After following the movements of the disturbing figure of Mandrake Pizdamonavić, two more narrators are lost. To sort of tread water as we get our shit together we throw in two letters from JFK conspiracy theorists.
The First Man, So to Speak
Nothing is everything, but if something were it would be timing. I think those idiots brought this on themselves. All that bullshit about the limits of omniscient narration and then this premature disclosure of the movements of Mandrake Pizdamonavić. There was no need; worse, there was absolutely no use. Stupid move, really stupid. If I speak ill of the dead, so be it. Like Todd Fullmer, who I consider a much more admirable figure than the ‘others’, a truly brilliant and fearless journalist, I won’t flinch from the truth, however ugly it might be, however uncomfortable it might be for me or my readers. That said, I probably should say that of course I am not happy about the way things turned out. But the very fact that I wasn’t with them reflects on the nature of our collaboration, which was coming apart at the seams. As to what happened, I am as mystified as anyone else. The need to visit Germany to verify certain facts about Kramberger’s life there was not absolute, but not altogether absurd. Yet when I heard that their gondola fell a thousand feet into a gorge in the Tyrol, I had to ask myself why the hell they had broken the trip for a little skiing. That wasn’t like us at all. So again we have suspicious circumstances and no answers. When a gondola falls a thousand feet and two dead bodies are found and identified, there is little room for conspiracy. Case fucking closed. But were they directed to go there, for instance instructed to take the Gondola to the top to meet with a source who trusted no one and insisted on meeting in an odd, remote location? I’m terribly sorry about the way things went, I really am, but I have to proceed in the only way possible. After all, this is a novel about the assassination of Ivan Kramberger, not about the authors of a book about Ivan Kramberger. And for now that leaves me, and I am only who I am, or, better said, I am what I am, and I will say what I want to say. So now here’s a little of what I think. First and foremost Fullmer, who has been given short shrift. The blankets of his death bed have been short-sheeted. Easy to dismiss indeed! Just as it’s easy to dismiss the pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit, to back away far enough the picture looks good enough, to keep backing away til you fall off a cliff. I’ve read nothing of Fullmer’s that wasn’t dead accurate. So I’m going to go ahead and print one of his articles that was twice quashed, once by his editor, and then again by omniscient selective narrators. But before I do, I would like to address the greatest smear against him—in Chapter Seven, the accusation that he was Americo-centric, that there was something unusual about his idealization of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. First off, Fullmer was American and writing to an American audience. The Kennedy assassination is one of the great moments in American life. Take that assassination away suddenly and the entire nation would be in a gut sucking withdrawal that would make quitting cigarettes seem like tossing a candy bar wrapper in the shitcan. But even more important, more admirable, was the way Fullmer took that assassination as the sort of Platonic Ideal assassination, took it into the world as a model by which he and his readers could understand other assassinations. He gave people that assassination, people of all countries, all colors, all religions. Here’s a direct example of the importance of this method. The guy who was convicted of shooting Kramberger, Pijan Lovec, is called the Lee Harvey Oswald of Slovenia, and was thus labeled almost immediately, by the first Slovenes who voiced their doubts about the official version. If there were no Todd Fullmer to clarify how the pieces of any particular assassination fit into the Kennedy paradigm—or how they don’t!—it would be all that much easier to bamboozle the citizens of the world, the whole fucking world! I hope I’ve made my point, because I have something to add here. Some fucking idiots who will not be named, made the decision to contact some subFullmers in America to sort of replace him, to see if it might be helpful to understand how these Americans who don’t buy their government’s bullshit might explain assassinations. One idea was to see if we could get a couple of versions of the Kennedy assassination, so that our readers who don’t know much about it would at least see how it all fell out in the American imagination, so to speak. Sure, everybody knows Oswald was a patsy, but then what happened. Does anyone know? Well, we did make a couple of good contacts, a guy called Skip Obscure, probably a pseudonym, though a diligent search brought out the use of his name in an obscure—pun unavoidable—novel called The Sleep of Aborigines, now out of print. Interestingly, in that ‘novel’ he is portrayed just as we have come to know him. The other man is more suspect. His ‘name’ is Mack Beltch, probably not a pseudonym…okay, definitely not a pseudonym—I checked and he is beyond doubt exactly who he says he is. So we got these two fantastic sources, who know all about American assassinations—Skip himself has read over 40 books about the Kennedy assassination, and more reliably, been obsessed with it for 17 years—and they wrote brief synopses of the Kennedy assassination, gave us permission to use them in this book, and the decision was made by ‘us’ to shelve the essays! Can you believe it? So before I deliver the ‘controversial’ Fullmer piece, I’m going to provide the two essays from our sources.
Letter from Skip Obscure
Regarding Oswald, I’d tell the questioner that it’s extremely unlikely Oswald killed anyone that day. About a minute after the assassination, he was seen on the first floor of the book depository in the lunchroom. He was calm and composed and not out of breath as he would have been had he made a mad dash down from the 6th floor after supposedly killing JFK, wiping his weapon clean of fingerprints and then carefully hiding the weapon. The elevators were out of service at the time. Interestingly, Oswald’s alleged weapon, the Italian Manlicher-Carcano was sent to the FBI lab that Friday and no fingerprints were found. The weapon was then sent back to Dallas, where…voila…a palm print was located. Oswald was dead by this time and it can be safely assumed the print was taken from his corpse. The undertaker reported that government agents had visited the body and after they left, he found ink on Oswald’s hands that hadn’t been there before. Also of note, Dallas Police found another rifle on the 6th floor, a 7.65 German Mauser, which promptly disappeared, sort of like JFK’s brain disappearing from the National archives. Oswald was, at best, a marginal marksman; his weapon was deficient in that the scope was off center, and there was an Oak tree in his line of fire. As Stone’s movie so vividly points out, if it was Oswald up there by himself, he had a clear shot at JFK as the caravan came down Houston St. He could have got off three or four unobstructed shots. But he supposedly waited till the motorcade turned onto Elm Street and the Oak tree was in his way before firing. Obviously, the assassins waited till JFK was on Elm Street because then they had him in the focus of a triangulation of gunfire, the fatal shot being fired from the grassy knoll in front of the president. Some 50 witnesses said the shots came from the grassy knoll. Also some 59 witnesses said the limo came to a halt or a near halt after the shooting began. This is evidence that 1) the Secret Service was in on the conspiracy and 2)the famed Zapruder film was tampered with, because nowhere on that film do you see the limo stop or come to a near stop. Obviously scenes were edited out by the CIA that would have revealed the conspiracy…….so basically, the forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony exonerates Oswald. Interestingly, the Warren commission never established a motive. The general government impression handed down to the people is that Oswald was a lone nut who killed JFK for the glory of it, to make a name for himself. Of course, if that was the case, one must ask why he continued to deny his involvement portraying himself as a patsy. Regarding a synopsis on the JFK assassination, you’re on target when you say that finding out the “who” on JFK’s death “will amount to the same thing as finding out who is behind the war on Iraq.” JFK became a threat to the IGUS– Imperial Government of the United States (Vietnam, détente with the Soviets, rapprochement with Castro, closing military bases) so he had to go. His assassination was an object lesson for future presidents, the message being–DON’T CROSS THE IGUS OR WE’LL ARRANGE A MOTORCADE FOR YOU.
Letter from Mack Beltch
The alternative to the question is complex; re: Kennedy himself it is posited that he underwent some sort of profound political revelation in part as a result of the traumatic experiences of both the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion of Castroite Cuba in April 1961 and then which came from that the adventurous attempt by Soviet premier Khrushchev to place nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba in the summer and fall of 1962. That crisis ended with the Soviet agreement to withdraw the missiles in conjunction with the concurrent assurance by the Kennedy administration that no more direct assaults like the Bay of Pigs would be countenanced by the American government. President Kennedy then proceeded to authorize negotiations to end testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and consequently a treaty with the Soviet Union was signed and ratified. Kennedy also turned his attention to a worsening situation in the republic of Vietnam (south Vietnam) in which an obviously corrupt government increasingly appeared unable to prevent an insurgency supported by the communist government of north Vietnam, or the democratic republic of Vietnam. Various close aides to the president have stated that he announced to them his intention to withdraw most US troop support from the south by sometime in 1965, i. e. during the first year of his second term. Kennedy expected to be re-elected in 1964 but he wished to avoid a right-wing confrontation, a “who lost Vietnam?” issue, so he would retain troops (there were about 16,000 by Nov 1963) but he did initiate a planned withdrawal of 1,000 by the end of 1963 as a gesture of intention. (This was not done after his death.) Kennedy it seems anticipated what would be named “detente” in the Nixon administration to come but in the early 1960s this sort of thinking was extremely controversial and challenged the dedication of the so-called (by President Eisenhower) “military-industrial complex” to destroy world-wide communist power and influence while making a considerable amount of money doing it. There was indeed dissent within the Kennedy government among not only the military but notably within the espionage-state police apparati, i. e. the Central intelligence agency and the Federal bureau of investigation, the latter led by the staunch and powerful cold warrior J. Edgar Hoover. Kennedy was also very young to be president — in his mid-forties and only Theodore Roosevelt had been younger and TR became president at 42 because President McKinley was assassinated. This meant that JFK was viewed suspiciously, perhaps enviously and probably dismissively as someone without the necessary gravitas or even as what the 70-year-old Eisenhower once deemed him “that smart-ass kid.” Moreover some in the still-paranoiac “carry-over” environment of the Joe McCarthy 1950s actually seemed to see Kennedy, increasingly more liberal on the issue of Negro civil rights, an advocate of old-age medical insurance paid by the government and interested in some kind of federal anti-poverty program, as somewhat “radical,” certainly as more and more a political danger to the cold war establishment. Since his rising political and personal popularity by late ’63 made his re-election the next year likely it is thought that some sort of numerically small but high-level and authoritative conspiracy to eliminate him via assassination was concocted by summer-early fall ’63 and brought to fruition in Dallas, Texas on Nov 22, 1963. On the “micro” level following the 1964 release of the federal government’s “Warren report on the assassination” a number of amateur and particularly the “sub-official” investigations of New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison brought forward many individual “witnesses” who contended that the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was not the “lone gunman” or even a gunman, that he may well have been in the employ of those espionage-police forces as a “covert agent” designated to be a “patsy” or “fall guy” while the actual killers were probably professionals with covert US military connections; and the entire assassination scenario at the “ground level” would have been run by a combination of military-CIA with some necessary cooperation (probably without “full” awareness of what or even who was the “object”) from local law enforcement and even from organized crime. Of course the most shocking occurrence — aside from the murder of the president in broad daylight on a city street — was the killing of Oswald himself literally before live television cameras by a Dallas “night club” owner later discovered to have had close associations with organized crime as well as with corrupt police. This happened only two days after Kennedy’s death and so strong suspicions arose that Oswald was “silenced” before he “talked,” i. e. before he revealed his own secret associations. Oswald is an odd figure; a boy from a nondescript lower-class background who grew up with a single mother but joined the marine corps and was stationed in Japan in the vicinity of a U-2 spy plane base. Also LHO studied Russian though he was supposedly a radio operator and not in “naval intelligence” (the corps being technically an adjunct to the navy); he even received a “hardship” discharge from the marines (his mother was said to be ill) and shortly after he traveled to the Soviet Union, actually defected, remained in that country for some months, marrying a Soviet police colonel’s daughter and yet was able to change his mind and return to the United States with his Russian wife! All this during a period of increasing cold war tensions. Oswald’s reputed “acquaintances” with some notorious figures with CIA-FBI credentials and his “fronting” as a pro-Castro self-styled “marxist” especially in New Orleans (along with Miami a major “center” of covert anti-Castro activities coordinated and sanctioned by the US government) where he came post-mortem to the attention of the district attorney (see above) all further combine to call into question the Warren commission’s official portrait of him as an alienated outsider looking for a Wilkes Boothian kind of permanence in history. And beyond the “mystery” of just who was “Lee Harvey Oswald” there are many many dissenting (from the Warren version) eye-witnesses to the shooting of Kennedy who have sworn that “shots” (in particular the final “kill shot” to JFK’s head) came from other directions — that last one from behind a fence adjacent to a railroad yard on a grass-covered rise just off the street and in front of the presidential motorcade. Some of the witnesses have been officially “discredited” as bizarre publicity seekers or as mentally ill perhaps but interviewed on film and tape many in fact come across as sincere and rather convincing despite that some do have “questionable” backgrounds in the netherworld of border-line crime and vice. However most are really “ordinary” citizens extraordinarily convinced of what they saw and heard. There is so much minutiae dealing with the witness accounts that it requires books to recount them but it may suffice to observe that even the general little-read public has become skeptical about that official Warren thesis but then there are unfortunately perhaps so many “alternative histories” that it’s difficult to “know” exactly what is credible although one can recommend the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK as a very good “primer,” even compilation of the most important and credible “alternative” aspects though Stone does take some liberties for the usual Hollywoody “dramatic purposes.” To “believe” in the Oswald as “lone nut” theory now seems naive; whether all the suppositions about Oswald that dissenters propose are “true” might be naive too in a way but clearly the strangeness of Oswald’s brief but packed adult life (he died at 24 years) deserves attention. He is not so easily categorized. That Kennedy had strong doubts about the cold war during the last year of his life also has acquired more and more historical credence and along with that the possible motivations within the power structure to get rid of him and replace him with a president more pliable. No one can know what would have actually happened if JFK had lived but many are convinced that the course of the Vietnam war under the Johnson administration was not what a man as ambitious and intelligent as Kennedy would have wanted as his presidential legacy. If one believes in Kennedy’s “change of heart/direction” and as well that the witnesses are telling at least the truth as they experienced and that Oswald is not so blithely dismissed, that his life is far too odd to wave away its contradictions, then “who killed Kennedy” and why have to remain significant historical questions that need far more attention from the “historical establishment” if you will. That a Kennedy assassination conspired by those “at the highest levels” was arranged could also illuminate much of the subsequent history of the late 20th century and the beginning of the 21st explains perhaps why the subject is still so “verboten” at those “mainstream” levels?…