Friday, March 16, 2018

The Status of JFK Assassination Records on Sunshine Week 2018

The Status of JFK Assassination Records on Sunshine Week 2018

Stacks of government records

Founded by newspaper editors and publishers in March 2005 Sunshine Week is a week in March that is annually dedicated to promoting an open and transparent government, something that was considered imperative by the Founding Fathers, as Thomas Jefferson once said that if given the choice of having “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

John F. Kennedy himself said: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it….Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.”

So it is quite ironic that this Sunshine Week 2018 began on Monday with the agencies of government informing the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) what documents and records on the assassination of President Kennedy that they want President Trump to continue withholding from the public, over riding the law of the land – the JFK Act of 1992, that was unanimously passed by Congress and required all of the government records on the assassination be released in full to the public by October 2017.

That never happened, and Congress has failed to exercise its oversight responsibility by holding hearings and finding out why.

Now does Congress ever do anything unanimously? 

Well they passed that law that was reluctantly signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush, with his stipulation that only the President can retain the power to release or withhold records. Although the agencies of government had 25 years to meet the October 2017 sunset deadline imposed by the JFK Act, they failed to act on it. President Trump tweeted and repeatedly bragged that he was to release all of the records, but then, at the very last minute, Chief of Staff, former General John Kelly, USMCR, convinced the president to continue withholding many thousands of records for another six months, until the agencies could review them. 

Then new deadlines were set for agencies to report to the AOTUS exactly what specific documents they want to continually withhold by March 12 – the first Monday of Sunshine Week 2018.

So here we are, the agencies got their reprieve and have submitted their requests for continued postponement to the AOTUS, and there aren’t a few, as a spokesman for the Archives said that: “NARA is working in the next couple weeks to process what the agencies are forwarding to us so that the Archivist can send his recommendation to the White House by March 26th as outlined in the President's memorandum. We have no additional information at this time.”

Which I tend to translate as meaning that they got so many requests it will take a team of a dozen or more archivist to review them so AOTU David Ferriero can make a clear determination as to what should be kept secret and make his recommendation to the president by March 24, as required in the Presidential directive.

Then President Trump will have a month – until April 24, 2018, to decide if he will live up to his promise and release all of the records, or cow tow to the agencies of government, and continue to withhold JFK assassination records that are deemed a threat to our national security.

As Presidential party pal Roger Stone has called for full disclosure, and the sister of his closest advisor Jared Kushner is married to former Warren Commission attorney Murray J. Laulicht, there should be some discussions on the matter within the inner circle, with the forces of truth and the law accounting for the release of all of the records without redactions, or those who know the full truth but want to continue concealing it from the citizens, because our national security is at stake.

As Judge Tunheim said at one time the truth may have threatened our national security, but not today, over a half century since the assassination took place and twenty-five years after Congress ordered the release of all of the files by this time.

Sure some people will be embarrassed by the revelations of the secrets, some agencies may be threatened, certainly some departments of government will be dissolved and some minor administrators could be censored and chastised, but as former New Orleans District Attorney and judge Jim Garrison put it: “Is a government worth preserving when it lies to the people? It's become a dangerous country when you cannot trust anyone. When you cannot tell the truth. I say ‘let justice be done, though the heavens fall’!"

“Fiat justitia et pereat mundus,” or "Let justice be done, though the world perish" was the motto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (1558-1564), and while those responsible for the murder of President Kennedy are dead and have escaped justice, the government will not dissolve, the heavens will not fall and the world will not perish when the full truth about the assassination is known.

For the full Jefferson quote. Writing from Paris to Edward Carrington, a delegate to the Continental Congress, Jefferson wrote:

“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it 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 I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”

Quote carved on statute outside the National Archives

For More on this see:

1 comment:

Jim Glover said...

It well probably be a fight for the FBI to release my report to the Tampa FBI office 500 Zack St. On Monday Aug 26th 1991. I was interviewed by Sandra White Deputy Assistant for Agent McWright. I was told beforehand that She was a Judge for Presidential Affairs since they knew I was talking about knowing George Bush since i was a kid who wanted me to spy on my Dad who was a lieutenant for Gus Hall, CPUSA and I witnessed Bush on the extra shadow Tour bus I was forced onto the late afternoon of the assassination where the secret pickup was at a the Houston air strip at the airport. Hoover also got on the Bus and they were sitting together. Was I given real names of the FBI folks? I noticed as Sandra White was turning white that she had not written one word of my story on her legal pad. The secretary said my written report from my friend Joni Stivers who's dad was AID/CIA was very credible and she made copies of my stuff. Since President George H W Bush and I are are still alive, I read they are supposed to take out our names and addresses... but I still doubt it will be released.