Saturday, 19 February 2022 17:20

James Kirchick and his JFK Assassination Gurus

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James Kirchick’s misleading review of Oliver Stone’s new documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass epitomizes the mainstream media’s refusal to address the film’s content and rehashing instead the discredited writings of Warren Commission apologists, so Jim DiEugenio catalogs this ludicrous use of these disproven sources in the next installment of our ongoing series.

In a previous essay, I tried to summarize the worldwide reaction to Oliver Stone’s documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass. (Click here) By far, it is the widest and strongest reaction to any documentary ever made on the JFK case. The fact that it created such a hubbub clearly disturbed certain past critics of Stone, for example, Noam Chomsky and Gerald Posner. It also disturbed certain mainstays of the MSM, like Tim Weiner and Max Boot. I ended that discussion with what may be the worst outburst about the documentary yet, the one by James Kirchick at the digital zine Air Mail.

As I noted in that overall review, it’s clear that none of these writers wish to deal with the specific points of new evidence made possible by the Assassination Records Review Board in the film. This evidence had never been presented to a worldwide audience in broadcast form. Weiner, Boot, Chomsky, Posner, and Kirchick never even mentioned that body. Yet this was the reason for the making of the documentary! Which is why it features interviews with three employees of the Board: Chairman John Tunheim, Deputy Chair Tom Samoluk, and Military Records analyst Doug Horne.

Weiner and Kirchick dodged the problem of confronting the declassified evidence in the film by using two escape routes. First, they ignored the matters addressed, like official photographer John Stringer denying he took the photos of Kennedy’s brain at the National Archives. The second means of escape was to use discredited writers to smear the documentary and not reveal why they had earned derision in the critical community.

As I noted at length, both Weiner and Kirchick utilized the discredited work of Max Holland to somehow impute that JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass was based on some sort of KGB disinformation campaign. This is so stupid it is actually ludicrous and I showed why. (For a lengthier reply, click here)

The real reasons that New Orleans DA Jim Garrison formed his ideas about Oswald as an intelligence agent were his Russian language test in the service—suggesting he was being groomed as a false defector—and the address stamped on his New Orleans pro-Castro flyers, which was 544 Camp Street. (See Garrison’s On the Trail of the Assassins, pp. 22, 24) This had been the home of both the CIA’s Cuban Revolutionary Council and the FBI/CIA connected Guy Banister, who had been involved in both the Bay of Pigs project and Operation Mongoose. (William Davy, Let Justice be Done, pp. 25–28) In his book, the DA clearly depicts both these events occurring way before the arrest of Clay Shaw who, as Bill Davy notes in his volume, Garrison had first called in for questioning in December of 1966. All of these events—the discovery of the Russian test, Garrison visiting 544 Camp Street, the suspicions about Shaw—occurred months before the Paese Sera article about Permindex, and Shaw’s service on the board, was published in Italy. Garrison was correct on his ideas about Bansiter, 544 Camp Street, and Oswald. In JFK Revisited, we have Jeff Morley and John Newman discuss the attempts by the CIA and FBI to disguise the provocative activities going on in New Orleans that summer. Holland’s redbaiting dodge of this evidence shows another reason why he is not credible inside the JFK critical community. But that does not disqualify him from being used in moments of desperation by the MSM.

Another discredited source, used especially by James Kirchick, was Fred Litwin. Litwin has been taken over the coals so many times it’s kind of embarrassing, but somehow, with a straight face, Kirchick trotted him out. Kirchick then criticized JFK Revisited for something that is not in the film , namely the homosexuality of Clay Shaw and David Ferrie. What we did was show the connections of these men to the CIA and how Shaw lied about that connection. This Kirchick diversion is inherited from Litwin (and his partner Alecia Long). And, like Weiner with Holland, Kirchick ignored past demolitions of Litwin that clearly show he is not credible on the facts of the case. (Click here for one and here for another)

This practice of using sources with serious journalistic and academic liabilities would not be allowed in any advanced historical studies or journalism class. But ever since the MSM decided to side with the Warren Commission back in 1964 and when CBS violated all of its Standards and Practices for its 1967 four part special, it’s par for the course in the JFK case. (Click here for that CBS story)

For Kirchick to use Litwin as a source is simply inexcusable for any journalist or historian. In addition to the exposures noted above, this author has shown in detail why the Canadian alt/right media maestro should never enter into any debate on the subject. (Click here and here and here and here and here)

Litwin’s self-admitted role model is the rather lamentable David Horowitz. Litwin tries to run away from this fact today, but it is there to see in his first book, Conservative Confidential. Does Kirchick know this? Would it matter?

In the essays I noted above, we can see the factual havoc that Litwin’s admiration for Horowitz leads to. Some examples among a universe of them:

  1. Quoting Sylvia Meagher, Litwin writes that Kennedy’s motorcade route was not altered.

This has been disproven by Vince Palamara in his book Survivor’s Guilt. (pp. 104–05)

  1. Litwin writes that the motorcade had to turn on Elm Street to take an exit on to the Stemmons Freeway which would take it to the Trade Mart.

This was disproven by both Palamara and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (HSCA, Volume 11, p. 522; Palamara, p. 109)

  1. In his first book on the JFK case, Litwin wrote that Jim DiEugenio had no testimony or paperwork to prove fraud with CE 399, and its chain of custody can be proven.

This is not just false but it’s a case of Litwin practicing libel, since he had my book right in front of him which showed, with testimony and paperwork, the opposite. (The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today pp.89–92, 247–49)

  1. Litwin writes that Clay Shaw’s lawyers got no help from the CIA or FBI.

This was completely disproven by the ARRB declassifications. Shaw’s lawyers lied about this until the end of their lives. (See James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, second edition, pp. 264–65, 269–83, 293, 294)

  1. In his book on Jim Garrison, Litwin features a picture of Harry Connick Sr., the DA who succeeded Jim Garrison and he says he used him as a source.

What Litwin leaves out is shocking. According to investigator Gary Raymond, Connick failed to indict Father Dino Cinel for child abuse when Gary had the evidence to do so. Gary had to go to the media to force Connick to act. (Probe Magazine Vol. 2 No. 5)

  1. Litwin praised Hugh Aynseworth in the most fulsome terms for his work on the JFK case in his book on Jim Garrison.

Aynseworth is a proven FBI informant. According to Joan Mellen Aynesworth tried to bribe Shaw trial witness John Manchester with a CIA job. Sheriff Manchester replied, “I advise you leave the area, otherwise, I’ll cut you a new asshole.” (Destiny Betrayed, pp. 249–55)

  1. In his chapter on the Clay Shaw trial in his Garrison book, Litwin never mentioned the testimony of Kennedy autopsy physician Pierre Finck.

This is astonishing, because, for the first time, Finck’s testimony showed that Kennedy’s autopsy was not controlled by the pathologists, but by the military men there in the gallery, who guided them in doing what some have called the worst autopsy in history. (Ibid, pp. 300–04)

  1. Litwin implies that Garrison was allowed to pick his own grand juries.

More nonsense. As anyone can find out by reading a law journal, in Louisiana grand juries are chosen from voter rolls. (Louisiana Law Review Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 682)

  1. In his book Conservative Confidential, Litwin attempts to hold up as praiseworthy the reactions of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and President George W. Bush, after the 9–11 attacks.

That book was published in 2015. By this time, everyone knew that Giuliani had placed the city’s emergency response headquarters in WTC Building 7, and that W’s reason for the Iraq invasion, WMD, was false. Yet 650,000 innocent Iraqis had died because of that lie.

  1. Perhaps the worst thing that Litwin ever penned was in his first JFK book. There he wrote that the authors of the Warren Report were honorable men who conducted an honest investigation.

In this day and age to write or imply that the likes of John McCloy, Allen Dulles, Jerry Ford, and J. Edgar Hoover were honorable men is just this side of science fiction. For one example, just read Kai Bird’s book on McCloy. Anyone who could help the Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie escape to South America and then deny it or never feel any remorse for his pushing through the Japanese internment in World War II, that person is anything but honorable. And therefore would have little difficulty in covering up the death of President Kennedy.

This could go to an endless length. That is how bad a writer and scholar Litwin is, but evidently Kirchick did not give a damn about Litwin’s credibility. In fact, Kirchick even threw Joe Rogan under the bus for having Oliver Stone on his show. Stone did not say one thing about CV 19 while he was on the program.

When one understands all that, plus the fact that JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass does not deal with anyone’s sexuality, one begins to understand what Kirchick is up to and why he borrows from Litwin. By creating a smoke and mirrors distraction, Kirchick can sidestep what does exist in the film. That is the revelations of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) which completely overturn the verdict of the Warren Commission. The film leaves no doubt that the Commission was wrong in its rogue prosecution of Oswald. A prosecution which did not even grant the defendant a lawyer. What the film deals with are the forensic facts of the JFK case, for example, Kennedy’s autopsy and the ballistics evidence, which is how one determines guilt in a homicide. As former prosecutor Bob Tanenbaum says in the film, because of all the problems with the evidence, one could not convict Oswald in any court in America.

The murder of President Kennedy had a tremendous impact on the course of history, both in the USA and abroad. As we show in this film—and will show even more completely in the four-hour version, Destiny Betrayed—Kennedy was withdrawing from Vietnam at the time of his murder. We present evidence that Lyndon Johnson knew this and he consciously reversed Kennedy’s policy. LBJ then lied about what he had done. In the four-hour version, we make it clear through Professor Bradley Simpson and author Lisa Pease that Johnson also reversed Kennedy’s policy of friendship and aid to President Sukarno of Indonesia.

Those two Johnson reversals had horrendous effects. The latest tallies of total dead in Vietnam under American influence are at around 3.8 million. (See British Medical Journal 2008 study by Ziad Obermeyer) If one throws in the genocide that took place in Cambodia due to Richard Nixon’s invasion of the country, which one must, you can add in about 2 million. (Click here for details) The minimum who perished during the massacre of the PKI in Indonesia under Suharto is pegged at 500,000. (William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History, p. 217). JFK Revisited: Destiny Betrayed shows with authority that none of this would have happened under Kennedy.

Most people would find this information rather interesting. James Kirchick did not. He chose to write about an issue not in the film. It is then fair to characterize his article as a distraction from these important, some would say, epochal matters.

But this is what one expects from the MSM on the Kennedy case. About three months after the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission were published, in March of 1965, the first combat troops landed in Vietnam. By the end of the year, there were 170,000 of them in theater.

Under President Kennedy, there were none.

That is a pretty hefty issue to sidestep, but Kirchick does so with a completeness that is astonishing.

Post Script: I now extend to Kirchick the same offer I did to another unfounded critic of the documentary, namely Gerald Posner. I will offer to debate Mr. Kirchick at any venue in Los Angeles or San Francisco on the merits of the JFK case, the Warren Report, or either version of Oliver Stone’s documentary. We can arrange for the sponsors, the format, and recording apparatus. He can even bring Tim Wiener. I await his reply.

Last modified on Sunday, 20 February 2022 17:48
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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