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As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs.
June 24, 2009
Iran’s current political divisions can be traced back to a controversy nearly three decades ago when Iran faced war with Iraq and became entwined with U.S. and Israeli political maneuvers that set all three countries on a dangerous course that continues to this day.
Veteran Investigative Journalist Bob Parry on the Iran-Contra Scandal and the Perils of Reporting It
Investigative journalist Robert Parry helped expose the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s while working as a reporter for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He joins us from Washington. [includes rush transcript]
May 9, 2009
Editor’s Note: The Iran-Contra Affair of the 1980s was the “missing link” connecting Watergate and the national security scandals of the 1970s to the restoration of the imperial presidency under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney this decade.
Other dangerous patterns also were established during Iran-Contra, including a bullying Republican Party aided by right-wing attack groups, a timid Democratic opposition, and a feckless Washington news media unwilling to do the hard work of accountability.
Interestingly, one key person who “got” this bigger picture was Cheney, who was White House chief of staff during the collapse of the imperial presidency in the 1970s; was a chief congressional defender of the Iran-Contra criminals; and then oversaw the restoration of the imperial presidency after 9/11.
From that experience, Cheney also gained an understanding of how important cover-ups could be in this process, as Jonathan Schwarz notes in this guest essay:
In a new article by Stephen "W.W. Beauchamp" Hayes, former Vice President Cheney gripes extensively about the Obama administration. It's exactly what you'd expect.
Iran Contra 2.0: How the Bush Admin Lied to Congress and Armed Fatah to Provoke Palestinian Civil War Aiming to Overthrow Hamas
In its latest issue, Vanity Fair reports that the White House tried to organize the armed overthrow of the Hamas-led goverment after Hamas swept Palestinian elections two years ago. According to the article, the Bush administration lied to Congress and boosted military support for rival Palestinian faction Fatah in the aim of provoking a Palestinian civil war they thought Hamas would lose. Vanity Fair dubbed the episode “Iran Contra 2.0”—a reference to the Reagan administration’s funding of Nicaraguan Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran. We speak with David Rose, the journalist who broke the story. [includes rush transcript]
Meanwhile, one of the Pentagon’s key “sources” for its denial of the death toll from the recent mass killing of civilians in the Afghan village of Azizabad has been revealed to be Fox News correspondent Oliver North. North was indicted and then later pardoned in the 1980s for lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra scandal.
Defense Secretary Nominee Robert Gates Tied to Iran-Contra Scandal and the Secret Arming of Saddam Hussein
President Bush nominated former CIA director Robert Gates on Wednesday to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. We take a look at Gates’ role at the CIA in connection to the Iran-Contra scandal and the secret arming of Saddam Hussein with former CIA analyst Mel Goodman, who testified before the Senate in 1991 against the nomination of Gates as CIA director, and investigative journalist Bob Parry who helped expose Iran-Contra. [includes rush transcript]
Robert Gates’ Former CIA Branch Chief and a CIA Analyst Who Testified Against Him on the Politicization of Intel During Iran-Contra
Robert Gates, President Bush’s nominee to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense is facing his Senate confirmation hearings today. We speak with two former CIA analysts who worked with Gates at the Agency. Ray McGovern was Gates’ CIA branch chief in the early 1970s and Jennifer Glaudemans is a former CIA analyst who was asked to testify at the 1991 confirmation hearings for Gates when he had been nominated to be CIA Director. [includes rush transcript]
“Former President Bill Clinton’s comment that his wife’s ‘first thing’ as President would be to send him and former President George H.W. Bush on a worldwide fence-mending tour has a political subtext,” reports investigative journalist Robert Parry. “It signals that a second Clinton administration would give a free pass to the second Bush administration on its abuses.” [includes rush transcript]
As Republicans continue to talk about Bill Ayers, McCain himself is coming under new scrutiny for his ties to a group linked to former Nazi collaborators and right-wing Central American deaths squads. During the early 1980s, McCain was a board member of the US Council for World Freedom, which took part in efforts to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. The Council later went on to become a major figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. The Reagan administration defied a congressional ban to secretly funnel weapons to the Contras, the US-backed proxy group organized to violently overthrow the Sandinistas. McCain said he resigned from the Council’s board in 1984.