This evening at 7 p.m. Eastern time, we continue with our online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” We currently have 693 registrations. Our speaker is Dr. John Newman, adjunct professor of political science at James Madison University. Newman is the author of the seminal book JFK and Vietnam and four books relating to the JFK assassination. He served as a consultant for Oliver Stone’s movie JFK. To receive a zoom link, just register (or re-register) at our conference web page.
Our first two speakers — James DiEugenio and Michael Swanson — set the stage for John Kennedy’s assumption of the presidency in 1961. Those two talks can be found in the multimedia section of FFF’s website.
After World War II, the federal government was converted to a national-security state, which vested omnipotent, non-reviewable powers in the hands of the federal government, including the powers of assassination and regime change.
As DiEugenio and Swanson pointed out, there was already tension between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA before he even became president. As DiEugenio observed, Kennedy sided with Third World independence movements, which the Pentagon and the CIA were certain were communist-directed. As Swanson indicated, Kennedy also was skeptical about sending combat troops into Southeast Asia, something that the Pentagon and the CIA believed was necessary to prevent a communist takeover of the United States.
With Newman’s talk tonight, we head directly into the Kennedy administration and the various crises faced by Kennedy, which led to an ever-growing devolution in the relationship between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA, which ultimately culminated in outright war between the executive branch and the national-security branch of the government, much as it would ten years later within the Chilean national government.
Since the time of the assassination, the official story, one promoted by both the Pentagon and the CIA, has been that a communist former U.S. Marine assassinated Kennedy because he was a little man wanting to kill a big man.
From the beginning, there have been problems with that theory. For one, Oswald denied he committed the crime. In fact, he claimed that he was being framed for the crime. That’s what he meant when he stated that he was a “patsy” or fall guy for the crime. If he was really just a little man wanting to kill a big man, wouldn’t the natural thing to do be to brag about what he had done rather than deny it?
Moreover, how many communist Marines have you known? Communists hate the Marines and vice versa. Marines kill communists. They, along with others in the military, killed millions of communists in Korea and Vietnam. Why would a communist want to join an organization that hated communists and wanted to kill them? Why would the U.S. Marines permit a communist to exist within their midst? Does that sound like the Marines you know?
And it’s not as though Oswald was hiding his supposed affinity to communism while he was a Marine. His Marine buddies were jokingly calling him “Oswaldovitch.” That’s because he was learning to speak Russian fluently while in the military and studying the principles of Marxism at the same time.
This was the Cold War period of time, when the U.S. national-security establishment was infiltrating communist organizations with the intention of spying on them and destroying them. In order for a person to be a good infiltrator, he had to convince the organization that he was one of them — that he believed in Marxism and socialism as much as they did. Naturally, an infiltrator oftentimes had to be trained to be an infiltrator.
As previously secret evidence has been uncovered over the years, it has led inexorably to Oswald’s operating as a U.S. intelligence operative, one who was recruited and trained when he was in the Marines. One revealing factor here is that when Oswald returned to the United States after supposedly trying to defect to the Soviet Union, to which he promised to divulge classified information he had acquired as a Marine, they did nothing to him. No indictment. Not even a grand jury summons. No torture. No anything. Remember: This is supposedly one of the most notorious communists in U.S. history and yet they didn’t give him the treatment that they gave to people like Dalton Trumbo and many others who had done nothing more than become members of the Communist Party.
Let’s talk about motive. If Oswald had been a genuine communist, why would he want to kill Kennedy? After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy experienced a breakthrough that would culminate in a full-fledged war between him and the Pentagon/CIA. At his Peace Speech in June 1963 at American University, he declared an end to the Cold War and America’s intention to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the communist world, a position that the Pentagon and the CIA were convinced posed a grave threat to national security.
Pursuant to this new course for America, Kennedy entered into a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviets, over the vehement objection of the Pentagon and the CIA. He also ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Vietnam and told aides he would bring them all home after he won the 1964 presidential election. He announced that he wanted to explore the possibility of a joint moon shot with the Soviets, which meant sharing U.S. rocket technology with the communists. He sided with Martin Luther King and the civil-rights movement, which the national-security establishment, particularly the FBI, was convinced was a communist front.
Why would a genuine communist want to kill a president who was establishing peaceful and friendly relations with the communist world, especially given that Vice President Lyndon Johnson was on the same page as the Pentagon and the CIA?
It stands to reason that people who would have the motive to kill the president, and frame a “communist” for the crime, were those who vehemently objected to the new course that Kennedy was setting for the United States, a course that posed a grave threat to the existence of the national-security establishment itself.
Tonight’s presentation begins at 7 pm. Eastern Time. To get a zoom link, just register at our conference website.