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Argo -- Like a KGB Fairy --Tale

By       Message Mark Sashine     Permalink
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You lie so profusely that I sobered up

  1. Green .  The Purple Sails


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From the argonaut
the argonaut
(Image by gomagoti)
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the argonaut by gomagoti

In my old times in the Soviet Union   we had   a whole genre   of the " KGB fairy --tale' movies.. The script   would be   nearly the same for all of them: there would   be some crisis   in the unnamed   country and   Soviet citizens would be stuck    there while helping the progressive forces. A special KGB officer would be sent to the rescue   and does   it nicely with the   help odd devoted   local sympathizers.   No bribes, no extortions, no blackmails, no killings if possible, all folks are humanitarians down to the bone and all are   honest and dedicated -- the   "heroes, not mentioned   in the newspapers'.   Usually those   movies would be very neatly produced technically, involving well-known actors and people would watch them   anyway. After leaving the movie theater many people would repeat the above quote    by A. Green   which eventually became a folk saying , "They lie so   profusely that even a drunk   sobers up."

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The KGB officer in the movie   always would be   clean-shaved and sober.   Aside of the beard, moustache and boozing    of Ben Affleck's character   the movie Argo resembles those    KGB movies to the letter.   I even thought for a moment   that Ben bought one of the old Russian scripts, changed names and   locations and   went for the   Oscars (in all fairness, the KGB movies never competed for any awards).   A bottle of   good   beer did not help; I sobered in an instant and started counting the goofs:

  1. The embassy scene. It is shown surrounded by the mob with guns and that mob's   activities are very well coordinated.   That is   a realistic perception; mobs are usually coordinated. It is unlikely   though that in such situation the embassy   would   work on a usual schedule and have local visitors inside. How could they get into the embassy through the mob? I once saw a demonstration in Italy in front of the US embassy and it promptly closed its operations.   So, no, I don't think they continued their everyday work   in Iran.   And where was the ambassador? His word was to be the   main   one in the decisions and instead chaos reigns. If the mob   had been   there for a long time as it is implied and the coordination was obvious then there surely was a surveillance of the building   and   that back exit was monitored. No way it wasn't. So why the six people knew about the exit but not the   others? Why would they go out without even trying to change their appearances, white women et al? And how did they reach the Canadian ambassador's residence? Did they go on foot? And how did he know that they would     come? And where was    (for the whole movie) the RCMP ( Royal Canadian Mounted Police)   or whoever designated to protect the Canadian diplomats, same as Marines   do that for the US people?  


  1. When the diplomatic   rep. or an embassy staff person   enters another country for a service   his/her identity   and a   dossier   are to be presented to the governmental organizations of that country.   Thus the photos of all   the   US personnel were to be available to the Iranians from their own sources and they would not need to   use   little children to   restore the pictures. Most likely they used   kids to restore something else, like spying memos. To define who was missing the Iranians just needed to   get the list of   all the embassy employees and then- to verify who was in their custody.   The whole idea that they did not know who escaped   up to the last   moment, 45 days later   insults a person's intelligence.


  1. It is not clear   if the Canadian ambassador's house was on the Canadian embassy compound or not but   it seems that it was not. The housekeeper could be very loyal   but an even   meager watcher could    notice the amount of provisions delivered as well as check the garbage and verify that instead of two people   before there are   eight.   That's when kids come in -- Russian   folks used kids for such missions routinely.


  1. Now we cross the ocean and get into the domain of   the bearded   Tony Mendez.   The idea entertained that a   group of Canadian citizens   would   appear in Tehran to investigate a possible location for the   movie   planned in Hollywood. In reality only one comes with fake IDs, give those to the six people hiding and get them out. It becomes obvious from the start that   the   President is not aware of that genius plan   but   two   civilians in Hollywood are! What a plan! I guess there were more civilians   involved because someone was to produce a script, someone was to make   drawings, etc. How about the Canadians?   Did they know?   We don't know. Instead we are presented with   unbelievable   scenes where CIA   leadership pretends not to know even who those   six people are. Hey, what about the CIA residence in   the Middle East? Where are those fellows?   How about the almighty Israelis? Not a word either? The whole operation depends only on Tony M. and   two guys   in Hollywood . One of them called Hollywood a place where everyone lies for living. You bet.


  1. Ok, so now Tony comes to Iran through Turkey with all those fake IDs and files to memorize.   The other six fictitious Canadians did not come at all! No cameras came either. So when the ;group' appeared   at the Grand Bazaar   for the survey how come the Iranians did not ask the obvious questions on   where they came from? After that there is a scene where an Iranian guard who already knows   the faces of all six   asks the housekeeper when they came and she says that they came   two days earlier. It would   take   five minutes to verify that she was lying but " we are in the fairy- tale.


  1. The six people   believe Tony M. although they never knew of his existence before. Of course according to the movie they did not know about CIA at all. Then   Tony finds out that   some folks up there in Washington   had changed their minds. The President still does not know anything. Tony "s phone in the hotel is secure, of course. He boozes (!!!) in the last night (the   six folks drink too; was it all to protest the Moslem  laws covertly?) and then decides to go for it anyway.   During the process we discover that   THERE WERE NO TICKETS RESERVED FOR THE FLIGHT BACK! PRESIDENT CARTER WAS TO AUTHORIZE THE TICKETS!   Folks, I hope it was not like that. I hope the tickets were there from the start, lock, stock and barrel . If   the   tickets' issue really took place   I would say we all are not protected from anything. And if Carter   for real had to authorize the tickets in the last moment and after that did not fire all   CIA for incompetence, I don't know what to say. What if there would be double- booking? Just imagine that.


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7. The airport   scene is surreal.    I understand that the six had the stamps   as , if they entered Iran by air. But that could be easily checked and found out that was not the case. Then   those   guards (all former students from the US universities as Affleck states in the movie)   behave like children. They even call Hollywood! The easier way was to call Canadian embassy and verify with the clerk if any new Canadians had registered with them recently. Then during the last moment   they   really did not have to destroy their own gates. The gate has a direct phone to the cockpit also to the control tower, so they could just call the pilot or the controller. No beardy Affleck could    help here and those pictures from Argo he presented would not help either . BTW, Argo was classified, so why Iranians did not show those   pictures    on TV to open a can of worms about the Hollywood's involvement? And what happened to that housekeeper? She is always alone and shown crossing to Iraq. What happened to her family?   And in Iraq, did she survive?

Enough goofs?   Here is what I think really happened.

There was a decision made that those six were the ones who had to try to escape most likely because of the knowledge they possessed and maybe   due to    humanitarian reasons ( two young families). They were most likely chosen by the ambassador and the local   CIA operative of Iranian descent who was there or in close proximity. ( maybe he/she was   with the mob). That operative secured the Iranian clothes   for those six and   took them out of   the back exit at night   BEFORE the mob stormed   the embassy. He/she then   brought   them to the Canadian ambassador's residence and secured the housekeeper's cooperation.   The six folks then requested   Tony M. to come and get them because they knew of him and knew his role in the CIA. He   came in   with fake IDs   and with full knowledge of   proper Iranians also most likely with a lot of cash.   That's why it took place   only in 45 days or so after the embassy was taken; CIA needed to prepare.   Tony then made   sure together   with the   CIA operative that a) the right people were bribed and b) that Canadians   and housekeeper cooperated. There was no Argo   project and no Hollywood involvement    although maybe the scene in the airport was genuine   and they posed as movie people, gifts and all. The tickets were there all right and "good luck' from Carter was   sent long before the actual act took place. The mythical Argo project   was then created to validate   the expenses.   At the end of the event the CIA operative, the housekeeper and her family went to Iraq. End of the story.

We need a good script, don't we? Hope the Intelligence Stars were really awarded   to the right people. Because if Argo project was   real,   took place like it is described   in the movie or close to it   and it was successful   - then we live in the asylum.

The magnificent myth about Argonauts and a  Golden Fleece   is a great work of art and it established a standard; whoever uses the name should   be worthy. The movie Argo was not worthy. Then should booze less and work more. Sobriety is good.


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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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