Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Soft Revolution & Freeing the JFK Records


“The technique of the coup d’etat is the technique of judo; the planners of the coup must use the power of the state against its political masters.” – Edward Lutwak “Coup d’etat – A Practical Handbook” (Alfred A. Knoff, NY 1969)

If the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was not the work of a lone deranged nut and instead a coup d’etat engineered by those who took over the government, then in order to unravel the covert coup it will take an organization with at least the knowledge and power of the group who killed him, and a plan of strategy and tactics that at least has the potential of being successful.

In order to resolve all of the outstanding questions related to the assassination of President Kennedy it will be necessary to essentially solve the crime to a moral and legal certainty, which can only be done by requiring the government live up to its constitutional obligations beginning with the enforcement of the JFK Act, the conduct of public oversight hearings in Congress, the convening of a Special Federal Grand Jury to investigate crimes related to the assassination and the prosecution of those who have destroyed evidence and historic records, obstructed justice, committed perjury, wrongfully withheld records, or committed other crimes like conspiracy, treason and murder.

A proper grand jury investigation would require the exhumation and proper forensic autopsy of all the victims – JFK, J.D. Tippit, Oswald and John B. Connally, done by an independent forensic lab with the latest equipment.

A local Dallas grand jury should also be convened to investigate the murder of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit, as new, important and potentially significant witnesses have presented new evidence with the potential of developing new records and witnesses.

Of all the things that need to occur to obtain justice for JFK – grand jury, new autopsy, Congressional oversight hearings and freeing the remaining sealed files, obtaining the accelerated release of the JFK assassination records is the easiest and must be the first to tackle, with Congressional hearings second, and the others depending on these first two events to transpire.

One of the first requirements to coming to a complete understanding of what happened at Dealey Plaza is the declassification and public release of all of the records related to the assassination, something that can and should be done.

Freeing the files was the purpose of the JFK Act, which has not been enforced since the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) dissolved over fifteen years ago.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is now responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the JFK Act, but they have not done so, and neither has Congress, who has not held an public oversight hearing since the ARRB went out of business.

Both “Coup D’etat – A Practical Handbook” and “The Soft Revolution” say that the techniques of judo are applied metaphorically in order to affect a coup or radically change the type of static administrative bureauracy we are up against, so I am going to quote from them extensively to see how they can help us develop some strategies to at least try to free the still sealed JFK assassination files.

“The Soft Revolution” (Dell Laurel, 1973) by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

The Soft Revolution has as its purpose the renewal and reconstruction of institutions without the use of violence. Violence changes the subject. It is counter-productive, it damages and destroys human beings, it’s just plain dumb…The hard revolution is counter-productive because it provokes violence, reaction, recrimination, retaliation, loss of strategic support and, all in all, produces more problems than it solves. It also requires no brains or wit at all,…it’s not only fatal, it’s no fun. The Soft requires rather more thought and self-discipline...

The Soft Revolution is characterized by minimum of rhetoric, dogmas and charismatic leadership. It consists of a point of view (and concomitant strategies) that is serious, but not solemn. Solemnity seems to be a strategy invented to make something that’s basically ridiculous seem important. Among the purposes of the soft revolution is to make visible the ridiculousness of our solemn tribal beliefs and rituals – and that requires a sense of humor.

The central purpose of the Soft Revolution is to help all of us get it together….to reform an existing system or start a better one from scratch. It all depends on what one is prepared to do and what is possible. Its objective is to make changes in the way things are being done. Profound changes, where possible – and where that is not possible, simple improvements. It begins anywhere and anytime someone finds room enough to do something that is better than what’s going on. When enough things have been done, you may find that a new system has happened. Some people do not like this idea because it represents ‘piecemeal reform.’ They are wrong. When piecemeal reform is inadequate, the reason is that not enough pieces have yet been reformed.

When you are making a Soft Revolution, you are not required to assume that you are absolutely right; nor that you are, in all respects, more virtuous than those whose ideas you would like to “disappear.” All that is required is your considered judgment that you may have a better idea.

When you are making a Soft Revolution, you do not always need a large organization. Sometimes, five people doing the right thing the right way can do the job. This implies that individual effort can make a difference, even if only to twenty people. Beware of the man who passes up that opportunity because he is not satisfied with helping so few. He probably works for the CIA. Beware also of those who devote themselves entirely to revolution. They are usually very boring, and find it impossible to retain a sense of humor. They are one-dimensional people. If a man becomes obsessed with an idea, he probably loves his obsession more than his idea.

When you are making a Soft Revolution, you are free to change your mind – and yourself in the process. In fact, by suing this option, you can learn how and why other people change their minds, and you will, as a consequence, be a better Soft Revolutionary.

The basic metaphor of a Soft Revolution is judo. As the term suggests, its primary use is in the defense of self against system. When you are using judo, you do not oppose the strength of your adversary. You use your adversary’s strength against himself, and in spite of himself (in fact, because of himself). You do not need judo when your own strength is greater than your adversary’s. In that case you can, if you wish, smash him to bits. But that is clearly not the situation in relation to change in education (or institutions). The bureaucracies that govern institutions, while not as powerful as certain others in society, still have the forces of precedent, law, academic prejudice, economic coercion, tradition, and inertia behind them. And when those, too, fail – the police or national guard. The confrontation tactics of student militants during the past years have not been without result. But considering the energy that has been spent, the effort has been impressively inefficient. The SYSTEM remains not only intact but better than ever prepared to deal with confrontation,…and in spite of all the highpitched noises, there is no decent “game plan” to stop them.

Judo is the game plan. With it, you do not “work within the system” – any more than you run head-on into it. You use the system against itself to work for needed change. But to use the principles of judo to facilitate educational change, one must understand exceedingly well the structure of the system one is dealing with, understand the symbology of that system, and understand the psychology of those who comprise the system.


When you are using judo as a metaphor for effecting change, you must have a realistic grasp of how things stand. For instance, here are some facts that will not change in the near future. They are “obvious,” which means many people act as if they do not know about them.

  1. People who have functioned successfully within a system are generally unwilling to have the system change, much less work to change it.
  2. They are not “evil” (at least, no more than you). They just don’t want to let go of a good thing.
  3. No one (including you) wants to change all his beliefs. In fact, it is probably impossible to so and retain your sanity. (You just want to change their mind about how they do their work).
  4. That is why people sometimes prefer problems that are familiar to solutions that are not.
  5. People tend to react to their symbols as if the symbols were the things they represent. (This may be the most critical fact for anyone wanting change to remember and act on.)
  6. People are actually afraid of many words (You too).
  7. Very often, people do not see a connection between the way they live their lives and their ideas, which may be just as well. In other words, there are a great many “good” people with bad opinions and “bad” people with good ones. Distinguishing between the two is a helluva job, but usually worth it.
  8. It is not true, as some humanists like to say, that there is a shortage of moral outrage. There is plenty around for everyone. But moral outrage, by itself, does not bring needed change.

Sometimes you hear an overwrought revolutionary say, “We’ve had enough rhetoric. Let’s do something!”

But the something that is done may have little or no application to the realities of the situation, and therefore becomes an extension, in a different form, of the empty rhetoric he is trying to be rid of…In pointing this out, we do not mean to denigrate the actions taken by many students on campuses throughout the country. It is perfectly clear that student demonstrations, protests, and strikes have created a setting in which effective renewal processes has become possible. We mean to say that a strike can be as unproductive as a speech, if there is no realistic plan to transform either into an authentic change of procedure.

…The establishment is only a metaphor for organized power; it is individual people who wield that power; individual people are changeable and accessible to reason, especially when reason and change can be shown to be in their self-interest; among people of influence there are many untapped sensitivities and repositories of good will….

The above is from: “The Soft Revolution” by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner (Dell Laurel, 1971)

In “Coup d’etat – A Practical Handbook,” Ed Lutkwak wrote:

“As the events in France of May (and Chicago in August) 1968 have shown yet again, insurrection, the classic vehicle of revolution, is obsolete. The security apparatus of the modern state, with its professional personnel, with its diversified means of transport and communications, and with its extensive sources of information, cannot be defeated by civilian agitation, however intense and prolonged.”

“Any attempt on the part of civilians to use direct violence with improvised means will always be neutralized by the efficiency of modern weapons…the civilians will run out of food and fuel well before the military, the police and allied organizations.”

“The modern state is therefore practically invulnerable to a direct assault. Two alternatives remain: guerrilla warfare and the coup d’etat. The first works by slow erosion of he human and physical infrastructure of the state, a long and bloody process. The coup d’etat, on the other hand, relies on the use of precisely those parts of the state apparatus which guerrilla warfare seeks to destroy: the armed forces, the police, and security agencies. The technique of the coup d’etat is the technique of judo: the planners of the coup must use the power of the state against its political masters. This is done by a process of infiltration and subversion in which a small but critical part of the security forces are totally subverted, while much of the rest is temporarily neutralized.”

“Evolgato imperii acano, wrote Tacitus: ‘The secret of empire was out – an Emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome,’ Nowadays the secret of empire is that a president can be made otherwise than by general election….”  S. F. Finer (June 19, 1968)


In applying the techniques of judo to our goals in relation to the assassination of President Kennedy, using the power of the state against itself – we must force the government to do what it doesn’t want to do – we must get the government employees to do their jobs – we must oversee the law and ensure that all the laws of the land are being enforces – beginning with the JFK Act.

We must get people in NARA to want to do their duty and assume the jobs and power of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) as it supposed to do – but has not. We need NARA to hold a special program on the JFK assassination as they did on the anniversaries of the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis and Berlin Crisis, and release new records in honor of the 50th anniversary. We need NARA to begin the declassification processing of the remaining records, determine how many are still classified and what they are, to search once again for outstanding records that should have been made part of the JFK Assassination Collection by the ARRB and weren’t, and to require Congress to hold the required open public oversight hearings.

We must get Congress to want to hold public oversight hearings of the JFK Act and find out why so many assassination records were destroyed, why so many are missing, why so many are still being withheld, - get the NARA to determine how many documents and how many pages are still withheld, because they don’t know and aren’t going to bother to count them.

We must get the Courts to rule in favor of openness – especially in regards to the Morley v. CIA in regards to the Joannides records, the NSA vs. CIA over the Bay of Pigs report, and the group action against the CIA and other cases against other agencies and departments with relevant records.

We must get the Administration – President Obama, to affirm the conviction expressed by the former Asst. Archivist that the JFK Assassination Records were intended to be made part of the 2013 National Declassification Center effort, and include them among the records to be declassified.

The NARA, Congress, the Courts and the Administration must all be hit – at once – with a full court press – and we must identify sympathetic members of each of these groups who support open records and get them to work towards these simple and achievable goals of simply getting the government to do its job.

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