The Truth About “Argo” and Republican Treason

July 11, 2013

Argo

Sometimes I’m late to the party, but I always bring extra beer.
We finally rented the movie “Argo”, the thriller about the Iran hostage crises that won an Oscar at the Academy Awards.
The movie was incredibly well acted and kept you on the edge of your seat.
However, it was largely built on a lie. That lie was that the taking of hostages at the American Embassy in November 1979 was unexpected; that President Carter bungled the rescue attempt; and that the Republicans had nothing to do with the situation.
The U.S. hostages were taken because the U.S. allowed the Shah of Iran to enter the U.S. for cancer treatment as his government collapsed. The reaction of the Iranian students was well expected.
The military mission by President Carter was likely sabotaged, with a mysterious fire on the helicopter deck before launch that compromised machinery, and the fact that Oliver North and Richard Secord (of Iran-Contra fame) were involved in the mission.
And most importantly, the entire 444 days that the American hostages were held the political campaign team for Ronald Reagan was seceretly arranging for the hostages to be held until Reagan was officially President.
This was known as “The October Suprise”; in reference to the possibility that Carter would succede in bringing the hostages home and retaining the Presidency for a second term.
It was illeagal and gave “aid and comfort” to an enemy of America while military operations were being prepared for a rescue.

“Argo” refered to a clever plot by a faction (Carter’s branch) of the CIA to pose as movie producers to extracate a handful of embassy employees that had narrowly escaped the seizing of the U.S. Embassy.

After the movie hit the screens with raving reviews, former Iranian president Bani Sadr wrote this scathing rebuttal to the permise of the movie:

(excerpts)
The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com
‘Argo’ helps Iran’s dictatorship, harms democracy

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran after the 1979 revolution, says that by falsifying, misrepresenting, and taking critical facts out of context, the Academy-Award winning film ‘Argo’ delivers a pro-CIA message at the cost of the Iranian people and history.
(snip)
Near the start, the film correctly cites a quotation from me that I believed the Americans who were being held in the embassy would be freed very soon. That information was based on a conversation with Ayatollah Khomeini, in which he had said that they would be released within the following three to four days.

The movie, however, presents this statement in an atmosphere which gives viewers the impression that the Iranian government supported the occupation of the embassy and that I was a lone voice in opposing it. This could not be further from the truth.

For a start, soon after the occupation of the American Embassy, then-Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi told the Council of Revolution (a transitional council operating prior to the formation of the post-revolutionary parliament) that he assumed the occupation of the embassy was an Israeli-CIA coup. Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan’s entire administration was against the occupation.

Indeed, in the early days there was no talk of hostage-taking. The occupation was initially regarded as a short-term protest against the shah’s admittance to the United States, as the memory of the 1953 coup against Mohammad Mossadegh was still fresh in public memory. But as the event began to play a more important role in domestic Iranian and American foreign politics, the protest was transformed into a hostage-taking that lasted for 444 days and had catastrophic consequences for Iran, the US, and international politics.
(snip)
I was deposed in June 1981 as a result of a coup against me. After arriving in France, I told a BBC reporter that I had left Iran to expose the symbiotic relationship between Khomeinism and Reaganism.

Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the “October Surprise,” which prevented the attempts by myself and then-US President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 US presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan.

Two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, the Islamic Republican Party, and the Reagan administration.
Apart from this, I have a deeper concern about the way the film legitimizes clandestine CIA operations. The refusal of the CIA officer (Tony Mendez, played by Mr. Affleck) to abandon the plan to rescue the Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy in light of information that a military operation was under way is reminiscent of the first attempted coup against Mossadegh’s democratic government in 1953.

When this failed, the CIA asked its master spy, Kermit Roosevelt, to return to the US. He refused and, with the help of monarchists and some clergymen, organized a second successful attempt three days later. This coup ended democracy in Iran and replaced it with what was to become 25 years of the shah’s dictatorship. This resonance makes one wonder whether the film could ultimately, as some critics have suggested, “tilt the balance of U.S. public opinion toward war” should the ongoing nuclear negotiations fail.

The film has drawn public attention once again to this terrifying episode in both Iranian and US history. However, by falsifying, misrepresenting, and taking critical facts out of context, it delivers a pro-CIA message at the cost of both the Iranian people and Iranian history.

OPINION: Iran nuclear talks: Look to cooperation of US-Iran scientists

It does not help people understand that rather than being emblematic of the 1979 revolution, the hostage-taking enabled the forces of dictatorship we see today to overpower democratic struggles against the occupation of the US Embassy and all forms of violence in society. “Argo” may ultimately cost us even more time in securing a democratic future for Iran.
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Journalist Robert Parry describes a letter form Bani-Sadr to the U.S. committee investigating allegations of “The October Surprise”:

“Bani-Sadr’s letter described the internal battles of the Iranian government over the Republican intervention in the 1980 hostage crisis. Bani-Sadr recounted how he threatened to expose the secret deal between Reagan’s campaign officials and Islamic radicals close to Ayatollah Khomeini if the hostage-release delay wasn’t reversed.

Bani-Sadr said he had first learned of the Republican “secret deal” with Iranian radicals in July 1980 after Reza Passendideh, a nephew of Ayatollah Khomeini, attended a meeting with Iranian financier Cyrus Hashemi and Republican lawyer Stanley Pottinger in Madrid on July 2, 1980. Though Passendideh was expected to return with a proposal from the Carter administration, Bani-Sadr said Passendideh instead carried a plan “from the Reagan camp.”

“Passendideh told me that if I do not accept this proposal, they [the Republicans] would make the same offer to my [radical Iranian] rivals. He further said that they [the Republicans] have enormous influence in the CIA,” Bani-Sadr wrote. “Lastly, he told me my refusal of their offer would result in my elimination.”

Bani-Sadr said he resisted the threats and sought an immediate release of the American hostages, but it was clear to him that the wily Khomeini was playing both sides of the U.S. political street. Bani-Sadr said the secret Republican plan to block release of the hostages remained a point of tension between him and Khomeini. Bani-Sadr said his trump card was a threat to tell the Iranian people about the secret deal that the Khomeini forces had struck with the Republicans.

“On Sept. 8, 1980, I invited the people of Teheran to gather in Martyrs Square so that I can tell them the truth,” Bani-Sadr wrote to the House Task Force. “Khomeini insisted that I must not do so at this time. … Two days later, again, I decided to expose everything. Ahmad Khomeini [the ayatollah’s son] came to see me and told me, ‘Imam [Khomeini] absolutely promises’” to reopen talks with Carter if Bani-Sadr would relent and not go public.

Bani-Sadr said the dispute led Khomeini to pass on a new hostage proposal to the U.S. government through Khomeini’s son-in-law, Sadegh Tabatabai, in September 1980 (although that initiative ultimately was derailed by radical Islamists in the Majlis or parliament).

A Corroborating Letter

The House Task Force also obtained – and buried in the report’s annex – another Iranian letter bearing on the secret Republican initiative. On Aug. 18, 1980, Iran’s then-acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh informed Iran’s Majlis that “another point to consider is this fact. We know that the Republican Party of the United States in order to win the presidential election is working hard to delay the solution of the hostages crisis until after the U.S. election.”

Ghotbzadeh argued for a quicker resolution of the crisis so Iran’s new Islamic government, which had consolidated its power in part because of the hostage crisis, could “get on with other more pressing affairs than the hostage issue.”

He added, that “objection to this argument is that it will be in line with the policy of the Republican Party leaders and supporters of [banker David] Rockefeller and Reagan. [But] if we leave this issue unsolved, our new government will be constantly under pressure and may not be able to succeed in its affairs. In light of this consideration it is better to settle this crisis.”

As the hostage crisis wore on in late summer 1980, Ghotbzadeh made other comments about the Republican interference, telling Agence France Press on Sept. 6, 1980, that he had information that Reagan was “trying to block a solution” to the hostage impasse.

Bani-Sadr’s detailed letter meshed not only with Ghotzabeh’s contemporaneous accounts but with a statement made by former Defense Minister Ahmad Madani, who had lost to Bani-Sadr in the 1980 presidential race although Madani had received covert CIA assistance funneled to his campaign through Iranian financier Cyrus Hashemi.

Madani said he later discovered that Hashemi was double-dealing Carter by collaborating with the Republicans. In an interview with me in the early 1990s, Madani said Hashemi brought up the name of Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey in connection with these back-channel negotiations over the U.S. hostages. Madani said Hashemi urged Madani to meet with Casey, earning a rebuke from Madani that “we are not here to play politics.”

Nevertheless, in December 1992, with ex-President Reagan already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and his successor George H.W. Bush defeated and on his way out of office, the House Task Force chose what was considered the bipartisan solution, to brush aside this Iranian information and a wealth of other material implicating Reagan and Bush – and simply declare that there was “no credible evidence” of a Republican-Iranian deal.”
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And the rest, as they say, is “history”
Ronald Reagan was elected, and announced to the Nation that the hostages were coming home.
This was the start of the imfamous “Iran-Contra Affair”, with the Reagan administration arming the Iranians, laundering money to provide for the overthrow of the legitimate government of Nicaragua, and flooding the streets of America with cheap cocaine from it’s narco-allies in Central America.

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