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North Helped Steal Soviet Weapons From Poland for Contras, Magazine Says With

June 25, 1987

North Helped Steal Soviet Weapons From Poland for Contras, Magazine Says With PM-US-Iran-Contra Rdp Bjt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, working with a French businessman, engineered an operation to steal Soviet weapons from Poland to give to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, a magazine says.

The two-week operation used members of the banned Polish union Solidarity who risked their lives, according to an article in July editions of The Washingtonian.

North, the former National Security Council aide who was fired for his role in the Iran-Contra affair, enlisted help for the project from the CIA and from Glenn Souham, 34, who was shot to death outside his Paris apartment last September, the magazine said.

Souham, according to the article, was a French businessman with close ties to Solidarity and assisted North in opening the channel. Solidarity enlisted the cooperation of the Polish railway union in the project, the article said.

Using false documents provided by North and the CIA, a train loaded with Soviet arms intended for the Polish army was diverted from a Polish pier to East Germany, the article said.

From East Germany, the arms were smuggled into West Germany after bribes were paid by Western agents to local officials, and subsequently shipped to Contra warehouses in Honduras. The article gave no date for the operation.

The murder of Souham, who had White House contacts and had done some work for the president’s Private Sector Intiative Board, has not been solved.

Tish Cotter, a spokeswoman in New York for Souham’s family, said FBI agents are looking into the case. She said the family had denied that Souham had any contact with Solidarity or officials in Poland.

Earlier, a U.S. administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Poland sold weapons to the Contras because the Soviet bloc country needed foreign exchange. Poland also provided weapons to the Sandinistas.

The article also said North urged the U.S. bombing of Libya in April 1986 in part because he said Col. Moammar Gadhafi had offered $100 million for six American hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian Shiite Moslems.