We are in Gallup, New Mexico, a bustling reservation/casino town near the Arizona border. After a long and tiring day drive through snow, slush and freezing rain, I was the potential cause of a vehicular accident driving last night, and had two near-misses merely going to Safeway. It was all I could do to park and hit the hay. I was a dangerous man.
I listened to an interview with Oliver Stone as we traveled yesterday. I’ve heard him speak before, and find him to be an intensely curious man who suffers fools with some grace. Possessing a high-profile, he can’t be ignored in popular culture, but he is marginalized. His movie JFK crosses the line where real journalists do not truck, and his recent TV documentary/book, Untold History of the United States is offensive to “real” historians, who are not allowed to discuss the subjects he does.
He talked about his first meetings with two important men in American history, James Garrison, the only man ever to take the official findings of the Warren Commission before a court, and Fletcher Prouty, an American military officer who has written about the formation of the CIA and the details of how it spread its tentacles throughout American government. He found them both to be reticent and untrusting, and understood, as both had been under attack by the CIA slime masters. It took time to gain their trust, but he formed lasting friendships with both.
In the movie JFK, Prouty is played by Donald Sutherland, and is a man who emerges front the shadows to inform Kevin Costner’s Garrison about how the decision to murder JFK came about.
- Interesting side note: Most of the important officers of Kennedy’s cabinet had been dispatched overseas on 11/22/63, and were in flight over the Pacific when news arrived of the assassination. The pilot needed to communicate with Washington to get instructions and send messages, but found that the current code book usually on board was gone. Just as with the phone system in DC going down for several hours that day, the makers of this coup d’état had done their details, dispatching important officials and shutting down communications, as in any banana republic.
Prouty had been dispatched to Antarctica and was in Christchurch, New Zealand when he heard the news, and immediately sent out for the local newspaper. There he found a complete profile of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin. It was quite surprising, in retrospect, because given the twenty hour time difference, Oswald had only just that moment been arrested in Dallas. In other words, AP had the complete Oswald profile in advance, but let it go out too early. This assassination was well conceived and carried out, but they’re were many, many mistakes, this but one.
Stone’s movie JFK has weathered the test of time, and stands up well. He could not have known that the Zapruder film had been altered, and so relied too heavily on it. But the movie forced creation of the Assassinations Records Review Board, a so-so group that oversees [non] release of a government documents around the events of the sixties – there were many, many assassinations, JFK’s only the most prominent. CIA and other agencies are less prone these days to murder people if it can be avoided, as character assassination works as well. Men like Anthony Weiner, for example, having private peccadilloes, are as good as dead in the public eye, and so get to live.
Even so, anytime there is a prominent automobile or small plane crash, suicide, drug overdose or death by galloping cancer or heart attack at a young age, I immediately suspect Murder Incorporated, the CIA or FBI, as having a hand. I’ve simply seen too much. As the marble floor display says in the entrance to CIA’s Langley, Virginia headquarters,
No Person, No Problem The Truth Will Set You Free. Thousands upon thousands who knew too much truth have been set free by this agency.
Stone said something in passing that made me chuckle. During the time of the 50th anniversary of the JFK murder, there was a nationwide media lockdown. Nothing but official lies were allowed to pass our airwaves. Even Dallas itself was locked down, and no critics of official truth were allowed near Dealey Plaza. This was done, Stone said, so that the latest generation of kids who might be curious about real history see nothing that stimulates curiosity. They want the Oswald story to be the only story our kids ever see.
In that light, AP reporters now refer to Oswald as “the” assassin of JFK, the word “alleged” now dropped.
That didn’t make me chuckle. Something else did. Stone said that as part of NBC’s coverage of the fiftieth, he did a one-hour interview with Tom Brokaw, which of course was reduced to a nondescript thirty-second clip by the “news” editors. But Stone’s reaction to having spent one hour with Brokaw is was caught my attention, and affirmed my own impression.
“Tom Brokaw is a bit of a moron,” he said. It wasn’t a bitter statement. He’s long understood the real role of American news media, to lie in a believable manner. It was just a passing note. Brokaw really is a bit of a moron.