Today we share expert reactions to my Dec. 9 column opposing the Warren Commission's finding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy.
That column, JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, was based on recent books, interviews and conferences about the murder on Nov. 22, 1963. Pro and con reactions and other news developments are presented below in this tenth segment in the Justice Integrity Project's "JFK Murder Readers Guide."
As context, this kind of inquiry faces unusually difficult obstacles. We now know that the government narrowed its focus to Oswald and encouraged media self-censorship immediately after Kennedy's death, thereby distorting the official inquiries, news accounts, and other records.
The State Department and CIA had secretly urged opinion-leaders, including those controlling major media outlets, to mock critics of the Warren Commission as "conspiracy theorists" unworthy of credibility or, by implication, continued employment in significant media and academic jobs.
The joint government-media public relations campaign organized virtually all of the most prestigious publications and their top commentators in the 1960s, even those otherwise renowned for independent work. This made it extraordinarily difficult for the organizations and commentators to change their views.
Thus, the propaganda campaign persists today even though, in retrospect, the evidence against Oswald -- a likely double agent working with federal authorities -- could be challenged on many grounds, as our previous column indicated. Robert Tanenbaum, former top counsel of a 1978 House investigation of into the Kennedy killing, told a C-SPAN audience this fall that not one jury in the United States would have convicted Oswald on the basis of evidence before the Warren Commission.
Doubts loomed so large just after the murder that even Robert Kennedy, right, reputedly telephoned CIA Director John McCone promptly after the shooting and screamed, "Did the CIA kill my brother?" Yet Kennedy himself soon helped suppressing a full investigation for reasons intensely debated to this day.
Fact-finding in the 1960s has remained difficult. Law enforcement, intelligence, and military personnel typically operate in secrecy, as did relevant operatives suspected of involvement from the Mafia and from the Cuban exile community. Also, the investigation still arouses strong political, ideological, and other passions.
The Warren commissioners are shown below left presenting their report to Johnson in 1964. Longtime journalist Fred J. Cook wrote at the time that he had never seen such universal praise in the major media for a government action, or such relentless self-censorship of criticism from every media outlet ranging from small to large. In that spirit, the late New York Times commentator Anthony Lewis, for example, reported that day after release of the 26 volumes of un-indexed witnesses testimony and other evidence that the evidence resolved all doubts forever regarding Oswald's guilt
Defenders of the Warren Commission still dominate the mainstream media, as indicated by such previous segments of this series as Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory.
A Southern Methodist University (SMU) forum in Dallas cablecast on C-SPAN recently showed six former commission staff proclaiming ‘History will prove us right.' All moderators, academic interrogators and audience members indicated their similar support for the commission and its conclusions.
That forum and a companion event at SMU, site of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, convened dozens of prominent news reporters who had covered the event. The conference illustrated the power structure's ability to unify government, academia and media behind the core message initially planned by government in its 1963 memo from Katzenbach, cited above, immediately after Oswald's arrest.
The government's persuasive power on such a sensitive issue stems from many factors. Government leaders appealed to patriotism on national security grounds, for example.
Also, the government holds regulatory and contracting powers over media companies and their non-media affiliates. This power is especially persuasive when media organizations contemplate mergers and acquisitions that must be approved by Washington authorities.
Furthermore, as I argue in my new book, Presidential Puppetry, the major family dynasties and their corporations use their wealth and other power to influence government officials and media companies. Also, institutions and personnel complicit in a rigged, misguided, or superficial commentary in the 1960s cannot easily debate the specifics now.
In sum, the civics class image of three branches of government and various watchdog institutions vigorously contending against one another cannot be true if the same elites heavily influence the staffing and operations of all of those entities.
Despite those important factors sustaining the Warren Commission findings, large majorities of the public continue to doubt the Warren Commission's conclusions, according to opinion polls. But media self-censorship restricts the ability of the lay public to learn specifics about the commission's errors and omissions.
One divisive issue among commission critics we explore in today's column is whether the Mafia or government operatives conspired to murder the president.
The HSCA found a “probable conspiracy,” and suggested that parts of the Mafia and/or certain anti-Castro Cuban groups “may have been involved.” PBS last month replayed a 1993 Interview of Blakey on his views, expressed also in his 1981 book,The Plot To Kill the President. A decade after the 1993 interview, Blakey revised his initial praise for CIA cooperation to state that experience showed the CIA cooperation had not been as great as he had thought. Blakey's predecessors, Richard Sprague and Robert Tanenbaum, resigned in 1978 out of frustration that Congress did not permit them a more open-ended inquiry of leads pointing to the CIA, as demonstrated in our previous column, 8 Things Every American Should Know. In recent years, Blakey has been a law professor at Notre Dame University. I wrote him seeking comment, and shall update this report if he responds.
- U.S. government personnel authorized any Mafia or Cuban exile role in the killing.
- Any CIA or FBI links were because of top-level complicity at those organizations, or were simply unauthorized action by lower-level, rogue operatives.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson or future President George H.W. Bush played an active planning or cover-up role in coordination with oil, defense, Wall Street tycoons, some of whom also hated Castro.
- Oswald was a killer or patsy, or both.
- The most novel theories stem from serious research, or are distractions or disinformation. One recent book, for example, argues that a Secret Service agent killed JFK by accident. Another suggests Oswald mistakenly killed JFK while really intending to shoot Texas Gov. John Connally. Novel and bizarre theories have the net effect of crowding out the most solidly researched critiques of the "lone nut" theory advocated by Katzenbach and other government planners immediately after the killing.
Setting the Scene As indicated by a previous segment in our Readers Guide, JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, a busy newcomer to this research is well advised to become visually oriented to the locale in downtown Dallas where the killing occurred.
An Oswald-only assassination would have required him to perform marksmanship from the Texas Book Depository that could not be replicated in tests by a top military marksman.
In the photo at left, Oswald's supposed perch was the building's square window at the far right of the sixth floor of the seven-story building. Some evidence links Oswald to the sixth floor. Less evidence places him elsewhere in the building or even at street level of the building.
Kennedy was killed when his limousine was at the approximate location of the front car of the photo at left.
Government reports and the traditional media have almost unanimously endorsed from the day of the assassination to present the opinion that Oswald undertook the assassination alone.
Another part of the official narrative is that a street-level witness could so clearly see Oswald in the window as to provide a description sufficient to arrest the suspect, a short-haired young white man just above medium height, much like hundreds if not thousands others in the Dallas region. Police arrested Oswald at a movie theater later in the afternoon.
By contrast, the photo below shows the view from a picket fence of the approximate spot in the street, marked with a cross by JFK mourners, where the president died. The City of Dallas tries to expunge the cross, not always successfully.
The photo at right shows a picket fence hidden behind a white wall that many alternative researchers -- dubbed "conspiracy theorists" by the conventional news media -- regard as an ideal ambush site for a killer. The fence and "grassy knoll" are also the place identified by most witnesses as the main location of gunfire.
The picket fence at rear was hidden and had viable escape routes via railroad tracks at the rear. The scene of the fatal shot in the street was just to the left of the informal, flower-adorned memorial on the sidewalk when I took these photos last month in Dallas.
The railroad bridge at the far left of the photo at right could have provided another vantage point for an assassination kill team, according to some researchers who argue that planned assassinations typically have more than one shooter.
Many dangers loomed for the president at this particular location.
Among the hazards, Kennedy's open-top limousine moved extremely slowly after taking a sharp left turn in front of the Texas Book Depository. The bubble top of his limo was removed, and Secret Service agents and a police escort failed to surround his limo in formation, as normal.
Also, the murder site was at the end of the president's motorcade. The motorcade was scheduled to speed away on a freeway entrance just past the railroad tracks. Thus, relatively few witnesses were present at this last stage of the motorcade.
Warren Commission Defenders
The Warren Commission and two top counsel are shown below left.
Let's start this discussion of my 8 Things Every American Should Know with the reaction to the SMU event by Larry Hancock, right, an author and the coordinator of the annual JFK Lancer conference held each year in Dallas to convene researchers on the anniversary of the killing. "Lancer" was JFK's code name used by the secret service.
I met Hancock at this year's event. He is the co-author with Debra Conway of Someone Would Have Talked. The 2010 book argues, as indicated by its ironic title, that many key witnesses have already talked -- but their voices are ignored, suppressed, or unfairly disparaged.
Last year, Hancock wrote Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination, shown at right below. Regarding the SMU conference convening former Warren Commission staffers, Hancock wrote me:
It appears that the staff of the Warren Commission still do not realize the extent to which both the FBI and CIA withheld information from them or “managed” the reports and expert testimony offered for the record. At least the head of the House Select Committee on Assassinations now acknowledges the duplicity of the CIA, as do several of his lead staff investigators.
Apparently, they are also unaware that the work of investigative reporters such as Jefferson Morley and intelligence professionals such as John Newman have confirmed that in 1963 the CIA was circulating misleading and untrue information even within its own sections. Some 50 years of ongoing research have produced a considerable number of questions about the Warren Commission’s body of evidence, as well as its accepted sources. It would be very interesting to know how much of that body of work those on staff have since examined.
My plan was to question the commission panelists on those points, and update this column with relevant responses. Here is one that I received from Christopher Jenks, a West Point graduate who is director of the criminal justice clinic at the university's law school and also an assistant professor of law. He joined the SMU faculty in 2012 after a 20-year military career:
"I don't think the format reflected the wide-ranging debate, but that wasn't the intent of the panel," Jenks wrote me. "I think if half or I guess technically over half the panel is compromised of former commission staffers, by definition you are not devoting equal time/space to opposing views. But again, that wasn't the intent. I think we were trying to capitalize on having the largest collection of staffers together since their work on the commission.
"I think between the second panel and some of the audience questions we were able to broach some of the areas/issues in controversy," Jenks continued. "But no doubt there were areas we either didn't cover or didn't cover in much depth -- which was largely a function of the how much information there is on the shooting, and that the controversies and their associated twists and turns have been ongoing for decades." Professor Jenks is the co-author of a law of armed conflict textbook, co-editor of a forthcoming war crimes casebook, and served as a peer reviewer of the Talinn Manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare.
Hancock also responded to another point in my Dec. 9 column whereby I quoted Tanenbaum, the former House Assassinations deputy counsel and a former high-ranking prosecutor in New York City, as saying the power structure has by now "politicized the justice system." The former HSCA deputy counsel, Tanenbaum,l vowed, "I'm not willing to accept that." Hancock added the following historical context to Tanenbaum's point:
It’s very important to understand that the legal code related to the National Security Act of 1947 as well as a series of additional and secret “understandings” between the Justice Department and the CIA have given the national security agencies, and especially the CIA, an extra-legal commission. They have been authorized to carry out acts outside both civil and military codes. The "protection of sources and methods" has been given a priority over exposing certain unsanctioned acts by both their employees and assets.
This actually goes well beyond politicizing the justice system. It essentially establishes a priority beyond that system. The argument that such a priority is necessary for the defense of the nation and its citizens remains in play today, just as it did at the height of the Cold War. However, in light of that priority and its successful judicial reviews, it seems naive to think that any Congressional or even Presidential committee could successfully investigate a criminal action involving either national security employees or their assets.
More generally, Hancock has been writing a new book, Shadow Warfare, due early next year focused on the CIA's role in assassinations around the world. He described in his blog this month, as indicated below, the great importance the late CIA executive David Atlee Phillips has been confirmed as the "Maurice Bishop" linked to Oswald.
"Those interested in the Kennedy assassination," Hancock wrote, "sometimes come to view people like Phillips [and others] only in terms of 1963. In Shadow Warfare, we follow their careers and activities over some 30 years and readers will see their impact on a global scale. It’s a much broader view and we think a much more revealing one.
Mafia, Cuban Exile or CIA Roles In Killing?
The prominent organized crime author Dan Moldea disagrees with my column's emphasis on a CIA role in the JFK killing. Moldea is the author of Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer this year, among other books. He is also a friend of mine via a semi-annual dinner he organizers for DC-based authors, and was a speaker at a Nov. 19 forum I organized at the National Press Club on investigative reporting.
"Here’s an excerpt from my 1978 book,The Hoffa Wars, that appeared in Playboy," Moldea wrote me, "I was the first reporter to put together the Marcello-Trafficante-Hoffa scenario — a year before the US House Select Committee on Assassinations released its final report — which I do not believe was a whitewash. I still stand by what I published 35 years ago." He continued, "Because we are so far apart in what we believe have been or are legitimate and illegitimate investigations about this case, I am simply going to respect your opinion and agree to disagree."
Did Communists Kill Kennedy?
This week an old friend of mine with a solid record of civic activism advised me that Oswald killed JFK. The reason? Allegedly because of Oswald's Marxist sympathies -- and his desire to help Castro and the Soviets achieve revenge for United States attempts to assassinate Castro. Castro supposedly wanted revenge for these U.S. attempts on his life, allegedly part of a long-secret U.S. program to assassinate targeted foreign leaders.
My friend does not want to be identified.
But his argument is similar to those of the public statements of author and broadcaster Gus Russo, whose most relevant book is Live By The Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK, published in 1998. The Baltimore Sun profiled his more recent work last month in, Catonsville resident honors memories of JFK assassination 50 years later. Russo, whom I have known on friendly terms for several years, argues that Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy. He amplified in an email to me:
"Oswald killed Kennedy, alone," Russo wrote. "He had a relationship with Cuban intel, and informed them of HIS plan. That was enough to instigate a cover-up by four countries that would have nothing to gain if it came out."
Russo amplified in Live by the Sword: "All this is not to say that Castro ever uttered the words 'Kill Kennedy.' Almost assuredly he did not." In Brothers in Arms, Russo wrote: Fidel had passive knowledge of a plot on Kennedy's life and had done nothing to stop it."
Russo is well-versed in the details of the killing, and has conducted extensive interviews and other research. His theory, however, suffers from the same logistical difficulties as others ascribing all of the shooting to Oswald, who worked at the Texas Book Depository at the rear of the shooting site. Furthermore, Russo's argument carries the burden of showing why a major plot by foreign government to kill the United States president would rely on a gunman requiring extraordinary expertise and who was equipped only with an unreliable mail-order rifle, a Mannlicher-Carcona whose sight was not even functional.
Where Might CIA Links Extend Into the Private Sector and Government?
Researchers, most prominently film maker Oliver Stone assisted by the late Department of Defense high-level aide Col. Fletcher Prouty, have long explored CIA links to the killing.
A major issue within even those who believe in heavy CIA complicity is whether it was authorized at the highest levels or undertaken by "rogue" operatives. Some who suspect CIA complicity at the highest levels argue that a fatal coup d'etat removing Kennedy would have been supported by CIA private sector patrons that included major dynasties in the oil, defense, Wall Street, media and anti-Castro sectors.
Author Russ Baker is among those who have argued that future President George H.W. Bush, who like Johnson was present in Dallas on the eve of the assassination, must be counted among suspects conspiring with CIA-linked oil industry magnates against Kennedy. Bush on one occasion has denied being in Dallas on the day of the assassination, and has later produced evidence via his wife of his presence at another location at the time of the killing.
The conservative site WND picked up on Baker's theme Sept. 17 in, Did George H.W. Bush witness JFK assassination? FBI files, newspaper ad and curious photos raise questions.
The column said, "Despite his claims to the contrary, there is documentary evidence that George H. W. Bush was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and was affiliated at that time with the CIA, despite protests that he was not associated with the agency until President Gerald R. Ford appointed him director in 1976."
WND, for whom Corsi writes, continued: "Two FBI memos and a photograph of a man standing outside the Texas School Book Depository are among the intriguing items addressed in Jerome Corsi’s new book, Who Really Killed Kennedy?"
Corsi, who wrote me that segment nine in this series was an "excellent article," has been achieving best-seller status in his latest book as he presents compelling evidence of CIA involvement. In doing so, he dares broach the question initially posed by Robert Kennedy and pursued by other assassination researchers:
Was John F. Kennedy the first presidential victim of the emerging “New World Order” championed by former CIA directors Allen Dulles and George H. W. Bush and their patrons on Wall Street and Texas? Bush is shown above left in a portrait after he became CIA director.
My new book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, documents also Bush's role as a CIA asset in the years immediately following his graduation from Yale in 1948 and before he entered politics. In a separate article, WND reported in September, Report: Kennedy assassin was on FBI payroll, 2013.
The website commentator and Corsi lambast Fox News host and fellow conservative Bill O'Reilly for downplaying in his bestseller, Killing Kennedy, evidence against the Warren Commission's findings. The WND writers claim that O'Reilly "repeats the Warren Commission lie.' Corsi argues "O’Reilly fails to take into account the extensive documentation produced over the last 50 years indicating Oswald was an agent of the federal government with an extensive CIA intelligence file that stretched back to 1957. O’Reilly, says Corsi, uncritically presents Oswald as a communist-sympathizer who defected to the Soviet Union, without mentioning the documentary record."
Corsi, in his book, presents evidence that Oswald was a double agent in the “false defector program” in which the U.S. government encouraged military troops loyal to the United States to engage in a ruse in which they would defect to the Soviet Union to gain access to the inside operations of the KGB. Secret details of JFK’s assassination are finally unlocked. O’Reilly also does not mention the evidence that Oswald was being paid by the FBI as an informant in November 1963, prior to the assassination.
Corsi says the Warren Commission suppressed the information and falsely concluded Oswald had no affiliation with U.S. intelligence agencies. Corsi asks: “Was Bill O’Reilly simply unaware of this documentary evidence when he co-authored Killing Kennedy’?
"Don't forget about the role of LBJ," wrote Dallas-based author and JFK murder researcher Robert Morrow in reaction to my column. Morrow believes JFK's vice president, Lyndon Johnson, helped plan the murder as well as the cover-up via the Warren Commission. He emphasizes that a lot of the evidence against LBJ from books and other recollections became available only in the 1980s, after the last official investigation of the JFK murder (by the HSCA) had ended.
Morrow has written many email and web commentaries this fall promoting The Man Who Killed Kennedy, a book by longtime GOP operative Roger Stone ascribing LBJ guilt in the murder. Much of Stone's evidence is about LBJ's motives or is circumstantial, aside from a recollection ascribed to one of LBJ's lovers, Madeleine Brown.
Stone this week published a hard-hitting column, Will Bill Moyers ever tell the truth about Lyndon Johnson? Stone claims that Moyers played a role in arranging for JFK to travel through Dallas without a protective top on his limousine.
"After the murder of JFK," Stone wrote, "Bill Moyers assumed a lot of power as a very young and inner circle aide to Lyndon Johnson. One of the things that attracted a young Bill Moyers to Lyndon Johnson was that LBJ exuded 'power,' not that LBJ was a decent, honest and likeable man."
"The reality of LBJ was that he was a mean, cruel, sadistic man whose corruption was of Biblical proportions," Stone continued. "LBJ also had a spectacular hatred of the Kennedys. But he had power and that is what a young Bill Moyers was attracted to.... I think we know why Bill Moyers has not written his memoirs of working with Lyndon Johnson. The truth is too painful."
As indicated below in an appendix to this column, Stone has similarly denounced broadcaster Dan Rather and Johnson biographer Robert Caro for what Stone regards as their failure to denounce both the Warren Commission and Johnson.
Oswald: Killer or Patsy?
Even many critics of the Warren Commission argue that Oswald was a conspirator and shooter of JFK, and may even have fired the fatal shot.
Among those taking a different tack is Judyth Vary Baker, left. In 2010, she published Me and Lee, a long memoir recounting a relationship with Oswald in 1963. She describes a serious love affair with Oswald, 23, when she was 19. She maintains that she worked as a lab assistant for Dr. Mary Sherman, a cancer researcher whose work included developing fast-growing cancers that authorities hoped could be used to assassinate Castro.
According to her account, Oswald was a double-agent who staged his pro-Castro activities to enable travel to the island.
Baker recalls that she and Oswald got caught up in an exotic lifestyle in New Orleans, which included many clandestine meetings and complimentary dinners in mob-controlled restaurants near or in the French Quarter. Among other things, she says she and Oswald met Jack Ruby, Oswald's future killer, and Carlos Marcello, boss of organized crime in Louisiana and Texas.
Like other researchers, she says Marcello hated both Castro and the Kennedys for separate reasons. Marcello has been widely reported as boasting late in life to mob colleagues that he helped arrange JFK's death.
Most in the mainstream United States have ignored Baker albeit without producing solid evidence discrediting her heavily endnoted memoir. She wrote me over the weekend to condemn scanty and inaccurate coverage. She said she has endured harassment by a man she described as a stalker, and also what she described as a serious error that the History Channel is keeping current on its website. By her description:
Consequently, Baker deserves thanks for her willingness to step forward. Contrary to conventional belief, there is little money or other tangible benefit to writing a book or making similar public comments such as hers.
One reported by NBC News, among others, is that a Secret Service agent became an "Accidental Assassin" who fumbled his gun after Oswald's first shots, thereby killing Kennedy. "It's not sexy. It's not rife with intrigue," said Bonar Menninger, a Kansas City journalist cited as a leading proponent of the theory. "But for that reason, in my mind, it's extremely compelling — because it's the only theory that hews tightly to the available evidence."
NBC said that "Menninger is part of a small but vocal group of theorists who hold that after Lee Harvey Oswald rattled off multiple shots at the motorcade carrying Kennedy past the Texas School Book Depository, a Secret Service agent riding in a car immediately behind the presidential limousine grabbed his Colt AR-15 high-velocity rifle to return fire. But when his car stopped suddenly, the theory holds, Agent George Hickey lost his balance and accidentally discharged his weapon, sending a .223-caliber round rocketing into Kennedy's head — the wound that later killed the 35th president."
Another theory of accidental assassination stems from author James Reston Jr., son of the late New York Times executive editor and Washington bureau chief in the 1960s bearing the same name. The younger Reston, author of 15 books, argued in his latest, The Accidental Victim, that Oswald shot the wrong man.
Oswald "was seeking to avenge his dishonorable discharge by killing John Connally," according to a long and flattering feature story last summer, "A tragedy of errors," published by the Martha's Vineyard Times. "Essentially, Mr. Oswald is described as an unstrung attention-seeker without the ability to draw fame."
The Reston book, while it may have been written in good faith, bears a number of signs of the kind of clubby, insular world of publishing that Roger Stone, among others, has been attacking this year.
Reston comes from a highly visible family on Martha's Vineyard, New York and Washington. His father, James "Scotty" Reston, purchased the Vineyard Gazette in 1968. The younger Reston's brother, Richard Reston, was the Gazette publisher from 1988 until its sale in 2010.
The Reston book's thesis has the effect of vindicating both the Warren Commission and the establishment news industry from the kinds of darker conspiracies alleged by Roger Stone and others.
With such connections, the National Press Club invited Reston to showcase his book at the club's annual book fair last month in Washington, DC.
By contrast, multiple club committees rejected Stone's application to sell his book at the fair, or to give a separate talk as an author or newsmaker.
Out of a hundred other authors accepted at the fair who had written on various topics, the only other one writing about the nation's most important murder of the 20th Century was PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer. Lehrer had been a Dallas Times-Herald reporter covering the presidential visit in 1963, and this year publishedTop Down, a fictional account of two minor characters at the shooting. James Lesar, a leading researcher and archivist, has estimated that more than a hundred non-fiction books on the JFK assassination were published in 2013.
Stone is a notorious political operative who boasts of destroying or attempting to ruin his enemies, who include some people I like. So I recount the book fair story not to create sympathy for him, but instead sympathy for you as readers. You deserve the full story on the JFK murder, and everything else.
For this kind of bad news, we may be better off focusing on the message and not the messengers. Here is one suggestion as KEY: "Knowledge Empowers You."
Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination
* Denotes major articles in this Readers Guide series
At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting.
- Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
- Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
- Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
- Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
- 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,' Nov. 19, 2013.
- Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
- JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
- Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. Leading video, events and archives from the last 50 years. *
- JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. The CIA implicated itself in the cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out. *
- JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column.
- Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
- Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
- Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014.
- Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
- JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
- Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
- JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
- Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
- The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
- JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
- JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
- CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
- Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
- Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
- Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
- Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
- Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
- Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
- The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
- Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015
- Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
Related News Coverage
Global Research, Cracking The 'Conspiracy Theories’ Psycholinguistic Code: The Witch Hunt against Independent Research and Analysis, James F. Tracy, May 21, 2014. A new crusade appears to be underway to target independent research and analysis available via alternative news media. This March saw the release of “cognitive infiltration” advocate Cass Sunstein’s new book, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. In April, the confirmed federal intelligence-gathering arm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), released a new report, “Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory.” Most recently, Newsweek magazine carried a cover story, titled, “The Plots to Destroy America: Conspiracy Theories Are a Clear and Present Danger.” As its discourse suggests, this propaganda campaign is using the now familiar “conspiracy theory” label, as outlined in Central Intelligence Agency Document 1035-960, the 1967 memo laying out a strategy for CIA “media assets” to counter criticism of the Warren Commission and attack independent investigators of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. At that time the targets included attorney Mark Lane and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who were routinely defamed and lampooned in major US news outlets. Declassified government documents have proven Lane and Garrison’s allegations of CIA-involvement in the assassination largely accurate. Nevertheless, the prospect of being subject to the conspiracy theorist smear remains a potent weapon for intimidating authors, journalists, and scholars from interrogating complex events, policies, and other potentially controversial subject matter.
Justice Integrity Project, JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Andrew Kreig, Dec. 9, 2013. The Central Intelligence Agency implicated itself in the 1963 murder of President Kennedy and its ongoing cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out recently. Former congressional investigator Robert Tanenbaum, right, said he and his boss quit the last official probe of JFK’s murder in 1978 because Congress was too frightened of the CIA’s power to permit a probe of the agency's suspicious actions.
Rolling Stone, John F. Kennedy's Vision of Peace, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Dec. 5, 2013. On the 50th anniversary of JFK's death, his nephew recalls the fallen president's attempts to halt the war machine.
Washington Review of Books,The Kennedy Library, Ronald Goldfarb, Nov. 20, 2013. Today's commentary is the first of two parts in Ronald Goldfarb’s review of the vast Kennedy literature prompted by the 50th anniversary of his death. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president for less than one term, but more books have been written (along with documentaries and movies) about him, his wife, his father, his brothers, his family, his lovers, than any other president in U.S. history except for Abraham Lincoln. (One estimate – 40,000.) And not only are there shelves of books about all parts of his life, an expansive library of books examine his tragic death in Dallas. At left, President Kennedy meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Boston Globe, Robert F. Kennedy saw conspiracy in JFK’s assassination, Bryan Bender and Neil Swidey. In the five years between his brother’s murder and his own assassination in 1968, Bobby Kennedy voiced public support for the findings of the Warren Commission, namely that a pathetic, attention-seeking gunman had alone been responsible for the murder of President Kennedy. Privately, though, Bobby was dismissive of the commission, seeing it, in the words of his former press secretary, as a public relations tool aimed at placating a rattled populace. When the chairman of the commission, Chief Justice Earl Warren, personally wrote to the attorney general, asking for any information to suggest that a “domestic or foreign conspiracy” was behind his brother’s assassination, Bobby scrawled a note to an aide, asking, “What do I do?” Then, after stalling for two months, he sent along a legalistic reply.
Pittsburgh City Paper, Don’t call them conspiracy theorists: JFK assassination experts come to Pittsburgh, Rebecca Nuttall, Oct. 18, 2013. This week, experts from around the world are in Pittsburgh for “Passing the Torch: An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” at Duquesne University. The group of scientific, legal and investigative, scholars, journalists and authors were brought together to discuss what are often referred to as “conspiracy theories.” During a panel discussion at the Senator John Heinz History Center on Oct. 17 examining how the JFK assassination has played out in the media authors joined director Oliver Stone in indicting the mainstream media for what they believe was a failure to investigate legitimate facts surrounding JFK’s death. “This case is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with the media,” said Jerry Policoff, a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times and the Village Voice. “In almost all cases, (journalists) stay with the pack,” said Russ Baker, founder of WhoWhatWhy.com, an investigative reporting website. “This is not just about the JFK assassination. These stories are happening all the time.”
Inside the AARB, Don't Believe What Jack Tunheim Has To Say About the JFK Assassination, Douglas P. Horne, Nov. 28, 2013. Douglas P. Horne, left, was the Chief Analyst for Military Records from 1995 to 1998 for the Assassinations Records Review Board (AARB) chaired by U.S. District Judge John Tunheim. Jack Tunheim has been running around for years pretending to be an agnostic about the assassination, and trying to avoid expressing his own opinion. It was understandable why he and the other Board Members would pretend to be impartial, neutral, and without bias, while the ARRB was in session; for to do otherwise, might well have politicized and harmed the ARRB's efforts. Since the sunset of the ARRB, I have been increasingly frustrated by Jack Tunheim's continuing effort to avoid giving his own personal opinion about the assassination---but now at least, Tunheim has finally, belatedly shown his true colors.
If you study the evidence yourself, you will find that the Kennedy assassination is like a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle for which 250 pieces have been thrown away, and 250 pieces from the wrong picture puzzle have been substituted in an attempt to intentionally confuse everyone. The real reason the majority of the evidence in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy does not come together is because of fraud in the evidence. By this I mean: (1) a plethora of suppressed autopsy photographs that never made it into the official record; (2) missing skull x-rays, and the sure knowledge that the 3 skull x-rays in the official record today are not originals, but rather are altered copy films; (3) a burned first draft of the autopsy report and a missing first signed version, leading us to the knowledge that the official autopsy report in the Archives today is the third written version of that document; (4) brain photographs in the National Archives that cannot be photos of JFK's brain because they have been disowned by both the official autopsy photographer who took the real brain photos on Nov 25, 1963, and by an FBI agent who was present at the autopsy. These two key witnesses were deposed, ironically, by the ARRB. Of course, none of the five Board Members ever attended even one of the 10 depositions we took of key autopsy witnesses -- they didn't need to, because they already had their minds made up, and had already decided that the Warren Commission had gotten everything right.
LewRockwell.com, The Two NPIC Zapruder Film Events: Signposts Pointing to the Film’s Alteration, Douglas P. Horne (Date Unknown). Douglas Horne was Senior Analyst and then Chief Analyst for Military Records on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) from 1995 to 1998. Most Americans don’t know anything about the two significant events involving the famous Zapruder film of President Kennedy’s Assassination that took place back-to-back, on successive nights, at the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) – in Washington, D.C. – on the weekend immediately following JFK’s assassination. But anyone evenly remotely interested in what is perhaps the key piece of film evidence in the Kennedy assassination – what for decades was viewed as the “bedrock evidence” in the case, the “closest thing to ground truth” – needs to become acquainted with what happened to Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of JFK’s assassination during the three days immediately following President Kennedy’s death. Why? Because the hottest debate raging within the JFK research community for the past several years is about whether the Zapruder film in the National Archives is an authentic film from which sound, scientific conclusions regarding JFK’s assassination can be divined, or whether it is an altered film indicative of a government cover-up, which yields tainted and suspect information, and leads us to false conclusions, about what happened in Dealey Plaza. The resolution of this debate hinges on the answers to two essential questions: First, is the film’s chain of custody immediately after the assassination what it has been purported to be for many years, or is it, in reality, quite different? Second, are there visual indications within the film’s imagery which prove it has been tampered with, i.e., altered?
WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, Cyril Wecht on JFK assassination: Let's uncover the truth, Staff report, Oct 17, 2013. Forensic pathologist participates in symposium at Duquesne University.
JFK Facts, My three JFK theories, Jonathan Morley, Sept. 7, 2013. JI have three of them. Theory #1: the “lone nut” theory hypothesizes that President Kennedy was killed by one man for no reason who was then killed by another man for no reason. When I subject this theory to experimentation, I find some supportive evidence but not nearly enough to confirm it. Theory #2 is the “national security faction” theory: that JFK was killed by enemies of his policies in the national security agencies of his own government who arranged for the blame to fall on the “lone nut.” When I subject this theory to experimentation I find more supportive evidence but not enough to identify the intellectual authors of the hypothesized plot. So I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any one person was guilty of conspiracy. Theory #3 is the “wrongful death” theory: In this perspective, I look at the case of the murdered president as a civil, not a criminal, matter; not as a homicide, but as a wrongful death. When I subject this theory to verification, I find the preponderance of evidence shows that up to a dozen senior CIA undercover operations officers reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton may be guilty of negligence in the wrongful death of JFK. To me this is the most plausible theory of JFK’ s death but its “status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.” Thus I cannot report it as a matter of actual fact or exclude the other two theories from consideration. onathan Morley, a longtime litigant to obtain JFK records under the Freedom of Information Act, authored "Our Man in Mexico," shown at right.
JFK Countercoup, Why Oswald Didn't Kill JFK, William Kelley, Feb. 17, 2014. In response to a request for the evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK, I suggest the relevant chapter in Tony Summers' Not In Your Lifetime and Howard Roffman's Presumed Guilty, which is available on-line at Dave Ratcliff's ratical.org/JFK or referenced in my "Doors of Perception" blogpost of July 9, 2013. It details how Oswald, left, could not have been on the Sixth Floor at the time of the shooting and therefore could not have been the Sixth Floor Sniper. That is not to say that Oswald is innocent of everything...but the preponderance of evidence indicates that Oswald was not on the Sixth Floor at the time of the assassination.
Warren Commission Defenders
Southern Methodist University (SMU) via C-SPAN, ‘History will prove us right,’ Former Warren Commission staffers to discuss controversial report at SMU, Sept. 25, 2013. An unprecedented gathering of assistant counsel and staff members who served on the Warren Commission – appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to report on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas Nov. 22, 1963 – will gather at SMU Oct. 11 to discuss their work and findings.
Update From Professor Christopher Jenks at SMU with response to Justice Integrity Project on criticism regarding panel:
I don't envy the Warren Commission members and staffers. For basically 50 years they have been accused of either being inept or part of a conspiracy. Having worked for the USG [U.S. government] for 20 years, I am not receptive to broad conspiracy claims, in my experience the USG is simply not capable of pulling one off let alone remaining silent about it for decades.
But there were some aspects of the commission's work that I think were problematic, some of which gets to the point I tried to make in my remarks: an investigation can't be all things to all people. I don't think those problem areas are critical to the overall conclusions. But denying that there were any problems or mistakes ends giving them more weight than they would otherwise have. I would rather people be able to acknowledge some of the mistakes. For some, there were better reasons/causes than others, and those mistakes wouldn't change the commission's significant findings.
CNN, One JFK conspiracy theory that could be true, Thom Patterson, Nov. 17, 2013. Watch "The Assassination of President Kennedy" on CNN TV Sunday, November 17. During the half century since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, you may have heard about a few conspiracy theories. Decades of investigations, hearings, documents, records, books and interviews have failed to satisfy conspiracy theorists with a definitive answer to The Question: Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone when he shot the President? At one time or another, doubters of the lone gunman theory "have accused 42 groups, 82 assassins and 214 people of being involved in the assassination," said author Vincent Bugliosi. That's a lot of paranoia.
FoxNews.com, Robert Kennedy stole JFK's brain after assassination, new book claims, Staff report, Oct. 20, 2013. The brother of John F. Kennedy may have stolen the late president's brain from the National Archives, a new book claims. “Not all the evidence from the assassination is at the National Archives. One unique, macabre item from the collection is missing -- President Kennedy’s brain,” James Swanson writes in End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, the New York Post reported. According to Swanson, during John F. Kennedy's autopsy, the brain was placed in a container and temporarily stored in a Secret Service file cabinet before being put in a footlocker with other medical evidence in the National Archives. Some claim that the brain was stolen to hide the fact that John F. Kennedy was shot from the front instead of the official version of events -- that is was from behind. According to the New York Post, Swanson claims Robert Kennedy stole the brain not to conceal evidence of a conspiracy, but maybe to hide the extent of the president's illnesses or the number of medications he was taking.
Veterans Today, JFK Special 4: Oswald Was In Doorway After All! Jim Fetzer and Richard Hooke, June 11, 2012. Those who have been following the “JFK Special: Oswald was in the doorway, after all!” series are familiar with much of the evidence that has established that Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of JFK, actually had a cast iron alibi, because he was captured in a famous photograph taken by AP photographer James “Ike” Altgens, which appeared in most papers the following day, but in some cases, such as the Sheboygan Press, which is now a morning paper but was then published in the afternoon–assuming that this is the actual issue that was published and not a substitute–appeared on Friday, 22 November 1963, the day of the assassination itself.
Suspicions On CIA
OpEd News, CIA Official Tied to JFK to JFK Assassination, Jim Lesar, left, Dec. 1, 2013. The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) learned that Antonio Veciana, the leader of Alpha 66, a Cuban exile organization devoted to overthrowing Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, has released a statement identifying "Maurice Bishop" as David Atlee Phillips, a longtime "dirty tricks" operative for the CIA who widely suspected of having played a role in a plot to assassinate President Kennedy. Marie Fonzi is the widow of Gaeton Fonzi, who investigated Kennedy's assassination for the Church Committee and the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He contended in his book,The Last Investigation, that Phillips, right, was Bishop. His statement is at variance with his testimony before the HSCA, where he stated that a sketch of Maurice Bishop closely resembled Phillips but was not the same man. This new declaration raises even more questions regarding a possible role by the CIA in the assassination of President Kennedy. This Veciana's statement should lead the American people to demand (1) the immediate release of the thousands of pages of JFK Assassination-related records that the CIA is still withholding, and (2) demand that Congress hold oversight hearings into the CIA's subversion of the investigation conducted by the HSCA, which conducted the last official investigation of the assassination.
Larry Hancock.com, A Broader View, Larry Hancock.com, Dec. 3, 2013. The recent written confirmation from Anthony Veciana that his long time associate Maurice Bishop was indeed CIA officer David Phillips gives me the opportunity not only to write a bit about that revelation but also about how it fits into the much broader picture that we developed with Shadow Warfare.
WND, Report: Kennedy assassin was on FBI payroll, Staff report, Sept. 17, 2013. Author says Bill O'Reilly 'uncritically repeats the Warren Commission lie.' In his bestseller Killing Kennedy, author and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly “uncritically repeats the Warren Commission lie” that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of President John F. Kennedy, charges Jerome Corsi, right, author of the newly released Who Really Killed Kennedy? 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations about the JFK Assassination. Corsi, whose new book has overtaken O’Reilly’s on the Amazon list of top sellers about JFK, argues O’Reilly fails to take into account the extensive documentation produced over the last 50 years indicating Oswald was an agent of the federal government with an extensive CIA intelligence file that stretched back to 1957. O’Reilly, says Corsi, uncritically presents Oswald as a communist-sympathizer who defected to the Soviet Union, without mentioning the documentary record. Corsi, in his book, presents evidence that Oswald was a double agent in the “false defector program” in which the U.S. government encouraged military troops loyal to the United States to engage in a ruse in which they would defect to the Soviet Union to gain access to the inside operations of the KGB. Secret details of JFK’s assassination are finally unlocked.
WND, Did George H.W. Bush witness JFK assassination? FBI files, newspaper ad and curious photos raise questions, Staff report, Sept. 17, 2013. Despite his claims to the contrary, there is documentary evidence that George H. W. Bush was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and was affiliated at that time with the CIA, despite protests that he was not associated with the agency until President Gerald R. Ford appointed him director in 1976. Two FBI memos and a photograph of a man standing outside the Texas School Book Depository are among the intriguing items addressed in Jerome Corsi’s new book Who Really Killed Kennedy. The evidence is significant as Corsi broaches the question asked by some researchers of the assassination: Was John F. Kennedy the first presidential victim of the emerging “New World Order” championed by former CIA directors Allen Dulles and George H. W. Bush?
LBJ and the Media
Stone Zone, Will Bill Moyers ever tell the truth about Lyndon Johnson?Roger Stone, Dec. 16, 2013. Moyers likes to tell the story of how as a college student he would go to Sunday brunch at the Johnson house, where he would mingle with LBJ's close friend and neighbor FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ's mentors Sen. Richard Russell and Sam Rayburn, the "powerful" Speaker of the House. Legendary Texas reporter Sarah McLendon (who rose to be the dean of the White House press corps) said that "religious aide" Bill Moyers was brought into the Johnson camp to act as a beard to facilitate the adultery of then Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson. Bill Moyers (shown at left with the president in the White House in 1963) has described Lyndon Johnson as a "Colossus." I wonder how many anecdotes Bill Moyers have that show Lunatic Lyndon to be colossally corrupt, colossally sadistic, colossally narcisstic, colossally pathological or colossally insane? Answer: a colossal amount of them. What about that colossal blood feud for the better part of a decade with Robert Kennedy?
Stone Zone, Why Did Dan Rather lie About JFK's Assassination? Roger Stone, Nov. 26, 2013. Dan Rather, a fixture as head anchor on the CBS Evening News for many years, was not invited to participate in CBS News' 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination broadcast on Nov. 22. CBS has was right to keep their distance from Rather, the affective media figure responsible for the most counterfactual news report in the hours after the Kennedy assassination. Rather, at the time a green newscaster who worked at a Texas television station, earned his stripes with the Kennedy assassination but did so at the price of the truth. Rather was the only reporter to view the Zapruder film the day after the assassination. In this situation, he was an all-important set of eyes from the fourth estate, a voice the public could trust. He issued an erroneous, purposely falsified statement concerning the film. Following the final shot, the head of Kennedy in Rather's angled report "went forward with considerable violence," a description that anyone with eyesight in the fifty years following the assassination would find to be a blatant lie. As seen clearly on the Zapruder film, which was not shown to the public until 1975, the final shot jarred Kennedy's head back and to the left. Rather, and Rather alone, is responsible for the intentional misinterpretation of the Zapruder film.
Stone Zone, Robert Caro Sins By Omission, Roger Stone, Nov. 19, 2013. Author Robert Caro wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning four-volume biography of Johnson. In this masterful work, Caro accurately depicts LBJ as an amoral psychopath. Yet, Caro's masterful biography is flawed. There were two enormous scandals surrounding LBJ in the fall of 1963. One involved Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, once described by Johnson as "my strong right arm" and the other involved the Texas wheeler-dealer, Billie Sol Estes. A review of news coverage of both scandals reveals substantially more column inches dedicated to coverage of the Billy Sol Estes scandal, yet nowhere in his biography does Caro even mention Sol Estes. Then there is the question of Malcolm Mac Wallace, described by Madeleine Brown as LBJ's "hatchet man." Like Lee Harvey Oswald, Malcolm Wallace is a Marine marksman. Robert Caro knows of Malcolm 'Mac' Wallace, and knows his ties to LBJ's sister. He knows the Kinser murder involved a man, John Douglas Kinser, who was blackmailing LBJ with things he learned from the future president's sister, with whom Kinser enjoyed an intimate relationship. Caro knows Wallace worked at a USDA patronage job arranged by LBJ when he murdered Kinser. Caro also knows LBJ camped out at a nearby hotel awaiting Wallace's trial, and that Wallace was convicted of murder and sentenced to a 5 year suspended sentence. Caro knows every other person convicted of murder in that year 1952 in Texas went to the electric chair. Caro has been a paid consultant to the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, as has "Historians" Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley and Doris Kearns Goodwin -- a stunning literary conflict of interest for an objective biographer. Shame! If Caro accurately reported this he would not have a Pulitzer, could not cash the checks for the millions his four-volume bio has generated, not be invited to the best cocktail parties in Manhattan and not have his ass kissed by the New York Times. Sadly, Caro chose fame and fortune over truth; he should be stripped of his Pulitzer Prize.
Communist Plot Alleged
Baltimore Sun, Catonsville resident honors memories of JFK assassination 50 years later, Julie Baughman, November 5, 2013. Almost every American who was alive when it happened can remember exactly where they were, who they were with and what they were doing on Nov. 22, 1963, when they heard that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Catonsville resident Gus Russo, left, recognized this phenomenon and — in partnership with Tom Brokaw and NBC — has filmed a documentary and written a book chronicling the stories of American citizens and where they were on that fateful day. Russo is the author of Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK.
Assassination By Mistake and Other Theories
NBC News, Accidental assassin: JFK theory alleges Secret Service agent fumbled gun, Daniel Arkin, Nov. 21, 2013. Many of the most popular Kennedy assassination theories have the trappings of a Cold War spy novel: political intrigue, colorful villains and labyrinthine twists and turns. But at least one theory that has gained traction in recent years has a relatively straightforward storyline: The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a tragic accident — not the work of a sinister gunman or a conspiracy to topple the king of Camelot. There are no Mafia dons or Soviet pawns at the center of the so-called "accident theory" — just an ordinary Secret Service agent with a bad case of butterfingers. "It's not sexy. It's not rife with intrigue," said Bonar Menninger, a Kansas City journalist and a leading proponent of the theory. "But for that reason, in my mind, it's extremely compelling — because it's the only theory that hews tightly to the available evidence." Menninger is part of a small but vocal group of theorists who hold that after Lee Harvey Oswald rattled off multiple shots at the motorcade carrying Kennedy past the Texas School Book Depository, a Secret Service agent riding in a car immediately behind the presidential limousine grabbed his Colt AR-15 high-velocity rifle to return fire. But when his car stopped suddenly, the theory holds, Agent George Hickey lost his balance and accidentally discharged his weapon, sending a .223-caliber round rocketing into Kennedy's head — the wound that later killed the 35th president. "It was entirely accidental," Menninger said. "Unfortunately, fate intervened as this agent was attempting to do his job."
Martha's Vineyard Times, A tragedy of errors: Reston book concludes that JFK was not Oswald’s target, Jack Shea, Aug. 21, 2013. "The Accidental Victim" is a title that sounds like a John le Carré spy thriller. The book by James Reston Jr. is not fiction but the just-released profile of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's presumed assassin is as taut as any spy thriller. In the 50th anniversary year of JFK's death, many writers have been busy with retrospectives and analyses of the murkiness around the event, including the widely-held belief in conspiracy that will not go away 50 years later. Mr. Reston has top chops as a journalist, having authored 15 books. He has bored deep into the heart of events and movements and pastimes which he regards as his "eight obsessions." Mr. Reston has been chewing and writing on the assassination in Dallas for most of his adult life. Convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, his goal here is to determine why Oswald did it. "Sometimes attacking a great and significant historical event from an oblique angle can lead to astonishing surprises," Reston writes in his preface. "That was my experience here."
Missing Witnesses and Lost Evidence
Globe, President John F. Kennedy's body must be exhumed for a new autopsy! Globe Staff, Dec. 2, 2013. That's the bombshell demand of forensic experts who insist it's the only way to finally learn the truth about the President's assassination 50 years ago. In this week's Globe, you'll learn why authorities say a new autopsy will reveal the identity of the real killers. PLUS: a special report about 76 persons linked to JFK who have died in a chilling conspiracy cover-up.
Richard Charnin JFK Blog Posts, JFK Witness Deaths: Graphical Proof of a Conspiracy, Richard Charnin, Oct. 14 updated Nov. 26, 2013. This post is updated for the latest data, analysis and graphics from the JFK Calc Spreadsheet/database of Unnatural and Suspicious Deaths. Mortality rates used for expected deaths and probabilities are from Infoplease. Assuming that 1400+ material witnesses were connected to the assassination, then based on annual mortality rates for major causes of death, 214 deaths were expected in the 1964-78 period (196 natural and 18 unnatural). But there were at least 85 unnatural deaths (50 homicides, 8 suicides, 24 accidents, 3 unknown). The probability of these unnatural deaths is E-73 (1 in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion). The probability is still ZERO (E-61) assuming 78 official unnatural deaths.
Richard Charnin JFK Blog Posts, Exposing John McAdams: World-class Professor of Disinformation, Richard Charnin, Oct. 7, 2013 updated Oct. 31, 2013. McAdams just responded to a post of mine on the JFK Forum website he administers: a gathering place for dis-informationists and lone nutters who defend the Warren Commission Report regardless of the fact that it has been relegated to the fairy tale section in the library. They defend the WC [Warren Commission] by outright lies and omissions concerning factual evidence.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Security Issues
New York Times, Obama Panel Recommends New Limits on N.S.A. Spying, David E. Sanger, and Charlie Savage, Dec. 18, 2013. A panel of outside advisers urged President Obama on Wednesday to impose major restrictions on the National Security Agency, arguing that in the past dozen years its powers had been enhanced at the expense of personal privacy. Specifically the panel of five intelligence and legal experts recommended that Mr. Obama restructure a program in which the N.S.A. systematically collects logs of all American phone calls — so-called metadata — and a small group of agency officials have the power to authorize the search of an individual’s telephone contacts. Instead, the panel said, the data should remain in the hands of telecommunications companies or a private consortium, and a court order should be necessary each time analysts want to access the information of any individual “for queries and data mining.” The experts briefed Mr. Obama on Wednesday on their 46 recommendations, and a senior administration official said Mr. Obama was “open to many” of the changes, though he has already rejected one that called for separate leaders for the N.S.A. and its Pentagon cousin, the United States Cyber Command. If Mr. Obama adopts the majority of the recommendations, it would mark the first major restrictions on the unilateral powers that the N.S.A. has acquired since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They would require the agency to seek far more specific approvals from the courts, far more oversight from the Congress, and specific presidential approval for spying on national leaders, especially allies.
Atlantic, Obama's Panel: A Rebuke to the NSA, Vindication for Edward Snowden, Conor Friedersdorf, Dec. 18, 2013. In response to the contractor's leaks, prominent voices in all three branches of government have now called for reining in the surveillance state. A panel President Obama convened to assess the National Security Agency in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks has issued a 308-page report with this message: To protect privacy, civil liberties, and security, the NSA ought to be reformed. The panel's 46 recommendations, all implicit critiques of the way the NSA operates now, would rein in the agency in many of the ways civil libertarians have urged. The timing of the report is significant, since it comes just after a federal judge issued a ruling calling the NSA's phone dragnet "almost Orwellian" and likely unconstitutional. In other words, despite surveillance state protestations that its programs are legal, unobjectionable, and subject to oversight by all three branches of government, assessments of the program after the Snowden leaks have now resulted in strong rebukes from a federal judge, numerous legislators, and now a committee formed by the president himself.
Atlantic, The Secret Story of How the NSA Began, Conor Friedersdorf, Nov. 27 2013. Congress was surprised to find that a federal intelligence agency they'd scarcely heard of was bigger and more powerful than one that they'd created.
Atlantic, The 6,000-Page Report on CIA Torture Has Now Been Suppressed for 1 Year, Conor Friedersdorf, Dec. 13 2013. It cost $40 million to produce, documents serious wrongdoing, and doesn't threaten national security. Team Obama won't release it. One year ago today, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to adopt a 6,000-page report on the CIA rendition, detention, and interrogation program that led to torture. Its contents include details on each prisoner in CIA custody, the conditions of their confinement, whether they were tortured, the intelligence they provided, and the degree to which the CIA lied about its behavior to overseers. Senator Dianne Feinstein declared it one of the most significant oversight efforts in American history, noting that it contains "startling details" and raises "critical questions." But all these months later, the report is still being suppressed.