The Iran Contra Affair! Most of us have heard all about it, from years past. But what we heard was a very well planned and perfectly executed diversion from the truth. But now, with the new Iranian nuclear buildup and crisis, the deception has come full circle. So lets go back and revisit the Truth about Iran Contra. And the deaths associated with their coverup.
The Scandal began as an internal U.S. confrontation between Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Congress. In 1984, the Boland Amendment passed, which said that the CIA and Department of Defense could not give any more militaristic aid (specifically in Nicaragua). They restricted aid to humanitarian aid. Attempting to deal with foreign policy in two continents, Reagan had hoped that if he was to supply Iran with United States military supplies and weapons, then the relations with Iran may be strengthened, and in turn would lead to improved relations with Lebanon and a stronger U.S. position in the Middle East. Reagan was also hoping that if he were to place the U.S. in good standing with Iran, he may be able to release seven American hostages who were being held captive by Iranian terrorists. But Iran had needs other than what Reagan had imagined. Uranium!
A Quick History Lesson on Iran
In 1953, the United States played a significant role in a coup that removed democratically elected Premier Mohammed Mossadeq, restoring the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power.
Mossadeq sought to nationalize the oil industry whereas the Shah promoted a privatized system. Nationalization would allow Iran, rather than Great Britain, to profit from Iran's natural resource. As a result, the British urged the U.S. to aid the coup plot.
The British initially sought cooperation in planning the coup from President Truman, but he refused. After President Eisenhower's election in 1953, the British approached with the coup idea. Eisenhower agreed and ordered the CIA to embark on Operation Ajax, a covert operation against Iran's government.
Operation Ajax undermined Mossadeq's government by bribing influential figures, planting false reports in newspapers and provoking street violence.[ii] On August 19, 1953, Mossadeq was forced from power and the Shah took over.
The U.S. benefited from this "˜shift' in political discourse; the U.S. gained control over Iranian oil and redistributed British production shares to U.S. companies. U.S corporations acquired 40 percent of Iran's oil, Anglo-Iranian Oil's (the British corporation later renamed British Petroleum) share reduced to 40 percent, and French and Dutch companies acquired the other 20 percent.[iii]
The Iranians, on the other hand, did not benefit from the change in government nor did they reap the profits of its natural resource, oil.
Under the Shah, Iran launched a series of ambitious nuclear projects that relied on assistance from the United States and Europe. According to Akbar Etemad, the President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) from 1974 through 1978, Iran was already carrying out nuclear research and education at the University of Tehran when the NPT entered into force on March 5, 1970.] The work centered on a five megawatt research reactor supplied by the United States, which began operation in 1967.
By the mid-1970s, according to Etemad, Iran had launched an extensive nuclear energy program. In 1974, the Shah set the goal of producing roughly 23,000 megawatts of electrical power from a series of nuclear power stations within twenty years. A host of contracts between Iran and nuclear suppliers in Europe and the United States followed: Iran struck a deal with Kraftwerk Union (KWU, a Siemens subsidiary) of then-West Germany to build two 1,200 megawatt reactors at Bushehr and negotiated with the French company Framatome for two additional 900 megawatt reactors. In 1974, Iran reportedly invested $1 billion in a French uranium enrichment plant owned by Eurodif, a European consortium Etemad also described Iran's indigenous work on the nuclear fuel cycle in the 1970s, including plans for a new nuclear research center at Isfahan and the exploration of uranium mining and ore processing.
Here's a look at Iran's nuclear program over the years:
This is the research Reactor the U.S. Built for Iran Complete with Weapons Grade Fuel.
Unfortunately they needed low Grade U308 YellowCake Uranium. Carter said no. Reagan asked
Bush to find a way to get the Hostages released. The Great Iranian Deception Begins.
• 1957 -- The United States signs a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran.
• 1958 -- Iran joins the International Atomic Energy Agency.
• 1967, under the "Atoms for Peace" program launched by President Eisenhower, the US sold the Shah of Iran's government a 5-megawatt, light-water type research reactor. This small dome-shaped structure, located in the Tehran suburbs, was the foundation of Iran's nuclear program. It remains at the center of the controversy over Iranian intentions, even today.
• 1968 -- Iran signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
• 1978 -- Iran begins search for low grade U308 uranium called Yellowcake
• 1984 -- With the aid of China, Iran opens a nuclear research center in Isfahan.
The Iranian Revolution
The 1979 Iranian revolution halted this work for a couple of years. The war with Iraq, which began in 1980, consumed resources and damaged Iran's existing nuclear infrastructure. However the Research reactor supplied by the .S. remained undamaged. The two power reactors under construction at Bushehr were bombed several times, after which Siemens abandoned the project.
It soon became eminently clear by the Iranian Leadership that they had a very valuable bargaining chip to use in obtaining the needed Uranium.
The Hostages! The order was given...Take care of it!
A Quick History Lesson on Nicaragua
The Sandinista Revolution of 1979, in the nation of Nicaragua, is a controversial and thought-provoking revolution. In one year, Nicaraguans went from being ruled by a strict right-wing dictatorship to being controlled by left wing, idealistic revolutionaries. Which is the lesser of the two evils? Which, if any, was good for the nation and people of Nicaragua? These questions can only be answered by studying the Sandinista Revolution in close detail. The Sandinistas have undeniably had an enormous impact on their people, and in evaluating them, all aspects of their rule must be taken into account.
Before delving into the Sandinista revolution, the scene must be set, and the background must be understood. The Republic of Nicaragua is the largest nation in Central America, both size-wise (with 49,579 sq. mi.) and population-wise (with more than four million). In 1926, a large revolution in Nicaragua threatened dictatorial rule of the nation. Headed by General Augusto Sandino, the new leftist revolutionaries took to guerilla warfare and killed many US marines, who had come to aid the rightist regime. The war continued until 1934, when General Anastasio Somoza, of the rightist regime, invited Sandino to meet in Managua for peace talks. Sandino agreed, and upon his arrival Somoza summarily seized and executed the man. The revolution was finally subdued, and in 1937 Somoza became dictator. From 1937 to 1979, Nicaragua was ruled autocratically by two successive generations of the Somoza family. This seemed to please the US, which preferred rightist regimes to leftist ones. But though Sandino’s revolution had failed, the seed of radicalism had been planted, and soon new leftist groups had emerged.
By the 1970’s, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) had grown in popularity and started to threaten Somoza’s hegemony. The Sandinistas, naturally, had taken their name from Augusto Sandino, the martyr who fathered the leftist cause in Nicaragua. The Sandinista cause was supported by three major beliefs, “the three legs of the stool of Nicaraguan revolutionary democracy” . The first, political democracy, meant that the Sandinistas supported a republican form of government, based on elections with universal suffrage. The second, participatory democracy, meant active citizen participation in government organizations, task forces, etc. Finally the third, economic equality, meant a communistic economy and complete equalization of wealth, incorporating both Marxist and socialist ideas. These three ideals together form a very interesting combination. Whereas in Russia Lenin and Stalin had focused primarily on economic equality, and “forgotten” Marx’s rule by the workers, the Sandinistas held a much better potential of representation of "Applied Marxism".
On August 22, 1978, twenty-four Sandinista guerrillas stormed the national palace at Managua, and by July 17, 1979, the Sandinistas had formally taken power. The Sandinistas quickly wrote and passed a provisional constitution, The Fundamental Law of State. This constitution guaranteed human rights that were previously ignored by the Somoza regime. It guaranteed equal justice under law, the right to free expression, and the abolition of torture. It seemed that the people were already benefiting from this great revolution, which truly did liberate them. Despite this advance in human rights, though, the Nicaraguan economy was still failing, and with the newly imposed US embargo, Nicaraguans were suffering greatly.
The Sandinistas, in the first few months of their sovereignty, seemed to ignore the first and most important of their principles: political democracy. They immediately set up a ruling junta, made up of five top Sandinista officials, including Daniel Ortega and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. The Sandinistas had promised political pluralism and free elelctions—what had happened? Even the Sandinistas’ call for international nonalignment was violated in the years of the junta, who allied with the Soviet Union and Cuba, receiving heavy financial and military aid from these countries. They grew more and more distant from the US and other capitalist nations, creating international alignment—contrary to what they had promised.
The junta then quickly set to work on the equalization of wealth that had been promised in the Sandinista platform. Prior to 1979, about 4% of the landowners controlled about 52% of the arable land. The Sandinista junta set out to fix this, trying to make it an equal proportion. They directly started to confiscate Somoza family land, and other, similar land. The nationalization of Somoza’s property alone affected a total of 168 factories—25% of industrial plant in Nicaragua, valued at $200 million. This initial confiscation led directly to the Agrarian Reform Law of 1981, which targeted unused farms, property of absent landlords, and unproductive land for expropriation. From 1981-1985, thousands of acres of land were expropriated and turned into new, peasant collectives. This was efficient and productive towards the communist cause, but many were still unhappy, and all knew that this couldn’t last.
The landlords that had had their land expropriated were also politically and socially persecuted. They eventually fled to the hills and joined the growing group of rightists, left over from the Somoza regime. From the commencement of Sandinista rule, many rightists and right-wing sympathizers had fled for the hills. They feared for their lives, as political persecution was very common in Nicaragua, even under the “secure” new Sandinista regime. With the discrete help of the US, these so-called counter-revolutionaries, or contras, began a guerrilla war on the Sandinistas. Despite the irony of this switch in positions, the contras, indeed, became guerrillas, right after the Sandinista guerrillas had ousted them from power. Though the Reagan administration was officially forbidden by congress to support the contras, the US secretly provided financial aid for them. Through Ollie North and the highly controversial Iran-Contra Affair, the US provided the contras with endless financial aid stemming from profits from an illegal arms trade with Iran. With this aid the guerrillas conducted a war similar to that of the Sandinistas before they had taken power. Many Nicaraguans were now starting to doubt both Sandinista rule and the expropriation of the bourgeois land that led to this violence, terrorism, and death.
This rift led to protests, demonstrations, and an increase in guerrilla-warfare. The Sandinistas saw this, and in an attempt to resolve the situation,
created the ‘National Assembly’, in 1985, the president of the assembly became Daniel Ortega, previously of the Sandinista junta.
THE CONTRA'S 1984 guerrillas
A Quick History Lesson on United States Involvement in Nicaragua
It wasn't just the events in El Salvador that were ignored by the mainstream US media during the 1970s. In the ten years prior to the overthrow of the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979, US television - all networks - devoted exactly one hour to Nicaragua, and that was entirely on the Managua earthquake of 1972.
From 1960 through 1978, the New York Times had three editorials on Nicaragua. It's not that nothing was happening there - it's just that whatever was happening was unremarkable. Nicaragua was of no concern at all, as long as Somoza's tyrannical rule wasn't challenged.
When his rule was challenged, by the [popular, left-wing] Sandinistas in the late 1970s, the US first tried to institute what was called "Somocismo [Somoza-ism] without Somoza" - that is, the whole corrupt system intact, but with somebody else at the top. That didn't work, so President Carter tried to maintain Somoza's National Guard as a base for US power. The National Guard had always been remarkably brutal and sadistic. By June 1979, it was carrying out massive atrocities in the war against the Sandinistas, bombing residential neighbourhoods in Managua, killing tens of thousands of people. At that point, the US ambassador sent a cable to the White House saying it would be "ill-advised" to tell the Guard to call off the bombing, because that might interfere with the policy of keeping them in power and the Sandinistas out.
Our ambassador to the Organisation of American States also spoke in favour of "Somocismo without Somoza," but the OAS rejected the suggestion flat out. A few days later, Somoza flew off to Miami with what was left of the Nicaraguan national treasury, and the Guard collapsed.
The Carter administration flew Guard commanders out of the country in planes with Red Cross markings (a war crime), and began to reconstitute the Guard on Nicaragua's borders. They also used Argentina as a proxy. (At that time, Argentina was under the rule of neo-Nazi generals, but they took a little time off from torturing and murdering their own population to help re-establish the Guard - soon to be renamed the contras, or "freedom fighters.")
Ronald Reagan used them to launch a large-scale terrorist war against Nicaragua, combined with economic warfare that was even more lethal. We also intimidated other countries so they wouldn't send aid either. And yet, despite astronomical levels of military support, the United States failed to create a viable military force in Nicaragua. That's quite remarkable, if you think about it. No real guerrillas anywhere in the world have ever had resources even remotely like what the United States gave the contras. You could probably start a guerrilla insurgency in mountain regions of the US with comparable funding.
Why did the US go to such lengths in Nicaragua? The international development organisation Oxfam explained the real reasons, stating that, from its experience of working in 76 developing countries, "Nicaragua was...exceptional in the strength of that government's commitment...to improving the condition of the people and encouraging their active participation in the development process. "Of the four Central American countries where Oxfam had a significant presence (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), only in Nicaragua was there a substantial effort to address inequities in land ownership and to extend health, educational and agricultural services to poor peasant families.
Other agencies told a similar story. In the early 1980s, the World Bank called its projects "extraordinarily successful in Nicaragua in some sectors, better than anywhere else in the world." In 1983, The Inter-American Development Bank concluded that "Nicaragua has made noteworthy progress in the social sector, which is laying the basis for long-term socio-economic development."
The success of the Sandinista reforms terrified US planners. They were aware that - as José Figueres, the father of Costa Rican democracy, put it - "for the first time, Nicaragua has a government that cares for its people." (Although Figueres was the leading democratic figure in Central America for forty years, his unacceptable insights into the real world were completely censored from the US media.) The hatred that was elicited by the Sandinistas for trying to direct resources to the poor (and even succeeding at it) was truly wondrous to behold. Just about all US policymakers shared it, and it reached virtual frenzy.
Back in 1981, a State Department insider boasted that we would "turn Nicaragua into the Albania of Central America" - that is, poor, isolated and politically radical - so that the Sandinista dream of creating a new, more exemplary political model for Latin America would be in ruins.
George Shultz called the Sandinistas a "cancer, right here on our land mass," that has to be destroyed. At the other end of the political spectrum, leading Senate liberal Alan Cranston said that if it turned out not to be possible to destroy the Sandinistas, then we'd just have to let them "fester in [their] own juices." So the US launched a three-fold attack against Nicaragua. First, we exerted extreme pressure to compel the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank to terminate all projects and assistance.
Second, we launched the contra war along with an illegal economic war to terminate what Oxfam rightly called "the threat of a good example." The contras' vicious terrorist attacks against "soft targets" under US orders did help, along with the boycott, to end any hope of economic development and social reform. US terror ensured that Nicaragua couldn't demobilise its army and divert its pitifully poor and limited resources to reconstructing the ruins that were left by the US-backed dictators and Reaganite crimes. The contras were even funded by the US selling arms to Iran, in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
One of the most respected Central America correspondents, Julia Preston (who was then working for the Boston Globe), reported that "Administration officials said they are content to see the contras debilitate the Sandinistas by forcing them to divert scarce resources toward the war and away from social programs." That's crucial, since the social programs were at the heart of the good example that might have infected other countries in the region and eroded the American system of [much higher-grade] exploitation and robbery.
We even refused to send disaster relief. After the 1972 earthquake, the US sent an enormous amount of aid to Nicaragua, most of which was stolen by our buddy Somoza. In October 1988, an even worse natural disaster struck Nicaragua - Hurricane Joan. We didn't send a penny for that, because if we had, it would probably have gotten to the people, not just into the pocketsof some rich thug. We also pressured our allies to send very little aid.
This devastating hurricane, with its welcome prospects of mass starvation and long-term ecological damage, reinforced our efforts. We wanted Nicaraguans to starve so we could accuse the Sandinistas of economic mismanagement. Because they weren't under our control, Nicaraguans had to suffer and die.
Third, we used diplomatic fakery to crush Nicaragua. As Tony Avirgan wrote in the Costa Rican journal Mesoamerica, "the Sandinistas fell for a scam perpetrated by Costa Rican president Oscar Arias and the other Central American Presidents, which cost them the February  elections."
For Nicaragua, the peace plan of August 1987 was a good deal, Avrigan wrote: they would move the scheduled national elections forward by a few months and allow international observation, as they had in 1984, "in exchange for having the contras demobilised and the war brought to an end...." The Nicaraguan government did what it was required to do under the peace plan, but no one else paid the slightest attention to it.
Arias, the White House and Congress never had the slightest intention of implementing any aspect of the plan. The US virtually tripled CIA supply flights to the contras. Within a couple of months the peace plan was totally dead.
As the election campaign opened, the US made it clear that the embargo that was strangling the country and the contra terror would continue if the Sandinistas won the election. You have to be some kind of Nazi or unreconstructed Stalinist to regard an election conducted under such conditions as free and fair - and south of the border, few succumbed to such delusions.
If anything like that were ever done by our enemies... I leave the media reaction to your imagination. The amazing part of it was that the Sandinistas still got 40% of the vote, while New York Times headlines proclaimed that Americans were "United in Joy" over this "Victory for US Fair Play. "US achievements in Central America in the past fifteen years are a major tragedy, not just because of the appalling human cost, but because a decade ago there were prospects for real progress towards meaningful democracy and meeting human needs, with early successes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
These efforts might have worked and might have taught useful lessons to others plagued with similar problems - which, of course, was exactly what US planners feared. The threat has been successfully aborted, perhaps forever.
The deception began when they got caught!
How did they get caught?
According to the official investigation, the shipment of arms to Iran through Israel didn't begin in 1985, when the congressional inquiry and the special prosecutor pick up the story. But in reality, it began almost immediately after the fall of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. By 1982, it was public knowledge that Israel was providing a large part of the arms for Iran - you could read it on the front page of the New York Times.
In February 1982, the main Israeli figures whose names later appeared in the Iran/contra hearings appeared on BBC television and described how they had helped organise an arms flow to the new Ayatollah Khomeini regime. In October 1982, the Israeli ambassador to the US stated publicly that Israel was sending arms to the Khomeini regime "with the cooperation of the United States... at almost the highest level." The high Israeli officials involved also gave the reasons: to establish links with elements of the military in Iran who might overthrow the regime, restoring the arrangements that prevailed under the Shah -- standard operating procedure.
As for the contra war, the basic facts of the illegal North-CIA operations were known by 1985 (over a year before the story broke, when a US supply plane was shot down and a US agent, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured). The media simply chose to look the other way.
So what finally generated the Iran/contra scandal? A moment came when it was just impossible to suppress it any longer. When Hasenfus was shot down in Nicaragua while flying arms to the contras for the CIA, and the Lebanese press reported that the US National Security Adviser was handing out Bibles and chocolate cakes in Teheran, the story just couldn't be kept under wraps. After that, the connection between the two well-known stories emerged.
There was no longer any chance to keep this out of the public Eye. But withy any good black operation, prior planning calls for a good cover story. This was created the arms for hostages and money for Nicaraguancontras deception. Very plausible in the public eye. the task was now turned over to the Spinmeisters to keep the truth from the world,
But Wait! I'm confused.
Something is missing here!
The Iranians were already getting plenty of arms from Israel and other countries.
They didn't need arms!
They needed Uranium!
Coming Soon Part 2