Sensational new evidence has emerged that Richard Nixon, former U.S. president, committed treason in securing his election victory at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968.

Nixon, well-known as a rabid right-wing Republican, was also forced to resign as U.S. president in 1974 because he was proved to have lied to the American public about the infamous Watergate conspiracy, cover-up, and burglary of his Democrat election rivals’ offices.

In 1968, retiring U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, finally had to consider the prospects of a negotiated settlement to the war in Vietnam, establishing peace talks in Paris with the communist North Vietnamese government. For the talks to succeed, it required the participation of the U.S.-backed government in South Vietnam, which Johnson secured.

But 1968 was also election year. Johnson’s successor as the Democratic candidate was Hubert Humphrey, his rivals being Nixon as the Republican candidate and the far right independent George Wallace, a notoriously racist governor of Alabama who once also advocated a nuclear attack on North Vietnam to end the war!

The BBC Radio program Wheeler: The Final Word, broadcast in Britain on March 16, provides conclusive evidence from the recently released Lyndon Johnson personal archive. This shows that Nixon – contrary to his public statements supporting the 1968 Paris peace talks and his pledges to Johnson as U.S. president – actually had secret communications with the
South Vietnamese government to persuade it to withdraw from the Paris talks at a critical point.

He succeeded, thus destroying the 1968 peace negotiations. Nixon’s cynical strategy is now made clear by the BBC report: secretly sabotage the peace talks, blame Johnson and the Democrats, pose as a better advocate of a peaceful settlement if elected. It worked; he was narrowly elected a few days later in November 1968 as the new U.S. president. The reality is that his election was steeped in blood: He continued U.S. involvement in the war for five more years, with the loss of a further 20,000 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives!

The respected BBC journalist Charles Wheeler, who believed this to be the case in 1995, did not have the full proof before he himself died in 2008. However, the relevant sections of Lyndon Johnson’s archives were subsequently released, and these include sensational audio tapes of Johnson’s phone conversations with Nixon and others – hence the new BBC Radio 4 program revealing the new crucial evidence.

Johnson, as then U.S. president – and no left-winger himself by any means – is categorical in accusing Nixon of treason by sabotaging the Paris peace talks! How did he know what Nixon was doing? He got him and his aides followed and his phones tapped.

The question that the program also pursues is why Johnson or Humphrey, as Nixon’s election opponent, didn’t expose this at the time. Again, Johnson’s taped phone conversations from the archive reveal that he actually instructed the notorious head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, to tap the phones and watch everything that all of his political opponents were doing. Johnson believed that the nation would be shocked if it knew he authorised such spying activities on the USA’s own citizens – activities which may also have been illegal.

This is a sensational news story by any account, even for those of us old enough to know at the time what a crook Nixon was and the bloody carnage of U.S. imperialism in Vietnam for which both Vietnamese and U.S. soldiers, not least poor African Americans, paid such a dreadful price.

So it’s somewhat shocking also that both the British and U.S. press have almost completely ignored the story, and the BBC decided to withdraw the program from its iPlayer facility on March 23. However, you can still read an account of it on the BBC website and listen to some key extracts from Johnson’s audiotapes. Go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21768668 (it’s the second part of the webpage that focuses on Nixon’s treason).

It has been estimated that between 800,000 and 3.1 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, 200,000- 300,000 Cambodians, 20,000-200,000 Laotians and over 58,000 U.S. soldiers and personnel died during the war in Vietnam.

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