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Oliver Stone calls "JFK & The Unspeakable" "the best account I have read"
#1
I've been wondering for a long time if Oliver Stone had gone all "Vincent" (Palamara/Bugliosi) on us, mainly 'cause of his squishy soft movies about the World Trade Center attack and Nixon. And I haven't heard him say anything about JFK for a while...

Well, he just said a mouthful. He posted over at Salon and called "JFK and the Unspeakable" "the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance." I agree. I'm so glad Nathaniel recommended it; his strong recommendation is the reason I read it.

Here's Stone's July 23 column from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oliver-sto...43924.html. Emphasis is mine.


"The murder of President Kennedy was a seminal event for me and for millions of Americans. It changed the course of history. It was a crushing blow to our country and to millions of people around the world. It put an abrupt end to a period of a misunderstood idealism, akin to the spirit of 1989 when the Soviet bloc to began to thaw and 2008, when our new American President was fairly elected.

Today, more than 45 years later, profound doubts persist about how President Kennedy was killed and why. My film JFK was a metaphor for all those doubts, suspicions and unanswered questions. Now an extraordinary new book offers the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. That book is James Douglass's JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.

The subtitle sums up Douglass's purpose: Why He Died and Why it Matters. In his beautifully written and exhaustively researched treatment, Douglass lays out the "motive" for Kennedy's assassination. Simply, he traces a process of steady conversion by Kennedy from his origins as a traditional Cold Warrior to his determination to pull the world back from the edge of destruction.

Many of these steps are well known, such as Kennedy's disillusionment with the CIA after the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion, and his refusal to follow the reckless recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. (This in itself was truly JFK's shining moment in the sun. It is likely that any other president from LBJ on would have followed the path to a general nuclear war.) Then there was the Test Ban Treaty and JFK's remarkable American University Speech where he spoke with empathy and compassion about the Soviet people, recognizing our common humanity, the fact that we all "inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."

But many of his steps remain unfamiliar: Kennedy's back-channel dialogue with Khrushchev and their shared pursuit of common ground; his secret opening to dialogue with Fidel Castro (ongoing the very week of his assassination); and his determination to pull out of Vietnam after his probable re-election in 1964.

All of these steps caused him to be regarded as a virtual traitor by elements of the military-intelligence community. These were the forces that planned and carried out his assassination. Kennedy himself said, in 1962, after he read Seven Days in May, which is about a military coup in the United States, that if he had another Bay of Pigs, the same thing could happen to him. Well, he did have another "Bay of Pigs"; he had several. And I think Kennedy prophesied his own death with those words.

Why does it matter? The death of JFK remains a critical turning point in our history. Those who caused his death were targeting not just a man but a vision -- a vision of peace. There is no calculating the consequences of his death for this country and for the world. Those consequences endure. To a large extent, the fate of our country and the future of the planet continue to be controlled by the shadowy forces of what Douglass calls "the Unspeakable." Only by unmasking these forces and confronting the truth about our history can we restore the promise of democracy and lay claim to Kennedy's vision of peace.

But don't take my word for it. Read this extraordinary book and reach your own conclusions."
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#2
Thanks Myra, I saw that yesterday and meant to post it.
I decided today that from now on as a precondition to having a serious political discussion with anyone I am going to insist that first this book be read. That is how important I feel this book is. It is not just a JFK assassination book, but provides the back story for the National Security State that JFK found himself in as a young president. The rich detail of the backchanneling...just so much!

I plan to buy many copies of this book from Andy in Dallas this year as Christmas gifts.

Someone commented here that Jim Douglas may not be online. Ture. Correspondence is still the old fashioned way: pen and ink. I like the touch actually. Way more personal.
Dawn

Glad to see you back in cyberspace. Welcome home!
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#3
Douglass' JFKU as the "best account" of the event?

Not even close.

As the best argument for the sponsors' ultimate motive?

Absolutely.

I often think of my friend Professor Evica, but I miss him most intensely whenever discussions take place regarding John Kennedy's spiritual awakening.

George Michael and I spoke of this often over a 15-year period. We came to understand that the enlightened spirit savagely evicted from the human host on 11/22/63 could not be allowed to continue its in-body evolution if the forces of materialism were to prevail.

Sound like a Harry Potter plot?

At times JFKU falters in its deep political analyses (Douglass' Chicago plot conclusions, for example, are simplistic and wholly inconsistent with his deeper understanding regarding the overall structure of the assassination conspiracy).

Evica and Scott are significantly more insightful in their respective penetrations of the operational levels of the hit.

What makes JFKU a truly and uniquely important contribution to the canon is its powerful meditations on the ancient and ongoing battle between spiritual and material world views and the reasons why John Kennedy was destined to be slaughtered in that conflict.

I might add that, while the Cuban Missile Crisis is often and glibly cited as the catalyst for JFK's awakening, George Michael and I agreed that an equally significant event was the death of his and Mrs. Kennedy's third child, Patrick.

Observe how their love -- and, by extension, their marriage -- seemed to be renewed in the wake of that tragedy.

Why didn't sexual blackmail and threats of death deter John Kennedy?

By that too-long autumn of 1963, the only force that could stop him was death itself -- in the form of a base element of the earth driven into the very temple of his spirit.
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#4
Great post, Charles.

I think you and Evica were right about the death of Patrick.

From what I've seen and read over the years, it seems that this tragedy served to strengthen both his marriage and his sense of purpose in the Presidency. He was plenty determined prior to August '63 as we know, but I think he was given a timely reminder of his own mortality.
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#5
Yes, great post Charles.

Some key players are incapable of spiritual evolution.

Dick Cheney, for instance, is clearly reptilian (in a non-Ickeian sense).

JFK may have been the exception, a leader whose soul could be transformed by tragedy.

However, the spiritual evolution has to be real, not faux. Tony Blair's political career seems to be dotted with epiphanies: the death of Diana, 9/11 "changing everything", his moral conviction that "humanitarian intervention" meant he could bomb Serbs, Afghanis, women, children.

Blair's epiphanies were of course totally bogus.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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#6
Charles Drago Wrote:Douglass' JFKU as the "best account" of the event?

Not even close.

As the best argument for the sponsors' ultimate motive?

Absolutely.

I often think of my friend Professor Evica, but I miss him most intensely whenever discussions take place regarding John Kennedy's spiritual awakening.

George Michael and I spoke of this often over a 15-year period. We came to understand that the enlightened spirit savagely evicted from the human host on 11/22/63 could not be allowed to continue its in-body evolution if the forces of materialism were to prevail.

Sound like a Harry Potter plot?

At times JFKU falters in its deep political analyses (Douglass' Chicago plot conclusions, for example, are simplistic and wholly inconsistent with his deeper understanding regarding the overall structure of the assassination conspiracy).

Evica and Scott are significantly more insightful in their respective penetrations of the operational levels of the hit.

What makes JFKU a truly and uniquely important contribution to the canon is its powerful meditations on the ancient and ongoing battle between spiritual and material world views and the reasons why John Kennedy was destined to be slaughtered in that conflict.

I might add that, while the Cuban Missile Crisis is often and glibly cited as the catalyst for JFK's awakening, George Michael and I agreed that an equally significant event was the death of his and Mrs. Kennedy's third child, Patrick.

Observe how their love -- and, by extension, their marriage -- seemed to be renewed in the wake of that tragedy.

Why didn't sexual blackmail and threats of death deter John Kennedy?

By that too-long autumn of 1963, the only force that could stop him was death itself -- in the form of a base element of the earth driven into the very temple of his spirit.

Interesting Charlie. I never considered the death of Patrick to be a factor in JFK's political evolution and therefore the '63 coup. Will you elaborate on that? Is there a book that discusses this aspect or did it only come out in discussions? What is this theory based on?

And to clarify, are you saying that Douglass' evaluation is inaccurate or merely incomplete?
Reply
#7
Dawn Meredith Wrote:Thanks Myra, I saw that yesterday and meant to post it.
I decided today that from now on as a precondition to having a serious political discussion with anyone I am going to insist that first this book be read. That is how important I feel this book is. It is not just a JFK assassination book, but provides the back story for the National Security State that JFK found himself in as a young president. The rich detail of the backchanneling...just so much!

I plan to buy many copies of this book from Andy in Dallas this year as Christmas gifts.

Someone commented here that Jim Douglas may not be online. Ture. Correspondence is still the old fashioned way: pen and ink. I like the touch actually. Way more personal.
Dawn

Glad to see you back in cyberspace. Welcome home!

Thanks Dawn.

I'm wonder how Stone's reading of JFK&U would have changed his great movie "JFK" if it had been written before he made the movie and he could have sourced it.

Anyway, I'm very glad to see that Stone isn't (yet another) JFK turncoat.
Reply
#8
Myra Bronstein Wrote:Interesting Charlie. I never considered the death of Patrick to be a factor in JFK's political evolution and therefore the '63 coup. Will you elaborate on that? Is there a book that discusses this aspect or did it only come out in discussions? What is this theory based on?

And to clarify, are you saying that Douglass' evaluation is inaccurate or merely incomplete?

Myra,

I don't know of a book in which the impact of Patrick's death on the Jack/Jackie relationship is directly evaluated in terms of a spiritual reawakening with dramatic political consequences. But there are ample references in mainstream JFK bios that discuss public evidence of a subsequent deepening of the marriage; Richard Reeves' book comes immediately to mind.

This "theory" is based upon observations; the increasing closeness of the First Couple, their PDA, etc.

Also, the timing is interesting insofar as JFK's efforts to step back from the brink and otherwise reject the Cold War paradigm seem to have been stepped up -- and we're on weak ground here due to the largely still-suppressed documentary record -- after Patrick's passing.

As for the Chicago plot: Douglass accepts this deep political operation on its most superficial level, when in fact there are additional, fascinating, and compelling evaluations of what was going on with Vallee and the alleged hit team.

My own take: Chicago was designed to resemble the Dallas situation in order to quash rumors of an assassination conspiracy with the general outlines of what actually took place.

Think about it: A lone nut patsy with a military background and Leftist tendencies/Communist sympathies who will fire at JFK from an office building in a major downtown area as a pro hit team does the real wet work ... The system was awash in rumors concerning this scenario.

Then "the" plot is foiled in Chicago, the hit team is "on the run," the "patsy" is off the board, and everyone can relax.

Note how JFK, just before he was murdered, spoke of a problem that the Secret Service had "taken care of."

The Chicago/Dallas mirror image also conforms to the multiple uses of doppelgangers throughout the JFK drama.

Can I prove any of this? No.

Do I indict Douglass for not thinking of and exploring it? No.

But I respectfully award a demerit to him for failing to apply deep political analysis to what is clearly a deep political construct.

Hope this helps.
Reply
#9
Charles Drago Wrote:Myra,

I don't know of a book in which the impact of Patrick's death on the Jack/Jackie relationship is directly evaluated in terms of a spiritual reawakening with dramatic political consequences. But there are ample references in mainstream JFK bios that discuss public evidence of a subsequent deepening of the marriage; Richard Reeves' book comes immediately to mind.

This "theory" is based upon observations; the increasing closeness of the First Couple, their PDA, etc.

Also, the timing is interesting insofar as JFK's efforts to step back from the brink and otherwise reject the Cold War paradigm seem to have been stepped up -- and we're on weak ground here due to the largely still-suppressed documentary record -- after Patrick's passing.

As for the Chicago plot: Douglass accepts this deep political operation on its most superficial level, when in fact there are additional, fascinating, and compelling evaluations of what was going on with Vallee and the alleged hit team.

My own take: Chicago was designed to resemble the Dallas situation in order to quash rumors of an assassination conspiracy with the general outlines of what actually took place.

Think about it: A lone nut patsy with a military background and Leftist tendencies/Communist sympathies who will fire at JFK from an office building in a major downtown area as a pro hit team does the real wet work ... The system was awash in rumors concerning this scenario.

Then "the" plot is foiled in Chicago, the hit team is "on the run," the "patsy" is off the board, and everyone can relax.

Note how JFK, just before he was murdered, spoke of a problem that the Secret Service had "taken care of."

The Chicago/Dallas mirror image also conforms to the multiple uses of doppelgangers throughout the JFK drama.

Can I prove any of this? No.

Do I indict Douglass for not thinking of and exploring it? No.

But I respectfully award a demerit to him for failing to apply deep political analysis to what is clearly a deep political construct.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Charlie. I guess it's too much to hope for that any one book can be definitive in a case of this scope. Do you at least think JFK&U is one of the better books on the subject?

Charles Drago Wrote:...
Note how JFK, just before he was murdered, spoke of a problem that the Secret Service had "taken care of."
...

Really? Can you help me find more information about this? Do you recall a source?
Reply
#10
Myra,

I think of JFK and the Unspeakable as a brilliant, eloquent, passionate, profound, and all-in-all extraordinarily important work.

Perhaps I can say it best thusly: It is at once the ideal starting point and ending point for JFK research as it currently stands.

Other valuable books, articles, etc. may challenge some of Douglass' conclusions regarding such matters as the Chicago plot; none, however, approximate his understanding and expression of the spiritual dimension of the crime, its motives, and its consequences.

As for the JFK quote about the SS "taking care" of a problem: It has been noted in numerous books and likely can be easily located by checking an index or three under, I'd assume, Kennedy, John F.; on Secret Service.

I'll check it out myself tonight or tomorrow.
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