Saturday, July 18, 2015

JFK and the Unspeakable, James W. Douglass

JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. DouglassAs the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination recently went by, there seems to be an increased animosity between those who believe the conclusions of the Warren commission about Lee Oswald, the lone gunman, and on the other hand the ones who believe that JFK was murdered by a group of people who conspired and benefited from his death.

I certainly am not a lover of conspiracy theories, but what makes this subject so interesting is that so far nobody has been able to present conclusive proofs about one or the other theory. Not the official commission, not the conspiracy lovers and not the conspiracy bashers. Not even the arrogant ones who titled their work "Case closed".

This extremely well-researched book by Jim Douglass is more serious and credible than most of the JFK literature out there for two reasons:

1) it is not trying to sell you a specific theory or tell us who shot JFK (by the way, it doesn't even mention the single / magic bullet theory), but rather it tries to find some coherence in all the hundreds of facts and information that we have about the assassination.

2) it doesn't focus on "who did it?" as much, while it spends most of its pages on the most important questions: "why they did it, and why does it matter today?".

Douglass makes a compelling argument that is not pointing at one single reason (for example, they shot him because he wanted to end the Vietnam war, or because he pissed off the CIA in numerous occasions). He takes a truly holistic approach at JFK's main policies in the last years of his life, and where they were headed for the years to come. In particular, JFK's determination to end the Cold War through diplomatic strategies and back-channels communications with Krushev and other communist leaders, was an extremely unpopular stance with most of the government people who surrounded him, the military apparatus and of course the CIA, that JFK had sworn he would "splinter in a thousand pieces".

The writing is not great, there is no doubt about that. And yes, Douglass tends to repeat concepts and entire sentences along his book.

But overall, this book strikes me as the result of really honest hard work, including in-person interviews, and - at the very least - it makes you question the official version that has been presented to the public about this assassination.

As for the event itself, what strikes me as really odd is not that 60% of Americans today believe there was some sort of conspiracy. What strikes me as odd is that many of the remaining 40% are aggressively promoting the Warren Commission's version of the "lone gunman". Maybe they should read this book from cover to cover.

One of the conspiracy bashers is Stephen King. His book 11/23/63 has an afterword where King states that anybody rational must believe at 99% probability that there was no conspiracy. He doesn't explain why though. Very, very odd.

Another massive recent public-influencing event about this topic is Tom Hanks's movie "Parkland", which is nothing more than the reenactment of the official version of the events. What's the point of that? Why even make the freaking movie? But most importantly, how can a big-budget movie about Parkland hospital completely ignore the documented fact that 15 doctors who saw JFK's body said that they saw an "entry wound" in his throat?? Were they just all so utterly incompetent, that Tom Hanks decided to dismiss that fact as non important?

It's more probable that this is effective propaganda. Hollywood has been re-writing history for many decades now.

Look, this is the mystery of the century. So it's not like anyone is going to solve it any soon.  Anything could have happened. In my opinion, JFK was killed by a conspiracy, either because of some behaviors or plans he had that would have potentially endangered national security, or because of a secret coup d'etat.

Some more food for thought now.

To believe that Oswald killed JFK by himself, you must also believe the following things:

1- Two witnesses saw Oswald carrying a bag into the Texas School Book Depository on the morning of the assassination. They insisted that it was too small to contain a rifle and must have been mistaken.

2- Julia Ann Murcer claimed that she saw a man going up the grassy knoll carrying a rifle one hour before the assassination. She said a man looking like Jack Ruby waiting for him in a parked truck. Murcer was not called by the Warren Commission. She must have been mistaken.

3- The 51 eyewitnesses claimed to have heard gunshots from the grassy knoll and saw smoke or smelled gunpowder coming from that direction must have been mistaken.

4- The 15 Parkland Hospital doctors who said there was an entrance wound in President Kennedy’s throat must have been mistaken.

5- Doctors and witnesses who claimed to have seen a large exit wound located toward the back of Kennedy’s head must have been mistaken.

6- Pathologists at the autopsy who were insistent that the entry wound on President Kennedy’s skull was lower than the large exit wound and that there was no entry wound high on the back of the skull must have been mistaken.

7- John Connally, who was sitting directly in front of Kennedy, and who maintained under oath and repeatedly in later interviews that he and Kennedy were injured by separate bullets, must have been mistaken.

8- The paraffin tests on Oswald’s hands and cheek indicated that he had not fired a rifle on the day of the assassination and therefore must have been incompetently administered.

9- It was just a macabre coincidence that seven top FBI officials due to testify at HSCA died within a 6 month period in 1977.

10- Although the probability is one in 100 billion trillion that at least 26 of 1100 witnesses sought in four JFK investigations would be murdered, it was just a coincidence and does not prove a conspiracy.

Having said all that, this book also works well as a history book, especially in its coverage of the Cuban crisis, the Bay of Pigs, the beginning of the Vietnam escalation, and the very tense relationships between JFK and his Joint Chiefs.

The problem of powerful internal warmongers, it seems, is a problem that every non-military leader has always had to face. Krushev had a similar situation in Russia.

Read this book if the JFK assassination mystery is of any interest to you.

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