The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is focusing public attention on some of the deceits that long permeated his death. It is amazing how much BS the government shoveled in the immediate aftermath. The Warren Commission report – which is now widely derided – was supposed to canonize the Official Story (and help elect Lyndon Johnson as president) in the same way that the 9/11 Commission report sanctified the Bush administration’s version of events (and helped re-elect George W. Bush). The Warren Commission blamed Oswald’s “deep-rooted resentment of all authority” – as if that settled the matter once and for all. Top federal officials assured the public that the Warren Commission provided the whole truth and nothing but the truth — but sealed the records and did not plan to open the files for 75 years. The message was, “Trust us — we will let your great-grandchildren see the evidence.”
The Warren Commission’s contempt for the facts was revealed periodically in the following decades. In 1997, the Assassination Record Review Board released documents revealing how congressman Jerry Ford had “fixed” the final report by arrogating to himself the role of forensic pathologist-in-chief. The final staff report said that the bullet that Oswald fired hit John Kennedy in the upper back. Ford changed the report to claim that the bullet entered Kennedy’s body “at the back of the neck.” Ford’s revision was crucial to support the single-bullet theory of the assassination (often derided as “the magic bullet”). Ford served as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover’s “confidential informant” on the Commission, as Tim Weiner noted in his history of the FBI. Ford never disclosed who prompted him to amend the official record. The revelation of Ford’s manipulating the Warren Commission report did nothing to deter the national media from continuing to portray Ford as a saint.
I don’t have a strong conclusion as to who killed Kennedy. As with the 9/11 attacks, simply because the government withheld information and told legions of lies does not prove that the killing was an inside job.
On the other hand, I am mystified why any intelligent being would defer to official accounts on major debacles. And I’m glad that Hornberger and others are continuing to pound away trying to get to the truth on the JFK killing.