Article 2368 of Subject JFK +quot;Plausible Denial+quot; book re

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Article 2368 of Newsgroups: From: (Rich Winkel) Subject: JFK: "Plausible Denial" book review Message-ID: <> Followup-To: alt.activism.d Sender: (Rich Winkel) Organization: PACH Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1992 10:23:07 GMT Approved: Lines: 140 ** Written 8:14 pm Jan 12, 1992 by ihandler in cdp:nfd.ifeatures ** Book Review / 1050 Words Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved In The Assassination of JFK? By Mark Lane Thunder's Mouth Press New York City, 1991 393 pages, $22.95 By Carl Davidson Mark Lane's `Rush To Judgement' was one of the most widely read books of the 1960s. It delivered the opening salvo against the fabrications of the Warren Commission's official report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The power of Lane's analysis transformed him from a maverick left-wing lawyer-politician into an international popular hero. Now, after 25 years, Lane has returned to his topic with `Plausible Denial.' Where his first work raised a large number of questions about a variety of institutions, this new book offers us carefully crafted answers that unmask the criminality of a definite handful of top CIA figures. It delivers the coup d'grace against the CIA's claim of innocence. The heart of `Plausible Denial' is a courtroom drama spread out over seven years. In begins in August, 1978 when Victor Marchetti wrote an article for Spotlight, the obscure tabloid newspaper of the right-wing, populist and anti-Semitic group, the Liberty Lobby. Marchetti is the well-known ex-CIA officer and co-author of `The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence.' The article claimed that top people in the CIA, including Richard Helms and James Jesus Angleton, had signed on to a plan to offer up ex-CIA officer and Watergate burglar, E. Howard Hunt, to Congress as a sacrificial lamb on the assassination issue. By admitting that Hunt was in Dallas in November, 1963 as a participant in a renegade group of anti-JFK conspirators, the CIA higher-ups hoped to deflect a deeper inquiry. Hunt counter-attacked with a lawsuit claiming he had been defamed and that he could prove he was home in Washington, DC on Nov. 22, 1963. In December, 1981 a Miami jury sided with Hunt and awarded him $650,000 in damages. The Liberty Lobby, dismayed, appealed for a new trial and sought a new lawyer. They got both. An appeals court found a serious error in the charge to the jury; a new trial was scheduled. And Mark Lane took the case, with the proviso that he would not be constrained by the Liberty Lobby's politics or preconceptions. The Liberty Lobby wisely let Lane take charge. In the first trial, the defense was weak. It agreed with Hunt's main assertions, apologized for any misinformation, but insisted there had been no "intent" to defame, only honest error. In the second trial, Lane took the opposite approach. He argued that Hunt was a chronic liar and criminal, and that the basic claims against him were true. Moreover, he showed how all the top CIA officials Hunt brought in to testify on his behalf were also liars and criminals, and that the CIA was complicit in the killing of Kennedy. According to Lane, his strategy was to turn "a defamation case into the prosecution of a murder case within a civil action." Lane follows through brilliantly. Two passages in the book are especially spellbinding: one is when Lane has Hunt on the stand and exposes his "alibi" for his whereabouts during the Dallas events as totally unbelievable; the other is the questioning of Marita Lorenz, a former lover of Fidel Castro's who was recruited to the CIA in 1959 by Frank Sturgis, also of Watergate fame, at a time when he was still head of security for the Cuban air force. To make a long account short, Lorenz convincingly describes being in a Dallas motel room with Sturgis, Hunt, boxes of guns, wads of money and none other than Jack Ruby, all on the evening before the assassination. Hunt's lawyers could do nothing to shake her story. The strategy paid off. On February 6, 1985, a jury of ordinary Americans rules against Hunt's claim, and affirms that they believed Lane's case against the CIA. "Mr. Lane was asking us to do something very difficult," said Leslie Armstrong, jury forewoman, to the press after the trial. "He was asking us to believe that John Kennedy had been killed by our own government. Yet when we examined the evidence closely, we were compelled to conclude that the CIA had indeed killed President Kennedy." At this point, anyone might ask, why didn't we know about this trial when it was going on? The answer is that the JFK issue has always brought out the worst in the American media: its class- biased arrogance, deceit and contempt for the concerns of people with little influence and less power. Lane himself raises the issue at the start of the book. He shows us how he was blocked at every turn from getting his first stories out. He tells how only the Guardian stood by him in the early days, when even other progressive publications felt to uncomfortable with the doubts and charges he was raising. Lane includes the full text of his initial Guardian article in an appendix. The main virtue of `Plausible Denial' is the inspiration one gets from Lane's audacity and doggedness in seeking the truth in the JFK case. That virtue has been compromised, unfortunately, by Lane's decision to maintain an ongoing professional and political relationship with the Liberty Lobby. Whether wittingly or not, he has become an instrument of the far right's present-day tactic of making use of progressive, anti-Establishment sentiment to promote its own agenda. This aspect of Lane's career is worthy of deeper analysis than is possible in one book review. Still, the verdict he won in Miami against Hunt remains as one small victory in a seemingly futile struggle that has been going on for over 25 years. But it is an important one nonetheless. What does it mean, after all, if the president of the U.S. can be gunned down in broad daylight without any of his assassins being brought to justice? Why are those conspirators who remain alive still able to walk the streets as free men? In all truth, these are profoundly revolutionary questions. They are the loose threads which, if pulled persistently, cause the entire fabric of the established order to unravel. The answers Lane and many others have unearthed with their persistence show that America is not a democracy in any fundamental sense. However much we treasure our liberties and strive to restrict the abuse of power, the fact remains that the killers of the Kennedys, of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, of Fred Hampton and others--all got away with it. It shows we live under a dictatorship of the rich and privileged, and not yet a government of the people, by the people and for the people. -------------------------- Carl Davidson is director of Networking For Democracy, a Chicago-based cluster of projects promoting grassroots access to computer and media skills. He recently worked as writer and researcher for Denis Mueller's new documentary, `The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,' distributed by MPI Home Video. ** End of text from cdp:nfd.ifeatures **


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