DiEugenio on the state of the JFK case

James DiEugenio, author

James DiEugenio, author and prolific contributor to the Citzens for Truth About the Kennedy Assassination Web site, has published “The State of the JFK case: 50 Years Out,” which makes some timely points on which I think everyone can agree.

I disagree with DiEugenio’s harsh assessment of Philip Shenon’s JFK book, “A Cruel and Shocking Act.” He calls the book a “disgraceful,” “travesty,” and an “apologia.” I wonder how he would describe a truly bad book. Such epithets scant the very interesting discoveries in Shenon’s reporting, including:

that a Warren Commission staffer met secretly with Fidel Castro;  that a State Department official who sought a real investigation of Oswald activities in Mexico City was hounded out of the Foreign Service and into suicide. and that James Angleton threatened Warren Commission staffer David Slawson after Slawson complained about CIA’s withholding of information about Oswald. These stories are significant.

Like DiEugenio, I didn’t find Shenon’s conventional explanation of the causes of JFK’s assassination terribly convincing but that doesn’t mean his reporting isn’t valuable. Shenon’s book illuminates what he calls “the hidden history of the Kennedy assassination.” Acknowledging this hidden history is something the U.S. government, the CIA, and major news organization have been loathe to do. Shenon’s book does.That’s progress.

Phil Shenon,

Such language do not do much to encourage the full and open JFK debate in the news media that DiEugenio desires. In my experience, calling a fellow professional a dishonest idiot is not a useful way to start a conversation. Shenon deserves better.

Tone aside, DiEugenio makes three larger points that seem indisputable and contribute to the decisive clarification of the JFK story in 2014. (For some thoughts on how this might be achieved, watch my speech at the JFK Lancer conference in November 2013.)

1)The vast expansion of the historical record of JFK’s assassination since the late 1990s has deepened and clarified understanding of the event — and will continue to do so. 

DiEugenio: “Due to the work of the Assassination Records Review Board, the database about the John F. Kennedy murder was greatly expanded. If one is talking only about sheer volume of paper, the document page count was doubled. But if one is talking about the actual knowledge base, the increase was much exponentially larger. Because as many people felt, what the government was hiding was of paramount importance. But secondly, the many authors who used these documents incorporated them with previous knowledge to create large advancements in the case. Some would call these quantum leaps.”

2) Certain senior CIA officers knew much more about Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed than the U.S. government has ever acknowledged

DiEugenio: “….What we know about Oswald today, and his associations with the CIA and FBI, completely vitiates the paradigm the Warren Commission tried to sell to the public about him. Its quite clear now, as John Newman and Jefferson Morley have pointed out, that both intelligence agencies had much more information about Oswald than they ever admitted to in public.

3) U.S. news organizations are resistant to understanding of the weight of the new evidence in the record of JFK’s assassination.

DiEugenio: “There is more evidence now of what really happened than there has ever been. The problem is that the general public is not aware of it. Because the MSM refuses to countenance it. Even if it is to the detriment of themselves, this country, and democracy. The MSM and the Power Elite continue to deny it all. That death wish, of course, says much more about them than it does the Kennedy assassination.”

30 thoughts on “DiEugenio on the state of the JFK case”

  1. Media Release

    *Publisher’s Launch: January XX, 2015*

    “If Kennedy gets in the way…shoot him.”

    ~Mark 11.22.13

    One Confession ● One Remaining Assassin

    Contact: John Gold

    Email: info@ifkennedygetsintheway.com



    ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ “In 1963 my employer assigned me a new name—an entirely new identity—to protect their country from retribution should my actions ever be discovered. Over fifty years later it is I who am forced to act under the guise of a false name to protect… my family”

    ~Shooter Two

    (Aka Mark)

    Inline image

    In November of 1962 one hundred and twenty-five men—new recruits barely out of boot camp—from the Army, Navy, and Marines were taken to the U.S. Naval Training center in San Diego. For ten days, each as uninformed as the recruit next to them, they were shuttled to an unnamed facility to undergo psychological profiling under the watch of—what was then called, their instructors. On the eleventh day fifty remained. The 50, given new identities, were flown to North Carolina where they endured physical and mental assessment till thirty remained, then twenty, then ten.

    The psychological evaluations the ten were subjected to could only be called torture. The physical torments made boot camp seem like preschool. At the end, six remained. Six men who over the course of the next year would become an elite squad of military snipers. An assassination team with an undisclosed mission—to them.

    Mark—eighteen, less than four months in the U.S. Navy—was one of the six chosen to fire three bullets on November 22, 1963. “If Kennedy gets in the way…shoot him.” is his confession.

    “A sniper hears the bullet regardless of the silencer.

    He wanted the silencer removed.”


    Reverend John C. Gold is a disabled veteran having served eleven years in the military with the Military Police, CID, and as a Communication Specialist followed by three years in civilian law enforcement. In 2000, John was called to the ministry and in 2014 he graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design. Nine years after he received his call to the ministry he had no idea that he would begin hearing the confession of the man he calls Mark. Visit http://www.ifkennedygetsintheway.com for more information.


  2. david t. krall

    from: david t. krall
    email: truthatlarge@hotmail.com

    regarding this particular area, I have read both “A Cruel & Shocking Act” and “The Kennedy Half-Century” both tomes in each of their own rights that have tons of data, but for some reason, each/ both of these authors, inspite of the data and state of current information and disclosures, relevations AND what each of these two authors has discovered and disclosed in their respective books can’t seem to (or choose not to) “cross-over” what I call an “intellectual thresh-hold” in at least conceding or recognizing that some well crafted & designed enterprise and agenda resulted in the Murder of the President Of The United States on Nov.22,1963.
    I do not believe for one second that the initiation and over-riding motive of the cover-up was benign or just a “governmental or bureaurcratic reflex or reaction”…there may have many who thought
    so (at least at the time) but many on the inside, in gov. AND corporate circles who were not a “part of the scheme” most assuredly, at some point, if not later, recognized & realized it for what it was, and its implications, ripples and importance…A nation does not cover up for its foreign enemies, any “unconnected” or non-linked criminal elements or “gangs” or genunine transient or so-called confused loners, most assuredly when attacked or its recognized leader or head of state is murdered…
    why would they?…unless of course..it was a “high-up/high-end
    inside job”…40+ years of research “tells” me this “fits” far
    “beyond a reasonable doubt AND expectation”…
    from: david t. krall
    email: truthatlarge@hotmail.com

  3. In 1964 I worked in the acquisitions department of my college’s library as part of the student work/study program. I was still disturbed by the assassination a year earlier. Mark Lane’s “Rush to Judgement” arrived, and I devoured the book, amazed by the information presented. Ever since Jack Ruby’s killing of Oswald I suspected something “more” was going on. Over the years I’ve read a number of other books and something strange occurred: the more I read, the more the assassination faded into a a dark closet I could no longer rummage through with the assurance I would find the solution. It used to be called “disinformation”, so much material you were apt to throw up your hands and walk away. I think this is a problem: so many books and articles that it seems impossible to back track and simply look at the events of the day and how, just logically, they don’t make sense. Oswald’s so-called escape, conflicting reports about the rifle (German or Italian?), Oswald’s protestations of innocence, claiming he knew nothing about being accused of killing Kennedy (which is strange when CBS and others claim he killed Kennedy for notoriety),and most especially, the reaction of onlookers, all this and much more can’t be lost in the deluge of documents and the nit-pickers that follow each publication. I taught the JFK assassination as part of a Cultural History course, and without taking a side, I simply showed the Zapruder film, and even among claims of it being doctored, a large majority of students concluded the shot came from the front. After viewing the film, trying arguing otherwise. I did and the student’s basically asked if I didn’t trust my own eyes. Assigning blame-which became a subject for their research-was a different case. Student’s were so bewildered by all the information they found it too difficult to arrive at a solid conclusion. This alone tells me we are in need of information that stays focused on the day’s events and the participants. Concepts like “hidden history” only tend to draw one away from the main thesis: JFK was killed by more than one person! Even John Connally suggested as much when he said he was hit by a different bullet and insisted on that until his death!

  4. I think what Philip Shenon has accomplished with his book is to lend credibility to serious historical examination of this subject which heretofore, has been relegated to the generally rag-tag, ufo hunting, lunatic fringe element that long ago co-opted serious research with ludicrous claims of grassy knoll gunmen, homosexual thrill kill cults, false leads, ludicrous conspiracy theories and quick buck tell all books. Whether you believe it or not, he has done serious investigators a service…

  5. “Shenon’s book illuminates what he calls “the hidden history of the Kennedy assassination.” Acknowledging this hidden history is something the U.S. government, the CIA, and major news organization have been loathe to do. Shenon’s book does.That’s progress…

    “Shenon deserves better than being called a dishonest idiot”

    How about useful idiot? Is Shenon putting a spin on this hidden history before it is released in the next few years.

    Last year, it was made legal to use propaganda against Americans – The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2013)

    Wikipedia describes how “According to a 1997 New York Times article, the CIA conducted a covert propaganda campaign to squelch criticism of the Warren Report. The CIA urged its field stations to use their “propaganda assets” to attack those who didn’t agree with the Warren Report. In a dispatch from CIA headquarters, the Agency instructed its stations around the world to:
    counteract the “new wave of books and articles criticizing the [Warren] Commission’s findings…[and] conspiracy theories …[that] have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization”;
    “discuss the publicity problem with liaison and friendly elite contacts, especially politicians and editors;” and
    “employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. … Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. … The aim of this dispatch is to provide material for countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists…”[11]
    In 1997 the CIA came forward to admit its historical interest in UFOs.”

  6. I will venture forth and state my piece hoping readers receive it in the revelatory spirit in which it is intended. When President Kennedy was murdered, America was two nations, one white and one black. Kennedy’s record on civil rights was not inspiring, but he (and Robert Kennedy) did aggressively counter Southern segregationist’s stands attempting to continue American styled apartheid (i.e., the “status quo) in public accommodations, education, employment, and healthcare. For all JFK’s valiant and constitutional efforts, Congressional Dixiecrats effectively derailed passage of his Civil Rights legislation. Despite what his detractors proclaim, there is a large body of public record attesting to JFK’s refusal to escalate in Vietnam, or authorize a military foray into Cuba. His establishment enemies clearly understood Kennedy to be antithetical to their provincial interests. They surely concluded Kennedy was no ordinary President – one to be goaded into military conflicts of attrition (Vietnam) for the economic interests of an elite “special interests.”
    In the two Americas Kennedy presided over, the black America was acutely aware that a conspiracy (coup d’état) felled the world-renown popular American president. I will say this as a pointer for those reading this: What country was foremost in staging coup d’états to remove leaders considered hostile or inimical to America’s interests? This implies that there was a group that “decided” what was in America’s best interests. Conceivably, this would involve our intelligence and military/defense apparatuses and those groups dependent or aligned with these infrastructures, whether primary contributors (business contractors) or sponsored patrons (individuals/special exclusive groups/media). As an American, I am truly amazed that the majority of people in America (white Americans) do not force this issue. Stevie Wonder, when singing “Big Brother” penned the line: “You’ve killed all our leaders/ I don’t even have to do nothin’ to you/You’ll cause your own country to fall.” This is not a racist posting; nor is our separate uniqueness a cause for fear or loathing, but for celebration and affirmation. I dare say that President Kennedy was a work in transition, a visionary. He saw the plight of most people in the world and he knew the cause of their misery: oppression of the weak by the powerful. He saw revolution as a necessary prerequisite for liberation; thus, he refused to continue covert means to overthrow Castro, or Vietnam. Since the war economy is a major means of production income today, 50 years after JFK’s overthrow, the generationally invested beneficiaries (who continue to protect their State Secrets) have achieved their long range goals of protecting their “turf.”

    1. I completely agree with this posting by Kennedy63.

      I also believe that the assassination of Martin Luther King was a state crime and not just the work of James Earl Ray, who I think was made a patsy in Memphis. King also began to speak out against not just domestic apartheid in the USA, but against the draft and against the Vietnam war, which he felt was immoral. King’s family did “get it” when they attended a trial and agreed with a jury who found Ray to be innocent of the murder of their family member.

      Certainly the recent revelations about NSA abuses should help to wake up intellectually sleepy Americans to the corruption and abuse of power by our secret agencies. And we know that the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover abused its power so completely, come to light even on NPR:

      It is entirely plausible to find corruption and abuse of power in CIA as well. The JFK assassination will expose the seamy underside of CIA once and for all. The only reason the Agency is still sitting on its files related to this event is because to release them would show in broad daylight how corrupt they have been.

  7. Colleen McGuire

    Jim DiEugenio’s books and his essays in CTKA are some of the deepest analysis about the state of America coming from any historian today.

    It would be folly to pigeon hole DiEugenio as simply an assassination researcher. He may start with the assassination but where he takes his analysis’ spiraling to contemporary society is what makes him one of our country’s most brilliant and yet most overlooked intellectuals.

    Apart from his books, just look at his CTKA reviews of “Betting on the Africans” or his open letter to Rachel Maddow as examples of his depth of insight and incisive writing.

    His speech at Lancer this year probing Kennedy’s foreign policy without even mentioning Cuba or Vietnam was the height of cutting edge revelation.

    If there were honesty in American journalism today, Jim DiEugenio should have several Pulitzers under his belt.

  8. Thank you Gentlemen for your posts. They are enlightening. Thanks to Jeff for allowing open comment. Thanks to Jim for speaking his mind. They also illustrate the need for focus and cohesion on the one issue that can further it at his point. Can the Research Community agree on the need to Free The 1000 + Files relating to JFK’s Slaughter.

  9. DiEugenio’s critic of Shenon’s book was just and fair. After 50 years of disinformation and lies we cannot be gentle to those who try to deceive us. Succesful disinformation mixes facts with fiction. If Shenon had written his book 20-30 years ago he would have been excused. But not today, after the ARRB revelations. No excuses. He needs to go back to basics and rethink the case. Unfortunately he has failed this semester.

    1. Did you read the end of the book? I have studied the case myself for some years and I find most of the alternate narratives that Shenon discounts to be in the realm of fantasy, including DiEugenio’s.

  10. Former Pa. Sen. Richard Schweiker nailed the Warren Commission aptly in 1976 on Face the Nation when he claimed the Warren Report had “collapsed like a house of cards.” That was a rare moment of courage by the mainstream media, to allow this prominent Warren Report critic a forum. For far too long the lone-nut defenders have been granted the bully pulpit by the mainstream media, which have shamed themselves by abrogating their responsibility to thoroughly investigate this unsolved murder and establish an accurate historical record. I am grateful for Jim DiEugenio calling them, and Shenon, on it. They deserve the slams.

  11. Perhaps DiEugenio can be given a bit of slack about his “tone.” His recent book, “Reclaiming Parkland” had the unenviable mission of countering Bugliosi’s book amidst that author’s unrelenting prosecutorial, screeching “I”-centered tone. Against this onslaught, Di Eugenio manages to answer all relevant claims and to do so with respect for Bugliosi’s efforts and personality – which was no easy task.
    It is undertandable that he would have developed–by this point- a tone against the flatearthers of this issue. It is increasingly difficult to take anyone on this issue seriously, who believes that LHO acted alone, by himself and killed alone. I think DiEugenio–a writer of smooth narrative, wide scholarship and an increasingly evolving persona that has evolved from an assassination expert to an historian and social commentator of some depth – has earned the right to show scorn and distaste.
    I suppose I will eventually read Shenon’s book, but whatever it has to say, it is way too late to impress and already too myopic in assumption, to consider for my tastes. In the world of JFK literature, if you think LHO acted as the WC said, then you are a flatearther, and perhaps should have some scorn thrown your way or some wit used at your expense when discussing the issue. Effective debate involves humour.And getting attention takes skills as well as arguments.
    Afterall, the flatearthers are the ones who have the MSM and all the advantages of widespread impact. The MSM will publicize flatearthers even if they detect truths elsewhere and I think that rightfully annoys DiEugenio.And still–in spite of this wall of defense–75% of the people think flatearthers are flatearthers.

    1. All the comments I’ve read supporting Jim DiEugenio are good but I think yours is the most elegant one. Both Jim & Jeff are heroes to a multitude of people around the globe desiring both truth & closure in the violent removal of President Kennedy just over 50 years ago. They both are on the same team, they both run onto the field from the same dugout.

      It’s been a while since I read Jim’s review of Jeff Morley’s ‘Our Man In Mexico’; I seem to remember Jim liked it a lot. I, for one, would not want to be on the receiving end of Jim DiEugenio’s writer’s pen when he is on the attack for JFK ‘snake oil’ salesmen.

      From comments I’ve read at various forums & blogs just recently most Jim DiEugenio admirers (me included) were expecting Jim to publish online an expose of Jim Fetzer(who has been practically begging for a online behind smack down from Jim). Philip Shenon evidently struck one of Jim’s deeper nerves.

  12. His takedown of Shenon was well-deserved. It was unconscionable, for Shenon to cite Marina as evidence that Oswald went to Mexico City without first mentioning how she denied this and how she was given what can only be understood as a huge bribe to cooperate with the commission. That is just one example; DiEugenio lays out many. Shenon’s book is a propaganda piece designed to appear “objective.” One is better served by reading DiEugenio’s takedown of the book rather than the book itself.

  13. Jeff, I think you’re one of the good guys so pardon me for a little criticism. A constant problem with websites and blogging on this case, and blogging in general, is the desire to come up with a rapid response. But, the desire to respond quickly seems to impair the time to proof read and catch those spelling errors. I try to look at what I write 3 or 4 times and I still make mistakes myself. The first paragraph above should end with “everyone can agree.”

    I think we need to push for a congressional oversight hearing, limited only to the problems with the implementation of the JFK Act in the absence of the ARRB. It should concentrate on the problem of still withheld records and the possibility that some agencies want to continue to withhold records beyond 2017. I am going through the Federal Register notices the ARRB published and hope to have a listing of documents still withheld. I will have specific RIF numbers. The people who should speak at this hearing would be Jim Lesar and yourself, on the topic of George Joannides; Malcolm Blunt, the most well known and widely respected member of our community who has spent the most time and money researching and acquiring documents from Archives II; and I could comment on the ARRB and give them a list of known documents, with their RIF numbers that are still withheld. I think this must be our goal.

    Thank you,
    Joe Backes

  14. DiEugenio wrote an awesome summary but any author that gets the Meet the Press crowd like Bob Scheiffer to declare, “I had no idea the WC was so dysfunctional,” to Peggy Noonan refer to “deep state” machinations, and for Bob Woodward to draw a line to the current excesses of the national security apparatus, is OK in my book.

    At some point that we’re probably going to need that polite DC society to be fully engaged in addressing the problems of the official story. Shenon’s book has helped move that forward.

  15. What I find most remarkable about you Jeff is that as a card-carrying elite member of the MSM you took on the assassination. You explained why in your speech to the 2013 JFK Lancer conference. I found your whole speech fascinating.

    My amateur’s take on Jim DiEugenio is that he’s an extraordinarily clear thinker and writer and a diligent, open-minded, knowledgeable researcher.

    I continue to learn much important from both of you.

    My anger seethes from time to time at the MSM. Key figures such as Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite have furthered the cause of cover-up so often and to such an extent. I scream inwardly, “What’s the point of the First Amendment!” I share Jim DiEugenio’s impatience with the MSM when it comes to the assassination. It has totally fallen down on the job.

    I’m grateful for the investigative work and writing you’ve done. And wholeheartedly support your call for a definitive clarification this 50th anniversary year of the Warren Report.

  16. Shenon’s book is another limited hang-out. After 50 years, that’s not progress. If the book had come out in the 1970s, it might be more significant. It contains a few juicy tidbits of “new” information, but the overall substance of the book is misleading.

    1. That is absolutely correct, TLR.

      If Mr. Shenon really thinks Oswald ultimately killed President Kennedy, then he is definitely not much of an investigative reporter, or else I’m an unrecognized Rhodes Scholar.

      The current state of the JFK case is to see who can come up with the most creative modified limited hangout, and we hopefully can push past this goofy phase, soon.

      If one of these MSM bozos can finally stand up and declare that Oswald didn’t commit this crime, that push will come all the sooner.

  17. Well said. The community as a whole would be better off if (1) there was a lot more civility in general (including a vast reduction in ad homenim attacks in reviews of people’s works) and (2) researchers made a lot fewer statements of certainty (i.e. “this is incontrovertible evidence of…” or “this conclusively proves that…”). You see the latter statements in virtually all of the 2nd and 3rd tier books on the JFK case.

    Because of the uncertainty of the facts (much of it intentional in my view), we all should be a little humble about what we really know. As JD pointed out, the ARRB records changed a great deal about how we look at the case. It stands to reason that future disclosures might do the same.

  18. Arnaldo M Fernandez

    Shenon connected the WC “finding” of the lone gunman shooting a magic bullet with the long-ago debunked anti-Castro story by Mexican novelist and playwright Elena Garro. He recycled her worthless testimony about Oswald at a “twist” party in Mexico City for transfiguring it as the occasion seized by “DGI agent” Sylvia Duran for putting him up to kill Kennedy.
    That’s quite a cruel and shocking act against the reader nowadays, since even Win Scott made this remark to the Garro allegation in 1964: “She is also nuts.”
    Recycling Garro and twisting Duran hopelessly spoil the party with the rest of the significant stories.

    1. I disagree. With revelations about CIA chicanery with the Warren commission I think these are legitimate areas of discourse. Several witnesses, including several relatives and friends of Sylvia Duran place Oswald at that party and therefore in Mexico. If he wasn’t in Mexico where was he between Sept 25th and October 23rd 1963, the day he checked into the YMCA in Dallas?

  19. We have in this country a Fourth Estate, but one dependent upon corporate largesse in order to function. I’m not saying this is all bad, but it leaves the citizenry vulnerable to corporate spin in the news, even at PBS and NPR, which since Reagan’s presidency have had to shill for donations from corporations and powerful trusts, because individual voluntary citizen donations aren’t enough. Having seen what happens when the State runs the media (USSR, China) I can’t say having government run the show is any better—probably much worse, if the historical track record is any guide. But some kind of independent, freely funded media is essential to democracy and much healthier in the long run.

    Today, with newspapers dying or on life support, cutting back on professional staff, the news is increasingly ‘dumbed down’ and given less depth of coverage, less sophisticated analysis than forty or fifty years ago. The internet is great for free flowing ideas, for independent voices, but it’s weakness is that it is scattered and not as professional as the old newspaper journalism. On TV it’s a disaster, as cable 24/7 “news” has become mostly a joke, just shouting and tabloid spread. Anything too controversial to large corporate donors, who tend to be conservative and anti-democratic, get’s pushed off the table or marginalized in favor of “info-tainment”. News becomes a profit-driven, bottom-line activity. Quality coverage which costs more suffers.

    If we want to improve our MSM, as DiEugenio mentions there is a problem, we need to have tax dollars from everyone go into a pool which the government (monitored by check and balances, Founding Father style power system) funds INdirectly—-money goes in but isn’t tracked beyond the pool base. I don’t know of any better way to protect the Fourth Estate and keep it truly independent—of both governmental tyranny and of corporate tyranny—or both, as they are often aligned (Congress and K St.).

    If someone has a better idea than mine, I’d love to hear it. I’m not being sarcastic here. I really think our media is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s part of the problem with the JFK story. Obviously the internet has played a fantastic role, but I think we need paid full time professionals to really get the most competent coverage, and it must be free and completely independent, and competitively broken up so we don’t get Pravda-like “Newsspeak”.

  20. The continued governmental secrecy surrounding the remaining classified documents related to the JFK assassination is counterproductive to the interests of the United States. Ongoing secrecy on this matter fuels suspicion and distrust and thus undermines confidence in the U.S. government today. The U.S. government prolongs the harm from such distrust for as long as it withholds secrets from the public about the JFK assassination.

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