Bulletin N° 962
by Will Durant
(Audio Book, 1:42:12)
Subject: ‘The Ides of March’ and the contemporary history of social movements.
March 20, 2021
World Freedom Day
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
We continue our presentation of James W. Douglass’ book, JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why It Matters (2008), with a look at the inner workings of the “invisible government” that instigated a coup d’état in Washington, D.C. toward the end of 1963, leaving permanent scars on the political landscape.
The Americans inherited the Vietnam War after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Unable or unwilling to absorb the significance of this imperialist defeat, American government policy – driven by the economic interests of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex – resorted to false flag operations in order to bring the puppet government of South Vietnam and the indigenous population under U.S. military control, despite the secret negotiations by President Kennedy to reach a diplomatic settlement in what he considered to be a hopeless military engagement.
For a decade, Henry Cabot Lodge (and his son) had been trying unsuccessfully to beat John Kennedy (and his brother) in an election. Lodge was no Kennedy man. Yet he had taken the curious step in 1963 of letting it be known in Washington that he would like to become the president’s Saigon ambassador. Why did Lodge offer to become the ambassador of a man he so often opposed?
Henry Cabot Lodge was a major general in the U.S. Army Reserves. He had spent q month at the Pentagon in January 1963 being briefed on Vietnam and counterinsurgency. Author Anne Blair, who was given access to Lodge’s private papers for her book Lodge in Vietnam, determined that it was probably during his Pentagon tour of duty that Lodge began to float his name as a possibility for Vietnam. Blair concluded for, her reading of Lodge’s confidential journal that he wanted to use a Vietnam appointment as the basis for a late run for the presidency in 1964. Several of Lodge’s close associates in South Vietnam, including his special assistant John Michael Dunn, confirmed to Blair that Lodge ‘had accepted the South Vietnam post to increase his chances of gaining the Republican nomination.’ Henry Cabot Lodge wanted to represent his longtime opponent, John Kennedy, in Vietnam in such a way that he would be able to replace him in the White House.
Robert Kennedy warned his brother that he was making a mistake in appointing Lodge. He said Lodge would cause the president ‘a lot of difficulty in six months.’ Even RFK was being too optimistic about Lodge. JFK’s difficulties with his new ambassador would begin almost as soon a Lodge arrived in Vietnam.
With a sense of having just added one more shark to those already swimming around him, Kennedy joked to his aids Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers about his own motives for the appointment: ‘The idea of getting Lodge mixed up in such a hopeless mess as the one in Vietnam was irresistible.’ Kennedy had in fact taken a magnanimous risk in appointing his political adversary to an influential post. Lodge would not return the favor by obeying the president’s orders. Kennedy had made a mistake that would dog him that fall in Vietnam. (p.152)
. . .
On June 3, 1963, ignoring evidence that implicated itself, the CIA reported in Washington “the weight of evidence indicating that government cannon-fire caused the deaths in Hue” on May 8 that had ignited the Buddhist crisis in South Vietnam. Ngo Dinh Diem, on the other hand, insisted the deaths “were due to a Viet Cong terrorist grenade.” However, as we have seen, neither the Saigon government nor the Viet Cong possessed the kind of powerful plastic explosives that decapitated the victims at Hue on May 8. It was only the CIA that had such an explosive, as admitted later by Captain Scott, the U.S. military adviser responsible for the bombing. Graham Greene had exposed earlier the CIA’s preoccupation with plastic explosives. In The Quiet American, Greene dramatized the Agency’s use of plastic bombs in Saigon in 1952 to scapegoat the Viet Minh as terrorists. The pattern was repeated in Hue, with Diem the propaganda target. The CIA’s June 3 report blamed Diem for the Hue fatalities, which had in fact polarized him and the Buddhists, discredited his government, and derailed a possible Kennedy-Diem alliance for a negotiated U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. Both Kennedy and Diem had been outmaneuvered by the CIA.(p.148)
On June 11, 1963, a Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, burned himself to death in Saigon in protest to Diem’s repressive policies. Reporter Malcolm Brown’s wire service photo of the bonze’s self-immolation shocked the world. When John Kennedy opened his June 12 newspaper and saw the picture of the burning monk, he exclaimed, “Jesus Christ!” to his brother Robert on the phone. Secretary of State Dean Rusk had already cabled the U.S. Embassy in Saigon: “In our judgment the Buddhist situation is dangerously near the breaking point. Accordingly, you are authorized to tell Diem that in the United States view it is essential for the GVN [Government of Vietnam] promptly to take dramatic action to regain confidence of Buddhists and that the GVN must fully and unequivocally meet Buddhist demands. . . .”
“If Diem does not take prompt and effective steps to reestablish Buddhist confidence in him we will have to reexamine our entire relationship with his regime.”
Kennedy’s advisers were running ahead of him. Rusk’s instructions to the Saigon Embassy led Acting Ambassador William Trueheart to convey an ultimatum to Diem on June 12 that the president had not authorized. JFK found out by reading a CIA Intelligence Checklist on June 14. . . .
Vietnam was spiraling out of Kennedy’s control.(pp.148-149)
. . .
CIA documents reveal that political assassinations and Psychological Operations were among the instrument used during the Cold War to maintain the war economy.
We saw earlier how Lee Harvey Oswald was continually impersonated in Mexico City in September 1963. Oswald disappeared down a black hole. His CIA-alleged visits and phone calls to the Cuban and Soviet consulates ended up revealing more about the CIA than they ever did about Oswald. In preparation for his patsy role in Dallas, Oswald was being given a false identity in Mexico City as a Communist conspirator by an unknown impersonator. CIA transcripts of fraudulent Oswald phone calls to the Soviet Consulate ‘documented’ the future scapegoat’s supposed communications with a Soviet assassination expert. As William Harvey had written in his notes for the ZR/RIFLE assassination program, ‘planning should include provisions for blaming Sovs . . . .’[See ceimsa bulletin n°961.] The Mexico City scenario highlighted the CIA’s plan to blame the Soviets and the Cubans for the president’s murder.(p.153)
The Double Agent.
However, the Soviets had discovered the plot to kill the president and knew the CIA planned to implicate them.
As we learned from the confrontation of U.S. and Soviet tanks at the Berlin Wall, Nikita Khrushchev and his advisers sometimes knew more about U.S. military operations than did their commander in chief in the White House, John Kennedy. The same was true in the case of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, being carried out unknown to the president by his own Central Intelligence Agency – but not unknown to Soviet agents. JFK’s opponents in the Kremlin were not only secretly monitoring the CIA’s preparations to kill Kennedy. They were also trying to disrupt the plot, save the life of a president they knew they could work with, and keep from being scapegoated for his murder.
One of the most exhaustively researched books on President Kennedy’s assassination, Dick Russell’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, tells the story of a U.S. counterintelligence agent hired by the Soviets to kill Lee Harvey Oswald and thereby prevent JFK’s assassination. The double agent’s reluctance to become either Oswald’s assassin for the KGB, or part of JFK’s assassination for the CIA, moved him to a desperate act.
Richard Case Nagell, ‘the man who knew too much,’ walked into a bank in El Paso, Texas, on September 20, 1063, and calmly fired two shots form a Colt .45 pistol into a plaster wall just below the bank’s ceiling. He then went outside and waited in his car until a police officer came to arrest him. When questioned by the FBI, Nagell made only one statement; ‘I would rather be arrested than commit murder and treason.’(pp.152-153)
In the late fifties while stationed in Japan, Nagell began his Army/CIA role as a double agent in liaison with Soviet intelligence. In Tokyo, Nagell’s path converged with that of counterintelligence agent Lee Harvey Oswald. Both men worked in a counterintelligence operation with the code name ‘Hidell,’ which Oswald later used as part of his alias, ‘Alek James Hidell.’ Nagemm’s biographer Dick Russell believes it was Nagell who actually assigned the ‘Hidell’ alias to Oswald.
As a continuing double agent in 1963, Nagell was working with Soviet intelligence in Mexico City. He was reporting back to the CIA, in an operation directed by the chief of the CIA’s Cuban Task Force, Desmond Fitzgerald. Assigned by the KGB to monitor Lee Harvey Oswald in the United States after Oswald returned from Russia, Nagell became involved in New Orleans and Texas with Oswald and two Cuban exiles in what he saw was a ‘large’ operation to kill JFK. The Cubans were known by their ‘war names’ of ‘Angel’ and ‘Leopoldo.’ Nagell told Dick Russell that Angel and Leopoldo ‘were connected with a violence-prone faction of a CIA-financed group operating in Mexico City and elsewhere.’ He identified Angel’s and Leopoldo’s CIA-financed group as Alpha 66.
Alpha 66 was the group of Cuban exile paramilitaries we have already encountered who were directed by David Atlee Phillips, Chief of Covert Action at the CIA’s Mexico City Station. In early 1963, Phillips deployed Alpha 66 in attacks on Russian ships in Cuban ports. The purpose of the provocative raids was to draw JFK into a war with Cuba. Kennedy responded by ordering a government crackdown on the CIA-sponsored raids, further antagonizing both the CIA and the exile community. Alpha 66 had ignited not a U.S. war with Cuba, but a more lethal hatred of the President. This was the CIA-funded group Richard Case Nagell said Angel and Leopoldo belonged to, while they were meeting with Oswald.
In September 1963, Nagell was ordered by the KGB to convince Oswald that he was being set up by Angel and Leopoldo as the assassination patsy – or if that failed, to murder Oswald in Mexico City and then take up residence abroad. The Soviets wanted to save Kennedy by eliminating the scenario’s patsy and to keep from being scapegoats themselves. As Nagell told Dick Russell,‘If anybody wanted to stop the assassination, it would be the KGB. But they didn’t do enough.’(pp.153-154)
The “sheep-dipping” of Lee Harvey Oswald by the CIA to eliminate his former identities and prepare him for a new use continued up to November 22, when his identity had been successfully re-converted from an anti-Communist militant to a plausible pro-Communist activist, ready to assassinate a president who was intent on betraying the United States America in the Cold War.(p.156)
How had the CIA managed to place undercover agents in every branch of the American government in Saigon by the fall of 1963?
The answer open a door to understanding the murder of John F. Kennedy, because the process whereby the CIA took over Vietnam was part of a broader problem JFK faced in Washington. While the president struggled to push his newly found politics of peace past the anti-communist priorities of the CIA, that creature from the depths of the Cold War kept sprouting new arms to stop him. As in Vietnam, the CIA has agents operating in other branches of the government. Those extended arms of the agency acted to forward its policies and frustrate Kennedy’s, as in the case of AID’s suspension of the Commodity Import Program, thereby setting up a coup. J. Edgar Hoover knew the CIA had infiltrated the FBI’s decision making as well, making it possible for the CIA to cancel the FBI’s FLASH on Oswald at a critical moment in October, setting up the assassination of Kennedy. How had the CIA’s covert arms been grafted onto these other parts of the government?
One man in a position to watch the arms of the CIA proliferation was Colonel Fletcher Prouty. He ran the office that did the proliferating. In 1955, Air Force Headquarters ordered Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, a career Army and Air Force officer since World War II, to set up a Pentagon office to provide military support for the clandestine operations of the CIA. Thus Prouty became director of the Pentagon’s ‘Focal Point Office for the CIA.’
CIA Director Allen Dulles was its actual creator. In the fifties, Dulles needed military support for his covert campaigns to undermine opposing nations in the Cold War. Moreover, Dulles wanted subterranean secrecy and autonomy for his projects, even from the members of his own government. Prouty’s job was to provide Pentagon support and deep cover for the CIA beneath the different branches of Washington’s bureaucracy. Dulles dictated the method Prouty was to follow.
‘I want a focal point,’ Dulles said. ‘I want an office that’s cleared to do what we have to have done; an office that knows us very, very well and then an office that has access to a system in the Pentagon. But the system will not be aware of what initiated the request – they’ll think it came from the Secretary of Defense. They won’t realize it came from the Director of Central Intelligence.’
Dulles got Prouty to create a network of subordinate focal point offices in the armed services, then throughout the entire U.S. government. That person took orders directly from the CIA but functioned under the cover of his particular office and branch of government. Such ‘breeding,’ Prouty said decades later in an interview, resulted in a web of covert CIA representatives ‘in the State Department, in the FAA, in the Customs Service, in the Treasury, in the FBI and all around through the government – up in the White House . . . . Then we began to assign people there who, those agencies thought, were from the Defense Department. But they actually were people that we put there from the CIA.’
The consequence in the early 1960s, when Kennedy became president, was that the CIA had placed a secret tam of its own employees through the entire U.S. government. It was accountable to no one except the CIA, headed by Allen Dulles. After Dulles was fired by Kennedy, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans Richard Helms became this invisible government’s immediate commander. No one except a tight inner circle of the CUIIA even knew of the existence of this top-secret intelligence network, much less the identity of its deep-cover bureaucrats. These CIA ‘focal points,’ as Dulles called them, constituted a powerful, unseen government within the government. Its Dulles-appointed members would act quickly, with total obedience, when called on by the CIA to assist its covert operations.
As the son of an ambassador to Britain and from his many years in the House and Senate, John Kennedy had come to understand the kind of power he would face as a changing president, trying to march to the beat of a different drummer. However, in his struggles with the CIA, Kennedy had no one to tell him just how extensive the agency’s Cold War power had become beneath the surface of the U.S. government, including almost certainly members of his own White House staff. In his final months, JFK knew he was being blocked by an enemy within. However, he was surrounded by more representatives of that enemy than he could have known.(pp.196-197)
The 14 + items below reflect the powerful machinations of American corporate culture and the sophisticated political instruments at its disposal to create a public consensus that will further consolidate the power of vested interests in big business, which itself is driven by a lust for power and an insatiable greed to achieve maximize profits. The subsequent social contradictions which derive from this violent exploitation and collaboration are apparent to all who wish to see and to understand what they are looking at.
Professeur honoraire de l'Université
Ancien Directeur de Researches
Université de Paris-Nanterre
Director of The Center for the Advanced Study
of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
“Unless we unite to resist”
World Freedom Day, March 20
by Mark Crispin Miller
New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato
Can the arts survive the pandemic?
with Rick Sanchez
RT America's Faran Fronczak reports on the reopening of "ARTECHOUSE," an interactive high-tech museum in Washington, DC and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on museums and galleries across the US. Then Rebecca Medrano, co-founder and executive director of GALA Hispanic Theater, joins Rick Sanchez to discuss the devastating blow the pandemic has dealt to the world of live theater, the current plight of working actors, whose livelihoods remain in peril, and the existential threat that the pandemic represents to the institution of live theater.
The Politics of Cultural Despair
with Chris Hedges
“The Emperor’s New Clothes”
“Les Indes Galantes”
Clément Cogitore adapte une courte partie de ballet des "Indes galantes" de Jean-Philippe Rameau, avec le concours d’un groupe de danseurs de Krump, et de trois chorégraphes : Bintou Dembele, Grichka et Brahim Rachiki. Le Krump est une danse née dans les ghettos de Los Angeles dans les années 90. Sa naissance résulte des émeutes et de la répression policière brutale qui ont suivi le passage à tabac de Rodney King.
AZN is a very big investor in Moderna
by Mark Crispin Miller
AstraZeneca Just Sold Its Moderna Stock: Should You?
by Keith Speights
“We Did Not Suffer Equally”
by Yaryna Serkez
17 experts worried about the likely danger of “disease enhancement” from rushed-out COViD-19 vaccines met to talk about it all A YEAR AGO
by Mark Crispin Miller
Consensus summary report for CEPI/BC March 12–13, 2020 meeting: Assessment of risk of disease enhancement with COVID-19 vaccines
by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine)
Stop Asian Hate: Connie Wun on Atlanta Spa Killings, Gender Violence & Spike in Anti-Asian Attacks
with Amy Goodman
with Noam Chomsky & Rudy Rochman
Sacco et Vanzetti
(Audio, 53 mins )
The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating Founders
by Miko Peled
When the victims of Zionism finally have their day in court, the world will see just how cruel and racist the early Zionists really were.
China, Iran unite over oil deal while US worries
with Rick Sanchez
“Why India should stop being protectionist & talk to adversaries like China”
with Kishore Mahbubani
China in Africa: An African Perspective
with Gyude Moore
China flips switch on fusion & weather-control tech
with Rick Sanchez and George Galloway
“Foreign Policy, China Conflict & Covid Crisis”
with S. Jaishankar
Team Biden slapped around by China
with Alex Mihailovich
How China bought the US globalist elite
by Mark Crispn Miller
“The Thirty Tyrants”
by Lee Smith
The deal that the American elite chose to make with China has a precedent in the history of Athens and Sparta
Anti-Communism: America's Unofficial Religion
with Abby Martin
How China won the Middle East without firing a single bullet
by Ramzy Baroud
“If oil and influence were the prizes, then it seems China, not America, has ultimately won the Iraq war and its aftermath – without ever firing a shot.” — Jamil Anderlini
People to People: Horizontal Social Change
with Richard Wolff
“Corporate Threats to Leave are Empty”
with Richard Wolff
From: Rep. Andy Levin
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2021 1:46 PM
To: Francis Feeley
Subject: Sign my letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon workers in Alabama are trying to unionize, but Amazon is trying to break the back of their organizing efforts with misleading text messages and anti-union propaganda.
Amazon has even tried to force workers to vote in-person in the middle of a pandemic hotspot.
Grassroots pressure now can make a difference.
Can you join me, Pramila Jayapal, Katie Porter, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna, Marie Newman, and other members of Congress telling CEO Jeff Bezos to STOP Amazon's strong-arm anti-union tactics immediately? Sign on to our letter here.
Amazon’s profits have soared by 70 percent over the last year thanks in significant part to the hard work of their employees.
Amazon workers have put in long hours and risked their own health during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet increased demand, and they deserve to share in the success they have made possible -- including compensation, benefits, and respect that reflects their true value to the company.
Unfortunately, Amazon has an established history of disempowering workers -- including spying on employees seeking to organize a union.
PCCC members have a long history of fighting for workers -- one reason I value the PCCC's support.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
Andy Levin, Congressman, MI-09
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2021 3:55 PM
Subject: The Paris Commune is still a beacon for radical change.
Empire Files Archives
with Abby Martin
Investigative journalism on empire archives
Inside Saudi Arabia: “Butchery, Slavery & History of Revolt”
with Abby Martin
Why a Shadowy Tech Firm With Ties to Israeli Intelligence Is Running Doomsday Election Simulations
by Whitney Webb
Immoral & Illegal: U.S. & U.K. Move to Expand Nuclear Arsenals, Defying Global Disarmament Treaties
with Alicia Sanders-Zakre
From: Jim O'Brien via H-PAD
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Subject: [H-PAD] H-PAD Notes 3/18/21: Syllabus on sanctions; links to recent articles of interest
Note: Historians for Peace and Democracy has published Empire of Sanctions, a 14-part syllabus on the nature and history of economic sanctions, focusing especially on their use by the US since the early 20th century. All the assigned readings are available on the Web. The historians who compiled it are Renate Bridenthal, CUNY (emerita); Molly Nolan, NYU; and Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston University.
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Priyamvada Gopal, The Guardian, posted March 17
On pressure in Britain to prevent public attention to Churchill's "murkier side": his views on race and empire. The author teaches Postcolonial Studies at Cambridge University and wrote Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent (Verso, 2020).
By George Black, with photographs by Christopher Anderson, New York Times Magazine, posted March 16
A richly illustrated article on the multigenerational health problems caused by the secret use of deadly Agent Orange in Laos during the Vietnam War, focusing especially on the work volunteers with the War Legacies Project who have brought the tragic stories to light.
By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, Nation of Change, posted March 12
"The Biden presidency is still in its early days, but it’s not too early to point to areas in the foreign policy realm where we, as progressives, have been disappointed–or even infuriated." Medea Benjamin is a co-founder of CODEPINK for Peace and Nicolas Davies is a researcher for CODEPINK and author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq (Nimble Books, 2010).
By Andrew Bacevich, TomDispatch.com, posted March 11
Warns against the influence of the traditional foreign policy establishment - "the Blob" - in the Biden administration.The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
By Van Gosse, History News Network, posted March 7
On African American voting in the US between the Revolution and the Civil War. The author teaches history at Franklin and Marshall College and has written The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America Between the Revolution and the Civil War (U. of North Carolina Press, 2021). He is co-chair of H-PAD.
By Kevin Young, Sidecar [New Left Review blog], posted March 5
On US policies toward Latin America early in the Biden administration, finding more continuity than change. The author teaches Latin American history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is on the H-PAD Steering Committee.
By Roy E. Finkenbine, History News Network, posted February 28
On the disruption of numerous Black History Month on-line events with racist and obscene imagery. The author teaches history at the University of Detroit Mercy.
By Daniel N. Gullotta, The Bulwark, posted February 25
"It is worth remembering that even the more wild and unhinged accusations of Satan-worshipping have a long history in this country—and by studying the precedents, we might be able to better understand the dynamics and future of QAnon." The author is a PhD candidate in religious history at Stanford University.
By Brook Thomas, History News Network, posted February 21
Warns against romanticizing either the nation's founders or President Grant, whose limited support for racial justice during Reconstruction is often exaggerated. The author is a professor emeritus at UC Irvine and author of The Literature Of Reconstruction: Not In Plain Black And White (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2017).
'What 'America Is Back' Really Means"
By Andrew Bacevich, Spectator US, posted February 21
"The idea that a US-led bloc of Western nations will determine the future of the planet will become increasingly implausible." The author is a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
Thanks to Jerise Fogel, Rusti Eisenberg, and an anonymous reader for flagging some of the articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.
From: National Security
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Subject: The Allende Massacre in Mexico: A Decade of Impunity
Declassified Dossier Examines Official Role in Cartel Killings
America's Longest War
with Chris Hedges and Erik Edstrom
Progressives Introduce Med4all Bill After All Leverage Is Gone
with Jimmy Dore
Teachers Union President Caught Screwing Teachers & Public Education
with Jimmy Dore
Profiteering Electric Companies
with Richard Wolff
The Corbett Report
Interview 1626 – James Corbett on China, 3D Chess, Ethics and Elvish
Freedom Rally, Modern Kids, Spotify Censors – New World Next Week
Interview 1625 – New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato
From: ZCommunications [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Subject: Join Chomsky, Albert and eleven more...