National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty

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"The Iran-Contra affair is one that is full of contradictions, hypocrisy, corruption and rhetoric claiming the opposite to actual actions. The creation and use of organisations titled 'The National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty' (NEPL), or the 'Institution for Democracy, Education and Assistance' (IDEA) 'non-profit', 'tax-free' organisations dedicated to the education of the general public all illustrate the hypocrisy and cynicism of North and his associates. These organisations where not in the least bit interested in anything their titles suggested. NEPL and IDEA were both created in 1984, NEPL by Carl R. Channell and IDEA by Robert W. Owen, men that Oliver North brought on board in order to avoid direct involvement of government agents or agencies. These organisations worked as agencies to raise and divert funds for the covert activity in the Contras after the passing of the Boland Amendment. Owen's organisation worked in conjunction with other phoney organisations that North and others had devised in order to indirectly control funds that government bodies donated.[1]

"Channell's organisation, NEPL, held fundraising dinners for rich people to attend, to learn more about the situation in the Contras and donate large sums of money to the 'cause'. As the Congressional report found; certain National Security Council (NSC) staff members, using the prestige of the White House and the promise of meetings with the President, helped raise private donations. Oliver North personally addressed the groups, occasionally President Ronald Reagan 'dropped by' to give a brief speech or have photos with the people. North personally sent letters of thanks to the contributors, one began as such: 'During 1985, the hope of freedom and democracy in Nicaragua was kept alive with the help of the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty and fine American such as you. Because you cared, the spark of liberty still glows in the darkness of Nicaragua.' The rich individuals that donated to the organisations established by Channell and his colleagues believed that they were empowering and helping the poor, repressed Nicaraguans. These people did not realise that they were in fact lining the pockets of the fundraisers and financing a covert war against a country that had nothing to threaten them with, other than the threat of a Government that the Reagan Administration did not endorse."[2]

"Channell formed NEPL in 1984. He obtained Internal Revenue Service approval to operate it as a tax-exempt organization based on his representations that its activities were not for profit and focused on the study, analysis and evaluation of the American socioeconomic and political systems. NEPL was exempted from taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which covers groups organized exclusively for 'religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary or educational' purposes. Channell was NEPL's president and Daniel L. Conrad its executive director."[3]

"Professional fundraisers also profited by the Reagan Administration's decision to finance its foreign-policy goals outside the congressional-appropriations process. They used the White House, the President's name and other accoutrements of official power to profit illegally. Beginning in 1985, North joined with Carl R. 'Spitz' Channell and Richard R. Miller to solicit donations for the contras from wealthy Americans, and ultimately to divert these contributions to the Enterprise [code name used for activities]. Especially generous donors were rewarded with personal meetings with President Reagan and private briefings from North. Raising money for weapons and other lethal supplies was not a charitable activity under U.S. tax laws, but North, Channell and Miller illegally used a tax-exempt organization, the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty (NEPL), for this purpose."[4]

"As the [Iran/Contra] hearings wound down, Carl "Spitz" Channel pleaded guilty to charges of fraud for using the tax-exempt National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty to solicit funds for the Contras, with the aid of Colonel North. For a donation of $200,000 or more, they boasted that a person could get an audience with the President (although they could not guarantee that he would not be napping at the time). For a donation of $100,000, they let a person sit in the President's chair when he wasn't in the Oval Office. For a donation of $25,000, a person would receive a transcript of a televised Presidential address of the donator's choosing and, for a $10 donation, you would get an autographed picture of the President and a button that read "No more Bonzos." The money used to buy the arms was kept in a fund labeled 'Toys,' proving once again that the weaker the boys, the more expensive are their toys."[5]

The collection of Iran/Contra scandal files reposited at George Washingotn University "contains a wealth of documentation from groups that formed the private sector arm of these covert operations, such as the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, International Business Communications, and others."

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