Sunday, October 26, 2014

Antonio Veciana Comes Clean

Antonio Veciana Comes Clean

“Make sure you never discuss what I tell you, ever.” – “Maurice Bishop”

                                              Antonio Veciana and Jerry Policoff (Kelly Pix) 

Antonio Veciana came into the picture in 1976 – that seminal Bi-Centennial summer when he was interviewed for the first time by Congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi.

The Church Committee, named after its chairman Sen. Frank Church (D. Idaho), was established by Congress to investigate the intelligence community in the wake of Watergate and an explosive Seymore Hersh article in the New York Times (Dec. 1976), and included a bi-partisan JFK Assassination subcommittee of two Senators –  Gary Hart (D. Col.) and Richard Schwiker (R. Pa.), who were not to investigate the assassination itself, they were only charged with investigating the role and response of the intelligence community to the assassination.

Schweiker, a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania, hired Gaeton Fonzi as an investigator based primarily on his reputation as a journalist whose Philadelphia Magazine investigative articles were guided by its editor Alan Halpern. 

As an Italian from Philadelphia, Fonzi earned the respect and loyalty of people who confided in him, and often had to remain anonymous, a trait shared by other reporters on this story – Dick Russell and Anthony Summers.

Veciana first came to the public’s attention in a Saturday Evening Post article – “Dallas – The Cuban Connections,” which mentioned Veciana and his Alpha 66 terrorist militia that attacked Cuban and Russian ships and was hell bent on killing Castro.  [See: Sat Evening Post]

When Dick Russell went looking for Veciana in Miami he found Fonzi had already interviewed him, as he was listed in the phone directory and met him at a little café.

Veciana told Russell, as he had told Fonzi, that many of his anti-Castro activities were directed by his intelligence case officer known to him as “Maurice Bishop,” a shadowy spymaster who also “ran” Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy.

As Veciana summarized the significance of that personal information he put it bluntly – “that means – coup d’etat.”

When Veciana recognized the accused assassin as the same man he had met a few months earlier, he expected to be arrested, he waited for them to come to his front door but they never came, at least not until Senate investigator Gaeton Fonzi tracked him down and asked about his covert Cuban operations.
The devil is in the details, and Veciana gave Fonzi and the sub-committee staff all the details they wanted, and a sketch artist did a facial profile of Veciana’s description of “Maurice Bishop,” which produced a profile that Sen. Schweiker recognized as someone who had testified before his committee – former CIA officer David Atlee Phillips. The background of “Maurice Bishop,” as detailed by Veciana, matched perfectly to that of the career of Phillips and based on his own autobiography – “Nightwatch – 20 Years of Peculiar Service.”

Veciana however, refused to identify Phillips as “Bishop,” even after confronting Phillips as a meeting of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), where the keynote speaker was Clare Booth Luce.
Despite Veciana’s refusal to positively ID Phillips, Fonzi, Bob Tannenbaum of the HSCA and others believed Phillips was “Bishop” and Veciana refused to identify him to protect his family, - he had survived an assassination attempt, was shot in the head, framed for drugs and had participated in assassination plots with “Bishop” before, so fear of him and the security of his family were factors. Veciana also had a loyality to “Bishop” for years of service, and paying him royally – not only getting him well paying jobs, but cashing him out after a decade of service with a large payment – over $200,000 in cash. Veciana also wanted to revive his anti-Castro Cuban activities and thought that “Bishop” would back him again.

When the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was formed and Fonzi was hired by its first chief counsel Richard Sprague, Veciana was reluctantly convinced to testify before the whole committee in a public session with the media present, as was Sylvia Odio, who also had to be persuaded to be questioned by Congressmen in a public session. But then, at the last minute, both Veciana and Odio were scratched from the list of those to be called to testify, and they felt betrayed and abandoned. “They don’t want to know the truth,” Odio said when told she wouldn’t be permitted to testify in public.

Then, decades later, after Phillips and Fonzi had died, Fonzi’s widow Maria persuaded Veciana to come clean and issue a public statement that David Atlee Phillips was indeed “Maurice Bishop” – the mysterious spymaster who directed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of the president, and he agreed. “Gate didn’t push too far,” Marie said, “I’m a bit more pushier than Gaeton.”

So it was with some anticipation that Antonio Veciana was to speak publically at the AARC Conference and decades after being denied the opportunity to testify before Congress, he would tell his story and take questions from ordinary citizens.

Although he understands and speaks English, he prefers to talk in his native Spanish and did so with the able translator Fernando Amati.

“I want to state unequalvocally that David Atlee Phillips is Maurice Bishop, who met Lee Harvey Oswald.”
Veciana was working as a banking accountant in Havana in 1960 when he met and went to lunch with “Maurice Bishop,” an American who used a Belgian passport and claimed to work for a Belgian company. At the Floridita, a restaurant also frequented by Ernest Hemingway, “Mr. Bishop” recruited Veciana to work with him against Castro.

While he wouldn’t acknowledge being with the CIA, “Bishop” told Veciana “I will help you fight Castro,” and did so in a hundred meetings over the course of a decade.

“Bishop” took Veciana to an office in the Pan Am Bank building in Miami, where Veciana signed a security agreement and began lessons in tradecraft, psychological warfare and propaganda.

“I was trained by the CIA, as was Oswald. Over the years of training I became a professional conspirator.”
 “Oswald and Fidel Castro were ideal scapegoats for the murder of the president. Bishop told Oswald to travel to Mexico City. …Phillips knew of the difficulty of getting a visa for Cuba from the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City. That resulted in the Mexico City incident. Oswald was directed.” There was no official meeting to plan the assassination. Groups of officers got together to plan the murder because they thought he was a threat to the national security of the United States. The U.S. military accepted this and incorporated certain elements (of the assassination plan). It really was a coup d’etat.”

Malcolm Blunt wanted to know about Veciana’s work for U.S. military intelligence, and made note of the fact that Veciana’s CIA file describes him as being “straight, honest and truthful.”

Lee Harvey Oswald and David Atlee Phillips

Lee Harvey Oswald and David Atlee Phillips 

Antonio Veciana’s confirmation that David Atlee Phillips was indeed the mysterious spymaster “Maurice Bishop” who met with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in the summer of 1963 begs other questions, such as how they met and whether Phillips served as Oswald’s case officer and directed many of his activities in much the same way he directed Veciana’s anti-Castro efforts.

And if so, what are the consequences of that being true?

Did they know each other? For starters, consider the fact that both Phillips and Oswald lived for a time in Fort Worth, Texas, where Phillips was born and raised and where he lived until he went to college, and where Oswald lived with his mother and brothers through grammar school.

Beginning in 1945 the Oswald’s lived in Fort Worth, first on Granvury Road in Benbrook, where LHO attended Benbrook Elementry school. They then moved to Willing Street, San Saba Street in Benbrook and lastly on Ewing Street. In 1948 LHO’s half-brother John Pic entered the USMC Reserves and in 1950 enlisted in the Coast Guard. In 1952 Oswald’s brother Robert joined the USMC and afterwards, Oswald and his mother moved to New York City where they lived with the Pic family.

David Atlee Phillips attended college but didn’t graduate, and moved to Chile with his first wife, Helen Hausman Haasch, where he purchased the South Pacific Mail newspaper and in 1950, began working as a contract agent for the CIA. He became a full time agent in 1955.

Veciana says that he met Phillips in the lobby of the Southland Center in Dallas in the summer of 1963. He arrived for a meeting with Phillips fifteen minutes early and found Phillips talking with a young man he later identified as Oswald. Phillips and Oswald talked privately for awhile, and then they walked to a nearby coffee shop and Oswald departed, agreeing to meet again with Phillips later on.

Veciana attributed the slip up – of his seeing Phillips with Oswald was due to his being early, as well as sloppy tradecraft on the part of Phillips. “He made mistakes,” Veciana says.

At the time Oswald was living and working in New Orleans, but he his whereabouts are not always accounted for and he was known to travel widely, even though he didn’t drive or own a car, and primarily used public transportation.

Phillips was then responsible for the CIA’s Cuban operations being run out of Mexico City, and monitored the Cuban and Soviet embassies there, both places Oswald visited shortly after meeting with Phillips in Dallas.

While the other reporters on this story – Fonzi, Russell and Summers all developed new and important leads, I tried to take this line of inquiry a little further by focusing on and more closely examining the scene of this reported meeting – the lobby of the Southland Center in Dallas.

An outstanding location anchored by the Sheraton Hotel and insurance and bank company offices, Oswald had previously visited there when he applied for a job with Sam Ballen, a friend and associate of their mutual friend George deMohrenschildt. [See: Samuel B. Ballen WC testimony:]

A review of Southland tenants in 1963 show that it was also the location of the law offices of Wynne, Jaffe and Tinsley, Wynne being Bedford Shelmire Wynne, whose brother Angus Wynne, Sr. (Wynne, McKenzie/McKennsie and Baer (Henry Baer) is closely affiliated with the Baylor Medical Center and original minority owner of the Dallas Cowboys (NFL) football team with Clint Murchison. 

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination and murder of Oswald, the Secret Service put Marina Oswald and her daughters up at the Inn of the Six Flags (Great Southwest Corp. owned by Muchison) whose manager James Martin became Marina’s business manager. That arrangement lasted until January 1964 when Martin was fired and Wynne, McKennsie and Baer attorney William “Bill Mac” McKenzie was hired as attorney for both Marina and Oswald’s brother Robert. McKenzie represented both of the Oswalds before the Warren Commission.

Did David Atlee Phillips have other business in the Southland Center when he met Oswald and Veciana in the lobby?

Besides Oswald’s previous visit there to apply for a job with deMorhrenschildt’s friend Sam Ballen, and being the location of the law offices of the Oswald’s attorney, the Southland Center also had a private club – the Chaparral Club, a private 36th floor establishment where big businessmen met and mingled, and could have been a place where Phillips could have been prior to meeting with Veciana and Oswald in the lobby.

The coffee shop where Phillps and Veciana had their meeting may be the same coffee shop that Jack Ruby and Larry Crafard visited at three o’clock on the morning after the assassination, a hotel coffee shop where Ruby knew the owner.  Were they meeting at the same hotel coffee shop?

Did Oswald and Phillips see eye to eye?

Consider the fact that they may have been from the same Fort Worth neighborhood, and that Oswald, as young as he was – fulfilled many of the peculiar traits Phillips listed in his book “Occupations in Intelligence” as qualities of a good agent – well traveled, ability to get around, multi-lingual, unobtrusive, well read, knowledge of foreign lands, education - ? Hell no, Phillips said, you don’t need a degree, as he – David Atlee Phillips never actually graduated from college, yet he rose to the rank of CIA Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division – the third ranking officer in the agency.

Oswald certainly fits the mold of the Covert Operative Personality Profile, and he certainly went into operational mode in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, but what does it mean if many of his activities were directed by the CIA’s David Atlee Phillips?

If Oswald was set up as the Patsy, does that mean that David Atlee Phillips and the CIA were also set up to be exposed as the false sponsors of the assassination?

Shortly before he died of cancer David Atlee Phillips, in a phone conversation, denied to me that he knew Oswald or was “Maurice Bishop,” and I now believe that he lied to me, he lied to me to protect himself and his family and his friends and associates, just as Veciana lied to protect his interests, and now wants to come clean to bare his soul and seek some sort of redemption.

David Atlee Phillips, in his unpublished The AMLASH Legacy manuscript wrote: “I was one of the two case officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald. After working to establish his Marxist bona fides, we gave him the mission of killing Fidel Castro in Cuba. I helped him when he came to Mexico City to obtain a visa, and when he returned to Dallas to wait for it I saw him twice there. We rehearsed the plan many times: In Havana Oswald was to assassinate Castro with a sniper's rifle from the upper floor window of a building on the route where Castro often drove in an open jeep. Whether Oswald was a double-agent or a psycho I'm not sure, and I don't know why he killed Kennedy. But I do know he used precisely the plan we had devised against Castro. Thus the CIA did not anticipate the President's assassination but it was responsible for it. I share that guilt.”

I never really wanted to see justice done, or do to them what they did to JFK - I just wanted to figure it out and learn how and why they did it.

I thought it would be terrific if I could only figure it all out, and then track down the mastermind of Dealey Plaza and sit down next to him at the bar and share a drink and ask him why he did it.

Although talking with David Atlee Phillips on the phone was the closest I got to him, a Washington investigator I knew Kevin Walsh did get the opportunity to have a few drinks with him and pry some tidbits out of him.

In July 1986 Phillips told Walsh, "My private opinion is that JFK was done in by a conspiracy, likely including American intelligence officers."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back to Bethesda - JFK's Last Hurrah?

Back to Bethesda – JFK’s Last Hurrah?

BK Goes Gonzo – A Report on the September 2014 AARC Conference – The Warren Report – 50 Years of Significant Disclosures – Bethesda, Maryland  

By Bill Kelly

Where to begin? As David Kaiser quotes the King in Alice in Wonderland – “Begin at the beginning and go on ‘till you come to the end, then stop.”

Good advice well taken, but there’s before the beginning – what Shakespeare called the Prologue – as inscribed on the granite statute in front of the old National Archives building in Washington D.C. - "What Is Past Is Prologue," and the title of their magazine – Prologue, which has published some important articles on the assassination.

The original Prologue from McBeth is a prologue to a murder, but it doesn’t just mean that you need to understand the past to understand the present – the prologue provides the deep background, the social situation, the meaning behind the crime, so you know what inspires the murder and why things happens.

John F. Kennedy was either the victim of a deranged lone nut without clear motive or the President was killed by his enemies, a pre-planned and well executed plot, a conspiracy and a coup d’etat.
But it must be one or the other and can’t be both.

Although no one has ever been brought to justice for the murder or any of the crimes related to it; what is wrong and can be legally demonstrated to be false is the Warren Report’s official proclamation that the President was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald alone, with no clear motive and Oswald was in turn killed by Jack Ruby alone and unaided.

Since the September 1964 release of that report there have been many sensational revelations that not only call into question this basic conclusion of the Warren Report but a new model of the assassination is emerging; one that takes all of the facts into consideration and makes some sense of it all.

As G. Kinston Clark said in The Critical Historian - book that got me hooked on history: the distortion produced by bias is potentially present in any attempt to write history. Sometimes the danger is obvious and menacing, sometimes it is covert coming from unexpected angles and in not easily detected forms….Any interpretation which makes use of facts which can be shown to be false or accepts as certainty true facts which are dubious or does not take into account facts which are known, are at best, potentially misleading and possibly grossly and dangerously deceptive….It is the first task of the historian to review any narrative to find what links are missing altogether…where what is defective cannot be supplied by further research, it is an historian’s duty to draw attention to the fact so that men can know where they stand.…Any historical conception which has not been adjusted to the most recent results will cease to be satisfactory.”

What do we now know to be false that we thought was true and what do we know now that we didn’t used to know in regards to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? That is the question posted.

To set the prologue and deep background let me explain that Jim Lesar, Esq., the president and director of the Assassinations Archives and Research Center (AARC) decided to host this conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Warren Report not only to call attention to what significant disclosures have been made since the report was released but also show how records are still wrongfully being withheld today and why it’s still important to do something about it now. [ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES – AND RESEARCH CENTER]

As far as the public’s confidence in their government; it is generally acknowledged that the late September 1964 publication of the Warren Report sparked the first negative spike in the statistical graph and the steady and continuing decline in the public confidence in government has not yet abated and will not until all of the assassination records are released to the public. [Confidence in Government | JFKCountercoup]

Lesars’ call for this conference led to the hiring of AARC Executive Director Jerry Policoff who pretty much put this conference together himself, keeping it academic, serious and meaningful. He now knows what John Judge of COPA and Debra Conway and Larry Hancock at Lancer had to do to make their many annual Dallas conferences successful.

Knowing Jerry from his early articles on the assassination in the late 70s and his original participation with COPA, he knows me too, so when I was offered the opportunity to make a presentation at the conference I considered bringing the ONI files to the forefront, since nobody else was talking about them, though eventually they were mentioned on the final day by Joe Backes. [JFKcountercoup: The Railroading of LCDR Terri Pike /  OSWALD’S ONI RECORDS REVISITED | COPA]

I decided instead however; to update the state of the Air Force One radio transmission tapes, a more popular topic that almost went viral after the October Wecht conference in Pittsburgh. [Passing the Torch | 13th Annual Symposium | Duquesne University]

There have been many JFK Assassination Conferences over the years, but only a few stand out – the NYU Law School conference in NYC the late 1970s, Dallas ASK, Chicago 4th Decade, 1992 and 1993 DC COPAs, the 2008 and 2013 Wecht Institute symposiums, but this 2014 AARC conference marks the ending of an era.

There was another conference going on in DC the same weekend and I will get around to that later, [The Warren Report 50 Years Later: A Critical Examination] and another one is being planned for Dallas in November [JFK Lancer], but here I will focus on just the Sept. 2014 AARC Conference in Bethesda and why what happened there is important.

As a speaker I wouldn’t be paid but they would arrange for my transportation, room and banquet dinner, so I was in, and planned on driving down but then, thanks to GPS  hooked up with independent researcher William Paris who met me early Thursday afternoon at a Dunkin’ Donuts just off of the highway. I had the pleasure of driving to DC with William in his Sube wagon full of band equipment, as he plays guitar in a popular Jersey Shore rock band (Billy Walton Band // HOME). His plan was to stay with his folks who lived nearby and attend the conference Friday and early Saturday with his father before leaving to catch a gig at the Jersey Shore on Saturday night. I would have to leave early with him or find my own way home, which turned into quite an adventure.

On the ride down I had a flashback on the trip I took to DC for the first COPA meeting with Bob Danello, a police lieutenant who was one of the early supporters of COPA who had a keen interest in Cuba.
One of the pertinent things Will Paris mentioned was the fact the apparent Lone-Nut fall-back position seems to be taking shape and they are now saying that - okay, Oswald did it alone, but he wasn’t just a deranged loner, he was a deranged loner with secret intelligence connections – Cuban Communists connections, the original cover-story, and this had to be hidden at the time or it would have started World War III.

The thing about this scenario is it assumes the fact that the assassination operation was meant to be discovered as a Cuban Communist Conspiracy and the cover-up rejected that notion using the excuse that it would lead to war, just as 9/11 led directly to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So instead of going to war or even finding out who was really behind the assassination, the deranged lone nut cover up was devised and accepted and saved the world from nuclear annialation. Or so the story seems to go – or is apparently going. Well we’ll just have to wait and see.

When I checked into the first class Bethesda Hyatt Regency hotel I was at first mistaken for another guest – another William Kelly but Jerry Polifoff, who was located by cell phone at a deli-liquor store fifty miles away, quickly straightened it out – I was registered under the name Bill Kelly. So I had a namesake registered at the same hotel that weekend – harking to my recent blog post on Double-Identities in JFK assassination research. [JFKcountercoup: Double Identities in Historical Research and the HSCA Records of Richard A. Sprague, Esq.].

After checking out the price of a beer at the hotel bar, I wandered around the corner to find the small and quaint Tommy Joe’s, a typical collegiate bar in a new and bustling neighborhood of bars, restaurants, shops and cafes.

“Hey Bill!” came a call from across the street.

Who could possibly know me here? I looked over and it was Zack, an Ohio school teacher in for the conference who I had met at the Wecht conference in Pittsburgh the previous October. Zack is the kind of young historic researchers who will have to step up and take over as the next generation of researchers, and he seems up to the challenge.


Back to the hotel for a 6:30 pm Meet and Greet, conference registration and casual cocktail party in the Presidential Suite on the 11th floor, I got on the elevator with a half dozen others who I didn’t recognize but looking around I had an eerie feeling and flashed to the elevator scene in Robert Redford’s “Three Days of the Condor,” where the Condor gets on an elevator with the Jackal assassin and a couple of silly giggling college kids.

While it was a silent ride, once off the elevator we introduced ourselves and it turned out the other passengers on the elevator ride were Marie Fonzi, widow of journalist and former Congressional investigator Gateton Fonzi, HSCA investigator Dan Hardway, former anti-Castro Cuban terrorist Antonio Veciana and Ernest Trivitts – a Russian professor, former close friend of the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and suspected KGB operative.

What a crew, I thought, my instincts proved correct.

 I introduced myself to Marie Fonzi, told her Gaeton was a hero of mine, and so was she for carrying on his work, especially in this area.

Just off the elevator I met Buell Wesley Fraser, who gave Oswald a ride to work on the morning of the assassination, and Fraser’s wife Betty, a charming Texas couple with an interesting story to tell that doesn’t jive with the official version of events.

Then Anthony Summers was suddenly there too, just off a plane from Ireland.

Standing off in a corner former HSCA investigator Dan Hardway introduced himself to Veciana, noting that while it was the first time they met, he knew quite a lot about Senior Veciana from having worked closely with Gaeton Fonzi and Ed Lopez, both of whom did know Veciana personally. While Veciana can understand and speak English, he is more comfortable and prefers Spanish and had with him his son, a high school history teacher, and a translator, the very capable Fernanado Amati.

Lopez, short with crew cut hair, still has a boyish look about him, one that belied the CIA when he and Hardway finally got their security background clearance and for nine months and were given access to any CIA document they requested before being cut off. Some of the documents they read had to do with Veciana, and now, here they were standing together and shaking hands for the first time.

I took a photo of Lopez and Veciana together, and then saw a somewhat frenzied Jim Lesar trying to recruit a few extra hands to go downstairs to the front door and help unload Jerry Policoff’s car of the refreshments. Zach and I volunteered, and when Policoff showed up I grabbed a few cases of beer and some wine and hand delivered it to the thirsty in Presidential Suite.

Unpacking the refreshments I met Alan Dale and was later impressed with his knowledge of the case as well as his ease in front of the microphone. Since he is a DC band leader and used to talking to rooms full of people he did a fine job as Master of Ceremonies, a role that he will also play for a mini-JFK Lancer conference in Dallas in November.

Dale’s JFK Lancer radio program, like Black Op Radio, also includes many important interviews with researchers and writers. [JFK Lancer - President John F. Kennedy Assassination Latest News and Research]

Looking around the room I decided to check in with Tony Summers, handed him a warm beer and received a brief report on his latest subject [Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan | This is the official blog of Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan, best-selling non-fiction books authors] I was glad to see that he came from across the pond to participate in this conference since it’s important to get his well reasoned and respected take on the subject on the record.

                                      Buell Wesley Frazer, his wife and Jerry Policoff (Kelly Pix) 

I also went out of my way to sit down and talk to Buell Wesley Fraser and his wife Betty. Fraser was an Irving neighbor of Ruth Paine who worked at the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) with Oswald and gave him a ride to work on the morning of the assassination. Fraser was at first considered a suspect in a conspiracy and was violently interrogated by the Dallas police but refused to change his story, always denied that the package Oswald took to work that morning was long enough to be a rifle, and said that Oswald never gave any indication of having the intention of killing the president that day. Oswald, according to Fraser, was also a loving father who enjoyed playing with his children and the other children in the neighborhood liked Oswald, a point Frazer thought important in judging Oswald’s character.

After leaving his job at the TSBD Fraser served in the military and while quiet and reserved for many years, he began to tell his story, first to his family and friends and then to school children and the Sixth Floor Museum as part of their Oral History Program [Living History with Buell Wesley Frazier - YouTube / Collections | The Sixth Floor Museum]. And now to this conference of primarily serious historical researchers.

Also at the Presidential Suite, Ernest Tibbits had a similar view of Oswald and characterized him as a warm, kind and gentle human being with a sense of humor, and not the usual deranged sociopath portrayed by those who claim he killed the President and a cop.

Everyone has their own perspective, not only of Oswald, but what they perceive to have happened at Dealey Plaza that day, and what would happen at the conference that weekend.

“We had not been told the truth about Oswald” – Warren Commissioner Richard Russell

AARC Bethesda Day 2 Friday

FRIDAY - September 26, 2014 – Morning Session

This Photo loomed large over the conference screens when they weren't being used, which sparked some interest in trying to identify those in the picture. From left to right - John J. McCloy, David Belin (aka Alfred E. Newman), Richard Russell, Gerald Ford, Earl Warren, LBJ, Allen Dulles, John Sherman Cooper and Hale Boggs. 

                                                   INTO THE RABBIT'S HOLE 

As many people have compared trying to figure out the assassination of President Kennedy to falling into Alice’s Rabbit’s Hole, or going through the Looking Glass - 

I thought it noteworthy that it was an annotated edition of Alice In Wonderland that gave me the idea of editing an Annotated Warren Report, detailing exactly what they got wrong, sentence by sentence, what we now know that they didn’t know then, which is one of the projects I am working on. [The Warren Report: Table of Contents].

Jim Lesar, the president and director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) began the proceedings in his welcoming remarks, saying that the AARC was established in the Orwellian year of 1984 by his friend and fellow attorney Bud Fensterwald. As a long time Senate Committee counsel and attorney for a number of interesting characters – such as Watergate burglar James McCord, Fensterwald was also a part of the Committee to Investigate Assassinations (CIA), which played a major role in getting Congress to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.

I came along in the late 1970s, shortly after the HSCA folded shop and its records sealed for fifty years, and with my college mate John Judge, formed the non-profit Committee for an Open Archives,” for the purpose of lobbying Congress to release the HSCA records to the public. Whenever I was in Washington I’d visit Jim Lesar, especially after a Dallas conference or while doing some research at the old Archives, I found many important records among the stacks at the AARC. If doing some special research with Anthony Summers or other writer on special assignment, Lesar would give us a key and we would work through the night.

The old AARC building, on 14th Street, was a classic, with an elevator operator and an ancient elevator that they said Lincoln once used. After the AARC archive was put in storage, where it was only accessed by Lesar and his board, until now, as Jerry Policoff is overseeing the inventory of what’s there and preparing to make it all available to researchers once again.

The AARC isn’t just about JFK, but focuses on assassination when it is used as a political tactic, a neglected area of study, one that must continue into the future and beyond the lives of those currently running the show. And Lesar knows that, but besides opening up the AARC archives and hosting this conference, he is going back to FOIA court with some very high profile clients, who I was due to meet. Lesar is still playing hardball but most of all he wants you to know why.

“We need to understand the past to understand current events,” Lesar said in trying to explain why this conference matters, and a recurring theme of the conference is the fact that we really can’t make a determination as to what happened to President Kennedy until all of the cards are on the table and all of the government records are released.

Lesar pointed out that this conference couldn’t have happened without the support of AARC board members and supporters, especially that of Abby Rockefeller, who was moved by James Douglas’ book – “Who Killed JFK and Why It Matters,” and that while Douglas had been invited to join the program, he had other pressing concerns and couldn’t make it.

                    Conference Host Jim Lesar - of the Assassinations Archives and Research Center (ARRC) 

Why does it matter and why does this conference matter? Lesar’s answers were –  it matters because the Warren Report marked the profound slide in public distrust in the government and the press; it matters because in 1992 Congress passed a law requiring the records be released and they are still being withheld; it matters because the JFK assassination and those of MLK and RFK wiped out a generation of liberal left political leadership, which had a devastating political impact that continues to erode democratic government today. It matters because the result has been to encourage the rampant growth of a national security state in ways that have had profound adverse effects on our world standing, our economic vitality and our personal liberties.

Most of the tens of thousands of JFK assassination records still being withheld today are sealed for reasons of “national security.”

At some point Jim Garrison was quoted as saying, “The people of this country don’t have to be protected from the truth. The Truth about the assassination of the president has been concealed long enough,” though Garrison went to his grave not knowing the full truth in his lifetime. And so did Harold Weisberg, Penn Jones, Mary Ferrell, John Judge and now Ed Sherry.

But Lesar is still alive, and so is Cyril Wecht, Paul Hoch, Peter Dale Scott, Bill Turner, Richard Schweiker, Vince Salandria and others who have strived to learn the complete truth about what really happened at Dealey Plaza, and deserve to see all of the remaining sealed files in their lifetime.

As Lesar put it, “Political assassinations and the JFK-MLK-RFK trifecta of assassinations will continue to affect us immensely until we come to grips with it and deal with it effectively.”

Lesar pointed out that the JFK Act of 1992 was unanimously passed by Congress because of the largest public outcry to date, probably ever, it was an outrage for people to learn from Oliver Stone’s movie JFK and while many millions of records have been released as a result, there are still secret government records on the assassination that have yet to be released and are kept from the American people today, so many so they can’t tell us how many.

The fact that the government is still keeping assassination records secret after Congress ordered them released decades ago makes this a relevant issue today.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted: “The people must arm themselves with the power of knowledge and truth,” and a democracy depends on an educated electorate, not one that is kept ignorant by the false cloak of national security.

According Lesar, “The National Archives’ role is particularly disturbing. The Archives isn’t supposed to be a burial ground for records.”

One of the clichés used was “History Exhumed,” and like Pat Speer (Ed Forum), I wondered why this conference was being held in Bethesda, Maryland and no one bothered to visit the nearby Bethesda Naval Medical Center, where JFK’s botched autopsy was performed, or Walter Reed,, which is mentioned prominently on the Air Force One radio tapes, or the residential Bethesda homes of such prominent suspects as David Atlee Phillips and Col. Jose Rivera.

Or why no one was calling for a new autopsy of the President today?

Andrew Kreig of the AARC did his talk on – “Current Implications of the JFK Assassination Cover-Up.”
Alan Dale spoke eloquently on “What we now know that the Warren Commission Didn’t Know.”

Prof. G. Robert Blakey was to sit with his former law students and HSCA investigators Dan Hardway and Ed Lopez and have a discussion on the “Culture of Secrecy and Democratic Accountability,” but Blakey was delayed so his talk was pushed back to Saturday and Hardway and Lopez carried the day on their subject of “The HSCA and the CIA – the View from the Trenches and the View from the Top,” which I will be writing a separate sidebar on.

At the Hotel’s Daily Grill bar Will Paris and I sat down next to Paul Kunsler, who practically singlehandedly picketed the NARA to protest their policies regarding the JFK Act. Paul will be giving a lecture on the assassination at the Georgetown University Library, where HSCA investigator Bob Tannenbaum claims to have seen a film of an anti-Castro Cuban training camp that includes Oswald and David Atlee Phillips among the Cubans. It is also where the papers of Edward J. Epstein are supposed to be but when Malcolm Blunt got there, found the box he was looking for empty.

FRIDAY – Afternoon

Dr. John Newman (“Oswald and the CIA” and “JFK and Vietnam”) did his talk on “The Darkest Cover-up:  The CIA and Cuba,” in which he described how the existing CIA records that have been released so far indicate that not only was there a keen operational interest in Oswald months before the assassination, but there was also a deception operation going on, and that there appears to have been two separate operations going on at the same time – one with-in the other.

Newman explained that before you can even begin to understand the details behind what happened at Dealey Plaza you have to connect it to other, more well known and exposed operations in Cuba and elsewhere (Mexico, Vietnam, Haiti), and you have to decode the crypts that are used in CIA memos and cables that attempt to conceal the identities and locations of those involved.

The crypto codes can be broken using the same basic research methodology used to uncover David Atlee Phillips (DAP) as the mysterious “Maurice Bishop,” – chronicling the known background, places of residence, where they are stationed and movements of subjects to fit a common pattern. In some cases just sloppy tradecraft and simple mistakes make it possible to determine the real identities of who the crypts refer to.

While other researchers disagreed on some of the identities that Newman said he has uncovered, if there is a stronger case for someone else other than the person Newman refers to, then let’s have it so we can at least all agree on who these people are.

Jefferson Morley (“Our Man in Mexico”) did his presentation on “The CIA and the Culture of Secrecy” by recounting how he obtained a phone number for former CIA officer Jane Roman and got her to agree to be interviewed. With John Newman, they visited Roman and showed her some recently released CIA cables, one of which she signed off on, knowing that it was incorrect and got her to admit it.

Morley also stressed the need to take new approaches to the subject – “We need a new narrative that resonates with those not alive in 1963 – the president of the United States is murdered in broad daylight and nobody is brought to justice.”

Morley said there was a culture in the mainstream media newsroom that uses different criteria in determining what is newsworthy. “Most stories,” Morley said, “need the preponderance of evidence to support it, but with JFK the bar is raised to beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Jeff also explained how having the JFK records on the internet will change the way such historical research is done – and his view of the assassination 1.0 – Warren Report – 2.0 – JFK the movie and the JFK Act – 3.0 – where we are now – takes things to a new level. 

Anthony Summers  (“Not in Your Lifetime”) sobered everyone up with his interesting talk entitled “After Not in Your Lifetime,” during which he recounted how he was drawn to the case of the murdered American president and was shocked to discover that the details had not yet been subjected to standard journalist purview, with only few notable exceptions.

Applying such objective reporting techniques to the questions being posed, Summers said that there still remain unanswered questions, but that he tried, over the course of many years, to answer them, and in some cases did. He was convinced that David Atlee Phillips was “Maurice Bishop,” and recounted how he identified some new witnesses to Phillips-Bishop. Although he has been working on other subjects – 9/11 and x, he maintains a keen interest in the JFK assassination and will continue to follow up any new leads as they present themselves – as even after the third edition of his book was published, he joined former HSCA Chief Counsel G. Robert Blakey to interview a key anti-Castro Cuban who identified another Cuban as one who confessed to being involved in the Dealey Plaza operation and assisting in the assassination of President Kennedy. (The Cuban assassin with a deadly secret: 'I shot JFK’ - Telegraph / Video: JFK anniversary: second gunman named - Telegraph )

Prof. Ernst Titovets, (“Oswald: Russian Episode”), who comes across convincingly and with style, expounded on his experiences with Oswald in Russia, “Oswald Was my Best Friend,” and like Frazer, concluded that Oswald was not a sociopathological killer, but a deeply philosophical human being with a big heart and decisive mind.

As a first day witness Wesley Fraser’s story is important, and I think it significant that in his Sixth Floor Oral History Fraser says that he last saw Oswald walking down Houston Street, having apparently left the TSBD from the rear door, and not the front door as the Warren Report attests. 

While I would have preferred to have the Hollywood biographer and a professional journalist Joe McBride talk about the Tippit murder, which he wrote a book about (“Into the Nightmare”), Dr. Donald Thomas, includes a chapter in his book (“Hear No Evil”) on the Tippit murder so he did two presentations, one on the acoustical analysis of the DPD recording and the other on the Tippit murder. His presentation was called “The Tippit Murder: Rosetta Stone to the Warren Commission Cover-Up” because Warren Commission attorney David Belin called the Tippit murder the Rosetta Stone of the assassination because he believed it to be the clincher – Oswald killed JFK and then killed a cop in the getaway. But Thomas flips that coin over and shows how the Tippit murder evidence and witness testimony doesn’t hold up any more than the Dealey Plaza evidence and witness testimony.

I talked privately with Dr. Thomas after his presentation and mentioned the fact that the reports of Carl Mather’s car – a 57’ Plymouth at the scene of his good friend’s murder, being driven around by someone resembling Oswald, while Mather was at work at Collins Radio, is certainly intriguing evidence that must be further investigated. Thomas, as do others, make the mistake of looking first at the FBI report that mentions a red Ford, when in fact, the mechanic who gave the original information said at first it was a Plymouth, and wrote the Texas license plate number down, and traced to Mather, and it was unlikely that the mechanic would not know the difference between a Ford and a Plymouth. The red Ford is clearly a red hearing that first appears in the FBI report and is intentionally wrong in order to deflect attention from Mather, who the FBI refused to interview.

I’ve also heard reports from Dallas that when J.D. Tippit’s widow Marie recently made an appearance at the Sixth Floor Museum, Joe McBride wanted was going to ask her about Carl Mather and the recent allegation that Mather met Tippit on the morning before his murder, but he was prevented from doing so by Gary Mack, the Sixth Floor traffic cop.  Marie Tippit should be properly questioned about Carl Mather without any interference by anybody, but that apparently is not going to happen.

AARC Bethesda Day 3 Saturday

SATURDAY - September 27, 2014 – Morning Session 


Brenda Brody introduced Peter Kornbluh, the director of the NSA – the “other” NSA – the National Security Archive, who has frequently and successfully sued the government for the release of sensitive information, especially about the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the coup in Chile and other Deep Political events.  [The National Security Archive]

As also recounted in his new book (“Back Channel to Cuba – The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana” w/ William M. LeoGrande), Kornblugh gave an interesting and detailed report on the backchannel negotiations between JFK and Castro in the months and days leading up to the assassination, without actually saying they were related to his murder. It was all done through improvised channels, Kornbluh said, noting that “there is a department of dirty tricks but no department of peaceful tricks,” and Kennedy certainly preferred talks and negotiations over violence and war.

[Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana by William M. LeoGrande | 9781469617633 | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble / Project MUSE - Back Channel to Cuba / Back Channel to Cuba : NPR]

While I didn’t get a chance to ask my question to him while he was on stage, I did catch up to him just beyond the door and talked to him for a few minutes with a few others who wanted to follow up on his presentation – Morley, Simpich and Lesar.

Did the anti-Castro Cubans learn of the supper-secret backchannel negotiations? That’s what I want to know.

I mentioned the fact that Arthur Slesinger told Anthony Summers that if the anti-Castro Cubans did learn about the secret talks that would have certainly given them motivation to kill Kennedy, if they needed any more after the Bay of Pigs, but Kornblouh responded that while they might have, he didn’t come across any indication that the anti-Castro Cubans learned about the talks.

Before the others got to him, I asked Kornblouh another quick question – did he think the death of the key intermediary - network TV reporter Lisa Howard suspicious? Kornblough described Howard as “the Barbara Walters of her day,” and described her role in detail, but he did not think her drug overdose death suspicious.

“No,” Kornblouh said, “I looked at that very closely and she was depressed and got a prescription for 20 pills and added a zero and got 200 and bought a soda and went and killed herself.”

I thought this suspicious, not only because of the similar deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Kilgallon, but because from what I had learned, she died on a Sunday when the drug store was closed and so had to get the pharmacist to open up just to serve her. And then he sells her a Coke and lets her kill herself in his parking lot? Anyway, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not convinced that the death of Lisa Howard isn’t suspicious.

In the meantime, down in the Breakout Room, Patrick Speer (DVD “The Mysterious Death of Number 35”) did his talk on “The Single-Bullet Theory, Voodoo Science, and Zombie Lies” that Marie Fonzi later spoke highly of. I also agree with Pat’s assessment of the conference at the Ed Forum [Ed Forum Link]
The Breakout Room should have been on the same floor as the main conference room so people could easily move back and forth, but for the most part, the conference ran smoothly and was a major success.

For the first time I met the prolific writer Lamar Waldron ("Withheld in Full," “Legacy of Secrecy” with Thom Hartman, “Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy and the Murder of JFK” who gave me a copy of his book “Watergate: The Hidden History / Nixon, The Mafia, and the CIA.”  We had an intense but short conversation on some esoteric details of the JFK case – he gave me a new name – Frank Ippolito, and we joined the mutual admiration society, as I think Waldron’s primary theory holds water and is basically what happened. That is - a CIA plot to kill Castro was hijacked and redirected to kill JFK at Dealey Plaza, and this is what John Newman is coming to understand when he finds a “plot within a plot.”
While the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro get all the attention, I think the Valkyrie plot as described to the Joint Chiefs of Staff by Desmond FitzGerald on September 24, 1963 [See: Higgins Memo] is the specific plan that was redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza, and not one of the earlier Mafia plans. While the Mob has used snipers as hit men, as they did with Bugsy Siegel, they don’t do disinformation and black propaganda, a key ingredient in the Dealey Plaza operation.

Waldron’s talk “Withheld in Full” also reflects on the extreme number of significant records still being with held for reasons of national security and as detailed in his book “Legacy of Secrecy.”

Relegated to the Breakout Room, Gaeton Fonzi’s widow Marie Fonzi (“The Last Investigation” by the late Gaeton Fonzi with introduction by Marie Fonzi) did a talk called “On the Home Front,” and later gave me a typed transcript of a statement Fonzi recorded  for his Third Decade conference speech that was played at the Wectht symposium: 

“In 1976, more than a decade after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – and long after a majority of Americans had decided they didn’t believe the Warren Report – the United States Congress announced it was going to conduct a [quote] ‘full and complete investigation.’ - Congress lied. Congress said that its new investigation would be more impartial than the Warren Commission’s, would examine with unbiased finality every piece of evidence, and would explore the possible involvement of every individual or group with the means and motivation to kill the President. Congress lied. Congress said that its probe would debunk all the wild theories and crazy speculation that had sprouted over the years and that it would confront all the unanswered questions surrounding the mystery of the assassination. Congress lied. And the leaders of Congress’s new investigation said that it would definitely be the last investigation. That, finally was the truth. I believe there will never be another official government investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination.”
Marie should be credited in large part for convincing Antonio Veciana to come out and make a rare public appearance and said, “Gaeton wasn’t very pushy, I’m more pushy than he was,” and she helped get some things done that might not have otherwise. [I will be writing another separate sidebar on Veciana-Fonzi and will post it soon.]

In the main room Dr. Donald Thomas (“Hear No Evil”) gave his talk on the acoustical evidence from the Dallas Police dictabelt tape, and  is in his element here. While he was a little off base trying to figure out the Tippit murder, he is on more firm ground with “JFK Acoustical Evidence:  Challenge and Corroboration,” which reviews the efforts to determine how many shots are captured on the Dallas PD dictabelt tape.
While I was in the Breakout Room giving an Update on the Air Force One radio transmission tapes, [See: Links], Temple University professor Joan Mellen (“A Farewell To Justice” and “The Great Game in Cuba”) was in the center ring giving a much talked about presentation on the “CIA and the HSCA:  How CIA Controlled the HSCA and the Writing of its Final Report.”

I call Joan Mellen the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” of JFK researchers because of her flamboyant manner and style, and unceasing critique of others and their theories, she has a pin to pinch everybody, but then, behind your back, she will say something nice about you, even if she doesn’t agree with you.

People at my talk were getting tweets on the fireworks at Mellen’s talk upstairs, and I look forward to seeing the video of what she had to say. She later told me she was unhappy not being able to make her case the day before, when the HSCA investigators Lopez and Hardway were on, as what she had to say complimented what they were talking about.

Professor David Kaiser (“The Road to Dallas” 2008) updated his book with a talk on “What We’ve Learned Since The Road to Dallas,” and while he believes Oswald was the shooter who killed JFK, his belief that the conspiracy was based in a Mafia related plot has been expanded somewhat, and he seems open to persuasion that other factors contributed to the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, in the Breakout Room, a disenchanted Jim DiEugenio (“Reclaiming Parkland” / “Destiny Betrayed”) would have preferred to be under the Big Top upstairs, rather than a sideshow in the Breakout Room, but he gave a very persuasive presentation on JFK’s foreign policies: “Who Was John F. Kennedy, and Why Was He Murdered?”  Jim reportedly was later given time to talk under the Big Top.
William Paris, my ride to DC, brought along his father, a retired US Army Colonel, who served during the Kennedy administration and he said he was especially impressed with DiEugenio’s talk, and learned some things that he didn’t know when they were actually going down.


Cyril Wecht, who also spoke at the other conference on the other side of town, regaled us once again in his talk “Two Autopsies. Two Cover-ups – JFK, RFK,” and explained how relevant the proper RFK autopsy is in trying to understand the botched autopsy of JFK.

Also on hand was Cyril’s son Ben, an administrator at the Cyril Wecht Center for Forensic Science and Law at Duquese University in Pittsburgh, and organizer of the October conference. I have suggested to Ben that he consider holding a special symposium focused on the topic of the increasing use of acoustical evidence in high profile cases such as JFK, RFK, Kent State, Trevor Martin, etc., and he said he is seriously considering it.

After so many years Dr. Wecht can give his talk in his sleep, as can Gary Aguliar, whose talk was on “Junk Science and the Death of JFK – What We Now Know that We Didn’t Know Then.”

Eric Hamburg (“JFK, Nixon, Oliver Stone & Me” / "Bond of Secrecy" by St. John Hunt) was supposed to give his talk on   “Conversations with Fabian Escalante and E. Howard Hunt — Two views of the Kennedy assassination,” but I didn’t catch it and couldn’t find him in the revised program.

I attended the Breakout Room report on “The Raleigh Call and the Fingerprints of Intelligence” by Dr. Grover P. Proctor Jr. Dr. Proctor gave a clear and concise report on the evidence and witness reports on the phone call Oswald tried to make while incarcerated in the Dallas jail, a call that could have led to a former US Army counter-intelligence officer who was living in North Carolina. Without speculating or embracing any conspiracy theory, Dr. Proctor just laid out the facts and allowed for you to make up your own mind, and he promised to keep everyone updated on any future developments at his web site.

On the other hand, there was more speculation in Dr. Randolph Robertson’s talk “The JFK Assassination – 5 shots + 3 shooters + 3 sniper’s nests = CONSPIRACY.” Robertson, a AARC board member, made a study synchronizing the acoustical evidence with the Zapruder film and concluding there were five shots from three different directions. “There is no longer a debate over the fact that there was a conspiracy, only a debate over how many shooters fired from how many locations.”

Dr. Robertson then joined Dr. David Mantik in a discussion of the “Harper fragment,” a chunk of JFK’s scull that was found in Dealey Plaza and not seen by either the Parkland or Bethesda doctors. Dr. Mantik later gave a Breakout Room session on “JFK autopsy X-rays, photographs and medical evidence,” and when I sat with him at dinner that night, he expressed interest in the Valkyrie plot as it relates to Dealey Plaza, so I sent him the relevant links. [JFKcountercoup: Valkyrie At Dealey Plaza - Updated ]

                                                         Professor G. Robert Blakey 
                                                                 Photo Brent Lyons 

In the early afternoon session miss titled THE CUBNS, THE CIA, AND THE COVERUP Prof. G. Robert Blakey, who had missed his scheduled session the day before, made it in time to talk on “The Culture of Secrecy and Democratic Accountability,” which touched heavily on his role as the second chief counsel to the HSCA.

After his talk I sat down with Blakey and told him how I had obtained Jim Braden’s Camden NJ arrest report and gave it to him when he requested it while writing his book on the mob. I also told him how I had given a copy of that report to Richard Sprague, who didn’t turn his records over to the HSCA when he was fired, but kept them and took them back to his Philadelphia law office, where they reside today.

This is the case even after I told the ARRB in my public testimony that Sprague had his HSCA papers, but they never obtained them, and the NARA are only just now getting around to asking Sprague for his HSCA files that according to the law should be included in the JFK Collection and open to the public. Blakey just shrugged.

David Kaiser (“Road to Dallas” 2008) followed Blakey and gave his talk on “What We’ve Learned Since The Road to Dallas,” while in the Breakout Room Lisa Pease talked about her special interest, “James Jesus Angleton and the Warren Commission,” and detailed there interesting relationship.


A panel discussion on “Why Won’t the Media Cover the Story?” pretty much repeated what has been said before, over and over again, at almost every previous conference, including the Wecht Conference, where there were two panels on the subject. Afterwards, Jeff Morely said it would be last panel on the media and JFK that he would participate in, and I agree, it has all been said before and there’s nothing new here under the sun.

At some point in the proceedings,  during a panel discussion, David Talbot called in to talk and answer some questions about his current research on Allen Dulles, the former CIA director and Warren Commissioner - “the chairman of the board,” who Talbott said, had connections “everywhere,” never considered himself retired and continued to connect with operational people in the CIA long after he was fired.

Dulles, said Talbot, was not motivated by money, but power, and we look forward to his upcoming book “The Devil’s Chessboard,” which will be published in 2015.

Andrew Kreig (“Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters”), who assisted Policoff in the preparation for the conference, did a talk on “The JFK Cover-up’s Long Shadow.”

Walt Brown (“The Warren Omission” and JFK Master Chronology) was supposed to give a talk on “The Dulles Commission – the 50th Anniversary,” but since he was relegated to the Breakout Room, he decided to pass and didn’t bother to show up at all. He apparently does have a scheduled appearance at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas on November 22, 2014, which should be interesting.

Russ Baker (“Family of Secrets”) was very convincing in his talk on “The Role of the WC Staff in the Cover-Up,” which has direct implications on the recent discovery of new Warren Commission documents among the personal papers of a former WC attorney, documents that apparently are not part of the JFK Collection at the National Archives.

It wouldn’t have been a conference without Robert Groden (“The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald” / “The Killing of the President” / “Absolute Proof”) who did his talk on “A View From the Grassy Knoll,”  a view that he now knows intimately from being there a few days every week. Robert’s new book “Absolute Proof” is one of the best of the new books, over 1,000 photos, every one clear and glossy, and with explanatory captions that make it worthwhile, and not overpriced at $75. 

                                                                  Robert Groden 
                                                                Photo Brent Lyons 

I asked Bob about a new reference in his book and he explained that he had interviewed a former TSBD secretary Geneva Reid, who told him that she was with Oswald handing him change when the shots rang out. Reid had requested this not be published until after she died, and she has since passed away, so Bob included this new story in his latest book.

Meanwhile, back on the main stage, a most interesting dialog was acted out on stage by eight professional actors – a dramatization of the remarks of Warren Commissioners at a special, secret meeting at which they discussed the rumor that Lee Harvey Oswald was an undercover FBI agent, a unique and effective way of understanding the issues that were brought up at that important meeting. The audio recording of this reading should make a good radio program.

For the record, the professional actors who played out this vocal dramatization were recruited by Ed Ashner were: John Heard (complete with bow tie) portraying Allen W. Dulles, John Lescault – Chief justice Earl Warren, Michael Quinlan – Gerald Ford, Michael Willis – John Sherman Cooper, Dave Fendig – Hale Boggs, Ed Lieberman -  John J. McCloy and Andy Brownstein as Richard B. Russell. Brian Conners played Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin, and Robert Conners stood by to fill in if necessary.
This recording should make a good FM radio program if formatted correctly.

The Saturday night banquet speaker Dr. Peter Kuznic (“The Untold History of the United States”) is the American University history professor who has collaborated with Oliver Stone in producing a series of a dozen one hour historical documentaries, of which we viewed the one about the Kennedy administration, which puts the assassination in its proper, historical cold war perspective. [Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick Discuss "The Untold History of the United States" - YouTube / Oliver Stone: The Untold History of JFK's Assassination - YouTube]

Stone came on a video remote to talk briefly and to say hello to many of his friends who were there, and Stone’s primary researcher for the JFK movie, Jane Rosconi, gave a brief talk, but Kuznic said it best when he mentioned that we must get this information out to the schools and to young people in order to get a new generation interested in these subjects and pursing this research into the future.

At the banquet I sat with Joan Mellen, Malcolm Blunt, two young professionals from Cleveland, Mike Nurko and a gentleman from Belgium - Flip De Mey, who gave us each a copy of his new book “Cold Case Kennedy,” which takes the proper forensic investigative approach to the assassination – the only way that works.

Ed Lopez, Russ Baker, Marie Fonzi and Veciana's translator Fernando 
                                                                  Photo - Brent Lyons