Book examines 'JFK and the Unspeakable'

02/04/09 Robert Lorei
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Today on WMNF Rob Lorei interviewed peace activist Jim Douglass who is coming to St. Petersburg this weekend to speak about his new book on the JFK assassination. His talk is sponsored by Pax Cristi. According to Pax Cristi:

"JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters is an examination of John F. Kennedy’s assassination from a spiritual perspective. Author James W. Douglass will speak at the February meeting of Pax Christi Tampa Bay beginning at 3:30 PM on Sunday, February 8 at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Church, 515 Fourth St. S. in St. Petersburg.

Written after 12 years of research and interviews, the book examines Kennedy’s assassination through the lens of Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton’s concept of “the Unspeakable,” which Douglass describes as “an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe.”

Douglass chronicles John Kennedy’s turning from being a traditional Cold Warrior to a man determined to pull the world back from the brink of nuclear holocaust. After being manipulated and deceived by the CIA during the Bay of Pigs invasion, he said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” He began a secret correspondence with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, negotiated mutual concessions with Khrushchev in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and signed with him the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In June 1963, in his American University Address, Kennedy proposed an end to the Cold War. In October 1963, he signed a National Security Memorandum for a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.

Douglass documents how this made Kennedy an enemy to elements of his own government, especially the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and examines Lee Harvey Oswald’s role as a CIA double agent. Douglass includes information from tapes of Kennedy that were made public in the 1990s.

Gaeton Fonzi, former Staff Investigator for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, said this is “by far the most important book yet written on the subject.”

James W. Douglass has prayed at bunkers containing nuclear warheads, visited Sarajevo during the siege, spent time in prison for resisting the Vietnam War, and carried humanitarian aid into Iraq during the U.S./U.N. sanctions. His previous books combine religious and historical scholarship with his nonviolent activism. They include Resistance and Contemplation, The Non-Violent Cross, Lightning East to West and The Nonviolent Coming of God. He currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife Shelley, where they operate a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality.

Pax Christi Tampa Bay is the local branch of Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace and justice movement whose membership includes more than 130 bishops, 800 parishes, 650 religious communities and 300 local groups.

For more information on Pax Christi Tampa Bay, contact John Stewart at (727) 894-2832 or

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