Fact Check: Jesse Ventura on JFK

Jesse Ventura, your friendly neighborhood soldier of fortune, proves to be a well-informed, if over-the-top, student of the JFK case in this video.

The host of “Conspiracy Theory” show, Ventura sometimes goes beyond what is in the historical record. He also has a strong factual foundation for key allegations.

Ventura’s bottom line: JFK was killed by “the same old military industrial complex.”

How do Ventura’s claims and sources stack up?

Claim: Oswald could not have fired the fatal shot: PLAUSIBLE:

This one of the most compelling parts of Ventura’s presentation, especially because of his familiarity with firearms. This is also a complex subject that deserves a fuller assessment than I can give it here. I’m looking for an independent expert to enlighten us all. Are you a firearms expert? I want to hear from you.

Backgrounder on ballistics from MaryFerrell.org

Claim: Kennedy was killed by a shot from the grassy knoll: PLAUSIBLE.

Ventura’s interview with Bill Newman, a credible witness whose story has not changed over the years, is perhaps the strongest part of this piece. I interviewed Newman at length in 2005 and found him to be clear, careful and modest about what he saw.

For a breakdown of what Dealey Plaza eyewitnesses said about the origins of the gunfire, check out this compilation by John McAdams, a poli-sci professor at Marquette. All credible researchers agree that a lot of people, perhaps 40 percent of those present, said at least one shot came from in front of JFK’s limousine.

You can read some of the eyewitness testimony here, courtesy of the Sixth Floor Museum.

Source: Col. Fletcher Prouty: CREDIBLE.

Fletcher Prouty served as chief of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 1963. He was in position to know about military and intelligence personnel capable of carrying out assassinations. Prouty later served as an adviser to Oliver Stone. (The character of “Col. X” in the movie is based on Prouty.) Some people have attempted to discredit Prouty because of  his association with Stone and because of his public criticism of Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty. These ad hominem arguments do not impugn Prouty’s authority on the subject of JFK.

Claim: Oswald was a CIA asset: PROBABLY TRUE
Source: Jim Marrs, author of Crossfire: CREDIBLE

While there is no one piece of paper that proves this, declassified CIA records and interviews  support Marr’s contention that Oswald was used and manipulated by CIA personnel. Historian John Newman, a former Army Intelligence officer turned historian, makes a careful and compelling case for CIA manipulation of Oswald in his book, “Oswald and the CIA.”

Claim: Oswald was an “undercover CIA operative:” UNPROVEN

This implies Oswald was a witting agent of the CIA.  There is no evidence to support the claim that Oswald knew he was working for the CIA.

Claim: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush were involved in JFK’s assassination: NOT CREDIBLE

Ventura’s presentation insinuates a lot but the evidence provided in this video does not support the notion that three future presidents had foreknowledge of a plot to kill JFK.

Russ Baker’s discoveries about George Bush’s whereabouts on November 22 are interesting. They do not warrant the conclusion that Bush had anything to do with the plot to kill the president.

Howard Hunt’s implication of Lyndon Johnson is even weaker. Hunt was a top CIA man in 1963 but had no access to LBJ or his thinking or actions.

Richard Nixon was privately curious about the CIA role in JFK’s assassination and quietly pushed the CIA for relevant records in 1971 and 1972. That is not the same as foreknowledge of a plot.

Claim: George H.W. Bush was photographed in Dealey Plaza: UNPROVEN

Visual identification of persons in photographs is notoriously unreliable. Baker’s claim maybe correct but it may not be . Corroboration is lacking.

Claim: The Watergate burglary was related to JFK: NOT CREDIBLE.

The Watergate burglars were after sensitive information but there’s no compelling evidence that it was JFK-related. Several other scenarios are more plausible. I can explain but it would take a long time. Maybe later.

Claim: Former Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt was JFK conspirator: UNPROVEN

What Ventura touts as Hunt’s “a deathbed confession” wasn’t quite that dramatic. In the videotaped interview, a frail but healthy Hunt was questioned by his son, St. John Hunt, who was not well-versed in the nature of his father’s job in 1963.  As a reporter I think have a sense when people are bullshitting, and there are time when Hunt is clearing peddling fiction. Hunt was alluding to a real mood of hostility among CIA men against JFK in Miami but I got the sense he was dissembling about real events as much as revealing them.

Remember Hunt was a convicted burglar and all-around scoundrel. His suggestion that he was “a benchwarmer” in a plot of his CIA colleagues are intriguing. Given Hunt’s loyalty to the CIA, they amount to what law professors call an “admission against interest,” which is noteworthy. But the uncorroborated claims of a felon  are not very strong or convincing evidence.

Claim: Hunt was one of the “three tramps” in Dealey Plaza on the day JFK was killed: NOT CREDIBLE.

Again, visual identification of persons in photographs is notoriously unreliable. While the photos of the tramps have long fascinated JFK researchers, Dallas police records show that  three homeless men were arrested in Dealey Plaza that day.

It is true that Hunt never gave a convincing account of his whereabouts on November 22, 1963 but that doesn’t mean he was in Dealey Plaza.

Claim: George deMorenschildt was Oswald’s handler: PROBABLY TRUE:

Interviews and CIA records lend credence to the notion that DeMorenschildt was an informal informant for the CIA who befriended Oswald for the sake of reporting on activities.

Source: Former L.A. Prosecutor VInce Bugliosi: NOT CREDIBLE

Ventura’s brief exchange with Bugliosi is not a full or fair presentation of Bugliosi’s arguments in favor of the official story. Bugliosi’s claim that George deMohrenschildt was not a source for the CIA lacks credibility and points to larger problems with his reliability as a JFK source.

You can ignore that parenthetical “Illuminati” in the YouTube title  because Jesse Ventura never mentions the European secret society, thank God.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Robert Simpson says:

    Was is truly missing from the whole debate is that JFK and his family were hostile to the FED and had started proceedings to dismantle it. US President John F. Kennedy planned to exterminate the privately owned Federal Reserve System. In 1963 he signed Executive Orders EO-11 and EO-110, returning to the government the responsibility to print money, taking that privilege away from the privately owned Federal Reserve System. In fact, the US Treasury issued $700,000,000 itself for the first time since the FED was formed.
    Shortly thereafter, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. JFK was also on record for ending the Vietnam war. Looking at motivation is one of the first steps of solving a crime. Who owns the FED. The main player is the Rothschild. They have been in the business of controlling all the central banks in the world for the last 30 years. They have also been in the business of fomenting and financing both sides of war since the Brits won at Waterloo. Their direct stated aim is to have the world in a constant state of war. They have also famously stated that “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws” — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild … Considering that both the control of the US money supply and the extremely profitable war were at stake, does one seriously think that killing JFK was a hard decision to make? I get very frustrated when people focus on details of Executive orders, on whether it increased or decreased the power of the Fed. The point is, why would JFK give the US Treasury the power to control the money supply if he wasn’t going to use it.

  2. Mr. X says:

    2 different bullets…Here’s 1 fact that no one ever mentions and that is..there was 2 different bullets used so there had to been atleast 2 shooters. The FMJ “full metal jackets, and HOLLOW point. FMJ pass threw body’s without breaking up while the other -hollow points- break upon penetrating with mercury stratnel which was the head shot…if u don’t believe me look up what each bullet does then look at JFK’s neck wound and how many holes the magic bullet made….compared to the head shot. U will see the neck wound and magic bullet shot was with FMJ round while the head shot was from hollow point round.

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