Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beau Coup

There's been a recent rush in both interest and information about that most magical of American events ~ Watergate, as we approached the 40th anniversary of the failed break-in. John Dean over at Counterpunch revisited Woodward & Bernstein's reporting, and found it very strange. Nixon's treasonous dealings with the South Vietnamese government just before the 1968 election -- attempting to block a Johnson/Humphrey peace treaty -- is connected up to the creation of the Plumbers unit by Robert Parry. A new biography of Washington Post grandmaster Ben Bradlee makes the case that Bradlee never bought the "official" explanations of what was going down; and a newly discovered memo, called the Z Memo in beautifully le Carrian fashion, strongly suggests Woodstein's editor-in-chief also didn't buy the existence of Deep Throat. The great journalist Jim Hougan, author of the best book on the scandal Secret Agenda, proves flat-out that if indeed Deep Throat did exist, he certainly was not FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. The scandal's "Final Mystery" is pondered by investigative reporter Jefferson Morley. And Robert Redford is putting the finishing touches on a Watergate documentary.

Clearly, Richard Nixon was set-up, most likely by the same elements of the corporate-national security state who murdered John F. Kennedy a decade before, and for the same reasons: both men -- in very different ways and with very different motives -- sought to end the assumptions and structures known as the Cold War.

How Nixon handled the set-up, however, is a wholly different matter. Those who explain him as some sort of far-seeing political genius -- Hunter Thompson and Lew Lapham to the contrary -- only need to look at his endless gaffes and goofs throughout 1973 and 1974: letting Haldemann, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell -- his Palace Guard -- go much too soon; his extremist antagonism toward all levels and types of the by-nature lap dog and gutless mass media; not burning the tapes (but of course he didn't because the men who set him up also had copies); refusing to pay sufficient hush money (when there was loads available) to every spy, saboteur, con man, extortionist, forger, imposter, informer, burglar, mugger, and bagman in his employ; not fighting hard for Vice President Spiro Agnew, instead throwing him to the wolves, when an Agnew Presidency-in-waiting would've snuffed out all talk of Nixon's removal; replacing Agnew with a favorite of the very body that controlled impeachment, Congressman and Establishment Waterboy -- and accessory after the fact in Kennedy's murder -- Gerry Ford; bending to requests for a new Special Prosecutor after the firing of Archibald Cox; not fighting against Leon Jaworksi, an LBJ hitman, as the new SP; running from rather than leaking information that he was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in Jaworksi's grand jury probe, at a time when the country was nowhere near ready for such a shock; not paying much attention to the make-up of the Ervin Committee; pressuring hapless FBI director L. Patrick Gray to bribe Matthew Byrne, judge in the trial of Daniel Ellsberg, with a high government appointment, causing Byrne to immediately dismiss Ellsberg's trial; not appointing a stooge as Attorney General in replacement of future felon Richard Kleindeinst, instead appointing honorable liberal Republican Elliot Richardson; not justifying his cover-up of the "smoking gun" June 23rd tapes by explaining what he and Haldemann were really whispering about in the Oval Office: CIA involvement in Dallas; not taking full responsibility for the "18 1/2 minute tape gap" on the grounds of extreme National Security -- again what was erased going straight back to JFK's murder; appointing treacherous Alexander Haig as Haldemann's replacement as White House Chief-of-Staff; not blackmailing Israel to extend and widen the October '73 war by threatening to expose its involvement and motives in the USS Liberty massacre. Mistake after mistake after mistake. . .

But he was set-up. Russ Baker is that most special of men: an old-time journalist. His book Family of Secrets examines in lengthy detail the very dirty history of the Bush crime combine. His vibrant website WhoWhatWhy takes on investigations collaborators such as CNN or the New York Times would never go near. (WWW's recent take on the public destruction of John Edwards is a must read.)

Baker has posted a three-part history of what was really happening to Nixon, and to us, in the giddy days of the early 1970s. Again -- a must read.