Sunday, December 1, 2019

CAPA Dallas 2019 After Action Report

Dallas CAPA 2019 AAR

When I had the honor of being the first speaker and opening the 2018 JFK Lancer Conference I said it would be my "Last Hurrah," as I thought then, and do now, that the action should shift to Washington D.C., where the evidence and records are at the Archives and where Congress should be required to conduct oversight of the JFK Act of 1992.

But I've been wrong before, and I went back to Dallas for the 2019 CAPA Conference, that I had voted for and helped organize as a CAPA board member and co-director of the Research Committee. And as I write this I can say with some authority that I believe CAPA will return again next November, as the 22nd falls on a Sunday and CAPA can once again hold a two day event before the Grassy Knoll Memorial service, and it will be after the election so that won't be a distraction and we'll know who will be able to keep withholding the records or releasing them.

We have a lot on our plate, as John Judge would say, and will put out a January news report that could go monthly and be distributed to only CAPA members and associates, MLK Day, Sunshine Week in DC in Mid-March, and possibly a Congressional Briefing on the JFK Act as a preliminary to a real JFK Act hearing before the House Oversight Committee.

We may have blown our best chance of having JFK Act oversight with the death of former Oversight Committee chairman I. Cummings, the new chairwomen - Carolyn Maloney of New York City, may listen to us, especially if we put President Trump's obstruction of the Act as a motivator.

Then we have the real Texas Court of Inquiry on the board, as well as a cooperative effort between CAPA and the Truth and Recon Com. Living Witness interview project that will be put into high gear this year.

So a 2020 conference November 20-22, 2020 makes sense, as it will be a wrap up of the year's work as well as a post-election analysis of what needs to be done in 2021 - as our work will surely not be done by then.

To those who say that such academic conferences are a waste of time and only rehash books and movies and theories, I take note of the fact that there was a major university conference on Guatemala shortly before Operation SUCCESS and the 1954 coup, and two similar conference shortly before the Bay of Pigs. And the one I am most interested in, if anyone has the time and inclination to look into it, was the conference of exiled Cuban journalists at the University of Miami in the summer of 1963 that I think was a build up to the assassination black propaganda effort to blame the Dealey Plaza operation on Castro.

The first JFK assassination conference I attended with John Judge was sometime in the late 1970s at NYU Law School in New York City where I met Penn Jones, Mae Brussell and Fletcher Prouty, who gave a lecture on covert intelligence operational procedures - something he said you have to know before you can begin to understand the assassination of JFK, a statement that still stands today.

The second JFK conference I attended was in Dallas and organized by Gary Shaw and called ASK, and I believe there were two ASK conference is Dallas. It was at one of them that about a dozen researchers, including myself and Bill Turner, held a COPA organizational meeting at the now defunct West End Cafe. We agreed to meet again  in Washington D.C., and did so at the Capital Hill Quaker meeting hall over a two day period. That's where the Committee for an Open Archives (John Judge and myself), Jim Lesar's Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) and Jim DiEugenio's west coast group formed the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA).

COPA's first major conference was at a hotel in China Town, while the second and third national conferences were held at the D.C. Omini and Sheriton hotels, the latter ironically, was where Earl Warren lived when he was in DC. All were well attended and were focused on obtaining records from the JFK Act.

COPA then held dozens of regional conferences, mainly an annual affair in Dallas but also smaller conferences in L.A., and Memphis.

It was at the second COPA DC national conference when Debra Conway and professor George M. Evica called me over to their table and asked me what I thought of them forming another group - to educate the next generation of researchers, which became JFK Lancer, and would compete with COPA at duel Dallas conferences for over a decade.

After Penn Jones died John Judge had assumed the responsibility of holding the annual 12:30 pm, 11/22 moment of silence, and as he was secretary and director of COPA, after he died his estate combined the assets of COPA and the Hidden History Museum, dissolved COPA and hid the museum in the backwaters of Pennsylvania.

At that point a number of former COPA members got together and formed CAPA - Citizens Against Political Assassination, a non-profit group of individuals rather than organizations.

It took a few years of weekly COPA board conference calls to get organized, and the first big event was a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and arranged by Andrew Kreig that included former Assassination Records and Review Board (ARRB) chairman Judge John Tunheim, AARC director Jim Lesear and Washington journalist Jefferson Morley.

The next November the CAPA legal committee put together a Mock Trail of Lee Harvey Oswald at the South Texas College of Law, and last year held a reunion of five Parkland doctors at the Old Red Courthouse at Dealey Plaza, where Dr. Robert McLellen was presented with the first CAPA "Profiles in Courage Award" shortly before he died.

It was while the CAPA board was in Dallas last November when Debra Conway of JFK Lancer informed us she was no longer going to hold conferences when CAPA decided to step in and continue that tradition, even though Judyth Vary Baker was going to hold her own, as she had done the previous six years. She also obtained the permit for the Grassy Knoll event.

As CAPA chairman Dr. Cyril Wecht had addressed the JVB conference in 2018, he agreed to do it again this year, even if it was competing with the CAPA conference, and it would appear that he was endorsing her and those who had previously shared the stage with her - including Jim Fetzer and Roger Stone and other such malconents.

While Wecht described Fetzer as an asshole and Roger Stone as a no-good Republican dirty-trickster, he also said in true Braveheart fashion, "When I'm in the middle of a fight, I don't look around the battlefield to see whose fighting on my side."

Nor does he consider his presentation at JVB's conference an endorsement of her or her story. "I don't give a shit if she fucked him or not. That's not my business."

He also took note of the fact that Lancer drew a hundred registrants, CAPA had 200 while JVB had about 300, so if anything, she knows how to draw a crowd.

There were many protests of Dr. Wecht's visit to the JVB conferences, complaints that culminated in the resignation of the head of the Legal Committee and others, and since the Legal Committee was communicating with the conference program team - for awhile it seemed like the whole thing would fall apart. It didn't because of CAPA Secretary Glenda deVaney and treasurer Mike Nurko, who made it all fall together.

The legal committee, despite their objections and resignations, and the original program chairs, all showed up and worked well together, helping to make the conference a success, and I believe they will come around and realize what we are doing is not about JVB, or Dr. Wecht, or even Oswald, the Patsy. It's about learning the full truth of what happened at Dealey Plaza when the President was killed.

The CAPA conference was a big success as it drew twice the number of registrants expected - a full house as well as a sold out banquet that featured Oliver Stone, who Dr. Wecht presented with CAPA's second "Profiles in Courage" Award for his movie "JFK,' and pushing the JFK Act of 1992 through Congress.

As I have already posted two daily reports direct from Dallas, and Dick Russell's statement from the Memorial Service, I will shortly post detailed reports on my own presentation, Jeff Morley, John Newman and Rolf M. Larson presentations, as well as those by Bill Simpich and Russ Baker, that I think deserve special attention, I am also writing reviews of "The Dutchman and the Barron" and the book and movie "The Irishman," with special emphasis of the JFK assassination references.

And I can assure you that if CAPA does hold a conference in Dallas in November 2020, it will not be a typical conference of researchers, writers and film makers giving their reports and opinions, but rather, like all of our events so far, will reach deeply into the living witness program, the legal venues being considered (Texas Court of Inquiry - Dallas Grand Jury - Congressional Oversight Hearings) as well as inviting students, teachers and local authorities to view the proceedings, that should make waves.

The video of the 2019 Dallas CAPA will be posted at ASAP, as I know many of you would like to see what went on.

When I work for the Army, after every exercise or mission the OC - observer - control officer calls those involved together in a huddle and go over what happened, pointing out the good and the bad, so they learn something from it and don't repeat their mistakes on the battlefield.

We have learned a lot in the past few years, are correcting out mistakes and I believe we are headed in the right direction.

While there were a number of glitches, they will be addressed and avoided next year, and I still believe that the major action will shift from Dallas to DC in the coming year.

And many thanks to those who helped me get to Dallas and continue this important work. I thought I would devote another year to this cause, and then throw in the towel and call it a game, or "inject," as the Army puts an end to a mission or exercise. But now I am committed to yet another year of this, and I hope you will also recognize the importance of this mission and support me when you can.

Stay Tuned, as there's more to come.


JYL said...

Hi Bill - keep up the great work.

As for this request: "And the one I am most interested in, if anyone has the time and inclination to look into it, was the conference of exiled Cuban journalists at the University of Miami in the summer of 1963 that I think was a build up to the assassination black propaganda effort to blame the Dealey Plaza operation on Castro."

I suggest you start with Mauricio Fernando Castro orginally from San Jose, Costa Rica, Mauricio Castro "earned his BA in History from Vassar College before continuing his education at Purdue, where he obtained his PhD in American History in August of 2015. Based on archival research and oral history interviews, his dissertation “Casablanca of the Caribbean: Cuban Refugees, Local Power, and Cold War Policy in Miami, 1959-1995,” examines the flow of Cuban exiles into the United States in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution." He might have information or know where to find it.

Idon't blog, just read said...

Always read your fine reports Bill. Keep it up. I was recently rereading Baker's Family Of Secrets and though there is no smoking gun on The Bushes, and I think there are several people at a high level that are as suspicious, that is one helluva coincidence that George Sr. at the time of the Assassination is meeting Al Ulmer an Intelligence expert on Coups. Coupled with the still murky Parrot allegation, which doesn't really make sense, since apparently there isn't any evidence that Parrot was a hard right winger under the spell of Gen. Walker or The Radical Right. Or, that he posed any real threat to Kennedy. I'll be looking forward to more on Russ Baker's talk- as that was interesting the mention of Craford, as a former Marine Sharpshooter, as was Roscoe White, who I believe was heavily involved.