Highlights of Oliver Stone's and James DiEugenio's Commentary Track on "JFK Revisited"
Updated: Sep 7
I must be a glutton for punishment. I actually bought the Blu-Ray discs of JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass so I could listen to Stone's and DiEugenio's commentary track.
As expected, there are many incredibly ridiculous moments in which they go overboard in their conspiracy madness. There is all sorts of nonsense that they both subscribe to -- nonsense that did not make the cut in JFK Revisited.
Here are the highlights (lowlights?):
The Sixth Floor as 'theater'
Oliver Stone: The Sixth Floor seems to me to be a staging ground for your theater. This is your, this is your stage, the props are put here.
James DiEugenio: Yes.
Oliver Stone: The bullets, the rifle, but no one's up there.
James DiEugenio: See, it wasn't secured until a half hour later. That's what people don't understand, you know. So anything could have happened up there.
So, to Stone and DiEugenio, nothing about the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository is real. To them, it's just a stage full of props.
It did not take a half-hour to seal the Depository. Police officer David Harkness told author Larry Sneed that "I went to the front of the building and told Inspector Sawyer that the shots definitely came from the building. So, it was probably within five minutes that the building was sealed." (Page 205 of Sneed's No More Silence. Harkness testified before the Warren Commission that they started sealing off the building at 12:36 PM.
2. Dorothy Garner was not misled by hallucinations
Oliver Stone: She's an older, she's a supervisor ...
James DiEugenio: Yes.
Oliver Stone: She's not going to be misled by hallucinations or anything like that. So, no one's on the sixth floor, is my opinion.
James DiEugenio: Well, sure as hell Oswald wasn't.
During the discussion of the women on the fourth floor of the TSBD, Stone brings up hallucinations. So, despite the witnesses who saw someone firing from the sixth floor, and the fact that a rifle and bullet cartridges were found there, Stone believes that no one was on the sixth floor.
3. Jim Garrison knew he had a weak case.
Oliver Stone: That trial, by the way, was the Jim Garrison trial. The notorious trial, where of course, they ridiculed me for, we put it into the centerpiece of our film, because it was the only public trial we ever had …
James DiEugenio: Right.
Oliver Stone: … of the Kennedy killing, which becomes a framework of the film. Garrison knew he had a weak case. And we made that point in the film – pretty clear the dialogue, but he brought the charges because it was, he thought was better in the long run, to have it on the record. And in that trial, among other things, was not only the autopsy information that came out, but also the, first showing of the Zapruder film, which is big, it was very important because it was above …
James DiEugenio: Those are two very important pieces of evidence that Garrison managed to get out during the trial of Clay Shaw. Very, very crucial.
So, the two things of value in the Clay Shaw trial had nothing to do with Clay Shaw. Remember, Oliver Stone told Esquire that the trial was "worth the sacrifice of one man."
4. Oliver Stone wonders who is in the coffin.
Oliver Stone: Amazing shots. I wish there had been more coverage of the sixth floor, because people would understand that it was a setup, and here's Johnson going back to Washington, very famous, very famous scene and the famous coffin coming off the plane, which of course was questioned by David Lifton and people like that. Now who's in the coffin is a very good question.
Oliver Stone: We're not going to go there in this documentary because it's not necessary. There's enough evidence without going into that coffin.
James DiEugenio: Right. I agree.
Who is in the coffin? Oliver Stone is not sure?
5. DiEugenio gets the Burkley story wrong, again.
James DiEugenio: Now, George Burkley, who they were talking about now, was the only doctor who was at both Parkland and Bethesda. All right. And he did certain interviews in which he laid suspicion on whether or not Oswald was a sole assassin, and right there, you can see, others besides Oswald … notice how he says must have participated. He didn't say may have participated, but must have participated. But Burkley was never sat for a deposition by the HSCA. He was never sat for an interview by the Warren Commission.
Please check our six-part series on Dr. Burkley. He did suspect that there might have been a conspiracy, but not because of the medical evidence. And Burkley did comment what he saw at Parkland and Bethesda.
6. Oliver Stone believes that witnesses died mysteriously.
Oliver Stone: Burkley is like Malcolm Perry but he's even more scared. You have to understand the human factor, your fear, always fear, so many of the witnesses died. So many people were mysteriously killed in the aftermath of that murder. And, it's obvious that something was going wrong. Cooperation with the authorities had a price.
Someone needs to ask Oliver Stone to spell this out - who was "mysteriously killed in the aftermath of the murder"?
Earlier in the transcript, Stone does mention David Ferrie and Eladio del Valle as two people who died under mysterious circumstances. Of course, David Ferrie had a full forensic autopsy and died from a berry aneurysm. Eladio del Valle was murdered, but he had nothing to do with the JFK assassination.
7. Was Oswald trying to protect President Kennedy?
Oliver Stone: I'm firmly convinced that Oswald knew something was gonna go down against Kennedy. And he was thinking that I'm protecting the president. I'm helping to protect him. This is what I'm worried -- I'm working with people who were supposed to be protecting the president. Yet, in the in the months that ensue, which are closing in now, at the end of 63, he starts to realize that they're not … they're not being straight with him, that there are people who want to hurt Kennedy.
So, that's what Oswald was thinking. Where did Oliver Stone get this nugget from?
8. Complete fiction from DiEugenio on Oswald and Banister.
James DiEugenio: And he puts 544 Camp Street on the flyers. We know for a fact today, that’s in Oliver’s film … But we know for a fact today that Banister was very upset when he found this out.
Oliver Stone: Because it seemed …
James DiEugenio: That he was putting those addresses on his flyer.
Oswald did not stamp the flyers with 544 Camp Street. They were either stamped with his home address or his P. O. Box. He only used 544 Camp Street on a few Corliss Lamont pamphlets.
In addition, there is absolutely no evidence that Banister was upset about anything - after all, his office was NOT at 544 Camp Street, but at a separate entrance at 531 Lafayette. This is just taken from the film JFK:
JFK (1991): Guy Banister intercepts him on the sidewalk, holding a leaflet and pointing to "544 Camp Street" stamped on it. Guy seems miffed at Oswald, tells him something quickly, and then moves on. Banister: "See this? What the hell is this doing on this piece of paper? ... (he moves away) Asshole.”
9. DiEugenio believes Edwin Black Uncovered the Chicago 'plot'
James DiEugenio: This part of the film has gotten a lot of attention, you know, because I think it's because the public just doesn't know anything about these two plots. That happened within three weeks before Kennedy was killed.
James DiEugenio: And I thought Paul [Bleau] did a very nice job on this.
Oliver Stone: Yes. He also has an idiosyncratic personality on film.
Oliver Stone: He's from Canada, Quebec.
James DiEugenio: The guy who uncovered much of this is a journalist named Edwin Black, who wrote a very long article, I think, in 1975, during the Church Committee, and that was the first exposure of, full-length exposure of the Chicago plot, although it had been written about in bits and pieces prior, but Black put it all together in a 25-page report which you can read online.
Oliver Stone: Ha. See, again, it’s amazing. Anonymous. Citizens reporters. They do their homework.
James DiEugenio: Hmm mmm.
Oliver Stone: It's not like- we're asleep, all of us are asleep.
There is no evidence that there was a plot in Chicago to kill JFK in November 1963. Edwin Black's source was former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden. There is no corroborating evidence for a plot, and as I have indicated in this post, Bolden has told several different versions of this story. DiEugenio is wrong when he says "it had been written about in bits and pieces prior."
10. DiEugenio doesn't know his own sources
JFK Revisited makes the claim that the CIA assisted the OAS in trying to topple de Gaulle in 1961. However, he is not only wrong about the claim, but his own sources do not back him up:
James DiEugenio: Now on this part of the film, Tim Weiner, writing for, the former New York Times reporter, now Rolling Stone reporter, tried to attack us by saying that this really was not accurate information. We replied to this, there's so many sources, both abroad, okay, Le Monde and L’Express in France, and in the United States, The Nation, the Washington Post, and the most amazing one, is Scotty Reston in the New York Times, where he used to work. They all said that the CIA was encouraging the French coup against de Gaulle. So, I think we're right on this and I think Tim Wiener is wrong. All right. I don't know why he said that.
Oliver Stone: Well, he said it was Russian disinformation.
James DiEugenio: Now, let me say one other thing about this whole Tim Weiner episode. Tim never called me. He never called me, to ask me, Jim, what are your sources for this information so he could cross-check them. He just went ahead, and he printed something in the Rolling Stone that was, I think, utterly wrong.
Oliver Stone: They’re lazy. That's always the case. They don't follow. None of the real, the mainstream press, dealt with any of the facts in this film. It's very bizarre.
Here is a link to my blog post. I went to all of DiEugenio's sources, and they do not back up his claim.
11. DiEugenio believes that General Lemnitzer and Allen Dulles crafted a plan for a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union.
James DiEugenio: So, between Northwoods and the conference between Lemnitzer and Dulles about atomic weapons, okay. And the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy essentially steered the country away from three
Oliver Stone: Yeah.
James DiEugenio: … disastrous …
Oliver Stone: Yes.
James DiEugenio: you know, situations.
Oliver Stone: Cuba.
James DiEugenio: Yeah, well to dealing with Cuba. Yeah.
Oliver Stone: What third one are you talking about?
James DiEugenio: The Lemnitzer – Dulles conference to attack the Soviet Union in the fall of 1963.
Oliver Stone: Yeah, I don't think that was ever the place to where it was …
James DiEugenio: They were proposing to nuke the Soviet Union in the fall of 1963. You know Kennedy walks out, you know, and says, “we call ourselves the human race.”
Oliver Stone: I just don't know how official a proposal it was, you know, because it sounds so crazy.
Even Oliver Stone is skeptical about DiEugenio's claim. Here is the real story.
Washington, D.C., July 22, 2014 – On the morning of 20 July 1961, while the Berlin Crisis was simmering, President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Security Council heard a briefing on the consequences of nuclear war by the NSC's highly secret Net Evaluation Subcommittee. The report, published in excerpts today for the first time by the National Security Archive, depicted a Soviet surprise attack on the United States in the fall of 1963 that began with submarine-launched missile strikes against Strategic Air Command bases. An estimated 48 to 71 million Americans were "killed outright," while at its maximum casualty-producing radioactive fallout blanketed from 45 to 71 percent of the nation's residences. In the USSR and China, at the end of one month 67 and 76 million people, respectively, had been killed.
This was President Kennedy's first exposure to a NESC report, but the secret studies of nuclear war scenarios had been initiated by his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower. It may have been after this briefing, described by Secretary of State Dean Rusk as "an awesome experience," that a dismayed Kennedy turned to Rusk, and said: "And we call ourselves the human race."
The allegation that a US first strike was being planned comes from an article by James Galbraith. The above article notes: (emphasis added)
President Kennedy received his first NESC briefing during a well-attended NSC meeting at 10 a.m. on 20 July 1961, in the midst of the Berlin crisis. What has been declassified from the summary presents a dire picture of a post-attack United States and Soviet Union, and the excised portions may show an even more calamitous picture. It may have been after the presentation, described by Secretary of State Dean Rusk as "an awesome experience," that a dismayed John F. Kennedy turned to Rusk and said: "And we call ourselves the human race."
On the basis of a sketchy record of this NSC meeting, one researcher [James Galbraith] concluded that the 1961 report was an actual plan for a "preemptive strike" on the former Soviet Union. But this confuses the NESC's analytical purposes with the nuclear war planning which went on elsewhere in the federal government. The topic of the 1961 report was the usual Soviet surprise attack and U.S. retaliation, all taking place in the fall of 1963. The summary included a striking overview statement: "the scope and intensity of destruction and the shattering of the established political, military and economic structure resulting from such an exchange would be so vast as to practically defy accurate assessment." Estimated population losses were huge: in the USSR and China at the end of one month: 67 million and 76 million people respectively. The United States "suffered severe damage and destruction from the surprise Soviet attack … Tens of millions of Americans were killed outright; millions more died in subsequent weeks. The framework of the federal and of many state governments was shattered." Between 48 and 71 million were killed and casualties increased during the year that followed.
A detailed record of this meeting has not surfaced, but the previously mentioned summary includes President Kennedy's admonition that the meeting and its purpose were to be kept secret. Nevertheless, some word about the event leaked and an article by Fletcher Knebel-co-author of Seven Days in May published in 1962-mentioning the briefing appeared in Look Magazine on 21 November 1961. In a memorandum to President Kennedy, McGeorge Bundy rebutted the Knebel article point-by-point.
12. Oliver Stone continues his nuttiness on Ukraine.
Oliver Stone: This is a duplicity of our leaders. And, it's going on now in Ukraine. Duplicity. From our side, a lot of it. The question is, do we really care about Ukraine? No. Do we want to destroy Russia? Yes.
13. Oliver Stone and Roger Craig.
Stone and DiEugenio believe Oswald knew something was up, and he goes to his rooming house and then to a pre-arranged meeting at a theater. The Tippit shooting is left out of their scenario.
Stone also believes that Craig was murdered, when, in fact, he committed suicide.
Oliver Stone: So, you know, we don't know what Oswald was thinking, and we can't assume that we do. But certainly, in my movie of ‘91, I suggested that Oswald, at this point, that after the shooting, a minute after, knew that something was up.
James DiEugenio: Right.
Oliver Stone: And that, all of a sudden, he was, I'm sure he was aware that he would be possibly pinned on it.
James DiEugenio: Yes, I agree.
Oliver Stone: So, what does he do? He heads out calmly, to his …
James DiEugenio: He goes out the front door.
Oliver Stone: … to his boarding house.
James DiEugenio: He goes back to his boarding house. He gets his handgun. Okay. And he goes to a theater.
Oliver Stone: To have a pre-arranged meeting.
James DiEugenio: That's what it sounds like to me. Yeah.
Oliver Stone: Where he was betrayed. But some people say that he was seen getting into a Rambler outside the Depository.
James DiEugenio: Roger Craig said that.
Oliver Stone: Roger Craig said that. He was killed, unfortunately. Wonderful man, I think. But he was seen with a Cuban driving, or two Cubans driving.
James DiEugenio: A station wagon, yes.
14. James DiEugenio Misquotes John Stringer.
John Stringer was the autopsy photographer. As you can see from his testimony before the ARRB, his memory was very poor. He never said that he did not take the photographs of JFK's brain. DiEugenio is putting words in his mouth.
James DiEugenio: In my opinion, this is probably some of the most important evidence the ARRB produced. And I'm so glad we got Doug to talk about it in the film. John Stringer admitted under oath that he didn't take those pictures of the brain. All right. “I never used that kind of film. I never used that kind of a process. So no, I didn't take I didn't take those pictures.” All right. So, then that leads to the question. Well, who the hell did take the pictures? And why did there have to be another set of pictures?
15. Oliver Stone reveals the truth.
Oliver Stone: I’m proud to have my name there. You should be too. Hey, you know, we never ever get to bask in any glory with these folks. You know. Just so hard to make. But, man, I feel good about it. Feel good about it. Even if it didn't get any attention from mainstream.
James DiEugenio: You did a good job going around the mainstream.
Oliver Stone: A mouse crying out in the wilderness.
Oliver Stone's so-called documentary was ignored by the mainstream media, and that forced Stone to rely upon outlets like RT for coverage. He truly was a mouse.
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