Jesse Ventura has arguably been the chief message bearer in the JFK assassination case for almost a decade now.
There, I've said it. Whether or not the "JFK community" cares to admit it, Jesse has been the go-to guy for the average Joe. He's not a researcher, per se, but he is a reader and a student and someone who has a great passion for finding out the truth. As a matter of fact, the reason I accepted this assignment is because I have a deep admiration for the man. And I'm not shy about admitting it. Will that affect my objectivity? No way. If the book sucks, I'll tell you all about it. No man is an island. Well, except for Cuba Gooding, Jr. Cuba is an island.
|Gov. Jesse Ventura in Dealey Plaza, Nov. 22, 2003|
|Photo Copyright © by John Kelin|
Jesse's enormous and lasting celebrity has afforded him the type of platform that very few people ever realize in their lifetime. It is because of Ventura that literally tens of millions of people who were new to the case ended up knowing just a little bit more regarding the true facts of Kennedy's murder; information they would not have received otherwise. And with this latest effort, They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons To Believe There Was A Conspiracy To Assassinate JFK, his legions of followers will go away knowing almost as much as the most ardent "expert".
First, a word about the title. This is the second book Ventura has penned which has the number 63 in it. If one recalls, Ventura did a book in 2012 called 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want you to Read. It's fairly obvious that Jesse is singlehandedly trying to keep 1963 in our subconscious minds. And he is doing a good job of that. We can also add, this list of 63 reasons serves as a nice counterpoint to Vince Bugliosi's 53 items of evidence showing Oswald was guilty in his Reclaiming History.
The JFK case is staggering in its breadth. Up until now, most books have specialized in one or another particular aspect of the case and zeroed in with a macro lens. There is the physical evidence, ballistics evidence, acoustical evidence, medical evidence, film evidence, photographic evidence, witness testimony, and the events in Dealey Plaza itself. There is Oswald, Ruby, Dulles, LeMay, LBJ, Ferrie, Banister, Hoover, the FBI, the Dallas Police, the Warren Commission, the Russians, the Mafia, the anti-Castro Cubans, and the CIA. One would need an entire library of books and much free time on their hands to be able to traverse the spectrum adequately. With this book, Jesse has succeeded in providing a comprehensive list of the more intriguing and important aspects of the case, each with sufficient detail to educate and enlighten ... all contained within the covers of one single book. The reader is then free to investigate each point in further detail if they choose.
The book was co-written with Dick Russell and David Wayne. And although I felt I could sense which passages were probably not handled entirely by Ventura himself, this is a forgivable blip in the overall picture. Because as a whole, the book works. To say the least, the book is not delivered in a stuffy, clinical, or dry manner. It's not an exercise in self-aggrandizement, nor is it a manual designed purely for scholars, academics, or PhD's to analyze and comment on in scientific journals or obscure blogs. Instead, it's pure Jesse Ventura; a primer for the everyman.
The book is written in the same manner in which Jesse speaks. You get the impression that he is right there beside you telling you about it himself. "Come on!" "Are you kidding me?" "Get this!" "Bullshit!": these are pure, in-your-face Jesse-isms. And you know what? It's high time the message was delivered with a little bit of elbow grease. We're all sick to death of the deception, we're tired of the lies, we're on to the elephant in the room, and we all react with the same incredulity and outrage when presented with another phony book, documentary, or example of censorship in this case. So why shouldn't Jesse be allowed to express his disgust the way he sees fit?
The book draws on a wealth of material culled from many notable books, articles, and files written on the topic. To wit, it contains footnotes from some of the finest researchers – such as James Douglass, David Talbot, Walt Brown, Robert Groden, Jim Marrs, John Armstrong, Jim DiEugenio, Peter Dale Scott, Harold Weisberg, Mark Lane, and others. One thing that quickly caught my attention was the inclusion, not just of footnotes, but the addresses of relevant videos found on Youtube. Those of us who have been following the case for some time are well aware of the plethora of good videos available on the internet; and being that we are living in the internet age, Jesse decided to capitalize on those resources to help illustrate a particular point. Good call.
Do I agree with all of his points? No. I would have preferred he did not include the ridiculous theory of the three tramps as championed by Jim Fetzer and Wim Dankbaar. Ugh! We've been over this before. I like both of these men and respect their efforts; but Lois Gibson can put on all the slide presentations she wants, but that will never turn the three tramps into Holt, Rogers, and Harrelson. Ever. They are simply not the same people. The slide presentation in question is so biased and self-serving that it appears Gibson was hired to provide a pre-ordained conclusion. Pardon me, I mean allegedly hired.
On November 22, 1963, Chauncey Holt would have been 40 years old and was sporting a prominent pile of very dark hair. Ditto with E. Howard Hunt – yet another candidate for being the old tramp – who would have been 45 years old in 1963. Both werehttp://kennedysandking.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_modules&view=modules&layout=modal&tmpl=component&editor=text&12b2b33c79752d6e2db5a2e53f40da76=1 tight-skinned and physically fit. The old tramp in the photos is very clearly and significantly older than that. And Charles Rogers looks nothing whatsoever like either of the tramps! Not unless he was a shape-shifting reptilian from Jesse's TV show. Only Harrelson comes remotely close to resembling one of the tramps – but again, he would have been a mere 25 years old at the time the photos were taken. The tramps in the photos are clearly Harold Doyle, Gus Abrams, and John Gedney. It frustrates me that people would continue to place suspicion on these men. It is pointless. It is futile. Might Holt, Rogers, and Harrelson have been involved in the plot in some way? Sure, it's possible. But they're not the men in the photos.
About the only thing more frustrating than Lois Gibson's slide presentation is a Michael Shermer slide presentation. And I've had the misfortune of reviewing a couple of those, too.
The only other obvious point I think Jesse might have missed was during his analysis of the presidential limousine in Chapter 30. He left out the part about how a Secret Service agent was seen sponging down the limousine as it sat waiting at Parkland. Oh, and the phone call Dr. Crenshaw received from LBJ while tending to a mortally wounded Oswald. All minor things when considering the big picture, however. Each of these 63 points is almost deserving of a book of its own, and there simply isn't the time or the space to include everything in a single book. But all in all, Jesse deserves full credit for addressing an enormous amount of issues here. Everything from the Umbrella Man to the missing brain (a "no brainer" says Jesse.)
That said, this book may well represent the high point of Jesse's legacy. It is astounding to think of the dozens and dozens of occasions Jesse has appeared on TV or radio interviews, only to be snickered at, mocked, derided, patronized, interrupted, hurried, been called "insane," "mad," "lunatic," or given the rolled eyes treatment. Yet time after time, year after year, Jesse puts himself out there just so he can get his (our) message across. Can you name one other person who has had to endure so much personal insults and abuse for so long by the scared-of-their-own-shadows media hair-dos? I sure can't.
We can all be thankful of the fact that he felt compelled to commit his power and influence toward noble causes, rather than sell his soul to the highest bidder, like so many others have. We all know who they are. In fact, Jesse was kind enough to name three of them in his dedication page! Three out of many. I wish he would have named the rest. People need to know their names. Courage, integrity, honesty: Jesse was instilled with these virtues at a very early age. And unlike those pitiful cretins, hunchbacks, vermin, and frauds who sold their souls, he believes those virtues are worth holding on to. That makes his message worth listening to, and his books worth reading.
I heartily recommend this book. None of us will ever know the answers to all of the questions buzzing around in this case. But after reading this book, readers will know that Garrison's investigation was destroyed by the CIA, the autopsy photos were forged, eye witnesses had their testimonies changed or were ignored outright, other witnesses were murdered, Hoover lied, LBJ profited, the CIA controls the media, the military was hell-bent on war, the Secret Service was negligent, the evidence was tampered with, the Mafia worked with the CIA, the big oil connection ... and Oswald was framed.
Thank-you, Mr. Ventura. Now, maybe I won't have to spend three hours with every person I meet trying to get them to see the truth. I can just tell them to buy your book. Before, I would have had to refer them to about fifteen books. But now, I need only refer them to one. Much cheaper. After all, its a bad economy.