The Unauthorized Biography
<Chapter 17 - Table of Contents - Chapter 19>
Chapter -XVIII- Iran-Contra
``What pleases the prince has the force of law.''
``As long as the police carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.''
-- Gestapo officer Werner Best
|We cannot provide here a complete overview of the Iran-Contra affair. We shall
attempt, rather, to give an account of George Bush's decisive, central role in
those events, which occurred during his vice-presidency and spilled over into
his presidency. The principal elements of scandal in Iran-Contra may be reduced
to the following points:
1) the secret arming of the Khomeini regime in Iran by the U.S. government, during an official U.S.-decreed arms embargo against Iran, while the U.S. publicly denounced the recipients of its secret deliveries as terrorists and kidnappers--a policy initiated under the Jimmy Carter presidency and accelerated by the Reagan-Bush administration;
2) the Reagan-Bush administration's secret arming of its "Contras '' for war against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, while such aid was explicitly prohibited under U.S. law;
3) the use of communist and terrorist enemies--often armed directly by the Anglo-Americans--to justify a police state and covert, oligarchical rule at home;
4) paying for and protecting the gun-running projects with drug- smuggling, embezzlement, theft by diversion from authorized U.S. programs, and the "silencing '' of both opponents and knowledgeable participants in the schemes; and
5) the continual, routine perjury and deception of the public by government officials pretending to have no knowledge of these activities; and the routine acquiescence in that deception by Congressmen too frightened to oppose it.
When the scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained that he knew nothing about these illegal activities; that other government officials involved in them had kept him in the dark; that he had attended no important meetings where these subjects were under discussion. Since that time, many once- classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures. The most significant events relevant to George Bush's role are presented here in the format of a chronology. At the end of the chronology, parts of the testimony of George Bush's loyal assistant Donald Gregg will be provided, to allow for a comparison of the documented events with the Bush camp's account of things. Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new structures in the U.S. government:
The "Special Situation Group, '' together with its subordinate "Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group '' (May 14, 1982).
The "Crisis Management Center '' (February 1983).
The "Terrorist Incident Working Group '' (April 3, 1984).
The "Task Force on Combating Terrorism '' (or simply Terrorism Task Force) (July 1985).
The "Operations Sub-Group '' (January 20, 1986). These were among the official, secret structures of the U.S. government created from 1982 through 1986. Other structures, whose existence has not yet come to light, may also have been created--or may have persisted from an earlier time. Nothing of this is to be found in the United States Constitution. All of these structures revolved around the secret command role of the then-Vice President, George Bush. The propaganda given out to justify these changes in government has stressed the need for secrecy to carry out necessary covert acts against enemies of the nation (or of its leaders). Certainly, a military command will act secretly in war, and will protect secrets of its vulnerable capabilities. But the Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to carry out covert policies: to make war when the constitutional government had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists and drug-runners) who are the friends or agents of the secret government. In the period of the chronology, there are a number of meetings of public officials-- secret meetings. Who really made the policies, which were then well or poorly executed by the covert action structure? By looking at the scant information that has come to light on these meetings, we may reach some conclusions about who advocated certain policy choices; but we have not then learned much about the actual origin of the policies that were being carried out. This is the rule of an oligarchy whose members are unknown to the public, an oligarchy which is bound by no known laws.
January 20, 1981:
Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President.
March 25, 1981:
Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States "crisis management '' staff, "as a part of the National Security Council system. ''
March 30, 1981:
The new President was shot in an attempted assassination. He survived his wounds, so Vice President Bush did not succeed to the presidency.
May 14, 1982:
Bush's position as chief of all covert action and de facto head of U.S. intelligence--in a sense, the acting President--was formalized in a secret memorandum. The memo explained that "National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in anticipation of crises. '' It is most astonishing that, in all of the reports, articles and books about the Iran-Contra covert actions, the existence of Bush's SSG has received no significant attention. Yet its importance in the management of those covert actions is obvious and unmistakable, as soon as an investigative light is thrown upon it. The memo in question also announced the birth of another organization, the Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), which was to work as an intelligence-gathering agency for Bush and his SSG. This new subordinate group, consisting of representatives of Vice President Bush, National Security Council (NSC) staff members, the CIA, the military and the State Department, was to "meet periodically in the White House Situation Room.... '' They were to identify areas of potential crisis and "[p]resent ... plans and policy options to the SSG '' under Chairman Bush. And they were to provide to Bush and his assistants, "as crises develop, alternative plans, '' "action/options '' and "coordinated implementation plans '' to resolve the "crises. '' Finally, the subordinate group was to give to Chairman Bush and his assistants "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance the likelihood of successful execution. '' It was announced that the CPPG would meet for the first time on May 20, 1982, and that agencies were to "provide the name of their CPPG representative to Oliver North, NSC staff.... '' The memo was signed "for the President '' by Reagan's national security adviser, William P. Clark. It was declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings.
Gregg, Rodriguez and North Join the Bush Team
Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central Intelligence Agency.
Donald Gregg brought along into the Vice President's office his old relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez. Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam. Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976--when Bush was CIA Director--through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with President Carter and his CIA Director, Stansfield Turner. Gregg was detailed to work at the National Security Council between 1979 and 1982. From 1976 right up through that NSC assignment, CIA officer Gregg saw CIA agent Rodriguez regularly. Both men were intensely loyal to Bush. Their continuing collaboration was crucial to Vice President Bush's organization of covert action. Rodriguez was now to operate out of the Vice President's office.
December 21, 1982:
The first "Boland Amendment '' became law: "None of the funds provided in this Act [the Defense Appropriations Bill] may be used by the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua. '' "Boland I, '' as it was called, remained in effect until Oct. 3, 1984, when it was superseded by a stronger prohibition known as "Boland II. ''
Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she worked with North on the development of a secret "Crisis Management Center. '' Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen here managing a new structure within the Bush-directed SSG/CPPG arrangements of 1981- 82.
March 3, 1983:
In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office of "Public Diplomacy '' to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of the program. Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the effort. The unit was to work with domestic and international news media, as well as private foundations. The Bush family-affiliated Smith Richardson Foundation was part of a National Security Council "private donors' steering committee '' charged with coordinating this propaganda effort. A March 3, 1983 memorandum from Walter Raymond to then-NSC Director William Clark, provided details of the program: ``
As you will remember you and I briefly mentioned to the President when we briefed him on the N[ational] S[ecurity] D[ecision] D[irective] on public diplomacy that we would like to get together with some potential donors at a later date....
``To accomplish these objectives Charlie [United States Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick] has had two lengthy meetings with a group of people representing the private sector. This group had included principally program directors rather than funders. The group was largely pulled together by Frank Barnett, Dan McMichael (Dick [Richard Mellon] Scaife's man), Mike Joyce (Olin Foundation), Les Lenkowsky (Smith Richardson Foundation) plus Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House. A number of others including Roy Godson have also participated. '' [Everything above in parentheses is in the original].
Elsewhere, Raymond described Cherne and Godson as the coordinators of this group. Frank Barnett was the director of the Bush family's National Strategy Information Center, for which Godson was the Washington, D.C. director. Barnett had been the project director of the Smith Richardson Foundation prior to being assigned to that post. The Smith Richardson Foundation has sunk millions of dollars into the Iran-Contra projects. Some Smith Richardson grantees, receiving money since the establishment of the National Security Council's ``private steering committee'' (according to the foundation's annual reports) include the following:
Freedom House. This was formed by Leo Cherne, business partner of CIA Director William Casey. Cherne oversaw Walter Raymond's ``private donor's committee.''
National Strategy Information Center, founded in 1962 by Casey, Cherne and the Bush family (see Chapter 4). Thus, when an item appeared in a daily newspaper, supporting the Contras, or attacking their opponents--calling them ``extremists,'' etc.--it is likely to have been planted by the U.S. government, by the George Bush-NSC ``private donors''' apparatus.
March 17, 1983:
Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert "Bud '' McFarlane a plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central American nations including Nicaragua. Gregg's March 17, 1983 memo to McFarlane said: "The attached plan, written in March of last year, grew out of two experiences: ``--Anti-Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam from 1970-1972. These operations [see below], based on ... a small elite force ... produced very favorable results. ``--Rudy Enders, who is now in charge of what is left of the Para-military capability of the CIA, went to El Salvador in 1981 to do a survey and develop plans for effective anti-guerrilla operations. He came back and endorsed the attached plan. (I should add that Enders and Felix Rodriguez, who wrote the attached plan, both worked for me in Vietnam and carried out the actual operations outlined above.) ``This plan encountered opposition and skepticism from the U.S. military.... ``I believe the plan can work based on my experience in Vietnam....'' Three years later, Bush agent Rodriguez would be publicly exposed as the supervisor of the covert Central American network illegally supplying arms to the Contras; that exposure of Rodriguez would begin the explosive public phase of the ``Iran-Contra scandal.'' Rodriguez's uncle had been Cuba's public works minister under Fulgencio Batista, and his family fled Castro's 1959 revolution. Felix Rodriguez joined the CIA, and was posted to the CIA's notorious Miami Station in the early 1960s. The Ted Shackley-E. Howard Hunt organization there, assisted by Meyer Lansky's and Santos Trafficante's mafiosi, trained Rodriguez and other Cubans in the arts of murder and sabotage. Rodriguez and his fellow CIA trainees took part in numerous terror raids against Castro's Cuba. Felix Rodriguez recounted his early adventures in gun-running under false pretexts in a ghost-written book, Shadow Warrior:
Just around the time President Kennedy was assassinated, I left for Central America. I spent almost two years in Nicaragua, running the communications network for [our enterprise].... [O]ur arms cache was in Costa Rica. The funding for the project came from the CIA, but the money's origin was hidden through the use of a cover corporation, a company called Maritima BAM, which was [Manuel] Artim's initials spelled backwards. Periodically, deposits of hundreds of thousands of dollars would be made in Maritima BAM's accounts, and disbursed by Cuban corporation officers. The U.S. government had the deniability it wanted; we got the money we needed.... In fact, what we did in Nicaragua twenty-five years ago has some pretty close parallels to the Contra operation today.
Rodriguez followed his CIA boss Ted Shackley to Southeast Asia in 1970. Shackley and Donald Gregg put Rodriguez into the huge assassination and dope business which Shackley and his colleagues ran during the Indochina war; this bunch became the heart of the ``Enterprise'' that went into action 15 to 20 years later in Iran- Contra. Shackley funded opium-growing Meo tribesmen in murder, and used the dope proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John K. Singlaub was a commander of MAG- SOG; Oliver North and Richard Secord were officers of the unit. By 1971, the Shackley group had killed about 100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia as part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix. After Vietnam, Felix Rodriguez went back to Latin American CIA operations, while other parts of the Shackley organization went on to drug- selling and gun-running in the Middle East. By 1983, both the Mideast Shackley group and the self-styled ``Shadow Warrior,'' Felix Rodriguez, were attached to the shadow commander-in-chief, George Bush.
May 25, 1983:
Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan, trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart ("Proposed Structure '') showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority--from the President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant secretary, down to an interagency group. The last line of the Shultz memo says bluntly what role is reserved for the Bush-supervised CPPG: ``The Crisis Pre-Planning Group is relieved of its assignments in this area.'' Back came a memorandum for The Honorable George P. Shultz, on a White House letterhead but bearing no signature, saying no to Shultz: ``The institutional arrangements established in NSDD-2 are, I believe, appropriate to fulfill [our national security requirements in Central America]....'' With the put-down is a chart headlined ``NSDD-2 Structure for Central America.'' At the top is the President; just below is a complex of Bush's SSG and CPPG as managers of the NSC; then below that is the Secretary of State, and below him various agencies and interagency groups.
July 12, 1983:
Kenneth De Graffenreid, new manager of the Intelligence Directorate of the National Security Council, sent a secret memo to George Bush's aide, Admiral Daniel Murphy:
"... Bud McFarlane has asked that I meet with you today, if possible, to review procedures for obtaining the Vice President's comments and concurrence on all N[ational] S[ecurity] C[ouncil] P[lanning G[roup] covert action and MONs. ''
The Bush Regency in Action
October 20, 1983:
The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada was decided upon in a secret meeting of the meta-government--the National Security State--under the leadership of George Bush. National Security Council operative Constantine Menges, a stalwart participant in these events, described the action for posterity:
My job that afternoon was to write the background memorandum that would be used by the vice president, who in his role as ``crisis manager'' would chair this first NSC meeting on the [Grenada] issue.... [F]ortunately I had help from Oliver North, who in his nearly three years with NSC had become expert in the memo formats and formal procedures. After the morning CPPG meeting, North had begun to get interested in Grenada.... Shortly before 6:00 P.M., the participants began to arrive: Vice President Bush, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, [Attorney General Edwin] Meese, J[oint] C[hiefs of] S[taff] Chairman General Vessey, acting CIA Director McMahon, [State Dept. officer Lawrence] Eagleburger, ... North and myself. We all went to the Situation Room in the White House. President Reagan was traveling, as were [CIA Director] Bill Casey and Jeane Kirkpatrick.... Vice President Bush sat in the president's chair.
Menges continued: ``... A factual update was the first order of business. Then the discussion moved to the availability of military forces and how long it would take to ready them. The objective, right from the beginning, was to plan a rescue [of American students detained on Grenada] that would guarantee quick success, but with a minimum of casualties....'' ``The first suggested presidential decision was to prepare for possible military action by shifting navy ships, which were taking a marine unit to rotate forces in Lebanon, plus other naval units, toward Grenada. ``Secrecy was imperative.... As part of this plan, there would be no change in the schedule of the top man. President Reagan ... would travel to Augusta, Georgia, for a golf weekend. Secretary of State Shultz would go too....'' Work now proceeded on detailed action plans, under the guidance of the Vice President's Special Situation Group. ``Late Friday afternoon [Oct. 21] ... the CPPG ... [met] in room 208.... Now the tone of our discussions had shifted from whether we would act to how this could be accomplished.... ''[The] most secure means [were to] be used to order U.S. ships to change course ... toward Grenada. Nevertheless, ABC news had learned about this and was broadcasting it.''
Thus, the course of action decided upon without the President was ``leaked'' to the news media, and became a fait-accompli. Menges's memo continues:
It pleased me to see that now our government was working as a team.... That evening Ollie North and I worked together ... writing the background and decision memoranda. Early in the evening [NSC officer Admiral John] Poindexter reviewed our first draft and made a few minor revisions. Then the Grenada memoranda were sent to the President, Shultz and McFarlane at the golf course in Georgia.... Shortly before 9:00 A.M. [Oct. 22], members of the foreign policy cabinet [sic!] began arriving at the White House--all out of sight of reporters. The participants included Weinberger, Vessey, and Fred Ikle from Defense; Eagleburger and Motley from State; McMahon and an operations officer from CIA; and Poindexter, North and myself from NSC. Vice President Bush chaired the Washington group. All participants were escorted to room 208, which many had never seen before. The vice president sat at one end of the long table and Poindexter at the other, with speaker phones positioned so that everyone could hear President Reagan, Shultz, and McFarlane. The meeting began with an overview and an update.... There were animated discussions.... The conclusion was that by early Tuesday, October 25, the United States and allied forces would be in a position to initiate military action.... The only legal authority on Grenada was the governor general, Sir Paul N. Scoon, ... a Grenadan citizen appointed by the British crown.... Ingeniously, he had smuggled out a request for external help in restoring law and order.... The detailed hour-by-hour plan was circulated to everyone at the meeting. There was also a short discussion of the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to get approval of Congress if he intends to deploy U.S. troops in combat for more than sixty days. There was little question that U.S. combat forces would be out before that time.... The president had participated and asked questions over the speaker phone; he made his decision. The U.S. would answer the call from our Caribbean neighbors. We would assure the safety of our citizens.
Clearly, there was no perceived need to follow the U.S. Constitution and leave the question of whether to make war up to the Congress. After all, President Reagan had concurred, from the golf course, with Acting President Bush's decision in the matter. And the British nominee in the target country had requested Mr. Bush's help!
November 3, 1983:
Bush aide Donald Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez to discuss "the general situation in Central America. ''
Oliver North accompanied Vice President Bush to El Salvador as his assistant. Bush met with Salvadoran army commanders. North helped Bush prepare a speech, in which he publicly called upon them to end their support for the use of "death squads. '' North later testified that Bush's speech "was one of the bravest things I've seen for anybody [sic]. ''
Attack from Jupiter
January 1 through March 1984:
The Wall Street Journal of March 6, 1985 gave a de- romanticized version of certain aquatic adventures in Central America:
Armed speedboats and a helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency "mother ship'' attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's night in 1984. A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal positions, Americans flew--and fired from--an armed helicopter that accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided sophisticated reconnaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks. The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any single event, it solidified congressional opposition to the covert war, and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984].... CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small "Latino '' force.... [The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983, against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua. The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining strategy.... The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters could land....
The reader may have already surmised that Vice President Bush (with his background in "oilfield service '' and his control of a "top-level committee of the National Security Council '') sat in his Washington office and planned these brilliant schemes. But such a guess is probably incorrect--it is off by about 800 miles. On Jupiter Island, Florida, where the Bush family has had a seasonal residence for the past several decades (see Chapter 4) is the headquarters of Continental Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA).
This company describes itself as "an environmental consulting firm specializing in applied marine science and technology ... founded in 1970.... The main office ... is located in Jupiter, Florida, approximately 75 miles north of Miami. '' CSA has "Offshore and Onshore divisions. '' It lists among its clients Exxon Company, U.S.A.; Military Sealift Command; Pennzoil Company; U.S. Department of Defense/Army Corps of Engineers; and other oil companies and government agencies. CSA's main advertised concern is with underwater engineering, often involving oil or nuclear facilities. It has many "classified '' projects. It employs the world's most sophisticated subsurface vehicles and monitoring equipment. The founder and chief executive of CSA is Robert "Stretch '' Stevens. A former lieutenant commander in naval special operations, Stevens has been a close associate of CIA officer Theodore Shackley, and of Bush agent Felix Rodriguez since the early 1960s, when Stevens served as a boat captain in the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through the Vietnam War. During the period 1982-85, CSA was contracted by the U.S. intelligence community, including the CIA, to carry out coastal and on-the-ground reconnaissance and logistical support work in the eastern Mediterranean in support of the U.S. Marine deployment into Lebanon; and coastal mapping and reconnaissance of the Caribbean island of Grenada prior to the October 1983 U.S. military action. Beginning in approximately the autumn of 1983, CSA was employed to design and execute a program for the mining of several Nicaraguan harbors. After the U.S. Senate restricted such activities to non-U.S. personnel only, CSA trained "Latin American nationals '' at a facility located on El Bravo Island off the eastern coast of Nicaragua. Acta Non Verba (Deeds Not Words) is a "subsidiary '' of CSA, incorporated in 1986 and located at the identical Jupiter address. Rudy Enders, the head of the CIA's paramilitary section--and deployed by George Bush aide Donald Gregg--is a minority owner of Acta Non Verba (ANV). ANV's own tough-talking promotional literature says that it concentrates on "counter-terrorist activities in the maritime environment. '' A very high-level retired CIA officer, whose private interview was used in preparation for this book, described this "Fish Farm '' in the following more realistic terms: "Assassination operations and training company controlled by Ted Shackley, under the cover of a private corporation with a regular board of directors, stockholders, etc., located in Florida. They covertly bring in Haitian and Southeast Asian boat people as recruits, as well as Koreans, Cubans, and Americans. They hire out assassinations and intelligence services to governments, corporations, and individuals, and also use them for covering or implementing `Fish Farm' projects/activities. '' The upshot of the attack from Jupiter--the mining of Nicaragua's harbors--was that the Congress got angry enough to pass the "Boland II '' amendment, re-tightening the laws against this public- private warfare (see entry for Oct. 3, 1984).
April 3, 1984:
Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new "Terrorist Incident Working Group '' reported to Bush's Special Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant counterterrorism assaults, on the Israeli model.
"How Can Anyone Object? ''
June 25, 1984:
The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush and other top officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 P.M. They discussed whether to risk seeking "third- country aid '' to the Contras, to get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982. George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting. Bush said, "How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to provide help to the anti- Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to give these third parties something in return so that some people might interpret this as some kind of an exchange '' [emphasis added]. Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: "I would like to get money for the contras also, but another lawyer [then-Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money from third countries, it is an impeachable offense. '' CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that "Jim Baker changed his mind [and now supported the circumvention].... '' NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, "I propose that there be no authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this discussion will be made public in any way. '' President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law: "If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House until we find out who did it. '' In March of the following year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S. aid. The minutes of this meeting, originally marked "secret, '' were released five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989.
October 3, 1984:
Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S. secret war in Central America. This "Boland II '' amendment was designed to prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus: "During fiscal year 1985, no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual. '' This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it was superceded by various aid-limitation laws which, taken together, were referred to as "Boland III. ''
November 1, 1984:
Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.
On Nov. 10, 1983, a year before the arrest, Felix Rodriguez had filed the annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of Latchinian's and Rodriguez's joint enterprise, "Giro Aviation Corp. ''
December 21, 1984:
Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the Vice President with Bush adviser Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser strenuously denied to investigators that he "introduced '' his CIA employee to North.
January 18, 1985 (Friday):
Felix Rodriguez met with Ramon Milian Rodriguez (not known to be a relative of Felix), accountant and money launderer, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cocaine cartel. Milian testified before a Senate investigation of the Contras' drug-smuggling, that more than a year earlier he had granted Felix's request and given $10 million from the cocaine cartel to Felix for the Contras.
Milian Rodriguez was interviewed in his prison cell in Butner, North Carolina, by investigative journalist Martha Honey. He said Felix Rodriguez had offered that "in exchange for money for the Contra cause he would use his influence in high places to get the [Cocaine] cartel U.S. `good will'.... Frankly, one of the selling points was that he could talk directly to Bush. The issue of good will wasn't something that was going to go through 27 bureaucratic hands. It was something that was directly between him and Bush. '' Ramon Milian Rodriguez was a Republican contributor, who had partied by invitation at the 1981 Reagan-Bush inauguration ceremonies. He had been arrested aboard a Panama-bound private jet by federal agents in May 1983, while carrying over $5 million in cash. According to Felix Rodriguez, Milian was seeking a way out of the narcotics charges when he met with Felix on January 18, 1985. This meeting remained secret until two years later, when Felix Rodriguez had become notorious in the Iran-Contra scandal. The Miami Herald broke the story on June 30, 1987. Felix Rodriguez at first denied ever meeting with Ramon Milian Rodriguez. But then a new story was worked out with various agencies. Felix "remembered '' the Jan. 18, 1985 meeting, claimed he had "said nothing '' during it, and "remembered '' that he had filed documents with the FBI and CIA telling them about the meeting just afterwards.
January 22, 1985 (Tuesday):
George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez in the Executive Office Building. The agenda may have included the results of the meeting five days before with Medellin cocaine cartel representative Milian Rodriguez.
Felix's ghost writer doesn't tell us what was said, only that Felix was "able to show [Bush] some of the photos from my album. The honor of being with the Vice President ... was overwhelming. Mr. Bush was easy to talk to, and he was interested in my stories. ''
Late January, 1985:
George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in El Salvador, in a false "private '' capacity. The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen. Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: "Rodriguez has high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Dept] and DOD [Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El Salvador.
``It would be in our best interests that Mr. Rodriguez confer with you personally prior to coming to El Salvador. I have some obvious concerns about this arrangement.... '' Felix Rodriguez flew to Panama to speak to General Gorman. They discussed his covert aid to the Contras ``since the early eighties.'' Rodriguez, by George Bush's story the private, volunteer helper of the Contras, flew from Panama to El Salvador on General Gorman's personal C-12 airplane. General Gorman also sent a confidential cable to Ambassador Pickering and Col. James Steele, U.S. military liaison man with the Contra re-supply operation in El Salvador: ``I have just met here with Felix Rodriguez, [deleted, probably ``CIA''] pensioner from Miami. Born in Cuba, a veteran of guerrilla operations [several lines deleted].... ``He is operating as a private citizen, but his acquaintanceship with the V[ice] P[resident] is real enough, going back to the latter's days as D[irector of] C[entral] I[ntelligence]. ``Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [deleted] where he wants to assist the FDN [Contras military forces]. I told him that the FDN deserved his priority.... He will want to fly with the E[l] S[alvador] A[ir] F[orce] to establish his credibility, but that ... seems to me both unnecessary and unwise....''
February 7, 1985:
The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a "Presidential letter '' to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, ``to provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support.'' The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989 Oliver North trial--number 51 in a series of ``stipulations'' that was given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.
February 12, 1985:
The government admissions in the North trial continued:
"... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on] the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message [to the Honduran president] should not be contained in a written document but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary. '' [This was to be George Bush himself-- see March 16, 1985.] Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as to deceive Congress and the American population.
February 15, 1985 (Friday):
After Rodriguez had arrived in El Salvador and had begun setting up the central re-supply depot for the Contras--at Ilopango Airbase-- Ambassador Thomas Pickering sent an "Eyes Only '' cable to the State Department on his conversation with Rodriguez. Pickering's cable bore the postscript, "Please brief Don Gregg in the V.P.'s office for me. ''
February 19, 1985 (Tuesday):
Felix Rodriguez met with Bush's staff in the vice-presidential offices in the Executive Office Building, briefing them on the progress of his mission.
Over the next two years, Rodriguez met frequently with Bush staff members in Washington and in Central America, often jointly with CIA and other officials, and conferred with Bush's staff by telephone countless times.
March 15-16, 1985 (Friday and Saturday):
George Bush and Felix Rodriguez were in Central America on their common project.
On Friday, Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.
On Saturday, George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's government. This was the "quid pro quo '': a bribe for Suazo's support for the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.
Government as Counter terror
June 14, 1985:
"Shiite Muslim terrorists '' hijacked an Athens-to-Rome airliner. One American was killed, 39 Americans were held hostage and released June 30.
Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan to lead the Task Force on Combating Terrorism (or Terrorism Task Force). Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the Iran-Contra armaments schemes. The Terrorism Task Force had the following cast of characters:
GEORGE BUSH, U.S. Vice President: CHAIRMAN
Admiral James L. Holloway III: Executive assistant to Chairman Bush
Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway
Vice Admiral John Poindexter: Senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: Day-to- day NSC representative to George Bush
Amiram Nir: Counter terror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres
Lt. Col. Robert Earl: Staff member
Terry Arnold: Principal consultant
Charles E. Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group
Robert Oakley, Director, State Dept. Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group
Noel Koch, Deputy to Asst. Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group
Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group
Oliver "Buck '' Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group
This was the first known official contact of the Israeli Nir with the U.S. government in the Iran-Contra affair. In the future, Nir would serve as the main Israeli agent in the covert arms-for- hostages negotiations with Iran, alongside such other well-known U.S. participants as Oliver North and Robert McFarlane. The Terrorism Task Force organization, as we shall see, was a permanent affair.
August 8, 1985:
George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in Germany, with 22 American casualties.
The officials discussed shipment of U.S.-made arms to Iran through Israel--to replenish Israeli stocks of TOW missiles and to permit Israel to sell arms to Iran.
According to testimony by Robert McFarlane, the transfer was supported by George Bush, Casey and Donald Regan, and opposed by Shultz and Weinberger.
August 18, 1985:
Luis Posada Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being held for the terrorist murder of 73 persons. Using forged documents falsely identifying him as a Venezuelan named "Ramon Medina, '' Posada flew to Central America. Within a few weeks, Felix Rodriguez assigned him to supervise the Bush office's Contra re-supply operations being run from the El Salvador air base. Posada personally ran the safe-houses used for the CIA flight crews. Rodriguez explained the arrangement in his book: "Because of my relationship with [El Salvador Air Force] Gen. Bustillo, I was able to pave the way for [the operations attributed to Oliver] North to use the facilities at Ilopango [El Salvador air force base].... I found someone to manage the Salvadorian-based re-supply operation on a day-to-day basis. They knew that person as Ramon Medina. I knew him by his real name: Luis Posada Carriles.... I first [sic!] met Posada in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia, where we went through basic training together ... as U.S. Army second lieutenants.... '' Rodriguez neglects to explain that agent Posada Carilles was originally recruited and trained by the same CIA murder operation, "JM/WAVE '' in Miami, as was Rodriguez himself. Felix continues: "In the sixties, he reportedly went to work for DISIP, the Venezuelan intelligence service, and rose to considerable power within its ranks. It was rumored that he held one of the top half- dozen jobs in the organization.... After the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, in which seventy-three people were killed, Posada was charged with planning the attack and was thrown in prison.... Posada was confined in prison for more than nine years.... ''
September 10, 1985:
George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M. with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.
Elsewhere in the diary pages for that day, Colonel North noted that DelAmico had procured a certain 1,000 munitions items for the Contras.
November 1985 (ca. American Thanksgiving Day):
George Bush sent Oliver North a note, with thanks for "your dedication and tireless work with the hostage thing and with Central America. ''
Congress passed new laws limiting U.S. aid to the Contras. The CIA, the Defense Department, and "any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities '' were prohibited from providing armaments to the Contras. The CIA was permitted to provide communications equipment and training. "Humanitarian '' aid was allowed. These laws, known together as "Boland III, '' were in effect from December 4, 1985 to October 17, 1986.
December 18, 1985:
CIA official Charles E. Allen, a member of George Bush's Terrorism Task Force, wrote an update on the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran. Allen's memo was a debriefing of an unnamed member of the group of U.S. government officials participating in the arms negotiations with the Iranians. The unnamed U.S. official (from the context, probably NSC terrorism consultant Michael Ledeen) is referred to in Allen's memo as "Subject ''. Allen wrote: "[Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Hashemi] Rafsanjani ... believes Vice President George Bush is orchestrating the U.S. initiative with Iran. In fact, according to Subject, Rafsanjani believes that Bush is the most powerful man in the U.S. because in addition to being Vice President, he was once Director of CIA. ''
December 1985-January 1986:
George Bush completed his official study of terrorism in December 1985. John Poindexter now directed Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram Nir. Amiram Nir came to Washington and met with Oliver North. He told U.S. officials that the Iranians had promised to free all hostages in exchange for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, in an atmosphere of constant terrorism and rumors of terrorism, President Reagan was persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran.
December 27, 1985:
Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks.
Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in mid-April 1986.
December 31, 1985 (Tuesday):
Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi told Paris-based CIA agent Bernard Veillot that Vice President Bush was backing arms sales to Iran, and that official U.S. approval for private sales to Iran, amounting to $2 billion, was "going to be signed by Mr. Bush and [U.S. Marine Corps commandant] Gen. [Paul X.] Kelley on Friday. ''
Loudly and publicly exposed in the midst of Iran arms deals, Veillot was indicted by the U.S. Then the charges were quietly dropped, and Veillot went underground. A few months later Hashemi died suddenly of "leukemia. ''
January 2, 1986 (Thursday):
Israeli counterterrorism chief Amiram Nir met with North and Poindexter in Washington. The Bush report on terrorism had now been issued within the government but was not yet published. Bush's report was urging that a counterterrorism coordinator be named for the entire U.S. government--and Oliver North was the one man intended for that slot.
At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the Contras.
January 6, 1986 (Monday):
President Reagan met with George Bush, Donald Regan, McFarlane and Poindexter. The President was handed a draft "Presidential Finding '' that called for shipping arms to Iran through Israel. The President signed this document, drafted following the discussions with Amiram Nir. The draft consciously violated the National Security Act which had established the Central Intelligence Agency, requiring notification of Congress. But Bush joined in urging President Reagan to sign this "finding '': "I hereby find that the following operation in a foreign country ... is important to the national security of the United States, and due to its extreme sensitivity and security risks, I determine it is essential to limit prior notice, and direct the Director of Central Intelligence to refrain from reporting this finding to the Congress as provided in Section 501 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, until I otherwise direct '' [emphasis added]. "... The USG[overnment] will act to facilitate efforts by third parties and third countries to establish contacts with moderate elements within and outside the Government of Iran by providing these elements with arms, equipment and related materiel in order to enhance the credibility of these elements.... '' Of course, Bush, Casey and their Israeli allies had never sought to bolster "moderate elements '' in Iran, but overthrew them at every opportunity--beginning with President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.
January 7, 1986:
President Reagan and Vice President Bush met at the White House with several other administration officials. There was an argument over new proposals by Amiram Nir and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar to swap arms for hostages.
Secretary of State George Shultz later told the Tower Commission that George Bush supported the arms-for-hostages deal at this meeting, as did President Reagan, Casey, Meese, Regan and Poindexter. Shultz reported that he himself and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger both opposed further arms shipments.
January 9, 1986:
Lt. Col. Oliver North complained, in his notebook, that "Felix [Rodriguez] '' has been "talking too much about the V[ice] P[resident] connection. ''
January 15, 1986:
CIA and Mossad employee Richard Brenneke wrote a letter to Vice President Bush giving full details, alerting Bush about his own work on behalf of the CIA in illegal--but U.S. government-sanctioned-- sales of arms to Iran.
George Bush and Oliver North worked together on the illegal plan.
Later, at North's trial, the Bush administration--portraying Colonel North as the master strategist in the case!--stipulated that North "prepared talking points for a meeting between Admiral Poindexter, Vice-President Bush, and [the new] Honduran President [Jose Simon] Azcona. North recommended that Admiral Poindexter and Vice-President Bush tell President Azcona of the need for Honduras to work with the U.S. government on increasing regional involvement with and support for the Resistance. Poindexter and Bush were also to raise the subject of better U.S. government support for the states bordering Nicaragua. '' That is, Honduras, which of course "borders on Nicaragua, '' was to get more U.S. aid and was to pass some of it through to the Contras. In preparation for the January 1986 Bush-Azcona meeting, the U.S. State Department sent to Bush adviser Donald Gregg a memorandum, which "alerted Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social benefits from its [Honduras's] cooperation with the United States. '' Two months after the January Bush-Azcona meeting, President Reagan asked Congress for $20 million in emergency aid to Honduras, needed to repel a cross-border raid by Nicaraguan forces against Contra camps. Congress voted the "emergency '' expenditure.
January 17, 1986:
George Bush met with President Reagan, John Poindexter, Donald Regan, and NSC staff member Donald Fortier to review the final version of the January 7 arms-to-Iran draft. With the encouragement of Bush, and the absence of opponents to the scheme, President Reagan signed the authorization to arm the Khomeini regime with missiles, and keep the facts of this scheme from congressional oversight committees. This was the reality of the Bush "counterstrategy '' to terrorism, for whose implementation his Terrorism Task Force was just then creating the covert mechanism. The official story about this meeting--given in the Tower Commission Report--is as follows: "[T]he proposal to shift to direct U.S. arms sales to Iran ... was considered by the president at a meeting on January 17 which only the Vice President, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fortier, and VADM Poindexter attended. Thereafter, the only senior-level review the Iran initiative received was during one or another of the President's daily national security briefings. These were routinely attended only by the President, the Vice President, Mr. Regan, and VADM Poindexter. There was no subsequent collective consideration of the Iran initiative by the NSC principals before it became public 11 months later....
Because of the obsession with secrecy, interagency consideration of the initiative was limited to the cabinet level. With the exception of the NSC staff and, after January 17, 1986, a handful of CIA officials, the rest of the executive departments and agencies were largely excluded.
``The National Security Act also requires notification of Congress of covert intelligence activities. If not done in advance, notification must be `in timely fashion.' The Presidential Finding of January 17 directed that congressional notification be withheld, and this decision appears to have never been reconsidered. ''
January 18, 1986:
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was directed to prepare the transfer of 4,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the CIA, which was to ship them to Khomeini's Iran. Bypassing normal channels for covert shipments, he elected to have his senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, handle the arrangements for the arms transfer.
January 19-21, 1986:
George Bush's deputy national security aide, Col. Samuel Watson, worked with Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, and met with Col. James Steele, the U.S. military liaison officer with the covert Contra re-supply organization in El Salvador.
Bush Sets Up North as Counterterrorism Boss--and
|The unofficial Bush report, the official Bush report released in February, and
the Bush-organized NSDD 207, together put forward Oliver North as "Mr.
Iran-Contra. '' North became the nominal, up- front coordinator of the
administration's counterterrorism program, hiding as best he could Bush's hand
in these matters. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office to Combat
Terrorism), separate from regular NSC staff members. George Bush now reassigned
his Terrorism Task Force employees, Craig Coy and Robert Earl, to do the daily
work of the North secret office. The Bush men spent the next year working on
Iran arms sales: Earl devoted one-quarter to one- half of his time on Iran and
Contra support operations; Coy ``knew everything'' about Project Democracy.
North traveled much of the time. Earl and Coy were at this time officially
attached to the Crisis Management Center, which North worked on in 1983.
FBI Assistant Director Revell, often George Bush's ``hit man'' against Bush's
domestic opponents, partially disclosed this shell game in a letter to Sen.
David Boren (D-Ok.), explaining the FBI's contacts with North:
At the time [April 1986], North was the NSC official charged by the President with the coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible for working closely with designated lead agencies and was responsible for participating in all interagency groups, maintaining the national programming documents, assisting in the coordination of research and development in relation to counterterrorism, facilitating the development of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice President's Terrorism Task Force recommendations. This description of Col. North's position is set forth in the public report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combating Terrorism, February 1986. There is an even more detailed and comprehensive description of Col. North's position in the classified National Security Decision Directive #207 issued by the President on January 20, 1986. 
The Bush Terrorism Task Force, having completed its official work, had simply made itself into a renamed, permanent, covert agency. Its new name was Operations Sub-Group (OSG). In this transformation, CIA Contra-handler Duane Clarridge had been added to the Task Force to form the ``OSG,'' which included North, Poindexter, Charles Allen, Robert Oakley, Noel Koch, General Moellering and ``Buck'' Revell. According to the Oliver North diaries, even before this final phase of the Bush-North apparatus there were at least 14 meetings between North and the Bush Task Force's senior members Holloway, Oakley and Allen, its principal consultant Terry Arnold, and its staff men Robert Earl and Craig Coy. The North diaries from July 1985 through January 1986, show one meeting with President Reagan, and four meetings with Vice President Bush: either the two alone, North with Bush and Amiram Nir, or North with Bush and Donald Gregg. The Bush counterterrorism apparatus had its own communications channels, and a global antiterrorist computer network called Flashboard outside of all constitutional government arrangements. Those opposed to the arming of terrorists, including cabinet members, had no access to these communications. This apparatus had responsibility for Iran arms sales; the private funding of the Contras, from contributions, theft, dope-running; the ``public diplomacy'' of Project Democracy to back these efforts; and counterintelligence against other government agencies and against domestic opponents of the policy.
January 28, 1986:
George Bush met with Oliver North and FDN Contra Political Director Adolfo Calero in the Old Executive Office Building. North and Calero would work together to protect George Bush when the Contra supply effort blew apart in October 1986.
January 31, 1986:
Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi was told by a French arms agent that "[a]n assistant of the vice president's going to be in Germany ... and the indication is very clear that the transaction can go forward '' referring to George Bush's supposed approval of the private arms sale to Iran.
February 6, 1986:
Responding to the January 15 letter from Richard Brenneke, Bush aide Lt. Col. E. Douglas Menarczik wrote to Brenneke: "The U.S. government will not permit or participate in the provision of war materiel to Iran and will prosecute any such efforts by U.S. citizens to the fullest extent of the law. 1''
February 7, 1986: Samuel M. Evans, a representative of Saudi and Israeli arms dealers, told Cyrus Hashemi that "[t]he green light now finally has been given [for the private sale of arms to Iran], that Bush is in favor, Shultz against, but nevertheless they are willing to proceed. ''
February 25, 1986:
Richard Brenneke wrote again to Bush's office, to Lt. Col. Menarczik, documenting a secret project for U.S. arms sales to Iran going on since 1984.
Brenneke later said publicly that early in 1986, he called Menarczik to warn that he had learned that the U.S. planned to buy weapons for the Contras with money from Iran arms sales. Menarczik reportedly said, "We will look into it. '' Menarczik claimed not to have "any specific recollection of telephone conversations with '' Brenneke.
Late February, 1986:
Vice President George Bush issued the public report of his Terrorism Task Force. In his introduction to the report, Bush asserted: "Our Task Force was briefed by more than 25 government agencies ... traveled to embassies and military commands throughout the world.... Our conclusion: ... We firmly oppose terrorism in all forms and wherever it takes place.... We will make no concessions to terrorists. ''
According to a sworn statement of pilot Michael Tolliver, Felix Rodriguez had met him in July 1985. Now Rodriguez instructed Tolliver to go to Miami International Airport. Tolliver picked up a DC-6 aircraft and a crew, and flew the plane to a Contra base in Honduras. There Tolliver watched the unloading of 14 tons of military supplies, and the loading of 12 and 2/3 tons of marijuana. Following his instructions from Rodriguez, Tolliver flew the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The next day Rodriguez paid Tolliver $75,000.
Tolliver says that another of the flights he performed for Rodriguez carried cocaine on the return trip to the U.S.A. He made a series of arms deliveries from Miami into the air base at Agucate, Honduras. He was paid in cash by Rodriguez and his old Miami CIA colleague, Rafael "Chi Chi '' Quintero. In another circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and El Salvador's Ilopango air base. Tolliver said that Rodriguez and Quintero "instructed me where to go and who to see. '' While making these flights, he "could go by any route available without any interference from any agency. We didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody.... '' With reference to the covert arms shipments out of Miami, George Bush's son Jeb said: "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped, but does that break any law? I'm not sure it's illegal. The Neutrality Act is a completely untested notion, established in the 1800s. ''
Smuggling Missiles and Reporting to the Boss
Trafficking in lethal weapons without government authorization is always a tricky business for covert operators. But when the operatives are smuggling weapons in a particular traffic which the U.S. Congress has expressly prohibited, a good deal of criminal expertise and certain crucial contacts are required for success. And when the smugglers report to the Vice President, who wishes his role to remain concealed, the whole thing can become very sticky--or even ludicrous to the point of low comedy.
March 26, 1986:
Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well as the customs services and police forces of several nations. The most important component of such transactions, aside from the purchase money, was a falsified document showing the supposed recipient of the arms, the end-user certificate (EUC). In the message he wrote, North said that "we have '' an EUC; that is, a false document has been acquired for this arms sale: "[W]e are trying to find a way to get 10 BLOWPIPE launchers and 20 missiles from [a South American country] ... thru the Short Bros. Rep.... Short Bros., the mfgr. of the BLOWPIPE, is willing to arrange the deal, conduct the training and even send U.K. `tech. reps' ... if we can close the arrangement. Dick Secord has already paid 10% down on the delivery and we have a [country deleted] EUC which is acceptable to [that South American country]. '' Now, since this particular illegal sale somehow came to light in the Iran-Contra scandal, another participant in this one deal decided not to bother hiding his own part in it. Thus, we are able to see how Colonel North got his false certificate.
April 20, 1986:
Felix Rodriguez met in San Salvador with Oliver North and Enrique Bermudez, the Contras' military commander. Rodriguez informs us of the following in his own, ghost-written book:
"Shortly before that April 20 meeting, Rafael Quintero had asked me to impose upon my good relations with the Salvadoran military to obtain `end-user' certificates made out to Lake Resources, which he told me was a Chilean company.... ''
The plan was to acquire false end-user certificates from his contacts in the Salvadoran armed forces for Blowpipe ground-to-air missiles supposedly being shipped into El Salvador. The missiles would then be illegally diverted to the Contras in Honduras and Nicaragua. Rodriguez continues, with self-puffery: "The Salvadorans complied with my request, and in turn I supplied the certificates, handing them over personally to Richard Secord at that April 20 meeting. '' While arranging the forgery for the munitions sale, Rodriguez was in touch with the George Bush staff back in his home office. On April 16, four days before the Rodriguez-North missile meeting, Bush national security adviser Donald Gregg asked his staff to put a meeting with Rodriguez on George Bush's calendar. Gregg said the purpose of the White House meeting would be "to brief the Vice President on the war in El Salvador and re-supply of the Contras. '' The meeting was arranged for 11:30 A.M. on May 1. Due its explicitly stated purpose-- clandestine weapons trafficking in an undeclared war against the rigid congressional prohibition--the planned meeting was to become one of the most notorious of the Iran-Contra scandal.
April 30, 1986 (Wednesday):
Felix Rodriguez met in Washington with Bush aide Col. Sam Watson.
The following reminder message was sent to George Bush:
Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President
Event: Meeting with Felix Rodriguez
Date: Thursday, May 1, 1986
Time: 11:30-11:45 a.m.--West Wing
From: Don Gregg
Felix Rodriguez, a counterinsurgency expert who is visiting from El Salvador, will provide a briefing on the status of the war in El Salvador and re-supply of the Contras.
III. [sic] PARTICIPANTS
The Vice President Felix Rodriguez
IV. MEDIA COVERAGE
Staff photographer. [i.e. internal-use photographs, no media coverage]
May 1, 1986:
Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.
At this meeting it was decided that "private citizen '' Felix Rodriguez would continue his work in Central America.
May 16, 1986:
<Chapter 17 - Table of Contents - Chapter 19>
1. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi
Germany (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), p. 271.
2. Memo, May 14, 1982, two pp. bearing the nos. 29464 and 29465. See also "NSDD-2 Structure for Central America, '' bearing the no. 29446, a chart showing the SSG and its CPPG as a guidance agency for the National Security Council.
3. Testimony of Donald P. Gregg, pp. 72-73 in Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12, 1989 (hereinafter identified as "Gregg Hearings ''). This transcript is available for reading at the office of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in the Capitol, Washington, D.C. See also Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, Shadow Warrior (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), pp. 213-14. The book was ghost written--and spook-approved--by the CIA and Donald Gregg before publication.
4. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran Contra Affair (hereinafter identified as the "Iran-Contra Report ''), published jointly by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, Nov. 17, 1987, Washington, D.C., pp. 395-97. Note that different sections of the Congressional Iran-Contra Report were published on different dates.
5. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 12; drawn from Public Testimony of Fawn Hall, Iran-Contra Report, June 8, 1987, p. 15.
6. Memoranda and meetings of March 1983, in the "National Security Archive '' Iran-Contra Collection on microfiche at the Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room (hereinafter identified as "Iran-Contra Collection '').
7. Don Gregg Memorandum for Bud McFarlane, March 17, 1983, stamped SECRET, since declassified. Document no. 77 in the Iran- Contra Collection; on the memo is a handwritten note from "Bud '' [McFarlane] to "Ollie '' [North]. See also Gregg Hearings, pp. 54- 55.
8. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 119.
9. Shultz Memorandum, May 25, 1983 and White House reply, both stamped SECRET/SENSITIVE. Documents beginning no. 00107 in the Iran- Contra Collection.
10. De Graffenreid Memorandum for Admiral Murphy, July 12, 1983, since declassified, bearing the no. 43673. Document no. 00137 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
11. Constantine C. Menges, Inside the National Security Council (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pp. 70-78.
12. Chronology supplied by the Office of the Vice President, cited in The Progressive, May 18, 1987, London, England, p. 20.
13. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 221.; CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13, citing Testimony of Oliver North; Iran-Contra Report (June 8, 1987), pp. 643, 732-33.
14. This section is based on 1) literature supplied by CSA, Inc. and its subsidiary ANV, and 2) an exhaustive examination of CSA/ANV in Jupiter and other locations, including interviews with personnel employed by the company, and with military and CIA personnel who have worked with the company.
15. Scott Armstrong, Executive Editor for The National Security Archive, The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Contras (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 55. Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), pp. 219- 20.
16. National Security Planning Group Meeting Minutes, June 25, 1984, pp. 1 and 14, photostats reproduced in EIR Special Report: "American Leviathan: Administrative Fascism under the Bush Regime '' (Wiesbaden, Germany: Executive Intelligence Review Nachrichtenagentur, April 1990), p. 159.
17. This is an excerpt from Section 8066 of Public Law 98-473, the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985; Iran-Contra Report, Nov. 13, 1987, p. 398l.
18. Armstrong, op. cit., Nov. 1, 1984 entry, p. 70, citing Miami Herald 11/2/84 and 11/3/84, Wall Street Journal 11/2/84, Washington Post 8/15/85, New York Times 12/23/87. Armstrong, op. cit., Nov. 10, 1983 entry, p. 42, citing corporate records of the Florida secretary of state 7/14/86, Miami Herald 11/2/84, New York Times 11/3/84.
19. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 220-21; EIR Special Report: "American Leviathan, '' pp. 157-58.
20. Report of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, December 1988, pp. 61-62.
21. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 221-22.
22. Ibid., pp. 224- 25.
23. General Gorman "eyes only '' cable to Pickering and Steele, Feb. 14, 1985. Partially declassified and released on July 30, 1987 by the National Security Council, bearing no. D 23179. Document no. 00833 in the Iran-Contra Collection. See also Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 225-26.
24. U.S. government stipulations in the trial of Oliver North, reproduced in EIR Special Report: "Irangate..., '' pp. 20, 22.
25. Gregg Hearings, p. 99.
26. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 227. Gregg Hearings, New York Times, Dec. 13, 1986.
27. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, pp. 13-14. On Amiram Nir, see Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 225-26, citing Wall Street Journal 12/22/86, New York Times 1/12/87. On Poindexter and North, see Menges,op. cit., p. 264.
28. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 140-41, citing Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "Report on Preliminary Inquiry, '' Jan. 29, 1987.
29. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 239-41.
30. Oliver North's diary, since edited and partially declassified, entries for "10 Sep 85. '' Document no. 01527 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
31. Washington Post, June 10, 1990.
32. Charles E. Allen "Memorandum for the Record, '' December 18, 1985. Partially declassified/released (i.e. some parts are still deleted) by the National Security Council on January 26, 1988. Document no. 02014 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
33. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 226-27, citing Wall Street Journal 12/22/86, New York Times 12/25/86 and 1/12/87.
34. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 231, citing Washington Post 2/20/87, New York Times 2/22/87.
35. Ibid., p. 232, citing Miami Herald 11/30/86. 36. Interview with Herman Moll in EIR Special Report: "Irangate..., '' pp. 81-83.
37. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 235, citing Washington Post 12/16/86, 12/27/86, 1/10/87 and 1/12/87; Ibid., p. 238, citing Tower Commission Report; Menges, op. cit., p. 271.
38. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 240-41, citing Washington Post 1/10/87 and 1/15/87; Sen. John Tower, Chairman, The Tower Commission Report: The Full Text of the President's Special Review Board (New York: Bantam Books, 1987), p. 217.
39. Ibid., pp. 37, 225.
40. North notebook entry Jan. 9, 1986, Exhibits attached to Gregg Deposition in Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey v. John Hull, Rene Corbo, Felipe Vidal et al., 29 April 1988.
41. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 258, citing the Brenneke letter, which was made available to the National Security Archive.
42. U.S. government stipulations at the North trial, in EIR Special Report: "Irangate..., '' p. 22.
43. Tower Commission Report, pp. 67-68, 78.
44. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 266, citing Washington Post 1/10/87 and 1/15/87.
45. Chronology supplied by Office of Vice President Bush; Armstrong, op. cit., p. 266, citing Washington Post 12/16/86.
46. Deposition of Robert Earl, Iran-Contra Report, May 2, 1987, Vol. 9, pp. 22-23; Deposition of Craig Coy, Iran-Contra Report, March 17, 1987, Vol. 7, pp. 24-25: cited in CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.
47. Oliver Revell to Sen. David Boren, chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, April 17, 1987; Washington Post Feb. 17, 20 and 22, 1987; Wall Street Journal Feb. 20, 1987: cited in CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.
48. Newsweek, Oct. 21, 1985, p. 26; Earl Exhibit, nos. 3- 8, attached to Earl Deposition, op. cit. cited in CovertAction No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.
49. Earl Deposition, op. cit., May 30, 1987, pp. 33-37; May 15, 1987, pp. 117-21 (Channell and Miller); May 15, 1987, pp. 131, 119 (private contributors).
50. Donald Gregg Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President, Jan. 27, 1986; released by the National Security Council March 22, 1988. Document no. 02254 in Iran-Contra Collection.
51. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 275, citing Miami Herald 11/30/86.
52. Ibid., p. 280, citing the Menarczik letter to Brenneke which was made available to the National Security Archive.
53. Ibid., citing Miami Herald 11/30/86.
54. New York Times, Nov. 30, 1986, Dec. 4, 1986. See Gregg testimony: Brenneke had M's number.
55. Quoted in Menges, op. cit., p. 275.
56. Deposition of Michael Tolliver in Avirgan and Honey, op. cit.
57. Allan Nairn, "The Bush Connection, '' in The Progressive (London: May 18, 1987), pp. 21-22.
58. Nairn, op. cit., pp. 19, 21-23.
59. Tower Commission Report, p. 465
60. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 244-45.
62. "Schedule Proposal, '' Office of the Vice President, April 16, 1986, exhibit attached to Gregg Deposition in Avirgan and Honey, op. cit.
63. Office of the Vice President Memorandum, April 30, 1986, released Aug. 28, 1987 by the National Security Council. Document no. 02738 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
64. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., pp. 245-46. See also Gregg confirmation hearings, excerpted infra, and numerous other sources.
65. Armstrong, op. cit., pp. 368-69, citing Senate Select Intelligence Committee Report, Jan. 29, 1987. 66. Ibid., p. 373, citing Washington Post 12/16/86.
67. Ibid., p. 388-89, citing McFarlane testimony to the Tower Commission.
68. Affidavit of Eugene Harry Hasenfus, October 12, 1986, pp. 2- 3. Document no. 03575 in the Iran-Contra Collection. 69. Tower Commission Report, pp. 385-88.
70. Washington Post, Feb. 26, 1987.
71. Hasenfus Affidavit, pp. 6-7. 72. Ibid.
73. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 7.
74. Armstrong, op. cit., p. 508, citing the chronology provided by George Bush's office, Washington Post 12/16/86; New York Times 12/16/86, 12/17/86 and 12/25/86; Wall Street Journal 12/19/86 and 12/24/86.
75. Laredo [Texas] Morning Times, May 15, 1989, p. 1.
76. Washington Post, Oct. 11, 1986.
77. Washington Post, Oct. 12, 1986, Oct. 14, 1986.
78. Washington Post, Oct. 14, 1986.
79. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 3.
80. Rodriguez and Weisman, op. cit., p. 241.
81. Washington Post, Nov. 20, 1986.
82. Washington Post, Feb. 12, 1987.
83. Washington Post, Dec. 18, 1986, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 1986.
84. Donald T. Regan, For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1988), pp. 368-73.
86. New York Times, March 2, 1989.
87. CovertAction, No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.
88. Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12 and June 15, 1989. Some misspellings in the transcript have been corrected here.
89. Mary McCrory, "The Truth According to Gregg, '' Washington Post, June 22, 1989.
90. NEPL contributions 1985 printout, cited in Armstrong, op. cit., p. 226.