Dark Shadows: Iran-Contra, Secret Wars & Covert Operations by Doug Vaughan
“Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” — Claudius1
Thirty years ago the United States government was embroiled in a scandal whose repercussions are felt today in a perverse variation on the idea that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We have been repeating Iran-Contra operations in various forms and guises ever since only now they’re not a scandalous aberration but standard operating procedure of the Deep State.
Illegal wars are now legal. Covert operations are continuous. Only revealing them is illegal.
Thirty years later, every day is Day of the Dead and each night is New Year’s Eve when we make resolutions to do better next time. Where to begin the body count? The scandal itself began dramatically enough, at least in the theater of television if not the cauldron of secret war where it had been simmering, waiting to explode, for years.
The Fat Lady, the Arrow & a Rabbit’s Foot
Let’s return, then, to the unmasking of aged players, the unraveling of ancient plots:
On the night of October 5, 1986, a young conscript in the People’s Sandinista Army named Jose’ Fernando Canales Aleman was on patrol near San Carlos on the Rio San Juan in the hills of southern Nicaragua. Hearing the now-familiar low roar of a big propeller-driven airplane, Canales aimed his shoulder-fired rocket launcher at the big belly of a lumbering Fairchild C-123K Provider as it swung down to 2,500 feet overhead in the moonlit clouds.
Bwooshh! The Soviet-made Strela (“arrow” in Russian) surface-to-air missile roared off with its characteristic tailing flare, then Boom! exploded near the fuselage of the aircraft. Much to the boy soldiers delight and surprise — “shock and awe” were terms reserved for later displays of superior firepower — the big bird burst into flame. Down it came like a wounded duck, crashing into the jungle.