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JFK knew about Diem coup


John Geraghty
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John, JFK's approval of the coup against Diem was IMO one of the greatest mistakes of his presidency. It was opposed by those two political allies, LBJ and RFK. (I submit that when JFK learned those two were IN AGREEMENT he should have paid very close attention to their arguments.)

I do not understand your question however. How does the fact that JFK was aware (indeed approved) the coup in Vietnam disapprove that the two assassinations were connected? If anything that fact increases the likeliness of the scenario that the Diem family helped sponsor the JFK assassination in retaliation. (See Bard O'Leary's "Triangle of Death". (For other reasons I do not subscribe to the scenario.)

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Hi tim,

Some thoerise that the same people that killed JFK also killed Diem, in an attempt to promt a full military entrance into Vietnam, ala Oliver Stone.

That is what I was making reference to, not Diems family seeking revenge of some sort.

I should have made that clearer.

John

John, JFK's approval of the coup against Diem was IMO one of the greatest mistakes of his presidency. It was opposed by those two political allies, LBJ and RFK. (I submit that when JFK learned those two were IN AGREEMENT he should have paid very close attention to their arguments.)

I do not understand your question however. How does the fact that JFK was aware (indeed approved) the coup in Vietnam disapprove that the two assassinations were connected? If anything that fact increases the likeliness of the scenario that the Diem family helped sponsor the JFK assassination in retaliation. (See Bard O'Leary's "Triangle of Death". (For other reasons I do not subscribe to the scenario.)

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Some thoerise that the same people that killed JFK also killed Diem, in an attempt to promt a full military entrance into Vietnam, ala Oliver Stone.

I have found the opposite argument to be most commonly made by those who focus on Vietnam: that Kennedy's sponsorship of the coup was deeply resented by the anti-communist hardliners like Lansdale (one of Diem's best friends) and Johnson (who called Diem the Churchill of the Far East).

T.C.

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Do not understand where Bill gets a Nov 1st date.

I believe the JFK Chicago trip was Nov 2, 1963.

And per "Ultimate sacrifice" "C-Day" was scheduled for Dec 1, 1963.

Course the JFK assassination prevented the planned assassination of Fidel.

see: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB101/

The coup was Nov 1st, Diem was assassinated Nov 2nd, his body along with Nhu's was recovered in Cholon that same day, full of holes I might add -- there's a thing called the 'international dateline', too!

Edited by David G. Healy
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David, my point was that the JFK trip to Chicago, where the first assassination attempt was to be made per "Ultimate Sacrifice" was to be made, was not on November 1st. Nor was November 1st the scheduled day for the assassination of Fidel Castro.

Hi Tim,

Sorry to be so ambiguious, but my point was that if the three coup plots - JFK/USA, Castro/Cuba and Diem/Vietnam all went down between Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 - and resulted in the assassinatons of Diem, JFK and Castro, within days of each other, or in a simultanious Al Quada style chop off their heads swoosh, then

all three would have been recogized as the political crimes they were.

And I wouldn't site "Ultimate Sacrifice" as a source on anything other than an example of the continuation of the theme that RFK had sanctioned his brother's murder (per Russo, et al), and all the schmeil about C-Day is a figment of their imagination - they admit making up the word C-Day, which never happened.

Their hypothetical coup never happened, while the real coups took place in Siagon and Dallas.

BK

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David, my point was that the JFK trip to Chicago, where the first assassination attempt was to be made per "Ultimate Sacrifice" was to be made, was not on November 1st. Nor was November 1st the scheduled day for the assassination of Fidel Castro.
Sorry to be so ambiguious, but my point was that if the three coup plots - JFK/USA, Castro/Cuba and Diem/Vietnam all went down between Oct. 31 - Nov. 2 - and resulted in the assassinatons of Diem, JFK and Castro, within days of each other, or in a simultanious Al Quada style chop off their heads swoosh, then all three would have been recogized as the political crimes they were.

I believe Tim Gratz was simply correcting the mischaracterization of the planned date for the Castro coup as being November 1, rather than December 1, as described in Ultimate Sacrifice.

And I wouldn't site "Ultimate Sacrifice" as a source on anything other than an example of the continuation of the theme that RFK had sanctioned his brother's murder (per Russo, et al), and all the schmeil about C-Day is a figment of their imagination - they admit making up the word C-Day, which never happened.

I agree with Bill that it seems the authors of Ultimate Sacrifice bought into the same old Roselli-generated cover-up story about Bobby having caused his brother's death. I admit to personally considering Bobby's role to be paramount in any understanding of the anti-Castro dynamics in late 1963. However, I certainly do not believe that "Col. Roselli" of JM/WAVE was working from the same playbook as Bobby.

Trying to fathom Bobby's role is like the metaphor of blind men describing an elephant, one feeling the leg and thinking it's a tree, another feeling the tail and thinking it's a snake. He was running numerous compartmentalized Cuban special groups, deliberately keeping participants from knowing the entire scheme, if there was in fact any single overall scheme. The authors of Ultimate Sacrifice felt a certain part of the anatomy and came to their narrow conclusion.

Richard Reeves noted about the president, and by extension, his brother: "Kennedy was decisive, though he never made a decision until he had to, and then invariably he chose the most moderate of available options." The peace overtures were still in play at the time of JFK's death, despite what Harry Williams may have believed.

T.C.

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Bill wrote:

Their hypothetical coup [in Havana] never happened, while the real coups took place in Siagon and Dallas.

This is not designated as a thread on "Ultimate Sacrifice" but it is sometimes hard to stop the flow of threads, so here goes:

To simply call what happened in Dallas "a coup" without evidence to support it begs the question. I should refer to a dictionary for the precise meaning of the word but normally (?) in a coup the new leader becomes the head of the government. Certainly that was true in Vietnam and would have been true in Cuba (if the premise of "Ultimate Sacrifice" is correct). Can what happened in Dallas be called a "coup" if LBJ was not a participant (even if other government insiders were)? One distinction of course is that the new leader in the US (LBJ) became leader through the constitutional mechanism of succession, whereas in Vietnam the new leaders became so by brute force, regardless of any Vietnamese constitution.

Certainly whoever killed JFK knew that LBJ would be president. That alone is insufficient to make November 22nd a "coup". Our government is multi-faceted. Even if one were to assume that the CIA as an institution planned the assassination, that would seem to me insufficient to characterize the assassination as a coup, absent participation by LBJ.

Re the "hypothetical coup" in "Ultimate Sacrifice", it is abundantly clear there were at least contingent US plans for a coup in Havana. I have my own concerns whether the coup was as imminent as suggested by "Ultimate Sacrifice" but it should be noted that "Ultimate Sacrifice" argues that the planned coup in Havana did not take place precisely because of the assassination of JFK.

I might agree that Dallas ought be called a "political crime" in the sense that it was a crime against the polity. The assassination of JFK was really a crime against each and every citizen of the United States, because each of us has the right to assume that political disputes will be resolved in the political arena and not through violence.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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The Merriam Webster definition of a coup d'etat:

Etymology: French, literally, stroke of state

: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group

This definition seems way too imprecise to me. If the assassination was organized only by the head of the DGI and three associates, that would certainly be a "small group" but we would certainly not consider that a coup, would we? Similiarly, if the assassination was organized solely by Marcello, Trafficante and Rosselli, without any involvement by government insiders, it would seem a misnomer to call that a "coup". I think the dictionary definition is deficient.

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I might agree that Dallas ought be called a "political crime" in the sense that it was a crime against the polity.

It's interesting that in 1963 the assassination of a president wasn't any different, criminally, than any other local murder.

The Merriam Webster definition of a coup d'etat: Etymology: French, literally, stroke of state: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group. This definition seems way too imprecise to me.... I think the dictionary definition is deficient.

I have found recent examples in dictionaries of the degeneration of language and the precision of definitions. I was frustrated that "malfeasance" is now defined generically as wrongdoing, rather than a betrayal of position and trust. I have always generally considered a coup d'etat to involve the group that is seizing control. According to Webster's, a coup could just mean that some North Texas University guys who spent too much time at General Walker's decided Kennedy had to go, and therefore ... pulled of a coup. Silly.

T.C.

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Tim, I agree with you completely on the degeneration of the language and this definition of a coup is a great example of it. No educated person would believe that a "coup" is as all-inclusive as the definition suggests.

This definition is from the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.:

...The sudden overthrow of a government by a usually small group of persons in or previously in positions of authority. French : coup, blow, stroke + de, of + etat,...

It seems to me that adding that the coup participants are in or previously held "positions of authority" gets us a lot closer to an acceptable definition.

Noah Webster is probably rolling over in his grave about now.

It seems to me there is still a problem with this definition. Does not a "coup" involve the overthrow of a government by force or threat of force? The American Heritage definition is broad enough to include the sudden removal of a prime minister by a democratic parliament. Perhaps that would not be an "overthrow" but it seems the definition should include a provision that the overthrow is by extraordinary measures.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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