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Event.png Iran-Contra (conspiracy,  drug smuggling,  arms deal,  Structural deep event)  Campfire Wiki Cavdef NNDB Powerbase Sourcewatch SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Iran-Contra lego.jpg
PerpetratorsThe cabal, Adnan Khashoggi, Richard Secord, Richard Armitage, Farhad Azima, Khalid bin Mahfouz, Dick Cheney, David Kimche, Porter Goss, George H. W. Bush, Robert Mueller
Exposed byCelerino Castillo, Bruce Hemmings, David MacMichael, Al Martin, Robert Parry, Daniel Sheehan
Interest ofPaul Lir Alexander, Carl-Fredrik Algernon, Lawrence Barcella, Bofors Affair, Christic Institute, Leslie Cockburn, Eatsco, Joe Fernandez, Alan Fiers, Darrell MacIntyre, Nahum Manbar, Our Hidden History, Robert Parry, Edmond Safra, Robert Schweitzer, Paul Sjeklocha, Lawrence Walsh
SubpageIran-Contra/Premature death
DescriptionA drug trafficking/weapons smuggling operation carried out in the 1980s with the approval of the top of the US government.

The Iran-Contra affair was an illegal, international arms deal involving drug trafficking and defying US congress to supply weapons to the Nicaraguan "Contras". Lance deHaven-Smith has suggested that the operation arose from Bill Casey's October Surprise conspiracy. Russ Baker suggested in Family Of Secrets that its exposure may have been a limited hangout organised by US Vice President George H. W. Bush to try to force the resignation of Ronald Reagan.

Official narrative

A short musical intro with the official narrative.

“One of the most complicated and intrigue-filled scandals in recent decades, the Iran-contra affair dominated the news for many months. It consisted of three interconnected parts: The Reagan administration sold arms to Iran, a country desperate for materiel during its lengthy war with Iraq; in exchange for the arms, Iran was to use its influence to help gain the release of Americans held hostage in Lebanon; and the arms were purchased at high prices, with the excess profits diverted to fund the Reagan-favored "contras" fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.”
Larry J. Sabato (1998)  [1]

The Iran-Contra Affair was investigated by the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and the Senate Select Committee On Secret Military Assistance to Iran And the Nicaraguan Opposition, which heard the allegations of CIA drug trafficking but did not accept them as proven. The United States House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran was chaired by Lee Hamilton, who was later to chair the House October Surprise Task Force, and was as to vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission and be a ranking member of the Select Subcommittee to Investigate the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia.


Lance deHaven-Smith wrote in 2010 that "given what is now known about Iran-Contra, it appears likely that the Iran-Contra operation grew out of the October Surprise agreement".[2] The core personnel appear to have been drawn from the cabal centered around George H. W. Bush, including Donald Gregg and Felix Rodriguez.


Even the name, "Iran-Contra", is disingenuous, ignoring as it does the drug dealing, which was never fully exposed. The abundance of evidence of this has been obscured if not from the public record, then largely from public consciousness.[3] Drawing a parallel with the Watergate Coup, Mark Gorton suggests that Iran-Contra was a limited hangout orchestrated by George H. W. Bush to try to get Ronald Reagan to resign, but that Reagan loyalists Edwin Meese and George Schulz were able to fight off the coup attempt.[4]

Drug trafficking

Full article: Rated 4/5 CIA/Drug trafficking

The most significant drug trafficker may have been the notorious Barry Seal who supposedly cut a deal and became an informant. His co-pilot, Emile Camp, and a partner in many of Seal's exploits died in an Air America crash in 1985 on Fourche Mountain north of Mena. Tosh Plumlee, Bo Abbott and Edward Cutolo[5] have all testified under oath to involvement in US government/CIA sanctioned drug trafficking.

As Mike Ruppert wrote to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

Most Americans have been lead to believe that the purpose of these hearings is to ascertain whether or not there is any evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency dealt drugs during the Iran-Contra era. If these hearings were about evidence, then the most patriotic duty I could perform would be to quote Jack Blum who was chief investigator for the Kerry Subcommittee on narcotics and "terrorism" ten years ago. He testified before this committee last year and said, "We don't have to investigate. We already know." We could save a lot of taxpayer money by just rereading the records of the Kerry hearings. There is more evidence in there than any court in the world would ever need to hand down indictments.

At best, I could just quote you one entry from Oliver North's diary dated July 5, 1985, which said that $14 million to buy weapons for the Contras, "came from drugs." I wouldn't need to mention the two hundred and fifty other such entries in his diary, which refer to narcotics. Or I could quote Dennis Dayle a senior DEA supervisory agent who said, "In my thirty year history in DEA, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the C.I.A."

But these hearings are not about evidence. They are about corruption and cover-up. The CIA did not just deal drugs during the Iran-Contra era; it has done so for the full fifty years of its history. Today I will give you evidence which will show that the CIA, and many figures who became known during Iran-Contra such as Richard Secord, Ted Shackley, Tom Clines, Felix Rodriguez and George Herbert Walker Bush, who was DCI when I first became exposed to Agency drug dealing, have been selling drugs to Americans since the Vietnam era. I have been very careful to make sure that what I tell you today is admissible evidence in criminal proceedings...[6]


Peter Dale Scott writes in The Doomsday Project and Deep Events that "We should expand our consciousness of Iran-Contra to think of it as Iran-Afghan-Contra. And if we do, we must acknowledge that in this complex and misunderstood deep event the CIA in Afghanistan exercised again the paramilitary capacity that Stansfield Turner had tried to terminate when he was CIA Director under Jimmy Carter. This was a victory in short for the faction of men like Richard Blee, the protector of al-Mihdhar as well as the advocate in 2000 for enhanced CIA paramilitary activity in Afghanistan.[7]"


Behind the Iran-Contra Affair

"Despite three separate instructions not to, the CIA still destroyed Iran-Contra evidence".[8]

The scandal began as an operation to free the seven American hostages being held in Lebanon by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the US hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger. Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been vice-president at the time of the affair.[9]

Sweden/South Africa link

Sweden's Olof Palme returned to power in October 1982, at the very point some in Europe were kicking back against Reagan’s escalation of the Cold War; and Palme took a markedly anti-South African line at a time when South Africa was a party to the US-Iran arms deal. Under this arrangement, the CIA provided arms to Iran to further the wider global interests of the US. Payment for the arms, many of which were manufactured in Sweden by Bofors, was made via banking facilities in the Seychelles. (The murder, in London, of Seychelles opposition leader Gérard Hoarau in November 1985 is suspected of being a South African commissioned ‘hit’, designed to stop evidence of these payment arrangements emerging.)

In exchange for this military assistance, Iran supplied oil to South Africa, thus breaking a UN embargo. In 1985 Swedish customs began raiding the shipping companies engaged in this traffic, and found that the exports were being flown to Iran on CIA-owned Boeing 707s. (Oliver North used the same aircraft for other work. See ‘Mystery, intrigue hang over 6 airline tied to Iran affair’, The Orlando Sentinel, 4 January 1987 at <https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1987-01-04-0100030125-story.html>.)

The Stieg Larsson/Jan Stocklassa theory is that, fearful this operation would be revealed by Olof Palme, the US and South Africa agreed he should be eliminated. (Stocklassa regards William Casey - then Director of the CIA - as, unsurprisingly, the key US individual in orchestrating the complex US-South Africa-Iran arrangements. Casey died in 1987. The ‘arms for Iran’ scandal finally broke in late 1986, after Palme had been killed.) The US subcontracted this to the South Africans who then supervised a group of local Swedish activists and extremists in carrying out the task. One of whom had been earmarked in advance for use as a ‘patsy’ should the authorities manage to conclude who was actually behind the crime.[10]

Premature deaths

Full article: Stub class article Iran-Contra/Premature death



Related Quotations

William Barr“As I sat down, Spence seated himself on the chocolate sofa next to a man in his late fifties, who had balding black hair and brown, round-framed glasses. He wore a blue, pinstripe suit, white shirt and a red tie. A miniature U.S. flag was pinned on his lapel. Spence introduced the man to me by name and also disclosed his title. He was in the administration of George H.W. Bush. I feel that the Bush administration had decided to pull out a big gun to eradicate any traces of Gregg's affinity for gay escorts, because Gregg had been so instrumental in Iran Contra and because he was en route to becoming the United States Ambassador to South Korea.
Spence had dropped the name name of the cabinet member months earlier, when he revealed that he routinely provided him with adolescent boys.”
William Barr
Henry Vinson
George Carlin“Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It's as simple as that. The CIA doesn't kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?”George Carlin
George Carlin“(in New York) I really haven't seen this many people in one place since they took the group photographs of all the criminals and lawbreakers in the Ronald Reagan Administration. Two-hundred and twenty-five of 'em, so far! 225 different people in the Ronald Reagan administration have either quit, been fired, arrested, indicted, or convicted of either breaking the law or violating the ethics code! These are the same people who were elected with the help of the moral majority. Elected with the help of the moral majority and the Teamsters union. That's a good combination! Organized religion and organized crime working together to help build a better America.”George Carlin
Michael Levine“I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for less evidence for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people... I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it.”Michael Levine8 October 1996
Manuel Noriega“I’ve got Bush by the balls”Manuel Noriega1988
Manuel Noriega“He was a pawn in an international game that was way bigger than him and he certainly paid dearly," said Barbara Trent, a filmmaker who directed "The Panama Deception," a 1992 documentary about the U.S. invasion.

"He was a small-time player catapulted to international fame by the U.S. government and the media to drum up support for a ruthless invasion," Trent added. Working with the CIA Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989. Before and during that time, he worked with multiple U.S. intelligence agencies who agreed to ignore allegations that he was a drug trafficker in exchange for a staunch anti-communist ally in Central America during the height of the Cold War. Noriega was paid handsomely for his help, about $10,000 per month at one point, according to John Dinges, author of "Our Man in Panama: How General Noriega Used the United States and Made Millions in Drugs and Arms (1990)."

"The relationship with the CIA and the Pentagon was quite intense in the early '80s," Dinges told ABC News. "He was considered an important asset, and everyone in the documents I've read spoke very highly of him. He was trusted to the extent that you trust someone who is a paid intelligence asset.”
Manuel Noriega
ABC News
Kaelyn Forde
Oliver North“Wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste. Want aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos.”Oliver North9 July 1984
Oliver North“Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S.”Oliver North9 August 1984
Oliver North“$14M [million] to finance came from drugs.”Oliver North12 July 1985
Statecraft“The financial frauds conducted by The Enterprise were designed to implicate, enrich and entrap a huge swath of the political class in DC. Fraudulent securities or oil and gas deals were offered to friends to enrich them and enemies to entrap them. In some cases, enemies were suckered in with easy profits on small investments only to be bankrupted when larger fraudulent investments imploded. By the time that the Iran Contra scandal made the headlines, such a large number of congressmen and DC insiders were implicated that any attempt to expose the scale of the scandal would have resulted in a near wholesale implication of the political class. In many ways, this endemic corruption is what makes political reform in Washington so difficult, the level of corruption is so pervasive that the political class has no choice but to cover for each other’s crimes or risk mutually assured destruction.”Mark Gorton22 November 2013


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