Iran-Contra Affair

 Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. Discussion of the impact of the Iran-Contra scandal on the American government and its attitude toward secrecy.

00:06Copy video clip URL Malcolm Byrne, Iran-Contra Analyst for the National Security Archive, describes the result of the scandal: “For many people, particularly in the Congress, secrecy will continue to be a major issue that they will continue to go after, in order to avoid similar covert programs, that operated, apparently, outside of the legal restrictions of government.” He is cynical that anything will be done, however: “So, we stand in a position of having no significant legislation, having made it out of the Iran-Contra hearings, and if serious steps are not taken soon, then there is nothing to prevent a similar disaster from occurring in the future.”

00:44Copy video clip URL Videomaker Eddie Becker shoots the old executive office building, musing on Oliver North’s office.

01:05Copy video clip URL Peter Kornbluh, Iran-Contra Analyst for the National Security Archive. “Even as there is more documentation, even as there is more accountability as we go into the 1990s, further Congressional scrutiny, a closer public look at what its own government is doing… this will actually lead to deeper, darker covert operations, rather than to less shenanigans, if you will. The likelihood is that these types of operations are not going to stop, they will be ongoing, but they will become even harder to trace. Less documents will be generated. No paper trail. Very few people in the public view will be involved. So I think when we look at what’s going to happen in the next decade of U.S. foreign policy, particularly as it relates to covert operations, we’re going to be seeing deeper and darker covert operations, if we see them at all.” While he is speaking, a video plays showing weapons testing in Central America that was financed by Iran-Contra arms.


1 Comment

  1. Harry Davis says:

    Thank you for this discussion. I have not revisited this Iran/Contra affair in many years. The presence of Bandar being part of the current Syria mess, possibly supplying nerve gas to the rebels, makes me ponder my day with Bandar when I actually videotaped the Iran Contra affair.

    That said, in 1985 or 1986,while working as a videograper in Aspen, Colorado, I was hired by Prince Bandar to videotape he and his party skiing on Buttermilk Mountain. I arrived early in the morning. I was introduced to “Richard Secord, the man who sold the AWACS to Saudi Arabia”, then to Prince Bandar. There were M6 Brit guards with hidden guns. We skied up and down the mountain all day. I sat at a picnic table with Bandar, his wife & 2 kids for lunch. All day long, Bandar & Secord kept getting on & off the mountain into a big, black limousine. My M6 guard/minder, who rode up the chair lift with me, told me, “We have our eyes on your camera. I hope you don’t have a gun in it.” I asked him why Bandar kept getting on & off the mountain in a black limo. He said, “Mid-east peace process.” As soon as we were done taping for the day, my M6 guy demanded the tape from me immediately.

    So, long ago, I believe I read Woodward’s book, “Veil.” In it, he covered how Bandar, that day in Aspen, arranged $32 million per month to the Contras.

    Can any body here shed more light on this event?

    The complexities of the Iran-Contra operation, and the arming of the fundamentalist Islamic Mujahideen in Afghanistan, were orchestrated by William Casey, then director of the CIA. Known as “off-the-shelf”, meaning unaccountable and invisible, Casey’s operations involved arms being traded with the Contras for cocaine, and profits from its sale to Black street gangs of Los Angeles, funds from which were then used for the various covert CIA campaigns.

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