The Nuking of JFK


In the dark and conspiratorial Irish hideout known as Kells, beer and JFK are on the table. "It's about the 'why' of the Kennedy assasination," Jim Douglass is saying, pulling out a copy of his book. The leprechaun next to him, friend and Pike Market social worker Joe Martin, is gripping his pint, anxious to chime in. "The CIA plotted to kill him," Joe says. Douglass, who in 1977 co-founded the anti-nuke and White Train protest group Ground Zero in Kitsap County and now lives in Alabama, gives Martin a look.

"Joe used to supply me with conspiracy plots between innings at Mariners games," Douglass, author and theologian of Christian nonviolence, says with a grin. "But the JFK story goes beyond that. His opposition to the missiles in Cuba, support for the test ban treaty - Jack Kennedy was a man isolated in his own government, trying to prevent wars that the CIA and the Joint Chiefs wanted. He was executed for his turn from nuclear war to a vision of peace."

Martin nodded. "Like I said."

What America doesn't need, it seems, is another book on JFK, this one called "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." But polls indicate a strong belief by Americans that the JFK story, 45 years later, is still untold, and the Pentagon Papers' Daniel Ellsberg asks: Did "suspicion and rage lead directly to his murder by agents of these institutions, as Douglass concludes? Many readers who are not yet convinced of this 'beyond reasonable doubt' ...will find themselves, perhaps -- like myself -- for the first time, compelled to call for an authoritative criminal investigation."

"There are more documents available now and we know more about the shooting than we did a decade ago," said Douglass, who stopped off briefly on his way to a reading at Elliott Bay Books on this day, the 40th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's assassination. "There's nothing as threatening to systemic evil as those willing to stand against it." Like Joe said.

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