U.S Arms Trade Gave Rise to Iraq
By Chris Floyd - The Moscow Times
Sept 8, 2002.
As the world prepares to mark the anniversary of one of history's great turning points, we would be remiss if we failed to make our contribution to the sad memorials. And so, we return to that fateful moment when the forces of violent extremism struck a cowardly and deceitful blow against the cause of freedom.
"Iran got its payoff, too: sophisticated U.S. weaponry flowed to the extremist regime, often using Israeli intelligence as a middleman
We refer, of course, to the
weekend of Oct. 18-19, 1980, when a former and future head of the
CIA met in Paris with representatives from a terrorist regime to
plot the cynical manipulation of an American presidential election.
It is an act of treason for
private American citizens to cut political deals with foreign
governments. But that didn't stop George Herbert Walker Bush and
William Casey from sitting down with the Ayatollah Khomeini's
mullahs to discuss a matter of mutual interest: making sure the 52
American hostages being held by Iran stayed locked up until after
the November election contest between President Jimmy Carter and
Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.
The Republicans were terrified
of an "October Surprise" -- a move by the Carter government to free
the hostages before the vote. So former CIA chief Bush -- now
Reagan's vice-presidential candidate -- and Casey were dispatched to
Paris to offer the Iranians a covert deal to keep the Americans in
chains until Reagan was safely in office. The proposed payoff? A
newly elected Reagan-Bush administration would supply Khomeini's
military with a secret supply of American weapons.
The deal provoked furious
debate in Teheran. The secular revolutionaries who helped topple the
U.S.-backed tyranny of the Shah wanted to wash their hands of the
hostages, who had been seized by Khomeini's fanatical talibs. But
the religious extremists who held ultimate power liked the cut of
that Reagan-Bush jib.
And why not? The mullahs had
much in common with the American archconservatives. Both groups
hated Western modernity in almost all its forms (except technology
-- especially military technology, which they embraced with fervor).
They despised its personal freedoms, its social upheavals, its
sexual openness, its questioning of traditional authority and its
many blasphemies against the primitive sky-god that both groups
The ayatollah cast his lot with
Reagan and Bush. He held the American captives until the very minute
that Reagan -- victorious over the hapless Carter, who'd been
pilloried for "failing to free the hostages" -- was inaugurated as
president. The CIA -- hamstrung by Carter's reforms and his
intermittent commitment to human rights -- was back in business.
They had their boy Bush in Reagan's White House; their old pal Casey
was the new CIA boss.
Iran got its payoff, too:
sophisticated U.S. weaponry flowed to the extremist regime, often
using Israeli intelligence as a middleman. The conduit proved
valuable a few years later, when the Reagan-Bush White House skimmed
profits from secret Iranian arms sales to pay for their drug-running
operations and terrorist camps in Latin America: the infamous
A few tendrils
of these dark truths emerged during the last days of half-hearted
congressional investigations into Iran-Contra. The treasonous
Republican intervention with the mullahs was confirmed by several
credible sources, foreign and domestic, including two national
leaders: Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who as president of Iran in 1980 had
full knowledge of the negotiations; and future Russian Prime
Minister Sergei Stepashin. At the time of the probe, Stepashin was
head of the Supreme Soviet's defense and security issues committee.
At the request of the investigators, he carried out an extensive
review of Soviet intelligence files and sent Congress a remarkably
detailed report on the Reagan-Khomeini connection.
But like the American people,
the Iranian mullahs were also suckered. While shipping arms to
Teheran, Reagan and Bush quietly embraced the mullah's mortal enemy,
Saddam Hussein. They gave him weapons, supported his invasion of
Iran and supplied military intelligence to guide him while he
sprayed Iranian soldiers and innocent civilians with poison gas.
When Bush ascended to the Oval Office, he moved tons of dual-use
technology to Iraq, allowing Hussein to expand his biochemical and
nuclear weapons capabilities. If -- and it's a big if -- Iraq poses
any nuclear or biochemical threat today, it's in part because George
Bush and his cronies fiddled the 1980 election and foisted a "shadow
government" dedicated to covert war and death-dealing treachery on
the American people, and the world.
Several witnesses put Bush on
the scene for at least one day of the Paris sessions. Although Bush
had unaccountably disappeared from the campaign trail on the date in
question, he told Congress that he'd "taken a day off" -- in the
final push of a heated presidential campaign -- to visit two family
friends. However, one friend -- the widow of a Supreme Court justice
-- said the purported visit never happened. Bush adamantly refused
to identify the second friend -- unless Congress promised not to
interview them at all.
Meekly, Congress agreed. There
were no subpoenas, no grand juries, no [Ken] Starr warriors set
loose to dissect Bush's claims: just a quiet agreement among the
elite to look out for their own. Stepashin's report was disregarded;
even Bani-Sadr's direct knowledge was derided as a "secondary
account." The testimonies were buried in obscure archives until
investigative reporter Robert Parry hunted them down and published
them in his invaluable journal, Consortiumnews.com.
So yes, on Sept. 11, let's
remember the victims of violent extremism, and the heroes who died
fighting to save them. But let's also remember October 1980, and the
cynical operators who helped create a world where such insanity can