Occupy Dealey Plaza – and a response

June 28, 2012

Occupy Dealey Plaza

By Jim DiEugenio (CTKA)


The Sixth Floor’s ostensible excuse for taking out a week long permit over the entire expanse of Dealey Plaza for the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder is that it wants to turn the occasion into a celebration of Kennedy’s life and not his death. The problem is that, to my knowledge at least, The Sixth Floor has not done this before. That is, if you go into their building and look through their exhibits, you will see very little about Kennedy’s life or his achievements as a president. What you will see a lot of is exhibits, testimony, and interviews about Kennedy’s death. Except all these artifacts are there to tell you one thing: the Warren Commission was right, Oswald killed Kennedy. There was no conspiracy to kill JFK, just like there was no collusion between the Dallas Police and Jack Ruby in the murder of Oswald two days later. And Ruby and Oswald did not know each other.

Therefore, from this observation, it would seem that The Sixth Floor is dissembling in its excuse for the weeklong permit. What they are really worried about is that too many other groups and people will use this occasion to tell the many visitors there that The Sixth Floor is wrong. Kennedy was killed by a crossfire in Dealey Plaza. And at the same time, point out that The Sixth Floor, which brings in a lot of money to pay a large operating staff, is engaged in a deception. And the worst part of this deception is that it propagates this deception not just to those who pay the money to take their tour, but also through the presence of Gary Mack (real name Larry Dunkel), who has become a regular presence on any special attempting to prop up the Warren Commission on cable television.

Jim Schultze, and only he, has done an estimable job of reporting on this strange phenomenon in the pages of The Dallas Observer. In a series that goes back at least as far as October of 2011, he has exposed all the shenanigans that Gary Mack and The Sixth Floor have indulged themselves in to deprive citizens of their first amendment rights of free speech, freedom to peacefully assemble, and freedom to petition for governmental redress of grievances.

And make no mistake; fundamentally, this is what The Sixth Floor is up to. And somehow they have gotten City Hall to go along with their scheme to deprive the local citizenry of their basic constitutional liberties as enumerated in the Bill of Rights. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, those who give up liberty to purchase a little security deserve neither. What is remarkable about this whole scenario is that Jim Schultze is the only reporter in Dallas who is keeping a close eye on this deprivation of the rights of the Dallas citizenry. To my knowledge, no other publication in the city has written anything of any length or value on this heist in broad daylight. And that is really a hard one to swallow. When a private enterprise like The Sixth Floor colludes with City Hall to take away fundamental freedoms, that is newsworthy. Thomas Jefferson always worried about the ability of a free press to check the excesses of government. He once wrote that if it were “ left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” But as with the Kennedy assassination, what if both the newspapers and the government fail in their responsibilities? Then it falls to the people themselves to correct that imbalance. And the early critics of the Warren Commission filled that breach.

But in this case, the collusion by the government and The Sixth Floor is trying to cut off even that venue of protest. When this occurs the only thing left for the public is to protest. For instance, to create sites like this to inform of an injustice. To then write the people perpetrating this abridgment of freedoms. And to write local newspapers to start to expose this collusion. If necessary to help finance a lawsuit. If all these fail, then the last option is civil disobedience. That is, to occupy Dealey Plaza and do what we would have done if we were not deprived of our rights: educate the public as to the truth. Let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully, it will not come to that: the films and images of mass arrests, people being handcuffed and carted into a paddy wagon and then booked and jailed. All because of Gary Mack and the Sixth Floor. But if that happens, then at least the public will know that some citizens will not take this lying back in their recliners. Some of us know what happened in Dealey Plaza. Some of us know that a major reason this country is such a mess today extends back to that crime. Some of us know that the official story, as promulgated by The Sixth Floor is a pernicious illusion meant to cover up a heinous crime that altered the history of this country for the worse.

If that is not worth being arrested for, then what is?

James DiEugenio first became interested in history while at film school. Later he studied Contemporary American History from California State University, Northridge.

His first book, Destiny Betrayed (1992) took a close look at the Jim Garrison investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His expanded and revised edition of Destiny Betrayed will be published this November.  In 1993, he became a co-founder of Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination.

DiEugenio and Lisa Pease co-edited CTKA’s journal, Probe Magazine (1993-2000). DiEugenio is also the co-editor of The Assassinations (2002), a book that covers the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X.

Responses to Occupy Dealey Plaza

John Judge, Director Coalition on Political Assassinations

  1. It was the denial of a simple permit from the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department to the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) for use of the Grassy Knoll area of Dealey Plaza on November 22, 2013, and the continuing improper arrests of JFK researcher Robert Groden for selling books and videotapes at the site that are critical of the Warren Commission’s fictional account of the assassination of President Kennedy there in 1963, that led to a series of articles by Dallas Observer author Jim Schutze. While Schutz has been the most prolific writer on the issue, the denial of our permit was covered last November in the Dallas Morning News.

    COPA has been applying for and has been granted these permits every year for nearly two decades without a problem to hold an annual Moment of Silence and to speak the truth about the assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X among others. The Moment of Silence continues a tradition begun in 1964 at the location begun and maintained by early critic Penn Jones, Jr. The permits have never been exclusive of other events, permitted or not, at the site which is both a public park and a designated historical location.

    COPA, anticipating the large crowds that will gather on the 50th anniversary of the murder in 2013 had applied unsuccessfully for the last three years for a permit, only to be told that none could be legally issued more than a year in advance. Yet, this year we were told that we could not get a permit since one had been granted in advance for the whole week to the Sixth Floor Museum instead and that two permits could not be issued for the same date. The permit issued, which is public information, specifies no times or activities for November 22. The director of the Museum, Nicola Langford, was quoted in the Dallas Morning News saying that she had been “proactive” in securing the exclusive permit on behalf of the Dallas Mayor’s office, which wants to hold “solemn” and “dignified” events on the occasion of the 50th anniversary that will “celebrate the life and legacy of President Kennedy”. Langford also stated that they want to prevent events that have “a carnival atmosphere” and “conspiracy theory”. Asked if she had plans to hold an event in Dealey Plaza, she said that nothing was yet planned but they might consider “a moment of silence”.
    (see more next post)

    This is the crux of the matter, since it amounts to content based denial of free speech rights for others. Their “moment of silence” will be a week of silencing others, and what is described as “proactive” becomes “pre-emptive”. The active denial of the evidence of a conspiracy in the assassination of President Kennedy at the Sixth Floor Museum over these years also means that their control of the message on that critical date will amount to a “perpetual silence” into the future about the truth.

    There is no doubt that the City of Dallas and the Sixth Floor Museum also anticipate not only a large crowd but national and international press present at the Grassy Knoll at 12:30 pm on November 22, 2013 and they want to show Dallas in a certain light to overcome the shame of the events of 1963 and the condemnation it brought upon the Dallas police, press and authorities in the aftermath that saw a suspect killed in police custody on national television, a botched police investigation, and a failure of the press to honestly investigate the crime. They seem instead to want to return to that last positive moment in the fateful motorcade route along Elm Street, in the seconds before the first shot rings out and the last shot kills the president, when the wife of the Governor, Nellie Connally, turns in her seat in limousine in front of Kennedy to say, “Well, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you President Kennedy”.

    Our focus has not been to blame Dallas in the assassination, at least not to the exclusion of much larger forces and institutions, but Dallas wants now to be remembered in some other way. The problem is that we cannot forget JFK’s death to celebrate his life since they are closely intertwined. And the reality is that there would be no crowd, no press and no interest in any annual commemoration in Dealey Plaza had it not been the site of an assassination, a crime that rocked the nation and changed history. Had Kennedy died there of natural causes, a plaque and some flowers might adorn the site at most.

    But especially on the 50th anniversary, five decades of denial having taken its toll, and the murder yet unsolved for most Americans and those responsible still at large, we cannot and must not then or ever forget. It is an amnesia that will be fatal to any hope for a return to democracy. This is the most pernicious lie and distortion of justice in the long history of Jefferson’s experiment with the truth. The hope that was killed in Dallas that day will never return until we can face that murder and what it meant to our country.

    We do not seek a confrontation and we do not deserve arrest. We plan to exercise our Constitutional right to peaceable assembly, free speech and expression, and petition for redress and justice there in 2013 as we will on November 22 this year and have over the years since the crime took place. This is a public park. This is an historical site. The Grassy Knoll and Dealey Plaza do not belong to Dallas, to the Mayor’s office, to the Sixth Floor, or even to the Parks & Recreation Department. They belong to history and to the American people because we lost our elected President and all the hope he represented for our future there.

    We plan to speak truth to power there as we always have. We plan to ask the questions that sadly still need to be asked in what is left of our democracy in America. We hold these rights to be unalienable. They are not rights given by government or permits as a favor. We the people give a permit to a democratic government to facilitate our common rights in a public place on behalf of simple courtesy and public safety, but nothing more. If Dallas plans to “celebrate the life and legacy of President Kennedy” by preventing those who still care enough about his life to continue to question his death from being a visible presence at the place it happened on the 50th anniversary, they will only increase their shame and further darken their reputation to the world that will be watching that day. We hope more rational forces and more democratic instincts will prevail. That would be the way to celebrate John F. Kennedy.

    We will in any case be present and hold our event. History will continue to be written and we shall see what truths prevail and what indignities and crimes will be consigned to its dust.

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