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government of Iran released all but one of the 52 American hostages they’d been holding for 444 days. The American people rejoiced. The long ordeal that began when militant Muslims took over the American Embassy in Tehran was over. But what if those hostages could actually have gained their freedom months earlier? And if Jimmy Carter had been successful in his negotiations, what if he’d been reelected to a second term? What if the Reagan-Bush team cut a secret deal with Iran to hold on to their American prisoners until after the November election? Would anybody call that treason? Even at the time, as busy on the wrestling circuit as I was, I thought— whaaaat?! This stinks. It reeked of a behind-the-scenes deal. Here’s the thing everybody forgets: Even though Reagan ended up swamping Carter in the election, as late as the middle of October Reagan’s own poll-taker had Carter ahead by two percentage points. If Carter had managed to free the hostages before the election, good chance he’d have won. Instead, we had what Gary Sick, both Ford and Carter’s Middle East expert on the National Security Council, called “a political coup” in his book October Surprise. Most of us remember Operation Desert One, a hostage-rescue attempt by our military early in 1980 that ended up dead-in-the-desert, got eight Americans killed, and resulted as a major embarrassment for Carter. During negotiations after that, Iran was demanding of the Carter people that we exchange $150 million in American military equipment that they’d already ordered and paid for, before the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah Khomeini took power. Carter said he wouldn’t deal with arms merchants, but otherwise thought this seemed fair enough. Meantime, the Reagan campaign was busy monitoring Carter’s every move on this. As early as March 1980, William Casey—who was then managing Reagan’s election campaign and later was named his CIA director—approached two Iranian wheeler-dealers in Washington. The Hashemi brothers, Jamshid and Cyrus, were asked if they’d set up a meeting with some representatives of the government.1 The thing was, Cyrus Hashemi, who’d done some work for the CIA, was also an important intermediary for the Carter White House in the talks.2 Anyway, what was basically a bidding war proceeded from there. Casey went to Spain in July and worked out arrangements to get arms to the Iranians from several locations in Europe, by way of Israel, once the hostages were freed.3 The equipment was worth billions and involved arms dealers, not to mention $40 million in bribes going to various individuals.4 Abol Bani-Sadr,

Profile for HAROLD ARROYO, JR.

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

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