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#513#514#515#516 Episode #517 - JFK and The Unspeakable
(Khrushchev, Cuba, World Peace and Martyrdom of JFK/MLK)



This is a choice episode Sat 18 September 2010  James Douglass, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bill Hicks
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week's show is dedicated to James Douglass. His talk centers on the assassination of JFK, and it retells the Kennedy presidency with some of the backstage manipulations from down memory hole. He sets the scene by recounting Thomas Merton's prediction that, if Kennedy could turn towards the good, he would be assassinated by "the unspeakable". We look at Kennedy's close collaboration with his supposed adversary, Khrushchev to avert war, and explore a parallel with WW1. We listen to a section of Kennedy's most important speech, in which he finally stepped over the line by unilaterally announcing a US nuclear test ban treaty, and chronicle how he worked for world peace, until he we assassinated by the US security state. We conclude by looking at the implications for the 21st century, exploring a parallel with Martin Luther King and hear an afterword by Bill Hicks.
This week has a single main presentation, by James Douglass, author of JFK and The Unspeakable. He describes how during the course of his presidency, JFK turned from a pliable young man who could be manipulated by the US security apparatus into a peace campaigner so forthright that even the prospect of his own death did not diminish his resolve. Douglass starts by introducing the Catholic theologian and peace activist, Thomas Merton, reading a letter in which Merton doubted whether Kennedy had it in him to face what he called the "unspeakable evil" at the heart of the US establishment, but opined that if he did, he would be marked out for assassination.

We supplement Douglass' talk in our first hour by including what he describes as definitely the most important of JFK's speeches, the American University address in which he announces a unilateral ban on US atmospheric nuclear tests, just 6 months before he was murdered. Douglass describes the importance of JFK's personal relationship with Khrushchev in diffusing the Cuban missile crisis, and notes that both leaders defied great pressure from their military establishments not to back down.

In the second hour, we hear a short section describing how on in WW1, describing how front line troops spontaneously put down their weapons and declared a truce, realising how much they had in common with each other. We then return to Douglass' speech, detailing JFK's tireless work to make peace with USSR, in spite of the awareness that by challenging the primacy of the military industrial complex, he was running a great risk to his own life. He details arrangements made by the CIA to assassinate Kennedy in Chicago, and explains why Dallas was chosen instead as the final venue.

Following the speech are questions about the events of 1963 and about their importance nowadays. The show concludes that, in the language of Charles Eisenstein, it was Kennedy's public rejection of the discrete and separate self, his altruistic efforts for peace, that marked him out as an enemy of "the unspeakable". We reflect on the implications for the 21st century, before concluding with the last speech of another thorn in the side of the US war machine, Martin Luther King, with an afterword by Bill Hicks.
Music: Mates of State
Thanks to PirateTV of Seattle for the James Douglass speech.
Some of this episode's content is repeated in episode 674.
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