Friday, October 3, 2008

A review of Islamic revolution- Part 8

** Please scroll down or check the links on the right side of the page for previous parts **

After completing his trainings, which included taking part in execution of a number of Syrian officers who were accused of activities against Asad’s government, Story of Mr. Shafizadeh continues in new direction with his return to Paris in the year 1977. In Paris, he meets Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Abolhassan Banisadr and Hassan Habibi who had come to airport with Gholambabbas Tavassoli to welcome him. This is when he becomes involved with Ghotbzadeh who, develops very close relationship with Jafar Shafizadeh and becomes his new mentor outside Iran. A new phase in the life of Jafar starts after that in which, he moves to Libya along with Mr. Ghotbzadeh to learn some new skills but before I get to that, let’s take a look at Sadegh Ghotbzadeh to see how he got there and what was his relation with Islamic revolution.

In order to understand how Sadegh Ghotbzadeh became a major role player in preparation for Islamic revolution and what was the nature of his relations with Shafizadeh, Khomeini and others, we need to take a look at Ghotbzadeh’s life and his family background. There are not many sources available to provide detailed information about family and life of Mr. Ghotbzadeh because he was not well known in Iranian politics and not many people have spoken about him. The best available source about this unusual figure, which I could get my hands on, is a book written by his last girl friend, Carole Jerome, a Canadian journalist who used to work for CBC. Carole Jerome has done some research on Ghotbzadeh’s life after he was executed by Khomeini and published that as part of a book that she wrote about Islamic revolution in 1987, named “The Man In The Mirror”. When I received this book from a friend the next year and read it, my first impression was that the author probably had exaggerated about the importance of Ghotbzadeh’s role in the revolution under influence of her feelings for him but when further information came out from other sources later on, proved this to be wrong.

Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was born to a bazaari family whose father Hussein Ghotbzadeh had friendship with Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh through common business interests in farming sector. According to Sadegh himself, he spent about two weeks with Dr. Mosadegh after he was released from prison to help him with some issues related to the trees in his Ahmadabad properties. Sadegh was about 10 years old at that time. Ghotbzadeh’s family, like most others of the same class in Iran, were religious but according to him, they were not too fanatic about their religious belief. As a result of his familiarity with late Dr. Mosadegh he developed a lot of sympathy towards Dr. Mosadegh and felt angry towards Shah. “Sadegh explained that he had grown up hating the Shah, yet his was not red-faced anger.” Carole Jerome says in her book.

Sadegh runs into trouble with Iranian police for anti-regime activities when in his early 20’s and is released after spending a night in detention. After that, his father decides to send him out for his studies. Ghotbzadeh moves to United States and after a couple of years, he is ordered by immigration office to leave. According to his girl friend Carole, the reason was his anti-Shah activities and his low grade average in the school. Ghotbzadeh had entered in “Confederation of Iranian Students” (CIS in short) right after he entered United States. This was a couple of years earlier than the time that an Iranian student had claimed that CIA had tried to recruit him for CIS. This matter became a big issue and caused some unpleasant reactions by Iranian government and the Shah, which was settled with Mr. Alam's and Mr. Ardeshir Zahedi’s intervention without getting to the Iranian national media. American embassy blamed it all on “Communists” who were trying to sabotage the relations between the two nations by accusing that student being in contact with East Germany’s government. From the strong reaction by late Shah himself, one may think that there had been enough justification for Iranian government to believe in credibility of the student’s claim. Mr. Zahedi had an interesting conversation with U.S. ambassador over this issue, which is partly reflected in embassy’s letter to State Department.

Ghotbzadeh left U.S. for France and shortly after, he came back with a Syrian passport with a name, which was slightly different. Not much longer his real identity was discovered by U.S. authorities and he was ordered to leave again. He contacted Robert Kennedy whom he had met before but he could not help Ghotbzadeh that time. After some struggles, he received an admission to enter a Canadian university in British Columbia to finish his studies in history and receive a BA degree. Ghotbzadeh then moved to France again and with the help of Banisadr, Nobari, Hassan Habibi and Ebrahim Yazdi (who worked with them from U.S.), created “Muslim Students Organization” in early 1970’s because they believed that CIS had been infiltrated by communists. This was right after the tension between U.S. government and Iran over the involvement of CIA in CIS.

*** Part 1 of the documents which show how Iranian security agency or SAVAK could successfully identify the main source which was behind CIS that was established in United States. US embassy denied any connection between American CIA and CIS and expressed their unhappiness over such development ***

Other than Iranian friends, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh had a large number of powerful and influential friends among middle eastern nations and in Europe. He had a team of French lawyers as friends who helped him through out his revolutionary activities and he also had strong friendship with known figures like Hafez Al-Asad of Syria, Qadhafi of Libya, and Yaser Arafat of PLO. He was so close to PLO that when PLO representative, Mahmoud Hamshahri was killed in Paris in 1972, Ghotbzadeh took care of PLO office until a new rep was dispatched by Arafat, the leader of PLO. Ghotbzadeh’s address for his passport was in Demascas (Syria), Avenue Jole Jamal while he was in constant communication and meetings with PLO leader Arafat in Lebanon and Qadhafi in Libya. Carole Jerome says in her book: “The Newsweek article by Arnaud de Borchgrave said that French Intelligence sources reported that Ghotbzadeh had "direct connection with the heads of the Communist party in France and Italy, and that he worked closely with Libyan Secret Service.". And of course Ghotbzadeh always denied that.

Carole Jerome also mentions that French DST (one of French security services) had reported Ghotbzadeh as an agent of Qadhafi as he had been followed to Tripoli by another French Secret Service (SDECE) and met Qadhafi and Libyan agents there. MOSSAD had also confirmed this information and reported that Ghotbzadeh had gone to Geneva after he left Tripoli and opened an account into which five million dollar was deposited.

In another part of the same book we read: “During the 1970’s Sadegh traveled widely on behalf of the revolutionary movement from Kuala Lampur to United States, always under watchful eyes of SAVAK, the DST, the CIA and the FBI. Oddly, he was now able to visit the United States on tourist visas, but on occasion he went with false identification from his collection of passports. When his luggage mysteriously vanished for long periods at American airports, he was unconcerned, knowing full well who was inspecting it.”

When Ghotbzadeh had entered US with Syrian passport in 1967, Immigration service rejected his application for student status and State Department cancelled his visa, which was issued in Paris. When Ghotbzadeh went to State Dept with his lawyer, Geoff Keating on his side, one of the officials just showed them a five-inch thick file while screaming at them that how they expected to deal with that file. Carole Jerome says when she managed to take that file under Freedom of Information Act 4 years after Ghotbzadeh's death, all the information except the name and description of Ghotbzadeh was still blacked out and nothing could be found. Carole Jerome says when Keating had asked Ghotbzadeh what was in the file he had replied: "The usual".

Ghotbzadeh was so close to Qadhafi that he could see him anytime he wished. Cheron, Ghtobzadeh’s lawyer told Carole Jerome that after Musa Sadr went missing, Ghotbzadeh went to see Qadhafi to ask about that. He did not disclose anything to his friend and lawyer, Cheron, but told him that he believed that Qadhafi had killed Sadr.

Ghotbzadeh had met Musa Sadr in Paris for the first time through Sadegh Tabatabai, Sadr’s nephew and later had meetings with him in Beirut where he also met Mustafa Chamran. They discussed the issues related to PLO and Lebanon in their meetings where Arafat also attended sometimes. Ms Jerome mentions that Qadhafi who considered himself champion of pan-Arabism and muslims unity provided financial support to Musa Sadr and other groups who worked in that direction but states that Ghotbzadeh did not trust Qadhafi and did not agree with his views. Musa Sadr was also in contact with Iranian government and SAVAK and when Qadhafi discovered this matter, killed Sadr without ever admitting it. The mystery around Sadr’s disappearance after he apparently left Libya for Italy was never resolved.

*** Part 2 of documents related to CIS and US government attempt to blame it on communists. ***

Ghotbzadeh also met Dr. Shariati in 1970 in a group meeting with Banisadr, Nobari, and Habibi. Shariati advised the group to send Ghotbzadeh to meet Khomeini in Najaf because he believed that Khomeini was different than other mullahs. Ghotbzadeh met Khomeini and his son Mustafa in Najaf and did not like Mustafa who was trying to control his father’s activities. Ghotbzadeh suspected Mustafa of having negative influence on Khomeini but Khomeini told him not to worry about him. According to Carole Jerome, Mustafa favored armed rebellion and this troubled Ghotbzadeh. Mustafa told Ghotbzadeh: “My father will kill more than the Shah could he imagine to realize his dreams.”. Ghotbzadeh learned about Khomeini’s “Islamic Republic” directly from him in Najaf.

When Shah vetoed the idea of Khomeini being expelled from France French government informed Ghotbzadeh that he had to leave. Ghotbzadeh’s lawyer, Vallette contacted Claude Chayet of French Quai who met Ghotbzadeh and then contacted ministry of interior and withdrew that order because he believed that Khomeini would take over the government in Iran and did not want to have bad relations with future officials of Iranian government.

In regards to delay in Khomeini's departure from Paris after Bakhtiar declared that he would not allow Khomeini's plane to enter Iran, Carole Jerome writes:
"Sadegh contacted a friend who, in turn, sounded out his old acquaintance, The American ambassador to UNESCO. In this way, he avoided contacting the American administration directly. Sadegh was then put in touch with Irving Brown, officially the representative of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations), but less officially the representative of Central Intelligence Agency, according to a friend."

“To show how Ghtobzadeh was close to Khomeini, speaking of Ghotbzadeh lawyer friends (Bertrand Vallette and Francois Cheron) Carole Jerome writes: "One day they discovered a slight squirt in the man from Qom. Sadegh announced that he had to pick up some cologne for Khomeini. 'He likes Christian Dior stuff, Eau Sauvage,' Sadegh told Cheron who hooted in laughter.
'Khomeini? Christian Dior?' Cheron managed to sputter.
Sadegh was defensive. 'Well, why not? There's no law against smelling nice. You know Khomeini's wife, Batool?'
'Not personally' Cheron answered.
'She spends most of her time in Paris shopping for Dior dresses,' Sadegh revealed.
'I didn't think the budget ran to things like that. She must be very elegant under her chador. It seems a waste.'
'She is' Sadegh replied. Then for Cheron's edification, he launched into defense of chador". Carole Jerome writes.

This behavior of Islamic revolutionary elements and their families in Paris is inline with the behavior that Mr. Shafizadeh has given detailed information about that in his book. Same kind of behavior is reported by Mr. Hussein Broujerdi after revolutionaries entered Iran and this matter became the main reason for defecting of these two and many other individuals who were too close to center of revolution and witnessed all those disgusting and nauseating behaviors from leaders of a Islamic revolution who had come to rescue them from moral corruption.

The same French Lawyers worked in association with Christian Bourget to help Ghotbzadeh in arresting and returning Shah to Iran through negotiation with Panamanian government in 1980.

to be continued...

Next part click here