FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Argo and the Stolen Truth About Iran

by MAHMOOD DELKHASTEH

This year’s Oscar-winning movie ‘Argo’ recently spurred Iran’s former president, Abolhassan Banisadr to write an article about the ‘October Surprise’. In it, he discusses the secret deal between Ronald Reagan and Ayatollah Khomeini which, by delaying the release of the hostages being held in the US embassy in Tehran, swayed the results of the 1980 US presidential election to favour Reagan over the incumbent Jimmy Carter. Banisadr argues that through ‘falsifying, misrepresenting and taking critical facts out of context,’ the film ‘delivers a pro-CIA message,’ and that by portraying Iranians as irrational and aggressive people it prepares the US public to support a war should the current nuclear negotiations fail.

The day after Banisadr’s article was published, Robert Parry, who had written previously about the ‘short-sighted history of Argo’, wrote a second article supporting these arguments. He added that ‘the House Task Force which was examining this so-called October Surprise controversy in 1992 had come to the conclusion that they had found “no credible evidence” of a Republican-Iranian deal had reached such a conclusion only by ignoring important facts and burying a letter from Banisadr letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and Khomeini’s son Ahmad over their secret dealing with the Reagan campaign.

Soon after, Barbara Honneger, a former White House Domestic Policy Advisor who had played a major role in exposing this secret deal, wrote an extended comment on Parry’s article. Her article illuminates how the report by the Task Force, which was chaired by Rep. Lee Hamilton, was nothing but a ‘white wash and cover up.’ One of its members, Dymally, drafted a Minority Report, but Hamilton prevented him from publishing it through bullying and threatening to fire his entire Congressional Staff. Honneger reveals how Banisadr’s letter was coordinated with a two-hour press conference where she presented reporters at the National Press Club with reams of incriminating evidence on the October Surprise cover up (she is now planning to release a videotape of this two-hour press conference). As she writes, this ‘flood of last-minute’ evidence on that historic day implicated the Reagan-Bush campaign in plans in delaying the release of the hostages, and led the Task Force Chief Council Lawrence Barcella to ask Lee Hamilton to extend the enquiry for a further three months. Hamilton refused.

This may seem puzzling at first. Why would Hamilton prefer to produce a ‘white wash and cover up’ report rather than extend the enquiry? The answer could lie in a conversation he had with Banisadr before the Task Force was established. In a personal interview, Banisadr revealed that Hamilton told him if there had been a clandestine deal between Reagan and Khomeini, all governments in the last twelve years would be considered illegal, and that this would be extremely harmful for the political system. Banisadr told him that the price of lying would be even higher, as the American people would lose trust not only in politicians but the entire political system if they became aware of this lie, which soon or late they would.

Here, we can see that Hamilton had already decided to produce his report even before setting up the Task Force, as he had calculated that the price of telling the truth would be extremely high. Had had he told the truth, it is nearly certain that many of the political decisions which have had disastrous global consequences, such as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, would not have taken place.

This brings me to my main point. It is that it is doubtful that Ben Affleck intentionally produced a movie to serve the interests of warmongers in Washington, and more likely that the script is over-reliant on CIA documents. However, reactions to the movie provide us with an opportunity to introduce what Robert Parry calls ‘America’s Stolen Narrative’ so that Americans realize the price that they and the world have paid and are still paying as a result of being lied to.

Oliver Stone once considered making a movie about the October Surprise. If he again considered producing one based on facts rather than fiction, he could make a major contribution to returning this stolen truth to the historical record in the public mind. Recovering this may ultimately thwart the advance of future wars that are already being planned by the very people who helped bring Reagan to power.

Mahmood Delkhasteh is a political sociologist, expert in Iranian revolution and a human rights activist.  He is currently working on a new book based on his doctoral dissertation, Islamic Discourses of Power and Freedom in the Iranian Revolution, 1979-81.

Mahmood Delkhasteh is a political sociologist, expert in Iranian revolution and a human rights activist.  He is currently working on a new book based on his doctoral dissertation, Islamic Discourses of Power and Freedom in the Iranian Revolution, 1979-81.

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail