LAST WORD: MY INDICTMENT OF THE CIA IN THE MURDER OF JFK
By Mark Lane
Reviewed by Steven R. Maher
This is a book that does not live up to its rather flamboyant title. One expected, with a title like this, that it would have a “smoking gun”; i.e., some documentary evidence the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did in fact assassinate President John F. Kennedy (JFK) on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. But in reality, this book is an episodic recount of how Attorney Mark Lane handled the fall out from his 1966 classic “Rush to Judgment”. The conclusion that the CIA assassinated JFK is based on much speculation by Lane. This is not to say that the CIA didn’t kill Kennedy; just that this book makes a very poor case for that particular argument.
The case Lane makes for the CIA’s involvement centers around a September 1963 alleged Oswald visit to the Cuban and Russian embassies to get a visa to travel to Cuba. Lane believes that an imposter impersonating Oswald visited the embassies in an effort to implicate the Cubans in the assassination. In fact, photographs later released by the CIA of the man showed that it definitely was not Oswald.
Lane further argues that the CIA had a history of murdering several foreign leaders, in the “notorious “Phoenix” program murdered tens of thousands of Vietnamese, that the CIA opposed Kennedy’s plans to withdraw from Vietnam and make peace with Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro. From these facts, he leaps to the conclusion that the CIA murdered JFK because it had a motive and the means to do so.
Lane wrote this book apparently for the JFK assassination novices who know little of the history of this crime. He reviews such basics as the Warren Commission and how it was dominated by the CIA director Allen Dulles, who JFK fired for lying about the Bay of Pigs; the magic bullet theory by which the Warren Commission explained how Oswald was able to get off three shots and inflict multiple wounds on Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connolly; the “grassy knoll” from which a second assassin supposedly fired the fatal head shot; and the Zapruder film, a close up amateur video by Abraham Zapruder, arguallbly the most studied film in history.
Much of the book is spent detailing how Lane battled his own critics. There is a lengthy recount of the unsuccessful suit against him by Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, whom Lane accused being part of the CIA plot to murder JFK. Lane was the frequent target of Warren Commission supporters, who Lane reviles at length in this book.
There are so many theories about the Kennedy assassination: the Russians, the pro-Castro Cubans, anti-Castro Cubans, organized crime, the CIA, military intelligence, organized crime, southern racists, Kennedy successor Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kenendy nemesis Richard M. Nixon, and the hundreds of small time confessors to the crime.
What this book sounds like is that Lane is cashing in on the hungry market of avid Kennedy assassination readers. With its glossy cover and flamboyant title, it appears to be marketed to attract a bookstore patron into shelling out $24.95 to buy a book with little new evidence to reveal.