by Salvador Astucia
THE SUCCESSORS, JOHNSON & NIXON
Johnson’s Hidden Loyalties
As previously stated, the Johnson administration implemented a dramatic shift in US-Middle East policy. Every president after Johnson has totally capitulated to Israel and ignored the plight of Palestinians. But Johnson marked the turning point. The reason he was so loyal to Israel lies within his own ethnicity. It appears that he and his wife were secretly Jewish. To many, this may seem laughable at first, but in reality Jews were an integral part of Texas history throughout the nineteenth century.1 Jacob and Phineas De Cordova sold land and developed Waco. Simon Mussina founded Brownsville in 1848. Michael Seeligson was elected mayor of Galveston in 1853. Morris Lasker was elected to the state Senate in 1895.2 The list goes on.
The first Jewish settlers of note in Texas were Samuel Issacks (1821) followed by N. Adolphus Sterne (1826).3 By 1838, Jews were living in Galveston, San Antonio, Velasco, Bolivar, Nacogdoches, and Goliad.4 In the early part of the twentieth century, a large of number of Russian jews migrated to Texas to escape persecution from the Russian Czar. Between 1900 and 1920, the Jewish population in Texas grew from 15,000 to 30,000. Major cities, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, experienced enormous growth in Jewish populations.5 The overall number of Jews in Texas has steadily increased ever since. After World War II, the abundance of Jewish residents grew from an estimated 50,000 in 1945 to 71,000 in the mid-1970s and 92,000 in 1988.6
Before 1821, Texas was still a Spanish colony where only Catholics could take up residence. Jews who openly acknowledged their ethnicity could not legally live there.7 Originally, Jews migrated to Texas to seek fortune and freedom. The earliest Jews, who arrived with the conquistadors, came from Sephardic (Spanish-North African-Israel) communities.8 After the Mexican period, Jewry in Texas was essentially populated by immigrants from Germany, eastern Europe, and the Americas.9
Lyndon Johnson’s maternal ancestors, the Huffmans, apparently migrated to Frederick, Maryland from Germany sometime in the mid-eighteenth century. Later they moved to Bourbon, Kentucky and eventually settled in Texas in the mid-to-late nineteenth century.10
According to Jewish law, if a person’s mother is Jewish, then that person is automatically Jewish, regardless of the father’s ethnicity or religion. The facts indicate that both of Lyndon Johnson’s great-grandparents, on the maternal side, were Jewish. These were the grandparents of Lyndon’s mother, Rebecca Baines.11 Their names were John S. Huffman and Mary Elizabeth Perrin.12 John Huffman’s mother was Suzanne Ament, a common Jewish name. Perrin is also a common Jewish name.
Huffman and Perrin had a daughter, Ruth Ament Huffman,13 who married Joseph Baines14 and together they had a daughter, Rebekah Baines,15 Lyndon Johnson’s mother. The line of Jewish mothers can be traced back three generations in Lyndon Johnson’s family tree. There is little doubt that he was Jewish.
To recap, the following is Lyndon Johnson’s maternal family tree:
- Mother: Rebekah Baines (married Sam Johnson, Lyndon’s father)
- Maternal grandparents: Ruth Ament Huffman and Joseph Baines
- Maternal great-grandparents (parents of Ruth Huffman): Mary Elizabeth Perrin and John S. Huffman, III
- Maternal great-great grandparents (parents of Mary Perrin): Dicea Kerby and William Perrin16 (Footnote 20)
- Maternal great-great grandparents (parents of John Huffman, III): Suzanne Ament and John S. Huffman, II17
- Maternal great-great-great grandparents (parents of John Huffman, II): Cathrine Lyter and John Huffman18
As far as I can determine, Rebekah’s German ancestors, the Huffmans, came to America in the mid-1700s and had a son, John Huffman, in about 1767 in Frederick, Maryland. I cannot find records of John Huffman’s parents. They were probably German immigrants. Huffman married Catherine Lyter in 1790 in Frederick, Maryland.20 At some point Huffman and Lyter moved to Bourbon, Kentucky and had a son, John Huffman, II, who married Suzanne Ament. Huffman, II and Ament had a son, John S. Huffman, III, born on May 7, 1824 in Bourbon, Kentucky; and died on June 22, 1865 in Collin, Texas. John Huffman, III was Rebekah’s great-grandfather. He married Mary Elizabeth Perrin. Huffman and Perrin had a daughter, Ruth Ament Huffman, who married Joseph Baines. Huffman and Baines were Rebekah’s parents, Lyndon’s grandparents.
As a young adult, Lyndon Johnson taught school in Cotulla, a poor "Mexican" community south of San Antonio.21 Many of his former students marvelled at his spirit, dedication and self-discipline.22 Lyndon strongly encouraged the young Mexicans to learn English in order to get ahead.23 Possibly he truly had a yearning to help those in need; however, that does not fit most historical accounts of Lyndon Johnson the man. From early adulthood, virtually all of his actions were calculated. Given Lyndon’s Huffman, Perrin, Ament family line, it is more likely that he was assisting descendants of Sephardic Jews who migrated to Texas from Spain centuries earlier.
Recently it was disclosed that there are many hispanic Jews living in the San Antonio area. Richard Santos, a hispanic Jew and native of San Antonio, wrote a book entitled Silent Heritage: The Sephardim and the Colonization of the Spanish North American Frontier, 1492-1600.24 Santos spoke of his "crypto-Jewish" heritage at the Texas Jewish Historical Society’s 22nd conference on May 11, 2001. Crypto-Jews are Sephardic groups of families who secretly retained their religion and culture after the 15th-century Spanish royal decree deemed it punishable by death. Santos has spent his entire adult life trying to educate the masses about the secret history of his bloodline.25
Stan Hordes, a former New Mexico state historian and professor at the University of New Mexico, described his observations at the same conference.
"One person told me, ‘My family just doesn’t eat pork—we’re allergic to pork,’" Hordes said, explaining the pockets of crypto-Jews who maintain Jewish traditions without even realizing it.26
Among the crypo-Jews that Hordes described, some of the women light menorahs without realizing what they’re doing.27
Given this new information about crypto-Jews, plus Johnson’s heritage; it is highly plausible that he began his early adult life as a teacher at Cotulla not merely to help disadvantaged hispanics students, but rather to help descendants of Sephardic Jews—crypto-Jews—from Spain who migrated to Mexico and what is now southern Texas. And the reason he felt obliged to help these crypto-Jews was because of his own secret ethnicity.
This information about Sephardic Jews in southern Texas sheds new light on the ethnicity of Lyndon Johnson’s wife, Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson (aka, "Lady Bird"). She is apparently a Sephardic Jew of Mexican origin. Although her facial features are consistent with Semitic origin, that alone is not definitive proof. Claudia’s mother, Minnie Lee Pattillo, was likely a Sephardic Jew from Mexico. Pattillo is a common Spanish/Mexican name; however, there are no records of Minnie Pattillo’s parents so it is entirely possible that they were immigrants. It is quite odd that a first lady—one who lived in the White House less than 40 years ago—has maternal grandparents whose identity is unknown and undocumented.
Minnie Pattillo died in 1918 when Claudia was only five.28 Minnie was born in about 1890 in Karnack, Texas (Harrison County);29 however, she apparently lived in Alabama when Thomas Taylor married her.30 All that is known about Minnie Pattillo is that she had a "spinster" sister, Effie Pattillo (also from Alabama), who helped raise Claudia.31
Claudia Taylor’s father was Thomas Jefferson Taylor, II, a prosperous businessman and philanthropist.32 He was the son of Thomas Jefferson Taylor and Emma Louisa Bates.33 Historian Robert Caro wrote that Claudia’s father was the "richest man in [Karnack, Texas]."34 Caro also indicated that Johnson’s previous two girlfriends—Carol Davis and Kitty Clyde of San Marcos and Johnson City, respectively—were also daughters of the richest men in town.
1931: Johnson Came to Washington as Congressman Kleberg’s Assistant
Lyndon Johnson began his career in 1931 as the legislative assistant of Congressman Richard M. Kleberg, a wealthy Jewish politician representing the 14th District of Texas. Kleberg was not a serious politician, rather an outwardly friendly man who inherited vast wealth. "A sweeter man that Dick Kleberg never lived," a friend said. "But he was a playboy. As for work, he had no interest in that whatsover."35
Richard Kleberg was one of the wealthiest men in Texas. He inherited twenty percent interest in the King Ranch, the largest ranch in the continental United States;36 a 2,000-square-mile estate with influence extending beyond its borders.37 In fact, Richard Kleberg’s father, Robert Kleberg, turned much of South Texas into "Kleberg County."38 Although the ranch dealt in cattle and horses, as well as in sorghum and wheat,39 it also built entire towns, railroads, harbors, colleges, and banks.40 In the 1940s, it contracted oil and gas leases to provide additional income. By the mid-1970s, the ranch owned millions of acres of land in such countries as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Morocco; but falling market prices caused them to sell off much of this land in the 1980s.41
The King Ranch was founded in 1852 by Richard King (Richard Kleberg’s grandfather), and was expanded significantly by King’s son-in-law, Robert Kleberg (Richard Kleberg’s father).42 In 1922 Robert Kleberg suffered a stroke and Richard was put in charge of the King Ranch. But Richard’s lack of business skills soon caused the King empire to fall into serious financial difficulties. In 1927, the executors of his father’s estate removed Richard from authority and put his younger brother in charge of managing the Ranch. Soon the empire was back on its feet. This did not bother Richard because he did not relish the notion of being a businessman.43
Richard Kleberg ran for an open congressional seat merely as a favor to friend, Roy Miller, former "boy mayor of Corpus Christi" and lobbyist for the gigantic Texas Gulf Sulphur Corporation.44 Kleberg replaced Harry Wurchbach who died on November 6, 1931. At that time, Wurchbach was the only Republican Congressman from Texas.45 With Kleberg’s election, the Democrats gained control of the House. The new Speaker of the House of Representative was John Nance Garner(Footnote 21) of Texas. Miller was a Garner ally, and in Miller’s view, the main qualification for the Democratic nominee to replace Wurchbach was electability. And no one was more popular in the 14th District than a member of the Kleberg family.46
After easily winning the election, Kleberg gave Miller, the lobbyist, carte blanche permission to use his Capitol Hill office as if it were his own. Often Kleberg never went to the office at all. In essence, Miller was the unelected congressman for the 14th District and Kleberg was merely a figurehead;47 however, the work of the Kleberg’s constituency was left to his legislative assistant, Lyndon Johnson.48
Under Miller’s tutelage, Johnson learned to play hardball politics. When Kleberg’s bid for re-election was challenged in the 1932 Democratic primary by a more liberal candidate, Carl Wright Johnson; Lyndon Johnson, Roy Miller and another Texas politician, Welly Hopkins, maligned the challenger’s character, calling him a "communist," guilty of "radicalism" and "similar filth and slime."49 Carl Johnson didn’t have a chance in a district so thoroughly controlled by the King Ranch. Newspapers gave him limited coverage.50 Needless to say, the challenger lost.51
Ironically, Kleberg won ten of eleven counties in his district; but the one he lost was Lyndon Johnson’s home county of Blanco. Some residents of the county felt that Kleberg lost in Blanco because many of the voters disliked the congressman’s legislative assistant. According to Johnson’s aid, Gene Latimer, "He worked hard—he just broke his back—to get those people to like him, but they just didn’t."52
Johnson’s Mentor, Senator Alvin Jacob Wirtz
Alvin Jacob Wirtz was a lawyer and legislator, first a state senator from Texas, then a United States Senator for the same state. In 1935, Wirtz came to Washington and helped organize the Lower Colorado River Authority. He specialized in oil and water law and was appointed general counsel to the newly established LCRA. Working closely with United States Representative Lyndon Johnson, he helped the river authority secure grants and loans from the Public Works Administration, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and the Rural Electrification Administration.53
More than any one person, Alvin Wirtz helped pave Lyndon Johnson’s early rise to power. Ed Clark, a colleague of Wirtz’ for years said of him, "What he wanted was P-O-W-E-R—power over other men. He wanted power, but he didn’t want to get it by running for office. He liked to sit quietly, smoke a cigar. He would sit and work in his library, and plan and scheme, and usually he would get somebody out in front of him so that nobody knew it was Alvin Wirtz who was doing it. He would sit and scheme in the dark. He wasn’t an outgoing person. But he was the kind of person who didn’t want to lose any fights. And he didn’t lose many."54
As an attorney, Wirtz had a reputation among collegues for being ruthless. A San Antonio attorney observed that he was "a conniver—a conniver like I never saw before or since. Sharp, cunning." Another attorney commented that "He would gut you if he could. But you would probably never know he did it. I mean, that was a man who would do anything—and he would still be smiling when he slipped you the knife."55
In 1917 Wirtz moved his family to Seguin, where he continued his law practice until 1934. From 1922 to 1930 Wirtz served as state senator from Guadalupe County. During his time in the legislature, Wirtz became involved with a group of citizens interested in the development of the Guadalupe River as a source of hydroelectric power.56 As someone driven by a need to obtain power over men, Wirtz viewed dams as a means of acquiring it.57
In 1934 Wirtz moved to Austin after being run out of Seguin by disgruntled farmers who believed his dam projects had cheated them out of their land. This was result of his dealings with businessman Samuel Insull of Chicago. Insull had retained Wirtz to procure land from farmers along the Guadalupe River for the purpose of building six small dams for irrigation. The farmers were unwilling to sell, but through legal maneuvering, Wirtz got the government to purchase the farmers’ land at low prices. On February 26, 1934, Tom Hollamon, Sr—a sixty-seven-year-old farmer and former Texas Ranger—walked into Wirtz’s office, where he was meeting with Insull representatives, and began shooting. Before being disarmed, one Chicago financier was dead. Hollamon was arrested for murder, but Wirtz was quickly run out of town by the locals.58
In Austin Wirtz organized the law firm of Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut, and Gideon. Things seemed bleak for awhile, but Roosevelt’s New Deal gave him a chance to revive his dream of becoming a power mogul. During Roosevelt’s "Hundred Days" portion of the New Deal, $3.3 billion of federal money was slowly released into the economy for public works which included dams. Eventually a $10,000,000 dam project, the Marshall Ford Dam, became the vehicle by which Wirtz could acquire the power he sought. The contract was awarded to one of Wirtz’ clients, Brown & Root.59
Brown & Root: Johnson’s Primary Financial Supporter
Throughout Lyndon Johnson’s career, Brown & Root was his biggest financial supporter. Today the company is a huge defense contractor. It was founded by Herman Brown in the 1920s. The son of a Belton, Texas shopkeeper, Herman’s career had a humble beginning. But Alvin Wirtz and Lyndon Johnson helped Brown & Root acquire huge defense contracts from President Roosevelt in the late 1930s. The company prospered a great deal after America’s entry into World War II. Brown & Root returned the favor by giving Johnson virtually any financial help he requested.
Brown & Root continued to grow as the primary contractor for building military bases. When Johnson got America into the Vietnam War, Brown & Root made a fortune constructing military bases in Southeast Asia. They built the Tan Son Nhut Air Base and reportedly built many of the infamous tiger cages used to brutalize and torture suspected enemies of the Saigon regime.60 Tiger Cages were cells constructed below ground with just enough room to fit one person. Prisoners were put in these as punishment for various infractions of the rules.
As of this writing (2002) Brown & Root is owned by the Halliburton Company, a prestigious defense contractor based in Dallas, Texas. Until July 25, 2000, Vice-President Dick Cheney was CEO and chairman of the board of the Halliburton Company. The following is a profile of the Halliburton Company from Yahoo.com stock quotes:
Halliburton Company provides services and equipment to energy, industrial and governmental customers. The Company operates in two business segments: Energy Services Group and Engineering and Construction Group. The Energy Services Group provides a range of discrete services and products to customers for the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. The segment serves independent, integrated and national oil companies. The Engineering and Construction Group segment, consisting of Kellogg Brown & Root and Brown & Root Services, provides a range of services to energy and industrial customers and government entities worldwide. Halliburton operates in 120 countries.
Halliburton Company provides a variety of services, equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction to energy, industrial and govermental customers. For the nine months ended 9/30/01, revenues rose 13% to $9.87 billion. Net income from continuing operations before account. Change increased 96% to $410 million. Revenues reflect higher rig counts and increased prices. Earnings also reflect increased utilization of equipment and personnel.
The Rags to Riches Story of Brown & Root
At the age of sixteen (1909), Herman Brown got a job earning two dollars a day carrying a rod to assist surveyors. For ten years, he lived in a crowded tent for members of the construction crew. In fact, when he got married in 1917, he and his wife, Margaret Root, spent their wedding night in a tent, and a tent was their first home.61
At the age of twenty-one, Herman became a contractor. At that time, successful contractors had to know how to handle mules and men. Herman quickly gained a reputation for getting the maximum amount of work from men working on construction contracts. Later, he took on two partners. As a favor to his wife, Margaret Root, Herman made her brother, Dan Root, a partner; along with Herman’s brother George. When Dan Root died, the firm’s name remained unchanged out of affection to Herman’s wife.62
After the success of the Marshall Ford Dam, Herman Brown was looking for even bigger projects for his construction company. Something big was about to happen. In 1938, Congress, at President Roosevelt’s request, had authorized the expenditure of a billion dollars on a "two-ocean" Navy. By early 1939 it had become clear that a substantial portion of that billion would be spent on the construction of naval bases and training stations for a greatly expanded Navy Air Force. On April 26, 1939, Roosevelt had signed into law a bill authorizing the expenditure of $66,800,000 for the first of such bases. Brown’s attention was already focused on the Navy because Lyndon Johnson was a member of the Naval Affairs Committee. He decided to bid on one of the bases—in San Juan, Puerto Rico—authorized in the April bill. Unfortunately, Johnson did not have enough influence within the White House, and Brown was not awarded the San Juan contract.63
An important political dynamic had developed between President Roosevelt and his Texan Vice-President John Garner. In 1937 the conservative Garner broke with liberal Roosevelt over the latter's plan to enlarge the Supreme Court. In 1940 Garner challenged Roosevelt for the Democratic presidential nomination but lost.64
Meanwhile, there was talk of another naval air base for Texas, on the Gulf of Corpus Christi. Obviously Brown wanted that contract, but he had been a Garner supporter for years. So had Corpus Christi’s Congressman, Richard Kleberg. In fact, Kleberg’s primary handler, Roy Miller, was Garner’s campaign manager. Lyndon Johnson too, had long supported Garner. All parties knew that in order to get the Corpus Christi contract, they would have to unilaterally endorse Roosevelt over Garner. The Texans chose to drop Garner by sending a subtle political signal to Roosevelt rather than overtly pledging their support to him.65
In the midst of this turmoil, George Brown wrote a letter to Johnson pledging his support:
In the past I have not been very timid about asking you to do favors for me and hope you will not get any timidity if you have anything at all that you think I can or should do. Remember that I am for you, right or wrong, and it makes no difference if I think you are right or wrong. If you want it, I am for it 100%.66
In Houston, where Brown & Root’s headquarters were located, Herman Brown’s political influence was growing, and the city’s Congressman, Albert Thomas, a junior Representative with negligible clout in Washington, was known to take Herman’s orders unquestionably. In August, Congressman Thomas had said, "Of course every member of the Texas delegation is for Vice President Garner." In December 1939, Thomas made another statement. He was not for Garner after all, he said. He was for Roosevelt.67 This was a signal to Roosevelt, sent by Johnson et al, that they had dumped their longtime political ally, John Garner.
Roosevelt responded positively with two reciprocal signals. First, on January 2, 1940, he appointed Alvin J. Wirtz as Under Secretary of the Interior. Wirtz was the attorney for Brown & Root and had been recommended by Lyndon Johnson. Wirtz would be second in command only to Harold Ickes. Second, the White House went out of its way to cite Representative Lyndon Johnson as the person who "presented Wirtz’s name." Presidential Secretary Stephen Early stated that "neither Texas Senator was consulted," nor was Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn or Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones. To readers of political signals, it was clear that Lyndon Johnson had become a key White House ally.68
In addition, the Navy Department was quietly informed by the White House that Lyndon Johnson was to be consulted—and advice taken—on the awarding of Navy contracts in Texas.69
Consequently, Brown & Root began obtaining coveted Navy Department contracts. The Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was awarded to Brown & Root without competitive bidding. Instead it was awarded on a "negotiated basis." Because the contract was so big, Brown & Root was directed by the Roosevelt administration to share the profits with another contractor, Kaiser.70
Friendship With J. Edgar Hoover
It has been well documented that Hoover and Johnson had been friends since 1945 when a young Senator Johnson and his family moved onto the same block of Washington’s Thirtieth Place where Hoover lived.71
John Edgar Hoover (1895 - 1972) was born in Washington, DC—the youngest of four children—and rarely left the city his entire life. He lived with his mother at 413 Seward Square until her death in 1938. Afterward he continued living there with his companion and associate director at the FBI, Clyde Tolson.72 It is common knowledge that the two were homosexual lovers.
In 1917, Hoover entered the Department of Justice as a file reviewer. Within two years he became special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in the Woodrow Wilson administration. In that position, he oversaw the mass roundups and deportations of suspected Bolsheviks (Communists) after World War I. In May of 1924, he was named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (as it was then called) and confirmed as director seven months later. Finding the Bureau in disarray because of the scandals of the Harding administration, he reorganized and rebuilt it, establishing a fingerprint file, which became the world's largest; a scientific crime-detection laboratory; and the FBI National Academy, to which selected law enforcement officers from all parts of the country were sent for special training.73
By the early 1930s, the Bureau was involved in the pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde and the Ma Barker Gang, the shooting and killing of notorious bank robber John Dillinger, investigating the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son, and countless other sensational stories.74
In the summer of 1936, Hoover began to have secret meetings with President Roosevelt where the FBI was granted executive authority to expand into intelligence gathering—particularly in areas of subversive activities in America, including Communism and fascism. With Roosevelt’s support, the FBI grew from 391 agents in 1933 to nearly 5,000 by the end of World War II.75
After war, the Hoover exploited anticommunist hysteria of the Cold War to intensify the FBI’s intelligence activities. It is widely known that Hoover leaked derogatory material on Martin Luther King in the 1960s as part of his secret counterintelligence (COINTELPRO) program. Former assistant FBI Director William Sullivan commented on Hoover’s surveillance of Kennedy and King in a book, The Bureau, published posthumously in 1979.(Footnote 22) The following is an excerpt from that book:
Hoover was always gathering damaging material on Jack Kennedy, which the President, with his active social life, seemed more than willing to provide. We never put any technical surveillance on JFK, but whatever came up was automatically funneled directly to Hoover. I was sure he was saving everything he had on Kennedy, and on Martin Luther King, Jr., too, until he could unload it all and destroy them both. He kept this kind of explosive material in his personal files, which filled four rooms on the fifth floor of headquarters.
In January 1964, shortly after Hoover’s 69th birthday (Jan. 1st) and less than two months after Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson signed an Executive Order exempting Hoover from retiring on his 70th birthday, which was mandatory at that time. It should be noted that Johnson was also gearing up the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s death in that timeframe. Consequently, it is not implausible to think that Johnson’s Executive Order may have been an incentive to Hoover not to conduct a serious investigation of the assassination. It might have been a reward as well, since many of the FBI’s cover-up activities had already been accomplished by January.78
Sullivan also observed that the relationship between Johnson and Hoover changed after Johnson assumed the presidency. The following is an excerpt from Sullivan’s posthumous book, The Bureau:
They remained close when Johnson served as Vice President, but there was a change in their relationship when Johnson became President. The Director was over 65 by that time, past retirement age for federal employees, and he stayed in office only because of a special waiver which required the President’s signature each year. That waiver put Hoover right in Johnson’s pocket. With that leverage, Johnson began to take advantage of Hoover, using the Bureau as his personal investigative arm. His never-ending requests were usually political, and sometimes illegal… And Hoover hot-footed it to Johnson’s demands… he found himself very much in the back seat, almost a captive of the President …
- Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 50
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of Ruth Ament Huffman, wife of Joseph Baines. The website search indicated that Ruth Ament Huffman’s parents were Mary Elizabeth Perrin and John S. Huffman.
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 850 (Index: Ruth Ament Huffman, "LBJ’s grandmother," is listed under "Baines.")
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 850 (Index: Joseph Wilson Baines, "LBJ’s grandfather," is listed under "Baines.")
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 50
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of Mary Perrin, wife of John Huffman. The website search indicated that Mary Perrin’s parents were Dicea Kerby and William Perrin.
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of John S. Huffman, husband of Mary Elizabeth Perrin. The website search indicated that John S. Huffman’s parents were Suzanne Ament and John S. Huffman.
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 61
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 166-169
- David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001-05-11/books_feature.html
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 295
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 296
- Mark Odintz, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/TT/fta26.html
- Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 294
- ibid, Path to Power, p 219
- Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 219
- Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 219
- Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 220
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 218
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 220
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 221
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 272
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 293
- Michael L. Gillette, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/WW/fwi70.html
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 373
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376
- Michael L. Gillette, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/WW/fwi70.html
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376-377
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp 378-379
- Reliable source within the intelligence community (deceased)
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 369-371
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 371
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 581-582
- Encyclopedia Britannica: John Garner
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 582-583
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 583
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 583-584
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 584
- Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 584-585
- Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 223
- ibid, p. 214
- Encyclopedia Britannica: J. Edgar Hoover
- Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 218; Encyclopedia Britannica: John Dillinger
- Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 220
- The quotation from William Sullivan, regarding Hoover’s surveillance of JFK and MLK, was obtained from Jim Marrs’s book, Crossfire, pp. 221 - 222. Marrs cited William Sullivan’s posthumous book,The Bureau, p. 50.
- Jim Marrs, Crossfire, pp. 216 - 217
- Jim Marrs, Crossfire, pp. 223 - 224. Marrs cited Executive Order 11154 as the tool used by Johnson to exempt Hoover from mandatory retirement at age 70.
- The quotation from William Sullivan, regarding Johnson and Hoover’s relation, was obtained from Jim Marrs’s book, Crossfire, p. 224. Marrs cited William Sullivan’s posthumous book, The Bureau, pp. 60 - 61.
LBJ’s "Passionate Attachment" to Israel
As some readers may know, the term "passionate attachment" was used by George Washington in his farewell address in 1796. Washington advised citizens of the new republic to renounce any "passionate attachment"(Footnote 23) with another nation, and also to repudiate "inveterate hatred" toward another country. In the Twentieth Century, the United States failed to heed Washington’s warnings on both counts. Shortly after World War II, we developed an "inveterate hatred" of the Soviet Union and formed a "passionate attachment" to Israel, although the latter accelerated dramatically under the Johnson Administration.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last American president in the Twentieth Century to successfully stand up to the pressures and unyielding annoyances of the Israeli government and its American supporters. Although President Kennedy shared his predecessor’s views intellectually, he entered the White House after an extremely close election. Consequently, he had to assume a more cautious approach.
The Eisenhower administration’s Middle East policy is important for two reasons. First of all, it demonstrated that a strong American president can stand up to Israel. Secondly, it reveals that Lyndon Johnson—then Senate Majority Leader—was Eisenhower’s most influential political adversary regarding Israel.
Two major incidents occurred on Eisenhower’s watch where Israel acted as an aggressor toward its neighbors and toward Palestinians living in the region. The first incident occurred in 1953 and involved Israel’s effort to secretly divert waters of the Jordan. The second incident occurred in 1957 when Israel conspired with France and Britain to attack Egypt and overthrow that country’s leader, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, after he nationalized the Suez Canal in defiance of Israel and the Western powers. In the latter incident, Lyndon Johnson used all of his political muscle as Senate Majority Leader to prevent the UN from imposing sanctions on Israel—the sanctions were fully supported by the Eisenhower administration—for its flagrant disregard for international law. In both instances, Eisenhower forced Israel to behave by temporarily cutting off American aid.
1953: The Jordan River Diversion
Israel secretly planned to use the Palestinian village of Banat Ya’qub for a major water diversion project that would move waters of the Jordan Valley to central Israel and the North Negev. The UN, the US, and the Palestinians who lived in that area were unaware of Israel’s plans. Earlier, the Eisenhower administration had offered to implement an American-sponsored regional water-usage plan, and Israel had promised to cooperate in that effort. But in reality, Israel secretly wanted complete control of the flow of water in the region, despite its commitments to the Americans. Consequently, a dispute ensued over the control of Palestinian territory near Banat Ya’qub.
Unaware of Israel’s hidden agenda, UN Representative, Dr. Ralph Bunche, worked out a truce agreement where disputed lands would be evacuated by Syrian forces. The agreement stipulated that Israel must allow Arab inhabitants to continue farming there. Israel also agreed that it would not occupy the disputed area, but would allow it to be a neutral zone.
Immediately after the Syrian troops withdrew, the Israelis broke their promise and drove the Palestinian farmers from the land. The Syrian troops responded by opening fire to drive out the settlers. Israel responded by complaining that the Syrians had violated the truce and asserted a right to occupy the areas. UN Truce Observers immediately cited Israel as the instigator and essentially stated that the Syrian troops were justified in retaliating against Israel for violating the truce agreement.
The Israelis took the strategy that if they completed the water diversion project at Banat Ya’qub, then the UN would back down because the work simply could not be undone. So the Israelis began working aggressively on the project. They worked non-stop, twenty-four hours a day using searchlights at night to hasten completion. But secrecy was still key. They omitted appropriations for the project from their published budget. In addition, they did not mention it to Americans working with them on other water projects; however, US intelligence soon detected their activity.
President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles realized that Israel had openly deceived them and had no intention of keeping its earlier promise to cooperate in the American-sponsored regional water-usage plan. To show its displeasure, the Eisenhower administration withheld $26 million under the Mutual Security Act and suspended economic aid until Israel agreed to cooperate with UN observers. In addition, President Eisenhower directed the Treasury to prepare an Executive Order removing tax-deductible status from contributions by Jewish Americans to such Zionist organizations as the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). Eisenhower did not make these actions public because he did not want to humiliate the Israelis; however, the Israelis interpreted his magnanimous gesture as a sign of weakness. As a result, they continued work on the project—convinced that the Americans would back down.
Israel’s strategy might have worked had Israel not launched a bloody raid on the village of Kibya on the night of October 14, 1953. In that attack, twenty-five-year-old Ariel Sharon and his three hundred Israeli commandos, known as Force 101, massacred fifty-three Palestinian civilians. According to a UN report, Sharon’s forces drove the villagers into their homes then blew them up.
The Eisenhower administration condemned the raid and, for the first time, publicly revealed that it had already suspended construction funds for Israel’s water supply. Their was a huge backlash against Eisenhower. The US government was denounced by Hadassah, a Jewish charitable organization. An attaché at the Israeli Embassy attempted to divert attention from the water controversy by claiming—in a widely publicized speech—that the Kibya raid was in response to Jordanian aggression. Pro-Israeli congressmen and David Ben-Gurion accused Eisenhower and his advisers of anti-Semitism.
But Eisenhower stood firm and continued to withhold funds from Israel. Fearing a financial burden, Israeli representatives informed President Eisenhower—on October 19—that work had ceased on the water diversion project and that Israel would cooperate with the Security Counsil’s efforts to solve the Jordan River Development problem. Within twenty-four hours, America restored aid to Israel.
Eisenhower demonstrated that Israel responded faster to cutting off the money flow than anything else; however, the Israelis interpreted America’s quick restoration of aid as proof that they could manipulate the superpower by applying adequate pressure. Ultimately, Israel completed the project in a slightly altered manner.1
Nov. 1956: The Suez Crisis
The stage was set for the Suez Crisis in 1955 when the Eisenhower administration began pressuring Israel to demonstrate its commitment to peace in the Middle East.
On February 28, 1955, President Gamal Adbel Nasser made a speech full of warnings against Israeli atrocities. He emphasized a bloody raid on the Gaza Strip by the Israelis, allegedly a retaliation for raids made from Gaza. Nasser was also upset with the United States for denying his request for arms a few months earlier. In his speech he repeated the request for Egypt to buy arms but was ignored.
On September 4, 1955, Egypt announced that it had received a proposal from the Soviet Union for an arms sale. The Eisenhower administration treated this as an idle threat which angered Nasser. As a result, he brokered a cotton-for-arms barter agreement with Czechoslovakia on September 27 in which Egypt received $200 million worth of arms—tanks, MiG planes, artillery, submarines, and small arms.
Israel immediately renewed its joint arms agreement with the United States, France, and Britain. In addition, Israel requested a treaty guaranteeing its security, but it was denied by the Western powers because they knew that Israel’s military strength was vastly superior to the neighboring Arab nations.
On August 26, 1955, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made a speech before the Council of Foreign Relations in New York in which he outlined terms for peace in the Middle East. He stated that the problem of Palestinian refugees could be solved, but Israel should not be expected to assume the full cost. He proposed that Congress approve an international loan to finance the resettlement or repatriating of Palestinian refugees. The loan would also help develop irrigation projects to assist refugees in cultivating their land for growing crops.
The Israelis were somewhat agitated by Dulles’s speech because he mentioned a possible boundary revision. Dulles promptly responded to clarify the American position. He stated in no uncertain terms that if Sharett and Ben-Gurion (Israeli leaders) wanted American diplomatic, political, and military aid, they would have to demonstrate their peaceful intentions by helping resolve the sensitive problems of Palestinian refugees and boundary disputes. On November 9, President Eisenhower—who was in a Denver hospital convalescing from a heart attack—confirmed Dulles’s position in a formal statement made from his hospital bed.2
At that point, it became clear that the United States could no longer be counted on to support Israel’s continuing efforts to expand its borders. Consequently, Israel turned to the European powers for support. Over the next year, trouble began to arise over the Suez Canal.
The Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest seagoing route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world's most heavily used shipping lanes.3
On July 26, 1956, Egyptian President Nasser angered Israel and the European powers when he nationalized the Suez Canal. He took this bold action because he felt that friends of Israel in America had cheated him out of US aide for the Aswan Dam that Egypt needed for irrigation and power. The dam cost $1.3 billion and Nasser had been given the impression by the Eisenhower administration that US aide would be forthcoming; however, friends of Israel in America pressured the Senate Appropriations Committee into blocking funding for the dam. On July 16, 1956, funding was officially denied—much to the chagrin of President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. To make matters worse, the State Department issued a statement, on July 19, critically appraising Egypt’s international credit. Nasser felt that this was a ruse created by friends of Israel in America, and he responded by seizing control of the canal and nationalizing the Suez Canal Company in order to obtain funds for the dam.4
On October 29, 1956, Israel attacked Egypt and advanced toward the Suez Canal. On November 1, British and French forces also invaded Egypt and began occupation of the canal zone, but growing opposition from President Eisenhower, Secretary of State Dulles, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, and Soviet threats of intervention put an immediate stop to British and French support, but Israeli troops still occupied the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gaza Strip in defiance of a UN resolution.5 Eisenhower was so angered by European involvement in the attack that he telephoned British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and gave him such a tongue-lashing that the Prime Minister was reduced to tears.6 (Footnote 24)
Eisenhower told Dulles: "Foster, you tell’em, goddamn it, we’re going to apply sanctions, we’re going to the United Nations, we’re going to do everything that there is to stop this thing." He later explained, "We just told the Israelis it was absolutely indefensible and that if they expect our support in the Middle East and in maintaining their position, they had better behave… We went to town right away to give them hell."
UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld shared Eisenhower’s view that Israel needed to learn to behave. Consequently, Hammarskjöld and Ben-Gurion engaged in some heated exchanges after the UN Secretary General publicly condemned Israel for its retaliatory actions against Palestinians. In 1956 Ben-Gurion complained that Hammarskjöld’s remarks had encouraged assaults on Israel by Egypt and Jordan. Hammarskjöld replied as follows:
You are convinced that the threat of retaliation has a deterrent effect. I am convinced that it is more of an incitement to individual members of the Arab forces than even what has been said by their own governments. You are convinced that acts of retaliation will stop further incidents. I am convinced that they will lead to further incidents….You believe that this way of creating respect for Israel will pave the way for sound coexistence with the Arab people. I believe that the policy may postpone indefinitely the time for such coexistence…. I think the discussion of this question can be considered closed since you, in spite of previous discouraging experiences, have taken the responsibility of large-scale tests of the correctness of your belief.7
On February 2, 1957, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution demanding Israel’s withdrawal from the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gaza Strip, but Ben-Gurion refused. Fed up with Israel’s treachery, Eisenhower wrote a strong letter to Ben-Gurion demanding Israel’s withdrawal. Still Ben-Gurion refused.8
Feb. 1957: LBJ Rescued Israel From UN Sanctions
It had been rumored that UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden was quietly pushing for sanctions—with the full support of the Eisenhower administration—against Israel if it continued to maintain troops in the Gulf of Aqaba and Gaza in defiance of US and UN demands for immediate withdrawal. In response, Lyndon Johnson—then Senate Majority Leader—wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles urging the Eisenhower Administration not to support UN sanctions against Israel. Johnson’s letter to Dulles appeared in the New York Times on February 20, 1957. The Senate Majority Leader’s argument was that it was an unfair double-standard to punish a small country like Israel when large countries like the Soviet Union were allowed to openly defy UN resolutions without being punished.9
In addition, Johnson rallied Senate Democrats to oppose Israel sanctions.(Footnote 25) He used partisan politics to pressure Eisenhower into retreating from principle, but Eisenhower stood his ground and kept applying pressure to Israel by cutting off or delaying financial assistance. When Israel began to run out of money, in March 1957, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion finally agreed to withdraw troops from the occupied territories. President Eisenhower triumphed, but Johnson had protected Israel from the humiliation of UN sanctions. Sadly, Eisenhower was the last US president to stand up to the Israeli government and it’s American supporters. At least he proved it could be done.10
Ironically, one of the best accounts of Lyndon Johnson’s involvement in the Suez Crisis was written by Louis Bloomfield in his 1957 book entitled Egypt, Israel and the Gulf of Aqaba. In the ensuing years, Johnson’s involvement in that conflict has been erased from history. Although his pro-Israel stance appeared on the front page of the New York Times on February 20, 1957, his name is not mentioned in Western history books about the Suez Crisis (none that I have found anyway, except Bloomfield’s). The power elite within the book publishing industry have apparently been concealing Johnson’s loyalty to Israel as a means of preventing inquiries by historians, researchers, and investigators about a possible Jewish conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy years later.
This is how Bloomfield described Johnson’s pro-Israel stance during the Suez/Gulf of Aqaba Crisis:
|On February 11th, 1957, Mr. John Foster Dulles, United States Secretary of State, submitted certain Proposals to the Israeli Government which were, in effect, that:|
"Israel should withdraw her troops from the Gulf of Aqaba region and the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations General Assembly.
The United States should use all its influence to establish the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as an international waterway for the innocent passage of all nations, including Israel.
Meanwhile the United States should do everything it could to see that United Nations troops replaced the Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip and that that area should become a kind of de facto United Nations trusteeship where United Nations officials would watch and if possible stop any fighting between Israel and Egypt."
Subsequent discussion between the United States Secretary of State and Mr. Abba Eban did not bring about the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from these two areas and rumours began to circulate in the American press that the Afro-Asian bloc would introduce resolutions calling for economic and military sanctions to force Israel to comply with the withdrawal resolutions.
On February 19th, 1957, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, the Senate Majority Leader, wrote to Mr. John Foster Dulles urging that the United States oppose imposing of economic sanctions against Israel by the United Nations. The letter was endorsed by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Jul. 2, 1957: Senator Kennedy Made a Controversial Speech About Algeria
On July 2, 1957, John F. Kennedy—then a US Senator—made a speech, "Facing Facts on Algeria," which denounced France’s colonial occupation of Algeria and the brutality of the French-Algerian War. The speech also demonstrated an understanding of Indochina that would likely have prevented him from escalating US military involvement in Vietnam had he not been killed.
Historian Richard Mahoney summarized the speech and events that preceded and followed it:
Early in 1957, Kennedy decided to make a major critique of the [Eisenhower] administration’s position on France’s colonial war in Algeria. By 1957, the French had committed over 500,000 troops to the effort to suppress the nationalist rebellion. Torture, atrocity, and terror on both sides had turned the pride of France’s empire into a chamber of horrors. …the Eisenhower administration had been maintaining a policy of strict silence in Algeria – at least until Kennedy’s attack, which The New York Times called "the most comprehensive and outspoken arraignment of Western policy toward Algeria yet presented by an American in public office."
On July 2, 1957, Kennedy accused the Eisenhower administration of courting disaster in Algeria. He charged that Eisenhower’s policy of non-involvement in Africa and Asia was really made up of "tepid encouragement and moralizations to both sides, cautious neutrality on all the real issues, and a restatement of our obvious dependence upon our European friends, and our obvious dedication nevertheless to the principles of self-determination, and our obvious desire not to become involved." The result, Kennedy said, was that, "We have deceived ourselves into believing that we have thus pleased both sides and displeased no one … when, in truth, we have earned the suspicion of all."
The previous decade had proven that the tide of nationalism in the Third World – from Indochina to India to Indonesia – was "irresistible," Kennedy declared. It was time for France to face the fact that Algeria had to be freed. When would the West learn, he asked, that colonies "are like fruit that cling to the tree only till they ripen?" Didn’t the French debacle in Indochina, which ended at Dien Bien Phu, serve as a warning of what lay ahead for France in Algeria if something were not done?
[Referring to lessons that should have been learned from France’s Indochina debacle, Kennedy stated,]
"Did that tragic episode not teach us whether France likes it or not, admits it or not, or has our support or not, that their overseas territories are sooner or later, one by one, going to break free and look with suspicion on the Western nations who impeded their steps to independence? … Nationalism in Africa cannot be evaluated purely in terms of the historical and legal niceties argued by the French and thus far accepted by the State Department. National self-identification frequently takes place by quick combustion which the rain of repression simply cannot extinguish."
In the United States, a storm of protest greeted Kennedy’s address on "Facing Facts on Algeria." President Eisenhower complained about "young men getting up and shouting about things." Secretary [of State John Foster] Dulles commented acidly that if the senator wanted to tilt against colonialism, perhaps he might concentrate on the communist variety. Most prominent Democrats were equally scornful. Adlai Stevenson dismissed Kennedy’s speech as "terrible." Dean Acheson described the speech as "foolish words that wound … a dispirited ally."
In France, the speech provoked an even more furious outcry. Paris’s largest daily, "Le Figaro," remarked: "It is shameful that our business is so badly directed that we are forced to endure such idiocies." U.S. News and World Report noted that "An American has unified France – against himself!" Responding to Kennedy’s speech, French President Rene Coty told the French Senate that France would "never negotiate with cutthroats since independence would give the 1,200,000 Europeans living in Algeria one alternative – leaving their homeland or living at the mercy of fanaticism." French Defense Minister Andre Morice publicly wondered whether Kennedy was "having nightmares." Talk of independence, Morice said, "will cost many more innocent lives," Harvard historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. reported to Kennedy from Paris that summer that "Algeria is beginning to poison France."
In Algeria itself, feeling among the European colonists against the speech ran so high that French authorities warned American newsmen and residents to stay off the streets to avoid reprisals. Two days after the speech a bomb exploded outside the American consulate in Algiers. The French Resident Minister in Algiers, Robert Lacoste, called the bomb "a Communist joke" and challenged Kennedy to come to Algeria. The senator declined.
…Practically no one in the American foreign-policy establishment regarded the Algeria speech as anything more than a partisan political blast designed to attract attention. But foreign correspondents such as Alistair Cooke of the Manchester Guardian and Henri Pierre of Le Monde recognized what their American counterparts had not – that Kennedy knew what he was talking about on Third World issues. In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, Pierre wrote: "Strangely enough, as a Frenchman I feel that on the whole Mr. Kennedy is more to be commended than blamed for his forthright, frank and provocative speech."
Although Le Monde opposed Kennedy’s call for Algerian independence, it identified the senator as one of the few serious students of history in American politics: "The most striking point of the speech of Mr. Kennedy is the important documentation it revealed and his thorough knowledge of the French milieu."
Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Algeria
In his 1957 speech about Algeria, "Senator" Kennedy was highly critical of the Eisenhower administration; however, the political dynamic involved must be considered. Kennedy’s views about Israel and the Middle East in general were closer to Eisenhower’s than Johnson’s. Having stated that, it is significant to understand that Kennedy’s public endorsement of an independent Algeria was a subtle criticism of Israel. It is widely known that Israel opposed Algeria’s independence because it (Israel) wanted to oppress or dominate all Muslim/Arab states. Although Eisenhower had not publicly supported Algerian independence, it seems plausible that he may have agreed with Kennedy but lacked the political courage to denounce France as the young Senator had boldly done in his speech. Upon reflection, Eisenhower may have secretly admired Kennedy for publicly denouncing America’s World War II ally. After all, France had recently betrayed Eisenhower by secretly conniving with Israel and Britain to attack Egypt after President Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal.(Footnote 26)
Kennedy surely understood how much he and Eisenhower agreed on Middle Eastern issues, but Eisenhower belonged to the opposing political party; and Kennedy and Johnson both had their eyes on the White House in the upcoming 1960 presidential campaign. Consequently, one of Kennedy’s objectives when making the Algerian speech was likely to differentiate himself from the sitting Republican President and his Democratic adversary, Johnson. Although Kennedy and Johnson held opposing views about Israel, they could not openly criticize each other because they were both Democrats. But since Eisenhower was a Republican, it made sense politically for a Democratic Senator to criticize him for not supporting Algerian independence. The speech also sent a message to informed political observers that unlike Johnson, Kennedy would not be a minion for Israel if elected president.
Even more important, Kennedy’s Algerian speech made the front page of the New York Times which put him in the same league as Senate Majority Leader Johnson. Recall that Johnson had made the front page of the New York Times five months earlier (Feb. 1957) for opposing Eisenhower’s efforts to place UN sanctions on Israel in the wake of that country’s failed attempt to seize land from Egypt and overthrow Nasser in the Suez Crisis of 1956 and 57.
Jun. 5, 1967: The Six Day War
Ten years after the Suez Crisis, Israel attacked Egypt again; but this time with success. The event is known as the Six Day War which began on June 5, 1967. Things had changed a great deal over the ten years leading up to the Six Day War. Israel’s most influential adversaries had either died or left public office. Eisenhower had retired years earlier and was in failing health. John Foster Dulles had died of cancer in 1959. Dag Hammarskjöld had been killed in a mysterious plane crash in the Congolese province of Katanga in 1961. President Kennedy of course had been assassinated in Dallas in 1963. And Israel’s old ally, Lyndon Johnson, had become Commander-in-Chief of the United States. In July of 1965, President Johnson had appointed Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg as US ambassador to the UN. Goldberg—a Jew and ardent supporter of Israel—replaced Adlai Stevenson as US delegate to the UN after Stevenson died suddenly of a heart attack on July 14, 1965.(Footnote 27) The Yemen War had been eroding Arab unity since the conflict began in 1962.(Footnote 28) By 1967, Egyptian forces had suffered heavy losses and were weakened after five years of military involvement in the Yemen War.
Whether these events were random or planned is anyone’s guess, but they were definitely advantageous to Israel by the time the Six Day War occurred in 1967.
The Six Day War was a watershed event that transformed Israel from a small nation into a colonial empire. Although Israel became a nation in 1948, it expanded dramatically after the Six Day War. Israel took from the Arabs—through military force—the Old City of Jerusalem, the Sinai and the Gaza Strip, the Jordanian territory west of the Jordan River known as the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border.11 In addition to acquiring new land, Israel gained control of an additional 900,000 Arabs who became the discontented subjects of the new Israeli empire. Since 1967, the number of Arabs under Israel’s military control has grown to over 1.75 million.12
Amnesty International has documented Israel’s inhumane treatment of its Palestinian subjects citing arbitrary arrests, torturing detainees, destroying or sealing the homes of Arab suspects and their relatives, confiscating land, destroying crops, and diverting precious water from thirsty Palestinians in the desert to fill the swimming pools and water the lawns of Israeli settlers.13 This conduct is condoned, embraced, and encouraged by the United States through its steadfast financial and military support of Israel. Today, US tax payers spend approximately $3 billion annually to subsidize, support, and arm Israel. Although Israel is a wealthy country by western standards, it receives the highest amount of American foreign aid money, 28 percent.14
Jewish scholars Michael Kazin and Maurice Isserman described in their book, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, the passion ignited within American Jews by the Six Day War. They wrote the following:
|The swift, complete victory was followed by a long and wrenching occupation of Palestinian lands. For many American Jews, the 1967 conflict awakened and inspired passions that did much to transform the meaning of their identity. No longer was Israel just a reason for Jewish pride, a desert miracle of orange groves and thriving kibbutzes, whose creation was romanticized in Exodus-a popular novel and film of the late '50s and early '60s. Israel was now the homeland of fellow Jews who had fought alone for their survival and were resigned to living in perpetual danger. The threat came not just from Arab militants but from communist powers, their Third World allies, and a good many American leftists who were eager to prove their "anti-imperialist" credentials. In the face of extinction, Israel became "the ultimate reality in the life of every Jew living today," as a young professor at Brandeis University put it, "In dealing with those who oppose Israel, we are not reasonable and we are not rational. Nor should we be."15|
Those are troubling words, but they reflect the true agenda of those who support the Jewish state of Israel.
Background on the Six Day War
Understanding the Six Day War requires some background regarding the politics of the Middle East in 1967. The following men were heads of state for the countries involved in the Six Day War:
|Nation||Head of State|
|Egypt||President Gamal Abdel Nasser|
|Sryia||General Salah al-Jadid|
|Jordan||King Hussein [ibn Talal]|
|Israel||Prime Minister Levi Eshkol|
|US||President Lyndon Baines Johnson|
|USSR||Chairman Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin|
|UN||Secretary General U Thant (of Burma, now Myanmar)|
Egyptian President Nasser was a key figure in Middle Eastern affairs for seventeen years. In 1954 he became prime minister of Egypt, and in 1956 he became that country’s president—remaining in that position until his sudden death in 1970.16 Nasser had been Israel’s primary enemy because he was a charismatic Muslim leader who advocated Arab unity (also known as pan-Arabism).
Egypt has no oil of any consequence, but it has a more advanced culture than the other oil-producing Arab nations. It was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East. It is also one of the earliest urban and literate societies.17 Consequently, the other Arab nations have historically looked to Egypt for leadership.
The original antagonist of Israel in the Six Day War was Syria, led by General Salah al-Jadid, head of the Ba‘th regime.18 Although Syria—under the Ba‘th regime—was an aggressive enemy of Israel, Syria’s erratic behavior toward other Arab nations actually helped Israel. In fact, Israel used Syrian raids along the its border as a pretext for attacking Egypt and starting the Six Day War.
In March 1963 Ba‘thist supporters seized power from the "secessionist" regime in a military coup. With the Ba‘th in power, Nasser had three Arab nations against him. Those nations were Saudi Arabia and Jordan (because they supported the ousted Imam in the Yemen war) and Syria.
In April 1967 Syrian bombardments of Israeli villages had been intensified. When the Israeli Air Force shot down six Syrian MiG planes in reprisal, Egypt mobilized its forces near the Sinai border.19 Egypt had a mutual defense agreement with the Syrians, who now felt themselves in danger. As an advocate of pan-Arabism, Nasser felt obliged to help Syria. He ordered part of the Egyptian Army to move into Sinai. He thought that the presence of Egyptian forces would discourage the Israelis from attacking Syria. It was a purely defensive move designed to draw off Israeli forces from Syria. If Israel had attacked Syria, then the Egyptian Army would have carried out operations in support of the Syrians. But no offensive operations against Israel were consider.20
A standoff between Egypt and Israel ensued, and tensions mounted between the superpowers. The Soviet Union supported Egypt and the United States supported Israel. This raced the stakes considerably because it introduced the possibility of nuclear war.21
Historians now know that Israel secretly launched an attack against Egypt, but lied about it claiming that Nasser had launched the attack first. In fact Israeli Prime Minister Menachem
Begin made this admission in a speech on August 8, 1982 before the National Defense College in Jerusalem. He stated that the Six Day War was not a "war of necessity" but rather a "war of choice… Nasser did not attack us. We decided to attack him."22 This was a major admission by Begin.
On June 3, 1967, just two days before the Israelis attacked, the United States sent the aircraft carrier Intrepid through the Suez Canal with all its planes lined up on deck. Nasser thought this was an unnecessary show of force. The Egyptian people became furious. They lined the bank of the Canal and threw old shoes at the carrier. At the same time the Sixth Fleet flexed its muscles and prepared for a war situation. It was an excessive show of force by the United States.23
After Israel’s victory, Nasser was disgusted with Johnson. He felt that Johnson was dishonest and had colluded with Israel to strike first and blame it on Egypt. He was suspicious of America’s UN ambassador Arthur Goldberg, an ardent Zionist. Goldberg had immediately backed Israel in the UN when it claimed that Egypt "fired the first shot." Nasser accused Johnson of collusion, broke off diplomatic relations with the United States, and ordered all Americans out of Egypt. Several other Arab states did the same. Soon Johnson, already angered by the charge of collusion, had to watch the humiliating spectacle of twenty-four thousand American men, women, and children being thrown out of the Middle East. Johnson never forgot and never forgave.24
After Egypt’s humiliating defeat in the Six Day War, Nasser attempted to resign, but massive street demonstrations and a vote of confidence by the National Assembly induced him to remain in office. The Soviet Union immediately began replacing all the destroyed war equipment and installed surface-to-air missiles along the Suez as a cover for Egypt’s artillery installations.25
An important footnote to the Six Day War is an incident that occurred in Yemen months earlier. In early 1967, fighting in Yemen still continued. One day there was shooting in Taiz (in Yemen). Direction finders indicated that two bazooka shots came from the headquarters of the United States Point Four Aid Program—which was the CIA's cover organization. Yemeni government forces attacked the building and arrested the four people inside. The safes were opened and an enormous number of documents were found and subsequently photographed by Egyptian intelligence experts.(Footnote 29) The United States was furious at the attack on the building and demanded the documents. They were returned three weeks later, but by that time their secrets were known. Many people within the United States military became extremely hostile toward Nasser because of this event. Some believe the Six Day War was a form of retribution.26
UN Resolution 242
Within six months after the Six Day War, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 242 which called for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." In theory the UN should enforce the resolution itself, but unfortunately, reality is much different. The sad truth is the UN is unable to enforce much of anything without the support of the United States, and the United States has maintained a "passionate attachment" to Israel ever since President Johnson was in office.
Ironically, Resolution 242 was issued on the fourth anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, November 22, 1967.27 It is an extremely important document because virtually all disputes between Israel and the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states could be resolved by its enforcement.
In addition, the Israelis managed to secure ambiguous, legalistic wording for Resolution 242 which makes even more difficult to enforce;28 however, the resolution remains a highly sensitive area for American presidents and politicians to roam. The following is the entire text of the resolution:
|The Security Council,|
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Jun. 8, 1967: Israel Attacked the USS Liberty
In the midst of the Six Day War, Israel attacked the USS Liberty spy vessel killing 34 American sailors and wounding 75.
George Ball wrote a riveting account of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967. Ball’s comments are significant because he was undersecretary of state in the Johnson and Kennedy administrations. The following text is an excerpt from Ball’s book, The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement With Israel, 1947 to the Present:
During the [Six Day] War, Israel attacked the USS Liberty. The Liberty was an American intelligence-gathering vessel, then cruising in international waters near Egypt and reading the radio transmissions on both sides. It flew the American flag and was painted in US Navy colors, complete with number and name.
On the fourth day of the war [June 8, 1967], with both Jordan and Egypt routed, the Israelis turned their attention to Syria, the original cause of all this trouble. Guns mounted on the Golan Heights had subjected Galilee to sporadic bombardment for years and the Israelis had every intention of capturing those Heights before hostilities were over. Meanwhile, the United Nations had adopted a cease-fire resolution and they feared there might not be enough time to accomplish this objective without, as it were, going into overnight.
The Liberty’s presence and function were known to Israeli leaders. They presumably thought it vital that the Liberty be prevented from informing Washington of their intentions to violate any cease-fire before they had completed their occupation of the Golan. Their solution was brutal and direct.
Israel aircraft determined the exact location of the ship and undertook a combined air-naval attack. Apprised of Israel’s plans from various sources, the US Navy Department faced a delicate problem. Due regard for the lives of America’s naval personnel should have impelled the Navy to urge the State Department to warn off Israel in no uncertain terms; meanwhile, the Navy have alerted the Liberty to its danger and dispatched ships or planes for its protection. But none of these actions was taken in time.
There has, for years, been a continuing argument about the tragic lapse. Some say that a warning to Israel might have exposed U.S. sources of secret intelligence. Whatever the motive, the President or one of his aides took the decision to risk the ship and its crew, and merely ordered them, without explanation, to steam west at top speed. Unhappily, that notice was too little and taken too late. Israeli ships and planes attacked, killing 34 American sailors, wounding 75, and leaving 821 rocket and machine-gun holes in the Liberty. It was only when the Israelis were preparing to board the ship that American planes belatedly appeared from the west and forced them to retire.
The sequel was unedifying. The [Johnson] administration tried vigorously to downplay the whole matter. Although it silenced the crew, casualties to the sailors and damage to the ship could not possibly be concealed. Thus, an elaborate charade was performed. The United States complained pro forma to Israel, which reacted by blaming the victims. The ship, they rejoined, had not been clearly marked but looked like an Arab ship—which was definitely untrue. Nor did the Israelis even pretend that they had queried the American Embassy in Tel Aviv regarding the status of the well-marked ship. In the end, the Israelis tendered a reluctant and graceless apology; indemnities for the victims and damaged ship were both parsimonious and slow in coming. The sordid affair has still not been erased from the history books; an organization of devoted survivors has kept the cause alive over the years by publishing a newsletter and holding well-advertised meetings.
Yet the ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had far more effect on policy in Israel than America. Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.
Arthur Goldberg, UN Point Man
As previously stated, Adlai Stevenson died suddenly of a heart attack on July 14, 1965.29 Until his untimely death, Stevenson had represented the United States in the UN. Arthur Goldberg was a Supreme Court Justice appointed by Kennedy to a traditionally Jewish slot in the high court.(Footnote 30) At President Johnson’s request, Goldberg resigned from his position as Supreme Court justice to take the lower position of US ambassador to the UN.30 This was an extraordinary move.
Goldberg was an interesting figure. In addition to serving on the Supreme Court and as a UN diplomat, he had an impressive background in the world of espionage. During World War II, he worked with Haganah and OSS in Palestine.
After the events of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt created the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a military spy agency and precursor to the CIA.31 New York attorney William Donavan was appointed to run the newly formed agency. With Donavan in charge of the OSS, Roosevelt had created the first civilian-run spy organization in modern US history. Donavan immediately recruited another New York attorney, Allen Dulles, to help establish the organization. Goldberg was given the rank of major and he assisted Donavan and Dulles establish an OSS field office in New York. Shortly thereafter, Goldberg became—for all intents and purposes—an international spy working for the OSS. He was assigned various spy missions in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and Morocco.32
With the experience he acquired in espionage, he returned to Washington, DC and created an intelligence gathering operation. After that, he was sent on a secret mission in Palestine where he met with leaders of the illegal army of Jewish settlers, Haganah. This operation meant a great deal to Goldberg personally because he had become a Zionist rather late in life. The Haganah worked with him to coordinate a joint OSS-Haganah parachute mission into Italy to gather critical intelligence information. After the Palestine encounter, Goldberg was sent to London to recruit anti-Nazi Germans, who had been captured as spies when the allies invaded France.33
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, pp. 43 - 45
- ibid, pp. 45 - 46
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Suez Canal
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 46
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Suez Crisis
- Richard D. Mahoney, JFK: Ordeal in Africa, Chapter 1
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 251. Eisenhower’s instructions to Dulles were on p. 47 of Ball’s book. The Hammarskjöld quote regarding Ben-Gurion and Israel was on p. 251. Ball cited Brian Urquhart’s biography of Dag Hammarskjöld: Hammarskjöld, p. 157.
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 47
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, pp. 46 - 49; multiple articles about Senate Majority Leader Johnson’s support for Israel in the New York Times on February 20, 1957
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Six Day War
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 58
- ibid, p. 179
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 256
- Kazin and Isserman, America Divided, p. 253
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Gamal Abdel Nasser
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Egypt
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Six Day War; Salah al-Jadid; George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, pp. 53-56; Mohamed Heikal, The Cairo Documents, Chapter VII: Johnson and Violence, pp. 225 - 249
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Six Day War
- Mohamed Heikal, The Cairo Documents, Chapter VII: Johnson and Violence, pp. 225 - 249
- Ball, p 56
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Gamal Abdel Nasser
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 62
- ibid, pp. 62-63
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Adlai Stevenson
- ibid, Arthur Goldberg
- Edward B. Shils, Ph.D, Monthly Labor Review (January 1997), pp. 59 - 60 (excerpt from Arthur Goldberg: proof of the American dream)
American Heroin Trafficking was Introduced by Jewish Gangsters
In the 1920s, heroin smuggling and prostitution were introduced and run primarily by Jewish gangsters. Alfred McCoy made the following observation in his book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia:
At first the American Mafia ignored this new business opportunity [heroin trafficking]. Steeped in the traditions of the Sicilian "honored society," which absolutely forbade involvement in either narcotics or prostitution, the Mafia left the heroin business to the powerful Jewish gangsters—such as "Legs" Diamond, "Dutch" Schultz, and Meyer Lansky—who dominated organized crime in the 1920s. The Mafia contented itself with the substantial profits to be gained from controlling the bootleg liquor industry.1
However, in 1930-1931, only seven years after heroin was legally banned, a war erupted in the Mafia ranks. Out of the violence that left more than sixty gangsters dead came a new generation of leaders with little respect for the traditional code of honor.2
The leader of this mafioso youth movement was the legendary Salvatore C. Luciana, known to the world as Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Charming and strikingly handsome, Luciano must rank as one of the most brilliant criminal executives of the modern age.(Footnote 31) For, at a series of meetings shortly following the last of the bloodbaths that completely eliminated the old guard, Luciano outlined his plans for a modern, nationwide crime cartel. His modernization scheme quickly won total support from the leaders of America's twenty-four Mafia "families," and within a few months the National Commission was functioning smoothly. This was an event of historic proportions: almost single-handedly, Luciano built the Mafia into the most powerful criminal syndicate in the United States and pioneered organizational techniques that are still the basis of organized crime today. Luciano also forged an alliance between the Mafia and Meyer Lansky's Jewish gangs that has survived for almost 40 years and even today is the dominant characteristic of organized crime in the United States.
China’s Vietnam Strategy in 1965
On June 23, 1965, Chinese Premier Chou En-lai dined with Egyptian President Nasser in Alexandria, Egypt. The two men reportedly enjoyed each other’s company. According to Arab scholar Mohamed Heikal,(Footnote 32) Chou made the following comments to Nasser about American involvement in Vietnam:
"We are afraid some American militarists may press for a nuclear attack on China and we think that the American involvement in Indochina is an insurance policy against such an attack because we will have a lot of their flesh close to our nails.
"So the more troops they send to Vietnam, the happier we will be, for we feel that we will have them in our power, we can have their blood. So if you want to help the Vietnamese, you should encourage the Americans to throw more and more soldiers into Vietnam.
"We want them there. They will be close to China. And they will be in our grasp. They will be so close to us, they will be our hostages. …
"Some of them are trying opium. And we are helping them. We are planting the best kinds of opium especially for the American soldiers in Vietnam. Do you remember when the West imposed opium on us? They fought us with opium. And we are going to fight them with their own weapons. We are going to use their own methods against them. We want them to have a big army in Vietnam which will be hostage to us and we want to demoralize them. The effect this demoralization is going to have on the United States will be far greater than anyone realizes.
History of Opium Wars
The opium that Premier Chou planned to supply to American soldiers in Vietnam was grown in the Golden Triangle, a mountainous area of northeastern Burma, northern Thailand, and northern Laos regarded as one of the world’s most important sources of illicit opium, morphine, and heroin. Chou also made references to two Opium Wars of the Nineteenth Century. The first opium war (1839-42) was between Britain and China. The second (1856-60) involved Britain and France against China. Both wars originated from China’s efforts to limit opium trade.
Early in the 19th century, British merchants began smuggling opium into China which resulted in social and economic turmoil in the country due to widespread addiction. In 1839, China began enforcing its prohibitions on the importation of opium. At one point, the Chinese government confiscated and destroyed a large quantity of opium warehoused by British merchants at Guangzhou (Canton). Britain responded by sending gunboats to attack several Chinese coastal cities. The two countries were at war for about three years. Eventually China was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and the British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (1843). These provided that the ports of Guangzhou, Jinmen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai should be open to British trade and residence. The agreements also gave Hong Kong to the British. Within a few years other Western powers signed similar treaties with China and received commercial and residential privileges, and the Western domination of China's treaty ports began.
In 1856 a second opium war broke out following a Chinese search of a British-registered ship, the Arrow, in Guangzhou. British and French troops took Guangzhou and Tianjin and forced the Chinese to accept the treaties of Tianjin (1858), to which France, Russia, and the United States were also participants. China begrudgingly agreed to open eleven more ports, permit foreign legations in Beijing, sanction Christian missionary activity, and legalize the import of opium.
There was a brief peace, but China continued to resist British efforts to import opium. In 1859, hostilities were renewed when China attempted to block the entry of diplomats into Beijing. This time the British and French occupied Beijing and burned the imperial summer palace (Yuan ming yuan). The Beijing conventions of 1860, by which China was forced to reaffirm the terms of the Treaty of Tianjin and make additional concessions, marked the end of the second Opium War.4
The Golden Triangle
As previously stated, the Golden Triangle is a mountainous area of northeastern Burma, northern Thailand, and northern Laos. Alfred McCoy described—in his book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia—how most of the world’s illicit opium was grown in that region of the world in 1972:
Almost all of the world's illicit opium [in 1972] is grown in a narrow band of mountains that stretches along the southern rim of the great Asian land mass, from Turkey's and Anatolian plateau, through the northern reaches of the Indian subcontinent, all the way to the rugged mountains of northern Laos. Within this 4,500-mile stretch of mountain landscape, peasants and tribesmen of eight different nations harvest some fourteen hundred tons a year of raw opium, which eventually reaches the world's heroin and opium addicts." A small percentage of this fourteen hundred tons is diverted from legitimate pharmaceutical production in Turkey, Iran, and India, but most of it is grown expressly for the international narcotics traffic in South and Southeast Asia. Although Turkey was the major source of American narcotics through the 1960s, the hundred tons of raw opium its licensed peasant farmers diverted from legitimate production never accounted for more than 7 percent of the world's illicit supply.5 About 24 percent is harvested by poppy farmers in South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India). However, most of this is consumed by local opium addicts, and only insignificant quantities find their way to Europe or the United States.6 It is Southeast Asia that has become the world's most important source of illicit opium. Every year the hill tribe farmers of Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle region-northeastern Burma, northern Thailand, and northern Laos-harvest approximately one thousand tons of raw opium, or about 70 percent of the world's illicit supply.7
McCoy also implied that market forces were causing "peasants and tribesmen of eight different nations to harvest some fourteen hundred tons a year of raw opium" which was ultimately sold to heroin and opium addicts across the world.
Given that the world’s opium supply was grown in a central geographic region over which several nations ruled, it becomes significant that by the mid-1960s, the countries of Southeast Asia were the only ones left where opium production was still legal. In 1955, the Iranian government announced the complete abolition of opium growing.8 In 1967, the Turkish government announced plans to follow suit.9
It apparently became known within the worldwide heroin cartel that Turkey and Iran would eventually abolish opium production. Consequently, the CIA began supporting opium and heroin production in Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 60s. Alfred McCoy described—in his book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia—how Cold War politics influenced heroin trafficking from World War II through the Vietnam era.
The cold war was waged in many parts of the world, but Europe was the most important battleground in the 1940s and 1950s. Determined to restrict Soviet influence in western Europe, American clandestine operatives intervened in the internal politics of Germany, Italy, and France. In Sicily, the forerunner of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), formed an alliance with the Sicilian Mafia to limit the political gains of the Italian Communist party on this impoverished island. In France the Mediterranean port city of Marseille became a major battleground between the CIA and the French Communist party during the late 1940s. To tip the balance of power in its favor, the CIA recruited Corsican gangsters to battle Communist strikers and backed leading figures in the city's Corsican underworld who were at odds with the local Communists. Ironically, both the Sicilian Mafia and the Corsican underworld played a key role in the growth of Europe's postwar heroin traffic and were to provide most of the heroin smuggled into the United States for the next two decades.
However, the mid-1960s marked the peak of the European heroin industry, and shortly thereafter it went into a sudden decline. In the early 1960s the Italian government launched a crackdown on the Sicilian Mafia, and in 1967 the Turkish government announced that it would begin phasing out cultivation of opium poppies on the Anatolian plateau in order to deprive Marseille's illicit heroin laboratories of their most important source of raw material. Unwilling to abandon their profitable narcotics racket, the American Mafia and Corsican syndicates shifted their sources of supply to Southeast Asia, where surplus opium production and systematic government corruption created an ideal climate for large-scale heroin production.
And once again American foreign policy played a role in creating these favorable conditions. During the early 1950s the CIA had backed the formation of a Nationalist Chinese guerrilla army in Burma, which still controls almost a third of the world's illicit opium supply, and in Laos the CIA created a Meo mercenary army whose commander manufactured heroin for sale to Americans GIs in South Vietnam. The State Department provided unconditional support for corrupt governments openly engaged in the drug traffic. In late 1969 new heroin laboratories sprang up in the tri-border area where Burma, Thailand, and Laos converge, and unprecedented quantities of heroin started flooding into the United States. Fueled by these seemingly limitless supplies of heroin, America's total number of addicts skyrocketed.
Origins of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War began in 1955 and ended in 1975. During the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, American involvement in Vietnam was limited to clandestine espionage and training the South Vietnamese army. Kennedy increased the number of "military advisors" from about 800 to 16,000; however, this was done primarily as a show of strength to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. As tensions eased between the two superpowers in the spring, summer, and fall of 1963, Kennedy announced plans to withdraw forces from South Vietnam, starting with a thousand men by the end of 1963. Immediately after Kennedy’s death, President Johnson rescinded the withdrawal plan and began sending more troops to that country.
On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese patrol boats fired on the U.S. destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, and, after President Johnson asserted that there had been a second attack on August 4—a claim later shown to be false—the U.S. Congress almost unanimously endorsed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing the president to take "all necessary measures to repel attacks . . . and prevent further aggression." The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in effect gave the president carte blanche to wage war in Southeast Asia without Congressional approval. This marked the beginning of full-scale American involvement in the Vietnam War. When Johnson left office in January 1969, there were about 540,00010 American soldiers—mostly draftees—in Vietnam in sharp contrast to the 16,000 military advisers—non-draftees—present when Kennedy was killed in 1963.
Reasons for the War
There are three popular explanations for the Vietnam War. Western diplomats, politicians, and historians state that it was an unsuccessful effort by South Vietnam and the United States to prevent the communists of North Vietnam from uniting South Vietnam with North Vietnam under their leadership. The Vietnamese government would have us believe it was merely a civil war that occurred after Vietnam declared its independence from Japan(Footnote 33) at the end of World War II. But in Alfred McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, he suggested that the war was as much about the illicit export of opium as anything else. My research indicates that it was a combination of all three, but was intensified by the assassination of President Kennedy.
Furthermore, historical evidence indicates that the Vietnam War was a continuation of the two Opium Wars of the Nineteenth Century in which the Western powers forced China to import opium. As governments learned more about the dangers of opium and heroin, it became unnacceptable—purely for public relations reasons—for the Western powers to overtly export narcotics to China and other countries. Over time, drug trafficking continued but its management shifted to international espionage services and organized crime which were secretly sanctioned by the Western governments. Eventually drug smuggling began to drive the foreign policies of the Western powers, and vice-versa. This entanglement, in my view, became the impetus behind Western involvement in the Vietnam War. It also appears that this situation was exploited by friends of Israel as a means of setting up the assassination of President Kennedy.
As previously stated, it was Jewish gangsters—such as "Legs" Diamond, "Dutch" Schultz, and Meyer Lansky—who introduced the heroin business to the American Mafia in the 1920s. In addition, the American Mafia—which was primarily of Sicilian origin in the 1920s—forbade involvement of either narcotics or prostitution. Such activity was left to the Jewish gangsters.11 This is a critical fact that further supports my conclusion that a Jewish conspiracy as the ultimate sponsor of the Kennedy assassination.
Vietnam History, From 1941 to 1963
In 1941, the League for the Independence of Vietnam—generally known as the Viet Minh—was organized as a nationalistic party seeking Vietnamese independence from France.
On September 2, 1945, less than a month after the Japanese surrendered in World War II, Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Viet Minh, formally declared Vietnam's independence. The Viet Minh had a strong base of popular support in northern Vietnam. The French wanted to reassert control in Indochina, however, and would recognize Vietnam only as a free state within the French Union.
In the mid-1950s, Vietnam became openly communist. In 1946, fighting between the French and the Viet Minh broke out—and continued until 1954—when the French were badly defeated in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. An international conference in Geneva in 1954 negotiated a cease-fire. To separate the warring forces, the conferees decided that the French and the Vietnamese fighting under French command would move south of the 17th parallel and the Viet Minh would go north of the 17th parallel, which was established as a military demarcation line surrounded by a demilitarized zone (DMZ). Thousands of people accordingly moved north or south away from their homes, and the French began their final departure from Vietnam. The agreement left the communist-led Viet Minh in control of the northern half of Vietnam, which came to be known as North Vietnam, while the noncommunist southern half became South Vietnam. Ngo Dinh Diem became South Vietnam's prime minister during the armistice negotiations.
The Geneva Accords stipulated that free elections be held throughout Vietnam in 1956 under the supervision of an International Control Committee with the aim of reunifying North and South Vietnam under a single popularly elected government. North Vietnam expected to win this election thanks to the broad political organization that it had built up in both parts of Vietnam. But Diem, who had solidified his control over South Vietnam, refused in 1956 to hold the scheduled elections. The United States supported his position. In response, the North Vietnamese decided to unify South with North Vietnam through military force rather than by political means.
U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, fearing the spread of communism in Asia, persuaded the U.S. government to provide economic and military assistance to the Diem regime, which became increasingly unpopular with the people of South Vietnam. Diem replaced the traditionally elected village councils with Saigon-appointed administrators. He also aroused the ire of the Buddhists by selecting his fellow Roman Catholics (most of whom had moved to South Vietnam from the North) for top government positions. Diem’s government began mistreating the Buddhists to the point that there were riots in the streets; Buddhists monks publicly committed suicide by setting themselves on fire.
Guerrilla warfare spread as Viet Minh soldiers who were trained and armed in the North—the Viet Cong—returned to their homes in the South to assassinate, ambush, sabotage, and proselytize. The Diem government asked for and received more American military advisers and equipment to build up the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the police force, but it could not halt the growing presence of the South Vietnamese communist forces, or Viet Cong.12
From 1962 until 1963, President Kennedy increased the number noncombat military advisers from 800 to 16,000.13
Vietnam was a Divisive Issue Within JFK’s Government
The Vietnam War was obviously a divisive issue during the Johnson and Nixon years, but few people realize how divisive it was while Kennedy was still president. Historian Michael Beschloss wrote that Vietnam was tearing Kennedy’s government apart in the summer of 1963:
Kennedy later told Charles Bartlett, "My God, my government’s coming apart!" Robert Kennedy recalled that week [end of August 1963] as "the only time, really, in three years that the government was broken in two in a disturbing way." He later said, ‘Diem was corrupt and a bad leader… but we inherited him." He thought it bad policy to "replace somebody we didn’t like with somebody we do because it would just make every other country nervous as can be that we were running coups in and out."
Oct. 31, 1963: Kennedy Announced Withdrawal From Vietnam
On October 31, 1963 in a press conference, Kennedy publicly announced his intention to withdraw a thousand men from South Vietnam by the end of 1963. A reporter asked him about troop reductions in the far east. Here is the entire question and Kennedy’s response:
[REPORTER:] Mr. President, back to the question of troop reductions, are any intended in the far east at the present time – particularly in Korea and is there any speedup in the withdrawal from Vietnam intended?
[PRESIDENT KENNEDY:] Well as you know, when Secretary McNamara and General Taylor came back, they announced that we would expect to withdraw a thousand men from South Vietnam before the end of the year. And there has been some reference to that by General Harkins. If we’re able to do that, that will be our schedule. I think the first unit, the first contingent, would be 250 men who are not involved in what might be called front-line operations. It would be our hope to lesson the number of Americans there by a thousand as the training intensifies and is carried on in South Vietnam.
Nov. 1, 1963: Diem Assassinated in CIA Backed Coup
The very next day, on Nov. 1, 1963, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem was killed in a CIA backed coup. As previously stated, Diem—a Roman Catholic—had upset the Buddhists by selecting fellow Roman Catholics (most of whom had moved to South Vietnam from the North) for top government positions. There was a public backlash—riots in the streets; Buddhists monks publicly committed suicide by setting themselves on fire. Diem became an embarrassment to the United States and was encouraged to resign, but he refused.
Diem’s assassination pulled the US deeper into the Vietnam conflict, a conflict Kennedy was trying to pull away from. There is a question as to whether Kennedy had approved the coup. Some historians claim that he knew of it; however, he was extremely upset at hearing of Diem’s murder. Here are some cites:
The news of Diem’s death outraged Kennedy. General [Maxwell] Taylor wrote that he "leaped to his feet and rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face which I had never seen before." George Smathers remembered that Jack Kennedy blamed the CIA, saying "I’ve got to do something about those bastards;" they should be stripped of their exorbitant power. Mike Forrestal called Kennedy’s reaction "both personal and religious," and especially troubled by the implication that a Catholic President had participated in a plot to assassinate a coreligionist. Every account of Kennedy’s response is in complete agreement. Until the very end he had hoped Diem’s life could be spared.
I saw the President soon after he heard that Diem and Nhu were dead. He was somber and shaken. I had not seen him so depressed since the Bay of Pigs.
In the Situation Room, Kennedy was monitoring the coup when told of the murders. He rushed out of the room. Forrestal felt that the assassination "shook him personally" and "bothered him as a moral and religious matter. It shook his confidence, I think, in the kind of advice he was getting about South Vietnam."
Nov. 24, 1963: Johnson Rescinded Kennedy’s Withdrawal Order
On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson quietly rescinded Kennedy’s order to withdraw a thousand men from Vietnam by the end of the year.
On Sunday afternoon, November 24, , Lyndon Johnson kept the dead President’s appointment with [U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot] Lodge and told him that he was not willing to ‘lose Vietnam.’: ‘Tell those generals in Saigon that Lyndon Johnson intends to stand by our word.’
Aug. 2, 1964: Gulf of Tonkin Incident Occurred. The Vietnam War Began.
On August 2, 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was subsequently ratified by Congress. This was the beginning of large-scale military involvement in Vietnam. Here is a summary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident:
[On August 2, 1964,] three North Vietnamese boats fired torpedoes at [U.S. destroyer Maddox]. Maddox gunners and jets from the nearby Ticonderoga fired back, crippling two of the vessels and sinking the third.
President Johnson rejected further reprisals. Using the hot line to Moscow for the first time, he cabled Khruschev that he did not wish to widen the conflict but hoped that North Vietnam would not attack other American vessels in international waters.
The Maddox and another destroyer, the C. Turner Joy, were ordered to sail eight miles off the North Vietnamese coast, four miles off the offshore islands. The commandos from the South resumed their operations. On Sunday evening, intercepted radio messages gave the Maddox commander, Captain John Herrick, the ‘impression’ that Communist patrol boats were about to attack. With air support from the Ticonderoga, the Maddox and Turner Joy began firing.
Maddox officers reported twenty-two enemy torpedoes, none of which scored a hit, and two or three enemy vessels sunk. But when the firing stopped, Herrick warned his superiors that the ‘entire action leaves many doubts’; no sailor on the destroyer had seen or heard enemy gunfire. An ‘overeager’ young sonar operator who had counted torpedoes may have been misled by ‘freak weather effects.’
Nevertheless the President ordered bombing of North Vietnam for the first time and unveiled the document now christened the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Language was broadened to authorize Johnson to ‘take all necessary measures’ to protect American forces and ‘prevent further aggression.’ The Senate passed it [on August 7, 1964] with only two dissenters.
Here is a transcript of President Johnson describing the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to Robert Anderson, former Secretary of Treasury in the Eisenhower administration, the day after the attack.
[MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 1964:]
There have been some covert operations in that area that we have been carrying on – blowing up some bridges and things of that kind, roads and so forth. So I imagine they wanted to put a stop to it. So they …fired and we respond immediately with five-inch [artillery shells] from the destroyer and with planes overhead. And we … knock one of ‘em out and cripple the other two. Then we go right back where we were with that destroyer and with another one, plus plenty of planes standing by…
[FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 1964:]
LBJ: That was a good vote you had today.
McCormack: Yes, it was very good. Four hundred fourteen to nothing. One present. What’d the Senate do?
LBJ: Eighty-eight to 2 – [Wayne] Morse and [Ernest] Gruening.
McCormack: Can’t understand Gruening.
LBJ: Oh, he’s no good. He’s worse than Morse. He’s just no good. I’ve spent millions on him up in Alaska [Gruening’s home state] … And Morse is just undependable and erratic as he can be.
McCormack: A radical.
LBJ: I just wanted to point out this little shit-ass [Edgar] Foreman today got up and said that we acted impulsively by announcing [in a Tuesday night televised statement] that we had an answer on the way before the planes dropped their bombs … It’s just a pure lie and smoke screen.(Footnote 34)
Aug. 25, 1964: Johnson got Cold Feet and Wanted to Resign.
A few weeks later on August 25, 1964, Johnson began to lose his nerve and planned to announce that he would withdraw his name as Democratic presidential candidate. Here is a transcript of a telephone conversation with Press Secretary George Reedy where Johnson was clearly shaken over a walk-out by Southern delegations, on the previous day, at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City:
[TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 1964:]
I’m set to brief.
What should I tell ‘em about this morning?
I don’t know, George. There’s really not much to tell ‘em… I’m just writing out a little statement that I think I’m gonna make either at a press conference or go up to Atlantic City this afternoon to make. But I don’t think we can tell ‘em about it now. …. Here’s what I’m gonna say to ‘em. [reading from a handwritten statement:]
"[Forty-four months ago] I was selected to be the Democratic Vice President … On that fateful November day last year, I accepted the responsibility of the President, asking God’s guidance and the help of all our people. For nine months, I’ve carried on as effectively as I could. Our country faces grave dangers. These dangers must be faced and met by a united people under a leader they do not doubt. After thirty-three years in political life, most men acquire enemies as ships accumulate barnacles. The times require leadership about which there is no doubt and a voice that men of all parties and sections and color can follow. I’ve learned, after trying very hard, that I am not that voice or that leader. Therefore… I suggest that the representatives from all states of the Union selected for the purpose of selecting a Democratic nominee for President and Vice President proceed to do their duty. And that no consideration be given to me because I am absolutely unavailable."
[LBJ then vents:]
Then they can just pick the two they want for the two places. We’ll … do the best we can to help till January. Then, if he’s elected … they can have a new and fresh fellow without any of the old scars. And I don’t want this power of the Bomb. I just don’t want these decisions I’m required to make. I don’t want the conniving that’s required. I don’t want the disloyalty that’s around. I don’t want the bungling and the inefficiencies of our people. …
This will throw the nation into quite an uproar, sir.
Yeah, I think so. And I think that now is the time, though. I don’t know any better time … I am absolutely positive that I cannot lead the South and the North … And I don’t want to lead the nation without my own state and without my own section. I am very convinced that the Negroes will not listen to me. They’re not going to follow a white Southerner. And the stakes are too big to try to compromise. … [He complains about various newspaper articles.]
I think it’s too late, sir. I know it’s your decision, because you’re the man that has to bear the brunt. But right now I think this just gives the country to Goldwater.
That’s all right. I don’t care. I’m just willing to --- I don’t think that. I don’t agree with that a-tall. But I think he could do better than I can because ---
He can’t, sir. He’s just a child. And look at our side. We don’t have anybody. The only man around I’d trust to be President would be McNamara, and he wouldn’t stand a chance.
No, but we didn’t trust any of the rest of ‘em. You know, we didn’t trust Eisenhower or Jack Kennedy. That’s a matter for them [the delegates]. Anyway they’ve been running their business for a couple hundred years, and I’ll leave it up to them. …
[A few minutes later, Johnson was on the phone with Walter Jenkins and expressed frustration over the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, suggesting that he did not have a mandate to wage war in Southeast Asia.]
I don’t believe there’ll be many attacks on the orders I issue on Tonkin Gulf if I’m not a candidate. And then I think the people will give the man that they want … a mandate. And he might continue the work we’ve done. …
Oct. 14, 1964: Khrushchev Toppled
It is interesting that Khrushchev was toppled from power on October 14, 1964, less than a year after Kennedy was killed. Equally interesting, Khrushchev’s political demise occurred less than two and a half months after the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the subsequent ratification of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution by Congress (August 2-7, 1964).
Another point of interest is that the term "Cold War" was coined by Bernard Baruch,16 an influential Wall Street financier, top advisor to President Roosevelt, and ardent Zionist.
I am intrigued that two other world leaders mentioned by Kennedy in the American University speech left their positions as heads of state within a close proximity in time to Kennedy’s assassination.
… Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history—but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind. …
Johnson Escalated the War
After 1965 U.S. involvement in the war escalated rapidly. On the night of Feb. 7, 1965, the Viet Cong attacked the U.S. base at Pleiku, killing 8 soldiers and wounding 126 more. Johnson in response ordered another reprisal bombing of North Vietnam. Three days later the Viet Cong raided another U.S. military installation at Qui Nhon, and Johnson ordered more aerial attacks against Hanoi. On March 6, two battalions of Marines landed on the beaches near Da Nang to relieve that beleaguered city. By June 50,000 U.S. troops had arrived to fight with the ARVN. Small contingents of the North Vietnamese army began fighting with the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, which they reached via the Ho Chi Minh Trail west of the Cambodian border.
The government in Saigon was now headed by Air Vice-Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky, but he was unable to check the rapidly deteriorating military situation. NLF forces were gaining control of more and more areas of the countryside, and a communist victory seemed imminent. President Johnson's response was to pledge the United States to defend South Vietnam and to send more troops. By the end of 1965, 180,000 Americans were serving in South Vietnam under the command of General William C. Westmoreland.
After mid-1966 the United States and the ARVN initiated a series of new tactics in their intensifying counterinsurgency effort, but their efforts to drive the Viet Cong from the countryside and separate them from their civilian supporters were only partly successful. The U.S. troops depended heavily on superior firepower and on helicopters for rapid deployment into targeted rural areas. The Viet Cong depended on stealth, concealment, and surprise attacks and ambushes.
U.S. troop strength in South Vietnam rose to 389,000 men in 1967, but, despite their sophisticated weapons, the Americans could not eradicate the skillful and determined insurgents. More North Vietnamese troops arrived to bolster the NLF forces in the South. A presidential election, in which all candidates who favored negotiating with the NLF were banned, was held in South Vietnam in September, and General Nguyen Van Thieu became president, with Ky as vice president.
On January 30, 1968, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launched a massive surprise offensive during the Tet (lunar new year) Vietnamese festival. They attacked 36 major South Vietnamese cities and towns. The fighting at this time was especially fierce in Saigon and in the city of Hue, which the NLF held for several weeks. The NLF suffered heavy losses (33,000 killed) in the Tet Offensive, and the ranks of the Viet Cong were so decimated by the fighting that, from 1968 on, the majority of the insurgents in South Vietnam were actually North Vietnamese soldiers who had infiltrated into the South. Although the general uprising that the NLF had expected in support had not materialized, the offensive had an important strategic effect, because it convinced a number of Americans that, contrary to their government's claims, the insurgency in South Vietnam could not be crushed and the war would continue for years to come.
In the United States, sentiment against U.S. participation in the war mounted steadily from 1967 on and expressed itself in peace marches, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience. Growing numbers of politicians and ordinary citizens began to question whether the U.S. war effort could succeed and even whether it was morally justifiable in a conflict that some interpreted as a Vietnamese civil war.
General Westmoreland requested more troops in order to widen the war after the Tet Offensive, but the shifting balance of American public opinion now favored "de-escalation" of the conflict. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced in a television address that bombing north of the 20th parallel would be stopped and that he would not seek reelection to the presidency in the fall. Hanoi responded to the decreased bombing by de-escalating its insurgency efforts, and in October Johnson ordered a total bombing halt. During the interim the United States and Hanoi had agreed to begin preliminary peace talks in Paris, and General Creighton Abrams became the new commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam.17
When Johnson stepped down from the presidency in January 1969, there were about 540,00018 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam.
The Assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were likely killed because the latter was about to assume the presidency and former was endorsing him. Both wanted to end US involvement in the Vietnam War, but several interests would prevail over their wishes. First, the right-wing extremists hated both men because of they—along with President Kennedy—had embarrassed George Wallace in June 1963 when the Georgian National Guard forced him to allow black students to enroll at the University of Alabama. Second, Israel absolutely did not want the son of Joseph Kennedy to become president. None of the Kennedys were considered friends of Israel. Consequently, the Irish-American family could not be counted on to support Israel’s annexation program of expanding its borders into neighboring Arab territories. Third, American and French-Corsican-Latino crime families wanted the Vietnam War to continue because they were reaping huge profits from the Golden Triangle from its production of opium. Those profits were apparently being shared with senior military personnel as well.
In March of 1967 Senator Robert Kennedy announced a peace plan for Vietnam and soon became an outspoken antiwar advocate.19 Martin Luther King quickly followed the senator’s lead. On April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City and again on the 15th at a mammoth peace rally in that city, King committed himself irrevocably to opposing US involvement in the Vietnam War. Once before, in early January 1966, he had condemned the war, but official outrage from Washington and strenuous opposition within the black community itself had caused him to acquiesce.20
On Jan. 30, 1968, the Tet Offensive began. It marked a new beginning of anti-war sentiment amongst many Americans. Gene McCarthy had been campaigning for the presidency on the Democratic ticket. On March 16, 1968, Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency;21 Martin Luther King immediately endorsed him. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson startled television viewers with a national address that included three announcements: (1) he had just ordered major reductions in the bombing of North Vietnam, (2) he was requesting peace talks, and (3) he would neither seek nor accept his party's renomination for the presidency.22 On April 4 King was killed by a sniper's bullet while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee where he and his associates were staying. On March 10, 1969, the accused assassin, James Earl Ray, pleaded guilty to the murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.23 Ray later recanted his confession.
By June 4, 1968 Robert Kennedy had won five out of six presidential primaries, including one that day in California. Shortly after midnight on June 5(Footnote 35) he spoke to his followers in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel. As he left through a kitchen hallway he was fatally wounded by a Palestinian immigrant, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan; at least that’s the official story. Robert Kennedy died the next day on June 6, 1968.24
1968: LBJ Attempted to Appoint Abe Fortas as Chief Justice
One of the last things President Johnson attempted while in the White House was to nominate a Jewish American, Abe Fortas, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In 1965, President Johnson appointed Fortas—a longtime political crony—to the Jewish slot in the Supreme Court, replacing Arthur Goldberg. As previously stated, Goldberg had resigned from the high court—at Johnson’s request—to serve as US delegate to the UN following the death of the Adlai Stevenson who held that post until his untimely demise. Stevenson had died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 14, 1965.
Three years later, in 1968, Johnson nominated Fortas to replace retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren. When the nomination came to the Senate floor, a filibuster ensued. On October 1, 1968, the Senate failed to vote because of the filibuster and Johnson then withdrew the nomination. With that, Fortas became the first nominee for that post since 1795 to fail to receive Senate approval.25 (Footnote 36)
After sending 540,00026 U.S. military personnel to South Vietnam, then declining to run for a second term, one of the last things the lame duck President Johnson attempted was to appoint Abe Fortas—a Jewish crony—as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This incident, combined with his long-standing passionate attachment to Israel (Chapter 10), further supports my earlier assertion that the 36thPresident of the United States, and his wife, were both secretly Jewish (Chapter 9).
- Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, pp. 17 - 18. McCoy cited the following source: US Congress, Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88 Cong. 1st and 2nd sess., 1964, pt. 4, p. 913
- Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, pp. 17 - 18. McCoy cited the following source: Nicholas Gage, "Mafioso's Memoirs Support Valachi's Testimony About Crime Syndicate," inThe New York Times, April 11, 1971.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Meyer Lansky
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Opium Wars
- Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, p. 9. McCoy cited the following source: U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, "The World Opium Situation," October 1970, p. 10
- Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, p. 9. McCoy cited the following sources and made comments as indicated: In 1969 Iran resumed legal pharmaceutical production of opium after thirteen years of prohibition. It is not yet known how much of Iran's legitimate production is being diverted to illicit channels. However, her strict narcotics laws (execution by firing squad for convicted traffickers) have discouraged the illicit opium traffic and prevented any of Iran's production from entering the international market. (John Hughes, The Junk Merchants [Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Company, 19711 pp. 17-20; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Foreign Relations, International Aspects of the Narcotics Problem, 92nd Cong., I st sess., 197 1, p. 74.)
- Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, p. 9. McCoy cited the following sources and made comments as indicated: Report of the United Nations Survey Team on the Economic and Social Needs of the Opium Producing Areas in Thailand (Bangkok: Government Printing Office, 1967), pp. 59, 64, 68; The New York Times, September 17, 1968, p. 45; ibid., June 6, 1971, p. 2. Estimates for illicit opium production made by the U.N. and the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics vary widely and fluctuate from year to year as conditions in the opium-producing nations change and statistical data improve. In general, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics estimates have tended to underestimate the scope of illicit production in Southeast Asia, while the U.N. has tended to minimize production in South Asia, The statistics used above are compiled from both U.N. and U.S. Bureau of Narcotics figures in an attempt to correct both imbalances. However, even if we accept the Bureau's maximum figures for 1968 and 1971, the differences are not that substantial: India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (South Asia) have a combined illicit production of 525 tons, or 29 percent of the world's total illicit supply; Burma (1,000 tons), Thailand (150 tons), and Laos (35 tons) have a combined production of 1,185 tons, or roughly 66 percent of the world's illicit supply; and Turkey accounts for 100 illicit tons, or about 5 percent of the world supply. (U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, "The World Opium Situation," p. 10; U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Foreign Assistance and Related Programs Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1972, 92nd Cong., Ist sess., 1971, pp. 578-584.
- Alfred McCoy, et al, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, p. 89
- ibid, pp. 53 - 54
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
- Alfred McCoy, et al, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, pp. 17 - 18
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
- Military advisers in Vietnam during the Kennedy administration, 800 to 16,000 per John Pilger’s website, 3/11/02, http://pilger.carlton.com/vietnam/chronology2. The final number, 16,000, is corroborated per Think Quest website, http://library.thinkquest.org/10826/vietnam.htm. 16,000 is corroborated again by Motts Military Museum, http://www.mottsmilitarymuseum.org/vietnam.html.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
- ibid; corroborated in an article by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon entitled "30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War" (July 27, 1994), published in Media Beat, http://www.fair.org/media-beat/940727.html
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Cold War
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
- Michael Jay Friedman, Congress, the President, and the Battle of Ideas: Vietnam Policy, 1965-1969, (1999), http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/journals/EH/EH41/Friedman41.html
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Robert F. Kennedy
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Lyndon Johnson
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Robert F. Kennedy
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Abe Fortas. The date, October 1, 1968, was provided in an article about the Fortas filibuster on the Senate Learning Website. The article was entitled, "October 1, 1968 Filibuster Derails Supreme Court Appointment." (http://www.senate.gov/learning/min_6hhhh.html)
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
The Nixon Administration (1969-74)
One of the biggest criticisms of the Nixon administration is the "secret" bombing campaign of Cambodia, a neutral and defenseless country in Southeast Asia. Nixon later disputed its labeling as "secret." In a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in New Orleans on August 20, 1973, he explained that the decision was made only two months after he became president. He further stated that the decision was made in a meeting attended by Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird; National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger; Secretary of State, William Rogers; and head of the CIA. He also stated that the bombing plan was "disclosed to appropriate Government leaders" and the "appropriate Congressional leaders, those in the Military Affairs Committee like Eddie Hebert."(Footnote 37) He added that "there was no secrecy as far as Government leaders were concerned, who had any right to know or need to know."
Nixon had apparently been led to believe by his advisors that the lives of American soldiers were at risk because the North Vietnamese were setting up sanctuaries and staging areas in Cambodia.
"If American soldiers in the field today were similarly threatened by an enemy," he explained, "and if the price of protecting those soldiers was to order air strikes to save American lives, I would make the same decision today that I made in February of 1969." He admitted that the military action was kept secret from the American public, but only because "the bombing would have had to stop"1 if the public had been informed.
Nixon’s description of the decision to bomb Cambodia—which he made as a new president—was surprisingly similar to Kennedy’s indoctrination as a new president when faced with the Bay of Pigs ordeal in April of 1961. To fully appreciate Nixon’s plight, it is important to remember that President Johnson had escalated the number of American soldiers in South Vietnam from 16,000(Footnote 38) when Kennedy was killed to 540,000 when Johnson left office in January of 1969. Johnson had abdicated his leadership—by announcing in March of 1968 that he would not seek re-election—thereby leaving his successor with the nightmare of Vietnam, a foreign policy disaster in a colossal state of senseless confusion and discontinuity. Unfortunately, this is what Nixon’s critics selectively forget when denouncing him for the so-called "secret" bombing campaign in Cambodia. Nixon’s critics tend to forget that he stepped into the presidency with half a million soldiers—mostly eighteen year-old boys—placed in harm’s way on foreign soil.
Nixon was obviously concerned for the safety of those half-million soldiers, and as the new president, was probably pressured by his advisers to make a bad decision as Kennedy was pressured eight years earlier regarding the Bay of Pigs. Both made the wrong decision, but neither did so in a vacuum. Both kept the decision secret from the American public, but not a secret from the appropriate people within government.
I would venture to state that most "informed" Americans today have been led to believe that Nixon’s "secret" bombing campaign in Cambodia was literally a "secret" in every sense of the word. Most people believe Nixon somehow managed to initiate a military campaign against a foreign country without informing anyone in government because this is the spin that has been pushed by propagandists within the news media and the bookpublishing industry for years. But Nixon’s explanation seems perfectly believable. Thinking rationally, how would he have kept such a program a secret within the United States government? Did he personally fly a plane to Cambodia and drop the bombs himself? Obviously this is absurd. He made a command decision in the middle of a war with the full knowledge of his advisors and the appropriate leaders in Congress. The reason he made the decision was to save the lives of half a million American soldiers put in harm’s way by his predecessor.
Nixon’s Eight Point Strategy to end the Vietnam War
When Nixon campaigned for the presidency in 1968, he pledged repeatedly that he had a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War. As the years passed, people forgot about his pledge. But it begs a question now as it in 1968. Why did the plan have to be secret? He was president, why couldn’t he just withdraw? The Vietnam War was a major liability for him politically. Few Americans would have objected, not even supporters of the war. What prevented Nixon from using his constitutional power as Command-in-Chief of the military to withdraw forces as he saw fit? In Oliver Stone’s movie, Nixon, it was suggested that the 37th president did not have authority to make such a dramatic decision. There was a scene in the movie where Nixon agreed with a young female protester who described the governmental forces keeping American troops in Vietnam as a "wild animal." Upon reflection, her description seems accurate. Nixon’s plan apparently needed to remain secret in order to tame the wild animal.
If one accepts the premise that the Vietnam War was merely a continuation of the two opium wars of the Nineteenth Century (Chapter 11), then logic would dictate that it was not within a sitting US president’s power to merely withdraw military forces from South Vietnam by issuing an executive order. Also, Nixon may have known who killed the Kennedys and Martin Luther and why. No one knows for certain if Nixon’s foreign policy was part of a well-conceived strategy to end the Vietnam War, or if it was a series of random decisions made without a grand purpose. Nevertheless, he performed the following eight tasks which ultimately achieved peace—albeit a short-lived one—in Southeast Asia.
- He dramatically increased aid to Israel.
- He reduced American forces in South Vietnam from 540,000 (June 1969) to 160,000 (Dec. 1971) through a program called "Vietnamization."
- He established diplomatic relations with China.
- He used his new friendship with China as leverage to establish détente between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- He broke up Auguste Joseph Ricord’s heroin cartel.(Footnote 39)
- He intensified US bombing of North Vietnam in order to get that government to participate in the Paris peace talks.
- He withdrew American forces from Vietnam.
- He ended the draft.
The second point was to initiate a program called "Vietnamization" which reduced American forces in South Vietnam from 540,000 in January 1969 to 335,000 by late 1970, then to 160,000 by late 1971, and finally a complete withdrawal by the end of 1973. In addition, Vietnamization gradually made the South Vietnamese army assume all military responsibilities for their defense while being abundantly supplied with US arms, equipment, air support, and economic aid. US commanders in the field were instructed to keep casualties to "an absolute minimum," and losses decreased appreciably.
The third point was to establish diplomatic relations with China. Nixon personally visited China in February 1972 after a 21-year estrangement with the United States. This was a bold diplomatic move for an American president. But his new friendship with China gave him leverage to negotiate with the Soviet Union which would lead to an era of détente between the two superpowers.3
The fourth point was to establish détente with the Soviet Union. In May of 1972 Nixon paid a state visit to Moscow to sign 10 formal agreements, the most important of which were the nuclear-arms limitation treaties known as SALT I (based on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks conducted between the United States and the Soviet Union beginning in 1969) and a memorandum, the Basic Principles of U.S.-Soviet Relations, summarizing the new relationship between the two countries in the new era of détente.4 Although the Soviet Union continued to exist for 19 more years,(Footnote 40) Nixon ended the Cold War—for all intents and purposes—in May of 1972 when he and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev signed the SALT I agreements. It is significant that the Watergate burglary occurred just one month later, on June 17, 1972.
The fifth point was to break up Auguste Joseph Ricord’s heroin cartel. Nixon’s war on drugs reached a zenith with the extradition of Ricord from Paraguay which occurred around the same time of his trip to China followed by his meeting with Brezhnev in Moscow in the spring of 1972.(Footnote 41) By going after Ricord, Nixon was assaulting the top underworld figure responsible for smuggling heroin into the United States at that time. The profits from Ricord’s heroin smuggling efforts were apparently divided among international crime syndicates and various espionage organizations which funneled the illicit drug money to the power elite in Israel and the Western Powers (i.e., United States, Britain and France). Nixon was indeed tangling with a "wild animal" when he went after Ricord.
The sixth point was to intensify US bombing of North Vietnam in order to get that government to participate in the Paris peace talks. By doing this Nixon created division within the military, many of whom actually wanted to win the war and had no interest in drug smuggling.
The seventh point was to withdrew American forces from Vietnam. By the time Nixon did this, he had done several other things—the first six points—to set the stage for the seventh point.
The eighth point was to abolish the draft completely. This made it extremely difficult for succeeding presidents to get involved in another Vietnam War. Before starting another full-scale war, the next president would first have to reinstate the draft—something the American public would resist. Ending the draft was perhaps Nixon’s greatest contribution to world peace.
The Conclusion of the Vietnam War
In March 1972 the North Vietnamese invaded the demilitarized zone (DMZ)(Footnote 42) and captured Quang Tri province. President Nixon responded by ordering the mining of Haiphong and other North Vietnamese ports and an intense bombing of the North. Peace talks resumed in July, but the talks broke down in mid-December with each side accusing the other of bargaining in bad faith. Nixon responded by subjecting Hanoi and other North Vietnamese cities to 11 days of intensive U.S. bombing (later called the "Christmas bombing.")
The relentless Christmas bombing forced the North Vietnamese back to the Paris peace talks which resulted in a cease-fire agreement on Jan. 27, 1973. A cease-fire would go into effect the following morning throughout North and South Vietnam, all U.S. forces would be withdrawn and all its bases dismantled, all prisoners of war would be released, an international force would keep the peace, the South Vietnamese would have the right to determine their own future, and North Vietnamese troops could remain in the South but would not be reinforced. The 17th parallel would remain the dividing line until the country could be reunited by "peaceful means." This pact was augmented by a second 14-point accord signed in June. In August the U.S. Congress proscribed any further U.S. military activity in Indochina. By the end of 1973 there were few U.S. military personnel left in South Vietnam.
But the fighting continued in spite of the cease-fire agreements, and North and South Vietnam each denounced the other for numerous violations of the truce. Casualties, both military and civilian, were as high as they had ever been.
The year 1974 was characterized by a series of small offensives as each side sought to seize land and people from the other. The North Vietnamese began preparing for a major offensive to be launched in either 1975 or 1976, while the South Vietnamese tried to hold all of the areas under their control, although they lacked the strength to do so. South Vietnam's difficulties were compounded when the United States drastically cut its military aid in August 1974.(Footnote 43) The morale and combat effectiveness of South Vietnam’s army—aka, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN)—plummeted as a result.
In December 1974 the North Vietnamese attacked Phuoc Binh, a provincial capital about 60 miles (100 km) north of Saigon. Their capture of this city in early January 1975 convinced the North Vietnamese that a full-scale invasion of the South was now practicable. Accordingly, in early March, North Vietnamese forces began a large-scale offensive in the central highlands. When President Thieu ordered a withdrawal of all ARVN forces not only from the central highlands but from the northernmost two provinces of the country as well, general panic ensued, and the South Vietnamese military machine began to come apart. The withdrawals rapidly became routs as large ARVN units disintegrated into columns of refugees. One by one the coastal cities were abandoned, and by early April the ARVN had abandoned the northern half of their country to the North Vietnamese forces. The troops of the ARVN began to melt away, and the remaining Americans escaped by air and sealifts with Vietnamese friends and coworkers. On April 21, President Thieu resigned and flew to Taiwan. On April 30 what remained of the South Vietnamese government surrendered unconditionally, and North Vietnamese tank columns occupied Saigon without a struggle. A military government was instituted, and on July 2, 1976, the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with its capital in Hanoi. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
The effects of the long conflict were harsh for all involved. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action, nearly 11,000 died of other causes, and more than 303,000 were wounded in the war. Casualty figures for the Vietnamese are far less certain. Estimates of the ARVN's casualties range from 185,000 to 225,000 killed and 500,000 to 570,000 wounded. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong suffered about 900,000 troops killed and an unknown, but huge, number of wounded. In addition, more than 1,000,000 North and South Vietnamese civilians were killed during the war. Parts of the countryside were scarred by bombs and defoliation, and some cities and towns were heavily damaged. By the war's end much of the population of South Vietnam had become refugees seeking an escape from the fighting. Agriculture, business, and industry had been disrupted. In the United States, Johnson's economic program for a "Great Society" had been largely halted by the economic and military demands of an unpopular war. The cost of the war has been estimated to have totaled about $200 billion. With the communist victory in South Vietnam and communist takeovers in neighboring Cambodia and Laos, the new Vietnam emerged as an important Southeast Asian power.5
The Watergate Burglary (June 17, 1972)
Near the end of President Nixon’s first term, on June 17, 1972, five men were arrested breaking into the Democratic national headquarters in the Watergate office-appartment building in Washington, DC. It was quickly learned that the arrested burglars had been hired by the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP). Immediately, attorney general John Mitchell resigned as director of the CRP. Clearly, this was an embarrassment for President Nixon, but the incident did not impact the ensuing fall elections which Nixon won by a landslide. The Democrats retained majorities in the House and Senate.
A few days after the break-in, charges of burglary and wiretapping were brought against the five men arrested at the scene, plus two additional officials within the Nixon administration. They were E. Howard Hunt, Jr., a former White House aide, and G. Gordon Liddy, general counsel for the Committee for the Re-Election of the President.
Investigation into the scandal continued for the next two years and culminated with the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, 1974.6
As previously mentioned, the Watergate burglary occurred a month after the SALT I agreements were signed by Nixon and Breshnev. SALT I and accompanying agreements marked a new era of détente between the two superpowers.
Division Between Nixon and the Military
As it turns out, Watergate was not the only cover-up in the Nixon White House. Joan Hoff, a research professor of history at Montana State University, recently wrote an article asserting that on December 21, 1971—six months before the Watergate burglary occurred—Nixon approved the first major cover-up of his administration; however, he was not covering up his own misdeeds. He was covering up the Navy’s. Nixon had learned that Admiral Thomas Moorer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had authorized his subordinates to spy on the White House’s National Security Counsel. For thirteen months, from 1970 to late 1971, Navy Yeoman Charles E. Radford systematically stole and copied NSC documents from Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger, and their staff. When Nixon learned of this, he ordered it hushed up; but he let the military know he was aware of the spying. Apparently Nixon and his aides thought that approach would give them more leverage with a hostile defense establishment.7
Bob Woodward and Naval Intelligence
The news media slowly began to cover the Watergate burglary. Several major newspapers investigated the possible involvement of the White House in the break-in. Leading the pack was The Washington Post and its two young Jewish reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, whose stories were based largely on information from an unnamed source called "Deep Throat"; the mysterious identity of Deep Throat became a news story in its own right and continues to be speculated on to this day.
The journalistic integrity of Yale graduate Bob Woodward became tainted and comprised years later when it was revealed, by authors Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, that prior to working at the Washington Post, Woodward had worked at the Pentagon for the Office of Naval as a Naval Lieutenant. Silent Coup—a 1991 book by Colodny and Gettlin—reveals that in 1969, the twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant was the briefing officer for Admiral Moorer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who had authorized his subordinates to spy on the White House’s National Security Counsel. A briefing officer sees, hears, reads, and assimilates information from one of several sources and passes it on to more senior officers. This is a coveted position for young officers seeking career advancement. The work is often Top Secret.
Colodny and Gettlin asserted that Admiral Moorer sent Lieutenant Woodward to the basement of the White House to act as a briefer for Alexander Haig.8 The ramifications of this information are staggering.
Nixon’s War on Drugs
On June 17, 1971 Nixon declared that heroin addiction was "Public Enemy No. 1,"(Footnote 44) and he targeted Auguste Joseph Ricord for extradition from Paraguay and prosecution in the US for managing large-scale heroin smuggling into America.9 This may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Nixon had become too bold, too independent. His war on drugs even led to the demise of Lucien Sarti—the French-Corsican assassin who fatally shot President Kennedy in the right temple with an exploding bullet—when Mexican agents shot and killed him in Mexico City on April 27, 1972.10
In his first three and a half years as president, Nixon got Congress to increase the Bureau of Narcotics’ annual budget from $14 million to $74 million and expanded its agent force from 600 to 1,600. The Bureau of Customs—the agency that monitored drug-trafficking into the United States from other countries—grew from 9,000 to 15,000.11
The Nixon administration determined that the primary smuggler of heroin into the United States was Auguste Ricord. Consequently, in March 1971 the United States government attempted extradite Auguste Ricord from Paraguay, but there was a breakdown in protocols and it did not happen;12 although Ricord remained in jail in Paraguay. Over the next year and a half, Nixon turned up the heat on Paraguay to release Ricord to the United States. On June 14, 1971 Nixon met with ambassadors to all countries that grew opium poppies or converted opium gum to morphine and morphine to heroin. He had called them home to impress upon them the seriousness of the situation and to order each of them to make heroin a daily, personal, and official concern. Nixon advised the team of ambassadors in the "problem countries" to influence, even exert pressure on, the heads of state to help break up the international heroin cartel.13
In effect, the US ambassadors became Nixon’s foot soldiers on his war against heroin.14 Under his leadership, US Customs and narcotics agents were encouraged to "exploit" investigative techniques of Latin and European countries that were legally unacceptable in the United States. Such practices included unauthorized wiretaps, bugging, even torture. In other words, the US agents did not use these techniques themselves, but they would not discourage other countries from acquiring information by whatever means was acceptable. This approach allowed US agents to be somewhat agressive in building a case against Ricord as a citizen of Paraguay, but without violating his rights in the United States after he was arrested, extradited, and prosecuted.15
In September 1971, a newly created Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control held its first formal meeting in the White House. It was chaired by Attorney General John Mitchell, the secretaries of Defense, Treasury, and Agriculture; and the Director of the CIA. The committee fought the war on heroin through diplomatic channels. Their objective was to convince heads of state—through pressure from US ambassadors—that President Nixon was serious about stopping the flow of heroin into the United States.16
On July 4, 1972 the American Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay did not hold an Independence Day party for the Paraguayan officials. This had been an annual tradition for 111 years. Nixon’s message was loud and clear: Send us Ricord.17
Around this time the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control held another meeting to discuss the Ricord case, the continuing difficulties with drug smuggling from Panama, and similar problems in Thailand, Burma.18 It is significant that the Committee was discussing two countries that make up the Golden Triangle.
In September 1972 the government of Paraguay announced they would extradite Ricord to the United States to face prosecution for heroin trafficking.19
On December 16, 1972 Auguste Ricord was convicted of conspiring to smuggle narcotics into the United States.20 On January 29, 1973 Ricord was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $25,000.21
On July 1, 1973, President Richard Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) by merging its predecessor agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) with various law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies. DEA has been charged with the responsibility of enforcing the nation's federal drug laws and works closely with local, state, federal and international law enforcement organizations to identify, target and bring to justice the most significant drug traffickers in the world.22
Dealing With Israel
When President Nixon took office in January 1969, Levi Eshkol was prime minister of Israel and was head of the Labour party.(Footnote 45) Eshkol had been prime minister since June 16, 1963 after David Ben-Gurion stepped down from that position. Consequently, Eshkol was Israel’s prime minister when President Kennedy was assassinated. He was also prime minister during the Six Day War, during Johnson’s escalation of the Vietnam War and during the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. On February 26, 1969, Eshkol died in office. He was replaced by Golda Meir, foreign minister to Eshkol and Ben-Gurion. Meir had also been a member Histadrut(Footnote 46) since she and her husband migrated to Palestine from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1921. Her real name was Goldie Mabovitch, later Goldie Myerson, finally changed (Hebraized) to Golda Meir.23 As Prime Minister, Meir headed the Labour party.
During Nixon’s first term, he was not indebted to Israel or its allies in America for winning the election. Most of the American Jewish community had supported Democratic candidate Hubert Humphry in the 1968 presidential race.24 According to Henry Kissinger, Nixon often boasted to collegues that the "Jewish lobby" had no power over him.25
Initially, Nixon felt that National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s Jewish background disqualified him from deep involvement in Middle Eastern affairs. Consequently, Nixon gave those responsibilities to his first Secretary of State William Rogers. Around the time of the Watergate burglary, June of 1972, a power struggle developed between Kissinger and Rogers.(Footnote 47) Ultimately Kissinger won and replaced Rogers as secretary of state in the fall of 1973. Kissinger was completely pro-Israel whereas Rogers had been even-handed and was liked by the Arabs but disliked by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.26
Nixon was distrustful of Jewish political influences within American politics. He made the following observations in his memoirs:
|One of the main problems I faced…was the unyielding and shortsighted pro-Israel attitude in large and influential segments of the American Jewish community, Congress, the media and in intellectual and cultural circles. In the quarter century since the end of World War II this attitude had become so deeply ingrained that many saw the corollary of not being pro-Israel as being anti-Israeli, or even anti-Semitic. I tried unsuccessfully to convince them that this was not the case.27|
In addition, both Nixon and Kissinger made the mistake of approaching Middle East issues within the framework of the Cold War. Nixon might have been more effective had he viewed Arab-Israeli problems as an ongoing regional conflict which ultimately entangled both America and the Soviet Union.28
The War of Attritution (1969-70)
The years 1969 through 1970 was a period in which the Egyptians tried unsuccessfully to pressure Israel and the United States into implementing UN Resolution 24229 (reference Chapter 10 for text of the Resolution). The high point of this period was marked by a direct clash between Soviet personnel and the Israeli Defense Forces. This conflict was the result of Egypt’s humiliating defeat in the Six Day War combined and Israel flaunting its military might at the Egyptians.30
In late 1968, Egypt began shelling IDF troops regularly. Israel responded by firing back, plus it built a fortified defense across the east bank of the Suez Canal. To minimize casualties from Egyptian fire, launched massive bombing raids that extended to deep penetrations of Egyptian air space. At the end of the year, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan boasted that Israel had destroyed twenty-four missile sites, an estimated one third of Egypt’s front-line combat planes. Rubbing salt in the wound, Israel’s pilots flagrantly displayed their air superiority by creating sonic booms to shatter windows in Cairo.31
Nasser requested military aid from the Soviet Union, and in January 1970, the Soviets furnished him with a powerful air defense system. By March 17, 1970, Soviet troops in Egypt were armed with an assortment of impressive weapons, including SA-2s. On the same day, it was announced that 1,500 Soviet technicians and a stockpile of SAM-3 missiles—weapons not even supplied to North Vietnam by the Soviets—had arrived in Egypt. By April 24th, a month later, 10,000 Soviet technicians were in Egypt and Egyptian planes planes were being flown into combat by Soviet pilots. The Nixon administration was soon under political pressure to counter the Soviets by supplying Israel with 125 additional fighter planes; however, diplomatic avenues were explored instead.32
UN Resolution 242 was discussed again but no genuine effort was made to enforce it. In August 1970, a flawed cease-fire agreement between Egypt and Israel went into effect. But five Israeli Phantoms were soon shot down over Egypt by Soviet missiles. Israel complained, but the reality was the cease-fire agreement had been violated by both sides. Neither the Soviets or the Egyptians were supposed to shoot at Israeli planes, but the Israeli Phantoms had no business being in Egypt’s airspace in the first place.33
In a sense, Israel had been paid back for flaunting its military might over Egypt; however, the Israelis used the truce violations as a pretext for avoiding discussions that might force them to return land acquired in the Six Day War.34
The Jordanian Crisis (June to September 1970)
The PLO had built a large private army for raids on Israel and was involved in attempts to assassinate King Hussein. On September 5, 1970, an extremist group known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked three airliners (American, Swiss, and British) and landed them in a small airfield in Amman, Jordan. Over three hundred passengers were held hostage before the planes were destroyed. King Hussein wanted to crush the terrorists, but feared such an action might draw Iraq and Syria into the conflict, thereby escalating the overall situation. At America’s encouragement, Israel launched air strikes against the Syria while Jordanian forces crushed the PFLP guerrillas.35
Nixon increased American aid to Israel in 1971. Some believe he was rewarding Israel for its assistance with the PFLP hijackers, but he may have used that incident as a pretext to buy off Israel (reference the first point of Nixon’s eight point plan to end the Vietnam War.) As previously stated, he gave Israel about $1.61 billion from 1971 through 1973. That was a huge increase—approximately the same amount the United States had given Israel over its entire 22 year history (from 1948 through 1970).36 In retrospect, however, Israel did not really deserve such a huge reward because it acted primarily out of self interest. Syria was one of Israel’s most dangerous enemies, and it was to Israel’s interest to eliminate a Syrian-dominated radical regime in Amman, Jordan. Surely Nixon understood that.(Footnote 48)
The Death of Nasser—Replaced by Sadat (1970)
On September 28, 1970, President Nasser died suddenly and unexpectedly.(Footnote 49) His successor, General Anwar el-Sadat was not widely known outside his own country. The political experts did not expect him to do much right away, put he surprised them by suddenly trying to switch backers; preferring the United States over Russia. Sadat was under heavy political pressure internally to recover land from Israel or risk being overthrown. For some reason, Henry Kissinger ignored Sadat’s efforts to switch sides.37
Assisted by American representatives in Cairo, Sadat drafted a peace proposal and submitted it to the Nixon administration. He had been led to believe that it would meet America’s approval. At this point, the Nixon government was under heavy Israeli influence, and Sadat’s proposal was promptly rejected at Israel’s direction. In May 1971 Sadat was left with no alternative but to maintain his friendship with the Soviets. Consequently, he signed a friendship agreement with them.38
Nevertheless, Sadat was not happy with the Soviet Union. He wanted more arms in order to take back his land, but the Soviets did not want to fight Israel and they wanted to avoid a confrontation with the United States. In May 1972, at the Moscow Conference, Sadat concluded that the Soviet Union had completely reneged on its promises to recover Egypt’s seized territories. Consequently, he expelled his Soviet advisers, and in February 1973 sent a private emissary to Kissinger to discuss a United States-brokered deal. Sadat’s efforts were less than fruitful that Nixon was pre-occupied with the Watergate scandal at that time.39
After Nixon’s re-election in 1972, his Middle Eastern policy was in effect—though not stated—to continue nurturing Israel’s military so that prime minister Golda Meir could continue her expansion agenda. Israel continued using its powerful political influence in America to pressure Congress. By March 1, 1973, Nixon agreed to supply new airplanes and even authorized plans for co-manufacturing of aircraft in Israel.40
The Yom Kippur War (Oct. 6, 1973)
On October 6, 1973 (Yom Kippur), Egypt launched a massive attack on Israel. Egyptian forces swiftly crossed the Suez Canal and occupied the entire east bank. Within two days, the Israelis lost fifty aircraft and hundreds of tanks. The United States and Israel were caught completely off guard. On October 9th, Israel launched a counterattack and halted the Egyptian onslaught.41
In the years immediately following the Six Day War, the Soviets helped Egypt assemble one of the most substantial missile walls in the world. Also, to avert an air offensive from the Israel Air Force deep within Egypt, the Soviets furnished Egypt with SCUD surface-to-surface missiles with a 180-mile range. With the delivery of the first SCUD in April 1973, Sadat decided to launch the attack. He was assisted by President Assad of Syria who simultaneously attacked Israel’s northern border.42
Sadat organized the attack because he was under heavy political pressure to provide even a small military success to compensate for the humiliating defeat of the Six Day War in 1967. In fact, he managed to thwart a coup d’état supported by the Soviets. In planning the attack, Sadat’s primary objective was not merely to recover lost territories, but to burst the bubble of leaders in Washington and Jerusalem who believed Israel could continue its annexation program with impunity. To a large degree, the Yom Kippur War achieved that goal.43
The emotional impact of the Yom Kippur War was considerable. Israel’s casualties were extensive; its vision of an boundless enlargement of kingdom had been given an abrupt shock. The discovery that Arabs could in fact fight with courage and efficiency was most unsettling.44
UN Cease-Fire (Oct. 22, 1973)
A UN cease-fire order was issued on October 22, 1973; however, Israel quickly ignored it. They attempted to surround the Egyptian Third Army and starve it into surrender. The United States demanded that all parties abide by the UN cease-fire, otherwise America would intervene and provide food to the Egyptian troops.
During the cease-fire negotiations, the Israelis demanded more military support and threatened a negative publicity campaign toward the US government for joining the Soviet Union in imposing peace conditions to Israel. The United States mildly subdued its displeasure and tried to appease Israel by providing the extra planes and tanks requested.45
The Geneva Conference (1973)
In September 1973 President Nixon appointed Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State,46 thereby replacing William Rogers. To resolve the Yom Kippur War, the UN passed Resolution 338 which called for a cease-fire between Israel and Egypt, prescribed implementation of UN Resolution 242, and urged additional peace talks at Geneva. The following is the complete text of UN Resolution 338:
|The Security Council|
Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.
President Hafez Assad, head of Syria since 1970 and head of the Ba’ath Socialist Party, had no interest in the Geneva Conference unless Kissinger agreed to answer the following three questions:
Syria’s three questions put Kissinger in an awkward position. If he agreed with the first point, that Syria should not give up any territory; this would upset Israel. If he agreed with the second point, that the Palestinian problem should be solved before peace talks with Israel could begin; Israel would definitely be displeased. On the other hand, if Kissinger supported Israel’s efforts to annex the Golan and refused to include the Palestinians, the Arabs would walk away from the peace talks. Kissinger more or less evaded the issue and merely gave President Assad unspecific support.49
Gold Meir made Kissinger’s job even more difficult by insisting that the Palestinians not be mentioned at all in Geneva and that the United Nations participation would be limited exclusively to facilitating the conference, and nothing more.50
Kissinger managed to negotiate a preliminary agreement between Egypt and Israel;51 however, the Arabs were dissatisfied with his attitude toward Syria’s three points. This created solidarity among the oil-producing Arab nations. Consequently, they imposed an oil embargo on the United States through the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). This had a dramatic effect on the American culture and economy.52
Arab Oil Embargo (1973)
OAPEC was created in January 1968. The Chairmanship rotates annually. Member countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and United Arab Emirates.53 As previously stated, the Arab oil embargo was the result of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s efforts—in the wake of the Yom Kippur War (1973)—to resolve Arab-Israeli conflicts at a peace conference in Geneva per UN Resolution 338. The OAPEC countries imposed the embargo which led to a quadrupling of oil prices. The aftershock produced runaway inflation and a recession.54
Few politicians had the courage to publicly criticize America’s support of Israel as the root cause of the Arab oil embargo. Instead our leaders took a more convenient route of blaming Arabs and engaging in racism toward Muslims at large.
The OAPEC nations refused to end the embargo until the United States worked out a peace agreement between Israel and Syria. Kissinger’s job was made more difficult by Israel’s demand that Syria free its jailed Israeli prisoners. To neutralize that demand, Kissinger suggested that both countries—Syria and Israel—provide the other with a list jailed prisoners to be released. Once both sides agreed on the lists of names, the peace negotiations would begin.55
Israel and Syria provided the requested list of names, but peace negotiations quickly deteriorated because Israel was simply unwilling to give up any land to Syria. A squabble developed over the former provincial capital of the Golan Heights, Quneitra, an uninhabited market town with a population once estimated at between 20,000 and 50,000 people. Syria had evacuated the town at the end of the Six Day War. In the final hours of the truce, Israeli forces drove out the remaining civilian population and destroyed the town, leaving it uninhabitable; however, this fact was not known to the Syrians during the 1973 negotiations between Israel and Sryia. Consequently, Israel stalled and complained about the negotiations because they did not want to acknowledge destroying the town of Quneitra in 1967.56
As a diversion, Israel launched a raid into Lebanon which prompted a Palestinian guerrilla attack on the Israeli town of Ma’a lot. Hostages were seized. In the end, sixteen schoolchildren and three guerrillas were killed. The possibility of genuine peace evaporated with that tragic event; however, both Syria and Israel signed a peace plan on May 18, 1974 to end the fighting. This also diffused the Arab oil embargo.
It appears that President Nixon may have been more courageous than many realize. Although he resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, he did some things that the public seldom reads or hears about, at least not in full context. The following is a list of major accomplishments:
- He established détente, in May 1972, between the United States and the Soviet Union with the signing of the SALT I agreements. For all intents and purposes, this marked the end of the Cold War.
- He opened diplomatic relations with China.
- He withdrew American forces from South Vietnam and ended the draft. Half a million American soldiers were abandoned on foreign soil by President Johnson when he abdicated his leadership in March 1968. Nixon brought them home.
- He greatly curtailed the flow of heroin into US borders by crushing Auguste Ricord’s heroin cartel.
- He encouraged the public execution of Lucien Sarti—the French-Corsican assassin who reportedly killed President Kennedy by shooting him in the right temple with an exploding bullet—by Mexican police in Mexico City on April 27, 1972 (about six weeks before the Watergate burglary).
The looming criticism of the Nixon Administration was the "secret" bombing campaign in Cambodia. But as he explained in a speech before the VFW in New Orleans on August 20, 1973, the action was not a secret within the government as his critics had charged. Nixon explained that the plan was "disclosed to appropriate Government leaders" and the "appropriate Congressional leaders." He added that "there was no secrecy as far as Government leaders were concerned, who had any right to know or need to know." It is also important to realize that Nixon had only been President for less than two months when that decision was made. Upon reflection, it appears that the so-called "secret" bombing campaign in Cambodia was actually Nixon’s Bay of Pigs. Eventually his enemies used that decision—which many of them participated in—to drive him from office.
Within this context, many of Nixon’s actions regarding China, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and the war on heroin were indeed bold and courageous.
- Nixon’s remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in New Orleans on August 20, 1973 were quoted in an ACLU pamphlet entitled "The First Pamphlet Proposing the Creation of Committees of Correspondence to Redeem the Constitution of the United States by Causing the Impeachment of Richard M. Nixon," October 24, 1973. http://www.aclu.org/library/1stpamphlet.html
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 281
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Richard Milhous Nixon
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Nixon, China and the Soviet Union (Note the author’s comments about Auguste Ricord were not in the cited Britannica article.)
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Vietnam War
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Richard Milhous Nixon, Watergate Scandal
- Joan Hoff, The Nixon Story You Never Heard (article). Collusion between Admiral Moorer, Yeoman Radford, and others within the US military is also discussed at great length in Silent Coup by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin.
- Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup, pp. 69 - 71. The authors cited the following sources for the Woodward-Haig connection: The National Personnel Records Center provided basic information about Woodward’s military career, including duty stations, assignments, date of rank, decorations, and dates of induction and discharge; Playboy interview of Woodward by J. Anthony Lukas (February 1989); NROTC guide obtained from Naval Military Personnel Command; Woodward himself provided the authors with a copy of his 1969 resignation letter and of NAVOP order, also known as an ALLNAV; An excerpt from Haig’s 1962 master’s thesis was published in the Washington Post on January 18, 1981.
- Evert Clark & Nicholas Horrock, Contrabandista!, pp. 181 - 182
- ibid, pp. 215 - 216
- ibid, p. 206
- ibid, pp. 3 - 22
- ibid, p. 182
- ibid, p. 214
- ibid, p. 183
- ibid, p. 206
- Evert Clark & Nicholas Horrock, Contrabandista!, p. 212
- ibid, p. 230
- ibid, pp. 230 - 231
- DEA Museum and Visitors Center, "An Introduction to DEA," http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/deamuseum/deaintro.html
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Golda Meir
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 67
- ibid, p. 69
- Nixon, Memoirs, p. 481; also cited by George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 68
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, pp. 68 - 71
- ibid, p. 68 - 70
- ibid, p. 69
- ibid, pp. 70 - 71
- ibid, p. 71
- ibid, p. 72
- ibid, p. 281
- ibid, pp. 73 - 74
- ibid, pp. 74 - 75
- ibid, p. 76
- ibid, p. 75
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Henry Kissinger
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 76
- ibid, p. 77
- ibid, p. 77
- ibid, p. 78
- ibid, pp. 78 - 79
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC)
- ibid, United States, History, Since 1946, The 1970s, The Gerald R. Ford Administration
- George Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 78 - 79
- ibid, p. 79 - 80