A Review Essay: Dr Michael Salla’s new book KENNEDY’S LAST STAND: Eisenhower, UFOs, MJ-12 and JFK’s Assassination (Exopolitics Institute 2013)
By Come Carpentier de Gourdon
Michael Salla’s books have in common clarity, methodical progression and persuasive argumentation, all intended to convince an uninformed readership of a thesis that is far from easy to accept. His latest work is no exception. In it Salla focuses on one main topic: the alleged connection between the assassination of President John F Kennedy and his documented attempts to gain knowledge about and disclose the extraterrestrial factor responsible for the UFO issue, all against the will of a powerful secret para-governmental Cabal that controlled and still appears to control that elusive area of scientific research and technological development.
In ten chapters, Salla surveys a vast amount of documentation drawn from across the spectrum of “ufological” literature and lists many documents, some officially declassified and others anonymously leaked, to support his theory, providing precise references for every statement and quotation he makes. His conclusions are hence abundantly supported and cogently argued in the form of propositions. He also takes pains to analyse contradicting claims and assess alternative hypotheses on their factual merit. Any reader who takes the trouble to familiarize himself with some of the sources will have to conclude that while not all the book’s deductions are proven beyond doubt, they all display a high degree of plausibility.
After using as a starting point President Clinton’s well known request to his friend and confidant Webster Hubbell to try finding out the answer to two questions that greatly troubled him, namely who killed JFK and what was behind UFOs, Salla dedicates his first chapter to Kennedy’s early years as a Naval Intelligence Officer who became close to then Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, a fellow American Irishman and former journalist. He follows the two men as they toured defeated Germany in 1945 at about the time when President Truman authorized Operation Paperclip that was to clandestinely bring to the US thousands of high-level German scientists and engineers, many working on secret weapons programmes. Some of those according to various Intelligence sources, including CIA agent Virgil Armstrong and Capt. Edward Ruppelt later in charge of the Air Force’s Bluebook Project, involved the development of very advanced spacecraft made possible, according to the father of the Third Reich’s rocket technology Dr Hermann Oberth, by the help of “people from other worlds”. Numerous documents and photographs from the Nazi archives attest the existence of those disc shaped aircraft. That fact might explain the resolve of the allies to gain complete control over the Third Reich’s scientific establishment and to utterly destroy a regime that posed so great a technological and military threat to all other powers.
The first chapter ends with the analysis of the circumstances of Forrestal’s mysterious death on May 22, 1949. which appears to have been the result of a political assassination while he was in Government custody on direct orders of the White House. Although Forrestal himself claimed to be under continuous threat in the last months of his life from Jewish agents who were allegedly stalking him on behalf of the state of Israel to whose creation he was opposed, there is strong evidence that the first US Secretary of Defence’s participation in a recently created secret government committee called MJ-12 (Majestic 12), dedicated to the management of Extra-terrestrial and UFO related affairs, played a role in his “termination” as he had reportedly become hostile to the official cover up policy and sought to make at least some of the knowledge he had gathered available to the public. Salla quotes William Cooper, one of the researchers on MJ-12 in his conclusion that Forrestal was not only fully briefed on the UFO situation and had seen both the recovered crafts and the bodies of the crew but that he had also been abducted or taken aboard an alien vehicle. His tragic death disguised as a suicide is one of the early and well publicised cases that show the US Government by then was operating as a totalitarian oligarchy in which no one was safe from state-commissioned murder. With regard to the American government’s awareness of an extraterrestrial presence on earth, Salla quotes a leaked top secret memo from General George Marshall to President Roosevelt, dated March 8th 1942 stating that the US armed forces were in possession of at least parts of an alien spacecraft that had fallen in California shortly before that date.
Chapter 2 provides a summary account of the Roswell alien crash in early July 1947, since confirmed and corroborated by multiple witnesses and documents, including secret instruction letters from President Truman and General Dwight Eisenhower to certain military commanders. Salla establishes that the momentous decision to retract the initial Army news release about the UFO recovery and put out a cover story about a fallen weather balloon was almost certainly made by Eisenhower, then Chief of Staff of the War Department, for reasons of national security. He also shows that Kennedy, a first term Congressman was informally briefed on the real event, probably by his friend Stuart Symington who was then Assistant Secretary of War for Air, under Forrestal. In the weeks following the Roswell incident which the government rightly saw as a world changing event, the Department of Defence was reorganized into three separate services, while the CIA was created together with a number of new agencies, including the super-secret MJ-12 intended to place the country on a war footing. Salla also gives official documentary evidence for the existence since 1942 of a secret Military Counter-Intelligence Department called the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit, apparently set up by President F D Roosevelt soon after the UFO retrieval near Los Angeles.
By now the book has made it abundantly clear that the US Government at the highest level was working under the assumption that it was under a very high potential threat from an “Alien” entity which also however represented a phenomenal opportunity for a technological quantum leap into the future, light years ahead of the civilisational achievements hitherto mastered.
In a Cold War climate, the rulers of the country decided this factor had to be hidden from most people at home and abroad and the most stringent precautions were taken to deny the truth. I wrote several years ago in an article that the very ratcheting up of the tension with the USSR may have been engineered in order to provide a convenient motive for the introduction of emergency policies motivated by the unacknowledged UFO “elephant in the room”.
Chapter 3 deals with the leaked 8 page Eisenhower Briefing Document on the Alien situation which was allegedly presented to the newly elected president on November 18, 1952. Extensive technical analysis of the document by the Dr. Robert and Ryan Wood team and by Stanton Friedman has led them to confirm its authenticity. One independently established fact mentioned in that document is that on September 24th, 1947 Truman had by Special Classified Executive Order set up Operation Majestic, on the day of his meeting with James Forrestal and his chief scientific adviser Dr Vannevar Bush who had headed military research and development during World War II, including the Manhattan Project.
There is hence no reasonable doubt about the existence of MJ-12 as a central organ of the permanent, unelected secret government that was being set up in the early fifties on Eisenhower’s order (Executive Order 10432) by no other than Nelson Rockefeller who was simultaneously appointed Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Planning.
The secret government had under its control the most important issues related to national security, including advanced military R&D, Intelligence and more particularly all matters related to UFOs and Alien visitors. Additional evidence for the existence of MJ-12 is provided by the declassified Cutler-Twining Memorandum dated July 14, 1954 that specifically refers to it and lists a series of plans (for psychological warfare, unconventional war, cover and deception, command, communications etc…) that had been developed under its purview.
Rockefeller remained in charge of the committee in charge of reorganizing the government until September 1959, a few months before the end of Eisenhower’s second term. By then the CIA,whose director since 1953 Allen Dulles became MJ-1 in succession to Admiral Hillenkoetter, first head of Central Intelligence, when the latter retired, had been made the sole gatekeeper to Majestic to which not even the President could have access. The notorious Directorate of Plans, headed by Frank Wisner Sr. who retired in 1959 was tasked with the protection of MJ-12, through its Counter-Intelligence (C I) Division which was under the authority of James Jesus Angleton.
Originally, MJ-12 ran its research at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio where it concentrated much of the “alien” technological and biological material recovered in diverse circumstances and it reportedly held its meetings in the nearby Battelle Institute. However in 1955, the need was felt for a completely autonomous facility outside the control of the Air Force. Accordingly, Wisner’s second-in-command Richard Bissell together with top engineers from the Lockheed Corporation, selected a site owned by the Department of Energy, located on the edge of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Nevada Test Site, around Groom Lake. The new facility was codenamed Area 51 and extensive underground silos and labs were dug under the dry lake bed. Furthermore a few miles away another, even more secret facility was set up under the named S-4 for the sole purpose of studying and reverse engineering UFO alien technology. Funding comes from the CIA’s black budget which is virtually unlimited (“without regard to any provision of the law”) and is not under any legislative or executive outside supervision. While the “official” black budget for the year 2013 amounts to about 57 billion dollars, according to the cost breakdown leaked by Edward Snowden, the annual “unofficial” one according to some estimates may well exceed one trillion or even a trillion and a half dollars in the last decade or two.
Salla points out that Area 51 and its advanced aircraft development work leading to such cutting edge planes as the “Oxcart” and U-2, have always provided a reliable cover for the even more exotic programmes being carried out at S-4. People, whether officials or members of the public, who show curiosity about the mysteries of the area are given some information about the experimental aeronautical vehicles being designed and tested there and sometimes are told that “UFOs” are just a cover used by the Pentagon to keep enemies and busybodies in the dark about the real military technologies under study. He cites the testimonies of a number of Area 51 and S-4 whistleblowers while pointing out that their allegations are in most cases unproven though they are generally congruent even though those former employees did not know one another.
A major result of the system devised by Nelson Rockefeller was that the activities of Majestic and its related CIA-sponsored operations became unknown to all, including President Eisenhower himself. He tried to regain control in 1958 and reportedly had to threaten MJ-12 to send the 1st Army from Colorado to occupy Area 51 if he was not fully briefed on the situation there but got only a limited update through two envoys that he sent to the base which by then had became a state within the state. A coalition of Intelligence organizations and major military industrial corporations had taken exclusive control of the research programmes connected to UFOs and no other president would be able to change that. Eisenhower warned the nation in his famous but cryptic farewell speech about the “military-industrial complex” three days before leaving office on January 17th 1961 but few people could understand what he was referring to and even fewer had the power to act. His successor John Kennedy was one of those and he was to try repeatedly to take control of a rogue secret state that had emptied the presidency of much of its substance, according to documentation that has surfaced since.
Chapters 4 and 5 document reveal when and how Eisenhower briefed Kennedy on the UFO files and on the situation he was to confront within the government in that regard. Indeed, shortly after assuming office, the new president issued Executive Order 10320, dated February 19th 1961 whereby he abolished the Operations Coordinating Board of the CIA, the successor to the Psychological Strategy Board set up in 1951 and placed all its activities under the control of his National Security Adviser, McGeorge Bundy and the Department of State. Then, on 28 June 1961 he wrote a top secret memorandum to Allen Dulles asking him to provide a full review of its psychological operations, the bracket under which all UFO related research was reportedly being carried out.
The book highlights that Dulles, whose hold over the CIA was weakened by the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs operations in Cuba, his brainchild, saw the President’s investigation as a critical threat to MJ-12’s power and prerogatives. Accordingly in September, before replying, he sent a memo to six other members of MJ-12 (the infamous “burned memo” rescued from destruction by a member of his personal staff after Angleton’s death) in which he asked them to respond before November 1961 giving their opinion on what was to be done to deal with “Lancer’s inquiries” which he pointed out significantly “we cannot allow”.
It is well known that “Lancer” was President Kennedy’s cryptonym in the Intelligence community. In his answer to him dated of November 5th, 1961, Dulles eluded the issue, alleging that security requirements did not allow him to disclose the activities of MJ-12 and that the rumors on UFOs were “soviet propaganda” though he conceded that some UFOs might be non-terrestrial in origin but added that they did not pose a military threat, a claim that has become a standard – though unproven – line in official statements from the American and other governments. On November 19th Dulles resigned under pressure from the President but not without leaving another classified document in the care of the counter-Intelligence chief, his confidant Angleton. That document refers cryptically to “Project Environment” and states that if the Government continues to hamper the growth of the “environment”, “it should be wet”. In CIA parlance, that is interpreted as a provision to kill and Salla concludes, like other researchers before him, that in effect Dulles laid the ground for assassinating a President whom he and his colleagues regarded as a traitor and a dangerous meddler into matters that were above his “need to know”.
Critics will allege that it is impossible to prove that Dulles indeed ordered JFK’s assassination through such an ambiguous document and that there is no evidence that such a decision, even if it was made, was motivated by the UFO issue since there were several other matters (the expanding Vietnam war, the powers of the Executive vs the Federal Reserve Board, relations with the USSR, Israel’s secret nuclear programme) over which Kennedy was in conflict with the Deep State that existed since the days of Truman at least.
The Israelis, according to some researchers such as Michael Piper Collins had good reasons to order the killing of a President opposed to their acquisition of atomic weapons and US military leaders faulted Kennedy for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion which had been planned under Eisenhower’s watch and of which he did not approve. Some on the Far Right accused him of being a Communist appeaser, unwilling to fight the Red takeover in Vietnam, as documented by Col. Fletcher Prouty, not without some justification as we will see further on. However the connection between JFK’s proven demands to gain full knowledge of the secret activities of MJ-12 and the CIA while cutting the latter down to size and the equally documented reactions from Dulles strongly suggests that a hidden war between the White House and the Secret Government was being waged over the UFO issue. Moreover, those who killed the 35th president may have had more than one reason to do so and it is significant that Angleton, seemingly entrusted by Dulles with the execution of his “termination” order, was in charge of both Counter Intelligence and Liaison with Israel’s Intelligence until his own retirement in 1975. He might hence have fulfilled two complementary agendas in one blow, so to speak.
In Chapter 6, Salla names the twelve members of MJ-12 in the year 1961 when the decision to kill JFK was apparently made under the protocols of “Project Environment”. By then several of the original members had retired or died and their successors are even harder to identify in view of the extreme secrecy of the programme. Among them, Edward Teller was reportedly MJ-2 and a few generals, Curtis LeMay, John Samford and Marshall Carter were then members along with eminent scientists Detlev Bronk and Donald Menzel and veteran Intelligence Operative Gordon Gray. The book makes an educated guess about the identities of the six (MJ-2 to MJ-7, listed as recipients in the heading) to whom Dulles’s memo about eliminating the President was sent.
Chapter 7 provides a fascinating insight into the initiatives taken by Kennedy in the years 1961 and 1962 to gain inside information about the UFO issues by circumventing Majestic and the CIA that had stonewalled him.
It is now known that his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy was extensively briefed on behalf of the President, by Colonel Philip Corso, head of the Army’s Foreign Technology Desk from 1960 to 1963, who had extensive knowledge of the Alien situation. Further there are unconfirmed reports, including references in a leaked CIA account for James Angleton of a wiretapped conversation between Marilyn Monroe and two friends, including society reporter Dorothy Killgallen that Kennedy had gone to a medical facility in a US military base in Florida, possibly Homestead AFB, to see alien bodies that were kept there.
Additionally on June 6, 1963 he visited, together with Vice-President Johnson the contiguous military bases of White Sands Missile Range (the home of many of the German scientists hosted through Project Paperclip), Fort Bliss and Holloman in New Mexico, in the vicinity of Roswell. According to investigator Tim Cooper, on his specific demand Kennedy was given a classified briefing on UFOs and the ET situation. Finally, the famous ET contactee George Adamski affirmed that he had been secretly received by the President at the White House in October 1961 and had conveyed to him a written message containing an invitation to meet with certain Alien envoys on board their craft at Desert Hot Springs in California. Adamski asserted that such a visit indeed took place shortly afterwards. When one takes into account the proven high degree of access enjoyed by Adamski in high places in those years, one cannot dismiss his testimony lightly. It has now been established that he was received privately by various heads of state and by Pope John XXII himself at the Vatican. They all took seriously his status as a messenger of visitors from other worlds.
The following chapter recapitulates the circumstances that led to Marilyn Monroe’s sudden death on August 5th, 1962, the day before she was supposed to give a “tell all” press conference, promising to reveal quite a few damaging secrets about the Kennedy administration and the private life of the President. By then, the Kennedy brothers had distanced themselves from her on the advice of FBI director Edgar Hoover who had warned that the disturbed actress was a security threat. Multiple witnesses have testified that the Attorney General visited the jilted and angry Star twice at her house on her last day, in the company of two secret service agents or police detectives. The general view is that Robert Kennedy had been given a mission from the President to convince her to keep the secrets he had unwittingly shared in her and in particular, to recover her “red diary” which allegedly contained many incriminating details of their relationship. It would appear that Marilyn was given a “sedative” injection which may accidentally or purposely caused her death and Salla concludes that the agent who performed may have been under CIA orders to compromise the Kennedys in order to ensure their silence. As a matter of fact, the red diary has never been officially found and Marilyn’s suspected secrets died with her. Both John and Robert Kennedy were to follow her in the grave within a few years.
Chapter 9 takes us to the central argument of the book: Kennedy’s last stand that resulted in his violent death in Dallas from what the 1979 Report of the House Select Committee on Assassination formally defined as “probably a conspiracy”, contrary to the whitewashing conclusions reached by the Warren Commission. Recently Robert Kennedy Jr. has said that the assassination of his uncle was likely carried out by a “rogue” faction of the CIA; that amounts to a polite verbal device to exonerate the highest authorities in the land, including Lyndon Johnson who seems from many accounts to have been a party to the murder plot as he was a zealous supporter of the “black” government and of the UFO secrecy it enforced.
Indeed, the major reason why Kennedy was killed, according to Salla was his commitment to enter into a comprehensive programme of cooperation with the USSR for arms control, scientific research and space exploration, as he stated as early as his inaugural address on January 20th 1961. Subsequently, after pledging to fight and limit government secrecy in a famous speech in April, from June 28, as we have seen, he issued the first of three successive National Security Action memoranda to release information related to space matters. Although his initial overture to Soviet Premier Khrushchev was shunned, Kennedy persisted and on September 20th, 1963 he gave a decisive speech to the UN General Assembly about his intent to cooperate with the USSR for space exploration. According to various inside sources, Khrushchev relented in his opposition on or around November October 11.
On the very next day, after holding a “hotline” conversation with him on the UFO problem, transcribed in a leaked NSA intercept, the American President issued National Security Action Memorandum 271 to the NASA administrator, James Webb, instructing him to prepare for cooperation with the Soviets and in parallel sent CIA Director McCone a top secret memo to order a “classification review of all the UFO Intelligence affecting National Security” which was to be submitted no later than February 1st 1964. That could be regarded as a frontal attack on the Majestic “black government” system and significantly, the leaked copy of the Memo bears a note at the bottom signed William Colby, then a Deputy Chief of the CIA (Far Eastern Division) saying “Angleton has MJ directive, 11/20/63”, which can be interpreted as referring to Dulles’s “Environment” contingency. The operation to kill the President, codenamed “The Big Event” according to veteran covert agent Howard Hunt, took place two days later and involved a few shadowy intermediaries and hitmen, including George de Mohrenschild, Cord Meyer, Clay Shaw Franck Sturgis, David Morales and, probably at a lower “Patsy” level Lee Harvey Oswald but the chain of command went all the way back to Majestic 12 through Vice-President Johnson.
President Kennedy’s murder appears in the light of Salla’s investigation even more ominous and consequential for American and global politics than is generally believed. It consecrated the takeover of the US State by an secret para-military and industrial unelected and unaccountable junta, capable not only of killing the head of state but also of controlling subsequent investigations in order to protect itself from exposure. Immune from any democratic or public oversight and mustering unlimited funding, the secret government has been able to develop under a cloak of secrecy a colossal technological and scientific infrastructure, partly on the strength of its access to at least one very advanced alien civilization, mostly for its own strategic and financial benefit. Although many of the breakthroughs achieved by that clandestine privatized system have since percolated down to our civilian economy as attested by the technological revolution of the last few decades, it is highly probable that the most life-changing discoveries are still hidden away in the dark folds of the military industrial complex as Ben Rich, the former head of the Lockheed Corp’s Skunkworks department openly confessed not long before his death.