Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain and the Contras

From Seth Colter Wallis on HuffPo October 24, 2008

A newsletter from 1984 provides more embarrassing evidence of John McCain's relationship with the U.S. Council on World Freedom, a group that was involved in funding militant anti-communists and espoused some anti-Semitic views.

McCain's face graces the front page of the group's "World Freedom Report," published on Dec. 15, 1984, a copy of which was obtained from the research library at the University of Kansas. The front page also features a reprint of an article McCain penned that same month for Reader's Digest.

In the early 1980s, McCain served on the advisory board of the Council on World Freedom, which funded and provided arms to what the Associated Press described as "ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America." The group also "aided rebels trying to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua," which landed it "in the middle of the Iran-Contra affair and in legal trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, which revoked the charitable organization's tax exemption."

When McCain's connection to the council received its first blast of press attention earlier this month, his campaign told Politico that McCain "disassociated himself" from the group in 1984 "when questions were raised about its activities."

But the group's tax filing in 1985, covering the previous year, lists McCain as a member of the advisory board. And in October 1985, a States News Service report placed McCain "at a Washington awards ceremony staged by the council."

Moreover, in 1986, McCain himself told the Phoenix New Times that his reason for leaving the group merely had to do with a lack of time.

Asked by the AP this year about McCain's alleged efforts to distance himself from the council in both 1984 and 1986 (when McCain had to ask to have his name removed from the group's stationary), founder John Singlaub said: "That's a surprise to me. ... I don't ever remember hearing about his resigning."

Though the group's founder also said it was possible that McCain had asked to resign and he hadn't heard about the "housekeeping" details, the Council's unearthed newsletter from late 1984 would seem to support Singlaub's -- and not McCain's -- memory of the events.

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