A few excerpts of the book JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty
Birch Lane Press, 1992 hard cover
Photos from the book
SINCE THE ASSASSINATION of President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, every President of the United States has said he believed a "lone nut" gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald was the killer. Yet more than 80 percent of the American public does not believe that contrived story of Kennedy's death.
All major media organizations repeat that same theme. Nonetheless, when Oliver Stone's movie JFK was being made, and before it had been shown in any theater, they began an all-out attack on Stone and his movie, apparently because he had set out to demolish the Report of the Warren Commission. Oliver Stone succeeded in that goal. One man against the mountain.
Utilizing their "big gun" columnists in addition to their movie critics, the media throughout the country attacked Stone and his movie bitterly. These same writers attacked me, although my part in that production was merely that of an advisor. (The film portrayed me as "Man X," played by Donald Sutherland.)
This is a serious indictment of the condition of our government and our media and of their responsibilities to the American public. These people in high places are not stupid. They can easily see the falsity of the Report of the Warren Commission. So why do they persist in supporting that thoroughly disproved account of the crime? As our law understands, the guilt of conspirators can be proved only by circumstantial evidence. The body of circumstantial evidence available to shatter the Report of the Warren Commission is massive and convincing.
Faced with these questions one must ask: How can that cabal of conspirators be so powerful that it is possible for them to control the minds of our presidents and our media? This book is an account of that power elite and of its activities on an international scale during the Cold War, from 1943 to 1990.
This book is not a history in the usual sense. Rather it is, like the movie JFK, an attempt to present an analysis of selected events of the past fifty years that have changed the course of history in the United States and the world.
This half century, 1943-93, has encompassed an unbelievable spectrum of events, from the first atomic bombs to man landing on the moon. These same dates span the period from the origin and demise of the $6 trillion Cold War. At its climax, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated because, among other things, he stood in the way of this Cold War plan. In October 1963, Kennedy had announced his plan to take all U.S. personnel out of Vietnam, a seismic change that would have defused the Cold War.
In his novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville wrote: "This is a world of chance, free will, and necessity all interweavingly working together as one; chance by turn rules either and has the last featuring blow at events." Some modern physicists, of the same school, agree with Werner Heisenberg and his acausal indeterminacy theory. Rather, I tend to agree with Albert Einstein, who maintained the traditional belief in causality. This difference of opinion had roused Einstein to say that Heisenberg believed that "God throws the dice." Events in this real world and in the society of man are, for the most part, planned. They do not just happen. There has been a cause for each of the major events of the past half century, including the death of Kennedy. Thus, in JFK I am not simply relating history; I am searching for the cause. I begin by asking, Why?
Part of this story takes place in the atmosphere of the Cairo and Tehran conferences at the peak of World War II battles in late November 1943, at the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, and early Cold War events that included the new "East vs. West" alignment of the post-World War II period and the experimental incursions into Korea and Vietnam. I was at Cairo and at Tehran in 1943, in Japan during August 1945, and involved in Korea and Vietnam during the years 1952 to 1963. I was assigned to the Pentagon from 1955 to 1964.
The major power struggle of these years has been greatly influenced by the overwhelming presence of the "fission-fusion-fission" hydrogen bomb. The greatest single tragedy of these decades was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. No major event during this period was the result of chance. Each was craftily and systematically planned by a power elite.
On July 12, 1990, I met the man who, for me and for the majority of the American public, opened our minds to the significance of the U.S. government's cover-up of the "why" and the "who" in the case of JFK's death. That man is Oliver Stone. About one week earlier I had been called by a friend in New Orleans, Jim Garrison, judge of the Court of Appeals. He asked if I would speak with a friend of his from the West Coast. I agreed, although I had no idea then who Mr. Stone was. I'm not much of a moviegoerat least not since the unforgettable Petrified Forest.
A few minutes later the phone rang and Oliver Stone was telling me he was planning a movie utilizing Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins, among others, and that he would like to talk with me about the subject. I had read the manuscript of that book carefully, and Jim and I had exchanged a series of letters about it. Stone suggested that I join him in Washington about one week later. I agreed. Thus began one of the most active, troubled, and educational two years of my life. From this association, certain themes of the movie JFK were developed.
That movie masterpiece, conceived, written, and directed by Oliver Stone, was quite wisely set upon the foundation of the Garrison trial in New Orleans. It gave Stone the opportunity to lay out all of the "Kennedy Assassination" lore that had been developed by the Report of the Warren Commission since 1963, thus creating a level playing field for all members of the audience, whether they knew much about the subject or not. Furthermore, it was a well-written trial scene and was on the record: State of Louisiana v. Clay Shaw January 29, 1969more than five years after JFK's death.
John F. Kennedy was killed at 12:30 P.M. (CST) on November 22, 1963, while riding in a presidential motorcade through the city of Dallas. Since that moment, the assassination has been investigated, researched, discussed, and obfuscatedperhaps more than any other crime in historyby people in high office and in big business.
Over the next three decades, the U.S. government and its official representatives, with few exceptions, have steadfastly assured the American public that Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by a man named Jack Ruby at 11:21 A.M. on November 24, 1963, in full view of millions of people watching on television.
The government has been unwavering in its conviction that one gunman killed the President, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the American public believe that Oswald was not the lone killer and that there had to have been a conspiracy. Lyndon Johnson, just before he died, admitted that he believed the assassination in Dallas had been part of a conspiracy and has been quoted in the July 1973 issue of the Atlantic Monthly as saying: "I never believed that Oswald acted alone, although I can accept that he pulled the trigger...We had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Caribbean."
The millions of people who have seen JFKsome not once but twice and even three timeswill recall that moment when Donald Sutherland (Man X) turned to Kevin Costner (Jim Garrison) and electrified the audience with one simple question, "Why? Why was John F. Kennedy assassinated?" It has become the question of the century. Not "Whodunit?" but a simple and inescapable "Why?" That question leads to the murder and beyond, to the results of the coup d'état.
This point must be understood clearly. There is a significant distinction between a murder committed by some lone gunman and one committed by one, or more, gunmen who are part of a conspiracy. This distinction has required the U.S. government and the subservient media to state and restate adamantly that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. They are unable to admit the alternative. There is no necessity to answer the question "Why?" when it is possible to say instead, "He was just some nut, and he did it for reasons we'll never know." This is particularly effective when the lone gunman happens to have then been killed, quite conveniently, on live TV, while in the hands of the Dallas police.
As soon as the lone-gunman theory is demolished, as it has been so effectively now, it becomes necessary to recognize conspiracy and to realize that a conspiracy must have a "Why?" by definition. The question becomes "Why did the cabal conspire?"
Stone's movie has given millions of Americans, plus other millions of movie fans around the world, an opportunity to learn the facts and to understand that crucial distinction between the lone-nut and conspiracy theories. Now concerned Americans are demanding that the hidden files be opened and that this crime be resolved. They are not going to accept the government's lone-gunman ploy any longer. This, in itself, is an enormous achievement.
I worked with Oliver Stone and his production people for about two years. I was able to talk and correspond with Stone and to have him read selected sections of my writing on this subject, much of which is contained in this book.
In fact, before I knew what Stone had done, I discovered while reading the first draft of the script, in November 1990, that there was a Man X in the movie and that Man X was, for the most part, myself, as Oliver Stone confirmed for the public during a National Press Club speech on January 15, 1992.
The movie JFK and this narrative leave us waiting for the answer to why John F. Kennedy was killed. What source of power could have made possible the murder scene, the skillful murder itself, the clean getaway, and the monstrous cover story that has persisted for nearly three decades? These questions, along with related matters, are answered in this book.
That is why I have said that this book is not history in the usual sense. It presents a linkage among a panoply of subjects from the forties onward, and by the time it ends you will understand the Cold War, the reasons for the Korean and Vietnam wars, the unusual impact that the development of the hydrogen bomb has had on the power elite, and why a power centermost certainly within the military-industrial complexfound it essential that John F. Kennedy be removed from office before his reelection in 1964 and before he could remove all U.S. personnel from Vietnam and defuse the Cold War.
A true understanding of this century will require an honest appraisal of what will be frequently referred to as the "power elite" and a look at why it has existed for centuries, most likely for millennia, operation around the world in total anonymity behind the scenes.
The impact of this power can be felt in so many ways. The recent dissolution of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the Cold War are examples of how major events are managed almost as if by magic. but it is not magic or chance; these major events are controlled and planned. Never before in history has a great power fallen solely under the weight of ideas. But that is what happened to the Soviet Union, and with its downfall the Cold War, as we have known it, has ended. Is this a victory for all mankind, or does the forecast of a "New World Order" presage an even more ominous environment under some form of corporate socialism? We shall see!
The ancient Chinese said of history, "The cart ahead is a mirror"; we would say, "History repeats itself." We have all heard that we learn much from history, because history repeats itself. Man has understood domination since the dawn of time. It is certainly not a new idea. Because there is domination, there must exist a power elite. This does not mean that the power elite is a unified group or from a single nation or of a common mind. However, it is there and it exists, and it controls events.
In his important 1981 book Critical Path, R. Buckminster Fuller has written:
Great battles ensuedwaged under the flags of England, France, and Spainto determine who would become supreme master of the world's high-seas lines of supply. These great nations were simply the operating fronts of behind-the-scenes, vastly ambitious individuals who had become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery. Always their victories were in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures were always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers.
Fuller recognizes the existence of a power elite created in ancient times that remains in power today. The eminent China scholar Dr. Joseph Needham of Cambridge University has written that far back into Chinese history, the people have always understood the presence of a power elite, which they call quite simply "the Gentry." Winston Churchill has been quoted by wartime associates as making reference to the "High Cabal."
These authoritiesFuller, Needham, and Churchillwho trace this concept into ancient times, are fortified by a voice of that period. Twenty-five centuries ago, Hippocrates boasted that the Greeks were superior to the Asians, on the grounds that "the Greeks rule according to laws and are their own masters, while the Asians are merely subjects and because of this, inferior." When hundreds of millions are "merely subjects," it becomes quite clear they are subjugated by some great power.
This is no place to recapitulate earlier authoritative writing on the subject. Rather, let me suggest that those interested read Critical Path, in which there is a chapter that begins, "I am going to review my prehistory's speculative assumptions regarding origins of human power structure."
The history of the past few centuries confirms Fuller's ideas. It remains for us to place that contrived structure known as the Cold War into proper perspective as a creation of the ambitions of this continuing international power elite. The Cold War was a device designed to create enormous costs without the formality of creating an occasion for world war itself and the inevitable utilization of hydrogen bombs.
I emphasize this point because I have been witness to events that serve to identify the presence and operation of such a power elite. On one occasion in 1959, I had been directed by the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force to go to the home of the director of central intelligence, Allen W. Dulles, to assist him with an unresolved international problem. He briefed me on what had happened, and he asked me to accompany him the next morning to the home of his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. When we arrived there, the secretary of defense, Neil McElroy, and the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. Thomas D. White, were present.
Using information that I had provided, they had a long discussion about what to do and, it seemed to me, a more serious discussion about what to tell President Eisenhower and how to break the news to him and to the media.
At a crucial moment, the secretary of state walked to a bookshelf in his library and picked up a special telephone. He did not have to dial it. All he said was "Get me [a Russian name]." Within minutes he was speaking to that Russian contact, and within a few more minutes Foster Dulles had resolved the problem to the Russians' satisfaction.
The call to the President was equally effective; and the business of the meeting was concluded. It had become clear to all of us that Foster Dulles had spoken not to a Soviet official but to a member of the power elite of that country. This is how important matters are actually accomplished. I would not say that Dulles himself was a member of the real power elitehe was too much in the public spotlightbut he certainly knew the men who were.
I owe the reader a definition of this power elite; I wish I could provide one. From my experiences in the environment of the Cairo and Tehran conferences to the present, I have felt the hand of that power around the world in many ways. I have learned to accept it as fact. I can sense the presence of that power when others are inclined to attribute the results of some major event to chance. As I have said before, I do not believe that chance rules our lives.
With this in mind, I shall leave you with a road map. As you travel through the pathways of this narrative, many of which are trips I have taken myself, you will read about on-the-spot accounts of behind-the-scenes events from November-December 1943 to the present. As we travel for a short time, we come to the early rumblings of the emerging Cold War scenario. Then, with the end of World War II, we discover that plans have already been made for activities in Korea and Vietnam and for the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which, along with its counterpart, the State Security Committee (KGB), plays the role of war maker.
All of these events, especially those that are generally a part of the Grand Strategy of a nation and involve its sovereignty, have been clouded by the ominous presence of the hydrogen bombnot because it could be used to destroy any target in the world, but because of its uncontrollable force, which is so great that the detonation of a relatively small number of bombs would destroy the Earth, and with it the entire purpose of the game of the members of this High Cabal, which is their own assured survival.
What to do about this situation was tested in Korea, and it was found that the modified conventional WWII-style warfare could not win there. Meanwhile, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the CIA played the covert war game in Vietnam from 1945 to 1965 and then turned the "bigger war" over to the military in 1965, with the landing of the U.S. Marines at Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang, on March 8, 1965. But that war could not be won, either, and Kennedy knew that. Had JFK lived, Americans would not have been sent there to fight a winless, hopeless conflict.
The reader may find this book different from the usual account of the period. The reason may be that so much of it has arisen from my personal experience, from 1942 to 1955, as an air force pilot flying from one end of the world to another. This service was interrupted by a teaching stint at Yale University during the post-WWII forties. Among other subjects, I taught "The Evolution of Warfare" and had the good fortune to be near a magnificent library. This was followed by Far East service during the Korean War and nine years (1955-64) of experience in the Pentagon as chief of special operations (the military euphemism for the "support of the clandestine activity of the CIA") with headquarters, the U.S. Air Force, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Those experiences gave me a different perspective on things.
As I close, I recall one of my sources. It was February 1972, and President Richard Nixon had convened the remarkable White House Conference on the Industrial World Ahead to give some fifteen hundred of this country's most important people an opportunity to discuss the subject "A Look at Business in 1990." After three days, there was a panel-discussion summary led by Roy L. Ash, president of Litton Industries, Inc.
Mr. Ash began the discussion with a statement that "state capitalism may well be a form for world business in the world ahead; that the Western countries are trending toward a more unified and controlled economy, having a greater effect on all business; and that the Communist nations are moving more and more toward a free market system. The question posed, on which a number of divergent opinions arose, was whether East and West would meet someplace toward the middle of about 1990."
East and West have met. Was Roy Ash concluding that this would be some work of chance, or did he know very well that it would happen by plan? It is my belief, fortified by what I write in this book, that this important group of industrialists and their mentors knew precisely what they were planning and doing, that it was no coincidence of fortune that "the middle" where we met was right on schedule, "about 1990." With this in mind, we can see why such plans, made by such people, cannot be deterred by such men as John F. Kennedy. He stood in their way; he had to be removed. There was no place for a Kennedy dynasty.
from pages 25 - 33
On October 1, 1945, Truman directed the termination of the OSS. While the legislation for the new defense establishment and the CIA was being written and debated, the President established the Central Intelligence Group as an interim measure. The existence of the CIG made it possible to maintain the covert-agent assets of the wartime OSS wherever they existed and to provide organizational cover for former Nazi general Reinhard Gehlen and his intelligence staff, along with their voluminous files of former Nazi, anti-Communist agents and spies that were concealed in the undercover networks of Eastern Europe and in the USSR.
Allen Dulles had been instrumental in arranging, with Gehlen for this most unusual conversion of one of Hitler's most sinister generals into an officer in the U.S. Army, but the details of Gehlen's personal surrender and subsequent flight to the United Statesin General Eisenhower's own VIP aircraftwere arranged by U.S. Army officers. The senior officer of this plan was Eisenhower's chief of staff, Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, who served immediately after World War II as the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, and, upon his return from Moscow in October 1950, as the director of central intelligence. Also involved in this plan was Col. William Quinn, later Lieutenant General Quinn and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).2
It is important to note the active role of these U.S. Army officials in this unprecedented move of Hitler's own intelligence chief, Gehlen, directly into the U.S. Army as an officer by a special act of the Congress. This was not a casual incident. The move, planned before the end of the war with Germany and directed from the top, was a classic example of the work of the power elite.
Shortly after the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security Council met, on December 19 of that year, for the first time. The council had hardly waited for the ink to dry on the new law before it ignored its stricturethat the CIA limit itself to the "coordination" of intelligenceand rushed the fledgling agency into covert action. National Security Council Directive #4 directed the newly appointed director of central intelligence, Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, "to carry out covert psychological warfare," much against his own professional desires. To this end, a "special procedure group" was set up immediately, and, among other things, it became involved in the covert "buying" of the nationwide election in Italy.
This early covert operation was considered successful, and in 1948 the National Security Council issued a new directive to cover "clandestine paramilitary operations, as well as political and economic warfare." This new directive gave birth to a new covert action unit that replaced the "special procedures group." In deference to the language of the law, if not the intent, this new unitthe most covert of all sectionswas named the Office of Policy Coordination.
As quoted earlier, "The deepest cover story of the CIA is that it is an intelligence organization." The OPC was headed by Frank Wisner, formerly the OSS station chief in Romania. Frank Wisner and Allen Dulles, then with the OSS in Switzerland, were among the first U.S. officials to begin contact in 1944 with selected Nazis and Nazi sympathizerswith a "Blowback" ("exfiltration" of former Nazis with desired technological skills) operation known as the "Deep Water" (code name only) projectfor their eventual evacuation to the United States.
Of course, the ostensible reason given in most instances for this unusual action was that these Nazis were scientists and technical experts whose skills would be useful in the United States and that it was necessary to keep them out of the hands of the Soviets. As we know today, this was hardly the truth. It was Wisner who had arranged a transfer of a large number of prisoners of war from the Balkans via Turkey and Cairo in the fall of 1944. Among this large groupmostly American flight crew members who had been shot down during heavy bombing attacks over the Ploesti oil fields of Romaniawere a number of pro-Nazi intelligence specialists who were fleeing the Balkans, scattering before the approach of the Russian army.
In his new position with the OPC, Wisner was able to control a large group of Eastern European agents in a massive network of spies. At the same time, he could protect them and their U.S. contacts against hostile, anti-Nazi, and Soviet capturepossibly even assassination. The OPC was a little-known, most unusual organization, especially within the U.S. government, where such deeply covert activity had never taken place before.
As initially created, the OPC was totally separate from the CIA's intelligence collection (another function not specifically authorized by law) and analysis sections. The OPC's chief had been nominated by the secretary of state and approved by the secretary of defense. The funds for this office were concealed, as were much of the CIA funds, in the larger budget of the Department of Defense. Policy guidance and specific operational instructions for the OPC bypassed the director of Defense. In other words, the OPC was all but autonomous.
It is in this example of the OPC that we discover most clearly how the new invisible army was brought into the government and created in secrecy. There was no law that authorized such an organization or the wide range of covert functions it was created to perform. When it began, the director of central intelligence, if asked, could have denied that he had anything to do with it, and no one would have thoughtor daredto ask the secretaries of state or defense if they had become involved in covert operations or to ask them about an organization they could claim they did not know even existed. As we see, this most covert office was buried as deep within the bureaucracy as possible, and its many lines to agents and secret operations were untraceable.
Despite all this secrecy, however, the OPC grew from about three hundred personnel in 1949 to nearly six thousand contract employees by 1952. A large part of this sudden growth was due to the additional demands for covert action and other special operations that grew out of the Korean War and related activities. One of the first things Gen. Walter B. Smith did, when he returned from Moscow and became director of central intelligence, was to take over OPC completely and sever its connections with State and Defenseexcept for the concealment of funds in Defense and for the rather considerable support that was always provided by military units for these clandestine activities around the world.
This brings up another important characteristic of the invisible army. While the CIA administered the operations of this fast-growing organization, with its six thousand employees, it could always rely upon the military for additional personnel, transport, overseas bases, weapons, aircraft, ships, and all the other things the Department of Defense had in abundance. One of the most important items provided regularly by Defense was "military cover." OPC and other CIA personnel were concealed in military units and provided with military cover whenever possible, especially within the far-flung bases of the military around the worldeven in Antarctica.
The cover or invisible operational methods developed by the CIA and the military during the 1950s are still being used today despite the apparent demise of the Cold War, in such covert activities as those going on in Central America and Africa, and even in such highly specialized activities as the preparation of "assassination manuals" of the type that was written by the CIA and discovered in Nicaragua in 1984. That manual was only a later version of one developed by the CIA in the 1950s. Today all of this clandestine activity amounts to big business, and the distinction between the CIA and the military is hard to discern, since they always work together.3
THREE The Invisible Third World War
THE WORLDWIDE INVISIBLE WAR waged by the Soviet KGB and the American Central Intelligence Agency over the past fifty years, and under the cover that these war-making organizations were in fact intelligence organizations, was being fought with novel tactics. Not only was this type of underground warfare secret, but so were its methods. Discerning readers were not surprised, then, to discover on an inside page of the New York Times on July 25, 1985, a tiny two-inch article, datelined Zaragoza, Spain, describing one of these Cold War battles, being fought with these secret tactics.
TWO SPANISH OFFICERS SENTENCED
FOR ROLES IN FAKE EXECUTIONS
ZARAGOZA, Spain, July 24 (UPI)Two army officers who herded villagers into a public square for mock executions were sentenced today to prison terms of four and five months, military authorities said.
A military tribunal ruled Tuesday that officers, Capt. Carlos Aleman and Lieut. Jaime Iniguez, had been overzealous in carrying out orders.
"They were ordered to stage a mock invasion of a town and to make it as realistic as possible, but they went too far," said a Defense Ministry spokesman, Lieut. Jesus del Monte.
This bizarre incident occurred in Spain. Similar events, using the same tactics, take place somewhere in the world almost daily, despite the apparent demise of the Cold War. They have one unique characteristic, seldom if ever seen in regular warfare, that sets them apart. Incidents such as this one, reported by the Times, serve to incite warfare rather than to bring it to an end. To give the age-old concept new meaning, "They make war...out of practically nothing."
The methods used in Spain are almost precisely those used by the CIA in, among other cases, the Philippines in the early 1950s and Indochina from 1945 to 1965. These will be discussed in later chapters. It is important to note that tens of thousands of foreign "paramilitary" and Special Forces troops have been trained at various U.S. military bases under CIA supervision and sponsorship. Some of this training is highly specialized, using advanced weapons and war-related matériel. Some of it takes place at American universities and even in manufacturing plants, where advanced equipment for this type of warfare is being made.
Then there are the paramilitary forces of other nations that have been trained in the Soviet Union. Today these graduates, by the tens of thousands, are the leaders of the "elite" forces of many countries and the professionals used to breed a world of international terrorists. For the most part, they are not individuals or members of some small group, but participants in a most sophisticated, worldwide complex of organizations. The Spanish example is a perfect case study in describing the methods and tactics of such units. (For illustrative purposes, examples of operations in other countries will be merged with the Spanish example to portray more comprehensively the potential of these tactics.)
The Spanish army's Special Forces troops had been ordered to "stage a mock invasion of a town and to make it [look and feel] as realistic as possible." The army was ordered to create a battle that would appear to support evidence of insurgency. This is one of the secret methods of the secret war. These special armed forces are used as agitators. It is as though the fire department were being used to start fires, the police department employed to steal and kill, and doctors ordered to make people sick, to destroy their brains, to poison them. Such clandestine operations are designed to make wareven when they have to play both sides at the same time.
First of all, as stated so accurately in Leonard Lewin's Report From Iron Mountain,1 "allegiance [to the State] requires a cause; a cause requires an enemy," and "...the presumed power of the enemy sufficient to warrant an individual sense of allegiance to a society must be proportionate to the size and complexity of the society."
Therefore, on a global scale, the Cold War required the USSR and the United States to have been enemies by need and by definition. Ever since the Bravo detonation of the hydrogen bomb, the world's political, economic, and military system has had to be bipolar. Those without massive weapons and the means to deliver them could not possibly take part effectively in such global warfare.
It has been politically necessary for each major power to have an enemy, even though both major powers knew that they no longer had any way to benefit from a traditional "all-out" war. Neither one could control its own destiny or its own society without the "threat" of the other. On a lesser scale, as we shall see in the Spanish example, the existence of "insurgents" lent validity to the charge of a "Communistic-supported" insurgency, even though the scope of the "conflict"that is, the "mock invasion of the town"was purely local.
All leaders of all nations know that, as stated in Report From Iron Mountain, "The organization of a society for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer. It is ironic that this primary function of warfare has been generally recognized by historians only where it has been expressly acknowledgedin the pirate societies of the great conquerors."
That is the historical perspective. It has been the primary reason for the necessary prosecution of the Cold War"necessary," that is, in the minds of those who are unable to see, or who choose not to see, that there are other reasons than conflict for the existence of Earth and man.
The Spanish application of this tactic of the secret war is interesting and threatens us all. In this case, the two army officers had been ordered to attack a town, with regular Spanish troops (albeit some of them disguised as natives), and to make it look and feel realistic. As undercover warriors, they were trained to do this. (No doubt, some were trained in the United States, where many of the weapons, activities, and techniques mentioned below are used in training.) Under other conditions at other times, these same trained men might have been told to hijack a civilian aircraft; they might have been told to run a mock hostage operation. There is no difference. The only military objective of these battles, and of this type of global conflict, is to create the appearance of war itself.
Now, the Spanish, for reasons of their own, had decided to teach this town a lesson. To initiate this campaign, a psychological-warfare propaganda team arrived in town. They put up posters, made inflammatory speeches in the village square and showed propaganda films on the walls of buildings at night to stir up the village, warning of the existence and approach of a band of "terrorist-trained insurgents." That night, as the movies were being shown before the assembled villagers, a firefight kit, prearranged to explode in sequence to resemble a true skirmish, was detonated on a nearby hillside. Flares and rockets filled the sky. A helicopter gunship or two joined the mock battle scenario. By the time this Special Forces PsyWar team left that town, the whole region had been alarmed by the presence of these "insurgents." The stage was set for the "mock invasion of the town," as ordered.
A few nights later, these two Spanish army officers (was the CIA involved?) divided their regular force into two groups: (a) the pseudoinsurgents and (b) the loyal regular forces. The "insurgents" took off their uniforms and donned native garb, the uniform of the "Peoples' Insurgents." Then they faded into the darkness and began to attack the town. First there was sporadic gunfire. Then some buildings went up in flames. Several big explosions occurred, and a bridge was blown up. The "insurgents" attacked the town as the villagers fled into the night. There was more gunfire, more burning and explosions. The "terrorists" looted the town and fired into the woods where the townspeople were hiding.
As the sun rose, an army unit in a convoy of trucks raced toward the town, entering it with guns ablaze. Above, a helicopter gunship added to the firepower. The "terrorists" were gunned down, left and right (all staged with blank ammunition). The others were rounded up and thrown into extra trucks under heavy guard. In short order, the victorious regular army captain had liberated the town. A loudspeaker in the helicopter called the villagers to return. All was safe! Fires were extinguished. Things returned to near normal.
Meanwhile, the captain remained with his interrogators, questioning the prisoners. Two "insurgent" leaders were discovered with false "terrorist" papers in their pockets and led back to the village square in chains. Charges were read against them, and the villagers observed them backed against the wall and shot! No sooner had the bodies hit the ground than they were picked up and tossed into the nearest truck. Justice had been done.
All trucks moved down the road. The battle was over. Before leaving, the captain turned to the town's mayor and warned him against further terrorism. The townspeople cheered the heroic captain as he left the town in command of the convoy. The forces of justice had been victorious. They drove on a few more miles, and the whole gangloyal army and "terrorists"had breakfast together. The "dead" men joined the feast.
This was the "mock battle." Although I have added technical details to the Spanish scenario, I have been to such training programs at U.S. military bases where identical tactics are taught to Americans as well as foreigners. It is all the same. As we shall see later, these are the same tactics that were exploited by CIA superagent Edward G. Landsdale and his men in the Philipines and Indochina.
This is an example of the intelligence service's "Fun and Games." Actually, it is as old as history; but lately it has been refined, out of necessity, into a major tool of clandestine warfare.
Lest anyone think that this is an isolated case, be assured that it was not. Such "mock battles" and "mock attacks on native villages" were staged countless times in Indochina for the benefit of, or the orientation of, visiting dignitaries, such as John McCone when he first visited Vietnam as the Kennedy-appointed director of central intelligence. Such distinguished visitors usually observed the action from a helicopter, at "a safe distance." A new secretary of defense, such as Robert McNamara, who had never seen combat, especially combat in Southeast Asia, would be given the treatment. It was evident to other, more experienced observers that the tracks through the fields had been made by the "Vietcong" during many rehearsals of the "attack." The war makers of Vietnam vintage left nothing to chance.
During the 1952-54 time period, when I flew into the Philippines, I spent many hours talking with Ed Lansdale, his many Filipino friends, such as Juan C. "Johnny" Orendain, Col. Napolean D. Valeriano, and members of his CIA "anti-Quirino" team and heard them tell these same stories. They all worked with Ramon Magsaysay in those days and related how he would divide his Special Forces into the "Communist HUKS" and the loyal military and then attack villages in the manner described above. Before long Ramon Magsaysay had been "elected" president of the Philippines, and President Quirino was on his way out. Later, when I worked in the same office with Lansdale in the Pentagon, he would relate how he and his Saigon Military Mission teammates applied similar tactics in Indochina, both North and South.
(2) Dulles by Leonard Moseley, Dial Press, 1978.
(3) "Clandestine Operation Manual for Central America" Desert Publications, 1985.
(1) Leonard C. Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain (New York: Dial, 1967).
from pages 153 - 155
ELEVEN The Battle for Power:
Kennedy Versus the CIA
PRESIDENTIAL POWER: Does it come with the office, or must the incumbent fight for it every step of the way? As James David Barber states in his book The Presidential Character:1 "Political power is like nuclear energy available to create deserts or make them bloom. The mere having of it never yet determined its use. The mere getting of it has not stamped into the powerful some uniform shape."
John F. Kennedy came to the office of the presidency with style and enough experience to know that he would have to fight to wrest political power from entrenched interests of enormous strength. If anything hit President Kennedy harder than the utter defeat of the Cuban exile brigade on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs, it was the realization that he had let himself be talked into that operation by inexperienced men in the CIA.
Kennedy blamed himself and believed that he should not have authorized the invasion. On the other hand, the Cuban Study Group (see below) concluded that the cancellation of the crucial air strike was the cause of the failure of the Zapata operation.
CIA director Allen Dulles had not been there at the time of the final decision making or at the time of the invasion itself. He was on vacation. This was a most unusual absence by the man responsible for the entire operation.
In his book Kennedy,2 Ted Sorensen makes a good case for his doctrine that "the Kennedys never fail." However, Kennedy did fail in his attempt to gain full control of the CIA and its major partners in the Defense Department. It was the most crucial failure of his abbreviated presidency. He recognized his adversary during his first term, and as he related confidentially to intimate acquaintances, "When I am reelected, I am going to break the agency into a thousand pieces." He meant to do it, too, but the struggle cost him his life.
Former President Harry S Truman was deeply disturbed when he learned of the murder of Jack Kennedy in Dallas. That experienced old veteran of political wars saw an ominous link between the death of the President and the CIA. One month after that terrible event, just time enough to get his thoughts in order and on paper, Truman wrote a column that appeared in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. He expressed his doubts about the CIA directly:
For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government....
I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment that I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue and a subject for Cold War enemy propaganda.
Truman's characterization of the CIA as "a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue" is, unfortunately, quite accurate. That "foreign intrigue" involved Cuba, Castro, and John F. Kennedy, at least in the minds of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as is evidenced in their later writings about the assassination. And it was Lyndon B. Johnson who said the government operated a "Murder Inc." in the Caribbean.
It is absolutely astounding that when the thoughts of these four presidents turned to the murder of JFK, they all wove a fabric of sinister intrigue that included the CIA in the scenario of his death. These men were telling us something. It is time we listened to and learned from what they have said.
The power of any agency that is allowed to operate in secrecy is boundless. The CIA knows this, and it has used its power to its own advantage. Only three days after the disastrous Cuban defeat, Kennedy set up a Cuban Study Group headed by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to "direct special attention to the lessons which can be learned from recent events in Cuba."
With that action, which received little notice at the time, the President declared war on the agency. The Cuban Study Group was one of the most important creations of the Kennedy presidency, and it was the source of one of the major pressure points on the way to the guns of Dallas on November 22, 1963.
President Kennedy was seriously upset by the failure of the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide him with adequate information and support prior to his approval of the brigade landing at the Bay of Pigs. He was also upset by the results of the total breakdown of CIA leadership during the operation that followed that landing.3
Kennedy's good friend Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, in recalling a discussion he had with Kennedy shortly after the disaster, said:
This episode seared him. He had experienced the extreme power that these groups had, these various insidious influences of the CIA and the Pentagon, on civilian policy, and I think it raised in his own mind the specter: Can Jack Kennedy, President of the United States, ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies? I think it had a profound effect...it shook him up!
Can any President "ever be strong enough to really rule" the CIA and the Defense Department? Eisenhower had learned that he was not strong enough when a U-2 went down in the heart of Russia despite his specific "no-overflight" orders in 1960.
Kennedy set out to prove that he was "strong enough," and he might have done so had he had a second term in office. Instead, he was first overwhelmed and then murdered.
(1) James D. Barber, The Presidential Character (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972).
(2) Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Bantam Books, 1965).
(3) The absence of Dulles and the ineffectiveness of his deputies, Gen. Charles P. Cabell and Richard Bissell, are described in this book as "a breakdown of leadership." One must keep in mind, however, that this apparent "breakdown" may well have been intentional. Our so-called national policy on "anticommunism" has gotten quite a bit of mileage out of Castro and his "Communist threat," just as it has continued to do in Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.