Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory
The past week's news coverage of President Kennedy's 1963 assassination provides a stark view of self-censorship by the nation's news media.
The vast majority of the nation's largest and most prestigious media stuck to the Warren Commission's 1964 "lone assassin" theory blaming Lee Harvey Oswald. This is according to my extensive but unscientific review for this seventh installment of the Justice Integrity Project's "JFK Assassination Readers Guide."
Thus, Dan Rather and his former CBS colleague Marvin Kalb agreed that Oswald was the sole killer at a forum on the topic sponsored by the National Press Club on Nov. 22.
Rather, at left in the adjoining photo by Noel St. John, anchors HDNet on cable after more than three decades at CBS News. His CBS work included his radio report from Dallas in 1963 breaking the news that Kennedy had died. Kalb, covering the State Department at the time for CBS, now teaches and offers a news discussion forum called The Kalb Report.
Such experienced commentators with first-hand experience merit respect for their views, of course. But what's notable about so many discussions by them at recent events, on television and in print is how rarely, if ever, they address the specifics of conflicting evidence.
Instead, they tend to ignore or dismiss others views as "conspiracy theory" -- a term specifically recommended to opinion leaders in the 1960s by secret U.S. government memos, labeled "Propaganda Notes." To be clear, we now know that such persuasion was being applied to a few top owners, chairmen and publishers of news organizations, not to working reporters at the Dan Rather level. But press lords and broadcasting titans have ways of implementing their views, as reflected in my first book, Spiked and other research, via a few editors who can be trusted to implement policy without providing specifics to staff.
Much like the major media players, significant numbers of left-of-center media fell in line also this past month with conventional wisdom sneering at so-called "conspiracy theories" that are endorsed by large majorities of the public, according to polls.
As nearly always, our top political leaders undertook symbolic gestures with soaring rhetoric regarding the nation's loss from JFK's death. But virtually none of them comment on the substance of the mysteries that linger from the nation's greatest murder mystery of the past century.
In the White House photo at left, the Obamas and Clintons thus participated in a ceremony Nov. 20 at President Kennedy's grave in Arlington National Ceremony. The capital's Washington Monument is visible in the background. Official photos such as this have prompted a rare protest from the White House press corps, whose jobs are endangered by taxpayer-funded "news."
Meanwhile, iconoclastic writers with few distribution channels continue to publish books and articles blaming the JFK assassination on the CIA, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and sinister forces that included other Kennedy opponents or hirelings. Suspects include Texas oil plutocrats, the Mafia, and anti-Castro extremists.
Those gaining the most sales traction with such views included authors Dr. Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, each a longtime conservative.
Their muckraking attacks on the CIA, its patrons and allies (including allies at the top levels of the media) break with traditional support by conservatives for intelligence agencies. We are seeing a fissure between traditional conservatives of the Pat Buchanan/Pat Robertson wing and the imperialist "New World Order" of neo-cons and the Bush-Cheney families.
Strange though the claims of a conspiracy to kill JFK might seem, my research has found significant support for its themes, as amplified below in a survey of recent commentary.
On a trip to Dallas from Nov. 21 to 24, for example, I sampled four conferences or ceremonies focused on the Kennedy death. I met a number of experts who made compelling arguments that their views are ignored by media and government alike, no matter what their proof or first-hand experience. These included former government officials, physicians, scientists, authors, journalists, and friends of Oswald.
To varying degrees, they argue that the fatal shots came from the front, that evidence was faked in advance, and that Oswald was a "patsy" because he was a CIA and FBI informant under longstanding orders to do what he was told. Most important, they said the mainstream media's failure to examine the evidence represents professional cowardice and a danger to democracy.
Rev. Hy McEnery, a Southern Baptist minister who also serves as a chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8973 in New Orleans, officiated at the memorial service. He reminded those in attendance that Oswald was and remains a U.S. Marine who served his country in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. A few speakers reminded those in attendance that Oswald [reportedly called] the FBI in Chicago [and] successfully prevented an earlier planned assassination attempt against Kennedy in Chicago.
McEnery related that Oswald, who was labeled a Marxist, was a Lutheran who had deep religious feelings. Earlier on Sunday, the Oswald mourners held a memorial service for President Kennedy.
They view Kennedy and Oswald as victims of a right-wing coup d'etat that violently inserted Lyndon Baines Johnson into the Oval Office. Not one local television station or national news network covered the Oswald memorial service. Even the 1963 funeral service for Oswald attracted local and national print reporters and news photographers.
Titovets described Oswald as a leftist who despised the Soviet totalitarian system and was eager to return to the United States following his years in the Soviet Union. Trained in psychiatry, the medical school professor devoted several pages in his 469-page book to the psychological condition of his friend. "From my own experience," Titovets wrote, "I cannot think of Oswald as capable of any act of physical violence; it simply was not in him."
Warren Commission Defenders and Their Commentaries
Salon, JFK assassination: CIA and New York Times are still lying to us, David Talbot, Nov. 6, 2013. Fifty years later, a complicit media still covers up for the security state. We need to reclaim our history.
Forbes, 4 Essential Books On JFK's Assassination, Cedric Muhammad, Nov. 21, 2013. For over 20 years I have studied the assassination and have come to believe that the American electorate’s persistent majority belief in more than one shooter and in a conspiracy is rooted as much in a gnawing sense that the President of the United States is not the supreme authority in the land (no matter how many insist on calling POTUS ‘the must powerful man in the world,’) as anything else. It is this sense that unseen persons and powers operate above and outside of elected authority which undergirds the passionate insistence that more than one shooter is responsible for what happened on November 22, 1963. That such ‘outlaw’ elite authorities are apolitical and never abusive of their unbridled power is nonsense, the electorate is sure. In that light there are 4 books that I have found to be essential in order to better understand this phenomenon:
No. 1: Understanding Special Operations And Their Impact On The Vietnam War Era. This book is an in-depth 1989 interview of L. Fletcher Prouty compiled by David T. Ratcliffe. It is extremely difficult to locate with rare versions costing in the hundreds of dollars so it is wonderful that an easy-to-read free online version is available. The book with painstaking detail documents the period between 1941 to 1963 – essential to understanding the relationship between the military and intelligence communities.Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative sometimes accused of dirty tricks dating back to the Nixon Administration, publicly broke with the GOP and advocated for Libertarian principles. With a new book blaming the JFK killing largely on his Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Stone has been denouncing Dan Rather and Robert Caro, among others, as apologists for the Washington power structure. Excerpted below are two of his recent columns, Why Did Dan Rather Lie About JFK's Assassination? and Robert Caro Sins By Omission.
Report: Kennedy assassin was on FBI payroll, Staff report, Sept. 17, 2013. Author says Bill O'Reilly 'uncritically repeats the Warren Commission lie.' In his bestseller Killing Kennedy, author and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly “uncritically repeats the Warren Commission lie” that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John F. Kennedy, charges Jerome Corsi, left, author of the newly released Who Really Killed Kennedy? 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations about the JFK Assassination. Corsi, whose new book has overtaken O’Reilly’s on the Amazon list of top sellers about JFK, argues O’Reilly fails to take into account the extensive documentation produced over the last 50 years indicating Oswald was an agent of the federal government with an extensive CIA intelligence file that stretched back to 1957. O’Reilly, says Corsi, uncritically presents Oswald as a communist-sympathizer who defected to the Soviet Union, without mentioning the documentary record. Corsi, in his book, presents evidence that Oswald was a double agent in the “false defector program” in which the U.S. government encouraged military troops loyal to the United States to engage in a ruse in which they would defect to the Soviet Union to gain access to the inside operations of the KGB. Secret details of JFK’s assassination are finally unlocked. O’Reilly also does not mention the evidence that Oswald was being paid by the FBI as an informant in November 1963, prior to the assassination. Corsi says the Warren Commission suppressed the information, concluding Oswald had no affiliation with U.S. intelligence agencies. Corsi asks: “Was Bill O’Reilly simply unaware of this documentary evidence when he co-authored Killing Kennedy’?
WND, Did George H.W. Bush witness JFK assassination? FBI files, newspaper ad and curious photos raise questions, Staff report, Sept. 17, 2013. Despite his claims to the contrary, there is documentary evidence that George H. W. Bush was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and was affiliated at that time with the CIA, despite protests that he was not associated with the agency until President Gerald R. Ford appointed him director in 1976. Two FBI memos and a photograph of a man standing outside the Texas School Book Depository are among the intriguing items addressed in Jerome Corsi’s new book Who Really Killed Kennedy. The evidence is significant as Corsi broaches the question asked by some researchers of the assassination: Was John F. Kennedy the first presidential victim of the emerging “New World Order” championed by former CIA directors Allen Dulles and George H. W. Bush?
Newsmax, Jerome Corsi: LBJ Knew About and Supported JFK's Assassination, Courtney Coren and Kathleen Walter, Sept. 19, 2013. President Lyndon B. Johnson knew about and supported President John F. Kennedy's assassination, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Jerome Corsi tells Newsmax. As the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy approaches, Corsi released his latest book Wednesday, "Who Really Killed Kennedy?" looking at who was really behind the assassination of the president and the veracity of the Warren Commission, who headed up the investigation. "Jack Kennedy was going to replace Lyndon Johnson in [the] 1964 ticket and a major scandal in the Bobby Baker case was about to break in Life Magazine, which would have ruined Lyndon Johnson's career," Corsi said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV. Corsi argues that the assassination was organized at the "highest levels of government" by former Central Intelligence Agency chief Allen Dulles, right. "One of the major forces behind the assassination was Allen Dulles, who was head of the CIA under President Eisenhower and when Jack Kennedy fired Allen Dulles after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, I think that's when Jack Kennedy signed his death warrant," Corsi says. "Allen Dulles had a revenge motive, was part of this whole new world order . . . Allen Dulles did not take kindly to being fired from the CIA and did not take kindly to Jack Kennedy refusing to commit US military forces in the Bay of Pigs operation. That was a major turning point in the Kennedy administration."
Corsi is co-author or author of such controversial best-sellers as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Where's the Birth Certificate? and Obamanation. He spoke at a forum I organized Nov. 19 at the National Press Club to foster more vigorous debate regarding books and investigative reporting.
I believe Obama was born in the United States and I oppose some of Corsi's other positions. But it is a mistake to rely on previous political considerations to examine new evidence, just as it is to use such smear words as "conspiracy theory" to foreclose investigation.
We need simple procedures to establish common ground in the Washington media to overcome propaganda, ignorance, apathy and fear.
Still among the great issues of our time is the question -- which I explore in my new book Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters -- of whether Kennedy's murder led to the excesses of Watergate, the "October Surprise" during the Carter Administration, the Iran-contra scandal, and Benghazi last year. Parallel to those developments is the demise of our press corps, which has extended its self-censorship from the JFK murder to many other issues of vital importance to today's public.
In our next column in this so far seven-part series, we'll examine the likely motives and methods of suspected JFK assassins -- and we can do about the case.
Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination
* Denotes major articles in this Readers Guide series
At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near at the location of Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting.
- Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
- Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos , Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
- Project Lists JFK Assassination Books, Archives, Reports & Videos, Nov. 2, 2013. Leading books, video, events and archives from the last 50 years. *
- Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
- Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
- 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,’ Nov. 19, 2013.
Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013. Self-censorship.
- JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
- JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. The CIA implicated itself in the cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out. *
- JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. *
- Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
- Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
- Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014.
- Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
- JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
- Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
Related News Coverage
Veterans Today, Six JFK Shooters, Three Tied To CIA, Named–Oswald not among them, Sherwood Ross with Jim Fetzer, Dec. 28, 2014. Six shooters who participated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, including three with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), were named by a prominent critic of the Warren Commission Report (WCR). Remarkably, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Warren Commission’s lone-assassin-designate, was not among them. During an interview published this past Nov. 20th in The Santa Barbara Independent, WCR critic/researcher Dr. James Fetzer of Madison, WI, and Chairman of the Oswald Innocence Campaign, revealed the names of five of those who appear to have been shooters, where he has identified the sixth separately. A map of Dealey Plaza in Dallas showing the sightlines of gunmen is shown at right, according to research in this article.
OpEdNews, The Kennedy Assassination 50 Years Later, Paul Craig Roberts, Nov. 22, 2013.The true story of JFK's murder has never been officially admitted, although the conclusion that JFK was murdered by a plot involving the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been well established by years of research, such as that provided by James W. Douglass in his book, JFK And The Unspeakable, published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. Ignore Douglass' interest in the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Merton's prediction, and focus on the heavily documented research that Douglass provides. Or just turn to the contemporary films, taken by tourists watching JFK's motorcade that are available on YouTube, which show clearly the Secret Service pulled from President Kennedy's limo just prior to his assassination, and the Zapruder film that shows the killing shot to have come from President Kennedy's right front, blowing off the back of his head, not from the rear as postulated in the Warren Commission Report, which would have pushed his head forward, not rearward. I am not going to write about the assassination to the extent that the massive information permits. Those who want to know already know. Those who cannot face the music will never be able to confront the facts regardless of what I or anyone else writes or reveals.
WMR, Zero mainstream media coverage of Oswald memorial service, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 25, 2013 (Subscription required. Excerpted and photos of Oswald gravesite used with permission.) On a gray and bitterly cold Sunday afternoon, a group of about twenty John F. Kennedy assassination researchers joined Judyth Varyn Baker, the girlfriend of CIA and FBI informant Lee Harvey Oswald, framed for the assassination of Kennedy, at Rose Hill Memorial Cemetery in Fort Worth for a brief service. November 25 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Oswald by the mob and CIA-connected Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby while under law enforcement escort at the Dallas police station. In the Madsen photo, Baker is shown left with author Robert Groden, who released the Zapruder film and the majority of the killing's other photographic evidence during his 46 years of research.
Boston Globe, Troves of files on JFK assassination remain secret, Bryan Bender, Nov. 25, 2013. As the nation marks the anniversary of JFK’s murder, there is a new push, including lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act, to shake loose these and other classified materials that may shed light on one of the most unsettled debates of modern history: Was the murder of the nation’s 35th president the work of a lone assassin or a conspiracy, and did elements of the US government know about it, or cover it up, or knowingly destroy evidence to prevent other dirty laundry from being aired? “A lot of questions remain,” said John R. Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota who chaired the Assassination Records Review Board, which oversaw the review and disclosure of some five million records related to the JFK assassination in the 1990s. “We only put a few pieces of the puzzle together. Lots of the jigsaw is missing.” The National Archives and Records Administration, which is tasked with working with the agencies that originally generated the files, reports that some 1,100 distinct documents that Tunheim and his team did not have access to remain shielded from public view.
Sonoma (CA) Press Democrat, Santa Rosa woman recalls John F. Kennedy's killer, Chris Smith, Sept. 10, 2013. Ruth Hyde Paine will discuss “The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later: My Window on the Oswalds” in a presentation to the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. In 1963, Ruth Hyde Paine lived west of Dallas with her two small children and shared their home with a young, Russian-speaking mother whose here-again there-again husband — Lee Harvey Oswald — caused her to question the sort of man he was. But Paine, now 81 and a retired teacher and school psychologist in Santa Rosa, says she had no reason to suspect that Oswald was a potential assassin. And she's maintained for 50 years that she will forever regret not knowing that he had a rifle concealed in a blanket in her garage. On Nov. 21, 1963, Oswald spent his last night ever with his wife, Marina, and their two children in Paine's simple ranch house in suburban Irving, Texas. At the time, no one was closer to the Oswald family than Paine, then 31. History remembers Paine, a tall and learned lifelong Quaker, as Marina Oswald's sister-like friend and housemate, and as the woman who was helpful to the villain — or patsy, many would say — in America's most debated national tragedy: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Boston Globe, Robert F. Kennedy saw conspiracy in JFK’s assassination, Bryan Bender and Neil Swidey, Nov. 24, 2013. Robert F. Kennedy took on some of the Kennedy Administration’s hardest tasks, ones that created dangerous foes, and after the assassination, RFK wondered if one of them had done it. In the five years between his brother’s murder and his own assassination in 1968, Bobby Kennedy voiced public support for the findings of the Warren Commission, namely that a pathetic, attention-seeking gunman had alone been responsible for the murder of President Kennedy. Privately, though, Bobby was dismissive of the commission, seeing it, in the words of his former press secretary, as a public relations tool aimed at placating a rattled populace. When the chairman of the commission, Chief Justice Earl Warren, personally wrote to the attorney general, asking for any information to suggest that a “domestic or foreign conspiracy” was behind his brother’s assassination, Bobby scrawled a note to an aide, asking, “What do I do?” Then, after stalling for two months, he sent along a legalistic reply saying there was nothing in the Justice Department files to suggest a conspiracy. He made no mention of the hunches that appeared to be rattling around in his own mind. See also: Boston Globe, Photos of Robert F. Kennedy, Nov. 24, 2013.
Boston Review, Exit Strategy: In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam, James K. Galbraith, Nov. 22, 2013. Forty years have passed since November 22, 1963, yet painful mysteries remain. What, at the moment of his death, was John F. Kennedy's policy toward Vietnam? It's one of the big questions, alternately evaded and disputed over four decades of historical writing. It bears on Kennedy's reputation, of course, though not in an unambiguous way. And today, larger issues are at stake as the United States faces another indefinite military commitment that might have been avoided and that, perhaps, also cannot be won. The story of Vietnam in 1963 illustrates for us the struggle with policy failure. More deeply, appreciating those distant events tests our capacity as a country to look the reality of our own history in the eye.
Harvard Political Review, All The President’s Wise Men, Wright Smith, November 22, 2013. President Kennedy meets with the Executive Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Photo: Wikipedia Commons). David Halberstam opened his seminal work on the policy debate of the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest, with a description of a small meeting held by President-Elect Kennedy with Republican business executive Robert Lovett. Lovett, who had served as Secretary of Defense to President Truman, recommended the names of several people to Kennedy. This group included Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and McGeorge Bundy, the men who would become the chief foreign policy advisers to the new President. This meeting was the first overture by Kennedy to the nebulous group of mainly East Coast financiers, lawyers, and diplomats who had dominated American Cold War foreign policy. The group, which has been famously called “The Establishment,” included some of the foremost Cold Warriors, such as President Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Ambassadors Ave
National Press Club, The Stress, Doubts and Resolve of Covering the Kennedy Assassination, Gil Klein, Nov. 24, 2013. Dan Rather, a young reporter for CBS News, was the first to report that President John F. Kennedy was dead. Through the prism of a half-century since President Kennedy’s assassination, two veteran CBS correspondents who were reporting that day –- Rather in Dallas and Marvin Kalb in Washington –- examined Friday on “The Kalb Report” what happened that day and its impact on the nation. The program took place on the actual anniversary of the assassination, and hundreds of people crowded into the ballroom to watch. Kalb noted that while CBS Radio News ran with Rather’s report, CBS Television News and Walter Cronkite waited 12 or 15 minutes for the official report before announcing it to the nation. But what was the first thought that popped in your mind when Jack Ruby shot Oswald? Kalb asked. “Incredible, almost unbelievable that the assassin has been assassinated in the police department; you couldn’t make this up,” Rather said. “I understand the doubts about Ruby. He was a local nightclub operator known to police. He had some Mafia connections. “But if the Mafia were looking for a hit man, I would suggest that Ruby would be one of the last people,” he said. “But there are hundreds of books that take a different view.”
Dallas Morning News, JFK conspiracy theories abound, despite a lack of evidence, Scott K. Park, Nov. 16, 2013. It’s time to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy all by himself, according to a growing consensus of historians, journalists and legal scholars who have investigated the case for decades. The 50th anniversary of the assassination on Friday seems the perfect occasion to settle the historical facts once and for all. But that would require an emphatic rejection of fanciful conspiracy theories. And that’s not likely. Most Americans still believe Oswald did not act alone, according to public opinion polls. The lone-gunman theory, however, is pretty boring compared to a good murder mystery starring conspiratorial characters lurking through myriad subplots played out in dark corners. You’ve got Oswald, the misfit ex-Marine who defected to Russia; Jack Ruby, the Dallas strip club operator who murdered Oswald; Jack and Jackie Kennedy, the glamorous and sophisticated power couple; Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK’s vice president and the most powerful politician in Texas. The Cold War with Russia, fear of communism and an obsession with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro percolated through American culture in 1963. The failed Bay of Pigs invasion, carried out by CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles, had been a disaster in 1961. Anti-Castro Cubans blamed JFK for the debacle.
OpEdNews, 2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse, Paul Craig Roberts.Dec. 29, 2013. http://www.opednews.com/articles/2014-Will-Bring-More-Socia-by-Paul-Craig-Roberts-Authoritarian_Loss_Police_Privacy-131230-700.html Americans, or many of them, are such exhibitionists that they do not mind being spied upon or recorded. It gives them importance. They have no conception that a loss of privacy is a loss of self. They don't understand that a loss of privacy means that they can be intimidated, blackmailed, framed, and viewed in the buff.
Mother Jones, The Real Conspiracy Behind the JFK Assassination, Oswald was the lone shooter, but there was a plot involved in the president's death—and it was in plain sight, David Corn, Nov. 22, 2013. For 50 years, the murder of President John F. Kennedy has prompted dark suspicions about what led to those tragic moments in Dallas' Dealey Plaza. Hidden-hand theories about the assassination fueled numerous movies and books in the years that followed and shaped a national culture of conspiracy. The Oswald-didn't-do-it (or didn't-do-it-alone) theory is the granddaddy of conspiracy theories; it paved the way for alternative (and sinister) explanations for a variety of events, including the assassinations or RFK and MLK Jr. and the 9/11 attacks. The JFK theorizing—which, in certain cases, posits that a cabal of government evildoers schemed the most notorious crime of 20th-century America—made The X Files possible.
NBC News, The JFK Conspiracy: The Case of Jim Garrison. Transcribed and annotated by Dave Reitzes. This is a complete transcript of the NBC News White Paper on Jim Garrison's probe into the John F. Kennedy assassination, originally aired on June 19, 1967. Hosted by Frank McGee, the broadcast incorporated film footage edited from NBC's interviews with numerous witnesses, as well as footage from other sources, such as NBC's New Orleans affiliate, WDSU-TV, and a BBC television interview with Jim Garrison.
Many Americans doubt the findings of the Warren Commission. Only one American has had and used legal powers to investigate these findings. That one is Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans. His investigation has made headlines for four months. This is an examination of that investigation.
The JFK Conspiracy: The Case of Jim Garrison. Reported by Frank McGee.
Four months ago, Jim Garrison said he had positively solved the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He said a man named David Ferrie was under surveillance. When Ferrie died suddenly, he called him one of history's most important figures. On March 1st he arrested a New Orleans businessman named Clay Shaw and charged him with participation in the conspiracy. He said there would be more arrests, a considerable number of them. He said the key to the case is through the looking glass; black is white, white is black.
We have no right to pre-judge Jim Garrison's case. We can legitimately examine his record up to now. Our starting point is the pre-trial hearing of Clay Shaw. Garrison had two key witnesses. The first was a twenty-six-year-old insurance salesman named Perry Raymond Russo. Russo testified that in September 1963, he'd gone to a party in David Ferrie's apartment. Among the guests were several Cubans, Ferrie's bearded roommate, and a man named Clay [sic] Bertrand. Later, when the other guests had left, he found himself alone with Ferrie, the roommate, who he identified as Lee Harvey Oswald, and Bertrand. But despite his presence, they began to discuss openly and in detail a plan to assassinate President Kennedy. Russo was asked if Bertrand was in the courtroom. He said, yes. He was asked to point out Bertrand. He got up from the witness chair, walked over to the defense table, and held his hand over the head of Clay Shaw.
Washington Review of Books, The Kennedy Library (Part I), Ronald Goldfarb, Nov. 20, 2013. Today's commentary is the first of two parts in Ronald Goldfarb’s review of the vast Kennedy literature prompted by the 50th anniversary of his death. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president for less than one term, but more books have been written (along with documentaries and movies) about him, his wife, his father, his brothers, his family, his lovers, than any other president in U.S. history except for Abraham Lincoln. (One estimate – 40,000.) And not only are there shelves of books about all parts of his life, an expansive library of books examine his tragic death in Dallas. Since 2013 is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, every publisher seems to have some book to commemorate JFK in November.
Talking Points Memo, Watching the Kennedy Assassination, Josh Marshall, Nov. 25, 2013. I'm almost 45. So I've been watching Kennedy Assassination commemorations my whole life. 50th is a big anniversary -- certainly the last big symbolic number when any of the players in the drama will still be alive.
Huffington Post, After 45 Years, a Civil Rights Hero Waits for Justice, Thom Hartmann, June 12, 2009. A great miscarriage of justice has kept most Americas from learning about a Civil Rights pioneer who worked with President John F. Kennedy. But there is finally a way for citizens to not only right that wrong, but bring closure to the most tragic chapter of American presidential history. After an outstanding career in law enforcement, Abraham Bolden was appointed by JFK to be the first African American presidential Secret Service agent, where he served with distinction. He was part of the Secret Service effort that prevented JFK's assassination in Chicago, three weeks before Dallas. But Bolden was framed by the Mafia and arrested on the very day he went to Washington to tell the Warren Commission staff about the Chicago attempt against JFK. Editor's Note: Bolden has said an anonymous calling describing himself as "Lee" warned Secret Service agents that President Kennedy faced a lethal threat during a Chicago trip, helping prompt agents to increase security.
Stone Zone, Why Did Dan Rather Lie About JFK's Assassination, Nov. 26, 2013. Dan Rather, a fixture as head anchor on the CBS Evening News for many years, was not invited to participate in CBS News' 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination broadcast on Nov. 22. CBS has was right to keep their distance from Rather, the affective media figure responsible for the most counterfactual news report in the hours after the Kennedy assassination. Rather, at the time a green newscaster who worked at a Texas television station, earned his stripes with the Kennedy assassination but did so at the price of the truth. Rather was the only reporter to view the Zapruder film the day after the assassination. In this situation, he was an all-important set of eyes from the fourth estate, a voice the public could trust. He issued an erroneous, purposely falsified statement concerning the film. Following the final shot, the head of Kennedy in Rather's angled report "went forward with considerable violence," a description that anyone with eyesight in the fifty years following the assassination would find to be a blatant lie.
Stone Zone, Robert Caro Sins By Omission, Roger Stone, Nov. 19, 2013. I have been asked again and again how Lyndon Johnson's definitive biographer Robert Caro could have missed LBJ's role in an assassination plot. Author Robert Caro wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning four-volume biography of Johnson. In this masterful work, Caro accurately depicts LBJ as an amoral psychopath. Caro's vivid portrait of Johnson shows LBJ's corruption to be of biblical proportions and correctly portrays Johnson as crude, vicious, vindictive, unprincipled, abusive, promiscuous and usually drunk. Yet, Caro's masterful biography is flawed. There were two enormous scandals surrounding LBJ in the fall of 1963. One involved Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, once described by Johnson as "my strong right arm" and the other involved the Texas wheeler-dealer, Billie Sol Estes. A review of news coverage of both scandals reveals substantially more column inches dedicated to coverage of the Billy Sol Estes scandal, yet nowhere in his biography does Caro even mention Sol Estes. Then there is the question of Malcolm Mac Wallace, described by Madeleine Brown as LBJ's "hatchet man". Like Lee Harvey Oswald Malcolm Wallace is a Marine marksman. Robert Caro knows of Malcolm 'Mac' Wallace, and knows his ties to LBJ's sister. He knows the Kinser murder involved a man, John Douglas Kinser, who was blackmailing LBJ with things he learned from the future president's sister, with whom Kinser enjoyed an intimate relationship. Caro knows Wallace worked at a USDA patronage job arranged by LBJ when he murdered Kinser. Caro also knows LBJ camped out at a nearby hotel awaiting Wallace's trial, and that Wallace was convicted of murder and sentenced to a 5 year suspended sentence. Caro knows every other person convicted of murder in that year 1952 in Texas went to the electric chair. Caro has been a paid consultant to the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas as has "Historians" Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley and Doris Kearns Goodwin -- a stunning literary conflict of interest for an objective biographer. Shame! If Caro accurately reported this he would not have a Pulitzer, could not cash the checks for the millions his four-volume bio has generated, not be invited to the best cocktail parties in Manhattan and not have his ass kissed by the New York Times. Sadly, Caro chose fame and fortune over truth; he should be stripped of his Pulitzer Prize.
JFK Facts, My three JFK theories, Jonathan Morley, Sept. 7, 2013. I have three of them. Theory #1: the “lone nut” theory hypothesizes that President Kennedy was killed by one man for no reason who was then killed by another man for no reason. When I subject this theory to experimentation, I find some supportive evidence but not nearly enough to confirm it. Theory #2 is the “national security faction” theory: that JFK was killed by enemies of his policies in the national security agencies of his own government who arranged for the blame to fall on the “lone nut.” When I subject this theory to experimentation I find more supportive evidence but not enough to identify the intellectual authors of the hypothesized plot. So I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any one person was guilty of conspiracy. Theory #3 is the “wrongful death” theory: In this perspective, I look at the case of the murdered president as a civil, not a criminal, matter; not as a homicide, but as a wrongful death. One can argue that this approach is evasive and/or sophistic but it is method of judgment well established in American law. I am not looking to prove “conspiracy,” a criminal charge that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt for verification. I am looking to assign responsibility for a “wrongful death,” a civil verdict based on the preponderance of evidence. When I subject this theory to verification, I find the preponderance of evidence shows that up to a dozen senior CIA undercover operations officers reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton may be guilty of negligence in the wrongful death of JFK. To me this is the most plausible theory of JFK’ s death but its “status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.” Thus I cannot report it as a matter of actual fact or exclude the other two theories from consideration.
Voice of Russia, JFK: One fact is true, the Warren Commission got it wrong, John Robles interview of Andrew Kreig, Nov. 21, 2013 (Published Nov. 25). People who knew Lee Harvey Oswald and even Oswald himself, maintain to this day that he was just the fall guy for the Kennedy assassination. Although the Warren Commission concluded that the assassination was carried out by a lone shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, all of the evidence points to at least three. Even the fact that the three shots in six seconds came from different locations and that the bolt action rifle Oswald had had a defective site and could not have physically been reloaded fast enough to fire three shots in six seconds, did not stop the Warren Commission from blaming Oswald. One fact that all scholars and investigators seem to be able to agree on is that some aspects or actors in all of the possible theories may have worked together to assassinate JFK. Researcher and author Andrew Kreig spoke to the Voice of Russia from Dallas Texas on the 22nd of November and shared his insights into the JFK assassination. Hello, this is John Robles. I'm speaking with Andrew Kreig. He is an attorney, the founder and director of the Justice Integrity Project and a legal reform advocate and the author of Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and their Masters. This is an interview in progress. Just a few moments ago I met Judyth Baker. She is here at this conference. It's interesting that if you dig down people like his widow and Judyth Baker and his mother before she died, they believe he was a patsy just like he said.
ABC News, U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba, David Ruppe, May 1, 2001. In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.
New York Times, Photographers Protest White House Restrictions, Mark Landler, Nov. 21, 2013. A mutiny has erupted among photographers who cover President Obama over what they say is the White House’s increasing practice of excluding them from events involving the president and then releasing its own photos or video. This photo was taken by the chief White House photographer, Pete Souza, on Aug. 14, 2010. Doug Mills, a staff photographer at The New York Times, took this picture of the Obama family on the same day as Mr. Souza's photograph. A complaint has been filed with the press secretary, Jay Carney, over the increasing practice of excluding press photographers from events. On Thursday, the White House Correspondents’ Association and 37 news organizations submitted a letter to the press secretary, Jay Carney, protesting what photographers said amounted to the establishment of the White House’s own Soviet-style news service, which gets privileged access to Mr. Obama at the expense of journalists who cover the president. “As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens,” the three-page letter said, “officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.” The Obama administration has embraced social media as a way to get its message to the public beyond the traditional news media. Senior officials post tweets and blog items, while the chief White House photographer, Pete Souza, posts photos of the president on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram, often minutes after they are taken.
Washington Post, Is the Obama White House airbrushing history? Dana Milbank, Nov. 26, 2013. It was a hallmark of the Stalin era: Fallen Soviet leaders vanished from official photographs. Nobody accuses President Obama of such subterfuge (well, nobody except for those who believe he forged his birth certificate), but a change in longtime practice in the White House has raised questions about the integrity of images Americans see of their president. The White House has increasingly excluded news photographers from Obama’s official events and is instead releasing images taken by in-house photographers, who are government employees. These photos often appear online and in newspapers, even though they lack the same standards of authenticity that govern those taken by photojournalists.
WhoWhatWhy, Bush and the JFK Hit, Part 1: Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency, Russ Baker, Sept. 16, 2013. What possible connection could there have been between George H.W. Bush and the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Or between the C.I.A. and the assassination? Or between Bush and the C.I.A.? For some people, apparently, making such connections was as dangerous as letting one live wire touch another. Here, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in November, is the first part of a ten-part series of excerpts from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker’s bestseller, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. The story is a real-life thriller.
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 2: Skull And Bones Forever
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 3: Where Was Poppy November 22, 1963?
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 4: Barbara's Hair-Raising Day
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 5: The Mysterious Mr. De Mohrenschildt
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 6: The Cold War Comes To Dallas
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 7: Empire Strikes Back
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 8: Prepping A Patsy
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 9: Planning A Nightmare On Elm Street
- Bush And The JFK Hit, Part 10: After Camelot
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
Huffington Post, Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit 'Radicalizers,' Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher and Ryan Grim, Nov. 26, 2013. The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, right, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority. The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. “A previous SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document argues. Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be effectively exploited are “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”
Washington Post, Timothy Geithner to join the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, David Koenig, Nov. 16, 2013. Former U.S. Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, who played a central role in the government’s response to the financial crisis of 2008-2009, is joining private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The firm announced Saturday that Geithner will become its president and managing director starting March 1. Geithner led the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for more than five years before being becoming Treasury secretary in 2009. By that time, the economy had sunk into a deep recession. Few Treasury secretaries received as much scrutiny. Supporters credited Geithner with helping prevent the recession from spiraling into a second Great Depression, but critics said he was too cozy with Wall Street. Editor's Note: Firm founder Paul Warburg is shown at left in a file photo from the pre-World War I era.
Memory Hole, Jeremy Scahill Attacks Alex Jones, James F. Tracy, Nov. 26, 2013. Progressive-left media icon Jeremy Scahill told a caller to C-SPAN’s Book TV that Austin Texas talk show host Alex Jones is a “lunatic” and a significant detriment to “real journalism that journalists are doing.” Scahill was asked who he thought represented “the most legitimate … form of journalism” –Jones or Amy Goodman. The writer then proceeded to call Jones an “absolute, die-hard lunatic, and to even mention him in the same sentence as Amy Goodman is an incredible insult to Amy Goodman [sic].” The progressive author’s outburst begs the question, What exactly is “real journalism”? What are the characteristics of “alternative media”? Who has a legitimate claim to that mantle? And, what broader interests do attacks like these serve? This arguably has far less to do with journalistic legitimacy and a sincere regard for truth than it does with the less-apparent forces that seek to define political debate–and division.
Washington Post, Afghan accord near collapse due to new demands, Tim Craig and Karen DeYoung, Nov. 25, 2013. Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a new set of demands, and the Obama administration said it would be forced to begin planning for a complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces at the end of 2014.
Washington Post, Julian Assange unlikely to face U.S. charges over publishing classified documents, Sari Horwitz, Nov. 25, 2013. The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.
Washington Post, Among U.S. workers, unprecedented anxiety, Jim Tankersley and Scott Clement, Nov. 25, 2013. Fears about jobs and the economy are high, a poll shows, especially among lower-income Americans.
Washington Post, CIA remains behind most drone strikes, despite effort to shift campaign to Defense, Greg Miller, Nov. 25, 2013. The White House vision of shifting responsibility for the drone strikes to the military remains a distant goal.
Newsweek, Muzzling Freedom of Information Act, David Cay Johnston, Nov. 25, 2013. The federal government is making it increasingly difficult, and prohibitively expensive, for journalists to get files that agencies want to keep secret, despite President Obama's pledge of transparency. That's bad news for authors, editors, producers, writers, and publishers, as well as anyone else interested in democratic government. But it is great for ineffective, inefficient, and corrupt federal officials. Federal agencies routinely flout the 1966 Freedom of Information Act, the so-called Open Government Act of 2007 that strengthens the 1966 law, and Obama's 2009 executive order directing agencies to err on the side of disclosure, not secrecy, a host of journalists, public-interest advocates and lawyers tell Newsweek. Specialists in Freedom of Information Act requests say there has been a general tightening up and an increase in denials for both records and fee waivers for journalists. They attribute this to Freedom of Information staff budget cuts and the absence of pushback from Congress. And what of President Obama's directive? "All Obama's executive order did was give agencies that were good about disclosure something to back them, while requiring nothing of the bad actors" who gin up reasons to withhold, says Bradley P. Moss, a Washington lawyer who specializes in access to government records. Moss and others cite the Central Intelligence Agency as obstinate, releasing hardly any information and refusing to comply with laws requiring machine-readable documents, like spreadsheets. The CIA only releases copies of records on plain paper. An egregious example of flouting the law is a recent, undated Justice Department ruling denying a fee waiver to Dennis McDougal, a former Los Angeles Times reporter and author of 10 books, including investigative biographies of Jack Nicholson, Hollywood mogul and Democratic Party power Lew Wasserman and Times publisher Otis Chandler.