Chronology of related events.
By Dale G. Cox
1976 In a Presidential campaign speech, Ronald Reagan declares that the "Panama canal zone is sovereign U.S. territory, just as much as Alaska is, as well as the States carved from the Louisiana purchase. We bought it, we paid for it, and General Torrijos should be told we're going to keep it."
1976 Bill Clinton elected Attorney General in Arkansas
Jan 28, 1978 President Anastasio Somoza DeBayle evokes emergency powers in an attempt to deal with disturbances protesting the slaying of a prominent newspaper editor who was critical of his regime. The slaying of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal, Editor of La Prensa, was following by rioting in Managua and a nationwide strike organized by government critics demanding the resignation of Somoza. Relying on the emergency powers, Somoza prohibited radio and TV stations from mentioning the strike and threatened fines against businesses that refused to open. In a speech Somoza states he has no intention of leaving office until his term expired.
Apr 18, 1978 President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian President Omar Torrijos sign treaty which nullifies the treaty of 1903 which gave control of the Panama Canal to the U.S., and establishes the date of December 31, 1999 as the date complete control of the canal will return to Panama.
Aug , 1978 Leftist guerrillas seeking the overthrow of President Anastasio Somoza Debayle seized Nicaragua's National Palace taking hundreds of government officials as hostages. The raid into the heart of the capitol by the guerrilla force known as the Sandinista National Liberation Front (SNLF) confronts Somoza with the most serious challenge yet. Somoza resolves the crisis by acceding the the guerrillas demands. This was probably a turning point for Somoza's regime. Several groups have been putting pressure on Somoza to resign.
Sept , 1978 Somoza is besieged by the SNLF. Fighting has erupted in a half a dozen Nicaraguan cities. The SNLF is gaining momentum and support. Somoza is urged by President Carter to allow outside mediation from other Central American States. There is speculation that the CArter Administration was urging Somoza to resign.
Feb 8, 1979 The United States cuts off military ties with Nicaragua after President Anastasio Somoza Debayle rejects a three-nation proposal that he resign and end the violence occurring in his country.
July 25, 1979 Under pressure from guerrillas at home and the United States abroad, General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns as President of Nicaragua, and flies away into exile. Civil war still ravages his country, while the Sandanista's battle the remnants of the National Guard. His family had ruled Nicaragua since 1933.
Sept , 1980 Sandinistas suspend elections, take control of media.
Sept 17, 1980 Deposed Nicaraguan President, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, is slain when his car was ambush in the residential section of Ascuncion, Paraguay. A spokesman in Nicaragua said the Sandanistas had "nothing to do directly with the death of Somoza", but expressed "joy at the death of an evil man".
Nov 4, 1980 Ronald Wilson Reagan is elected the 40th President of the United States.
Mar 25, 1980 The United States Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador was attacked for the fourth time this month and heavily damaged. Responsibility for the latest attacks was claimed by leftist guerrillas from the Popular Liberation Forces, who said they were protesting American Military aid to the Salvadoran government of President Jose Napoleon Duarte. The Reagan administration has proposed expanded economic and military aid to El Salvador and disclosed that 15 Green Beret specialists in counterinsurgency were being sent to El Salvador to join the 54-man military advisory team already there. These moves have prompted concern in congress over getting the U.S. drawn into something like Vietnam.
Jan 20, 1981 Ronald Wilson Reagan sworn in as the United States President.
1981 After George Bush is sworn in as Vice President under Ronald Reagan, he's appointed head of the Administrations Anti Drug Campaign and again had responsibility for monitoring Noriega's drug activities. Admiral Stansfeild Turner former CIA Director under Jimmy Carter cut Noriega off, removed him from the U.S. payroll. Bush put him back on with a raise.
Mar ,1981 Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Casey establishes Central America Task Force.
Mar 25, 1981 Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States `` crisis management '' staff, `` as a part of the National Security Council system. ''
July 31, 1981 General Omar Torrijos dies in a fireiry plane crash in Panama. Witnesses say the plan exploded in flight, although the authorities called it an accident. Some say it was the CIA and Colonel Manuel Noriega.
Aug , 1981 Opposition groups form on northern and southern borders of Nicaragua.
Dec , 1981 Presidential Finding authorizes CIA to support and conduct political and paramilitary operations in Nicaragua, elsewhere in Central America. Congress votes $19 million Contra military assistance.
Jan 28, 1982 Reagan created the South Florida Task Force under Bush's high profile leadership to coordinate the efforts of the various federal agencies to stem the tide of narcotics into Florida.
Feb 16, 1982 In a speech on his own turf in Miami, Florida, Bush promised to use sophisticated military aircraft to track the airplanes used by smugglers. Several days later, Bush ordered the US Navy to send in its E2C surveillance aircraft for this purpose.
Mar 25, 1982 The Sandanista government of Nicaragua declared a state of emergency after heavy rioting. The government has reported that guerrillas dynamited two key bridges in the Northern and Northwestern sections of the country. Sandanista leaders petitioned the United Nations to denounce the alleged invasion by the United States of its territory. The ruling Sandanista junta has suspended all individual civil rights in Nicaragua for 30 days on order to regain control, claiming the nation was faced with aggression by the United States.
May 14, 1982 Bush's position as chief of all covert action and de facto head of U.S. intelligence--in a sense, the acting President was formalized in a secret memorandum. The memo explained that `` National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in anticipation of crises. ''
August 1982 Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central Intelligence Agency. Donald Gregg brought along into the Vice President's office his old relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez. Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam. Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976--when Bush was CIA Director--through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with President Carter and his CIA Director, Stansfield Turner.
Sept , 1982 Contra combat action begins.
Oct , 1982 The General Accounting Office issued an opinion in which it found "it is doubtful whether the [south Florida] task force can have any substantial long-term impact on drug availability." But the headlines were grabbed by Bush, who stated in 1984 that the efforts of his task force had eliminated the marijuana trade in south Florida.
Dec , 1982 Boland Amendment, enacted as part of the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983, prohibits CIA and Department of Defense (DoD) from spending money to support activities designed to overthrow the Sandinista Government.
Feb , 1983 Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she worked with North on the development of a secret `` Crisis Management Center. '' Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen here managing a new structure within the Bush directed SSG/CPPG arrangements of 1981- 82.
Mar 3, 1983 In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office of `` Public Diplomacy '' to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of the program. Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the effort.
Mar 8, 1983 President Reagan declares Soviet Communism "the focus of evil in the world"!
Mar 17, 1983 Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert `` Bud '' McFarlane a plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central American nations including Nicaragua.
Mar 23, 1983 Bush was placed in charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System, which was supposed to staunch the drug flow over all US borders.
Mar 25,1983 In a television address from the White House, President Ronald Reagan presents "a vision of the future which offers hope", in his idea to build the Star Wars missile defense system.
Apr 14, 1983 Reagan says covert aid to Nicaragua is legal. He calls the Contra's freedom fighters.
May 25, 1983 Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan, trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart (``Proposed Structure '') showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority--from the President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant secretary, down to an interagency group.
Jun 7, 1983 Relations between the United States and Nicaragua have fallen to their lowest level since the Sandanistas deposed President Somoza in 1979. Its been revealed that anti-government forces bankrolled by the CIA carry an instruction manual on how to sabotage factory machinery in Nicaragua. The Sandanista government has responded by expelling three Americans, including the alleged CIA station chief in Managua. The United States ordered all six Nicaraguan consulates closed, and gave 21 diplomats 5 days to leave the country.
July , 1983 Boland-Zablocki legislation bars aid to Contras, but allows arms interdiction.
Jul 28, 1983 The Presidents of Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, and Panama released a communique stating "profound concern for the rapid deterioration" of the situation in Central America. The House of Representatives voted to cancel all covert aid to the Sandanista rebels. President Reagan is moving forward to increase United States military involvement despite opposition at home and abroad.
Aug , 1983 With the assistance of the CIA Manuel Noriega becomes Commander of the Panamanian Military. Using his connections, Noriega creates an effective network to effectively supply Southern Front Contra's in Costa Rica.
Sept , 1983 Presidential Finding authorized CIA to support, equip, train paramilitary resistance groups.
Oct 20, 1983 The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada was decided upon in a secret meeting of the metagovernment--the National Security State under the leadership of George Bush.
Oct 31, 1983 U.S. troops invade the island of Grenada to help restore democratic institutions and defeat a band of what President Reagan called "Cuban thugs".
Dec , 1983 Defense Appropriations Act includes $24 million Contra assistance program, but sets cut off for September 30, 1984.
Dec 31, 1983 Armed speedboats and a helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency `` mother ship'' attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moon less New Year's night. A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal positions, Americans flew and fired from an armed helicopter that accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided sophisticated reconnaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks. The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any single event, it solidified congressional opposition to the covert war, and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984].
Feb , 1984 Mining of Nicaraguan harbors begins.
1984 Manuel Noriega hosts the Contadora Peace talks, the talks called for an end of U.S. involvement in Central American affairs.
Mar 9, 1984 Ronald Reagan says U.S. will step up maneuvers in Latin America before Salvadorean elections.
Mar 24, 1984 Pentagon says U.S. paratroopers landed in Honduras for three days of maneuvers before Salvadoran elections.
Apr 3, 1984 Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new `` Terrorist Incident Working Group '' reported to Bush's Special Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant counter terrorism assaults, on the Israeli model.
Apr ,1984 Mining operations become public knowledge.
Apr 8, 1984 Reagan Administration denies authority of World Court decisions on Central America
Apr 9, 1984 Nicaragua asks World Court to declare illegal, U.S. support for guerrilla raids.
Apr 13, 1984 Reagan sends emergency military aid to El Salvador without Congressional approval.
May 10, 1984 At the Hague, International Court rules U.S. should halt blockade of Nicaraguan ports.
May 31, 1984 La Penca Bombing. Southern Front Contra leader Eden Pastora injured, several killed prior to press conference where Pastora planned to denounce CIA pressure for him to align with the FDN.
Jun 25, 1984 The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush and other top officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 P.M. They discussed whether to risk seeking `` third-country aid '' to the Contras, to get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982. George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting. Bush said, `` How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to provide help to the anti- Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to give these third parties something in return so that some people might interpret this as some kind of an exchange '' [emphasis added]. Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: `` I would like to get money for the contras also, but another lawyer [then Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money from third countries, it is an impeachable offense. ''CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that `` Jim Baker changed his mind [and now supported the circumvention].... '' NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, `` I propose that there be no authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this discussion will be made public in any way. '' President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law: `` If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House until we find out who did it. '' In March of the following year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S. aid. The minutes of this meeting, originally marked `` secret, '' were released five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989.
Sept , 1984 Authorized appropriations for DoD and CIA support to the Contra program end. Prohibition in effect until December 1985.
Oct 19, 1984 Four CIA agents are killed when their surveillance plane crashes in El Salvador.
Oct , 1984 Official U.S. Congressional prohibition on aid to the Nicaraguan Contra's, under the Boland Amendment, begins.
Oct 3, 1984 Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S. secret war in Central America. This `` Boland II '' amendment was designed to prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus: `` During fiscal year 1985, no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual. '' This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it was superseded by various aid limitation laws which, taken together, were referred to as `` Boland III. ''
Nov 1, 1984 Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.
Nov 5, 1984 Daniel Ortega is elected Nicaraguan President.
Late 1984 National Security Counsel(NSC) begins fund-raising efforts to channel cash and goods to Contras until May 1986.
Dec 21, 1984 Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the Vice President with Bush adviser Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser strenuously denied to investigators that he `` introduced '' his CIA employee to North.
Jan 21, 1985 Ronald Reagan sworn in as President at Super Bowl 19.
Late Jan, 1985 George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in El Salvador, in a false `` private '' capacity. The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen. Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: `` Rodriguez has high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Dept] and DOD [Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El Salvador.
Feb 7, 1985 The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a `` Presidential letter '' to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, ``to provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support.'' The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989 Oliver North trial--number 51 in a series of ``stipulations'' that was given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.
Feb 12, 1985 The government admissions in the North trial continued:
`` ... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on] the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message [to the Honduran president] should not be contained in a written document but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary. '' [This was to be George Bush himself-- see March 16, 1985.] Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as to deceive Congress and the American population.
Mar 15, 1985 Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.
Mar 16, 1985 George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's government. This was the `` quid pro quo '': a bribe for Suazo's support for the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.
May 1, 1985 President Reagan declares a ban on all trade with Nicaragua.
June , 1985 Pastora's military forces driven out of Nicaragua Contra coalition, United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO) formed.
June 14, 1985 ``Shiite Muslim terrorists '' hijacked an Athens-to-Rome airliner. One American was killed, 39 Americans were held hostage and released June 30.
July , 1985 Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan to lead the Task Force on Combatting Terrorism (or Terrorism Task Force). Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the Iran-Contra armaments schemes. The Terrorism Task Force had the following cast of characters:
GEORGE BUSH, U.S. Vice President:
Admiral James L. Holloway III: Executive assistant to Chairman Bush
Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway
Vice Admiral John Poindexter:Senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush
Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: Day-to- day NSC representative to George Bush
Amiram Nir: Counterterror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres
Lt. Col. Robert Earl: Staff member
Terry Arnold: Principal consultant
Charles E. Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group
Robert Oakley, Director, State Dept. Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group
Noel Koch, Deputy to Asst. Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group
Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group
Oliver `` Buck '' Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group
Aug , 1985 Humanitarian assistance bill leads to creation of Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) at Department of State.
Aug 8, 1985 George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in Germany, with 22 American casualties.
Sept 10, 1985 George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M. with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.
Nov , 1985 Crack Cocaine makes its first appearance on the streets of New York.
Dec , 1985 Intelligence Authorization Act authorizes CIA to provide communications equipment, intelligence to the Contras.
Dec , 1985 George Bush completed
official study of terrorism in December 1985. John Poindexter now
Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram Nir. Amiram Nir came to
and met with Oliver North. He told U.S. officials that the Iranians had
promised to free all hostages in
exchange for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, in an atmosphere of constant terrorism and rumors of terrorism, President Reagan was persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran.
Dec 27, 1985 Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks. Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in mid-April 1986.
Jan , 1986 Presidential Finding discontinues lethal assistance to Contras.
Jan 2, 1986 Israeli counterterrorism chief
Nir met with North and Poindexter in Washington. The Bush report on
had now been issued within the government but was not yet published.
report was urging that a counterterrorism coordinator be named for the
entire U.S. government--and Oliver North was the one man intended for
At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the Contras.
Mar 26, 1986 Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well as the customs services and police forces of several nations.
April , 1986 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics
and International Operations (Kerry Committee) opens an investigation
gun running and narcotics trafficking associated with the Contra War.
May 1, 1986 Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.
May 16, 1986 George Bush met with President Reagan, and with cabinet members and other officials in the full National Security Planning Group. They discussed the urgent need to raise more money for the Contras to continue the anti-Sandinista war. The participants decided to seek support for the Contras from nations (`` third countries '') which were not directly involved in the Central American conflict. As a result of this initiative, George Bush's former business partners, the Sultan of Brunei, donated $10 million to the Contras. But after being deposited in secret Swiss bank accounts, the money was `` lost. ''
May 29, 1986 George Bush, President Reagan, Donald Regan and John Poindexter met to hear from McFarlane and North on their latest arms-for- hostages negotiations with Iranian officials and Amiram Nir in Teheran, Iran. The two reported their arrangement with the Khomeini regime to establish a secure covert communications network between the two `` enemy '' governments.
June , 1986 Miami Herald reports NSC violation of Boland restrictions.
July 29, 1986 George Bush met in Jerusalem with Terrorism Task Force member Amiram Nir, the manager of Israel's participation in the arms-for hostages schemes. Bush did not want this meeting known about. The Vice President told his chief of staff, Craig Fuller, to send his notes of the meeting only to Oliver North--not to President Reagan, or to anyone else.
July 30, 1986 The day after his Jerusalem summit with Amiram Nir, Vice President Bush conferred with Oliver North. This meeting with North was never acknowledged by Bush until the North diaries were released in May 1990.
Aug 1986 US officials presented to their Mexican counterparts a scheme called Operation Alliance, a new border enforcement initiative that was allegedly to do for the US-Mexican border area what the South Florida Task Force had allegedly already done for the southeastern states. George Bush was appointed chief of Operation Alliance, which involved 20 federal agencies, 500 additional federal officers, and a budget of $266 million.
Oct , 1986 Legislation provides $100
in FY87 for renewed military and nonmilitary assistance to the Contras;
contains provision barring aid to any
group whose members are found to have engaged in drug trafficking; clears way for restoration of CIA involvement in Contra War.
Oct 9, 1986 The government of Nicaragua announces its military has shot down an American C-130 cargo plane as it was delivering supplies to rebel forces. Two men were killed and Eugene Hasenfus was captured. The Sandanista government said the men were working for the CIA. Eugene Hasenfus admitted the supply flights were supervised by the CIA in El Salvador. The Iran-Contra cat is out of the bag.
Oct. 5, 1986: Nicaraguan soldiers shoot down a contra-resupply plane; Eugene Hasenfus, an American, survives.
Oct 5, 1986 A C-123k cargo aircraft left El Salvador's Ilopango air base at 9:30 A.M., carrying `` 10,000 pounds of small arms and ammunition, consisting mainly of AK rifles and AK ammunition, hand grenades, jungle boots. '' It was scheduled to make air drops to Contra soldiers in Nicaragua.The flight had been organized by elements of the CIA, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council, coordinated by the Office of Vice President George Bush. At that time, such arms resupply was prohibited under U.S. law--prohibited by legislation which had been written to prevent precisely that type of flight. The aircraft headed south along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, turned east over Costa Rica, then headed up north into Nicaraguan air space. As it descended toward the point at which it was to drop the cargo, the plane was hit in the right engine and wing by a ground-to-air missile. The wing burst into flames and broke up. Cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus jumped out the left cargo door and opened his parachute. The other three crew members died in the crash. Meanwhile, Felix Rodriguez made a single telephone call to the office of Vice President George Bush. He told Bush aide Samuel Watson that the C-123k aircraft was missing and was possibly down.
Oct 6, 1986 Eugene Hasenfus, armed only with a pistol, took refuge in a small hut on a jungle hilltop inside Nicaragua. He was soon surrounded by Sandinista soldiers and gave himself up.
Oct 7, 1986 Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tx.) called for a congressional investigation of the Nicaraguan air crash, and the crash of a Southern Air Transport plane in Texas, to see if they were part of a covert CIA operation to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.
Oct 9, 1986 At a news conference in Nicaragua, captured U.S. crew member Eugene Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez, alias `` Max Gomez, '' as the head of an international supply system for the Contras.
Oct 11, 1986 The Washington Post ran two headlines side-by-side: `` Captured American Flyer to be Tried in Nicaragua '' and `` Bush is Linked to Head of Contra Aid Network. George Bush's career was now on the line. News media throughout the world broke the story of the Hasenfus capture, and of the crewman's fingering of Bush and his underlings Rodriguez and Posada Carriles. Bush was now besieged by inquiries from around the world, as to how and why he was directing the gun-running into Latin America. Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, George Bush described Max Gomez/Rodriguez as `` a patriot. '' The Vice President denied that he himself was directing the illegal operations to supply the Contras: `` To say I'm running the operation ... it's absolutely untrue. '' Bush said of Rodriguez: `` I know what he was doing in El Salvador, and I strongly support it, as does the president of El Salvador, Mr. Napoleon Duarte, and as does the chief of the armed forces in El Salvador, because this man, an expert in counterinsurgency, was down there helping them put down a communist- led revolution.
Oct 12, 1986 Eugene Hasenfus, the U.S. airman downed in Nicaragua, gave and signed an affidavit in which it was stated: `` About Max Gomez [Felix Rodriguez], Hasenfus says that he was the head Cuban coordinator for the company and that he works for the CIA and that he is a very close friend of the Vice-President of the United States, George Bush.
Oct 13, 1986 Gen. Adolfo Blandon, armed forces chief of staff in El Salvador, denied Bush's contention that Felix Rodriguez worked for his country's military forces: `` This intrigues me. It would have to be authorized [by our] joint chiefs of staff [and] the government. '' He said such authorization had not been given.
Oct 19, 1986 Eugene Hasenfus, interviewed in Nicaragua by Mike Wallace on the CBS television program `` 60 Minutes, '' said that Vice President Bush was well aware of the covert arms supply operation. He felt the Reagan-Bush administration was `` backing this 100 percent. '' Wallace asked Hasenfus why he thought that Gomez/Rodriguez and the other managers of the covert arms resupply `` had the blessing of Vice President Bush. '' Hasenfus replied, `` They had his knowledge that he was working [on it] and what was happening, and whoever controlled this whole organization--which I do not know--Mr. Gomez, Mr. Bush, I believe a lot of these other people. They know how this is being run. I do not. ''
Nov. 3, 1986: Lebanese newspaper Al-Shiraa reports that the United States secretly sold arms to Iran.
Nov 3, 1986 The Lebanese newspaper Al-Shiraa revealed that the U.S. government was secretly dealing arms to the Khomeini regime. This was three weeks after the Eugene Hasenfus expose of George Bush made world headlines. Yet the Bush administration and its retainers have since decided that the Iran-Contra affair `` began '' with the Al-Shiraa story!
Nov. 6, 1986: President Reagan denies arms were sold to Iran.
Nov. 13, 1986: President Reagan acknowledges weapons were sold to Iran but denies that the arms were sold to win the release of American hostages.
Nov. 19, 1986: President Reagan holds a news conference at which he denies U.S. involvement in shipments prior to January 1986.
Nov 22, 1986 President Reagan sent a message, through Vice President George Bush, to Secretary of State George Shultz, along the lines of `` Support me or get off my team. ''
Nov. 25, 1986: White House discloses contra diversion from the Iran arms sales.
Dec. 1, 1986: Tower Commission appointed by President Reagan.
Dec. 4, 1986: Meese requests appointment of Independent Counsel on Iran/contra.
Dec. 6, 1986: Swiss financial records of Enterprise requested by Department of Justice pursuant to treaty.
Dec 18, 1986 CIA Director William Casey, a close ally of George Bush who knew everything from the inside, was operated on for a `` brain tumor '' and lost the power of speech. That same day, associates of Vice President George Bush said that Bush believed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan should resign, but claim Bush had not yet broached the issue with the President. Donald Regan said that he had no intention of quitting.
Dec. 19, 1986: Walsh appointed Independent Counsel.
Dec , 1986 Independent Counsel (Walsh) named to investigate Iran-Contra affair.
Jan. 6, 1987: Senate creates Iran/contra committee.
Jan. 7, 1987: House creates Iran/contra committee.
Jan. 29, 1987: Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issues report on Iran/contra.
Feb 2, 1987 CIA Director William Casey resigned. He soon died, literally without ever talking.
Feb. 7, 1987: Swiss Office for Police Matters approves request for financial records; Albert Hakim and Manucher Ghorbanifar appeal.
Feb 9, 1987 Former National Security Director Robert McFarlane, a principal figure in the Reagan-Bush administration's covert operations, attempted suicide by taking an overdose of drugs. McFarlane survived.
Feb. 26, 1987: Tower Commission issues Iran/contra report.
Feb 26, 1987 (Thursday) The President's Special Review Board, commonly known as the Tower Commission, issued its report. The commission heavily blamed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan for the `` chaos that descended upon the White House '' in the Iran-Contra affair. The Commission hardly mentioned Vice President George Bush except to praise him for his `` vigorous reaffirmation of U.S. opposition to terrorism in all forms ''! The afternoon the Tower Commission report came out, George Bush summoned Donald Regan to his office. Bush said the President wanted to know what his plans were about resigning. Donald Regan blasted the President: `` What's the matter isn't he man enough to ask me that question? '' Bush expressed sympathy. Donald Regan said he would leave in four days.
Feb 27, 1987 (Friday)Cable News Network televised a leaked report that Donald Regan had already been replaced as White House chief of staff. After submitting a one sentence letter of resignation, Donald Regan said, `` There's been a deliberate leak, and it's been done to humiliate me. '' George Bush, when President, rewarded the commission's chairman, Texas Senator John Tower, by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense. Tower was asked by a reporter at the National Press Club, whether his nomination was a `` payoff '' for the `` clean bill of health '' he gave Bush. Tower responded that `` the commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and [Senator] Ed Muskie in addition to myself, that would be sort of impugning the integrity of Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie.... We found nothing to implicate the Vice President.... I wonder what kind of payoff they're going to get? '' President Bush appointed Brent Scowcroft his chief national security adviser. But the Senate refused to confirm Tower. Tower then wrote a book and began to talk about the injustice done to him. He died April 5, 1991 in a plane crash.
March 5, 1987: Walsh receives parallel appointment as Independent Counsel from Justice Department.
March 18, 1987: Walsh reaches agreement with House and Senate Iran/contra committees to delay voting on and obtaining immunized testimony by North and Poindexter.
April 28, 1987: Independent Counsel submits First Interim Report to Congress on potential problems caused by immunity grants.
April 29, 1987: Carl ``Spitz'' Channell pleads guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
May , 1987 Nicaraguan Resistance (RN) unites Contra groups. Start of joint Congressional hearings on Iran-Contra.
May 5, 1987: Congress begins public hearings on Iran/contra.
May 6, 1987: Richard R. Miller pleads guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Summer 1987 The United States freezes economic and military assistance to Panama in response to the political crisis and an attack on the U.S. embassy.
July 7-10 and July 13-14, 1987: North testifies publicly under grant of immunity before Congress.
July 15-17 and July 20-21, 1987: Poindexter testifies publicly under grant of immunity before Congress.
Nov , 1987 Sandinistas announce readiness for indirect talks with Contras. Joint Congressional investigation report released on Iran-Contra.
Nov. 10, 1987: Swiss financial records of Enterprise received by Independent Counsel.
Nov 13, 1987 The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned. George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.
Nov. 18, 1987: Congress issues Iran/contra report.
Dec , 1987 The Government of Panama responds to the freezing of economic and military aid from the U.S. by ousting the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Dec , 1987 $100 million appropriated funds expended, CIA support reduced to intelligence sharing.
Jan , 1988 Sandinista President Daniel Ortega agrees to direct talks with Contras.
Jan. 22, 1988: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia strikes down the Independent Counsel law as unconstitutional.
Feb 5, 1988 General Manuel Antonio Noriega, leader of Panama's Defense Forces, was indicted on money laundering and drug trafficking charges on by US grand jury in Miami, FL.
Feb , 1988 House of Representatives rejects Contra funding request.
Feb , 1988 Planning for the Panama contingency began, including a series of orders that addressed the defense of the Old Canal Zone, noncombatant evacuation, neutralization of the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF), and Civil Military Operations (CMO).
Mar , 1988 Tentative cease-fire signed.
March 11, 1988: McFarlane pleads guilty to withholding information from Congress.
March 16, 1988: North, Poindexter, Secord and Hakim indicted on conspiracy to defraud the United States and other charges.
Apr , 1988 President Reagan invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, freezing Panamanian Government assets in U.S. banks and prohibiting payments by American agencies, firms, and individuals to the Noriega regime.
June 8, 1988: Judge Gesell orders separate trials for North, Poindexter, Secord and Hakim due to problems caused by congressional grants of immunity.
June 20, 1988: Fernandez indicted in District of Columbia for conspiracy and false statements to the CIA Inspector General and the Tower Commission.
June 29, 1988: Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Independent Counsel law.
Oct. 19, 1988: Judge Robinson dismisses Fernandez case without prejudice on venue grounds.
Dec , 1988 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations (Kerry Committee) report published.
Jan. 13, 1989: Central conspiracy and theft charges against North are dismissed because of classified information problems.
Jan 20, 1989 George Bush was inaugurated President of the United States.
Jan. 31, 1989 to May 4, 1989: North trial, resulting in three-count conviction.
Feb , 1989 Tesoro Beach Agreement calls for supervised elections and Contra disarmament.
April 7, 1989: Secord is indicted on nine additional charges of obstruction, false statements and perjury.
April 21, 1989: Fernandez indicted on false statement and obstruction charges in Eastern District of Virginia.
May , 1989 When national elections were held, Panamanians voted for the anti-Noriega candidates by a margin of over three-to-one. Although the size of the opposition victory and the presence of international observers thwarted regime efforts to control the outcome of the vote, the Noreiga regime promptly annulled the election and embarked on a new round of repression.
May , 1989 The candidates that had been winning in the elections, candidates bankrolled by the U.S., were beaten in the streets by angry protestors. The next day President Bush orders 2000 more troops into Panama. After the election fiasco the Panamanian National Assembly declared a state of emergency, and appointed Noriega Head of State. George Bush unofficially calls on the Panamanian Defense Force to overthrow Noriega.
July 24, 1989: Attorney general obtains a stay of the Fernandez trial to appeal Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) rulings.
Aug , 1989 Tela agreement sets timetable for Contra disarmament, elections.
Aug. 23, 1989: The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in Fernandez on the attorney general's right to appeal under CIPA.
Sept. 19, 1989: Walsh testifies before the legislative subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on CIPA and submits a report to the House and Senate judiciary committees and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Sept. 29, 1989: The Fourth Circuit rules that the attorney general does not have standing under CIPA to appeal trial court rulings in cases prosecuted by Independent Counsel. It dismisses the appeal and remands the case to the district court.
Oct , 1989 Officers of Noriega's PDF begin meeting with the CIA to coordinate a coup the overthrow Noriega.
Oct , 1989 Officers of Noriega's PDF stage a coup, thought they had the backing of the U.S. military, but they are set up instead, the Americans don't help and the coup is foiled. George Bush denies any involvement in the organization of the coup. After the failure of the coup, more U.S. troops are moved into Panama as well as offensive weapons. Intimidation tactics are stepped up between U.S. forces and the Panamanian civilians.
Nov. 8, 1989: Secord pleads guilty to making false statements to Congress.
Nov. 21, 1989: Hakim pleads guilty to illegally supplementing the salary of a Government official; Lake Resources Inc. pleads guilty to a corporate felony of diverting Iran arms sales proceeds to the contras.
Nov. 24, 1989: Fernandez is dismissed after the attorney general refuses to allow the disclosure of certain classified information at trial. Independent Counsel files notice with the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that the Government will appeal the trial court's CIPA rulings.
Dec. 11, 1989: Independent Counsel submits Second Interim Report to Congress on CIPA.
Dec. 12, 1989: Walsh testifies on CIPA in closed session of the legislative subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee.
Dec 15, 1989 The National Assembly of Panama declared that a state of war existed with the U.S. and adopted measures to confront foreign aggression. In the days that followed, service members and dependents were harassed, and a Marine lieutenant was killed.
Dec 16, 1989 A group of U.S. Marines ran a military roadblock in front of PDF headquarters and were fired upon by Panamanian forces. A U.S. Marine Intelligence Officer was killed. The Marines reportedly were called the "Hard Chargers" and were known for trying to provoke Panamanian forces. The Pentagon claimed the soldiers were unarmed. But eyewitness say they were armed and exchanged gunfire with Panamanian forces, wounding one soldier and two civilians. American media turns these incidents into a call for war.
Dec 17, 1989 The national command
(NCA) directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to execute PLAN 90-2.
received the JCS execute order on 18 Dec with a D-Day and H-Hour of 20
Dec 0100 local. The operation was conducted as a campaign with limited
military objectives. JTFSO objectives in PLAN 90-2 were to:
A. Protect U.S. lives and key sites and facilities.
B. Capture and deliver Noriega to competent authority.
C. Neutralize PDF forces.
D. Neutralize PDF command and control.
E. Support establishment of a U.S.-recognized government in Panama.
F. Restructure the PDF.
Dec 20, 1989 U.S. Forces begin invasion of Panama
Dec , 1989 The truth of the American atrocities during "Operation Just Cause" are dramatically suppressed by the U.S. Government. The Government advertised the death toll around 220, the actual toll was more like 4000, 90% of which were civilians. The Academy Award winning video "The Panama Deception" tells the dramatic story, rent it from a video store near you.
Dec 29, 1989 The United Nations overwhelmingly deplored the U.S. actions in Panama as a "Flagrant violation of international law".
Jan 3, 1990 General Noriega, who had taken refuge at the Vatican Embassy, turned himself over to U.S. officials, whereupon he was arrested by members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and brought to the United States to stand trial on drug trafficking charges.
Feb , 1990 Sandinistas defeated in national election.
Feb. 6, 1990: North appeal oral arguments.
Feb. 16-17 1990: Reagan gives videotaped deposition in Poindexter.
Feb. 22, 1990: Thomas G. Clines is indicted on tax charges.
Feb. 22, 1990: Walsh testifies on CIPA in a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
March 5, 1990 to April 7, 1990: Poindexter trial, resulting in five-count conviction.
April , 1990 Violetta Chamorro assumes office; Contras begin demobilization.
July 20, 1990: U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacates North's convictions and orders further hearings by trial court on immunity issue.
Sept. 6, 1990: Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds trial court's rulings in Fernandez.
Sept. 4-18, 1990: Clines trial, resulting in convictions on four felony charges.
Oct. 12, 1990: Fernandez dismissed after attorney general notifies trial court that he has made a final determination not to withdraw CIPA 6(e) affidavit to bar use of classified information.
Oct. 24-25, 1990: Walsh reports to the congressional intelligence and judiciary committees on final outcome of Fernandez.
April 5, 1991 Texas Senator John Tower, of the Tower Commission, dies in a plane crash.
May 28, 1991: Supreme Court declines review of North case.
July 9, 1991: Alan D. Fiers, Jr., pleads guilty to withholding information from Congress.
Sept. 6, 1991: Clair E. George is indicted on 10 counts of perjury, false statements and obstruction.
Sept. 16, 1991: Case against North is dismissed on motion of Independent Counsel after two days of hearings by the trial court.
Oct. 7, 1991: Elliott Abrams pleads guilty to withholding information from Congress.
Nov. 15, 1991: U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reverses Poindexter's convictions.
Nov. 26, 1991: Duane R. Clarridge is indicted on seven counts of perjury and false statements.
Feb. 27, 1992: Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirms Clines' convictions.
Apr 9, 1992 Manuel Noriega was convicted on 8 out of 10 drug trafficking counts in U.S. Federal court in Miami, and on July 10, 1992, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
May 21, 1992: Clair George is reindicted on two additional charges after three are dismissed with Independent Counsel's consent; George now faces nine felony charges.
May 25, 1992: Thomas Clines begins serving 16-month jail sentence.
June 10, 1992 A U.S. soldier was shot and killed and another was wounded near the town of Chilibre, 30 miles north of Panama City. Protests against President Bush's impending visit turned violent in Panama City with police dispersing protestors with tear gas.
June 11, 1992 President Bush's planned address in a public plaza in Panama City was disrupted when Panamanian police fired tear gas to break up a protest.
June 16, 1992: Former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger is indicted on five felony charges of obstruction, perjury and false statements in congressional and Independent Counsel investigations.
June 24, 1992: Walsh issues Third Interim Report to Congress, stating that investigation is in its final phase and focusing on whether high-ranking Administration officials beginning in November 1986 tried to obstruct official investigations into the 1985 Iran arms sales.
July 13, 1992: George trial begins.
August 26, 1992: Mistrial declared in George case after jury fails to reach a verdict. Independent Counsel announces that the case will be retried.
Sept. 17, 1992: Walsh informs Chief Judge George MacKinnon, of the Independent Counsel appointing panel, and Attorney General William Barr that the investigation is complete barring unforeseen developments at the remaining trials.
Sept. 29, 1992: Judge Hogan dismisses Count 1, an obstruction of Congress charge, in the Weinberger case on grounds it does not conform to the Poindexter appeals ruling on the obstruction statute.
Oct. 19, 1992: George retrial on seven counts begins.
Oct. 30, 1992: Weinberger is re-indicted on a false statement charge, replacing the previously dismissed Count 1 obstruction charge.
Dec. 7, 1992: Supreme Court declines to review Poindexter.
Dec. 9, 1992: George is found guilty on two counts of false statements and perjury before Congress; sentencing is set for February 1993.
Dec. 11, 1992: Judge Hogan dismisses the new one-count indictment against Weinberger on statute of limitations grounds, leaving four charges remaining.
Dec. 11, 1992: White House informs Independent Counsel that President Bush has kept diaries relevant to Iran/contra, which have never been produced to investigators.
Dec. 24, 1992: President Bush pardons Weinberger, Clarridge, McFarlane, Fiers, Abrams and George. Independent Counsel denounces pardons.
Jan. 5, 1993: Weinberger trial was scheduled to begin.
Feb. 8, 1993: Independent Counsel issues Fourth Interim Report to Congress on the Weinberger case and the presidential pardons.
Mar , 1996 Manuel Noriega's attorneys appealed
to U.S. Federal court for a new trial, alleging that a witness against
Noriega had received $1.25 million to testify against him, but the
for a new trial was denied.