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Anthony Lewis

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From Chapter 3c at patspeer.com:

On 6-1-64, more leaks reach the public. Anthony Lewis, a writer with a close working relationship with the Supreme Court, writes an article for the New York Times with the headline “Panel to Reject Theories of Plot in Kennedy’s Death. Warren Inquiry is Expected to Dispel Doubts in Europe that Oswald Acted Alone.” Lewis would go on to claim “The commission’s report is expected, in short, to support the original belief of law enforcement agencies in this country that the President was killed by one man acting alone, Lee H. Oswald…A spokesman for the commission said that none of the critical works, foreign or domestic, had come up with any new factual information. He said that the commission had found “just a rehash of the same material. The same questions and each man’s conclusions.”…The commission’s spokesman expressed the conviction that its report, when issued, would completely explode the theories published (abroad). He said that not even the authors would stand by them. “We’ll knock them out of those positions,” he said.” In its 6-12-64 issue, Time Magazine jumped on board and echoed the Times’ endorsement of the commission’s conclusions months before they were even released. An article on the attitudes of Europeans to the assassination began “The most myth-filled aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination is the stubborn refusal of many Europeans to accept the belief that the U.S. President could have been killed by a lunatic loner” and admitted “Last week word leaked from the Warren Commission that its report would spike each of the overseas theses and endorse with few changes the FBI’s original version that Oswald killed alone. However, this is hardly likely to end the myth-making in Europe.” From these articles, it seems likely the “spokesman” speaking to Lewis was either Warren himself or someone acting with his blessing.

If so, however, it's clear these leaks were not "authorized" by the full commission. The 6-4 executive session of the commission reflects that Congressman Ford, for one, is irritated by these leaks, as he is not at all convinced there was no foreign involvement in the assassination. He, furthermore, threatens Warren that if these leaks persist he will find it necessary to tell the press that "the Commission has not discussed these matters as a Commission" as yet, and that whoever is telling them otherwise is not to be trusted. Warren then interjects that he "personally cannot account for any of these stories", and that he has not spoken to any newspapers and that he has urged General Counsel Rankin to urge the staff not to do so as well. This, of course, leaves open the possibility that Warren nudged someone on the staff to make these calls behind Rankin's back. Perhaps sensing this possibility, then, Warren adds "I have no knowledge of anybody talking to anybody...If I knew that anybody from the Commission or the staff has been discussing these things with the press, I would feel very badly about it. But I don't have any belief that they have." This leads Ford to refer back to the articles published around the time of the Commission's creation, and to Acting Attorney General Katzenbach's request that they immediately release the results of the FBI's report, and the concurrent leak of this report to the press. It seems clear from this that Ford suspects Katzenbach.

In any event, after input from John McCloy, who offers "Until you complete the testimony, you cannot have a final conclusion" and voices his own suspicions of the Justice Department, it is decided that a statement should be issued announcing that the Commission is still taking testimony, and that therefore no conclusion has been reached. This, of course, is a bit disingenuous, as the commission, acting as both prosecutor and defense, has the option of taking only the testimony that will help support its already scripted conclusions.

(It would later become clear that in the Spring of '64 the writer of the New York Times' article, Anthony Lewis, was working on a book, Gideon’s Trumpet, whose main source was President Johnson’s closest adviser Abe Fortas. This, in turn, raises the possibility that Johnson and Fortas were behind the leaks. Perhaps Johnson, angered by the Commission's failure to meet its original June 1 deadline, had simply decided that enough was enough, and had decided to assure the world that neither he nor the Soviets had been involved in the assassination, and had asked Fortas leak the story to Lewis. Perhaps not.)

Edited by Pat Speer
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Lewis joined the attacks on Stone's JFK in a 1/9/92 piece that's reprinted in JFK: The Book of the Film. He wrote that experiments with animals showed the same kind of neuromuscular reaction that caused JFK's body (not just his head) to move backward, that 5.5 seconds was enough time for Oswald to hit JFK twice if the missed shot came before or after the two hits rather than between them as depicted in the film, that tests showed that two bullet fragments "came from Oswald's rifle and could have come from no other," that Oswald would have left the police station long before Ruby arrived were it not for the "accident" of the presence of Harry Holmes who was allowed to question Oswald for 30 minutes, that the film alleges a vast conspiracy "without a shred of evidence," and that the notion that Earl Warren would cover up the assassination is "contemptible." He wrote that TV is fascinated with the Stone phenomenon and "has no time for the man who knows more of the actual facts of the assassination than anyone else: David W. Belin."

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Guest Robert Morrow

I used to love to read Anthony Lewis when I was in college in the 1980's. Like Michael Kinsley, he could write very well.

Anthony Lewis was a person who was friends with Robert Kennedy and he would have absolutely nothing to do with the notion that there was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. Anthony Lewis was also a Council on Foreign Relations member which if often a red flag or a marker for someone deep into the cover up of the JFK assassination.

I think - correct me if I am wrong - that Anthony Lewis was writing articles accepting without examination of the Warren Report within a day of its release in 1964. in fact it Lewis was writing front page articles for the NYT endorsing the Warren Report and using not even an ounce of critical thinking in his reporting:

Anthony Lewis (September 28, 1964). "Warren Commission Finds Oswald Guilty and Says Assassin and Ruby Acted Alone". The New York Times. p. 1.

Here is Oliver Stone's response to the attacks on the movie JFK by Anthony Lewis and a slew of his peers in the media, CFR: http://web.ebscohost...f5h&AN=29332281

The case of Anthony Lewis is a good example of why and how Lyndon Johnson used civil rights legislation and the appointment of Earl Warren to head the The President's Commission on the JFK Assassination in order to inoculate himself from left wing establishment scrutiny of the irregularities of the JFK assassinaiton.

Civil rights was a great way to coopt millions of liberals and intellectual opinion makers like Anthony Lewis, a man who was quite vested in the civil rights movement and a man who greatly admired and trusted Earl Warren.

Edited by Robert Morrow
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The NY Times obituary of Lewis:


No mention of the Warren Commission. No mention of the assassination. No mention of Lewis' intro to the NYT execrable "The Witnesses".

Many people will no doubt consider Lewis a giant. Even a giant can fall. Lewis' fall was a huge tumble.

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Absolutely no mention of Lewis' writing on the Warren Commission. In

the New York Times edition of the "Report Of The Warren Commission,

The Assassination Of President Kennedy" (McGraw -Hill Book Company,

October 1964) Lewis wrote a preface titled, "On The Release Of The Warren

Report," p. xxxi. His six and a half pages starts off supporting the official government version;

Oswald was the lone assassin, and there was no conspiracy, foreign or domestic. His pontification

continues with agreeing with the Commission's belief that Oswald shot at

General Walker, and that the alleged presidential assassin was a malcontent

whose own gun fired all the shots and killed President Kennedy.

Mr. Lewis categorically dismisses who he calls "mythmakers," those who

question the conclusions of the Warren Commission, but assures the reader

that the conclusions were correct.

The final paragraph of his forward seems to excuse the Secret Service from any

fault. He writes that even President Kennedy admitted that it would be easy for

anybody who really wanted to shoot the President of the United States. He could

get on a high building with a telescopic rifle, and there was nothing anybody could

do to defend against such an attempt.

Edited by Bill Cheslock
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Lewis was a gutless wonder. The gist of his article was 1) "Judge Warren was my hero and he could not partake in a cover-up" and 2) "Jim Garrison bribed witnesses and said mean things about my hero." Well, where's his evidence Garrison "bribed" witnesses? I mean, is this how journalists work? I hope not.

The facts are this:

1) Like it or not, Judge Warren admitted he saw a photo of Kennedy's back wound during the WC's investigation. Well, he both published a drawing showing this wound to have been on the back of Kennedy's neck, and signed off on a report in which this wound was repeatedly claimed to have been on the back of Kennedy's neck. He was well aware, moreover, of the complications that would ensue if he acknowledged this wound was on the back, and not neck. He was therefore guilty of willfully deceiving the American public. PERIOD.

2) Like it or not, Jim Garrison was right about David Ferrie's knowing Oswald, and Clay Shaw's having CIA connections. While the plot involving Ferrie and Shaw Garrison suspected may or may not have been real, the fact remains that his investigation was not allowed to proceed in a normal fashion, due to the interference of the Federal Government. But where was Anthony Lewis--the crusader for justice--when this was going on? Hiding in his New York Apartment? Genuflecting before a photo of Earl Warren? Throwing darts at photos of Garrison?

What a shame.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Guest Robert Morrow

I am going to post Anthony Lewis 1992 article on Oliver Stone's JFK, side by side with George Will's 1991 savage attacks on Stone and JFK. That way we can have the bookends of the bipartisan establishment, left to right, unified in covering up the JFK assassination. Anthony Lewis (NYT) and George Will (Wash Post, ABC)are both considered intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate men with good writing skills.

These two Council on Foreign Relations members are also both stone cold ignorant and living in a world of willful self deception in regards to the ugly realities of the JFK assassination. Anthony Lewis proffers David Belin, the man who invented the Magic Bullet fantasy, as some sort of expert on the JFK assassination. George Will goes with his fellow writer at the Wash Post George Lardner.

And looks at the words they use: Anthony Lewis: “mouthpiece,” “bribed,” “laughed out of court,” “contemptible.”

George Will in a fit of aristocratic cussing: “celluloid diatribe” “cartoon history” “Stone 45 going on 8” “three hour lie” “intellectual sociopath” “indifferent to truth” “propagandist” “self-absorption” “rubbish” “activists” “intellectually, Stone is on all fours” “fringe” “paranoid” ”ravenous” “conspiracy theories” “invincibly ignorant” “banally venal” “recklessness, cruelty, abuse of power, publicity-mongering and dishonesty,” “lunacy” “cynicism” “fabrication” “through-the-looking-glass” “execrable” “contemptible” “scant education” “negligible conscience”

Note: Oliver Stone's "JFK" was made with the best of cutting edge JFK research for 1991. Practically every single thing in the movie is footnoted or documented with an item of JFK research.

Abroad at Home; 'J.F.K.'


Published: January 09, 1992

Oliver Stone's "J.F.K." may well move a generation to believe that a conspiracy lay behind the assassination of President Kennedy. That is its message, and a film that hits the emotions as skillfully as this one does can have a profound impact.

It is right, therefore, to take the movie seriously. Its charges could hardly be more serious. It suggests that Earl Warren, the revered Chief Justice, was party to covering up a murderous conspiracy. It tells us that our Government cannot be trusted even to give an honest account of a President's assassination.

The question is whether the film produces meaningful new evidence that should cause us to question the finding of the Warren commission that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed John Kennedy. To those unfamiliar with the Warren report and its 26 volumes of evidence, much in the movie will appear new. But is it?

1. The audience was most moved, when I saw "J.F.K.," by Abraham Zapruder's film of the President's car moving in Dallas as he was killed. Kennedy's head snapped back. Surely, then, he must have been hit by a bullet fired from the front, not from the rear where Oswald was.

In fact, not just the President's head but his body moved backward. Medical experts told the commission that what happened was "a violent straightening and stiffening of the entire body," as one put it, "as a result of a seizure-like neuromuscular reaction to major damage inflicted to nerve centers in the brain."

Experiments with animals shot from the rear produced just such a reaction. The physical impact of a shot from the front would not move the body back.

The bullet that hit the President in the head broke apart. Two fragments were ballistically identifiable. Tests showed that they came from Oswald's rifle and could have come from no other.

Twenty medical experts examined the autopsy photographs and X-rays. Nineteen concluded that the shots that hit the President came from behind him.

2. The Zapruder film shows that about 5.5 seconds elapsed between a shot that wounded Kennedy and the one that killed him. Oswald fired three shots, one of which missed entirely. "J.F.K." argues that Oswald could not have fired three shots from an old-style rifle in 5.5 seconds.

But Oswald could have fired the shot that missed before the two that hit, or after them, rather than between the two as the movie assumes. Then he would have had 5.5 seconds for two shots: time enough. The Warren commission so found.

3. The movie makes much of alleged links between Oswald and Jack Ruby, who killed Oswald in the Dallas police station as he was being transferred to the county jail on Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963. It suggests that this killing was part of the cover-up.

The charge ignores unchallenged evidence. A postal inspector named Harry Holmes, a friend of the police captain in charge, was on his way to church that morning when he changed his mind and went down to the police station. He was taken in to Oswald's interrogation. When the police finished, they let Mr. Holmes ask questions -- and he did, for 30 minutes. Without the accident of his presence, Oswald would have left the building long before Ruby arrived.

Every specific charge made in the movie similarly ignores extensive, for me dispositive, evidence. It gives weight to witnesses long since discredited. It does not mention the scientific findings that Oswald's gun fired the bullets that hit President Kennedy and Gov. John Connally.

Oliver Stone uses as his mouthpiece Jim Garrison, the former New Orleans District Attorney, who in real life bribed witnesses to prosecute an innocent man -- and was laughed out of court. He alleges a conspiracy among the Army, the C.I.A., Lyndon Johnson and endless others: without a shred of evidence.

The best insight into Oliver Stone's character, for me, was his treatment of Chief Justice Warren. Earl Warren no doubt had his faults. But he loved this country with all his heart, and the assassination tore him apart. The notion that he would cover up that assassination is contemptible: a contempt well expressed by Stone's choice of the real Jim Garrison to play Earl Warren in the film.

I have no illusion that facts will dispel Oliver Stone's fantasy. Even to question the existence of a conspiracy is to risk being called a conspirator. Television is fascinated with the Stone phenomenon. It has no time for the man who knows more of the actual facts of the assassination than anyone else: David W. Belin, who was counsel to the Warren commission and has seen every document, every C.I.A. file.

No, the thirst for some deeper, darker truth is unquenchable in America. We want the answer. We want to open some file and find the conspiracy. But we never shall.


December 26, 1991,


BY: George Will


Oliver Stone's movie "JFK" will give paranoia a bad name and give us all pause. Viewing his travesty about the Kennedy assassination makes one wonder what Stone would have thought about the century's most consequential assassination.

On June 28, 1914, six young men were poised in Sarajevo, Bosnia, to throw bombs at the car of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Five of them, intimidated by the crowds or unwilling to hurt the archduke's wife, did nothing. However, one asked a policeman which car was the archduke's, the policeman identified it and the boy threw his bomb, which bounced off the archduke's car and exploded under the following car.

One of the others, Gavrilo Princip, went off disconsolately for coffee at a corner cafe, where he loitered. Later, the archduke, going to a museum, decided to visit the people injured by the bomb. His driver, confused about the route to the hospital, stopped in front of the cafe where the astonished Princip sat. Princip leapt up and shot the archduke and his wife, thereby lighting Europe's fuse.

Stone's portrayal of this would be: Like, wow. What a complex conspiracy brought the victim to the assassin's cleverly contrived coffee break. The driver was not confused, the first bomb "miss" was a ruse, the policeman was in on the plot, and there must have been hundreds of others, too. Who was behind it all? Well, who benefitted? Munitions makers - merchants of death.

That is the message of Stone's celluloid diatribe. Much of America's establishment conspired to kill Kennedy because he loved peace and "they" wanted war. Strange that a society so sick allowed such a saint to be president at all, but this is cartoon history by Stone, who is 45 going on 8.

In his three-hour lie, Stone falsifies so much he may be an intellectual sociopath, indifferent to truth. Or perhaps, he is just another propagandist frozen in the 1960s like a fly in amber, combining moral arrogance with historical ignorance.

HE IS A SPECIMEN of 1960s arrested development, the result of the self-absorption encouraged by all the rubbish written about his generation being so unprecedentedly moral, idealistic, caring, etc. He is one of those "activists" who have been so busy trying to make history they have not learned any.

Of America's two other assassinations of the 1960s - of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King - Stone says, "There's no doubt that these three killings are linked, and it worked. That's what's amazing. They pulled it off." Ah, yes: "They." Who are "they" who used Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray as well as Lee Harvey Oswald for their purposes?

They are, he says, "a moving, fluid thing, a series of forces at play." Can he be a tad more specific? OK. They are "a parallel covert government." They are merchants of death, omnipresent, omnipowerful - but unable to stop Stone from unmasking them. Amazing indeed.

History teaches that as a conspiracy increases in size arithmetically, the chances of it unraveling increase exponentially. Yet Stone asserts that a conspiracy of many thousands (involving the FBI, the CIA, the armed forces, the Secret Service, the mafia, doctors, Earl Warren and the other members of his commission, the press and many others) succeeded until, 28 years later, there came a hero: Stone.

Back in Stone's formative years - those 1960s he loves so ardently - members of the John Birch Society thought President Eisenhower had been a Communist. Intellectually, Stone is on all fours with his mirror images, the Birchers, who, like Stone, thought Earl Warren was a traitor. Stone and they are part of a long fringe tradition, the paranoid style in American politics, a style ravenous for conspiracy theories.

Why is actor Kevin Costner lending himself to this libel of America? Is he invincibly ignorant or just banally venal? Nothing else can explain his willingness to portray as a hero Jim Garrison who, as New Orleans' district attorney, staged an assassination "investigation" that involved recklessness, cruelty, abuse of power, publicity-mongering and dishonesty, all on a scale that strongly suggested lunacy leavened by cynicism.

After covering the assassination story for 28 years, the journalist who knows most about it is The Washington Post's George Lardner. He documents Stone "stomping on presumptions of innocence, cooking up false admissions, ignoring contrary evidence and giving a conspiratorial tone to inconsequential facets of the tragedy that were explained long ago." Stone himself should have played Garrison.

EVERY VIEWER will have his or her favorite Stone fabrication. Mine is either the assertion that U.S. troops from Germany were airborne over America as part of the plot, or the assertion that President Johnson reversed a Kennedy order about Vietnam that in fact Johnson approved four days after the assassination, or the assertion that the CIA had stories about Oswald's arrest in some foreign papers almost at the moment he was arrested.

The through-the-looking-glass premise of this movie is: Proof of the vastness of the conspiracy is that no one can prove it exists. Stone's pose is that he loves America and the truth equally. That is true. "JFK" is an act of execrable history and contemptible citizenship by a man of technical skill, scant education and negligible conscience.

Edited by Robert Morrow
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