Friday, April 08, 2005

Private Citizens, Making a Difference 

Our Pultizer- and Nobel-Prize-nominated colleague Avedon Carol [just nominated for a Peabody in comments below! -- S.] informs us that the great Robert Parry of Consortium News has published a historical document that will be of major interest to anyone who is curious as to the principles by which our ruling party operates:
For the first time, we are posting the "confidential" Russian government report about the 1980 "October Surprise" case. The report -- a rare case of Moscow cooperating with the United States on an intelligence investigation -- asserts that Reagan-Bush campaign officials did secretly negotiate with Iranian leaders behind President Carter's back. But the report was kept hidden from the American people until discovered by reporter Robert Parry in a Capitol Hill storage room.
A photocopy of the original document is reproduced here; you can read the text in a more legible format here. What follows is an excerpt from the report, compiled in January of 1993 by the national security committee of the Russian legislature for a U.S. House task force chaired by Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN):
On the supply of American arms to Iran according to available information, the Chairman of the R. Reagan election campaign, William Casey, in 1980 met three times with representatives of the Iranian leadership, in particular with the arms dealers Djamshed and Kurosh Hashemi. The meetings took place in Madrid and Paris. At the meeting in Paris in October 1980, in addition to Casey, R. Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration for Jimmy Carter and former CIA Director George Bush also took part.

In Madrid and Paris, the representatives of Ronald Reagan and the Iranian leadership discussed the question of possibly delaying the release of 52 hostages from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, taken hostage by Iranian "students" and members of the "Corps of Defense of the Islamic Revolution" on 4 November 1979 until after the elections that took place in November 1980. In exchange for this, the American representatives promised to supply arms to Iran. This was asserted, in particular, by a former Israeli intelligence agent, Ari Ben-Menash, a Jew born in Iran and arrested in 1989 in the U.S. for supplying arms to Iran (arrested in California on charges of exporting contraband C-130 aircraft from the U.S. to Iran and who was in prison for 11 months and then freed). According to his calculation, the total value of the arms illegally delivered to Iran reached 82 billion dollars.

Data on attempts by the R. Reagan team to temporarily block the release of American hostages in Teheran are also contained in official statements of several Iranian figures, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Gotb-Zade in September 1980.

As terms for the release of the hostages Iran at that time proposed the unblocking of Iranian accounts in the USA, the return of the funds of the Shah and his family, the lifting of the economic blockade of Iran and the end of the embargo on supplies to Iran of spare parts for previously purchased American arms.

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