“This steady, ineluctable course toward ending the cold war placed Kennedy on a collision course with the strongest forces in the United States government. His course, if continued, meant the end of the long hayride of billions and billions of dollars of military hardware purchases. It meant the end of the Pax Americana, the new imperialism which had crept into American foreign policy at the end of World War II. It meant the beginning of the end of the dominance of the Pentagon and the CIA over American foreign policy, and, indeed, over much of the domestic policy as well. It meant, in sum, the beginning of the end of two empires, one international and the other a bureaucratic structure internal to our government and more powerful than all the rest of the government put together.”

Jim Garrison’s 1970 book, A Heritage of Stone provides a rich source of our genuine history, free of the inhumanity and suffocating control exercised by national security state managers whose allegiance is to LAWCAP’s U.S. Corporate Empire State. In a truly democratic society, this work would be a primary high school textbook for students to understand how their world actually works given prior struggles pursued by people who were dedicated to finding and establishing ways to live in peaceful coexistence for all people on Earth.

As District Attorney of New Orleans, Jim Garrison was the only Law Enforcement Officer in the United States who had the conscience, sense of duty, and the courage to conduct a trial for the assassination of President John Kennedy. Regarding what he learned from 1967 to 1969, “my staff and I found ourselves on a collision course with the most powerful force in the country. The battle that followed over those three years exposed us to a part of America that we never dreamed existed. It became very clear to me that this was no longer the country that I had grown up in as a boy. It was a nation controlled by an enormous domestic intelligence organization which would seek to discredit or destroy anyone who dared challenge its authority.” (p. 19)

“The inhumanity demonstrated by the CIA, and the masked eminences for whom it performed was scarcely distinguishable from the inhumanity of the totalitarian governments which we had defeated in World War II. Actually we had taken the place of the totalitarian powers whom we had defeated.”

The Opening of Chapter 1 and the book’s final Chapter, “The War Machine” presents an effective summation of why the 35th President of the United States was killed by elements of his own government. It is refreshing and liberating to read the simple, honest, direct language, so lacking in the present day Alice-In-Wonderland ersatz reality churned out daily by the bulk of monetized media.

A man who cares too much for the human race may find himself living in a hostile environment. His humanity may not be regarded as dangerous so long as his voice cannot be heard by too many people, but if he is eloquent, or if he is in a position to affect the affairs of the nation, then his humanity will be regarded by some men as a great threat.

After the United States ascended to the position of the most powerful military nation in history, in the midst of its accumulation of the most effective death machinery of all time, there occurred the accident of the election of a President who regarded the entire human race with compassion. By the time this happened, the cold war had become our major industry, and the Central Intelligence Agency had become the clandestine arm of our military-industrial complex and, in the process, the most effective assassination machine in the world. (p. 25)

A successful coup d’état affects not merely the history of a nation but may change its power structure. With the killing of John Kennedy, the very position of the Presidency was drastically reduced in status. Henceforth, the President would be a broker for the war machine. He would be an advocate and spokesman for the Pentagon. All Presidents who followed Kennedy would have to know their impotence, no matter what their public role.

Until the work of the Kennedy assassins is undone, Presidents will come and go but the warfare machine and its extensive intelligence tentacles, domestic as well as foreign, will remain in control. The assassination reduced the President of the United States to a transient official, a servant of the warfare conglomerate. His assignment is to speak as often as possible about the nation’s desire for peace, while he serves as a business agent in Congress for the military and their hardware manufacturers…. (p. 180)

If the government were to take its gold bullion from Fort Knox, fly it to the Pacific in daily flights and drop it in the ocean, this would not be far removed from what has been accomplished by our adventure in Vietnam since the removal of President Kennedy. Even as the dollar approached the value of a postage stamp, the westward flights of troops and weapons into Asia were continued without abatement.

It was not possible to have price controls because the government could not admit it was engaged in war. Consequently, as the Vietnam War continued, the buying power of the dollar steadily descended. What the average American was able to retain at the end of the year was swept up by the heavy taxation, to pay for the Vietnam War and for the CIA’s adventures throughout the world.

Seven years after the assassination and the subsequent Vietnam escalation, our economy was showing the strain of too much war production and too much investment in warfare adventures. War production fails to add to the well being of the people and distorts the national economy by adding to its waste and reducing its efficiency. Real income falls as uncontrolled prices continue to rise. Insufficient money is available for the cities, and the standard of living of workers suffers. The quality of public education deteriorates. Billions of dollars that might have been available for our new schools and other social needs have in effect been dumped into the Pacific Ocean. The CIA and the Pentagon are not interested in new schools and social needs. These are death-oriented operations…. (p. 182)

It is inconceivable that men high in our government today are not fully aware of what really happened to John Kennedy and why it happened. If it can be understood outside Washington, it can be understood in Washington. Yet their sophisticated silence remains unbroken as they continue to play the game that all is well in America.

Their continued silence is eloquent testimony that the military and intelligence power elite, which sponsored the assassination and which then initiated the Vietnam escalation, continues to retain covert control of the nation. It is all too apparent that this force in our government believes that violence is the ultimate solution to any problem. This is why the present period is a most dangerous one for America and for the world….

Just as the cold war provides reasons for the existence of autocratic power, so does chaos within the nation operate as a source of power. As chaos continues, the populace will tend to be less concerned about abridgment of individual rights and will more willingly grant to a strong centralized government such power it claims it needs. Thus the warfare state may continue to appear to be relevant even after it has had to reduce its international adventures to some degree because the people are sick of war.

Such seeming relevance depends, however, upon the existence of chaos. The government’s domestic intelligence can supply chaos in good measure by stirring the embers wherever there is social discontent, and in a society depleted by years of war there will be much of that…. (p. 184)

In any event, we need no longer pretend that there is any mystery left about the assassination of John Kennedy. The cold war was the biggest business in America, worth eighty billion dollars a year as well as tremendous power to men in Washington. The President was murdered because he was genuinely seeking peace in a corrupt world. As tired as we are of the horror of the subject, all of us must address ourselves honestly to the meaning and implications of the assassination of John Kennedy, or all of us will pay the price of living in tyranny. (p. 185)

Webster’s defines tyranny as “oppresive power”. That we live in a state of oppressive power is everywhere apparent today. In the Foreword Garrison lays out the challenge—still to be addressed by all of us—that unless humankind ends war and learns to love the human family, we will become extinguished and, for the more complex life forms here, Earth will become a silent heritage of stone.

The descendant of the hairy Stone Age man would rebuild the earth, change the course of rivers and touch the very stars at which his ancestor stared from his cave at night. There was nothing he would be unable to do, so long as he was not asked to love his fellow man.

Man has invented the cross, the gallows, the rack, the gibbet, the guillotine, the sword, the machine gun, the electric chair, the hand grenade, the personnel mine, the flame thrower, the “blockbuster,” the obsolescent atom bomb and the currently popular hydrogen bomb—all made to maim or destroy his fellow man. These inventions, combined with hate and selfishness and lust for power, are responsible for the unending destruction of humans by other humans. Yet most dangerous of all is modern man’s interest in his own self. Hate and love of power could be dealt with were it not for the license they receive from the inertia of millions. The most dangerous of all humans are the gray mice: it is their silence that kills. It was the silence of the gray mice outside the German concentration camps that killed the millions inside.

Whether we survive the Thermonuclear Age may come down to the simple question of whether we learn to care about our fellow men. Perhaps our cruelty and detachment will lend to a final day of fire for the most rational creature who ever walked the earth. The computers which we have invented now tell us that our losses in a nuclear exchange will be many millions of American dead. We have come a long way from the first stone axe.

Is there an alternative to the extinction of man? Those gibbets, thumbscrews, gallows, treasured hates and fond cruelties must inexorably give way to the expansion of man’s intellect and reason. Along with this, he must increase enormously his compassion for and identification with the species. Failing this, he will become silent forever.

The book’s dedication speaks to the inheritors of Mother Earth. Garrison states that humanity will be saved from a heritage of stone only if it understands the meaning of the Kennedy assassination by the warfare state. Understanding how our world truly operates given what has happened before now liberates consciousness from the domination trance and opens infinite possibilities for life after empire.

To the Younger Generation.
May its members have the insight to
see the deceptions of the warfare state.
May they have the courage to stand
on the side of humanity.