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Comparing the crimes of Watergate and 9/11

by William McGaughey

Having lived through the period of the Watergate scandal, I am still unclear exactly what President Nixon’s crimes were that required him to resign the presidency.

First, it should be said that no one has accused Richard Nixon of ordering the break-in of DNC offices in the Watergate office complex or of knowing about it in advance. When the news of the burglary was brought to him, the President reportedly asked: “Who was the asshole who ordered it?”

So what did Nixon do? He tried to cover up the scandal. Cover ups or political damage control are not illegal or immoral per se. However, Nixon and his associates broke the law. They also lied to the American people.

First, President Nixon ordered his aide, Robert Haldeman, to get the CIA to block the FBI investigation into the source of the funding for the burglars. Second, he issued a public statement to the effect that his lawyer, John Dean, had thoroughly investigated the incident when, in fact, no investigation had been done. He also stated unequivocally that no one in the White House was involved. A taped conversation between Nixon and Haldeman several days after the burglary showed that the President himself had plotted to cover up the scandal.

Once it had been revealed that the President’s reelection campaign had provided money for the Watergate burglars, Nixon’s political fortunes quickly became unraveled. The White House was now directly linked to the burglary. Nixon was forced to fire some of his closest associates. He looked even worse when he refused to release audiotapes of conversations in the Oval Office and demanded the resignation of the Attorney General who had refused to fire the special prosecutor who was demanding the tapes. When the tapes were finally released, several portions of the recordings had been deleted. Others showed that the President in private discussions swore like a pirate.

Finally the U.S. House of Representatives including many Republicans drafted articles of impeachment against President Nixon on three grounds: (1) obstruction of justice, (2) abuse of power, (3) contempt of Congress. When three leading Republican members of Congress personally told the President that he would likely be impeached and removed from office, Nixon decided to resign. He did so on August 9, 1974.

My reaction forty years later: Richard Nixon certainly had egg on his face but his crimes were not serious enough to justify his resignation or forced removal from office. Many heads of state try to cover up scandals involving their administrations even to the point to exercising control over investigative agencies.

Nixon’s problem was more his public image. Called “tricky Dick” by his enemies and hounded by the press, Nixon had a (justifiably) paranoid personality that could not be concealed. His vile language revealed on the tapes gave his enemies even more ammunition. Richard Nixon was done in not so much by legal transgressions as waning political support for personal reasons.

In summary, I say: Big deal! So Nixon tried to cover up White House involvement with the Watergate burglary! That is not so serious an offense in the broader scheme of things. There is a difference between transgressions of law and betrayal of the national interest. By and large, Nixon was an upstanding citizen even if the press chose to portray him differently. Nixon was not a “crook” though he was foolish to deny this explicitly. (Remember, the press has the power to repeat something endlessly so that the public has its image etched in their mind.)

Now, let’s compare Nixon’s Watergate crimes with the crimes committed on September 11, 2001. First, be forewarned that I do not accept the official version of events but believe that the deaths and devastation associated with the World Trade Center towers (plus Building Seven), the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash were conspiratorial operations that involved agencies of the U.S. Government and other entities. Yes, there were airplanes or flying objects that hit some buildings, but these were not what brought the Twin Towers down. A controlled demolition brought those buildings down.

My belief is based upon evidence connected with the incidents themselves, not on a personal disposition to mistrust the government or believe in conspiracy theories. First and foremost, a skyscraper like the World Trade Center tower does not fall freely to the ground in less than ten seconds because jet fuel fires in an upper story have weakened the steel structure; they fall because the bottom floors have disintegrated. And that could only have happened with a controlled demolition. Second, one must ask why the nation’s air defenses were curiously disabled on the day that four separate hijacking teams from Saudi Arabia decided to attack well-known targets in the United States. That had to have involved cooperation with high-level officials in the U.S. government who exercised control over the air defenses.

So, if youthful Arab hijackers did not do it, who did? The former head of the Pakistani intelligence agency, Gen. Hamid Gul, stated in an interview with Arnaud de Borchgrave of United Press International on September 26, 2001, that the likely perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks was “Mossad and its accomplices.” Mossad is the Israeli intelligence agency. The “accomplices” had to be military or intelligence agencies of the U.S. government. Another had to have been Larry Silverstein who had recently purchased the World Trade Center towers.

Also, the former president of Italy, Francesco Cossiga, told a major Rome daily newspaper in late November, 2007, that it was common knowledge among global intelligence agencies that the CIA and the Israeli Mossad had carried out the attacks on 9/11 to justify subsequent U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan (as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had justified our entrance into World War II).

You can either believe this or not. But let’s proceed.

If someone high up in the U.S. government - possibly, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, or CIA director George Tenet, or some combination of the above - having foreknowledge of the attacks, aided and abetted them, it would make White House involvement in Watergate look like a Halloween prank in comparison. Yet, there were no Woodwards or Bernsteins chasing after the government culprits. Instead, a systematic coverup of the events on 9/11 has taken place that has yet to be penetrated or even adequately discussed.

The U.S. government contributed to the coverup in sponsoring a phony analysis of how the World Trade Center towers came down by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and by a fabricated report issued by the 9/11 Commission stage-managed by Philip Zelikow, an expert in public myths.

The news media bears equally heavy guilt in refusing to countenance any explanations of the 9/11 events other than those given by representatives of the U.S. government. Anyone who dares suggest that agencies of the U.S. government were knowingly involved in 9/11 are derided as “conspiracy theorists” who need to have their heads examined. Even if a substantial portion of the population has doubts, they, too, need to have their heads examined. It is simply unacceptable for the press to conduct its own factual investigation. Not only do they refuse to investigate, they disparage members of the public who dare ask embarrassing questions.

What tyrants from Hitler on down have known is that the public will more readily accept a big lie than a small one. Nixon told small lies. The Bush administration and its accomplices in the press have told big ones. Therefore, I say: What Richard Nixon did in the Watergate affair was not so serious a crime. Nixon, an American patriot, never would have authorized or condoned an attack on U.S. soil similar to what happened on 9/11.

You righteous crusaders in the press who brought President Nixon down - you need to look at yourselves in the mirror for the next targets of your hard-headed reporting. Your suppression of the truth relating to 9/11 is a supremely shameful matter.

And maybe someone should educate the American people to see the difference between crimes that broke the law but did not really hurt anyone and those which resulted in massive deaths, injury, waste of national treasure, and loss of global reputation.

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