PRESUMED GUILTY

By HOWARD ROFFMAN

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How and why the Warren Commission framed Lee Harvey Oswald. A factual account based on the Commission's public and private documents

Whoever killed President John F. Kennedy got away with it because the Warren Commission, the executive commission responsible for investigating the murder, engaged in a cover-up of the truth and issued a report that misrepresented or distorted almost every relevant fact about the crime. The Warren Commission, in turn got away with disseminating falsehood and covering up because virtually every institution in our society that is supposed to make sure that the government works properly and honestly failed to function in the face of a profound challenge; the Congress, the law, and the press all failed to do a single meaningful thing to correct the massive abuse committed by the Warren Commission. To anyone who understood these basic facts, and there were few who did, the frightening abuses of the Nixon Administration that have come to be known as ‘Watergate’ were not unexpected and were surprising only in their nature and degree.

This is not a presumptuous statement. I do not mean to imply that anyone who knew what the Warren Commission did could predict the events that have taken place in the last few years. My point is that the reaction to the Warren Report, if properly understood, demonstrated that our society had nothing that could be depended upon to protect it from the abuses of power that have long been inherent in the Presidency. The dynamics of our system of government are such that every check on the abuse of power is vital; if the executive branch were to be trusted as the sole guardian of the best interests of the people, we would not have a constitution that divides power among three branches of government to act as checks on each other, and we would need no Bill of Rights. Power invites abuses and excesses, and at least since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, an enormous amount of power has been assumed and acquired by the president...

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