Monday, June 26, 2017


Gerald D.. McKnight is professor emeritus of history at Hood College in Frederick, MD and the author of the new book, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005).University Press of Kansas). The following article was drawn from his book.
    The “who” and “why” of Dallas. . . A clear explanation was made impossible by the official conspiracy to ensure that there could be no other answer as soon as it was known that Lee Harvey Oswald, then the only suspect in the crime, had been assassinatedl. Since there was no good-faith effort to investigate JFK’s murder, there are few leads from the official evidence that the private researcher can use as a basis for solving the crime.
    Despite the official mythology that Oswald acting alone killed President Kennedy, government documents and records reveal that there were two conspiracies. The first was the one that took Kennedy’s life. The other was the bloodless one engaged in by officialdom—President Johnson, FBI director Hoover, the Justice Department, the Secret Service, the U.S. Navy, the CIA, and the members of the Warren Commission. All of them conspired to foist a counterfeit solution to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the American public. Although they all conspired, to one degree or another, to hide the truth that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, it does not necessarily follow that any of them were guilty of the original crime— the planning and execution of JFK’s murder. At the same time, that possibility cannot be excluded.
    With the crime now four [five] decades in the past, no researcher can possibly truthfully answer the “who” and “why” of the JFK assassination. So far there has been no “smoking gun” uncovered among the four or five million pages of government documents released [in 1992] into the public domain and housed at the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland; nor is there likely to be since those responsible for uncovering the facts of the assassination never investigated the crime.
    Unlike pulp-fiction mysteries, in real life there usually is no smoking gun. Although this book has not uncovered any such clue, it has unearthed out of the massive official record of the crime unanswered questions and impossibilities galore regarding ballistics, the nature of JFK’s wounds, the ignored testimony of key witnesses, the suppression and destruction of evidence, and a pattern of official lies and cover-up. . . .
     A thread of recognition runs through the record, exposing the hard truth that all those responsible for reporting on the crime knew at one point or another in the investigation that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy. President Johnson was never in doubt that his sudden and accidental elevation to the presidency was the result of a conspiracy to take the life of John F. Kennedy. The weekend following the assassination, early intelligence from DCI McCone and Director Hoover persuaded Johnson that the tragedy in Dallas was the result of a “Red plot” hatched in Mexico City. This alone was reason enough for LBJ, Hoover, and Katzenbach to agree that a higher national purpose would be served by “settling the dust of Dallas” as quickly as possible. Like most Americans at the time, LBJ accepted at face value the existence of an international communist conspiracy. With Director Hoover’s assistance the White House moved quickly to discourage all official talk of a “Red plot,” with the attendant unthinkable consequences of missiles flying and forty million American lives hanging in the balance. Years later LBJ entertained the likelihood that the CIA had had something to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
     As early as the weekend after the assassination the FBI suspected that there was a conspiracy when it learned of an Oswald imposter in Mexico City. By January, if not before, these suspicions had hardened into a dead certainty when FBI photoanalysts examined the Zapruder film and slides made from this historic film.. . Based on these findings, the only tenable conclusion. . .  was either that Oswald had not been the assassin or that he had had an accomplice. . .
     The Warren Commission pretended to dispel all doubts about the ammunition used in the crime when it reported that a bullet allegedly found in Governor John Connally’s hospital stretcher matched the type of ammunition that could have been fired from Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. , , , [To] the Commission’s dismay, all the recorded witness testimony convincingly pointed to the greater likelihood that the missile in question had come from a stretcher that had nothing to do with either Kennedy or Connally. [It had been planted by one of the conspirators.] The Commission ignored this awkward turn of events because it subverted its prima facie case against Oswald as the lone assassin.  Kennedy was removed from office [assassinated] because powerful and irrational forces  opposed his revisionist Cuba policy. . . 
     Kennedy’s 1962 no-invasion pledge was tantamount to giving Castro an intolerable degree of sanctuary. The CIA, its influence with the Kennedy White House already compromised because of the Bay of Pigs imbroglio, seethed at the prospect of becoming even more marginalized. If the White House would not commit to a military solution of the “Castro problem,” the morale and motivation of the anti-regime Cubans would be irreparably damaged. 
     One certain way to scuttle a policy of rapprochement and move directly to retaliation was to show that Kennedy’s assassination was linked to the Castro government. Was this what Oswald’s handlers had in mind when they coached him in building a pro-Castro legend during the three months he spent in New Orleans? . . . It seems hardly credible that this twenty-four-year-old ex-marine warranted this high-level attention from a small and elite circle of CIA operational officers because he was the self-professed secretary of a nonexistent Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter in New Orleans. Was Oswald an unwitting tool in what Castro characterized as a “gigantic provocation”?
    There is evidence that as soon as Oswald was charged with Kennedy’s murder the CIA surreptitiously launched a disinformation campaign in the national press to convince the public that the assassin was linked to the Castro government. Was CIA director John McCone acting out of assassination hysteria or calculated design when he tried to push the Alvarado story on Commissioner Gerald Ford even after the FBI had proved the Nicaraguan agent’s account to be bogus? Were these developments isolated and independent of one another or interlocking elements in some plan to create an incriminating story about Oswald as part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy and provoke U.S. military action against Cuba?
     If hard-line elements within the CIA conspired to force the new president’s hand or provide Johnson with the grounds to settle the “Castro problem” by an invasion of Cuba, they were quickly disappointed. Two weeks after the assassination the White House sent a clear signal to the CIA to abandon its agitation about a “Red plot” behind the tragedy of Dallas.. .
    When [James]Angleton took over the investigation the CIA had clear sailing in covering up any connection between it and the Kennedy assassination. . .  For instance, when Hoover and McCone testified before the Commission they knew beforehand what line the questioning would take, allowing them to coordinate their responses. “Was Oswald ever an agent?” And “Does the CIA/FBI have any evidence showing that a conspiracy existed to assassinate President Kennedy?”  When Hoover and McCone made their separate May 1964 appearances before the Commission they were on message with a “No” to both questions.
     These were the kinds of generic questions that the government should have made every effort to answer in order to be true to its solemn obligation to uncover the reasons behind the Dealey Plaza conspiracy. Where there is no mystery, no shadow of doubt, is that planning for provocation to justify major U.S. military action against Cuba was a persistent theme in some government circles, most notably the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA, during the Kennedy presidency.
    Another persistent theme during the Kennedy years was the deadly business of assassination of political leaders. “Executive Action” operations against foreign leaders posed no moral dilemma for some of the CIA’s senior officers if the removal of those people would advance U.S. aims. In May 1961, Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic, was ambushed and killed by coup plotters with guns furnished by the CIA. Trujillo was on the CIA’s hit list, and the agency was associated with the plotters who assassinated the Dominican strongman.
    The Trujillo assassination occurred on Kennedy’s watch, but at the time the president knew nothing of the CIA’s “Executive Action” operations and history. Kennedy learned about the program by happenstance a year after he entered the White House when FBI director Hoover brought it to his attention. When the Kennedys learned of these pre–Bay of Pigs CIA-mafia plots, the attorney general demanded an explanation. On May 7, 1962, Robert Kennedy met with Lawrence Houston, the CIA’s general counsel, and Col. Sheffield Edwards, director of the Office of Security, for a briefing on the CIA’s contacts with gangster elements. When the attorney general insisted that there be no more contact with mafia chieftains without first consulting him, Edwards assured Kennedy that all CIA-mafia plots had been terminated.
    But the CIA’s own 1967 inspector general’s report noted that Bobby Kennedy was never told that after the May meeting the “CIA had a continuing involvement with U.S. gangster elements.” Edwards had lied to the attorney general.
    In February 1963 the CIA masterminded the overthrow of Iraq’s prime minister, General Abdul Karim Qassem. His pro-Soviet policies were deemed a threat to Middle East stability. Qassem and his supporters resisted the coup forces for two days before he surrendered unconditionally. The toppled general received a summary trial and faced a firing squad, all within one hour after he surrendered. His bullet-riddled body was shown on Iraqi television night after night to assure the populace that he was indeed dead. James Critchfield, the CIA’s division chief of the Middle East, was elated with the outcome, regarding it “as a great victory.” Years later Critchfield boasted, “We really had the Ts crossed on what was happening. . .”
    By the fall of 1963 President Kennedy was the greatest obstacle preventing hard-line government elements from getting rid of Castro. As late as November 18 the White House told William Attwood to go forward with his mission. It was agreed that Attwood would meet with the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, Carlos Lechuga, to set up an agenda for a future dialogue.
    As Kennedy prepared for his Texas trip, differing plans within the government for handling the “Castro problem” were moving along separate tracks and heading pell-mell for the same crossing. Kennedy had committed to exploring a diplomatic solution.  When it came to dealing with Castro some CIA bitter-enders were prepared to act as a law unto themselves and finish their grudge fight with Castro. AMLASH exposed the utter contempt that some CIA elements had for Kennedy as well as their fundamental lack of trust in the White House’s ability to advance the nation’s interests, as they perceived them, and assure the country’s security in an unruly and dangerous world. . .
    This situation raises the unavoidable suspicion that CIA hard-liners, conceivably in league with other disaffected institutional forces, planned to remove Castro by first getting rid of Kennedy. . .Short of uncovering the proverbial “smoking gun,” no seamless explanation as to the “who” and “why” of Dallas is possible. Ideally, the time for uncovering answers to these questions was forty years ago, had the Warren Commission enjoyed the full cooperation of government agencies and a clear mandate from the Johnson White House to pursue the truth no matter where it led. Instead, “settling the dust” of Dallas as quickly as possible was the course the executive branch settled upon. . . As a consequence, the Warren Commission went through the motions of an investigation that was little more than an improvised exercise in public relations. The government did not want to delve into the heart of darkness of the Kennedy assassination because it feared what it might uncover: the brutal truth that Kennedy was a victim of deep divisions and visceral distrust over how to solve the “Castro problem,” and that his assassination was carried out by powerful and irrational forces within his own government.
I discovered the Mary Ferrell Foundation, an excellent resource for anyone who doesn't believe the Warren Commission's single-bulllet, single assassin theory.  I recently asked several of my duplicate bridge friends if they were believers.  One said, "Absolutely.  All those conspiracy theories were absurd." Several said, "Who cares after all this time?" To them, I will quote Martin Luther King, Jr:
     "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it."
     "He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
1-11-13 Update
3:18am Jan 11, 2013 
     Here is a comment posted on another forum which I thought might be worth talking about... I see what the poster means but think it’s a bit defeatist. . . things can and do change.  "when the files will be open in 2035 or something."
     This is part of the propaganda. It's a hypnotic mantra. They [the CIA] give you a false feeling that someday the truth will be known. It's very sad that that people fall for this. The question should be: Why could the truth not be known right away? Why do files need to be kept hidden about the murder of a president in the so-called greatest democracy of the world that is supposed to serve its people with transparency and honesty? What is there to hide? 

     It's utterly disgusting that they keep many people longing for this fake, non-existent openness, while these people should ask: Why postpone openness? The fact that they are suggesting openness in 2035 “or something,” means that they are hiding the truth until then. That is what you should be livid about! It's actually very strange. They say: some day we may tell you the truth, after we, the culprits, are all dead and have gotten away with this crime. It's an insult to every member of this so-called democracy.

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