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Friday, December 7, 2018

Iran Contra and Bill Barr

Why Iran Contra ought to be in the news again.

William Barr Role in Iran Contra

Iran/Contra should be back in the news due to the fact that Bill Barr is being nominated to be the new Attorney General. The mix of pardons and classifications of information made much of the material from Watergate a secret until fairly recently. It also successfully buried the Iran Contra Scandal and enabled a number of the perpetrators to escape true justice. William Barr was Attorney General at the time of these pardons and was a principle agent in engineering them. He was successsful at obstructing justice then. We should be alert he will do so again if Congress lets him get away with it.

At the time the Prosecutor:

“President Bush's pardon of Caspar Weinberger and other Iran-contra defendants undermines the principle that no man is above the law. It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office -- deliberately abusing the public trust without consequence.” [Iran Contra Pardon]

Again Trump is seeking people who will protect him, not justice in the United States. This reminds us that George HW Bush was no saint.

Further Reading:

Iran Contra Mess

I've written on Iran Contra Before. The material in this post was based on material written by my friend at "party of Scrooge", Jeff Carlson's facebook page, that I never published at the time I intended to publish, probably due to competing events.

Nixon, Reagan, William Casey Vietnam and Carter's "October Surprise"


Our issues with Iran and Iraq are tough enough to require care and finesse to deal with. They reflect abusive behavior by our own officials, as well as Iranian and Iraqi citizens, in and out of the formal government dating back years. A number of academics and reporters have been following this since the 70's and I've been following them. This article references a reporter named Robert Perry, and an academic named Gary Sick who is both experts on Iran and the middle east. Both were heavily involved in researching and exposing the criminality of the men around Ronald Reagan in the late 70's and 80's, whose links went back to Richard Nixon and the Vietnam war and to the oil industries in the past and also link to current events. Due to secrecy and conspiracy, information about those events is still trickling out.

One time tactic or general strategy?

In 1983 a Reagan Administration employee named Barbara Honegger [] resigned the Reagan Administration. In 1987 started leaking information that claimed that William Casey had held private negotiations with the Iranians "at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections." After Reagan Left office she published a Book named "October Surprise" that detailed what she knew and her sources. Later much of that information was corroborated by Ari Ben Menashe but when I first heard the stories I had trouble giving them too much credibility except in context with Robert Woodward's book on Casey where he revealed himself as a devious fellow who'd done things in and out of the CIA to advance his own political and business influences. But what struck me was Woodward's passing reference, in his Book "Veil" to his republicanism as the notion that politics and business are two sides to the same ongoing enterprise. I have a copy of that book in storage right now. Woodward is not a deep digger. He's good at extracting insider information, but not at digging into what he receives, so most of what was in "Veil" hinted at other things that either he was protecting himself. [You only have that kind of access if you are also providing services for the people you are talking to -- which leads me to suspect that Woodward is also an agent.

Current Events are Misleading

If you don't know about the history of these events then you might be fooled by current events. Robert Parry has a new article that shows the links between what Richard Nixon did to Johnson in 1968 to sabotage the Vietnam war and what Reagan's crew under William Casey did to Jimmy Carter to win that election. It turns out both committed treason. Part of what William Casey did to Jimmy Carter involved separate negotiations with the Iranians. The Iranians needed weapons, because all their weapons under the Shah had come from the United States, and suddenly they were fighting Iraq. This was an opportunity to get our hostages back from our embassy in Iran, but it also was an opportunity for criminal types to make a lot of money, privateering by smuggling.

This article in alternet is long, but it appears to be mostly accurate. So start here:

Alternet notes:

“Shortly after Nixon took office in 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed him of the existence of the file containing national security wiretaps documenting how Nixon’s emissaries had gone behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back to convince the South Vietnamese government to boycott the Paris Peace Talks, which were close to ending the Vietnam War in fall 1968.In the case of Watergate – the foiled Republican break-in at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972 and Richard Nixon’s botched cover-up leading to his resignation in August 1974 – the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.”

I've heard the tapes with Johnson discussing this subject. They used to play late at night on PBS while i'd be doing delivery runs for my job or driving home. I remember Johnson's comments warning Nixon's Chief of Staff that he knew what he was doing and should knock it off. That is fact. According to Robert Parry and others the details appear to be one of the reasons Nixon sent in the Watergate Burglars. The Alternet article goes on:

“The disruption of Johnson’s peace talks then enabled Nixon to hang on for a narrow victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. However, as the new President was taking steps in 1969 to extend the war another four-plus years, he sensed the threat from the wiretap file and ordered two of his top aides, chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, to locate it. But they couldn’t find the file.”

Unfortunately for Nixon, Johnson recognized the danger anyone who possessed the file would be in. He should have recommended prosecution, but my own personal feeling is that he feared he'd get the Kennedy treatment if he tried. Parry continues:

“We now know that was because President Johnson, who privately had called Nixon’s Vietnam actions “treason,” had ordered the file removed from the White House by his national security aide Walt Rostow.”

Rostow was right to keep the promise. Nixon is on tape wanting to make hits on other people, such as Daniel Ellsberge Rostow labeled the file “The ‘X’ Envelope” and kept it in his possession, although having left government, he had no legal right to possess the highly classified documents, many of which were stamped “Top Secret.” Johnson had instructed Rostow to retain the papers as long as he, Johnson, was alive and then afterwards to decide what to do with them.

Some of this material has been kept secret and we are only now finding out some of the details. For example, Iran Contra ought to be back in the news again, but of course, since it's old news it isn't. But it ought to be because the criminal behavior of Republican operatives from at least the 1960's to the present represents the evolution of a set of tactics and strategy that have caused untold misery for most people while enabling a few to pocket massive loot. And our recent effort to re-colonize Iraq are emblematic of their behavior.

addendum, recently the material on a Grand Jury indictment of Nixon that was sent to Congress and sealed his fate. So the slow drip of material from the 70s is still ongoing.

The House task force was concluding a year-long investigation into claims that Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign had interfered with President Carter’s negotiations to free 52 Americans held hostage in Iran . A mixed bag of Iranian officials, foreign intelligence agents and international arms dealers had alleged a Republican deal behind Carter’s back. But the task force had decided there was “no credible evidence” to support allegations that the Reagan campaign had blocked Carter’s possible “October Surprise” of an election-eve hostage return. [Taken from website:]

Andrew Friedman wrote a book called

“Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia (University of California Press, 2013). Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia (University of California Press, 2013).” Dana Priest, Staff Writer

“Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It’s also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.”
article readings:

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