October surprise

In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event deliberately created or timed or sometimes occurring spontaneously to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the U.S. presidency. The reference to the month of October is because the date for national elections (as well as many state and local elections) is in early November. Therefore, events that take place in late October have greater potential to influence the decisions of prospective voters.

Since the 1972 presidential election (when it came into use), the term "October surprise" has been used preemptively during the campaign season by partisans of one side to discredit late-campaign news by the other side.

1972 McGovern vs. Nixon

The term came into use shortly after the 1972 presidential election between Republican incumbent Richard Nixon and Democrat George McGovern, when the United States was in the fourth year of negotiations to end the very long and domestically divisive Vietnam War. On October 26, 1972, twelve days before the election on November 7, the United States' chief negotiator, the presidential National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, appeared at a press conference held at the White House and announced, "We believe that peace is at hand."[1] Nixon, despite having vowed to end the unpopular war during his presidential election campaign four years earlier, had failed to cease hostilities but significantly reduced American involvement, especially ground forces. Nixon was nevertheless already widely considered to be assured of an easy reelection victory against McGovern, but Kissinger's "peace is at hand" declaration may have increased Nixon's already high standing with the electorate. In the event, Nixon outpolled McGovern in every state except Massachusetts and achieved a 20-point lead in the nationwide popular vote. Remaining U.S. ground forces were withdrawn in 1973, but U.S. military involvement in Vietnam continued until 1975.[2]

1980 Carter vs. Reagan

In the 1980 presidential election, Republican challenger Ronald Reagan feared that a last-minute deal to release American hostages held in Iran might earn incumbent Jimmy Carter enough votes to win re-election.[3][4] As it happened, in the days prior to the election, press coverage was consumed with the Iranian government's decision—and Carter's simultaneous announcement—that the hostages would not be released until after the election.[4]

It was first written about in a Jack Anderson article in The Washington Post in the fall of 1980, in which he alleged that the Carter administration was preparing a major military operation in Iran for rescuing U.S. hostages in order to help him get reelected. Subsequent allegations surfaced against Reagan alleging that his team had impeded the hostage release to negate the potential boost to the Carter campaign.[5]

After the release of the hostages on January 20, 1981, minutes after Reagan's inauguration, some charged that the Reagan campaign had made a secret deal with the Iranian government whereby the Iranians would hold the hostages until after Reagan was elected and inaugurated.[4]

Gary Sick, member of the National Security council under Presidents Ford and Carter (before being relieved of his duties weeks into Reagan's term)[6] made the accusation in a New York Times editorial[7] in the run-up to the 1992 election. The initial bipartisan response from Congress was skeptical: House Democrats refused to authorize an inquiry, and Senate Republicans denied a $600,000 appropriation for a probe.

Eight former hostages also sent an open letter demanding an inquiry in 1991.[7] In subsequent Congressional testimony, Sick said that the popular media had distorted and misrepresented the accusers, reducing them to "gross generalizations" and "generic conspiracy theorists". Sick penned a book on the subject and sold the movie rights to it for a reported $300,000.[8] His sources and thesis were contested by a number of commentators on both sides of the aisle.[9][10]

Abolhassan Banisadr, the former President of Iran, has also stated "that the Reagan campaign struck a deal with Tehran to delay the release of the hostages in 1980", asserting that "by the month before the American Presidential election in November 1980, many in Iran's ruling circles were openly discussing the fact that a deal had been made between the Reagan campaign team and some Iranian religious leaders in which the hostages' release would be delayed until after the election so as to prevent President Carter's re-election."[11] He repeated the charge in My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution & Secret Deals with the U.S.[12]

Two separate congressional investigations looked into the charges, both concluding that there was no plan to seek to delay the hostages' release.[4]

1992 Bush vs. Clinton

In June 1992, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was indicted in the Iran–Contra affair.[13][14] Though he claims to have been opposed to the sale on principle, Weinberger participated in the transfer of United States TOW missiles to Iran, that were used to stop Saddam Hussein's massive tank army, and was later indicted on several felony charges of lying to the Iran-Contra independent counsel during its investigation. Republicans angrily accused Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh of timing Weinberger's indictment to hurt George H. W. Bush's re-election chances. As Weinberger's trial approached, more concrete information on Bush's direct role emerged, including statements by Reagan Middle East specialist Howard Teicher that Bush knew of the arms deal in spring 1986 and an Israeli memo that made it clear that Bush was well versed in the deal by July 1986.[15][16]

2000 Gore vs. Bush

Days before the November 7 election, Thomas J. Connolly of Scarborough, Maine, a prominent defense attorney and 1998 Democratic candidate for governor, confirmed to a reporter that Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving in that state in 1976. Bush confirmed the report in a press conference moments after it was revealed.[17]

2003 California governor recall election

On October 2, 2003, the Los Angeles Times released a story about Arnold Schwarzenegger and subsequent allegations that he was a womanizer guilty of multiple acts of sexual misconduct in past decades. The story was released just before the 2003 California recall (which was scheduled for October 7), prompting many pundits to charge that the timing of the story was aimed specifically at derailing the recall campaign.[18] It was not the only embarrassing story about Schwarzenegger to surface just days before the campaign: the next day, ABC News and The New York Times reported that in 1975 Schwarzenegger had praised Adolf Hitler during interviews for the film Pumping Iron, which was responsible for the bodybuilder-turned-actor's fame.[19] The twin controversies later led Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez to coin the term "gropenfuhrer" to describe California's governor-elect (a compounded pun on the Nazi paramilitary rank Gruppenführer and the words to grope and Führer).;[20] a series of Doonesbury strips made the term famous.

2004 Kerry vs. Bush

On October 27, The New York Times reported the disappearance of huge cache of explosives from a warehouse in al Qa'qaa (see Missing explosives in Iraq). The John Kerry campaign blamed the Bush administration for this supposed mismanagement; administration officials charged that the Times had gotten the story wrong, and that the explosives had been cleared from the storage facility before the looting was supposed to have taken place.

On October 29, the Arabic news agency Al Jazeera aired a video of Osama bin Laden (see 2004 Osama bin Laden video).[3] In a speech that justifies and takes responsibility for the actions of September 11, bin Laden calls out the Bush administration and the American position in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. "Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda," bin Laden claimed; "Your security is in your own hands."[21] This is believed to have helped President Bush's campaign as it thrust the War on Terror back into the public eye. There is debate as to whether bin Laden was aware of the effect the video would have on the elections; the "Bush bounce" from the video did not surprise most outside observers of the 2004 election.

It has been claimed that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud cut the price of oil (thus reducing gas prices) to help ensure a Bush victory.[22] According to a 60 Minutes broadcast, "Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told us that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on Election Day."[23]

2006 midterm elections

The Mark Foley scandal, in which the congressman resigned over sexual computer messages he exchanged with underage congressional pages, broke on September 28, 2006, and dominated the news in early October. Bloomberg.com wrote, "The October surprise came early this election year...."[24] Allegations that both Republicans and Democrats had knowledge of Foley's actions months before the breaking of the story only fueled the speculation regarding the possibly politically motivated timing of the story's release.[25]

Two studies by The Lancet on mortality in Iraq before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq have been described as October surprises for the 2004 and 2006 elections.[26] Les Roberts acknowledged that the 2004 study was timed to appear just before the presidential election,[27] though he denied that it was meant to favor one candidate over another. Although the studies used standard epidemiological methods, was peer reviewed and supported by a majority of statisticians and epidemiologists, political critics have dismissed the studies based on a variety of alleged shortcomings.[27]

News that the Saddam Hussein trial verdict would be rendered on November 5, 2006, just two days ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, led Tom Engelhardt of liberal magazine The Nation to dub it, on October 17, the "November Surprise".[28] In a White House Press gaggle on November 4, 2006, a reporter suggested that the timing of the verdict might be an attempt to influence the outcome of the November election, to which White House Press Secretary Tony Snow replied "Are you smoking rope?" Snow later told CNN's Late Edition, "The idea is preposterous, that somehow we've been scheming and plotting with the Iraqis".[29]

2008 McCain vs. Obama

On October 31, 2008, four days before the 2008 presidential election, the Associated Press reported that Zeituni Onyango, half-aunt of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, was living as an illegal immigrant in Boston. She had been denied asylum and ordered to leave the United States in 2004.[30] Some have also described the October 2008 record rise in unemployment as an "October Surprise".[31]

2012 Romney vs. Obama

Hurricane Sandy was labelled an October surprise by some in the media.[32][33][34] Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had been a staunch critic of President Barack Obama, was seen praising the response of the Obama administration. Given that the event was not created by human beings, the term is a misnomer.

On September 17, left-leaning magazine Mother Jones published audio tape secretly recorded at a private Mitt Romney fund raiser wherein the candidate made disparaging remarks about the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income tax. While not occurring in October, some regarded the release as an "October Surprise" given its release relatively late in the election cycle and the fact that the original tape had been recorded in May. In subsequent writings, David Corn, the reporter who broke the story, explained that the timing of the release was because of negotiations between Mother Jones and the man who recorded the tape over precisely how to release it. Corn insists that the timing was not politically motivated.

2016 Clinton vs. Trump

On October 7, WikiLeaks released emails and excerpts surrounding Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton, including voice excerpts of speeches given by Clinton to a variety of banks revealing a stance on trade-deals different from those purported by Clinton during her campaign, along with her belief that it is beneficial to hold both public and private beliefs.[35]

The same day, a recording from 2005 was released in which Republican Party nominee Donald Trump, using explicit language, claimed he can kiss and grope women because he is "a star". Several politicians from both major parties expressed their disapproval of these remarks. Trump, who had been accused of sexism on several occasions before, later apologized for these remarks, saying they "don't reflect who I am."[36][37][38] But the remarks led to many Republicans withdrawing their endorsement from Trump including Arizona Senator John McCain, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Carly Fiorina. Many others who had not previously endorsed him asked him to step aside as the Republican nominee, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Three weeks later, on October 28, then FBI Director James Comey announced in a letter to Congress that he would take "appropriate investigative steps" to review additional emails related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. This was announced after newly discovered emails were found on a computer that was seized by the FBI, during an investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner after being accused of sending explicit pictures to a minor. The emails were found on a computer used by both Weiner and his ex-wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, according to law enforcement officials. Several hours later, Hillary Clinton responded to the decision of the Director by calling on the FBI to be fully transparent and to release "full and complete facts" on what the emails contained. On October 30, it was reported that 650,000 emails on Weiner's computer were to be investigated, potentially being relevant to this particular and other cases.[39][40][41]

2018 midterm elections

A caravan of migrants from Central America became the "October surprise" of 2018.[42][43][44] President Trump tweeted false information about the caravan, intending to stir up fear among voters in an apparent attempt to get more Republican voters.[45][46][47][48][49][50] Trump later released a Republican television advertisement that many criticized as racist (Fox News, NBC, and Facebook removed the advertisement after they considered it racist and CNN refused to air it).[51][52][51][53][54][55] The story became a key talking point during the midterm elections with many Republican politicians reiterating the false statements made by Trump and with Democrats denouncing the racist tones of Trump's statements. The story dominated discussion on many news networks, with many pundits criticizing Trump. News host Shepard Smith said on his Fox News show that the migrant caravan "hysteria" was actually intended to stoke fear before the midterm election and ridiculed Trump's claims.[56][57]

See also


  1. ^ Kissinger 2003:591
  2. ^ "Star-News - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "John McCain and the October Surprise". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2009. The term "October surprise" is most famously associated with the 1980 campaign, when Republicans spent the fall worrying that Jimmy Carter would engineer a last-minute deal to free the American hostages who had been held in Iran since the previous year. Carter and Ronald Reagan were locked in a close race, but an awful economy and flagging national confidence made the president supremely vulnerable.
  4. ^ a b c d Lewis, Neil A. (January 13, 1993). "House Inquiry Finds No Evidence of Deal On Hostages in 1980". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2014. A bipartisan House panel has concluded that there is no merit to the persistent accusations that people associated with the 1980 Presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan struck a secret deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until after the election.
  5. ^ Lenahan, Rod (1998). Crippled Eagle: A Historical Perspective Of U.S. Special Operations 1976–1996. Narwhal Press. p. 178. ISBN 1-886391-23-8.
  6. ^ "SIPA: Faculty Gary Sick". Sipa.columbia.edu. Archived from the original on August 4, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Gary Sick (April 15, 1991). "The Election Story of the Decade". The New York Times. reprinted in "Creating a Task Force to Investigate Certain Allegations Concerning the Holding of Americans as Hostages by Iran in 1980 (House of Representatives - February 05, 1992)". Fas.org. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  8. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (January 24, 1992). "Himself Surprised". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  9. ^ Michael Ledeen (June 1, 1992). "October Surprise, by Gary Sick". Commentary. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  10. ^ Daniel Pipes (January 1, 2003). "The "October Surprise" Theory". Daniel Pipes. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  11. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (May 7, 1991). "Bani-Sadr, in U.S., Renews Charges of 1980 Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  12. ^ Abolhassan Banisadr. My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution and Secret Deals With the U.S.. From a series of interviews with Jean-Charles Deniau. Foreword by L. Bruce Laingen. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 1991. ISBN 0-08-040563-0. Translation of Abol Hassan Bani Sadr. Le complot des ayatollahs. Propos recueillis par Jean-Charles Deniau. Paris: La Découverte, 1989.
  13. ^ Johnston, David (June 17, 1992). "Weinberger Faces 5 Counts In Iran-Contra Indictment". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  14. ^ http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/
  15. ^ Johnston, David (October 4, 1992). "Years Later, Questions Remain About Bush's Role in the Iran-Contra Affair". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  16. ^ "Mr. Bush Had to Know". October 5, 1992. Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  17. ^ Adam Cohen (November 13, 2000). "Fallout From A Midnight Ride". Time. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
  18. ^ "CBS eyed '60 Minutes' Bush bombshell". The Washington Times. October 27, 2004. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  19. ^ "Arnold Allegedly Praised Hitler in 1975 Interview". Fox News. October 3, 2003.
  20. ^ Steve Lopez (October 8, 2003). "Der Gropenfuhrer Muscles His Way Into Office – So What Now?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  21. ^ "Excerpts: Bin Laden video". BBC News. October 29, 2004. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  22. ^ "Saudis said to boost oil output". Money.cnn.com. April 19, 2004. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  23. ^ "Did Bush Cut Secret Oil Deal With Saudis Ahead of 2004 Election?". Democracy Now. April 20, 2004. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  24. ^ Catherine Dodge; Jay Newton-Small (October 3, 2006). "October Surprise in This Campaign Puts Republicans On the Spot". Bloomberg. Retrieved October 3, 2006.
  25. ^ "Is Foley Scandal the 'October Surprise'?". Fox News. October 6, 2006.
  26. ^ Linton Weeks (October 21, 2006). "Boo!? An Inevitable October Surprise". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  27. ^ a b National Journal, Data Bomb Archived March 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Tom Engelhardt (October 17, 2006). "November Surprise?". The Nation. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  29. ^ Christine Hauser (November 5, 2006). "Praising Verdict, Bush Says U.S. Will Stand By Iraq". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  30. ^ Hsu, Spencer S.; Rakowsky, Judy (November 2, 2008). "Disclosure About Obama's Aunt May Have Violated Privacy Policy". The Washington Post.
  31. ^ Goodman, Peter S. (November 8, 2008). "Jobless Rate at 14-Year High After October Losses". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Jurek Martin (October 30, 2012). "Frankenstorm generates 'October surprise'". Financial Times. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  33. ^ Aiko Stevenson (October 30, 2012). "October Surprise Arrives With Less Than a Week to Go". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  34. ^ Hurricane Sandy might be an October Surprise, a site curated by MSU
  35. ^ "BREAKING: Julian Assange Finally Releases October Surprise, U.S. Rights Sold On International Market". Conservative Daily Post. October 7, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  36. ^ CNN, Stephen Collinson. "Can Donald Trump recover from this?". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  37. ^ Tom Liddy (October 7, 2016). "Donald Trump's List of Excuses for Comments About Women". ABC News. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  38. ^ Claire Cohen (October 8, 2016). "Donald Trump sexism tracker: Every offensive comment in one place". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  39. ^ "The real reason the FBI is reviewing more of Hillary Clinton's Emails". Newsweek. October 28, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  40. ^ Schleifer, Theodore; Collinson, Stephen (October 28, 2016). "FBI reviewing new emails in Clinton classified information probe". CNN. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  41. ^ "Oct. 28 FBI letter to congressional leaders on Clinton email investigation". Washington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  42. ^ Maza, Carlos (November 5, 2018). "Why every election gets its own crisis". Vox. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  43. ^ Henninger, Daniel (October 24, 2018). "Opinion - The October Surprise Arrives". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via www.wsj.com.
  44. ^ https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/10/migrant_caravan_points_way_to_gop_midterm_success.html
  45. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M.; Chokshi, Niraj (November 5, 2018). "Even Fox News Stops Running Trump Caravan Ad Criticized as Racist". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  46. ^ "FACT CHECK: President Trump's False Claims On Migrant Caravan, Tax Cuts". NPR.org. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  47. ^ "Donald Trump falsely says Democrats invite migrant caravans". @politifact. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  48. ^ Qiu, Linda (November 3, 2018). "Fact-Checking Trump's Montana Rally". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  49. ^ Serwer, Adam (October 28, 2018). "Trump's Caravan Hysteria Led to This". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  50. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/09/trump-administrations-fuzzy-math-criminals-caravan/
  51. ^ a b Business, Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, CNN. "NBC and Fox finally stop running Trump's racist ad after it was viewed by millions". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  52. ^ Bort, Ryan; Bort, Ryan (November 5, 2018). "Trump's New Ad Is Too Racist for Fox News". rollingstone.com. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  53. ^ Markay, Lachlan (November 5, 2018). "Facebook Pulls Racist Trump Ad Following NBC, CNN, and Fox News". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via www.thedailybeast.com.
  54. ^ Stewart, Emily (November 5, 2018). "Fox News, NBC, and Facebook pulled Trump's racist campaign ad. He's not happy about it". Vox. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  55. ^ Relman, Eliza. "The media rejected Trump's 'racist,' misleading ad in an unprecedented way". Business Insider. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  56. ^ Shamsian, Jacob. "'There is nothing at all to worry about': Fox News host Shep Smith says the migrant caravan hysteria is actually about the midterm election". Business Insider. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  57. ^ Papenfuss, Mary (October 30, 2018). "Fox News' Shep Smith Ridicules Trump's Migrant Caravan 'Invasion' Claim". Retrieved February 4, 2019 – via Huff Post.


  • Kissinger, Henry (2003). Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War. With new and updated material. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0743215329.

External links

1968 United States presidential election

The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon, defeated the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal Coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years.

Incumbent Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson had been the early front-runner for his party's nomination, but he announced his withdrawal from the race after anti–Vietnam War candidate Eugene McCarthy finished second in the New Hampshire primary. McCarthy, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Vice President Humphrey emerged as the three major candidates in the Democratic primaries until Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968. Humphrey won the presidential nomination at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which saw numerous anti-war protests. Nixon entered the 1968 Republican primaries as the front-runner, and he defeated Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and other candidates at the 1968 Republican National Convention to win his party's nomination. Governor George Wallace of Alabama ran on the American Independent Party ticket, campaigning in favor of racial segregation.

The election year was tumultuous; it was marked by the assassination of Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr., subsequent King assassination riots across the nation, the assassination of Kennedy, and widespread opposition to the Vietnam War across university campuses. Nixon ran on a campaign that promised to restore law and order to the nation's cities and provide new leadership in the Vietnam War. A year later, he would popularize the term "silent majority" to describe those he viewed as being his target voters. He also pursued a "Southern strategy" designed to win conservative Southern white voters who had traditionally supported the Democratic Party. Humphrey promised to continue Johnson's War on Poverty and to support the Civil Rights Movement. Humphrey trailed badly in polls taken in late August but narrowed Nixon's lead after Wallace's candidacy collapsed and Johnson suspended bombing in the Vietnam War.

Nixon won a plurality of the popular vote by a narrow margin, but won by a large margin in the Electoral College, carrying most states outside of the Northeast. Wallace won five states in the Deep South and ran well in some ethnic enclave industrial districts in the North; he is the most recent third party candidate to win a state. This was the first presidential election after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had led to mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. Nixon's victory marked the start of a period of Republican dominance in presidential elections, as Republicans won seven of the next ten elections.

Adelino Amaro da Costa

Adelino Manuel Lopes Amaro da Costa, GCIH (18 April 1943 – 4 December 1980) was a Portuguese Politician.

Ari Ben-Menashe

Ari Ben-Menashe (Hebrew: ארי בן מנשה; born Tehran, 4 December 1951) is an Iranian-born Israeli businessman, security consultant and author. He was previously an employee of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate from 1977 to 1987 and an arms dealer. He now lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and runs an international commodity exporting firm, Traeger Resources and Logistics Inc.

Danny Casolaro

Joseph Daniel Casolaro (June 16, 1947 – August 10, 1991) was an American freelance writer who came to public attention in 1991 when he was found dead in a bathtub in room 517 of the Sheraton Hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, his wrists slashed 10–12 times. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.His death became controversial because his notes suggested he was in Martinsburg to meet a source about a story he called "the Octopus." This centered on a sprawling collaboration involving an international cabal, and primarily featuring a number of stories familiar to journalists who worked in and around Washington, D.C. in the 1980s—the Inslaw case, about a software manufacturer whose owner accused the Justice Department of stealing its work product; the October Surprise theory that during the Iran hostage crisis, Iran deliberately held back American hostages to help Ronald Reagan win the 1980 presidential election, the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and Iran–Contra.Casolaro's family argued that he had been murdered; that before he left for Martinsburg, he had apparently told his brother that he had been frequently receiving harassing phone calls late at night; that some of them were threatening; and that if something were to happen to him while in Martinsburg, it would not be an accident. They also cited his well-known squeamishness and fear of blood tests, and stated they found it incomprehensible that if he were going to commit suicide, he would do so by cutting his wrists a dozen times. A number of law-enforcement officials also argued that his death deserved further scrutiny, and his notes were passed by his family to ABC News and Time Magazine, both of which investigated the case, but no evidence of murder was ever found.

Donald J. Albosta

Donald Joseph Albosta (December 5, 1925 – December 18, 2014) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Albosta was born in Saginaw, Michigan and attended Saginaw and Chesaning public schools. He graduated from Chesaning Agricultural School, and attended Delta College in Bay City.

He served in the United States Navy, was a farmer, owner, and developer of Misteguay Creek Farms. He served as Albee Township Trustee and was associate director of the Saginaw County Soil Conservation District. A Democrat, he was Saginaw County Commissioner from 1970 to 1974 and served in the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1974 to 1976, representing the 86th District. In 1976, he first ran for the United States House of Representatives in Michigan's 10th congressional district losing to longtime incumbent Al Cederberg.

Albosta sought a rematch against Cederberg in 1978. In a major upset, he defeated Cederberg to become the first Democrat to represent this district in 84 years. He was reelected twice, serving from January 3, 1979 to January 3, 1985.

As a member of the Public Works and Transportation Committee, among others, Rep. Albosta offered amendments that improved the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, popularly known as "Superfund" including a provision requiring the Center for Disease Control to study the health histories of victims of exposure to hazardous substances in an effort to determine the effects of that exposure or the epidemiology of diseases related to exposures such as those that had inspired Albosta to run for Congress after he led the successful investigation and redress efforts in the wake of the spill of PBBs in cattle feed in Michigan.

Albosta was also chair of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee's Subcommittee on Human Resources which conducted an investigation into the Unauthorized Transfers of Nonpublic Information During the 1980 Presidential Election which published its findings in May 1984 in Committee Print 98-12. The investigation revealed that the Reagan Campaign included three committees or groups devoted to monitoring and addressing the situation of the hostages held by Iran during the period preceding the 1980 Presidential election, which collectively referred to the potential release of the hostages before the November election as the "October Surprise". Some observers and later investigations by others concluded after the release of the hostages shortly after President Reagan's inauguration that the presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan orchestrated delaying the release of U.S. hostages held by Iran until after the election. The Albosta Subcommittee Report also confirmed that the Reagan campaign received, copied and used "a pilfered copy" of President Carter's debate briefing book, and related materials from the National Security Council, the term "pilfered" being used by Michigan Republican Congressman David Stockman in a statement on October 28, 1980 describing how he had used the book to prepare candidate Reagan for the debate with President Carter, to a group of about 65 people, according to newspaper reports of Rep. Stockman's speech printed in the Elkhart Truth and Dowagiac Daily News on Wednesday, October 29. The controversy became known as Debategate. During the investigation, William Casey, then-director of the CIA who had been Reagan's campaign director, said that the person who delivered the leaked briefing books to him was Paul Corbin, a former aide to Robert Kennedy and a disgruntled Ted Kennedy supporter. The subcommittee's final report in 1984 reported on scores of interviews with Reagan's former campaign staff and others. It did not conclusively identify the specific individuals within the Carter White House who may have provided the briefing books, but did interview several who may have done so, reported that some witness statements were not entirely candid and seconded the finding of United States District Court Judge Harold Green that the Reagan Administration was required by the Ethics in Government Act to appoint an independent counsel or special prosecutor to conduct an investigation and determine whether to seek an indictment against any of the high-level presidential appointees who had knowingly received and used the stolen White House briefing book in violation of the law. Attorney General Ed Meese declined to appoint an independent counsel.

In the late summer of 1984 Rep. Albosta cosponsored a bill introduced by Rep. John LaFalce to provide compensation for victims of hazardous substances. This did not play well with the Dow Chemical Company, headquartered in Albosta's district in Midland, Michigan. Executives and board members of Dow Chemical urged their employees and retirees to oppose Rep. Albosta and he was defeated in November by future state Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Albosta sought a rematch against Schuette in 1986; he won the Democratic primary, but lost the general election and retired from politics. He was a resident of St. Charles, Michigan. His daughter, Christine C. White, was appointed in March 2003 as the Director of Agriculture Policy for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Albosta died on December 18, 2014 in St. Charles, Michigan, where he lived.

Gary Sick

Gary G. Sick (born 1935) is an American academic and analyst of Middle East affairs, with special expertise on Iran, who served on the U.S. National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and for a couple weeks under Reagan as well. He has authored three books, and is perhaps best known to the wider public for voicing support for elements of the October Surprise conspiracy theory regarding the Iran hostage crisis and the 1980 presidential election.

George W. Cave

George W. Cave is a CIA operations officer and authority on Iran who took part in the Iran-Contra arms sale.George Cave majored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University, where he studied from 1952 to 1956, and joined CIA after graduation. One account claims Cave served for the CIA in Teheran during the 1953 Iranian coup d'état that restored the Shah of Iran to power. In the mid 1970s he served in Tehran as deputy CIA station chief, with personal ties to the Shah. His "pseudo name" was "Adlesick". In the series "Documents from the U.S. Espionage Den" he is referred to in volumes 10, 17, 38, 55 and 56. In October 1979, he gave a briefing to Abbas Amir-Entezam and Ebrahim Yazdi, based on intelligence from the IBEX system, that Iraq was preparing to invade.By 1977, when he was working in Jeddah, he had six children, three of whom were in college.

He testified against Clair George about the CIA's involvement in Iran-Contra.He published his first novel, "October 1980" in December 2013. In his final interview Duane Clarridge, former CIA operations officer and Iran-Contra figure, hinted that this novel was a largely accurate depiction of how Reagan's October Surprise transpired.The International Spy Museum interviewed him about his career in June 2012.He attended Milton Hershey School where he graduated in 1947 and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2001.

House October Surprise Task Force

The House October Surprise Task Force (formally Task Force of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to Investigate Certain Allegations Concerning the Holding of Americans as Hostages by Iran in 1980) was a task force instituted by the United States House of Representatives in 1992 to examine the October Surprise allegations: that during the 1980 United States presidential election the Reagan campaign had sought to negotiate a solution to the Iran hostage crisis in competition to the US government of Jimmy Carter, in order to prevent the successful resolution of the crisis giving Carter an electoral boost. Following the publication of the report in January 1993, Task Force chairman Rep. Lee H. Hamilton published an editorial in The New York Times summarising the Task Force conclusion that "there was virtually no credible evidence to support the accusations."

Iran hostage crisis

The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Iranian college students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It stands as the longest hostage crisis in recorded history.Western media described the crisis as an "entanglement" of "vengeance and mutual incomprehension." American President Jimmy Carter called the hostage-taking an act of "blackmail" and the hostages "victims of terrorism and anarchy." In Iran it was widely seen as an act against the U.S. and its influence in Iran, including its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian Revolution and its longstanding support of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979.After Shah Pahlavi was overthrown, he was admitted to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Iran demanded his return in order to stand trial for crimes that he was accused of committing during his reign. Specifically, he was accused of committing crimes against Iranian citizens with the help of his secret police. Iran's demands were rejected by the United States, and Iran saw the decision to grant him asylum as American complicity in those atrocities. The Americans saw the hostage-taking as an egregious violation of the principles of international law, such as the Vienna Convention, which granted diplomats immunity from arrest and made diplomatic compounds inviolable.The crisis reached a climax after diplomatic negotiations failed to win the release of the hostages. Carter ordered the U.S. military to attempt a rescue mission—Operation Eagle Claw—using warships that included the USS Nimitz and USS Coral Sea, which were patrolling the waters near Iran. The attempt failed on April 24, 1980, resulting in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian after one of the helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft. United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigned his position following the failed rescue attempt. Six American diplomats who had evaded capture were eventually rescued by a joint CIA–Canadian effort on January 27, 1980.

The Shah left the United States in December 1979 and was ultimately granted asylum in Egypt, where he died from complications of cancer at age 60 on July 27, 1980. In September 1980 the Iraqi military invaded Iran, beginning the Iran–Iraq War. These events led the Iranian government to enter negotiations with the U.S., with Algeria acting as a mediator. The crisis is considered a pivotal episode in the history of Iran–United States relations.Political analysts cited the standoff as a major factor in the continuing downfall of Carter's presidency and his landslide loss in the 1980 presidential election; the hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after American President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. In Iran the crisis strengthened the prestige of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the political power of theocrats who opposed any normalization of relations with the West. The crisis also led to American economic sanctions against Iran, which further weakened ties between the two countries.

Lake Storm "Aphid"

The October 2006 Buffalo storm was an unusual early-season lake effect snow storm that hit the Buffalo, New York area and other surrounding areas of the United States and Canada, from the afternoon of Thursday, October 12 through the morning of Friday, October 13, 2006. It was called Lake Storm "Aphid" by the National Weather Service office in Buffalo in accordance with their naming scheme of lake effect snow storms for that year, which related to insects, though locals never used that terminology and have simply referred to it as the October Surprise or the October Storm or Arborgeddon.

Laurence Silberman

Laurence Hirsch Silberman (born October 12, 1935) is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was appointed in October 1985 by Ronald Reagan and took senior status on November 1, 2000. On June 11, 2008, Silberman was named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor granted by the government of the United States.

Live at the Jazz Standard

Live at the Jazz Standard is the 27th album by trumpeter Dave Douglas and the first to feature him exclusively on cornet. It was released on the Greenleaf label in 2007 and features live performances by Douglas, Donny McCaslin, Uri Caine, James Genus and Clarence Penn. Douglas recorded his Quintet's performances at the Jazz Standard nightclub in New York City in December 2006 making all twelve complete sets available for download within days of the performances. This 2-CD set was distilled from those concerts.

October Surprise conspiracy theory

The October Surprise conspiracy theory refers to an alleged plot to influence the outcome of the 1980 United States presidential election, contested between incumbent president Jimmy Carter (D–GA) and his opponent, former California governor Ronald Reagan (R–CA).

One of the leading national issues during that year was the release of 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran since November 4, 1979. Reagan won the election. On the day of his inauguration—in fact, 20 minutes after he concluded his inaugural address—the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the release of the hostages. The timing gave rise to an allegation that representatives of Reagan's presidential campaign had conspired with Iran to delay the release until after the election to thwart President Carter from pulling off an "October surprise".

According to the allegation, the Reagan Administration rewarded Iran for its participation in the plot by supplying Iran with weapons via Israel and by unblocking Iranian government monetary assets in U.S. banks.

After twelve years of mixed media attention, both houses of the U.S. Congress held separate inquiries and concluded that the allegations lacked supporting documentation.Nevertheless, several individuals—most notably former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr, former naval intelligence officer and U.S. National Security Council member Gary Sick, and former Reagan/Bush campaign staffer and White House analyst Barbara Honegger—have stood by the allegation.

Oswald LeWinter

Oswald LeWinter (April 2, 1931 – February 13, 2013) was an Austrian-born American author and poet. He was best known for his role in the October Surprise controversy.

Peggy Adler

Peggy Adler (born February 10, 1942) is an American author & illustrator and investigative researcher. She is the daughter of Irving Adler and Ruth Adler and younger sister of Stephen L. Adler.

Richard J. Brenneke

Richard J. Brenneke (December 5, 1941 - July 23, 2015) is a US businessman who testified in 1988 that he had worked in Southeast Asia with the CIA's Air America, among other roles. Brenneke testified to the Senate's Kerry Committee on allegations of CIA drug trafficking, and his evidence was considered by the House October Surprise Task Force on the 1980 October Surprise affair.

Robert Parry (journalist)

Robert Parry (June 24, 1949 – January 27, 2018) was an American investigative journalist. He was best known for his role in covering the Iran-Contra affair for the Associated Press (AP) and Newsweek, including breaking the Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare (CIA manual provided to the Nicaraguan contras) and the CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking in the U.S. scandal in 1985.

He was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 and the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2015.

Parry was the editor of Consortiumnews from 1995 until his death in 2018.

Sadegh Ghotbzadeh

Sadegh Ghotbzadeh (Persian: صادق قطب‌زاده‎, 24 February 1936 – 15 September 1982) was a close aide of Ayatollah Khomeini during his 1978 exile in France, and foreign minister (30 November 1979–August 1980) during the Iran hostage crisis following the Iranian Revolution. In 1982, he was executed for allegedly plotting the assassination of Ayatollah Khomeini and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.


Tsathoggua (the Sleeper of N'kai, also known as Zhothaqquah) is a supernatural entity in the Cthulhu Mythos shared fictional universe. He is the creation of American writer Clark Ashton Smith and is part of his Hyperborean cycle.

Tsathoggua/Zhothaqquah is described as an Old One, a god-like being from the pantheon. He was introduced in Smith's short story "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", written in 1929 and published in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales. His first appearance in print, however, was in H. P. Lovecraft's story "The Whisperer in Darkness", written in 1930 and published in the August 1931 issue of Weird Tales.

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