Saturday, December 25, 2010
In the video below Zapruder claims he saw JFK slump to the left after the first shot. He says nothing about the famous "throat-clutching" response that Zapruder documented during his filming. Why not? The throat clutching according to the extant Zapruder film happened immediately after the first shot and before JFK ever slumped left. One would think that Zapruder should have mentioned it but he didn't.
Zapruder then says he heard one or two more shots and saw the right front of JFK's head explode. This of course is totally incompatible with what the Parkland Hospital physicians documented only several minutes later and what witnesses reported on the scene.
It is clear that at the time of this very early interview, Zapruder was already parroting what would become the official story about a head shot from behind only--that exploded the right side and front of JFK's head.
I cannot help but wonder if (as other researchers have hypothesized) Zapruder was an intelligence cut-out directed to film the assassination. It strains credulity to think that an amateur photographer who was nothing more than an interested bystander could have continued to film the assassination without interuption when everyone around him was either falling to the ground or running away. An opposing view is that of author Noel Twyman (Bloody Treason), who in his book contends that Zapruder was not involved in the conspiracy to assassinate JFK. I find this extremely difficult to believe.
It would be good if someone can produce the exact time that the interview below was conducted. I assume it was sometime Friday afternoon November 22, 1963.
--Dr. J. P. Hubert
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Weather Advisories for Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio
by Jim Fetzer
December 17, 2010
As a huge fan of actor Tom Hanks, I have admired him in many roles, including Charlie Wilson’s War and Saving Private Ryan. I am also a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, who became a worldwide phenomenon in Titanic. But I was distressed and dismayed to learn that they had committed to films about the death of JFK – in Tom’s case, one based on Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History (2008), and in Leonardo’s, based on Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann’s Legacy of Secrecy (2008) – which are indefensible books. According to Bugliosi, the Warren commission got it right: Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed "the lone assassin," where he claims to have refuted alternative "conspiracy theories." According to Waldron and Hartmann, JFK was planning to assassinate Fidel, when the mob learned of the plan and took JFK out first, using its insider’s knowledge of the plot against Fidel to silence Bobby and preclude his pursuit of the guilty. The problem is that both theories are false.
Not only am I a fan of these actors but I have met Vincent Bugliosi. In my library downstairs, for example, I have a framed photo of Jesse Ventura, Vince and me at dinner in a restaurant in Minneapolis, when he came to present a lecture at the Hamlin University School of Law on 7 April 2003. We had a great time, and I admire many of his books, from Helter Skelter (about the Charles Manson case) and Outrage (why O.J. Simpson was guilty of killing both Ron and Nicole) to The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (for war crimes and other atrocities). I like most of his books and have greatly admired him in the past. Similarly, I enjoy listening to Thom Hartmann over our local progressive radio station, "The Mic" at 92.1 FM in Madison, including his "Brunch with Bernie" Friday segments. I share many beliefs and values with Vince and with Thom about truth, justice and the American way. But on JFK, they are trading in fiction, not fact. MORE...
What Professor Fetzer reports is not surprising although very disappointing. In the early 1950's a CIA program named Operation Mockingbird was instituted in which a major attempt was made to control American media. Since then, the defense/intelligence community has exerted tremendous influence over the broadcast and print media as well as the Motion Picture Industry. The only major film to present anything near what actually transpired vis a vis the JFK Assassination was Oliver Stone's "JFK." Apparently numerous intelligence community attempts to influence the script were unsuccessful in large part.
Those who have taken it upon themselves to protect the conspirators can be counted upon to help produce anything but the truth. For whatever reason, Vincent Bugliosi and Gerald Pozner have written books which are clearly meant to support the conclusions of the now discredited Warren Commission despite the fact that the more recent HSCA determined that the JFK Assassination was most likely the result of a conspiracy.
Bugliosi and Pozner are clearly too intelligent to have been duped on such a massive scale. Logic dictates that they have taken on the role of intelligence directed contract agents whose main purpose is to create confusion through the publishing of disinformation. In the case of Hartmann and Waldron, it may simply be a case of being poorly informed--time will tell.
In any case, the presenting of many diverse and false scenario's has the effect of making it appear that the truth can never be known which of course benefits those who defend the conspirators and the agencies and individuals they protect.
--Dr. J. P. Hubert
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Abraham Bolden reports that several of the agents who were in the JFK follow up car in Dallas had told him that if someone tried to shoot President Kennedy they would let it happen without "lifting a finger." None of the SS agents in the follow up car or the two in the Kennedy limousine did anything to help Kennedy. In fact SSA Greer the limousine driver came to a virtual stop after the first shots were fired. This constitutes even more proof that the secret service intentionally "stood-down" in Dallas leaving President Kennedy completely unprotected. Worse yet, after the fact, not one agent was in any way reprimanded/sanctioned which is simply ludicrous given that the secret service failed in its only responsibility--to protect the life of the President of the United States. At the very least, Congress in its constitutionally mandated oversight role should have investigated the secret service and its unprecedented failure which would have brought to light the many breaks in protocol that occured.
--Dr. J. P. Hubert
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Review of "The Kennedy Detail", a Compelling but Dangerous Mix of Fact, Faction, and Fiction
by Vince Palamara
Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination (CTKA)
Although very well written, along with some nice photographs, as well, The Kennedy Detail is really a thinly veiled attempt to rewrite history (a la Gerald Posner and Vince Bugliosi, who believe 11/22/63 was the act of a single lone man) and absolve the agents of their collective survivor’s guilt (and to counter the prolific writings of a certain reviewer). In the eyes of those from The Kennedy Detail, the assassination was the act of TWO "lone men": Oswald, who pulled the trigger, and JFK, who set himself up as the target. Simply put: President Kennedy WAS indeed a very nice man, did not interfere with the actions of the Secret Service, did not order the agents off his limousine (in Tampa, in Dallas, or elsewhere), and did not have his staff convey any anti-security sentiments, either. The sheer force and power of what these men all told me, a complete stranger, in correspondence and on the phone, is all the more strong because, not only did they have a vested interest to protect themselves, the vast majority believe that Oswald acted alone and that all official "stories" are correct. MORE...
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Phillip F. Nelson has written a book published in 2010 entitled LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination which states categorically that LBJ was indeed the mastermind behind the JFK Assassination. As far as I am aware, this is the first major work to make such a claim.
Previously, attorney Barr McClellan at one time a partner in the Austin Texas law firm that handled all of Lyndon Johnson’s legal work authored a book; Blood, Money and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK (New York: Hannover House, 2003) in which he argued that LBJ asked Edward A. Clark the head of the firm to arrange the murder of JFK. McClellan claims that Clark was the mastermind while LBJ had no role in either planning or carrying out the plot.
Douglas P. Horne in his 5 volume recent work Inside the ARRB, 2009 argues that at the least LBJ was aware of the conspiracy to assassinate JFK, gave his approval (LBJ attended the pre-assassination meeting on November 21, 1963 at the home of Clint Murchison along with J. Edgar Hoover for example) and that he in concert with Hoover was an active and integral participant in the cover-up. As far as I am aware, Horne does not contend that LBJ was the actual mastermind of the plot.
Nelson builds on material from multiple other works in an attempt to establish that Lyndon B. Johnson had a long history of planning and carrying-out complicated schemes without being discovered, many of which were illegal. He establishes to a high degree of probability that LBJ was a completely self-centered man, totally lacking in moral conscience who would do virtually anything to achieve his life-long goal of becoming President of the United States including committing murder.
Nelson (and McClellan) argue forcefully that Lyndon Johnson was afflicted with an untreated bi-polar major depressive disorder which should have rendered him ineligible for the Presidency had it ever become widely recognized. However, due to his unprecedented ability to manipulate almost everyone he ever met, Johnson was able to position himself as Vice President, virtually a heart-beat away from the Presidency.
In perhaps his most startling assertion, Nelson alleges that Johnson began planning the murder of JFK at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 when he essentially blackmailed JFK into placing him on the Democratic ticket. According to Nelson, (who wrote that LBJ was the only man who ever actively sought out the job of Vice President), it was only a matter of time before Johnson made his move to have Kennedy killed, thereby ascending to the position of President of the United States his life-long dream.
Nelson's claims are truly extraordinary but certainly not incompatible with the evidence now available. Unlike McClellan who alleged that the JFK Assassination was a Johnson ordered and Clark masterminded Texas affair, Nelson makes a quite convincing case that LBJ managed to co-opt multiple diverse entities—all of whom despised Kennedy—utilizing to his best advantage their various abilities in his plot to assassinate JFK and once in power to utilize many of the same organizations and individuals to cover-up the crime.
It has been clearly established that Johnson had numerous close contacts in the FBI (Hoover was a personal friend), the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff (including General Curtis Le May whose position Johnson supported not only during the Cuban Missile Crisis but with regard to his desire to commence a land war in Vietnam), the Mafia, certain members of the Secret Service and of course local Texas officials all of which would appear to provide him the means and opportunity reaquired to carry out the "crime of the century."
It goes without saying that LBJ had the motive given that the US Congress and the Kennedy administration were closing in on his prior illegal activities as a result of their investigation of Bobby Baker. There are many credible reports that Johnson feared not only political oblivion but impending imprisonment.
I am currently still in the process of carefully analyzing the many claims that Phillip Nelson has made and attempting to research some of his supporting documentation. Nelson’s hypothesis is extremely interesting to say the least. It may succeed in finally identifying the public face responsible that is, the individual who had ultimate control over events and stood most to personally benefit. I welcome comments from other JFK Assassination researchers and interested readers.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In response to my post HERE... covering the David W. Mantik MD PhD review of Douglas P. Horne's 5 volume work, Mr. Horne was kind enough to send me by e-mail the following summary of Inside the ARRB: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK (2009). He suggested that it has made a "significant contribution to the understanding of the medical evidence" and I wholeheartedly agree. In fact for serious students and researcher's Horne's book supplies in one place the greatest amount of information related to the JFK medical evidence. We are truly indebted to him for his monumental undertaking and his courage in confronting those who still desire to keep this vital part of American history secret.
--Dr. J. P. Hubert
Douglas P. Hornes' Summary of Inside the ARRB:
- Confirming the groundbreaking work of David Lifton in 1981, the body's chain of custody was indeed broken enroute and it arrived at Bethesda prior to the official motorcade which supposedly transported it from Andrews (the Boyajian document is key here).
- Post-mortem surgery (evidence tampering) was performed on JFK's body at Bethesda Naval hospital, which alone invalidates the results of the official autopsy.
- The autopsy photos of the head in the metal stirrup were taken following post-mortem surgery on the cranium at Bethesda Naval hospital, and therefore show the results of body tampering (i.e., evidence tampering), NOT damage by a bullet or bullets.
- The beveled evidence of exit in photos 17, 18, 44, and 45 are in a region of the skull originally described by the pathologists themselves as POSTERIOR skull (and these photos therefore contain medico-legal evidence of an exit wound in the back of the head).
- Both JFK's brain (what was left of it) and a second, substitute (fraudulent) specimen were examined after the autopsy on his body, and the photos of the fraudulent (substitute) brain were introduced into the official record and misrepresented as "JFK's brain."
- The autopsy report was rewritten during the week following JFK's death.
- The Zapruder film is an altered film, as proven by the inspection of new, HD scans of a dupe negative examined by Hollywood film experts; and its troubled chain of custody the weekend of the assassination is strong evidence that the CIA was involved in its alteration.
- The pathologists (particularly Dr. Humes) lied repeatedly under oath over the years about the nature of the President's wounds and their findings.
- Dr. David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., reviewed and approved my extensive presentation of his seminal work (in Chapters 5 and 12) proving that the three extant JFK skull x-rays in the National Archives are forged composite copy films---that is, optically altered versions of the authentic JFK skull x-rays (which are not in the official record and are now lost to history).
Monday, December 6, 2010
Jesse Ventura has done a great service to the country in this, the second season of his TV series, Conspiracy Theory. In Episode 5 that just played this past Friday, November 19th, he further hammers home the truth nationally that there was indeed a conspiracy to kill Jack Kennedy. He does so by going beyond the House Select Committee on Assassinations report of 1979 that also concluded there was a conspiracy by providing more concrete evidence, the most crucial being at the end of the episode with the death-bed confession of the famous/infamous intelligence officer, author and Watergate Burglar, E. Howard Hunt, who pointblank states to his son, St. Clair Hunt, who video and audio-taped the confession, that he was indeed part of the assassination conspiracy, code-named The Big Event.
Hunt was about as insider as you can get regarding the inner workings of the clandestine side of the American government, and he was as lucid as ever when he gave this confession. He knew he was dying and didn't want to keep silent any longer about what he knew. The best anyone can say to refute Hunt's confession so far is that his claims have not been substantiated by another investigation, which of course, is not even being contemplated at this point, but this is a distracting argument because the real point is whether Hunt is believable or not. And for a guy as lethal, deadly serious and matter-of-fact as Hunt, to suggest that he was making this up is ludicrous.
Hunt's confession has been online for several years, and I have listened to it several times, hoping against hope that it could get wider play in the media. But It was up to someone of Jesse Ventura's caliber to tie it and the many other loose strands of evidence together to make the most solid case yet nationally that yes indeed, America, there WAS a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, a conspiracy that emanated out of the dark side of the American government.
So consider this a public service on Jesse Ventura's part. Here is episode five on YouTube, in four parts:
Friday, December 3, 2010
Dr. David W. Mantik MD PhD undoubtedly the world's leading expert in the JFK Assassination medical evidence earlier this year wrote an extensive review of Douglas P. Horne's Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U. S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical evidence in the Assassination of JFK, 2009.
Horne is arguably the world's leading expert in the medical evidence second only to Dr. David W. Mantik. In his book review of Horne's 5 volume work, Mantik in large part finds himself in agreement with Horne on all of the major medical issues. Exceptions include Hornes view of the alleged autopsy photographs of the back of JFK's head which Horne believes were photographically unaltered (although clearly designed to mislead) that is; a true depiction of the back of JKF's head after the Autopsists' rearranged scalp in such a way as to cover the large right occipital full thickness defect there hoping to disguise it. (Suffice it to say that I have my own reasons for believing that Horne's hypothesis on this issue is unworkable which I will post on this sight as time allows but that I agree with Mantik; the photograph is not only misleading but cannot possibly be an actual picture of the back of JFK's head at autopsy. My reason is different from Mantik's however specifically; that it would be anatomically impossible to move a credible section of hair bearing loose scalp into proper allignment over the large occipital full thickness defect without it being obvious that it was a non-anatomic re-arrangement).
Mantik believes that the extant photos of the back of JFK's head are fraudulent, arguing that they were faked utilizing a soft matte insertion process due to the fact that the "blow-out" area in the right posterior occipital area appears only 2D rather than 3D on stereoscopic viewing whereas all other areas on these and other photographs that he examined appear 3D. This explanation seems most probable to me for a variey of reasons including the fact that the hair pictured simply does not look like JFK's hair or the well-known configuration of the back of JFK's head. A very disturbing issue is that the area of what appears to be wet and combed hair which appears starched and 2D on stereoscopic viewing is apparently a different color than the Auburn hair (clearly 3D) which presumably is the genuine hair of JFK below the inferior line of the apparent matte insertion.
Mantik also disagrees with Horne regarding the role of White House social photographer Robert Knudsen in taking autopsy photographs primarily because the Bethesda witnesses made no mention of his having been there that night. He also differs with Horne regarding the nature of the infamous "mystery" photo referred to as figure 66 in Volume I of Horne's book often referred to as figure F8. Mantik forcefully argues that the area in question is in fact the large right occipital blow-out noted at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Tx and suggests that it was mistakenly not culled from the extant collection by the conspirators who had attempted to disguise the very obvious full-thickness "hole" in the right occipital area of JFK's head.
All in all however, Mantik and Horne agree on the vast majority of the medical evidence and this is extremely encouraging from the perspective of finally coming to an understanding about what actually happened to JFK's body during and after the assassination. What they share in common is far more important than the minor differences of opinion they have with regard to very specific details involving the medical evidence in the JFK Assassination case.
I wholeheartedly recommend Horne's 5 volume treatise. It is arguably the best reference work available today on the extensive medical coverup which ensued after the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Mantik's extensive review of volume IV of Horne's book is simply outstanding and should be read by all researchers interested in the medical evidence and the cover-up. Dr. Mantik's outstanding book review of Horne's volume IV is a must-read and can be accessed HERE...
--Dr. J. P. Hubert
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Dallas COPA Conference
November 2009, from jfkcountercoup HERE..
I want to speak tonight about the hope that comes from our confronting the truth of the assassination of President Kennedy. Concerned friends have asked me over the years if engaging in such a probe into darkness hasn’t made me profoundly depressed. On the contrary, it has given me great hope. As Martin Luther King said, the truth crushed to earth will rise again. Gandhi spoke hopefully of experiments in truth, because they take us into the most powerful force on earth and in existence – truth-force, satyagraha. That is how I think of this work, as an experiment in truth – one that will open us up, both personally and as a country, to a process of nonviolent transformation. I believe this experiment we are doing into the dark truth of Dallas (and of Washington) can be the most hopeful experience of our lives. But as you know, it does require patience and tenacity to confront the unspeakable. We, first of all, need to take the time to recognize the sources in our history for what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
The doctrine of “plausible deniability” in an old government document provides us with a source of the assassination of President Kennedy. The document was issued in 1948, one year after the CIA was established, 15 years before JFK’s murder. That document, National Security Council directive 10/2, on June 18, 1948, “gave the highest sanction of the [U.S.] government to a broad range of covert operations” – propaganda, sabotage, economic warfare, subversion of all kinds – that were seen as necessary to “win” the Cold War against the Communists. The government’s condition for those covert activities by U.S. agencies, coordinated by the CIA, was that they be “so planned and executed that…if uncovered the US government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them.”
In the 1950’s, under the leadership of CIA Director Allen Dulles, the doctrine of “plausible deniability” became the CIA’s green light to assassinate national leaders, conduct secret military operations, and overthrow governments that our government thought were on the wrong side in the Cold War. “Plausible deniability” meant our intelligence agencies, acting as paramilitary groups, had to lie and cover their tracks so effectively that there would be no trace of U.S. government responsibility for criminal activities on an ever-widening scale.
The man who proposed this secret, subversive process in 1948, diplomat George Kennan, said later, in light of its consequences, that it was “the greatest mistake I ever made.” President Harry Truman, under whom the CIA was created, and during whose presidency the plausible deniability doctrine was authorized, had deep regrets. He said in a statement on December 22, 1963:
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas."
“We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”
Truman later remarked: “The CIA was set up by me for the sole purpose of getting all the available information to the president. It was not intended to operate as an international agency engaged in strange activities.”
President Truman’s sharp warning about the CIA, and the fact that warning was published one month to the day after JFK’s assassination, should have given this country pause. However, his statement appeared only in an early edition of The Washington Post, then vanished without comment from public view.
What George Kennan and Harry Truman realized much too late was that, in the name of national security, they had unwittingly allowed an alien force to invade a democracy. As a result, we now had to deal with a government agency authorized to carry out a broad range of criminal activities on an international scale, theoretically accountable to the president but with no genuine accountability to anyone. Plausible deniability became a rationale for the CIA’s interpretation of what the executive branch’s wishes might be. But for the Agency’s crimes to remain plausibly deniable, the less said the better – to the point where CIA leaders’ creative imaginations simply took over. It was all for the sake of “winning” the Cold War by any means necessary and without implicating the more visible heads of the government. One assumption behind Kennan’s proposal unleashing the CIA for its war against Communism was that the Agency’s criminal power could be confined to covert action outside the borders of the United States, with immunity from its lethal power granted to U.S. citizens. That assumption proved to be wrong.
During the Cold War, the hidden growth of the CIA’s autonomous power corresponded to the public growth of what was called a fortress state. What had been a struggling post-war democracy in our country was replaced by the institutions of a national security state. President Truman had laid the foundations for that silent takeover by his momentous decision to end the Second World War by a demonstration of nuclear weapons on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to stop a Soviet advance to Japan. Truman’s further, post-war decision for U.S. nuclear dominance in the world rather than allowing for international control of nuclear weapons was his second disastrous mistake, in terms of initiating the nuclear arms race in the world and subverting democracy in the U.S.A. A democracy within a national security state cannot survive. The president’s decision to base our security on nuclear weapons created the contradiction of a democracy ruled by the dictates of the Pentagon. A democratic national security state is a contradiction in terms.
The insecure basis of our security then became weapons that could destroy the planet. To protect the security of that illusory means of security, which was absolute destructive power, we now needed a ruling elite of national security managers with an authority above that of our elected representatives. So from that point on, our military-industrial managers made the real decisions of state. President Truman simply ratified their decisions and entrenched their power, as he did with the establishment of the CIA, and as his National Security Council did with its endorsement of plausible deniability.
His successor, President Eisenhower, also failed to challenge in his presidency what he warned against at its end -- the military-industrial complex. He left the critical task of resisting that anti-democratic power in the hands of the next president, John Kennedy.
When President Kennedy then stood up to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the military-industrial complex, he was treated as a traitor. His attempt to save the planet from the weapons of his own state was regarded as treason. The doctrine of plausible deniability allowed for the assassination of a president seen as a national security risk himself.
The CIA’s “plausible deniability” for crimes of state, as exemplified by JFK’s murder, corresponds in our politics to what the Trappist monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton called “the Unspeakable.” Merton wrote about the unspeakable in the 1960’s, when an elusive, systemic evil was running rampant through this country and the world. The Vietnam War, the escalating nuclear arms race, and the interlocking murders of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were all signs of the unspeakable.
For Merton, the unspeakable was ultimately a void, an emptiness of any meaning, an abyss of lies and deception. He wrote the following description of the unspeakable shortly after the publication of The Warren Report, which he could have been describing: “[The Unspeakable] is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.”
The void of the unspeakable is the dark abyss, the midnight reality of plausible deniability, that we face when we peer into our national security state’s murder of President Kennedy. And that is precisely where hope begins.
Why President Kennedy was murdered can be, I believe, a profound source of hope to us all, when we truly understand his story.
Now how can that possibly be? The why of his murder as a source of hope?
Let’s begin with the way Kennedy himself looked at the question.
One summer weekend in 1962 while out sailing with friends, President Kennedy was asked what he thought of Seven Days in May, a best-selling novel that described a military takeover in the United States. JFK said he would read the book. He did so that night. The next day Kennedy discussed with his friends the possibility of their seeing such a coup in the U.S. These words were spoken by him after the Bay of Pigs and before the Cuban Missile Crisis:
“It’s possible. It could happen in this country, but the conditions would have to be just right. If, for example, the country had a young President, and he had a Bay of Pigs, there would be a certain uneasiness. Maybe the military would do a little criticizing behind his back, but this would be written off as the usual military dissatisfaction with civilian control. Then if there were another Bay of Pigs, the reaction of the country would be, ‘Is he too young and inexperienced?’ The military would almost feel that it was their patriotic obligation to stand ready to preserve the integrity of the nation, and only God knows just what segment of democracy they would be defending if they overthrew the elected establishment.”
Pausing a moment, he went on, “Then, if there were a third Bay of Pigs, it could happen.”
Waiting again until his listeners absorbed his meaning, he concluded with an old Navy phrase, “But it won’t happen on my watch.”
Let’s remember that JFK gave himself three strikes before he would be out by a coup, although he bravely said it wouldn’t happen on his watch.
As we know, and as he knew, the young president John Kennedy did have a Bay of Pigs. The president bitterly disappointed the CIA, the military, and the CIA-trained Cuban exile brigade by deciding to accept defeat at the Bay of Pigs rather than escalate the battle. Kennedy realized after the fact that he had been drawn into a CIA scenario whose authors assumed he would be forced by circumstances to drop his advance restrictions against the use of U.S. combat forces. He had been lied to in such a way that, in order to “win” at the Bay of Pigs, he would be forced to send in U.S. troops. But JFK surprised the CIA and the military by choosing instead to accept a loss. “They couldn’t believe,” he said, “that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
We know how JFK reacted to the CIA’s setting him up. He was furious. When the enormity of the Bay of Pigs disaster came home to him, he said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
He ordered an investigation into the whole affair, under the very watchful eyes of his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
He fired CIA Director Allen Dulles, Deputy Director Richard Bissell, Jr., and Deputy Director General Charles Cabell. That was a huge decision – firing the top of the CIA’s hierarchy, including the legendary leader who had come to personify the agency, Allen Dulles.
The president then took steps “to cut the CIA budget in 1962 and again in 1963, aiming at a 20 per cent reduction by 1966.” John Kennedy was cutting back the CIA’s power in very concrete ways, step by step.
We know how the CIA and the Cuban exile community regarded Kennedy in turn because of his refusal to escalate the battle at the Bay of Pigs. They hated him for it. They did not forget what they thought was unforgivable.
In terms of JFK’s own analysis of the threat of an overthrow of his presidency, he saw the Bay of Pigs as the first strike against him. It was the first big stand he took against his national security elite, and therefore the first cause of a possible coup d’etat.
However, in terms of our constitution, our genuine security, and world peace, the position Kennedy took in facing down the CIA and the military at the Bay of Pigs, rather than surrendering to their will, was in itself a source of hope. No previous post-war president had shown such courage. Truman and Eisenhower had, in effect, turned over the power of their office to their national security managers. Kennedy was instead acting like he really was the president of this country – by saying a strong no to the security elite on a critical issue. If we the people had truly understood what he was doing then on our behalf, we would have thought the president’s stand a deeply hopeful one.
In terms of his Seven Days in May analysis of a coming coup, John Kennedy did have a second “Bay of Pigs.” The president alienated the CIA and the military a second time by his decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
JFK had to confront the unspeakable in the Missile Crisis in the form of total nuclear war. At the height of that terrifying conflict, he felt the situation spiraling out of control, especially because of the actions of his generals. For example, with both sides on hair-trigger alert, the U.S. Air Force test-fired missiles from California across the Pacific, deliberately trying to provoke the Soviets in a way that could justify our superior U.S. forces blanketing the USSR with an all-out nuclear attack. As we know from Kennedy’s secretly taped meeting with his Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 19, 1962, the Chiefs were pushing him relentlessly to launch a pre-emptive strike on Cuba, and ultimately the Soviet Union. In this encounter the Chiefs’ disdain for their young commander-in-chief is summed up by Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay when he says:
LeMay: “This [blockade and political action] is almost as bad as the appeasement [of Hitler] at Munich…I think that a blockade, and political talk, would be considered by a lot of our friends and neutrals as being a pretty weak response to this. And I’m sure a lot of our own citizens would feel that way too.
In other words, you’re in a pretty bad fix at the present time.”
President Kennedy responds: “What did you say?”
LeMay: “I say, you’re in a pretty bad fix.”
President Kennedy: [laughing] “You’re in with me, personally.”
As the meeting draws to a close, Kennedy rejects totally the Joint Chiefs’ arguments for a quick, massive attack on Cuba. The president then leaves the room but the tape keeps on recording. Two or three of the generals remain, and one says to LeMay, “You pulled the rug right out from under him.”
LeMay: “Jesus Christ. What the hell do you mean?”
Other General: “…He’s finally getting around to the word ‘escalation.’ If somebody could keep ‘em from doing the goddamn thing piecemeal, that’s our problem…”
The White House tapes show Kennedy questioning and resisting the mounting pressure to bomb Cuba coming from both the Joint Chiefs and the Executive Committee of the National Security Council. At the same time, John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, the two men most responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis, seemed locked in a hopeless ideological conflict. The U.S. and Soviet leaders had been following Cold War policies that now seemed to be moving inexorably toward a war of extermination.
Yet, as we have since learned, Kennedy and Khrushchev had been engaged in a secret correspondence for over a year that gave signs of hope. Even as they moved publicly step by step toward a Cold War climax that would almost take the world over the edge with them, they were at the same time smuggling confidential letters back and forth that recognized each other’s humanity and hoped for a solution. They were public enemies who, in the midst of deepening turmoil, were secretly learning something approaching trust in each other.
On what seemed the darkest day in the crisis, when a Soviet missile had shot down a U2 spy plane over Cuba, intensifying the already overwhelming pressures on Kennedy to bomb Cuba, the president sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, secretly to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. RFK told Dobrynin, as Dobrynin reported to Khrushchev, that the president “didn’t know how to resolve the situation. The military is putting great pressure on him…Even if he doesn’t want or desire a war, something irreversible could occur against his will. That is why the President is asking for help to solve this problem.”
In his memoirs, Khrushchev recalled a further, chilling sentence from Robert Kennedy’s appeal to Dobrynin: “If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power.”
Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita’s son, has described his father’s thoughts when he read Dobrynin’s wired report relaying John Kennedy’s plea: “The president was calling for help: that was how father interpreted Robert Kennedy’s talk with our ambassador.”
At a moment when the world was falling into darkness, Kennedy did what from his generals’ standpoint was intolerable and unforgivable. JFK not only rejected his generals’ pressures for war. Even worse, the president then reached out to their enemy, asking for help. That was treason.
When Nikita Khrushchev had received Kennedy’s plea for help in Moscow, he turned to his Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko and said, “We have to let Kennedy know that we want to help him.”
Khrushchev stunned himself by what he had just said: Did he really want to help his enemy, Kennedy? Yes, he did. He repeated the word to his foreign minister:
“Yes, help. We now have a common cause, to save the world from those pushing us toward war.”
How do we understand that moment? The two most heavily armed leaders in history, on the verge of total nuclear war, suddenly joined hands against those on both sides pressuring them to attack. Khrushchev ordered the immediate withdrawal of his missiles, in return for Kennedy’s public pledge never to invade Cuba and his secret promise to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey – as he would in fact do. The two Cold War enemies had turned, so that each now had more in common with his opponent than either had with his own generals. As a result of that turn toward peace, one leader would be assassinated thirteen months later. The other, left without his peacemaking partner, would be overthrown the following year. Yet because of their turn away from nuclear war, today we are still living and struggling for peace on this earth. Hope is alive. We still have a chance.
What can we call that transforming moment when Kennedy asked his enemy for help and Khrushchev gave it?
From a Buddhist standpoint, it was enlightenment of a cosmic kind. Others might call it a divine miracle. Readers of the Christian Gospels could say that Kennedy and Khrushchev were only doing what Jesus said: “Love your enemies.” That would be “love” as Gandhi understood it, love as the other side of truth, a respect and understanding of our opponents that goes far enough to integrate their truth into our own. In the last few months of Kennedy’s life, he and Khrushchev were walking that extra mile where each was beginning to see the other’s truth.
Neither John Kennedy nor Nikita Khrushchev was a saint. Each was deeply complicit in policies that brought humankind to the brink of nuclear war. Yet, when they encountered the void, then by turning to each other for help, they turned humanity toward the hope of a peaceful planet.
John Kennedy’s next “Bay of Pigs,” his next critical conflict with his national security state, was his American University Address. Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins summed up the significance of this remarkable speech: “At American University on June 10, 1963, President Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War.”
I believe it is almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of President Kennedy’s American University address. It was a decisive signal to both Nikita Khrushchev, on the one hand, and JFK’s national security advisers, on the other, that he was serious about making peace with the Communists. After he told the graduating class at American University that the subject of his speech was “the most important topic on earth: world peace,” he asked:
“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek?”
He answered, “Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.”
Kennedy’s rejection of “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war” was an act of resistance to the military-industrial complex. The military-industrial complex was totally dependent on “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” That Pax Americana policed by the Pentagon was considered the system’s indispensable, hugely profitable means of containing and defeating Communism. At his own risk Kennedy was rejecting the foundation of the Cold War system.
In its place, as a foundation for peace, the president put a compassionate description of the suffering of the Russian people. They had been our allies during World War Two and had suffered mightily. Yet even their World War Two devastation would be small compared to the effects of a nuclear war on both their country and ours.
In his speech, Kennedy turned around the question that was always asked when it came to prospects for peace – the question, “What about the Russians?” It was assumed the Russians would take advantage of any move we might make toward peace.
Kennedy asked instead, “What about us?” He said, “Our attitude [toward peace] is as essential as theirs.” What about our attitude to the nuclear arms race?
Within the overarching theology of our country, a theology of total good versus total evil, that was a heretical question, coming especially from the president of the United States.
Kennedy said he wanted to negotiate a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in Moscow – in their capitol, not ours – as soon as possible. To clear the way for such a treaty, he said he was suspending U.S. atmospheric tests unilaterally.
John Kennedy’s strategy of peace penetrated the Soviet government’s defenses far more effectively than any missile could have done. The Soviet press, which was accustomed to censoring U.S. government statements, published the entire speech all across the country. Soviet radio stations broadcast and rebroadcast the speech to the Soviet people. In response to Kennedy’s turn toward peace, the Soviet government even stopped jamming all Western broadcasts into their country.
Nikita Khrushchev was deeply moved by the American University Address. He said Kennedy had given “the greatest speech by any American President since Roosevelt.”
JFK’s speech was received less favorably in his own country. The New York Times reported his government’s skepticism: “Generally there was not much optimism in official Washington that the President’s conciliation address at American University would produce agreement on a test ban treaty or anything else.” In contrast to the Soviet media that were electrified by the speech, the U.S. media ignored or downplayed it. For the first time, Americans had less opportunity to read and hear their president’s words than did the Russian people. A turn-around was occurring in the world on different levels. Whereas nuclear disarmament had suddenly become feasible, Kennedy’s position in his own government had become precarious.
President Kennedy’s next critical conflict with his national security state, propelling him toward the coup d’etat he saw as possible, was the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that he signed with Nikita Khrushchev on July 25, 1963, six weeks after the American University Address. The president had done an end run around the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He negotiated the Test Ban Treaty without consulting them, because they opposed it.
Kennedy was fiercely determined but not optimistic that the Test Ban Treaty be ratified by the defense-conscious Senate. In early August, he told his advisers that getting Senate ratification of the agreement would be “almost in the nature of a miracle.” He said if a Senate vote were held right then it would fall far short of the necessary two-thirds.
Kennedy initiated a whirlwind public education campaign on the treaty, coordinated by Saturday Review editor Normal Cousins, who directed a committee of activists. By the end of August, the tide of congressional mail had gone from fifteen to one against a test ban to three to two against.
In September public opinion polls showed a turnaround. 80 percent of the American people were now in favor of the Test Ban Treaty. On September 24, 1963, the Senate approved the treaty by a vote of 80 to 19 – 14 more than the required two-thirds. No other single accomplishment in the White House gave Kennedy greater satisfaction.
On September 20, Kennedy spoke to the United Nations. He suggested that its members see the Test Ban Treaty as a beginning and engage together in an experiment in peace:
“Two years ago I told this body that the United States had proposed, and was willing to sign, a Limited Test Ban treaty. Today that treaty has been signed. It will not put an end to war. It will not remove basic conflicts. It will not secure freedom for all. But it can be a lever, and Archimedes, in explaining the principles of the lever, was said to have declared to his friends: ‘Give me a place where I can stand – and I shall move the world.’ "
“My fellow inhabitant of this planet: Let us take our stand here in this Assembly of nations. And let us see if we, in our own time, can move the world to a just and lasting peace.”
When he said these words, John Kennedy was secretly engaging in another risky experiment in peace. That same day at the United Nations, Kennedy told UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson that his assistant William Attwood should go ahead “to make discreet contact” with Cuba’s UN Ambassador Carlos Lechuga. Was Fidel Castro interested in a dialogue with John Kennedy? A strongly affirmative answer would come back from Castro, who had been repeatedly urged by Khrushchev to begin trusting Kennedy. Kennedy and Castro actually began that dialogue on normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations, through the mediation of French journalist Jean Daniel who personally visited both men in the month leading up to the assassination. Daniel was actually eating lunch with Castro in his home on November 22, conveying Kennedy’s hopeful words, when the Cuban premier was phoned with the news of Kennedy’s death. Castro’s somber comment to Daniel was: “Everything is changed. Everything is going to change.”
On October 11, 1963, President Kennedy issued a top-secret order to begin withdrawing the U.S. military from Vietnam. In National Security Action memorandum 263, he ordered that 1,000 U.S. military personnel be withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of 1963, and that the bulk of U.S. personnel be taken out by the end of 1965.
Kennedy decided on his withdrawal policy, against the arguments of most of his advisers, at a contentious October 2 National Security Council meeting. When Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was leaving the meeting to announce the withdrawal to the White House reporters, “the President called to him, ‘And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots, too.’”
In fact, it would not mean that at all. After JFK’s assassination, his withdrawal policy was quietly voided. In light of the future consequences of Dallas, it was not only John Kennedy who was murdered on November 22, 1963, but 58,000 other Americans and over three million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians.
In his reflections on Seven Days in May, John Kennedy had given himself three Bay-of-Pigs-type conflicts with his national security state before a possible coup. What about six?
(1) The Bay of Pigs.
(2) The Cuban Missile Crisis.
(3) The American University Address.
(4) The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
(5) The beginning of a back-channel dialogue with Fidel Castro.
(6) JFK’s order to withdraw U.S. troops from Vietnam.
This, however, is a short list of the increasing conflicts between Kennedy and his national security state.
We can add to the list a seventh Bay of Pigs – the steel crisis, in which he profoundly alienated the military industrial complex before the Cuban Missile Crisis even took place. The steel crisis was a showdown the president had with U.S. Steel and seven other steel companies over their price-fixing violations of an agreement he had negotiated between U.S. Steel and the United Steelworkers’ union. In a head-on confrontation with the ruling elite of Big Steel, JFK ordered the Defense Department to switch huge military contracts away from the major steel companies to the smaller, more loyal contractors that had not defied him. After the big steel companies bitterly backed down from their price raises, JFK and his brother, Robert, were denounced as symbols of “ruthless power” by the Wall Street power brokers at the center of the military industrial complex.
By an editorial titled, “Steel: The Ides of April” (the month in which Kennedy faced down the steel executives), Henry Luce’s Fortune magazine called to readers’ minds the soothsayer’s warning in Shakespeare of the assassination of Julius Caesar. Fortune was warning Kennedy that his actions had confirmed the worst fears of corporate America about his presidency, and would have dire consequences. As interpreted by the most powerful people in the nation, the steel crisis was a logical prelude to Dallas. It was a seventh Bay of Pigs.
An eighth Bay of Pigs was Kennedy’s diplomatic opening to the fiery third-world leadership of President Sukarno of Indonesia. Sukarno was “the most outspoken proponent of Third World neutralism in the Cold War.” He had actually coined the term “Third World.” The CIA wanted Sukarno dead. It wanted what it saw as his pro-communist “global orientation” obliterated. During Eisenhower’s presidency, the CIA repeatedly tried to kill and overthrow Sukarno but failed.
JFK, however, chose to work with Sukarno, hoping to win him over as an ally, which he did. Sukarno came to love Kennedy. The U.S. president resolved what seemed a hopeless conflict between Indonesia and its former colonial master, the Netherlands, averting a war. To the CIA’s dismay, in 1961 Kennedy welcomed Sukarno to the White House. Most significantly, three days before his assassination, President Kennedy said he was willing to accept Sukarno’s invitation to visit Indonesia the following spring. His visit to Indonesia would have dramatized in a very visible way Kennedy’s support of Third World nationalism, a sea change in U.S. government policy. That decision to visit Sukarno was an eighth Bay of Pigs.
Kennedy’s Indonesian policy was also killed in Dallas, with horrendous consequences. After Lyndon Johnson became president, the CIA finally succeeded in overthrowing Sukarno in a massive purge of suspected Communists that ended up killing 500,000 to one million Indonesians.
Last Sunday I interviewed Sergei Khrushchev about an important late development in the relationship between his father and President Kennedy. In his interview, Mr. Khrushchev confirmed that his father had decided in November 1963 to accept President Kennedy’s repeated proposal that the U.S. and the Soviet Union fly to the moon together. In Kennedy’s September 20, 1963, speech to the United Nations, he had once again stated his hope for such a joint expedition to the moon. However, neither American nor Soviet military leaders, jealous of their rocket secrets, were ready to accept his initiative. Nikita Khrushchev, siding with his own rocket experts, felt that he was still forced to decline Kennedy’s proposal.
JFK was looking beyond the myopia of the generals and scientists on both sides of the East-West struggle. He knew that merging their missile technologies in a peaceful project would also help defuse the Cold War. It was part of his day-by-day strategy of peace.
Sergei Khrushchev said his father talked to him about a week before Kennedy’s death on the president’s idea for a joint lunar mission. Nikita Khrushchev had broken ranks with his rocket scientists. He now thought he and the Soviet Union should accept Kennedy’s invitation to go to the moon together, as a further step in peaceful cooperation.
In Washington, Kennedy acted as if he already knew about Khrushchev’s hopeful change of heart on that critical issue. JFK was already telling NASA to begin work on a joint U.S.-Soviet lunar mission. On November 12, 1963, JFK issued his National Security Action Memorandum 271, ordering NASA to implement his “September 20 proposal for broader cooperation between the United States and the USSR in outer space, including cooperation in lunar landing programs.”
That further visionary step to end the Cold War also died with President Kennedy. The U.S. went to the moon alone. U.S. and Soviet rockets continued to be pointed at their opposite countries rather than being joined in a project for a more hopeful future. Sergei Khrushchev said, “I think if Kennedy had lived, we would be living in a completely different world.”
In the final weeks of his presidency, President Kennedy took one more risky step toward peace. It can be seen in relation to a meeting he had the year before with six Quakers who visited him in his office. One thousand members of the Society of Friends had been vigiling for peace and world order outside the White House. President Kennedy agreed to meet with six of their leaders. I have interviewed all three survivors of that meeting with the president 47 years ago. They remain uniformly amazed at the open way in which President Kennedy listened and responded to their radical Quaker critique of his foreign policy. Among their challenges to him was a recommendation that the United States offer its surplus food to the People’s Republic of China. China was considered an enemy nation. Yet it was also one whose people were beset by a famine.
Kennedy said to the Quakers, “Do you mean you would feed your enemy when he has his hands on your throat?”
The Quakers said they meant exactly that. They reminded him it was what Jesus had said should be done. Kennedy said he knew that, and knew that it was the right thing to do, but he couldn’t overcome the China lobby in Washington to accomplish it.
Nevertheless, a year and a half later in the fall of 1963, against overwhelming opposition, Kennedy decided to sell wheat to the Russians, who had a severe grain shortage. His outraged critics said in effect to him what he had said to the Quakers: Would you feed an enemy who has his hands on your throat?
Vice President Lyndon Johnson said he thought Kennedy’s decision to sell wheat to Russia would turn out to be the worst political mistake he ever made. Today JFK’s controversial decision “to feed the enemy” has been forgotten. In 1963, the wheat sale was seen as a threat to our security – feeding the enemy to kill us. Yet JFK went ahead with it, as one more initiative for peace.
The violent reaction to his decision was represented on Friday morning, November 22, 1963, by a threatening, full-page advertisement addressed to him in the Dallas Morning News. The ad was bordered in black, like a funeral notice.
Among the charges of disloyalty to the nation that the ad made against the president was the question: “Why have you approved the sale of wheat and corn to our enemies when you know the Communist soldiers ‘travel on their stomach’ just as ours do?” JFK read the ad before the flight from Fort Worth to Dallas, pointed it out to Jacqueline Kennedy, and talked about the possibility of his being assassinated that day.
“But, Jackie,” he said, “if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it?”
President Kennedy’s courageous turn from war to a strategy of peace provided many more than three Bay-of-Pigs-type causes for his assassination. Because he turned toward peace with our enemies, the Communists, he was continually at odds with his own national security state. Peacemaking was at the top of his agenda as president. That was not the kind of leadership the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military industrial complex wanted in the White House. Given the Cold War dogmas that gripped those dominant powers, and given Kennedy’s turn toward peace, his assassination followed as a matter of course.
That is how he seemed to regard the situation – that it would soon lead to his own death. JFK was not afraid of death. As a biographer observed, “Kennedy talked a great deal about death, and about the assassination of Lincoln.” His conscious model for struggling truthfully through conflict, and being ready to die as a consequence, was Abraham Lincoln. On the day when Kennedy and Khrushchev resolved the missile crisis, JFK told his brother, Robert, referring to the assassination of Lincoln, “This is the night I should go to the theater.” Robert replied, “If you go, I want to go with you.”
Kennedy prepared himself for the same end Lincoln met during his night at the theater. Late at night on the June 5, 1961, plane flight back to Washington from his Vienna meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, a weary President Kennedy wrote down on a slip of paper, as he was about to fall asleep, a favorite saying of his from Abraham Lincoln – really a prayer. Presidential secretary Evelyn Lincoln discovered the slip of paper on the floor. On it she read the words: “I know there is a God – and I see a storm coming. If he has a place for me, I believe that I am ready.”
Kennedy loved that prayer. He cited it repeatedly. More important, he made the prayer his own. In his conflicts with Khrushchev, then more profoundly with the CIA and the military, he had seen a storm coming. If God had a place for him, he believed that he was ready.
For at least a decade, JFK’s favorite poem had been Rendezvous, a celebration of death. Rendezvous was by Alan Seeger, an American poet killed in World War One. The poem was Seeger’s affirmation of his own anticipated death.
The refrain of Rendezvous, “I have a rendezvous with Death,” articulated John Kennedy’s deep sense of his own mortality. Kennedy had experienced a continuous rendezvous with death in anticipation of his actual death: from the deaths of his PT boat crew members, from drifting alone in the dark waters of the Pacific Ocean, from the early deaths of his brother Joe and sister Kathleen, and from the recurring near-death experiences of his almost constant illnesses.
He recited Rendezvous to his wife, Jacqueline, in 1953 on their first night home in Hyannis after their honeymoon. She memorized the poem, and recited it back to him over the years. In the fall of 1963, Jackie taught the words of the poem to their five-year-old daughter, Caroline.
I have thought many times about what then took place in the White House Rose Garden one beautiful fall day.
On the morning of October 5, 1963, President Kennedy met with his National Security Council in the Rose Garden. Caroline suddenly appeared at her father’s side. She said she wanted to tell him something. He tried to divert her attention while the meeting continued. Caroline persisted. The president smiled and turned his full attention to his daughter. He told her to go ahead. While the members of the National Security Council sat and watched, Caroline looked into her father’s eyes and said:
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air –
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath –
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear….
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
After Caroline said the poem’s final word, “rendezvous,” Kennedy’s national security advisers sat in stunned silence. One of them said later the bond between father and daughter was so deep “it was as if there was ‘an inner music’ he was trying to teach her.”
JFK had heard his own acceptance of death from the lips of his daughter. While surrounded by a National Security Council that opposed his breakthrough to peace, the president once again deepened his pledge not to fail that rendezvous. If God had a place for him, he believed that he was ready.
So how can the why of his murder give us hope?
Where do we find hope when a peacemaking president is assassinated by his own national security state?
The why of the event that brings us together tonight encircles the earth. Because John Kennedy chose peace on earth at the height of the Cold War, he was executed. But because he turned toward peace, in spite of the consequences to himself, humanity is still alive and struggling. That is hopeful, especially if we understand what he went through and what he has given to us as his vision.
At a certain point in his presidency, John Kennedy turned a corner and didn’t look back. I believe that decisive turn toward his final purpose in life, resulting in his death, happened in the darkness of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although Kennedy was already in conflict with his national security managers, the missile crisis was the breaking point. At that most critical moment for us all, he turned from any remaining control his security managers had over him toward a deeper ethic, a deeper vision in which the fate of the earth became his priority. Without losing sight of our own best hopes in this country, he began to home in, with his new partner, Nikita Khrushchev, on the hope of peace for everyone on this earth – Russians, Americans, Cubans, Vietnamese, Indonesians, everyone – no exceptions. He made that commitment to life at the cost of his own. What a transforming story that is.
And what a propaganda campaign has been waged to keep us Americans from understanding that story, from telling it, and from re-telling it to our children and grandchildren.
Because that’s a story whose telling can transform a nation. But when a nation is under the continuing domination of an idol, namely war, it is a story that will be covered up. When the story can liberate us from our idolatry of war, then the worshippers of the idol are going to do everything they can to keep the story from being told. From the standpoint of a belief that war is the ultimate power, that’s too dangerous a story. It’s a subversive story. It shows a different kind of security than always being ready to go to war. It’s unbelievable – or we’re supposed to think it is -- that a president was murdered by our own government agencies because he was seeking a more stable peace than relying on nuclear weapons. It’s unspeakable. For the sake of a nation that must always be preparing for war, that story must not be told. If it were, we might learn that peace is possible without making war. We might even learn there is a force more powerful than war. How unthinkable! But how necessary if life on earth is to continue.
That is why it is so hopeful for us to confront the unspeakable and to tell the transforming story of a man of courage, President John F. Kennedy. It is a story ultimately not of death but of life – all our lives. In the end, it is not so much a story of one man as it is a story of peacemaking when the chips are down. That story is our story, a story of hope.
I believe it is a providential fact that the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination always falls around Thanksgiving, and periodically on that very day. This year the anniversary of his death, two days from now, will begin Thanksgiving week.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of year, with autumn leaves falling to create new life. Creation is alive, as the season turns. The earth is alive. It is not a radioactive wasteland. We can give special thanks for that. The fact that we are still living – that the human family is still alive with a fighting chance for survival, and for much more than that – is reason for gratitude to a peacemaking president, and to the unlikely alliance he forged with his enemy.
So let us give thanks this Thanksgiving for John F. Kennedy, and for his partner in peacemaking, Nikita Khrushchev.
Their story is our story, a story of the courage to turn toward the truth. Remember what Gandhi said that turned theology on its head. He said truth is God. That is the truth: Truth is God. We can discover the truth and live it out. There is nothing more powerful than the truth. The truth will set us free.
1. Peter Grose, Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), p. 293.
2. Cited by Grose, ibid.
4. Cited by Raymond Marcus, “Truman’s Warning,” in E. Martin Schotz, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy (Brookline, Mass.: Kurtz, Ulmer & DeLucia, 1996), pp. 237-38.
5. Letter from Harry S. Truman to William B. Arthur, June 10, 1964. Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman, edited by Robert H. Ferrell (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), p. 408.
6. Pioneer assassination critic Raymond Marcus has written of the lack of response to Truman’s remarkable December 22, 1963, article: “According to my information, it was not carried in later editions that day, not commented on editorially, nor picked up by any other major newspaper, or mentioned on any national radio or TV broadcast.” Raymond Marcus, Addendum B (published by the author, 1995), p. 75.
7. Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable (New York: New Directions, 1966), p. 4.
8. Paul B. Fay, Jr., The Pleasure of His Company (New York: Dell, 1966), pp. 162-63.
9. Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers, “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), p. 274.
10. Tom Wicker, John W. Finney, Max Frankel, E. W. Kenworthy, “C.I.A.: Maker of Policy, or Tool?” New York Times (April 25, 1966), p. 20.
11. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965), p. 428.
12. Sheldon M Stern, Averting “The Final Failure” (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 126, 129.
13. Sergei N. Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University, 2000), pp. 618-19.
14. Khrushchev Remembers, ed. Edward Crankshaw (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), p. 498.
15. S. Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev, p. 622.
16. Ibid., p. 630.
17. Norman Cousins, The Improbable Triumvirate (New York: W. W. Norton, 1972), p. 9.
18. Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 460.
19. Schlesinger, Thousand Days, p. 904.
20. Max Frankel, “Harriman to Lead Test-Ban Mission to Soviet [Union] in July,” New York Times (June 12, 1963), p. 1.
21. Cousins, Improbable Triumvirate, p. 128.
22. Jean Daniel, “When Castro Heard the News,” New Republic (December 7, 1963), p. 7.
23. O’Donnell and Powers, p. 17.
24. James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008), p. 324.
25. O’Donnell and Powers, p. 25.
26. Ralph G. Martin, A Hero for our Time: An Intimate Story of the Kennedy Years (New York: Ballantine Books, 1983), p. 500.
27. Robert F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Signet, 1969), p. 110.
28. Evelyn Lincoln, My Twelve Years with John F. Kennedy (New York: Bantam Books, 1966), p. 230.
29. Richard D. Mahoney interview of Samuel E. Belk III. Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (New York: Arcade, 1999), p. 281.
2009 COPA Conference
November 22, 2009
"I remember coming here thirty-five years ago and there were no crowds on the grassy knoll. But now, after all of these years, although they have a museum over there on the 6th Floor, which is a museum dedicated to a place where nothing happened. They don't have a plaque over here, on the grassy knoll, and they should.
Thirty-five years ago today the Dallas Morning News published a full page ad with the sarcastic heading: "Welcome To Dallas Mr. President," and then went on to practically call him a communist and a traitor. That was then.
Today's Dallas Morning News has an editorial: "Kennedy's Legacy - The Time Is Ripe For Idealism," with no references to him being a communist or a traitor. Now he's a great man. They'll tell us everything about John Kennedy, everything, except who killed him. Because look at the rest of the Dallas Morning News, thirty-five years later, when every survey in America shows that 75 to 95% of the people are convinced that there was a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy, here we go in the guise of a book review in today's Dallas Morning News: Oswald Alone Killed Kennedy, Oswald Alone Killed Tippit, One Man Two Murders, they're sticking with the same story. I have but one word for the Dallas Morning News:
Shame. Shame on you, you are disgracing the city of Dallas, and it is not fair to do that.
I'll tell you where there should be plaques in this city. There were a number of brave, courageous residents of this city, longtime residents of Texas, who had the courage to speak the truth to power in the face of intimidation and threats. Right over there was Jean Hill, and she's still there thirty-five years later, one of the first to tell the truth that shots came from behind that wooden fence. And they attacked her and ridiculed her. There should be a plaque over there commemorating her right on the spot where she is standing...
The Grassy Knoll should be called "Lee Bowers Memorial Park," the railroad bridge should be the Holland-Dode-Symmons Underpass - that's the monuments that should be named after the people of this state, people who had the courage to come forward with the truth, while the Dallas Morning News lied thirty-five years ago and continues to lie thirty-five years later.
This is the place where our leader was murdered. This is hollowed grown, and the people of this country know it. It is supposed to be the largest tourist attraction in Dallas. There's people here all the time, at the Grassy Knoll, nobody looks for the truth from the 6th floor of the Book Depository building, because the people of America know the truth, even though the Dallas Morning News is unwilling to share the information with us.
That day in Dallas, in this city, at this location, when the government of the United States executed its own president, when that happened, we as a nation, lost our code of honor, lost our sense of honor. And it can only be restored when the government of the United States - and it will not do it without us insisting, and marching and fighting and voting, and putting this matter on the agenda,...but when that day comes that the government of the United States tells us the truth and all the factual details about the assassination, including their role in the murder. When that day comes, honor will be restored to this nation. Thank you."
Transcript of speech by: John Judge at COPA Conference
November 22, 2009 – 12:30 PM CST Dallas
From JFK Assassination Researcher and Author William Kelly's blog jfkcountercoup HERE...
My name is John Judge. I’m here with the Coalition on Political Assassinations.
I was asked by researcher Penn Jones to continue the tradition of carrying on the moment of silence here on he grassy knoll.
I also hold a conference ever year, right down there at the Hotel Lawrence, of the real researchers, the serious research into the ballistic, acoustic and medical evidence into the assassination of President Kennedy, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the assassination of Malcolm X, and many other people who are murdered and continue to be murdered to this day by political assassination under this state.
I don’t come out here to commemorate the glory of the United States. The United States is in serous trouble. It is not a democracy any longer, as long as we let these murders go on unsolved and as long as we refuse to take back our own history and let the national security state bury it. We are in serious trouble in this country; we are being lied to and we are lying to ourselves if we don’t take a moment and understand that what happened here on November 22nd, 1963 was not a lone gunman in a window, it was a military coup d’etat and the rise of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about in his final speech.
It was a military coup d’etat that removed the cryptonomic books from all the SAC bombers that day, that shut off the telephones at the Pentagon through all other federal agencies, and reversed the course of Kennedy’s detente with the Soviet Union to end the Cold War, to stop the arms race, to quit nuclear testing, to pullout of Vietnam, to promote racial integration in this country, to get rid of the oil tax depletion allowance for the oil rich Southern Rim, to scatter the CIA to the four winds – these are the reasons why Kennedy was killed, not by a lone-nut, but by a well organized conspiracy and coverup that went to the top of the power systems of this country.
Penn Jones was (a newspaperman) and independent investigative researcher who knew these facts, he tracked the witness deaths in the cases. He asked me to come out here every year because I came out here with him since the 1970s forward.
We always get a legal permit to have this space to hold the moment of silence from the parks department. We are glad to be here and to have people come out. This is a larger crowd than came for many, many years. But since Oliver Stone’s film more and more of you have been coming out.
We are about to getting at the truth of these assassinations, and looking at the serious evidence that’s come out in these cases, not about speculations, not about theories, not about conspiracy theories, which is a new term for any criticism we do of the official lies. You can call us conspiracy theorists if you call everyone else a coincidence theorists.
But we are talking about historic realities, and medical evidence, ballistics, and hard facts. So I want to take a moment to have a moment of silence, but a moment of contemplation, a moment of realization of its import.
The Dallas Morning News came ten years after we started doing this, they finally came out and they said why we are doing out here after all these many years later?
I said the same reason we are here for the same reason your editor told you to come down here and ask us. Because we know and the system knows these murders matter and they’ve lied about them since then.
So take a moment and think about that.
MOMENT OF SILENCE - 1 minute.
John Judge: John F. Kennedy was someone who stood up to this system and where it was going in those critical years. He refused to go to nuclear war against the advice of all of his generals during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he refused to kill Castro, he refused to get into an extended military carpet bombing of the Soviet Union, which Curtis LeMay wanted to do. And he refused to continue to pour American troops and money into a fruitless war in Vietnam. He understood that other nations needed sovereignty and determine their own futures, and he wanted to help them to do that, not fight them. He refused to participate in plots to kill foreign leaders that were going on from the administration that preceded him. And he refused to cooperate with the national security state.
Not far from my house in Anacosta, a few miles down the road in Sutland, Maryland, is the national archive and records center for the military history records of the United States from World War II until now. These records are for the most part classified. They have a reading room where you can read some of them, but most of them are classified.
They are stored in underground buildings at that site in Sutland, Maryland. Each of those buildings are an acre in size. There are 27 of those buildings in Sutland, Maryland, 27 acres of papers and classified documents of your military history since the end of World War II. Do you think you own America? (If) you don’t own your own history, you are a conquered people. You let this national security state scare you away from finding your history, you are a conquered people, because that’s what conquers do, they take the history away from us.
Now history is passé. We are post literate, post historical, and we’re becoming post scientific and even post logical in this country. We’re like Winston in 1984 having a conversation with Simms at the Ministry of Truth. Simms’ job is to reduce the number of words in the dictionary, so that there won’t be concepts. If there isn’t a word for it there wouldn’t be a concept for thought crime. You know, he said, in a few years, Winston, you and I won’t even be able to have this conversation. Well I can barely have this conversation cross generationally at this point, because of the history is lost.
I just talked to the DC correspondent for the Nation, 20 year old Eric Lang. I said I was going to Dallas for a conference on November 22nd. He gave me a blank stair. I said you don’t know why we go on that date? Do you know the date April 6th, or the date June 4th, the date February 21st. He didn’t know any of those dates, the dates on which the other political leaders were killed.…
…And I think it’s important if you want to think you live in a democracy and be a citizen, you have to be an informed citizen. That’s the way you make decisions. If you’re not going to be informed you’re in trouble.
We got the JFK Records Act passed, we got 6.5 million pages out, the largest release in history except for the Nazi (records). We are now pushing for a Martin Luther King Act, for the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, to get those files lose. But it’s just a pittance, 15.5 million records, not pages, records, so multiply by at least ten, are buried by the national security state every year. Bush put over a million records back under classification that had already been released, while he was in office, and he increased the secrecy and Obama hasn’t reversed that. And so they continue to bury history at a rate that we are barely able to reverse.
The Freedom of Information Act changes are like plugging a hole in a rusty bucket with which you are trying to drain a spring fed lake.
But that’s the core of the problem here.
Jefferson knew that. He said that if given the choice of a government without a newspaper or a newspaper without a government, he would choose the latter. Why? Because he knew that information flow was more central to democratic process than the machinery of government to carry out the people’s will. He knew that an informed decision was the only thing that meant democracy. And as long as you can’t be informed, and you can’t know, and this is what Martin Schotz says. He says the political paralysis in America is due to the fact that we are allowed to believe everything. Because as long as we can’t know, we can not act.
But I believe we can know. The truth is not that arcane.
We can’t go back on the excuse that we’ll never know what happened.
We’ll never know who did it. People study it and they study it like a regular crime, and they can figure it out. You can figure it out if you want to know.
Perhaps you don’t want to know.
Some people say, Oh, you’re John Judge who gives everybody nightmares.
I said, No, I’m the guy who wakes you up and tells you you’re in one. And you got to get out of that nightmare.
It’s our country, it belongs to us. And there’s more of us and we can think. And that’s the bottom line. They have us divided against each other. They have us pulling against each other. They have us not trusting or talking to each other. But in the end it’s because they fear us. They tap our phones because they’re afraid of us. People ask if I think they tap my phone and I say I hope so because maybe they’ll learn something.
I wish they’d listen to me.
But this is what America is about. It’s not about mourning or weeping over these things for 46 years, it’s about saying, no, we don’t accept this, we aren’t going to live this way, we want to change, and we can change it. They aren’t going to change it for us. We have to change it from the bottom up. But if we decide to live with each other, to trust each other, to cross those lines with each other, and to now, survival with each other because there’s no money left for those poppers to take care of us obviously. But we have to survive with each other, but we can because we are in the last stage of monopoly capitalism. We are at the stage where the corporations merge with the state. This is what Mussolini called fascism. And it is, only now it is on a global, corporate scale of fascism.
One aspect of fascism in monopoly capital is that all the resources are monopolized and all the technology makes labor unnecessary, but in their view, because they want to hoard that surplus, it also makes all of us expendable to them. And that is an objective drive towards genocide. They don’t care now whether labor survives, they don’t need it. By the 1930s miners were told that if the mine starts to collapse, push the mules out first; it costs money to replace a mule. That’s the position that we are in on a global scale now. And they don’t care if any of us survive. In their view, we are dead already. Our choice is to die on our knees or our feet, to stand up to them or not, to live or to die. But we can live with each other and cooperate with each other.
Money is nothing but paper. My bank gives me a piece of paper, I give somebody else a piece of paper at the store, you know, they put the paper in the bank, they give the paper to the next guy. Let’s just print some paper and get on with it. We have a lot of things we have to do in the human community.
You know, they can withdraw the credit, and withdraw the money, but there were communities that prospered in the depression because they got off credit and money, they issued their own local script, produced their own local need, and they survived and prospered during that period. We don’t have to be dependent on this system. And this system can no longer take care of us, nor does it want to. But we can decide we want to live, we can decide that we want to stand up, we can decide that we want the truth and we can decide to exercise the rights that make them real.
They would like us to think that as long as we are told that we have these rights, we should be so glad that we have them we shouldn’t sully them by using them. In other words, I should be so happy that I have free speech that I should sit down and shut up about it.
But that’s not what I think. I think you only have the rights that you use. And the rights that you exercise, that’s how you get rights and that’s how you keep them. And if you stop exercising them you won’t have them.
Turn off the television. Get a little bit of vitamin D and something called Sambathol (?) M1N1, an elderberry extract. There’s ways to survive in this society. And there’s ways for us to have solidarity, and trust and community. But monopoly capital has now alienated us to the point where our primary relations with each other are primarily financial instead of human. And it’s alienated us from every aspect of our human community and sold it back to us in its most distorted form.
I turned the television off in 1970. I still read. I know it’s subversive because they keep track of who goes to the library now. But I think it’s a good idea.
I still try to think. I still have hope. I still believe in people, and I still want to get at the truth, and I hope you do to." END
In the wake of the CIA's creation after WWII (which rather than providing only an intelligence component, began a clandestine paramilitary program including a virtual secret army replete with an assassination capability) a "Shadow Government" gradually arose which was referred to [by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation] as the "military industrial complex" (MIC) He warned about its growing power and influence which was already considerable by the time Eisenhower left office.
When John F. Kennedy became President in January of 1961, the power of this Shadow Government led by the MIC had already grown to a dangerous level. Kennedy realized after the failed Bay of Pigs fiasco in which the CIA seriously misled him, that the renegade agency would have to be dealt with and fired DCI director Allen Dulles, his deputy General Charles P. Cabell and Richard Bissell CIA director of plans otherwise known as head of "black-ops." President Kennedy placed his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in a position to informally oversee the CIA and some researchers believe JFK planned to make RFK head of the CIA after his re-election in 1964. JFK famously said he wanted to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds. The Agency senior members had no more regard for him than he did them that is, there was mutual disdain.
Due to various policy prescriptions of the Kennedy administration including withdrawing from Viet Nam, decreasing or ending the oil depletion allowance, beginning a rapprochement with the Soviet Union, decreasing or ending the power of the Federal Reserve and possibly ending the embargo of Cuba, President Kennedy became increasingly despised by many factions of the power base which increasingly made up the Shadow Government. For an excellent treatment of the many reasons why President Kennedy was assassinated see James W. Douglass. JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2008).
A cadre of these diverse elements had JFK murdered, effectively ending not only the Kennedy administration but its major policy initiatives. The new President Lyndon B. Johnson quickly canceled or reversed them all e.g. through NSAM #273 he began the progressive buildup of US combat troops in Vietnam desired by the joint chiefs of staff under Kennedy but to which he would not acquiesce. This represented a complete change from the withdrawal that JFK had put into place through NSAM #263 in which the US would be completely out of Viet Nam by 1965. Since then no President has dared oppose the US national security state for fear of being eliminated either through premature retirement or assassination.
John F. Kennedy was the last truly independent US President and they killed him for it. Since then the US Presidency has truly become a kind of figurehead position through which the "Regime" controls foreign and domestic policy. This among other reasons is why the militaristic foreign policy of the US with its almost 1000 military bases never seems to change despite the many campaign promises of Presidential candidates from both political parties.
Today the MIC of President Eisenhower has become the MIMIC (media/intelligence/military/industrial/complex) as a result of over 45 years of media, defense, investment banking and other key industries being brought into the sphere of the MIMIC all of which benefited from deregulation and consolidation. This has made it much easier for the Shadow Government to control the American populace in a subtle/covert yet highly effective fashion. The "not so Shadow Government" is now a ruling Oligarchy which is rapidly approaching a Fascist state not fundamentally different from that of the Third Reich as difficult as that may seem to be.
I direct readers attention to JFK Assassination researcher Jim Marrs who has outlined the many ways in which the two compare in his book The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies that Threaten to Take over America, (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008). Other serious researchers, social commentators and academics such as Paul Craig Roberts former Treasury Department official in the Reagan administration have also helped document the growing Neo-Nazi fascist state in America.
Many of the original intelligence agents who built the CIA after its creation were former Nazi's or individuals with various key associations to American elites [including investment banking ties] and the Nazi regime. The now all-powerful intelligence/"defense" apparatus of the United States is replete with neo-Nazi's known today as Neoconservatives made up of members of both major political parties.
Neoconservatives are intellectual descendants of Leon Trotsky through Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago who have now adopted Nazi tactics both domestically and abroad. For more information on the political teachings of the Straussian trained Neoconservatives read the writings of Professor Francis A. Boyle e.g. Biowarfare and Terrorism (Atlanta, Ga.: Clarity Press Inc. 2005) who completed parts of his education at the University of Chicago and who is therefore very familiar with Straussian derived Neoconservative politics.
I encourage any interested readers to investigate this site, return on a frequent basis and by all means inform anyone you think might be interested in understanding how we as a nation got to our current dangerous situation. Only if we admit the truth about what has transpired will it be possible to reverse our inexorable decline.