For those of you who have not seen the documentary film, “JFK: A President Betrayed” (very worthwhile, I believe), I suggest you read “JFK: Destiny Betrayed,” by Jim DiEugenio. Jim’s excellent review of this fine documentary film without specifically addressing the JFK assassination directly sets the stage and plainly explicates why JFK was killed by our warfare state.


JFK: A President Betrayed
Cory Taylor, Director, Agoro Productions, 2013


From Jim DiEugenio’s review:

Taylor does not really approach the Kennedy case from a forensic or investigative viewpoint. What he does in his two-hour documentary is take a look at Kennedy’s foreign policy during his presidency, and try to show how some people within his own administration opposed it. To me, it is clear that the main inspiration for the film is the influential Jim Douglass tome, JFK and the Unspeakable.

One of the main attributes of the film is that it uses some credible, and new, sources as interview subjects. And it bypasses the accepted mainstream historians who have, in reality, done little real research on JFK. Or, even worse, ignored Kennedy’s genuine interests. Therefore, to Taylor’s credit, one will not see the likes of Robert Dallek, Richard Reeves or Larry Sabato pontificating boringly and deceptively in this film. Some of the main academics in the documentary are University of Texas professor Jamie Galbraith, son of Kennedy aide and later Ambassador to India John K. Galbraith; Gareth Porter, a lecturer, journalist, and author who has written four books on the Vietnam War; former Wall Street journalist and editor Frederick Kempe, author of Berlin 1961; University of New Orleans professor Gunter Bischof, a specialist in Eastern European history. In addition to that, we see journalist Michael Dobbs, author of one of the better studies of the Missile Crisis, One Minute to Midnight, Peter Kornbluh, author and editor of Bay of Pigs Declassified, and Robert Schlesinger, son of Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger. This collection of commentators all makes for a notable improvement over the usual Dallek/Reeves/Sabato banal tendentiousness.

But where Taylor has really done some interesting work is in the direct witnesses he has secured. For instance, Taylor interviews the interpreters at the Vienna Summit Conference, the late Viktor Sukhodrev (translator for Nikita Khrushchev) and Alex Akalovsky (interpreter for President Kennedy). In addition to Sukhodrev, there is also Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Russian premier. Also on screen is the rather seldom seen Thomas L. Hughes. Hughes was an assistant to Chester Bowles in the Kennedy administration, and later succeeded Roger Hilsman as director of Intelligence and Research at the State Department. Lawyer Willam Vanden Heuvel was an advisor to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and later wrote a book about RFK. Finally, in a real surprise, Taylor tracked down Andrea Cousins and Candis Cousins Kerns. These are the daughters of Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins. Cousins had been a tireless advocate for nuclear disarmament since, literally, the day after Hiroshima. As Douglass pointed out in his book, Cousins served as a kind of go-between between the Vatican, the Kremlin and the White House in their mutual efforts to construct a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He then wrote about it in his (much ignored) 1972 book, The Improbable Triumvirate: John F. Kennedy, Pope John, Nikita Khrushchev – An Asterisk to the History of a Hopeful Year, 1962-1963. It’s quite a promising roster. And it does not disappoint….


All in all, this is one of the better documentaries about Kennedy’s presidency. My only regret about it is that, although it presents much of the information from the Douglass book on screen for the first time, the Douglass book is not state of the art any more. Books by Philip Muehlenbeck and Robert Rakove have, in some significant ways, superseded it. (See Betting on the Africans and Kennedy, Johnson and the Nonaligned World respectively). These two books show that Kennedy’s foreign policy was even more revolutionary than depicted here.

But that is a cavil. This film is much worth seeing. And it deserved a much larger platform than it got last year. Right now, it’s the best screen depiction of Kennedy’s foreign policy that I know of.