Posts Tagged ‘John F. Kennedy’

JFK after 50 years: We’re not ready for the truth

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Have we had our bellyful of memorials to President John F. Kennedy?

In all of the ceremonies, however, there was no eulogy for the truth that died on Nov. 22, 1963. A truth about the who, what, how, and why of his death that we may never know because we are not ready, as a nation, to face this truth, whatever it is. Especially the who, since many of those involved are doubtless still among us, deeply embedded in the post 9/11 surveillance state, wielding undemocratic, unchecked, deeply invasive, unconstitutional power while we as a nation avert our gaze.

Critics of the 1964 Warren Commission Report skeptics always claim that well, of course we want to believe in conspiracies. We simply cannot bear the thought that one lone crazed gunman actually brought down the president of the United States.

The reality is the exact opposite. Most people want to believe that it was just a lone gunman, not members of their own government acting against the will of the electorate. They shrink from the prospect of a coup d’etat. Those messy power grabs (gasp!) are for banana republics, not the United States.

Well stare it in the face, folks. On that day, an unknown group for whatever reason took the life of the commander-in-chief. And in all of the discussions since, what is glaringly obvious about his death is also the least remarked upon. The evidence of some sort of plot to kill JFK has always been right in front of us.

One immediate sign of the plot is the lack of action on the part of the Secret Service agent driving the limousine in which were riding the president and Mrs. Kennedy along with Texas Gov. John Connally and his wife. Every existing film of the motorcade shows that when the first shot rang out, the vehicle unaccountably slows down and almost stops. Why? There was an obvious threat; mere seconds meant the difference between life and death.

Proper action to protect the president would have been to floor the accelerator and zoom toward the freeway entrance close by. Instead, the limousine strangely crawls along while more shots are fired. Then it finally accelerates, after it is too late. Why the deadly delay?

jfk_unspeakable.jpg“In Dallas, the Secret Service would step out of the way not just individually, but collectively,” James W. Douglass writes in JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008).

A second piece of conspiracy evidence is how Kennedy reacted to being hit. The unique film shot by Abraham Zapruder shows Kennedy initially jerking violently backward and to his left. This indicates that the bullets came from the front and the right of the limousine, not from behind as they would if he were truly shot from the school book depository. I have seen that film dozens of times, and there is no way the shots that hit him came from behind him. If that were the case, his body would have lurched forward from the initial impact. But it didn’t.

A third piece of conspiracy evidence is the absurdly short amount of time it took for the authorities to detain a suspect. After a mere 21 minutes, they put out an alert for a man named Lee Harvey Oswald, who was under arrest a grand total of 88 minutes after the shooting. Fast forward 32 years to the deadly bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Despite three decades of advances in communications, surveillance, and other law enforcement technologies, it took the FBI’s entire field force 48 hours to determine the identity of a suspect, let alone bring him in.

How then did Dallas police and the FBI have a suspect in hand in less than 1.5 hours unless one had already been predetermined? Mr. Oswald was indeed the patsy that he claimed to be, the fall guy. And since no trial was ever held to determine his guilt or innocence, Oswald’s role in the killing, if he had one at all, remains pure conjecture, despite all claims to the contrary.

The fourth piece of conspiracy evidence is the so-called killer’s behavior right after the shooting. He went home, took a shower, and went to a movie theater in Oak Cliff just across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas. Are these the actions of a guilty man? If Oswald had done it, he would have been trying to get as far away from Dallas as fast as possible. His behavior is utterly inexplicable if he were truly JFK’s murderer, but not if he had just put in an ordinary day’s work at the school book depository.

There is no room in this column to enumerate all of the findings that scream out conspiracy. Indeed, it would take multiple libraries to house all of the books and films devoted to Kennedy’s murder. Probably the most accessible review is the BBC documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy. The final part of the series theorizes that the fatal shot came from the storm drain in Elm Street below the grassy knoll, in front of and to the right of the limousine’s location at the time of the shooting. The killer(s) escaped unnoticed through the drain system to the nearby Trinity River bottom.

Now there is word of a previously unseen film of the shooting that may show a man in the bushes of the grassy knoll holding a gun. Let’s hope it sees the light of day instead of quietly disappearing into some sealed vault somewhere like so much of the evidence.

In 1979, after a three-year review of available evidence, the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations issued a report stating that there most likely was a conspiracy to kill JFK. The House never investigated the conspirators’ identities, probably for the reasons enumerated above.

Thus there are people alive today who conspired to murder the highest office holder in this country and have never been held accountable, and in all probability never will be called to justice. I’ve been hopping mad about it since I was nine years old and I will never get over it. How can I? And how can I believe anything the government says, regardless of which political party is in power? A pox on their moving, lying lips.

And as long as we as a nation live in denial, we will continue to pay with endless war and the end of freedom. When will the price become too high?

Exploring the spiritual dimensions of JFK death

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

jfk_unspeakable.jpg“It’s never gone away, the nightmare of November 22, 1963,” a recent article in Vanity Fair laments. Yet the writer dutifully toes the line, insisting that the official explanation about the murder of President John F. Kennedy 46 years ago is correct.

Ahem. One of the major reasons the nightmare continues is because the official explanation is a tissue of lies and distortions. The 1964 Warren Report, thrown together to appease the public, instead unleashed a torrent of critical books, documentaries, and movies that is unabated close to five decades later. This onslaught was entirely predictable. For every action (the grotesque cover-up), there is an equal and opposite reaction (numerous attempts, however misguided, to set the record straight).

The nightmare goes on because we the people have never learned the truth about what happened in Dallas, and we know this, in our heart of hearts. The profound wrong of Kennedy’s death was compounded tenfold by the fact that the guilty got away not just with murdering one individual, but with undoing the U.S. Constitution and overthrowing the people’s will.

In his 2008 seminal work, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters, James W. Douglass calls it the “unspeakable,” these un-exorcised national demons driving Kennedy’s murder. In examining the motives behind the death of the president, not merely who did it or the how, Douglass, a longtime peace activist, imbues the discussion with a long-missing, much-needed spiritual dimension.

Douglass’s “unspeakable” refers to so much more than merely the identities of who pulled the triggers or even the ones who hired them to do so. Part of the “unspeakable” is the sharp divergence between the high ideals of this country’s founding and our current national security state, established in the aftermath of World War II, that promotes endless war and profits from it.

It is this untreated, denied poison that, Douglass argues, corrodes the national soul and breaks out like violent boils every so often in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and, on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C., and over the skies of Pennsylvania. Unafraid of the unspeakable, the author poses the unframed and unspoken question: Can the United States be a global empire that spends more on its military each year than all other western, industrialized nations combined, yet remain a representative democracy?

The signs are not promising. The parallels between now and Kennedy’s day make Douglass’s book about the past all the more critical to the present. Just as Kennedy stared down his generals, President Barack Obama faces truculent military leaders determined to force his hand in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the Durham Herald Sun, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh recently told an audience at Duke University that the U.S. military “is in a war against the White House – and they feel they have Obama boxed in.” While Hersh may be accurate in citing racism behind the tension between today’s commander in chief and the Pentagon, the real issue is the unspeakable. Just what kind of country do we want to be anyway?

This issue goes to the very soul of this nation, and this tension has existed since before this country was born. Do we keep shedding blood for profit? Or do we beat our swords into ploughshares and make peace the cornerstone of all our national policies? The political founders of our nation were divided over whether or not to risk foreign entanglements, but from the outset U.S. business leaders saw no problem in using the power and money of the U.S. government to advance their narrow interests.

To date, business has had the upper hand, masking a profits-at-all-costs agenda behind an anti-terrorism (previously, anti-communism) smokescreen. After the implosions of Chrysler, Enron, Global Crossing, GM, and Worldcom, the massive Bernie Madoff and other investment fraud, and the Wall Street meltdown, however, it’s a little harder to pretend that business is better run or more effective than government.

How long will ordinary Americans remain silent about the unspeakable before they start roaring out loud and then, en masse, revolt?

Outstanding nonfiction examines plot to kill JFK

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

jfk_unspeakable.jpgThere is no scorn like that heaped upon those who dare suggest that the official explanation for the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is worthless.

For decades now, the mainstream media have derided as a tinfoil-hat nut anyone who questions the 1964 Warren Report’s “lone gunman” thesis, despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives 15 years later determined that Kennedy most likely was the victim of a deadly conspiracy.

Congress reached this disturbing conclusion three decades ago, yet pursued it no further, a reticence echoed in the Barack Obama administration’s utter lack of enthusiasm for investigating, let alone prosecuting, the previous administration’s wholesale trampling of the U.S. Constitution.

There’s a good reason for this hesitation, according to James W. Douglass, who penned JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008). Backed by extensive research, Douglass argues eloquently that Kennedy was slain as a warning to future presidents and members of Congress not to challenge what President Dwight Eisenhower labeled the “military-industrial complex.” Think of it as a murderous melding of vested mutual interests between those on the warrior right who favor might-makes-right foreign policies and their business underwriters who profit handsomely from providing the hardware and outsourced support services to implement and sustain these policies.

Kennedy’s so-called crimes in the eyes of this longstanding cabal, Douglass contends, were thwarting top military officers who urged a first nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and opposing the CIA’s expansion of conflict in Vietnam. There were also the president’s transgressions of not backing up the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, of withdrawing defense contracts in 1962 from U.S. steel companies that reneged on their promises not to raise prices, and of the 1963 treaty with the Soviet Union to ban atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

Kennedy’s worst sin? Secretly reaching out to Russian leader Nikita Kruschev to explore ways to make peace between the post World War II superpowers. Douglass shows how a series of letters between the men humanized the “enemy” for each side, a highly subversive act for those who peddle and exploit hate and fear, both in this country and abroad. The cold warriors who ordered (and still run) the U.S. intelligence community and their corporate allies would not stand for a president actually using the power of his office to reign in their war-making activities and curb their profits. Peace? Absolutely out of the question!

“Those who designed the plot to kill Kennedy were familiar the inner sanctum of our national security state,” Douglass writes.  “Their attempt to scapegoat the Soviets for the president’s murder reflected one side of a secret struggle between JFK and his military leaders over a preemptive strike against the Soviet Union. The assassins’ purpose seems to have encompassed not only killing a president determined to make peace with the enemy but also using his murder as the impetus for a possible nuclear first strike against that same enemy.”

There’s a familiar ring to exploiting a national tragedy to propel pre-emptive strikes against an enemy that had nothing to with the calamity. Its contemporary counterpart was the Bush administration’s post Sept. 11, 2001 modus operandi. The bloody debacle in Iraq is one of the reasons that Douglass’s take on the Kennedy murder is essential reading. This book helps us recognize and understand the darker side of our nation’s past, present, and likely future course. The pointless loss of life, enormous tax-payer burden, and pitting of American against American are all the poisonous effects of the endless-war profit cycle.

Douglass calls this “the unspeakable,” and argues compellingly that it corrodes this nation’s very soul. He does not hesitate to pose difficult questions that our national dialogue since the end of World War II has avoided even asking, let alone answering. One of the toughest: Can the United States be a military and financial empire and still be a representative democracy?