His resume reads like a secret history of the twentieth century. In events small and seminal Lawrence Walsh played a part: working for New York governor and two-time presidential election loser Thomas Dewey on cleaning up the city; the integration of public schools in Little Rock after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision; president of the American Bar Association when it found two of Richard Nixon’s I’m-gonna-fuck-you-Democrats-over SCOTUS picks qualified. But as special prosecutor of what became known as Iran-Contra he uncovered an Aegean stable of venality, extra-constitutional meddling, and presidential incompetence if not stupidity. Thanks to Walsh, we learned how a well-financed cabal comprised of National Security Council and CIA members, and international weapon profiteers, Cuban exiles, and the Israelis sold weapons to Iran for years until a shrewd NSC lieutenant colonel named Oliver North thought it would be a neat thing to violate the Boland Amendment and send profits generated from those sales to the Nicaraguan Contras. Insisting that he advised members of his administration to stay “within the law,” Reagan nevertheless hustled money out of Saudi Arabia and Brunei and private donors for the Contras, the first wave of which were trained by an Argentine general whose government “disappeared” thousands of dissidents by throwing them from planes into the South Atlantic.
The extent of North’s malfeasance still isn’t commented on by the press, and when he dies they should pin the following facts, to quote Brian Dennehy in First Blood, to his liver: North, along with members of FEMA, wrote plans to suspend the Constitution in the event of “nuclear war, insurrection, or massive military mobilization,” according to Alfonso Chardy’s The Miami Herald, published in 1987. Click on the link. I first read it several years ago after reading the late Christopher Hitchens’ own reporting in the summer of ’87. That these facts still don’t get mentioned as Reagan tributes still pour in adduces the timidity and credulity of our press.
As a reward, Walsh was hated by the establishment press. During the 1992 presidential campaign, I heard of Lawrence Walsh as the turncoat responsible for the so-called October Surprise, whose five-years-in-the-making report would reveal the extent of George H.W. Bush’s involvement in Iran-Contra. Thanks to Walsh, readers learned how Bush approved of the arms for hostages farrago, solicited money from private donors, and his vice presidential national security adviser Donald Gregg, according to reporter Robert Parry, oversaw the network, employing CIA-trained Cuban exiles like Felix Rodriguez and our old friend Luis Posada Carriles). Alas, legislators and the media concentrate on “coverup” instead of the facts which make the coverup possible. No one in Congress wanted to impeach Ronald Reagan. WaPo columnist Richard Cohen did not want to see his bro, former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger, go to prison after he was indicted for perjury (“Cap, my Safeway buddy, walks, and that’s all right with me”). So when Bush pardoned six Iran-Contra suspects in December 1992, President-Elect Bill Clinton was also ready, as they say, to move on and not look back. Walsh, a lifelong Republican, was not pleased. Watch the YouTube clip.
Watergate and Nixon books proliferate, but Iran-Contra remains untouched. The most comprehensive account of Iran-Contra remains Theodore Draper’s A Very Thin Line. Robert Parry, whom I mentioned above, wrote a first-rate account of the October Surprise (the most persuasive to date), the rogue’s gallery involved in the scandal, and Bush’s waffling called Secrecy & Privilege.