WEIRDLAND: Chappaquiddick Speaks, Tipping Point

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:

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