. . . And tarnished Earl Warren

David Belin

March 23, 1992|By David Belin

FORMER Chief Justice Earl Warren, one of the great Americans of this century, is being honored by the issuance of a new postage stamp.

At one time he was best known for his leadership in breaking down the barriers of discrimination through the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education.

But today's young Americans know him best as he is portrayed in the Warner Brothers film "J.F.K.": as a liar, an incompetent and as someone who participated in a cover-up of the truth about the assassination of President Kennedy.

What far right-wing extremists tried to persuade a majority of Americans to believe in the 1960s with their "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards, Hollywood has been able to achieve in the 1990s in its impeachment of the integrity of a great chief justice.

Warren is not the only victim. The Kennedy assassination is called a "coup d'etat," a "public execution" by elements of the CIA and the Department of Defense, while President Johnson is called an accessory after the fact -- in other words, a murderer.

When the film not only alleges conspiracy but names the guilty parties, it goes beyond just artistic license and entertainment. It crosses the threshold of slander and character assassination -- a 1990s version of McCarthyism.

As if telling these lies were not enough, Warner Brothers has now gone one step further and has helped fund the mailing of 13,000 copies of a "J.F.K. Study Guide" to high school social studies and college history departments.

The text supposedly has been "approved" by Warner Brothers and is accompanied by a film poster and a two-page exercise sheet. All of this is in the context of a film that professes to speak the truth.

"Dedicated to the young, in whose spirit the search for the truth marches on," declares the film at the end. "The truth is the most important value we have," proclaims Kevin Costner as he portrays New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.

In fact, to incorporate "J.F.K." in any school curriculum misrepresents the truth the same way that "J.F.K." producer and screenplay co-author Oliver Stone misrepresents the most important facts in speaking and writing about the assassination.

In a recent letter to New York magazine, Stone used the 1979 report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations as a primary "consensus" authority for his attacks on the Warren Commission.

But he covered up the fact that the panel's ultimate conclusion was that "Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy." Two shots hit and one shot missed. That's what the Warren Commission found.

"J.F.K." claims the shot that killed Kennedy was fired from the front.

The House committee's report directly contradicts this, concluding that "President Kennedy was struck by two, and only two, bullets, each of which entered from the rear."

Like the Warren Commission, the House panel also concurred and concluded that a single bullet passed through both President Kennedy and Governor John Connally. Will these findings be in the "J.F.K." study guide?

What about the murder of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit -- the Rosetta Stone to understanding the assassination of Kennedy?

"J.F.K." asserts Oswald was a "patsy" and did not do it. But like the Warren Commission, the House report concluded that "Oswald shot and killed Officer Tippit."

DTC The committee further concluded that "this crime, committed while fleeing the scene of the assassination, was consistent with the finding that Oswald assassinated the president."

The fundamental differences between the committee's report and the Warren Commission's findings stem primarily from purported acoustical evidence.

The majority of the House committee claimed that this evidence indicated the presence of a second gunman who missed everything.

But this evidence was subsequently disproved by the May 14, 1982, report of the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics of the National Research Council, which found no scientific validity for it and also found the point on the acoustical tape occurred more than one minute after the assassination.

Perhaps the ultimate irony in "J.F.K." is the proclamation of Costner: "Hitler said the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it."

Warner Bros., Stone and Costner are proving that to be true, making millions of dollars along the way. Furthermore, they want to spread the misinformation of "J.F.K." into the public schools, in effect brainwashing students through the power of a commercial film and rewriting history the Hollywood way.

And for this the film has received eight Academy Award nominations.

For Hollywood to give an Academy Award to this massive misrepresentation of truth and character assassination of Warren would be vivid evidence of the depths to which Hollywood's standards of integrity, truth and justice have fallen.

David Belin, former counsel to the Warren Commission, in 1975 filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act for all commission and CIA documents related to the Kennedy assassination.

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