Friday, 17 December 2021 04:37

Alecia Long Lays An Egg: Part 2

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Jim DiEugenio responds to Alecia Long’s latest foray into JFK assassination disinformation by correcting her obvious mistakes and oversights and exposing her brazen attempts at misdirection in reviewing Olive Stone’s new documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.

Since Priscilla Johnson has passed on, for the 58th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy The Washington Post trotted out Alecia Long. As readers of this site know, Long has been in rehearsal for becoming a public spokesperson defending the mendacity of the Warren Report for quite a while. (Click here for her early practice session) More recently, she published a truly nonsensical book about the JFK case, one which I was at pains to show, had no saving graces to it. (Click here for details) Evidently, these prior run throughs were enough for the Post to give her the podium.

Why? Apparently, Long was needed to counter the broadcast by the Showtime cable network of Oliver Stone’s new documentary on the JFK case, JFK Revisited. Long says that the two-hour presentation “is entirely predictable” to anyone was saw Stone’s 1991 feature film JFK. Since I wrote the documentary, I can inform Ms. Long that I never even looked at the 1991 film as I worked on the screenplay. What I wrote was focused upon presenting new evidence that had surfaced since 1991. Much of that material was derived from the Assassination Records Review Board, which operated from 1994–98 three years after JFK was released.

One of the things we deal with in the film is Kennedy’s intent to withdraw from Vietnam. Long states early in her piece that the idea that Kennedy was withdrawing from Vietnam “is counterfactual.” And that no one can know,

…with certainty whether he would have started an active ground war, as Johnson did. Such thinking fuels conspiracy theories with an entirely unprovable assertion about what might have been.

One thing our documentary is not is counterfactual. It can only be deemed that by not telling the reader the facts in the film. The documentary presents three new pieces of evidence, never shown in broadcast format before, that makes the Kennedy withdrawal thesis both credible and provable. They are:

  1. The records of the SecDef conference in Hawaii held in May of 1963, with representatives from Saigon. There, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was reviewing the withdrawal schedules he had previously requested from the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department. Once he looked them over, he told those in attendance the schedules were too slow and had to be speeded up.
  2. The taped conversation in 1964 between Johnson and McNamara, where LBJ clearly admits he knew Kennedy and McNamara were withdrawing from Vietnam and always thought it was a bad idea. But he sat there in silence, since he was not in charge.
  3. Interview subject John Newman listened to McNamara’s Pentagon debriefs after he was removed from office by Johnson. In those sessions, McNamara clearly states that he and Kennedy had decided they could send equipment, trainers, and advisors to Saigon. But that was it. American could not fight the war for South Vietnam. When the training period was over, America was leaving and it did not matter if Saigon was winning or losing.

None of this new evidence was in the 1991 film, but it would convince most objective people that Kennedy was simply not sending American combat troops into Vietnam. But Johnson was quite willing to do so. LBJ thought McNamara and Kennedy were wrong and he browbeat McNamara into changing policies. The evidence on this topic is overwhelming today and has been presented by several authors in different ways: Howard Jones, Gordon Goldstein, James Blight, David Kaiser, and, most prominently, by Newman in the 2017 version of his book JFK and Vietnam. It speaks very poorly of Long as a history professor that she is not familiar with this work. Or if she is familiar with it, to simply deny it.

She follows this up with a bizarre statement that is confounding no matter how many times one reads it. She says that assassination related research continues to focus on a narrow set of questions, “including whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted as a lone assassin or if a conspiracy lay behind the president’s murder.” Alecia, that is not a narrow question. Most people would think it’s the ball game. If Oswald acted alone, the Warren Report is correct. If it was a conspiracy, the 900-page Warren Report was wrong and some secret body overthrew our government, with calamitous results.

She then writes something that, even for her, is astounding. She says that JFK Revisited blurs the lines between fact, fiction, and pure speculation in presenting the work of the ARRB. The film presents three people who worked for that body: Chairman John Tunheim, his deputy, Tom Samoluk, and Military Records analyst Doug Horne. JFK Revisited shows documents that were declassified due to their work. Every statement made in the film is backed up by evidence and we show many documents and exhibits in the film. For example, the testimony by the official autopsy photographer that he did not take the pictures of Kennedy’s brain that are today in the National Archives. Which leads to the questions: then who did take them, and why?

But, as with Vietnam, Long does not want to reveal that bit of new information, since it would prove the contrary of what she is preaching.

She then admits that the CIA and FBI delayed the release of many documents. And sometimes they were actually deceptive to the two main federal investigations of Kennedy’s murder: the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. But she then adds that “no documents have been released that indicate intelligence agency participation in the assassination.”

Oh really? In the film, John Newman states that the FBI removed the FLASH warning from the Oswald file just a few days after Oswald’s return from his alleged Mexico City visit. This allowed him to escape being placed on the Secret Service security index in advance of Kennedy’s Texas trip. If the FLASH had not been taken off, Oswald would likely have been removed from the motorcade route due to his active and open communist activities in New Orleans and his alleged visits to the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City. As Newman also states, this same type of maneuver inexplicably occurred at the CIA. In other words, something was going on with the Oswald file at both the FBI and CIA in advance of the assassination. When one throws in the fact that the legendary, ARRB-declassified Lopez Report about Mexico City indicates Oswald was not there—but the CIA insisted he was—then excuse me, but does someone have to hit Alecia Long over the head with a 2 x 4? This whole issue of Oswald’s relationship with the CIA, and counter-intelligence chief James Angleton, will be gone into at length in the four-hour version of the film.

Long closes her column with her usual hatchet job on Jim Garrison. Through Jefferson Morley, the film shows that the alleged pro-Castro communist Oswald was associating with anti-Castro groups like the CIA sponsored DRE. In addition to that, Oswald associated with three known rightwing, CIA associated figures in New Orleans: Guy Banister, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. And all three men lied about their association with Oswald after Kennedy was killed. The FBI covered these relationships up, another point Newman talks about in the film. (Click here for proof) This would seem to raise some questions about who Oswald really was and what he was doing in New Orleans in that fateful summer before Kennedy’s assassination.

But to Long, this is not important. She ends her nonsensical column by saying, and I am not kidding, we should forget about bullets and ballistics. Forget about bullets and ballistics in a homicide case? Instead, we should consult the newly declassified record in order to learn “how events that fertilized citizen cynicism about the government more than a half-century ago can help us document our contentious past…” and also “explain the troubling conspiracy theories of today.”

The reason cynicism sprung up way back then was precisely because the Warren Report did not follow regular procedures in evaluating bullets and ballistics. And we prove that in our film with new evidence exposing the fallacies the Commission foisted on the public, but somehow that is not important to Long or The Washington Post.

In other words: Who the heck cares who killed Kennedy? We should worry about how all that stuff caused QAnon. Alecia, the question of who killed Kennedy is quite important, due to the fact that whether you know it or not, or like it or not, something happened to this country—both domestically and in foreign policy—due to his assassination. And if you do not trust me just look at Larry Sabato’s book, The Kennedy Half Century. There he explains, through polling and focus groups, how about 90% of the public feels America lost its way due to JFK’s assassination. (see p. 416)

As far as QAnon goes, JFK Revisited relies on data, not faith or mysticism—or as some suspect what QAnon really is, a psy-op. The documented screenplays for both versions of the film will be published in April. As Long will then see, and as Stone said at Cannes, JFK Revisited turns conspiracy theory into conspiracy fact. It explains how, just one year after getting elected, Johnson had 170,00 combat troops in Vietnam. On the day he was killed, Kennedy had none. That is a fact. And the film does this throughout with documents and testimony that she either does not know about, or does not want to convey to the public.

The murder of John F. Kennedy was a homicide case. That is the way it should be treated. What Long writes is a diversion from the new calculus of that case. President Kennedy deserves better than that. Much better.

Go to Part 1

Last modified on Saturday, 12 February 2022 23:06
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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