JFK Assassination Anniversary Primer

The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s murder is upon us, and the mainstream noise machine has kicked into high gear, delivering an array of official apologias, confusing counter-narratives and bizarre conspiracy theories.

Every year, the media predictably circles back to the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, picking off the president with a sharpshooter’s skill while using a poorly-designed rifle and a still-pristine bullet. And yet, Americans are polled annually and they reliably disagree with the mainstream media.

On the 40th anniversary, 66% of Americans believed there was a larger conspiracy and 74% believed there was, and still is, a cover-up of the facts.

Five years later, another poll came up with similar numbers. In that poll only 1 in 10 Americans believed that Oswald acted alone.

Earlier this year USA Today cited a slight slip in the numbers, down to 59% believing in a conspiracy. Oddly enough, only 24% in that same poll believe Oswald acted alone.

Those numbers put the majority squarely in the conspiracy camp and with the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Yes, the US Congress actually investigated the assassination and concluded in 1979 that JFK was murdered by a conspiracy.

But that fact rarely breaks through the mainstream’s “Lone Assassin” orthodoxy, or its promotion of crackpot conspiracy theories and the tin foil hats required to block them.

If you don’t think JFK was killed accidentally by a hapless Secret Service agent, by a Mossad agent hidden in the trunk of his open-top limo, or by heretofore underestimated quick-draw artists Jackie Kennedy or John Connally, you are back to square one—which requires you to square the facts we now know with the Warren Commission’s omissions and flaws.

For a great autopsy of the murder of the century you can turn to John Barbour, pioneering creator of the hit show Real People and director of an unyielding documentary on the assassination—The Garrison Tapes.

Watch>>The Garrison Tapes

Barbour’s odyssey with Jim Garrison began in the early 70s when he hosted the top-rated morning show in L.A. and wanted to bring Garrison on for an extended interview. That was nixed by the station’s management. Over the years, he remained in touch with Garrison. Finally, after the House Select Committee issued its report, Barbour had a chance to feature Garrison for an extended, two-part interview on a new show—Speak Up America.

The first part went well, with Garrison detailing his troubling findings. However, the second part was sabotaged so that Garrison, through the magic of editing, said “thirty-two” in response to a question about how many shooters were present in Dealey Plaza.

John Barbour was incensed. Alas, Jim Garrison was used to it. But Barbour never let go of the story or his desire to give Garrison his say. [cont’d.]

He released The Garrison Tapes in 1992, shortly after Oliver Stone’s JFK hit theaters in 1991. And it plays like an amicus brief for Stone’s opus. Where JFK is an artfully composed, shot and edited movie, Barbour’s documentary is a stark, relentless recitation of facts and an important compilation of key interviews reinforcing the case made first by Garrison in his trial of Clay Shaw.

The Garrison Tapes is a great starting point for anyone interested in the assassination, concerned with the course of American history since that day and…more to the point…interested in joining the conversation on the 25th, when Barbour will be with us to answer your questions.

And here are some more great resources to help you cancel out the noise, gather facts and draw your own conclusions:

>>JFKFacts.org: A clearinghouse of JFK-related reporting and declassified documents run by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley.

>>House Select Committee On Assassinations: See what the Congress came up at the end of the 70s.

>>The Men Who Killed Kennedy: Nigel Turner’s multipart series builds and expands on Garrison’s work and includes key eyewitness accounts, including an interview with a Navy medical specialist who was present as the infamous “autopsy.” If nothing else, the first episode is a must-see.

>>They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK, by Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell and David Wayne, is a new book and NY Times best-seller citing specific holes in the Warren Commission and various facts that undermine the Lone Gunman theory.

>>JFK and the Unspeakable, by James Douglass, is a much-revered and repeatedly-endorsed book that not only details new facts, but also gives an explanation of the battle between Kennedy and the national security state in the months and years leading up to Nov. 22, 1963. Watch Douglass speak in Dallas in 2009.

>>The American University Speech: JFK’s magnum opus on peace, the Soviet Union and his plans for a second term. Was it his epitaph?

>>Operation Northwoods: A declassified document first published by the National Security Archive that illustrates the extent to which the Joint Chiefs of Staff were willing to go to draw Kennedy and the United States into a war with Cuba.

>>Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, by Salon.com founder David Talbot. If you wondered what RFK thought about the murder of his brother, this is where you start.

>>CIA Role Claim in Kennedy Killing: a BBC report from 2006 regarding three Bay of Pigs alums identified at the Ambassador Hotel the night Bobby Kennedy was murdered. From JFK to Watergate, all roads lead to the Bay of Pigs and here is a major guidepost.

And, of course, Oliver Stone’s JFK, which holds up well, even after two decades. The reason it holds is the same reason Barbour’s documentary remains as powerful as it does—both focus on Garrison’s investigation, which set the standard for all investigations into the murder of JFK. His prosecutorial approach shredded the Warren Commission. All else should be measured against it.

Contributions by Mark Lane, Col. Fletcher Prouty and Douglass do measure up. But caveat emptor is the rule when it comes to deviations from the fact-based norm. The truth is, in fact, out there. Unfortunately, the mainstream prefers to obfuscate it with banal recitations of the Warren Commission or by featuring specious outliers from the tinfoil-wearing peanut gallery.

Instead, put on your best Joe Friday hat and get ready to join us for a post-anniversary discussion that will focus on just the facts, ma’am.

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