The day may come when time seems to hang suspended, when weeds cover our deserted streets and when the only sound is the arrogant squeak of the rat swarms, eager now for their turn at evolution. Someone from a distant place, searching through our artifacts, may chance upon a human skull. Perhaps he will pick it up, looking through the goggled sockets at the dusty hollow where a handful of gray tissue once took the measure of the universe.
“Alas, poor man,” he might say. “A fellow of most infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. Where are your gibbets now? Your thumbscrews and your gallows? Your treasured hates and your fond cruelties?
“What happened to your disinterested millions? Your uncommitted and uninvolved, your preoccupied and bored? Where are their private horizons and their mirrored worlds of self? Where is their splendid indifference today?
“Now you can be silent forever.”Chp 9: Nightfall, p. 157
The descendant of the hairy Stone Age man would rebuild the earth, change the course of rivers and touch the very stars at which his ancestor stared from his cave at night. There was nothing he would be unable to do, so long as he was not asked to love his fellow man....
Is there an alternative to the extinction of man? Those gibbets, thumbscrews, gallows, treasured hates and fond cruelties must inexorably give way to the expansion of man’s intellect and reason. Along with this, he must increase enormously his compassion for and identification with the species. Failing this, he will become silent forever.
From the outset I regarded the task as unpleasant but one I had to do, because no one else in public office saw need to and because part of what had happened occurred in my jurisdiction. Duty and conscience compelled me to seek the truth about the assassination. As a result, my staff and I found ourselves on a collision course with the most powerful force in the country.
The battle that followed over those three years exposed us to a part of America that we never dreamed existed. It became very clear to me that this was no longer the country that I had grown up in as a boy. It was a nation controlled by an enormous domestic intelligence organization which would seek to discredit or destroy anyone who dared challenge its authority.
The power maneuverings of the opposition which emerged against our investigation in New Orleans taught us much about the nature and operation of the new rulers of our government who had seized power through killing the President. We realized that the implications of what we had learned in New Orleans had a significance far transcending our investigation. We felt a sense of urgency that the American people should know the truth about our nation’s military-intelligence alliance. The question of who killed John Kennedy evolved into the more meaningful query of why he was killed. In turn, the question of why John Kennedy was killed became a touchstone for understanding our nation’s plight today as it suffers under the control of the new power apparatus.
It is this sense of urgency that compelled me to write this book.
Chp 1: THE EXECUTION
A man who cares too much for the human race may find himself living in a hostile environment. His humanity may not be regarded as dangerous so long as his voice cannot be heard by too many people, but if he is eloquent, or if he is in a position to affect the affairs of the nation, then his humanity will be regarded by some men as a great threat.
After the United States ascended to the position of the most powerful military nation in history, in the midst of its accumulation of the most effective death machinery of all time, there occurred the accident of the election of a President who regarded the entire human race with compassion. By the time this happened, the cold war had become our major industry, and the Central Intelligence Agency had become the clandestine arm of our military-industrial complex and, in the process, the most effective assassination machine in the world....
The counterthrust had taken less than six seconds. There was no risk that the federal government would expose the truth about the President’s murder, because agents of the federal government had participated in it. There was no risk of exposure from the national press, because, having been tossed a lone assassin and presented with an acceptable fable, the press would not go farther and try to digest the indigestible, to think the unthinkable and to question Brutus about the removal of Caesar.
The use of the coup d’état—the murder of a leader by forces within his own government—is as old as government, as old as the struggle of men for power. From modern intelligence agency techniques, however, there has come a new refinement. Through the employment of cover devices and the controlled dissemination of information, the role of the government in assassinations can be effectively concealed....
In a country with advanced technology for news distribution, the removal of a nation’s leader by a coup d’état will never be attempted unless those sponsoring the murder feel assured that they will have an effective degree of control over the dissemination of the news. Government control must be at a high enough level to guarantee the subsequent distribution of official news releases encouraging the belief that, however tragic the incident, it was essentially meaningless and all is well.
The high speed of news dissemination is used to great advantage in contemporary intelligence assassinations. The official fiction can be spread to every corner of the world and obtain acceptance as reality long before any separate inquiry, if one ever occurs, is begun. The sheerest illusion is spun into the only reality the public will ever know.
Creation of a believable cover for an assassination is routine for an intelligence agency of a major government. The cover story which is initially distributed by the press release creates a degree of acceptance virtually impossible to dislodge. This is the case especially when the official fiction is supported by the prearranged activities of a decoy pointing in the direction of a false sponsor of the assassination.
The actual events of the assassination become irrelevant. All that remains relevant is the cover story issued to the press and the power to control the investigation and conceal the evidence.
Chp 2: ORNAMENTS
The locking up of evidence until the year 2039 meant that anyone who was 21 when the assassination occurred would be allowed to examine the hidden material at the age of 96, assuming that he had managed to retain an active interest in the case. This generous concession to the right of the public to know the facts undoubtedly was made because, as would be explained by federal officials, there was no political motivation behind the President’s unfortunate demise. Since there are no political implications to his murder, all the evidence is going to be made available for you to examine—after seven decades.
Among the files locked away in the archives, where they could not be examined by the public, were the following: A CIA file concerning Oswald’s access to information about the U-2, a memo from the head of the CIA entitled “Lee Harvey Oswald,” a CIA file concerning dissemination of information on Oswald, a reproduction of the CIA official dossier on Oswald, a CIA file entitled “Information given to the Secret Service but not yet given to the Warren Commission,” a CIA file on the chronology of Oswald in Russia, a CIA file on the activity of Oswald in Mexico City, and a CIA file entitled “Information on Jack Ruby and associates.”
As a result of the federal investigation, a total of 51 such CIA files were locked away in the vaults in Washington. Many of the files were classified secret on the grounds that national security was involved. Was it not a curious circumstance that the assassination which had no politically-motivated meaning had connected with it so many files that could affect the security of the nation if made public?
If an assassination accomplished by an itinerant warehouse employee produced such precaution in protecting state secrets, would it not be interesting to speculate whether there could have been much greater secrecy if the President had been killed as the result of a conspiracy? More than six years after what we were told was a lonely act devoid of political significance, a great volume of evidence was still classified as secret and locked away in the National Archives....
Americans were not yet aware that deception had become a craft in their country, that an intricate contrivance of men for the clandestine production of illusion had become not only a part of but also manipulator of America, its policies and its people. In the past, according to the American tradition, evil was something which could be seen and recognized. In our folklore, evil wore a low-slung gun, confronted you in the open and was defeated by a virtuous heart and a quicker draw.
If, indeed, it were ever that simple, it was no longer. Now it was possible in America not merely to accomplish the foulest murder but afterward to remove all stain and make it appear to have been something less: to make it seem the meaningless act of a loner, a capricious quirk of fate undeserving of too deep an inquiry. In time, the hidden machinery would casually kill other national leaders whose commitment to peace made them dangerous to men committed to war and secret manipulation of the populace.
Behind the stage magic and mocking deception, behind all the ornaments arranged to lure away the eye, massive power was drawn up in silent array to prevent any effective inquiry from disclosing the fact that America had become a warfare state where human sacrifice was practiced not only abroad but now also at home.
Chp 3: POWER
We fear rejection by our government just as, when we were children, we feared rejection by our parents. We do not want to learn that the country in which we have lived all our lives has changed. We do not want to find that we are alone in a strange land.
The planning of the assassination took full account of this. The timing and the adroitness of the government’s gradual release of the preplanned official fiction indicated confidence that it would be accepted by the press and by the public regardless of what the evidence indicated....
There are few things in the world of men which power cannot do. It can make men rich overnight, and it can destroy them. It can put billion dollar defense industries in rural areas and destroy the economy of major cities. It can turn ordinary men into powerful officials, and it can turn extraordinary men into cadavers.
Power can also change front into back and down into up. Front was changed into back when the Zapruder film and the autopsy X-rays were kept out of sight and the government announced that the President was shot from the back. Front was changed into back when the frontal neck wound, which had been identified as a probable entrance wound by the civilian doctors at Parkland Hospital,—was announced to be an exit wound by the military doctors in Washington. It was later learned that the military doctors never really examined the neck wound—because they were given orders not to probe it. This merely confirms the fact that it was power, and not medical knowledge, which changed front into back....
No matter how idealistic are the foundations of a government or how virtuous its previous history, its accumulation of excessive power transforms it into the superstate. The superstate is an organism committed to maintaining its tremendous power in the face of truth, in the face of history. The technicians of the superstate, ignoring morality and the lessons of history, will protect the superstate with whatever deception or destruction is necessary.
The superstate’s rationale for attacking the truth will always be national security, but the real reason is the preservation of power. Its use of authority to defeat reason is undoubtedly mankind’s oldest way of winning a feud. Such use of authority continues to be effective whenever the people have become isolated from the government and cannot control it.
The result is that the scapegoat in a coup d’état is presumed guilty because of his weakness. Those who question his guilt are presumed mentally unbalanced because of their irrelevance, and the government is presumed innocent because of its power.
Chp 4: THE QUARRY
It would be possible now for the old carnival shell game to be played with the public. If the pea were missing under the first shell, it would be assumed that necessarily it was under the second. If it were not under the second, then it must be under the first. If Oswald had not committed one murder, the thinking would go, he must have committed the other. Consequently, it would not matter too much which justified his informal execution. Justice would have come full turn.
Even up to the time of his own murder there was no eyewitness evidence that Lee Oswald had killed either the President or the police officer. On the contrary, all evidence of any substance indicated that he had killed neither one. Yet, because of the confusing welter of facts, it was possible to infer that he had clearly committed one murder and, therefore, logically, also had committed the second. One news bulletin escalated to another, firmly imprinting the view that he was the arch-criminal of the century, caught early by alert police. No replies by him to the tacit conviction would ever be heard outside of a closed room.
He was treated as guilty of murder A because manifestly he had committed murder B. What was the ultimate evidence that he had murdered B? That he had manifestly murdered A. The game was played so expertly that, despite the lack of evidence against him for the actual shooting of anyone, he would have to be buried under an assumed name to keep patriotic citizens from desecrating his grave.
Chp 5: JUSTICE
In short, a committee of ordinary citizens exercising common sense would have necessarily perceived the accumulation of indications pointing to linkage of the accused assassin to an intelligence apparatus. Thus, a serious inquiry would have considered the implications of such an intelligence employee being on the scene. As the evidence began to indicate that he could not have accomplished the assassination but was instead set up to be trapped and blamed for it, there would have followed an inquiry into the involvement of the intelligence apparatus itself in the assassination. No committee of Americans would be happy with the task of having to confront this stark implication, but it is unlikely that men free of government connections would conclude that the truth should be hidden and the people fooled in the name of national security.
However, these were not ordinary citizens conducting the inquiry. The Warren Commission, like the government investigators, looked everywhere but toward the government. Its function was not to discover what had happened but to close the door to any such discovery, for after their long and solemn deliberations, any later inquiry would lack authority and could be made to seem frivolous....
Nor did the impact of the Warren Commission end there. Its effect was to authenticate the transfer of the power to make foreign policy from the White House to the Pentagon. In its wake would come the very war which John Kennedy was avoiding. More than half a million American soldiers would soon be in combat in Southeast Asia for reasons which were never quite clear.
Thus the conclusion of this tribunal that the government’s illusion should prevail was not merely a historic act of injustice: it permitted the removal of a fundamental power from the hands of the American people, and it validated the existence and ascendancy of invisible government in the United States.
Yet these were honored men who did this. What then had honor become in America? It had become position, not compassion. It had become laurels, not conscience.
Chp 6: THE CRAFT OF DECEPTION
In our country all of the trappings and bywords of liberty are still paid homage. But where the interests of the war machine are concerned there exists, behind the star-spangled facade of freedom, government force that is as criminal as the Germany of Hitler or the Russia of Stalin....
Our invisible government begins and ends with deception. Perceiving this deception is the key to understanding how the assassination of President Kennedy was accomplished. Understanding the motivation for his assassination is the key to understanding what has happened to America....
The power to gather evidence includes the power to conceal and destroy evidence. Consequently, the corrupted power which clenched the machinery of the national government in its grip was well able to employ its investigative agencies, and the thousands of agents now held hostage to high-level corruption, to collect evidence and ship it to Washington for interment. Efficient as this massive operation was, it had one weakness. It could not prevent an independent inquiry from gathering separate evidence which, when connected with that evidence which the government thought was safe to expose, revealed the outlines of conspiracy....
David Ferrie was a government technician in every sense of the word. Yet he was more than a technician. For that reason he seems to have been unable to survive in the warfare state, which for a time he served so well. Of all the individuals encountered by the New Orleans investigation, Ferrie was the only one who showed signs of remorse about the assassination. In the end some residual conscience, some remnants of his boyhood years with his family and of his years of study for the priesthood, surfaced in his mind and haunted him. It could be said that his death was hastened by his own humanity.
Chp 7: TRACES OF INTRIGUE
Two months after the assassination, the general counsel of the Warren Commission received a telephone call from Waggoner Carr, the attorney general of Texas. Carr informed the commission’s chief lawyer that information had been uncovered which indicated that Lee Oswald was an undercover employee of the United States government and that his undercover number was S-179. The same information was also supplied to the commission by the Dallas District Attorney....
The emergency meeting concerning this uncomfortable possibility was never mentioned in the Warren Commission’s final report or in the millions of words of testimony or in any of the exhibits. A similar omission from the final report of the Warren Commission was the fact that the FBI initially failed to inform the commission that the name and unlisted phone number of Dallas FBI agent James Hosty were written in Oswald’s address book. The FBI’s summary of the contents of the address book listed all of the other data in the book and left out this one notation—a rather intriguing one to have been made by the presumed assassin of the Chief of State.
The commission’s reluctance to examine information that Oswald was a government agent is reminiscent of its refusal to look at the photographs of the President’s autopsy. It is troublesome to imagine which would have been more injurious to the commission: finding out that the President was killed by a shot from the front when the scapegoat was positioned in the rear, or discovering that the official assassin was an undercover employee of a government agency when he had been governmentally depicted as a leftist.
Chp 8: THE IDES OF NOVEMBER
The resourcefulness of modern operational intelligence should not be underestimated. Facts are turned into cobwebs in the minds of witnesses while things which never happened are structured into occurrences which can be cemented into history....
What we had here was an unidentified government agency, unidentified only in the sense that its name was not spelled out in neon letters, shifting men into the government controlled defense industry in order to establish, for later purposes, a degree of control over them. The fact that the assassination was not to occur until autumn, at the earliest, gives some idea of the care taken in the planning. The fact that these transfers were being made not in direct support of the assassination but, looking far beyond that, in order to complicate possible investigations which might afterward occur, serves to give some idea of the scope and professional nature of the entire operation....
When a counterrevolution is occurring and a low level intelligence employee is being prepared for sacrifice so as to draw attention away from the power elite who are sponsoring a forthcoming assassination, it is perhaps old-fashioned to speak of the injustice being dealt to the scapegoat. Nevertheless, the observation must be made that the inhumanity demonstrated by the CIA, and the masked eminences for whom it performed was scarcely distinguishable from the inhumanity of the totalitarian governments which we had defeated in World War II. Actually we had taken the place of the totalitarian powers whom we had defeated. After our two decades as a superstate during the years of the cold war, we had become a different country....
John Kennedy was going to be executed because he was the one man who stood in the way of the continued power of the superstate and the continued growth of empire. Lee Oswald would be executed promptly afterward because someone would have to be seized and killed to turn the eyes of the people away from the nobles, to halt at the very outset the beginning of thought. The singular value of an intelligence employee as the scapegoat was the fact that such an agent would go where he was told, do what he was told and be easily set up so as to appear to be a violent leftist assassin or whatever his superiors desired. Afterward, high government officials, knowingly, and the electronic media, unknowingly, would do the rest. A whole new chapter of history, which it was hoped would last through all time, would have been created by the purest legerdemain, a gossamer fabric spun out of the trust of the people and the duplicity of their leaders....
In the case of President Kennedy’s murder, the warnings were more mundane, although later the Warren Commission called upon the supernatural from time to time to explain the succession of impossibilities which it presented to the public. But there was, in Washington, a substantial base of support for the continuation of our policy of military conquest. That is why the “findings” of the Warren Commission were accepted so blandly in the nation’s capital. That is why the assassination of John F. Kennedy was accepted with such equanimity in the marble halls of government.
The reaction of those individuals who have encountered the hidden tyranny of the modern warfare state is an eloquent testimonial to its essential inhumanity. For the rest of the population there is nothing to see because, in the new warfare state, its tyranny at home is selective and its inhumanity abroad is far beyond the horizon....
When we were shaken by the bursts of gunfire at Dealey Plaza, we were unable to comprehend what was happening to us then because we were unaware of what had been happening to us before. All of the advantages of electronic communication, with television sets in nearly every home, were useless to us because this magic machinery was not bringing us the truth. To the contrary, it was misleading us from the very beginning. False information was being fed to the press by the government, and the press, believing it to be true, was feeding this misinformation to the world.
Above all, we were totally unaware of the existence in our country of an invisible force, ready and willing to perform with the utmost casualness whatever crime served the empire’s purpose. We were also unaware that other parts of our government would protect this force and help to conceal from us its existence. Being unaware that we now lived in a military empire, we were all the more unaware that we, ourselves, were among the colonized.
We were not aware that the years of the cold war had left our country saturated with secret police, something entirely new in American government and entirely foreign to our way of life. In retrospect, since we were providing billions of dollars a year for the CIA’s operations abroad, the CIA also would have wished to expand by adding operations at home. Such expansion of jurisdiction is almost a law of bureaucracy. The agency’s domestic activity is nothing less than a secret police operation. The secret police of the CIA help keep the empire going by repression of individuals who oppose the projects of empire, such as our military expansion into Southeast Asia.
Chp 9: NIGHTFALL
Historically, when a coup d’état is successful the force which initiated the removal of the fallen leader becomes the dominant force in the government. The fact that a government department bears the euphemistic label of Justice does not mean that overnight it will turn into a suicide battalion. As in the case of all other agencies, its leaders respond not to a dead man buried in a box but to the newly dominant forces. Their slogan becomes: “The king is dead. Long live the new king.”
Consequently, there occurs the phenomenon in which the “Justice” Department and other government agencies devote their efforts, not to bringing out the truth about the assassination, but to concealing it and counterattacking those who do seek the truth. When the subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy would occur, the Justice Department would be announcing the absence of conspiracy as the bodies hit the ground.
The surviving officials and heads of agencies predictably will band together in the defense of the power elite which accomplished the assassination, because the failure to orient toward the new center of authority will mean their replacement. Thus do the most highly reputed agencies bring into the service of the successful planners of an assassination not merely allegiance but all the credit and honor they have accumulated over the years. These agencies, respected by the press and public for historical reasons, are then available to help obstruct any independent inquiry into the facts of the assassination. In the case of an unauthorized assassination, their search for the assassins is rationalized on the basis of justice. In the case of an authorized assassination, their obstruction of the search for the assassins is rationalized on the ground of national security....
A probe of the neck wound by the pathologists in the Bethesda autopsy room would have revealed which way the truth lay. In retrospect, it is easy to see that this is precisely why no such probe was allowed. The neck wound, with the indications of a bullet entry but no exit, was to be the last real hurdle for the planners of the assassination. Afterward, the federal government would seize control of the investigation despite its complete lack of legal authority and that would be, in more ways than one, the end of the matter.
It was five years after the assassination, at the trial in New Orleans, that it was learned that the neck wound had never been examined. Colonel Pierre Finck, the Army pathologist subpoenaed from Washington by the District Attorney’s office, had an unusually retentive memory for details. He simply could not recall, however, who ordered the pathologists not to look at the wound in the neck. Considering the historic occasion and considering the implications of such a strange order, one would think he would never forget the man who issued this command. Finck was able to remember that the man was a general and that he was not a doctor, but then his memory failed him.
Chp 10: THE WAR MACHINE
A successful coup d’état affects not merely the history of a nation but may change its power structure. With the killing of John Kennedy, the very position of the Presidency was drastically reduced in status. Henceforth, the President would be a broker for the war machine. He would be an advocate and spokesman for the Pentagon. All Presidents who followed Kennedy would have to know their impotence, no matter what their public role.
Until the work of the Kennedy assassins is undone, Presidents will come and go but the warfare machine and its extensive intelligence tentacles, domestic as well as foreign, will remain in control. The assassination reduced the President of the United States to a transient official, a servant of the warfare conglomerate. His assignment is to speak as often as possible about the nation’s desire for peace, while he serves as a business agent in Congress for the military and their hardware manufacturers....
If the government were to take its gold bullion from Fort Knox, fly it to the Pacific in daily flights and drop it in the ocean, this would not be far removed from what has been accomplished by our adventure in Vietnam since the removal of President Kennedy. Even as the dollar approached the value of a postage stamp, the westward flights of troops and weapons into Asia were continued without abatement.
It was not possible to have price controls because the government could not admit it was engaged in war. Consequently, as the Vietnam War continued, the buying power of the dollar steadily descended. What the average American was able to retain at the end of the year was swept up by the heavy taxation, to pay for the Vietnam War and for the CIA’s adventures throughout the world.
Seven years after the assassination and the subsequent Vietnam escalation, our economy was showing the strain of too much war production and too much investment in warfare adventures. War production fails to add to the well being of the people and distorts the national economy by adding to its waste and reducing its efficiency. Real income falls as uncontrolled prices continue to rise. Insufficient money is available for the cities, and the standard of living of workers suffers. The quality of public education deteriorates. Billions of dollars that might have been available for our new schools and other social needs have in effect been dumped into the Pacific Ocean. The CIA and the Pentagon are not interested in new schools and social needs. These are death-oriented operations....
It is inconceivable that men high in our government today are not fully aware of what really happened to John Kennedy and why it happened. If it can be understood outside Washington, it can be understood in Washington. Yet their sophisticated silence remains unbroken as they continue to play the game that all is well in America.
Their continued silence is eloquent testimony that the military and intelligence power elite, which sponsored the assassination and which then initiated the Vietnam escalation, continues to retain covert control of the nation. It is all too apparent that this force in our government believes that violence is the ultimate solution to any problem. This is why the present period is a most dangerous one for America and for the world....
Just as the cold war provides reasons for the existence of autocratic power, so does chaos within the nation operate as a source of power. As chaos continues, the populace will tend to be less concerned about abridgment of individual rights and will more willingly grant to a strong centralized government such power it claims it needs. Thus the warfare state may continue to appear to be relevant even after it has had to reduce its international adventures to some degree because the people are sick of war.
Such seeming relevance depends, however, upon the existence of chaos. The government’s domestic intelligence can supply chaos in good measure by stirring the embers wherever there is social discontent, and in a society depleted by years of war there will be much of that....
In any event, we need no longer pretend that there is any mystery left about the assassination of John Kennedy. The cold war was the biggest business in America, worth eighty billion dollars a year as well as tremendous power to men in Washington. The President was murdered because he was genuinely seeking peace in a corrupt world. As tired as we are of the horror of the subject, all of us must address ourselves honestly to the meaning and implications of the assassination of John Kennedy, or all of us will pay the price of living in tyranny.