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John Newman's commentary on Facebook today


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Note: Jim Jim DiEugenio asked a question about this yesterday]

PART I: WHAT THE PRESIDENT DIDN’T SAY WHEN, AT THE 20 JULY 1961 NSC NET EVALUATION SUBCOMMITTE BRIEIFNG, LEMNITZER AND DULLES PRESENTED JFK WITH PLANS FOR A “SURPRISE NUCLEAR ATTACK [AGAINST THE USSR] IN LATE 1963:

According to Howard Burris’ memo—the only surviving record of what happened at the meeting—"The president directed that no member in attendance at the meeting disclose even the subject of the meeting....” National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy described the president’s adverse reaction to the proposed surprise strike: “He expressed his own reaction to Dean Rusk as they walked out of the cabinet room to the Oval Office for a private meeting on other subjects. “And we call ourselves the human race.”

The timing of the chiefs’ proposal was not lost on the president. Kennedy was facing Soviet ultimatums on Berlin at a time when conventional U.S. military forces, by themselves, could not prevent the loss of West Berlin to East Germany. All present at the meeting understood that without the American nuclear deterrent, Berlin could not be saved.

But the crisis over Berlin wasn’t all that Kennedy had on his mind during that bizarre Net Evaluation presentation. Twice, the president obliquely broached something that those present could not yet have been aware of. Burris’ memo captured what else might have been on Kennedy’s mind: The president asked for an appraisal of the trend in the effectiveness of the attack. General Lemnitzer replied that he would also discuss this [later personally] with the president. Because Kennedy had already been told that the best window of opportunity for such a nuclear attack against the USSR would occur in late 1963, his question about the predicted trend line betrays his interest about a time other than late 1963.

And Kennedy’s next comment revealed what that period was: Since the basic assumption of this year’s presentation was an attack in late 1963, the president asked about probable effects in the winter of 1962. Mr. Dulles observed that the attack would be much less effective since there would be considerably fewer missiles involved. Only the president knew what he was thinking about: how would the Cold War landscape look in late 1962? And, with the benefit of hindsight, we now know what the Kennedys had in mind. Their intention—after dealing with the flash points in Berlin, Laos, and Vietnam—was to reactivate the plan to overthrow Castro. The question was: what would Khrushchev be able to do about it?

[NEXT: WHY WAS THE ONLY RECORD OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY MEETING WRITTEN BY BURRIS? AND HOW DID HE GET ACCESS TO NSC DOCUMENT AND MEETINGS?]

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John Newman PART II: WHY WAS THE ONLY RECORD OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY MEETING WRITTEN BY BURRIS? AND HOW DID HE GET ACCESS TO NSC DOCUMENTS AND MEETINGS?]

The fact that no detailed record other than Burris’ memo of the meeting survived raises questions. Why was the National Security Council (NSC) record of the NSC Net Evaluation Subcommittee presidential briefing destroyed? Why was there no JCS record kept? And, more importantly, how did Burris make such a detailed report of the discussion? The most likely scenario is that—like the Northwoods documents from 1962—Lemnitzer was able years later to get the records destroyed except for the Burris account. The surviving Northwoods documents appear to be not the JCS records—which they should be. Instead, what we have what appears to be from the Vice-Presidential Security File, which would almost certainly have been copies Burris made for LBJ. Bromley Smith was Executive Secretary to the National Security Council. Burris was routinely was given access to NSC agendas and meetings by Smith—whether or not the agenda items made it to President Kennedy. Smith made it a point to personally meet and brief Burris “never less than once a week” and provide him with the latest drafts of all NSC papers.

[NEXT: THE JULY NSC MEETING WAS A NORMAL REPRESENTATION FOR THE ROLE OF HOWARD BURRIS. CONSIDER THE EVENTS OF MAY 1961.]
Edited by David Andrews
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John Newman PART III: THE JULY 1961 NSC NET EVLUATION MEETING WAS A NORMAL REPRESENATATION FOR THE ROLE OF HOWARD BURRIS. CONSIDER THE EVENTS OF MAY 1961.

FROM “JFK AND VIETNAM,” CHAPTER FOUR: LBJ IN VIETNAM—EARLY MAY 1961
Burris, the vice president’s Military Rep
resentative, vividly remembers the confrontation between Johnson and Kennedy after JFK ordered LBJ to go on a trip to Vietnam: Burris was SITTING AGAINST THE WALL IN AN NSC MEETING “listening to all this screaming taking place. Kennedy said he wanted Johnson to go and Johnson just refused. But, like it or not LBJ was going to Saigon. Johnson first met with Diem began on 12 May. LBJ invited Diem to write a letter to JFK with a shopping list in it—a digression that HAD NOT BEEN PLANNED BY KENNEDY. Concealed behind Johnson’s suggestion lay a venturesome plan in which Lansdale’s hand was involved. At the next meeting LBJ suggested that Diem JFK about introducing U.S. combat troops in Vietnam.

Diem replied that he did not want U.S. troops in Vietnam but that he did want an increase in U.S. training personnel. On cue, the U.S. Military Advisory Group Chef, General McGarr, immediately asked Diem if he would accept the introduction of U.S. combat troops “for training purposes.” With no argument or comment whatsoever, Diem agreed. That plan was precisely the formula Lansdale had inserted on 27 April Vietnam Task Force Report. The Joint Chiefs wanted to put U.S. combat troops into Vietnam, but they needed Diem’s approval. Everyone had to play their part to get it.

Did Johnson know what McGarr was up to? Johnson’s military “aide” Colonel Burris did. “I remember about McGarr saying the troops were for training,” Burris recalls, “but it was really just under the guise of training.” Colonel Burris told me he was specifically instructed, by persons he calls “the boys in the woodwork,” not to discuss the combat troops issue with his own boss, Vice President Johnson. I asked, “But why?” “I was not authorized to,” Burris replied, and added darkly, because “Diem was a marked man,” and someone who should not be dealt with on this issue.

This much is clear: while we don’t know if someone rehearsed Johnson, there is no doubt that someone rehearsed Burris. Who was giving orders to the vice president’s military aide? And why?

The above episode is evidence for my current hypothesis that Burris was not just an aide to LBJ; in fact, he was acting as LBJ’s case officer.

[NEXT SECTIONS COMING TOMORROW: THE ROLE OF HOWARD BURRIS DURING THE HIGH DRAMA OF SPRING 1962]
 
Edited by David Andrews
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Interesting comments:

  • Charles Vergados I'm a bit confused. Burris wrote this account.And it's the only one that exists.How do we know that Burris,Lemnitzer,Dulles did not want to paint a picture of JFK as a secret war monger.Things do change. If he thought it was worth consideration in 1961,he may have had second thoughts by 1963.
  • John Newman Charles Vergados The destruction of the 1961 Net Evaluation records as well as the 1962 JCS copies of Northwoods, were most likely the result of Lemnitzer's handiwork. He has also successfully destroyed much of his own official records during the Kennedy Administration. It is more likely that his motive was to hide his own actions than to do it just to paint a false picture of Kennedy; trying to paint JFK as a war monger turns out--once the documents began streaming out with the Foreign Relations of the U.S. series--was about as easy as a camel passing through the eye of a needle!

    Phil Dragoo In the center of the vortex is the war fought over the president's dead body. Your reveal is as inexorable as a glacier in ironing the landscape flat. Burris is perhaps as much an aide to LBJ as McGeorge Bundy was to JFK.

     
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John Newman posted this on Facebook today:

As promised this is a sneak preview from Volume IV--"Armageddon"--about a moment of high drama for Colonel Howard Burris in March 1962:

An Episode of High Drama in Burris’ Subterranean Prowling in March 1962:

The showdown between Lemnitzer and JFK over U.S. ...
intervention in Cuba took place during four crucial days in mid-March 1962.

On 13 March Lemnitzer, forced by the Kennedy brothers' knee-capping of Lansdale a few days earlier, sent his Northwoods invasion plans to Kennedy. On 16 March, in front a dozen senior officers from the White House, Pentagon and State Department, Lansdale was on hand to watch and record the face-to-face showdown between the president and the chairman of the JCS.

At this crucial inflection point of history, Lemnitzer could not afford for the president to know the truth about Vietnam, where he was also pressing JFK to intervene. During those same four days in March 1962, Colonel Burris (LBJ's putative "aide") was in discussions with the Joint Chiefs’ staff and General Taylor’s office about the failing war effort in Vietnam. Burris told me that they all knew that McNamara was not being told the truth about Vietnam. On 16 March—the very day of the Kennedy-Lemnitzer faceoff over invading Cuba—Burris told Vice President Johnson in a memo that the chiefs knew the truth about the failing war effort in Vietnam. Four days later Burris scrawled this dark note at the bottom of that memo: “This same question of ‘where are we in Vietnam’ still disturbs Mr. McNamara. He is leaving today, 20 March, for meetings in Honolulu, where he hopes to obtain some answers.” Of course, all McNamara got from the military was more lies on Vietnam. President Kennedy, however, rebuked Lemnitzer in front of those gathered at the Cuba showdown and sent the JCS chairman packing.

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John Newman posted this on Facebook yesterday:

The 26-27 April Burris series I posted on FB and twitter has spawned a lot of discussion on this news feed and across a wide spectrum of shares and tagged posts. My last post on this feed was on 27 April and it's pretty sprawling by now and I want to add something to it with a particular and different focus and use a new post to do so.

In a 27 April thread created Randy Owen on my latest volume, “Into the Storm,” as the discussion rolled into the second day Gerry Simone pose...d this question: “Did assassination attempts against Castro continue after JFK’s assassination—and neutralization of RFK’s power as the Attorney General?”

I replied to Gerry Simone this way: A hypothetical model that I began to explore about four years ago—as I was in the early stages of work on Volume II ("Countdown to Darkness")—posited that the nucleus of perpetrators in the president’s murder was considering Castro as potentially more valuable alive than dead. I also told Gerry Simone that I would expand on that response here in a new post on my main news feed.

So, at this time, I would add this further refinement to my hypothetical model. The nucleus of perpetrators realized that a living Castro offered the best way to frame RFK for getting his brother killed and nearly starting WWIII. Castro’s death before the murder of JFK made the cover plot to blame RFK with the ultimate responsibility far more difficult if not out of the question.

Furthermore, Castro’s continued existence permitted the Castro-did-it-because-of-Bobby scenario to flower as Sam Halpern watered it non-stop in the decades that followed. We would anticipate continuing plots to kill Castro that were designed to fail. There are more tentacles in this hypothesis, but I’ll stop there.

It’s too early to estimate the validity of this model, but, because Gerry Simone asked that question, I felt like putting this idea out there. The time frame of the end of Volume III and the start of Volume IV (“Armageddon”) is about right for this kind of nefarious idea to take hold. And, if it did, getting hold of the ongoing plots to assassinate Castro before one of them succeeded would quickly have become a priority. We’ll see how things work out downstream.

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For all the outraged rhetoric about JFK being assassinated in an ugly manner in a public forum "to send a message," the primary purpose of rifles and a decoy office building and sheep-dipped patsy would seem to be to invert a Castro assassination plot against its alleged maker(s), in order to incite US retaliation.  It seems to have been a plan devised early and repented later.  Any message sent wasn't received until the mid-1970s, when the extant Zapruder film became widely available.  By that time, all the listeners were dead.

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Added by John in a comments thread, in response to a question by Dawn Meredith. 'AV' is Veciana.

Quote

It gets much worse than the two chapters (9 and 11) on Veciana in "Into the Storm." I suggest--if you want to catch up to where this all (not just AV) is going--carefully absorbing those two chapters to prepare for what is coming. SNEAK PREVIEW: The entire story we were fed like Pavlov dogs was made up in 1976 in a deal for early release from a prison (it was a cocaine conviction whether or not it was trumped up) and used to draw our attention away from a key part of this case. The problem AV had, as a result, was to manufacture a role for himself as a "CIA agent," not just in 1963, but before and after that. He hated the CIA. He was a Pentagon--and particularly an Army--asset. There is a lot more we will need to unlearn to get back onto the real playing field. It has been a great disappointment for me to see how many people were hurt in the process of the Veciana saga; but there is also the handiwork of Halpern and Nosenko which have led us down more time-wasting dead-end allies.

 

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38 minutes ago, Anthony Thorne said:

Added by John in a comments thread, in response to a question by Dawn Meredith. 'AV' is Veciana.

 

So, to get out of prison early Veciana agreed to say he'd seen Oswald with Phillips?  For the CIA?  I've read Halpern was CIA > Helms.  Nosenko…?  I'm confused. 

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13 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

So, to get out of prison early Veciana agreed to say he'd seen Oswald with Phillips?  For the CIA?  I've read Halpern was CIA > Helms.  Nosenko…?  I'm confused. 

Since Newman believes the evil force behind the assassination was Lansdale and the military brass, presumably that was who made the deal with Veciana for his early release. I wonder what his proof of all of this is? Maybe someone can clarify?

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