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Who was JFK?


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In a previous thread centering on if Baker actually did see Oswald in the TSBD, I mentioned the fact that Rich Gilbride had written that Truly was a southern cracker who had racist attitudes towards his employees and despised the Kennedys.

DVP, predictably, pooh poohed this. I have little doubt he will continue that discounting on his own web site when he adapts that exchange over there for his own purposes. Most Krazy Kid Oswald advocates do the same: they downplay just how divergent the Kennedy administration was from Eisenhower/Nixon/Dulles. They also downplay how LBJ, in many ways, then reversed Kennedy's policies on multiple fronts. In essence, restoring the foreign policy status quo.

John McAdams is the nonpareil on this issue. Even after several books of new and sterling scholarship contain new evidence and documentation, McAdams still tries to say JFK was not withdrawing from Vietnam. I will never forget during our debate, after I said Kennedy was the most liberal president since FDR, he actually said that Truman and LBJ were more liberal than Kennedy! If you know anything about history, this is a preposterous statement.

This whole issue, of course, is one of politics not history. Because if you say that Kennedy was not withdrawing from Vietnam and was simply a more handsome and telegenic Cold Warrior, then you eliminate a major reason for a high level plot and cover up against him. The problem is simple, the newest research--done by historians who have no stake in the assassination debate--does not support this. In fact, it shows that Kennedy was even more progressive than many of us thought. The problem is, as it usually is, very few people have read these books. But it turns out that Kennedy consciously and deliberately set out to reverse John Foster Dulles' view of the world, especially the Third World. And that LBJ and the CIA, in a matter of 18 months after his murder, deliberately went back to Dulles/Eisenhower/Nixon.

I don't think many people here have seen these presentations, except Pat Speer. If you have not, much of the material in this powerpoint is based on two books, one by Stanford professor Robert Rakove, and one by Georgetown professor Phil Muelhenbeck. My favorite part of this is Rakove's research on the Middle East. Which makes Kennedy's foreign policy there very relevant today, since it was overthrown by Johnson, and then especially Nixon and Kissinger. Anyway, I think most of you will enjoy this, its new and enlightening. And it shows how Kennedy was upsetting the apple cart of many power groups.

http://www.ctka.net/2014/JFKForeignPolicy.html

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http://www.ctka.net/2014/JFKForeignPolicy.html

Great presentation Jim!!

I have given a lot of thought to Kennedy's 1957 Algeria speech for some time. I agree with you that it does show Kennedy's vision and I believe the world would be a far better place today, had there been no coup.

Your presentation covers more than the 1957 speech by Kennedy, and I really appreciate your work on the subject.

Edited by Peter McGuire
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THANKS SO MUCH PETER.

When I gave the first talk in 2013 at the Wecht Conference, I got a long standing ovation. People had never seen this information before.

But I cannot really take credit for it. Its really the authors I read who did the hard work.

At the Wecht Conference, before i talked about the Algeria speech I actually said that although Jim Douglass highlights the American University speech, I think the Algeria speech is even better. I still think so today. And boy did it get Nixon and Dulles mad.

But the important thing I stressed is this: We concentrate too much on Vietnam and Cuba. And we forsake everything else JFK was doing. After all the reading, I came to the conclusion that Vietnam and Cuba were simply reflections of an already formed, gestalt foreign policy, rather than specific instances. And this policy was deliberately designed to overturn what Foster Dulles had done.

That isn't me talking, its Rakove and Muehlenbeck. And guys like Nasser. Who went into a month long depression after Kennedy was killed. He then ordered his funeral shown four times on national TV.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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BTW, I have to point out another great irony.

As I noted, in the Algeria speech, Kennedy warned about the possible explosion of Moslem fundamentalism in that area.

Therefore he worked with men who he thought were more secular and progressive. And against monarchs like King Saud and the Shah.

Well, who was it who was responsible for the eventual explosion of Moslem fundamentalism there that Kennedy so feared?

JOHN MCCLOY!

It was McCloy, being paid by David Rockefeller, who lobbied Carter's advisors to convince the president to do something he did not want to do: let the Shah into America for medical treatment. But before Carter caved, he asked the meeting, "Alright, but I wonder what you guys are going to advise me to do when they invade our embassy and take our employees hostage?"

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried! That's how bad McCloy was. He helped bring us Reagan. BTW, Nixon was also for bringing the Shah into the USA.

Finally, McCloy did a parallel thing while he was on the WC. In 1963, David Rockefeller wanted to meet with JFK about overthrowing the government of Brazil. Kennedy refused to meet. After his death, LBJ took the meeting. The next year, the CIA arranged a coup in Brazil. Who was their point man?

John McCloy. While he was sitting on the Warren Commission!

Does that not define a conflict of interest?

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Great stuff Jim, and nice to have you back here.

Looking forward to Talbot's new book on the Dulles bros called Devils Chessboard, due out in October. I think we are in for a wild ride

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Jim,

Although I'm not sure what JFK would have done in Viet Nam had he lived, I believe his Middle Eastern policy would have been far different from his successors'.

As you write, JFK favored secular leadership in the Muslim countries. He also favored a balanced approach to dealing with Arab-Israeli matters.

FWIW, I believe it was his Middle Eastern policy that did him in. The big money guys, the real Eastern Establishment power guys, knew the Middle East was the future center in terms of world conflict and money.

I've never understood why LBJ ignored Nasser and other M.E. secularists.

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Jim,

Although I'm not sure what JFK would have done in Viet Nam had he lived, I believe his Middle Eastern policy would have been far different from his successors'.

As you write, JFK favored secular leadership in the Muslim countries. He also favored a balanced approach to dealing with Arab-Israeli matters.

FWIW, I believe it was his Middle Eastern policy that did him in. The big money guys, the real Eastern Establishment power guys, knew the Middle East was the future center in terms of world conflict and money.

I've never understood why LBJ ignored Nasser and other M.E. secularists.

Although I'm not sure what JFK would have done in Viet Nam had he lived, I guess no one can be sure, but I think his 'past' actions were a good indicator of his future. I don't think we would have gotten very involved in Viet Nam.

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Let me add this as a bookend about McCloy.

Many of us feel that McCloy and Dulles were the real centers of power on the WC. I have already indicated what McCloy did with Rockefeller and the CIA and Brazil in April of 1964.

Well, guess what? Allen Dulles did something just as compromising in that same month. He decided to visit Harry Truman in Missouri. Why? He did not like that anti CIA column Truman published in December. Where Truman recommended the CIA's operational arm be severed and it revert to intelligence gathering only. In fact, Dulles actually wanted Truman to retract the essay. Truman would not. So Dulles wrote a memo to CIA trying to get other people who had influence with the former president to convince him to do so.

It turns out that although Truman's anti CIA column was published a month after the JFK assassination, through his papers, we learn that the rough draft was completed on December 11th. But it was started on, get this, December 1st! Considering the fact that Truman had to have thought about it before committing anything to paper, this brings the provenance of the essay to about one week after JFK was killed.

As I said, the meeting ended unsuccessfully for Dulles, since Truman was not going to retreat. Dulles now walked to the door and praised the new CIA director John McCone. But he had not mentioned Kennedy yet. He now did, in a truly startling way.

He now mentioned the "false attacks" on CIA in relation to Vietnam and how Kennedy had repudiated these attacks!

What could Dulles be talking about here? And why bring this up with Truman? He has to be speaking about the columns published in October of 1963 by Arthur Krock and Richard Starnes. They both spoke about the rising power of the CIA, especially in relation to Vietnam policy. Krock's source called the CIA influence in Vietnam a "malignancy". One which the WH could not control. Both articles spoke about an inevitable Seven Days in May scenario, except the coup of the American president would originate with the CIA, not the Pentagon.

Now, contravening Dulles, I know of no source that says Kennedy disowned the columns. But I do know of some who say that, not only did he not object, he was an off the record source. After all, Krock was a close friend of his father's.

Therefore, Dulles was trying to dupe Truman by deceiving him. But if these are the columns he was referring to, then his actions are even more revealing. Especially because it was he who brought up Kennedy's name personally in regards to them. Dulles' comments and actions--his personal visit, the bid for retraction, the bringing up of Kennedy while investigating his murder--all of these imply that Dulles thought Truman wrote the column due to the former president's suspicions about the CIA, Kennedy's murder and the Vietnam War, which LBJ was now in the process of escalating.

What makes this even more interesting is this. If one looks at the first wave of essays and books on the JFK case, which will begin in 1965, no one connected those dots: Vietnam, the Krock/Starnes columns, Kennedy's murder, at that time. Dulles was doing at least ten years before anyone else did. By trying to get Truman to retract, was Dulles making sure no one else would connect the dots that early?

If so, as prosecutors like Bugliosi say, this displays "consciousness of guilt". (Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition pgs. 380-81)

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Thanks for another great post, Jim.

I purchased JFK and Vietnam shortly before I went to South Korea to teach conversational English in 1995.

Funny thing - I still had the book in 2002, ( must have left that big book in storage, back in the States ) then I went back to the same employer in Daejeon, South Korea in 2006 and my book was there for me as my boss had kept it!

And although I had not given the JFK murder much thought since the late 70's , JFK and Vietnam was an interesting book to read.

I really did not understand a lot about the conspiracy until about 2005, when I lived stateside for a couple of years.

There is so much to read about JFK and what he would have done had he not been eliminated, and that is my focus now.

Edited by Peter McGuire
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JFK may have believed John Foster Dulles world view was flawed, but I'd bet there were countries as to which Dulles and JFK were in agreement to a degree. One of these countries was South Viet Nam.

I don't believe JFK wanted war in Viet Nam; I believe he wanted peace. But for sure he didn't want a North Vietnamese communist takeover in the South, which is what Ho Chi Minh wanted. One can argue about the minutia, such as how communist was Ho. The general outline is clear.

JFK, I bet, was more concerned about the Middle East. Pulling the missiles out of turkey in the wake of the BOP must have been a bitter pill. But it must have been a tolerable pill given the might of the U.S. military.

The big question for me is, how would the 1960s have unfolded in the U.S. if JFK had lived? My guess is the 1960s would have been a mellower version of what took place. But still a version in which you could enter a basement party on a college campus and get high from the smoke in the room. Just a less angry, hostile space, giving rise to the Weather Underground, which I secretly admired.

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JFK may have believed John Foster Dulles world view was flawed, but I'd bet there were countries as to which Dulles and JFK were in agreement to a degree. One of these countries was South Viet Nam.

I don't believe JFK wanted war in Viet Nam; I believe he wanted peace. But for sure he didn't want a North Vietnamese communist takeover in the South, which is what Ho Chi Minh wanted. One can argue about the minutia, such as how communist was Ho. The general outline is clear.

JFK, I bet, was more concerned about the Middle East. Pulling the missiles out of turkey in the wake of the BOP must have been a bitter pill. But it must have been a tolerable pill given the might of the U.S. military.

The big question for me is, how would the 1960s have unfolded in the U.S. if JFK had lived? My guess is the 1960s would have been a mellower version of what took place. But still a version in which you could enter a basement party on a college campus and get high from the smoke in the room. Just a less angry, hostile space, giving rise to the Weather Underground, which I secretly admired.

the Weather Underground, which I secretly admired. Did you really?

Were these 2 of your favorites?

Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn,

I think the 60's would have been quite different if JFK had survived, but we'll never know. It seems as if that was near enough to the formation of the CIA that they were feeling their oats, especially taking on all these clandestine missions to change the governments in so many countries. They decided that they had enough power to make things come out the way they wanted, even if it meant eliminating a president that might stand in their way. Was that what Eisenhower warned them about when he was leaving office?

Edited by Kenneth Drew
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Jon Tidd: JFK may have believed John Foster Dulles world view was flawed, but I'd bet there were countries as to which Dulles and JFK were in agreement to a degree. One of these countries was South Viet Nam.

I could not disagree more. And its not a matter of supposition, or what I think, its a matter of the adduced record.

JFK's view of the world was much more sympathetic to Third World areas coming out of Colonialism like Cuba and Indochina. So much so that he was willing to sustain a humiliating defeat at Bay of Pigs rather send in the Navy. He then fired the top level of the CIA for lying to him about the episode. After this, in the November arguments over combat troops into South Vietnam, he often asked three things:

​1. Why should we go into Vietnam which is so far away, when we did not go into Cuba which is so close?

2. How would we fare better than the French who were there for eight years and then lost?

​3. How can you make the public understand something like this, since it was not like Korea?

Edited by James DiEugenio
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After two weeks of debate, Kennedy was the only guy in the room refusing to commit combat troops.(Newman, JFK and Vietnam, p. 138) He would only up the advisors, to see if this would really help. But he secretly sent Galbraith to Saigon to prepare a report for withdrawal in case the advisors did not work, which he suspected they would not. When Galbraith returned, JFK gave that report to McNamara. (ibid, pgs. 236-37) He then watched and waited as two things occurred. He got access to the true intel reports and then came the Battle of Ap Bac.

In early 1963, for the first time, the Viet Cong decided to take on the ARVN in a pitched battle in daylight, in large regiment sized numbers. Further, the ARVN was well suported with several American advisors, including the legendary Jean Paul Vann. Along with air support. With all that in their favor, the ARVN was routed. It was so bad that the American Commander in theater, Harkins, lied about it. (See Newman, pgs. 302-04) It is incredible to me how this event is so ignored in our community. It indicates to me how few people have read Newman's masterly book. Three things happened as a result of this humiliation: 1.) It convinced the State Department that Diem could not win the war. 2.) It convinced Vann that Saigon would fall without direct American intervention. 3.) It convinced Kennedy that the hawks had had their day. It was time to give the order to McNamara to implement Galbraith's plan, namely withdraw.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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