6 common questions about the JFK assassination

Donnie writes with six questions about the JFK story. I’ve heard these questions from others too, so I want to try to answer as best I can.

“Volumes of information and the films are played over and over again by every conspiracy theorist with time to make a video,” Donnie writes. “Some questions I offer a few ideas on undeveloped concepts that I would like to see studied and films produced,”
1) Even if every conspiracy theory or anyone’s idea of what happened in the JFK assassination how will  the real truth benefit the world today and tomorrow?

JM: The truth would tell us something profound about the power of our national security agencies and the failure of democratic institutions to hold them accountable in 1963. This would benefit the American people by giving us an object lesson in the power of these agencies and the need to hold them accountable today.

2) Is it possible that reality of the assassination has been kept and/or that the archives are actually credible?

JM: The reality of the assassination lives in the critiques of the Warren Commission, the independent investigation, and the the credible accounts that present a more plausible version of events. The government is not, and never have been, the sole custodian or repository of the truth. What the government has kept secret are the activities of certain CIA and FBI officers in the events leading up to the assassination. There is chain of custody of these documents that enables us to verify their contents. It is possible that records have been falsified or doctored. That does not mean that it has happened.

3) I had a distant Aunt who was a stenographer on the Warren Commission and worked for Gerald Ford afterwards. The only statement I heard her make was that the truth was top secret, that the world could not handle the truth and that the truth was cleansed from the record as it was recorded. Are there any records of what the Warren Commission stenographers had to say? What truth could be impossible to handle?

JM: I don’t know that the testimony of the stenographers was ever taken. The truth that would have been impossible to handle in 1963 was the the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff had been monitoring the movements, politics, contacts and personal life of Lee Harvey Oswald for at least 48 months before he was arrested for killing President Kennedy. That truth was suppressed because it was impossible for the government to acknowledge in 1963.

4) Was Gerald Ford given the gift of the presidency in exchange for his participation on the Warren Commission or was it just because he promised to pardon Nixon?

JM: I see no evidence to support the notion that Ford was given the presidency in exchange for his participation on the Warren Commission. Ford said he made no promises when Nixon selected him as vice president. He might have been lying. He might have been telling the truth. Depends on what you think of Ford’s veracity?

5) It always seemed to me that JFK’s children and Ted Kennedy would have sought the truth. Caroline possibly knows the truth. What did/do they know and why don’t they reveal what they know? No loss at this stage in history, right?

I think all of the incentives for the Kennedy family induced them not to pursue the truth. The Warren Commission, the federal agencies, the national news media, and the Congress all rallied to the official theory of a lone gunman. To defy that consensus would have been a huge political gamble with no certain payoff. How exactly would they identify who was responsible? They had no investigative resources or power. They would have been dependent on the press and Congress, both of whom were virtually unanimous in their endorsement of the Warren Commission Report. It was far easier to endorse the official theory. I think it was especially easy for the family because they did not know anything, or not much, about the assassination itself.

6) Ethel Kennedy surely knows everything. What has she to say and if nothing why is she silent? Same thing for Jackie O, she never shared anything of significance. Why?

JM: I disagree that Ethel “surely” knew everything. How would she have known anything about Dallas? Who would have told her? She stayed silent for the reasons cited above: The consensus of Washington personalities and institutions supported the convenient truth of a “lone gunman.”

Jackie Kennedy, by contrast, did share information of significance, at least twice.

A week after the assassination, she and RFK told her friend William Walton that they believed JFK had been killed by a major domestic conspiracy, not a communist plot, and they asked Walton to convey this message to the leadership of the Soviet Union.

In the spring of 1964, Jackie told a friend that her memory of the sequence of gunfire that laced the presidential limousine was in no way consistent with the Warren Commission’s “single bullet theory.





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