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Viewpoint: Will the real Ollie North stand up?

July 1, 1993

Viewpoint: Will the real Ollie North stand up?

By Joe Baker

Will the real Ollie North stand up?

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

There he was on the front page of the daily, looking all smug and self-righteous, posing before Old Glory. Former Lt. Col. Oliver North was in town, spouting off about faith, values and the family for a gathering held by a local Christian organization.

It was a nauseating performance for those who know about the real Ollie North.

Faith? Faith in what—plastic explosives? Cocaine? Automatic weapons?

About 1986, legendary drug smuggler and CIA agent Barry Seal was shot to death in Baton Rouge, La., the day before he was to testify in his own trial for drug smuggling.

Red Hall, a CIA electronics expert, earlier had been in Nicaragua with Seal. He said the CIA had a lot to do with Seal’s murder.

“The killers were being directed by Oliver North at the time. It was the same thing Oliver North pulled on us down in Nicaragua. Then I didn’t know yet that Oliver North had it in for Barry Seal, because he was working with Oliver at that particular point. We was undercover, and we were still down there (Nicaragua) when Oliver North blew the whistle on us,” Hall told author Daniel Hopsicker.

Richard Sharpstein, a Miami attorney who defended three Colombians convicted of Seal’s murder, said the three told him and other attorneys that when they reached this country, they were directed by an anonymous U.S. military officer they believed was Col. Oliver North.

Seal’s slaying was carried out by an eight-man squad of Colombians, according to several writers. The eighth man was Jose Coutin, they said, known to be associated with North.

Numerous other sources told Hopsicker, author of Barry and the Boys, a book about the life and death of Barry Seal, that North had been running an assassination squad from his White House office.

Writer Ben Bradlee, Jr., in his book Guts and Glory: the Rise and Fall of Oliver North, states North was doing work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) between 1982 and 1984. North, said Bradlee, was drafting a top-secret plan to impose martial law on the country in the event of nuclear war or other national crises or revelation of the massive, government-sponsored drug

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smuggling in progress.

When the Iran-Contra scandal blew open, North went into a three-day frenzy of record shredding. Still, investigators found more than 500 references to drugs in his remaining notebooks.

North himself wrote that the Contras were partially financed by more than $14 million in drug money.

Former CIA pilot Gary Eitel told Hopsicker: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than going to a carwash makes you a car.”

This is the man who was held up to Rockford audiences as a paragon of virtue and a great patriot. It was like the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan lecturing on tolerance. This kind of hypocrisy ought to make somebody hang their head in shame.

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