Jump to content

Watergate and the JFK Assassination


Recommended Posts

There is a very interesting section in Cord Meyer’s autobiography, Facing Reality: From World Federalism to the CIA (1980) about Watergate. In July, 1967, Meyer was appointed assistant deputy director for plans (or as he admits, the department of dirty tricks). His boss was Thomas H. Karamessines. The two men were in charge of all covert operations abroad (and at home for that matter).

On 1st February, 1969, Nixon had a meeting with Helms (director of the CIA), Karamessines, and Meyer. Nixon gave his commitment to covert operations. However, he gave them one bit of advice: “Don’t get caught”.

Nixon’s attitude towards the CIA changed when James McCord got arrested on 17th July, 1972. He was understandably upset when McCord admitted to being CIA. This was followed by the way Hunt and the CIA was linked to the White House. Nixon also knew that another one of the Watergate burglars, Eugenio Martinez, had been working for the CIA. Nixon now believed he was being set-up by the CIA. As Haldeman pointed out in The Ends of Power, Nixon was convinced that Martinez had been reporting on the planned break-in to his CIA case officer. This is probably why Haldeman claimed that the CIA operation was linked to this “Bay of Pigs” thing.

Nixon knew that the CIA had a lot of secrets about the JFK assassination. He decided to blackmail the CIA into submission. He did this by forcing Richard Helms to resign. He was replaced as director of the CIA by James Schlesinger (up until then head of the Atomic Energy Commission). Schlesinger was heard to say: “The clandestine service was Helms’s Praetorian Guard. It had too much influence in the Agency and was too powerful within the government. I am going to cut it down to size.” This he did (a cut of 7 per cent). Karamessines resigned (claiming a bad back had made it difficult for him to carry on working) and Meyer was demoted and sent to London where he was quickly exposed by the UK media as being responsible for bribing leading figures in the Labour Party and the trade union movement between 1945 to 1951. It was Meyer and his boss, Tom Braden, who was blamed for the right-wing shift in the Labour government of this period.

However, the important thing Schlesinger did was issue a directive to all CIA employees on 9th May, 1973. This is what Schlesinger said of his directive:

“I have ordered all senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or might have gone on in the past, which might be considered to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary and say that he wishes to talk to me about “activities outside the CIA’s charter”.

There were several employees who had been trying to complain about the illegal CIA activities for some time. As Meyer points out, this directive “was a hunting license for the resentful subordinate to dig back into the records of the past in order to come up with evidence that might destroy the career of a superior whom he long hated.”

This was all out war. High-ranking CIA officials had no choice, Nixon had to be removed from office as soon as possible. It is at this point that the CIA began giving information on Nixon’s illegal activities to the Washington Post. As a key player in Operation Mockingbird, Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post was the obvious vehicle for the destruction of Nixon. In this way, the CIA involvement could be contained. This is why Carl Bernstein was in a position to expose the activities of Operation Mockingbird in the Rolling Stone in October 1977.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1st February, 1969, Nixon had a meeting with Helms (director of the CIA), Karamessines, and Meyer. Nixon gave his commitment to covert operations. However, he gave them one bit of advice: “Don’t get caught”.

Nixon’s attitude towards the CIA changed when James McCord got arrested on 17th July, 1972. He was understandably upset when McCord admitted to being CIA. This was followed by the way Hunt and the CIA was linked to the White House. Nixon also knew that another one of the Watergate burglars, Eugenio Martinez, had been working for the CIA. Nixon now believed he was being set-up by the CIA. This was all out war. High-ranking CIA officials had no choice, Nixon had to be removed from office as soon as possible. It is at this point that the CIA began giving information on Nixon’s illegal activities to the Washington Post. As a key player in Operation Mockingbird, Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post was the obvious vehicle for the destruction of Nixon. In this way, the CIA involvement could be contained. This is why Carl Bernstein was in a position to expose the activities of Operation Mockingbird in the Rolling Stone in October 1977.

________________________

Except what we actually learned about Watergate was only the tip of the iceberg.

I remember how exicted I was during the Watergate hearings when the name Alex Butterfield was first introduced. Would they finally investigate Dorothy Hunt's plane crash I wondered? There was a flurry of activity, everyone was a buzz about big secrets. But all we would learn about was the existance of Nixon's taping system. I always wondered about Alex Butterfield. First he helps cover- up the 12/8/72 plane crash, then, less than a year later he reveals his former boss' taping system, therby propelling Tricky Dick toward resignation. Was Butterfield playing both sides? (Like McCord).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's really hard to separate this topic from "The Invisible Government," as it's quite obvious in hindsight that JFK's was the last American presidential administration that DIDN'T have someone else pulling the strings. Right or wrong, JFK made his own decisions; those who followed him seem to be playing from different acts of the same script. Nixon, particularly, seemed to be attempting to cut the strings and travel in his own diabolical direction as if he thought he had the upper hand on his "handlers." For Nixon's attempts to free-lance, he had the rug pulled from beneath him. The tape system which was meant to blackmail others into compliance--with threats to reveal the incriminating contents--was used instead to bring Nixon down.

Yet at this very late date, IIRC something less than 20% of the Nixon tapes have been released for public consumption, and there is a reluctance to expose much of what was discussed on the tapes. My guess is that Butterfield was a "spook," if not a full-fledged agent then one who knew to dance when the agency called the tune. He maintained the taping system in secret when assigned to do so, and then when ordered to let the information of its existence "slip," he willingly did so.

He was a "good soldier" for his bosses, it seems. It's just that Nixon failed to realize that HE [Nixon] wasn't actually Butterfield's boss, as Nixon had always assumed he was.

Ever read Liddy's autobiography, "Will"? I found it "convenient" that Liddy had resigned from the FBI just prior to the JFK assassination, went into private legal practice for a time, and then "resurfaced" in "government service" during the Nixon years...just as Nixon himself did. Sounds like a pattern; how many others may have followed it also?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However, the important thing Schlesinger did was issue a directive to all CIA employees on 9th May, 1973. This is what Schlesinger said of his directive:

“I have ordered all senior operating officials of this Agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or might have gone on in the past, which might be considered to be outside the legislative charter of this Agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same. Anyone who has such information should call my secretary and say that he wishes to talk to me about “activities outside the CIA’s charter”.

There were several employees who had been trying to complain about the illegal CIA activities for some time. As Meyer points out, this directive “was a hunting license for the resentful subordinate to dig back into the records of the past in order to come up with evidence that might destroy the career of a superior whom he long hated.”

This was all out war. High-ranking CIA officials had no choice, Nixon had to be removed from office as soon as possible. It is at this point that the CIA began giving information on Nixon’s illegal activities to the Washington Post. As a key player in Operation Mockingbird, Ben Bradlee and the Washington Post was the obvious vehicle for the destruction of Nixon. In this way, the CIA involvement could be contained. This is why Carl Bernstein was in a position to expose the activities of Operation Mockingbird in the Rolling Stone in October 1977.

I think you have it a little backwards. Nixon's fall was set in place by McCord's meetings with Sirica months before. McCord was former CIA, as was Hunt, and the other burglars. Nixon blamed Helms for not shutting down the Watergate Investigation in the beginning. He fired Helms and replaced him with his stooge Schlesinger. Schlesinger thereupon set about doing Nixon's dirty work, firing a lot of old-timers and having the family jewels compiled into a single report. It's unthinkable to me that Nixon himself was not given a copy of this report. Nixon was forced out in August 74. The jewels became public knowledge a few months later. While Colby has often been blamed for this, I believe there is reason to suspect that Nixon himself was behind the leaks to Hersh, etc. The man was that petty. I believe Nixon destroyed the CIA (temporarily) rather than let it get the best of him. In his books Nixon talks about how horrible it was that the CIA was investigated by the Church Committee, etc, but that's probably just PR. I think there's every reason to believe the Church Committee investigation was Nixon's revenge for Watergate.

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John's post was most interesting.

Perhaps it is merely because the members of this Form, and other assassination researchers for that matter, are conspiracy-oriented but most members of the assassination community, regardless of their political ideology, or view of RN, are convinced that there is much more to Watergate than what the public has been led to believe.

Which is not to say, of course, that RN was not largely responsible for his own downfall. It may very well be, as Mark suggests, that Butterfield was reporting to the CIA and his disclosure of the taping system was no accident. Then again, had RN followed John Connally's advice, he would have burned the tapes, even before the Butterfield revelation, and the "smoking gun" conversation would never have surfaced.

Of course, Helms was right in refusing to accede to RN's demand that the CIA use its offices to frustrate the Watergate investigation. But RN was also correect when he warned Helms of the possible consequences of an open-ended investigation, for it was the Watergate investigatin that led to the Church Committee and the revelation of the dark secrets of the CIA.

Of course, given Helms' record, it is possible that his refusal to obstruct justice for RN was not based on his high regard for the integrity of the legal system.

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then again, had RN followed John Connally's advice, he would have burned the tapes, even before the Butterfield revelation, and the "smoking gun" conversation would never have surfaced.

__________________________

I think Nixon was way too arrogant to have burned the tapes. I think he thought he could use Execuative Priv. and have the courts back him on this and keep his damning words from the public. Think of the times he'd been caught in scandal and was albe to brush it under the rug. His famous "Checkers" speech comes to mind.

People should see Stone's brilliant film "Nixon" to reaquaint themselves with this sinister man. Hopkins is masterful as Nixon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then again, had RN followed John Connally's advice, he would have burned the tapes, even before the Butterfield revelation, and the "smoking gun" conversation would never have surfaced.

__________________________

I think Nixon was way too arrogant to have burned the tapes.  I think he thought he could use Execuative Priv. and have the courts back him on this and keep his damning words from the public. Think of the times he'd been caught in scandal and was albe to brush it under the rug. His famous "Checkers" speech comes to mind.

People should see Stone's brilliant film "Nixon" to reaquaint themselves with this sinister man. Hopkins is masterful as Nixon.

Sinister isn't the word, Dawn. For those members of the forum who haven't read H.R. Haldeman's book, "The Ends Of Power," I recommend it highly. It gives a powerful insight into the Nixon White House, and Haldeman also writes about a code that Nixon used when he wanted to talk about the Kennedy assassination.

Haldeman writes how he was ordered by Nixon to go and speak to CIA Director Richard Helms for his help when the Watergate crisis broke out. Nixon told Haldeman that if Helms becomes uncooperative, just mention that "this entire affair might be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it opens up, the Bay of Pigs may be blown."

Haldeman relates to the reader that Helms went wild after hearing this. He ranted on about how the Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. But, amazingly, Helms agreed to speak to FBI Director L. Patrick Gray about stopping the Watergate investigation. Nixon got what he wanted from the CIA. However, Haldeman was intrigued. What was the connection between the CIA and the Bay of Pigs that Nixon seemed to hold over Helms?

Haldeman writes, "It seems that in all those Nixon references to the Bay of Pigs. he was actually referring to the Kennedy assassination."

(Above source comes from pages 38-39 of Haldeman's book)

If what Haldeman writes is true, and Nixon used the code "Bay of Pigs" to refer to the Kennedy assassination to communicate with Helms, I find Helms' reaction most interesting. We have to ask what made Helms go wild and start to scream at Haldeman at hearing the words "Bay of Pigs?" And like a quiet lamb, Helms agreed almost immediately to go to the FBI and tried to persuade Gray to stop the Watergate investigation. Both Nixon and Helms knew something about the Kennedy assassination that was explosive, to say the least.

Bill Cheslock

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have anything on Steve Czukas? Czukas had reportedly mascaraded as a U.S. Customs Service Officer but was paid by the CIA.

Hi David,

Going by memory here but I think Czukas put Marita Lorenz into protective custody after she told him she was mixed up with the Dallas plot and her information about the alleged car trip.

I also seem to remember that she wrote extensive material in a notebook which Czukas locked away in Miami.

I'll have to dig into my notes as specific details escape me for the moment.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my pet theories is that Nixon was let in on the details of the BOP operation from the get-go, and that it was assumed within the CIA that Nixon would defeat Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. When Kennedy won, while the CIA might have been mildly surprised, they continued with their plan., assuming Kennedy would be of the same mind as Nixon in regards to a communist neighbor 90 short miles away. But when Kennedy resisted the call for air support during the actual invasion, thus dooming the mission, the thinking was inevitable: "Nixon was in our corner on this one; Nixon wouldn't have left us high and dry as Kennedy did," or something to that effect.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually came out that someone at the CIA was keeping Nixon informed of the resistance they were receiving from the White House, post-BOP. And since Nixon was, effectively, "their guy" as far as the operations against Cuba were concerned, it's not totally beyond the realm of possibility that someone in the CIA saw the JFK assassination plot as a way to repay Nixon for the humiliation he suffered, both in the 1960 presidential election and the 1962 California gubernatorial election...as well as a way to bring Nixon back into power, so they'd never have to suffer under the Kennedys again.

As I said, it's just a theory; but thru the prism of history, it's probably as plausible as any I've heard elsewhere...and will probably prove over time just as impossible to substantiate.

As far as Nixon and the tapes, I agree that he most likely had no idea that the courts would rule against his invocation of "executive privelege" claims. And I don't believe Nixon kept them for the sake of history; as the ruthless politician he was, I cannot see any other reason for keeping the tapes except as leverage over the other participants, in order to get what Nixon wanted from them. Just my opinion, of course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does anyone have anything on Steve Czukas? Czukas had reportedly mascaraded as a U.S. Customs Service Officer but was paid by the CIA.

Hi David,

I believe it was Czukas who put Marita Lorenz into protective custody after she told him that she was mixed up with the Dallas plot and the infamous car trip.

She also supposedly wrote the details in a notebook which Czukas locked away in Miami. If I remember correctly, wasn't Czukas FBI not CIA?

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dawn wrote:

People should see Stone's brilliant film "Nixon" to reaquaint themselves with this sinister man. Hopkins is masterful as Nixon.

Stone's depiction of Nixon is not necesaarily unsympathetic. Interestingly, "Nixon" offers quite a different take on the Kennedy assassination than "JFK".

One of the writers of "Nixon" was Steve Rivele, who researched "the Corsican connection". My understanding is it was Rivele's theory that Trafficante hired the Corsican killers. Trafficante was, of course, getting his heroin from Marseilles. With Castro's permission, the heroin was shipped into Cuba and then to Miami. On November 22nd, Fidel called in his chips with Santo, IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dawn wrote:

People should see Stone's brilliant film "Nixon" to reaquaint themselves with this sinister man. Hopkins is masterful as Nixon.

Stone's depiction of Nixon is not necesaarily unsympathetic.  Interestingly, "Nixon" offers quite a different take on the Kennedy assassination than "JFK".

One of the writers of "Nixon" was Steve Rivele, who researched "the Corsican connection".  My understanding is it was Rivele's theory that Trafficante hired the Corsican killers.  Trafficante was, of course, getting his heroin from Marseilles.  With Castro's permission, the heroin was shipped into Cuba and then to Miami.  On November 22nd, Fidel called in his chips with Santo, IMO.

The Nixon book by Stone is excellent. It includes the script with footnotes plus twenty or so essays by the likes of Daniel Schorr, John Dean, and Howard Hunt. Anyone who believes that poor tricky Dick was set-up should put down their copy of Silent Coup or Secret Agenda and read these essays. The Schorr essay is particularly good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the writers of "Nixon" was Steve Rivele, who researched "the Corsican connection".  My understanding is it was Rivele's theory that Trafficante hired the Corsican killers.  Trafficante was, of course, getting his heroin from Marseilles.  With Castro's permission, the heroin was shipped into Cuba and then to Miami.  On November 22nd, Fidel called in his chips with Santo, IMO.[/color]

Rivele was a gun for hire. He was fed information about Mafia involvement in the assassination (probably by the CIA). Rivele was put in touch with Christian David, the leader of the Corsican network in South America, in 1981. David was awaiting extradition to France to stand trial for murdering a policeman. David told Rivele that he had information on the Kennedy assassination, in return for which he wanted a deal with the U.S. government to block his extradition to France. Through Rivele's efforts, a federal judge temporarily halted David's extradition.

In return for Rivele's help, David told him that Kennedy's assassination had been organized by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles. David turned down the contract but was accepted by Lucien Sarti and two other members of the Marseilles mob.

Rivele's material was used in the 1988 television documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy. As well as Lucien Sarti he also named Sauveur Pironti and Roger Bocognani as being involved in the killing. However, Pironti and Bocognani both had alibis and Rivele was forced to withdraw the allegation. Sarti had been killed in April, 1972, and was unable to defend himself.

This is just one of several examples of Nigel Turner not checking his evidence before putting out programs in the The Men Who Killed Kennedy series. I suspect he wishes he had never made the programme on Judyth Vary Baker now.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKrivele.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKturnerN.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John it is my understanding that there was a second man, a DEA informer, who had been a party to the conversation in which David was told about the assassination. This gentleman apparatenly had an impeccable reputation as an informer--all of the information he reported "checked out", Because of the involvement of this man a DEA agent tried unsuccessfully to get the Justice Dept to reopen the investigation.

There is a cite called "The Corsican Connection" that any researcher interested in this story should explore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...