LBJ Tapes Contain Unexploded Bombshells — Lies, Treason and Perhaps Tens of Thousands of Lives Lost
by Christine Bowman
Historians and investigative journalists — even government prosecutors — need to get cracking to explain and connect the dots from new details coming out in just-released recordings from both the Johnson and Nixon presidencies. LBJ was furious with Nixon, audiotapes of telephone conversations now show, over the likelihood that Nixon put politics first ahead of bringing the Vietnam war to a swift conclusion in 1968. As LBJ told Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen, “This is treason.”
In a separate, historically key conversation, LBJ warned Nixon directly and repeatedly that Nixon’s “people” appeared to be sabotaging LBJ’s peace overtures with Vietnam. In a conversation on November 3, 1968, two days prior to the presidential election, Johnson confronted Nixon on the issue, but Nixon told LBJ point-blank, “I’m not trying to interfere.”
That was a blatant Nixon lie, other historical documents seem to show. And far from his only one, as we now know. Nixon had campaigned on the promise that he had a “secret plan” for ending the war; meanwhile, he and/or GOP activists worked behind the scenes to convince Vietnamese diplomats that “Nixon will do better by you” if they only delayed peace talks until Nixon was in office. A Nixon supporter, Anna Chennault (aka Dragon Lady), apparently played a key role:
Chennault played a crucial role on behalf of the Nixon campaign in the wrecking of the 1968 Paris peace talks which could have ended the Vietnam War. She arranged the contact with South Vietnamese Ambassador Bui Diem whom Richard Nixon met in secret from July 1968 in New York. It was through Chennault’s intercession that Nixon advised Saigon to refuse participation in the talks, promising a better deal once elected. Records of FBI wiretaps show that Chennault phoned Bui Diem on November 2 with the message “hold on, we are gonna win.” President Nguyen Van Thieu obliged and the talks achieved almost no progress by the time Johnson left office.
Source: Shanghai Star
Anna C. Chennault and former US President Richard Nixon, whose 1968 and 1972 campaigns she supported in the role of special consultant.
Henry Kissinger also has been implicated in the effort to stall Johnson’s peace talks, according to Christopher Hitchens. Here is Hitchens’ perspective on the pre-election peace-talk interference:
As far back as July, Nixon had met quietly in New York with the South Vietnamese ambassador, Bui Diem. The contact had been arranged by Anna Chennault. Bugging of the South Vietnamese offices in Washington, and surveillance of the “Dragon Lady,” showed how the ratchet operated. An intercepted cable from Diem to President Thieu on the fateful day of October 23 had him saying: “Many Republican friends have contacted me and encouraged us to stand firm. They were alarmed by press reports to the effect that you had already softened your position.” The wiretapping instructions went to one Cartha DeLoach, known as “Deke” to his associates, who was J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI liaison officer to the White House. We met him, you may recall, in H. R. Haldeman’s Diaries.
All this might seem irrelevant 40 years later — but for the precedent and GOP pattern that Nixon had set. Fast forward to other presidential election seasons and wars, and you find more indications of GOP treason for political gain. One instance might be in the 1979-1980 run-up to Reagan’s election, when the GOP launched the Iran-Contra deal even as President Carter sought to bring home American hostages. The hostages were released as Reagan was sworn in. The Bush Administration, too, has been caught more recently in war-mongering lies.
Various reporters are beginning to piece together the stories contained in the new tapes, including Robert Parry at Consortium News, McClatchy & the Dallas Morning News, Channel 8 News in Austin, and the AP. We urge readers to stay alert and follow the story as it unfolds further.
Something like 22,000 more Americans died in Vietnam after Nixon took over in 1969. Southeast Asian countries suffered more shock and awe. The American people experienced a destructive and traumatic period domestically. And Richard Nixon never ended that war. Gerald Ford finally did in 1974.The mp3 audiotape of Nixon and LBJ talking is linked here. We urge you to listen. It’s 15 minutes of historical gold.
Other recordings just released by the LBJ Library are here:
The newly released Nixon tapes from 1972 are here:
Accountability for GOP presidents and presidential candidates has been in short supply for 40 years. This is a chance for journalists, historians and prosecutors to confront the still-living and correct the record.