Monday, October 22, 2012

First Impressions: Against Them

If you are looking for a revisionist, iconoclastic version of Watergate and the Kennedy presidential assassination, Against Them by Tegan Mathis will fit bill quite nicely – and perhaps a bit too well.

The basic premise of Against Them is that Lynne Cheney wrote an awful novel, Executive Privilege, in 1979 which reveals cryptographically the true story of Watergate and to a less extent some details about the Kennedy assassination. Mathis then proceeds to translate the glyphs into intelligible text.
We welcome the book to a degree, but also question its bonafides. For example, although the book has the appearances of a standard publication, closer inspection reveals many omissions, not the least of which is the name of the publisher. Therefore we assume that the book is self published by the author, and we can imagine a number of reasons for this, such as fear by an establishment publisher of association with such a controversial – if not fringe – book.
Another omission is the routine author biography drivel found on most books. The book contains absolutely no biographical information about its author leaving us to speculate wildly about his background, motives, and competencies – to say nothing of his basic identity.
In fact, an internet search, a favorite tool of the author (and ours), reveals no information on Mathis – he is a cipher.
Another interesting aspect about the book is that it was “made” the day after I ordered it and shipped the day following printing. One cannot find the book in any bookstores. It appears that just-in-time publishing has come into its own.
The book relies on a limited bibliography which seems fitting for its analysis of a novel. But the novel deals with historic events and connections for which we would expect more documentation. Finally the index is nominal listing only a few key names in only single instances. It would seem to us that Microsoft Word could have produced a more substantive index, but maybe that was too much trouble.
Finally, we would propose that the author / editor do another revision of the manuscript as it still contains a few grammatical errors.
In more substantive terms, the book comes across as a partisan hack – and we say that as folks who are very sympathetic with either the philosophical or factual aspects of the book. For example, Mathis takes aim at Neocons and Republicans while claiming that a virtuous Democrat party will send George Bush, Jr. to prison for life.
We would love to see George Bush – along with his father - put away for life, or tortured in the way his thugs tortured innocent people at Abu Graihb, but to think that the Democrat party, which installed an Indonesian citizen in the White House who lies as shamelessly as George Bush, is going to send anyone to jail is a preposterous naivety. In any event, the book will alienate Republican partisans just at the time when the sordid truth about American history needs to be told without partisan baggage. In this respect Mathis comes across as the Sean Hannity of the Left.
On the other hand, we applaud Mathis for exposing the Neocons and their Nazi heritage as well as their butt boys in the press, and even Lyndon Johnson who could make a snake oil salesman look respectable. And at all points, we agree with Mathis that a cabal of Nazis migrated from Germany in 1945 to set up shop in the USA under the protection of powerful Wall Street plutocrats – eg. Prescott Bush and Averell Harriman – as executed by their private army the CIA.
The book has two levels of semantics – the main text about the protagonist Zern Jenner who is president of the United States seeking psychiatric treatment while concealing the fact - and the subtext about the events of Watergate and, to use Richard Nixon’s euphemism, “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”
But there, the clarity ends, and the complexity begins. In fact, we could not help, while reading, recalling the scene in A Beautiful Mind where the door opens to John Nash’s office revealing a mind boggling collage of articles, lists, and notes  of published information with paragraphs cut out, circled, highlighted and connected together with string and arrows in an attempt to untangle a hair ball the size of Montana.
So our hero, Tegan Mathis, assumes his best John Nash persona to decipher the novel written by Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Richard Cheney. We are not using the Nash allegory as a pejorative but warn readers that they will encounter a maze of tactics to unravel the hidden code.
The books sketches Mathis’ unmasking of the cryptic characters, an exercise which begins the book with the decryption of Deep Throat, the famous device Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein (a husband and wife team in Executive Privilege)  used to conceal the identity of their informant.
Woodward, an avid anagram fan, invented the name Deep Throat as R Dep To The A – Richard, Deputy to the Assistant as in Richard Cheney Deputy to the Assistant Donald Rumsfeld. Mathis rightly notes that Mark Felt as Deep Throat is a pile of horse manure and another example of Woodward’s many deceptions.
 Watergate, we are told, was a power struggle between two Shadow Government factions attempting to control the United States and the world. The various players - household names to political junkies - include such luminaries as Alexander Haig, Richard Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Thomas Moorer, Richard Nixon, Edward Kennedy, Donald Rumsfeld, Bob Woodward, and many other staples of 1960s and 1970s politics, including many who survived into the 21st century with power fully intact.
Thus Nixon was caught in the crossfire of two conflicting, but ultimately sympathetic sects who seek world dominion by different means. In Mathis’ telling of Cheney, Al Haig is the defacto president of the United States with Caspar Weinberger as his Vice President. Weinberger and his faction feel cheated out of decision making, so he stages Watergate to force Haig to give him a piece of the action.
The Watergate burglars unfortunately are careless, leading a trail from the burglars to E Howard Hunt, then Haig then Weinberger and then Dealey Plaza. So a great deal of intrigue is required to bring the crisis under control because any leakage of truth about Kennedy would result in the collapse of the Shadow Government, to say nothing of jail time for its perpetrators.
The story is bizarre and we suppose that Cheney took literary license with the truth even though she probably revealed a great deal if not more so than she ever imagined. In other words, we believe that Mathis has told some fundamental truths about the two stories – Watergate and Kennedy - although we may part company with him at certain details and points of substance.
For example, we are not sold on Pope John VI as the eminence grise who finally pulled the plug on Nixon. We are also incredulous at the idea of Alexander Haig as Shadow President although we do not doubt the vast powers he wielded during the stormy years of Nixon’s presidency.
We do believe that Nixon was a pawn in a great power struggle and had nothing to do with the staged break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters, and we also believe that the men and women in the story are profoundly evil people who hate mankind in general and are Nazis in the truest sense of the word – once you understand that Wall Street invented Nazism.
We do believe that some difficult subjects require further research – especially that of Richard Perle spying on the USA for Israel with Haig’s approval. Perle, of course, is one of the architects of the Project for a New American Century who played prominently in the Bush, jr. White House and the decisions leading to the invasions following 9/11. Here Mathis reveals the alliance of Zionist Jews with Nazis – a subject which most people would find mind boggling – but something which we believe is most plausible and compelling.
Mathis reveals Bob Woodward as the CIA / Bush Crime Syndicate spy that he is – a man who appears at many critical junctures in history – including 1973 Chile, Watergate, and 9/11 to mention but a few. I am sure that fellow spook Ben Bradlee had much to do with nurturing Woodward at the Washington Post in his covert position as reporter.
Other significant revelations center on Colin Powell, Al Haig, and Henry Kissinger who were all in Dealey Plaza participating in the murder of John Kennedy. Powell was the assassin who shot Kennedy in the back from the Texas School Book Depository, while Haig and Kissinger were on the ground signaling the assassins when to shoot.
Unfortunately, little mention is made of George Bush, Sr and Edward Lansdale who were pivotal ground players in the assassination. This omission is another example of why we hold some of the information in Mathis’ telling at a distance. But the fault may not be so much with Mathis as with Cheney who no doubt protected key players in her partial telling of the murder tales.
One of the most egregious absences from both books is that of John Dean, a man nearly as treacherous as Bob Woodward. Omitting him is like trying to understand the Civil War without knowing that slavery existed in the South.
As we have already stated, Mathis outlines basic themes which we can fully endorse and smaller ones and particular details which we question or hold in suspense until other facts can corroborate them.
One possibility which Mathis did not explore, but which we hold as viable, is that Cheney indeed used inside information to write a novel about history with many facts changed to communicate knowingly with an inside clique. It could have been her sense of humor.
We consider this possibility because many of the facts presented by Mathis do not add up in a way to allow the many interpretations and conclusions he draws. We will explore one of those – the Weinberger – Powell relationship in a future posting.

Finally, it is entirely possible that Executive Privilege was a time bomb, a back-up plan to retroactively contaminate the corpus of truth with more CIA sponsored lies about American history in the event that historians or researchers go too close to the truth.
Clearly Mathis has presented some important truths in his interpretations – such as Nixon being caught in a power struggle which he neither understood nor could control. But configuring the characters at the times and places required for certain conclusions becomes improbable at points, making this book more of a parlor game than an historical analysis. Nevertheless, if research proves otherwise, we will extend our mea culpa.

Against Them, Tegan Mathis, published 2012
Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

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