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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Arms Lobbyists and War-Mongering

Modern Pirates, Lobbyists and War-Mongers

In my post "Did Cotton and other GOP politicians take money from Israel? [] I dug up material about some major lobbyists for foreign countries and the disproportionate influence they are having on our politics and foreign policy. My anti-Israel friends may think I've gone over to their side, but the evidence I saw was of an mafioso-esoteric layer, not one where one side is saintly and the other nefarious and dirty. The people involved don't really care about either side. They'll sell weapons to both sides. I saw evidence of nefarious, dirty, sneaky types all over the place, but mostly connected with the Reagan Administration and it's program to win millions and defeat "Communism" if the Communists aren't buying. These are people who work together while plotting against each other. Just as scandals connected to the Reagan and Bush Administrations trace to Watergate related events, world events trace to the piracy and freebooting of our Arms Dealers, Secret Agents and "Cold Warriors."

I might never have gotten at the material, completely or factually at all, except that it became a "who done it" of American Politics. If the Dems hadn't been the target of the 1980 "October Surprise" efforts of the wealthy backers and corporations behind the Reagan Counter-revolution the energy to dig into these criminal behaviors or to expose them would have been lacking. Indeed, it turns out Carter was trying to exchange arms for the Hostages, covertly, too, and the Reagan War-monger crowd outbid him. The "October Surprise" that sabotaged Carter's efforts to end the Hostage crisis with the Iranians back in 1980, was because Reagan's wealthy backers were running their own programs. These illegal, "extralegal" and subversive programs continued long after Reagan won election. They funded the dirty wars in Central and South America. And that is what attracted my interest. My wife was traumatized by what the Argentine military did during that period. I'm a little protective.

I'll present the timeline as best I can but the story is bigger and murkier than I can simplify it from. Rather than rehash the details I'm trying to focus on what I believe was the big picture. Starting with the:

The Cast of Characters

Adnan Khashoggi

For example while looking up the biography of Adnan Khashoggi the Wikipedia article notes "(Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي‎; born 25 July 1935) is a Saudi Arabian businessman. At a peak net worth of up to $4 billion USD in the early 1980s, he was considered one of the richest men in the world" []. At the height of his power he owned the Kingdom 5KR, which is now owned by Al-Waleed bin Talal.

This ship was used as a setting for some scenes the Bond movie "Never Say Never Again" where Bond chases a character who could have been loosely based on Adnan Khashoggi (or any wealthy arms dealer) "Maximillian Largo" was being chased after stealing and dealing in Nuclear Warheads at the behest of the "Dr. Evil" Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The parallels were there. Khashoggi ran his business from his ship in a way that has been a pattern since before John Pierpont Morgan used to do his more shady dealing from his yacht the "SS Corsair". I read an article about JP Morgan flying a black pirate flag but have never been able to confirm it. He did fly his yacht colors and did claim descent from Henry Morgan. He is also famous for negotiating the "Corsair Compact" aboard one of his yachts [] in which he got the major railroads to collude on prices.

Image from

Adnan Khashoggi:

"Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, which later went bankrupt. He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between US firms and the Saudi government, most actively in the 1960s and 1970s. In the documentary series The Mayfair Set, Saudi author Said Aburish states that one of Adnan's first weapons deals was providing David Stirling with weapons for a covert mission in Yemen during the Aden Emergency in 1963. Among his overseas clients were defense contractors Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), Raytheon, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and Northrop Corporation (which have now merged into Northrop Grumman)." []

Adnan Khashoggi was never working alone, but at the height of his power and influence he was a major player in international dealings in oil, weapons, major weapons systems (aircraft, bombs, rockets, jets). But his dealings were as much outside "official channels and within them.

"He was implicated in the Iran–Contra affair as a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange along with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and, in a complex series of events, was found to have borrowed money for these arms purchases from the now-bankrupt financial institution the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) with Saudi and US backing. In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, held for three months and then extradited to the United States where he was released on bail and subsequently acquitted." []

In the Iran Contra case, Khashoggi was a bit player in a game of international intrigue and high level sedition and sabotage that makes organizations like Spectre seem like amateurs. Renegade elements of the USA government, led by Oliver North after the election and by William Casey before the election made deals with the Iranian Ayatollahs at the very same time period they were painting the Iranians as terrorists and members of the Axis of Evil. But he made billions, and if some of it later disappeared, he's not doing so bad. The official timeline was:

The 1953 Coup - the Brits and USA Secret Services conspired to overthrow the reformer Iranian leader "Mossadegh". This led to the "election by coup" of the son of the previous Shah who'd been ousted by popular revulsion.

Reza Shah Pahlavi

1953-1979 : Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (known as “the Shah") is secular and authoritarian ruler of Iran. Iran is one of the United States’ strongest allies in the Middle East.

The Shah ran a repressive government that was secular, corrupt and tried to modernize top down. The model for these regimes was Fascist even when they allied with communist countries. Top down rule, liberalization of education, coupled with a violent secret police, prison and execution system to keep people in order. He made many enemies, and the leaders of the expat community mostly moved to France and lived in Paris.


The Ayatollah Khomeini Revolution

1978 : Riots and demonstrations break out across Iran, largely in response to the Shah’s secularism and close relationship with the U.S.

The riots were actually in response to the Shah's repressive, corrupt government and use of Secret Police. The religious response was one of the tools of those revolting, and sadly the religious resistance was the largest faction resisting the Shah. Religious Iranians saw liberating women, friendships with Israel, and being "too secular" as evils along with the corruption that made the Shah and his relations incredibly wealthy while keeping the wealth for themselves. Sharp leaders formed temporary alliances between secular liberals like Bani Sadr and the Ayatollah, who was living in France at the time. The Ayatollah, by keeping quiet on controversial subjects and speaking in abstracts, seemed a progressive hero to many, until he returned to Iran.

1979 : Riots and demonstrations grow increasingly numerous, frequent, and violent, ultimately culminating in the Iranian Revolution.
January 1979 : The Shah leaves Iran, and the country is declared an Islamic Republic by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah severs all ties with the U.S. and declares Israeli illegitimate.
November 4, 1979: Muslim Followers of the line of the Imam, a fundamentalist, anti-imperialist group made up predominately of young radical revolutionaries, seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. End of cordial diplomacy between the two nations

These people called themselves "students" but they hadn't been studying in 2 years and it later turned out that they were professional revolutionaries and the core of later religious militia/police/army cadres.

In 1980 Carter had his deputy Secretary of State Cyrus Vance lead "the official diplomatic effort, Hamilton Jordan spent thousands of hours working secret channels." But it appears that the Cons had their own side channels. []

The public story of the Carter Administration includes large offers of carrots if the Ayatollahs would free the hostages. But the Ayatollahs wanted Reza Pahlavi's head more than they wanted material goods. And when the USA sent helicopters to try to rescue them they appear to have decided to stick their thumb in the face of the President. They might have done the same even without the advice and offers of the Presidents Industrialists and advisors. The New York Times article says:

"in March 1980, four months after followers of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had seized the United States Embassy in Teheran and taken the hostages, Casey approached two Iranian-born wheeler-dealers, the brothers Jamshid and Cyrus Hashemi, who had ties to the Khomeini regime. Casey asked them to set up a meeting with representatives of the Iranian Government. Thereafter, the Hashemis purportedly arranged for Casey to attend two meetings in Madrid in the summer of 1980 with Mehdi Karrubi, an Iranian cleric close to the Ayatollah. According to Mr. Sick, Casey subsequently had one last meeting in Paris about two weeks before the election to clinch the deal." []

But that is not the only narrative. In other versions of the narrative the Reagan Operatives were

"Richard Allen, subsequently Reagan's first national security adviser, Allen aide Laurence Silberman, and Robert McFarlane, another future national security adviser who in 1980 was on the staff of Senator John Tower (R-TX)." []

"In any case there are a number of witnesses who say (despite the denials) that the meeting did occur and was a success. Robert Perry writes

"In 1994, I found a classified summary of the FBI bugging. According to that summary, the bugs revealed Cyrus Hashemi deeply enmeshed with Republicans on arms deals to Iran in fall 1980 as well as in financial schemes with Casey's close friend and business associate, John Shaheen." []

Meanwhile the Carter Administration was working it's own deal without knowing what the Cons were doing:

"Bani Sadr, however, says the secret deal was made, even as the Iranians publicly reached an agreement with the Carter administration to release the hostages in return for the unfreezing of $4 billion. The Iranian who secretly met with the Reaganauts in Washington, Bani Sadr says, was either Parvis Sabati, Manucher Ghorbanifar, or both." []

Cyrus Hashemi: Arms for Hostages & Refugees


To the Republican Operatives around Reagan double and dirty business was old business. Casey had recruited one of the key Iranian players a year before the hostages were taken. Parry Reported:

"the Iranian banker was recorded [by the CIA/NSA] as boasting that he and Casey had been "close friends" for years. That claim was supported by a CIA memo which stated that Casey recruited Cyrus Hashemi into a sensitive business arrangement in 1979." []

Casey was never at a lot of places during the time from when he was recruited by the OSS to his death. But he definitely was in Paris, despite the denials and bi-partisan cover-up that occurred later. In the book "The Secret Wars of the CIA" Casey comes across as someone for whom the boundaries between personal business, self enrichment and public service are non-existent. This seems to be a pattern among the sociopaths who dominate international business and politics.

Parry notes:

"The secret FBI summary showed Hashemi receiving a $3 million offshore deposit, arranged by a Houston lawyer who said he was a longtime associate of George H.W. Bush. The Houston lawyer, Harrel Tillman, told me in an interview that in 1980, he was doubling as a consultant to Iran's Islamic government." href="">[]

Lloyd Cutler writes:

"Hashemi tried to serve as an intermediary for the Carter White House because, at the request of his lawyer, several of us met with him in New York in the fall of 1980." "Hashemi claimed a family relationship with Hojatolislam Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of the Iranian parliament and now president of Iran." He was already involved in arms deals with Iran by then, and "A few weeks later U.S. Customs and Justice Department officials notified us of evidence that Cyrus Hashemi, along with his brothers Jamshid and Reza, were involved in illegal arms exports to Iran via Kennedy Airport; when confronted, they had said they had our permission." The State Department denied they had any permission to export weapons.

Which is consistent with what an Iranian expat/national would think if he was dealing with people running an extralegal operation. The deal with Hashemi fell through because "." He admits "It is plausible that the Hashemis also were in contact with Republicans, as Jamshid now claims." And if Casey had recruited him in 1979 it could be that Casey is the one who got him in trouble in the first place. He also concedes that "Rafsanjani and his Islamic Republican Party did not consolidate their internal power until the fall of 1980."


Genesis of the Israel connection.


If the United States couldn't officially support Iran's military, Israel could! And if, instead of giving Arms to the Iranians they sold them, this could be a profitable effort for all involved. The nice thing (for arms dealers) is that they could do this semi-legally. During the Shah years Israel had developed relationships with top Iranian officials, some of whom avoided being jailed or executed. As Khomeini started to take over in 1979, Israel used the chaos to try to rescue Jews from Iranian persecution. Their first project was known as Shulhan Arukh (שולחן ערוך) or laid table; and rescued 40,000 of Iran's 100,000 Jewish Community. The director of this operation was an operative left behind when most of the Israeli Government withdrew their Embassy. Khomeini had kept SAVAK and military Officers in place, despite the fact that a large amount of the reason for the revolution was SAVAK behavior. These became contacts for Israel, Arms dealers, and their CIA and GOP contacts. For the Israelis the motivation for dealing with iran included Israel's interest in protecting the nearly 200,000 Jews living in Iran. Iran had been a refuge and conduit for Iraqi Jews fleeing Iraqi (and other) persecutions before, during and after the 1947 war, now there had to be some way to withdraw the remaining Jewish population (those willing to leave) in the face of the vicious anti-semitism of the new Ayatollah regimes.

So Israel had a motivation to sell or broker Arms to the Iranians.

September 22 1980-90 : Iran-Iraq War.

According to Lloyd Cutler during the official negotiations with the Carter Administration the:

"Iranians asked us to release undelivered military spare parts bought by the shah's regime. We agreed in principle to do so upon return of the hostages and supplied a list of what was available. But the Iranians surprisingly dropped this request and it never became part of the January 1981 agreements. Was this because of some secret deal with the Reagan team to obtain a larger quantity of American arms from the incoming administration?" [Baltimore Sun Article]

So where would be the evidence that he kept his bargain? The Larouchis published an article by Robert Dreyfuss in 1980 titled "Iran's armed forces receive covert aid from Washington" [] alleging that in September 1980:

"quietly begun a major military airlift to resupply the Iranian armed forces with spare parts, arms, and ammunition, including heavy weapons. American C-130 air transport planes are ferrying this equipment to at least three secret NATO bases, including a location in the Azores, where the cargo is then transferred to Iranian transports for the rest of the journey!" [LaRouche Article]

This may have been from La Rouche, but this was corroborated. But apparently what Carter offered was a drop in the bucket compared to what the Republicans offered. And, apparently Likud Operatives as well. Consortium News reports:

“But the evidence points in that direction, and there are some points that are not in dispute. For instance, there is no doubt that CIA Old Boys and Likudniks had strong motives for seeking President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in 1980.”062410.html

Betrayal of Carter

When Casey was appointed CIA director in early 1980 these "old hands" cheered:

“Inside the CIA, Carter and his CIA Director Stansfield Turner were blamed for firing many of the free-wheeling covert operatives from the Vietnam era, for ousting legendary spymaster Ted Shackley, and for failing to protect longtime U.S. allies (and friends of the CIA), such as Iran’s Shah and Nicaragua’s dictator Anastasio Somoza.”062410.html

Carter had tried to stop (or at least moderate) ongoing dirty wars in Central and South America and the operations of Secret police like SAVAK and the agents not only of the above list but also including the dictators in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. To these CIA officers dirty wars and the utter defeat of Communism, socialism, and uppity or rebellious people world wide was the mission. Protecting "Democracy" was code for how to win people over, kill enemies and make fortunes. It looks like we now know these Cold Warriors were in covert rebellion against the President.

At least the current rebellion is open.

“As for Israel, Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin was furious over Carter’s high-handed actions at Camp David in 1978 forcing Israel to trade the occupied Sinai to Egypt for a peace deal. Begin feared that Carter would use his second term to bully Israel into accepting a Palestinian state on West Bank lands that Likud considered part of Israel’s divinely granted territory.”062410.html

Likud's goal was to gradually ethnically cleanse the West Bank as a threshold for regaining "Judea and Samaria" which were the Biblical Israel homeland.

“Former Mossad and Foreign Ministry official David Kimche described Begin’s attitude in his 1991 book, The Last Option, saying that Israeli officials had gotten wind of “collusion” between Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat “to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”062410.html

Which of course was anathema to the Likud, even if the stated position of Israel was to trade land for peace.

Kimche claimed: “This plan – prepared behind Israel’s back and without her knowledge – must rank as a unique attempt in United States’s diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.”062410.html

I remember the goals of Jimmy Carter were all being stated out in the open. He wasn't doing any secret side deals. But believing that is typical paranoid behavior of people who have their own secret agenda. I followed the Camp David accords. But both were willing to agree to some general outlines. Carter was negotiating out of love for the people over love for governments. To this day I don't believe that Israel was going to negotiate seriously without someone pushing them. So while from the POV of Begin that might have seemed a betrayal, Begin's reaction was a betrayal of his promises at Camp David. And how did Israel come to know of Carter's discussions with Sadat?

“However, Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980 when, Kimche wrote, “he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”062410.html

So in the name of stopping a final peace plan, Begin helped the Republicans sabotage the peace process by sabotaging Carter's re-election.

“In his 1992 memoir, Profits of War, Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli military intelligence officer who worked with Likud, agreed that Begin and other Likud leaders held Carter in contempt.” [062410.html]

Which is something they had in common with the GOP Cons.

“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”062410.html

35 Years of Peace Undermined by the Likud

Begin was the one betraying Carter, and the attitude of the Likud was the usual projection of bad intentions that people with bad intentions regularly do.

We can thank Carter for nearly 35 years of relative peace between Israel and her neighbors. If Carter didn't succeed in getting peace between Israel and the Palestinians the blame for that falls on the Likud and the GOP. Neither Reagan nor the two Bushes did anything to advance peace and the result has been 35 years of apartheid, low level violence, terrorism and ethnic cleansings. This has contributed to undermining the peace of those countries that Israel made peace with and is now unravelling Israel's relationships with it's neighbors. If Begin hated and despised Carter, his hatred was like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. Israel was a heroic place before 1968. Since 1980 it has been involved in atrocities and dirty dealings. It took the election of Clinton to get talks started again, and by then the situation with the West Bank was even more intractible.

“So, in order to buy time for Israel to “change the facts on the ground” by moving Jewish settlers into the West Bank, Begin felt Carter’s reelection had to be prevented. A different president also presumably would give Israel a freer hand to deal with problems on its northern border with Lebanon.”062410.html

Begin's invasion of Lebanon resulted in the attrocities of the Sabra and the Shatila, destabilized Lebanon, and turned Israel's northern border into one even less secure than before. It may have undermined the PLO but it set loose Hezbollah to take their place.

Sound familiar? And the Inner Circle of CIA Agents and their friends outside the Government but still operating in Arms companies, Wall Street, and who knows where else felt:

"As for the CIA Old Boys, legendary CIA officer Miles Copeland told me that “the CIA within the CIA” – the inner-most circle of powerful intelligence figures who felt they understood best the strategic needs of the United States – believed Carter and his naïve faith in American democratic ideals represented a grave threat to the nation." []

The cynical CIA operatives figured that "national security" = Wall Street, Main Street and personal profits, not naive democratic ideals.

The Iranians may well have decided to negotiate with both sides and "take advantage" of GOP and Israeli willingness to sell arms. This certainly would have taken the pressure off of them to deal with the Carter administration until their own power was consolidated, which was around the same time as the Reagan/Carter Election.

Free For all

Once the war broke out between Iran and Iraq Arms Dealers of all stripes found they had leverage with the Iranians again. The Iranians balanced that leverage by taking hostages. With the USA that was through Kidnappings. With Israel they had a two thousand + year old population of Iranian Jews. The USA "arms for hostages" of USA secret dealings were paralleled by an Israeli "arms for emigration" effort by Israeli leadership. Both dealings were secret. If aircraft carrying Jews, or hostages, were seen as flying for purely humanitarian reasons, then everyone would see it as pure patriotism and nobody would suspect any ulterior motive. The Iranians would be seen as generous humanitarians, and would get much needed arms for their war with Iraq. This also provided a get around because the Ayatollahs had restricted emigration to those rich enough to give up everything they had in order to leave. Selling Arms to a desperate Iranian military was one avenue to get around this. It would be a mix of bribery and extortion on both sides. For Israel rescuing oppressed Jews was part of their mission, and selling arms could more than finance that rescue. It would enrich everyone involved if they wanted to take the money.


Operation SeaShell


As Ronen Bergman wrote in “The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power,” pub. 2007, Israel made a fortune selling arms to Iran throughout that war. Bergman writes:

"First, Israel could not come to terms with the military, intelligence, and diplomatic losses that it had sustained with the disruption of relations with Iran after the revolution. Arms exports would at least give it a foothold in Tehran. In Israel’s defense establishment, the lesson had been learned from many cases over the years that swiftly supplying weaponry and military know-how to a totalitarian state will bring the supplier as close as possible to the rulers, because the weapons are their means of holding on to power."
Second, it was hoped that the infusion of weaponry would intensify the Iran-Iraq war and lead to the mutual destruction or, at least weakening, of two enemies
"Third, Israeli officials feared a victorious Saddam" . . .
Fourth: “More than anything else, the weapons industry wanted to make money. As one Israeli Defense Ministry official, a key figure in Operation Seashell, recalls: “I do not remember even one discussion about the ethics of the matter. All that interested us was to sell, sell, sell more and more Israeli weapons, and let them kill each other with them.” p. 43

And there was a fifth reason. They used arms as a trading lever to help Iranian Jews leave Iran.

According to Ronen Bergman,

"Israel sold Iran US$75 million worth of arms from stocks of Israel Military Industries, Israel Aircraft Industries and Israel Defense Forces stockpiles, in their Operation Seashell in 1981.[1] Materiel included 150 M-40 antitank guns with 24,000 shells for each gun, spare parts for tank and aircraft engines, 106 mm, 130 mm, 203 mm and 175 mm shells and TOW missiles. This material was transported first by air by Argentine airline Transporte Aéreo Rioplatense and then (after the 1981 Armenia mid-air collision) by ship."

According to Trita Parsi, Israeli support for Iran consisted of several elements:

"Arms sales to Iran that totaled an estimated $500 million from 1981 to 1983 according to the Jafe Institute for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. Most of it was paid for by Iranian oil delivered to Israel.[2]:107 "According to Ahmad Haidari, "an Iranian arms dealer working for the Khomeini regime, roughly 80% of the weaponry bought by Tehran" immediately after the onset of the war originated in Israel." [Trita Parsi]
"Arms shipments from the U.S. to Iran in the Iran-Contra Affair facilitated by Israel." [Trita Parsi]
"Israel's June 7, 1981 attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor which set back Iraq's nuclear program. In fact, Iran bombed them first, back in 1980, but they only damaged secondary buildings." [Trita Parsi]
"Israel is also reported to have supplied instructors and non-armaments help to Iran for the war effort. According to Mark Phythian, the fact "that the Iranian air force could function at all" after Iraq's initial attack and "was able to undertake a number of sorties over Baghdad and strike at strategic installations" was "at least partly due to the decision of the Reagan administration to allow Israel to channel arms of US origin to Iran to prevent an easy and early Iraqi victory." [Trita Parsi]
"Israeli arms dealer Yaacov Nimrodi apparently signed a deal with Iran's Ministry of National Defense to sell $135,842,000 worth of arms, including Lance missiles, Copperhead shells and Hawk missiles. In March 1982, The New York Times cited documents indicating that Israel had supplied half or more of all arms reaching Tehran in the previous 18 months, amounting to at least $100 million in sales. The Milan weekly Panorama reported that Israel had sold the Khomeini regime 45,000 Uzi submachine guns, anti-tank missile launchers, missiles, howitzers and aircraft replacement parts. "A large part of the booty from the PLO during the 1982 Lebanon campaign wound up in Tehran," the magazine claimed." [Trita Parsi]
Book with details of Mossad Operation:
"The Secret War with Iran" by Ronen Bergman[]
Also: Ronen Bergman, The Secret War with Iran, Free Press, 2008, p.40-48
Trita Parsi: Treacherous Alliance:
Cut-able reference: []

Arms for Hostages Deals 1980-1983


Operation Demevand


In his book Crimes of a President, By Joel Bainerman:

"Although it never got into the mainstream press, the alternative press; The Nation, The Village Voice, The Progressive and In these times has given extensive coverage to operation Demevand. Named for a Mountain Range in Iran, this was a White House operation to sell massive amounts of arms to Iran Covertly and Illegally." [The Crimes of A President]
"Barbara Honneger, in her book October Surprise, gave one of the earliest reports on massive arms sales from the U.S. to Iran (pp. 179-183). Although many of the sources remained anonymous, she has to be given a lot of credit for investigating a secret agenda that up until then had gone virtually undetected. Her sources told her that arms shipments began in 1981, and by 1986 more than $15 billion worth of arms had been redirected to Iran. She quotes Richard Muller, a former colonel in the Marine reserves, as claiming that secret NATO military supplies stored in reforger stores throughout Europe." [Inside the Covert Operations of the CIA]

And this was all before the formal "Iran Contra" sales began.

"The proceeds went to the Pentagon's "black budget" for covert activities. " [Inside the Covert Operations of the CIA]
Crimes of the President
Chapter 5 "How many Weapons did the Reagan-Bush Administration really sell?
October surprise Books:
By Barbara Honneger
By Gary Sick

During Thom Hartman's interview with Honneger:

"...the Iran arms sales that surfaced in the Iran side of the Iran-Contra scandal were indeed the tip of the iceberg of just a few hundreds of million dollars of illegal arms shipments to Iran. That was just the tip of the iceberg of literally billions that started flowing right after Reagan took the oath of office."

After 1983

1983 : U.S. actively engaged in arms embargo, Operation Staunch.

Operation Staunch was a public cover. It had the benefit of bidding up the price for black market and covert sales. According to "Crimes of the Presidnet" Markups of weapons during the period when it was enforced were more than "ten times more than ordinary sales prices." "During the time of the embargo the numbers of countries selling weapons to Iran boomed from 40 countries to 53 countries." An embargo raises the profits for illegal arms sales.

Perhaps that is why the same folks who backed arms sales to Iran in the 80's want to sabotage peace talks now. Maybe they want the covert channels to reopen.

1983 : Adnan Khashoggi first meets with Robert McFarlane, Theodore Shackley meets Iranians Manucher Hashemi, Manucher Ghorbanifar and Hassan Karoubi.
January 1984 : McFarlane formally requests the NSC to formally examine ways to influence Iran. Report conveys an impasse.
March 1984 : Religious fundamentalist group Islamic Holy War kidnaps William F. Buckley, the CIA chief in Beirut, Lebanon. More American hostages taken in the following years.
1985 : Ghorbanifar and Khashoggi meet in Hamburg and devise skeleton of plan that will become Iran arms deal.
Summer 1985 : Israeli representatives drawn into discussion

The Middleman of the deal, Roy M. Furmark, between Khashoggi and Ghorbanifar would later testify:

"Furmark said he was the one who first brought together the two key middlemen in the arms deal by introducing Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi to Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian businessman, at a Persian rug auction in Hamburg, Germany, in June, 1985. The two men have acknowledged arranging four arms sales to Iran." []

During that meeting:

"In my last meeting, (with Casey) I told him that Ghorbanifar thinks some of the money may have gone to the contras," Furmark said. He said he told Casey: "It looks like $15 million is missing." []

And note, all this is going on at the very moment that:

July 1, 1985 : President Reagan publicly denounces bartering with terrorists.
July 3, 1985 : McFarlane meets with Israeli David Kimche, who is in the U.S. on behalf of the Israelis who had met with Khashoggi and Ghorbanifar. The arms-for-hostages deal is first outlined, as is the prospect of improving the U.S.-Iran relationship.
July 16, 1985 : McFarlane meets with Reagan and his Chief of Staff Regan while Reagan is in the hospital recovering from surgery. They discuss the possibility of selling arms to Iran via Israeli in order to get the release of the hostages and to open communications with Iran. The details of this visit are hazy, but McFarlane came away from it with the idea that the President had encouraged him to go forward with discussions with the Iranians and Israelis.
August 1985 : Reagan approves the plan to allow Israeli to sell U.S.-made weapons to Iran.
August 20, 1985 : first load of missiles sent from Israeli to Iran.
September 15, 1985 : American hostage Benjamin Weir released. Colonel Oliver North brought in to deal with logistics
November 1985 : second load of missiles sold. Major General Richard Secord brought in to help replenish Israeli’s supply of weapons.

Adnan Khashoggi


Arms dealers like Khashoggi served as go-betweens and made millions:

"Furmark said he told Casey that Khashoggi had arranged the financing of two arms shipments from Israel to Iran in August and September of 1985 for $1 million and $4 million. He said Khashoggi had then arranged a third shipment in February, 1986, for $10 million."

And like all Criminals the deals get financed:

"He said it was a fourth transaction, involving $15 million in May, 1986, that led to problems. Furmark said two Canadian investors, Walter E. Miller and Donald Fraser, had provided $10 million in "bridge financing" to Khashoggi for the deal. The Canadians have had extensive business dealings with Khashoggi in Vancouver, Salt Lake City and the Cayman Islands."

And This financing introduces risk:

"Furmark said unidentified 'European and Middle East sources' had provided the money for the $4-million transaction, the $10-million transaction and $5 million of the $15-million transaction.

Iran Contra may have only involved a small cabal of GOP operatives running a renegade operation in the Federal Government, but it involved some big players in the arms industry:

"Mr. Khashoggi knows the true source of the money used here, and I think only he knows," Furmark said, and "that two "partial shipments" of arms were delivered in July and August, 1986, but the Iranians paid only $8 million of the $15-million deal. Adding $3 million for handling and shipping, that left Khashoggi, the Canadians and the other investors $10 million in debt" []

Khashoggi claims he got stiffed. Which might account for the beginnings of his financial troubles after Iran Contra. Or maybe the money was coming from other sources like the USA and Arabian Governments. Or maybe the "stiffed" tale is a cover story.

"In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, of racketeering and fraud" []

That case fell through, but prosecutors have been after Adnan Khashoggi non stop since then, and he he's kept a low profile (selling his boat among other things).

"Mr Khashoggi’s fortunes declined in the late 1980s, thanks to overspending on festivities, ill-advised investments and his entwinement in scandals including the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the fall of Ferdinand Marcos and the Iran-Contra affair—though he was never convicted of criminal wrongdoing. He now claims to be broke. That hasn’t stopped a tenacious creditor and its lawyers hounding him for an 11-year-old debt of $21m to a securities-clearing firm. In a move that would break new legal ground if successful, they are trying to get the American judgment against Mr Khashoggi enforced in his native Saudi Arabia." []
"It also emerged that someone with the same name as an official in the Saudi embassy in Washington, Hassan Yousef Mohammed Yassin, had paid at least one of Mr Khashoggi’s legal bills. When the diplomat was subpoenaed for information, he invoked immunity through the embassy’s Washington-based lawyers, who threatened to seek unspecified “sanctions” under the Vienna Convention unless the request was dropped. This fuelled suspicions that the Saudi state was throwing a protective arm round Mr Khashoggi for some reason, though there is no clear evidence of this, nor that the diplomat was the same Mr Yassin who paid the bill. Mr Khashoggi’s sister subsequently said that they had a cousin with that name." []

Khashoggi's belt tightening:

Al Waleed Bin Talal

The man who bought Khashoggi's boat:

"Al-Waleed is the founder, the chief executive officer and 95 percent-owner[6] of the Kingdom Holding Company, a Forbes Global 2000 company with investments in companies within various sectors such as banking and financial services, hotels and hotel management companies, mass media, entertainment, retail, agriculture, petrochemicals, aviation, technology, and real estate" []

I doubt Saudi princes get directly involved in sordid details anymore. And even the front men have front men. So the days of a Khashoggi or a Hashemi getting caught with actual goods are probably over. They merely need to own shares in the companies doing the business.

"In 1999, The Economist expressed doubts about the source of income of Al-Waleed and whether he is a front man for other Saudi investors. "You could barely clothe a Saudi prince for such sums, let alone furnish him with a multi-billion-dollar empire. Nevertheless, by 1991 Prince Alwaleed had felt able to risk an investment of $797m in Citicorp", wrote the magazine." []

I could write more, but I wanted to focus on parallels between then and now. Then regressive and greedy forces who despised notions like "peace", "democracy" and human rights deliberately sabotaged a US President to prevent peace and undermine his foreign program. The spirit of piracy is alive and well. It may be dressed up with charters and legitimate trappings, but modern privateering isn't much different from it's 16th and 17th century predecessors. Anyway to make a buck, smuggling, slavery, piracy, freebooting, war; as long as there is profit in it you can find an investor, and if you can find an investor you can find canon fodder to deliver the product.

Further Reading:
Mondoweiss article claiming Israel having nefarious motives: []
October Surprise, By Barbara Honneger: []
Review by Thom Hartmann: []
October Surprise: America's Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, Gary Sick
Consortium news files on the subject:
Lloyd Cutler notes that Hashemi throws out some interesting comments in a Baltimore Sun article:

1 comment:

  1. When I wrote this, I was (and still am) just touching the surface of an issue that is complex, deeply corrupt, and much of it done in secret or poorly documented. I still am not sure how much of the article is accurate. But I suspect all of it was. We now see the consequences of foreign involvement in our politics and politicians in the Mueller investigation into how the Russians basically owned our President!