by Perry Adams
(This interview was conducted at the Hungry i in San Francisco on Monday, March 18th.)
ARGO: Why is the truth behind the assassination of President Kennedy the last chance of America for its survival?
SAHL: Because the evidence developed by District Attorney Garrison indicates that certain people had to take President Kennedy's life in order to control ours. In other words, as Richard Starnes of the New York World-Telegram said, the shots in Dallas were the opening shots of World War III. There's been a great change in this country since Kennedy. I'm afraid a great deal of our hope was interred with his remains.
ARGO: What is the long, hard night that America must go through that you've spoken of?
SAHL: She has to hang on through a period of the military and the CIA with a blank check trying to sell fascism. If she can hang on long enough, Americans may yet live in the country in which they were born. And that is the country structured by Tom Paine and Tom Jefferson.
ARGO: What is the renaissance following this long, hard night, that you also spoke about?
SAHL: We'll start pursuing the American dream again. I don't know if we'll ever realize it, but we're supposed to have the right to pursue it. And that's what this country is. It's an active exercise in man reaching his upper limit, as they used to say in the math department. And the renaissance will be that a ground swell of public opinion will flush out the rascals because the CIA has infiltrated every area of our national life. I'm afraid that the country they subverted best was the United States, be they in the various right-wing churches or be they in the Dallas Police Department. In fact, the CIA is the only organization I know that could penetrate the Birch Society and make them drift further to the right.
Fascism will come to America in the name of national security.
— Jim Garrison
There will come a time when testimony taken by the Commission will be made public. But it might not be in your lifetime. There may be some things that would involve security. This would be preserved but not made public.
— Earl Warren
Security classification is intended to protect the nation from an enemy, not one branch of government against another or the public, nor to protect the American people from knowledge of mistakes. I do not accept as valid the view of Mr. Arthur Sylvester, the former press officer of the Pentagon, that the Government has a right to lie to the people of this country.
— J. William Fulbright
I want to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.
— John F. Kennedy
I made it very clear to the CIA recruiter that the invitation to come on campus was still open and that the administration was not in any way trying to discourage the CIA from coming to UCSB.
— Stephen Goodspeed, Vice-Chancellor
University of California, Santa Barbara
ARGO: What is the extent of the conspiracy and why is the government so desperate to keep the truth from the American public?
SAHL: We have determined that elements of the Central Intelligence Agency planned the execution and killed the President. Lee Oswald attended those meetings planning it. He was the only non-CIA man at the meeting. And he worked for the FBI. We then find that an FBI code clerk has a message come through, a twx, through the southern regional offices of the FBI, warning five days ahead that the President will be assassinated and we still later find Oswald saying, "I was a patsy," in the Dallas Police Station. The "elements" are in the Central Intelligence Agency. They don't want to lose their power. And they don't want to fall. It has become government by hoodlum. And I don't blame them. If I were them, I wouldn't want to fall either. I would pull out all the stops as well, as they have. On the other hand, while I know that neo-Nazis would want to kill a man like John Kennedy, I don't understand why liberals would want to protect them from prosecution.
ARGO: What would you say are the roots of this whole era?
SAHL: Fascism. It started with the death of Roosevelt. They moved in and they negated every treaty we made with every world leader who didn't fit the fascist/militarist mold. We went back on our word. As David Schoenbrun says very well, "I am not a dissenter for saying this. Those who betrayed American policy are the dissenters." We've gone back on the dream of national independence and we were the model for the rest of the world. Then when they followed our model, we attacked them for it. Shameful. No one has a right to stain the American flag. And unfortunately, we have people in this country who did it. If America goes, it will surely be an inside job.
ARGO: What will make the American people face themselves and, to use your expression, rise up like an army?
SAHL: Well, they have very decent instincts. If they didn't, the government would not have to hide the facts from them. They could give them any facts and the people would be insensitive. But, they have a sense of decency because they come from better stock then that. And so, once the truth is revealed to them, they're no longer under a cloak of ignorance. Public opinion will change things. There will be a ground swell. These people will resign or will be lost in the shuffle. But, you know, the country was structured so that we could have violent change without violent overthrow. I'm very optimistic in that sense. The principles of America may be better than the group currently practicing or ignoring them, as you will. But, the country has great relilience, and once they get the information, they my yet have time to save themselves.
Our job here is to give the young people time. We're just like the fellow in the movie The Seventh Cross. He works with the partisans. We've got to give the young people time to get here, to save America.
ARGO: Why is the trial that Mr. Garrison's pursuing really the trial of the American people?
SAHL: Because we have to decide. Once the neo-fascists became bold enough to slay the President on the street, they showed their hand. They showed how arrogant they had become. Now it's a question of symptom. That crime was a national symptom. If we can turn our back on that, we will pay a terrible price. That will be the end of this democracy. As a matter of fact, it's been dying since Kennedy's death. We have to cleanse our soul. It's much the same as the French when they regained their national honor, not by framing Dreyfus, but by admitting that they did.
ARGO: What does Garrison mean: "The key to the whole case is through the looking glass. Black is white; white is black"?
SAHL: He means that the first thing the government did when the President was killed was to ratify his death and to appoint a group of honorable men to initial a fraudulent report. To eventually say there is no fourth bullet, even though there's a fourth bullet hole. The man was shot at from three sides, but there was only one side. In other words, the government decrees it is so. And that eventually the government may be forced to form a Ministry of Truth which will rule there was no John Kennedy, if it becomes convenient. That's what he means. When Lyndon Johnson says to us, as an example, "We have continually keep up brush fire wars to protect the peace." Well, that's Orwell. War is peace, and peace is war, and love is hate. And you finally sell it just that way; the contradiction. And you do it by making the American people mad because those are the mouthings of a madman. We can be driven mad; it's the same virus that bit the Germans.
ARGO: What is meant by "elements" of the CIA?
SAHL: I'm afraid we'll have to wait for the trial for that. But, elements within the CIA planned it and wanted the President dead and saw to it that he was.
ARGO: Is there a difference between "elements" of the CIA and "ex-employees" of the CIA?
SAHL: I'll tell you why that is, Perry. The evidence is developmental and as you get further into the case, you'll learn more. Jim always puts it on the basis of the elephant. He said an elephant had a trunk; now I find he has four legs, he's also grey, and he has a tail. That's where it is. In the beginning, Jim could not believe that people in the United States government would want to harm their president. He now believes that. He's no longer an innocent. He's had a baptism of fire. And, of course, the lengths the agency's gone to, to see that nobody involved with this case is allowed to work in this country, and the wire taps, and the tails in the street, etc.; the great harrassment is phenomenal. The things that we've done to ourselves in the name of fighting communism. . .
When he said that the CIA had gone to such great lengths to protect the people charged in this case, and to keep witnesses from being extradited, and to smear Garrison, we didn't know how far they would go. But, it is evident now that if they will kill a President, they will go to any lengths not to be toppled. And they are so imbedded in the society that the Presidents are almost transients. The only President that ever went up against them was Kennedy. And we see what happened to him for his pains.
Ramsey Clark, on Face the Nation a couple of weeks ago, said that he saw nothing new in the Garrison investigation. I pointed that out to Garrison. He said to me, "Yes, there is nothing new as far as he's concerned. We found out the CIA killed the President and he knew it. So it's nothing new to him."
I know the pressure on those of us who have spoken up in this case. The minute I made a decision for America and decided to park everything else and go ahead, I suddenly was unemployable, and by an awful lot of people you'd call liberal. I want to make it very clear. The people on the right are not large enough to be an army, but they have an army of indifferent men, men indifferent to terror. The road to fascism is paved with liberal bricks. While our job to give the young people time enough to become radicals, the job of the liberals is to castrate them before they can get to the radical side, before they can save America, in effect. It's wholly incredible to me. If I gave you the names of people in show business who are attempting to supress me, they all qualify as wild-eyed left-wing thinkers, in the popular mind.
ARGO: If the defense's request for a change of venue is denied, will the trial begin in April?
SAHL: Yes, it will. Shaw's latest gambit is to start challenging the first 89, but the judge is beginning to get bugged with it all. Also, Garrison is going to subpoena and charge more people. You'll begin to see some names you recognize, very soon.
ARGO: Was Dallas just an accident or could it have happened anywhere?
SAHL: No, there's strong opinion that some people in Dallas are very much involved in this. Very much so. That's what caused a lot of suspicion to reflect on the President. Although, it is not too well founded, at this point. Of course, the President, ironically, has nurtured that by suppressing evidence and looking the other way. He has incubated the doubt about him. As Garrison says, "No, I don't think he's involved, but wouldn't it be nice to know."
ARGO: What is the importance of the book that Garrison mentioned entitled Nazis and Fascists of Today, published in Paris, France?
SAHL: That book mentions several of our friends here in the United States, several people here who are probably very well respected pillars of the community. But, the book was seized and placed in the National Archives until 2039 A.D.
It's a sick society, and that's really the crux. That's why Garrison says this case is the crux of whether this country goes on or not. Is it an open society? Can the government tell you: "We know better what's good for you than you know for yourself"? And a lot of this has been incubated by the centralization of authority, which I'm sure the liberals will defend. They think it's a welfare program for Negroes. Hardly. The Federal government hasn't done anything good for anybody in quite a long time. You know, we ridicule our Ronald Reagans, and all. Mr. Reagan has to give somethig for the taxes. He has to give you Highway 99, or Highway 33, or 101. The Federal government doesn't have to give you anything, except a brainwash. When you think of the CIA bribing your brothers to turn you in, and you say, "Well, they've got an awful lot of money." An awful lot of money; it's ours! What do you mean they've got a lot of money? They're rag pickers. You know, and the American dream happens to be sticking to their pants legs like bicycle clips.
ARGO: Who has approached Robert Kennedy on all of this?
SAHL: No one. As a matter of fact, one of the favorite cliches people are continually saying to me is: "Why doesn't Bobby Kennedy investigate this?" But, somehow, when they sit next to Bobby Kennedy on a television show, they never bring it up. They bring it up to me with great arrogance, but they have no courage in his presence. I would suggest that they ask him. I've heard nothing from him on that case.
ARGO: What is the possibility for establishing a platform in Los Angeles, perhaps a new show?
SAHL: I may have something to announce on that soon.