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Health Care & Environment
11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]
11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
COVERUP OF TREASON:
Accusation of October Surprise 'Lying'
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com today, 5 August 2010
Lawrence Barcella, who was chief counsel of the October Surprise investigation, has accused me of lying about him when I wrote that he decided to “hide” a report from the Russian government that contradicted his conclusion of “no credible evidence” that Ronald Reagan’s campaign sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s attempts to free 52 Americans held hostage in Iran in 1980.
In a recent e-mail exchange, Barcella wrote to me: "You're no longer merely cherry-picking facts and misrepresenting events, but flat out lying. I'm not going to take the time or expend the energy to go line by line over what you've spewed out the past year or so, revealing as that would be regarding your falsehoods.
Yet, despite Barcella’s anger, the undisputed fact is that Barcella took no action to release the Russian Report publicly, nor did he apparently show it to any of the congressmen on the House task force assigned to investigate the October Surprise mystery.
Although the report from the Russian Duma was addressed to the task force chairman, Rep. Lee Hamilton, the Indiana Democrat told me this spring that “I don’t recall seeing it.”
After hearing that from Hamilton, I contacted Barcella who acknowledged that he didn’t “recall whether I showed [Hamilton] the Russian report or not.” In an e-mail last Friday, however, Barcella amended that recollection slightly stating that “I do specifically recall discussing it with Lee.”
Barcella then added that “I related to you my specific recollection of that discussion.” But the discussion that Barcella had told me about previously did not deal with the Russian Report, but about other evidence of Republican guilt that had arrived in December 1992, information that Barcella thought justified extending the investigation three more months (which didn’t happen).
By the time the Russian Report arrived on Jan. 11, 1993, the task force had completed its work. Its debunking report had been sent to the printer and was set for release two days later.
Also, Hamilton made clear to me in two interviews, including one after checking with his former staff aide Michael Van Dusen, that he had no recollection at all of the Russian Report, which one might think would have stuck in his mind since it represented possibly the first time that the two former Cold War adversaries had cooperated on a historical intelligence investigation.
Earlier this year, I also interviewed several former congressmen who had served on the task force and former staffers, none of whom had any recollection of the Russian Report. So, there is no corroborating evidence that Barcella shared the Russian Report with any of the officials responsible for the task force.
It’s also clear that the last-minute arrival of the Russian Report – and its conclusions contradicting the findings of the Barcella-led investigation – would have represented an embarrassment to the task force which had already begun briefing selected reporters on its October Surprise debunking.
On Jan. 13, 1993, the task force released its report at a news conference with Hamilton and Republican vice-chair Henry Hyde discussing the findings. At that time, Barcella made no reference to the Russian Report, nor did anyone else.
Then, as the task force was closing down its offices, the Russian Report was unceremoniously deposited in a box with other unpublished material from the investigation. Barcella later told me that he envisioned it disappearing into a vast government warehouse like the closing scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
However, the Russian Report and other undisclosed material that went against the task force’s findings ended up in a less grand location. The taped-up boxes were moved to some House office space that years earlier had been carved out of the Rayburn House Parking Garage and there dumped on the floor of an abandoned Ladies Room.
I had been recruited by PBS “Frontline” in 1990 to investigate the October Surprise issue – essentially whether the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostage deals of 1985-86 had a prequel in 1980 – but I turned to other topics in 1993 after the House task force finished its business.
Still, I remained troubled by some of the irrational arguments that the task force had used in its effort to debunk the allegations of the many witnesses who claimed that the Republicans had gone behind Jimmy Carter’s back in 1980 to strike their own deal with the Iranians.
For instance, one alibi for Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey was based on the fact that Reagan’s foreign policy aide Richard Allen had written down Casey’s home phone number on one key day, thus, in the view of the task force, proving that Casey was at home – even though there was no evidence that Allen had called or talked to Casey.
Another Casey alibi had relied on the uncorroborated memory of Casey’s nephew Larry that his late father had called his brother (Bill Casey) on Oct. 19, 1980, and found him at work at the campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, not in Paris where other witnesses had placed Casey.
In 1992, Barcella’s investigators deemed Larry Casey’s recollection “credible,” supposedly proving that Bill Casey had not traveled to Paris. But Larry Casey’s recollection was anything but “credible.”
In 1991, a year earlier, I had interviewed Larry Casey for a “Frontline” documentary. At that point, he had offered a completely different alibi for his uncle on that date. Larry Casey insisted that he vividly remembered his parents having dinner with Bill Casey at the Jockey Club in Washington on Oct. 19, 1980.
But then I showed Larry Casey the sign-in sheets for the Reagan campaign headquarters. The entries recorded Larry Casey’s parents picking up Bill Casey for the dinner on Oct. 15, four days earlier. Larry Casey acknowledged his error, and indeed an American Express receipt later confirmed Oct. 15 as the date of the Jockey Club dinner.
In 1992, however, Larry Casey testified before the House task force and offered the substitute “phone call alibi,” which he had not mentioned in the “Frontline” interview. Though I notified the House task force about this serious discrepancy, the task force was undeterred. It still used the “phone call alibi” to debunk the Paris allegations.
Then, there was the strange alibi for George H.W. Bush on the same date, Oct. 19, 1980, a supposed drive with Barbara Bush to visit a family friend in Washington. However, in 1992, then-President Bush’s Secret Service balked at identifying the friend, only agreeing to give the House task force the name if the task force agreed to keep the name secret and to not interview the alibi witness. The task force agreed to this peculiar arrangement.
The Ladies Room
So, after the Republicans swept the November 1994 elections and as the Democrats were preparing to relinquish control, I decided that the time was ripe for seeking access to the unpublished task force files. I arranged with Democratic staffers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to let me see the records, although they imposed some restrictions such as limiting me to copying only a dozen pages per visit.
Arriving on Capitol Hill on a cold blustery December day, I followed their directions through the Rayburn parking garage and found the out-of-the-way offices. I was led through a warren of cubicles back to the Ladies Room, where the boxes of documents had been piled on the floor.
Left alone, while the staffer who was supposed to mind me talked to his girlfriend about Christmas plans, I began ripping open the boxes, which had not been examined by anyone else. While searching through one box, I found the Russian Report and the translation provided by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The Embassy cable was classified “confidential.”
To my surprise, I also found other secret and top secret material that had apparently been left behind accidentally in the rush to complete the task force’s work. I managed to copy some of this material, though hampered by the dozen-page limit. I also returned a couple of more times, filling my dozen-page copying quota with each visit.
Except for my examination of these records in late 1994 and early 1995, it does not appear that any other journalist or scholar has taken the time to go through this material. Today, it is not even clear where these records are or whether they still exist. Earlier this year, I couldn’t get an answer from the House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding their whereabouts or accessibility.
So, I believe the use of the verb “hide” to describe Barcella’s handling of the Russian Report was fair and accurate. He certainly didn’t advertise the existence of the remarkable document, nor did he make it easy to find.
However, in an e-mail last weekend, Barcella suggested that he could have made finding the Russian Report even harder if not impossible. “Trust me Bob, if I didn't want that rpt to surface, you wouldn't have found it,” Barcella wrote.
Still, it seems pretty clear that Barcella really “didn’t want that rpt to surface.” He might reasonably have thought that sticking it in a box that would likely disappear into some government warehouse was a pretty safe way to make sure that it wouldn’t.
Except for my unlikely trip to the Ladies Room, it probably would have remained safely outside the public domain, possibly forever.
Yet, more troubling in my view than a dispute over my choice of the verb “hide” is Barcella’s continued refusal to address specific criticisms of the logic behind the task force conclusions, which he has insisted represented “meticulous” investigative work and analysis.
In one of my e-mails back to him last weekend, I wrote:
However, Barcella responded, as he has previously, rebuffing the opportunity to explain how these and other judgments could be defended.
[For more on the Russian Report and recent criticisms of the House task force, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Key October Surprise Evidence Hidden” and “The Tricky October Surprise Report,” or see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege. To see the story that prompted Barcella's complaint, go to Consortiumnews.com's "To Publish Official Secrets -- or Not."]
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on August 5, 2010.