Arthur Bremer, one of four sons, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 21 August 1950. His father, William Bremer, was a truck driver. Arthur hated school and later wrote: "No English or History test was ever as hard, no math final exam ever as difficult as waiting in a school lunch line alone, waiting to eat alone... while hundreds huddeled & gossiped & roared, & laughed & stared at me."
After leaving school Bremer worked as a busboy at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. However, his habit of talking to himself disturbed the customers and some believed he was suffering from paranoia. In October, 1971 it was decided to give him a new job working in the kitchen. Bremer was unhappy with this demotion and the following month obtained a job as a school janitor.
While working as a school janitor he met 15-year-old girl, Joan Pemrich. After three dates Joan refused to see him anymore as she considered him to be "goofy" and "weird". On 13th January, 1972, Joan's mother told Bremer to leave her daughter alone. Soon afterwards Bremer purchased two handguns, a .38 caliber pistol and a 9-mm Browning automatic. After a incident where he fired bullets into a ceiling he was arrested by the police in Milwaukee. After undergoing a psychiatric evaluation he was charged with and fined for disorderly conduct.
In March, 1972, Bremer attended a George Wallace campaign meeting at Milwaukee's Red Carpet Airport Inn. At the end of the evening Bremer picked up a bundle of posters, bumper stickers and a Wallace lapel button. Over the next few days he began pasting posters on the lamposts in Milwaukee.
On 15th May, 1972, Bremer tried to assassinate George Wallace at a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace was hit four times. Three other people, Alabama State Trooper Captain E. C. Dothard, Dora Thompson, a Wallace campaign volunteer, and Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent, were also wounded in the attack.
Mark Felt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately took charge of the case. According to the historian Dan T. Carter (The Politics of Rage), Felt had a trusted contact in the White House: Charles Colson. Felt gave Colson the news. Within 90 minutes of the shooting Richard Nixon and Colson are recorded discussing the case. Nixon told Colson that he was concerned that Bremer might have ties to the Republican Party or, even worse, the Presidents re-election committee. Nixon also asked Colson to find a way of blaming George McGovern for the shooting.
Over the next few hours, Colson and Felt talk six times on the telephone. Felt gave Colson the address of Bremer's home. Colson now phoned E. Howard Hunt and asked him to break-in to Bremer's apartment to discover if he had any documents that linked him to Nixon or George McGovern. According to Hunt's autobiography, Undercover, he disliked this idea but made preparations for the trip. He claimed that later that night Colson calls off the operation.
At 5:00 p.m. Thomas Farrow, head of the Baltimore FBI, passed details of Bremer’s address to the FBI office in Milwaukee. Soon afterwards two FBI agents arrived at Bremer’s apartment block and begin interviewing neighbours. However, they do not have a search warrant and do not go into Bremer’s apartment.
At around the same time, James Rowley, head of the Secret Service, ordered one of his Milwaukee agents to break into Bremer’s apartment. It has never been revealed why Rowley took this action. It is while this agent is searching the apartment that the FBI discover what is happening. According to John Ehrlichman, the FBI was so angry when they discovered the Secret Service in the apartment that they nearly opened fire on them.
The Secret Service took away documents from Bremer’s apartment. It is not known if they planted anything before they left. Anyway, the FBI discovered material published by the Black Panther Party and the American Civil Liberties Union in the apartment. Both sets of agents now left Bremer’s apartment unsealed. Over the next 80 minutes several reporters enter the apartment and take away documents.
Charles Colson also phoned journalists at the Washington Post and Detroit News with the news that evidence had been found that Bremer is a left-winger and was connected to the campaign of George McGovern. The reporters were also told that Bremer is a “dues-paying member of the Young Democrats of Milwaukee”. The next day Bob Woodward (Washington Post) and Gerald terHost (Detroit News) publish this story.
The following day that the FBI discovered Bremer’s 137-page written diary in his blue Rambler car. The opening sentence was: "Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace." Nixon was initially suspected of being behind the assassination but the diary gets him off the hook. The diary was eventually published as a book, An Assassin's Diary (1973).
Bremers trial lasted only five days. His attorney, Benjamin Lipsitz argued that Bremer was was a "schizophrenic" who could not be held responsible for his actions. Eight psychiatrists and two psychologists testified but they were divided on the issue of his sanity. Bremer was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 63 years in prison. In August 1972, three appeal judges reduced Bremer's sentence to 53 years.
George Wallace survived the assassination attempt. He gradually developed the view that one Nixon’s aides ordered the assassination. To gain revenge he announces he is to become a third party candidate. However, Wallace’s health has been severely damaged and reluctantly he had to pull out of the race.
In a comprehensive analysis of Hunt’s work published in The New York Review of Books in 1973, Gore Vidal argued that Hunt might have written the diary that was found in the car of Bremer, the man who attempted to assassinate George Wallace of Alabama.
In May, 1974, Martha Mitchell visited Wallace in Montgomery. She told him that her husband, John N. Mitchell, had confessed that Charles Colson had a meeting with Arthur Bremer four days before the assassination attempt.
In his book, The Taking of America, Richard E. Sprague argued that Donald Segretti and Dennis Cassini, supplied money to Bremer before he attempted to assassinate George Wallace. Others have claimed that Bernard L. Barker, one of the Watergate burglars, was used to pass this money to Bremer. Gore Vidal has also suggested that Bremer's diary was a forgery and had been written by E. Howard Hunt.
Arthur Bremer was released from the Maryland Correctional Institution on 9th November, 2007.
He suffered a searing humiliation in October 1971. Bremer worked as a busboy at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. (Hinckley would also work busing tables.) As Bremer wheeled his tray around, taking up dirty dishes and cups along with soiled napkins, he often mumbled to himself. Patrons complained of the distraction and he was demoted from that humble job to kitchen help. Bremer filed a discrimination complaint. The investigator called it unjustified and suggested psychiatric help for the complainant. An outraged Bremer refused such assistance.
In November 1971, Bremer was a janitor in an elementary school where he met, and was attracted to, a 15-year-old hall monitor. She was freckled and pretty. Like Bremer, she was also blonde and wore glasses. The two of them flirted until he was finally able to make himself ask her out. Flattered that an older man was paying attention to her, she agreed. Bremers spirits soared. Now that he was 21 and finally dating, he moved out of his family home and got his own apartment. His desire to leave the family nest may also have been triggered by a fierce argument with William Bremer that had ended with the son hitting his father.
Bremers mother visited him at his new place regularly, often calling at night to see if he was there. Her son thought she was continually checking up on him. It was as if she feared the possibility that her son might have a sexual relationship and wanted to make sure there was no "other woman" in his life. Bremer desperately wanted there to be an "other woman." He was sick of being a mamas boy....
Repulsed by his crudity, the 15-year-old broke off the relationship after their third date. The janitor was devastated. He repeatedly phoned her, begging her to see him again but the girl flatly refused. He wracked his brain for a way to communicate the depth of his pain at her rejection. Then he shaved his head "to show her that inside I felt as empty as my shaved head." Catching up with her, he pulled off his knit cap and showed her his bald pate. She walked away from him without speaking.
The man who attempted to assassinate Governor George Wallace has been sentenced to 63 years in jail by a court in Maryland, USA.
Arthur Bremer, 21, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, shot White House hopeful Mr Wallace at a political rally in Laurel, Maryland on 15 May.
Mr Wallace, the governor of Alabama who gained notoriety in the 1960s for his segregational politics, was paralysed by the shots and three other people were injured in the incident.
A jury of six men and six women took just over an hour and a half to reach their verdict at the end of a five-day trial in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The defence had argued that Bremer was legally insane at the time of the shooting and that he had "no emotional capacity to understand anything".
But the court rejected this argument after the prosecution argued that he was perfectly sane.
Arthur Marshall, for the prosecution, told the court that Bremer had been seeking glory and was still sorry that Mr Wallace had not died.
Mr Marshall said: "He knew he would be arrested...he knew he would be on trial."
After the trial, Bremer's father, William Bremer, said: "I never saw anything like this.
"If this is Maryland justice, I cannot understand it.
"If 12 people heard all that testimony and cannot make up their minds that they were dealing with a sick boy, I just can't see it."
Bremer was taken from the court in a reinforced police van, and guarded by 15 officers, to begin his sentence.
It is not yet known whether Governor Wallace will be well enough to continue his bid for presidency.
On May 15, 1972, hours after George Wallace was shot in a Laurel, Maryland, shopping center just sixteen miles from the center of the District of Columbia, we at the Post still had not learned the name of the man who shot the Alabama governor. Woodward mentioned to me that he had "a friend" who might be able to help. It was the first time I remember hearing Woodward speak of his "friend" (this friend was "Deep Throat").
Police immediately arrested a blond young man identified as Arthur Herman Bremer, a 21-year-old busboy and janitor from Milwaukee, Wis. He was charged by state authorities with four counts of assault with intent to murder and was arraigned in Baltimore on two federal charges. One of the federal charges was interfering with the civil rights of a candidate for federal office, a provision of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. The Wallace second charge was for assaulting a federal officer; one of the four people shot at the rally was (a) Secret Service officer.
How did the former bus boy and janitor, who earned $3,016 last year, according to a Federal income tax form found in his apartment, support himself and manage to buy guns, tape recorder, portable radio with police band, binoculars and other equipment he was carrying, as well as finance his travels?
In Washington, federal sources said that Bremer had been positively placed in Ottawa during the President's visit, but they said that there was no evidence that Bremer was "stalking" Nixon.... Overall security for Nixon's visit was generally considered to be the tightest in Canadian history.... In addition, federal sources said that some of the notes later found in Bremer's car indicated that he had recently been in Canada.... A reliable federal source close to the investigation termed "incredible" the picture of Bremer's travels being assembled by federal investigators.
Within hours of the Wallace assassination attempt, a White House official was asked by the Washington Post about the identity of the governor's attacker. During a subsequent conversation that evening, the official raised the possibility of Bremer's connection to leftist causes and the campaign of Sen. George McGovern, through literature found in his apartment....
One White House source said that when President Nixon was informed of the shooting, he became deeply upset and voiced concern that the attempt on Gov. Wallace's life might have been made by someone with ties to the Republican Party or the Nixon campaign.
If such a tie existed, the source said, the President indicated it could cost him the election, which was then less than six months away.
"The President was agitated and wanted the political background on Bremer," the source said.
Sherman Skolnick: At the time Wallace was shot - so to speak into a wheelchair and not into the cemetery - he was running for President and pulling about 21 percent of the vote.
Aguay Banar: Which comes to 26 million popular votes.
Sherman Skolnick: But because of the different states that it was into, he could have had the whole thing thrown into the House of Representatives, where it would have been a turmoil. Recently we did a show with spokespersons for some third-party candidates, including those for Perot. And I raised the same question. (Perot had 19 percent in the 1992 election.) And when I raised this question, they said, "Oh, so if Perot had 21 percent, like Wallace, they'd have to shoot him?" I said, "In my opinion, yes." Why is that? I mean, some of us believe that the ultra-rich believe in the bullet, not the ballot. Is that the bottom line?
Aguay Banar: The bottom line is money, the almighty dollar: who can best serve the interests of the Northeastern Atlantic elite and the Southwestern Pacific elite.
Sherman Skolnick: Just prior to Wallace being shot, he had made a statement. He said, "There's not a dimes worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties." (He was a third-party candidate, very populist.) He said, "If I'm elected, one of the first things I'm going to do is tax the Rockefeller Foundation." When I heard that, I said, "Wallace, you haven't got enough life insurance." So you weren't able to get Wallace on video, but you still got pictures.
Aguay Banar: One of the questions that I asked the Governor in writing was, "Was there a conspiracy behind the shooting of your person?" He said, "Yes. Definitely a conspiracy." And then he looked up, on the page, to where a previous question had been asked regarding Richard Nixon. And with the stub of his cigar he poked at the name of Richard Nixon. He said, "Conspiracy! Conspiracy!" And he jabbed at the name of Nixon on the page.
Sherman Skolnick: What else leads you to believe that there was a conspiracy?
Aguay Banar: There was no way that Richard Nixon was ever going to be re-elected with Wallace in the campaign. To get back into the Oval Office, you had to do away with Wallace so that most of those 26 million votes -- which were center, or right of center - would come over to the side of Nixon.
Sherman Skolnick: What do you make of the fact that 6 weeks after they took Wallace out of the campaign by almost killing him, the Watergate break-in occurred?
Aguay Banar: The Watergate break-in was nothing more than a contrivance: a poorly executed mission that had, at its very bottom, a very sharp hatchet. And the hatchet was aimed at Nixon's head. The Watergate break-in was designed to be found, and to point the blame at Nixon and bring him down.
Sherman Skolnick: E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, and others, were involved in the break-in at the Watergate. And there's reason to believe that the White House sent E. Howard Hunt to Arthur Bremer's apartment in Milwaukee...
Aguay Banar: ...on orders from Charles Colson.
Sherman Skolnick: Bremer's apartment, after the shooting of Wallace, was not sealed off; stuff could have been planted there, such as fake diaries. In other words, Arthur Bremer's diary showed up.
Aguay Banar: Yes, but the diary showed up in the car. But when Bremer shot Wallace, the first people that went physically into the apartment were from a bogus news organization known as "TIPS" - Transcontinental International Press Services. Now they are a creature of the Guardians, which are the militant wing of the Church of Scientology. And I'm talking about the branch in Los Angeles.
Sherman Skolnick: The Secret Service allowed Bremer to penetrate Nixon's security. In other words, if you create a vacuum where a would-be assassin can penetrate Secret Service security, then it becomes easy to kill somebody. Like they did with Dr. King: withdraw the security.
Aguay Banar: Bremer was in the city of Ottawa, Capital of Canada, when Nixon was visiting Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister at the time. Bremer and Frank Sturgis stayed at the Lord Elgin Hotel, in Ottawa. They stayed in the same section of the Hotel. Frank Sturgis was the control officer of Arthur Bremer on the road. It was he who was passing on money and information to Bremer. Sturgis and Bremer stayed in the same section of the Lord Elgin Hotel that the Secret Service detail of Richard Nixon was staying in.
Sherman Skolnick: Could Bremer, at one point, have targeted Nixon for assassination?
Aguay Banar: You will recall that the same mythology was created in the assassination of John Kennedy: that Oswald was after Nixon and then, because security was so tight, he instead trained the crosshairs of his weapon on Jack Kennedy. The same thing here: they want you to believe that Bremer was after Nixon and because security was so tight, again, the "lone assassin" trained his gun on someone else - Wallace.
A few years back, I had dinner with my best friends' relatives from Maryland, including his cousin and her husband. Over random discussion, I discovered that the husband worked at the State hospital where Bremer was kept, and that Bremer had been considered sane for years and had been elevated to the position of trustee, whereby he was basically an un-paid orderly. He told me that Bremer was only kept locked up for political purposes. Since Bremer didn't actually kill anyone, this seemed a bit strange. The thought occurred: was Bremer kept locked up to keep him away from the U.S. public, or to keep the US public away from what Bremer might have to say? I'm still wondering.
1972 is most famous, however, for the Watergate break-in, which ultimately led to Nixons self-removal from office. The CIA played a heavy and interesting role in both the break-in and the subsequent revelations that led to Nixons removal. As Probe has written about in past issues, it appears the CIA operatives deliberately got themselves caught in the Watergate hotel so as not to blow other operations. Then, when Helms was removed, removing Nixon was seen as payback. Those who most contributed to exposing Nixons activities, such as Alexander Butterfield, James McCord, and Howard Hunt, all had relationships with the CIA. If the cumulative weight of the evidence is to be believed, it appears that the CIA ran the countrys election process in 1972, deciding which candidates would survive or fail, and participating in acts of sabotage.
Is it too far fetched to suggest they may have had an interest in controlling the political fortunes of others that year, even by such drastic means as assassination? From what we know of their presence in the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, such as suggestion can hardly be called far-fetched. Therefore, we must ask that most ugly of questions: is there evidence of CIA involvement in the Wallace shooting?
According to newspaperwoman Sybil Leek and lawyer-turned-investigative-reporter Bert Sugar, the answer is yes. According to Leek and Sugar, while Bremer was at the Lord Elgin hotel in Ottawa, he met with a Dennis Cassini. Famed conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell and Alan Stang identified Cassini as a CIA operative. Cassini was found dead from a massive heroin overdose in July, 1972, just two months after the Wallace shooting. Cassini had no history of drug use.
Cassinis address book contained the phone number of a John J. McCleary. McCleary lived in Sacramento, California, and was employed by V & T International, an import-export firm. McCleary drowned in the Pacific ocean in the fall of 1972. His father, amazingly, drowned around the same time in Reno, Nevada.
If the CIA was somehow involved, that could explain both E. Howard Hunts immediate interest in the case, as well as the role of CBS in filming Bremer in the act of shooting. CBS and the CIA shared a particularly close relationship. CIA involvement might go far in explaining the following connections as well.
Bremers brother, William Bremer, was arrested shortly after the Wallace shooting for having bilked over 2,000 Miami matrons out of over $80,000 by signing them up for non-existant weight-loss sessions. Curiously, Bremers lawyer was none other than Ellis Rubin, the man who had defended many anti-Castro activists and who defended the CIA men who participated in the Watergate break-in.
Even more curious is Bremers half-sister Gails relationship with the Reverend Jerry Owen (ne Oliver Brindley Owen), who figures prominently in the RFK case. Owens bible-thumping show was cancelled from KCOP in Los Angeles when evidence surfaced showing he had a possibly sinister relationship with Sirhan Sirhan just prior to the assassination of Robert Kennedy. After the assassination, Owen had gone to the police with a strange tale of having picked Sirhan up as a hitchhiker. But other witnesses claimed Owen had given Sirhan cash, and had more of a relationship with Sirhan that he had admitted.
Artie Bremer was described time and again as a "loner." Despite that description by certain of his acquaintances and by Life magazine, Bremer was constantly in the company of several individuals just prior to the assassination attempt.
One of these individuals has been identified as Mr. Dennis Cassini. Before any officials could question Cassini after the murder attempt on Wallace, he was found dead of a heroin overdose, his body locked in the trunk of his automobile. The Milwaukee officials reported this incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No attempt was made by the Federal authorities, then under the direction of L. Patrick Gray, to investigate this matter further.
Bremer was also seen with an older, heavyset gentleman in the waiting room of the Chesapeake and Ohio Ferry in Ludington, Mich. He was described by the attendant as having a "New Joisey brogue." Mr. Roger Gordon, a former member of the Secret Army Organization (SAO), a government intelligence agency, identified Bremer's ferry contact as a Mr. Anthony Ulasewicz, a White House operative who would become well-known in the Watergate hearings. Gordon has since left this country.
It has been reported that Charles W. Colson ordered E. Howard Hunt (both also of Watergate fame) to break into Bremer's apartment within an hour of the shooting, and plant Black Panther party newspapers and Angela Davis literature there. A small news service employee carried out the Colson assignment.
H.R. Haldeman gave the approval for $400,000 to "defeat" George Wallace. Supposedly it went to a Democratic candidate for Governor, but Haldeman didn't know his name. Couldn't it also go to part of an assassination team? He only allocated the cash from a special, secret White House safe but didn't inquire the use when it was handed over? Hardly possible! Only an intelligence operation, working on a need-to-know basis, behaves in such a manner...
Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, at the time of her death on the sabotaged flight to Chicago on December 8, 1972, had the name of two neurosurgeons with her. An accomplished CIA agent on her own, would these persons perform for the accused a service that would save paying blackmail money the rest of their lives?
Dennis Salvatore Cossini - Contact man from CIA with Arthur Bremer. Could have provided the money, like Mrs. Hunt, be the cut-off.
The full story remains to be told. But during 1972-Z3, our research group, the Citizens Research and Investigation CommitteeCRIC), receive severa bits of unconfirmed information which are worthy of note:
(1) On July 13, 1973 Roger Gordon, fifty-three, a member of the rigtit-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 toBremer on an Ohio ferry was Anthony Ulasewicz, a White House operative.
(2) Secret Army Organization (SAO) and FBI sources in the San Diego area reported that White House agent Donald Segretti gave moriey to Bremer.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
The L.A. Times reported on July 13, 1973 that a former Minuteman had requested political asylum in Fiji, saying he had secret information on Watergate and feared assassination.
In 1972 the Power Control Group was faced with another set of problems. Again the objective was to insure Nixon's election at all costs and to continue the cover-ups. Nixon might have made it on his own. We'll never know because the Group guaranteed his election by eliminating two strong candidates and completely swamping another with tainted leftist images and a psychiatric case for the vice presidential nominee. The impression that Nixon had in early 1972 was that he stood a good chance of losing. He imagined enemies everywhere and a press he was sure was out to get him.
The Power Control Group realized this too. They began laying out a strategy that would encourage the real nuts in the Nixon administration like E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and Donald Segretti to eliminate any serious opposition. The dirty tricks campaign worked perfectly against the strongest early Democratic candidate, Edmund Muskie. He withdrew in tears, later to discover he had been sabotaged by Nixon, Liddy and company.
George Wallace was another matter. At the time he was shot, he was drawing 18% of the vote according to the polls, and most of that was in Nixon territory. The conservative states such as Indiana were going for Wallace. He was eating into Nixon's southern strength. In April the polls showed McGovern pulling a 41%, Nixon 41% and Wallace 18%. It was going to be too close for comfort, and it might be thrown into the House - in which case Nixon would surely lose. There was the option available of eliminating George McGovern, but then the Democrats might come up with Hubert Humphrey or someone else even more dangerous than McGovern. Nixon's best chance was a head-on contest with McGovern. Wallace had to go. Once the group made that decision, the Liddy team seemed to be the obvious group to carry it out. But how could it be done this time and still fool the people? Another patsy this time? O.K., but how about having him actually kill the Governor? The answer to that was an even deeper programming job than that done on Sirhan. This time they selected a man with a lower I.Q. level who could be hypnotized to really shoot someone, realize it later, and not know that he had been programmed. He would have to be a little wacky, unlike Oswald, Ruby or Ray.
Arthur Bremer was selected. The first contacts were made by people who knew both Bremer and Segretti in Milwaukee. They were members of a leftist organization planted there as provocateurs by the intelligence forces within the Power Control Group. One of them was a man named Dennis Cossini.
Bremer was programmed over a period of months. He was first set to track Nixon and then Wallace. When his hand held the gun in Laurel, Maryland, it might just as well have been in the hand of Donald Segretti, E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy, Richard Helms, or Richard Nixon.
With Wallace's elimination from the race and McGovern's increasing popularity in the primaries, the only question remaining for the Power Control Group was whether McGovern had any real chance of winning. The polls all showed Wallace's vote going to Nixon and a resultant landslide victory. That, of course, is exactly what happened. It was never close enough to worry the Group very much. McGovern, on the other hand, was worried. By the time of the California primary he and his staff had learned enough about the conspiracies in the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King that they asked for increased Secret Service protection in Los Angeles.
If the Power Control Group had decided to kill Mr. McGovern the Secret Service would not have been able to stop it. However, they did not, because the election was a sure thing. They did try one more dirty trick. They revealed Thomas Eagleton's psychiatric problems, which reduced McGovern's odds considerably.
What evidence is there that Bremer's attempt on Wallace was a directed attempt by a conspiratorial group? Bremer himself has told his brother that others were involved and that he was paid by them. Researcher William Turner has turned up evidence in Milwaukee and surrounding towns in Wisconsin that Bremer received money from a group associated with Dennis Cassini, Donald Segretti and J. Timothy Gratz. Several other young "leftists" were seen with Bremer on several occasions in Milwaukee and on the ferry crossing at Lake Michigan.
The evidence shows that Bremer had a hidden source of income. He spent several times more than he earned or saved in the year before he shot at Wallace. Bremer's appearance on TV, in court and before witnesses resembled those of a man under hypnosis.
There is some evidence that more than one gun may have been fired with the second gun being located in the direction opposite to Bremer. Eleven wounds in the four victims that day exceeds the number that could have been caused by the five bullets Bremer fired. There is a problem in identifying all of the bullets found as having been fired from Bremer's gun. The trajectories of the wounds seem to be from two opposite directions. All of this - the hypnotic-like trance, the possibility of two guns being fired from in front and from behind, and the immediate conclusion that Bremer acted alone - sounds very much like the arrangement made for the Robert Kennedy assassination.
Another part of the evidence sounds like the King case. A lone blue Cadillac was seen speeding away from the scene of the shooting immediately afterward. It was reported on the police band radio and the police unsuccessfully chased it. The car had two men in it. The police and the FBI immediately shut off all accounts of that incident.
E. Howard Hunt testified before the Ervin Committee that Charles Colson had asked him to go to Bremer's apartment in Milwaukee as soon as the news about Bremer was available at the White House. Hunt never did say why he was supposed to go. Colson then said that he didn't tell Hunt to go, but that Hunt told him he was going. Colson's theory is that Hunt was part of a CIA conspiracy to get rid of Nixon and to do other dirty tricks.
Could Hunt and the Power Control Group have had in mind placing something in Bremer's apartment rather than taking something out? The "something" could have been Bremer's diary, which was later found in his car parked near the Laurel, Maryland parking lot. Hunt did not go to Milwaukee, because the FBI already had agents at the apartment. Perhaps Hunt or someone else went instead to Maryland and planted the diary in Bremer's car. One thing seems certain after a careful analysis of Bremer's diary in comparison to his grammar, spelling, etc., in his high school performances in English. Bremer didn't write the diary. Someone forged it, trying to make it sound like they thought Bremer would sound given his low IQ
One last item would clinch the conspiracy case if it were true. A rumor spread among researchers and the media that CBS-TV had discovered Bremer and G. Gordon Liddy together on two separate occasions in TV footage of Wallace rallies. In one TV sequence they were said to be walking together toward a camera in the background. CBS completely closed the lid on the subject.
The best source is obviously Bremer himself. However, no private citizen can get anywhere near him. Even if they could he might not talk if he had been programmed. Unless an expert deprogrammed him, his secret could be locked away in his brain, just like Sirhan's secret is locked within his mind.
I was also involved in a fiasco of my own that winter, one that related to two of our major political preoccupations-winning California, and the electoral threat posed by George Wallace. The Alabama governor was a constant concern to us. If he ran in 1972, would the third-party split help us or hurt us? The equation was a complex one, but the consensus was that he would hurt us, and there were constant discussions and plans on how to keep him out of the race, ranging from preempting him with go-slow school integration policies to our putting several hundred thousand dollars into the campaign of the man who ran against Wallace for governor in 1970. The ongoing White House concern about Wallace was reflected in a constant stream of memos from Haldeman asking us for up-to-the-minute reports on how many state primaries Wallace would be able to enter.
Arthur H. Bremer sporting a twisted grin gunned down Alabama Governor George Wallace, wounding him severely enough to take him out of the presidential race. Wallace was posing a serious threat to the "Southern Strategy" that had been credited with Nixon's narrow win in 1968. The polls showed that if Wallace were to run as a third-party candidate in November, he would siphon off enough votes from Nixon to create a virtual deadlock between the President and either Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern, who were then running neck and neck for the Democratic nomination.
Charles Colson instructed Hunt to fly at once to Milwaukee, Bremer's hometown, and plant evidence in his apartment that he was associated with the left. Hunt balked on the ground that the FBI would already have sealed off the apartment. When this intriguing bit of information surfaced after Watergate, Colson claimed that he told Hunt to clean up evidence, not to plant any. Colson said when Nixon heard of the shooting, he became agitated and "voiced immediate concern that the assassin (sic) might have ties to the Republican Party, or even worse, the President's re-election committee."
The explanation is fascinating not for what it settles but what it raises about Nixon's qualms about his Gemstone operatives going too far. The all-encompassing "Bay of Pigs thing" was to haunt him. It might not have been a false fear. Bremer's older sister, Gail Aiken, and brother, William, lived in Miami. (As mentioned earlier, in 1968 Aiken, then living in Los Angeles, was exceedingly close to Oliver Owen, a fundamentalist preacher. Owen had had an association with Sirhan Sirhan prior to the RFK assassination, which had the effect of clearing Nixon's path to the White House.) Two months before the Wallace shooting William Bremer was indicted in a $36,000 swindle (he was subsequently convicted) that had all the earmarks of an organized crime caper. (William Bremer was represented by Ellis Rubin, a respectable, if offbeat, attorney, who later represented the Miami Four in the Watergate break-in.)
On May 15, less than two weeks after Hoover's death, a lone gunman shot Alabama Governor George C Wallace, then campaigning for president, at a shopping centre. The wounds were serious, but Wallace survived. Wallace had a strong following in the deep South, an increasing source of Nixon's support. Wallace's spoiler candidacy four years earlier in 1968 could have cost Nixon the election that year, and Nixon monitored Wallace's every move closely as the 1972 presidential contest continued.
That evening, Nixon called Felt - not Gray, who was out of town - at home for an update. It was the first time Felt had spoken directly with Nixon. Felt reported that Arthur H Bremer, the would-be assassin, was in custody but in the hospital because he had been roughed up and given a few bruises by those who subdued and captured him after he shot Wallace.
"Well, it's too bad they didn't really rough up the son of a bitch!" Nixon told Felt.
Felt was offended that the president would make such a remark. Nixon was so agitated, attaching such urgency to the shooting, that he said he wanted full updates every 30 minutes from Felt on any new information that was being discovered in the investigation of Bremer.
In the following days I called Felt several times and he very carefully gave me leads as we tried to find out more about Bremer. It turned out that he had stalked some of the other candidates, and I went to New York to pick up the trail. This led to several front-page stories about Bremer's travels, completing a portrait of a madman not singling out Wallace but rather looking for any presidential candidate to shoot. On May 18, I did a page-one article that said, "High federal officials who have reviewed investigative reports on the Wallace shooting said yesterday that there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Bremer was a hired killer."
It was rather brazen of me. Though I was technically protecting my source and talked to others besides Felt, I did not do a good job of concealing where the information was coming from. Felt chastised me mildly. But the story that Bremer acted alone was a story that both the White House and the FBI wanted out.
After a five-day state trial Bremer was convicted and, in 1973, sentenced to 53 years in prison. A year later federal charges were dropped after Maryland appeals courts upheld Bremer's state conviction.
End of story? Not yet. During a months-long review, Insight obtained Bremer's parole records and the once highly secret 5,413-page FBI report known as the WalShot Files - a 26-volume package spanning eight years from the day of the shooting to 1980. Here too, for the first time, is not only a comprehensive review straight from the FBI archives but details from exclusive interviews with the lead prosecutor and defense attorney who, after 26 years, break their silence about the shooting of Wallace.
"I still have reservations about the case, and I'm not one for conspiracy theories," says former Prince George's County State's Attorney Arthur "Bud" Marshall, who prosecuted Bremer. "But it's worth taking a look at."
It is indeed. What follows is the story of how the FBI, led by Acting Director L. Patrick Gray, dug relentlessly into Bremer's background. And how Gray, who later admitted destroying Watergate records, prevented the Bremer case from being explored during the Watergate hearings. The most feasible rationale for this might be protection of the president from further wild rumor-mongering, but it also might be what Silent Coup author Len Colodny calls "Nixon's second operation."
"You know, of all the people who wanted Wallace dead, Nixon was on top of the list," says Colodny, who is working on a book about the Wallace/Nixon relationship. "But we have not found the smoking gun to support it. We're still looking."
What is known is that Nixon stepped in to control the Bremer investigation shortly after the shots were fired, according to Femia. At the hospital, an FBI agent hung up a hospital phone, turned to Femia and barked, "That was the president. We're taking over. The president says, `We're not going to have another Dallas here.'" Femia, who already had prepared an indictment, objected fiercely, but the agents pushed him aside and grabbed Bremer in the gurney.
Femia threatened to file assault charges against the FBI, but cooler heads prevailed. Bremer went to Baltimore with the FBI.
While the story of Nixon's crude seizure of the case remained buried for a quarter-century, it exemplifies his obsession with the Wallace shooting. Historian Dan T. Carter in The Politics of Rage traces this obsession to 1968 when Wallace captured 10 million votes on the American Party ticket. Pollsters Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg noted that four of five Wallace voters in the South would have voted for Nixon if Wallace had bowed out.
Using the Nixon papers, Carter showed how the president tried to forestall another Wallace presidential bid by pumping $400,000 from a secret slush fund into then Alabama Gov. Albert Brewer's unsuccessful attempt to defeat Wallace in 1970. Nixon's efforts continued with the "Alabama Project" which, according to Carter, consisted of more than 75 IRS officers digging "over the past tax returns of Wallace, his brothers and virtually every financial supporter who had done business with the state." The IRS probe found nothing, but the private war continued...
Angered by the prosecution's portrayal of him as an unemployed busboy living in his car, Bremer snapped at his arraignment, "Why would I be living in my car when I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel? The press is going to - up this case." He was right about the press. In what the Chicago Tribune called a "circus atmosphere," reporters stampeded Bremer's apartment after the FBI inexplicably failed to seal it. Bullets and a personal notebook were removed by journalists and curiosity seekers.
And Bremer's silence after his court appearance bothered prosecutor Marshall. "We had concern that someone else was involved," Marshall says. "The question I always had is how the Secret Service found out who he was as quick as they did. They were in his apartment within an hour."
Forty-five minutes after the shooting, the WalShot Files show, a Baltimore FBI agent called the Milwaukee FBI office identifying Bremer as the shooter based on personal identification found on Bremer. The Secret Service identified Bremer's address at 5:35 p.m., it claims, after tracing his .38-caliber handgun. But 25 minutes earlier, at 5:10 p.m., when two FBI agents entered Bremer's apartment, a Secret Service agent already was there. How the Secret Service managed that remains a mystery, inspiring conspiracy aficionados to speculate that the White House knew about Bremer before the shots were fired. The Secret Service agent told the FBI he was on an "intelligence-gathering mission."
All three agents left the apartment, but returned with another Secret Service agent after reports that the press had managed to get inside. At this point the Secret Service removed items from the apartment, setting off a turf war between the agencies that ignited when the Secret Service refused to turn over to the FBI the original of Bremer's "diary" manuscript, found in his car, until Nixon ordered them to do so...
In 1974 Wallace told United Press International that "he hoped the Watergate investigation would turn up the man who paid the money to have him shot." Wallace later said he mis-spoke but privately told reporters he believed the White House plumbers unit might have been involved.
The WalShot Files say Wallace had received a letter from Bernard Barker, one of the men caught in the Watergate break-in. The alleged letter is said to have claimed Bremer was paid by G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt for shooting Wallace. All deny the allegation. According to the WalShot Files, the FBI and Barker claim the letter is a fraud, and agents charged the ailing Wallace was after sympathy to support a third run at the presidency.
In 1975, Wallace's wife, Cornelia, told McCall's magazine that the FBI urged Wallace not to press the issue. The FBI briefed Wallace on Aug. 20, 1974, for the second time after denying his request to see the WalShot Files. But Cornelia says agents "didn't review any new developments. All they wanted to do was assure my husband that Bremer was not involved in a conspiracy."
When the New York Times reported Watergate hush-money operative Hunt testified in a Senate Watergate hearing that White House aide Charles Colson, upon hearing the news of the shooting, immediately ordered him to "bribe the janitor" or pick Bremer's lock to find out what type of literature Bremer read, the FBI faced public pressure to reopen the case. The G-men created a memo citing Hunt's story as unlikely because Colson called the Hunt statement "utterly preposterous." The FBI records state: "The allegation that the plumbers might be involved with Bremer appears to be far-fetched in that both Bremer's diary and our investigation indicate Bremer was actively stalking President Nixon up to a short time prior to his decision to shoot Governor Wallace."
In the midst of this a CBS News crew provided the FBI with a film clip depicting a man resembling Liddy whom CBS alleged "led Wallace into Bremer's line of fire." Could this mystery man be the same person who chased down a photographer and paid $10,000 for pictures unseen and undeveloped that were strictly of the crowd? FBI records show those pictures were never pursued because they weren't considered important.
Regardless, the FBI told CBS in 1973 that the mystery man was not Liddy. Although they admitted they had no idea who it was, they claimed the mystery man was just shaking Wallace's hand.
The file shows the FBI hauled both Hunt and Colson in for secret questioning in 1974. Both acknowledge that a conversation about Bremer's apartment took place but deny Liddy or the White House had any role in the assassination attempt. Hunt also told the FBI he never spoke to Liddy about Bremer -- although Hunt says in his Watergate book that he did talk to Liddy about it.
In 1974, the FBI concluded Colson's "explanation is directly opposite" Hunt's but recommended no further probe. The FBI chose not to interview Bremer about the story as "it would not appear logical to expose Bremer to such a weak theory." Likewise they did not try to interview Liddy, who tells Insight, "You got to remember, I wasn't talking to anyone at that time." Asked if he had any role in the Wallace assassination attempt, Liddy replies, "No." Told there were pages about the claim in the FBI's WalShot Files, he is dumfounded. "It sounds to me like these are wild allegations," he says.
Asked where he was when Wallace was shot, Liddy replies, "I don't remember. What's it say in my book?" His book, Will, says only that Liddy was reading the Miami Herald the next day. Two decades later Colson's story changes. He publicly has admitted to ordering the Bremer break-in but told Seymour Hersch in 1993 that he called it off.
Even as Nixon was publicly describing the shooting as "senseless and tragic," he was privately encouraging a Bremer break-in. "Is he a left-winger, right-winger?" Nixon asks about five hours after the shooting, according to a recently released Nixon "abuse of power" tape reviewed by Insight. Colson responds: "Well, he's going to be a left-winger by the time we get through, I think." Nixon laughs and says, "Good. Keep at that, keep at that"
"Yeah, I just wish that, God, that I'd thought sooner about planting a little literature out there. It may be a little late, although I've got one source that maybe ...," Colson says on the tape. "Good," Nixon responds. And Colson replies, "You could think about that. I mean, if they found it near his apartment. That would be helpful."
All of this may refer to just another third-rate burglary that never materialized. Or did it? A Black Panther publication was found in Bremer's apartment, according to the WalShot inventory record. But when in 1974 the Los Angeles Times asked if the FBI found a Black Panther publication, the FBI lied and said it had not.
Nixon might have laughed at that. But Wallace got the last laugh. The Watergate tapes show that on July 23, 1974, after learning he would lose all three Dixiecrats on the Judiciary Committee, Nixon asked Wallace to exert political pressure on his behalf. When Wallace refused, Nixon turned to White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig and said, "Well, Al, there goes the presidency."
After 35 years in prison, the man who shot and paralyzed Alabama Gov. George Wallace during his racially charged 1972 presidential campaign is scheduled to be released Friday into a society more diverse and more restrictive on guns.
The state's automated victim-notification system sent e-mails announcing the impending release of Arthur H. Bremer, 57.
Wallace, a fiery segregationist during the 1960s, was wounded on May 15, 1972, during a campaign stop in Laurel, Md. He abandoned his bid for the Democratic nomination, spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair and died in 1998.
Bremer, a former Milwaukee busboy and janitor, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 53 years. He has been held at the medium-security Maryland Correctional Institution near Hagerstown, about 70 miles from Baltimore, since 1979, earning his mandatory release through good behavior and by working in prison.
Bremer's diary, found in a landfill in 1980, made it clear he was motivated by a desire for attention, not a political agenda. He had also stalked President Nixon.
A prison system spokesman declined to say where Bremer would go once he got out. The head of the state's parole commission has said there will be restrictions on Bremer's activities, including a requirement to avoid political candidates and events.
"My father forgave him and my family has forgiven him. That's consistent with God's law," George Wallace Jr. said in Montgomery, Ala. But he added: "Then there is man's law. I doubt the punishment has fit the crime."
Peggy Wallace Kennedy, the governor's daughter, said of Bremer: "I think he's getting out 17 1/2 years too early."
The Alabama governor made his famous "stand in the schoolhouse door" in 1963, decrying the enrollment of two black students at the all-white University of Alabama in a standoff against the Justice Department and the National Guard.
By 1972, he had tempered his racist rhetoric and adopted a more subtle approach, denouncing federal courts over the forced busing of children to integrate schools orders and pledging to restore "law and order," a phase sometimes regarded as a coded appeal to white racists.
But Wallace recanted his segregationist stand later in his career and won his final term with the help of black votes. The kind of fiery racial rhetoric he employed is history. And a black man is one of the leading candidates for the presidential nomination in 2008.
In another measure of how things have changed, the 1993 Brady Bill, named for the White House press secretary wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, requires background checks to prevent felons and mentally ill people from buying guns.
Four months before the attempt on Wallace's life, Bremer was arrested and underwent a psychiatric evaluation after firing bullets into a ceiling at a shooting range, and was fined for disorderly conduct.
Had the Brady Bill been in place, "it might have been something to stop him from buying a gun," said Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Helmke said that the law has stopped 1.4 million people from buying guns, but that the national database is missing 90 percent of the mental health records and 20 percent of the felony records because states are not required to supply them.
Bremer was partly the inspiration for the deranged Travis Bickle character in the 1976 film "Taxi Driver." The movie, in turn, fascinated John Hinckley, who tried to kill Reagan in a twisted attempt to impress the film's co-star, Jodie Foster.