Why I Wrote My New Book

Robert Parry says: From my 35 years as a Washington journalist, I have concluded that the biggest threat to America’s democratic Republic is the spreading of false or misleading storylines about the nation’s history. Key facts are covered up and founding principles are twisted, thus overriding the ideal of an informed electorate.

Especially since the Vietnam War, the American narrative has diverged dangerously from the truth, as a sophisticated and well-funded infrastructure of propaganda has emerged to shut down legitimate inquiries and leave the people unsure what to believe. This propaganda system also has reached back in time to rewrite the story of America’s Constitution to make it fit with modern right-wing ideology.

So, the point of my new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, is to correct some of the key storylines both in the early days and recently.

President Ronald Reagan, a key figure in Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative. (Art work by Robbie Conal at robbieconal.com)

The book’s first chapter explains what the key Framers of the Constitution, James Madison and George Washington, were doing as they scrapped the states’-rights structure of the Articles of Confederation and transferred broad national powers to the central government.

Contrary to the Right’s propaganda, Madison and Washington were not early Ayn Rand ideologues who hated government. They and other key Framers of the Constitution were what you might call pragmatic nationalists who understood that only a strong central government could protect the hard-won independence of the United States.

Today’s Right likes to say that the Framers favored “limited government” and that is true, although misleading. All constitutions set the limits of a government’s authority. That is the definition of a constitution and it is true of the U.S. Constitution as well.

But the fact that the Constitution prescribes the limits of government power doesn’t mean that the Framers wanted a weak central government and favored states’ rights. That’s what they had in the Articles of Confederation, which the Framers scrapped in Philadelphia in 1787, shifting national “sovereignty” from the states to “we the people.”

The real history of that era is relevant today because much of the extremism from Tea Partiers is fueled by the notion that they are standing up for America’s First Principles when, in reality, they have been tricked by clever propagandists into viewing the Framers incorrectly as ideologues rather than pragmatists.

However, most of America’s Stolen Narrative addresses the secret history of the United States from 1968 to the present. Prior to 1968, much of that history is available thanks to the likes of Dan Ellsberg who released of the Pentagon Papers describing the Vietnam War deceptions from 1945 to 1967 and Sen. Frank Church who investigated CIA misconduct in the post-World War II era.

But from 1968 onward, crucial chapters of American history have been either hidden or miswritten. In general, that has been my era as a journalist so I feel especially obligated to do what I can to get those stories right. And now documents are available to solve central historical puzzles, many of which remain relevant to today because untrustworthy “trusted” figures from that era continue to influence U.S. government policies.

Among the book’s major revelations about this modern-day lost history are:

–The latter phase of the Vietnam War has been substantially misunderstood. Drawing from declassified files at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, the book provides the first detailed narrative of how Richard Nixon’s campaign sabotaged President Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks during the run-up to the 1968 presidential election and why Johnson chose to remain silent about what he knew.

–Johnson first learned of what he called Nixon’s “treason” when a Wall Street insider leaked to the Johnson administration that Nixon had told a top financial backer to bet on stocks and bonds based on the inside knowledge that Nixon would “block” the Vietnam peace talks. Johnson then ordered the FBI to wiretap some of the central players and soon amassed evidence of Nixon’s peace sabotage. The book draws on those wiretap transcriptions and recordings of White House phone conversations, including a one-on-one confrontation between Johnson and Nixon.

–Though deciding to keep quiet before the 1968 election for what Defense Secretary Clark Clifford termed “the good of the country” and thus accepting Nixon’s narrow victory over Vice President Hubert Humphrey Johnson ordered his national security adviser Walt Rostow to remove the file containing the top-secret wiretaps before Nixon took over. However, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told President Nixon about the wiretaps.

–After securing the presidency by having promised the South Vietnamese government a better deal than Johnson would have given, Nixon pursued the war aggressively for four more years defying the growing public demands for peace. Nixon also assigned his top aides, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and Henry Kissinger, to track down the missing file from 1968, not knowing that it was then in Walt Rostow’s personal possession.

–The missing file, which Rostow had labeled “The X-Envelope,” rose to the top of Nixon’s worries when the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers in June 1971. The Pentagon Papers covered the war’s history from 1945-1967, but Nixon knew that an even more explosive sequel existed, the file on his peace-talk sabotage. Realizing that his political future would be destroyed if the public knew that he had blocked the peace talks and believing the file might be at the Brookings Institution, Nixon ordered a break-in and created his “plumbers” unit under ex-CIA operative E. Howard Hunt. Thus, the 1968 peace-talk sabotage and the Watergate scandal are linked, the book reveals.

–The book discloses, too, that Nixon, Kissinger and other veterans of the 1968 operation had their fingerprints on a replay in 1980 when Republicans worked behind the scenes to undermine President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 U.S. hostages held in Iran, a key factor in the 1980 campaign that saw Ronald Reagan surge ahead when Carter’s last-ditch attempts failed. The book reveals new evidence from George H.W. Bush’s Presidential Library supporting allegations about this October Surprise caper, including a document revealing that Reagan’s campaign director William Casey did travel to Madrid, just as a key October Surprise witness alleged. Yet, Bush’s White House hid the evidence in 1991 and the mainstream Washington press concluded falsely that Casey’s Madrid trip was a myth.

–The book dissects the aggressive cover-up mounted by the Reagan and Bush-41 administrations to obstruct investigations into the darkest secrets of the Iran-Contra scandal as well as the related October Surprise case. Declassified records show the collaboration between the Bush-41 White House and congressional Republicans to block various inquiries in 1991-92.

–The book reveals the death-bed e-mails of Lawrence Barcella, who was the chief counsel of the House October Surprise investigation, acknowledging that so much evidence arrived in late 1992 indicating Republican guilt that he requested a three-month extension of the inquiry but was turned down with the instructions to go ahead and publish a report clearing the Republicans. An extraordinary cable from the Russian government confirming Republican involvement in secret contacts with Iran also was apparently withheld from the House inquiry’s chairman Lee Hamilton and other members of the House task force.

–The book shows how some of the central figures in the October Surprise and Iran-Contra mysteries, particularly CIA official Robert Gates, then went on to play important roles in subsequent administrations, including under President Barack Obama who retained Gates as his first Defense Secretary.

Several people who have already read America’s Stolen Narrative have described its revelations as “jaw-dropping,” but the book doesn’t pander to any political faction. While the evidence is most devastating to Republicans because they engaged in acts that could reasonably be deemed treasonous, the reality is not flattering to Democrats either, since they often contributed to the false history by joining in or acquiescing to cover-ups out of cowardice or a misguided sense of patriotism.

It’s important that this book reaches as many people as possible. Otherwise, the hard work that went into it will be largely wasted and the false narratives will continue to dominate the American political process. There may have once been a time when American citizens could trust their national media to disseminate important information like this. But that time has long since passed. It is now up to us.

You can buy America’s Stolen Narrative through the Consortiumnews.com Web site by clicking here or by sending a check for $24.95 to The Media Consortium; 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 102-231; Arlington VA 22201. (For the remainder of 2012, shipping and handling are free) Or you can buy the book at Amazon.com by clicking here. Or as an e-book at Amazon or at barnesandnoble.com.

Thanks for your support!

8 comments for “Why I Wrote My New Book

  1. Matt Palmer
    December 14, 2012 at 16:54

    Marx was not a murderer, Lenin and Stalin were not Jews.
    Given your description of capitalism, I say capitalism can have Ayn Rand. It is ironic, hypocritical really, how all the capitalists in this country are so religiously zealous. They get such a gratifying sense of self-rightousness when telling the rest of us how superior their holy trinity is (christianity, judaism, capitalism), and how the rest of the world are heathens and failures. This is what Ayn Rand best represents. She is a Mongol whore.

  2. Berry Friesen
    December 13, 2012 at 20:09

    If only Lee Hamilton had been informed of the evidence of conspiracy, we would have been spared so much needless suffering, right?

    I mean, look at how his courageous service on the 9/11 Commission has helped to keep us safe!

  3. GENE
    December 13, 2012 at 19:48


  4. Hillary
    December 13, 2012 at 19:07

    The world’s Superpower the USA has perfected its MO with the “Arab Springs”.

    There is no mercy its “shock & Awe” ,Depleted Uranium on a PNAC agenda.

    The US the most Christian country has an incredibly murderous history that Americans are totally ignorant abut.

    Since WWII, the C.I.A. has toppled over 20 democratically-elected governments and supported brutal tyrants all around the world.

    U.S. and CIA-sponsored wars (secret and not-so secret) are responsible for the killing of about a million civilians in Korea, 2 to 3 million in Vietnam, a million in Cambodia, a million in Laos, a million in Afghanistan, over 22,000 in Nicaragua, 30,000 in Chile, 75,000 in El Salvador, about 500,000 each in Indonesia, Angola, and East Timor, 10’s of thousands in Chad, and 200,000 in Iraq (with over another million killed, including over half a million children under 5, by U.S.-supported sanctions since 1991). In addition, the U.S. government, in violation of its own laws has subverted and perverted elections in the following countries: The Philippines (1950s), Italy (1948- the 1970s), Lebanon (1950s), Indonesia (1955), Vietnam (1955), British Guiana (1955-64), Japan (1958-1970s) Guatemala (1963), Bolivia (1966), Australia (1974-5), Jamaica (1976), Panama (1984-89), Nicaragua (1984 and 1990), Haiti (1987-8), Bulgaria (1990-1), Albania (1991-2), Russia (1996) Mongolia (1996) and Bosnia (1998
    These facts, summarized in Blum’s Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2000)


    • Matt Palmer
      December 14, 2012 at 16:33

      America is the most zealously, viciously, sadistic christian nation in the world and, ironically, sending us all to Hell.
      Also, don’t forget all the subverted and perverted elections in the “Capitalist Democracy” U.S.A.

  5. Hillary
    December 13, 2012 at 18:33

    “Though she claimed to be an atheist”

    Rehmat on December 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Yes, 2.0 million Israeli Jews ( around 33% of the Jewish population) identify themselves as secular.

  6. Robert Locke
    December 13, 2012 at 15:38

    The information in this book is indeed jaw-dropping, especially for a reader like myself (67 years of age but for many of those years not really paying close attention to what was going on in our country). I was also out of the country in West Africa in the Peace Corps during those important years of 1967-1970, completely out of touch. And so the corrections of the historical record that you have illuminated, Robert Parry, in this book fill in so many gaps.

    Republicans (or as I am calling them more and more “Rape-Publicans”) have really done a terrible thing to our country since the days of good old Eisenhower and his warnings to the public, upon leaving office, about the “military industrial complex,” but as you point out above, it was often with the aid and complicity of high-placed Democrats (Connally, Strauss, etc.).

    AMERICA’S STOLEN NARRATIVE is tough, detailed reading, and I have finished only two-thirds of it, often going back to find out again, for example, how unsung heroes like Spencer Oliver first came onto the stage. The writing is excellent, clear, clean, telling the often complex stories in a way that they can be followed. I certainly will be keeping this book all of my life for reference.

    But, Robert Parry, how depressing it all is. And how hard you have worked through all these years to try to keep the records straight, the many interviews filed so as to be recovered when new information has come into your research through your persistence in visiting all of the presidential libraries and uncovering what no one else has found and brought to light in the tons of documents.

    Thanks so much for keeping at this. It is what I have come to expect from you and your family.

    Bob Locke
    Sacramento CA

    • incontinent reader
      December 14, 2012 at 09:44


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