(This article, titled “Under CIA Eyes,” first appeared in Counterpunch, Vol. 25 published in January 2020.).
“I was struck by the intimacy and the smallness of the whole surroundings,” said retired CIA officer Rolf Mowatt-Larssen after his first visit to Dealey Plaza in November 2019.
Dealey Plaza, a grassy Art Deco entry point to downtown Dallas, is where President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on November 22, 1963. Hundreds of thousands of people still come from around the world to see the spot where the popular liberal president was ambushed. Many of them have the same reaction to the crime scene: the intimacy, the smallness.
The killing of Lee Harvey Oswald is another key to Rolf Mowatt-Larssen’s JFK analysis. He argues that one of the conspirators had to have had access to the Mafia bosses who could induce Jack Ruby to eliminate the accused assassin as a witness.
Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.
In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and participated in the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.
“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you seen the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”
A recent Daily Mail article on JFK’s assassination highlighted James Johnson’s new book, Murder Inc.: The CIA Under President John F. Kennedy which argues Cuba government may have been involved.
There are many reasons to doubt this conspiracy theory, which I detailed in this 2012 article for Salon. Those reasons still apply. But Johnson is right about one thing: The central role of James Angleton, CIA counterintelligence chief in obstructing the JFK investigation is highly suspicious. Those suspicions, in fact, reached the highest levels of the CIA itself.
One perennial question people have about the JFK story is, Who do you believe? One credible witness is a man named Bill Newman. He was there, about 15 feet from JFK, when the gunfire rang out. His testimony is important.
For the last fifty years, artists have explored the hidden operations of power and the symbiotic suspicion between the government and its citizens that haunts Western democracies. Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy is the first major exhibition to tackle this perennially provocative topic.
I don’t see anything demonstrably false in what CG Harvey said. I believe the story that JFK had invited Italian prostitutes into his bed two at a time but I can’t prove that it’s true. I agree that CG Harvey’s comments need more context.
Twenty four hours after I first started making inquiries about History Channel’s mysteriously delayed documentary series, “JFK Declassified,” I have only received automated replies from HC’s Twitter account, @History, and their customer relations line (firstname.lastname@example.org.) Read more
In this archive footage, famed CNN personality Larry King talks about how he was an aspiring radio announcer in Miami in the late 60s when he interviewed New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, then in the midst of his investigation into JFK’s assassination. Read more