News

When JFK secretly reached out to Castro

“The president had asked his speechwriter, Theodore Sorensen, for language that would open a door to the Cuban leader, although, as Sorensen later observed, the audience was a very tough anti-Castro group.’”

via When J.F.K. Secretly Reached Out to Castro – NYTimes.com.

Jackie Kennedy and the anguish of gun violence

“Now a half century later, it is time for all the Jacqueline Kennedy letters to be available for historians, allowing for a more full and accurate understanding about one of the most dramatic moments in 20th century U.S. history. Efforts by the Kennedy family to keep these letters at bay only mute our comprehension of what truly happened on that tragic day in Dallas and the kind of psychological damage that gun violence can wreak on the lives of innocent survivors.”

via The anguish of Jackie Kennedy – CNN.com.

Read more

U.S. and Cuba to normalize relations frozen since JFK was president

President Obama reaches out to Cuba

“Todos somos Americanos.” We are all Americans.

With those words, President Obama made an epic and overdue announcement today: the United States and Cuba will normalize relations that were broken off in January 1961 as President John F. Kennedy took office. “These 50 years have showed that isolation has not worked,” the president said.

Not only will the United States open an embassy in Havana, it will release three Cubans imprisoned for decades on trumped-up spying charges. The Cubans will release U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, held for five years on trumped-up charges, and a previously unknown U.S. intelligence agent imprisoned for many years in Cuba.

Read more

Public Interest Declassification Board cites JFK Records Act as a model

In a new study of the U.S. government’s dysfunctional declassification system, the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) cited the JFK Records Act of 1992 as a model for effective release of information that interests the public. That’s why the PIDB should make sure that the CIA declassifies 1,100 assassination-related documents by October 2017, their scheduled release date Read more

Oswald’s coffin: Robert Oswald’s lawsuit illuminates the buried truths of the JFK story

Oswald's Coffin

Where the accused assassin was laid to rest.

The global coverage of the sad story of Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother suing Baumgardner funeral home for his brother’s coffin demonstrates the enduring public interest in the smallest details of the JFK story.

While custodians of the conventional wisdom in the U.S. media turn up their noses at such fare, the UK’s Daily Mail uses the story to float the notion that Oswald was “in fact a covert U.S. intelligence agent,” a proposition for which there is a good deal of circumstantial evidence.

Read more

CSI JFK: The chain of custody for ‘the magic bullet’

The so-called “magic bullet” (Don Roberdeau).

At the close of his book, You Are The Jury, David Belin, attorney for the Warren Commission, cited 10 major contentions as the foundation of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald.

I examine these 10 points in my recent Op-Ed News article, How the Warren Commission Covered Up JFK’s Murder. In this article I address the chain of custody for the so-called “magic bullet,” otherwise known as Commission Exhibit 399 (or CE399). According to the Warren Commission, this bullet wounded both President Kennedy and Governor John Connally.

With unwarranted confidence, Belin asserted:

Read more

From JFK to torture, the CIA obstructs accountability

From Bryan Bender of the The Boston Globe:

“The CIA has a long history of blocking congressional oversight of its activities. ‘I think there is a pattern,’ said John Prados, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive at George Washington University and author of ‘The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power.’”

via Decades later, seeking to shed light on CIA’s conduct in congressional inquiry of JFK assassination – Nation

Who did Jackie Kennedy think killed her husband?

Jackie Kennedy’s private thoughts about Dallas

A few things are known for sure. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, 34 years old and dressed in a U.S.-made knock off of a pink Chanel suit, was looking at her husband’s face with concern from inches away when a bullet shattered his head.

After that horrible moment, Jackie had to pull herself together, give Jack the funeral he deserved. She assumed that her husband’s enemies had killed him. A week after the assassination, she and her brother-in-law Robert Kennedy confided in a friend, William Walton. They said they believed Dallas was the work of a high-level domestic plot, meaning JFK’s enemies on the political right.

But mostly Jackie didn’t want to think about who killed Jack. She was close to insane with grief, clutching to her brother-in-law who was devastated as well. She was often suicidal. And so Jackie fades from the crime story. The men who dominate the discussions of JFK conspiracy theories are often united in ignoring the views of the woman closest to the crime.

Read more

How JFK pursued the ‘sweet approach’ to Cuba

At a conference on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report in Washington in September, Cuba scholar Peter Kornbluh gave a fascinating talk on how President Kennedy pursued the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba 1963. In the bureaucracy this was known as “the sweet approach,” Kornbluh says. The idea was to lure Fidel Castro out of his alliance with the Soviet Union instead of overthrowing him.

“Kennedy had a change of heart after the missile crisis,” Kornbluh says, and he makes the case in his new book Back Channel to Cuba Kennedy pursued “the sweet approach” right up through the last 72 hours of his life, Kornbluh says.

Howard Willens corrects my mistakes

Howard Willens writes via email to correct a couple of mistakes in my Nov. 12 post, “Howard Willens weighs in on RFK’s suspicions of conspiracy.”  Let me quote him in full.

Read more

‘Project Unspeakable’ brings James Douglass’s JFK story to the stage

“About a year ago, anticipating the John F. Kennedy assassination’s 50th anniversary, Wendell (Mass.) playwright Court Dorsey was preparing to premiere a series of public readings around the country of ‘Project Unspeakable’ — his script about governmental conspiracy in the deaths of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.” Read more

Bill Harvey, armed and dangerous

Bill Harvey

William King Harvey

Since we published the first on-camera interview with CIA widow, CG Harvey, I’ve been getting grief for publishing her allegedly false statements about John, Jackie and Robert Kennedy.

I don’t see anything demonstrably false in what CG Harvey said. I believe the story that JFK had invited Italian prostitutes into his bed two at a time but I can’t prove that it’s true. I agree that CG Harvey’s comments need more context.

Who was William K. Harvey?

Read more

In his own words: Ben Bradlee talks about Mary Meyer’s JFK diary

A friend forwards this CSPAN interview in which retired Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee talks about finding the diary of his sister-in-law Mary Meyer, the mistress of President Kennedy, and how CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton took possession of the diary

Where did the most famous JFK assassination film come from?

A 26-second home movie taken of the assassination of President John Kennedy on November 22, 1963, has become one of the most famous pieces of film ever. There are countless versions on YouTube, viewed by tens of millions of people.

Where did this amazing imagery come from? Is it an authentic depiction of the assassination of a U.S. president?

To answer such questions, I sought out a man who could answer them better than almost anyone: Richard Stolley, a former editor at LIFE Magazine, the immensely popular photographic magazine of the 1960s.

Read more

ICYM: Simkin on Ben Bradlee, James Angleton, and Mary Meyer

Mary Meyer death

Mary Meyer, former JFK mistress, was murdered in Washington DC in October 1964.

British historian John Simkin adds new detail to the story of the diary of JFK’s mistress Mary Meyer.