By Harold W. Pease
Many of us think about the tragedy in Dallas 51 years ago this month. Last May I visited the Texas School Book Depository on the corner of Houston and Elm Streets in Dallas, Texas and read the government’s inscription on the wall of the building, “On November 22, 1963, The building gained national notoriety when Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth story window as the Presidential motorcade passed.” The word allegedly grabbed me, as it was an admission that even the government was not certain, without some level of doubt, that Oswald did the deed or acted alone.
Most serious scholars on the assassination view the Warren Commissions review of the data with great skepticism (some with contempt) especially in light of its numerous omissions, as for example the testimony of Dr. Charles Crenshaw who placed Kennedy in the coffin at Parkland Hospital and testified years latter that the neck wound had been tampered with to look like an exit rather than an entry wound. An entry wound would have proved more than a single assassin and provoked more investigation. Also, why did they seal the unpublished portion of their findings for 75 years?
Finally, thirteen years later The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1976 concluded that “President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” They, like the Warren Commission, did their investigation mostly in secret. Unbelievably they too sealed their evidence for 50 years under Congressional rules. Withholding evidence feeds conspiracy theories. As the years fly by, and new data surfaces from the hundreds of books on the subject, it is increasingly more difficult to dismiss, as an accomplice, Lyndon Baines Johnson and his CIA/FBI friends.
My journalist friend, Don Clark, has personally read most of the 2000 books on the subject and is a noted speaker on the assassination. He told an audience in San Francisco that while the government has not, or will not, pursue the subject, private investigators have done so and we do not have to wait for the sealed records. He has a recommend list of “must reads” on the subject and they follow.
First, get the directors cut of the motion picture JFK by Oliver Stone. Despite the profanity the “movie contains more spoken words, more script, than any film in history.”
Second, On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison (a former FBI agent) treats Oswald’s time in New Orleans and four government agents identified as “handlers” that seemed to “shadow” him.
Third, read JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. A stunning piece of original research published in 2008, by James Douglass.
Fourth, read MARY’S MOSAIC: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, by Peter Janney. The work published in 2012 found that the author’s own “CIA father, was among the conspirators orchestrating the deaths of Kennedy and his friend Mary Pinchot Meyer. The latter’s death is also “in a veiled way” in the recent movie, An American Affair.
Fifth, read JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, by Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who served at the time of Kennedy’s death, as the key liaison between the Pentagon and the CIA.
Sixth, tying together many loose ends the following three books will help. Revealing the secret links between the most powerful law firm in Texas and the criminal rise to power of Lyndon Johnson is Blood, Money, & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK by Barr McClellan. LBJ: Mastermind of the JFK Assassination by Phillip Nelson. Texas in the Morning by Lyndon Johnson’s long-time mistress, Madeline Duncan Brown “takes you to the meeting the night before the assassination. She reveals the identities of the men in that room. She shares the story of Lyndon Johnson coming late to the meeting, then emerging in a fury, grabbing her by the arms so hard it hurt, and swearing in a rage, ‘After tomorrow, those goddamn Kennedy’s will never embarrass me again—and that’s not a threat, that’s a promise!’ ”
In light of decades of intensive reading, Clark poses the question, “Was it devious, desperate Lyndon Johnson, the viper in the nest, the Brutus to Kennedy’s Caesar, who with the help of J. Edgar Hoover had blackmailed his way onto the 1960 presidential ticket, who knew he was about to be dumped from the 1964 ticket, who knew he was about to be indicted and probably go to prison for his probable role in the Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes scandals, whose lifelong lust and endless scheming for the presidency would stop at nothing to get to that office, least of all murder?” Perhaps it is time to speak the unspeakable and be more inclusive of the new data in our history tests.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution.