Coast to Coast AM radio show. November 23rd, 2007, 3 am – EST. WOND 1400
George Noorey: William Kelly, journalist by trade, from Browns Mills, New Jersey, has done extensive research into the assassination of President Kennedy since 1970s. His articles have appeared over the years in both print and online forums and newspapers and magazines. An expert on Lee Harvey Oswald and the Cuban connections to the case, and a co-founder (with John Judge) of the Committee for an Open Archives (COA). Also co-author of the Committee for an Open Archives magazine, he is currently campaigning for Congressional Oversight Committee to hold a legally mandated review of the JFK Assassination Records Act. He also supports the creation of a grand jury to reopen the investigation to reopen what he calls the unsolved homicide of President Kennedy. Bill Kelly. Hey Bill, how are you?
Kelly: Hi George, I’m doing good. Thanks for doing this show.
GN: My pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving.
Kelly: Thank you, and I’m glad to hear about your daughter in St. Louis having a baby.
GN: It’s getting close. The direction you’re going now, you’re looking for information? You want a grand jury; you’re looking for more data, where does it lead from here?
Kelly: Well, I’m not really advocating any particular theory. I’m trying to get the government to do its job, and I think it’s about time, after fifteen years we’ve had the JFK Act in force, they’ve never had any hearings on it. And I think the oversight hearings are long over due and I think if they are held, and the people who have destroyed records or refuse to release records they’ve been ordered to release, and claim they don’t have records we know exist, and they are put on the hot seat, and Congressmen ask them the hard questions under oath, I think we’ll get some good answers.
GN: I hope so. Now tell us a little bit about this JFK Assassination Records Act.
Kelly: Well Congress passed the act fifteen years ago, a few years after John Judge and I formed the Committee for an Open Archives, which unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to release the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) records, which were locked away for fifty years in 1979.
GN: John Judge by the way, working with our producer Lisa Lyons, helped put together this show tonight and John will be our guest for the final half hour tonight. Go ahead Bill.
Kelly: Yea, so we lobbied Congress for years to free the assassination records, and Congress wouldn’t pay any attention to us at all. Then Ollie Stone did the movie "JFK" and we asked him to put a little rider at the end of the film to say that the files were locked away and he did that. And that instigated Congress to pass the JFK Act when people wrote letters and contacted their Congressmen and asked why these files are still locked away. The overwhelming amount of people who talked to their Congressmen about it, convinced them to do this. And now it’s been fifteen years and we haven’t had any hearings on the oversight of this act.
There is a new chairman of the oversight committee, Henry Waxman (D. Calf.), who has done hearings on other subjects, and we’re trying to convince him to hold hearings on the JFK Act sometime in the next year.
GN: Okay, but a lot of the records are still tucked away, for how long?
Kelly: Well, there all suppose to be released by 2019, but we don’t want to wait that long, we think they all should be released now.
GN: They haven’t been all chopped up and thrown away.
Kelly: They have released millions of records, but the ones that we’ve requested that we know have some important stuff in them have been with held for national security reasons. And there’s a court case right now that people should be aware of – Jeff Morley vs. the CIA, regarding the Joannides documents. If you read his article in the current issue of Playboy Morley outlines some of the reasons why these records are important. It’s great that he’s in court right now challenging the CIA to release these records that should have been released by the JFK Act, but they still refuse to do so because of national security.
GN: Bill, let me ask you a couple of questions.
GN: If during the period when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, if it were publicly acknowledged that members of the government conspired to kill him, what would have happened at that time, if that were true and that come out?
Kelly: Well the Constitution allows for the government to carry on no matter what happens. The Lincoln assassination is history now, a hundred years over, but the Kennedy assassination is still a current event, an unsolved homicide that isn’t in the historical category yet.
GN: What I’m leading towards though, lets say that happened, and members of the government conspired and killed him, and now a hundred years plus later they finally go into records and say….
Kelly: They did show that the Lincoln assassination was a conspiracy, and in fact they hung people for being part of it at the time.
GN: But if we were told today that high level members of the government conspired to kill the president then, today we’d say ho-ho hum, we know that because it’s old news. Isn’t that what’s going to happen in 2019?
Kelly: Yes, if we wait that long. I think Cyril Wecht hit the nail on the head when he was talking to you earlier tonight when he said "the case is still to hot for the government to handle" and we’re going to have to wait until all the main people are dead. I think that will happen in the next ten years, but I think we should act now. I think the government is poised to act now, the people want the government to act now, and the oversight hearings are mandated for the review of the JFK Act. But I think we should have a grand jury too.
We should present the evidence of crimes related to the assassination, before a grand jury right now, and let the grand jury take the evidence and see where it goes.
GN: Is there anything new Bill that has come out let’s say over the last five, ten years, that the Warren Commission would have loved to have had?
Kelly: Well of course, the whole Castro assassination angle never went before the Warren Commission and every years, every month now, it seems something new comes out. I think this is becoming a hot case again, and is no longer a cold case. We’ve had David Talbot’s book "Brothers" published, we’ve had Bugliosi’s book published, we’ve had the E. Howard Hunt book and stories come out, and you had a guest on tonight talk about a new book on James Files. I think there are a lot of things happening on this case, and I think it’s going to continue happening, and it’s going to go from a cold case to a hot case real soon.
GN: Bill, you don’t have a specific theory, but you do believe…..
Kelly: I believe, from my study of the case indicates as Cyril Wecht said earlier, it was a coup d’etat by the highest levels of government. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a big, grand conspiracy, but it was an effective assassination and coup.
GN: That’s frightening.
Kelly: It is, and it’s frightening that the government, because of the national security implications, will not reveal the truth of what happened. I think that’s the reason why we have to get to the truth – for the same reasons they say they can’t release the records to the public – and that’s because our national security is at stake.
GN: Do you think that every standing President to date, knows what happened?
Kelly: Well, Yes. Yes, they figured it out. That’s why they appointed the Vice Presidents they appoint. Because they know what happened to Kennedy in 1963. The coup that took place really happened in 1960 at the Democratic National Convention when they put LBJ on the ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate. That allowed the coup to take place.
GN: Why did Kennedy go along with that? Did he need the South and Texas that much?
Kelly: I think they were blackmailed into it, and Joe Kennedy was involved. The deliberations during that event included Phil Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, who was the one who set it up and has written extensively about it. But LBJ was put on the ticket against Bobby Kennedy’s wishes, and against the President’s wishes at the time, and that allowed the coup to take place at Dealey Plaza.
GN: I wonder if behind closed doors during that election if Kennedy and Johnson looked at each other and said, "I hate your guts."
Kelly: Well, LBJ was not a nice person. I think anyone who studies him at any length realizes pretty much that he was just a bad person, in my view.
GN: When they talk about these documents being with held for reasons of national security, as it directly relates to the assassination, what could that be? What could be so important that the national security would be at stake?
Kelly: Well, the documents that Jeff Morley is trying to get concerns these gentlemen who worked for the CIA, Joannides, George Joannides…..
GN: There was just this big article in Playboy….
Kelly: Yes, and those records have to do with JM/WAVE, that was the CIA base in Florida that was set up to handle Cuban matters, and the JM/WAVE files contain a lot of records that are relevant to the assassination and they should have been released with the JFK Act and are sill being with held. Someday we’re going to see them, and we will read them and find out why they are being with held.
GN: We have a new story here that Kennedy might have been assassinated in Chicago on November 2nd, 1963. It’s possible all these groups you’ve heard about – the mob, the Cuban connection, the Oswald connection, it’s possible they all had different dates they were going to get him.
Kelly: Well, there are many theories and many people didn’t like him and different groups may have tried to kill him, but in the end what happened in Dallas only happened one way, and in the end individual people did it, and not organizations like the mob and CIA, though the individuals may have been part of those organizations. Only individuals can be held accountable for murder so we have to name names, individuals, and pretty soon I think we will be close enough to do that.
GN: Bill, the subsequent deaths of witnesses and participants is absolutely uncanny.
Kelly: Well there’s a natural attrition that takes place over time. When I asked the archivist at the National Archives twenty years ago why the records were locked away for fifty years, he said that was the time estimated that the people mentioned in the documents would be dead. So now, thanks to the JFK Act, we have many of the records now, and after 45 years, there’s still a five year window of opportunity that there’s witnesses still alive. Now I know you’re implying that there were mysterious deaths, but it wasn’t only mysterious deaths, there’s some blatant homicides – open unsolved cases today – Rosselli, Giancana, I have a list of a dozen related homicides that if prosecutors around the country get together and try to solve, the resolution of these cold cases will indirectly lead to solving of what happened at Dealey Plaza.
GN: I think you are right, but those individuals lived very dangerous lives. But we have a lot of witnesses in the JFK case who were normal people who died strangely.
Kelly: Yes we do. And we have others that had stories they wanted to tell who silenced. And we have a few of them that are still out there, and if the can just hang on for another year maybe we can get them to testify before a Congressional hearing or a grand jury and actually solve the case.
GN: Is there another Garrison out there?
Kelly: It’s not a Garrison you are looking for. I think you need a young, aggressive prosecutor who is hungry, similar to assistant DA who solved the Medgar Evers assassination and got a conviction there. That case provides a blueprint for how it can be done. You need a young, aggressive assistant prosecutor who is willing to take on the responsibility of pushing this.
GN: He has to have a boss though, who will allow him to do it.
Kelly: Well there’s a new DA in Dallas, and a new Sheriff in town too, and they’re both black and both liberal. The new DA in Dallas has been letting people out of jail who were convicted by former DA Henry Wade on false evidence. They’ve come up with new DNA evidence and concluded they were innocent. We hope to be able to convince this new District Attorney to convene a grand jury to investigate the assassination.
GN: How pointed do you think some of these documents might be, how specific?
Kelly: The records are a whole different matter from the grand jury. Whether you believe in a conspiracy or you believe Oswald did it because he was nuts, you still want the records released to the public. Gerald Posner has even signed on to a letter asking for the CIA records Morley wants to be released. I think everyone wants to free the files, and I think we have a real good shot at having Congressional oversight hearings in Washington next year. March 17th, St. Patty’s Day, is the beginning of Sunshine Week throughout the country in which reporters and journalists talk about secret records and the need for open records in an open government. We’re trying to get the Waxman committee to hold hearings on the JFK Act oversight hearings that week. And being broadcast from Los Angeles, you might have your listeners there to contact their representative, Henry Waxman, who is chairman of the Oversight Committee and represents LA and Hollywood, and encourage him to hold the oversight hearings on the JFK Act that are mandated by the law. Your daughter in St. Louis is represented by Rep. William Clay, the chairman of the subcommittee responsible for the National Archives. Clay is the one who would conduct the hearings, decide on what witnesses would testify and he has to be convinced of the necessity to hold these hearings as well.
GN: How come nobody has leaked the information that are in these documents? Are they in a vault?
Kelly: People have been talking. Larry Hancock wrote a really good book called "Someone Would Have Talked" that just came out this year, the best and the most important book to come out on the assassination in a long time. He writes about John Martino and some of the Cubans who did talk. And then there’s Bradley Ayers, who wrote The Zenith Secret about what went on at JM/WAVE. He talks about Gordon Campbell and Shackley and the CIA guys who ran those Cuban down there, and if they are related to what happened at Dealey Plaza, then what Bradley Ayers says about JM/WAVE is very important.
GN: What do you think about the late Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession?
Kelly: Well if you look at his career, he was a disinformation and psychological warfare specialist.
GN: In the end he was trying to mislead us?
Kelly: He wrote novels in the same fashion as Ian Fleming, and there’s a lot of reality laced through his novels, so when he writes non-fiction, you have to question what’s what? And now that he’s dead, we are left with what he wrote, but his son might be on to something.
GN: I think so to. Could a grand jury subpoena these still secret documents?
Kelly: Absolutely. Absolutely. If there is a grand jury going, you will have the body exhumed and a proper forensic autopsy performed that should have been done years ago.
GN: We’ve had Dr. Cyril Wecht on earlier, a pathologist.
Kelly: Dr. Wecht works with us at COPA, he was a director of the Coalition on Political Assassination.
GN: He was responding to a question of why we haven’t DNA’d the bullets?
Kelly: Well that’s a test that a grand jury would order have done.
GN: The fact that nobody is doing anything tells you what, Bill?
Kelly: It tells us that the government doesn’t want answers to any questions.
GN: Exactly, why?
Kelly: Well the people who took over the government in 1963 are still in power today, and like Cyril said, until these people die off they’re not going to let go of the truth of what happened.
If we proceed the way I want to go, and that is to have the oversight hearings in Congress on the JFK Act and get a grand jury going, I think we can answer some of the questions in our lifetime.
GN: Do they care?
Kelly: I don’t think it matters if they care. The things I am asking for are mandated by the Constitution – it’s the way government works. This is the way things should be done. Laws passed by Congress should be enforce and overseen by those responsible, and a murder should go to a grand jury. It’s never been before a grand jury, except by Garrison in New Orleans, and I don’t think he did it right.
GN: He tried. His intentions were good.
Kelly: His intentions may have been good, but he didn’t have all the resources or the evidence that he should have had and that we have now.
GN: Do you think – the old Jack Nickelson line, "You can’t handle the truth," do you think American’s can handle the truth.
Kelly: Absolutely. In order to have an open government in a democracy you need to inform the people of what the truth is and let them decide. Even those who believe Oswald did it alone because he was nuts support the idea of releasing the records and having an open government.
GN: And get it behind us and move on. I think most Americans already believe there was a conspiracy here.
Kelly: 80% do. And the thing is this case is slowly slipping from an unsolved homicide into the realm of history, and I think by the 50th anniversary it will reach that point. Right now, at the 44th we still have a window of opportunity to get these living witnesses to testify under oath and answer the questions. And I think we should get a grand jury going and present the evidence as it is and let the grand jury decide if there’s enough evidence to indict someone.
GN: Okay Bill, thank you for your information on the push here to get more records and a grand jury.
Kelly: And thank you for doing the show tonight and having such good people on – Cyril Wecht, Gary Aguliar, Bob Groden, John Judge, they’re all good people and friends of mine.
GN: Alright, Bob Groden is next on Coast to Coast, stay tuned.
END OF SEGMENT