I Don’t Care Who Killed JFK

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Events At Dealey Plaza Mark 52nd Anniversary Of JFK Assasination.

Dealey Plaza welcomed a small crowd of conspiracy theorists and tourists Sunday, as usual. DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — It’s one of those moments where you remember where you were when you got the news: Fifty-two years ago in downtown Dallas, President John F.Those resolute voices in American public life that continue to deny the existence of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy argue that “someone would have talked.” This line of reasoning is often used by journalists who have made no effort themselves to closely inspect the growing body of evidence and have not undertaken any of their own investigative reporting.Abraham Zapruder’s amateur footage of the JFK assassination not only documented a tragic historic event, but broke cinematic taboos and anticipated the rise of citizen journalists. The argument betrays a touchingly naïve media bias—a belief that the American press establishment itself, that great slumbering watchdog, could be counted on to solve such a monumental crime, one that sprung from the very system of governance of which corporate media is an essential part.

I started to notice that he had wormed his way uninvited into every comedy show I’d ever written, and I got curious to find out what he was up to, hanging around my subconscious all those years. If you trust the 846 cinema experts polled by film magazine Sight & Sound magazine, you might pick Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo—which won the periodical’s most recent vote for the best movie of all time. To mark the anniversary of the assassination of JFK, a moment of silence gathering was held at Dealey Plaza Sunday afternoon, followed by events at the Sixth Floor Museum. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. The official version of the Kennedy assassination—despite its myriad improbabilities, which have only grown more inconceivable with time—remains firmly embedded in the media consciousness, as unquestioned as the law of gravity.

Old-school purists might still choose Citizen Kane, runner-up in that poll, for its cinematic virtuosity and denunciation of overreaching American ambition. I was seven when Kennedy was killed in Dallas; I don’t remember any emotional reaction from my parents, big or small, but there are a few hints that it was a big deal. Other obvious candidates include The Godfather, which held the top spot in a recent list compiled by the staff of The Hollywood Reporter, or The Wizard of Oz, which leads the ranking of influential aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Oliver, a controversial figure in the assassination research community, claims to be “The Babushka Lady” featured in several photos of the incident. “It made an impression on me,” Phillips said. “I remember the teacher being called out into the hallway. We had a small farm in Tyrone, no electricity, no car, but we all six of us piled onto the grey tractor (don’t ask) to go and see the funeral on TV in Peter Tammy’s house.

She came back in as white as a sheet and said we had to pray.” Denver residents Katie and Brent Goebel said they coincidentally had a Dallas trip scheduled and wanted to walk the plaza. Armed with nothing but a set of parents, four (later five) siblings, and a copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” that had been pressed into my hands by a tearful Mrs.

One of the most intriguing examples of someone talking occurred in 2003, when an old and ailing Howard Hunt began unburdening himself to his eldest son, Saint John. “Saint,” as his father called him, was a loyal and loving son, who had suffered through the upheavals of the spy’s life, along with the rest of his family. The Goebels drew comparisons between the assassination and 9/11, the major tragedy of their youth. “Both the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 violated the American spirit,” Katie Goebel said. “They stand starkly against the things we take pride in, like being a welcoming place of equality and protection.” Kenneth Zediker, 23, flew in from Titusville, Fla., a week ago.

As the car passed in front of the Texas School Board Depository building, shots rang out, wounding Connally and striking Kennedy in the head and neck as his wife looked on. Late one night in June 1972, at the family’s Witches Island home in suburban Maryland, Hunt had frantically woken up his eighteen-year-old son. “I need you to do exactly as I say, and not ask any questions!” said Hunt, who was in a sweaty and disheveled state that his son had never before witnessed. If you are uncomfortable with Hollywood’s dominance of this list, you can always champion Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin or Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game or Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. He ordered Saint John to fetch window cleaner, rags, and rubber gloves from the kitchen and to help him rub away fingerprints from a pile of espionage equipment, including cameras, microphones, and walkie-talkies.

Those are all fine movies, but my pick for the most influential film is a different one—and has nothing in common with any of these cinema classics. On Sunday, he sat on the south end of Elm Street with about a dozen old cameras — the exact models used by assassination witnesses. “I really hate the ludicrous conspiracy theories that put into question the authenticity of the films and photos,” Zediker said. “If you question the authenticity of the film, then we truly don’t know what occurred.” Zediker has made it his mission — “it’s kind of an obsession” — to prove the authenticity of each photo. JFK’s death will always remind me of fat, wet November snowflakes melting into the ground as a woman poked her head into our car. “Isn’t it terrible?” she asked my mother, who had come to pick us up that Friday afternoon rather than wait for her children to be delivered by school bus. He plans to debunk the theories in YouTube videos using the images he re-created. “I didn’t realize how much hate there was around here,” he said. “People hated his guts, and some were even glad it happened. Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was traveling three cars behind Kennedy, was sworn in as 36th president at 2:39 p.m. that day in a ceremony aboard Air Force One.

I don’t think the city is over the hate yet.” “At the time he was elected, I was going along with my father, being a good Republican and thought Kennedy would make the world fall apart,” he said. “By 1963, everybody loved him and I turned completely into a Democrat. Abraham Zapruder, who worked across the street from the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas, had not even brought his Bell & Howell camera to work on Nov. 22, 1963. It was the beginning of the Watergate drama, in which Howard Hunt played a starring role as the leader of the “White House plumbers,” the five burglars who were arrested while breaking into the Democratic Party’s national headquarters.

This spur-of-the-moment decision allowed Zapruder to capture the only footage of President Kennedy’s assassination that offers a clear view of the event. Yet I found myself giggling at Mark Twain’s opening description of Aunt Polly and her spectacles: “They were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for ‘style, ‘ not service — she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well.” I like to think that, if Kennedy’s murder had opened up the rabbit hole that I was falling into, Twain offered the tools necessary to survive the journey: humor and a healthy skepticism of a complicated world in which — so said the very adult foreword in the paperback — “maturity is virtually synonymous with corruption, hypocrisy, meanness, (and) bombast.” We drove across the Ohio River and deep into Kentucky that night.

I like Noam Chomsky’s take on it; when asked “who killed Kennedy?” he answered briefly “who knows? who cares?” For the sake of simplicity and convenience, I’m with the Lone Nutters faction (LN) who say that Lee Harvey Oswald did it all by himself, one man and his rifle. Two days later, Oswald killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby as he was led from Dallas police headquarters, setting off storms of controversy over what really happened during Kennedy’s assassination. When her United Airlines flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport crashed while landing at Chicago’s Midway Airport in December 1972, Dorothy Hunt was carrying over $2 million in cash and money orders, some of which was later traced to President Nixon’s reelection campaign.

Kennedy made the following remarks on his induction into his administration: “I WANT to express great pleasure in having Governor Lawrence come with this administration as Chairman of the President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing. This is a most important assignment which requires a good deal of experience, commitment, and administrative skill,” said Kennedy. “It is not a very good way to repay you for all your political services by giving you one of our most difficult assignments, but I really feel that in this case you and your own personal qualities, plus your experience, plus the sensitivity and the importance of the job at hand, have all joined together, like the three rivers around Pittsburgh, and the country will benefit.”

We could get our hands on that kind of money.” Hunt felt that Nixon owed him and his team. “I had five men whose families needed to be supported,” Hunt later said. “And I had a big house, stalls for six horses, kids in private school—I had needs for contributions that were greater than the average person’s. . . . Assassinating a president wasn’t a federal crime in 1963 – Before Kennedy’s death, three U.S. presidents had been murdered in office: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley.

A blur of Saturday driving ended in Atlanta, on Virginia Avenue at a one-story Hilton Inn close to the United Airlines maintenance shed, where my father would spend the next 15 years as a foreman. There’s a long tradition that when a warrior is captured, the commanding officer takes care of his family.” Nixon knew that Howard Hunt had played key roles in some of America’s darkest mysteries. Nowadays bystanders around the world follow in Zapruder’s footsteps by capturing breaking news stories with a handheld device even before the professional journalists show up. I’m not sure who got Oswald’s seat but there was an edgy sense of history as we waited in the dark, a big mugshot of the ghost himself staring vacantly at us from the screen.

So when the time arrived Sunday for the giddy trip to the new, four-bedroom split-level off Old National Highway, I was left in the hotel room, with orders to keep the doors closed. The documentary was fairly balanced until towards the end, when it lurched heavily in favour of us Lone Nutters, helped in no small part by a cameo appearance by Norman Mailer. The coverage continued for four days, making it the longest uninterrupted news event on television until the coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.

If you look at old Hollywood gangster films, you will find the camera focusing on bullets hitting walls, furniture, windshields and other objects, but rarely do you see their impact on soft tissue. Kennedy’s death probably wasn’t Oswald’s first involvement with an assassination – On the morning of April 10, 1963, fired a gun at the home of Dallas resident and former Army General Edwin Walker, a controversial conservative figure who was making a name for himself in the world of politics. This involves these Cubans, Hunt and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves.” Nixon wanted Haldeman to lean on Dick Helms, who was then CIA director, by warning him that if the spy agency did not help shut down the growing Watergate scandal, “[t]he President’s belief is that this is going to open up that whole Bay of Pigs thing . . . and it’s going to make the CIA look bad, it’s going to make Hunt look bad, and is likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs thing . . . and we think it would be very unfortunate for the CIA and for the country at this time.” Nixon’s ploy did not work. In 1997, 27 years after Zapruder’s death, the Assassination Records Review Board declared the so-called “Zapruder film” as a “permanent possession of the people of the United States.” The Zapruder family contested the decision and was eventually awarded $16 million in compensation. Almost as horrifying as the damage inflicted by the bullet is the sight of the first lady crawling on to the back of the limousine convertible immediately after the shot, perhaps in an attempt to escape, or help a Secret Service agent climb into the car, or—most disturbing hypothesis of all—to grab for part of her husband’s head before it falls away into the street.

There are two types of people in Dealey Plaza – normal Texans going about their 21st-century business, and lone nuts like me from another time and place looking for answers to questions that don’t exist. I did notice, though, that they keep the street lamps on 24 hours a day– it’s a place that still needs all the illumination it can get, even in broad daylight. This surreal plan had the desired effect of making the novel impossible to write, and it remains gloriously unfinished, in the fine old Irish tradition of non-fiction. On our first night in a new home in what they called a new South, I grabbed the nearest thing to hand — a tube of my mother’s bright red lipstick — and wrote on the inside flap: “This book belongs to me.” No name. She had fallen for him while watching him give a prison interview on Watergate. “I liked all those men—that must seem strange to you,” Laura Hunt told a Miami Herald reporter. “Not for what he’d done—I don’t admire that—but I admired him for serving the government, and I admired his intellect.” At eighty-four, Hunt seemed to be fading out, suffering from a variety of maladies, including hardening of the arteries, which had resulted in the amputation of his left leg and confined him to a wheelchair.

And that’s where the matter would happily have rested, if the bullet itself had not got in touch with me out of the blue a few months ago from Washington, and ordered me at gunpoint to write the following poem. Author Don DeLillo notes that this footage “was sold and hoarded and doled out very selectively.” Yet the images were emblazoned in the minds of the public—even before the entire film was broadcast on television in 1970, people had already assimilated its horrific perspective. Kennedy refused to take off the pink Chanel-style suit stained with her husband’s blood, famously saying “I want them to see what they have done to Jack.” The suit has never been cleaned and is stored at the National Archives. Following years of estrangement, Saint began to spend time with his father, watching his favorite Fox News shows with him at his Miami house and, when the old man felt up to it, dredging up the past.

In 2003, nine years after Jacqueline Kennedy’s death, the couple’s daughter, Caroline, gave the suit as a gift to the archives with the understanding it not be put on display until 2103. After his family fell apart, Saint John had gone on the road as a rock musician and drug peddler, a trip that eventually deposited him in the coastal redwoods of northern California.

Explorations quickly produced the first signs of something different: Our subdivision was built on the edge of a trio of fishing lakes stocked with catfish. Arthur Penn’s film Bonnie and Clyde (1967)—by coincidence, filmed in and around Dallas, not far from where Zapruder made his movie—changed the rules on what you could show in a cinematic shot-out. The following year, Hollywood scrapped the Production Code that had set rules for onscreen violence since the ’30s, and replaced it with a rating system. Hunt claimed that he was shopping for ingredients at a Chinese grocery store in Washington, to cook dinner that night with his wife, when the news bulletin about Kennedy came over the car radio.

On that first day, I was quickly pressed to choose a side on the biggest civic question of my day, posed by an impromptu panel of rather large judges gathered in the boys’ bathroom. Perhaps the most eerie is the case of “Texas Tower” sniper Charles Whitman, who killed 14 people and wounded 32 others at the University of Texas at Austin in August 1966. Ultimately, I put it down to this: If JFK’s death had ushered me into a new and different world, it had introduced my new white classmates and their families to an inevitable one.

When he arrived at his father’s house, at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Biscayne Bay neighborhood, Saint found Hunt in bed, looking frail and washed out. I note that no high-profile political assassination had taken place in the U.S. during the two decades before the JFK shooting, but in the following two decades they were frequent news events—with Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Gerald Ford (twice), George Wallace, and Ronald Reagan finding themselves as targets for unhinged shooters. He asked Saint to wheel him into the TV room, where they shared some soup for lunch and watched an agitated round of Fox News at the high volume required by the hard-of-hearing Hunt.

By way of explaining the new president, the newspaper quoted from a speech Johnson had given at the Gettysburg battlefield the previous May: “The Negro today asks justice. That he failed to take Georgia while winning that year’s presidential sweepstakes couldn’t have come as a surprise to him. “We have lost the South for a generation,” Johnson told an aide after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But before Hunt died in 2007, he left behind video interviews, audiotapes, and notes in his own hand—as well as a somewhat revealing memoir called American Spy.

Hunt’s confessional trove amounts to a tortured effort to reveal what he knew, while still guarding his family’s sensitivities, old professional loyalties, and whatever was left of his good name. After his father died, Saint John would make a valiant effort to get Hunt’s confessions—which should have been headline news—into the hands of the major media gatekeepers. A 60 Minutes producer spent days poring over Saint John’s rich material, but he was finally forced to apologize that the story had been spiked from above. In the end, only Rolling Stone—along with a scattering of alternative media outlets—covered the story of Howard Hunt’s astonishing final statements about the crime of the century. Saint John’s own memoir of his father’s escapades and his family’s ordeal, Bond of Secrecy, was released by a small Oregon publisher and received little promotion or attention.

That was his job.” According to Morales’s daughter, he was the CIA’s “peon.” Her father was utterly devoted to the agency. “He did whatever he was told. Morales and Sturgis referred to the president’s planned demise as “the big event.” In his account of the meeting, Hunt presented Harvey and Morales as the key operational figures in the plot; Harvey did not attend the meeting but seemed to loom over it. As Harvey once indicated, when it came to highly delicate assignments, working with Corsican gangsters was preferable because they were harder to trace back to the CIA than Italian or American Mafia hit men. The two men “could have been manufactured from the same cloth,” Hunt wrote in his memoir. “Both were hard-drinking, tough guys, possibly completely amoral. The man is an alcoholic and a psycho.” Sturgis laughed. “You’re right—but that SOB has the balls to do it.” As Hunt related his story to his son, he remained fuzzy about his own involvement in the plot.

In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in November 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. When the congressional inquiry got under way in 1976, the panel’s most energetic investigators zeroed in on the CIA’s anti-Castro operation as the nest from which the JFK plot had sprung—and Bill Harvey soon emerged as a prime suspect. “We tried to get Harvey’s travel vouchers and security file from the CIA, but we were never able to,” recalled Dan Hardway. Hardway was the bright Cornell Law School student to whom the congressional committee gave the weighty task of investigating the CIA’s possible links to the assassination. “One CIA official told me, ‘So you’re from Congress—what the hell is that to us? There is no evidence that Lyndon Johnson and Bill Harvey were ever in close contact, and, in fact, the two men’s “rank and position” were disparate enough to make such communication unlikely. And yet, loyal to the end, even on his deathbed Hunt could not bring himself to name Dulles—that “remarkable man,” as Hunt once gushed, whom it had been his “honor” to serve.

His covert work won the admiration of Helms, who made him chief of the agency’s Cuba operations after Harvey was whisked off to Rome to escape Bobby Kennedy’s wrath. In that position, Phillips was free to roam within the “yeasty” world of anti-Castro and anti-Kennedy ferment, as Senator Gary Hart later described it.

At Yale, he had dreamed of a writing career and—after returning from the war in the South Pacific, partly blinded by a Japanese grenade—he devoted himself for a time to the cause of world peace. After his beautiful, artistic wife, Mary, left him, Meyer became an increasingly embittered Cold Warrior—and his disposition grew only gloomier when she became a mistress of JFK.

Meyer was particularly beholden to Dulles, who had saved his career in 1953, when Joe McCarthy tried to purge the agency of those agents who had once been youthful idealists. In the 1970s, as congressional investigators inched uncomfortably close to some of the CIA’s most disturbing secrets, Hunt’s own colleagues seriously considered throwing him to the wolves. In August 1978, as the House Select Committee on Assassinations entered the final stage of its probe, a former CIA official named Victor Marchetti published an eye-opening article in The Spotlight, a magazine put out by the right-wing Liberty Lobby whose pages often reflected the noxious views of the group’s eccentric founder, Willis Carto.

The Liberty Lobby’s attorney, famed JFK researcher Mark Lane, succeeded in convincing the jury that Hunt might indeed have been in Dallas, as his own son came to believe. During the trial, Lane uncovered the surprising identities of Marchetti’s sources: Jim Angleton and William Corson, a former Marine officer who had served with Dulles’s son in Korea and later worked for the spymaster. Word circulated in Washington that Harvey had gone “rogue.” Like Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, it was whispered, he had gone off the rails during his exploits in the espionage wilderness—his thinking had become unsound. Even after Harvey had enraged Bobby Kennedy with his Cuban antics, he continued to win enthusiastic reviews from his superiors. “It is difficult to prepare a fitness report on this outstanding officer, largely because forms do not lend themselves to measuring his many unique characteristics,” began Harvey’s October 1962 report, which cited his “professional knowledge . . . toughness of mind and firmness of attitude.” Likewise, after the violently inclined Harvey alarmed F.

Mark Wyatt, his Rome deputy, so severely that Wyatt asked to be transferred home, Harvey’s performance continued to be rated “outstanding” by agency officials. Harvey’s March 1965 report commended “his determination to accomplish his basic objectives regardless of the obstacles which he encounters.” The Rome station “must be guided with a strong hand,” the report continued, “which Mr. But when Wyatt was recalled to Langley and told Helms about the extreme methods that Harvey was employing in Rome, the CIA did nothing to discipline Harvey.

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