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Douglass book "JFK and the Unspeakable"


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I looked at a lot of the Amazon reviews of the book, the local library ordered a copy for me.  I have been just going over the introductory sections and then the Dallas connections with the assassination.  Some bias in this book, as the writer makes strong reference to Thomas Merton's reference to "the unspeakable" as if evil should not be spoken of?? What nonsense, and my concerns over the tendency of Catholic mystics and writers like Douglass to romanticize JFK as a martyr fighting for peace, when all evidence showed an extremely reckless man in his personal life, a sex addict, together with other failings.  The truth should come out especially of evil, conspiracies, CIA criminality--if anything people are complicit in blocking the truth from coming out.  

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  • 7 months later...

I think that most scholars and authors of the assassination of President Kennedy would agree that James Douglass' book, JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE - Why He Died & Why It Matters, is one of the most important and enlightening of the well researched books on the case. From the opening chronology to the insights into the powerful, even lethal opposition experienced by both JFK and RFK from CIA and the Joint Chiefs, to the back channels created through the Pope and with author Norman Cousins to Chairman Khrushchev, this well written work merges perfectly with the extraordinary memoir by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., AMERICAN VALUES: Lessons I learned from my family, just published by HarperCollins (which I will review at a later date). If one is interested in learning a lot about the assassinations of the President and his brother, the Attorney General, these two books are certainly on the short list with those by James DiEugenio, David Talbot, Peter Janney, Dick Russell, William Davy, Joan Mellen, Fletcher Prouty,  Gaeton Fonzi, Mark Lane and Jim Garrison. This is an important time for people to learn the truth about what happened and what was expertly covered up by the Dulles-Angleton-Phillips-Helms-Johnson group and others. What these books demonstrate so clearly is that the manipulation of the media in terms of nailing "patsy" Oswald was more masterful than the actual assassination plot itself. 

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On ‎7‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 5:13 PM, Steve Jaffe said:

I think that most scholars and authors of the assassination of President Kennedy would agree that James Douglass' book, JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE - Why He Died & Why It Matters, is one of the most important and enlightening of the well researched books on the case. From the opening chronology to the insights into the powerful, even lethal opposition experienced by both JFK and RFK from CIA and the Joint Chiefs, to the back channels created through the Pope and with author Norman Cousins to Chairman Khrushchev, this well written work merges perfectly with the extraordinary memoir by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., AMERICAN VALUES: Lessons I learned from my family, just published by HarperCollins (which I will review at a later date). If one is interested in learning a lot about the assassinations of the President and his brother, the Attorney General, these two books are certainly on the short list with those by James DiEugenio, David Talbot, Peter Janney, Dick Russell, William Davy, Joan Mellen, Fletcher Prouty,  Gaeton Fonzi, Mark Lane and Jim Garrison. This is an important time for people to learn the truth about what happened and what was expertly covered up by the Dulles-Angleton-Phillips-Helms-Johnson group and others. What these books demonstrate so clearly is that the manipulation of the media in terms of nailing "patsy" Oswald was more masterful than the actual assassination plot itself. 

Thank you Steve.  Very well put and right on the mark.  In a field where there are so many stand out books this one remains my favorite.  Sounds like the poster above his come with an anti Kennedy bias. Hope he finishes the book and continues his study.

Dawn

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I think the book was excellent, it really breaks down the “why” behind JFK’s assassination. I listened to the clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson talking about man and power structures or hierarchies and it made a lot of sense regarding this coup. We should always be consciously aware that if we wish to maintain power, you can’t go around making enemies left right and centre, as sooner or later they gang up on you, joining forces. I think JFK’s push for change was too quick as a transition, and essentially his biggest enemy was a corrupt organisation who specialises in overthrowing governments, with the support of the most powerful financial interests in the USA. I am sure those he took on looked at things like that had fought their way to the top and become rich and powerful, they weren’t about to give it up. LBJ with his corruption scandal looming was perhaps the most extreme case. But, people must have been consciously aware that this was just the start of a purge, the author makes a good point that they could have had 24 years of one family in office (worst case scenario). Thats a lot different to 1000 days. 

He picked a monster of a challenge and perhaps a guy whose days are numbered because of health, thought “i’ll take a shot”. He is sometimes referred to as a fatalist, from his extensive reading and fondness for Lincoln, maybe he was prescient enough to know he’d be frozen in time if something were to happen.  

i think the author being religious does put a slant on it but, it didn’t detract from the substance or quality of the book. It is a ‘must read’. 

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Chris,

I agree with your observation that the greatest miscalculation made by JFK and RFK was that the true seat of power was necessarily restricted to the presidency.  JFK was wrong to so inflexibly take on the top brass of the long-time leaders of the CIA and be so outspoken about ultimate removal of a foreign policy influencing (albeit covert) agency of the federal government. In fact those who ran the intelligence community, such as it was, were far more adept at coups and covert actions than any other part of the government. Add to that the concept of why LBJ was an asset in the 1960 election -- it follows that for those "rich and powerful" people and "financial interests" who had been in charge of the levers of power for decades before, it was not great for JFK to have LBJ one heartbeat away from the Oval. The plot was masterful, JFK was on record as being "courageous" but also a believer in both his faith and fate. The idealism of JFK and RFK combined, was truly a profile in courage, but their assessment of the powers who opposed them was horribly flawed. And there were several. Jim Douglass is a marvelous investigator and an excellent writer. He would hold a jury's attention if he were to try this case. From what I learned as an assistant/investigator to Garrison and Lane, I don't think the evidence is ambiguous at all. Add J. Edgar Hoover, a master at writing reports based on his agents reports (i.e. cover-ups). He served LBJ, his longtime neighbor and friend. The cover-up was brilliantly planned and executed. The Warren Report was really the Dulles Report. The plot was not as brilliant but certainly very professional. And the plotters were not in such a hurry that it had to take place in Dallas. It just had to happen.  -- Steve Jaffe

Edited by Steve Jaffe
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9 hours ago, Steve Jaffe said:

Chris,

I agree with your observation that the greatest miscalculation made by JFK and RFK was that the true seat of power was necessarily restricted to the presidency.  JFK was wrong to so inflexibly take on the top brass of the long-time leaders of the CIA and be so outspoken about ultimate removal of a foreign policy influencing (albeit covert) agency of the federal government. In fact those who ran the intelligence community, such as it was, were far more adept at coups and covert actions than any other part of the government. Add to that the concept of why LBJ was an asset in the 1960 election -- it follows that for those "rich and powerful" people and "financial interests" who had been in charge of the levers of power for decades before, it was not great for JFK to have LBJ one heartbeat away from the Oval. The plot was masterful, JFK was on record as being "courageous" but also a believer in both his faith and fate. The idealism of JFK and RFK combined, was truly a profile in courage, but their assessment of the powers who opposed them was horribly flawed. And there were several. Jim Douglass is a marvelous investigator and an excellent writer. He would hold a jury's attention if he were to try this case. From what I learned as an assistant/investigator to Garrison and Lane, I don't think the evidence is ambiguous at all. Add J. Edgar Hoover, a master at writing reports based on his agents reports (i.e. cover-ups). He served LBJ, his longtime neighbor and friend. The cover-up was brilliantly planned and executed. The Warren Report was really the Dulles Report. The plot was not as brilliant but certainly very professional. And the plotters were not in such a hurry that it had to take place in Dallas. It just had to happen.  -- Steve Jaffe

I think thats the saddest thing, the failure to understand what they were dealing with and the implications. We have the benefit of such widely available literature on US policy and history being told in a different way. When you read the Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin or The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills, it sets the tone. America just seems like one big networking event and those most adept at that will rise, Poppy Bush being an example. Had some JP Kennedy not had his stroke, perhaps he would have sat down with his boys and said; if you do the following things, here is what you’ll cost the bankers, munitions companies, oilmen etc. Glaring at that you probably could only come to one outcome. I am not a religious man, its difficult for me to be in their shoes but, if you believe someone is watching over you, someone who commends using your time and efforts for the good of mankind, then its easy to see why they took the course they did. JFK with his probable dramatically reduced life expectancy through illness may have preferred to take his place in history over getting weaker and having everyone feel sorry for him. Only he could answer that, not being terminally ill myself, its hard for me to speculate how you’d live under such circumstances. I would imagine there is a certainly feeling of liberty when you know your next bout of illness could be the end of you. Its RFK I felt most sorry for, sure the naivety of youth explains his mistakes and the way he went after organised crime but, after your brother has been slain and knowing those responsible are still walking around, I don’t see how you could leave it alone, the thought would consume you in every spare moment, especially with his personality traits. 
 

Reading it all made me despair of humanity. Perhaps following up with Confessions of an economic hitman wasn’t wise. It makes you ask deep questions of yourself. To end on a high note, if there is one thing taken from all of this, the right guy was in the Oval office for the Cuban Missile Crisis, it could have been the end of us all. Like Hamilton, JFK’s foes who outlived have trashed his legacy as best they can but, almost 60 years on there is still a public fascination with this. Has there been a death in history where more people around the world have sobbed for one person? He had something about him, thats for sure. Hope.

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