“False Mystery” and the Transparent Conspiracy – William E. Kelly, Jr.
Yet to be fully realized is the significance of the essays on the assassination of President Kennedy by Vincent J. Salandria, now compiled and available in “False Mystery – An Anthology of Essays on the Assassination of JFK,” (1999, Edited by John Kelin, with an Introduction by Christopher Sharrett and an Essay by E. Martin Schotz. Spiral bound, 152 pages, w/index. $20).
The first printing of this edition is currently available exclusively from Andy Last Hurrah Books [849 W. Third St. #1, Williamsport, PA., 17701/ (570) 321-1150], but eventually other editions should be more widely available.
Salandria’s contributions to the case will be more widely recognized when the Kennedy assassination is studied as an historic, rather than as a contemporary event, but Salandria has had an affect on the thinking and approach of many independent researchers and investigators. When the total truth is eventually brought out and some semblance of justice is achieved, these essays will be recognized for contributing to not only what has already been chronicled about the assassination, but for shaping the philosophical, moral and legal bullets that have yet to be fired.
Well known among the researchers who have grown up studying the case, Salandria is another Philadelphia attorney who play important roles in this drama – along with Warren Commissioner John J. McCloy, assistant counsels William Coleman, Sam Stern and Arlen Specter and the first chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations Rirchard Sprague.
As Seton Hall professor Christopher Sharrett notes in his Introduction to “False Mystery,” Salandria wrote one of the earliest criticisms of the Warren Commission’s conclusion regarding the forensic evidence (in the Legal Intelligencer on Nov. 2, 1964), in which he personally challenges Sen. Arlen Specter (R. Pa.) with pertinent questions, a challenge that has thus far gone unanswered.
For those interested in a minute analysis of the forensic details, the first six chapters should suffice, including “Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds,” “The President’s Back and Neck Wounds,” “The Impossible Tasks of One Assassination Bullet,” “The Separate Connally Shot” and “Life Magazine and the Warren Commission,” which were previously published in “Liberation Magazine” or “A Minority of One.” For me things get interesting when you get to “The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy – A Model of Explanation,” which is where I first read Salandria in 1971 in the small, unique and then influential journal “Computers and Automation.”
Salandria explains that, “While the researchers have preoccupied themselves with HOW the assassination was accomplished, there has been almost no systematic thinking of WHY President Kennedy was killed.…Much valuable time has been lost; it is becoming increasingly clear that our delay has cost mankind dearly. I urge that no one drop this question, for to do so is to abandon the serious search for peace internationally and for domestic tranquility….Since November 22, 1963…there has been a great deal of research into the micro-analytic aspects of the assassination. I have been among the earliest and guiltiest of the researchers in my protracted analyses of the shots, trajectories and wounds of the assassination. The ransaking of the facts of the assassination is not a source of pride for me but rather of guilt…We have neglected this essential work of constructing a model of explanation which fits the data of the assassination and explains the why of it.”
“One who takes the trouble to study the micro-analytic material provided by the federal government must immediately conclude that there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. How foolish it was of us to dwell so long on these governmentally supplied pacifiers, rather than to put them aside and undertake the serious work of constructing a model of explanation. In this connection, it is important to take note that the very organization which made that mass of detailed micro analytic evidence available to us – the federal government – contended from the first that there was no conspiracy. But, the federal government’s intelligence agencies must have known that the material which the government issued would indicate a conspiracy existed. Then why did we get the evidence?”
“This question presents a serious theoretical problem. Why would the federal government on the one hand wish to provide us with data which prove a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy and simultaneously contend on the other hand that there was no conspiracy? So overwhelming and voluminous is the evidence of conspiracy provided for us by the government that we are compelled to conclude that if not THE, at least A NUMBER OF POSSIBLE plots, were meant by the conspirators to be quasi-visible. The federal government has deluged us with evidence that cries out conspiracy.”
“Because of the covertness of the coup, I propose the explanatory thesis that the new government rulers were eager to reveal their work at differing levels of certainty to diverse people and at different times. In this way, they could avert a concerted counter thrust to their illegitimate seizure of power. Democratic forces could not unite against the new illegitimate government apparatus because of timing. The insights of what had occurred dawned in the minds of decent citizens at different times and with different degrees of clarity. The transparent aspects of the conspiracy were permitted to flash signals to various elements of our population, much in the fashion of spot ads slanted at different times for selected audiences. The new rulers carefully and selectively orchestrated revelations of their bloody work, so as to gain there from the deference to which they felt they were entitled by their ascendancy to absolute power. I have long believed that the killers actually preempted the assassination criticism by supplying the information they wanted revealed and also by supplying the critics whom they wanted to disclose the data…Where evidence of a conspiracy….surfaced – and much did – thanks in the main to the government’s disclosures, that same government from the very first and continuously to date has publicly refused to act on the evidence.”
“So the transparent nature of the assassination in a very real sense framed us all; made us feel guilty, and served to paralyze us in a gripping sense of inadequacy. The transparent conspiracy paves the way for our despair and demoralization of the people. It eroded our trust in the nation states. But he alienation was deeper and more personal than the separation of people from confidence in their governments. The transparency of the assassination effectively destroyed politics…And thus a post-Orwellian, Huxlyian world was assured in by the new rulers…We should have broken early and cleanly from the micro analytic – or nitpicking – approach in the assassination inquiry. We should have immediately undertaken the vital work of developing an adequate model of explanation, an adequate hypothesis, in order to pursue the reasons for the assassination. We here and now belatedly begin this vital work.”
Like most conspiracy theorists, Salandria then asks the hypothetical question, “Which Group Was Responsible?” He lists a number of the usual suspects, J.E. Hover and the FBI, the Left, the Right, the Pentagon, CIA, Russians, Cubans and LBJ.
Under “The Russian or Cuban Model,” he dismisses them with, “Would Castro have selected Oswald,…as the killer? Would the Russians have chosen Oswald who had been ostensibly a defector to the Soviet Union? Would Castro or the Soviet Union have risked the transparent nature of the assassination in killing Kennedy so as to invite hydrogen war? Was it worth killing liberal John F. Kennedy for Cuba and Russia to get very conservative L.B.J. as the head of the United States government? Would the FBI or the CIA have covered for the Cuba or Russian governments? Would Warren have lent his liberal name, long attached to human rights, to a Warren Report which had as its purpose to protect collectivist totalitarian governments? Would our military remained silent, especially when so much of the blame for the cover-up was heaped on the military, if the Cuban and Russian governments were behind the killing? No, Cuba and Russia did not kill Kennedy.”
As with the Ruskies and Cubans, Salandria dismisses most conspiracy theories as illogical – though acknowledging, “There is much evidence to indicate military involvement in the assassination.” But he rejects LBJ as the primary sponsor because, “…it would be impossible to conceive of President Johnson and his Texas cronies arranging to have the President killed in their own bailiwick where the world’s suspicions would at once be directed against them. No, many careful studies show absolutely no evidence that President Johnson was involved in producing the assassination.”
Well, someone will just have to show Mr. Salandria the evidence linking LBJ directly to Billie Sol Estes, Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace in the murder of federal agent Henry Marshall, and the fingerprint from the assassin’s lair that some forensic specialists have matched to Wallace, together the fact that Carter and Fred Korth were in on the earliest planning of the Texas trip at the Cortez Hotel meeting with LBJ and JFK. The ascension of LBJ to the Presidency WAS the Coup d’etat, so LBJ had to be a party to the taking over of the government if he was the new head of the state.
In a Coup d’etat, ALL of the state security agencies as well as the military must either be part of the operation, compromised or neutralized. Instead of following all of the evidence to the guilty parties, Salandria focuses in on the CIA as the chief culprit, not only for the killing, but for the coverup, “…in order to insure that the nation would be so divided ideologically there could be no coalescence of forces which would seek retribution for the killing,”
Those interested in maintaining a divided ideology have supported both sides of the debate, and have tried to keep it a simple matter of branding everyone either a Lone-Nuter who believes Oswald did it alone psycho reasons, or a Conspiracy Theorists, those who know there was a conspiracy and marshal all of the evidence that supports their pet theory, with the chief suspects usually being an acronym organization – KGB, CIA, DIA, MAFIA, G2, ONI….or whatever.
There is however, a small, but growing and clearly distinguished Third Force – of Independent Researchers who are neither Lone-Nuters nor Conspiracy Theorists, who keep an open mind, read all of the books and documents, aren’t paid to do it, don’t have an axe to grind and don’t target suspects, but rather, follow the evidence where-ever it leads, and they realize that JFK was not killed by an agency or organization but by Real People, individuals with names, jobs, addresses, phone numbers and bank accounts.
Salandria is one of those Conspiracy Theorists who blame the Ancronym Agencies in general, sometimes calling them “the National Security State,” but he does get specific and names names, and when he does, his suspects are also mine. Specifically focusing in on former CIA director and Warren Commissioner Allen Dulles and the suspicious and pivotal activities of JFK’s national security advisor McGeorge Bundy, Salandria takes us into the bowels of the conspiracy and puts his finger on the main artery from which the cracks in the case allow us to peek into mechanics of the crime.
Under “Dulles Suppressed Evidence of Oswald’s Soviet Intelligence Connections,” Salandria writes, “On January 21, 1964, in a secret executive session, the Warren Commission had to deal with the problem of Marina Oswald giving evidence that Oswald was a Soviet agent…we learn from the transcript of the secret executive session that Isaac Don Levine was helping Marina Oswald write a story for Life Magazine, which never got published. Allen Dulles….said simply: ‘I can get him in and have a friendly talk. I have known him.’ Does that sound as if Allen Dulles was contemplating suppression of information?”
Salandria is one of the first to point to the work of the ‘guerrilla journalism’ of Life Mag, and he acknowledges the past work of Life Mag’s Isaac Don Levine, who played a central role in the Alger Hiss case, exposed Trotsky’s assassin as a Soviet agent, bought and suppressed the Zapruder film for Life Mag and wrapped up the publishing rights to Marina’s story from the gitgo.
Since Dulles was retired from the CIA in November, 1963, and thus out of the official loop, Salandria looks to JFK’s national security advisor McGeorge Bundy, and his “Ties to the CIA.” Salandria on Bundy: “With the Kennedy Administration, McGeorge Bundy was a foreign policy hardliner who had little use for Adlai Stevenson’s idealistic approach to foreign relations. McGeorge Bundy was one of the planners of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Allen Dulles was in Puerto Rico, so Richard Mervin Bissill, Jr. was the CIA’s man in charge of the planning. As happenstance would have it, McGeorge Bundy, the President’ Assistant for National Security Affairs, had been a student of Bissell’s at Yale. He also had worked for Bissill on the Marshall Plan in 1948. Also in on that planning, as coincidence would have it, was General Charles P. Cabell, the CIA’s deputy director, who is brother of Mayor Earle Cabell, the Mayor of Dallas at the time of the assassination. McGeorge Bundy was – in the Kennedy and early Johnson Administration – the presidential representative and key man on the Special Group which makes key intelligence decisions for the country. It has operated as the hidden power center of government.”
The intertwining of CIA cover corporations in the assassination drama – the Catherwood Foundation, the San Jacinto Fund, etc., are important, and Salandria goes to great lengths to show that Bundy’s work as director of the Ford Foundation was merely an extension of his other work for the criminal bureaucrats at other agencies. McGeorge Bundy was also the senior White House official in the Situation Room at the time of the assassination, and Salandria thinks it is extremely significant, as I do, that the first official confirmation of the assassination being accomplished by a lone-nut and not a conspiracy came not from Dallas but from McBundy in the White House basement.[A topic that I will elaborate on in a separate article on “The Tale of the Tapes” – BK].
As for “The CIA’s Follow-up Tactics,” Salandria writes, “If our model of explanation, our hypothesis of the assassination of John F. Kennedy accurately interprets the data of the assassination, then it should also be useful in ferreting out current operations in which the Central Intelligence Agency would have had to involve itself domestically as a natural and necessary follow up to the Dallas assassination.” And there is evidence that establishes the fact that the intelligence network responsible for what happened at Dealey Plaza is still operational today. As Peter Dale Scott phrased it, the forces responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy are not “benign.”
Salandria makes the observation, “Of course, secret elitist police organizations such as the CIA do not thrive on peace, democracy, and a contented and informed people. The power of the intelligence agencies increases in direct proportion to the degree of sickness of a nation…”
And in the end he blames the CIA: “This is the lesson to be learned from the killing of President Kennedy and the overthrow of the Republic of the United States by the CIA: …let us turn away from the horror of the killing of John F. Kennedy. Let us join together….to tell the truth about the killing of Kennedy. Through this refusal to live a great lie we will come together to understand and love ourselves and society better. Let us not delay in this union of truth. If we do not join together in the search for the truth, then guns back up cover-story lies will pick us off one by one and ultimately join us together – in death.”
“What Are We to Do?” Salandria asks. “Each of us can draw strength from the past. From the past we must draw upon the traditions which offer mankind purpose identity and love of his fellow man. Each of us must draw strength from the present. From the present we must seek to understand power and the tools of mind control…In studying the present we must raise the threshold of fear so that we can face hard truth. Hard truth will tell us that everywhere power seeks to defeat man’s individuality, to program man to be alienated from all other men; to manipulate man to seek pleasure and not responsibility. The present task of those who love humanity is to get men and women to move, work and join together in common love of human freedom, knowledge and justice….As a first small effort towards these ends, let us engage now in a discussion wherein we will use the Kennedy assassination not as a mechanism for practicing a debilitating exercise in double-think, but rather let us use the assassination as a means of expanding our understanding of our times.”
Salandria’s Anthology ends with the text of a speech Salandria gave to the National Conference of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), on November 20, 1998.
On November 18, 1998, I was in the COPA Command Post in Washington D.C. helping to plan that conference, sending faxes to news organizations, when word came in that Salandria wanted two hours to speak, more than an hour longer than anyone else. After a number of cross continental phone calls, Salandria was accommodated, and as the primary speaker on the opening night of the Dallas conference, he gave the speech of his life.
As Sharrett described it in his introduction: “The essay entitled ‘A False Mystery Concealing State Crimes,’ is Salandria’s speech before COPA – at the Coalition On Political Assassination’s 1998 conference, and is a summary statement of his work. It exhorts the reader not to participate in the false, debilitating debate that refuses to say President Kennedy was the victim of a state-sanctioned coup. Salandria asks that we use this murder as an instruction for our times, a lesson concerning the bankruptcy of our way of life, as we engage in then difficult task of building a more just society. The speech, which took Salandria nearly two hours to deliver at COPA, received a prolonged standing ovation, heartening him greatly after a long period of believing assassination research had become an intellectual hobby horse and taken a disastrously pointless turn. The next evening, COPA gave Salandria a long-overdue lifetime achievement award.”
It was an incredible speech, is an important essay, and should be read by everyone interested in the assassination of the 35th President. Now you can either read it, thanks to John Kelin in “False Mystery” or at his “Fair Play” web magazine, or watch the video for the dramatic presentation. I will only quote a few paragraphs from it:
“No viable democratic government that was free of guilt and that was in control of civilian authorities would have permitted a sham autopsy of the President’s body. In accepting the orders of the generals and admirals not to probe the neck wound of the President the military doctors who were performing the autopsy effectively aborted it. Those doctors were guilty of malfeasance. The admirals and generals present in the autopsy room who were responsible for those orders were simply criminals, guilty of the crimes of conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice. They were also criminal accessories after the fact to the murder of the President….”
“Ruth and Michael Paine could not have been Soviet, Castro or Mafia agents. They had to be agents of the killing force, our U.S. intelligence. If they had been Soviet or Castro agents, an innocent government would have swooped down on them and seen them as clear beacons leading to the killers. Our government did not cause them any trouble. The Paines are criminal co-conspirators in the killing of President Kennedy and would and should now be prosecuted by a guiltless government….”
In conclusion, Salandria said, “By coming to understand the true answer to the historical question of who killed President Kennedy and why, we will have developed a delicate and precisely accurate prism through which we can examine how power works in this militarized country. By understanding the nature of this monumental crime, we will become equipped to organize the struggle through which we can make this country a civilian republic in more than name only. Until we understand the nature of the Kennedy assassination, and until we express the truth openly on this vital aspect of our history, we will continue to be guilty participants in the vast amount of state criminality involved in the killing of President Kennedy and its coverup.”
“We can no longer afford to shield ourselves by asserting that the murder of President Kennedy is a mystery. There is no mystery regarding how, by whom and why President Kennedy was killed. Only when we strip away our privileged cloak of denial about the truth of the killing will we be able to free ourselves for the hard global work of changing our unfair and brutal society to one that is more equitable and less violent.”
After Salandria’s speech, I was talking to Fair Play editor John Kelin in the hall when Salandria walked passed. I thanked him, shook his hand and asked him for a copy of his speech, which he kindly provided to both me and John, who posted it on his web site, beginning the process that led to the publication of this fine Anthology.
It also led to a few rounds of exchanged emails and faxes between myself, Kelin, Salandria, Sharratt and E. Martin Schotz, a psychiatrist whose book, “History Will Not Absolve Us,” is also an important contribution to the JFK assassination literature. Schotz gave a talk at the same COPA conference called “The Waters of Knowledge versus The Waters of Uncertainty – Mass Denial in the Assassination of President Kennedy,” which is published as an Appendix in “False Mystery.”
While I disagree with Schotz on the role of COPA and the Assassinations Records Review Board, I do agree with him when he says, “The Warren Report was an obvious act of criminal fraud” and that “Senator Arlen Specter should be indicted for criminal obstruction of justice…” I also want to thank E. Martin Schotz for calling attention to the April 25, 1998 assassination of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Geradi Conedera, the day after he spoke these words:
“The root of humanity’s downfall and disgrace comes from the deliberate opposition to truth…To open ourselves to the truth and to bring ourselves face to face with our personal and collective reality is not an option that can be accepted or rejected. It is an undeniable requirement of all people and all societies that seek to humanize themselves and too be free….Truth is the primary word, the serious and mature action that makes it possible for us to break the cycle of death and violence and open ourselves to a future of hope and light for all….Discovering the truth is painful, but it is without a doubt a healthy and liberating action.”
And something to die for.
That such assassinations still occur today is a crime we have allowed to continue to be committed because those responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy have gone unchallenged, thus far.
If Salandria’s hypothesis is correct – criminals within the government were responsible for the murder of the President, then I say they should still be held responsible and accountable for that crime. There is a moral responsibility on the shoulders of everyone who realizes this, not only to ask and try to answer the questions of How and Why the 35th President of the United States was killed, but an historical imperative to identify WHO IS responsible, present the evidence against them and not just request, but REQUIRE the laws of the land be enforced and upheld to the fullest extent possible.