His name was Clay Shaw. He was a wealthy, discreetly gay, businessman in New Orleans. He was indicted by District Attorney Jim Garrison for conspiring to kill JFK. When his case came to trial in 1969, Shaw was swiftly acquitted. He died in 1974. In Oliver Stone’s “JFK”, Shaw was played by Tommie Lee Jones.
In my view, there is no compelling evidence that Clay Shaw was involved in a conspiracy to kill the President Kennedy. Nonetheless, is is true that a CIA official later described Shaw as “a highly paid contract source” for the agency in the 1950s — something the agency stoutly denied when Shaw was on trial.
In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy—Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis—and, following the president’s assassination, the poetic short Faces of November.
In a deeply documented new book, Roger J Mattsontells the story of how denial and deception in Washington helped Israel obtain nuclear weapons in the 1960s, despite the firm opposition of the Kennedy administration. Read more
Stephen Hunter is the cleverest JFK assassination conspiracy theorist to come along in many a year, so clever that few of his fellow theorists have even noticed that he is one.
In his latest novel, “The Third Bullet,” Hunter pulls off a an authorly act of legerdemain: he dresses up a rigorous reading of the forensic evidence about the assassination fo President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in the guise of an international shoot ’em up thriller.
The trail of adventure runs from Baltimore to Moscow to Dallas as Hunter’s creaky alter ego Bob Lee Swagger, a humble soldier of fortune who packs a mean pistol, solves the crime of the century while chatting up old buddies and twitching for a drink. Read more
Poulgrain questions how history would have unfolded if the US had not trained the Indonesian military to be a pro-Western ‘state within a state’. This action paved the way for the brutal Suharto regime which unleashed the bloody anti-communist purges of 1965-66. Moreover, he asks the intriguing question of what would have happened if Kennedy had dodged the assassin’s bullet and survived to implement his alternative strategy to use massive civic aid to bring the archipelago into the Western camp
Talbot writes, “Like many convicted Nazi criminals in the early Cold War years, a number of the Nuremberg defendants sentenced to prison were later the beneficiaries of politically motivated interventions and early releases; few of the many thousand convicted Nazis were still in prison after 1953. A number of those interventions on behalf of fortunate war criminals could be traced to the quiet stratagems of Allen Dulles.”
JD recommends Episode 33 from Black Op Radio’s series “50 Reasons for 50 Years,” in which Professor Gerald D. McKnight discusses the Warren Commission’s reaction to the rumor that Oswald was an FBI informant.
Jacob Carter, millennial author, wants his generation to know and care about the JFK assassination story. The result is “Before History Dies,” an introduction to the debate over the causes of JFK’s death via interviews with thoughtful people who hold diverse opinions on the subject.
They include: Anthony Summers, David Talbot, Dan Hardway, Marie Fonzi, Dale K. Myers, Max Holland, Judge John R. Tunheim, and Gerald Posner.
I’m not unbiased because I am interviewed too, and because Carter is the social media manager for JFK Facts and a friend. Nonetheless, I have to say this is not just an excellent introduction to the JFK story. Its a model for people of any age for how to think about the JFK story: with humility, tranquility, and courage.
As Talbot explains, “What I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s.” It’s a huge, sprawling book, and an amalgam of all the appalling things Dulles and his cohort definitely did, things the evidence suggests they probably did, and speculation about things they might plausibly have done. More than a biography, it’s a exploration of well-organized pathology.
Talbot and his research associate Karen Croft, to whom he dedicated his book, have found all sorts of nuggets in Allen Dulles’s papers, his appointment calendar, oral histories, and other less-used sources. In addition, Talbot infuses his book with anecdotes from interviews he personally conducted. While I found some points I could nitpick in various episodes, overall this is a worthy addition and a much-needed perspective that elucidates how we came to have two governments: the elected one and the one that doesn’t answer to the elected one.