Monday, August 25, 2014

1964 Democratic National Convention - Atlantic City N.J.

The 1964 Democratic National Convention - A Half-Century Later Atlantic City Finds Itself in a Similar Situation 

– By William Kelly

The 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City – 50 Years Ago, that took place from August 24-27th, was an historic watershed event for the island resort – a crossroads that led to the revitalization of the city – and it could be a cautionary tale as Atlantic City reaches another, similar crossroads, where it must once again reinvent itself.

That such a convention could be held on the boardwalk at all was the vision of Nucky Johnson, who was a driving force behind the construction of the Convention Hall – now Boardwalk Hall – which opened in 1929, the same year that he was the host for the first major meeting of mob bosses from around the country.

                                       Nucky Johnson - Had the Boardwalk Hall Built in 1929

Some of them were business partners with Joe Kennedy, Sr., who held major ownership interests in major Canadian and European whiskey distillers, and didn’t mind doing business with the bootleggers during prohibition. Kennedy also held hidden interest in the Cal-Neva Lodge that startled the border between California and Nevada, with a casino on the Nevada side, which was purchased by Giancana and Sinatra, who brought in Atlantic City’s Skinny D’Amato as the manager.

In 1960 Joe Kennedy touched base once again with Sam Giancana, the mob boss who controlled the rackets in Chicago, Las Vegas and California, and got him to support his son Jack’s 1960 bid to be elected president of the United States.

Giancana’s good friends Frank Sinatra and Skinny D’Amato were quick to oblige, Sinatra contributing the campaign theme song “High Hopes,” and he introduced JFK to Judith Campbell Exner, who served as a mistress and courier between Kennedy and Giancana.

Skinny D’Amato and Camden attorney Angelo Malandra took suitcases full of cash to West Virginia that was liberally distributed to Skinny’s friends in the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association, who counted the votes and often visited his 500 Club when they had their annual convention in Atlantic City.

One of Kennedy’s last hurdles to being nominated as the Democratic candidate at the 1960 Convention in Los Angeles was the West Virginia primary, where the Irish Catholic Kennedy was up against Hubert Humphrey, a protestant, so that became the major issue of the primary, which Kennedy won and dispelling that as an issue.

                                          Skinny D'Amato and JFK during the 1960 Campaign 

A couple of major decisions were made at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, including the addition of Lyndon Baines Johnson to the ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate, said to be done on the advice of Joe Kennedy, and naming Atlantic City as the site of the 1964 Democratic Convention, which some said was a payback to D’Amato and Sinatra for their support during the primaries.

Actually H. Hap Farley was the primary mover behind bringing the 1964 Democratic Convention to Atlantic City. As the political boss who took over after Nucky Johnson went to prison, Farley is best known for having the Atlantic City Expressway built, but he also lobbied extensively to bring both the Republican and Democratic Conventions to the boardwalk, but succeeded, despite being a staunch Republican, of only enticing the Democrats.

After winning the nomination and then the election, President Kennedy asked Sinatra to arrange for the entertainment for the Inaugural Balls, which he did, and Sinatra was looking forward to organizing a similar party for Kennedy in Atlantic City when Kennedy would be renominated for his second term at the 1964 Convention.

But then things went terribly wrong.

Kennedy appointed his younger brother Robert F. Kennedy as Attorney General and RFK targeted the mob bosses as part of a war against organized crime, and he singled out Sam Giancana, New Orleans don Carlos Marcello and Santo Traficante, of Tampa, Florida, despite their assistance in getting JFK elected and working closely with the CIA in trying to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

When J. Edgar Hover, the head of the FBI told RFK the attorney general that his brother the president was receiving phone calls and visits at the White House from Judy Campbell Exner, the mob moll who was also in bed with both Sinatra and Giancana, the president cut off his contacts with Giancana and began to distance himself from both Exner and Sinatra.  

Then, rather than Castro being assassinated, JFK was shot and killed while riding in an open car through the streets of Dallas, and instead of JFK being renominated for a second term, LBJ was the president who was nominated to be the Democratic candidate at the 1964 convention on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

                           Protesters On the Boardwalk outside Convention Hall during the Convention 

After the resolution of who would represent the racially divided Mississippi delegation, the three biggest questions going into Atlantic City in August 1964 were who would be the Vice Presidential nominee, what was the still unreleased Warren Report on the assassination of President Kennedy going to say, and what was Robert Kennedy going to do?

No one knew who the Vice Presidential nominee would be until LBJ invited liberal Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey to accompany him on the flight to Atlantic City. Humphrey, who Kennedy defeated in the West Virginia primary, had presidential ambitions himself, but would do LBJ’s bidding, and sold his soul to resolve the Mississippi issue.

As for the Warren Commission Report, LBJ knew what was ready to go to press, and that it would conclude that JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a deranged loner, and there was no conspiracy, so that only left one big question – what was RFK going to do?

LBJ later said that from the moment JFK was murdered, he felt that RFK didn’t think he deserved to be president, and Johnson considered the possibility that RFK would try to lead a revolt at the Convention and attempt to hijack the nomination from him. If the convention atmosphere presented the opportunity, RFK’s name could have been introduced, and if LBJ didn’t win on the first ballet, anything could happen.

In order to avert this possibility, President Johnson took some unprecedented steps. As Kennedy family historian Arthur Schlesinger wrote, “The tribute to the fallen President was originally scheduled for Tuesday night. Johnson had it moved back to Thursday, by which time the nomination would be completed. He took other precautions, the most extraordinary of which was to send Cartha DeLoach and and FBI team of thirty snoops and wire tappers to Atlantic City. The ostensible purpose was to gather intelligence ‘concerning matters of strife, violence, etc. The real purpose, according to William Sullivan of the FBI, was to gather political information useful to President Johnson, particularly bottling up Robert Kennedy – that is reporting on the activities of Robert Kennedy.”

LBJ also thought that Robert Kennedy would try to wire tap his boardwalk hotel room, so he secretly moved to a more secure location – the nearby Margate beach house of Carroll Rosenbloom, the owner of the Baltimore Colts football team. Rosenbloom, a gambler, was partners with Mike McLaney in the purchase of the Hotel Nacional casino in Havana from Meyer Lansky a few months before Castro took over, and they lost their investment. Rosenbloom hoped, with LBJ in the White House, he might get his hotel and casino back, but knowing what happened to his predecessor, LBJ didn't want to have anything to do with Cuba or Castro. LBJ was confident that at he was more secure at Rosenbloom's house than anywhere on Absecon Island, and the amenities were better. 

As for Atlantic City's image, the convention backfired as the thousands of delegates and media reporters from around the world complained of the shoddy accommodations as the boardwalk hotels that were first class facilities in the 1920s and 30s were now run down, so the plumbing and electricity didn't always work and the media reports gave the resort a black eye that hurt until casino gambling legislation was approved over a decade later. Convention Hall however, had been upgraded and was air conditioned and comfortable when the climax of the proceedings finally came on the last day of the convention.  

When RFK joined his family and the other dignitaries on stage, Jackie Kennedy handed him a note.

As Schlesinger relates, “Finally Senator Henry Jackson, who was presiding, motioned him (RFK) to the rostrum. When Scoop introduced him, it hit, I mean it really hit, it just went on and on. I stood on the floor in the midst of the thunderous ovation. I had never seen anything like it. Ordinarily an organ in the background controls the pandemonium of a convention. This time they stopped the organ after a moment or so. But the demonstration roared on, reaching a new intensity every time that Robert Kennedy, standing with a wistful half-smile on his face, tried to bring it to an end. As Kennedy once more raised his hand to still the uproar, Jackson whispered to him, ‘Let it go on, just let them do it Bob, let them get it out of their system.’ He repressed his tears. Many of the audience did not. He seemed slight, almost frail, as the crowd screamed itself hoarse. It went on for twenty-two minutes. Finally he began to speak. At the end, the quotation: ‘When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.’”

Bobby Kennedy Convention Speech About John F. Kennedy 1964 ElectionWallDotOrg - YouTube

These words, from Romeo and Juliet, were handed to him by Jackie, and preceded a short film about the life of John F. Kennedy, who would have certainly been renominated for a second term if fate and destiny did not intervene.

To commemorate the occasion, the city of Atlantic City named the plaza in front of the hall “Kennedy Plaza,” and a bust of JFK by renown sculpture Evangelos Frudakis was unveiled, a bust that is now partially hidden behind a stage where summer concerts are held.

Though young people today know Kennedy Plaza as the scene of free concerts and a nightly lightshow, the statute that stands there remains the last vestige of another era and a reminder of what might have been if Kennedy had lived to serve a second term.

William Kelly is a freelance writer and regional historian from Browns Mills, N.J. He can be reached at

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Garrison and the Still Secret Assassination Files - Followup

Jim Garrison and the Still-Secret JFK Assassination Files

Bill Kelly

In regards to Jim Garrison requesting his son to be at the National Archives when the government finally gets around to releasing the still secret records on the assassination, I tried to discover what records remain sealed, but there are so many they can’t tell us how many there are.

I did learn however, that most of the documents that Garrison specifically referred to have already been released, and what remains withheld should be released to the public in late September 2017, unless the President orders otherwise.

In 1996 Garby F. Leon asked the NARA about the status of these records and intimidated that he was going to mention them during a Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) hearing, but he is not listed among those who testified at the public hearings, but he did correspond with them. [ARRB files ]

Besides having a unique name, Garby Leon was an interesting person, with a doctorate in music from Harvard, he was a Fox film producer whose helped develop the Matrix, and recently passed away [obit ].

Many thanks to Rex Bradford at for making these documents and other significant records available, and I have added the relevant links.


On April 9, 1996 Martha Murphy of the NARA responded to the inquiry from Garby Leon and wrote:

“This is in response to your e-mailed request for information regarding
the status of Warren Commission Documents. The income tax forms of Ruth and Michael Paine CD 713 and CD 848 have been withheld for privacy and are referred to the Internal Revenue Service for review. These documents are not security classified, as would be suggested by the description of them as ‘secret’ in the book ‘On the Trail of the Assassins.’”

Garby Leon commented: “But they're fudging a bit, because the Paine's tax information, are also 'referred' to the IRS, hence unavailable.  I was amused at how testy the archivist's response was to my quote from Garrison...”

And I agree, whether they are being withheld for reasons of national security or personal privacy reasons, they are sealed from the public and are therefore still ‘secret.’

CD 218 - relating to Michael Paine LALC Los Angeles Local Correspondence
CD 258 - relating to Michael Paine
CD 508 - relating to Michael Paine's sister
CD 600 through CD 629, regarding relatives of Michael Paine.

Of the 51 documents you listed in your letter, three
are still withheld pending review by another agency,

10 CDs are released in part, with information redacted on some pages.  All of the other 38 CDs listed in your letter have been released in full. 

(Files relating to Oswald):

CD 321 - Chronology of Oswald in USSR (Secret)
CD 347 - Activity of Oswald in Mexico City (Secret)
CD 384 - Activity of Oswald in Mexico City

CD 384 “ACCESS RESTRICTED – The item identified below has been withdrawn from this file: File Designation CD 384...In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is restricted. Restrictions on records in the National Archives are stated in general and specific record group restriction statements which are available for examination. The item identification above has been withdrawn because it contains: X Security – Classified Information

CD 528 - re: Allegation Oswald interviewed by CIA in Mexico City
CD 631 - re: CIA dissemination of information on Oswald
CD 674 - Info given to the Secret Service but not yet to the WC
CD 692 - Reproduction of CIA official dossier on Oswald
CD 698 - Reports of travel and activities of Oswald & Marina
CD 871 - Photos of Oswald in Russia (Secret)
CD 931 - Oswald's access to information about the U-2 (Secret)
CD 943, "Allegations of Pfc. Eugene Dinkin re Assassination Plot"
CD 971, "Calls to U.S. Embassy, Canberra,… re:Planned Assassination."
CD 1216 - Memo from Helms entitled "Lee Harvey Oswald" (Secret)
CD 1222 - Statements by George de Mohrenschildt re: assassination
CD 1273 - Helms re:inconsistencies in info provided by CIA(Secret)
CD 1551, "Conversations Between Cuban President and Ambassador";

Garb Leon: “In sum, 15 of the 51 Warren Commission items which Garrison wanted to see are still secret, or redacted. That's roughly 30% secrecy maintained, a third of a century later. A question I have: has the ARRB reviewed the 'redactions' these documents are 'released' with? Finally, if I have the opportunity, I intend to ask the ARRB board members if Garrison's wish-list will be fulfilled - or not. This would seem only the very most basic starting point for the release of government documents, pursuant to the ARRB's mandate.  And, a good benchmark for testing how good the USG's word is on their promise to fulfill the intent of the law.”

October 24, 2017 –it’s a Tuesday. Mark it on your calendar – as that’s the day that one of two things will happen.
Either the AOTUS – Archivist of the United States will announce to the President, Congress and the American people that the last government record on the assassination of President Kennedy has been released to the public or the POTUS – the President of the United States – whoever is elected in the next election, will announce that he/she has agreed with the requests by agencies of government and will continue to withhold certain records for reasons of national security.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Jim Garrison and the Still Secret JFK Assassination Files

Jim Garrison and the Still Secret JFK Files – Bill Kelly

When it was suggested that a conference be held in New Orleans on the 2017 anniversary of the Garrison investigation into the New Orleans aspects of the assassination, I thought New Orleans a great place to hold a conference, as I look forward to visiting all of the French Quarter bars that are mentioned in Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins,” some of which are featured in Oliver Stone’s JFK movie, which is based in part on that book.

There’s Tortorich’s on Royal Street, where Garrison watched the breaking news of the assassination on TV, the Katzenjammer Bar on Camp Street where Guy Bannister and Jack Martin got drunk at the same time, the Bourbon House at Bourbon and St. Peter Streets where Barbara Reid sat down with ex-marine buddies Kerry Thornley and Lee Oswald over burgers and beers, Ryder’s Coffee House at Vieux Carre where Thornley hung out, Broussard’s Restaurant where Garrison had lunch with Dean Andrews, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop where Garrison investigated the background of “Clem Bertrand,” Cosimo’s on Burgandy Street where “Bertrnad” was identified as Clay Shaw, the Masquerade Bar on St. Louis Street where Shaw was known by the “Bertram” alias, and the Absinthe House, where Shaw and David Ferrie were seen together. I was in New Orleans when Stone was filming JFK and visited some of these haunts, but the Habana Bar, where Oswald was also known to drink lemonade with the Cubans, is no longer there.

The suggested date of a New Orleans conference – 2017, I noted, is also when, according to the JFK Act of 1992, the still-sealed government records on the assassination are scheduled to be released, and I recalled Garrison saying he asked his son to be there when the secret records are released.

In response, Don Carpenter wrote: “Bill, Just to add a little context, Garrison died in Fall of 1992, before ARRB even began to crank up its very basic operations. Garrison may have made the statement about all the still-sealed documents as of 1992, or probably years before when he made the statement (probably in the 1967-69 period), but most of whatever he was talking about has already been released. He was not talking specifically about what is left to be declassified, although I think we all are anxious to see if there is anything in there.”

Carpenter also said that he didn’t think “Garrison was on to something,” though he is willing to be persuaded otherwise.

Well I don’t think that the New Orleans crew that Garrison “was on to” – the same Yahoos who carried out the Houma Bunker raid [], could have successfully pulled off the relatively complex Dealey Plaza covert operation, which included the framing of Oswald, a professional Level One sniper taking the head shot, a Northwoods-type disinformation twist to blame Castro and the officially sanctioned cover-up that continues today. That’s a very sophisticated operation, one well planned out in advance and not one that some New Orleans Yahoos or the Mafia could have successfully pulled off. The Dealey Plaza operation was successfully conducted by a domestic anti-Communist intelligence network closely affiliated with the military-industrial complex that continues to function today.

And I think that what Garrison was “on to,” wasn’t the Bannister, Ferrie, Clay Shaw and the Yahoos, but rather Garrison eventually realized was that Kennedy wasn’t killed by a deranged lone nut, or even by the New Orleans contingent he tried to prosecute – but what happened at Dealey Plaza was a covert coup conducted by JFK’s rich and powerful enemies in Washington who were beyond his jurisdiction.

You can argue over whether Garrison was “on to something” or not, but what he says rings true –
“More than anything,” Garrison wrote, “what has changed in the years since President Kennedy’s assassination is our national consciousness. We have been through so much. There were, for example, the assassinations of Medgar Evers, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X. There were assassination attempts on presidential candidate George Wallace and presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. We lived through nine horrifying years of the Vietnam War, the trauma of Watergate, the revelations during the 1970s about the CIA, and more recently the Iran/contra affair. This extraordinary succession of events has ended our innocence. Looking back today with new information and new insights, it is possible to put together an informed historical speculation of what happened to President Kennedy and why. I believe that what happened at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963 was a coup d’etat. I believe that it was instigated and planned long in advance by fanatical anticommunists in the U.S. intelligence community, that it was carried out, most likely without official approval, by individuals in the C.I.A.’s covert operations apparatus and other extra-governmental collaborators, and covered up by like-minded individuals in the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the Dallas Police Department, and the military, and that its purpose was to stop Kennedy from seeking d├ętente with the Soviet Union and Cuba and ending the Cold War.”

“This coup d‘etat had accomplished its objective with clock-work precision. The life had been ripped from the chief executive of the United States government, and major changes in American foreign policy would be arriving not in months or weeks, but in the next several days. Meanwhile, the cover-up was progressing…As soon as the non-participating elements in the intelligence community saw that a coup d’etat had occurred, they moved quickly to support the official story. Motivated in some instances by self-preservation and in others by a belief that Kennedy  had brought the assassination on himself by compromising too often with the Soviets, the remainder of the government – from high elected officials to heads of departments and agencies – lined up to add their solemn voices to the growing chorus chanting the great lie.”

“With the murder plainly unsolved, a succession of Presidents and attorneys general, each with the resources of the F.B.I. and the entire federal government at their command, made no effort to get to the truth. …dissemination of disinformation is the last element necessary for a successful coup d’etat, and it also happens to be one of the specialties of the C.I.A. For many years the Agency secretly had on its payroll journalists ostensibly working for the major media but in fact disseminating propaganda for consumption by the American people…”

“The original false sponsor was the scapegoat himself, Lee Harvey Oswald…formally endorsed by the Warren Commission…However, over time it became increasingly apparent that the lone assassin fairy tale had fallen apart, and most of its supporters simply fell silent…One of the most intriguing false sponsors is Fidel Castro…Of course, the primary and most lasting false sponsor has been organized crime, the Mafia, the mob….Upon close examination,…the false sponsors all fall of their own weight. What remains as the only likely sponsor with both the motive and the capability of murdering the President is the covert action arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. Invisible as it is dangerous, the covert operations apparatus of the C.I.A. has become the most powerful element in the intelligence community….Is all of this possible? It might not have seemed so 25 years ago. However, now that we know some of the true history of the C.I.A. and its covert operations, the answer is a distinct yes. Assassination is precisely what the Agency knows how to do and what it has done all over the world for policy ends.”

“With the passage of time, we can see the enduring results of President Kennedy’s assassination…The Justice Department, knowing all that we know now, still refuses to conduct an honest investigation intot he most important political assassination of our time….It may be too late. However it is not too late for us to learn the lessons of history, to understand where we are now and who runs this country…”

From “On the Trail of the Assassins” (Chapter 20, The Secret Sponsors, p. 320-347)

While I disagree with Garrison in that the C.I.A.’s covert operational branch was the only intelligence network capable of such covert operations – the military is also proficient at such tactics, recognizing the assassination as a coup d’etat and the Modus Operandi of the murder as that of a covert intelligence operation are significant steps in figuring out what really happened and determining the truth.

And what Garrison says about the sealed government files is pertinent and significant, and I quickly found the correct quote thanks to Dave Reitzes, who also thought important enough to quote and try to denigrate when wrote “The JFK 100 – Suppressed Investigative Files”, where he refers to the part of Oliver Stone’s JFK film where Garrison mentions the secret files. Reitzes specifically quotes the part I was referring to when New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) delivers a monologue about evidence being concealed by the federal government: 

           “Let’s ask the two men who have profited the most from the assassination – your former President Lyndon Baines Johnson and your new President, Richard Nixon – to release 51 CIA documents pertaining to Lee Oswald and Jack Ruby, or the secret CIA memo on Oswald’s activities in Russia that was ‘destroyed’ while being photocopied. All these documents are yours – the people’s property – you pay for it, because the government considers you children who might be too disturbed to face this reality, because you might lynch those involved, you cannot see these documents for another 75 years. I’m in my 40s, so I’ll have shuffled off this moral coil by then, telling my 8-year old son to keep himself physically fit so that one glorious September morning in 2038 he can walk into the National Archives and find out what the CIA and FBI knew. They may even push it back then. It may become a generational affair with questions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, in the manner of the ancient runic bards. Someday, somewhere, someone might find out the damned Truth. Or we might just build ourselves a new Government like the Declaration of Independence says we should do when the old one ain’t working....” (1)  Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York, Applause, 1992), p. 178.

Rather than pushing the release date back, as Garrison surmises, public pressure generated by Stone’s filim made them move it forward, so the 75 years the Warren Commission records were sealed, and the 50 years the HSCA records were sealed, have been superseded by the JFK Act of 1992 that stipulates all the records be released by 2017 – or withheld only by an order from the president, whoever she may be.
So Garrison’s son doesn’t have to wait as long as Big Jim thought.

And I like Garrison’s suggestion that we ask the President to release the still secret records, something Obama can easily do with a simple Executive Order.

In his article Reitzes asks, “Has the government really been withholding evidence of conspiracy?”
And the answer clearly is yes, even if one sticks only to the Warren Commission era records Garrison was talking about – and I will only mention three – the document that the Warren Commission lawyer was reading when he was recorded as saying: “We’ll have to find out what Oswald studied at the Monterey Institute” (now the Defense Language Institute), and the ONI and USMC investigative records and reports, but there are others.

Reitzes is a one-time Conspiracy Theorist who is now a Lone Nutter, and like many religious converts, he is a true believer who quotes Gus Russo and John McAdams.  And I take exception to John McAdams’ statements about Garrison, specifically the comparison of Garrison’s reference to “51 CIA documents pertaining to Oswald and Jack Ruby” and Joe McCarthy’s bogus communists in the State Department, as McCarthy’s number was made up and the communists boogey men didn’t really exist, while the secret records Garrison refers to do exist, and in fact he lists some of them. Rather than Joe McCarthy, Garrison’s role in the Kennedy assassination is more comparable to the cases of Sacco and Vanzetti or the Dreyfus Affair, in which the truth eventually emerges over time, as it is with the assassination of President Kennedy.
Reitzes also quotes McAdams’ examples of the NARA declassification of other government records, specifically those of the Fish and Game Commission, but I wonder if Reitzes, McAdams or any JFK researcher has investigated the presence of Texas Fish and Game officers in the Texas School Book Depository within minutes of the assassination, and whether or not any of them testified or wrote reports of what they were doing and what they discovered there?

                                             SOMETHING FISHY IN THE FILES

As for Garrison’s references to the secret records, in his books Heritage of Stone and On the Trail of the Assassins (p. 54-55), Garrison lists a series of Warren Commission documents that were still sealed away from public view when he wrote those books, including:
CD 321 Chronology of Oswald in USSR (Secret)
CD 347 Activity of Oswald in Mexico City (Secret)
CD 384 Activity of Oswald in Mexico City (Secret)
CD 528 re: Allegations Oswald interviewed by CIA in Mexico City (Secret)
CD 631 re: CIA Dissemination of information on Oswald (Secret)
CD 674 info given to the Secret Service but not yet to the Warren Commission (Secret)
CD 698 Reports of travel and activities of Oswald & Marina (Secret)
CD 871 Photos of Oswald in Russia (Secret)
CD 931 Oswald’s access to information about the U2 (Secret)
CD 1216 Memo from Helms entitled “Lee Harvey Oswald” (Secret)
CD 1222 Statement by George de Mohrenschildt re: assassination (Secret)
CD 1273 Memo from Helms re: apparent inconsistencies in info provided by CIA (Secret)

Garrison also writes (On the Trail of the Assassins, p. 72) that, “As a routine matter, I wanted to examine the income tax records of Ruth and Michael Paine, but I was told that they had been classified secret. In addition to the Paine’s income tax reports, Commission documents 212, relating to Ruth Paine, and 218, relating to Michael Paine, also had been classified as secret on the grounds of national security. Classified for the same reason were Commission documents 258, relating to Michael, and 508, relating to Michael Paine’s sister, as well as Commission documents 600 through 629, regarding relatives of Michael Paine. What was so special about this particular family that made the federal government so protective of it?”

“This provocative listing,” Garrison wrote, “made it appear more to me than ever that something was fishy. Next I decided to focus on Oswald’s movements immediately after he left the Marines.”

Now I’m pretty sure some of these “secret” records have been released under the JFK Act, and will check with Mary Ferrell Archives and NARA to see if they are now available, but I too am interested in focusing on Oswald’s movements immediately after the assassination, which I will get to.

But first, it should be noted that Reitzes falsely answers his question “Has the government really been withholding evidence of conspiracy?” by quoting longtime researcher and JFK movie consultant Gus Russo, who says that the film he consulted on is “misleading,” and Russo has since been exposed as a witting CIA asset who continues to promote the discredited original operational cover story that Castro was behind the assassination.

Reitzes quotes Russo as saying that when he heard Stone talk about “the sinister sealing of the Warren Commission records for seventy-five years. I was stunned. Although that had been President Johnson’s original intention, public pressure had actually forced the release of most of the Commission’s records within three years of the 1963 murder.”

Actually, it wasn’t public pressure – like that generated by Stone’s film that resulted in the JFK Act, but many of the Warren Commission records were released because of the single letter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa mayor Johnson that led to the reversal of the seventy-five year policy.

A disgruntled Allen Dulles reluctant said, “Go ahead and release them, nobody will read them anyway.”
Russo relates in his book, how he “managed to pull Stone aside, and informed him that the records we investigators really coveted were the HSCA’s sealed files, numbering hundreds of thousands of pages, as well as those of other federal agencies whose holdings could be in the millions of pages….”

I was among those infuriated when HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey declared the committee records “Congressional records,” which sealed them for fifty years and since Congress exempted itself from the FOIA Act, kept them from the public. Blakey did this while saying, “I’ll rest on the judgment of historians in fifty years.”

Indeed, “we investigators” weren’t going to rest on the judgment of historians in fifty years, and particularly coveted the House Select Committee (HSCA) records, and devised congressional legislation specifically to get the HSCA records exempted from the congressional rule that mandated all congressional records be sealed for fifty years.

When I asked Marion Johnson, the NARA archivist then responsible for the JFK assassination records, - why fifty years? Why not thirty five or seventy years?, Johnson replied “that is the estimated amount of time the people mentioned in the documents would be dead.”

So they time the release of these documents so that the people mentioned in them are dead and can’t be questioned.

But under public pressure sparked by the release of the JFK movie, which mentions the secret and sealed records at the end of the film, Congress passed a law that released not only the House Committee records we asked for, but all government records related to the assassination, which is much more than we had requested. That was still limiting though, as the HSCA MLK records remain sealed to this day.

But yes, we investigators coveted the HSCA records more than the Warren Commission documents, most of which have been released, but those that are still withheld are among the most sacred secret records that are still threatening to our national security today, over fifty years after the assassination.

Russo says that he conferred with respected Washington investigator, the late Kevin Walsh, who gave him a letter that “corroborated” what Russo had been saying, a letter Russo hand delivered to Stone – but not shared with us. And it is a shame on Russo that we can’t take his word for it.

BK Notes: Is Kevin Walsh’s letter to Oliver Stone about the still secret assassination records on the public record and available today? Someone sent me scans of dozens of letters written by Walsh, and I will check to see if that one is among them, but I don’t think it is.

And to show why the HSCA records are more valuable than the Warren Commission records I refer to the one HSCA document that I am working on at the moment, a once sealed document that indicates Lee Oswald, USMC flew to Europe on a Military Air Transport flight out of McGuire Air Force Base NJ in on his way to defect to the Soviet Union in October 1959, which contradicts the official version of events that he took a tramp steamer.

But incredibly enough, the records of that flight may still exist, and two of the people mentioned in the official congressional report may still be alive to confirm this story, over fifty years after it occurred.

In any case, the HSCA records are much more valuable than the Warren Commission records and the still secret Church Committee documents are probably even more enlightening, but we have to wait until 2017 to see them, and as Garrison says, when 2017 rolls around, their release may be pushed back even further by the sitting president.

Reitzes also quotes Michael R. McReynolds, of the NARA Textual Reference Division, who said that as of 1992, 98 percent of the Warren Commission records had been released.

Of course the 98 percent of the Warren Commission records released so far don’t include the Monterey Language Institute document or the ONI and USMC investigative reports we seek, and they are now saying the same thing about all of the government records released under the JFK Act - millions of them - 98 percent of all government records on the assassination are now in the public domain, but they don’t tell you that there are so many documents still being withheld that they can’t tell us how many there are.

“Since that time, of course,” Reitzes falsely writes, “some may have noticed that Oliver Stone hasn’t said a word about those files. That’s because they prove his JFK monologue to be little more than hot air, there were no documents withheld because they were ‘smoking guns’ proving the existence of a conspiracy.”

If Garrison’s monologue is little more than hot air, then Reitzes’ is hog’s breath, and only proves that he hasn’t bothered to read the documents released so far. Of course Stone has talked about those files – he testified before Congress about them [ ] and continues to talk about them [See: Stone at Wecht Conference]. Stone said he didn’t expect any “smoking gun” documents to be found, but instead thought that the existing records would be like the frame of a Mercedes Benz left on a street in Harlem for thirty years, stripped of all its value, which is exactly what we found.

And even though Reitzes is unaware of them, there certainly are “smoking” documents among the secret and once-sealed records that support, if not prove the fact there were criminal conspiracies committed – such as ONI Director Rufus Taylor’s November 27th memo.

It indicates there is a large and still missing ONI file on the assassination and Col. Higgins’ report of the September 24 1963 CIA briefing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 

It confirms that the military was giving support to the CIA Cuban operations and that they were conducting a Valkyrie type plot aimed at Castro – one based on the German generals’ plan to kill Hitler, the specific operation that I believe was diverted to Dealey Plaza. 

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, not fish, and if they’ve released such smoking documents already, you can be sure the records still being withheld for reasons of national security will certainly threaten the very nature of the state.

As for Don Carpenter saying “we’re all anxious to see what’s there,” well we pretty much know what’s there, as we have all of the denials of requests for documents – such as the ONI Defector file, the documents on Ruth and Michael Paine, Collins Radio, Air Force One and not dozens, but hundreds of similar records that have been denied researchers since the passage of the JFK Act. 

So now I’m going to try to take Garrison’s advice and try to stay healthy so in late September 2017 I can stand with his son and if the president will let us, we will finally get to read some of the records that the government refuses to let us see today.

William Kelly is a freelance writer and historian, author of “300 Years at the Point” and “Birth of the Birdie,” co-founder of the Committee for an Open Archives (COA) and an original member of COPA – the Coalition On Political Assassinations [COPA | Coalition on Political Assassinations ]. He can be reached at