John Connally, JFK, and Truth Suppression
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When Connally turned toward Kennedy,
They assure us, believe it or not,
The governor didn't know it,
But he had, himself, been shot
By the famous pristine missile
That produced an amazing result:
It made us a nation of worshippers
In a magical bullet cult.
Now no one can be taken seriously,
Or the keys to real power receive,
Over our great congregation,
If he doesn't pretend to believe.
So you might go for a candidate
Who you think would serve us the best,
But he'll make like a Stygian snowball
If he fails this religious test
Are you overwhelmed by all the books that have been published on the John F. Kennedy assassination? Have you given up trying to understand it or to explain it to anyone else because you think that it’s just too complicated? Don’t despair. All you have to do is to watch two short videos that are now available on YouTube. The first, five minutes and 24 seconds long, is entitled with no apparent intent of irony, “Texas Governor John Connally Tells It Like It Was.” The second, “November 23, 1966 – Texas Governor John B. Connally Press Conference,” is only five minutes and nine seconds in length.
As you watch the two videos it is very important that you keep separate in your mind John Connally, the witness, who describes events, especially with respect to the matter of the shots that first struck him and the president, in a way that seems quite consistent with the excerpt that you see of the Zapruder film in the first video, and John Connally, the politician, who has presidential aspirations. The latter is, in spades, the one who offers up his ringing endorsement of the Warren Commission in the second video.
Overall, the story that Connally recounts is identical to the one told by author Ralph G. Martin in Seeds of Destruction, Joe Kennedy and His Sons. Three shots were fired; the one that hit Kennedy in the neck; the one that hit Connally in the back, went completely through his torso and his right wrist and lodged in his left thigh; and the fatal head shot to Kennedy. The problem here is that the Warren Commission tells us that the bullet that passed through Kennedy’s neck is the same one that did all that damage to Connally. You can watch the Zapruder film and listen to Connally and see quite clearly that that is not the case, but that’s the official story and they’re sticking to it. It’s sort of like watching the obvious controlled demolition of Building 7. They say it was a small office fire in one corner that brought it down, and they’re clinging to that explanation.
The big fly in the ointment for the official story of the Kennedy assassination is that there is indisputable physical evidence that a shot was fired that missed everything and ricocheted off the left curb far in front of the presidential limousine. There wasn’t enough time for four shots to have been fired by one gunman using a bolt-action rifle. Furthermore, the wounding of Kennedy and then of Connally appears to have happened faster than was possible for that one gunman to have done it. Therefore, says the Warren Commission, Kennedy and Connally had to have been hit by the same bullet, the famous “magic bullet.”
At this point, hearing Connally and reading the Warren Report conclusions, the old movie detective Charlie Chan would likely say, “Contradiction, please.” But watch that amazing performance by Connally in the second video. He’s having none of it. Practically in one breath he tells us that from his direct experience the official story is completely impossible and that anyone who would suggest such a thing is a scoundrel. It really has to be seen to be believed.
Not only does he attest to the complete impossibility of his injuries having been sustained at the same time that Kennedy was injured in the neck, but he also tells us that the doctors never removed the bullet that was embedded in his thigh. Officially, that bullet is the “pristine bullet” that was found on his gurney at Parkland Hospital. Insofar as evidence is concerned, then, virtually everything that he has to say undermines the government position.
So how does he manage to tell the assembled media with their sea of microphones in so many words that two plus two equals three and to do it so persuasively and with such apparent conviction? He simply draws liberally upon the “Seventenn Techniques for Truth Suppression.” First, he employs #7, “Invoke Authority.” He would never question the work of “men whose patriotism has been manifested so many times in so many ways over such a long period of time.” As Mark Antony said about Julius Caesar’s assassins in his famous speech in Shakespeare’s play, “They are all honorable men.”
Next, he employs #2, “Wax indignant.” “It is shocking to me that in the backlash of tragedy journalistic scavengers such as Mark Lane attempt to impugn the motives of these members individually, cast doubts upon the commission as a whole, and question the credibility of the government itself,” he says. How dare they!
Then it’s quickly on to #6, “Impugn motives.” “We should turn our attention to doing a little research on and evaluation of the credentials of these self-appointed experts who with no evidence, no new facts, nevertheless use distortion, inference, innuendo in order to cast doubts and create confusion. ”
Economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell has written that he used to red pencil on his students’ papers, “Specify, don’t characterize.” He could have really had a field day with Connally and his prepared remarks at that press conference.
Connally goes on, “And I suspect that a searching investigation into their own credentials will divulge that their motives have political overtones and that their views have been given prominence out of all proportion to their value. I think it’s time that we pause and reflect on who these individuals are, rather than calling for a further investigation, which in my judgment is neither warranted, justified, or desirable.” No one has ever questioned motives with more vigor.
When Connally says that the critics have “no new evidence, no new facts” he comes very close to #15, “Baldly and brazenly lie.” I guess it depends upon what he means by the word “new.” The 26 volumes of raw documents are full of facts that undermine the official conclusion, as amply illustrated by Sylvia Meagher in her 1967 book, Accessories after the Fact: The Warren Commission, the Authorities, and the Report. Lane and Meagher and others in many cases just pointed out facts that had been published but had not been emphasized or were simply ignored in the final summary report. In that very narrow sense, one might say that they were not “new.”
Then, in the question and answer period, it’s time for #10, “Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.” “No one, no one,” he says, “however clairvoyant or how wise could ever say with finality that [sic] would satisfy everybody in this world precisely what happened, and I think we ought to quit trying to do so because I think it’s an impossible task and I don’t care what kind of a body you constituted. I think you’d have a problem of them taking uncertain things of them making interpretations and evaluations of their own and forming a conclusion that might or might not agree with the Warren Commission and then where would you be? You’d just have somebody else’s opinion.”
In the legal profession there’s an old saying that when the facts are on your side, you pound the facts, and when the law is on your side, you pound the law, but when neither is on your side, you pound the table. Connally, the Texas politician, pounds the table with gusto in this news conference. As bombastic and fundamentally illogical and fraudulent as Connally may be, his argument is, in a microcosm, that which has been offered up in defense of the official truth in the JFK assassination, the murder of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster, right through to 9/11 and even more recent outrages. Connally knew that he would not be called to account because the assembled group at that news conference were doubtless all from the mainstream media. The “Seventeen Techniques” were not formulated to describe only the strategy of politicians and government officials like Connally. They apply in particular to the actions of the propagandists masquerading as real journalists. They also grew primarily out of my own experience in dealing with the news media in the Foster case. I was interviewed twice by members of the mainstream press, Philip Weiss of The New York Observer and The New York Times and Angie Cannon of the Knight Ridder news chain. Both were right upfront that they weren’t doing stories about the case itself but about critics of the government’s conclusions. Weiss ended up misquoting and mischaracterizing me in a cover-page article in The New York Times Magazine entitled, tellingly, “The Clinton Crazies.” Cannon did the same in her syndicated article, suggesting that anyone who might question the government in the Foster matter must have some strange psychological malady. In their focus upon the critics rather than upon the case itself, they were practitioners primarily of nos. five and six of the “Seventeen Techniques.”
As the 50th anniversary of the coup d’etat that was the Kennedy assassination approaches, we have been barraged by a number of new books challenging the official story. Two of the most recent lay the responsibility for it in the lap of Lyndon Johnson, The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, by political insider Roger Stone and LBJ and the Kennedy Killing by James T. Tague. Tague happens to be the assassination witness who was slightly injured when that wild shot ricocheted off the curb.
Good luck on getting any of your friends who still parrot the Warren Commission line to read any of these books. In lieu of that, you might press this short article upon them. Again, good luck. You might well conclude that you have simply learned too much for your own good and pretty soon you’ll feel like Dilbert trying to talk sense to his pointy-haired boss.
November 1, 2013