July 28, 1987 – Trial At Chernobyl – Meese At Iran-Contra – Mines In The Persian Gulf.
July 28, 1987 – The nuclear power plant disaster at Chernobyl was still in the news. This time the trial, where half a dozen Soviet nuclear officials were on trial, and prepared to pay heavily for the 1986 disaster which was blamed for 31 deaths and thousands of potential Cancer cases. From very early on in their investigation, the Soviets have placed the blame on human error. And on this day, those responsible learned the cost of their mistakes. Six former officials at the plant were found guilty and sentenced to terms up to ten years in labor camps. The Soviet government said unauthorized experiments were taking place at the Chernobyl site were being carried out, and proper procedures were not being used at the time. The plants former Director, Chief Engineer, his assistant and leader of the fateful shift were among the accused. The verdict was thought to be the first time plant officials in any country had been held criminally responsible for accidents at their plant. In the Soviet context, the verdicts seemed part of Mikhail Gorbachev’s plan to hold Soviet managers responsible for their actions.
Attorney General Edwin Meese returned to the Senate Caucus room for more questions from the Iran-Contra Investigation committee. The Attorney General’s first day of testimony focused on his role in advising the President that the arms initiative to Iran was legal. And on Meese’s later mission, to write a chronology on how the Arms sales to Iran progressed. Meese said his earlier advice was limited, and that the sales were so sensitive he never followed up on what happened. In fact, he painted a picture of a White House so compartmentalized that no one knew what was going on.
And U.S. helicopters along with Saudi Arabian ships found seven more mines like the one which hit the Bridgeton which hit a mine off the channel off Iran’s Farsi Island. Officials conceded it was an embarrassing intelligence failure not to have anticipated that Iran might lay mines there. The presence of so many mines in that channel has convinced the Pentagon that a major mining operation had taken place aimed at the Bridgeton and her escorts. The Pentagon issued a clamp-down on information over when and where the next tanker would be coming through the area.
That’s a small chunk of what happened, this July 28th, 1987 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.