“Ooops I Shot the President” and Other JFK Conspiracies

November is conspiracy month, at least on cable TV, and this November there is a richer crop than ever since this is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas Texas, at Dealey Plaza.

Piers Morgan has already blown CNN’s Kennedy wad by having Oliver Stone as a guest, but expect more from the cable and networks–both pro-conspiracy and pro-lone-nut–later in the month. Cable channel Reelz has taken over from The History Channel and Discovery as the super-conspiracy channel, running a series of documentaries starting out with JFK: The Smoking Gun, which is running through the next two weeks. JFK:TSG‘s theory bolsters the Warren Commission by saying Oswald acted alone to purposefully kill Kennedy, but adds that the shot that shattered the president’s skull was from a different gun using a hollow point fragmentation bullet. Only, that shot wasn’t on purpose.

According to this theory floated by Australian detective Australian detective Colin McLaren—based on the 1992 book Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK by Bonar Menninger, itself in turn based on research by ballistics expert Howard Donohue—a Secret Service agent accidentally discharged his rifle when the car he was riding in lurched forward after Oswald fired the infamous “magic bullet.” Donohue’s forensics on the magic bullet, which went through Kennedy’s neck and struck Texas governor John Connally, are compelling.

But the hapless Secret Service agent theory raises more questions than McLaren answers: Why was a new hire from the motor pool put on such important detail? Why was he the only Secret Service agent who didn’t go out carousing the night of November 21? Where are the eyewitness accounts from the grassy knoll recounting seeing men (“the three tramps”) with guns? George Hickey, Secret Service agent named in Mortal Error, sued the book’s publisher St. Martin’s over the publication of the hardcover book; that suit was dismissed because he had waited too long to file; he sued again when the paperback came out and settled with the publisher for an undisclosed sum.

Another “I shot Kennedy” documentary is available on DVD. In I Shot JFK: The Shocking Truth convicted felon James E Files, speaking from prison, admits he pulled the trigger from the grassy knoll, and that organized crime figures Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli and Chuckie Nicoletti were behind the hit. I Shot JFK: The Shocking Truth is one of trilogy of Shocking Truth docs from producer Wim Dankbaar that includes Confessions from the Grassy Knoll: The Shocking Truth and Spooks, Hoods and JFK: The Shocking Truth.

But wait there’s more: Some nutters claim John Connally shot JFK by turning around and using his left hand, which sort of overlooks the fact that Connally was wounded in the back, ribs, right wrist and thigh by the magic bullet.  And oh boy, get ready for the “the Mossad agent in the limo’s trunk” and “the chauffeur did it while driving” theories which are mind boggling in their implausibility.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories floating around about the assassination of President Kennedy, and some are just as plausible as the Warren Commission’s report of a crazed gunman acting alone. We’ll be exploring  these theories on November 25, when  television pioneer John Barbour, who interviewed New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison about the Kennedy assassination, will be my guest on Firedoglake.com’s Movie Night with special co-host JP Sottile.

In the meantime check out Barbour’s Garrison tapes, and this multi-part documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy. And if you have enough tin foil, poke around in the fringes–a simple search on YouTube gives hours of “whoa whut?” The conspiracies get so huge and weird they act as cover-ups for the truth–whatever that may be. (more…)

Late Night FDL: Cats, Kittens, Mittens and Santorum


Let’s face it, we know the Internet was invented to showcase cats, and we may have reached the absolute end of the Internet with this latest entry into politics. However, Hank the Cat may face some obstacles in his Senate run, because well, you have to be (technically) human to be elected. Rombot: Barely human.

However Hank is unlikely to cough up a hairball over the separation of church and state, something that makes Rick Santorum throw up. What else might make Santorum spew puke? But now, like a dog, Frothy Mix Rick wants to eat the words he vomited about JFK, telling Laura Ingraham:

I wish I had that particular line back.

He went on to say:

I think we need to have a free exercise of religion in this country and it’s important for those First Amendment freedoms to be alive and well in America.

So that means he’d be cool with an endorsement from Druids, Wiccans and Aleister Crowely’s Ordo Templi Orientis? What about the Temple of Set and the Church of Satan? Just checking. ‘Cause you know, free exercise of religion means freedom for all religions to exercise. And some of them exercise in the nude.

Meanwhile in Michigan, Democrats have been voting for Santorum against Romney in the primary. Good strategy or bad?

Late Night: “The Kennedys” Scandalous?

The Kennedys, an eight part miniseries beginning Sunday, April 3, on ReelzChannel, has been fraught with intrigue and dismay since it was announced last year. It was originally scheduled to air on the History Channel, which paid $30 million to make the sex, drugs and scandal-scented series.

Joel Surnow, the conservative producer of 24 was tapped to produce the miniseries; and early on, complaints began: In February of last year The New York Times ran a front-page story in which former JFK adviser/biographer Theodore Sorensen called the project “vindictive” and “malicious.”

Surnow told the Hollywood Reporter that a lot of the criticism may have sprung from his own known conservative political views. Plus, there were scenes which were not 100% historically accurate. Though Surnow and historical research team, one of whom was brought in by the History Channel, worked hard to make history truthfully come alive, the execs at the History Channel weren’t happy, especially about depictions of the characters’ sex lives.

The History Channel is part of A&E Television Network. The Hollywood Reporter [THR] brought forth this exclusive tidbit:

AETN is owned by a consortium including the Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst. The source said that Disney/ABC Television Group topper Anne Sweeney, who serves on the AETN board and is said to hold tremendous sway over its decisions, was personally lobbied by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy has a book deal with Disney’s Hyperion publishing division, which announced in April 2010 that it will publish a collection of previously unreleased interviews with the late Jackie Kennedy timed to the 50th anniversary of the first year of JFK’s presidency this fall.

According to THR, had The Kennedys come out on the History Channel, Caroline Kennedy might not have been so eager to promote her book. Meanwhile her cousin, Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and wife of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

is said to have voiced her displeasure with the project to outgoing NBCU[niversal] execs Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin…and a source said Shriver criticized the Kennedys project to Sweeney after a leaked early script was attacked in the New York Times as “vindictive” and “malicious” by a former JFK aide (though the final shooting script is said to have been vetted for accuracy by History’s in-house historians).

Meanwhile, Greg Kinnear who stars as President John Kennedy told THR last night at the premier that

when he heard “it wasn’t going to be broadcast on The History Channel, I didn’t know [what to think] … I’ve had movies that nobody saw, I supposed it could be a TV show that ended up in a dusty vault somewhere. I really didn’t know what to expect.”

Katie Holmes, who plays Jackie Kennedy said:

I am so thrilled it did find a home. There was a lot of work put into this. People felt so passionate about this and worked so hard, so it’s wonderful to be here tonight.

The questions are: Does anyone know where REELZ is on their cable guide? Will The Kennedys prove watchable for 8 parts?