(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)
On Thursday, the National Archives released what they say are the last documents in their possession related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This was trumpeted as the final fulfillment of the president’s order to come clean. Except, as we all have come to know over several decades, that doesn’t mean we know everything or that we have all the information the U.S. government has about the assassination. From the Guardian:
All of the remaining JFK files were originally supposed to have been released in October 2021. Biden postponed that planned release, citing delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and announced they would be instead disclosed in two batches: one on 15 December 2021, and another by 15 December 2022, after undergoing an intensive one-year review. With Thursday’s release, 95% of the documents in the CIA’s JFK assassination records collection will have been released in their entirety, a CIA spokesperson said in a statement, and no documents will remain redacted or withheld in full after an “intensive one-year review” of all previously unreleased information.
And from NBC News,
“We’re 59 years after President John Kennedy was killed and there’s just no justification for this,” said Judge John H. Tunheim, who from 1994-98 chaired the Assassination Records Review Board that was established Under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which Biden voted for when it passed Congress unanimously.
This latest review will presumably encompass the 515 documents that were fully withheld from release and the nearly 2,500 documents that were partially withheld. The fine hand of the CIA is still at work. From the Washington Post:
Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post staff writer and the vice president of the Mary Ferrell Foundation — which sued the Biden administration in October over the delay of the release — said his group was particularly interested in looking at a batch of “30 to 40 significant documents with redactions” that had been released previously, and comparing them to what would be released Thursday afternoon. Morley said he was not encouraged by Thursday’s release and felt the CIA was not acting in “good faith” to release all available information. Morley cited a 15-page document from 1961 — two years before the assassination — from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Kennedy titled “Memo to President CIA Reorganization.” As of Thursday, it remained partially redacted. “What the CIA has hidden,” Morley said, is whether the CIA had “operational interest in Oswald” at the time of the assassination.
I’m with the judge. There is no conceivable reason for the CIA to withhold any documents or to redact much of anything, for that matter. Anyone whose career might suffer from the revelations is likely long dead. And if there is proof that Oswald was the subject of the agency’s “operational interest,” what difference does it make? A majority of the American people have consistently rejected the Warren Commission’s findings almost since they were released, and we’ve all made peace with that belief and gone on with our lives. Seeing it on paper isn’t going to matter anymore.
Checking in at TPM to see what’s new in the motherlode of malfeasance that is the Meadows Texts. We find that Meadows was being yakked at from that section of the peanut gallery where sit former members of the previous administration*’s cabinet, of whom there were many, given that the former president* had a predilection for firing people who somehow displeased him.
One set of text messages from former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is a particularly vivid example of Trump-era backstabbing and maneuvering[…]Zinke has been described as “one of the most ethically dubious members” of the Trump Cabinet due to the more than a dozen federal investigations that were sparked by his conduct. He resigned in 2019 amid the barrage of negative headlines. Texts Zinke exchanged with Meadows seem to capture him in the midst of attempting to get back into the fold. The former secretary began his power-play pitch to Meadows on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. The message includes an apparent misspelling of the word “portrait” and Zinke’s last initial as a signature.
Zinke determined that the way back into the administration*’s favor was to unleash his inner Achilles. On November 3, 2020, he texted Meadows:
On the eve of victory. Keep the faith. In Vegas for the celebration. Portato unveiling on 10 December at Interior. Potus is going to need some warriors around him in his second term. The fight for freedom never ends. Z
For those of you following along at home, “portato” apparently is Zinke-speak for “portrait.” To which Meadows replies:
Thanks friend. Let’s make it great again.
Jesus, what a passel of consignment store Machiavellis they were. Even the ones who quit under a cloud kept maneuvering to get back in.
While Zinke never did get another shot at a cabinet post in Camp Runamuck, don’t worry about him. In November, he was elected to the House from Montana because many parts of this country have lost their collective minds.
Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “You’re Trouble” (Lulu and the Broadsides): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.
Weekly Visit to the Pathé Archives: Here, from 1962 in Paris, is the first day of the trial of the Algerian insurrectionists. (Mostly it’s shots of people in round hats coming and going.) The charges came about when defenders of French colonialism in Algeria took to the streets of Algiers to resist the government of Charles de Gaulle, which was attempting to extricate itself from that country, a move the officers in the street considered a betrayal. Pierre Lagaillarde was one of their leaders. Eventually, he escaped custody and fled to Spain, where he helped organize the OAS, a paramilitary force that made an attempt on De Gaulle’s life that was the inspiration for The Day of the Jackal and is referenced by Donald Sutherland’s “X” in JFK. History is so cool.
Discovery Corner: What cool stuff did we unearth or otherwise discover this week? Let’s go to an ancient city in Iraq once called Nimrud, which was unfortunate. From the Jerusalem Post:
An archaeological dig in Nimrud, Iraq revealed an enormous palace door that belonged to the Assyrian King Adad-Nirari III during his rule from 810-783 BCE, The Art Newspaper reported on Wednesday. The discovery was made by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, led by archaeologist Michael Danti, who found that the door measured about 6.5 feet (nearly 2 meters), according to ARTnews.
Recent excavations in the area began in mid-October and, according to ARTnews, the project constitutes the largest archaeological excavation carried out in the area since it was destroyed in 2016 by ISIS. However, the area has a long history of archeological research which began in the mid-19th century with British archeologist Austen Henry Layard.
It is indeed a great-looking door, and King Adad-Nirari III probably loved going through it to work every day, planning the campaigns to shore up the Assyrian empire. But the find has a very strange provenance.
Art Newspaper quoted Danti as saying that the door was possibly uncovered by Layard already and may have been later relocated to the British Museum and then reburied in Iraq.
The archaeologist explained that he recognized the site in Layard’s travelogues when he read them as a student. Because areas of Nimrud were destroyed by ISIS, the researchers had to navigate multiple layers of destroyed buildings and debris in order to make successful excavations.
They may have reburied the door? There’s a story here I think.
Hey, LiveScience, is it a good day for dinosaur news? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!
“Some of the early dinosaurs [such as theropods] that were classified as carnivores in our study have teeth which are similar to those of monitor lizards, being pointy, curved and finely serrated,” he said. “In contrast, iguanas have spear-shaped teeth with coarse denticles that resemble those of the early dinosaurs classified as herbivores [like the ornithischians and sauropodomorphs.]” In effect, the ancestors of plant-eating dinosaurs didn’t restrict themselves to the salad bar. Rather, they were likely chowing down on meat and insects, just like the predators that preyed on them.
The researchers found that many of the earliest dinosaurs adopted “different dietary habits” that were a “very important factor that allows groups of organisms to diversify,” he said “This study is the first one to demonstrate with modern statistical methods that early dinosaurs explored different kinds of diets and were ecologically diverse,” he said. “Our research supports that two of the three main dinosaur lineages, which adapted to a diet of plants, did not start off as herbivores. The sauropodomorphs, early relatives of Diplodocus and other long-necked giants, transitioned from carnivory to herbivory during the Triassic period.
Or they were worried about their cholesterol. Because they knew they were living then to make us happy now.
I’ll be back on Monday to celebrate Criminal Referral Day with the rest of y’all. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and wear the damn masks, take the damn shots, especially the boosters—especially the newest boosters—and if you have a moment, spare a thought for the people of Ukraine.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children.
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