Oliver Stone on 50th Anniversary of JFK Assassination & the Untold History of the United States
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Three-time Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter Oliver Stone joins us for the hour to discuss the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, which was chronicled in his blockbuster film, "JFK." A Vietnam War veteran, Stone has made around two dozen acclaimed Hollywood films, including "Platoon," "Salvador," "Born on the Fourth of July," "Nixon," "South of the Border" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." A commemorative edition of "JFK" comes out next week. Most recently, Stone has co-written the 10-part Showtime series, "Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States," and companion book with the same name, co-written by Peter Kuznick, professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University.
AMY GOODMAN: This month marks the 50th anniversary of an assassination that continues to haunt the nation. On November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was hardly past his first thousand days in office when he was fatally shot as his motorcade passed through Dallas, Texas. His death is marked by still unanswered questions. ... When Kennedy was killed, the official narrative was immediately questioned. Nearly five decades later, a new poll has found a clear majority of Americans still suspect there was a conspiracy behind the assassination. However, according to the Associated Press JFK poll, the percentage of those who believe accused shooter Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is at its highest level since the mid-’60s. The survey, conducted in mid-April, said 59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy to kill the president, while 24 percent think Oswald acted alone, 16 percent are still unsure. A 2003 Gallup poll found 75 percent of Americans felt there was a conspiracy.
We’re joined for the hour by three-time Academy Award-winning director, producer, screenwriter, Oliver Stone. A Vietnam War veteran, he’s made around two dozen acclaimed Hollywood films, including Platoon, Wall Street, Salvador, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon, W., South of the Border and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. A commemorative edition of JFK comes out on Blu-ray next week as the 50th anniversary of his assassination approaches on November 22nd. Most recently, Stone has co-written a multi-part Showtime series called Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, which is also available on Blu-ray and includes a companion book with the same name.
We’re also joined by Peter Kuznick, a professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, co-author of The Untold History of the United States.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Oliver Stone, let’s begin with you. As we move into this 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, your thoughts?
OLIVER STONE: My thoughts. I saw the film inside these last few days, and I’ve been able to assess it again, and I’ve followed the cases more or less from the outside. I haven’t been inside. It’s amazing to me that people still deny it. As you know, I was in the infantry in Vietnam. I had a fair amount of combat experience. I saw people blown away in action. When you look once again at the basics of the film—the bullets, the autopsy, the forensics, the shooting path—and stay away from all the other stuff—Oswald’s background and Garrison, etc.—just follow the meat, the evidence, what you see with your own eyes in those six seconds, it’s an amazing—it’s all there. It doesn’t need to be elaborated upon. You can see it with your own eyes.
You see Kennedy make his—get a hit in the throat. Then you see Kennedy get a hit in the back. Then you see him essentially get a hit from the front. When he gets the hit from the front, which is the fourth or the fifth or the sixth shot, he goes back and to the left. That’s the basic evidence. You see a man fly back because he gets hit right here. Many witnesses at Parkland and at the autopsy in Bethesda saw a massive exit wound to the rear of his skull, to the right side. The people at Parkland, including the young doctor, McClelland, saw his cerebellum, his brain, go out the—almost falling out of the back of his skull. Later, when he gets taken—illegally to Bethesda, Maryland, the military—