October Surprise

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Could another October Surprise, just in time for the 2006 congressional elections, arrive via another U.S. preemptive war, this time with Iran?

"Time magazine and many international sources have reported a major US air-sea build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, in preparation for a US assault on Iran which is considered to be imminent," Steven Jonas wrote October 9, 2006, for BuzzFlash. "When is the President planning to call Congress back into session to ask for a Declaration of War, which he will need, under Section 8, Article I of the Constitution, in order to proceed?"

See war in Iran for more information.

Origin of the phrase

The phrase October Surprise describes an "allegation that officials in the 1980 Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush campaign cut a deal with Iranian revolutionaries to delay the release of the fifty-two hostages until after Reagan's inauguration." [1] Credibility attaches to this theory because the hostages were released 5 minutes after Reagan took the oath of office. "For this favor, Iran was rewarded with a substantial supply of arms from Israel." [2]

"Five years later, when the Iran-contra affair revealed what seemed to be a similar swap of hostages for arms delivered through Israel, questions were revived about the 1980 election. In a nice, ironic twist, the phrase `October surprise,' which Vice Presidential candidate George Bush had coined to warn of possible political manipulation of the hostages by Jimmy Carter, began to be applied to the suspected secret activities of the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign," Gary Sick wrote.

This excerpt from the Congressional Record quotes several newspaper articles starting with Gary Sick who wrote a book on the topic by the same name in the New York Times on 15 April 1991, and concludes with a statement of "support [for] the efforts of Congress to conduct a `thorough and fair inquiry' into allegations that our release may have been delayed by political partisans."

  • 1991 September/October "Who will unwrap the October Surprise?"
  • 1992 March/April "The charge is treason. Three magazines have tried the case and come to different conclusions. How persuasive is their evidence?"

Robert Parry has written a number of stories based upon files he accessed in 1995 which had been locked in a deserted bathroom in DC.

An Al Qaeda "October Surprise"

A BlogThought from Bad Attitudes, February 10, 2004:

  • Without the obscenity of 9/11, Bush would be a crippled, reviled president limping toward certain defeat. And without Bush's bizarre misuse of that obscenity to invade Iraq, Osama would have little hope of driving his royal relatives from Saudi Arabia and the Jews from Israel.
  • The petrifying truth is that Osama needs Bush to stay in the White House as long as possible, and the awful danger is that he will make it happen.
  • Any October surprise, this time, could come from Al-Qaeda.

CableNewser.com, '"When Osama Is Caught, Palkot Wants To Be There," May 18, 2004:

"Fresh from the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, Greg Palkot appeared on FOX & Friends recently to talk about his travels.
"An excerpt:
Kilmeade: "How bad do you want to be there when they get Osama bin Laden?"
Palkot: "That would be very very good. We were promised that maybe some civilian-side press might be around, so I hope it'll be Fox News."

"Are the nets still staffing the region the way they did when the military's ears perked up?..."

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