n the last 50 years there have been two major threats to life on our planet. The first, the nuclear arms race and its near disaster of 1962, was narrowly averted by President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, who then set a course for peace.
The second, the ticking climate bomb on its short “business as usual” fuse, has no solution in sight. (PART II of this essay forthcoming)
In both cases unseen forces have blocked a survival response to incalculable danger. We will examine these forces and suggest a way forward, modeled partially on action taken by JFK to avert nuclear war.
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.
Most people under 60 will not remember the harrowing Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the world was brought to the brink of nuclear war. With the US leading the long-range missile race, short-range Soviet missiles had been quietly installed in Cuba. Tension ignited when a US reconnaissance pilot was shot down over Cuba and killed. Kennedy, opposed to a war with Cuba, feared that his generals would overthrow him and escalate the crisis to a nuclear war that they believed to be winnable.
In desperation Kennedy turned to urgent, secret negotiations with his Cold War enemy, Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Disaster was narrowly averted through the vital historical meeting of October 27.
Horrified by the event and under pressure from senior advisors to pursue a first-strike capability, Kennedy made a decisive turn towards peace. He began urging the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and withdrawal from Viet Nam.
In June, 1963 he made an impassioned plea at the American University to make peace with the Soviets: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. In the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
But he would not be long for this world, for he had bitterly alienated the hawks who placed “winning the Cold War” above the life of a President.
JFK’s November, 1963 assassination unleashed nuclear roulette to swagger and bluff its way into the eighties, obstructing his vision for peace while the planet hung in the balance.
Now, 50 years later, we again face a global precipice that cries out for decisive action. A radical transition to green energy must begin immediately to avert an unstoppable slow-motion disaster.
Again hidden forces have been obstructing a response. Since the Rio Summit in 1992, CO2 levels have spiked towards disaster while the media have remained fixated on pipeline and tanker routes.
Where is the human outcry for earth’s life-support? Why have we failed to seize control of our survival?
Trappist monk Thomas Merton figured it out in the sixties. He coined the term “the unspeakable” during the nuclear madness of the Cold War, to describe a vacuum that can be utterly void of compassion and responsibility.
This systemic moral abyss covertly carries out CIA assassinations and the overthrow of foreign governments while protecting senior officials from knowing too much, under the doctrine of “plausible deniability.”
In failing to acknowledge and confront the under-side of the state we have allowed the abyss to grow, as it did in Hitler’s Germany.
Following JFK’s murder came the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, neither of whom, we now know, were murdered by lone gunmen.
Each of these men looked into the void and confronted the unspeakable in the name of peace and justice. Each paid the final price.
To learn from history, and to be worthy of their sacrifices, we need to “go there” too.
President John F. Kennedy
“Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
Widespread suspicion that JFK was killed by elements within his own government, most particularly the CIA, has long been fostered by films such as Oliver Stone’s 1991 JFK.
In 2009, Stone reviewed the extraordinary book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters: “It is the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.”
On January 11, 2013, Robert Kennedy Jr. told Charlie Rose in front of a large Dallas audience that his father, Robert F. Kennedy (brother to JFK), privately believed the Warren Commission was “a shoddy piece of craftsmanship,” and that “the evidence at this point I think is very, very convincing that it was not a lone gunman.”
Kennedy said his father had “asked Justice Department investigators to informally look into allegations that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had received aid from the Mafia, the CIA or other organizations. He said the staff members found phone lists linking Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assassin, to organized crime figures with ties to the CIA, convincing the elder Kennedy that there was something to the allegations.” Kennedy also praised the scholarship of JFK and the Unspeakable.
The Rose interview was taped but not broadcast by the media, which evidently does not “go there.”
One man who “went there” in the sixties was the young award-winning Dallas Deputy Sheriff, Roger Dean Craig, who was on duty when JFK was killed. Craig, in a virtually unknown interview following several attempts on his life, spoke clearly about his orders that morning to watch but not offer security to the JFK motorcade. Though Kennedy had been promised the greatest police protection ever provided to a President, Craig reported surprisingly few Dallas police: none riding beside the limousine, and none sitting on the trunk to shield him. The rifle Craig and other officers examined in the Texas School Depository did not match the three spent cartridges. Craig’s clear testimony and the tragic story of his ensuing destruction is available online.
A February 25, 2013 news story reports that Robert J. Groden, best-selling New York Times author and forensic photographic consultant to the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations, has been arrested or ticketed 81 times in Dallas for lecturing at the site of JFK’s assassination. Each time he was legally exonerated. Groden, consultant to Oliver Stone’s film JFK, has written six books disproving the lone gunman evidence, and produced the virtually unknown 1993 documentary, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy.
A 2011 study tells of a witness who went into hiding for decades after testifying to the Warren Commission that she was on the Depository stairs and did not see Lee Harvey Oswald at the official time he was reported to have fled. She later found that her testimony to the Commission had been revised.
Much is being done to expose the real murder of JFK. Now, at the 50th anniversary of his death, with 1,100 JFK assassination records still under wraps (in violation of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Act), the Mary Ferrell Foundation and JFK Facts offer news and archives about the Kennedy assassination.
Dr. Martin Luther King
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” MLK, “Beyond Vietnam,” April 4, 1967 Speech, NYC
American civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot on the second-floor balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968.
Like Kennedy, King had launched a non-violent campaign against the Vietnam war, based on his horror of the unspeakable brutality the Vietnamese children suffered from napalm.
An August, 1963 FBI memo had described King as “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.” He was arrested 29 times and his home was bombed.
King’s alleged assassin, James Earl Ray, had long been denied a criminal trial in spite of repeated efforts by the Martin Luther King family. In 1999 the King family commissioned attorney William F. Pepper to pursue a civil wrongful death suit on behalf of Ray, who had died in1998. The case, which called 70 witnesses, was tried in Memphis Circuit Court before Judge James E. Swearengen. After 30 days of hearing evidence that had never been presented in a court of law, the jury exonerated Ray in a victory for the King family. The 12-person jury instead found a murder conspiracy involving agents of the government of the United States, State of Tennessee, and the City of Memphis.
Only one reporter — Wendell Stacy from Memphis ABC News — covered the trial in depth. He was fired and suffered attempts on his life. The massive evidence and verdict for this trial were thus buried by the US media, stunting history and killing hope.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy
“I’m afraid there are guns between me and the White House.” Robert Kennedy, 1968
Just after midnight on June 5, 1968, RFK was shot three times while leaving the stage of the Ambassador Hotel ballroom in Los Angeles. He had been celebrating his win of the California democratic primary election the day before.
Of the three alleged lone-gunman assassins, Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan’s role is the most doubtful.
Most eye witnesses reported long ago that Sirhan was facing Kennedy as he walked off-stage into the pantry. However, the autopsy showed that the bullets entered Kennedy’s body from behind and to the right. Coroner Noguchi estimated that the lethal shot to the back of his neck was fired from no more than 1.5 inches, and left thick powder burns. The final Coroner’s report described embedded “dark brown to black powder residues in the neck injury.
Eye-witnesses have also long reported more shots than Sirhan’s 8-bullet pistol could hold. John Pilger, twice Britain’s “Journalist of the Year”, was following Kennedy into the kitchen and reported shots after Sirhan was restrained, confirming, in a 2008 interview, “there was another assassin or another several assassins.”
There was no camera footage of the shooting. However in 2004, the long-archived “Pruszynski Tape” was found in the California State Archives by American journalist Brad Johnson, a senior CNN news writer. This audio recording was judged authentic by forensic analyst of magnetic recordings, Phillip van Praag, whose oscillogram showed 13 shots, including two double shots fired back to back. Two sets of shots with different megahertz patterns were fired from opposite directions.
In 2012 a key witness to the murder went public. Nina Rhodes-Hughes, a fund-raiser for RFK, walked 6-7 feet behind him as he left the stage. She heard shots from in front of RFK, and then from her right. She later learned that the FBI had changed her testimony to say that she had heard 8 shots, which she “never, never said…there were at least 12, maybe 14.” Her statements were reported by CNN, Huffington Post, and other major news outlets last year. They exactly mirror accounts of several other witnesses.
Fifty years of research shows that three humane visions of global peace were thwarted by three covert assassinations.
In each case eyewitness accounts were written out of history. In each case the “lone gunman” fiction denied society a true understanding of the deep politics of history. In each case propaganda masked truth and undermined the public good.
 Hershberg, Jim. “Anatomy of a Controversy. Anatoly F. Dobrynin’s Meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Saturday 27 October, 1962.” The Cold War International Project Bulletin, Issue 5, Spring 1995 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/cuba_mis_cri/moment.htm).
 James K. Galbraith and Heather A. Purcell, “Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear First Strike for 1963? Notes on National Security Council Meeting July 20, 1961″ http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Essay_-_Did_the_US_Military_Plan_a_Nuclear_First_Strike_for_1963. By September 1963, the National Security Council was considering the killing of 140 million Soviets in exchange for 30 million Americans. “Summary Record of the 517th Meeting of the National Security Council,” September 12, 1963 (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v08/d141).
 John F. Kennedy. American University Commencement Address, June 10, 1963 (http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx).
 Crisis events in the nuclear age are listed at http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v13n1p20.htm and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/nuclear-false-alarms.html
 See for example, the psychiatric interview of Richard Kuklinski by Dr. Park Dietz, “The Iceman Tapes: Inside the Mind of a Mafia Hitman” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psoq8qYvx18).
 James W. Douglass, “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters,” New York, Simon & Schuster, 2008.
 Oliver Stone, “JFK and the Unspeakable,” Huffington Post, July 23, 2009 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oliver-stone/jfk-and-the-unspeakable_b_243924.html).
 CBS, January 12, 2013, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/01/12/rfk-jr-evidence-very-convincing-lone-gunman-did-not-kill-jfk/.
 David Flick, “Kennedy’s Make Rare Visit to Dallas, Say RFK Questioned ‘Lone Gunman’ Theory in JFK Assassination,” January 12, 2013 (http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20130112-kennedys-make-rare-visit-to-dallas-say-rfk-questioned-lone-gunman-theory-in-jfk-assassination.ece).
 This may be seen in “The Undamaged Zapruder Film,” at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkennedyJ.htm. Secret Service interviews have debunked the claim that JFK declined full motorcade support: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/palamara/factsheet_vmp.html
 “Two Men in Dallas,” released 1976, produced by attorney Mark Lane, author of Rush to Judgment, 1966. Parts 1-5, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyvRfeLDsB4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEx8hjD8kE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hygDvRpam_w, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6vXeg50rjs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COKE8gVTOuU
 Jim Schutze, “JFK Conspiracy Theorist Robert Groden goes 81-0 with Latest Win Against City Censors,”Dallas Observer, Feb. 25, 2013 (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/jfk_conspiracy_theorist_robert.php).
 Part 1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAS33MP02b0. For the second gunman, see particularly Part 9, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePsJiovip4M.
 Barry Ernest, “The Girl on the Stairs,” CreateSpace, March 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Girl-Stairs-Missing-Assassination/dp/1460979370)
 http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page and JFKfacts.org.
 United States Government Memorandum, August 30, 1963. On December 23, 1936, the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Division held a major planning to “expose King for the clerical fraud and Marxist he is.” Cited from: American RadioWorks, “The FBI’s War on King” (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/king/d4.html)
 Filmed highlights from the case are available in 10 parts, under “MLK Assassination Conspiracy Trial.” Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mlYaWOu4E. The complete trial transcript, 2735 pages, is online at the Martin Luther King Center, http://www.thekingcenter.org/sites/default/files/KING%20FAMILY%20TRIAL%20TRANSCRIPT.pdf and in html format at http://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/MLKACT/MLKACTtoc.html. A journalist’s 6-minute summary of the evidence is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEP94AVshrs. An excellent review of Dr. Pepper’s book about the case, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King,” by David T. Ratcliffe, is available at http://www.ratical.com/ratville/JFK/MLKactOstate.html.
 Stacy held a Doctor of Philosophy degree in journalism. “Wendell Stacy recorded the trial on his own video tapes and after the trial was fired by his employer Clear Channel because he had been pushing for more coverage of what had happened in the trial and on other issues. He sued Clear Channel and years later won his suit…Using his video recordings he produced an hour-long documentary on the assassination of Dr. King that aired on French and German prime time television. After the documentary was aired he was repeatedly threatened by telephone messages, experienced a series of break-ins to his home, and his car blew up when he was about to get into it. His sudden death in 2007 was from causes that are very difficult to understand.” http://politicalassassinations.com/2012/08/complete-transcript-of-the-martin-luther-king-jr-assassination-conspiracy-trial/
 See the second rough draft of the autopsy report by Dr. John E. Holloway, Deputy Medical Examiner, dated June 21, 1968, at http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/Other/kennedy,%20robert_report.pdf.
 Joseph Geringer. “The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy,” TruTV Crime Library http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/kennedy/5.html.
 Report on the Medicolegal Investigation of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 368-5731. See page marked 304. (http://www.sirhansresearcher.com/i.pdf).
 John Pilger in an Amy Goodman interview, June 6, 2008, “John Pilger Confirms Multiple RFK Shootings,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ27B4bSqEw
 CNN, “2009 BackStory: 2nd gun in RFK shooting?” Added on March 13, 2012 to http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2012/03/02/bs-rfk-assassination.cnn.
 “Pruszynski Recording Reveals Second Gun,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URYZjbaeQo8
 “RFK: An Open and Shut Case. Robert Joling Interview.” Part 1 of 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CI9EfIu-00) Joling was past president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, 1975-76.
 “RFK Assassination Witness Nina Rhodes-Hughes Says Sirhan-Sirhan Didn’t Act Alone,” April 30, 2012 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/rfk-assassination-nina-rhodes-hughes_n_1464439.html). Denise Ryan, “B.C.-based actress Nina Rhodes-Hughes speaks of Robert K. Kennedy’s assassination (with video),”The Vancouver Sun, May 7, 2012 (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/based+actress+Nina+Rhodes+Hughes+speaks+Robert+Kennedy+assassination/6570188/story.html).
 CNN, “2009 BackStory: 2nd gun in RFK shooting?” Added on March 13, 2012 to http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2012/03/02/bs-rfk-assassination.cnn.
 “Deep politics” is a term coined by Dr. Peter Dale Scott, whose books are listed at http://www.history-matters.com/pds/dp3.htm.
I wish to thank Dr. Michael J. Harvey, biologist, for his assistance with this essay.
This essay is dedicated to Dr. James W. Douglass, from whose book JFK and the Unspeakableand workshop I learned deeply.
Content copyright Elizabeth Woodworth