Stone’s Throw to Consequence in JFK

DATELINE: Movie History Literally

 Kirkwood's Grotesque  

Twenty-five years after Oliver Stone’s conspiratorial extravaganza, with more Kennedy assassination documents released weekly, it may be time to re-consider JFK.

The movie has become legend—and now checks in at a length worthy of Ben Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. Yet, that still is not enough.

The movie is the ultimate docudrama, providing theory and re-enactments about the death of an American president in Dallas in 1963. Many of the arcane details that made Stone’s movie seem fantastic have become ingrained into the epitome of fake news turned into fake history. As Pontius Pilate once succinctly put it, “What is truth?”

Stone takes the same approach as Jim Garrison: he uses the system to present ideas, in some ways abusing the process and going outside the usual parameters.

Oliver Stone went for the sensational: casting the most minor roles with notable, famous actors. It gave credence to the view that many people, especially celebrities, agreed with his perspective of the facts. He believed Clay Shaw was an assassin’s conspirator.

On top of that, he even cast the aging Jim Garrison as Chief Justice Earl Warren interviewing Jack Ruby in his prison cell shortly before his fateful death from cancer. Tommy Lee Jones made a dandy Shaw, and Kevin Bacon sizzled as the ersatz Russo.

Garrison’s conspiracy case against Clay Shaw, New Orleans businessman with a salacious private life, was built on reports from Perry Russo, who died in 1995 shortly after the movie was released. But, the Russo character turned to stone, or a pillar of salt, suddenly called Willie O’Keefe, a gay hustler who put Lee Oswald into the maelstrom of New Orleans double agent gay life. Russo always claimed he was maligned, but not by his associations.

Whether the connected dots actually mean there was conspiracy, or just coincidental dots connecting, may never be known with witnesses wiped out by accidents, murders, illness, and mystery deaths over the decade after the Kennedy assassination.

We are far more likely today to accept a movie as our historical reference than ever before. With that, Oliver Stone’s well-produced film gains credence. The viewing public who won’t read history are clearly condemned to accept re-enactments in a movie.

Garrison’s case was a case of self-delusion, or invisible and secret government sabotage.

Our friend Jim Kirkwood covered the original trial and befriended Clay Shaw, but Jim always had a penchant and soft spot for killers and those accused of unsavory acts. He called his book on Clay Shaw and Jim Garrison by the appropriate title of American Grotesque.

When we tried to bait him over drinks about the Clay Shaw case in the 1980s, he wouldn’t bite. It left us uneasy then, and later when the JFK movie came out, we were confounded. Jim Kirkwood was gone to the undiscovered country and so was his insider knowledge.

Today, when the latest documents hint at deeper, uglier, unpleasant details, we wish Jimmy Kirkwood were still here to see us dangle on the hook of conspiracy.

Stone’s JFK throws us for a loop still.

Dr. William Russo has written two timely books: Riding James Kirkwood’s Pony, on Kirkwood’s life, and Booth & Oswald, on the assassins.

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Not John Wayne’s Searchers

DATELINE:  Ultimate Patsy

bocover Booth & Oswald

The 2017 documentary takes an unusual angle to examine the Kennedy Assassination by focusing on the many, many private researchers who have devoted their lives to uncovering the truth.

They have fought valiantly against slander, libel, and the CIA stooges who have denigrated their work. These include a mostly aging group, including forensic doctor Cyril Wecht, and the late searchers Mark Lane and John Judge.  These three exemplify a group that has taken on history’s blinders.

If you don’t think something is hidden, then you don’t know that most important documents are sealed for another 25 years. Most of the culprits who either were responsible for President Kennedy’s death, or covered it up, will be way beyond earthly justice.

The CIA has admitted there have been hundreds of journalists working for them, some exclusively on denigrating any attack on the Warren Commission, the voluminous monstrosity created by CIA Director Allen Dulles who hated the Kennedys. Trump is right about the fake news and corrupt media: it starts with the Kennedy cover-up with media plants.

The documentary takes direct aim at the excusers of conspiracy. Indeed, the notion of “assassination buff” or “conspiracy theorist” was coined by the CIA and its minions to put a negative connotation on those who disagreed that Oswald acted alone.

The documentary pulls no punches in putting a shame on Dan Rather for his early lies and Gerald Posner for continuing the sham.

Meticulous private investigators are now aging and falling by the wayside. It was the plan all along—when the heretics die off, all that will be left is the coverup story.

Fascinating compilation of searchers, researchers, and fading information is well-worth the attention of a new generation.

ultimate patsy

Oswald Revisited Again

DATELINE: Marrs’ Crossed Fire & Russo’s Booth/Oswald

Jim Marrs is best known as an alternative historian. His finger seems to be in every pie from Ancient Aliens to gold as an elixir of life, and now and then he pulls out a plum. He is about as reliable as The Farmer’s Almanac in the eyes of many.

So it is with Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy.  This short, highly charged film is based on his book, but more direct and chock full of interesting tidbits seldom considered or seen by conspiracy enthusiasts.

Simply directed by J. Michael Long, Marrs sits at his desk and lectures with appropriate and intriguing evidence, pictures and film clips, to make his point that much evidence has been altered, obfuscated, and falsified.

All these felonies have been given a bum’s rush by officials who want to cover up the 1963 coup d’etat that Marrs insists occurred.

The documentary goes hard into proving Oswald was a patsy, had a double, and was victimized by Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. It’s heady stuff, but rough handling of the law made it easier.

Of course, many people will dismiss the fake news—though it’s becoming harder to determine who exactly faked the news. And which news is fake.

In our book of a few years back, Booth & Oswald, we did not examine their assassinations, but their educations and childhoods to discern if they were products of their learning curve.  We found Oswald less capable of working in tandem with anyone than the gregarious Booth, and more likely to make arrogant, poor decisions to his own detriment.

If Marrs is correct, when the government is out to get you, and the media is putty, your niche in history is guaranteed to be out of your own hands.

This movie is a disturbing look at the twists or turns of justice and injustice.