In 1966, I read Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgement. Not long after, Epstein’s Inquest was published and I read it. In the meantime, I was reading articles concerning the JFK assassination in Ramparts and other publications. I became a serious reader/researcher during the 1970’s and wrote my first article for a small newspaper during the 1980’s. In 1990, I began writing what I hoped would become a novel.
Even though I wasn’t a hands-on researcher working in the field, doing interviews, going to Presidential libraries, to Dallas, and so on, I felt fear to publish nationally because of what I knew had happened to at least dozens and perhaps exponentially more numbers of people who were discovered to be getting too close to the truth. Though I doubt that I would have been eliminated from this lifetime, my life has certainly been easily impeachable. The other equally perplexing dilemma is that I knew that I would never know who was and who was not an intelligence operative or asset. To this day, I cannot know. None of us can. And there is also the matter of disinformation: the propaganda initiatives to discredit or even ruin people who get too close to the truth.
Yet, here I am, approximately fifty years after the event, working to complete the novel I began so long ago. I couch what I think in a novel because it posits ideas without being subject to the “fact-checking” that haunts writers who rehash and rehash the same-old same-old data. Many “facts” are debatable and solutions to the debates are moot, out of reach in reality.
I have two projects going, actually. The first is the novel JFK: Scorpio Rising. The second is the timeline of causation of the JFK assassination. My deepest concern is why Kennedy was murdered. As I delved deeper and deeper into the subject, I found that the answer is historical, not about the particular individual(s) who killed the President. Was Lee Oswald an assassin? He was associated with a CIA cell that trained in Central America to assassinate people. Did he go there and was he trained? The question is probably not answerable unless records of training surface. That probably won’t happen. If he was a trained assassin, and if he actually took the shot at General Walker, how could he miss his target at that close range? And why would he, as a government asset, try to kill him? Can you grasp the oxymoronic nature of the problem? A highly trained assassin who is said to have killed the president with a highly difficult shot using an inaccurate weapon misses a target at close range? I use as my rule of thumb the statement by the imaginary figure Sherlock Holmes: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Inexact as it is. I dissemble.
What really matters is how that assassination ever came to be. Old Joe Kennedy was a bootlegger, made his initial fortune collaborating with mobsters in that illegal activity during Prohibition. His sons did what sons often do. Rather than follow in their father’s footsteps, they took a contrarian path, John turning on the very wealthy oil magnates that his father ran with. He promised to eliminate the oil depletion allowance which at that time guaranteed 15% of the revenues they generated to remain tax free. That, folks, was a political windfall that few industries ever saw the likes of. The Suite 8F group was not happy. Bobby, the newly minted attorney general, had made himself famous by also being a contrarian, countering his father’s friends in organized crime, going after them with a passion. The result? Hatred. Add in the military and intelligence establishments whom JFK angered by his refusal to back their Cuban initiatives. Many more corners were rabid JFK haters, not the least of which was his own vice president; another, J. Edgar Hoover; any many more.
If you wonder how so many could have covered up the truth after the assassination, remember that complicity doesn’t have to be direct. Indirect worked just fine for most of these folks. Silence is not only golden, but an amazing way to enable. The historical answer to why JFK was murdered is that the milieu not only fostered it; the synergies made it a near inevitability because so many didn’t care one whit if it happened. They just wanted the man gone, out of their picture. Was it the Cuban refugees who had been double-crossed at the Bay of Pigs (as they understood events)? Who cared if it was? Was it the CIA? Not only didn’t they care if he was dead, the quieter the transition, the better – we had a government to maintain, after all. Was it the FBI? The Russians? Lone nut Oswald? Mac Wallace? After fifty years, the deafening silence about who did it is overwhelming. The number who care about the “who” question is shrinking as those who lived through the events die off.
Let us turn our energies to the historical question, the more important matter of historical context. My timeline now extends beyond 350 pages. If I receive enough inquiries, I’ll publish and sell it online as a work that will never be finished. I’ll continue to add to it until the day I die. The novel may or may not be finished this year. It is a massive work and I don’t have the number of hours that I need in order to provide the single-minded focus that is required to expedite it in the manner I’d like to. I am an amateur writer, not a paid professional and I don’t have an advance from a publisher to allow me to stop my other life activities and focus on the work, much as I would love to be able to do so.
Using 1962-63 as it’s pivot point, the story I tell extends in flashback as far back as the time period of World War II. It extends forward through the late 1940’s and 1950’s, weaving in a variety of historical figures and a couple of imaginary composites. The historical figures and events are all real. My composite characters are there only to tie everything together. Even my initial narrator is a real person, a long dead uncle of mine who was peripherally involved in many aspects of the story. And, of course as every writer does in one way or another – if only by perspective, I put myself in it without ever naming myself.
From time to time, I’ll post more chapters.