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The secret government
On July 5, 1987 the front page of the Miami Herald
Newspaper carried a now famous article describing secret
White House plans to:
A.) DECLARE AN UNDEFINED "NATIONAL EMERGENCY,"
B.) RE-OPEN CONCENTRATION CAMPS FOR PREVENTIVE
DETENTION OF LEGAL DISSIDENTS CERTAIN ETHNIC
C.) SUSPEND OUR UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Those of us viewing the Iran-Contragate hearings,
then being broadcast live on TV, had our curiousity peaked
when one committee member began inquiring about an article
alleging secret White House plans to suspend the
We were even more puzzled when committee chair
Daniel Inouye interrupted him demanding all discussion on
that question take place in closed session, out of public
Not content to wonder, I researched the original
article, transcribed it, and now present it to you for your
urgent consideration. You have a right to read this. In
fact, you'd better know about it because it's about secret
White House plans to remove your rights by SUSPENDING OUR
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. It's about a government which
we, the people, did NOT elect but which has gained power
What follows is not the whole story but a crucial
and overlooked part of it. Read "between the lines" and
very carefully. This is not some paranoid's nightmare or
some fanatic's fantasy. This is reality in the Reagan White
Please copy this article and circulate it among
your friends and co-workers. If George Bush gets into the
White House, we'll have "elected," or had selected for us,
precisely the same carnivorous crew comprising The Secret
Government referred to in this article.
First, I offer three appropriate quotes which
provide a certain perspective in which to view what follows.
Then, I present the "sidebar" articles which
summarized and accompanied the main article.
Finally, I give you the complete text of the
original article, unedited and uncensored. While local
papers ignored this historic article or presented only
extracts from it, none of them gave you this, the entire
The following did not appear with the original
article but they provide a certain appropriate perspective
"Perception of reality is sometimes
more important than reality itself."
"He who controls the past, controls the future.
He who controls the present, controls the past."
-O'Brian, the dictator
in George Orwell's novel "1984"
"If you don't like the news,
go out and make some of your own!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
from THE MIAMI HERALD....SUNDAY JULY 5, 1987....page one:
SOME SECRET ACTIVITIES
Sources say the parallel government behind the
Reagan administration engaged in secret actions
A CONTINGENCY plan to suspend Constitution and impose
martial law in United States in case of nuclear
war or national rebellion.
1985 VISIT to Libya by William Wilson, then U.S. ambassador
to Vatican and close Reagan friend, to meet with
Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
HAVING ROUTES of sophisticated surveillance satellites
altered to follow Soviet ships around world.
LAUNCHING of spy aircraft on secret missions over Cuba and
PROPOSAL in 1981 to provide covert support of anti-
Sandinista groups that fled Nicaragua after
Sandinista revolution in 1979.
DISSEMINATION of information that cast Nicaragua as threat
to neighbors and United States.
Before Reagan was elected, campaign aides who
became the president's top advisers carried out
these secret activities:
CREATION in 1980 of October Surprise Group to monitor
President Carter's negotiations with Iran for
release of 52 American hostages. Group met with
man who claimed to represent Iran and who offered
to release hostages to Reagan. Offer declined,
ACQUISITION of stolen confidential briefing materials from
Carter's campaign before Oct. 28, 1980, Carter-
William Clark: Allowed bigger North role at NSC.
William Casey: Kept guard on President Carter
What follows is the complete text of the original article as
printed in the Miami Herald for July 5, 1987:
REAGAN AIDES AND THE 'SECRET' GOVERNMENT
by ALFONSO CHARDY, HERALD WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- Some of President Reagan's top
advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside
the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from
the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and
administration officials have concluded.
Investigators believe that the advisers'
activities extended well beyond the secret arms sales to
Iran and aid to the contras now under investigation.
Lt. Col. Oliver North, for example, helped draw up
a controversial plan to suspend the Constitution in the
event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and
widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S.
military invasion abroad.
When the attorney general at the time, William
French Smith, learned of the proposal, he protested in
writing to North's boss, then-national security adviser
The advisers conducted their activities through
secret contacts throughout the government with persons who
acted at their direction but did not officially report to
The activities of those contacts were coordinated
by the National Security Council, the officials and
There appears to have been no formal directive for
the advisers' activities, which knowledgeable sources
described as a parallel government.
In a secret assessment of the activities, the lead
counsel for the Senate Iran-contra committee called it a
The arrangement permitted Reagan administration
officials to claim that they were not involved in
controversial or illegal activities, the officials said.
"It was the ultimate plausible deniability," said
a well-briefed official who has served the Reagan
administration since 1982 and who often collaborated on
covert assistance to the Nicaraguan contras.
The roles of top-level officials and of Reagan
himself are still not clear. But that is expected to be a
primary topic when North appears before the Iran-contra
committees beginning Tuesday. Special prosecutor Lawrence
Walsh also is believed to be trying to prove in his
investigation of the Iran-contra affair that government
officials engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
ADVISERS FORMED SHADOW GOVERNMENT, PROBERS SAY
Much of the time, Cabinet secretaries and their
aides were unaware of the advisers' activities. When they
periodically detected operations, they complained or tried
to derail them, interviews show.
But no one ever questioned the activities in a
broad way, possibly out of a belief that the advisers were
operating with presidential
sanction, officials said.
Reagan did know of or approve at least some of the
actions of the secret group, according to previous accounts
by aides, friends and high-ranking foreign officials.
One such case is the 1985 visit to Libya by
William Wilson, then-U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and a
close Reagan friend, to meet with Libyan leader Col. Moammar
Gadhafi, officials said last week. Secretary of State
George Shultz rebuked Wilson, but the officials said Reagan
knew of the trip in advance.
The heart of the secret structure from 1983 to
1986 was North's office in the Old Executive Office Building
adjacent to the White House, investigators believe.
North's influence within the secret structure was
so great, the sources said, that he was able to have the
orbits of sophisticated surveillance satellites altered to
follow Soviet ships around the world, call for the launching
of high-flying spy aircraft on secret missions over Cuba and
Nicaragua and become involved in sensitive domestic
Others in the structure included some of Reagan's
closest friends and advisers, including former national
security adviser William Clark, the late CIA Director
William Casey and Attorney General Edwin Meese, officials
and investigators said.
Congressional investigators said the Iran deal was
just one of the group's initiatives. They say exposure of
the unusual arrangement may be the legacy of their inquiry.
"After we establish that a policy decision was
made at the highest levels to transfer responsibility for
contra support to the NSC..., we favor examining how that
decision was implemented," wrote Arthur Liman, chief counsel
of the Senate committee, in a secret memorandum to panel
leaders Sens. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Warren Rudman, R-
N.H., before hearings began May 5.
"This is the part of the story that reveals the
whole secret government-within-a-government, operated from
the [Executive Office Building] by a Lt. Col., with its own
army, air force, diplomatic agents, intelligence operatives
and appropriations capacity," Limon wrote in the memo, parts
of which were shared with The Herald.
A spokesman for Liman declined comment but did not
dispute the memo's existence.
A White House official rejected the notion that
any of Reagan's advisers were operating secretly.
"The president has constantly expressed his
foreign policy positions to the public and has consulted
with the Congress," the official said.
Began in 1980
Congressional investigators and current and former
officials interviewed -- members of the CIA, State
Department and Pentagon -- said they still do not have a
full record of the impact of the the advisers' activities.
But based on investigations and personal
experience, they believe the secret governing arrangement
traces its roots to the last weeks of Reagan's 1980
Officials say the genesis may have been an October
1980 decision by Casey, Reagan's campaign manager and a
former officer in the World War II precursor of the CIA, to
create an October Surprise Group to monitor Jimmy Carter's
feverish negotiations with Iran for the release of 52
The group, led by campaign foreign policy adviser
Richard Allen, was founded out of concern Carter might pull
off an "October surprise" such as a last-minute deal for the
release of the hostages before the Nov. 4 election. One of
the group's first acts was a meeting with a man claiming to
represent Iran who offered to release the hostages to
Allen -- Reagan's first national security adviser--
and another campaign aide, Laurence Silberman, told The
Herald in April of the meeting. they said McFarlane, then a
Senate Armed Services Committee aide, arranged and attended
it. McFarlane later became Reagan's national security
adviser and played a key role in the Iran-contra affair.
Allen and Silberman said they rejected the offer to release
the hostages to Reagan.
Briefing book theft
Congressional aides now link another well-known
campaign incident -- the theft of confidential briefing
materials from Carter's campaign before the Oct. 28, 1980,
Carter-Reagan debate -- to the same group of advisers.
They believe that Casey obtained the briefing
materials and passed them to James Baker, another top
Reagan campaign aide, who was White House chief of staff in
Reagan's first term.
Once Reagan was sworn in, the group moved quickly
to set itself up, officials said. Within months, the
advisers were clashing with officials in the traditional
Six weeks after Reagan was sworn in, apparently
over State Department objections, then-CIA director Casey
submitted a proposal to Reagan calling for covert support of
anti-Sandinista groups that had fled Nicaragua after the
[THE IRAN-CONTRA CONNECTION:
NORTH HAD BIG ROLE IN INNER CIRCLE, INVESTIGATORS SAY]
It is still unclear whether Casey cleared the plan
with Reagan. But In November 1981 the CIA secretly flew an
Argentine military leader, Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, to
Washington to devise a secret agreement under which
Argentine military officers trained Nicaraguan rebels,
according to an administration official familiar with the
About the same time, North completed his transfer
to the NSC from the Marine Corps. Those who worked with
North in 1981 remember his first assignments as routine,
although not unimportant.
North, they recalled, was briefly assigned to
carry the "football," the briefcase containing the secret
contingency plans for fighting a nuclear war, which is taken
everywhere the president goes. North later widened his
assignment to cover national crisis contingency planning.
In that capacity he became involved with the controversial
national crisis plan drafted by the Federal Emergency
NATIONAL CRISIS PLAN
From 1982 to 1984, North assisted FEMA, the U.S.
government's chief national crisis-management unit, in
revising contingency plans for dealing with nuclear war,
insurrection or massive military mobilization.
North's involvement with FEMA set off the first
major clash between the official government and the advisers
and led to the formal letter of protest in 1984 from then-
Attorney General Smith.
Smith was in Europe last week and could not be
reached for comment.
But a government official familiar with North's
collaboration with FEMA said then-Director Louis O.
Guiffrida, a close friend of Meese's, mentioned North in
meetings during that time as FEMA's NSC contact.
Guiffrida could not be reached for comment, but
FEMA spokesman Bill McAda confirmed the relationship.
"Officials of FEMA met with Col. North during 1982
to 1984," McAda said. "These meetings were appropriate to
Col. North's duties with the National Security Council and
FEMA's responsibilities in certain areas of national
FEMA's clash with Smith occurred over a secret
contingency plan that called for suspension of the
Constitution, turning control of the United States over to
FEMA, appointment of military commanders to run state and
local governments and declaration of martial law during a
The plan did not define national crisis, but it
was understood to be nuclear war, violent and widespread
internal dissent or national opposition against a military
PLAN WAS PROTESTED
The official said the contingency plan was written
as part of an executive order or legislative package that
Reagan would sign and hold within the NSC until a severe
The martial law portions of the plan were outlined
in a June 30, 1982, memo by Guiffrida's deputy for national
preparedness programs, John Brinkerhoff. A copy of the memo
was obtained by The Herald.
The scenario outlined in the Brinkerhoff memo
resembled somewhat a paper Guiffrida had written in 1970 at
the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., in which he advocated
martial law in case of a national uprising by black
militants. The paper also advocated the roundup and
transfer to "assembly centers or relocation camps" of at
least 21 million "American Negroes."
When he saw the FEMA plans, Attorney General Smith
became alarmed. He dispatched a letter to McFarlane Aug. 2,
1984 lodging his objections and urging a delay in signing
"I believe that the role assigned to the Federal
Emergency Management Agency in the revised Executive Order
exceeds its proper function as a coordinating agency for
emergency preparedness," Smith said in the letter to
McFarlane, which The Herald obtained. "This department and
others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal
objections to the creation of an 'emergency czar' role for
It is unclear whether the executive order was
signed or whether it contained the martial law plans.
Congressional sources familiar with national disaster
procedures said they believe Reagan did sign an executive
order in 1984 that revised national military mobilization
measures to deal with civilians in case of nuclear war or
ORCHESTRATED NEWS LEAKS
Around the time that issue was producing fireworks
with the administration, McFarlane and Casey reassigned
North from national crisis planning to international covert
management of the contras. The transfer came after North
took a personal interest, realizing that neither the State
Department nor any other government agency wanted to handle
the issue after it became clear early in 1984 that Congress
was moving to bar official aid to the rebels.
The new assignment, plus North's natural
organizational ability, creativity and the sheer energy he
dedicated to the issue, gradually led to an expansion of his
power and stature within the covert structure, officials and
Meese also was said to have played a role in the
secret government, investigators now believe, but his role
is less clear.
Meese sometimes referred private American citizens
to the NSC so they could be screened and contacted for
soliciting support for the Nicaraguan contras.
One of those supporters, Philip Mabry of Fort
Worth, told The Herald earlier this year that in 1983 he was
told by fellow conservatives in Texas to contact Meese, then
White House counselor, if he wanted to help the contras.
After he contacted Meese's office, Mabry received a letter
from Meese obtained by The Herald advising him that his name
had been given to the "appropriate people."
Shortly thereafter, Mabry said, a woman who
identified herself as Meese's secretary gave him the name
and phone number of another NSC secretary who, in turn, gave
him North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, as contacts.
Meese's Justice Department spokesman, Patrick
Korten, denies that Meese was part of North's secret contra
supply network and notes that Meese does not recall having
referred anyone to North on contra-related matters.
In addition to North's role as contra commander
and fund-raiser, North became secret overseer of the State
Department's Office of Public Diplomacy, through which the
Reagan administration disseminated information that cast
Nicaragua as a threat to its neighbors and the United
An intelligence source familiar with North's
relationship with that office said North was directly
involved in many of the best publicized news leaks,
including the Nov. 4, 1984, Election Day announcement that
Soviet-made MiG jet fighters were on their way to Nicaragua.
McFarlane is now believed to have been the senior
administration official who told reporters that the Soviet
cargo ship Bakuriani, en route to Nicaragua from a Soviet
Black Sea port, was probably carrying MiGs.
The intelligence official said North apparently
recommended that the information be leaked to the press on
Election Day so it would reach millions of people watching
election results. CBS and NBC broadcast the report that
CLARK HAD KEY ROLE
The leak led to a new clash between the regular
bureaucracy and the president's advisers. The official
State Department spokesman, John Hughes, tried hard to play
down the report, pointing out that it was unproven that the
Bakuriani was carrying MiGs. At the same time, employees of
the Office of Public Diplomacy, acting under North's
direction, insisted that the crates were inside the ship and
that MiGs were still a possibility.
To take a closer look, the source said, North
requested a high-flying SR-71 Blackbird spy aircraft be sent
from Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif., to fly
over the Nicaraguan port of Corinto while the Bakuriani
unloaded its cargo. The pictures showed that the Bakuriani
unloaded helicopters, not MiGs.
North was not the only adviser who operated
outside traditional government channels, investigators have
Others were known as the RIGLET, a semi-official
unit made up of North; Alan Fiers, a CIA Central American
affairs officer; and Elliott Abrams, the current assistant
secretary of state for inter-American affairs, according to
Abrams' subordinate Richard Melton. Melton revealed the
existence of the RIGLET in a deposition given to the Iran-
contra committees. The name is a diminutive for RIG, which
stands for Restricted Interagency Group.
Among the RIGLET's actions was ordering the U.S.
ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs, to assist the contras
in setting up a front in southern Nicaragua. Tambs, who
resigned suddenly last year after his links to North were
revealed, testified about the instructions to Iran-contra
But perhaps the key to the parallel government was
the role played by Reagan's second national security
adviser, William Clark. It was during Clark's tenure that
North began to gain influence in the NSC.
Clark also recruited several midlevel officers
from the Pentagon and the CIA to work on a special Central
American task force in 1983 to push aid for El Salvador, a
task force member said.
"Judge Clark was the granddaddy of the system," he
said. "I was working at the Pentagon on another issue when
my boss said that because of special circumstances, I was to
be reassigned to the task force."
A former administration official familiar with
Clark's activities said Clark also had approved contacts
between Vatican Ambassador Wilson and Libya before Wilson's
November 1985 journey, which came after McFarlane replaced
Clark at the NSC.
The former official said Wilson also had carried
out secret missions for the Reagan administration in a Latin
American country where Wilson reportedly maintained contacts
with high-level officials. The source asked that the
country not be identified because the system is still in
place and had reduced tensions by circumventing the regular
bureaucracies of both countries.
Calls to Wilson's and Clark's offices in
California were not returned.
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by SAX ALLEN of Free San Francisco, California
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