Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trading Gotchas

As the bleary-eyed soccer moms of suburbia prepared their children's school lunches this morning, out of the corner of one ear they could hear their local TV news reporting this quirky little tidbit from the US Presidential campaign. Maybe they heard the piece being read by Randy and Francis at News 7 in the Morning in Boston or Scott and Angela on the Fox 59 team in Indianapolis . It hardly matters. When this kind of truth leaks out through the local news cycle, it only means one thing -- the rusty grinding sound of a campaign unhinging.

The item? The guttersnipe, John McCain, who has been trying to draw links between his opponent and the weather underground from the 1960s, it turns out served in the 1980s on the board of the Council for World Freedom, a quasi-military front used by Oliver North and the Reagan White House to subvert the will of Congress when legislators cut off funds for the illegal covert effort to overthrow the government of Nicaragua after a democratic election threw out their puppet dictator. It wasn't enough that the despot Sen. McCain wanted re-installed was a torturer trained by the U.S. military, the Council for World Freedom was linked to former Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads throughout Central America. Caught in the glaring crosshairs of public exposure, McCain claimed that he resigned from that board in 1984 or maybe 1986. But then retired Army Maj. Gen. John Singlaub and Joyce Downey, who oversaw the group's day-to-day activities, said they hadn't heard of that before. McCain's office produced two letters from 1984 and 1986 to back his account.

Anastasio ("Tachito") Somoza Debayle was a West Point graduate, head of the National Guard, and President of Nicaragua from 1967 to 1979. He used that authority to hunt down, torture and kill many political rivals. He was the last member of the Somoza family to be President, ending a brutal and corrupt dynasty that had held power since 1936.

Lest we have forgotten, or maybe were not even born then, the notorius Iran-Contra affair involved funding of a group of Nicaraguan terrorists, assembled and equiped by the White House, to reverse the democratic election and re-install the military dictatorship of the Somoza family. The effort was defunded and made explicly illegal by Congress through the Boland Amendment but that did not deter Ronald Reagan and the people around him. Reagan tasked his Vice-President, George Bush, Sr., former Director of Central Intelligence, with seeing that the effort continued covertly, out of the view of Congress.

The Iran-Contra affair was unmasked when a Lebanese newspaper reported that the U.S. sold arms to Iran through Israel in exchange for the release of hostages by Hezbollah (as later verified by letters sent by Oliver North to John Poindexter -- now Director of the supersecret Bush/Cheney Information Awareness Office, aka "Eagle Eye"). The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. revealed that the reason weapons were eventually sold directly to Iran was to establish links with elements of the military in that country, although suspicion arose that it was a payback for Henry Kissinger's secret Iranian mission that prevented Jimmy Carter from negotiating the release of U.S. Embassy hostages and thus brought about the election of Ronald Reagan.

The Contras did not receive all of their finances from arms sales, but used clandestine CIA drug trafficking to purchase and equip both Iran and Iraq. While a congressional inquiry led by John Kerry exposed the contra-cocaine connection, it neglected to investigate the much larger CIA-led poppy trade in Afghanistan, which was subsequently eradicated by the Taliban during the Clinton years, but then re-established and enlarged following the (ill-fated?) U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002.

Not that we are saying John McCain has anything to do with that, mind you.

1 comment:

circadia said...

I love your blog, but it's damned hard to read. Please consider something (anything) other than white text on a dark background.

Thanks!

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