Dallas to 9/11 to Iraq: War on the Truth Part II

070528Having two years of research dismissed with a sniff and the petulant stamp of some cravenly-ambitious reporter’s little foot left us a bit miffed. But while casually leafing through New Yorker magazine recently we discovered:  it’s a trend.

“Angels and Ages: Lincoln’s Language and Its Legacy” is one of the New Yorker’s famously mind-numbing 7000-word long articles about something so obscure that its the magazine equivalent of an episode of Seinfeld, the TV sitcom famous for being about nothing.

Or, in the case of the article, next to nothing: the critical ‘controversy’ over the famous epitaph uttered by Lincoln’s Secretary of War after the great man was assassinated: “Now he belongs to the ages;” or ‘Now he belongs to the angels.’”

How precious is that? We know. You're breathless with anticipation, so we won’t give away the ending. In fact the only reason we mention it is the article’s author, a man named Adam Gopnik, has the effrontery to insert the following ridiculous and unsupported statement:

    “One of the odd things in American history is that we are inclined to “psychologize” acts of assassination that, whatever dark corner of the psyche they are torn from, are clearly and explicitly political in motive. Oswald shot Kennedy in an act of terrorism on behalf of Castro…"

Lone nut gunman meets lone nut cadre

AGopnik_fullThank you, Mr. Gopnik, for putting that controversy to rest.  What rankled was how he'd passed off his ridiculous opinion as fact with no hint of uncertainty, without even having the decency—if that’s the word—to use the “Some are saying…” locution popular at Fox News when they engage in  insinuation.

“Oswald shot Kennedy in an act of terrorism on behalf of Castro.”

Assassination and talk of military coups (“Manchurian Candidate, Dr. Strangelove, Seven Days in May") was in the air. None mentioned Castro, except a secret program developed by the Joint Chiefs called Operation Northwoods, designed to create a provocation and blame it on Castro.

Which brings up the question:  Why is the New Yorker publishing someone so ignorant of American history?

Also (not to beat a dead horse, or Gopnik)  to people who were there that day–none of whom suspected a lone nut malcontent–Gopnik's lone gunman will come as a surprise.

Jackie Kennedy, for example, covered in red-rust stains, her husband’s blood caked even under her bracelet, dismissing suggestions that she change out of her gore-soaked pink Chanel suit on the airplane on the way back to Washington D.C., shouting: “No! Let them see what they’ve done!”

And Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers, White House aides in the car behind Kennedy, World War II veterans who know the sounds of gunfire, both reported they heard shots from the front, from the grassy knoll area, as well as from behind.

Or Bobby Kennedy, who, when he heard the news, according to the excellent new “Brothers” by David Talbot, O said “I thought they would get me, instead of the President.”

"They" is not the pronoun used to describe lone nut gunman, is it? None of Kennedy’s inner circle that day, Talbot reports, felt the nation had been victimized by a wayward malcontent, but by an organized and powerful “they.”

But this is apparently still too chilling (career-wise) for fawning journalists to contemplate.

Careerist ambitions… or the truth?

warrWhy are we belaboring this aside from Adam Gopnik?

A recent Bill Moyers PBS Special on the media’s failure to ask hard questions during the run-up to the war in Iraq called “Buying the War” offered the careerist concerns of reporters as one reason they marched in lock-step with the Administration's “No questions asked” mind-set.

“Nobody wants to get necklaced,” was the way Dan Rather put it.

That’s people like Gopnik in spades, who is, apparently, roundly loathed for exactly the reasons Bill Moyer’s mentioned in his PBS Special.

“A careerist with delicate antennae,” wrote James Wolcott in New Republic in an amazingly personal slam. “I sometimes wonder if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy.”

In the first half-dozen reviews of his latest book on Amazon, Gopnik’s work is called: “Unoriginal, self-centered and dated.”

His writing is called “self-absorbed drivel” by one; another demurs, opting instead for “Smug, egotistical drivel.”

Even his ability to party is called into question… "Gopnik, a reductionist blowhard who I suspect is not much fun at a cocktail party…”

Ground Zero: "A hearty flavor of smoked mozzarella"

barcodeGopnik, we learned, is notorious for having described the downtown death smell in New York City after 9/11 as having “the hearty flavor of "smoked mozzarella."

That’s way beyond icky.

One thing can be said for Gopnik: he’s in tune with the powers-that-be. He knows which side his bread is buttered on.

What Gopnik knew, a couple of months early, was that the JFK issue’s now been settled. The “settling factor” was the book by the man who prosecuted Charles Manson,  Vincent Bugliosi, who calls his tome ''RECLAIMING HISTORY, THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY.”

The book is a 1600-page monstrosity that puts faux 9/11 investigator Michael Ruppert's door-stopper to shame.  Hernias have been reported from simply picking up Bugliosi's book.

An "airtight case;" another "slam dunk"

51GgY0EXHYL._AA240_Still, reviewers from the major newspapers have been rhapsodic.  Bugliosi’s overwhelmingly favorable reviews  suggest something's been waiting for just such a moment…

An airtight case against the JFK conspiracy theorists,” read one headline.

“The days of the grassy knoll-Mafia-missing bullets conspiracy theories might at last be over,” read another.

It's time we marginalized Kennedy conspiracy theorists the way we've marginalized smokers; next time one of your co-workers starts in about Oswald and the CIA., make him stand in the rain with the other outcasts,” wrote the Los Angeles Times.

Putting to rest (thoroughly) the conspiracy theories about JFK's assassination,” reports the Sunday Portland Oregonian.

How amazing that the author of celebrity biographies on notables  Paula Jones and O.J. Simpson could have written a book to put a 40-year controversy to rest.

Will wonders never cease?

Orders from headquarters?

What occasioned all those effusive reviews of Bugliosi’s book wasn't his impeccable logic, however. Perhaps it was something more mundane.

Judge for yourself.

Here’s the argument Bugliosi uses to “prove” Oswald acted alone, and for why no larger organization like the CIA, the Mob, or the military could have been involved in the Kennedy assassination…

“It does not take a genius to understand that no group of top-level conspirators would ever employ someone as unstable and unreliable as Oswald to commit the biggest murder in history, no such group would ever provide its hit man with, or allow him to use, a twelve-dollar rifle to get the job done…”

Can you say, "straw man?"

Bugliosi, a veteran prosecutor, is pretending  never to have heard the term “patsy” to set up someone to take the fall for a crime.  But whatever else he is, Bugliosi is not an unintelligent man.

He's doing it on purpose.

"We'll stop theorizing when they stop conspiring."

bond2It's as dishonest and shoddy as the two-hour “Beyond Conspiracy” special which will forever disgrace Peter Jenning’s memory, “proving” Oswald acted alone… with computer animation.

Conveniently, none of the cheesy animation shows what really happened after Kennedy was shot. Dozens of eyewitnesses, horrified onlookers, and police officers can be seen in the Zapruder tape responding to the shooting of the President… before those pesky conspiracy theorists had even uttered a word.

They responded by charging the grassy knoll.

Jennings bought himself a ticket to ride on the Bullet Train to Journalistic Infamy, right alongside “Gunga” Dan Rather, the only reporter in Dealey Plaza when JFK was shot. Rather, of course, didn't see a thing. And somehow, in all the years he hosted the CBS Evening News, his discomfort came through.

Thus the "Mighty Wurlitzer," as the CIA's disinformation machine has been called, grinds on.

What does this all have to do with 9/11?

WurlitzerTOMORROW: Some Real Questions about 9/11:

What does a mysterious couple in Hamburg Germany have in common with the Oswald Family's Landlord in Dallas, Michael and Ruth Paine?

AND: What happened at dawn on Sept 11 that the American people haven't been told?

Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.