JFK v Imperialism

“For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”~John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1963 

 

Imperialism – The Enemy of Freedom July 2, 1957     Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, the most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism.
Thus the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this Nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.
I am concerned today that we are failing to meet the challenge of imperialism – on both counts – and thus failing in our responsibilities to the free world. I propose, therefore, as the Senate and the Nation prepare to commemorate the 181st anniversary of man’s noblest expression against political repression, to begin a two-part series of speeches, examining America’s role in the continuing struggles for independence that strain today against the forces of imperialism within both the Soviet and Western worlds. My intention is to talk not of general principles, but of specific cases – to propose not partisan criticisms but what I hope will be constructive solutions.
There are many cases of the clash between independence and imperialism in the Soviet world that demand our attention. One, above all the rest, is critically outstanding today – Poland.
The Secretary of State, in his morning news conference, speaking on this subject, suggested that, if people want to do something about the examples of colonialism, they should consider such examples as Soviet-ruled Lithuania and the satellite countries of Czechoslovakia, Poland, and others.
I agree with him. For that reason, within 2 weeks I hope to speak upon an issue which I think stands above all the others; namely, the country of Poland.
There are many cases of the clash between independence and imperialism in the Western World that demand our attention. But again, one, above all the rest, is critically outstanding today – Algeria.
I shall speak this afternoon of our failures and of our future in Algeria and north Africa – and I shall speak of Poland in a later address to this body.

http://www.jfklink.com/speeches/jfk/congress/jfk020757_imperialism.html

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”~John F. Kennedy

“In Kennedy’s brief tenure in office he brought pragmatism, flexibility, proportionality, and a willingness to be challenged — and to challenge political orthodoxy — to his foreign policy decision-making. The man who urged Americans to pay any price and bear any burden in the fight against communism repeatedly adopted positions of restraint. In 1961, he resisted calls from his own military officials — and former President Eisenhower — for intervention in Laos to prevent that small land-locked nation from turning red. He reacted with public bluster but personal relief at the construction of the Berlin Wall, which defused one of the periodic showdowns between the United States and the Soviet Union over the fate of post-war Germany. Most decisively, he went against the opinion of virtually his entire foreign policy and national security team in responding to the placement of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba by agreeing to a diplomatic resolution to the most serious crisis of the nuclear era.

In the months after that crisis, he signaled a willingness to reduce Cold War tensions. In June 1963, he delivered the commencement address at American University, in which he endorsed steps toward nuclear disarmament and reminded his audience (and the Soviets) that “our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” In October, he signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with the USSR.

Finally, on Vietnam, Kennedy was a reluctant hawk who believed that the United States should try to prevent South Vietnam from falling to the communists but who also assiduously avoided deploying American combat troops — a pledge he made in 1961 and stuck to until the last day of his life. This is not to suggest that Kennedy was a dove. After all, he ran for president on the misleading notion that the United States faced a missile gap with the Soviets. But when it came to Vietnam there is an unmistakable sense that, while Kennedy wanted to preserve an independent South Vietnam, he viewed the idea of U.S. military engagement with great trepidation. It is “their war” he told Walter Cronkite only two months before his death, and “in the final analysis it is the people and the [South Vietnamese] government itself who have to win or lose the struggle. All we can do is help.”

JFK’s Greatest Legacy

“In the JFK administration I was a White House Fellow. In those days, it was a much larger program than the small insider program it later became. President Kennedy’s intention was to involve many young Americans in government in order to keep idealism alive as a counter to the material interests of lobby groups. I don’t know if the program still exists. If it does, the idealism that was its purpose is long gone.

President John F. Kennedy was a classy president. In my lifetime there has not been another like him. Indeed, today he would be impossible.

Conservatives and Republicans did not like him, because he was thoughtful. Their favorite weapon against him was their account of his love life, which according to them involved Mafia molls and Marilyn Monroe. They must have worked themselves into fits of envy over Marilyn Monroe, the hottest woman of her time.

Unlike most presidents, Kennedy was able to break with the conventional thinking of the time.

From his experience with the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Joint Chiefs’ “Operaton Northwoods,” Kennedy concluded that CIA Director Allen Dulles and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lemnitzer were both crazed by anti-communism and were a danger to Americans and the world.

Kennedy removed Dulles as CIA director, and he removed Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, thus setting in motion his own assassination. The CIA, the Joint Chiefs, and the Secret Service concluded that JFK was “soft on communism.” So did the Bill Buckley conservatives.

JFK was assassinated because of anti-communist hysteria in the military and security agencies.

The Warren Commission was well aware of this. The coverup was necessary because America was locked into a Cold War with the Soviet Union. To put US military, CIA, and Secret Service personnel on trial for murdering the President of the United States would have shaken the confidence of the American people in their own government.

Oswald had nothing whatsoever to do with JFK’s assassination. That is why Oswald was himself assassinated inside the Dallas jail before he could be questioned.

For those of you too young to have experienced John Kennedy and those of you who have forgot his greatness, do yourselves a favor and listen to this 5 minute, 23 second speech. Try to imagine anyone among the current dolts giving a speech like this. Look how much is said so well in less than 5 and one-half minutes.

Kennedy intended to pull the US out of Vietnam once he was reelected. He intended to break up the CIA “into one thousand pieces” and curtail the military-security complex that was exploiting the US budget.

And that is why he was murdered. The evil that resides in Washington does not only kill foreign leaders who try to do the right thing, but also its own.

Here is JFK’s speech:

When They Killed JFK They Killed America

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54 thoughts on “JFK v Imperialism

  1. “Governments do not govern, but merely control the machinery of government, being themselves controlled by the hidden hand.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli; Prime Minister of England
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  2. GOVERNMENT

    Government is more than a territorial monopoly on aggressive force. It’s also the heir to a centuries-old manufactured mystique, reinforced through its schools and other institutions, regarding its sanctity and sacrosanctity. The mystique is generated by and tends to manifest itself in the dogma that one’s State is uniquely virtuous and deserves to be judged by standards applicable to no one and nothing else. This is hardly less true of secular states than it was during the time of the divine right of kings. In some important ways, people have not gotten over that principle.

    It long been recognized that governments cannot reign merely through brute force. There are too few rulers. So they need help in achieving popular compliance, and they find it in ideology. It is state ideology, the indispensable dogma, that creates the aura of sanctity. Where once people believed the ruler was the deity’s representative, in today’s democratic republics, they believe their rulers are their representatives. But it’s the same scam, perpetrated by rulers and their high priests in the intelligentsia, to maximize subordination and minimize resistance.

    Ideology in this context means something much deeper than what is usually meant. It does not refer to the approaches known as “conservatism” and “liberalism,” or the differences between those who want “big government” and those who want “limited government.” It refers rather to the deeper view that The State with its authority to threaten and wield violence is indispensable and intrinsically virtuous, as nothing else can be. Therefore it is not to be judged as we judge other people and institutions. When someone does wrong in office – a Nixon, say – it is chalked up as an abuse of power. Power itself is beyond reproach.
    […]
    http://rinf.com/alt-news/latest-news/sheldon-richman-pernicious-state/

    http://antiwar.com/blog/2016/01/15/sheldon-richman-on-the-pernicious-state/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AWCBlog+%28Antiwar.com+Blog%29
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  3. 10/2/1963 McNamara explains in his book that at a “”very important” National Security Council meeting on Oct. 2, 1963, President Kennedy made three decisions: (1) to completely withdraw all U.S. forces from Vietnam by Dec. 31, 1965; (2) to withdraw 1,000 U.S. troops by the end of 1963 to begin the process; and (3) to make a public announcement, in order to put this decision “”in concrete.” After the Oct. 2 meeting, Kennedy asked McNamara to issue these recommendations as a “”report” from himself as secretary of defense along with Gen. Maxwell Taylor. McNamara made the announcement personally from the steps of the White House. As he headed off to face the reporters, JFK yelled after him, “”And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots, too.”

    10/4/1963 Armed Forces’ Pacific Stars and Stripes, “White House Report: U.S. Troops Seen Out of Vietnam by ’65″

    10/11/1963 President Kennedy issues National Security Action Memorandum 263, making official government policy the withdrawal from Vietnam of “1 ,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963″ and ” by the end of 1965 . . . the bulk of U.S. personnel. ”

    11/14/1963 JFK said in a press conference: “We do have a new situation there [in Vietnam], and a new government, we hope, an increased effort in the war” and his goal was “to bring Americans home, permit the South Vietnamese to maintain themselves as a free and independent country, and permit democratic forces within the country to operate – which they can, of course, much more freely when the assault from the inside, and which is manipulated from the north, is ended.” He talked about the upcoming Honolulu conference: “How we can bring Americans out of there. That is our object, to bring Americans home.” He said that the exact number of men to be brought home would be determined at the conference, and he added, “I don’t want the United States to have to put troops there.”
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  4. Exit Strategy

    In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam

    James K. Galbraith

    Forty years have passed since November 22, 1963, yet painful mysteries remain. What, at the moment of his death, was John F. Kennedy’s policy toward Vietnam?

    It’s one of the big questions, alternately evaded and disputed over four decades of historical writing. It bears on Kennedy’s reputation, of course, though not in an unambiguous way.

    And today, larger issues are at stake as the United States faces another indefinite military commitment that might have been avoided and that, perhaps, also cannot be won. The story of Vietnam in 1963 illustrates for us the struggle with policy failure. More deeply, appreciating those distant events tests our capacity as a country to look the reality of our own history in the eye.

    One may usefully introduce the issue by recalling the furor over Robert McNamara’s 1995 memoir In Retrospect. Reaction then focused mainly on McNamara’s assumption of personal responsibility for the war, notably his declaration that his own actions as the Secretary of Defense responsible for it were “terribly, terribly wrong.” Reviewers paid little attention to the book’s contribution to history. In an editorial on April 12, 1995, the New York Times delivered a harsh judgment: “Perhaps the only value of “In Retrospect” is to remind us never to forget that these were men who in the full hubristic glow of their power would not listen to logical warning or ethical appeal.” And in the New York Times Book Review four days later, Max Frankel wrote that

    David Halberstam, who applied that ironic phrase [The Best and the Brightest] to his rendering of the tale 23 years ago, told it better in many ways than Mr. McNamara does now. So too, did the Pentagon Papers, that huge trove of documents assembled at Mr. McNamara’s behest when he first recognized a debt to history.
    In view of these criticisms, readers who actually pick up McNamara’s book may experience a shock when they scan the table of contents and sees this summary of Chapter 3, titled “The Fateful Fall of 1963: August 24–November 22, 1963”:
    A pivotal period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, punctuated by three important events: the overthrow and assassination of South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem; President Kennedy’s decision on October 2 to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces; and his assassination fifty days later. (Emphasis added.)
    Kennedy’s decision on October 2, 1963, to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam? Contrary to Frankel, this is not something you will find in Halberstam. You will not find it in Leslie Gelb’s editorial summary in the Gravel edition of The Pentagon Papers, even though several documents that are important to establishing the case for a Kennedy decision to withdraw were published in that edition. Nor, with just three exceptions prior to last spring’s publication of Howard Jones’s Death of a Generation—a milestone in the search for difficult, ferociously hidden truth—will you find it elsewhere in 30 years of historical writing on Vietnam.
    Did John F. Kennedy give the order to withdraw from Vietnam?

    * * *

    Certainly, most Vietnam historians have said “no”—or would have if they considered the question worth posing. They have asserted continuity between Kennedy’s policy and Lyndon Johnson’s, while usually claiming that neither president liked the war and also that Kennedy especially had expressed to friends his desire to get out sometime after the 1964 election.

    The view that Kennedy would have done what Johnson did—stay in Vietnam and gradually escalate the war in 1964 and 1965—is held by left, center, and right, from Noam Chomsky to Kai Bird to William Gibbons. It was promoted forcefully over the years by the late Walt Rostow, beginning in 1967 with a thick compilation for Johnson himself of Kennedy’s public statements on Vietnam policy and continuing into the 1990s. Gibbons’s three-volume study states it this way: “On November 26 [1963], Johnson approved NSAM [National Security Action Memorandum] 273, reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Vietnam and the continuation of Vietnam programs and policies of the Kennedy administration.”

    Equally, Stanley Karnow writes in his Vietnam: A History (1983) that Johnson’s pledge “essentially signaled a continuation of Kennedy’s policy.” Patrick Lloyd Hatcher, while writing extensively on the Saigon coup, makes no mention at all of the Washington discussions following Johnson’s accession three weeks later. Gary Hess offers summary judgment on the policy that Johnson inherited: “To Kennedy and his fellow New Frontiersmen, it was a doctrine of faith that the problems of Vietnam lent themselves to an American solution.”

    Kai Bird’s 1998 biography of McGeorge and William Bundy briefly reviews the discussions of withdrawal reported to have occurred in late 1963 but accepts the general verdict that Kennedy did not intend to quit. So does Fredrik Logevall, whose substantial 1999 book steadfastly insists that the choices Kennedy faced were either escalation or negotiation and did not include withdrawal without negotiation.

    All this (and more) is in spite of evidence to the contrary, advanced over the years by a tiny handful of authors. In 1972 Peter Dale Scott first made the case that Johnson’s NSAM 273—the document that Gibbons relied on in making the case for continuity—was in fact a departure from Kennedy’s policy; his essay appeared in Gravel’s edition of The Pentagon Papers. Arthur M. Schlesinger’s Robert Kennedy and His Times tells in a few tantalizing pages of the “first application” in October 1963 “of Kennedy’s phased withdrawal plan.”

    A more thorough treatment appeared in 1992, with the publication of John M. Newman’s JFK and Vietnam.1 Until his retirement in 1994 Newman was a major in the U.S. Army, an intelligence officer last stationed at Fort Meade, headquarters of the National Security Agency. As an historian, his specialty is deciphering declassified records—a talent he later applied to the CIA’s long-hidden archives on Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Newman’s argument was not a case of “counterfactual historical reasoning,” as Larry Berman described it in an early response.2 It was not about what might have happened had Kennedy lived. Newman’s argument was stronger: Kennedy, he claims, had decided to begin a phased withdrawal from Vietnam, that he had ordered this withdrawal to begin. Here is the chronology, according to Newman:

    (1) On October 2, 1963, Kennedy received the report of a mission to Saigon by McNamara and Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The main recommendations, which appear in Section I(B) of the McNamara-Taylor report, were that a phased withdrawal be completed by the end of 1965 and that the “Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1,000 out of 17,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Vietnam by the end of 1963.” At Kennedy’s instruction, Press Secretary Pierre Salinger made a public announcement that evening of McNamara’s recommended timetable for withdrawal.

    (2) On October 5, Kennedy made his formal decision. Newman quotes the minutes of the meeting that day:

    The President also said that our decision to remove 1,000 U.S. advisors by December of this year should not be raised formally with Diem. Instead the action should be carried out routinely as part of our general posture of withdrawing people when they are no longer needed. (Emphasis added.)
    The passage illustrates two points: (a) that a decision was in fact made on that day, and (b) that despite the earlier announcement of McNamara’s recommendation, the October 5 decision was not a ruse or pressure tactic to win reforms from Diem (as Richard Reeves, among others, has contended3) but a decision to begin withdrawal irrespective of Diem or his reactions.

    (3) On October 11, the White House issued NSAM 263, which states:

    The President approved the military recommendations contained in section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.

    In other words, the withdrawal recommended by McNamara on October 2 was embraced in secret by Kennedy on October 5 and implemented by his order on October 11, also in secret. Newman argues that the secrecy after October 2 can be explained by a diplomatic reason. Kennedy did not want Diem or anyone else to interpret the withdrawal as part of any pressure tactic (other steps that were pressure tactics had also been approved). There was also a political reason: JFK had not decided whether he could get away with claiming that the withdrawal was a result of progress toward the goal of a self-sufficient South Vietnam.

    The alternative would have been to withdraw the troops while acknowledging failure. And this, Newman argues, Kennedy was prepared to do if it became necessary. He saw no reason, however, to take this step before it became necessary. If the troops could be pulled while the South Vietnamese were still standing, so much the better.4 But from October 11 onward the CIA’s reporting changed drastically. Official optimism was replaced by a searching and comparatively realistic pessimism. Newman believes this pessimism, which involved rewriting assessments as far back as the previous July, was a response to NSAM 263. It represented an effort by the CIA to undermine the ostensible rationale of withdrawal with success, and therefore to obstruct implementation of the plan for withdrawal. Kennedy, needless to say, did not share his full reasoning with the CIA.

    (4) On November 1 there came the coup in Saigon and the assassination of Diem and Nhu. At a press conference on November 12, Kennedy publicly restated his Vietnam goals. They were “to intensify the struggle” and “to bring Americans out of there.” Victory, which had figured prominently in a similar statement on September 12, was no longer on the list.

    (5) The Honolulu Conference of senior cabinet and military officials on November 20–21 was called to review plans in the wake of the Saigon coup. The military and the CIA, however, planned to use that meeting to pull the rug from under the false optimism which some had used to rationalize NSAM 263. However, Kennedy did not himself believe that we were withdrawing with victory. It follows that the changing image of the military situation would not have changed JFK’s decision.

    (6) In Honolulu, McGeorge Bundy prepared a draft of what would eventually be NSAM 273. The plan was to present it to Kennedy after the meeting ended. Dated November 21, this draft reflected the change in military reporting. It speaks, for example, of a need to “turn the tide not only of battle but of belief.” Plans to intensify the struggle, however, do not go beyond what Kennedy would have approved: A paragraph calling for actions against the North underscores the role of Vietnamese forces:

    7. With respect to action against North Vietnam, there should be a detailed plan for the development of additional Government of Vietnam resources, especially for sea-going activity, and such planning should indicate the time and investment necessary to achieve a wholly new level of effectiveness in this field of action. (Emphasis added.)
    (7) At Honolulu, a preliminary plan, known as CINCPAC OPLAN 34-63 and later implemented as OPLAN 34A, was prepared for presentation. This plan called for intensified sabotage raids against the North, employing Vietnamese commandos under U.S. control—a significant escalation.5 While JCS chief Taylor had approved preparation of this plan, it had not been shown to McNamara. Tab E of the meeting’s briefing book, also approved by Taylor and also not sent in advance to McNamara, showed that the withdrawal ordered by Kennedy in October was already being gutted, by the device of substituting for the withdrawal of full units that of individual soldiers who were being rotated out of Vietnam in any event.
    (8) The final version of NSAM 273, signed by Johnson on November 26, differs from the draft in several respects. Most are minor changes of wording. The main change is that the draft paragraph 7 has been struck in its entirety (there are two pencil slashes on the November 21 draft), and replaced with the following:

    Planning should include different levels of possible increased activity, and in each instance there be estimates such factors as: A. Resulting damage to North Vietnam; B. The plausibility denial; C. Vietnamese retaliation; D. Other international reaction. Plans submitted promptly for approval by authority.
    The new language is incomplete. It does not begin by declaring outright that the subject is attacks on the North. But the thrust is unmistakable, and the restrictive reference to “Government of Vietnam resources” is now missing. Newman concludes that this change effectively provided new authority for U.S.–directed combat actions against North Vietnam. Planning for these actions began therewith, and we now know that an OPLAN 34A raid in August 1964 provoked the North Vietnamese retaliation against the destroyer Maddox, which became the first Gulf of Tonkin incident. And this in turn led to the confused incident a few nights later aboard the Turner Joy, to reports that it too had been attacked, and to Johnson’s overnight decision to seek congressional support for “retaliation” against North Vietnam. From this, of course, the larger war then flowed.
    * * *
    Read whole article at:
    http://new.bostonreview.net/BR28.5/galbraith.html
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  5. “McNamara then reproduces the precise wording of the military recommendations from Section I(B) of the report:

    We recommend that: [1] General Harkins review with Diem the military changes necessary to complete the military campaign in the Northern and Central areas by the end of 1964, and in the Delta by the end of 1965. [2] A program be established to train Vietnamese so that essential functions now performed by U.S. military personnel can be carried out by Vietnamese by the end of 1965. It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by that time. [3] In accordance with the program to train progressively Vietnamese to take over military functions, the Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.
    The report then went on to make a number of recommendations to “impress upon Diem our disapproval of his political program.” These matters dealt with the repression of the Buddhists and related issues; the recommendation to announce plans to withdraw 1,000 soldiers is not listed under this heading.
    The reason for the ambiguity over the military situation, as well as the vague “it should be possible” wording of the second recommendation, becomes clearer when McNamara describes the National Security Council meeting of October 2, 1963, which revealed a “total lack of consensus” over the battlefield situation:

    One faction believed military progress had been good and training had progressed to the point where we could begin to withdraw. A second faction did not see the war as progressing well and did not see the South Vietnamese showing evidence of successful training. But they, too, agreed that we should begin to withdraw. . . . The third faction, representing the majority, considered the South Vietnamese trainable but believed our training had not been in place long enough to achieve results and, therefore, should continue at current levels.
    As McNamara’s 1986 oral history, on deposit at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, makes clear (but his book does not), he was himself in the second group, who favored withdrawal without victory—not necessarily admitting or even predicting defeat, but accepting uncertainty as to what would follow. The denouement came shortly thereafter:
    After much debate, the president endorsed our recommendation to withdraw 1,000 men by December 31, 1963. He did so, I recall, without indicating his reasoning. In any event, because objections had been so intense and because I suspected others might try to get him to reverse the decision, I urged him to announce it publicly. That would set it in concrete. . . . The president finally agreed, and the announcement was released by Pierre Salinger after the meeting.
    Before a large audience at the LBJ Library on May 1, 1995, McNamara restated his account of this meeting and stressed its importance. He confirmed that President Kennedy’s action had three elements: (1) complete withdrawal “by December 31, 1965,” (2) the first 1,000 out by the end of 1963, and (3) a public announcement, to set these decisions “in concrete,” which was made. McNamara also added the critical information that there exists a tape of this meeting, in the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, to which he had access and on which his account is based.
    The existence of a taping system in JFK’s oval office had become known over the years, particularly through the release of partial transcripts of the historic meeting of the “ExComm” during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. But the full extent of Kennedy’s taping was not known. And, according to McNamara, access to particular tapes was tightly controlled by representatives of the Kennedy family. When McNamara spoke in Austin, only he and his coauthor, Brian VanDeMark, had been granted the privilege of listening to the actual tape recordings of Kennedy’s White House meetings on Vietnam.”
    ~James K. Galbraith
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  6. The May conference thus fills in the primary record: plans were under development for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. On October 2, 1963, as we have previously seen, President Kennedy made clear his determination to implement those plans—to withdraw 1,000 troops by the end of 1963, and to get almost all the rest out by the end of 1965. There followed, on October 4, a memorandum titled “South Vietnam Actions” from General Maxwell Taylor to his fellow Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generals May, Wheeler, Shoup, and Admiral McDonald, that reads:

    b. The program currently in progress to train Vietnamese forces will be reviewed and accelerated as necessary to insure that all essential functions visualized to be required for the projected operational environment, to include those now performed by U.S. military units and personnel, can be assumed properly by the Vietnamese by the end of calendar year 1965. All planning will be directed towards preparing RVN forces for the withdrawal of all U.S. special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965. (Emphasis added.)
    “All planning” is an unconditional phrase. There is no contingency here, or elsewhere in this memorandum. The next paragraph reads:

    c. Execute the plan to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963 per your DTG 212201Z July, and as approved for planning by JCS DTG 062042Z September. Previous guidance on the public affairs annex is altered to the extent that the action will now be treated in low key, as the initial increment of U.S. forces whose presence is no longer required because (a) Vietnamese forces have been trained to assume the function involved; or (b) the function for which they came to Vietnam has been completed. (Emphasis added.)
    This resolves the question of how the initial withdrawal was to be carried out. It was not to be a noisy or cosmetic affair, designed to please either U.S. opinion or to change policies in Saigon. It was rather to be a low-key, matter-of-fact beginning to a process that would play out over the following two years. The final paragraph of Taylor’s memorandum underlines this point by directing that “specific checkpoints will be established now against which progress can be evaluated on a quarterly basis.” There is much more in the JCS documents to show that Kennedy was well aware of the evidence that South Vietnam was, in fact, losing the war. But it hardly matters. The withdrawal decided on was unconditional, and did not depend on military progress or lack of it.

    The Escalation at Kennedy’s Death

    Four days after Kennedy was killed, NSAM 273 incorporated the new president’s directives into policy. It made clear that the objectives of Johnson’s policy remained the same as Kennedy’s: “to assist the people and government of South Vietnam to win their contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy” through training support and without the application of overt U.S. military force. But Johnson had also approved intensified planning for covert action against North Vietnam by CIA-supported South Vietnamese forces.

    With this, McNamara confirms one of Newman’s central claims: NSAM 273 changed policy. Yes, the “central objectives” remained the same: a Vietnamese war with no “overt U.S. military force.” But covert force is still “U.S. military force.” And that was introduced or at least first approved, as McNamara writes, by NSAM 273 within four days of Kennedy’s assassination.Moreover, McNamara effectively supports Newman on the meaning of NSAM 273’s seventh paragraph, which was inserted in the draft (as we have seen) sometime between November 21 and 26—after the Honolulu meeting had adjourned and probably after Kennedy died.

    Conclusion

    John F. Kennedy had formally decided to withdraw from Vietnam, whether we were winning or not. Robert McNamara, who did not believe we were winning, supported this decision. The first stage of withdrawal had been ordered. The final date, two years later, had been specified. These decisions were taken, and even placed, in an oblique and carefully limited way, before the public.”~Ibid
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  7. On October 5, Kennedy made his formal decision. Newman quotes the minutes of the meeting that day:

    The President also said that our decision to remove 1,000 U.S. advisers by December of this year should not be raised formally with Diem. Instead the action should be carried out routinely as part of our general posture of withdrawing people when they are no longer needed. (Emphasis added.)
    The passage illustrates two points: (a) that a decision was in fact made on that day, and (b) that despite the earlier announcement of McNamara’s recommendation, the October 5 decision was not a ruse or pressure tactic to win reforms from Diem (as Richard Reeves, among others, has contended but a decision to begin withdrawal irrespective of Diem or his reactions.)

    On October 11, the White House issued NSAM 263, which states:

    The President approved the military recommendations contained in section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.

    In other words, the withdrawal recommended by McNamara on October 2 was embraced in secret by Kennedy on October 5 and implemented by his order on October 11, also in secret. Newman argues that the secrecy after October 2 can be explained by a diplomatic reason. Kennedy did not want Diem or anyone else to interpret the withdrawal as part of any pressure tactic (other steps that were pressure tactics had also been approved). There was also a political reason: JFK had not decided whether he could get away with claiming that the withdrawal was a result of progress toward the goal of a self-sufficient South Vietnam.

    The alternative would have been to withdraw the troops while acknowledging failure. And this, Newman argues, Kennedy was prepared to do if it became necessary. He saw no reason, however, to take this step before it became necessary. If the troops could be pulled while the South Vietnamese were still standing, so much the better. But from October 11 onward the CIA’s reporting changed drastically. Official optimism was replaced by a searching and comparatively realistic pessimism. Newman believes this pessimism, which involved rewriting assessments as far back as the previous July, was a response to NSAM 263. It represented an effort by the CIA to undermine the ostensible rationale of withdrawal with success, and therefore to obstruct implementation of the plan for withdrawal. Kennedy, needless to say, did not share his full reasoning with the CIA.
    http://new.bostonreview.net/BR28.5/galbraith.html
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  8. Kennedy’s Planned Vietnam Pullout
    This is a selection, pp. 124-127 of James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable

    Mansfield cautioned Kennedy against trying to win a war in support of an unpopular government by “a truly massive commitment of American military personnel and other resources — in short going to war fully ourselves against the guerrillas — and the establishment of some form of neocolonial rule in South Vietnam.” To continue the president’s policy, Mansfield warned, may “draw us inexorably into some variation of the unenviable position in Vietnam which was formerly occupied by the French.”
    Kennedy was stunned by his friend’s critique. He was again confronted by his own first understanding of Vietnam, shared first by Edmund Gullion, repeated by John Kenneth Galbraith, and now punched back into his consciousness by Mike Mansfield.

    The Senate Majority Leader’s comparison between the French rule and JFK’s policy stung the president. But the more Kennedy thought about Mansfield’s challenging words, the more they struck him as the truth — a truth he didn’t want to accept but had to. He summed up his reaction to the Mansfield report by a razor-sharp comment on himself, made to aide Kenny O’Donnell: “I got angry with Mike for disagreeing with our policy so completely, and I got angry with myself because I found myself agreeing with him.”
    By accepting the truth of Mansfield’s critique of an increasingly disastrous policy, JFK turned a corner on Vietnam. Just as Ambassador Winthrop Brown’s honest analysis had helped turn Kennedy toward a new policy in Laos, so did Mike Mansfield’s critical report return him to an old truth on Vietnam. A little noted characteristic of John Kennedy, perhaps remarkable in a U.S. president, was his ability to listen and learn.
    Isaiah Berlin, the British philosopher, once observed of Kennedy: “I’ve never known a man who listened to every single word that one uttered more attentively. And he replied always very relevantly. He didn’t obviously have ideas in his own mind which he wanted to expound, or for which he simply used one’s own talk as an occasion, as a sort of launching pad. He really listened to what one said and answered that.”
    […]
    As Mansfield knew, Kennedy was in fact changing his mind in favor of a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam. However, JFK thought such a policy would never be carried out by any of his possible opponents in the 1964 election, and that its announcement now would block his own reelection. Neither of the two most likely Republican presidential candidates, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller or Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, had any tolerance whatsoever for a possible withdrawal from Vietnam. In the context of 1963 presidential Cold War politics, a Vietnam withdrawal was the unthinkable. President John F. Kennedy was not only thinking the unthinkable. He was on the verge of doing it. But he wanted to be able to do it — by being reelected president. So he lied to the public about what he was thinking.
    Kennedy made all this explicit in a conversation with Mike Mansfield. It happened in the spring of 1963 after Mansfield again criticized the president on Vietnam, this time at a White House breakfast attended by the leading members of Congress. Kennedy was annoyed by the criticism before colleagues, but invited Mansfield into his office to talk about Vietnam. Kenny O’Donnell, who sat in on part of their meeting, has described it:
    “The President told Mansfield that he had been having serious second thoughts about Mansfield’s argument and that he now agreed with the Senator’s thinking on the need for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam.

    ”’But I can’t do it until 1965 — after I’m reelected,’ Kennedy told Mansfield.
    “President Kennedy explained, and Mansfield agreed with him, that if he announced a withdrawal of American military personnel from Vietnam before the 1964 election, there would be a wild conservative outcry against returning him to the Presidency for a second term.
    “After Mansfield left the office, the President said to me, ‘In 1965, I’ll become one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. I’ll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don’t care. If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m reelected. So we had better make damned sure that I am reelected.”‘

    Nevertheless, to government insiders, Kennedy began to tip his hand. In preparation for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam by 1965, the president wanted to initiate the decision-making process in 1963. Yet he still didn’t even have the plan for withdrawal he had asked his military leaders, through McNamara, to draw up a year ago.
    Finally, at the May 6, 1963, SECDEF Conference in Honolulu, the Pacific Command presented the president’s long-sought plan. However, McNamara immediately had to reject its extended time line, which was so slow that U.S. numbers would not even reach a minimum level until fiscal year 1966.164 The Defense Secretary said he wanted the pace revised “to speed up replacement of U.S. units by GVN units as fast as possible.”

    The May 1963 meeting in Honolulu took place one month before Kennedy would give his American University address. It is in the context of that dawning light of peace in the spring of 1963, when Kennedy and Khrushchev were about to begin their rapprochement, that McNamara again shocked his military hierarchy on Vietnam. He ordered them to begin an actual U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam that fall. As the Pentagon Papers described this change of tide, McNamara “decided that 1,000 U.S. military personnel should be withdrawn from South Vietnam by the end of Calendar Year 63 and directed that concrete plans be so drawn Up.”

    McNamara’s startling order would be met with more resistance by the Joint Chiefs. They saw where Kennedy was going, on Vietnam as on the Cold War in general. They were not going to go there with him.
    The Diem government in South Vietnam was alarmed by the Mansfield report, as the U.S. government knew. Diem’s brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, whom Mansfield had singled out for criticism, understood precisely what the report meant. As a State Department memorandum noted, “The reaction [to the Mansfield report] within the GVN [Government of Vietnam], particularly at the higher levels, has been sharp. We are informed by Saigon that the GVN, and in particular Counselor Ngo Dinh Nhu, sees the report as a possible prelude to American withdrawal.”
    http://www.proudprimate.com/resources/jfk_124-7.htm
    \\][//

  9. https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v01/d227 — McNamara – 1961
    . . . . . . .
    The first meeting on Vietnam, and Kennedy is obviously dubious:
    https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v01/d3 — Landsdale Report – 1961

    The President remarked that if the situation in Viet-Nam was now so serious he wondered why the recruitment of troops and the training of police, who could become effective only a year or two hence, would be of any use. He also wondered why, if there were only 10,000 guerrillas, an increase from 150 to 170,000 in the army was necessary.
    . . .
    Mr. Allen Dulles emphasized the need for speed and for doing those things which would increase immediately the anti-guerrilla capability in Viet-Nam. With Mr. Durbrow he also mentioned the limited efforts being made to produce South Vietnamese guerrillas capable of harassing the north Vietnamese.
    . . . . .
    \\][//

      • A Special Operation Part II

        The Existence of a High Cabal or Power Elite

        Ratcliffe: You write in the Freedom magazine articles [which became the initial “raw material” for the 1992 JFK book] about this High Cabal (others have called them the Power Elite or the Cryptocracy): this group that people like Buckminster Fuller and Winston Churchill have referred to as very real and influential existing largely behind the scenes. We were discussing the other day the significance of the philosophy that derived from knowing that the world was finite, with the explorations of Magellan, who wanted to keep going west to see what he would find — and how such knowledge formed institutions like the Haileybury College and then the British East India Trade Company. Can you reiterate that marvelous description — your sense of this changing world view once it was known that the world was no longer flat, that it was a closed unit.
        Prouty: There is no shortage of experienced writers who, for various reasons, allude repeatedly to, I like Churchill’s term best, a “High Cabal.” This is attributed to Churchill by Lord Denning in his very good book, A Family Affair. Lord Denning corresponds to our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the senior law officer in the United Kingdom. In the book he recounts a story about World War II and the heavy bombardment in England and in Europe. Denning states that his brother, who was an officer with British Naval Intelligence, was working on duty late at night in an underground subterranean area that was between Ten Downing Street and an underground shelter where Churchill used to stay during bombing attacks. The Navy, being as alert as ever, stocked this area where Commander Denning was working, with a few high-quality bottles of brandy.

        When, on many occasions, Churchill would walk through their office, the Commander would invite the Prime Minister to sit down and have a brandy. One particular night, after there had been a heavy bombardment on London, and they knew that Rotterdam was under attack, Churchill was sitting there sipping his brandy and he said, almost as if speaking to himself, “You know, an all-out battle on land, and heavy battles in the sea, and this total bombardment over Rotterdam and over London, the High Cabal is operating here”. And he referred to this being the wishes of the High Cabal. Now unfortunately, Lord Denning doesn’t go any further with the reminiscences of his brother. But maybe they didn’t go any further. Maybe Churchill just said that much.

        I was at the Cairo Conference, where Churchill was. I was in his group; I was close enough to directly witness some of what was going on. I flew the British staff officers back and forth from where some of them stayed in Palestine during the Cairo Conference and talked with them a lot about the progress of the conference. Later I was at the Teheran Conference, where Churchill was. I lived across the street from Churchill when he was convalescing. (After these conferences he had a case of pneumonia in Marrakesh, Morocco.) Now I can’t say that Churchill was any intimate of mine, but I was close enough to observe people that worked with him, and the military people who worked for him. I talked with them a lot. And we had the feeling that Churchill, certainly, is a senior person (as was Roosevelt, as was Stalin) in the world, but that there seems to be a level that maybe he listens to. Maybe this is what Denning was referring to — because Churchill describes a High Cabal.

        http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/USO/chp3_p2.html
        \\][//

  10. 194. National Security Action Memorandum No. 263

    Washington, October 11, 1963.

    TO
    Secretary of State
    Secretary of Defense
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
    SUBJECT
    South Vietnam
    At a meeting on October 5, 1963,2 the President considered the recommendations contained in the report of Secretary McNamara and General Taylor on their mission to South Vietnam.

    The President approved the military recommendations contained in Section I B (1-3) of the report, but directed that no formal announcement be made of the implementation of plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.

    After discussion of the remaining recommendations of the report, the President approved an instruction to Ambassador Lodge which is set forth in State Department telegram No. 534 to Saigon.3

    McGeorge Bundy
    https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v04/d194
    \\][//

  11. Featured
    Missing Church Committee Transcripts

    With the National Archives’ planned 2017 release of some 3600 postponed JFK records, attention has been focused on what will be in these new releases, and also what known records will remain “missing.” Important among these are currently-withheld documents of the Church Committee, the Senate committee which in the mid-1970s conducted the most wide-ranging congressional review of U.S. intelligence agencies in our nation’s history, and also conducted a probe into these agencies’ response after the JFK assassination.

    Church Committee Documents Scheduled for Release in 2017
    The documents scheduled for October 2017 release includes 26 Church Committee records currently withheld in full, listed below.

    httpThe ARRB and Missing Church Committee Records
    This list is unfortunately short. It appears that a number of JFK-related Church Committee records have “gone missing,” perhaps permanently so. This problem was known to the Assassination Records Review Board. Master researcher Malcolm Blunt provided the MFF with pages copied from the files of ARRB staffer Ronald G. Haron; these 114 pages include memos discussing the problem of missing files, in particular interview transcripts.

    Excerpt from 1996 ARRB memo reviewing history of
    efforts to obtain Church Committee files
    Haron’s files include a July 1996 memo from AARB staffer Joe Freeman to Counsel Jeremy Gunn discussing the failure to obtain from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [SSCI] “numerous testimonies referenced in Volume 5 of the Church Committee Report…not present in the Church Committee’s files at NARA II”.
    Also in Haron’s files is a 9-page inventory of what the ARRB had obtained by August 1997, followed by a 5-page list of what was still unobtained by that time.
    A later handwritten history noted that in January 1998 the ARRB “received 16 items of testimony” not previously provided, but the following month “identified 75 key items of testimony still absent. That same month they received “an additional 15 items.” Two pages later in the hardwritten note “What We Still Need” lists the following (partial) set of what was still missing:
    The ARRB’s files obtained from Malcolum Blunt, 114 pages in all, are fascinating reading for those interested in the AARB’s processes and limitations in obtaining relevant JFK records for release.
    View ARRB staffer Haron files
    Key FBI officials involved in the Kennedy assassinaton at HQ, WMFO, including Alex Rose and Wiliam Sullivan [7 FBI in total]
    George Bush, the CIA Director in 1976
    John McCone, former CIA Director
    CIA officials who worked on the Kennedy investigation
    CIA officials who worked with Desmond Fitzgerald, who was involved with the Castro assass. plots
    Lawrence Houston, CIA General Counsel
    John Sherman Cooper, WC [Warren Commission] member
    Robert McNamara, Sec of Defense
    Douglas Dillon, Sec of Treasury

    In late June of 1998, after receipt of additional transcripts in January and February and just a few months before the AARB closed up shop, the “Status of Church Committee Records” showed that some of these had been received, and a few of those had been declared NBR (Not Believed Relevant), including two interviews with CIA Counterintelligence chief James Angleton!

    ARRB Final Report, p. 164
    But most of the roughly 60 transcripts still missing in February 1998 apparently never made into the ARRB’s hands.. The AARB acknowledged the problem in its Final Report, noting that after initially being notified of missing records, “For approximately two years, the SSCI did not explain or rectify this crucial gap in the records provided to NARA.” The ARRB then obtained direct access to “all 450 boxes of original Church Committee files” and “inspected all the original files…However, the hard copy of testimony cited in the JFK Assassination Report was not among the materials” (only microfilmed copies of some of them). The compliance section of the AARB’s Report concluded “At the time of this Report, the SSCI coud not explain the absence of these original transcripts (and perhaps accompanying materials) relating to the Kennedy assassination.”
    //www.maryferrell.org/pages/Featured_Missing_Church_Committee_Transcripts.html
    \\][//

  12. CHAPTER ONE
    A Cold Warrior Turns

    The following is a segment of Jim Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable – Why He Died and Why It Matters.
    http://www.orbisbooks.com/chapters/978-1-57075-755-6.pdf

    Another segment of Jim Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable:

    “For over thirty years a transcript of one of those “top secret” executive session meetings (January 22, 1964) has been in existence. This particular transcript dealt principally with an alleged “dirty rumor” that Oswald had been an agent of some federal agency, notably the FBI. It was at the January 22nd executive meeting that Allen Dulles opined: “I think this record ought to be destroyed.” Another
    Commission member, Hale Boggs, nervously restated the case when he said plaintively, “I don’t even like to see this taken down.”
    Five days after these jarring sentiments were expressed another meeting was held (Jan. 27, 1964) expanding on the earlier meeting.
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/PG/PGintro.html

    \\][//

  13. Willy Whitten — May 21, 2016 at 9:01 am

    “More to the point, what “authority” was making this particular argument?”~Jeremy Gilbert

    It is blatantly obvious Mr Gilbert!

    The Warren Commission concluded that there were only three shots fired, all from the 6th floor window of the TSBD, ergo; the Warren Commission was the authority making this particular argument.

    You anticipate my answer with this spurious attempt at a caveat:

    “their CONCLUSION may match, but I am arriving at it from a different place, which negates your contention of an “argument from authority” — That “different place” you speak of is an example of your disingenuous mode of rhetoric. You can only ‘negate’ the obvious with what is obviously simple BULLSHIT.

    “And, while you are at it, you can explain the meaning of this: “You are interested in me explaining back to you your straw-man argument…” `Ibid

    That means that you are arguing against an argument you claim I am making, which I am in fact not making, ergo: you are arguing against yourself.

    Last point: you ask, “On what basis do we reject what 95% of witnesses reported on the number of shots”, the basis is that it is ‘argumentum ad populum’ – the third logical fallacy you have used in your entirely fallacious arguments here.

    It is bad enough Mr Gilbert, to ignorantly use fallacious argumentation, but it is worse when you are obviously disingenuous in such application – as shown in your remark, “their CONCLUSION may match…”
    This is ludicrous argumentation you are using here sir. You know what ‘ludicrous’ means don’t you Mr Gilbert? It means you are playing games:

    Ludi (Latin plural) were public games held for the benefit and entertainment of the Roman people (populus Romanus). Ludi were held in conjunction with, or sometimes as the major feature of, Roman religious festivals, and were also presented as part of the cult of state.” ~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludi

    \\][//
    http://jfkfacts.org/whats-judgment-rush-judgment/#comment-877615
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Argumentum ad populum
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

    • Rhetorician
      noun
      an expert in formal rhetoric.
      a speaker whose words are primarily intended to impress or persuade.
      \\][//

  14. CIA LOSING CHIEF FOR COVERT ACTIONS
    ‎http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C03E5DB123BE334BC4051DFB266838D669EDE
    New York Times – Apr 28, 1976
    William E. Nelson, deputy director for operations, confirmed that he announced h( s plans to retire at a staff meeting on Monday, the same day the committee report was made public. … “It’s a coincidence,” Mr. Nelson, 5b years old, said.

    W. E. NELSON WEDS MISS 11/[. P. O’OIALLEN; Graduate of …
    ‎http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C03E1D9133DE03ABC4D52DFB3668382659EDE
    New York Times – May 15, 1949
    … brothel-s of the bride; Philip A. Fendig of Washington, Gardner Cunningham of Princeton, NJ, David Schirmer of iN ew York and Andrew E. Rice of Milwaukee.

    Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy …
    https://books.google.com/books?id=6hdGAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT84&lpg=PT84&dq=latimes.com+Fluor+Corp+%22William+E+Nelson%22&source=bl&ots=8kxLHXWp8z&sig=dn7GIGWfZyNU06xGUUHzVflfj6E&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8gqPrxO7MAhWMox4KHVwVAOIQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=latimes.com%20Fluor%20Corp%20%22William%20E%20Nelson%22&f=false
    Nick Schou – 2009 – ‎Biography & Autobiography
    The factthat Lister—just a“con artist” inthe words ofthe LA Times—was on speaking … All I know is that this supposed contact of his was workingatthe Fluor Corp., … David Cornofthe Nation magazine had interviewed William E.Nelson for his …

    https://books.google.com/books?id=qARNBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT245&lpg=PT245&dq=william+earl+nelson+fluor&source=bl&ots=TkDbEz08SP&sig=ldEAV6K1BPqM3NcYgiBgydW255I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNvovYtO7MAhXGlx4KHegRC24Q6AEIODAD#v=onepage&q=william%20earl%20nelson%20fluor&f=false
    Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion
    By Gary Webb
    …….
    But the most intriguing name on Lister’s list was at the very top of it: Bill Nelson. “Lister said that Bill Nelson was a A.S.I.S. member, which he said stands for the American Society of Industrial Security. Lister said that Nelson was security director for the Fleur [sic] Corporation,” the detectives’ report said.
    William Earl Nelson was far more than that, but Lister didn’t elaborate, and the detectives didn’t push him. Had they done so, they might have gotten a better idea about why the FBI’s files on Lister would still be classified eleven years later. Before becoming Fluor Corporation’s vice president for security and adminisgtration, Bill Nelson had been CIA’s deputy director of operations–the head spook–the man in charge of all CIA covert operations around the world from 1973 to 1976. A Fluor spokeswoman initially denied to journalist Nick Schou that Nelson had been affiliated with Fluor until Schou confronted her with documentary evidence of the employment there. Only then did she admit it, saying Nelson had worked at Fluor from 1977 to 1985. A former CIA officer, John Vandeworker, confirmed to Schou that Nelson and Lister knew each other. Apparently, when Lister was running out to Fluor’s headquarters in 1982 and 1983, it was Bill Nelson with whom he was meeting–“Ron’s big CIA contact,” as Lister’s former office director, Chris Moore, decribed him. They didn’t get much bigger than Nelson, a protege of former CIA director William Colby. A native of New York, Nelson had been a CIA officer since 1948, serving under a varietty of military and State Department covers, mostly in the Far East. Japanese newspapers exposed him as CIA after they learned he was asking travelers to the Soviet Union to literally dig up dirt around Russian missile bases. As head of covert operations, Nelson oversaw the CIA’s controversial destabilization program in Chile, which resulted in the overthrow and murder of Chile’s elected president, socialist Salvador Allende. Later, Nelson commanded ‘Operation Feature,’…..
    http://jfkfacts.org/hardway-declaration-cia-stonewalled-jfk-investigation/#comment-877828
    \\][//

  15. As per Bowers testimony to Lane of seeing a flash of light near the Grassy Knoll pavillion:
    Muzzle flash, Real Vs. movie

    The first real muzzle flash shots are in a very well lit room.
    \\][//

      • Patrolman Joe Smith rushed into the parking lot behind the fence. He smelled gunpowder. FLASHBACK TO: the picket fence area where, with his gun drawn, Smith rushes across to a man standing by a car who reacts quickly, producing credentials. … and Firearms], customs, border patrol, reserve police, deputy sheriffs, etc.

        Motorcycle cop Bobby Hargis, who was riding alongside the President’s car, said ‘ … I was … Why, you can smell the gunpowder … right there in the street.’ …… one shooter behind the Picket fence.

        Earle V. Brown was a Dallas cop who was stationed on the railroad overpass that crossed the Stemmons Freeway. By his own estimation he was about 100 yards from the Triple Underpass.

        Mr. BROWN. You know, actually off to the — between us and the, this overpass you are talking about there’s kind of a levee along there. It’s really a grade of the railroad, is what it is; that’s where they were and then I heard these shots and then I smelled this gun powder.
        Mr. BALL. You did?
        Mr. BROWN. It come on it would be maybe a couple minutes later so — at least it smelled like it to me.

        Senator Yarbrough comments on smelling gun smoke from the knoll.

        https://riversong.wordpress.com/the-jfk-assassination-inconsistencies/
        \\][//

  16. DOCUMENT 2
    State-Saigon Cable 243, August 24, 1963

    SOURCE: JFKL: JFKP: National Security File: Meetings & Memoranda series, box 316, folder: Meetings on Vietnam 8/24/63-8/31/63

    This is the notorious “Hilsman Cable,” drafted by Assistant Secretary of state For Far Eastern Affairs Roger A. Hilsman in response to a repeated contact between General Don and Conein on August 23. The U.S. government position generally supported action to unseat Ngo Dinh Nhu and if Diem’s departure were necessary to reach that goal, so be it. Hilsman’s stronger formulation of that position in this cable was drafted while President Kennedy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, and CIA director McCone were all out of town. Though the cable had the proper concurrences by their deputies or staff, the principals were converted by officials who opposed the Hilsman pro-coup policy. Much of the rest of August 1963 was taken up by the U.S. government trying to take back the coup support expressed in this cable while, out of concern for the U.S. image with the South Vietnamese generals, without seeming to do so.

    http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB101/
    \\][//

  17. Vietnam: A Television History; America’s Mandarin (1954 – 1963); Interview with Roger Hilsman, 1981

    05/11/1981
    Roger Hilsman worked in the Kennedy Administration, first as director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and then as the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs. He was criticized for drafting a cable on behalf of President Kennedy to the American Ambassador to South Vietnam instructing the Ambassador to give direct support to the opponents of President Ngo Dinh Diem. He describes the Kennedy White House as youthful and confident but shaken when Soviet Premier Khrushchev announced his support for insurgencies around the world. He says this announcement paved the way for the US counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam. Hilsman says he tried to convince Kennedy that the way to fight guerillas was with guerillas themselves. He also recounts Kennedy’s distaste for sending American troops into Vietnam. He describes meeting with South Vietnamese leadership in the early 1960’s, the mixed signals they received, and a lack of political support for their policies. He says Kennedy was desperate to get America out of Vietnam.

    http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6A42A930901C49978A9A42D75E388826
    \\][//

    • “I was doing a TV show to Australia, live, night before last. And there was a man from Los Angeles talking about the subject [JFK and Vietnam], and, my word he hadn’t even read this stuff. At the end of the show the man from Australia–the host of the show–asked me, “What do think is going to be the value of opening the files with respect to the Kennedy murder?” And I said, “Well I can’t see it being worth a darn. Here we are listening to people who haven’t even cracked the books that are opened, and if they have, they don’t understand what’s in them. I don’t see that this will make a damn bit of difference. If people aren’t going to read books that are available, why talk about reading books that aren’t available?” This is the key to the subject if people don’t read the stuff–now you’ve got this, you can see that 263 is all spelled out. All of the meetings that were held–there were over 50 meetings held before NSAM 263 was published. Well, here are these clowns that are professors in college, important writers in big magazines, and they haven’t even read this stuff.”~Fletcher Prouty – 1992
      http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/FRUSintro.html
      \\][//

  18. Kennedy’s Planned Vietnam Pullout
    This is a selection, pp. 124-127 of James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable

    “Mansfield cautioned Kennedy against trying to win a war in support of an unpopular government by “a truly massive commitment of American military personnel and other resources — in short going to war fully ourselves against the guerrillas — and the establishment of some form of neocolonial rule in South Vietnam.”154 To continue the president’s policy, Mansfield warned, may “draw us inexorably into some variation of the unenviable position in Vietnam which was formerly occupied by the French.”155
    Kennedy was stunned by his friend’s critique. He was again confronted by his own first understanding of Vietnam, shared first by Edmund Gullion, repeated by John Kenneth Galbraith, and now punched back into his consciousness by Mike Mansfield. The Senate Majority Leader’s comparison between the French rule and JFK’s policy stung the president. But the more Kennedy thought about Mansfield’s challenging words, the more they struck him as the truth — a truth he didn’t want to accept but had to. He summed up his reaction to the Mansfield report by a razor-sharp comment on himself, made to aide Kenny O’Donnell: “I got angry with Mike for disagreeing with our policy so completely, and I got angry with myself because I found myself agreeing with him.” 156
    By accepting the truth of Mansfield’s critique of an increasingly disastrous policy, JFK turned a corner on Vietnam. Just as Ambassador Winthrop Brown’s honest analysis had helped turn Kennedy toward a new policy in Laos, so did Mike Mansfield’s critical report return him to an old truth on Vietnam. A little noted characteristic of John Kennedy, perhaps remarkable in a U.S. president, was his ability to listen and learn.
    Isaiah Berlin, the British philosopher, once observed of Kennedy: “I’ve never known a man who listened to every single word that one uttered more attentively. And he replied always very relevantly. He didn’t obviously have ideas in his own mind which he wanted to expound, or for which he simply used one’s own talk as an occasion, as a sort of launching pad. He really listened to what one said and answered that.” 157
    The way John Kenneth Galbraith put it was: “The President faced a speaker with his wide gray-blue eyes and total concentration. So also a paper or an article. And, so far as one could tell, once it was his it was his forever.”158
    Mike Mansfield said of Kennedy’s response to his critique: “President Kennedy didn’t waste words. He was pretty sparse with his language. But it was not unusual for him to shift position. There is no doubt that he had shifted definitely and unequivocally on Vietnam but he never had the chance to put the plan into effect.” 159
    Kennedy was now on the alert to remove any obstacles from the way to a future withdrawal from Vietnam. On January 25, 1963, he phoned Roger Hilsman, the head of State Department intelligence, at his home to complain about a front-page box in the New York Times on a U.S. general visiting Vietnam. In what Hilsman remembered as “decidedly purple language”160 Kennedy took him to task. He ordered Hilsman to stop military visits that seemed to increase the U.S. commitment in Vietnam.
    Kennedy said, “That is exactly what I don’t want to do. Remember Laos,” he emphasized. “The United States must keep a low profile in Vietnam so we can negotiate its neutralization like we did in Laos.” 161
    After listening to the angry president, Hilsman pointed out that he had no authority as a State Department officer to deny a Pentagon general permission to visit Vietnam.
    “Oh,” said Kennedy and slammed down the phone. That afternoon the president issued National Security Action Memorandum Number 217, forbidding “high ranking military and civilian personnel” from going to South Vietnam without being cleared by the State Department office where Hilsman worked.162 This action by JFK, reining in the military’s travel to Vietnam, for the sake of a neutralization policy, did not please the Pentagon.
    Even as Kennedy turned toward a withdrawal from Vietnam, he continued to say publicly that he was opposed to just such a change in policy. At his March 6, 1963, press conference, a reporter asked him to comment on Mansfield’s recommendation for a reduction in aid to the Far East.
    The president responded: “I don’t see how we are going to be able, unless we are going to pull out of Southeast Asia and turn it over to the Communists, how we are going to be able to reduce very much our economic programs and military programs in South Viet-Nam, in Cambodia, in Thailand … ”
    As Mansfield knew, Kennedy was in fact changing his mind in favor of a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam. However, JFK thought such a policy would never be carried out by any of his possible opponents in the 1964 election, and that its announcement now would block his own reelection. Neither of the two most likely Republican presidential candidates, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller or Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, had any tolerance whatsoever for a possible withdrawal from Vietnam. In the context of 1963 presidential Cold War politics, a Vietnam withdrawal was the unthinkable. President John F. Kennedy was not only thinking the unthinkable. He was on the verge of doing it. But he wanted to be able to do it — by being reelected president. So he lied to the public about what he was thinking.
    Kennedy made all this explicit in a conversation with Mike Mansfield. It happened in the spring of 1963 after Mansfield again criticized the president on Vietnam, this time at a White House breakfast attended by the leading members of Congress. Kennedy was annoyed by the criticism before colleagues, but invited Mansfield into his office to talk about Vietnam. Kenny O’Donnell, who sat in on part of their meeting, has described it:
    “The President told Mansfield that he had been having serious second thoughts about Mansfield’s argument and that he now agreed with the Senator’s thinking on the need for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam.

    ”’But I can’t do it until 1965 — after I’m reelected,’ Kennedy told Mansfield.
    “President Kennedy explained, and Mansfield agreed with him, that if he announced a withdrawal of American military personnel from Vietnam before the 1964 election, there would be a wild conservative outcry against returning him to the Presidency for a second term.
    “After Mansfield left the office, the President said to me, ‘In 1965, I’ll become one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. I’ll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don’t care. If I tried to pull out completely now from Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m reelected. So we had better make damned sure that I am reelected.”‘163
    Nevertheless, to government insiders, Kennedy began to tip his hand. In preparation for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam by 1965, the president wanted to initiate the decision-making process in 1963. Yet he still didn’t even have the plan for withdrawal he had asked his military leaders, through McNamara, to draw up a year ago.”

    http://www.proudprimate.com/resources/jfk_124-7.htm
    \\][//

    • 42. Paper Prepared by the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman)
      Washington, February 2, 1962.
      A STRATEGIC CONCEPT FOR SOUTH VIETNAM
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Hilsman plan was to teach the South Vietnamese to fight a guerrilla war against the guerrilla war being waged against them by the Việt Minh. Hilsman was experienced and qualified in jungle warfare, and knew that conventional warfare was ineffective in such situations.

      This is exactly the type of plan that the ‘old guard’ Joint Chiefs of Staff deplored. It is exactly the type of plan the US industrialists deplored, for obvious reasons.

      But this was exactly the type of plan that that Kennedy wanted, so he could withdraw militarily from Southeast Asia and find a diplomatic solution.
      \\][//

  19. The Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War (1971)
    Peter Dale Scott

    ” With respect to events in November 1963, the bias and deception of the original Pentagon documents are considerably reinforced in the Pentagon studies commissioned by Robert McNamara. Nowhere is this deception more apparent than in the careful editing and censorship of the Report of a Honolulu Conference on November 20, 1963, and of National Security Action Memorandum 273, which was approved four days later. Study after study is carefully edited so as to create a false illusion of continuity between the last two days of President Kennedy’s presidency and the first two days of President Johnson’s. The narrow division of the studies into topics, as well as periods, allows some studies to focus on the “optimism”[1] which led to plans for withdrawal on November 20 and 24, 1963; and others on the “deterioration” and “gravity”[2] which at the same meetings led to plans for carrying the war north. These incompatible pictures of continuous “optimism” or “deterioration” are supported generally by selective censorship, and occasionally by downright misrepresentation.”

    http://www.history-matters.com/essays/vietnam/KennedyVietnam1971/KennedyVietnam1971.htm
    \\][//

  20. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Volume IV, Vietnam August-December 1963
    –published by the U.S. GPO in 1991.

    The following documents are currently included here:
    194. National Security Action Memorandum No. 263

    this is the 10/11/63 NSAM that recorded JFK’s approval of withdrawing 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963, as well as other recommendations from the Taylor/McNamara Memo (document #167, 10/2/63, listed below) which included withdrawal of “the bulk of U.S. personnel by . . . the end of 1965.”

    167. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff (Taylor) and the Secretary of Defense (McNamara)
    to the President

    NSAM #263 (document #194, above) approves Section I B (1-3) of this Memorandum created as a result of the Taylor/McNamara trip to South Vietnam in late September-beginning of October.

    169. Summary Record of the 519th Meeting of the National
    Security Council, White House, Washington, October 2,
    1963, 6 p.m.

    More background on the policy decision made in light of the Taylor/McNamara Report presented to JFK earlier in the day.

    170. Record of Action No. 2472, Taken at the 519th Meeting of
    the National Security Council, Washington, October 2, 1963

    NSC confirmation of the endorsements made by JFK of the Taylor/ McNamara Report.

    179. Memorandum for the Files of a Conference With the
    President, White House, Washington, October 5, 1963

    NSAM #263 directly refers to this Memorandum.

    181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
    Vietnam

    NSAM #263 directly refers to this Telegram.

    331. National Security Action Memorandum No. 273

    this is the 11/26/63 NSAM that initiated LBJ’s alteration of the plans JFK had been implementing for the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.

    321. Memorandum of Discussion at the Special Meeting on
    Vietnam, Honolulu, November 20, 1963

    NSAM #273 is purported to have grown out of the discussion that took place in Honolulu on 11/20/63 with the majority of the Kennedy cabinet in attendance.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Today in the major media, the mouthpieces for the lords of the official reality consortium are constantly complaining about how Oliver Stone is engaged in flights of fantasy when he says that JFK was beginning the process of getting the United States out of Vietnam by the time he was murdered. They misinform and disinform the public when they claim there is no such record of this, and that no one can really say what Kennedy was planning to do. They are either ignorant of what is available in the public record–indicating unequivocably and precisely what JFK was planning to do–or they are aware of the documentation but are willfully and actively engaged in a campaign to keep the public ignorant about the documents that already have been released.
    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/FRUSintro.html
    \\][//

  21. FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1961–1963, VOLUME I, VIETNAM, 1961

    I. Visit of General Edward G. Lansdale to Vietnam January 2-14, 1961
    1. Paper Prepared by the Country Team Staff Committee

    1. Paper Prepared by the Country Team Staff Committee1
    Saigon, [January 4, 1961.]
    The plan consisted of a table of contents, the basic plan, 3 annexes, 15 appendices, and 5 tabs. Only the basic plan is printed here. For the draft plan transmitted to Saigon in 1960, see Def 982994, September 16, Foreign Relations, 1958-1960, vol. I, p. 572. In despatch 486, Ambassador Durbrow commented that a number of the indispensable recommendations would “probably not be particularly palatable” to the Government of Vietnam, especially certain political actions and ideas about military-civilian relationships. The Ambassador completed his comments by stating that consideration should be given to what steps “we are prepared to take to encourage, or if necessary to force, acceptance of all essential elements of the plan.”

    Throughout January the Embassy in Saigon transmitted minor changes in the plan, especially in the summary table of costs. These messages are in Department of State, Central File 751K.5-MSP.

    BASIC COUNTERINSURGENCY PLAN FOR VIET-NAM
    https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v01/d1

    https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v01/ch1
    \\][//

  22. JFK, Vietnam, and Oliver Stone

    Gary Aguilar
    November, 2005

    Oliver Stone would scarcely have elicited more righteous indignation by lecturing Baptist ministers on the evils of Christianity than he did among journalists and historians by releasing his popular film JFK. Pundits by the pack bristled at Stone’s contempt for the Warren Commission. One of the outrages that provoked particular vehemence was Stone’s revisionist representation of Kennedy as a president who threatened The Establishment because he would not have taken the country to war over Vietnam. But the outcry wasn’t just about his bad history. It had at least as much to do with the director’s chutzpah in trespassing onto turf owned by career journalists and historians.

    In the Washington Post, George Will called JFK a “three hour lie from an intellectual sociopath.”[1] Noam Chomsky dedicated an entire book – “Rethinking Camelot” – to debunking Stone’s notion that under Kennedy the history of Southeast Asia would have been altogether kinder and gentler.[2] Leslie Gelb sneered from the pages of the New York Times that the “torments” of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson over Vietnam “are not to be trifled with by Oliver Stone or anyone.”[3] A banner headline on the cover of Newsweek barked: “Why Oliver Stone’s New Movie Can’t Be Trusted.”[4]

    Stone’s crackpot history had apparently imperiled the public not only by throwing mud at perhaps America’s most respected murder investigation, but also by rewriting American history to push his leftist, anti-American agenda. The message was that there was danger when moviemakers forgot their place. Theirs was the business of entertaining, not interpreting history. That business was best left in the capable hands of credentialed authorities.

    Across the political spectrum those authorities derided Stone’s war-wary peacenik on grounds his “JFK” bore no resemblance whatsoever to the historical JFK. Behind a pacific façade, received wisdom had it, Kennedy was really a clanking Cold Warrior spoiling for a fight – in Southeast Asia, in Cuba and perhaps elsewhere. In the context of his treatment of Diem, Stone’s critics placed JFK’s occasionally fierce, if conflicted, rhetoric.

    “By November, sanctioning a coup against an ally in the name of winning the war had been added,” wrote Robert Bartley in The Wall St. Journal. “Then withdraw? Joe Kennedy’s competitive kid? The ‘bear any burden’ guy? Give me a break. Acolytes love this myth dearly … .” [5] Another historian, William Gibbons, said that it “is absurd” to imagine that Kennedy would have pulled out.[6] In The Nation Magazine, Alexander Cockburn wrote, “The public record shows JFK was always hawkish.”[7] And in no less than the respected Reviews in American History, Max Holland, a Nation Magazine contributing editor, declared that it was a “fantasy that Kennedy was on the verge of pulling out from Vietnam.”[8]
    http://history-matters.com/essays/vietnam/JFK,%20Vietnam,%20and%20Oliver%20Stone/JFK,%20Vietnam,%20and%20Oliver%20Stone.htm

    Gary Aguilar
    May 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm
    Once-secret records demonstrate a pattern in Kennedy we are unaccustomed to seeing in presidents: rather than JFK following his senior advisers on critical issues – the way “good” presidents usually do, the way LBJ did – Kennedy often ignored it.

    He withstood pressure from the CIA and the military to follow-up the foundering Bay of Pigs invasion with a military assault on Cuba.[18] He rejected advice to use force in Laos, pushing against the defense establishment to achieve an ultimately successful negotiated settlement.[19] He shouldered aside the defense and intelligence establishments to advance a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviets.[20] And as historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikov discovered from live voice recordings made during the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK was often “the only one in the room [full of the highest officers in the country] who is determined not to go to war.”[21]

    This is the same Kennedy we discover in Perils of Dominance, an important new book by Gareth Porter.[22] Porter documents in chilling detail that, in isolation and with virtually no real allies to help him, Kennedy orchestrated numerous Machiavellian ruses to frustrate the “national security bureaucracy’s” determination to march headlong into war.

    So Oliver Stone, the brash, Bronze Star-winning, Vietnam veteran mountebank, turns out to have been right all along: JFK wasn’t going to budge on Vietnam; just as he wouldn’t budge on the Bay of Pigs invasion; on the war in Laos; on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    It was precisely because Kennedy was not a hawk that he was a threat to The Establishment. He did represent change – right up until the moment the shots rang out in Dealey Plaza.
    http://jfkfacts.org/trump-blogger-quotes-jfk/#comment-878410
    \\][//

  23. Perils of Dominance
    Reviewed by Karl Helicher
    August 18, 2009

    The traditional explanation that America was drawn inevitably into the Vietnam quagmire because it was a critical front in the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union is challenged convincingly in these two important scholarly investigations. Lawrence, a diplomatic historian at the University of Texas, Austin and Porter, an independent scholar and the former co-director of the Indochina Resource Center, describe a war inflamed by reckless and self-serving foreign policy bureaucrats and not by presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson for whom they worked.

    By 1954, when the French-Indochina War concluded with France’s humiliation at Dien Bien Phu, Ho Chi Minh was forced into the Soviet camp because his pleas for Western support were ignored. From 1954 through 1965, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson foreign policy establishment players strived to create a Vietnam that would serve American interests. They created strategies based on the deceitful French and British ones that set the United States on the path to war.
    […]

    Porter’s bold revisionist account focuses on American hawkish policy makers who fought Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson to expand the war, which these presidents did not view as important to American interests. These policy makers ignored the reality that after World War II, the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China were too weak to challenge America’s vast economic and military superiority. Both Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong concentrated on their nation’s revitalization and did not want to test the United States over Vietnam.

    At the 1954 Geneva Conference, Vietnam was partitioned and elections were called for to elect a national leader by 1956. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made the decision to ignore the election requirement without telling Eisenhower. Although Kennedy increased significantly the number of advisors in South Vietnam, he did this to fight a guerilla war with the hope that this would avoid a full-scale one. The author reveals that Kennedy maintained secret negotiations with North Vietnam and China and was committed to a complete withdrawal by 1965, positions intolerable to many of his advisors.

    Lyndon Johnson, who escalated the war into a long and bloody conflict, was reluctant to fight the war at the expense of his Great Society domestic program. But, as the author grimly shows, LBJ was lied to by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and harassed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who clamored for more troops to defeat the enemy. McNamara lied to Johnson about the dubious attacks at the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, and, along with other members of the foreign policy establishment, fueled speculation that if Vietnam fell so would all of Indochina. The CIA refuted this application of the Domino Theory by showing that Burma, Malaya, and other nations were too strong to be overrun by Communists.

    Both authors present important, well-documented inquiries into the roots of this tragic war. They challenge widespread assumptions and offer historical cautions for current United States policymakers who practice diplomacy in a one-superpower world.

    https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/perils-of-dominance/
    \\][//

  24. Evidence Points to New Suspect as Architect of JFK Murder Plot: Pentagon Chief Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer had Motives, Means, and Track Record, says Gladio expert

    San Diego, Nov. 5, 2013. Author Richard Cottrell has turned up an exciting new lead in the JFK murder, from his research into the little-known record of ardent Cold Warrior Gen. Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) from 1960 to 1962, and NATO commander from 1962 to 1969.

    Lyman Lemnitzer is probably best remembered today for the 1962 Operation Northwoods plot to spark a war on Cuba, nixed by Kennedy. It was to employ classic Gladio-style false-flag operations. Overflowing with fantastic schemes, it showed how well prepared Lemnitzer was to transform NATO’s “stay-behind” paramilitary units into terrorist special forces.

    Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were bent on removing Castro, and they took JFK’s “No” on Northwoods hard. Researcher James Fetzer has proposed the JCS may have meant JFK’s killing itself to be a Northwoods episode, with the patsy Oswald having Russian and Cuban connections.

    Lemnitzer was a great favorite of Eisenhower, who helped him rise rapidly to the top spot of JCS Chairman in 1960. When Kennedy took office in 1961, the two became the chief antagonists in a titanic struggle over civilian vs. military control of the armed forces and foreign policy, and above all over the preference for war or peace. They sharply disagreed on Cuba, Russia, nuclear warfare, and escalation in Vietnam. When Lemnitzer formally proposed a first-strike nuclear attack on Russia in 1961, a pet idea of Air Force chief Curtis LeMay, JFK humbled Chairman Lyman by walking out of the meeting in disgust.

    For fifty years, Lemnitzer has escaped the suspicions of JFK assassination researchers simply because he was transferred to Europe in November 1962, a year before Kennedy’s murder. The move gave him both a motive and a perfect alibi — “out of sight, out of mind.” Although he was stationed “over there,” the Joint Chiefs remained resentful of JFK and loyal to him. As soon as JFK was out of the way, the top brass got the war on Vietnam they wanted.

    In fact, Lemnitzer remained so far above suspicion that President Ford could appoint him to the commission investigating the CIA’s role in the JFK murder. Yet the appointment itself is suspicious, as it gave LL the perfect opportunity to deflect inquiries that might uncover his own role.

    In Cottrell’s book, “Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe,” he also documents a new twist on the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Lemnitzer intentionally allowed this CIA operation to fail, to undermine both Kennedy and the rival CIA, whom JFK was letting onto military turf.

    Researchers seem to agree that the JFK assassination involved high-level CIA and military figures, with lower-level Mafia and Cuban exile participation. Lemnitzer’s Mafia ties go back to his first major command, running the 1944 invasion of Sicily in close cooperation with top Mafiosi. He worked with the Cosa Nostra again as head of NATO, to build up the Gladio death squads — as indicated in Cottrell’s subtitle, “the Pentagon-Mafia-Nazi Terror Axis.”

    The Nazi element refers to the recruiting of Nazi assets after the war, another Lemnitzer commission. Fascist talents were used to set up the Gladio structure. LL was among those who felt “we fought on the wrong side.” With his Nazi sympathies and rabid militarism, he saw Kennedy as a traitor, soft on communism, who deserved to be eliminated.

    In 1965, on Lemnitzer’s NATO watch, a plot to kill Gen. De Gaulle led to the eviction of NATO HQ from Paris to Brussels. Cottrell documents the extreme contempt LL felt for both JFK and De Gaulle. He also fingers Gladio in several of the most high-profile European assassinations of our times, including Aldo Moro, Pope John Paul II, Olof Palme, and the Umbrella Murder.

    In 1961, when LL and JFK first collided, their mutual enmity was apparently common knowledge, as it became the theme of a best-selling novel in early 1962, “Seven Days in May.” JFK himself encouraged the production of the film version. As Cottrell writes, “The sensational plotline featured a fictional president (called with scarcely-concealed finger pointing, ‘Lyman’) who becomes the target of a Right-wing coup staged by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

    L. Fletcher Prouty, Chief of Special Operations for the JCS at the time, said CIA black ops expert Ed Lansdale orchestrated the JFK shooting, and appeared in photographs taken of the “three tramps” in Dallas; they are generally believed to be the hit men. This earned a “Lansdale” character a part in Oliver Stone’s film, “JFK.”

    Lansdale was a fervent anti-Communist and gifted veteran of imaginative psy war ops in the Philippines and Vietnam. Cottrell reports that as soon as Gen. Lemnitzer became army chief of staff in 1957, he hired Col. Lansdale to run special ops, notably Operation Mongoose, a covert project to topple Castro. The two remained close associates, and Cottrell believes Lansdale inspired the Northwoods memos, as well as Lemnitzer’s black-op Gladio philosophy.

    To sum up, Lemnitzer had deep ideological and personal motives for killing Kennedy. As NATO commander, he had all the necessary means at his disposal, with the advantage of distance and military discipline to keep it secret. Under him, NATO tried to assassinate Pres. De Gaulle, a head of state who was an ideological and personal adversary, and several other highly respected figures. Lemnitzer had deep and long-standing Mafia connections, and the contemporary political thriller and film “Seven Days in May” dropped a very broad hint that “Lyman” would lead a coup against Kennedy. Col. Lansdale, who also had scores to settle, was the ideal deputy to carry out the hit on JFK for his general.

    http://progressivepress.com/blog-entry/50-years-after-jfk-murder-finger-finally-points-pentagon-chief-lemnitzer

    \\][//

  25. Introduction

    On January 22, 1964, the members of the then two-month old Warren Commission were hastily assembled for a top-secret meeting. Half-way into their executive session, the Commissioners decided their words were so sensitive that they should not be recorded. Commission member Allen Dulles, the former CIA director, even suggested “this record ought to be destroyed.” The incomplete stenographer’s tape remained locked in government vaults for eleven years until, under pressure from a persistent researcher named Harold Weisberg, the National Archives retrieved it and forwarded it to the Pentagon for transcription. The result was a blow to anyone who ever entertained the belief that the Warren Commission set out in good faith to investigate the murder of President Kennedy and discover the full truth.
    It was never a secret that the Commission relied almost entirely on the FBI to conduct the bulk of its investigation. In its own Report, the Commission boasted of this relationship: “Because of the diligence, cooperation, and facilities of the Federal investigative agencies, it was unnecessary for the Commission to employ investigators other than the members of the Commission’s legal staff” (Rxiii). It was also no secret that this relationship was inherently compromising because the investigative agencies, particularly the FBI, had a vested interest in the conclusion that the President’s murder was the unforeseeable act of a lone madman. In the aftermath of the assassination, the FBI was left holding the bag. Rumors immediately spread that Oswald had been an FBI informant and that the FBI knew of Oswald’s potential for violence but failed to report his identity to the Secret Service. As Harold Weisberg succinctly put it as early as 1965, after President Kennedy was killed, all the federal agencies “had one objective, to take the heat off themselves.”[1]
    By any reasonable standard, the last investigator to have been entrusted with the task of developing the facts surrounding the assassination was the FBI.
    The Warren Commission realized this, but decided to rely on the FBI nonetheless. Its public position would be one of praise for the FBI’s diligent cooperation. But the secret executive sessions and confidential memoranda tell another story: The Commission knew what J. Edgar Hoover was up to and played along.
    The Commission convened in secret that January 22 to discuss the rumor that Oswald had been a paid informant for the FBI. As chapter 2 of this book documents, the FBI had already preempted the Commission by publicly claiming to have solved the assassination within three weeks of the event. At the January 22 session, an unidentified speaker, probably General Counsel J. Lee Rankin, explained the basic problem to the Commission: “That is that the FBI is very explicit that Oswald is the assassin . . . and they are very explicit that there was no conspiracy.” However, the speaker noted, “they have not run out all kinds of leads in Mexico or in Russia. . . . But they are concluding that there can’t be a conspiracy without those being run out.” The inevitable question was raised: “Why are they so eager to make both of those conclusions . . . ?” Mr. Dulles claimed to be confused as to why the FBI would want to dispose of the case by finding Oswald guilty if, at the same time, Oswald was rumored to have been in the FBI’s employ. Dulles’s question was quickly answered by Rankin:

    A: They would like to have us fold up and quit.
    Boggs: This closes the case, you see. Don’t you see?
    Dulles: Yes, I see that.
    Rankin : They found the man. There is nothing more to do. The Commission supports their conclusions, and we can go on home and that is the end of it.[2]
    The Commission engaged in a more explicit discussion of the problem at its secret session five days later, on January 27. John J. McCloy noted “we are so dependent upon them [the FBI] for our facts that it might be a useful thing to have him [Hoover] before us” for the purpose of requesting further investigation “of the things that are still troubling us.” The following discussion ensued:

    Mr. Rankin: Part of our difficulty in regard to it is that they have no problems. They have decided that it is Oswald who committed the assassination, they have decided that no one else was involved, they have decided —
    Sen. Russell: They have tried the case and reached a verdict on every aspect.
    Rep. Boggs: You have put your finger on it. . . .
    Mr. Rankin: . . . They have decided the case, and we are going to have maybe a thousand further inquiries that we say the Commission has to know all these things before it can pass on this.
    And I think their reaction probably would be, “Why do you want all that. It is clear.”
    Sen. Russell: “You have our statement, what else do you need?”
    Mr. McCloy: Yes, “We know who killed cock robin.”[3]

    Thus, the Commission recognized the untenable position it faced being put in if it relied on the FBI for additional investigation when the FBI was claiming that the crime had been solved and no more investigation was necessary. Hoover had already staked the very reputation of his agency on a solution that demanded Oswald as the lone assassin. It would have been a naive Commission indeed that would have expected the FBI to destroy its own “solution” of the crime with further investigation. In light of these secret discussions, the Commission’s heavy dependence on the FBI is nothing less than culpable.
    The central FBI conclusion, which the Commission adopted as its own, was that Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy. This conclusion was sustained solely on the finding that bullets from Oswald’s rifle had caused the wounds to President Kennedy and Governor Connally. If this one finding crumbles, the case for Oswald’s guilt must crumble with it. It was thus of paramount importance that the Commission independently verify this FBI finding.
    The Commission was certainly aware of its responsibility. In secret, the members admitted to each other the inadequacy of the Bureau’s ballistics findings as set forth in the FBI Report. At the executive session held December 16, 1963, Mr. McCloy complained, “This bullet business leaves me totally confused.” Chairman Warren concurred: “It’s totally inconclusive.”[4] Members of the Commission’s staff, noting the FBI’s sloppy work, recognized a need “to facilitate independent analysis of the Bureau’s ballistic conclusions”[5] and to “secure from the FBI and consider the underlying documents and reports related to the rifle and shells.”[6]
    As I explain in chapter 3, the only way the Commission could possibly have established a firm link between bullets fired from Oswald’s rifle and the wounds inflicted during the assassination was to compare the metallic composition of all the ballistic specimens through a meticulous scientific process called spectrographic analysis. The FBI claimed to have run such tests and arrived at inconclusive results. The Commission took the FBI at its word, based on nonexpert testimony, without ever having looked at the spectrographer’s report or having put the relevant documents into its record. Evidence has since been developed by Harold Weisberg that a far more detailed comparative process, neutron activation analysis (NAA), was utilized by the Commission through the Atomic Energy Commission.[7] Proper NAA testing could at once have settled the doubts that plagued the Commission.
    The Commission knew the value of NAA and recognized the need to apply the technology to the evidence in the assassination. Indeed, the AEC had immediately offered its services to the FBI, only to be snubbed by Hoover. Then, on December 11, 1963, Paul C. Aebersold of the AEC wrote a letter to Herbert J. Miller at the Department of Justice explaining how the NAA process might be of vital importance in the investigation of the President’s murder.[8] Aebersold noted that “it may be possible to determine by trace-element measurements whether the fatal bullets were of composition identical to that of the purportedly unfired shell” found in the chamber of Oswald’s rifle. Likewise, “Other pieces of physical evidence in the case, such as clothing . . . might lend themselves to characterization by means of their trace-element levels.” The Justice Department forwarded Aebersold’s letter to the Commission, which immediately took the matter up with Hoover. The Commission sought “your advice regarding the feasibility and desirability of taking advantage of [the AEC’s] offer.”[9] When the Commission assembled on January 27, 1964, Mr. Rankin advised as follows:

    Now, the bullet fragments are now, part of them are now, with the Atomic Energy Commission, who are trying to determine by a new method, a process that they have, of whether they can relate them to various guns and the different parts, the fragments, whether they are part of one of the bullets that was broken and came out in part through the neck, and just what particular assembly of bullet they were part of.
    They have had it for the better part of two and a-half weeks, and we ought to get an answer.[10]

    Indeed, an investigative Commission aware of its obligation to verify ballistic findings on which the case against an alleged presidential assassin depended “ought” to have insisted upon and received an immediate “answer” from an independent agency employing a sensitive new technology. But this Commission never got an answer.

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/PG/PGintro.html
    \\][//

  26. INTERVIEW I
    DATE: November 2, 1982
    INTERVIEWEE: ROSWELL GILPATRIC
    INTERVIEWER: Ted Gittinger
    PLACE: Mr. Gilpatric’s office, Manhattan, New York

    Tape 1 of 1

    TG: Mr. Gilpatric, can you recall the circumstances under which you were named to chair the
    task force on Vietnam in 1961?

    RG: Only that at a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the National Security Council the
    President announced that I was selected for that assignment. I assume that it was his own
    decision after recommendations from [Robert] McNamara and perhaps Mac [McGeorge]
    Bundy and it reflected his lack of confidence at that point in the group in the State
    Department, having been through a rather unsatisfactory experience in regard to Laos.
    But that’s all I know about why I was picked rather than having somebody from State
    head it up.

    TG: What was unsatisfactory about Laos and the State Department’s performance?

    RG: Well, the President didn’t feel that he had gotten a very clear signal from the State
    Department experts on Southeast Asia. He also wasn’t very satisfied with the response he
    got from the Joint Chiefs. He got five different recommendations at one point. And I
    believe he just felt he’d get some fresh attitude and approach, and I certainly was innocent
    of any great background of experience in the Far East, so he gave me the job. I didn’t
    keep it, of course, after the President made his decisions on the report of the task force in
    May. The ongoing operations of the task force reverted to the State Department–a fellow
    named Cotrell ran it. So I was just in charge of it up until the time the President
    considered the report and made his decision and then it reverted to the usual channels.

    TG: So you’re suggesting that there’s not much to the reports that this decision was due to the
    tendency to view Vietnam as a military problem rather than a civil problem?

    RG: No, no. I think at that juncture we were all pretty agnostic because during the briefings
    that the President got during the transition between the Eisenhower Administration and
    his administration, Vietnam was never brought up as a major topic. Berlin and Laos were
    the principal foreign policy problems.

    TG: Edward Lansdale, a figure of some repute, was in your office at this time, was he not?

    RG: Yes, I think he wanted to get across to Diem and the South Vietnamese generals and the
    whole government apparatus out there that the U.S. wasn’t going to take on what he
    regarded as their problems. We would be in an accessory advisory role but we weren’t
    going to become the principals. So far as I could perceive up until Kennedy’s death in
    November, he never varied from that general attitude.

    TG: Are you among those who say that Kennedy would never have escalated in the way that
    Johnson did?

    RG: Well, of course it’s a hypothetical question. No one will ever know. Based on my
    exposure to the President’s views over that nearly three year period, I felt he was looking
    for an opportunity to pull back and it would have been very hard to convince him to
    reverse course. But what he would have done if he had been president at the time of the
    Gulf of Tonkin incident, if that had occurred, I don’t know. No one can say what he
    would have done, but my view is that consistent with everything he did do and said
    before his death, he would have been very reluctant to involve ourselves to the extent that
    the country did after President Johnson took over….

    http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/oralhistory.hom/Gilpatric-R/GilpatricR.PDF

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  27. Robert McNamara and Lyndon B Johnson on Vietnam – Fog of War
    LBJ’s criticism of the JFK/McNamara stand on Vietnam truly shows how ineffective he was as VP. Sitting on his hands with no substantive opinions to be offered during various crises.

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  28. Let’s not forget the immortal words of Arthur Sylvester, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs — i.e., the head of all the U.S. military’s PR during the Vietnam War.

    Here’s the account from The Intercept:
    https://theintercept.com/2016/05/20/pentagon-official-once-told-morley-safer-that-reporters-who-believe-the-government-are-stupid/

    “Sylvester had arranged to speak with reporters for U.S. outlets, including Safer. Here’s how Safer described it:

    “There had been some annoying moments in previous weeks that had directly involved Sylvester’s own office. In the first B-52 raids, Pentagon releases were in direct contradiction to what had actually happened on the ground in Viet Nam.

    “There was general opening banter, which Sylvester quickly brushed aside. He seemed anxious to take a stand — to say something that would jar us. He said:

    “’I can’t understand how you fellows can write what you do while American boys are dying out here,’ he began. Then he went on to the effect that American correspondents had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good.

    “A network television correspondent said, ‘Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be the handmaidens of government.’

    “’That’s exactly what I expect,’ came the reply.

    An agency man raised the problem that had preoccupied Ambassador Maxwell Taylor and [U.S. spokesman] Barry Zorthian — about the credibility of American officials. Responded the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs:

    “’Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? — stupid.’”
    . . . . . .
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  29. Kennedy Reached Out for a Negotiated Settlement with Castro

    “In the spring of 1963, the Kennedy administration began a series of ultra-secret contacts with Cuba through a series of emissaries,” Kornbluh explains. Kornbluh has reviewed a “voluminous file,” declassified at the Kennedy Library, and also obtained a host of other documents, including recordings of conversations on the topic at the White House.

    Kennedy was interested in detaching Cuba from the Soviet orbit. And Castro was interested in exploring options, since he was angry at the Soviets for withdrawing their nuclear weapons from Cuba at the end of the missile crisis, without even consulting him.

    The first emissary was a New York lawyer, James Donovan, who was secretly engaged by the US government to negotiate the release of the exiles captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Castro released the prisoners as a sign of goodwill in early 1963 and raised the idea with Donovan of more wide-reaching negotiations. Donovan passed the baton to a glamorous young ABC reporter, Lisa Howard, who was introduced to Castro by Donovan.

    She used her New York apartment as the venue for some ‘cocktail diplomacy.’ She invited the head of the Cuban mission to the United Nations, Amassador Carlos Lechuga, to a party, along with senior US diplomat William Attwood, who happened to already know Castro and was coincidentally serving as deputy US ambassador to the UN. Attwood got clearance from the White House to go, and the talks snowballed from there.

    The secret intermediaries got so far as to set up a secret meeting between Castro himself and Attwood. The logistics of the meeting were arranged and Castro’s proposed agenda was en route from Havana to the UN Cuban mission in New York at the very hour Kennedy was shot. Attwood, at Kennedy’s request, was to quit the foreign service, to provide plausible deniability in case news of the meeting leaked. But all these steps came to naught the moment Kennedy was killed.

    Castro was meeting with a French journalist, Jean Daniel, when an aide rushed in with news that Kennedy was shot. Daniel was yet another of Washington’s secret emissaries. He was updating Castro on the proposed talks and the Cuban leader seemed very excited by the prospects. Then they got the news, and Castro turned to Daniel and said, “There goes your mission of peace.”
    http://www.pri.org/stories/2013-11-21/how-kennedys-assassination-ended-hopes-reconciliation-castro

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  30. JFK’s Race for Peace

    “President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev communicated often during the last year of Kennedy’s life. They spoke about having more in common with one another than with their generals. Kennedy initiated three policy changes that put him at odds with his generals, with the CIA, with most of his party leaders and advisors, and most definitely with the military industrial complex. He sought a nuclear test ban treaty as a way to slow, if not stop, Cold War escalation; he opened secret lines of communication to Fidel Castro, with an eye toward rapprochement with the Cuban communist regime; and he made firm plans to end the Vietnam War before it started.

    President Kennedy doggedly resisted Pentagon and CIA efforts toward war during his first 1,000 days. And, ironically, his only real partner in that effort was his arch-enemy, Premier Nikita Khrushchev, who told his foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, “We have to let Kennedy know that we want to help him. We now have a common cause, to save the world from those pushing us toward war.” Each of the two most powerful leaders in the world understood that their real enemies were within their own governments…”
    […]
    Read entire article here:
    https://riversong.wordpress.com/jfks-race-for-peace/
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  31. Role of the United States in the Vietnam War

    Woodrow Wilson (1913–21)
    Wilson ignores petition by Ho Chi Minh for help in creating Vietnam independent from French rule and led by nationalist government.[1]

    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–45)
    Roosevelt declines repeated requests from the French to assist France’s attempts to recolonize Vietnam.[2]

    Harry S. Truman (1945-53)
    Milestones of U.S. involvement under President Harry S. Truman.

    August 15, 1945 — Japan surrenders to the Allies. In Indochina, the Japanese administration allows Hồ Chí Minh to take over control of the country. This is called the August Revolution. Hồ Chí Minh fights with a variety of other political factions for control of the major cities.
    August 1945 — A few days after the Vietnamese “revolution”, Nationalist Chinese forces enter from the north and, as previously planned by the allies, establish an administration in the country as far south as the 16th parallel north.
    September 26, 1945: Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer Lieutenant Colonel A. Peter Dewey — working with the Viet Minh to repatriate Americans captured by the Japanese — is mistaken for a Frenchman, shot and killed by the Viet Minh. He thus became the first American casualty in Vietnam. (Not precisely accurate. Prior to 1950 the area later recognized as Viet Nam was known as French Indochina. Thus, LTC Dewey was the first American casualty in French Indochina).
    October 1945 — British troops land in southern Vietnam and establish a provisional administration. The British free French soldiers and officials imprisoned by the Japanese. The French begin taking control of cities within the British zone of occupation.
    February 1946 — The French sign an agreement with China. France gives up its concessions in Shanghai and other Chinese ports. In exchange, China agrees to assist the French in returning to Vietnam north of the 17th parallel.
    March 6, 1946 — After negotiations with the Chinese and the Viet Minh, the French sign an agreement recognizing Vietnam within the French Union. Shortly after, the French land at Haiphong and occupy the rest of northern Vietnam. The Viet Minh use the negotiating process with France and China to buy time to use their armed forces to destroy all competing nationalist groups in the north.
    December 1946 — Negotiations between the Viet Minh and the French break down. The Viet Minh are driven out of Hanoi into the countryside.
    1947–1949 — The Viet Minh fight a limited insurgency in remote rural areas of northern Vietnam.
    1949 — Chinese communists reach the northern border of Indochina. The Viet Minh drive the French from the border region and begin to receive large amounts of weapons from the Soviet Union and China. The weapons transform the Viet Minh from an irregular large-scale insurgency into a conventional army.
    May 1, 1950 — After the capture of Hainan Island from Chinese Nationalist forces by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, President Truman approves $10 million in military assistance for anti-communist efforts in Indochina. The Defense Attaché Office was established in Saigon in May 1950, a formal recognition of Viet Nam (vice French IndoChina). This was the beginning of formal U.S. military personnel assignments in Viet Nam. U.S. Naval, Army and Air Force personnel established their respective attaches at this time.
    September 1950 — Truman sends the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) Indochina to Vietnam to assist the French. The President claimed they were not sent as combat troops, but to supervise the use of $10 million worth of U.S. military equipment to support the French in their effort to fight the Viet Minh forces.
    Following the outbreak of the Korean War, Truman announces “acceleration in the furnishing of military assistance to the forces of France and the Associated States in Indochina…”. and sends 123 non-combat troops to help with supplies to fight against the communist Viet Minh.
    1951 — Truman authorizes $150 million in French support.
    […]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_the_United_States_in_the_Vietnam_War
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  32. 1961: President Kennedy Rejects Both Nuclear War, and Combat Troops in Vietnam

    Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay Expresses Disloyalty to President Kennedy and Publicly Proclaims His Belief in the Inevitability of Nuclear War Before the End of 1961

    By the time President Kennedy attended the public swearing-in of General Curtis LeMay as the new Air Force Chief of Staff on June 30, 1961, LeMay was already a revered American icon to many. He had courageously led large elements of the 8th Air Force in Europe during World War II, and had personally designed, and commanded, the horrific firebombing campaign against Japan’s cities that had virtually razed that nation to the ground during 1945 (and in this role, his bombers had dropped the first two strategic nuclear weapons ever used in combat on Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Following World War II, LeMay had overseen the establishment of the Rand Corporation (whose primary job was to research ways to conduct nuclear war); had been in charge of the Berlin Airlift during 1948; and had then taken over the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during its infancy, in 1948, when it was an immature, ineffective organization. For almost nine years (from 1948 through 1957), LeMay headed SAC and took the organization through its adolescence and into adulthood, transforming it into the most feared arsenal of destruction in the history of the earth. At this time, before the advent of ICBMs and Polaris nuclear missile subs, LeMay’s SAC was America’s nuclear deterrent. LeMay believed that America was already at war with the USSR, and drilled this mindset into everyone at SAC while he was its commander; he not only built up an overwhelming strategic superiority in long-range nuclear weapons delivery systems during the 1950s, but (unknown to the public) believed nuclear war with the USSR was inevitable, and through the use of many provocative “reconnaissance” overflights of the Soviet Union, attempted to provoke Soviet reactions and overreactions to these provocations that would have justified a preemptive first strike on the Soviet Union by the United States.

    After retirement, in his memoirs, he expressed a kind of poignant regret that the United States had failed to obliterate the USSR during the early-to-mid 1950s, when it could have done so without any losses to SAC except those due to normal in-flight accidents, and when the Soviet Union would have been unable to place any strategic weapons on U.S. soil, in response. LeMay’s concept of nuclear war was total: he believed in what he called the “Sunday punch,” or throwing everything you had at the enemy at the very beginning of hostilities — an attack from all directions, with the majority of your own weapons — that would go on without stop, for several days. His concept of nuclear war was orgiastic, and Wagnerian.

    So when LeMay assumed the job as USAF chief of staff on June 30, 1961 — as the Berlin Crisis was heating up — JFK was appointing a man with a formidable reputation for drive and efficiency, and someone who had already been serving as vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force since 1957 — and the one man who had personally built up America’s nuclear deterrent to a maximum level during the 1950s, and who already had his own “personality cult.” (Not only was LeMay uncritically revered by tens of thousands of WW II veterans and members of SAC, but a fictionalized version of LeMay had been lionized in the Hollywood Cold War propaganda film Strategic Air Command, in 1955.) What JFK presumably did not know was that he was also installing someone who was contemptuous of civilian control over

    the military, and who had already exhibited personal disloyalty to him, the 35th President, within the halls of the Pentagon — presumably while serving as vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. In a revealing and significant footnote in his excellent book Dark Sun, author Richard Rhodes quoted from an obituary written in the New York Times in 1993 about journalist and novelist Fletcher Knebel, who authored the number one 1962 national security best-seller Seven Days in May (about the possibility of a military coup in the United States). [The book was later turned into a tightly scripted, on-screen thriller of the same name in 1963, with President Kennedy’s encouragement.] The New York Times obituary for the book’s author stated that Knebel “said he got the idea for Seven Days in May while interviewing General Curtis LeMay, onetime Air Force Chief of Staff, who went off the record to accuse President Kennedy of cowardice in his handling of the Bay of Pigs crisis.” My assumption here is that this background interview probably took place in April or May of 1961, immediately after the Bay of Pigs, and before LeMay was installed as chief of staff. (Presumably, no chief of staff who valued his job would have been so openly disloyal to the President who had appointed him.) This comment to Knebel by General LeMay seems entirely consistent with the Curtis LeMay so well-known today by historians. As author Dino Brugioni wrote in Eyeball to Eyeball, “his beetle brows, jutting jaw, sagging jowls, shock of slicked down black hair, and ubiquitous brown cigar” gave him the visage of a bulldog in a bad mood.

    LeMay was intentionally blunt and profane, to an extreme degree: crude, bull-headed, inflexible, and used to getting his own way. His well-known views about the inevitability of general nuclear war with the Soviet Union have been confirmed in multiple interviews given by Robert McNamara late in his life. Consider this one example of LeMay’s extreme mind-set, from the book Brothers by David Talbot: The Air Force Chief of Staff stunned the capital in July [of 1961] when Washington Post columnist Marquis Childs reported that he casually predicted that nuclear war would break out in the final weeks of the year. LeMay made the hair-raising announcement to a Senator’s wife at a Georgetown dinner party, telling the shocked woman that war was “inevitable” and that it would likely incinerate such major U.S. cities as Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit, as well as level most Soviet cities. Asked by the Senator’s wife if there was anywhere she could flee to safety with her children and grandchildren, LeMay advised her she might try deserted sage brush country in the far West. After the ensuing uproar in Washington, LeMay felt compelled to deny the story. But Kennedy officials knew it reflected the Air Force general’s true beliefs. Given the poor judgment demonstrated by LeMay on the Georgetown social circuit, perhaps he did speak to Fletcher Knebel with such rank disloyalty even after he had been installed as Air Force chief of staff. All we know for sure is that the incident occurred in 1961, since Seven Days in May was published early in 1962; we certainly know that the interview took place after April 20 (the date the Bay of Pigs exile invasion was openly acknowledged to be a failure). We will speak much more about Curtis LeMay in a later essay in this volume, about the events of 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis. But the seeds of antagonism between LeMay and President Kennedy — a serious personal and professional animus — were planted in 1961.

    The Joint Chiefs Lecture President Kennedy on the Favorable Opportunity “Preventive War” — Against the Soviet Union; In Disgust, JFK Walks Out of the Meeting

    On July 20, 1961, at a National Security Council meeting, JFK was compelled to consider the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. This meeting occurred in the context of the escalating Berlin Crisis with the USSR. During this meeting he was briefed on the Single Integrated Operational Plan for general nuclear war, SIOP-62. [The SIOP plans were named after the fiscal year for which they were effective; fiscal year ’62 commenced in July 1961.] This plan represented the philosophy of General Curtis LeMay, promoted throughout the 1950s by SAC, and first implemented as a “SIOP” (a national plan for all the armed services) in 1960 by his chosen successor as SAC’s commander, General Thomas Power.

    National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy later disapprovingly referred to SIOP-62 and its predecessors as “a massive, total, comprehensive, obliterating strategic attack … on everything Red.” It called for the overwhelming destruction of all Communist Bloc nations — both military bases and urban/ industrial centers — in the event of war with any one of its members. (Thus, China would have been destroyed in the event of war with the USSR — as well as little Albania.) It allowed for no flexibility once nuclear general war — the use of strategic weapons — began. A seminal article was written about this meeting in the fall 1994 issue of The American Prospect, co-authored by Heather A. Purcell and James K. Galbraith [the son of JFK’s former ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith], titled: “Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear First Strike for 1963?” Key information in the article was obtained from a memo written for LBJ by his military aide, USAF Colonel Howard Burris, as well as from an oral history interview of Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatrick in 1970.

    Historian James Douglass has written in detail about the meeting in his book JFK and the Unspeakable: At the July 20, 1961 NSC meeting, General Hickey, chairman of the ‘Net Evaluation Subcommittee’ of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented a plan for a nuclear surprise attack on the Soviet Union “in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions.” Other presenters of the preemptive strike plan included General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and CIA Director Allen Dulles. Vice President Johnson’s military aide, Howard Burris, wrote a memorandum of the meeting for Johnson, who was not present. … While the Burris memorandum is valuable in its revelation of the first-strike agenda, it does not mention Kennedy’s ultimate disgust with the entire process. We know that fact from its disclosure in an oral history by Roswell Gilpatric, JFK’s Deputy Secretary of Defense. Gilpatric described the meeting’s abrupt conclusion: “Finally Kennedy got up and walked right out in the middle of it, and that was the end of it.”

    Kennedy’s disgusted reaction to this National Security Council meeting was also recorded in books written by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; McGeorge Bundy; and Dean Rusk. None of them, however, identified the first-strike focus of the meeting that prompted the disgust. They describe the meeting in only the most general terms as “the Net Evaluation, an annual doomsday briefing analyzing the chances of nuclear war” (Schlesinger) or as “a formal briefing on the net assessment of a general nuclear war between the two superpowers” (Bundy). However, as much as JFK was appalled by a general nuclear war, his walkout was in response to a more specific evil in his own ranks: U.S. military and CIA leaders were enlisting his support for a plan to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Kennedy didn’t just walk out. He also said what he thought of the entire proceeding. As he led Rusk back to the Oval Office, with what Rusk described as “a strange look on his face,” Kennedy turned and said to his Secretary of State, “And we call ourselves the human race.”

    Horne, Douglas. JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated (Kindle Locations 835-836). The Future of Freedom Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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  33. “LeMay believed that ultimately we were going to have to confront these people [meaning the Soviet Union] in a conflict with nuclear weapons, and by God, we’d better do it when we have greater superiority than we will have in the future.” At various times during JFK’s Presidency, Dean Acheson (one of the “Wise Old Men” of Washington), Paul Nitze, Roswell Gilpatric, and many others within the policy-making apparatus felt the same way. Consider the growing schism between John F. Kennedy and the national security establishment throughout 1961 over the use of nuclear weapons:

    (1) JFK had rejected CNO Arleigh Burke’s recommendation for their use in Laos in April of 1961; (2) President Kennedy had walked out of his NSC doomsday briefing on July 20, 1961 because the briefer (and key players at the briefing) had recommended that the President consider a nuclear first-strike against the Soviet Union two years hence, in 1963, during a period of heightened tensions. (3) General LeMay had been muzzled after shooting his mouth off at a Washington D.C. cocktail party in July about the inevitability of nuclear war in 1961; (4) JFK (and Robert McNamara) had been engaged in a growing dispute during the fall and winter of 1961 with General Lauris Norstad, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, in opposition to Norstad’s view that the early use of tactical nuclear weapons in the defense of Berlin was both likely, and desirable (and his continuing opposition to emphasizing conventional force options over the use of tactical nukes). In an atmosphere in which not only the press, but many national security advisors (men like Dean Acheson) viewed the East-West rivalry in the Cold War as a game of “chicken” between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy — as a personalized “test of wills” — Curtis LeMay, a four-star general in the Pentagon, had called President Kennedy a “coward” in a background briefing for a prominent journalist, and JFK had begun to clash, repeatedly, with some of his highest-level advisors over their rather blasé recommendations calling for the use of nuclear weapons. This situation did not augur well for the future.

    JFK Rejects Three Attempts by the National Security Establishment to Introduce Combat Troops to Vietnam During 1961 On May 8, 1961, JCS Chairman Lyman Lemitzer sent a blistering telegram to the Pentagon.

    Vietnam historian John M. Newman wrote in his book JFK and Vietnam: Lemnitzer said it appeared the “unhappy sequence of events in Laos” was being repeated, adding that this “can only mean the loss of Vietnam.” In a scathing indictment of the president’s cautious approach to the Communist threat in Southeast Asia, Lemnitzer argued the problem in simple terms: “Does the U.S. intend to take the necessary military action now to defeat the Viet Cong threat or do we intend to quibble for weeks and months over details of general policy … while Vietnam slowly goes down the drain of Communism as North Vietnam and a large portion of Laos have gone to date?” The backstory on the Vietnam problem reads like a Shakespearean tragedy.

    Following the French defeat on the battlefield in their former colony of Vietnam, the 1954 Geneva accords dictated that there would be a nationwide election in 1956 intended to unify both North and South Vietnam under one leadership. Following the defeat of the French in the Communist North, there was an influx of Vietnamese Catholics into South Vietnam during 1954 and 1955.

    The recently installed South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem (Diem was an exile appointed by fellow-exile Emperor Bao Dai), himself a Catholic, placed fellow Catholic loyalists into all key civilian and military government positions, which commenced the alienation of the Buddhist majority and largely Buddhist middle class. Diem, aware that he had no real political base in the South except for the Catholic minority, cancelled the 1956 elections. He replaced the French presence with an American presence, in support of what had become a true oligarchy based on nepotism. A blatantly rigged election held in 1959 fooled no one. Loud calls from within South Vietnam for political reforms throughout 1960 led to Diem shutting down opposition newspapers and jailing his opponents; Diem had become a true oriental despot.

    The U.S. ambassador, Elbridge Durbrow, was known to have secretly supported a failed 1960 coup attempt, and so his working relationship with President Diem had ended. Present throughout the 1950s to personally assist Diem in establishing his power had been U.S. Air Force Colonel Edward G. Lansdale (the Iago of this tale), a former advertising executive who had worked for the OSS (the CIA’s predecessor organization) during World War II, and who had transitioned from the Army into the Air Force following the Second World War. (The fact that CIA Director Allen Dulles later had to personally intervene with General Curtis LeMay to get Colonel Lansdale promoted to brigadier general probably speaks volumes about Lansdale’s true loyalties, and about who his real employer was.)
    Lansdale helped Diem to thwart two coup attempts in the mid-1950s immediately after he was installed in office, and the two men remained close allies, and friends, thereafter. Lansdale, who had been attached to the U.S. military mission in Saigon for several years during the Eisenhower administration, was attached to the Office of Special Operations for the Secretary of Defense at the time John F. Kennedy was elected. He traveled to Vietnam at the end of 1960 and wrote a slick report about the problems faced by his close friend, President Diem, essentially recommending someone like himself to be the next ambassador to South Vietnam.
    Lansdale’s principal sponsor in Washington was Walt Rostow, the Southeast Asia expert on the NSC staff. With Rostow supporting Lansdale’s candidacy, JFK orally indicated to Lansdale, at an NSC meeting on January 28, 1961, his intent to appoint him as the next ambassador to South Vietnam. Lansdale’s friends in Washington were Allen Dulles, Lyman Lemnitzer, and Arleigh Burke; his friends in Vietnam included William Colby (CIA Station Chief in Saigon), and General Lionel McGarr (chief of the U.S. Military Advisory and Assistance Group). But Secretary of State Dean Rusk had been made aware of Lansdale’s close affiliations with the CIA, and by February 14, had scuttled his prospective appointment as ambassador. Lansdale had been described to Rusk as a “lone wolf and operator,” and was an unacceptable choice for ambassador to Defense and State, because of his close ties to the CIA. On April 20, the same day that the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion was publicly acknowledged, President Kennedy ordered the formation of a three-man Vietnam task force, with Roswell Gilpatric as its head and Lansdale as its operations officer. Cuba was off of the front burner for now, and Laos and Vietnam became the primary focus for the President (until he was confronted with the Berlin Crisis). But McNamara, aware of Lansdale’s plans (with the consent of Gilpatric) to dominate the new task force, cancelled Edward Lansdale’s impending trip to South Vietnam.

    Lansdale, who had for years supported home-grown, South Vietnamese counterinsurgency actions and “civic action” programs against the Viet Cong insurgency, now switched sides in the policy debate and began advocating the introduction of large numbers of U.S. combat troops (for “training purposes”) into South Vietnam. John Newman wrote poignantly, almost painfully, in JFK and Vietnam: Somewhere along the way Lansdale had become emotionally and psychologically attached to Vietnam — and obsessed by the notion that if only he had the chance he could still save the country. Diem did not follow Lansdale’s civic prescription, but Lansdale’s friendship and loyalty to him clouded Lansdale’s vision and he grew ever more committed to preserving Diem.… Lansdale turned into his own worst enemy, relying on the instincts of the “lone wolf and operator” he had become, and alienating key officials as he indulged in the plotting and scheming of which he had become a master.

    By the end of April 1961 Lansdale recognized that his dream of bringing Diem around [that is, of persuading him to institute sweeping domestic reforms to build his loyalty base] had already eluded his grasp and it was only a matter of time before Diem would be pushed aside. The obsession with Vietnam remained, however, and the star rising on the policy horizon — despite Kennedy’s reluctance — was American intervention; and Lansdale, driven by his overriding ambition, reached out for it.
    For Lansdale, being removed from influence by Kennedy was a heartbreaking experience. Under the circumstances, then, it is perhaps not surprising that Lansdale wrote the first document urging a large U.S. troop commitment to Vietnam. He was embracing more powerful patrons, those who would have their way in the end. Lansdale, the civic action advocate, had changed horses, and when the troops finally arrived in 1965, he would be there with them.

    Kennedy later threw Lansdale a bone by allowing him to serve as operations officer for Operation Mongoose (the “dirty tricks” and sabotage campaign designed to destabilize and help overthrow the Castro government) throughout 1962, but that is a story reserved for the 1962 portion of this work. The Vietnam Task Force draft report submitted on April 28, 1961, with Lansdale’s Laos Annex attached (recommending the introduction of U.S. combat troops to Vietnam for “training purposes”), was modified by Lansdale and Gilpatric and resubmitted as a draft on May 1, 1961, recommending unilateral U.S. military intervention in Vietnam. McNamara submitted the final version of the Vietnam Task Force report to President Kennedy on May 6, after Roswell Gilpatric had been replaced as task force chairman by the State Department’s Sterling Cottrell, someone with views more to President Kennedy’s liking. The final report of May 6 no longer contained a recommendation for unilateral U.S. military intervention.
    On May 9, Vice President Johnson, against his wishes, departed on a trip to South Vietnam, as ordered by the President. On May 10, John Newman writes that the Joint Chiefs of Staff responded to Gilpatric’s request for their recommendations two days earlier: On that date they delivered a resolute and emphatic recommendation for sending U.S. combat troops to Vietnam. This unique and startling memo deserves a detailed examination here.
    The Chiefs now argue that if the administration decided to keep Southeast Asia out of the Communist “sphere,” U.S. forces should be “deployed immediately” to South Vietnam, so that they would not be subjected to the kind of combat situation existing in Laos. The Chiefs recommended that a decision to “deploy suitable forces” be made.… In order to accomplish their plans the Chiefs recommended: President Diem be encouraged to request that the United States fulfill its SEATO obligation, in view of the threat now posed by the Laotian situation, by immediate deployment of appropriate U.S. forces to South Vietnam.… NSAM-52 was implemented on May 11, 1961 following LBJ’s departure, and after a review by JFK one week later, received final approval on May 19. While it did approve the U.S. objective of preventing Communist domination of South Vietnam, it approved only a further-sanitized version of the Vietnam Task Force report which had removed from it any mention of support for agreements to be reached between LBJ and Diem. (Events proved LBJ was freewheeling in South Vietnam and that his goal — working with interventionists in the national security establishment — was to get Diem to request the introduction of U.S. combat troops under the guise of “training,” immediate deployment of appropriate U.S. forces to South Vietnam.… NSAM-52 was implemented on May 11, 1961 following LBJ’s departure, and after a review by JFK one week later, received final approval on May 19.

    While it did approve the U.S. objective of preventing Communist domination of South Vietnam, it approved only a further-sanitized version of the Vietnam Task Force report which had removed from it any mention of support for agreements to be reached between LBJ and Diem. (Events proved LBJ was freewheeling in South Vietnam and that his goal — working with interventionists in the national security establishment — was to get Diem to request the introduction of U.S. combat troops under the guise of “training,”
    as well as complete U.S. funding for a 100,000 man increase in the South Vietnamese army. The number of U.S. troops envisaged by McGarr in-country, and Lansdale in Washington, was two “battle groups,” i.e., 16,000 combat troops.)
    NSAM-52 did commit the U.S. to sending 400 U.S. special forces troops to South Vietnam in a bonafide training role, but expressly forbade their use in combat. It was a resounding defeat for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who wanted a military “foot-in-the-door” that would make it easier for the United States to commit forces to a combat role once they were in-country.
    Meanwhile, LBJ, freewheeling in Saigon, had foolishly declared Diem “the Churchill of Asia,” and had written an after-action report that equated saving Diem with saving Vietnam, and which melodramatically stated that if Vietnam fell, the U.S. must inevitably surrender the Pacific and take up defenses on its own shores.
    John Newman writes that “the scheme engineered by McGarr, Lansdale, and the JCS, brokered by Johnson, and acquiesced in by Diem” was the last straw for President Kennedy. He was now fully alerted to the large numbers of Southeast Asia interventionists around him within his “support structure,” and had become increasingly skeptical, and resistant, to such recommendations. On August 11, 1961, in the midst of the Berlin Crisis, NSAM-65 was issued, stating that the United States would provide equipment and training assistance for a modest increase in the South Vietnamese army from 170,000 to a total of 200,000 men. Meanwhile, with the southern Laos.
    Meanwhile, with the southern Laos supply route open to the Viet Cong, increasing areas of South Vietnam continued to fall to the Viet Cong insurgency. On October 11, 1961, a critical NSC meeting was held in which the State Department’s U. Alexis Johnson presented a paper advocating the views of Maxwell Taylor, Walt Rostow, the Southeast Asia Task Force, and the JCS — in favor of U.S. military intervention. Johnson’s paper proposed a total SEATO force of 22,800 combat troops, with 11,000 of them American. Their proposed deployment was to be immediate. NSAM 104 was issued by JFK that day, directing that Maxwell Taylor assemble a task force and travel to Vietnam for an assessment visit. (It did not approve the recommendations for combat troops in Johnson’s paper.) Taylor’s entourage arrived in South Vietnam on October 18th, and returned to Washington on November 2. Taylor’s trip constituted the pivotal event leading to the most important decision JFK made on Vietnam during his presidency. John Newman wrote: “In picking Taylor to lead the mission, Kennedy chose a man whom he judged to be an expert in unconventional warfare, an intellectual who quoted Thucydides, and the one general he thought shared his own views and that he could, therefore, trust to carry out his bidding. Kennedy did not want to send combat troops to Vietnam and intended to use the Taylor trip not only for elbow room, but also so help strengthen his case against intervening.” In spite of JFK’s attempts to manage the results of the trip before Taylor’s team left the U.S., he did not receive the recommendations he wanted.

    After removing from Taylor’s own draft of his proposed operating instructions all references to studying intervention, command relationships, and CIA operations in Vietnam, JFK inserted the following instructions, which were markedly different from the six paragraphs he had removed form Taylor’s draft:

    In your assessment you should bear in mind that the initial responsibility for effective maintenance of the independence of South Vietnam rests with the people and government of that country. Our efforts must be evaluated, and your recommendations formulated, with this in mind. While the military part of the problem is of great importance in South Vietnam, its political, social, and economic elements are equally significant, and I shall expect your appraisal and your recommendations to take full account of them. According to Newman, JFK then emphasized his desires by planting a bogus story in the New York Times, including the following statement — which was manifestly untrue, as everyone in the national security establishment who read it knew: Military leaders in the Pentagon, no less than General Taylor himself, are understood to be reluctant to send organized U.S. combat troops into Southeast Asia. Pentagon plans for this area stress the importance of countering Communist guerillas with troops from the affected countries, perhaps trained and equipped by the U.S., but not supplanted by U.S. troops.

    Imagine President Kennedy’s dismay, then, when in spite of his overt and covert instructions to Taylor, his favorite general formally recommended immediately introducing 8,000 U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam under the cover of a “flood relief task force.”
    In his book The Best and the Brightest, author David Halberstam wrote: “General Taylor failed to live up to his reputation as an intellectual and original thinker, and his report abandoned concepts of a counterinsurgency in favor of conventional warfare, and with some window-dressing, advocated a Korean War-style strategy [i.e., a large, conventional U.S. military force].”

    Taylor was employing the same “foot-in-the-door” approach that Arleigh Burke had written about to Admiral Felt (CINCPAC) earlier in the year — namely, that if we can get President Kennedy to make some commitment of combat troops now, we can build them up more easily later on to the force levels we really need, because the basic commitment will already have been made. Andrew Krepinevich has written: “… while admitting that the ‘new’ Communist strategy of insurgency bypassed the Army’s traditional approach to war, Taylor offered all the old prescriptions for the achievement of victory: increased firepower and mobility, more effective search and destroy operations, and if all else failed, bombing the source of the trouble (in thought if not in fact), North Vietnam, into capitulation.”

    Taylor’s recommendations were first discussed at an NSC meeting on November 4, 1961, two days after his return to the United States. Great skepticism was expressed by those present that the U.S. could easily withdraw combat troops after they had been introduced, even if they had gone to South Vietnam under the cover of flood relief. A caustic exchange occurred the next day, November 5, between President Kennedy and JCS Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer. Notes taken at the meeting, on file at the LBJ Library, reveal that after Lemnitzer defended the action proposed by Taylor, and painted the adverse consequences of not doing so in rather apocalyptic terms, the following exchange took place:

    The President asked how he [Lemnitzer] could justify the proposed courses of action in Vietnam while at the same time ignoring Cuba. General Lemnitzer hastened to add that the JCS feel that even at this point the United States should go into Cuba. This exchange revealed the lingering (indeed, festering) animosity over the Bay of Pigs debacle, and also highlighted the extent to which the 35th President had become isolated within his own national security bureaucracy. Kennedy had now been pushed into a corner by his own national security establishment over the Southeast Asia problem, and had to fish or cut bait. On November 22, 1961 (ironically) the final version of NSAM-111 was promulgated, and it was the principal position on Vietnam made by JFK during his presidency: it authorized no combat troops for South Vietnam, and no ultimate guarantees to save Vietnam from Communism. In place of these two objectives that had been demanded by the interventionists, JFK approved a significant increase in American advisors and equipment. John Newman has written: There Kennedy drew the line. He would not go beyond it at any time during the rest of his Presidency.
    The main lesson of this climactic event is this: Kennedy turned down combat troops, not when the decision was clouded by ambiguities and contradictions in the reports from the battlefield, but when the battle was unequivocally desperate, when all concerned agreed that Vietnam’s fate hung in the balance, and when his principal advisors told him that vital U.S. interests in the region and the world were at stake. President Kennedy had given (and would give) lip service to the domino theory, but he obviously did not believe it, deep down inside, or else he would have taken Eisenhower’s advice and intervened in Laos. During a November 15, 1961, NSC meeting, JFK is quoted from the meeting minutes at the LBJ Library as saying: … he [the President] could make a rather strong case against intervening in an area 10,000 miles away, against 16,000 guerillas, with a native army of 200,000, where millions have been spent for years with no success. President Kennedy’s instincts were correct, on two counts. First, he feared Vietnam was a sinkhole that could swallow up endless amounts of national treasure, and lives (as he had been warned by President de Gaulle of France, and the retired five-star General Douglas McArthur), with nothing to show for it except a damaged U.S. reputation. Second, he intuitively sensed what none of his national security advisors did: that ultimately, the American public and the Congress would not support a massive, open-ended ground war in Asia. History has shown that his reservations were quite prescient.

    JFK Shakes Things Up in the Executive Branch with the “Thanksgiving Day Massacre” Angry, frustrated, and profoundly dissatisfied with the national security advice he was receiving, President Kennedy took strong action on November 26 to “purge” (or rather, reshuffle) the hawks within the National Security Council and the State Department who had been most opposed to him on Laos and Vietnam policy. At State, JFK did not feel he could politically afford to fire Dean Rusk, so he removed Under Secretary Chester Bowles to shake up the bureaucracy and get its attention. Bowles was replaced as Under Secretary of State by George Ball, who was eminently acceptable to Kennedy because he, too, opposed sending U.S. combat troops to Vietnam. The State Department’s initiatives on Southeast Asia had been driven by U. Alexis Johnson, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs, when they should have been driven by Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs McConaughy. Kennedy therefore replaced McConaughy with the ancient but strong-willed Averill Harriman (the diplomat involved in attempting to secure a neutral settlement in Laos through negotiations in Geneva). U. Alexis Johnson was not to get his boss’s [George Ball’s] old seat when Ball was promoted; instead, he was to stay put and instead, the new Under Secretary for Political Affairs would be George McGhee, who like Ball, also opposed sending combat troops to Vietnam.

    Horne, Douglas. JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated (Kindle Locations 1002-1008). The Future of Freedom Foundation. Kindle Edition.

    \\][//

    • In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2016 11:41:37 PM PDT
      Mogul Cast™ says:
      RA,
      “Okay, thanks for that much. Do they ever get to that leading to who shot JFK and who was directly involved and what they did?”
      . . . . . .
      Mogul is talking about the Kennedy and Vietnam issue.
      Then Androidson lies by saying, “Of course not..”
      . . . . . .
      But of course the connections are as clear as an azure lake in spring; Kennedy was killed in a coup d’etat because he refused to send combat troops to Vietnam as per the demands of the military industrial complex. Anyone who doesn’t get this by now is as thick as a brick.
      Whether they agree with it or not, they know damned well that is the issue, and it is disingenuous BS to pretend not to understand this.
      \\][//

  34. ‘Clandestine Operations Manual for Central America’
    (‘Assassination Manual for Latin America’)

    “The army manual excerpts highlighted by the Pentagon advocate tactics such as executing guerrillas, blackmail, false imprisonment, physical abuse, use of truth serum to obtain information and payment of bounties for enemy dead. Counterintelligence agents are advised that one of their functions is “recommending targets for neutralization,” a term which is defined in one manual as “detaining or discrediting” but which “was commonly used at the time as a euphemism for execution or destruction,” according to a Pentagon official (Washington Post, September 21, 1996). What is not included in these excerpts, however, is the larger context. The seven army manuals train Latin American militaries to infiltrate and spy upon civilians, including student groups, unions, charitable organizations and political parties; to confuse armed insurgencies with legal political opposition; and to disregard or get around any laws regarding due process, arrest and detention. What the manuals leave out is as important as what they include, and what they leave out is any understanding of democracy and the rule of law.

    “The release of the seven army manuals was the result of extensive public and congressional pressure. The manuals were mentioned in a passing reference in the President’s advisory Intelligence Oversight Board’s June 1996 report on Guatemala; this report was made public in response to the high level of interest and pressure from human rights and grassroots organizations. Representative Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) then asked the administration to declassify the manuals in their entirety. The CIA manuals were only released after the Baltimore Sun threatened a lawsuit…
    […]
    Conclusion: Not an Abstract Violation of Human Rights

    The training provided by these manuals, the lesson plans and Project X is not some abstract violation of human rights principles. These methods were actively followed by Latin American militaries, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s; in Chile and Argentina’s “dirty wars” in which thousands of dissidents disappeared; by military dictatorships in Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; in the Central American wars, where tens of thousands of civilians were killed; and in the Andean countries, where human rights violations still abound. In most cases, the militaries being trained were actively involved not just in suppressing armed rebellion but also in repressing democratic, civic opposition.”

    http://www.lawg.org/our-publications/72-general/319-declassified-army-and-cia-manuals

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  35. All too often, in our society, what lies behind that wall of secrecy is information connected to the dark dimension of political, military and economic power. Lack of access to this information distorts our understanding of what is taking place in our world. And this makes us more vulnerable to manipulation. The dark contours of our society are formed by the nexus of political, economic and military interests in which shifting alliances of individuals- with personal stakes in the outcome- determine how events play out. Although the details about these interests and alliances are unseen, they shape, alter and even undermine presidential policy and larger American interests. They are not unlike “black holes.” They cause the normal laws of social order to break down. They can be so weighty that they “curve” the political and economic paths of our history and our destiny. Presidents are no more immune to manipulation than the common man on the street. The power of the presidency renders the person wielding it even more vulnerable. In the discussion of the unanticipated and dramatic American failure in Cuba in 1958 (in Chapter One), we will observe how President Eisenhower was kept in the dark about matters he should not have been. He was told no more than what a few senior officers in the government- particularly in the CIA- decided that he should know about Castro and communism. He was upset when he found out that the main elements of the Cuban situation had been withheld from him. President Kennedy found himself on the horns of exactly the same embarrassing dilemma in Cuba two years later. He, too, was kept in the dark about important information. As the moment for the planned invasion at the Bay of Pigs neared, the CIA was not as forthright as it should have been with the President about the long odds for the success of the operation. Peter Dale Scott gave us the term, “Deep Politics,” and the late Gary Webb gave us the term, “Dark Alliance.” I would like to add “Dark Operations” to our vocabulary.

    What I mean by that term is related to a remark that Dan Hardway made to me the first time we met. Hardway was a young lawyer in a very important place at a very important time: in 1978 he was an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), looking into the deaths of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. I did not meet Dan Hardway until 2014. We were at a meeting, and when we stepped aside to speak, the first thing he said to me was that under many of the CIA’s operations, there is another operation in play. That is a very good way of describing what I mean by “dark operations.” CIA operatives use pseudonyms when they handle their sources.

    The Agency also uses cryptonyms for people and for operations. The original intended use of these methods was not merely to keep the American public in the dark. The CIA’s pseudonyms and cryptonyms have been and still are also used internally at the secret level. The internal use of cryptonyms and pseudonyms was designed to protect CIA operations. Their use makes it difficult for moles to piece together sensitive operations generally. It is the foundation of what is called “compartmentalization” and the “need to know.” However, keeping cryptonyms and pseudonyms secret forever is unnecessary and even harmful. It can undermine the faith of the people in their institutions of government- especially if something goes wrong with intelligence operations. And something did go terribly wrong with American intelligence operations before, during, and after the assassination of President Kennedy.

    There is no darker story in our recent history than how the American struggle with Fidel Castro became entangled with the assassination of President Kennedy. I am not arguing that it necessarily involved a lot of people in the CIA, the FBI, or in other U.S. national security organizations. But I am arguing that without unmasking the CIA’s pseudonyms, cryptonyms, and multiple identities that were in use over half a century ago and were related to this case, it will not be possible to find out, let alone prove beyond a reasonable doubt, who was behind the assassination in Dealey Plaza and how they got away with it. We not only have the right to find out, but also, the duty to find out. The President’s murder happened fifty one years ago. The CIA’s continued withholding of records is still being justified based on the flawed premise that it is protecting sources and methods from foreign intelligence services. Those sources and methods have been known around the world for decades. This justification lacks credibility today. The continued withholding of this information now functions only to hide these operations from those to whom they belong: the American people. Our congress agrees. That is why they passed the JFK Assassination Records Act in 1993.

    Newman, John. Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume 1 . . Kindle Edition.
    \\][//

    • Major Working Hypotheses

      The following working hypotheses pertain to the entire series of volumes in the present work.
      The substance of Hypotheses Three and Four was presented in the 2008 edition of my previous work, Oswald and the CIA. We will build upon them as the volumes of this series unfold.

      > Hypothesis One: At some point in 1962, regardless of how much earlier someone might have wanted President Kennedy to be assassinated, the contours of the plot that eventually emerged began to fall into place: an American Marxist, Lee Harvey Oswald would assassinate JFK and appear to have done so for Fidel Castro with the assistance of the KGB.

      > Hypothesis Two: The plot was also designed to make it appear that the Kennedy brothers’ plan to overthrow Castro had been successfully turned around by Fidel, resulting in the assassination of President Kennedy.

      > Hypothesis Three: Lee Harvey Oswald was sent by his agent handler to New Orleans in the summer of 1963 to build upon his pro-Castro Cuban legend that he had begun to establish in Dallas at the beginning of that year.

      > Hypothesis Four: Oswald’s CIA files were manipulated by CIA counterintelligence in the weeks before the assassination to support the design mentioned in Hypothesis One and Two. In this connection, Oswald (or an imposter) traveled to Mexico City (28 September-3 October 1963) and spent time in the Cuban Consulate and met with a Soviet diplomat, Valery Kostikov, who was known to U.S. intelligence to be the head of KGB assassinations (Department 13) for the Western Hemisphere.

      > Hypothesis Five: An essential element of the plot was a psychological operation to raise the specter of WWIII and the death of forty million Americans. 4 This threat of a nuclear holocaust was then used by President Johnson to terrify Chief Justice Earl Warren and some of the other men who served on the Warren Commission to such an extent that they believed there was no alternative to writing a report stating Lee Oswald alone had assassinated the president.

      Further Assumptions

      > Neither Fidel Castro nor the Soviet Union was involved in the assassination of JFK.

      > For the plot that was used in the JFK assassination to work, Castro had to be alive after the president’s death. Rolando Cubela would have to be denied the means to easily kill Castro until after— several months at a minimum— the assassination in Dallas took place.

      >Many of the post-assassination lies and cover-ups were carried out by people who had nothing to do with the pre-existing plot to assassinate the president. Many of these people mistakenly thought that what they were doing was in the best interest of the country.

      > We would be mistaken to assume that just because there is no written evidence for an event that it never took place.

      Newman, John. Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume 1 . . Kindle Edition.

      \\][//

      • And so, as we track through these plots, we will understand what is coming at the end: a very dark operation— the assassination of President John Kennedy. Many people in and out of the U.S. government believed then, as many do now, that the false scenario— of a Kennedy plot to overthrow Castro that was turned around by Fidel and used to assassinate President Kennedy— is true.

        Newman, John. Where Angels Tread Lightly: The Assassination of President Kennedy Volume 1 . . Kindle Edition.
        \\][//

      • LIST OF ACRONYMS

        > ACU: Agrupacion
        > Catolica Universitaria, a Cuban Catholic University Group
        > ADC: Accion Democratica Christiana, formed by Fabio Freyre
        > ASNE: American Society of Newspaper Editors
        > CI: Counterintellligence (CIA)
        > CNO: Chief of Naval Operations
        > COG: Cuban Operations Group (CIA)
        >COS: Chief of Station (CIA)
        > CRC: Cuban Revolutionary Council
        > CRM: Civic Resistance Movement, Manuel Ray, Cuban underground in Havana during Batista dictatorship
        >DCI: Director of Central Intelligence
        > DCOS: Deputy Chief of Station (CIA)
        > DIER: Cuban Army Intelligence (G-2)
        >DOD: Department of Defense
        > DOJ: Department of Justice
        > DR: Directorio Revolucionario, a Cuban student-based revolutionary group
        > DRE: Cuban Student Directorate, formed in Miami JMWAVE Station in 1960
        > FBN: Federal Bureau of Narcotics
        > FEU: Federation of University Students (Cuba)
        > FI: Foreign Intelligence (CIA)
        > IAPA/ SIP: Inter-American Press Association, aka Inter-American Press Society
        > ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)
        > INRA: Agrarian Reform Institute, created by Fidel Castro in 1959
        > INS: Immigration and Naturalization Service
        > IOC: Initial Operating Capability (usually referring to missile systems)
        > LAR: Legion of Revolutionary Action, formed by Manuel Artime
        > “Legat”: The legal attaché, a cover for the FBI cover in U.S. embassies
        > MRP: People’s Revolutionary Movement, formed by Manuel Ray
        > MRR: Movement of Revolutionary Rescue, formed by Artime and Sergio Sanjenis
        > NSC: National Security Council (U.S.)
        > OPC: Office of Policy Coordination (U.S., pre-CIA)
        > Organization of American States (OAS)
        > Office of Strategic Services (OSS— the forerunner of the CIA)
        > PP: Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff (CIA)
        > PPL: Partido del Public Libre, Free People’s Party, formed by Carlos Marquez Sterling
        > PRC: Partido Revolucionario Cubana, Varona helped found the group in 1934
        > PRQ: Personal Record Questionnaire (CIA)
        > SAAG: Special Assistant to the Attorney General
        > SAS: Special Affairs Staff (CIA Cuban operations)
        > SFNE: Frente Nacional del Escambray, “Second Front” that fought with Castro against Batista
        > SIM: Servicio de Inteligencia Militar, Batista’s Army Military Intelligence
        > SO: Security Office (CIA)
        > TFW: Task Force W (CIA, Cuban operations)
        > USIA: United States Information Agency
        > WHD: Western Hemisphere Division (CIA)

        — Where Angels Tread Lightly
        \\][//

  36. Demeanor Evidence

    Demeanor
    The outward physical behavior and appearance of a person.
    Demeanor is not merely what someone says but the manner in which it is said. Factors that contribute to an individual’s demeanor include tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and carriage.
    The term demeanor is most often applied to a witness during a trial. Demeanor evidence is quite valuable in shedding light on the credibility of a witness, which is one of the reasons why personal presence at trial is considered to be of paramount importance and has great significance concerning the Hearsay rule. To aid a jury in its determination of whether or not it should believe or disbelieve particular testimony, it should be provided with the opportunity to hear statements directly from a witness in court whenever possible.

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/demeanor

    \\][//

  37. JFK’S MURDER, THE CIA & 8 THINGS EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW

    The Central Intelligence Agency implicated itself in the 1963 murder of President Kennedy and its ongoing cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out recently.

    Former congressional investigator Robert Tanenbaum, right, said he and his boss quit the last official probe of JFK’s murder in 1978 because Congress was too frightened of the CIA’s power to permit a probe of the agency’s suspicious actions.

    Those actions included, he said, implicating Lee Harvey Oswald in a fictitious Communist plot against JFK. The CIA apparently concocted evidence in October 1963 that an Oswald imposter plotted with Soviet and Cuban embassy personnel in Mexico City to kill the president later in the year.

    Why?

    Tanenbaum — a former top prosecutor in New York City, two-term mayor of Beverly Hills and now a best-selling crime novelist — described why he and his boss, noted Philadelphia trial lawyer Richard Sprague, resigned from the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in disgust at the cover-up of the nation’s most important murder of modern times.

    Tanenbaum, shown above right, spoke eloquently on the topic during a recent conference about the assassination I that attended at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

    C-SPAN cablecast his talk beginning Nov. 29 on what is now must-see TV for anyone who cares about modern public affairs or true-crime at the highest level of drama. Editor’s Note: The web link to Tanenbaum’s segment has been corrected, as of Jan. 12, 2014, from a previous link that became outmoded.Johnn F. Kennedy Looking Up

    Today’s column – the ninth in our “JFK Murder Readers Guide” series – treats topics that should be part of any credible discussion of blame for Kennedy’s murder 50 years ago.

    I am not trying to assert detailed, final conclusions. Evidence of murder complicity by members of an organization does not mean guilt at the top, of course. Similarly, those engaged in cover-up are not necessarily the perpetrators of a crime.

    Those vital details are addressed in many official reports and some 2,000 books on the JFK murder, including more than a hundred in 2013 alone. Much work remains, most importantly regarding the serious implications for the Obama administration and today’s public that I chronicle in my new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters.

    Instead of conclusions, I urge here only that readers who want seriously to consider the Warren Commission’s findings get familiar with the eight topics below. The headlines are in bold if you have time to read only the headlines and not the explanatory material.

    Meanwhile, the mainstream media and top government leaders typically duck each of these issues. They are thus able to remain almost entirely unified behind the Warren Commission’s findings, as evident in coverage of the murder’s 50th anniversary this fall.

    The general public seems to understand the self-censorship in the coverage. Polling has shown for many years that most Americans doubt the findings of the seven-member Warren Commission.

    Chaired by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, the commission sought to reassure the public that guilt fell only on Oswald, whom they portrayed as a mentally unbalanced, pro-Marxist killer acting alone. The script followed the Justice Department’s advice to the White House immediately after the killing, as indicated here, as well as the State Department’s “Propaganda Notes” on Sept. 24, 1964 that provided secret guidance to insiders on how to mock critics of the Warren Commission.

    The most trusted names in news continue now to stick to simple name-calling against critics, as evident in previous segments in this series and the overwhelming bulk of recent news coverage of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder.

    Jesse Ventura They Killed Our President CoverFor the sake of history and coming generations, Tanenbaum and others at the “Passing the Torch” conference raised challenging questions about the CIA’s role. Their daring work is part of a growing, unprecedented attack on the agency based on evidence that has been accumulating in recent years.

    Dr. Cyril Wecht, an illustrious forensic pathologist and medical school professor, organized the conference in his hometown of Pittsburgh as part of his long dissent from official findings on JFK’s death.

    Elsewhere, best-selling author Jerome Corsi focused his new book Who Really Killed JFK? squarely on the CIA and its former Director Allen Dulles. Kennedy fired Dulles in 1962. The next year, Dulles became the most influential member of the Warren Commission, which ignored many leads casting suspicion on the CIA and its operatives who were fighting Fidel Castro.

    http://www.justice-integrity.org/faq/599-jfk-s-murder-the-cia-8-things-every-american-should-know

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