ARGO: Taking Liberties

If I were to take full credit for an heroic act, which I only played a part in, people would begin to look at me with a jaundiced eye, right? Well, that is how I now view the film-makers of Argo.

I liked the film, and at the end of it, I marvelled at the daring CIA rescue of 6 US hostages from the Canadian Ambassador’s residence in Tehran in early 1980. I thought how noble of the US govt to let the Canadians take full credit all these years for an operation that was essentially CIA, revealing the truth only when files were declassified. I was shocked to hear that New Zealand and British diplomats had turned away the 6 Americans when they were seeking refuge. Unheard of!

Eager to find out more, and doubtful about some sequences (the old diplomat in me having kicked in), I decided to do some background research and what did I find? That the film, Argo, took a lot of liberties with the truth.  In this day and age, that should not be allowed simply for dramatic purposes, especially when people risk their lives.

 The truth was: 1) the 6 US diplomats had brief stays in a number of diplomatic residences, including the Swedes and the British, before being given safe haven by the Canadians; 2) it was the Canadian Ambassador’s wife who went out and bought the tickets for the 6, who would be travelling on Canadian passports, not the American government in a last minute turn of events; 3) it was a New Zealand diplomat who drove the 6 to the airport. The other made up stuff – all that drama at the airport, for instance – is fine because it doesn’t denigrate anybody, but really, Argo film-makers, you should be feeling more than a twinge of guilt for glorifying the CIA role at the expense of people who helped save your compatriots’ lives!

Note: Former Ambassador Taylor’s opinion of Argo:–argo-film-gives-former-canadian-ambassador-ken-taylor-chance-to-set-the-record-straight


About Maureen Marks-Mendonca

MMM started storytelling in the schoolyard at age 9. Before becoming a novelist, however, she travelled the world for many years as a diplomat and economist. Eventually, volunteering with youth brought her full circle. Now creating magic in novels for the young, and the young at heart, allows her to travel beyond time and space! Join Alex Springfeather in a riveting adventure to a world beyond time in Legend of the Swan Children! IF YOU CAN'T FIND LEGEND OF THE SWAN CHILDREN IN YOUR AREA, ask your local bookstore to order it, go to to purchase, or get it from your favorite online bookstore!
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2 Responses to ARGO: Taking Liberties

  1. Fay says:

    Thank you for your commentary about the film ‘Argo’ and for setting the record straight. Since the beginning of the year I have had a strong sense that 2012 is the Year of Truth – anything less makes no sense for a world poised on the brink of collapse, but with the capacity for ‘right’ choice. If we are to transcend and transform the many threats to sustainable life at this time, nothing less that the truth is necessary at all levels of personal life, community and global interactions.

    The liberties with the truth that Argo film-makers took exemplifies how utterly important being completely truthful is. As the October 2012 article on Canadian Ken Taylor concludes, we are sacrificing truth for thrill, and when we do so, we are making a choice to live in illusion rather than in truth of the incredible power of life in the Universe, which, if one is living consciously, one will quickly realize actually needs no embellishment.

    • MMM says:

      Well said, Fay. And you are perfectly right. In the broader sense, the time has come to let go of the illusion and welcome back in truth – even when our egos can’t stand the ‘light’.

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