I'm posting the following information for author Nancy Miller Saunders. Because she was a part of the film crew that documented different aspects of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) movement, she has advice for you who will attend the Democratic Convention..
Nancy has been reading the comments posted in response when I questioned the protests to the Democratic Convention in my diary "Provocateur or Real Protest?" (She will register as a DailyKossack soon.)
To learn about the protests and efforts to stop the Vietnam War through the eyes of a young woman who was there -- who participated -- is captivating, and sometimes very emotional and sad. But they had impact as her book reveals. (I have no connection to Nancy or the book other than the concidence of having a brother who participated in some of the events that she helped to film. I learned these details 30 years later through her manuscript.)
Please read Nancy Miller Saunders' message with care and heed her advice. All of the names and places mentioned in this diary are in her book. They will be published and are already available through various FBI files.
Regarding all the discussion about demonstrations in Denver at the Democratic convention this summer, I have to caution everyone that this could end up being a delayed version of what was planned for the 1972 convention when there were plots afoot to provoke a repeat of Chicago only bigger and nastier. No, I’m not being paranoid.
I lay the 1972 plot out and point to current parallels in COMBAT BY TRIAL: AN ODYSSEY WITH 20TH CENTURY WINTER SOLDIERS, (ISBN 978-0-595-50591-3), which should be available in July. Those plans could easily be put in play again, and I don’t put it past the Bush-Cheney administration to do so. Can you honestly see them handing over to Obama all the power they have accrued in the last 8 years? To McCain, maybe. To Obama, never.
As I explore and document for the first time in such detail, the real reason for Watergate was an attempted coup d’etat by Nixon. He had struggled mightily to become president and was not about to give up the office. He didn’t risk his presidency on a stupid "third-rate burglary." No. There was a lot more at stake. Besides being bungling burglars, the Plumbers were recruiting provocateurs to stir up riots to be blamed on convention protesters, or "nondelegates" as we were called.
While the 1972 Republican convention was still scheduled to be held in San Diego, a police and FBI informer in Los Angeles, Louis Tackwood, described a plan to round up demonstrators and provoke riots.
Plumber and White House aide, G. Gordon Liddy, developed, under the supervision of then-Attorney General John Mitchell, plans to round up demonstration leaders so that provocateurs could stir up riots.
During the spring of 1972, a Floridian named Vincent Hannard swore that Plumber Frank Sturgis (a.k.a., Frank Fiorini) and three others tried to hire him to discredit activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), which was responsible for keeping the peace among nondelegates. The Democrats were holding their convention in Miami Beach.
A Miami resident, John Eck, said he too was approached around that time, but would not go into details.
After the Republicans moved their convention to Miami Beach, a Miami police and FBI informer who worked with Plumbers on at least one caper, Pablo Manuel Fernandez, tried to sell automatic and other weapons to VVAW. The offer was declined.
Alfred C. Baldwin was hired by Plumber James McCord to, among other things, infiltrate VVAW for the purpose of "embarrassing the Democrats" if the veterans demonstrated at the Republican convention. In this context embarrass is one of those conveniently ambiguous words that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, from an off-color remark to provoking riots blamed on Democrats.
In COMBAT BY TRIAL I also tell of my adventures with an FBI informer and provocateur, Bill Lemmer, who had a number of us convinced we were about to be rounded up and incarcerated somewhere during the conventions.
VVAW’s southern leadership, which was responsible for keeping the peace among demonstrators, was rounded up and held 500 miles away from Miami Beach throughout the Democratic convention, so were unable to provide security. Happily combat veterans instinctively cover for each other.
When no riots erupted, seven of the leaders and a conscientious objector were indicted for conspiracy to riot at the still-to-come Republican convention, where I saw for myself the vets keeping the peace even when being beaten by aroused demonstrators. (The charges were so absurd that they were acquitted of all charges without even having to put on a defense.)
Safely in the wings an obscure aide, Dick Cheney, was studying the mistakes Nixon and crew were making, learning not to make the same ones when he got his chance to impose an "imperial presidency" on us.
Read my book. It’s all in there.
And, all of you heading for Denver, please, for all our sakes, keep your cool. The vast majority of you will be sincere protesters with valid complaints, but it only takes a few provocateurs to turn a peaceful demonstration into a riot.
If you believe the Bush-Cheney administration wouldn’t do such a thing, then you are dangerously naïve and in denial.