The JFK Files: The Crime of the Century
In this piece JFK expert H.C. Nash brings us up to date on what has gone on with the Assassination of John F. Kennedy before the big release of the latest batch of ARRB documents.
(LTTE, Wiliamsport Sun-Gazette, 3-20-2012)
In 1964 the Warren Commission issued a report on President Kennedy's assassination that framed Lee Harvey Oswald and did nothing to bring to justice those responsible for "the crime of the century."
In 1975 Gerald Ford appointed The President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States, chaired by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and including a cadre of highly conservative figures of the political and military establishments. Its executive director was David W. Belin, an attorney who had served as an assistant counsel on the Warren Commission and thereafter devoted himself to a public defense of its conclusions.
A poll indicated that 43 percent of the public anticipated "another cover-up."
"The Rockefeller Commission" cleared the CIA of any involvement in the Kennedy assassination. But between 1970 and 1980 the percentage of Americans who believed that the CIA was involved doubled, and would continue to expand.
In 1979 the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) reported evidence of Mob involvement in the murders of JFK and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It mandated an investigative follow-up by the Justice Department, which would stall for literally a decade and produce absolutely nothing of value.
In 1992, following the huge cultural impact of director Oliver Stone's JFK, Congress enacted the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, which called for the creation of an independent panel of qualified, prominent citizens--the Assassination Records Review Board--to ensure the public release of virtually every JFK document maintained in secrecy by agencies of the federal government. Its broadest objective? To restore a measure of public trust in the government that represents us.
In September of 1998 the ARRB, having reviewed some 270,000 documents and secured the release of the vast majority of them to the National Archives for public access, published its report. A former naval officer named Doug Horne was the author of a thoroughly detailed study entitled "The State of the Medical Evidence."
Horne's most dramatic conclusion is this: "I am 90 to 95 percent certain that the photographs in the Archives are not of President Kennedy's brain. If they aren't, that can mean only one thing--that there has been a cover-up of the medical evidence . . . . The
second brain was consistent with a shot from behind [that is, from the Texas School Book Depository]. The first was not."
Multiple contradictions between the x-rays and official forensic photographs of JFK's corpse at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, not to mention multiple contradictions between the notes and impressions of the Bethesda team of pathologists and the Trauma Room doctors and nurses who had handled JFK's body at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a deliberate fraud was perpetrated by officials of the U.S. government to conceal the conspiracy that assassinated the president. .
For decades some three-quarters of the American people have expressed their (often vague) conviction that a conspiracy was at work in Dallas almost half a century ago, and that Lee Oswald was either part of a conspiracy or set up by conspirators as the hapless "patsy."
Yet only a pitiful fraction of the residents of Lycoming County, one might guess, has ever devoted serious study to any of the more than 700 books on the JFK case, including five or six new ones since 2000 that in relying on newly declassified government material have crucially illuminated the darkest contexts of JFK's "elimination."
As to the Assassination Records Review Board and Doug Horne's sterling work, one can only wonder at the indifference of librarians at James V. Brown Library, Lycoming College's Snowden Library, and Pennsylvania College of Technology's Madigan Library--not one of whom has proved sufficiently well informed or politically conscious to see that the ARRB report is available to their patrons.
What has happened to "the American mind" that has permitted complacency and denial to trump simple citizen-like curiosity in the public sphere? What has happened to the passion for truth and justice in issues that have had incalculable impacts on the lives of three generations here at home, and in fact on countless human beings abroad in the projection of U.S. power? To what degree has increasingly reactionary corporate control of U.S. media contributed to this decline?
"Injustice," wrote H.L. Mencken, "is relatively easy to bear. What stings is justice."
H.C. (Harry) Nash