Fifty-four years after President Kennedy’s assassination, the CIA and FBI asked for and received more time to decide what secrets they need to preserve. “I have no choice – today – but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our nation’s security,” Trump wrote. Is President Trump the latest President to bow to the power of our intelligence community?
On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was murdered in the streets of Dallas. For a quarter century, the CIA and FBI have known the “final” deadline for releasing the JFK files was to be in the year 2017. Some 2800 files were released in full by the National Archives, but another 300 will remain sealed. It is ludicrous that the CIA and FBI would need a six-month extension to decide what secrets that they still must hold back from the citizens of the US.
Journalist Caitlin Johnstone points out that the biggest revelation from last week’s limited release of the JFK files is “the fact that the FBI and CIA still desperately need to keep secrets about something that happened 54 years ago.” The need to prevent these documents from being released to the public does make sense if both agencies were involved with a cover-up and the execution.
The Cold War – 1960 Presidential Election
Cold War rhetoric dominated the 1960 presidential campaign both Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon pledged to strengthen American military forces and promised a tough stance against the Soviet Union and international communism. Kennedy warned of the Soviet’s growing arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles and pledged to revitalize American nuclear forces.
Kennedy criticized the Eisenhower administration for permitting the establishment of a pro-Soviet government in Cuba. In his inaugural address, Kennedy stressed the contest between the free world and the communist world, and he pledged that the American people would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
The fact that Kennedy was a hard core Cold War warrior is suspect. His actions and the information now available indicates that Kennedy began a transformation to a peace advocate upon entering the White House. In 1960, at the height of the Cold War, this was perceived by many as a weakness.
Kennedy came to see the generals who advised him as devoid of the tragic sense of life and as hell-bent on war. He was aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with those generals, the CIA and the intelligence community.
On numerous occasions, Kennedy spoke of the possibility of a military coup d’état against him. On the night before his trip to Dallas, he told his wife, “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it.”
Exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Harry Truman titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”
The op-ed appeared only in the Post’s early edition on Dec. 22, 1963. It was removed from that day’s later editions and, despite being authored by the President who was responsible for setting up the CIA in 1947, the op-ed was ignored in all other major media.
Truman believed that the spy agency had wandered off into troubling directions. He began his op-ed by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.”
Truman was bothered by the CIA’s apparent abuse of its responsibility “the most important thing was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions.”
“Give them hell Harry’s” honesty and common man persona deserves credit for admitting that he had regretted creating the CIA. Speaking to a biographer in the 1960s, less than 20 years after signing the National Security Act of 1947, Truman expressed his thought concerning the agency:
Biographer Merle Miller: “Mr. President, I know that you were responsible as President for setting up the CIA. How do you feel about it now?”
Truman: “I think it was a mistake. And if I’d know what was going to happen, I never would have done it.”
CIA – Allen Dulles’ Footprint
Eisenhower employed the CIA to tackle the specter of communism in developing countries outside the Soviet Union’s immediate sphere of influence. Newly appointed CIA director Allen Dulles took enormous liberties in conducting a variety of covert operations. Thousands of CIA operatives were assigned to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and attempted to launch coups, assassinate heads of state, arm anti-communist revolutionaries, spread propaganda, and support despotic pro-American regimes.
Eisenhower began to favor using the CIA instead of the military because their covert operations didn’t attract as much attention and cost much less money. The covert operation of the CIA could be conducted so that the President could easily deny any involvement.
In a CIA-sponsored coup in Iran in 1953, Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers authorized the agency to overthrow a democratically elected Prime Minister. The new Iranian government negotiations for more of a percentage of profits from the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company were unsuccessful. Prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh threatened to nationalize for the control of the British-owned Oil Company. The West, afraid that the popular, nationalist, prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, would then cut off oil exports to the United States, CIA operatives convinced military leaders to overthrow Mossadegh and restore Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah, as head of state in 1953.
Pahlavi returned control of Anglo-Iranian Oil to the British and then signed agreements to supply the United States with almost half of all the oil drilled in Iran. He installed a repressive regime that was well armed with US made weapons. This is the same guy that in 1979 provoked a radical group of students to seize the American Embassy in Tehran and hold US worker’s hostages for 444 days after the US allowed him into our country.
The following year, in 1954, a similar coup in Guatemala when the CIA helped overthrow the elected government of Guatemala. Eisenhower and his top advisers worried that President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán program of land reform was a step toward Guatemala’s becoming a Marxist state. The land reform produced a strong opposition from the United Fruit Company, the major land owners in Guatemalan. When Arbenz bought weapons from Communist Czechoslovakia after the Eisenhower administration cut off Guatemala’s access to U.S. military supplies the CIA initiated their second successful coup in less than one year.
The CIA helped counterrevolutionaries drive Arbenz from power in June 1954. Guatemala appealed in vain to the United Nations, and administration officials denied that the United States had anything to do with the change in government in Guatemala. The new President, Carlos Castillo Armas, reversed land reform, clamped down on the Communists, restricted voting rights and curtailed civil liberties before an assassin murdered him in 1957.
Bay of Pigs
Guatemala became the base for another CIA covert action that the Eisenhower administration planned but did not carry out before leaving office. Eisenhower decided that Fidel Castro, who came to power in Cuba in 1959, was a “madman” who had to be deposed. In 1960, the CIA began the training in Guatemala of anti-Castro exiles who would invade Cuba. Soon after John F. Kennedy became President, the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion began April 1961.
Kennedy vs Dulles
Plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion had been set in motion under President Dwight Eisenhower. When Kennedy became President, he refused to approve the use of U.S. combat forces and air support for the invasion. CIA Director Allen Dulles was offended when young President Kennedy questioned the CIA’s Bay of Pigs plans.
Dulles, a man that was not use to taking no from Presidents, set out to give the President no choice except to send U.S. troops to the rescue. Speaking to his friends Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell about those who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, JFK said, “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
Classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance and that they had informed Castro so that he could prepare his forces for the invasion. The CIA withheld this information from the President.
CIA Director Allen Dulles, tried to trick President Kennedy into sending U.S. forces to rescue the group of invaders who had landed on the beach at the Bay of Pigs. The CIA knew that there was no chance of success without a speedy commitment of U.S. air and ground support. The planned mouse-trapping of the novice President Kennedy had been underpinned by a rosy “analysis” showing how this pin-prick on the beach would lead to a popular uprising against Fidel Castro.
Dulles had misjudged Kennedy. Notes handwritten by Allen Dulles were discovered after his death and reported by historian Lucien S. Vandenbroucke. In his notes, Dulles explained that, “when the chips were down,” Kennedy would be forced by “the realities of the situation” to give whatever military support was necessary “rather than permit the enterprise to fail.” The “enterprise” which Dulles said could not fail was the overthrow of Fidel Castro. The CIA, military, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy for its failure.
A few months after the abortive invasion of Cuba, Kennedy was quoted by a friend that he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” Clearly, the outrage was mutual. This treachery set the stage for events to come. For his part, sensing but not knowing the full extent of the set-up, Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles and his assistant General Charles Cabell.
While Dulles was attempting to get his man in Cuba, he paid little or no attention to how Castro’s patrons in Moscow reacted. Shortly after the Bay of Pigs failure the Soviets began installing nuclear missiles in Cuba as a deterrent to future U.S. aggression. This lead directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
*In the “you cannot make this stuff up category”, in 1963 President Johnson named Dulles to The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, commonly known as the Warren Commission. General Charles Cabell’s brother Earle Cabell was the mayor of Dallas on the day Kennedy was killed.
JFK – Digging His Grave
Kennedy become the antagonist to nearly all his advisers. His opposition to the use of force in U.S. foreign policy became louder and louder. In 1961, despite the Joint Chief’s demand to put troops into Laos, Kennedy bluntly insisted otherwise as he ordered Averell Harriman, his representative at the Geneva Conference, “Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
Also in 1961, he refused to concede to the insistence of his top generals to give them permission to use nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia. Walking out of a meeting with top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and said, “These people are crazy.”
In October of 1962, John F. Kennedy and his advisers learned that the Soviet Union was installing nuclear-armed medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. These offensive weapons represented a new and existential threat to America. Kennedy’s advisers, pushed for air strikes against Cuba and a full-scale invasion as “the last chance we will have to destroy Castro.”
Had the military and the intelligence advisors wishes prevailed a nuclear war would have been a nearly certain outcome. Instead Kennedy delivered the Soviets an ultimatum insisting on their removal and announced an American “quarantine” of Cuba to force compliance with his demands.
Kennedy refused to bomb and invade Cuba as his military advisors wished. Kennedy took another tact and arranged a private negotiation with the Soviet leader Khrushchev. The two engaged in a missile swap. The two superpower leaders agreed that Moscow would remove their missiles in Cuba and Washington would remove its missiles in Turkey.
The Kennedy and Khrushchev triumph of diplomacy was view as a sign of weakness by hardened Cold War advocates on both sides. This backing down from the brink of war had grave consequences on both Kennedy and Khrushchev. Khrushchev was removed from office within a year and many believe that this to be another nail in Kennedy’s coffin.
In June1963, he gave a speech at American University in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of the Cold War and the “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” and movement toward “general and complete disarmament.”
In October 1963, he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year and a total withdrawal by the end of 1965, later over turned by President Johnson
A few months later Kennedy signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev. Secret negotiations with Khrushchev were held via the KGB, Norman Cousins, and Pope John XXIII, and with Castro through various intermediaries, one of whom was French Journalist Jean Daniel angered the intelligence and military communities to the point of mistrust.
In an interview with Daniel, JFK made statements about Cuba that were considered treasonous, to the CIA and top generals. On October 24, 1963 Kennedy said, “I approved the proclamation Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of several sins on the part of the United States. Now we will have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.”
Every move that Kennedy was making appeared to be anti-war and a reconciliation toward both Cuba and the Soviet Union. JFK, a war hero, who had experienced the horror of war was shaken by how close the world had come to destruction during the Cuban missile crisis.
Kennedy’s actions in 1963 were very different than his 1960 campaign declaration of being a Cold War warrior. JFK had become a major threat to the burgeoning military-industrial complex and the Intelligence Community. They accused President Kennedy by being soft on communism and a threat to national security.
Kennedy’s refusal to go to war in Cuba, his decision to engage in private with Khrushchev, his “treasonous statements” about the Castro’s revolution, his back-channel communications with the Soviets, giving up US missiles in Turkey, pulling back of military personnel in Vietnam, his signing of the Limited Test Ban Treaty, his calling for a complete disarmament, the firing of the Director of the CIA Dulles, and his threat to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces” marked him as an enemy of the national security state. The collision course was set.
Oswald – “I’m just a patsy”
In the Dallas Police station, shortly after President Kennedy’s assassination, a reporter asked Oswald, “Did you kill the President?” Oswald’s response, “No, they’ve taken me in because of the fact, that I lived in the Soviet Union. I’m just a patsy!”
The dictionary defines a patsy as a person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something. Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy for the intelligence community, the FBI and the CIA to explain the assassination of JFK. Oswald moved around the globe like a pawn in a game, and when the game was done, Oswald was captured and silenced in the Dallas police headquarters.
Oswald “On the Radar”
Oswald served as a U.S. Marine at the CIA’s top secret U-2 spy plane operating base at Atsurgi Naval Air Station in Japan. Oswald had a Crypto clearance. Oswald’s unit was responsible for tracking the U-2’s and communicating with them while in flight over the Soviet Union collecting information on their ballistic missile program.
Oswald was discharged from the Marines in September 1959 and defected to the Soviet Union in October of 1959. At the American Embassy in Moscow Oswald renounced his US citizenry and threatened to give the Soviets radar procedures of the US Marines. This act brought him to the attention of both the FBI and the CIA. Providing the Soviets with this information would have been very important to their intelligence and would be considered an act of treason for the American. The CIA opened a defection 201 file on him but it took them over one year to open the file. The Soviets feared that the Oswald defection was arranged.
The Soviets moved Oswald from Moscow to Minsk. While working at a Soviet factory in Minsk, he met and married his Russian wife Marina. During his time in Minsk, Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union. No connection between these two events have ever been linked.
In Minsk, Oswald became disenchanted with the Soviet system. The Soviets apparently never quite trusted him and he was constantly monitored by the authorities. Oswald would ask for a permit to return to the US. Oswald would be granted the permit and the application process, for unknown reasons, took 2 years to complete.
The CIA – An Escort Service
Oswald return to the U.S, by way of a loan from the American Embassy in Moscow, was met at the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey by, Spas T. Raikin, a prominent Bulgarian anti-communist with intelligence connections. Raikin was apparently recommended by the State Department to escort Oswald through his immigration process and his return to the Dallas area. Raikin bought Oswald and his family (Marina and their daughter) bus tickets for their trip to Fort Worth.
In Texas, with the help of a Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Service chief, Oswald was befriended by George de Mohrenschildt, a wealthy anti-communist Russian, with CIA assets, connections to Texas Oil Industry and several prominent US aristocratic families. de Mohrenschildt and Oswald met, in October 1962. The de Mohrenschildts and Oswalds soon became inseparable.
George and Jeanne de Mohrenschildt were constantly in and out of the Oswald household, making introductions and offering help in finding housing, child care, marriage counseling and social introductions. De Mohrenschildt got him a job at a graphic arts company where he worked on maps for the U.S. Army Map Service related to U-2 spy missions over Cuba. Oswald was shepherded around Dallas by de Mohrenschildt.
When Oswald moved to New Orleans, de Mohrenschildt exited the picture, taking a $285,000 contract from the CIA to conduct a geological survey for Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier. de Mohrenschildt handed Oswald off to Ruth Paine. Ruth was introduced to Oswald by de Mohrenschildt.
Ruth Paine had both CIA associations and personal relation that lead back to Allen Dulles. Ruth’s sister Sylvia had worked for the CIA and Paine’s mother-in-law was a close friend of Mary Bancroft, who was a former OSS spy and the mistress at varying times with Allen Dulles. In April 1963 Marina and her daughter moved in with Ruth Paine and was living in Ruth Paine’s house in Irving at the time of the Kennedy assassination.
The Making of a Patsy
In New Orleans Oswald became further emerged with CIA connections. Oswald’s first job in New Orleans was with the Reilly Coffee Company. Reilly Coffee was owned by the CIA-affiliated William Reilly. The Reilly Coffee Company was conveniently located near the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and Office of Naval Intelligence offices.
Another connection to the CIA was Guy Bannister, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Bureau, who worked as a covert action coordinator for the intelligence services, a munitions supplier for the Bay of Pigs Invasion and trained anti-Castro paramilitaries. Bannister was a right-wing activist with strong anti-Castro connections.
Oswald would work with Bannister. Bannister’s office was the source for the leftist pro-Castro leaflets, Fair Play for Cuba Committee, that Oswald had handed out, on the streets of New Orleans. Oswald engaged in contradictory activities, one day portraying himself as pro-Castro, the next day as anti-Castro, many of these theatrical performances appear to have been directed from Bannister’s office.
New Orleans’ District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigations convinced him that a group of right-wing activists, including Banister, were involved in a conspiracy with elements of the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Kennedy. Garrison claimed that the motive for the assassination was anger over Kennedy’s attempts to obtain a peace settlement in both Cuba and Vietnam. DA Garrison believed that Banister and his associates in New Orleans had conspired to set up Oswald as a patsy in the JFK assassination
Oswald’s affiliations and his multiple antithetical roles still confound many students of the Kennedy assignation. His behavior in New Orleans make it difficult for anyone to deciphering the purposes behind his actions. The one thing that is crystal clear is that the Washington Intelligence Agency’s fingerprints are all over Oswald’s stay in New Orleans.
If Oswald’s actions were a ploy to set him up as a future patsy it was very successful. By the time that Lee Harvey Oswald returned to Dallas he had been turned into a man with multiple personas, all of them capable of killing Kennedy. Oswald hated Kennedy either because he – Oswald – admired Castro or because he was anti-Castro. Perhaps Oswald was angry at Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, or else he just liked to take potshots at important people. He was fond of guns, a bit violent, and even sometimes beat up his wife.
The Right Place at the Right Time
In early October, Oswald returned to Dallas. With Marina and their daughter living at Ruth Paine’s house in Irving, Oswald rented a room in a boarding house in the Oak Cliff district of Dallas. Oak Cliff is proximity to the central business district of downtown Dallas and the School Book Depository.
Ruth Paine conveniently got Oswald a job in the Texas Book Depository where he began work on October 16, 1963. The owner of the Book Depository building was D. Harold Byrd, a right-wing oilman, a Kennedy foe and a close friend of George de Mohrenschildt. Byrd had employed de Mohrenschildt at his Three States Oil and Gas Co. during the 1950s and de Mohrenschildt had put D. Harold Byrd’s wife on the board of his charity foundation devoted to the study of cystic fibrosis.
Some theories contend that Oswald – or anyone who might have been directing him – could not have known that the motorcade would pass by the Book Depository at the time he took the job there. But there were only two possible routes through downtown to JFK’s destination, the Dallas Trade Mart, the Book Depository building stood on one of those routes.
Kennedy’s trip to Dallas was announced to the public in September of 1963. One week before the assassination two Secret Service agents rerouted the motorcade from proceeding down Main Street to turning onto Elm. This adjustment put the motorcade’s route in front of the School Book Depository building.
Coincidence – Connection Is Apparent
Texas laws in 1963 allowed untraceable over-the-counter firearms purchases, Oswald went through unnecessary and inconvenient steps to order his guns through the interstate mail, this tied the “murder weapon” to Oswald because it required identification and left a paper trail. Moreover, the two guns he ordered through the mail were both from companies that were being investigated by the ATF and the Senate.
Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker withdrew all police protection for Kennedy on the morning of November 22nd: the Secret Service withdrew the police motorcycle escorts from beside the president’s car; they took agents off the back of the car where they were normally stationed to obstruct gunfire; they approved a clear security violation with the final sharp, dogleg turn onto the street that Kennedy was executed on; squelched the testimony of all the doctors and medical personnel who claimed the president had been shot from the front in his neck and head.
Abraham Bolden was the first African-American Secret Service agent personally brought on to the White House detail by JFK. Bolden was prosecuted and imprisoned after he had warned that the president was going to be assassinated. He has also provided evidence of an aborted plot to kill JFK in Chicago, on November 2, 1963.
The list of people who turned up dead, the evidence and events manipulated, the inquiry squelched, distorted, and twisted in an ex post facto cover-up – clearly point to forces within the government, not a lone rogue actor. This is the only “irreversible harm to our nation’s security” that makes sense.
Allen Dulles, former Director of the CIA, is the trunk of the family tree that killed Kennedy. The branches include General Charles Cabell, his brother Earle Cabell, George de Mohrenschildt, Ruth Paine, William Reilly, Guy Bannister, D. Harold Byrd’s just to name a few.
James W. Douglass author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters writes “The extent to which our national security state was systematically marshaled for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains incomprehensible. When we live in a system, we absorb and think in a system. We lack the independence needed to judge the system around us. Yet the evidence we have seen points toward our national security state, the systemic bubble in which we all live, as the source of Kennedy’s murder and immediate cover-up.”
A “Scary” After Thought
In Kennedy’s day, the Cold War provided the rationale for outsized expenditures. Today, new and more creative rationales are used to justify the intelligence community growth. Since the Kennedy’s assassination the Soviet Union and communism has, for all practical purposes, disappeared. Yet the national-security state continues to grow in scope and influence. In Kennedy’s day, the CIA dominated the field of intelligence, today the national “intelligence community” consists of some 17 agencies.
The size and payroll of this blotted apparatus grew by leaps and bounds in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Today, intelligence spending exceeds $80 billion per year, more than the budget of the Department of State ($49 billion) and the Department of Homeland Security ($43 billion). The reality is that with every new “crisis” the intelligence community expands.
Expansion of the intelligence community cost US tax payers dearly, more US debt is incurred and more taxes are used to limit freedom and rights of the individual. What worked during the Cold War still works today: if you scare the hell out of the public they will get on board.
Recently, Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, the Senate Minority Leader with 36 years of experience in Congress explained the dangers of “taking on the intelligence community.” Schumer, when asked about Trump’s spats with the Intelligence community said: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
The US national security state, the systemic bubble that the government insist is needed to protect its citizens against; in the 60’s – communism; today – terrorism. In 1963, a faction of the US national security state, executed a domestic coup d’état. This is the only irreversible harm to our nation’s security that is being protected. The result of November 22, 1963 was that the power of the Presidency was curtailed and the intelligence community usurped control of the Executive Branch.