In response to my question on Wednesday, a reader sent this video. (H/T David)
Yes. It happened on September 20, 1963, according to History.com. It is one of the lesser known but more important events in the last months of President Kennedy’s life and presidency.
In the fall of 1963, JFK was on a political roll. His approval ratings had climbed. He had overcome the grumbling of the Pentagon and all but secured Senate ratification of the popular Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear explosions in space. Then he went to New York to say something daring.
Cuba celebrates the 60th anniversary of the beginning of its revolution on July 26, 1953. Later this year America will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963,
The events are ancient but linked. The connection between Cuba’s revolution and the death of the 35th American president remains a live issue in the political culture of both countries.
The assassination of JFK is one reason why this conflict between the United States and Cuba endures to this day.
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:”
Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.
Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.
These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable:”
In this well-edited YouTube piece, Eytmon reminds us that President Kennedy was a “dove,” a leader more inclined to restrain U.S. military power than to unleash it. While JFK was often aggressive in rhetoric, he also emphasized peace was “necessary and rational.” It was his experience as a Navy lieutenant in World War II who repeatedly faced death in battle that made the cause of peace personally urgent to him. It also distinguished him from the hawks of his day
A newly declassified Pentagon study, published today by the non-profit National Security Archive, sheds new light on the thinking of U.S. military leaders at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
As President Kennedy searched for a solution that did not involve a war that might have gone nuclear, the Pentagon was itching to escalate.
“Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War–a hotbed of spies, revolutionaries, and assassins. The CIA’s station there was the front line of the United States’ fight against international communism, as important for Latin America as Berlin was for Europe. And its undisputed spymaster was Winston Mackinley Scott, chief of the CIA’s Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969,
Yes. He had a plan to do just that, as University of Texas professor Jamie Galbraith demonstrates in this recent piece for The Nation.
As recounted by independent scholar Jim DiEugenio in Robert Parry’s Consortium News, JFK supported Third World independence movements that the Pentagon and the CIA usually sought to thwart or destroy.
Two examples stand out in DiEugenio’s detailed article:
I wonder what President Kennedy thought? Read more
In the last installment of this epic and enlightening series, host Len Osanic talks to the director of “America’s Untold History” about JFK’s enemies without reference to the assassination. Rather, Stone compares JFK to his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower and successor Lyndon B. Johnson and explores what an unusual president he was in resisting the pressure for militarization and war.
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this new documentary by Cory Taylor goes where the recent mainstream news organization coverage did not dare: to the political context of JFK’s violent removal from power.
The New York Times called it “well-researched” and a “worthy entry” in the JFK documentary film catalog.
The son of Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy writes in the current issue of Rolling Stone:
“And today, JFK’s great concerns seem more relevant than ever: the dangers of nuclear proliferation, the notion that empire is inconsistent with a republic and that corporate domination of our democracy at home is the partner of imperial policies abroad.”