WEIRDLAND: The Trial of the Chicago 7, JFK Symposium

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7, JFK Symposium

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) directed by Aaron Sorkin - Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden

-Abbie Hoffman: Let me ask you something…You think Chicago would’ve gone differently if Kennedy got the nomination?

-Tom Hayden: Do I… [chuckles] Yeah. Yes, I do. I think the Irish guys would have sat down with Daley.

-Abbie Hoffman: I think so too. That’s why I was wondering, weren’t you just a little bit happy when the bullet ripped through his head? No Chicago, no Tom Hayden.

-Tom Hayden: I was one of the pallbearers, you fucking animal!

An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy was held on October 17-19, 2013 at Duquesne University, The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. Jim DiEugenio was one of the participants.

Jim DiEugenio: When I gave the first talk in 2013 at the Wecht Conference, I got a long standing ovation. As I noted, in the Algeria speech, John Kennedy warned about the possible explosion of Muslim fundamentalism in that area. Therefore he worked with men who he thought were more secular and progressive. And against monarchs like King Saud and the Shah. Well, who was responsible for the eventual explosion of Muslim fundamentalism there that Kennedy so feared? John McCloy! It was McCloy, being paid by David Rockefeller, who lobbied Jimmy Carter's advisors to convince the president to do something he did not want to do: let the Shah into America for medical treatment. But before Carter caved, he asked the meeting, "Alright, but I wonder what you guys are going to advise me to do when they invade our embassy and take our employees hostage?" You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried! That's how bad McCloy was. He also helped bring us Reagan. In 1963, David Rockefeller wanted to meet with JFK about overthrowing the government of Brazil. Kennedy refused to meet Rockefeller. After his death, LBJ took the meeting. The next year, the CIA arranged a coup in Brazil. Who was their point man? John McCloy. While he was sitting on the Warren Commission! Does that not define a conflict of interest? Many of us feel that John McCloy and Allen Dulles were the real centers of power on the Warren Commission. I have already indicated what McCloy did with Rockefeller and the CIA and Brazil in April of 1964. Well, guess what? Allen Dulles did something just as compromising in that same month. He decided to visit Harry Truman in Missouri. Why? He did not like that anti CIA column that Truman published in December 1963. Where Truman recommended the CIA's operational arm be severed and it revert to intelligence gathering only. In fact, Dulles actually wanted Truman to retract the essay. Truman would not. So Dulles wrote a memo to CIA trying to get others who had influence with the former president to convince him to do so. It turns out that although Truman's anti CIA column was published a month after the JFK assassination, through his papers, we learn that the rough draft was completed on December 11th. But it was started on December 1st! Considering the fact that Truman had to have thought about it before committing anything to paper, this brings the provenance of the essay to about one week after JFK was killed. As I said, the meeting ended unsuccessfully for Dulles, since Truman was not going to retreat. Dulles now walked to the door and praised the new CIA director John McCone. But he had not mentioned Kennedy yet. He now did, in a truly startling way. He now mentioned the "false attacks" on CIA in relation to Vietnam and how Kennedy had repudiated these attacks! What could Dulles be talking about here? And why bring this up with Truman? He has to be speaking about the columns published in October of 1963 by Arthur Krock and Richard Starnes. They both spoke about the rising power of the CIA, especially in relation to Vietnam policy. Krock's source called the CIA influence in Vietnam a "malignancy". One which the White House could not control. 

Both articles spoke about an inevitable Seven Days in May scenario, except the coup of the American president would originate with the CIA, not the Pentagon. Now, contravening Dulles, I know of no source that says Kennedy disowned those columns. But I do know of some who say that, not only did he not object, he was an off the record source. After all, Krock was a close friend of his father Joe Kennedy. Therefore, Dulles was trying to dupe Truman by deceiving him. But if these are the columns he was referring to, then his actions are even more revealing. Especially because it was he who brought up Kennedy's name personally in regards to them. Dulles' comments and actions--his personal visit, the bid for retraction, the bringing up of Kennedy's name while investigating his murder--all of these imply that Dulles thought Truman wrote the column due to the former president's suspicions about the CIA, Kennedy's murder and the Vietnam War, which LBJ was now in the process of escalating. What makes this even more interesting is this. If one looks at the first wave of essays and books on the JFK case, which will begin in 1965, no one connected those dots: Vietnam, the Krock/Starnes columns, Kennedy's murder, at that time. Dulles was doing it at least ten years before anyone else did. By trying to get Truman to retract, was Dulles making sure no one else would connect the dots that early? If so, as prosecutors like Vincent Bugliosi say, this displays "consciousness of guilt". "After two weeks of debate, Kennedy was the only guy in the White House refusing to commit combat troops." (John Newman, JFK and Vietnam, p. 138) Kennedy's foreign policy reforms were all overturned by LBJ and the CIA. And then hammered into the ground by Nixon and Kissinger. 

Which is why the late Jonathan Kwitny wrote his excellent book Endless Enemies. In the book Virtual JFK, it is revealed that LBJ understood he was breaking with Kennedy on Vietnam. And he then tried to cover up that fact! The record of the McNamara meeting in Hawaii, May '63 was finally declassified by the ARRB in 1997. It was a bombshell. So much so that it convinced the NY Times (Tim Weiner, December 23, 1997) that Kennedy was planning to get out of Vietnam. The thesis of John Newman's book is that Kennedy did understand what was happening in Vietnam. I mean surely after the battle of Ap Bac, because his State Department representatives were in country at the time. As John Newman states, Kennedy was essentially going to hoist the hawks on their own petard. That is, since they said we were winning, then we could withdraw. Even though Kennedy knew that was not the case. Which is why he was telling McNamara to speed up the timetable. "In the final analysis, it's their war," JFK said to Walter Cronkite on 2nd September 1963. This policy brought him in conflict with the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence Complex. As Arthur Schlesinger pointed out in an interview he gave in 1978, in 1962-63, the CIA and others were attempting to subvert the foreign policy of the Kennedy administration. Kennedy suspected that the CIA was behind the assassination on 1st April, 1963, of Quinim Pholsena, the left-wing Foreign Minister in Laos. This was a heavy blow to Kennedy’s foreign policy: an attempt to create neutral, democratic countries as a buffer to communism. JFK and the Unspeakable by Jim Douglass, Virtual JFK by James Blight, American Tragedy by David Kaiser, Death of a Generation by Howard Jones and Lessons in Disaster by Gordon Goldstein - These all books agree with John Newman's main thesis. Namely that Kennedy was planning on leaving Vietnam, his assassination altered the intent, and Johnson then reversed what JFK was going to do. In fact, Virtual JFK offers documentary evidence that Johnson knew he was reversing Kennedy's withdrawal plan and he'd enlisted McNamara in his deception. LBJ did not have any of the sophistication or insight into foreign affairs, demonstrated with my opening powerpoint, that Kennedy had. 

As Fredrick Logevall shows in his book Choosing War, LBJ was much more the classic Cold Warrior who would have been at home with Foster Dulles' banal bromides about the red specter of communism threatening to spread from Indochina to the Philippines to Hawaii to California if Saigon fell. Therefore LBJ was much more in tune with what the CIA and the military wanted in Vietnam, that is direct American intervention. When Kennedy learned of the deaths of Diem and his brother, he "leaped to his feet and rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face...." (Douglass, p. 211) He then did two things: he recalled Henry Cabot Lodge from Saigon for the purpose of firing him. And he told NSC assistant Michael Forrestal that there was going to be a complete review of Vietnam policy. Neither of these ever happened. Why? Because Kennedy was murdered that same month. LBJ told his assistant Bill Moyers he was going to give the generals what they wanted and Vietnam was not going to slip away like China did. In a declassified phone call of February 20, 1964, Johnson told McNamara, "I always thought it was foolish for you to make any statements about withdrawing [off Vietnam]. I thought it was bad psychologically. But you and the president thought otherwise." In other words, Johnson was aware of what Kennedy and McNamara were planning a withdrawal. Kennedy really did not like Saudi Arabia or the Shah. None of the foreign policy for the next 50 years (including current) would have happened on JFK's watch... it simply wasn't his style. It's interesting to trace the rise of the nutty neo-cons. It actually started under former Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford. Ford continued with Kissinger as Secretary of State. But he then promoted Rumsfeld and Cheney. Those two felt that Kissinger/Nixon detente with Russia was too liberal. Too much like Kennedy. In 1968, General James M. Gavin stated: There has been much speculation about what President Kennedy would have done in Vietnam had he lived. Having discussed military affairs with him often and in detail for 15 years, I know he was totally opposed to the introduction of combat troops in southeast Asia. His public statements just before his murder support this view. Paul B. Fay, undersecretary of the Navy under JFK, stated: If John Kennedy had lived, our military involvement in Vietnam would have been over by the end of 1964. To aide Larry Newman, Kennedy said: “The first thing I do when I’m re-elected, I’m going to get the Americans out of Vietnam. Exactly how I’m going to do it, right now, I don’t know.” And then we have John McCain who accidentally called the JFK assassination an 'intervention' in the 2008 debates. McCains' father was very high up in the Navy. In fact, he was an Admiral who was off the coast of Vietnam. He was very much involved with the actual bombing and blockading of Indochina. Look him up in William Shawcross' Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia (2002)

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