By George Cassidy Payne |
“I am afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of National Security.” – Jim Garrison
After a decade or so of looking into the JFK assassination, I finally decided to visit my favorite used book store and grab a copy of Jim Garrison’s book, On the Trail of the Assassins. Like most people interested in the assassination, I had seen Oliver Stone’s movie based on Garrison’s book, but I never got around to reading the actual text.
In Garrison’s remarkable firsthand account, the fabled District Attorney of New Orleans laid out, in a gripping narrative, how his young, ambitious, and indomitable prosecution team went about investigating the JFK assassination. At a time when most of the country had no interest in a conspiracy, against all odds, their unbiased curiosity, hunger for the truth, unbreakable faith in the Constitution, and good old fashion detective work allowed them to make a series of remarkable discoveries.
Among the more groundbreaking revelations uncovered in their investigation include overwhelming circumstantial evidence that “Lee Harvey Oswald was a C.I.A. recruit-an agent provocateur – who soon became their “patsy;” that Kennedy’s motorcade route was changed the morning of the assassination to pass the Texas School Book Depository where Oswald had been working for over a month; the fact that Jack Ruby had reputed ties to both the F.B.I. and the mob; and how before its release to the Warren Commission, the F.B.I. reversed two crucial frames of the Zapruder film to create the false impression that a fatal shot to Kennedy’s head had been fired from behind.” (Warner Books, 1988)
Anyone who has done their work, knows that these discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to formulating the who, what, why, and when of the JFK murder. But I now understand that Garrison’s work was the first serious attempt to legitimately question the Warren Commission using tried and true legal methods by professional lawyers and prosecutors. For that reason, Garrison’s legacy and book are monumentally important.
Simply put: Jim Garrison was a national hero who was smeared, physically threatened, vilified in the press, and ultimately railroaded by the most powerful forces within the United States government. When I think about Garrison, I think about the countless researchers, writers, witnesses, and documentary filmmakers who have sacrificed time, money, and personal safety to reveal the facts of Nov 22, 1963. I think of what Garrison stands for today and what he fought for then. Like so many others, he sacrificed far too much for his memory to be disgraced by endless moral inaction.
So here we are. The wait is over. Unsurprisingly, the same agencies that managed to persuade President Trump back in October 2017 to hold off from releasing the last batch of JFK documents-begging the president to go back on his word and feebly provide them 6 more months (after 55 years) to stall, whitewash, and prep for fallout-are calling for more time.
How much longer should the citizenry be expected to wait?
Three years apparently. On Thursday, April 26, 2018, President Trump stated that the CIA and FBI have until 2021 to conduct further reviews of the JFK files. More than 15,000 of the 19,045 in Thursday’s National Archives release have redactions-“some quite substantial.” More than 500 files were held back in their entirety for “various reasons.” Are you kidding me? What more evidence of a coverup do the American people need than this ceaseless stonewalling?
I say forget 2021. We need these documents now. George Washington once said, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”
God only knows the pains that have been brought about in order to unmask the truth of JFK’s murder. Lives have been transformed and tarnished.
People have been murdered. Entire organizations have been forced to compromise their most sacred values. The wait is over. The time is now.
George Cassidy Payne is a freelance writer, domestic violence counselor, and adjunct professor of philosophy at SUNY. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.