Lt. Col. Oliver North was in the media tent just outside the convention center. He now has a talk show on MSNBC. Oliver North, of course, was the point man on the Iran-Contra scandal—the Reagan administration’s circumvention of the congressional ban on funding for the Contras by secretly selling arms to Iran, then funneling the profits to the Contras.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play for you another conversation that I had over this weekend. This is what’s quite remarkable about the Republican convention or the Democratic convention. You have thousands of people that you don’t normally get to see on a day-to-day basis, face to face, all crowded into one vast space.
Oliver North is now the commentator or talk show host for MSNBC. He is a convicted perjurer. He was a lieutenant colonel, who was involved with the Iran-Contra affair. Maybe you could give a little background to the Iran-Contra affair, as we go into the conversation with Oliver North. Of course, Iran-Contra being the support, the U.S. government’s support, for the Contras by selling arms to the Iranians and taking the profits from those arms and funneling them to the Contras, which Congress had said they would not support.
EDWARD HERMAN: Yeah. Well, it was essentially a secret government, on the government, arranged by the Reagan administration, in absolutely total violation of the law, with endless lying to Congress—a really subversive, unconstitutional action.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s hear Oliver North.
AMY GOODMAN: Oliver North? Hi, I’m Amy Goodman, from—
OLIVER NORTH: Hello, Amy. How are you?
AMY GOODMAN: Hi. So, what do you think of Cheney as the choice for vice president?
OLIVER NORTH: I think he’s perfect.
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you like him?
OLIVER NORTH: Well, because he’s going to make a great vice president.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you like most about him?
OLIVER NORTH: Just exactly that.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you had dealings with him during Iran-Contra days. He was very much against the ban on funding of the Contras.
OLIVER NORTH: Yes, he was. Thank God.
AMY GOODMAN: How did he help you?
OLIVER NORTH: Well, he helped—he helped the cause of democracy by making sure that we ended up with freedom and democracy in Nicaragua. Otherwise, it would still be a communist country.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the getting aid to the Contras, even though the Congress had said that it was not legal?
OLIVER NORTH: Well, that’s not—that’s not what the Congress said at all. The Congress said—
AMY GOODMAN: Well, the Boland Amendment cut off funding for aid.
OLIVER NORTH: I would commend that you go back and read it, because one of the things we in the media ought to be is accurate. And the Boland Amendment simply said you couldn’t use federal money to support the Nicaraguan resistance, for military or paramilitary activities. And so, the president didn’t. He went and used the king of Saudi Arabia, the government of Taiwan, the government of South Korea, the sultan of Brunei and, of course, the ayatollah. That’s not American taxpayer money. And surprisingly enough, with all that went on in that five years of investigations, no one was ever prosecuted for violating the Boland Amendment.
AMY GOODMAN: Cheney, he tried to get rid of the Boland Amendment, to make it legal?
OLIVER NORTH: Well, he voted—no, he voted—remember, the Congress voted five times in aid of the Nicaraguan resistance. And four of those five times, they provided millions and millions of taxpayer dollars for it. Only once did they vote the wrong way.
AMY GOODMAN: And how did Cheney vote on that?
OLIVER NORTH: He voted the right way—unfortunately, with the minority.
AMY GOODMAN: So what do you think he could accomplish today then?
OLIVER NORTH: I think he’d make a great vice president. He is going to make a great vice president.
AMY GOODMAN: Mr. North, one last question: What about—what about the allegations that the money was being used to fund cocaine-smuggling Contras?
OLIVER NORTH: I can assure you, given the fact that Larry Walsh, who was an independent counsel, investigated this for five years—he’d have locked people up for jaywalking—if there was any truth to it, I can assure you he would have prosecuted somebody for it.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, ran for Senate in Virginia, lost and is now a talk show host on MSNBC. We should comment that the former Wyoming Congressmember Dick Cheney was the ranking Republican on the Iran-Contra committee, now the vice-presidential nominee. He authored the Iran-Contra report. The Iran-Contra report absolved President Bush of all wrongdoing. Congressional investigators, led by Cheney, found no evidence of complicity by Vice President Bush in the Iran-Contra affair. The report stated the vice president attended several meetings on the Iran initiative, but none of the participants could recall his views. George Bush granted pardons to six Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve, of January 4th, 1993, the most prominent of whom was former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Oliver North, today one of—well, one of the corporate media’s pundits.
EDWARD HERMAN: It’s a pretty amazing testimonial to [MSNBC] and the workings of the media today that these people, who actually if they were—if a leftist was made a felon, there would be absolutely no question that he would ever possibly be in the media. But there’s so—just as the pardons are given to people who will do what the secret state wants done, so these people get exonerated. We’ve got an awful lot of war criminals walking around the streets of Washington and the United States, very eminent people, who ought to be prosecuted, if there was a real war crimes tribunal. Oliver North is possibly one of them.