Jan 04 2017

Richard Milhous Nixon: Traitor

“If the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

Yeah, but this was before he was President.

In 1968 the United States was inches away from concluding a peace accord with North Vietnam and ending the Vietnam War. On October 22nd 1968, Nixon ordered H.R. Haldeman to stop it. Haldeman did this by encouraging South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to refuse to negotiate using Anna Chennault, widow of Claire “Flying Tigers” Chennault, as his intermediary.

Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s personal secretary who later claimed “accidental” responsibility for the famous “18 Minute Gap” in the Nixon Tapes, opened a second channel to Thieu- Chinese businessman Louis Kung.

Also implicated in the treason were Henry Kissinger, who spied on the Peace Talks for Nixon, and Spiro T. Agnew and Richard Helms (Director of the CIA) who asked Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek to pressure Thieu.

These are plain, incontrovertible facts memorialized in notes by Haldeman and released in 2007 by the Nixon Library, albeit very quietly and without fanfare.

Why are they news today? John A. Farrell has written a new book, Richard Nixon: The Life, and reported on his research for The New York Times.

Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery
By JOHN A. FARRELL, The New York Times
DEC. 31, 2016

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.

Haldeman’s notes return us to the dark side. Amid the reappraisals, we must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.

Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.

Nixon also sought help from Chiang Kai-shek, the president of Taiwan. And he ordered Haldeman to have his vice-presidential candidate, Spiro T. Agnew, threaten the C.I.A. director, Richard Helms. Helms’s hopes of keeping his job under Nixon depended on his pliancy, Agnew was to say. “Tell him we want the truth — or he hasn’t got the job,” Nixon said.

Nixon had cause to lie. His actions appear to violate federal law, which prohibits private citizens from trying to “defeat the measures of the United States.” His lawyers fought throughout Nixon’s life to keep the records of the 1968 campaign private. The broad outline of “the Chennault affair” would dribble out over the years. But the lack of evidence of Nixon’s direct involvement gave pause to historians and afforded his loyalists a defense.

Time has yielded Nixon’s secrets. Haldeman’s notes were opened quietly at the presidential library in 2007, where I came upon them in my research for a biography of the former president. They contain other gems, like Haldeman’s notations of a promise, made by Nixon to Southern Republicans, that he would retreat on civil rights and “lay off pro-Negro crap” if elected president. There are notes from Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, in which he and his aides discuss the need to wiretap political foes.

When Johnson got word of Nixon’s meddling, he ordered the F.B.I. to track Chennault’s movements. She “contacted Vietnam Ambassador Bui Diem,” one report from the surveillance noted, “and advised him that she had received a message from her boss … to give personally to the ambassador. She said the message was … ‘Hold on. We are gonna win. … Please tell your boss to hold on.’ ”

In a conversation with the Republican senator Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, Johnson lashed out at Nixon. “I’m reading their hand, Everett,” Johnson told his old friend. “This is treason.”

“I know,” Dirksen said mournfully.

Johnson’s closest aides urged him to unmask Nixon’s actions. But on a Nov. 4 conference call, they concluded that they could not go public because, among other factors, they lacked the “absolute proof,” as Defense Secretary Clark Clifford put it, of Nixon’s direct involvement.

Spineless Democrats rolling over for Republican Bullies. How many times to we have to see this before we elect some with guts?

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