This is one of three reviews written simultaneously on the MVD / Bruder Releasing Inc.'s riveting revisitations of the JFK assassination, all of them two hours long, absolutely absorbing, and witheringly factual, most if not all the data arising from impeachable and deeply experienced sources. In this review, to the side of the film's specific premise, I am revealing that I side with a gentleman not included in any of the DVDs: USAF Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a latterday manifestation of Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler (USMC, wrote War is a Racket) as well as one of the top military minds this country has ever produced. His assessment is that the CIA was the central figure in the treasonous caper, revealed when a CIA manager called Agency bodyguards away from the limousine as the Kennedy "parade" rolled towards the infamous grassy knoll in Dallas. Videotape exists of the incident, and it damns the CIA as, if not the initiator of the event, then at the very least a prime and intimate abettor and co-conspirator.
If you recall the Oliver Stone movie—and who doesn't?—the Mr. X character was a combination of Prouty and another man, Richard Case Nagell, a military officer who had gained knowledge of the assassination before it was put into motion and who tried to stop the murder. In what any conspiracy researcher well knows is typical of events in the JFK case from that day to this, Nagel was finally, in 1995, 32 years after the event, in the process of being contacted and interviewed by the Assassinations Review Record Board and was ready to testify when…the very day after the Board mailed him a letter and notice, he was found dead of an apparent heart attack. There are in fact at least 100 very strange deaths of people involved in the assassination and its aftermath inquiries. This is just one of them.
Spooks is dedicated to an in-depth examination of the figure Chauncey Marvin Holt, a guy who was something of a jack-of-all-trades criminal's criminal. Mayer Lansky even referred to him as a renaissance man when it came to highly skilled criminality. Holt was a polymath—a pilot, mathematics/accounting whiz, oil painter, one-ring circus performer [trapeze artist, tightrope, etc.], and munitions expert among other things in addition to his underworld talents—and was loaned by The Mob to the CIA, becoming an intimate to 'spooks' (CIA deep cover agents) and 'cowboys' (independent contractors carrying out CIA work far removed from attachable accountability). Even as a youth, Holt's head stuck out above the crowd, especially when he got involved in bootlegging, and interested J. Edgar Hoover. The direct interview with Holt in this documentary was made one week before his death (so the question arises: was he rubbed out like so many others?).
What emerges from the interview is fascinating even beyond the JFK hit (f'rinstance, didja know Meyer Lansky was a math whiz and bought books of math problems, working them out just for the hell of it?), and Holt proves to be a unique individual in a way few ordinary citizens could hope to equal no matter what their calling and ways, all of which of course made him all the more valuable to the two mobs: the Mafia and the CIA. Both needed someone other than lugs for the think-work. Spooks deals extensively with Holt's story and puts a rare human angle on crime and criminals, but it also demonstrates how easily one could be lassoed into the murky world of Intel and mob work, the two being almost indistinguishable, save perhaps for the fact that the CIA keeps emerging as the more evil, traveling well beyond fulfilling the illicit needs of the Everyman (gambling, prostitution, drugs, etc.) that the Mafia does.
The first half of the film carefully builds up the background to the JFK hit, and the second part painstakingly re-creates the entire ramp-up to and on the day of Dallas. The net is cast wide and comes up with a shocking assemblage of personalities known and unknown, all tied together to kill the "leader" of the "free world". You think you know history? You don't know history, but this documentary begins to reveal it in ways the mainstream media never will, and I leave it to you to grab a shovel and dig in. Even if you're a devotee of conspiracy research, you're going to learn things you never knew. To try to detail everything in this flick would require a small book, so use my critique as a springboard and see if you can't stun yourself with Spooks, Hoods, & JFK: The Shocking Truth.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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