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JFK and Regime-Change Conspiracies

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With the National Archives’ impending October 26 release of JFK-assassination records that the CIA has succeeded in keeping secret for more than 50 years, the mainstream media will undoubtedly obsess even more with the term “conspiracy theory,” the term that the CIA secretly came up several years ago to discourage people from looking too closely at the circumstantial evidence in the Kennedy assassination.

That’s assuming, of course, that the National Archives proceeds with its plans to release those long-secret CIA records. Under the JFK Records Act, enacted in 1992, President Trump has the authority to extend the time for secrecy if the CIA makes a showing that “national security” will be threatened if the public is allowed to see its long-secret JFK-assassination records.

What is a conspiracy? It’s nothing more than an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illicit or illegal act. There’s nothing mysterious about conspiracies. They happen all the time, especially in the drug trade. If you have any doubts about this, just walk into any federal courthouse in the land and ask the District Clerk to show you the federal criminal indictments that have been issued in the last year. Just look at the first count of the indictment because it’s the one that almost always alleges a conspiracy. I’ll bet that 95 percent of federal criminal indictments allege a conspiracy.

What we are talking about in the Kennedy assassination is nothing more than a regime-change operation or, if you will, a regime-change conspiracy.

The purpose of a regime-change operation is to oust a ruler or regime from power, ordinarily in a foreign country, and replace it with a pro-U.S. ruler or regime. We don’t ordinarily think of a regime-change operation in terms of the word “conspiracy” but that is precisely what it is. A regime-change operation necessarily entails an agreement by two or more people, ordinarily within the CIA, the Pentagon, and the executive branch of the government to take action to oust a disfavored foreign leader or regime from power, including through assassination, and replace him or it with a pro-U.S. ruler or regime.

For a modern-day example of a regime-change operation or, if you will, a regime-change conspiracy, consider Syria. Two or more officials within the CIA, Pentagon, and executive branch of the federal government agreed or conspired to oust Syria’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, from power and replace him with a pro-U.S. ruler. The justification for this regime-change operation was ostensibly the same as it is for all other regime-change operations: “national security.”

If we go back to the Kennedy assassination in 1963, we see that it fell smack dab in the middle of other Cold War-era regime-change operation.

1953. Iran. Officials within the CIA conspired to oust the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohamad Mossadegh, from power and centralize power within the hands of an unelected pro-U.S. dictator, the Shah of Iran. The justification for this operation or conspiracy? Mossadegh, it was feared, would turn to the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship and, therefore, constituted a threat to U.S. national security.

1954. Guatemala. Officials within the CIA conspired to oust the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, and replace him with a pro-U.S. military dictator. The justification? Arbenz, a self-avowed socialist or communist, was reaching out to the Soviet Union in a spirt of peace and friendship and, therefore, believed to be a threat to U.S. national security.

1961. Congo. Officials within the CIA conspired to assassinate the democratically elected leader of Congo, Patrice Lamumba. The justification? Owing to his opposition to imperialism in Third World countries and his willingness to befriend the Soviet Union, Lamumba was deemed a threat to U.S. national security.

1960-1963. Cuba. Officials within the CIA and Pentagon conspired to effect regime change in Cuba, both with an invasion and by repeated assassination attempts in partnership with the Mafia. The aim was to install into power another pro-U.S. dictator, similar to Fulgencio Batista, who would do the bidding of U.S. officials and also permit the Mafia back on the island to conduct its gambling and drug-running operations. The justification? Castro, a self-avowed communist or socialist, reached out to the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship and, therefore, was deemed a threat to U.S. national security.

1964. Brazil. The CIA supported a coup in Brazil that ousted the democratically elected president of the country, Joao Goulart, who was accused of being a communist, and replaced him with a military dictatorship.

1970-1973. The CIA, Pentagon, President Nixon, and others within the executive branch conspire to oust the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, and replace him with a pro-U.S. military dictator. The justification? Allende, a self-avowed socialist or communist, reached out to the Soviet Union and Cuba in a spirit of peace and friendship. For doing that, he was deemed to a threat to U.S. national security. In the process of the Chilean regime-change conspiracy, the CIA conspired to kidnap the commanding general of the Chilean armed forces, Rene Schneider, a kidnapping that resulted in his assassination. U.S. officials also conspired to use Chilean military officials to murder two American citizens, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, during the course of the coup.

Interestingly, the mainstream media never refers to those regime-change operations with the terms “conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory.”  For some reason, they limit that term to the Kennedy assassination. Yet, that’s precisely what all those regime-change operations were — regime-change conspiracies.

In the spring of 1963, Kennedy made a dramatic turn in U.S. foreign policy. Without consulting the Pentagon and the CIA, neither of which he trusted, Kennedy publicly announced an end to the Cold War and his intention to reach out to the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship. That was followed by secret negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro in which JFK circumvented both the Pentagon and the CIA.

Did the CIA effect a regime change operation within the United States in November 1963 to protect “national security, just as it had done in Iran, Guatemala, and Cuba and would do in Chile?

Both Kennedy and his predecessor President Eisenhower certainly were concerned about such a danger.  In his Farewell Address in 1961, Ike had warned the American people of the grave danger that the military industrial complex posed to America’s democratic system. Prior to his assassination, Kennedy had recommended to friends in Hollywood to make the novel Seven Days in May, which posited a domestic regime change operation, into a movie to serve as a warning to the American people.

Two questions arise:

  1. Since those foreign leaders who were targeted for regime-change operations, both before and after the Kennedy assassination, constituted a threat to national security for reaching out to the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship, why wouldn’t Kennedy have been deemed to be a threat to national security for doing the same thing?
  2. Since the CIA deemed it necessary to national security to effect regime-change operations in those countries, why wouldn’t it have deemed it necessary to protect national security by effecting a regime-change operation here at home?

It is a virtual certainty that those records that the National Archives is set to release on October 26 will help fill out the mosaic, which is why it is also a virtual certainty that the CIA will ask President Trump to extend the time for secrecy.

For more information, see the following ebooks published by FFF:

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger
JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob G. Hornberger
The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger
CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.