Royal Oak’s Oakland Community College was center stage November 8 for a dramatic reading of the one-act play on the JFK assassination, “Noah’s Ark.” Penned by writer Ginny Cunningham, who also attended the event, this treatise of James Douglass’ novel “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” debuts in Dallas on November 21.
Actor Martin Sheen leads the Dallas contingency as it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the November 22, 1963 shooting of President John F. Kennedy.
The OCC production featured a cast of nine faculty members and students in the roles of Kennedy, Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev and various military, police and government officials. The characters bemoaned the fall of American economics after Castro’s rise to power, while additionally railing at Kennedy’s interference with U.S. industry and government/CIA operations.
Following the reading, author Douglass and Cunningham joined narrator and OCC instructor Ronald Burda to field audience questions and reveal more info concerning the conspiracy to have Kennedy killed.
Douglass also provided a lecture prior to the reading and signed copies of his book. During the lecture, he detailed more of the material on which his book was based, and fleshed out the latest aspect of OCC’s JFK Speaker Series, The End of Camelot: A 50-Year Perspective.
Douglass' predecessor to the assassination study was renowned forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, who spoke at the campus in late October. Wecht further illuminated "conspiracy realism" while countering Congress’ Warren Commission’s findings through his own debunking of the Single Magic Bullet Theory and discussing other factual evidence. That bullet’s journey was also enacted by Wecht, followed by an explanation on how such devastating damage from a single shot was not possible. He utilized Burda and OCC Department Head Michael Vollbach for that enactment during a post-lecture panel discussion.
Douglass’ book was researched through documents currently kept in a College Park, Maryland archive. He says it provides clear evidence as well as access to key witnesses and other sources with never-before-known data. He also claims that of the pivotal people surrounding the assassination, 18 died, often under mysterious circumstances, within three years of that November 22.
“I’m in awe of how much information is available on whodunnit and the system of complicity,” said Douglass, who attended every day of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. trial. He compares the often eerie parallels between the two killings.
“It takes time and paying attention to what’s out there, but clear evidence came from meeting minutes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Oval Office recordings, even the transcripts in the killing of MLK and so much more.”
Armed with that info, Douglass comfortably bases his conspiracy realism on the planned murder of Kennedy. He says that Kennedy was marked early for death by his evolving peace agenda and burgeoning effectiveness with Khrushchev and Cuban President Fidel Castro.
“Kennedy and Castro were carrying on secret talks and traded information through a mutual association with a French freelance reporter, Jean Daniel,” Douglass said. “JFK actually also agreed with need for the Cuban Revolution and Castro’s overthrow of the American-supported military dictator Fulgencio Batista.”
Douglass, a former professor of theology, taught at the University of Notre Dame and other colleges, as well as served as a former adviser to the Vatican.
In the weeks and months prior to his death, says Douglass, Kennedy was moving the U.S. from a strategy of global war to a journey of peace. Not only was he exchanging secret communications with Castro and Khrushchev, he was also meeting with others, including American Quakers, for further direction on how to proceed with an agenda of peace. Those Quaker meetings produced the recommendations to send food to China and cease nuclear testing, he adds.
That, says Douglass, did not go down well with assorted U.S. government agencies, who then plotted against any proposed JFK agenda by planning his demise. Within records available to the public, he says proof exists that the Secret Service, Army intelligence and that of other armed forces, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other groups worked in cooperation to do in JFK — and even utilized the Mafia in that process.
Jack Ruby (Rubenstein), the killer of accused JFK shooter Lee Harvey Oswald, was identified as a lower-echelon mobster who widely had connections to local police, the FBI and the CIA.
“This assassination was not a rogue effort in any way, and even entailed having assorted officials in unexpected attendance at events, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff present at the autopsy of Kennedy,” he said. “There were 21 secret letters exchanged between Kennedy and Khrushchev, and the results of that meant that certain resentful powers-that-be planned for one leader to be killed (Kennedy) and one overthrown (Khrushchev).”
The Russian premier actually was a personal admirer of Kennedy, says Douglass, and not merely a mad character that banged his shoe on a United Nations desk. Although Khrushchev came from a peasant background, that commonality gave him credibility -- including his stringent criticism of the 33-year Russian leader and hero, Joseph Stalin.
Kennedy additionally identified strongly with the suffering of the Russian people, says Douglass. When Khrushchev was given a peace medal by Pope John XXIII, it further endeared him to Kennedy, America’s first Catholic president.
“The entire plan to kill JFK was extraordinarily sophisticated — and it was a plan with built-in contingencies, backups with backups and more backups,” Douglass said, “In fact, three weeks before the assassination in Dallas, Kennedy barely escaped an identical attempt in Chicago, where it had the exact same elements of the killing that occurred in Dallas.”
Ironically, Ruby is originally from Chicago.
JFK was not naive, however, says Douglass. He's convinced that Kennedy was aware that his advancing plan for peace was not popular within the American power hierarchy.
Douglass points to a favorite Kennedy poem by Alan Seeger, “I Have a Rendezvous With Death,” which was also memorized by then five-year-old Caroline Kennedy days before the assassination. It was, says Douglass, an eerie harbinger of what came to be.
“I think he knew on some level, deeply and profoundly, that he wasn’t going to get very far with (his plans for peace), and that he was in danger,” he said. “But, he was OK with that.”
In addressing why today’s media does not more aggressively help to peel away the JFK conspiracy, Douglass is equally perplexed by our blase social mores.
“We are the most heavily propagandized country out there,” he said. “We heavily finger point at the public and media, and we ask why does the media join the chorus of retelling the perpetual myths (instead of pursue more factual info). But, what we need to really ask is, ‘why do we listen to that media in the first place?’”
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