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REVISITING WATERGATE: THE MORMON ROLE
I have talked and written about this subject before, but now I have an outlet, on-line, visitors or not. At least my observations are recorded publicly. I have needed to study a book and a movie, about the complex of crimes referred to as “Watergate”, that I was unable to examine when they were fresh. Crimes on high are called “scandals” but in the case of Watergate, someone actually went to prison.
Now I have read at, uncomfortably, “All the President’s Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (B&W). It is sort of fictionalized and for some reason I can’t muddle through fiction. I don’t suggest the book isn’t truthful--although I will say, it isn’t “whole-truthful”, but maybe is intended to be. Believe me, I appreciate all the hard work--devoted hard work--that went into it.
Then I viewed the movie. It seemed terribly remote from the highlights that I remember about Watergate. It was not satisfying to me as a presentation of history that I lived through. At that time, my interest was narrow and, I guess, individual. I had been studying the Milk Committees and The Robert Mullen Company when I had the enormous privilege of hearing Jean Westwood, Utah person, deceased, head of the National Democratic Committee, introduce “Watergate” before it was known by that name--in fact, before it was known at all. She told the “Liberal Persons Luncheon” in Salt Lake City, about how the Democratic Headquarters had been bugged, along with other activities, never to this day reported in Salt Lake City’s two conjoined newspapers. When Presidential candidate George McGovern, revealed the illegal and unethical actions against him and the Democratic Party, the media attacked him as a “mudslinger”; thus, a thoroughly decent man was destroyed by crooks and media.
I know that the place to learn about Watergate is an awesome 788-page book, “NIGHTMARE: THE UNDERSIDE OF THE NIXON YEARS”, by J. Anthony Lukas. Another excellent source about Watergate, especially the Mormon involvement, is “The Salt Lake City Messenger” published by Modern Microfilm Company, sometimes referred to as “The Tanners”--Sandra and Gerald. They were known also as “The Lighthouse Ministry”. I do not know whether their archives are available in some public place.
So, I skimmed over the index of B&W’s book, looking for names I might know as Mormons. I found only Jack Anderson--the famous Mormon journalist, not a Watergate plotter--and Robert Bennett, now Senator. Lukas writes a bigger story; he names many names easily recognized in Mormonland as Mormon.
At some point, it must be realized that all Mormon unethical and/or criminal activities were left out of the “Deep Throat” W/B stories, and that only Robert Bennett (words on Mark Felt later) could have known all those details and also which ones to leave out because they involved Mormons. After the Watergate Hearings were over The Salt Lake Tribune ran a puzzling article under the line, “Robert Bennett Keeps A Low Profile”. Of course, it was the media that kept him out of sight. Certainly, B&W had more than one source--they were all over the place.
The tentacles of Watergate crimes branch out from CREEP--the Committee to Re-Elect the President (Nixon). CREEP followed the famous “Milk Committees”--related to the dairy industry, but handily, they also milked funds sources, and served to disguise illegal contributions to Nixon’s re-election.
Senator Wallace Bennett, and his son (now-Senator) Robert Bennett, both, along with Wallace’s secretary, founded the Milk Committees. Soon there was something more serious: Robert Bennett, leaving a vague Federal government position, took over at the Robert R. Mullen Company, Washington, D.C. (Robert R. Mullen wrote, for the Mormon Church, a PR book about the Mormons and Church history, with lots of imagination and deletions.)
This Mullen Company, from its founding, was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) front/cover for international dealings, and we can guess and guess.
Robert Bennett, a Bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (L.D.S./Mormon) in D.C., asked CREEP to hire his nephew, student Robert Bennett Fletcher, through summer vacation. But rather, young Robert recruited his friend, Thomas Gregory, a student at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah.
Thomas Gregory became a “volunteer plant” in Democratic Headquarters, as a spy, and to bug the offices, and he was involved in the planning for the break-in of the Democratic offices located in the Watergate Hotel. This “second-rate burglary” as it was called by unethical trivializers (liars, that is), was in fact to steal the sovereignty of the people--to turn elections into schemes where votes were only a joke. Gregory finally couldn’t stomach any more, Lukas suggests, and escaped.
Other crimes against McGovern, Muskie, and Democrats in general, included burglarizing the safe of Hank Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, to see what “dirt” might be there, and breaking into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, another depraved invasion to get medical records. A stream of cash used for bribery to cover-up crimes in high places was repeatedly discovered.
The Saga of Watergate did not end with the crimes; the Hearings are a source of amusement as well as dismay. The role of Willard Marriott, the entanglement of the Mormon Inaugural for Richard Nixon, the role of Sally Harmony, are sometimes hilarious.
I can’t write a book; there are many books, but Lukas is the only one special to me. I wanted to warn readers about the limits of journalism of the Salt Lake City dailies, and try to tell younger persons what has been wiped out of history books. This is a tiny report about Watergate never told in Salt Lake City papers, to alert any chance readers to omissions in Watergate reportage. I hope I will get to writing about the legalization of newspaper monopolies--another Mormon coup.
Read J. Anthony Lukas and you may weep for your country, for it has been downhill ever since this nation became empire at the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, before the end of World War II. That may be another story, but sadly, it is an earlier chapter of the same story--the destruction of self-governance and civil liberties in the United States.
Ethel C. Hale
Next: The self-aggrandizement of dying Mark Felt