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JFK Assassination and the Vietnam War


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Thanks Tim. You write what I was trying to say so well.

I find it very interesting that just as the new Joan Mellen book is out we suddenly have all this Garrison

bashing on this forum. Hmmmm, interesting timing.

I just got the book via Amazom and read the last two chapters, and am about to read the first now,

(ya I know, I'm doing it backwards...but some post from Tim Gratz gave the impression that this might somehow be an anti-Garrison book). It's NOT. I highly recommend it to all here (especially Lynne!!!)

I am so impressed by it that I am now plannning to try to get to Dallas just to hear her speak.

I have way too much going on right now, including three trials this month, a friend visitning from Boston 11/21-30 and contractors from Home Depot coming, who might choose that weekend (of the conference) to be here, so cannot make any firm plans to go to Dallas...but this book has me strongly leaning in that direction.

For those interested, I spoke with John Judge at COPA a bit ago and Joan will be speaking Sunday morning.

Perhaps John can repost the other speakers. I know Walt Brown will be speaking right after the keynote, by Cynthia McKinny.

Dawn

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Tim, was the Hunt character played by Will Greer in EXECUTIVE ACTION?

Dawn, I received the Mellen book for my birthday. B) I've thumbed through it a bit but haven't the chance yet to fully read it. One thing that caught my attention very early (Jim Root's too, I'd well imagine): Edwin Walker made visits to Guy Banister's place in New Orleans.

Maybe I'll see you in Dallas, Dawn. That would be a pleasure. Thanks again for the note on my/our birthday.

Stan

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Tim, was the Hunt character played by Will Greer in EXECUTIVE ACTION?

Yes.

I received the Mellen book for my birthday.... One thing that caught my attention very early (Jim Root's too, I'd well imagine): Edwin Walker made visits to Guy Banister's place in New Orleans.

What evidence does Mellen cite that shows Walker at Banister's office in New Orleans?

Tim

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Ron

It was approved by Congress (August/September 1963).

After the assassination the Geneva talks resumed leading to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 (signed by 61 countries).

If you recall, McCloy became a central figure in these talks again. McCloy missed at least one meeting of the Warren Commissioners to attend these talks in Geneva. If I am correct it was at that same Geneva meeting that Yuri Nosenko "defected" to the US.

Coincidence?

Jim Root

Jim your research on the nuclear Test ban Treaty is very interesting and I think it is vital to a genuine appreciation about the dynamics of the Kennedy Administration. Have you noted that Kennedy relied upon Robert McNamara to ram the Treaty down the throats of his many detractors.

When it came to Vietnam however, Robert McNamara was Johnson's man [even when Johnson was VP] and Kennedy was isolated. That is why I constantly claim that Vietnam was the vital issue that left Kennedy alone and vulnerable.

If Kennedy didn't have McNamara on board, I don't think he would have gotten anywhere with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Do you agree with that?

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I have been doing a great deal of research on this issue recently. The debate over the LTBT (Limited Test Ban Treaty) and the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) was huge.

My research suggests that my two favorites (Taylor and McCloy) were at odds with the President on this issue. It seems that McCloy was replaced by Harriman around June of 1963 and by August the US had folded its hand and had given into the British and Soviet position with the acceptance of the LTBT.

The LTBT of 1963 was similar to what had been attempted and what failed in 1960 when the Paris Summit was sabotaged by the shoot down of the U-2 (was Oswald involved?).

Was this the spark that ignited the conspirators? Interesting question as I look at the facts. If Taylor was involved and the wheels of assination were already in motion because of the Presidents June change in position on the Test Ban Treaty, then your choice "C" ["The Vietnam War was just one of many reasons"] may have led Taylor to prepare and execute a coup in Vietnam in preperation for a new President that could be presuaded toward deeper involvement.

The U-2 incident in May, 1960, and the Berlin Crisis in the summer of 1961, are critical to an understanding of the circumstance in which Kennedy found himself in dealing with the military and the seemingly inevitable imminence of nuclear war. Eisenhower and Khrushchev engaged in a mutual deception about the existence of a Soviet ICBM force. Both knew, as a result of U.S. U-2 overflights, that the Soviets had virtually no ICBM arsenal. Khrushchev presented an image of strength by making boasts such as that the Soviets were "building missiles like sausages." Eisenhower was able to generate massive nuclear spending by allowing the impression that it was true. This deception led directly to the 1960 election issue of a "Missile Gap," which Kennedy used against Nixon.

It was only upon coming to power that Kennedy and McNamara learned that there was no gap. McNamara leaked this in the first months in office, but it was hardly noticed in the press. By August, 1961, when the Soviets built the Berlin Wall, fears were elevated in America that the U.S. arsenal was insufficent. Kennedy decided he had to leak the fact that the U.S. had massive superiority in order to allay the fears, not realizing that this would leave Khrushchev exposed and in need of a quick fix to the imbalance. Khrushchev's move was to deploy missiles to Cuba.

Ironically, Maxwell Taylor's position on the nuclear issue is that he played to Kennedy's worst fears that the Joint Chiefs were overdependent on nuclear weapons and that Eisenhower's policy of Massive Retaliation was a formula for disaster. Taylor's book, The Uncertain Trumpet, advanced a new model for defense which promoted brushfire wars and counterinsurgency. So on the surface anyway, Taylor was not an Eisenhower-style nuclearist.

For numerous reasons, by the summer of 1963, the bloom was off the rose of the Kennedy-Taylor relationship. Kennedy was rapidly proving himself to be uncontrollable, especially to the military, while Taylor was proving himself more "one of the boys" that had been anticipated. Vietnam became problematic almost overnight when State Department officials Harriman and Hilsman sent a cable to Ambassador Lodge in Vietnam which effectively set the wheels in motion for a coup. Kennedy was in Hyannisport for the weekend, and the cable slipped by him with little notice. But on Monday morning, JFK returned to D.C. to an almost hysterical reaction by McNamara, Taylor and McCone. Taylor charged that an "anti-Diem group centered in State" had exploited the President's absence to send out a message that should not have been approved.

Kennedy later told a friend, "My God, my government's coming apart!" RFK recalled that week as "the only time, really, in three years that the government was broken in two in a disturbing way." In November, the U.S. government was literally "broken" when JFK was killed just three weeks after Diem was toppled and killed.

Tim

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I received the Mellen book for my birthday.... One thing that caught my attention very early (Jim Root's too, I'd well imagine): Edwin Walker made visits to Guy Banister's place in New Orleans.

What evidence does Mellen cite that shows Walker at Banister's office in New Orleans?

Tim

Tim, from page 69:

Banister chatted on a regular basis with J. Edgar Hoover; Regis Kennedy was a frequent visitor to Banister's office. Banister was also very close to G. Wray Gill, who had ordered Ferrie to go to Dallas the week of the assassination.

Other visitors to Banister's office included Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, in town to protest the screening of Leon Uris' Exodus, and who was introduced to Banister by Jack Martin; General Edwin Walker; the ubiquitous Ed Butler; and Klan stalwarts Alvin Cobb and A. Roswell Thompson, who drove up in a big black Cadillac. Yet another Banister cohort was Jim Garrison's enemy, Raymond Huff of Customs who, with Banister and the CIA, was another of those who had participated in the overthorw of President Arbenz of Guatemala.

I saw no reference at the back of the book for this claim.

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Historian Stanley Karnow, who wrote an important book about US involvement in Vietnam, is one of many who dispute the claim that it was Kennedy's intention to pull out of Vietnam. I will dig up what he wrote about this later.

Did you ever dig up that book Tim? It's been a long time since I've read anything on the subject by my impression has always been that the evidence indicating that JFK was going to pull out of Vietnam was inconclusive.

Another question is did the Joint Chiefs etc know of this decision [if indeed it was made]?

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I received the Mellen book for my birthday.... One thing that caught my attention very early (Jim Root's too, I'd well imagine): Edwin Walker made visits to Guy Banister's place in New Orleans.
What evidence does Mellen cite that shows Walker at Banister's office in New Orleans?
Tim, from page 69: "Other visitors to Banister's office included Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, in town to protest the screening of Leon Uris' Exodus, and who was introduced to Banister by Jack Martin; General Edwin Walker; the ubiquitous Ed Butler; and Klan stalwarts Alvin Cobb and A. Roswell Thompson, who drove up in a big black Cadillac.... I saw no reference at the back of the book for this claim.

It would be a very disappointing piece of work if Joan Mellen's book isn't sufficiently sourced. No end notes at all?

It's been a long time since I've read anything on the subject by my impression has always been that the evidence indicating that JFK was going to pull out of Vietnam was inconclusive.

Few issues have ever been so extensively researched yet so inconclusively resolved as Kennedy's intention in Vietnam. I tend to believe that the situation became event-driven for JFK after the August 24th State Department cable. Kennedy sent McNamara and Taylor on a fact-finding mission, announced the gradual withdrawal, had the coup happen in which Diem was killed, and then he himself was dead, all within three months. What we do know is that Kennedy was skeptical of the information and advice he was receiving, as well his ability to control the situation.

I am plenty perplexed by what was going on during those last few months. We know that Lansdale was an intimate friend of Diem's, yet when the coup came on November 1, Conein was riding along with the general that was leading the overthrow. Years later, these same events would be the object of E. Howard Hunt's exacto knife, when he was directed by the White House to produce a cable demonstrating Kennedy's complicity in Diem's assassination. As part of this task, Hunt interviewed Conein. Ultimately, the division between the State Department on one side and the Pentagon and CIA on the other doesn't hold up with regard to the JFK assassination. McNamara would have been more sympathetic to the State Department position, while Secretary of State Dean Rusk was more likely to side with the Taylor-McCone Pentagon-CIA contingent.

Tim

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Tim, Mellen's book is very well sourced.

These are the source notes from what I quoted above (from page 408):

Banister chats with Hoover: Robert Buras and L.J. Delsa, interview tih Joe Oster, Janurary 27, 1978. HSCA. NARA

Regis Kennedy visits Banister: Undated notes of Hoke May. AARC.

Banister is very close to G. Wray Gill: Interview with Allen Campbell, July 4, 2002. Jack Martin has introduced George Lincoln Rockwell to Guy Banister

Jack Martin has introduced George Lincoln Rockwell to Guy Banister: Interview with Thomas Edward Beckham, corroborated by Vernon Gerdes. Memorandum. October 30, 1968. To: Jim Garrison. From: Andrew J. Sciambra. Re: Interview with Vernon Gerdes. NODA. NARA.

Thompson drives up to Banister's in his black Cadillac: Interview with Allen Campbell, June 10, 2002; Allen Campbell interviewed by Jim DiEugenio.

AARC = Assassinations Archives and Research Center

HSCA = House Select Committee on Assassinations

NARA = National Archives and Records Administration

NODA = New Orleans District Attorney's office

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Mellen's book is very well sourced. These are the source notes from what I quoted above (from page 408):

Banister chats with Hoover

Regis Kennedy visits Banister

Banister is very close to G. Wray Gill

Jack Martin has introduced George Lincoln Rockwell to Guy Banister

Thompson drives up to Banister's in his black Cadillac

So what about General Walker?

Tim

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[quote name='Stan Wilbourne' date='Nov 2 2005, 04:54 AM' post='43784']

Tim, Mellen's book is very well sourced.

My only complaint about the book is the manner in which it's footnoted. Instead of having FN numbers at the end of an allegation, which correspond to the number you look up in the notes portion of the book, the text itself is sans numbers. Compounding this when one goes to the FN section, the notes/sources are given like this: p.56 line 21. I am finding this quite annoying, as it necessitates actually counting down the lines on a particular page to see what has been sourced and what has not been.

Otherwise I love the book.

Dawn

Stan: I will email you re Dallas as it gets closer and I know if I can go.

Sounds like we both had terrific birthdays!!

Tim G: I do NOT understand how your brain works, but NO reading of this book would lead one to believe

your silly Castro did it "theory" is in any manner correct. Mellen substantiates just how right Garrison was!! The interview with the "Rabbi" at the end had me in tears. (I read the last two chapters first, based

on stuff you posted re this book). I have come to a conclusion on you: that you are a disinformationist.

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Did you ever dig up that book Tim? It's been a long time since I've read anything on the subject by my impression has always been that the evidence indicating that JFK was going to pull out of Vietnam was inconclusive.

Len, the evidence is rather conclusive, with regards to the fact that Kennedy was isolated from the rest of his cabinet, when it came to his commitment to withdrawl from Vietnam. That's what his schedule of withdrawal was all about, Kennedy knew that he could not accomplish his goal without a landslide in 1964, and that's what he was working towards.

Now, since he was assassinated, his critics have been free to obscure his record because he had to maintain a public, unity front for political reasons, but his intentions are very clear.

I am convinced that the only reason that his firm decision to pull out is "inconclusive" as you put it, is because his critics have deliberately distorted the record.

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