Friday, August 31, 2007

Iran/Contra Redux: How Bush May be Financing al Qaeda and Other Terrorist Organizations

As Bush seems determined to attack Iran, it is important to remember how Iran obtained American arms in the first place. We should recall how the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran when it was on the State Department's list of "terrorist states". We should also ask the tough question that Reagan successfully dodged.

It is apparent that as Carter was still President, someone on Ronald Reagan's behalf, "cut a deal" with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until Reagan had been safely sworn in as President. Was that person George W. Bush Sr?

Recently, Seymour Hersch charges that the Bush administration may be financing al Qaeda. He compares a vast money funneling network to the infamous Iran/Contra scandal of the Ronald Reagan administration.

Seymour Hersh: The Legacy of Reagan's Iran/Contra

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.”

--Hersh’s New Yorker Article.

An American policy shift is behind Bush's renewed Anti-Iran rhetoric. The US now backs "hardline Sunni jihadists". Bush is in the business of financing "terrorists".

At the heart of this betrayal of American trust is the round up of the usual suspects --Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser. Bush's Faustian Pact is nothing less than Iran/Contra redux, another right wing scheme to finance global terrorism and stiff the American people with it.

If Iran is an armed threat now, we have the Reagan administration to thank for it. Briefly, the Ronald Reagan regime sold arms to Iran, an avowed enemy of the US. It was an elaborate scheme in which monies were diverted to right wing terrorists, the so-called "Contras" who decimated Nicaragua in the 1980s. The word for that is high treason. Here's the brief summation of the activities of Ronald Reagan's criminal conspiracy to arm an avowed enemy of the US.
The underlying facts of Iran/contra are that, regardless of criminality, President Reagan, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of central intelligence and their necessary assistants committed themselves, however reluctantly, to two programs contrary to congressional policy and contrary to national policy. They skirted the law, some of them broke the law, and almost all of them tried to cover up the President's willful activities.

--Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Lawrence Walsh

The US has a history of financing and encouraging terrorism though Bush, meanwhile, claims to be pursuing a peaceful resolution with regard to Iran. Hitler made similar statements about Poland before his own SS staged a "Polish attack" on a radio tower inside German territory. The Reichstag Fire was most certainly not Hitler's last and only "false flag" operation, nor 911 Bush's.

The Iran/Contra scandal is only one reason Ronald Reagan should never make a list of American greatest presidents. In fact, I doubt we've had enough great Presidents to make a top ten list. Perhaps a "top three" list of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt --but even those have serious strikes against them. Such a list made in more innocent times might include Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson. But it is doubtful they would survive a first edit now. Wilson, for example, may have delayed America's entry into WWI for cynical, political reasons. Roosevelt may have too fondly embraced imperialism. Andrew Jackson committed genocide when he stole Native American lands and dispatched the rightful owners to Oklahoma, a tragic "trail of tears" which few survived.

Numerous surveys have tried to rank American presidents. Infoplease claims that the effort began in 1948 when the eminent historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr., asked 55 historians to rate the presidents in each of five categories: great, near great, average, below average, or failure. No one was surprised when Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt made a list of "great" presidents, while Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding were tagged "failures".

Obvious excludes from a "Great Presidents" list must include Richard Nixon, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover and the current occupant, George W. Bush. Despite, a well-organized GOP campaign of PR and political kiss-ups, Ronald Reagan should be included in a list of utter failures. I would include in that list George H.W. Bush who ran interference for Reagan during the Iran/Contra scandal.

Wikipedia claims that Ronald Reagan often makes a ten best Presidents list. That fact inspires me to create a list of President who should never make anyone's ten best list and on such a list, Ronald Reagan goes straight to the top.

Republicans, having taken the rap for a Great Depression that followed closely on the heals of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and, of course, Herbert Hoover, were eager to shed their scales with a man who, if he was not of the people, did the Hollywood version of it: he faked it.

To be expected, nothing said by the GOP about Ronald Reagan is true. One of his adoring partisans was overheard telling reporters --"But he made us feel good about ourselves"! Thus, Reagan inspired and encouraged among his adoring partisans the very worst motives. Truth is, Reaganites ought not feel good about themselves. They ought not be comfortable inside their gated "communities". They ought to have nightmares and night terrors! They ought to lose sleep at night! They ought to be troubled, neurotic and insecure. Stanford Studies say that, indeed, they are!

Because Reagan would not be bothered to think deeply about issues, it was, to be fair, his adoring multitudes who told most of the lies about him. The lingering myth, the one that is most firmly embraced, defended and spread far and wide is that the Reagan presided over a great economic boom. To drive home the point, Reagan partisans contrast what is called "Reagan's Prosperity" with Carter's "Stagflation".

In fact, Reagan never presided over what the GOP would have you believe was a modern golden age. Rather, a depression of some 18 months or more, the longest since the Great Depression, followed promptly on the heels of his tax cut of 1982. It is not co-incidental that his tax cut, benefiting primarily the upper 10 percent of the population, would precede a recession. Sold with a slogan --supply-side economics or, derisively, trickle down theory --it proved conclusively that wealth did not "trickle down". The rich, indeed, get richer and the poor, poorer. But for a brief period in Clinton's second term, the trend begun in 1982 continues unabated to this day. We have the GOP to thank for it. See: The L-curve.

Reagan also promised to balance the federal budget. But, by the target date in 1984, federal deficits were already out of control, the worst the nation had ever seen. Almost a trillion dollars was added to the federal debt. It was not the GOP's favorite whipping boy --a Democratic congress --that was to blame. Republicans, in fact, controlled the Senate from 1981 to 1987. Moreover, the debt might have been even higher had Congress merely rubber stamped Reagan's profligacy.

While Reagan was President, the US federal deficit tripled even as the Reagan government shifted the burden for repaying those deficits to America's hard-pressed working class, already victimized by the Reagan "depression" of some two years. Edward Wolff, in his article, "How the Pie is Sliced: America's Growing Concentration of Wealth" (American Prospect, Summer '95), estimated that in a brief time period known as 'the seven fat years' only the nation's upper quintile, the richest 20 percent, benefited, receiving as much as ninety-nine percent of the "new wealth".
In Britain, where the richest 1 per cent of the population owns 18 per cent of the nation's wealth, fully half the population now lives in households that receive means-tested benefits And in the United States, where wages have been falling steadily, especially for the less skilled, and real poverty is increasing sharply, the richest 1 per cent now owns nearly 40 per cent of

--Is It Global Economics or Neo- Laissez-Faire?

Like latter day aristocrats, Reagan devotees tried to justify their having grown richer at everyone else's expense. Their new riches were the result of merit, they said. Facts do not support them. Numerous studies of Fortune 500 companies reveal that there is no correlation between exploding pay to high ranking executives and company productivity or profitability. In fact, the reverse may be true. Companies exhibiting the greatest pay inequalities also suffer the worst product quality. Other studies have found that more egalitarian societies enjoy the fastest rates of economic growth. May we now lay to rest the corpse of Reaganomics, trickle-down theory, and supply side economics?

The Reagan 80s are remembered for a flurry of deregulation and bankruptcies amid reckless stock speculation, junk bonds and corporate mergers. It was an era of corporate takeovers and corporate raiders typified by a real T. Boone Pickens and a fictional, Gordon Gekko. The 80s are now remembered in a single phrase --Greed is Good!

It is a disservice to Darwin to call the age, as some have, an "age of corporate Darwinism". It was, however, an age of "kill or be killed", a law of the economic jungle called politely laissez-faire, less politely trickle-down theory. The late Steve Kangas reminded, "the Federal Register is where all of America's proposed and adopted regulations are found, and in 1980 it ran 87,012 pages. By 1986, this was cut almost in half -- to 47,418 pages." It was a return to the jungle. The poor were either trampled and cheated or, in other ways, forgotten and left behind. Among slogans and platitudes, the individual conscience fell victim to lies told to make the greedy and corrupt "feel good about themselves".

Nor did Ronald Reagan distinguish himself in foreign affairs. I will leave to another article, if not a book, details about how Ronald Reagan may have blown a chance to reach an accord with Mikhail Gorbachev who had put complete nuclear disarmament on the table at Rekjavik. There are also books to be written about the foolhardy attack on Grenada, a tiny island that posed absolutely no threat to US security at all. Other books might be written about how terrorism against US interests very nearly tripled during Reagan's administration, how terrorism is always worse under GOP regimes, and how the same increases in terrorism can be witnessed now under the misrule of George W. Bush who presumes to wage a Reaganesque "war on terror". Books have been written about Reagan's war on terrorism, in which he promised "you can run but you can't hide". In fact, Reagan sent troops to Lebanon only to make matters worse, only to withdraw them when the Marine Barracks was blown up. Nothing was accomplished but much was paid for with American lives.

Reagan's policies ushered in the present era characterized by obscene disparities of income, effects associated with a continuing, measurable deteriorations of education, news coverage, and various qualities of life. In the regimes of both Reagan and Bush, reason and science are openly attacked. Enlightenment itself is under attack by the cult-like alliance of fascism and fundamentalist Christianity.

Ronald Reagan's was the first "voodoo" administration, characterized by meaningless, feel-good platitudes, nonsense, lies, religious ideology and perhaps real voodoo for all the good done by the twin towers of GOP stupidity: supply-side economics and corporate welfare. It is fitting that his economic policy was called "voodoo economics" even by his own partisans. Later, of course, his Budget Director, David Stockman, would recant, blaming a "noisy faction of Republicans" for the disastrous Reagan tax cut.

About thirty percent of the population didn't care if Reagan was telling the truth or not. Jung believe that about 30 percent of any population is crazy anyway. What mattered for them was that whatever Reagan puked up made them feel good about themselves.

Ronald Reagan elevated stupidity and inarticulateness as he marginalized academia, critical thought, freedom of speech, and dissent. But it was not only Democrats who suffered in this new dark age. It was also articulate Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and John Anderson. There was no place for them in the new GOP. There was no place for intelligence in medieval America. There was no place for enlightenment amid American Gothic.

George W. Bush took up where Reagan left off - elevating the cult of the stupid, blazing new trails for ignorance in the massed attack on science and learning. Yet --Reagan lives on in the person of a "commander guy", a "decider" a reader of "three Shakespeare" and a Camus over pretzels and beer. On numerous occasions, this standard bearer for Reagan's legacy has asked the media:
"... who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear -- I'm a commander guy."

--George W. Bush, who apparently is no longer "The Decider," Washington, DC, May 2, 2007 (Watch video clip)

Evelyn Pringle, writing for Buzzflash, counters:
This country is now paying a heavy price for Bush's lack of military experience, and his taunting invitation of "bring it on," that has resulted in a never ending stream of challengers traveling to Iraq to teach our loudmouth president a lesson.

- Evelyn Pringle, What Military Service Qualifies Bush To Lead Iraq War? Buzzflash

Additional Resources Discoveries

Why Conservatives Hate America

Spread the word:

yahoo icerocket pubsub newsvine


Anonymous said...

Clearly the Bush administration has been the Reagan govt on steroids...and they don't even have to hide their corruption, because no one is going to do a thing about it.


Unknown said...

benmerc sez...

they don't even have to hide their corruption, because no one is going to do a thing about it.

It would appear that the GOP did learn from Watergate. They learned how to avoid getting indicted.

Christopher said...

".....There was no place for intelligence in medieval America......".

".....There was no place for enlightenment amid American Gothic......"

"....George W. Bush took up where Reagan left off - elevating the cult of the stupid, blazing new trails for ignorance in the massed attack on science and learning......"

The Age of the Renaissance inspired the term the “Renaissance Man”, the person who today we would call culturally literate, able to talk intelligently about vastly disparate topics, the result of deep and wide reading, and thus able to make informed decisions.

Perhaps in today’s world the “Renaissance Man “ is being rapidly replaced by the intellectually incurious “Denaissance Man” for whom George Bush is the perfect representative.

Could only a nation of “Denaissance Men” have elected George W Bush as its president? (don’t forget that 3 million more voted for him in 2004, than for his culturally literate opponent).

So now we have in today’s America, a situation where all the presidential candidates have been “bought” by special interests, where, to paraphrase Gore Vidal, there cannot be an informed election because there isn’t an informed citizenry, courtesy of a corporate-owned media, like FOX News, in which, in Vidal’s words, “……a bunch of loons just scream and scream. And with each scream they tell another lie….”.

One of the most effective ways for a public to express its discontent with its governing institutions, which they feel powerless to change, is the weapon of the boycott. In all I’ve read and heard, I’ve yet to hear anyone suggest that Americans boycott the 2008 election.

Admittedly, the only ones who might heed such a call would be Democrats and perhaps independents, which would lead to a mere 25% participation, a Republican president with 99% of the votes of those who did participate, and a congress with a 100% Republican membership. But such a government would manifestly have no legitimacy.

Since rulers, however corrupt and despotic, like to be seen as legitimate, an election boycott might be the best way to bring about the needed changes to how things now are.

Unknown said...

Christopher I said...

Since rulers, however corrupt and despotic, like to be seen as legitimate, an election boycott might be the best way to bring about the needed changes to how things now are.

Christopher, I whole heartedly support a boycott of the current election system. In the meantime, however, I have proposed an "alternative" election utilizing "range voting" or a "borda count". With printable balloting results, a receipt with your vote duly recorded, would be irrefutable.

According to the US Elecctions Project, only some 60 percent of eligible voters participated in the last Presidential election.

If a boycott were coupled with participation in an "alternative" election, it would be a coup d'etat of historical proportions.

Jefferson himself said that the people have the right to "abolish" any government that ceases to be illegitimate.

Unknown said...

I think this forum knows how I feel ...but I will repeat it for the record:


We, in fact, have NO government.

Life As I Know It Now said...

great post Len. It is for thought provoking posts like this one that keep me coming back again and again.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, liberality.