Why does the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy remain important?
That was the question I posed to help open this year’s major conference about the 50th anniversary of the murder investigation’s findings. C-SPAN’s American History TV cablecast my talk this month, along with other event lectures linked below.
My answer to the question:
Our major institutions and their leaders, to their shame, still support the murder investigation’s official findings in the Warren Commission report issued in the fall of 1964.
Yet that report stands discredited as evidenced from revelations by courageous witnesses and four million pages of once-secret documents, now summarized in two thousand books and many prominent films. Inspired in part by the dramatized version in Oliver Stone’s JFK, the general public has moved from acceptance of the official findings, to questions, and now to legitimate disbelief. Gallup Polls have shown well over 70 percent do not believe the key Warren Commission findings about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. One of most recent thorough polls last November showed public disbelief by a 2:1 margin.
That result regarding the crime of the century taints our current government and watchdog institutions.
Congress, for example, has failed to enforce its own JFK Act of 1992, which required that all relevant documents be declassified. The CIA and National Archives are withholding documents, supposedly until 2017. But no guarantee exists that documents would be released even then.
Most news outlets have stubbornly failed to pursue logical follow-up investigations probing the suspects and their institutions.
These failures inspire cynicism, apathy, fear or greed in ways that undermine democracy and sound public policies. The economy, elections, law enforcement, war and taxes are each affected by the cover-up, as readily shown by serious researchers.
That was the gist of my remarks helping open a research conference about the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report. The commission led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren pinned the murder’s blame exclusively on Oswald as a lone gunman who fired at the presidential motorcade from the rear.
Rare among mainstream news organizations, C-SPAN has covered recent developments in-depth. C-SPAN, for example, this month cablecast my remarks and those of more than a half-dozen other speakers at the conference organized by the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), a non-partisan non-profit founded in 1984. A photo above shows the opening.
The C-SPAN videos are below, along with links to 18 previous segments in our Justice Integrity Project “Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination.” Our guide lists the most significant research materials in books, videos, documents, reports, events and research archives. The catalogs display substantial work regardless of viewpoint, and thus includes that of the Warren Commission and such defenders as Vincent Bugliosi, Howard Willens, Philip Shenon, James Swanson, and Gerald Posner during recent years. Included also are works by such authors as Fletcher Prouty, James Douglass, Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone alleging murder cover-up conspiracy reaching the highest levels both parties and agencies.
Other columns by our Project offer interpretation and extensive sourcing. My own recent book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, documents that high-level elected officials are often groomed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies before entering politics, and thus know and fear their power more than the average citizen.
In a similar serious manner, AARC organized its event around the theme: “The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures.”
Nearly 50 speakers and more than 200 attendees convened at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, MD from Sept. 26-28, 2014. Following editing, C-SPAN has begun cablecasting highlights during recent Sundays, with materials archived for view on demand for free as part of the cable industry-funded network’s ongoing public service.
The speakers at the AARC conference drew on their expertise in such varied fields as military intelligence, national security, history, medicine, and acoustical engineering.
These experts, most with decades of research experience and advanced degrees, cited evidence that the Warren report could not have been correct in casting all blame on Oswald because, among many other reasons, Kennedy was killed by a shot from the front.
Speakers focused heavily on motives for killers and their oft-unwitting accomplices. As a result, major security lapses occurred at the crucial time and place in Dallas, with no Secret Service, city or county police deployed in the killing zone of downtown Dealey Plaza.
Kennedy’s approximate location at his death is shown on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza with an “X” in my photo last fall. Oswald’s alleged “sniper’s nest” described by the Warren Commission was near the top of the Texas Book Depository at JFK’s rear.
But the book building’s sixth floor was nearly three times the distance from the “X” as the picket fence visible on the so-called Grassy Knoll. Most witnesses identified the knoll or fence area as a source of gunfire — evidence the commission ignored or simply dismissed as “not credible” for the most part.
The commission led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren ostensibly conducted a thorough and unbiased investigation. Revelations since then have indicated its major purpose from the outset was to blame Oswald with merely a superficial look at contrary evidence and additional suspects.
Neglected on purpose, we now know, were investigative leads linking Oswald to military intelligence, the CIA, the FBI, organized crime and Cuban exiles in web that potentially led to the highest levels of government involving both parties and important private sector supporters.
Space does not permit treatment right here of those allegations and their evidence. This column’s main focus is to recap why our Project’s ongoing investigations of current corruption in Washington leads directly back to the JFK killing and its aftermath as a turning point in the nation’s history.