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The October Surprise Mystery

(For articles after May 1, 2011, go to homepage and see Categories: October Surprise.)

The Original Eight-Part Series -- 'October Surprise X-Files'

The Russian Report
What the KGB knew about the October Surprise mystery, but the American people didn't. (12-11-95)

The Ladies Room Secrets
How historic secrets about this political era were recovered from a remote Capitol Hill wash room. (12-21-95)

Bill Casey's Iranian
What FBI wiretaps captured about secret payments from BCCI and a Bush-connected lawyer to an Iranian "double-agent."(12-31-95)

Follow the Money
How some of the world's most secretive and powerful players joined forces to fix the pivotal 1980 election. (1-15-96)

Saddam's 'Green Light'
What a "top secret" report reveals about the origins of the bloody Iran-Iraq War. (1-31-96)

Where's Bill Casey
How the national news media and Congress "debunked" the October Surprise allegations by adopting bogus alibis for Bill Casey. (2-14-96)

Bush & a CIA Power Play
What CIA veterans and former CIA director George Bush did to regain The White House in the 1980s. (2-29-96)

Lies Spun into History
How absurd alibis became part of the October Surprise historical record. (3-14-96)

More Recent Updates

Twenty Years Ago, a Lost Opportunity
Two decades ago, the U.S. political/media system had a chance to get Ronald Reagan's history right, but didn't, says Robert Parry. April 15, 2011

Inside America's 'Adjustment Bureau'
Almost like Matt Damon's movie, "The Adjustment Bureau," powerful forces redirect U.S. national narratives, explains Robert Parry. March 14, 2011

The Back Story on Iran's Clashes
The U.S. media presents the new street protests in Iran as a morality play, but they are more complex, reports Robert Parry. February 17, 2011

Iranian Students Ask About 1980
Robert Parry responds to questions from Iranian students about the 1980 Iran-US hostage crisis and the October Surprise case. October 30, 2010

Don't Try These GOP Alibis at Home
When powerful Republicans are in a pinch, they can use crazy alibis that would make anyone else look guiltier, says Robert Parry. August 12, 2010

October Surprise Cover-up Unravels
Die-hard defenders of the October Surprise (1980) cover-up keep citing alibis that have long ago disintegrated, says Robert Parry. August 6, 2010

Accusation of October Surprise 'Lying'
Attorney Lawrence Barcella accuses journalist Robert Parry of "lying" about the October Surprise case, and Parry responds. August 5, 2010

To Publish Official Secrets -- or Not
The Pentagon says disclosing Afghan War secrets has risked lives, but the life-or-death issue is more complicated, writes Robert Parry. July 30, 2010

Rethinking Iran-Contra
The recent collapse of the long-running October Surprise cover-up shifts the history on the Iran-Contra scandal, writes Robert Parry. July 1, 2010

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter
With the October Surprise cover-up in shambles, the evidence points to a CIA-Likud plot against President Carter, says Robert Parry. June 24, 2010

The Tricky October Surprise Report
A House task force deceived the American public in clearing Ronald Reagan of a treacherous scheme with Iran, reports Robert Parry. June 17, 2010

Key October Surprise Evidence Hidden
A Russian report on the 1980 October Surprise case was apparently kept from the chief congressional investigator, says Robert Parry. May 6, 2010

How Two Elections Changed America
Secret Republican operations around elections in 1968 and 1980 set the U.S. on today's troubled course, says Robert Parry. November 4, 2009

The Crazy October Surprise Debunking
To protect the Reagan-Bush-I legacy, Republicans and Democrats created absurd October Surprise alibis, reports Robert Parry. November 6, 2009

The October Surprise Crystal Balls
A sub-plot of the 1980 October Surprise mystery is how some Reaganites foresaw the U.S. hostage release, says Robert Parry. November 13, 2009

Iran Divided & the 'October Surprise'
Today's divisions in Iran's leadership date back to secret decisions made to influence a U.S. election in 1980, reports Robert Parry. June 24, 2009

GOP Judge Gives Bush a Gitmo Victory
A weakness in the habeas corpus hearings for Guantanamo detainees is that many cases will be heard by partisan Republican jurists, like U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, writes Robert Parry. December 31, 2008

Henry Kissinger: Eminence Noire
Newly released tapes of Lyndon Johnson denouncing "treason" by Richard Nixon's campaign in 1968 reflect on Henry Kissinger, who may have joined in dirty tricks then and in 1980, writes Robert Parry. December 28, 2008

The Significance of Nixon's 'Treason'
The Richard Nixon campaign's successful "treason" in sabotaging Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to win an election explains a lot about Republican dominance of the era, writes Robert Parry. December 9, 2008

Nixon's 'Treason' and Historical Gaps
In a newly released tape, President Lyndon Johnson accuses Richard Nixon's team of "treason" over the Vietnam peace talks. But the U.S. news media still misses the big picture, writes Robert Parry. December 5, 2008

Henry Hyde: Mr. Cover-up
The death of ex-Congressman Henry Hyde is drawing fond eulogies from both sides of the political aisle and across Official Washington. But no attention is being paid to Hyde's crucial role in covering up the worst political crimes of the Reagan-Bush era. November 30, 2007

The Original October Surprise
Both Republicans and Democrats are fretting about the prospect of an "October Surprise" that might hurt them in the last days of Election 2006. But perhaps no "October Surprise" has been more mysterious or more influential than the one in 1980 that -- with the help of George H.W. Bush -- gave the concept its name. Arguably, the 1980 "October Surprise," which involved secret contacts with Iran, launched the modern era of Republican dominance. October 25, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 2)
Part 2 of our series on the "Original October Surprise" of 1980 focuses on the role of banker David Rockefeller and his collaboration with Republicans during the Iranian hostage crisis. That national humiliation, which played out over 444 days, doomed Jimmy Carter's presidency and helped open the door to the modern era of GOP dominance. October 27, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 3)
Part 3 of our series on the "Original October Surprise" of 1980 addresses the troubling question of whether disgruntled CIA officers collaborated with their former boss, George H.W. Bush, to sabotage President Jimmy Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations -- and thus changed the course of U.S. political history. October 28, 2006

The Bushes & the Truth About Iran
As George W. Bush turns to the military option on Iran, the American people first might want to demand that he and his father release secret records about back-channel Republican dealings with the Iranian mullahs dating back to 1980. Those records might show whether face-to-face negotiations with Iran are worth trying, but the documents at least would let the public in on the true history of U.S.-Iranian relations before more people die. September 21. 2006

Secret 'October Surprise' Files
Some of the historical records about the secret Republican-Iranian relationship were salvaged by this Web site. To review the actual documents and read about their significance, click on the above headline. September 21. 2006

When Republicans Loved a Filibuster
Supporters of George W. Bush are furious that some Democrats might filibuster Samuel Alito's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. But 15 years ago, the Republicans mounted a crucial filibuster of their own to block an investigation that might have destroyed the legacy of the Reagan-Bush era -- and ended the political viability of the Bush Family. January 27, 2006

The Imperium's Quarter Century
The origins of George W. Bush's imperial-style government can be traced back to the extraordinary moment a quarter century ago when Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President and 52 Americans hostages were simultaneously freed in Iran. Americans were swept up in a surge of patriotism and many bought into the idea that Reagan's tough-guy image had scared Iran's fundamentalist Islamic government. The reality of that fateful day now appears to have been quite different, but the cover-up of a Republican scheme that bordered on treason remains an important state secret even 25 years later. January 20, 2006

The Bushes & the Death of Reason
Some Americans can't understand why George W. Bush and the neoconservatives were so confident in their ability to sell the nation on a bogus case for war with Iraq. Part of the answer can be found in the Republican success in turning back Iran-Contra accusations through the use of irrational arguments. One such case study starts with an unpublished photograph taken at the Bohemian Grove resort on the last weekend of July 1980. May 9, 2005

Real-Life 'National Treasure' -- in Reverse
Walt Disney's action film, "National Treasure," is a fanciful hunt for hidden treasure with characters following complex clues left behind by the Founding Fathers. In real-life Washington, the "October Surprise mystery" -- whether Republicans sabotaged Jimmy Carter in 1980 with behind-the-back dealings with Iran -- represents how the world really works, with modern-day leaders doing all they can to destroy any clues that might lead the nation to an honest conclusion. May 6, 2005

A Lawyer & National Security Cover-ups
Prominent Washington lawyer Lawrence Barcella has come under criticism for the use of a false affidavit to convict former CIA officer Edwin Wilson on terrorism charges in 1983. But the unraveling of the Wilson case -- and its damage to Barcella's reputation -- also raise new doubts about Barcella's role in "debunking"  the October Surprise allegations that the Reagan-Bush campaign disrupted President Jimmy Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations before the pivotal national election in 1980. May 4, 2005

David Rockefeller & 'October Surprise' Case
Election 1980 was a turning point in American political history, but how the Republicans exploited Jimmy Carter's humiliation over the Iranian hostage crisis to ensure Ronald Reagan's victory is still little understood. Nor do the American people know the background roles in the "October Surprise" case played by David Rockefeller, the Shah of Iran's banker, and his many powerful friends. Adapted from Secrecy & Privilege. Posted April 15, 2005

Rockefeller Aide's Tie to 'October Surprise'
Some of the most intriguing documents found in the files of the House 'October Surprise' Task Force relate to the role of Joseph Verner Reed, one of Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller's top aides. According to an FBI agent's notes, Reed tried to stonewall the investigation of alleged Republican interference in President Carter's 1980 Iran-hostage negotiations. The Reed documents were never released to the American people but were found by reporter Robert Parry in a Capitol Hill storage room. Part of our new Document Archive. Posted April 12, 2005.

Russian Report on 'October Surprise' Case
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. Posted April 5, 2005

Arafat & the Original 'October Surprise'
Skeletons of an election controversy past -- the alleged Reagan-Bush "October Surprise" scheme of 1980 -- have surfaced, as a top aide to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat describes a secret meeting between the PLO and a key Republican. The Arafat aide says the Republican sought the PLO's help in sabotaging President Carter's efforts to free 52 American hostages in Iran. November 2, 2004

Russia's Prime Minister & 'October Surprise'
Boris Yeltsin’s nominee for Russia’s new prime minister wrote a secret report in 1993, confirming the 1980 ‘October Surprise’ charges and implicating top Republicans in a hostage plot with Iran. Sergey Stepashin sent the explosive report to the U.S. Congress, but the extraordinary document was hidden. By Robert Parry. May 14, 1999

Earl Brian: Reagan's 'Scandal Man' Off to Jail
In the early 1990s, the word of Ronald Reagan's friend Earl Brian helped debunk two major scandals. But now, Brian's credibility has collapsed with his federal fraud conviction. (8/25/97)

October Surprise: Finally, Time for the Truth?
Seven years ago, Jamshid Hashemi, an Iranian businessman and CIA operative, broke his silence about the October Surprise controversy. Now, with more and more public figures corroborating parts of the story, Jamshid Hashemi is revealing new details about this ultimate dirty trick and the CIA. (5/5/97)

October Surprise: Time for Truth? (Part 2)
The enduring mystery of George Bush and alleged Paris meetings with Iranians in 1980: Did he go or did he stay? (5/19/97)

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