Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Kennedy Assassination, Anyone but Mossad Is Fair Game for U.S. Media

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Kennedy Assassination, Anyone but Mossad Is Fair Game for U.S. Media

Article excerpt

In Kennedy Assassination, Anyone But Mossad is Fair Game for U.S. Media

A Hollywood motion picture, JFK, has revived the debate over who was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It raises sensational--and, I might add, ridiculous--accusations that elements of the U.S. government conspired to commit the crime.

Producer Oliver Stone admits that some of his film story is fiction. He says somberly, however, that research undertaken in the preparation of the motion picture convinced him that the co-conspirators included officials of the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and political henchmen of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Stone's astounding charge attacks institutions that, for the most part, are revered by the American people.

Despite the controversy that surrounded its longtime director, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI is held in high esteem. So are the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, whose employees are honored as protectors of the public interest at home and abroad. Everyone knows, of course, that the CIA gets its hands dirty at times. But all this, the American people want to believe, is done under constitutional procedures.

American politicians are not viewed with the same reverence. The late humorist Will Rogers could always get a laugh by declaring that the politicians in Congress are "the only native American criminal class." But few Americans would believe that politicians would conspire to assassinate a U.S. president.

The principal argument of Stone, and others, is that just one man firing a rifle from a nearby building could not possibly have killed Kennedy and wounded his companion, Texas Gov. John Connolly. They dispute the findings of the commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren that placed the blame solely on Lee Harvey Oswald.

Only people of my generation--I am in my 71st year--can remember the American scene at the time. The Kennedy administration began with the aborted U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs, followed by an aborted Soviet attempt to base nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. Kennedy's face-down of the Soviet Union's Khrushchev was admired by the American people and especially the news media. To a great extent, he was an international hero. His assassination plunged the nation, and its admirers overseas, into a protracted period of anguish.

Revival of controversy, therefore, is not surprising. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln occurred 126 years ago, but scholars still argue over the conspiracy.

Who Benefitted?

Who benefitted from Kennedy's removal from office? Although Lyndon Johnson moved up to the presidency, in my view it is absurd to contend that Johnson or any of his partisans would be involved in an assassination plot. I observed Johnson and his cohorts at close range during my congressional years. They were tough, crafty and ambitious, and obviously had no love for the Kennedys. But complicity in assassination would be an act of stupidity.

To be sure, President Kennedy's death eventually removed a problem for FBI Director Hoover, whose disdain for Attorney General Robert Kennedy was widely known. But it is absurd to suggest that Hoover's supporters in the FBI and the Justice Department conspired to kill Kennedy. Likewise, any suggestion of CIA involvement arises mainly from the aura of secrecy surrounding the agency.

Cuba's Castro had a believable motive but there is little evidence that this dictator had the apparatus or the skill to undertake anything that daring and complicated. …

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