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James Douglass and Thomas Merton on the Death of JFK

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Last night I found my long-overlooked copy of Compassion and the Unspeakable in the Murders of Martin, Malcolm, JFK, RFK, by peace activist James W. Douglass. This 17-page pamphlet reproduces Douglass' keynote address to the International Thomas Merton Society as delivered in Mobile, Alabama on June 13, 1997.

I think it appropriate that, in the season of peace, we contemplate the words of Douglass and Merton as I excerpt them below:

The Warren Report gave us the unspeakable in prose, with a void at the center of its almost one thousand pages. Remember Merton's description of the unspeakable. It sounds as if he is describing the Warren Report:

It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss. It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his obedience ... (Raids, p. 4)

The Warren Report is a monument to the unspeakable. Yet it provoked no revolution. That void of citizen response remains at the heart of our national security state. The unspeakable that rules us now took power on November 22, 1963, and was confirmed by the Warren Report. By denying the void at the heart of our system, we have allowed it to undermine everything. The unspeakable rules by the power of our denial.

In conclusion, Douglass writes:

Is it not our right as a people to abolish the military-industrial complex and its intelligence agencies that have murdered our leaders and millions of other brothers and sisters? As we begin to be jolted out of our long sleep ... how can we come together again? What are the present seeds of that nonviolent revolution needed to abolish war, poverty, and racism, a global Poor People's Campaign? Must we begin by facing our own denial of the blood of the Sixties?

Compassion is the most powerful force on earth and in heaven.

Friends, when will we realize that?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Forgive my presumptuouness, but I thought the post-holiday, back to business atmosphere might prompt more reaction to the above pre-Christmas post.


Charles, I share your sentiment that this country is probably headed down the tubes and that this devolution was accelerated by events in 63 and 68. On the other hand, my interest of late has been elsewhere. Here, within the next month, we may have a relatively young and liberal black man become the front-runner for the presidency. I keep thinking... if this comes to pass, who will kill him, and who will we be told is responsible? Is an LHO2 or Sirhan Sirhan II being manufactured as we speak? If so, is there any way we can stop him?

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Whatever the variation on the theme turns out to be, change will be blunted until the lessons of Dealey Plaza are learned.

Can an Obama be expected to take the point, so to speak, and protect himself? Or in our times, would he be the ultimate target of opportunity?

Would he be killed? Controlled? Rendered moot in some other fashion?

All we can know for certain is that the system is self-correcting and that, short of systemic change, we don't have a chance.

Thank you for responding.


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Forgive my presumptuouness, but I thought the post-holiday, back to business atmosphere might prompt more reaction to the above pre-Christmas post.


Jim Douglas has written beautifully on this case, from a very spiritual (Christian) perspective. ( "The Assassination of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy in the Light of the Fourth Gospel- an article he sent to me in the late 90's.) He has also tried to convince Ramsey Clark that there was a conspiracy, to no avail. (He reproduced an article detailing his efforts which can be found online).

Charles: I think Obama is already controlled.


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Here, within the next month, we may have a relatively young and liberal black man become the front-runner for the presidency. I keep thinking... if this comes to pass, who will kill him, and who will we be told is responsible?

The Hillary Clinton campaign has just raised the issue of assassination.

Yesterday in New Hampshire Hillary was introduced as follows:

“Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation."

Later in the day Hillary told Fox News that " it wasn’t hope that King inspired that made the difference but President Lyndon Johnson’s decision to fight for and sign the Civil Rights Act into law.

Seems that Hillary concedes the mantle of JFK and MLK to Obama. JFK hardly counts, it seems since he got himself assassinated, and King was just a guy who made great speeches.

Instead, Hilary presents herself to the people of New Hampshire as the new LBJ.

Since LBJ is such a beloved figure in New Hampshire ( he won the NH primary in 1968 even though he had not declared his candidacy yet) Hilary's "I'm the new LBJ" strategy might give her the bounce she needs to avoid being kicked out of the race today .... NOT!


I have a feeling that Ted Kennedy, despite his long-standing friendship with Wild Bill, will be rooting for Obama today.

Likewise, the family of Martin Luther King.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
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  • 2 months later...

Amazon lists this as an upcoming title:


"Madison, Wis. (March 11, 2008) – Author Jim Douglass will present a talk detailing his new book, JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why It Matters, at Edgewood College. The presentation, which is open to the public, will be held at 7:00 pm, Thursday April 17, 2008. The event is in Anderson Auditorium, and there is no admission charge. The author will be available to sign copies of his new book during a reception immediately after the presentation.

The author calls his work “an experiment into the truth of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.” In the book, Douglass looks at that event in conjunction with the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy. Douglass says he’ll share some of what he’s discovered about these four events, which he says may be seen as part of the same astonishing story. He says the shared commitment to a vision of peace and justice involved great risk and suffering. And he argues, in the case of each visionary, there were fatal consequences of that commitment.

A lifelong activist, and a strong proponent of a theology and lifestyle of non-violence, Douglass is co-founder of Mary’s House, a Catholic Worker house in Birmingham, Ala.


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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 years later...

James Douglas and Wes Wise

JFKcountercoup: James Douglas & Wes Wise

JFK & The Unspeakable (p. 294-298)

…Also at about 2:00 P.M., a man identified as Oswald was seen in a car eight blocks away from the Texas Theater, still very much at large and keeping a low profile. 460 A sharp-eyed auto mechanic spotted him.

T.F. White was a sixty-year-old, longtime employee of Mack Pate's Garage in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. While White worked on an automobile the afternoon of the assassination, he could hear police sirens screaming up and down Davis street only a block away. He also heard radio reports describing a suspect then thought to be in Oak Cliff. 461 The mechanic looked out the open doors of the garage. He watched as a red 1961 Falcon drove into the parking lot of the El Chico restaurant across the street. The Falcon parked in an odd position after going a few feet into the lot. The driver remained seated in the car. 462. White said later, "The man in the car appeared to be hiding.' 643 White kept his eyes on the man in the Falcon.

When Mack Pate returned from his lunch break a few minutes later, T.F. White pointed out to his boss the oddly parked Falcon with its waiting driver who seemed to be hiding. Pate told White to watch the car carefully, reminding him of earlier news reports they had heard about a possible assassination attempt against President Kennedy in Houston the day before involving a red Falcon. 464

[bK Notes: In Wise's original notes and his FBI report of the same day, Wise refers to the car as a 57 Plymouth, which is the year and model of the car the license plate was attached, and the red Ford Falcon only comes up because of Mack Pate's reference to it as being a suspicious car in an assassination attempt he had heard about in Houston the day before. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has any info on this "assassination attempt" in Houston the day before involving a Red Ford Falcon. Also see Igor Vaganov's red Ford in Oak Cliff]

T. F. White walked across the street to investigate. He halted about ten to fifteen yards from the car. He could see the driver was wearing a white t-shirt. 465 The man turned towards White and looked at himfull face. White stared back at him. Not wanting to provoke a possible assassin, White began to retreat to the garage. However, he paused, took a scrap of paper from his coveralls pocket, and wrote down the Texaslicense plate of the car: PP4537. 466

That night, while T. F. White was watching television with his wife, he recognized the Dallas Police Department's prisoner, Lee Harvey Oswald, as the man he had seen in the red Falcon in El Chico's parking lot.White was unfazed by what he had not yet known – that at the same time he had seen one Oswald sitting feely in the Falcon, the other Oswald was sitting handcuffed in a Dallas police car on his way to jail. Mrs. White, fearing the encompassing arms of a conspiracy, talked her husband out of reporting his information to the authorities. 467 Thus, the Oswald sighted in the parking lot might have escaped history, but for the fact White was confronted by an alert reporter.

For more on this subject:

JFKcountercoup: James Douglas & Wes Wise

Edited by William Kelly
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