Thursday 21 March 2013

Argo and the Other Iranian Revolution

“History is commonly regarded as an attempt to produce a structured account of the past. It proclaims to tell us what really happened, but in most cases it fails to do that. Instead it is set to conceal our shame, to hide those various elements, events, incidents and occurrences in our past which we cannot cope with. History, therefore, can be regarded as a system of concealment. Accordingly, the role of the true historian is similar to that of the psychoanalyst: both aim to unveil the repressed. For the psychoanalyst, it is the unconscious mind. For the historian, it is our collective shame.”
           Gilad Atzmon

'The CIA has an "entertainment industry liaison office" that helps producers and directors remake its image from that of a lawless gang that assassinates, overthrows governments and runs drugs. As Obama's CIA commits multiple murder by drone, Affleck lauds the "clandestine service... that is making sacrifices on behalf of Americans every day... I want to thank them very much."'
         John Pilger

The film Argo tells the story of six U.S. diplomats who escaped Iran when the U.S. embassy was taken over during the Islamic revolution of 1979.   It's the wider revolution I'll be commenting on, not the specific incident of escape. The standard story, which the film repeats, has always been that the CIA really dropped the ball in 1979, they just didn't see the revolution coming. In a report issued to then President Carter in 1977, the CIA stated that:

“The Shah will be an active participant in Iranian life well into the 1980s…and there will be no radical changes in Iranian political behavior in the near future.”

Whoops! It's always held up alongside the Bay of Pigs as a classic case of CIA incompetence, see, they really don't know everything! But is there a deeper story?

Well according to the following Global Research article by Harry Martin, yes there is. It's always been contended by (amongst others) investigative journalist Robert Parry that the incoming Republican administration struck a deal with the Islamic revolutionaries to hold on to their American hostages until after Ronald Reagan became President.  If Jimmy Carter had negotiated their release he might have won a second term in office. Sure enough the hostages were released on the day Reagan was sworn into office and in due course the doggy arms deals began.  But the following article goes further than that, in it Mr. Martin discusses documents revealed by Iranian intellectual Fara Mansoor, that point to the whole revolution being a CIA operation right from the start.  To quote from the article:

With thousands of documents to support his position, Mansoor says that the “hostage crisis” was a political “management tool” created by the pro-Bush faction of the CIA, and implemented through an a priori Alliance with Khomeini’s Islamic Fundamentalists.” He says the purpose was twofold:
  • To keep Iran intact and communist-free by putting Khomeini in full control.
  • To destablize the Carter Administration and put George Bush in the White House.
“The private Alliance was the logical result of the intricate Iranian political reality of the mid-70s, and a complex network of powerful U.S.-Iranian ‘business’ relationships,” Mansoor states. “I first met Khomeini in 1963 during the failed coup attempt against the Shah. Since that time I have been intimately involved with Iranian politics. I knew in 1979 that the whole, phoney ‘Islamic Revolution’ was ‘mission implausible’.” Mansoor was frank. “There is simply no way that those guys with the beards and turbans could have pulled off such a brilliantly planned operation without very sophisticated help.”
Mansoor has spent 10 years researching the issue.
“I have collected enough data to yield a very clear picture. Mr. Bush’s lieutenants removed the Shah, brought Khomeini back to Iran, and guided his rise to power, sticking it to President Carter, the American people (52 in particular), and the Iranian people.”
He stated with boxes and boxes of evidence to support his contentions.
“My extensive research has revealed the heretofore untold truth about this episode. This is not another ‘October Surprise’ theory purporting how the hostage crisis resulted in some Khomeini-Republic better deal. That theory puts the cart before the horse. Its absurd premise is that a major international deal was initiated and consummated in three weeks. Give me a break! Bill Casey didn’t have to go to Paris to play lets-make-deal. The ‘deal’ had been in operation for at least two years. This game of blind-man’s-bluff around Casey’s gravestone was more disinformation, damage control.”

You can rad the full article here:

It's a fascinating possibility which frankly makes more sense that to think that the CIA were just not paying attention to the goings on in one of the most oil rich nations on Earth. But one whistle blower even with an impressive set of documents doesn't prove the case.  So for now anyway, I suppose a good  degree of speculation remains.

Where there isn't any need for speculation however is in the other Iranian revolution. The one that took place in 1953 and replaced Iran's first democratic government with the Monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who then began a twenty five year run of oppression and torture. There's no need to speculate because it's a matter of historical record that this coup, named Operation Ajax, was instigated by the CIA at the request of the British after Iranian Prime-minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalised Iran's oil supply, depriving British Petroleum of it's revenues there. The following short film explores the disastrous 1953 coup and the hypocrisy of the United States stance towards Iran today.

One things for certain, you won't see a Hollywood blockbuster on this revolution any time soon!

Link to John Pilger article on the film Argo:

Link to Robert Parry article on collusion between the Reagan administration and the Iranian Regime:

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