6.6 The CIA and its Devotion to Corporations
Most people who have studied US history know about the major battles of the Cold War, but the secret battles, operations and assassinations are less well-known. Both types of warfare were conducted to further the economic interests of our empires. The National Security Act of 1947, created the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and a unified Department of Defense. These branches of government were used to take these more secretive actions to further US economic interests. The National Security Council wrote the NSC-68 bill in 1950, which called for money spent on defense to quadruple. Money spent on “defense” in America is now higher than ever before.
The CIA since its formation has worked for American corporations (and the highest bidders) more than any other branch of government. It is a corrupt, morally bankrupt organization and its former and present directors should be held criminally responsible for all of their crimes. The CIA has facilitated thousands of coup d’états in order to benefit American corporations. One of the earliest was the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. This coup was planned when seven years into the Cold War when the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, decided to create new land reform policies (like Decree 900 or the Agrarian Reform Law) that required corporations to distribute their unused land to the poor so that they could use it for farming. The CIA and the other government branches sought to replace him as a result.
In 1945 seventy percent of all fertile land in Guatemala was owned by a mere 2.2% of the country’s population, and only twelve percent of this land was used for agriculture.[i] The United Fruit Company, which owned a great deal of this land was opposed to giving the unused land to residents who needed it to survive because the company did not want to sacrifice any potential profit. Therefore, the company used its political powers to “protect” their financial interests.
Allen Dulles, then director of the CIA, was on the board of the United Fruit Company and a major shareholder of the company, (as was his brother who was also the U.S. Secretary of State). Dulles, along with the rest of the CIA, helped to convince the government and residents of America and Guatemala that Guzman was a communist threat so that they could justify overthrowing him to protect their land holdings in the country. The original operation to overthrow Guzman was called PBFORTUNE. (They apparently did not feel much need to hide the fact that this was a financially motivated plot.)
An exiled Guatemalan army officer named Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas was put in charge by the CIA to lead the military coup. Before the invasion, Armas distributed pamphlets from warplanes over Guatemala about their “communist” government. The pamphlets read, “Struggle against communist atheism, Communist intervention, Communist oppression . . . Struggle with your patriotic brothers! Struggle with Castillo Armas!” The houses of supporters of Guzman were also labeled with stickers that read “A communist lives here,” and Armas also took control of Guatemalan radio stations to spread more propaganda.
When Armas and his army invaded, they were greatly outnumbered by the Guatemalan military. However, fearing direct US intervention and invasion, parts of the Guatemalan military began to surrender to Armas’s forces, and Guzmán resigned. On the same day, SS Springfjord, a British ship loaded with Guatemalan coffee and cotton, was napalmed by a pilot from the CIA’s “Liberation Air Force.” (The CIA believed it was carrying arms to Guatemala.) Armas took Guzmán’s place and he ruled the country as a violent dictator, resulting in a thirty-six-year Civil War. About 250,000 Guatemalans disappeared or were killed by the oppressive government and its militias as a result.[i]
The Guatemalan coup d’état wasn’t the CIA’s first. Just one prior, the CIA overthrew another democratically elected leader, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, because he wanted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the largest oil refinery in the world. Iran’s oil was the British government’s largest overseas investment at the time and it owned 51% of the company.
Mosaddegh wanted the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to be regulated, less exploitative and more profitable for the people of Iran, instead of profiting foreign empires like Britain and America. Britain initiated a military blockade against Iran and boycotted their oil worldwide. The CIA then bribed thugs, politicians and army men to help spread propaganda about Mosaddegh. Eventually, he was arrested by a mob paid by the CIA and sentenced to solitary confinement, and his supporters were tortured and killed.
Mosaddegh was replaced by Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi who ruled as an oppressive dictator for 26 years until he was overthrown in 1979. The American government supplied him with arms in his rule, and the CIA helped to train his brutal and corrupt police force. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company then became the British Petroleum Company, better known as BP today, the company infamous for its oil spill that ravaged the gulf coast in 2010.
The CIA also attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960 for similar reasons. Castro wanted to redistribute property that had been stolen from farmers by large American companies, and the CIA once again set out to defend these corporations. (Castro became a much more authoritarian dictator as time went on and many Cubans suffered and still do because of him, but the CIA was more concerned with his socialist policies. They were also wrong about Castro being a threat to other nations. He likely did not have any intention of using his weapons, except in self-defense.) Castro discussed some of his policies the CIA opposed that led to the attack in his autobiography, My Life: A Spoken Autobiography:
“The most important steps we had taken so far were the agrarian reform and the nationalization of large industrial and commercial corporations and banks, along with certain other measures of great social impact, such as the literacy campaign, the reduction in rates for electricity and telephones, the urban reform, the rent-control act, the confiscation of property of those who had stolen from the government and the people. We’d done some very important things, but we hadn’t proclaimed ourselves as being Socialists, or openly proclaimed Marxist-Leninist doctrines. I should even say that our agrarian reform was, at the time, less radical than the reform General MacArthur had instituted in Japan. Because when the United States occupied Japan in 1945, MacArthur did away with large land holdings and parceled out the land and distributed it among the peasantry and the poor. But in Japan the large tracts of land hadn’t belonged to big Americans corporations, while in Cuba they had. So that’s why we weren’t allowed to have an agrarian reform, just as it wasn’t allowed in Guatemala when Arbenz tried to implement one in 1954.” – Fidel Castro.
This is accurate. The United States government will only support land reforms if they don’t negatively impact large American corporations. Had the land in occupied Japan belonged to large American corporations, peasants would not likely have seen any of it. However, General MacArthur was not the real architect behind the land reforms in Occupied Japan. The main architect was Hiro Wada, former Japanese Minister of Agriculture who ensured 5.8 million acres of Japanese land was bought from landlords and sold back to farmers who worked the land. By 1950 about three million peasants had acquired land as a result of this progressive policy. Castro just happened to redistribute land that American corporations claimed, and this is why the CIA targeted him.
On April 15th of 1960, Cuban exiles trained and funded by the CIA attacked Cuban airfields with B-26 bombers. The bombers were all deceptively marked as FAR (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias) planes, so that they would appear to be from the Cuban Revolutionary Armed forces. One of these bombers had its cowling taken out by CIA operatives and was shot prior to departure. Its pilot radioed a mayday call to MiamiInternationalAirport, claiming he had been shot at by Cuban ground forces and he landed there.
The following day Kennedy canceled the planned US airstrikes, but the ground strike was not called off. CIA operatives and 1400 CIA-trained, Cuban exiles infiltrated Cuba to kill Castro, but they were unsuccessful. This was known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. JFK approved it, but this was largely because he was told by the CIA and other officials that Castro was an immense threat. JFK was not a large supporter of secretive military actions, and this is part of the reason he was assassinated.
6.7 JFK, the CIA and Secrecy in Government
JFK stressed world peace and the rights of every human being on the globe possibly more than any other president had before him. He believed in civil rights for all Americans and all people, and he founded the Peace Corps as a means of upholding these rights. But his idealistic policies were staunchly opposed by the CIA, and many former CIA members were likely involved in coordinating his assassination. The evidence for this has been buried and revealed many times by many different scholars and concerned parties.
The Bay of Pigs invasion was launched less than three months into Kennedy’s presidency. The “Special Group,” a subdivision of the National Security Council (NSC) had devised the coup a year prior and Eisenhower approved a budget of $13 million for the operation. Eisenhower and the CIA managed to convince JFK the plan was necessary. He was told Castro was a major threat, but he was not told that the Soviet Union knew the invasion was coming, which greatly raised the stakes. Therefore, not being fully aware of the risk, he approved the Bay of Pigs invasion and took responsibility for it. Afterwards, he remarked “How could I have been so stupid?” in regards to his misplaced trust for the CIA. Shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, he told one of his highest officials that he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”[iii] He also told Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post that “The first advice I am going to give my successor is to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that because they were military men their opinions on military matters were worth a damn.” He was never able to give that advice.
The CIA paid for the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, the corrupt leader who the CIA put in power in Vietnam. His brother was also killed with him. When the Diem brothers were murdered, Kennedy was reportedly shocked. He then fired Allen Dulles, Richard M. Bissell, and Charles P. Cabell, creating ripples throughout the agency. Dulles was fervent in his attempts to be a part of the investigation on the assassination of Kennedy perhaps to avoid the truth from surfacing because he or his cronies were involved.
Kennedy very rightly had contempt for the CIA and their fervent, violent obsession with capitalism and corporatism, and he became an enemy of the CIA as a result. Shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Kennedy gave a speech at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on April 27, 1961 about the value of secrecy (and lack thereof) in government. There is arguably no US president in history that advocated government transparency as much as he did. Almost all US presidents have stressed the “need” for secrecy for the sake of “national security.” Here are a few excerpts:
“The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it…And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know….
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence—on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.”
This was a very significant speech that did not receive much attention. In order for a democracy to represent the public, government intentions and operations cannot very well be secret because the majority won’t know if governments are taking actions that are in the best interests of the people. They simply have to trust that they will, and the CIA and other government spy organizations have shown many times that they cannot be trusted to do this.
There is a very small amount of information that should be withheld from the public. Withholding information for the sake of national security is only necessary if governments have secrets to hide, but there is little reason they should. Secrecy cannot be justified by the existence of government crimes. If America was the beacon of morality, freedom and democracy, then its government would not need so many agencies to cover up its bloody path.
Governments create more hostility and violence than they deter when they try to keep their affairs secret. They grant themselves with as much privacy as desired, but they don’t give anyone else the same right. We should not have enemies who want to use information against us. We should strive to promote the welfare of every country in order to eliminate the will for hostility and violence. The only way to real democracy is near complete transparency in government and required consent for access to personal information from innocent individuals. Governments need to be transparent, not everyday people. People are all treated as potential threats by the most powerful governments, but they are the real threats because they operate in secrecy and against us. They wage wars. We do not and most people are more willingly transparent than most governments. The free exchange of information relevant to the wellbeing of the world is vital to ensure its wellbeing.
“Intelligence” organizations like the CIA have little to do with intelligence. By surveilling people, they gather information or “intel,” which usually serves them little purpose. Most of the information gathered is just useless personal information. If everyone could cooperate and voice their opinions to shape transparent governments, then there would be no reason to spy. People who are against the interests of common people would be a minority and they could be identified and encouraged to think more progressively.
If an individual, organization or government wants personal information from another one of these entities, they must have consent from them first. They should ask for the information. They should only pursue a warrant if a serious crime is suspected. Spying is pathological. It negates the importance of conversation. It only has value when it is done in an extremely limited and targeted manner. Satellites that can detect efforts to build nuclear weapons before they ever take off are useful, but they also have the potential to be abused. This technology is also only a small piece of “intelligence efforts.” Most of these efforts consist of unwarranted wiretapping, unwarranted surveillance of phone records and online activity, and other intrusions of the personal privacy of innocent individuals.
If we want to reduce terrorism and violence, we should focus on reducing the will for massive destruction. It does not have to exist and it wouldn’t if dialogues were taking place instead of widespread deception and secrecy. If the CIA or any “intelligence” organization like MI5 or MI6 (British intelligence, Section 5 and 6) believe they have the right to spy on people, then they cannot simultaneously have the right to keep it undisclosed and secret because then they can literally spy on or kill anyone without any repercussions. This is no different than the way covert, hierarchical criminal organizations function.
Every “enemy” can be talked with, regardless of the person’s perceived character. The lack of constructive dialogue causes most conflict because when our primary “relations” with other people are conducted though surveillance and other media, they can be easily misinterpreted. Wars have been started because of mere words and actions taken out of context, which are perceived to be threating or evil by certain individuals. The only moral way to deter a threat is by first interacting with it.
Spying is an integral part of imperialism. There is no way to achieve such economic and political dominance without unwarranted surveillance and enormous secrecy and deception in government. Before Kennedy became president, he gave a speech on imperialism on July 2nd of 1957. Kennedy expressed that imperialism was the enemy of freedom. (But what he didn’t recognize or state publicly is that America is the largest empire on Earth.) In the speech he condemned both Soviet and Western imperialism in Africa. At this time, the French were waging a ruthless war on Algeria (employing 400,000 troops), stifling education and independence in Algeria, and jailing and killing nationalist leaders who mostly wanted to work for the benefit of their country. The people of Tunisia and Morocco were being oppressed as well for supporting Algeria while the US turned a blind eye. Kennedy opened this speech by saying:
“Mr. President, the most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile. It is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism.”
Kennedy was always less quick to criticize Western imperialism, (especially US imperialism) but he did criticize both, unlike the vast majority of US politicians of his era. Western imperialism and Soviet imperialism could have certainly been compared, but it is almost impossible to win an election in America by denouncing the government as an unscrupulous empire. Further into the speech, Kennedy expresses his position on US imperialism:
“I have been critical of the position of the United States regarding this situation since 1946 – particularly, the desire of the United States to maintain its friendship with the French, the Belgians, and the Portuguese, all of whom have colonial possessions, and at the same time to maintain friendship with the colonial peoples themselves. So my criticism is not meant to be a partisan one, but is meant only to indicate that I believe our policy has failed.
It is particularly important, inasmuch as Hungary will be a primary issue at the United Nations meeting this fall, that the United States clears the air and take a clear position on this issue, on which we have been vulnerable in the past. And we must make it abundantly clear to the French as well as the North Africans that we seek no economic advantages for ourselves in that area, no opportunities to replace French economic ties or exploit African resources.
If we are to secure the friendship of the Arab, the African, and the Asian – and we must, despite what Mr. Dulles says about our not being in a popularity contest – we cannot hope to accomplish it solely by means of billion-dollar foreign aid programs. We cannot win their hearts by making them dependent upon our handouts. Nor can we keep them free by selling them free enterprise, by describing the perils of communism or the prosperity of the United States, or limiting our dealings to military pacts. No, the strength of our appeal to these key populations – and it is rightfully our appeal, and not that of the Communists – lies in our traditional and deeply felt philosophy of freedom and independence for all peoples everywhere.” – John F. Kennedy.
This was another speech that was very opposed to the brand of imperialism typical in the White House. Kennedy could be criticized for believing communism ought to be fought, but I don’t believe he ever understood true communism. He associated communism (as most people did) with the brutality of the Soviet Union because they identified as “communists.” The Soviet policy of “indigenization” (in Russian: коренизации) was very similar to Western imperialism. If JFK had read Marx and there hadn’t been such a stigma attached to socialism in the McCarthy Era, he likely would have realized communism is completely opposed to imperialism. Its purpose is to establish common control, the essential feature of democracy. It is not the fault of Marx that his ideas were corrupted and used to justify oppression.
Despite this misunderstanding, John F. Kennedy inherited an empire that he wanted to take in a very different direction. I don’t believe he wanted to be a part of America’s power struggle with the USSR. If he had not been assassinated, he may very well have ended the Vietnam War during his presidency, and the world would have become vastly different as a result.
Kennedy was assassinated in DealeyPlaza, DallasTexas on November 22nd of 1963. Many scholars and individuals have long suspected that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. 80% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy and that Oswald did not act alone.[iv] When just the basic facts about the assassination are examined, it becomes very evident there was a cover-up. One of the most important facts is that a large number (about 105) of the witnesses and individuals who had insider knowledge about the assassination died “convenient deaths,” (some were murdered and some deaths were ruled suicides) which prohibited the truth from surfacing for some time. These deaths took place over the course of about two decades as the crime was re-examined many times.
Lee Harvey Oswald, the first suspected killer, was never able to go to trial because he was killed less than 48 hours after the assassination by Jack Ruby who had ties to Richard Nixon. An FBI memo sent in 1947 from a redacted FBI staff assistant recommended that Jack Ruby not testify for the hearing of the House Committee on Un-American Activities because he is “performing information functions for the staff of Richard Nixon.”
Ruby contacted the Warren Commission, which was convened to “investigate” the assassination, but it did very little investigation. Ruby offered to testify several times, but they showed no interest, despite the fact that Ruby killed Oswald. They claimed Ruby had never even met Oswald, but several witnesses confirmed they had met. For example, in 1963 Esther Ann Mash, a waitress, witnessed a meeting of 7 people at the restaurant where she worked. She claimed Oswald and Ruby were there until 1 am.
The Warren Commission cherry-picked much of the evidence. Its only purpose may have been to corroborate the government’s original story about the assassination. Ruby wanted to be brought to WashingtonDC and he told Earl Warren, “My life is in danger here…I want to tell the truth, and I can’t tell it here.” One year after his conviction for the murder of Oswald, he stated in March of 1965 in a news conference that “Everything pertaining to what’s happening here has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had so much to gain and such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I am in will never let the true facts come above board to the world.” A reporter then asked if these people are in very high positions?” and he confirmed. Two years later, Ruby died of cancer. He claimed before his death that he developed the cancer from an injection he was given for a cold, but this was never proven.
Ruby killed Oswald to silence him likely because he was paid to. He also may have wanted to testify to admit he tampered with the evidence in the murder. He was spotted by a Dallas reporter in ParklandHospital where the “Magic Bullet” (Commission Exhibit 399) was found on the wrong stretcher. The magic bullet is the alleged bullet that traversed through Kennedy and Governor Connelly, seated in front of him in the presidential limousine. According to the single bullet theory devised by Warren Commission, this bullet penetrated 7 layers of skin and 15 inches of tissue, passing though Kennedy’s neck, then the Governor’s chest, wrist and stopping inside of his right thigh. The path this bullet would have had to take to inflict such wounds would be crooked, and it is physically impossible that one bullet could take such a path. This has been confirmed by various ballistics experts like Dr. Joseph Dolce, chief ballistics expert for the Army who was asked to test the single bullet theory for the Warren Commission. He was not called to testify and his findings were classified for eight years.
DealeyPlaza was the ideal location to kill Kennedy. It is a flat, open area surrounded mostly by government buildings like the Dal-Tex building, the Old Court house, the CountyCriminal Courts building and the CountyRecords buildings. Any of these buildings could have been used as sniper nests. In the other direction, there is a triple underpass highway, a picket fence around a grassy knoll, and many other grassy areas with cover. The proximity of the highway also gave those involved an easy, potential escape route. Secret Service agents were not allowed in Kennedy’s car or around the area, and only Dallas Police, many of whom were corrupt, stood by to guard him. Jack Ruby had ties to the Dallas Police Department and it is possible he paid the Dallas police in advance to not guard the President.
In 2007 suspicions of CIA involvement were directly confirmed by former CIA and OSS operative, E. Howard Hunt. Hunt was involved in many operations including the Bay of Pigs invasion and PBFORTUNE. He was also found guilty for involvement in the Watergate burglary. He confessed to helping plan the assassination in his autobiography, American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond. He was prompted to write the book after he sent a tape his son, Saint John Hunt, before his death in which he explained he was “a benchwarmer” on the assassination, which they called “The Big Event.”
Hunt was almost certainly one of the three “tramps” caught hiding in a railroad box car near DealeyPlaza. They were likely the shooters from the grassy knoll who took the fatal shot. Hunt also implicated a French gunman who may have been the infamous mobster Lucien Sarti or David Ferrie of the CIA who knew both Ruby and Oswald. David Ferrie’s library card was also found in Oswald’s pocket and Ferrie was staying in a hotel in Dallas the day of the shooting. There is existing acoustic evidence that at least one bullet was fired from grassy knoll. This was corroborated by many witnesses who saw several men fleeing from the grassy knoll, just after the shots were heard from the area. The three tramps were arrested, questioned and released without their names ever being recorded.
In the only photograph released of the three tramps, they are pictured leaving the Dallas police department wearing sunglasses and suits. Hunt appears to be one of them. Charles Harrelson, (an organized crime figure who claimed to police in September of 1982 that he shot Kennedy) and James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. were identified as the other two tramps. The three tramps were not the only individuals arrested on that day. The assassination was a large, coordinated effort that many were involved in.
In the tape to his son, Howard Hunt explained Lyndon B. Johnson was the main orchestrator of the assassination. He was in the position to gain the most from Kennedy’s death and he became president shortly after Kennedy died. He also did not like Kennedy or his policies. In the Frank Gannon/Nixon interviews, Nixon said, “Johnson didn’t particularly like Jack Kennedy. He hated Bobby Kennedy.”
Much of the CIA had already wanted get rid of Kennedy. Aside from Kennedy’s policies and his determination to destroy the CIA, he had fired several powerful people in the CIA. According to Hunt, Cord Meyer Jr, another CIA operative was put in charge of “The Big Event.” Cord Meyer Jr. had an additional motive to kill Kennedy since he knew Kennedy and his wife were having an affair.
Cord Meyer Jr. also employed David Morales and Bill Harvey, two very corrupt CIA officials. David Morales’s ex-lawyer, Robert Walton, said Morales admitted he was involved in both Kennedy assassinations in a BBC interview in 2006. He said he “was in Dallas when we got that motherfucker and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard.” Morales saw Kennedy’s order to cancel airstrikes on Cuba as a “betrayal,” as did a number of CIA operatives. Kennedy also made a deal with Khrushchev that the CIA was not happy about. Kennedy stated if Khrushchev pulled missiles out of Cuba, the US would not invade.
Long before his death in 2007, E. Howard Hunt expressed his anger about Kennedy’s actions in an interview: “Promises had been made by the administration, by the Kennedy administration and the preceding Eisenhower administration that the invasion would proceed under certain circumstances. And when that file was broken due to the part of Mr. Kennedy, [we saw that] as a failure of nerve.”
The twelve or more men arrested that day weren’t just CIA operatives as stated. The CIA also employed organized crime figures for several reasons. The mafia hade made a deal with President Batista years prior to allow casinos and drug operations to be run in Cuba, (US corporations dominated the region because of him) but these operations came to an end when Castro came to power. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post explained, “After Fidel Castro led a revolution that toppled a friendly government in 1959, the CIA was desperate to eliminate him. So the agency sought out a partner equally worried about Castro—the Mafia, which had lucrative investments in Cuban casinos.” Many mafia members had incentive to help get rid of Castro for this reason, but they and the CIA may have eventually set their sights on Kennedy for similar reasons. Santo Trafficante was one of the mobsters arrested during the casino raids. But he was released with all his assets perhaps because he agreed to play both sides.
Kennedy said about Cuba and Batista that “I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation, which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.”
The Kennedy brothers also took a very hardline with organized crime, mainly pursuing them through the United States Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, also known as the McClellan committee named after its chairman, Senator John L. McClellan. By 1963 thousands of mafia members were either in prison, under surveillance, or facing charges. Kennedy’s brother, Bobby Kennedy, took a very aggressive stance with high-profile defendants and he often assumed guilt when they plead the fifth. He was made Attorney General of the US and convictions of mobsters rose by 800% when he was in office. Carlos Marcella, a mafia leader in Dallas was deported to Guatemala by Kennedy, re-entered the United States illegally with the help of fellow mobsters. Some mob members like Johnny Rosselli, hit-man for Al Capone, also resented Kennedy because they claimed to help get him into office for political favors.
In 1960 Robert Maheu of the CIA, a confidant to President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy started recruiting mafia men for the assassination of Fidel Castro. Johnny Roselli was contacted first. Maheu told him he was an advocate for international corporations, but he did not tell him he was in the CIA, which was an interesting way of telling half of the truth. Roselli introduced Maheu to Sam Giancana who later expressed that he believed the CIA and the Cosa Nostra were “different sides of the same coin.” Roselli also introduced Maheu to Santo Trafficante, Jr. They all had casinos that were shut down in Cuba. These men were given six poison pills to use in an attempt to kill Castro. These pills would have induced a heart attack, but after trying to administer them in a number of ways, they were unsuccessful.
Marita Lorenz, 19-year-old girlfriend of Castro was recruited by Frank Sturgis to kill Castro. She said in an interview, “They kept threatening me since they trained me. They said I wasn’t good for anything else. They said I had to do it for national security reasons. Otherwise, there would be a war.”
When all six attempts to kill Castro failed, Santo Trafficante sent Cuban snipers trained at a CIA base in the Florida Keys to kill Castro, but Trafficante warned him in advance about it. These Cuban snipers were then captured by Cuban authorities. According to Johnny Roselli’s senate testimony, these snipers were then released under the condition that they would go to America to kill Kennedy. These snipers may have taken shots from the Dal-Tex building. Several witnesses heard shots from it. It was also a more secure location than the School Book Depository that offered a clearer shot of the motorcade. Shortly after Roselli explained all of this in his Senate testimony, he was shot and strangled at sea. His legs were sawn off and he was stuffed in an oil drum that eventually floated ashore.
The Warren Commission was established by LBJ on November 29th 1963. He appointed mostly friends who he knew wouldn’t incriminate him or anyone else in the government. They were Chairman Chief Justice, Earl Warren, ex-CIA operative, Allen Dulles, J. Lee Rankin (serving as general counsel), John J. McCloy, Gerald Ford, Hale Boggs, Senator Richard B. Russell and John Sherman Cooper. (There were also other minor assistant counsel members.) They claimed there was only one shooter (Oswald) who fired from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Lee Harvey Oswald, the man blamed entirely for the assassination by the Warren Commission, may have been merely an expendable patsy in the operation. The CIA and the mob realized his potential as a good scapegoat because he appeared to have “defected” from America and the CIA after his time in the Marine Corps. But his politics were never very extreme and they lined up rather closely with Kennedy’s, aside from his position on Cuba. Therefore, Oswald had little motive to kill Kennedy.
Oswald joined the Marine Corp at just 17 years of age. At 18 he was sent to a top secret airbase in Atsugi Japan, working for naval intelligence. After a discharge from Marine Corps, he renounced his American citizenship, traveled to Moscow, and married Marina Oswald. Then the government let him come back and settle in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1963 he moved to New Orleans and founded local chapter for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
In an interview about the Cuba Committee, he said on behalf of the organization that he was “advocating the restoration of diplomatic, trade, and tourist relations with Cuba.” These certainly do not sound like the words of an extremist ready to kill a president. He said that he was not affiliated with any other group and that the Committee’s sole purpose was to prevent US intervention in Cuba and let it evolve on its own as an independent nation with the Cuban people in charge of its future. JFK was preventing this, (as many in the government were) but as mentioned he ultimately canceled the airstrikes on Cuba, a move Oswald must have supported.
In an interview just after Oswald was arrested he said he didn’t know what he was being charged with. He said the first person who asked him if he had killed Kennedy was a news reporter. Marina Oswald later attested that she was being used by the government and the Warren Commission to make Oswald sound guilty, but she believed Oswald had no reason to want to kill Kennedy due to their similar, liberal ideologies.
Another man who may have played a role in the assassination is George Bush Senior. Dallas deputy, Roger Craig, said he knew of twelve arrests, on the day of assassination. One of men arrested independent oil operator from Houston, Texas. This could have been a description of Bush, as he was in Dallas that day for the American Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors meeting, representing his oil company Zapata at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, (which is about 10 miles from DealeyPlaza.) Bush has also been identified in photographs in the aftermath of the assassination.
According to Army Brigadier General, Russell Bowen, Bush worked directly with anti-Castro groups before and after the Bay of Pigs Invasion. In fact, the codename for Bay of Pigs invasion was operation “Zapata.” Zapata also gave supplies to facilitate the invasion. Zapata’s oil platforms were used to train Cuban oil workers for the invasion according to an anonymous official. During “Operation Whale Watch,” Zapata’s off-shore oil rigs were also used as bases for drug shipments during the Iran contra affair to pay Nicaraguan contras from 1986-1988.[v]
Zapata’s records with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from 1960 to 1966 went missing after the commission’s records officer claimed that over 1,000 boxes of records were destroyed in a federal warehouse. When they were destroyed is disputed, but Wilson Carpenter, a record analyst for the commission claimed they were destroyed just after Bush Sr. became president. These documents may have incriminated Bush by showing exactly how he assisted the CIA through his oil company.
Due to the close relationship between the attempted assassinations of Fidel Castro and the successful assassination of JFK, it seems plausible Bush at least knew about the plan. If he was involved, he may have been motivated, at least partly, by the money he lost when the West Indies Sugar Company was nationalized by Fidel Castro.
Treason would not be surprising conduct from the Bush line. The Bush family has a legacy of a treating human life with little to no regard. For example, George Bush Senior’s father, Prescott Bush, held and traded Nazi assets for years. Prescott was director and chief executive officer of the Union Banking Corporation (UBC), which traded with assets from Germany’s richest Nazi corporations and people like Hamburg America Line and Fritz Thyssen, member and primary financial supporter of the Nazi Party since 1933. UBC was seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act, but Prescott Bush was never convicted or tried for treason. In fact, he was given $1.5 million dollars back from the US government for his seized Nazi holdings.
A memo written by J. Edgar Hoover was also sent to George Bush of the CIA days after the assassination calling him to a meeting. CIA spokeswoman Sharron Basso suggested it was referring to a George William Bush of the CIA. But this man swore in an affidavit that he never saw such a memo. Bush Senior said he could not remember receiving the memo about the assassination and he even denied any involvement with the CIA. He then became the director of CIA in January of 1976 and Vice President of the United States after that. When he ran for President, he continued to deny any involvement with the CIA, and when it was revealed Bush was in the CIA, this caused outrage.
When Hunt was arrested for the Watergate burglary, he reportedly asked for one million dollars to stay quiet and not implicate anyone in power. Nixon may have resigned because he wanted the FBI to stop investigating Watergate and Hunt, in particular. He did essentially make a get-away in a helicopter right after his resignation speech.) Nixon was also recorded on the phone explaining to another official that Hunt could reveal the “whole Bay of Pigs of thing.”
Although Bush’s involvement in the assassination is not certain, LBJ was almost certainly involved. RFK later asked Lyndon Johnson “Why did you have my brother killed?” and he received no answer. Robert Kennedy questioned Johnson about the issue in a recorded phone conversation shortly after the assassination. Towards the end, Robert explains, “You have sent reports about me…overthrowing the government by force and violence leading to a coup.” Johnson stammers and says, “No, no, that’s an error.” He then begins breathing heavily and just before hanging up he says “I will talk to you to in a day or two.” He also described Johnson as “mean, bitter, vicious, an animal,” and Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK’s wife, expressed similar feelings.
Jacqueline wore the same blood-stained clothing she wore when Kennedy was shot on the day that Johnson was sworn in as president. She said she wore it to “show them what they had done to Kennedy.” This was in the presence of LBJ and his cronies. She did not say she wanted to show Oswald want he had done. Jacqueline probably knew many of the very men standing around her were the guilty parties.
When Robert Kennedy was killed (also under suspicious circumstances with numerous CIA operatives present) she said, “If they’re killing Kennedy’s, then my children are targets…I want to get out of the country.”[vi] Oswald had been dead by this time for years, and it is likely she was referring to the same group of people who killed her husband, although she never stated who exactly she was referring to, probably for fear of being killed herself.
Karyn Kupicinet, the daughter of a TV host said she overheard plans of the plot to kill JFK before it happened, and she was murdered on the same day Kennedy was killed. Hank Killam, the husband of an employee of Jack Ruby who knew Oswald is another example. His throat was cut on March of 1964. GaryUnderhill, a CIA agent who claimed the agency was involved was shot in the head in May of 1964. Jim Koethe, the reporter present in Ruby’s apartment the day after the assassination was killed by a blow to the neck in September of 1964. There are many other examples.
A woman named Rose Chermie who said she hitched a ride with the Cuban snipers on their way to Dallas to kill Kennedy was dumped on the side of the road days before the assassination took place. When she was picked up by an ambulance, she told a number of hospital staff that the president was going to be killed and that it was common knowledge in the underworld. However, no one believed her, and she was committed involuntarily. She was subsequently killed in September of 1965.
Dorothy Kilgallen, a columnist who had a private interview with Jack Ruby and claimed she was going to “break” the JFK case died in November of 1965 of a drug overdose. It was ruled a suicide. A Ruby employee who talked with him the night before he shot Oswald named Karen “Little Lynn” Carlin was killed in 1966. Lt. William Pitzer, the JFK autopsy photographer who described his duty as a “horrifying experience,” died in October of 1966.
E.R. Walthers, Dallas Deputy Sheriff who helped search the Texas School Book Depository after the shooting, claimed he found a .45-caliber slug at the scene, even though no such gun was ever reported to be found. He was shot and killed in January of 1969. Hale Boggs, House Majority Leader and member of the Warren Commission, began to publicly express doubts about the findings before he died in 1972. William Sullivan, a former high ranking FBI agent who headed Division 5, counter-espionage and domestic intelligence was killed in a “hunting accident” in November of 1977.
Another example is George De Mohrenschildt, a Russian petroleum geologist who was told to meet Oswald by CIA operative, J. Walton Moore. (He may have been a CIA “handler”). De Mohrenschildt was killed by a shotgun blast to the head the night before he was supposed to testify before the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) hearing. He had told the committee that Oswald was innocent days earlier, and he had little incentive to lie since Oswald was already dead. De Mohrenschildt’s death was initially ruled a suicide, despite the obvious suspicious circumstances. He had feared for his life several years prior to his death. He claimed he was being harassed and followed by the CIA due to his knowledge about the assassination, and he even contacted George Bush Sr. for help before he was killed. (George Bush Sr. actually wrote back, but he did not offer any help.)
Roy Kellerman, the secret Service agent in charge of JFK’s limousine also died in March of 1984. Most of the CIA operatives and others who were involved are dead as well. However, this topic remains relevant because to many CIA operatives this was just treated like any other operation. They secretly kill leaders all the time, but very few people question them unless they target a US President. So many people would not have been killed had the real guilty parties within the CIA and other organizations been captured and exposed.
In 1976 the HSCA came to a different conclusion than the Warren Commission. They believed that a conspiracy among many assassins was highly likely, but they stated that they did not have enough evidence to implicate anyone directly from the CIA, FBI or secret Service. However, they said the President lacked protection from the Secret Service and mentioned that the CIA was uncooperative, very secretive and not at all forthcoming about questions on the assassination.
[i] Stanley, Diane: For the Record: United Fruit Company’s Sixty-Six Years in Guatemala. Centro Impresor Piedra Santa., 1994. Pg. 179. Print.
[ii] Curry, John. Crisis in Central America on PBS Frontline. The New York Times. April 9 1985. Pg. 16. Newspaper.
[iii] Wicker, Tom et al. “CIA: Maker of Policy, or Tool?” The New York Times: Pg. 20, column 3. April 25, 1966. Newspaper.
[iv] Peter Jennings: The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy. November 20th 2003. Film.
[v] Maholy, Michael. The CIA Pipeline. Phoenix Archives, March 26, 1996. Pg. 16-20) Newspaper.
[vi] Seelye, Katherine Q.: “John F Kennedy Jr., Heir to a Formidable Dynasty.” The New York Times. July 19th 1999. Print.