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Many mysteries remain about Kennedy assassination (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to question the official version of the Kennedy assassination, says barrister James O'Neill. The evidence presented is problematic.

The recent partial release of further documents related to the JFK assassination of 22 November 1963 has caused a flurry of interest in what remains probably the major unresolved crime of the 20th Century.

The mainstream media have not been deterred from repeating their long time mantra that Lee Harvey Oswald, firing from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), killed Kennedy. The very fact that this singular version is consistently put forward in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not true is a very good reason to doubt the veracity of every other claim put forward by the mainstream media unless it can be independently corroborated from incontrovertible facts.

An equally tired and trite meme is to label all who question the official version, most commonly referred to as the Warren Commission Report, as “conspiracy theorists” and is also either evidence of lazy journalism, or more likely, yet another device to discredit critics of the official version.

Opinion polls consistently show a solid majority of citizens are at the very least sceptical of the Warren Report, or reject its conclusions entirely. It is not because the said majority have been captivated by the alternative media, or have succumbed to some mass delusion.

That scepticism is based on very solid evidence and the fact that the mainstream media resolutely refuses to even mention that evidence is a further indictment on its veracity, regard for the historical record and ability to see how a major geopolitical shift following the events of 22 November 1963 occurred. In the same way, 9/11 also marked a seminal point in geopolitics, as well as confirming the inability of the mainstream media to fully and fairly inform its audience of what would clearly be uncomfortable facts.

Disregard for the truth began very early in the reporting of the JFK assassination and its aftermath. Evidence for that assertion may be found in a veritable library of books and articles compiled by diligent scholars, whose sole motive appears to be a commitment to understanding what happened on 22 November 1963 and subsequently.

There is space here to mention only a few of the demonstrable lies and fallacies in the official story. Perhaps of surprise to some, many of the rebuttals to the official story come from the official documents of government inquiries themselves, although one’s ignorance of that fact is understandable if one had relied solely on News Corporation, Fairfax Media, the ABC, SBS or their foreign equivalents.

Few people – and far fewer journalists – have read the 26 supplementary volumes of the Warren Report. If they had, they would have realised that key witnesses were not invited to testify — including, most notably, Dr Charles Crenshaw, the leader of the medical team at Parkland Hospital, where the fatally wounded Kennedy was taken for treatment (more on Crenshaw below).

Diligent researchers would also have observed that the “evidence” presented in the Warren Report differed in important respects from the evidence in the supplementary volumes. An early critic of the official story, Sylvia Meagher, wrote her landmark 1967 book, Accessories After The Fact, largely based on evidence the Commission itself gathered and reported in the 26 supplementary volumes, but at variance with the report itself.

The next major official investigation was the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), established in 1976 and reporting in 1978. Again, there were significant findings, partially contained within its 12 supplementary volumes. The most significant report to emerge from the HSCA was, in fact, suppressed until the mid-1990s. Even the HSCA’s conclusion that there had been a conspiracy has been consistently ignored.

What was, arguably, the single most important document to emerge from the HSCA inquiry was a report known as the Lopez Report, which established, inter alia, that the person presenting himself at the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City was not Lee Harvey Oswald but an impostor. Both the CIA and the FBI knew this fact within hours of the assassination, because of tape recordings of telephone calls to the embassy by this fake Oswald, and also camera surveillance.

A senior CIA officer, David Atlee Phillips admitted to Mark Lane (Plausible Denial, 1991, pg 82) that there was no evidence that Oswald ever visited the Soviet Embassy. James Di Eugenio goes further and says there is serious doubt Oswald even went to Mexico at all (Reclaiming Parkland, 2013).

In the light of this evidence, one might wonder why SBS et al, featured Oswald’s alleged trip to Mexico City and meeting with KGB agent Kostikov as an absolute fact.  It was also reported that Kostikov was an assassination expert, from which we are undoubtedly expected to draw the inference that the Mexico City trip was part of Oswald’s planning for the assassination. To call this shoddy reporting is an understatement.

The continuing public disquiet over the manifold flaws in the Warren Report led to the setting up of the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) by the Clinton administration. Their final report was issued in 1998. It caused the release of millions of documents, far more significant in their revelations than the manufactured excitement over the latest releases of a few thousand previously classified documents.

A fascinating study of the workings of the ARRB and a summary of its key findings can be found in former ARRB chief analyst Douglas Horne’s five-volume study, Inside the ARRB (2012).

Among the major findings of the ARRB (which also released the Lopez Report) was the medical evidence. The ARRB confirmed what had first been reported by Dr Charles Crenshaw, the head of the unit at Parkland Hospital — namely, that the fatal shot to Kennedy’s head had been fired from the front, blowing out the back of his skull.

That single fact alone should be sufficient to demolish the central thesis of the Warren Report and the repetition, ad nauseum, of the mainstream media ever since, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunmen firing from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

A precise forensic examination by a very experienced public prosecutor, Sherry Fiester, in her book Enemy of the Truth (2014), conclusively demonstrates where the multiple shots fired at Kennedy originated. None of the evidence presented in this book matches the fairytale version of the Warren Report, replete as it is with magic bullets and other fantasies.

There is a great deal more about the medical evidence in the ARRB documents, as well as discussion in di Eugenio’s most recent books, (Reclaiming Parkland, 2013) and Destiny Betrayed (Second edition, 2013). Suffice for present purposes to note that the autopsy was bungled, the autopsy photos in the archive are fake, and that there has never been in adequate explanation to account for the multiple discrepancies between the eyewitness accounts (including Crenshaw and his team) and the official version of events.

Crenshaw himself published a book (JFK and the Conspiracy of Silence, 1992), which recounted what had happened at Parkland Hospital on 22 November 1963, and how he and his team were intimidated into recanting their observations and actions on that day. The book was a huge bestseller, causing the mainstream media to mount a serious personal attack on Crenshaw’s medical competence.

It will come as no surprise to be told that the Lopez Report, the ARRB report, the books by Lane, Crenshaw, Di Eugenio and others never rate a mention in the mainstream media. What many scholars regard as the definitive study of the assassination and why Kennedy was killed is James DouglassJFK and the Unspeakable: Why he Died and Why it Matters (2010), which sets out in compelling detail who were responsible for Kennedy’s assassination and the reasons why he was killed. Again, this analysis is never portrayed or discussed in the mainstream media.

Instead, SBS this week served up the long discredited apologist for Warren Commission, Gerald Posner, as though his views are the definitive ones.

For more than 50 years now, the mainstream media have ignored actual evidence in presenting a distorted account. It is little wonder they have diminishing credibility. Democracy is all the poorer and all the more endangered by this abdication of responsibility.

James O'Neill is a former academic and has practised as a barrister since 1984. He writes on geopolitical issues, with a special emphasis on international law and human rights. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au.

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