View Full Version : Heroes for the New Year
12-29-02, 09:39 AM
Lt. Col. Oliver North USMC (Ret)
For most of us, the end of one year and the beginning of another is a time to reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. But for much of the media, the time when we hang up a new calendar has become a time to compile lists: "Person of the Year," "Biggest Story of the Year," "Best Movie of the Year," etc.
This is done so we can put into perspective our own life experiences, measure our daily victories and defeats against that which the masters of the media deem important, and resolve to do better in the year ahead.
If any of these enumerations actually had the effect of making us more inspired to do that which we should, or less inclined to do that which we should not, there might be some merit in these end-of-year "wrap up" stories. Unfortunately, there is precious little in most of them to encourage, exhort or admonish ó in large part because too many of the "heroes" of this age are less than heroic. My tattered old Webster's defines "hero" as a "legendary figure ... endowed with great strength and ability .. an illustrious warrior ... a person possessing great courage." How many of those we call "heroes" today actually fit the definition?
No doubt there were heroes aplenty on Sept. 11: aboard United Airlines Flight 93 as it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania instead of a building in Washington, D.C., and in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon, where gallant men had their lives taken from them while they struggled to save the lives of others. They legitimately deserve the title "Heroes." And, because America's opinion shapers, editors and pundits don't know better, genuine heroes must join ranks with Hollywood performers ("a truly heroic scene"), NFL football players ("a heroic second effort"), and politicians ("a courageous stand and heroic vote").
Bad enough that the media have redefined and cheapened the meaning of the word "hero," but they have also gone out of their way to ignore others who are far more deserving of the mantle.
The war in Afghanistan has afforded the American people the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of America's heroes since Operation Enduring Freedom began on Oct. 7. Because they are recent enough, the deaths of CIA Clandestine Service Officer Mike Spaan at Mazar-e Sharif and the three Special Forces Sergeants ó Jefferson D. Davis, Daniel H. Petithory and Brian C. Prosser ó all killed near Kandahar by an errant U.S. bomb ó are still in the media memory bank. But do those who "report the news" remember any of the heroes from the first six months of this rather remarkable year?
In case they don't, here are some suggested additions to their "End of Year" list:
On Feb. 12, two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters crashed at the Army's Kahuku Military Training Area on Oahu, as 3,500 soldiers of the Army's 25th Infantry Division were conducting an exercise called Lightning Thrust Warrior. Six soldiers were killed and 11 others were injured. They were heroes.
On March 3, three members of the Florida National Guard and 18 members of the 203rd Red Horse Engineering Flight from Virginia Beach were killed when the Army C-23 Sherpa in which they were flying crashed in Georgia. They were heroes, too, but they won't be mentioned.
Five American servicemen were killed and three others were seriously injured on March 12 in Kuwait at the Al Udairi Range during a live-fire training accident when a U.S. Navy FA-18 dropped a bomb too close to an observation post. The press won't call them heroes because it was "just an accident."
When a Red Chinese F-8 fighter slammed into Lieutenant Shane Osborne's EP-3 on April 1, he saved his crew of 24 but ended up being held by the communist government in Beijing for 11 days. He came home to a well-deserved heroes' welcome, but the media delighted in putting on Armchair Admirals to criticize him for not "ditching his plane into the sea." In Viet-Nam, on April 7, seven members of the U.S. military (three Army, three Air Force, one Navy) were searching for the remains of American servicemen still unaccounted for during the Viet-Nam War when their helicopter crashed, killing them all. They won't be called heroes because Viet-Nam, said the media, was a "Bad War."
On June 12, Air Force First Lt. Randolph Murff of the 35th Fighter Squadron was piloting his F-16 out of Kunsan Air Base in Korea on a nighttime training mission when his aircraft crashed and killed him. He might have qualified as a hero to the press, but it was "just a training accident."
It's not likely that many, if any, of the soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines who died this year defending our country will make the media's many "End of Year Lists." They ought to be on yours ó in prayers for their families ó and in thanksgiving that we have more like them to protect this land in the year ahead.
Happy New Year
Oliver North is a disgrace to the uniform. His role in Iran-Contra
is a black mark in Marine Corps history.
12-29-02, 05:08 PM
Yer entitled to that opinion Eddie.......
HOWEVER, you should investigate your historical accounts a little closer before you assign blame as such.
Col. North took the fall for alot of higher brass during the entire 'Iran-Contra' affair.
In case you hadn't noticed during your tour in the Corps, sh!t has a distinct tendency to roll downhill.
12-30-02, 12:18 AM
Im with you Barndog, I know a little of what went on, but thats not the parts that the press got, After all, member Nam, member Lt. Calley, I know what my orders were, we just didnt take members of the press on patrol with us, Col. North was a patriot of the first order, he took the crap and didnt sell out, although in this case it might have been a good idea.
12-30-02, 04:31 AM
THE OCTOBER SURPRISE
The Iran-Contra scandal can be traced to the October Surprise during the 1980 Presidential election between incumbent Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. In the fall of 1980, Carter was marginally leading Reagan in the polls with the election right around the corner. The release of hostages before election day presumably would have insured the election for Carter. The Reagan team conspired to negotiate a deal with Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. Campaign manager William Casey and George Bush met with Iranian Prime Minister Bani-sadr in Paris in October, only weeks before the election and with Carter having a slight lead over Reagan. Part of the deal cut between the Reagan team and Iran was to provide military weapons which Iran desperately needed in its war with Iraq. As it turned out, the 52 American hostages remained captive in Teheran. Carter's popularity continued to plummet, enabling Reagan to be elected in November, and ironically the hostages were returned at 12 o'clock noon on January 21, 1981 when Reagan was inaugurated.
The first meeting regarding arms-to-Iran occurred in July 1980 in Barcelona, Spain and not in Madrid as was initially reported. The Republican team met at the Hotel Princess Sofia and at the Pepsico International headquarters. The American team was led by Republican campaign director William Casey, who months later was to be named CIA chief by Reagan, and by Robert McFarlane, who later became National Security adviser under Reagan. Three months after Barcelona, a more important meeting took place in Paris. CIA agent Richard Brenneke testified that Bush was in Paris on Sunday, October 19, 1980 when he met with members of the Khomeini regime to consummate an arms package to Iran. Bush, along with Casey and other government officials, flew to Paris on a BAC 111 on Saturday evening, October 18. The plane arrived in Paris on Sunday morning October 19 at 8:40 a.m. European time.
While in Paris, the Republican team gave $40 million to the Iranian government as a gesture of good faith that the Reagan team was serious in dealing with the terrorist Khomeini government -- and that the 52 American hostages should remain captive until after the November election. After the meeting, Bush had to quickly return to the United States in order to deliver a speech at the Washington Hilton Hotel. He departed France in an SR-71 reconnaissance plane, piloted by Gunther Russbacher. The plane was refueled by an Air Force tanker nearly 2,000 miles out of Paris. The entire return flight to the United States was less than two hours.
When news of the Paris meeting leaked out, the CIA moved quickly to cover-up Bush's meeting. CIA agent Frank Snepp wrote an article in the Village Voice, stating that the SR-71 pilot, Gunther Russbacher, was not capable of flying an SR-71 and, therefore, his allegations were false. However, in an interview between government whistle-blower Rodney Stich and Russbacher, it was very clear that Russbacher had been trained in flying the SR-71.
Several other witnesses corroborated the story that Bush was present in Paris. Ari Ben-Menashea, a member of Israel's Mossad and involved in the transfer of arms to Iran, stated that Bush was at the meeting. Also, Iranian Prime Minister Bani-sadr produced documents indicating that Bush was present. On the other hand, CIA agent Donald Gregg, who was on the flight to Paris, failed a polygraph test when asked about Bush's presence.
The Secret Service unequivocally denied the fact that Bush was in Paris. Yet, the agency refused to allow any of its agents who were assigned to Bush at that time, to testify. Justice Department prosecutors called two Secret Service agents who swore that Bush was in Washington, D.C. on that weekend. The Secret Service claimed that Bush was in Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 18; however, the agency did not produce any evidence to indicate Bush's activities on the following day.
Under pressure by the Republicans, both the House and the Senate initially refused to investigate the October Surprise. However, eventually in 1991, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made a token gesture and superficially did look into allegations of improprieties. The investigation was virtually blocked, since the committee prevented investigators from traveling to Europe to interview witnesses; denied subpoena power to investigators; limited the time frame of the investigation; and limited the funds to investigate alleged illegalities.
In addition, the committee called Russbacher an imposter and refused to accept his sworn statements. The testimony of Brenneke was discredited. The committee claimed that he was in Portland, Oregon on the weekend of the October 19, 1980, since he had used his credit cards on that day on the west coast. However, Barbara Honegger, a member of the Reagan-Bush campaign team and one who claimed that Bush was in Paris on October 19, reported that a handwriting expert examined the credit card signatures and swore that they were not those of Brenneke.
A year after the Senate's "investigation" of the October Surprise, the House October Surprise Committee, chaired by Lee Hamilton of Indiana, was formed. However, chief counsel Lawrence Barcella, Jr. lacked credibility, since he earlier helped to conceal clandestine CIA operations in Libya. Also, Richard Pedersen, another key member of the investigation committee, had been involved in corruption. The House committee followed the pattern of its counterpart in the Senate and refused to hear testimony from anyone who had evidence that Bush was in Paris on the weekend of October 19, 1980. In 1993 the committee issued its final report which mirrored that of the Senate committee: the October Surprise was fabricated.
If the October Surprise did indeed occur, there would have been potential enormous consequences: the possibility of impeachment of high level government officials, including members of Congress; criminal activities of Republican Party nominees Reagan and Bush; and the exposure of illegal CIA activities.
Five months after the October Surprise and two months into his first term, Reagan gave CIA chief Casey the green light to begin clandestine activities to attempt to overthrow the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. For three years the Contras only killed innocent Nicaraguans and were incapable of seizing any villages. This frustration, coupled with the American public's opposition to Reagan's dirty war, influenced Congress to cut off aid to the Contras.
"Since United States contact with Iran, there's been no evidence
of Iranian government complicity in acts of terrorism against
the United States."
- President Ronald Reagan, November 13, 1986
In 1984, the CIA chief for the Middle East, William Buckley, was kidnaped by the Hezbollah which was operating out of Iran. Close sources to Reagan confirmed that he would do anything to obtain the release of Buckley. However, he was murdered several months later. This was followed by more abductions: Benjamin Weir, Father Jenco, Terry Waite, assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and several professors from the American University in Beirut. The CIA and the National Security Council now moved to attempt to negotiate with Iran.
The NSC was composed of Vice President Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, CIA director William Casey, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, and National Security adviser Robert McFarlane. On June 7, 1985, the NSC was given permission to deal with Iran which could exert pressure on the Hezbollah to release the American and British hostages.
The secret funding of arms, which was sold to "moderate Iranians," was orchestrated primarily by North. Then the profits from the sales were used to send more weapons to the Contras in Central America. North controlled the secret and illegal treasury which financed "the Enterprise." This consisted of CIA agents turned arms merchants, dummy CIA corporations, and clandestine Swiss bank accounts. The Enterprise took in $48 million in cash. Some was pocketed by arms dealer Albert Hakim and by General Richard Secord. Some of the money was funneled into the Middle East to pay for North's failures in attempting to liberate the American hostages in Beirut.
Soon after the NSC was given permission to communicate with the Iranian regime, six separate arms deals took place.
**August 1985. 96 TOW missiles but no hostages were released. A DC-8 flew from Israel to Iran and transferred $1,217,410 into the Swiss bank account of arms dealer Ghorbanifar.
**September 1985. 408 TOWs were sold to Iran. One American hostage, Benjamin Weir, was released a day later.
**November 1985. 18 Hawk missiles were shipped to Iran via a Portugal and Israel. North arranged for the transfer of one million dollars which was placed into the bank account of Lake Resources, a CIA operated front to launder money in Florida. 80 Hawks were to be delivered; however, 62 were never delivered. North and Secord testified later that the money received covered the payment for the aircraft. $150,000 was actually spent for transportation, and $850,000 was diverted to the Contras.
**February 1986. 1,000 TOWs were sent to Iran in increments of 1,000 each and at $10,000 per missile. $10 million was placed in the account of Lake Resources. $3.7 million was used to pay for the TOWs. Of that amount, $6.3 million was profit.
**May 1986. $16.5 million was paid to the United States for spare parts for Hawk missiles. $6.5 million was given to the government, and $10 million was deposited in the bank account of Lake Resources. Two months later on July 26 Father Lawrence Jenco was released, and the remaining Hawk parts were sent on to Iran.
12-30-02, 04:43 AM
**October 1986. 500 TOWs were sold to Iran, David Jacobsen was released. $3.6 million was given to the United States. $2 million was paid for the missiles, while $1.3 million became profit.
On November 25, 1986, after a Lebanese newspaper broke the story of arms-for-hostages, Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that illegal funds had been diverted to the Contras. Reagan downplayed the weapons which were delivered to Iran. He stated that TOW missiles were "hand held" and that they all could be "transported in one cargo plane." It took several days before North's White House office was sealed, so he and his secretary, Fawn Hall, were able to shred damaging papers in this time period.
Reagan attempted to convince the public that his administration was not dealing with Khomeini but with "moderate elements" within the country. Reagan sent both McFarlane and North on a goodwill trip to Teheran to meet with Khomeini and to present him with an autographed Bible and a cake in the shape of a Bible. The Khomeini government refused to allow them to meet with anyone, and they only waited on the Teheran tarmac for several hours before returning to the United States. Because McFarlane's frustration level increased and because he continued to wrestle with the unethical American covert operations, he resigned as Reagan's NSC adviser and was replaced by Navy Admiral John Poindexter.
The next year, a joint Congressional hearing was created to investigate Iran-Contra. The committee granted immunity to North, thus forcing him to testify. North bragged that the United States carried out an illegal covert operation to fund the Contras in Central America. Since the Boland Amendment prohibited the funding of the Contras in their effort to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the NSC sought other avenues. The first was to convince Congress to allocate funds for "humanitarian aid." However, this money was used illegally to arm the Contras and was terminated after several months. Therefore, the NSC had to look for other sources of funds.
North testified that he took it upon himself to carry out "Operation Democracy." He boasted that the profits from the illegal arms sales to the Khomeini regime were placed in secret Swiss bank accounts and that dummy CIA fronts such as Lake Resources in Florida. These funds were used to purchase weapons with which to arm the Contras in Central America. This was carried out by North along with Hakim, Secord, and Singlaub.
North skimmed $50,000 from a secret cash account which was set up by the Contras. Secord helped arrange for weapons which were illegally obtained with profits from the sales to Iran and then shipped south to the Contras. Hakim was a military sales agent who worked as a middleman with Secord. Hakim was quoted after President Carter's aborted hostage rescue in Iran in 1979: "He couldn't have been happier when the Carter administration needed." Air Force General John Singlaub, who was president of the World Anti-communist League, became involved in raising funds overseas for the Contras in 1981.
On the domestic front, North solicited donations from various wealthy people. Claiming that communism was entrenched in Nicaragua and that it would move northward, he was able to solicit $80,000 from Adolph Coors. An $80,000 Cessna spotter plane, to be used in flights over Nicaragua, was purchased. North called wealthy widows, promising them photo sessions with Reagan if they made large contributions. One wealthy woman contributed $200,000 and was rewarded with a five minute meeting with Reagan. Billionaire Ross Perot supplied $2.3 million to North in an attempt to liberate Beirut CIA station chief Buckley in Lebanon. The sultan of Brunei contributed $1 million, and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia turned over $32 million.
North also lost more than $400,000 chasing false leads. An Iranian convince North that he was a Saudi prince with superior intelligence connections and was paid $15,000. An Armenian informant claimed that he knew the secret location of the American hostages. North slipped him $100,000, and he immediately disappeared in Syria. Lebanese "informants" received over $100,000 from North. Another Lebanese claimed that he had contacted Buckley, but it later turned out that Buckley had long been dead when he and North communicated. North also arranged for another informant to receive $200,000 of Perot's money and $11,000 from illegal Contra funds in exchange for information. This informant produced no information to North.
"Midshipmen will not lie, cheat, or steal."
- First seven words of the United States Naval Academy's Honor Code
"There is great deceit, deception practiced in the conduct of covert operations. They are at essence a lie. We make every effort to deceive the enemy as to our intent, our conduct, and to deny the association of the United States to those activities ... and that is not wrong."
- Oliver North
"In the United States Naval Academy, nobody taught me how to run a covert operation."
- Oliver North
BUSH SEEMS TO LOSE HIS MEMORY. Plans to fund the Contras originally emanated from the office of the vice president. In the summer of 1982 Bush and Casey launched the Black Eagle Operation, a plan to ship weapons to the Contras through San Antonio, Texas and then on to El Salvador and Panama. According to a CIA operative, Bush agreed to use his office as a cover after Donald Gregg became the NSC adviser and coordinated the logistics of the operation.
Bush always claimed that he was "out of the loop" in the Iran-Contra scandal as well as the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking while he was vice president. Plans to fund the Contras originally emanated from the office of the vice president. In the summer of 1982 Bush and Casey launched the Black Eagle Operation, a plan to ship weapons to the Contras through San Antonio, Texas and then on to El Salvador and Panama. According to a CIA operative, Bush agreed to use his office as a cover after Donald Gregg became the NSC adviser and coordinated the logistics of the operation.
In December 1983, Bush flew to Panama to meet with Noriega. This encounter was interpreted by Noriega as an appeal in training and arming the Contras. Jose Blandon was the top political aide to Noriega. When subpoenaed before the Senate investigating committee in 1988, Blandon testified that Bush asked for and received a commitment from Noriega to help secretly arm, train, and finance the Contras. In North's 1989 trial, more evidence surfaced about the Bush-Noriega Contra connection. A Costa Rican-based Contra leader testified that he received $100,000 from Noriega in July 1984. Bush continued to plead ignorance about Noriega's drug dealing activities. Blandon confirmed that the CIA used Noriega to funnel guns and money to the Contras and that Panama was used as a training base.
After the Boland Amendment outlawed further shipments of weapons to the Contras, the "Supermarket" began to covertly fly in weapons which were purchased with private funds. Bush always pleaded innocence, maintaining that he was never aware that funds were solicited from private individuals to purchase weapons for the Contras. However, a large amount of evidence indicated that Bush knew the precise details of how the "Supermarket" raised money and bought arms.
NSC adviser Gregg served in Vietnam with Felix Rodriquez, and later both worked in American intelligence. Rodriquez was recruited by Gregg to help supply the Contras with weapons. On September 18, 1984, Gregg claimed that he sent a memo to Bush, explaining the military and political aspects of the war. Gregg said that he told the vice president that the "Supermarket" was providing the Contras with about $1.5 million from private sources.
Telephone records proved that Gregg made a number of telephone calls from his home to the White House on December 15. Bush's office officially acknowledged that Gregg and Rodriquez discussed Contra aid. The statement said that Gregg communicated with Rodriquez, but that they were never involved in directing, coordinating, or approving military aid to the Contras. Bush insisted that these contacts concerned weapons to El Salvador and not to the Contras.
On February 25, 1985, Poindexter wrote to Bush: "We want the VP (Bush) to discuss the matters with (Honduras President Roberto) Suazo." On March 16, Bush flew to Tegucigalpa and met with the president and promised him that the United States would increase military aid to Honduras in return for helping support the Contras. Suazo was close to telling the White House that he would soon evict the Contras from Honduras. Bush assured the president that he would be rewarded if he would permit Contra camps in his country and if he would help to supply them with weapons.
White House aid to Honduras began almost immediately after Bush's visit. Yet Bush categorically denied that he cut a deal with Suazo. The vice president said, "No implication, no quid pro quo, direct or indirect, from me to the president of Honduras."
As vice president, Bush was a member of the NSC. He attended at least six documented meetings between May and October of 1986 and a total of at least 24 meetings in the 1980s. One of the first meetings to discuss the plan to sell arms to Iran in exchange for American hostages held by the Hezbollah was on August 6, 1985. Bush was present when National Security adviser McFarlane outlined a scheme to attempt to retrieve the hostages.
Bush conceded that he supported the sale of arms but did not realize that it concerned the release of American hostages. Bush consistently said that he was "out of the loop." In addition, he stated that Israel was not a third party in sending some arms to Iran.
12-30-02, 04:54 AM
After Reagan authorized the sale of arms to Iran on January 6, 1986, Shultz and Weinberger expressed their opposition. Weinberger confirmed that Bush was present at a White House meeting on the...
12-30-02, 05:00 AM
After being provided with the proper information.....
Would you care to correct your position, Eddie?
And, for those astute enough to pay really really close attention, note some of the 'names' in this writing......
That are tied to the 'current Bush administration'.
See how payback works?
And, YOU point your finger at Col North?
12-30-02, 12:20 PM
Now thats what i call gitting the word out Barndog, sort of clears the air for those that forgot to read the whole story, and between the lines, Thanks.
12-31-02, 05:32 AM
A Marine armed with knowledge and the ability to communicate it -is equally as dangerous than one with a rifle.
In reality, neither are easy feats to accomplish.
But, when you've been the recipient of the political 'green weenie' enough times, you either give up, or sharpen up. I sharpened up, and made political understanding my goal.
I'd rather do damage with my mind - because it does one of 2 things - it either p!sses people completely off....... or they get smart and educate themselves like I have.
Getting p!ssed off is still easier. But, I didn't join the Marine Corps for it to be easy now did I?