DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA
A bombshell that nobody heard
By Tom Engelhardt
Let me see if I've got this straight. Perhaps two years ago, an "informal" meeting of "veterans" of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal - holding positions in the Bush administration - was convened by Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams. Discussed were the "lessons learned" from that labyrinthine, secret and illegal arms-for-money-for-arms deal involving the Israelis, the Iranians, the Saudis, and the Contras of Nicaragua, among others - and meant to evade the Boland Amendment, a congressionally passed attempt to outlaw US administration assistance to the anti-communist Contras.
In terms of getting around Congress, the Iran-Contra vets concluded, the complex operation had been a success - and would have worked far better if the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the military had been kept out of the loop and the whole thing had been run out of the vice president's office.
Subsequently, some of those conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the British), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Dick Cheney's office. They dipped into "black pools of money", possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the US occupation began.