Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Oliver Stone's 'JFK'

In the spring of 1991, I started writing book reviews in the South Bend Tribune for the purpose of publicizing the fact that the CIA killed President Kennedy and has been running the country into the ground ever since. I reviewed "High Treason" by Harrison Livingstone and Robert Groden, "Crossfire" by Jim Marrs, "On the Trail of the Assassins" by Jim Garrison and several other books. Then, after the mainstream media started attacking Oliver Stone's "JFK," I wrote this op-ed piece. It was published in the South Bend Tribune on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1992

Oliver Stone's 'JFK' might open up more minds to the truth

By MATT BEAL

I was just a third-grader at Jefferson School in South Bend when President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, but I still remember it vividly. I was outside playing on the playground during recess when one of the teachers came out of the building and told us the president was dead.

Those of us who lived nearby were allowed to go home from school early that day, and I remember my mother greeting me at the door in tears. I stayed up later than usual that night to watch the news about the assasssination on television, and I was convinced of Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt.

I was outside playing again when Jack Ruby murdered Oswald two days later, but when I came inside and heard the news, I remember feeling that justice had been done.

Like most Americans, I accepted the U.S. government's official explanation of the events in Dallas when the Warren Commission report came out in September 1964. In fact, I don't think I gave it a second thought until the fall of 1974, when I was a student at the University of Michigan. That's when I saw Abraham Zapruder's film of the assassination for the first time.

A researcher named Jeff Cohen from the Assassination Information Bureau had obtained a copy of the film and brought it with him when he came to Ann Arbor to deliver a lecture on the assassination. I saw the Zapruder film over and over that night, and it was obvious to me that Kennedy had been shot from in front because of the way his entire body was thrown violently backward by the fatal head shot.

The Warren Commission, of course, concluded only three shots were fired that day and that they were all fired by Oswald from the Texas School Book Depository building behind the limousine. That was just one of a multitude of errors in the Warren Report that Cohen pointed out that night.

Some of the errors he referred to were so flagrant that it was difficult to believe what he was saying was true. So I started reading the report and some of the books about the assassination that were available at that time.

Believe me, I didn't want to believe my own government would lie to me. I was a reluctant convert to the conspiracy theory. But the evidence was overwhleming.

Since that time, I have tried to keep up with the controversy as best I could by reading about the case and watching documentariesd about it on television. I have also told what I have learned to anyone who expressed an interest. And what I have discovered is that for the most part, the only people who still think Oswald was the lone assassin are people who have not bothered to obtain the facts. Fortunately, they are in the minority, according to the latest polls on the subject.

One of the most outrageous claims made by the legion of columnists who have recently attacked Oliver Stone's film about the assassination, "JFK," is that no one has ever produced any evidence that there was a conspiracy in the assassination. In fact, there are hundreds of credible books and articles available that are loaded with convincing evidence of a conspiracy.

In the future, some of these skeptics might want to try reading some of this material before revealing their ignorance in a public forum. But that would mean accepting something other than the official government press releases, because the truth about the JFK assassination isn't something the government wants the American public to know.

Unfortunately, most reporters did buy the official government line, and many continue to do so to this day, despite the lessons of Vietnam, Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal, to name just a few examples of lies we have been told by our government. For some, to admit the truth would be to acknowledge they had been co-opted all these years. And that is a difficult thing for any journalist to admit.

Warren Commission apologists have names for people like me. We're known as "conspiracy freaks" or "assassination buffs," as though our interest in this case stems from a morbid fascination with assassinations or a paranoid obsession with conspiracies. In fact, most of us are just ordinary Americans who simply want to know the truth about our government.

Our desire to learn the truth is not limited to the JFK assassination. We also want to know the truth about the CIA's covert operations in Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile and other courtries where democratically elected governments wer overthrown or destabilized as a result of secret U.S. policies.

And we want to know the truth about the mysterious death last summer of Danny Casolaro, the investigative reporter who was working on a book about allegations that the Justice Department stole computer software from Inslaw Inc., a small computer firm based in Washington.

We're from the old-fashioned school of thought that democracy means conducting the business of government out in the open. And yet we are depicted as radicals by the mainstream media.

Our point, and the point Oliver Stone is making in "JFK," is that there are forces controlling our government that we know little about. It will take courage to stand up to them, but unless we do, U.S. policies will continue to be manipulated by this secret government.

"JFK" is an attempt to remind the American public that the crime of the century is still unsolved, and our government is still hiding the truth from us. It is not likely to cause the CIA, FBI or Congress to open their files to the public, but if it succeeds in getting people to open their minds to the truth, it will have done a great service to the American people.

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