Of course, defenders and promoters of the federal government’s conversion to a national-security state after World War II would say, “But Jacob, it was Lee Harvey Oswald, who was supposedly a devout communist, who killed Kennedy, not the U.S. national-security establishment”
In actuality, however, that position has never made any sense. Since Kennedy was the communist sympathizer that right-wing conservatives, the Pentagon, and the CIA perceived him to be, then why would a supposed American communist want to kill him, especially since he would be replaced by a conservative vice-president who was philosophically aligned with the Cold War mindsets of the rightwing and the national-security state?
Moreover, various witnesses have said that Oswald used to say nice things about President Kennedy.
Consider the dramatic shift in policy that Kennedy was pursuing after the Cuban Missile Crisis until he was assassinated, as I outlined in yesterday’s blog post. He delivered his famous Peace Speech at American University in which he called for an end to the Cold War and for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union and the communist world. He got the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union enacted. He called for a joint trip to the moon with the Soviets.
Why would a supposed communist sympathizer want to kill a president that was doing those things?
Consider the “Wanted for Treason” advertisement that right-wing conservatives had in the conservative-owned Dallas Morning News on the morning of November 22. Here’s a copy of it. It had Kennedy’s picture at the top and then below it stated:
THIS MAN is wanted for treasonous activities against the United States
- Betraying the Constitution (which he swore to uphold); He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the communist controlled United Nations. He is betraying our friends (Cuba,Katanga, Portugal) and befriending our enemies (Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland.
- He has been WRONG on innumerable issues affecting the security of the U.S. (United Nations-Berlin Wall-Missile removal—Cuba—Wheat deals—Test Ban Treaty, etc.
- He has been lax enforcing Communist Registration laws.
- He has given support and encouragement to the Communist inspired racial riots.
- He has illegally invaded a sovereign state with federal troops.
- He has consistently appointed Anti-Christians to Federal office: Upholds the Supreme Court in its Anti-Christian ruings. Aliens and known Communists abound in Federal offices.
- He has been caught in fantastic LIES to the American people (including personal ones like his previous marriage and divorce.
Reading this ad is what motivated JFK to say to Jackie, “We are headed into nut country today.” In other words, Kennedy believed that people who believed these things were nut balls.
There are two important things to note here:
First, the Dallas Morning News advertisement is the way that American conservatives and the U.S. national-security state actually viewed Kennedy and his policies.
Second, the people within the military and the CIA who held these sentiments didn’t consider themselves to be nut balls. They considered themselves to be the ultimate guardians of U.S. national security. It was their responsibility, they believed, to ensure that America did not fall to the communists and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As the experts on national security they considered themselves to be, they believed that Kennedy was hopelessly naïve about the nature and extent of the communist threat to America. And they were convinced that his policies were leading America to doom.
That’s what the CIA’s coup in Iran in 1953 was all about — protecting national security from a democratically appointed prime minister who supposedly was leaning toward communism.
It’s also what the CIA’s coup in Guatemala in 1954 was all about — protecting national security from a democratically elected president who was appointing communists to his regime.
It’s what the CIA’s invasion at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and its assassination attempts against Fidel Castro were all about — protecting national security from a communist dictator 90 miles away from American shores.
It’s what the CIA’s coup in Chile ten years after Kennedy was assassinated was all about — protecting national security from a democratically elected communist president.
But when the federal government was converted into a national-security state after World War II, no one gave any thought to what would happen if a U.S. president were ever elected who, owing to naiveté or even treachery, became a threat to national security. Which branch — the executive branch or the national-security branch — would be the final arbiter?
Kennedy himself alluded to this problem before he was assassinated. He specifically asked that the novel Seven Days in May, which posited a military coup in the United States, be made into a movie to serve as a warning to the American people. And he told a close friend that yes, there was a distinct possibility that such a thing could happen here if the military concluded that a president was veering off in a dangerous direction.
Also, let’s not forget what his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower told the American people in his Farewell Address — that the national security state, or what he called the “military-industrial complex,” posed a grave threat to American liberties and democratic processes.
The mainstream media, which has long defended the Warren Report’s conclusion that Oswald was the lone assassin of the president, often points out that that Oswald also tried to shoot Gen. Edwin Walker. They make the point to show Oswald’s violent proclivities.
But there are a couple of things that are seriously wrong with that reasoning.
First, if Oswald was the crack shot he is made out to be, why did he miss Walker with a rifle shooting a point blank range?
Second, and more important, the mainstream media forgets about the fact that Walker hated Kennedy for his supposed pro-communist policies, including his support of civil rights.
Kennedy, on the other hand, considered Walker, who lived in Dallas, to be one of the nut balls to which he was referring when he said to Jackie that they were headed into nut country.
In fact, I’ll bet that lots of American don’t know that President Kennedy had U.S. troops actually arrest Walker and send him to a mental institution against his will. The arrest occurred when Walker was inciting an anti-civil rights riot protesting the enrollment of blacks at the University of Mississippi. According to Wikipedia, Walker went on the radio and declared:
Mississippi: It is time to move. We have talked, listened and been pushed around far too much by the anti-Christ Supreme Court! Rise…to a stand beside Governor Ross Barnett at Jackson, Mississippi! Now is the time to be heard! Thousands strong from every State in the Union! Rally to the cause of freedom! The Battle Cry of the Republic! Barnett yes! Castro no! Bring your flag, your tent and your skillet. It’s now or never! The time is when the President of the United States commits or uses any troops, Federal or State, in Mississippi! The last time in such a situation I was on the wrong side. That was in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957-1958. This time — out of uniform — I am on the right side! I will be there!
It wasn’t the first experience that Kennedy had had with Gen. Walker. In 1961 Walker had been a U.S. Army commander in Germany, where he began preaching his anti-communist philosophy to the troops. He even initiated a “Pro-Blue” campaign, which was his code for “anti-Red.” During his indoctrination sessions with the troops, Walker was quoted as saying that Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson were “definitely pink.”
Owing to his right-wing, anti-communist indoctrination activity, Walker was relieved of command by President Kennedy, which certainly did not endear the president to the military establishment. Walker resigned from the military and moved to Dallas.
He wasn’t the only military official who hated Kennedy. There was also U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay, who considered Kennedy’s resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which left Castro in power permanently, as the worst defeat ever suffered by the United States and akin to Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich.
Given that Walker and Kennedy were enemies, why would Oswald have wanted to kill both of them? It might make sense that a supposed communist would want to kill an anti-communist like Walker, but why would he also want to kill a supposed pro-communist like Kennedy?
Another fascinating aspect to this story was the doctrine on assassination that the military and the CIA were teaching Latin American military officials at the School of the Americas during the Cold War. They were teaching them that whenever they engaged in a covert state assassination of people to always blame the killing on a communist.
Why a communist patsy? It was because of the tremendous prejudice that was associated with being a communist during the Cold War. Don’t forget: The right wing and the national-security establishment were ruining people’s lives here in the United States if they had any association with communism. Don’t forget how U.S. officials, as part of their anti-communist crusade here in the United States, were hell-bent on ferreting out and destroying communists in Hollywood, the U.S. Communist Party, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and communists in the Army, State Department, and elsewhere.
Thus, blaming state assassinations on communist patsies was a brilliant strategy because if anyone challenged or questioned the official story, he could be smeared as a communist or a communist sympathizer and ruined.
When former Chilean official Orlando Letelier, a communist who had served in Salvador Allende’s regime, was assassinated on the streets of Washington, D.C., the first thing the CIA did was issue a statement suggesting that he might well have been killed by communists. In actuality, Letelier was assassinated as part of Operation Condor, a super-secret international assassination ring put together by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and in which the CIA was a partner. Pinochet, of course, was the brutal military dictator installed into power by the U.S. national-security establishment, on grounds of national security.
When President Lyndon Johnson set up the Warren Commission, he appointed the type of people who, like the mainstream media today, would never have seriously considered the possibility that the national-security establishment would effect a regime change here in the United States in order to protect national security from a president whose policies were considered a threat to national security.
But it was the appointment of Johnson’s appointment of former CIA Director Allen Dulles to the commission that eliminated any possibility that the national-security state would seriously be considered a target of interest in the assassination. Don’t forget, after all: Dulles was the man who President Kennedy had fired after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. It would be difficult to find a better example of a conflict of interest than that.
For more information, I recommend the following books:
The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger
Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob Hornberger (which contains an extensive list of additional books and online articles, with links, that I recommend)
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass