Monday, June 11, 2018

JFK Records for Beginners - Rules for Researchers

JFK Research for Beginners - Rules for Researchers  - By Bill Kelly

Deciding to learn about the assassination of President Kennedy has been described as entering “the Rabbit’s Hole,” or entering the “Wilderness of Mirrors,” a vast morass you can’t easily wade through without getting lost or stuck.

Fortunately, and thanks to those who have gone before us, the Rabbit’s Hole and House of Mirrors is well mapped out and a lot easier to navigate than the first generation of researchers found.

Before you begin or even look at the maps, you have to take a pre-requisite linguistics class on the lexicon.

When the owner of the Atlantic City Country Club asked me to write the 100 year history of his golf club, I told him that I didn’t play golf or know much about the game, and he said he had two thousand golfers and he needed a researcher and writer. Club golf pro told me that all I had to do was learn the lingo of golf –the lexicon, and the rest would come easy, such as the term ‘birdie’ meant one under par for the hole, a term that had been coined there, and so came my second book “Birth of the Birdie.”

And just as David Maurer, the Kentucky linguist, went into the underworld of criminals to learn their slang terms, and came out with the key to the Big Con confidence games –ala The Sting, in order to understand what happened at Dealey Plaza you have to learn how to read documents, translate codes, and identify aliases with the true name of persons.

Now that many of the most significant JFK assassination records are digitalized on line and can be accessed with a computer connected to the internet, it’s a lot easier to become an armchair detective instead of having to actually go to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), become a research associate, and travel to the Archives II in College Park, Maryland to review a cart of documents that you had requested the day or week before.

The Archives II was funded in 1992 as part of the Congressionally mandated JFK Act, and is one of a number of remote archives, including Presidential Libraries run by the NARA, under Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) David Ferriero. The old, original Archives building, in downtown Washington D.C. (Across the street from the Hard Rock Café), has the theater where the first Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) hearings were held, and offices, it has a famous statute on the front steps that reads: “The Past Is Prologue,” a Shakespeare quote. The JFK Collection is housed at the Archives II, about fifteen miles north of Washington near the University of Maryland.

The digitalized documents on line are just the tip of the perverbial iceberg, as the JFK Collection at the Archives II also includes the main evidence in the murder of President Kennedy, including the rifle said to have been the murder weapon, the Zapruder Film, and other key elements in the crime.

Besides the hard evidence, films, videos, tape recordings and emails, there are what they call “textural” records, or documents, of which there are over 5 million, most of which have not been scanned and digitalized and put on line, as the most recently released documents were.

Even the textural documents can be broken down into categories – such as index cards, handwritten notes, typewritten reports, memos, cables and transcripts of interviews.

While another set of rules apply to those who actually visit the Archives II, this will be a primer for those who want to review the JFK assassination records that are posted on line, beginning with the NARA web site where they were first posted. The NARA, in ignoring the JFK Act provision that requires the Archivist to provide the public with a guide and index to the JFK Collection, has instead posted a completely useless web site that has not been updated in years, but has been over-rided by three private sites that are much more easily navigated.

Mary Ferrell, a Dallas legal secretary, was one of the first generation of researchers to keep a good record of everything that had to do with the assassination, and she began with index cards on subjects and persons and a very useful chronology file, a collection she sold to a software developer who had researcher Rex Bradford scan and post the most significant records she had and what were released by the NARA.

The web site has been responsible for much of the best new work on the assassination to date.

While the Mary Ferrell site was a lone pioneer, two others have entered the fray, including the good folks at the, where they copied all of the records from NARA and made a more workable search engine.

Then the Microsoft research team, in order to make a case study of a subject to test their new software application, chose the newly released JFK records and pumped them all through their black box machine and came out with some very interesting results, as one Microsoft engineer put it: “We just ran all the content through, and right away you could see that the CIA, the FBI and even Cuba were involved in all this.”

Now in dealing with textural JFK Assassination documents the first thing you need to know is what they call the “RIF” number – Record Identification Form – that begins with a number – three digits – the first of which relates to the agency of origin – FBI, CIA, State, etc.

For example: 157-10014-10049 is the RIF Record Identification number, with 157 signifying the SSCIA - Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities - AKA the Church Committee is the originator, while 180-10143-10299 is a House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) record as the 180 indicates.


180-xxxxx-xxxxx (HSCA) : 35
124-xxxxx-xxxxx (FBI) : 7
178-xxxxx-xxxxx (RockComm) : 5
177-xxxxx-xxxxx (LbjLib) : 3
157-xxxxx-xxxxx (Church) : 1
179-xxxxx-xxxxx (???): 1

From the earlier July release of 424 (not incl. 17 audio files):

104-xxxxx-xxxxx (CIA) : 402
180-xxxxx-xxxxx (HSCA) : 22

Still withheld in full:

124-xxxxx-xxxxx (FBI) : 1251
104-xxxxx-xxxxx (CIA)  769
179-xxxxx-xxxxx (???) : 549
137-xxxxx-xxxxx (IRS) : 178
180-xxxxx-xxxxx (HSCA) : 107
119-xxxxx-xxxxx (State) : 94
176-xxxxx-xxxxx (NARA) : 45
181-xxxxx-xxxxx (also NARA): 39
178-xxxxx-xxxxx (RockComm): 26
157-xxxxx-xxxxx (Church) : 25
177-xxxxx-xxxxx (LbjLib) : 16
111-xxxxx-xxxxx (DIA): 14
198-xxxxx-xxxxx (Army) : 6
202-xxxxx-xxxxx (JCS) : 2

173-xxxxx-xxxxx (ONI): 2

Each RIF page – the first page of every record – will tell you a lot – the agency of origin, the topic, subjects, number of pages – some documents are hundreds of pages long, others just a one page memo, but every record should have a RIF number that you can always refer to, site as a source and easily return to.

Most of the search engines – Mary Ferrell-Blackvault-Microsoft use name or subject traces, as well as the RIF number, so you can type in a name – David Atlee Phillips, John Rosselli, William Harvey, and come up with hundreds of documents you can brouse, or you can review them according to the Subject file, or date.

As James Jesus Angleton told Thomas Powers, one of the first things you do in beginning a Counter-Intelligence investigation is to create a Chronology of relevant events so everything can be more easily understood, and while Mary Ferrell had the best Chronology when she was alive, she has been super seeded by Ira David Wood’s JFK Assassination Chronology –

Besides the RIF numbers, name and subject files and chronology, it is also necessary to learn the language and techniques of what Allen Dulles called The Crafts of Intelligence.

First off there’s the acronyms – abbreviations using the first letter of a title – as in POTUS – President of the United States, and ACSI – Army Chief of Staff for Intelligence, CIA – Central Intelligence Agency, FBI, etc.

Then there are very specific operational terms – as an Agent is a very different person than an intelligence Officer or an intelligence Asset – who can be a willing asset or unwitting asset who does what you want without knowing the full program.

Most CIA Officers are what David Maurer and the Big Con artists call “Inside Men,” who operate from a desk with a telephone and give instructions and directions, and are usually suave and sophisticated – such as Ted Shackley and Desmond Fitzgerald, while the “Outside Men” operate in what they call “In the field,” - on the street, interacting with their agents, operatives and assets – such as David Phillips and William Harvey.

Official Officers and Agents work out of an embassy under cover, while others operate apart from the embassy, under commercial or business cover, usually using an alias and fake identity that will withstand a background check.

When they communicate in memos, cables or letters, they use a crypt code that is only known to them – such as KUBARAK is the crypt code they used for the CIA Headquaters in Langley, Va., while JMWAVE was the code for the largest CIA base in the world at the old South Campus at the University of Miami, Florida.

Peter Dale Scott, Bill Simpich, John Newman, Rex Bradford and Malcolm Blunt have all contributed to the lists of aliases, codes, crypts and ciphers that are used by those involved in the JFK assassination story, so visiting the lists composed so far at will give you a good idea of what you are up against in trying to make sense of some of the more obscure JFK assassination documents.

Mary Ferrell CIA Cryptonyms:

Besides the official NARA JFK Collection web site, and the three searchable data bases, there are other good sources for JFK Assassination records including Baylor University library,, JFK Lancer, Kennedys & Kings, Hood College, Sixth Floor Oral History Project, and of course

FOR MORE GO TO JFKCOUNTERCOUP2 - Rules for Researchers Part 2 - Advice and Techniques    JFKCountercoup2: Rules for Researchers Part 2 - Advice and Techniques


For those who are serious about diving into the JFK assassination records, I have some further advice.


For starters, as every researcher has learned over time, beware of the duel and double identities - different individuals with the same name. This occurs again and again, and should be recognized as soon as possible to avoid future confusion.

I mean there are two Bill Kellys – the Florida immigrant investigator who concentrated on the Cubans, and Bill Kelly – the JFK assassination researcher from New Jersey.

We even found another John Judge – a rock musician who promoted a duel head guitar, and John Judge the radical researcher from Washington D.C.

In addition, there are a number of JFK assassination suspects with the same name – including Jack Martin – the first suspect in the assassination – a Dallas college student from Northern Louisiana who picketed the UN ambassador when he visited Dallas, and Jack Martin (Scruggs) who was the first witness to implicate David Ferrie and Guy Bannister as associates of Oswald in New Orleans.

There were two Maurice Bishops – the pseudo name of David Atlee Phillips in his undercover operations involving Antonio Veciana, and the Maurice Bishop who was the socialist leader of Grenada when the US invaded the Central American island nation.

Then there are multiple “Julio Fernandez”  - the former Cuban newspaper editor and defector who was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, his son, a Penn State art student, and the Julio Fernandez who served as a JMWAVE commando team leader whose maritime cover t actions were financially supported by Clare Booth Luce. When the CIA was asked for their file on Julio Fernandez, they came up with over a dozen individuals with the same name, but neither the newspaper editor or the commando team leader was included. And for good reason.

Others double identities are found in Donald Norton and Donald P. Norton. One is a guy who looks like Oswald and says he met him, and the other is a fisherman. Another Don Norton wrote a book on the history of defense industry company. 

There's even another Bill Kelly - a Miami police investigator assigned to the Cuban Squad. 


There are a number of basic assumptions that we must make before beginning research.

1)      We can assume that since the assassination was not the spontaneous act of a mad man, it was a very well planned and crafted operation – a covert intelligence operation.

2)      As a covert intelligence operation, standard covert intelligence operational techniques were utilized, techniques that are well known and easily identified.

3)      Just as linguist David Maurer had to learn the unique slang used in the criminal underworld before he could learn and understand the basic factors of the Big Con confidence games, we must learn the unique lexicon of the intelligence world. For instance there is a difference between Agents, Operatives and Assets, and subcategories of each – such as Witting Assets and Unwitting Assets, and five different types of Agents – Inside, Native, Living, Double and Expendable.

4)      One of the first basic standard operational procedures begins with giving a code name to each operation – and the assassination of President Kennedy had a covert operational code name that we will someday learn – some say it was ZIPPER, but for now we will refer to it as the Dealey Plaza Operation – or DPO.

5)      Other assumptions ?


Some of the assumptions we make after an analysis of the basic evidence and facts of the case inc

a)      The assassination of the President was not the work of one man alone, but a covert intelligence operation that utilized standard covert intelligence operational crafts and techniques that are well known and easily identified.

b)      If the assassination was a covert intelligence operation it was not a “rogue” operation or one committed by an independent or out of control agency or network, but was “officially” sanctioned, and a coup de’etat, so those who killed the President also took over the reigns of power and changed policy, so that narrows down the suspects consiserably.

c)      If the assassination was a covert action coup and standard covert operational coup techniques were utilized, then according to Edward Lutwak, author of Coup d’etat – A Practical Handbook, those who conducted the operation on the ground in Dallas controlled the scenes of the crime – Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) and it was planned and carried out to the minute, if not seconds.

d)      If the Practical Handbook for a coup was used, as it must have been, then those overseeing the assassination operation controlled the communications, not only the communications among those involved on the ground, but the major communications to news outlets and the media.

e)      The assassination was committed by an intelligence network that was affiliated with CIA operations involved in Cuban operations – limiting the scope of research to the Cuban arena.

f)       The assassination was originally devised as a plan to kill Fidel Castro, and redirected to JFK at Dealey Plaza,

g)      The assassination plan as originally devised included a security cover story to blame the assassination on Castro Cuban Communists, a part of the plan that was rejected and can be shown not only to be false, but a covert black propaganda disinformation psychological warfare program.

h)      Tracing the origins of the CCC cover story will lead directly to those responsible for the Dealey Plaza Operation and its sponsors;


There are a number of research techniques that can be used to assist us in narrowing down the information to what is needed and necessary.


Over a hundred years after the death of America’s poet laureient Walt Whitman, when every Whitman scholar believed we had every poem and article penned by Whitman in the public domain, and there was nothing new under the sun, along comes a Whitman scholar who came up with a new idea and discovered thousands of never before known Whitman letters that were just sitting there among the shelves of the National Archives.

Being familiar with Whitman’s handwriting and signature, he thought that if he went through the early Civil War records of the Department of Justice, where Whitman worked as a secretary for a year, he would discover a few new official letters that Whitman wrote in the course of his work there. And Alas! He didn’t find a few, he found thousands of them! Which will take Whitman scholars years to wade through and weight their significance.

This story was told by the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS) David Ferriaro in his AOTUS blog.

Ferriero is also responsible for overseeing the JFK Act is carried out, and despite being an advocate of transparency and open records, advised the President to continue withholding JFK assassination records for years past the October 2017 release date set by Congress and the JFK Act.

But the Whitman story is worth knowing as it shows how a little ingenuity can bring major results.


As Max Holland’s historian wife has advised him, we should look for patterns, and I have devised what I call Three Time Hits. Whenever a person or place or subject comes up twice in unrelated areas, take notice and when it happens three times – begin a file on it. As Ian Fleming of 007 fame said, one time is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action.

Collins Radio was the first time I utilized the Three Time Hits technique, as I first took notice of them in the pre-assassination November 1, 1963 front page story and photo of the CIA raider ship REX, docked at Palm Beach, Florida near the President’s family home. The Rex had delivered teams of commandos who had high powered rifles with scope. According to the official record the Rex was owned by Belcher Oil company of Miami and leased to the Collins Radio Corporation for research purposes.

Then I read that J.D. Tippit’s good friend Carl Mather worked for Collins Radio and being there was his alibi at the time of Tippit’s murder. Then I learned that the Air Force One radios were manufactured by Collins and their Cedar Rapids, Iowa relay station – known as “Liberty” station, coordinated not only the radio traffic for Air Force One and other Executive air planes, but also the Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers.

And now I have a very thick file on Collins Radio and its role in strategic communications.
After Collins Radio, my Three Time Hits (TTH) technique came into play again as I read about how Jack Ruby flew to Miami from Havana with a suitcase of cash that he obtained from the casino owning Fox brothers, and deposited it for them in the Pan Am – Pan American Bank of Miami, which he dutifully did.

Then I read in the HSCA reports that Robert Ray M cKeown  the pro-Castro gun runner who Castro visited when he came to America, had also been visited by Jack Ruby, who was interested in using his influence with Castro to get  Santo Traficante out of an Havana retention facility. As McKeown had flew guns to Castro in the mountains before his revolution, he said he was paid in cash wrapped in Pan Am Bank wrappers.

That’s two ostensibly unrelated associations with the Pan Am Bank of Miami.

Then there is the clincher.Anti-Castro Cuban terrorists Antonio Veciana told Congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi, that his spy master and case officer “Maurice Bishop,” after recruiting him, had Veciana take psychological warfare lessons and sign a security agreement in an office in the Pan Am Bank in Miami, Florida.

I wasn’t surprised when I obtained (through Malcolm Blunt) – Fonzi’s notes from his tape recorded interview with former CIA gunsmith Mitch Werbell, who Fonzi recorded in his notes, told him that the Pan Am Bank in Miami was a CIA asset and used in the course of operations.

Unfortunately, Fonzi’s tape recorded interview has been erased, or otherwise destroyed, and many – and that’s probably most of the Church Committee recorded interviews are missing.

 Which brings us to Peter Dale Scott’s “Negative-Template” thesis, which maintains that the most significant Deep Political records are the ones that are missing or have been destroyed, a thesis that we have found to be correct.


Peter Dale Scott’s NEGATIVE-TEMPLATE – The Missing and Destroyed Records

As Peter Dale Scott’s Deep Political thesis contemplates, the Deep Political state runs on secrecy and the absences of official records, so of all the extant documents and records, the ones that are destroyed or missing are the most significant. And while we may not have them, we do have references to them, we know what people who wrote them or read them say is in them, and in some cases, as with the Tampa SS advance report, we can locate copies at remote locations. We also have the names of those who wrote them, or the subject matter, so we can surmise what is in them.
After my conversation with Judge John Tunheim, at the National Press Club in Washington DC last March (2017), I composed a list of records we knew at one time existed but are now missing.

And Bill Simpich has composed a list of records know to have been destroyed.

All of these extensive lists give us a good idea of what pieces of the puzzle are missing and allows us to try to fill them in with the proper information.

Join CAPA and become part of our Research Team and share the information we uncover. 

Bill Kelly – CAPA Research Coordinator. 

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