This Wednesday, May 12, at 7pm Eastern Time, we have the concluding presentation in our online conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination.” I will be making that presentation, which will be entitled “Regime Change: The JFK Assassination.” I invite everyone to attend. If you haven’t registered for the conference, you can do so at our conference website. A Zoom link will be sent to you. My presentation, which will be amplified by Apple Keynote slides, will be the most complete talk I have ever given on the Kennedy assassination. Forewarning: It will be around 2 1/2 hours long. So, if you’re a coffee drinker, it would be good to have a pot ready before we get started.
However, we have added one additional session to the conference on Wednesday, May 19, that will be a panel session entirely devoted to Q&A. It will primarily revolve around the political context of the assassination (as compared to the medical evidence in the autopsy that the U.S. national-security state conducted on Kennedy’s body). The panelists will be Douglas Horne, Michael Swanson, John Newman, and me.
Last week, Horne, who served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, delivered an excellent presentation about the war that was being waged between Kennedy and the Pentagon and the CIA over the future direction of America. In fact, I consider it one of Doug’s finest presentations on the Kennedy assassination and, specifically, the war that was taking place between Kennedy and his national-security establishment practically from the time he entered office.
Relevance today of the Kennedy assassination
People sometimes ask me about the relevance of the Kennedy assassination to today’s times. Let’s put it this way: If Kennedy had prevailed in his war against the U.S. national-security establishment, it is a virtual certainty that we would be living in an entirely different type of society today — one that isn’t characterized by forever wars, assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, secret surveillance, FISA courts, overseas prison and torture camps, the war on terrorism, a shifting array of official enemies (including Russia and China), and ever-increasing power and influence of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA within the federal governmental structure.
Kennedy came into the presidency as pretty much a standard Cold Warrior, meaning that he was inculcated with the same mindset that was inculcated into other Americans after World War II. It was a mindset that held that there was an international communist conspiracy to take over the world, especially the United States, that was based in Moscow, Russia. If America didn’t fight a Cold War and various hot wars to prevent this conspiracy from prevailing, the mindset went, our country would end up in communist hands.
Kennedy’s war with the CIA and Pentagon
Since even before he became president, a deep hostility and mistrust grew between Kennedy and the national-security establishment.
After he was elected but before he was sworn into office, the CIA determined that Congo independence leader Patrice Lumumba needed to be assassinated as a threat to U.S. national security. Knowing that Kennedy would never approve such an assassination, the CIA made sure that Lumumba was assassinated just 3 days before Kennedy was sworn in.
The CIA then played Kennedy with its plan to invade Cuba with CIA-trained Cuban exiles. The CIA told Kennedy that the plan would succeed without air support. Kennedy approved the plan based on that representation, expressly telling the CIA that there would be no air support or other direct U.S. support of the invasion.
The problem, however, is that the CIA was lying, deliberately. They knew the plan could not succeed without U.S. air support. What they figured is that once the Cuban exiles hit the beach at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs and were in danger of getting massacred or captured by Fidel Castro’s communist forces, Kennedy would have to change his mind.
It didn’t work. When the fateful day came and the CIA asked for the air support, Kennedy said no and simply let the Cuban exiles be killed and captured. Needless to say, the CIA was livid. Kennedy’s inaction reinforced the CIA’s view that Kennedy was soft on communism — a weakling, a coward, a betrayer of brave men who were trying to oust Castro and the communists from power.
For his part, Kennedy was just as livid, firing CIA Director Allen Dulles and vowing to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds.”
After that, the military did its best to pressure Kennedy into invading Cuba with U.S. forces, even presenting him with a fraudulent plan, entitled Operation Northwoods, involving terrorist attacks and plane hijackings fraudulently carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuba’s communist agents. To his everlasting credit, Kennedy rejected the plan.
After the Soviet Union installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev negotiated a deal in which Kennedy vowed not to invade Cuba. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were livid. One members said, “We’ve been had!” Another called it the “biggest defeat in our history” given that Cuba would now be ruled permanently by a communist regime.
It was at this point that Kennedy achieved a giant breakthrough that enabled him to see the Cold War as nothing but a dangerous and destructive racket, one he decided to bring to an end. In his famous Peace Speech at American University less than six months before he was assassinated, he threw the gauntlet down before the Pentagon and the CIA, declaring that the Cold War was now over.
Thus, there were now two conflicts of vision at stake. One vision involved peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the rest of the communist world. The other vision kept Russia and China and the communist world as perpetual, Cold War and hot-war enemies.
Equally important, Kennedy’s vision was threatening the existence of the U.S. national-security state itself. It was the Cold War had been used as the justification for converting the federal government from a limited-government republic into a national-security state. No more Cold War meant that America could have its limited-government republic back, which would have meant the dismantling of the Pentagon, the vast military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA.
A different type of American society
Thus, if Kennedy had won his war against the national-security establishment back in 1963, it is not difficult to see that America would be a totally different type of society today — a peaceful, prosperous, healthy society, as compared to one that is militaristic and characterized by forever wars, conflict, hostilities, official enemies, torture, assassination, indefinite detention, alliances with dictatorial regimes, coups, out of control federal spending and debt, and other dark-side things that come with a national-security state type of governmental structure.
But Kennedy was no match for the overwhelming power of the national-security branch of the federal government. And that’s why we find ourselves today in the ever-deepening militarist quagmire that is sinking our nation from within.