Skeletons in the Closet
Seventeen years ago this week.
By Sue Schuurman
JANUARY 26, 1998: On Jan. 20, 1981, Iranian militants released 52 American hostages held captive for 444 days at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although no one was killed, the media and newly-elected President Reagan painted Iran as the latest "evil empire," a stigma that still sticks today. But do American conservatives, especially the Religious Right, realize just how much they have in common with the Iranian theocracy? Don't they want the United States to be a Christian nation, guided by biblical principles, often cloaked in the term "family values?" ...
"Hostages Reveal Iran Torture.
"The emancipated hostages told of beatings and other atrocities at the hands of the Iranian captors today as they telephoned their loved ones back home.
"As they began a stay of several days at a U.S. military hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany, most of the 52 hostages talked with their families for the first time in 445 days. ...
"Col. Leland Holland, 53, security chief of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran ... 'spent a month in what he called the "dungeon" and said his captors were S.O.B.s,' said the colonel's mother. 'He said his house was ransacked and everything taken, including his watch and rings. They took all the furniture and clothes.'
"A spokesman for the family (of Duane 'Sam' Gillette) said: 'His treatment was at times disgusting. I think President Reagan was polite when he termed the Iranians barbarians. We know that his letters were covering up what the real situation was. There was no physical torture, but there was psychological pressure. The food wasn't good and the conditions were very poor.'
"And the family of Malcolm Kalp said ... 'He told us he was beaten by them and placed in solitary confinement because of his escape attempts.' He served from 150 to 170 days in solitary. ...
"Returnee David Roeder, 40, of Washington, D.C., said, 'I've never been so proud to be an American in all my life.' ...
"Outside the hospital ... the crowd ... broke into a chant of 'U.S.A., U.S.A.' Only 12 hours and nine minutes earlier, the two women and 50 men hostages flew out of Iran on an Algerian jet to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards' jeers of 'Down with America' and 'Down with Reagan.' ... "
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