5-Star Review of "Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza"
Deflating Oliver Stone’s Whoopi Cushion!
A review of Fred Litwin’s “Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza”
“Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza” is Fred Litwin’s detailed, 2022 rebuttal to Oliver Stone and James DiEugenio’s 2021 “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass.”
Litwin, an early advocate of the conspiracy hypothesis, watched and was impressed by Oliver Stone’s cinematic skills in his seminal, 1991 movie “JFK.” Then Fred read Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed” -- one of the early (1993), thorough analyses that convinced Fred that virtually all of the popular, speculative, conspiracy theories were fallacious – based on little or no compelling evidence. Although imperfect, and rushed to completion in 10 months, the Warren Commission got it right: Oswald alone fired 3 shots at JFK from the Texas School Book Depository; one missed, one struck JFK and John Connally (the “magic bullet”), and one tore through the right hemisphere of Kennedy’s skull.
In 2018, Fred wrote a book documenting his transformation: “I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak.” Litwin is a prodigious blogger. If you visit his website and read his commentaries and books, you will understand the depth of his research and profound knowledge of the JFK assassination. In 2020, Fred authored and published “On the Trail of Delusion: Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser.” His extensive, ongoing research has made Litwin an authority on Oswald’s activities – especially in New Orleans. “Oliver Stone’s Film-Flam” is his 4th book.
Fred Litwin is complex, highly intelligent, and eclectic -- a 67-year-old Canadian, openly gay, Jewish, and politically conservative. Mr. Litwin’s interesting biography can be found on the Internet.
If you study Litwin’s writings, you will understand the depth of his granular research into the JFK conspiracy theories. His detractors, including James DiEugenio, are dogmatic conspiracists and avoid debating the hundreds of specific issues he raises. They tend to prefer long-winded, vitriolic, ad hominem assaults. They refer to those who disagree with their conspiracy theories as “lone nutters.” Conspiracists, like Stone and DiEugenio, studiously ignore the massive body of direct and circumstantial evidence that Oswald was the lone assassin.
Subsequent research – not part of the Warren Commission investigation – developed overwhelming evidence that, shortly after Oswald assassinated JFK, he put a bullet in the head of Dallas Police officer, J. D. Tippit. Before his successful assassination of JFK in November of 1963, Oswald attempted to assassinate (right-wing) Major General Edwin Walker on April 10, 1963. Oswald was a malevolent, loose cannon – a lone wolf – a rogue wave.
So, what will readers learn from Fred Litwin’s “Oliver Stone’s Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza”? Here are a very few captioned examples from the book’s 46 chapters. Each chapter examines -- and then eviscerates -- a specific conspiratorial assertion in the Stone / DiEugenio mythology:
Stone and DiEugenio are filmmakers and promoters; they are not independent, unbiased researchers or historians. They created and marketed their films and books from the disparate and fanciful theories of other JFK conspiracists. They are part of the JFK conspiracy “cottage industry.”
Virtually all of their ersatz “evidence” of a conspiracy is either fabricated, ambiguous, misrepresented, uncorroborated, unverifiable, or provably false.
Many of the witnesses to JFK’s wounds in Dallas and Bethesda had vague or mistaken and changing memories. For example, Dr. Charles Crenshaw’s recollections are not credible.
The chain of possession and authenticity of the “magic bullet” (CE-399) are established beyond a reasonable doubt. The fantasy that the Secret Service and FBI participated in planting CE-399 into evidence is preposterous. David Mantik was wrong; Secret Service Agent Elmer Todd’s initials are on the nose of CE-399.
The fantastic claim that JFK’s brain was substituted to conceal a shot from the front is disproven, as is the assertion that the autopsy x-rays and photographs were altered.
The assertion that Oswald’s rifle was planted in the TSBD is absurd.
There was no hole in the windshield of JFK’s limousine. The stellate defect was on the inside, glass surface of the windshield, consistent with a fragment from the headshot from the rear, not the grassy knoll.
The backyard photo (admittedly taken by Marina Oswald) of Oswald holding the rifle he used to assassinate JFK is authentic and unaltered. Oswald claimed it was fake. He lied.
Admiral Burkley, JFK’s personal physician, was not involved in any coverup. Litwin dedicates his book to the late Admiral Burkley – defamed by Stone and DiEugenio.
The CIA did not force LBJ to put Allen Dulles on the Warren Commission.
The conclusions of the Warren Commission were not preordained by conspirators.
The HSCA found only 20 of 171 witnesses that thought a shot may have come from the grassy knoll. Only 4 of the 171 witnesses mentioned shots emanating from multiple locations. Dealey Plaza was an echo chamber.
The wound in the back of JFK’s skull was an entry wound, not an exit wound.
The famous “Harper fragment” was parietal, not occipital. It was found in the grass, well forward of JFK when he received the headshot – consistent with a shot from the Texas School Book Depository and impossible with a shot from the grassy knoll.
Jack Ruby’s personal motives for killing Oswald had nothing to do with a conspiracy to kill JFK and silence Oswald.
Oswald wasn’t a fake defector working for the CIA.
There is no credible evidence of a JFK assassination conspiracy in Chicago or Tampa before Dallas.
David Ferrie was not a pilot for the CIA.
Stone and DiEugenio show fake Oswald handbills purporting to connect Oswald to Guy Bannister’s office.
Clay Shaw was never an “agent” of the CIA. Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone, and James DiEugenio destroyed his reputation.
At the end of his book, in his Acknowledgements, Litwin mentions the contributions of Paul Hoch, Max Holland, W. Tracy Parnell, Gus Russo, Gerald Posner, David Von Pein, and many other fair-minded, and objective researchers. “Film-Flam” is massively documented. More than 20% of Litwin’s book is devoted to citations, endnotes, footnotes, and URLs that take the reader directly to the original documents and sources he references.
Litwin lays his documented, evidentiary cards on the table – face up. Stone and DiEugenio use theatrical smoke, forged documents, anecdotal stories, faulty memories, and publicity seekers to promote their historical, mythical fiction. Litwin analogizes their deceit as “transubstantiation" – attempting to convert fabricated myth into historical truth. How fitting that they would choose “Whoopi Goldberg” as one of their principal narrators. [“Whoopi Goldberg” is not her real name; she is a high school dropout who is most famous for making outrageous, uninformed comments on an afternoon TV program called “The View.” Whoopi claimed that the Holocaust had nothing to do with racism!]
Litwin quotes astronomer and author Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Indeed. Doctrinaire conspiracists have failed to provide any serious evidence supporting their extraordinary claims of conspiracy.
Here is another Sagan quote that conspiracists should heed: “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
I highly recommend Fred Litwin’s “Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza.”
It will become a classic and valuable resource for all serious JFK assassination researchers. Yes, it will be panned and vilified by the dogmatic, true-believer conspiracists. It threatens their cherished myth.
Over the past several months, I have shown in multiple blog posts how Oliver Stone's documentary series, JFK Revisited and JFK: Destiny Betrayed, misleads viewers. In fact, despite months of work, there are still many more misleading segments that need to be addressed. It's no wonder that the fact checkers of Netflix nixed the airing of the films.
There is a choice between four hours of tendentious nonsense (JFK: Destiny Betrayed) and two hours (JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass). As a handy guide for viewers, here are all those posts in order of their appearance in JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, preceded by some general critiques.
The Viewer's Guide has now been updated to include the sources from my new book, Oliver Stone's Film-Flam: The Demagogue of Dealey Plaza.