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Ray McGovern (former-CIA) Interview


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Greg,

please give up, my phone keeps going off every time I receive an update, I now have bruises on my forehead! Perhaps, you could better relate to a movie.

Scott,

I will not give up. I am not here to engage a petulant child. I am here to help interpret the events as they are revealed through the evidence. That you disagree with me is of no concern, but what is a concern is your refusal to remain civil about it. You do not adhere to any form of intellectual honesty as far as I can tell. When confronted you don't respond persuasively. Rather, you pout and attempt to close down the responses from your critics for whom you have not provided any real answers.

The reason this is so important to me is because the last thing we need is yet another under-researched, poorly reasoned, book about the Bay of Pigs. We already have the CIA's ghost writers for that.

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Greg,

please give up, my phone keeps going off every time I receive an update, I now have bruises on my forehead! Perhaps, you could better relate to a movie.

Scott,

I will not give up. I am not here to engage a petulant child. I am here to help interpret the events as they are revealed through the evidence. That you disagree with me is of no concern, but what is a concern is your refusal to remain civil about it. You do not adhere to any form of intellectual honesty as far as I can tell. When confronted you don't respond persuasively. Rather, you pout and attempt to close down the responses from your critics for whom you have not provided any real answers.

The reason this is so important to me is because the last thing we need is yet another under-researched, poorly reasoned, book about the Bay of Pigs. We already have the CIA's ghost writers for that.

Greg,

Honesty, must I too use college grammar in order to provide truth? Must I sound intellectually smart in order to provide evidence, if you'll now excuse me, I think I may need to go to the hospital, I've cracked my head open.

Edited by Scott Kaiser
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I've wondered (and I still don't have Talbot's book yet) what Dulles thought he was doing out of the country during the BOP invasion. Was it some weird attempt at plausible deniability, to pass the buck to underlings, or what?

He was giving some speech at a University in Puerto Rico. But I think you might be correct to a point. I think the prevailing perception would have been that if the US (especially CIA) was really behind an "overthrow Castro" plot, the DCI would most assuredly have been available and intimately involved in the operation rather than being out of touch and out of the country. Of course, this is just speculation, which I don't like to do.

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I've wondered (and I still don't have Talbot's book yet) what Dulles thought he was doing out of the country during the BOP invasion. Was it some weird attempt at plausible deniability, to pass the buck to underlings, or what?

He was giving some speech at a University in Puerto Rico. But I think you might be correct to a point. I think the prevailing perception would have been that if the US (especially CIA) was really behind an "overthrow Castro" plot, the DCI would most assuredly have been available and intimately involved in the operation rather than being out of touch and out of the country. Of course, this is just speculation, which I don't like to do.

Greg's post ~ You get a college educated answer.

Scott's post ~ Good question Ron, no college.

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Who told Bundy to call Cabell and delay the B-26s?

Dean Rusk.

When Bundy spoke with Cabell he specifically told him that any further discussion of the matter (cancellation of the pre-dawn airstrikes) should be taken up with Secretary Rusk (Adlai Stevenson's direct boss).

Greg,

I've always assumed that Rusk was in the chain of command to Bundy regarding this action, but I have no idea WHY Rusk did this. Can you elaborate?

Tom

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Dissenting view:

JFK knew the BOP operation was going forward.

JFK knew the Saigon coup was going forward.

If you were JFK, what would you expect of the BOP operation or the Saigon coup?

At the time, I was an ignorant, uninformed teenager. I know now I would have said, hold back. Why? Because I was opposed to war and conflict.

JFK was wonderful for teens in the first few years of the 1960s. He fueled so much.

He fueled so much. Yet I believed the BOP and the Saigon coup to be disastrous and to be laid at JFK's doorstep.

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Folks,

Really, if I were you, I'd ignore me too, after all, I'm not the brightest bulb lighting up this forum. Tom, I would love to hear his elaboration too. Figuratively speaking, Jon, I have to sadly disagree with you again, although, Kennedy and his cabinet had months of talks about the Diem brother's, his intention was to get them out of the country, not have them assassinated without first having a round table sit down.

JFK knew the Saigon coup was going .

Jack does however point out those who were for and opposed the assassination. And, because of a poorly drafted cable, the CIA capitalized on it as the cable went out on a Saturday and by Sunday, they were dead.

Jack never said whether he was for or against the assassination, it appeared as though it didn't have much of effect on him either way.

Edited by Scott Kaiser
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First, let me elaborate on my comments about the CIA and Princeton and the whole Lucien V affair.

When I first got to know John Newman, he came to California because he was going to do some research at the Hoover Institute.

So, me him and a friend flew up there from LA.

He was there because he was thinking of doing a book on Lansdale. And he wanted to see what was there, since their holdings listing said there were some interesting docs on hand.

Well, once we got there, as we started going through the folders, we saw that many were surprisingly empty. So I asked John, "What is going on here?"

He replied that he had the same experience when he was working on his first book JFK and Vietnam. After he had been working on it for awhile, he said that he would visit certain repositories and mysteriously, things would be gone. Almost like they knew he was coming. He finally concluded that the CIA was calling gin their dibs with various universities, or with the Hoover Institute, since that was a hard right establishment, they had to do very little.

At the end of the day, John asked the archivist about this arrangement. And he confirmed that they did those things, cooperated with Washington about their holdings.

So, you can imagine what its like in the Ivy League.

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Jon:

Excuse me if I say once again, you are factually challenged. Yet, you repeat these myths as often as you can. No matter how many times they are shown to be wrong.

To say the BOP and the Saigon coup should be laid at the foot of Kennedy, that is not an intellectual, or historical judgment. Its a political one. In that it does not align with the facts as we have them today.

Greg, Larry Hancock, and myself have proven--with documentation from the latest archival releases--that there is no question today that Kennedy was lied to on just about every aspect of Zapata. This is not opinion, it is fact.

Ergo, if we put our thinking caps on--not our red or blue caps, (Sanders or Cruz)--then we come to the conclusion that Dulles and Bissell knew they had to lie in order to get Kennedy to go along with their wacky scheme.

Which means, that they knew if they told him the truth he would have vetoed it.

I mean what part of that tautology do you fail to comprehend?

What further proof do you need now that we have the actual notes Dulles made from this article. Which the CIA tried to make disappear, and had to be imported back into the country from Africa? Why do you think the article was entitled 'The Confessions of Allen Dulles". Why do you think Dulles abandoned the article? Why do you think he blurted out "That little Kennedy, he thought he was a god!" as he was writing it? Why do you think Bissell concurred with the article when he replied?

So who is the culpable party here? In the law there is a doctrine called promissory estoppel. This roughly means that if one party accepts a premise as true, and it results in detrimental damage to the party who accepts it, one can sue for damages. In this case, with the actual documents on hand, the jury would take about 15 minutes to decide the verdict. Dulles would be held culpable for fostering a false premise.

Now, if you need any further proof, what did Kennedy do after? He launched his own inquiry into the affair as the CIA did their own. Right after both were in, he fired the top level of the CIA. Had anyone ever down that before, or since? Please answer.

(Sound of crickets)

Does that not mean he was pretty upset? And then Bobby fired Eleanor Dulles, who had nothing to do with this, but she did have a last name RFK did not like. The reason, according to him: I don't want any member of that family around anymore. Does that not tell you a little something? Like he was really upset.

What more proof does one need? How about Kennedy's plan to redesign the CIA, and not even use that name for it anymore? That is in Talbot's book--oh but you know everything that is in there right? So you didn't need to read it. Like fun you didn't .

Allen Dulles lied to his president three times in four months: on Lumumba, on the OAS rebellion, and on Zapata. Kennedy had no other choice but to fire him. Very few civil servants ever deserved it more.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Who told Bundy to call Cabell and delay the B-26s?

Dean Rusk.

When Bundy spoke with Cabell he specifically told him that any further discussion of the matter (cancellation of the pre-dawn airstrikes) should be taken up with Secretary Rusk (Adlai Stevenson's direct boss).

Greg,

I've always assumed that Rusk was in the chain of command to Bundy regarding this action, but I have no idea WHY Rusk did this. Can you elaborate?

Tom

Hi Tom,

Yes, I can. And again, I must stress that I prefer not to speculate beyond that which is necessary. In this case some speculation seems in order.

Here's what we know, which is not speculation:

The best military minds who worked on this project insisted, unequivocally and without exception, that absolute dominance of the airspace over the BOP was paramount else the mission would fail. This was not up for question from the military's point of view, upon whom JFK relied to instruct his decision making. We must take this as a foundational parameter for the rules of engagement. IOW: If air dominance was deemed unachievable for whatever reasons, then the mission would not be successful and should therefore be abandoned.

In order to insure air domination, it was therefore decided that Castro's air force needed to be completely eliminated--preferably while it was still on the ground. Why did it need to be taken out while on the ground? Because the anti-Castro Cubans did not possess jet fighters that could dog fight against Castro's T-33 jets. They only possessed the rather lumbering old B-26 bombers that we gave them. These aircraft could not win if Castro's planes were airborne. Their only hope was to take out his planes in a surprise attack before they could get off the ground. That was obviously the only logical option. How to accomplish it without revealing America's hand in it was the tricky part. We couldn't just send in the US Navy unprovoked to blow up Castro's airfields and planes without violating international law.

So the modified B-26's would use their 50 caliber machine guns to take out the planes while on the ground during two separate raids. The first raid was scheduled to take place two days prior to D-day.

Then the CIA came up with a lame brained plan. In order to incite the disaffection of Castro's military, particularly his pilots, the Agency decided to disguise the anti-Castro Cuban planes as Castro's own aircraft for that first air raid. After the raid was over the B-26's landed in Miami and the pilots claimed to have been defecting from Castro's air force, but decided to blow up as many of his planes as possible on their way out. The Agency figured that would hopefully inspire more defections (only real this time) from Castro's air force.

The problem occurred when Castro displayed the differences in the markings on his own planes with those of the "fake" anti-Castro Cuban planes, including the opacity or lack thereof in their noses.

Here's where it gets interesting and speaks directly to your question: Our ambassador to the UN, Adlai Stevenson, vehemently denied Castro's claims that the US was behind the attack. No one had "read in" Ambassador Stevenson into the operation so he didn't know. Perhaps it was decided that he was not in a "need-to-know" position. However, when Castro displayed proof that the planes used in the raid were NOT from his own air force, but rather were from the outside, Stevenson was humiliated. He appeared to either be lying or not considered relevant enough to be entrusted with the information about the true nature of the raids.

So on the evening before D-Day, when he was "read in" to the plans for pre-dawn (pre-landing) air strikes, he was livid and adamantly opposed any air strikes because of what had just happened. He contacted his boss, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and raised hell about it until he basically got his way. Rusk in turn called Bundy, who called Cabell with the cancellation order.

Now here's the speculation part:

Did the CIA deliberately botch disguising the planes for the first raid so that Castro could easily humiliate Stevenson? If we give Rusk the benefit of the doubt, which I'm not certain he deserves...but for the sake of discussion, it would have allowed a Secretary of State who was inexperienced in military matters, to grossly under appreciate the devastating consequences of the stand down order.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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As per the Saigon coup, I mean please Jon. I have pointed this out many times.

The two best sources on this are John Newman's revolutionary book JFK and Vietnam, and the Douglass book. In the former, its Chapter 18, where he describes in detail how the Saturday Night Special was sent. In the latter its Chapter 5, which tells the story from the Saigon side. If you don't want to read these, because, as with Talbot,. you think you know what is in them, fine. If Scott does not, because he things he is getting the real deal form his Cuban sources, OK. But don't knock us if we actually do read good books and we do not agree, and can back that up as to why.

As Newman describes, there was a cabal in the State Department made up of Hilsman, Forrestal and Harriman. They plotted to wait until a weekend when every major WH player on Vietnam was out of town. This included Kennedy, Bundy, McNamara, Rusk and, most importantly, McCone. The second reason they picked the weekend of August 24, 1963 is because they knew they had an ally on his way to Saigon, in Ambassador Lodge. They then drafted the SNS, sometimes called the coup cable. It essentially said that the ambassador should tell Diem that if he did not make more democratic and religious reforms--which would stop Buddhist priests from immolating themselves on the street and on American TV--then America would look to back another horse.

They picked the weekend so the memo could not be properly vetted. When Max Taylor saw it, he immediately understood what had happened. The anti Diem cabal had plotted for this precise moment to make their move, knowing that if they waited until Monday, with everyone there, it would never fly. (See Newman, p. 349) As John writes, then why did Taylor not call Kennedy and tell him what was happening? Whatever the reason, he did not. But what the cabal ended up doing is calling Kennedy and saying that everyone was on board with the cable--which was a lie. (ibid, pgs. 348-49)

So the cable was sent under false circumstances. But once Lodge got it, he too disobeyed orders. In what looks like a deliberate attempt to get around Rusk at State and McCone at CIA, Lodge wired back that he was not going to show the cable to Diem first. He was going to go directly to the military. (ibid, p. 350) That particular communication revision was not approved by any executive in Washington. It was allegedly approved by George Ball, except his signature line is not filled in. And there is no transmission time stamped on it, nor a receipt time. John thinks it went through CIA channels, not State. (ibid) So Kennedy was deceived twice on this.

As with the Bay of Pigs, why would they lie to JFK if they thought they could get away with this plot if they didn't? Also, why could they not wait to Monday? Any rational person can figure this out. What is the proof?

When Kennedy got back, he was furious at what happened. (See Jon, this is a really good indication that someone was not on board with what happened.) He shouted "This xxxx has got to stop!" Forrestal offered his resignation but Kennedy refused it with, "You're not worth firing. You owe me something..." (Douglass, pgs. 164-65) Kennedy then tried to cancel the cable but Lodge had already shown it to the generals. (See Vietnam: A Television History, Lodge interview.)

As Douglass so well describes, what happened later, with the deaths of Diem and his brother, Kennedy had nothing to do with. In fact Kennedy tried to stop it from happening through his private emissary Torby McDonald. But this was all sidelined by the actions of Lodge and Conein. (ibid, p. 167) Lodge did not even want to talk to Diem, which is why Kennedy had to send McDonald. (ibid, p. 191) Lodge even wired Kennedy that he had no control over slowing down or halting the coup. (ibid p. 199)

The deaths of Diem and his brother, as Douglass notes,were arranged by Lodge and Conein. Diem mistakenly thought that Lodge was being honest with him and was representing Kennedy. He was doing neither. So Diem kept on calling Lodge as he was trying to escape the palace. Lodge had set this up in advance by getting rid of the CIA station chief earlier--who favored Diem-- so the guy in command there for CIA was Conein, who sided with Lodge on this. When Diem would call Ldoge, Lodge would then notify Conein who was in contact with the generals. (Douglass pgs. 207-10) We all know what happened. And Douglass' treatment of this is the best I have ever read. (But you know that, right Jon?)

After this example of insubordination, Kennedy was going to do what he did with the Bay of Pigs, fire Lodge. (ibid, pgs. 374-75) But Dallas intervened. And Kennedy's withdrawal program became Johnson's escalation program.

The Harvard legal scholar, Raoul Berger, once said, facts are like sunshine. Some of us here, for whatever reason, would rather work in the dark. They seem to be unaware of this : that is what got us into this mess.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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