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07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

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07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

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07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

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07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

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07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

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07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Print view: Accusation of October Surprise 'Lying'
COVERUP OF TREASON:

Accusation of October Surprise 'Lying'

by Robert Parry
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.

“You say I simply decided to hide the Russian rpt. That's a lie.”

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.

Loose Ends

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.

”It was very clear in my mind even though it was 11 years ago,” Larry Casey said.

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.

Defenseless Logic

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:

“As for the investigation, as reflected in the report, it is anything but meticulous. Indeed, many of the alibis are laughable. Surely, you don't think that Dick Allen's writing down Bill Casey's home phone number on one day is proof that Casey was at home, especially since Allen told the task force he had no memory (or record) of calling Casey that day.

“Surely, you were aware that Larry Casey was lying when he concocted another alibi for his uncle, after presenting Frontline with an entirely different (and provably false) alibi.

“Surely, as a seasoned prosecutor, you would not accept an agreement from someone who identifies an alibi witness but then forbids you to speak with the alibi witness. Even a rookie cop would laugh at that one.”

However, Barcella responded, as he has previously, rebuffing the opportunity to explain how these and other judgments could be defended.

“I told you I'm not going get into a point by point with you,” he wrote. “Time is too precious to me right now than to deal with your obsession.”

[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

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.

 

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