Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Hidden away in the crawlspace of a bank during a robbery.
An ingenious getaway plan overheard. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to get rich. Former criminal and air-conditioning repairman Reggie Stanchion finally appears to have gotten his life on the right track On what should be a routine in-and-out job, Reggie instead finds himself stuck in the cra Hidden away in the crawlspace of a bank during a robbery. On what should be a routine in-and-out job, Reggie instead finds himself stuck in the crawlspace of a bank during a violent robbery. As details of the robbers' getaway plan unfold, the scheme seems foolproof, leading to an alluring idea: take this robbery over.
Hurling into an all too familiar world he was determined to never be part of again, it doesn't take long before Reggie's in it deep. Shots fired. People dead. A long standoff with police. With time running out and the real bank robbers hell-bent on keeping what's "rightfully" theirs, Reggie may be in over his head with no way out. Can he leave his former life behind him or is the temptation too great? And at this point, does he even have a choice? Whatever he decides, he's already made some powerful enemies and now Reggie must face his most treacherous and unexpected challenge yet--getting out of the bank alive.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Pull Out Method , please sign up. As the Godhra massacre and the post Godhra riots demonstrated, yet again, Khilafat Gandhi was a liar. An eye for an eye keeps the peace.
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I trust India will learn from its own History if not from the Japanese example. But as Japan mulls stepping outside its as yet peaceful archipleago into the maelstrom, it must properly assess the maelstrom outside. The US has helped the Saudis to suppress and oppress the population of its oil producing Shia district with increasing violence. The Angolan civil war has been going on for more than 30 years over a sea of oil in which the US is mighty interested.
Assam remains a battle field between the Christian Bodos, the Moslem Bangla Deshis maintained so by the lawlessness and incompetence of the Indian State. US-NATO's imperial ambitions in Azarbaijan to eradicate the last Armenian enclave that escaped the Moslem ethic cleansing of the Ottomans and survives under Russian protection has been over shadowed by the civil war it jump started in Ukraine with a CIA regime change.
US funded, armed and trained Moslems are at war to take the Phillipines from the US funded armed and trained State with Communists as a joker in the pack like Turkey and India in fast forward. And all this is not of any interests to the World's news papers and media agencies. Well Mr. Abe, hope you and your party mates think about those words more the next time you visit Yasukuni shrine, which hosts not just foot solders who perpetrated much more cruel and savage acts on a much larger scale, but also the policy makers who were responsible for it all.
Also think more as to why Korea and China are firmly opposed to those visits Stop posting the same damn, irrelevant post over and over. No one cares to listen to your hate-filled idiocies. All Japanese people should think about this mad terrorist act very hard before or when they are visiting Yasukuni war criminal ghost temple. Don't worry about the lapse or the absence of War-time memories.
The Xi dude will have a grand anti-Fascist Victory parade to frighten the Abe dude from ever trying again.
Nevertheless Abe or rather, the world is still waiting for him to live up to his grandiose words to send troops overseas to protect his interests abroad. Japan of course is rearming in order to protect itself from the threat of the PRC, which is a dictatorship that has no respect for iteratioal law. Pretty much every nation supports Japan in this. He still has to live up to his words to send troop abroad to protect his and allies interests. Please go away and stop this nonsense. The events of 80 years ago have little relevance now, as it is the People's Republic of China that is the regional aggressor now.
But Mr. Abe, whose grandfather politician was a certified Class A war criminal of World War 2, should take this moment to reflect on the terror and terrorist acts of Japanese Nanjing massacre of murdering over , civilians. Too bad this comment section could not show the surviving photos of beheading competition of Japanese soldiers in Nanjing then, far, far, far more terrible and ungodly than the ugly and sinful video by the terrorists beheading these two Japanese folks.
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There is the difference. IS beheading of foreigners is used to intimidate the West from intervention. But the Imperial army mass decapitation was used to cow the occupied population. So the beheadings seem to more exemplify just gratuitous violence. It probably broke the "Please stay on topic" part of their policy. The Nanking Massacre has very little to do with the article, and even less to do with Mr. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a mean of settling international disputes.
The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. So possibly this could fall under that term that Truman took heat for: A police action. Retrieving innocent hostages at risk from terrorists illegal non-state combatants at that could possibly be interpreted as self-defense. Like what Sarkozy had done,, Abe can also do as much to improve his personal chemistry with Obama to remove any lingering doubts about his Imperial ambition when changing the Pacifist constitution. The much-feared IS will then have a taste of the stuff what makes Imperial Army so feared in its occupation of Asia in the past and next, the Levant.
Sarkozy rubbed the right side of the Hegemon to be the most trusted ally alongside the Brits in the Romp through Maghreb. Now as Abe wants to Romp through the Levant, he must also rub the right side of the Hegemon to be a trusted ally. Problems with that mumbo jumbo you are writing - - Doesn't account for the possibility that Sarkozy wanted to intervene in Libya back in if that is what you are referring to - Doesn't account for past intentions of other Europeans with regards to Libya - And so far, contradicted by the fact that Japan hasn't exactly romped through the Levant; nor do I expect it to, any time soon.
I wonder how long before the Japanese throw off pacifism and send troops to show daesh how it's done It kept Soviet diplomats and others safe in the Mid-east during the Cold War. Really all daesh is doing is making the case that the rest of the world needs to exterminate them, and eventually that is what will happen. Unfortunately it will lead to a lot of innocent Muslims being killed. The Arab had tried unsuccessfully to move from its backward past like colonial feudalism on-to modern nation states based on Democratic Nationalism. But the Arab spring has shown that it is a season where many sorts of flowers bloom like Democratic brotherhood, Al Qaeda emirates and the most endurance of all is the Islamic Caliphate to displace the corrupt and bankrupt Secular Nationalism.
As I have said, IS is not something that can be easily weeded out because it is coming genuinely from the Hearts and Minds of millions raised up in the Wahhabi madrassahes. A word for I. What IS needs is not friends, but money coming in especially from Rich patrons in the Gulf to wage the War of Civilisations. RT alleged that some Western or US banks have been complicit in the money transfers.
The rest of the World has not been able to digest the fact that IS is now a State because of terrorism. In fact, many of our modern states come into being from terrorist activities. But when IS finally controls the oil fields from the Maghreb to the Levant to the Persian Gulf, the Western corporations will come in and negotiate with a Sovereign Power which is also a Islamic Civilisation empire.
The IS does not have the brains nor the technology to control much more. Luckily for you and I , they are already loosing the battle. Japan and Islamic State The bitter end. See article. Readers' comments Reader comments are listed below. Sort: Newest first Oldest first Readers' most recommended.
Predictions: i. Japan will change its constitution and will no longer be pacifist. Had the Shah come directly to the United States when he left Iran in January , there probably would have been little or no problem--the Iranians themselves expected this to happen and were surprised when it did not. But, as the ousted monarch continued to roam the world, the US Government was also working to build a productive relationship with the new revolutionary regime.
Thus, as a practical working plan, the greater the American distance from the Shah, the better for the new relationship--and vice versa. The Shah's entry into the United States 10 months later, however, quickly unraveled all that had been achieved and rendered impossible all that might have been accomplished in the future. When the Shah's doctors contacted the US Government on 20 October and requested that he be admitted immediately into the United States for emergency medical treatment, the President quickly convened a gathering of the National Security Council principals to decide the issue.
Only Secretary of State Vance opposed the request; the others either strongly supported it or acquiesced. The meeting concluded with President Carter, while harboring significant misgivings about letting the Shah in, nonetheless acceding to the majority vote and granting permission for the Shah to enter the United States for "humanitarian" reasons. The President, familiar with warnings from Bruce Laingen about the danger to the Embassy if the Shah were to be admitted to the United States, asked what the advisers would recommend when the revolutionaries took the Embassy staff hostage.
No one responded. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were enraged by the decision to admit the Shah, seeing in him a despot who was anything but an adherent to humanitarian principles. They also felt, not for the first time, a strong sense of betrayal by the US President. In , Jimmy Carter had campaigned for the presidency on a platform that included a strongly stated position advocating human rights around the world. Many Iranians heard this and took heart, believing that President Carter would cease US support to the Shah's government while also easing, or stopping completely, the abuses taking place in their country.
On 31 December , while the President was making a state visit to Iran, he openly referred to the country as an "island of stability in a sea of turmoil," lauding the Shah for a commitment to democracy. All Iranians were keenly aware of the rioting that had broken out in their cities during the past year. Such disturbances were occurring ever more frequently, accompanied by a mounting death toll at the hands of the Army and the internal security forces. To many Iranians, this seeming unwillingness of President Carter to accept reality was a bitter sign that he had been dishonest and deceptive in his often-stated desire to promote human rights.
Those few spoken words by the President generated an intense disillusionment within the Iranian populace--about which my militant captors frequently talked during the hundreds of hours of harangues, discussions, and debates I was to have with them. Now the same President who had spoken fervently in support of human rights was letting the Shah into the United States for putatively humanitarian reasons. Again, a sense of betrayal flooded the Iranian people.
There was one notable irony in the decision to bring the Shah into the United States. After the Embassy was seized, President Carter publicly proclaimed that the lives and safety of the Embassy hostages were his first consideration. It was unfortunate that we did not occupy the same position in his hierarchy of priorities on 20 October; instead, the lives and safety of 66 Americans were secondary to the life of a man who was already dying. I have never understood that logic. It is not accurate to say that the policies of and actions by President Carter and his advisers created the Iranian crisis; they in fact inherited and continued policies put in place by their predecessors.
What is clear is that President Carter was not well served by several of his advisers in their unwillingness to face the possibility that the Shah's regime might not last the decade, much less to the end of the century. That said, I doubt that the United States would have been able to rejuvenate its relations with Iran even if the Shah had been denied admission to enter the United States.
With hindsight, it is easily arguable that, if the militants had not used US admission of the Shah as a pretext to take the Embassy and break relations, some other unacceptable act would have occurred to sever the relationship.
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The Iranian revolutionary regime continued to engage in state-supported terrorism, murders of exiled dissidents, and attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. The country's new rulers also made an enormous and at least partially successful effort to export the revolution to other nations. The United States would not have been able to do business with such a hostile and outlaw government. Refusing the Shah would simply have prolonged what, in retrospect, was inevitable.
To the ever-suspicious Iranian radicals, the admission of the Shah for medical treatment was a sham designed to hide a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing their revolutionary government. In this meeting, which was not publicized in Algiers, the Shah and the future of US-Iranian relations were discussed. When the radicals in Tehran learned of these talks, they used Radio Tehran to claim that nefarious motives lay behind the meeting. In the eyes of the radicals, the prime minister and the foreign minister were meeting "secretly" and conspiring with a representative of the US President.
The inevitable conclusion was that the United States was again planning to return the Shah to power in Iran. At a protest march in Tehran attended by anywhere from 1 million to 3 million demonstrators, the stage was set for actions against the American Embassy in Tehran and the actors were placed into motion.
We all knew the Embassy was vulnerable, despite additional physical security measures taken to protect the chancery following the St. But the building had not been rendered impervious to assault; rather, the structure had merely been "hardened" to provide protection from gunfire, increase the difficulty of forced entry, and establish an area of relative safety where the Embassy staff could hold out until help arrived. With news of the Shah's admittance into the United States, there came a certain realization that it would now be just a matter of days before the Iranians reacted.
The only question we had was whether they would repeat the 14 February takeover, with more serious consequences, or renew the terrorist attacks against US officials that had occurred early in the decade. But no new changes were made in the Embassy's security posture. From all outward appearances, life seemed normal. The Embassy staff was being told that it was safe in Tehran, and employees were being encouraged to bring over their families, including preschool-age children; on the day of the takeover there were several dependent families of Embassy staff at the Frankfurt airport waiting to fly to Tehran.
The chief purveyor of this position was the State Department's office director for Iran, who was visiting the Embassy when the news of the Shah's admittance into the United States was announced to the staff. Bruce Laingen asked the office director to join him on the trip to the MFA to inform the Iranians and to ask for protection for the Embassy, which Foreign Minister Yazdi personally promised.
Unbeknownst to us, however, the same office director had, while in Washington before his trip, written a series of memos discussing in detail the lack of adequate security at the Embassy and the dangers the staff faced if the Shah came into the United States.
He said nothing of this to the Embassy staff during his visit, preferring instead to repeat that it was now "perfectly safe" for us to be in Iran. In a chance encounter with this officer following my return to the United States, I raised the issue. Somewhat disingenuously, he replied only that he did not think it proper for "those of us in Washington to be second-guessing the assessments of those who are actually on the ground.
One other sign that the State and Defense Departments were buying into the "perfectly safe" assessment was the presence of literally thousands of classified documents in the Embassy. By mid-July, however, those files were back in Tehran, in anticipation of better relations with the new government and improved security measures at the Embassy. In addition to the DAO files, the political section had more than 24 safe drawers full of files, and the economic section had roughly the same number.
Also on hand were all the personnel files for the Embassy staff of about The Iranian militants eventually published the documents taken from Embassy safes, along with translations into Farsi. As of around , the Iranians had published more than 65 volumes of these documents.
The political and economic section files included documents going back to the mids, useful only in a historical context, if that. These files provided the means to compile a list of all Iranians who had visited the Embassy officially during the past 25 years. As it turned out, "someone" did make a list, creating serious problems for hundreds of Iranians who found themselves accused of espionage and interrogated by militants demanding to know why they had visited the "spy den" two decades previously.
When visiting the DAO or the political offices, I had often seen safes with multiple drawers open. I had been dismayed by the amount of paper remaining in a building so vulnerable to another takeover. Each time, he replied that this would eventually be feasible, but not before the US Government had fully signaled acceptance of the revolution and not before the Provisional Revolutionary Government had been replaced by a more stable and permanent government.
To do otherwise, he warned, would place the Embassy and its staff in serious jeopardy. Neither criteria had been met before the Shah arrived in New York, nor was there any sign that officials in Washington were giving much thought or credence to Laingen's position. Iranian militants invade US Embassy, November It was only after our release in January that I came to understand fully why security precautions were ignored and our concerns unheeded. As background, it is useful to remember that the Carter administration, particularly in the person of Dr.
Brzezinski, strongly desired to maintain friendly relations and a close military relationship with Iran. For Brzezinski, Iran was the cornerstone of his plan to thwart Soviet expansion in the region; it was also a key nation on which the United States would rely to maintain regional stability. To assist in making this strategic vision a reality, the Carter administration continued the program begun in the Nixon years to expand Iranian military capabilities substantially.
Beginning in the early s with the sale of 72 advanced F Tomcat fighter-interceptor aircraft to the Iranian Air Force, the United States steadily built up the Iranian military. Iran was the only country in the world to which the United States had sold the F A side benefit of this largess was Iranian permission for the United States to establish and maintain two sensitive signals intelligence collection sites in the northern part of the country to intercept data link communications of Soviet missile tests. But hundreds of thousands of Iranians who did not benefit from this official American aid or understand the reasons behind it viewed all this as a greedy, "imperialistic" America working with a greedy, corrupt Iranian Government to steal oil revenues from the Iranian people to whom the monies truly belonged.
The Shah was the key to Dr. Brzezinski's strategic vision. The monarch had pushed the Iranians into the 20th century, modernizing the country as rapidly as he could spend the money necessary to do so--but not always wisely or productively. He especially kept pressing the United States to provide him with military equipment far too technical and complicated for his own military forces to maintain or use, as well as sufficient quantities of military supplies for him to maintain a standing force much larger than many American officials believed necessary.
The Nixon administration acceded to the Shah's demands. In modernizing and enlarging his military, however, the Iranian monarch created a hollow force supplied with the latest in technological equipment but lacking in effective command leadership. He also came to depend heavily on SAVAK, the internal security organization, to maintain his oppressive regime. To ensure that the Shah remained in power, the US Government was required to turn essentially a blind eye to the harsh measures he employed to silence his critics.
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In an ill-considered policy early in the life of SAVAK, this force had been turned loose against opponents of the regime and against the general populace, even for minor civil infractions. Brzezinski, moreover, seemed to become unwilling to accept any possibility that the Shah's regime might be at risk from internal pressures that could lead to his overthrow. For Brzezinski's strategy to be successfully implemented, the Shah had to remain in power at least until the s. Finally, in its efforts to please the Shah, the US Government for a number of years had relied on information he provided on the stability of the country and the threat to his regime, eschewing any intelligence collection efforts against internal Iranian political targets.
As the populace became increasingly unhappy with the regime's oppressiveness and corruption and with the deterioration of the economy, resistance to secular authority by Iranian Islamic fundamentalists intensified and open displays of dissidence became more frequent. By , street demonstrations were turning into open rioting, with a growing loss of life. When the Embassy began reporting these events and citing growing indications that perhaps the Shah's grip was slipping, Dr.
Brzezinski, and, by extension the President, became critical of the Embassy's reporting. The incumbent ambassador was replaced with William Sullivan, an experienced Foreign Service Officer FSO who had a reputation for dealing effectively with difficult situations. Sullivan's marching orders were to go to Tehran, put a lid on the unwelcome reporting, and get things back on track. But it soon became clear to him that Iran was in serious trouble, and with it the Shah's future.
Brzezinski, meanwhile, seemed to be increasingly disregarding the information coming out of the Embassy because it did not conform to his strategic plans for Iran and the regional role the country was to play. During the summer of , Brzezinski's and State's basic reactions were to listen to Bazargan and to ignore the radicals, even though Laingen--while noting that the situation was becoming calmer--continued to warn of dangers to US personnel. Sunday 4 November was the first day of the normal workweek for the Embassy in Muslim countries, the weekend consists of Friday--the holy day--and Saturday , and I was in the office by At about , I heard the first stirrings of a crowd gathering in front of the Embassy for one of the frequent demonstrations we were subjected to, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.
I paid it little heed. Absorbed in work, I was unaware of the time when the crowd noise became louder and closer, but it had to have been about I knew it was a different situation when I heard someone in the center hall call out that "they" were over the fence and into the compound. I looked out the window and saw young-looking Iranians swarming about the grounds surrounding the chancery. The Embassy sat on a acre compound surrounded by a high brick wall. The predominant structure was the chancery, a long, slender rectangular building with a basement, ground floor, and top floor.
On each floor, a central hallway ran the length of the building, with offices opening on each side of the hall hence, all the offices were directly entered from the hall and overlooked either the front lawn or rear parking lot and athletic field. The ambassadorial suite was in the center of the top floor on the back side, opposite the grand staircase rising up from the entrance. It consisted of the outer office occupied by the secretaries and the offices of the non-existent ambassador and deputy chief of mission.
The security drill required that all American and local employees in the chancery were to move up to the building's second floor. There, we were to be protected by a heavy-gauge steel door at the top of the winding staircase ascending from the main entrance, located in the middle-front of the building.
The door was touted to be virtually impossible to breach. Thus protected, we were to sit tight and await the arrival of the Iranian police or military--the protection Foreign Minister Yazdi had promised to Laingen and the office director from Washington. With the hallway full of local employees, most of us Americans stayed in or near our offices, looking out the windows to see what was transpiring. From the political counselor's office at the back of the chancery, we could see Embassy staffers who worked in the other buildings on the compound--administrative offices, a warehouse, and four bungalows used by TDY visitors--being marched across the compound toward the ambassador's residence, hands tied behind their backs and blindfolded.
At about , the Iranians broke into the chancery. The intruders got in through windows in the basement and moved to the first floor. The personnel section offices were in the basement, and the DAO and economic section offices were on the first floor. In moving to the sanctuary of the top floor, the Embassy staff had to abandon the sensitive files in the DAO and economic sections, and to give up the personnel files showing who was assigned to the Embassy, what our jobs were, and where we lived. All of this occurred without any resistance.
At this point, a tear gas canister was accidentally set off in the central hallway upstairs, lending to the confusion and clamor. When the Iranians first entered the compound, the station chief initiated destruction of the station's files, particularly the highly compartmented materials in the communications vault. After the Iranians came into the chancery itself, I returned to the vault in my office, where an operations support assistant OSA was rapidly removing files from our four safes.
Since early summer, when things began returning to normal, the station had been on a "three-month retain" basis. This meant that most cable traffic was destroyed after being read, but basic information necessary for doing our jobs could be retained in skeleton files for three months. An additional proviso was that the materials we did retain were not to exceed what could be destroyed in 30 minutes. The entrance to the station vault, a room about 12 feet by 12 feet with a most impressive-looking bank vault-type door, was in the office I was using temporarily--which created some problems for me later.
In the vault was a device, shaped like an oversized barrel, for use in destroying classified material by shredding and then incinerating it. It was slow to work and temperamental in nature, subject to jamming at the least provocation. I went into the vault and began to feed documents into this "disintegrator.
Shutting out the wails of the Embassy locals in the hallway as well as the yells and shouts of the mob outside the door, I continued to feed the disintegrator, assisted by a member of the DAO contingent. Within a few minutes, the device went "ka-chonk" and shut down.
Using a small commercial paper shredder, we continued to destroy what we could. As we made progress in our destruction, I noticed the growing pile of shreddings accumulating on the floor--rather than completely destroying each document, the machine cut the papers into strips. Around noon, just as the last of the papers were going through the shredder, someone appeared at the vault and exclaimed that we had to get out.
As I closed the vault door, I was struck by the sight of the large pile of shredded paper on the floor in the center of the vault and by a sign stating that the vault was secure against forced intrusion for 30 minutes. I thought about burning the shreddings, but reasoned--too optimistically--that the door would hold until authorities arrived and dispersed the mob in the next few hours. There was a lingering, acrid mix of tear gas and burning wood--the Iranians had tried to set the steel door afire, not realizing the wood was only a veneer.
The Charge had gone to the MFA that morning with one of our two security officers and the political counselor. This went on for another 15 minutes or so while the Iranians outside the main door by the stairwell were yelling to us and to each other, and trying to force the door. And then one loud American voice was heard over the din: "Open this door right now!
To which the voice on the other side of the door screamed back in panic, "You tell Laingen I said to open the goddamn door NOW! Earlier that morning, after the Embassy compound had been overrun, but before the Iranians had gained entry into the chancery itself, the second of our security officers announced that he was going to go out and "reason" with the mob. Having by then seen a number of our colleagues in the outer buildings marched away bound and blindfolded, none of us were surprised when, a few minutes later, we saw him, hands tied behind his back, being escorted to the Embassy's front entrance by several Iranians.
It was that same security officer to whom the voice on the other side of the door belonged, now claiming that the Iranians would shoot him if the door was not opened immediately. In response, one of his colleagues muttered, "Let 'em shoot, but keep the damn door closed. The door that would supposedly protect us for days was to be opened after only three hours. The classified material in the political section and MAAG safes on the top floor, the destruction of which the security officer could have been overseeing had he not walked out to certain capture, remained intact for the Iranians to recover.
Just before the door opened and the Iranians began swarming about us, Bert Moore, the Administrative Counselor, looked at his watch and remarked, "Let the record show that the Embassy surrendered at We were blindfolded and bound and escorted to the Ambassador's residence, where we were freed of the blindfolds only and placed in chairs and on sofas located anywhere on the first floor. We remained that way for the first night, but the next morning we were tied to our chairs and again blindfolded.
The earlier arrivals had been taken to the living room and salon, where the chairs and sofas were oversized and plush. The last of us to surrender ended up in the dining room, seated around a long table on uncushioned, straight-backed and armless chairs matching the table. We had to endure what were surely the hardest seats in the Eastern Hemisphere, and we sat there for two days and nights. Our bewilderment as to why we remained captives was worse than the physical discomfort. Once, in the middle of the second day, a helicopter landed and took off from the open area between the residence and the warehouse.
Our hope was that some outside mediator had arrived and that our release was imminent. It was inconceivable to us that we could be held prisoner for as long as we had already been by nothing more than a gang of youths. I overheard my colleagues several times asking the Iranians when we were going to be freed.
But not before. Shortly after dinner during the first night of captivity, a young Iranian carrying a. The thought did not occur to me until much later--and was subsequently confirmed--that he had had some prior help from someone who did know the correct pronunciation. I was again bound, blindfolded, and then assisted out of the residence. Considering my true professional affiliation, being singled out by name and separated from the others did not strike me as a positive development.
It was a frightening walk through a dark night. I was walked to the chancery and led into my office with its impressive-looking vault. Still bound and blindfolded, I was placed not ungently against the wall. I heard the escort leave, but, in the silence, I sensed another presence. I reminded myself that it was imperative to act like a genuine State Department Foreign Service Officer would act, and to say those things that a real FSO would say.
During the past few hours, and in expectation of such a turn of events, I had given this subject some reflection. I had decided that, if I was interrogated, my actions and words would be guided by two principles. First, I would try to protect classified information; as part of this, I would talk about anything in order to appear as though I had nothing to hide. Second, I would do or say nothing that would or could bring harm to any of my colleagues. The exception to this second "rule" was that I would take advantage of any opportunity to escape, even though it might lead to retaliatory measures against the others.
I had already decided that refusing to talk at all to any interrogators would be about the dumbest thing I could do. First, I did not think bona fide diplomats would clam up in this kind of situation. Silence would not only give off a signal that the interrogatee had been up to something nefarious; it also would run contrary to the personality of most legitimate diplomats, whose business it is to talk to people, to negotiate, and to reason.
The second problem with the "John Wayne I'll-never-say-anything-to-you-bastards" school of interrogation resistance is that it presents a challenge to the interrogators that most likely will not be ignored.
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While considering whether or to what degree to resist in such a baldly confrontational manner, it is not a bad idea for the prisoner to recognize that his captors hold absolute control over his health and welfare. That does not mean that he should not try to resist, only that there will almost certainly be consequences from doing so. When the prisoner refuses to say anything, acquiring information becomes a secondary objective for the bad guys.
Their overriding objective will now be to break the prisoner; they cannot permit his obstinacy to threaten their control. As was learned from the experiences of the American aviators who were POWs in the Vietnam war, additional problems accrue when a prisoner is finally broken. First, he no longer has the ability to withhold sensitive and secret information. Second, the "breaking" is likely to be both a physical and a mental process, thus rendering it harder for the prisoner to resist in general and harder to escape should the opportunity present itself--and probably doing permanent damage to his health.
The broken prisoner also will be likely to carry permanent psychological scars, feeling that he is a coward or that he let down his country or comrades, even though he may have suffered terribly and endured the truly unendurable longer than anyone would have reasonably expected. The point is worth a moment's reflection: secrets and lives must be protected, and I believe one is duty-bound to resist his captors. Each has to decide, alone, how and to what extent to resist. In my mind, trying to tough out an interrogation by refusing to talk was not a good idea.
Following a brief silence, probably intended to intimidate me, an unseen interrogator began to speak. I remained standing against the wall for what I believe was several hours while this first interrogation ran on and on. My questioner spoke good English in a deep but surprisingly soft voice that he never raised, despite his growing frustration with me. I was confused at first by the direction of the questioning, but it soon became clear that because of my large office, executive-style furniture, and especially the vault, the Iranians had assumed that I was a senior official, someone who really mattered.
As a GS who was so new to the Agency that I would still get lost in the Headquarters building, this construct left me speechless for a moment. Regardless of how ludicrous the Iranian accusation was, I still had to deal with it. To the Iranians, it made perfect sense to have the CIA secretly running the Embassy in what they would consider the most important country in the Eastern Hemisphere.
How, the interrogator continued, could I be only a junior officer when no other junior officer had such large office or a "personal vault"? Moreover, the real junior officers were all in their early- to mid-twenties, while I was clearly much older. So, he asked, why was I trying to deny the obvious? Why didn't I just tell them about all the spy operations I was running in their country? And would I mind opening the vault, too? From my side, the discussion centered around explaining why I really was just a junior officer; why I had worked for the State Department for only three months; how I had completed graduate studies in January and then worked for a civilian "company" before joining State; and why I was only temporarily in that particular office.
I tried to explain why I could not possibly have the combination to the vault and why I was not sure who did. I told the interrogator that, having recently arrived in Iran, I did not know many people at the Embassy. I stayed with this story, which was not hard to do because much of it was true. But the interrogator returned repeatedly to the vault. It was evident that the vault would continue to be a problem until we were released or the Iranians opened it by force. During this interrogation session, I was directly threatened only a few times. More often, it was a subtle sort of warning, such as reminders of firing squads and SAVAK torture rooms.
Also, the interrogator occasionally would work the action of an automatic pistol and pull the trigger, but I always could hear him playing with the weapon, so its sounds never came so suddenly as to make me flinch. I concentrated on staying outwardly calm, answering his questions in as normal a tone of voice as I could muster.
I emphasized that this was a breach of diplomatic practice, that I should immediately be returned to my colleagues, and that we should all be released forthwith. Every time he raised the idea that I was the true head of the Embassy, I would laugh and remark what a preposterous idea that was. Interestingly, the interrogator never became angry in return; he would just repeat his "evidence" and continue. While I really did have trouble at that moment comprehending that the Iranians would actually believe something so farfetched, it did not take long before I learned enough about our captors' perspective to realize that they genuinely believed things that were much more absurd.
This realization began to sink in later, when they started accusing me of being the head of all CIA operations in the Middle East. In more than hours of hostile interrogation, this particular man was the only interrogator I never saw. I also believe that he may have been someone who was accustomed to, possibly trained in, interrogation techniques. He certainly exercised abundant self-control and seemed at ease in this environment.
That he was not harsher may have been due to the Iranians themselves thinking that the situation would be over soon, and thus they did not need to press hard for answers. Later, it would come out that the Iranians took the Embassy initially intending to hold us captive only for as long as it took the US Government to break diplomatic relations. The ultimate length of the hostage crisis surprised virtually all the participants, Iranian and American alike. Having unlimited opportunity to conduct interrogations of Embassy personnel was probably not an element they considered in their initial planning.
This bears some explaining. In February , to the chagrin of many Iranians, the Carter administration had elected to continue with a business-as-usual attitude following the St. Valentine's Day Open House rather than breaking diplomatic relations. Thus, in summer , seeing the US Embassy staff grow steadily in size and the secular-oriented government of Prime Minister Bazargan move toward normalization of relations, militant Iranians had begun envisioning another takeover of the Embassy. This time, the militants would hold the Embassy staff captive for as long as it took for the United States to break relations.
This was the only action, they believed, that could foreclose any opportunity for future US interference in their revolution. Always suspicious of US motives and sincerity, Iranians during this period were constantly looking for signs of US intentions to repeat the coup of These signs appeared with the admittance of the Shah to the United States and with the meeting in Algiers between Brzezinski and Bazargan. After what seemed like all night but probably was only a few hours, the interrogator left. I was moved by the student guards into the OSA's office, and my blindfold was removed.
I found myself surrounded by a group of about a dozen Iranians, the oldest of whom could not have been more than I was not pleased to see several youths who looked to be 15 or 16 waving Uzi assault weapons. The oldest looking, who was armed with a.