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The Evil of the National-Security State, Part 9

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Proponents of the lone-nut theory in the Kennedy assassination often accuse those who believe that the president was killed at the hands of a conspiracy — and, even worse, one involving agents of the U.S. national-security state — of being unable to accept the fact that a little disgruntled man killed a president of the United States, a man who had fame and fortune and who was respected and admired by many people all over the world.

Yet after John Hinkley’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, there was no widespread belief that Hinkley was part of a conspiracy, including one involving the national-security state. The same holds true with respect to the two separate assassination attempts on Gerald Ford.

Actually, one could easily argue that it’s the other way around. Proponents of the lone-nut theory simply cannot bring themselves to accept the possibility that America’s national-security state, whose existence they believe is necessary to the survival of the nation, took out their own president.

Oh sure, they can accept that the military and the CIA would conduct regime-change operations in other countries, either by coup, invasion, or assassination, as they did or tried to do in Cuba, Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and elsewhere. They can also accept that the national-security state will drug, assassinate, torture, or execute private American citizens. They can accept that the national-security state, especially the FBI, will illegally infiltrate American groups, spy on them, keep files on them, humiliate them, and destroy their reputations. They can accept that the military and the CIA will do whatever is necessary to protect national security, no matter how unsavory. They can accept the common thesis that the Constitution is not a suicide pact and that it is proper for federal officials to violate the law if it is necessary to save the nation.

But they simply cannot bring themselves to accept the notion that the national-security state would ever target the president of the United States in a regime-change operation based on national security. To them, such an action is simply inconceivable.

The autopsy

Thus, as the evidence surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy has slowly trickled out over the years — in violation of the 75-year period of secrecy that had been ordered by the Warren Commission — the “lone-nut” proponents have increasingly buried their heads in the sand, either ignoring discomforting evidence or suggesting that the people giving such evidence must be lying, no doubt as part of some giant conspiracy.

Consider the following fascinating example.

During the hearings on the Kennedy assassination before the House Select Committee in the late 1970s, Congress expressly released personnel who had participated in the official military autopsy of Kennedy from the oath of secrecy that the military had forced them to take immediately after the autopsy.

Why had those soldiers been forced to keep their mouths shut regarding what they had witnessed during the autopsy? What possible national-security concerns could have justified forcing them to sign written oaths of secrecy and threatening them with severe penalties for violating such oaths?

Let’s recall the critical facts. The president was shot in Texas, where state law required that an autopsy be conducted. What’s the purpose of an autopsy? To determine the exact cause of death. The medical examiner conducts a detailed, comprehensive examination of the body, and official photographs and X-rays of the body are taken.

For example, if there had been shots fired from the front of Kennedy, a genuine and honest autopsy would have determined that. Obviously, an autopsy and a final autopsy report are critically important evidence in the subsequent criminal prosecution of whoever is charged with the crime and prosecuted for it.

Yet no autopsy was conducted in Texas. Why? Because agents of the Secret Service refused to permit it to take place. In fact, when the Dallas medical examiner steadfastly refused to release Kennedy’s body at Parkland Hospital, repeatedly pointing out that Texas law required that an autopsy be conducted, a team of Secret Service agents brandished their guns and made it quite clear that they intended to use them against anyone who attempted to obstruct the removal of Kennedy’s body from the hospital.

Why were the agents so insistent on getting the body out of Parkland? One reason was that Lyndon Johnson was waiting for it. He refused to let Air Force One leave without the casket, notwithstanding his supposed concern that the assassination might be the start of a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States. Already seats were being removed from the back of Air Force One to make room for the casket, indicating that the agents at Parkland Hospital were operating on Johnson’s orders.

Kennedy’s body was taken back to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. The casket into which the body had been placed
at Parkland Hospital was put into the back of an automobile in which Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline, was riding. When the automobile arrived at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, where the U.S. military would conduct the autopsy, everyone, including Mrs. Kennedy, naturally assumed that the president’s body was inside the Dallas casket.

Such, however, was not the case. Both the direct and the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly establish that the president’s body was delivered to the Bethesda morgue an hour and a half before the Dallas casket was officially delivered.

A real conspiracy? 

This matter was first raised in David Lifton’s 1981 book, Best Evidence. By that time, by order of the House Select Assassinations Committee, several enlisted men who had participated in various aspects of the autopsy had been released from their oaths of secrecy that the military had forced them to sign back in November of 1963. They unequivocally confirmed the early delivery of the president’s body to the morgue in a different casket from the one into which the body had been placed before leaving Dallas.

Later, in the 1990s, as detailed in Douglas P. Horne’s five-volume book on the assassination, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, the ARRB discovered an official report filed on November 26, 1963, by a Marine sergeant named Roger Boyajian that confirmed the early arrival of the president’s body at the morgue. (For a detailed account of the facts and circumstances surrounding the early arrival of the president’s body, see my article “The Kennedy Casket Conspiracy” at http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/kennedy-casket-conspiracy/.)

The ARRB also discovered a report dated November 22-23, 1963, from the funeral home that handled the postautopsy preparation of the body that said, “Body removed from metal shipping casket at NSNH at Bethesda.” The Dallas casket was no metal shipping casket. It was an expensive, heavy, ornate casket, the type people are buried in.

So what do the lone-nut proponents say about all this? They either remain silent about the matter, choosing to act as if it never happened, or they suggest that all the enlisted men and the funeral home must be lying.

Let’s deal with the second point first. What motive would enlisted men and funeral-home officials have had to lie about when Kennedy’s body was delivered to the Bethesda morgue? What could possibly have caused them to do such a thing? And think about it: If they were lying, could they each have   come up with the same lie independently of the others? They would necessarily have had to have entered into a conspiracy with each other to concoct a false story about when the president’s body was delivered to the Bethesda morgue.

So here we have the lone-nut proponents, who scoff at the notion that Kennedy might have been killed at the hands of a conspiracy, implicitly alleging one of the most ridiculous and outlandish conspiracies of all — that a group of enlisted men and funeral-home officials conspired to concoct a false story about the delivery of the president’s body to the morgue.

Moreover, if such a conspiracy really existed, surely the government would have gone after the conspirators with great ferocity. Surely it would have court-martialed them or indicted Sergeant Boyajian for filing a false official report as part of that conspiracy.

But the government did nothing to them. The Pentagon didn’t even bother to accuse them of lying. Instead, the government, including the military, has just proceeded along, decade after decade, as if they and their account of what happened never existed. In other words, act as though it never happened and just don’t address it. The problem will ultimately go away.

Let’s not forget that the U.S. military intended that the witnesses keep their mouths shut for the rest of their lives and for their reports to be kept secret at least for the 75-year period ordered by the Warren Commission. That’s what the oaths of secrecy were for.

Why? Why the extreme secrecy? Why was the president’s body delivered to the morgue earlier than everyone has been taught to believe? What was the purpose of that? Why can’t the military, even at this late date, come forward and give us the explanation for that? Why can’t lone-nut proponents join assassination researchers in demanding the explanation? What would be the harm? How could national security possibly be threatened by a full and complete explanation of why the president’s body was secretly delivered to the Bethesda morgue an hour and a half earlier than everyone was led to believe?

The brains

Or consider one of the most startling discoveries made by the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, one involving the president’s brain. Or should I say “brains”?

It turns out that while the military pathologists claimed that there had been only one examination of the brain, which would have been standard procedure, the ARRB found that the circumstantial evidence established that a second brain examination took place, an examination of another brain, one that did not belong to the president but that the military represented to be Kennedy’s brain. Here is a link to a Washington Post article about the ARRB’s finding on this matter: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/jfk/ap110998.htm.

Why in the world would the U.S. military conduct two separate brain examinations as part of the Kennedy autopsy, one that didn’t even involve the president’s brain but that was fraudulently represented to be his brain? What possible national-security rationale could there be for such a deceptive action?

The fundamental problem is this: Since it is simply inconceivable to the lone-nut proponents that Kennedy could have been made a target of a regime-charge operation at the hands of the national-security state, they simply refuse to consider the many unusual occurrences in the case, occurrences that point to nefarious conduct on the part of the military, the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and other parts of the national-security state.

That brings us back to motive. What possible motive would the national-security state have had to target Kennedy for one of its regime-change operations? The answer is a simple one and, it is no surprise, revolves around the two most important words in the lives of the American people since World War II: national security.

This article was originally published in the December 2012 edition of Future of Freedom.

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.