"Since the First World War Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation."

Norman Mailer
"The whole work of healing Tellus depends on nursing that little spark, on incarnating that ghost, which is still alive in every people, and different in each. When Logres really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China--why then it will be spring."

"This new history of yours," said McPhee, "is a wee bit lacking in documents."

C.S. Lewis

Synchronicities this week

  • June 24 Midsummer/St. John’s Day
  • June 24, 1947 The first flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold.
  • June 24, 1542 St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic and poet, is born.
  • June 24, 1938 500 ton meteorite lands near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
  • June 24, 1717 First Free Masons' grand lodge founded in London.
  • June 24, 1374 A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.
  • June 24, 1314 Battle of Bannockburn; Scotland regains independence from England.
  • June 24, 843 Vikings destroy Nantes.
  • June 23 Midsummer’s Eve
  • June 23, 1972 Nixon & Haldeman agree to use CIA to cover up Watergate.
  • June 23, 1942 Germany's latest fighter, a Focke-Wulf FW190 is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales.
  • June 23, 1888 Frederick Douglass is 1st African-American nominated for president.
  • June 23, 1848 Workers’ insurrection in Paris.
  • June 23, 1713 The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada. They choose the latter, migrate to Louisiana, and become Cajuns.
  • June 21 Summer Solstice (11:28 a.m.).
  • June 21, 1964 Three civil rights workers-Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney-are kidnapped and murdered by the Klan in Mississippi .
  • June 21, 1948 The 33 1/3 RPM LP record is introduced by Columbia Records.
  • June 21, 1944 Ray Davies of the Kinks born in London.
  • June 21, 1916 Mexican troops beat US expeditionary force under Gen Pershing.
  • June 21, 1877 The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrant labor activists, are hanged in Pennsylvania prisons.
  • June 20, 1947 Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, gangster, the “man who invented Las Vegas,” shot dead in Beverly Hills, Cal.
  • June 20, 1909 Errol Flynn, greatest of the swashbucklers, born in Hobart, Tasmania.
  • June 20, 1944 Congress charters Central Intelligence Agency.
  • June 20, 1943 Detroit race riot kills 35.
  • June 20, 1893 - Lizzie Borden acquitted in murder of parents in New Bedford Mass.
  • June 20, 1871 Ku Klux Klan trials began in federal court in Oxford Miss.
  • June 20, 1837 Queen Victoria at 18 ascends British throne ; rules for 63 years ending in 1901.
  • June 20, 1756 146 British soldiers imprisoned in the "Black Hole of Calcutta." Most die.
  • June 20, 1631 The Irish village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian pirates.
  • June 20, 1214 The University of Oxford receives its charter.
  • June 20, 451 Germans & Romans beat Attila the Hun at Catalarinische Fields.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This Week in the Secret History: The Still-Smoking Gun

Richard Helms, Director of the CIA

Richard Nixon, President of the United States

Excerpts from the Nixon White House Tape dated June 23, 1972, subsequently known as "The Smoking Gun Tape" in which Nixon and his aide John Haldeman discussed blacmkailing the CIA into intervening in the FBI investigation of laundered Nixon campaign funds. Richard Nixon resigned the presidency within four days of this tape being made public in August 1974.

Haldeman: ... they'll stop if we could, if we take this other step.

Nixon: All right. Fine.

Haldeman: And, and they seem to feel the thing to do is get them to stop?

Nixon: Right, fine.

Haldeman: They say the only way to do that is from White House instructions....

Nixon: All right, fine.

Haldeman: and say, ah...

Nixon: How do you call him in? I mean you just, well, we protected [CIA Director Richard] Helms from one hell of a lot of things.

Of course, this is a, this is a hunt, you will--that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab there's a hell of a lot of things and that we just feel that it would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. This involves these Cubans, Hunt [E. Howard Hunt, ex-CIA and Cuban exile case officer], and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves.


Nixon: When you get these people in, say: "Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that" ah, without going into the details... don't, don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it, "The President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah because these people are playing for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and say that we wish for the country, don't go any further into this case", period!

Haldeman: OK

Nixon: That's the way to put it, do it straight (Unintelligible)

In 1978, Haldeman published The Ends of Power , in which he explained Nixon's statement that Watergate could "open up the whole Bay of Pigs thing". Haldeman said that "Bay of Pigs" (the failed 1960 attempt by CIA-backed exiles to topple Castro) was Nixon's code for CIA/Mafia plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, as well as the CIA's general sponsorship of violent, ultra-right wing, heavily armed and virulently anti-Kennedy Cuban exile groups in the southern United States. The CIA had not revealed any of this to the Warren Commission, the commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination. Haldeman eventually speculated that the "Bay of Pigs" was Nixon's way of referring obliquely to the Kennedy assassination itself.

When Haldeman did as his boss had ordered, and told CIA Director Helms that "the Bay of Pigs may be blown," according to Haldeman the reaction was galvanic. "Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair, leaning forward and shouting, 'The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs.' " Recalls Haldeman: "I was absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered, what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story?"

In the wake of this meeting, CIA officials did, in fact, ask Acting FBI Director Pat Gray to slow the FBI's money tracing.

The tape was damning for Nixon because it was clear evidence of the president ordering the obstruction of the government's Watergate investigation. But it was apparently considered a matter of secondary importance to pursue the question of just exactly what Nixon was talking about. And, after Gerald Ford's blanket pardon of Nixon, no-one would ever be able to question the president under oath. And so the matter rests to this day, with Nixon in his grave.

The Watergate Burglars

  • Bernard L. Barker - Former Central Intelligence Agency operative. Said to have been involved in Cuban exile paramilitary action.
  • Virgilio R. Gonzales - Involved in Cuban exile politics.
  • James W. McCord - Former CIA agent.
  • Eugenio R. Martinez - CIA contract agent. Worked with militant anti-Castro Cuban groups
  • Frank A. Sturgis - Former CIA contract agent working with anti-Castro exile groups.
  • Howard Hunt - Former CIA case officer for the most radical Cuban exile paramilitary groups

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