Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Remember "The October Surprise?"

It was widely bruited about--mostly "unofficially"; in fact strenuously denied--in the aftermath of the release of the USer hostages in Iran on the very day of Raygun's inauguration in Jan., '81, that Raygun's owners/managers had committed treason "negotiated behind the scenes" with the Iranian mullahs to deny then-President Jimmy Carter the opportunity of a propaganda coup of an "October surprise" and potentially swing the election by gaining the hostages' release himself.*

The ill-fated 'arms-for-hostages' imbroglios which eventually tainted the last two years of the Raygun regime is symptomatic of the quids-pro-quo extracted by the mullahs for their cooperation. But direct evidence of the complicity (in actual treason) of two highly placed CIA operatives--GHW Bush and Bill Casey--in the negotiations with the Iranians has not been systematically gathered.

Until now.

Because the inordinately ambitious and extraordinarily skillful Robert Parry has published an exhaustively thorough, documented, and sourced summary of the events, personalities, and consequences of those events to which I intend this post to direct your attention:

Much of the controversy over the October Surprise mystery has centered on several alleged secret meetings in Europe between senior Republicans – including then-Reagan campaign chief William Casey and Reagan’s running mate George H.W. Bush – and Iranian officials, including senior cleric Mehdi Karrubi.

A variety of witnesses, including Iranian officials and international intelligence operatives, have described these contacts, which have been denied by Bush and other top Republicans.

Though official U.S. investigations have generally sided with the Republicans, a substantial body of evidence – much of it which has been kept hidden from the American people – actually supports the October Surprise allegations. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

In addition, other incriminating evidence was buried in the annex to the January 1993 report by the House October Surprise Task Force, including two letters, one from former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr to the task force in December 1992 and another, the translation of a 1980 letter from Iran’s then-acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh to Iran’s Majlis or parliament.

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-Bush campaign officials and Islamic radicals close to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini if it weren’t stopped.

Bani-Sadr said he 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.
Parry treats the history comprehensively and the politics with an appropriate amount of skepticism. This piece is a must-read if you are trying to understand the story of USer intervention in Central Asia.

*According to the US Code, conducting personal negotiations with international state entities in opposition to the elected Authority's own agenda, is cause for action as treasonous. LBJ had an opinion on it.

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