October Surprise Series

The latest evidence of a history-changing Republican dirty trick in 1980 and its precursor in 1968. (For earlier articles about the October Surprise mystery, go to “Archives” at the Home Page and click on “October Surprise X-Files.”)

A Blind Eye to LBJ’s ‘X-File’
President Lyndon Johnson’s legacy is in the news – whether his many domestic achievements should outweigh his disastrous escalation of the Vietnam War – but no attention is being paid to evidence that LBJ might have ended the war if not for Richard Nixon’s sabotage, writes Robert Parry. April 11, 2014

Reagan-Bush Ties to Iran-Hostage Crisis
The Senate wants to block Iran’s new UN ambassador because he was linked to the Iran hostage crisis 35 years ago, but that standard would strip honors from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, implicated in extending the hostage crisis to win the 1980 election, reports Robert Parry. April 9, 2014

Robert Strauss’s Watergate Secret
Robert Strauss, who died Wednesday, was a Democratic powerbroker who thrived in the age of Nixon, Reagan and Bush-41. But an enduring Watergate mystery is whether Strauss earned his GOP spurs by secretly helping the Republicans in the spy scandal, reports Robert Parry. March 20, 2014

Does Nixon’s ‘Treason’ Boost LBJ’s Legacy?
The Vietnam War has doomed President Lyndon Johnson to a lowly status among presidents, overshadowing his domestic successes. But LBJ’s ranking might change if the new evidence on Richard Nixon sabotaging LBJ’s Vietnam peace talks were factored in, writes Robert Parry. February 16, 2014

Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama 
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is slamming President Obama in a new memoir, accusing him of lacking enthusiasm for the Afghan War. But perhaps Obama’s bigger mistake was trusting Gates, a Bush Family operative with a history of dirty dealing, writes Robert Parry. January 8, 2014

Judge Leon’s Dirty Climb to the Bench
Civil libertarians are cheering federal judge Richard Leon for his ruling against the NSA’s massive surveillance program – and that’s all to the good – but Leon’s route to the bench followed a twisted course of partisan investigations and one historic cover-up, Robert Parry reports. December 17, 2013

Almost Thwarting Nixon’s Dirtiest Trick 
In 1968, the public anger over the Vietnam War tempted GOP presidential nominee Richard Nixon to sabotage Democratic peace talks to seal his victory, a dirty trick that Saigon-based journalist Beverly Deepe nearly exposed before American voters went to the polls. November 22, 2013

A CIA Hand in an American ‘Coup’?
The U.S. government decries leaks, but the other side of the story is that key chapters of American history are hidden from the public for decades and maybe forever. The CIA has just admitted its 1953 Iran coup and may never acknowledge a role in ousting Jimmy Carter in 1980, Robert Parry reports. August 26, 2013

Second Thoughts on October Surprise
New evidence has shaken the confidence of former Rep. Lee Hamilton in his two-decade-old judgment clearing Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign of going behind President Carter’s back to frustrate his efforts to free 52 U.S. hostages in Iran, the so-called October Surprise case, Robert Parry reports. June 8, 2013

What a Real Cover-up Looks Like
Republicans won’t let go of their conspiracy theory about some nefarious “cover-up” in “talking points” for Ambassador Susan Rice’s TV interviews on the Benghazi attack. But they should at least have better skills for detecting a real cover-up, since they’ve had direct experience, as Robert Parry documents. May 21, 2013

Does Woodward Know Watergate?
Republicans are hyping the flap over Benghazi talking points by calling it “worse than Watergate,” a false narrative that Bob Woodward has helped along by ignoring new evidence connecting Richard Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam War peace talks in 1968 to his political spying in 1971-72, writes Robert Parry. May 20, 2013

Another Ignored Russian Warning
One year after the Cold War ended, Russia tried to cooperate with a U.S. national security investigation into possible treason by senior American officials only to see the information ignored. Two decades later, Russians feel their warning about a Boston Marathon bomber was ignored again, Robert Parry reports. April 23, 2013

Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra
New evidence continues to accumulate showing how Official Washington got key elements of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals wrong, especially how these two crimes of state originated in treacherous actions to secure the powers of the presidency, writes Robert Parry. March 9, 2013

‘October Surprise’ and ‘Argo’
Iran’s ex-President Bani-Sadr, in criticizing inaccurate history in “Argo,” says most Iranian officials wanted a quick end to the 1980 U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis, but Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign struck a deal with Ayatollah Khomeini to delay the hostages’ release, reports Robert Parry. March 7, 2013

Waking Up to Iran’s Real History
An Oscar frontrunner for best picture is “Argo,” depicting a little-known chapter of the U.S-Iran hostage standoff in 1979-81. Yet, while focusing on this story of six hostages escaping, “Argo” missed bigger dramas, before and after, as David Swanson explained. January 11, 2013

The L’Enfant Plaza Hotel Mystery
To understand why U.S. foreign policy is floundering in the Middle East, one must go back to the pivotal 1980 election when President Carter’s hopes for a second term hinged on getting Iran to release 52 U.S. hostages and Republicans went behind his back, writes Robert Parry. February 17, 2013

How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast
Newly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan’s neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter’s reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry. February 15, 2013

Richard Nixon’s Even-Darker Legacy 
Richard Nixon, who was born a century ago, cast a long shadow over U.S. politics, arguably reaching to the anything-goes tactics of today’s Republican Party. His admirers want to reverse history’s negative judgment but perhaps the Nixon centennial can finally allow for recognition of Nixon’s dirtiest trick, says Robert Parry. February 2, 2013

Who Bombed Ben-Menashe’s House?
Montreal police may hope to just nail the “torch,” the culprit who hurled a fire-bomb into the home of ex-Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe. But to solve the mystery, they may have to delve into Ben-Menashe’s complex intelligence ties, including his hostile relations with his old superiors in Israel, writes Robert Parry. December 8, 2012

Ben-Menashe Case Eyes Bomb Residue
The investigation of the firebombing of the upscale Montreal home of ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe is looking at the possibility the accelerant was more sophisticated than available to common criminals, reports Robert Parry. December 5, 2012

Arson Seen in Attack on Ex-Israeli Spy
Suspected arson destroyed the Montreal home of ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, who says he escaped through a rear door. It’s unclear if the fire was an assassination attempt to finally silence a man who has angered the Israeli government, powerful Republicans and others, writes Robert Parry. December 3, 2012

The Death Toll of Watergate
Major gaps in the history of Watergate and Iran-Contra have let Republicans minimize those scandals by comparing them to the fabricated “scandal” over the Benghazi attacks. A fuller understanding of Watergate would reveal its links to Richard Nixon’s prolonging the Vietnam War, writes Robert Parry. November 17, 2012

The October Surprise Mysteries
With hopes brightening that President Obama is close to a negotiated settlement of the Iran nuclear dispute, Mitt Romney’s campaign is eager to counter any positive news. The moment is reminiscent of past October Surprise moments, says Robert Parry in this article adapted from America’s Stolen Narrative. October 22, 2012

An Israeli October Surprise for Obama?
A pressing foreign policy question of the U.S. presidential race is whether Israel might exploit this politically delicate time to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and force President Obama to join the attack or face defeat at the polls, a predicament with similarities to one President Carter faced in 1980, writes Robert Parry. August 18, 2012

Bohemian Grove & Reagan’s ‘Treason’
This weekend, Occupy protesters are targeting the Bohemian Grove in California, where well-connected rich men go on retreats several weekends each summer. The secrecy of the 1980 encampment became a factor in the cover-up of possible “treason” by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, writes Robert Parry. July 13, 2012

Shamir’s October Surprise Admission
Two decades ago, ex-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir offered the stunning confirmation that “of course” an October Surprise plot had blocked President Jimmy Carter from gaining the release of 52 U.S. hostages in Iran, thus helping Ronald Reagan win the presidency in 1980, reports Robert Parry. July 3, 2012

Admissions on Nixon’s ‘Treason’
Definitive proof of a historical mystery is often elusive, even with archival documents and memoirs. Skeptics can always say some witness or some evidence isn’t perfect. But the case that Richard Nixon sabotaged the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to win that pivotal election is clear, writes Robert Parry. June 14, 2012

The Almost Scoop on Nixon’s ‘Treason’
At the end of Campaign 1968, as Richard Nixon feared his narrow lead could disappear if progress were made on Vietnam peace, a U.S. correspondent in Saigon got wind of a cabal between Nixon and South Vietnamese leaders to block peace talks and secure his victory. History was at a crossroads, writes Robert Parry. June 7, 2012

Profiting Off Nixon’s Vietnam ‘Treason’
The notion of Wall Street bankers meeting in private to discuss profiting off a plot to extend the Vietnam War and risk the lives of thousands of American soldiers may sound like a conspiracy movie script, but it is a tragic reality reflected in once secret White House documents, reports Robert Parry. March 4, 2012

LBJ’s ‘X’ File on Nixon’s ‘Treason’
In the dusty files of Lyndon Johnson’s presidential library in Austin, Texas, once secret documents and audiotapes tell a dark and tragic story of how Richard Nixon’s team secured the White House in 1968 by sabotaging peace talks that might have ended the Vietnam War four years earlier, Robert Parry reports. March 3, 2012

The Almost Vanunu
Two decades ago, the U.S. and Israeli governments reached around the world to silence an ex-Israeli intelligence officer who was exposing sensitive secrets. The goal was to discredit, if not capture, Ari Ben-Menashe much the way Israel went after nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, reports Marshall Wilson. February 1, 2012

Unmasking October Surprise Debunker
The fake “debunking” of the 1980 October Surprise case in the early 1990s was driven by a few “journalists,” including Steven Emerson, who has been identified in a recent report as a “misinformation expert” spreading anti-Muslim propaganda, reports Robert Parry. October 30, 2011

Taking a Bush Secret to the Grave
The National Archives has approved an appeal by journalist Robert Parry seeking release of a 30-year-old secret, the address where George H.W. Bush supposedly went on an October weekend in 1980 — when several witnesses put Bush in Paris meeting with Iranians. But it turns out the “alibi witness” is now dead. September 27, 2011

Bush’s October Surprise File in Dispute
The enduring October Surprise mystery – whether Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 American hostages in Iran – has reached a possible turning point, whether details of George H.W. Bush’s activities on a key day will be released, reports Robert Parry. September 9, 2011

Keeping a Curious Bush Secret
One of the strange mysteries from the Reagan-Bush era is where did George H.W. Bush go on one Sunday in October 1980 when some witnesses placed him meeting with Iranians in Paris. More than three decades later, Bush’s supposed alibi remains a state secret, Robert Parry reports. August 12, 2011

October Surprise Evidence Surfaces
Among newly released archival records is the first U.S. documentary evidence that William Casey took a trip to Madrid possibly related to the 1980 October Surprise conspiracy. Doubts that Ronald Reagan’s campaign chief went to Madrid fueled a media frenzy in 1991 to debunk allegations of a secret GOP deal with Iran, says Robert Parry. July 14, 2011

Inside the October Surprise Cover-up
The George H.W. Bush Library in Texas has just released thousands of pages of documents on the October Surprise mystery, revealing how Bush’s inner circle handled allegations that the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 struck a treacherous deal with Iran. It was a textbook case of controlling the narrative, reports Robert Parry. July 12, 2011

Bob Gates’s ‘Business’ of Lying
As Defense Secretary Robert Gates prepares to retire in late June, he is routinely lauded as a “wise man” committed to telling it like it is, even making a frank comment this week about how “most governments lie to each other.” But Gates’s own record for honesty is a deeply checkered one, reports Robert Parry. June 17, 2011

Jimmy Carter’s October Surprise Doubts
Ex-President Jimmy Carter tells an interviewer that he isn’t sure what to believe about the longstanding suspicions that Republicans went behind his back in 1980 to stop him from freeing 52 American hostages in Iran, a failure that contributed to his political demise. But Robert Parry reports that there is a wealth of historical evidence. May 12, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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










  24 comments for “October Surprise Series

  1. Garby Francis Leon
    October 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    This is an impressive series of reports – leading one day, I am sure, to one describing the ultimate resolution of the October Surprise scandal, a certainty given the persistence and professional attention to detail these pieces reflect. They are of historic importance, and I have not doubt whatsoever that future historians of our era will see them that way, honoring their author accordingly.

    PS – and we’re looking forward to more – whenever I see October Surprise in a consortiumnews email, I immediately hit the link and start reading..

  2. J. Christensen
    October 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Even though my only sure income is “Social Security”, this has inspired me to make a donation to help assure such vital public information.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. lady
    December 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    in regard to the Iran Contra debaucle, there are many “contractors” still
    running contraband post-I-C era and making quite a business of it today.
    The War on Drugs has become a ligitimate government backed business. It’s the biggest ruse since the October Surprise. Retired Intel.
    Lady in Portland

  4. Charles Norrie
    January 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I have read your site often, and much I like. Your Reagan interests and those of HW Bush interest me.

    I believe it can reasonably be demonstrated with proof from the public record, i.e. inferring from what people say or don’t say or the facts are, rather than what they blurt out that the bombing of PA103 was jointly carried out by the US’s CIA and Iran’s Pasdaran in accordance with an agreement made in Glion Switzerland between the two countries to give Iran its one and only one revenge according to the tenets of traditional Iranian justice called qesas, for the provably deliberate shooting down of IR655, the Iranian Airbus done by the US with two intentions. To get Bush into the White House an unattractive candidate in a dull year in a khaki election and shut down Reagan’s radical foreign policy which Bush, an old CIA hand (he had been DCI), detested.

  5. Thomas Chacko
    January 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Robert Parry has done, as always, a superb job of reporting. Naturally, no one in the mainstream media will bother to re-examine the October Surprise case, certainly not with the fevered intensity they applied to Whitewater or the Lewinsky scandal.

    In the early ’90s, Gary Sick – a former Naval officer and National Security deputy during the Carter Administration – tried to get the conversation going through op-ed articles and his book, “October Surprise.” PBS’ FRONTLINE put together a chilling documentary on the subject. Hardly anyone cared!

    Admittedly, however, I was not too shocked when I learned of William Casey’s involvement; most sleazy operations bore his imprint. Nor was I surprised about the role played by George H.W. Bush, and his subsequent lies concerning his whereabouts. (I didn’t think he went to Paris for the wine!)In a family that has thrived on deception, this was par for the course. Iran-Contra and the 2000 “election” further bear this out.

    Well, the end result feeds the fantasy that fear of Ronald Reagan got the hostages out. Suitable for those who wrestle with the complexities of talk-radio.

    Thank you, Robert Parry and family!

  6. J.L. Viens
    February 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    It is rather curious that we never read anything related to “october surprise” coming from the Iranian government people. This would have been very interesting to have some feedback from these people. If there was any, I never found books or written material covering their part of the story.

    • LK
      February 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

      former elected president of Iran Bani Sadr wrote a book where he said he suspected that his ouster was due to his opposition to dealing with the Republicans concerning the October Surprise

      • Eliza
        February 20, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        When Ahmadinejad was “elected,” there were some of the “hostages” who swore that he had been one of their captors — they had no doubts. This was “in the news” for a few days, as I remember, and then the whole issue just disappeared. I never heard any results of any genuine investigation, official or otherwise. The whole thing just “disappeared.” What’s with that? Still curious.

        • Niels Jespersen
          February 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

          The picture of the captor looking somewhat like Ahmadinejad was identified as belonging to somebody else.If you look at the picture more closely it is obvious that this person can not be Ahmadinejad – the nose is much thicker, etc etc.

          The reason why this issue disappeared was becuse it could not be used to defame Ahmadinejad – it was too obvious that the captor was not him.

    • Lk
      June 18, 2012 at 4:01 am

      Read the biography of deposed President Ban Sadr himself

  7. February 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    HELLO! What about that nice lady Barbara (Last name?) who wrote the origunal expose titled OCTOBER SURPRISE? Gary “THE SICK” quickly published a cover up with the same title. Book stores are surprised to find the same title by different authors at such close publishing dates. Not criket they say. The lady works at some institue in WDC. Thanks Rduanewilling

  8. Richard Patten
    September 3, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Just read Robert Parry’s “…Stolen Narrative.” indicating GHW Bush’s involvement in all the sabotage conspiracies from Nixon on, but he left out GHW’s involvement in the JFK assassination. Why?

  9. rongxi
    December 1, 2015 at 12:53 am

    some questions from a native born US cit, pat, and vet…

    1. in all your stories, why not link to those powerful TX leaders who nearly ‘pre-approve’ candidates for president..and the top echelons of core power?

    2. in my reports to langley, state dept, and pres years ago…from a decade in PRC… no american, newsmedia or the gov’t wants to recognize, talk about, and identify just what the hun communists do to their own people in every hamlet and metropolis…and their mindset towards the west while partnering with the ‘upper power brokers’.


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