Customer Reviews: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy
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on February 12, 2005
If you have come to this book looking for another lean, persuasive investigation of the various conspiracies that could have led to the killing of JFK, you have come to the wrong place. prouty's book reaches far wider than that narrow scope, exploring every square inch of his vast, first-hand knowledge of the workings and consequences of the so-called Cold War (though I don't see how the bloody loss of millions of lives during that time constitute a war that was anything but blazing hot).

Prouty, a former Air Force colonel and CIA insider, manages to observe his life's work from an objective standpoint that raises countless probing and often hair-raising questions and warnings. Reaching back to the origins of the cold war and its effects on the policy and history that would soon be made, Prouty paints an expansive, thorough and detailed account not only of the JFK assassination, but of the entire political and industrial framework festering in the 20 years leading up to that moment that allowed such a tragedy to take place.

Contrary to most other books that deal --either obliquely or directly -- with JFK's murder, prouty's endures with a relevance that has as much to say about our own time as it does about Kennedy's. He foresees all the problems of a tyrannically powerful CIA that functions as the President's puppet master. "Many of the skilled saboteurs and terrorists of today are CIA students of yesterday," Prouty asserts in what amounts to an astonishing revelation when one considers that, among others, Osama Bin Laden is one of those "CIA students of yesterday." But it isn't only terrorists: it is the people we put in place as American puppets around the world. Take Hamad Karzai, for example, former CIA agent and millionaire now serving as President of Afghanistan.

The intimate and omnipotent mingling of money, military, covert intelligence operations and politics is precisely the network of power Prouty implicates not only in the crime that was the JFK murder, but the crime of so many brutal wars and coups performed by the CIA throughout the world to this very day. We are under the tyranny of an intelligence elite, an elite that happens to have the most powerful military and political machines on the planet at its service.

As prouty shows, Truman regretted his approval of the formation of the CIA toward the end of his presidency. Eisenhower tried to curb its powers but failed miserably, and when Kennedy fired Allen Dulles -- CIA chief at the time -- and not only threatened but actually worked to break the CIA "into a thousand pieces," he was killed. If that strieks you as an irrational logical leap, you need to read Prouty's book.

It is admirable that he undertook the writing of the book himself, rather than resorting to the services of some professional writer as so many politicians and military officials do for their memoirs and other books. Consequently, Prouty's book suffers a bit from a lack of the kind of polish it might have had. He struggles to organize his vast knowledge into the kind of coherant narrative he envisions and promises to no avail throughout. The reader has to work a little harder here to put the many pieces together that prouty lays out.

Nonetheless, Prouty's book reads like a desperate, angry and even frantic attempt at telling the truth by a man whose writing voice belies a remarkable warmth and sincerity. He knows so much and is so appalled at the hypocrisy he witnessed throughout his career -- hypocrisy that turned to horror -- that his book reads like the result of a minor god angrily shaking his fists and roaring in a locked room. His background, littered with merits and accolades, backs up every claim he makes here.

Prouty's book is entirely based on first-hand knowledge and expertise he gleaned over the course of a distinguished career: the precarious security arrangements in Dallas that day, Kennedy's advocacy of a US note that would compete with the federal note, his vow to remove all troops from Vietnam by 1965 and how this threatened the money-making machine that was the Vietnam "conflict," the utter astonishment in Washington at Kennedy's victory over Nixon, a man for whom various war and intelligence initiatives had already been drawn up for him to sign off on at the start of his presidency -- before he was even elected!

From its first hour, Kennedy's thousand-day presidency threatened so many established powers, so many benefactors of the military industrial complex, that there was no way it could have ended up otherwise. Even Robert McNamara, a great admirer of the president and godfather to one of Bobby Kennedy's kids, understood that a helicopter-augmented war like Vietnam would "churn out big dollars," that the war itself was capable of creating the $500 billion in military-industrial profits it eventually raised. Any former Ford executive understands the profits inherent in the collusion between military and industry.

As Prouty reports, quoting the controversial novel "Report From iron Mountain," "The war system is indispensable to the stable political structure . . . war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power." This is precisely the bleak "necessity" that Kennedy eventually grew to rebuke, and it was that rebuke that put the nails in his coffin long before his trip to Dallas.

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on October 20, 2004
Prouty was well postioned to tell his story as seen from inside the intelligence community. Unknown to most people Kennedy challenged the hegemony of the privately owned and controlled Federal Reserve. In the summer of 1963 Kennedy signed an executive order to create 4 billion dollars in United States Notes, in direct competion to Federal Reserve Notes. Why? The United States Notes were based on the government silver stores and their creation did not create interest payements to the world bankers and owners of the Fed. Bills in denominations of $2, $5, $10, and $20's were authorized and the $2's and $5's were printed and in circulation. The $10's and $20 were being printed when Kenndy was killed. In Johnsons first month in office the US Notes were recalled from circulation. Go to any good coin shop and ask to buy a 1963 US Note. See it for yourself! The one gem in Prouty's book that ties Kennedy to this issue is a few sentences where he discusses Kennedy sending Robert McNamara to meet with the Governors of the Federal Reserve to let them know that there are going to be big changes in the nations money system. There is very little information out there about Kennedy and money and Prouty clearly knew there was a connection. Why is the topic of Kennedy and the money he created so obscure and unknown? The only other president in the history of the country to create US Notes directly from the authority of the US Government was Lincoln with his greenbacks during the civil war. The only two presidents to buck the money powers were both assasinated in office. I think Prouty shows a possible origin of one of the smoking guns.
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on November 25, 2003
Now that we've made it through the nauseating hoopla of the 40th anniversary where the media bent over backwards to prove that Oswald "could" have done it I can only say that this book may be the only one that skips all the "window dressing" and spells out the real reasons we should continue to suspect people in high places as being the culprits. It's a bit jagged and disjointed at times but remember that these facts come from the most reliable source ever. The guy that was there in the midst of all the treachery. One must answer the question of "who had the power to pull all security out of Dealy Plaza and allow the assassination to happen?" before ever breaching the question of whodunnit. Not one network dared to go near that problem. A must-read for anyone who really wants to know WHY.
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on July 27, 2005
If you are looking for a book for a by name list of "who done it" or who was shooting from what building, on what knoll, from what curb side drain, then this is not your book.

If you are looking for "why was it done," which is a far more important question; then this IS your book. This book takes you back to the end of WWII and then up through 1963 and a bit beyond. It is more a history book of what was truly happening behind the scenes with the CIA and the Military Industrial Complex in that time period, as it pertains to Indochina, and the Korean Peninsula. From the view and stand point of someone that was on the inside, and took part to a certain degree in such operations there and elsewhere. It speaks of what Winston Churchill called "The High Cabal" and how these elite group of people simply run the world to better suite themselves and those around them, using the CIA as their tool.

You'll learn in this book possible reason behind the Korean Conflict, the war in Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and so on. You'll learn of the ultra secret side of the CIA and its origins, and how and why Kennedy meant to dismantle it, which was probably the catalyst for his ultimate demise.


Excellent book.
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on August 24, 2007
Prouty's autobiography is very revealing indeed.
Of course, it contains controversial items (Would JFK have stopped the Vietnam War?). But, it is the general picture that counts, and here, the author is prophetic.
Prouty presents his world view as follows: `The world is ruled by a power elite. The basic motivations are always the same. Money lays at the root ... the enormous amount spent on military matériel.'
This elite wields its power partly and most importantly through invisible intelligence agencies. `The power of any agency allowed to operate in secrecy is boundless'.

Nationally, JFK would probably be reelected in 1964, also via carefully directed investments, which should have influenced favorably the voting in heavily contested states. This reelection for another 4 years was very hard to swallow for a part of the power elite. JFK had promised to cut the defense budget and destroy one of its power bases (`split an intelligence agency into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.')
JFK's masterfully planned assassination was a coup d'état, not less than a total takeover of the US government. The cover-up of the assassination, which is still going on, shows the immense power of the culprits. They controlled the Warner Commission and could (can) force, until today, the media and Congress to pay lip service to them. Congress was never capable to launch an adequate investigation into the murder.

Internationally, `the world's power elite benefited splendidly from the staggering sums involved in the Vietnam War.' The author's moving evocation of the fate of a pastoral Vietnamese village shows that `people's lives are valueless when they get in the way of elitist interests.' (Mark Curtis)
The powerful show absolutely no respect for national sovereignty (e.g., Vietnam, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Panama, Iraq, the Philippines, even Grenada), which is the principle on which `the family of nations exists, with its property rights and the rights of man.'

At the end, Prouty is even prophetic: `the power elite utilizes all manner of plots to achieve their ambitious goal. That gamesmanship is called `Terrorism'.

This book is a must read for all those wanting to understand the world we live in.
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on August 11, 1999
Mr. Prouty served in the Pentagon's Office of Special Operations during a significant portion of his professional military career. In this role, he observed first-hand how the CIA arranged/staged coups d'etat in the Phillipines and other nations around the globe. In the Office of Special Operations, Mr. Prouty was responsible for providing U.S. military support for CIA operations. This experience serves as the basis for Mr. Prouty's strong inference that the assassination of President Kennedy was a CIA-style coup d'etat. The "why" of the coup d'etat is strongly established by Mr. Prouty. JFK intended to withdraw 1,000 military personnel from Vietnam by the close of 1963 and hoped to complete the full withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Vietnam by the close of 1965. To do this, JFK needed to get re-elected. His decision to withdraw from Vietnam was based upon the McNamara-Taylor report of early October, 1963 and codified in National Security Action Memorandum#263 of October 11, 1963. [For a thorough, scholarly analysis of the evolution of JFK's Vietnam policy, see "JFK and Vietnam" by John M. Newman (New York: Warner Books, 1992). Mr. Newman is a professional historian and a faculty member at the University of Maryland]. Powerful interests in the CIA, Pentagon and the corporate world were "gung ho" in favor of large-scale military intervention in Vietnam. The prospective war promised billions of dollars in military contracts for the defense industry. JFK's intention to withdraw from Vietnam would deny these elements in the CIA, Pentagon and corporate communities their pot of gold. Immediately after the assassination of JFK, LBJ issued NSAM#273 on November 26, 1963 which was a complete reversal of JFK's policy. NSAM#273 authorized U.S. military raids into North Vietnam. These raids precipitated the Gulf of Tonkin incidents of July-August 1963, led to Congress' Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and massive U.S. military intervention in Vietnam. LBJ gave the CIA, Pentagon and defense contractors what JFK would have denied them: billions of dollars in defense contracts in support of the full-scale war in Vietnam. For Mr. Prouty, the ultimate inference is irresistible: to effectuate the complete turn-around of Vietnam policy proposed by JFK, a CIA-style coup d'etat was carried out in Dallas on November 22, 1963. LBJ's NSAM#273 reversing JFK's Vietnam policy [from withdrawal to establishing the foundation for massive U.S. intervention] was issued on November 26, 1963. The goals of the coup were obtained immediately following the assassination. Prouty gives us the "why" of the coup. Further research remains to be done in order to give us "who" and the "how". Prouty's work is a valuable starting point for further inquiry and deserves our appreciation for its autobiographical honesty and heartfelt analysis.
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on February 23, 2000
I want those readers who have not read this book to read my opinions below.
First, this is a great book simply because Prouty has provided more inside ammunition for researchers to mine the depths of our secret government. This is the government of men who controlled the secret programs of assassination, the secret slush funds of counterintelligence, the operatives who dilligently carried out their secret orders,their programs of stealth, quasi-law breaking, and other publically inaccessible information. Prouty's book quite correctly points the finger at Dulles, Lansdale, and others in CIA, who were paranoid about communism and Castro. They viewed Kennedy as a traitor and he stood in the way of the war machine they were operating, both overtly, but especially covertly. The termination of raids to Cuba, the failure of follow-up air support at the Bay of Pigs, the promise not to invade Cuba after the Cuban missile crisis, were all blamed on Kennedy. The firing of Dulles, Cabell, and Bissell contributed to the intelligence community wanting JFK removed from command. It is astonishing that so few have commented on the contrast between now and then: in 1963 we were fed lies depicting Oswald as a crazed nut, a loner, and defector. These days we have mountains of evidence he was much more than these pictures of him. He associated with Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, anti-castro cubans, and others. He returned to the US without a hitch, but in those days a defector would have been hounded and closely watched. If this were true,then why wasn't the FBI catching all his associations and illegal activities? Prouty has produced the superstructure of the conspiracy by showing the history, and context of the cold war and the CIA.
If one can view a supposed loser like Oswald pulling off this assassination as being totally ridiculous, then one can entertain other possibilities. Why was Lyndon Johnson reversing NSAMs so quickly concerning Vietnam? Why did Johnson appoint Warren, Dulles, Ford, et al? Why wasn't the Dulles appointment perceived as a conflict of interest? Here is the fired subordinate investigating the dead boss! Dulles definitely kept information from the panel, especially about the assassination plots being orchestrated by the CIA, with the Mafia as the gunmen. In this connection, another book of importance should be read and that is by Peter Dale Scott: Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. It is a difficult book because he describes a quasi government,over-and-above government institutions, which controlled the plot and the outcome. This corresponds to some observations about Prouty's book, which fails to name names. But that isn't quite correct. Prouty does name many persons who were in command positions and had the power to orchestrate the assassination.Two prominent persons were Dulles and Lansdale. Any clever and alert reader who watched Stone's movie JFK will see a very short (about 2 second)sequence in the movie where General X is making the call to the network to carry out the plot and kill JFK. On his desk is a nameplate which clearly says "Lansdale".
The Prouty book establishes that Kennedy "was getting Americans out of Vietnam, he confirmed that he was moving away from the pattern of Cold War confrontation in favor of detente.He asked congress to cut the defense budget.Major programs were being phased out. As a result, pressure from several fronts began to to build against the young President.The pressure came from those most affected by cuts in the military budget, in the NASA space program, and in the enormous potential cost-and profit-of the Vietnam War."
It is very ironic that his enemies in government brought about detente with the Soviet Union. The notion that Oswald was a lone killer is preposterous and if it were true, why would the full truth be kept from us so long after the collapse of communism? This was the facile justification for locking up the evidence until 2025: that our outrage against a communist conspiracy would demand a war against the communists. The real truth was to control the information to the American public, so as to cover their tracks, and establish a legend to the JFK killing.
Everyone should read this book. I heartily recommend this book to anyone seeking insight into the question about insiders being involved in the killing.
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on September 1, 2006
In this volume, Colonel Fletcher Prouty captures both the secret history of the United States from 1945 to 1975 and the reasons behind the plot to kill President Kennedy. Herein, the courageous Colonel illustrates quite clearly that the clandestine history and the assassination plot were intrinsically linked.

From the important information in this book, we learn that the war in Vietnam actually began on September 2, 1945, when Ho Chi Minh was established as the new leader of Vietnam by our OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, and the US Army. The United States was thoughtful enough to provide all the weapons, ammunition, and supplies necessary for Ho and Giap to pursue their war against the French, which culminated in the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. Following that defeat, the CIA arranged for the transfer of 1.1 million "refugees" from the North of Vietnam to the South. These folks caused such disruption in the fragile agricultural economy of the South that their arrival ultimately drove the orginal residents to banditry in order that they might survive. These displaced bandits became what was later known as the Viet Cong. Hence, the CIA created the conditions necessary for a full scale war in Vietnam.

On coming to office, Kennedy, a brilliant and studious man, came soon to understand the perfidy of the CIA. One of first his acts on realizing this was to fire CIA director Allen Dulles. Soon thereafter, he issued one the most important, and unknown, documents of US history, NSAM 263. Issued in October of 1963, this document called for 1,000 US military personnel to come home from Vietnam by that Christmas. The remainder were to be out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. Had John Kennedy lived, what Americans know as the war in Vietnam would never have happened.

Prouty demonstrates herein that the powers that be ultimately made the decision that they could not allow Kennedy to live. He makes it clear that assassination researches who make a career of examining the details of the government's false cover story truly miss the point. What matters is not how the President was killed, but why. And the answer to that question is that the assassination was a coup d'etat, transferring control of the government of the United States to a power elite, which has been in control ever since. Hence, we have the strange silence of every succeeding President on the issue of the cover up of the Kennedy assassination.

The book is well written and extraordinarily important. He would understand our nation and how it came to be in the condition that now obtains would be well advised to read carefully this terribly important book. God bless.
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on January 4, 1998
As a United States Marine in the Vietnam war, I never challenged my country's intentions to stem the tide against communist aggression throughout the world. After my extended tour of duty in that war zone, I came home to ponder how we became involved in such a protracted war that divided the country (USA) so. It all points back to the tradgic event on 22 November 1963. With the death of our beloved President Kennedy, the powers to be had free reign to curtail the planned withdrawl of the small amount of troops in that zone. Only 16,000 at that time. This book is an excellent reference to how real events were managed to create so much grief for the people of South Vietnam and the United States. As a former Marine who left enough of his friends to pay the ultimate sacrifice, I highly recommend Colonel Prouty's fine book. "Those of us who made it have an obligation to find the goodness in man and make this world a better place in which to live." Long live the memory of JFK.
Semper Fidelis
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on March 28, 2004
If there is a recurring theme in Fletcher's books, it's that we do not live in a truly democratic society. When it comes down to it, our government is controlled by a relatively small group of corporate "investors." Specifically, I'm talking about the business interests who stand to gain from US defense spending (over 25 percent of our federal budget last time I looked). Good old Ike wasn't just whistling dixie during his fairwell address. As the ultimate insider, Eisenhower's warning must be taken to heart.
The lessons of this book are just as salient now as they were back during JFK's time in office. As a Master Sergeant in the Army confided in me, "if you want to know why we're fighting in Iraq, take a look at how much replacement parts cost for the AC-130 and the Blackhawk helicopter." Think about it, over $200 billion will be spent in Iraq. That's a huge payday for guys like Lockheed and General Dynamics.
When this type of (tax-payer) money is at stake, don't think for a minute that killing a head of state is out of bounds.
Fletcher's observations are sobering and will leave you feeling a bit uneasy. Such is the nature of the truth. There is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, and no one (not even the POTUS) is safe from the aggregate will of the military-industrial complex.
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