Richard Nixon was a firm supporter of the conclusions of the Warren Commission.
Robert Kennedy may not have been.
This may have been significant. Robert Kennedy was President John F. Kennedy's right hand man in office. Robert Kennedy shared many of President John Kennedy's political views – and political enemies. In fact, the timing of Robert Kennedy's assassination implied a politically motivated conspiracy. Robert Kennedy was ahead in the 1968 Presidential campaign when he was assassinated. And if Robert Kennedy had become President, he would have been in position to open an unbiased investigation into his brother's assassination. And Robert Kennedy probably would have ended the Vietnam war...
...But before that, President Johnson couldn't win his 1968 re-election because America wasn't winning the Vietnam war. Johnson bowed out of the campaign. However, President Johnson hoped to negotiate a peace before the 1968 election – to help his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey. Negotiations were underway... and then the talks mysteriously collapsed. The South Vietnamese suddenly no longer wanted to negotiate. Later it was revealed that a representative for Nixon made a back room deal with the South Vietnamese. Apparently, he offered to give the South Vietnamese a better deal if they continued the war until after the 1968 election. This ruined Vice President Hubert Humphrey's hopes for winning a close election.
Personally, I don't suspect any involvement from the U.S. Intelligence community on this particular secret act of treason, but this is a good indicator of Nixon's character.
Nixon was willing to plot the assassination of a foreign leader (Fidel Castro), support the overthrow a democratically elected leader (Chile), conduct a “drug” war (to jail dissidents), make a secret deal with the South Vietnamese to continue the war until after the 1968 election, continue the war for over another four years, and even heavily bomb neutral countries (Cambodia and Laos). Richard Nixon was not a nice guy. But he never really got into trouble so long as his actions benefited the military/industrial complex.
And then President Richard Nixon ended the Vietnam war... and then he had to step down from his office – because of the Watergate break in cover up. Of all the low down dirty rotten no good things Richard Nixon is accused of, the Watergate break in cover up is the most benign.
Later, Ronald Reagan would skate through the far more damning Iran/Contra arms-for-hostages investigation unscathed. But President Reagan had the support of the military/industrial complex, and President Nixon no longer did.
America at the time was in turmoil. Support for the “war” in Vietnam had gradually shifted to resistance. Apparently, President Nixon knew that the South Vietnamese would ultimately lose and he didn't want that to happen before the next U.S. election. So, he drug the war on for four more years. Had President Nixon continued to claim the war was winnable in 1972, he would have lost the election. So instead, President Nixon claimed he had a “secret plan” for getting America out to the war. And American Conservatives, rather than voting for a Liberal, chose to fall for Nixon's line.
I was only a 12 year old kid at the time, and it was obvious even to me what the “secret plan” was. Landslide re-elected President Nixon escalated the war and then later tried to negotiate out. Which means Nixon's “secret plan” for ending the war was to go on the offensive. No wonder it was secret. It was just more of the same. Nonetheless, President Nixon eventually did end the Vietnam war. (With an agreement not much different than what President Johnson had negotiated in 1968.)
But that's not what Kellogg, Brown, and Root (later KBR) really wanted. That's not what the military/industrial complex really wanted. They were raking in billions of taxpayer dollars. America had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than in all of World War II! That's expensive. That's a lot of money for the merchants of death. And they wouldn't have been happy to find out their income stream would drop because America's President had gone soft.
So, how does military/industrial complex stop an American President from keeping his promise of peace to the people? I would suspect threats and/or blackmail. Watergate might have been that threat.
It is well known that five of the seven Watergate burglars were once on the CIA payroll. And at least one of them was still on the CIA payroll when they broke into the Democratic National Committee’s office.
Nonetheless; even if President Nixon knew of, or even ordered the Watergate break-in; the militarily/industrial complex may have used the threat of political controversy against Nixon to keep the Vietnam war going. Or, they may have used Watergate as a political assassination to take him down for shutting off the floodgates of money.
When Nixon stepped down in 1974, Vice President Gerald Ford became President. That's right, the same Gerald Ford who was on the Warren Commission – the same Gerald Ford who admits to changing an autopsy evidence report concerning the site of one of John F. Kennedy's bullet wounds.
Gerald Ford became the first U.S. President to have neither been elected President or Vice President. Nixon just picked him. And since President Gerald Ford had been on the Warren Commission, there was no doubt he would also defend its conclusions. But even President Gerald Ford couldn't keep a lid on everything. The Senate and the House decided to conduct independent investigations.
In 1975, the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Operations concluded: “Domestic intelligence activity has threatened and undermined the Constitutional rights of Americans to free speech, association and privacy. It has done so primarily because the Constitutional system for checking abuse of power has not been applied.”
In 1976, a Detroit News poll indicated that 87% of the American population did not believe the Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed President Kennedy.
In 1976, The House Select Committee on Assassinations was created to probe into the assassination plots to kill Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
Also in 1976, former Warren Commission member President Gerald Ford appointed George H.W. Bush director of the CIA. This was not likely a coincidence. Bush's predecessor had delivered important files the “civilian” government had ordered. And the files had shown CIA to have essentially gone rogue in many instances. CIA director George H.W. Bush, however, made it very difficult for the House Select Committee on Assassinations to obtain CIA files. Information went on lock down.
It has even been discovered that the CIA liaison during this period, George Joannides (who was brought out of retirement – much like Allen Dulles was on the Warren Commission); was in charge of paying the anti-Castro organization DRE $450,000 a month (in today's dollars) back in 1963. DRE was the organization that linked Lee Harvey Oswald to Fidel Castro. Members of the group even had a scuffle with Lee Harvey Oswald that resulted in his arrest. Needless to say, George Joannides had something to hide – which made him about as uncooperative a liaison as the CIA (George H.W. Bush) could find.
Nonetheless, even with all of the roadblocks; the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in early 1977 there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy.
By then, Jimmy Carter was President. Carter had promised in his campaign speeches to deal with the “rogue” element of the CIA. He fired George H.W. Bush and 200 CIA operatives close to him. And in 1979, President Jimmy Carter fired another 700 CIA operatives.
...And then Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 Presidential election to Ronald Reagan.
...But what was really important is why and how he lost the election to Ronald Reagan.
President Jimmy Carter not only reduced the size of the CIA, he also persuaded America to use significantly less fossil fuels, and he kept America out of war for his full 4 year term as President (of which he is the only President in living memory to do so). This obviously made President Jimmy Carter unpopular with the military/industrial complex.
In 1979, a protest in Iran escalated into an American hostage situation. The U.S. Embassy in Iran was overtaken by opportunistic protestors – who found themselves in the favor of the Ayatollah Khomeini – and in control politically with America.
The history of Iran is tainted with the 1953 overthrow of its democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, and a subsequent oppressive dictatorship by the Shah of Iran until 1979. It has since been revealed that the CIA was instrumental in the overthrow. Blowback from this cruel dictatorship ultimately led to the Iranian hostage crisis. The CIA created the problem back in 1953. But it was President Carter who's image was tarnished. The Iranian hostage crisis made President Carter look powerless. After a failed rescue mission, the hostages were separated and hidden all over Iran. From that point on, President Carter's only options were to give them what they wanted or wait. Negotiations proceeded, and then suddenly mysteriously failed.
On September 6, 1980, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, who was still acting foreign minister of Iran, was quoted by Agence France Presse that he had information that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was “trying to block a solution” to the hostage crisis. But apparently, nobody on the Carter team read the article.
Jimmy Carter lost a very close election in 1980. And immediately after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, the hostages were released. The signs of a conspiracy to hold the hostages until after the election were screaming at America. (Reminiscent of Nixon's deal with the South Vietnamese.) But the mass media put the subject behind us, and America obediently moved on...
Now let's think about this; even if candidate Ronald Reagan didn't know anything about the Republican October Surprise; President Ronald Reagan must have figured it out. Reagan knew he had no more options with the Iranians than Carter had. Consequently, President Reagan must have figured the conspiracy out (at the very latest) as soon as he was inaugurated.
President Reagan must have known that a little act of treason swayed Americans enough to get him elected. So apparently, he played along and allowed his covert operatives to run amok.
Years later, America found out that President Reagan's covert operatives were secretly selling arms to Iran and using the funds to support vicious right wing military actions in “communist” Nicaragua (approximately a couple hundred thousand people were killed). This solidified America's suspicions that a deal had been made to hold the hostages until the election so that Iran could buy weapons from the U.S. to fight Iraq. (But little did Iran know the U.S. was also sharing intelligence information with Iraq – playing the two countries at war against each other.)
The Iran/Contra controversy however, wasn't the only thing the Reagan administration was essentially trying to cover up. They blocked the regular release of archival records. There are U.S. laws that require the State Department to declassify and release records after a 30 year period. The Reagan administration, for the first time in U.S. history, blocked those releases essentially so they could keep Americans from finding out what happened in Guatemala and Iran back in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, President Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada – another tiny country of poor people. And even though Cuba, the bad guys in this story, immediately offered to negotiate the whole issue; Reagan ordered the attack anyway. He did so at a convenient time for the mass media to be distracted from the arms-for-hostages trails. Personally, I feel that this invasion was a case of the tail waging the dog and not particularly important – except for the fact that this little military victory marked the return, for all to see, of the United States as bully to the world.
Meanwhile, the Iranian arms-for-hostages investigation ended up with a couple of convictions and no one going to jail (Presidential pardons), and no one on the executive team harmed. It's as if the Reagan administration (like the Nixon administration before them) had friends in high places to protect them.
Though conservatives may disagree; I see President Ronald Reagan as the leader of a corporatist counter-revolution. The hippies and the anti-war protestors that hounded President Nixon had disbanded and moved on. The assassinations of the 1960's and the revelations about the CIA were receding in memory. And the debts of the Vietnam war were still crushing the economy. Everyone just wanted to live their lives without being pushed around. And Ronald Reagan told us what we wanted to hear; “Government is the problem.”
After years of being drafted, busted, overtaxed, spied on, lied to, and having our leaders assassinated; Americans already believed that Government was the problem. But that's not actually what Ronald Reagan meant. That's just what he wanted us to think.
The Reagan administration was hell-bent on forcing back the gains Americans had made during the 1960's and 70's. Reagan was the first to gut our environmental protections. Reagan stopped enforcing monopoly laws and set forth a corporate takeover of America. Reagan began the privatization of government functions, which further enriched big business at the expense of a functional government. Reagan introduced “trickle-down economic theory” (which his Vice President Bush labeled “voodoo economics”). Thus began the destruction of the middle class. Reagan crushed the air traffic controllers' union, which initiated a corporatist war against unions. Reagan deregulations ultimately led to the Savings and Loan crisis, which led to a huge bail out by U.S. Taxpayers. And, of course; President Reagan escalated the Cold War, and deficit spent like a drunken sailor on “defense,” buying $600 toilet seats and $3000 coffee pots.
Note on the chart that during the Reagan military buildup there was no actual war.
Ronald Reagan told us that “Government was the problem” so that he could get rid of the good laws – the laws that held back big business from cheating, polluting, and stealing wealth from the little guy and the taxpayers. And many Americans backed him up apparently because they thought they might get a cut of the action.
But the laws that oppressed the little guys stayed in place. Which kept the little guys angry. Which kept pressure on Washington to scale back big government. Which only benefited big business. Thus began the downward spiral of the corporatist counter-revolution and the continued bloating of the military/industrial complex.
This is a National debt graph by President. The red lines are the debt incurred during the Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. The blue lines are the debt incurred during the Democratic Presidents Clinton and Obama. The green line represents what would have happened if the Republican Presidents had balanced their budgets as they had promised, and Democrats did just what they did.
Where did all that debt come from? It came from the Reagan military buildup for the Cold War. And it came from the Gulf Wars. The spike at 2008 represents the repercussions from the banking crisis. But part of the reason for the continued debt rise in Obama's term is that defense spending hasn't gone down (like times before when war winds down). Apparently, the merchants of death are having their way with Democrats now too. (And moreover, it exposes that these military occupations aren't quite over. When American troops left Iraq, they left behind 20,000 American “personnel.”)
President Ronald Reagan railed against “welfare queens,” and borrowed billions to give to the military/industrial complex. Moreover, President Ronald Reagan supported the “intelligence” community, no matter what they did.
Continue to Part 3