Friday, October 21, 2005

Watergate and the Secret Army Organization

As we wait for what may be another Watergate-level event to unfold, it might be a good idea to look back at the time of Watergate, and some of the covert history that did not become part of the official record.

The Secret Army Organization, in many ways a sucessor to the Minutemen, was founded in February 1970 by Jerry Lynn Davis and Howard Barry Godfrey. Godfrey had been an FBI informant since 1967. The SAO stockpiled weapons and explosives and used them. In 1972 they bombed the Guild Theatre, a venue for pornography. They also fired shots into the home of a radical economics professor, Peter Bohmer, wounding a woman within.

Godfrey was a man with plans. They included:

1) putting massive dosages of LSD, cyanide or strychnine into punch at anti-war meetings.

2) bombing the Headquarters of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and several porn theatres

3) bombing the homes or offices of anti-war leaders

4) kidnapping or assassinations of anti-war leaders

5) fire bombing of vehicles and property belonging to anti-war activists

By November-December of 1971 his plans included dropping high explosives and phosphorus by plane on anti-war demonstrations and filling a plane with TNT or C-4 plastique and using it to blow up Air Force One and kill President Nixon. The SAO distributed a "Wanted for Treason" flyer featuring Nixon, eerily similar to one that had been distributed in Dallas in 1963.

Richard Popkin asked "Were there elements which opposed Nixon for his policy of rapprochement with China and Russia, and which would have preferred, say, Spiro Agnew as President?"

According to the NY Times (June 27, 1975) the ACLU had sent a report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which contained some startling information:

FBI informer John Rasperry stated that the FBI had instructed him to assassinate radical professor Peter Bohmer. Rasperry also declared that the FBI had paid for $10-20K worth of weapons and explosives.

According to the Times, "In addition to the F.B.I.'s direct control over the Secret Army, the White House allegedly maintained contact with the group through Donald H. Segretti, who was later convicted for directing a campaign of political espionage and sabotage against the Democratics in 1972."

(According to the Citizen's Research and Investigation Committee , Donald Segretti also met with, and gave money to, Arthur Bremer, who later shot George Wallace.)

According to the San Diego Union (Jan 11, 1976):

"Despite the staggering number of crimes Godfrey committed, the FBI prevented the San Diego D.A.'s office from prosecuting him."

The same paper, on Jan 16, quoted Steve Christensen, the FBI agent who supervised Godfrey for five years:

"Yes, I suppose you could say we were involved in some interesting activities. And other activities were going on elsewhere," he said during a telephone interview. "But I cannot discuss them."

According to Donald Freed in the chapter "Operation Gemstone" in Big Brother and the Holding Company, Louis Tackwood, ex-agent provocateur for the Los Angeles Police Department told of plans to provoke a small-scale war at the Republican Convention, then expected to be held in San Diego, leading to the declaration of a "State of Emergency" and martial law. Tackwood was to lead a team of black and Chicano provocateurs, which would foment street violence. Inside the convention hall explosives would kill and maim Republican delegates.

According to Freed: "An FBI provocateur, William Lemmer, has since admitted that a group posing as VVAW cadres, but with a special lightning flash insignia for recognition, would fire on convention delegates with automatic weapons." VVAW was Vietnam Veterans Against the War, led by John Kerry.

The possible connections between Watergate, the Secret Army Organization, and the attempted assassination of George Wallace should have been, but were not, fully explored by the Senate Watergate Committee. There may have been, as well, connections to another, successful, assassination attempt:

In The Glass House Tapes, Tackwood is quoted as saying:

"I'm giving up only two names. There's 'Martin', and there's 'White'. Aright, now, 'Martin' was the code name for my contact, and I'm gonna tell you he's C.I.A., all the way. Are you ready for this? He was in Dallas when they got Kennedy; he left out of there for the Caribbean."

Martin and White were names used by James McCord and Howard Hunt.


Big Brother and the Holding Company: The World Behind Watergate, edited by Stephen R. Weismann, Ramparts Press, 1974

The Glass House Tapes - The Story of an Agent Provocateur and the New Police Intelligence Complex, Citizens Research & Investigation Committee and Louis Tackwood, Avon Books, 1973.

Mormon Spies, Hughes and the CIA, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1976


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good digging work, worth reading

5:24 AM  

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