US CONGRESS WONDERS ABOUT SECRET OPS – 19/09/1988

[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 79

SEPTEMBER 19 1988

”One day I promise you, in a paragraph only about that long, I am going to tell the truth about Iran-contra as I did when it first came to light.”

US President Ronald Reagan

American arms were sold to Iran and the profits were used to supply the Contras. The work of a special prosecutor and a Congressional investigating committee has left no doubt about this.

But members of Congres wonder if there were more secret operations. Presidential hopeful Michael S. Dukakis repeatedly accuses the Reagan Administration of having traded arms for hostages.

Following Senator Tower report regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, Reagan eventually admitted the deal. But in the running up of the coming election, he reversed himself and now again denies such swap ever took place.

Irangate

In 1985, the Reagan administration was confronted with two major international issues. In Lebanon, a dozen of American citizens were hostages of Hezbollah, an organization controlled by Tehran, and Reagan had promised that he would never negotiate with terrorists. In 1984, the Congress had cut funding to support the Contras while the Reagan administration was keen on continuing their support to fight the Communist regime.

McFarlane came up with a plan. The United States would sell weapons, at first through Israel, then directly to Iran in return for help to negotiate the release of the hostages. The weapons were sold at a premium, which was used to fund the Contras.

After a leak by Iranian radical Mehdi Hashemi to the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa, the arrangement was revealed on Nov. 3, 1986.

Hashemi was a close allied of then-Minister of Interior Mohtashami who opposed any deal with the US, and is believed to have founded the Hezbollah organization while he was ambassador in Damascus.

At first, Reagan denied the allegations, but faced with evidence, admitted the arms sale on Nov.13, 1986.

“My purpose was … to send a signal that the United States was prepared to replace the animosity between us with a new relationship … At the same time we undertook this initiative, we made clear that Iran must oppose all forms of international terrorism as a condition of progress in our relationship. The most significant step which Iran could take, we indicated, would be to use its influence in Lebanon to secure the release of all hostages held there,” Reagan said in a nationwide address.

On March 4, 1987, Reagan took full responsibility and stated that, contrary to his previous assertions, the US had traded arms for hostages. Reagan and Bush political careers went on unaffected by the unlawful operations. However, at the international level, the credibility of the US stand in the war on terror was shattered.

“US willingness to engage in concessions with Iran and the Hezbollah not only signaled to its adversaries that hostage-taking was an extremely useful instrument in extracting political and financial concessions from the West but also undermined any credibility of US criticism of other states’ deviation from the principles of no-negotiation and no- concession to terrorists and their demands,” a Hezbollah expert wrote.

Intelligence

The Iran-contra affair came to light after a Sandinista missile downed a cargo plane on Oct. 5 1986. Eugene H. Hasenfus, a United States citizen, was working as a cargo handler for the CIA.

Although the two pilots died in the crash, Hasenfus was able to parachute. He had disobeyed orders to wear a parachute on these missions. Hasenfus was captured by Nicaraguan government forces and confessed the nature of these operations.

On July 26 2007, OMNI published a piece regarding suspicious edits made to certain articles on Wikipedia. As this writer was researching his next piece on the Lockerbie bombing, he noticed that some information regarding a Palestinian terror group had been erased. Upon closer inspection, I came to the conclusion that Intelligence agencies were editing sensitive information on Wikipedia.

The piece received quite a bit of attention. The allegation was completely denied by Jimmy Wales and several Wikipedia administrators.

Amazingly, in just a matter of weeks, the allegation was proven. Thanks to the work of a Caltech Grad student, it was possible to track the origin of the edits. OMNI published the 297 edits made by CIA computers.

Eugene Hasenfus left an interesting comment regarding the piece. “Compelling stuff, Ludwig. Sounds like the rantings of a madman,” Hasenfus wrote. Surely, the former CIA operative would know better…

Mehdi Hashemi was arrested, tortured and executed in Sept 1987. Ayyatolah Montazeri pleaded with Ayatollah Khomeini on Hashemi’s behalf.

“I have known him inside out since our childhood. He is a devout Muslim, a militant revolutionary, and a great admirer of the Imam,” Montazeri wrote to the Supreme Leader of Iran.

It did not help. Hashemi was executed before his sentence was announced. It is usually believed that Hashemi leaked the story to expose the dealings of Rafsanjani with the US and prevent him form gaining power after the anticipated death of Khomeini.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

Lingering Questions on Iran-Contra May Arise in Court – Or May Not  September 19, 1988

Shedding Clear Light on Iran-Contra Affair September 19, 1988

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