Article 9193 of alt.conspiracy misc.headlines,soc.rights.human,soc.culture.usa, alt.societ
Article 9193 of alt.conspiracy:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John DiNardo)
Subject: Parts I & II, WBAI Radio: Oliver Stone Rebuts Critics of "JFK"
Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1992 22:09:28 GMT
Followup-To: alt.conspiracy, alt.activism.d
Keywords: Oliver Stone rebuts critics of "JFK"
Thanks to Dan Stockman for donating his time and labor in transcribing
this poignant and memorable speech for interested net readers.
The following transcript is from a broadcast by Pacifica Radio station
WBAI-FM Radio (99.5)
505 Eighth Ave., 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10018
Transcript of Oliver Stone's presentation to the National Press Club in
[a conversation with Dave Emory regarding the JFK assassination and other
assassinations will follow in a later post.]
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have been accused by a number of people, some of them
journalists, of a distortion of history. And if there is any common
thread of attack running through the claims of the critics of "JFK",
it is the notion that somehow there is an accepted, settled,
respected, carefully thought out and researched body of history
about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, all of which I have
set out to subvert, using as my weapon the motion picture medium
and taking as my target the impressionable young, who will believe
anything as long as it is visual.
This distortion of history charge has come at me from all
quarters, although it must be said, from people old enough to know
better. And it ignores, deliberately and carefully, the fact that
there is no accepted history of these events, and that terrible
time remains the most undocumented, the most unresearched,
unagreed upon, nonhistoricle period of our history.
One can read in history books the standard two paragraghs
that John F. Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman, who was, in turn,
killed by another earnest vigilante and lone gunman. End of story.
But that theory, put forward in 26 unindexed volumes from the
Warren Commission, from the day it was issued, was never even
believed by the majority of Americans. And the number of people
who disbelieve it increases each year.
Are we really to believe that settled, agreed, sanctified
history includes that Lee Harvey Oswald wrote away for -- under an
easy-to-trace alias -- an innacurate mail order Italian rifle called
by the Italian Army the "humanitarian rifle" because it never
killed anyone when it was deliberately aimed? When he could have
bought an accurate weapon on any street corner in Dallas?
Is it sacred history that this semi-literate high school dropout
from Fort Worth Texas, professing Marxism, was taken into a secret,
highly trained Marine unit at an air base where the U-2 flights
originated in Japan -- given courses in the Russian language,
and then permitted to leave the Marine Corps, on three days notice,
on a trumped up claim of illness of his mother, who days after his
death was the first to make the claim that her son was working for
Is it settled history that he then defected to the
Soviet Union with a request for travel that included a reference
to an obscure Ph.D.'s only graduate institute in Switzerland?
Are we to believe that it is now history -- not to be disturbed
except by people like me -- that he then went to the United States
Embassy in Moscow, announced his intention to defect, and turn over
U.S. secrets to the Russians, and was permitted to go his way?
Is it part of our history which cannot be touched, that he then
returned 18 months later to the same U.S. Embassy, announcing
his intention to resume his American citizenship, and was handed
his passport and some funds to enable him to return home?
Must one be a disturber of the peace to question the
history that says he was met by a CIA front representative when
he returned to the United States and that he was never debriefed
by an intelligence organization, although 25,000 tourists that
year were so debriefed? Why he then merged into the fierce
anti-communist, white Russian community of Dallas, although he
kept up the absurd front of Marxism? Or the equally rabid
anti-communist circle of Guy Bannister in New Orleans?
Or how did Oswald just come to have the job a few weeks
before at the book depository overlooking the precise point in
the motorcade where Kennedy's car took that unusual 11-mph curve?
Or how Oswald came to be spotted by patrolman Marion Baker, only
90 seconds after the sixth floor shooting, on the second floor
floor having a Coca-Cola and showing no signs of being out of breath?
Or the too neat stashing of the rifle without prints
and the three cartridges laid out side by side at the window?
Or Oswald's cool and calm behavior that weekend, or his statement
that he was a "patsy"? Am I a distorter of history to question why
Allen Dulles, who was fired by JFK from the CIA -- which JFK said he
would splinter into a thousand pieces - why was Mr. Dulles
appointed to the Warren Commission to investigate Mr. Kennedy's
murder, and so on, and so on, and so on?
To accept this settled version of history, which must
not be disturbed lest one call down the venom of leading journalists
from around the country, one must also believe the absurd single
bullet theory of the Warren Commission which holds that one bullet
caused seven wounds in Kennedy and Connally, breaking two dense
bones and coming out clean. No metal missing, no blood, no tissue,
or anything on it. It's path, as you know, utterly ludicrous;
entering Kennedy's back on a downward trajectory, changing
direction, exiting up to his throat; pausing for 1.6 seconds
before deciding to attack Connally [audience laughter];
then turning right, then left, then right again, hitting
Connally at the back of his right armpit, heading downward to
his chest, taking a right turn in to Connally's wrist, shattering
the radius bone, and exiting his wrist. The bullet launches
one last assault, takes a dramatic U-turn, and buries itself in
Connally's left thigh. Later, the bullet turns up five miles from
the scene of the crime on a stretcher in the corridor at Parkland
Hospital, in pristine condition.
No, ladies and gentlemen, this is not history; this is
myth. It is a myth that a scant number of Americans have ever
believed. It is a myth that has sustained a generation of
journalists and historians who have refused to examine it, who
have refused to question it, and above all, who close ranks
to criticize and vilify those who do.
So long as the attackers of that comforting lone gunman
theory could be dismissed as kooks, and cranks, and the writers
of obscure books that wouldn't be published by "reputable"
publishing houses, not much defense was needed. But now that myth
is under attack by a well financed, and I hope, a well made motion
picture with all the vivid imagery and new energy that the screen
can convey. Now, either enormous amounts of evidence must be
marshalled in support of that myth, or else those who question it
must be attacked. There is no evidence, so therefore the attack is on.
Some journalists of the 60s are self appointed keepers
of the flame. They talk about our history and fight savagely
against those who would question it. But confronted by the crime
of the century, with no motive, and hardly any alleged perpetrators,
they stand mute.
Where, in the last 20 years, have we seen serious research
by Tom Wicker, Dan Rather, Anthony Lewis, George Lardner, and Kent
Knauckenklaus[?], into Lee Harvey Oswald's movements in the months
and years before Nov. 22, 1963? Where have we seen any analysis of
why Oswald, who many say adored Kennedy, alone among assassins in
history would not only deny his guilt, but claim he was a patsy?
Can one imagine John Wilkes Booth leaping to the stage of Ford's
theater, turning to the audience and shouting: "I didn't kill anyone!
I'm just a patsy"?
One might ask the journalists who have suddenly emerged
as the defenders of history, what is THEIR sense of history?
How much work has the sage of Bethesda, George Will, done in the
twenty years he has been a columnist, to try to uncover the answers
to some of the dark secrets of Dallas `63? Will Tom Wicker and
Dan Rather spend their retirement years examining the possibility
of a second or third gunman? Or will they content themselves with
savaging those who do?
Why is no one questioning Richard Helms, who lied to the
Warren Commission when he said the CIA had no knowledge of Lee
Harvey Oswald? Or why is no one asking for the files of Operation
Mongoose which may be at the very heart of this conspiracy?
Or why is no one questioning Mr. Hoover's memo of 1961 outlining
the fact that someone was using Oswald's name, when he was in
Russia, to buy trucks for the Guy Bannister aparatus in New Orleans?
Why are none of the reporters questioning Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty
in depth, or historian John Newman, or Marina Oswald Porter,
who says her husband was working for something bigger? Or question
the hit man, Charles Harelson, who is in maximum security?
Let them deny what they will, but at least ask them.
There is more truth-seeking going on in Russia right now
than there is in our own country. What "JFK" had brought out is
that those who talk the most about history have no commitment to it.
The central historical question raised by "JFK", of course,
has not to do with the tramps in Dealy Plaza, not with who might
have been firing from the grassy knoll, not with the coalition of
Cubans, mobsters, exiles, rouge intelligence officers by whom the
conspiracy might have been concocted -- but by the darker stain on
the American ground in the 60s and 70s: Vietnam. It is Vietnam
which has become the bloody shirt of American politics, replacing
slavery of a hundred years before. Just as we did not resolve,
if we ever did, the great battle over slavery until a hundred years
after the Civil War when we passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
so it becomes clear that the Vietnam War becomes the watershed of
our time. And the divisions in our country among our people opened
up by it seem to get wider and wider with each passing year.
"JFK" suggests that it was Vietnam that led to the
assassination of John Kennedy; that he became too dangerous,
too strong an advocate for changing the course of the Cold War;
too clear a proponent of troop withdrawal for those who supported
the idea of a war in Vietnam, and later came to support the war itself.
Was President Kennedy withdrawing from Vietnam? Had he
indicated strongly his intention to do so? Had he committed himself
firmly -- and against all hawkish advice to the contrary --
to opposing the entry of U.S. combat troops? The answer to these
questions is, unequivocably, yes. As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has
attested, and Major John Newman -- a young historian here on this
dias who has devoted himself to a ten-year study of this -- can
attest .... His book, "JFK in Vietnam", a major work coming next
month, when it is published, will surely contribute more heavily
than any other volume of immediate military history to the solution
of this question. Major Newman makes it very clear that President
Kennedy signaled his intention to withdraw from Vietnam in a
variety of ways, and put it firmly on the record with National
Security Action Memorandum 263 in October of 1963.
Those who say that it was no more than a call for a
rotation of troops or a gimmick, and that the Johnsom NASM,
within two weeks of the assassination, merely confirmed the policy,
ignore the obvious question. If LBJ was merely continuing Kennedy's
policies, why was it necessary to reverse the NSAM?
So the protectors of Vietnam, the new wavers of the bloody
shirt, leap to attack the central premise of "JFK". "Oliver Stone
is distorting history again," they say, "by even suggesting that
John Kennedy was positioning us for a withdrawal from Vietnam."
But the protectors of history had very little to say five years
ago when it was suggested in a motion picture that Mozart had not
died peacefully, but had been murdered by a rival and second-rate
composer. Where were all the cultural protectors when Peter Schafer
was distorting history with "Amadeus"? The answer, of course,
is that it wasn't worth the effort. Eighteenth century Vienna,
after all, is not twentieth century Vietnam. If Mozart was murdered
by Salieri, it would not change one note of that most precious
music. But, if John F. Kennedy was killed because he was determined
to withdraw from Vietnam, then we must fix the blame for the only
lost war in our history, for fifty-eight thousand American dead,
and for the unhealed split in our country, right where it belongs.
I've been ridiculed, and worse, for suggesting the
existence of a conspiracy -- as though only kooks, and cranks,
and extremists suggest their existence. But this is the wrong city
in which to ridicule people who believe in conspiracies.
Is it inconceivable that the President of the United States
could sit at the heart of a criminal conspiracy designed to cover-up
a crime? We know what happened! We would have impeached him for it,
had he not resigned, just one jump ahead. Is it so far-fetched to
believe in a high level conspiracy involving the White House, the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Air Force, and the CIA to bomb a neutral
country and lie about it in military reports to the rest of the
country? But it happened! Perhaps more than once. Is it inconceivable
that the National Security Council leadership, with or without the
knowledge of the President of the United States, and with the
collaboration of the Director of the CIA -- not just a few rouges --
could be engaged in a massive conspiracy to ship arms to our sworn
enemy, with the casual hope that a few hostages might be released
as a result? But it happened! Does it offend our sense of propriety
to suggest that an Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America
might have regularly lied to Congress about raising money abroad
to perform things which Congress had forbidden them to do?
But that happened! Is it inconceivable that a campaign manager,
later to become the CIA Director, negotiated with a foreign
country to keep American hostages imprisoned in order to ensure
the election of his candidate? WE SHALL SEE! [laughter, applause]
I think no one thinks that it is out of the question anymore.
So when I suggest that a conspiracy invloving elements
of a government, people in the CIA, people in the FBI, perhaps
people associated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- all in the
service of the "military-industrial complex" that President
Eisenhower warned us about -- might have conspired to kill
John Fitzgerald Kennedy because he was going to sharply change
the direction of American foreign policy, is it not appropriate
to at least look for evidence?
What was Allen Dulles [CIA Director] really up to in
those months? Or Charles Cabell, also fired by JFK? Or his brother,
Earl, the Mayor of Dallas?
Thomas Jefferson urged: [if truth competes in] the free
marketplace of ideas -- it will prevail. There is, as yet, no
marketplace in history for the years of the Kennedy assassination
and immediately afterward. Let us begin to create one.
What I have tried to do with this movie is to open a stall
in that marketplace of ideas and offer a version of what might
have happened, as against the competing versions of what we know
did not happen -- and some other possible versions, as well.
I am happy to say -- based not only on the nine million
people who've already seen the movie, but on the facts that they
take away with them from the movie -- that our new stall in the
marketplace of ideas is doing a very brisk business. We expect
that by the time this film has played out in video cassettes, etc.,
that another fifty million or so Americans will have a little
more information on their history.
I am very proud of the fact that "JFK" has been a part of
the momentum to open previously closed files in the matter of the
assassination. Congressman Louis Stokes of Ohio, who chaired the
House Committee on the Assassination, has expressed his willingness
to consider the opening of the files -- closed, as you know, until
the year 2029. And I am hopeful that his consideration will ripen
into approval. In addition, Judge William Webster, formerly the
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and of the CIA,
has indicated his strong opinion that all of the files -- all of
the files ... House Committee, CIA and FBI among them -- be made
public, a proposal I was extremely pleased last weekend to see
endorsed by Senator Edward Kennedy.
In the meantime, we are grateful to Congressman Stokes,
Congressman Lee Hamilton, Judge Webster, Senator Kennedy, and
others who have indicated a willingness to consider opening these
files. Now, if the Army and Navy Intelligence services will join
suit, it is my hope that the American people will have the full
history of this assassination. Thank you.
WBAI-FM Radio is a non-commercial, listener-sponsored station
of the Pacifica Radio network. Their commitment to bringing you
unedited, uninterrupted information, not divulged in the mainstream
media, is only possible through people like yourself. If you like
what you've read of their broadcasts, and you would like the idea
of a group committed to this type of work -- please let them know.
Contact Valerie van Isler, General Manager
505 Eighth Ave., 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10018 (212) 279-0707
Dan Stockman _____________________________________________
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