesupineproxythatsucharole
suggests.ThedickeringbackandforthwhichwentonoverwhatIsraelcoulddoforthecontraswasnever
completelyresolved:whenthefederalfurnitureisrearrangedfollowingtheinvestigationsoftheaffair,therewill
beevengreaterpressureonIsraeltostandupinpublicwiththecontras.Butmuchmoneyandmanyweapons
changedhandswhiletherelationshipgrewuparoundthatpointofcontention.Theparticipants'divergentwishes
aboutIsrael'srolewiththecontrasresultedinthelinkingoftwooperations,whichwereeventuallyexposedas
theIranContrascandal.
''Strategic''Cooperation
UntiltheU.S.approvedIranarmssalesbegan,U.S.IsraelicollaborationinthewaragainstNicaraguaappearsto
havebeencarriedoutintheframeworkofaseriesofagreements.Israel'sLikudgovernment,whichtookoffice
in1977,hadalwayspursuedconcessionsfromtheU.S.tohelpitdevelopandmarketweapons.Someelements
ofwhatIsraeldesiredwereincorporatedinaMemorandumofAgreementsignedbythetwocountriesinMarch
1979.FourmonthsaftertheReaganAdministrationwasswornin,SecretaryofStateAlexanderHaigsigneda
commitmentextendingtheprivilegesofthe1979pact.
OnNovember30,1981theadministrationsignedaMemorandumofUnderstanding(MOU)onStrategic
CooperationwithIsrael.InadditiontoprovisionsaimedatboostingIsrael'sweaponsindustry,theMOUbound
thetwocountriesintoaloosemutualdefensepact(aimed,asquicklybecamederigeuerintheReaganyears,at
theUSSR)andcoveredcooperationinAfricaandverylikelyotherareasofthedevelopingworld.Althoughthis
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agreementwassuspendedalmostimmediatelywhenIsraelangeredWashingtonwithitssurpriseannexationof
theGolanHeights,"itsspiritandsomeofitsinitiativescontinueunderthe1979MOA."(DefenseMinisterAriel
SharonsaidthesuspensionoftheMOUdidnothurtIsraelastheU.S.wouldpayinterestforthedelayinits
implementation.)
ThecooperationwasunspecifiedintheMOU,butanIsraeliofficialsaiditwaslefttobeevolved.TheIsraelis
wantedanduntilDavidKimchetookhisleavefromtheForeignMinistryshortlybeforetheIrancontrascandal
broke,continuedtowantU.S.fundingtoenticeAfricannationstoreestablishdiplomaticrelationswiththem.
DefenseMinisterArielSharonsaidthatWashingtonhadpromisedIsraelmoneyforitsactivitiesinAfrica.
(SharonarrivedinWashingtontosigntheMOUforIsraelimmediatelyafterhavingtraveledthroughAfrica.He
urgedtheReaganAdministrationtosellarmstoSouthAfricasoittoocouldhelpinthefightagainst
communism.)
Israelwasalsoeagerfortheformalpactbecauseitbelievedthattheconnectionwouldboostpublicperceptionof
Israelasa"strategicasset"oftheUnitedStates,ratherthanWashington'sbiggestforeignaidclientalthoughthe
goaloftheperceptionengineeringwasinparttoobtainmoreU.S.aid.
JudgingfromthewaytheIsraeliswouldkeepseekingit,WashingtonneverputagreatdealofmoneyintoIsrael's
Africaoperations.Andwhateverspiritofthe1979MemorandumsurvivedIsrael's1982invasionofLebanon
and,intheaftermath,PrimeMinisterBegin'sarrogantrejectionofthetimidpeaceplanprofferedbyPresident
Reagan,wasquitewithered.
Moreover,withtheresignationofSecretaryofStateHaigandhisreplacementbyGeorgeShultz,alongtime
employeeofthegiantBechtelconstructionfirmwithclosebusinesstiestoArabgovernments,IsraelanditsU.S.
backersexpectedrelationstogetworse.Instead,thenDeputySecretaryofDefenseFrankCarluccihehassince
beenappointednationalsecurityadviserpersuadedShultztoworkwithRobertC.Ames,theCIAseniorofficer
fortheMiddleEast.MosheArens,Israel'sambassadoratthetimeandhisaideBenjaminNetanyahu(since
Israel'sambassadortotheUN)madethereeducationofShultztheirpersonalproject,buildingapersonal
relationshipwiththeSecretaryofState.The"realturningpoint"cameattheendof1982,whenShultztriedto
blockaS200millionadditiontoIsrael'sU.S.assistance,proposedbyCongressatthebehestofAIPAC(the
AmericanIsraelPublicAffairsCommittee,Israel'sregisteredlobbyintheU.S.).Helostandacknowledgedthe
lobby'spowerandIsraelhasregardedhimasafirmfriendeversince.
ThatsummerfourShultzassistantsbegantopressthesecretarytoestablishcloserlinkswithIsrael.Oneofthe
fourwasUndersecretaryofStateLawrenceEagleburger,whowouldlaterbeassignedtoactasU.S.Iiaisonon
bilateralcovertactivities.Whenthegrouphadcompletedtheirpositionpapersarguingfor"strategic
cooperation"withIsrael,ShultzandRobertMcFarlane,atthetimenationalsecurityadviser,wenttoseethe
Presidentandsoldhimthenewpolicy,overtheoppositionofCIADirectorCaseyandSecretaryofDefense
Weinberger.TheyarguedthatitwouldhelpcontainSovietexpansionintheMiddleEast.
ThepoliticalcorrespondentforIsrael'smilitaryradiocreditedRobertMcFarlanewiththebreakthrough."Itis
stressedinJerusalemthatevenbeforethemassacre[theOctoberbombingofmarineheadquarters]inBeirut,a
tendencyhademergedinWashingtontowardincreasingcooperationwithIsraelinthewakeofdeliberationsin
theU.S.capitalafterRobertMcFarlanebecamethenewnationalsecurityadviser."
InlateOctober1983PresidentReagansignedNationalSecurityDecisionDirective111,establishingstrategic
cooperationwithIsrael.Israel'sPrimeMinisterYitzhakShamirarrivedinWashingtonthefollowingmonthto
discussthepacthedescribeditas,inpart,"adialogueoncoordinatingactivityinthethirdworld"anditwas
formallysignedthefollowingMarch.
Largelyunknowninthiscountry,inIsraelthenewpactwasleakedbeforeitwasevensigned,muchless
discussed,afteravisittoIsraelbyUnderSecretaryofStateLawrenceEagleburger.TheconservativeIsraeli
paperMa'ariv,saidthatearlyinNovemberEagleburgertoldPrimeMinisterShamirthat"thepresidentwould
liketomeetwithapersonalityorpersonalitiesfromthemostseniorechelonsinIsrael."
Ma'arivpointedoutthatwhattheWhiteHousewantedwas"substantive,andnotjustintendedtoshutIsraelup
andjustifytheAWACSdealwithSaudiArabia,"andthatitfinallyrecognizedIsrael"asarealasset."Thepaper
speculatedthatEagleburger,SecretaryofStateShultz,"andthemembersoftheNationalSecurityCouncil
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advocatingaproIsraelilinearecurrentlyenjoyingReagan'ssupport,"overthosealignedwithDefenseSecretary
Weinberger.
Ma'arivsaidthattheReaganAdministrationadmittedthatithaddealtharshlywithIsraeloverLebanonand,
"duringtheinvasionofGrenada,whentheUnitedStatesusedalltheexplanationsIsraelusedtoexplainits
invasionofLebanonwithintheframeworkofthePeaceforGalileeOperation,whichtheUnitedStatesdidnot
findsatisfactory."
ShamirleftWashingtonwithpromisesofincreasedU.S.aid,shorttermeconomiccredits,concessionsonthe
salesofIsraeliweaponssystemstotheU.S.,andanadministrationcommitmenttoaFreeTradeAgreement.
Shortlythereafter,theDefenseDepartmentrelentedinanongoingstandoffandreleasedtechnologypackagesfor
theLaviaircraftIsraelwasdeveloping.Tothemedia,SecretaryofStateShultzacknowledgedthattherewas"no
quidproquointhenewarrangementwithIsrael,thattheUnitedStatesreceivednomajorconcessionsinreturn."
ClearlytheadministrationwaspropitiatingIsraelandtherewasonlyoneconceivablereasonitcouldhavebeen
doingso:itwantedIsraelihelpwiththecontras.
WellbeforetheU.S.invasionofGrenada,andwhiletheStateDepartmentwasstillfashioningitsnewproIsraeli
policy,abilateralcommitteespearheadedbyRobertMcFarlanebeganwhatwouldbecometwiceyearly
meetings.In1982,asanaidetoSecretaryofStateAlexanderHaig,McFarlanehadbeensenttoIsraeltodiscuss
Haig'svisionofaconservativeMiddleEastalliance.McFarlane'sinterlocutorhadbeenDavidKimche,director
generaloftheIsraeliforeignministry.WhenMcFarlanemovedovertotheWhiteHouseheestablishedlinks
betweenKimcheandseniorStateDepartmentofficials,launchingwhatcametobeknownastheU.S.Israel
PoliticalMilitaryCommittee.Thecommittee'whichwouldmeeteveryspringandfall(alternatelyinWashington
andJerusalem)'wassetup"tolookatthebigpicture,"meaningeverythingbutwhatiseuphemisticallyknownas
theMiddleEast"peaceprocess."Itwouldlaterbesubsumedunderthe1984strategicagreement.
Atthefirstmeetingofthegroup,inJune1983,discussionwasmainlyoncooperationinthedevelopingworld,
centeredespeciallyonCentralAmericaon"theintentionoftheU.S.AdministrationtogetIsraeltosupplythe
armiesoftheproAmericanregimesthere,"withfunds"theU.S.cannotdirectlytransfertoitsalliesinthe
region...paidtoIsraeldirectlyfromtheUnitedStates."
DuringthesametimeframetheWhiteHousewasstartingtoappreciateIsraelforwhatitcoulddotopromote
administrationaimsinCentralAmericaandIsrael'swillingnessto"assist"theU.S.,administrationofficialshad
said,helpedtoimprovestrainedrelationsbetweenthetwocountries.AnIsraeliaccountsaidthatsuch
cooperationwastheonly"aspectofcooperation...tobeenergeticallypursuedduringthelasttwoyears."
IsraelhadallowedS2ImilliontobereprogrammedfromitsforeignassistancetoElSalvadorin1981,before
CongresshadhadanopportunitytocaveintothenewReaganAdministration'sdemandsformajormilitaryaid
fortheSalvadoranregime.IsraelalreadyhadtheGuatemalansituationwellinhand,andithadreinforcedthe
wordsofUNAmbassadorJeaneKirkpatricktodebtriddenCostaRica:ifyouwantaidyoumustcreateanarmy.'
Anditwasinvolvedinalowkeywaywiththecontras.
***
p110
AnEvolvingModusOperandi
Inearly1985bothReaganAdministrationofficialsandmembersofCongresssaidthatIsraelhadagainstepped
upaidtothecontras,butdeniedthatU.S.foreignaidwasfunneledthroughTelAviv,ElSalvadororHonduras.
ThedenialcameastheReaganAdministrationbegansignalingitsdesiretofindalegalwaytosendaidthrough
thirdcountries.InMarch1985itsaiditwasconsideringasking"friendly"Asiancountriestosupportthecontras.
TaiwanandThailandwerementioned,anditwasnevermadeclearwhetherU.S.aidorthefriendlycountries'
ownresourceswouldbeused.AnadministrationofficialsaidbothU.S.aidrecipientsandnonrecipientswere
underconsideration.
Ominously,anadministrationofficialsaid"Rightnowthereisaproscriptionfromanythirdcountryproviding
assistance.Well,mighttheCongressnotwishtoreconsiderthat?"

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AfterafewsuchfeelersonthisscoreproducednegativereactionsfromCongress,thepronouncementsceased.
TheWhiteHouseannouncedthatithad"rejectedaseriesofproposalsforindirectfinancingoftheNicaraguan
rebels."Buttheconnivingcontinued.
InJuly1985theReaganAdministrationnotonlygotS27million"nonlethal"aidoutofCongressforthe
contras,italsofiguredoutawayto"legalize"shakingdownU.S.aidrecipientsforcontributionstothe
mercenaries.(Incidentalbutnotunrelatedtothisprocess,the$12.6billionforeignaidbillcontainingcontraaid
thefirstforeignaidbillsince1981tostandonitsownratherthanskulkinacontinuingresolutionwonthevotes
ofanumberofliberalsbecauseitalsocontainedS4.6billioninU.S.aidforIsrael.Rep.HowardBerman(DCA)
calledit"criticalassistance."~77TheHouseleadershipeitherdidnottrytoseparatethecontraaidfromtheaid
toIsraelorwasunabletodoso.)
ThepresidentsignedtheforeignaidbillcontainingtheS27milliononAugust8.'79Beforehesignedit,
however,whilethebillwasinaHouseSenateconferencetheWhiteHouseorderedsurgeryononeofits
amendments.NamedforSenatorClaibornePell(DRI),theoffendinglanguageforbidtheReagan
AdministrationfrommakingaformalorinformalarrangementwithU.S.aidrecipientstoaidthecontras.Unless
thePellAmendmentwasremoved,itwasthreatenedthatthepresidentwouldvetotheentirebill.TheState
Departmentexplainedthattheamendmentmightpreventthepresidentfromsoliciting"nonlethal"aidfrom
Israel,Taiwan,SouthKorea,andothersuchallies,someofwhichhadalreadyspokentotheWhiteHouseabout
donations.
Inahighlyunusualmove,Sen.Pell,ForeignRelationsChairmanRichardLugar(RIN)andWhiteHouseand
congressionalstaffsatdowntogetherandrewrotetheamendment.Thenewlanguageread:
...theU.S.shallnotenterintoanyarrangementconditioningexpresslyorimpliedlytheprovisionofassistance
underthisact...uponprovisionofassistancebyarecipienttopersonsorgroupsengaginginan
insurgency...againstthegovernmentof
Nicaragua.
BothhousesofCongresspassedthislanguagebeforetheyadjournedforthesummer.Henceforththe
administrationwasallowedtoputthearmonaidclientsjustnottothepointofthreateningtocutofftheiraid!
ThefollowingweekitbecameevidentthattheheatwasoffIsrael,ascontrabossAdolfoCalerocatalogued
contributionsforreporters:"Alotofpeoplehelponweapons.Gen.Singlaub,someGermans,someFrench.The
peoplewhohelpusarenotgovernmentpeople,butgovernmentscangiveleavesofabsenceoritcanbearetired
person.WehavenoIsraelidealings.Theyhavenotgivenorsoldusanything."Earlierthatyearareporterfor
NationalPublicRadiohadseenIsraelimadeartillerypiecesattheFDN'smaincampinsouthernHonduras.
AlthoughinformationisnowcomingtolightaboutarmsshipmentsmadebytheSecordHakimNorthjunta
throughPortugalandFrance,therehavebeenveryfewreportsofweaponscomingfromEuropeansforthe
contras.Astofinancialcontributionsthatmighthavebeenusedtopurchaseweapons,EdgarChamorroinsists
thattheoccasionalreportsofsuchmoneyfromEuropearea"smokescreen.""MoneyonlygoesthroughEurope
tobelaundered,"hesays."
In1986,inascenarioatleastasironicastheforcingofIrantofinancethewaragainstNicaragua,Richard
SecordshookdownthegovernmentofSaudiArabiaforfundsforthecontras.TheSaudisgaveinafterbeing
remindedthattheadministrationhadstuckitsneckoutand"defiedthepowerfulprolsraelilobby"togetthe
AWACssalethroughCongress.Secordhimselfhadlobbiedforthesale.SecordthenusedtheSaudimoney"to
acquireSovietmadeweaponsfromEgypt,fromIsraeliheldstockscapturedinLebanon,andfrominternational
armsdealers."
DuringtheyearsCongresslimitedfundingforthecontras,CIADirectorCaseyandUNAmbassadorVernon
WalterstraveledtoanumberofU.S.clientsandurgedcontributions.BothIsraelandEgyptdonatedmoneyin
responsetothesepleas"whenremindedofthesubstantialU.S.aidtheyreceive."
Itwasnotallgivingthough.WhilesomeofthemoneythatIsraelvolunteeredissaidtohavebeenpassed
throughOliverNorth,itismorethanlikelythatthemoneyIsraelgavewasimmediatelyrecycledinIsraelfor
weapons,apatternthatwastoberepeatedwhenthesiphoningoffoftheIranprofitscommenced.(Thesame
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patternwhichensuresthatmuchofU.S.foreignaidisspentonU.S.weaponsorcivilianimports.)Formercontra
leaderEdgarChamorrohaspointedoutthatarmsdealersdonotseekoutthecontras,nordothemercenaries
oftenmakepurchasesontheopenmarket.Heexplainedthat"averyfewpeople,closetotheWhiteHouse,tell
theFDNhowtogetweapons...Caleroistoldbythepeopleinchargewheretogotobuyweapons.Theyeven
maketheconnections."
p114
MassiveIsraeliArmsShipments
...AnarmsexpertestimatedthattheIsraelishadsentthecontras"thousands"ofAK47s.SeventyAK47sand
100,000roundsofAK47ammunitionwereamongotheritemsontheplaneshotdownbyNicaraguaonOctober
5,1986.
Duringthe198586periodIsraelsentatleast6shiploadsofEastblocassaultrifles,grenadelaunchersand
ammunitiontoHondurasforthecontras.Someofthe400tonsofweaponsshippedbySouthernAirTransportto
IlopangoAirBaseinElSalvadorcamefromIsrael,viaPortugal.Oneshipment,a"significantquantity"ofEast
blocarms(interestingly,theonlyIsraeliarmsshipmenttothecontrastobementionedintheSenateIntelligence
Committee'sreport)wasofferedbyIsraeliDefenseMinisterYitzhakRabinonSeptember12,1986.Theywereto
bepickedupduringthefollowingweekandtakenonaforeignflagvesseltoCentralAmerica.Admiral
PoindexterhadcorrespondedwithOliverNorthabouttheIsraelishipmentandwroteNorthanotecharacterizing
thedealasa"privatedealbetweenDick[Secord]andRabinthatwebless,"andtellingNorthto"goaheadand
makeithappen."
AnIsraelisourceconfirmedthattheshiploadofweaponshadindeedbeenonthewaytoCentralAmerica.He
saidthatithadbeenrecalledafterthescandalbroke.
InabriefinghepreparedforPresidentReaganinadvanceofascheduledSeptember15meetingwithPrime
MinisterShimonPeres,PoindexteradvisedReagantothankPeresfortheshipment"becausetheIsraelisheld
considerablestoresofblocordnancecompatiblewitharmsusedbythe[contras]."Suchshipmentsmighthave
beenaregularfeatureofthe"strategic"relationshipbetweentheU.S.andIsrael,orthatblesseddealmighthave
beenauniqueoccasion.Many,ifnotmostoftheIsraelishipmentswentthroughprivateIsraelidealers,whoexist
forjustsuchbusiness.
p123
TheAttractionsofObscurity
Overthemanyhearings,investigations,andotherdissectionsofIrancontraaffair,Israel'spurposesarelikelyto
remainobscuretothepublic.Israelicitizens,betheyofficials,armsdealers,orcivilianwitnessesarenotbound
byU.S.Iawtotestifyorcooperateininvestigations.Israelhasalreadymadeitclearthatitwillshielditscitizens
whowereinvolvedintheaffairbehinditsnationalsovereigntyandwillonlycooperatetotheextentnecessaryto
placatepublicopinion.
Andthat,giventhewelloiledmediamachineryofIsraeliloyalistsintheU.S.,isaverylimitedproposition.As
wasseenduringtheinvasionofLebanon,whenthecamerasfocusintoocloseavastcrywillgoup,charging
mediaimbalanceandprobablyalsoantiSemitism.
TheCongress,whichhadmanyopportunitiestoexamineIsrael'sactivitiesinCentralAmericaandtodiscourage
them,understandstheproblemsattachedtothoseactivitiesalltoowellbutmembersofCongresswouldbethe
firsttoadmit(ifonlytheydared)thattheyarepowerlesstorestrainIsrael.Organizationsdedicatedtoreversing
thepostwartrendsinU.S.foreignpolicyarealsounlikelytodepartfromtheiringrainedtendencytoavoid
confrontationwithIsrael.
Israel'simmunitytoU.S.Iawandthesilenceithascreatedarounditselfbyyearsofmethodicalintimidationwill
protectitthroughthebloodlettingahead.ThesebuiltinattractionsarealsolikelytomakeIsraelthevehicleof
choiceforthenexttragicandavoidableessayincovertforeignpolicy.
Part4Irangate:TheIsraelConnection

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p169
TheIsraeliInterestinIran
...IsraeliinterestsinnonArabIranbecameprominentasearlyasthe1950s,whenMossad,Israel'sforeign
intelligenceagency,cooperatedwiththeCIAinestablishingtheShah'ssecretpolice,SAVAK.A1979CIA
reportonMossadnotesthat:
ThemainpurposeoftheIsraelirelationshipwithIranwasthedevelopmentofaproIsraelandantiArabpolicy
onthepartofIranianofficials.MossadhasengagedinjointoperationswithSAVAKovertheyearssincethelate
1950s.MossadaidedSAVAKactivitiesandsupportedtheKurdsinIraq.TheIsraelisalsoregularlytransmittedto
theIraniansintelligencereportsonEgypt'sactivitiesintheArabcountries,trendsanddevelopmentsinIraq,and
CommunistactivitiesaffectingIran."
CooperationbetweenIsraelandIrantouchedmanyfields,includingoil,trade,airtransport,andvariousformsof
technicalassistance.Buttheirmostimportantmutualinterestwasinthemilitarysphere.
LiketheUnitedStates,IsraelcementeditsrelationshipwithIranbytheexchangeofarmsforoil,whichboth
sideskeptalivethroughtheworstoftheOPECoilembargo.TheIranianarmsmarketwasworthatleast$500
millionayeartoIsrael.TheShahboughteverythingfromGabrielantishipmissilestoadvanced
communicationsequipment.In1977,Israelarrangeda$1billionarmsforoildealaroundOperationFlower,a
jointIsraeliIranianprojecttobuildanuclearcapablesurfacetosurfacemissile.AndliketheirAmerican
counterparts,certainIsraelisalsoseemtohavebeenpartofthecorruptnexusthroughwhichtopIranianpolitical
andmilitaryleaderswereenrichedthrougharmssalecommissions."WhentheIsraelisdecidetochangetheir
policy,"onetopStateDepartmentofficialtoldareporterinthemid1970s,"thefirstplacetheIsraelijettouches
downisTehran.MosheDayanisinandoutoftherequitefrequently."
NoIsraelirepresentativeinIranduringtheShah'sreignwasmoresignificantorinfluentialthanYa'acov
Nimrodi,Israel'smilitaryattach.HereportedlyhelpedorganizeandencouragetherebellionofKurdish
tribesmenagainstIraq,theShah'smainpoliticalandmilitaryrivalintheregion.Asthechiefgovernmentagent
forIsrael'sburgeoningarmsindustry,knownasanallpurpose"fixer,"NimrodiwasintimatewiththeShahand
hisgenerals."IwasinpartnershipwiththeShah,"hetoldfriends.(Amongothercoups,NimrodisoldtheIranian
armyontheUzisubmachinegun.)AndastheMossadagentwhocouldproperlyboastofhaving"built"SAVAK
intoanefficientifbrutalintelligenceservice,hewasnolessintimatewiththekeepersoftheShah'ssecrets.With
thearrivaloftheKhomeiniregime,Nimrodikeptopenhislinesofcommunicationasaprivatearmsdealerwho
wouldbecomecentraltotheReaganarmsforhostagetalks.
ThoughIsrael,alongwiththeUnitedStates,sufferedagrievouslosswiththefalloftheShah,itsleaders
concludedthatlastinggeopoliticalinterestswouldeventuallytriumphoverreligiousideologyandproducean
accommodationbetweenTelAvivandTehran.TheonsetoftheIranIraqwarin1980gaveIsraelileadersa
specialincentivetokeeptheirdooropentotheIslamicrulersinIran:thetwononArabcountriesnowshareda
commonArabenemy.AsIsraeliDefenseMinisterArielSharontoldtheWashingtonPostinMay1982,
justifyingIsraeliarmssalestoTehran,"IraqisIsrael'senemyandwehopethatdiplomaticrelationsbetweenus
andIranwillberenewedasinthepast."FourmonthslaterhetoldaParispressconference,"Israelhasavital
interestinthecontinuingofthewarinthePersianGulf,andinIran'svictory."SuchviewswerenotSharon's
alonePrimeMinistersItzhakShamir(Likud)andShimonPeres(Labor)sharedthemtoo.
Tothisday,prominentIsraelisstillarguethatstrategiccalculusunashamedly.RetiredGen.AharonYariv,former
headofmilitaryintelligence,toldaconferenceatTelAvivUniversityinlate1986that"itwouldbegoodifthe
IranIraqwarendedinatie,butitwouldbeevenbetterifitcontinued."Otherwise,Iraqmightopenan"eastern
front"againstIsrael.19Thecarnageofhumanlifedidn'tfigureintheequationatall.UriLubrani,Israel'schief
representativeinIranundertheShahandNimrodi'ssuperiorinMossad,recentlyjustifiedcontinuedarmssales
because"KhomeinismwilldisappearandIsraelandtheUnitedStateswillagainhaveinfluenceinIran."
Oneotherconsideration,rarelyarticulated,alsoswayedsuccessiveIsraelileaders:money.AccordingtoGary
Sick,anexpertonIranwhoservedontheNSCunderPresidentsFord,CarterandReagan,"Israelacknowledged
thatarmssalesweregoodbusiness.Oneoutof10Israeliworkersisemployedinarmsrelatedproduction
militaryitemsconstitutemorethanaquarterofIsrael'sindustrialexports."ThedistinguishedIsraelidefense
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correspondentZe'evSchiffstatesthatIsrael'sprolranpolicyhasbeen"guidedbyaravenoushungerforprofit
ratherthanbystrategicconsiderations..."
ThishungerwasallthemoreacuteinviewofsevereunemploymentthathittheIsraeliarmsindustryin1979
aftertheIranmarketshriveled.Nimrodi,theMossadagentturnedarmsdealer,recalledthatwhenhereportedto
theIsraeligovernmentonthemillionsofdollarstobehadfromarmssalestoKhomeini'sIran,"people'seyeslit
uphere.Theyhavebeenlayingpeopleoffinthedefenseindustry,andthismeantjobs."
TheArmsChannelOpens
IsraellostnotimesupplyingthenewKhomeiniregimewithsmallquantitiesofarms,evenaftertheseizureof
theU.S.embassy.ThefirstsalesincludedsparepartsforU.S.madeF4PhantomjetsalaterdealinOctober
1980includedpartsforU.S.madetanks.IsraelinformedWashington,only"afterthefact,whentheywerefar
downthelineandrightintothemiddleofthething,"accordingtoaformerStateDepartmentofficial.ToBegin's
expostfactorequestforapproval,"theanswerwasinstant,unequivocalandnegative,"writesGarySick,theIran
expertonCarter'sNSC.
TheWhiteHousewasinfactaghasttofindthatitsembargohadbeenflatlyviolated."Welearnedmuchtoour
dismay,"Brzezinskinotedlater,"thattheIsraelishadbeensecretlysupplyingAmericansparepartstothe
IranianswithoutmuchconcernforthenegativeimpactthiswashavingonourleveragewiththeIraniansonthe
hostageissue."SecretaryofStateEdmundMuskiedemandedthatIsraelceaseitsshipmentsPrimeMinister
Beginpromisedtocomply.Infact,however,thesupplylinestayedopenwithoutWashington'sapproval,
carryingtankpartsandammunition.
Whydidn'ttheadministrationcrackdown?OnereasonissimplythatnopresidentsinceEisenhowerhasever
reallypunishedIsraelforactingagainstU.S.interests.PrimeMinisterBeginbombedtheIraqinuclearreactor,
invadedLebanon,annexedtheGolanheightsandspeededupthesettlementoftheoccupiedWestBankmuchto
theReaganadministration'sembarrassment,butconsiderationsofmilitarystrategyandIsrael'spoliticalcloutin
Congressalwaysgavetheclientstatetheupperhand.
Moreover,theadministrationcouldrarelyprovewhatitsuspected.Israeldiditsbesttodisguisetheseshipments
byusinglayersofforeignbrokerstocloaktheirsource.NotesHa'aretzcorrespondentYo'avKarny"Thecloakof
secrecythatsurroundsIsraeliarmsexportsissotightthatonecancompareittothetechniqueforsmugglinghard
drugs."Whencaughtintheact,Israeliofficialsmaintainedtheyweresimplysellingdomesticarms,not
embargoedU.S.weapons."Wheneverwewouldgetwordofshipments,"oneAmericanofficialexplained,"the
StateDepartmentwouldraisetheissuewithIsrael,andwewouldgetthestandardlectureandpromisesthatthere
werenoU.S.weaponsinvolved."
Thatstandardlecturewasclearlyfalse,thoughWashingtonmayhavelackedusableevidencetoproveit.U.S.
madeweaponswereverymuchforsale.On24July1981,IsraeliarmsdealerYa'acovNimrodilatertoplaya
vitalroleinthearmsforhostagesnegotiationsapparentlysignedadealwithIran'sMinistryofNationalDefense
tosell$135,842,000worthofarms,includingLancemissiles,CopperheadshellsandHawkmissiles.Asaleof
suchmagnitudemusthavehadIsraeligovernmentacquiescence.Nimrodi'sclosepersonalfriendArielSharon,a
wartimecomradefromthe1948struggle,likelykepttabson,ifhedidnotdirect,theprivatedealer'ssaleswith
Iran.
Sometimethesameyear,DavidKimche,directorgeneralofIsrael'sforeignministry,apparentlyapproached
SecretaryofStateAlexanderHaigandhiscounselorRobertMcFarlanetodiscussproposedIsraelishipmentsof
$10millionto$15millioninsparepartsto"moderates"inIran.Kimchemayhavebeenreferringtoacontractto
supply360tonsoftanksparesandammunitionworthabout$28million,twicehisestimatetoIranbyairvia
Cyprus.ButHaigdeniesthatheeverapprovedanysuchshipments,aclaimstrengthenedbytheadmissionof
IsraeliofficialsthattheywentaheadbasedonlyonHaig'sallegedfailuretodisapprove.Inanycase,the
shipmentsinquestionpaledbesidewhatNimrodiwasthenarranging.
InNovember1981,IsraeliDefenseMinisterSharonvisitedWashington,shoppingforapprovalofsimilararms
sales.HisUS.counterpartCasparWeinberger,flatlyturnedhimdown.SharonthenwenttoHaig,hopingfor
acquiescencefromtheStateDepartment.Again,McFarlanehandledmanyofthediscussionswithSharonand
KimchethistimeHaigunequivocallyopposedanyviolationoftheembargo.
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InnumerousdiscussionswithIsraeliofficialsthereafter,administrationdecisionmakersflatlyrefusedrequests
forpermitstoshipU.S.armstoIran,andstrenuouslydiscouragedIsraelfromsendingitsownweaponstothe
radicalKhomeiniregime.UndersecretaryofStateLawrenceEagleburgeratonepointsummonedtheIsraeli
ambassadortoprotesthiscountry'scontinuedsalesonlytobeassuredthattheyhadbeenstopped.Andofficials
whoranOperationStaunch,theprojecttoblockIran'saccesstotheworldarmsmarket,wereneverdiscouraged
fromextendingtheireffortstoIsraelilinkeddeals.
Yetasin197980,Israelpursueditspolicyanyway,inflatviolationofitsarmsreexportagreementswiththe
Pentagon.InaMay1982interviewwiththeWashingtonPost,SharonclaimedthatIsraelishipmentshadbeen
cleared"withourAmericancolleagues"monthsearlierandthatdetailsofalltheshipmentsweresuppliedtothe
administration.Laterthatyear,Israel'sambassadorMosheArensdeclaredthatIsrael'sarmssaleswereclearedat
"almostthehighestlevels"inWashington,"inconsequential"insize,anddesignedtounderminetheKhomeini
regime.BothtimestheStateDepartmentflatlycontradictedtheIsraelis'claims.AtleastSharonandArenswere
morecrediblethanForeignMinisterShimonPeres,whodeclaredaftertheIrangatescandalbrokein1986that
"Israel'spolicyisnottosellarmstoIran."
Allthestandardpropagandathemesandpracticeswereinplace.Israelwouldcontinueseekingapprovalforarms
salesonthebasisoftheirpotentialpoliticalleverage,butwouldshiparmswillynillywhilefalselyclaiming
Washington'ssanction.
Andthoseshipmentswouldcontinuetobeenormousinsize,estimatedbyexpertsattheJaffeeInstitutefor
StrategicStudiesinTelAvivat$500millioninvaluefrom198083.Otherarmsmarketexpertshaveputthetotal
valueatmorethanS500millionayear,includingaircraftparts,artilleryandammunition.
AnecdotesaboundintheworldpressrelatingtoIsraelisalestoIran:
*InMarch1982,theNewYorkTimesciteddocumentsindicatingthatIsraelhadsuppliedhalformoreofall
armsreachingTehranintheprevious18months,amountingtoatleast$100millioninsales.
*ForeignintelligencesourcestoldAerospaceDailyinAugust1982thatIsrael'ssupportwas"crucial"tokeeping
Iran'sairforceflyingagainstIraq.
*AnallegedformerCIAagentreportedlyvisitedIsraelin1982,metwiththechiefofstaffoftheIsraeliDefense
Forcesandheadofmilitaryintelligence,and"struckadealwiththeminvolvingthetransferofweaponsand
equipment,capturedbyIsraelduringtheLebanonwar,toIran."
*IsraelisourcestoldNewsweekthat"theysoldtheIraniansmuchofthelightweaponryandammunitionthatthe
IsraeliarmyhadcapturedduringitsinvasionofLebanonsubsequently,theysoldoverhauledjetengines,spare
partsforAmericanmadeM48tanks,ammunitionandotherhardwareS100millionworthin1983alone."
*NewsweekalsoreportedthatafteranIraniandefectorlandedhisF4PhantomjetinSaudiArabiain1984,
intelligenceexpertsdeterminedthatmanyofitspartshadoriginallybeensoldtoIsrael,andhadthenbeenre
exportedtoTehraninviolationofU.S.Iaw.
*In1984andearly1985,asingleoneofIsrael'smanyEuropeanbrokers,basedinSweden,reportedlyshipped
hundredsoftonsofTNTandotherexplosivestoIran,oftenbywayofArgentina,worth500millionkroner.
*TheMilanweeklyPanoramareportedthatIsraelhadsoldtheKhomeiniregime45,000Uzisubmachineguns,
antitankmissilelaunchers,missiles,howitzersandaircraftreplacementparts."Alargepartofthebootyfromthe
PLOduringthe1982LebanoncampaignwoundupinTehran,"themagazineclaimed.
*ManilanewspapershavereportedsincetheIrangatescandalbrokethatformerarmedforceschiefofstaffGen.
FabianVer,acronyofFerdinandMarcos,suppliedphonyendusercertificatestoallowIsraeliintermediariesto
divertU.S.armstoIranin1984.
Part5TheDeeperMalady:FromTerrorismtoCovertAction
p205
ThePriceofCovertOperations
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CongressasawholehasneveradmittedwhatbothchampionsandcriticsoftheCIAhavelongmaintained:
covertactionscannotbebothtrulyaccountableandeffectiveatthesametime.Whencloselyregulated,
scrutinized,debatedandsecondguessed,covertactionsremainsecretonlyashorttime.Thislogichaspersuaded
everyadministrationsinceHarryTruman'stochoosesecrecyoveraccountability,inthenameofnational
security.AndithaspersuadedeveryCongresssincethentobowtopresidentialauthorityinthefinalshowdown.
Irangatewasmerelythelatestproductofthatsyndrome.
ThetemptationsofpowerandsecrecyovercamelawandconstitutionalauthorityfromtheCIA'sfoundingbythe
NationalSecurityActof1947.Theagency'sfirstgeneralcounsel,LawrenceHouston,wasquicklycalledupon
tointerpretthemeaningoftheact'sphraseassigningtheCIA"suchotherdutiesandfunctionsrelatedto
intelligenceaffectingthenationalsecurityastheNationalSecurityCouncilmayfromtimetotimedirect."
Houstonconcludedthat"takenoutofcontextandwithoutknowledgeof[theact's]history,theseSectionscould
bearalmostunlimitedinterpretation.Inouropinion,however,either[propagandaorcommandotype]activity
wouldbeanunwarrantedextensionofthefunctionsauthorizedby"theact."Wedonotbelievethattherewas
anythoughtinthemindsofCongressthattheCentralIntelligenceAgencyunderthisauthoritywouldtake
positiveactionforsubversionandsabotage."AnysuchmissionswouldnecessitategoingtoCongress"for
authorityandfunds."
Amerethreemonthslater,theNSCdirectedtheCIAtoinitiatepsychologicalwarfareoperationsagainstthe
USSR.Sixmonthsafterthat,theNSCaddedparamilitary,economicwarfareandpoliticalactionoperationsto
thelist.Covertactionwasofficiallyborn.Futureadministrationswouldjustifysuchauthorityonthebasisofthe
president'sinherentpowersinforeignaffairsandthewillingnessofCongresstoappropriatemoneyfortheCIA.
Ineffect,covertoperationsgavesuccessivepresidentsthepowertolegislateaswellasexecuteforeignpolicy
withsecretresources.Notuntilthe1980IntelligenceOversightActdidCongresssupplyclearauthorityfor
covertoperations.
Ontheotherhand,Congressnevershowedthecouragetoreininwhathadbecomearoutineusurpationof
authority.Theclosestitevercametomakingfundamentalreformswasinthemid1970s,whenHouseand
Senateinvestigationsofintelligenceabusesuncoveredevidenceofassassinationplots,illegalmailopening,
illicitdrugtesting,massivedomesticspyingandsabotageofdomesticpoliticalmovements.TheSenate
committee,namedafteritschairmanFrankChurchofIdaho,alsolookedatseveralcovertoperations,including
thedestabilizationofChileanPresidentSalvadorAllende,thathadblackenedAmerica'simagethroughoutthe
world.
TheChurchCommitteewarnedthatcovertoperationshaddevelopedadangerous"bureaucraticmomentum."
Numberingsome900between1960and1975,suchoperationswerebecoming"increasinglycostlytoAmerica's
interestandreputation,"thecommitteeconcluded.Butinsteadofproposingtrulymeaningfulreformsotherthan
thecreationofpermanentoversightcommitteesthepanelmerelyimploredthatcovertoperationsbereservedfor
"gravethreatstoAmericansecurity"andbe"consistentwithpubliclydefinedU.S.foreignpolicygoals."New
YorkTimescolumnistAnthonyLewiscalleditsrecommendations"agamblethattheAmericansystemofchecks
andbalancescanworkeveninthepowerfulsecretworldofintelligence."
Americaislosingthatgamble.Itislosingbecausethepublic'ssenseofconcerndidnotsurvivetheimmediate
scandalsuncoveredbytheinvestigations.Covertoperationsonlydimlyaffecttheaveragecitizenuntilthey
triggeraforeignordomesticcrisis.GeneralindifferencefinallygreetedChurch'sreportonintelligenceabuses.
"Italllastedtoolongandthemedia,theCongressandthepeoplelostinterest,"observedRep.OtisPike(DNY),
whoheadedtheHouseinvestigation.Hiscommittee'sreportwasneverofficiallypublishedanditsconclusions
wereignored.
TheascendancyofaDemocraticadministrationchangedlittle.PresidentCarterstillwithheldfromCongress
advancenoticeofcovertoperations,despitethepromiseofhis1978ExecutiveOrder12036AttorneyGeneral
GriffinBellheldthatguaranteesof"prior"noticereallymeant"timely"notice.Cartersoughtfurtherreductions
incongressionalreportingrequirementsanda"revitalization"oftheCIAinthewakeoftheSovietinvasionof
AfghanistanandpoliticalturmoilinIran.AndheaskedforsweepingexemptionsfromtheFreedomof
InformationActfortheCIA,FBI,NationalSecurityAgency"andotherintelligenceagencycomponents."

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AndwhenlegislatorstriedtowriteanewCIAchartertolimitpresidentialpowersandcheckabuses,Carter's
peoplefoughteveryinchoftheway.Exhaustedliberalscavedin.TocomplaintsfromtheAmericanCivil
LibertiesUnionthattheproposedcharterwastoopermissiveSenatorJosephBiden(DDel)said,"Letmetell
yousomething,fellas.Thefolksdon'tcare.TheaverageAmericancouldcarelessrightnowaboutanyof
this...Youkeeptalkingaboutpublicconcern.Thereain'tnone.'
Intheend,inanyevent,the1980IntelligenceOversightActrequiredadvancereportingofcovertoperations
exceptunderunusualcircumstances(theloopholethatpermittedPresidentReagantoconducttheIranarmsdeal
withoutnotifyingCongress),butcutthenumberofoversightcommitteesfromeighttotwotosatisfycomplaints
fromtheintelligencecommunitythatleaksfromCapitolHillundercuttheCIA'seffectivenessandaccessto
foreignintelligencesources.Thatyear,Congressmadeitillegaltorevealthenamesofagents.
Yetthe"reforms"accomplishedlittlebecausetheydidnottouchtheunderlyingincentivesforpoliticalabuses
inherentincovertoperations."WhenCongresscollapsedfromeighttotwocommittees,manyofusbelieved
therewouldbeanewdayofopennessandtrust,"complainedRep.CharlieRose(DNC),formerheadofHouse
intelligencecommittee."Thatdaynevercame.Itwasfootdraggingandobfuscationasusual.''
TheReaganadministrationtooksuchfootdraggingtonewextremes.Itunderstood"oversight"tomean
CongressshouldoverlookratherthanreviewCIApractices.Itsspiritwassummedupinthedeclarationofthe
1980transitionteamreportonintelligence:"DecisiveactionattheCIAisthekeystoneinachievingareversalof
theunwisepoliciesofthepastdecade.''Congressionalmeddlingcouldnotbepermittedtostandinthewayof
thatreversal.
PerhapsthemostblatantexampleofthiscontemptofCongresswastheCIA'sfailuretonotifytheproper
committeesoftheminingofharborsinNicaragua,aviolationofinternationallawprotestednotonlybythe
Managuaregime,butbymostofitsWesternEuropeantradingpartners.(Suchviolationsoftherightsof
foreignersfigurenowhereinanyofficialinvestigationtodateoftheIrancontraconnection.)TheNicaraguan
governmentitselfannouncedtheminingonJanuary3,1984,buttheCIAfirstmentioneditinpassingtothe
HouseintelligencecommitteeonJanuary31.TheSenatecommitteefirstheardofitinMarch.TheCIAreleased
majordetailsonlyonMarch27,totheHousecommittee.CIADirectorWilliamCaseymadeitclearthatwhat
Congressdidn'taskforexplicitly,hewouldnottellthem.TheRepublicanSenatorDavidDurenbergeradmitted,
"Wehavetoshare,asacommittee,someresponsibilityforthesituation.''
Onlytwomonthslater,theCIAreportedlyfailedtoinformtheHousecommitteeofitscovertinterventioninEl
Salvador'selectiononbehalfofJoseNapoleonDuarte,theChristianDemocraticcandidateforpresident.New
YorkTimesreporterMartinTolchinnotedatthetimethat"membersofCongressrotateonandoffthe
intelligencecommittees,sothattheintelligencecommunityknowsthatitcanoutwaititsseverestcritic."
Surelythemostsignificantbreakdownofoversight,however,cameinthefallof1985.Reportersfrom
AssociatedPressandmajornewspapershadbrokenthestorythatanobscureNSCofficial,OliverNorth,was
advisingandraisingfundsforthecontrasinapparentviolationoftheBolandamendment.Rep.LeeHamilton
(DIN),chairmanoftheHouseIntelligenceCommittee,vowedtoholdhearingstogettothebottomofthe
matter.Rep.MichaelBarnes(DMD)demandedthattheWhiteHouseproducerecordsofNorth'sactivitiesfor
hisWesternHemispheresubcommittee.Barnescameawayemptyhanded.Hamiltonwasunableeventoconvene
ahearingallhecouldgetwasaninformalbriefingbyRobertMcFarlaneandthenationalsecurityadviser's
"assurance"thatNorthandothersintheNSCwererespectingthelaw.Ultimately,HamiltonandBarneswere
stymiedbecauseCongresswaspoliticallydividedthosemembersfavoringaidtothecontrasdidn'twantto
knowthetruth.TheimpasseledadespondentRep.GeorgeBrownJr.(DCA)todeclarethattheoversightlaw
"isnotworking."
WhatlittleinformationthecommitteesdidpryoutoftheCIAconvincedsomemembersthatcovertactionwas
outofcontrol."Theplanningisbeinghandledsloppily,"VermontSen.PatrickLeahysaidwithuncanny
prescience."Soonerorlaterthey'regoingtogetcaughtwiththeirpantsdownandwe'llallreadaboutitinthe
newspapers."
Asseriousastheinadequacyofoversighthasbeenthelegitimacylenttocovertoperationsbytheappearanceof
oversight.Congressappearstograntitsstampofapprovaltooperationsitdoesnothalt.Knowledgeablecritics
ontheoversightcommitteessufferaspecialhandicap:theycannotspeakfreelyaboutwhattheyknow."We
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becomethebufferfortheCIAtodowhatevertheywant,"observedRep.NormanMineta(DCA)."Theytellus,
butwecan'ttellanybody,andtheyhidebehindourskirts."
Evenwhenithasthefacts,Congressrarelyblockscovertprojects.Mostmembersarecontenttoletthepresident
taketheheatifsomethinggoeswrongandunwillingtofaceresponsibilityformakingforeignpolicy.
ABlankCheckfor"Counterterrorism"
Butthatpredispositionhasbeenheavilyconditionedbyhistoricalcircumstances.Inparticular,successive
presidentshavemanipulatedpopularfearstoargueconvincinglyforcentralizingpowerandexcluding
Congressfromthemakingofnationalsecuritypolicy.Overtimethespecific"threats"havechanged,butthe
relianceofpresidentsonthepublic'sunquestioningreactiontothemhasnot.
SinceWorldWarII,themostimportantideologicalproptopresidentialpowerhasbeenanticommunism.More
oftenthannot,thechargewasfalseandtheinterventioncounterproductive,nottomentionanexercisein
imperialpower.HavingdefinedtheSovietUnionasthepreeminentthreattoAmericansecurity,Washington
arguedbyextensionthatSovietmanipulationlaybehindeverythingfromturmoilinthedevelopingworldto
politicalchallengesfromtheleftinWesternEurope.Thusnearlyanyformofforeigninterventioncouldbe
justifiedinthenameofanticommunism.TheCIA'soverthrowofIranianPrimeMinisterMossadeghin1953
installedtheShahonthethroneandsowedtheseedsoftheradicalKhomeinirevolution.Its1954coupagainst
theArbenzregimeinGuatemalaspawnedanongoingguerrillawarthereandhardenedtheMarxist,
revolutionaryleftelsewhereinCentralAmericawithresultsthathaunttheReaganadministrationtoday.
AlthoughWashingtonclaimedotherwise,thoseCIAtargetsandmanyotherswerenationalists,notSoviet
surrogates.
Withtheadventof"detente"andthevisitofarchanticommunistRichardNixontothePeople'sRepublicof
China,anticommunismlostmuchofitsemotiveappealandthusitseffectivenessinmobilizingCongressbehind
unquestionedacceptanceofcovertoperations.TheNixonadministrationdiscoveredanewandseeminglyuglier
menacetotakeitsplace:drugs.Nixon's"warondrugs"openedloopholesincongressionalrestrictionsonforeign
policetraining,providedcoverforcounterinsurgencycampaignsfromBurmatoMexicoandevenjustifiedplots
toassassinateforeignpoliticalleaders.AllwereprogramspickedupfromtheCIAintheguiseofnarcotics
enforcement.
RonaldReagan'scontributionwastofullydevelopthepotentialoftheultimatebogeyman:terrorism.His
predecessors,PresidentsFordandCarter,hadidentifieddrugsandterrorismastwoforeignintelligencetargetsof
suchunquestionedimportanceandsensitivityastojustifybarringcongressionalsupervision.ButtheReagan
WhiteHousemasteredtheexploitationofpublicfearsarousedbyhighlypublicizedterroristactsas
meansofrestoringcovertoperationstotheircentralroleinpresidentialforeignpolicy.(Theseizureofthe
AmericanembassyinTehranhaddramatizedtheissuelikenootherevent.)Bydefiningterrorismsweepinglyto
includeevenguerrillawarsandinsurgenciesagainstuniformedarmiesbutneveranythingtheU.S.oritsallies
dotheadministrationexpandedtherationaleforantiterroristinterventions.Byinventinganewcategoryof
"narcoterrorism"withwhichtobrandcertainrebelgroups,theadministrationconjuredupevenmore
nightmarishimages.Andbydefiningdiverseterroristoutragesas"Sovietsponsored,"theadministrationdealt
thefinalblowtodetente.
Theterroristthreatprovidestheperfectrationaleforsecrecyandcovertoperations.Respondingtoterrorist
attacksrequiresspeedyinterventionandabsolutesecrecy,notlengthydebatewithCongress.Andifanyone
doubtsthemeans,theendofstampingoutterrorismjustifiesthemaswellasanythingcould.
ParadigmShift
TheintellectualgenesisofReagan'santiterrorrevolutiongoesbackto1970s,whencoldwarconservativeswere
lookingfornewmobilizingissuestoreplacedetenteandhumanrights.TheconceptofSovietsponsored
internationalterrorismasnewmodeofwarfareagainsttheWestwaskickedoffattheJerusalemConferenceon
InternationalTerrorisminJuly1979.LedbyagroupoftopIsraeliintelligenceofficersandpoliticalleaders,the
conferencewasalsostuddedwiththoseAmericansmostactivelyseekingarenewaloftheclandestineapproach
toAmericanforeignpolicy.TheparticipantsincludedformerCIAdirectorGeorgeBushandformerCIAdeputy
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directorRayClinethehawkishformerAirForceintelligencechiefMajorGeneralGeorgeKeegan,who
resignedfromtheAirForcein1977toprotesttheCarteradministration'sestimateoftheSovietthreatHarvard's
SovietscholarRichardPipes,whomBushhadrecruitedtobringtheCIA'sstrategicestimatesofSovietpower
moreinlinewithworstcasemilitarythinkingsomeprominentneoconservativesincludingCommentary
magazineeditorNormanPodhoretzthenewspapercolumnistandReagan's1980debatingcoachGeorgeWill
andreporterClaireSterling,whotwoyearslaterwouldpublishthisfaction'sbible,TheTerrorNetwork.
Attheconference,RayClinedevelopedthethemethatterrorwasnotarandomresponseoffrustratedminorities,
butrather"apreferredinstrument"ofEastblocpolicyadoptedafter1969"whentheKGBpersuadedthe
PolitburooftheCommunistPartyoftheSovietUniontoacceptthePLOasamajorpoliticalinstrumentinthe
Mideastandtosubsidizeitsterroristpoliciesbyfreelygivingmoney,training,armsandcoordinated
communications."Terrorism,hemaintained,had"hardenedintoasystemaninternationaltroublemaking
system."TheBritishpropagandistRobertMossextendedthetheorytoIran,wherehechargedthataSoviet
controlledPLOunitwasfunctioning"asthenucleusofasecretpolice,arevolutionarySAVAK."Andconference
participantssingledouttheSandinistasfortheirallegedinternationalterroristconnections.
Thisformulationwasassignificantforwhatitignoredasforwhatitputin.Leftoutoftheequationwasany
mentionofterroristactsbyCIAtrainedCubanexiles,IsraelitiestoRedBrigadesorthefunctionofdeathsquads
fromArgentinatoGuatemala.Sovietsponsorship,realorimagined,hadbecomethedefiningcharacteristicof
terrorism,notsimplyanexplanationforitsprevalence.Moreover,therewasnoinclinationwhatsoevertoinclude
undertherubricofterrorbombingsofcivilians,forexample,oranyotheractscarriedoutbygovernmentforces
ratherthansmallindividualunits.
TheHeritageFoundation,aconservative,WashingtonbasedthinktankthatrodeRonaldReagan'scoattailsto
influence,sawthesethemesasapotentvehicleforreversingpoliticalreformsoftheWatergate/Church
committeeera.Itsmasterpoliticalblueprint,preparedbeforeReagan'sinaugurationtoguidehistransitionteam,
urged"presidentialemphasisonthenatureofthethreat,repeatedspeechesontheescalationofSovietbloc
intelligenceactivities,thenatureoftheterroristthreatanditsinternationaldimensionsandtherealityof
subversion."Suchtactics,thereporthoped,wouldallowtheCIAtoregainauthoritytoconduct"surreptitious
entries,"mailopeningandotherpowerslostinthe1970s.
TheReaganteamtookthereporttoheart.TheleaditemontheagendaoftheitsfirstNSCmeetingonJanuary
26,1981wasterrorism.Thenextday,PresidentReagandeclared,"Letterroristsbeawarethatwhentherulesof
internationalbehaviorareviolated,ourpolicywillbeoneofswiftandeffectiveretribution."
Athisfirstnewsconferenceassecretaryofstate,onJanuary28,AlexanderHaiggaveterrorismanaddress.He
chargedthattheKremlinwasseekingto"foster,supportandexpand"terroraroundworldandwas"training,
fundingandequipping"terroristarmies.Andhevowedthat"internationalterrorismwilltaketheplaceofhuman
rights"asthenewadministration'stoppriority.
JerusalemConferencealumnaClaireSterlingwasonhandtosupply"massiveproofthattheSovietUnionandits
surrogates,overthelastdecade,haveprovidedtheweapons,trainingandsanctuaryforaworldwideterror
networkaimedatthedestabilizationofWesterndemocraticsociety."HerbookTheTerrorNetwork,excerpted
thatMarchintheNewYorkTimesMagazineandNewRepublic,brandedthe1970s"FrightDecadeI"and
warnedthatFrightDecadeIIwasathand.
Sterling'sbook,withallitsevidentiaryandmethodologicalweaknesses,wasallthatadministrationpolemicists
couldcitetojustifytheirclaims.ACIAreportdraftedafterHaig'soutburstdirectlyrebuttedhisclaimthatmost
terrorismfoundsponsorshipfromtheSovietUnion.CIADirectorWilliamCaseysentthereportbackforfurther
review.CaseyalsoaskedthemoreconservativeDefenseIntelligenceAgencyforareport,butfoundit
inadequateaswell.Soathirdreportwaspreparedbutit,too,concludedthatSovietswerenotdirectlyequipping
ortrainingterrorists,nordidtheyhaveamasterplanforterrorism.Whatlittleevidencetherewasagainstthe
SovietscamefromunverifiableclaimsofaCzechdefector,Gen.JanSejna,whosecredibilitytheCIAcameto
doubt.
"There'sjustnorealevidenceforit,"oneadministrationofficialsaidoftheHaigthesis.Anotherhigh
administrationsourcelamentedthatsuchchargesput"theAmericanintelligencecommunityinaterriblepolitical
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bind.TheCIAhasbeenrequestedtolookharder.Whentheycomebackandsayitisn'ttrue,thattheydon'tsee
thehandofRussiaeverywhere,they'retold,'Goddamnit,youareeitherstupidoryouaren'ttrying."'
FBIchiefWilliamWebsterthrewalittlecoldwaterofhisownonofficialclaimspointingoutthatthenumberof
bombingshaddeclinedsteadilyintheUnitedStates,from100in1977to20in1980.Headded,"lcansaythat
thereisnorealevidenceofSovietsponsoredterrorismwithintheUnitedStates."
Theadministrationwasonthedefensive.Sincetheevidencewasn'tgoodenough,officialsfellbackonaltering
thedata.Statisticsonterroristincidentswerechangedtoincludenotonlyactsbutalso"threats,"thusatone
swoopdoublingtheapparentnumbers.
Amoreeffectiveandsubtlecountercamefromtheprivatesector.ClaireSterlingimpugnedtheCIAas"theleast
informedandmosttimidofanyintelligenceserviceonthisissue."MichaelLedeen,Sterling'slongtime
journalisticcollaborator,whowouldlaterbecomethekeyemissaryintheIranarmsplot,alsoaccusedtheagency
ofincompetence."Theyarescaredinthe[StateDepartmentandCIA]bureaucracy,"Ledeenmaintained,
"becauseifHaigisrightabouttheRussians,thentheyhavefailedintheirjobs."Intermsalmostidenticalto
Haig's,LedeencalledtheSovietUnion"thefomenter,supporterandcreatorofterrorism"worldwide.Inthelate
springof1981,Haigappointedhimanadviseroninternationalterrorism.
TheWallStreetJournaleditorialwritersweighedinaswell.Theyclaimedwithouthavingseentheanalysisthat
theCIAdocument's"underlyingreasoningwouldnotsurvivethelightofpublicday."Theeditorialdismissed
appealstotheevidence:"nooneshouldbeallowedtoarguesuccessfullythatbecausethere'sevidenceofthe
Sovietinfluenceinsomeplacesbutnotinothers,thewholeSovietconnectiontheorymustbethrownout."And
mostimportant,theeditorialinsistedonthebroadestpossibledefinitionofterrorismtojustifyacounter
revolutionarypolicyabroad:"nooneshouldbeallowedtosaywithoutchallengethatSovietsupportfornational
liberationmovementsisbydefinitiondifferentfromSovietsupportforterrorism."
ThethemesformulatedbySterling,Ledeenandthe]Journalservedconservativesasahammerwithwhichtohit
notonlydetente,butalsotheCartereraCIA.ColdwarinterventionistsportrayedtheCIAascrippledby
excessiveoversight,misplacedhumanrightsconcerns,adeplorabletimiditytowardcovertactionandthepurge
ofexpertsinparamilitarywar.Theterrorismissuethusigniteddemandsforasweepingbureaucraticupheavalin
theintelligencecommunity.
ThatFebruary,forexample,SenatorSamNunn(DGA)applaudedHaig'sspeechandcalledfor"apermanent,
highlyprofessionalorganizationtoplanandtrainonacontinualbasis"againstterrorism.Hestressed:
Oneofthemostimportantingredientsmustbeastrong,revitalizedintelligencecommunity...Noantiterrorist
capabilitycanbeadequatewithoutexcellentintelligence,includingcovertcapabilitieswhichhavelargelybeen
demolished...Wemust...repealsomelawsandexecutiveorderswhichgofarbeyondconstitutionalrequirements
orcourtdecisionsandwhichhaveresultedfromamassiveoverreactiontotheWatergate/Vietnamera.
Neoconservativeandintelligenceconnectedcirclesquicklymobilizedpublicsupportforgivingthe
administrationandCIAafreerhandabroad.WriterMidgeDector(thewifeofNormanPodhoretz)foundedthe
CommitteefortheFreeWorldinFebruary1981tocallattentiontotheterroristthreatandreviveAmerica's
interventionistimpulse.AccordingtotheNewYorkTimes,Dector
saidtheideaforthecommitteeemergedalmosttwoyearsagoaftersheandothersattendedameetingin
Jerusalemoninternationalterrorism.Shesaidshecameawayconvincedoftheneedforactionagainstthosewho
kidnapandthrowbombs,manyofwhomaretrainedintheSovietUnionandCuba,butalsoconcernedabouta
spreadingpracticeofindulginginselfcriticismtothepointofcondoningterrorismasbeingjustified.
ThemembersincludedMichaelLedeenformerCIAdeputydirectorofplansRayClineLeoCherne,chairman
ofthePresident'sForeignIntelligenceAdvisoryBoardandPaulHenze,formerCIAstationchiefinTurkey,who
wouldtaketheleadwithSterlinginpublicizingallegedSovietbloccomplicityintheattemptedassassinationof
PopeJohnPaulII.
Lestdomesticdissentathomehamstringadministrationplansforatougherforeignpolicy,theterrorismissue
servedtobreakdownbarrierstosurveillanceandintimidationofdomesticcritics.ThenewRepublicanSenate
formedaspecialsubcommitteeonsecurityandterrorisminFebruary.SenatorStromThurmond(RSC),
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chairmanoftheparentJudiciaryCommittee,predicteditwouldbe"oneofthemostimportantsubcommitteesof
theentireCongress."Thesubcommittee'schiefcounsel,JoelLisker,pledgedthat"wewilldoeverythingwecan
tomodifyandeliminate"restrictionsoninfiltrationandsurveillanceofdomesticgroups.Memberssaidthey
wouldstronglyurgetheadministrationtoremoveotherrestraintsontheintelligenceagencies.Witnessesattheir
firsthearingincludedClaireSterlingandMichaelLedeen,whoreiteratedtheirwarningsoftheSovietthreat.
InMarch,theReaganadministrationmovedonthesamefront.Itcameupwithadraftexecutiveorderthat
wouldallowsweepingadditionstotheCIA'sauthority,particularlyinareaofdomesticoperationspreviously
ruledofflimits.Severalmonthslater,theadministrationalsoproposedamendingtheFreedomofInformation
Acttoexemptfilesrelatingtoorganizedcrime,foreigncounterintelligenceandterrorism."Itisn'tanaccident
thattheypickedterrorismandforeigncounterintelligence,"observedJackLandau,directorofReporters
CommitteeforFreedomofthePress."That'sthemandatethattheFBIusedtoviolatepeoples'civilliberties."
TheproposalsnaturallymetoppositionfromcivillibertariansandsomemembersofCongress.Liberalswhohad
notabandonedtheCartereracommitmenttohumanrightsdeploredReagan'sapparentdoublestandardon
terrorism.InMarch,forexample,theadministrationannounceditsintentiontoliftthebanonarmssalesto
Argentina,imposedthreeyearsearlierbyCarterbecauseofthemasskillingofcivilianscommittedbythe
military.AndtheCIAwasreportedtobe"consideringtherenewalofcooperationwithantiCastroCubanexiles
aspartofageneralexpansionofitscovertoperations."
ButCongressasawholewasinnomoodtoquibbleoversuchinconsistencies.Afterthehumiliationofthe
TehranembassycrisisandtheReaganelectionsweep,itgrantedReaganalmosteverythinghewantedintheway
ofintelligenceresources.ThefirstthreeyearsoftheReaganpresidencysawa50percentincreaseinCIA
appropriationsandafivefoldincreaseinthenumberofauthorizedcovertoperations.Andafterallthelayoffsof
theNixonthroughCarteryears,theCIAworkforcegrewbyoverathird.TheWhiteHousenowhadthetools
andtheincentivetogoundercoverwiththeimplementationofitsforeignpolicyagenda.
LibyaBashing
ThisinitialvoteofconfidenceintheCIAwasnotenough.Theadministrationredoubleditsdomesticpropaganda
campaigntopersuadethenationofthevirulentmenaceofforeignterrorism.Ifnoonecouldfindconvincing
evidenceofSovietsponsoredterror,theycouldofLibyansupportforviolentEuropeanandMiddleEastern
groups.AndtheadministrationcouldmagnifytheevidenceuntilAmericansfeltpositivelythreatenedbywhat
wasinfactaweakandineffectualpowerandonethat,farfrombeingasurrogateoftheUSSR,didnotevenlet
theSovietsbaseshipsatitsports.
ThecampaignagainstLibyastartedattheNewRepublic,whoselineonterrorismandforeignpolicyingeneral
wasshapedincreasinglybyeditorMartinPeretz'sstrongpoliticalcommitmenttoIsrael.Theonceliberal
magazinehadbegunpublishingregulararticlesbyMichaelLedeenandformerNewsweekcorrespondentArnaud
deBorchgrave,aJerusalemconferenceparticipantandavociferousexponentofthetheorythatSoviet
disinformationhaddupedtheAmericanmedia.(DeBorchgravewouldlaterbecomeeditoroftheWashington
Times,ownedbytheRev.SunMyungMoon.)Now,inMarch,theNewRepublicexcerptedachapterfrom
ClaireSterling'snewbookonterrorism.Entitled"QaddafiSpellsChaos,"thekickerread"Amurder,amaniac
andMoscow'sman."
OnJuly26,1981NewsweekreportedthattheadministrationwasgearingupamajorefforttotoppleGadhafi,
involvinga"disinformation"campaigntoerodethecolonel'sdomesticsupport,formationofa"counter
government"ofLibyanexilesandaprogramofparamilitaryandsabotageoperationsinsideLibyatostirup
discontentandexposeGadhafi'svulnerability.
Thenextmonth,provocativeU.S.navalexercisesoffLibya'scoastprovokedarashanddesiredresponsefrom
Gadhafi.U.S.jetsdownedtwoLibyanfightersinadogfightoverGulfofSidra.
InSeptember,columnistJackAndersonconfirmedthatCIAdirectorCaseyhadconcoctedadisinformation
campaigntomisleadtheAmericanpressaboutLibyabyplantingfalsestoriesabroad.Thestoriesaccused
GadhafiofsupportingtheslavetradeinMauritania,mismanaginghiscountry'spetrodollaraccountsandstirring
upterrorism.
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OnOctober19,NewsweekpassedalongaprovocativeleakthattheadministrationwastalkingwithEgyptabout
apossibleinvasionofLibya.AftertheAugustconfrontationovertheGulfofSidra,accordingtothisaccount,
GadhafihatchedaschemetokilltheAmericanambassadorinRome,MaxwellRabb.Theplot"wasaborted
whenItalianpolicedeportedtensuspectedLibyanhitmen,"Newsweekreported."Washingtonofficialsnow
believeGadhafihascalledofftheassassinationattempt,buttheyarenotentirelycertain."Italsomentionedin
passingthatU.S.intelligencehad"pickedupevidencethatGhadafihadhatchedyetanotherassassinationplot
thistimeagainstPresidentReagan."
Theplotcontinuedtothickenwithnumerousominousleaksbutnoevidence.OnOctober25theNewYork
TimesrevivedtheLibyanplottomurderRabb,reportingthathehadbeenrushedoutofthecountry"without
evenachangeofclothes."(OthersourcesinsistedhehadsimplyleftforWashingtontolobbyforthesaleof
AWACStoSaudiArabia.)Gadhafihotlydeniedthechargeandnotedcorrectlythattocarryoutsuchaplot
wouldbesuicidal.
NovembersawapositiveflurryofreportslinkingGadhafitoterroristplots.NewsweekcitedreportsofLibyan
planstoattackfourU.S.embassiesinWesternEurope.SecretaryofStateHaigblamedGadhafiforhiringakiller
totargetChristianChapman,theU.S.charged'affairesinParis.Timemagazinejoinedinwithareportthat
NationalSecurityAdvisorRichardAllenhaddiscussedwithFrenchofficialsplanstoassassinateGadhafi.And
inlateNovemberclaimssurfacedthatGadhafiplannedtokillthepresidentofNiger.
ButthemostsignificantthemeinthisstrategyoftensionsurfacedwithNewsweek.ItsvolubleU.S.intelligence
sourcestippedthemagazinethat"GadhafiisplottingtoassassinatethepresidentandothertopAmerican
officials,"includingVicePresidentBushandSecretariesHaigandWeinberger.Theaveragereadercould
sympathizewithadministrationofficialswhoweresaidto"openlyadmitthattheywouldbedelightedif
someoneelsekilledGadhafi."
ThenotoriousReaganassassinationplotstoryhitthefrontpagesoftheNewYorkTimesonDecember4."The
governmenthasreceiveddetailedreportsthatfiveterroriststrainedinLibyaenteredtheUnitedStateslast
weekendwithplanstoassassinatePresidentReaganorotherseniorofficials,"thepaperrevealed.A"huge
nationwidesearchforthepotentialassassins"wasunderway.Laterreportsaddedluridflourishes:
nolessthanCarlos"theJackal,"theinfamousVenezuelanterrorist,wasonhiswaytokillthepresident.
FedasteadydietofGadhafirumors,theAmericanpubliccouldbeexcusedforbelievingPresidentReagan's
dismissaloftheLibyan'sdenials:"Wehavetheevidence,andheknowsit....lwouldn'tbelieveawordhesaysifI
wereyou."
Afewskepticsraisedquestions.Itseemeddoubtfulthatanyoneinformant(asreported)couldsupplysomuch
detailoneachmemberofthehitteam,thatLibyawouldsendsolargeasquadandthattheEastblocwouldhave
riskedtrainingtheassassins.GovernmentsourcestoldtheWashingtonPostthatreportsoftheplotincluded"lots
ofspeculation"basedon"aplausiblescenario"restingon"alimitedamountofknowledge."
HaynesJohnson,aveteranPostcorrespondent,noted"lt'salmostasifpublicopinionwerebeingpreparedfor
dramaticactionsayastrikeagainstLibyaorGhadhafihimself...ltisreminiscentofthetalkaboutCastrointhe
dayswhentheUnitedStateswasplanningtheBayofPigsinvasion,andinfact,commissioningassassination
schemesagainstCastro."
Then,asmysteriouslyastheyhadappeared,thehitteamsvanished.BylateDecember,officialsdecided"thehit
squadshavebecomeinactive."Indeed,"theinformationaboutthehitsquadshasbeenandstillismushy,"
sourcestoldtheWashingtonPost."TheUnitedStatesstilldoesnotknowforsurewhetheranymembersofthe
twohitsquadseverleftLibya."
OnlyinthecontextofthelatestIranarmsscandalhasthepublicfinallylearnedthatthesourceofthefanciful
"hitsquad"storywasManucherGhorbanifar,aformerIranianSAVAKagentwithclosetiestoIsraeli
intelligence.AccordingtotheWashingtonPost,theCIAbelievedhewasaIyingschemerwho"hadmadeupthe
hitsquadstoryinordertocauseproblemsforoneofIsrael'senemies."
ThesedetailsconfirmwhattheLosAngelesTimeshadlearnedin1981:"Israeliintelligence,nottheReagan
administration,wasamajorsourceofsomeofthemostdramaticpublishedreportsaboutaLibyanassassination
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teamallegedlysenttokillPresidentReaganandothertopU.S.officials...Israel,whichinformedsourcessaid
has'wantedanexcusetogoinandbashLibyaforalongtime,'maybetryingtobuildAmericanpublicsupport
forastrikeagainstLibyanstrongmanMoammarGhadhafi,thesesourcessaid."
Inshort,thewholestorywasanintelligenceprovocationfromstarttofinish.So,itwouldnowappear,was
Israel'spromotionofGhorbanifarasareliablegobetweenforWashingtonwithIranin1985.
ButifitservedIsraeliintereststodiscreditGadhafi,italsoservedtheReaganadministration.Thedeadlythreat
fromLibyasweptasidepublicobjectionstoasweepingexpansionofCIApowers.Nevermindthatthereality,as
evidencedbythe1986bombingattackonTripoli,thatinfactitwasReaganwhoplannedandattemptedto
assassinateGadhafi,notthereverse.
UnleashingtheCIA
OntheverydaytheNewYorkTimesreportedtheexistenceoftheLibyanhitsquad,PresidentReagan
announcedhissigningofExecutiveOrder12333,acontroversialandlongawaitedblueprintfortheintelligence
community'sresurgence.
WhenfirstdraftedinMarch1981underthesupervisionofaninteragencytaskforceledbyCIAofficials,the
orderprovokedinstantcontroversy."TheproposedorderwouldrecastMr.Carter's[1978]decreeintermsthat
authorize,ratherthanrestrict,thecollectionofintelligenceinformationandtheuseofsuchtechniquesas
searches,surveillanceandinfiltration,"theNewYorkTimeshadnotedthatspring."Theexistingordersaysthat
intelligenceagenciesmaycollect,storeanddisseminateinformationaboutapersonwhois'reasonablybelieved'
tobeactingonbehalfofaforeignpowerorengagingininternationalterroristornarcoticsactivities.Thedraft
orderdropstherequirementfora'reasonable'belief."Significantly,theTimesaddedthattherevisedorderhad
grownoutofameetingheldattheoutsetoftheadministration"inwhichintelligenceofficialsdiscussed
terrorismwithPresidentReagan.TheWhiteHouseaskedvariousagenciestosuggestchangesinintelligence
regulationstoimproveantiterrorismcapabilitiesandapprovedasuggestionbytheCIAforastudygroupto
makespecificrecommendations."
AsCongressreviewedsuccessivedrafts,RepublicanSen.DavidDurenbergerwarnedtheorderwould"give
credencetomanyofthepublic'sfearsandworstcasescenariosofgovernmentmisuseofpower."
ButthetimingofReagan'sannouncementofthefinalorderensuredaminimumofprotest.Comingontheheels
ofsomuchtalkofLibyanplots,hisstressonthedangersofterrorismsoldtheplan."TheAmericanpeopleare
wellawarethatthesecurityoftheircountryandinanageofterrorism,theirpersonalsafetyaswellistiedtothe
strengthandefficiencyofourintelligencegatheringorganization,"Reaganmaintained."Anapproachthat
emphasizessuspicionandmistrustofourownintelligenceeffortscanunderminethisnation'sabilitytoconfront
theincreasingchallengeofespionageandterrorism...Weneedtofreeourselvesfromthenegativeattitudesofthe
pastandlooktomeetingtheneedsofthecountry."
Asidefromopeningthedoortoarenewalofdomesticespionageapolicyshiftthatmayexplaintherashof
burglariessufferedbyorganizationscriticalofadministrationpolicyonCentralAmericatheorderalsocontained
anobscureloopholethroughwhichtheNSC'scovertoperatorswouldlaterslip.Theorderdirectedthat"No
agencyexcepttheClA...mayconductanyspecialactivityunlessthePresidentdeterminesthatanotheragencyis
morelikelytoachieveaparticularobjective."
WashingtonBecomesMilitant
OngoingpoliticalturmoilintheMiddleEastensuredthatterrorismwouldcontinuetooccupycenterstageinthe
administration'sforeignpolicyagenda.
TheantiterroristfervorreachedanewplateauaftertheApril1983bombingoftheU.S.embassyinBeirut
wipingouttheentireCIAstationandthedevastatingbombingoftheBeirutMarinebarracksinOctober1983.
Althoughthelattersuicideattacktargeteduniformedmilitarypersonnelandnotcivilians,administration
spokesmenandthemediadenounceditasthemostbrutalactofterrorismtodate.Inresponse,theJointChiefs
thatJanuaryformedtheJointSpecialOperationsAgencytocoordinatespecialoperationsagainstterrorists.And
CongresswouldenthusiasticallycooperateinpromotingthebuildupofSOFcounterinsurgencyforcesinthe
nameoffightingterrorism.
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OnApril3,1984,PresidentReagansignedNationalSecurityDecisionDirective138,whichguided26
governmentagenciesindraftingcounterterroristmeasures.DeputyAssistantSecretaryofDefenseNoelKoch
saidit"representsaquantumleapincounteringterrorism,fromthereactivemodetorecognitionthatproactive
stepsareneeded."AlthoughitdidnotauthorizeU.S."hitsquads,"asreportedlyrecommendedbysenior
PentagonofficialsandtheNSC'sOliverNorth,thedirectivewassaidtopermit"theuseofforceinotherforms,
suchasbyFBIandCIAparamilitaryteamsandPentagonmilitarysquads."Administrationsourcescalledthe
aggressiveplanan"efforttogivethecloakanddaggerbacktotheCentralIntelligenceAgency.Thecampaign
willincludepreemptivestrikesanddirectreprisals"basedonIsraelimodels.Officialsadmittedthatthe
distinctionbetweenretaliationandassassinationwasmainlyrhetorical.
JeffMcConnellobserved:
ThisnewpolicyoncounterterrorismcouldnothavecomeatabettertimefortheReaganadministration.Its
efforttoendthesocalled'VietnamSyndrome'hadblownupinLebanon.Supportincongressforwarin
NicaraguawasatanalltimeIow...Thoughthe1984directivehadbeendraftedwithmorelimitedpurposesin
mind,administrationplannersnowsawinitawaytoresuscitateitsforeignadventures.Yetthepolicylackeda
rationalelargeenoughtosustainsomuch.Itwasonethingtomakeacaseforcommandoassaultsagainst
hijackedairliners,quiteanothertosellmilitaryactionallovertheworldascounterterrorism.Whatwasneeded
wasanideologicalframeworkforthenewpolicythatwouldspelloutterrorism'sthreatinawayclearenoughto
enlistpopularsympathyand,atthesametime,comprehensiveenoughtojustifyactionagainstalltheThird
WorldnationsthatWashingtonopposed."
Thatframeworkwasfoundintheconceptof"statesponsoredterrorism,"andmoreparticularly,thepresumption
ofSovietsponsorshipofterroristcadrethatHaigandotheradministrationofficialshadpushedfromtheopening
daysoftheadministration.SecretaryofStateGeorgeShultzrecalledthoseoldthemesalongwiththenew
counterterrorismstanceinlateJuneataWashingtonconferencesponsoredbytheJonathanInstitute.Heblamed
theSovietsforproviding"financial,logisticandtrainingsupportforterroristsworldwide."They"useterrorist
groupsfortheirownpurposes,andtheirgoalisalwaysthesame:toweakenliberaldemocracyandundermine
worldstability,"hecharged.Thethreatcalledfortoughercountermeasures."Itistimetothinklong,hardand
seriouslyaboutmoreactivemeansofdefenseaboutdefensethroughappropriatepreventiveorpreemptive
actionsagainstterroristgroupsbeforetheystrike."Shultzadded,"Wewillneedtostrengthenourcapabilitiesin
theareaofintelligenceandquickreaction."ThosetwoareasencompassedtheCIAandPentagonspecial
operationsforces.
CIADirectorCaseytoldaninterviewerinthesamemonththat"Ithinkyouwillseemore...retaliationagainst
facilitiesconnectedwiththecountrysponsoringtheterroristsorretaliationthatjusthurtstheinterestsof
countrieswhichsponsorterrorism"anopenendedformulaforaggressionagainstanycountrythatthe
administrationlabeledasponsorofterrorism,withorwithoutevidence.
p223
LookingtotheFuture
Thecontinueduseofterrorismasanideologicalrationaleforexpandedcovertoperations,foreignintervention
andgovernmentsecrecystillgoeslargelyunchallengedinthewakeoftheIranandcontrascandals.Frank
Carlucci,theformerCIAdeputydirectorbroughttoreplaceAdmiralPoindexterasnationalsecurityadvisorand
cleanhouseontheNSC,haschosentoplaceresponsibilityforcounterterrorism
underanexpandedintelligenceunit,asyetunnamed.'Terrorismandintelligenceareverycloselyrelated,'says
Carlucci.'Thebestwaytostopaterroristactistoknowit'sgoingtohappen.'Theheadofthenewsection...will
beBarryKelly,who...hadpreviouslyservedintheCIA'sclandestineserviceduringCarlucci'stourasdeputy
director.
Thenewintelligenceunit,accordingtoJamesBamford,willhandlenotonlycounterterrorismandallcovert
actions,butnarcoticscontrolaswellsignificantlytheoneotherareawhereCongresshasabdicateditsoversight
responsibilities.Newofficialshavereplacedoldanddiscreditedones,butthepotentialforabusesmaybegreater
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Accompanyingthiscentralizationofsecretauthorityforcovertoperationsisamassiveexpansionofthe
president'sabilitytointerveneabroad.AnewSpecialOperationscommandatthePentagonwillcoordinate
covertterrorismandinsurgency,groupingtogethersome30,000menfromtheArmySpecialOperations
Command,theRangers,SEALS,DeltaForceandothers.Thecommandreportedlywillbe"verytightly
controlledbytheWhiteHouse,"sothatitcancarryoutoperations"closelytiedtothenationalinterest."
Finally,followingtheTowerCommission'srecommendation,congressionalconservativesarepushingfora
mergeroftheHouseandSenateintelligencecommitteestofurtherlimitoversightofcovertoperations.Rep.
HenryHyde(RIL)seeksa"lean,mean,small,veryactivecommitteewithasfewmalcontentsaspossible"It
wouldbeironic,butfarfromunprecedented,ifa"reform"commissionendedupgrosslyaggravatingthe
problembysofundamentallymisidentifyingthecause.
Covertactionembodiesinitspurestformthephilosophythatends(anticommunism,counterterrorism,
democracy,economicgain)justifythemeans(politicalmanipulation,disinformation,evensupportfordeath
squads).Wheresuchtoolsexist,abuseswillfollowwhethertheendsaregoodornot.Thefactthattheendsare
sooftenverbalrationalesthemselvesonlymakesthesituationthatmuchworse.Powercorrupts,andsecrecyis
anessentialelementofuncheckedpower.Wheresecrecyisallowedtoflourish,undertheguiseofprotecting
nationalsecurity,fightingterrorismorcombatingnarcoticstraffickers,theconditionsareripeforpresidential
usurpationofpowerfromtheCongressandthecynicalmanipulationofpublicopinion.
Secrecyandcovertpolicymakingarenotonlyundemocratic,theyinevitablyleadtobadpolicy.Secrecybreeds
arroganceamongpolicymakerswhoconsiderthemselvesuniquely"intheknow"andthuslessfallibleintheir
judgmentsatthesametimeitmotivatestheeliteof"cleared"individualstoelevatetheirstatusbyconfining
secrets(andthuspolicyadvice)toanevertightercircle.Theconsequencescanbedisastroustheadministration's
failuretoconsultawidergroupofexpertsormembersofCongresssurelycontributedtoitsextraordinary
blundersinIran.Ignoranterrorsarecompoundedbythetemptationtoadoptcovertmeanstoavoidmessypublic
debateswherepolicyobjectivesareunclearandpublicsupportislacking.Mostdamagingofall,covert
operationsusuallybecomeovert,discreditingnotonlytheparticularadministrationbuttheUnitedStatesasa
whole.
IftheimmoralityofcovertpoliciesliketheIranandcontraoperationsdoesn'tdecidethecase,thesepractical
considerationsshould.Failuretocurbtheextraordinarypowerofpresidentstowagecovertforeignandmilitary
campaignscanonlyensureasuccessionofsimilarpolicydisastersinthefuture.
Part6Conclusion
p227
Everycrisisisalsoanopportunity.TheIranContracrisisisnotoneaccidentallyorgratuitouslyengagedupon,
nottheresultofinadequatepresidentialattentionorsomeone'smisjudgmentsintherecruitmentofWhiteHouse
personnel.Itisdeeplyrootedintensionswhichgobackatleasttothebeginningofthiscentury,ifnotearlier.
Itwouldappearthat,timeaftertime,vanguardexperimentsinliberaldemocracy(Athens,Rome,Spain,
England),havebecome,fromtheresultantliberationofexpansivesocialenergy,vanguardexperimentsin
imperialexpansion.LeavingasidethedebatableexampleofRome(whichhadnoimperialcompetitors),oneis
struckbyhowbriefhasbeentheperiodofvanguardimperialhegemony(usuallynotmorethanacentury),and
howcostlytotheeconomicbaseofthemothercountry.EspeciallywhensetagainsttheexamplesofGermany
andJapan(twonationsfrustratedintheirearlydrifttowardsempire),thedepressingexamplesofmodern
EnglandandSpainarememorialstoempire'sappallingerosionofbothculturaldynamismandparliamentary
institutions.Theyillustratenotonlythecripplingcostsofmaintainingamilitaryhegemony,butalsotheensuing
flightofcapitalandentrepreneurship(andhencepower)outofthehomepoliticaleconomy.Thiscalculusis
unfavorableevenbeforewetakeintoaccounttheoverwhelmingcosttothecolonizedpeoples.
Crudelyput,thisisthebackgroundoftheIranContraaffair:theunresolvedconflictbetweentheneedsof
hegemonyandtheneedsofanopensociety.Thestrongexecutiveessentialtothepursuitofhegemonyis
fundamentallyatoddswiththeconstitutionalsystemofchecksandbalancesandtherestraintsaffordedbypublic
opinion.Covertoperationsinevitablyshieldactivistadministrationsfrompublicaccountabilityandthelaw.
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Thestrivingforunilateralhegemonyinamultipolarworldis,moreover,inevitablydestabilizing,anddangerous
topeace,worldorder,andinternationallaw.IndeedthesequenceofillegalAmericancovertandparamilitary
interventionsforatleastthelastthreedecades(bywhichevenourclosestallieshavebeenincreasingly
alienated)hasbeenaprimecausefortheprogressiveerosionofAmerica'sprofessedcommitmentto
internationalorder.Onedoesnothavetoromanticizethatordertofinditamorepromisingarenaforglobal
security,andourown,thanthearenaofthegreatpoweradventurismwehavelongendured.
TheminingofNicaragua'sharborsin1984bytheCIA(withouteveninvolvingthecontras)triggeredthe
immediateconflictbetweentheAdministrationandCongressontheinternationallevel,italsoshowedhowthe
costofhegemonicintrigueisadeclineininternationalinfluence.TheUnitedStateshasisolateditselfinworld
opiniontoadegreeunthinkableevenadecadeago,toalowcomparabletothatofBritain,FranceandIsraelafter
theirfutileSuezCanalattackof1956.
Nicaragua'scomplainttotheWorldCourtabouttheminingwassustainedbythatcourtbyvotesoftwelveto
three(OnoneissuethesoledissentingvotewascastbythejudgefromtheUnitedStates.)AfterWashington
announcedthatitwouldnotconsideritselfboundbythatcourt'sruling,NicaraguaappealedtotheUnited
Nations,whereitwonagain.IntheUnitedNationsGeneralAssemblytheUnitedStatesgarneredatotalofthree
votes,beingsupportedbyonlyitstwoclientstates,IsraelandElSalvador.EvenCanada,whoseConservative
governmenthadbeenelectedonaReaganitedomesticplatform,didnotabstain,butvotedagainsttheUnited
States.
TheadventurismofBritainandFranceinthe1956Suezfiascowasinpartaneffortatselfprolongationandself
justificationbythreatenedhegemonicbureaucraciestheobsoletearmiesandnaviesoftwopostimperialpowers.
Totheircredit,theJointChiefsoftheU.S.armedforceshavesofarshownnoappetitetoriskthepoliticalfuture
ofthePentagononasimilarventureinCentralAmerica,withoutCongressionalorpopularsupport.Theyknow
verywellthatNicaragua,withitsarmyof75,000troops,willnotbeanotherGrenada.
ThattheUnitedStates,inpursuitofitscontrapolicy,shouldnonethelessshowsimilardisregardforinternational
lawandglobalpublicopinion,issymptomaticofthewayonesmalllosingpolicy,essentialtothesurvivalofone
smallbureaucraticsubset,canbecomeaneuroticobsessionwhenpowerisundemocratic.
Intheeyesofitsallies,theUnitedStates'roleasaresidualguarantorofworldorderandprocesshasbeen
superseded,evenmorethanbefore,byitseagernesstodisplayitscapacityforunilateralinterventionand
violence.
Europeans,aboveall,findourpreoccupationwithviolenceandunilateralismespeciallyunfortunate,atatime
whenachangeofleadershipintheSovietUnionhasraisednewhopesforarestorationofinternational
understandingandpossiblebreakthroughsincheckingthearmsrace.Asourcountrygrowsincreasingly
dependentoninternationalsupportforitseconomyandcurrency,themoodinWashingtonforsolipsistic
defianceofglobalpoliticalopinionseemsparticularlyshortsighted.
Itisimportanthowevertorememberthatthisconflictbetweentheneedsofhegemonyandtheneedsofanopen
societycannotbeblamedonanysingleU.S.administrationorparty.Ithadbeenbuildingfordecadesbeforeit
burstopenintheWatergatecrisis.Unfortunately,intheensuingdebateoverNixon'simpeachment,aboutwhich
press,politicians,andpunditshavebeensoselfcongratulatory("Thesystemworked!"),thedeepissuesabout
theimperialpresidencyinanopensocietywerealmostentirelyreplacedbydiscussionsofpersonal
responsibilities.Questionsofconstitutionalinfractions(suchas,forexample,theundeclared"secret"warsin
LaosandCambodia)werereplacedbyquestionsofcoverups.
WearenotsuggestingthattheWatergatediscussionsandhearingswereofnoworth.Callingastheydidfornew
levelsofinvestigativejournalismandCongressionalinquiry,aswellasofstatesmanshipandbalancedcitizen
concern,theWatergatedebatedidperhapsasmuchascouldbedoneatthattimetorectifyexecutiveexcessby
democraticprocessastraditionallypracticedintheUnitedStates.
ButwhenCongressfailedtoresolvethedeeperquestions,especiallythoserelatingtothedesirabilityor
undesirabilityofthesocalled"Vietnamsyndrome,"thereemergenceofanewcrisislikethepresentonewas
virtuallyguaranteed.ThepresentcrisisisnotonlydeeperthanWatergate,itismoredirectlyrelatedtotheon
goingdebateoverahegemonyforwhichnooneevervoted.Atthecenterisnotabreakin,a"thirdrate
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burglary"(withitsconsequentflurryofshreddedmemos),butawellelaboratedschemetodeceiveCongressand
responsiblepartsofthenationalsecuritybureaucracy,aswellasthepublic,byusingasecretnetworkofparallel
institutionstocircumventthelaw.
Tounderstandtheinevitabilityofthisconfrontation,wehavetoputourselvesinthepositionofthoseresponsible
forforcingittohappen.CIADirectorCaseyhadapoint:itisjustnotpossibletorunalotofcovertoperations
abroad,andalsoreportonthem(asthelawnowrequires)toagalleryofCongressionalcriticsandtheirstaffs.In
hisownwayCaseywasverbalizingthedilemmaoftheneedtochoosebetweenhegemonyanddemocracy.
So,inamoretheoreticalway,wasMichaelLedeen,oneofthefirstarchitectsoftheIrangatearmsdeals,whenhe
arguedthatwemustlearntounderstandtheneedforoccasionallawbreakingandassassination.Weshouldbe
gratefulforhiscandor.Failurethistimetorespondtosucharguments,withequalenergyandconviction,would
betacitlytoconcedebydefaultthatthetimeforanopensocietyhaspassed.
ThustheIrancontraaffairisanurgentchallengeforallthosewhoseehegemony,andnotouropensociety,as
thecursetobemitigated.AsimplererunofWatergate,inwhichthepublicareessentiallyspectatorstoa
successionofsensationalistheadlinesandtelevisedhearings,wouldalmostsurelydegenerate,astheWatergate
hearingsdid,intoanelaboratepublicrelationsexerciseindamagecontrol:oneinwhichthefocusistransferred
fromsystemicirregularitiesandbasicpolicyquestionstopersonalshortcomings.
ThereisnodoubtthatNixon,asaperson,wasresponsibleforWatergate,inawaythatReaganwithhisTeflon,
orremotenessfromdecisionmaking,couldneverbe.Manycommentatorshaveturnedthis,remarkably,intoan
argumentthatIranContragateislessimportantthanitspredecessorasifweshouldthinkofOllieNorthorof
AlbertHakimastheproblems,ratherthanthesystemofillegalcovertinterventionwhichneededthem,andthe
hegemonicsystemwhichinturndependedoncovertintervention.
Suchpunditryisnotencouraging.ItshouldremindusthatthemediaandCongress,necessarily,arepartofand
beholdentothesystemicprocesswhichtheymustnowcriticize.Thepress,forexample,isnotlikelytoexpose
theelaboratedisinformationprograms,suchasGhorbanifar'sfictitious"Libyanhitsquads"in1981,which
playedsuchanimportantroleinremountingdomesticCIAcovertoperations.Someofthemedia,toputit
bluntly,werethemselvestoowillingandactivepartnersinsuchdisinformationscenarios.NorwillCongress
raisetheevenmoresensitiveandcomplexissuesofprolsraelilobbyingandtheincorporationofIsraelasan
adjuncttounauthorizedforeignoperationseventhoughIsraelisnowclearlyandunambiguouslydefinedasa
prominentplayeratboththeIranandtheContraendofthecurrent
Irancontracontroversy
Thepoweroftheintelligenceapparatusanditscorporatealliesseemstohavevirtuallysilencedgenuine
Congressionaloppositiononthedeepissuesofcovertoperations.TheDemocratsinparticularhaveflockedto
showtheirsupportoftheCIAandPentagon,andforthemostparthaveconfinedtheircriticismstothebehavior
ofmembersoftheReaganWhiteHousestaff.AstheNewYorkerhasobserved,
ThebuzzwordstheDemocratshaveputforth"competitiveness,""excellence,"areofsingularlylowvoltage.
Theyhardlybuzzatall.Evenindecline,Reaganseemsmorecommandingthantheseopponents.Hisabsence
fromthesceneislargerthantheirpresenceonit.Reaganrose.Reaganfell.TheDemocratsseemtohavehad
littletodowithit.
Inthelastfewyears,unfortunately,membersofCongress,muchlikeWeinbergerandShultz,merely"distanced
themselves"(tousethetactfulrebukeoftheTowerReport)fromwhatwasgoingon.Inthefallof1985,when
theNewYorkTimesreportedonthesupportofNorthandtheNationalSecurityCouncil,boththeHouseandthe
SenateIntelligenceCommitteesreceivedassurancesfromMcFarlanethatnooneontheNSCstaffhadbroken
thelawanddeclinedtoinvestigatefurther.Pressstoriesthesameyearthataidwasreachingthecontrasfrom
thirdcountries,includingIsrael,ledtoinitiallegislativeeffortstocloseanypossibleloopholes.AfterWhite
Houselobbying,however,thefinallanguagehadtheoppositeeffecttolegitimizetheadministration'scollection
of"donations"(includingkickbacks)fromthirdcountries.
ItremainstobeseenwhethertheisolatedvoicesofCongressionaloppositioninbothpartiescannowbegin
belatedlytoarticulatethemoodofalienationandactivismthatisbeginningtobeheardonthenation'scampuses,
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andenlistthecorrectiveparticipationofacitizenrygrowncynical.

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