Editor’s Introduction: This is an excerpt that begins “JFK: The Real Story,” a major new research report by the Truth & Reconciliation Committee, which was founded in 2019 to investigate the 1960s assassinations of President John F. Kennedy (JFK), Black civil rights leader Malcolm X, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., (MLK) and the president’s brother, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), shown below from right to left.
The Justice Integrity Project has been active as a founding board member in supporting the committee’s work, and excerpts the report with permission in order to advance public understanding of evidence and analysis that has been ignored or under-reported by the mainstream media.
Today’s excerpt provides the background for the JFK Assassination in Dallas in 1963. Next, Part II, answers the key question “Who Killed JFK?”
– Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project editor
The JFK Records Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1992, mandated that all documents relating to the JFK assassination be released within 25 years, which would have been in 2017. However, President Trump unlawfully postponed the release until October 2021, and then, as has been widely reported, President Biden postponed it—again unlawfully—until December 2022, with a partial release to occur on December 16th, 2021. In addition, documents and testimony from the 1977-1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations, which concluded that there was a probable conspiracy in the JFK assassination, are being withheld from public view until 2029.
The Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) seeks the release of these documents from local, state and national government agencies, as well as those related to the three other major assassinations of the 1960s.
This John Fitzgerald Kennedy Report is presented by the TRC (www.americantruthnow.org), which was formed in 2019 by members of the Kennedy and King families, Daniel Ellsberg, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner, David Crosby, Reverend James Lawson Jr., Oliver Stone, Adam Walinsky, James Galbraith, David Talbot, and other public figures. The TRC is dedicated to helping America confront the truth of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy, all of which changed the course of American and world history and adversely affect us to this day. The subsequent cover-ups and failures to disclose critical case files have added to the public’s distrust of both the government and the media, a situation that has helped create the dysfunction in our current political environment.
Written by respected journalists and researchers, this report (which can be read in full here: JFK: The Real Story) relies on documented evidence to refute the official government story of these assassinations. As with other Truth and Reconciliation movements, our goal is not to punish the perpetrators but to set the historical record straight and thereby help bring about a new era of understanding for current and future generations.
President John F. Kennedy: His Assassination and Why it Matters
Despite a trove of new research and information emerging over the last 58 years, there are many people who still believe that the central questions—who killed President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and why—remain unanswerable. Others cling to the Lee Harvey Oswald “lone nut” theory proffered by the Warren Commission (shown at left presenting its report to President Lyndon Johnson in September 1964).
However, both these groups tend to agree that whatever the facts may be, the story is ancient history with little contemporary relevance, stuff for conspiracy-obsessed people with nothing better to do.
Nothing could be further from the truth, for the assassination of JFK is the foundational event of modern American history, the Pandora’s Box from which decades of tragedy have sprung.
JFK Pressured to Wage War
From the day he was sworn in as president on January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was relentlessly pressured by the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, and some of his own advisers to wage war: clandestine, conventional, and, most troublingly, nuclear.
To get to the bottom of why and by whom he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, one needs to comprehend this pressure and the reasons why Kennedy consistently resisted it, as well as the consequences of that resistance. These issues are key to understanding the current state of our world today and why, ever since JFK’s death, the United States has been waging endless wars abroad and has created a national security surveillance state at home.
It’s important to remember that Lieutenant John Kennedy was a World War II hero, who was badly injured while saving several of his men in the treacherous waters of the South Pacific after their PT boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer. His older brother, Joe, died in the war, as did several of JFK’s fellow PT boat crew members.
As a result, Kennedy was extremely sensitive to the terrors of war, and when he first ran for Congress in Massachusetts in 1946, he made it clear that avoiding another war was his number one priority. Senator Edward Kennedy, left, told author David Talbot that it was JFK’s horror of war that motivated him to run for president. This commitment remained with him and was strengthened throughout his brief presidency until the day he died, fighting for peace.
Even before he became president, then-Senator Kennedy was espousing views on colonialism and war that ran counter to those of his government. In 1957, he gave a speech in the Senate in support of Algerian independence from France—and of African independence in general—and against both Western and Soviet imperialism. He believed that continued support of colonial policies would only end in more bloodshed because the voices for independence would not, nor should not, be denied. That speech caused an uproar in Europe, and in the U.S., Kennedy was harshly criticized by President Eisenhower, Vice-President Nixon, and many other political figures from both parties. But it was applauded throughout the Third World.
JFK continued raising his voice for free and independent Third World nations during his 1960 presidential campaign. Such views were anathema to the foreign policy establishment, including the CIA and the burgeoning military industrial complex that President Eisenhower belatedly warned against in his farewell address.
Kennedy and Cuba
In mid-April 1961, less than three months into his presidency, a trap was set for President Kennedy by CIA Director Allen Dulles, who knew of Kennedy’s unwillingness to invade Cuba. He assumed the president would be forced by dire circumstances to send in Marines and U.S. Air Force warplanes at the 11th hour to back the invasion organized by the CIA to oust Fidel Castro (shown at right earlier with then-Vice President Richard Nixon). The plan had begun under President Dwight Eisenhower and Nixon. But Kennedy ultimately refused to send in American military reinforcements, and the invasion was roundly defeated. The CIA, the Pentagon, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy.
Classified documents revealed that the CIA knew the Soviets and Cubans had learned of the invasion date at least a week in advance, but the Agency withheld this crucial information from Kennedy. The CIA also knew that without the introduction of U.S. forces, the invasion was doomed, something Kennedy insisted he would not allow, even if the exiles faced defeat on the beachhead. But the Agency went ahead anyway. Kennedy later told associates Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell, “They were sure I’d give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [Navy’s aircraft carrier] Essex. They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
President Kennedy is shown at right awarding a medal to Dulles in November 1961 following the director’s ostensible retirement. In reality, Kennedy had forced him from office.
Kennedy forced out CIA Director Dulles, Deputy Director General Charles Cabell, and Bay of Pigs coordinator, Richard Bissell, and told associates he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” He took steps to downsize and even rename the agency. These were not measures that endeared him to the military and the CIA, which were acting as a secretive government within a government and whose power had been growing exponentially.
In March 1962, national security hardliners, including every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented the president with what they believed would be a convincing pretext for a U.S. invasion of Cuba. Code-named Operation Northwoods, this “false-flag” plan called for agents of the government to sink boats carrying Cuban refugees and to launch a terrorism campaign in Miami, Washington D.C., and other U.S. locations—all of which would be blamed on the Castro government. The idea was that the public would be so outraged, it would support the plan for an invasion.
Kennedy was understandably appalled, and rejected the plan. He had already begun to sense that his life was in danger and that the CIA and the Pentagon were tightening a noose around his neck, but he refused to yield.
Kennedy did, however, force the exit of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, left, a prominent proponent of the proposed Operation Northwoods false flag and terrorism plan.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, in October 1962, was another situation in which JFK refused to bomb and invade Cuba as the military desired. The Soviets had placed offensive nuclear missiles and more than 40,000 support troops in Cuba in order to prevent another U.S.-led invasion—an aggressive act that was understandably unacceptable to the U.S. government. While urged by the Joint Chiefs to order a preemptive nuclear strike on Cuba, JFK knew that a diplomatic solution was the only way to prevent a nuclear holocaust and the loss of millions of lives. Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon and Rand Corporation analyst, reported a coup atmosphere in the Pentagon as Kennedy chose to settle rather than attack.
In the end, after 13 incredibly tense days of brinksmanship, Kennedy and Khrushchev miraculously found a way to resolve the crisis without the use of doomsday weapons.
Kennedy and Europe
Increasingly suspicious of the military and intelligence officials around him, JFK continued to oppose the use of nuclear weapons and military invasions. In 1961, he refused to accede to the Joint Chiefs’ insistence on using nuclear weapons in a dispute with the Soviet Union over Berlin. Walking out of a meeting with his top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and declared, “These people are crazy.”
By 1963, Italy’s political situation had become another area of major discord. JFK and the CIA worked at cross-purposes, with Kennedy supporting a center-left coalition while the CIA supported the ruling conservative coalition. Similar political conflicts were occurring throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
Kennedy and Southeast Asia
President Kennedy had long been committed to not sending ground troops to Southeast Asia. In October 1963, he signed the National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year.
He also told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and other associates about his commitment to a complete withdrawal by the end of 1965 (as reported by historian and former National Security Agency executive John M. Newman in his books and lectures).
Three days after his assassination, President Kennedy’s Vietnamese withdrawal plans were reversed by President Johnson (shown at left of Kennedy in a file photo). Within a short period, hundreds of thousands of American combat troops were sent to Vietnam.
President Kennedy had also resisted strong Pentagon pressure to send ground combat troops to neighboring Laos as the Joint Chiefs had insisted. He knew that Laos and Vietnam were linked issues, and following his murder, Laos was indeed drawn tragically into the Vietnam War.
1963: The Fateful Year
In June 1963, JFK gave an historic speech at American University (shown above) in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, as well as an end to the Cold War— “a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” A few months later he signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev.
During this year, Kennedy was secretly engaged in negotiations to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons testing with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev via Pope John XXIII and Saturday Evening Post editor and anti-nuclear weapons advocate Norman Cousins. He was also beginning back-channel discussions, with other intermediaries, aimed at easing tensions with Cuba’s Castro. Deeply disturbed by the potential nuclear catastrophe of the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy was determined to ensure that such a near-miss never happened again. He knew that fault lay on both sides and that one slipup or miscommunication could initiate a nuclear Armageddon, which is why he wanted to open lines of communications with America’s enemies.
These clear refusals by Kennedy to go to war with Cuba and his commitment to emphasize peace and negotiated solutions to conflicts, to order the withdrawal of all military personnel from Vietnam, to call for an end to the Cold War, and to engage in private, back-channel communications with Cold War adversaries marked him as an enemy of the national security state. In fact, such sentiments were considered treasonous by CIA leaders and Pentagon generals. He and they were clearly on a collision course.
After experiencing the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and other military cliffhangers, Kennedy became even more committed to diplomacy over military solutions. He came to regard the military and intelligence officials who advised him as untrustworthy and callous about the potential carnage of war. And he was well aware that his growing resistance to war had fractured his own government and put his very life at risk. On numerous occasions, JFK spoke of the possibility of a military coup against him, and even assassination. He urged director John Frankenheimer to make the movie, “Seven Days in May,” as a warning to the American people about the possibility of such a violent regime change.
- Next: This research study concludes by addressing the key question: Who Killed JFK? An X painted on a Dallas street marks the spot where JFK was killed. As a child walks by, the X is framed by a view from behind the picket fence on a hill that overlooked the spot and the rest of Dealey Plaza in Dallas (Justice Integrity Project photo).
What Can You Do?
We encourage you to contact your Senators, members of Congress, and President Biden to demand the release of all documents and testimony from the assassinations of President Kennedy as well as those being held in national, state and local government institutions relating to the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy.
Please visit the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s website (www.americantruthnow.org) and sign our petition to reopen these cases and create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Contact the author Andrew Kreig
Change.org. Petition Seeking Sirhan’s Parole.
The Truth & Reconciliation Committee (TRC). The JFK primer is presented by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, whose founding signers include members of the Kennedy and King families, forensics expert Dr. Cyril Wecht, right, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, civil rights leader Reverend James Lawson, Jr., activist actors and directors, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner, Alec Baldwin, Oliver Stone and many others. (www.americantruthnow.org).
We call for major public inquests into the four major assassinations of the 1960s that together had a disastrous impact on the course of American history: the murders of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
These public tribunals, shining a light on this dark chapter of our history, will be modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation process in post-apartheid South Africa. The inquests — which will hear testimony from living witnesses, legal experts, investigative journalists, historians and family members of the victims — are intended to show the need for Congress or the Justice Department to reopen investigations into all four assassinations.
Related News Coverage
Justice Integrity Project, New Reports By Expert Research Group Document Conspiracies To Slay JFK, RFK, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 28, 2021. Two major new research reports assemble evidence that challenges longstanding official accounts endorsed by major news organizations that President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), were fatally shot in separate assassinations by lone gunmen, acting alone.
The separate reports announced late this month show that JFK’s 1963 death in Dallas and RFK’s 1968 death in Los Angeles were each the product of conspiracies to thwart the democratic process of elections and accountability via the criminal justice system and have resulted in long-time cover ups that continue to thwart justice and other aspects of civic life.
The reports were prepared by the non-partisan Truth & Reconciliation Committee (T&R), which was founded in 2019 and announced in 2020. The reports are available in full on the committee’s website.
Justice Integrity Project, JFK Murder Documents, Deadlines, Disclosures, Disputes, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 7, 2021, updated Nov. 25. The Biden Administration’s recent delay in releasing the final trove of classified documents pertaining to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy tees up three annual research conferences this month during the anniversary of JFK’s slaying in downtown Dallas.
The conferences and postponed document releases build on millions of pages of previously declassified documents and many hundreds of books through the decades fanning widespread public doubts about official accounts. Those official accounts, most notably the 1964 Warren Commission report, assigned guilt for the president’s death solely to ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. Flaws in the report largely ignored by government, academic and mainstream media foster lingering fears that watchdog institutions fail to probe and prevent civic tragedies and cover-ups, including in current times.
Today’s column surveys this fall’s major developments. These include the records release delay, the three conferences and Oliver Stone’s sequel, JFK Revisited, to his blockbuster film JFK three decades ago. The new documentary launched in the United States on Showtime on Nov. 22, the anniversary of JFK’s death.
This editor has published a book in the field this year, worked closely with leaders in records release advocacy and also spoke at two of the three November conferences.
- One was organized by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), shown via Zoom with details, on the weekend days of Nov. 20 and 21, with a free all-day session on Friday, Nov. 19 for students.
- Another was the JFK Assassination Conference, which was seen both via Zoom and in person at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Dallas, beginning Thursday Nov. 18.
- A third conference, organized since 1996 by the JFK Lancer event and publishing company, was its “November in Dallas” annual event, this year via remote viewing from Nov. 19 through 21, with heavily discounted admission for students.
Our project always seeks to promote all three conferences with the view that there is much to discuss, with many valuable perspectives deserving an audience.
An appendix below contains more details on these events, as well as excerpts from a number of news stories and commentaries this fall regarding the records release process and its implications, plus analysis of several recent assassination witness revelations.
This column is also the 57th segment of the Justice Integrity Project’s JFK Assassination Readers Guide, which lists major books, films, archives and interpretative articles, with an index and links in the appendix.
Shown also below is a report on the new issue of Garrison, a 398-page webzine published this month. This edition’s focus is on original commentaries about the 1960s assassinations of John Kennedy (JFK), his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and Malcolm X.
The materials focus heavily on remaining questions about responsibility and motive for Kennedy’s shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles shortly after his victory in the California Democratic primary appeared to pave the way for his presidential nomination. Shown below is his victory speech shortly before he was gunned down while leaving via a kitchen pantry to avoid crowds.
Included also in this guide compiled by our Justice Integrity Project, like the other guides, is research that explores the assassination’s current implications for the U.S. justice system and other governance.
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