The JFK Assassination as an Engineered Provocation-Deception Plot:Some Military Parallels Between 11/22 and 9/11
Address to COPA, November 2010
(6559 words, 9355 with footnotes)
Preface: The Sociodynamic of Deception Events as Pretexts for War
In my latest book, American War Machine, I argue that our state and society have been seriously affected, and indeed restructured, by a series of what I called deep events: events, like the Kennedy assassination, which are mysterious to begin with, and whose mystery is compounded by systematic falsifications in media and internal government records.#
These deep events are typically ascribed to marginal external agents, like the alleged lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald.
But cumulatively, I write,
the historical succession of deep events—such as Dallas, Watergate, and 9/11—has impacted more and more profoundly on America’s political situation. More specifically, … major foreign wars are typically preceded by deep events like the Tonkin Gulf incidents, 9/11, or the 2001 anthrax attacks. This suggests that what I call the war machine in Washington (including but not restricted to elements in the
Pentagon and the CIA) may have been behind them.
After completing the later chapters of this book, I have come to state this
conclusion more forcefully. Since 1959, most of America’s foreign wars have
been wars 1) induced preemptively by the U.S. war machine and/or 2) dis-
guised as responses to unprovoked enemy aggression, with disguises repeat-
edly engineered by deception deep events, involving in some way elements of
the global drug connection.
Since completing this book six months ago I have come to formulate this conclusion even more forcefully. We cannot understand either Dallas or 9/11 until we recognize that, since World War One, the majority of the world’s major wars have been preceded by deception deep events.
Let me give some foreign examples.
The second Sino-Japanese War in Asia was preceded by the Mukden Incident of September 1931, when a Manchurian railroad was dynamited covertly by the Japanese Army. The Army blamed Chinese dissidents; but it is now generally conceded that the Japanese staged the bombing themselves as a pretext for war.#
In 1939 Hitler, before launching the European Second World War against Poland, contrived to arrange a similar false-flag deception: “Germans from a concentration camp were dressed in Polish army uniforms and ‘invaded’ Germany.#
Not all deception events are false-flag events. The Israeli-Egyptian War known as the Suez Crisis of 1956 involved an “massive attempt to deceive,” in which the British and French plotted with the Israelis to enter the conflict as apparent peace-makers, rather than the co-plotters for war which they actually were.# (The deception quickly failed.)#
I raise these disparate examples to make it very clear that a repetitive use of deceptions as pretexts for war does not by itself prove a common authorship for them. These deception events do not flow from some kind of master conspiracy, but rather a predictable sociodynamic that occurs when the leaders of an expansive quasi-democratic state are persuaded there is a need for war, a need which they know their public will not understand. I shall return to this point in my conclusion.
11/22 and 9/11 as Engineered Provocation-Deception Plots
Other factors however have persuaded me to link the twin deceptions of 11/22 (the JFK assassination) and 9/11. One is the common modus operandi I have come to see as underlying the details of both events. Two years ago I listed fifteen striking similarities in my reissued book The War Conspiracy. I listed another half dozen in an earlier draft of today’s talk, but there will not be time today to list them.#
More important than the similarities is the continuity I have described in my recent books, in the evolution of what I have come to call the American War Machine. By the American War Machine do not mean the American public state, or even what is often referred to as the national security state. I mean a coalition of forces both inside and outside government, extending to elements of the American media and universities, which is distinct from the public state; and has continuously systematically pressured the public state into more and more ambitious designs for global dominance.#
I see both 11/22 and 9/11 as more complex than the simple false-flag deception events employed in the 1930s by the Japanese Army and by Hitler, because in both cases a prior sequence of falsified documentary records was elaborately contrived. Drawing on the language of actual Joint Chiefs documents, I describe such a contrivances (with respect to 9/11) as an “engineered deception event,” and would now call an “engineered (or fabricated) provocation-deception plot.” The words “engineered” and “fabricated” are taken from a Joint Chiefs of Staff document of May 1963, JCS 2304/189, which is the starting point for my talk today. Here is the thesis of that document: [quote] “The engineering of a series of provocations to justify military intervention is feasible and could be accomplished with the resources available” [unquote].#
Like the Northwoods project of a year earlier, the May 1963 document JCS 2304/189, devised by J-5 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not thinking hypothetically. As a series of false-flag “FABRICATED PROVOCATIONS,” it suggested
Fabricated provocations could be evolved by a carefully timed combination of some of the following typical incidents:
(1) Arranging a series of well coordinated incidents to take place in and around Guantanamo to give a realistic appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces to establish a credible attack against the US Naval Base….
(2) Using MIG type aircraft flown by US pilots to harass civil air, attack surface shipping or to attack US military….
(5) Make it appear that Castro was lending direct support to insurgent communist elements in a Latin American country such as Haiti or Guatemala.#
The provocation-deception events being fabricated in this period by the Joint Chiefs went far beyond the standard deception tactics engaged in by both the CIA and armed forces – as when the Allies in World War Two managed to deceive Germany as to the location of the D-Day invasion. These deceptions were clearly not designed to deceive Cuba, but the American people, to accept the unilateral initiation by America of an illegal war. I shall refer to these deceptions targeted against Americans as provocation-deception plots. In them the recurring aim is to persuade the American people, falsely, that they have been subjected to an enemy attack.
As I show in my book, the JCS proposal in 1963 to deceive the America people was one of a series of such provocation-deception plots, from Laos in 1959, which falsely implicated North Vietnam, down to the anthrax mailings in 2001, which falsely implicated Iraq. The 2001 anthrax mailings were later identified as involving anthrax from a source inside the U.S. biowar establishment. But at the time, there were numerous pre-invasion stories such as this one in the Daily Mail by Simon Reeve:
Iraq has been identified as the most likely source of the anthrax used to terrorise
America during recent weeks. New plans are now being considered for retalia-
tory military strikes against Saddam Hussein, according to American govern-
ment officials. Although studies of the anthrax spores sent through the mail are
continuing, American scientists have discovered “hallmarks” that point to Iraqi
involvement. American investigators are increasingly convinced that the anthrax was smuggled into the US and mailed to a number of targets by unidentified
“sleeper” supporters of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organisation.#
(Later Bush, in his State of the Union address to Congress leading up to the Iraq war, would make the distorted charge, later disproven, that Iraq had “materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax.”)# Much later, referring to Fort Detrick, Salon reporter Glenn Greenwald pointed out that “the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq.”#
The J-5 proposal of May 1963 is much more relevant to the Kennedy assassination than the Northwoods proposal of a year earlier. The Northwoods proposal, signed by Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer, was in response to a request from Edward Lansdale in support of an operation, Mongoose, promoted by Robert Kennedy. In the May 1963 paper the Joint Chiefs, chaired by Lemnitzer’s successor Gen. Maxwell Taylor, declare their belief [quote] “that US military intervention in Cuba is necessary” [unquote].# This was six months after Kennedy, to resolve the Missile Crisis in October 1962, had given explicit assurances to Khrushchev, albeit highly qualified, that the United States would not invade Cuba.#
Taylor and the Joint Chiefs, even after Kennedy’s first tentative moves towards détente, continued to pressure him with plans for direct military intervention in Cuba. This risked war with the Soviet Union; but this risk in their eyes was less a deterrent than an incentive, since they believed (in their words) they could “counter any Soviet military response to such action.”# This obvious reference to US superiority in nuclear missiles was only one example of JCS willingness to initiate a nuclear attack which (by their own estimates) would result in “at least 140 million fatalities in the USSR.”#
America, of course, never invaded Cuba. My reading of JCS records in late 1963 is that the Joint Chiefs, still eager to confront the Soviet Union in the Third World, backed off from their difficult and risky plans for a U.S.-initiated direct invasion of Cuba; and instead they intensified their planning, already under Kennedy but without Kennedy’s knowledge and against Kennedy’s intentions, for more direct intervention on behalf of its proxies already fighting in Vietnam.# It is hard to prove this shift of JCS focus from Cuba to Vietnam; because, as I have shown elsewhere, when we search for the relevant documentation of about JCS Vietnamese planning in 1963 for escalated 34-A operations against North Vietnam, nearly all of the documentation is missing.#
But that the JCS backed off from the Cuban provocation-deception plots is clear. We find at the end of the 1963 document a notation, dated 4 October 1963, that “JCS 2304/189 is withdrawn from consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in light of JCS 2304/194-1.”# (JCS 2304/194 appears not to have been declassified; but there is a single reference to it, in yet another JCS document, as a “current study being pursued by the Joint Staff which examines the pros and cons of an invasion of Cuba at a time controlled by the United States.”)#
Thanks to the researches of Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, we know that in early October the focus of JCS Cuba planning had shifted from provoking a confrontation with Cuba to responding to a possible military coup there. (Although only a few knew this, there was such a plot in preparation, led by Juan Almeida, the chief of the Cuban armed forces). We now have a series of late 1963 documents entitled “A Draft State-Defense Contingency Plan for a Coup in Cuba” designed [quote]”To provide planning guidance for US response to a coup in Cuba.” [closed quote].#
Waldron and Hartmann argue from these documents that [quote] “the United States was on the brink of invading Cuba.”# I believe this is overstated. The emphasis of JCS 2304/189 in May had been on “fomenting a revolt in Cuba,”# or “to contrive a revolution.”# The JCS 2304 documents in October, in contrast, concern a Contingency Plan “To provide planning guidance for US response to a coup.” Part of the Contingency Plan was to insert a joint DOD-State-CIA “’special team’ to obtain information essential to making a decision to support the insurgents.” This was to ensure “that the US would not commit its prestige to the support of an uprising which might collapse.”# I do not doubt that the US might have invaded Cuba on December 1, 1963, if a coup led by Juan Almeida had been judged to have been successful.# But we know that there was no such coup, and no such US response.
Tonkin Gulf as a Provocation-Deception Plot
In contrast Vietnam was a more feasible, more rewarding, more geostrategical, and above all less dangerous terrain for escalation. And in August 1964, as we well know, the graduated 34-Ops authorized on November 26, 1963, far more serious than anything undertaken against Cuba, led to direct US military action against North Vietnam.# This was in response to the so-called Second Tonkin Gulf incident, in which a US destroyer thought (mistakenly) it was under attack on August 4 by North Vietnamese PT boats. After decades of debate there is now universal agreement that (in the words of an in-house NSA study, “no attack happened that night. […] In truth, Hanoi’s navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2.”# I shall argue that the United States was responding, not to an attack, but to a successful provocation-deception plot.
There was no attack, yet McNamara, in urging passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, assured Congress that there was “unequivocal proof” that there was. This proof, it developed later, consisted of alleged electronic intercepts (actually, falsified reports of intercepts) that reached Washington on August 4, and helped finalize the decision to retaliate. We now know that the two most relevant intercepts were changed in the reporting of them; and these changes, intentionally or not, deceived decision-makers into thinking, wrongly, that North Vietnam had attacked the US destroyers.
The two most crucial reports, we now know, were both false. The earliest intercept, concerning a refueling operation, was summarized, in a Critic message from a Marine SIGINT detachment in Phu Bai, as ““IMMINENT PLANS OF DRV NAVAL ACTION POSSIBLY AGAINST DESOTO MISSION.” But a U.S. Navy report of the same message, from San Miguel in the Philippines, was entitled
“REPLENISHMENT OF DRV NAVAL VESSEL.” The San Miguel report translated the critical sentence as: “T146 SUPPLY FUEL FOR THE 333 IN ORDER TO GIVE ORDERS TO PUT INTO OPERATION ((2 GR G)) WITH T146….San Miguel viewed the information as nothing more than the refueling of the damaged torpedo boats….In fact, there was no intercept at all which hinted at an attack.#
The second intercept, stating “‘WE SACRIFICED TWO COMRADES,” reached Washington decision-makers in the form ““WE HAD ALSO SACRIFICED TWO SHIPS.”#
Most analysts, reporting these changes, have characterized them as an “honest mistake” or “major blunder by NSA” (which, we should not forget, is part of the Department of Defense).# But their analysis does not deal with the problem I first raised in 1970, that the second falsification was deemed credible because it echoed the cables from the US destroyers: the Turner Joy itself had reported, mistakenly but innocently, that it had sunk two enemy boats. As Captain Herrick of the Maddox later told author Joseph Goulden, “We heard…their damage report confirm our assessment that two of the boats had been sunk.”#
The unexplained alteration of the intercept into an echo of the Turner Joy’s cable goes beyond what I can consider an “honest mistake.” I see it as intentional, i.e., another example of a provocation-deception plot: in which, as in the JCS plans, the result was to create the false impression of an enemy attack.
Why am I talking about Tonkin Gulf in a talk addressing the Kennedy assassination? Because of the case I am about to present to you that the JFK assassination was also part of a provocation-deception plot.
Provocation-Deceptions from Army Intelligence Reserve in Dallas, 11/22/1963
To begin with, we know that in Dallas, on November 22, there were people inside the military who falsified their reporting of the Kennedy assassination to create the false impression (or what I have called the “phase-one story”) of an enemy attack.
I have written before about these phase-one stories from Dallas concerning the JFK assassination, but I did not realize until recently that all of them came from a single Army Intelligence Reserve unit.
As these deceptions are immediately post-assassination, they do not in isolation establish that the assassination itself was a provocation-deception plot. They do however reveal enough about the anti-Castro mindset of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit in Dallas to confirm that it was remarkably similar to that of the J-5 the preceding May that produced a menu of “fabricated provocations” for the Joint Chiefs.
In 1977 I tried but failed to draw one such false report to the attention of the House Committee on Assassinations. This was an army cable reporting a tip from a Dallas policeman:
Assistant Chief Don Stringfellow, Intelligence Section, Dallas Police Department, notified 112th INTC [Intelligence] Group, this Headquarters, that information obtained from Oswald revealed he had defected to Cuba in 1959 and is a card-carrying member of Communist Party.”#
The cable sent on November 22 from the Fourth Army Command in Texas to the U.S. Strike Command at Fort MacDill in Florida, the base poised for a possible retaliatory attack against Cuba.#
I knew before that Stringfellow’s superior officer, Captain W.P. Gannaway, was a member of Army Intelligence Reserve.# Later Ed Coyle, himself a warrant officer of the 112th Intelligence Group, testified to the Assassinations Records Review Board that all the officers in the DPD’s Intelligence Section were in army intelligence.#
Actually they were almost certainly in the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas: Jack Crichton , the head of the 488th, revealed in an oral history that there were “about a hundred men in that unit and about forty or fifty of them were from the Dallas Police Department.”#
The Stringfellow message was an example of a phase-one report in the Dallas investigation: a deception report incriminating, falsely, either Cuba or the Soviet Union. It was not isolated. In Deep Politics I showed how it was supported by a concatenation of false reports about Oswald’s alleged rifle, and specifically reports indicating, falsely, that Marina Oswald presumed Oswald’s rifle in Dallas to be the rifle he owned in Russia.# (Marina’s actual words, before mistranslation, were quite innocuous: “I cannot describe it [the gun] because a rifle to me like all rifles.”)#
On the basis of such false phase-one stories, Dallas Deputy District Attorney Bill Alexander reportedly prepared “to indict Oswald for killing the President ‘in furtherance of a Communist conspiracy.’ “#
Evidence of a Provocation-Deception Plot Involving the Kennedy Assassination
Meanwhile, in Washington, the post-assassination phase-one stories out of Dallas were augmented by a more serious item of pre-assassination false evidence. A letter purporting to be from Oswald, mailed from Irving, Texas on November 12 to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, was intercepted by the FBI. In this letter, the writer spoke of “my meetings [plural] with comrade Kostin in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, Mexico City.” The letter also alluded suggestively to the lack of time there “to complete our business.” Even more alarmingly, the author revealed his accurate knowledge that the Consul in the Cuban Embassy had been “replaced.”#
This Kostin letter was completely unlike any other written by Oswald; to begin with, it was not handwritten but typed. For the FBI to verify whether Oswald was the originator of the letter, they should have tested the letter against the Ruth Paine typewriter on which he had allegedly written it. But there is no public record that this was ever done. This omission, along with much other evidence, suggests that the letter was a false artifact, or, as I would now say, part of a provocation-deception plot.#
The Kostin letter dovetailed neatly with another piece of false pre-assassination evidence: a report out of Mexico City, indicating that Oswald had visited a KGB agent in the Soviet Embassy there named Valeriy Kostikov. The evidence for this visit was clearly false; it relied on the tape of an alleged phone call by Oswald which in fact had been made by someone else.# We have documentary evidence that one day after the President’s murder this tape was listened to by FBI agents in Dallas, who determined that the speaker was in fact not Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet almost immediately this event was denied by other reports, including cables claiming — falsely — that the tape had already been destroyed before the assassination.#
There are a number of anomalies in both the FBI and CIA handling of Oswald in the weeks just prior to the assassination, such as the CIA’s withholding of important information about Oswald from the FBI. As one of the relevant CIA officers (Jane Roman) conceded years later in an interview, there was probably an “operational reason” for the CIA to have withheld important information about Oswald from the FBI.#
The CIA’s operational interest in Oswald was conceivably part of an operation directed against an enemy target, such as Fidel Castro. But the false Kostin letter, and the false Kostikov phone call, cannot be attributed to such an operation. These were provocation-deceptions designed to deceive, not the enemy, but an American audience, about the assassination in Dallas that had not yet occurred.
The Ubiquitous Shadow of the 488th Intelligence Reserve Unit
The explosive phase-one theory swiftly died, but did not lose its historical relevance. It led to the perceived risk that right-wing elements, such as Senator Eastland’s Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, would provoke a war with Cuba and possibly Russia. This fear became Johnson’s excuse for federalizing the murder case and persuading Earl Warren and Richard Russell to join the Warren Commission.# Thus was established the official phase-two explanation, that Oswald was a misfit who acted alone.
Of interest still today is the coincidence that the same the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit helped generate the false Marina story, as well as the false Stringfellow report. The interpreter who first supplied the Marina story, Ilya Mamantov, was selected as the result of a phone call between Deputy Police Chief George Lumpkin and Jack Crichton.# We have already seen that Crichton commanded the 488th; and Lumpkin, in addition to being the Deputy Police Chief, was also a deputy commander of the 488th under Crichton.#
John Crichton was the kind of figure Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point described as a “connector….people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”# Some of his contacts are figures who should be familiar to students of the JFK assassination. His superior in the Army Reserves, Lieutenant Colonel George Whitmeyer, was on 11/22 in the pilot car of the Kennedy motorcade along with DPD Deputy Chief George Lumpkin; the pilot car is of interest because of its unexplained stop in front of the Texas School Book Depository.# D.H. “Dry Hole” Byrd, owner of the Texas School Book Depository, was a director of Crichton’s firm Dorchester Gas Producing#
Crichton, an oil engineer and corporation executive, also doubled as a member of the Dallas overworld. Although his 488th intelligence unit consisted almost 50 percent of Dallas policemen, Crichton also used it as a venue in the late 1950s to conduct “a study of Soviet oil fields;” and in the 1990s Crichton would himself explore the oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet Union.# Also interested in Soviet oil reserves at this time were Ilya Mamantov’s employers and personal friends, the wealthy Pew family in Dallas who were owners of Sunoco. By 2009 the second largest source of crude for Sunoco (after Western Africa) was Central Asia, supplying 86,000 barrels of crude a day.#
But Crichton’s most significant function as a connector on 11/22 may have been in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center under the patio of the Dallas Health and Science Museum. As Russ Baker reports, “Because it was intended for ‘continuity of government’ operations during an attack, it was fully equipped with communications equipment.”# A speech given at the dedication of the Center in 1961 supplies further details:
This Emergency Operating Center is part of the National Plan to link Federal, State and local government agencies in a communications network from which rescue operations can be directed in time of local or National emergency. It is a vital part of the National, State, and local Operational Survival Plan.#
The Importance of Alternative Networks to Provocation-Deceptions
I would like to digress briefly to describe the central importance of America’s emergency communications network (or so-called Doomsday communications network) in four of the recent deception plots in our history: 11/22, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11.# If one part of the government is deceiving another, it needs its own alternative network to do so. Oliver North, for example, used just such an anti-terrorist network, codenamed Flashboard, to conduct the Iran-Contra arms operations for which he was ultimately fired.#
Others beside myself have pointed to the meta-importance of those charged with overseeing the Doomsday communications network, known most recently as the Continuity of Government (COG) network. James Mann, for example, has referred to the COG network overseers as “part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents may come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.”# In 1991 a CNN feature on the COG overseers described them even more ominously as a “shadow government,” and opened with “In the United States Federal Government there is a super-secret agency which controls this Shadow Government.”#
We saw that the key to the provocation-deception producing the false Second Tonkin Gulf Incident depended on the ability to transmit false information on a restricted special network. I have written elsewhere about the importance of war exercises on 9/11 that were being conducted on the special “continuity of government” (COG) network. That Crichton had access to this network in 1963 is a surprising discovery that makes me want to explore more fully a few of the military analogies between the Kennedy assassination in 1963, or what we may call 11/22, and 9/11 almost four decades later.
I wish I knew enough to talk today about the small detail that on both 11/22 and 9/11 there were unexplained reports involving an Air Force special plane, the so-called “Doomsday plane,” – the plane that serves as the military airborne command post (NEACP, pronounced “Kneecap”) for special emergencies. The NEACP flight on 9/11 was in conjunction with a war game, Global Guardian; that on 11/22 has been characterized as a “training” exercise only. But one would like to know whether or not the 11/22 training exercise involved Jack Crichton and the Civil Defense Office in Dallas.#
On 11/22 we know only that the EC-135 that served then as the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP, or “Kneecap”), when in fact airborne, contacted the Fourth Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. The call was extremely brief: “This is Silver Dollar calling to test communications. I read you loud and clear, loud and clear. How do you read me?” But it was not routine: the army person receiving did not know what “Silver Dollar” meant (it was NEACP’s communications code name). This led to army intelligence inquiries that day, as soon as it was realized that the call, at 12:25 PM, had come just five minutes before JFK was assassinated.# The fact that NEACP was airborne and making test calls might seem irrelevant to events on the ground in Dallas, until we learn that Crichton’s Civil Defense Post was part of its network.
By 2001 the emergency communications network administered by the Doomsday Plane had been massively augmented in Project 908, a project overseen in the 1980s by a continuity of government (COG) or Doomsday planning group whose membership included Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. As part of the upgrade, the old EC-135s of NEACP had been replaced by four Boeing E-4Bs, now known as “Advanced Airborne Command Posts,” with a project name of “Night Watch.”
According to the Pentagon, all four are assigned to the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, the Strategic Air Force Command or STRATCOM base to which George W. Bush flew on 9/11. Three of them were airborne on that day, in connection with a live command-level exercise called Global Guardian. One of them was said to be carrying the members of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which was joined one month later by Philip Zelikow, still later director of the 9/11 Commission.
Stratcom canceled the 9/11 war exercises at 9:03 AM, when the second tower was hit. Nevertheless, one of the Doomsday planes was seen and recorded by CNN one hour later, just before 10 AM, in the restricted air space over the White House.# This was about the time that, as I have described elsewhere, Cheney and perhaps Rumsfeld had begun to use the emergency COG communications network administered by the E-4B.
Common sense suggests that it would have been natural to divert an EC4B, already airborne on 9/11 for Global Guardian, to oversight of the perceived attack on Washington. But the very core of COG planning was to ensure geographic separation between the existing government and its shadow alternate. Cheney reportedly sequestered personnel in underground bunkers for ninety days after 9/11, “since there was evidence, he hinted, that the terrorist organization al-Qa’ida…had nuclear weapons”#
The EC4B’s presence in Washington can be taken as an indication that those responsible for its presence there (presumably Cheney and Rumsfeld) had no such worries for its safety. Recent research by Larry Hancock and Larry Haapanen indicates a similar situation on 11/22: available records suggest that while some senior bureaucrats worried about the possibility of a foreign attack on that day, there was an eerie passivity at the highest levels, suggesting no such concern.#
This would indicate that, while phase-one stories such as Stringfellow’s report were being transmitted, those at the highest level of responsibility set no store by them. I doubt that this disconnect can be attributed to ignorance. On the contrary, I take
Crichton’s status in the Center as an sign that persons intimately involved with each deep event (Crichton on 11/22, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on 9/11) were part of the secret Doomsday communications network evolved to deal with a national emergency.
The same observation can be made about key figures in Watergate and Iran-Contra, the two other major deep events of the last half-century. James McCord, the leader of the burglars arrested inside Watergate, was among other things a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, in a small unit charged with developing contingency plans in a national emergency “for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications).”#
Oliver North, the Reagan White House point man on both Iran-Contra and COG planning, had access to a secure communications system “that excluded other bureaucrats with opposing viewpoints…The counter-terrorism network even had its own special worldwide antiterrorist computer network, codenamed Flashboard, by which members could communicate exclusively with each other and their collaborators abroad.”# It was by this time, as noted above, that COG emergency planning had been redefined under Reagan to designate “terrorism” as its principal target.#
Those with resource to such secure networks are in a position to manipulate our country’s history, when necessary by provocation-deception plots.
The DPD-Army Connection Reconsidered
I devoted a whole chapter of my book Deep Politics to the Dallas Police-Army Intelligence connection. But I now think that I seriously misinterpreted its significance, by seeing its phase-one propensity as an example of right-wing Texas divergence from the phase-two inclination of those responsible for running the country. Today we know that the phase-one zeal in Dallas to implicate Castro, by the use of deceptive falsehoods, had also characterized the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington.
Researcher Larry Haapanen has discovered the 488th seems to have had its own direct chain of command linking it to Washington. In an esoteric publication entitled The Military Order of World Wars (Turner Publishing Company, 1997, p. 120), he found that Crichton “commanded the 488th MID (Strategic), reporting directly to the Army Chief of Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency.”# And in 1970 Haapanen was told by Crichton’s commander in the Texas Army Reserve, Lt. Col. Whitmeyer, that Crichton’s unit did its summer training at the Pentagon.
It is now clear that Stringfellow’s claims about Oswald as a Communist Party visitor to Cuba, though clearly false, fell well within the guidelines for a provocation-deception as set out in the Northwoods and May 1963 documents. All this Cuban deception planning was in support of JCS OPLANS 312 (Air Attack in Cuba) and 316 (Invasion of Cuba). These were not theoretical exercises, but actively developed operational plans which the JCS were only too eager to execute. As they told Kennedy, “We are not only ready to take any action you may order in Cuba, we are also in an excellent condition world-wide to counter any Soviet military response to such action.”# In other words, they were prepared for a nuclear strike against Soviet Russia; even though the JCS, as Air Force General Leon Johnson told the National Security Council in September 1963, believed this would probably result in “at least 140 million fatalities in the USSR.”#
At the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, according to Khruschchev’s memoir, Robert Kennedy told the Russian ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin:
The President is in a grave situation and does not know how to get out of it. We are under very severe stress. In fact we are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba…. Even though the President himself is very much against starting a war over Cuba, an irreversible chain of events could occur against his will. That is why the President is appealing directly to Chairman Khrushchev for his help in liquidating this conflict. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American army could get out of control.”#
11/22 and 9/11: Their Consequences for War
This leads us to perhaps the most serious, and also complex, of the parallels between 11/22 and 9/11: that each was promptly followed by one of the two longest wars – Vietnam and Afghanistan – in U.S. history. Analysed a little more closely, we see that in each deep event
1. there were powerful elements inside and government pressing for war – against Cuba in 1963, against Iraq in 2001;
2. plans for escalation or war were promptly initiated – by NSAM 273 on Vietnam on November 26, 1963, and by the overt invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001;
3. in each case the difficult direct war originally pushed for was sidelined (permanently in the case of Cuba, only temporarily in the case of Iraq) and planning for a direct invasion was displaced by planning for a different intervention against a softer target (Vietnam, Afghanistan) in conjunction with local proxies.#
In 1963-64 Johnson clearly turned a cold shoulder to the insistent pressures from the Joint Chiefs and others for war against Cuba. Yet just before Christmas 1963 Johnson told the Joint Chiefs, “Just get me elected and then you can have your war” – meaning Vietnam.# Daniel Ellsberg has recorded how throughout 1964 U.S. planners, despite public assurances to the contrary, were driven by the conviction that defeat in Vietnam “could be averted, even in the relatively short run, only by a direct U.S. combat role.”#
The same substitution of countries occurred in 2001. Cheney and Rumsfeld, as signers of a Project for the New American Century position papers, had called as early as 1997 for action to unseat Saddam Hussein in Iraq.# There are notes indicating that on 9/11 Rumsfeld was pushing for military action against Saddam as early as 2:40 PM, and that he was soon joined in this campaign by his Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Nevertheless, when Bush signed secret orders for action five days later, his orders called for an immediate plan of military support for the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and only “to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.”#
There were in fact no credible pretexts to justify attacking either Cuba or Iraq. Attacks on these primary targets would moreover have been premature: in neither country did the conditions yet exist for an invasion to be popularly supported and successful. But in both cases the talk of an invasion in country 1 may by its very extremity have facilitated the lesser decision for an intervention in country 2 – just as the Pentagon, in order to obtain a $10 billion budget item, is accustomed to ask first for $20 billion.
The settling for the lesser decision may finally have been intended to reinforce the
image Johnson needed in 1963 that he was continuing Kennedy’s policies, and the image Bush needed in 2001 that he was respectful of the razor-thin mandate given him by the bitterly contested 2000 election. Both presidents were put into office by events that were extraordinary; and both presidents needed a cloak of moderation, to mask how they were in fact leading this country into major wars.
To repeat what I said at the outset: both 11/22 and 9/11 are deep events which have deeply affected this country, with consequences far greater than could have been achieved by just 19 Arabs or one disgruntled ex-Marine. But one of the neglected similarities between the two deep events is that in both cases the changes were accomplished behind misleading promises of continuity: Johnson’s “Let us continue,” and Bush’s assurances on 9/11 that the terrorist attacks “cannot touch the foundation of America.”#
Let me close by clarifying what I am not saying, and also what I am saying. I am saying that elements of the American War Machine, whether inside the government or outside it, contributed to both 11/22 and 9/11; and they did so because of their interest in promoting a major war. I am not saying that the American government did this. In point of fact there features of both events suggesting that, in both cases, personnel of foreign intelligence agencies may have been involved. The American war machine is so complex, so pervasive in our society, that to blame it for these events is as vague and as open-ended as the sentence in my earlier book Deep Politics (for which I have been much ridiculed) that “the deep political system” killed John F. Kennedy. My conclusion does not try to identify individual culprits; it tries to identify and define a systemic process of deception events.
Still less am I implying that the scenarios of 11/22 and 9/11 were extracted and dusted off from some master conspiracy theory residing in someone’s safe. What I am describing , as I said at the outset, is a predictable sociodynamic that occurs when leaders of an expansive quasi-democratic state are persuaded there is a need for war, a need which they know their public will not understand.
In discussing 11/22 and 9/11, we lack the evidence to blame these events narrowly on the US Government, Pentagon, CIA, Army Intelligence Reserve, or any other specific agency. It is my belief however that we can blame them on the American War Machine. In this sense I believe we can describe each event, the JFK assassination and the attacks of September 11, as being “an inside job.”
There are still many Americans who will be shocked by this statement, even deeply offended. To those of us who have studied these matters, however, this conclusion is not saying very much.