The October Surprise File December 22, 1988

5 March 2012

Update: It still makes fascinating reading all these years on; the machinations of people with immense power, able to shape events to their pleasing, and that of their class.

Compiled and Edited by William Bowles, December 22, 1988. This file is a compilation of texts that have either been uploaded to or posted on this system [New York On-Line] or Peacenet, which have been edited to remove duplication, and/or inaccuracies and irrelevancies.

Updated 20/6/03. I came across this file very recently whilst doing some research on Michael Ledeen. I’ve edited out some of the contents as they refer to demonstrations or calls to phone people who are probably no longer around. But other than these minor edits, it’s as it was in 1988. It makes interesting reading 15 years later.

William Bowles


  1. A Chronology of Events. Uploaded by Tom Betz.
  2. Discussion and Information. Source: PeaceNet (various authors)
  3. Questions to be Asked. Source: Peacenet (various authors)
  4. Los Angeles Times story
  5. Rocky Mountain Times story. Source: Alex Winter
  6. Review of Movie, “Coverup: Behind the Iran-Contra Affair.” Source: Tom Betz
  7. Transcript of “The October Surprise” by Other Americas Radio. Source: Tom Betz


[The following time line of 1980 Reagan Campaign Deal With Iran was mailed to me along with a packet of newspaper clippings that support the “October Surprise” theory that I had previously posted. Reading all the clippings (from everything from the Huntsville Times to the San Francisco Examiner) makes me feel better about the mainstream press. Maybe we just need to read the stuff that isn’t on the front page.]

Throughout 1979 hostage crisis and 1980 presidential campaign – CIA’s Iran desk/covert operatives rabidly pro-Reagan and anti-Carter [Witness by M. Rafizadeh p.346]

1980 – Iranian Cyrus Hashemi offers to open back channels to Rafsanjani in Iran to obtain release of the 52 hostages [San Jose Mercury News, 6/13/87, p. 21A. from L. A. Times]

March 1980 – Reagan Campaign pollster Richard Wirthlin notifies Campaign that an “October Surprise” [release of the 52 hostages before the election] cannot be allowed to happen or Carter will almost certainly win the election [Hidden Power by R. Perry pp123-124, 144]

April 1980 – William Casey, Reagan Campaign Manager, is in communication with Richard Secord, then chief planner of Carter’s Desert One rescue attempt. [Rebel by D. Freed. November 22, 1983]

April 18, 1980 – Carter makes top-secret decision to proceed with Desert One rescue attempt. [All Fall Down by G. Sick]

April 20, 1980 – Casey O.S.S. associate, Miles Copeland, publishes details of Carter’s Desert One rescue attempt, which are continuously broadcast into Iran [Washington Star, 4/20/80]

April 25, 1980 – Desert One rescue attempt (chief planner Richard Secord [Secord’s testimony in Irangate hearings], staff trained by Secord associates Cupp, Gadd and Dutton) [San Jose Mercury News, 12/12/86, p. 23A], while Oliver North is in Iran [The Nation, 6/20/87, by C. Hitchins] is sabotaged by the CIA/Secret Team in communication with Reagan Campaign Manager William Casey. [M. Rafizadeh, Witness and personal communication]. Mrs. Cynthia Dwyer tells Rev. Moore immediately following the attempt, in Iran, that it was caused to fail by the CIA [Rev. Moore, personal communication]

May 1980 – Mrs. Cynthia Dwyer, who will become the “53rd hostage”, is taken captive in Iran.

August 1980 – Reagan Campaign appoints Richard Beal, assistance to campaign pollster Richard Wirthlin, to work on counter strategies to a Carter “October Surprise.” [Hidden Power by R. Perry p. 124] and Richard V. Allen, the campaign’s chief foreign policy adviser, is appointed to head one of two “October Surprise” groups [Albosta Committee Report Vol. 1, pp. 47-

48; NY Times 10/7/80; and San Jose Mercury News, 4/12/87, p. 21A]

October 10, 1980 – Iran demands list of arms and spare parts purchased under the Shah, as part of negotiations for release of the 52 hostages [All Fell Down by G. Sick]

October 11, 1980 – Carter’s Iran Core Group, including Sick, compiles list of $150 million worth of U.S. arms and spare parts, per Iran’s request of the day before [All Fell Down, pp. 369-370]

“Early” October, 1980 – Secret Washington, D.C. meeting between Richard V. Allen, Robert McFarland, and L. Silberman representing the Reagan Campaign and an emissary of Iran, who offers to release the 52 hostages on Reagan’s terms in exchange for later U.S. arms sales to Iran, “to ensure Carter’s defeat.” [Knight-Ridder, 4/11-12/87; Washington Post, 11/29/87]

October 16 & 17, 1980 – Meeting of top Reagan Campaign officials to decide whether to debate Carter. Decision is made to debate even though Wirthlin’s projections at the meeting show Reagan should not debate if an “October Surprise” can occur. [Hidden Power by R. Perry, p.144]

October 18, 1980 – According to Wirthlin’s projections, beginning of crucial window of vulnerability for an “October Surprise”, i.e. when Carter would gain the most percentage points at the polls, 10%, if the hostages were brought safely home (between October 18 and 25). [Hidden Power by R. Perry]

October 22, 1980 – Iran suddenly drops all demands for and discussion of arms in exchange for hostages in its negotiations with Carter. [All Fell Down by G. Sick, pp. 371-372]

October 24, 1980 – At Reagan Campaign national headquarters, Ed Meese puts Admiral Robert Carrick full-time on counter-“October Surprise” operations and intelligence, in a campaign memorandum [Albosta Committee Report, Vol. 1, p. 50]. In late p.m., Reagan Campaign staffer in the campaign’s Operations Center boasts, “We don’t have to worry about an ‘October Surprise.’ Dick [Allen] cut a deal.” [Larry King Live, 12/4/86]

October 28, 1980 – Carter-Reagan presidential debate. Barbara Walters asks Carter about reports that he is negotiating a release of the 52 hostages in return for weapons and spare parts together with unfreezing Iranian assets. Carter responds that he intends to return to Iran what Iran already owns. [Iran had already paid for $300 million worth of U.S. weapons and spare parts under the Shah].

Barbara Walters also asks Reagan about his plans for the hostages. Reagan responds, “I have been accused lately of having a secret plan with regard to the hostages…My ideas require quiet diplomacy where you don’t say what it is you’re thinking of doing.” [All Fell Down, Gary Sick, p. 377]

October 29, 1980 – Six days before the Nov. 4 election, Carter is assured his secret negotiations with Iran – promising Iran $240 million in U.S. arms and spare parts paid for under the Shah, together with unfreezing Iranian assets – will result in the release of the 52 hostages before the Nov. 4 election. Iran’s parliament is scheduled to meet the next day, October 30, 1980, to approve the Carter-Iran deal. [Miami Herald, August 9, 1987]

October 29-30, 1980 – Richard V. Allen and George Bush meet in Paris, France with a representative of Iranian Mohammad Beheshti, a key member of Iran’s Hostage Policy Committee (other key members were Rafsanjani and Khomeini’s son). Bush and Allen give Beheshti’s representative bribe money to delay release of the 52 hostages until after the 1980 election. Former Iranian president Bani-Sadr reports that Beheshti’s Hostage Policy Committee suddenly killed Carter’s plan, and the scheduled meeting of Iran’s Parliament for October 30, 1980 was called off at the last minute. [Miami Herald, August 9, 1987; New York Times, August 3, 1987; personal communication and call-in to radio talk show from U.S. serviceman who was at the Allen, Bush, Beheshti-representative meeting in Europe]

October 30, 1980 – At the morning “October Surprise” group meeting, Reagan Campaign Manager William Casey boasts that the campaign doesn’t have to worry about an “October Surprise” from Carter’s releasing the hostages before the election. [Hidden Power by R. Perry, P.153]

Following the November 4, 1980 Election – Iranian Foreign Minister and CIA double agent Ghotzbadeh, in negotiation with the Reagan Transition Team (Reagan’s post-election/pre-inauguration headquarters), secretly arranges for further delays of release of the 52 hostages until Reagan’s inauguration [Former Iranian President Bani-Sadr, San Jose Mercury News, 4/12/87, from the Miami Herald]

January 20, 1980, Inauguration Day – The 52 hostages are released, as arranged; all aspects of Carter’s hostages-for-money deal are consummated by morning. [All Fell Down by G. Sick] Mrs. Dwyer, the wife of a former classmate of Richard V. Allen, now Reagan’s first NSCAdviser, is still held captive in Iran.

January 21, 1980, Reagan’s first full day in office – Reagan tells Richard V. Allen, his new NSCAdviser, to tell Iran “The deal’s off” unless Mrs. Dwyer is released [Allen’s report, MacNeil-Lehrer TV Hour, 11/7/86]. The call to Iran communicating Reagan’s order linking his “deal” with Iran to Mrs. Dwyer’s release probably tape-recorded in White House Situation Room [Washington Post, 4/13/87]. Reagan holds first NSC meeting; topics: Iranian Ghorbanifar’s disinformation on Iran, and Libya [Seymour Hersh, San Jose Mercury News; and Washington Post, 2/20/87]

Late January 1981 – Secy of State Haig meets with Ariel Sharon to discuss U.S. arms shipments to Israel [Newsweek, 12/8/86], and announces that U.S. policy toward Iran depends on Mrs. Dwyer’s release [In These Times, 6/24-7-7/87]

February 9, 1981 – Mrs. Dwyer is released in Iran, and returns to U.S.

February 20, 1981 – Secy of State Haig approves Israeli sale of U.S. arms to Iran with encouragement of McFarlane and Ledeen, and meets with Shamir about the upcoming sales [Wall Street Journal, 12/12/86, p. 54]

Late February/Early March, 1981 – Israel begins shipments of U.S arms to Iran [LATimes, 1/25/87] NOTE: There had to be a signed presidential finding to authorize these early-1981 shipments of U.S. arms by Israel to Iran. That same finding was probably used to authorize the controversial Aug/Sept 1986 Irangate shipments to Israel, which the White House denies there was a signed finding for. Reason: they don’t want the public to know about the 1981 shipments and their relation to Reagan’s 1980 arms-for-hostages-delay deal with Iran.

Also Late February/Early March 1981 – Cyrus Hashemi begins parallel shipments of U.S. arms to Iran, claiming they are “part of an effort necessary to get the [original 52] hostages released.” [San Jose Mercury News, 4/12/87, from LATimes; Washington Times 12/17/86; and S.F. Chronicle, 1/6/87, from Washington Post wire], and were with William Casey and the CIA’s authorization [Washington Times, 12/17/86].

1985-1986 – Cyrus Hashemi works with Oliver North’s Irangate network, from the very beginning [Jack Anderson, 1/26/87, S.F. Chronicle].

July 21, 1986 – Cyrus Hashemi murder, reportedly by government agents [San Jose Mercury News, 6/13/87, p. 21A, from LATimes; Executive Intelligence Review, 8/1/86, p. 47]

-Phil Hughes


(Downloaded and Edited from PeaceNet)

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 9, 1988 1:15 pm

1980 Reagan-Bush Hostage Deal with Iran 8:54 pm Nov 6, 1988

Remember Dan Rather’s embarrasing interview with Bush last Spring/Summer where Rather came off as a bit of a rabid newshound while Bush pretty much kept his cool? Remember the “documentary” cuts insert as part of that interview regarding Iran/Contra, drugs, Rodriguez and Noriega, et al and where were you Bush? That similar materials have not been prepared re: October Surpriseseems unlikely, but it’s doubtful if CBS would care to repeat the same kind of Bush Bashing after one black eye. CBS (and the “liberal media”) was left accused of presuming guilt.

I spoke with the CBS assignment desk in New York a few days ago and found the person quite knowlegeable about the issue, who acknowledged the many calls coming in from around the country. He emphatically denied existance of any “documentary.” He did acknowledge that CBS was investigating, “Why do you think I know so much about it?” he replied. Well gosh, I wondered aloud, has no one COMPILED the findings of your investigation…..? He did indicate that CBS wanted to do an interview soon with Bush, and that there had been talk of Dan Rather, a chance to mend fences, perhaps.

From what I’ve seen and heard, there is no “smoking gun.” When Dan Rather went after Bush with evidence before and no smoking gun, just hard questions, he and CBS wound up with egg on face. Would CBS do that again, without hard evidence from reputable sources, two days before the election? Not likely, but they could at least report statements of court transcripts, the LATimes articles, the lawsuit filed against Casey’s estate by former hostages, and the demonstrations.

Perhaps CBS’s motivation to withold this story can be best understood from the bottom-line of corporate and economic survival. Remember the recent rumor of a Bush expose to have been published by the Wash. Post, which the Post emphatically denied? The Stock market got real nervous, took a significant dip and the Wall St. Journal blamed investor cold feet on the rumor? It’s clear that the speculative investor community would be more comfortable with a Bush than Dukakis administration. If a major scandal hit Bush just before the election, what would that do the economy, in terms of inciting fear, and bursting the speculative bubble once and for all? What would that shock do to the global economy? What would that do to the value of CBS stock? CBS just avoided a leveraged buy out from Ted Turner a few years ago.

It might be best to let justice and due process take it’s slow course rather than freak out the country at this point through shrill media charges and risk crashing the economy. This issue is not going to go away and there will very likely continue to be a strong Democratic Congress. Walsh’s grand jury weems to be investigating possible perjury from the Iran/Contra hearings, and Oliver North’s trial is yet to come.

Stay tuned for Act V of Macbeth, as the forest moves slowly towards Dunsinane. Maybe Bush can’t see it coming for the trees.

SOURCE: ddulmage (peacenet) 1980 Reagan-Bush Hostage Deal with Iran 7:12 pm Nov 3, 1988

Hi Folks! Well, had an interesting talk with the sixty min. folks this afternoon.

I called expecting a denial about there ever being any Oct. Surprise story. But guess what.. they not only ack. it’s existance, but apologized that they would not have it ready for this sunday. It’s conv. that it won’t be ready until after the election, but at least their talking. Keep up the phone calls we are having an effect. Good luck getting though the busy signals.

ha.. I love it!

Topic 4Urgent: Call 60 Minutes catboston 1980 Reagan-Bush Hostage Deal with Iran 10:13 am Nov 3, 1988

Call CBS—NOW —– to support the showing of a documentary on the October Surprisein 1980. There is strong feeling that CBS60 Minutes really HAS prepared the story of Bush’s alleged crime in 1980 to deal with Iran todelay — not deliver — delay the release of 52 U.S. hostages held in Tehran, in exchange for $40 million cash and $5 billion in arms later. The 60 Minutes operator who answered me at about 12:50 today said, “I agree [that the story should come out].” I also pleaded for it “to come out before the elections. The electorate deserves to hear of the crime BEFORE the elections.” Deluge CBS now with a flood of calls. The telephone number is 212-975-2009.

source: cbaume

On Saturday, Nov 5, there will be a protest to call attention to what the media has not been covering about Bush — in particular, his connection to drug running and sabotage of the 1980 election. A lot of people are deeply disturbed that we could have a candidate for running for president who has been involved in numerous illegal activities. The Saturday demonstration is intended to provide an outlet in the means of airing some of the facts surrounding Bush in the media.If enough people attend, we may get national coverage.

Meet at U.N. Plaza at 11 a.m. John Stockwell has agreed to speak, and we are working on getting other speakers. Pass the word as soon as possible among your respective organizations.[Here is the text of an open letter and 24 questions that the Contragate Action Team of Boston is directing to the press and media as part of our ongoing demonstrations to expose the 1980 October Surprise. The questions are the most piercing ones we could think of that will tend to break through the veil of lies that the media and the Establishment have erected. On noon on Tuesday, 1 November 1988, we demonstrated in front of WNEV-TV, a CBS affiliate in Boston. We announced who we are, what we are doing, and proceeded to read the letter and intone the questions. After each question was read, a chorus of people shouted in unison “Ask the Question!” After only two minutes a reporter rushed out of the building to observe and interview us. Feel free to copy and use these questions in your own demonstrations, and let’s not let up until the whole truth is out and we are well on the way toward controlling our own government.]

The open letter:

With the exception of publications such as The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, Los Angeles Times, LAWeekly, In These Times, and The Nation, the media in this country are not asking the key questions related to whether George Bush made a deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until after the 1980 election.

What is at stake here goes beyond ordinary campaign issues. It is the integrity of the Constitution and the right of the people to govern.

“DebateGate” established that Reagan and Bush tampered with the electoral process. This alone, taken with accumulated evidence of further high crimes, warrants immediate, comprehensive investigation by the media.

We believe there is enough evidence to suggest that George Bush will face impeachment, if elected.

Now is the time to find out the truth. History will hold you, the media, responsible if you fail to ask these and other questions:



  1. The 1987 Congressional Iran/Contra hearings asked about the U.S. shipping arms after 1984 and why profits were being diverted to the contras. That was the wrong question. The question should have been, Why were we shipping arms to Iran at all?
  2. Isn’t it odd that the 52 hostages were released just 20 minutes into the Reagan administration on Inauguration Day in 1981? How did that happen?
  3. Why did arms start flowing to Iran from Israel in 1981, when there were no American hostages left in Iran?
  4. Robert McFarlane told German reporter Martin Kilian that an Iranian representative first approached Senator John Tower with a hostage deal offer. If so, is it not strange that Tower should head the first investigation charged with bringing the truth to the American people about the Iran/Contra affair?
  5. Former President Carter has stated that if asked by Governor Dukakis, he would provide details to the media about controversial issues about which he has personal knowledge. Why hasn’t Governor Dukakis asked Jimmy Carter for these details and brought them out?
  6. Pierre Blai, a graduate student of 1980 campaign pollster Richard Beal, claims the CIA funded an “October Surprise” analysis for the Reagan/Bush campaign. Why the CIA? Can this be confirmed?
  7. Retired U.S. Army Col. Charles Scott, the highest ranking military person of the 52 hostages, has said of his and the others’ release, “A deal was done”, basing his information on CIA contacts. Does he confirm this?
  8. What leverage does Manucher Gorbanifar hold over the U.S., that allowed this quintessential liar to remain near the center of U.S./Iran arms transfers even until the scandal had unraveled?
  9. Why does Congress consider some secrets so sensitive that they can’t trust the American people with them, and hide them behind the closed doors of “executive sessions”?
  10. Why did Oliver North’s friend, Donald Gregg, an assistant in Democratic President Carter’s National Security Council staff, accompany the alleged mission of Republican George Bush to Paris in October 1980? Isn’t it curious that Gregg is now Vice President George Bush’s national security advisor?
  11. If the charges of a hostage deal are false, then why is there no evidence that George Bush, Donald Gregg, and William Casey were not in Paris on October 19, 1980?
  12. Boston Globe reporter Richard Higgins has reported that a Secret Service representative claimed George Bush was in the U.S. during the period 18-19 October 1980. Where is his documentation proving this claim?
  13. It has been established that George Bush has lied on several occasions regarding his role in the Iran/Contra affair. Arms dealer and key eyewitness Richard Brenneke, testifying in Colorado, has been repeatedly challenged on his credibility. Why should you question the credibility of Brenneke, a possible liar, and not that of Bush, a known liar?
  14. In an interview on the MacNeil/Lehrer report in 1986, Richard Allen mentioned a 53rd hostage, Cynthia Dwyer, adding that President Reagan had said that if she was not released “the deal was off”. What deal?
  15. Why, in an October 8, 1988, press release, did the California Democratic Council demand answers to the hostage deal charges?
  16. If it is true that George Bush and his aides made a deal with the Iranians, then the Reagan/Bush administration has for 8 years been subject to blackmail by the Ayatollah.Similarly, wouldn’t the Iranians favor a 1988 Bush victory, since a Bush administration would also be subject to blackmail? What are the implications of this?
  17. What is at the heart of CIA involvement in the 1980 Reagan/Bush “October SurpriseWorking Group”?
  18. William Casey, Richard Beal, Cyrus Hashemi, Jalal Al-din Farsi, and Ayatollah Mohammed Baheshti, alleged parties to the 1980 October Surprisedeal, all died sudden, mysterious deaths. Doesn’t it make you wonder?
  19. In a telephone conversation with a member of the Contragate Action Team of Boston, Gary Sick, principal Carter aide for Iran and author of “All Fall Down”, said he now finds merit in former Reagan policy analyst Barbara Honegger’s alllegations. If a responsible government official says Honneger’s charges “can’t be dismissed” does this not lend credibility to the much-maligned researcher?
  20. On 31 October 1988 Terry Anderson, the longest-held hostage in Beirut, said in a taped message, “I’ve been very close to being released several times over the past two years. But each time it seems that the USgovernment uses its influence to stop any agreement of being made. and I don’t understand this….All that is necessary is that Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush, if he is elected, use their influence in a positive way, not a negative one, with those who are trying to find a way out of this terrible impasse…whichever candidate wins this election, remember an unyielding refusal to deal with this matter is not going to make it go away.” Recognizing this is code from the Islamic Jihad, what is this “positive way” and what “matter” is not going to go away? Are they talking about blackmail here?
  21. On the basis of new information, Los Angeles attorney James H. Davis in October 1988 filed a legal motion to extend the time in a long-standing suit on behalf of 15 of the 52 hostages. If the motion is upheld, the case (Belk et al v the U.S.) will be entirely reheard. Davis added, “this is one of the strongest circumstantial cases I have seen”. If these hostages are getting their day in court, why are they not getting their day in the press?
  22. What is wrong with our society and our government that a group of private citizens (Reagan and Bush) can make a deal using millions of dollars out of an illegal slush fund, and can obligate $5 billion worth of U.S. resources and still go unpunished?
  23. How do you expect our Constitutional Democracy to survive when the media don’t ask the right questions and the Congress abdicates its responsibility to impeach even the most flagrantly lawbreaking government officials?
  24. CBS: We know you have been investigating this story. Why don’t you broadcast a report before the 1988 elections?

We want to know.

The Contragate Action Team of Boston P.O. Box 2151 Cambridge, Massachusetts 02238 Tel. 617-547-1912

source: jscott Jo-Anne Scott (Peacenet) There is a report that CBS News is sitting on a documentary Bush election team in 1980 made a secret trade with Iran. The U.S. public need this information. Please distribute some version of the following flyer during the next week; calls to CBS are already getting some action!



To win the election in 1980, Reagan/Bush made a deal with Iran to hold up the release of American hostages?

That a CIA contract operative has sworn under oath in a Denver court that Bush headed these secret negotiations with Iran in Paris on Oct. 21, 1980?

The Reagan/Bush camp used CIA operatives to spy on the Carter Administration, steal Carter’s briefing book in order to cheat in the debate, and steal top secret documents in order to undermine hostage negotiations.

The American hostages were released Jan. 21, 1981 — at the exact moment Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office for the Presidency of the United States? Only two months later, the first shipment of arms left for Iran.


But they’re squashing the story. A tenured White House source has confirmed that an investigative report on these events was to be televised the night before the last Presidential Debate — but conservative CBS officials censored the story.

Call CBS and other major media to demand that this information be released to the public. Ask 10 other people to do the same. Also contact local radio stations and talk shows and give the CBS number. CALL NOW, time is running out!

CBS will deny this story but it has been confirmed by reliable sources.


From “An Election Held Hostage” by A. Hoffman & J. Silvers, Playboy Oct. 1988:

[A ] commanding body of evidence and testimony has recently surfaced that suggests that members of the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign secretly pursued openings to Iran as early as September 1980, two months before the election. On at least two occasions, emissaries of Ayatollah Khomeini met with Reagan advisors. The Iranians allegedly offered to detain the American hostages past Election Day, humiliating Carter and ensuring a Reagan victory. Given the speed with which the Reagan Administration approved arms sales to Khomeini, the testimony of several Iranian dignitaries and the fact that a similar arms-for-hostages pact was made later, there is every reason to suspect the Reagan Campaign capable of cutting a deal.

[The Reagan/Bush camp] had informants at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the NSC, even inside the White House Situation Room. Moreover, those informants had security clearances ranging from “Confidential” to “Eyes Only” ….The Reagan team was not above paying for information. The informant who allegedly delivered Carter’s debate papers to Casey was paid $2860, ostensibly for research papers that he apparently never prepared. While those bits and pieces were undoubtedly useful to the Reagan Campaign, its primary concern was getting data on the hostages. Here, too, the quality and quantity of its espionage was exceptional. Between official State Department briefings, leaks and their purchases, Reagan advisors may have known as much about the crisis as the President. “Top Secret–Eyes Only” and “Secret/Sensitive” documents from the U.S. embassy in Teheran were found in Ronald Reagan’s personal campaign file. Reagan said he didn’t know how they got there.

There is no doubt that in the last weeks of the campaign, Reagan-Bush campaign members successfully undermined Carter’s diplomatic efforts.

Bani-Sadr (exiled former President of Iran) first learned that the Ayatollah was considering a secret deal with the Reagan-Bush campaign in late September 1980. Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of Khomeini’s key advisors, was sending a secret emissary to the United States to assess the political situation and try to arrange a more lucrative settlement than the one the White House was offering him. It was that emissary, Bani-Sadr claims, who contacted McFarlane and later met Allen and Silberman in Washington. Rather than reject the envoy, as Allen and Silberman claim, Bani-Sadr insists that Reagan’s campaign advisors embraced his basic plan. Before returning to Iran, the envoy had other meetings with senior Reagan advisors. “They agreed in principle that the hostages would be liberated after the election,” says Bani-Sadr, “and that, if elected, Reagan would provide significantly more arms than Carter was offering.

Declaration of WHERE-WAS-GEORGE? Day on October 19, 1988

Recent, shocking, well-documented revelations about George Bush’s whereabouts and activities on October 19, 1980, call for extraordinary measures by concerned citizens now. Investigators, using eyewitness reports, news stories, and their own investigations, have pieced together allegations of unspeakably heinous acts by George Bush and the Reagan 1980 election team. The charges are that Bush, William Casey, and others negotiated with top officials of the Iranian government in Paris, France, on or about 18-19 October of 1980. Bush conveyed $40 million, it is alleged, to the Iranians and promised to deliver to them $5 billion worth of arms if the Republicans should be elected, in exchange for delaying the release of the 52 hostages until after the November elections. As we all know now, the hostages were actually released under highly dramatic circumstances on Inauguration Day in January 1981. The implications of these allegations are enormous, and they transcend partisan politics.

For years these allegations have been circulating, but since 1986 they have been most compellingly presented on hundreds of radio talk shows across the United States by Barbara Honegger, a former policy analyst for the Reagan-Bush 1980 election campaign. According to George Bush’s own campaign records, his whereabouts is not accounted for from between 11 and 12 P.M. (Eastern Time) on October 18, 1980, until an early evening appearance in Washington, D.C., on October 19. Other accumulated evidence is staggering, and to date there has been no rebuttal from the Bush campaign in spite of repeated invitations for dialogue. WHERE WAS GEORGE? We want the truth. Citizens must demand to know the answers to the following questions:

WHERE WAS GEORGEBUSH on 18-19 October, 1980? If he was in Paris, was he negotiating with the Iranians for release of the hostages? Was he transferring money to them and promising arms for hostages?

To get at these and other answers, Contragate Action Team of Boston is calling for a National Countdown to Noon on 19 October 1988, the 8th anniversary of the Paris meeting, climaxing by converging on every Bush Campaign Headquarters in the land and demonstrating to demand the truth.

Concerned citizens are asked to organize actions in your state and town in the next two weeks; advertize WHERE-WAS-GEORGE? Day; picket campaign events; call talk shows; and telephone friends, contacts, and your politicians to force this issue to the forefront. Organize write-ins to Rep. Peter Rodino, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to open a full investigation of the charges, and to grant subpoena power to the ongoing Conyers Commisson which is already working on related matters.

For list of materials, tapes, and press packets contact Ms. Barbara Honegger, P.O. Box 51332, Pacific Grove, California, 93950. For national coordination and sharing of ideas on WHERE-WAS- “George? Day, send electronic mail to us at catboston, or write CAT Boston, P.O. Box 2151, Cambridge MA02238.



The following is a front-page story by Doyle McManus, that ran in the Los Angeles Times on October 25, 1988.

1980 Deal Alleged

Leads, Leaps of Faith in Hostage Tale

WASHINGTON- If this story turns out to be true, it would be the most diabolical intrigue of the century: a secret deal in 1980 between Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini to keep 52 American hostages imprisoned in Tehran until that year’s election day, thus sealing Reagan’s march to the White House.

And that isn’t all. Since the unproven allegations of a secret Reagan-

Khomeini deal surfaced, a strange parade of gun- runners and global schemers has come forward to offer new and astonishing versions of the saga– including a charge that Bush, at a secret meeting with Iranian agents in Paris, agreed to pay Tehran $40 million as part of the deal.

The story even has Jimmy Carter, the man who lost the presidency to Reagan in 1980, intrigued. “He’d like to know whether it’s true,” a spokesman said. Other devotees of the saga have formed grass-roots committees and stages small demonstrations in cities from Boston to Eureka, Calif., in attempts to get attention from mainstream media.

Sometimes-Wild Rumors

There are some serious problems with these charges. First, there isn’t a shred of independently confirmed evidence to support them; the allegations rest on a morass of tantalizing leads, leaps of faith and sometimes-wild rumors. Second, some of the purported witnesses contradict each other over details, and several have made statements that are simply not credible. Third, of course, spokesmen for President Reagan and Vice President George Bush hotly deny that any of the stories are true.

“It’s absolutely false– a pure fabrication,” Bush spokesman Steve Hart said.

But the denials have done little to stop the spread of rumors and tall tales about purported secret operations during the 1980 campaign. And beneath the tangle of allegations remains a set of intriguing circumstances-

– and a few genuine knots of mystery:

–Three men from the 1980 Reagan Campaign, including later National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, did meet with a self-described Iranian agent during the campaign to discuss the fate of the U.S. hostages in Tehran; none of the three can recall the man’s name or find their notes of the meeting.

Negotiations Cooled Off

–According to former Carter Administration officials, the Iranian government’s interest in a negotiated settlement to the hostage crisis did seem to cool off at about the same time; the hostages were not released, in fact, until Reagan’s inauguration day.

–And senior officials in the new Reagan Administration did quietly authorize Israel to sell military equipment to Iran soon after, in the spring of 1981.

None of that, however, quite adds up to a convincing case that Reagan actually made a secret deal with Khomeini. And the Reagan aides who were purportedly involved angrily dismiss the allegations as absurd.

“It’s goofball stuff,” said Richard V. Allen who was Reagan’s chief foreign policy adviser during the 1980 campaign. “It comes from Mars….It’s nothing but a fascinating hodge- podge of lies.”

Nevertheless, some otherwise sober people say they, too, are beginning to wonder whether something strange was going on in that other election campaign, eight years ago.

“There obviously is no smoking gun here,” said Gary Sick, a former National Security Council official who worked on the 1980 hostage negotiations for Carter. “But there’s an accumul;ating body of circumstantial evidence….I used to pooh-pooh these charges,” Sick said. “I don’t do that any more.”


The story is called the “October Surprise”. The name is taken from the fear that gripped the 1980 Reagan Campaign that Carter would make a sudden deal with Iran to free the 52 Americans then held hostage in Iran– and thus reverse Reagan’s surge toward victory at the polls. Reagan’s men organized an intelligence network to seek information about the Carter Administration’s plans, and an “October Surprise Group”, chaired by Allen, met to work out possible responses to a hostage release.

In September of 1980, Khomeini sent an envoy to West Germany to open hostage negotiations with U.S. officials. The chief of the American delegation was then-Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, now a prominent Los Angeles lawyer.

“The first meetings were very promising,” Christopher recalled in an interview. Christopher met with Khomeini’s son- in-law, Sadegh Tabatabai, who presented a set of relatively moderate demands: a U.S. commitment to refrain from military intervention in Iran, unfreeze Iranian assets in the United States and aid in returning the wealth of the late Shah to Iran.

Christopher said Tabatabai also asked for delivery of some $350 million in weapons and other military equipment that the shah had bought but that remained in U.S. warehouses. “I discouraged it, and it never came back onto the table,” Christopher said.

Invasion by Iraq

One week later, Iran was invaded by the army of neighboring Iraq. The war interrupted Tabatabai’s negotiations with Christopher; not until November 2 did Iran come back with a precise proposal for freeing the hostages– too late to prevent Carter from going down to defeat on November 4.

“It is an interesting question why the promising meetings we had in September ended so abruptly,” Christopher said. “The conversations were really quite encouraging, and it was a letdown when they did not continue. But I’ve always felt that the outbreak of the war seemed a sufficient explanation.”

In the interim, Khomeini’s government formally dropped its demands for weapons as part of the deal. That seemed strange to Gary Sick, the NSC’s Iran expert at the time. “I thought it was amazing,” he said last week. “They were at war, after all. One of the things they would definitely want, we thought, was the military equipment they already owned.”

Christopher is less impressed by the apparent oddity. “The issue of weapons stayed on the table only briefly,” he said. “I think they were just testing us.”

In any case, serious negotiations over the hostages’ release did not get started until after Reagan won the election, and the 52 Americans were not actually freed until a few minutes after the new President took office on January 20, 1981.

Jimmy Carter had negotiated the hostages’ release, but it was Ronald Reagan who welcomed them home.


(seventeen paragraphs trashing Barbara Honegger and Bani-Sadr)

(eleven paragraphs describing Allen-Silberman-McFarlane meeting with the “mysterious Middle Easterner” and their mutual memory loss about this encounter)

(twenty paragraphs trashing Richard Brenneke and his testimony)


The controversy, however shaky its roots, is unlikely to go away.

On Monday, (that would be October 24) a Los Angeles lawyer who sued the federal government and the Khomeini regime on behalf of 13 of the Tehran hostages announced he is now preparing a suit against the estate of Casey, against the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign– and possibly against Bush as well.

The lawyer, James H. Davis, said he believes the Reagan Campaign may have violated the law by seeking a private deal with Iran, and probably also undercut the position of the Carter Administration’s negotiators– and that may have prolonged his clients’ ordeal.

“The result to my clients was they were not only kept longer, 2 1/2 months longer… but it also hobble our negotiators in dealing with Iran,” Davis said.

“Once we file, we will at least have the power to subpoena these people to get their sworn testimony on what happened,” Davis said. “Won’t that be interesting?”

Staff writers William C. Rempel in Los Angeles, Michael Ross in Cairo and Rone Tempest in Paris also contributed to this story.


source: caulkins Story that appeared in the Rocky Mountain Times on October 2, 1988; By Sue Lindsay

Ex-CIA man ties Bush to 1980 hostage talks

A former CIA operative has told a Denver federal judge that then-vice presidential candidate George Bush was flown to Paris during the 1980 campaign to discuss the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran while Jimmy Carter was president and seeking re-election.

A spokesman for Vice President Bush denied the allegation that Bush flew to Paris. “It’s absolutely untrue, a pure fabrication,” said spokesman Steve Hart. “He was on the campaign trail at that time as the vice presidential nominee for the Reagan-Bush ticket.”

The Carter administration was unable to win release of the hostages – they were released hours after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

The former CIA operative, West Coast arms dealer Richard J. Brenneke, testified that he was present at meetings in Paris on Oct. 19, 1980, attended by Bush and then-Reagan Campaign chairman William Casey, who became Reagan’s CIA director.

Brenneke testified that others at the meeting were Donald Gregg, who later became Bush’s national security adviser; Richard Allen, national security adviser to Reagan; a representative of Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of Khomeini’s lieutenants and later speaker of the Iranian Parliament; arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi; Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian citizen with ties to the prime minister’s office; and Robert Banes, of France.

Brenneke’s testimony came during a closed hearing before U.S. District Judge Jim R. Carrigan on Sept. 23. The Rocky Mountain News obtained a court order to unseal the records of the hearing and obtained a copy of the transcript yesterday.

Brenneke testified that Bush and Casey were flown to Paris by Aurora gold dealer Heinrich Rupp, who says he was a CIA contractor. Rupp was convicted of bank fraud Sept. 15 in a case involving the failure of Aurora Bank in 1985.

“On the 19th of October, Mr. Rupp brought Mr. Bush, Mr. Casey and a number of other people to Paris, France, from the United States, for a meeting with Iranian representatives,” Brenneke said.

Rupp has declined to be interviewed. However, a source close to Rupp says Rupp has given a slightly different account. According to this source, Rupp says he flew Casey from Washington National Airport to New York in a BAC 111 jet, where they met a Grumman Gulfstream executive jet carrying Bush, and both planes continued to Paris.

Brenneke’s testimony came in connection with efforts by Rupp’s attorney to have Rupp released on bond until final sentencing. The judge has ordered Rupp to have a psychiatric evaluation before a final sentence is assessed.

Brenneke has testified about illegal funding of the Contras before the Tower Commission, named by President Reagan to look into arms sales to Iran. Congressional Iran-contra investigators also have questioned Brenneke.

Earlier this year, Brenneke told a Senate foreign relations subcommittee that security adviser Gregg was the Washington contact for a contra arms-

supply operation that began in 1984 and was bankrolled with drug money.

Brenneke testified that Rupp has worked for the CIA since 1957; flew planes for Air America, a CIA front; and was working for the CIA in 1980.

“The purpose of the meetings was to negotiate not only for the release of the hostages then being held at the United States Embassy in Teheran, but also to discuss, if the negotiations were successful, the terms … (of) how we would go about satisfying everybody involved,” Brenneke testified.

“In the end, agreement was reached, and the logistics of transferring $40 million for the purchase of weapons was worked out.”

Brenneke said the meetings took place Oct. 19 and 20 at the Crillon Hotel and at the Hotel Florida in Paris. He said Bush was in Paris less than 24 hours, and that Casey went on to Frankfurt after the meetings.

Rupp and Brenneke’s claims come as allegations are circulating that a Reagan Campaign committee, the so-called October Surprisecommittee, monitored Carter’s efforts to release the hostages and entered into independent talks.

The Reagan Campaign feared that release of the hostages before the election would allow Carter to be re-elected.

Bush’s campaign records show he was in Philadelphia on Oct. 18 and met with newspaper editors at 1:55 p.m. That was followed by an appearance at Widener University and a speech in Delaware County, Pa., at 8:40 p.m.

He was scheduled to go to Washington that night and had nothing scheduled Oct. 19 until an evening speech before the Zionist Organization of America in Washington.

Campaign records indicate only what Bush was scheduled to be doing, not whether he actually made the appearances.

News stories written in 1980 confirm that Bush spoke at Widener University on Oct. 18 and to the Zionist Organization the following evening but do not account for the intervening 24 hours.

Former President Jimmy Carter has said in interviews that he had reports since late summer 1980 that the Reagan Campaign was dealing with Iranians to delay release of American hostages.

Former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, now in exile in France, has said he first learned that Khomeini was considering a secret deal with the Reagan-Bush campaign in late September, 1980. He says he understood the meeting took place during the last two weeks of October 1980.



Contributed by Alex Winter

Oct. 3, 1988

The Sunday Rocky Mountain News reports in a copyrighted story based on sealed Denver Federal Court testimony obtained by court order that a former CIA agent has linked Bush to negotiations in Paris with the Iranians on a deal to stall hostage release until after the 1980 elections.

“A former CIA operative has told a Denver federal judge that then-vice presidential candidate George Bush was flown to Paris during the 1980 campaign to discuss the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran while Jimmy Carter was president and seeking re-election …”


“In the end, agreement was reached and the logistics of transferring $40 million for the purchase of weapons was worked out.


“Brenneke said the meetings took place Oct. 19 and 20 at the Crillon Hotel and at the Hotel Florida in Paris. He said Bush was in Paris less than 24 hours and that Casey went on to Frankfurt after the meetings.

“Rupp and Brenneke’s claims come as allegations are circulating that a Reagan Campaign committee, the so-called October Surprise Committee, monitored Carter’s efforts to release the hostages and entered into independent talks.

“The Reagan Campaign feared that the release of hostages before the election would allow Carter to be re-elected …

“Former President Jimmy Carter has said in interviews that he had reports since late summer 1980 that the Reagan Campaign was dealing with the Iranians to delay release of the American hostages.” – From Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, Oct. 2, 1988

” Ex-CIA man ties Bush to 1980 Hostage Talks” by Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mt. News Staff *C* 1988 Denver Publishing Co.

Sun, Oct 9, ’88 (14:08) 57 lines’ Rocky Mt. News, today: Ex-CIA pilot describes “Secret Trip” for Iran hostage talks by Sue Lindsay, RMtN Staff Writer Former CIA contractor Heinrich Rupp for the first time has provided his account of an alleged secret trip to Paris by Reagan Administration officials in 1980 to discuss the release of American hostages held in Iran. Rupp, convicted of bank fraud earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Denver, told the Rocky Mountain News that he flew a group of VIPs from Washington to Paris on Oct. 18,1980. Only later, Rupp said, did he realize that then-vice presidential candidate George Bush and William Casey, Reagan’s campaign manager, may have been among the passengers.The Bush campaign denies any trip took place, calling the allegations a “total fabrication”.

Rupp’s account of the alleged incident came during an interview Wednesday, the first time he has spoken publicly on the matter. A day later, federal marshalls moved him to an undisclosed location to undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. Allegations about a Paris trip surfaced at Rupp’s sentencing Sept. 23. Alleged former CIA operative Richard J. Brenneke testified in a closed hearing that Rupp had worked for the CIA as a pilot and flew Bush and Casey to Paris for a meeting with Iranian representatives.

When the man Rupp now identifies as Bush appeared, he said, the plane’s first officer remarked, “My former boss has arrived.” Bush was a former director of the CIA.

Rupp said he left Paris the next day to fly Casey to Frankfurt.

It was a Saudi Arabian aircraft belonging to Prince Mohammed Fahd Azis.

Alex Winter Box K Bryans Road, MD 20616 (301) 283-2948

Oct. 3, 1988

The Sunday Rocky Mountain News reports in a copyrighted story based on sealed Denver Federal Court testimony obtained by court order that a former CIA agent has linked Bush to negotiations in Paris with the Iranians on a deal to stall hostage release until after the 1980 elections.

“A former CIA operative has told a Denver federal judge that then-vice presidential candidate George Bush was flown to Paris during the 1980 campaign to discuss the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran while Jimmy Carter was president and seeking re-election …”

…. “In the end, agreement was reached and the logistics of transferring $40 million for the purchase of weapons was worked out.

“Brenneke said the meetings took place Oct. 19 and 20 at the Crillon Hotel and at the Hotel Florida in Paris. He said Bush was in Paris less than 24 hours and that Casey went on to Frankfurt after the meetings.

“Rupp and Brenneke’s claims come as allegations are circulating that a Reagan Campaign committee, the so-called October Surprise Committee, monitored Carter’s efforts to release the hostages and entered into independent talks.

“The Reagan Campaign feared that the release of hostages before the election would allow Carter to be re-elected.

“Former President Jimmy Carter has said in interviews that he had reports since late summer 1980 that the Reagan Campaign was dealing with the Iranians to delay release of the American hostages.”

– From Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, Oct. 2, 1988 ” Ex-CIA man ties Bush to 1980 Hostage Talks” by Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mt. News Staff *C* 1988 Denver Publishing Co.



REVIEW OF “COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair”

A film produced by Barbara Trent, Gary Meyer, and David Kasper for the Film Empowerment Project.

In July of 1987, MPI, a major video label and distributor, released and sold over 50,000 copies of Oliver North’s testimony to the Congressional Iran-

Contra Committee. That summer, Barbara Trent returned from Nicaragua, where she had been shooting a documentary film, and upon discovering what MPI was doing, called them up and explained that if people were to believe what North was saying, thousands more innocents would be killed in Nicaragua through his influence, and MPI would have to share the blame for this.

Struck by the moral implications of what had been until then a straight business venture, MPI agreed to provide Trent and the Film Empowerment Project $40,000 dollars from the proceeds of the sale of that video to be used in the production of a film presenting the other side of North’s story.

“COVERUP” is that film. Playing now at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, and opening soon around the country, “COVERUP” goes deep into the history of the Iran Contra scheme: from its origins in the CIA’s coup teams in Brazil and Chile; to the CIA’s secret war team in Cambodia and Laos, financed by heroin trafficking into the US; to the Bush/Reagan secret deal with Iran in 1980 to hold the American hostages there for an extra 76 days beyond the date Carter had negotiated for their release, so that they would arrive in the US on Reagan’s Inauguration Day, instead of before the November 1980 election; to the CIA’s cocaine trafficking on aircraft used to fly weapons to the Contras; to the plan Oliver North drew up for FEMA to suspend the constitution and round up dissenters to a planned US invasion of Nicaragua, and imprison them in military concentration camps.

Unlike the tedium of the Iran/Contra Committee hearings, which was limited by its mandate to investigate only events after 1984, this is a gripping, information-rich film, solidly documented, and well-crafted, particularly considering its miniscule $55,000 budget (labor of the producers was donated… the money was spent entirely on non-labor production costs). It presents a case for the assertion that the election of Reagan and Bush in 1980 was in actuality a coup d’etat effected through electoral means by CIA/NSA agents, many of whom had been fired from the agencies for violating USlaws, and for filling their own pockets, and the pockets of the arms and drug dealers they worked with and for, with US government money. “COVERUP” presents a case for this Iran Contra scandal representing only the merest tip of the iceberg of the secret government hiding now under Reagan’s skirts.

It makes this case, and it makes it convincingly.

No matter what part of the political spectrum you fall on, you must see “COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair” before you cast your vote for President in 1988.

In New York City, it is currently playing at 6:00 and 7:30 PM, Tuesdays through Sundays at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street. For box office information, you can call 212-598-7100.

For more information of the film itself, and on how you may arrange a showing at your church, school, political organization meeting, or home, you can contact Dan McGuire at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR/COVERUP), 8th Floor, 130 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001. The phone number for FAIR is 212-633-6700.

“COVERUP” is currently running in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as New York. It is scheduled to open soon in St. Paul MN, Berkeley CA, Chicago, San Diego CA, Summerville MA, Austin TX, Taos NM, Tuscon AZ, Albequerque NM, Denver and Boulder CO, Madison WI, Huntington NY, and Petaluma and Santa Cruz CA.

Watch your local listings for its opening near you… and be sure to see it before you vote in November.

You owe it to yourself and future generations of Americans to see for yourself what we are all up against over the next four (and more) years.



TRANSCRIPT OF “The October Surprise”…a special feature program from The Other Americas Radio. Uploaded by Tom Betz.

Richard Allen was head of the October Surprise Working Group. It met every morning to try to come up with ways to prevent Carter from bringing the hostages successfully home.

You have to remember that Reagan realized he would win as long as Carter didn’t pull off a last-minute hostage rescue.

It was meant to release the hostages . . . exactly . . . the moment Ronald Reagan was president.

Barbara Honegger: Not just many of the key witnesses but the key witnesses in this entire affair have been, in my opinion, murdered.

The best way to get to the bottom of controversial activities is to air the facts. Air them dispassionately and carefully, and let the chips fall where they may.

November 1979. Fifty-two Americans were taken hostage in Iran. The American public was held in suspense as the Carter administration worked to bring the hostages home–first, in the failed Desert One rescue attempt, and then through negotiations with the revolutionary Iranian government. In October of 1980 an agreement was reached to unfreeze Iran’s monetary assets for the safe return of the hostages. For some reason, the hostages were not released until January 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president. In the dawn of the Reagan era, many, in momentary blindness, neglected to seriously question the implications of such an event. It is now charged that in the few short months before the 1980 presidential election, the tremors of a domestic destabilization of America by Americans was shaking the nation.

The October Surprise. Produced by The Other Americas Radio. I’m Jane Perry. In this special program we will examine allegations that members of the Reagan-Bush campaign cut a secret deal with the Ayatollah Khomeini before the 1980 election. We will also explore what may have been the deliberate failure of President Carter’s Desert One hostage rescue mission.

Honegger: The very possibility that Carter could bring the hostages home was close to certain to wreck a Reagan bid for the presidency; so the Reagan Campaign took phenomenal secret measures to ensure that the Carter White House was not successful.

Perry: Barbara Honegger was a researcher with the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980. Subsequently she spent two years in the White House as a policy adviser to President Reagan. Honegger’s investigation into this issue has revealed a disturbing story of treason, blackmail and sabotage.

Honegger: Reagan’s 1980 campaign manager, William Casey, was knowledgeable, before the fact, of the upcoming Carter Desert One rescue attempt of April 1980. Now that is a phenomenal fact, because many of even the highest-level officers in Carter’s own Central Intelligence Agency were kept in the dark about that very Desert One rescue operation.

Perry: Historian and author Donald Freed suggests links between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the failed Desert One rescue operation.

Freed: Precisely the people in the intelligence community commissioned to develop some kind of rescue for the hostages were clearly those elements of covert action close to Casey and demonstrably hostile to Carter.

Perry: Was the CIA loyal to President Carter–or to candidate Ronald Reagan? Jonathan Marshall is an investigative journalist and co-author of the book The Iran-Contra Connection. Like Donald Freed, he views with suspicion some circumstances surrounding President Carter’s hostage rescue attempt.

Marshall:Miles Copeland, who had had some CIA connections in his past, ran in the Washington Star a hypothetical hostage rescue piece–how he would do it–and it’s so remarkably close to the actual mission, and came only about one or two days before the mission took place, that there is legitimate room for at least questioning as to whether it was some kind of leak that came out in the form of fiction to protect him from charges that he had sabotaged it.

Freed: He printed a scenario for a rescue in the desert, and that story was later broadcast on Radio Iraq and Iran, and it was certainly heard in Iran. So the most closely guarded secret was, in effect, foreshadowed by this scenario.

Perry: Several years after leaving the White House, Barbara Honegger’s research shows some startling links between the players of the 1980 hostage rescue operation and what has come to be known as “the secret team.”

Honegger: And then, of course, we have Mr. Richard Secord, Oliver North, and Albert Hakim. Richard Secord was one of the chief planners for the so-called “failed” Desert One rescue attempt; Mr. North was involved in that rescue attempt, in the mother ship, which was on the Turkish border awaiting the cue from Mr. Secord to fly into Teheran to rescue the hostages; and Mr. Albert Hakim was in charge of the ground operations for the Desert One rescue attempt–in particular, obtaining the trucks and other vehicles that were going to be necessary for it. Mr. Hakim skipped town, left Teheran, 24 hours before the rescue attempt was to take place; and the reason for that, as detailed in my research documentation, was that Secord, North and Hakim had absolutely no intention of seeing Desert One carry through, and so sabotaged the operation.

Perry: The hostage rescue team consisted of eight helicopters, six C-130 transport planes, and 93 Delta Force commandos. But Delta Force never made it to Teheran. Only five of the eight helicopters reached the site of Desert One in operable condition. Perhaps this is due to a bizarre incident that occurred on the deck of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, where the helicopters were tightly guarded. General James Vaught, the mission’s task force commander, suspects the incidents on the Nimitz may have been a deliberate effort to stop the hostage rescue mission. According to General Samuel Wilson, who investigated the many failures of the Eagle Claw rescue mission, the Pentagon’s review panel found negligence on a level surprising even to those hardened to military incompetence. The incident on the Nimitz is only one of the many strange events surrounding the Desert One hostage rescue mission. Barbara Honegger takes us back to Teheran during the rescue attempt.

Honegger: This mysterious fifty-third hostage, Mrs. Cynthia Dwyer, who was in Iran and who had not yet been taken hostage at the time, told Reverend Moore, an American Presbyterian minister who was there and interviewing her at the time by phone, that the CIA had sabotaged the rescue attempt. She told him that immediately after the so-called “aborted” failure. And we also know from Reverend Moore, who was in Teheran at the time of the so-called Desert One rescue attempt, that a mullah who was at a prayer meeting heard a siren that went off in Teheran, and stood up in the middle of the prayer and said “God is great, God is good, your helicopters have just crashed in the desert.” There are a number of other reasons and independent sources we have for a sabotage, but it was definitively sabotaged and there was advance multiple-failure planning.

Perry: The failed Eagle Claw rescue mission left eight men dead and three helicopters in the desert filled with classified documents, which fell into the Iranians’ hands.

The benefits to be gained by President Carter’s success in bringing the fifty-two hostages home sent tremors through the Reagan-Bush campaign headquarters. Barbara Honegger was working for the Reagan Campaign at the time.

Honegger: Richard Wirthlin, who was Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign pollster, had determined that an “October surprise,” which was a successful attempt by Jimmy Carter to release the hostages and bring them home before the 1980 election, would be the death knell to a Reagan-Bush presidency. That was determined by Reagan and Bush’s pollster in March of 1980–which, not coincidentally, was approximately one month before the sabotaged Desert One rescue mission.

Perry: Investigative reporter Jonathan Marshall:

Marshall:We know that the Reagan people were extremely concerned about what they called the “October surprise”; and that Reagan’s campaign manager, William Casey, later to become head of the CIA, was running what he called an “intelligence operation” against the Carter camp. This, of course, came out when David Stockman revealed that Reagan had prepared for his TV debates with Carter using a stolen briefing book. We know now that the espionage operation was much broader than just stealing some briefing books: it included former military officers, CIA people, FBI agents, and the like, who tapped into the Carter camp, into the intelligence bureaucracy, to find out whether this “October surprise” would actually happen; because if it did, and if it were successful, it would have cost Reagan the election.

Perry: Was the CIA loyal to Carter–or Casey?

Carter’s new CIA chief, Stansfield Turner, had removed about 600 people from their jobs in the area of covert operations, which made for a very unhappy network. Congressional investigations have since revealed that active-duty CIA officers were working with the Reagan-Bush campaign.

Historian Donald Freed:

Freed: Casey, at various points in his career, sometimes officially, and sometimes unofficially, operated in a kind of old-boy network. In 1979 and ’80 it’s clear that the fear of an “October surprise” motivated a network being drawn up by Casey.

Perry: In October of 1980, Casey decided to create the October Surprise Working Group. Barbara Honegger:

Honegger: Richard Allen was head of the October Surprise Working Group. It met every morning to try to come up with ways to prevent Carter from bringing the hostages successfully home.

Perry: To what extent would the Reagan-Bush campaign go to prevent President Carter’s success? Recently declassified CIA documents reveal that in the waning days of the 1980 campaign Reaganadvisers met with an envoy of the Iranian government.

Honegger: We do know from published accounts in the Knight-Ridder papers across the country that Richard V. Allen, who at the time was the chief foreign policy adviser on Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, met with Robert McFarlane, soon to become a key person in Irangate, and an alleged emissary from Khomeini’s regime, in Washington D.C. in early October of 1980, to discuss a deal to delay release of the hostages until after the November 4, 1980 election, insuring Reagan’s victory, insuring Carter’s defeat. There is no question that that meeting happened; Richard Allen and McFarlane have acknowledged that it did.

Perry: Barbara Honegger was a campaign researcher and later Policy Adviser to President Reagan. Robert McFarlane told reporters that the Iranian that approached him was referred to the Reagan-Bush campaign, but later was judged to be a fraud, and dismissed. According to Richard Allen, allegations of a secret deal are “absolute baloney.”

Honegger:Mr. Allen and McFarlane deny that any deal was cut. But the bulk of the evidence shows that that’s not the case. In particular, Richard Allen had referred to a deal between Reagan and Iran back in late November of 1986 on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. He was being interviewed at the time, and he was referring to the very first day that Reagan was president of the United States. Allen recalled for the MacNeil/Lehrer audience that he–Allen–told Reagan, then just president, that there was a fifty-third hostage, a Mrs. Cynthia Dwyer, who had not yet been released. She was still being held in Teheran, and Reagan responded, and Allen told MacNeil/Lehrer’s audience, “You get the Iranians on the phone for me, and I’m going to tell them that our deal is off unless she is also released.” Well, you would have expected the interviewer on MacNeil/Lehrer to jump and say, “Just a minute, sir, what deal was that?” Now the reason that that had to have been, in my studied opinion, a deal between Reagan and Khomeini, made before Reagan became president, is because at the time that Reagan made that phone call to Iran, ALL, categorically ALL, of Carter’s deal with Khomeini had been consummated. So, when Reagan said “Tell Iran the deal’s off . . . ” unless Mrs. Dwyer was released, he had to have been referring to his own deal.

Perry: Because Iran’s arsenal was comprised of U.S.-supplied weapons, they were dependent on U.S.-made spare parts and ammunition. On October 22, following Carter’s lengthy negotiations for the release of the hostages, the Iranians’ persistent demand for U.S. weapons was suddenly dropped. Iranians said they did not link the release of hostages to obtaining military spare parts from the U.S. The president of Iran at the time, Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, explains why, though facing war with Iraq, Iranian negotiators no longer demanded these essential military supplies:

Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr:

It is now very clear that there were two separate agreements: one, the official agreement with Carter in Algeria, and the other one a secret agreement with another party which, obviously, it is now apparent, was Reagan. They made a deal with Reagan that the hostages should not be released during the Carter’s administration, and that they should be released when Reagan became president. So then, in return, Reagan would give them arms. We published agreements which indicated that the arms would be received in March, approximately two months after Reagan became president.

Perry: During this interview in Paris, the former Iranian president gave copies of the weapons contracts to The Other Americas Radio. Bani-Sadr then went on to charge that former CIA men, including Casey and Ghorbanifar, had collaborated in engineering this treasonous deal.

Bani-Sadr: These former CIA people, along with the former SAVAK left over from Shah’s period, and the Israelis, maintained contact; and they are the ones that organized the hostage-taking, and also they are the ones that organized the arms exchange.

Perry: Shortly after being deposed, while in exile in Paris, the former president of Iran said he received military intelligence reports which noted that George Bush and Richard Allen were among those who had met with representatives of Beheshti at the Hotel Rafael in Paris. Barbara Honegger:

Honegger: One of the founders of Hezbollah, the Iran-loyal terrorist organization, which has blown up a Marine barracks and also our American embassies in both Kuwait and Beirut in the early 1980s, sent a representative to the Paris meeting, before the 1980 election, with Allen, Bush, and top officials of the Central Intelligence Agency, to cut the secret deal with the Reagan Campaign to delay the release of our hostages in exchange for a promise of arms, that began being shipped to Iran in 1981.

Perry: Former Iranian president Bani-Sadr said this meeting took place some time during the last two weeks in October 1980. We checked the New York Times computer Nexus, which revealed no mention of any campaign or public appearances by George Bush from the 21st to the 27th of October–just one week before the 1980 presidential election. A press secretary in George Bush’s office found that his campaign calendar was unaccounted for during these same six days. Barbara Honegger recalls an incident that occurred in the very same time period of October 21st-27th 1980, when she was working at Reagan-Bush campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Honegger: In late October, as part of my job on the writing staff of the national campaign headquarters, I was required every night to cover the news. I went into the operations center, which was the nerve center, the communications center, of the national headquarters for the Reagan Campaign in 1980, to cover the 11 o’clock news. As I did so, I was amazed to see a complete 180- degree shift, over the last week and a half or so, in the mood in the operations center. Because of the worry about the “October surprise,” that mood had been one of anxiety and tension for a week to a week and a half; and suddenly there was a party atmosphere. My first thought that it was someone’s birthday, I walked up to a woman who worked for the gentleman who was in charge of the operations center, and asked her what was going on; and she said “Oh, haven’t you heard? We don’t have to worry about the October surprise. Dick cut a deal.” She was standing next to a very heavy-set gentleman whom I didn’t recognize, and I said, “Dick . . . you mean Dick Allen?” and she then got jabbed in the ribs by the man and just said, “Let it go. Dick cut a deal.”

Perry: A deal with Khomeini? Investigative journalist Jonathan Marshall shares some doubt:

Marshall: There is one at least logical problem that has to be addressed, that doesn’t rule the theory out; but to have made a bargain with the Iranians before the election, that the hostages’ return should be delayed in return for arms, would have given the Iranians, on a silver platter, the biggest blackmail card imaginable. If we think about the arms-for-hostage deal, that alone caused one of the biggest scandals in recent American history. That at least was for what you might call a good cause, to bring the hostages back early. To delay the return of hostages for domestic political gain, in return for arms, would have led not only to impeachment, but just the drawing and quartering of anyone who had made such a bargain.

Honegger: In fact, we do know that the Khomeini regime, and Hezbollah in particular, has been blackmailing the Reagan-Bush administration ever since 1981. We know from Oliver North’s own notes that profits from the Iran arms sales were going to Hezbollah right from the beginning–millions and millions of dollars’ worth of those profits–and because American hostages were not released as a result of those money payments to Hezbollah, it is clear that in fact those were hush- money payments; because Hezbollah and the Iranians have in fact been blackmailing Reagan and Bush and their administration, precisely because of what they know about the treasonous 1980 deal.

Perry: Mansur Rafizadeh is the former U.S. chief of SAVAK, the Shah of Iran’s secret police. He was also a covert agent for the CIA, and was in communication with factions in both United States and Iranian governments during the hostage crisis.

Rafizadeh: The CIA asked me to get in touch with a powerful source inside of Iran. So I took the liberty, our demand: the Americans, they want the hostages to be released, that is all! The answer came back in a few days, you are wrong. American government, they don’t want the hostages to be released, or possibly there are government inside of the government, or they’re lying to us, or they’re lying to you. That’s not the demand. What else they want?

Perry: George Bush had been director of the CIA during the Nixon administration, and still had many friends in the agency. Former SAVAK chief Rafizadeh told The Other Americas Radio that secret negotiations between Khomeini and CIA elements loyal to the Reagan-Bush campaign had arranged a deal to keep the hostages in Iran until Reagan was in the White House.

Rafizadeh: After the election was done, Khomeini was going to release the hostages. Why Khomeini was going to release the hostages–because he didn’t understand, he doesn’t know the system of government; he thinks Reagan is in office tonight, he’s going to put President Carter and his family in jail tomorrow morning, and here we go! But as soon as we told him, no, no! still Carter is president!–then, the deal was made, to release the hostages exactly the moment Ronald Reagan was president.

Question: Did this have anything to do with promises that the Reagan Campaign had made to the Iranian government, or was it just enough that the–

Rafizadeh: No, no, no, it was promised for the arms. At that time the deal was made that the hostages would be released when Ronald Reaganis in the office, and then we will ship them arms.

Question: And who made that agreement?

Rafizadeh: CIA. CIA. And we learn about that agreement, also, ahead of time . . . General Oveissi learn that they are going to send arms to Khomeini, the deal is made; he told me that. I believe that as much involvement William Casey had, or Richard Allen had, George Bush had–look at George Bush: he’s intelligent, he’s smart, he knows the business, he was running CIA–

Question: He was apparently very popular in the CIA–

Rafizadeh: Very popular in CIA. So I don’t believe George Bush was not involved in it. No. He was involved in it. The other thing–Khomeini did all the damage to Carter. He didn’t do any bad thing to Reagan. He released the hostages the moment Reagan was president. Hostages, they were sitting in a plane, in Mehrabad Airport, there is a documentary film from CBS, NBC, anyone can watch it. And the guards, they are standing by with the radio. The moment Ronald Reagan was president, they signal the plane, they took off. Why didn’t they send them two days before? Why they didn’t wait until the next day to do it? And after, the shipment of the arms start from Tel Aviv.

Question:So this is in 1981–

Rafizadeh: ’81. 1981, we are talking, not 1985. Now, if anyone is going to tell me that the government of Israel shipped arms to Iran without the knowledge or permission of the United States, I don’t believe it.

Perry: Mansur Rafizadeh.

On July 18th, 1981, an Argentine cargo plane crashed on the Soviet-Turkish border. It was loaded with weapons in transit from Israel to Iran. High-level Israeli officials have said that the Reagan Administration knew and approved of the arms dealings the crash exposed. The cargo of spare parts and ammunition were all American-made. From reports in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, we know of two separate groups of shipments to Iran in 1981. The first, as we have already heard, was shipped through Israel with authorization from the Reagan Administration officials. The second group of arms was shipped by an Iranian-born arms merchant, Cyrus Hashemi. Hashemi had worked for the CIA beginning in 1975. He died suddenly of a rare form of acute leukemia in 1986. Congressional investigators noted that the CIA has chemical injections and sprays that can cause such symptoms. One informant said he was told by U.S. customs officials that Hashemi had been “bumped off” by government agents. Private research consultant Barbara Honegger:

Honegger: Mr. Cyrus Hashemi was murdered by government agents because of his knowledge of the 1981 links; and Mr. Cyrus Hashemi, before he was murdered, which was in July of 1986 in London, England, Mr. Hashemi had told colleagues and associates that the original 1981 shipments were part of necessary arrangements and deals to accomplish the delay of the release of the original fifty-two hostages.

Perry: Is it a coincidence that many of the key witnesses to this entire affair have died under similar and questionable circumstances? The scandal may be bigger than anyone imagines. The alleged deal to prevent President Carter’s reelection in 1980 could be the root of the Contragate scandal. According to an Athens newspaper account of tapes made of Robert McFarlane, the U.S. had shipped $1.3 billion worth of military equipment to Iran by 1986, and a total of $5 billion in military equipment was promised. As we have heard from former CIA operative and chief of U.S. SAVAK, Mansur Rafizadeh, these shipments began in 1981, when there were no longer any U.S. hostages left in Iran.

Rafizadeh: They are making remarks all the time that we will disclose those secret tapes, secret information, later on. And I believe that the Reagan Administration is blackmailed by Khomeini. Because they have so much dirt going on between them.

Perry: Congressman John Conyers has wondered why Reagan Administration officials approved weapons shipments to Iran in early 1981. Conyers is probing contacts between Iran and the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign. The charges stated in this program, of unlawful activity by Richard Allen, George Bush, and others, are those of treason. They require further investigation.

Honegger: These individuals have had an arrogant contempt for the will of the American people as expressed through the Congress of the United States, and the laws of the United States. I know, having been in this White House, and from my research since, that this contempt for the rule of law in this country comes because these people have an erroneous belief that they are serving a higher law.

Perry: The October Surprisewas produced by Eric Schwartz, Carolyn Selar, and Dale Lewis of The Other Americas Radio. Interviews were conducted by Robin Stallings and Paul Cheney. Music for this production was written and performed by Brian Parris. The Other Americas Radio is a not-for-profit, independent broadcast group based in Santa Barbara, California. Executive Producer, Eric Schwartz. For a free catalog of our taped programs, please write to: The Other Americas Radio, P.O. Box 85, Santa Barbara, CA93102. Audiocassettes of The October Surpriseare available for $8.00. Write to: Box 85, Santa Barbara, CA93102. Funding for this presentation was made possible by contributions from radio listeners throughout the United States. I’m Jane Perry. This is The Other Americas Radio.

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