Sunday, December 03, 2006

the plot thickens...

Growing up in Dallas, you have no choice but to be hyper-aware of the most obvious infamy ever connected with the city: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It’s not anywhere near as sore a spot with locals as it once was, but it’s still there. There’s always been something a little odd about the fact that the site of the assassination is so central and so visible to everyone in Dallas, though we all do our best to mostly ignore it. But you can’t miss seeing the actual spot where the killing occurred as you drive north on I-35E past the downtown area. Just to your right you’ll see the Texas Schoolbook Depository building (now the Sixth Floor Museum), Dealey Plaza, the now mythical “grassy knoll” area, and the equally famous triple underpass, along which the motorcade sped on its way to Parkland Hospital after the shooting occurred. There’s even an “X” painted on Elm Street to mark the exact spot where Kennedy was shot. And when I say it’s “odd” that the area is so visible, I don’t mean that in any conspiratorial way. It’s that it’s just kind of sitting there, hiding in plain sight, right smack dab in the middle of everything. Objectively, it’s a really beautiful area, I think...visually and architecturally one of the nicest places in Dallas.

As for me, I’ll never have to make special effort to remember the date of the assassination, as it occurred on my mother’s birthday, the year my sister was born. My parents were actually living briefly in northern California where my dad was stationed with the army when it happened, and they’ve both told me about some really ugly comments they were on the receiving end of after JFK’s murder when people learned they were from Dallas. And I’ve read and heard plenty about the climate of hatred toward the Kennedy family in Dallas (and the south in general) at the time of the event. It was certainly nothing to be proud of. So people here are still understandably a little squeamish about the topic because so much of the world blamed everyone in the city for it. And some folks still consider Dallas, first and foremost, “the city that killed Kennedy.”

(To provide a somewhat unseemly, albeit dated example of that mindset, here’s some of Glenn Danzig’s fine work with the Misfits circa 1980-ish. From the song “Bullet”...

“President's bullet-ridden body in the street...ride, Johnny ride

Kennedy's shattered head hits concrete...ride, Johnny ride
Johnny's wife is floundering, Johnny's wife is, Jackie run

“Texas is an outrage when your husband is dead,
Texas is an outrage when they pick up his head,
Texas is the reason that the president's dead”

[As ridiculous as they were, the Misfits were actually a pretty damn good punk band. Though Danzig himself has since become a completely embarrassing human being with a serious Napoleon complex. To me, the perfect assessment of him can be found in this negative review of one of his solo records, where the reviewer notes with much genius, “Someday the sages will point at Danzig and murmur a...warning about the hazards of mixing steroids with Brylcreem.” Love it. But, once again, I digress.] )

Anyway, as we all know, the JFK assassination was and remains the mother lode for conspiracy theorists. Due in no small part to the number of different people and/or groups that would have loved to see JFK dead...the Soviets, the Cubans, the mob, the CIA, the FBI...there was such a clusterfuck of sordid, secret activity being conducted on all sides back then that it might be impossible for anyone to ever figure it out. The Kennedy family was – and probably still is – the ultimate political dynasty and they set the bar impossibly high with regard to ill-gotten influence and deceit (thought, the Bushes seem to be gaining ground). The whole ugly scene was an orgy (sometimes quite literally) of corruption and seediness that didn’t begin to reveal itself until many years after the bodies started piling up.

I don’t think I know anyone who believes the “lone gunman” conclusion the Warren Commission came to. Myself, I always figured it was the mob that did it. The Kennedy family was up to its eyeballs in illegal, mafia-connected activity dating back to Joseph Kennedy. There’s more than a little proof that the Kennedys would never have attained and maintained their status – both with regard to wealth and political success – without their mob connections. However, once Jack became president and appointed Bobby his attorney general and they decided to “crack down” on organized crime to score political points...well, if you believe all those mob movies, you don’t do that shit. Otherwise, you wake up with your favorite horse’s head next to you...or your movie star mistress “accidentally” dies...or you end up dead, yourself. Oddly coincidental that both Kennedy brothers were killed under such mysterious circumstances within a few years of each other, don’t you think? And that both killings just reeked of “professional hit.” To me, anyway. And, while I’ve never been all that educated about Bobby’s murder, I also find it a little unbelievable that some doofy Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan was able to take RFK out so easily, with “murder fantasy” or some shit as his only real motive. I just can’t believe it’s that easily and neatly explained.

So I find it a little surprising and totally intriguing that the BBC has apparently uncovered evidence that places three CIA operatives at the scene of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles. Turns out the three agents in question – who have been positively identified – were in southeast Asia as far as the rest of the world knew...until now. You can read the story here.

Now, it’s not surprising that a foreign news agency would be able to uncover this before anyone else, considering how ineffective the media here has become. But I wonder if this story will generate many headlines in the U.S...?

Very, very interesting...

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