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After the deadly fiasco at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, where Cuban communist forces defeated a CIA-sponsored invasion of the island, things went from bad to worse with respect to the relationship between Kennedy and the U.S. national-security establishment.
Convinced that the United States could not survive with a communist outpost only 90 miles away from American shores, the military began pressing Kennedy to invade Cuba and forcibly remove the communist regime from power and replace it with a pro-U.S. regime. In March 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended that Kennedy adopt a plan entitled Operation Northwoods, which entailed terrorist attacks on American soil carried out by U.S. intelligence assets posing as Cuban communists. Kennedy could then tell the American people that Cuba had attacked the United States and that he had no choice but to retaliate with a regime-change invasion of the island.
Kennedy rejected Operation Northwoods. Seven months later, U.S. officials discovered that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. One can imagine the Pentagon officials’ reaction when they learned of those missiles. If Kennedy had adopted Operation Northwoods and had used it as a justification for invading Cuba, the Soviet missiles would never have been installed there in the first place. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the national-security establishment believed, was occurring because Kennedy had once again, in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, shown weakness in the face of the communist threat in Cuba.
When Kennedy imposed a blockade on Cuba rather than order an air attack and invasion, Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay reflected the disdain that U.S. military leaders had for Kennedy’s ability to resolve the crisis when he stated to his commander in chief, “This is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich…. In other words, you’re in a pretty bad fix at the present time.”
No doubt offended by a subordinate officer’s speaking to him in that manner, Kennedy responded, “What did you say?”
LeMay doubled down, stating, “You’re in a pretty bad fix.” While Kennedy would have been justified in firing LeMay at that moment, he instead laughingly said to him, “You’re in there with me.”
Kennedy and Khrushchev resolved the crisis by Kennedy’s agreeing that there would be no invasion of Cuba in return for the Soviet Union’s agreement to remove its missiles. The military leadership was livid over Kennedy’s peaceful resolution of the crisis. He had not only passed up a perfect justification for invading Cuba, he had effectively guaranteed the permanence of the communist regime in Cuba, a regime that, the U.S. national-security establishment steadfastly maintained, posed a permanent threat to the existence of the United States as a free country. LeMay called it “the greatest defeat in our history.”
Knowing how close the Soviets and the United States had come to nuclear war, Kennedy came to the realization that the Cold War was nothing but a deadly and destructive racket. On June 3, 1963, without consulting military or CIA leaders, Kennedy delivered his famous Peace Speech at American University in which he declared an end to the Cold War. He said that under his leadership, America would begin establishing a peaceful and friendly relationship with the Soviet Union and the communist world, notwithstanding their ideological differences.
He then entered into a nuclear test-ban treaty with the Soviets, over the vehement objections of the Pentagon and the CIA. He ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 troops from Vietnam and told close aides that he would remove them all after he won the 1964 presidential election. He even proposed a joint trip to the Moon, which would necessarily have meant sharing rocket technology with the Reds.
Kennedy had thrown down the gauntlet before the U.S. national-security establishment over the future direction of the United States. The Cold War was everything to the Pentagon and the CIA. In fact, the Cold War was the very reason that the U.S. government was converted to a national-security state. In the eyes of the Pentagon and the CIA, Kennedy was subjecting the United States to Cold War defeat and a communist takeover of the country. Through his supposed naiveté, cowardice, weakness, and even treason, Kennedy had become a threat to national security.
In fact, Kennedy had become a much greater threat to national security than the president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, had ever been. In 1954, Arbenz, a self-described socialist, was thought to have close relations with the communist bloc. Viewing him as a grave threat to national security, the CIA had orchestrated a coup that installed a pro-U.S. right-wing military dictator in his stead.
What made matters worse was that Kennedy was operating from within the United States as president. Moreover, he was siding with Third World independence movements, which the Pentagon and the CIA were convinced were communist-directed, before he even became president. At home, Kennedy was siding with Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, which were also considered to be communist-directed. Kennedy was also trying to get socialist programs like Medicare and Medicaid enacted into law.
Once Kennedy threw down the gauntlet and challenged both the Pentagon’s and CIA’s worldview and the justification for their existence, the war was on. In the eyes of the national-security establishment, if Kennedy won re-election in 1964, America was lost to communism. Since he stood a good chance of winning the 1964 presidential election, there was only one way to deal with this grave threat and save the country — by terminating him through an assassination. Kennedy’s murder would elevate to the presidency Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was on the same page as the Pentagon and the CIA with respect to the supposed worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the world.
By 1963, the CIA had been specializing in the art of assassination and cover-up for more than a decade. It developed a brilliantly cunning plan to orchestrate the assassination of Kennedy on grounds of protecting national security.
The plot called for framing a “communist.” Why a communist? Because everyone in America hated and feared communists. If a “communist” killed the nation’s president, people would be less likely to challenge the official narrative for fear of being accused of being communist sympathizers. The strategy was especially effective for people on the Left, who deeply feared being smeared as communists or communist sympathizers. Many on the Left immediately accepted the official version of the assassination. Those who didn’t were, predictably, labeled communist sympathizers by the U.S. national-security establishment.
But it’s obviously difficult to frame a real communist because it’s difficult to arrange his movements and actions in such a way that he can be maneuvered into position for being framed. Thus, the better option was to frame a U.S. intelligence agent who had been trained to be a top-secret intelligence operative.
That’s where Lee Harvey Oswald enters the picture. He was a U.S. intelligence operative who was framed for the assassination. Or, as he put it after his arrest, he was a “patsy” in the operation.
Lee Harvey Oswald, intelligence operative
Early in the proceedings of the Warren Commission, the members of the Commission held a top-secret meeting to discuss a very disquieting piece of information they had received. The information was that Oswald, who was accused of being a lone-nut assassin of the president, had served as an intelligence asset for the U.S. government. Refusing to acknowledge the possibility that U.S. officials might lie about such a thing, the commission accepted the official denials of the information. That meeting and its discussions were classified top secret and everyone was admonished to never discuss the information.
As the evidence has surfaced over the decades, it has inexorably pointed to Oswald as a U.S. intelligence operative who was trained to be a communist infiltrator. After all, Oswald joined the Marines. Why would a communist join the Marines? Communists hate Marines, and vice versa. Marines kill communists. That’s what the Korean and Vietnam wars were all about.
Moreover, when Oswald returned from the Soviet Union, to which he had defected, U.S officials never laid a hand on him. There was no grand jury indictment, even though he had promised to share top-secret information with the Soviets that he had acquired while in the Marines. Not even a grand-jury summons. No torture. No harassment. Does that make any sense? Look at how U.S. officials have treated Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. That’s what we would expect them to have done with Oswald.
When Oswald was in the Marines, he was steeping himself so deeply in studying Marxism and learning Russian that his Marine buddies started calling him “Osvald-ovitch.” Would the U.S. Marines
really permit a genuine communist to continue serving within their midst? Not a chance. A genuine communist would have been run out on a rail, if not worse.
The official narrative has never been able to come up with an adequate motive for Oswald. The best they have come up with is that Oswald was a little man who wanted to become a big man by killing a big man. But that motive is problematic, given that Oswald denied he did it. If he was trying to become a big man by killing a big man, wouldn’t he have admitted doing it?
Moreover, why would a genuine communist want to kill Kennedy, given that he was now reaching out to the communist world in a spirit of peace and friendship? The people with the real motive would be those who objected to what Kennedy was doing.
Shutting down the investigation
The regime-change plotters knew that since this was to be an
assassination of a U.S. president, all stops would be lifted in investigating the crime. Thus, they needed a way to shut down the investigation immediately.
Right after the assassination, the treating physicians at Parkland Hospital announced that Kennedy had been killed by shots fired from the front. That was reflected by the massive exit-sized bullet wound in the back of the president’s head and the small entry wound in this throat.
But Oswald was in the rear of the president. The question naturally arises: Why frame a guy who is supposed to be firing from the rear by having shooters fire from the front? The answer to that question demonstrates the sheer ingenuity of the plot because it ensured an immediate shut-down of the investigation, which could have led to the national-security establishment.
Here is the situation: You have an accused shooter from the rear who is easily labeled a communist. But there are also shooters from the front, as reflected by the statements of the treating physicians as well as by statements from dozens of people in Dealey Plaza, where the president was shot in Dallas.
Who were those shooters in the front? People would naturally assume, incorrectly, that they were communist colleagues, specifically from the Soviet Union and Cuba. That was what Oswald’s supposed trip to Mexico City was all about — to ensure that he met with Soviet and Cuban officials in their embassies shortly before the assassination.
So what did all this mean on the very day of the assassination? It meant war — war with the Soviet Union, a war that was narrowly averted just the year before during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
But not just any war; it meant nuclear war. There was really no way to avoid it, especially once the American people discovered that the Soviet and Cuban communists had supposedly killed their president. They would have demanded retaliation, which inevitably would have led to all-out nuclear war.
That was the excuse for immediately shutting down the investigation — to avoid nuclear war with the
Soviet Union, one that would result in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, including Americans.
If someone asked Johnson why he was letting the Soviet Union and Cuba off the hook, he had the perfect answer: It was the CIA under those Kennedy brothers who started the assassination game by repeatedly trying to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. How could Johnson in good conscience launch a retaliatory strike that would lead to a war that would kill hundreds
of millions of people worldwide knowing that it was the CIA, not the communists, who had started the assassination war?
Three days after the assassination, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach sent a memo to Bill Moyers, who was working for the Johnson White House, stating, “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.” How could he know that after just three days? There can be only one reasonable explanation for Katzenbach’s memo: the false World War III cover story.
That was the point of having shots fired from the front while Oswald was positioned in the rear — to falsely make it appear that the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Oswald had worked together to kill the president. In that way, the prospect of nuclear war could then be used to secure a quick shutdown of the investigation. Officials would settle on Oswald, who was quickly killed and silenced, as the sole shooter. Securing a quick shutdown of the investigation by having shooters firing from the front, who would be falsely assumed to be agents of the Soviet Union and Cuba, was the ingenious part of the plot to assassinate Kennedy.
In fact, when the Dallas police charged Oswald with the crime as part of an international communist conspiracy, Johnson immediately contacted Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade and insisted that he remove the conspiracy charge against Oswald. He asked Wade whether he was trying to start World War III. Wade acceded to the request. It wasn’t the only time that Johnson used the World War III cover. He also used it on Earl Warren and Richard Russell as a way to persuade them to join what became known as the Warren Commission. He told them that they had a moral duty to serve on the commission to help avoid World War III, a commission that would settle on pinning the crime on Oswald.
It was undoubtedly what national-security operatives told the autopsy physicians to induce them to conduct a fraudulent autopsy on the very evening of the assassination. They were ordered to perform an autopsy that disguised the fact that shots had been fired from the front. That’s where the plan for a fraudulent autopsy comes into play, a plan that was launched back at Parkland Hospital, when a team of Secret Service agents, operating on orders, forcibly prevented the Dallas County medical examiner from conducting the autopsy, as required by state law. Brandishing guns and implicitly threatening the use of deadly force on Parkland Hospital medical personnel, the Secret Service team forced their way out of Parkland with Kennedy’s body and then dutifully delivered it to Lyndon Johnson at Dallas Love Field, after which he flew it to Maryland and put it in the hands of the military.
Thus, when Woolsey poses his conspiracy theory that Oswald and the Soviets conspired to kill Kennedy, the dark irony is that the false scenario had been built into the plan to assassinate Kennedy as a way to shut down the investigation.
Over the years, it has been said that if the Pentagon and the CIA had killed Kennedy, someone would have talked by now. But when it comes to murder, people don’t generally talk — ever, especially since there is no statute of limitations for murder. After all, everyone agrees that a man named Johnny Roselli, who was the mafia liaison to the CIA for the assassination partnership, was murdered, but no one has talked about that either.
But the fact is that as much as the national-security establishment tried to keep a cap of secrecy on the cover-up, they failed: people did talk about it. Although they labeled the autopsy a classified operation and made people sign secrecy oaths, which succeeded in keeping matters secret for many years, ultimately their wall of secrecy surrounding the autopsy was pierced, especially during the years of
the Assassination Records Review Boards in the 1990s.
The fraudulent nature of the autopsy, as detailed in my two books The Kennedy Autopsy and The Kennedy Autopsy 2, and especially in the five-volume book, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, by Douglas Horne, who served on the ARRB staff, have blown the cover off the assassination itself. The reason, as I stated previously in this essay, is that there is no innocent explanation for a fraudulent autopsy. There is but one reasonable explanation for the fraudulent autopsy that was carried out on the body of John Kennedy on the evening of his assassination — to ensure the national-security establishment’s cover-up of its assassination.
To gain a deeper grasp into the devolving nature of the relationship between Kennedy and the national-security establishment, I recommend reading the following: An article in The Atlantic magazine entitled “JFK vs. the Military,” by Robert Dallek, which can be found online; and FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated, by Douglas Horne.
This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition of Future of Freedom.