A few excerpts of the book JFK – The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty
Birch Lane Press, 1992 – hard cover
SINCE THE ASSASSINATION of President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, every President of the United States has said he believed a "lone nut" gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald was the killer. Yet more than 80 percent of the American public does not believe that contrived story of Kennedy's death.
All major media organizations repeat that same theme. Nonetheless, when Oliver Stone's movie JFK was being made, and before it had been shown in any theater, they began an all-out attack on Stone and his movie, apparently because he had set out to demolish the Report of the Warren Commission. Oliver Stone succeeded in that goal. One man against the mountain.
Utilizing their "big gun" columnists in addition to their movie critics, the media throughout the country attacked Stone and his movie bitterly. These same writers attacked me, although my part in that production was merely that of an advisor. (The film portrayed me as "Man X," played by Donald Sutherland.)
This is a serious indictment of the condition of our government and our media and of their responsibilities to the American public. These people in high places are not stupid. They can easily see the falsity of the Report of the Warren Commission. So why do they persist in supporting that thoroughly disproved account of the crime? As our law understands, the guilt of conspirators can be proved only by circumstantial evidence. The body of circumstantial evidence available to shatter the Report of the Warren Commission is massive and convincing.
Faced with these questions one must ask: How can that cabal of conspirators be so powerful that it is possible for them to control the minds of our presidents and our media? This book is an account of that power elite and of its activities on an international scale during the Cold War, from 1943 to 1990.
This book is not a history in the usual sense. Rather it is, like the movie JFK, an attempt to present an analysis of selected events of the past fifty years that have changed the course of history in the United States and the world.
This half century, 1943-93, has encompassed an unbelievable spectrum of events, from the first atomic bombs to man landing on the moon. These same dates span the period from the origin and demise of the $6 trillion Cold War. At its climax, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated because, among other things, he stood in the way of this Cold War plan. In October 1963, Kennedy had announced his plan to take all U.S. personnel out of Vietnam, a seismic change that would have defused the Cold War.
In his novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville wrote: "This is a world of chance, free will, and necessity all interweavingly working together as one; chance by turn rules either and has the last featuring blow at events." Some modern physicists, of the same school, agree with Werner Heisenberg and his acausal indeterminacy theory. Rather, I tend to agree with Albert Einstein, who maintained the traditional belief in causality. This difference of opinion had roused Einstein to say that Heisenberg believed that "God throws the dice." Events in this real world and in the society of man are, for the most part, planned. They do not just happen. There has been a cause for each of the major events of the past half century, including the death of Kennedy. Thus, in JFK I am not simply relating history; I am searching for the cause. I begin by asking, Why?
Part of this story takes place in the atmosphere of the Cairo and Tehran conferences at the peak of World War II battles in late November 1943, at the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, and early Cold War events that included the new "East vs. West" alignment of the post-World War II period and the experimental incursions into Korea and Vietnam. I was at Cairo and at Tehran in 1943, in Japan during August 1945, and involved in Korea and Vietnam during the years 1952 to 1963. I was assigned to the Pentagon from 1955 to 1964.
The major power struggle of these years has been greatly influenced by the overwhelming presence of the "fission-fusion-fission" hydrogen bomb. The greatest single tragedy of these decades was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. No major event during this period was the result of chance. Each was craftily and systematically planned by a power elite.
On July 12, 1990, I met the man who, for me and for the majority of the American public, opened our minds to the significance of the U.S. government's cover-up of the "why" and the "who" in the case of JFK's death. That man is Oliver Stone. About one week earlier I had been called by a friend in New Orleans, Jim Garrison, judge of the Court of Appeals. He asked if I would speak with a friend of his from the West Coast. I agreed, although I had no idea then who Mr. Stone was. I'm not much of a moviegoer—at least not since the unforgettable Petrified Forest.
A few minutes later the phone rang and Oliver Stone was telling me he was planning a movie utilizing Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins, among others, and that he would like to talk with me about the subject. I had read the manuscript of that book carefully, and Jim and I had exchanged a series of letters about it. Stone suggested that I join him in Washington about one week later. I agreed. Thus began one of the most active, troubled, and educational two years of my life. From this association, certain themes of the movie JFK were developed.
That movie masterpiece, conceived, written, and directed by Oliver Stone, was quite wisely set upon the foundation of the Garrison trial in New Orleans. It gave Stone the opportunity to lay out all of the "Kennedy Assassination" lore that had been developed by the Report of the Warren Commission since 1963, thus creating a level playing field for all members of the audience, whether they knew much about the subject or not. Furthermore, it was a well-written trial scene and was on the record: State of Louisiana v. Clay Shaw January 29, 1969—more than five years after JFK's death.
John F. Kennedy was killed at 12:30 P.M. (CST) on November 22, 1963, while riding in a presidential motorcade through the city of Dallas. Since that moment, the assassination has been investigated, researched, discussed, and obfuscated—perhaps more than any other crime in history—by people in high office and in big business.
Over the next three decades, the U.S. government and its official representatives, with few exceptions, have steadfastly assured the American public that Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by a man named Jack Ruby at 11:21 A.M. on November 24, 1963, in full view of millions of people watching on television.
The government has been unwavering in its conviction that one gunman killed the President, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the American public believe that Oswald was not the lone killer and that there had to have been a conspiracy. Lyndon Johnson, just before he died, admitted that he believed the assassination in Dallas had been part of a conspiracy and has been quoted in the July 1973 issue of the Atlantic Monthly as saying: "I never believed that Oswald acted alone, although I can accept that he pulled the trigger...We had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean."
The millions of people who have seen JFK—some not once but twice and even three times—will recall that moment when Donald Sutherland (Man X) turned to Kevin Costner (Jim Garrison) and electrified the audience with one simple question, "Why? Why was John F. Kennedy assassinated?" It has become the question of the century. Not "Whodunit?" but a simple and inescapable "Why?" That question leads to the murder and beyond, to the results of the coup d'état.
This point must be understood clearly. There is a significant distinction between a murder committed by some lone gunman and one committed by one, or more, gunmen who are part of a conspiracy. This distinction has required the U.S. government and the subservient media to state and restate adamantly that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. They are unable to admit the alternative. There is no necessity to answer the question "Why?" when it is possible to say instead, "He was just some nut, and he did it for reasons we'll never know." This is particularly effective when the lone gunman happens to have then been killed, quite conveniently, on live TV, while in the hands of the Dallas police.
As soon as the lone-gunman theory is demolished, as it has been so effectively now, it becomes necessary to recognize conspiracy and to realize that a conspiracy must have a "Why?" by definition. The question becomes "Why did the cabal conspire?"
Stone's movie has given millions of Americans, plus other millions of movie fans around the world, an opportunity to learn the facts and to understand that crucial distinction between the lone-nut and conspiracy theories. Now concerned Americans are demanding that the hidden files be opened and that this crime be resolved. They are not going to accept the government's lone-gunman ploy any longer. This, in itself, is an enormous achievement.
I worked with Oliver Stone and his production people for about two years. I was able to talk and correspond with Stone and to have him read selected sections of my writing on this subject, much of which is contained in this book.
In fact, before I knew what Stone had done, I discovered while reading the first draft of the script, in November 1990, that there was a Man X in the movie and that Man X was, for the most part, myself, as Oliver Stone confirmed for the public during a National Press Club speech on January 15, 1992.
The movie JFK and this narrative leave us waiting for the answer to why John F. Kennedy was killed. What source of power could have made possible the murder scene, the skillful murder itself, the clean getaway, and the monstrous cover story that has persisted for nearly three decades? These questions, along with related matters, are answered in this book.
That is why I have said that this book is not history in the usual sense. It presents a linkage among a panoply of subjects from the forties onward, and by the time it ends you will understand the Cold War, the reasons for the Korean and Vietnam wars, the unusual impact that the development of the hydrogen bomb has had on the power elite, and why a power center—most certainly within the military-industrial complex—found it essential that John F. Kennedy be removed from office before his reelection in 1964 and before he could remove all U.S. personnel from Vietnam and defuse the Cold War.
A true understanding of this century will require an honest appraisal of what will be frequently referred to as the "power elite" and a look at why it has existed for centuries, most likely for millennia, operation around the world in total anonymity behind the scenes.
The impact of this power can be felt in so many ways. The recent dissolution of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the Cold War are examples of how major events are managed almost as if by magic. but it is not magic or chance; these major events are controlled and planned. Never before in history has a great power fallen solely under the weight of ideas. But that is what happened to the Soviet Union, and with its downfall the Cold War, as we have known it, has ended. Is this a victory for all mankind, or does the forecast of a "New World Order" presage an even more ominous environment under some form of corporate socialism? We shall see!
The ancient Chinese said of history, "The cart ahead is a mirror"; we would say, "History repeats itself." We have all heard that we learn much from history, because history repeats itself. Man has understood domination since the dawn of time. It is certainly not a new idea. Because there is domination, there must exist a power elite. This does not mean that the power elite is a unified group or from a single nation or of a common mind. However, it is there and it exists, and it controls events.
In his important 1981 book Critical Path, R. Buckminster Fuller has written:
Great battles ensued—waged under the flags of England, France, and Spain—to determine who would become supreme master of the world's high-seas lines of supply. These great nations were simply the operating fronts of behind-the-scenes, vastly ambitious individuals who had become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery. Always their victories were in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures were always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers.Fuller recognizes the existence of a power elite created in ancient times that remains in power today. The eminent China scholar Dr. Joseph Needham of Cambridge University has written that far back into Chinese history, the people have always understood the presence of a power elite, which they call quite simply "the Gentry." Winston Churchill has been quoted by wartime associates as making reference to the "High Cabal."
These authorities—Fuller, Needham, and Churchill—who trace this concept into ancient times, are fortified by a voice of that period. Twenty-five centuries ago, Hippocrates boasted that the Greeks were superior to the Asians, on the grounds that "the Greeks rule according to laws and are their own masters, while the Asians are merely subjects and because of this, inferior." When hundreds of millions are "merely subjects," it becomes quite clear they are subjugated by some great power.
This is no place to recapitulate earlier authoritative writing on the subject. Rather, let me suggest that those interested read Critical Path, in which there is a chapter that begins, "I am going to review my prehistory's speculative assumptions regarding origins of human power structure."
The history of the past few centuries confirms Fuller's ideas. It remains for us to place that contrived structure known as the Cold War into proper perspective as a creation of the ambitions of this continuing international power elite. The Cold War was a device designed to create enormous costs without the formality of creating an occasion for world war itself and the inevitable utilization of hydrogen bombs.
I emphasize this point because I have been witness to events that serve to identify the presence and operation of such a power elite. On one occasion in 1959, I had been directed by the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force to go to the home of the director of central intelligence, Allen W. Dulles, to assist him with an unresolved international problem. He briefed me on what had happened, and he asked me to accompany him the next morning to the home of his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. When we arrived there, the secretary of defense, Neil McElroy, and the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. Thomas D. White, were present.
Using information that I had provided, they had a long discussion about what to do and, it seemed to me, a more serious discussion about what to tell President Eisenhower and how to break the news to him and to the media.
At a crucial moment, the secretary of state walked to a bookshelf in his library and picked up a special telephone. He did not have to dial it. All he said was "Get me [a Russian name]." Within minutes he was speaking to that Russian contact, and within a few more minutes Foster Dulles had resolved the problem to the Russians' satisfaction.
The call to the President was equally effective; and the business of the meeting was concluded. It had become clear to all of us that Foster Dulles had spoken not to a Soviet official but to a member of the power elite of that country. This is how important matters are actually accomplished. I would not say that Dulles himself was a member of the real power elite—he was too much in the public spotlight—but he certainly knew the men who were.
I owe the reader a definition of this power elite; I wish I could provide one. From my experiences in the environment of the Cairo and Tehran conferences to the present, I have felt the hand of that power around the world in many ways. I have learned to accept it as fact. I can sense the presence of that power when others are inclined to attribute the results of some major event to chance. As I have said before, I do not believe that chance rules our lives.
With this in mind, I shall leave you with a road map. As you travel through the pathways of this narrative, many of which are trips I have taken myself, you will read about on-the-spot accounts of behind-the-scenes events from November-December 1943 to the present. As we travel for a short time, we come to the early rumblings of the emerging Cold War scenario. Then, with the end of World War II, we discover that plans have already been made for activities in Korea and Vietnam and for the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which, along with its counterpart, the State Security Committee (KGB), plays the role of war maker.
All of these events, especially those that are generally a part of the Grand Strategy of a nation and involve its sovereignty, have been clouded by the ominous presence of the hydrogen bomb—not because it could be used to destroy any target in the world, but because of its uncontrollable force, which is so great that the detonation of a relatively small number of bombs would destroy the Earth, and with it the entire purpose of the game of the members of this High Cabal, which is their own assured survival.
What to do about this situation was tested in Korea, and it was found that the modified conventional WWII-style warfare could not win there. Meanwhile, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the CIA played the covert war game in Vietnam from 1945 to 1965 and then turned the "bigger war" over to the military in 1965, with the landing of the U.S. Marines at Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang, on March 8, 1965. But that war could not be won, either, and Kennedy knew that. Had JFK lived, Americans would not have been sent there to fight a winless, hopeless conflict.
The reader may find this book different from the usual account of the period. The reason may be that so much of it has arisen from my personal experience, from 1942 to 1955, as an air force pilot flying from one end of the world to another. This service was interrupted by a teaching stint at Yale University during the post-WWII forties. Among other subjects, I taught "The Evolution of Warfare" and had the good fortune to be near a magnificent library. This was followed by Far East service during the Korean War and nine years (1955-64) of experience in the Pentagon as chief of special operations (the military euphemism for the "support of the clandestine activity of the CIA") with headquarters, the U.S. Air Force, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Those experiences gave me a different perspective on things.
As I close, I recall one of my sources. It was February 1972, and President Richard Nixon had convened the remarkable White House Conference on the Industrial World Ahead to give some fifteen hundred of this country's most important people an opportunity to discuss the subject "A Look at Business in 1990." After three days, there was a panel-discussion summary led by Roy L. Ash, president of Litton Industries, Inc.
Mr. Ash began the discussion with a statement that "state capitalism may well be a form for world business in the world ahead; that the Western countries are trending toward a more unified and controlled economy, having a greater effect on all business; and that the Communist nations are moving more and more toward a free market system. The question posed, on which a number of divergent opinions arose, was whether East and West would meet someplace toward the middle of about 1990."
East and West have met. Was Roy Ash concluding that this would be some work of chance, or did he know very well that it would happen by plan? It is my belief, fortified by what I write in this book, that this important group of industrialists and their mentors knew precisely what they were planning and doing, that it was no coincidence of fortune that "the middle" where we met was right on schedule, "about 1990." With this in mind, we can see why such plans, made by such people, cannot be deterred by such men as John F. Kennedy. He stood in their way; he had to be removed. There was no place for a Kennedy dynasty.