Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Conspiracist

The conspiracist

BY MIKE MILIARD | January 11, 2007

Gay-rights crusader Paul Kuntzler turns a sharp mind for detail to the JFK assassination

“Assassination-conspiracy theorist” is a relatively recent addition to Paul Kuntzler’s résumé. For much longer, he has been one of Washington, DC’s most prominent gay firebrands. Over the phone following a lunch meeting near his Capitol Hill–area office, he pinpoints the important moments of his activist career as if flipping through a mental calendar.

“On the first Tuesday in April, 1962, I was elected to the Mattachine Society executive board,” he says, referring to the oldest homophile group in America. “On Saturday, April 17, 1965, I was a participant in the world’s first demonstration for gay civil rights in front of the White House. In January of 1966, the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club” — the still-extant mouthpiece for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Democrats in DC — “was founded in my living room.”

In March of 1971, Kuntzler managed the congressional campaign of Mattachine president Franklin E. Kameny — the first openly gay candidate running for Congress — who was seeking a non-voting seat representing the District of Columbia. In April of that year, he helped found another equal-rights group, DC’s Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), the US’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil-rights organization.

Kuntzler, 65, has near-total recall of the momentous dates in his life. (Within three minutes of meeting him at his office, he’s told me the date and day of the week of his birth, and the Grosse Pointe, Michigan, hospital in which he was born. Later, navigating the wide avenues around Capitol Hill, he tells me that he first arrived in DC two days after his 20th birthday, on Thursday, December 28, 1961. And that he met Stephen Brent Miller, his late partner of 42 years, “on Friday, March 28, 1962, at 11 o’clock pm.”)

But in recent years, Paul Kuntzler has been fixated on another point in time: 12:30 pm, November 22, 1963 — the moment President John F. Kennedy was mortally wounded by gunshot in Dallas, Texas. For the past year and half, the long-time gay-rights activist has been waging a one-man, self-financed campaign to publicize what he believes was a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, as well as the media’s complicity in covering it up.

In a four-page letter sent last April to Washington Post chairman Donald E. Graham — and subsequently reprinted in its entirety as a four-page ad, purchased for $4000, in the LGBT weekly the Washington Blade — Kuntzler laid out his sweeping, Byzantine theory.

“President John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” he contends, “was murdered by Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a widespread, incredibly complex and brilliantly planned conspiracy that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations directed by J. Edgar Hoover, the Central Intelligence Agency directed by David Atlee Phillips, the Secret Service, the United States Navy, General Curtis LeMay of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Ford Motor Company, the Dallas Police including Dallas mayor Earle Cabell, big oil of Texas, the Texas political establishment, the mafia, and the anti-Castro Cubans.”

Since May 2005, in a ceaseless flurry of typed letters, scrawled faxes, printed e-mails, and underlined photocopies sent not just to Graham but to New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., Kuntzler has lobbied to get his theory some ink in the country’s two most important newspapers. His crusade so far has been met, perhaps predictably, with almost deafening silence.

Still, he continues his quest. It’s the “morally correct thing to do. I always wanted to make a contribution,” he says.

When asked why he cares so keenly about this issue, why he’s devoted so much time and money to something most people just shrug away with a rueful frown, his normally even-keeled voice rises considerably. “Because it changed the course of history. The last 43 years! There would have been no Vietnam war, where 57,000 Americans died and 300,000 were injured, including my brother. Two million Vietnamese. Nixon wouldn’t have been president. There wouldn’t have been any Bushes. There wouldn’t have been an Iraq War. It’s a matter of integrity. I think the American people, once they learn the truth, will take a big broom and clean house.”

Birth of an obsession

Paul Kuntzler became president of Miller Reporting Co. in 2004. Founded in 1960, and bought in 1980 by Kuntzler’s late partner, Stephen Miller, it is one of the largest court-reporting and transcription services in the world, stenotyping congressional testimony and the proceedings of other high-profile federal agencies.

In 1998, the company transcribed the records of the Assassination Records Review Board, which served as a dragnet for the gathering and release of government records concerning the JFK assassination. It was Kuntzler’s work on this project that, in part, turned what had been a subject of keen curiosity into a near obsession.

And it’s on Miller Reporting letterhead that Kuntzler writes most of his letters to the editors and publishers at the New York Times and the Washington Post. (According to a July article in the Washington Times, Kuntzler racked up nearly $25,000 on his corporate credit card in relation to a Kennedy-assassination roundtable that he sponsored this spring at the famous Willard Hotel, in Washington.)

Two days after I began reporting this story, I received a large box weighing 10 or 12 pounds, mailed from Kuntzler’s office. In it was a folder the size of a small phone book, stuffed with his correspondence with the brass at the Times and the Post. There was a copy of Jim Marrs’s hefty tome Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, a primary source for Oliver Stone’s film JFK; a dog-eared and marked-up copy of Dr. Charles Crenshaw’sJFK: A Conspiracy of Silence (Crenshaw, an emergency-room doctor at Parkland Memorial Hospital, treated President Kennedy’s wounds); and Gerald Posner’s anti-conspiracy work Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK.
There were also six VHS volumes of The Men Who Killed Kennedy, an incendiary British documentary series that began airing on A&E in 1988; a DVD of fresh footage from Dallas’s WFAA-TV, called JFK: The Story Behind the Story; and some crumbling, yellowing newspapers, one of them the November 23, 1963 issue of the New York Times, screaming: KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR IN DALLAS; JOHNSON SWORN IN ON PLANE.

The package contained another issue of the Times, this one dated November 25, 1963, the day after Jack Ruby pumped Lee Harvey Oswald’s stomach with a hot .38 slug. PRESIDENT’S ASSASSIN IS SHOT TO DEATH IN CORRIDOR OF JAIL BY A CITIZEN OF DALLAS: KENNEDY ADMIRER FIRES ONE BULLET, the headline reads. President’s assassin. Not “alleged” assassin, or “accused” assassin. Less than 72 hours after John F. Kennedy was killed, the Times was already sure of its man. Maybe Kuntzler is on to something when he accuses the Gray Lady of whitewashing the truth.

November 22, 1963

“When I was a boy, I was interested in President Lincoln’s assassination. I actually staged a production at Saint Joan of Arc grade school,” says Kuntzler, who looks a little like LSD guru Timothy Leary, but has a taste for finely tailored suits and a delicate, patrician manner. “I built the set, and played John Wilkes Booth. I was interested in why he was shot,” he continues over lunch at his favorite restaurant on Washington, DC’s 8th Street.

He never imagined the same thing could happen to John F. Kennedy, the handsome and charismatic senator for whom he’d campaigned as a teenager in Michigan, the candidate whose “big, very strong hand” he shook at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 1960. (“The back of my head appeared in the Detroit News the next day,” Kuntzler says with wry pride.)

Kuntzler first came to Washington, on January 18, 1961, on the Baltimore & Ohio train. He was bound for Kennedy’s presidential inauguration.

Eleven months later — “on Thursday, December 28, 1961” — he would move to Washington, DC. “We lived then in an age of innocence,” Kuntzler says of the closing months in 1963. War and depression notwithstanding, America had spent the previous three decades under great or near-great presidents — Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy — who were decent men. There was a fundamental belief that the American government was essentially good.

“It was inconceivable to anybody that there would be a conspiracy to murder a president of the United States.”

So it was an existential shock for Kuntzler to walk into his office at Structural Clay Products Institute after lunch on a Friday in 1963 to see his co-workers crowded around a large black-and-white TV, to see Walter Cronkite take off his glasses and announce gravely that President Kennedy had died.

He cried, of course. And on Sunday, when the casket lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda, he lined up with hundreds of thousands of others at 10 pm, in near-freezing temperatures, and finally paid his respects at 7 am. “It was like a death in the family,” Kuntzler says. It took me a year to get over it.”

Like the rest of the country, Kuntzler also watched in deadened silence as the peripheral dramas unfolded on TV in the days after. “I saw Oswald on television,” he says. “I didn’t see him get shot, live on NBC, but I saw when he said, ‘I’m just a patsy.’ But it never crossed my mind that the government wasn’t telling the American people the truth.”
The sum of all theories

Reading about the Kennedy assassination is like sliding down a rabbit hole, or wandering drunk through a hall of mirrors. Everywhere you turn, there’s another face in a rogue’s gallery of con-men and G-men, small-time hoods and heads of federal agencies, oil men and mob guys, Communists and anti-Communists. There’s so much evidence, so many potential players, so many pieces to the puzzle, and so many ways they could all fit together.

The assassination, Kuntzler says now, “is the pivotal event of my life.” But it wasn’t until 1991, when a friend sent him a video documentary on the conspiracy theory, that he began studying it in earnest. He bought Crossfire, by assassination theorist Jim Marr. And the first set of The Men Who Killed Kennedy. He spent the next four years buried in evidence. Finally, he says, “I came to two conclusions: Lee Harvey Oswald killed no one — neither Dallas police officer Jefferson Davis Tippit nor President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And that the government had restructured evidence to bring it in line with their version of events.”

Anyone who’s been schooled in Kennedy conspiracy theories is familiar with their common touchstones. The clumsy, bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle Oswald allegedly used to fire three shots in six seconds. The Grassy Knoll. The “Umbrella Man.” The “Babushka Lady.” The three tramps. “Back, and to the left.”

Kuntzler knew about these too. And, like many Americans (about 70 percent, according to several polls), he harbored deep suspicions that they could be plausibly woven together into an account of conspiracy, of whatever size or scope. Still, he says, “I hadn’t crossed the line to understand.”

In his 20s, Kuntzler had supported seemingly populist Texas Democrat Lyndon Johnson. He campaigned for him in 1964, heading into the Deep South with stacks of “LBJ for the USA” stickers. Nearly 40 years later, a friend gave Kuntzler a copy of Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, the third of a proposed four-volume biography of this very complex politician.

“One third of the way through, I realized that Lyndon Johnson was responsible for the assassination,” Kuntzler says plainly. “I learned that he was utterly corrupt. He was always on the take. That he had an overpowering ambition for being president, and he would stop at nothing.”

Later, Kuntzler tracked down Barr McClellan’s book Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. in an Atlanta bookstore, which confirmed his suspicions. The scales dropped from his eyes. The disparate parts of the assassination synthesized into a coherent whole, each actor’s role and motive crystal clear.

• LBJ helped put the plot into motion and was apprised of its workings. He “was largely a bystander, but he was a beneficiary.”

• J. Edgar Hoover threw in his hat because of Kennedy’s plans to oust him as FBI chief.
• The CIA brass was incensed by Kennedy’s plan to scale back the agency to the size envisioned by Harry Truman.

• The Texas oil industry was furious about Kennedy’s desire to reduce the lucrative oil-depletion allowance.

• The Mafia, who’d helped JFK win the 1960 election, was apoplectic at his brother Robert’s redoubled efforts to smash organized crime as attorney general.

• Cuban exiles, still smarting from the Bay of Pigs disaster and being sold out to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, were also mad.

That’s not all, says Kuntzler.

• Dallas mayor Earle Cabell, whose Brother, Charles, was forced by Kenned to resign as deputy CIA director after the Bay of Pigs, signed off on the last-minute change in the parade route that would bring Kennedy directly into the line of fire.

• The upper echelon of the Secret Service was aware of what was going down, and some rank-and-file agents were told to stand down just before the motorcade entered Dealey Plaza.

• The Ford Motor Company secretly patched up the limousine, so as to erase evidence of bullets fired from the front.

• And Air Force chief of staff Curtis LeMay, who clashed with Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was reportedly seen smiling and smoking a cigar at the slain president’s hasty autopsy — held at Maryland’s Bethesda Naval Hospital, where documents suggest two different brains may have been examined.

Hovering over it all, the theory goes, was the specter of war in Southeast Asia. “Eisenhower warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex,” Kuntzler says. “War means money. Then and now. The whole military complex was involved. They wanted the war in Vietnam. Kennedy had signed the document, in October of 1963; he was going to pull about 14,000 advisors out.”

Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed a patsy, Kuntzler alleges, drawn into the plot as a fall guy. What’s more, he was an FBI and CIA employee ($200 a month) who tried to warn bureau superior James Hosty of the plot 10 days before the assassination. Kuntzler also swears by Dr. Charles Crenshaw’s assertion that newly sworn-in president Lyndon B. Johnson called the operating room of Parkland Hospital after Oswald was mortally wounded, demanding a deathbed confession be extracted from him.

Kuntzler says he was also surprised to learn of the purported roles of gays in the Kennedy assassination. “In the summer of ’63,” he says, “the people who were involved in setting up Oswald — Clay Shaw, David Ferrie — were homosexuals.” The two of them, some have alleged, were CIA-connected anti-Communists who knew Oswald through the agency and set him up as the perfect dupe.

Years ago, it never would have occurred to Kuntzler that the Kennedy assassination could have taken shape, in part, in the low light of French Quarter gay bars. In the 1960s, he says, it would have been “inconceivable that a group of homosexuals would be involved in the murder of a president of the United States.” Yet these two worlds intersected in a number of ways. “After the assassination, naval intelligence was always picking up gay people, looking for people who might be working in government,” he explains. “In July of ’65, they picked up Stephen [Miller, who worked as a stenographer on Capitol Hill]. But I later came to realize that what they were really doing was looking for people who might have an insight into the Kennedy assassination. They were afraid.”

As Kuntzler finishes laying out the particulars of this many-faceted plot, my head is spinning. I’ve never believed Oswald acted alone, but this is rather astounding. Maybe Lyndon Johnson was ruthless, corrupt, and power mad, I suggest. But there’s a world of difference between stuffing a few ballot boxes and helming such a complex and far-reaching coup d’état. Never mind that, as Kuntzler alleges, “there are still people in government today who were involved in the murder — and lots of people who were involved in the cover-up.” It’s a lot to swallow.

“Yes,” he says. “I know.”

Deaf ears

Kuntzler not only wrote to Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. (who never wrote back and declined to comment for this piece). He also wrote more than once to Times public editor Byron Calame. Calame acknowledges that he “[doesn’t] remember very much” about their written correspondence, but recalls that Kuntzler’s “original contact with me was by phone and was very secretive, very demanding of secrecy.”

No question, the tone of some of Kuntzler’s letters has a certain cloak-and-dagger ring. While sailing from Southampton to New York, he sent a fax to a Washington Post editor on Cunard Line stationery: “As we agreed, I will call you from the Queen Mary 2 at 9:59 am.” In the attached letter, he writes, “I arrived home from Rio de Janeiro on United Airlines early Sunday morning. I could fly to New York as early as next Monday or Tuesday, January 30 or 31, for discussions. You would have a much better understanding of me if we met in person. . . . P.S. It is now 5 a.m.”

Kuntzler is adamant that Gerald Posner’s book, the anti-conspiracy Case Closed — which drew some of its material from Posner’s sources inside the CIA — is an agency con job on the American people. And, he says, the New York Times, which “heaped extravagant praise on Posner’s book” but “discredited Oliver Stone’s film [JFK] before it was even released to the public” — is guilty by association. Posner has also written an occasional article for the Times.

“It is my theory that [the Times and the Post] are directing conspiracies of silence,” Kuntzler says. The Times knows the truth, but, even 43 years removed, is “scared to death” of the American people learning the true facts about the assassination. Once Kuntzler finally “understood the full comprehensive truth” about the conspiracy, he knew he was duty bound to sound the alarm. “My company reported the Assassination Records Review Board. “I was willing to put this on my own company stationery and sign my name to it,” he says. “It’s the biggest story of our lifetime.”

I ask Kuntzler how he thinks his quest will end. Will the New York

Times and/orWashington Post ever come clean and splash the long-hoped-for revelations on the front page?

It doesn’t matter anymore. “Aren’t you publishing the story? Your newspaper is highly respected. I think what you’re doing is an extraordinary thing. When you publish this, it will break open like a volcano. The whole history of the last 43 years changed with this, Michael. And finally someone in the media is going to publish this.”

Kuntzler says that after he FedExed that first letter to a Times exec in 2005, he tossed and turned all night, drenched in sweat, “because of the consequences for my life.” He got an unlisted number. He suspects the CIA was in attendance at his press conference. In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, “they murdered people. I would have been murdered myself if I had done this 35 years ago.”

I tell him I hope the CIA has more pressing issues on its hands these days. “I had tremendous opposition to this,” he says, “family, friends, people I know trying to prevent me from doing this. But I’ve decided to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.”

In the end, says Paul Kuntzler, this work had to be done. “Back in the 1960s when I was involved in gay rights, I realized if I didn’t do something, there was nobody else to do it. And I realized if I never did this, it would never happen.”

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Aug 3, 2007: Paul Kuntzler, owner of the Miller Reporting Company, has taken out a two-page ad about the JFK assassination in the New York Times. The ad reproduces a July 27 letter he wrote to the Washington Post, concerning "conclusive evidence that there was a government-wide conspiracy resulting in the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas." The letter goes on to name LBJ, the FBI, Gen. Curtis LeMay, and many others as participants in the conspiracy, and mixes factual revelations with a variety of theorizing about the case. Kuntzler had published the letter in June 2006 in the Washington Blade, and had a month prior to that hosted an event in Washington DC featuring assassination experts.



Established 1960

735 8th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

July 27, 2007
Mr. Donald E. Graham
Chairman of the Board
The Washington Post
1515 15Th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Mr. Graham:

As you know, I wrote to you on April 4, 2006 about the conclusive evidence that there was a government-wide conspiracy resulting in the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. You thanked me on April 7, 2006 for sending you my letter about the Kennedy assassination and told me that you would pass on the material to Leonard Downie Jr., The Post’s Executive Editor.

My communications with the The Post began on January 12, 2006 when Milton Coleman, The Post’s Deputy Managing Editor arranged for me to meet with Michelle Garcia, Post reporter. During my meeting I gave Ms.Garcia various materials related to the assassination, including the two censored videos, The Men Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volumes 1 and 2.

Subsequently, I began having conversations with The Washington Post’s New York bureau. On March 30, 2006, I had a meeting in the New York office on West 57th Street.

But later, The Washington Post after repeated requests had never returned the Kennedy assassination material. I then had to ask my Washington attorney, Roy Kaufmann of Jackson & Campbell, P.C. to write to The Post requesting the return of my property. After repeated requests, I then had to retain the services of John J. Janiec, an attorney with offices in The Empire State Building. It was not until Mr. Janiec filed summons against The Washington Post in the Supreme Court of the State of New York did The Post finally relent and returned most of my property during November 2006.

But The Post has still not returned the important video, The Man Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volume 1.

The Post’s actions are symptomatic of how the American newsmedia has worked to keep the truth from the public about the most atrocious crime in U.S. history.

With a few exceptions such as journalists Helen Thomas and Robert McNeil, the media—both individually and collectively --- have safeguarded the government’s false version of what happened on that terrible day in November 1963.

Indeed, David Talbot in his new book, Brothers, wrote that in 1965 “the press was rushing to close the case on the assassination of President Kennedy.”

The media, including The New York Times, allowed themselves to be infiltrated by the CIA. Talbot reported that “the CIA alone had over four hundred American journalists on its payroll.”

The best example is Gerald Posner. His 1993 book, Case Closed, was written for an elite audience, primarily journalists, predisposed to believe the government’s false version of events. In my opinion, Posner’s book is full of inaccuracies. Random House editor Robert Loomis solicited Posner to write this book with the promise of full CIA cooperation.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered by Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson in a widespread, incredibly complex and brilliantly planned conspiracy that involved the Federal Bureau of Investigations directed by J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA directed by David Atlee Phillips, the Secret Service, elements of the United States Air Force, including General Curtis LeMay of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Army, the United States Navy, Henry R. Luce’s LIFE Magazine, the Ford Motor Company, the Dallas Police, including Dallas Mayor Earle Cabel, big Oil of Midland, Texas, the Texas political establishment, the mafia, the anti – Castro Cubans, Southern racists, including retired General Edwin Walker, and others. President Richard M. Nixon was also involved.

Miller Reporting Company did the reporting for the Assassination Records Review Board. Congress created the John F. Kennedy Records Act in 1992 that created a five-civilian member board entrusted with the responsibility to review and declassify documents held by the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, etc. President Bill Clinton made the appointments to the board.

On Monday, November 9, 1998, the National Archives released to the public all the working files of the Assassination Records Review Board and its staff covering the recently completed 4-year effort of that independent Federal agency to find and release government records related to the Kennedy assassination. Among the internal records released that day was a 32-page research paper, written by AARB’s Chief Analyst for Military Records, which provide compelling evidence that there were two different brain specimens examined following the autopsy on the body of JFK—President Kennedy’s brain, as was expected, and a fraudulent, substituted brain specimen at a later date—and that the brain photographs in the National Archives today in the so-called “autopsy collection” are not images of President Kennedy’s brain, but are images of someone else’s. All photographic records of President Kennedy’s brain have disappeared, since its pattern of damage was consistent with being shot from the front; the images of the substituted specimen show damage generally consistent with the official version of what happened of being shot from above and behind.

The final shot that killed President Kennedy came from the front from an assassin in the storm sewer to the right of the limousine, entered his right temple and exited from the back causing a massive hole in the back of Kennedy’s head. The assassin used an explosive bullet that flattens out and doesn’t leave a trace. This explains the massive hole in the back of Kennedy’s head. The small hole in the right temple was covered up, and in the forged photographs, a soft-matte insert was put in its place to cover up the massive hole in the back of his head.

The reasons why President Kennedy was murdered were varied: First of all, as President Dwight Eisenhower warned about at the end of his administration was the military-industrial complex. On October 11, 1963 Kennedy issued White House Directive NSAM 263. Kennedy planned to withdraw 1,000 military advisors from Vietnam by the end of 1963 and the balance of 15,000 military advisers would be withdrawn by late 1965. There would have been no Vietnam War.

Secondly, Kennedy planned to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover in his second term. He also planned to scale back the CIA to the manner that President Harry Truman envisioned the agency: as an intelligence agency---not one that sponsors wars and assassinations.

It was also known that Kennedy thought that the oil depletion allowance was too generous. He planned to lower it thus angering the oil people. The anti-Castro Cubans were enraged because of Kennedy’s refusal to invade Cuba. Southern racists were bitter because Kennedy supported civil rights. The mafia were out to destroy Kennedy because John and Robert Kennedy had targeted the mafia.

Then there was Vice President Lyndon Johnson who was exceedingly corrupt, possessed an overpowering ambition to be president, and would stop at nothing to obtain his goal.

Robert A. Caro, the renowned biographer of Lyndon Johnson has already published three of his four volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Caro published this paragraph in the introduction to his first volume, The Path to Power. The introduction is called “Patterns.”

The dark thread was still present after college. It would be present throughout his life. The Path to Power, the first of three volumes that will constitute The Years of Lyndon Johnson, ends in 1941, when Johnson is only thirty-two years old. But by 1941, the first major stage of his life is over. A young man—desperately poor, possessed of an education mediocre at best, from one of the most isolated and backward areas of the United States--- has attained the national power he craved. He has won not only a seat in Congress but influence that reaches far beyond his district’s borders. And by 1941, also, the major patterns of his life are established and clear. In attaining this influence, he has displayed a genius for discerning a path to power, an utter ruthlessness in destroying obstacles in that path, and a seemingly bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal in moving along it. In every election in which he ran---only in college, but thereafter—he displayed a willingness to do whatever was necessary to win: a willingness so complete that even in the generous terms of political morality, it amounted to amorality.

After Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, President Lyndon Baines Johnson called Parkland Hospital. Phyllis Barlett, Chief Telephone Operator for Parkland Hospital remembers the call: “The call came in and said “hold the line for the President,” and for a second I was still thinking Kennedy, and I didn’t... I was kind of taken aback for a minute and a few seconds. It was just a matter of a second, that’s when he came on in a loud voice and said: “This is Lyndon Johnson. Connect me to the accused assassin’s doctor.” It sounded the same as it had been on newcasts when I would hear him speak.”

Ms. Barlett then put the President through to an office adjoining the operating room, where Dr. Charles Crenshaw was urgently called to answer the phone. He recalls: “I picked up the phone and it was there that I heard this voice like thunder that stated: “This is President Lyndon B. Johnson.” And he asked: “How is the accused assassin doing?” I was so startled the only thing that I could say was: “He is holding his own. He has lost a lot of blood.” He said: “Would you take a message to the chief operating surgeon?” It was more of an order than a question. “There is a man in the room, I would like for him to take a deathbed confession.” And all of a sudden the phone went off. I returned to the operating room, I tapped Dr. Shires on the shoulder, he looked at me like “What are you talking about?” Everyone was working feverishly in the operating room trying to correct the wounds there. I said: “Guess who I have been talking to? The President of the United States called and he wants that man over there to take a deathbed confession.” And Shires looked at me like I was crazy. And we both realized that Lee Harvey Oswald, had he survived, would not have been able to give any testimony until two or three days after the procedure. But still in all, the President had called and I did relay the message.”

The Assassination Records Review Board obtained a 14-page document from the Russians on March 6, 1995. The document was once a top-secret KGB intelligence report. On page 9 of the report is this statement:

“On September 16, 1965, this same source reported that the KGB residence in New York City received instructions from KGB headquarters in Moscow to develop all possible information concerning President Lyndon B. Johnson’s character, background, personal friends, and family and from which quarters he derives his support in his position as President of the United States. Our source added that “now” the KBG was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy.”

Turning now to President Richard M. Nixon. Nixon authorized the break-in at the Watergate Complex during the night of June 16-17, 1972 because Nixon was fearful that National Chairman Larry O’Brien might have documents in his files indicating that Nixon was involved in the Kennedy murder—he was. Richard Nixon had been at the party of Clint Murchison’s, the Dallas oil billionaire, and he had gone into the private meeting with J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ, Edward Clark, Johnson’s attorney (and the secret boss of Texas) in the early morning hours of Friday, November 22, 1963, about eleven hours before President Kennedy was murdered.

On page 21 Ira David Wood III wrote in his chronology in Murder in Dealey Plaza (edited by James H. Fetzer) the following:

“Later that morning, Nixon flew out of Dallas Love Field at 9:05 a.m. on American Airlines Flight 82. He was then legal counsel for Pepsi-Cola and was allegedly in Dallas to attend a company meeting.

CIA agent Russell Bintliff will tell The Washington Star in 1976 that Pepsi-Cola had set up a bottling plant in Laos in the early 1960’s... One of the immediate consequences of the JFK assassination will be the escalation of American involvement in Vietnam, in theory providing the alleged Pepsi-Cola plant with a great deal more business”.

LIFE Magazine played a major role in The Conspiracy beginning with the photograph of President Kennedy’s limousine. LIFE cropped the photograph on page 23 of the November 29, 1963 issue so that the bullet hole in the left windshield is not visible.

In this same issue (written during Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, 1963) Thomas Thompson wrote a long story about Lee Harvey Oswald which may have deceived the American people:

Thompson wrote the following:

“But slowly, methodically, the police were building their case. (They were not.) ---connecting Oswald with the mail-order purchase of a rifle like the one that fired the bullet (Oswald never owned a rifle.) placing him on the scene with a long parcel the size and shape of a rifle (It wasn’t. The package was only two-thirds that size and contained curtain rods.) comparing his palm-marks with the one found on the murder weapon.” This is Thompson’s most appalling lie. The FBI flew the cheap Italian carbine rifle to Washington and then flew it back to Dallas. On Monday morning, November 25, agents took the rifle to the Dallas funeral home where Oswald’s dead body was. Paul Grudie, the funeral home director, reported that agents asked to have the preparation room to themselves. Afterwards, Grudie had to clean the ink from Oswald’s dead hand. The FBI then announced that they had found Oswald’s palm print on the rifle!

In the subsequent issue, December 6, 1963, Thompson continued his lies. In the February 21, 1964 issue, LIFE magazine published on its front cover the fraudulent photograph showing Oswald’s head superimposed on someone else’s body holding the cheap Italian carbine rifle.

Regarding the Ford Motor Company’s involvement, Henry Ford II and LBJ were friends. The Secret Service secretly flew Kennedy’s limousine to Detroit’s Willow Run Airport on Sunday, November 24, 1963 and took it to the Ford River Rouge Plant. On Monday morning, November 25, the windshield with its hole was stripped from the car and replaced with a new windshield. The limousine was then secretly flown back to Washington and returned to the White House garage. Detailed information about the Ford Motor Company’s involvement can be found in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, The Final Chapter, Volume 1, as well as from numerous other sources.

Evidence of the Secret Service’s involvement in The Conspiracy is clearly demonstrated in the film of Kennedy’s motorcade at Dallas Love Field. Secret Service Agent, Emory P. Roberts, in the limousine in front of Kennedy’s car, waves away the Secret Service agent Henry J. Rybka from Kennedy’s limousine. Rybka throws up his arms in astonishment with the implied message: “This is not what I was trained to do!”

David Talbot writes about LBJ’s distrust of the Secret Service: “Just honestly, Mike,” LBJ told Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield in a September 1964 phone conversation recorded by the president’s Oval Office taping system,--“ and I wouldn’t have this repeated this to anyone—my judgment is that they’re more likely to get me killed than they are to protect me.”

In the opening and lead story by journalist Tom Wicker in the Saturday, November 23, 1963 edition of The New York Times is conclusive evidence of The Conspiracy. On page 2 Wicker reports Acting White House Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff’s press conference at Parkland Hospital at 1:30 p.m. (Central Standard Time). Kilduff said: “President John F. Kennedy died at approximately one o’clock Central Standard Time here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot to the brain, Dr. Burkley told me.” (Burkley was Kennedy’s personal physician) “It was a simple matter at the time of a bullet right through the head.” (Kilduff raised his right arm and used his right index finger to point to the entrance wound in the right temple.)

In the second column on page 2, Wicker wrote this: “Later in the afternoon, Dr. Malcolm Perry, an attending surgeon, and Dr. Kemp Clark, Chief of neurosurgery at Parkland Hospital gave more details: Mr. Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the throat, just below the Adam’s apple, they said. This wound had the appearance of a bullet’s entry.

Mr. Kennedy also had a massive, gaping wound in the back and one on the side of the head. However, the doctors said it was impossible to determine immediately, whether the wounds had been caused by one bullet or two.”

Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, which is about 98% accurate, shows a superb frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film showing the six shots. Two of the eight assassins were in the lower part of the Dal-Tex Building. Another two assassins were on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building. One of the assassins was Malcolm Wallace. His finger print was found on one of the boxes in the sniper’s nest. Another assassin was on the fourth or fifth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building.

The CIA had the mafia hire three killers from Marseilles, France. Two of those killers were behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll. The third assassin was in the storm sewer to the right of the limousine. The first shot came from an assassin on the left side of the Stemmons Freeway, crashed through the front windshield and hit Kennedy in the neck. The second shot came from behind from an assassin in the Dal-Tex Building and hit Kennedy in the back. The third shot came from behind from the fourth or fifth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building and hit Governor John Connolly. The fourth shot came from an assassin in the Dal-Tex Building and flew over the motorcade and hit cement. A concrete fragment hit by-stander James T. Tague in the cheek. The fifth shot came from an assassin in the Texas Book Depository Building and hit Kennedy in the side of the head. And the sixth and final shot came from the assassin in the storm sewer; hit Kennedy in the right temple, blasting out from the back of his head killing the President.

Both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations were cover-ups. Allen W. Dulles was an active member of The Conspiracy as well as the cover-up. Gerald Ford was a forceful member of the cover-up and acted as an FBI informant regarding some of the secret proceedings of the Warren Commission. Senator Richard Russell privately knew that the Warren Commission’s findings were absurd, but Congressman Hale Boggs had his papers eviscerated by the FBI and he was murdered by the CIA, as were dozens of others during the 1960’s and 1970’s in the ongoing effort to cover-up The Conspiracy.

Connie Kritzberg was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald. She conducted a telephone interview a couple of hours after Kennedy’s death with the two principal doctors among the 16 doctors who attended Kennedy at Parkland Hospital. Both doctors, as did all 14 other doctors and four nurses reported that he was shot twice from the front, first in the neck and finally in the right temple.

Kritzberg talked to Dr.Williams Kemp Clark, head of neurosurgery, and Dr. Malcolm Perry. She asked the two doctors how many wounds there were in Kennedy’s body. Dr. Clark told Kritzberg that he was working on the gaping hole in the head, and Dr. Perry said he was working on the entrance wound in the neck. Kritzberg said that Dr. Perry said three times that “there was an entrance wound from the front.”

Connie Kritzberg then said she wrote “a simple story, only about 12 inches long, titled “Neck Wound Brings Death” and turned it in.”

The next morning, Saturday, November 23, Kitzberg found that the story she filed had been changed. She found in the story “an unprofessional sentence” in the third paragraph. It said, “A doctor admitted that it was possible there was only one wound.”

“I was very upset,” Kritzberg said. “I called the city desk and talked one of the assistant city editors. I asked him ‘Who changed my story?’ Kritzberg said. “He knew immediately what I meant,” She asked him, “ Who put in that sentence?” The assistant city editor said, “The FBI.”

Arlen Specter, now Senator Specter, who was a lawyer on the Warren Commission, invented the single bullet theory known as the “magic bullet.” Kenneth O’Donnell, JFK’s special assistant, recalls Specter’s effort at another deception:

“I distinctly remember that when Johnson and I talked at the hospital there was no mention of which of the two planes he should use. Nor was there any mention that he was considering waiting for Jackie and the President’s casket to be on the same plane with him before he left Dallas. Later as a lawyer for the Warren Commission, Arlen Specter, pointed out to me that according to Johnson’s testimony, I had told him to board Air Force One, Specter asked me, to my amazement, if I would change my testimony so that it would agree with the President’s. Was I under oath?’ I asked Specter, as, of course, I was. Certainly I wouldn’t change anything I said under oath.”

President George Herbert Walker Bush, as a former director of the CIA, continues to this day to be intensely involved in the cover-up of the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President Bush strenuously opposed passage of the J.F.K. Records Act and refused to make the appointments to the five civilian-member board. The appointments had to wait until Bill Clinton became President. Indeed, at the funeral for President Gerald Ford on January 2, 2007, Bush falsely charged that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy.

There are many reasons why the Kennedys remained quiet all these years. David Talbot wrote in Brothers that Robert Kennedy in 1965 told an old family friend: “If the American people knew the truth about Dallas, there would be blood in the streets.” Robert Kennedy was also concerned about his own personal safety. He also shared a sense of guilt about his brother’s death. Kennedy set up in his office an operation to assassinate Castro, but the government took over that operation to kill his brother. RFK also intended to break open the case once he became president, but he was assassinated on June 5, 1968.

Lee Harvey Oswald was working for the FBI at the time of the assassination making $200 a month. He was also working for the CIA. On or about Tuesday, November 12, 1963, Oswald delivered a note to his FBI supervisor, James P. Hosty, Jr., warning him that the assassination was about to take place. Hosty sent out a wire on November 17, 1963 to all FBI Offices. The wire read: “Bureau has determined that a militant revolutionary group may attempt to assassinate President Kennedy in his proposed trip to Dallas, Texas, November 22, Nineteen Sixty-Three.” After the assassination, all the wires were destroyed except the one in the New Orleans Office. The Warren commission, whose members were appointed by LBJ, held an emergency, executive session on Saturday morning, January 22, 1964 to discuss Oswald’s FBI number and FBI salary. While the two assassins on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building were shooting the president, Oswald was in the second floor lunch room. He briefly stepped out on the steps of the Texas Book Depository Building and was photographed. Oswald was already in the Texas Theater before Officer Jefferson Davis Tippitt was killed.

In a very real sense, Lee Harvey Oswald was an American hero. At great personal danger to himself, Oswald entered into The Conspiracy in an effort to prevent President Kennedy’s murder. Jack Ruby who was a member of The Conspiracy then murdered him. Oswald was then made a villain and the self-serving and deceptive American news media has perpetuated this lie for now for than 43 years.

In Brothers Benjamin Bradlee, Executive Editor of The Washington Post acknowledged to David Talbot that he didn’t do more to investigate the assassination because he was concerned that further reporting might harm his career.


Paul Kuntzler
For more information write to:
619 G Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
Or call 202-484-0330

Monday, December 5, 2011

JFK Assassination Records Act Internet Symposium

From: William Kelly

To: Select Group of Specialists in JFK Assassination Records
Re: Invitation to participate in the first JFK Assassination Records Act Internet Symposium
When: To be aired live in January, 2012 and archived on line.

Dear Friends and research associates,

Because of your special interest and knowledge in this subject, you are invited to participate in the first JFK Assassinations Records Act Internet Symposium (JFK ARAIS I), and are requested to present a paper on a specific aspect of the records or a case study, one that you can deliver live on computer camera and streamlined over the internet, and also as a written paper that can be posted on line.

You will also be requested to answer questions afterwards and participate in at least one live panal with two or three others in an area of special interest and have a dialog and/or debates on a particular subject that's related to the JFK Assassinations records. The focus of the JFK ARAIS will be strictly limited to discussion of the records, and will not concern who killed JFK or why and how they did it, but can address any issue related to the records that were destroyed, are missing, were released or are still being withheld.

We hope to conduct the JFK ARAIS I over a weekend in January (possibly the 13-16 MLKDay weekend)or early February, with the idea of building up public interest in the release of all of the remaining files by November 2013 and getting Congress to conduct required JFK Act oversight hearings. If hearings are held they will obtain new sworn testimony and determine the disposition of certain records.

If you want to participate, please email me and sign on to our Facebook page at: and I will forward additional information, including a list of those who have also been invited to participate. Also please consider what specific topic you would like to address and I will give you a list of panels to see which one you would like to be on.

You may pass this invitation on to any of your associates who might like to participate and have them email me and sign on to our Facebook page for further directions.

If you or if you know anyone who has special knowledge of the JFK Assassination Records, the JFK Assassination Records Act, the work of the Assassinations Review Board (ARRB) or the disposition of the records and would like to participate in any way, please sign on to our Facebook page and email me as to what level you want to participate.

Besides those who have been or will be especially invited to make presentations and be on a panel, there will be a limited number of observers and other on-line participants who will be able to ask questions, make comments, and provide information that can be included in the discussions.

Please register at Facebook and email me before January 1 if you want to participate.

Thanks to all, and any ideas or technical assistance will be greatly appreciated, as I hope you are as excited about the possibilities as we are,

Bill Kelly

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Return of Umbrella Man

Russ Baker - Author of Bush Family of Secrets, takes issue with the NYTs and the airing on their web sits of six minutes of a six hour Errol Morris interview with Joshiah "Tink" Thompson, author of "Six Seconds in Dallas." Although Thompson and his book promote healthy skepticism of the official conclusion that the assassination was the result of one lone assassin, in this segment, Thompson dismisses the idea the Umbrella Man was connected to any possible conspiracy.

At the web site, Russ Baker gives the issue more due attention.

Russ Baker writes:

More and more, one is struck by the extent to which the New York Times is disassociated from reality. One might judge the paper’s publishing of official falsehoods as the occasional and accidental byproduct of the pressure to produce so many articles, were it not for the consistency and rigidly sclerotic way it loyally foists patently untrue material upon the public.
I say this as someone who still reads the Times, still has friends working there, and still retains some isolated pockets of fondness for it.

But it is hard to overlook these constant transgressions. As we note here at WhoWhatWhy, these range from ignoring the real reasons for the invasion of Libya to apologizing for fraud perpetrated by its favorite Afghanistan propagandist (and theauthor of Three Cups of Tea). It surely includes the paper’s failure to share with its readers overwhelming and constantly refreshed documentation of an organized coup that resulted in the death of President John F. Kennedy and the end of meaningful reform in America. I addressed that latter issue in the article, “NY Times’ Ostrich Act on JFK Assassination Getting Old.”

Far from proper journalistic curiosity, the paper sees its job as enforcing orthodoxy, and shutting down consideration of anything untoward. According to the New York Times’s peculiar brand of journalism, coups and plots happen with regularity abroad, but never, never, in the United States.

It is important to include the pejorative phrase “conspiracy theorist” in every article, even acknowledging concern about the health of democracy in America. It is important to have a good laugh at the expense of those poor souls who trouble themselves inquiring into the darker precincts of this country’s history.

So it is with the 48th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. Instead of assigning a single reporter to scrutinize the hundreds or thousands of meaningful, documented facts that do suggest more than “the lone nut did it,” the Times gets busy with the disinformation business.

Here are two Times “contributions” on this occasion:


On the 48th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder, the Times ran an op-ed piece and short film by documentary maker Errol Morris about another man’s research into “umbrella man.” Umbrella Man is the nickname for a fellow who famously brought an umbrella on a sunny day for the president’s visit to Dallas November 22, 1963, stood on the “grassy knoll,” and, just as the president’s car passed, he opened the umbrella and pumped it in the air. Many have speculated as to the significance, or lack of significance, of this strange behavior. Some wonder if Umbrella Man was part of the assassination scenario, perhaps signaling to shooters. There was even the September 1975 Senate intelligence committee testimony by Charles Senseney, a contract weapons designer for the CIA, that the agency had perfected an umbrella that shoots undetectable poison darts that can immobilize and kill, raising questions about whether this was in play that day. (See P. 168 in the Senate committee testimony, where Senseney explains specifically about the agency’s use of a toxin and the ability to fire it from a modified umbrella.)

The self-described Umbrella Man, Louie Steven Witt, came forward to offer his testimony in 1978, or three years after the CIA expert provided this now forgotten testimony on umbrellas as weapon. Umbrella Man came forward just as a special House Select Committee on Assassinations was focusing on the possibility of a conspiracy (which, it concluded in its final report…was likely.) (You can order a video of a report on Witt’s testimony, by then ABC News reporter Brit Hume, here)
The counsel for the Assassinations Committee, remarkably, does not mention the prior Senate testimony by the CIA weapons expert that such an umbrella device did exist, and instead quotes a more shaky claim by an “assassinations critic” regarding such a device.

Mr. GENZMAN. Mr. Witt, exhibit 406 is a copyrighted diagram
drawn by assassinations critic Robert B. Cutler which shows two
umbrellas with rocket and flechette attachments. Mr. Witt, do you
know what a flechette is?
Mr. WITT. I do now. I did not prior to our interview yesterday
Mr. GENZMAN. Did the umbrella in your possession on November
22, 1963, contain a flechette, or a rocket or a dart?
Mr. WITT, No, It did not.
Mr. GENZMAN. Has exhibit 405, the umbrella, ever contained -a
flechette, rocket. or dart?
Mr. WITT. No. Not since it’s been in my possession.
Mr. GENZMAN. Did the umbrella in your possession on November
1963; contain a gun or weapon of any sort?
Mr. WITT. No.
Mr. GENZMAN. Has exhibit 405 ever contained a gun or weapon
of any sort?
Mr. WITT. This umbrella?
Mr. WITT. No.
Mr. GENZMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Witt.
Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.

Is the Times at all interested in the credibility of this purported umbrella-bearer? Absolutely not.

Instead, the Morris video presents the idea that sometimes, the most ridiculous scenarios are the truth. And so it presents the ridiculous, and asks us to believe it. Cutting to the chase, the man seen opening an umbrella comes forward to explain why he did it. Reason: in 1963, he was still mad at Britain’s pre-war Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Hitler, and held JFK’s father to blame as US ambassador to England in that period. Chamberlain was famed for carrying an umbrella. So—get this—Umbrella Man, hoping to make a statement about what happened in the late 1930s to JFK in 1963, pumped his umbrella at the time the fatal shots were fired…only for this obscure purpose.

The Times passes the responsibility for this travesty to Morris, who passes it along to Josiah Thompson, a former Navy underwater demolitions expert turned Yale philosophy professor turned private investigator, who appears on-screen to ruminate about “Umbrella Man.” He is happy to accept the Chamberlain story as “delightful weirdness.”

Watching this, one gets the sense that Thompson believes there was no conspiracy in JFK’s death. But what the Times implies with this little piece is false. In fact, Josiah Thompson is known for documenting the exact opposite. He wrote a serious investigative book in 1967, “Six Seconds in Dallas,” full of evidence and specifics, in which he concluded there was a conspiracy to kill JFK—involving three different shooters. But the New York Times is not interested in that, only in this new, droll dismissal of another piece of the puzzle.

I called Thompson to ask him about the Morris video, and he pronounced himself delighted with it. I asked him how he knew that the man who came forward to identify himself as Umbrella Man and present the Neville Chamberlain story was actually the same man in the fuzzy photo of many years earlier. By way of explanation, he mentioned hearing a story from a well-respected JFK researcher who in turn had heard that Umbrella Man had told his dentist years earlier that he was umbrella man. Pressing Thompson, I learned that the man who came forward as Umbrella Man never provided proof that he was in fact the man with the umbrella. Even the dentist story is third, fourth, or perhaps fifth hand, not verified by Thompson or his researcher friend. All of which proves nothing, and all of which suggests that maybe, just maybe, the man’s improbable, “delightful” story of Neville Chamberlain is, indeed, fabricated.

Just because Errol Morris is a master of the documentary art does not make him any kind of authority on what should be the province of careful investigators. Just because a story is absurd does not make it real, or “delightful”, as the Times video would like us to consider—and many did, with thousands emailing the Times piece to friends. This is something well understood by the game-players of the covert operations house of mirrors: the jesuitical contortions that can be made to twist any credible scenario.

Here are some things you should know about the man who came forward to identify himself as Umbrella Man and tell this ludicrous Neville Chamberlain story:

His account of his activities that day don’t track with what Umbrella Man actually did, raising questions as to whether this man who volunteered to testify to the assassination inquiry is even the real umbrella-bearer, or someone whose purpose was to end inquiries into the matter.
The man who came forward, Louie Steven Witt, was a young man at the time of Kennedy’s death. How many young men in Dallas in 1963 even knew what Neville Chamberlain had done a quarter-century before?

In 1963, Witt was an insurance salesman for the Rio Grande National Life Insurance company, which anchored the eponymous Rio Grande Building in downtown Dallas. It’s an interesting building. Among the other outfits housed in the building was the Office of Immigration and Naturalization—a place Lee Harvey Oswald visited repeatedly upon his return from Russia, ostensibly to deal with matters concerning the immigration status of his Russian-born wife, Marina. Another occupant of the Rio Grande Building was the US Secret Service, so notably lax in its protection of Kennedy that day, breaking every rule of security on every level.

A major client of Rio Grande was the US military, to which it provided insurance.

It’s worth considering the roles of military-connected figures on the day of the assassination. These include Dallas Military Intelligence unit chief Jack Crichton operating secretly from an underground communications bunker; Crichton’s providing a translator who twisted Marina Oswald’s statement to police in a way that implicated her husband; and members of military intelligence forcing their way into the pilot car of Kennedy’s motorcade, which inexplicably ground to a halt in front of the Texas School Book Depository (where Lee Harvey Oswald’s employer, a high official with the local military-connected American Legion, managed to find a “job” for Oswald at a time when his company was otherwise seasonally laying off staff.) Oh, and it’s worth contemplating JFK’s titanic, if under-reported, struggle with top Pentagon officials over how the US should interact with Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the world. You can read more about all this in my book Family of Secrets.

Is this concatenation of facts too crazy to consider? More crazy than that Neville Chamberlain story?


Not content with having Morris, who is no Kennedy expert, put out this misleading video on Umbrella Man, the Times earlier featured Morris’s book review of Stephen King’s novel imagining Lee Harvey Oswald. So now you have a man who knows little about the real story, getting people to read the imaginings of one who also knows little of the real story. Another way to look at this is that the New York Times is really, really interested in an occult novelist’s take on the death of a president, but just totally uninterested itself in looking into that death.

You must read Errol Morris’s review of King’s book, and please explain to me what he is talking about, because I have no idea. One of the few things that registered at all from this confusing mess is a comment about Jack and Jackie:

King has said that he struggled with the idea for this book for more than 30 years. One can see why. In fiction, we can decide who did or did not kill Kennedy. Writer’s choice (and King chooses). But he pays his debts to history in other ways — by showing the machine and, at the same time, the simplest human knots, the love stories behind history: Sadie and George[characters in the novel], Jack and Jackie.

Um, “the love stories behind history…Jack and Jackie”?

This is part and parcel of the Times’s approach: to maintain a feeble, People Magazine-like focus on the JFK-Jackie Camelot love story—which never actually existed. Anyone who has read any of the books featuring interviews with close friends of the couple know that the marriage was a political match for the reticent JFK, never for a minute a fairy tale romance, and that by 1963 the duo could barely stand to be in each other’s presence. If this is news to you, come out of your New York Times cave and read….practically anything else. (One worthwhile account—including Jackie explicitly ignoring JFK’s request that, for appearances’ sake, the First Lady not take off to cruise on the yacht of the caddish Aristotle Onassis in the fall of 1963—can be found in Peter Evans’s book, Nemesis. By the way, Onassis hated—and I mean hated—the Kennedys; RFK had blocked a big Onassis business deal years earlier.)

Or read in Family of Secrets how, since childhood, Jackie had been a friend of George de Mohrenschildt, the “father figure” to Lee Harvey Oswald, or how, the night after de Mohrenschildt’s testimony to the Warren Commission, he was invited to dinner at Jackie’s mother’s house, along with the Machiavellian intriguer Allen Dulles, whom JFK had fired as CIA director and whom Johnson so shockingly appointed to the Warren Commission investigating Kennedy’s killing—a man who surely is at the top of most people’s lists of those behind the assassination.

If you appreciate these sorts of things, it is striking to learn that Onassis was a business partner in oil deals in the Caribbean prior to Castro’s revolution, with….Oswald’s best friend George de Mohrenschildt, and that Onassis’ brother-in-law was the cover employer of CIA coup plotter Al Ulmer, who just happened to be visiting the Dallas area the week of Nov 22 1963 from abroad.

So, please, can we get past this “love story” pabulum and at least do just a teensy bit of investigating these odd and flagrantly suggestive connections? Maybe they’re all odd coincidences, but at least they seem, intuitively, worth pursuing, at least as much as those “delightfully weird” Neville Chamberlain umbrella stories.

The real danger of a video like the one about the Umbrella Man is that it encourages people to stop questioning, stop

It’s time to stop treating the New York Times as the slightly daffy uncle who is hard of hearing. There’s something more insidious going on, and every single person who works there and refuses to care bears some responsibility. Ditto with the rest of the media, which still takes this institution as its guide on what to cover—and what not to uncover.

WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on it. But can we count on you? We cannot do our work without your support. Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.

investigating. Just laugh it all off. There’s no trouble here in the land of the free, the home of the brave. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, move along.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

View from the Grassy Knoll

Knoll: Dark Forces Silencing JFK Conspiracy Folk

Dallas is playing to its City of Hate stereotype for assassination's anniversary.
By Jim Schutze Thursday, Dec 1 2011

The 50th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza is still two years off, but somebody is already trying to shut down the plaza for the entire week of November 22, 2013. I'm not sure who yet. It's either the Sixth Floor Museum or City Hall.

This follows a decades-old campaign by the city to close the assassination site to so-called "conspiracy theorists" — that would be anyone who espouses a view of the assassination other than the official version purveyed by the assassination museum (Oswald did it, not Dallas).


Who is it who thinks this is the way for Dallas to project an appealing image of itself? In the zeitgeist of Tahrir Square and Occupy Wall Street, does someone actually believe Dallas will make itself look better by jumping with both jackboots on freedom of expression at the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination here?

There's something missing. It's something somebody doesn't get. Is it about conspiracy theories? Where would America be without conspiracy theories?

Take one iconic chapter, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. In the months leading up to the 50th anniversary on December 7, 1991, American and British publishing companies cranked out a river of conspiracy-theory books about the Japanese sinking of America's Pacific fleet.

For a half century American schoolchildren had been taught that Japan's surprise bombing attack was what drew the United States into war, so one company reissued a book for the anniversary saying that the official version was a lie. In A Time for War, author Robert Smithy Thompson argued that long before Pearl Harbor, America had thrown the first punch by covertly assisting China against Japan. Pearl Harbor, he said, was just Japan defending itself.

In Infamy: Pearl Harbor And its Aftermath, John Toland joined an entire list of authors arguing that the American military had cracked the Japanese secret codes and was reading all their mail long before Pearl Harbor. The accusation of these authors was that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted the Japanese to sink his Pacific fleet and kill 2,402 Americans so he would have an excuse to go to war.

Now that's a conspiracy theory. Might as well write a book saying the Bible was written in 1952 by Lenny Bruce.

In the autumn 1991 issue of MHQ, a quarterly journal of military history, David Kahn, the leading American expert on the subject of Japanese codes and Pearl Harbor, said that all of these theories were (and the wording that follows is mine, not his) complete and unadulterated bullshit.

In his article, Kahn said the Japanese never sent out a message, coded or uncoded, that said, "Big attack on Pearl Harbor coming up December 7." The coded messages we did intercept were drops of obscure water in a vast river of intelligence — things that have special meaning only if you're looking back with the microscope of hindsight from a vantage point 50 years later, and you're trying to hawk a book.

And maybe that's where a lot of conspiracy theory comes from. People get their scales of significance all whomper-jawed. You forget and turn your telescope around backwards, and all of a sudden that guy at the next table about to spear a stewed carrot on his plate looks like a Croatian malefactor on the roof across the street about to squeeze off a heat-seeking missile in your direction.

But that's OK. This country was founded on the belief that we can take anybody's book standing up, even the most wrong of the wrong, and we'd much rather do that than give up our freedom of speech.

And yet Dallas continues to make itself an ugly exception to this rule. I have written before about the struggles of Robert Groden, a best-selling author and recognized expert on the famous Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, whom the city clapped in cuffs and hauled off to jail for the sin of selling his books from a table at Dealey Plaza, even though such sales were explicitly allowed under city codes in force at the time.

Groden is now suing the city in federal court for violations of his basic civil rights. It was Groden's attorney, Bradley Kizzia, who informed me of the attempt to take over Dealey Plaza for the 50th.

This was after an odd little story in The Dallas Morning News on October 30 — one of those weird sort of out-of-the-blue, doesn't-quite-make-sense Morning News stories you have to have a magic decoder ring to understand — about how the assassination museum never used to have anything to do with anniversaries of Kennedy's murder in Dallas, but for the 50th they were going to take over the whole thing.

Why is that weird? You have to know the context. Right after the assassination, publishing companies cranked out a slew of blame-it-on-Dallas books, and some of the authors said even more pointedly that some of the blame should go to the Morning News for fomenting a right-wing screwball atmosphere. Like right-wing screwballs get that way from reading the paper. But anyway, that's what they said, so the paper has always had a thin skin about these matters.

The October story in the News said, "... to avoid the carnival atmosphere that has often prevailed at previous anniversaries on the plaza, museum officials are planning to take over commemoration activities there."

It quoted assassination museum director Nicola Longford as saying: "We have reserved Dealey Plaza for that date. I think, for the 50th anniversary, we have an opportunity to offer a dignified, appropriate event for the city of Dallas."

But Longford didn't seem to have much concrete detail to offer. Later in the story she said, "I don't think we know yet what will take place. It may be simply a moment of silence."

OK, you ask what's wrong with "dignified" and "appropriate." What evil plot can there be in a moment of silence? I shall explain. But, first, please put this on your head. It's a tinfoil hat. Just like mine. We need to be on the same wavelength.

After asking nicely for information about the planned event and being brushed off, Kizzia filed a legal demand under the Texas public records law for the application for an event permit and related correspondence and emails. What came back was a six-page document showing that the assassination museum wanted full control of all the Dealey Plaza area from November 18 through November 24, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., for seven days.
For a moment of silence? A bit of arithmetic here, and I come up with a moment of silence under this formulation that would be 98 hours long. That's a heck of a lot of silence.

The permit application is typed and filled out in Longford's name, but it is unsigned.
Oh, now I'm really getting out into wig-land, right? Well, hold on to your tinfoil for a second. There is more. One of the emails Kizzia obtained from the city was from Jill Beam, the person in the Parks Department who hands out such permits, to a person who had asked if his own group of assassination buffs could hold their own brief moment of silence on the plaza for the 50th, as they have in years past.

The sad news, apparently, was that the moments of silence were all taken. The museum, with its 98-hour moment of silence, had pretty well silenced any other moments.

But here's the juicy part, conspiracy-wise. Beam tells the inquiring citizen at one point: "I am in touch with the folks from the City, who are actually requesting the site for 2013, to see exactly where they will be hosting their event."

Catch that? She didn't say, "the folks from the museum." She said, "from the city." So who's behind this deal, anyway?

Now here's my favorite part. I tried eight ways to Sunday to get the people at the assassination museum and the people at City Hall to talk to me about this. What did I get? I want you to guess. It's one word. It's a kind of wall. A very hard wall. Yup. I got ...

Oh, it's what we tinfoil hatters just live for. There's almost nothing better than getting stonewalled. It's so deeply and fundamentally confirmatory.

Frank Librio, the spokesman for the city, always calls me back. Not this time. Wouldn't talk about it. Busy. Too many meetings. And, of course, it was close to Thanksgiving. People always get so crazy close to Thanksgiving.

We're almost done here. Would you mind taking off that goofy hat? We need to be serious now.

The accusation was always that some dark shadowy group in Dallas was behind the assassination. Dallas resented that. I understand. Dallas still wants that impression to go away. I think maybe in 50 years it probably has gone away, but some people here are still sensitive.

Here's the problem. Let's say you're accused of being a dark shadowy group. The way to get out from under that accusation is not by going around behaving like a dark shadowy group.

Just for example: You don't send out the jackboots to arrest authors who disagree with you. In the world of dark shadowy groups, that's called "playing to your stereotype."

Here's another suggestion. Don't announce that you're going to hold a 98-hour moment of silence so nobody else can have even a 30-second moment of silence. It's just ... I don't know ... it sounds like a line from a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

And what do you think will happen on November 22, 2013, anyway? I have spoken with members of some of the groups that are being shut out, and they are already kicking around the phrase "Occupy Dealey Plaza."

Ah, well, maybe ... just forget it. A half century later, and we're still walking straight into it. Can't argue with destiny.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Battle of Dealey Plaza

Raising the flag at Dealey Plaza on the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.

George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News (DMN).

A few blocks away, just across the street from the Union Train Station, the DMNs building has enscribed on the side of the wall: "Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question."
- George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News.

Rock of truth, righteousness, fairness and integrity.

Former Minnesota governor and TV show host Jesse Ventura at Dealey Plaza on the 40th anniversary of the assassination.

The 48th anniversary of the assassination included annual weekend conferences by the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) [] and JFK LANCER. Then on Tuesday, November 22nd, people who attended both conferences met at Dealey Plaza where John Judge, the director of COPA, has continued the tradition established by Penn Jones in 1964 of holding a minute long moment of silence at 12:30pm, the moment JFK was killed. At first only Penn Jones and a few people were there to honor the occasion, but over the years the affair has grown considerably, especially for the 30th and 40th anniversaries.

This year however, the 48th anniversary, a controversy has erupted over the announcement that the Sixth Floor Museum has been granted the permit to hold the ceremony on November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary, when thousands of people are expected.

For some reason the museum asked the Kennedy family about holding such an official ceremony, when they refused to abide by the Kennedy family request not to place a web cam in the sniper's window, which they did anyway [].

Now the Sixth Floor museum people say they want to hold a nice ceremony, not like the circus of conspiracy theorists who usually show up every anniversary, and they suggest they do something respectful, like holding a moment of silence.

Of course they are being accused of trying to stifle the free speech that conspiracy theorists and the circus bring to the Plaza.

Besides attempting to take over the ceremony on the anniversary, the city, some say prompted by the Sixth Floor Museum, has been harassing Robert Groden, the photo expert, conspiracy theorists and author of a half-dozen books on the assassination who celebrates his birthday on November 22, and sells his books off a card table he sets up there. Groden has been ticketed dozens if not hundreds of times, but has a lawyer and is fighting the city. It seems like the harassment is indicative of an attempt by the city and Sixth Floor administrators to take over Dealey Plaza and promote their own agenda, as well as the official story that the President was killed by a lone nut and there was no conspiracy.

Jesse Ventura sits down on the Grassy Knoll after addressing the crowd at Dealey Plaza on the 40th anniversary of the assassination.

John Judge, the director of COPA, who has been leading the moment of silence at half past noon since Penn Jones passed away, says that the Battle of Dealey Plaza isn't just about the space and the time, but is a battle for the hearts and minds of those who recognize Dealey Plaza as sacred ground and what happened there not the murder of the president, but a theft of democracy, the government and in a sense, the nation itself.

Bradley Kizzia, an attorney who represents noted assassination author Charles (sic – Robert) Groden, made a Public Information Act demand for documents and correspondence dealing with the 50th. When the city sent him the stuff, it appeared from certain emails that Longford and the assassination museum may not be who's really behind the takeover attempt. They could be cutouts for the real anti-conspiracy conspirators. I'll get into more of that in a column for next week's newspaper.

But hence the shadowy group references. And just think: The shadowy group thing is what started everything. Most of the assassination conspiracy theorists believe a shadowy group in Dallas was behind the assassination. Now they think a shadowy group in Dallas is trying to take over the 50th in order to shut down the discussion of shadowy groups.

You think it sounds crazy? Sure, but think about it. Longford won't talk. Neither will Librio. Perfect. Talk about playing to your own stereotype.

Sometimes you hear people here ask why Los Angeles doesn't have the same shadow over it for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy. Maybe people should think about that question a little harder.

Tomorrow we will see the 48th anniversary. That's a long time for one shadow. I think the Japanese got out from under the shadow of Pearl Harbor faster than this. We seem to have a genius for keeping our shadows alive.

Anyway, if you happen to see Mr. Librio out and about, would you tell him I'm trying to reach him? Tell him to look out his window. I'll be the guy out there with the umbrella and the Super 8 wind-up movie camera. It's sort of a uniform.

From: via
Crowd marks John F. Kennedy’s assassination with moment of silence at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza

Staff Writer

Published: 22 November 2011 12:56 PM

To Dealey Plaza they came, the young and old, marking the 48th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination — mourners, tourists, conspiracy theorists and the simply curious.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, as dictated by tradition and history, many bowed their heads in silent remembrance, a small crowd of three or four dozen wrapped in jackets and hoodies against a November day that fought against the warmth.

It was a far cry from the event’s 30th anniversary, when more than 4,000 people showed.
But lurking beneath the surface of the proceedings was the wee specter of Penn Jones Jr., the diminutive former publisher and editor of the Midlothian Mirror who made it his life’s mission to crusade against lone-gunman explanations of the assassination.

It was Jones, some say, who launched the annual moment of silence, and while its origins remain officially unclear, it lives on in Jones’ absence.

“He’s definitely the one who started the tradition,” said John Judge, co-founder of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), one of two research groups that continue to hold annual conferences in Dallas, similarly dissatisfied with the Warren Commission’s conclusions.

While the city of Dallas and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza have traditionally steered clear of any kind of official ceremony commemorating the assassination, Jones and others who question whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone have carried on the tradition — not only to honor a fallen president but to stoke the fires of conspiracy theory.

“We’ve tried to hold it every year regardless of the conditions around us,” Judge said. “We don’t feel that holding up a banner and asking questions is a carnival or circus atmosphere.”

Sixth Floor officials won’t confirm either the tradition’s origins or whether Jones had any part in it.

“We can’t document it well enough that the museum is comfortable with it,” said Gary Mack, the museum’s curator. “We’ve seen it referred to in several places, but the sources seem to be people who did not know him.”

Jones died in 1998 at age 83.

Judge said Jones asked him to continue the tradition as he fell increasingly ill with Alzheimer’s, and since 1994 — the year Judge founded the coalition — he has done so as part of the group’s annual meeting.

Jones was what conspiracy-minded groups call a first-generation researcher, someone who hit the ground running in the wake of Kennedy’s killing, whose newsletters on his findings and skepticism were published with the aid of a manual typewriter.

“I have all the issues of his magazine except for one,” said Debra Conway of JFK Lancer, another research group that, like COPA, holds its annual meeting around the anniversary of the assassination.

Jones, a World War II veteran who found success in real estate, eventually purchased the Midlothian Mirror, where he earned a reputation as a feisty researcher unafraid to buck the area’s conservative leanings.

The assassination — and his interpretation of events — would change his life forever, starting with the release of the Warren Commission’s report in 1964.

“He really spent time reading that whole thing,” said his son, Michael Jones of Dallas. “It was just so unsatisfactory to him. It helped give him the evidence he needed to conclude it was a conspiracy.”

While official findings attributed Kennedy’s murder to Oswald, Jones spent the latter part of his life pursuing a Sisyphean mission to convince the world otherwise.

Among his contributions to conspiracy lore is the “storm drain theory,” which holds that one of numerous gunmen hid in an Elm Street manhole, then escaped through a drain that once connected to the basement of an old jail. The drain has been since sealed with concrete.

Jones would espouse such theories on the anniversary of the assassination, energetically acting them out for anyone who was interested.

“He was a tiny little guy,” Conway said. “He’d stand up there on the [Dealey Plaza] pedestal where [Abraham] Zapruder had filmed so people could hear and see him, for no other reason except that he was 5-foot-3.”

As far as she knows, Jones was the person behind the moment of silence. “If someone did it before him, I don’t know about it,” she said.

Though the gesture was meant to honor Kennedy’s passing, Jones’ son Michael said it was also about his father’s growing disillusionment as he began to question the government’s findings.

“He saw it as a coup d’etat,” Jones said. “He felt the government had been taken away from the people. So the moment was kind of a protest to make that statement and get it back somehow.”

Among Tuesday’s crowd were Greg and Sandra Lewis, who had driven in from Lubbock for a family reunion. As Greg walked around taking photographs, Sandra waited with their terrier in the chill of the November day.

“It seems wrong to celebrate such a horrid thing,” she said.

“It used to be just a gathering,” Greg said. “Now it’s a tourist attraction.”

Nonetheless, the crowd had begun accumulating on the grounds near the foot of the former Texas School Book Depository — where Oswald had hidden on the sixth floor — recalling where they were on Nov. 22, 1963, or pointing out notable landmarks to their children.

Afterward, they continued to remember, wandering the grassy knoll or, like Susan Lazarow and Jessica Baxter of Boca Raton, Fla., snapping photos of the painted X on Elm Street, thought to be the approximate spot where Kennedy was hit.

“I think it’s neat to know,” Baxter said. “I’m going to put that on my Facebook page.”
“It’s a little eerie,” Lazarow said. “I don’t want to make light of it.”

But it was speeches like the one given by Judge of the political assassination coalition that drew most gawkers.

“We don’t know the truth about our own history,” Judge said, his jabbing finger and booming delivery drawing a growing crowd and eventual applause.

He then called for the moment of silence in keeping with Jones’ tradition.

With the city and The Sixth Floor Museum beginning to plan 50th anniversary proceedings for 2013, someone asked whether Judge and his group planned to return next year.

“We’ll be here,” he said. “We may have to crawl through the sewer system and pop our heads up where the assassin was, but we’ll be here.”


Pinpointing the Shadowy Figures Behind the JFK Conspiracy
... the Other Conspiracy, That Is

By Jim Schutze Mon., Nov. 21 2011 at 1:55 PM
Categories: Get Off My Lawn

Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry to bother you. Got a second? Hey, I'm not asking for money. I just need a favor. Do you know this guy, Frank Librio? Would you be able to get in touch with him for me?

He's the spokesman for the city of Dallas. Very intelligent man, professional, used to be in television. I'm a newspaper reporter. I'm just standing out here on the street asking people if they know him, in case somebody might be able to help me get through to him.
Five days ago I asked him a question about the Kennedy assassination, and I can't get him to reply. Maybe you could do better. No, not one of those questions. This was legitimate.
This was about an attempt by a shadowy group to seize control of Dealey Plaza, where the assassination happened, in advance of its 50th anniversary on November 22, 2013. City Hall is involved in some way, as is the Sixth Floor assassination museum. I'll show you the document. It's attached.

The suspicion on the part of conspiracy theorists is that the group behind the attempted takeover wants to lock down Dealey Plaza so the conspiracy theorists won't be able to go there and get attention from all of the media somebody thinks will flock here for the 50th. The group may also want to bar the presence of any souvenir guys standing around accosting people on the street, like I'm doing here. So this is sort of a conspiracy theory about an anti-conspiracy conspiracy.

Hey, look, what do you expect? This is Dallas. This is our cottage industry. I'm sure before I'm done here somebody will accuse me of having a tin-foil-hat, anti-anti-conspiracy conspiracy. We do this stuff like the French make lace.

If you look at the attached event application, it shows that the Sixth Floor assassination museum wants to control all of Dealey Plaza for an entire week leading up to the 50th, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. I have tried to get Nicola Longford, director of the assassination museum, to tell me what she plans to do for that much time, but she won't talk to me, either.

It's tough. That's why I'm asking you.

Here's a transcript of the speeches given on the 35th anniversary in 1998

The Event That Didn't Happen.


I placed a tape recorder on Zapruder's peragoda/pedistal and taped the proceedings and then transcribed them. I hope somebody gets something out of this. - Bill Kelly

"Build the news upon the rock of truth and righteousness. Conduct it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity. Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question." - George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News.

CNN news reported that for the first time in 35 years that nothing was happening and there was to be no memorial service at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1998, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

CBS News with Dan Rather reported that the Final Report of the JFK Assassinations Records Review Board "did find enough evidence to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only gunman," while the Final Report never concluded any such thing.

Then the Associated Press (AP) reported from Dallas on November 22 that, "JFK assassination hype fades" and that "other than the usual handful of curious people milling about Dealey Plaza, the day was expected to be uneventful..."

Bob Porter of the Sixth Floor Museum told a reporter that nothing was scheduled to happen at Dealey Plaza that day, even though, if he looked out his office window, he could see over a thousand people gathering around the Grassy Knoll for a memorial service in honor of the slain president.

Well, what actually occured was that from noon until 1pm, the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) took a break from their fifth annual conference at Union Station, two blocks away, to hold a memorial service that was attended by a sea of people who filled the both sides of the street of the entire plaza. Participants in the JFK LANCER conference, also held in Dallas that weekend, also attended, as well as ordinary tourists, interested citizens and passersby.

COPA is an organization that was originally dcomposed of three independent groups - the Assassination Records and Research Center (ARRC) of Washington D.C., the Committee for an Open Archvies (COA) and the Citizens for the Truth about the John F. Kennedy Assassination (CTKA). They are professional associations composed of people interested in developing the truth about the assassination, who lobbied extensively for the passage of the JFK Assassination Records Review Act and have met with Cuban officials in the Bahamas to obtain information about the assassination from Cuban sources.

In an address before COPA the previous day, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board, John Tunheim reiterated the Final Report's first paragraph that, despite Rather's statement, it "will not offer conclusions about what the assassination records released did or did not prove." Tunheim and his final report also note that significant documents were missing and some were even destroyed by federal agencies after the board began its business of identifying and releasing records to the public.

Others who spoke at the COPA conference included Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria, history professor John Newman, former FBI agent William Turner and others who have been instrumental in reviewing the recently released documents and attempting to make sense of what the government wants to maintain a mystery.

At noon on Sunday, November 22, 1998, COPA board member, and Washington D.C. attorney Dan Alcorn began the memorial service at Dealey Plaza.

Dan Alcorn : The federal board - The JFK Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) discovered that many of the records have been destroyed, and we do not have a complete record. Yet we have a much more of a documentary record than we have had ever before.
There's a memorial down on the street that has a quotation from the bible: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

That quote is also inscribed on the wall of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, Virginia, so there is a commonality of thought there. Many of us are here today because we have never believed that the government has told us the truth about the assassination, and we believe that unless we know the truth, we are not free.

Unless we know the truth about these events we are not a free people and we have not been a free people as long as we have been lied to about the events that occured here. The spirit of our commemorative event is to take those words to heart, and until we know the truth and the full truth of what occured in the street before us today on a day very much like today, a clear, sunny day in the fall of 1963.

On behalf of our organization I will make a challenge to you. Everyone here must be here because you care very deeply about the meaning of this event and what it means to our history as a nation. I will make the challenge to you to join us in our efforts in seeking the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. And not just the truth as pieced together by citizens who put in the time and effort to this, but to actually cause the government to tell the truth about this event, and for the government to come forward and give us a full and truthful accounting of what happened here in 1963. Otherwise, we in fact are not the free people we want to be, have been and we should be as a nation.

You know, it is a crime for a citizen of this country to tell a lie to a federal investigator, but it is not a crime for your government to lie to you. And we feel this is an unfair relationship. If it's a crime for us to lie to our government, it should be a crime for us t o lie as well.

It is in that spirit of investigation and of honest inquiry that our organization has worked closely with the Assassinations Records Review Board to get materials out. They ran into an obstructive wall of secrecy at the federal agencies. They told us that they ran into a Cold War system of secrecy that refused to relent on the documents and information as it related to this event. And this was thirty-five years after the event occured, and after a federal board was set up by the Congress to try to get information released about what happened here.

So we call on you to join us in our efforts. We think that great nations and civilizations cannot survive the kinds of doubt and turmoil that have been raised by the events that happened here. If you study the history of great civilizations you will find that when they lost their way in terms of truth, self-governing, democratic and republican institutions began their decline and was one of the reasons for their ultimate collapse. We do not want the decline and decay of our public and political system. We want to be a part of a healthy revival of those institutions.

We have experienced a decline in the public's trust in government since November,1963, a blimp in the charts that notes the significance of these events. Today a majority of people don't even bother to vote. The largest turnout of voters in American history was in 1960. The decline in public confidence in the government began with the ambush at Dealey Plaza and has continually declined since then. These trends are very troubling.
So we ask you to join us and support the effort we have started to try to pursue the truth of these events, to try to pursue credibility, honesty and openness on behalf of our governmental institutions. And by that effort to try to turn our nation in a healthy direction, to build stronger democratic institutions, to build a stronger faith between the pubic and its government. We feel that is essential, and we call on you as free citizens of this nation to join us in that effort.

I'm going to introduce to you a series of speakers who have been very involved in this issue and can give you the benefit of their experience as well. The first is Mark Lane, one of the earliest researchers in this case who did tremendous ground-breaking work, recorded much of his work for posterity and has written extensively about this case.

Mark Lane: I remember coming here thirty-five years ago and there were no crowds on the grassy knoll. But now, after all of these years, although they have a museum over there on the 6th Floor, which is a museum dedicated to a place where nothing happened. They don't have a plaque over here, on the grassy knoll, and they should.

Thirty-five years ago today the Dallas Morning News published a full page ad with the sarcastic heading: "Welcome To Dallas Mr. President," and then went on to practically call him a communist and a trator. That was then.

Today's Dallas Morning News has an editorial: "Kennedy's Legacy - The Time Is Ripe For Idealism," with no references to him being a communist or a traitor. Now he's a great man. They'll tell us everything about John Kennedy, everything, except who killed him. Because look at the rest of the Dallas Morning News, thirty-five years later, when every survey in America shows that 75 to 95% of the people are convinced that there was a conspiracy to kill John Kennedy, here we go in the guise of a book review in today's Dallas Morning News: Oswald Alone Killed Kennedy, Oswald Alone Killed Tippit, One Man Two Murders, they're sticking with the same story. I have but one word for the Dallas Morning News:

Shame. Shame on you, you are discracing the city of Dallas, and it is not fair to do that.
I'll tell you where there should be plaques in this city. There were a number of brave, courageous residents of this city, longtime residents of Texas, who had the courage to speak the truth to power in the face of intimidation and threats. Right over there was Jean Hill, and she's still there thirty-five years later, one of the first to tell the truth that shots came from behind that wooden fence. And they attacked her and ridiculed her. There should be a plaque over there commemorating her right on the spot where she is standing...

The Grassy Knoll should be called "Lee Bowers Memorial Park," the railroad bridge should be the Holland-Dode-Symmons Underpass - that's the monuments that should be named after the people of this state, people who had the courage to come forward with the truth, while the Dallas Morning News lied thirty-five years ago and continues to lie thirty-five years later.

This is the place where our leader was murdered. This is hollowed grown, and the people of this country know it. It is supose to be the largest tourist attraction in Dallas. There's people here all the time, at the grassy knoll, nobody looks for the truth from the 6th floor of the Book Depository building, because the people of America know the truth, even though the Dallas Morning News is unwilling to share the information with us.

That day in Dallas, in this city, at this location, when the government of the United States executed its own president, when that happened, we as a nation, lost our code of honor, lost our sense of honor. And it can only be restored when the government of the United States - and it will not do it without us insisting, and marching and fighting and voting, and putting this matter on the agenda,...but when that day comes that the government of the United States tells us the truth and all the factual details about the assassination, including their role in the murder. When that day comes, honor will be restored to this nation. Thank you.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a medical doctor from San Francisco who has researched this issue and has written about it in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Columbia Journalism Review, Dr. Gary Agular.

Dr. Gary Agular: It's hard to follow such a powerful speaker as Mark Lane and I certainly can't hope to match his eloquence, wit or command of this case, but what I can share with you is evidence...that autopsy photos are missing. This is something that you will not read in the Dallas Morning News, Time or Newsweek, but is something that is very clearly established, the ARRB releases are very clear on the point, the autopsy pathologists have described autopsy photographs that are missing. One of them defiantly stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which was supposed to tell us the truth about the assassination...which not only did not report that, it wasn't released until the ARRB came along.

There is enormous evidence in the forensic, in the medical area alone that indicates there was more assassin, but what is most shameful of all is the government's willingness, even in subsequent investigations, to lie about that evidence. Thank God there was an Assassinations Records Review Board, thank God they did the work they did, because now we no longer have to rely on government appointed authorities to tell us that we can trust the government's original conclusions, because we know we can't.

We know they've destroyed evidence, not only in the medical-autopsy area, not only among photographs, we know that witnesses have been intimated, and it is ashame that you won't read about that. No credible journalist will touch the story. It is a story not unlike the story of the CIA and crack cocaine, which led to the downfall of Gary Webb, before two volumes of the CIA Inspector's Report that confirmed much more than what Gary Webb even alleged about the CIA's complicity in the cocaine importation. But you won't read about that in the Dallas Morning News. You barely get a small column about it in the New York Times after they devote many, many column inches defamined journalists who talk about the subject.

I think it is important that those of you who are here today continue to insist that your government is accountable to you and does not conduct its operations in secrecy, that it does not deny you the evidence that is collected in its investigations and that it be as accountable to us as it insists we be accountable to it.

I hope you will continue to work with us to force the government to be responsible and admit the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is a member of the Board of Directors of COPA, a professor at Dartmouth, and the author of a number of books about the assassination, Dr. Phillip Melanson.

Dr. Phillip Melanson: Thank you. As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of this terrible political tragedy that so negatively affected our lives, our policies, our political system and our faith in our own government, we should remind ourselves that the tragedy of the President's assassination is compounded by a separate but related tragedy - the failulre of our law enforcement institutions, the failure of our political institutions and the failure of the media to affectively discover the truth of who killed President Kennedy and why. And until that happens, and it is never too late to find the truth if the citizens demand it, and until that happens the original tragedy will be compounded like a bad political debt into the next millenieum, and the faith in our political system will continue to erode.

I think also the failure to come to grips with who killed President Kennedy and why is related to the other assassinations in the 1960s, and that's why Martin Luther King's is begging the Justice Department to look for justice in that case, and we hear from Siran's lawyer in the case of Robert Kennedy.

If we had come to terms with what happened here at Dealey Plaza, discovered the truth and admitted it, the whole history of the 1960s would be different.

If the vast majority of the public believes this case is an unsolved conspiracy, who are the minority in officialdom to deny us the truth and to cling to the lone-assassin theory like it was an absolute religion in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Thank you.

Dan Alcorn: Our next speaker is an acclaimed author and professor of history at the University of Maryland. His books include JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA, Dr. John Newman.

Dr. John Newman: I would like to say a few words about the media, and a couple of new developments for all of you gathered here. When I come here at this time of the year, I remember another place, a place connected to this place, and without the events that happened here, the other place would not exist, and that's the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., which is like no other war memorial in the world. I've been to other war memorials in Russia, China and Germany, and people frequent those memorials, they eat lunch there and talk and its a nice place to be. I don't how many of you have been to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., but nobody hangs out It's a very, very somber place because there's still something going on there, something deep, something that's still in our psyche, and our culture and it connects directly to Dealey Plaza. And I think most people know that.

I'm not going to give a speech on the Vietnam War, but I think it is clear now that John F. Kennedy was on his way to pulling us out of Vietnam when he died, and the events that happened here catapulted us to that devistating debacle called the Vietnam War.

I'd like to echo what Mark Lane said about the media. I just heard that CNN this morning said that for the first time in all these years there were no events planned for Dealey Plaza on this day. So you are not here, this gathering does not exist. Furthermore, the evening before last, none other than Dan Rather, the major icon of the network television, made the announcement that the Review Board had conducted this very large investigation and looked at all these millions of pages of documents and had discovered that the lone-nut hypothesis was true, which was attributed to Judge Tunheim. Judge Tunheim was here in Dallas and refutes this story, and all of you who have followed this story know that the Review Board has taken no such position.

But it never ceases to amaze me how the media can twist and turn and obfuscate and block this mass movement to find the truth. Let me close by giving you a few examples of the information that is flowing out of these new files, and I think these are appropriate because of what happened here at Dealey Plaza. I am thinking particularly of a tape recorded conversation between President Johnson and Senator Russell, one of the Warren Comissoners. At great length they were able to save the situation and preserve the lone-nut hypothesis with that wonderful, sine qua non - CE399, the magic bullet that broke seven bones and came out prestine on a stretcher.

The newly released tape is very interesting because Sen. Russell calls the President to explain to him what this single-bullet theory is, and at the end of it he says distinctly, "I don't believe a word of it." And President Johnson said, "I don't either."

And I think that is appropriate thing to share with you the types of things that are coming out of the files. Then there is the galley proofs of the Warren Report where our estimed President Ford moved the bullet hole up, and these are the types of things that are in the newly released documents, but the mainstream media is not there to put them on page one.

Occasionally they get noted, but its like ships passing in the night. I am heartened to see by the turnout here today, that with respect to the American people, this is not passing in the night and I hope as we stand here today and think about the events that happened here, we pass the torch to a younger generation, which we are doing, our movement and our desire for the truth in this case carries on. Thank you very much.

Dan Alcorn: We are approaching the time in our program which is a memorial to the events that happened here thirty-five years ago, so for that purpose I'd like to introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, a man who has devoted himself for a number of years to working on the projects we have as an organization, but has also done his own independent research on the assassination. I think that those who have had the experience of working with John Judge know of his serious and sincere commitment to investigating the issues that are at stake here and to his contribution that he has made to the the history of the investigation of the assassination. He has really been the heart and soul of the work we have done through COPA. He has put in a tremendous volunteer effort and sacrificed and suffered a great deal for the efforts he has made, which have gone largely uncompensated. So let me introduce to you the executive secretary of COPA, John Judge.

John Judge: It is interesting to see such a large crowd. For the better part of the last 25 years, I have come out here every year, usually with only five or six people, often in worse weather than this, with researcher and newspaper editor Penn Jones, who some of you know as having done work on the death of the witnesses, who passed on this year.
From the inception of the national security and military-intelligence state in the late 1940s, the history of this country has been a commodity that has been owned by that state. The people who don't own their own history are a conquered people.

Much of the effort I put in has to do with the idea of taking our own history back, of owning it ourselves, since much is still locked up in government vaults and hidden from us and we are really the only ones who can restore it. 35 years ago, in my view, there was a coup d'etat here in Dealey Plaza, and the government has not recovered in any significant way, towards democracy, since that day. Kennedy began to represent for many people, hope and change and a response from the top level of government to the popular movements at the time for civil rights, for arms limitations, for an end to the Cold War, and Kennedy was responding to popular movements in a way that presidents after him rarely have. So what was assassinated here that day was not just a particular man or a particular president, but a sense of hope by the American people. And I think that the government has let us know over the years, fairly consistently, that they did kill the president, and they killed him from a very high level, and that if they can kill the president and get away with it that they can kill anyone of us that they would like to and that we should sit down and shut up and get out of the way.

But I'm hoping that there is enough decency left in people in America, and I see evidence of that all the time, that we can understand that there are more of us, and that we can think, and we can take back our own democracy, if we want it.
It is now 12:30, and 35 years ago President Kennedy was assassinated here, so lets have a moment of silence.

[Two minutes of silence]

Thank you.

Peter Dale Scott, a researcher who could not be with us here today, sent an e-mail in which he said a few interesting things. He said that we've come into a new era in that one of the major tasks ahead of us right now is to focus on getting the government documents that are still locked up on the Martin Luther King assassination. The other thing he noted was a government statute that makes it illegal for a citizen of this country to lie to the government, and he suggested that a similar statute be passed that would make it illegal for the government to lie to its people.

I hope you will take this topic seriously and continue to act to get the full release of the files and to get the truth, and you are welcome to join us at COPA in fulfilling the remainder of our agenda and what is to be done in the future. You are welcome to join us and take your democracy back.

Dan Alcorn: We have a few other speakers here, including former FBI agent William Turner, whose books have been translated into Russian, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. He is currently working on a new book entitled: "Rearview Mirror - Looking back at the FBI, CIA and Other Tails.

William Turner: Thank you Dan. It's been exactly 35 years ago and two days that I came here on assignment for a national magazine to do an article on the breakdown in security that resulted in the assassination being successful. I was assigned to it because of my background as a former FBI agent. I can tell you that when I arrived the mood was really somber, the floodlights were on, reporters from all over the world were converging, people had left floral wreaths along the curbstone where the shooting took place, and it was very erry. The headquarters of the Dallas Police Department was a feeding frenzy of reporters trying to find out what happened. I was on a very tight deadline, I could only contend with the security breakdown issue at the time, which was that Oswald had worked as an informant for the FBI and that was the reason they had not furnished his name to the Secret Service prior to the presidential visit.

One thing I remember was talking to a Dallas patrolman named Malcolm Eugene Barnett who had been posted in front of the School Book Depository for crowd control at the time of the assassination. He told me that a women came running from the grassy knoll who told him that shots were fired from here. That being the case, I became very critical of the Warren Commission and when it's report came out I read it and realized it was pretty much a fairy tale. I am proud to say that I was associated with District Attorney Jim Garrison in New Orleans who tried to reopen the investigation into the assassination. Jim was a great American and was on the trail of the assassins, as his book says, when he was destroyed by the media at the Clay Shaw trial. The Garrison investigation paved the way for what we know today, and I believe that we know to a good degree of journalistic certitude what happened.

First the motives were piling up, John Kennedy had supposidly with held air cover for the Bay of Pigs, motive number one. John Kennedy had failed to invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, motive number two. John Kennedy had promised to withdraw from Vietnam, motive number three. Motive number four is that John Kennedy, at the time he was assassinated, was on a second track, which was to secretly carry on negotiations with Cuba to bring about a detente. These motives piled up to the point where it became necessary to assassinate him. And I think it is very obvious with the compilation of information that we have today that the whole mechanism of it came out of the allegiance between the CIA and the rabid Cuban exiles and the Mafia, who already had an assassination apparatus set up to kill Castro. They switched targets and hit Kennedy.

And I hope you will join us, in recognizing the significance of the events that happened here, and try to do something about it. Thank you.

Hal Verb: The saying on the wall at the CIA: "Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," is wrong. When you know the truth, the truth makes you MAD!"

Biography: http://educationforu...?showtopic=5214