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The Guns of November G‑3: Vietnam & Watergate

Part 1 [1] 44:39 (10.2MB) | Part 2 [2] 44:37 (10.2MB) | Part 3 [3] 44:27 (10.2MB) | Part 4 [4] 02:24 (588kB)
Record­ed Novem­ber 15, 1983. (Approx. 140 min­utes)

One of the most impor­tant his­tor­i­cal events of the cen­tu­ry’s sec­ond half, the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion both over­laps and over­shad­ows many sub­se­quent events. Nei­ther the Viet­nam War, nor the Water­gate scan­dal can be ful­ly ana­lyzed with­out delv­ing into how Kennedy’s death helped to shape both events.

Begin­ning with Pro­fes­sor Peter Dale Scot­t’s skill­ful dis­cus­sion (and excerpt­ing) of rel­e­vant Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Action Mem­o­ran­da per­tain­ing to Kennedy’s Viet­nam pol­i­cy, the pro­gram details Kennedy’s plans to phase out direct U.S. mil­i­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion in the con­flict.

Pre­sid­ing over severe dis­sent from with­in his own admin­is­tra­tion, as well as from the mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence estab­lish­ments, Kennedy ini­ti­at­ed this U.S. with­draw­al sev­en weeks before his death. Two days after the assas­si­na­tion, Kennedy’s Viet­nam pol­i­cy was reversed and the course of action was deter­mined for what was to fol­low. In addi­tion to can­cel­ing the troop with­draw­al and pro­vid­ing for troop increas­es, the pol­i­cy shift resumed the pro­gram of covert action against North Viet­nam that was to lead to the Gulf of Tonkin inci­dent. That alleged attack on U.S. destroy­ers (nev­er inde­pen­dent­ly ver­i­fied and wide­ly believed to be fraud­u­lent) pre­cip­i­tat­ed U.S. mil­i­tary esca­la­tion.

Richard Nixon’s polit­i­cal demise came through the Water­gate scan­dal. Nixon ini­ti­at­ed the Water­gate cov­er-up because he feared that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” would come out. In his polit­i­cal mem­oir The Ends of Pow­er, Nixon aide H.R. Halde­man wrote that the phrase “Bay of Pigs” was a code-word with­in the Nixon White House for the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion.

The pro­gram doc­u­ments many of the areas of over­lap between the Water­gate and Kennedy inves­ti­ga­tions.

Nixon him­self was in Dal­las on Novem­ber 22, 1963, as a lawyer for Pep­si­co (the par­ent com­pa­ny of Pep­si Cola.) Fly­ing out of Dal­las rough­ly two hours before Kennedy was slain, Nixon told the FBI in Feb­ru­ary of 1964 that the only time he had been in Dal­las in 1963 had been “two days pri­or to the assas­si­na­tion.” This bla­tant lie is negat­ed by a wire ser­vice inter­view Nixon gave in Dal­las on Novem­ber 21. Text of the inter­view ran in the New York Times and oth­er major news­pa­pers.

Water­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor Leon Jawors­ki was select­ed by Nixon to replace the ille­gal­ly fired Archibald Cox. Jawors­ki had pre­vi­ous­ly served as a War­ren Com­mis­sion Coun­sel, while at the same time serv­ing as direc­tor of a CIA domes­tic fund­ing con­duit.

Nixon named for­mer War­ren Com­mis­sion mem­ber Ger­ald Ford to replace Vice Pres­i­dent Agnew. Ford then replaced Nixon as Pres­i­dent and par­doned him of all crimes he may have com­mit­ted.

The broad­cast fea­tures por­tions of Jack Ruby’s tes­ti­mo­ny before the War­ren Com­mis­sion, in which he appears to con­fess to being part of a con­spir­a­cy. This tes­ti­mo­ny is giv­en in front of War­ren (a pro­tege of Nixon aide and for­mer mob lawyer Mur­ray Chotin­er), Ford, Jawors­ki and Arlen Specter, among oth­ers.

The pro­gram dis­cuss­es evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries con­nect­ing numer­ous oth­er fig­ures to the both inves­ti­ga­tions, includ­ing Water­gate Judge John Sir­i­ca and Water­gate bur­glar Frank Stur­gis.

To attempt selec­tive era­sure of the all-impor­tant Water­gate tapes, Nixon sought the assis­tance of Gor­don Nov­el, a vet­er­an intel­li­gencer, elec­tron­ics expert, anti-Cas­tro vet­er­an and a fig­ure in Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion in New Orleans. At least one key tape was par­tial­ly erased (the famous 18 1/2 minute gap), though no cul­prit was ever iden­ti­fied.


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