Rogue U.S. officials conspired with their powerful patrons to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in 1963 primarily because of his opposition to a CIA-led U.S. military overthrow of Cuba’s Communist government.
That was a dominant — albeit not universal — theme by speakers at “The National Security State and JFK” conference on June 3 in a Northern Virginia community that is heavily populated by intelligence, military and other federal workers and retirees.
The forum remains timely for many reasons, including reported Trump plans to renew reprisals against Cuba this week on human rights grounds.
Also, several columns published in recent days by Trump supporters from across the political spectrum, as well as some from within the intelligence community, argue that a Deep State that had targeted both Kennedy and President Nixon over their foreign policies seeks also to end Trump’s presidency prematurely.
Regarding the forum:
“The legend constructed around the assassination was clearly a pretext for a Cuban invasion,” military historian Douglas Horne told the audience after he retraced many covert steps by intelligence and military leaders to plan invasions of Cuba that Kennedy repeatedly rebuffed. “Although Kennedy’s assassination did not trigger an invasion of Cuba it may have been intended to.”
Among others endorsing Horne’s view on the 11-speaker program was Jacob Hornberger, an attorney, Horne’s publisher (including of JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated), and also the organizer of the conference as president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which advocates libertarian policies.
“Ever since researchers and commentators began questioning the conclusions of the Warren Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” Hornberger wrote in the foreword to JFK’s War, “the response has been: Why would the U.S. national-security establishment — that is, the military and the CIA — kill Kennedy?”
The answer, continued Hornberger (shown in a file photo), “is because Kennedy’s ideas about foreign-policy collided with those of the U.S. national-security establishment during the height of the Cold War.”
Last weekend was the anniversary of Kennedy’s famed “peace speech” on June 10 in 1963 at American University.
As an alternative to conventional wisdom in the mainstream media, some commentators argue that the Kennedy, Nixon and Trump efforts to achieve better relations with the Soviet Union/Russia prompted reprisals from a largely unaccountable U.S. Deep State. Historian and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott decades ago began popularizing the term as describing unaccountable government officials, some of whom are CIA loyalists operating under official cover, and their powerful private sector patrons from the fields of banking, munitions, and other global sectors.
Similar warnings about unaccountable power threatening the presidency come in recent columns from Hornberger, (Will They Succeed in Removing Trump from Office?), conservatives Patrick Buchanan, Philip Giraldi and Paul Craig Roberts (JFK at 100), and career intelligence professionals Ray McGovern and William Binney (Trumped-up claims against Trump). The latter two have been involved during recent years in privacy protection and anti-militarism advocacy. Their columns, excerpted also in an appendix, underscore the intense current interest in these topics.
In other words, continued examination of the Kennedy death provides vital perspective about similar patterns affecting current events and commentary, including those regarding Trump foreign policy regarding Cuba and Russia and extending to investigations of the Trump administration by Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Readers of the Justice Integrity Project (which originally published this column) know that its coverage has included a so-far 39-part “Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination,” excerpted here. It shows highlights from the more than 2,500 books addressing that topic in whole or part. The guide also documents a continuing pattern whereby major news media (aside from rare exceptions like C-SPAN), courts, academics and other “watchdog” institutions studiously avoid expert discussions on the Kennedy assassination while also occasionally hyping crackpot theories that confuse the public.
Such biased treatments support widespread and legitimate public suspicions that news coverage is skewed on other contemporary topics. This editor’s many memberships in legal, journalism and other civic organizations include mainstream groups as well as volunteer board service for The Indicter, a Europe-based human rights web magazine, and for Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA). Both The Indicter and CAPA examine allegations of high-profile assassinations and cover-ups by legal and media organizations.
The analysis below summarizes the speakers at the all-day national security conference, which included film maker Oliver Stone, shown in our photo above left. The all-day event was filmed and will be shown on the website of the sponsoring foundation. Thus, the public can assess the relevant evidence and apply its lessons to current issues.
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, center left, hands President Lyndon B. Johnson a copy of the Warren Commission’s 1964 report on the assassination. Convened also were commission members, including future president Gerald Ford at Warren’s left and former CIA Director Allen Dulles at Johnson’s right. Commission Chief Counsel Lee Rankin is second from left.
The Big Picture
The event included as faculty (aside from Horne and Hornberger) the academics / authors Jeffrey Sachs, Michael Glennon, Stephen Kinzer, Michael Swanson, Peter Janney, Jefferson Morley, speaking in that order.
The afternoon program ended with lectures by former Texas Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, author James DiEugenio and the film maker Oliver Stone (shown in a CAPA photo), who engaged in a dialog with DiEugenio, Hornberger and then audience members. The locale was the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, located in Dulles (named for the former Eisenhower Secretary of State John Foster Dulles) a few miles from CIA headquarters at Langley.
Several of the speakers refrained from speculating on why Kennedy was killed. Morley, for example, said his focus is on facts and discrepancies in official accounts, not theories of what happened. Sachs, a Columbia University professor and best-selling author, entitled his talk “JFK’s Quest for Peace.” He drew on his 2013 book To Move the World about Kennedy’s 1963 speech at American University.
Paul listened closely to most of the day’s presentations but he focused his lecture on libertarian themes of protecting American strength by free market economics and avoidance of military action overseas unless absolutely necessary.
Whether or not a speaker specifically addressed a causation motive for Kennedy’s killing, each segment contributed to the conference’s overall themes: that the covert, dangerous national security establishment was created during the Cold War and there must to be a better explanation for Kennedy’s death than the Warren Commission’s claim that Oswald was a lone nut who acted alone.
Speakers Share Their Findings
Several of the above-named speakers summarized their research along the following line:
That certain ultra-hawkish members of the CIA, uniformed military and their allies elsewhere in government and in the private sector developed covert plans that resulted in Kennedy’s assassination and long-running cover-up that extends for the most part to current times in order to maintain public confidence in government and conventional wisdom about its operations.
Those speakers drew on their own research and some cited also the works of the absent Dr. John M. Newman and the late Air Force Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, two authors with high levels of intelligence experience whose bold conclusions are typically ignored by the mainstream media.
Newman (shown in a photo by Noel St. John taken at a CAPA JFK research event at the National Press Club this spring) is a longtime professor whose 20 years of previous intelligence work included service as assistant to a Reagan-era National Security Agency director. He has authored breakthrough books challenging conventional wisdom on Kennedy’s presidency and death: JFK and Vietnam, Oswald and the CIA, and a two more recent ones, including Countdown to Darkness this year.
Among Newman’s findings is that the late David Atlee Phillips (shown at right), leader of the CIA’s work with Cuban exiles, had at least a dozen and arguably dozens more false identities in order to keep his work organizing assassinations, revolutions and propaganda hidden even from CIA colleagues except on a need-to-know basis.
Prouty, shown in a file photo, died in 2001. He would have celebrated his own 100th birthday if he had lived past January. He had been a World War II pilot on many VIP and otherwise sensitive missions. He later held high-ranking liaison posts between the Department of Defense and CIA from 1955 and 1963, and coordinated black operations between the military and intelligence.
Prouty authored two iconic books worth describing in detail because they grew out of his rare experience that that brought him into personal contact with a number of the key officials on historic issues.
The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World was published by Prentice-Hall in 1973, and republished by Skyhorse in 2008. It described how the CIA achieved pervasive and covert control over U.S. policy via a “Secret Team” of CIA loyalists placed in government and the private sector, including by Prouty.
According to Prouty’s account, this Secret Team (some of whose members Prouty helped place as part of his duties) worked covertly via the CIA, FBI, military, and elsewhere in the three branches of government and private sector on behalf of the nation’s “High Cabal” in ways unaccountable even to presidents, much less the public.
Prouty described the CIA’s core function as pervasive global covert operations, including paramilitary actions, assassination, propaganda and regime change, and not the more benign-sounding “intelligence” function envisioned by Congress and President Truman as they initiated a plan co-authored by Allen Dulles, the brother of John Foster Dulles.
Prouty’s second book, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, first published by Carol in 1996 and then by Skyhorse in 2011, documents his insider’s view as chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy years that the president was killed by an internal coup d’etat arising from the president’s increasing resistance to war pressures, primarily regarding Cuba and later extending to Vietnam.
Trained To Kill
Former Cuban exile leader Antonio Veciana, author of a recent memoir Trained To Kill with Carlos Harrison, is another non-participant in the June 3 forum worth noting before we summarize a chronology provided by these Warren Commission critics.
Veciana, leader of the anti-Castro group Alpha 66 that planned anti-Castro bombings and assassinations in the 1960s, wrote in his memoir published this spring that he and other exiles hated Kennedy for not opposing Castro more forcefully and wanted him dead, much like they wanted Castro murdered.
Veciana, a former high-ranking accountant in pre-Castro Cuba who knew the future leader beginning in their university days, also wrote that he tried to kill Castro more than once in close coordination with the CIA. Veciana wrote also that he once met his CIA handler and friend, David Phillips, along with Oswald in a Dallas office building six weeks before the Kennedy assassination and Oswald’s arrest.
Some skeptical scholars have noted that Veciana has given contradictory accounts of his meetings through the years. Defenders cut him slack by noting that many JFK witnesses have faced pressures and died unexpectedly, and that Veciana survived a 1979 ambush and head-shot wound in Miami during a period when investigators were questioning him.
Veciana says that he believes he owes it to his adopted country, the United States, to provide a record of the past before he dies.
Cuba’s Central Role In Kennedy’s Assassination
With that background, we synthesize below a chronology cited by a number of the forum speakers pointing to fury against Kennedy by participants in America’s so-called Deep State. They were in a position to recruit operatives for assassinations and cover-ups.
Readers hear can see specifics of June 3 speakers’ comments via video recordings of the conference planned by C-SPAN and the Future of Freedom Foundation on their websites. Dates are to be announced.
The background with Cuba appears to be particularly timely. News reports this week such as Trump Expected To Restrict Trade, Travel With Cuba on National Public Radio predict that President Trump will announce on Friday in Miami a reversal of President Obama’s 2014 restoration of relations. In 2014, the New York Times reported Obama’s initiative in U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility.
With that background, we proceed on the chronology distilled from the materials cited above:
Top military and intelligence officials devised a plan during the last months of Eisenhower administration to overthrow Castro (shown in a file photo at right) by secretly arming U.S.-assisted Cuban exiles for what became the Bay of Pigs invasion. (The name references a locale with that name.) The task force was led by Vice President Richard Nixon, who was regarded as a hawk on foreign affairs.
President Eisenhower had been commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II before his presidency. Eisenhower presided during the 1950s over a massive build-up of the CIA and its paramilitary covert operations under its Director Allen Dulles.
But the Republican president had sought also to end his two terms at a summit meeting with the Soviet Union’s premier, another former World War II general who sought via the summit to reduce Cold War tensions and the threat of another world war.
Shortly before the much-anticipated meeting occurred, however, a secret high-altitude “U-2” spy plane flown by CIA pilot Gary Powers operating under military cover crashed in deep in the heart of the Soviet Union. That led to so many embarrassing deceitful comments by Eisenhower and his staff to cover up the spy flight that escalating rhetoric effectively ruined the summit.
Prouty was among those suggesting that a Secret Team, aka Deep State militarists, may have intended that the Powers plane run short of its special hydrogen fuel component in mid-flight so that the overflight might be exposed and thereby disrupt the summit, thereby preserving America’s military superiority, which was useful for ongoing covert operations.
Eisenhower nonetheless left office with his now-famous Farewell Address in 1961 warning Americans against a U.S. “Military-Industrial Complex” that threatened the nation’s democracy. The photo at right shows him delivering that speech.
Some in military and intelligence circles had supported Kennedy in the 1960 election over Nixon, despite the Republican’s hawkish credentials. Some hawks the young president, a war hero during World War II and regarded as a firm part of the bipartisan anti-Communist Congress, could be controlled even more than his canny opponent Nixon.
After Kennedy’s election he approved a number of hawkish policies. First, he grudgingly approved the Bay of Pigs invasion for March 1961, just two months after he took office, so long as U.S. involvement was hidden and otherwise limited. Kennedy firmly opposed direct, public involvement in such an invasion.
Yet some of Kennedy’s most important military and intelligence advisors falsely assumed the young president could be convinced during the crisis to change his mind and approve U.S. reinforcements that were needed to overthrow Castro.
Kennedy stood firm against deployment. As a result, Castro’s forces killed more than 100 of the invading force of some 1,600 exiles and captured the rest.
Kennedy publicly took responsibility for the Bay of Pigs disaster but became infuriated at some of his top military and intelligence advisors. He correctly suspected that some had intentionally mislead him about the likelihood of success of the invasion.
In late 1961, Kennedy forced the resignations of CIA Director Allen Dulles (shown in a file photo) and plus the latter’s top two deputies, Richard Bissell and Gen. Charles Cabell. Forcing them out was a momentous decision because they were intimately connected to the nation’s most powerful financial and government networks.
To cite two of many examples, Dulles had orchestrated the CIA’s brilliant rise to power after decades of global diplomacy, spycrafting and legal work, including a partnership at Sullivan & Cromwell, the favored law firm of the nation’s most powerful corporations. Ominously, Cabell’s brother Earle was mayor of Dallas.
The Bay of Pigs disaster enraged Cuban exiles and other Cold War hawks against Kennedy. Some, including Veciana, described Kennedy as a traitor and hoped for his death, just as they yearned for Castro’s.
During this period, Kennedy acted in many ways like a Cold Warrior, especially in public. He ramped up the 1950s U.S. role in Indochina to a level of 16,000 U.S. military “advisors” in Vietnam operating under CIA leadership disguised, according to Prouty, as regular military.
Separately, the president appointed his brother Robert Kennedy, the attorney general, to lead a covert U.S. plan using the CIA, Cuban exiles and others to assassinate Castro. Mafia leadership was intimately involved with plots to kill Castro, which fostered both covert relationships and deadly secrets.
Kennedy became furious with the hawks, particularly when he saw that advisors were refusing to take “no” for an answer on the question of a U.S. invasion of Cuba. By now, most of the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis is well-known whereby Kennedy negotiated removal of Soviet nuclear missiles. But some hawks at high levels resented what they regarded as a lost opportunity to invade Cuba.
That same year, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff under Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer (shown in a file photo) unanimously approved a mind-boggling plan called Operation Northwoods whereby U.S. forces would create murderous false flag attacks on U.S. private citizens and blame the carnage on Castro, thereby justifying an invasion. Details included an engineered ‘shootdown’ of a drone airliner, riots in Florida, and other murderous events.
Kennedy rejected the plan and forced Lemnitzer out of office. We now know about Operation Northwoods only because Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie JFK prompted congressional action to declassify vast numbers of Cold War documents via the Assassination Records Review Board.
We know also that Kennedy late in his presidency began issuing highly secret orders that curtailed CIA covert military, spy, assassination and regime change operations. The president also started a process to withdraw U.S forces from Vietnam after what he hoped would be his 1964 re-election. Some scholars report that he planned to drop Vice President Johnson from the 1964 re-election ticket.
Meanwhile, JFK was becoming increasingly hated by certain powerful forces, including Cuban exiles, segregationists, and organized crime leaders. Some such groups were violence prone and vocal.
But Kennedy also seemed to know that his most dangerous foes might be close to home. That’s why he loaned use of the White House for scenes in the 1964 movie Seven Days In May (based on a 1962 book) portraying a U.S. military coup against a U.S. president.
In 1963, hate mongers prepared for President Kennedy’s assassination by distributing the handbill at right in Dallas on the day he was killed. The Dallas Morning News ran a similar “welcome” that day.
Kennedy’s famous “peace speech” at American University in 1963 contained what has been widely interpreted as his recognition that his policies put his life in danger: “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet,” Kennedy told graduates in what scholars regard as a sharp break with his Cold War rhetoric and a possible premonition of a deadly rebellion brewing against his presidency. “We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
At the June 3 forum in Dulles, the inherent drama of the topics was underscored by Peter Janney, son of the late CIA executive Wistar Janney and the author of the investigative history Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy To Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer and Their Vision for World Peace, which was republished in a third edition last fall.
Janney, a practicing psychologist, alleges on the basis of his decades of research that CIA officials went beyond arranged the president’s assassination an also murdered Kennedy’s friend and lover Meyer, a brilliant, well-born socialite whose ex-husband Cord Meyer had been a war hero recruited to lead the CIA’s U.S. and global propaganda operation. The motive? To prevent her from continuing to criticize the Warren Report in 1964.
Meyer died in an execution-style shooting on a Georgetown canal towpath during her regular morning walk. Dovey Roundtree, a brilliant young defense lawyer, won an unexpected acquittal of Ray Crump Jr., a low-wage African American found drunk near the crime scene.
Janney has spent decades identifying CIA, Washington Post and others involved in a high-level cover-ups regarding Meyer, whom Janney knew and admired as a youngster growing up next door to her and her then husband Cord Meyer (shown with her in the 1940s) before the Meyers’ 1957 divorce.
In recent years, retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Roger Charles, a best-selling author in his own right who attended the June 3 gathering, has helped Janney investigate complex military and CIA records. The purpose was to identify and interview a now-retired university professor, identified by name in the book, whom they now accuse as being a covert CIA operative tasked in 1964 to help frame Crump at a patsy in the crime to allay suspicion from the real killers. They describe the future professor as having been rewarded with help to achieve an academic career even though the acquittal foiled the plan close the Meyer murder in the public mind.
Janney delivered an eloquent description of the Kennedy-Meyer murders and their relationship to peace. He described how his research led him to the conclusion that his father had been involved in a CIA plot to murder Mary Meyer, and that even ones so smart and well-connected as she and Kennedy could not protect themselves against self-righteous fellow Americans motivated by a narrow view of patriotism.
The momentous events and possibilities described at the forum do not easily lend themselves to a succinct conclusion aside from the reminder to each reader that the topics are worth further study by every concerned citizen, not just those interested in history.
An appendix of related columns is at the Justice Integrity Project site here. It includes brief proofs of three factors supporting skepticism toward the Warren Report. These are so widely accepted among expert critics as to be barely mentioned during the June program, although worth noting here for a general audience. The three factors in brief are: 1) Oswald couldn’t have killed JFK, who received the fatal shot from the front; 2) Oswald was a covert undercover operative for the U.S. and a likely patsy; 3) Most officials and media owners were fooled or coerced into the cover-up.
We noted above also that President Trump is expected to revert later this week to previous restrictions on Cuba in an effort to win support from hawkish members of the Cuban exile community, particularly in Florida. The public can safely predict also denunciations of Cuba’s human rights record but we should not expect any reference from the president or his supporters of the well-documented assassination plots and other carnage plotted by the United States that is described above.
Even more important, we noted also above a number of defenses for the Trump presidency that are being voiced by political and intelligence experts who assert Trump is being railroaded out of office by a Deep State for foreign policy reasons that seem similar to those that felled Kennedy and Nixon. Those assertions are too serious and complex to be treated here as an afterthought. They claims (and their shortcomings) deserve thorough examination, building on the background provided above.
— By Andrew Kreig
This column was published also by the Justice Integrity Project site. Visit its site here for an extensive appendix of other relevant articles. Other republications included The Indicter, published in Europe and edited by Dr. Marcello Ferrara de Noli, and The Fifth Estate, published in Asia and edited by Robert Finnegan.