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For The Record  

FTR #1031 Interview #1 with Jim DiEugenio about “Destiny Betrayed”

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

 

Intro­duc­tion: The first of a planned long series of inter­views with Jim DiEu­ge­nio about his tri­umphal analy­sis of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and New Orleans DA Jim Gar­rison’s hero­ic inves­ti­ga­tion of the killing, this pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s pre­co­cious polit­i­cal vision. Pos­sessed of a deep under­stand­ing of how the strug­gle for, and desire for, nation­al inde­pen­dence by colo­nial pos­ses­sions of Amer­i­ca’s World War II allies under­cut the cast­ing of these nations’ affairs in a stark “East vs. West” Cold War con­text, Kennedy put his polit­i­cal vision into play in many instances. It was his attempts at real­iz­ing his polit­i­cal vision through con­crete pol­i­cy that pre­cip­i­tat­ed his mur­der.

(Lis­ten­ers can order Des­tiny Betrayed and Jim’s oth­er books, as well as sup­ple­ment­ing those vol­umes with arti­cles about this coun­try’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions at his web­site Kennedys and KingJim is also a reg­u­lar guest and expert com­men­ta­tor on Black Op Radio.)

When the Unit­ed States reneged on its com­mit­ment to pur­sue inde­pen­dence for the colo­nial ter­ri­to­ries of its Euro­pean allies at the end of the Sec­ond World War, the stage was set for those nations’ desire for free­dom to be cast as incip­i­ent Marxists/Communists. This devel­op­ment was the foun­da­tion for epic blood­shed and calami­ty.

Jim details then Con­gress­man John F. Kennedy’s 1951 fact-find­ing trip to Saigon to gain an under­stand­ing of the French war to retain their colony of Indochi­na. (Viet­nam was part of that colony.)

In speak­ing with career diplo­mat Edmund Gul­lion, Kennedy came to the real­iza­tion that not only would the French lose the war, but that Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh guer­ril­las enjoyed great pop­u­lar sup­port among the Viet­namese peo­ple.

This aware­ness guid­ed JFK’s Viet­nam pol­i­cy, in which he not only resist­ed tremen­dous pres­sure to com­mit U.S. com­bat troops to Viet­nam, but planned a with­draw­al of U.S. forces from Viet­nam. (We have cov­ered this in numer­ous pro­grams over the decades, including–most recent­ly–FTR #978.)

Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Mem­o­ran­dum 263

In future dis­cus­sion, we will ana­lyze at greater length and in greater detail how Lyn­don Baines John­son reversed JFK’s Viet­nam pol­i­cy and autho­rized the endur­ing car­nage that was to fol­low.

The fledg­ling nation of Laos was also part of French Indochi­na, and Jim notes how out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er coached Pres­i­dent-Elect Kennedy on the neces­si­ty of com­mit­ting  U.S. com­bat forces to Laos.

The CIA was already back­ing the Hmong tribes­men and financ­ing their guer­ril­la war­fare by assist­ing in the mar­ket­ing of their pri­ma­ry rev­enue-earn­ing crop–opium. (We dis­cussed this at con­sid­er­able length in AFA #24, among oth­er pro­grams.)

Again, Kennedy refused to com­mit U.S. ground forces and engi­neered a pol­i­cy of neu­tral­i­ty for Laos.

 Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; p. 54.

 . . . . At his first press con­fer­ence, Kennedy said that he hoped to  estab­lish Laos as a “peace­ful country–an inde­pen­dent coun­try not dom­i­nat­ed by either side.’ He appoint­ed a task force to study the prob­lem, was in reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with it and the Laot­ian ambas­sador, and decid­ed by Feb­ru­ary that Laos must have a coali­tion gov­ern­ment, the likes of which Eisen­how­er had reject­ed out of hand. Kennedy also had lit­tle inter­est in a mil­i­tary solu­tion. He could not under­stand send­ing Amer­i­can troops to fight for a coun­try whose peo­ple did not care to fight for them­selves. . . . He there­fore worked to get the Rus­sians to push the Pathet Lao into a cease-fire agree­ment. This includ­ed a maneu­ver on Kennedy’s part to indi­cate mil­i­tary pres­sure if the Rus­sians did not inter­vene strong­ly enough with the Pathet Lao. The maneu­ver worked, and in May of 1961, a truce was called. A few days lat­er, a con­fer­ence con­vened in Gene­va to ham­mer out con­di­tions for a neu­tral Laos. By July of 1962, a new gov­ern­ment, which includ­ed the Pathet Lao, had been ham­mered out. . . . 

A for­mer Dutch colony, Indone­sia was anoth­er emerg­ing nation at the epi­cen­ter of the tug of war between East and West. Sukarno sought to remain a neu­tral, or non-aligned coun­try, along with oth­er lead­ers of what we call the Third World, such as Indi­a’s Nehru. Not seek­ing to align with the Sovi­et Union nor the West, Sukarno remained on good terms with the PKI, the large Indone­sian com­mu­nist par­ty.

In 1955, Sukarno host­ed a con­fer­ence of non-aligned nations that for­mal­ized and con­cretized a “Third Way” between East and West. This, along with Sukarno’s nation­al­ism of some Dutch indus­tri­al prop­er­ties, led the U.S. to try and over­throw Sukharno, which was attempt­ed in 1958.

Kennedy under­stood Sukarno’s point of view, and had planned a trip to Indone­sia in 1964 to forge a more con­struc­tive rela­tion­ship with Sukharno. Obvi­ous­ly, his mur­der in 1963 pre­clud­ed the trip.

In 1965, Sukarno was deposed in a bloody, CIA-aid­ed coup in which as many as a mil­lion peo­ple were killed.

Yet anoth­er area in which JFK’s pol­i­cy out­look ran afoul of the pre­vail­ing wis­dom of the Cold War was with regard to the Con­go. A Bel­gian colony which was the vic­tim of geno­ci­dal poli­cies of King Leopold (esti­mates of the dead run as high as 8 mil­lion), the dia­mond and min­er­al-rich Con­go gained a frag­ile inde­pen­dence.

In Africa, as well, Kennedy under­stood the strug­gle of emerg­ing nations seek­ing free­dom from colo­nial dom­i­na­tion as falling out­side of and tran­scend­ing stereo­typed Cold War dynam­ics.

In the Con­go, the bru­tal­ly admin­is­tered Bel­gian rule had spawned a vig­or­ous inde­pen­dence move­ment crys­tal­lized around the charis­mat­ic Patrice Lumum­ba. Under­stand­ing of, and sym­pa­thet­ic to Lumum­ba and the ide­ol­o­gy and polit­i­cal forces embod­ied in him, Kennedy opposed the reac­tionary sta­tus quo favored by both Euro­pean allies like the Unit­ed King­dom and Bel­gium, as well as the Eisenhower/Dulles axis in the Unit­ed States.

 Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 28–29.

. . . . By 1960, a native rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader named Patrice Lumum­ba had gal­va­nized the nation­al­ist feel­ing of the coun­try. Bel­gium decid­ed to pull out. But they did so rapid­ly, know­ing that tumult would ensue and they could return to col­o­nize the coun­try again. After Lumum­ba was appoint­ed prime min­is­ter, tumult did ensue. The Bel­gians and the British backed a rival who had Lumum­ba dis­missed. They then urged the break­ing away of the Katan­ga province because of its enor­mous min­er­al wealth. Lumum­ba looked to the Unit­ed Nations for help, and also the USA. The for­mer decid­ed to help, . The Unit­ed States did not. In fact, when Lumum­ba vis­it­ed Wash­ing­ton July of 1960, Eisen­how­er delib­er­ate­ly fled to Rhode Island. Rebuffed by Eisen­how­er, Lumum­ba now turned to the Rus­sians for help in expelling the Bel­gians from Katan­ga. This sealed his fate in the eyes of Eisen­how­er and Allen Dulles. The pres­i­dent now autho­rized a series of assas­si­na­tion plots by the CIA to kill Lumum­ba. These plots final­ly suc­ceed­ed on Jan­u­ary 17, 1961, three days before Kennedy was inau­gu­rat­ed. 

His first week in office, Kennedy request­ed a full review of the Eisenhower/Dulles pol­i­cy in Con­go. The Amer­i­can ambas­sador to that impor­tant African nation heard of this review and phoned Allen Dulles to alert him that Pres­i­dent Kennedy was about to over­turn pre­vi­ous pol­i­cy there. Kennedy did over­turn this pol­i­cy on Feb­ru­ary 2, 1961. Unlike Eisen­how­er and Allen Dulles, Kennedy announced he would begin full coop­er­a­tion with Sec­re­tary Dag Ham­marskjold at the Unit­ed Nations on this thorny issue in order to bring all the armies in that war-torn nation under con­trol. He would also attempt top neu­tral­ize the coun­try so there would be no East/West Cold War com­pe­ti­tion. Third, all polit­i­cal pris­on­ers being held should be freed. Not know­ing he was dead, this part was aimed at for­mer prime min­is­ter Lumum­ba, who had been cap­tured by his ene­mies. (There is evi­dence that, know­ing Kennedy would favor Lumum­ba, Dulles had him killed before JFK was inau­gu­rat­ed.) Final­ly, Kennedy opposed the seces­sion of min­er­al-rich Katan­ga province. . . . Thus began Kennedy’s near­ly three year long strug­gle to see Con­go not fall back under the claw of Euro­pean impe­ri­al­ism. . . . ”

Final­ly, the pro­gram con­cludes with analy­sis of Kennedy’s stance on Alge­ria. A French colony in North Africa, Alger­ian inde­pen­dence forces waged a fierce guer­ril­la war in an attempt at becom­ing free from France. Once again, Kennedy opposed the West­ern con­sen­sus on Alge­ria, which sought to retain that prop­er­ty as a French pos­ses­sion.

Des­tiny Betrayed by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; Sky­horse pub­lish­ing [SC]; Copy­right 1992, 2012 by Jim DiEu­ge­nio; ISBN 978–1‑62087–056‑3; pp. 25–26.

. . . . On July 2, 1957, Sen­a­tor Kennedy rose to speak in the Sen­ate cham­ber and deliv­ered what the New York Times was to call the next day, “the most com­pre­hen­sive and out­spo­ken arraign­ment of West­ern pol­i­cy toward Alge­ria yet pre­sent­ed by an Amer­i­can in pub­lic office.” As his­to­ri­an Alan Nevins lat­er wrote, “No speech on for­eign affairs by Mr. Kennedy attract­ed more atten­tion at home and abroad.” It was the mature fruition of all the ideas that Kennedy had been col­lect­ing and refin­ing since his  1951 trip into  the  nooks  and cor­ners of Saigon,  It was pas­sion­ate yet sophis­ti­cat­ed, hard-hit­ting but con­trolled, ide­al­is­tic yet, in a fresh and unique way, also prag­mat­ic. Kennedy assailed the admin­is­tra­tion, espe­cial­ly John Fos­ter Dulles and Nixon, for not urg­ing France into nego­ti­a­tions, and there­fore not being its true friend. He began the speech by say­ing  that the most pow­er­ful  force inter­na­tion­al  affairs at the time  was not the H‑bomb, but the  desire  for  inde­pen­dence from impe­ri­al­ism. He then  said it was a test of  Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy to meet the chal­lenge of impe­ri­al­ism. If not, Amer­i­ca would lose the trust of mil­lions in Asia and Africa. . . . He lat­er added that, “The time has come for the Unit­ed States to face the harsh real­i­ties of the  sit­u­a­tion  and to ful­fill its respon­si­bil­i­ties as leader of the free world . . . in shap­ing a course toward polit­i­cal inde­pen­dence for Alge­ria.” He con­clud­ed by say­ing that Amer­i­ca could not win in the Third World by sim­ply dol­ing  out for­eign aid  dol­lars, or sell­ing free enter­prise, or describ­ing the evils of  com­mu­nism, or lim­it­ing its  approach  to mil­i­tary pacts. . . .” 

The French peo­ple were divid­ed over the Alger­ian strug­gle, and those divi­sions led to the fall of the Fourth Repub­lic and the rise of Charles De Gaulle. De Gaulle grant­ed Alge­ria its inde­pen­dence and then faced down the lethal oppo­si­tion of the OAS, a group of mil­i­tary offi­cers ground­ed in the fas­cist col­lab­o­ra­tionist pol­i­tics of Vichy France. De Gaulle sur­vived sev­er­al assas­si­na­tion attempts against him and there are a num­ber of evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries lead­ing between those attempts and the forces that killed Kennedy.

Mau­rice Brooks Gatlin–one of Guy Ban­is­ter’s investigators–boasted of hav­ing trans­ferred a large sum of mon­ey from the CIA to the OAS offi­cers plot­ting against De Gaulle. In addi­tion, Rene Souetre–a French OAS-linked assas­sin was in the Dal­las Fort Worth area on 11/22/1963.

 

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