Vince Bugliosi -author of 'Reclaiming History' - figures prominently in Tom Hanks' recycled propaganda piece on the Kennedy assassination.
Imagine assembling a cavalcade of talking heads with some name cachet to dispute and attempt to skewer the evidence that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a conspiracy. It would require some degree of moxie especially if one also was a self-proclaimed "Kennedy liberal". But this was Tom Hanks, as he catapulted himself from the fictional Forrest Gump to would- be modern pop historian of record, most recently in a CNN 1-hour presentation on the JFK assassination.
Most people are aware that pop historians Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman were to have completed a 13 part HBO series on the event based on Vince Bugliosi's ridiculous book 'Reclaiming History" - to support the Warren Commission whitewash. This was to be for the 50th anniversary year (2013). Hanks went so far as to say in one Truthdig interview that he intended to "do the American public a service" - because they "have been snookered into believing that Lee Harvey Oswald was framed." . Evidently, Hanks, Goetzman and Bugliosi were convinced that Gerald Posner's earlier, two -bit hatchet job 'Case Closed' wasn't enough - and they were right. Within a short time critics had exposed all of Posner's tricks, omissions, distortions and disinformation which the interested reader can peruse here:
So Hanks' job was formidable: to do what Gerald Posner was unable to. Recall when I told German friends at the Zugspitze about Hanks' grandiose plans they howled with laughter and asked 'Who was trying to snooker who?' Most couldn't believe a high grade comic actor would deign to produce a historical series about Kennedy. See e.g.
One can, of course, inquire into Hanks' bona fides as a Kennedy historian of any type. Those who want the details (Goetzman's too) can check out Jim Di Eugenio's superb book, 'Reclaiming Parkland', where we learn Hanks first rose to some minor theatrical prominence at Skyline High School in Oakland, CA, and subsequently entered Chabot Community College in Hayward, CA as a drama specialist. Hanks - as Di Eugenio notes- basically has no history creds at all, but he did rise to stardom with 'Splash" and then - after becoming a household name - met Gary Goetzman on the set of 'Philadelphia'. The rest, as they say, is history and the pair went on to make a set of historical series, starting with 'Band of Brothers' on HBO.
That these guys even read the full Warren Report, the official government report (released by the HSCA) or any of the recently released files under the JFK Records Act is doubtful. As Di Eugenio put it ((p. 16):
"How did these men get into a position to make such momentous public decisions about highly controversial and very important historical issues."
Well, because of their connections - especially to media elites and propagandizers (like Vince Bugliosi, and Max Holland) with an axe to grind about anything that raises the issue of conspiracy.
But let us fast forward.
Hanks' Kennedy conspiracy- skewering extravaganza never made it to HBO, even after he and Goetzman pared it down to nine parts and pleaded with the producers re: its "import". But the decision of the honchos at HBO was that it would be a ratings disaster and the details those like Bugliosi would go into, would simply cause viewers' eyes to glaze over. In addition, Hanks' previous project, 'The Pacific', didn't draw the numbers of his earlier popular history efforts, e.g. Band of Brothers. So the project had to be mothballed.
But who knew at the time that this historical fiasco would be resurrected but in distilled, miniature form? Thus, it appears Hanks and Goetzman were bound and determined to get this propaganda promotion (maybe for the CIA?) on the air in some form, and with some cooperating media outfit. Evidently, they succeeded with CNN - in a series televised over last weekend entitled 'The Sixties'. One of the episodes was 'The Kennedy Assassination' and as soon as I spotted Hanks and Goetzman's names (as executive producers) I figured they might try a hit job on JFK lone nut skeptics in that episode. I was absolutely correct.
To their credit they present actual historical footage from the times, including Oswald's being paraded through the Dallas police station and also being asked questions by reporters - which would never happen today. He provides responses that are all consistent with Peter Dale Scott's evidence that he was methodically framed by the security state to act as the patsy. See e.g.
Where it turns into propaganda is the edited insertion of dissing talking heads, starting with Bugliosi himself. There we see the former Manson prosecutor whining in a tinny voice that "everything he said was provably a lie" . But, of course, we now know just about everything Bugliosi said about Oswald was a lie, and the Warren Report he and his associates defend so vigorously is just a tissue of lies woven into more lies (as well as fake exhibits). But this despicable affront to American intelligence was given the mantle of probity by assembling a set of commissioners possessing a veneer of name gravitas. See my FAQs on the WC here for its many failings, omissions, and suborning detritus that really ought to have outraged any real lawyer:
Bugliosi immediately follows his "lies" outburst by asserting Oswald was a "nut" and once that was "learned" his prosecution as the lone gunman became inevitable. In fact, Bugliosi had become prey to the very media canards Peter Dale Scott exposed in his 'Oswald,
"neurotic frustrated by neglect, and 'angered' (Posner's words) that 'others failed to recognize the stature he thought he deserved."
This codswallop was then additionally integrated into the CIA- confected narrative that Oswald was a "KGB -linked assassin" hired to kill Kennedy. Under the tutelage of Warren Commissioner Dulles, it was decided to drop it and pursue the lone gunman narrative instead. The spooks agreed they didn't want to use an unproven bit of nonsense to frighten the American people to death after assembling a compendium of lies.
Alas, these illustrious historical actors presented by Hanks and Goetzman included Allen Dulles - the very CIA head JFK fired after the Bay of Pigs and who set up his own anti-Kennedy gov't in the wake to bring Kennedy down by hook or crook- or bullets see e.g.
Bugliosi soon appears again, bellyaching that "conspiracy theorists had dug so deeply they had ended up splitting hairs then splitting the split hairs until the Kennedy case had become the most complex ever known". Of course, this is outrageous hyper-bullshit. In fact, all that happened is that when actual files (previously withheld) were finally released under the JFK Records Act in 1992 researchers finally had the material they needed to pursue the case in all its dimensions, including: Clay Shaw's CIA contract agent number, Oswald's CIA files (CI/SIG and 74-500), and the fact that Kennedy had planned to pull all personnel out of Vietnam by 1965 via National Security Action Memorandum 263.
There followed stock footage of Oswald's murder by Jack Ruby which saw other media heads visibly pouting in their expressed outrage, as if no one could be stupid enough to challenge the finding that good ol' Jack simply acted out of his heart as a latter day cowpoke who took down the 'bad guy'. (But he did have a personal motive: he wanted to drive more business to his 'Carousel Club' - as the place owned by the guy who killed the big, bad assassin. NO thought that he'd be in the slammer for his misdeeds).
Oh, then there was the objection that hey, Ruby was a "groupie" of the Dallas cops and always came to the station, so WHY would any dolt think it was "unusual" he was there? The odds are, well,.....astronomical! Another pompous gasbag spouted that "Ruby had only a few minutes to get into the station" i.e. from where he'd been earlier, "so how the heck could he have been sure to be armed and known Oswald would be there so he could shoot him?" The "limited time" disproved it.
Sorry, Roscoe, it doesn't. (Also, controverting evidence shows Ruby had more than ample time to get inside and get a good shot)
Ruby's very regular presence likely made him privy to the scuttlebutt that Oswald was being moved to a new site, so was aware of the day and time and brought his weapon. As gangster Johnny Roselli confessed to one source (before he was to appear before the HSCA) : "Of course Jack did it, to silence Oswald!" After which Roselli found himself in the Intracoastal waterway off Miami gutted like a fish and crammed inside a waste can. Escaping gases from the corpse caused the can to rise to the surface as reported by Gaeton Fonzi in 'The Last Investigation' (the HSCA real gov't investigation that Hanks and Goetzman omit.)
The only one with the sober take, amidst all Hanks' parading puppets, was Oswald's mother, who told it straight that she believed Ruby was a "hired killer to shut the mouth of Lee Oswald". Subsequently released files disclose she nailed it.
On the segment to do with Jim Garrison, all the venomous claims and slanders made against him are interjected, as well as images of Clay Shaw - holding the New Orleans States -Item in his hands with the front page reading, 'NOT GUILTY!' and yucking it up More Hanks' selected talking heads follow, yapping how the case was tossed out. Well, of course it was, since the Judge in the case (Haggerty) refused to allow Garrison to cite or introduce Shaw's alias, 'Clay Bertrand'.
Like most of the content of this blatant hit job, no mention is made that after the JFK Records Act and files release, the CIA DID fess up that Shaw was a contract agent and worked for them. As CIA Doc. (JFK 1993: 6.28.16.07.26.560280) notes:
"A memorandum marked for files says that J. Monroe Sullivan, #280201, was granted a covert security approval as of 10 December 1962 so he could be used in Project QKENCHANT [Clay L. Shaw has #402897]"
Not skipping a beat, Hanks then brings in "experts" like Arlen Specter and some low level Warrenite stooges and media twerps to disparage the skeptics who found fault with the single bullet theory. A 2-dimensional plan overview of the limo and the positions of JFK and Connally are shown to refute the critics SBT objections - with Bugliosi arguing that Connally was not really seated directly in front of Kennedy, a perspective achieved by altering Connally's seat position relative to JFK in the rear. They'd have certainly managed to convince many people that yes indeed, that single bullet could find its way through both men to make seven wounds and emerge barely scathed. BUT....if one goes to the sideways diagram, and appeals to the records track, one finds the horse fly in the ointment, e.g..
The "horse fly" is at the entry point in JFK's back. Recall that early on the Warren whitewashers realized their original sketch of the bullet entry wouldn't work:
The upper inclined blue arrow shows the trajectory of the bullet that the Warren Commission first believed would be needed in order to account for BOTH the JFK back wound AND the neck wound - then entering Connally to make his wounds.
The problem was that with the upward angle trajectory the shooter would've had to have been firing literally from street level, which would have eliminated a TSBD shooter (alleged to be Oswald). Thus, at least one WC member (Gerald Ford) realized for the SBT to work the Commission's drawing had to reset the placement higher - changing it to the light yellow trajectory through the base of the neck, and a downward angle.. .
The initial draft of the report(conforming to the blue upward trajectory) had stated:
"A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder to the right of the spine."
Ford altered it to read:
"A bullet had entered the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine."
Clearly, Ford wanted the document to conform with the single bullet myth (requiring now the yellow shot arrow) and would stoop to altering a document on record to attain the goal. The problem for Ford and the Warrenites is one of basic anatomy. The original autopsy sheet, including the placement and description of the back wound, was signed and verified by Admiral George Gregory Burkley, personal physician to the president who directed the autopsy at
That death certificate revealed the back wound to be, in the Admiral's own words, at the president's "third thoracic vertebra.” The neck has seven CERVICAL vertebrae, and this observed and verified wound was described as three THORACIC vertebrae lower than the neck itself.
The final report then read: "A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of his spine." Ford insisted this was “a small change, …intended to clarify meaning, not alter history”. But alter history is exactly what it did! For by altering the original autopsy report, Ford and his cohorts succeeded in conferring a measure of validity on Specter’s single bullet theory. This is despite the fact that analysis of the resulting trajectory doesn’t even conform to basic laws of Newtonian dynamics!
To make matters worse for Ford et al, the throat wound was described by Parkland surgeon Malcolm Perry (who should know his business given having to deal with multiple Dallasites' gunshot wounds at Parkland) as an ENTRY wound..
Cleverly, Hanks and his parade of propagandizers made reference to none of this. But that is the special talent of Hanks and Goetzman: to frame viewer perceptions by omission. (In the preceding episode, "The World On the Brink", they omit any mention of Kennedy evolving away from his cold warrior pose after the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the violent opposition of Gen. Curtis Lemay to Kennedy's naval blockade during it. They also omit his documented rapprochement with Fidel Castro. But then they obviously would know that would have given the security warhawks a prima facie case to kill him.)
Interspersed throughout we see and hear all the Warren Commission groupies and puppets, from yes, Max Holland, to Vince Bugliosi to David Susskind and assorted Jim Garrison critics. They note at the time a majority of Americans don't buy the Warren Report - for all the reasons I have cited ad infinitum, and we hear these varied snarky mini-speeches - as if to lecture any viewers they damned well ought to know better:
Trying to add more reinforcement to the hit job Hanks et al then get this bit of canned, subjective insight from Priscilla Johnson McMillan (author of 'Marina and Lee') :
"If you understood the Walker shooting, you knew Lee was like a cocked rifle. He could go off at any time".
The true fact is that Lee had nothing to do with the Walker shooting, but why fret over facts when Hanks and Goetzman can recruit willing disinformationists to do their dirty work. McMillan, as later records disclosed, worked as a research pawn for the CIA, so it's no surprise her book would be framed the way it is (that Lee was this seething loose cannon). See:
A salient point to make which McMillan omits: the slug found at the scene was from a 30.06 as reported from the FBI files cited in Mark North’s excellent book Act of Treason (page 255). So how did a 30.06 rifle mutate into Oswald’s alleged 6.5 mm Mannlicher –Carcano some months later, when all the evidence is Oswald never fired such or was ever photographed with such? Why would
“Hoover, the Dallas P.D. and the Warren Commission realized early on that an examination of Oswald’s past reveals only a pacifist engaged in leftist activism. Simply put, he is nonviolent”
North aptly points out (ibid.) subsequently that the
“would have faded into total obscurity but for the fiction that will be created on 11/22/63”
One does have to hand it to Hanks and Goetzman for clever editing and inserting all the most gravitas-resonating voices of the time, including Eric Sevareid, and Walter Cronkite to instill the meme that finding for conspiracy is all about finding "comfort" in a brutish random world where- according to Sevareid: "power and majesty can be wiped out in an instant by a skinny, weak-chinned little character".
After all, at least a conspiracy provides a sense of "order", where a lone nut killer is "random". Of course, a real conspiracy involving the national security state is a billion times more upsetting to a sane person - given it implies any President can be removed by force. A lone gunman scenario would be balm by comparison given it would mean a plausible 'one off' and not that systematic killers are lurking to take out anyone who steps too far out of line. Do these two fools- Hanks and Goetzman- really believe Americans to be that fucking stupid? Evidently they do!
Hey! Allen Dulles didn't look that skinny and "weak-chinned" to me!
And then we are treated to the authoritative voice of Walter Cronkite:
"What would be more comfortable? Accepting a lone assassin, or believing a second assassin suddenly materialized out of thin air, fired a shot and disappeared again without leaving a trace of his rifle, his bullet or any other sign of existence?"
But barely ten years after "Uncle Walter" said those words, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) did find for a "96 percent probability" of a second gunman based on acoustic tests done by MIT researchers. While a special gov't appointed team attempted to refute it, they failed, and moreover none of them were bona fide acoustic specialists like the MIT group.
Then there is pseudo-historian Robert Dallek, husking through his teeth:
"They don't want to believe that something so random would have occurred."
Well, uh yeah, Robert, especially when the alleged rifle couldn't even be made to replicate Oswald's purported shots in test trials! See e.g.
To make matters worse, he resorts to false analogy:
"Can you believe you could stop off a curb someday and be killed by an oncoming car? Nobody believes that kind of possibility for themselves but it happens! Is life that fortuitous or uncertain?"
Yes, it can be, but that's not at all the same as all the evidence pointing to being framed, as a set up or decoy for an actual assassination conspiracy. Dallek, like other pro-Warren flunkies - and that includes the pop stars of Hanks and Goetzman -want to expunge the fact that Oswald was framed. If he was framed - and we have the CIA's (Mexico City) cables from David Atlee Phillips to prove it - then it was no "random" event but planned - by the same CIA spooks who framed him. See e.g. the previous links I gave just preceding the paragraph commencing with the words "Where it turns into propaganda".
In this Dallek (like Cronkite and Sevareid), commits the same error as mathematician John Allan Paulos, in his 2008 book, Irreligion: mistaking the low political value of the person assassinated for the high political value of the assassination.
The end blather comes compliments of Bugliosi, squealing about lack of faith in government:
"They've (conspiracy believers) lost so much faith in government they actually think the government is an accessory after the fact to the President's murder. It can't get too much worse than that."
Well, it can if it is true, and all the recent record releases point to it , namely the involvement of the CIA. After all, nowhere in Bugliosi's cinder block of a book was it even mentioned that the USAID Commodity Import Aid Program to S. Vietnam had been cut off without informing Kennedy- until David Bell (CIA and USAID go between) told him. This prompted New York Times journalist Arthur Krock in his piece ‘The Inter-Administration War in Vietnam’, The New York Times, Oct. 3, 1963). to write:
"If the United States ever experiences an attempt at a coup to overthrow the government, it will come from the CIA”
This followed his observation that: "the CIA had flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.”
What? Vince lacked the I.Q. to locate this NY Times piece? Or was he too lazy or too dedicated to protecting the Warren claptap? For sure - as a former prosecutor - he'd have seen prima facie evidence for government involvement! In addition, it's mystifying to have seen him whining about this when this is the same guy wrote: 'The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President'. This refers to the noisome interjection of the Court in the 2000 Florida recounts, basically handing the 2000 election to Gee Dumbya Bush. Basically, Bugliosi believed the high court committed "treason" as he often referred to it in interviews to promote the book. So in fact at one time he did believe the government - a sector of it - could be an accomplice to nefarious acts. So why not to assassination? And oh, let's not forget Operation Northwoods!
This was described by James Bamford (Body of Secrets, Doubleday Books): p. 82 as:
“maybe the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government”
This treacherous campaign of terror was to include the sinking of refugee boats (carrying Cuban refugees) on the high seas, as well as the killing of innocent citizens on American cities’ streets, plus random bombings carried out in Washington, DC, Miami and other places. The objective? To deliberately incite a war with Castro's Cuba. One can easily see from both the October, 1962 exchanges and also the Northwoods information, that the JCS and especially LeMay - had a major 'Jones' for starting a war.
Hell, we even have FOIA files for the preliminary plan that was later accepted - which would have been easily accessible to Hanks and Goetzman if they had more investment in truth than confecting propaganda. E.g.
That neither Bugliosi, Hanks or Goetzman could evidently find the same documents shows me they are all either incompetent, or they are committed to mass brainwashing : Bugliosi using his portentous, misleading propaganda book, Hanks and Goetzman with their biased hit job on Warren Commission skeptics and conspiracy proponents, researchers. They all ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The lone voice in the hour that stood out for me was that of historian Robert Caro:
"The assassination changed the trajectory of America. So it was a different place after the assassination than it was before Kennedy was killed. If you look at America as a whole in the 20th century - and look at America in the 1960s - you really see how that event split the history."
Thankfully, this will likely be the last half-baked historical propaganda piece we can expect from Hanks and his pal Goetzman, masquerading as real history. Hanks insists he is a "Kennedy Liberal" which is interesting because that is exactly what I am. So why are Hanks and myself at 180 degree opposite poles on the Kennedy assassination? Why is it that I do believe Oswald was indeed framed and set up as a decoy and Hanks thinks we're all "snookered"?
I think the separation can be almost entirely explained on the basis that Hanks hasn't done one tenth the research, reading and other investigations that I have actually carried out (and described in detail in my recent book, 'The JFK Assassination: The Final Analysis'). How many years, decades has Hanks spent plowing through relevant materials, including old documents, newspapers, newsreels, clips, tape transcripts and FOIA -released files? Or, did he just commence doing it within a year or so of the publication of Vince Bugliosi's pro-Warren Commission PR book? Meanwhile, I have been at it non-stop since 1977, including going through all the volumes of the House Select Committee on Assassinations- published in 1979. I've also done my own physics analysis of the shot sequence, including relevant computations of momentum, torque acting on the body and the impulse needed to send a piece of skull flying over the limo trunk. (A little observation Bugliosi also never processes in trying to explain why the head shot at Z-313 is really due to a "jet effect")
It is all very well, then, to seek to disabuse a population about their strong belief in Oswald's innocence, or that he wasn't the lone gunman, but what have YOU got to show in terms of your own bona fides? Thankfully, it appears Hanks' further specious responses - apart from this CNN piece- will spread no more devious propaganda - dispensed from presumed trustworthy pundits - masquerading as truth.