Second, there were the inconsistent identification.
According to the statement of his first interrogation, Russo,
when shown photographs of Shaw, said that he had seen him
from afar -- but never met the man. Subsequently, he changed
his story to say he had met him at Ferrie's apartment. One
week later, he told a homicide officer he was not sure the
man he met was Shaw.
Third, there was the mis-identification
of Oswald. Russo claimed the man introduced to him as "Leon
Oswald" had a beard in September 1963 and was Ferries room-mate.
Oswald was clean-shaven at that time, and Marina's room-mate
(Ferrie's room mate, at the time, did have a beard).
While Garrison was stuck with this contradictory
testimony; Oliver Stone was not. He simply substituted for
Russo the fictional character "Willie O'Keefe" (played by
Kevin Bacon) who had none of the real witness' deficiencies.
Unlike Russo, a heterosexual with no
plausible access to Shaw's secret life, his replacement
O'Keefe is fashioned as a handsome male prostitute who has
been Shaw's homosexual lover and drug partner for over a
year. Moreover, he is given the political persona of a neo-Nazi
and Kennedy hater -- a political stance which more plausibly
might allow him to be privy to a discussion as sensitive
as the assassination plan. And, unlike Russo, who only popped
up after Ferrie's death seeking publicity on local television,
O'keefe contacts Garrison before Ferrie's death-- and before
Garrison's investigation has even become public-- from state
prison. He is serving time for prostitution, and he offers
to cooperate with Garrison (whom he also physically admires)
because "he has nothing to lose" and presumably because
it might lead to a reduced prison sentence.
Unlike the real witness, O'Keefe displays
no memory lapses requiring drug or hypnotic "objectification."
He voluntarily relates a coherent story: Ferrie first introduced
him to Shaw in the summer of 1962, Shaw immediately hired
him to participate in elaborate orgies with him and Ferrie.
In the course of this relationship, he met Shaw's associates
including Oswald, who he has no problem identifying as beardless,
and the anti-Castro Cubans mercenaries (including one bald-one
who murders Ferrie). At one late-night meeting in Ferrie's
apartment, after the Cubans depart, Ferrie, Oswald and Shaw
discuss the plan for killing Kennedy, including the "cross
fire" and "triangulation of fire").
The fictional O'keefe's story is supported
by Ferrie's fictional confession, which is then given weight
by Ferrie's fictional murder by the fictional bald-headed
Cuban introduced in O'keefe's story. Since the Oliver Stone's
audience is not apprised of the substitutions of fiction
for fact, this cross-corroboration makes plausible to it
the New Orleans plot.
The New Orleans conspiracy still remained
a relatively low-level one, involving homosexuals, anti-Castro
Cuban killers, Oswald, and CIA employees. To link it to
the central coup d'etat in Washington D.C, Oliver Stone
resorts to a deus ex machina: a fictional meeting Garrison
has with a deep-throat style anonymous source, who identified
himself only as "X."
"X" is a cynical man of military-bearing
(played by Donald Sutherland). He meets Garrison in late
February 1967, just after Ferrie's death, on the steps of
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. When asked by Garrison
whether he is with the CIA, "X" refuses to identify the
agency he represents, but tells Garrison he is "close, you
do not know how close."
After describing the Warren Report as
"fiction," "X" launches into a remarkable 15 minute exposition
of the assassination. He discloses that Kennedy was "executed
by device as old as the crucifixion-- a military firing
squad." It was not some low-level plot but a full-blown
"coup d'etat" with "Lyndon Johnson waiting in the wings".
Its purpose was to prevent Kennedy from withdrawing from
Viet Nam and ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Since the military-industrial complex could not afford to
lose this war threat-- a "$100 billion" in war contracts
was at stake-- it ordered the assassination. The secret
team of generals and officials who carried out this coup
also arranged the "cover story" that framed Oswald as the
lone assassin and sabotaged the telephone system in Washington
D.C. after the assassination so no news would leak out.
"Nothing was left to chance," X adds.
"X" explains that two weeks before President
Kennedy was due to arrive in Dallas, his superior, "General
Y", ordered him to accompany a group of officials on a trip
to the South Pole. If he hadn't been sent away, he would
have had the routine duty of arranging "additional security"
for the President in Dallas-- which would have made the
assassination impossible. When he returned and realized
what had happened, he deduced that there could be only one
reason for "Y" sending him away at this critical time: to
prevent him from interfering with the assassination plan
in Dallas. X tells Garrison he cannot publicly reveal these
secrets, because, before he could testify, he would be "gagged,
arrested and put in an insane asylum", but he urges him
to "make arrests" anyhow. With the New Orleans conspiracy
now connected to the Washington conspiracy, Garrison returns
to New Orleans and arrests Clay Shaw.
Garrison, in reality, had not met such
a source. Rather than going to Washington D.C., he spent
the week between Ferrie's death and Shaw's arrest filling
in the lapsed memory of the new witness Russo (with the
help of Sodium Pentathol). Even though the original Garrison
never met "X," Oliver Stone, the New Garrison, not only
found "X" but retained him as his technical adviser for
JFK. This super source, whose story was anachronistically
slipped him into the old Garrison's case is Colonel Leroy
Fletcher Prouty. Before his retirement from the Air Force
in December 1963, Colonel Prouty had worked in the Pentagon
in the Office of Special Operations-- which provided planes
and other equipment for covert activities. In November 1963,
Prouty had been sent to the South Pole at the time of the
assassination, but here the similarity between the real
and fictional "X" ends.
Unlike the character in the film, Prouty's
duties did not include providing "additional security" for
the President's motorcades, according to the Secret Service
(which did have that responsibility). In his own writings
("The Anatomy of Assassination" in Uncloaking The CIA) ,
Prouty bases this allegation that the President's security
was withdrawn not on any personal knowledge (he does not
claim here any responsibility for Presidential security)
but on the failure of the Secret Service to make sure, as
is required by its "manual", that all windows on the parade
route be sealed, to post counter-sniper teams on the roofs,
and to maintain the speed of the President's car at "44
miles per hour," In fact, however, these procedures were
not required by the manual of the Secret Service.
He was not even a liaison with the Secret
Service, the CIA, or the Air Force Military Police. Nor
was there anything mysterious about Prouty's November assignment:
he had applied for retirement in the summer of 1963 and,
while his paperwork was being processed, he had been detached
to various temporary duties, including this lark to the
Antipodes. "X"'s logic that there was a connection between
this pre-retirement trip and the events in Dallas has no
apparent basis in reality.
Prouty did demonstrate, however, a penchant
for claiming participation in historic events. For example,
he puts himself at the Roosevelt-Stalin-Churchill summit
in Teheran in 1943 (Churchill at some point revealed to
him that the world was ruled by a "high cabal"); at Yale,
when George Bush learned "everything he knew" about machinations
of the oil cartel; at the surrender of Japan in 1945, where
he personally witnessed U.S. intelligence lay the basis
of two future wars by covertly shipping "the largest arm
cache in history" to North Vietnam and Korea; at the Bay
of Pigs in 1961 where he personally procured CIA ships that
were re-named after George Bush's wife "Barbara," George
Bush's oil company "Zapata" and George Bush's residence
"Houston"; and in Vietnam, here he reported on "a CIA clandestine
operation that got out of hand."
Aside from advising Oliver Stone, Prouty
is also extremely active with other conspiracy-hunters.
He served, for example, as editorial adviser to publications
of the futuristic Church of Scientology; as a consultant
to the far right Lyndon LaRouche Organization, who also
provided its Convention with a presentation comparing the
U.S. government's prosecution of Lyndon LaRouche (for mail
fraud) "to the persecution of Socrates"; a Board member
of the Populist Action Committee, where he joined Robert
Weems, the former leader of the Klu Klux Klan, and John
Rarick, the organizer of the White Citizens Council; and
as a featured speaker for the anti-civil rights organization
called the Liberty Lobby, whose founder, Willis Carto, also
set up The Institute for Historic Review, a disseminator
of books and video-tapes that allege that the Nazi death
camps in Europe were fictions devised by Zionist propaganda
to justify tax money being donated to Israel. (It also published
Prouty's own book: The Secret Team: The CIA And Its Allies
In Control Of The United States And The World.)
Prouty also exposed the machinations
of putative global conspiracies. For example, when the Liberty
Lobby held its annual Board of Policy Convention in 1991,
he presented a special seminar on "Who Is The Enemy," that
blamed the high price of oil on a systematic plot of a cabal
to deliberately shut down oil pipelines in the Middle East.
"Why?" he asked, and explained to the seminar: "Because
of the Israelis. That is their business on behalf of the
oil companies. That's why they get $3 billion a year from
the U.S. tax payer." His enemy list also included the CIA,
usurers, school textbooks, the media, political parties,
international banks, federal crises-planning exercises,
and the U.S.-Soviet Trade and Economic Council (which, according
to Prouty, had stage-managed, along with David Rockefeller,
the liquidation of the Berlin Wall to profit from "the rubles
and the gold").
So this is the intellectual provenance
of the man Oliver Stone chose as his technical adviser--
and the man called "X". In JFK, X displays secret knowledge
about the ultimate conspiracy behind the Kennedy assassination
when he tells Garrison the "who?" and "how? " of the shooting
are "just scenery" to hide the "why?. The "why," in turn,
proceeds from the unbreakable rule of the power-elite that
"the organizing principle of any society is for war". Because
Kennedy violated this precept by taking steps to end the
war, he had to die.
Prouty/X's secret knowledge about the
elite's organizing principle and the "war system" derives
itself from a very special source-- a suppressed Kennedy
Administration study, which he discussed on the Liberty
Lobby's Radio Free America on December 14, 1989. He explained
then that this study was so secret that the group of "power
brokers" who conducted it met, according to Prouty, "in
an underground storage and security area" in the Hudson
Valley of New York called "Iron Mountain". The explosive
issue they addressed was: could America survive "if and
when a condition of permanent peace should arise". Their
conclusion, which "X" would echo almost word for word in
the film JFK two years later, was "the organization of society
for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer"
; without a believable war threat: "no government could
remain in power" , and consequently, "the elimination of
war ... implies the eventual elimination of national sovereignty."
He explains on this radio program and in a subsequent issue
of "Spotlight," the newspaper of the Liberty Lobby, that
these conclusions come directly from the Report from this
Iron Mountain group-- which he has obtained a copy of (and
which the Holocaust-doubting Institute For Historic Research
re- published.) He concludes the program by relating it
the "high cabal ... calling the shots."
While Prouty quotes accurately from
the Report from Iron Mountain, he fails to realize it was
a complete hoax. There was no group in underground storage
vaults in Iron Mountain, no study of the elimination of
the war threat, no report from power brokers. The Report
From Iron Mountain was a brilliant spoof by political satirist
Leonard Lewin of think tanks in 1967. Victor Navasky, then
the editor of the humor magazine, Monocle, who was in on
the gag, persuaded Dial Press to put Lewin's book on its
non-fiction instead of fiction list, which resulted in a
front page news story in the New York Times about the "suppressed"
Report. Subsequently, it was revealed by the author for
what it was. What neither the author nor Navasky could foresee
was that this hoax would re- emerge a quarter of a century
later, first in the radical- right radio broadcasts and
Liberty Lobby publications, and then, as the connective
logic of Oliver's Stone's film, JFK.
Not only did his technical adviser on
JFK prove unable to distinguish a mirthful hoax from somber
reality, but Oliver Stone himself proved unable to separate
the false scenes in JFK from the reality of Garrison's case
at a Town Hall Meeting in New York in March 1992-- a meeting
in which he again compared himself to Garrison as one of
four people libeled by the media for "representing an unofficial
history" of the assassination (the other two in this quarter
are, according to Stone: Oswald and President Kennedy)--
The Panel at Town Hall included Norman Mailer, Nora Ephron
and myself, and it was moderated by Victor Navasky, now
the editor of The Nation. When I pointed out to Stone that
his depiction of Ferrie confessing to Garrison was false
history, he replied that even though such a meeting never
happened, he had "sketched" it into Ferrie's last night
because Ferrie had at an earlier point "raved and ranted"
to one of Garrison's investigators. Stone, in any case,
saw no problem in his misrepresenting this fiction as fact
in his "unofficial history." He also dismissed other challenges
to the fictitious evidence he inserted in JFK-- such as
the six scenes depicting someone pasting Oswald's head on
a photograph of some other gunman's body to frame him--
by responding to person who had questioned this fiction
by meticulously citing the actual photographic evidence,
"I don't know where you get your facts". Moreover, he not
only vouched for the bona fides of Prouty, but he presented
as pure "truth" X's thesis that the "military industrial
complex" killed Kennedy so he would not end the war in Viet
Oliver Stone, as the new Garrison, demonstrated
yet again how easily pierced is the thin membrane that separates
the mainstream media from the festering pools of fantasies
on its peripheries. What he allowed to ooze into JFK from
these fringes, with the help of his technical advisers like
Colonel Prouty, is the tormenting concept that "secret teams"
and "high cabals" fabricated entire historic events to fool
them-- a concept that incorporates in its schema even the
Iron Mountain Hoax. In doing so, Oliver Stone organized
a flight from reality.
Special thanks to Lona Manning from
Kelowna, B.C. for her assistance in proof-reading the internet
version of this piece.