Some recent dialog on the Education Forum, in regard to the long standing issue of David Phillips possible use of the alias Maurice Bishop, prompted me to comment on something that I think has been overlooked to a great extent. In all of the study and writings (which seem to be culminating in literal explosion of books on the 50th anniversary) it seems to me that very few folks have paid much attention to the post-assassination lives of many of the probable suspects in the assassination of President Kennedy. And for that matter, the context of the people discussed usually seems to run no more than a couple of years before the assassination. I tried to address the issue in Someone Would Have Talked in a chapter titled “Afterwards”. For whatever reason it seemed to get little discussion and while I was hoping others would really dig into that subject, nobody really did. Personally I think it would make a great research project to profile anyone’s personal set of primary suspects, state their role in the assassination and then examine what happened to them after participating in one of the most visible crimes of the century. Did they profit, did they run, did they duck and cover? Seems like the next step to me but what I see instead is the same topics being recycled over and over again. And it would be some new ground, something to really keep some meaningful research going after the 50th.
Just as one example of such an exercise, one of the more popular scenarios seems to be that the military industrial complex, in alliance with LBJ, killed JFK and then LBJ cheerfully gave them the war in SE Asia that they had been wanting. OK, the thing would be to take that scenario forward, how did each of the Chiefs fair, what role did they play in Nam, did Johnson give them what they wanted – and since they obviously would have had some leverage over him, how did he treat them. As a starting point in that study, I would recommend the book Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster, which specifically focuses on Viet Nam and the relationships between Johnson, McNamara and the Joint Chiefs. Then dig into some of the early meetings between Johnson and the Chiefs, see hour their careers went after he took over the presidency and see how it plays.
As for myself, one of the things I do in Shadow Warfare is to trace the careers of several of the shadow warriors discussed in SWHT on through at least a couple of more decades. While Shadow Warfare is about a much broader subject, it certainly gives an extended treatment of what people like Dave Phillips and David Morales went on to do after 1963. As an example, it becomes reasonably clear that David Phillips continued to pursue his own anti-communist agenda with side actions even after he moved far up the management ladder at the CIA. It is highly unlikely that he was sanctioned to use Veciana and Luis Posada in a series of Castro assassination plots in Latin America, but almost certain that he did so.
Enough of that though, my point was to surface some context for something new in post-50th anniversary JFK research. The catch phrase about “follow the money” gets thrown about a lot, as a complement I suggest “following the suspects”.
– and yes, I’m still in edit mode and will be for three or four more weeks, Larry