Sunday, February 24, 2013

President Carter, former Canadian ambassador, weigh in on CIA-orchestrated Argo fabrications; Affleck's initial postscript was insulting to Canada

Although President Carter told CNN,"Let me say first of all, it’s a great drama, and I hope it gets the Academy Award for best film because I think it deserves it," he then added, "I would say that 90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. The movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA."

     Ken Taylor, the former Canadian ambassador to Iran says Argo made Canada look like a benchwarming bystander to CIA heroics when, in fact, that country's embassy officials took great risks to conceal Americans and the Canadian Parliament went into a special, secret session to legalize the issuance of fake passports to six Americans.
     Last November, when accepting an honorary degree at Queen's University in Canada, Carter called "Argo" a shocking defacement of the truth.
     "I saw the movie Argo recently and I was taken aback by its distortion of what happened because almost everything that was heroic, or courageous or innovative was done by Canada and not the United States," Carter said.
     Writes Rob Gillies:

     Taylor said there would be no movie without the Canadians.
     "We took the six in without being asked so it starts there," Taylor said. "And the fact that we got them out with some help from the CIA then that's where the story loses itself. I think Jimmy Carter has it about right, it was 90 percent Canada, 10 percent the CIA."
     He said CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck in the film, was only in Iran for a day and a half.
     The movie also makes no mention of John Sheardown, a deputy at the Canadian embassy who sheltered some of the Americans. Taylor said it was Sheardown who took the first call and agreed right away to take the Americans in. Sheardown recently died and his wife, Zena, called the movie disappointing.
     Friends of Taylor were outraged last September when "Argo" debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The original postscript of the movie said that Taylor received 112 citations and awards for his work in freeing the hostages and suggested Taylor didn't deserve them because the movie ends with the CIA deciding to let Canada have the credit for helping the Americans escape.
     Taylor called the postscript lines "disgraceful and insulting" and said it would have caused outrage in Canada if the lines were not changed. Affleck flew Taylor to Los Angeles after the Toronto debut and allowed him to insert a postscript that gave Canada some credit.

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