New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

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New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:20 am


New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran
June 19, 2012

The Right often demonizes Hollywood as “liberal” – and surely there are some TV shows and movies with liberal themes – but most of what the U.S. entertainment industry produces is either apolitical or super-patriotic. “Argo,” a new movie on Iran, fits the latter category, says Danny Schechter.

By Danny Schechter

Earlier this year, I was in Tehran for a conference on Hollywood’s power and impact. It was called “Hollywoodism,” featuring many scholars and critics of the values and political ideologies featured in many major movies with a focus on the way Israel (a.k.a., “the Zionists”) are continually portrayed as if they do no wrong.

What we didn’t know then while we were debating these issues was that some of Hollywood’s biggest stars were at that very moment making a movie that will certainly be perceived as hostile to Iran, if not part of the undeclared war that Israel and the United States are waging with crippling economic sanctions and malicious cyber viruses.

The movie is “Argo,” and the hype for it has already begun. In a business driven by formula, a “hostage thriller” must have been irresistible to an industry always more consumed by itself and its own frames of reference than anything happening in the real world.

An NBC entertainment site explains: “At the height of the Iran Hostage Crisis, the CIA smuggled six Americans out of Tehran in a plot that was a movie maker’s dream. So naturally, Hollywood’s gonna make a movie out of it.

“Superstar Ben Affleck directed ‘Argo,’ a film being produced by George Clooney, about former CIA Master of Disguise Tony Mendez and his most daring operation. … Mendez smuggled six American’s out of Tehran in 1979 by concocting a fake movie production, called ‘Argo.’”

Predictably, the background and context of these events is conspicuous by its absence, as are the reasons for the Iranian revolution and the role played by the United States in working with the British in the overthrow of the Mossadegh government and support for the despotic Shah.

“It’s not political,” a movie industry insider told me. A film set in the Iranian revolution, that most political of events of an era, “not political?” That’s Hollywood for you!

Hollywood movies want to be seen only as exercises in dramatic storytelling, so their focus is always on characters and action. As Wired Magazine described what happened in a 2007 story based on the book that led to the film:

“November 4, 1979, began like any other day at the US embassy in Tehran. The staff filtered in under gray skies, the marines manned their posts, and the daily crush of anti-American protestors massed outside the gate chanting, ‘Allahu akbar! Marg bar Amrika!’

“Mark and Cora Lijek, a young couple serving in their first foreign service post, knew the slogans — ‘God is great! Death to America!’ — and had learned to ignore the din as they went about their duties. But today, the protest sounded louder than usual. And when some of the local employees came in and said there was ‘a problem at the gate,’ they knew this morning would be different…”

The larger confrontation also served as the basis for a long-running TV news series, ABC’s “America Held Hostage,” treating those Americans as victims of a crime, but never Iran as the scene of a larger crime, a country held hostage for years by a U.S.-backed secret police and military that crushed freedom of expression, repressed religion, and enabled the CIA to manipulate Iran’s politics while U.S. companies plundered Iran’s resources.

One-sided news programming was far more effective than Hollywood movie making as a tool for mobilizing Americans against Iran. The coverage was always unbalanced. I called it “A.A.U.” — All About Us!

Now, this new movie will likely add to the propaganda even as many Americans are speaking out against a war on Iran while Washington is clearly planning one. It will bring back all the old anti-Iranian feelings and stereotypes while progressive U.S. actors glamorize a CIA agent, even though the actual movie makes the events seem absurd and at times reportedly even makes fun of the U.S. government in 1970s’ movie-making style.

I haven’t seen the film but judging from the slick trailer I saw in my neighborhood theater, it’s about clever Americans outsmarting Iranians who look robotic.

Here’s the context as Wired reports: “The Iran hostage crisis, which would go on for 444 days, shaking America’s confidence and sinking President Jimmy Carter’s reelection campaign, had begun. … Everyone remembers the 52 Americans trapped at the embassy and the failed rescue attempt a few months later that ended with a disastrous Army helicopter crash in the Iranian desert. But not many know the long- classified details of the CIA’s involvement in the escape of the other group — thrust into a hostile city in the throes of revolution.”

In the “not many know” department, there is no reference here either about how the Reagan campaign secretly negotiated to hold back the hostages until Carter was out of office, or the illegal Iran-Contra arms deals that followed.

This tale of escape also is not a “new” story – it was told years ago in books and magazines – but “Argo” is retelling as if it is new. It is, as you would expect, all about our brilliance and their stupidity, our good guys against their bad guys – all classic “Made in the USA” commercial movie formula.

Will this thriller contribute to a deeper understanding between our two countries? Will it help us find a way of resolving our differences? I doubt it.

As it happens, when I was in Tehran, I visited the former U.S. Embassy and wrote about my impressions in a new book, Blogothon (Cosimo.) The embassy is now a museum with a well-preserved group of offices, safeguarding the equipment used by the CIA for surveillance and espionage.

The Iranians had denounced the building as a “spy nest” well before the students took it over but even they didn’t know how right they were or its real covert action focus until they saw it for themselves.

U.S. Embassy security tried to destroy all its secret documents by shredding them, but the students, over months, patiently sewed the bits and pieces together and published them, exposing their nefarious tactics in books that U.S. Customs would not allow Americans to see. (Friends of mine had their copies seized when they returned from a reporting trip to Iran in that period.)

There is a reference to the recovery of some of this information in “Argo,” but not much about what was in those documents. This was all before the age of WikiLeaks,

But never mind the facts or their selective retelling: in Hollywood, only story matters. You can just hear the actors telling their agents “how cool this film is” — especially because movie-making is the movie’s sub-plot, the glory of the story, so to speak, at the core of what is, in the end, sanitized drama.

Once again, mindlessness leads to malice in a search not for truth but box office revenues. Of course, I will see it when it’s out in the fall.
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:50 am

Affleck and Clooney. Shockeroo.
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby StarmanSkye » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:09 pm

The larger confrontation also served as the basis for a long-running TV news series, ABC’s “America Held Hostage,” treating those Americans as victims of a crime, but never Iran as the scene of a larger crime, a country held hostage for years by a U.S.-backed secret police and military that crushed freedom of expression, repressed religion, and enabled the CIA to manipulate Iran’s politics while U.S. companies plundered Iran’s resources.

One-sided news programming was far more effective than Hollywood movie making as a tool for mobilizing Americans against Iran. The coverage was always unbalanced. I called it “A.A.U.” — All About Us!


In a nutshell -- the crux of How & Why Iran has been treated as (among) the Supreme Enemy over 6 DECADES ...

The blowback consequences of this malicious mendicity (and others) have since been used as convenient pretext for the mass-appropriation of public funds (and future debt obligations) for a lucrative bonanza & jobs program reaped by the US covert intelligence and Military Industry franchises and exploited by opportunistic political hacks who know how to make themselves invaluable to the aforementioned franchisees AND are clever-and-forward-thinking-enough to never waste an opportunity to suck at the public tit while making the public think they're being 'serviced'.

That's about what US-style 'democracy' has devolved to. The greater and greater the disconnect gets between what the public thinks is the glorious system of representative citizen-rule preserving the hallowed tradition & ideals of liberty, and the reality of our subservience to an unelected cabal of thieves, traitors, bottom-feeders, conmen, racketeers & psychopathic opportunists who work hand-in-glove with the feudal technocracy of corporate & MIC gangsters, the more avidly and even desperately the dumbed-down-and-proud-of-it! public consumes infotainment propaganda cleverly disguised as romanticized historical docudramas that champion the mythologized heroism of America the Great. Its like an ever-expanding closed-circle feedback-loop that takes more-and-more effort & creative intensity to keep going and from unraveling into the rats nest of lies and frauds from which its made.

I suppose some comfort can be taken in realizing that inevitably every system based on lies and deception must fail as the poverty of crippled imagination, perverted will, corrupted ideals & betrayal of principle will cause systemic breakdown by impeding the system's ability to adapt and survive changing conditions. The rote habits of thinking and fossilized values which enforced group mind-think conformity become major liabilities to growth and adaptation -- the system falls apart, implodes and feeds off itself like a parasitical cannibal.

The danger is that sudden vulnerability leaves the people unprepared to resist a new, all consuming drive for a new myth, a new system that is focused on consolidation and self-perpetuation.

Perhaps war is really hard-wired into the human condition, the place where our biggest, worst, most desperate & vicious enemies are found is --
within the core of each of us, not somewhere over 'there'.

That spirit of self-reflection is tragicly lacking in our modern 'western' society, perhaps a legacy of the pioneering myth and Manifest Destiny western 'expansionism' delusions of perpetual new spaces we can tame, claim and 'conquer' -- the one-time blessing, now a curse that we still seem to labour under, which gives us the arrogance to conclude that if we can achieve global dominion, then by gosh and by-Damn-golly it is our right and duty, so we should --

And of course, that is SUCH a perversion of the essence of the spiritual teachings at the core of the world's greatest religious traditions, it seems improbable that could be by accident and not coordinated design. But that gets into a whole 'NOTHER topic entirely, including the question of whether ALL religions are simply exquisite propaganda by self-delegated masters to control the masses.

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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby MinM » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:31 am

Wombaticus Rex wrote:Affleck and Clooney. Shockeroo.

Telluride 2012: Ben Affleck to Filmmakers: 'Ward Off Cynicism,' Movies Can Change the World
With a number of this year's films focusing on terrorism, their directors debate what impact they will have.

8:00 PM PDT 9/3/2012 by Tim Appelo

Can movies change the world? That was the topic on the table at a Telluride Film Festival panel on terrorism hosted by film scholar Annette Insdorf. And Ben Affleck, whose new film Argo, emerged as the top Oscar contender unveiled at this year's festival, argued forcibly that they can.

In the fact-based Argo, Affleck plays a CIA man who saves six Americans in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by defying orders to abandon them. "He was aware of how the policies of the CIA had put them in the place they were in," Affleck explained. (In 1953, the CIA overthrew Iran's elected president to install the brutish Shah, who was overthrown in turn by the current Islamist regime.) "But he still wanted in some measure to try to make it right. So this idea of not giving up is noble. And I would also caution the other members of this panel to ward off their cynicism and remember that those of us in America get our education from movies. We know Adams because we saw Paul Giamatti with his hat on marching around on HBO, and we learn about Lincoln because we see Daniel Day-Lewis in a Spielberg film. We know Harry Potter can fly because we've seen him do it."

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Telluride Film Festival

"The people who see these films will believe them," said Affleck, referring to the films by his fellow panelists: Dror Moreh's The Gatekeepers (about Israel's secret police), Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing (about the 1965 US-backed Indonesian genocide) and Ziad Doueiri's The Attack (a fictional but deeply fact-inspired film about a Palestinian suicide bomber). "I genuinely -- not believe, but know, that there will be an impact."

Terror-war expert Mark Danner remained skeptical. "We live in the era of frozen scandal," Danner said. "What happens if we see wrongdoing, torture, WMD, or a genocide in Indonesia that kills a million people -- what if people find out about it and nothing happens? Anwar Congo in Joshua's film killed 1,000 people with his hands. The perpetrators were not punished. In fact, they continued to rule that society."

The Gatekeepers shockingly documents the 1995 assassination of Israel's peace-deal-seeking premiere Yitzahk Rabin and plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock by religious extremists, who were barely punished and whose power has grown since, and the escalation of the conflict since the Six-Day War. Moreh doubts peace is at hand, even though the tough, terrorist-hunting Israeli secret police he interviews wound up in favor of it.

STORY: Telluride 2012: Sights and Sounds at the Parties

"People ask me, do you think film can bring about change? I didn't believe it for a long time," said the Lebanese Doueiri, whose The Attack was so popular at Telluride the staffer introducing it on Saturday told the crowd, "Congratulations for getting in!"

"I live in a place where you're fed antisemitic feeling," said Doueiri, who said his mind was forever changed by a screening of Night and Fog at film school. "I thought, how can those people have a narrative? How can those people have a story to tell?" Watching Waltz With Bashir, an Israeli soldier's-eye view of the Lebanon invasion, "About 15 times I was about to walk out of the film, because the film takes place on the street where I grew up." Watching The Gatekeepers, said Doueiri, "I came out of the film plenty pissed. I felt I wished the Arabs would talk."

In The Attack, the Arabs do talk -- as well as others like an Israeli secret-serviceman, who resembles two of the real guys in Moreh's film. More than any film I have ever seen, Doueiri's takes you into the heart and soul of an Arab caught between Israel -- where the hero is a prominent, prizewinning doctor -- and Nablus, the Palestinian town devastated by the conflict and bitterly resistant. The hero's wife is the accused suicide bomber. Accepting an award, the hero jokes that every Jew is a bit of an Arab, and vice versa. "The Jews talk with their hands, yell and talk over each other; so do the Arabs," said Doueiri. "Israelis claim they invented the felafel; Lebanese say we invented the felafel."

STORY: Telluride 2012: 'Argo,' 'The Gatekeepers' and 'Frances Ha' Among Todd McCarthy's Standouts

Like blended cuisines, Doueiri's and Moreh's films go together. They are almost mirror images, the ultimate double bill, giving the conflict a deepening stereoscopic view. Taken with Affleck's big studio movie with a brain and a political consciousness, they will change hearts and minds. And in Telluride, they all came together. "Something has broken," said Doueiri of his own experience as a filmmaker and festivalgoer. "I'm glad I went through this journey." Maybe they'll all reunite on Oscar night. ... ism-367652

An offer they couldn't refuse: Hollywood and the CIA
kenoma wrote:The most common way for the CIA to exert influence in Hollywood nowadays is not through anything as direct as funding, or rewriting scripts, but offering to help with matters of verisimilitude. That is done by having serving or former CIA agents acting as advisers on the film, though some might wonder whether there is ever really such a thing a "former agent". As ex-CIA agent Lindsay Moran, the author of Blowing My Cover, has noted, the CIA often calls on former officers to perform tasks for their old employer.

So it was no problem for CBS to secure official help when making its 2001 TV series The Agency (it was even written by a former agent). Langley was equally helpful to the novelist Tom Clancy, who was invited to CIA headquarters after the publication of The Hunt for Red October, an invitation that was regularly repeated. Consequently, when Clancy's The Sum of All Fears was filmed in 2002, the agency was happy to bring its makers to Langley for a personal tour of headquarters, and to offer access to agency analysts for star Ben Affleck. When filming began, Brandon was on set to advise - a role he repeated during the filming of glamorous television series Alias.

The former agent Milt Beardon took the advisory role on two less action-packed attempts at espionage stories: Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd from 2006, which told an approximate version of the story of the famed CIA head of counter-espionage, James Jesus Angleton; and Charlie Wilson's War, the story of US covert efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with weaponry during the Soviet occupation of the 80s. In reality, this was a story that ended badly, as the Afghan freedom fighters helped give birth to the terrorists of al-Qaida. In the movie, however, that was not the case. As Beardon - who had been the CIA man responsible for the weapons reaching the Afghans - observed shortly before the movie came out, the film would "put aside the notion that because we did that [supply arms], we had 9/11".

Beardon's remark provides a clue to the real reason the CIA likes to offer advice to Hollywood, a clue that was expanded on by Paul Kelbaugh, the former associate general counsel to the CIA - a very senior figure in Langley. In 2007, Kelbaugh spoke at Lynchburg College of Law in Virginia - where he had become an associate professor - about the CIA's relationship with Hollywood. A journalist present at the lecture (who now wishes to be anonymous) reported that Kelbaugh spoke about the 2003 Al Pacino/Colin Farrell vehicle The Recruit. A CIA agent had been on set as a "consultant" throughout the shoot, he said; his real job, however, was to misdirect the film-makers. "We didn't want Hollywood getting too close to the truth," the journalist quoted Kelbaugh as saying.

Peculiarly, though, in a strongly worded email to us, Kelbaugh emphatically denied having said such a thing, and said he remembered "very specific discussions with senior [CIA] management that no one was ever to misrepresent to affect [film] content - EVER." The journalist stands by the original report, and Kelbaugh has refused to discuss the matter further.

So, altering scripts, financing films, suppressing the truth - it's worrying enough. But there are cases where some believe the CIA's activities in Hollywood have gone further - far enough, in fact, to be the stuff of movies. In June 1997, the screenwriter Gary DeVore was working on the screenplay for his directorial debut. It was to be an action movie set against the backdrop of the US invasion of Panama in 1989, which led to the overthrow of dictator Manuel Noriega. According to his wife, Wendy, DeVore had been talking to an old friend - the CIA's Chase Brandon - about Noriega's regime and US counternarcotic programmes in Latin America. Wendy told CNN: "He had been very disturbed over some of the things that he had been finding in his research. He was researching the United States invasion of Panama, because he was setting the actual story that he was writing against this; and the overthrow of Noriega and the enormous amounts of money laundering in the Panamanian banks, also our own government's money laundering."

At the end of that month, DeVore had been in Santa Fe, New Mexico, working on another project. He was travelling back to California when, at 1.15am on June 28, he called Wendy, a call she says has been excised from phone records. She told CNN she was "terribly alarmed" because he was speaking as though he were under duress. She was sure "someone was in the car with him". That was the last time Wendy DeVore heard from her husband.

A year passed, but the case refused to die and speculation mounted. Even the Los Angeles Times began contemplating CIA involvement. DeVore was presumed dead, but there was no body, and no end to the questions. Lo and behold, just nine days after the LA Times reported the case, DeVore's body was found, decomposing in his Ford Explorer, in 12 feet of water in the California Aqueduct below the Antelope Valley Freeway, south of Palmdale - a city located in "aerospace valley", so dubbed by locals for its reputation as a US military-industrial-complex stronghold - fuel to the fire for conspiracy theorists.

The coroner went on to declare the cause and manner of DeVore's death to be "unknown", but police eventually reached the tentative conclusion that the screenwriter's death was an accident: he had fallen asleep at the wheel, they said, before careening off the highway and into the water, where he drowned. But loose ends remain: DeVore's laptop computer containing his unfinished script was missing from his vehicle, as was the gun he customarily carried on long trips; after his disappearance, a CIA representative allegedly showed up at DeVore's house to request access to his computer; Hollywood private investigator Don Crutchfield noted that previous drafts of DeVore's script were inexplicably wiped from said computer during the same timeframe; police claimed that DeVore's vehicle careened off the highway, yet DeVore's widow was troubled by the absence of visible damage to the guardrail at the scene of the alleged accident; and how come no one noticed an SUV sitting in the water beneath a busy highway for a whole year? Perhaps the whole incident is too like a conspiracy movie to be a real conspiracy - but many remain troubled by De Vore's death.

Despite the CIA's professed desire to be more open about the role it plays in Holly-wood, it's hard to take its newfound transparency too seriously. After all, what use is a covert agency that does not act covertly, even if some of its activities are public? And if it is still not open about the truth of events decades ago, many of which have spilled into the public domain accidently, how can we be sure it is telling the truth about its activities now? The spy may have come in from the cold, but he still finds shelter in the dark of the cinema.

• Body of Lies is released next Friday ... cott/print

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George Clooney Becomes New UN Peace Envoy

I Have a Dream Act
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby sunny » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:37 am

So 'superstar Ben Affleck' had to sell out completely in order to stop being the butt of industry jokes? He should have taken a page from Clooney's little black book and done this from the outset.
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby MinM » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:03 am

Toronto International Film Festival’s Cozying up to Israeli Propaganda

By Eric Walberg | Palestine Chronicle | September 12,2012

The empire requires a nice juicy enemy to keep people’s minds off its own sins. During the Cold War, Hollywood responded admirably to the challenge, churning out anti-communist thrillers with Russian bad guys, most memorably during Reagan’s surreal presidency, when “Red Dawn” and “Rocky IV” reduced international politics to a comic book parody.

Given who the official enemy is these days, it is no surprise that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which boasts of 72 participating countries, did not include a ‘Spotlight on Iranian cinema’ this year. On the contrary, it showcased the latest serving of propaganda against Iran with the premiere of “Argo”, a docudrama depicting the escape of six US diplomats from Iran following the November 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, when 52 Americans were held hostage, and Iranian student protesters dumped US diplomatic correspondence on the street in a spectacular premodern WikiLeak.

“Argo” is based on then-Canadian ambassador Kenneth Taylor, who indeed hid the six Americans who showed up at the Canadian embassy during the 1979 hostage crisis and issued them fake Canadian passports. Taylor was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1981 for his help.

As if scripted in Hollywood, the Friday evening TIFF premier began just hours after the announcement that Canada was closing its embassy in Tehran, adding extra spice.

“Argo” was produced by George Clooney and directed by Ben Affleck, who also plays the lead role of the CIA agent Tony Mendez, posing as director of a fake Canadian science-fiction film (appropriately entitled “Argo”). Mendez convinces Iranian officials that Iran’s stark desert panoramas would make a convincing extraterrestrial terrain (the Hollywood subtext being that Islamic Iran is loony and Iranian officials are easily duped).

Clooney and Affleck are not Zionist zealots. They are even criticized for being ‘pro-Palestinian’ (though that means very little in the case of Hollywood), and both are identified with opposition to US neocon wars. So their production of this blatant propaganda potboiler is a sad commentary on just how obsessed America is with the one country to successfully stand up to it and Israel today. It’s as if a muted critique of US government crimes must be balanced by fawning displays of patriotism. Affleck even entertained US troops aboard the USS Enterprise on a USO-sponsored tour of the Persian Gulf in December 2003, despite his reservations about US warmongering (no doubt mock-firing a missile at Iran from the US naval base in Bahrain).

The CIA-cum-Hollywood producer of the movie-within-the-movie is another icon of anti-war liberals, Alan Arkin, who starred in “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” (1966), directed by Norman Jewison, and the screen version of the satirical anti-war Catch-22 (1970). However, he also did an HBO TV movie “Doomsday Gun” (1994) about a Canadian weapons builder whom helped Israel ‘defend’ the Golan Heights, but then cynically decides to sell his talents to the highest bidder — Saddam Hussein, who wants to build the eponymous weapon-of-mass-deception (excuse me, ‘destruction’). Arkin plays an Israeli intelligence officer who politely changes the misguided Canadian’s mind. No doubt Bush junior saw this nuanced bit of hasbara, prompting him to invade Iraq in search of WMDs.

“Argo” was received with raves and calls for an Oscar for Arkin. His past displays of anti-war liberalism should not be a problem, given his devotion to Israel as shown in “Doomsday Gun” and now this latest sop to America’s Israel-firsters.

The timing of this screening of the fantasy Canadian embassy intrigue must have been coordinated with the real-life Canadian embassy closing. There’s no other explanation. Worthy of an Oscar in itself. In sharp contrast to the scandal at the 2009 Toronto festival. Despite Israel’s invasion of Gaza just months earlier, it featured a ‘City to city Spotlight on Tel Aviv’, funded by the Israeli Embassy and the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation, the centre-piece of Israeli Consul Amir Gissin’s “Brand Israel” campaign. At the time, Gissin unashamedly was calling Toronto “an arena for Israel from a PR, cultural and commercial point of view”. The idea was “to promote Tel Aviv as a city of peace”, even after killing more than a thousand Gazans in Operation Cast Lead a few short months earlier.

TIFF’s cozying up to the Israeli propaganda machine blew up into a global scandal, as a spontaneous movement of protest among a few filmmakers turned into an international incident, bringing 1,500 signatures from prominent Israeli public figures and the likes of Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Alice Walker, Naomi Klein, Guy Maddin, and Harry Belafonte to the “Toronto Declaration” criticizing Israel and TIFF. It was a huge embarrassment, a sign that Israel propaganda is becoming harder to swallow, even by devotees of Hollywood... ... ropaganda/
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:07 am

New Axis of Evil: Egypt’s Intelligence Head Met with Iranian Spy
Recent secret meeting between the head of Egyptian intelligence and an Iranian spy is new evidence of Cairo’s joining the “axis of evil.”
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By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/12/2012, 10:53 AM

Morsi shakes hands with Ahmadinejad at the recent Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran
A recent secret meeting between the head of Egyptian intelligence and a senior Iranian spy offers new evidence of Cairo’s Muslim Brotherhood government having joined the “axis of evil.”

Murad Muwafi, head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, met in early August with a senior official of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, investigative journalist Bill Gertz wrote in the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday night.

He noted that the Obama administration continues to maintain close ties with Egypt, its major ally in the Middle East after Israel, and plans to offer the new government an additional $1 billion in aid.

Muwafi met with an Iranian spy was identified only by his last name, Gerami, setting off security concerns “because the Iranian spy service is a key player in Tehran’s international support for terrorism, as well as anti-U.S. and anti-Israel operations,” Gertz wrote.

Coincidentally or not, Muwafi was sacked from his position shortly afterwards, either because of the meeting or possibly bookcase of Egypt’s failure to heed advance warnings of the August 5 terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian security personnel and which almost succeeded in crossing into Israel. The terrorists were eliminated before they could carry out plans to kill Israelis.

Asked about the Egyptian-Iranian intelligence meeting, a U.S. official told the Free Beacon, “The Egyptians are still skeptical of Iranian motives. There’s a lot of baggage to overcome with Tehran, so for now any efforts to expand outreach and build a new relationship are likely to be cautious and fairly limited.”

Nevertheless, the seeds of a Cairo’s actively joining the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah-axis have been planted.

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi recently visited Iran and officially broker a 30 year-freeze in ties between the two countries. He denied Cairo was officially opening an embassy in Tehran, which openly welcomed the visit.

The formerly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood party won a plurality of seats in the legislature and formed a coalition with an even more radical party of Salafists. They are in a role-reversal situation, after having railed against Israel and the United States in the election campaign and now walking a tightrope to maintain Washington’s support without angering opposite elements as well as their own followers who want a break in relations with Israel and dependence on American aid.

Thousands of protesters Monday night stomped the U.S. embassy in Cairo and tore down the American flag in a protest against an American film that they said insults Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood government has freed hundreds of radical fundamentalists who preach against Israel and the West and promote jihad.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:54 am

My Favorite Me wrote:
"America Held Hostage" ran as the primary US daily news coverage in both TV and print for almost all of the 444 days from the taking of the US embassy in Tehran in November 1979 until the release from Iran of the last 52 American hostages on January 20, 1981, in the hour after Ronald Reagan's inauguration. Those of you old enough to have watched it should recall that each night's US network news shows actually opened with a variant on ABC's title for the program, "America Held Hostage: Day XXX," so the name is not something I made up, but a universal referrent for it at the time. I don't think the original storming of the embassy was the result of a prior covert operations plan by any non-Iranian actors (though it was predicted as a likely consequence of Carter's allowing the Shah into the United States for medical treatment). But the media productions in the aftermath paralleled traditional top-down propaganda campaigns and provided the moral banner for rallying that year's "Reagan Revolution." And the affair's denouement was scripted in the "October Surprise" deal Casey and Bush cut with the Iranian government to delay the hostages' release until after Reagan's election victory.

The duration and prominence of the show and its staging as a televised national emergency were unprecedented. The late 1970s and early 1980s coincided roughly with the advent of VHS, the wider dissemination of cable and pay TV with consequent advent of 24-hour broadcasts -- farewell to the National Anthem and the Test Signal -- and the launch of MTV and CNN. We can see it as the transitional period between two ages of television, a time of revolution in the form and style of the medium. In the first decades of broadcast TV, sponsored programs ran according to set times within just a few forms, and news/documentary was distinguished from entertainment, even if both were corrupt. By the late 80s, TV knocked down these distinctions, as well as the pretense of a difference between reality and stage, or the program and its commercials, and started tending to 24-hour infotainment in increasingly fast and chaotic cross-promoting fragments.*

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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby elfismiles » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:12 am


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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby Hammer of Los » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:50 am


He's a bit slow on the uptake, that Loren Coleman.

He ain't tellin' us nuthin' we dont already know.

But I get that a lot.

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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby MinM » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:16 pm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yesterday evening [well, actually, late yesterday afternoon] Susie and I went to the movies to see Ben Affleck's new film, Argo, also featuring John Goodman and Alan Arkin in marvelous lesser roles. I have liked Affleck ever since he and Matt Damon made their breakout film, Good Will Hunting. I can watch forever the delicious scene in which Damon, while mopping the floor in an MIT hall, stops long enough to solve a math problem that none of the MIT undergraduates or graduate students can crack. That scene captures the essential difference between MIT and Harvard, which is that at MIT, all that matters is sheer brains. Affleck has not had as successful a career as his buddy, Damon, but he has done some fine work, including a lovely minor role in Shakespeare in Love.

Argo tells the apparently true story of the "exfilation" from Teheran of six Americans from the embassy who hide out in the Canadian embassy after the Iranian revolution in 1979. Never mind the plot. For purposes of this blog post, what matters is the brief prelude to the narration of the story in which the shameful history is recounted of the coup by MI6 and the CIA deposing Mossadegh in 1953 and the subsequent installation of Pahlavi as Shah. I almost wept, once again, as a sepulchral voice told the bare bones of the affair over news clips of Mossadegh and Pahlavi. Had the United States embraced Mossadegh's secular democratic regime instead of overthrowing it because it was "socialist," Iran could have been, these past thirty-odd years, an ally and friend rather than a member of the Axis of Evil. In just the same way, Cuba could have been the Socialist paradise Castro wanted to make it had the United States poured aid into the new democratic regime instead of sending that hapless collection of exiles into the Bay of Pigs on their doomed mission. So too could America have stepped into the void left by France's departure from Southeast Asia to help create a flourishing Viet Nam, instead of nearly destroying that country and a generation of American men in the appalling carnage of the Viet Nam War.

There is nothing secret about these events. All of us in my generation have lived through them and their inevitable consequences. And yet, as things stand in this country today, it would be simply impossible to introduce what I have said about them into a serious discussion of American international affairs. The "progressive" position among "serious" people is that Viet Nam was an unfortunate but unavoidable war, that it is time to attempt a tentative opening to Cuba now that Castro has aged sufficiently to step down, and that we ought to impose crippling sanctions on Iran rather than go to war with that country.

Affleck directed Argo, and it was his choice to open the film with that recitation of what is now ancient history. I honor him for that. It was a courageous and honorable choice.
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Postby wintler2 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:13 pm

Poor old Nazi's had to pay for their own propaganda films, now the fascists can make a profit from same .. Now thats progress!

In any sane world the film would give full credit to the US torturers who FOR DECADES trained and worked alongside the bestial Savak (the Shah's CIA), and so give half a clue to the "why do they hate us?" morons. But thats not how we got here.
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby MinM » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:08 pm

The ‘October Surprise’ and ‘Argo’s’ secret
By Jerry Mazza
Posted on March 22, 2013 by Jerry Mazza

Writing recently in Consortium News Robert Parry said, “To think that the criminal Ronald Reagan is still being talked up as a candidate for Mt. Rushmore, besides scores of other ludicrous honors already in place, is a testament to the rewriting of history by the powerful.” The editors added, “The miracle is that Abolhassan Bani-Sadr is still alive after defying such powerful Mafiosi.”

Bani-Sadr’s commentary on “Argo” winning the Best Picture Oscar was a revelation of what a fake “Argo” is. Parry explained that the former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr provided new details about how Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign obstructed resolving the Iranian hostage crisis to prevent President Jimmy Carter’s reelection.

First, Bani-Sadr’s commentary focused on the various historical inaccuracies in “Argo,” which depicted how six U.S. Embassy staffers made their escape when the embassy in Tehran was overrun by Iranian militants on Nov. 4, 1979, in protest of the U.S. government admitting the deposed (and widely despised) Shah of Iran for medical treatment.

In the commentary, originally published by the Christian Science Monitor on March 5, Bani-Sadr, now 79, living outside Paris, said the movie ignored the crucial fact that most Iranian government officials favored freeing all the American personnel quickly. He criticized “Argo” for portraying Iranian officials of that time as radical and irrational, providing more than a bit of American/Israel Iran-bashing.

The ex-president noted that “Argo” did quote him accurately as saying he expected the Americans to be freed within a few days, revealing that he based that comment on a conversation he’d had with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But Bani-Sadr criticized the movie for secretly leaving “the impression that the Iranian government supported the occupation of the embassy and that [he] was a lone voice in opposing it. This could not be further from the truth.”

Bani-Sadr said he and all other major candidates for the Iranian presidency supported releasing the hostages. He noted that after taking that position, he won the election with 76 percent of the vote.

He added, “Overall, 96 percent of votes in that election were given to candidates who were against [the hostage-taking]. Hence, the movie misrepresents the Iranian government’s stand in regard to hostage-taking.” And I add that of American intelligence.)

Bani-Sadr adds, “It also completely misrepresents Iranians by portraying us as irrational people consumed by aggressive emotion.” It seems the U.S. and specifically Hollywood’s Zionist impression of Iranians hasn’t changed since then.

The October Surprise

However, after becoming president on Feb. 4, 1980, Bani-Sadr found his efforts to resolve the hostage crisis thwarted. He said that he discovered that “Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the ‘October Surprise,’ which prevented his attempts and then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 U.S. presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan.”

Though Bani-Sadr has talked and written about the Reagan-Khomeini collaboration before, he added in his commentary on “Argo” that “two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, the Islamic Republican Party, and the Reagan administration.”

Bani-Sadr wrote that after he “was deposed in June 1981 as a result of a coup against him [and] after arriving in France, he told a BBC reporter that he had left Iran to expose the symbiotic relationship between Khomeinism and Reaganism.”

Over the years, Republicans have adamantly denied that Reagan or his campaign struck a deal with Iranian radicals to extend the hostage crisis through the 1980 election. But substantial evidence has built up supporting Bani-Sadr’s account and indicating that the release of the 52 hostages just as Reagan was taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 1981, was no coincidence, that it was part of the deal.

In December 1992, when a House Task Force was examining this so-called October Surprise controversy (and encountering fierce Republican resistance) Bani-Sadr submitted a letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and his son Ahmad over their secret dealings with the Reagan campaign.

Bani-Sadr’s letter was dated Dec. 17, 1992, and was part of a flood of last-minute evidence that implicated the Reagan campaign in delaying the hostage release. However, by the time the letter and the other evidence arrived, the leadership of the House Task Force had decided to simply declare the Reagan campaign innocent, adding treason to injury.

Lawrence Barcella, who served as Task Force chief counsel, later told Parry that so much incriminating evidence arrived late that he asked Task Force chairman, Rep. Lee Hamilton, a centrist Democrat from Indiana, to extend the inquiry for three months but that Hamilton said no. (“Hamilton told me that he had no recollection of Barcella’s request,” Parry wrote.)

Lee Hamilton also helped to leave quite a bit of information out of the 9/11’s Commission of Omission.

Burying Bani-Sadr’s letter

In the Task Force’s final report, issued on Jan. 13, 1993, Barcella’s team simply misrepresented Bani-Sadr’s letter, mentioning it only briefly, claiming that it was hearsay, and then burying its contents in a little-noticed annex to the report along with other incriminating evidence. (Parry discovered additional evidence of Republican guilt when he gained access to boxes of the Task Force’s unpublished files.)

Bani-Sadr’s letter described the internal battles of the Iranian government over the Republican intervention in the 1980 hostage crisis. Bani-Sadr recounted how he threatened to expose the secret deal between Reagan’s campaign officials and Islamic radicals close to Ayatollah Khomeini if the hostage-release delay wasn’t reversed.

Bani-Sadr said he had first learned of the Republican “secret deal” with Iranian radicals in July 1980 after Reza Passendideh, a nephew of Ayatollah Khomeini, attended a meeting with Iranian financier Cyrus Hashemi and Republican lawyer Stanley Pottinger in Madrid on July 2, 1980. Though Passendideh was expected to return with a proposal from the Carter administration, Bani-Sadr said Passendideh instead carried a plan “from the Reagan camp.”

“Passendideh told me that if I do not accept this proposal, they [the Republicans] would make the same offer to my [radical Iranian] rivals. He further said that they [the Republicans] have enormous influence in the CIA,” Bani-Sadr wrote. Lastly, he told Parry that his refusal of their offer would result in his elimination.

Bani-Sadr said he resisted the threats and sought an immediate release of the American hostages, but it was clear to him that the wily Khomeini was playing both sides of the U.S. political street. Bani-Sadr said the secret Republican plan to block release of the hostages remained a point of tension between him and Khomeini. He also said his trump card was a threat to tell the Iranian people about the secret deal that the Khomeini forces had struck with the Republicans.

“On Sept. 8, 1980, Bani-Sadr invited the people of Teheran to gather in Martyrs Square so that he could tell them the truth,” Bani-Sadr wrote to the House Task Force. “Khomeini insisted that I must not do so at this time. . . . Two days later, again, I decided to expose everything. Ahmad Khomeini [the Ayatollah’s son] came to see me and told me, ‘Imam [Khomeini] absolutely promises’” to reopen talks with Carter if Bani-Sadr would relent and not go public.

Bani-Sadr said the dispute led Khomeini to pass on a new hostage proposal to the U.S. government through Khomeini’s son-in-law, Sadegh Tabatabai, in September1980 (although that initiative ultimately was derailed by radical Islamists in the Majlis or parliament).

A Corroborating Letter

The House Task Force also obtained (and buried in the report’s annex) another Iranian letter bearing on the secret Republican initiative. On Aug. 18, 1980, Iran’s then-acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh informed Iran’s Majlis that “another point to consider is this fact. We know that the Republican Party of the United States in order to win the presidential election is working hard to delay the solution of the hostage crisis until after the U.S. election.”

Ghotbzadeh argued for a quicker resolution of the crisis so Iran’s new Islamic government, which had consolidated its power in part because of the hostage crisis, could “get on with other more pressing affairs than the hostage issue.”

He added, that “objection to this argument is that it will be in line with the policy of the Republican Party leaders and supporters of [banker David] Rockefeller and Reagan. [But] if we leave this issue unsolved, our new government will be constantly under pressure and may not be able to succeed in its affairs. In light of this consideration it is better to settle this crisis.”

As the hostage crisis wore on in late summer 1980, Ghotbzadeh made other comments about the Republican interference, telling Agence France Press on Sept. 6, 1980, that he had information that Reagan was “trying to block a solution” to the hostage impasse.

Bani-Sadr’s detailed letter meshed not only with Ghotzabeh’s contemporaneous accounts but with a statement made by former Defense Minister Ahmad Madani, who had lost to Bani-Sadr in the 1980 presidential race although Madani had received covert CIA assistance funneled to his campaign through Iranian financier Cyrus Hashemi.

Madani said he later discovered that Hashemi was double-dealing Carter by collaborating with the Republicans. In an interview with Parry in the early 1990s, Madani said Hashemi brought up the name of Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey in connection with these back-channel negotiations over the U.S. hostages. Madani said Hashemi urged Madani to meet with Casey, earning a rebuke from Madani that “we are not here to play politics.”

Nevertheless, in December 1992, with ex-President Reagan already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and his successor George H.W. Bush defeated and on his way out of office, the House Task Force chose what was considered the bipartisan solution, to brush aside this Iranian information and a wealth of other material implicating Reagan and Bush—and simply declare that there was “no credible evidence” of a Republican-Iranian deal.

And so it seems that truth was the first and last victim of the hostage crisis and “Argo” has continued to misrepresent the lies. Thanks to Writer/Director/Actor Affleck, Producer George Clooney and company, who walked away with the best film Oscar, personally presented from Washington to Hollywood (through the miracle of television) by the president’s wife, Michelle Obama in a political first.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at and He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal)
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Re: New Movie Glamorizes CIA in Iran

Postby lupercal » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:01 am

I was laid up for a few days last week and happened to catch Argo on cable tv, along with the latest UK spook valentine, Skyfall, which was considerably better.

It's harmless enough, predictable and boring but also likeable in a movie-of-the week way, which I guess is why my better half liked it. It does have one commendable touch, a montage at the start depicting the CIA-backed removal of Mosadegh in 1953 that's more or less accurate, though not detailed enough to suggest a connection to the recent coups in Libya and Egypt. After that it was fairy-tale time with a plucky CIA agent who looks like Tom Cruz but was Ben Affleck pluckily saving six unappealing diplomats from a scary demise, though come to think of it, if the others were released safely, wouldn't they also have been?

Anyway the laughable premise is that Hollywood giving cover to the CIA was a whacky left-field idea that no one had considered, no one took seriously, and everyone laughed at until what do you know, it worked! and six innocent no-they're-not-spooks were saved, yay! :yay
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Lee Hamilton'd

Postby MinM » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:44 am

Image @disinfo: #Argo and the Stolen Truth About #Iran

Argo and the Stolen Truth About Iran

Posted by Good German on March 24, 2013

Mahmood Delkhasteh writes at Counterpunch:

This year’s Oscar-winning movie ‘Argo’ recently spurred Iran’s former president, Abolhassan Banisadr to write an article about the ‘October Surprise’. In it, he discusses the secret deal between Ronald Reagan and Ayatollah Khomeini which, by delaying the release of the hostages being held in the US embassy in Tehran, swayed the results of the 1980 US presidential election to favour Reagan over the incumbent Jimmy Carter. Banisadr argues that through ‘falsifying, misrepresenting and taking critical facts out of context,’ the film ‘delivers a pro-CIA message,’ and that by portraying Iranians as irrational and aggressive people it prepares the US public to support a war should the current nuclear negotiations fail.

The day after Banisadr’s article was published, Robert Parry, who had written previously about the ‘short-sighted history of Argo’, wrote a second article supporting these arguments. He added that ‘the House Task Force which was examining this so-called October Surprise controversy in 1992 had come to the conclusion that they had found “no credible evidence” of a Republican-Iranian deal had reached such a conclusion only by ignoring important facts and burying a letter from Banisadr letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and Khomeini’s son Ahmad over their secret dealing with the Reagan campaign.

Soon after, Barbara Honneger, a former White House Domestic Policy Advisor who had played a major role in exposing this secret deal, wrote an extended comment on Parry’s article. Her article illuminates how the report by the Task Force, which was chaired by Rep. Lee Hamilton, was nothing but a ‘white wash and cover up.’ One of its members, Dymally, drafted a Minority Report, but Hamilton prevented him from publishing it through bullying and threatening to fire his entire Congressional Staff. Honneger reveals how Banisadr’s letter was coordinated with a two-hour press conference where she presented reporters at the National Press Club with reams of incriminating evidence on the October Surprise cover up (she is now planning to release a videotape of this two-hour press conference). As she writes, this ‘flood of last-minute’ evidence on that historic day implicated the Reagan-Bush campaign in plans in delaying the release of the hostages, and led the Task Force Chief Council Lawrence Barcella to ask Lee Hamilton to extend the enquiry for a further three months. Hamilton refused.

This may seem puzzling at first. Why would Hamilton prefer to produce a ‘white wash and cover up’ report rather than extend the enquiry? The answer could lie in a conversation he had with Banisadr before the Task Force was established. In a personal interview, Banisadr revealed that Hamilton told him if there had been a clandestine deal between Reagan and Khomeini, all governments in the last twelve years would be considered illegal, and that this would be extremely harmful for the political system
. Banisadr told him that the price of lying would be even higher, as the American people would lose trust not only in politicians but the entire political system if they became aware of this lie, which soon or late they would.

Here, we can see that Hamilton had already decided to produce his report even before setting up the Task Force, as he had calculated that the price of telling the truth would be extremely high. Had had he told the truth, it is nearly certain that many of the political decisions which have had disastrous global consequences, such as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, would not have taken place.

Read more here.

Regarding the “legality” of U.S. governments, see also: Newly Declassified Recordings: Candidate Nixon Sabotaged Vietnam Peace to Get Elected ... rmation%29

Cover-up and Propaganda: The 9/11 Commission Finishes Its Dirty Work

By Larry Chin
Global Research, June 27, 2004
27 June 2004

... Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton proclaimed, “The focus of the commission will be on the future. We’re not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission’s responsibility.” Criminal responsibility and complicity were never part of the mandate—assuring that no one would be brought to justice...

Other Commissioners are also legendary political fixers, who have been well-placed at all major US scandals in recent decades:


Lee Hamilton featured prominently as an Iran-Contra fixer . As House chairman of the committee investigating Iran-Contra, Hamilton believed that it was “better to keep the public in the dark” than investigate “another Watergate”. He casually accepted the word of senior Reagan-Bush officials, including George H.W. Bush himself, who claimed that they were “out of the loop”.

According to Dan Hopsicker , author of “Barry and the Boys: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History”, Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste “has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics.” Ben-Veniste was the attorney for CIA narco-trafficker Barry Seal.

Former Senator Slade Gorton served on the notorious Senate Intelligence Committee for over a decade. Throughout his career, over scores of “hearings”, the hawkish Gorton consistently ran interference for Iran-Contra-smeared Republicans, such as Robert Gates.

Also on the Commission is former Senator Bob Kerrey, who has to this day refused to come clean on war crimes he committed during his stint in the CIA’s Phoenix Program .

Indeed, the 9/11 Commissioners themselves deserve to investigated and brought to justice... ... y-work/779 ... er/5327780
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