& A personal plea to my friends, fellow Facebookies and Twitterers:
Many of you have heard me railing and complaining and wondering, at one time or another during the past half-century, about what really happened before, during and after that awful moment at 12:30 p.m. central time in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963.
I have tried, sometimes successfully, not to be a bore. I have also tried to make it clear that I do not know what happened. But I want to know.
I’m not alone. The polls tell us that even today, nearly 54 years after John Kennedy’s head was blown off, nearly two out of three Americans and a huge number of others worldwide have the same question: What really happened? To one degree or another, we do not trust that we have all the facts about a murder that could have been (I stress the “could”) a covered-up coup d’etat against our government. The truth may hurt, but we should know.
It may be sufficient (“easy” may be a better word) for some to accept as truth the government’s official explanation, as rife as it is with inconsistencies and incomplete information. However, given what has been learned -– and what has been kept secret — in the past half-century, it must said: To accept the status quo (as have so many in our four Estates of The Executive, The Legislative, The Judicial and, yes, The Press) is to abandon our evolved birthright as thinking beings and shun our responsibilities as practitioners of American patriotism.
Thanks to the efforts of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dogged, sincere, smart, honest Kennedy assassination researchers who have persisted in the face of historically clueless and often spineless legislators, lawyers and lawmen, legions of imaginative faux-conspiracy kooks and an oh-so-ho-hum handout-happy mainstream media, the valid, unanswered questions have piled as high as the Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
Now, finally, we have a chance to learn the truth; if not the whole truth, at least more of it. Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed a unique law which requires FULL release of ALL assassination records of ALL government agencies – CIA, FBI and others, Congressional investigations, you name ‘em — no later than the last week of October of this year. Millions of bits of data hiding in thousands records, turned over to the National Archives, have been released to the public in the last quarter-century, and have been fodder for many of those questions that persist. But, reports have it, more than one hundred thousand pages, kept secret at the request of various agencies and for various reasons, are still to be released (a first batch was released yesterday) before the 26th of October. Without doubt, the still-classified records hold the most secret keys to the understanding the assassination of John F. Kennedy; they have been the records most closely and most fervently guarded.
There is one caveat to this law, and herein lies my plea. The law says the President – and only the President – may order continued secrecy of any records that would “harm … the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations; and [if] the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
Although those restrictions may have been clear 25 years ago, one can only guess what they might mean to the current occupant of the White House. It is difficult to imagine that any information of such antiquity poses a threat so great as to outweigh the public interest. I have little faith, however, that whatever that caveat meant to Congress in 1992 will hold the same meaning with Mr. Trump. My nightmare is that these records – our records – may become pawns in a continuing political chess game. I hope I am wrong.
& It is to our benefit to join with the knowledgeable writers of today’s appeal in the Washington Post in making it clear that:
We know we speak for an army of historians, political scientists, journalists and concerned citizens who have studied the JFK assassination when we say that it is time for the federal government to release everything in the custody of the Archives. This is the moment for full transparency about a seminal event that cost many Americans’ trust in their government.
It comes as no surprise to learn in the Post story that:
Congressional and other government officials have warned us in confidence in recent weeks that at least two federal agencies will make formal appeals to the White House to block the release of some of the files.
We who remain interested have long suspected as much. The unidentified “federal agencies” (read CIA, FBI) have fought far too many years, far too fiercely, to maintain their secrets. They won’t walk away quietly.
It was Oliver Stone the movie-maker, his movie, and public pressure in the early ‘90s that forced Congress to pass the full disclosure law, and to set the deadline. I think it’s time for the public to exert that pressure again. I hope you will participate in exerting that pressure. It will take only three short sentences, in a letter, an email, a text, or a phone call to the White House:
Mr. President: Please agree to release the JFK records.
All of them.
Help restore our trust.
If you’ll join me in doing that maybe we’ll finally get some answers and make some sense of what is senseless.
& Hoping to have a reason to stop being a bore, someday, I’m outta here.