A new book by James W. Douglass [JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters] addresses an "an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe." A few events, many of them very recent, qualify to be so described. The unspeakable "evil" in this case is the assassination of JFK, in fact, a cold-blooded murder in the streets.
That it was a "President" so ignominiously gunned-down is in itself appalling, unspeakable but that it was a President who held out our best hopes to survive as a Democratic, free nation makes it all the more tragic in retrospect.
The assassination succeeded, claims Douglass, because Americans can’t handle the truth. Americans have not faced up to what has happened to our nation or what has become of our dreams of freedom, democracy, equal rights and liberty.
Douglass’ book is not another conspiracy book. Many books, articles, writers, and talk show hosts have proven to my satisfaction and that of millions of Americans that the cold-blooded murder of JFK could not have been anything other than a conspiracy. The "lone nut" theory is subscribed to only by lone nuts and legions of liars. Douglass not only affirms a "conspiracy" but speaks directly to jaded Americans, addressing in the subtitle: "Why He Died and Why It Matters."
No murder but especially that of JFK can be understood in a vacuum. There is a fateful history leading up to that dreadful day in Dallas, when the United States lost a President, America lost a future, and every American lost the "Yankee" optimism that had made our nation great.
John F. Kennedy began as a "Cold Warrior" and ended as and perhaps because he transcended that role, that label. He had become the embodiment of all our hopes for peace as well as prosperity, more mature relations with both allies and adversaries as well as more humane domestic peace with those citizens who had been denied a fair share of that dream.
Today, anyone aspiring to any political office so lofty as that of President risks his/her life. This outcome may not, must not be tolerated if we are ever again to enjoy the blessings of competent government.
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Since the murder of John F. Kennedy, it has become clear to every thinking American that the path toward peace is opposed by those who make war for profit. In the U.S., the group is called the Military-Industrial Complex, in short, the M.I.C., whose "living" is nothing else but industrialized murder. It is also clear to every thinking American that as long as there is a profit motive, as long as there are big bucks to be made manufacturing and selling arms, peace is but an elusive dream. As long as just one percent of the nation’s population owns more than the rest of us combined, peace is but a hopeless dream. As long as there is oil in the Middle East, you will find either the American military and/or the CIA.
Doulgass’ book identifies a "designated patsy," the term used by Lee Harvey Oswald himself upon his arrest. Earlier, according to Douglass, there was a "second Oswald" who was moved about the country "like a pawn." This doppelganger was, in fact, setting Oswald up to "take the fall." It was, at the time, a mere sub-plot. The Soviet Union was "set up" as well. The Soviet Union and its satellite China had a role thrust upon them: "Evil Empire." As an ironic result, we are now owned by China. Again ironically it is the CIA’s own World Fact Book which confirms and documents that fact.
It was during the administration of President Harry Truman that the CIA was given near "unlimited powers." This event is referred to by Gore Vidal in his Decline and Fall of the American Empire. Sen. Arthur Vandenburg is quoted as having told Truman that if he expected to raise taxes in order to pay for "covert activities" then he must "…scare the hell out of the American people." Thus was born a "cold war," an incipient empire, and the Orwellian, non-ending war which has, at last, bankrupted America, enslaved its people, enriched but one percent of the population, and incurred the enmity of many throughout the world who see themselves as victim slaves because of it. They are correct.
The goal was nothing less than the destruction of the Russian Communist State. In a shallow sense and in the shorter term, they succeeded. In the longer term, they failed. The costs of waging Orwellian war had not been assayed. In the end, the victory was merely pyrrhic, short-lived and did not justify the lives lost in Viet Nam and every other surrogate battlefield.
Blessed with secrecy and lack of congressional oversight, CIA operations became corrupt almost immediately. Using propaganda stations like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA felt justified in manipulating the public for its own good. The broadcasts were so patently false that for a time it was illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S. This was a classic case of a powerful organization deciding what was best for the people, and then abusing the powers it had helped itself to.
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During the 40s and 50s, most of the public was unaware of what the CIA was doing. Those who knew thought they were fighting the good fight against communism, like James Bond. However, they could not keep their actions secret forever, and by the 60s and 70s, Americans began learning about the agencys crimes and atrocities. (3) It turns out the CIA has:
- Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other nations;
- Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35 assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba (Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
- Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953), Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963), Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno (Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 196567), Allende (Chile, 1973), and dozens of others.
- Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and more;
- Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile), the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko (Ziare), the "reign of the colonels" (Greece), and more;
- Created, trained and supported death squads and secret police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
- Helped run the "School of the Americas" at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin American military officers how to overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture, interrogation and murder;
- Used Michigan State "professors" to train Diems secret police in torture;
- Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops, disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
- Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor, 500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
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- Planted false stories in the local media;
- Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political statements and embarrassments that they did not commit;
- Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional law;
- Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
- Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League, which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaaners, Latin American death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing militants;
- Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
- Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
- Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the Mafia;
- Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the iceberg other notorious examples include Southeast Asias Golden Triangle and Noreigas Panama;
- Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers;
- And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (4) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."
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We should note that the CIA gets away with this because it is not accountable to democratic government. Former CIA officer Philip Agee put it best: "The CIA is the President’s secret army." Prior to 1975, the agency answered only to the President (creating all the usual problems of authoritarianism). And because the CIAs activities were secret, the President rarely had to worry about public criticism and pressure. After the 1975 Church hearings, Congress tried to create congressional oversight of the CIA, but this has failed miserably. One reason is that the congressional oversight committee is a sham, filled with Cold Warriors, conservatives, businessmen, and even ex-CIA personnel.
~ Steve Kangas, The Origins of the Overclass
A summit meeting of U.S. President Eisenhower with Soviet Premier Khrushchev was canceled after a U.S U2 spy plane crashed in Russia. Eisenhower had ordered such flights canceled. So who disobeyed or countermanded orders from the President? It was after this incident that Eisenhower issued his famous warning about the "Military-Industrial Complex" in his farewell address. It was, thus, left to John F. Kennedy to defy the "conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry."
What is so clear today, in retrospect, may not have been so obvious at the time. Else, we might have avoided the tragic history that has resulted. Clearly, JFK’s fate was sealed when he refused to support the CIA invasion of Cuba to regain control of Cuba for organized crime. Think of it this way: the CIA had hoped to hijack the apparatus of the U.S. government and its military in order to make Cuba safe for the Mafia.
Kennedy was not buying it. He knew that he had been lied to by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. He refused to provide air support for the Cuban brigade. It was not the only time that JFK had run afoul of the military. During the Cuban-Missile Crisis, he resisted "tremendous pressure" on him to take military action, which in retrospect, it is clear would have plunged the nation into a nuclear Armageddon.
JFK intended to end the cold war, establish peaceful relations with the Soviet Union. At this time in our history, the bumper sticker: "better dead than red" was seen on millions of vehicles. This is the political atmosphere that prevailed in the short years and months preceding his cold-blooded murder.
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The bumper stickers, however, were just the political atmosphere that was promoted and exploited. The real power opposing JFK was the arms industry which still controls the United States. At the time, the war machine generated billions of dollars. It was then as now, the producer of America’s chief exports: death and destruction.
JFK learned to trust Khrushchev more than the "people" within his own government. Traitors to the Constitution and the President, they had embarked upon a strategy in which they would oppose him, isolate him and subvert his policies. The gang of traitors included Richard Bissell, Charles Cabell, Henry Cabot Lodge, Lyman Lemnitzer, Curtis LeMay and perhaps the most contemptible of all, Allen Dulles.
On June 10, 1963, JFK spoke about his desire for world peace, a new relationship with the Soviet Union and Nikita Khrushchev with whom he had hope to form a new relationship with the Soviet Union. To these ends, he said that nuclear disarmament was a necessity and to that end proposed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. And, as "we are all mortal," he most certainly infuriated the American right wing by declaring that the Russian people wanted peace as much as did the American people.
Just as Dwight David Eisenhower was, as I have called him, the last honest Republican, JFK died a martyr for the cause of peace. The speech also certified JFK’s death warrant. With so many powerful enemies opposing his policies and hating him, JFK didn’t have a chance as he was being maneuvered into the crossfire in Dallas.
The CIA was infuriated when it learned that JFK had exchanged private letters with Khrushchev and had, in secret, planned to seek "rapprochement" with Cuba. Castro was interested and was, in fact, meeting with American representatives when JFK was murdered. Douglas rightly claims that "JFK died a martyr" to the causes of freedom and peace.
Douglass is right to claim that if JFK had not been murdered, the Cold War would have ended amid "peace talks" with Khrushchev. The tragedy of Viet Nam might have been avoided or cut short. They’re might never have been a "War on Terrorism." Within a month of JFK’s assassination, Harry Truman wrote an article for the Washington Post warning of a CIA take-over of the United States. Harry was right!
Reprinted with permission from The People’s Voice.
September 16, 2010
Len Hart blogs at The Existentialist Cowboy.