The CIA assassinated JFK, RFK and MLK

by Peter Myers

Date April 8, 2020; update August 18, 2021.

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(1) Bob Dylan on the assassination of JFK
(2) CIA agent Robert D. Morrow confesses his role, and the CIA's, in the assassination of JFK
(3) E Howard Hunt deathbed confession
of his role in assassination on JFK - Rolling Stone
(4) Operation Northwoods (1962)
(5) Robert F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Thomas Merton likewise
(6) Washington Post and NYT each make only brief mention of Dylan's song "Murder Most Foul"
(7) Oliver Stone's new documentary JFK Revisited ignored by the MSM
(8) JFK Revisited - Review by UK Telegraph
(9) JFK Revisited - Review by Hollywood Reporter

(1) Bob Dylan on the assassination of JFK

by Peter Myers, April 8, 2020

Bob Dylan recently released a song on the assassination of JFK, titled "Murder Most Foul".

He rejects the official "lone gunman" story. Instead, Dylan depicts the assassination as a conspiracy, with LBJ one of the leaders. "We've already got someone here to take your place"

video at

lyrics at

[Verse 1]

It was a dark day in Dallas, November '63
A day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was a-ridin' high
Good day to be livin' and a good day to die
Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
He said, "Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?"
"Of course we do, we know who you are!"
Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car
Shot down like a dog in broad daylight
Was a matter of timing and the timing was right
You got unpaid debts, we've come to collect
We're gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect
We'll mock you and shock you and we'll put it in your face
We've already got someone here to take your place
The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone's eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done
Wolfman, oh Wolfman, oh Wolfman, howl
Rub-a-dub-dub, it's a murder most foul

(2) CIA agent Robert D. Morrow confesses his role, and the CIA's, in the assassination of JFK

CIA agent Robert D. Morrow confessed his role, and the CIA's, in the assassination of JFK, in his book First Hand Knowledge: How I Participated in the CIA-Mafia Murder of President Kennedy, published in 1992.

The assassination grew out of the CIA attempts to overthrow Castro. They thought that "the only good commie is a dead one".

Kennedy stopped their plan for invasion, at the Bay of Pigs, and also threatened to smash the CIA into a thousand pieces.

The CIA already had an alliance with the Mafia and anti-Castro vigilante groups in Miama. When Kennedy blocked them, they deemed him soft on Communism, and a menace to the USA, and activated their network against him.

Morrow reveals that his CIA case-officer, Tracy Barnes, asked him to purchase and modify rifles for the assassination:

"My involvement with the plans to assassinate John F. Kennedy commenced at the end of June, 1963. On July 1, I was contacted by Tracy Barnes. He requested that I purchase four Mannlicher 7.35 mm surplus rifles. According to Barnes, the rifles were available in the Baltimore area from Sunny's Supply stores. Upon my agreement to make the purchase, Barnes requested that I alter the forepiece of each rifle so that the rifles could be dismantled, hidden and reassembled quickly. I thought this last request odd until I was informed that the rifles were to be used for a clandestine operation. One day later I received a second phone call. It was del Valle calling from, I assumed, Miami. He asked me to supply him with four transceivers which were not detectable by any communications equipment then available on the market." (pp. 204-5).

One of the surprises in Morrow's account is that the perpetrators intended that the assassination of JFK would be blamed on Castro. This would then justify an American invasion of Cuba, in retaliation (as in Operation Northwoods).

I put the book online at Morrow-CIA-JFK.html .

(3) E Howard Hunt deathbed confession of his role in assassination on JFK - Rolling Stone

Wikipedia mentions this confession:

Everette Howard Hunt, Jr. (October 9, 1918 ­ January 23, 2007), better known as E. Howard Hunt, was an American intelligence officer ... From 1949 to 1970, Hunt served as an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). [...]

After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Hunt was reassigned as Executive Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Allen W. Dulles. [...]

Hunt was undeniably bitter about what he perceived as President John F. Kennedy's lack of commitment in overthrowing the communist government of Cuba. [...]

"Deathbed confession" of involvement in Kennedy assassination

After Hunt's death, Saint John Hunt and David Hunt stated that their father had recorded several claims about himself and others being involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Notes and audio recordings were made. In the April 5, 2007, issue of Rolling Stone, Saint John Hunt detailed a number of individuals purported to be implicated by his father, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Cord Meyer, David Phillips, Frank Sturgis, David Morales, Antonio Veciana, William Harvey, and an assassin he termed "French gunman grassy knoll" who many presume was Lucien Sarti.

This page was last edited on 20 February 2020, at 03:28 (UTC).

The mainstream media ignored Hunt's confession - did not publish it. But Rolling Stone magazine published an article about it:

The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt

He was the ultimate keeper of secrets, lurking in the shadows of American history. He toppled banana republics, planned the Bay of Pigs invasion and led the Watergate break-in. Now he would reveal what he'd always kept hidden: who killed JFK


Posted Apr 05, 2007 1:15 PM

[...] E. Howard scribbled the initials "LBJ," standing for Kennedy's ambitious vice president, Lyndon Johnson. Under "LBJ," connected by a line, he wrote the name Cord Meyer. Meyer was a CIA agent whose wife had an affair with JFK; later she was murdered, a case that's never been solved. Next his father connected to Meyer's name the name Bill Harvey, another CIA agent; also connected to Meyer's name was the name David Morales, yet another CIA man and a well-known, particularly vicious black-op specialist. And then his father connected to Morales' name, with a line, the framed words "French Gunman Grassy Knoll."

So there it was, according to E. Howard Hunt. LBJ had Kennedy killed. It had long been speculated upon. But now E. Howard was saying that's the way it was. And that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't the only shooter in Dallas. There was also, on the grassy knoll, a French gunman, presumably the Corsican Mafia assassin Lucien Sarti, who has figured prominently in other assassination theories.

(4) Operation Northwoods (1962)

Operation Northwoods was a Deep State plot against Cuba and JFK. Information on Operation Northwoods was revealed by James Bamford in his book Body of Secrets.

CIA papers on Operation Northwoods were released about 1995, as part of an investigation into the assassination of JFK.

Body of Secrets

by James Bamford

DOUBLEDAY. New York. 2001

{p. 82} According to secret and long-hidden documents obtained for Body of Secrets, the Joint Ghiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be.the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government. In the name of anticommunism, they proposed launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.

Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.

{p. 85} "Hijacking attempts against civil air and surface craft could appear to continue as harassing measures condoned by the Government of Cuba." ... AN AIRCRAFT AT ELGIN AFB WOULD BE PAINTED AND NUMBERED AS AN EXACT DUPLICATE FOR A CIVIL REGISTERED AIRCRAFT belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami

{p. 86} area. At a designated time the DUPLICATE WOULD BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE ACTUAL CIVIL AIRCRAFT AND WOULD BE LOADED WITH THE SELECTED PASSENGERS, ALL BOARDED UNDER carefully prepared ALIASES. The actual REGISTERED AIRCRAFT WOULD BE CONVERTED TO A DRONE [a remotely controlled unmanned aircraft]. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a RENDEZVOUS south of Florida.

FROM THE RENDEZVOUS POINT THE PASSENGER-CARRYING AIRCRAFT will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Elgin AFB where arrangements will have been made to EVACUATE THE PASSENGERs and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will be transmitting on the international distress frequency a "May Day" message stating he is under attack by Cuban MiG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by DESTRUCTION OF THE AIRCRAFT, which will be TRIGGERED BY RADIO SIGNAL. This will allow ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] radio stations in the Western Hemisphere to tell the U.S. what has happened to the aircraft instead of the U.S. trying to "sell" the incident. {endquote}

More at Northwoods.html .

(5) Robert F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Thomas Merton likewise

by Peter Myers, April 8, 2020

Leading barrister Dr William Pepper concluded, after extensive study, that the CIA had assassinated Martin Luther King - and JFK, and RFK.

Robert Kennedy knew that, only by becoming President himself, could he turn the tables on his brother's assassins. But they got him first.

Dr. Pepper acted for the family of Martin Luther King, and for the man accused of killing him.

It was Pepper, then a journalist newly returned from Vietnam, who first persuaded King to come out against the Vietnam War. Pepper explained that the war was a nationalist war which the US could not win, and presented photos showing the devastation wrought in the attempt.

King being a powerful orator - the most outstanding black American of the century - his coming out against the war, combined with his plan to bring half a million blacks to Washington to press lawmakers, made him a marked man in Deep State circles (FBI & CIA). Despite King's advocacy of Non-Violence, they saw him as a great danger.

Pepper acted for the defendants incarcerated for the murders of King and Robert Kennedy. He represented these defendants only because he believed then innocent, framed by the CIA.

Confronting state agencies who were the real assassinations of King, JFK and Robert Kennedy, Pepper also became an investigator - particularly in the King case, to which he devoted 30 years of his life.

Pepper has written three books on the King Assassination, branding it An Act 0f State.

In his book The Plot to Kill King, Pepper shares the evidence and testimonies that prove that James Earl Ray was a fall guy chosen by those who viewed King as a dangerous revolutionary.

The following address by Pepper is eloquent and powerful. I urge you to watch it. It deals mainly with King, but also touches on 911:

It's only after you know the CIA role in the above assassinations, that their killing of Thomas Merton becomes comprehensible. Matthew Fox, a credible writer, was convinced:

The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation

Categories: Articles

August 3, 2019

By Matthew Fox

For years I have spoken out about how fishy the official story of Thomas Merton's sudden death smelled to me. I have also, over the years, met three CIA agents who were present in Southeast Asia at the time and asked them pointedly whether they killed Thomas Merton. One said:

"I will neither affirm it nor deny it."

The second (who spoke to a friend of mine, not to me) said:

"We were swimming in cash at the time with absolutely no accountability. If there was just one agent who felt Merton was a threat to the country he could have had him done in with no questions asked."

The third I met a month after my book A Way To God: Thomas Merton's Creation Spirituality Journey came out and he answered:

"Yes. And the last 40 years of my life I have been cleansing my soul from what I did as a young man working for the CIA in Southeast Asia in the 1960s." [...]

(6) Washington Post and NYT each make only brief mention of Dylan's song "Murder Most Foul"

By Peter Myers, August 18, 2021

Today at 6.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time I searched Google to see what the NYT and WaPo said about Dylan's sang on the JFK assassination.

The WaPo search was "bob dylan" "murder most foul" site:

The NYT search was "bob dylan" "murder most foul"

The NYT had one thoughtful article, which noted that Dylan was portraying the assassination of JFK as

a crucial American trauma, the moment when "the soul of a nation been torn away/and it's beginning to go into a slow decay."

Bob Dylan Still Bristles on 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'

His first album of original songs since 2012 is a death-haunted, cantankerous collection with a late-night sense of seclusion.

By Jon Pareles

Published June 18, 2020

Updated Dec. 7, 2020

In the 17-minute "Murder Most Foul" set apart from the rest of the physical album release on a separate disc Dylan presents the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy as a crucial American trauma, the moment when "the soul of a nation been torn away/and it's beginning to go into a slow decay." The band plays glacial, sustained, unmetered drones anchored by Tony Garnier's bowed bass, and Dylan intones an account of the murder interspersed with song and movie titles, never spelling out whether all the culture he mentions is a consolation or a decadent distraction.

END NYT article.

Note that the author did not explore Dylan's contention that JFK's assassination was a consipracy by the elite.

The only other NYT piece to touch the topic was:

Bob Dylan Has a Lot on His Mind

In a rare interview, the Nobel Prize winner discusses mortality, drawing inspiration from the past, and his new album, 'Rough and Rowdy Ways.'

By Douglas Brinkley

Published June 12, 2020

Updated Sept. 18, 2020

A few years ago, sitting beneath shade trees in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., I had a two-hour discussion with Bob Dylan that touched on Malcolm X, the French Revolution, Franklin Roosevelt and World War II. At one juncture, he asked me what I knew about the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. When I answered, "Not enough," he got up from his folding chair, climbed into his tour bus, and came back five minutes later with photocopies describing how U.S. troops had butchered hundreds of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe in southeastern Colorado.

Given the nature of our relationship, I felt comfortable reaching out to him in April after, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, he unexpectedly released his epic, 17-minute song "Murder Most Foul," about the Kennedy assassination. Even though he hadn't done a major interview outside of his own website since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, he agreed to a phone chat from his Malibu home, which turned out to be his only interview before next Friday's release of "Rough and Rowdy Ways," his first album of original songs since "Tempest" in 2012.

Like most conversations with Dylan, "Rough and Rowdy Ways" covers complex territory: trances and hymns, defiant blues, love longings, comic juxtapositions, prankster wordplay, patriotic ardor, maverick steadfastness, lyrical Cubism, twilight-age reflections and spiritual contentment.

In the high-octane showstopper "Goodbye Jimmy Reed," Dylan honors the Mississippi bluesman with dragon-fierce harmonica riffs and bawdy lyrics. In the slow blues "Crossing the Rubicon," he feels "the bones beneath my skin" and considers his options before death: "Three miles north of purgatory - one step from the great beyond/I prayed to the cross and I kissed the girls and I crossed the Rubicon." [...]

These are edited excerpts from the two conversations.

Was "Murder Most Foul" written as a nostalgic eulogy for a long-lost time?

To me it's not nostalgic. I don't think of "Murder Most Foul" as a glorification of the past or some kind of send-off to a lost age. It speaks to me in the moment. It always did, especially when I was writing the lyrics out.

Somebody auctioned off a sheaf of unpublished transcripts in the 1990s that you wrote about J.F.K.'s murder. Were those prose notes for an essay or were you hoping to write a song like "Murder Most Foul" for a long time?

I'm not aware of ever wanting to write a song about J.F.K. A lot of those auctioned-off documents have been forged. The forgeries are easy to spot because somebody always signs my name on the bottom.

Were you surprised that this 17-minute-long song was your first No. 1 Billboard hit?

I was, yeah.

"I Contain Multitudes" has a powerful line: "I sleep with life and death in the same bed." I suppose we all feel that way when we hit a certain age. Do you think about mortality often?

I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape. Not to be light on it, but everybody's life is so transient. Every human being, no matter how strong or mighty, is frail when it comes to death. I think about it in general terms, not in a personal way.

There is a lot of apocalyptic sentiment in "Murder Most Foul." Are you worried that in 2020 we're past the point of no return? That technology and hyper-industrialization are going to work against human life on Earth?

Sure, there's a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about that. There's definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be. But that only applies to people of a certain age like me and you, Doug. We have a tendency to live in the past, but that's only us. Youngsters don't have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they'll believe anything. In 20 or 30 years from now, they'll be at the forefront. When you see somebody that is 10 years old, he's going to be in control in 20 or 30 years, and he won't have a clue about the world we knew. Young people who are in their teens now have no memory lane to remember. So it's probably best to get into that mind-set as soon as we can, because that's going to be the reality.

As far as technology goes, it makes everybody vulnerable. But young people don't think like that. They could care less. Telecommunications and advanced technology is the world they were born into. Our world is already obsolete.

A line in "False Prophet" - "I'm the last of the best - you can bury the rest" - reminded me of the recent deaths of John Prine and Little Richard. Did you listen to their music after they passed as a kind of tribute?

Both of those guys were triumphant in their work. They don't need anybody doing tributes. Everybody knows what they did and who they were. And they deserve all the respect and acclaim that they received. No doubt about it. But Little Richard I grew up with. And he was there before me. Lit a match under me. Tuned me into things I never would have known on my own. So I think of him differently. John came after me. So it's not the same thing. I acknowledge them differently. [...]

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and professor of history at Rice University. He is the author of "American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race."

END of NYT article.

Note that it completely ignored (passed over) Dylan's theme that JFK had been murdered by the elite, and that LBJ was complicit. The interviewer could have questioned him about that, but chose to bury it.

At Dylan's 80th birthday, the NYT ran the following piece - which made no mention of Murder Most Foul:

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan, Our Most Underappreciated Comic

As he turns 80, don't be fooled by his serious music. From the start, his work has been filled with a cockeyed humor that can range from corny jokes to dark wit.

END of NYT article

The Washington Post made only one mention of Dylan's song "Murder Most Foul" - in the article


Bob Dylan holds a mirror up to America and sees himself

By Chris Richards

Pop music critic

June 19, 2020

"The assassination of John F. Kennedy is the subject of the album's finale, 'Murder Most Foul,' a 17-minute slog about the gunshot that supposedly stole an innocence that America never had any right to claim in the first place. The song is brutally long, oddly cavalier and lyrically lazy, with Dylan sifting through a shoe box of old Polaroids, trying to make them rhyme. 'Put your head out the window, let the good times roll,' he sings. 'There's a party going on behind the Grassy Knoll.'

"By the time he reaches the song's 10-minute mark, things begin to smooth out. Dylan is listening to Wolfman Jack's radio show, ringing up the request line, asking to hear Etta James, and Thelonious Monk, and Queen, and the Allman Brothers, and Stevie Nicks, and an entire constellation of 20th-century stars who couldn't save the world, either. Then, in the last line, Dylan asks to hear the song he's singing.

"In that final moment, corny and profound, Dylan makes the foundational paradox of his music feel clear: Whenever he holds his mirror up to that failing thing called America, he has to see himself, too."

Like the NYT, the WaPo chose to skip over Dylan's theme that JFK was murdered by the Elite, with LBJ complicit. The interviewer could have asked Dylan about his line "We've already got someone here to take your place" but decided not to.

(7) Oliver Stone's new documentary JFK Revisited ignored by the MSM

Oliver Stone's new JFK assassination doc is being ignored by the MSM ... a sure sign he might be onto something

20 Jul, 2021

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass

by Oliver Stone, 2021. © IMDB

The establishment media is celebrating odd, sexually charged movies at the Cannes Film Festival ­ yet won't even acknowledge Oliver Stone's foray back into the troubling case of President John F. Kennedy's murder. I wonder why?

Last week, Oliver Stone premiered his new documentary about the Kennedy assassination titled '<> JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass', at the Cannes festival.

You'd think that Stone, the polarizing, two-time Best Director Academy Award winner, whose film JFK created such a furor it led to the US government passing the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, premiering a controversial JFK assassination documentary at Cannes would be very big news. You'd be wrong.

When 'JFK: Revisited' premiered on Monday, July 12, the mainstream media didn't praise it or pan it. They pretended it didn't exist.

The New York Times' vast coverage of Cannes consisted of 11 articles, most focusing on the more salacious content, such as 'Benedetta', a steamy story about lesbian nuns, 'Annette', a musical where Adam Driver sings while performing oral sex on Marion Cotillard, and 'Titane', where a woman has sex with a car and lactates oil. But not once has 'JFK Revisited' been mentioned in the supposed 'paper of record'.

The same is true of the Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the New Yorker and every mainstream outlet I searched, as none of them acknowledge 'JFK Revisited' exists at all.

The only media mentions I found were in trade papers like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, and in the British press, in the Times and Daily Telegraph. Their reaction to the film was split, with Variety and The Times giving negative reviews and THR and the Daily Telegraph praising it. [...]

Stone became more of an establishment pariah when he interviewed Fidel Castro in 2002 and Russian President Vladimir Putin between 2015 and 2017. Stone spoke with America's enemies instead of just mouthing the mindless official mantra, an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the media who believe there's only one narrative, and we can't complicate it by listening instead of yelling.

Stone's history of being a firebrand, and his loyalty to truth above the official narrative, is why 'JFK Revisited' is being intentionally ignored. Any press is good press; even a bad review spreads awareness of the product, so hitting the ignore button is the best way for the establishment to silence Stone and maintain the JFK status quo.

(8) JFK Revisited - Review by UK Telegraph



12 July 2021

JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, Cannes review: Oliver Stone adds evidence to his conspiracy theories

The director of JFK returns to the subject of the 1963 assassination in an absorbing documentary Oliver Stone's JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass is a companion piece to his 1991 film

"Conspiracy theories are now conspiracy facts," declares Oliver Stone in his new documentary about the JFK assassination, 30 years after the rabble-rousing feature that made his position well-known. To wit, per Stone and plenty of experts: the lone gunman theory doesn't hold up, the FBI lied about bullet wounds and witness statements, the CIA wanted Kennedy out of the way, and Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy.

Not all of these are quite what you'd call iron-clad facts, despite Stone manfully bolstering the case for a cover-up in this dense, absorbing two-hour companion piece to his 1991 film ­ cut down from a four-hour version he also promises to make available. There's a huge amount to take on board, some of it new-ish. Partly thanks to the first film's impact, the declassification of US government records was accelerated in the early 1990s, and much extra research done since. (One new document proves the CIA knew that LBJ was sympathetic to a ground invasion of Vietnam, contrary to JFK, who was adamant this wouldn't happen.)

The holes in the Warren Report, which <> Kevin Costner's Jim Garrison tried to expose, only gape wider. Particularly: how was ex-CIA chief Allen Dulles, whom JFK fired over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, allowed to be part of it? Why do the official autopsy photos not match all the others? How come Oswald's supposed rifle was not the same model he mail-ordered?

The film is strongest on the forensic chaos that always looked so dubious, and the circuitous chain of custody that allowed a "magic bullet" of deeply unclear provenance to be entered into evidence. This wasn't the fatal one, but the first one, which is meant to have entered through Kennedy's back, come out through his throat, and then caused a whole spider-web of wounds on Gov John Connally in the front passenger seat.

Connally himself refused to believe one bullet had achieved all this, and yet the FBI absolutely had to make that explanation stick, to "close the loop on Oswald's guilt" rather than admitting other snipers must have helped in crossfire. The first phone call of grieving Bobby Kennedy was to Langley, to ask the CIA if they were culpable.

Getting Donald Sutherland to narrate is good movie sense, given his original role as "Mr. X", a composite government spook. The film sags when it moves onto Oswald's intelligence connections, which don't add up as compelling proofs of anything.

Stone packs a ton of information in, then lurches to a halt; while he milks Kennedy's mistrust of the three-letter agencies, his grasp of "what really happened" is still fundamentally guesswork. Still, he does persuade us of smoking guns out there that weren't Oswald's, or anywhere near the book depository. Mentions of the grassy knoll this time? Zero, which is just as well.

Screening at the Cannes Film Festival. A UK release has yet to be announced

(9) JFK Revisited - Review by Hollywood Reporter


Oliver Stone returns to the scene of the crime in his new documentary, JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass, a fresh reappraisal of the mounting evidence surrounding John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas in 1963. World premiering in Cannes, this investigative essay film draws on the vast archive of material that has been declassified, re-examined and placed in the public records since Stone's fictionalized historical thriller JFK became an unlikely box-office smash 30 years ago. "Conspiracy theory", the veteran director claims here with characteristic modesty, has now become "conspiracy fact."

But does the world really need to hear any more from Stone about this epochal rupture in American history, especially in an era already drowning in post-truth conspiracies? This is not a director known for his balanced, nuanced approach to geopolitical matters, after all. Can anyone take him seriously again after those fawning documentary bromances with Castro and Putin?

That said, Stone is no fool, dialing down his signature egotistical bombast for this unusually sober film, and backing up his assertions with an army of authors, academics, doctors and legal experts. Anticipating serious critical scrutiny when JFK Revisited reaches a wider audience, he came prepared.

Aiming for a forensic procedural tone in the Errol Morris mold, JFK Revisited is loaded with fascinating historical nuggets, dirty little secrets and partisan claims dressed up as objective journalism. There are no major new shock revelations here, but plenty of thought-provoking subplots that will encourage curious viewers to do their own research. In commercial terms, the film has potentially wide appeal to two disparate groups: those who share Stone's conspiratorial worldview and those who enjoy debunking his paranoid polemics. With smart marketing to both sides, he could have a hit on his hands. London-based Altitude are handling world sales in Cannes, with deals already sealed for Australia, New Zealand and several European markets.

Originally conceived as a four-hour epic under the title JFK: Destiny Betrayed, Stone's latest documentary has since been retitled and streamlined. Screenwriter James DiEugenio wisely pared the narrative down by concentrating on some of the more widely debated issues around Kennedy's death. Chief among these is the so-called "magic bullet," which, if assassin Lee Harvey Oswald truly acted alone, must have miraculously caused seven different wounds when it passed through the president and struck Texas Governor John Connally. The bullet was only discovered hours later on a hospital gurney, in unusually pristine condition.

Another key contested event revisited here is Kennedy's autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. Some of those present later claimed that medical records and official photographs did not match the catastrophic injuries they witnessed first hand. Stone believes the post-mortem examination was deliberately entrusted to relative amateurs, and that the resulting photos were faked. Doctor Cyril Wecht, the forensic pathologist who first exposed the macabre mystery of JFK's missing brain, gives expert testimony here.

In its latter half, JFK Revisited shifts gear from musing on method to motive. Who would go to all this trouble to kill Kennedy, and then cover it up? More importantly, why? At this point Stone cannot resist falling back on familiar simplistic arguments, pointing vaguely to a clandestine cabal of intelligence heavyweights who felt threatened by the young president's reformist zeal, plans for thawing U.S. relations with Cuba and Russia, scaling down military involvement in Vietnam, and other progressive polices. Stone reserves his deepest suspicion for former CIA chief Allan Dulles, whom Kennedy fired in November 1961. Dulles later served on the Warren Commission, whose marathon 1964 report into his former boss's murder would later be widely challenged and denounced.

To bolster his case against the Deep State, Stone quotes JFK's alleged plans to "splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds" following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. But even if Kennedy ever really uttered this disputed quote, there are numerous official accounts of him later praising the agency's work and endorsing their covert operations abroad, including multiple plots to assassinate Castro.

Had he lived, Kennedy may indeed have avoided full-scale war in Vietnam, but he was far from the messianic prince of peace that Stone needs him to be to fit his reductive narrative of American imperial villainy. None of this disproves speculation that he was killed in a treacherous coup plot, of course, but these lapses into misty-eyed Camelot mythology weaken the film's otherwise impressively strong factual elements. Stone's conception of good and evil is military-industrial, but not very complex.

In visual terms, JFK Revisited offers a polished blend of contemporary interviews, archive footage and explanatory graphics. Surprisingly, clips from the original JFK are only deployed very sparingly. Stone's regular cinematographer Robert Richardson, who also works with Scorsese and Tarantino, gives the film a glossy old-school finish. Stone himself only appears occasionally on screen, chiefly to pose precisely scripted questions to his expert guests. He also shares voice-over duties with Donald Sutherland, who had a small but pivotal role in JFK, and Whoopi Goldberg. Composer Jeff Beal's overly insistent, intrusive score is the most jarring element in an otherwise handsome technical package.


Copyright: Peter Myers asserts the right to be identified as the author of the material written by him on this website, being material that is not otherwise attributed to another author.

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