Purpose of Iran/Contra

I’m tired of hearing the Right apply noble (to them) intentions to the Iran/Contra perpetators. The COVER STORY was that they used the money to supply the Contras. Whatever else it was, this was a typical corrupt right-wing scheme to grab the money and run.

Lawrence Walsh was the independent investigator for the Iran/Contra case. His final report is available here. It is well worth browsing.

On Ollie North:

North stood trial beginning in February 1989 on 12 counts. On May 4, 1989, he was found guilty of three counts, including aiding and abetting obstruction of Congress, shredding and altering official documents, and accepting an illegal gratuity from Secord.

[. . .]

Count Ten: Receipt of an illegal gratuity, charging North with accepting a home-security system paid for by Secord, in exchange for official acts performed by North.

Count Eleven: Conversion of traveler’s checks, charging that North from April 1985 to July 1986 personally used $4,300 in traveler’s checks from approximately $90,000 in checks given to him by Calero for hostage-release and contra-related expenses.

Remember, these were the things they could PROVE. But their motivation for bringing financial enrichment charges was the pattern they saw of diversions of cash for private use. Of $16 million, only $3.8 million made it to the Contras. And this does not count another $10 million that the Sultan of Brunei wired to North’s operation, but was diverted to another Swiss account. The cover story for that was that someone transposed two numbers on the wire transfer and the money “disappeared.”

General Richard Secord was Ollie North’s partner-in-crime. From Walsh’s report:

One of Secord’s central purposes in establishing and carrying out the operations of the Enterprise was the accumulation of untaxed wealth in secret overseas accounts. Testimony and records obtained from the Enterprise’s Swiss financial manager, Willard Zucker, show that Secord personally received at least $2 million from his participation in the Enterprise during 1985 and 1986, that he set up secret accounts to conceal his untaxed income, and that he later lied and encouraged others to lie to keep it concealed.

Secord was indicted in March 1988 for conspiring with North, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter and Hakim to defraud the U.S. Government of money and services, and for theft of Government property. After the trials were severed and the main conspiracy counts dropped due to problems with classified information, the Grand Jury in April 1989 charged Secord with nine additional felonies as a result of his false testimony before Congress in 1987.

Secord pleaded guilty on November 8, 1989, to the felony charge of lying to Congress about illegal gratuities he provided to North.1 Secord entered his plea five days before he was to be tried on 12 felony charges. As part of his plea, Secord promised to cooperate in the pending trials and ongoing investigation of Independent Counsel.

I remember Secord testifying that he bought a Ferrari…