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Editor’s note: The following is reproduced herein with permission of Andreas Bracher, co-editor of The Present Age. For subscription information contact: Perseus Publishing, Drosselstraße 50, CH-4059 Basel, Tel. 0041 (0) 79 343 74 31, e-mail:, or communicate via the internet. I would like to express my special thanks to the author, John Schuchardt, for his permission to produce this hypertext representation, his encouragement, and most of all my appreciation for the extraordinary connections, analysis, critical thinking, and exercise of his intelligence with clarity and coherence in crafting this highly incisive exposition. Additions to the list of References beyond the original article are [enclosed within square brackets]. For others not familiar with anthroposophy and spiritual science the following may be helpful: Rudolf Steiner on Anthroposophy and Anthroposophy: Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Spiritual Science’.

The Karma of Untruthfulness
JFK and the Unspeakable
by John Schuchardt
The Present Age, Volume 2 / No. 01 April 2016
We can discover the truth and live it out.
There is nothing more powerful than the truth.
The truth will set us free.
A Review of the book by James W. Douglass

James W. Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he Died and Why it Matters[2] is the conclusive research into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas 22 November 1963, the most pivotal assassination in world history since Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo, 28 June 1914. In 1914-1918 unprecedented millions would die. In consequence of Kennedy’s assassination, the Cold War would continue, millions would be killed in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and the nuclear peril to life on earth would continue.

In Douglass’ title “the unspeakable,” students of anthroposophy will recognize the supersensible forces of evil. In a series of 13 lectures in December 1916[3] Rudolf Steiner provided the spiritual scientific knowledge that empowers an unbiased individual to achieve revelations of truth to which many remain blind.

James Douglass’ goal during 12 years of concentrated research and writing was not “to solve the assassination.” Rather, he saw movements of powerful spiritual forces, as he discovered the beginning transformation of John F. Kennedy and his confrontation with evil. Douglass knows that this story of transformation and the power of truth has the potential to overcome the illusions, secrecy, propaganda, and destructive poisons of endless GWOT (Global War on Terror).

... there is a force more powerful than war.... That is why it is so hopeful for us to confront the unspeakable and to tell the transforming story of a man of courage, President John F. Kennedy. It is a story ultimately not of death but of life—all our lives. In the end it is not so much a story of one man as it is a story of peacemaking when the chips are down. That story is our story, our story of hope.[4]

It is likely some anthroposophists will be shocked to discover Steiner’s detailed study of the more than 364 murders between 1883 and 1887, and his detailed spiritual scientific research of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

It was better thought out, indeed planned on a larger scale, than any other assassination in the whole of history.” Steiner insists that we must “discover the alchemy of those bullets.”[5]

For anthroposophists a thorough study of The Karma of Untruthfulness may be an indispensable aid in understanding the “alchemy of those bullets” of November 22, 1963. Because the lectures remain little known, many anthroposophists may not feel the urgency, nor connect anthroposophy and the need for truth, with planetary survival.

Just as Rudolf Steiner could perceive the forces unleashed by the Sarajevo assassination, with unimaginable mechanized mass slaughter and horror to follow, so could Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, perceive the spiritual forces inexorably building in the 12 months prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, which came near to a world encompassing nuclear catastrophe. With the wisdom and insight born from personal friendship and life-long study of Merton, Douglass has been able to identify the destructive spiritual forces beneath Kennedy’s assassination and our cultural death wish.

Douglass’ life has embodied conscience and compassion, risked in community life with others. Readers are recommended to learn about Douglass’ resistance to “the White Train” carrying nuclear warheads to the Trident submarine base in Bangor, Washington, for truly faith “can move mountains.”[6]

The Karma of Untruthfullness, Volume 1

The research of James W. Douglass is, in my estimation, the greatest contribution to spiritual scientific research of 20th Century world history since The Karma of Untruthfulness. It is a revelatory look into current destructive forces seeming to control us by “external mechanisms”.[7] The genius of Douglass’ research is built both on the spiritual foundation of Thomas Merton and upon Douglass’ own life of faith as an activist and leading theologian of the nuclear age. Providing encyclopedic knowledge, documented with 100 pages of endnotes, Douglass never leaves the reader lost nor does he himself wander into speculation or theory. Rather, Douglass brings us to the security of truth. We follow how Kennedy’s turn towards peace and disarmament, after the near holocaust of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 16 to 28 1962, led to his assassination.

For ourselves and the possibility to restore hope for our children and grandchildren, the pulsing heart and warm soul of JFK and the Unspeakable is not so much the historical proof provided of the why or how he died, but Why it Matters. Why it must matter to us. Truth is the only spiritual force more powerful than propaganda, the “grey magic” of the media, and the invisible forces of “the unspeakable.” Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable shows us that we must move from denial and impotence. Paradoxically, the truth of this world altering assassination is an enormous well-spring of hope.

Terry Boardman’s introduction to Karma (p. xxii) observes that Rudolf Steiner

showed how it is only necessary to use common sense in looking dispassionately at the evidence available and to develop a nose for truth, half-truths and lies in the public arena; one’s motto, he said, should be that ‘wisdom is to be found solely in truth’.

In the months following 22 November 1963 it became self-evident to healthy common sense that a President moving in a limousine could not be assassinated in 5.6 seconds—at a range of hundreds of yards—from a 6th story window by a $12.76 bolt-action rifle with a broken scope. Yet, “souls run away from the truth.”[8]

As James Douglass documents, the hand of the CIA was everywhere—in the many handlers of Oswald, prevalent planting and destruction of evidence, Oswalds’s statement: “I’m a patsy.” and his murder, and the intimidation and murder of numerous witnesses. Healthy common sense means that 75% of the U.S. American public have not accepted the Warren Report; yet the “the flight from the truth” has been the prevailing force... until the publication of JFK.

The false debate surrounding the Warren Report, kept alive by hundreds of CIA books and effective “plausible deniability”[9], secrecy, and control of the media, has continued to obscure, confuse, and prevent the truth from being known as factual reality. The public has been kept in a hall of mirrors, lost in the details.[10] By the fall of 1965, through my own research and later close friendship with Vincent J. Salandria,[11] I, and many other painstaking researchers, knew the “how” and a generalized “who” and “why” of the assassination. Now Douglass has provided the proof, and the indispensable “Why it Matters”.

In a work of peerless historical research, Douglass documents the U.S. military repeatedly pressing Kennedy for preemptive nuclear strikes on the USSR and Kennedy opposing his CIA and military leaders at every turn. From the official records, Douglass takes us through Kennedy’s first major decision, to oppose his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their plan for military intervention in Laos.[12] Then, only 3 months into office, the CIA organized and led an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, 15-19 April 1961. Kennedy realized the military/intelligence agencies had set a trap, to thereby trigger a full scale invasion, scheming for an escalation to launch a preemptive nuclear attack on the USSR. The youngest U.S. American President had the courage to defy his military advisers, fire CIA Director Allen Dulles, cut the CIA budget, and prohibit CIA military operations.

On 27-28 October 1961 U.S.-Soviet tensions over Berlin brought tanks barrel to barrel in Berlin, with plans for a nuclear strike. Again Kennedy refused to take the bait and privately negotiated mutual withdrawal with Khrushchev. Kennedy followed with a public overture on 25 September at the U.N.: “The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.... We therefore challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race...” Four days later, Nikita Khrushchev, also surrounded by generals, smuggled his first confidential letter to JFK. On 16 October JFK repliedI like very much your analogy of Noah’s Ark, with both the ‘clean’ and the ‘unclean’ determined that it stay afloat.” Both leaders, aware they could not trust their own military/intelligence elite, exchanged 21 confidential letters over the next two years.

It was this beginning of trust and dialogue that saved us all during the Cuban Missile Crisis (16-28 October 1962). Kennedy refused to be forced into the invasion of Cuba and a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia, and Khrushchev recognized he must “help Kennedy”, a miraculous in-flooding of spiritual grace at the least likely moment.

The following Spring, on 11 April 1963, Pope John XXIII issued his encyclical letter, Pacem in Terris.[13] In March-April, 1963 the CIA continued to set a trap to force Kennedy into war with Cuba by CIA organized raids by Cuban exiles on Cuban targets. Kennedy, assisted by British navy, confiscated ships and stopped raids. Further major decisions in defiance of the JCS and most of his advisers were Kennedy’s National Security Action Memorandum 239 (6 May 1963) ordering pursuit of both a nuclear test ban treaty and a policy of general and complete disarmament. On 10 June 1963, Kennedy delivered an address at American University, surely the most spirit-inspired and hope-filled Presidential speech of the century.[14] On 25 July 1963 there was agreement in Moscow on a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, with the military and State Department kept “out of the loop” in all negotiations.

On 12 September 1963 the JCS again presented a plan for preemptive nuclear first strike against USSR, preferably before year’s end. While the JCS predicted “ultimate victory”, Kennedy stated it would be “the final failure.” On 20 September began confidential efforts by trusted Kennedy representatives toward dialogue with Castro, seeking the end of U.S. economic and political war against Cuba and towards normalization. And finally on 11 October JFK issued NSA Memo 263 ordering withdrawal of 1,000 troops from Vietnam by end of 1963, the bulk out by end of 1965. (Kennedy had always refused to allow “internationalization of the war”, i.e. U.S. troops were not to engage in combat but to be advisors only with no bombing or operations against the North.)

From the Bay of Pigs, through the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the decision to withdraw from Vietnam, the CIA and military planners firmed their resolve to eliminate Kennedy, whom they saw as a traitor to the Cold War objective of “ultimate victory.” Einstein had said, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” President Kennedy, with an early awareness that his life was at risk, held to his determination to bring alive new thinking, new possibilities.

James Douglass’ book makes powerfully evident the thinking of the National Security elite, which is not only dead thinking, abstract logic, disconnected from living realities, but a thinking that has “untruth” at its foundation. Thomas Merton pointed out that “Truth is not a sentimental luxury but as essential to life as air and water.” The Prologue to the Gospel of Saint John says that God is truth. Gandhi said, “Truth is God.” James W. Douglass’ monumental historical research has dispelled a force of untruth that has held U.S. Americans and the world hostage for more than 50 years; spiritually seen, it is, in fact, an exorcism. Truth is the moral force more powerful that untruth.

One of the greatest contributions of anthroposophy is knowledge of the requirements for objective thinking. One of its frequent temptations is to seek for access to knowledge of higher worlds, leaving behind “the fundamental impulse for truth...a sense for the facts” in the sense perceptible world. “The world today is filled with untruthfulness, and the sense for truth must be cultivated in the Anthroposophical Society.... if it is to have a real meaning, a real sense for life.” We must “concern ourselves with the affairs of mankind as a whole, matters which concern every human being.[15]

These words, spoken with urgency and passion in 1916, must surely both inspire and direct us today in our world encircled with nuclear technologies, more than 700 U.S. military bases, and a smiling untruthfulness from the lips of leaders infected with “nationalistic madness.”

Do we have the courage, or does fear have the upper hand? Do we have the will, or is moral apathy our condition, that pervasive malaise Merton called “the greatest of all evils”?

It is my conviction that the anthroposophical movement is especially called to take up the arduous, difficult, shocking, but ultimately inspiring study of JFK’s confrontation with the forces of “the unspeakable.”

John Schuchardt,
House of Peace, Ipswich (US)

2010: Reflections on 30 Years of Plowshares Actions
2012: No More Fukushimas - Seabrook Library Nuclear Symposium


  1. JFK p. 385. []
  2. Simon & Schuster Touchstone paperback (2010) []
  3. The Karma of Untruthfulness, Secret Societies, the Media, and Preparations for the Great War (Rudolf Steiner Press [England, US] 2005). Hereafter, Karma. [Thirteen lectures were given on 4-13 December 1916 and are presented in Volume 1 of two Volumes. (In the US, call to order the book so as not to buy from amazon thru the site’s online link; see Amazon and the CIA: Corporate State Interlock, What is Our Responsibility as Human Beings?) On Rudolf Steiner Audio, audio files are freely available of complete readings of each of the 13 lectures. For helpful insights on the lectures, see Bobby Matherne’s review of Volume 1.] []
  4. JFK p. 385. [See Also: complete annotated transcript of “Jim Douglass on The Hope in Confronting the Unspeakable in the Assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” Keynote Address at The Coalition on Political Assassinations Conference, 20 November 2009, Dallas, Texas. Contains numerous references from the 2010 edition of JFK and the Unspeakable.] []
  5. Karma p. 108. These lectures were not available in English until 1988, 72 years later. The unprecedented world catastrophe of 1914-1918 was the impetus for all of Steiner’s healing work in education, medicine, agriculture, the arts, religion, and social order, during the remaining eight years of his life. []
  6. The Nonviolent Coming of God, 1991 Orbis Books, Maryknoll, N.Y. (2006) (Also Street Spirit, 2015, Vol 21, Nos. 6, 7, 9, 10, at []
  7. [H]istory is being made and politics carried on with words that have no content.... To a great extent words have lost their meaning ... We live, in a way, in a mechanism of words, just as externally we shall gradually completely lose our individuality in a mechanism of technology until we are at the mercy of external mechanisms.Karma Of Untruthfulness p. 3, 210, 211. []
  8. It is our task to bring together what lives in the spiritual world with what lives in the physical world. To do this we have to tackle very seriously the grasping of reality.... People are inclined to pass by the very thing that matters. This thing that matters is the flight from truth into which souls have fallen today! Souls run away from the truth; they have a terrible abhorrence of grasping the truth in all its strength and intensity.Karma of Untruthfulness p. 211. [See also: The Karma of Untruthfulness Documentary film (18:41) featuring Terry Boardman (published 2012); and The Waters of Knowledge versus the Waters of Uncertainty: Mass Denial in the Assassination of President Kennedy, annotated transcript of E. Martin Schotz’s presentation at the Coalition on Political Assassinations Conference, 20 November 1998, Dallas, Texas.] []
  9. National Security Council Directive on Covert Operations 10/2, Douglass p. 33. []
  10. Douglass’ book is dedicated to Vincent J. Salandria and E. Martin Schotz, History Will Not Absolve Us, Orwellian Control, Public Denial and the Murder of President Kennedy (1996 Kurtz, Ulmer & DeLucia, Brookline, MA) []
  11. The Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer, 2 November 1964 article [“The Warren Report Analysis of Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds: A Lawyer’s Dissenting View,”] proved conclusively the physical impossibility under the laws of science of the “magic bullet” fabrication of the Warren Report. [See Also: the additional two articles written by Vincent Salandria expanding on the November 1964 work: “A Philadelphia Lawyer Analyzes the Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds,” Liberation, IX, No. 10 (January 1965), 13-19, and “The Warren Report?,” Liberation, X, No. 1 (March 1965), 14-33.] []
  12. JFK, pp. xxi-xxxi, 11 page Chronology 1961-63 which document the outward events and forces, destructive and constructive, conscious and unconscious, that were involved in this titanic struggle. []
  13. Peace on Earth. “Beginning late in 1962, and for most of the next year, a new spirit of hopefulness was abroad in the world. The upturn was largely the result of a strange and magnificent interaction among three men: President John F. Kennedy, Pope John XXIII, and Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev. Ideologically and personally, they were one of history’s most implausible triumvirates ... What brought them together was the vulnerability of civilization to modern destructive power.... For a brief period their candle burned brightly.” Norman Cousins, The Improbable Triumvirate: John F. Kennedy, Pope John, Nikita Khrushchev (W.W. Norton & Co. 1972), pp. 9, 10. []
  14. Full text, Appendix, pp. 382-88. [See <> for complete film and audio presentations of the Address as well as the text transcript reflecting precisely what JFK said, which varied in places from what was released by the White House to the Press.] []
  15. Karma p. 77 “[I]t is essential to develop this feeling for truth in daily life, for otherwise it will be impossible to rise up to an understanding of the spiritual worlds.” Karma pp 6-7. []

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