WEIRDLAND: December 2020

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Chappaquiddick Speaks, Tipping Point

Ron Unz: The JFK Assassination (2018) by James DiEugenio is a devastating critique of Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F Kennedy (2008). One of DiEugenio's chief complaints is that Bugliosi uses extreme verbosity to try to overwhelm readers, the intemperate way in which Bugliosi insults those with whom he disagrees and the underlying theme of the DiEugenio book is disclosing Bugliosi’s intellectual dishonesty. At Parkland Hospital, JFK was lying supine, or face up in the emergency room at Parkland, and Dr. Malcolm Perry had ample opportunity and good reason to inspect the wound to Pres. Kennedy’s throat carefully before performing the tracheotomy, which led him to declare unambiguously that “The wound appeared to be an entrance wound in the front of the throat,” and none of Bugliosi's voluminous but sophomoric sophistry, special pleading, and outright fibbing here can change that. JFK was hit at least three times, with wounds in his throat, back, and head. Gov. Connally sustained additional wounds, and several other shots missed the motorcade entirely, one leaving a scar on a manhole cover that pointed back to the Country Records Building on Houston St. as the spot from which the bullet had been fired. Bugliosi got a huge advance of a million dollars for “Reclaiming History”. No doubt he got a lot more when Peter Landesman, Tom Hanks et al. made the movie Parkland from the book. In Imdb it appears as "A recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas' Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated." 

Keith Uhlich from Time magazine panned it: "The tone never stops waffling, the script rarely makes the case that their versions are compelling enough to warrant a film and nothing truly revelatory ever emerges about those terrible few days in Texas. What we’re left with is the Disney theme-park version of history—all waxworks and weepiness." As I mentioned in my original JFK article, when I first began getting a little suspicious a few years ago, I (very gingerly) raised the possibility of a conspiracy with a very well-connected member of the elite establishment, with whom I’d gotten a little friendly, and was absolutely shocked to hear him say he’d been absolutely convinced of a JFK conspiracy for decades. But he’s never even said a word to his friends or colleagues, lest he risk his “elite establishment” membership card and no longer have influence in his own areas of work. As another example, last year after the Epstein controversy, a fairly prominent public figure came to Palo Alto and had dinner with me. He said flat out he was convinced that JFK had been killed by the Mossad over the nuclear issue. But never in a million years would he say something like that in public. So there’s a huge difference between what someone like Gerald Ford would say in public and what he would say in private, with a fellow world leader like French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. Many years after the Warren Report came out, Ford did admit that the CIA hid information from the Commission Warren and also added: “I recognize that no all questions will ever be answered.” During a May 1976 state meeting with French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a great admirer of JFK, Ford told VGE that the assassination “had been planned”. The House Assassinations Committee was established in 1976 and a couple of years later suggested the plausibility of a conspiracy. “It was a conspiracy, but we haven’t been able to identify the organisation that commissioned it,” said Ford to Giscard. This is what Ford said to historian David Brinkley in 2003, just three years before his death: “75 percent of the people don’t believe the Warren Commission anymore. It just makes me sad and unhappy.” 

President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who was born in Germany, spoke an excellent English and German too. He made a speech in English on the same night of his election in 1974, and often carried press conferences in either of these languages. He was actually known for his fluency in English, and often derided for it by some, who disliked his proximity to the Anglo-Saxon centres of power. His popularity suffered from the economic downturn that followed the 1973 energy crisis, marking the end of the "Trente Glorieuses" (thirty glorious years of prosperity after 1945). Like Margaret Thatcher, Giscard was forced to impose austerity budgets. Furthermore, VGE as president would have had access to fine analysts within French intelligence and military experts, and he would have checked their opinions on the JFK assassination. VGE publicly repeated Gerald Ford’s confidences that JFK was murdered following an organised conspiracy at least on two occasions, on foremost mainstream media, first live on RTL radio, and then to “Le Parisien” newspaper in 2013. His words have been translated by honest, fringe American websites and have never been challenged during his lifetime (he just passed away 3 weeks ago). And for the record, Lyndon Johnson himself said that others in addition to Oswald were involved in the JFK assassination. In a 1969 post-presidential interview with CBS, LBJ told Walter Cronkite that he had never been convinced that a lone gunman killed Kennedy, suggesting that “others could have been involved” in the JFK assassination. Immediately after the taping, he and his staff successfully pushed CBS to delete those comments from the broadcast version for reasons of “national security.” There is a reason why these words by LBJ have been culled from the accessible records to the day, and this reason is the systematic cover-up by those who own the MSM. 

We know that LBJ was speaking sincerely when he spoke to Cronkite. He mentioned several times privately during his life that he thought there was a conspiracy to murder JFK, including to his good friend and Commission member Senator Richard Russell. Pierre Salinger first endorsed the Warren Report, but later thought there was a conspiracy. Ted Sorensen was initially agnostic, but said he had never seen any hard evidence that Oswald acted alone. On the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, John Kerry stated: “To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,” Kerry told NBC’s Tom Brokaw, in a program timed to coincide with the anniversary of the tragedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Kerry echoed the same view in an interview aired on NBC with the journalist David Gregory. Général De Gaulle, for instance, expressed his opinion that JFK died as the result of a conspiracy to Alain Peyrefitte, then Minister of Information, upon return from the USA, where he spent 48 hours for JFK’s funerals. He said: «Vous savez, tout ça n’est pas une affaire de cowboy, c’est une affaire d’OAS.» «De toute façon, on ne saura jamais la vérité, parce que si on connaît la vérité, il n’y a plus d’Etats-Unis.» / “You know, this was not the act of a cowboy, it was the an OAS-style affair. Anyway, we will never know the truth, because if we knew, that would be the end of the United States”. So in summary, we have two French Presidents, De Gaulle and Giscard, and two US Presidents, Johnson and Ford, all known to have expressed their opinion/belief that JFK died as result of a conspiracy. For example, the Emperor Guangxu was killed by arsenic poison administered by a conspiracy led by Dowager Empress Cixi. History is full of such examples.

It reminds me of this famous sequence when George H. W. Bush can’t help laughing while mentioning the lone gunman theory of the Warren Commission, in his eulogy of Gerald Ford on the 2nd of January, 2007: Even the New York Times reporter mentioned in his transcript of the speech: “After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, Bush laughed!... our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness.” I discovered the CIA has always had free lancers at nearly every level of the organization who did what they wanted to do. A lot of that is explained by the covert nature of the organization. By design, there aren’t many people looking over their shoulders after they’re given a mission unless you are part of a tight team assigned with a specific short-term task. A high-level example of this was Richard Bissell’s decision to continue U-2 flights over the Soviet Union even after Eisenhower told him to take a break. Ike had left it in his sole power to decide when the U-2 flights over the USSR could be made, and he often vetoed them for reasons he never explained. After one such veto, Bissell decided on his own to transfer at least one of the U-2 planes to a Great Britain air base where it was outside the normal Agency chain of command. He then continued the flights over the Soviet Union on his own orders. He told neither Dulles, his immediate superior in the CIA, nor Eisenhower of his decision. He just did it. Think of the momentous consequences of some subordinate just deciding on his own to overfly the Soviet Union. The flights were common enough by that time that Bissell would’ve known the Soviets were merely irritated by them and trying to shoot them down, but also making no diplomatic fuss. Lucky for Bissell, none of these unauthorized flights were the doomed Gary Powers’ mission. Republican activist Roger Stone was very close to Richard Nixon. 

In his book “Nixon’s secrets”, packed with revelations and insider information, Stone reveals in particular how Nixon avoided prosecution after the Watergate scandal. According to Stone, Nixon used General Alexander Haig as his intermediary to let VP Gerald Ford know that he would expose the CIA’s involvement in the JFK assassination, as well as Ford’s role in altering autopsy records for the Warren Commission if ever he was sent to trial in the Watergate scandal. “Tell them if Dick Nixon’s going down I’m taking everyone down with me, that prick [CIA Director] Richard Helms, Lyndon, and Jerry Ford are going down with me,” was the way Haig phrased it. Nixon would have used this information about the JFK conspiracy to avoid prosecution and to obtain Gerald Ford unconditional pardon. James Angleton was the link between Israel and the CIA. For Angleton’s key role in the assassination conspiracy, see John Newman’s Oswald and the CIA, especially the last chapter. John Newman is a retired Army major in intelligence, whose last position was as an aide to NSA Director General William Odom, Newman has since then been a professor of history at the University of Maryland and George Mason University. At least 40 suspicious deaths of witnesses occurred in the three years after Dallas, of which at least 33 were unnatural (homicide, accident, suicide, unknown causes). The probability of 33 unnatural deaths within the 1400 JFK witnesses population is lower than one hundred thousand trillions to one.  

JFK was a very charismatic president and was much liked and loved outside the US. Recently Bob Dylan had a number 1 hit this year with a single about that day in which he describes him as the King. This morning I was reading an ancient Egyptian text from 2000 BC in which a man instructs his son about the nature of the King and his role in the afterlife “Whoever does not attack him has already touched land…” which refers to the recently deceased as a sailor looking to land in a happy afterlife. It displays a generosity of spirit with no exacting demands and JFK had, as did David, a generous heart. Going back even earlier there is an epithet of the King as Osiris “He Whose Face Suffered” who has been struck down but rises again. Those images of Jesus with bloody head have old precursors. The spiritual imagery and symbols surrounding Dallas are very deep. 

James DiEugenio: The thing is, Clay Risen's book, The Bill of the Century shows that LBJ was not even all that active in getting the Civil Rights BIll of 1964 passed. Risen's book shows that LBJ made maybe one phone call. And that he did not attend the celebratory rally after the final vote that summer. The extension of the Housing Act had been begun by Kennedy. These are the facts: from 1937-1956, LBJ voted against each and every civil rights bill that attempted to pass congress. And he was not a passive opponent. He actively voiced the good old southern shibboleth of it being an intrusion on States Rights. Which would mean, of course, that there would never be any progress on civil rights. In 1957 two things happened that changed his tune. First, Nixon and Eisenhower decided to submit a very mild, almost blooper ball pitch type of civil rights bill. LBJ was entertaining thoughts on running for the highest office in 1960. He saw what had happened to his pal Richard Russell's ambitions due to his anti civil rights views. So he knew that to make himself palatable to the liberals in the party, he had to change. Those are the two reasons LBJ first came around on civil rights. It was reasons of realpolitik. Especially since Nixon and Eisenhower designed it as a stunt and though they did set up a civil rights division in the DOJ, the amount of cases they brought forward was miniscule. During Ike's entire two terms, they would be brought something like 10 civil rights cases; really nine, because the tenth one was filed on the last day of his second term, probably to make it double digits. It's because of this mindframe that the Kennedys faced such huge resistance and incredible friction from all sides when they began to turn around the issue. As some writers have finally suggested, much of the blame should go to Eisenhower. He was in a position to really accomplish something in the field. With the two Brown decisions, plus the insurrection by Faubus at Central High. Yet he did next to nothing. As Risen says in his book, the people who performed the incredible act of passing the Civil Rights Bill were JFK, RFK, Hubert Humphrey and US Senator Tom Kuchel of California. 

RFK stayed on for that particular reason, since he knew all the work his brother had put into the effort. By that reason, when JFK was in Dallas, Bobby penned a resignation letter. He thought it would be easier to pass the bill with him out of office since he had become such a lightning rod on the issue. contrary to what establishment historians have written, Kennedy's fellow southern senators realized who he was on the issue of civil rights. And they did not want him in the White House. Kennedy had endorsed the Brown vs Board decision as a senator twice in public. Once in NYC, and once, in of all places, Jackson Mississippi. He also did not want to go along with Johnson's rather tepid 1957 civil rights act, but he did at LBJ's behest. Kennedy won 303 electoral college votes to Nixon’s 219. Byrd got only 15 votes, one from Oklahoma’s Irwin and 14 from the Alabama and Mississippi electors. All 14 electors voted for South Carolina Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond for Vice President. Nixon didn't want to take part in any of the vote challenges and told a reporter that “our country cannot afford the agony of a constitutional crisis.”

As I found out through the archival work of Malcolm Blunt, JFK gave a warning to Israel three times. Twice to Ben Gurion. And after the second one, Ben Gurion resigned. Once to Eshkol, who succeeded Ben Gurion. There is a debate as to whether or not Ben Gurion resigned due to the second letter. But I find it interesting he resigned the day after he got it. The other issue was over the right to return for Palestinian refugees. Kennedy was pushing the Joseph Johnson plan of the UN, which Ben Gurion had already rejected. Kennedy pushed it for months after that. IMO, I think he was doing this not just for the Palestinians, but also to balance the relationship with Nasser. Who he knew favored it as a way to a Palestinian homeland. Kennedy had explicitly told Nasser that he did not object to his efforts to form a Pan Arab union. Which was  not just a reversal of Foster Dulles, but it was what the Israelis had nightmares about. The British backed the Muslim Brotherhood first, and then the Saudis did. Nasser went to war with them, expelled them, executed some of the leaders and imprisoned the rest. But the Muslim Brotherhood was useful to the petroleum rich monarchies. Anyway, this is what appealed to Kennedy about Nasser. That someone like him could moderate what JFK called the tendency toward feudalism and fanaticism in the Arab world.

Chappaquiddick Speaks (2017) by Bill Pinney: Something I never understood was why Ted Kennedy took the blame if he was not actually the driver when the car went into the water. Mary Jo Kopechne had access to very sensitive information and phone calls between George Smathers and his nefarious associates like Ed Ball of the DuPont fortune in Florida, as well as business partners like his high school classmate Bebe Rebozo. In fact, Smathers and his father oversaw local OPA regulations that together illicitly made Rebozo a multi-millionaire. Smathers also helped manage LBJ's media assets, allowing him favorable FCC rulings in his monopolistic Texas broadcast operations, which made him a millionaire. Meanwhile Kopechne was extremely perspicacious and diligent in her duties handling Smathers’ calendar and files. Terribly ambitious and notoriously corrupt, Smathers used Jack Kennedy during his stay as representant of the state of Florida in the United States Senate from 1951 until 1969, ever-ready to supply his Addison’ Disease associate with new drugs, but, as Kopechne noted much to her dismay, the right-wing Florida solon voted against Jack Kennedy's legislative proposals 62% of the time, and incessantly pushed Castro's assassination to JFK, until finally, one evening, Kennedy so forcefully replied in the negative to his alleged friend, that the normally imperturbable president broke his White House dinner plate with the thrust of his fork downward in emphasizing his anger at Smathers' ceaseless insistence. Smathers was deeply tied into the CIA's anti-Castro ops, accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at CIA agent Bill Buckley's inaugural convention of his newly-formed arch-conservative Young Americans for Freedom, which had recently formed an alliance with anti-Castro paramilitary groups, financed in no small part by JFK assassination co-conspirator Joseph Milteer. 

Mary Jo Kopechne had taken the job as Smathers’ secretary only because she had initially believed him to be a close persona friend of the president. What she discovered, deeply disturbed her. A few days before JFK’s departure to engage in pre-election-year appearances in Florida and Texas, John Kennedy stopped by Smathers’ Senate office to complain to him his irritation at having to try to resolve internecine party spats that he felt, as he said, “You and Lyndon should be handling. I don’t want to go.” Smathers grandly made a show of it by grinning broadly and warmly hugging the president. “Nonsense,” he replied, “You have to make these trips, Jack. The people will love you down there. They want to see their president.” Kennedy wasn’t entirely mollified. He was aware of the various plots against him, had chided the Secret Service about his protection, and had been repeatedly warned against these trips that followed his June 11, nationwide civil rights address. But Smathers continued to flatter, cajole, and insist to him the absolute necessity of his taking these trips. Kennedy finally relented. Watching all this was Kopechne, who took the opportunity to ask JFK for an autograph on the photo of him that she kept posted above her desk. Smathers took the opportunity to chide his “friend.” “There, you see, Jack? She’s my secretary, but you don’t see a portrait of me above her desk. You see how the people love you?”

Meanwhile, as George Smathers’ name was being mentioned in the Senate’s deepening inquiry into the nefarious mob-related business dealings of LBJ’s secretary, Bobby Baker, and an explosive Life magazine article was being prepared to publicly expose this scandal, Milteer’s Florida anti-Castro assassins awaited the president’s arrival, having Lee Oswald, who had infiltrated their group. picked out as their patsy. Fortunately, undercover police informant, William Somerset, secretly tape-recorded his conversation with Milteer and reported it to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and some precautions were taken to spare JFK’s life in Florida. Bobby already had information on Baker’s links to LBJ financier, Clint Murchison and several Mafia bosses like New Orleans Mafioso Carlos Marcello. Another case of LBJ's corrupt maneuvers included the awarding of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the F-111, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas for whom the father of John Connally’s son-in-law Bobby Hale worked. A month prior to JFK’s visit to Smathers’ office, Bobby Baker was forced to resign his post, as did Naval Secretary John Connally’s replacement, Texan Fred Korth. Not to pun, but it was all coming to an explosive head, when Kennedy visited Smathers office and for the first time, met Mary Jo Kopechne, who adored him. And as the Milteer plot was exposed, and as Lee Oswald, in Dallas, dispatched a warning (his second within the past month, of a pending assassination attempt against the president), the assassination locale shifted to its secondary back-up site (following Chicago and Tampa): Dallas. When JFK was killed, a number of those in Smathers’ office, wept. But not Mary Jo. She simply stared out into space, deeply contemplative, “as though she saw things the rest of us didn’t.” Shortly after, Mary Jo Kopechne resigned her position with Smathers and went to work for Robert Kennedy. In short order, her ex-roommate, Nancy Carole Tyler, former secretary to Bobby Baker, was terminated. Mary Jo did intelligence work for RFK in his ’68 campaign to attain the presidency and thus bring to justice his brothers’ assassins. Shortly after, he was sacrificed too. The following year, having her first opportunity to speak privately with Ted Kennedy about all this, Mary Jo Kopechne and the 1972 Democratic presidential front-runner Ted Kennedy would be conveniently terminated.

Larry Hancock: As a history writer I've come to feel that "history" ("a study of past events") can be accurate, but that accurate history is not necessarily popular history ("a broad genre of historiography that takes a popular approach, aims at a wide readership, and usually emphasizes narrative, personality and vivid detail over scholarly analysis"). I can recall a historiography professor making that quite clear in discussing source material - warning us about relying too much on news articles, since media news has its factual limitations. If it's reporting directly from the scene it may have certain value, otherwise it's likely contaminated by editorial agendas. We were warned that popular histories run the same risks, since they are often written for large circulations and may be constrained by the publishers objective's (these days by politicized school book review committees). Academic histories should be superior but reality wades in even then because academic works are often limited to academia. Academic publishers hardly ever make a profit and have to be subsidized, while other publishers find a very limited market for works that meet the source and citation standards for academic publication. Having said all that its easy to slam the media, or popular history publishers or even popular history authors. The other side of the coin are the readers who demand personal, intimate details and sensationalism. Plenty of room for blame on both sides. Having lived through the Camelot era I can say that it does really bring back good memories and it's not just naive nostalgia. Even though my family were hard nosed conservatives and opposed many of JFK's actions - including school integration - there was never the sort of personal bitterness we see nowadays. 

There were snarky comments about the Kennedys but the social life at the White House, Jackie's personality, JFK's football games, they were all viewed as very real and in a sympathetic light by many people. While we often focus on the hate against the Kennedys found in certain circles, the national tone was quite different. While we tend to dwell on conservatives who demonized the New Frontier, or the Space Race or the Test Ban treaty, the general sense of new beginnings was quite real. I simply maintain that if the Zapruder film, along with many of the other early public remarks out of Dallas including Oswald being driven away in a station wagon and witnesses seeing smoke and apparent shooting from the fence-line,  had been widely seen by the public it would have made life much more difficult for the lone nut story. I can say from personal experience that the shooting of Oswald by Ruby raised considerable doubt in the public mind about the lone nut line that was emerging that weekend. The Z film would have given further push to public skepticism. I thought I was clear that it was open to frame removal, frame manipulation and even to the possibility to tampering the wound in the rear of the head. My experience with public viewings of the film leads me to believe that the general public often responds to the film with the impression that the president has been shot from the front. I believe the Z-film has frames missing after Z-312. Two remarkable events make the removal possible. Firstly I believe the car was stationary and secondly it was directly in front of Zapruder. The only way I see to remove witness anomalies, car slowing/acceleration effects, and witnessed injuries is to add frames back in. I have always maintained that the best evidence for conspiracy comes from the number of shots that missed, not the number of shots that hit. If you have more than one shot that missed, that's prima facie evidence for conspiracy. I think Allen Dulles and Richard Helms are identified as the ones likeliest to have been at the top of the conspiracy food chain. But in terms of the conspiracy I explore in my book Tipping Point, (to be published in 2021neither film manipulation nor film alteration was anticipated or desirable. 

Part of my reasoning is based on (reporter and author of JFK: Secrets from the Sixth Floor Window) Connie Kritzberg's experience with one of her articles quoting Dr Malcolm Perry and Dr Kemp Clark from Parkland. Dr. Perry described a shot from the front after treating the President and was very clear to her. Kritzberg wrote it up and submitted her article before 9 PM that evening. When published the wording was slightly changed to obfuscate the Doctor's remarks. When she protested to her editor he referred her to the FBI. Later research by Connie Kritzberg suggests that newspaper reports were being referred to the FBI even before midnight. In the segment 5 of Tipping Point, you will find a case for a national security directive ordering that evidence of conspiracy be controlled and suppressed beginning on Saturday. That is consistent with what happened to the autopsy materials over the weekend, with the FBI change in direction to order a total focus on Oswald and the order on Sunday to build a case against him. Indeed the cover-up was so poor that it almost didn't hold together in 1964 - and we can now deconstruct it in extensive detail. Source: https://educationforum.ipbhost.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Merry Christmas in The House of Kennedy

1960: John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy receive an early Christmas present. The President-elect and his wife Jackie Kennedy welcomed their second child, John F. Kennedy Jr., at the start of the holiday season on November 25. The couple returned to their Georgetown residence with their newborn son on December 10, 1960. 

In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree. She decorated a tree placed in the oval Blue Room with ornamental toys, birds and angels modeled after Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet. Mrs. Kennedy reused these ornaments in 1962 for her children's theme tree. Set up in the North Entrance, this festive tree also featured brightly wrapped packages, candy canes, gingerbread cookies and straw ornaments made by disabled or senior citizen craftspeople throughout the US. 

Jackie Kennedy shows off the Christmas seals. In 1962, the First Lady posed with the Postal Service's Christmas seals. The limited edition stamps were sold around the holidays to raise money for charity. The First Lady stayed at the famous Carlyle hotel during her shopping trip.

1962: The Kennedys spend Christmas morning with the Radziwills. The Kennedy family was joined by Jackie's sister, Lee Radziwill, and her family at the White House in 1962. Here, the extended family gathering looks like your typical Christmas celebration. John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy were busy opening their Christmas stockings while still in their pajamas on Christmas morning.

1965: Robert Francis Kennedy plays Santa in New York City. New York Senator Robert Kennedy accompanied his sister-in-law, Jackie Kennedy, to the Bronx community Christmas party in 1965 and handed out presents to the children. 

Aged 42, Robert Kennedy was shot and killed after winning the Democratic primary in California in June 1968. In an interview, John Lewis said: “I remember I just started crying and the next day I got up and I travelled to Atlanta; I think I cried all the way from Los Angeles to Atlanta. It was a dark, dark period.” Lewis, 78, who had joined Kennedy’s campaign for the Democratic nomination, remains convinced that he would have gone on to win the 1968 presidential election, where Republican Richard Nixon eventually prevailed. I got to know Robert Kennedy during the spring and summer of 1963. Lewis recalls: “Robert Kennedy was just a wonderful human being, a wonderful man. He had a great sense of humor, and he came across with the sense that he really believed, he had this great sense of passion, and I identified with that. When I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, better known as SNCC, at some of our meetings, we would have little skits. During the midst of the Freedom Rides, President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy became fully committed to the cause of civil rights. Bobby Kennedy tried his best. I saw this man grow, and during that time he had a tremendous influence on his brother, the President. When we heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated, we all cried. I cried because I felt I lost not just my President, but someone who was so inspiring to me, and such a wonderful human being. My organization, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, was to hold a meeting in D.C. the weekend of President Kennedy’s funeral at Arlington Cemetery. Sadly, many couldn't attend. The presidency was truly in Bobby's bag had he lived, it really makes me sad to think of what could've been. After the Kennedy brothers' deaths, I think something died in America, and something died within all of us really. We probably would never, ever, live the way we lived again, because these men had so much to offer, not just to America and not just to the American people, but to the world community. I feel even today that we were robbed of something, denied something, because of their untimely deaths.” Source: emkinstitute.org/resources/john-lewis

An all-grown-up JFK Jr. commutes in New York City during the holiday season, December 1993.

Fashion designer Susan Erneta: In 1993, I was 21 and living in New York City where I had just moved from Massachusetts. As a young girl dreaming of working in the fashion industry, I felt so lucky to land an internship with Fern Mallis of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The CFDA was responsible for staging the runway shows in Bryant Park and it as the first year it had been done there.I was at the tents with Fern for a late night rehearsal one night with Mr. Calvin Klein. He was running this rehearsal with his new muse Kate Moss. All of the publicists were chic and good looking but there was one that stood out. She was so effortlessly gorgeous, blonde, and stylish and I remember thinking 'Why is she not on that runway?' She was classy and stunning and she had on the sickest outfit that I can still picture to this day. She was wearing a floor-length sweeping velvet skirt, black Adidas sneakers and a chunky black oversized turtleneck sweater.I attempted to emulate that outfit 1000 different ways and I often wondered who that amazingly stylish girl was. About a year later, I read that JFK Jr. had started dating a beautiful blonde, how a middle class girl whisked him away, and I was not surprised when I saw her face in the tabloids. It was the girl who worked for Calvin Klein! Carolyn Bessette took the Jackie's torch and she had a similar style of elegance. 

I knew John Jr. had dated a few models in the early 90s, one of them my friend Jennifer Kusner. In an article for Glamour magazine in 1999, they cover the time of his 30th birthday (1990), when he was dating my close friend Jenny, who was described in the article as a "good-looking, ginger-haired model". Jenny frequently threw dinner parties at her Manhattan townhouse. At one such event, John carried the evening with all his charm and reserve. There was something about him, observed writer Karen Duffy (a former Coney Island Mermaid Queen, chosen one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 1993), "that tacitly asked for a bit of distance and respect." Despite his stunning looks, John Jr. was not an easy man or given to frivolous adventures, so that says a lot of Carolyn Bessette's formidable character to conquer him. The funny thing it was John who was stalking Carolyn. It was him who had some friends spying on her at nightclubs, and reporting back to John. He frequently asked his friends with connections to the fashion world about her. Source: issuu.com

Across decades and generations, the Kennedys have occupied a unique place in the American imagination: charmed, cursed, at once familiar and unknowable. The House of Kennedy (2020) by James Patterson, tries to shed light on the dual family motto: "To whom much is given, much is expected" and they did—but at a high price. James Patterson: Joe Kennedy Sr. and his wife Rose demanded that everybody in the family do the best they can be, be the best they could be, strive for something better and bigger and higher. And that's hard to live up to. They all had to strive to be as good as they could be and take risks. If I wrote an outline for a novel and if I had the things happen to a family that happened to this one, I think my publisher Little Brown would say, "This is silly. All of this couldn't possibly happen to one family." One of the things that drove me to write the book is I just felt that this is the great American family story because the characters are so vibrant and interesting. It covers a period from the Depression right through to present day. TV producer Barbara Hall wants to turn this into one of those series like "The Crown," so this would be like the American "Crown." I loved "The Crown," but these people were a lot more interesting really than Queen Elizabeth. The culture inside the family is more interesting than the royal family. One great anecdote was the notion of this patriarch, Joe Kennedy Sr., and he's had a stroke and he's in this bedroom up in Hyannis Port [Massachusetts] and he's really cold, but he can't communicate to anybody. And finally he communicates to a niece that he's cold, and she goes rummaging around the bedroom and finds this flag and covers him with this flag. I'm sure he recognized it was the flag that had covered the coffin of his son John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of incidents like that. The fact that when JFK was president, he would call up Judy Garland more than once and ask her to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" over the phone. Or the fact of Bobby literally saving his son from drowning and then that night being assassinated. Source: usatoday.com

Friday, December 18, 2020

"On the Trial of Clay Shaw: Assassination of JFK" (2020) by Michelle Metta, "History has Begun" (2020) by Bruno Maçães

The CIA held JFK in contempt and believed he was a national security threat and was too soft on communism. The multi-national corporations hated JFK and fought tooth and nail to derail his agenda. Israel surely was probably one of the primary players in the operation to assassinate JFK but Michele Metta’s book On the Trail of Clay Shaw: The Italian Undercover CIA and Mossad Station and the Assassination of JFK shows with declassified Permindex documents, which Michael Piper did not have, although was very close to the truth, as was Jim Garrison, that this was a Internationalist team effort. It involved the Seligman Bank, Bloomfield through CMC-Permindex Inc. whose members included Zionist protestant preachers like Gigliotti, P2 lodge members, Mossad and CIA agents as well as wealthy Zionist bankers who hired, through liaisons, neo-fascists and former Mussolini alleys in Strategy of Tension operations to curtail communism. The CIA is very much opposed to communism. So much so, that detente and mere diplomacy of JFK, Fulbright and others, such as former director of the CIA Smith, who was sacked after Gigliotti sent a letter to Truman, was considered communist. Smith believed, like JFK and Fullbright, that diplomacy must be the first and final option. Only rarely should we use the military (not the CIA) for operations in foreign countries, only if Americans are gravely threatened. Frank Gigliotti and the pro-Irgun sect within the CIA felt otherwise. So, the CIA had all the reason to kill JFK and the government in Israel had all the reason too! Match made in heaven. Anyone telling you communists killed JFK is lying. Also, Gigliotti signed an anti-JFK pact with the P2 lodge in Italy, and various Zionists with close ties to Israel. In the recently published Journals: 1952-2000 of the late American historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., he writes a month after Kennedy’s election, Schlesinger recorded in his diary a resume of his conversations with the president-elect. When they reached the subject of who would be secretary of state, the name of David Bruce, a veteran diplomat, was mentioned, but Schlesinger thought he would “not have too many ideas of his own.” Later, at Kennedy’s house, the president-elect talked favorably about senator J.W. Fulbright. For Kennedy, the influence of Fulbright in the Senate “seemed a paramount consideration.” Schlesinger asked Kennedy if Fulbright would not “alienate the negroes and the Jews?” and Kennedy said, “I don’t care about the Jews.”

The JFK conspiracy was fueled by the CIA, Mossad, and Italian Intelligence. Michael Collins Piper was on the right track in Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK, Metta proves who was in on the conspiracy and who was funding it: Simon Peres, Ben-Gurion, the Mossad, the CIA, the P2 lodge, World Brotherhood Incorporated, CMC and Permindex. Michele Metta lives in Rome. He is a historian, and a journalist for the Italian newspaper l’AntiDiplomatico, where he has distinguished himself for being author of many scoops on the assassinations of JFK and RFK. Louis Mortimer Bloomfield, a major shareholder in the Swiss company Permindex, died in 1984. A few years before his death donated 31 boxes of documents to the Library and Archives Canada. The one condition Bloomfield placed on the donation was that public access to the papers would be restricted for 20 years after his death. However, when researcher Maurice Phillips, attempted to gain access to these materials in 2004 he found that Bloomfield’s widow, Justine Stern Bloomfield Cartier, was still refusing permission for them to be released into the public domain. Permindex was comprised of:

(1) Solidarists and Eastern European exile organization.

(2) American Council of Christian Churches led by Haroldson L. Hunt.

(3) Free Cuba Committee headed by Carlos Prio.

(4) The Syndicate headed by Clifford Jones, ex-lieutenant governor of Nevada. This group also included Bobby Baker, George Smathers, Roy Cohn, Fred Black and Lewis McWillie.

(5) Security Division of NASA headed by Wernher von Braun.

Source: unz.com

In an essay published in March 1961 the novelist Philip Roth argued that the challenge for the American writer was not to expand real events but to contain them. “It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one’s own meager imagination.” And he gave the example of the famous television debate between Kennedy and Nixon: “All the machinations over make-up, rebuttal time, all the business over whether Mr. Nixon should look at Mr. Kennedy when he replied, or should look away—all of it was so fantastic, so weird and astonishing, that I found myself beginning to wish I had invented it.” In the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby - the culmination of the European way of life in America - the story is that of the lonely individual struggling against the forces of convention as he pursues his personal vision of happiness. That vision was bound to be defeated because no individual can stand up to the social whole and because only failure can certify that his or her vision was purely personal and subjective, divorced from the world of realities the moment it was first conceived.  

In The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1962), the historian Daniel Boorstin could already warn his contemporaries that “we risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so realistic that they can live in them. We are the most illusioned people on Earth. Yet we dare not become disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live; they are our news, our heroes, our adventure, our forms of art, our very experience.” In Infinite Jest, the sprawling 1996 novel by David Foster Wallace, the real story is the struggle to develop and cohere that story into a finished book. The author sets out the conflict in terms of the very largess of the story's range, swept across endless characters and topics. There is a terrorist group and a North American superstate, calendar years sponsored by corporations, and a movie so funny it can kill you. These elements are rather miraculously brought together in an overarching plot. The classical American hero rises up against convention and tradition in the search for absolute freedom. The individual search is now a search for meaning."

Americans have been leading a double life, Norman Mailer suggested in 1960, and American history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground. There has been the history of politics, which is concrete, factual, practical and dull, and also a subterranean river of romantic desires, the dream life of the nation. The springs of this underground river he located in that moment when the frontier was finally conquered and the expansion turned inward, becoming part of an agitated, overexcited, superheated dream life, echoed by the Hollywood film studios. With Kennedy the subterranean river, its unstoppable force, was felt at the surface. When the candidate arrived at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, Mailer detected a certain uneasiness. “America’s politics would now be also America’s favorite movie, America’s best-seller.” But everything stayed within limits—for the time being. Kennedy might look like a movie star, his manners elegant and his gestures strong and quick, but his public mind and his ideas were quite complex. As the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr put it in his classic book The Irony of American History (1952): “Reality is essentially an obstacle for heroism. Call it the Hollywood theatre of truth. Our dreams of bringing the whole of human history under the control of the human will are ironically refuted by the fact that no group of idealists can easily move the pattern of history toward the desired goal of peace and justice.” 

As Kurt Andersen puts it in Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History  (2017): “the American experiment, the original embodiment of the great Enlightenment idea of intellectual freedom, every individual free to believe anything she wishes, has metastasized out of control.” Since the eighteenth century, liberal culture has been increasingly impatient with the failure of human power to bring the total pattern of historical development under control. The United States happened to become the undisputed leader of the free world at the time when the goal finally seemed within reach—when the control of the atom seemed to render ludicrous the belief that human beings could not likewise be controlled. America became, as Niebuhr wrote, “the prime bearer of this hope and dream.” The element of irony lies in the fact that a strong America turned out to be much less the master of its own destiny than was the young republic, “rocking in the cradle of its continental security and serene in its infant innocence.” Writing in 1952, Niebuhr still felt confident that America had the patience and the shrewdness to “avoid the ultimate error of trying to bring the historical process to what would seem to us to be its ultimate conclusion.” —"History has Begun" (2020) by Bruno Maçães

Saturday, December 12, 2020

JFK, The CIA & The Cult of Intelligence

JFK “New Frontier Speech” (November 8, 1960): We are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some twenty years ago: If we open a quarrel between the present and the past, we shall be in danger of losing the future. Today our concern must be with that future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do. Abroad, the balance of power is shifting. New and more terrible weapons are coming into use. Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises. It is a set of challenges, a frontier of the mind. A tired nation, said David Lloyd George, is a Tory nation. And the United States today cannot afford to be either tired or Tory. The pioneers of old gave up their safety, their comfort and sometimes their lives to build a new world here in the West. They were not the captives of their own doubts, the prisoners of their own price tags. Their motto was not "every man for himself"--but "all for the common cause." 

John F. Kennedy's former Georgetown digs just got a new owner. Last month, the gorgeous colonial residency located at 1400 34th St NW in Washington D.C., sold for $4.2 million. While that's a heavy chunk of change for most, the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home had initially hit the market in February of this year for $4.675 million. The price was dialed back in July, and again in September. On November 30, the home sold. Michael Rankin of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer in the sale. Kennedy lived in the home with his sister Eunice from 1949 to 1951. At the time, he was serving in Congress and his newfound social status would eventually lead him to cross paths with Jacqueline Bouvier. According to the New York Post, Kennedy met Bouvier during his final year living in the Washington, D.C. residence. In May of 1951, he was introduced to Bouvier at a dinner party in the neighborhood. While they didn't officially meet at his home, there's a good chance they spent a lot of time there during their relationship's early days. In 1953, the couple tied the knot. Fast forward a decade and Kennedy is elected as the 35th president of the United States. While the 19th century home has since been brought-up-to-date technology-wise—as well as renovated by renowned architect Richard Foster and builder Tom Glass—it still exudes that Kennedy-era charm. Source: housebeautiful.com

Theoretical physicist Ron Keeva Unz made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in the California gubernatorial election, 1994. He received 707,431 votes (34.3 percent) in the primary race against the incumbent Pete Wilson, who won the primary with 1,266,832 votes (61.4 percent). The press referred to Unz's candidacy as a Revenge of the Nerds and often quoted his claim of a 214 IQ. In 1998, Unz sponsored California Proposition 227, which aimed to change the state's bilingual education to an opt-in structured English-language educational system. Unz launched his political campaign with his own initial funds of $1 million. His IQ had been estimated at 214, a statistic that intelligence experts describe as “one in a million.” Educated at Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford universities, Ron Unz mastered not only theoretical physics and computer programming, but also ancient Greek history, being the author of several scholarly papers on the Spartan naval empire and Plutarch. David Horowitz, the conservative activist, told him: ‘You’re an intellectual. Your passion is ideas. You’ll be murdered.’ Unz graduated in 1983 with a double major in theoretical physics and ancient history and headed to England. There on a Churchill Science Fellowship, he studied quantum gravitation under Stephen Hawking.

Ron Unz (author of the essay American Pravda: the JFK Assassination, 2018): Victor Marchetti had spent 20 years in US Intelligence, most of them at the CIA, and served as the personal aide to Richard Helms, the Deputy Director, before resigning in disgust and writing an important book on the CIA. In 1978, James Angleton and another senior CIA official leaked the story to Marchetti that the CIA had decided to blame its involvement in the JFK assassination conspiracy on E. Howard Hunt, claiming that he had acted as a rogue agent without official authorization. Marchetti wrote a long article about this in The Spotlight, which led Hunt to sue, ultimately resulting in the Lane trial. A scanned copy of the article is available on the CIA website (section library docs): CIA-RDP81M00980R000600230023-6.pdf. Why would the CIA have decided to blame Hunt for the CIA involvement in the JFK assassination conspiracy unless there actually was a JFK assassination conspiracy, and everyone knowledgeable was fully aware of that fact, even if they argued about the exact identity of the conspirators? and John D. Marks, a former State Department intelligence officer, then wrote a nonfiction book, “The C.I.A. and the Cult of Intelligence,” which was ultimately published in 1974. “The cult of intelligence is a secret fraternity of the American political aristocracy,” they wrote. “It seeks largely to advance America’s self-appointed role as the dominant arbiter of social, economic, and political change in the awakening regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.” In reviewing the manuscript in 1973 for “The C.I.A. and the Cult of Intelligence,” the agency cited 339 passages that it said had to be removed on the grounds that they jeopardized national security. The authors and their publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, challenged the agency in court, accusing it of violating their First Amendment rights. Over several months, the agency whittled down its objections to 168 passages. Knopf then published the book using blank spaces for passages that had been censored and using boldface type to indicate passages that the C.I.A. had initially wanted to censor but later allowed. In the end, a trial judge found that fewer than 30 passages had actually been classified while Mr. Marchetti was a C.I.A. employee.

Leaving aside the precise details of the JFK conspiracy, we have Marchetti, the top CIA officials, and Howard Hunt all pretty much agreeing that there was indeed a JFK conspiracy involving some CIA members. And RFK believed exactly the same thing, as did numerous other top people. It seems to me if all those knowledgeable, well-connected people quietly agree about something so controversial and so endlessly ridiculed by the MSM, well then, it’s probably true. For a variety of complex reasons, the leading national media organs—the commanding heights of “Our American Pravda”—almost immediately endorsed the “lone gunman theory” and with some exceptions generally maintained that stance throughout the next half-century. With few prominent critics willing to publicly dispute that idea and a strong media tendency to minimize those exceptions, casual observers such as myself had received a severely distorted view of the case. If the first two dozen pages of David Talbot's book completely overturned my understanding of the JFK assassination, I found the closing section almost equally shocking. With the Vietnam War as a political millstone about his neck, President LBJ decided not to seek reelection in 1968, opening the door to a last minute entry into the Democratic race by Robert Kennedy, who overcame considerable odds to win some important primaries. Then on June 4, 1968, he was led on an easy path to the nomination and the presidency itself, at which point he would finally be in a position to fully investigate his brother’s assassination. But minutes after his victory speech, he was shot and fatally wounded, allegedly by another lone gunman, this time a disoriented Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan. Eyewitness testimony and acoustic evidence indicated that at least twelve bullets were fired although Sirhan’s revolver could hold only eight, and a combination of these factors led longtime LA Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who conducted the autopsy, to claim in his 1983 memoir that there was likely a second gunman. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses also reported seeing a security guard with his gun drawn standing right behind Kennedy during the attack, and that individual happened to have a deep political hatred of the Kennedys. The police investigators seemed uninterested in these highly suspicious elements, none of which came to light during the trial. With two Kennedy brothers now dead, neither any surviving members of the family nor most of their allies had any desire to investigate the details of this latest assassination. JFK’s widow Jackie confided in friends that she was terrified for the lives of her children, and quickly married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek billionaire, whom she felt would be able to protect them.

Less than a year after the assassination, JFK mistress Mary Meyer, the ex-wife of high-ranking CIA official Cord Meyer, was found shot to death in a Washington DC street-killing with no indications of attempted robbery or rape, and the case was never solved. Immediately afterwards, CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton was caught breaking into her home in search of her personal diary, which he later claimed to have destroyed. Dorothy Kilgallen was a nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist and television personality, and she managed to wrangle an exclusive interview with Jack Ruby, later boasting to her friends that she would break the JFK assassination case wide open in her new book, producing the biggest scoop of her career. Instead, she was found dead in her Upper East Side townhouse, having apparently succumbed to an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills, with both the draft text and the notes to her Jack Ruby chapter missing. Over the years, my own writings had put me on friendly terms with a well-connected individual whom I considered a member of the elite establishment, and whose intelligence and judgment had always seemed extremely solid. So I decided to raise the JFK subject, and see whether he had ever doubted the “lone gunman” orthodoxy. To my total astonishment, he explained that as far back as the early 1990s, he’d become absolutely convinced of the reality of a “JFK conspiracy” and over the years had devoured a huge number of the books in that field, but had never breathed a word in public lest his credibility be ruined and his political effectiveness destroyed. A second friend, a veteran journalist known for his remarkably courageous stands on certain controversial topics, provided almost exactly the same response to my inquiry. For decades, he’d been almost 100% sure that JFK had died in a conspiracy, but once again had never written a word on the topic for fear that his influence would immediately collapse. I began to wonder whether a considerable fraction, perhaps even a majority, of the respectable establishment had long harbored private beliefs about the JFK assassination that were absolutely contrary to the seemingly uniform verdict presented in the media. 

In 2013 Professor Lance deHaven-Smith, past president of the Florida Political Science Association, published Conspiracy Theory in America, a fascinating exploration of the history of the concept and the likely origins of the term itself. He noted that during 1966 the CIA had become alarmed at the growing national skepticism of the Warren Commission findings, especially once the public began turning its suspicious eyes toward the intelligence agency itself. Therefore, in January 1967 top CIA officials distributed a memo to all their local stations, directing them to employ their media assets and elite contacts to refute such criticism by various arguments, notably including an emphasis on Robert Kennedy’s supposed endorsement of the “lone gunman” conclusion. This memo, obtained by a later FOIA request, repeatedly used the term “conspiracy” in a highly negative sense, suggesting that “conspiracy theories” and “conspiracy theorists” be portrayed as irresponsible and irrational. And as I wrote in 2016, "Soon afterward, there suddenly appeared statements in the media making those exact points, with some of the wording, arguments, and patterns of usage closely matching those CIA guidelines. The result was a huge spike in the pejorative use of the phrase, which spread throughout the American media, with the residual impact continuing right down to the present day." This possible cause-and-effect relationship is supported by other evidence. Shortly after leaving The Washington Post in 1977, famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein published a story entitled “The CIA and the Media” revealing that during the previous quarter century over 400 American journalists had secretly carried out assignments for the CIA according to documents on file at the headquarters of that organization. This influence project, known as “Operation Mockingbird,” had allegedly been launched near the end of the 1940s by high-ranking CIA official Frank Wisner, and included editors and publishers situated at the very top of the mainstream media hierarchy. Source: unz.com

Monday, December 07, 2020

American Tragedy: JFK, RFK, JFK Jr.

David Talbot’s influential 2007 book Brothers revealed that Robert F. Kennedy had been convinced that his brother had been struck down in a conspiracy, but he held his tongue, telling his circle of friends that he stood little chance of tracking down and punishing the guilty parties until he himself reached the White House. By June 1968, he seemed on the threshold of achieving that goal, but was felled by an assassin’s bullet just moments after winning the crucial California presidential primary. The logical assumption is that his death was engineered by the same enemies of JFK, who were now acting to protect themselves from the consequences of their earlier crime. A young Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan was quickly arrested and convicted for the murder. But Talbot emphasizes that the coroner’s report revealed that the fatal bullet came from a completely different direction, while the acoustical record proves that far more shots were fired than the capacity of the alleged killer’s gun. Sirhan himself seemed dazed and confused, later claiming to have no memory of events, and Talbot mentions that various assassination researchers have long argued that he was merely a convenient patsy in the plot, perhaps acting under some form of hypnosis or conditioning. As an Irish-American, Joseph Kennedy Sr. had no love lost for Great Britain and was a non interventionist in the World War II. Just a week before the outbreak of hostilities, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s closest advisor, Sir Horace Wilson, went to Ambassador Kennedy with an urgent appeal to President Roosevelt. Regretting that Britain had unequivocally obligated itself to Poland in case of war, Chamberlain now turned in despair to Roosevelt as a last hope for peace. He wanted the American President to “put pressure on the Poles” to return to the negotiations with Germany they had walked out on. At that, Kennedy reported, the Prime Minister lost all hope. “The futility of it all,” Chamberlain told Kennedy, “The thing that is frightful, we cannot save the Poles. We can merely carry on a war of revenge that will mean the destruction of all Europe.”

Jim DiEugenio: David Talbot added that there was a meeting of the Kennedy clan in which RFK broached the subject of if they should openly question the Rush to Judgment on the Oswald matter. The consensus was that they should not. That they would likely be hounded and ridiculed and thus marginalized, and therefore could not do anything politically anymore. So Bobby went along with that decision while he privately conducted his own inquiry. And, according to Talbot, he was going to reopen the JFK case once he was inaugurated. Joseph Kennedy was an isolationist by nature. JFK was a pragmatist--a very bright, quick learning, pragmatist. In his view, any political policy that included "war" in its planning was fundamentally flawed. And he was right. "Planning for war" is, far and away, a different animal than is being "prepared for war". JFK subscribed not to the former, but to the latter--from the very beginning. JFK was using Lisa Howard and Jean Daniel to carry out secret negotiations with Castro’s government. On the way back from a 1969 Congressional junket to Alaska, Ted Kennedy said his aides: "They're going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby." Chappaquiddick was indeed his political assassination. "They got my brothers and now they got me," he'd anticipated. There were only 21 Democratic Senators who had the courage and integrity to vote against the Iraq invasion in 2002. Senator Ted Kennedy was one of them. "My vote against this misbegotten war is the best vote I have cast in the United States Senate since I was elected in 1962," Kennedy said. 

As David Kaiser pointed out in his very important book, American Tragedy, JFK was the first president since the Second World War to deviate from the US foreign policy established by Harry Truman On 16th October, 1962, Kennedy was able to persuade Congress to pass an act that removed the distinction between repatriated profits and profits reinvested abroad. While this law applied to industry as a whole, it especially affected the oil companies. It was estimated that as a result of this legislation, wealthy oilmen saw a fall in their earnings on foreign investment from 30 per cent to 15 per cent. According to David Kaiser, it was not only the CIA and the Pentagon who wanted him to send troops to Laos and Vietnam. Members of his own administration, including Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Alexis Johnson, McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow and Roswell Gilpatric, were also strongly in favour of Eisenhower’s policy of “intervention in remote areas backed by nuclear weapons”. Kennedy continued with his policy of trying to develop “independent” Third World countries. In September, 1962, Souvanna Phouma became head of a new coalition government in Laos. This included the appointment of the left-leaning Quinim Pholsena as Foreign Minister. On 17th January, 1963, President Kennedy presented his proposals for tax reform. This included relieving the tax burdens of low-income and elderly citizens. Kennedy also claimed he wanted to remove special privileges and loopholes. He even said he wanted to do away with the oil depletion allowance. It is estimated that the proposed removal of the oil depletion allowance would result in a loss of around $300 million a year to Texas oilmen. It is very interesting that at 2.10 pm, on 23rd November, 1963, Johnson phoned George Smathers, who was on the Senate committee discussing JFK tax proposals. They discussed possible strategies to undermine JFK’s proposals. As Arthur Schlesinger pointed out in an interview with Anthony Summers in 1978: “In 1963 the CIA was reviving the assassination plots at the very time President Kennedy was considering the possibility of normalization of relations with Cuba - an extraordinary action. I think the CIA must have known about this initiative. They must certainly have realized that Bill Attwood and the Cuban representative to the U.N. were doing more than exchanging daiquiri recipes…They had all the wires tapped at the Cuban delegation to the United Nations….Undoubtedly if word leaked of President Kennedy’s efforts, that might have been exactly the kind of thing to trigger some explosion of fanatical violence.” That “fanatical violence” was the assassination of John F. Kennedy. 

John Kennedy (1961): Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. Source: educationforum.ipbhost.com

Donald Jeffries: Thanks to Jackie Kennedy Onassis' butler in Athens, Greece, Christian Kafarakis, we know why Jackie had conducted her own investigation hiring a famous New York City detective agency into the assassination of JFK in 1964 - 1965. It was financed by Aristotle Onassis and resulted in a report in the spring of 1965 telling who the possible gunmen were and who was behind them. Jackie planned to give the report to LBJ but she was stopped by a threat to kill her and her children. Ted, Bobby and other family members knew about the report and the threats. The second clue is Chappaquiddick. A careful examination of the real evidence in this event shows that Ted Kennedy was framed in the death of Mary Joe Kopechne and probably had his life and his children's lives threatened. The facts in the case and the conclusions that can be drawn from them are contained in a book by Boston researcher Robert Cutler: You the Jury (1974) The third clue is Ted's withdrawal from the presidential race in November 1975. It is a fact that all of his and Robert's children were being protected by the Secret Service for five days in November 1975. A threat had been made against the children's lives unless he officially announced his withdrawal. He made the announcement and stuck to it ever since. E. Howard Hunt told of a strange trip to Hyannisport to see a local citizen there about the Chappaquiddick incident. Hunt's cover story on this trip was that he was digging up dirt on Ted Kennedy for use in the 1972 campaign. John Dean summed it up when he said to Richard Nixon as recorded on the White House tapes in 1973, published by The New York Times: "If Teddy knew the bear trap he was walking into at Chappaquiddick."

Donald Jeffries: When John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane plummeted into the sea on July 16, 1999, we were told that it was his own recklessness. The Kennedy curse. My own investigation, however, determined that it actually was, in fact, another Kennedy assassination. Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen confirmed that he was scheduled to meet with JFK, Jr. the following week to discuss joining George magazine, where his primary focus would be investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WCVB-TV reporter Steve Sbraccia, who covered the story, wrote in a 2006 email, "I've always felt there was something wrong about that crash...from the way the police swept through that beach forcing everyone off-to the way they kept the wreck site closely guarded until they pulled up every bit of debris...." Sbraccia had encountered the enigmatic reporter from the Martha's Vineyard Gazette, who claimed to have seen an explosion in the air and then seemingly vanished from the face of the earth. The mainstream media would drum home the point that Kennedy should never have flown because of bad weather. The evidence, however, shows otherwise. FAA Flight Specialist Edward Meyer took the unusual step of releasing a public statement. Meyer stated, "Nothing of what I have heard on mainstream media makes any sense to me... The weather along his flight was just fine." Initial news reports described a crucial 9:39 p.m. phone call from Kennedy to the FAA, in which he reported all was well and that he was awaiting landing instructions. WCVB even interviewed Coast Guard Petty Officer Todd Burgun about this conversation. The FAA would go on to claim that there never was a 9:39 p.m. communication from Kennedy, despite all the detailed local news reports and widely distributed accounts about it from UPI and ABC News. Needless to say, JFK Jr.'s plane cannot have been crashing into the water at the very instant he was reporting that everything was fine. I was fortunate enough to have videotapes of the original WCVB coverage, which included numerous references to the 9:39 p.m. phone call from JFK Jr. The prospect of this charismatic heir to Camelot, with the movie-star looks, must have set off alarm bells among the powerful forces that killed his father and uncle. Source: ratical.org

Friday, December 04, 2020

David Fincher: Mank, The Game, Gone Girl

David Fincher’s Mank (2020) is a somewhat morbid, at times formidably cold and clinical portrayal of an empire constantly reinventing itself to stay relevant. Designed as a visual evocation of Citizen Kane itself, Fincher seems to be appealing to the specter behind Welles’ personification of Hearst, inextricable from the energies and judgement of Herman Mankiewicz (the older brother of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, screenwriter and director of All About Eve, Suddenly Last Summer, Sleuth...). “Mank” does not chronicle his fall from grace. Right off the bat he’s a lost soul. Whether with or without honor in Hollywood, he is no prophet. In an early scene of drunken besottedness, he proclaims to his wife that “The Wizard of Oz” is going to “sink” MGM. Mankiewicz’s isolation (underscored by a poignant music score by Fincher regulars Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor) gives Fincher the opportunity, in the movie’s last third, to concoct discrete narrative modules in which Mankiewicz is visited by various personages who entreat him to abandon his folly. Hearst is still a powerful man, and can ruin him. But Mankiewicz clearly doesn’t believe he can be ruined any further than he already is. Ultimately, Fincher’s revelation is more a suggestion of how the faces may have changed but the human trials and tribulations remain the same between the uneasy bedfellows of politics and celebrity. As Fincher writes Mankiewicz himself saying, “You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one.”

Fincher’s latest is one that will surely polarize fans, which is why we’re here to make the grand and bold statement proclaiming it to be: pretty good! Mank is a chronicle of the years, rivalries, and old Hollywood exploits that went into the eponymous screenwriter completing the Citizen Kane script. But more than just being a backstory of “the greatest film ever made,” Mank is a touching tribute to those left out of the spotlight that simultaneously feels like a thriller. There isn’t necessarily a big mystery to be solved, but that doesn’t stop Fincher from exploiting all the twists and turns of history to their full dramatic effect. Characters are at once larger than life and wholly realized with nuance and humanity. Amanda Seyfried as starlet Marion Davies is an especially remarkable standout. She steals every scene she’s in with wisecracking antics and endlessly watchable charm. At the end of the day, Mank isn’t Fincher’s best, but it’s a richly enthralling film and a welcome return for the director after six years without a feature. "Mank" will premiere on Netflix on December 4th.

My go-to line when discussing Fincher with friends, family, and, frankly, anyone who will listen, is that Gone Girl isn’t his best, but it is my favorite. That’s not to say it isn’t one of the greatest films of the last decade. Gone Girl is in itself a treasure hunt for Nick Dunne and for the audience. Like Fincher’s previous thriller, The Game (one of John Kennedy Jr's favorite films), the film is predicated on a special occasion. In The Game, it's Nicholas’ (Michael Douglas) birthday. In Gone Girl, it's Amy and Nick’s anniversary. To hit the hammer over the head of the thematic string of games throughout, the film happens to open with Nick carrying a game into his bar to greet his sister Margo. Amy legitimately wants to give Nick an anniversary gift he will never forget. Nick gets the gift any narcissist would revel in: forgiveness and galvanization from the media just as long as he confesses his love for Amy on national television. What woman wouldn’t want their man to confess their love to 10 million people? In February 2015, British actress Rosamund Pike talked to Variety about her inspiration for her portrayal of the magnetic, aloof Amy Dunne in Gone Girl on the elusive Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Like Amy Dunne, the tragic Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was an impossibly beautiful blonde whose personal warmth belied a puzzling remoteness. “There are quite a few photographs of Bessette,” Pike told editor Sam Kashner, “but I could find nothing of her persona in her own words.” Bessette was a celebrated minimalist fashion icon, yet somehow always, as Pike describes her, “a cipher.” Pike says she modeled her alter-ego Amazing Amy, at least in part, on Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, the alluring but somehow unknowable wife of John F. Kennedy Jr. “There’s not much out there about her. You never heard her speak in public,” Pike says, curled up on a sofa at Milk Studios in Hollywood. “You just see those pictures of her hiding her face. The mysterious way she moved... I used quite a lot of her body language and mood. She was a dream girl. That’s what Amy was for Nick. She’s the one you can’t get out of your head because she’s perfect.” Source: ew.com

Portia De Rossi characterized as Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy for the docudrama project America's Reluctant Prince (2003) by Eric Laneuville. It failed mainly due to a contrived script and Daryl Hannah's contention with the representation of her character onscreen. Laneuville seemed to take inspiration from Christopher Andersen's book "The Day John Died" (2000) and "Four Blondes" (2000) by Candace Bushnell. Apparently the chapter "Platinum" of "Four Blondes" has certain similarities to Carolyn Bessette's life. In Platinum, a former salesgirl at Ralph Lauren weds a good-looking heir who happens to be a real prince. Cecilia (the new blonde princess) disintegrates behind the doors, with paranoia and drugs becoming her calling card, but high society still wants her sitting at its table. Although Candace Bushnell was not friends with Carolyn Bessette, she knew the tabloids scene and she wrote a column for The New York Observer; Bushnell also had dated Michael Bergin (former lover of Carolyn Bessette). Bushnell implies not only CBK used cocaine, also her husband (the affable son of JFK) secretly dabbled with fractal drugs (LSD). Bushnell alludes to a tormentous yet highly passional marriage that was tainted with self-destructive traits of two bipolar personalities. John Kennedy Jr had known Carolyn Bessette since November 1992 (around the release of David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me) in the nightclub Rex at Soho. They officially started dating in late December 1994, and she moved to his Tribeca loft in July 1995. According to Billy Way, John Jr fell hard for Carolyn, but he felt insecure if Carolyn was ready for his political aspirations and lifestyle, and after a tumultuous courtship, they had distanced in 1993. 

In the interim, John was always asking about Carolyn's whereabouts through mutual friends. Richard Wiese had tried to hook him up with models Amber Norman and Ashley Richardson, short flings with little success. John and Carolyn re-encountered each other in a Calvin Klein event and this time John, not having got over his feelings for Carolyn, decided to reanudate their relationship. Despite the usual up and downs, the couple's closest friends (Sasha Chermayeff, Robert Littell, John Perry Barlow, Carole Radziwill, Rose Marie Terenzio) deny they had serious problems in their marriage. Indeed, they knew of their intention of becoming parents soon, and John had revealed he preferred Flynn as a name for a son and Fleur for a daughter. Carolyn had confided to Jessica Weinstein (no relation to Harvey Weinstein) she was taking prenatal vitamins. Source: variety.com