(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.
“Why am I doing this?” Rolf Mowatt-Larssen asked the audience at the Coalition Against Political Assassinations’ conference in Dallas. “As a CIA officer it’s a little controversial. What is my goal? My goal is to have an answer [about who killed JFK] for myself and my children.” That may sound overly ingenuous to some, but most people in the room, myself included, had the same agenda.
Mowatt-Larssen was nine years old when he heard the news from Dallas.
CIA veteran Rolf Mowatt-Larseen proposed a “thought experiment” to the November 2019 JFK conference in Dallas. He reverse-engineered the lone gunman scenario, posing a question both novel and incisive.
“How can you get away with a really elaborate but very simple plan of deception, to end up in a place where the president is dead and it is blamed on someone else, other than the people who perpetrated it?” he asked. “Not easy.”
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.
Fifty-two years ago this week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s last resort for all criminal cases, reversed Ruby’s murder conviction and death sentence and ordered a new trial because of the trial judge’s egregious legal errors. Because Ruby died before he could be retried, in the eyes of the law, he will always be an innocent man.
Jackie Kennedy’s bloodstained pink Chanel suit tells more acutely than any other image the story of what happened in Dallas on Friday, Nov. 22. But the notes she prepared for her personal assistant, Providencia Paredes, read as stage directions for a weekend of political theater and a catalog of the wardrobe that made her the most fashionable first lady of the 20th century, referenced by her successors to this day.
Orville Nix was a bystander with a movie camera in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. He gave his film of JFK’s assassination to the FBI. The Bureau later gave him back a second-generation copy of the film. The original is still missing. Read more
Did you know JFK’s assassination “produced a mountainous range of forgotten, discarded and ghostly vinyl artifacts?” Some were briefly notorious: Bob Dylan’ rant about Oswald and Mick Jagger’s sneer, “Who killed the Kennedys?” Others were forgotten but popular music often echoed November 22. Read more
In his era, Johnson was rightly vilified in his escalation of the Vietnam War, but in other areas of legislation (the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the anti-poverty Great Society) LBJ sought to uplift the underclass in this country, based on an empathy that is smartly expressed in the film. The assassination of JFK was a shocking act, and it was Johnson in the aftermath who had to reset the path of a nation.