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Post JFK and Peace
Created by John Eipper on 11/22/10 1:13 PM

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JFK and Peace (David Krieger, USA, 11/22/10 1:13 pm)

On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated. Nearly every American who is old enough can remember where he was when he heard the news of Kennedy's death. In my case, I was on a train platform in Japan when I was told of the assassination. A Japanese man came up to me and said, "I'm very sorry to tell you, but your president has been shot and killed." I remember being stunned by the news and by a sense of loss.

On June 10, 1963, just six months before his life was cut short, Kennedy gave the Commencement Address at American University. His topic was peace. He called it "the most important topic on earth." As a decorated officer who served in combat during World War II, he knew about war.

Kennedy spoke of a generous and broad peace: "What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek?" he asked. "Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons or war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."

He recognized that nuclear weapons had created "a new face of war." He argued, "Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn."

Just eight months before giving this speech, Kennedy had been face to face with the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He knew that it was possible for powerful, nuclear-armed nations to come to the brink of nuclear war, and he knew what nuclear war would mean for the future of humanity. "I speak of peace," he said, "as the necessary rational end of rational men."

Kennedy asked us to examine our attitudes toward peace. "Too many of us think it is impossible," he said. "Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable--that mankind is doomed--that we are gripped by forces we cannot control."

He understood that there was no "magic formula" to achieve peace. "Genuine peace," he argued, "must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process--a way of solving problems." He also recognized that peace requires perseverance.

Kennedy gave wise counsel in his speech. In the midst of the Cold War, he called for reexamining our attitude toward the Soviet Union. "Among the traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war." He pointed out the achievements of the Soviet people and the suffering they endured during World War II.

In the speech, Kennedy announced two important decisions. First, he pledged to begin negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear test ban. Second, he initiated a moratorium on atmospheric nuclear testing. The Partial Test Ban Treaty would be signed that August, ratified by the Senate in September and would go into effect on October 10, 1963. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was not reached until 1996, and the United States Senate rejected ratification of this treaty in 1999. The treaty still has not entered into force.

In his insightful and inspiring speech, Kennedy did get one thing wrong. He said that "[t]he United States, as the world knows, will never start a war." One can only imagine Kennedy's severe disappointment had he lived to see the escalation of the Vietnam War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War and many other costly and illegal wars the US has started and engaged in since his death.

Every American should read Kennedy's Commencement Address at American University and be reminded that peace is a possibility that is worth the struggle. As Kennedy understood, war does not bring peace. Peace itself is the only path to peace. Kennedy believed, "No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable--and we believe they can do it again." Peace is attainable. It is within our reach, if only we will learn from the past, stretch ourselves and believe that this is our destiny.

JE comments:  My thanks to David Krieger for reminding us of the importance of this date (22 November).  What is heartening, when we consider the urgent context of Kennedy's words at American U, is that nearly five decades have elapsed and no nation has unleashed nuclear war.  For this, despite the all the conflicts and horrors of the last half century, we should be thankful (Thanksgiving is just a few days away).

I was four months from birth on 22 November 1963, so I guess I was here (in utero) but in no position to understand what had happened.  Where were you, dear WAISer, on the fateful day of JKF's assassination?

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  • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 11/23/10 3:10 AM)

    In response to David Krieger's post of 22 November, I remember well this day 47 years ago and where I was (in college, in Michigan, on my way home when some fraternity friends asked me to sit in front of the TV and listen to the breaking news).

    David follows the tradition of glorifying JFK. He ignores his and RFK's Operation Mongoose and dedication to small wars (low-intensity warfare or irregular wars, manipulation of a non-existent nuclear gap, involvement in president Diem's death by coup, etc.).

    He was a strong executive who pursued the US national interest as he saw it. Not an innocent peacenik.

    JE comments:  I've received a number of interesting responses to my "where were you when JFK was assassinated?" question.  Look for them to appear throughout the day.

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    • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Gilbert Doctorow, Belgium 11/23/10 4:23 AM)
      I was three months into my freshman year at Harvard when the news broke that JFK had been shot, followed soon after by the announcement of his death. Like many, probably most classmates, I felt "orphaned." My choice of college had been directed by the Kennedy linkage, the image of wealth, tradition and public service he and the school embodied. Then there was the brain trust he assembled early in his presidency, consisting of so many Harvard scholars. Burning ambition defined that coterie and drove the choices of my classmates and myself as well.

      I am especially grateful to Francisco Wong-Diaz (23 November) for stating the sad truth in his response to David Krieger's post and taking on the role of trail-blazer in the revisionist view of JFK within WAIS.

      Over the past decade or so, my reading of Kennedy the man, as well as my understanding of his "best and brightest" has been demystified. The man was a Cold Warrior who unthinkingly followed the harebrained initiatives of the Agency when he came into office, taking us all along for an unnecessary ride right up to the precipice. His proxy war in Vietnam was guided by his lieutenants under LBJ to become the blight of my generation.

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  • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Robert Whealey, USA 11/23/10 3:27 AM)
    At 33 years old on 22 November 1963, I just finished discussing International Relations in a 1 PM class. It was definitely in European History. I did a series 1789-1815, 1815 to 1870, 1870 to 1914, and Since 1914. I forget which phase of the cycle we were on.

    A student at the 2 PM break had a hand-held radio. He told me JFK was shot. My response: Is he dead? He: "Not quite, but he probably will soon die."

    Three minutes later the bell rang. No 2 PM classes at the University of Maine. We all went home.

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  • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (John Heelan, -UK 11/23/10 3:40 AM)
    David Krieger wrote on 23 November: "On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated. Nearly every American who is old enough can remember where he was when he heard the news of Kennedy's death. In my case, I was on a train platform in Japan when I was told of the assassination."

    Not just Americans!  I clearly remember hearing the news as I was ending my daily commute home from the City of London to the wilds of Kent and bursting into my home to tell my wife. We both were staggered! After the hopes of a new era in the world following Kennedy's election and his stand on Cuba, the shock to us was as great as that caused by 9/11. Watching the planes crash into the Twin Towers, I remembered the newsreel shots of the assassination and its aftermaths and the Zapruder footage accompanied by overwhelming question: "Why?"

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  • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Randy Black, USA 11/23/10 6:21 AM)
    I enjoyed David Krieger's memories of the now-famous speech written in 1963 by Kennedy's speech writer, Ted Sorensen. The Sorensen speech was delivered by JFK less than half a year before his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22.

    As to where I was on that day, as a 17-year-old high school student and school paper editor, I was at Dallas's Love Field, the only major airport in the region at the time, trying to shake JFK's hand. See photo from the National Archives. My journalism teacher had assigned me to cover the arrival for the school rag. After the President's cars left Love Field, I went home for a quick lunch before returning to school for afternoon classes. The airport was only a few miles from home.

    At home about 40 minutes later, as my mom made me a sandwich, we learned of the shooting on the small black-and-white TV in our breakfast room. I rushed up to school, got my hall pass and returned to class. What came next, you must understand, was likely the result of the fact that JFK was very unpopular in the Dallas area. Upon entering my classroom, the teacher asked why I had my little 6-transister radio turned on. (It was 1963!)

    "The President's been shot," I cried out. "Oh, good, is he dead?" was the reply from a female classmate whom I secretly had a crush on. My secret hopes for a romance ceased immediately. At my 45th high school reunion this past June, I still could not speak to her.

    Ironically, on the 47th anniversary of the tragedy, I spent the afternoon reminiscing at the Dallas home of Hugh Aynesworth, a renowned journalist who has written extensively about the JFK matters. Hugh is a close friend of my family from my high school days and a personal pal from my newspaper days of the 1970s. He is likely the most knowledgeable living person on those events.

    From Wikipedia: (Aynesworth) was the lead reporter for the Dallas Morning News at the time of the John F. Kennedy assassination and was the first print reporter to interview Lee Harvey Oswald's widow, Marina Oswald. Aynesworth was present during Kennedy's assassination, he was the first reporter to arrive at the scene of (Dallas Police Officer) J.D. Tippit's murder in Oak Cliff in Dallas, and he was present at Lee Harvey Oswald's arrest at the Texas Theater in Dallas. He later was a staff correspondent for Newsweek magazine.

    From Randy: From the press car trailing JFK's limo, Aynesworth witnessed Oswald's rifle in the window of the Texas School Book Depository as the shots were fired. He is one of two people, the other being Larry Groves, whom I later worked with who had seen Oswald's rifle in the window.  Oswald's widow, Marina, continues to live in the Dallas area with her second husband. Another obscure note: the mortician who embalmed Oswald was the father-in-law of another colleague of mine at the Dallas Times Herald. Paul Groody, the mortician, told me in the late 1970s that he knew that someday, someone would demand exhumation to confirm that the body was Oswald's. Thus, he gave Oswald an extra dose of whatever they give dead bodies.

    About a year and a half later, the matter of who was really in the grave was finally settled after a British writer, Michael Eddowes, who had been suing from the mid-1970s to exhume Oswald in order to sell his own books, was successful.

    Eddowes had written of his theory that Oswald was a patsy and that the body in the grave was really that of a Russian assassin with Oswald's head attached to the body after death. Finally, in 1981, after a very public exhumation, the body was confirmed by the Dallas County medical examiner, Dr. Linda Norton, to be the assassin. Double irony: Dr. Norton was one several medical professionals who encouraged my sister to become a physician. I also worked closely with Bob Jackson, the newspaper photographer who took the Pulitzer-winning photo of Jack Ruby murdering Oswald.

    Additional sources: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/parnell/lhox1.htm

    JE comments:  Who can tire of examining the Kennedy assassination?  I recall that the photo of Randy Black's brush with history on 22 November 1963 appeared a year or more ago on WAIS, but I somehow cannot find it in our archives.  So here it goes again--the photo is definitely worth another look:


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    • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Alain de Benoist, -France 11/24/10 3:01 AM)
      I did not know that Oswald's body was embalmed (Randy Black, 23 November). What a strange habit to embalm bodies! It looks a bit to me like Egyptian mummification...

      The day Kennedy was killed in 1963, I was 19. I had been a journalist already for two years, but also a student in philosophy, law, history of religions and political science. Two days before, I had just taken part in a demonstration against the American war in Vietnam. Several people I knew were rather happy to hear the US president was dead. Most of them thought that the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby was a key to the story.

      JE comments:  Embalming, anyone?  (I mean as a topic for WAIS discussion--I don't think the topic has come up before.)  Is the US custom, codified by law I believe, of embalming nearly everybody who doesn't opt for cremation equally widespread in Europe?  Pumping a dead person full of formaldehyde could easily be seen as a barbaric practice.  My father, an engineer who spent decades making that nasty carcinogen (formaldehyde), wanted nothing to do with it in the afterlife.  When he passed away in 1989, he chose cremation.

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      • JFK Assassination (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 11/24/10 7:28 AM)
        The murder of Oswald by Ruby is of course the key question in the JFK assassination. I wonder if we will ever know what that was all about?

        I love the phantasmagorical novel about Oswald, Libra, by Don Delillo, an author whose other works I have never liked. Delillo's story is that the assassination was plotted by rogue CIA agents who did not intend that Kennedy would actually be killed. The action was intended as a provocation to build support for a war against the Communist regime in Cuba.

        I think we have no idea what really happened, but there are a number of clues that indicate, even to a person who is highly skeptical about all conspiracy theories, like myself, that Kennedy's assassination was not actually the work of Oswald acting alone. Delillo's version of the events is just material for a (good) work of fiction. But in fact it is no less plausible than any other version of the events I have heard.

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    • JFK Assassination; Adlai Stevenson (Joe Listo, Brazil 11/24/10 3:17 AM)

      On 22 November, the History Channel aired a 4-hour documentary on the Kennedy assassination. Aware of Randy Black's full grip on the subject, I have already pestered him off-Forum for information, which he always kindly forwarded. However, there was a part of the documentary that I found difficult to understand, and again I resort to Randy for clarification.

      A week or so before 22 November 1963, Adlai Stevenson headed for Texas and was booed at a rally. Later, as he left the premises he was slapped by a woman, and a man hit him with a small billboard. I guess the Secret Service was not so cautious back then. I frankly don't know what Stevenson was doing there because during the program I was on and off the phone a number of times, but the fact is that he said something to the tune of "I don't want to teach Texans how to be polite," to which the crowd reacted immediately with elevated booing. A week later, JFK arrived in Dallas and was greeted like a hero, and one could see in the people's faces that they were truly happy having the president in town.

      My question is: since Stevenson was a member of JFK's cabinet, and I believe he was trusted by the president, what was he doing in Dallas a few days earlier to prompt such a negative reaction, and why that negativity from the people towards Stevenson did not reflect on Kennedy just a week later?

      JE comments:  Very interesting question.  I wonder:  was there personal animosity between Stevenson and the Texan LBJ?  Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and '56, ran against JFK in the 1960 primaries.  Though unsuccessful in three runs for the Presidency, he was probably the most nationally visible 20th-century politician from Illinois.  (Barack Obama is a 21st-century politician.)


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      • JFK Assassination; Adlai Stevenson in Dallas 1963 (Randy Black, USA 11/25/10 4:23 AM)

        Answering Joe Listo’s question (24 November) as to why Adlai Stevenson was in Dallas one month before the JFK assassination, Stevenson gave a United Nations Day speech at Dallas's Memorial Auditorium to a large, generally supportive crowd. He was JFK’s ambassador to the UN at the time.

        He was actually clunked on the head by a woman carrying an anti-UN sign. Stevenson asked the police to allow him to speak with the woman immediately. The woman, according to Time Magazine’s article on the incident, was incoherent.

        From Time: Dallas was shocked. Wrote the Dallas Times Herald in a Page One editorial: "Dallas has been disgraced. There is no other way to view the storm-trooper actions of last night's frightening attack on Adlai Stevenson." Texas Governor John Connally called the affair "an affront to common courtesy and decency." And Mayor Earle Cabell pointed out that the demonstrators were "not our kind of folks." Amid the furor, Adlai Stevenson seemed the least perturbed of all, calmly turned the other cheek and said of his assailants: "I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school."

        Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,875296,00.html#ixzz16F0zeE18

        Now, to answer Cameron Sawyer's post of 24 November.  Off and on over the years, I've shared Cameron's thoughts and
        impressions that perhaps Lee Harvey Oswald might not have been
        the only person taking shots at JFK 47 years ago in Dallas. More than a few
        wanted JFK dead and probably had the ability to make it happen. And believe
        me, you cannot live in Dallas all of these years without knowing of the
        dozens of hypotheses about conspirators that ranged from J. Edgar Hoover and
        the FBI, Castro, the Chicago Mob, a shadowy group of men in New Orleans,
        LBJ, Jimmy Hoffa, the CIA, the Soviets, the Dixie Mafia and all the rest.

        Normally, after someone writes of a new theory, I simply reread the columns,
        documents and books written and published by Dallas journalist Hugh
        Aynesworth, whom I've known since my teenage years. As I've said, Hugh knows
        more about the assassination than any living person. He lived those events, saw the blood, knows the
        players, and so on.

        As I wrote on WAIS, I spent part of the afternoon at his home on the
        assassination anniversary three days ago. I also spent part of yesterday
        morning at his home, visiting with him and his wife and watching my daughter
        play with their cats.

        Back to 1964: A few months after the assassination, a French publisher
        offered Hugh $75,000 to write "a conspiracy best seller" in which the perps
        would be exposed. Although earning less than $10,000 a year at the time in
        Dallas, Hugh declined, stating that he did not believe a conspiracy took
        place. The Frenchman was astounded. "But everyone in Europe knows it was a
        To this day, Hugh holds the position that "I don't know whether there was,
        or was not a conspiracy. All I know is, there is no evidence of it." (from
        JFK: Breaking the News, 2003).

        On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, Hugh was having his morning coffee in the
        cafeteria of the Dallas Morning News. He spotted Jack Ruby paying for his
        own breakfast nearby. Ruby often showed up at the News to schmooze with the
        paper's entertainment columnist regarding publicity for his night clubs.
        Read: sleazy strip joints. No one really liked Ruby, but nevertheless, the
        fellow was persistent.

        Later that morning, when Oswald's shots rang out, Aynesworth was standing on
        a street corner 150 feet from the Texas School Book Depository (the
        assassin's nest). I think that I may have previously stated that Hugh was in
        the press car. I "misremembered."
        Ironically, Hugh was one of the few Dallas Morning News reporters not
        assigned to that coverage on that day. Nevertheless, he'd wandered over
        three blocks from the newspaper to Dealey Plaza to watch the entourage pass.

        As shots and pandemonium broke out, Hugh's reporter instinct took over. But
        to read the rest of the story, I suppose you'll have to buy the book. Among
        other interesting materials he includes Oswald's handwritten diary that includes
        his writings from the time he defected to the USSR right up to his return to
        the USA with his new Russian wife. There are also photocopies of some of
        Oswald's forged photo-ID cards that enabled him, using an alias, to buy the
        mail-order rifle used to murder JFK and to rent the post office box where
        the rifle was shipped.

        Just so you will know, Oswald tried to assassinate a
        retired US Army General in the general's home in Dallas prior to the JFK
        We also know these facts: Oswald was at the school book depository. He had a
        rifle. Witnesses testified that Oswald arrived for work with a long,
        paper-wrapped package that he stated was curtain rods. He was capable of
        hitting his target that was nearby. The shot was fairly simple. The target
        was for all practical purposes, stationary. JFK's car was moving away from
        Oswald, in a fairly straight line, down the inclining street, traveling
        neither right or left. Oswald had an unhindered site of his target. He had
        practiced at a gun range prior to the shooting on several occasions. His
        Marine Corps background and his skills with a rifle were verifiable. While
        Oswald was "an ordinary soldier," his gun range scores had been 48 and 49
        out of 50 at 200 yards. Oswald's shot at JFK was about 100 yards.

        The rifle, when
        later tested, was properly sited for such a shot. The timing of the shots on
        Nov. 22 worked flawlessly. There was more than enough time to fire off three
        rounds, two of which hit home.
        Witnesses, including Dallas Times Herald photographer Bob Jackson, saw the
        gun poking out of the window and saw the shots being fired. Alas, Bob was
        out of film, the ultimate sin for a news photographer. He redeemed himself a
        couple of days later when he took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of Ruby
        shooting Oswald.
        The rifle was found where it should have been and ownership was traced to
        Oswald, aka Alek Hidell the purchaser. The spent bullets were present where
        they were supposed to be. The President died.

        Oswald also owned a pistol
        that he used to murder Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit. The gun was found
        with Oswald after a brief fight in a theater a few miles from the
        assassination scene. Dozens of witnesses placed Oswald at his job in the
        school book depository, in buses and taxis during the escape, at the Tippit
        murder scene and walking up West Jefferson where he ducked into the Texas
        Theater and where he was captured but not before he attempted to murder the
        arresting officers.
        The double feature that day was "War in Hell" and "Cry of Battle" (Van

        Paraphrased from Hugh's book (in the theater): "Get on your feet,"
        demanded the officer. "Well, it's all over now," Oswald replied as he stood
        up. Oswald raised his hands in an apparent gesture of surrender, then socked the officer in the face with his left hand. With his right hand, he pulled a
        .38 Smith & Wesson from his belt. Two cops jumped Oswald from behind, one
        jamming his hand on the pistol's firing mechanism to prevent it from being
        fired and saving the other cop's life. 

        Interesting trivia from Nov. 22, 1963:  Richard Nixon was in town for a
        shareholders meeting of Pepsi and his suite in the Baker Hotel was just down
        the hall from actress Joan Crawford. The day before JFK's arrival in Dallas,
        United States Attorney Barefoot Sanders and U.S. District Judge Sarah T.
        Hughes stated to Kennedy that his trip to Dallas "was inadvisable."

        I wish that Kennedy had taken Sarah Hughes's advice. She was the judge who
        swore in LBJ later that afternoon on Air Force One at Love Field.

        JE comments:  WAISer Robert Whealey always scolds me when I pose counterfactual historical questions, but it's hard not to ask how history would have played out had JFK not visited Dallas.  Imagine a full Kennedy presidential term, or even a second term through January 1969.  Would anything different have happened with Vietnam?  (Probably not.)  How about Civil Rights?  LBJ was able to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) by using the "our martyred President wanted this" argument.  Kennedy may have faced greater opposition--especially from southern Democrats (yes, there used to be such a thing).

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        • JFK Assassination (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 11/25/10 9:42 AM)

          This is a really excellent post by Randy Black (25 November), rich with first or at least second-hand data*, which really gives a feel for the events and what we know and don't know about them and the essential mystery of the event.

          I do think that the evidence points to Oswald having been the only shooter and I don't think there is much mystery about the shooting itself. I think also that we can well imagine that Oswald was crazy enough to have thought up the assassination himself. But why the connections with the USSR and Cuba? Coincidence? And why did Ruby kill Oswald, if Oswald was acting entirely alone? An opportunistic provocation, perhaps? Or something more like Delillo's version? And how can it be, that all these years later, there is still no evidence of any kind? It's really a mystery.

          * "Observations are gold, hypothesis, silver, and conclusions, bronze."

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          • JFK Assassination; Mordechai Vanunu (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 11/26/10 4:53 AM)
            Cameron Sawyer wrote on 25 November: "I think also that we can well imagine that Oswald was crazy enough to have thought up the assassination himself. But why the connections with the USSR and Cuba? Coincidence?"


            Other connections regarding the JFK assassination have been made. Not only is there connection made with the mafia, but other motives have been pointed to such as Kennedy's presidential order (Executive Order 11110), which ordered the Treasury (not the Federal Reserve Bank) to issue $4 billion "United States Notes" to replace Federal Reserve Notes (to avoid paying a 6% free risk interest to the Fed...). Wilson Woodrow who had signed the Federal Reserve ACT in 1913 said before dying, "I unwittingly ruined my country."


            The latest "motivation" to be talked about publicly is stated by Israeli whistle blower, Mordechai Vanunu. He claims Israel assassinated JFK: 



            One should perhaps see who gained the most from JFK's assassination.

            JE comments:  According to the link above, Vanunu says that Israel killed Kennedy because of the President's pressure on Israel to discontinue its nuclear program.  When it comes to JFK any theory will do, I suppose, but has a connection between Oswald and Israel ever been established?  It is no surprise that Ariel Sharon's office robustly denies Vanunu's accusation.
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            • JFK Assassination; Conspiracy Theories (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 11/26/10 9:28 AM)
              Entire encyclopedias could be filled with wacky theories about who killed JFK.

              The one concerning the Federal Reserve Bank (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, 26 November) definitely belongs among the choicest of wacky theories. The Fed is structured like a corporation, but it is really more like a coop of the member banks. It is not run for profit and does not earn any profits. Any surplus income the Fed receives every year is handed over to the US government. It was structured in the way that it is in order to try to give it some independence from the state. Or perhaps just a mere appearance of independence.  Second only to slavery, central banking was the most divisive political issue in the early history of the US. It is interesting that the US was the last major country to adopt central banking; this occurred with the creation of the Fed in 1913.




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            • JFK Assassination; Executive Order 11110 (Randy Black, USA 11/27/10 5:09 AM)
              The matter of JFK's Executive Order 11110 has been popular among JFK conspiracy theorists for decades. However, that particular order never had its intended effect. That such an executive order might have caused a murder, however, is not plausible.

              The indisputable facts remain: Oswald fired a rifle from his assassin's nest. Two of the three bullets hit their target and did the damage. If anyone else was present and shooting, they have never been identified or caught. The events of Nov. 22, 1963 were tragic. By now, nearly half a century later, any such secrets would by now surely have been uncovered.

              Moreover, there is no evidence that President Wilson ever uttered the words, "I unwittingly ruined my country," as it relates to the Federal Reserve Act (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, 27 November). See: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Woodrow_Wilson

              While JFK's executive order technically remained "on the books" until the Reagan years, it never had its intended effect. As early as 1964, the Secretary of the Treasury halted redemption of silver certificates for actual silver.

              From Wikipedia: Edward Flaherty, a professor of economics at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, wrote an essay entitled "Debunking the Federal Reserve Conspiracy Theories," in which he argues that Executive Order 11110 is quite infamous among conspiracy theorists, such as Jim Marrs, who believe President Kennedy was killed by the men who have control over the Federal Reserve Board, based on arguments that can be debunked using the Congressional Research Service's report for Congress, Money and the Federal Reserve System: Myth and Reality.



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            • JFK Assassination; Mordechai Vanunu and Conspiracy Theories (Michael Delong, Qatar 11/27/10 8:04 AM)
              In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's post of 26 November, I would like to offer that this not-so-subtle WAISer is not just one of leaders in conspiracy theory, but an "in-your-face" leader.

              Speak about Iran or the countries that impact Iran, and Soraya always responds with a pre-understood answer.

              This is one theory that keeps on giving...

              JE comments: Polemics, as long as they remain civil, are the lifeblood of WAIS, though if we're talking blood, they always raise mine (as in blood pressure). As Editor, I'm constantly reminded that I'd have an easy go of it if we were a univocal, one-cause-fits-all organization. But we're not, and the mantle I inherited from Prof. Hilton never promised to be a comfy one.

              Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich clearly takes a pro-Iran, anti-Israel stance on the widest variety of topics. Do most WAISers agree with her? No; but I think Prof. H. would point out that many in the world share Soraya's views. What about me? If I had to take up residence in one of the two nations, I'd chose Israel over Iran...but not if I were Palestinian and Muslim, which is the whole point of Soraya's frequent condemnations of Israel.

              Now, did the Israelis kill JFK? Soraya was simply reporting the claim of Israeli dissident/whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu in her posting of 26 November.  I don't know if she subscribes to the theory; I'll let Soraya answer for herself. But to me, the Vanunu claim is extremely far-fetched, and takes a lot away from him in the credibility department.

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              • JFK Assassination; Mordechai Vanunu and Conspiracy Theories (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 11/27/10 2:42 PM)
                My initial reaction to Michael Delong's post of 27 November was that his outburst against me was highly out of order and although JE commented gallantly, I felt Mr. Delong's post should have been rejected outright. However, a few minutes of reflection, I realized I should thank Mr. Delong for providing me with an opportunity to voice what weighs on my mind when I read certain responses to my postings.


                As with many previous occasions, a WAISer has indulged in attacking a person instead of addressing an issue. This is unworthy of a Forum that seeks to discuss international issues. I suggest we check our dislikes and prejudices towards a single member before airing them for the world to read.

                I found Mr. Delong's answer to my post to be totally irrelevant.  Perhaps Mr. Delong should overlook my name and re-examine my post which was in response to the JFK assassination and Cameron Sawyer's query about the Oswald "connection to USSR and Cuba."  In response I offered other theories "out there" surrounding JFK's assassination, such as his Presidential Order 11110, the mafia, and Jerusalem's role as the latest to be aired. Why is it that Mr. Delong has chosen to ignore the whole post and make this about me being pro-Iran and anti-Israel?


                I am not sure what kind of a person would turn their back on their native country, but I am not one of them. Governments, systems, dynasties, regimes, are all subject to change. A country is not. In my opinion, as a native Iranian, being pro-Iran is a virtue and reflects loyalty, it is not a vice. However, if I argue in favor of Iran, then my arguments should be fact-based. This I try to do, while I also point to injustice, double standards, and the lack of respect for international law. I have no doubt that at times my posts may reflect some error as contrary to most WAISers, I am not an expert. I have a curious mind and the courage to speak up even when it is not popular to do so. As such, it is possible that my posts may at times be inaccurate, in which case, it would be far more constructive if Mr. Delong (and like-minded others) refutes my arguments by offering an alternative and more credible response rather than attacking me. I am sure it would benefit WAIS if those who disagree with me would redirect my statements based on facts, even opinions related to the issues in question. In my opinion, personal attacks area poor substitute for debate.


                In response to JE's comments: I have no idea who was behind the assassination of JFK. I would have to study each theory in depth to see who would profit the most from his death--and even then, this does not necessarily point to the truth, but a stronger case for speculation. I have not done this and don't foresee myself taking on this task.

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          • JFK Assassination (Tor Guimaraes, USA 11/26/10 5:19 AM)
            Since observations are "gold" (Cameron Sawyer, 25 November), I would like to pose a few in the form of questions:

            Why were the forensics of President Kennedy's assassination so messy and controversial?

            Why was the Oliver Stone movie able to cite so many confirmable/deniable specific names, places, times, a law suit, etc.?

            JE comments:  Has any single historical event spawned more theories than the JFK assassination?  11 September 2001 might be in second place, but JFK has benefited from  38 more years.  WAIS has always been fond of theories, conspiracy and otherwise, and we devote a great deal of e-ink discussing them.  A question for the Floor:  what is the most outrageous conspiracy theory that later turned out to be true?  My vote goes to the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact, although "conspiracy theory" may not be the most accurate way to characterize it.


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        • JFK Assassination; Jack Ruby (John Heelan, -UK 11/26/10 4:26 AM)
          Randy Black mentioned (25 November) that Jack Ruby often "schmooze(d) with the paper's entertainment columnist regarding publicity for his night clubs. Read: sleazy strip joints."

          I can attest to the sleaziness of one of them. From memories of my first-ever business trip to the US in winter 1968--to the snows of New England and the sunshine of Dallas.

          My Dallas hosts took me on a car tour of the fateful route that JFK took,

          including the Texas School Book Depository, Dealey Plaza and the "grassy

          knoll." I was surprised that the whole area was so small that I had to look

          around quickly to recognise sites seen frequently on TV and newsreels.

          Later that evening, they took me to a somewhat sleazy nightclub that apparently had been owned by Jack Ruby. I was the kind of place that one could imagine would be owned and frequented by gangsters!  However, my abiding memory is of an extremely well-endowed stripper (well before the days of silicone implants!) who, unfortunately, also suffered from strabismus. However, I am sure that I am the only person in our party that noticed her crossed-eyes!

          JE comments:  When in Rome...


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  • JFK and Peace; 22 November 1963 (Francisco Ramirez, USA 11/24/10 2:37 AM)
    I was asleep underneath the mosquito net in my home on Taft Avenue in Manila on 22 November 1963. My father told me "Le han matado a Kennedy." My first response was: Which Kennedy?  I thought it was the Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy. I was an eighteen year-old sophomore. Four years later I would be a first-year doctoral student in sociology at Stanford. In June of 1968 I received a phone call from the woman I would marry in two months. The call came from Manila. She told me Bobby Kennedy had been shot. He was shot and killed in LA. I was in my Escondido Village apartment but I heard the news via Manila.

    The revisionist are mostly right. But for me the Kennedys were my political coming of age, both their speeches and their assassinations. I listened and then saw the Nixon-Kennedy debates via satellite. My father, a conservative, favored Nixon because he would be tougher on Communism. Even Kennedy's Catholic heritage was not enough to sway my father. I, a liberal, favored Kennedy. He would foster needed social change. The Randy Black posting of 23 November reminds us of one source of opposition to Kennedy. However reluctant as he was on the extension of civil rights to African-Americans, his administration was perceived as moving in that direction. His death facilitated the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the American political landscape changed in the direction of greater inclusiveness. A land free of racism? No. More inclusive than in 1965? Without a doubt. Linear progress? No. I see a revival of sentiments anchored in a more exclusive past. But I remain confident that we shall overcome.

    JE comments: That Francisco Ramírez's father would deliver the news of JFK's death in Spanish got this Hispanist thinking: How prevalent was Spanish usage in the Philippines in the 1960s? It had already been six decades since Spain had lost its erstwhile colony. I posed this question off-Forum to Francisco, who responded in a separate e-mail:

    "Spanish was the medium of instruction throughout all of my father's schooling, including law school. He taught himself English and though his English was better than my Spanish, he thought in Spanish. English was the medium of instruction throughout all of my schooling. My father went to the University of Santo Tomas (Dominican); I went to De La Salle (Christian Brothers). The quality of Santo Tomas declined over time but my father would not have me go to the Jesuits, the arch rival. The Christian Brothers became the solution. Of course, I did not know this at the time I first started schooling. Santo Tomas declined because they hung in there with Spanish; the Jesuits brought their American crew and sent their Spanish crew back to Spain.

    "The percentage of Filipinos who speak Spanish is now less than a fraction of 1 percent. I grew up hearing both languages and speaking both. Once in school English took over. I will at some point share with you the excitement of giving my first lectures in Spanish in Madrid in 2002. And with my mother in the audience to boot!"

    JE again: Antonio de Nebrija, the fifteenth-century academic who wrote the first grammar of a modern language, would be proud! English and Spanish, the most successful imperial languages of all (followed by Portuguese, French and Arabic), collided in the Philippines as in no other place. English won out, I would suspect, because Spanish never became the true lingua franca of the polyphonic Philippines. (Contrast this with the situation of the other two colonies wrested from Spain in 1898, Cuba and Puerto Rico.)

    A most interesting family history from Francisco Ramirez.

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  • JFK Assassination (Eugen Solf, -Germany 11/30/10 4:36 AM)
    A few years ago WAIS discussed this subject already when a documentary was aired here (in Germany) which tried to shed some light on the subject. If I remember correctly, the conclusion was that the Cuban Secret Service got JFK before he could get Castro.

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