The Zionist Assassination of the First U.S. Secretary of Defense: Because He ‘strongly opposed the creation of Israel’

Fifteen Years Before Kennedy, Zionists Murdered Forrestal

Laurent Guyénot
The UNZ Review

Israel as serial murderer

In the 1990s, a couple of bestsellers brought to the knowledge of a large public the fact that JFK’s assassination in 1963 solved an intense crisis over Israel’s secret nuclear program. In one of his last letters to Kennedy, quoted by Seymour Hersh in The Samson Option (1991), Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion complained: “Mr. President, my people have the right to exist […] and this existence is in danger.”[1] The nuclear option was judged vital for Israel, and JFK opposed it. A Haaretz review of Avner Cohen’s book Israel and the Bomb (1998) puts it this way:

“The murder of American President John F. Kennedy brought to an abrupt end the massive pressure being applied by the US administration on the government of Israel to discontinue the nuclear program. Cohen demonstrates at length the pressures applied by Kennedy on Ben-Gurion. […] The book implied that, had Kennedy remained alive, it is doubtful whether Israel would today have a nuclear option.”[2]

Also openly discussed by Israeli historians today are the close connections between Ben-Gurion’s network in the U.S. and what Tel-Aviv professor Robert Rockaway calls “Gangsters for Zion”, including the infamous “Murder, Incorporated”, run by Bugsy Siegel and then by Mickey Cohen, Jack Ruby’s mentor.

That Israel had the motive and the means of killing JFK does not prove that Israel did it. But I am quite certain that today, most smart Israelis assume and half-approve that Ben-Gurion ordered the elimination of JFK in order to replace him by Lyndon Johnson, whose love for Israel is also now widely celebrated, to the point that some speculate he might have been a secret Jew.

In Ben-Gurion’s mind, making Israel a nuclear state was a matter of life and death, and obliterating any obstacle was an absolute necessity. In Netanyahu’s mind today, preventing Iran—or any other enemy of Israel—from becoming a nuclear state is of the same order of necessity, and would surely justify eliminating another U.S. president in order to replace him by a more supportive Vice President. Most dedicated Zionists understand that. Andrew Adler, owner and editor in chief of The Atlanta Jewish Times, assumes that the idea “has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circle,” and, in his column of January 13, 2012, called on the Israeli Prime Minister to

“give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current Vice-President to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish State obliterate its enemies. […] Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence.”[3]

Eliminating unsubmissive foreign leaders is part of Israel’s struggle for existence. Besides, it is entirely biblical: foreign kings are supposed to “lick the dust at [Israelis’] feet” (Isaiah 49:23), or perish, with their names “blotted out under heaven” (Deuteronomy 7:24).

On November 6, 1944, members of the Stern Gang, led by future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, assassinated Lord Moyne, the British resident minister in the Middle East, for his anti-Zionist positions. The bodies of his murderers, executed in Egypt, were later exchanged for twenty Arab prisoners and buried at the “Monument of Heroes” in Jerusalem. On September 17, 1948, the same terrorist group murdered in Jerusalem Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat appointed as United Nations mediator in Palestine. He had just submitted his report A/648, which described “large-scale Zionist plundering and destruction of villages,” and called for the “return of the Arab refugees rooted in this land for centuries.” His assassin, Nathan Friedman-Yellin, was arrested, convicted, and then amnestied; in 1960 he was elected to the Knesset.[4]

In 1946, three months after members of the Irgun, led by future Prime Minister Menachem Begin, killed ninety-one people in the headquarter of the British Mandate’s administration (King David Hotel), the same terrorist group attempted to murder British Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, according to British Intelligence documents declassified in 2006.

These killings and more are documented by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman in Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations (Random House, 2018). Bergman writes:

“At the end of 1947, a report to the British high commissioner tallied the casualties of the previous two years: 176 British Mandate personnel and civilians killed. / ‘Only these actions, these executions, caused the British to leave,’ David Shomron said, decades after he shot Tom Wilkin dead on a Jerusalem street. ‘If [Avraham] Stern had not begun the war, the State of Israel would not have come into being.’”[5]

James Forrestal’s strange death

Absent from Israel’s body count in Bergman’s book is former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, assassinated eight months after Count Bernadotte. Forrestal had been Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Navy from April 1944. With consolidation of the armed services under Truman in 1947, he became the first Secretary of Defense. He opposed the United Nations’ vote to partition Palestine, and protested vigorously against U.S. recognition of Israel on May 15, 1948, on the ground that U.S. interests in the Middle East would be seriously jeopardized by American sponsorship of a Jewish state. For this, Forrestal received “an outpouring of slander and calumny that must surely be judged one of the most shameful intervals in American journalism,” in the words of Robert Lovett, then Under Secretary of State. Truman replaced Forrestal on March 28, 1949—shortly after his reelection—by the man who had been his main fundraiser, Louis Johnson. According to the received story, Forrestal, who was psychologically exhausted, fell into depression immediately. On April 2, 1949, he was interned against his will in the military hospital of the Navy in Bethesda, Maryland, a Washington, DC, suburb, where he was forcibly confined for seven weeks. He fell to his death from the 16th floor at 1:50 in the morning of May 22, 1949, landing on the roof of the third floor. He had a dressing-gown sash tied around his neck.

Bethesda Navy Hospital, where Forrestal met his death
Bethesda Navy Hospital, where Forrestal met his death

National authorities and mainstream media immediately labeled his death a suicide, without any known criminal investigation. A review board was appointed on May 23, headed by Admiral Morton Willcutts, to conduct hearings of members of the hospital staff with the sole purpose of exonerating everyone of responsibility in Forrestal’s assumed suicide. The board completed its work in one week, and published a short press release four months later. But the full report, containing the transcripts of all hearings an crucial exhibits, were kept secret for 55 years, until David Martin obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request in April 2004 (it is now available on the Princeton University Library website in pdf form, or here in HTML rendition by the anonymous Mark Hunter, who makes useful comments).

In his book and in his web articles complementing it, David Martin makes a compelling case that Forrestal was murdered, and that his murder was ordered by the Zionists, most probably with the knowledge and approval of Truman, who was then completely hostage to the Zionists. The motive? Forrestal was planning to write a book and to launch a national magazine: he had the money and the connections for it, and he had three thousand pages of personal diary to back his revelations on the corruption of American leadership and the sell-out of American foreign policy to communism under Roosevelt, and to Zionism under Truman.

I will here summarize the evidence accumulated by David Martin, and highlight the significance of this case for our understanding of Israel’s takeover of the heart, soul, and body of the United States. Unless specified otherwise, all information is from Martin’s book or articles.

From James Forrestal to John Kennedy

My own interest for this heartbreaking story stems from my interest for the Kennedy assassinations. (read my article “Did Israel Kill the Kennedys?”). I found the connection and similarities between the two stories highly illuminating. Everyone knows that Kennedy was assassinated, yet most Americans are still unaware of the evidence incriminating Israel. In the case of Forrestal, it is the opposite: few people suspect a murder, but once the evidence for murder has been presented, it points directly to Israel as the culprit. For this reason, Forrestal’s assassination by the Zionists becomes a precedent that makes JFK’s assassination by the same collective entity more plausible. If Israel can kill a former U.S. Defense Secretary on American soil in 1949 and get away with it with government and media complicity, then why not a sitting President fifteen years later? If the truth on Forrestal had been known by 1963, it is unlikely that Israel could have killed two Kennedys with impunity.

Forrestal was of Irish Catholic origin like the Kennedys, and was close to JFK’s father. Both James Forrestal and Joseph Kennedy are examples of American patriots of Irish stock who were alarmed by Jewish influence over American foreign policy. The entry for 27 December 1945 in Forrestal’s edited diary, says:

“Played golf with Joe Kennedy. I asked him about his conversations with Roosevelt and Neville Chamberlain from 1938 on. […] Chamberlain, he says, stated that America and the world Jews had forced England into the war.”

One major difference between the two men is that Joe Kennedy had resigned from government after Roosevelt’s entry into the war, and had kept a low profile on Israel. Moreover, unlike Forrestal, he was the head of a wealthy clan and had his own men in the press. He was a politician, whereas Forrestal was an uncompromising man. These differences explain why Forrestal was assassinated, whereas Joe had his son elected president. Yet in the end, the Kennedys suffered the Talmudic curse over three generations.

When James Forrestal, hostile to Stalin’s ambitions on Eastern Europe and to Truman’s decision to nuke Japan, was kept away from the official delegation to the Potsdam Conference in the summer 1945, he flew there privately and took with him the then 28-year-old John Kennedy, for a tour of post-war Germany. Later on, John integrated James Forrestal’s son Michael Forrestal as a member of his National Security Council. In May 1963 he made a symbolic public gesture by visiting the grave of James Forrestal on Memorial Day.

JFK visits Forrestal’s grave at Arlington cemetery
JFK visits Forrestal’s grave at Arlington cemetery

James Forrestal’s and John Kennedy’s assassinations bear one sinister thing in common: Bethesda Naval Hospital. As most readers recall, this is where Kennedy’s autopsy was tampered with after his body had been whisked away at gunpoint from Dallas Parkland Hospital, most probably by Secret Service agents on Lyndon Johnson’s order. In 1963, Lyndon Johnson could count on high-level complicity within the Navy.

It happens that Johnson, whom Billy Sole Estes claims ordered nine murders in the course of his political career,[6] makes a special appearance, although brief and poorly documented, in the story of Forrestal’s assassination. LBJ was then a newly elected congressman, on the payroll of Abraham Feinberg, former president of Americans for Haganah Incorporated and financial godfather of Israel’s atomic bomb.[7] According to the testimony of Forrestal’s assistant Marx Leva (more on him later), Johnson paid an unwanted visit to Forrestal at Bethesda Hospital. David Martin asks:

“Could LBJ have been playing something of a foot-soldier role for the orchestrators of Forrestal’s demise? Might he have been there to size up the overall situation, and at the same time contribute to ‘making his bones,’ as it were, by participating in such an important operation?” (Martin p. 20)

The official narrative

It bears repeating that no investigation was conducted into the death of James Forrestal, either by the FBI or the NCIS (Navy Criminal Investigative Service). The very day of his death, the mainstream press announced his suicide as a matter of fact. The New York Times stated in its late May 22 edition that Forrestal “jumped thirteen stories to his death,” and added the next morning:

“There were indications that Mr. Forrestal might also have tried to hang himself. The sash of his dressing-gown was still knotted and wrapped tightly around his neck when he was found, but hospital officials would not speculate as to its possible purpose.”

Later biographers did speculate that he may have tried to hang himself but failed to tie the sash securely to the radiator beneath the window. In The Man Who Kept the Secrets, Pulitzer Price winner Thomas Powers says that Forrestal died trying to hang himself “from his hospital window, but slipped and fell sixteen stories to his death.”

Forrestal left no suicide note, but the New York Times (May 23) informs its readers that:

“A book of poetry beside his bed was opened to a passage from the Greek tragedian, Sophocles, telling of the comfort of death. […] Mr. Forrestal had copied most of the Sophocles poem from the book on hospital memo paper, but he had apparently been interrupted in his efforts. His copying stopped after he had written ‘night’ of the word ‘nightingale’ in the twenty-sixth line of the poem.”

On May 24, the New York Times gave the final word to the psychiatrist in charge, who made suicide sound predictable:

“Captain George M. Raines, the Navy psychiatrist who had been treating Mr. Forrestal, said that the former Secretary ended his life in a sudden fit of despondency. He said this was ‘extremely common’ to the patient’s severe type of mental illness.”

That’s it. Never did the mainstream media hint at the possibility of foul play. The conclusion that Forrestal’s death is an obvious suicide caused by his “mental illness” was taken at face value by the authors of Forrestal’s two main biographies:

  • Arnold Rogow, James Forrestal, A Study of Personality, Politics, and Policy (MacMillan Company, 1963);
  • Townsend Hoopes and Douglass Brinkley, Driven Patriot, the Life and Times of James Forrestal (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003).

Rogow, whose book has been called a “psychological autopsy,” insists on linking Forrestal’s alleged mental illness to his alleged anti-Semitism, with the implication that anti-Semitism is a form of paranoia that may lead to suicide. Rogow is an expert on the subject of anti-Semitism, on which he wrote the article for The International Encyclopedia of Social Science. He is also the author The Jew in a Gentile World: An Anthology of Writings about Jews by Non-Jews.

Hoopes and Brinkley borrow heavily from Rogow, but add valuable information based on their own interviews. They give an interesting interpretation of the morbid poem allegedly copied by Forrestal from Mark Van Dorren’s Anthology of World Poetry, titled “The Chorus from Ajax.” Taking their clue from Zionist apologist John Loftus, author of The Belarus Secret (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), they speculate that, when reaching the word “nightingale” in the poem, Forrestal might have been overwhelmed by a sudden rush of guilt for having authorized a CIA operation with the code name of “Nightingale,” that infiltrated into the Soviet Union Ukrainian spies who had been formerly Nazi collaborators and probably killers of Jews. The word “nightingale,” Hoopes and Brinkley surmise, must have triggered Forrestal’s urge to take the poet’s admonition literally and end his life on the spot.

Was Forrestal mentally ill?

David Martin has uncovered grave inconsistencies and outright lies in the official story. First, it appears that Forrestal’s nervous breakdown has been wildly exaggerated, if not totally invented. As the story goes, Forrestal’s mental health had started deteriorating before Truman replaced him, and collapsed on March 29, just after a brief ceremony in his honor at Capitol Hill. The main source for this story is an Oral history interview of Marx Leva, Forrestal’s special assistant at that time, recorded for the Truman library in 1969. Leva says that, on that day, he found Forrestal in his Pentagon office, “almost in a coma.” He had him driven home and later met him there with Forrestal’s friend Ferdinand Eberstadt, and the two men decided that Forrestal’s state required that he urgently take some vacation. So Leva made immediate arrangement for a Marine plane to fly him to the estate of Robert Lovett in Hobe Sound, Florida that very night. “And on the way out Forrestal said three times, the only thing he said, [Eberstadt] tried to speak to him and he would say, ‘You’re a loyal fellow, Marx.’ ‘You’re a loyal fellow, Marx,’ three times.” Since Leva is Jewish, the implication is that Forrestal was obsessed by the disloyalty he attributed to many Jewish officials. For Leva, “he apparently was beyond being neurotic, I mean it was apparently paranoid”.

David Martin shows in this article (adding a new perspective to his book) that Marx Leva is lying. Forrestal’s vacation had in fact been planned in advance, and his wife was already waiting for him there. This is proven by a Jacksonville Daily Journal article dated March 28 about the ceremony when Truman pinned the Distinguished Service Medal on Forrestal’s chest that very day. The article concludes: “Forrestal is flying tomorrow to Hobe Sound, Fla., for a long rest.” This video clip of Forrestal shows him perfectly healthy and composed on March 28.

News reports and biographies insist that, during his four-day stay at Hobe Sound, Forrestal showed signs of paranoia. One rumor, made up by Daniel Yergin and repeated by Thomas Powers in The Man Who Kept the Secrets, has him running through the streets yelling, “The Russians are coming.” There is no credible source for this claim. Under Secretary of State (and future Defense Secretary) Robert Lovett, who was at Hobe Sound with Forrestal, did say in 1974 that Forrestal appeared to him as “not of sound mind,” because “he was obsessed with the idea that his phone calls were being bugged,” and complained that “they’re really after me.” I find rather strange, though, that Lovett feigns to ignore who Forrestal meant by “they”. There is nothing irrational in Forrestal’s belief that “his telephones were being bugged, [and that] his house was being watched”, as he had earlier complained to Truman’s appointments secretary, Matthew J. Connelly (who said so in a 1968 interview by the Truman Library).

There is also a rumor that Forrestal attempted suicide at Hobe Sound. It is contradicted by the Willcutts report, where Dr. George Raines, the psychiatrist in charge of Forrestal at Bethesda, is recorded stating: “So far as I know he never made a single real attempt at suicide except that one that was successful.” All of Forrestal’s doctors interviewed are unanimous that he had never attempted suicide before his fatal fall.

That is not to say that Forrestal was not psychologically strained in 1949. As Secretary of Defense, he had been subjected not only to slander and calumny by the press, but also to anonymous death threats. Robert Lovett, who shared Forrestal’s views on Israel, testified that he himself received night phone calls with death threats, and that Forrestal was more exposed than him to this kind of treatment. Having lost all protection from the government after March 28, Forrestal had reasons to fear for his life. On May 23, 1949, The Washington Post concluded an article headlined “Delusions of Persecution, Acute Anxiety, Depression Marked Forrestal’s Illness,” with the somewhat paradoxical statement:

“His fear of reprisals from pro-Zionists was said to stem from attacks by some columnists on what they said was his opposition to partition of Palestine under a UN mandate. In his last year as Defense Secretary, he received great numbers of abusive and threatening letters.”

John Loftus and Mark Aarons, the arch-Zionist authors of The Secret War against the Jews, identify Forrestal as “the principal villain, the man who nearly succeeded in preventing Israel’s birth.” They reveal that “The Zionists had tried unsuccessfully to blackmail Forrestal with tape recordings of his own deals with the Nazis” (before the war, Forrestal had been a partner of Clarence Dillon, the Jewish founder of the banking firm Dillon, Read, and Co.), but they believe that Zionist harassment at least succeeded in making him insane: “His paranoia convinced him that his every word was bugged. / To his many critics, it seemed that James Forrestal’s anti-Jewish obsession had finally conquered him.”[8]

How convenient to claim that anti-Semitism may lead to suicide. When the Zionist mafia wishes you dead, fearing for your life is not a sign of mental illness, but rather of sound judgment.

We need not doubt Raines’ words to the Willcutts Review Board that, when he first saw Forrestal at Bethesda Hospital, “he was obviously exhausted physically” and showed “high blood pressure.” But here, we also have to take into account that Forrestal had been literally abducted from his vacation center at Hobe Sound. We should not be surprised when Rogow, and Hoopes and Brinkley after him, tell us that, even though he had been sedated, Forrestal “was in a state of extreme agitation during the flight from Florida,” and that:

“Forrestal’s agitation increased during the trip in a private car from the airfield to the hospital. He made several attempts to leave the car while it was in motion, and had to be forcibly restrained. Arriving at Bethesda, he declared that he did not expect to leave the hospital alive.”

As Martin mentions, there is also the very real possibility that Forrestal had been drugged at Hobe Sound, in order to make him appear insane and justify his internment.

Forrestal’s behavior at Bethesda shows nothing abnormal for a man locked up in the psychiatric division of a military hospital, on the 16th floor, for reasons he feared were not strictly medical. It has been reported by medical personnel that Forrestal often seemed restless, walking back and forth in his room late at night. Why wouldn’t he? Forrestal was even denied visits by those dearest to him. His brother Henry had tried several times to visit him, but had been rebuffed by Dr. Raines. The hospital authorities relented only after Henry threatened legal action. Forrestal was also denied the visit of his friend the Catholic priest, Monsignor Maurice Sheehy. Sheehy wrote in The Catholic Digest, January 1951, that, “The day he was admitted to the hospital, Forrestal told Dr. Raines he wish to see me,” but that Dr. Raines told him “that Jim was so confused I should wait some days before seeing him.” Raines turned away Father Sheehy on six occasions.

Despite being kept in virtual imprisonment and under forced medication, Forrestal endured remarkably well. From the hearings conducted by the Willcutts Review Boards, it appears that he was doing fine, in the days preceding his death. Willcutts himself expressed surprise at learning about his death, because he had dinner with him one day earlier (Friday the 20th), and thought he was “getting along splendidly.”

Evidence of cover-up and the fake suicide note

As mentioned earlier, the Willcutts Review Board’s mission was to exonerate every single individual of negligence. Even the brief conclusions released four months after it concluded its hearings, admits so, as reported in the New York Times October 12, 1949:

“Francis P. Matthews, Secretary of the Navy, made public today the report of an investigating board absolving all individuals of blame in the death of James Forrestal last May 22.”

Strangely enough, as Martin discovered, the report states that Forrestal’s fall was the cause of his death, but avoids any statement about the cause of the fall itself.

There is an obvious lack of interest from the Willcutts Board regarding all elements that point to murder rather than to suicide. The nurse who first entered Forrestal’s room after his death testified that there was broken glass on his bed. But the room must have been laundered before the crime scene photographs were taken, because they show the bed with nothing but a bare mattress, while another picture shows broken glass on the carpet at the foot of his bed (photos available on Mark Hunter’s site). The Willcutts Board had no interest in finding the origin of the broken glass, nor the reason it was removed from the bed.

They also failed to ask the personnel or themselves any relevant questions about the gown sash tied around Forrestal’s neck. Hoopes and Brinkley later speculated that Forrestal tied the sash to a radiator beneath the window, but that his knot “gave way.” That is contradicted by hospitalman William Eliades, who found the body of Forrestal with the sash (cord) around his neck, and declared to the Willcutts Review Board: “I looked to see whether he had tried to hang himself and whether a piece of cord had broken off. It was still in one piece except it was tied around his neck.”

But the most compelling proof that Forrestal’s death has been disguised as a suicide is the poem allegedly copied by Forrestal. Among the exhibits obtained by Martin alongside the Willcutts report is a copy of the memo sheet with the transcription of the poem (here). A comparison with any handwritten note by Forrestal makes it plain that it was not copied by Forrestal (both can be found on Mark Hunter’s webpage).

A sample of Forrestal’s handwriting and the note supposedly found in his room

As Martin comments, “One hardly needs an expert to tell him that the person who transcribed the poem is not the same person who wrote the various letters there.” Martin also notes that, from this single page, it is doubtful that the writer, whoever he was, even reached the word “nightingale”, which appears 11 verses below in the poem.

Interestingly, no one is identified in the official report as the discoverer of this handwritten note. It didn’t occur to the members of the Review Board to mention how it came into their possession, and to question about it the person who gave it to them.

In an effort to make the note a convincing proof of suicide, Rogow claims, and Hoopes and Brinkley repeat, that Apprentice Robert Wayne Harrison, Jr., the corpsman on duty to keep watch on Forrestal, checked into his room at 1:45 and saw him copying the poem. But by doing so, they both contradict Harrison’s declaration to the Willcutts Board. He said that, when he checked on him at 1:45, Forrestal was “in his bed, apparently sleeping.” Then he went to fill in the medical chart. Minutes later, a nurse heard the sound of Forrestal’s body striking the third floor roof. Harrison heard nothing but then became aware that Forrestal was missing at 1:50.

Robert Wayne Harrison, Jr. would certainly have been a prime suspect if any criminal investigation had taken place. He was new to the job, and unknown to Forrestal until that fatal night. He had started his guard at midnight, replacing Edward Prise whose shift had started at 4 pm. Prise was well-known and apparently appreciated by Forrestal; he had been assigned to keep watch on Forrestal from the third day of Forrestal’s arrival at Bethesda. Strangely, his name is not mentioned in any contemporary news report, and it is misspelled “Price” in the report and in all biographies, although he clearly signed “Prise” in the medical chart included among the exhibits with the Willcutts report.

David Martin mentions that he received an e-mail from Prise’s daughter saying:

“We grew up hearing whispers between our parents in reference to this matter but were not allowed to ask for detail. Even up until a year prior to my father’s death in 1991 he had called me and was in fear that he was going to be questioned again about the issue.” (Martin p. 9)

We need not insist on the fact that witnesses are easily intimidated in a military environment, as was Bethesda Hospital. The pressure transpires in the transcripts of the Willcutts interviews: every nurse, corpsman or doctor said what they were expected to say, and understood their obligation never to speak otherwise. An interesting insight into this can be gained from David Martin’s interview of John Spalding, James Forrestal’s Navy Driver, then 27 years-old. When informed of the death of Forrestal by his superior, Spalding was handed a sheet of paper to sign, saying “I could never talk about anything that happened between him and me.”

Was it the communists or the Zionists?

Before David Martin, one author, writing under the pen-name Cornell Simpson, had claimed that Forrestal had been murdered. His book, The Death of James Forrestal, was published in 1966, although he claims to have written it in the mid-1950s. Simpson’s book contains much valuable and credible information. He had for example interviewed James Forrestal’s brother Henry, who was positively certain that his brother had been murdered. Henry Forrestal found the timing of the death very suspicious because he was coming to take his brother out of the hospital a few hours later that very same day. According to Simpson, another person who didn’t believe in Forrestal’s suicide was Father Maurice Sheehy. When he hurried to the hospital several hours after Forrestal’s death, he was approached discreetly by an officer who whispered to him, “Father, you know Mr. Forrestal didn’t kill himself, don’t you?”

Simpson blames the communists for Forrestal’s murder. The claim is not preposterous. Forrestal was definitely anti-communist. He had been alarmed by what he saw as communist infiltration in the Roosevelt administration (the Venona decrypts, giving evidence of 329 Soviet agents inside the U.S. government during World War II, would prove him right). After Roosevelt’s death, he was influential in the transformation of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, from accommodation to “containment.” Senator Joseph McCarthy, another Irish Catholic, testifies in his book The Fight for America that it was Forrestal who directly inspired his exposés of communist influence and subversion in the federal government:

“Before meeting Jim Forrestal I thought we were losing to international Communism because of incompetence and stupidity on the part of our planners. I mentioned that to Forrestal. I shall forever remember his answer. He said, ‘McCarthy, consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.’ This phrase stuck me so forcefully that I have often used it since.”

After Forrestal met his violent end, McCarthy moved up to the front line. He himself died on May 2, 1957, at the age of forty-eight, in Bethesda Hospital. Hospital officials listed the cause of death as “acute hepatic failure,” and the death certificate reads “hepatitis, acute, cause unknown.” The doctors declared that the inflammation of the liver was of a “noninfectious type”. Acute hepatitis can be caused either by infection or by poisoning, yet no autopsy was performed. Simpson comments (as quoted at length in Martin’s article “James Forrestal and Joe McCarthy”):

“Like Jim Forrestal, Joe McCarthy walked into the Bethesda Naval Hospital as its most controversial patient and as the one man in America most hated by the Communists. And, like Forrestal, he left in a hearse, as a man whose valiant fight against Communism was ended forever.”

M. Stanton Evans, who built on his father Medford Evans’ earlier work for his commendable Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies (2009), hints at the possibility that McCarthy was murdered, but does not explore the issue.

In 1953, Robert Kennedy worked as an assistant counsel to the Senate committee chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy
In 1953, Robert Kennedy worked as an assistant counsel to the Senate committee chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy

The problem with Cornell Simpson’s theory is that Forrestal’s worst enemies were not the communists, but the Zionists. Although Forrestal’s anti-communism later attracted criticism from left-wing historians, it was not, then, a matter of public condemnation. Forrestal’s anti-communism was shared by most of his contemporaries, especially within the military. As long as you did not mention the high percentage of Jews among communists, being anti-communist did not make you the target of the mainstream media. The same, obviously, cannot be said of anti-Zionism. Neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times can be said to have been pro-communist at any time, but both turned strongly pro-Zionist around 1946. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the NY Times’ director of publication since 1938, had actually denounced in 1946 the “coercive methods of the Zionists” influencing his editorial line, but eventually gave in and, since 1948, the NY Times has produced singularly unbalanced coverage of Palestine.[9]

It was his opposition to Zionism, not to communism, that attracted death threats to Forrestal. In his diary entry for February 3, 1948, Forrestal writes that he had lunch with Bernard Baruch and mentioned to him his effort at stopping the process of recognition:

“He took the line of advising me not to be active in this particular matter and that I was already identified, to a degree that was not in my own interests, with opposition to the United Nations policy on Palestine.”

Martin comments (p. 86):

“Baruch clearly did not know his man when he attempted to influence him by appealing to Forrestal’s own self-interest. He might have known more than he was telling, though, when he hinted at the danger that Forrestal faced for the courageous position he had taken.”

Jewish gangsters were traditionally anti-communists, but the Zionists could count on them to give a hand whenever needed. From 1945, Ben-Gurion’s Jewish Agency had close links to the Yiddish mafia, also known as the Mishpucka (Hebrew for “the Family”), who contributed greatly to the clandestine arms-purchasing-and-smuggling network that armed the Haganah. Leonard Slater writes in The Pledge that Teddy Kollek, who later became the longtime mayor of Jerusalem, ran the day-to-day operations and was told explicitly by Jewish gangsters from Brooklyn, “If you want anyone killed, just draw up a list and we’ll take care of it.” Yehuda Arazi, a close aide to Ben-Gurion sent by him to the U.S. to purchase heavy armaments, approached Meyer Lansky and met with members of “Murder, Incorporated.” Another Haganah emissary, Reuvin Dafni, who would become Israeli consul in Los Angeles and New York, met with Benjamin Siegelbaum, known as Bugsy Siegel. Some of those “gangsters for Zion”, writes Robert Rockaway, “did so out of ethnic loyalties,” or “saw themselves as defenders of the Jews, almost biblical-like fighters. It was part of their self-image.” Some also helped “because it was a way […] to gain acceptance in the Jewish community.”[10] Mickey Cohen, the successor of Bugsy Siegel, explains in his memoirs that from 1947, “I got so engrossed with Israel that I actually pushed aside a lot of my activities and done nothing but what was involved with this Irgun war.”[11] He was in close contact with Menachem Begin, and met with him when Begin came touring the U.S. in December 1948, a few months before Forrestal was confined to the Bethesda hospital.[12] Had Begin wanted Forrestal dead, he had only to ask.

I think it is quite self-evident that Forrestal had more to fear from the Zionists than from the communists. And so it is strange that Cornell Simpson totally ignores the Zionists as possible culprits. Neither Israel nor Zionism appears in his index. David Martin, who nevertheless recognizes the merit of Simpson’s investigation, finds the explanation for his blackout on Zionism in the fact that his book was published by Western Islands Publishers, the in-house publishing company of the John Birch Society, a Zionist front.

Three years before the Birch Society published Simpson’s book, Rogow had published the first biography of Forrestal, defending the official line about his death, and linking his supposed mental illness directly to his supposed anti-Semitism. It is very unlikely that Rogow’s book eased the suspicions of the skeptics about Forrestal’s suicide. On the contrary, Rogow’s obvious bias as a writer mainly concerned with anti-Semitism must have led many to consider his book as just another layer in the cover-up. Martin therefore speculates that the writing and publishing of Simpson’s book by the Birch Society was a way to give voice to the skepticism over Forrestal’s death, while directing that skepticism away from the most likely suspects. Blaming the communists was the easiest way to deflect suspicions from the Zionists.

It was all the easier that, from the 1930s up to the time of Forrestal’s death, the communists and the Zionists were the same people in many instances, as David Martin points out. Although communism and Zionism may seem incompatible from an ideological viewpoint, it is a matter of record that some of the Jews who acted as communist agents under Roosevelt, turned ardent Zionists under Truman. A case in point is David Niles (Neyhus), one of the few of FDR’s top advisors kept by Truman: he was identified in the Venona decrypts as a communist agent, but then played a key role as a Zionist gatekeeper under Truman. Edwin Wright, in The Great Zionist Cover-Up, names him as “the protocol officer in the White House, [who] saw to it that the State Department influence was negated while the Zionist view was presented.” David Niles’ brother Elliot, a high official of B’nai B’rith, was a Lieutenant Colonel who passed information to the Haganah while working in the Pentagon.

Did the order come from the White House?

Martin considers David Niles “the most likely coordinator of the Forrestal assassination.” He had the motives and the means. He was actually capable of passing orders on behalf of Truman, as he did when orchestrating the campaign of intimidation and corruption that obtained a two-third majority in favor of the Partition Plan at the U.N. General Assembly.[13]

There are reasons to believe that the order to eliminate Forrestal came directly from the White House. According to Truman’s appointments secretary, Matthew J. Connelly, it was Truman himself who suggested arranging for Forrestal a vacation at Hobe Sound. As for the decision to abduct him from there and intern him in Bethesda, Martin makes the following remark:

“Considering the fact that Forrestal, having been officially replaced as Defense Secretary by Johnson on March 28, was a private citizen at this point, it is certainly reasonable to assume that Forrestal’s extra-legal transportation to Florida on a military airplane and confinement and treatment in the Naval Hospital at Bethesda was not done without approval at the highest level.” (Martin p. 29)

Hoopes and Brinkley state explicitly that the decision to take Forrestal to Bethesda came from Truman, and that Forrestal’s wife was convinced by a telephone conversation with Truman.

The decision to put Forrestal on the 16th floor, which seems hardly appropriate for a patient reputed suicidal, also came from the White House. Hoopes and Brinkley quote Dr. Robert P. Nenno, a young assistant to Dr. Raines from 1952 to 1959, who believed that Raines had received instruction to put Forrestal there, and added, “I have always guessed that the order came from the White House.”

Hoopes and Brinkley justify Dr. Raines’ turning Sheehy away on six occasions by the fear that Forrestal might divulge sensitive information during confession. Such concerns obviously came from higher up. It apparently didn’t come from Navy Secretary John L. Sullivan because, as Hoopes and Brinkley tell us, when Sheehy and Henry Forrestal took their complaint to him on May 18, he expressed surprise and had the decision overruled. According to Simpson: “the priest later commented that he received the distinct impression that Dr. Raines was acting under orders.”

There is, of course, no evidence that throwing Forrestal out of the window was also ordered by the White House, but given Truman’s complete control by the Zionists, and by David Niles in particular, it is not unlikely.

Why kill him after he had been dismissed from power?

But, one may ask, why would Truman or anyone need to kill Forrestal? Once out of the Pentagon, he had no more influence on government policy.

The answer is easy. Far from being suicidal, Forrestal was a man with a plan. According to Hoopes and Brinkley,

“he had told powerful Wall Street friends […] that he was interested in starting a newspaper or a magazine modeled after The Economist of Great Britain, and they had demonstrated a willingness to help him raise the start-up funds.”

He also planned to write a book. With no more ties to the government or to the army, he was free to speak his mind on many issues. As a war hero and a very popular figure, he was sure to have a great impact. And he had plenty of embarrassing things to reveal about what he had seen during his nine years in the government.

Time cover, October 29, 1945
Time cover, October 29, 1945

As Navy Secretary, he had been the central person for Pacific operations during World War II. He had inside knowledge of Roosevelt’s scheme to provoke the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. According to his diary entry for April 18, 1945, he had even told Truman, that,

“I had got Admiral Hewitt back to pursue the investigation into the Pearl Harbor disaster. […] I felt I had an obligation to Congress to continue the investigation because I was not completely satisfied with the report my own Court had made.”

Forrestal was also very bitter about the way the war ended in the Pacific. Knowing the desperate situation of the Japanese, he had worked behind the scene to achieve a negotiated surrender from the Japanese. He was opposed to the demand of “unconditional surrender”, which he knew was unacceptable to the Japanese military leadership. Simpson writes, as quoted by David Martin here:

“As secretary of the navy, Forrestal had originated a plan to end the war with Japan five and a half months before V-J Day finally dawned. He had mapped this plan on the basis of massive intelligence information obtained on and prior to March 1, 1945, to the effect that the Japanese were already desperately anxious to surrender and the fact that the Japanese emperor had even asked the pope to act as peace mediator. If Roosevelt had acted on Forrestal’s plan, the war would have ground to a halt in a few days. A-bombs would never have incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thousands of Americans would not have died in the unnecessary battle of Okinawa and later bloody encounters, and the Russians would not have had a chance to muscle into the Pacific war for the last six of its 1,347 days, thus giving Washington the pretext for handing them the key to the conquest of all Asia.”

Forrestal had also much to say about the way the Zionists obtained the Partition Plan at the General Assembly of the United Nations, or about the way Truman was blackmailed and bought into supporting the recognition of Israel. He had written in his diary, February 3, 1948, about his meeting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., a strong advocate of the Jewish State:

“I thought the methods that had been used by people outside of the Executive branch of the government to bring coercion and duress on other nations in the General Assembly bordered closely onto scandal.”

Forrestal had a pretty good memory. But, in addition, he had accumulated thousands of pages of diary during his public service. According to Simpson,

“During Forrestal’s brief stay at Hobe Sound, his personal diaries, consisting of fifteen loose-leaf binders totaling three thousand pages, were hastily removed from his former office in the Pentagon and locked up in the White House where they remained for a year. […] all during the seven weeks prior to Forrestal’s death, his diaries were out of his hands and in the White House, where someone could have had ample time to study them.”

The White House later claimed that Forrestal had sent word that he wanted President Truman to take custody of these diaries, but that is very unlikely.

A small part of Forrestal’s diaries was ultimately published in a heavily censored form by Walter Millis, FDR apologist and New York Herald Tribune journalist. Simpson estimates that more than 80 percent was left out. Millis frankly admitted that he had deleted unfavorable “references to persons, by name [and] comment reflecting on the honesty or loyalty of an individual.” Millis also said that he deleted everything on the Pearl Harbor investigations. One can only guess how much censorship Millis exerted on Forrestal’s view about American support for Israel.

David Martin’s conclusion makes perfect sense:

“Forrestal’s writing and publishing plans provide the answer to the question, ‘Why would anyone bother to murder him when he had already been driven from office and disgraced by the taint of mental illness?’”

“The compelling reasons for Forrestal to want to continue living were also compelling reasons for his powerful enemies to see to it that he did not.”

“He comes across, in short, not as a prime candidate for suicide, but for assassination.” (Martin, pp. 52, 53, 87)

A parallel with Lord Northcliffe

In his blurb for Martin’s book, James Fetzer puts it this way:

“Dave Martin has established that James Forrestal was targeted for assassination by Zionist zealots who were convinced that his future influence as an editor and publisher represented an unacceptable risk.”

In this article, Martin expands on this idea by comparing Forrestal to Lord Northcliffe (Alfred Harmsworth), an influential newspaper editor whose tragic story is told by Douglas Reed in The Controversy of Zion (pp. 205-208), based on The Official History of The Times (1952). In the 1920s just like today, factual reporting from the press was the greatest obstacle to the Zionist ambitions. Lord Northcliffe owned journals and periodicals, including the two most widely read daily newspapers, and he was the majority proprietor of the most influential newspaper in the world at that time, The Times of London. He took a definite stand against the Zionist plan, and wrote, after a visit to Palestine in 1922: “In my opinion we, without sufficient thought, guaranteed Palestine as a home for the Jews despite the fact that 700,000 Arab Moslems live there and own it.” Northcliffe commissioned a series of article attacking Balfour’s attitude towards Zionism. His editor, Wickham Steed, refused, and, when Northcliffe asked him to resign, took a series of action to have Northcliffe declared mentally ill. Although he appeared perfectly normal to most people he met, on June 18, 1922, Northcliffe was declared unfit for the position of editor of The Times on the authority of an unknown “French nerve specialist,” removed from all control of his newspapers, and put under constraint. On July 24, 1922 the Council of the League of Nations met in London, secure from any possibility of loud public protest by Lord Northcliffe, to bestow on Britain a “mandate” to remain in Palestine and to install the Zionists there. On August 14, 1922, Northcliffe died at the age of fifty-seven, officially of “ulcerative endocarditis.” The public was, of course, kept in total ignorance of the way this highly respected public figure was taken off the scene. Douglas Reed, who was then working as a clerk in the office of The Times, and learned the full story much later, remembers that:

“Lord Northcliffe was convinced that his life was in danger and several times said this; specifically, he said he had been poisoned. If this is in itself madness, then he was mad, but in that case many victims of poisoning have died of madness, not of what was fed to them. If by any chance it was true, he was not mad. […] His belief certainly charged him with suspicion of those around him, but if by chance he had reason for it, then again it was not madness.”

Reed sees Northcliffe’s elimination as a turning point:

“After Lord Northcliffe died the possibility of editorials in The Times ‘attacking Balfour’s attitude towards Zionism’ faded. From that time the submission of the press […] grew ever more apparent and in time reached the condition which prevails today, when faithful reporting and impartial comment on this question has long been in suspense.”

The parallel with Forrestal is indeed striking, as David Martin remarks:

“Forrestal’s first love was journalism. In his youth he had worked as a reporter for three newspapers in his native upstate New York, and he had been the editor of the student newspaper at Princeton. As former president of the investment banking firm of Dillon, Read, & Co. he was a rich, powerful and well-connected man. He had plans to run his own news magazine. In short, he could have become an American Lord Northcliffe with the ability to have a great deal of influence on public opinion in the country.”


[1] Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Random House, 1991, p. 141.

[2] Haaretz, February 5, 1999, quoted in Michael Collins Piper, False Flags: Template for Terror, American Free Press, 2013, pp. 54–55.

[3] Joe Sterling, “Jewish paper’s column catches Secret Service’s eye,” CNN, January 22, 2012.

[4] Alan Hart, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, vol. 2: David Becomes Goliath, Clarity Press, 2013, p. 90.

[5] Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, Random House, 2018, p. 20.

[6] William Reymond and Billie Sol Estes, JFK Le Dernier Témoin, Flammarion, 2003.

[7] Alan Hart, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, vol. 2: David Becomes Goliath, Clarity Press, 2013, p. 250.

[8] John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2017 , p. 212-213.

[9] Alfred Lilienthal, What Price Israel? (1953), Infinity Publishing, 2003, pp. 95, 143.

[10] Robert Rockaway, “Gangsters for Zion. Yom Ha’atzmaut: How Jewish mobsters helped Israel gain its independence”, April 19, 2018, on

[11] Mickey Cohen, In My Own Words, Prentice-Hall, 1975, pp. 91–92.

[12] Gary Wean, There’s a Fish in the Courthouse, Casitas, 1987, quoted by Michael Collins Piper, Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, American Free Press, 6th ed., 2005, pp. 290–297.

[13] Alfred Lilienthal, What Price Israel? (1953), Infinity Publishing, 2003, p. 50.


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