Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wired Magazine: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran

If, like me, you're old enough to remember the Iranian revolution, you've probably already heard the story about how six Americans who dodged the initial hostage-taking in Tehran were sheltered by the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor, and then smuggled out of the country. It was quite a story.

I can't remember whether I knew all the details included in this article Wired Magazine: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran, but it is a fascinating story.

My own connection to the Iranian revolution came the year before, in the fall of 1978. I was travelling in Europe and I'd arrived in Greece, with the intention of heading overland through the middle East all the way to India. But trouble was brewing in Iran and the word coming back from others who had been there was to avoid the area.

I was travelling with some Australian chaps who were on the last leg of their around-the-world tour and they were determined to continue through to India in their VW minibus. They decided to continue on, but I lost my nerve and stayed in Greece, ending up in a small village called Agia Galini on the south coast of Crete.

I heard that they did make it through but not without incident. If you want to get the flavour of that era, try and track down a copy of Craig Grant's The Last India Overland, published by Coteau Books. I'm sure it's out of print by now but worth reading if you can find it. Craig was in Europe that same fall (although we didn't know each other then) and he ended up on the last Magic Bus (a popular tour bus line) that travelled from Europe through to India. I did find another book about the era, called Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India by Rory MacLean. Here's a link to an excerpt.

Hard to believe all that was nearly 30 years ago, isn't it?

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