Category: Review

‘The centrality of Nixon and Helms to so many pivotal moments in history.’

Book List on Scorpion’s Dance:

“As the Senate Intelligence Committee prodded the CIA over all sorts of issues, including the JFK assassination and attempts on the life of Fidel Castro, Helms became increasingly defensive of his agency’s conduct over the years. The centrality of Nixon and Helms to so many pivotal moments in history makes Morley’s revelations about their sparring even more intriguing.”

Publisher’s Weekly on Scorpions’ Dance 

In this eye-opening investigation, journalist Morley (The Ghost) scrutinizes the CIA’s involvement in the Watergate scandal. Drawing on taped conversations between Richard Nixon and CIA director Richard Helms, Morley claims that “the Watergate affair originated in the clandestine collaborative relationship” between the two men.

Source: Nonfiction Book Review: Scorpions’ Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate by Jefferson Morley

Watergate @ 50: a new history

In the New York Times, historian Douglas Brinkley praises Garrett Graff’s new history of Watergate scandal, that convulsion of American politics in 1972-74 that culminated in the only resignation of an American president. Brinkley also notes some key questions that Graff’s book does not answer. He asks:

Were such central players as Howard Hunt and James McCord cooperating with the C.I.A. even as they orchestrated the break-in?

It’s a central issue that my forthcoming book on the CIA and Watergate, Scorpions’ Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate, answers that question with a definitive yes.  Both Hunt and McCord had backchannel relationships with CIA director Richard Helms before their arrest.

To get the whole story, pre-order Scorpions’ Dance here.

Source: Book Review: ‘Watergate,’ by Garrett M. Graff – The New York Times

Lost in Silence

Jacobin magazine astutely assesses the JFK story in 2022, starting with Oliver Stone’s JFK Revisited.

While the original 1991 movie was met with a full-on media pushback at the time, the response in 2021 to the documentary has been far more fitting for our era: ignored or waved away as pure conspiracizing and fake news. For months after it came out, the closest thing to a politically minded legacy media outlet in the United States that actually reviewed the film was the Daily Beast; the country’s major establishment news outlets simply pretended it didn’t exist. It has fared better across the Atlantic, where it got positive reviews from the Financial Times and Telegraph, and negative ones from the Irish Times, Guardian, and the London Times.

Source: Oliver Stone’s JFK Assassination Documentary Shouldn’t Be Dismissed

Oliver Stone’s Coming JFK Documentary

Oliver Stone's JFK

Oliver Stone has done what, curiously enough, no major new organization or documentary filmmaker has done: try to make sense of the totality of information about the assassination of JFK made public since the 1990s. A huge amount of new material has come into the public record but no one has attempted to put the new information in the context of the old, a basic journalistic function taken up by Hollywood director.

Oliver interviewed me for this documentary, which I have not seen. It was an intense session with a knowledgable interrogator. I spoke in detail about what I learned about CIA operations around Lee Harvey Oswald, while writing my books, Our Man in Mexico, The Ghost, and Morley v. CIA

Using the records released since the 1990s, my books show Oswald as he appeared in the eyes of senior CIA officers like Mexico City Station chief Win Scott and Counterintelligence chief Jim Angleon. These files show how Oswald became a person of interest to CIA mole hunters in a secret office known as the Special Investigations group; how he was monitored in Dallas by the Agency’s Domestic Contacts Division, and how he was publicly linked to the Castro government by CIA agents in a psychological warfare program known as AMSPELL.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Oliver incorporates these revelations into his narrative. 

‘Last Second in Dallas’: Debate and Agreement

The publication of Tink Thompson’s “Last Second in Dallas,” and a favorable review from San Francisco Chronicle movie critic Mick LaSalle, has triggered a debate about the forensic evidence in the case.

Dr. Randy Robertson has published a critique of Thompson’s work on the Kennedys and Kings web site. On the the Assassination Archives and Research Center, Drs. Gary Aguilar, Dr. Doug DeSalles, and attorney Bill Simpich say Robertson’s critique is based on five factual mistakes.

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