This time it’s no joke. Investigative reporter Dan Moldea details the latest developments in the murder of an organized crime ally who rode high in the Kennedy era.
Michael Swanson, an investment adviser turned JFK researcher, called my attention to “Council of War,” a fascinating official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which documents the Pentagon’s resistance to, and resentment of, President Kennedy’s foreign policy, especially on Cuba and Vietnam.
Published last year by the JCS, the study presents an unvarnished view of an unprecedented mistrust between White House and Pentagon in the year before Kennedy was violently removed from power.
“Read this book and you are reading a real history of the American empire and defense establishment written for future leaders of the Pentagon and armed forces,” writes Swanson, who plans to publish his own study of the Cold War from 1945-1963 in the fall.
Some highlights from “Council of War:”
Taylor Marsh, the self-described ”recovering beauty queen” turned political blogger, comments on the aesthetics of Rob Lowe as the iconic JFK in National Geographic’s forthcoming JFK feature and she wonders about the credibility of the script by the JFK fabulist Bill O’Reilly.
“Bill O’Reilly’s memory is playing tricks on him, to put it kindly, because there are witnesses that know he wasn’t where he said he was in his book,” she writes.
More than a few members of the Washington political elite in the 1960s privately suspected that President Kennedy had been killed by his enemies. They ranged from the JFK’s brother and widow to members of the Warren Commission to established news reporters.
As Rex Bradford notes in this 2008 speech in Dallas, “this group shared with the rest of us disbelief in the lone disgruntled gunman story, What we don’t find [in their comments] for the most part are strong indications that they really knew the answer to ‘Who killed JFK?’ beyond intelligent hunches. But some of their statements offer interesting clues and point the way toward information they had which has since gone missing.”
Welcome to the Assassination City Roller Derby, where you can watch competing teams, the Lone Star Assassins and the Dead Kennedys, fight it out on the circular track.
“I can understand that some people may be offended,” a league spokeswoman said. “But that’s not what we’re all about. The name is about taking something negative and being tongue-in-cheek and being light about a gritty situation.”
I must confess that I am a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. My theory is that the attacks on New York and Washington were the result of a plot organized by Khalid Sheik Muhammed, funded by Osama bin Laden, and carried out by Muhammed’s extended family and other men enlisted by the lead co-conspirators.
The historical validity of that conclusion doesn’t mean we know the whole story of the 9/11 attacks.
So says Bob Graham, the former Florida Senator and 9/11 Commission member.
The role of the U.S. government agencies in systematically spying on its citizenry to advance U.S. policymaker goals extends back to the 1930s (as James Bamford recounts for Reuters.) The sense of scandal is not new. In Washington, deja vu is spiking. The excesses of the surveillance state have been exposed before, with domestic spying scandals generating headlines in 1975 and again in 2006.
What Americans see is the scandal of the new normal in Washington. Read more
President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.
As the current issue of Arms Control Today documents, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influenced the arms control vision all of the presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signalled his evolution as a civil rights leader.
Kennedy announced that the two black students had been enrolled at the University of Alabama, overcoming the objections of racist Gov. George Wallace, and he announced that after more than two years in office and two years of violent segregationist backlash in the South, he was introducing comprehensive civil rights legislation. In an evening, JFK went from timid and calculating on civil rights issues to bold and visionary.
Jacob Engels in the East Orlando Post says the Republican political operative’s upcoming book “The Man Who Killed Kennedy” ranked first in pre-orders in the “politics and policy” category of the online bookseller. I don’t know about #1, but the book is currently ranked fifth.
The pre-orders are good sign for the former aide to President Nixon who makes the case for Lyndon Johnson as the mastermind of JFK’s assassination. Stone says his book “is the first real distillation of the facts by a White House insider,” which he says, accurately, distinguishes his from other “LBJ done it” books. Stone also conducted extensive interviews with Nixon and former Attorney General John Mitchell about the JFK story, neither of whom spoke publicly on the subject. That also distinguishes Stone’s book.
“Then, in the 1960s, both agencies [FBI and CIA] turned their considerable power and attention to the domestic threat to official Washington posed by opponents of the Vietnam War. Some of what they looked at it was genuine criminal activity — people planting bombs or kidnapping newspaper heiresses — but most of it had nothing to do with criminal activity or with any foreign directed subversion. It simply consisted of determined dissent from what the Johnson and Nixon administrations were doing.”
“The new model of media seems to include some big institutions, mostly devoted to fluff and with not much incentive to do real in-depth investigations, and some bloggers, who may have plenty of skepticism but don’t really do gumshoe work or deep analysis of documents. There seems to be a big gap left.”
Open America fills that gap. Read more
President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 50 years ago represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
I’m joining my friend and former boss David Talbot in launching a new media platform called Open America, an aggressive effort to pierce the veil of secrecy around the national security agencies and corporate power. I hope you’ll let us know what you think.
For my part, I will be writing a blog on drones, with timely news and commentary on both the enormous potential of drones for business and society and their known hazards to civil liberties and international law. Open America will also support David’s book-in-progress on Allen Dulles and the JFK assassination, which promises to be sensational. Read more
“…So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. 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.”
— JFK’s commencement speech at American University, June 10, 1963.