On May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer was arrested for the attempted assassination of George Wallace. The question is the classic cui bono, who benefits? The answer, Operation Gemstone.
From the media the American people learned that Wallace's would-be assassin Arthur Bremer was a disturbed twenty-oneyear-old, an unemployed ex-busboy and janitor's helper. He had been laid off his janitorial job in Wisconsin in January 1972 and had no record of any income from that time until his arrest in Maryland in May. His tax return for 1971 shows earnings of $1,611. His automobile, purchased in September 1971, cost some eight hundred dollars, half of his total income for the year. Where, then, did Bremer get the money for his "mad scheme" to kill George Wallace, by far the most heavily guarded of all the presidential candidates, with a double set of body guards and a bullet-proof speakers' podium?
It is relatively, easy to compute the minimum amount that Bremer would have needed from January to May. Setting to one side the cash outlay for stopping at expensive hotels (the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, the Lord Elgin in Ottawa); automobile repairs for a machine driven constantly for weeks at speeds up to seventy-five miles per hour in order to keep pace with presidential candidates who flew to their destinations; any miscellaneous expenses such as his records, specially constructed ammunition found in his car, and the expensive clothes Bremer wore into court when he pled not guilty; setting aside all these and any other contingency costs, Bremer could not have spent less than five thousand dollars on his eighteen-week, ten-state odyssey. The figure is conservative. It includes the price of the guns he purchased, court fines for speeding and carrying a gun, and the $135-a-month rent for his occasionally used Milwaukee apartment.
On May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer stepped from a crowd in a shopping center in Laurel, Maryland, and gunned down George Wallace. To this day no one has explained how Bremer could have known weeks in advance where in Laurel Wallace would speak. Nor has the FBI been able to identify the bullets used as coming from Bremer's gun, since they were special and had no rifling marks. Somehow the "lone fanatic" had gotten advance intelligence for what appeared to be a thoroughly professional job...
The full story remains to be told. But during 1972-73, our research group, the Citizens Research and Investigation Committee (CRIC), receive several bits of unconfirmed information which are worthy of note:
* On July 13, 1973 Roger Gordon, fifty-three, a member of the right-wing Secret Army Organization (SAO) fled from a hiding place in Australia to beg asylum in Suva, Fiji. According to the Associated Press, Gordon "had secret information concerning Watergate" and feared for his life. His information: that the heavy-set man with the "Joisey brogue" seen giving orders to Bremer on an Ohio ferry was Anthony Ulasewicz, a White House operation.
* Secret Army Organization (SAO) and FBI sources in the San Diego area reported that White House agent Donald Segretti gave moriey to Bremer.
* During 1970 Tom Huston, a Nixon aide, prepared a series of memoranda which attempted to tighten White House control of the FBI, CIA, etc., and intensify the use of electronic surveillance, "penetration agents," and illegal break-ins. According to a staff member of the Ervin Committee, White House files contain a still undivulged memo in which Huston justifies selective assassination.
* On May 18, 1972, three days after the Wallace shooting, Charles Colson staged a "Victory in Vietnam" march and rally in Washington, under the auspices of the right-wing preacher Carl McIntire. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Fox of the Secret Army Organization drove from San Diego to attend, passing en route near the site of the Wallace shooting. Sources in San Diego reported that while the Foxes were away, FBI Special Agent Steve Christianson entered Mr. Fox's office files and planted documents which could implicate him in the assassination attempt. A group of Washington-based former intelligence agents have since confirmed this.
With Wallace out and the election assured, most of Nixon's politicos signed off the Gemstone plan. The hardliners under Colson did not. Moving into the temporary vacuum, they stepped up their drive for power. Their immediate object-to implicate the opposition in the violence planned for the GOP convention.
How? By planting forged documents, a second specialty of Howard Hunt.
Where? In the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Complex.
It wasn't difficult. Once inside the complex, the contract team moved into the office of Dorothy V. Bush, which was located next to that of Lawrence O'Brien, the Democratic National Chairman. It was their third raiding party and they moved with a familiarity of the surroundings. They carried with them the necessary tools: false documents prepared by the CIA, lockpicks and door jimmies, a shortwave receiver, gas guns, two cameras and forty rolls of film, a walkie-talkie, and an assortment of electronic surveillance equipment.
The team had several objectives. One was to install a bugging device to monitor O'Brien's telephone conversations. Another was to search for evidence of contribution's from foreign governments. A third grew out of an earlier break-in over the Memorial Day weekend. The team had discovered that the Democrats had nothing in their files which could later be used to link them to the "violent, left-wing militants," or to justify emergency measures against the party in the name of "national security." So, while McCord checked listening devices, and one of the Cubans handed the security plans for the Democratic Convention to a compatriot to photograph, Frank Sturgis prepared to put several forged documents deep in a filing drawer where no one would be likely to find them before the time was ripe. According to a source close to some of the men arrested that night, Sturgis was planning to plant something which purported to tie the upcoming convention violence to the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), the Black Panther Party, the antiwar movement, and the presidential campaign of Senator George McGovern. Sturgis was Hunt's man, and he was acting without the knowledge of McCord, Barker, and the others.