Thursday, November 27, 2008

JFK: Inside the Target Car

Don't miss Pat Speer's excellent review and analysis of the Discovery Channel's "JFK: Inside the Target Car".


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

JFK and the National Security State

“I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead, not to ‘a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.”
Peter Dale Scott
Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

I could probably write a whole article analyzing Peter Dale Scott’s quote. In this one simple paragraph he lays bare not only a central truth about our government but also about the death of John F. Kennedy. Our intellectual elite and media (with the exception of those in Europe) know something they won’t dare utter—that the State is capable of murdering the Chief of State. In this case, the National Security State, with its confluence of intelligence, military, and civilian corporations being the executioner. It’s been done time and time again down through history. Are we so much better than Greeks and Romans that we are exempt?

Truman’s Regret
If there is a conspiracy to kill Kennedy it is forever buried in the bowels of this beast, the beast the Harry Truman signed into law in 1947, an act that formed the CIA, NSC, and the JCS. It was a decision that he came to express regrets about. As Truman said in his December 2, 1963 article entitled, Limit CIA Role To

“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 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.”

Just sixteen years after Truman signs the National Security Act into law, and just ten days after Kennedy’s death, he now sees the CIA as a independent entity with it’s own agenda, operating outside the constitutional framework of the Federal Government and no longer subservient to the President. This is quite evident in the Bay of Pigs fiasco where the CIA was running its own military operation. He is giving us the same warning as Eisenhower did with his vague “military industrial complex” parting statement to the nation. It was not till the Church Committee hearings in 1975 did the public began to find out what the CIA had been up to all of those years from 1947 on. The question that lingers is, if the CIA would kill the Diem brothers then what is to prevent them from killing the Kennedy brothers here?

The CIA-Pentagon nexus is one of the most complex labyrinths created by man. No better account of this can be found than in L. Fletcher Proudy’s, The Secret Team. Although not a Kennedy assassination book per say, it provides the basis of how such a large group of networked organizations could bury just about anything they wanted to do to just about anyone. And Proudy believed that Kennedy’s battles with the National Security State insured his demise. They are the only ones that could commit the act and get away with it. They will not be tamed.

As Proudy showed, when the boys get together at the cafeteria and talk shop there’s no way of telling what is the truth. If your department is running an operation and it’s running under a cover, then the cover is what you talk about—not the real operation. Dick Russell in his book, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, stays on this theme. A source, known only as Captain Sam, describes it this way:

Half of what I’ll tell you might be the truth, and the other half bullshit. But all of it is what I was told. That’s part of the game in the intelligence business. You confuse your own operatives with false information; maybe nobody knows the full truth about a particular assignment.

With this scheme, only those at the very top know what is going on. It certainly bests the “need to know” method of compartmentalization. Maybe this seems like a crazy way to conduct covert operations, but just try prying into this maze to find out what happened to Kennedy and you’ll see what a frustrating task it is. No wonder men like Richard Helms seemed so smug all the time. He knew nothing was ever coming out and nobody had the power to make him talk.

The Military Connection
The National Security Act, which gave our nation a centralized intelligence bureau—which Hoover over at FBI hated as interlopers on his turf—which was also allowed to run operations. If the operations got too large the military would be called in. What constitutes small and large operations was never clearly defined. The CIA used this to full advantage when it went gallivanting around the world overthrowing democratically elected governments (Guatemala, Iran, Chile, and many more) and assassinating foreign leaders. Prouty lays the blame squarely on the CIA for the involvement and war in Vietnam, with good cause. He was there in the early days of the growing conflict as a liaison officer between the Pentagon and CIA. He was a witness to CIA meddling that started as cold ops that later turned hot. The CIA continued interfering after the military got there. You’ll see very few members of the mainstream media (which includes many historians) lay such accusations at the door of the CIA for the disaster in Vietnam.

John Kennedy’s problems with the NSS started with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Like Eisenhower’s downed U2 embarrassment, Kennedy took the fall for it. It was an operation long in planning and was dumped in his lap as soon as he took office. But changes soon came and CIA director Allen Dulles was soon out of job. (But would oddly, later resurface on the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s death.)

From the very beginning of his Presidency, Kennedy had to deal with Vietnam. Intelligence operations had been run in Indochina since 1945 and had only steadily built up over the intervening years. As usual the CIA is interfering once again the affairs of others and it steadily grows to they can’t contain it anymore. The military is called in. The army requested 16,000 troops for Vietnam in the spring of 1961. Kennedy, not wanting to get entangled, turned down the request. The army tried again for 8,000 in November of the same year and was turned down once again.

But things were apparently brewing outside of Kennedy’s control. For example, then Vice President Johnson was ingratiating himself with the Joint Chiefs. It is now known that he was receiving highly classified briefings from Army intelligence in regards to the situation in Vietnam—information that Kennedy and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, were not privy too. This is an amazing breach of protocol in the chain of command! Not to mention Johnston’s lack of security clearance to view such documents. But it illustrates how entrenched Johnson was with the military and he his fate would be tied to theirs.

Kennedy tried to stem the tied by his October National Security Action Memorandum, NSAM 263. This order called for the removal of 1,000 troops from Vietnam by December of 1963. Four days after his death, newly sworn in President Johnson signs NSAM 273, reversing Kennedy’s order. The foundations of war are under way. The multi billion-dollar contracts will soon be signed with Brown and Root. Years later sold to Halliburton, the remnants of this corporation still profiting off war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Much has been written and debated about this over the years. Was Kennedy getting out or not? Some critics charge this was the normal rotation of troops. If so, then Kennedy doesn’t have to sign an order getting troops out, nor does Johnson have to sign an order making them stay. Regardless, Kennedy did make a political decision to avoid an entanglement in Vietnam by signing into law NSAM 263, and his desire to pull all troops out by late 1965. The President’s death resulted in a major policy change, in this case, swiftly implemented by Johnston’s NSAM 273. One of many to come, such as the Executive Order halting of the $5 Treasure notes backed by silver, not by credit such as Federal Reserve notes are to this day.

Just coincidence? Did Kennedy run afoul of the National Security State’s agenda and die as result? We’ll never know for certain but the suspicion will always remain. Deep politics enshrouds the inner workings of the State. If there is a conspiracy in the death of John F. Kennedy, it lies here. Buried in the belly of the Beast.

Sources: Prouty, The Secret Team; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; Russell, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins; Newman, JFK and Vietnam.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vince Bugliosi: The Sins of Omission and Commission

I saw Vince Bugliosi, former Manson prosecutor and author of the five pound, 1600+ page, Reclaiming History being interviewed on FOX around the time his book was just out. He came off as an affable, sincere guy. Then when I got his book and started reading, I was surprised to see his Dr. Jeckel to Mr. Hyde conversion. In Reclaiming History, Bugliosi is a one man wrecking ball of conspiracy theory and Warren Commission critics. When facts and logic don’t prevail, sarcasm, ridicule, and insults will suffice. He says if you do not accept that Oswald was the lone gunman then you are stupid. Really, is all of this vitriol necessary? It is as if Bugliosi is not so much settling history as he is settling scores.

His arrogance knows no bounds. Nor does his hypocrisy when he charges James Tague, the third man wounded that day, of trying to make money off his experiences when Bugliosi is hawking a $50 book. What cheek!

Vince Bugliosi is so militantly anti-conspiratorial that it clouds his judgment. He has to have everything in order like a compulsive-excessive. There must be no doubts about anything. There can be no sub-conspiracies, such as Clay Shaw using the alias Clay Bertrand and that Shaw was a CIA operative. In Bugliosi‘s world everybody is honorable and forthright—even Hoover and Johnson. This leads him to make preposterous statements that make no sense for a man gifted with such a keen mind. In other places, he seems to have no knowledge of the material he writes about and makes statements that are contradictory in his narrative.

Bugliosi’s whole approach to the Kennedy assassination is virtually the same as that of the Commission he wishes to defend. If facts and research don’t bolster the lone gunman then debunk it or ignore it all together. The Warren Commission decided via a secret meeting in January of 1964, that for various political reasons (see my piece, The Investigation That Never Was) they would basically run with Lee H. Oswald as the sole assassin and no other conspirators. Bugliosi takes the same path, though his is not as political. He states in his first chapter that Oswald is “guilty as sin.” From here, no objective investigation is going to be conducted within these pages, despite Bugliosi’s claims otherwise (the WC did likewise). The evidence will be made to conform to the theory. If it doesn’t, it is debunked or disregarded. And Bugliosi turns a blind eye to a lot in Reclaiming History.

The Bugliosi Silent Treatment
One of the “silent treatments” Bugliosi hands out is his treatment of the Joseph Dolce ballistics wounds research. Dolce, chairman of the Army’s Wounds Ballistic Board with over 20 years experience studying ballistic wounds, was contacted by the WC to do tests to determine if bullets striking human bone would maintain their shape as the “pristine bullet” that was recovered at the Parkland Hospital. After hitting ten cadaver wrists with Oswald’s rifle, Dolce concluded all ten were “markedly deformed.” Not a single one resembled what is known as CE 399—the magic bullet.

Joseph Dolce was ignored. Since his research contradicted a major piece of evidence in the “official” scenario of assassination, he was never called to testify under oath nor was his investigation ever mentioned in the 26 volumes of evidence or hearings. Years later, Dolce would be ignored by the House Select Committee on Assassinations as well. Not until Dolce was interviewed in 1986 did information finally appear on his work what he uncovered that the Commission did not want to see or hear.

Bugliosi’s treatment of the Dolce affair is the same. In fact, no mention of the cadaver experiment is mention in his book, or for that matter, in the nearly 1,000 pages of End Notes that is on the accompanying disc. Bugliosi refers to Dolce as a consultant but never as the chairman of the Army’s Wounds Ballistic Board. Dolce’s work is a major contribution in the investigation Kennedy’s death and Bugliosi commits a major slight of said work to maintain the lone gunman premise.

No Hearts of Stone
It was uncovered by researchers that the Warren Commission’s transcript of their interview with the President’s widow was edited. In fact, the original has the notation: “Reference to wounds deleted.” But no reason was given for the deletion. Researchers finally got the full transcription in the early 70s and many were outraged by this suppression of witness testimony that never made its way to any of the investigations—WC or HSCA.

Here are Jackie Kennedy’s comments that were deleted: “I was trying to hold his hair on. From the front there was nothing—suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on.

A very telling statement because Mrs. Kennedy is the first and closest witness to the President’s head wounds. And most importantly, she is saying he has a rear head wound that must be attended to. She places herself on the side of the Parkland doctor’s and their medical staff that witnessed a huge rear wound in the back of Kennedy’s head. The autopsy physicians (Humes, Boswell, Fink) claim in their official report and sworn testimony that the rear of the head had a small wound the diameter of the bullet Oswald alleged to have fired. Of course Kennedy’s head wounds are a major controversy that rages to this day with two sets of doctors in disagreement.

Unbelievably, Bugliosi states on page 29 of his End Notes,
Frankly, the only thing the critics have proved from this episode is that the Warren Commission members were not made of stone.

Frankly, the only thing Bugliosi proves from his remark is that he doesn’t give a damn what the truth is. If he were, he would be as incredulous as the critics are, but strangely, he is indifferent to this deception committed on the public by the Warren Commission.

The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald
Bugliosi goes on and on about his mock trial he did on TV, held in London of Oswald. Guess who wins? The prosecution led by Vincent Bugliosi, of course. He uses this as further evidence of Oswald’s guilt. Bugliosi had the nerve to state that his fake TV trial has “historical importance” because is more reliable than both the Warren Commission Report and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

But it gets even more outlandish when he looks the jurors in the eye and tells them this is “one of the most important trials in the history of this country.” The jurors are all actors; the county is England where this charade took place. There is no defendant; he’s dead. The witnesses are under oath but not an oath that means anything as no one will go to jail for perjury. I stated earlier that Bugliosi’s arrogance has no bounds. Perhaps I understated it!

Mark Lane Gets a Sucker Punch
Attorney Mark Lane, one of the Warren Commission’s first critics and author of many best selling books on the Kennedy assassination comes under heavy fire from Bugliosi. The attacks start out mild and soon ramp up to the malicious. It looks pretty bad for Lane till you read his rebuttal at If Lane is to be believed, and I believe him to be truthful, Bugliosi blunders bad enough to be sued for slander. This would be nothing new for the former prosecutor who was sued for slander in the early 70s and settled to the tune of $15,000. Bugliosi accuses Lane of portraying himself as a Dallas police officer to arrange an interview with a witness. Lane says the transcript clearly shows him identifying himself by his real name “Mark Lane.” I do not know why Lane is not suing for such an outrageous statement.

What all of his demonstrates are severe flaws in Bugliosi character. He is so bound to discredit the critics that he resorts to imaginary tales. His fact checking takes a dive as well with many mistakes. It shows him to be a deceitful and strange personality and casts doubt on his aim to objectively find out what the truth is in this case.

The Invisible Man
Bugliosi likes to attack the more credible and accredited witnesses that don’t go along with the script. A case in point is the President’s personal physician Dr. George Burkley. Dr. Buckley is an interesting witness as he was in the motorcade when the shots were fired, was present at the Parkland Hospital trauma ward as the doctors there tried to resuscitate the dying President, signed the death certificate (with the throat injury described as an entry wound), accompanied the body back on Air Force One to Bethesda Naval for the autopsy.

Bugliosi attempts to discredit Dr. Burkley by attacking his positioning of the back wound, listed in the death certificate at being located at the third thoracic vertebrae. Bugliosi cites testimony from the HSCA claiming that x-rays showed that the first thoracic vertebrae at the point of entry on the back. That is way to high. Bugliosi is trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat for this one. First of all, an X-ray is not going to show the bullet wound since there is no bone damage. Secondly, there are no bullet fragments so no path of the bullet’s trajectory can be traced. Thirdly, no flesh wound would be visible on an X-ray. And lastly, Dr. Burkley did not make the call on the back wound position—that was determined by the Parkland physicians. Dr. Burkley was there as a witness and to sign the death certificate.

If Bugliosi were attempting a fair and honest investigation, he would be better served in examining why Dr. Burkley, a key witness, was never interviewed by the FBI, or the Secret Service, and never called to testify under oath to the Warren Commission. His name is never mentioned in the 912-page report, nor is the death certificate reprinted in the 26 volumes of complied evidence. Even the autopsy face sheet, which he signed as a witness, has his name erased (the original in the Nation Archives has his signature on it). Why is this man such a pariah? Possibly because he didn’t go along with the Government’s official story?

Dr. Burkley is the Warren Commission’s Invisible Man. He is Bugliosi’s Invisible Man as well.

The Limousine Blunder
Bugliosi’s rabid anti-conspiracy notions lead him down strange paths of denial that are easily debunked. A good example of this is cleaning of the Presidential limousine at Parkland Hospital by the Secret Service. Bugliosi can’t believe the Secret Service would do this before contacting the FBI to first investigate because, after all, the limo is a rolling crime scene. In Bugliosi’s own words: "But on the face of it, it appears highly unlikely that the Secret Service would wash away the "crime scene" before the FBI criminalists could examine the car, and there is no testimony or statement from anyone that this was done." (Page 33, End Notes, #54)

But first, Bugliosi misrepresents what happened. He claims that, on the word of unnamed “critics” the back seat of the limousine was washed out. Color photographs clearly shows there was plenty of gore left in that area. It was the rear trunk and bumper that was cleaned off. Never the less, this is destruction of material evidence at the crime scene and should not have been. The tissue and blood matter on the trunk would leave traces of the kill shot’s trajectory. In a few days the limousine would be hastily shipped off to Detroit for refurbishing, further destroying any further evidence.

Then Bugliosi implies there are no photographs taken of the event. They are—a simple Google search reveals them. A New York Times photographer was present at the scene of the cleaning and snapped the photos. In the photographs, SS agents and Dallas police officers can be seen plainly cleaning off the car with a bucket of water present near the car. Oddly, Bugliosi lists in his bibliography, Death in Dealey Plaza. This book has one of photos. By listing this book in his bibliography, that is tantamount to claiming he read the book for his research. Did he really? Or he just can’t handle the truth that things are out of place here?

Bugliosi, already in deep water, goes even further. He claims there were no witnesses to the event. In his own words: “…there is no testimony or statement from anyone that this was done." Wrong! Three print journalists were there as witnesses and all wrote articles that were published at that time. Most noted of the three was Tom Wicker of the New York Times. His account is easily found by a Google search. He clearly describes the incident complete with the bloody bucket of water situated by the car.

Mr. Bugliosi, do you think we don’t have Internet connections out here and can’t double-check what you write?

In Closing
This piece is not meant to be a complete recounting of Reclaiming History’s errors. A Google search will find a load of expert critiques of Bugliosi’s book. In the future I am sure someone will publish a more complete analysis of Bugliosi’s approach to the Kennedy assassination. Despite the flaws Reclaiming History is a great research volume for students of the assassination to study. However, Bugliosi fails in not conducting a fair investigation of the facts and letting his own personal animosity intrude.

Despite Vince Bugliosi being rabidly anti conspiracy he is on the record supporting a conspiracy in the death of the President’s brother Robert in 1968. Ironic that he gets one and not the other.

Sources: Reclaiming History, Reclaiming History End Notes (disc/PDF), Death in Dealey Plaza, Breach of Trust,, Google