Nero Fiddled but Kennedy Partied
Presidential mistress (while a teenager) Mimi Alford claims that the president who remains the most popular in modern U.S. history offered her amyl nitrate poppers during a nude swimming party at the Palm Springs estate of Bing Crosby, the most popular entertainer of America's Norman Rockwell era. The party took place around "White" Christmas of 1962.
"The shouts and shrieks of the partygoers," writes Seymour Hersh in his earlier (but corroborating book) The Dark Side of Camelot, "had the California State policemen guarding the estate that night assuming the sounds were actually the nighttime calls of coyotes."
But as the whoops and shrieks got louder, the alarmed state troopers finally called Kennedy's Secret Service agents, Joe Paolella and Larry Newman, to ask if some coyotes were bothering the president. The agents, long accustomed to averting their gaze during these frequent episodes, finally went around back and investigated: "[Kennedy's top aide] Dave Powers [was] bang**g a girl on the edge of the pool," recalled Newman. "The President is sitting across the pool having a drink and talking to some broads. Everybody was buck**s naked."
But no word from the Secret Service agents if Bingo's "Silent Night, Holy Night" played in the background during this Yuletide celebration.
Mere months earlier, dozens of Cuban exiles (many of them college kids about Mimi Alford's age) were infiltrating Cuba and bringing out eyewitness reports of what remains the biggest military threat to the U.S. since 1812. In the process, dozens were also dying by firing squad and torture at the hands of Castro and Che Guevara's KGB-tutored secret police.
For all the good the Cubans boys did:
"Nothing but refugee rumors," sneered JFK's National Security advisor, McGeorge Bundy on ABC's Issues and Answers on October 14, 1962. "Nothing in Cuba presents a threat to the United States," continued the Ivy League luminary, barely masking his scorn for these hot-headed and deceitful Cubans. "There's no likelihood that the Soviets or Cubans would try and install an offensive capability in Cuba," he scoffed.
And for all the thanks the Cubans got:
"There's fifty-odd-thousand Cuban refugees in this country," sneered President Kennedy himself the following day, "all living for the day when we go to war with Cuba. They're the ones putting out this kind of stuff."
Exactly 48 hours later, U-2 photos sat on the president's desk revealing those "refugee rumors," complete with nuclear warheads, and pointed directly at Bundy, JFK, and their entire staff of sagacious Ivy League wizards.
"We ended up getting exactly what we'd wanted all along," snickered Khrushchev in his memoirs regarding Kennedy's "resolution" of the resulting "crisis": "[s]ecurity for Fidel Castro's regime and American missiles removed from Turkey. Until today, the U.S. has complied with her promise to not interfere with Castro and to not allow anyone else to interfere with Castro [italics mine]."
After the Missile Crisis "resolution," the U.S. Coast Guard and even the British navy (when some intrepid exile freedom-fighters moved their operation to the Bahamas and Kennedy notified his chum, British PM Harold MacMillan) shielded Castro from exile attacks. In the Florida Keys and Bahamas, they were arresting and disarming the very exiles the CIA had been training and arming the month before.
In his diaries, Khrushchev snickers further: "it would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba -- for a country 8,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable." So much for the threat that so rattled the Knights of Camelot and inspired such cinematic and literary epics of drama and derring-do by their court scribes and court cinematographers (i.e., the MSM and Hollywood).
Considering the U.S. nuclear superiority over the Soviets at the time of the (so-called) Missile Crisis (five thousand nuclear warheads for us, three hundred for them), it's hard to imagine a President Nixon -- much less Reagan -- quaking in front of Khrushchev's transparent ruse à la Kennedy. The genuine threat came -- not from Moscow -- but from Castro and Che. "If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims." So said Che Guevara in November 1962.
After the "resolution," some of the very Cuban freedom-fighters who had smuggled out the very secret of the Soviet missiles found themselves stranded in a Cuba swarming with 47,000 Soviet troops. Dozens of these young heroes huddled in mangrove swamps along Cuba's coast, dodging Communist patrols and waiting for their scheduled "exfiltration" by motorboats back to the U.S.
Their wait was vain. Their mission accomplished, their evidence to the Knights of Camelot about weapons of mass destruction 90 miles away and hosted by the most pathologically anti-American regime in history delivered (and finally acted upon), these heroes promptly fell through the cracks of the Kennedy-Khrushchev deal. They were expendable.
"Let's be careful not to let any of these Cuban refugees upset the deal" were President Kennedy's words to his attorney general brother on the night of October 28, 1962. So the scheduled boat runs to the Cuban coast to carry the freedom-fighters were canceled. Suddenly these recue runs were impediments to Camelot's delicate diplomacy, you see. So Castro's and Che's firing squads rubbed their hands together and got busy.
Eighteen months after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, two months after his deal with Khrushchev (and shortly after Bing Crosby's party), a guilt-stricken JFK ransomed the surviving Bay of Pigs freedom-fighters back from Castro's dungeons. Living under a daily firing squad sentence for almost two years, these men -- aware it would probably save their lives -- had all refused to sign the confession damning the "U.S. Imperialists" (the very nation which, for all they knew at the time, that had betrayed them on that beachhead). "We will die with dignity!" responded their second-in-command Erneido Oliva to his furious Communist interrogators, again and again and again.
On Dec. 29, 1962, these Cuban freedom fighters, many on crutches, others in wheelchairs, gathered with their destitute and traumatized families in Miami's Orange Bowl to hear President Kennedy address them.
"I am here today not to be honored -- but to pay honor," intoned the U.S. president. "I know of no men in modern history who showed more courage under more difficult conditions than those before me today." The president continued in this vein and upon completing his tribute the Cuban freedom-fighters handed him their sacred battle flag, a gesture which surprised and seemed to deeply move the U.S. president.
"I promise to deliver this Brigade banner to you in a free Havana!" he beamed at the freedom-fighters and their loved ones.
The stadium erupted: "Cuba libre!" yelled the delirious crowd while hugging and cheering and sobbing. "Cuba libre!" yelled men (and boys) who'd snickered in the face of KGB torturers weeks earlier, but now wept openly. The hour of liberation seemed nigh, and with the full backing of "The Leader of the Free World."
But two months earlier, this same Leader of the Free World had made a different pledge to Khrushchev, insuring anything but a Cuba Libre -- promising, in fact, that Havana would remain Communist, as enforced by U.S. arms.
And the history of the subsequent fifty years has shown which pledge the U.S. has honored. The pledge to the Butcher of Budapest to preserve Castroite Stalinism has proven sacrosanct. While the pledge of liberty to the men who risked their lives to warn the U.S. of the greatest threat in her history was trashed.
Mimi Alford, on the other hand, claims that the president was always perfectly honest with her.