Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Frame 313: The JFK Assassination Theories": 2008 examination of conspiracy theories will be really relevant next year at 50th Anniversary


Frame 313: The JFK Assassination Theories” (2008), by Chris Anderson, for Sundown Entertainment and Monarch Films, gives an analysis of all the major theories behind the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The 113-minute film has a rather straightforward narrative style.  Much of the film replays fuzzy  black-and-white (and sometimes color) original film. 

The film starts out by saying that there was no federal law against such an act then, just state law, and wonders if one person could have fired the first two shots in less than a second and a half.

Theory 1 refers to  the lone gunman.  Theory 2 refers to a CIA conspiracy. Theory 3 invokes the Soviet Union KGB, which could have involved French and Vietnamese agemts.  Theory 4 refers to Mafia hitmen. Theory 5 refers to a CIA Cuban exile’s conspiracy, following the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

The film then launches a Prologue, with discussion of post-Cuban crisis US Soviet relations, and then skips to that day. Dallas had become a “city of hate” where posters showing Kennedy as “wanted for treason” because of integration.

The film then chronicles the details of the event.  The first shot was not fatal, and the president said “My God, I’m hit”.

The 40 second Zapruder film (with its Frame 313, corresponding to the wounding of bystander  James Tague as well as the explosion of Kennedy’s head), taken by an ordinary citizen, could not prove one theory.


The film quickly presents the Warren Commission and the “Single Bullet Theory”.

The film soon goes into the theory that the FBI and CIA withheld information from the Warren Commission in order to defuse any conspiracy.  The HFCA (House) then issued another theory suggesting conspiracy. For example, the House found that Jack Ruby had made many calls to mob figures, a fact that the Warren Commission didn’t uncover.

There are several potential enemies, who could have conspired in several ways.  These include the CIA (Kennedy had transferred some power from the CIA back to the JCS), the mob (with its connections to southeast Asia drug trafficking), and both pro-Castro and right wing anti-Castro elements.  Some of the most telling evidence seems to come from the “double life” apparently led by Oswald, who obviously could have been set up as a “patsy”.  Late in the film, another man “confesses” to having been a second gunman from the Grassy Knoll. 

It sounds very unlikely to me that the last two of the three shots could have come from one person (Oswald in the Depository).  It does sound likely that the first two shots did, including both that hit the president. 
Wikipedia says that the last two bullets occur in rapid succession, but the YouTube trailer (above) has  the first two closest together (which could not come from one person).

The film closes with the suggestion that the State of Texas should convene a grand jury to re-open a new investigation. 
  
I recall being at work at the National Bureau of Standards (the old Van Ness campus) when my boss came into the lab and said that the president had been shot.  We heard about the death from Cronkite on the radio shortly.  I remember waiting for the bus on K Street, wondering if there could be a nuclear attack.  (That moment would lead to an uncanny retrospect months later, which I won’t get into now.)
   
I was in the back seat of the family car which my father was driving down 17th St in NW Washington DC, leaving church, again almost to K Street, when we heard Jack Ruby’s gunshot on live radio in the car.  I remember hearing the shot and the words “He’s been shot!”  Later, this would be called “the first live telecast murder.”  I was 20 then, and my own life had been troubled by my own college expulsion for admitting homosexuality.  I had the impression that the world was all about people maneuvering to have power over one another, and I was “weak” and a liability.  So the conspiracy theories fit well here. even if they do not with some of the “lone wolf” domestic terrorism in much more recent history.
   
In November  2013, the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination will occur. In October of 2012, this year, the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, mentioned in the film, took place. 

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