It seems like only yesterday.
Perhaps that’s because, and this for all the blood and treasure spent since then, it is still yesterday and yesterday remains captive to yesterday’s drives, experiences, and transmitted inter-generational cultural programming.
President Ronald Reagan – Address on Iran-Contra – YouTube – Posted 3/17/2008.
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The Iran-Contra Affair – 1986-1987
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.
Strangely, the page on my Chrome browser looks like garbage until copied down (fair use – one paragraph) to ASCII text.
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The event in the year 1358 was a counterattack. Our courageous and religious youth attacked the U.S. embassy and discovered the truth and identity of this embassy, which was the Den of Espionage, and presented this fact to people throughout the world.
In those days, our youth called the U.S. embassy the “Den of Espionage”. Today, after the passage of 30-plus years since that day, the name of U.S. embassies in countries which have the closest relationship with America – that is to say, European countries – has become the den of espionage. This means that our youth are 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. This event was related to America as well. These three events were related, in different ways, to the government of the United States of America and its relations with Iran. Therefore, the 13th of Aban – which is tomorrow – was named “Day of Fighting Against Arrogance”.
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He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used hissimple lifestyle and behaviour to criticise the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt society. He declared himself a cosmopolitan. There are many tales about him doggingAntisthenes‘ footsteps and becoming his faithful hound. Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures. Diogenes was also responsible for publicly mocking Alexander the Great.
Diogenes of Sinope – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – as viewed 12/8/2013.
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The investigations were effectively halted when President George H. W. Bush (Reagan’s vice president) pardoned Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger before his trial began.
Reagan administration scandals – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – as viewed 12/8/2013.
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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 U.S. 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.
While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, the evidence is disputed as to whether he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras.
Iran–Contra affair – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – as viewed 12/8/2013.
Who are you going to trust?
Will that trust be based on clan, family, or tribe?
Aesthetic, ideological, or religious affinity?
Flattery and patronage?
▶ Skyfall – M Government speech (HD) – YouTube – Posted 1/13/2013.
How safe to do you feel?
How adult do you feel?
What is being kept from you?
Certainly from journalism’s second row seat to history, I ask what can be known or with confidence inferred by sifting and revisiting news — and what may be imagined in the widening gaps between surface coverage of many elements and their untapped depths.
In Pakistan, which information environment practically guarantees no one can know much of anything with confidence, one expects the floating of wild conspiracy theories, the kind that turn events upside-down and deliver them on a plate labeled “CIA-Mossad”.
In the open societies, Great Britain and the United States foremost, one expects such behavior to be minimized rather than encouraged, and yet we’re scratching our heads over growing “black budgets” and many things happening seemingly off the page as well as “off the hook”.
Of course, I’m reading spy novels, so perhaps that enthusiasm has begun to contaminate my appreciation of RT, CNN, Al Jazeera, Time . . . .
▶ Video: Teary-eyed Putin addresses 110,000 crowd near Kremlin – YouTube – Posted 3/4/2012.
What price loyalty?
And what is being protected or represented?
For how long?
I ask questions about many things that can’t be seen.
One cannot “see” psychology and political psychology — no sign ever hangs over a politician announcing that he may be “DICTATORIAL”, “DISINGENUOUS”, or “DISSIMULATING”, and yet memory serves for recalling milestones and other moments, puzzling moments, sometimes, and fitting them back together.
Then such signs start to emerge from out of the fog, we start to test them again.
How could Ronald Reagan, for example, a show business alumnus, fumble so badly on the Lebanese hostage crisis as to not be aware of Oliver North’s behind-the-scenes machinations to cut a deal somewhere inside the Iran-Soviet-South American political line?
The fair good Republican story begs credibility.
The Lebanese hostage drama was not third-page lead and flip to the back of the “A section” stuff: it was front page all the way, and the President, the Republicans’ most beloved, seems nonetheless to have dropped the reins.
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At ABC News, where I worked at the time, one of our camera crews had been granted access to the Oval Office the previous night. We had video of Carter, looking grim and exhausted in a cardigan, consulting with his aides until, quite literally, it was time to dress for the inauguration of his successor. Those images and live shots of desperate diplomacy, followed by the stately run-up to the transfer of power in Washington, played on one side of the screen. The preparations for departure from Mehrabad played on the other.
The Iranians stage-managed the drama down to the last second. Precisely at noon, just as Reagan began to recite the oath of office, the planeload of Americans was permitted to take off. The Iranians’ message was blunt and unambiguous: Carter and his administration had been punished for America’s sins against Iran, and Reagan was being offered a conciliatory gesture in anticipation of improved behavior by Washington.
“The Iranians” are still stage-managing “down to the last minute” the dramas in which they star themselves. That is part of the “malignant narcissism”, a part of control, a part of the guaranty of continuing “narcissistic supply” from one’s ever awed (and battered and intimidated) subjugated others.
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The original reason for the hostage-taking seems to have been “as insurance against retaliation by the U.S., Syria, or any other force” against Hezbollah, which is thought responsible for the killing of 241 Americans and 58 Frenchmen in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. Other reasons for the kidnappings or the prolonged holding of hostages are thought to be “primarily based on Iranian foreign policy calculations and interests” particularly the extraction of “political, military and financial concessions from the Western world”, the hostage takers being strong allies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Lebanon hostage crisis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – as viewed 12/8/2013.
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The Reagan’s [STET] made Americans feel good about themselves and about what we could accomplish. Obama’s arrogance by appointing 32 leftist czars and constantly bypassing congress is impeachable. Eric Holder is probably the MOST incompetent and arrogant DOJ head to ever hold the job. Could you envision President Reagan instructing his Justice Department to act like jack-booted thugs?
Presidents are politicians and all politicians are known and pretty much expected to manipulate the truth, if not outright lie, but even using that low standard, the Obama’s have taken lies, dishonesty, deceit, mendacity, subterfuge and obfuscation to new depths. They are verbally abusive to the citizenry, and they display an animus for civility.
The divide between what an American President may know and what the American public may be allowed to know in the way of day-to-day foreign relations and states of affairs seems to widen with the growth and the heightened presence of the “Islamic Small Wars” and the concomitant development of an immense intelligence bureaucracy laden with missions the public doesn’t need to know about – or shouldn’t — until afterward, perhaps, and denoted affirming as regards American patriotism.
The acknowledged and most galling of the world’s dictatorships and still feudal societies don’t have this issue: they know what they’re about, and their subjects do as well, and that’s a sad state wherever it’s found; the states navigating between open democracy and paternalist nationalism or resurgent absolutism do have this issue, for certainly Moscow’s internal opposition has been tracking what has been and continues to be taken from them since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Long opposite in stance, the United States may no longer be immune itself to cultivating suspicion throughout its constituency.
I neither condemn, demonize, nor patronize President Obama and have long noted, not alone, the need in even informal open source research to separate surface from what may be gathered and sifted as regards separate items of interest and their management.
Lo and behold, for example, where Obama has been roundly accused of abandoning Israel, throwing it “under the bus” (so I read too often), Israel holds sway over the critical cockpit avionics of the F-35 program, has developed with U.S. support long-distance refueling capability, and has access to “bunker busting” (tunneling-exploding) bombs. Even though it appears contentious and stressed, I believe the American-Israeli relationship close, rather than not, and laudable given the general stakes involved for democracy, the fruits of The Enlightenment, and the general well being — measurable by indicators of improved qualities in living — of others worldwide.
Nonetheless, the American body politic may be slipping collectively into the land of innuendo, far right and left, and have less and less insight — or energy for developing insight — into the White House’s essential American rationality (or rejection of it).
Cock-a-doodle-do about Reagan or Obama, align with the Tea Party or the New Old Now Old, Lost, and Far Out Left, the policy axis may not align with either filter.
On the surface, for example, the Obama Administration has decried the “military coup” in Egypt (that would be Obama, the secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ever clever “Manchurian Candidate” out to get “America, the Prise”) but the Egyptian military, Israel, and the United States would seem on some same kind of page as regards Iran, Hamas, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the political cant went that-a-way –> . . . the politicians, their armed forces, their wealthy benefactors and partners — do add “large swaths of their constituencies” — hold some central constructs together out of the light.
One might say of highest-level privileged conversations, whether taking place in “open societies” or decidedly closed or closing ones, that they are all taking place somewhere “in the shadows”.
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WASHINGTON — When Shiite Muslim terrorists hijacked a TWA jet and took 39 Americans hostage in Beirut four years ago, then-President Ronald Reagan’s public stance was clear: There would be no negotiations with terrorists.
But in private, the U.S. position was quite different. Reagan quietly encouraged Israel to make a deal with the terrorists, to exchange Israeli-held detainees for American hostages–and that is how the TWA captives were released, as the first step in a massive swap of prisoners across Israel’s northern border.
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