iran contra affair

nytimes.com
BREAKING: Manuel Noriega, Dictator Ousted by U.S. in Panama, Dies at 83
Mr. Noriega, known for drug ties and double-dealing with Washington, was unseated in 1989 in what was then the largest American military action since Vietnam.
By Randal C. Archibold

Manuel Antonio Noriega, the brash former dictator of Panama and sometime ally of the United States whose ties to drug trafficking led to his ouster in 1989 in what was then the largest American military action since the Vietnam War, has died. He was 83.

President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama announced Mr. Noriega’s death on Twitter early Tuesday morning.

Mr. Varela’s post read, “The death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and his relatives deserve to bury him in peace.”

Mr. Noriega died around 11 p.m. Monday at Santo Tomás Hospital in Panama City, a hospital employee confirmed. An official cause of death was not immediately available.

Mr. Noriega had been in intensive care since March 7 after complications developed from surgery to remove what his lawyer described as a benign brain tumor. His daughters told reporters at the hospital in March that he had had a brain hemorrhage after the procedure. He had been granted house arrest in January to prepare for the operation.

His medical problems came on the heels of a legal odyssey that had begun with the invasion and led to prison terms in the United States, France and finally Panama. While imprisoned abroad he suffered strokes, hypertension and other ailments, his lawyers said.

After returning to Panama on Dec. 11, 2011, he began serving long sentences for murder, embezzlement and corruption in connection with his rule during the 1980s.

It was an inglorious homecoming for a man who had been known for brandishing a machete while making defiant nationalist speeches and living a lavish, libertine life off drug-trade riches, complete with luxurious mansions, cocaine-fueled parties and voluminous collections of antique guns. It was a quirky life as well: He liked to display his teddy bears dressed as paratroopers.

Playing Both Sides

Mr. Noriega, who became the de facto leader of the country by promoting himself to full general of the armed forces in 1983, had a decades-long, head-spinning relationship with the United States, shifting from cooperative ally and informant for American drug and intelligence agencies to shady adversary, selling secrets to political enemies of the United States in the Western Hemisphere and tipping off drug cartels. Whose side he was on was often hard to tell.

It was an awkward embrace that befitted the history of American and Panamanian relations since the United States built the Panama Canal early in the 20th century. The United States continued to operate the canal — and govern a strip of territory alongside it — for eight decades before turning it over to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.

In the 1990 book “In the Time of the Tyrants,” a chronicle of the Noriega years, the journalists Richard M. Koster and Guillermo Sánchez Borbón gave a startling example of Mr. Noriega’s double-dealing. While providing secrets about Cuba to the United States, they wrote, Mr. Noriega sold Fidel Castro thousands of Panamanian passports, at $5,000 each, for use by Cuban secret agents and possibly agents of other Soviet bloc nations.

The authors estimated that his illicit gains came to at least $772 million. (The White House put his personal fortune at $200 million to $300 million in the months before his ouster.)

“He craved power and became a tyrant,” Mr. Koster and Mr. Sánchez wrote in laying out Mr. Noriega’s ultimate undoing. “He craved wealth and became a criminal. And the careers came in conflict.”

Mr. Noriega’s two-facedness was known to the American authorities. But they saw him as useful in their efforts to maintain influence in Panama at a time of political instability and leftist uprisings in Central America. He provided, for one thing, an important listening post in the region.

Plucked From Power

He grew more belligerent, however, and by 1989 American patience had run out. Lawmakers in Washington, some of them worried about the coming turnover of the canal to Panama, began asking more questions about his ties to drug traffickers. Opposition in Panama had also grown, ignited in large measure by the torture and murder in 1985 of Dr. Hugo Spadafora, a longtime critic who had publicly accused Mr. Noriega of being in league with Colombian drug cartels.

Mr. Noriega turned more violent toward political opponents, setting his feared anti-riot units — his “Dobermans” — on demonstrators.

The United States Senate in 1986 overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Panama to remove Mr. Noriega from the Panamanian Defense Forces pending an investigation of charges of corruption, election fraud, murder and drug trafficking. The next year, after Congress cut off military and economic aid, Panama defaulted on its foreign debt payments, and its economy contracted by a startling 20 percent.

In 1988, Mr. Noriega was indicted in Miami and Tampa, Fla., on federal narcotics-trafficking and money-laundering charges. He was accused of turning Panama into a shipping platform for South American cocaine destined for the United States, and allowing drug proceeds to be hidden in Panamanian banks.

Mr. Noriega responded by organizing large demonstrations in Panama against the United States. Gripping a machete as he spoke to a crowd, he declared, “Not one step back!” The slogan began appearing on billboards throughout Panama City.

There was a failed coup in 1988. The next year, Mr. Noriega annulled the results of Panama’s presidential election, ratcheting up pressure on the United States to take action. After another failed coup, in 1989, he anointed himself “maximum leader,” and the National Assembly declared war on the United States.

Then, on Dec. 16, 1989, Panamanian troops shot and killed an unarmed American soldier in Panama City, wounded another and arrested and beat a third soldier whose wife they threatened with sexual assault.

“That was enough,” President George Bush said in announcing the invasion, which included more than 27,000 troops.

A White House statement as the invasion got underway said the United States had acted “to protect American lives, restore the democratic process, preserve the integrity of the Panama Canal treaties and apprehend Manuel Noriega.” Political commentators at the time assigned other motives, including a way for Mr. Bush to shake off perceptions of weakness; his poll numbers rose significantly after the invasion.

Panamanian forces were quickly overwhelmed as Mr. Noriega escaped into hiding, surfacing days later on Dec. 24 at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City. Twenty-three American service members were killed and more than 300 wounded in the invasion; casualties among Panamanians have been disputed, with the Panamanian government at the time estimating several hundred soldiers and civilians died, while some human rights groups insist the toll was much higher.

American troops descended on the embassy, and a standoff followed. For a time, American forces blasted heavy metal music (including Van Halen’s “Panama”) to torment Mr. Noriega and prevent reporters with directional microphones from hearing conversations between military and Vatican officials. He surrendered on Jan. 3, 1990, and was flown to jail in Florida, leaving behind a new president sworn in on an American military base and a new era for Panama.

A Strongman’s Ascent

Manuel Antonio Noriega was born in a Panama City slum on Feb. 11, 1934 — or was he? The date has been in dispute. In a court hearing in France in June 2010, he initially gave his birth year as 1936, but then corrected himself, saying it was 1934, the generally accepted date. Legal documents have listed it as 1938, and Mr. Noriega had been said to lie about his age.

His father was a public accountant and his mother a cook or laundress, depending on the account, but for murky reasons they were gone from his life in early childhood. He told interviewers that he had been raised by a godmother. He attended the Instituto Nacional, Panama’s best public high school, and in a yearbook he named his life’s ambitions: to be a psychiatrist and president of Panama.

When his plans for medical school did not work out, a connection in government helped him get a scholarship to a military academy in Peru. On his return, he began rising in the National Guard.

In the late 1960s, he came under the tutelage of Gen. Omar Torrijos Herrera, a dictator who would sign a 1977 treaty in which the United States would agree to cede control of the canal and the American property alongside it in December 1999. Mr. Noriega became a loyal aide to General Torrijos, orchestrating the abuse and imprisonment of political opponents and tightening relationships with American law enforcement and intelligence officers.

After General Torrijos died in a plane crash in western Panama in 1981, Mr. Noriega maneuvered to take over the National Guard. Ascending to the rank of general in 1983, he effectively became the country’s strongman, even though a civilian was president. An early step was to unite the various guard units under the Panama Defense Forces.

He took on the moniker “El Man,” but the nickname that endured among his detractors was “Pineapple Face,” owing to his pockmarked skin. (A judge in California in October 2014 dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mr. Noriega’s representatives protesting the use of his likeness and the “Pineapple Face” moniker in a “Call of Duty” video game.)

Embracing his power, Mr. Noriega rigged civilian elections to favor his handpicked candidates. He strengthened ties to drug traffickers. But he also sought close bonds with the United States.

Even as American drug agents grew more worried about his cartel relationships, Mr. Noriega reached out to the White House aide Lt. Col. Oliver L. North during the Iran-contra affair, meeting with him in September 1986 in London, according to notebooks of Colonel North’s obtained by the National Security Archive through the Freedom of Information Act.

Colonel North was a central player in a Reagan administration scheme to sabotage the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua by secretly selling arms to Iran and using the proceeds to finance rightist Nicaraguan rebels, known as the contras. Congress had banned funding them.

Mr. Noriega offered to assassinate Sandinista leaders or commit acts of sabotage in exchange for Colonel North’s help in repairing Mr. Noriega’s deteriorating image in Washington. A congressional report said that the sabotage plan had been approved, but there is no evidence that it was carried out. In any event, it was too late for image rehabilitation; the American invasion was around the corner.

Inmate No. 41586

After he was stripped of his rank by Panama’s new civilian government in 1990 and taken to Florida to face charges, Mr. Noriega’s booking photo, disseminated around the world, became emblematic of his fall. It showed him glum in a brown T-shirt holding a placard with the words “U.S. Marshal, Miami, FL,” reduced to federal prisoner 41586.

Mr. Noriega was convicted in April 1992 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He insisted all along that the trial and charges were a farce.

“I accuse George Herbert Walker Bush of exercising his power and authority to influence and subvert the American judicial system in order to convict me,” he said in a two-hour courtroom speech.

His sentence was reduced by 10 years, and he was later declared a prisoner of war, allowing him regular access to a telephone, additional visiting hours and even a small salary, among other perks. But while he was in prison in the United States, Panama tried him in absentia for the execution of soldiers in the failed 1989 coup attempt.

In July 1999, France tried him in absentia on money-laundering charges, accusing him and his wife, Felicidad Sieiro de Noriega, of channeling $3 million in drug profits to banks. Mr. Noriega’s lawyers argued that the money was payment by the Central Intelligence Agency, but the couple were convicted and received a 10-year sentence.

The United States had intended to release Mr. Noriega on parole in September 2007 after reducing his sentence by half for good behavior. But after a protracted extradition fight, he was sent to France in April 2010 for another trial on the money-laundering charges. Again he was convicted.

He was sentenced this time to seven years in prison in France, but he was eligible for parole much sooner than that. Panama requested his extradition, and after more legal tussling, he was flown home in December 2011 to serve 20 years for the disappearances of political opponents in the 1980s.

Mr. Noriega is survived by his wife and three daughters, Lorena, Sandra and Thays Noriega.

While incarcerated in the United States, Mr. Noriega wrote “America’s Prisoner: The Memoirs of Manuel Noriega” (1997, with Peter Eisner). In the book, he expressed frustration over his captors.

“No one can avoid the judgment of history,” he wrote. “I only ask to be judged on the same scale of treachery and infamy of my enemies.”

Yet in June 2015, in an interview in prison with Panamanian television, he was more conciliatory, leaving people, once again, to guess about the real Mr. Noriega.

“I want to close the cycle of the military era as the last commander of that group,” he said, “asking for forgiveness.”

Trump claims “no politician in history has been treated worse”

So I decided to dispute this claim for him in a list form. I even just stuck to presidents, though he left it open to “all politicians.” Here are some examples of criticism our former presidents received:

  • President George Washington: had to borrow money to attend his own inauguration; Jefferson repeatedly accused him of treason especially regarding the Jay Treaty
  • President John Adams: entire reputation scourged by a scathing 72-page letter written by Alexander Hamilton (a member of his own party) about how horrible he was
  • President Thomas Jefferson: election called the “greatest misfortune our nation has ever experienced” by Martha Washington; also historically despised by many of his colleagues
  • President James Madison: was frequently made fun of for being small/frail/weak (5'4", about 100 pounds, very sickly); the wife of a Virginia politician once labeled him “the most unsociable creature in existence"
  • President James Monroe: was nicknamed “The Last Cocked Hat” due to his outdated revolutionary-era fashion sense he still kept later in life; also…he acquired Florida
  • President John Quincy Adams: constantly plagued by calls of illegitimacy for his term because of the backroom deal he made with the House to be elected over Jackson
  • President Andrew Jackson: basically almost caused mutiny of Southern states over a tariff; was chastised for his nepotism and also nicknamed “King Andrew” for his selfish/monarch-like tendencies as president (also committed genocide but I’m not counting that in here because he was actually LAUDED for it)
  • President Martin Van Buren: nicknamed “Little Magician,” “Sly Fox,” and “Red Fox of Kinderhook” for his shitty political skills, small stature, and red hair; Charles Ogle called him “Martin Van Ruin” on the floor of the House of Representatives
  • President William Henry Harrison: gave an ill-advised address in the freezing cold rain & was literally president for 30 days 12 hours and 30 minutes before he died of pneumonia, after which the nation quickly forgot about him
  • President John Tyler: nicknamed “His Accidency” after inheriting the presidency from Harrison
  • President James K Polk: so obscure that one of his rivals coined the slogan “Who is James K. Polk?” during his campaign; highly criticized for his war with Mexico
  • President Zachary Taylor: though only president for 16 months, often remembered as one of the worst presidents in history; as a total outsider he completely demolished the Whig party after his victory
  • President Millard Fillmore: entire cabinet unanimously resigned after disagreeing with him over a free vs. slave state issue
  • President Franklin Pierce: was abhorrently despised for his hand in the Kansas-Nebraska Act and failed to be re-nominated for a second term
  • President James Buchanan: pre-civil war, became so hated during his presidency part of his cabinet resigned; said to Lincoln upon leaving, “If you are as happy entering the presidency as I am leaving it, then you are a very happy man.” Also has evidently been ranked among 3 worst presidents in every poll and survey conducted since 1948
  • President Abraham Lincoln: shot & killed
  • President Andrew Johnson: literally faced impeachment over his failure to work with Congress; during his trial he blamed his troubles on “a mendacious press” that continually criticized him
  • President Ulysses S Grant: no political experience entering office; was loyal to people close to him and as a result failed to remove ineffective people; presidency riddled with scandals and corruption, though none involved him directly it caused him to be remembered as guilty by association
  • President Rutherford B Hayes: official inauguration secretly held inside the White House for fear of the trouble his opponents might stir up
  • President James A Garfield: shot & killed
  • President Chester A Arthur: plagued by a negative reputation of cronyism garnered in his early political career
  • President Grover Cleveland: sexually abused a widow (which he threw into an asylum) and fathered an illegitimate child (which he threw into an orphanage); was criticized with chants such as “Ma, Ma, where’s my pa?”
  • President William McKinley: shot & killed; also had a poor reputation due to his relationship with Republican party leader Mark Hanna who was seen as manipulating McKinley
  • President Theodore Roosevelt: shot & lived; also seen as egotistical and somewhat of a bully, greatly expanding executive powers
  • President William Howard Taft: Ballinger-Pinchot controversy gained so much bad press it led to the split of the Republican party
  • President Woodrow Wilson: aside from massive criticism over his handling of WWI, also garnered criticism for an investigation launched during his presidency over claims of homosexual interactions between naval personal and civilians
  • President Warren G Harding: Teapot. Dome. Scandal.
  • President Calvin Coolidge: actually criticized for saying too LITTLE
  • President Herbert Hoover: severely criticized for his handling of the Great Depression; also ordered Army to break up protesting veterans & his harsh methods got him a lot of public dissent
  • President Franklin D Roosevelt: faced allegations from Republican leaders in Congress who said he left his dog in the Aleutian Islands after a family trip & sent a Navy destroyer to rescue said dog at the taxpayers expense
  • President Harry S Truman: involved in a scandal when an investigation into the IRS lead to the firing of 166 IRS employees; stained with allegations of corruption in the aftermath
  • President Dwight D Eisenhower: many in his administration under investigation as to how many of their “gifts” and personal purchases were allegedly funded by taxpayer money
  • President John F Kennedy: shot & killed; also had a lot of alleged affairs
  • President Lyndon B Johnson: Pentagon Papers indicated he systematically lied to the American people about American involvement and actions in the Southeast Asian region
  • President Richard Nixon: …do I really have to say anything about this one?
  • President Gerald Ford: pardoned Nixon & hated for it
  • President Jimmy Carter: shit ton of criticism for Iranian Hostage Crisis
  • President Ronald Reagan: shot & lived; Iran-Contra affair; AIDS crisis…yet somehow remembered as America’s sweetheart
  • President George HW Bush: secretary of treasury arrested and sentenced to prison for tax evasion and obstruction of justice
  • President Bill Clinton: almost impeached over Monica Lewinsky
  • President George Bush: a journalist literally threw shoes at him
  • President Barack Obama: birth certificate fiasco, “THANKS A LOT, OBAMA”

Note that this is an insanely brief overview of criticisms, but the point is IT’S PART OF THE DAMN JOB, DON. NOW GET THE FUCK OVER IT BECAUSE NO ONE IS ATTENDING YOUR PITY PARTY.

Has anyone else sort of thought that Obama is to the Democrats what Reagan was to the Republicans? And I don’t mean that in a good way.

I mean that they both did manage to try to hold up the image of being a charismatic communicator (and, to give them some credit, for better or worse, both can arguably be charismatic in their own ways), gave the pitch that they were going to be the men who going to set America back on track (though, in fairness, mostly every person running for president has given that pitch), and both have been put on a massive pedestals by their respective parties.

However, when it came to their actual policies and not just their “media-friendly” images, they were both involved in multiple shady behind-the-scenes scandals, have unwittingly furthered conflicts abroad in the name of a certain “greater good” (Reagan’s involvement in the Iran-Contra affair in order to stop Communism, no matter what the cost or how unethical it could become, and Obama basically continuing Bush Jr.’s mishandling of the wars in the Middle East), had domestic policies which sometimes did more harm than good, and left nation both political sides of the spectrum even more divided than they had already been.

That’s just my take on it.

anonymous asked:

did you know that the BLM was behind the Iran-Contra affair

I heard on facebook that BLM had influenced that kid to shoot Franz Ferdinand. #BLMshooting #AllLivesMatter

politico.com
How Congress Could Cripple Robert Mueller

The special prosecutor was convinced that Congress was on the verge of sabotaging his politically charged investigation—one that led straight into the White House and threatened to end with a president’s impeachment. And so he went to lawmakers on Capitol Hill with a plea: Do not grant immunity to witnesses in exchange for their testimony if you ever want anyone brought to justice.

But the plea failed. And the special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, a former federal judge appointed in 1986 to investigate the Iran-contra affair during the Reagan administration, watched two of his highest-profile targets go free: former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter and Poindexter’s deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. Although both former Ronald Reagan aides were later convicted at trial of multiple felonies, the convictions were overturned, with appeals courts deeming the prosecutions tainted as a result of the testimony the men had given to Congress with grants of supposedly limited immunity.

The “fiasco on Capitol Hill,” as Walsh put it in his memoirs, left him bitter years later. The experience convinced him that whenever Congress grants immunity to witnesses for their testimony in highly publicized investigations, it forever ends a prosecutor’s hope of bringing the witnesses to trial for their alleged crimes. “The Capitol Hill steamroller had flattened the criminal investigation,” he would write.

Three decades later, this episode offers some important lessons. Congress and a special prosecutor may be heading for a similar showdown over allegations of collusion in the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, and several veteran prosecutors and legal scholars I’ve spoken with recently have warned that Congress could undermine any hopes of bringing senior Trump aides and advisers to justice if it starts granting immunity to witnesses.

They say they expect that the newly appointed Trump-Russia special prosecutor, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, will—like Walsh 31 years ago—make an early request to Congress to hold off on immunity, even if that means curtailing the congressional inquiries dramatically by foregoing public hearings. The Republican leaders of House and Senate committees investigating the Trump-Russia issue have said they have no intention of offering immunity for now, but will they be tempted later if there is no other way to obtain information and the lawmakers are desperate to show progress?

Trump is hated by this city, which gave him 4 percent of its votes, as much as Nixon was. And the deep-state determination to bring him down is as great as it was with Nixon.

By 1968, the liberal establishment had lost the mandate it had held since 1933, but not lost its ability to wound and kill presidents.


Though Nixon won 49 states, that establishment took him down. Though Ronald Reagan won 49 states, that establishment almost took him down in the Iran-Contra affair.


And that is the end they have in mind for President Trump.

—  Patrick J. Buchanan
Watch on reagan-was-a-horrible-president.tumblr.com

Yeah, I know. I don’t care much for Seth MacFarlane either, but this is a pretty good quickie-explanation of the Ronald Reagan Iran-Contra Affair.

It’s a 90 second “Schoolhouse Rock” type video clip from “American Dad”.

Ah yes, 1986 – while movies like Platoon and Top Gun were pulling crowds of people into theaters, the Iran-Contra Affair was just beginning to take over our televisions. (We are unable to confirm or deny that Woods may or may not have been in Afghanistan at that same time.)

There’s the history that you think you know and the shadowy world of black operations that helped to shape it. #ThisDayInBlackOps

Since the numbers seem so far fetched to most of you, Google the names of the operations.

Iran - “Operation Ajax”

Guatemala - “Operation PBSUCCESS” ,“Operation PBHISTORY” ,“Operation PBFORTUNE”

Vietnam-  The Phoenix Program  + 20 years of war and unrestricted bombing on any country will stack up a body count

Dominican Republic- Read about the American occupation 

Chile- “Project FUBELT”

East Timor- the amount of evidence about US Government’s involvement /stuff written about this is staggering 

Angola- “Operation IA Feature”

Nicaragua- the Iran–Contra affair 

El Salvador- “Atlacatl Battalion” and other units like them

Panama - Operation Just Cause

Iraq- 13 years of sanctions then 8 years of American Occupation……

you also can refer to —-> Philip Bradbury, Insight Magazine, November 2001

If you pay to have someone killed, you’re as guilty as the one who who pulled the trigger no ?