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Thread: Theirs is a scandal that deserves to be told

  1. #1
    Master OptiBoarder rinselberg's Avatar
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    Theirs is a scandal that deserves to be told

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    Colonel North goes with Iran-Contra like Colonel Mustard goes with Clue ...

    The story of how this came about leaked out in bits and pieces ... from bewilderingly varied sources: an account published by a pro-Syrian weekly magazine in Beirut, a public speech by the speaker of the Iranian parliament, guarded private comments by government officials in Washington and Jerusalem, and even a Danish sailor's revelations about a voyage through the Persian Gulf. Some of the more mind-boggling versions of the tale had touches of melodrama that might have come from the most lurid spy fiction: a presidential envoy slipping into Tehran bearing ... presents of pistols, a Bible and a key-shaped cake; an American cargo plane disappearing from radar screens over Turkey; a Danish ship changing the name painted on its hull prior to reaching an Israeli port ...

    According to Hashemi Rafsanjani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane and four unnamed American companions arrived in Tehran with Irish passports and posing as the flight crew of a plane carrying military equipment that Iran had purchased from international arms dealers. They brought ... gifts of a Bible autographed by President Reagan, a cake shaped like a key intended to symbolize an opening to better relations between the U.S. and Iran, and an unspecified number of Colt pistols to be distributed to Iranian officials. Rafsanjani insisted that he ordered the Americans kept under virtual house arrest in their hotel rooms, refused to let them see anyone and expelled them from Iran after five days ...

    Colt Super 38: The perfect desktop accessory. Shoots real bullets.

    American officials in the know insist that much of this story is sheer invention intended to make the U.S. look ludicrous. What really happened, they say, was this: McFarlane, Oliver North and two bodyguards did visit Tehran, but their passports were neither U.S. nor Irish. Also, they carried no Bible, cake or guns. They stayed in Tehran four or five days and managed to meet a number of Iranian officials, possibly including Rafsanjani, although accounts differ on that subject. Stories vary too on what, if anything, the mission accomplished. Some say that McFarlane's contacts with the Iranians were amicable, others that they were rudely aborted.

    Time; November 1986. The U.S. and Iran: The story behind Reagan's dealings with the mullahs.

    Oliver North's testimony before Congress included some juicy tidbits about how some of the proceeds from covert arms sales to Iran were used. Most notably, North equipped his private residence with a security alarm system, reported as a $60,000 expenditure by some accounts and just $16,000 by others. North justified the expenditure with the explanation that he had been personally threatened by the notorious Mideast terrorist Abu Nidal. As the story circulated and recirculated to the present day, "Abu Nidal" was turned into "Osama bin Laden".

    A lesser expenditure was for a set of snow tires: "Ollie's got the tires!" as one newspaper columnist (possibly the late Art Buchwald) gleefully reported.

    The security alarm system was the basis of a felony charge for receiving an illegal gratuity - one of three such charges that North was later convicted on. Just fifteen days after being sentenced, all of the judgements against North were overturned on appeal with the assistance of the ACLU.

    I'm trusting in the Lord and a good lawyer.
    ~ Oliver North

    The two other judgements against North that were overturned on appeal were for aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry and for unlawful destruction of official records - a task which he delegated to his suddenly famous (and suddenly terminated) secretary Fawn Hall and her trusty paper shredding machine.

    Fawn Hall was seductive looking in a dirty blond sort of way and was later named as a Playboy Sex Star of 1987.

    Oliver North. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Fawn Hall. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Many of the thousands of missiles and other armaments received by Iran were shipped from Israel, which served as a kind of regional arms warehouse during the covert transactions. The U.S. then replenished the Israeli inventories. This served to streamline the deliveries and as a convenience for the White House operatives as they endeavored to cover their tracks.

    July 1986: Oliver North sketched this flow chart of private sector groups - known collectively as the "Enterprise" - that were enlisted to provide resources for the Contra war after Congress tried to end U.S. involvement in Nicaragua. The diagram identifies the complex chain of "off-the-shelf" resource management, financial accounting, armaments and paramilitary structures that the National Security Council created to covertly sustain the Contra insurgency.

    Some of the proceeds from arms sales to Iran were used to buy arms for the Contras for their war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Arms were purchased from Poland and Czechoslovokia and shipped to Honduras where an "arms supermarket" had been established to support the Contras.

    NTI Country Overviews: Iran; Missile Chronology 1985-1986.
    Walsh: Iran-Contra Report; Chapter 21; CIA Subject #1.
    National Security Archive: The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On; Electronic Briefing Book No. 210.

    The shadowy Admiral John Poindexter was another major protagonist in the Iran-Contra affair.

    Fans of the venerable Felix the Cat cartoon series remember the genius nephew "Poindexter". (How can a cat have a human nephew?) Felix was created early in the 20th century by cartoonist Otto Messmer. His protege, Joe Oriolo, added more characters to the cartoon cast - probably in the 1920's. Poindexter was one of these.

    I'm not clear as to whether "Poindexter" came to signify what we mean by "nerd" because of the cartoon character - or whether it was used in this way even before the Felix cartoons.

    During November 1985, eighteen HAWK anti-aircraft missiles were transferred from Israel to Iran aboard a plane owned by a CIA front company. These missiles were rejected by the Iranians and by mutual agreement with the U.S., were shipped from Iran back to Israel. This "botched shipment" prompted the White House operatives to inaugurate shipments of weapons and parts from the U.S. directly to Iran. The Israeli "arms warehouse" was eliminated.

    The most logical explanation is that the Iranians were expecting a more up to date version of the missile and were dissatisfied with the outdated ones that were shipped from Israel.

    HAWK anti-aircraft missile system. The going exchange rate was 500 HAWK missiles in exchange for the release of five hostages held by Middle East terrorists under the influence of Iran - a valuation of 100 HAWK missiles per hostage. Photo credit:

    In keeping, however, with the consistently bizarre atmosphere attending the Iran-Contra affair from start to finish, Richard Armitage - recently implicated in the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame - recalled a rumor that the HAWK missiles that went from Israel to Iran were rejected "because they had the Star of David on them."

    Walsh: Final Report on Iran-Contra; Part VIII.
    NTI Country Overviews: Iran; Missile Chronology 1985-1986.
    National Security Archive: The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On; Electronic Briefing Book No. 210.

    How did Oliver North, who appeared to be a criminal and a liar, become an American hero? First the context must be considered. The Iran-Contra affair was extremely complex with actors ranging from Eugene Hasenfus to President Ronald Reagan and settings ranging from Nicaragua to Israel to Iran. This complexity extended to the televised hearings where a cacophony of voices asked questions, reprimanded lawyers and presented reams of sometimes contradictory evidence. Part of North's appeal stemmed from his unified rhetorical vision which extended the familiar cold war rhetoric to include Arab terrorism. This coherence was attractive to many Americans. In addition, his rhetorical vision depicted the United States as the defender of the weak and the champion of democracy. Another part of North's appeal stemmed from his white knight, clean-cut, patriotic, handsome father and husband persona who fought three villains: communism, terrorism, and "the system." Many Americans feel enmity, fear, or frustration toward at least one of these three phenomena. Americans often feel powerless and many feel that one voice or one vote just doesn't matter. North demonstrated that one person can make a difference. North's persona as the Christian, clean-cut all-American marine who was a loving husband and father, a secretive James Bond, a gun-toting cowboy who went against conventions and an underdog and individualist who stood up for his beliefs, won the hearts and minds of many Americans.

    Oliver North's Testimony before the U.S. Congress' Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and Nicaraguan Opposition: A Fantasy Theme Analysis.
    Education Resources Information Center.

    So Ollie did succeed in getting people out, right? Yes, except that when three hostages were released, the terrorists simply snatched three others to get ready to bargin for more arms. "The net accomplishement of North's arms deals with the Iranians was to create a market for hostages," said Tom Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C. The NSA, a nongovernmental library of declassified documents, is the greatest single public repository of hard facts about North and the whole Iran-Contra scam. "The market featured prices--a.k.a. ransoms--running from $1 million in cash to as high as $8 million in missiles. That's an incentive for a revolving door."

    David Hackworth on Oliver North: originally published in Playboy (1994)

    More from David Hackworth:

    North has a magic mouth. He's part natural politician and part huckster. He could sell camel dung back to the camels. He has the aura of a savior and he instinctively plays to his audiences. He wants to be looked upon as a military hero, the hairy-chested underdog who can save our country, a kind of leader stud who will follow the example of other warriors who continued to serve and defend our country after they took off their uniforms. North is a perversion of that great tradition.

    "Inventor" probably isn't the first word that comes to mind in connection with the celebrated cognomen of "Ollie North"; nevertheless, a search of the Google Online Patents Database reveals that the very same Oliver L. North of Iran-Contra fame is credited as a "co-inventor" on three U.S. Patents related to the provision of bullet-resistant armor for military and police applications.

    "War Stories" is a military history program on the Fox News Channel, broadcast Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm and repeated at 11:00 pm (ET) and hosted by Oliver North.

    North concludes every episode with the tagline "Theirs is a war story that deserves to be told." This ritual signoff is always punctuated by North raising his right hand to his forehead in a faux military salute, which invariably comes off as comically over the top, considering his customary attire, which can be anything from a camo uniform to a casual ensemble that could have come straight off one of the racks at Old Navy or The Gap.

    Tragically, Marine Major Megan McClung, a public affairs officer who became the highest-ranking U.S. servicewoman fatality in Iraq, had been escorting North and a FOX News crew through Ramadi just moments before a roadside bomb took her life towards the end of 2006.

    The recently appointed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates weathered his less celebrated involvement in the Iran-Contra affair with far less damage than many others. President Reagan had to withdraw Gates' nomination for DCI in 1987 because of Gates' connection with the conspiracy. President Bush 41 re-nominated him and he was confirmed as DCI in 1991, after the Iran-Contra heat had largely evaporated.; November 2006. Iran-Contra Revisited.

    Oliver North graduated from the Naval Academy and served 22 years in the Marine Corps before retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

    He served on the front lines in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

    He is also an author, founder of a small business, inventor credited with three U.S. patents, syndicated columnist and candidate who ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate.

    Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan Administration, North was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the daring capture of the hijackers of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. air attacks on Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist bases in Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the world's deadliest assassin.

    North also serves as the Honorary Chairman of Freedom Alliance, the conservative public policy organization he founded in 1990. Freedom Alliance is committed to strengthening morality in our public institutions and restoring honesty and integrity to our political system. Freedom Alliance is dedicated to the maintenance of a strong national defense, the protection of the rights and freedoms of individual citizens and the adoption of policies that promote free enterprise.

    Fox News: Oliver North; Biography.

    From May until August of 1987 the Iran-Contra scandal and its televised hearings put the spotlight on Oliver North, who donned his uniform and admitted that he acted illegally, but out of patriotism. His felony convictions were eventually overturned, and depending on who's talking, North was either a traitorous drug smuggler or a national hero who saved Central America from communism. In 1994 he earned the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but lost the election. North remains in the public eye as a conservative political pundit and media personality. He has written his own syndicated column and anchored the broadcast series Common Sense Radio. His war novels, written with Joe Musser, include Mission Compromised (2002), Jericho Sanction (2003) and Assassins (2005).

    North has been the subject of an e-mail rumor that during the Iran-Contra hearings, he told a Senate committee (including Al Gore) that he had installed a $60,000 security system at his home to protect his family from Osama bin Laden. The rumor is untrue: North did accept a home security system as a gift and discussed it with a Senate committee, but Osama bin Laden was not mentioned and Al Gore was not part of the committee ...

    North is a favorite among conspiracy buffs, who maintain that his operation took guns to Central America and brought back cocaine during the 1980s.

    Oliver North: Biography and Much More from

    Theirs is a scandal that deserves to be told ...
    Last edited by rinselberg; 03-30-2008 at 11:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter DragonLensmanWV's Avatar
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    Funny thing.... about the same time I attended a funeral in Oden,IN for one of my wife's relatives. The funeral home was Poindexter, and the owner/director said he was Adm. Poindexter's brother, who had a good time telling anyone who'd listen about all the trouble his brother had gotten into, and said that he really did all he was accused of and more.
    DragonlensmanWV N.A.O.L.
    "There is nothing patriotic about hating your government or pretending you can hate your government but love your country."

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