If Not Oswald, Who Killed President Kennedy and Why?

Presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Tucson, Arizona, July 21, 2019

I was 23 years old when President Kennedy was killed. Now, 55 years later I am most likely the only person still alive who personally knew the two physicians who figure most importantly in the case, Admiral George Burkley, Kennedy’s physician, and Dr. Malcolm Perry, the surgeon who performed a tracheotomy on him after he was shot.

When I was a teenager my father and our family and Dr. Burkley and his family shared a duplex at the Newport Naval Hospital in Newport, Rhode Island, where then Capt. George Burkley, M.D. was Chief of Medicine and my father, Capt. Donald Miller, M.D. was Chief of Surgery. I remember Dr. Burkley as a pleasant man, a straight arrow Naval officer like my father.

Dr. Burkley’s son George and I were the same age and we became buddies. One time we sailed up Narragansett Bay in his 16-foot sailboat and camped out on a small uninhabited island. That night, unknown to us, a hurricane warning was issued and early the next morning our fathers had a Navy launch come and tow us back home.

Admiral Burkley filled out Kennedy’s Death Certificate. He wrote, “A second wound occurred in the posterior back at about the level of the third thoracic vertebra.—T3, that’s 5½ to 6 inches below the neck. He flew back from Dallas on Air Force One with the body and was at the autopsy.

Military pathologists performed the autopsy at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The whole-body chart (front and back), for marking the scars and wounds on the body places the bullet wound in the back at the T3 level, as in the Death Certificate. Dr. Burkley signed the chart, writing “Verified” above his signature.

The Single Bullet Theory

The Warren Commission recognized that the single bullet theory was the only way a lone assassin firing from behind Kennedy could have killed him. Oswald only had time to fire three shots. One hit the street and grazed a bystander, and one bullet hit Kennedy in the head. So, the third bullet had to account for all the other injuries JFK and Governor Connally sustained.

The bullet holes in JFK’s shirt and jacket were likewise 5¾ inches below the collar

With a bullet shot from the sixth floor of the building behind him, it would have had to turn upward at a considerable angle to exit his neck, and then turn downward to go through Connally’s chest, fracturing a rib; next shattering his wrist, with pieces of the bullet left behind on X-ray and finally landing in his left thigh. The Warren Report blamed a near unscathed bullet found on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital for all those injuries (Commission Exhibit 399).

No bullet could transit the neck without hitting any bony structures as a CT scan of the neck will show, especially one coming out the middle of his throat. An autopsy X-ray of JFK’s neck showed no bone trauma.

At a news conference after the assassination Acting Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff said: “Dr. Burkley told me, it is a simple matter… of a bullet right through the head.” Questioned, he stated, “It is my understanding [from Dr. Burkley] that it entered in the temple, the right temple.”

Inside the Assassinati... Douglas P. Horne Best Price: $17.10 Buy New $25.00 (as of 05:30 EDT - Details) In an interview at the Kennedy Library in 1967, when asked how many bullets struck Kennedy Burkley replied, “I would not care to be quoted on that.” Ten years later, in 1977, he offered to explain to Richard Sprague, Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), why there must have been more than one shooter. But he once again clammed up when Sprague got fired wanting to conduct a no-holds-barred investigation. Dr. Burkley did, however, sign an Affidavit for the HSCA, which states that the casket was constantly observed and not opened or disturbed in its trip to the National Naval Medical Center autopsy laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland. It reads:

“I travelled from Andrew’s Air Force Base in the ambulance with the President’s body to the Bethesda Naval Hospital and accompanied the [bronze Dallas] coffin to the autopsy laboratory and saw the body removed from the coffin and placed on the autopsy table.”

Admiral Burkley lied. The bronze Dallas casket was opened and was empty when it arrived at the autopsy lab.

Douglas Horne, in his book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government’s Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK (1,804 pages in 5-volumes, 2009) shows that there were indeed three JFK casket entries to the Bethesda Naval autopsy lab that evening.

Men in suits emerging from a black hearse delivered the corpse to the autopsy lab at 6:35 pm in a body bag placed inside a cheap aluminum shipping casket. Next, Secret Service agents brought the now empty 400 lb. Bronze Dallas casket into the lab at 7:17 pm. Then at 8:00 pm, with Jackie and Bobby Kennedy walking alongside it, a military honor guard carried the Dallas casket into the autopsy laboratory, Kennedy’s corpse back inside it, once again wrapped in sheets.

Sgt. Roger Boyajian’s written report proving that Kennedy’s corpse arrived in the autopsy lab an hour-and-a-half before its official time-of-entry is the “smoking gun” in the medical evidence.

Dr. Burkley ordered the three junior-grade military pathologists to not probe the neck wound and not dissect the neck. And he took possession of the brain.

(My father was Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in the 1950s, from 1956 to 1958.)

Admiral Burkley, the Warren Commission, and His Family

In 1982 Dr. Burkley told an assassination researcher that JFK was the target of a conspiracy, refusing to elaborate. In 1983 he admitted to another researcher that JFK had a large wound in the back of the head, which had “all the appearance of an exit wound.” He died in 1991, age 88.

Dr. George G. Burkley and his wife Isabel had four children—Nancy, George, Isabel, and Richard. Nancy was executor of his estate. In 1997 she agreed to release her father’s attorney-client file on JFK’s death to the Assassination Records Review Board. But she would not sign a waiver of confidentiality the ARRB required to review the files, so they stayed sealed.

I contacted my teenage buddy George W. Burkley, a retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot living in Hawaii. He said that his dad only questioned why the Warren Commission never asked him to testify, noting, “Dad was [a] very close hold when it came to his professional life.”

His father knew very well why the Warren Commission never called him to testify. Admiral Burkley knew first-hand that the single bullet theory was bogus. He chose not to tell his children the true facts of the JFK assassination or his involvement in the cover-up. Perhaps to protect them?

Doug Horne nails it in his book Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (Volume 4, page 1057, published in 2009):

“[Admiral Burkley’s behavior] can only be understood as that of a man who was filled with deep and profound guilt about the massive coverup he participated in—indeed, which he appears to have engineered—a man who wanted to confess his role and unburden himself on some occasions, and who would then abruptly change his mind on other occasions, when he considered the effect this would have had on his reputation and his family’s peace-of-mind. His behavior from the time of the assassination up until his death was that of a deeply conflicted man, ridden with guilt and shame, who wanted to confess his involvement in the cover-up for the moral absolution it would have provided to him but who at the same time, was afraid to do so for practical reasons involving his reputation and his family. History will not absolve him, either for his role in the cover-up, or for his failure to come clean when he had a chance to do so with the HSCA, which could have granted him immunity if he had decided to expose the cover-up.”

The Warren Commission published the autopsy body chart without Admiral Burkley’s “Verified” and signature on it (Commission Exhibit 397). Pathologist Cmdr. J. Thornton Boswell testified before the Commission that he had mistakenly placed the bullet hole in the back too low on the chart. And with Admiral Burkley’s signature on it erased the Commission need not question him about it.

The Warren Commission also chose to not publish Admiral Burkley’s JFK Death Certificate. The Commission treated that like a poisonous snake, since it kills the single bullet theory.

Researcher Gerald McNight puts it this way: “Admiral Burkley’s plight was akin to that of the old Bolsheviks, who were airbrushed out of Soviet history books and the national narrative after they fell victim to one of Stalin’s purges.”

In the 26-volume Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits, instead of JFK’s Death Certificate one will find things like these: A Certificate of smallpox vaccination for Oswald’s daughter, June (CE 73A); Jack Ruby’s income tax returns, but not Oswald’s, said to be withheld for National Security (CE 713-719); and the condition of Marina Oswald’s teeth (CE 1403). One I particularly like is Commission Exhibit 53, displaying a fragment of an aria from Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades.

My connection with Dr. Malcolm Perry was a professional one. He moved to Seattle from Dallas in 1974 to be professor of vascular surgery at the University of Washington. We operated together on complex cases (thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysms) and became friends.

Dr. Tom Shires left Dallas to become the Chair of Surgery at the University of Washington in 1974. He brought with him Dr. Jim Carrico, Dr. Malcolm Perry, and two other surgeons. Dr. Carrico, as a surgical resident then, was the first physician to treat Kennedy upon his arrival to Parkland’s Emergency Room.

I was the last UW faculty surgeon that Dr. Shires hired, in 1975, right before he left and moved to Cornell. Dr. Perry stayed on until 1978 and then joined Dr. Shires in New York. Dr. Carrico also stayed and was the UW’s Chair of Surgery from 1983 to 1990.

(The University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle was founded after World War II. Its first Chair of Surgery, from 1959 to 1964 was Dr. Henry Harkins from Johns Hopkins University. He died suddenly from a heart attack while hosting a picnic on Lake Washington for his surgical residents. I performed heart surgery, coronary artery bypass grafts, on three of the next four Chairs of Surgery: Dr. K. Alvin Merendino, Chair 1964-1972; Dr. John Stevenson, 1972-1975; and Dr. John Schilling, 1975-1983. Dr. Merendino performed the first open heart operation on the West Coast using a heart-lung machine in 1956. He lived to age 97 and died in 2011. Dr. Shires and Dr. Carrico escaped heart disease and died from cancer, like Dr. Perry.)

The Bullet Wounds in JFK’s Neck and Head

Dr. Perry was the first Parkland doctor to speak publicly about President Kennedy’s wounds at a news conference. He said, “There was an entrance wound in the neck…It [the bullet] appeared to be coming at him…” Questioned, he twice more affirmed that it was an entrance wound.

Threatened by an agent from the Secret Service (Elmer Moore), Dr. Perry agreed to change his view of the bullet wound in the neck when he went before the Warren Commission in 1964 and testify that it could have been an exit wound.

Dr. Perry always refused to discuss the Kennedy assassination with anyone, but one night, in 1977, after we had been operating together for many hours on a complex case, we sat alone having coffee in the surgeons’ lounge while our residents closed the incisions. Asked yet again, this time Malcolm told me that the bullet wound in Kennedy’s neck was a wound of entrance, unquestionably a wound of entrance.

A year later, in 1978, when testifying before the House Select Committee on Assassinations Dr. Perry once again reverted to publicly supporting the government’s single bullet narrative, like he did before the Warren Commission. He once again agreed that the bullet wound in the neck could be an exit wound. He explained that the wound was so neat and small that he had mistaken it for an entrance wound.

In 1986, Dr. Perry also privately disclosed to another physician that it was an entrance wound.

In his hand-written treatment report on the day of the assassination, Dr. Perry wrote: “A large wound of the right posterior cranium was noted, exposing a severely lacerated brain. Brain tissue was noted in the blood [pooled] at the head of the carriage.” Dr. Carrico wrote in his treatment report: “Two external wounds were noted. One small penetrating wound of the neck in the lower one  third. The other wound had avulsed the calvarium and shredded brain tissue present and profuse oozing.” More than 20 Parkland doctors and nurses observed a fist-sized hole in the back of Kennedy’s head. Nevertheless, a photograph taken at the autopsy shows the skin and hair on the back of the head to be intact and undisturbed.

Bobby Hargis, Clint Hill, Kenny O’Donnell and the Grassy Knoll

Bobby Hargis, the patrolman riding a motorcycle just behind and to the left of the president’s limo, was splattered with blood, brain, and bone when Kennedy was shot in the head. Hargis dropped his motorcycle and ran up the grassy embankment where he and other spectators heard shots come from behind a fence there.

Agent Clint Hill assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy was standing on the Secret Service limo behind her. When Jackie reflexively reached out over the trunk for a piece of JFK’s skull, he jumped on the president’s limo as it sped up and pushed Jackie safely back into her seat. He saw, close up, that the back of JFK’s head was blown out.

JFK’s top aide and close friend Kenny O’Donnell, riding in that Secret Service limo, said he also heard shots coming from the front. But like with Dr. Perry, FBI agents, in his case, told O’Donnell that he must have been imagining things. Those agents said that it would be better for him to testify before the Warren Commission that the bullets sounded like they came from behind, which he did (and later regretted).

JFK Assassination Timeline

The first notable books critiquing the government narrative were: Who killed Kennedy? Thomas G Buchanan Best Price: $4.95 (as of 05:50 EDT - Details)

Who Killed Kennedy? (1964) by Thomas Buchanan.

Whitewash: the Report on the Warren Report (1965) by Harold Weisberg.

 Rush to Judgment (1966) by Mark Lane.

The Second Oswald (1966) by Richard Popkin.

Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro-study of the Kennedy Assassination Proving that Three Gunmen Murdered the President (1967) by Josiah Thompson.

Accessories After the Fact: Warren Commission, the Authorities, & the Report on the JFK Assassination (1967) by Sylvia Meagher.

The Clark Panel (1968) and Rockefeller Commission (1975) addressed the matter and held to the lone nut assassin account.

Then, 22 years after the assassination, in 1975, the public finally got to see the Zapruder film showing JFK’s head violently thrown backwards from a head shot. Hearings by the House Select Committee on Assassinations followed (1976-1978). The HSCA concluded that Oswald did kill Kennedy but that there was a second shooter, who missed, thus making it a conspiracy.

Oliver Stone’s film JFK (1991), which showed the CIA and U.S. military playing a role in Kennedy’s murder created a public outcry. This film played a key role in passage of the JFK Records Act of 1992. This Act released many thousands of records on the Kennedy assassination the government was withholding. Its Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) reviewed them and questioned involved witnesses now absolved from their compulsory oaths of silence. Its findings basically clear Oswald of the crime.

Who Killed President Kennedy?

The six main suspects in JFK’s assassination are: Castro, Anti-Castro Cuban Exiles, Russians (Soviet Union), the Mafia, Texas Oil Barons, and the U.S. Government’s Central Intelligence Agency.

Given the medical evidence the ARRB uncovered, the first five suspects, from Castro to Texas Oil Barons, are all innocent. There is no way any of them could have orchestrated Kennedy’s autopsy in a U.S. military hospital done by U.S. military pathologists. That was beyond any of those suspects’ sphere of influence.

The CIA planned and staged JFK’s assassination. It was a palace coup, a coup d’état, the murder of a leader by forces within his own government, like Caesar and his senators.

Six weeks before the CIA killed him, Arthur Krock in the New York Times quoted a high-level source who said:

“If the U.S. government ever experienced [a coup attempt], it will come from the CIA and not the Pentagon. The Agency represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone.”

Three Key Books on the CIA Conspiracy to Kill President Kennedy

Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald by John Armstrong (983 pages, 2003, along with an enclosed CD of documents and photos, now available online,). Armstrong has done more field investigation on Oswald than anyone. One seasoned JFK assassination researcher states, “Of all the homerun hitters in this league, John Armstrong is the ‘Babe Ruth.’”

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by Jim Douglass (488 pages, 2008). This statement is on the top of its dust jacket: “He chose peace. They marked him for death.” James DiEugenio’s review of it, “James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable,” describes well its importance. Douglass has written what is perhaps the best book on the subject so far.

Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK written by the dean of assassination researchers Mark Lane, with a chapter by Oliver Stone (300 pages, 2011). This is Mark Lane’s last book, published five years before he died at age 89. The book ends with a Postscript that begins: “There is more than sufficient evidence for the attorney general of the United States and for United States attorneys serving various jurisdictions to impanel a grand jury and consider asking for an indictment of the CIA and its leaders.”

CIA Conspirators

Whitewash: The Report ... Harold Weisberg Best Price: $3.86 Buy New $9.45 (as of 06:35 EDT - Details) Allen Dulles most likely first came come up with the idea of assassinating JFK after Kennedy fired him as Director of the CIA following the Bay of Pigs debacle. John Armstrong, in Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald, writes, in italics: “In the author’s opinion Allen Dulles was almost certainly one of high-level conspirators in the assassination of President Kennedy and was also instrumental in the cover-up.” He identifies the four other CIA conspirators shown here as simply conspirators and not instrumental in the cover-up.

James Jesus Angleton, Chief of Counterintelligence, was most likely its architect with Oswald a pawn in the plot. Both Richard Helms, Deputy Director of CIA Plans and later Director of the CIA, and James Angleton worked closely with Allen Dulles in the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which predated the CIA.

Career CIA officers David Atlee Phillips and E. Howard Hunt started working together in 1954 when they plotted and engineered the overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz.  Hunt and Phillips were in Mexico City when Oswald was supposed to have visited the Russian Embassy and Cuban Consulate. And they were both there in Dallas.

James Angleton promoted the idea that Oswald was a Soviet agent.

It has been said that most people holding high-level positions in government are sociopaths, with no conscience and are “cold, unemotional and predatory as reptiles.”

President Truman on the Subject

The National Security Act of 1947 created the CIA, and President Truman signed it into law. Along with intelligence-gathering activities, the Act empowers the CIA “to perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security…” [emphasis added]. Secretary of State General George Marshall warned Truman this Act would grant the new intelligence agency powers that were “almost unlimited.”

Truman began writing a Public Statement on the CIA after Kennedy was killed. It reads: JFK and the Unspeakabl... James W. Douglass Best Price: $2.56 Buy New $7.44 (as of 06:15 EDT - Details)

“I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency… For some time, I have been disturbed 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…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.”

The Washington Post published President Truman’s Statement on the CIA Dec 21, 1963, under the title “Harry Truman Writes: Limit CIA Role To Intelligence,” on page A11 in the morning edition. No other newspapers, including The New York Times, ran it. No television newscasters touched it, and even The Washington Post deleted this statement in its evening edition. Truman called the CIA “an American Gestapo.”

Collaborators

Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover had foreknowledge of the CIA’s plot to kill Kennedy. They had the most to gain from JFK’s murder. Johnson was on the verge of facing a criminal indictment on scandals linked to aid Bobby Baker and tycoon Billy Sol Estes. With Kennedy dead he’d be president and all that would be forgotten. Allen Dulles flew down to Texas to meet with Johnson at his ranch a week before the assassination.

Edgar Hoover faced mandatory retirement at age 70 on January 1, 1965, his birthday. With JFK gone he was able to continue as FBI director until he died in office in 1972 at age 77.

The Secret Service aided the shooters. It was the Secret Service, not President Kennedy as conspiracy denialists would have it, that ordered the two agents assigned to stand on the back of the president’s limo to remain at the airport, rendering JFK more exposed.

Dallas parades and motorcades down Main St. would always stay on Main St. through Dealey Plaza, like President Franklin Roosevelt’s motorcade did when he visited Dallas. But the route the Secret Service approved for JFK’s motorcade, several days before the event, was unique. It made a right turn off Main St. onto Houston St. bordering Dealey Plaza and then a hairpin, 120-degree turn onto Elm St., violating the Secret Service rule that the president’s limousine never makes a turn greater than 90-degrees.

Agent William Greer driving the president’s limo slowed down on Elm St. and brought it to a momentary halt after the first shot was fired. (This was edited out of the Zapruder film.)

It was a sniper’s gallery, with shooters positioned behind the fence on the grassy knoll; on the southwest 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository (closer to the limo than the southeast corner where Oswald was supposed to be); the roof of the Dallas County Records Building; and the 2nd floor of the Dal-Tex building on Elm St. (adjacent to the Book Depository and County Records Building), which provided a straight shot down Elm St. Last Word: My Indictme... Mark Lane Best Price: $5.98 Buy New $30.66 (as of 06:35 EDT - Details)

President Johnson and FBI Director Hoover played major roles in the cover-up. Johnson signed an Executive Order a week after the assassination that established The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (the “Warren Commission”), and Hoover supplied reports to the Commission. Angleton allegedly let Hoover know the CIA had a photo of him having sex with another man (partner Clyde Tolson), to encourage him to stifle any allegations of CIA involvement in the assassination.

Allen Dulles attended the most meetings and was the defacto leader of the Warren Commission. He kept it from looking into any CIA activities.

The government-controlled establishment media assumed the role of court conspiracy deniers and dutifully portrayed Oswald as the lone nut assassin. Former CIA Director William Colby declared that everyone of any significance in the U.S. media was owned by the CIA.

The Two Oswalds

There were two Lee Harvey Oswalds, Lee and “Harvey.” Jim Douglass calls it “a double Oswald drama directed by the CIA.”

Using doubles, like the exotic dancer and German spy Mata Hari did during World War I is a long-established practice in intelligence work.

The CIA found an East European refugee living in New York who spoke perfect Russian and looked like an American boy his age in New Orleans. The two boys led parallel lives for seven years up to age 19. At that point the Russian-speaking “Harvey” assumed Lee’s American identity in preparation for his false defection to the Soviet Union.

Posing as an American dissident, “Harvey” lived in Russia for 2½ years, mostly in Minsk observing what was going on. He spoke English, cultivated English-speaking Russians and pretended not to know the Russian language.

“Harvey” and Lee shared the same military ID card and the same social security number. The card featured a composite photo of the two of them. They each carried two cards, one in the name Lee Harvey Oswald and the other, Alek J. Hidell, most likely the birth name of this refugee. Given his Slavic accent Alek was probably born in one of the three Baltic States, perhaps Latvia.

In 1961 Hoover learned that someone was impersonating Lee Harvey Oswald in the U.S. when he (“Harvey”) was in Russia. Hoover wrote a memo about it. James Angleton himself most likely told Hoover then about the CIA’s Oswald Project. Angleton once said, “You could take Mr. Hoover as long as you put your cards on the table.”

After “Harvey” returned from Russia the CIA used his double, Lee, to help set him up as the “patsy” for the JFK assassination. Lee would go to a rifle range, gun shop, sporting store and make a nuisance of himself, loudly denouncing Kennedy and saying that he should be shot. So, people in these places who had heard Oswald (Lee) condemn Kennedy would come forward and help confirm Oswald (“Harvey”) as the killer when authorities arrested him for the assassination.

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig and four other eyewitnesses saw Oswald leave the Book Depository after the shooting and get in a Nash Rambler on Elm Street. Sheriff Craig’s unwavering certainty about seeing Oswald do this, the real Oswald in this case, cost him his life. After surviving multiple assassination attempts, Roger Craig, at age 39, was killed by a bullet shot from a rifle.

The Warren Commission bungled its biography of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Commission has him in the fall of 1953 attending two schools at the same time—the 8th grade at Public School 44 in New York City (CE 1384) and Beauregard Junior High in New Orleans (CE 1413), sporting a perfect attendance record at this school. That would be Harvey.

In another misstep, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) missed confiscating medical records that shows Lee Harvey Oswald (Lee) being treated for gonorrhea at the Atsugi Station Hospital in Japan while, at the same time, the Marine Corps Diary has Lee Harvey Oswald (“Harvey”) billeted in Taiwan.

John Armstrong puts it this way:

“If you understand who Harvey and Lee really were, who created them, who directed them then you will know who was responsible for the assassination of John Kennedy.”

Jack Ruby shot the Baltic-born “Lee Harvey Oswald” (Alek James Hidell). The American-born Lee Harvey Oswald disappeared after the assassination.

For more on Harvey and Lee, visit the website harveyandlee.net, from which the table here is taken. Assassination researcher Jim Hargrove created the site in 1999 and last updated it on July 1, 2019.

Why Was Kennedy Killed?  

The motive for Kennedy’s murder was the perceived need to bring about a regime-change based on National Security. It arose after the abortive April 17-20, 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by 1,800 anti-Castro Cuban exiles. JFK inherited this CIA-planned invasion from the Eisenhower Administration. Pressed to approve it, Kennedy made clear that he would not under any circumstances permit any U.S. military intervention. When the invasion failed (as its planners expected) the CIA and top military brass figured the new, young president would cave in and authorize U.S. military air support and troops to bail out the now trapped Cuban exile force. Refusing permission, Kennedy made himself an enemy of the National-Security State and its CIA-Pentagon-Arms Industry War Machine.

JFK’s so-called “Second Bay of Pigs” was the Oct 16-28, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, arising when the U.S. discovered the Soviet Union was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. The Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, in particular Air Force General Curtis LeMay, implored Kennedy to authorize them carry out a preemptive military strike against the Cuban missile sites and quickly put an end to the crisis. Much to their disgust, however, JFK held off and resolved the crisis peaceably, promising the U.S. would never invade Cuba and agreeing to remove all nuclear missiles the U.S. had in Turkey on the border of the Soviet Union. General Curtis LeMay branded this the “greatest defeat in our history.”

Little did the Joint Chiefs know that the Soviet Union had 47,000 Soviet troops and close to 100 tactical nuclear weapons on the island and had given its commander, General Issa Pliyev, hero of the defence of Stalingrad and Moscow, authority to use them should U.S. troops invade Cuba.

(If Kennedy had given his Joint Chiefs permission to invade Cuba, with U.S. forces suffering destruction from tactical nuclear weapons, a potentially civilization-destroying, full-scale nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States might well have happened.)

Another insult to the CIA-Pentagon-Arms Industry War Machine was Kennedy’s June 10, 1963 American University Commencement Address advocating world peace and nuclear disarmament. The National-Security establishment (named after the National Security Act of 1947) did not want peace, then or now.

In this commencement address, President Kennedy says:

“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

Its most heartfelt moment was this:

 ”For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”

JFK’s Sept. 24, 1963 National Security Action Memorandum 263 announced that he was going to bring home the 16,500 U.S. military “advisors” then in Vietnam. That and his Oct. 11 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union sealed his fate.

Jim Douglass writes in JFK and the Unspeakable:

“As we continue to reflect on John Kennedy’s vision at American University, which sought a way of peace, we can foresee the falling stars of lives that would be brought down with the death of that vision. Among them would be Lee Harvey Oswald, a young man on assignment in Russia for American intelligence… Oswald was a pawn in the game. He was a minor piece in the deadly game Kennedy wanted to end… Oswald was being moved square by square across a giant board stretching from Atsugi to Moscow to Minsk to Dallas. For the sake of victory in the Cold War, the hands moving Oswald were prepared to sacrifice him and any other piece on the board. However, there was one player, John Kennedy, who no longer believed in the game and was threatening to turn over the board.”

Mary Meyer, ex-wife of top CIA official Cord Meyer, was JFK’s lover and confidant. Mary came to Jack’s American University peace speech, not Jackie. Peter Janney, author of Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, was the son of high-ranking CIA official Wistar Janney and a close friend of the Mary and Cord Meyer family. He writes:

“The Warren Report was ultimately nothing more than a house of cards; once ignited with the right matchstick, it would be engulfed in flames. If Mary courageously went public with who she was, and what she knew, making clear her position in the final years of Jack’s life, people with influence would take notice; the fire of suspicion around Dallas would erupt into a conflagration… She had to be eliminated.”

The night of Mary’s murder her sister Tony Bradley found friend James Angleton rummaging through Mary’s house looking for her diary.

In her 2019 book, A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, Lisa Pease confirms that the CIA also killed Robert Kennedy. RFK was a particularly dangerous piece on the CIA’s chessboard, especially after he had secured the upcoming  Democratic nomination for President. He too had to be eliminated.

A few days after Robert Kennedy announced he was entering the 1968 presidential race, Jackie Kennedy told Arthur Schlesinger: “Do you know what I think will happen to Bobby? The same thing that happened to Jack.”

John F. Kennedy died at age 46, a martyr for world peace. Had he lived, there would not have been a Vietnam War costing the lives of 58,000 Americans, more than 2 million Vietnamese and 600,000 Cambodians. More than 270,000 Vietnam veterans have suffered from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). And since the war ended 45 years ago somewhere between 50 to 100 thousand Vietnam veterans have committed suicide.

JFK was corresponding secretly with Khrushchev and Castro, gaining their trust when the CIA killed him. Kennedy and Khrushchev together would have ended the Cold War 25 years sooner if JFK had lived.

Castro was having lunch at his summer place with journalist Jean Daniel when an aide rushed in saying Kennedy had been shot. When word next came that Kennedy had died Castro stood up, looked at his guest and said, “Everything is changed. Everything is going to change.”

Recommended Reading

Three short books on the subject I highly recommend: Two by Jacob Hornberger, The Kennedy Autopsy (154 pages, 2015) and Regime Change (95 pages, 2014). Jacob is Founder and President of the Future of Freedom Foundation, and he writes well. The third is JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment (214 pages, 2014) by the ARRB’s Doug Horne. (Each is $2.99 on Kindle.)

My two previous articles for LRC on the JFK assassination are “Pursuing Truth on the Kennedy Assassinations” (2012) and “Reflections on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 Years Later” (2013). Plus a podcast with Lew Rockwell on the Lew Rockwell Show, “Why Three Kennedys Were Assassinated” (2012).