Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Legal Imperatives of the JFK Assassination

The Legal Imperatives of the JFK Assassination
By William Kelly

Among the long withheld and recently released records on the assassination of President Kennedy is a memo from the head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover dated November 24, 1963, the day the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and killed while in police custody.

"There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead," Hoover wrote. "The thing that I am concerned having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.

"Oswald having been killed today after our warnings to the Dallas Police Department is inexcusable. It will allow, I am afraid, a lot of civil rights people to raise a lot of hell because he was handcuffed and had no weapon. There are bound to be some elements of our society who will holler their heads off that his civil rights were violated -- which they were."

In his book, "On the Trail of the JFK Assassins" (Herman Graf/Skyhorse, NY 2008), Dick Russell wrote Chapter 31 on The Reflections of Marina Oswald Porter, the accused assassin's widow, who requested Dick set up a meeting  in 1992 between her and a group of lawyers.

She had one simple question for them: "how do you find a way to (officially) reopen the investigation?"

The meeting, held by a crackling fireplace in Dick's living room, included some local Boston attorneys as well as Jim Lesar and Dan Alcorn of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) in Washington D.C.

Marina asked them: "Is there a King Solomon nowhere in the  lawyer community to come up with some clever thing?"

"Forget me, this is not a personal vendetta," she said. "I'd like to figure out a more radical approach, from a legal point of view."

While they considered a Texas Grand Jury, and the use of the JFK Act granting the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) the ability to subpoena witnesses and question them under oath, a power they failed to adequately use, Lesar said, "The best evidence on a state prosecutional level revolves around concealment and obstruction of justice."

"And so basically," wrote Russell, "after several hours our discussion ended so much further along than when it began. Some of the finest legal minds in the country had come together, with the widow of the accused assassin, in hopes of finding some way to reopen the case. Thirty years after the fact, it seemed pretty hopeless, short of someone's deathbed confession. That night, a violinist friend played for Marina. One composition he performed was 'Song of the Lark.' More than one of us had tears in our eyes."

And now, a quarter of a century later, we are still crying, as the JFK Act is being violated and trampled on, the records ordered released are still being withheld, and there seems to be no legal recourse.

Where are the lawyers and judges - "is there a King Solomon no where in the lawyer community to come up with some clever thing?" - As Marina put it.

The murder of Oswald in Dallas Police custody was not only a clear cut violation of his civil rights, it halted, stopped the normal legal criminal procedures that would have kicked in for any homicide, let alone the murder of the President in broad daylight on a Texas street.

Other laws have been passed since JFK was killed. Besides the JFK Act, there's the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Federal Grand Juries, RICO - Rackettering Conspiracy statute that is used against organized crime and drug cartels, and Congressmen have recently introduced another JFK Act II.

As the attorneys who met with Marina in Dick Russell's living room concluded: "Texas was realistically the only place something could happen."

An investigative grand jury was suggested, "but the problem is, you have to convince Texas to do it."

Well now that might just happen.

A trial in Texas is scheduled for November 16-17 at the South Texas College of Law in Houston - Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald, in front of a real Judge and presented by a real prosecutor. The evidence will be re-evaluated by the latest 21st Century forensic techniques and expert witnesses, and  Oswald will be posthumously defended by San Francisco defense attorney Bill Simpich, New York City lawyer Larry Schnapf and former NYC prosecutor Robert Tanenbaum, who also served as head of the JFK Task Force with Richard Sprague, the first Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Simpich and Schnapf serve as co-chairs of the Legal Committee of CAPA - Citizens Against Political Assassinations, a non-profit org led by renown forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht.

The two-day Thursday and Friday event will be filmed and available for live streaming over the internet and will be interrupted by a formal CAPA diner featuring actor Alec Baldwin, who is know to embrace controversial causes and impersonate Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, an act appropriate considering the recent furor over the continued withholding of secret government files on the assassination.

When I was in Dallas for a conference I met a professional juror. They explained that insurance companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on such mock trials in order to learn what would happen in a real trial, and determine whether it would be would be worthwhile to go to trial or settle out of court. So it is a valid legal venue.

And it is just the first of a series of events that could lead to a legal resolution of the case, and if not justice, get to the truth of what really happened at Dealey Plaza.

For more see: Http:// and

Friday, November 3, 2017

JFK Files Withheld

I anticipated the JFK Act would be upheld, all of the records would be released as Congress wrote in the law and the Assassination Records Revicew Board (ARRB) concluded in their final report, there would be a flurry of media activity and then things would slowly die down and go back to normal.

What happened was anticipated by some (Jacob Hornberger for one), and generally derided by everyone, including Warren Commission defenders, and as Dr. Cyril Wecht has challenged, they should be the ones in the forefront of this fight, and it is a fight - between almost everyone and a handful of military-intelligence officer who have Trump's ear and are pulling at it like the nuns in grammar school.

But actually, there are some good aspects of the continued withholding of the records.

For one, it give us some more time to get our acts together, evaluate the situation, determine exactly what was released and what remains withheld, and prepare a plan of action.

In addition, while the relevant oversight committees of Congress - the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (Chaired by Rep. Trey Goudy  - R. S.C), and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (Chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson - R. IN), showed no interest in holding JFK Act oversight hearings, so other Congressmen who chair other committees introduced new legislation that will require new hearings on these matters. That may stimulate the responsible committees to do their job and hold hearings too.

So now, there will most likely be Congressional hearings on the JFK Act, - the last one was held in 1998.

Prior to Congressional Hearings, we can hold a Congressional Briefing in Congress that we control, and present the most knowledgeable expert witnesses - Jim Lesar, John Newman, Dan Alcorn, Jeff Morley, Rex Bradford, Malcolm Blunt, Oliver Stone and others.

Besides Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a big responsibility in adhering to this law, and seeing that it is enforced and carried out according to the intent and spirit that Congress infused it.

The Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) David Ferraro, according to the law, is personally required to see that the Act is carried out and publish an index and guide to the JFK Collection, two things he has not done, and now the President has directed the heads of all agencies of government to notify him - the AOTUS, on what records they want to continually withhold or release with redactions, by mid-March. Then the AOTUS must review them and recommend to the President what records he would consider withhold or releasing with redactionns.

I wrote to the AOTUS David Ferraro over a year ago requesting a meeting between him and the JFK Collection Staff and a handful of the top FOIA lawyers and researchers to go over the issues related to the JFK assassination records, and he never responded.

Now such a meeting is more likely and will include the congressmen who have expressed interest in this issue and have introduced the new bills that requires the release of all the remaining records.

In addition the CAPA - Citizens Against Political Assassinations research and legal committees are reviewing all possible legal actions that can be taken and will report on that soon.

Most frustrating is the Mainstream Media stories on this issue that continauly report that only 300 documents remain withheld when in fact the true figures are astounding, as Russ Baker discovered in a talk with an archivist.

There are still 2,745 records withheld in full, 547 of which are tax and grand jury records that are exempt from the JFK Act - apparently exempt - as the New Orleans Grand Jury records are already released in full. What other grand jury investigated the Kennedy assassination?

In addition there are 31,354 records withheld in part, 1,295 of which are tax and grand jury records that they claim are exempt from the JFK Act. I thought the JFK Act trumped all other laws.
So minus the tax and grand jury records there are 29,512 records withheld in part and 2,745 withheld in full.

What was released in the July and October data dumps consist of a release of only 2% of the records withheld in full and 10% of those withheld in part.

Exclusive: National Archives Reveals Missing Document Count to WhoWhatWhy - WhoWhatWhy

In the past week there have been two more bulk releases of records by NARA, for a total of four data dumps since July.

In addition, the Attorney General of USA has announced (on TV) that the FBI will release the remaining JFK FBI records, possibly within a week or so, through the NARA.