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Events in Gander -- An Overview

Prelude: Soldiers in the Sinai

Troop Movement and Security

Post-Crash Investigation

The Toxicology Reports: Burned Alive

Arms to Iran: Enter One Oliver North

The Governments' Lines


List of Sources

Gander: The Untold Story

Arms to Iran: Enter One Oliver North

Many people have questioned the true mission of the 3rd battalion of the 101st Airborne deployed to the Sinai. There are some theories surrounding the contents of the mysterious "wooden boxes" loaded into the DC-8 in Cairo, and their relation to the Iran-Contra affair involving Oliver North. Others will point out that almost 20 members of the 101st were members of an elite Special Forces group known as Task Force 160. The significance of this fact is great, considering that the role of the Multinational Force and Observers is peacekeeping. In contrast, Task Force 160's main objectives are covert missions and rescues, as demonstrated by their suggested involvement in the Italian cruise liner, Achille Lauro, hostage situation. The forces were poised and ready to pounce, although the hijackers surrendered first. (6:34)

The only possible logic surrounding the entrance of such highly specialized personnel in a peacekeeping force, is that the MFO itself was used as a base for other, more covert, activity in the region. One must look at the events that were taking place at the time in the Middle East, although the public was unaware at the time. Colonel Oliver North had been negotiating with Iran for some time for the release of American hostages being held in that country. As an exchange for the release of the hostages, North was selling the Iranians TOW anti-tank missiles for use in its ongoing war with Iraq. In late November, 1985, the Iranians paid over $24 million for the purchase of 18 HAWK anti-aircraft missiles. However, upon delivery and testing of one of the HAWKs, the Iranians realized that they had received an older, less technologically advanced version of the HAWK which had a much lesser range that the new ones. The Iranians, already carrying a great distrust of the U.S., felt double-crossed. Oliver North was told by one of his advisors that there was a "good chance of condemning some or all of the hostages to death in a renewed wave of Islamic Jihad." Oliver North responded saying that the deaths of the hostages would be our "minimum losses." (8:182-196)

Realizing his position, the possibility exists that Oliver North planned a covert hostage rescue attempt. North knew the position of the hostages to the exact room of the barracks they were being held in. (6:34) If this attempt failed and there were casualties in the Special Operations group, this might explain the contents of the "coffin sized" boxes being loaded into the plane in Cairo. Also, if a rescue mission had failed several days earlier, retaliation by an angered Iran could have been focused on U.S. military maneuvers taking place in the region, most notably the transport of military personnel back to the U.S. An aircraft explosion over the North American continent would prove effective in showing the U.S. that the arm of terrorism can reach to any area of the globe.

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