None Dare Call it Treason

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

220px-Richard_NixonIn 1964, during Barry Goldwater’s race for the White House, a book became a runaway best seller and it was titled “None Dare Call It Treason”. Its’ premise, typical of the thinking of many of that time, was that the United States was being sold out to Communism by its “liberal elites” who were pro-communist and thus wanted the USSR to win the “Cold War”. As the title clearly illustrates the book’s author, John A. Stormer, believed that the “elite” were traitors, liberal of course, who were so powerful that their “treasonous actions” couldn’t be challenged. I remember the popularity of the book at that time and how many who supported Barry Goldwater were believers in the books veracity. Goldwater himself seemed to be echoing Stormer’s theme of rooting out pro Communists in his Convention speech which produced the memorable phrase: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” It is thus a meme that in many different ways has been played and re-played through our Country’s history by those of a more Conservative persuasion. That meme is that the true American patriots are those who are of Right Wing political persuasion.

An article I came across about a month ago made me think of that 1964 book and how if one is to play the “treason” card, the finger might point to those who mantle themselves in the cloak of conservatism just as well, if not more so than those of liberal persuasion. This article details turning points in American history where the “treason” label might well be pointed at those who deem themselves to be “conservative protectors of the American Way”. I write this not as a liberal flogging my perspective, but as someone whose view of American politics has become so jaundiced through the years that I’m fully aware that liberals have contributed equally, through a combination of compliance, cowardice and inaction, to what is becoming the destruction of the United States Constitution and the ideals of our Founding Fathers. The incidents I am writing about represent the failure and corruption of our political system, the blame for which falls upon those that let it happen, either through the sin of active participation, or via the sin of inaction.

The article that provided the germ for this guest blog is titled: “Shocking New Evidence Reveals Depths of ‘Treason’ and ‘Treachery’ of Watergate and Iran-Contra” by Robert Parry, of Consortium News and published at

The author presents new evidence about two landmark disturbances of the American political fabric and puts them into context of what is already known. In both the instances described, I’ve long been aware of the fact that while their result has momentous consequences for the political fabric of this country, their eventual “resolutions” left much to be desired and many unanswered questions. Using material from this article and using many years of my own thought and research, I will try to weave together a narrative of the effect of those incidents and why the obvious truths about them have been smothered from the public consciousness.

The Senate Watergate hearings coincided with the first extended cross country trip that I made. My inspiration for this trip was my favorite book: Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and indeed I was on the road from New York to California and back for eight weeks. In my 1973 Gremlin I discovered just how wide this country is for motor travel and spent at times up to ten hours a day driving through vast tracts of farm country, with few sights to see. I was thus obsessed with the radio broadcasts of the Watergate Hearings and their recaps in the evening that I watched in a variety of  cheap motel rooms. As much as I absorbed the information it seemed to me that there were many aspects of the story that trailed off out of the consciousness of the Senate Committee and thus out of the spotlight of American History.

One of those aspects was just what were these “burglars” looking for at Nixon’s behest? Considering the risk/reward of the situation, it made little sense that such a chance was being taken in a general hunt for intelligence on Democratic Party strategy. Did they really need Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatric records in order to discredit him and then too what was the fascination with Dita Beard and IT&T? . As the hearings went on there was also some perplexity about these “burglars”, who were not some ragtag clowns, but CIA operatives of long term status dating back to at least “The Bay of Pigs” invasion. Yet their behavior in their burglary at the Watergate was unprofessional and ludicrous in its execution. From my outsider’s perspective somehow, even though I despised Nixon, the whole affair, at least the official story, didn’t make sense. I’ve come to believe as you will see developed in a link to one of my previous blogs at the end of this piece, that Watergate was more than Nixon’s aberration, but that he too was being set up by the CIA, perhaps as payback by LBJ supporters. While through the years I’d developed some similar suspicions regarding Watergate from various items that were made public, only to disappear with media non-interest, the article by Mr. Parry somehow “clicked” it all into place.

“A favorite saying of Official Washington is that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” But that presupposes you accurately understand what the crime was. And, in the case of the two major U.S. government scandals of the last third of the Twentieth Century – Watergate and Iran-Contra – that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Indeed, newly disclosed documents have put old evidence into a sharply different light and suggest that history has substantially miswritten the two scandals by failing to understand that they actually were sequels to earlier scandals that were far worse. Watergate and Iran-Contra were, in part at least, extensions of the original crimes, which involved dirty dealings to secure the immense power of the presidency.

Shortly after Nixon took office in 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed him of the existence of the file containing national security wiretaps documenting how Nixon’s emissaries had gone behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back to convince the South Vietnamese government to boycott the Paris Peace Talks, which were close to ending the Vietnam War in fall 1968. In the case of Watergate – the foiled Republican break-in at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972 and Richard Nixon’s botched cover-up leading to his resignation in August 1974 – the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.

The disruption of Johnson’s peace talks then enabled Nixon to hang on for a narrow victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. However, as the new President was taking steps in 1969 to extend the war another four-plus years, he sensed the threat from the wiretap file and ordered two of his top aides, chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, to locate it. But they couldn’t find the file.”

Think about the idea that a Presidential candidate would sabotage peace talks to end a devastating war in order to gain the Presidency. Add to that the fact that Nixon actually escalated the war he had promised to end, causing death and maiming in the hundreds of thousands and to me at least we have a picture of treason. Mr. Parry presents evidence in the article that Lyndon Johnson became aware of Nixon’s sabotaging the Viet Nam Peace Talks, but kept it quiet in the interest of national unity. However, it also must be understood that LBJ and Nixon we in truth quite friendly to each other and both had knowledge of the other’s involvement in scandalous peccadillo’s, via their mutual ally J.Edgar Hoover. “The Bay of Pigs Invasion” for instance was an example of their mutual dirty work. Perhaps LBJ thus felt constrained to blow the whistle fearing mutually destructive payback.  It seems to me that the sabotage of the Viet Nam Paris Peace Talks, beyond treason, could also rank as a war crime considering the slaughter that followed.

We move along in history only a brief seven years. We find Jimmy Carter a beleaguered President dealing with the captivity of 52 American Embassy hostages. for 444 days, by the Iran revolutionaries. The coverage of this crisis, particularly on ABC’s Nightline gave a picture of President Carter as being too weak to stand up for our country. Ex Actor and former California Governor Ronald Reagan ran this perception to an overwhelming victory in the Electoral College, even though he only receives 50.7% of the popular vote. Without the “hostage crisis” Reagan’s victory would have been far more problematic since he was perceived at the time by almost 50% of Americans as too Right Wing and not experienced. For me the most disturbing aspect of his victory was that the 52 hostages were released exactly at the end of Reagan’s inaugural speech. Coincidences bother me.

The Parry article contains two interesting quotes which I’ll let speak for themselves..

“There is something I want to tell you,” [Yassir] Arafat said, addressing [Jimmy] Carter in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election,” Arafat said, according to Brinkley’s article in the fall 1996 issue of Diplomatic Quarterly.”

Also from the article:

“As recently as this past week, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr reiterated his account of Republican overtures to Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis and how that secret initiative prevented release of the hostages.”

We know that later in the Reagan Administration the “Iran-Contra Scandal” arose and the nation was temporarily shocked that the U.S. has sold weaponry to our Iranian enemies, using Israel to transship them and converting the money received into aid for the Contra rebellion in Nicaragua. Those hearing were the cause of much “sturm und drang”, but in the end came to nothing due to the media’s love affair with and protection of the mentally faltering Ronald Reagan.

There are many facts and much information to be read in the source story which I’ll link again here:

“Shocking New Evidence Reveals Depths of ‘Treason’ and ‘Treachery’ of Watergate and Iran-Contra” by Robert Parry, of Consortium News and published at . To get the full picture I urge the reader to take the time to pore through it.

For my purpose here though I’ll just state that I find the evidence convincing and that the points I wish to make are being proposed in the light of my finding the full story believable. I want to look not at the full factual evidence, but at the implication for us if that evidence is true. To me I see evidence that people have achieved the Presidency of the United States through fraud that has delayed the end of disastrous national situations, for personal gain. To be fair, there certainly is more than a whiff of evidence that JFK’s election in 1960 was tainted by votes paid for by Joe Kennedy. We also know that George W. Bush’s election in 2000 also seems to have involved a great deal of skullduggery. By a loose definition one might deem fraud in our electoral process “treason” and though I disdain that fraud I wouldn’t go as far as to call it treason.. However, in the two instances I discussed I believe that there truly was treason committed by people seeking power and that the results of those treasonous acts have harmed our country. There is nothing that we can do that will undo these treasonous acts except to bring them into the realm of knowledge.

I must note that the branding of people as being traitors is an old tradition in this country that has mostly been the tactic of demagogues, as in the McCarthy Era. Perhaps it is time to focus on the actual treason that has been committed by those entrusted with governmental power. While the 2000 Election certainly had whiffs of fraud all over it, many on all parts of the political spectrum might cynically chalk it up to the way politics is done here. Perhaps though, with the knowledge of hindsight, we might see a purposeless war in Iraq, foisted upon us with specious evidence, as treasonous behavior? I’ve included two links below where I’ve expounded on this general theme and perhaps you might be interested in them for further insight to my thinking.

We are a Country made ignorant by the actions of a Corporate Media and complicit politicians that have re-written the history many of us have lived through. They have used propaganda techniques to foster the mythology of a fair political system that exists only in theory and certainly not in fact. I believe we are in a time where via the information age; people are beginning to see through these false myths. When things such as this occur, despite the political source, I believe we must dare to call it treason.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

60 thoughts on “None Dare Call it Treason”

  1. “of throwing the House of Representatives.” should be … of throwing the decision to the House of Representatives.

  2. Mike,

    Mainly I believe Johnson decided not to say anything because by October it looked like Humphrey had a good chance of winning due to Wallace’s failing campaign … he decided not to rock the boat by possibly alienating voters sitting on the fence. (Don’t forget that was the year MLK Jr and RFK were assassinated and George Wallace ran as a strong third party candidate.)

    As it turned out Nixon only won the popular vote by a little less than 1% (I remember having to wait till the next morning before the win was called.) Three states gave Nixon the Electoral College but there again by less than 3% in each state. I can’t remember the third one but California and Ohio were two of the three that eventually went for Nixon. Humphrey was close indeed. Had he won two of those states or just California Wallace would have accomplished his goal of throwing the House of Representatives.

    Had Johnson told the country what he knew about Nixon … who knows what the result would have been.

    1. “Had Johnson told the country what he knew about Nixon … who knows what the result would have been.”


      It’s true because as you and I both remember from that time most Americans,
      save for the “silent majority” had very mixed feelings towards any claims coming from Washington. I too was up through the night waiting out that election. I was a devoted RFK supporter (tremendous emotional attachment) and had despised Nixon since my early childhood. Also though HHH had lost luster as Veep, he still had had a courageous career. I must admit I never liked not trusted Gene McCarthy. Then too this exposes the emotional bid my growing cynicism about the America system has put me in. As much as I know almost all politicians are corporate tools not to be trusted, the emotional idealism of my youth still is there and sometimes my feelings override my good sense.

  3. Mike S:

    I agree Nixon had a lot to answer for. Traitor might have been the kindest possible word for it.

  4. I think the likeliest explanation for LBJ’s keeping quiet about Nixon’s sabotage of the peace talks – and we have tapes of LBJ conversations discussing this, he knew about it on the weekend before the election – is that someone (J Edgar Hoover, likely) had learned about it through illegal wiretaps, leaving LBJ’s hands tied. He could reveal Nixon’s sabotage only by ratting out Hoover and ratting out Hoover would be a death blow for almost anyone in DC at that time.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave….

  5. Gene,

    Re your post today @ 9:58 am … there’s something Un-American about a secret standing army run out of the Oval Office and allowed to do murder for hire such as the quid pro quo against Pakistan’s enemy, Mr. Muhammad.

    It’s hard to imagine that the Founders ever intended such powers be given to the Executive.

    “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. ” (Madison)

    Admittedly that was Madison before he got us involved in the War of 1812. 😉

  6. mespo, well said.
    No president is one dimensional. One of the things I was trained for in graduate school was to look for the healthy core in even the sickest patient, and try to work with that.

  7. Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: a History:

    “]President Lyndon] Johnson subscribed to the adage that “wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals.” He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces “need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic,” and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislation unless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him “soft on communism” were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and the braid with promises he may never have intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Just let me get elected, and you can have your war.”


    I think Karnow got it right, but I disagree that Johnson was a traitor. Take him out of the presidency and you have millions of African-Americans in poverty and disenfranchised. Like so many pragmatists, Johnson had the burden of choosing to tolerate an evil to beget a good. It’s easy now to question his judgment, but awfully simplistic to condemn him unremittingly in the face of the social progress he so clearly accomplished.

    1. “I think Karnow got it right, but I disagree that Johnson was a traitor.”


      I don’t think LBJ was a traitor either. His keeping quiet about the peace talk sabotage could have come from many reasons, some quite plausible.

      1. Being accused of sour grapes.
      2. Undercutting the position of a newly inaugurated President.
      3. National unity needed in time of war.
      4. etc.

      Just as in 2000 when Gore refused to carry the fight to the Senate many of our political caste confuse the best interests of the country, with the need to keep the public in the dark as to how things are really run in Washington, D.C.

      Nixon on the other hand clearly was a traitor.

  8. Blouise,

    I read an article the other day about a grenade attack in Pakistan and the victims were described simply as “paramilitary”. No contractor was mentioned. Their roles were not mentioned. My immediate thought was CIA. Good to have a little “sidereal confirmation” of that supposition.

    1. Since the WWII days of “Wild” Bill Donovan, there has always existed a tension in the CIA between the “Cowboys” and those dedicated to intelligence operations. The “Cowboys” seemingly the most glamorous and certainly the most corporate responsive, have mainly held the upper hand. Even assuming a well-meaning President, when briefed on this “intelligence” daily it is hard to not to fall under its’ spell. With 9/11, despite repeated CIA failures in judgment, it seems the “Cowboys” have prevailed and we have an Agency that has become a law unto itself.

  9. SwM,

    From that same NYTimes article:

    ” … that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound.

    That was a lie.

    Mr. Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

    That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate. The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.’s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization.

  10. Excellent article. And how about today? Why did we not only let bankers keep the money they gained through fraud, we also gave them $ trillions more. What exactly is Benghazi about?

    Thank God we have a mostly free internet. Keep vigilant and we all need to tell our friends and neighbors about items of concern, even when the news media would rather talk about Lindsey Lohan.

  11. Birds of a feather, flock together. Right wing folks in America in the fifties able to look over at the Nazi example. The 1933 Parallels are something that this dog mentions once in a while. Herr Goering went from his office through a tunnel across to the Reichstag Building (German Parliament) and burned it. The right wing blamed the Communists. President von Hindenburg fell for it and issued The Reichstage Decree. The threat of communism fueled the Nazi takeover. The Decree ended civil liberty protections in Germany. Nixon and his cronies, Joe McCarthy being one, saw the value politically of calling people Commies. It is true that there were real commies in America and some were in government.

    The McCarthy movement morphed to the Lee Atwater Southern Strategy. Instead of throwing rocks at Communists they went off on the race card. They devised a strategy to use code words to throw rocks at minorities in order to get the vote of the bigots who lived and voted both North and South. Welfare cheats, forced busing, and such things have become the mantra of the RepubliCon Party. Ronnie Raygun may have been senile but he knew how to appeal to the bigots of America. Bushies were good, Mittster was better in a way. The appeal to the 47 percenters worked. Except 47 percent is not a majority.

  12. “Whenever a man has cast a longing eye upon [office], a rottenness begins in his conduct.” — Thomas Jefferson (quoted by Barbara Tuchman in The March of Folly)

    For example (from Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: a History):

    Kissinger had met Nixon only briefly, at a cocktail party at Clare Boothe Luce’s elegant Manhattan apartment late in 1967. … On the eve of the Republican convention in July 1968, he described Nixon as “the most dangerous, of all the men running, to have as president.” Nixon’s nomination drove him to despondency. The country, he feared, was about to be taken over by an anti-Communist fanatic. Over the next few weeks, however, ambition spurred him to reconsider. He began to ingratiate himself with the Nixon camp while keeping in contact with the Democrats.

    [President Lyndon] Johnson was then considering a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam — a step that might swing the anti-war liberals back into supporting Humphrey. As Humphrey’s fortunes rose, Kissinger maintained his ties with the Democrats. But through one of Nixon’s foreign policy aides, Richard Allen, he got in touch with the Republicans, offering to furnish them with covert information on Johnson’s moves. A clandestine channel was set up through Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell, and Kissinger guided the Republicans secretly on the Vietnam issue for nearly two months — thus supplying Nixon with the ammunition to blast Humphrey for “playing politics with the war.” Kissinger glosses over the episode in his memoirs, recalling that “only one question was ever put to me by the Nixon organization.” Nixon, by contrast, says in his memoirs, that he received three substantial messages from Kissinger. Whatever the truth, Kissinger’s subterfuge earned him Nixon’s admiration and gratitude. Kissinger was soon to acquire his most important patron.

    Other intrigues were going on — among them one involving Anna Chennault, the Chinese-born widow of General Claire Chennault, commander of the Flying Tigers during World War II. A Republican activist, she recommended to South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu that he object to the last-minute halt in the bombing of North Vietnam, a maneuver which she hoped would foil the Democrats and help Nixon. She also urged Thieu to procrastinate on the matter of participation in the Paris talks, explaining that firmer American support for his cause would be forthcoming after Nixon entered the White House. Her conduit to Thieu was Bui Diem, his ambassador to the United States. But Johnson was tracking her every move. Both the FBI and the CIA were tapping her telephone conversations with Bui Diem, intercepting the cable traffic to and from the South Vietnamese embassy in Washington, and spying on Thieu through an electronic device installed in his Saigon office. Nixon believed that he was being bugged as well — especially after Johnson bluntly warned him against relying on Madame Chennault’s machinations.

    Some very rotten conduct by Nixon and Kissinger, indeed, but nothing that President Johnson didn’t know about. Yet given Johnson’s own patently illegal wiretapping activities ( a quaint notion today, I realize) he could say nothing publicly. Nonetheless, let no one ever forget that Lyndon Johnson won an overwhelming election in 1964 by promising on national television: “I will not send American boys to fight in a war in Asia that should be fought by Asian boys.” Unknown to the American electorate, Johnson had already betrayed the national mandate against war in Vietnam even as he promised the peace he had no intention of delivering. Again, from Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: a History:

    “]President Lyndon] Johnson subscribed to the adage that “wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals.” He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces “need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic,” and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislation unless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him “soft on communism” were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and the braid with promises he may never have intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Just let me get elected, and you can have your war.”

    Not all traitors wear civilian clothes, but among those that do, Johnson, Nixon, and Kissinger deserved each other. Unfortunately for our nation and the world — especially my generation — we got the cumulative disaster of all three plus the ticket-punching military caste, as well. And Henry Kissinger still hasn’t finished with his Machiavellian intrigues.

  13. Bill McWilliams,
    The moon landing happened. 43 years ago. Try to get over it.
    All the magical thinking you can do, doesn’t alter outside reality.
    Yes, the conspiracy theories are truly endless. It’s a full-time religion. Facts don’t get in the way of faith.
    Since many of these conspiracies would involve the cooperation of millions of people, you end up being the only person on earth who isn’t conspiring against you.
    Cold comfort, that.

  14. Elaine,

    Can you imagine the emails we would have been firing back and forth to each other at the time if the technology had been what it is today. What a blog subject Watergate would have made!

  15. SwM,

    I don’t believe it’s so much a conspiracy as it is a continuous grouping of “true believers” who honestly think that without their invisible hand on the wheel the country would fall apart … super patriots who are true sociopaths when it comes to taking action. The fact that they have developed into a paramilitary organization was inevitable. They are quite good at creating a vacuum then rushing in to fill it.

    A friend of mine used to say … when the President invites national security people to the Oval Office everyone is offered a chair except the CIA … they are offered a curtain.

  16. I employ variations of the phrase (None Dare Call It Treason) in my comments on this blog. I had forgotten the name of the author of the book and had attributed it to Goldwater. RepubliCons are especially good at twisting words around. I happened to be visiting Washington DC on August 9, 1974 the day Nixon resigned. A bunch of us were celebrating over at a conference held by Howard University for the Reggie Conference. We were a bit loaded when a caravan of us found our way to the White House. Tricky Dick came out and gave a wave from the portico. We were yelling: Jail To The Chief. Years later Nixon’s memoir came out and he claimed we were yelling Hail To the Chief. None would dare call that treasonous but it was like a lot of things with Nixon and his gang. They would twist the truth, like the twist in a rope, until it unbraided.

    Years later in my present life incarnation as a dog I see the pernicious Goldwater tactics followed to the extreme. The other day the President made the comment that a female prosecutor looked good (or some such phrase) and was subsequently reviled for being a male pig. These comments were ramped up on the networks last night. None dare call it reasonable.

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