A Review of Oliver Stone’s JFK: Destiny Betrayed (Chapter 1)

In 1966, when I was nine years old, my dad brought home Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane. My dad was never a believer that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John F. Kennedy and the book by Lane surely amplified that belief of his, as well as mine.

In 1991, I went to visit my parents one afternoon and my mom told me that dad had gone to see JFK, the Oliver Stone film. When dad came home, he told me that I really needed to go out and see this film. The next day I did. To both of us, the film further increased our belief that the JFK assassination was indeed a conspiracy.

While dad and I both thought the film was very insightful and informative about who may have murdered JFK and why he had created so many enemies within the United States government, many in the mainstream media gave the movie bad reviews. Like large media outlets like CBS, NBC and The New York Times, who had all endorsed the Warren Report, which has been largely discredited in 58 years since it first came out in 1964.

Which takes me to a new Oliver Stone documentary called JFK: Destiny Betrayed. It’s a four-part film that lasts approximately four hours that can be seen on Prime Video and Apple. I had the opportunity to see the film and I thought it was outstanding. The film was directed by Stone and produced by Rob Wilson. The film was written by long time JFK assassination researcher and author Jim DiEugenio. The film is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Sutherland.

If you truly care about what really occurred in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963, please watch this film. Yes, I know, we now live in an era of disinformation, via the mainstream media, as well as social media. Unlike that fabricated rhetoric, this film puts out real evidence, much of which was hidden for 30-plus years. This documented information comes from witnesses, physicians, historians, researchers and ballistics specialists.

Chapter 1:

Oliver Stone walks Dealey Plaza and retells what occurred after his film JFK was released in 1991. Because of the media sensation that the film had created, it led to the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act. That led to the formation of the Assassination Records and Review Board (the ARRB). The ARRB was able to look at over 60,000 declassified assassination documents which came from the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (the HSCA). In all, the ARRB collected over two million declassified pages of records and artifacts.

Those documents shed new light on what really transpired when JFK was assassinated. Still, much of the public is unaware of these findings.

We also find out from Robert Kennedy Jr. that his father suspected that the murder of his brother was a domestic conspiracy. RFK’s first phone call was to the CIA when he asked, “Did your people conduct this horror?”

Author/historian David Talbot also mentions that RFK knew that there was not just a lone gunman in Dealey Plaza that day. Why? From talking to his close confidants Kenny O’Donnell and David Powers who were in the limousine directly behind that of JFK’s limo. Both O’Donnell and Powers, who were World War II veterans, said that the gunfire in Dallas that afternoon came in a crossfire.

After Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald two days after JFK was assassinated, more red flags went up. Talbot mentions that RFK looked at the phone logs of Ruby prior to his murder of Oswald and he found that Ruby was talking to mobsters.

RFK had also known about the alliance of the CIA and the mafia, as in 1961, the FBI uncovered secret CIA/mob plans to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba. When RFK, then Attorney General of the United States, asked the CIA about this, they admitted that this had been done, but they told him that the operation had ceased. That was not true, as this plan was still ongoing, led by CIA officer William Harvey and Chicago mobster Johnny Roselli.

RFK also suspected a third party who took part in the assassination of his brother, according to Talbot. That would be the anti-Castro exiles.

RFK Jr. said his dad was just shattered by the death of his brother for a while. In terms of the Warren Commission, RFK wanted nothing to do with it and publicly never said a word about their findings. Privately, RFK thought that the report by the Warren Commission was shoddy. Also, RFK knew the makeup of the commission under the direction of President Lyndon Johnson was going to put out a deceptive narrative.

The commission was headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The commission also included Allen Dulles, the former CIA director who was fired by JFK in 1961. The inclusion of Dulles should have immediately raised red flags, just based on his tumultuous tenure under JFK. Others on the commission included Michigan Congressman and future President Gerald Ford, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana, Senator John Cooper of Kentucky and John McCloy, who was chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

One of the reasons Dulles was fired was due to the lies he had told JFK before the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion. After the failed invasion, just three months into his presidency, JFK accepted the blame publicly. But privately, he felt he was deceived by Dulles and others in the CIA. Because of that, JFK cut the budget of the CIA by 20 percent and uttered his famous quote, “I’m going to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds.” Besides firing Dulles, JFK also fired his two top advisors, Richard Bissell Jr. and General Charles Cabell.

It wasn’t just the Bay of Pigs debacle which got Dulles fired. In April of 1961, the same month as the Bay of Pigs event, Dulles also lied to Kennedy about a coup attempt in France, as the CIA was involved in a plot to remove President Charles de Gaulle.

In terms of the Warren Commission, Dulles was the only commissioner who did not have a regular job. Because of that, he was the most active member of that group. He asked the most questions (31 percent of the total) and was at the most hearings. Remarkably, Dulles never informed the commission of the CIA’s attempts to assassinate Castro and also why JFK had fired him after the Bay of Pigs. Behind the scenes, Dulles worked with the CIA in terms of how to respond to certain questions asked by the commission, which included denying any association that Oswald may have had with the CIA.

Unlike Dulles, there were also a number of members of the commission who were not onboard with some of the findings put out in the actual Warren Report. One was Russell, who right at the beginning of the commission, became disenchanted due to the involvement of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. Russell also did not believe the single-bullet theory put out by assistant counsel Arlen Specter. Russell also did not believe Oswald acted alone. He was influenced by seeing the Zapruder film and also the testimony of Governor John Connally of Texas, who was in the same limo with JFK. Connally did not believe that he and Kennedy were shot with the same bullet. When the Warren Report was put out, Russell was the first member of the commission to criticize it. He was followed in that dissent by Cooper and Boggs.

Also in Chapter 1, we see that the Eisenhower administration and the CIA were also involved in the coup that took place in the Congo just before JFK assumed the presidency. All of that later led to the Senate Select Committee in 1975 headed by Senator Frank Church of Idaho, which investigated the abuses and crimes of both the CIA and FBI.

Among the things that the Church Committee learned were the CIA plots to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, who was the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo and also Castro in Cuba.

Senator Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania and Senator Gary Hart of Colorado set up a subcommittee to investigate the JFK assassination. They found that the Warren Commission relied almost exclusively on the findings of the FBI and CIA. One of things that the subcommittee uncovered was that Jack Ruby was a FBI informant. The Church Committee also had access to the internal CIA report about their plot along with the mafia to assassinate Castro starting in 1960 under Dulles. In that report, the agency admitted that they had no presidential authorization to do so. Schweiker was infuriated by the information that the Church Committee uncovered and he said, “I think the Warren Commission has in fact, collapsed like a house of cards. And I believe that the Warren Commission was set up at the time to feed pablum to the American people for reasons not yet known and that one of the biggest coverups in the history of our country occurred at that time.”

Also in 1975, the American public got to see the Zapruder film for the first time. Robert Groden had obtained the film while working as a technician in a film facility. And on Good Night America on ABC, hosted By Geraldo Rivera, the film was shown on national television by Groden.

Because of the national outrage that the release of the Zapruder film caused, it led to the second major inquiry into President Kennedy’s murder. It was called the House Select Committee on Assassinations (the HSCA) which was formed in 1976. The investigation ended in 1978, but just like the Warren Commission, many facts were hidden from the public.

While talking with Stone, Dr. David Mantik said, “After the House Select Committee on Assassinations closed up shop, they sealed many of the witness reports. These were not available to the public.” John R. Tunheim, who chaired the ARRB, said this, “Close to half a million records which were segregated, they were to be sealed on House rules at the time until 2029. Some of them had leaked out and some were part of the report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, but most were not released.”

With the release of Stone’s film JFK in 1991, the public was made aware at the end of that film that the HSCA had locked away the vast majority of their findings until the year 2029. Because of that, hearings were held on Capitol Hill.

As I mentioned earlier, this led to the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act, which then led to the formation of the Assassination Records and Review Board (the ARRB) in 1994.

The ARRB got very little media coverage, which is why many Americans still have never found out about the findings of the ARRB.

Chapter 1 also delves into why Oswald could not have been the assassin on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository due to some witness reports who had close proximity to Oswald’s supposed escape route down the stairs from the 6th floor to the 2nd floor after the assassination. The testimony of three of the witnesses conflicted with what was written in the Warren Report. Without the ARRB’s review process, the American public would never have learned the corroborating testimony of these three witnesses who provide powerful evidence that Oswald was not on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting.

In 2017, President Donald Trump was set to release the remaining records of the JFK assassination but decided not to release them due to security concerns by some in the CIA and FBI.

Look for my review on Chapter 2 of JFK: Destiny Betrayed in the near future.

4 thoughts on “A Review of Oliver Stone’s JFK: Destiny Betrayed (Chapter 1)

  1. Pingback: #1095 – Paul Bleau, Jim DiEugenio – Black Op Radio – Podcast

  2. Pingback: A Review of Oliver Stone’s JFK: Destiny Betrayed (Chapter 2) | Bob Fox

  3. Pingback: A Review of Oliver Stone’s JFK: Destiny Betrayed (Chapter 3) | Bob Fox

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