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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 12:46 PM

The beginning of Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, shows Dwight Eisenhower making his “Farewell to the Nation” speech. Some people have argued that this was Stone’s way of illustrating his belief that the Military Industrial Complex was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Oliver Stone is not the only one who holds this view. Several members of this Forum, including myself, have argued that the Military Industrial Complex was in some way involved in his death. See for example:

http://educationforu...?showtopic=3580

However, the weakness of this argument is that researchers rarely identify the people involved in this conspiracy. Over the next few weeks I intend to name the people who made up what I prefer to call, the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

Part 1

On 17th January, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower gave his Farewell Address to the nation. It included the following passage:

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
(1)

The speech was written by two of Eisenhower’s advisers, Malcolm Moos and Ralph Williams. However, this was not the speech they had written. Eisenhower had made some important changes to the original draft. For example, Eisenhower’s speech is a warning about the future. He does not explain how he dealt with this problem during his presidency. After all, Eisenhower gave important posts to John McCone and Robert Anderson, two key figures in the “Military-Industrial Complex”. He was also the president who succumbed to the pressures of Tommy Corcoran to order the CIA to work with United Fruit in the overthrow of democratically elected government in Guatemala. Eisenhower also encouraged and benefited from the activities of Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. It was this fanatical anti-communism that fueled Cold War tensions and stimulated the arms race that was such an important ingredient in the development of the “Military-Industrial Complex”.

Another important aspect of the speech is that Eisenhower does not mention the role of politicians in this problem. This is strange as it was only through politicians that the military and the business community got what they wanted. This was one aspect of the speech that Eisenhower changed. In the original draft, Moos and Williams had used the phrase, the “Military-Industrial Congressional Complex”. This is of course a more accurate description of this relationship. However, to use the term “Congressional” would have highlighted the corruption that was taking place in the United States and illustrated the role played by Eisenhower in this scandal.

The idea that an informal group of people from the military, government and business would work together in order to make profits out of war was not a new one. For example, Tom Paine wrote in the introduction to the Rights of Man: “What is the history of all monarchical governments but a disgustful picture of human wretchedness, and the accidental respite of a few years’ repose? War is their trade, plunder and revenue their objects. While such governments continue, peace has not the absolute security of a day.” (2)

Tom Paine believed that rulers often resorted to war in an attempt to deal with internal conflicts. Abraham Lincoln was another who had identified this strategy. In 1848 he attacked President James Polk for his policy over Mexico: “Trusting to escape scrutiny, by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness of military glory – that attractive rainbow, that rises in shadows of blood – that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy – he plunged into war.” Lincoln added: “Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object.” According to Lincoln, this was “the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions” and that it was important that the United States should make sure that “no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us”. (3)

The first person to identify the modern Industrial-Military-Political Complex was J. A. Hobson. A strong opponent of British imperialist adventures, Hobson published “Imperialism: A Study” in 1902. It included the following passage: “Our economic analysis has disclosed the fact that it is only the interests of competing cliques of business men – investors, contractors, export manufacturers, and certain professional classes – that are antagonistic; that these cliques, usurping the authority and voice of the people, use the public resources to push their private interests, and spend the blood and money of the people in this vast and disastrous military game, feigning national antagonism which have no basis in reality.” (4)

Hobson’s views had a significant impact on the consciousness of people in Europe. It helped to develop a belief in pacifism that was very strong in the early years of the 20th century. George Bernard Shaw was an example of someone who shared the views of Hobson and in his play Major Barbara, the armament maker Undershaft says: “You will make war when it suits us and keep peace when it doesn’t… When I want anything to keep my dividends up, you will call out the police and the military.” (5)

This mood changed in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War. James Keir Hardie, the leader of the Labour Party, organized a national strike against Britain's participation in the war. However, he underestimated the ability of the state to persuade people of the need to go to war. Hardie was denounced as a traitor and died a broken man in 1915.

David Kirkwood, was one of those who saw through this propaganda: “I hated war. I believed that the peoples of the world hated war, and had no hate for each other. A terrific struggle tore my breast. I could not hate the Germans. They loved their land as I loved mine. To them, their traditions and their history, their religion and their songs were what mine were to me. Yet I was working in an arsenal, making guns and shells for one purpose - to kill men in order to keep them from killing men. What was I to do? I was not a conscientious objector. I was a political objector. I believed that finance and commercial rivalry had led to war.” (6)

Gerald Nye was one of the first people to identify the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. Nye was elected to Congress in 1926 and immediately began to question the relationship between politicians and the armament manufacturers. In a speech in 1930, Nye argued: “That in nearly every war it is the people who bear the burdens and that it is not the people who cause wars bringing them no advantage, but that they are caused by fear and jealousy coupled with the purpose of men and interests who expect to profit by them.” (7)

On 8th February, 1934, Nye submitted a Senate Resolution calling for an investigation of the munitions industry by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Key Pittman of Nevada. Pittman disliked the idea and the resolution was referred to the Military Affairs Committee. It was eventually combined with one introduced earlier by Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan, who sought to take the profits out of war.

Public hearings before the Munitions Investigating Committee began on 4th September, 1934. In the reports published by the committee it was claimed that there was a strong link between the American government's decision to enter the First World War and the lobbying of the munitions industry. The committee was also highly critical of the nation's bankers. In a speech in 1936 Nye argued that "the record of facts makes it altogether fair to say that these bankers were in the heart and center of a system that made our going to war inevitable". (8)

The Report on Activities and Sales of Munition Companies was published in April, 1936. It included the following passage: “Almost without exception, the American munitions companies investigated have at times resorted to such unusual approaches, questionable favors and commissions, and methods of 'doing the needful' as to constitute, in effect, a form of bribery of foreign governmental officials or of their close friends in order to secure business. These business methods carried within themselves the seeds of disturbance to the peace and stability of those nations in which they take place.” (9)

Nye became a strong supporter of “isolationism” and was a founder member of the America First Committee. Nye's known isolationist views became very unpopular after America entered the war and he lost his seat in Congress in November 1944.

During the war politicians like Nye found it impossible to raise the issue of war profiteering. It was a different matter after victory had been achieved and Owen Brewster was appointed chairman of the Senate War Investigating Committee. In 1946 Brewster announced that he was very concerned that the government had given Howard Hughes $40m for the development and production of two aircraft that had never been delivered. Brewster also pointed out the President Franklin D. Roosevelt had overruled his military experts in order to hand out the contracts to Hughes for the F-11 and HK-1 (also known as the Spruce Goose).

Hughes was able to get this investigation closed down by launching a smear campaign against Owen Brewster. The Senate War Investigating Committee never completed its report on the non-delivery of the F-11 and the HK-1. The committee stopped meeting and was eventually disbanded. (10)

Notes

1. Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation (17th January, 1961)

2. Tom Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)

3. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln (pages 111-12)

4. J. A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study, 1902 (page 127)

5. George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara, 1905

6. David Kirkland, My Life of Revolt, 1935 (page 84)

7. Gerald Nye, speech at the Conference of Causes and Cures of War (January, 1930)

8. Gerald Nye, speech reported in the New York Times (10th February, 1936)

9. Senate Report on Activities and Sales of Munition Companies (April, 1936)

10. Jack Anderson, Confessions of a Muckraker, 1979 (pages 49-99)

#2 Ron Ecker

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 07:15 PM

John,

Thanks for writing on this subject.

I think the terms Military Industrial Complex and Military Industrial Congressional Complex are both inadequate, as they leave out Intelligence. It should be the Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Complex. But obviously that's too unwieldy.

Perhaps a better term for this complex, which has also been used, is the National Security State. That term may sound too fascistic, but perhaps that makes it more appropriate too.

Ron

#3 Jim Root

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 02:53 AM

John

"However, the weakness of this argument is that researchers rarely identify the people involved in this conspiracy. Over the next few weeks I intend to name the people who made up what I prefer to call, the Military Industrial Congressional Complex."

As you know I continue to suggest that members of the Military Industrial Complex should be examined while researching the assassination of John F. Kennedy. My two prime candidates to further investigate remain John J. McCloy and General Maxwell Taylor.

As we discuss this concept of a "Military Industrial Congressional Complex" and the influence it may have on a nation we would do well to remember that ALL NATIONS, large and small, super powers and not so super powerfull will have a similiar "complex" of industrialist whose power is dependent upon military budgets.

With this in mind, woe to the nation or body of people whose government neglects this aspect of their national security for better or for worse.

Jim Root

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 08:51 AM

As you know I continue to suggest that members of the Military Industrial Complex should be examined while researching the assassination of John F. Kennedy. My two prime candidates to further investigate remain John J. McCloy and General Maxwell Taylor.


I would be interested in reading the information that you have on John J. McCloy and General Maxwell Taylor to support this view.


As we discuss this concept of a "Military Industrial Congressional Complex" and the influence it may have on a nation we would do well to remember that ALL NATIONS, large and small, super powers and not so super powerfull will have a similiar "complex" of industrialist whose power is dependent upon military budgets.


Agree. Hobson (Imperialism: A Study) for example was talking about the UK. As with Prescott Bush and Nazi Germany, the MIIC in different countries often worked together.

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 03:24 PM

Part 2

Some politicians believed that the end of the war would result in a decline in government spending on armaments. The same feeling existed at the end of the Korean War. This was openly admitted by the president of Standard Oil of California, who declared in 1953: "Two kinds of peace can be envisaged. One would enable the United States to continue its rearmament and to maintain important military forces in the Far East; it would have very little effect on industry, since the maintenance of a peace-time army requires almost as much oil as in time of war. But if there should be a great improvement in the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, and in particular a disarmament agreement, the blow to the oil industry and the rest of the economy would be terrific."
I
t was therefore important to the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC) that the fear of communism remained intense. This strategy was highly successful and the 1950s saw a dramatic increase in defence spending. “In 1950 the military budget was $13 billion; by 1961, this had risen to $47 billion.” (11) The MICC was more important than ever.

The easiest people to identify as members of the MICC are those businessmen who ran and owned the large corporations that owed their wealth to lucrative government contracts. A study of these contracts issued between 1940 and 1960 enables the identification of such people as John McCone, Henry J. Kaiser, Herman Brown, George R. Brown, Frank Pace, Steve Bechtel, Lawrence Bell and Howard Hughes.

The 1960 military budget included $21 billion for the purchase of goods. Over 75% of these contracts went to a small group of large corporations. Eighty-six percent of these defense contracts were not awarded on bids.

These large corporations relied heavily on a small group of lobbyists (sometimes called contact-men). These men provided the link between these businessmen and the politicians with the power to grant and approve government contracts. Important lobbyists working in this field included Tommy Corcoran, Irving Davidson, Alan Wirtz, William Pawley, Clark Clifford, Bobby Baker and Fred Black.

In his speech, Dwight Eisenhower talked about this “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry”. (12) He clearly has in mind those leading military figures who were campaigning for higher levels of defence spending.” However, as William Proxmire pointed out in a speech in 1969, retired military officers played an important role in the MICC. (13) He discovered that 2,072 retired military officers were employed by the 100 contractors who replied to his survey. This was an average of almost 22 per company. However, when he considered the ten most successful contracting companies, this increased to an average of 106. This included Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (210), Boeing Corporation (169), McDonnell Douglas Corporation (141), General Dynamics (113), North American Rockwell Corporation (104), General Electrics Company (89), Ling Temco Vought Incorporated (69), Westinghouse Electric Corporation (59), TRW Incorporated (56) and Hughes Aircraft Company (55).

William Proxmire also attempted to identify the politicians who were members of the MICC. In his book, “Report from Wasteland: America’s Military-Industrial Complex”, Proxmire, identified the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Richard Brevard Russell from Georgia, as a key figure in the MICC. He had previously been chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee. According to Proxmire it was while Russell held this position “that the huge C-5A contract went to Lockheed’s Marietta, Georgia, plant.” The Air Force Contract Selection Board originally selected Boeing that was located in the states of Washington and Kansas. However, Proxmire claimed that Russell was able to persuade the board to change its mind and give the C-5A contract to Lockhead.

Proxmire quotes Howard Atherton, the mayor of Marietta, as saying that “Russell was key to landing the contract”. Atherton added that Russell believed that Robert McNamara was going ahead with the C-5A in order to “give the plane to Boeing because Boeing got left out on the TFX fighter.” According to Atherton, Russell got the contract after talking to Lyndon Johnson. Atherton added, “without Russell, we wouldn’t have gotten the contract”. (14)

Lyndon Johnson was indeed the most important member of the MICC in Congress during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. As Majority Party leader, Johnson decided the membership of the various Congressional committees. Johnson was therefore the key figure in the MICC. As Atherton pointed out, Boeing was expected to get the TFX contract. Instead it went to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas, Johnson’s home state.

A study of the TFX contract reveals the way that the MICC worked. In the 1950s General Dynamics was America’s leading military contractors. For example, in 1958 it obtained $2,239,000,000 worth of government business. This was a higher figure than those obtained by its competitors, such as Lockheed, Boeing, McDonnell and North American. (15) More than 80 percent of the firm’s business came from the government. (16) However, the company lost $27 million in 1960 and $143 million in 1961. According to an article by Richard Austin Smith in Fortune Magazine, General Dynamics was close to bankruptcy. Smith claimed that “unless it gets the contract for the joint Navy-Air Force fighter (TFX)… the company was down the road to receivership”. (17)

General Dynamics was in a good position to get the TFX (F-111) contract. The president of the company was Frank Pace, the Secretary of the Army (April, 1950-January, 1953). The Deputy Secretary of Defense in 1962 was Roswell Gilpatric, who before he took up the post, was chief counsel for General Dynamics. The Secretary of the Navy in 1962 was Fred Korth. He had been appointed by John F. Kennedy after strong lobbying by his vice president, Lyndon Johnson. Korth from Fort Worth, Texas, was the former president of the Continental Bank, which had loaned General Dynamics considerable sums of money during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Korth told the McClellan committee that investigated the granting of the TFX contract to General Dynamics “that because of his peculiar position he had deliberately refrained from taking a directing hand in this decision (within the Navy) until the last possible moment.” (18).

As I. F. Stone pointed out, it was “the last possible moment” which counted. “Three times the Pentagon’s Source Selection Board found that Boeing’s bid was better and cheaper than that of General Dynamics and three times the bids were sent back for fresh submissions by the two bidders and fresh reviews. On the fourth round, the military still held that Boeing was better but found at last that the General Dynamics bid was also acceptable.” (19)

Stone goes on to argue: “The only document the McClellan committee investigators were able to find in the Pentagon in favour of that award, according to their testimony, was a five-page memorandum signed by McNamara, Korth, and Eugene Zuckert, then Secretary of the Air Force.”

Later, McNamara justified his support for General Dynamics because “Boeing had from the very beginning consistently chosen more technically risky tradeoffs in an effort to achieve operational features which exceeded the required performance characteristics.” (20)

During the McClellan committee hearings, Senator Sam Ervin asked Robert McNamara “whether or not there was any connection whatever between your selection of General Dynamics, and the fact that the Vice President of the United States happens to be a resident of the state in which that company has one of its principal, if not its principal office.”

Several journalists speculated that Johnson played a key role in obtaining the TFX contract for General Dynamics. (21) This was confirmed when Don B. Reynolds testified in a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee. As Victor Lasky pointed out, Reynolds “spoke of the time Bobby Baker opened a satchel full of paper money which he said was a $100,000 payoff for Johnson for pushing through a $7billion TFX plane contract.” (22)

Burkett Van Kirk, chief counsel for the Republican minority on the Senate Rules Committee later told Seymour Hersh that Senator John Williams of Delaware was being fed information by Robert Kennedy about the involvement of Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Baker in a series of scandals. Williams, the Senate’s leading investigator of corruption, passed this information to the three Republicans (John Sherman Cooper, Hugh Scott and Carl Curtis) on the ten-member Rules Committee. However, outnumbered, they were unable to carry out a full investigation into Johnson and Baker. Van Kirk claimed that Kennedy supplied this information because he wanted “to get rid of Johnson.” (23)

In his autobiography, Forty Years Against the Tide, Carl Curtis gives an insider view of the attempted investigation into the activities of Bobby Baker, Walter Jenkins and Fred Black. According to Curtis, Lyndon Johnson managed to persuade the seven Democrats to vote against hearing the testimony of important witnesses. This included Margaret Broome, who served as Bobby Baker’s secretary before the position was taken by Carole Tyler, who later became his mistress. Tyler did testify but refused to answer questions on the ground that she might incriminate herself. Tyler was later to die in an airplane crash on the beach near the Carousel Motel, owned by Bobby Baker.

In his autobiography, Curtis described Baker, Jenkins and Black as “contact men”. He added: “Contact-men existed primarily to obtain for their clients and themselves some share of the vast pool of riches in the possession of swollen centralized political bureaucracies. The more impressive a contact-man’s political connections, the better he and his clients would fare.” (24)

Johnson now launched a smear campaign against John Williams. He arranged for the IRS to carry out an investigation into his tax returns. According to Victor Lasky: “This meant the senator had to leave Washington and submit to a line-by-line audit by an IRS agent. It also meant that Williams had to curtail his personal investigation into Baker’s tangled affairs.” (25)

An official working for Johnson told Williams that his mail was being intercepted and read before it was delivered. Williams went to the press with this story but despite an editorial in the Washington Star that stated: “The Senate should be totally outraged. Obviously someone high in the Executive Branch issued the instructions for this monitoring.” The press ignored the story and the full story was not published for several years. (26)

Johnson also ordered his aides, Walter Jenkins (27) and Bill Moyers (28) to obtain information that they could use to blackmail Reynolds into silence. When this failed, this information was then leaked to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. As a result, The Washington Post reported that Reynolds had in the past “brought reckless charges in the past against people who crossed him, accusing them of being communists and sex deviates”. (29)

The treatment of Reynolds in the press had an impact on other potential witnesses. One important businessman, who previously had promised Williams he would provide evidence, told him: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Senator. I never talked to you before in my life. I’m sorry, but I’m sure you understand.” (30)

The investigation into the role Johnson and Baker played in obtaining the TFX contract therefore came to an end. The original contract was for 1,700 planes at a total cost of $5.8 billion, or about $3 million per plane. By the time they were delivered they cost over $9.5 million per plane. General Dynamics had been saved from bankruptcy by the TFX contract. Frank Pace had every reason to thank the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. (31)

Notes

11. Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, 1989 (page 302)

12. Dwight Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation (17th January, 1961)

13. William Proxmire, speech in the Senate, 24th March, 1969

14. William Proxmire, Report from Wasteland: America’s Military-Industrial Complex, 1970 (pages 100- 102)

15. William Proxmire, speech in the Senate, 24th March, 1969

16. I. F. Stone, The New York Review of Books, 1st January, 1969

17. Richard Austin Smith, Fortune Magazine, February, 1962

18. Robert J. Art, The TFX Decision, 1968 (page 5)

19. I. F. Stone, The New York Review of Books, 1st January, 1969

20. Quoted by Frederic M. Scherer, The Weapons Acquisition Process: Economic Incentives, 1964 (page 37)

21. See “Missiles and Rockets” (11th February, 1963) and Aviation Week & Space Technology (25th February, 1963)

22. Victor Lasky, It Didn’t Start With Watergate, 1977 (page 144)

23. Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot, 1997 (page 407)

24. Carl T. Curtis, Forty Years Against the Tide, 1986 (page 248)

25. Victor Lasky, It Didn’t Start With Watergate, 1977 (page 146)

26. John Barron, The Case of Bobby Baker and the Courageous Senator, Reader’s Digest (September, 1965)

27. Walter Jenkins, telephone call to Lyndon B. Johnson (7.30 p.m. 27th January, 1964)

28. Bill Moyers, telephone call to Lyndon B. Johnson (6.28 p.m. 3rd February, 1964)

29. The Washington Post (5th February, 1964)

30. Victor Lasky, It Didn’t Start With Watergate, 1977 (page 149)

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:14 PM

Thanks for writing on this subject.

I think the terms Military Industrial Complex and Military Industrial Congressional Complex are both inadequate, as they leave out Intelligence. It should be the Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Complex. But obviously that's too unwieldy.


You are right about this. I have changed the title to "Military Industrial Congressional Intelligence Complex".

#7 Jim Root

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 07:45 PM

John,

Let me try to give you the tip of the ice berg on McCloy. More can be found by searching through my posts.

Asst. Sec. of War during and before WWII: Assignment: Revamp American Intelligence capabilities. Created the OSS: Was in charge of the distribution list for the Ultra/Magic Information: Paraphrases a John B. Hurt intercept during the June 18th 1945 meeting with Harry Truman: Attends the Kiska Landings where Edwin Walker is the first officer ashore: Orders Eisenhower to monitor the movements of Bernard Bernstein near the end of WWII in Europe, Walker is assigned to “assist” Bernstein: Works directly with Maxwell Taylor during the surrender negotiations with Italy and subsequently when dealing with civilian/military rule over occupied territories in Italy.

Post War: Some say he was the author of the Plan for Post War Germany: Revamps the US Intelligence system and helps to create the structure of the “new” national security apparatus including the CIA the NSA and NSC: High Commissioner of Germany and manipulates Maxwell Taylor’s appointment to be the Military Governor of Berlin: Pardons many convicted German War Criminals: Head of the World Bank and Ford Foundation: Chiefs arms negotiator during Eisenhower years: Opposed to the Paris Summit scheduled for May 15, 1960: Becomes Kennedy’s arms negotiator and opposes the Limited Test Ban Treaty: Becomes Johnson’s arms negotiator and succeeds in bringing about a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty….something that he first began discussing before the first atomic bomb was dropped: Warren Commissioner with a great deal of time and influence on the outcome of the Warren Report.

John, almost every person you mentioned would have an association to John J. McCloy.

I have a lot more information that I, at least, find intriguing.

Jim Root
`

#8 Nathaniel Heidenheimer

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 05:49 PM

The following "thoughts" occured while I was watching the new documentary Why We Fight last night.

The movie makes it seem like Ike was almost helplessly watching while the congress and MICIC was taking the lead on trumping up military orders for the welfare department for billionaires otherwise known as the
Pentagon.

Some dismiss this as prime example of lame duck effect.

But what are the implications of this perception of Eisenhower for the parallel that is often drawn between
THE GROWING POWER OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE GROWTH OF SECRECY AND MILITARY POWER?

Given the ability of defense lobbyists to work THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE AS STRONGLY AS THROUGH THE EXECUTIVE at critical times like the 57-60 period (what were the legilative-lobbying-think tank connections that
lead to Kennedy's "missile gap" rhetoric for the 1960 campaign), do people think that the whole....


IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY argument which stresses the growing power of the executive branch at the expense of the other two might SERVE AS A KIND OF DECOY from deeper, more structural corruption involving defense contractors and the Federal gov. as a whole?

Please note that I am not disputing that the Executive Branch has gotten much stronger since the 1930s and even more so after WWII.

My question is more along the lines of "is this branch talk a kind of decoy" ? American liberals love to talk of branches instead of the corporate money that makes all three branches green tributaries of the Wall Street River. Is this liberal "branch talk" doing more harm than good, in distracting the citizenry from more fundamental issues?

#9 John Simkin

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Posted 25 February 2006 - 06:12 PM

I thought it might be worthwhile updating the role of the MICIC in American politics.

In 1992 Dick Cheney, head of the US Department of Defence, gave a $3.9m contract (a further $5m was added later) to Kellog Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton. The contract involved writing a report about how private contractors could help the Pentagon deal with 13 different “hot spots” around the world.

The KBR report remains a classified document. However, the report convinced Cheney to award a umbrella contract to one company to deal with these problems. This contract, which became known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme (Logcap), was of course awarded to KBR. It is an unique contract and is effectively a blank cheque from the government. KBR makes it money from a built in profit percentage. When your profit is a percentage of the cost, the more you spend, the more you make.

KBR’s first task was to go to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. KBR arrived before the US Army. Over the next few months KBR made a profit of $109.7m. In August 1994 KBR made $6.3m in Rwanda. Later that year they received $150m profit from its work in Haiti. KBR made its money from building base camps, supplying troops with food and water, fuel and munitions, cleaning latrines and washing clothes.

The contract came up for renewal in 1997. By this time Cheney had been appointed as CEO of Halliburton. The Clinton administration gave the contract to Dyncorp. The contract came to an end in 2001. Cheney was now back in power and KBR won back the Logcap contract. This time it was granted for ten years. The beauty of this contract is that it does not matter where the US armed forces are in action, the KBR makes money from its activities. However, the longer the troops stay, the more money it makes.

KBR is now busy in Iraq (it also built the detention cells in Guantanamo Bay). What is more Halliburton was given the contract for restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure (no competitive bid took place).

Iraq is only part of the story. The U.S. military budget was $288.8 billion, in 2000. This figure has increased dramatically under Bush.

2001 = $305 billion
2002 = $343.2
2003 = $396.1
2004 = $399.1
2005 = $420.7

Compared to the rest of the world, these numbers are indeed staggering.

Consider the following:

The US military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's.

The US military budget is more than 8 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender.

The US military budget is more than 29 times as large as the combined spending of the seven “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) who spent $14.4 billion.

It is more than the combined spending of the next twenty three nations.

However, for Halliburton to get the big money, they needed a war. It has just been revealed that shortly after the plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld issued orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement in the incident. Under the US Freedom of Information Act, Thad Anderson, managed to get the notes taken by Stephen Cambone, senior policy official, at the meetings held by Rumsfeld. According to the notes Rumsfeld said: “Hard to get a good case. Need to move swiftly. Near term target needs – go massive – sweep it all up, things related and not.”

He did not only ask for evidence of Iraqi involvement. He also said: “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough to hit SH (Saddam Hussein) at the same time – not only UBL (Usama/Osama bin Laden). Tasks. Jim Haynes (Pentagon lawyer) to talk with PW (Paul Wolfowitz) for additional support (to obtain) connection with UBL.”

It is now clear that attempts to blame Iraq and Osama bin Laden for 9/11 started within minutes of it happening. As we know they were unable to get any evidence of Iraq involvement but this did not stop them starting a war over it.

Although I would not go as far as to suggest the administration was behind 9/11. Is it possible, like with Pearl Harbor and the assassination of JFK, the intelligence services found out about what was being planned, and for political and economic reasons decided not to stop it happening?

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 07:02 PM

In his book, The Military-Industrial Complex, Sidney Lens argues: “It is no accident that Washington has been almost universally on the side of conservative forces in the developing areas – Syngman Rhee in Korea, Chiang Kai-shek in China, the Shah in Iran, the militarists throughout Latin America, the king in Jordan, the king in Saudia Arabia, the military regimes in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. These conservative elements, to secure their own “vested interests,” have been willing to accept American military and economic support in return for concessions to American “vested interests”. Nor is it an accident that by and large the same legislators – Stennis, Russell, Rivers, Mundt, Goldwater, Tower, McClellan, to name a few – who are the fiercest advocates of military spending and military ventures, are also the fiercest opponents of social programs such as medicare, higher minimum wages, antipoverty, social security, and favourable trade union legislation.” (1)

In 1960 Kennedy presented himself as someone who held conservative views on both domestic and foreign issues. As Richard D. Mahoney points out in his book, Sons and Brothers: “As senator, Kennedy had zigzagged through the long obstacle course of civil rights legislation, siding in most cases, as a Ted Sorensen memo to Bobby proudly explained in December 1959, ‘with our friends in the South.’ He meant white friends.” (2)

Mahoney goes on to argue: “The most entrenched and skilled leaders of that majority in the Senate – McClellan of Arkansas, Eastland of Mississippi, Ervin of North Carolina, and Fulbright of Arkansas – were all vehement opponents of civil rights as well as close friends of Bobby Kennedy.” Kennedy admits in several interviews that were recorded as part of the Oral History Project, that he had several conversations with people like McClellan and Eastland during the campaign to assure them that the Kennedy administration would not promote the “civil rights issue”. (3)

Harris Wofford, Kennedy’s special assistant for civil rights, supports this view in his memoirs, Of Kennedys and Kings. He points out that Kennedy was forced into taking a stand on the issue because of the activities of Martin Luther King and pressure groups like the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). For example, Kennedy did all he could to get the Freedom Riders to call off their activities in 1961. (4)

Once in power, Kennedy appeared to support the foreign policy established by Dwight Eisenhower. The historian, David Kaiser, argues that Eisenhower’s policies “called for a military response to Communist aggression almost anywhere that it might occur”. Kaiser provides evidence that this strategy was “adopted by the State and Defense Departments in 1954-1956 and approved secretly by President Eisenhower.” (5)

This policy began with the overthrow by the CIA of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán in Guatemala in the summer of 1954. According to one historian: “The Agency had learned a lesson from the Guatemalan revolution in the early 1950s, when a nationalist government expropriated the land and the public service enterprises of U.S. monopolies to the benefit of the peasants and the population in general. This experience gave rise to a program of infiltrating agents into countries convulsed by communist ideas.” (6)

In the final months of his administration, Eisenhower was mainly concerned with trying to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. He was also worried about events in Laos and Vietnam. However, Kaiser convincingly argues that Kennedy subtly changed foreign policy after he gained office. “Ironically, while Eisenhower’s supposedly cautious approach in foreign policy had frequently been contrasted with his successors’ apparent aggressiveness, Kennedy actually spent much of his term resisting policies developed and approved under Eisenhower, both in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. He also had to deal with the legacy of the Eisenhower administration’s disastrous attempts to create a pro-Western rather than a neutral government in Laos – a policy he quickly reversed, thereby avoiding the need for American military intervention there.” (7)

Kaiser admits that he the Kennedy administration did increase the number of American military personnel in South Vietnam from 600 in 1960 to 17,500 in 1963. However, although he sincerely wanted to help the South Vietnamese government cope with the Viet Cong he rejected war as a way to do so. Kennedy’s view of America’s involvement in Southeast Asia was expressed clearly at his first ever press conference. When asked about Laos he expressed his intentions to help create “a peaceful country – an independent country not dominated by either side but concerned with the life of the people within the country.” (8) This was a marked departure from Eisenhower’s policy of supporting anti-communist military dictatorships in Southeast Asia and the Americas.

This analysis of Kennedy’s foreign policy is supported by two of his most important aides, Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers. In their book, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, they describe how on 19th January, 1960, Eisenhower briefed Kennedy on “various important items of unfinished business”. This included news about “the rebel force that was being trained by the CIA in Guatemala to invade Cuba.” O’Donnell and Powers claimed that: “Eisenhower urged him to keep on supporting this plan to overthrow Castro. But Eisenhower talked mostly about Laos, which he then regarded as the most dangerous trouble spot in Southeast Asia. He mentioned South Vietnam only as one of the nations that would fall into the hands of the Communists if the United States failed to maintain the anti-Communist regime in Laos.” Kennedy was shocked by what Eisenhower told him. He later told his two aides: “There he sat, telling me to get ready to put ground forces into Asia, the thing he himself had been carefully avoiding for the last eight years.” (9)

According to David Kaiser, it was not only the CIA and the Pentagon who wanted him to send troops to Laos and Vietnam. Members of his own administration, including Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Alexis Johnson, McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow and Roswell Gilpatric, were also strongly in favour of Eisenhower’s policy of “intervention in remote areas backed by nuclear weapons”. (10)

Kaiser suggests the reason for this was that “these civilians were all from the GI generation, and to varying degrees they saw themselves as continuing the struggle against aggression and tyranny that had dominated their youth.” However, it has to be remembered that Johnson, McNamara and Gilpatric had all played an important role in the ensuring that General Dynamics got the TFX contract. (11) Is it possible that they had other motives for involving the United States in a long-drawn out war?

Kennedy continued with his policy of trying to develop “independent” Third World countries. In September, 1962, Souvanna Phouma became head of a new coalition government in Laos. This included the appointment of a left-leaning Quinim Pholsema as Foreign Minister. However, Kennedy found it impossible to persuade Ngo Dinh Diem to broaden his government in South Vietnam.

Kennedy continued to resist all attempts to persuade him to send troops to Vietnam. His policy was reinforced by the Bay of Pigs operation. Kennedy told his assistant secretary of state, Roger Hilsman: “The Bay of Pigs has taught me a number of things. One is not to trust generals or the CIA, and the second is that if the American people do not want to use American troops to remove a Communist regime 90 miles away from our coast, how can I ask them to use troops to remove a Communist regime 9,000 miles away? (12)

In April, 1962, Kennedy told McGeorge Bundy to “seize upon any favourable moment to reduce our involvement” in Vietnam. (13) In September, 1963, Robert Kennedy expressed similar views at a meeting of the National Security Council: “The first question was whether a Communist takeover could be successfully resisted with any government. If it could not, now was the time to get out of Vietnam entirely, rather than waiting.” (14)

The decision by Kennedy to withdraw from Vietnam was confirmed by John McCone, the director of the CIA: “When Kennedy took office you will recall that he won the election because he claimed that the Eisenhower administration had been weak on communism and weak in the treatment of Castro and so forth. So the first thing Kennedy did was to send a couple of men to Vietnam to survey the situation. They came back with the recommendation that the military assistance group be increased from 800 to 25,000. That was the start of our involvement. Kennedy, I believe, realized he'd made a mistake because 25,000 US military in a country such as South Vietnam means that the responsibility for the war flows to (the US military) and out of the hands of the South Vietnamese. So Kennedy, in the weeks prior to his death, realized that we had gone overboard and actually was in the process of withdrawing when he was killed and Johnson took over.” (15)

On 1st April, 1963, the attempt by Kennedy to create a all-party coalition government in Laos suffered a terrible blow when Quinim Pholsema, the left-wing Foreign Minister, was assassinated. As David Kaiser has pointed out: “In light of subsequent revelations about CIA assassination plots, this episode inevitably arouses some suspicion.” (16)

It would seem that Laos was not the only country where Kennedy was trying to develop a coalition government. According to Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartman, in the early months of 1963, a plan was put into action that would result in a palace coup led by “one of Castro’s inner circle, himself a well-known revolutionary hero.” Waldron and Hartman argue that the “coup leader would be part of the new Provisional Government in Cuba, along with a select group of Cuban exiles – approved by the Kennedys – who ranged from conservative to progressive.” (17)

Kennedy told Mike Mansfield in the spring of 1963 that he now agreed with his thinking “on the need for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam”. After the meeting with Mansfield, Kennedy told Kenneth O’Donnell that when he pulled out of Vietnam 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 Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do it after I’m re-elected. So we had better make damned sure that I am reelected.” (18)

In his book, Sons & Brothers, Richard D. Mahoney remarked: “Truman had lost his presidency over the “loss of China,” which in turn had touched off the anticommunist witch hunts by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Troubled as Kennedy was about slipping into the Asian land war, he temporized on the method of disengagement.” (19)

On 10th June, 1963, Kennedy made a commencement address at the American University. “In a speech written in the White House without Pentagon or State Department clearance, Kennedy called specifically, and for the first time, for a whole new attitude towards the soviet union and a greater effort for true peace.” (20)

Nine days later Kennedy discussed a new proposal by the State Department to take overt military action against North Vietnam. Kennedy was told that the Pentagon wanted to start bombing North Vietnam and the mining of North Vietnamese ports. (21)

As David Kaiser points out in American Tragedy, Kennedy refused to approve this plan: “Ever since assuming the Presidency, Kennedy had received a long series of proposals for war in Southeast Asia from the State and Defence Departments. Rejecting them all, he had established the goals of a neutral regime in Laos and an effort to assist the South Vietnamese against the Viet Cong.” (22)

Kennedy continued to have problems from the leaders of the military. On 9th July, 1963, General Maxwell Taylor explained to the National Security Council that individual Joint Chiefs did not believe that an atmospheric test ban would serve the nation well. Sixteen days later, Averell Harriman, Andrei Gromyko and Lord Hailsham signed the atmospheric test ban in Moscow.

On 14th August, Diem was informed that the U.S. government would be unable to continue their present relationship if Diem did not issue a statement reaffirming a conciliatory policy towards the Buddhists and other critics of his regime. Ten days later, Ted Szulc of the New York Times reported that “policy planners in Washington” had reached the stage where they would prefer a military junta in South Vietnam to a government ruled by Diem. (23)

Kennedy also gave the order for the withdrawal of 1,000 American personnel by the end of 1963. The plan involved taking the men out in four increments, in order to achieve maximum press coverage. General Maxwell Taylor spoke out against this policy and argued that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed no withdrawal of troops should take place “until the political and religious tensions now confronting the government of South Vietnam have eased.” (24)

In an interview with Walter Cronkite on 2nd September, Kennedy clearly stated his policy on Vietnam: “I don’t think that unless a greater effort is made by the government to win popular support that the war can be won out there. In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win or lose it. We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisers, but they have to win it.” Kennedy then went on to criticize Diem’s “repressions against the Buddhists”. (25)

On 9th September, Henry Cabot Lodge met with Diem and threatened him that aid would be cut-off unless Ngo Dinh Nhu left his government. Yet according to a New York Times story, the CIA continued to back Nhu. This included John Richardson, the Saigon CIA station chief disbursing a regular monthly payment of $250,000 to Nhu and his men. (26) Four days later, Lodge suggested that Richardson should be ordered back to Washington as “he symbolized long-standing American support for Nhu.” John McCone defended Richardson and objected to the idea that he should be replaced by someone like Edward Lansdale.

Kennedy met with Robert McNamara and General Maxwell Taylor on 2nd October, 1963. Kennedy told McNamara to announce to the press the immediate withdrawal of one thousand soldiers from Vietnam. Kennedy added that he would “probably withdraw all American forces from Vietnam by the end of 1965”. When McNamara was leaving the meeting to talk to the white house reporters, Kennedy called to him: “And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots too.” In his statement to the press McNamara softened the President’s views by stating that in his judgment “the major part of the U.S. military task” in Vietnam could be “completed by the end of 1965.” (27)

Diem and Nhu were murdered on 1st November, 1963. The news reached Kennedy the following day. According to David Kaiser, Kennedy “left the room in shock”. (28) Despite this news, Kennedy made no move to change or cancel his troop reduction. As his aides, Kenneth P. O’Donnell and David F. Powers pointed out: “The collapse of the Diem government and the deaths of its dictatorial leaders made the President only more skeptical of our military advice from Saigon and more determined to pull out of the Vietnam War.” (29)

It has been suggested by William Colby, Frederick Nolting, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon that Kennedy had ordered Diem’s assassination. There is no evidence for this view. In fact, the behaviour of Diem was giving Kennedy a good excuse to withdraw support for his government. Kennedy knew that Diem was incapable of providing a coalition government that would gain the support of the South Vietnamese people. Robert Kennedy argued against the assassination of Diem as it would leave the government in the “hands of one man that we don’t know very well.” (30) The Kennedy brothers were aware that the man who took control in South Vietnam would probably be no better than Diem at establishing a coalition government. The assassination of Diem was therefore not part of Kennedy’s policy to withdraw from Vietnam.

Notes

1. Stanley Lens, The Military-Industrial Complex, 1970 (page 146)

2. Richard D. Mahoney, Sons and Brothers, 1999 (page 117)

3. Edwin Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman (ed.), Robert Kennedy in his Own Words, 1988

4. Harris Wofford, Of Kennedy and Kings, 1980 (pages 103-200)

5. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 2)

6. Fabian Escalante, CIA Covert Operations 1959-62: The Cuba Project, 2004 (page 12)

7. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 2)

8. Howard W. Chase and Allen H. Lerman, Kennedy and the Press: The News Conferences, 1965 (page 25)

9. Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1972 (page 281-282)

10. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 50)

11. I. F. Stone, The New York Review of Books, 1st January, 1969

12. Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, 1989 (pages 306-307)

13. Memorandum written by McGeorge Bundy’s aide, Michael Y. Forrestal, dated 26th April, 1962. It was first published in The New York Times, 5th December, 1998.

14. Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation, 1967 (page 501)

15. John McCone was interviewed by Harry Kreisler on 21st April, 1988.

16. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 198)

17. Lamar Waldron & Thom Hartmann, Ultimate Sacrifice, 2005 (page 4)

18. Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1972 (page 16)

19. Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, 1999 (page 279)

20. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 198)

21. William J. Rust, Kennedy and Vietnam, 1985 (page 119)

22. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 212)

23. Ted Szulc, The New York Times (24th August, 1963)

24. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 226)

25. Walter Cronkite, CBS News, 2nd September, 1963

26. The New York Times, 9th September, 1963

27. Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1972 (page 17)

28. David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, 2000 (page 275)

29. Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1972 (page 17)

30. Edwin O. Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman, (eds.) Robert Kennedy: In His Own Words, 1988 (page 40)

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 09:15 AM

Robert Kennedy argued against the assassination of Diem as it would leave the government in the “hands of one man that we don’t know very well.”(30) [Unfortunately, there is no source provided for source note #30]

I know of no source or mention of RFK opposing the assassination of Diem, or that assassination was even discussed. Many have argued that a coup would obviously result in the assassination of Diem and that the Kennedys had to have known this, but that is not reflected in the notes, transcripts or oral histories of the time. Robert Kennedy himself described his and the president's positions about the Vietnam coup, not assassination, thusly:

He would have liked to have gotten rid of Diem if he could get rid of him and get somebody proper to replace him. He was against getting rid of him until you knew what was going to come along, whether the government that was going to replace it had any stability, whether it would, in fact, be a successful coup.

But he didn't know - I mean, other than the fact that there were rumors about coups all the time. He had no idea that this particular coup was going to take place, other than what I've described. This looked more serious, but he had sent out and asked for certain information before any coup should take place. Henry Cabot Lodge was going to come home during this period of time; and it was felt that he should delay his departure but still act as if he were going home, because otherwise, it would disturb everybody.

We had the difficult problem that, in fact, people had been encouraged to have a coup and now to pull the rug out from under them meant their death. That complicated the problem. And then what really brought the coup on - I guess, from what I've read since then - is the fact that Diem planned a coup himself, a fake coup: He was going to pick up all these people and arrest them and say they were participating in a coup and then execute them.


Bobby's words have relevance to the recent arguments advanced in the book, Ultimate Sacrifice, about plans for a Cuban coup just one month later, as well as to current U.S. foreign policy: "It's a bad policy to get into, for us to run a coup out there and replace somebody we don't like with somebody we do, because it would just make every other country nervous as can be that we were running coups in and out."

Robert Kennedy, Robert Kennedy: In His Own Words, New York: Bantam Books, 1988, p. 40.

Tim


Thank you for that. This has now been corrected.

The idea that John Kennedy ordered the assassination of Diem is a lie that was first promoted by Lyndon Johnson and later by Richard Nixon. Not surprisingly, Tim Gratz has also argued it on this Forum.

John Kennedy never disguised the fact that he held some responsibility for the death of Diem. On 4th November he dictated his thoughts on the assassination. He made it clear that he was against the assassination. He pointed out that others, including his brother, were against the idea. He blames Lodge, Averell Harriman, George Ball, Roger Hilsman and Mike Forrestal for promoting the idea. However, he acknowledges that he should have made it clearer that the assassination of Diem was unacceptable.

The important thing to remember was that Kennedy’s foreign policy was consistent. It was a complete rejection of Eisenhower’s secret foreign policy where he was willing to use the CIA to overthrow government that appeared to be “soft” on communism. Kennedy’s view was the best way of saving countries from communism was to establish reforming coalition governments. That was his policy in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Cuba. As a result of this policy, he was unwilling to send combat forces into these countries. Nor was he willing to use the CIA in order to establish military dictatorships.

This policy brought him in conflict with the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence Complex. As Arthur Schlesinger pointed out in an interview he gave in 1978, in 1962-63, the CIA and others were attempting to subvert the foreign policy of the administration. Kennedy suspected that the CIA was behind the assassination on 1st April, 1963, of Quinim Pholsema, the left-wing Foreign Minister in Laos. This was a heavy blow to Kennedy’s foreign policy: an attempt to create neutral, democratic countries as a buffer to communism.

#12 Ron Ecker

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 08:16 PM

Kennedy’s foreign policy: an attempt to create neutral, democratic countries as a buffer to communism.


It's too bad there isn't someone like Kennedy around today to attempt new domestic policy in America: to create a democratic country as a buffer against totalitarianism.

Here's a recent article by Peter Dale Scott on what may be coming soon. And of course Halliburton already has the contract.


Preparing For Martial Law?

Date: Mar 02, 2006 - 10:49 AM By PETER DALE SCOTT, PACIFIC NEWS - Feb 1, 2006, 10:32
http://www.ocnus.net...ter_22660.shtml

BERKELEY, Calif.--A Halliburton subsidiary has just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide "temporary detention and processing capabilities."

The contract -- announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR -- calls for preparing for "an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs" in the event of other emergencies, such as "a natural disaster." The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when.

To date, some newspapers have worried that open-ended provisions in the contract could lead to cost overruns, such as have occurred with KBR in Iraq. A Homeland Security spokesperson has responded that this is a "contingency contract" and that conceivably no centers might be built. But almost no paper so far has discussed the possibility that detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.

For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

Plans for detention facilities or camps have a long history, going back to fears in the 1970s of a national uprising by black militants. As Alonzo Chardy reported in the Miami Herald on July 5, 1987, an executive order for continuity of government (COG) had been drafted in 1982 by FEMA head Louis Giuffrida. The order called for "suspension of the Constitution" and "declaration of martial law." The martial law portions of the plan were outlined in a memo by Giuffrida's deputy, John Brinkerhoff.

In 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 188, one of a series of directives that authorized continued planning for COG by a private parallel government.

Two books, James Mann's "Rise of the Vulcans" and James Bamford's "A Pretext for War," have revealed that in the 1980s this parallel structure, operating outside normal government channels, included the then-head of G. D. Searle and Co., Donald Rumsfeld, and then-Congressman from Wyoming Dick Cheney.

After 9/11, new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s. In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security.

Then in April 2002, Defense Dept. officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this "the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946."

The NORTHCOM commander, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced, is responsible for "homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).... He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters."

John Brinkerhoff later commented on PBS that, "The United States itself is now for the first time since the War of 1812 a theater of war. That means that we should apply, in my view, the same kind of command structure in the United States that we apply in other theaters of war."

Then in response to Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, according to the Washington Post, White House senior adviser Karl Rove told the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, that she should explore legal options to impose martial law "or as close as we can get." The White House tried vigorously, but ultimately failed, to compel Gov. Blanco to yield control of the state National Guard.

Also in September, NORTHCOM conducted its highly classified Granite Shadow exercise in Washington. As William Arkin reported in the Washington Post, "Granite Shadow is yet another new Top Secret and compartmented operation related to the military's extra-legal powers regarding weapons of mass destruction. It allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control."

It is clear that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about martial law. Many critics have alleged that FEMA's spectacular failure to respond to Katrina followed from a deliberate White House policy: of paring back FEMA, and instead strengthening the military for responses to disasters.

A multimillion program for detention facilities will greatly increase NORTHCOM's ability to respond to any domestic disorders.

Source: Ocnus.net 2005
Mr. Scott is Professor Emeritus at University of California at Berkeley
________________________________________
This article comes from 9/11 CitizensWatch
http://www.911citizenswatch.org/

The URL for this story is:
http://www.911citize...article&sid=830

#13 Terry Mauro

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 02:32 AM

The following "thoughts" occured while I was watching the new documentary Why We Fight last night.

The movie makes it seem like Ike was almost helplessly watching while the congress and MICIC was taking the lead on trumping up military orders for the welfare department for billionaires otherwise known as the
Pentagon.

Some dismiss this as prime example of lame duck effect.

But what are the implications of this perception of Eisenhower for the parallel that is often drawn between
THE GROWING POWER OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE GROWTH OF SECRECY AND MILITARY POWER?

Given the ability of defense lobbyists to work THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE AS STRONGLY AS THROUGH THE EXECUTIVE at critical times like the 57-60 period (what were the legilative-lobbying-think tank connections that
lead to Kennedy's "missile gap" rhetoric for the 1960 campaign), do people think that the whole....


IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY argument which stresses the growing power of the executive branch at the expense of the other two might SERVE AS A KIND OF DECOY from deeper, more structural corruption involving defense contractors and the Federal gov. as a whole?

Please note that I am not disputing that the Executive Branch has gotten much stronger since the 1930s and even more so after WWII.

My question is more along the lines of "is this branch talk a kind of decoy" ? American liberals love to talk of branches instead of the corporate money that makes all three branches green tributaries of the Wall Street River. Is this liberal "branch talk" doing more harm than good, in distracting the citizenry from more fundamental issues?


******************************************************

"Please note that I am not disputing that the Executive Branch has gotten much stronger since the 1930s and even more so after WWII.

My question is more along the lines of "is this branch talk a kind of decoy" ? American liberals love to talk of branches instead of the corporate money that makes all three branches green tributaries of the Wall Street River. Is this liberal "branch talk" doing more harm than good, in distracting the citizenry from more fundamental issues?"



"Public hearings before the Munitions Investigating Committee began on 4th September, 1934. In the reports published by the committee it was claimed that there was a strong link between the American government's decision to enter the First World War and the lobbying of the munitions industry. The committee was also highly critical of the nation's bankers. In a speech in 1936 Nye argued that "the record of facts makes it altogether fair to say that these bankers were in the heart and center of a system that made our going to war inevitable". (8)

The Report on Activities and Sales of Munition Companies was published in April, 1936. It included the following passage: “Almost without exception, the American munitions companies investigated have at times resorted to such unusual approaches, questionable favors and commissions, and methods of 'doing the needful' as to constitute, in effect, a form of bribery of foreign governmental officials or of their close friends in order to secure business. These business methods carried within themselves the seeds of disturbance to the peace and stability of those nations in which they take place.” (9)"


Follow the cobblestone road. It always leads back to Wall Street, regardless of whether it was in 1864, 1964, or 2004.

Edited by Terry Mauro, 05 March 2006 - 02:35 AM.


#14 John Simkin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 03:13 PM

Consider the top civilian leaders in the Pentagon under the Eisenhower administration. Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson had been president of General Motors, which is not only the world's leading automobile maker, but also one of the Pentagon's major contractors. Roger M. Kyes, a vice-president of General Motors, was Deputy Secretary. Robert T. Stevens, President of Stevens and Company, a leading supplier of military uniforms, was appointed Secretary of the Army. Harold E. Talbott, a member of the board of three corporations working for the Defense Department, became Secretary of the Air Force. Robert B. Anderson, financier and oil tycoon, became Secretary of the Navy, and later Deputy Secretary of Defense.

This information appeared in B. Pyadyshev's The Military-Industrial Complex of the USA (1977).

#15 Mark Stapleton

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 04:39 PM

From reading this thread, it seems that the biggest problem is that there has been too much influence exerted by military industrialists to drag the US into theatres of war all over the globe as justification for the enormous and unneccesary largesse granted them by their friends in Government. There's also too much free passage of civilian MICIC members into influential Government positions (Fred Korth for example), which further reinforces the strong alliance between Government and the MICIC.

In Australia this couldn't happen because the Ministry is drawn from sitting MP's, not outsiders. Of course, this doesn't preclude influential friends from outside the Government being appointed to head statutory authorities and important commissions of enquiry, which happens all the time.

This practise of using Government policy and the American taxpayer to allow a small group of military industrialists to amass huge wealth was obviously threatened by JFK, which makes the MICIC or certain elements from within the MICIC prime suspects in planning JFK's assassination.

Today, so much money is being allocated for military expenditure that the US has little left for important social programs (some form of universal health coverage for example) which would benefit its rapidly expanding underclass. Amazingly, this is despite the fact that since the end of the Cold War, the US has not been seriously threatened by enemies, except for those enemies the US has made because of its own greed and exploitation.

It's so bad now that there's little point in Americans voting at all because everyone knows that the Government is merely the loyal servant of the MICIC. FWIW.




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