FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Watergate and All That

by Jack McCarthy

Happy 30th anniversary Watergate buffs!

Like all the preceding anniversaries of the Watergate break-in the big questions posed by the mainstream press are the old reliables:

“What are the lessons of Watergate?”

And of course, “Who was Deep Throat?”

First lets us note the irony that the real Deep Throat, Linda Lovelace died on April 14th.

In the parlance of the conspiracy buff, is it coincidence or conspiracy that April 14th is the date of the dearly departed Trick Nixon’s demise?

The best answer to the “lesson of Watergate” question was provided by Noam Chomsky who, by the way, wrote the best article which appeared in the best book (a collection of essays) on the Watergate scandal, aptly titled “Big Brother and the Holding Company.”

The lesson of Watergate, Chomsky noted, was that its perfectly fine in this country to use Gestapo tactics on those outside the mainstream of US politics, especially the political left: but to use fascistic tactics against one’s peers in the power structure is to court banishment.

And so Nixon’s fall from grace and power as CEO of the US empire transpired not because all of a sudden we realized Nixon was a criminal. As Chomsky further noted, Nixon–and Kissinger– were demonstrably two of the biggest criminals of the 20th century.

Nixon’s crime was he attacked fellow power brokers, DNC chief Larry O’Brien and Ted Kennedy and the Washington Post.

Crimes such as the secret bombing of Laos or Cambodia and the railroading of activists such as Vietnam veterans like the Gainesville 8’s Scott Camille were briefly noted and/or ignored.

Indeed, the U.S. House impeachment committee ruled out the bombing of Cambodia as one of the articles of impeachment.

Another lesson of Watergate is that it literally takes a “smoking gun” i.e., tape to convict or impeach a US president (the Clinton exception noted) no matter how transparent the criminal behavior.

Ronald Reagan, for example, bragged to a grand jury that the Iran-contra was “my idea to begin with,” but congress and the press pretended (ala Reagan) not to hear what he said.

Even today no reporter will go on record and admit that Nixon ordered the Watergate break-in –at least generically.

This despite the fact that transcripts of the Nixon tapes published in book form by professor Stanley Cutler, (“The Abuse of Power Tapes,”) shows an obsessive and revenge minded Nixon ordering his henchmen to go after Larry O’Brien using any means necessary.

Without a smoking gun tape in which Nixon says ala his order to firebomb the Brookings Institute, “I want a break-in at the Watergate,” we are supposed to pretend that Nixon only knew of the cover-up.

Deep Throat?

Silly parlor game that it is, I believe we will one day find out it was the man who revealed the existence of the Watergate tapes, Alexander Butterfield.

In their book “All the Presidents Men,” WoodStein note that of all of HR (Bob)Haldeman’s henchmen, the only one they never got around to interviewing was HR’s head of “internal security,” Butterfield.

Nice guy that he was, Woodward suggested to a Watergate committee investigator that they do the honors of interviewing Butterfield.

And the rest is history.

Perhaps an even more interesting question is “Who wrote All the Presidents Men?”

Several years ago Daniel Schorr wrote a fascinating article in the Christian Science Monitor about a mysterious conversation he had with Woodward.

Schorr says he told Woodward that he couldn’t locate the famous phrase, “Follow the money,” in the book. Woodward told Schorr that Deep Throat’s famous utterance was indeed in the book. It wasn’t, Schorr discovered on second and third read.

Then again, Woodward is the guy who conducted a death bed interview with clinically brain dead William Casey.

Follow the brain waves, Dan.

Jack McCarthy can be reached at: jackm32301@yahoo.com

 

Jack McCarthy is a writer in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at jackm32301@yahoo.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey- The Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail