Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Celestine Insights, the 4400 and the Ascent

Tuesday the 20th of October 2009 was an in between day in which I progressed plans to attend a funeral, had no inclination to go out after staying up late sorting out arrangements in my mind and through the internet searches. Yesterday the 21st is proving an almost identical day and my impression, inaccurately is that it has rained, sometimes hard for most of the time until shortly ago, after 4pm on Thursday

Ideally I needed to be occupied without challenging thoughts but as often is my situation what I chose to do was the opposite. I switched on the TV to relax and found what appeared to be a stock Sci Fi channel film called the Celestine Prophecy. This proved to be a bad film with poor script, second level acting and third level sets and is organised filmmaking construction but the ideas on which the film is based exceptionally interesting and fitting in with many of my own thoughts over recent years although with significant variations

The Celestine Prophecy was published in 1993 in the United State and is an attempt to explain the purpose of human existence through the ideas of Eastern religious beliefs and sold 20 million copies world wide. The author James Reffield has since published two more volumes on the same subject and is working on a fourth.

I begin with challenging the idea that human life has a purpose other than to live and live as well as its possible for an individual given their inherited body and personality and such abilities and capacities as their nature and nurture provides in the era and particular society and social circumstances in which have been. I am therefore in conflict with fundamental aspects of many faith systems which have arisen because the founders did not understand matter, energy, time and space, the infinite nature of the universe and the capacities and abilities of human beings, let alone of other beings which are likely to inhabit an infinite universe. We can all speculate and imagine and construct from the existing knowledge base of our particular human time but the bottom line is that without having the capacity to communicate and see across the universe we can never know and unless there are infinite sentient beings no being can ever know.

The big idea of the Celestine Prophecy, or more accurately Celestine Insights, is similar to the 4400, in that within every human being there are powerful forces, energies which can be unlocked and which enable individuals to establish a harmony and a connection with the universe, time past and present and yielding an insight into the nature of a heaven and hell experience within the human self conscious awareness and but which can also be shared with others. Having promoted ideas about the infinity of space and time, and that we inherent individual memories of ancestral experience and that we are all directly connected with time past as we are to the accumulation of good and bad thoughts and deeds and to the pull of such forces in a dialectic metaphysical as well as material. (Marx‘s failure of not understanding the true nature of matter as static energy and the nature of metaphysical energy?) , I was immediately interested and encouraged to find a film which dealt with some of these matters, however bad the cinematic film! I have not read the books or plan to do so.

My understanding is that the book and film are about the discovery of ancient scrolls, going back 600 years before the time of Christ in the former civilization of Peru and then hidden by the Catholic Church as the middle ages ended because of the challenge what they said posed for the religion as it had then developed. The discovered Scrolls consist of eight translated insights which have to be experienced in sequence before an individual becomes sufficiently enlightened to grasp the next and so on. Other scrolls are thought/known to have existed.
The First insight is that a new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture: an awakening, a journey, in which we are led forward in mysterious coincidence. An Awakening brought about by a crucial mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding. We are asked to accept that it was no accident that the insight came to someone 600 years before the Christian religions from a small Jewish sect promoting the idea of not being phased by every day realities including the persecution, torment and execution by the state and using non violent acceptance to combat the forces of violence and injustice in society. The hiding of truth then occurs before the age of Enlightenment in Europe and North America. However these truths have to be experienced before they can be understood and this implies that they are not truths for everyone.

I have never been happy with the concept of mystery because of its emotional connotations and believe puzzle is a more legitimate expression. I am at ease with coincidence because I believe that all events have a history related to each particle of matter of beings, human, animal fish etc. Because each event has a history it becomes predictable through the collation of all the information relevant to it.

The second insight appears created only for the present world in that it argues that through the awakening process human being will learn to break away from their increasing dependence on secular survival and technological progress and by turning away from the secular path individuals can learn their truth purpose and the nature of he universe. Now I doubt if in 600 BC there was the concept technology or dependence on consumer materialism. I also challenge that the majority of human being are dependent, including those in economically developed countries.

For most of the experience of humanity the belief was in a physical world which was static from an overall flat earth with starts and heaven above and the fires of hell below and that one would fall off into space if one reached the edge of the known world.

For the third insight the author uses the awareness of energy to argue that individuals can interact and harness energy in a constructive way. He does not appear to also make the point that such energy can also be harnessed in a destructive and negative way. This fits in with the 4400 belief that within the brain there is the capacity to use energy to move objects, and therefore rationally it should be possible for individuals with the developed ability to collectively harness such force into greater to both concentrated and distributed power.

Not having read the book it is difficult to criticise aspects of the propositions which he may have covered but the basic premise of the film is that modern day Catholicism joins forces with the military power seeker in Peru to destroy the insights so their power to create a new age spiritual world will be lost if not for ever, for the foreseeable future. This clearly is rubbish because throughout the history of the human kind while it is true that the already enlightened, as well as the powerful, tend to suppress knowledge and change which threatens their position there are those who also appreciate that the advances can be used to reinforce and widen power with evil intent as well as for good, with atomic and hydrogen energy the most obvious example. The last thing any tyrant would do is to destroy something which could aid their power and at the end of World War 2 Russia and Comrade Stalin used German Nazi scientists to the same extent as did the USA and the UK.

The Fourth insight concerns the nature of human interaction based on the natural inclination of human beings to influence and control, to lead and to dominate others in order to develop out a sense of worth security but which also results in other becoming weaker and provoking retaliation which is the root of interactive conflict.

This brings me to one of the one off episode of the 4400 called Carrier in which a woman who has been dominated all her life, experiencing disappointment, frustration and failure is a 4400 returnee who suddenly finds that when under psychological and emotional attack her metabolism changes and her hands explode into a virulent venom which first kills all 270 odd citizens of her immediate community, then an unmarried lorry driver who attempts to make her into an instant born again Christian is found and then the biologically protected suited government agents sent to help her, demonstrating that her force when roused is more powerful than any existing defensive system known to humans. At first she attempts to kill herself and the order is given to incinerate her in the vehicle she travels when she refuses to respond to the request to be helped, and then when she somehow escapes from this fate and is located moving into the most populated area she can find, believing the intention of the 4400 is that she should beg Armageddon, Diana manages to shoot her in the heart as Tom tries to reason with her.

Regarding the fourth proposition while I have sympathy as with the previous I do not accept that human brings are by nature intent on dominating each other and our history continues to be full of collective and individual collaborative relationships which improves the lives of those participating as well as of those who do not.

The fifth is that is security and violence ends when we individually experience the inner connection with the divine energy within, a connections described by mystics of all traditions. A sense of lightness and buoyancy along with the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection. My only issue is with the understanding of divine.

The sixth argues that the more we become and stay connected the more we become acutely aware fo those times when we lose connection, and usually arises in condition of stress, and it is through the connection that we come to understand our individual path in life and spiritual mission and which is the way we contribute to the future of the world. The author then argues that human tend to seek to become interrogators, Intimidators, aloof and Poor me at times as means of taking energy from others. The author called this stage Clearing the past and learning how to avoid continuing to travel along paths which take us away from our individual missions. To some extent this is what my work installations has been about although it is entwined with the overall mission itself.

The seventh is that when we know our mission and keep on the pathway and there will be a flow of mysterious coincidences to guide to our destinies but this is not an easy progression and we will have to understand and follow dreams, day dreams and our intuition and these insights usually come synchronistically through the wisdom of other human beings. Mumbo Jumbo alas although there are aspects which have a relevance

I find the eighth whimsical in that the basic proposition is fine that we are helped in our individual mission by helping others in theirs but we have to watch out for the problems which arises from romantic relationships and we need to be especially kind and loving towards children.

The ninth where the film ends is fanciful in that as we evolve and progress in the spiritual mission the technology will automate what we need to survive this free us to evolve into a higher form of life transforming the body into a spiritual force and enabling a unity with after life dimensions and thus ending the cycle of birth and death.

It will be appreciated that writing this cycle into a mystery thriller is quiet a task and which one will have to read the book(s) to come to a judgement. The author acknowledges the influence of the work Games People Play by Dr Eric Bernie which I acquired in paperback soon after publication in 1964. (The work is also said to touch on Zen, Chi, New age spirituality and other mystic and philosophical thinking0.

The film story is in the form of an adventure in Peru although the artificiality of the locations with their absence of bird and insect life is astounding as well as the use of colour filter lens to depict heightened vision and sensation is laughable. However there is a brave attempt to translate the propositions into cinematic action moments but it is understandable that unlike the book, the film flopped and has been consigned to free film channels.

So far there is yet to be any connection between the one off mini stories of the 4400 and the development of the main story and its characters and the series appears to be becoming vehicles for raising moral and social questions of the day. In Rebirth Richard is invited to the funeral and wake of one of his group in the Korean War and he sees this as an opportunity to confront the former colleague who was the main racist responsible for his being framed and beaten up. The others appear apologetic to varying degrees having adapted to present day North America. When he confronts his adversary he finds an unrepentant old man dying. But Richard is nevertheless able to close the door on this aspect of his past. It remains unclear what his power and mission for returning is other than acting as the Joseph figure for the Virgin Lily, Virgin only in the sense that she has been impregnated by Richard while they were away without either knowing of any previous contact.

In Hidden the issue is the position of War criminals who can make an important contribution to the future of mankind. On of the returnees is a Rwandan doctor who works as nurse in a USA hospital and uses an ability to repair brain damaged babies before their birth. He agrees to be assessed by the 4400 watch unit as long as his anonymity is protected. However the Collier Foundation also get to know of the development and its new managing director/communication/publicity Director leaks the information and the man is identified as a war criminal in that he was aware this his clinic used a sanctuary and for those being murdered was about to be raised and he did nothing to prevent his patients from visiting or to protect them when the military led mob arrived. The publicity outs his background but the government then decides that his curative powers are more value than his extradition to be executed by the present government in Rwanda. It is something which all governments have done throughout time

There was also no further major revelations. Alana, Tom’s other dimension wife of eight years now carries on where the couple left off although I am not clear if she has moved in permanently or is keep her own home as well as art gallery. She is not listed in teh Wikipedia information which suggests she either objected to the Wikipedia articles or had her credit removed from the series. I shall have to check the official site if there is one.

The continuation of another dimension relationship takes Kyle, Tom son, some getting used to as he becomes more and more brooding when he begins to realise that he was the killer of Jordan Collier. He runs off and is hidden by his natural mother, Eventually Tom works out that Kyle was involved during a blackout and manipulated by the 4400, fortunately just before other members of the unit begin to follow leads which brings them to a station left luggage locker in which they find a weapon bought at the same time as the riffle and also containing a photo of Jordan C. Alana finds the key for the locker hidden in Kyle’s room and they are able to remove and hide the incriminating weapon before the 4400 investigation unit arrives. Tom, his former wife and Alana then arrange for Kyle to hide in Mexico where Alana has family but someone else who also fits the identity picture is then arrested and brought to the unit and Kyle is told he can return home, which is obviously a stupid thing to do without knowing why he is having the black outs and recent memories of what he has done during them,

Diana had been warned by her psychic daughter Maia not to continue to be involved with the search for Jordan’s killer as it will lead to someone close to her being hurt. When the suspect is apprehended he pulls a gun out and Diana pushes Tom and the bullet misses by a micro second in freeze frame. Diana assumes this it what Maid has seen but when she says that Tom is safe, Maia comments, For now.

Diana is not fit for purposes in many respects as having an inbuilt second carer with her sister while she spend the greater part of the time in her work, she then throws the sister out who tries to use Maia to predict bets so she can made some money. Diana is also prepared to allow a colleague to fake Maia’s Diana. While I have sympathy about her guilt at having broken her daughter’s trust in reading it the diary in the first instance she was prepared to disclose its existence when it came to trying to prevent the death of Jordan Collier and then she decides to sit on whatever else the book reveals. I would have no hesitation in dismissing Diana on the spot and slapping a confidentiality order on her after gaining possession of the diary and the idea that the government would accept whatever she submits without first authenticating with the child is ludicrous.
The disappearance of Jordan Collier’s body, did he suddenly come alive and go to ground? Question is left in the air while Shawn is finding his role as centre Godfather and faith healer impossible and wants a sabbatical to heal himself and adjust to his new role as the Messiah. It is at this point that that a publicity communications’ man, a friend of Jordan, steps in to say it was Jordan’s intention that he should take over as Shawn’s MD and quickly establishes himself as more single minded, ruthless and devious in the cause than Collier himself, although he also confides that he is not a believer!

One of his first acts is to promote Lily as his Director of Human Resources and persuade Shawn not to go off but to restrict his healing to one case a day and to set up a Foundation with an international committee to decide on which deserving cases among the millions seeking help should be chosen. Shawn has made up with his young brother and his mother but when the brother is shown around the centre his tour guide is Liv. The attractive young woman Shawn rescued from street life poverty, drugs and prostitution and has become a study disciple at the centre. She steals some drugs which she uses to tempt the brother into a relationship but they are caught after Shawn has warned his brother from getting involved with the girl. However this is not out of protection for his brother but because he fancies herself himself. The MD steps in and warns Shawn that he is being unrealistic in contemplating having a relationship with the girl given her background. Shawn retaliates that teh role did not stop Jordan bedding every willing female in sight. The MD points out that Jordan was not the faith healer messiah that Shawn has become and that he better sooner than later get used to the demands and restrictions which are intrinsic in this role.

The effect on judgement and potential misuse of official position over a pretty face and yielding body is the subject of the great War time film find of the decade called The Ascent.

This 1994 film stars Ben Cross as the bitter widowed Major Farrell who is put in charge of a British POW camp in the foothills of what I thought was Mount Kilimanjaro which came to the attention of British cinema audiences in the 1952 film The Snows of Kilimanjaro with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward. However on looking up the mountain and remembering something said in the film I realised the mountain was Mount Kenya, the highest in Kenya 17000 and the second highest in Africa to Kilimanjaro 19000.

The film centres on the Italian POW’s with records of opera in background and in particular the young handsome loner Franco Disassti played by Vincent Spano who has already made three escapes to the consternation of the camp commander and is recaptured on his fourth attempt after stealing a vehicle and crashing into another in which are Patricia Rachel Ward and her father who runs a local rural business which includes providing the camp with the timber for its construction and development. He fixes their vehicle and Patricia takes a shine to the young man but this does not prevent her father returning him to the POW camp. When the Commander, Major Farrell learns of this development when he comes a courting the daughter who is also a young widow he scurries back to the camp to punish the escapee with a further period in solitary confinement in a crude tin hut with only a grill for lighting and air.

The exploits of the escapee are also a thorn in the side of most of the other POW’s who want a quiet life, hoping the allies will quickly win the war so they can return home to their country and families. The major was away from the camp at the time of the escape following his ambition to climb the mountain but he has failed on this occasion as he has done on others. Franco lets it be known that he is an accomplished mountaineer and the one of leading Italian officers Aldo- Tony Lo Bianco hits on the idea of a small group breaking out of the camp, climbing the mountain and planting the Italian flag and breaking back into the camp in order to gain their self respect having surrendered and become POW’s and make a point to the Commanding Officer. Franco at first refuses to participate but then agrees giving a promise to return to the camp rather than go down the other side into Somalia.

The camp rallies around he enterprise giving rations to the Franco to build up his strength and making the equipment and clothing needed for the climb, setting up an Italian choir and band to mask the noisy work involved.

Then the Italian made saw mill breaks down and Patricia ask for the help of Franco a qualified engineer and reluctantly the Commander agrees proving his Sergeant as armed escort. However during the visit Patricia arranges for father to provide the guard with food and drink and while he is away she and Franco become lovers and he fixes the machine in such away that it will break down and require further attention in the future. The guard is suspicious about what has happened while he is away and works quit the machine has been fixed to break down again because of he use of materials and on return expresses his concerns to the Major adding that he believes the daughter is aware of what has been done. The Major gets drunk and threatens first Franco and then goes to the home of Patricia and her father to confront her in the middle of the night. Although her father comes to see what is happening, she is able to get the major calm and takes him to a room so he can sleep the drink off overnight and to have a serious chat with him in the morning after telling her he has planned to propose marriage to her.

When the Major returns to teh camp he finds that Franco, Aldo and German POW have escaped, the German POW has become the third member of the project offering his military compass as an incentive. However once outside the camp he breaks his word and goes along the road but is caught trying to steal a vehicle from Patricia’s home stead as one of the first places the escapee were expected to raid. The German POW is given the impression that the other have been caught and he unintentionally reveals that they are making their way to the mountain. The Major and Sergeant then travel by road to base of the mountain thus are within a short distance of them when the serious climbing begins. Aldo starts to be affected by the atmosphere and suffers from climber’s altitude sickness. He is found and taken back by the Sergeant to the homestead to recuperate before going back to camp.

Meanwhile the Major follows the Franco up the mountain. Franco then use a rope and within the camp to lasso himself from the peak he has climbed over to a point where the highest peak can be climbed and the Major uses the rope to follow him and then threatens to shoot him with a revolver as he starts to climb the last stretch. The major does not do this although he liked top saying he will not let Franco take her, Franco says no one can have her so beautiful she is. He reaches the summit and plants the Italian Flag and contemplated the freedom over the other side. But he returns down to the Major and offers himself as the prisoner just as it looks the major is considering killing himself. They return to the camp and Franco is allowed into the compound without punishment and the film ends as Aldo looks with his telescope to see the Italian Flag. The acting is excellent and script and story credible. My own quibble is the ability of Franco to lasso across to the peak which would have required a remarkable throw at the distance shown in the film

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Those with a heart will take the bride, Casino Royal and rhe Big Game

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Those with a heart will take the bride, is regarded as one of the great films of Bollywood, first released in 1995, and was still running in one cinema in April 2007 completing 600 performances. Given how Indian cinema had developed by that date, the film broke new ground, featuring the life of British Indian young people as they attempted to balance the traditional family life and expectations with the freedoms of their non Indian contemporaries. The story is a simple one. A young girl dreams of falling in love and is appalled when her father announces that she is to marry the son of his best friend back in his Indian homeland and which he has not visited for many years. She has never met her the young man. On the promise that she will marry his choice and not do anything to dishonour the family he allows her to go on a holiday in Europe for a month, and as she sets off on the journey she encounters the son of a wealthy Indian who has integrated fully into the Western way of life, and who rewards his son for failing to graduate with a degree at university, thus keeping the family tradition of being poor in education and successful in business. The young man behaves as other western teenagers and during one escapade upsets the father, unknown to him, of the girl also having an adventure before settling down to marriage and domesticity in a country she does not know. Unknown to either the girl or her parents future her husband to be a playboy gang leader who plans to leave his wife from time to time to enjoy the freedoms of London.

In the long standing tradition of such relationships the girl cannot stand the behaviour of the young wealthy Indian determined to sow a few wild oats before joining in his father's business, and the girl does her best to discourage his attention, well at least in the beginning. At core she is much more a passionate and wilder young woman than he is a young man. There relationship develops into love as they become separated together from their rest of their travelling companions as they journey through Switzerland. The girl explains about the engagement and despite his outward behaviour he understands and respects the Indian traditions, and is prepared to accept the situation until encourage to follow his heart as well as his dreams, by his father.

The young man then finds that angered by learning what he has been told of her falling in love, her father has taken the family straight back to India to begin the preparations for the wedding. This is an elaborate and long procedure involving both extended family networks. The wealthy and talented young man who can play the piano, sing and dance also makes his way to India where he deliberately makes friends with the family of the groom and begins to establish a relationship with the father of the his true love, admitting his shortcomings and their previous encounter to the man. The young man plans to persuade the father to shift from the long standing commitment to his friend's daughter, but this falls apart when the marriage is brought forward and then the two male heads of household find out that the couple have had an affair dashing all hopes of as amicable settlement.. The father of the young man has come to India to help his son and the girl's, mother also becomes complicit, urging the two lovers to elope because she believes her husband will never give his permission. This appears to be how the situation will end but in a dramatic fight in which the young man takes a beating, the girl's father relents and allows her to go off with her life's love back to England.

As with all the Bollywood films I have seen, they are very colourful, with long musical numbers involving lots of dancers, reminding of the heyday of the Hollywood musical; the behaviour of the young people leads to romantic kissing and sexual behaviour is inferred but not depicted. It is the kind of film one can enjoy with grandparents and grandchildren. The films are also technically of a very high and latest standards, and acting is also skilful, if ritualised . Hopefully I will live to see the development of a new cinema on mainland China.

Later in the day I could not resist also viewing the latest Casino Royale Film, I have the Fleming novel and saw the original 1967 spoof film made with a host of stars including Peter Sellers and Peter Ustinov. There are interesting aspects of this later film in some fifty years of 007 including that it also opened in China, in slightly amended version. The story begins at the outset of the Bond career, enabling a new depth of character and the development of relationship from their usual superficiality and avoiding references to the anti Russian and China cold war situations.

This is the second film of the week which also tries to avoid alienating Muslims by the device of painting the terrorists as commercially orientated criminals exploiting the beliefs of extremist and fanatics. There is real violence and real pain in this film which is not suitable for children.

Of course there much unbelievable spectacular action and despite attempts to plant false trails and explanations, the outcome is predicable as Bond learns the hard way that to survive, let alone win out, he has to trust no one especially any woman who appears to fancy him and to remain professionally on guard day and night.

In terms of plot specifics, the principal baddy in this film is a man who acts as the banker for dictators and fundamentalists, and make his money by gambling with this money. His bets 100 million pounds that the shares of a company producing a new airbus will plummet after he arranges the prototype to be blown up in a terrorist attack, but this fails because of the intervention of 007 and he loses the money, temporarily, because as a skilful poker players, he does not cheat, he plans to gain £150 million in a game where the entrance sum is £10million and re-entry is only possible with another £5. Missing from this film is the throw away humour, the latest up to-date devices designed by Q and Miss Moneypenny, with M and her department relying on the latest mobile SatLap E communications. Who needs yer Baby?
During the last seven days I also saw a gambling based British film, called The Big Game. These days it appears everyone has learnt how to play poker and plays via the TV or on line, the new legal way of breaking into people's homes and their bank accounts. The amusing aspect of the Big Game is that it is a childhood board game which looks very much like Monopoly, except that the players bet a hundred pounds on four player games, with a number of games played in long sessions until the early hours. The story centres on a worker in a pie factory and his girl friend who works in a chippy saving up to buy a home of their own. The young man also studies business and the stock market and pretends he is a stock broker to his playing friends who include a professional footballer who scores a hat trick against Newcastle after spending the greater part of the night gambling and a business man whop backs the winning stock market tips. A new player in he group, friend of the friend talks of games in London where the stakes are even higher and where entry is as high as £40000, and the friends of the young man push him into representing their collective financial interests in such a game not knowing that the game will be fixed one way or the other and that their new contact is on a retainer to find suitable victims. There is a nice twist to this film which leaves everyone happy except the crooks.

I listen to a radio programme on the merits of eating porridge for breakfast and returned to my microwaves instant preparation, and kept up the good work with a roasted bream and vegetables for lunch and a small omelette for tea and then undid the good work with a bag, a small bad of chocolate covered peanuts and a large glass of red. Well it is my birthday week.

The Common Touch and In the service of the Country qith Lost and the Peter Green Splinter Group

Sometimes I only write my way into a theme, sometimes I write myself out of one theme into another, but this evening I am as clear as I can ever be about what I want to try and say, sparked by two very different Television programmes experienced at 8 and then 9pm. The first was about the capitalist merging of copy goods with branded goods manufactured in China as this country becomes the economic power of the world. The second was a brilliant episode of Lost which brings the 4th series into a new dimension, explaining much that has gone before and which is to come, or does it?. One programme blurring the nature of what is fake with what is real and one which created a coherent explanation for the ability to believe one is in two different dimension of actual time without any physical transformation.

I had woken early, struggling to break from a dream in order to put the rubbish bin out. The dream involved my mother in her latter days, something which I cannot recall happening before, and a building, a familiar scenario, with the building a college or residential facility which also becomes and office, occasionally department kind of store, or a large house, and while these buildings are familiar or have familiar aspects there are always problems in that I cannot ever get back to where I have been and want to be, exiting some distance away, again in territory with familiar aspects, but sometime distance away from the place I anticipated and always thinking I know how to get back and never being able to do so.

On getting up I redrafted and corrected yesterdays writing. Sometimes my days become more circular than others. It was cold as I pushed the bin out under the half opened garage back door. I boiled the kettle and only then decided on coffee rather than first thought tea, and cheese slices on toast rather than cereal. I thought if I wake up quickly and feel physically alert I will start the house clean cycle once more. What happened to the forecast sleet and snow? Perhaps the radio or TV will tell me. I did not start the house clean and failed to answer my query about the weather forecasting. I heard the bin men come and then later the recycle box run which I had forgotten as my box had not built up over the fortnight, so it did not matter than I have to wait another two weeks. I forgot to bring the bin back in until darkness remembering when taking the evening meal plate into the kitchen.

I had some of the cold chicken as a salad for lunch, another portion will suffice for tomorrow, and a tomato soup around 5 and a ham omelette around 7pm, a banana at lunchtime and too much butterscotch whip around 9 as I was then too tired to prepare some fresh pineapple, followed by strong percolated coffee at 10 to keep me going until the writing is done for the day.

I worked long and hard on my work project during the day in order to meet the new monthly out target of 125 new sets of cards, 3000 in total, my average since the autumn of 2003 when I first got underway. This work included information on the volume about scientific Matter which I quickly decided must commence with scientific creation and the 57 ( after one quick count) non scientific creation belief system from around our planet of which three are Islam, Judaism and Christianity and then the multitude of second and third sub category beliefs system which emerged as individual human being wrestled with the emerging sciences and the extent to which belief was put into practice and was not.

As I worked I first listened to a two hour set of the Peter Green Splinter Group, which I had never heard of before until I realised this was Peter Green, born Peter Greenbaum of Fleetwood Mac, who started with John Mayal's Bluesbreakers, after Eric Clapton's departure. In the beginning there was Adam and Eve, then you and me and we are all connected. He created Fleetwood Mac and with success followed the predicable route of taking drugs, particularly the hallucinatory LSD which a psychiatrist I admired used to take very disturbed adolescents and others, sinking deeper into the criminal and self destructive abyss, on a bad trip into their childhood and the precipitating experience of their subsequent behaviour, but which in his instance may have precipitated his schizophrenia, the self administered LSD trips I mean. With the help of family and friends Peter resurfaced with new music in the late 1970's/early80's and then again in the 1990's with the Splinter Group. Like Clapton he collected guitars having over 100, he should have had 101 which would have been interesting. In 2004 a further tour was planned and cancelled and then with the British Blues All Stars but this was also cancelled because of the difficulty he continued to experience with his problems, in part caused by the medication. His large body of work remains on record and some on film. It is timeless music which will be played long after much of today's output of popular music is forgotten.

In the afternoon as my work momentum flagged I enjoyed the 1941 British Classic film The Common Touch which was a romantic view of a Christian socialist capitalism in which an eighteen year old finds himself inheriting a major company, decides to investigate the effects of a plan cooked up by his chief executive to make personal profit from a deal which will evict the residents of a homeless shelter used by those who have been to prison or fallen on other hard times. He and a friend dress down to live in the shelter until they discover something to thwart the plans and convince his Board to adopt a socialist approach to the planned development. There is a sub plot in this film where a high class singer declines the proposal of marriage from an England Test Match Cricketer, of the Gentlemen public school wing in the days when the Players were the professionals who tried to make a livelihood full time from the game while the Gentlemen had separate interests which provided their income and life style. Bernard Miles had a miniscule role as a steward at Lords.

I then planned to have as background to further work what I thought was to be a World War 2 film, In the service of the country, only to discover it was a Russian language film in which their secret service set out to thwart an Arabic, Muslim, Terrorist group's attempt to launch Armageddon on all non believers commencing with bombings in Moscow, New York and Berlin city shopping centres. The hero of the civil service team is a cross between the leader of the A Team and bionic Superman Ninja, with his sidekick Lara Croft who take on Cat Woman, the brain behind what was is in fact a capitalist heist to strip some of the oil made Arab wealth, 200 million dollars to 14 accounts in Switzerland, letting off a few real bombs to cause some devastation and loss of human life to keep the Muslim extremists content, much like the American Mafia funded the attempted capitalist return to Cuba. I watched the nonsense because I became very tired and at times it was difficult to keep my eyes open to watch the action let alone read the sub titles. It was an interesting Russian perspective, given he 75% popular vote for the replacement of Putin as Prime Minister while he moves into the Presidency, well it could have been 99.99 percent like the good old days. This reminds me to mention that the Clinton succession is running out of steam which means that I hope Obama is now on assassination watch, especially as a new Presidential assassination film opens this weekend and is bound to trigger another political, Mafia. American secret state within a state, capitalist conspiracy, religious extremist, racist assassination attempt, or is their secret service that incompetent to enable a lone individual to get close enough?

It was while I was trying to recover from this prolonged siesta that it looked as if an hour long programme about the extent to which the major international capitalist companies were being shafted by their own greed until they worked out if you cant beat them you should join them. I have no idea when western capitalists first worked out that China would solve all their problems of squeezed profit margins and bonuses because of the accumulative effects in their countries of minimum wage legislation, structured and protected workers rights with good wage levels, good holiday and pension arrangements, and the need for higher taxes to provide social expenditure on top of that required for security. The prospect of unlimited wealth from trading with Russian and China was only identified as possibilities when I attended a senior management course in the mid 1980's, although by then the capitalists understood that one had to internationalise in order to be able to move the enterprises when political, trade union and trading conditions became too difficult to maintain and further profits in any particular country.

The allegation is a confusing film (which appeared to be on the side of capitalist enterprises who have little thought on the impact of their machinations on workers at home or overseas), is that the firms are now, at best, only going through the motions of opposing the copying of brand images, and that they are unofficially cashing in themselves where they can on the parallel manufacturing and trading.
The story in this documentary is that the companies were so keen to get into the emerging Chinese exporting market that they took up with whichever bilingual Chinese fixer that came their way, not realising that in order to maximise the profit potential and therefore speed up the economic growth of their country, the individual, often which official connections, if not outright blessing, would directly or indirectly set up other production units to create copies which would undercut the Brand and also make more profit because they did not have the same chain of profiteers to service. The reason why the Branded goods went to China more than to Russia because they could recreate the slave labour conditions of the industrial revolution, getting volunteers to work 100 hours a week in for coppers or cents, often using adolescents and children.

As with the agricultural workers driven to the Industrial revolution factories in the UK or the theoretically emancipated black and Mexican slave labour in the USA, the earnings were still better than previously, with the prospect of advancement for a few who were able to understand and use the system for their personal gain. The hoot is that many of those exploiting the Brands names by making authentic copies, are principled communists who have worked out that this is a good way to pay back the Western capitalist for their years of trying to break communist power and authority. I just do not understand how western capitalists get away with describing these goods as fake or counterfeit.
Take Burberry for example, who have closed British factories with the consequence that Burberry is now a Chinese made good and made according to Chinese labour conditions. Somewhere in China there are other workers making Burberry like goods sold in China and overseas, at less price. Top Shop in the UK sells look alike fashion goods where the originals cost £1000 for £50. I do not understand the difference. The gripe appears to be who pockets the profits. It is not about the impact of the development on British working conditions, protected through membership of the ECC and which was once hated by socialists and defended by capitalists.

The programme illustrated my point by interviewing one engaging woman who is able to frequent travel the world and who always visit her Bagman friend in Marbella who is able to provide her and her friends with bag look a likes costing a tenth or twentieth of the original where there is usually a waiting list which means that when you get your original it is already out of date. So the original manufacturing brand name must be raking it in within six months of orders making and selling bag ten to twenty to forty and fifty times the actual cost of materials and labour and others are able to also make money from silly women with too much money and just as little social conscience. This reminds me to have a moan about all those creating markets on E Bay for example by giving publicity to the mark up on scare resource items. I have long suspected the complaint was coming from those such as footballers and those associated with football clubs who planned to make money by selling their allocation of tickets to the official resale market, the companies which provide hospitality packages at all the main sporting, theatrical and cultural events. What they not like is ordinary punters getting in on the act as this undercuts the price which celebrity interests can get for their tickets, and the demand for the inflated hospitality packages. You think I am joking? On the news this day the HSBC bank was writing off billions because of its involvement in the sub prime market in the USA, but still announced record overall profits in the billions because of its gains in the Far East. I was also fascinated by a local news programme which is spending the week promoting the new Emirates route from Newcastle airport to Dubai with its links to the Australasia, nice work if you can get and afford it. It is obviously a freebie promoted by the airline and Dubai. However my complaint is not that this is the nature of society, but by the increasingly flimsy pretence of it all as the general population becomes more educated.

Earlier in the day I had planned to spend time reading what Wikipedia has to say on Time but was over taken by this week's brilliant episode of Lost, one of the best of the 70 odd so far. Earlier in the 4th series the ultra realist Sayed had set off with the true love never hath so finer an advocate, Desmond, in the helicopter to the ship, only to fail to keep strictly on its course, and for Time to slip out of Time but with significant consequence Desmond who finds himself switching with increasing rapidity between his time in the British Army (it does not have an British army feel though) and being on the helicopter and the off island moored freighter. The reason why he has been affected in this way is because his previous experience of significant radioactivity and the electro magnetic storm which the helicopter passes through on its way to the freighter. In the past series the whole issue of convergent electro magnetic polarity was explored. In this episode the communications officer on the freighter and a friend have been also affected when they take the ship to shore boat and veer off the only course portal which craft can travel to and from the island. One of the two has already died and the other is shortly to die which emphasises the need for Desmond to find a treatment if one is possible. It is because on the island there is Daniel Faraday the Oxford experimental physicist who has worked out a means of transporting the brain (not the body) into the future and back in which you can experience the realities but not alter it… a device to ensure that those watching the programme cannot conclude that the mystery of the island is about alternate dimensions and realities, especially as in this series there are forward flashes as well as flashbacks. The beauty of this programme is that it provides a coherent explanation for what is happening with a Romeo and Juliet love story

During moments of onboard ship reality Desmond and Sayed are able to communicate with the island by telephone and with Daniel Faraday, the physicist from the freighter who explains that some of those who veer of the narrow sea or air course to the island experience a mental form of time travel in which the individual inhabits their actual physical body and memory in both dimensions and in order to stabilise himself in both and not bring his present to an untimely end he has to connect with a meaningful constant from both times, and which in this instance is Penny, the love of both their lives.

On discovering that Desmond believes the year is 1996, Daniel instructs him that the next time he is back in this reality he must go as quickly as he can to find him at Oxford University where he works and is at the early theoretical and experimental period of his brain travel work. When this happens he reacts that Desmond is a set up by colleagues to who ridicule his work but he has provided in the future a key to ensure that when in the past Daniel recognises that only someone inhabiting the future could know of the detail. He then explains to Desmond that in order to survive he must make contact with someone, a constant, from both moments in time.

The beauty of this story line will not be appreciated by those who do not know the history of Desmond's relationship with Penny and that she is using her family wealth to fund an ongoing search to find out what happened to Desmond and that despite what has happened between them and the years of separation, their love has remained constant, except for the time in 1996 which is where the brain time shift has taken him. To break the chain which is quickly leading to a brain seizure an death he must make contact with Penny in the present, where there is a double complication, he does not have her phone number, and the ship to outside world communication system has been sabotaged. Sayed the communications specialist is able to solve the latter but to get the phone number he has to go back mentally to 1996,find Penny's father and persuades him to given her whereabouts, he gives her address not her phone number, so Desmond visits and persuades Penny to give her number as a means of getting rid of him, and he registers with her that he will ring her on Christmas even eight years from hence, which he is able to do, they express their undying love how ever long it will take for them to be together, if ever, and in do doing he is saved, for now. The episode ends with Faraday going through his master notebooks where eight years before he has made a note, if things go wrong Desmond is my constant. Thus the situation is circular as I believe is time, and that what is imagined or dreamt reality and what is authentic reality is all part of reality, just as what is a fake, and what is a copy, or good representation or reproduction are all valid perspective of one reality.

The Children of Times Square and June Whitfield and ehr Comedians

Beware looking into the abyss too often for its watch into your soul is constant. The problem with method writing as with method acting, or method anything Is being able to switch back to you, especially if you begin to like the role played and then lose you all together. I suspect this is a problem for comedians, unless they are exceptionally and naturally talented, or become so, after year upon year of working as the assistant, the sidekick, the foil to all the great ones.

I write this as I watch a South Bank Programme about the theatrical, radio and TV life of June Whitfield who is 81. If I feel as I do as 69 approaches what will it be like at 70? June looked fitter, more energetic than me, despite being a decade older.

And she is still working, now on the London stage, with the English National Opera company. where she began in wartime GB, with a certificate of exemption as a student actress. Would we be so enlightened today? June was brought up in South London in a wealthy middle class household becoming a stage actress after RADA. She appeared in a number of production including by Noel Coward who invited his performers into his world, for a time. Last week I think I heard someone plugging Private Lives as if it was a new play, June recalled being asked by a contemporary young player if there was some message in the work, so she told him it was written in a week as the piece of entertainment it remains, although now a historical reminder into how we once liked to see ourselves.
It was not until 1953 that she became a household name when she joined Jimmy Edwards and the rest of the cast of Take it from Here, then a radio programme which had an audience of 22 million just under half the UK population. Her most well known character then was Eth engaged to Ron Glum. She appeared with Arthur Askey on early TV and then Tony Hancock with the Blood Donor sketch. One of the classics, also just about every name comedian of subsequent decades including Frankie Howard, Benny Hill Peter Sellers, Morecombe and Wise, Bruce Forsythe, Leslie Phillips, Roy Hudd, Terry Scott, Julian Clary, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders and has become a stalwart in Britain's longest running situation comedy, The Last of the Summer Wine. There has been no elevation to becoming a Dame or the like, perhaps because she is always there, the first call, perhaps because she appears to have led a normal family life away from her work.


Well done Melvyn and his team for reminding everyone and me just what a national treasure she has become.

There was an inevitability about the lunchtime film, The children of Times Square. which I imagine is similar to the area around Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Soho in London, and where the amusements arcades also attract youngster who run away from home and can quickly become prey to those offering shelter in return for work in prostitution and drug dealing. The film centres on two stories, the adolescent rejected by his step father and a mother trying to balance her adult relationship with those of her son. The films pulls no punches on the difficulties of finding someone who enters into this underworld. The second story is that of another adolescent who willingly allows himself to be drawn into this world as a solution to the family poverty which brings them to a communal shelter when their home is destroyed in fire and they are rescued by jumping from windows. The two boys are rescued because in their own ways, their mothers fight against the inevitability of fall into this abyss which happens to so many, the girl who comes to the city to escape a sexually violent domestic situation only to then sell her body to survive, or the street wise young man only too willing to take over the drugs ring when his boss and protector is killed. One wonders how many of the former children of the residential children's home in Jersey, and elsewhere, gravitated to central London who would be able to tell similar stories.

Last night I enjoyed a baked half of a side of salmon covered with Italian seasoning, which had been sawed frozen and then defrosted overnight. It was still too big a portion so what was left over was made into a salad for lunch with thick slices of brown bread, leaving the roast chicken breast with vegetables for the evening meal, deciding against roast potatoes for the second weekend running. The fresh pineapples had been reduced by half to £1 so I had bought two for afters, one portion a day with a banana for the second meal. I have taken not to having breakfast because of rising late and then having some cereal before going to bed, which is better than cheese on toast, or a salami sandwich. I have to drinking percolated coffee, in addition to tea, and orange juice, instead of Pepsi or Coca Cola, and also a little water.

Also for the second week running I opted for the second in the new Lewis series rather than the latest episode of Lost. This was a complex story with links to Morse and his love of Wagner. The amusing aspect of a various serious episode (which took us to the break up of East Germany and the problem of those who worked for the system, some 500000 estimated who have spied for the secret police on their neighbours, sending many to prison and their deaths, for the sake of some advantage and improvement in their economic situation), was that Lewis took up Wagner, which for years Morse tried to get him interested, while his graduate sidekick destined to become a chief constable or part of the Home Office police Inspectorate, makes him listen to contemporary popular records. One can see Lewis turning into Morse with every episode, now living in his own, his wife and children departed, with the occasional dalliance. There was a moment when such an encounter between Morse and another was recalled and the woman asked Lewis if he got on with Morse, responding that their interaction reminded him of a marriage. One can see the relationship between Lewis and his man developing to a marriage of convenience where this is for Lewis for the rest of his days, but the sidekick will be one of many as he marries, joins the Masons or Rotary and takes up golf.

There was further work on the canvases and on the main project as well as doing the end of month accounts. I played much chess and made a silly mistake ending my run of games at 96, five short of the target, having previously. reached 98. I thought much of mother, my aunts and my father.

There was a fierce wind outside for part of the day and the promise of cold and some sleet and snow reinforcing my mood. Around the town there are florious beds and banks of of crocus and my window boxes of daffs are in bud, and how I long to feel the Spring again.

Dinner at Eight with The Sea Wife and the Man in the Grey Suit

"Change comes in excruciating small parcels for those who want to do it " is my quote of the day from West Wing, where activity has been restricted to painting three canvases in layers of black or white acrylic. After weeks of failure after reaching 98 games of level 1 chess I am at game 76. The days when I reached 101 games three occasions within a month seem very distant

Of course suggesting as I did yesterday that British and American films prior to the ending of Second World War and then up to the early fifties had a distinctly different feel to those which came afterward was a generalization. I watched two films today where good manners and the appearance of things was considered more important than how people otherwise behaved. I do not know if I saw the 1933 American comedy Dinner at Eight during the years when I went to the Odeon Cinema Wallington every Monday and Thursday, but it has become a familiar story and another viewing this morning was also enjoyable. The film featured Jean Harlow, John and Lionel Barrymore, but for me the star was Billie Burke as the apparent shallow socialite wife who holds a dinner party during the Great Depression where the principal guest does not turn up. She shows her metal first by reorganising the guest list, and then when her husband reveals that they have been ruined, she immediately cancels as many expenditure commitments as she can and says they will move into less expensive accommodation and will learn how to cope. Her nineteen year old daughter has had a privileged life and is romantically and sexually involved with the aging actor more than twice her age, played by John Barrymore, who is seeking a refuge in alcohol as his career ends, his debts mount and he is asked to leave his serviced rooms. Facing reality he sends the girl away and commits suicide. The girl is persuaded not tell anyone about the relationship when a dinner guest discloses she knew about the affair, as she lives in the same block of rooms. This is Carletta, Marie Dressler, a gossipy aging matron who has been the mistress of anyone who was anyone in society, The new world is represented by a successful, dominating and ruthless businessman who had no time for the polite world of his hosts but goes along with his wife, Jean Harlow, who wants to be accepted on the world he is has not time for. His unlimited wealth and power no longer impress her. There is no point to this film other than using a pleasant couple of hours recapturing the brief years of the USA recovering from the Stock market crash and prohibition but it entertains and all the actors care about what they are doing.

Before the football commentaries, when it was necessary to have a radio on each ear until disaster struck Newcastle again and the Boro. but Sunderland managed a valuable point at Derby, I saw one of Gainsborough studio costume dramas produced during World War II which was also previously seen at the Odeon Wallington after the War. There were four, three I now know well, The Wicked Lady with Margaret Lockwood, James Mason and Patricia Roc which haunted until late adolescence; Fanny by Gaslight, with James Mason, Stewart Grainger and Phyllis Calvert: Madonna of the Seven Moons Phyllis Calvert and Steward Grainger which is not familiar; and The Man in the Grey Suit Phyllis Calvert, Margaret Lockwood, James Mason and Stewart Grainger. In both of her films Margaret Lockwood played villains, in this afternoon's offering a scheming, ruthless, two faced adventurer who resorts to murder when her ambition appears to be thwarted. This is the story of a playboy Lord who is persuaded to take a young bride by his mother in order to secure the blood line. Any resemblance to living people was never intended. The victim, just out of finishing school, Phyllis Calvert has the right breeding but her widowed mother has just about the funds for one Season and persuades her daughter to accept the offer of marriage although the couple have no interest in each other and live separate lives from the outset, except to provide the heir. Although they work hard to present one public image everyone in London society knows the truth.

Stewart Grainger is a dispossessed gentleman who Phyllis Calvert first encounters as a travelling actor playing Othello and Margaret Lockwood his theatrical wife who Phyllis previously encountered at finishing school and both become lovers of the Lord and his Lady and which is destined to lead them all to tragedy. The film uses the device of an auction to sell off the contents of the aristocratic home, in which a young airman, Stewart Grainer, meets with a descendent of the family, Phyllis Calvert, a device designed to encourage the belief in war time and post war audiences, that things would get better in time. They also revealed something fo the reality of behaviour behind he thin veneer of social conventions.

The Sea Wife is a minor work, of interest because it featured a fine performance by the young Joan Collins before she developed into Dallas and films such as The Stud and the charismatic Richard Burton played himself. Four individuals, Joan and Richard are two, are torpedoed by a Japanese Submarine. Richard is an injured serviceman and the other two men in the dingy are the ship's captain who is a bigot and a racist and Cy Grant in his first film, Cy was a British Guiana born shot down Flight Lieutenant and RAF POW in World War II, who subsequently qualified as a barrister and then decided to become an actor, singer and author, These three men and Joan survive after a long sea journey to an island which has limited water and natural food, so they construct a raft to try and reach a more habitable island and at this point the sea captain chose to try and abandon Cy Grant (The British answer to Harry Belafonte) who is then killed by a shark as he attempts to swim out to the departing craft. They are rescued and Richard spends time in hospital and on the continuing war before discharge and coming to England in search of Joan who was nicknamed Sea Wife, and who although tempted by the attention of Richard remained chaste. He does not find her. She was a nun. The ending of this short feature film is a poor one because Richard gives up his long and expensive search on being told by the Sea Captain that the girl is dead and without making any further checks about her. In fact his failure to find out from the shipping line or from his rescuers what happened to her or what happened to Cy Grant is unbelievable. The film makers should have followed what happened in Neville Shute's A Town Like Alice which is having its annual/biannual showing at this time

The punch line of the film is that no one looks at the face of nun. This is nonsense of course. But nonsense can also become reality which is the subject of S1m0ne, the Al Pacino 2002 movie in which a computer generated actress becomes internationally famous, allegedly giving live interviews, and a holographic stage performance. As the deception becomes world wide he likes less and less his creation, so he makes the worst film he can imagine and then in created interview he makes her spout the most extreme and offensive of views but all this only makes the media and public love her more. He then decides to kill her off only to be accused of her murder. What happens next is all too believable, alas.

Before bedtime I could not resist another showing of One Night at McCool's, previously seen in theatre. The moral of this film is beware Greek that bares her gifts, especially one whose ambition is a DVD recorder and a large screen TV media centre. This leads Matt Dillon to become a thief and complicity in two killings, one directly and one indirectly by the young women in question played by Liv Tyler. Paul Resier is the lawyer relative of the bar tender Matt Dillon, married with children and a penchant for dressing up in bondage gear and being whopped, what happens to him in the last flick of the film is worth the ticket money alone. John Goodman plays a detective who she is seduced when he finds out she is implicated in one of the deaths and his willingness to lose the evidence is needed. Michael Douglas his the hired assassin who runs off with the wicked wench as the twp are as well matched a pair of villain as James Mason and Margaret Lockwood of my generation. The final scenes are farce and funny but were not worth going out to the theatre for
Happy mother's day.

A good woman and Prospero's Books plus Escape to Athena

“Nowadays people look at life as a speculation. It is not a speculation, it is a sacrament. Its ideal is love. Its purification is sacrifice.

Are you beginning to reform me? It is a dangerous thing to reform anyone.

Oh gossip is charming. History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.

A man who moralises is usually a hypocrite and a woman who moralises is invariably plain.

There is nothing as unbecoming to a woman as a Nonconformist conscience. That is the worst of women. They always want one to be good. And if we are good, when they meet us, they don't love us at all. They like to find us quite irretrievably bad, and to leave us quite unattractively good. The world is perfectly packed with good women. To know them is a middle class education.

People call something an experience they mean it was a mistake.

Women do not want to be understood, they want to be loved.

No love is pure and simple as the love of food.

Everyman is born truthful and dies a liar.

Girls begin by loving their mothers but as they grow they judge us. It is because of men that women distrust other women.

If a man can tolerate his own past then why should he not tolerate that of his wife.

I cannot always explain myself to myself let alone to you.

It takes practice and skill to live without regret.

In this world there are two tragedies. One is not getting want you want and the other is getting it.

London is too full of fogs and serious people. Whether the fogs produced the serious people the serious people the fogs, I do not know.

I do not think now that people can be divided into the good and bad, as though they were two separate races, or creations. What are called good women may have terrible things in them, mad moods of recklessness, assertion and jealousy, sin. Bad women as they are termed, may have in them sorrow, repentance, pity, sacrifice. Ideals are dangerous things, realities are better, they wound, but they're better. There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil sin and innocence go through it hand in hand.”

Thus I spent Friday afternoon, leap year day, 29th February 2008 on the Amalfi Coast in the cinematic reproduction of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, called A Good Woman, seen in theatre in 2004 and now on DVD, and with the help of the Penguin Plays of Oscar Wilde, 1960 reprinted paper back edition which also includes The Importance of being earnest, An Ideal Husband, A woman of no Importance and Salome.

It was an excellent antidote to what I now regard as an even worse nauseating immoral film that the Foreigner, Escape to Athena. It is difficult to judge who was responsible for this insult to Greek people and all those, on all sides of World War II who fought and died bravely in the service of their country.

Elliot Gould can be forgiven for playing an extension of Mash, which although a comedy made out of war, restricted itself to the work of the front line medical unit, where humour is the only defence against insanity. Roger Moore and David Niven also played their normal roles, while Telly Savalas appeared to take his part seriously. I watched the film broken only by getting my lunch, taking in some parcels for a neighbour and checking the incoming mail just to see if it had any redeeming features apart from some glorious views of the Greek Island said to be Rhodes and which I have visited for a week. I must find time to do a volume of memories of that visit.

For two hours John Gielgud addresses the audience in a condensed poetical landscape of biblical, mythological and Shakespearean images conjured from his 20 books while Peter Greenaway uses every cinematic device available to him in the early 1990's to populate the rest of the screen with tableaux upon tableaux of Fellini figures out of Satyricon. Michael Nyman provided the music which merits attention on its own. Ideally one should be able to turnoff the music and vision and listen to the words, then listen to the words with the music, then just watch the images without sound, and then before experiencing the whole once more spend a day studying the twenty page study of references produced by Steven Marx of Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo and ignores the superficial article in Wikipedia. Most people will not like or enjoy the experience, or devote the time, even to watch the film, Prospero's Books from start to finish, once.

You also have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to experience Monster's Ball the 2001 film which led to an Oscar, A Bafta, a Golden Globe, an MTV award and the Screen Actors Guild award for best female performance to Halle Berry. The film and the award has had its critics among inverted racists who as with the previous film failed to appreciate its brilliance in uncovering layers of human reality. For me this is a film about two individuals deciding that they could share their lives after having to cope with tragedies wish would destroy most people. Billy Boy Thornton lives with his openly racist father whose wife committed suicide. Billy Boy, a widower works with his son, played by the late Heath Ledger who came to the fore with Brokeback Mountain as prison officers, preparing for an execution (The Monster's Ball) which affects them both, but his son more so as he finds it difficult to cope with the event and father and son row, with the consequence that the son kills himself in the presence of his father. Before these events Billy Bob satisfies his sexual needs with functional experiences with a prostitute, but then he becomes impotent and his inability to cope with his life leads him to resign from his career job.

The executed prisoner is black and has committed a crime which justifies execution according to state law and it take places because there are no mitigating circumstances. The man desperately tries to convince his son that while he is has been a bad man the boy represents everything that is good in his life. The boy finds his father's death difficult to cope with and develops an eating disorder and then is fatally knocked down in a hit and run accident in the presence of his mother. Thornton passes by, as do other white drivers, but returns to try and help, having recognised the woman as working in a restaurant he visits. He takes the boy to hospital and after his death he begins a relationship with the mother, who is losing her home, using the rent money to buy alcohol. It is only after they become lovers that Thornton finds out she is the wife of the man he helped to execute, and she only finds this out after she has moved in with him after being evicted. The relationship also faced an early crisis when she visit his home and meets his father who treats her in a stereotype racist way toward a desirable black female. Thornton reacts by placing his diseased father in a nursing home. His father pleads with his son not to be left to die in this way to no avail. The film ends as the new couple sit out eating ice cream looking forward to a future together. In the 1950's British theatre, and much of British film drama and romance was contrived and controlled with at its best the Plays of Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare. Then with Look Back in Anger and the plays of Arnold Wesker a contemporary reality was brought to stage and screen as people were shown to talk and behave as the majority. Room at the Top. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, together with Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey each concluded that one should seize any opportunity which becomes available but then be prepared to pay the price, which in some instances will last a lifetime. The combination of bringing home this reality and living with the threat of an annihilating third world war pushed people further into what is now described as the swinging sixties, although my experience was of generation who cared deeply about others and were prepared to do something about it as well as having some enjoyment with friends and lovers. The Monsters' Ball follows in that tradition of describing things as they are and despite all that had happened to them, and their own part in their respective downfalls, I felt this was a relationship that would not only last but remain meaningful. Neither would ever be able forget their past but the very experiences of pain and failure they had experienced separately would cement them together.

I write this in the early hours of Saturday as the wind howls to gale force with the prospect of reaching hurricane force in some part of the Northern England during the rest of the night. I go to bed content, not so much from the film or writing about them but from the sight of a pure black acyclic canvass. At present its seems wrong to add anything to it, even a signature of some kind on an edge. I feared this would happen. I can see myself wanting to abandon everything else and just explore what I can do and what I cannot.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

J F K and Executive Action

When I commenced writing I thought it would be a ramble. a walk with the object to enjoy the experience rather than getting from A to B as quickly as possible. Most of my writings are rambles. Not that I do not have a writing plan, including a list of subjects, but I remain uncertain what I am going to say until the process begins.

For this piece the list of subjects included the film Executive Action which I came across on a free film channel on Monday afternoon after a good morning when the visit to my GP produced immediate results followed by an excellent breakfast for £1.99 and later shop a shop at the supermarket produced additional bargains; I thought of saying something about the amount of time I spend each day playing games against the computer, and that my evening ended with an interesting film called the Last Glory of Troy, all on a day when it is said over 300 Members of the House of Commons out of some 650 were reported to have received letters asking them to immediately pay back a portion of expense claims from the past five years, or provide the chief investigator and his team with required information and explanation. The team will have had to examine over one million pieces of paper and check the contents to confirm that individuals had made inappropriate from unintentional mistakes all the way to calculated fraud.

I mentioned the hundreds of thousands of pieces of documentary evidence because of the quantity of material that investigators into the killing of President Kennedy in 1963 have had available to them but failed to find the truth, at times deliberately. All the expense claims now being challenged were authorised by officials employed to ensure that they had been made within the rules, rules which the House of Commons, half full with trained lawyers had themselves set. Officials cannot be trusted and Politicians even more so to establish the truth and to protect the public interest.

I had intended keeping to the writing plan after watching the 1973 film Executive Action, made in a laid back documentary style, including available footage of the execution of President Kennedy at 12.30 in Dallas Texas, 22 November 1963 and which has Robert Ryan as a billionaire Texan oil baron complete with his own luxury train unit as a chief instigator of the execution, and Burt Lancaster a disaffected Black Operations organiser for the Government, recruiting and training the three teams of killers and using his extensive contacts to fix the setting for the assassination, trying to bring on aboard a mystery elderly oil magnate figure, suggesting that the man is someone more wealthy and powerful with political and military links to facilitate in effect a coup d’etah and the subsequent cover up.

Despite all the available information secured by the Warren Commission which published some sixteen volumes of evidence and the rest of the information which in theory will become available for public scrutiny in twenty years time when the background work of the House Select Committee on Assassinations should become available, I doubt if it will ever become possible to establish who carried out the execution of the President, who were the top conspirators and who led the cover up and was responsible for the subsequent deaths of many of key figures and witnesses, and with the killing of chief suspect Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby when in police custody the most disturbing of all.

I have used the expression coup d’etah with care because there is evidence that many interests became determined to prevent John Kennedy having a second term of office and with the prospect of him being followed by his brother Bobby and then by younger brother Ted. Whether this desire, and for some an obsessive hatred became translated into the killing of the President remains an unanswered question although the 1978/9 House Special Committee went as far as saying that it was likely there had been a conspiracy and pointed the finger at the named individuals in the Mafia. I have also used the term execution as well as assassination and killing rather than murder which is usually associated to a single act by one more individuals. The idea that one man could kill a leading politician or head of state without significant assistance has always struck me as preposterous in modern times given the scale of the intelligence and military forces used to prevent such an event.

On Tuesday morning when I came to write about the film I remembered that two or three years ago I had bought an inexpensive DVD of the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK, seen in theatre at the time and on TV but which I had not viewed since purchase and realising that both films used similar approaches and covered similar issues, the Oliver Stone film in greater detail, I decided to first watch the DVD before continuing. I then did some simple research and reading from the Internet primarily through Wikipedia and became so engrossed that another 24 hours later I am still at work and what started as a ramble has become a writing marathon.

Because of elapse of time my knowledge had become rusty and I had not kept up with some of the more recent developments including books and films although I did see the 1993 film Ruby which I only vaguely remember, in addition to JFK. I knew something of some of the conspiracy theories involving the Mafia, anti Castro Cubans and the intelligence and secret operations forces of the USA Government. I knew that the single shooter argument had been significantly discredited and had seen the Zapruder film of the shootings. I was not aware of the alleged involvement of Texan Oil businessmen and the alleged connection and involvement of Lyndon B Johnson who had been foisted on Kennedy against his will and who Kennedy planned to drop for the 1964 election.
My usual approach would be to discuss the two films and then attempt to find out how far their contents matched the available facts and then come to judgement and make any general comments about the subject in a wider perspective as well as relating the even to my own experiences, This time I felt the need to approach writing about the subject differently

It is the duty, the responsibility of all government to defend and protect the institutions of government and those who they employ in government work, and this can create problems and have unintended consequence for Representative governments with public access to information civil rights and to an open Criminal Justice system plus strong limitations on the use of executive power in peace times, than it does for dictatorships and hybrid forms of democratic government. One indicator of the extent to which a government is attempting to stick its constitutional ideals is the way it monitors its institutions and the those who work, in theory, on behalf of the people.

This duty general duty of government will include the covering up of mistakes and situations which could seriously undermine public confidence in the institutions, especially if the foundation of the state is threatened, especially if there disclosure of the use of secret operations and those commonly described as Black Ops in peace time.

I also believe that representative governments are more likely than dictatorships to make use of clandestine groups and organisations, especially international groups and organisations, including criminal organisations to undertake such operations which in turn include everything from coup d’etah in other countries, to executions, some made to appear natural deaths or accidents, to break-in’s and bugging. Other methods include discrediting either by the release of provable damaging information or by planting rumour and innuendo to framing individuals resulting in imprisonment and detaining in secured institutions concerned with mental ill health. These methods have become more sophisticated over the years with satellite surveillance, microscopic cameras, listening and tracking devices, together with a range of voluntary and paid informants. In the UK and I would expect in the USA the use of computer databases and integrated systems means that information on people, vehicles, private homes and temporary accommodations and on travel as well as telephone and computer communication can be made available within seconds to anyone, anywhere and at time with the technology.

To undertake undercover security work whether directly or indirectly a Representative government is also more likely to call on a range of individuals to assist on a voluntary or paid basis, under contracts or casually and through blackmail as well as idealism, to assist the state, whereas in the Dictatorship individuals can be recruited, trained and deployed from within the hierarchical organisations of the state and fear and blackmail are more likely to be used to supplement the work of the official forces.

Within the structure of most Representative Government there have until recently been several intelligence gathering and action organisations as well as the management of black operations, involving the three armed forces, the police and the designated government organisations such as in the UK MI 5 and 6 and probably an MI 7 named so because of the fictional character James Bond, in order to contract out Black Ops. Rivalry, competitiveness and failure to communicate between such organisations has been commons.

In addition to its own directly controlled government agencies, a wide range of individuals such as members of the Diplomatic service, the media and personalities able to travel to countries where there are restrictions such as Entertainers, writes, filmmakers, Trade Union and Local Government Officials, Members of Professional bodies and International Sports men and women are often recruited, frequently on a casual basis. Criminals and cranks are also useful because they can be discredited, restrained and got rid off more easily than others.

More recently there has been teh growth of privately organised special security organisations usually staffed by ex military, police and secret service officers. There is also the reciprocal use of the official and black ops services of friendly nations and these days international security organisations and the cooperation of the special action teams employed by the international corporations, Religious bodies because of their innate idealism and fanaticism, international political bodies and politicians, and trade unions and “voluntary” and “Independent” or “charitable” organisations including those providing aide including emergency aid are also fertile recruiting grounds for special missions. This is the way of the world.

The problem is that these systems are also open to misuse although less so under Representative governments than in Dictatorships because the media in our system has an important role as watch dogs along with Opposition Political Parties and independent interests groups.

I also understand why the Kennedy Family aroused such strong emotions in the USA. Jo Kennedy’s record suggested he was right of centre and it is factual that the help of the Mafia was accepted in the campaign where John Kennedy only obtained a 100000 more votes in total than Richard Nixon and major queries arose about the regularity of some voting. Brother Bobby as Attorney General had started his campaign against the Mafia with a dozen times more prosecutions that President Eisenhower. Moreover the Mafia had considerable links with the Anti Castro Cubans because of their involvement in gambling, drugs and vice in Havana before the revolution and they were used by the CIA to help in assassination attempts on Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion. There were many within the CIA, among the Cuban exiles and the crime syndicates who have never forgiven Kennedy for not sending in air power and other direct military assistance to help the invasion when things started to go wrong. President Kennedy had then told the CIA that there was to be no further invasion attempts although he put pressure for action to end the regime and he was not adverse to assassination as long as the Government could not be implicated.

He had also alienated the right in USA because he appeared to be going soft against Communists and to be pro the Blacks and their demand for Civil Rights led by Martin Luther King. He was not only against escalating the USA involvement in Vietnam but asked his officials to prepare a withdrawal plan for all American Forces saying it was not a war which could be won. His successor, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson then initiated a vast increase in the deployment of forces and their weapons creating giant profits for the arms manufacturers and the industries associated with a war machine. Just how many American and Vietnamese lives would have been saved had Kennedy survived the execution will never be known.. Kennedy also negotiated the first Nuclear Testing ban treaty with Russia and the UK. The Kennedy’s were also practicing Catholics, intelligent and cultured without being so sophisticated that they were unable to communicate with voters across States, occupations and economic classes. This alienated a number of groups and interests, especially in middle America and the south. Finally there was the likelihood, not just a threat, of a dynasty with Bobby following John and Ted following Bobby and resulting in a family rule for over two decades and all three continuing to have a powerful roles in each other’s Governments.

It is also important to remember the context in which John Kennedy came to power. Throughout the Western World the role of young people in society was changing as a consequence of economic recovery from the World War, increasing employment opportunities and improved incomes, greater mobility and travel, the development of youth culture through the music industry, increasing educational opportunities and a questioning of traditional authority and its values.

The pill was also producing a sexual revolution with the traditional role and position of females questioned and challenged. This will have appeared a great threat to traditionalists of all kinds especially those on the right, and made worse as the Kennedy’s appeared not just to speak for the new generation but endorsed their values and ideals. It also should not be forgotten that this was time when the activities of Che Guevara threatened to de-stable the business relationships with central and southern America and people like me were being effective in gaining support for a unilateral approach of what many still considered was America’s Chief allay and anti Communist defender in Europe, the UK. There were therefore many ingredients brewing to create more than one plot to kill the President. What I find difficult to understand is that the family and their advisers were not all too aware of this and did not take appropriate precautions. It is fact that for the trip to Dallas where the President was known to be disliked by Democrats supporters as well as Republicans he asked for the security to be low key and the accompanying security men were positioned inside closed vehicles travelling in front and behind and therefore had little value in terms of an attack from a distance during the journey.

For the coup d’etah to work a number of steps were required. The first was effective execution. It would illogical to rely on one shooter when the opportunity was available for others and with the best situation one which enabled triangular shots, almost simultaneously. For this to take place in Dallas the motorcade had to be diverted from along the main road into an area where shooters could placed in the School Book Depository, in another high rise building and from an open grassed bank called a knoll, on top of which was fence leading to a railway line with goods carrying containers - boxcars. As was to be demonstrated it was possible to get one or two clear shots at the President from the School Book Depository when the President was travelling along the main road before the detour of a large tree, but this was a significantly better location for three shooters and for those from the other vantage points.

The films suggests that the route was changed at the request of the plotters and they had the power to do this but I have not seen the evidence that this was If the evidence is that the route was changed shortly before the visit then it would have make planning and training for the three point attack more difficult without inside information and influence, The outline of the route appeared in the Dallas media on November 16th with more precise details on the 19th. I assume the information included times.

The evidence for there being three shooters is overwhelming and that it was immediately dismissed by the authorities once Oswald had been shot and by the Warren Commission is proof of a state and federal cover up at the highest level. My considered judgement is that too little attention has been given to the cover ups and to the premature deaths of such a large number of key individual who became identified as having important roles in the unravelling of what happened.
Fifty six peopled provided statements that the shots came from the Depository or that direction and thirty people said shots were fired from the Grass Knoll. I have not tracked down how many said the shots came from the Dal Tex Building opposite the Depository and which appears confirmed by the trajectory of a bullet which hit the curb and then wounded a bystander. It significant the Warren Commission did not interviewed some of the witnesses to the shootings and to strangers in the vicinity of the shooting. A crucial piece of evidence arise from the Zapruder film and its analysis and that of the acoustic evidence and although experts disagree this evidence points to more than one shooting point.

The second area of dispute is the number of bullets recovered and the number of injuries to the President in terms of entry and exist wounds. There is general acceptance that the President was hit by at least two bullets despite attempts to prove that one bullet, known as the magic bullet could enter, exit and re-enter the body changing direction more than once! The bystander was hit by a bullet from a different direction and the State Governor by a separate one, a belief strongly held by his widow and family in Her book - From Love Field Our Final Hours. Attempts have also been made to demonstrated that it was impossible for one shooter to have fired and reloaded and aimed the rifle used from the School Depository three times within the time frame of the recorded hits, even if an expert marksman, which Oswald was not, had been able to hit a moving target from the distance and location.

The question ought to have been settled through the report of the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy but he was told to destroy his records which he did by Federal Military and Naval men who immediately took control. The brain of the president had been removed but disappeared when it was asked to be produced for the House Special Committee.

It is not surprising that immediately the President was hit the vehicles quickly moved away to the nearest hospital and that the police and security services immediately tried to identify and apprehended anyone in the area who could have been involved

A number of individual were identified with some being held in custody for up to four days, which means they were held after Oswald was killed. At the Dal Tex Building the police found an ex convict in the building and there was also a man in a leather jacket who was considered to be acting suspiciously. One man was seen leaving the Knoll by a witness who then died in questionable circumstances. The police did arrest and detain three men who they described as travelling hobo in a box car in the rail yard behind the Knoll although other witnesses said they were well dressed and clean shaven. The police explanation was that the men had spent the previous night at a hostel in Dallas where they had showered and shaved. Amazingly the Dallas authorities lost their records of these men, their fingerprints and their photos. Later records on men detailed by the police reappeared among other thousands of other documents but these could have been created later and planted.

More attention has been given to allegation that Howard Hunt used by Nixon in Watergate and involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion when local CIA Director of operations, was said to be one the men apprehended by the police and that he was reported seen in a coat and Fedora Hat crossing over the road close to the assassination spot just after it had taken place. Hunt in his official Testimony stated that he had been in Washington on the Day. The allegations about Hunt being in Dallas had appeared in a magazine and Hunt successfully won a libel suit in which Richard Helms the CIA national director of Special Operations had given evidence along with Gordon Liddy and others. However when the judgement went to appeal it was overturned and new trial then held was lost. Then after his death his son released a taped death bed “confession.”

The tape stated CIA agents Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey and David Sanchez Morales had been directly involved in the assassination and that a French gunman had shot at Kennedy from the grass knoll. He claimed that the Vice President was behind the action.

It also emerged that one of the alleged tramps found in the box car was Frank Sturgis who like Hunt had been involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion and who Hunt named in his confessions. Sturgis was identified by a witness as the gunman on the knoll, a witness who then died in questionable circumstances.

A third individual involved was said to have been a double agent working for the CIA and the Mafia with an assignment to work in Dallas and producing fake credentials. A number of witnesses separately referred to men they encountered on the day who claimed to be State Security agents and who produced credentials but these reports did not match the locations of actual agents who were deployed on the day. However the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978 rejected the identifications and involvement of people such as Hunt and Sturgis.

The belief that Hunt and Strugis could have been involved gained strength because of the involvement of the CIA and the Mafia with the anti Castro Cubans in the USA and the ill fated Bay of Pigs invasion. From those who had lost relatives all way up to and including Richard Helms Director of CIA’s Special Operations who had sponsored the attack they were angered and horrified that the President had not used air cover on the day although understandably the President and his advisers would know that to have done so would have implicated his government in the assault. They were even more hostile when he ordered the abandonment of any new plans for an invasion. This in fact did not mean that he had gone soft on Cuba and it is known that some 4000 intervals were deployed to enforce and extend the economic blockade and it is known that the President and Bobby exerted pressure for the regime to be brought to an end, but without an invasion.

This is not to imply that Helms had any role in what happened in Dallas in 1963 because after falling out with Kennedy in 1962 he went off to Vietnam to overthrow President Ngo Dinh Diem. He was brought back to Washington by Lyndon Johnson who made him Deputy Director and then Director of the CIA.. Nixon took a different view about Helms who had tried to distance his agency from Watergate with some success and was then sent off to become the Ambassador to the Shah of Iran. Helms public persona became tarnished in some eyes where he was found to have lied to the Senate to protect the still secret involvement of the USA government in the attempt to stop the socialist Salvadore Allende coming to power in Chile and the subsequent successful help to de-stable and end his administration The CIA channelled millions to fund opposition groups to the populist regime. One of the noteworthy aspects of his life his life is that Helms was responsible 150 research projects designed to explore the possibilities of Mind Control and in 1972 he ordered the destruction of most of the records so that to this day the full extent of the project remains unknown, Before he died in 2002 he was able to look back on an extraordinary life studying in Switzerland where he learnt to speak fluent French and German and then working in Germany where he interviewed Hitler during the 1936 Olympics. In 1943 he joined the OSS Secret Intelligence Branch because of his ability to speak German and at 33 he was put in charge of counter intelligence in Germany Austria and Switzerland. Later it is understood he had a role in bringing Saddam Hussein into power. The Film the Good Shepherd is loosely based on his life

That the Mafia was involved directly or indirectly in the conspiracy to execute President Kennedy became one of the stronger possibilities considered by the House Special Committee who were provided information that the CIA had worked closely with the Mafia and anti Castro Cuban exiles because of their previous relationships in developing the invasion plans.

Mafia criminals Carlos Marcello from New Orleans, Sam Giacana, Johnny Roselli, Charles Nicoletti and Santo Trafficante all confirmed that they had worked with Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa and the CIA on plans to assassinate Castro.

Their thanks for these efforts was that Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General dramatically increased the number of prosecutions against the crime bosses. I have previously written about the crime boss Joseph Bonanno, the subject of a four hour two part TV drama and in the book written by his Son- Bound by Honour A Mafioso’s Story there is an explanation of the long standing ties between the Mafia and anti Castro exiles in the USA and the anger with the Kennedy’s because of the Bay of Pigs failure and Bobby’s campaign. They were also angered because of their efforts to get Kennedy elected did not appear appreciated.

It was Bonanno who identified that Jack Ruby was an associate of Sam Giacana. In 2006 the FBI revealed that mobster Carlos Marcello had confessed in detail to having organised the Kennedy assassination which was immediately given credence because previously the House Committee in 1979 had stated that they believed Marcello had been involved in a Mafia conspiracy. James Files is a man serving a 30 year prison sentence for killing a policeman and he has claimed that he worked with the CIA and Johnny Roselli and Charles Nicoletti at the behest of Sam Giacana to assassinate the President.

It amazed me at the time and half the world with me that Jack Ruby had been allowed to be in such close proximity to Oswald so that he was able to shoot and kill him. However I was not subsequently surprised when Ruby successfully appealed against his conviction and sentence and that before the new trial commenced he died, allegedly of lung cancer. Ruby had been a petty juvenile offender who became involved with the Teamsters and in 1939 he was accused of being involved in the fatal shooting of the Attorney for the Union President. He was drafted into the Air Force as a mechanic in 1943 and was honourably discharged. He returned to Chicago and in 1947 moved to Dallas. In Dallas he managed strip clubs, dance halls and night clubs bribing police officers with drink and girls and narcotics. He also made trips to Cuba, involved with gamblers and Mafia boss Santo Trafficante. Jack was also a frequenter of a restaurant in Dallas run by the Campasi brothers who were Lieutenants of Carlos Marcello. The day before the assassination Ruby went to the Campasi restaurant, and he turned to the brothers for help as soon as he was arrested for killing Oswald.

There are also those who say that in fact Ruby was a relatively nobody loser and this his alleged links with the Mafia were no more than using restaurants and managing facilities frequented by police and gangsters and a situation with is universal and does not mean that everyone participating is therefore involved with each other, let alone in conspiracies to murder.

It was thought at the time of his prosecution for murder with malice that a defence of murder without malice could have been used and with it a sentence of only 5 years. Instead his defence lawyer went for legal insanity which was rejected. He was convicted and received the death sentence. After conviction Ruby attempted to give evidence to the Warren Commission which amazingly showed no immediate interest, An Alleged Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran has gone on record of staying that in a conversation with Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters, Hoffa said that Ruby had been told to arrange for police officers to kill Oswald and when he failed to achieve this he had no alternative but to kill the man himself before he was taken away to prison or face execution himself for the failure.

The Warren Commission did then come to interview Ruby following representations by his sister and Ruby pressed them to take him to Washington as he feared for his life. At one point he claimed in had been infected with cancer in order to silence him and that he knew who had killed the President as part of a plot to overthrow the Government. However in his final deathbed statement he said that he alone had been responsible for the killing of Oswald which can be interpreted as a factual statement that he pulled the trigger unless he added that it was done without any pressure from anyone else whatever their motives. In 1992 a film on the life of Ruby concentrated on his publicity seeking personality, his emotional volatility, his long standing association with organised crime and the police.

In JFK attention is given to Rose Cherami a 41 year old prostitute and Drug addict who was arrested on the Highway in Louisiana on November 20, in a distressed condition claiming that there was a plot to kill the President and during the period in custody she convinced Lt Francis Fruge of her concerns and then after Ruby killed Oswald she claimed that she had worked for Ruby as a stripper and he and Oswald were close and regular homosexual friends. Fruge confirmed his knowledge to the House Select Committee. In 1965 Rose was killed in a hit and run accident

It is now time to move on to the role of Lee Harvey Oswald and, the New Orleans connection and the investigation of New Orleans District Attorney and the trial of Clay Shaw for his alleged part in the assassination plot.

Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans in 1939 and before he was 18 he had lived in 22 different homes and 12 schools. He could be aggressive and was professional assessed as having a disturbed and unstable personality and is said to have been dyslexic having difficulty to spell and write coherently!

There are two views about his alleged early belief in socialism, Marxism and communism, One is that this was all baloney and that his interest was paperback trash. Despite his background he successfully enlisted in the US Marines and in 1957 he was posted to a Japan Air base where he had direct access to highly classified information, a base from where the U2 Spy planes undertook recognisance missions over the Soviet Union. He was back in the USA where in 1959 he took a proficiency test with results which were rated poor. There are different reports as whether he had taught himself or had been taught Russian. He was by then subscribing to a Communist Paper and he had continued get into trouble with fights and a demotion. It is therefore not surprising that when he falsely requested early discharge to look after his mother this was granted, He was just 19 years of age.

He used his savings to fly to France, and then after a week in England, to fly to Helsinki where he successfully applied for a Soviet visa and travelled by train overnight to Moscow.

When his first application to remain in the USSR was refused he told the US Embassy he wished to renounce his citizenship and then told the Russians he had information useful to them. A Visa to stay was granted and in the USA his record was amended from honourable discharge to undesirable. This recorded change is significant.

Although he wanted to stay in Moscow the Russians sent him to Minsk, given a job but was also subsidised to enable a life style significantly better than his colleagues with a good flat. One version is that he kept in contact with KGB during his stay while the other is that the KGB kept him under surveillance during his 34 month there

During his stay Gary Powers was shot down from a U2 plane which had set off from the air base where Oswald had been stationed. In 1961 he met and quickly married a Russian girl, Marina aged 19 years. Their first child was born 11 months later. Before the birth he applied to return to the USA with his bride and this was agreed returning to Dallas Fort Worth area in June 1962, While this was few months before the Cuban Missile Crisis relations between the USA and Russia had deteriorated. That he was allowed home at all is to say the least odd and that he was not immediately arrested and investigated for treason is extraordinary. It is known that the CIA thought his wife was a Russian Spy although she could not speak English.

Between then and working at the Book Depository it is known that Oswald had several jobs, caused problems, joined an anti Communist émigrés group and mistreated his wife.

There now comes an incident which neither film reports and which suggests that Oswald may have been more actively involved than some believe.

An attempt was made on the life of Major General Edwin Walker, an anti communist segregationist Member of the John Birch Society who was arrested and charged with insurrection, seditious conspiracy and other charges but the local grand jury refused to indict him. Later the authorities claimed that the retrieved bullet had been shot from the same riffle and was similar to two of the bullets used in the Kennedy killing. The Warren Commission conclude that he had been the attempted assassin and the US Select Committee of Assassinations stated the evidence strongly suggested that Oswald did this shooting on April 10th 1963. However it is important to draw attention that the assassin missed and that although Oswald had trained as a marksman when a service man he had just qualified.

It is my understanding that someone using Oswald’s address and signature, although with a different name purchased the rifle and the hand gun by mail order and that the hand gun was that used to kill the policeman after the Kennedy Assassination. It is odd that having gone to trouble of buy the weapons through mail order he then visited a gun dealer and had a telescopic sight fitted giving is real name and address. There is also a report of someone claiming to be Oswald having a row with a car dealer said to be at a time when he was elsewhere. Much has been made of a series of photographs including one showing Oswald with the rifle, a photo which experts say is authentic and his wife that she took the photo. Others however claim that from the shadow on the face and ground the photo could have been an amalgam with the faced of Oswald superimposed on the body

Oswald out of work yet again returned to New Orleans and was joined by his wife where he attempted to set up a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a communist body but was rejected because having no previous contact the organisation was suspicious of him. He then lost his job in New Orleans and attempted to join an anti Castro organisation and a few days after this he was handing out pro Castro leaflets. A fight let to Oswald being arrested for fighting with a Pro Castro activist.

What is then known is that while his wife returned to Dallas, Oswald took a bus to Mexico telling everyone he was on his way to Cuba before returning to the Soviet Union. He eventually obtained a Visa to Cuba, from the Mexico City embassy on October 18th after going back to Dallas on October 3rd and gaining a low paid job making the orders from at the School Books Depository on October 16th. At this time he lived in a rooming house during the week under a false name and spent weekends with his wife who was staying with friends while awaiting the birth of their second child born on October 20th. It is during this time that there is record of CIA agents visiting his wife because it is said they thought she was a Russian Spy.

On November 21st he got help from a friend for a ride into Irving, ostensibly to pick up curtain rods and returned carrying a long paper bag.

The film JFK makes much of the difficulty Oswald had in being a shooter let alone the only shooter of the President. During the morning Oswald worked with his supervisor on the sixth floor of the building and then coinciding with the period just before motorcade by he went down five flights of stairs to a rest area for his lunch where he was seen by another member of staff. He then claimed that he went up one floor to purchase a cold drink from a machine,

Within a couple of minutes of the shooting a patrolman had entered the building contacted the supervisor and they were making their way up the building when they met Oswald on the second floor and after the supervisor confirmed that he was an employed worker he was allowed to continue back downstairs with a note being made that he did not appear flustered or out of breadth,

Much has been subsequently made of the apparent fact that Oswald had to travel back upstairs from the rest room, collect the rifle from where it had been hidden, settle and prepare for the arrival of the motorcade and then fire one or more shots from the rifle, then hide the weapon on the side furthest away from the window and then calmly walk downstairs. This does not ring true about everything else that is known about the man. If he was the shootist did he manage more than one shot and did he hit the President causing the death? These are questions which will never be known.

What happened next does fit the Oswald personality but questions have also been raised. He was the only employee to leave the building and he is got on a bus and then a taxi to his lodgings when it is assumed he collected his hand gun

He was next seen by a patrolman in his vehicle 1.3K away. The vehicle stopped and the patrolman is thought to have called upon Oswald to stop whereupon Oswald fired four shots killing the officer. Still holding the weapon he continued to walk away as witnessed by a number of other individuals in the street. Oswald then made his way along the road stopping at the entrance to a shoe store and then entered the nearby Cinema Theatre without buying a ticket. He was followed by the store owner who had been listening to the radio and was suspicious of Oswald and he advised the Ticket Cashier who called the police. There was a violent struggle it which Oswald was reported to have attempted to use the weapon

District Attorney Garrison and his team behind the prosecution of Clay Shaw for his alleged involvement in the murder of the President attempts to show that the distance and time scale made it questionable that Oswald was able to reach where the police office was killed and then the Shoe shop and Theatre, By 2pm he was at the police station and shortly charged with both murders and then appeared before a local Justice of the Peace to be held for the murders. During the time at the Police station media reports had access to Oswald twice and he denied involvement in the killings.

Oswald was then interviewed at the police station by a large number of people during the next two days but no official record was made of the interviews.

At 11.21 on Sunday morning, handcuffed to an officer and with TV cameras allowed to be present in the basement of the police station to show the event live Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby the manager of various Dallas night places for male entertainment. Oswald‘s wife was taken into custody and eventually released with National Security Protection until her evidence to the Warren Commission. She then returned to Dallas where she remarried and still lives, Her story was the subject of a 1993 TV Film Fatal Deception.

The Executive Order and JFK films claim that Oswald was framed to be the only killer. investigated at length. Some are fantastical but plausible in the crazy world where the highest officers of state lie in the national, party political and personal interest and where the intelligence services use a wide range of individuals, some cranks and some posing as cranks.

One fantastical was explored by the British writer Michael Eddows who wrote books published in the USA and in the UK claiming that during his stay in the USA Oswald was replaced by a double who returned to the USA with Marina with the expressed intention of causing problems which led to the successful assassination attempt, This led to an exhumation of the body with the permission of his former wife in 1981 and although badly decomposed because of water penetration into the coffin, tests confirmed that the body was that of Oswald.

A 1966 FBI document revealed that the head of the KGB who was in New York at the time of the shooting was convinced the assassination had been organised and later a high ranking Soviet bloc defector described a conversation with Nicolae Ceausescu in which the former leader claimed that the Kremlin had killed or plotted to kill ten international leaders including Imre Nagy, the Shah of Iran, the Italian Palmiro Togliatti and President Kennedy. He provided details of the plot to kill Mao Zadong naming Lin Biao of the KGB and that everyone in his circle was convinced the KGB was involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Retired senior CIA officer Cord Meyer had stated that the CIA had learnt from a defector that the KGB had organised the assassination out of revenge for the Cuban missile crisis. The problem is that Cord himself was also named as possible conspirator in the killing of the President.

While the idea that a Soviet planted double was killed by Ruby has been exploded, the existence of a look alike gained credence when it was revealed that in a memo written before the killing J Edgar Hoover stated that an impostor appeared to be using Oswald’s personal details. This confirms that he had a relationship or was under surveillance of the FBI in addition to his admitted involvement with the CIA, This aspect was covered in a 1996 book -The Second Oswald by Professor Richard H Popkin but the allegations have been countered by the evidence on handwriting and the photograph.

In 1995 a former US Army intelligence Officer and then an assistant with the National Security Service published evidence that both the CIA and the FBI had deliberately tampered with their records about Oswald and they withheld information which could have alerted authorities that he posed a threat to the President. He subsequently named someone he thought was a key figure in the killing. Separately a former CIA officer David Atlee Phillips was said to also be Maurice Bishop who worked with an organisation of anti Castro Cubans called Alpha 66 and its founder claimed that at meetings with Phillips, Oswald was also present.

The notion that the CIA had been involved was enhanced by the findings of the House Select Committee. In concluding that there had been a conspiracy to kill the President, the Committee expressed surprise and concern that the Security Service had not provided adequate protection in Dallas, or analysed, investigated and used information in their possession which could have led to proving better security on the trip. It was usual to sweep the area before the visit and post armed agents on roof tops and other vantage tops on the look out for snipers and others behaving suspiciously Recent employees of buildings alongside the roof or buildings where the public had ease fo access would have been given special attention. The House Committee also drew attention that the President had asked that his security be discrete and in the film Executive Action this fact was reported to the conspiracy organisers in Texas as adding to the opportunity which the visit provided them to make the kill.

It is now appropriate to deal with the inquiries of New Orleans District Attorney which led to the trial of the cultured influential and alleged homosexual businessman Clay Shaw charged with conspiracy to murder the President. On November 25th a New Orleans lawyer Dean Andrews Jnr, the day after Ruby killed Oswald, contacted the FBI to say that on the day of the shooting he had been contacted by a man calling himself Clay Barnard asking if he would defend Oswald. Something about which Mr Andrews then gave evidence to the Warren Commission.

Later in the month a New Orleans private investigator, Jack Martin made claims this one of his colleagues, David Ferrie was involved in the assassination. Ferrie was reported to be working for a lawyer retained by the New Orleans Mafia boss. The matter was investigated by District Attorney Garrison but not progressed although Garrison remained concerned and read the whole of the Warren Commission publications and was struck by inconsistencies and many unanswered questions. He decided to reopen the investigation and instructed his staff to give the matter their full attention.

Earling Carothers Garrison, known as Jim, became convinced of a local conspiracy behind the killings which must have had links with the security services, the military, government and business. Some continue to believe that he attempted to connect coincidences and hindsight into a conspiracy without evidence, some thought that although he had the fundamentals of what had happened he failed in the task, while others that he was himself the victim of a cover up stretching down from the federal Government.

Garrison did not believe he had the evidence to convict Clay Shaw who he believed was Clay Barnard, a man with links to the CIA, and with Ferrie who in turn had links with Oswald and in JFK. Garrison was persuaded by an unknown high level and informed official from Washington to go to a trial before further action is stopped. This man reminds of Deep Throat, the informant in the uncovering of Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon who had been defeated by Kennedy. The informant tells Garrison that he is closer to the truth than he realises and that by go to trial with his assessment of the full story, it could persuade others to come forward and break the cover up conspiracy.

After starting his investigation Garrison was contacted by a serving prisoner, a male prostitute who claimed that he had heard former Catholic student Priest Ferrie discussing the proposed coup d’etah with a man he knew as Clay Barnard when attending homosexual parties at his home. He was able to described the internal contents of the home including having a meal sitting at one end of a long table with the meal served by a liveried waiter

Clay Barnard is identified as Clay Shaw but on interview Shaw denies this, denies being a homosexual and of knowing Ferris or the convict Willie O Keefe or being involved with the CIA.

Clay Shaw was discharged from the army in 1946 having served in the war with the General staff and was decorated by three nations -. the USA France and Belgium. After the war he returned to his home town and established a Trades centre for the sale of domestic and imported goods, He became an important figure in the community, known for his charitable work and for trying to preserve buildings in the French Quarter.

The centrepiece of the Shaw Trial was the testimony of Perry Russo who claimed that he and attended a party with Oswald, Ferrie and Clay Barnard who he identified in court as Clay Shaw. He said this group had discussed killing Kennedy. The problem with this testimony is a that a note of meeting between Russo and a staff member of the District Attorney indicated that while he had met Shaw twice it was not at the party. Another witness who said he had met Clay Barnard at a building owned by Shaw and who had admitted to him being the leading citizen was discredited as being paranoid.

Also at the Trial was Guy Bannister, a career member of the FBI who set up a private investigation team, He was a outspoken anti Communist, a member of the Minutemen and the John Birch Society and the Louisiana Committee on Un-American Activities, a leading figure in Anti Castro activities including the Operation Mongoose where the CIA used 4000 individuals to undermine the Cuban economy in every and anyway. Bannister was said to be running a training camp for Cuban Exiles although most of these allegation could not be proved.

Jack Martin lived in New Orleans and worked with Guy Bannister as a Private investigator and blew the whistle on Banister and David Ferrie, Martin was really Edward Suggs with a long history of coming to the attention of the police for impersonating them and disturbing the peace as well as performing illegal abortions.

Ferrie had trained to become a Catholic Priest but was dismissed after taking boys to a brothel and other misdemeanours. He subsequently became a pilot but lost his job in 1961 after being twice arrested on moral charges. He then went to work for Guy Banister who he had come to know previously because of similar political interests, He was an outspoken anti communist and also started to work with the right wing Cuban exile Sergio Arcacha Smith head of the CIA backed Cuban Revolutionary Front in New Orleans and in early 1962 his office was in the same building of his friend Guy Banister Ferrie and Smith were directly involved in a raid on ammunitions depot in Louisiana from which weapons, grenades and ammunition was taken. Ferrie took up invitations to speak to civic groups on political issues and he launched such a tirade against Kennedy that he was asked to leave the podium when addressing the Military Order of World Wars. Ferrie and Banister worked for New Orleans Mafia Boss Carols Marcello at one point in an attempt to block his extradition back to Guatemala. It is claimed Ferrie flew Marcello to the USA from Guatemala, It was said the a deal was made in which Marcello would make substantial donations to the anti Castro movement in return for concession in Havana when Castro was overthrown.

November 22 1963 was a day when Bannister was in a great mood because Marcello was acquitted in the deportation case and Kennedy had been killed. Martin who had been drinking with his boss was shocked by the openness of what Bannister was saying that the two got into an argument and Bannister pistol whipped Martins resulting in his having to taken to Hospital. Among the issues which Martin then brought to the attention of Garrison was that Ferrie had revealed to him plans to kill Kennedy and that Ferrie’s ability as a pilot was to be used in the getaway after the killing, Martin thought it was Ferrie who had taught Oswald to use a rifle with a telescopic lens Martins went on a search for photographs showing that Ferrie and Oswald had an association going back to the time when Ferrie was adult member and Oswald a youth member of the Local Civil Air Patrol group,

A photograph was located showing the two at the same eat out with others. Ferrie in turn commenced his own follow up visiting Oswald’s landlady and a former neighbour to scotch a report that Oswald had Ferrie’s Library card in his possession when arrested, Martins also made other allegations including that Ferrie had hypnotised Oswald, This is not as fanciful as it seems taking account that within five years the head of the CIA had ordered the destruction of the records of the secret 150 research projects into Mind control which the CIA had been funding.

Garrison became convinced that Bannister, Ferrie and Shaw had been actively involved in the plot to kill the President and that Oswald had been selected as the fall guy. Less than a week after the New Orleans State’s Item newspaper broke the news of the Garrison investigation in 1969, Ferrie was found dead at home. The cause of death was said to be natural but two suicide notes were also found. The day the story broke Ferrie had telephoned a Garrison aide to say that the publicity meant he was a dead man. Garrison was convinced Ferrie was murdered

Ferrie had denied knowing Oswald but six witnesses stated that Oswald had attended meetings of the Civil Air Patrol which Ferrie then headed. In 1978 a young FBI informant also claimed that Ferrie and Oswald continued to be in contact and that Sergio Smith knew Oswald,

The former Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of the CIA said that Ferrie was connected to the CIA with involvement in Cuban activities.

Sergio Smith had moved to Texas from New Orleans before the trial and the Governor of Texas refused the request from Garrison that Smith be extradited back to New Orleans to give evidence at the trial of Clay Shaw,

As other witnesses were discredited it was not surprising that the Jury took only an hour to find Clay Shaw not guilty. Shaw maintained his lack of knowledge and contact with everyone mentioned and that he had an involvement with the CIA. In 1979 Richard Helms testified under oath that Clay had been one of the 150000 businessmen, journalists and others who had been contracted, that is paid by the CIA for their services and that Clay’s role had been to provide information on his visits abroad, mostly in Latin America.

Clay Shaw died in 1975 aged 61 from alleged natural causes with no autopsy performed. In the Final Report of the House Select Committee it was concluded that the Committee was inclined to believe that Oswald had been in the company of Ferrie, if not also Clay Shaw during the three months before the assassination and that witnesses at the trial had established an association between the three men without proving what that association was about.

I have to make the point that it would not be surprising that in the circles of the Mafia, the Cuban Exiles and Right wing fanatics who hated Kennedy there would be kudos in being thought to have played a part in the killing, just as those who the CIA used in their operations in relation to Cuba may well have overplayed their role and significance whereas those who were more directly involved in the plot or worked closely with CIA especially from ideals and patriotism would have taken steps guard against their involvement being made public or risking the position of other.

(For the record in JFK Tommy Lee Jones played Shaw, and Kevin Costner Garrison, Garry Oldman played Oswald who met Marina and her two daughters as part of preparations for his role. Kevin Bacon played Willie O Keefe teh convict. Jack Lemon Jack Martin, Sissy Spacek Garrison‘s wife and Donald Sutherland the Washington mystery man.

There have been several works concentrating on the role of Oswald including three films using the device of a trial. In 1986 London weekend Television carried out an unscripted trial over 21 hours in length using real lawyers and a real Judge).


One of less known conspiracies has been promoted by a veteran police officer Craig Roberts in his book - Kill Zone 1994 and Jim Marris in his Book Crossfire. These argued the killing had been organised by those hostile to Executive action taken by the President allegedly related to his approach towards maintaining the Federal reserves

I cannot end without making reference to the clam made by Garrison at the Trial and in the film that Texan Vice President Lyndon B Johnson was responsible or at best had prior knowledge of the plot and took no action to prevent the killing.

In addition to the claims of Howard Hunt previously reported the major allegation comes from a mistress of the Vice President who with an employee of Clint Murchison Texan Oil Magnate. She claimed that LBJ attended a dinner at the Murchison’s mansion shortly before the assassination after which LBJ is alleged to have told his mistress that the Kennedy‘s will never embarrass him again. In 2003 a book was published by Barr McClellan called Blood Money and Power. How LBJ killed JFK. The book claims that the motive was that Johnson was to be dropped as Vice President in the 1964 elections, and that he wanted to have the power to cover scandals about himself. It argues that he was assisted by his friend and attorney Edward Clark and that a smudged fingerprint found at the Depository belonged to a Johnson associate who had undertaken the shooting and that the operation had been financed by Texan oil magnates including Murchison and one name other. Claims of the leadership in the plot by Oil magnates was a key aspect of the film Executive Action. When the book was used for a TV series on the Men who Killed Kennedy shown on the History Channel the family of LBJ and his former Aides made representations and it was subsequently agreed not to show the programme again. It could be argued that the Johnson reversal of the Kennedy approach to Vietnam and his decisions on Richard Helms adds to the conspirator beliefs about his role

There is also the contrasting record on domestic matters after he gained power in his own right in 1964.It is one of the vest records of the 20th century with signing legislation which upheld civil rights, introduced Medicare and Medicaid, furthered environmental protection and promoted education as well as programmes to help the poor. He laid the foundation for fundamental changes which have brought President Obama into Office forty years later.

I would like to believe that if these is some form of self aware conscious being after physical death, the three Kennedy brothers now look onto Obama’s America with broad satisfied smiles on their faces. However I fear more those with a continuing hatred of the 20th century enlightenment and which will have deepened with the election of President Obama.