anniversary should be commemorated as "National Ignorance Day"
Government secrecy multiplied by media failure
by Grant F. Smith, IRmep
The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is largely being trivialized in elite U.S. corporate media. Regardless of what one thinks of JFK's legacy, one significant outcome to his killing should be better understood. Sixty-one percent of Americans do not believe the official government line that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. The passage of time has brought this public distrust barometer down from previous highs of eighty-one percent. Outside the beltway, the burning question is not why so many Americans disbelieve official government explanations but whether secrecy also drives their contempt of the big media outlets that loudly trumpet them. Since 1997, close to half of Americans also consistently distrust the fundamental accuracy of news industry output.
Perhaps unhappy with this situation, elites in key gatekeeper positions predictably blame the victim. Ken Feinberg, chair of the JFK Library Foundation, citing similar views in the New York Times put it this way on C-SPAN on November 17, 2013. "...It's human nature that people will want to question that this pathetic loser [Lee Harvey Oswald]...could have pulled off the crime of the century." Over at NPR's Morning Edition on November 18, veteran court reporter Cokie Roberts, while weirdly making the JFK assassination story largely about herself, agreed that JFK shocked Americans into grasping for a deeping meaning, quipping "Americans had a very hard time accepting that [The Warren Commission] conclusion...it's just hard to accept that something so momentous was something so small. One off-balance young man instead of a major plot. So people keep looking for more meaning in that awful event fifty years later."
Perhaps without realizing it, Feinberg and Roberts offer precisely the kind of elite testimony that fuels suspicion rather than dousing it. The JFK Presidential Library archives overseen by Feinberg have long refused to release key CIA and other files that would precisely explain the intelligence operation division's unsavory connections to and knowledge about Oswald. It is now clear that the CIA appointed an information liaison—undercover officer George Joannides—to congressional investigators. Joannides was so severely conflicted it is now obvious that he should have been an object investigations rather than its information gatekeeper. Feinberg's National Archives administered library will not release or discuss these CIA files, and they have never been brought before the ISCAP panel to overrule CIA intransigence. Cokie Roberts seemingly cannot admit that her congressman father, who served on the Warren Commission, may have been duped rather than victorious in getting to the bottom of the assassination.
So what does lingering secrecy about JFK have to do with Middle East policy formulation? Americans researching key policies that were made possible only by Kennedy's early departure well understand that information privation and spin is the norm. The CIA in particular, and by extension the National Archives, keep vast and ever-growing troves of secrets away from Americans that make the quantity withheld by the JFK NARA library on the assassination pale in comparison. Secret file release would fundamentally improve governance at the cost of exposing corrupt policies that political elites would rather not answer for or revisit. However, they cover many dates and many subject areas, from Israel's theft of U.S. nuclear materials to the Kennedy brothers failed bid to register and regulate Israel lobbying organizations. The common origin of some of America's worst regional policies is the void created by the JFK assassination. That is why all Americans should commemorate every November 22. Not to applaud the death of a U.S. president, but as a cynical Bronx cheer to the army of bureaucrats, politicians and media pundits who work so hard to withhold facts, shape the resulting flawed narrative and smear unbelievers.
Happy National Ignorance Day to one and all!
This essay by Grant F. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.IRmep.org.