On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d'etat that was never rolled back.
Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a "conspiracy theorist" who engages in "conspiracy theories." May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics - consciously or unconsciously - are acting exactly according to the "playbook" of the CIA?
Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term "conspiracy theorists" for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term "assassination theories" when it came to alternative views of the "lone nut" Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon "conspiracy theories" became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.
LS: What do you see as the prime motive(s) to get Kennedy killed?
MB: To make a long story, which I elaborate in the book, short: JFK had made definitive steps to end the cold war. He had denied the involvement of the army in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which he had inherited from his predecessor, he had solved the missile crisis in Cuba through direct and secret contact with the Soviet-leader Khrushchev, he had ensured a nuclear test-stop with the Soviets, and he had ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam. All this against the will of the military, the CIA, and even against many members of his own administration.
LS: If one looks at the crime from the perspective of "motive, means, opportunity," which groups are the most likely culprits? Some of the usual suspects may have had a motive, but neither the means nor the opportunity, right?
MB: Yes. This is a crucial point with many JFK theories. A lot of people had motives, be it the hardcore commies in Russia, China, Cuba, be it the Israelis because of JFKs dismissal of nukes in Israel, be it the Federal Reserve because of his idea for a new US dollar backed by silver, the mob because of his dismissal to invade Cuba to get their casinos and brothels back, the racist Southerners because of his engagement for civil rights... but no one of them had the means and opportunity for the murder and above all the means to cover it up over the years.
LS: Which party had the necessary components of "means and opportunity" available?
MB: Only the CIA and the military - and the FBI and the Johnson administration for the cover-up. A moment after the shootings, a policeman ran up to the grassy knoll, his gun pulled out, and stopped a man there, asking for his ID. The man showed a Secret Service card and the cop let him go. Several other men on Dealey Plaza also showed genuine looking Secret Service IDs when asked by cops - but there were no real Secret Service men placed on the knoll and the plaza this day.
These IDs were fakes but the FBI and the Warren Commission didn't investigate this at all. Only in the 80s it came out who was responsible for the printing of Secret Service IDs and passes at that time: it was the CIAs Technical Division, headed by Sydney Gottlieb of "MK Ultra" fame. This fact alone rules out that the mob or the Russians, Cubans, Chinese or some other autonomous killers did this on their own bill. And even if these groups would have been able to fake genuine looking Secret Service IDs - the fact that this deception was not investigated, immediately brings Hoover's FBI into a top-position of suspects.
LS: One crucial point regarding the cover up of the crime is the false autopsy report - also in connection to "means and opportunity". Please elaborate.
MB: The ARRB (Assassination Records Review Board) established beyond any doubt that the autopsy and x-rays, which are in the National Archives, were doctored. No mobster, bankster or Cuban would have been able to do this. These fakes were done at the Bethseda military hospital, where JFKs autopsy was supervised by Curtis LeMay, the Joint Air Force Chíef and one of JFKs keenest enemies. He was at a fishing vacation when the Dallas shooting happened and flew to Washington immediately - not for any military emergency but to sit in the autopsy room - and smoked a cigar! The faked pictures and x-rays, which were presented to every investigator since then, are a main reason why the crazy magic bullet theory could hold for so long. Only the military, where these pics and x-rays were taken, was able to arrange these fakes and place them in the archives.
LS: Another important point is the tempering with the so called "Zapruder film". Why so?
MB: Also thanks to the ARRB there is a lot of evidence that the film was tempered with on the day after the assassination. However, even the existing "original" seems to show clearly a shot from the front, the grassy knoll - so the fake wasn't perfect. That the Warren Commission was shown only a bad black/white copy indicates that the perpetrators were aware of that. That the Zapruder film was bought by the Time/Life publishers - and kept secret to the public for years; as the Nix-film bought by UPI and disappeared - indicates the guiltiness of the media in the cover-up.
LS: Coming back to the CIA, do you think that the CIA had separated itself from governmental oversight during the 1950s and 1960s, or would it be more correct to suggest that the Agency actually was a ploy of financial interests from the outset? Or more bluntly spoken: was democratic oversight ever intended?
MB: In general, democracy and intelligence services are antagonists; democracy depends on transparency and intelligence services on the opposite. So the democratic / congressional / governmental oversight is always a quite rotten compromise. The CIA's camouflage from the beginning was that it is a service to gather intelligence - and centralize the intelligence gathering of the different other services - to keep the president informed. The main job of the CIA were and are covert operations, and because such operations depend on "plausible deniability," it was usual from the beginning to inform the president - if at all - only minimally. Since the CIA's "father" Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer and his brother John Foster ran the foreign policy, covert operations were a family business done by the Dulles-Brothers and their clients on Wall Street. This is what JFK tried to finish and what marked him for death.
LS: You´re citing investigative journalist Joseph Trento, saying about former CIA director Allen Dulles: "Dulles had decided not to leave the future of the Agency to Congress or the President." What made Dulles powerful enough to risk such a decision?
MB: Dulles' clients were bankers and big corporations, who were in big business with Nazi-Germany in the 30s and even during the war. Some of them, like Prescott Bush - George W.'s grandfather - were indicted for "dealing with the enemy", and Allen Dulles, head of the OSS in Switzerland during the war, arranged a lot of these dealings. He arranged the secret integration of Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen and some hundreds of his SS officers into the US army and the building-up of the CIA apparatus. Between 1945 when the OSS was dismantled and 1947 when the CIA was founded he did this privately - without any official position - from his office at the "Council on Foreign Relations."
LS: Would it have been more appropriate if Dulles would have been interrogated with regard to Kennedy's death, instead of having been the mastermind behind the Warren Commission?
MB: It's a perfect irony, or better: huge cynism, by the puppet of Texas-oilmen, Lyndon B. Johnson, to have Dulles masterminding the Commission. But since it worked out so well they tried it again, this time unsuccessfully, to have "Bloody Henry" Kissinger masterminding the 9/11 Commission. In my opinion Dulles is one of the main suspects in the Kennedy murder and should have been prosecuted immediately.
LS: How did both the CIA and the FBI mislead the Warren Commission in various ways?
MB: The result of the Commission was clear from the beginning, the Commission didn't do any investigations at all, and it depended on the data given by the FBI. Hoover knew about the many fingerprints of the CIA in the case, he knew that they had brought up fake evidence of Oswald's visits in Mexico to blame him as a communist - and concluded only two days after the shooting that there was only the lone shooter, LHO.
Hoover hated the Kennedys, especially his boss Robert F Kennedy, and was the main evildoer in the framing of Oswald and the cover-up of the case. The CIA arranged the false evidence for what Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics and the Death of JFK) called Phase 1 of the cover-up - the "communist"-connection, which enabled Johnson - screaming of the dangers of a nuclear war - to press the commission members to take part, and to make sure Phase 2 of the cover-up and the result of their pseudo-investigation: the deranged lone nut Oswald.
LS: One usual suspect in the "JFK conspiracy literature" is the mob. In your book you're writing that it doesn't always make sense to distinguish between organized crime and the CIA. How did you come to this conclusion?
MB: From the "Luciano Project" in 1943 - the help of the imprisoned mob-boss Lucky Luciano with the invasion of Sicily - the mob became the tool of choice for covert CIA-operations and generating black money from the drug business. Wherever the US-military set their boots in or the CIA is doing "regime changes," drug money is essential for financing these operations, from South East Asia in the 60s till today in Afghanistan. And since Langley can't sell the stuff directly over their counter, they need the mobsters to do this - and get its share to finance warlords / freedom fighters / terrorists...
LS: May I ask you to talk a bit in that regard about Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exposition), please?
MB: Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad and a strawman for their money-laundering and weapons-business. They worked together with Meyer Lansky's bank in Switzerland, which was run by Tibor Rosenbaum, who did most of the weapons-business of the Mossad.
LS: Was Jim Garrison in general heading in the right direction?
MB: He was, because Clay Shaw, the owner of the New Orleans International Trade Mart and one of the directors of Permindex, was clearly working with the CIA. That's why Garrison's case was sabotaged by the Washington Establishment right from the beginning.
LS: Why is it remarkable that CIA had a 201 file on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MB: John Newman (Oswald and the CIA) has done remarkable research on how the CIA manipulated its files on Oswald and faked a 201 personal file to present it to the Warren Commission, showing that they had virtually nothing on him before 1962. This is clearly impossible after Oswald's defection to the USSR in 1959. The most likely cause for this manipulation is that Oswald was part of the false defector program headed by JJ Angelton, the counterintelligence chief.
LS: You are arguing if Lee Harvey Oswald would have been indeed solely responsible for Kennedy's death that the case would have been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. Why so?
MB: From all crimes, murder is the one with the most cases solved by courts. There would have been no need for all the cover-ups since 50 years, if LHO indeed was a lone nut.
LS: Moreover, you're arguing that Oswald would have been acquitted of the charge of having killed Kennedy, if he would have survived. Why so?
MB: Even Gerald Posener, the author of Case Closed - the apology of the Warren Commission's findings - meanwhile is saying that. There is no hard evidence that Oswald was on the 5th floor when the shooting took place; there is no evidence that the "Mannlicher"-gun, that he had mail-ordered, was fired that day; there is no hard evidence that he killed Officer Tippit, because witnesses saw two men shooting at him... and so on. Oswald would have left the court room as a free man.
LS: Why was it necessary that Jack Ruby killed Oswald? And furthermore, did they know each other?
MB: They knew each other well, and since Oswald was an asset of FBI and CIA, he had to be silenced before he could talk.
LS: There was not just one plot to kill Kennedy in Dallas, but there was at least one more planned for a visit of Kennedy to Chicago, right?
MB: Yes, there was a plot planned in Chicago with clear parallels to what happened in Dallas - with an ex-Marine as the prepared patsy, who got a job on a high rise building on the route that the motorcade was planned to take some weeks before, and who had trained with exile-Cubans like Oswald. By chance the sharp-shooters were detected by an hotelier and the Chicago visit was cancelled.
LS: Why did JFK die on November 22, 1963?
MB: JFK had made a radical change while president, from a classic cold warrior to a policy of reconciliation and peace. He had made angry enemies in the military and the CIA and when he announced to end the cold war in his speech on June 10th 1963, he finally was marked for death.
LS: Can you tell us something about the role of the Secret Service and the U.S. military in the assassination?
MB: The Secret Service men were mostly Southerners, who deeply dismissed JFKs civil rights politics. They did very lax security in Dallas and there is a probability that some of these men were sweetened to do so. The memories of Abraham Bolden, the first Afro-American brought to the Secret Service by JFK in 1961, tells that when he tried to contact the Warren Commission to talk about the supremacist, racist attitude of his colleagues, he was indicted by corrupted false witnesses and brought to prison.
The military played a crucial role in the false autopsy & x-ray-pictures made at the Bethseda hospital in Washington DC and the testimony of the doctors. General Curtis LeMay, Joint Chief of the Air Force and one of the harshest opponents of JFK's peace politics, was present in the autopsy room in Bethseda, smoking a cigar! I think his presence was not by chance.
The military intelligence also played a crucial role in Dallas - the first interviews of Marina Oswald was not by Dallas Police but by officers of the military intelligence, which also arranged a dubious translator for her testimonies, which helped to frame Oswald in the first place.
LS: Where did the funding for the coup come from?
MB: The Texas oilmen and billionaires H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison are the most probable financiers, even if there is no hard evidence for it. They paid for the ad in the Dallas paper the day before the visit, naming Kennedy a communist and a traitor. They hated JFK to the bones and they had LBJ in their pocket, their insurance that everything would be covered up properly.
LS: How many people lost their lives over the years related to the Kennedy assassination?
MB: A well-researched new book by Richard Belzer (Hit List) lists 1,400 persons with a connection to the murder and in the first three years after the assassination 33 of them died of unnatural causes. The probability that this happened by chance is 1:137 billion.
LS: Was it basically the right-wing / fascist and racist mindset in the U.S. that won the coup d'etat on November 22, 1963?
MB: Yes. And in Dallas, Texas these right-wing fascists, who called themselves "patriots," had a home game.
LS: What would the history of the "Cold War" have been if the nuclear arms race had ended in Kennedy's second term? Would the Berlin Wall have come down sooner?
MB: After the nuclear test stop, JFK announced to his confidants that he would go to Moscow after the re-election to negotiate a peace treaty. In public, he had already announced stopping the arms race in order to end the cold war. In a National Action Security Memorandum he had called for co-operation with the Russians in space. After the exchange of secret letters with Khrushchev, which ended the missile crisis, he was on good terms with the Soviet leader, who in the Kremlin also had called for disarmament. The death of JFK encouraged the Soviet hardliners to get rid of him. With Kennedy alive, Khrushchev would have stayed in power and the cold war could have been ended in the 60s.
LS: Why does the death of JFK still matter?
MB: It's the most important crime in the second half of the 20th century, it is still unsolved and it marked in a way the end of the American Republic. Since then the financial-military-industrial complex rules and no president after JFK has had the balls to challenge that. There is, in the words of Gore Vidal, "a one-party-system with two right-wings"; there is corporate media brainwashing the population 24/7 and propagating wars for global imperial dominance; there are covert operations all over the world to ensure this dominance - and this will go on and on as long the truth about the covert operation, the coup d' état, against JFK's presidency is kept hidden.
LS: Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Broeckers! Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika (JFK: Coup d'Etat in America), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany ( via larsschall.com ).