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Jim Root

Serendipity

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JL Allen

It was not until after the assassination of Kennedy that Powers believed Oswald had anything to do with his exploits. He may have had suspicions of sabatage and Oswald does, of course, fit right into any sort contrived plot to take the U-2 down. So does the lack of sophistacation of the camera used, etc.

A little over a year ago a friend of mine had arranged for Powers son and I to chat. Unfortunatly my daughter broke her back on the afternoon that I was to have had this opportunity to meet with him. I have tried to e-mail Francis Gary Powers Jr. on this exact subject (his suspicions about Oswald) in attempt to tie down a primary source to no avail.

There is alot of info on Powers and the U-2 incident. Here is one:

Francis Gary Powers --the spy who fell from the skies

American U2 Spy plane

In 1962 espionage became big news as the 'U2 Incident' grabbed world headlines. Pilot Gary Powers was shot down as he flew the sinister U2, designed for covert surveillance, over Soviet territory, sparking one of the biggest international crises of the Cold War. The US demanded his safe return. The USSR wanted to know what he was doing up there in the first place.

Shot down on 01 May 1960, Powers was held in prison for two years until 1962, when he was exchanged for Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel in the most dramatic East-West spy swap ever to occur in Cold War Berlin. Powers stepped on to the eastern end of the Berlin's Glienicke Bridge spanning the River Havel on February 10 in 1962. At the other end of the bridge, stood Colonel Rudolf Abel, a heavily muffled Soviet master-spy, seized earlier by US security agents after setting up a red spy network in New York in the late 1950s.

At a precisely arranged signal, the two men strode on to the bridge, marching purposefully towards one another, Powers heading westward, Abel eastwards. In the middle of the bridge they passed each other silently, with barely a nod of their heads. That spy-swap operation was to be the forerunner of many such East-West prisoner exchanges to take place on the Glienicke Bridge over the next 27 years in Berlin

Criticized when he returned to the United States for not ensuring the revolutionary plane was destroyed or killing himself with poison, Powers was cold-shouldered by his former employers at the Central Intelligence Agency and eventually died in 1977 at the age of 47 when a television news helicopter he was piloting crashed in Los Angeles.

Francis Gary Powers, seated at the witness stand, holds a model of a U-2 spy-plane as he begins his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1962.

On 01 May 2000, U.S. Officials presented Powers' family with the Prisoner-of-War Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the National Defense service medal during a 30-minute ceremony held at the Beale Air Force Base, north of Sacramento and home to the modern US U2 force. It marked the 40th anniversary of the incident.

"The mind still boggles at what we asked this gentleman and his teammates to do back in the late 1950s -- to literally fly over downtown Moscow... -- alone, unarmed and unafraid," Brig. Gen. Kevin Chilton, the 9th Reconnaissance Wing Commander told the some 350 people gathered at Beale Air Force Base.

CIA and Air Force officials presented the awards, something the pilot's son Francis Gary Powers, Jr., saw as an important step in recognizing those who served their country during the Cold War. "We wanted to make sure that my father was honored with the medals he deserved for being a prisoner of war," said Powers, who arrived at the ceremony straight from a three-hour flight in a U2 plane. "It took a little bit of letter writing and a couple of people to help us, but today that's been done."

Powers, Jr., 34, has devoted much of his time to seeing his father's memory honored, and is working to establish a permanent Cold War Museum in Washington, D.C. to educate the public about the period of US-Soviet rivalry.

The ceremony ended with a fly-by of a lone U2 plane.

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According to Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy was very impressed with Maxwell Taylor. Do you have any theories on this? Why were the Kennedy's so easily fooled?

The Kennedys were so impressed with Max Taylor, especially Bobby, that he named a son after him. My candidate for top militarist operative is Lansdale, heading up Mongoose (with its private army) and remaining loyal to the Dulles/Angleton wing of the agency. He was particularly incenced about the overthrow of Diem, and angered by the waivering support for aggressive Cuba and Vietnam policies by the administration.

Lansdale, Diem & Nhu:

Tim

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Tim

I may be wrong but I believe Lansdale and Taylor were at odds with each other over Vietnam, especially the Diem episode. Taylor went to great lengths to distance himself from direct confrontation with others.

Jim Root

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I may be wrong but I believe Lansdale and Taylor were at odds with each other over Vietnam, especially the Diem episode. 

I don't understand the point of that. I would note that one was an overt militarist while one was the counterinsurgency type, the difference between the two being about methodology, not ideology.

Tim

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John

In a 1961 issue of Time Magazine, Kenneth B Newton worte:

"I recall the General (Maxwell Taylor) spoke at a Veterans of Foreign Wars banquet in Boston at the Sheraton Plaza in 1946, which Mr. Kennedy attended. They were well acquainted at that time." (Picture was attached of the two sitting with each other)

Taylor was an out spoken critic of the Eisenhower administration and a proven war hero, both attracted Kennedy.

July 28, 1961 Time:

"Taylor left himself few allies in the Pentagon when he shucked his uniform and stormed back into civilian life in 1959. the Air Force is still enraged at his criticism of massive retaliation, calls his book "The Unclean Strumpet." "Says one former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 'Taylor was consistent I'll say that for him. He never stoppped pressing the case for limited war, and he never demonstrated much understanding of the other side of the picture. Well, he was wrong all the way, and he was consistent in that, too."

"...S.L.A. Marshal (Detroit News, a retired brigadier general and one of the nation's leading military historians...., has serious reservations about the man he followed through Normandy, Holland, Belgium and Korea. 'I think I know Max Tayor as well as any man in America. He was an extraordinary battle commander - the most tightly self disciplined officer I ever knew. But Taylor is the wrong man for this job. Taylor is not a conciliator. He's actively interested in the exercise of power for his own sake."

Kennedy may have bet his life on the abilities of Maxwell Taylor.

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root

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Tim

Both wanted to exercise control over events in Vietnam. One had the power to do so, the other did not. (Diem)

Jim Root

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Jim

Great posts.

Maxwell Taylor was the initiator of a great deal of interagency military cooperation after Kennedy was gone. Guenther Lewy points out a growing interdependency of the armed forces paramilitary and the civilian CIA paramilitary during the mid 1960s. Taylor pushed the revolutionary counter-insurgency vietnamese program known as OPERATION PHOENIX onto a young officer name William Colby. He was a very high ranking officer, somewhere in the stratosphere of MacArthur, really. Because of the JCS. In the Cold War strategy was set by the civilian executive in concert with the Air, Naval, Armed and Marines top planning, research and intelligence group, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and one Admiral or General was the Chair. Not quite a Cabinet post, but a power node of first magnitude. In compromising relationship with Edwin Walker, a very dark scenario.

Seven Days in May or Seventeen Seconds in November.

It is where the evidence is going Jim, I agree

The Warren Commission and the 25th Amendment washed out the history......officially. And gave legal cover and legitimacy to the new incumbents. Possibly, from a new theoretical approach. I don't like it one bit.

Shanet

Edited by Shanet Clark

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"Taylor was consistent I'll say that for him.  He never stoppped pressing the case for limited war, and he never demonstrated much understanding of the other side of the picture.  Well, he was wrong all the way, and he was consistent in that, too."

What is the alternative to "limited war?" All or nothing nuclearism. Such a M.A.D. standoff could last for awhile, but one mistake within that framework spelled Armageddon. So, for example, if the Russians had rolled into Berlin, since there was no incremental response available, the answer was to launch all-out nuclear war? As I have said, it worked for awhile, when we had a nuclear monopoly, and then still a massive superiority, but those days were coming to an end. Our policy of encirclement through the 1950s, such as placing Jupiter missiles in Turkey right on the Russian border, had not been matched by the Soviets until they deployed missiles to Cuba. The hypocracy of our policy was obvious and could not be maintained. Kennedy foresaw this, did not want to be cornered into pressing "the button," and had to battle his own government to change things. When those Jupiter missiles became a bargaining chip, which JFK had foreseen, he ranted angrily: "When was the last time I ordered those friggin' missiles removed - not the last three times, just the last time?"

Tim

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Tim

Both wanted to exercise control over events in Vietnam.  One had the power to do so, the other did not.  (Diem)

Jim Root

When you say one had the power and the other did not, are you comparing Taylor and Lansdale, or Diem and Thieu? Who is the one and who is the other?

Tim

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Tim

Both wanted to exercise control over events in Vietnam.  One had the power to do so, the other did not.  (Diem)

Jim Root

When you say one had the power and the other did not, are you comparing Taylor and Lansdale, or Diem and Thieu? Who is the one and who is the other?

Tim

Tim

I guess you could look at it either way. I was actually refering to Lansdale and Taylor.

Landsdale was personal friends with Diem and a major supporter of his since before the fall of the French. Diem ended up dead. Taylor got his "limited war" and Thieu became President for a while.

Jim Root

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When you say "one had the power to do so, the other did not (Diem)," are you comparing Taylor and Lansdale, or Diem and Thieu?  Who is the one and who is the other?

Tim

I guess you could look at it either way. I was actually refering to Lansdale and Taylor.

Jim Root

From Beschloss, The Crisis Years, pgs 652-653:

"Ngo Dinh Nhu warned South Vietnamese generals in August that the Limited Test Ban might foretell wholesale American 'appeasement' of communism and that Saigon must be ready to stand alone. Diem declared martial law. Nhu's shock troops raided pagodas in five cities and arrested 1,400 Buddhist monks and nuns. Harriman concluded that the U.S. could no longer support the Diem-Nhu govt. On Saturday, August 24, he and Roger Hilsman...drafted a cable...signed by George Ball authorizing Lodge in Saigon to set the wheels in motion for a coup. The message informed the new envoy that the 'U.S. government cannot tolerate a situation in which power lies in Nhu's hands.' If Diem refused to remove him and redress the Buddhist problem, 'we must face the possibility that Diem himself cannot be preserved.' Lodge was asked to carry this message to 'key military leaders' and also to 'make detailed plans as to how we might bring about Diem's replacement should this become necessary.'

Harriman and Hilsman wanted to send the message immediately to prevent Nhu from strengthening his position. Rusk, McNamara, McCone, and Bundy were all out of town....

On Monday morning at the White House, Kennedy was astonished when McNamara, McCone, and Taylor all loudly objected to the sending of the cable. Taylor charged that an 'anti-Diem group centered in State' had exploited the absence of principal officials to send out a message that would otherwise have never been approved. They did not receommend that the President embarrass himself by revoking the cable. Forrestal offered to resign and take the blame. Kennedy snapped, 'You're not worth firing....' Robert Kennedy noted that after what he called 'that famous weekend,' Harriman seemed to age ten years.

Kennedy later told Charles Bartlett, 'My God, my government's coming apart!' Robert Kennedy recalled that week as 'the only time, really, in three years that the government was broken in two in a disturbing way.' He later said, 'Diem was corrupt and a bad leader...but we inherited him.' He thought it bad policy to 'replace somebody we don't like with somebody we do because it would just make every other country as can be that we were running coups in and out.'

General Taylor had sent a cable to Saigon saying that 'authorities are now having second thoughts' about Diem. This infuriated the President, who did not wish to appear as if he was waffling. Lodge replied, 'We are launched on a course from which there is no respectable turning back: the overthrow of the Diem government....' Kennedy cabled Lodge, 'I know that failure is more destructive that an appearance of indecision.... When we go, we must go to win, but it will be better to change our minds than fail.'"

In this we see that Taylor and Lansdale, along with Nixon's V.P. candidate and former JFK senatorial opponent Henry Cabot Lodge, were of a single mind with regard to support for Diem. In October, JFK issued the order for withdrawal of U.S. troops. The policy was due for overall review the weekend of November 23-24, but by then Diem and Nhu had been murdered and Kennedy's body (supposedly) was lying in state in the East Room of the White House. By November 26, NSAM 273 reversed JFK's policy on Vietnam.

Tim

Edited by Tim Carroll

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If it were to be proven that Lee Harvey Oswald had been an agent of the Soviet Union or the United States, a cold chill might replace the warming climate for negotiations that were currently in progress.  As Lyndon Johnson would say to Chief Justice Earl Warren, there was the possibility of thirty-nine million deaths.

The LBJ telephone tapes show that despite the evidence that Hoover has provided linking Oswald with left-wing groups, the KGB, the Soviets, Castro’s Cuban government, etc., Johnson was determined to believe that Oswald was the lone gunman.

Johnson wants people to believe the reason for this is his fear of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Russell and Halleck do not question the logic of this argument. What Johnson appears to be saying is that if the public becomes convinced that Oswald was part of a conspiracy that involved Fidel Castro, he would come under such political pressure he will be forced to order an invasion of Cuba. If he does this, the Soviet Union will order a nuclear attack on the United States. As this will result in the deaths of 40 million Americans in the first hour, he therefore has to cover this conspiracy up and instead convince the world that Oswald was a lone assassin.

Yet the historical evidence suggests that this would never have happened if the United States invaded Cuba. The Soviets would have reacted in the same way as the American did when they invaded Hungary in 1956? The whole of the Cold War shows that both sides were given freedom to control their own geographical area. The argument that unless Oswald is found guilty of being the lone assassin, there will be a nuclear war is ridiculous. Yet, Johnson uses it over and over again.

Why then was Johnson so keen to believe that Oswald was a lone assassin? Why did he not take the opportunity to invade Cuba?

____________________________

John:

Because LBJ knew full well that LHO was not the lone assassin, and that Castro had no part in the murder. But it was a good ploy to blackmail people to do the WC whitewash. I always wondered what on earth they had on Earl Warren to cause him to cry. I guess it was really that simple: convince him that if he did not head the commission and satisify the public then nuclear war was a possible next step. It sounds insane to me, that a man of Warren's intelligence and legal reasoning could have been so conned, but I have yet to hear a better explanation for why he permitted his name to become synonymous with the lie of the century.

Dawn

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I always wondered what on earth they had on Earl Warren to cause him to cry. I guess it was really that simple: convince him that if he did not head the commission and satisify the public then nuclear war was a possible next step. It sounds insane to me, that a man of Warren's intelligence and legal reasoning could have been so conned, but I have yet to hear a better explanation for why he permitted his name to become synonymous with the lie of the century.

Dawn

Dawn:

One of my very favorite movies, Seven Days In May, was showing on cable this past weekend; I watched it twice. During the key confrontation between the president and the Chairman of the JCS, when the president suggests that the general stand by the constitution and run for the office in a year, the general's retort is that the president is too much a "weak sister" [like Shanet's unfitness framework] to last that long. The president then makes the argument: to paraphrase, the president asks "Did it occur to you that if the Soviets saw the U.S. govt. taken over by a military coup, you wouldn't have to wait for them to attack?" That is a reasonable recitation of the geopolitical reality existant in 1963; if the Soviets believed that the U.S. had been taken over by a military coup, they would have concluded that the preemptive first strike so long resisted by JFK was now imminent. This is an interpretation of the "40 million dead" argument used on Warren that is not generally recognized. Usually, analysts have seen the argument as being that if we admitted that it was a Cuban plot we'd have had no choice but to invade Cuba, which would then trigger nuclear war. The Seven Days In May analysis provides a better explanation of the condition with which Earl Warren was presented. LBJ was covering up a military coup.

Tim

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I always wondered what on earth they had on Earl Warren to cause him to cry. I guess it was really that simple: convince him that if he did not head the commission and satisify the public then nuclear war was a possible next step. It sounds insane to me, that a man of Warren's intelligence and legal reasoning could have been so conned, but I have yet to hear a better explanation for why he permitted his name to become synonymous with the lie of the century.

Dawn

Dawn:

One of my very favorite movies, Seven Days In May, was showing on cable this past weekend; I watched it twice. During the key confrontation between the president and the Chairman of the JCS, when the president suggests that the general stand by the constitution and run for the office in a year, the general's retort is that the president is too much a "weak sister" [like Shanet's unfitness framework] to last that long. The president then makes the argument: to paraphrase, the president asks "Did it occur to you that if the Soviets saw the U.S. govt. taken over by a military coup, you wouldn't have to wait for them to attack?" That is a reasonable recitation of the geopolitical reality existant in 1963; if the Soviets believed that the U.S. had been taken over by a military coup, they would have concluded that the preemptive first strike so long resisted by JFK was now imminent. This is an interpretation of the "40 million dead" argument used on Warren that is not generally recognized. Usually, analysts have seen the argument as being that if we admitted that it was a Cuban plot we'd have had no choice but to invade Cuba, which would then trigger nuclear war. The Seven Days In May analysis provides a better explanation of the condition with which Earl Warren was presented. LBJ was covering up a military coup.

Tim

__________________

Tim:

I totally agree, but I still think LBJ was also participating, in so far as we can ever really know. (Perhaps I am also just holding onto my first view, very much reinforced since moving to Tx. and studying the case from that perspective.)

Funny you should mention that movie, I was talking with a close pal in Boston on Sat and John and I were discussing that movie. In fact later that day it was one of two I asked my husband to rent, the other was Spiderman 2, which he did rent.

Will rent "7 Days" for next weekend.

Dawn

ps Am looking into scanning Yankee/Cowboy War onto computer. Carl gave the ok today, just have to locate the publisher.

I think the Gahlen docs may be online too, will call Jim Lasar tomarrow to find out.

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