Going Deeper than Necessary
Peter Dale Scott's Deep PoliticsBy Rachel Weber
The real question is: "who was not involved with the events of November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas?" This seems to be answered by Peter Dale Scott with a simple phrase, "no one." Scott is the author of Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, which was released in 1993 on the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. Scott at first appears to have something new to say about the assassination, but it turns out that his "new information" is simply the meticulous research he undertook to tie anyone and everyone alive in 1963 together in the conspiracy to kill JFK. Scott does not actually implicate the entire global population, but he does seem to hit upon every major (and even minor) player in the public and private sectors at that time. His scope of inclusion seems to lack limits, and though he does back his proposals up with extensive research, it still seems that his statements are simply that: proposals. Scott's basic objective in the book is to use the assassination as an instrument to show how the undercurrents and covert connections in American society motivate and organize our political system and daily life. Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK is a meticulously researched drama filled with deep connections and deep thoughts on Vietnam, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the supposed deep political plot and cover-up which resulted in the assassination of the President.
Deep politics is defined by Scott as "all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged," (7). Further clarification of this view comes with his definition of deep political analysis: "looking beneath public formulations of policy issues to the bureaucratic, economic, and ultimately covert and criminal activities which underlie them," (10). Scott basically believes that much of American society exists in psychological denial concerning the Kennedy assassination, and that due to such feelings, citizens openly resist the further examination of the topic. He feels that it is his duty to himself, as well as to others, to engage in deep political analysis of such collective conscious-forming events, such as the JFK assassination, in order to bring society out of its denial. In his own words, "I propose that we should move toward a deeper Enmindment that respects the truths of darkness, as well as those of light," (22). Scott's view on the American political system is that it exists in this darkness, an area of intrigue and corruption. Further expansion of this view shows that he believes a more correct name for our political system would be a system of accommodations, one "which is characterized by alliances or symbiosis with lawless forces, which the system is nominally committed to eradicating," (312). These lawless forces, and their connections with the political system, are what his book proposes to flesh out with the JFK assassination as their center point.
After Scott spends excessive time explaining his view on and reasons for undertaking deep political analysis of the Kennedy assassination, he moves onto the subject of the Vietnam War. Scott looks into whether it connected to the assassination plot, and if it did, in what way and through what channels. Scott begins his analysis with a questionable survey of NSAMs 263 and 273, the official security memos stating presidential policy on the Vietnam War. NSAM 263 was under Kennedy's direction, and 273 is -- according to Scott -- from Johnson's administration. Plainly explained, the first called for the withdrawal of 1,000 troops by the end of 1963 as the first step of a pull-out to be completed by 1965, and the second called for the use of different levels of military activity against North Vietnam. Scott calls these two documents direct proof of the quick reversal of Vietnam policy following the assassination, and opens up the suspicion that Washington forces were in fact plotting the murder in order to further plans for Vietnam. Scott is very good in giving his own interpretation of the documents, but he also does admit that both are filled with considerable bureaucratic word-twisting, and are therefore difficult to understand when trying to discern exact meaning.
In his suspicions, Scott does not directly finger Johnson as a conspirator, but he does leave that option open, as he points to LBJ's comraderie with the Joint Chiefs in their efforts to introduce US combat troops into Asia. Taking this another step further, Scott points to a back channel existing during Kennedy's administration by which certain officials fed Burris (Johnson's military aide) and Johnson a steady stream of accurate Vietnam intelligence reports which were denied to the President. Whether this is completely true is questionable, but Scott claims to have the knowledge and evidence to back it up. As he states, "there are two interlocking mysteries about the events of November 1963: the assassination, and the pre-assassination preparations for a reversal of Vietnam policy endorsed almost immediately by the incoming President," (32).
Scott's discussion does examine Lee Harvey Oswald's place in the deep political system which killed the President, but only after "Oswald as the lone assassin" is completely dismissed as a possibility. In fact, "Oswald as the lone assassin" is not even dealt with, and it is assumed an impossibility from the very beginning. Scott simply explains that when studying both Ruby and Oswald in the deep political context, they emerge as operators within a world where political and criminal activities mesh. Due to Oswald's place in this world, there is no doubt in Scott's mind that he was interrelated with many other factions involved in the assassination.
Oswald's questionable connections pointed to by Scott include his Marine career and subsequent assignment to Atsugi (with the CIA training center and the U2 spyplanes), his defection to the Soviet Union (as part of a US intelligence program to penetrate the USSR with false defectors), his employment at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall (printing involvement with classified work for the US Army), and his Dallas intelligence connection (deMohrenschildt, the FBI, etc). These suspicious connections to Oswald are given a sufficient amount of analysis by Scott, but nowhere does he seem to point to specific evidence implicating corruption. He explains how the connections could each be deemed suspicious, but he does not provide evidence that any of them really were. Scott of course also spends some time discussing the Mexico City trip, the possibility of an Oswald impersonator, and both the Silvia Odio story and the "A" story (tying Oswald to David Farrie and the Cuban Consulate). The problem again with his analysis of the trip and possible sinister connections tied to it is that he does not come up with one concrete theory. Half of his information points to Oswald having been in Mexico City and the other half to his having not been. There is no coherent scenario that all of his proposals support, rather he just seems to be giving an overview of all of the conspiratorial possibilities and explaining how each could independently connect to Oswald (not to each other).
Jack Ruby and his murder of Oswald are also explained only in very meticulous examination of the entirety of Ruby's connections (which are grossly extensive) and their suspicious aspects. It seems that in Dallas alone, Ruby knew everyone with any possible sinister connection: politicians, cops, judges, dope traffickers, thieves, prostitutes, etc. But, in Scott's analysis, Dallas was not the only city involved in Ruby's important connections, as he also "communicated with key figures in the deep power structure of other cities," (127). These other hubs of corruption in Ruby's life included his hometown of Chicago and random cities in Mexico (his "drug connection").
Scott cites many examples with supporting evidence concerning Ruby's well-known mob connections in Chicago, his dirty dealings with cops and prostitutes at his strip club in Dallas, and his work as an informant for the FBI and the Dallas Police Department. Much of this is plausible, and yes, the House Select Committee on Assassinations also agreed that Ruby seemed to be involved with and connected to a large number of sinister characters. The evidence that is missing in Scott's analysis concerns how all of these suspicious connections amount to anything involving the assassination of JFK or of Oswald. Yes, these important players in organized crime and local politics could be suspected of hidden agendas, but no evidence has come to light proving that any of them were directly involved with these two crimes. There is also no evidence that Ruby had any sort of relationship with Oswald, outside of causing his death. Scott does an in-depth and well-researched study of Ruby's life and his connections to high-profile characters, but he neglects to tell his audience anything new.
Scott's conclusion is (simply stated): "the President was murdered by a coalition of forces inside and outside government, of the type described in this book" and further the assassination was "a synergetic performance by internal ingredients of that deep political system" (299). This seems simply ludicrous after he has just completed an entire analysis of the political system in America and the importance of most of its figures in 1963 to the assassination of President Kennedy. He later states that readers also need to "recognize that the American political system is of necessity an open one, and thus increasingly susceptible to the growing influence of money and intelligence penetration from abroad," (301). So at this point, now Scott is going back to blaming the actual political system, not the shadow one, and involving international undercurrents as well.
Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK is a fully-researched document citing deep connections concerning Vietnam, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the plot and cover-up of President Kennedy's assassination. Scott's failure occurs as throughout the entire book, and even in his conclusion (titled "Who Killed JFK?"), he cannot simply label even one large and all-inclusive unit, like the government, as being responsible for JFK's death. He continually swings back and forth, all in the name of deep political analysis, and seems to draw not one conclusion but several contradictory ones. Repeatedly at the end of the book, he also calls attention to the JFK assassination's connections to the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy as well as to McCarthyism, Watergate, and Contragate. Simply summarized, everything in the political sphere, as well as in the national and international spheres, has been connected to the Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963, in some way. The reader leaves Scott's Deep Politics with much more confusion than he began with and no idea of how to live in a world or an America which is so completely based on corruption and suspicion. My answer: Scott's analysis is not worth giving that much credit to.