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Canadian Caper

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Desmond Miles

on 10 March 2013

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Transcript of Canadian Caper

1979: The Iran Hostage Crisis Explaining the Iranian Revolution The Canadian Caper But first, we must delve into the reasons behind the seizure. This involved great opposition to the westernization of Iran, religious issues, classism involving elite maintenance, civil rights issues, and the rejection of foreign policies enforced by the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Revolution of Iran cannot be explained entirely in this presentation as there were so many elements that led to its fruition. General view of Tehran outside the U.S. Embassy where hundreds of protestors took fifty American hostages on Nov. 4, 1979. Courtesy of National Journal. The demonstration by Iranian students held outside the Embassy. They were holding the fifty hostages. Courtesy of National Journal. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi During the early 1960s, the Shah announced that he was an indispensable ally of the West. In 1963, he established a program known as the White Revolution, which included the extension of voting rights to women and the elimination of illiteracy. This was a rock in the shoe of different levels of Iranian society. All this and the impulsiveness of the Shah's rule caused religious leaders who fear to lose their power and students who wanted democratic reform to be discontent. The people criticized the Shah for his actions not reflecting the desires of the people and that he did it for his own selfish reasons. The problem was: he saw himself as their supreme king and that his role and actions could not be questioned on those grounds. By the mid-1970s, the people got tired of his policies, as they benefited certain classes at the expense of others. All this led to the overthrow of the Shah. Courtesy of YaLibnan. Or How Canada Saved the Day Amanda D. 5th Period And so began the popular democracy movement. AP. An Overview So, basically, what really ticked the Iranians off was the relationship between President Jimmy Carter and the Shah. Carter gave the Shah sophisticated non-nuclear weapons and the Shah gave away oil at very, very affordable prices in exchange. This resulted in the Shah and his family to live in extravagance. It was once rumored that his wife bathed in milk every day. His poor distribution of the money he had obtained to his people led to them getting rather peeved and well, his personal exile. Once he was safely harbored in America, the Iranians surged across the American walls and seized the Embassy, angry and hungry for justice. The Canadian Caper Robert Anders, Cora Amburn-Lijek, Mark Lijek, Joseph Stafford, Kathleen Stafford and Lee Schatz were the six American diplomats who escaped capture from the seizure of the American Embassy. They casually strolled through the crowd took refuge with the Swedish Embassy only to reach the temporary sanctuary that was Anders' apartment. Anders made a phone call to John Sheardown, the Chief Immigration Officer under Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador of Iran. He asked if he and his group could be given shelter within the next few days. Sheardown said he would talk to Taylor. Taylor agreed. The Canadian Caper is another name for the covert rescue of six American students who escaped capture during the events of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy after hundreds of Iranian students, mostly radical supporters of religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah decided to express their distaste for the U.S on November 4, 1979. Iran was an oasis of the Middle East. With the largest population in the Middle East and with the position of being the second-largest natural gas deposit, Iran was the subject of much debate. The relative deprivation theory came into play. The theory states that whenever there is a difference between value capacity and value expectations, a social revolt will result. This sounds like it was the case. Americans who were being held hostage for 444 days. Courtesy of historyguy. In order to keep it safe, Taylor decided that it would be best for three of the hostages out of the six to go to Sheardown's house, and for the other three to be taken to the official residence. The staff would be told that they were all Canadian tourists. This all proved that Taylor was a great guy and a brilliant strategist. During the regime, he had evacuated 850 of his fellow Canadians from Iran. Once he had wired the national authorities concerned with the case, the verdict was clear: the Americans had to stay with them. Americans being searched during the seizure. Courtesy of USNews. Taylor's telegram resulted in a frenzy in the DEA, the Department of External Affairs. Canadian had to shelter the refugees. Even after the Americans were transported to their respected destinations, Taylor proved to be a vital asset as an informant for the U.S. Tensions grew between the refugees as days passed. Anxiety was at its highest. People were getting suspicious. Thanksgiving was spent in a still violent Tehran, and the refugees expressed their apprehension to spending Christmas there, too. They had to be exfiltrated. The worst thing that could have happened was the story getting leaked. And it did. In mid-November, Taylor told his colleagues to shred the Embassy documents. At least three times, the shredder blew out its electrical fuses before the job was done by the end of the month. In a few months time, Canada and the U.S. decided that together, they would forge a plan to get the refugees back home. This is when Antonio Mendez, head of the Authentication Branch of the CIA's Office of Technical Services came in. Ken Taylor. 1980. AP. Lights, Camera, Passports! The plan was for the six refugees to pose as a Canadian film crew filming in Iran. Canada produced six fake passports and connected them with a dummy film-making company to make their alibi sound. They were given specific instructions to follow, but decided not to go with it just yet, as they were uneasy going through with it without an escort of some sort. On January 25, Mendez and another CIA officer arrived in Tehran, keeping up the film-maker facade. Their task was to correct a mistaken date on the hostages' entry visas. Former CIA officer Antonio Mendez A.P. Jimmy Carter and Antonio Mendez. AP. To keep the hostages safe, Taylor advised his employees to not breathe a word about their departure and that it was an issue of utmost confidentiality. The six boarded the Swissair plane at 7:35 in the morning on January 27. As back-up, seats were booked on other airlines, but there was no need for that. The six went through immigration smoothly and safely. The return. AP. After two and a half months of house arrest, the Americans were safe. As a final precaution, files and devices that could be traced back to the hostages were destroyed. The good news resulted in an outpouring of gratitude for the Canadian government. People rejoiced. Taylor was regarded as a celebrity. Americans expressing their thanks. Source unknown. A quote from Foreign Affairs and National Trade about the Caper's aftermath: "Washington awarded Taylor the Congressional Gold Medal and Canada made him an Officer of the Order of Canada. Sheardown, Lucy, Taylor's secretary, Laverna Dollimore, and the Embassy's communicator, Mary Catherine O'Flaherty, were made Members of the Order of Canada. Sgt. Gauthier and two fellow military policemen received the Order of Military Merit. Foreign service spouses were outraged that Pat Taylor and Zena Sheardown were not similarly honoured, and protested strongly. They too became members of the Order of Canada." The meeting with Carter. AP. Movie poster produced by the CIA in order to support their cover story. Source unknown. Why it's important The Canadian Caper was essentially a joint effort between the United States and Canada that resulted in the rescue of six American citizens. Keep in mind that Canada was not obligated to help the United States. This event is a testament to the great lengths people would go through to help other people. Almost a dozen people risked their lives to help the hostages. In history, this was a happy interlude between the Americans and the Canadians, but soon enough, the two governments were to be locked in disputes involving energy, foreign policy, and the environment. This was normal behavior, of course. After all that, it was to be expected. Ken Taylor's sketch of the Mehrabad Airport terminal that was used to guide the Americans. But no one will forget the time two countries pulled together to save the few. SOURCES http://international.gc.ca/history-histoire/people-gens/ken_taylor.aspx?lang=eng&view=d http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/library/primary-sources/jimmy-carter-oil-imports-iran-remarks-announcing-discontinuance-united-states-imports http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/04/middle_east_the_iranian_revolution/html/9.stm http://intelliconn.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/explaining-the-iranian-revolution/ http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/featured/the-canadian-caper http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/iran-hostage-crisis.html http://www.iranchamber.com/history/islamic_revolution/islamic_revolution.php http://cssaame.dukejournals.org/content/31/1/53.abstract http://history.stackexchange.com/questions/3018/what-caused-the-iranian-1979-revolution-to-become-islamic http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Middleeastweb/factfile/Unique-facts-MiddleEast9.htm http://www.history.com/topics/iran-hostage-crisis
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