The Reagan administration argued that because the constitution assigned the right to conduct foreign policy to the executive, its efforts to overthrow the government of Nicaragua were a presidential prerogative that Congress had no right to try to halt via the Boland amendments.  In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.  The Misurasata movement split in 1983, with the breakaway Misura group of Stedman Fagoth Muller allying itself more closely with the FDN, and the rest accommodating themselves with the Sandinistas: On 8 December 1984 a ceasefire agreement known as the Bogota Accord was signed by Misurasata and the Nicaraguan government. The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ماجرای ایران-کنترا, Spanish: Caso Irán–Contra), popularized in Iran as the McFarlane affair, the Iran–Contra scandal, or simply Iran–Contra, was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. , When the story broke, many legal and constitutional scholars expressed dismay that the NSC, which was supposed to be just an advisory body to assist the President with formulating foreign policy had "gone operational" by becoming an executive body covertly executing foreign policy on its own. All of these activities continued to take place within the framework of the president's broad authorization. (1993, 1994) "The Civil War in Nicaragua: Inside the Sandinistas."  In his notes of a meeting held in the White House on 7 December 1985, Weinberger wrote he told Reagan that this plan was illegal, writing: I argued strongly that we have an embargo that makes arms sales to Iran illegal and President couldn't violate it and that 'washing' transactions through Israel wouldn't make it legal. , The plan was later complicated in late 1985, when Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council diverted a portion of the proceeds from the Iranian weapon sales to fund the Contras, a group of anti-Sandinista rebels, in their insurgency against the socialist government of Nicaragua. An internal CIA report, entitled, "Managing a Nightmare", shows the agency used "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists" to help counter what it called "a genuine public relations crisis. hostages. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to the Khomeini government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo.  The Nicaraguan government finally withdrew the complaint from the court in September 1992 (under the later, post-FSLN, government of Violeta Chamorro), following a repeal of the law requiring the country to seek compensation. No journalist paid it any attention until the alleged CIA supply man, Eugene Hasenfus, was shot down and captured by the Nicaraguan army.  With the third-party funds, North created an organization called The Enterprise, which served as the secret arm of the NSC staff and had its own airplanes, pilots, airfield, ship, operatives, and secret Swiss bank accounts.  Also, there had been reports of intimidation from the side of the contras, with a Canadian observer mission claiming that 42 people were killed by the contras in "election violence" in October 1989. :249 This meeting also failed. For the United States to be legally responsible, it would have to be proved that that State had effective control of the operations in the course of which the alleged violations were committed."  However, since the contras failed to win widespread popular support or military victories within Nicaragua, opinion polls indicated that a majority of the U.S. public was not supportive of the contras, the Reagan administration lost much of its support regarding its contra policy within Congress after disclosure of CIA mining of Nicaraguan ports, and a report of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research commissioned by the State Department found Reagan's allegations about Soviet influence in Nicaragua "exaggerated", Congress cut off all funds for the contras in 1985 by the third Boland Amendment. In World […]  In his 1990 autobiography, An American Life, Reagan acknowledges authorizing the shipments to Israel. " The congressional report wrote that the president bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides, and his administration exhibited "secrecy, deception and disdain for the law". :623 The American historian James Canham-Clyne asserted that Iran–Contra affair and the NSC "going operational" were not departures from the norm, but were the logical and natural consequence of existence of the "national security state", the plethora of shadowy government agencies with multi-million dollar budgets operating with little oversight from Congress, the courts or the media, and for whom upholding national security justified almost everything. War crimes and atrocities by the American Military In every war in which the United States has been engaged there have been atrocities and war crimes committed by American troops. Between 1980 and 1981 the Contras began to organize along the border with Honduras and initiated a guerilla war against the Sandinista government that led to bloodshed throughout most of the 1980s. , U.S.-supported right-wing rebels of Nicaragua, Military successes and election of Violeta Chamorro, "The contras are made up of a combination of: ex-National Guardsmen (especially the military wing of the FDN),..." As seen at: Gill 1984, p. 204. On 6 May 1987, William Casey died the day after Congress began public hearings on Iran–Contra.  North used this release to persuade Reagan to switch over to a "sequential" policy of freeing the hostages one by one, instead of the "all or nothing" policy that the Americans had pursued until then.  Although Reagan claims that the arms sales were to a "moderate" faction of Iranians, the Walsh Iran/Contra Report states that the arms sales were "to Iran" itself, which was under the control of the Ayatollah. , Both the sale of weapons to Iran and the funding of the Contras attempted to circumvent not only stated administration policy, but also the Boland Amendment. 1. ``C. Tea, "Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Averting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails 'Cover-Up, "Iran-Contra Figure Killed in Plane Crash", "Bush Asserts Vindication in Iran Affair", "Test of Dan Rather's Interview With George Bush", "George H.W. ":214, The Americans believed that there was a moderate faction in the Islamic republic headed by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful speaker of the Majlis who was seen as a leading potential successor to Khomeini and who was alleged to want a rapprochement with the United States.  Ronald Reagan, who had assumed the American presidency in January 1981, accused the Sandinistas of importing Cuban-style socialism and aiding leftist guerrillas in El Salvador. In 1985, President Reagan entered Bethesda Naval Hospital for colon cancer surgery. ^ Feldmann, Andreas E.; Maiju Perälä (July 2004). It is not a subject we can talk about...". If you were going to be directly rubbing up against the government, they wanted it more solid than it could probably ever be done.  ARDE Frente Sur attacked at El Almendro and along the Rama road.  Notes taken by Weinberger on 7 December 1985 record that Reagan said that "he could answer charges of illegality but he couldn't answer charge [sic] that 'big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free hostages'". By Branko Marcetic. However, we recognized that without help from the United States Government we had no chance of removing the Sandinistas from power, so we eventually acceded to the CIA's, and General Walters', insistence that we join forces with the Guardsmen.  Two days later, Reagan met with his advisors at the White House, where a new plan was introduced. It also recommends gathering the local population to witness and take part in public executions. :250, On 26 July 1986, Hezbollah freed the American hostage Father Lawrence Jenco, former head of Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon. As seen at: "Sometimes they used force as they rounded up young men for military service, and there were occasional confrontations. Traducir opinión al idioma Español. The original contras had been National Guardsmen during the regime of Anastasio Somoza (see Somoza family).The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played a key role in training and funding the group, whose tactics were decried by the international human-rights community. posted July 24, 2014 at 12:01 am by Atty. ", U.S. news media published several articles accusing Americas Watch and other bodies of ideological bias and unreliable reporting.  One more original hostage, David Jacobsen, was later released.  U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese admitted on 25 November that profits from weapons sales to Iran were made available to assist the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Welcoming War Crimes: ... disastrous intervention since then―behind the mujahideen and the Contras, behind the Iraq war and the El Mozote Massacre―is the work of Henry Kissinger. It alleged that Americas Watch gave too much credence to alleged Contra abuses and systematically tried to discredit Nicaraguan human rights groups such as the Permanent Commission on Human Rights, which blamed the major human rights abuses on the Contras..  These actions were frequently carried out systematically as a part of the strategy of the Contras.  In his 1997 study on U.S. low intensity warfare, Kermit D. Johnson, a former Chief of the U.S. Army Chaplains, contends that U.S. hostility toward the revolutionary government was motivated not by any concern for "national security", but rather by what the world relief organization Oxfam termed "the threat of a good example": It was alarming that in just a few months after the Sandinista revolution, Nicaragua received international acclaim for its rapid progress in the fields of literacy and health.  Other members of the NSC were in favor of North's plan; with large support, Poindexter authorized it without notifying President Reagan, and it went into effect. doi:10.1111/j.1548-2456.2004.tb00277.x. At this time, it only outlawed U.S. assistance to the contras for the purpose of overthrowing the Nicaraguan government, while allowing assistance for other purposes. The Commission had interviewed 80 witnesses to the scheme, including Reagan, and two of the arms trade middlemen: Manucher Ghorbanifar and Adnan Khashoggi. Funding ran out for the Contras by July 1984, and in October a total ban was placed in effect. , In the resulting February 1990 elections, Violeta Chamorro and her party the UNO won an upset victory of 55% to 41% over Daniel Ortega, even though polls leading up to the election had clearly indicated an FSLN victory.  McFarlane met directly with Iranian officials associated with Rafsanjani, who sought to establish U.S.-Iranian relations in an attempt to free the four remaining hostages.  Now having a reason to trust the "moderates", Reagan approved the transaction, which was meant to be between Israel and the "moderates" in Iran, with the United States reimbursing Israel.  In October 1987, however, the contras staged a successful attack in southern Nicaragua. "The contras are made up of a combination of: ... anti-Sandinista opponents of ex-dictator Somoza (some of the members of the FDN political directorate eg Messrs. Chamorro and Cruz)..." As seen at: Gill 1984, p. 204, International Court of Justice (IV) (1986), p. 446, "Although Calero had opposed Somoza, the FDN had its roots in two insurgent groups made up of former National Guardsmen..." As seen at: Lee et al. Until the press reported on the existence of the operation, nobody in the administration questioned the authority of Poindexter's and North's team to implement the president's decisions".  From May to November 1986, there were additional shipments of miscellaneous weapons and parts. The Department of Justice works with partner organizations to deny safe haven in Canada to individuals who may have been either directly involved in or cooperated with others in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors.  The Post quoted him as stating, "We were not in the loop. 5373–5380, 5385–5387; Chapter 5 Fawn Hall 147, royster, North Trial Testimony, 3/22/89, pp. One member of the Permanent Commission for Human Rights commented on the Americas Watch report and its chief investigator Juan Mendez: "The Sandinistas are laying the groundwork for a totalitarian society here and yet all Mendez wanted to hear about were abuses by the contras. By the late 1980s Nicaragua's internal conditions had changed so radically that the US approach to the 1990 elections differed greatly from 1984. Tom Bramble The return of great power rivalry ... JFK and Johnson should have gone down for war crimes in Vietnam. 1987, p. 3, "The Contras did prove adept at carrying out U.S. guerrilla warfare strategies, supplied in the CIA training manuals, which advised them to "neutralize" civilian leaders, incite mob violence and attack "soft" targets such as agricultural cooperatives. , On 27 July 1986, Israeli counterterrorism expert Amiram Nir briefed Vice President Bush in Jerusalem about the weapon sales to Iran. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to the Khomeini government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. However, he was overruled by Clair George. Of those polled, 85% opposed any further US aid to the Contras; 40% believed the Sandinista government to be democratic, while 48% believed it to be not democratic. The only direct testimony linking Casey to early knowledge of the diversion came from [Oliver] North. These illegal activities culminated in the Iran–Contra affair. On 25 April 1990, Chamorro assumed presidency from Daniel Ortega.. While true, war crimes judges disregarded this point and sentenced Uchida to death.  Senator John Kerry's 1988 Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems". Informar de un abuso. "McFarlane Enters Guilty Plea Arising From Iran–Contra Affair; Former Reagan Adviser Withheld Information From Congress".  The U.S. argument was affirmed, however, by the dissenting opinion of ICJ member U.S. Judge Schwebel, who concluded that in supporting the contras, the United States acted lawfully in collective self-defence in El Salvador's support. Reagan expressed regret regarding the situation in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office on 4 March 1987, and in two other speeches.  Bush added the briefing with Durenberger left him with the feeling he had "been deliberately excluded from key meetings involving details of the Iran operation". :251, After a leak by Mehdi Hashemi, a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on 3 November 1986. In 1985, The Wall Street Journal reported: Three weeks ago, Americas Watch issued a report on human rights abuses in Nicaragua. Bush committed in Iraq, we must look at the 1991 Gulf War and all the civilian targets the U.S. intentionally bombed. And the Contras, who Ronald Reagan called the “moral equals of our Founding Fathers,” were possibly even worse. , Domestically, the affair precipitated a drop in President Reagan's popularity. "Human Rights in Nicaragua 1986" (print), Americas Watch, February 1987. Man Says", "Calls President Courageous but Weak : Iranian Exhibits Bible Signed by Reagan", "Why Secret 1986 U.S.–Iran "Arms for Hostages" Negotiations Failed", "Nicaragua Downs Plane and Survivor Implicates C.I.A.  The administration hoped to use the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. It determined that President Reagan did not have knowledge of the extent of the program, especially about the diversion of funds to the Contras, although it argued that the president ought to have had better control of the National Security Council staff. Regarding the alleged human rights violations by the contras, however, the ICJ took the view that the United States could be held accountable for them only if it would have been proven that the U.S. had effective control of the contra operations resulting in these alleged violations. Mass murder, assassination; the extermination of political enemies and whistleblowers. This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 04:08.  More importantly, McFarlane refused to ship spare parts for the Hawk missiles until the Iranians had Hezbollah release the American hostages, whereas the Iranians wanted to reverse that sequence with the spare parts being shipped first before the hostages were freed. As seen at: International Court of Justice 1986, VIII (1), "But the Court, remarkably enough, while finding the United States responsible for intervention in Nicaragua, failed to recognize Nicaragua's prior and continuing intervention in El Salvador."  The Enterprise's efforts culminated in the Iran–Contra Affair of 1986–1987, which facilitated contra funding through the proceeds of arms sales to Iran. ", In his affidavit to the World Court, former contra Edgar Chamorro testified that "The CIA did not discourage such tactics. The first arms sales to Iran began in 1981, though the official paper trail has them beginning in 1985 (see above). , The United States, which did not participate in the merits phase of the proceedings, maintained that the ICJ's power did not supersede the Constitution of the United States and argued that the court did not seriously consider the Nicaraguan role in El Salvador, while it accused Nicaragua of actively supporting armed groups there, specifically in the form of supply of arms. George Bush pardoned him for Iran-Contra, but he should not be pardoned for his war crimes. '" After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages.  The manual, amongst other things, advised on how to rationalize killings of civilians and recommended to hire professional killers for specific selective tasks.  Poindexter was replaced by Frank Carlucci on 2 December 1986.  At first, the Iranians refused to buy the arms at the inflated price because of the excessive markup imposed by North and Ghorbanifar. , During a secret meeting in Frankfurt in October 1986, North told Bahramani that: "Saddam Hussein must go". United Nations Convention on Genocide Article II genocide means acts committed with …  The U.S. played a very large role in financing, training, arming, and advising the contras over a long period, and the contras only became capable of carrying out significant military operations as a result of this support. The diplomat claimed that "[Ariel] Sharon violated it, and Haig backed away...". On 17 June 1985, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane wrote a National Security Decision Directive which called for the United States of America to begin a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Having talked to an Israeli diplomat David Kimche and Ledeen, McFarlane learned that the Iranians were prepared to have Hezbollah release American hostages in Lebanon in exchange for Israelis shipping Iran American weapons. War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. Nixon... Well. , The Independent Counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh, chose not to re-try North or Poindexter. ":623 However, the NSC had usually, although not always, acted as an advisory agency until the Reagan administration when the NSC had "gone operational", a situation that was condemned by both the Tower commission and by Congress as a departure from the norm.  The Boland Amendment had first been passed by Congress in December 1982. The Canada Border Services Agency works with partner organizations to deny safe haven in Canada to individuals who may have been either directly involved in or cooperated with others in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.. Our new issue, “Failure Is an Option,” is out … ", Human Rights Watch, the umbrella organization of Americas Watch, replied to these allegations: "Almost invariably, U.S. pronouncements on human rights exaggerated and distorted the real human rights violations of the Sandinista regime, and exculpated those of the U.S.-supported insurgents, known as the contras...The Bush administration is responsible for these abuses, not only because the contras are, for all practical purposes, a U.S. force, but also because the Bush administration has continued to minimize and deny these violations, and has refused to investigate them seriously. burning civilian houses in captured towns. No one ever knew where “crack” actually came from.  The S/LPD produced and widely disseminated a variety of pro-contra publications, arranged speeches and press conferences. :250 In August 1986, the Americans had established a new contact in the Iranian government, Ali Hashemi Bahramani, the nephew of Rafsanjani and an officer in the Revolutionary Guard.  The ICJ had found that evidence of a responsibility of the Nicaraguan government in this matter was insufficient. PLEDGES AID, TIED TO ORDERLY TURNOVER", "After the Poll Wars-Explaining the Upset", "Bush Vows to End Embargo if Chamorro Wins", "U.S. trying to disrupt election in Nicaragua, Canadians report", "Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States Of America) – Summary of the Judgment of 27 June 1986", "Case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Vol. At the beginning of the civil war against the socialist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, two US Presidents secretly funneled funds to help the Contras. The US thus "micromanaged the opposition" and exerted massive external pressure on the electorate. War crimes are defined as acts which violate the laws and customs of war established by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, or acts that are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I and Additional Protocol II. , Possible explanations include that the Nicaraguan people were disenchanted with the Ortega government as well as the fact that already in November 1989, the White House had announced that the economic embargo against Nicaragua would continue unless Violeta Chamorro won.  The arming, clothing, feeding and supervision of the contras became the most ambitious paramilitary and political action operation mounted by the agency in nearly a decade.. The US had from the start supported the Contras, who were remnants of Somoza's National Guard. The contras operate a small hospital in Danli to treat their sick and wounded. The second Boland Amendment, in effect from 3 October 1984 to 3 December 1985, stated: During the fiscal year 1985 no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose of or which may have the effect of supporting directly or indirectly military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, organization, group, movement, or individual. The issue of drug money and its importance in funding the Nicaraguan conflict was the subject of various reports and publications. In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News initiated an extended series of articles linking the CIA’s “contra” army to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. , During the trial, North testified that on 21, 22 or 24 November, he witnessed Poindexter destroy what may have been the only signed copy of a presidential covert-action finding that sought to authorize CIA participation in the November 1985 Hawk missile shipment to Iran. The charges were brought under Article 8, war crimes, and as such could have included charges of torture, rape, sexual slavery or outrages upon personal dignity. The Americas Watch Committee. As seen at: Sklar 1988, p. 179, International Court of Justice 1986, VIII (1), "In any event the evidence is insufficient to satisfy the Court that the Government of Nicaragua was responsible for any flow of arms at either period." Though staunchly opposed by Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the plan was authorized by Reagan, who stated that, "We were not trading arms for hostages, nor were we negotiating with terrorists". :965 Direct U.S. funding of the Contras insurgency was made illegal through the Boland Amendment, the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984 aimed at limiting U.S. government assistance to Contra militants. Joe," after the popular American toy. Hillary Clinton is bragging about support from John Negroponte, a Republican diplomat linked to mass atrocities in Central America. We do not routinely respond to questions for which answers are found within this Web site. ":250 Behramani during a secret meeting in Mainz informed North that Rafsanjani "for his own politics ... decided to get all the groups involved and give them a role to play. 1987, p. 32. The US had from the start supported the Contras, who were remnants of Somoza's National Guard. :213, A group of senior Reagan administration officials in the Senior Interdepartmental Group conducted a secret study on 21 July 1981, and concluded that the arms embargo was ineffective because Iran could always buy arms and spare parts for its American weapons elsewhere, while at the same time the arms embargo opened the door for Iran to fall into the Soviet sphere of influence as the Kremlin could sell Iran weapons if the United States would not. , The scandal was compounded when Oliver North destroyed or hid pertinent documents between 21 November and 25 November 1986.  He wrote that he did not learn the full extent of the Iran dealings until he was briefed by Senator David Durenberger regarding a Senate inquiry into them. Judge …  Edgar Chamorro later stated that there was strong opposition within the UDN against working with the Guardsmen and that the merging only took place because of insistence by the CIA. During North's trial in 1989, his secretary, Fawn Hall, testified extensively about helping North alter, shred, and remove official United States National Security Council (NSC) documents from the White House. It promoted their candidates including presidential nominee Violeta Chamorro who was received by President Bush at the White House. Oliver North wrote that "Ronald Reagan knew of and approved a great deal of what went on with both the Iranian initiative and private efforts on behalf of the contras and he received regular, detailed briefings on both...I have no doubt that he was told about the use of residuals for the Contras, and that he approved it. The “crack epidemic”began in Los Angeles, California. Were supplied to Iran: [ 31 ] `` in spite of the hostages held by Hezbollah would be.... 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