History Commons Groups

October 9, 2008

Wallace on the Watergate Timeline


The other day I received a long and thoughtful e-mail from “Wallace,” who describes himself as a history teacher and JFK assassination researcher who has worked both for the House Select Committee on Assassinations and for the Assassinations Records Review Board. He’s given me permission to post a slightly revised version of the e-mail on the blog. I’ve condensed some of the original post, reorganized it a bit, and removed all personal information. Your responses and thoughts are more than welcome. For the record, I agree with about half of what he writes, but we do not restrict ourselves to merely one “approved” point of view. Wallace’s post is below the fold.
Part I: Paul Thompson and the Complete 9/11 Timeline

“… I am a great admirer of Thompson and most of the people who work on 9-11 and the timelines. I think Thompson and his helpers have built the most useful tool in researching the event. Concerning 9-11, I believe:
1. It was an inside job.
2. Cheney and other leaders in the Bush administration facilitated it and allowed the events to occur.
3. The 9-11 Commission was further from the truth than even the Warren Commission (see below).
4. During the day of 9-11, a coup occurred within the U. S. government.
5. Bush is the worst president in the history of our country.
6. Conditions created during Bush’s administration have made it unlikely that the nation will ever recover.
… I was determined not to get involved in 9-11, ignoring calls and mailings sent to me by researchers from the JFK days, until I happened to watch one of the televised 9-11 hearings in March of 2004. That did it—you see one government coverup, you’ve seen them all. I have devoted every day since to reading, viewing and writing about 9-11, including a daily check of “History Commons.’ ”

Part II: The Nixon/Watergate and Iran-Contra Timelines

” … I began to be a bit suspicious of your points of view when I read various historical timelines you were compiling—Watergate, Iran-Contra—in particular. I noticed that your targets were always Republicans and the “conservatives” or Right wing. No investigative timelines of Vince Foster’s death, of Ron Brown’s death, of the Clinton-Gore-China mess. I began to wonder if this was an accident. I am no Republican—never could be—but I do have a respect for history. … Now, we come to Watergate. I have studied the events which fall under that large umbrella since the time they occurred. I watched them when they happened and I have read everything about Watergate since. I read Bernstein and Woodward, Colodny and Gettlin, John Dean’s writings, Kessler, Lukas—all of them. Your timeline is so inaccurate and distorted, obviously concocted to pass along to unsuspecting readers the old ‘bad Nixon, good Washington Post’ myth. The mythology here is that this is supposed to be the Golden Moment of Journalism, with two Brave and Intrepid reporters correcting the system. That is purely myth. Nixon was flawed, committed crimes, and deserved to be impeached. His actions in response to the Watergate fiasco led him, instinctively, to lawbreaking and crimes. He was inept and immoral. I was a Nixon hater at the time and ‘wallowed in Watergate’ as long as there was any mud there. I now know that Nixon played no direct role in the various break-ins, but that does not atone for his instinctive rush to break the law. Silent Coup and Hougan’s Secret Agenda are the most accurate books on Watergate. McCord and the CIA were the real instigators, and Dean did react to Mo Biner’s name in Thomas Bailley’s ‘date book.’ Silent Coup and Secret Agenda are two of the better researched books of our times—and All the President’s Men doesn’t even have footnotes or endnotes—did you know that? You described in your timeline how 60 Minutes and other outlets dropped coverage of the book, without mentioning that 60 Minutes offered a completely different excuse. All the reviwers you cited were ‘in house’ Washington Post critics. Bernstein and Woodward, Bradlee, and Kurtz all attacked the book—what a surprise. The Washington Post was riding high on Woodstein-mania. The two guys built their careers on their false book, and John Dean has tried to revive his by comparing the Nixon White House with the Dubya White House. After implying that all the political world concluded that Silent Coup was erroneous trash, you did not bring the Watergate/Silent Coup story up to date. Maxie Wells sued Gordon Liddy for saying (as Silent Coup says) that Wells’ desk contained the key to the desk which in which the Bailley datebook was kept. Her civil suit failed twice, the last time by unanimous verdict of the jury. The Washington Post frothed and fumed that mere jurors should challenge the work of their golden boys and more revelations about what went on at the Watergate are on the way. (Note recent but relevant is ‘The Key to Watergate,’ a 1991 or 1992 documentary.) … The work of Thompson and others is very valuable to many researchers. For it to earn the reputation of being the work of inaccurate ideologues would be unfortunate.”

1 Comment »

  1. I responded to Wallace via e-mail. This comment is a slightly condensed and edited version of that e-mail. Further discussion will be conducted on this blog. Feel free to join in the conversation.

    *****************

    I agree with your assessment of Paul Thompson and the 9/11 project. One of the things that makes that (and other) timelines so valuable, I think, is that we tend to avoid the conspiracy theories. We try to stick to the facts and let readers draw their own conclusions. I’ve worked with Paul for going on three years now and I’m still not sure who or what he thinks was behind the attacks. He remains firmly attached to dealing with the facts alone.

    Paul is also the chief editor of the site. He oversees the posts that I and others write (as I do his and others’ entries, and so forth). The Watergate, Iran-Contra, and other timelines were created and populated with his input every step of the way. I find your conclusion uninformed and wrongheaded: “The work of Thompson and others is very valuable to many researchers. For it to earn the reputation of being the work of inaccurate ideologues would be unfortunate.” Your implication is that my work (and perhaps others’) is dragging down the credibility of the 9/11 project. Since we all work together on all of the projects, our credibility stands or falls as a whole. I’m sorry, but you obviously don’t understand the driving concept of the History Commons. Would it perturb you to know that I’ve written close to 100 entries in the 9/11 project?

    It was an inside job. … Cheney and other leaders in the Bush administration facilitated it and allowed the events to occur.

    Believe me, if and when verifiable facts emerge that prove these assertions, we will be the first to post them. Until then, they remain plausible but unverified speculations.

    The 9-11 Commission was further from the truth than even the Warren Commission (see below).

    We can’t pin this one down. Yet.

    During the day of 9-11, a coup occurred within the U.S. government.

    We have intimations of this in Cheney’s immediate move to consolidate emergency powers within the White House and other examples, but again, we don’t draw such conclusions. In fact, we tend not to draw ANY conclusions. We leave that to the community of users.

    Bush is the worst president in the history of our country.

    No argument from me personally, but again, we don’t make those conclusions for you.

    Conditions created during Bush’s administration have made it unlikely that the nation will ever recover.

    As much as we don’t get into conclusions, we shy away from speculation even more.

    I have to take issue with some of your other points. My researches have taken me in the direction of some elements within Republican, conservative, and neoconservative organizations and groups. I have no “targets.” I report what I find, and what I and the Commons contributors and editors find plausible and supported by reliable sources. We have no Whitewater/Lewinsky project as yet, so an investigation of the Vince Foster suicide would have no place to exist. I find no compelling “evidence” of some murky conspiracy at work in the Foster suicide, in Ron Brown’s death, or in the Clinton-Gore connection with Chinese financiers. If I wanted to go down that road, I would begin with the Paul Wellstone plane crash, but I see no evidence of conspiracy there, either.

    As for Watergate, I have read Silent Coup and been all over Watergate.com, Colodny’s site. I find the entire thing an unholy stew of facts mixed with speculation, misrepresentations, and outright lies, twisted together to “prove” Colodny’s contention that Dean and Haig were behind the entire Watergate conspiracy. Sorry, I don’t believe it. I put far more reliability in the work of Richard Reeves, Stephen Ambrose, and Anthony Summers, to name three, than I do Colodny’s. You must also judge a person by the company he keeps, and for Colodny to seek validation of his theories by seeking confirmation and support from G. Gordon Liddy tells me all I need to know. In my judgment, Liddy is the closest thing to a functional psychopath of all the Watergate participants, and the least reliable.

    It’s also interesting that both Colodny and Hougan continue to insist that Deep Throat was someone else besides Mark Felt, even after Felt and his family have admitted it. A definite blow to their credibility, as they insist on their own interpretations of events in the face of the best ascertainable facts. And there is indeed an entry on Maxie Wells’s lawsuit failing. It may not have been posted for publication yet, but it’s in the works.

    I find Dean relatively reliable, if somewhat self-serving, and as far as I know, the facts have so far borne out Dean’s version of events.

    Both the Iran-Contra and Watergate timelines are incomplete. As we are able to process more information, we will be adding new entries and modifying old ones. As are all of the timelines on the Commons, they are works in progress.

    Comment by Max — October 9, 2008 @ 10:22 pm | Reply


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