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OLIVER STONE TESTIFIES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING REGARDING RELEASE OF JOHN F. KENNEDY ASSASSINATION FILES.

- ENTERTAINET - TO ENTERTAINMENT AND NATIONAL EDITORS:
 OLIVER STONE TESTIFIES AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING REGARDING
 RELEASE OF JOHN F. KENNEDY ASSASSINATION FILES
 BURBANK, Calif., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Three-time Academy Award- winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, whose latest motion picture, Warner Bros.' "JFK," stirred public debate and received two Academy Awards, testified today before a Congressional subcommittee on legislation calling for the release of all files relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. The hearing took place on April 28 at 10 a.m. in Washington.
 The Legislation and National Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations will conduct the hearing on House Joint Resolution 454, which, if passed, would allow the immediate release of all records pertaining to the assassination of President Kennedy. The files are currently sealed, and are scheduled to remain closed until the year 2029.
 Stone, who was invited to speak by Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., has, since he began production on "JFK," called for the release of all the files. His critically acclaimed film has revived public and political debate on the disposition of the files as well as on the Kennedy assassination, and led to the introduction of H.J.R. 454.
 Testimony of Oliver Stone before the Legislation and National
 Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations
 Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, my name is Oliver Stone and I assure you it is with extreme pleasure and some pride that I appear before this Subcommittee today to urge the passage of House Joint Resolution 454, "to provide for the expeditious disclosure of records relevant to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy." I am honored to appear here, Mr. Chairman, because members of my profession -- motion picture directors and writers -- do not often appear before committees of the House hearing testimony leading to the transaction of important public business (unless it relates, perhaps, to some arcane provision of the Internal Revenue Code which may have particular relevance to those in the entertainment industry). I am proud to be here, Mr. Chairman, because I think it is reasonable to suggest that my most recent work -- the motion picture "JFK" -- may, in its reception by the American people, have played some role in creating the state of public opinion from which House Joint Resolution 454 has emerged.
 The murder of President John F. Kennedy remains, after nearly 30 years, the crime of the century, and for the overwhelming majority of Americans, it is the unsolved crime of the century. A hastily assembled commission of wise men, chaired by the chief justice of the United States and consisting entirely of government insiders, was assembled shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy to study the evidence and offer public opinion a verdict Americans would find acceptable. That verdict -- that President Kennedy was killed by a lone deranged gunman, who was himself killed two days later -- while in police custody -- by another lone, deranged gunman, seemed incredible when published and has proved more so with each passing year. Most Americans did not believe or support the verdict of the Warren Commission initially, and now more than three in four, according to all recent samplings of public opinion, think some conspiracy was involved.
 The Warren Commission -- concerned as it was only with who? and how? -- never answered, never attempted to answer, the question of why John F. Kennedy was killed. Obvious connections -- Lee Harvey Oswald's to intelligence organizations and individuals, Jack Ruby's to organized crime -- went uninvestigated and unexamined.
 And so, from day one, the mainstream media of the United States -- our major newspapers, magazines, networks, reporters, columnists and correspondents -- accepted the official verdict and never began -- let alone pursued -- an investigation. Hard as it is to believe, the crime of the century, in which the preliminary verdict was widely disbelieved and discredited, was never seriously investigated by any major journalist or journalistic organization in America, even those priding themselves on their existence as "newspapers of record," or centers of investigative journalism. And thus the official media joined official government in a decision to stonewall the people, partly through lethargy and in part -- an important part -- to protect their own record of inaction and bland acceptance of the unacceptable.
 And so, Mr. Chairman, when Warner Bros. wholeheartedly supported -- against urgings by those very media defenders of orthodoxy and silence to suppress my film -- the making of "JFK," Americans confronted on the screen the fact that most of the records which could have yielded a different verdict -- CIA, FBI, military and naval intelligence, the files of the investigation by this body's Select Committee on Investigations -- all were sealed from public view for 50 years.
 So it was no surprise a movement began -- in this House, in the Senate and in public -- to open those files to permit us to try to find out the truth we had so long been denied. What were Oswald's connections to the CIA? How was he permitted to re-enter the United States when he had renounced his citizenship to -- by his own words -- give secrets to the Soviet Union? How was he able, on almost no notice, to leave the Marines (on a trumped-up excuse), to go to the Soviet Union? What were his connections with CIA-involved White Russians in Dallas? Why did he distribute obviously bogus pro-Castro leaflets while headquartered in the same office in New Orleans as militant anti- Communist ex-intelligence officers? Just what were Jack Ruby's ties to organized crime? And how could he -- a private citizen known as a small-time hoodlum -- enter the Dallas police station, armed and confront and shoot -- without hindrance -- the guarded and manacled man accused of the most publicized crime in our history?
 And finally, why was President Kennedy killed? Since it has been established from other evidence that he was indeed determined to withdraw our troops from the military and moral quagmire of Vietnam, was this the reason?
 Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, the files which are the object of House Joint Resolution 454 will yield some or all of these answers. Perhaps not. But without this Resolution, we shall never know. And in a free society that would be intolerable. The stone wall must come down.
 Now I am aware, Mr. Chairman, the resolution will be criticized. Legal hairsplitting by the Department of Justice and the Office of Management and Budget -- part of arcane battles which really concern the propriety of the special prosecutor rules -- may impede passage. The actual language of the resolution may have been drafted as too complex -- but none of those objections can have a lot of weight with those millions of Americans who saw "JFK" in movie theaters and millions more who will see it at home, nearly all of whom are determined 50 years shall not pass before we can pierce the media's silence and learn the truth for ourselves. They have spoken loudly and clearly.
 The agencies who have stonewalled for decades may invoke that catch phrase of obstructionists and hiders of the truth -- the magic words, "national security." But Mr. Chairman, our enemy lies in ruins and the danger some Soviet agent may learn something embarrassing to the CIA or Naval Intelligence is no longer important -- if it ever was.
 Perhaps a handful of living people whose names are in these records may need protection for reasons of privacy. But that can be easily accomplished and those names -- if any -- can be easily edited. Mr. Chairman, don't let the existence of thousands of pages of documents deter you from the course of openness and candor you have so strongly set. The technology exists to review those files swiftly and fully. If the task is undertaken by people who want the files open, it will be done quickly -- if by those who want them to remain concealed, then lawyers can be found, petty arguments can be interposed and journalists can be prompted to support those arguments, to keep them sealed for another 50 years.
 I believe this is an idea whose time has come: Americans will support you as you move forward.
 (For insertion into answer with respect to Martin Luther King files)
 Mr. Chairman, I feel strongly that the files -- particularly those developed in the course of hearings by the House Select Committee on Assassinations -- relating to the assassination of Martin Luther King should be similarly unsealed. There are certainly even fewer national security considerations involved, and no possible foreign policy consequences. I realize it might be distracting to seek to amend House Joint Resolution 454 to include the Martin Luther King files, but I would hope the House and Senate could turn their attention to this task and this deficiency as soon as possible, once the files with respect to the assassination of President Kennedy are opened. It ought not to require another motion picture to set the release of the King files in motion.
 -0- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Stacy Ivers of Warner Bros., 818-954-6217/ CO: Warner Bros. ST: California IN: ENT SU: LEG


AL-CH -- LA037 -- 3998 04/28/92 16:31 EDT
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