James DiEugenio, author and prolific contributor to the Citzens for Truth About the Kennedy Assassination Web site, has published “The State of the JFK case: 50 Years Out,” which makes some timely points on which I think everyone can agree.
I disagree with DiEugenio’s harsh assessment of Philip Shenon’s JFK book, “A Cruel and Shocking Act.” He calls the book a “disgraceful,” “travesty,” and an “apologia.” I wonder how he would describe a truly bad book. Such epithets scant the very interesting discoveries in Shenon’s reporting, including:
that a Warren Commission staffer met secretly with Fidel Castro; that a State Department official who sought a real investigation of Oswald activities in Mexico City was hounded out of the Foreign Service and into suicide. and that James Angleton threatened Warren Commission staffer David Slawson after Slawson complained about CIA’s withholding of information about Oswald. These stories are significant.
Like DiEugenio, I didn’t find Shenon’s conventional explanation of the causes of JFK’s assassination terribly convincing but that doesn’t mean his reporting isn’t valuable. Shenon’s book illuminates what he calls “the hidden history of the Kennedy assassination.” Acknowledging this hidden history is something the U.S. government, the CIA, and major news organization have been loathe to do. Shenon’s book does.That’s progress.
Such language do not do much to encourage the full and open JFK debate in the news media that DiEugenio desires. In my experience, calling a fellow professional a dishonest idiot is not a useful way to start a conversation. Shenon deserves better.
Tone aside, DiEugenio makes three larger points that seem indisputable and contribute to the decisive clarification of the JFK story in 2014. (For some thoughts on how this might be achieved, watch my speech at the JFK Lancer conference in November 2013.)
1)The vast expansion of the historical record of JFK’s assassination since the late 1990s has deepened and clarified understanding of the event — and will continue to do so.
DiEugenio: “Due to the work of the Assassination Records Review Board, the database about the John F. Kennedy murder was greatly expanded. If one is talking only about sheer volume of paper, the document page count was doubled. But if one is talking about the actual knowledge base, the increase was much exponentially larger. Because as many people felt, what the government was hiding was of paramount importance. But secondly, the many authors who used these documents incorporated them with previous knowledge to create large advancements in the case. Some would call these quantum leaps.”
2) Certain senior CIA officers knew much more about Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed than the U.S. government has ever acknowledged
DiEugenio: “….What we know about Oswald today, and his associations with the CIA and FBI, completely vitiates the paradigm the Warren Commission tried to sell to the public about him. Its quite clear now, as John Newman and Jefferson Morley have pointed out, that both intelligence agencies had much more information about Oswald than they ever admitted to in public.
3) U.S. news organizations are resistant to understanding of the weight of the new evidence in the record of JFK’s assassination.
DiEugenio: “There is more evidence now of what really happened than there has ever been. The problem is that the general public is not aware of it. Because the MSM refuses to countenance it. Even if it is to the detriment of themselves, this country, and democracy. The MSM and the Power Elite continue to deny it all. That death wish, of course, says much more about them than it does the Kennedy assassination.”