(Photo: clasesdeperiodismo)As laid out in the previous article, Anonymous, Karl Rove and the 2012 Election Fix?, it’s possible that Karl Rove used SmartTECH’s servers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to flip the vote totals in Ohio in 2004 and thus steal the election that year for George W. Bush – and just as possible that he tried to do the same thing this year on Romney’s behalf but was thwarted by the hacktivist group Anonymous.
Many people have responded to these claims with a variation on: “That’s impossible. A presidential candidate committing treason? That would never happen, and, if it did, it would be front-page news. Everybody would know about it, right?”
Consider some simple history.
In 1952 Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower won the presidency – and there’s not a hint of scandal associated with that election. Maybe that’s because he supported a 91% top marginal income tax rate on the rich and approved of very popular New Deal programs like Social Security and unemployment benefits. As he told his brother in a letter in 1954, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things…a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
The stories you care about, right at your fingertips
Get Truthout's daily edition delivered to your inbox.
But Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president.
Richard Nixon, who won the 1968 election against Vice President Hubert Humphrey, followed Eisenhower. At the time, the Vietnam War was raging, millions of students were in the streets, and President Lyndon Johnson, throughout 1968, was working desperately to bring a negotiated end to that war. He’d gotten both the North and the South Vietnamese to agree to terms of peace, and, by late September, there was only a meeting in Paris to seal the deal.
And then the CIA brought LBJ a wiretap they’d intercepted between the Nixon for President Campaign and the office of the President of South Vietnam, Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Nixon basically told them that if they refused to go to the peace talks, or at least refused to go along with the peace agreement Johnson had worked out with them, then Nixon would give them a much better deal after the election.
LBJ was furious. This was treason, and because he could listen to the CIA phone intercepts, he knew that Richard Nixon was at the heart of it. So he called the senior Republican in the US Senate, Everett Dirksen, one of the most honorable men to hold a Senate leadership position in generations, and told him what was going on.
“I’m reading their hand, Everett,” LBJ said, “I don’t want to get this in the campaign. This is treason!”
LBJ continued, “I can identify them because I know who’s doing this. I don’t want to identify it – I think it would shock America if a principled candidate was playing with a source like this on a matter this important.”
Everett Dirksen promised to contact Nixon personally and try to put a stop to it, and in later conversations reported back to LBJ that Nixon wouldn’t even discuss it with him. General Thiệu dug in his heels, the war continued, Humphrey lost, and Nixon won the election.
This is historical fact. So, why doesn’t every American know that Nixon committed treason in 1968 to win the presidency? Remember that conversation with Dirksen? LBJ said, “I don’t want to let this get into the campaign.” He didn’t want the American people to learn that one of the two candidates for president was a traitor. He was afraid it would so horrify and dishearten the American people that they’d lose faith in the American democratic system. In fact, we didn’t even hear these tapes until just a few years ago when they were finally made public by the LBJ Library, and even then largely ignored by the national press.
LBJ went to his grave with this secret, as did Hubert Humphrey and the entire CIA team that outed Nixon. The American people were not to know that the Republican candidate was a traitor.
The next Republican to run was Ronald Reagan, along with CIA director George HW Bush. At that time, in 1980, the Shah of Iran had been stricken with cancer and left Iran for the US for treatment, and Islamists had taken over the country, along with taking over our embassy and holding its occupants hostage.
Barbara Honegger, who worked in the Reagan State Department, wrote a book about that time titled October Surprise. She and reporter Gary Sick both reported that during the week of October 15th through the 20th, Reagan campaign director Bill Casey went to Paris and met with representatives of the Ayatollah, asking him to stop negotiating with Carter and just hold the hostages until after the election. If Iran would do this, Casey promised, he’d get them weapons for the US-supplied military that the Shaw had amassed, and he’d route those weapons through Israel so nobody would ever know. The Iranians said, “Yes.”
The next day, on October 21st, the Iranians inexplicably, at least to the Carter administration that thought it was working out a deal, stopped negotiating. The world later learned that, over the next three days, Israel began shipping F-4 fighter jet tires to Iran, the first of many shipments of US-made weapons to go that route over the next few years.
And on January 20th, at the exact moment Reagan raised his hand to be sworn in, the Iranians released the hostages. It was their way of saying, “Deal done.” When we found out about it, and that the money the Iranians were paying Reagan for the military hardware was being used to kill Contra rebels in Nicaragua, it was referred to as the “Iran/Contra scandal.”
But Congress, concerned that the details both of the weapons and of Israel’s involvement with the Bush campaign before the election may come out, limited its investigation to events after the election.
On November 22nd, 1991 – 11 years after the election and after Reagan was long gone from the White House – Gary Sick was called to testify for a Congressional hearing on intelligence and security. There, Sick exhaustively detailed where his reporting had led him and how Reagan and his team committed treason.
“What this evidence shows is a consistent pattern of secret contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and Iran,” Sick testified. “The contacts began early in 1980, from about the moment that William Casey became the campaign manager for Mr. Reagan. They continued through the summer of that year in Madrid, where the first outline of a deal was reportedly proposed and accepted and where Israeli participation was first introduced.”
Sick then testified, “The terms of the bargain were reportedly made final in the second half of October in Paris. The hostages were released minutes after President Reagan had taken the oath of office, and arms began to flow to Iran from Israel, with U.S. government acquiescence, almost immediately thereafter.”
Also in the testimony, Sick points out curious remarks made by the Iranian Foreign Minister to parliament on August 16th, 1980. “We have information that the American Republican Party, in order to win in the upcoming election, is trying very hard to delay the resolution of the hostage question until after the American election,” said the Iranian Foreign Minister, according to Sick’s congressional testimony.
Sick points out, “That statement was made only a few days after Casey was reported to have met with an Iranian representative in Madrid for the very purpose described in the statement.”
We didn’t learn about Casey and Reagan’s treason until years later. Ronald Reagan went to his grave with this secret, as did his campaign manager, who he made head of the CIA, Bill Casey. Perhaps for the same reason that LBJ told Everett Dirksen in 1968 he wouldn’t out Nixon as a traitor, because it would “shock America,” the American people were kept in the dark this time, too, about their Republican candidate being a traitor.
The next Republican running for President in a serious way was George W. Bush. And his brother, who was governor of Florida, knew that the only way George could win was if tens of thousands of Democratic voters were purged from the rolls. So Jeb ordered his Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, to purge tens of thousands of largely African American voters from the rolls, which she did.
Harris kicked nearly 60,000 mostly African American voters off the rolls claiming that these people – who comprised 3% of the entire African American electorate in Florida – had been convicted of felonies and were thus ineligible to vote.
Turns out, though, that was mostly a lie. The list, based on a Texas felon list, led to tens of thousands of completely eligible African Americans Florida voters with names similar to Texas felons being denied their right to vote.
Thanks to Republicans throwing all these mostly-Democratic-leaning voters off the voter rolls, the election stayed close enough in Florida to out its outcome in doubt after Election Night.
The Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount of the votes. George W. Bush sued at the Supreme Court, in the infamous “Bush versus Gore” case, claiming that if the entire state was recounted it would create “irreparable harm to complainant George W. Bush.”
So the Supreme Court gave the Presidency to Bush, and it wasn’t until a year later, in November of 2001, that a group of newspapers completed their count of the Florida ballots. And, when the New York Times reported on it, they buried in the 17th paragraph of the story the bombshell that, had the Supreme Court not intervened and had all the ballots been counted in Florida as the Florida Supreme Court had ordered, Al Gore would have won no matter how you counted the ballots.
As the Times reports, “If all the ballots had been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won, by a very narrow margin.”
Why was the story buried? The Times and other news publications didn’t want to delegitimize Bush just a month after 9/11. But the fact remained, he hadn’t won the election – Al Gore had. Al Gore still won’t speak of this, just like John Kerry has only spoken to one reporter on the 2004 election issue – the American people are not to know that the Republican candidate and his brother were traitors.
So, here we have all the Republican administrations of the last half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Nixon, Reagan/Bush, and Bush. And every one of them took the White House by fraud and/or treason, to quote President Lyndon Johnson.
And now there are questions about Karl Rove trying to electronically rig the election of 2012 in three states. And Democrats and very rational liberals are saying, “There couldn’t be a conspiracy there. Everybody would know about it! The press would report on it! There’s no way they could get away with it! You’re being a conspiracy nut!”
Well, just look at the Republican history of the past fifty years. As LBJ told Everett Dirksen, “This is treason!”
Whether you read Truthout often or are new to our site, you probably share our repulsion with the Trump administration and want to see real change by 2020.
Too much is at stake to not do everything we can to help.
This is Truthout’s most important fundraising month and we urgently need to raise $200,000 to stay strong. If everyone reading this chipped in five bucks we'd be able to end our fundraiser today and have enough funds to expand our coverage and our team.
If you care about our work or just agree that we need a stronger press in the fight to reclaim our democracy, please take 30 seconds to help!