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Known Weapons Trafficker, Oliver North will now lead the National Rifle Association

May 9, 2018

On Monday, it was announced that former National Security Council aide, Oliver North, will be the new President of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

This choice by the NRA, in many ways, makes a great deal of sense, considering the status that North has within right-wing circles. North is often seen as a “true patriot” by those who identify as conservatives, since he has been a staunch supporter of US imperialism in countries like Vietnam, El Salvador, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, North embraces many other conservative values, such as his support for the anti-abortion group, the National Right to Life. In fact, North was the featured speaker at a Right to Life conference held in Grand Rapids in 2002. North’s visit was greeted by several dozen protestors outside of DeVos Hall. 

However, North is best known as a member of President Reagan’s National Security Council in the 1980s and specifically for his role in orchestrating the illegal Contra war in Nicaragua, which led to his conviction of drug and arms dealing in what was known as the Iran Contra Scandal.

As one of Reagan’s National Security aides, North was deeply involved in the US campaign to destabilize the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s. After the US Congress passed the Boland Amendment, a series of laws that were passed which prohibited the US government from providing military assistance to the Contras.

Oliver North and other members of the Reagan Administration, along with the CIA decided to circumvent the US Congress and find ways to provide military support for the Contras in their effort to overthrown the democratically elected Nicaraguan government.

The result of North’s involvement of the illegal weapons sales to the Contras is that tens of thousands of Nicaraguan civilians were murdered during that 10 year bloody counter-insurgency campaign. The Iran Contra scandal was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the US role in committing war crimes in Nicaragua.

Oliver North’s role involved the selling of weapons to the government of Iran, whom the US considered an enemy at the time, using the money from those sales to purchase  other weapons, along with using drug money to also purchase weapons that were used by the Contras.

The Washington-based National Security Archives has thousands of declassified documents on the Iran Contra scandal and specifically documents pertaining directly to Oliver North, which you can find at this link. Many of these documents rely on Oliver North’s diary and memos from that period in the mid-1980s, such as this document about a meeting that North had with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who was deeply involved in cocaine trafficking with the Colombian Drug Cartels.

However, it must be noted that the Reagan administration convinced Oliver North to be the fall guy in the Iran Contra scandal. North did his duty and was then pardoned by the Bush administration just a few years after his indictment. National Security Archives Director Tom Blanton, provides this short explanation for how the Reagan administration was able to divert attention away from the role that administration played in the drugs and weapons trafficking they were involved in during the 1980s.

Therefore, it makes complete sense that the NRA would make Oliver North its new President, not just because of his blind support for guns, but because he has a history of arms trafficking and collaborating with US administrations to protect those in power.

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