The Let's Play Archive

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

by Lazyfire

Part 1: Episode 1: Father of the Year, Episode 2: Rescue

Episode 1: Father of the Year
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Episode 2: Rescue
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Things to watch for

Mason has aged. In all fairness it's been 20 years since the last game give or take, so it's expected, but he and Hudson show the biggest signs of aging. Woods remains nearly untouched.

It's hinted at a couple times, but Mason has apparently gone back to the CIA before for one off missions or something of that nature. You also get the feeling he's not a big fan of Hudson anymore despite the fact they pretty much saved the world together. Hudson's character model also seems to have changed a bit to look close, oddly enough, to real life Ed Harris even if he isn't voicing the character anymore.

Lt. Col. Oliver North

Texas-born retired US Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North appears as himself in the opening sequence of Black Ops 2 and served as a military advisor for the game. North was on the National Security Council (or NSC) during the events of the game and had personally met and worked with some of the other historical figures featured in this game, making him a good choice as a consultant, but doesn’t take away from the fact he engaged in illegal activities that lead to the deaths of innocent civilians.

Long before North was a national figure he served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam earning commendations and metals like the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts. By 1970 North had transitioned to a role as a trainer, first in Virginia and later as the commander of a training base in Japan. Once his stint in Japan was over North would be based in the US for the rest of his career, allowing him to attend the Naval War College’s Command courses. He graduated in 1981 and was assigned to the National Security Council as the deputy director for political-military affairs. North would remain in that role until 1986 when he was dismissed by President Reagan for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.

The Iran-Contra Affair will get its own write-up later, but a few key details are needed. In 1982 the US Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which, through subsequent revisions, barred the US government from providing financial assistance to the Contras in Nicaragua. The Contras were pitched as “freedom fighters” attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government which had Communist leanings and saw some support from the Soviet Union. In order to get around the Boland Amendment, which barred government funds from going to the Contras, but not private funds, North helped organize monetary support from other nations as well as private sources. He also became deeply involved in what had once been an attempt to influence “moderates” in Iran to use their ties to the Lebanese captors of seven Americans to secure a release of said hostages.

This is the Iran-Contra Affair most people think about, and while North didn’t come up with the idea, he was a key player. By selling weapons to Iran (which most nations had an arms embargo on) and then using the profits to fund the Contras, North only helped the Contras carry out a campaign of intimidation on the people of Nicaragua, including the kidnapping and torturing of citizens, rape, executions and targeted killings.

North was called in front of Congress to testify on the Iran-Contra Affair and was given limited immunity for his testimony. This would come back after his 1989 sentencing to a three year suspended prison term, fines and two years’ probation for a conviction on three charges: accepting a bribe, stifling a congressional inquiry and destroying documents related to said inquiry. For what North did this was a pretty lenient sentence. By 1991 all charges were dropped on a technicality.

The American Civil Liberties Union (Yes, the ACLU, that isn’t a typo) argued that the limited immunity granted during North’s congressional testimony was violated during the civil trial that convicted him. The way the immunity was supposed to work was that the prosecutors were to not use the congressional testimony or admittance of wrongdoing by North to the Congress against him in the civil trial. The ACLU argued that the prosecutors had done just that, though they could provide no clear examples. The trial judge dismissed all charges against North in September of 1991.

North would go on to run for political office in his adopted home state of Virginia and lose. North today is a bestselling author, runs his Freedom Alliance foundation and appears as a talking head on Sean Hannity’s TV show on Fox News along with hosting War Stories With Oliver North on the same network.

As an interesting side note; North was probably well aware that the Contras were funding themselves partially through the sale of illegal drugs and seemed to be pretty OK with it.

Jonas Savimbi

Jonas Savimbi was the son of a preacher who ended up being one of the most successful guerilla warfare leaders of the 20th century. Born in 1934 in the Portuguese African colony of Angola, Savimbi showed an early intelligence, earning the opportunity to study in Portugal in 1958. Savimbi wanted to study medicine, but had skipped out on a compulsory course while finishing his education and wasn’t allowed to attend medical school. Instead Savimbi started associating with a group of students who were seeking Angolan independence, possibly through any means necessary. Many of these students and groups had ties to the Portuguese Communist Party and would help secret Savimbi to Switzerland when the Portuguese Secret Police suggested it would be best for him to leave the country.

Savimbi furthered his education in Switzerland, but also started to believe in the cause of Angolan independence around this time thanks to his meeting Holden Roberto, another Angolan emigrant who was pushing for Angolan independence in the United Nations. Thanks to Holden, Savimbi would become a crucial figure in the fight for Angolan independence. Savimbi’s newfound zeal for a free Angola sent him to China for training in the early 60’s. Here he learned from experts on guerilla warfare, many of whom were veteran leaders of Mao’s Red Army and had learned from experience how to win a long, drawn out engagement against stronger forces. Savimbi returned to Angola and joined the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola- Labor Party (MPLA) in hopes of winning a leadership position in the rebel group. He had no success on that front and defected to another rebel group, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), a group created out of the UPA of Holden Roberto, in 1964. He would then go on to create the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) later that year after a disagreement with Roberto over the conduct of the war. UNITA made use of Savimbi’s connections in the Red Army of China to obtain weapons and cash and Savimbi would finally have the leadership position he had desired.

During all this the Angolan War for Independence was still going on. Savimbi’s UNITA was one of four factions vying for rule of the at-the-time colony and UNITA was the new kid on the block as the war had begun in 1961 after protests by cotton farmers ended in airstrikes and civil unrest. UNITA would spend a couple years building forces and organizing before launching its first attack on December 25th, 1966. By this point the MPLA controlled large portions of the country and the train UNITA attacked was filled with copper that would have netted the MPLA a decent payday from neighboring Zaire. Zaire had long been a staging ground for rebel groups, but kicked Savimbi out by 1967. Savimbi still led raids on the MPLA at the behest of the Portuguese government.

It may seem strange that UNITA would work with the regime they were trying to overthrow, but because of the nature of the conflict there was considerable infighting between the various rebel factions. One week UNITA would be helping the Portuguese attack the MPLA, the next week they would be destroying Portuguese supply lines. UNITA was generally better armed, better trained and better situated than the other factions. The MPLA and FNLA were essentially fighting and recruiting in the same territory while UNITA was based away from the majority of the fighting and recruiting from a different population. Savimbi was also an effective rallying point for his men, developing a cult of personality.

In the end the Portuguese lost the war in 1974. Not because the rebel groups had won great victories, but because of a leftist uprising in Portugal overthrowing the regime and announcing withdrawal from colonies like Angola. The three groups would sign on to the Alvor Agreement which set up power sharing schemes and established allowable military strengths for each of the three rebel groups, which were now political parties. The problem here was that none of the other parties trusted each other and had private armies. Before a year was out the MPLA had forced out the FNLA and captured most of the territories in the new nation of Angola. Savimbi had pulled UNITA out of the governmental structure by then and was already launching guerilla attacks.

It was at this point Savimbi dropped his association with China and pitched himself as the anti-communist force in Angola’s war. This was probably the best move he could make. Savimbi drew the attention of figures in Washington D.C. who after supporting South Korea, South Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of China and other anti-Communist groups/forces figured there was no harm in taking on one more. Savimbi benefitted from Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy to throw full support behind anti-communist factions and Savimbi became something of a conservative darling. The Heritage Foundation, Jack Abramoff, and Reagan Administration officials became involved in Savimbi’s cause. Eventually the CIA would get involved in the mid 80’s by bringing in weapons, money and recruits. Oliver North would become a military advisor and anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist would become Savimbi’s economic guru.

Unlike in the US, blindly following Norquist didn’t translate to a electoral victories for UNITA in the 80’s or 90s. Savimbi participated in the 1992 elections, forcing a runoff election for President, but the MPLA attacked the convoy of negotiators Savimbi sent, causing Savimbi to withdraw from the race and continue fighting.

Savimbi would finally be taken down by the Angolan government in 2002 in a bloody firefight. Like in the game Savimbi would participate in battles and longevity on the front line made many doubt he was really dead until photos of his bloodied body were released. In the years since his death UNITA has suffered a major defeat at the polls, but remains the second largest political party in Angola.

Side note: Savimbi sold somewhere near $500 million in blood diamonds to DeBeers a year through the 1980’s and 1990’s to help fund UNITA.