Col. North: War Criminal

Vietnam and Nicaragua


Fifth Estate # 326, Summer, 1987

U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a hero?

A patriot?

Shit! This guy is a fascist and a war criminal!

Less people than it appears are willing to stand up and salute this creep who bears great responsibility for the slaughter of thousands of Nicaraguan peasants at the hands of the U.S. financed, North directed, contras.

Even with the media gushing all over the colonel, and a massively orchestrated right-wing support campaign bringing in telegrams and donations, it is heartening and amazing to see how many people are resisting the “Ollie” media blitz. A Newsweek poll taken the week of his testimony showed 48% of the respondents do not think North is a “hero and patriot” while 44% did fall for his lies. Also, support for contra aid rose only 6%, from 29% to 35%, despite the impassioned and unchallenged pleas from North.

It may seem like political hyperbole to call North, who appears to be just a “gung-ho, can-do” over zealous marine, a fascist and a war criminal. But let’s consider the charges:

Besides his management of the contra mercenaries, North also helped draft a plan in 1984 (appropriately) which would suspend the U.S. Constitution and impose martial law in the event that the Government declared a State of Emergency. This secret plan, exposed in a 1986 law suit filed by the Washington-based public interest law firm, the Christic Institute, and confirmed in July by government officials, would turn control over to the little-known Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is headed by an old Reagan/Meese crony, Louis Guiffrida, who was formerly a commandant, specializing in civilian disorder control for the California Organized Crime Training Institute.

The plan which North helped develop for FEMA included provisions for the appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments in the “event of nuclear war,” what the agency refers to as “wide-spread internal dissent,” or most immediately frightening, “national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad.”

So, North’s loathing for Congress cannot be viewed in the same light as the garden variety contempt so many Americans feel toward that gang of corporate and Pentagon water boys, for his has the odor of a coup d’etat about it. North despises even the charade of formal democratic control civilians are supposed to exercise over the military and the CIA. North wants the Army to rule unencumbered. This is the ideology of every fascist who has ever seized the power of the state.

Equally disgusting is the portrayal of North as having a “distinguished” Vietnam war record—literally an impossibility for anyone given the nature of the genocidal slaughter the U.S. imposed on Indochina. It was there that North learned the techniques he later was to apply against the people of Nicaragua.

The Christic Institute lawsuit has also brought out that the activities of the whole Irangate gang stretches back to the 1960s. Major Gen. John K. Singlaub, who later became president of the fascist World Anti-Communist League, was in charge of Operation Phoenix, which supervised Meo tribesmen in an extensive assassination program which eventually took the lives of almost 100,000 people.

Financed by Vang Pao, the major heroin trafficker in Laos, the program was assigned the task of physically eliminating the rebel infrastructure. It specifically targeted municipal officials, teachers, medical and literacy workers—in other words, the same strata the contras attack in Nicaragua.

Gen. Singlaub’s deputy was then Major Richard Secord, and, by the end of 1968, the special operations group was joined in Vientiane, Laos by a young Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Oliver North, who participated in the operations of the assassination project.

The blood on North’s hands spills from two decades of war against unarmed civilians. He should be reviled as a murderer, not hailed as a hero.

Information on the above mentioned law suit may be obtained from the Christic Institute, 1324 N. Capital St., NW, Washington DC 20002.