To help celebrate his 35th episode Pearse invited me onto his show to discuss the 1973 JFK assassination thriller Executive Action. From PPR:
For this milestone in Porkins Policy history we were joined by our very good friend Tom Secker to discuss the 1973 JFK conspiracy thriller Executive Action. Starring Burt Lanchaster and Robert Ryan, this film follows the exploits of a right-wing cabal of businessmen, politicians and ex-intelligence operatives as they plot and carry out the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Tom and I begin the conversation by picking apart the film and its overall interpretation of the conspiracy and assassination, with particular attention to the film’s suggestion that this whole intricate plan could have been carried out by a lone black ops intelligence agent. We also focus on the bizarre way the film portrays Oswald – – a bumbling, sheep-dipped fool who has no idea what is going on or who is actually running him. We note the obligatory praising of Kennedy as a progressive saint, and who and what the film leaves out in terms of players and events surrounding the conspiracy.
Later we take a look at the three people who actually wrote and researched the film. We start with the curious case of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo – – the pro-war WWII propagandist later turned blacklisted Hollywood communist is an odd choice for a screenwriter of a JFK “truther” film. Tom discusses Trumbo’s checkered past, as well as his own theories about who Trumbo really was and who he may have been working for. Then I talk about the two men behind the story and research for the film, Mark Lane and Donald Freed, and how both of these individuals, in particular Mark Lane, were at the forefront of controlling the alt-media and conspiracy culture of the time. I talk about Lane’s involvement not only within the JFK assassination community, but also in representing James Earl Ray in the MLK killing, his role alongside Donald Freed as Jim Jones’ legal council, his close friendships with a “who’s who” of CIA assets, and his later defense of the American Free Press. We also touch on his relentless attacks on true researchers such as Mae Brussell, and how he deliberately controlled the flow of information coming out about JFK and other conspiracies.
We close out by considering what may have been the goal of Lane and Freed in crafting this distorted view of the JFK assassination. Tom and I also discuss the trend in the alt-media of propping up and supporting so called “truther” films without understanding who is behind them and what their producers’ intentions might actually be.