16. REAGAN'S 1980 "OCTOBER SURPRISE" --
ARMS FOR HOSTAGES
In October 1980, nothing worried the Reagan campaign
as much as the possibility that the 52 hostages held by Iran might come home.
A "paramilitary wing" created by Reagan's campaign staff to prevent
such a possibility was largely unreported in 1987.
The revelations report
that then campaign manager William J. Casey headed an "October surprise"
team engaging the services of both retired and active military personnel.
the course of the 1980 campaign, campaign leaders Richard Allen, Edwin Meese,
and Casey became concerned, almost to the point of paranoia (according to journalists
Jack Germond and Jules Witcover) that Carter would get the hostages released thereby
stealing away Reagan's election momentum and assuring Carter of re-election. Following
is a brief overview of the reported activities of Reagan's "October 1980
Various reports reveal that Casey's "paramilitary
wing" monitored U.S. military movements for the Reagan campaign, met with
representatives of the Bani-Sadr government of Iran, and covertly obtained President
Carter's debate briefing materials prior to the November election.
revelations alone carry enormous constitutional implications -- private citizens
soliciting military and intelligence assistance in monitoring U.S. government
operations, private citizens meeting with foreign dignitaries in possible state
negotiations, and private citizens clandestinely obtaining property of the United
States President -- and yet they were not followed up by the major media once
discovered and revealed in small, non-mass media publications.
disturbing is the issue of Iranian arms shipments. Documents confirm that within
its first month, the Reagan administration gave a green light to Israel to resume
its arms shipments to the Iranian government.
These revelations support
former Iranian President Bani-Sadr's assertion that the arms supply contract Iran
signed with Israel in March 1981, less than two months after Reagan's inauguration,
was the payoff for delaying the release of the American hostages until after the
November 4, 1980 election.
The hostages remained in captivity until January
20, 1981, the day Reagan took the oath of office, and they left Teheran minutes
after he became president.
A conspiracy between a presidential candidate
and a hostile foreign power against an incumbent president would seem to be without
precedent in American history. At the very least, it would seem that the documented
charges revealed by a few journalists last year deserved to be investigated for
the benefit of the American public by the U.S. media.
WEEKLY, 7/10/87, "Reagan's 1980 Hostage Deal," by Barbara Honegger with
Jim Naureckas, pp 12, 14, 16; THE NATION, 6/20/87 (p 842), 7/4/87 (p 7), 8/1/87
(p 80), 10/24/87 (p 440), 11/21/87 (p 582), "Minority Report," all by
Christopher Hitchens; S.F. EXAMINER, 7/12/87, "October Surprise," by
Warren Hinckle, p A-13.