Director Oliver Stone takes another look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in his latest documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass. | AP and Altitude movies
I'll say it right away: I liked the new documentary by Oliver Stone,JFK Visited again:Through the Seek Glas. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was a fundamental tragic event that shaped modern US history and my personal perspective, along with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy on the 11 6th failed coup d'état .
It is impossible to overestimate the relevance of this documentary. The same far-right that many, including Stone, believe was behind the Kennedy assassination (and coup d'etat) is driving the real-time Trump MAGA GOP coup today.
Stone, who produced and directed the acclaimed and controversial 1991 film,JFK, updates our understanding of the assassination with new information from declassified records and information uncovered by an army of investigators and forensic experts over the past 30 years.
However, as far as I can tell, Stone contains no valuable information from Soviet and Cuban archives about the assassination. That is meticulously documentedJFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James Douglass, contains much of this fascinating information.
Stone bases his documentary on information unearthed by theKirchenausschussHearings in 1975 exposing the CIA's criminal misdeeds from the 1950s, the House Select Assassinations Committee and the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), housed in the National Archives and established by the JFK Records Act of 1992.
Over 10,000 records were supposed to have been declassified by the AARB in December 2021, but only 1,500 documents, mostly duplicates of material already declassified, were disclosed. President Joe Biden has delayed the release of the remaining materials to December 2022. The delay is further evidence of thisstone wallsby the CIA, FBI, and national security agencies, researchers say.
The documentary delves into the lone assassin theory on which the entire Warren Commission report was based, and has some fatal flaws. According to the report, Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the Texas Book Depository building in Dallas that day. Two of those shots hit Kennedy, including one that traveled through his body, exited his throat, defying physics, then shot through Gov. John Connally, who was sitting in front of JFK, and finally smashed into Connally's thigh. Connally himself never bought the theory.
The Warren Commission rejected anything that contradicted or undermined their chosen narrative. But, as one legal expert said, a jury would never have convicted Oswald in court based on what is now known.
Throughout, Stone describes critical evidence that has been mysteriously destroyed (like all Pentagon files), altered, or ignored, including the famous Abraham ZapruderFilm, documenting the horrifying murder. The missing parts include:
- Eyewitness accounts of Oswald's behavior in the Book Depository building immediately after the assassination;
- Sloppy and altered "Chain of Custody" documentation of a virtually pristine bullet allegedly found on Kennedy's stretcher at Parkland Hospital and buried related testimony from forensic experts;
- Testimony of a forensic expert who could not find Oswald's fingerprints or palm prints on the weapon he allegedly used;
– Oswald's paraffin test taken by police after the assassination, a copy of which was in the possession of attorney Mark Lane, who briefly represented Oswald;
- Missing and altered evidence from JFK's autopsy, including manipulated photos, contradicting the observations of Parkland Hospital's doctors and nurses;
- missing or destroyed notes from coroners and FBI observers;
- Most alarming was the disappearance of Kennedy's brain, a fact uncovered in 1965 by famed forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht;
- Information revealing Oswald's relationship with the CIA and military intelligence from the 1950s, including his operation as an undercover agent disguised as an American defector to the Soviet Union;
– Jack Ruby's relationship with the CIA and FBI, which the documentary mentions in passing; How Ruby was able to murder Oswald on live television and silence him forever is not explored.
In addition to all of these previously downplayed elements, the film details JFK assassination plots in Chicago and Tampa in early November 1963 that reveal other possible ways Kennedy was killed. The plots shared similar features, including housing triangular fire by a team of assassins and "patsies".
Stone reveals disagreements within the Warren Commission over his final report. For example, Sens. John Sherman Cooper and Richard Russell and Rep. Hale Boggs never agreed with the commission's findings. Russell drafted a dissenting opinion and expressed his disagreements in a recorded telephone conversation with President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Gerald Ford confided in French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing his belief that multiple gunmen were involved in the assassination.
Some critics and opinion makers dismiss itJFK revisitedwith scathing reviews, although the documentary has many flaws. They remain staunch defenders of the Warren Commission report, portraying Stone as obsessed with JFK's assassination and a mad leftist.
More than one critic has equated the documentary with QAnon conspiracy theories and mass disinformation. Ironically, if the documentary is accurate, the assassination cover-up is one of the most extraordinary acts of mass disinformation in US history.
Max Boot is typical. Heasks"What happened to Stone," once a great filmmaker? Stone can't stop spouting lies, Boot says, citing the "magic bullet theory," even though countless researchers and forensic scientists discredited it years ago. He and others blame Stone and his "toxic fantasies" for laying the groundwork for millions of people to be brainwashed by Trump's "big lie" of a stolen election.
Another critic, Tim Weiner, explains Stone basesJFK replayed on the "Big Lie" illusion that the Deep State (also behind the stolen "Big Lie" election), i. H. the CIA and the military were behind Kennedy's assassination. Wiener sausagesdebtRussian disinformation for spreading this deception, but offers no proof or refutation of anything the documentary presents.
Many critics deny that a monstrous crime involving active and retired government and military officials could be taking place here, or that their government is lying to them. Similar denials prevent many from grasping the threat of fascism that is growing before our eyes right now.
Who Killed JFK and Why?
The documentary does not identify who pulled the trigger, although it does identify many involved in the cover-up. And there are many who had and have a legitimate interest in keeping the truth from coming out.
And those responsible? Stone points in the direction of far-right and renegade elements in the CIA, the military, other state security agencies, and their allies in the right-wing Cuban exile community. He leaves out the mafia, which researchers like Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartman regard as the main assassination plotters.
Why, the documentary begins with Kennedy's inaugural address at Georgetown University in 1963. The "peace speech', perhaps JFK's most important, is little known. In it, the President presented a vision of US foreign policy in a dramatically changed world shaped by rising socialism, anti-colonial movements and newly independent states.
Kennedy called for the end of the Cold War and the arms race with the Soviet Union and for a policy of detente and peaceful coexistence. This vision put Kennedy on a collision course with the Cold War establishment and particularly the far right in the CIA, the Pentagon, the FBI and even his own advisers, making bitter enemies in the process. Among them was CIA Director Allen Dulles, who later served on the Warren Commission.
Stone was recounting the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba when Dulles expected Kennedy to authorize US military support. Kennedy refused and the attack turned into a debacle. JFK concluded that the CIA had lied to him. Unbeknownst to JFK, the CIA also helped foment a failed military coup against French President Charles de Gaulle. Kennedy later told a French diplomat, "You must understand, I'm not in full control of my government," and told another confidant that he was "going to shatter the CIA into a million pieces and blow them to the wind."
Kennedy also clashed with military generals by curtailing US engagement in Vietnam and eventually ordering the withdrawal of all US forces. The military defied his orders, which LBJ changed after Kennedy's death. The rest is history.
Kennedy also attempted to normalize relations with Cuba (although this is complicated by the government's plans to foment another coup, revealed by Waldron and Hartman), Egypt under President Gamel Abdel Nasser, and EgyptIndonesiaunder President Sukarno, who led the country to independence and became the founder of the non-aligned movement.
The history of these events is documented elsewhere, including secret back-channel negotiations to establish detente with the Soviet Union and normalize relations with Cuba because Kennedy could not trust his own State Department. For these reasons, both Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro were appalled and distressed by the assassination. "Everything is changing now," Castro said somberly upon hearing the news.
Stone crams in a lot, maybe too muchJFK revisitedand consequently cuts swabs while ignoring some of the more recent research. However, it adds to the ongoing search for the truth about who killed Kennedy, why and how they benefited. One day we will know the answers and have a national reckoning.
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John Bachtell is President of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher ofworld of people. From 2014 to 2019 he was National Chair of CPUSA. He is active in election campaigns, labor disputes, environmental and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently resides in Chicago, where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, amateur guitarist and occasionally sang in a community choir.
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