Category: Review

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.

Josiah Thompson on how to think about November 22

Josiah Thompson, known to friends as Tink, is the JFK researcher emeritus. As a philosophy graduate student in 1966, he was the first person (outside the CIA) to make a serious forensic analysis of Abraham Zapruder’s film of the assassination of President Kennedy. As a private investigator, he had a fascinating 30 year career.

Now Thompson is back with a new book, “Last Second in Dallas,” revising his findings in his classic “Six Seconds In Dallas.” I haven’t read the new book but this review is good and it highlights something I, and many other learned from him: how to think about the JFK story.

James Angleton

Some Thoughts on the JFK Anniversary

I’d never heard of Tommy Carrigan, an enthusiastic podcaster with a taste for military and intelligence books, before he invited me on his show to talk about THE GHOST, my biography of James Angleton, chief of CIA counterintelligence.

We spoke on the day after the 57th anniversary of the assassination of the President John F. Kennedy, and naturally the JFK story came up.

Read on here.

JFK,  Dylan, and the Death of the American Dream 

In these terrible days, I got to thinking about Tim Shorrock’s essay/review on Bob Dylan’s JFK opus:

At its most essential level, “Murder Most Foul” marks the collapse of the American dream, dating from that terrible day in Dallas, when a certain evil in our midst was revealed in ways not seen for a hundred years—a day that, for Dylan, myself, and others of our generation is forever seared into our collective memory.

‘Bob Dylan, the JFK Assassination, and My Frantic Quest to Connect the Two’

“With the stunning recent midnight release of Murder Most Foul, Bob Dylan unequivocally declared his deep distress at the unsolved mysteries surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. I wish I’d known about that sooner. It would have saved me a lot of anguish and embarrassment.

So writes the ingratiating Bob Katz in Bob Dylan, the JFK Assassination, and My Frantic Quest to Connect the Two

It was November, 1975. “Oswald’s November,” as the poet Anne Sexton once branded that gloomy time of year when daylight shrinks, weather turns dank, and hearts feel the chill. Dylan, recently emerged from an extended hibernation, had just launched the now legendary Rolling Thunder Review tour. Nov. 20 at the Harvard Square Theater in Cambridge was among the first dates on the tour. Next was Nov. 21 at the Music Hall in Boston. On Nov. 22, a mass rally calling for a re-opening of the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination.

Read on Bob Dylan, the JFK Assassination, and My Frantic Quest to Connect the Two

JFK Jackie at Love Field

Raven Rock and the presidential succession of 1963

Dan Alcorn illuminates an underappreciated aspect of November 22, 1963. President Kennedy and his government had been preparing for a succession emergency for some time.

When President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, our nuclear weapons system would have needed urgently to know who was in command, and when word of the President’s death came, the system would immediately switch command to the Vice President, now the successor commander-in-chief. The swearing-in ceremony is a mere formality– power would have passed when word of the President’s death was first received. Standby authority for military officers to use nuclear weapons existed if the President or designated successor

Source: Raven Rock by author Garrett Graff Reviewed by Dan Alcorn, AARC Board member

4) Official Pentagon history: Top generals resisted JFK’s peace policies in 1963

Michael Swanson, an investment adviser turned JFK researcher, called my attention to “Council of War,” a fascinating official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The study documents the Pentagon’s resistance to, and resentment of, President Kennedy’s foreign policy, especially on Cuba and Vietnam.

Angleton: The role of a ‘master bureaucratic operator’ in the JFK story

I think this might be the most cogent radio interview I did about THE GHOST.

(Just because I was on Lew Rockwell’s show doesn’t mean I agree with this politics.)

The Watergate burglar and a CIA operation to deflect Cuba’s allegations about JFK’s assassination

Dirty TricksIn his new book, Dirty Tricks: Nixon, Watergate and the CIA, Shane O’Sullivan lays bare a scandalously under-covered story: the role of CIA personnel in the Watergate scandal and its aftermath.

In an excerpt for the Washington Post, O’Sullivan tells an intriguing tale about Watergate burglar Rolando Martinez, the CIA operative who was pardoned by President Reagan in 1984. Antonio Veciana, the CIA operative who says he saw Lee Harvey Oswald with David Phillips two months before JFK was killed, has an interesting role in the story.

O’Sullivan’s story doesn’t directly bear on the JFK story but it does show that Veciana was a trusted agency operative through the 1970s.

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