Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Witnesses I've Interviewed

Witnesses I've Interviewed


As I have decided to devote much of my time of this year (2021) to completing my life long study of the assassination of President Kennedy, I thought it would be prudent to outline some of the things I have done. One of the things I’ve done is to  specialize in tracking down and interviewing obscure witnesses and even a few suspects in the case.

So I’ve compiled a list of those I have talked to, and links to some of the articles I wrote about them before setting my sights on what needs to be done to wrap this case up to a legal and moral certainty, as we can if only the effort is made.

As a Research Committee Coordinator for CAPA – Citizens Against Political Assassinations, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), I am in the unique position of being able to put the necessary information together and will attempt to do so.

I remember that Friday in November, the day of the assassination, being told of it by the principle - a nun over the St. Joseph’s grammar school intercom and being left out of school early. The weather was mild so I was at home in my backyard swinging on the weeping willow tree when the phone rang and I ran in the house to answer the kitchen wall phone. It was my father, a Camden, NJ policeman who instructed me to stay in the yard and not go out, as the president was shot “and we don’t know what this is all about.” I just couldn’t understand how the death of the president could affect me, a kid playing in my back yard.

Six years later, as a freshman at the University of Dayton in Ohio, I met John Judge. He gave me a copy of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s interview in Playboy magazine, which inspired me to read a few books and then, I discovered, there in our school library was a copy of the encyclopedia sized 24 volumes of Warren Commission supporting testimony and documents that I began to read through.

After you read books, and research documents, the next step is to contact and interview witnesses, though it is often difficult to get them to talk, especially about a subject as sensitive as the President’s murder.

Anthony Summers once told me the Irish word for being able to obtain the confidence of strangers, and while I can’t remember the Irish word, I know there is a very fine line between those who can get people to believe and open up, and disbelieve and clam up.

The following is a list of some of the most important witnesses – and a few suspects – I have tracked down and talked to, and most of them I believe confided in me honestly.


John Judge took me up to the law research library at the University of Dayton and introduced me to the 26 volumes of Warren Commission records. As I was taking a class in Latin American history with Dr. Bruce Taylor, and doing a paper on the Bay of Pigs, I immediately noticed the numerous Cuban connections to the assassination and began to focus on those documents, one of which concerned a Mrs. Margaret Hoover of Martinsburg, Pa., who was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI because she claimed to have seen a paper with the names of Lee Oswald and Ruby before the assassination.

She said she found the papers in her backyard, and thinking Lee and Ruby were women her recently separated husband was seeing, showed them to her daughter who confirmed the names. Then she said, she realized the papers came from her neighbor’s yard, where he was burning his trash, and with that, the investigation led to the neighbor – Julio Fernandez, a Cuban refuge and former newspaper publisher who was teaching Spanish at the local high school. Fernandez said he was burning his trash, but was not a communist and had nothing to do with the assassination.

There are various levels of people who study the assassination – those who read about it in books and magazines, those researchers who read the original records at the Archives, and investigators - those who reach out to phone or knock on the door of witnesses to ask them questions.

It was in late 1969 or early 1970 when I obtained the phone number of Mrs. Hoover and called her on the phone from Dayton. She acknowledged everything in the reports I had read, and added a few interesting details – shortly after the assassination and the police inquiry he left town suddenly, some say to Rye, New York. In addition, Fernandez had a wife and son, the son an art student at Penn State University. The police report noted that an AMTRACK train ticket, that Mrs. Hoover had found and kept, indicated someone had traveled from Philadelphia to Miami in the summer of 1963. Fernandez said that was his son, who attended a conference of exiled Cuban journalists at the University of Miami (JMWAVE). Mrs. Hoover also said that a few years after the assassination and the departure of Fernandez, two men in black suits came knocking at her door asking if she knew anything else about Fernandez, so others were on this trail too.

It was years later when I learned about Clare Booth Luce and her support for some JMWAVE Cuban commandos – including Julio Fernandez, who called her on the night of the assassination saying he had an audio tape and documents concerning Oswald, the accused assassin. And then US Ranger Capt. Bradley Ayers wrote about training the Cubans – including Julio Fernandez, a team leader.

When the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) requested CIA records on Julio Fernandez, they supplied a list of over a dozen Cubans named Julio Fernandez they had files on, but neither the journalist, his son or the JMWAVE Cuban team leader were among them. I believe Julio Fernandez, Jr. is still alive in Florida.



The University of Dayton Student Council had a significant budget, which the radical Student president Kevin Keefe used to bring in some top level guest speakers – including Mae Brussell, Margaret Meade and Ken Kesey. As the head of the Merry Pranksters Kesey had experimented with LSD before it was made illegal, and after writing “One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest” and another well received novel, bought a bus – named “Further,” and traveled cross-country to meet Timothy Leary, another LSD advocate, as documented in Tom Wolf’s “Electric Coolaide Acid Test.” After his talk before a few hundred interested students, Kesey went to John Judge’s apartment where we talked for hours. He told me how Kurt Douglas gave him $10,000 for the film rights to “Cookoos Nest,” a deal written out on a bar napkin, but then when the movie was such a big hit with Jack Nicholson in the lead role, he had to sue Douglas to get the writer’s royalties, and indeed the movie would not have been so good if it wasn’t for the great story. Kesey also told me that he was first turned on to LSD by a CIA backed professor during a collegiate “study” that paid him to be a guinea pig. And besides students, they also hired prisoners and soldiers to be part of the LSD tests, the results of which we will probably never know.



Around 1970 John Judge arranged for Mae Brussell of Carmel, California to visit Dayton and give a lecture on her research on the assassination. After her well attended talk in the main ballroom of the John F. Kennedy Student Union, I helped carry her books to John’s car in the parking lot. As we approached the car in the dark lot a man stepped out of the darkness and said hello to Mae, startling us a little. He said hi to Mae, and said “I’m Don Norton.”

Mae smiled and shook his hand and thanked him for the checks he had sent her to support her research – “That’s my conscience money,” he said.

While I didn’t go with Mae, John and Don back to John’s apartment, I later learned that Norton had met Oswald, and was considered one of his doubles, or impersonators. I read some records that said he was a former gay soldier who played piano in an officer’s club and was recruited by military intelligence to inform them if any military officers were gay. Norton got involved in the Garrison investigation and in Canada, gave an interview that was published about his experiences.

There are two others named Don Norton – one a fisherman also suspected of being an Oswald impersonator, and another Don Norton who wrote a book on the history of a major defense contractor.



Mae was one of the first house wife to pay attention to the assassination of President Kennedy, and became one of the most knowledgeable of researchers who had a weekly radio talk show out of her hometown of Carmel, California. She accumulated a large collection of books, newspaper articles and documents that she wanted to form the basis of the Mae Brussel Research Center. Before she passed away she instructed John Judge to set up such a center, and I drove Judge’s U-haul truck to Carmel where we rented a house and began to assemble the research center. Not long afterwards however, Mae’s daughter took over and put all of her mother’s work in storage, where I believe it remains today.



In the mid to late 1970s the New York University Law School held a major conference on the Kennedy assassination that featured all of the major critics – including Sylvia Meagher, Mae Brussell, Penn Jones, Fletcher Prouty and Ralph Schoeman, all of whom I met through John Judge. Penn Jones was then the publisher of the Midlothian, Texas Mirror newspaper, which chronicled all of the JFK assassination witnesses who died suspiciously. While I admire Penn, and his work, there are enough witnesses who were victims of certifiable homicides to work on rather than debating whether or not someone was murdered or not. I also recall John Judge saying that Penn had separated from his wife, and she sold off his 24 volumes of Warren Commission exhibits and testimony one at a time at a garage sale. John said he didn’t want that to happen to his research collection, but it did.


At the NYU conference Ralph held up a number of documents he obtained from the archives and said they were proof that one of the Cuban guys Oswald was arrested with in New Orleans was a Puerto Rican union organizer and mob connected gangster. I asked him and he gave me copies of his documents, and when I got home I wrote one of  my first requests for JFK assassination records from Marion Johnson – the curator of the JFK records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The records I obtained on the Cuban arrested with Oswald – Minguel Cruz – indicated that he was only 17 years old in 1963, while the documents on the Union organizer with the same name indicated he was much older, and therefore a different person. I called Schoeman on the phone and he asked me to come visit him so I drove from my Ocean City, NJ home to Princeton where I shared my new documents with him and he acknowledged he was wrong about Minguel Cruz. But more recently Donald Trump accused Texas Senator Cruz’s father of being involved with Oswald in New Orleans. While Minguel Cruz is not related to Senator Cruz, he is probably still alive and is an important witness. And it was decades later when I met and began to work with Ralph Schoeman’s wife Joan Mellen.


It was at the NYU conference where I entered a large science class room and sat at a desk with a few dozen others as Col. Fletcher Prouty stood at a podium in front of a blackboard where he had written some basic covert intelligence procedures – use of codes, ciphers, cut-outs, etc., saying that you will never understand what happened at Dealey Plaza until you learn the crafts and techniques of intelligence, as the assassination was a covert intelligence operation. John Judge was a close friend of Prouty, so when Prouty was identified as the mysterious “Mr. X” portrayed by Donald Sutherland in Oliver Stone’s film “JFK,” Judge arranged for Prouty to be interviewed live on the Diane Ream show over the NPR station at American University. Judge used to say that where he started his research on the Kennedy assassination at the bottom, Prouty started at the top at the Pentagon, and they met at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.



Another good friend of Prouty was Ralph Cox, a former US Navy pilot during WWII who after the war purchased a dozen Air Force Cargo planes as surplus and started the US Overseas Airlines out of Wildwood, NJ. A major player in the air cargo business for over a decade, active during the Berlin airlift and in the creation of the state of Isreal, US Overseas airlines suddenly lost all of the government contracts to a number of new airlines that Cox later learned were wholly owned subsidiaries of the CIA, and he sued the CIA over it.



I always had the highest respect for Gaeton Fonzi and followed his career closely and became friends before the end, though I was disappointed he never tried to interview David Atlee Phillips outside of his Congressional inquiry. One day on a whim I looked up Phillips’ phone number and found it listed in Bethesda, Md. I called him off the cuff and he talked to me for about a half hour, denying he was “Maurice Bishop” or that he knew Oswald. This conversation took place shortly after the publication of a long article in Washingtonian Magazine by Fonzi, that instigated a libel suit by Phillips. “Do you know where I worked at the time?” Philllips asked. At Washingtonian, where he had an office just down the hall from Fonzi, who never bothered to try to talk to him. In any case I believe Phillips knew Oswald, but like Oswald, Phillips was also hung out to dry by the CIA and Veciana, while the real truth remains buried, though we are still digging.



While Anthony Summers was in Florida interviewing John Martino’s widow and son, establishing Martino’s foreknowledge of the assassination, I was at an old house on the beachblock of Ventnor, NJ, interviewing Martino’s elderly sister and brother. They gave me a 33/1/3 RPM record of John Martino reading portions of his book – “I Was Castro’s Prisoner,” that he wrote with Nathanial Wheil.




I eventually got Weyl’s phone number and called him up cold, and was surprised at how open he was and willing to talk, as he did later with John Simkin. Weyl was the ghost writer for Martino’s book and while having a high opinion of Martino, he said they had a falling out after the book was published and Martino took a book signing tour sponsored by the John Birch Society. That was a tour that took Martino to Dallas in the fall of 1963, allowing him to share a stage with Loretta Odio and Father Walter Machann, who catered to the needs of the Cuban exiles in Dallas. But before the month was out, Machann would leave the priesthood and retreat to New Orleans where he would hook up with a friend of Odios, who happened to also be a friend of Carlos Bringuier and was one of those who attended the court hearing that resulted from the altercation between Oswald and Bringuier (and Minguel Cruz)



It was in the summer of 1976 when I first read about the Catherwood Foundation – a CIA philanthropic front that backed the anti-Castro Cuban group Cuban Aide Relief (CAR). Catherwood was described as a Philadelphia millionaire who started his charity foundation by buying a boat – The Vigilant – and using it for exploration and research purposes – one voyage including James Bond – an American ornithologist (Bird specialist) whose book “Birds of the West Indies” inspired Ian Fleming to appropriate Bond’s name for his special agent 007. I met Bond and talked to him a number of times, along with his wife Mary Wickham Bond. Bond, it turns out, was at what would become known as the Bay of Pigs – a few months before the invasion, scouting for birds.



Former classical music critic for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, husband of Virginia Pleasants for Cello player for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pleasants enlisted in the OSS during the war and served as a translator and debriefer, his most famous debriefing was former Nazi General Reinhard Gehlen, who would become chief of the West German Intelligence Service, as the behest of Allen Dulles and the CIA. Like Cummings Catherwood and James Bond, Pleasants was also character Ian Fleming made fun of by casting him as Felix Leiter, 007’s recurring CIA sidekick.



German oil geologist, who was working in Canada when I talked with him at length over the phone, was one of the hosts of a Dallas house party set up for Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife to meet Michael Paine and his wife Ruth. While Michael Paine didn’t make the party, Oswald talked for hours with Schmidt, who acknowledge to me that he used a “reverse psychology” technique on Oswald taught to him by a German psychologist. Schmidt said he talked to Oswald about General Walker, and suggested that Walker was a fascist who should be assassinated before he got too powerful, much like Hitler should have been killed, specifically mentioning the July 20, 1944 failed attempt to kill Hilter. Schmidt said he felt guilty for planting the seed in Oswald to shoot Walker, and he felt bad every time he drove through Dealey Plaza.



I met Beverly Oliver in Dallas on the set of Oliver Stone “JFK” when he was filming the final scene – an old black man and young black boy visiting JFK’s grave, which they were able to film in Dallas because of a duplicate of the building behind JFK’s grave, another faked film sequence. I also read her book, and was impressed, not because she is the Babuska Lady, or how Gary Shaw came to find her, but because of her story of being with Jack Ruby on Thursday night – the night before the assassination. With Ruby she visited the Cabana Lounge to meet Larry Meyer and then went to dinner at Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge. Oliver also had a boyfriend who worked for Kodak at their booth at the State Fairgrounds, who is an interesting character worth investigating further.



Wes was a former TV reporter and mayor of Dallas (who drove a Volkswagon Bug), who was given one of the most important leads in the Tippit murder. Wise was told about a man who resembled Oswald who at the time of Tippit’s murder was driving around Oak Cliff in a 1957 Plymouth, with a Texas license tag that was traced to Carl Mather – a close friend and former neighbor of Tippit. Mather’s alibi was that he was at work at Collins Radio – a major defense contractor who provided the radios for Air Force One, Two and SAC bombers, and also provided the cover for the CIA raider ship the Rex. The Rex was exposed by a New York Times page one story on November 1, 1963, after some Pathfinder commandos were captured after they attempted to infiltrate Cuba with high powered rifles – “that weren’t going to be used to hunt rabbits.” I recorded a two hour plus audio interview with Wes Wise as he drove me around the assassination hot spots in Dallas.





I met Holt during my cross-country train trip at his home in San Diego, high in the hills where he too talked at length as I audio recorded him, and later posted a transcript on line. While many of the leads he gave me panned out, and I confirmed, I don’t believe he was one of the tramps, as he is a self-acknowledge con artist. He’s also a very fine artist – and took me to his studio and gave me a copy of a drawing he did of Oswald’s execution. Holt told me that Warren Commission attorney Joe Ball – was a close associate of a northern California lawyer named Twombly, who directed him – Holt in many of his covert activities.




After reading her story in the Third Decade Magazine – that she wrote under an alias, I checked out her allegation that she first met Dr./Col. Jose Rivera (USAR) at an Atlantic City medical convention, and confirmed that convention did indeed take place at AC Convention Hall, where the JFK statute is now located on the boardwalk. From there I confirmed almost everything she said, and through Dick Russell, even got a picture of Rivera at Fort Ditrick, Md. I also confirmed that Rivera’s military unit – ASCI – Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence was engaged in early MKULTRA research at Ditrick, Not Cuban, Rivera was born in Lima, Peru. His longest military assignment was in New Orleans, where he taught at Loyola. The only thing I couldn’t confirm was Edisen’s call to Oswald at his New Orleans residence the first week he arrived there in April 1963. Edisen said Rivera gave her the phone number weeks before Oswald himself knew he would be living there, so how did Rivera know that number? I came to know Adele personally over the years, met her in Dallas, believe her, and was sorry to hear she passed away.







Wayne Smith was a senior state department diplomat stationed at the US Embassy in Havana when Castro took over in 1959. Smith said that he worked closely with David Morales and knew Colonel Samuel Kail, the Army attaché, as well as David Atlee Phillips, who while not working out of the embassy, was in Smith’s amateur theater group who produced plays. I met Smith at one of the first COPA conferences in Washington, and he asked me to attend the summit in Rio between JFK researchers and the Cuban intelligence officers. Though I didn’t make that meeting, my associates John Judge and Antony Summers did. Smith was later used to falsely identify Morales and another JMWAVE officer Gordon Campbell, as the persons in a film from the Ambassador Hotel on the day RFK was killed. I believe Wayne Smith is still alive.



After reading his book “The War that Never Was” many years ago, I finally got to talk to former US. Army Ranger Captain Ayers a number of times on the telephone. Ayers also wrote “The Zenith Secret,” about his time training anti-Castro Cuban commandos at JMWAVE. Ayers and Captain Edward Roderick were assigned by General Brute Krulak to train the Cubans under CIA operational control. The leader of the team Ayers trained was Julio Fernandez, the same name as the Cuban I was originally searching for. Ayers’ first book was published by Bobbs-Merrell, an company from Indiana that had an office in the Texas School Book Depository and hired William Harvey after Harvey left the CIA. And while the CIA didn’t vet Ayers’ book, Harvey did, excising the name of Gordon Campbell as well as making other editings. Like Wayne Smith, Ayers was show the video of the Ambassador Hotel on the night RFK was killed and he too falsely identified two of the men as David Morales and Gordon Campbell. Ayers recently died, but his books say a lot. Ayers was talking with the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) when they were interviewing Gene Wheaton, and Ayers warned the ARRB that Wheaton was going to give them disinformation – though Wheaton himself didn’t know it.




The late Bill Turner, former FBI agent and original JFK assassination investigator, was in Dallas on the day after the assassination, and continued his inquiry until he died. His articles in Ramparts and books – “The Fish is Red” and “Rearview Mirror” documents his work on the case, especially the New Orleans angles and JMWAVE, where he was the first to mention the name of Gordon Campbell – the JMWAVE maritime operations chief. It was Turner, at a COPA conference in Dallas who said, “We now have a good idea as to what happened at Dealey Plaza. The motives were piling up – Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, backchannel negations with Castro, and there was already a mechanism in place to kill Castro that was turned around and redirected to JFK in Dallas.” Thus focusing on the JMWAVE commandos who were paid by the CIA and trained to kill Castro – the Pathfinders.



After reading two of his books – one on the history of the Bell Helicopter and the other on his philosophy of process, I visited Arthur Young at his home in Brandywine, just outside Philadelphia. The inventor of the Bell Helicopter is a very interesting guy, who did my horoscope as we talked – on the record as I recorded it on an audio cassette. As a genius inventor who argued with Einstein at Princeton, Young set about to solve the problems of vertical flight, and after nearly two decades, succeeded in developing the first commercially approved helicopter -–the Bell 47B – the MASH helicopter with glass cockpit and girders – that is now hanging in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As an eccentric muse who dabbled in astrology, ESP and Remote Viewing, Young hooked up with an equally eccentric women – Ruth Forbes Paine – an independently wealthy Forbes family heiress who was previously married to Lyman Paine – a founder of the American Trotskyite Party and father of Michael Paine – the chief benefactor of Lee Harvey Oswald the accused assassin. It was Arthur Young who arranged for his stepson Michael to work at the Bell Helicopter factory in Dallas, where he moved with his Quaker wife Ruth Hyde Paine, who he met at a Philadelphia folk dance. It isn’t Arthur Young who is the real key to this case – but rather his wife, Michael’s mom.




Ruth Forbes Paine Young was present when I met Arthur Young at their colonial era farmhouse in Brandywine, and I did meet her, but she was suffering from an advanced case of altimizers disease, so I didn’t ask her any questions, and she just sat there and smiled. As a Forbes, she has a cottage on the Forbes family island off Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and stressed her eccentricity by marrying Lyman Paine, who was not just a communist but a Trotyskite – follower of Trotsky, who was exiled by the Soviet Communists to Mexico City where he was assassinated by a Soviet agent – as described in the book by Issac Don Levine. The thing about Ruth Forbes is her close association with Mary Bancroft – the equally eccentric granddaughter of the founder of Barrons and the New York Stock Exchange. While on a steamship to Europe with Ruth Forbes, Mary Bancroft met a Swiss businessman who she married, which put her in a position to meet Allen Dulles in Berne, where she became Dulles’ secretary and principle agent in developing Nazi officer Hans Bernd Gisivious. Gisivious was a main participant in the July 20, 1944 Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler that failed. With the assistance of Dulles and Bancroft Gisivious escaped Berlin to Berne, and after the war relocated to Dallas where he worked for a major defense contractor.



When the Clifton copy of the Air Force One radio transmission recordings from 11/22/63 were released, I immediately compared it to the copy I had transcribed, and noticed some important aspects that were edited out of the copy of the tape I had received from the LBJ Library years earlier and transcribed. On the new tape, a man identifies himself as “Colonel Dorman – General LeMay’s aid” who wanted to get an important message to LeMay, who was flying back to DC from Canada, where he was said to be on a fishing vacation. While we don’t know what the message was, I identified Dorman and found he was from near Trenton, where I also was living at the time, and found a phone number for him. While Dorman had died in combat in Vietnam, his widow answered the phone and acknowledged that she was the wife of Colonel Dorman, General LeMay’s aide. She said that on the day JFK was killed she was working in the White House on the historic restoration project begun by Mrs. Kennnedy. She worked for a man named “Castro,” who when informed of JFK’s death, closed all the curtains and told them to leave. Mrs. Dorman said she went to a chapel to pray, and then went home. She said she lived on General’s Row alongside Arlington Cemetery.



I also talked on the phone with Mrs. Dorman’s son, who was about ten years old at the time of the assassination who recalls climbing a tree in Arlington Cemetery and watching the burial of JFK from a high perch. He also said that his father once took him on a tour of General LeMay’s private command and control plane – nicknamed “Speckled Trout,” that was an airborne command post.



Also on the Clifton tape is an excerpt edited out of the LBJ Library version of the tape, in which Pierre Salinger – the President’s Press Secretary – aboard the Cabinet Plane over the Pacific, receives a radio call from the Situation Room in the White House to return to DC immediately. Salinger took the message to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the senior officer aboard, who wanted to know who was giving this instruction. Salinger said it was from an officer who identified himself as “STRANGER” in the White House Situation Room. Rusk said they couldn’t take orders from someone named “STRANGER” and wanted to know who it was. Salinger went to the pilot and requested the code book, but when the pilot opened the plane’s safe, the code book was missing! So Salinger went back on the radio to the Situation Room and requested the full identify of “STRANGER.” After a little while, the Situation Room responded saying “STRANGER” was Major Patterson, who Salinger knew and could vouch for. As I now had his name, I looked Patterson up and found him in Virginia and called him on the phone. He acknowledged being in the Situation Room at the time of the assassination, working for the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). He also acknowledged talking with Salinger and the fact that the code book aboard the Cabinet Plane was missing. We talked for a little while and he was quite honest and open with me, but when Jefferson Morley called him a few days later he clammed up, and wouldn’t talk, as someone must have got to him.



Former USMC Richard Bullock was stationed at Atsugi, Japan with Oswald and knew him well. I met Bullock at an Elks barbeque, and talked with him on other occasions as well. Bullock said he often played football with Oswald in their “skivvies” when off duty. Oswald he said, while officially a radar operator, usually worked out of the communications shack. Bullock also didn’t recognize the guy killed by Jack Ruby as the same guy he served with. Bullock is still alive.



When Anthony Summers interviewed a Mexican attorney who told him about meeting Oswald at Sanborn’s Restaurant in Mexico City in 1963, he said Oswald took off for the Cuban consulate on the back of a motorcycle with another American, a Philadelphia college student.  After searching for this man on the motorcycle for years with others, we gave up, but I posted an article about it on line and received an email from “Mony” – a German girl whose mother met Steve Kenan, a Philadelphia college student who rode a motorcycle. With her additional information, we located Kenan in the Southwest, and notified Anthony Summers, who contacted Kenan and talked with him on the phone. I also found Kenan’s articles about visiting Cuba in the Temple University student newspaper – which included a photo of Kenan and Castro together! Kenan said that he was indeed in Mexico City, and wrote an article about his adventures in Motorcycle Magazine (that I acquired). But – he believed he left before September 1963, so he wasn’t there when Oswald was there, and didn’t remember giving him a ride from Sanborn’s restaurant, although he was there too. It is also suspected that Kenan could be the mysterious LICOZY-3 – a student from Philadelphia and CIA asset.





When Phil Shenon’s book came out that focuses on Oswald’s presence at a “Twist Party” in Mexico City hosted by Sylvia Duran – the Cuban embassy receptionist Oswald dealt with, he tries to make the case for Cuban embassy personal encouraging Oswald to kill JFK at that party. He also says that there were two other American “gringos” at the party – who Duran would not identify because one was a famous American film actor who was still alive and she wanted to protect him. Well records recently released under the JFK Act include a CIA report of a telephone conversation between an American – Richard Beymer, and the Cubans, asking about Duran. Beymer was an American film actor who starred in West Side Story and The Longest Day, and was in Mexico at the time to attend a film festival. I tracked Beymer down and talked with him on the phone, and he acknowledged being there at the time and trying to get a visa to Cuba. He didn’t recall any Twist Party, though that was something he would have done being a footloose American below the border. With him he said, was Bradley Pierce, a former New York City bar owner, now a Catholic priest.



Father Bradley is now at a seminary in New England, and acknowledged in a phone conversation, that he was indeed with Richard Beymer in Mexico, but he too does not recall a “Twist Party,” or meeting Oswald. They were there however, at the time of the assassination, as Father Bradley recalls learning about the assassination as they got off an elevator in a hotel lobby in Mexico. Since they were there for only a few weeks, and were there on the day of the assassination, they were not there when Oswald was there in late September – early October.

OBIT: https://patch.com/connecticut/northhaven/obituary-rev-bradley-pierce-82-formerly-north-haven

Just goes to show that we have to move on interviewing the remaining living witnesses because they won’t live forever.


When JFK’s personal secretary Evelyn Lincoln passed away, she left in her will two trunks of effects that she ordered sent to her cousin – a Nebraska attorney who became a judge. The attorney informed the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) that he gave the trunks to Polk County Sheriff Cherry for safe keeping, but the ARRB never followed up on this and the contents of the trunks remain unknown and out of the JFK Collection at the NARA, where they belong. I contacted the current Polk County, Nebraska attorney and he said that he checked the evidence locker and the two trunks are no longer there. I then obtained the email and phone number of former Polk County Sheriff Cherry – who acknowledge recalling the trunks and knowing their disposition, but refused to tell me what became of them, unless I get a subpoena and he has a witness present. With the TRC – it has been suggested that RFK, Jr., the rightful heir to the trunks, should request to know what became of them.


Harry Dean – FPFCC officer in Chicago, Harry visited Cuba and was interogated by Cuban officials. He was also an informant for the FBI and CIA in regards to his FPFCC and Cuban activities, and suspects Lee Harvey served a similar role. He was personally associated with a number of individuals who became involved in the JFK assassination story.

USAF Reserve officer Maj. Ralph Ganis, who purchased at an internet auction, the private papers of Nazi commando legend Otto Skorzeny, who escaped prosecution at Nurenberg and continued his intelligence operations into the Cold War, working mainly out of Spain and Ireland. His wife worked closely with him, and according to the private papers purchased by Ganis, who I met at a JFK Conference in Dallas a few years ago, his business interests extended into Texas, especially Dallas, where he became entwined with a number of businesses and individuals involved in the assassination drama, expecially, USA Reserve Colonel Jack Crichton.


More to come on witnesses I’ve interviewed – BK 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Tales of the Air Force One Transmission Tapes


Sometime in the early 1980s I received my copy of the Air Force One radio transmission tapes from the Assassination Information Center (AIC) on the third floor of a mall in an old warehouse in the West Side Market Place a few blocks behind the Texas School Book Depository.

It consisted of three cassette tapes, and Larry, who was a founder of the AIC, told me they came from the LBJ Library in Texas.

It took me the better part of the following summer to transcribe the tapes, that begin with a military officer, ostensibly with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) explaining that the tapes are an edited version of the Air Force One radio transmissions from November 22, 1963.

I later learned that there are a number of other transcripts, including an official LBJ Library transcript, and another version transcribed by Kathy Cunningham. In the course of writing The Assassination Tapes, Max Holland had his secretaries transcribe portions of the tapes that he wanted to cite in his book, and Doug Horne transcribed sections that he wanted to use in his books Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

Yet another transcript must have existed, one of the unedited tapes, because three reporters – T. H. White, William Manchester and Pierre Salinger quote from it, though it apparently no longer existes.  White and Manchester were given permission to read and quote from the tapes at the White House by LBJ, while Salinger used a copy furnished to him to write his book about serving as the President’s Press Secretary. Salinger told Vincent Salandria that when he was finished with it, he returned his copy to the JFK Library in Boston, but the Library told Salandria they no longer had it.

JFKcountercoup: Tale of the Tapes - By Vincent Salandria

As Salandria points out in his article (Tale of the Tapes?), all three men quote from the unedited transcript things that are not on the existing tapes.

From Theodore H. White’s The Making of a President 1964 (Harper-Collins Kindle Edition)

Chapter One - Page 9:

“There is a tape recording in the archives of the government which best recaptures the sound of the hours as it waited for leadership. It is a recording of all the conversations in the air, monitored by the Signal Corps Midwestern center ‘Liberty,’ between Air Force One in Dallas, the Cabinet plane over the Pacific, and the Joint Chiefs' Communications Center in Washington.”

While the official LBJ Library transcript misidentifies “Liberty,” and Max Holland makes no mention of it at all, we now know that the “Liberty” was the relay station at the Collins Radio Headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Arthur Collins, as a young boy who built his own radio receiver in his garage, was the only one who intercepted Admiral Byrd’s radio broadcasts from his exploration of the poles. Collins dutifully turned over the information to the Navy, and after starting his own radio company, received military contracts during World War II. A close personal friend and fellow HAM radio enthusiast Air Force General Curtis LeMay arranged for Collins radios to be placed aboard all Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers, and the Executive Air Fleet, including Air Force One and the planes used by the Vice President and the Cabinet. And Collins maintained those radios and used their “Liberty” station to relay and monitor all conversations when the planes were in the air.

As White continues, “The voices are superbly flat, calm, controlled. One hears the directions of ‘Front Office’ (The President) relayed to ‘Carpet’ (The White House) and to the Cabinet above the Pacific. One feels the tugging of Washington seeking its President – tugging at the plane, requiring, but always calmly, estimated time of take-off and time of arrival. One hears the voices acknowledge the arrival of ‘Lace’ (Mrs. Kennedy) on the plane; one receives the ETA – 6:00 P.M. Washington. It is a meshing of emotionless voices in the air, performing with mechanical perfection. Only once does any voice break in a sob - when ‘Liberty,’ relaying the sound of ‘Carpet’ to the Pacific plane, reports that the President is dead and then Pierre Salinger’s answering voice breaks; he cannot continue the conversation, so that the pilot takes the phone and with professional control repeats and acknowledges the message, as he flies the Cabinet of the United States home in quest for leadership of the government of which they are so great a part. ….”

Chapter Two - Page 33:

“On the flight the party learned that there was no conspiracy, learned of the identity of Oswald and his arrest; and the President's mind turned to the duties of consoling the stricken and guiding the quick. One might well try to envision him on this trip, for there is something essentially Johnsonian about it. Of all men in public life, Lyndon Johnson is one of the most friendless…”

But there is nothing of the kind on the existing tapes. No mention of conspiracy or no conspiracy, and no mention of Oswald or his arrest.

The tape is captivating however, as LBJ talks to Mrs. Rose Kennedy, the President’s mother, and military officers arrange the funeral in flight.

Then, I learned that another copy of the Air Force One tapes had surfaced among the effects of the President’s military attache General Clifton. After he died his effects were sent to a Philadelphia auction house, where among the letters, documents and phots were two exact duplicate copies of large reel to reel tapes, a generation closer to the original than the highly edited cassette tapes released by the LBJ Library.

Since they were exact duplicates one of the tapes was donated to the National Archives and posted on line for the public to hear, while the other one was kept as part of the auction and listed at an obscene price.

I immediately began listening to the Clifton tape, and began transcribing it, and while longer and containing new information, much of it was a duplication of what was previously released by the LBJ Library.

Two new items caught my attention, one was Pierre Salinger asking the White House Situation Room (WHSR) if the cabinet plane he was on should go to Dallas or return to Washington D.C. The WHSR officer, who identified himself by his code designation STRANGER, told them to return to Washington D.C. When Salinger told this to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the senior official on board, Rusk demanded to know who STRANGER was, saying they can’t take orders from a virtual stranger. Salinger went to the pilot, who opened the safe that contained special documents, but the code book was missing. Rusk ordered Salinger to learn the identity of STRANGER.

You can hear Salinger on the Clifton tape requesting the name of STRANGER and shortly thereafter, STRANGER is identified as Colonel Harold R. Patterson, who Salinger knew personally and told this to Rusk.

JFKcountercoup: "Stranger" & the Missing Code Books on 11/22/63

When learning of Patterson’s name, I searched the internet and found him in Virginia, got his phone number and called him on the phone. I told him that I was listening to his voice on the recently released Clifton version of the AF1 tape, and he acknowledged that he was STRANGER, and that the code book on the Cabinet plane was missing. We talked a bit about the White House Situation Room at the time of the assassination, and he agreed to talk with me again.

The next day, after I gave Jefferson Morley Patterson’s phone number, Morley called him, but Patterson clammed up and wouldn’t talk at all.

The other item of interest on the Clifton tape and not on the LBJ Library version is a Colonel George Stanton Dorman, who identifies himself as General LeMay’s aide, who had an urgent message for LeMay, who Dorman said was on an Air Force jet returning to Washington D.C. from Canada. Dorman asked for a few moments of time on the air to give LeMay an urgent message, a message we never hear.

JFKcountercoup: Col. George Stanton Dorman

I looked up Dorman and sadly discovered that he was killed in combat in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, but his widow lived near Trenton, not far from where I was living. I found her phone number and called her, and she acknowledged that she was Colonel Dorman’s widow, and told recalled November 22, 1963 very clearly. She said she was working in the White House at the time, under a Mr. Castro, assisting in the historic restoration process begun by First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

While she was working, news that the President had been shot, so Mr. Castro ordered all the drapes closed, and Colonel Dorman called her and told her to go home immediately. While she left the White House to go home, she stopped at a church chapel to pray first. They lived on General’s Row adjacent to Arlington Cemetery. She said her husband never talked about his military work so she didn’t know what the urgent message he was trying to convey to LeMay.

She gave me the phone number of one of her sons, who told me he was only about ten years old at the time, but recalled the times clearly. He said his father once took him on a tour of General LeMay’s Command and Control plane, named “Speckled Trout,” a rare and hard to catch fish.

Young Dorman also recalled watching the funeral parade and grave side services from a tree in Arlington Cemetery, which was practically his back yard.

As I was transcribing the Clifton Tape and meshing it together with the LBJ Library tapes, I listed to National Public Radio, and heard an acoustical forensic expert, Ed Primeau, report on a cell phone tape of the murder of a black kid in Florida, killed by a Neighborhood Watch guy who thought the stranger was suspicious.

I looked up Ed Primeau on the internet and found him in Michigan, called him on the phone and asked him if he was interested in the Air Force One radio transmission tapes from November 22, 1963. He said he was, and I told him there were two versions, one longer than the other, that I had transcribed and combined. Would it be possible for him to combine the audio tapes so it was one seemless tape?

He said yes, and he would do it pro-bono.

I sent him links to both versions, and my combined transcript, and he and his team not only combined them, but also cleaned them up, removing noise and static and making them more clear to listen to.

JFKcountercoup: The Air Force One Radio Tapes Update - The Story Thus Far

I presented Premieau’s clear and combined version of the AF1 radio transmission tapes at the 2013 Wecht Conference at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and again at the 2014 AARC conference at Bethesda, both of which were well received. I asked Max Holland and Jeff Morley to attend my Wecht conference presentation, and Jeff, at his JFKFacts web site, called the Air Force One tapes the most significant evidence we have.

Echoes of history: Tapes tell story of JFK assassination | The Gazette

Tape tells of flight from Dallas - The Columbian

Air Force One tapes have JFK researchers buzzing

Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Enhanced Recordings

Tapes possibly altered on Kennedy flight from Dallas

Jeff then flew Ed Primeau to Washington D.C. and interviewed him on camera saying that there are dozens of places on the tapes that are clearly edit points, so we don’t have the original, unedited tape, the transcript of which was read and quoted from by White, Manchester and Salinger.

Then Primeau, Morley, Dorman’s son and John McAdams went on nationwide TV talk show and discussed the tapes, though I was disappointed, without needing credit or recognition, that my name was not mentioned even though I put the deal together. When he learned of my role McAdams apologized and said I should have been credited for my work.

2013 JFK Facts scoop #3: the Air Force One tapes > JFK Facts

The original unedited tape, I believe, still exists, either at Collins Radio or the White House Communications Agency, but the latter was extremely unreceptive to the JFK Act and did not cooperate with the Assassinations Records Review Board. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Proposed Projects for 2023 - the 60th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

 PROPOSED PROJECTS FOR 2023 – the 60th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

With the impending 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination approaching, with its added media attention, I think it imperative that we plan for a series of events that will lead to the release of the remaining JFK assassination records and a possible resolution to the case, to a legal and moral certainty, though justice will never be served.

While Dallas will still be the main stage on November 22 and the weekend conferences are held – and CAPA will be holding a walk in conference at that time, I believe that the emphasis must shift  to Washington D.C., where the Archives are located, the evidence and records are held, and Congress sits in session.

Since movies and films have been a key mover in gathering attention and getting Congress to move on the JFK Act, I suggest that a JFK Film Festival be held at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts  (JFK CPA), a first class venue with multiple theaters, conference rooms, video production facilities and places to eat. It is also adjacent to the Watergate Hotel where people can stay.

This JFK Film Fest will extend over the period of a few days, maybe even a week, and be divided into two sections – the first including all of the major motion pictures that relate to the subject of the assassination – including Frank Sinatra’s Suddenly and Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, Thirteen Days with Kevin Costner, Executive Action, Oliver Stone’s JFK and Parkland.

The second half of the festival will be non-fictional documentaries – and include as many if not all of them, including those from both sides of the story.

They can be digitalized, and made available on line for posterity so they are preserved for future generations.

One of the most important conferences held on the subject was Politics and Cinema at American University, which featured Oliver Stone, Henry Gonzolez, Fletcher Prouty, John Judge and a NYTs film critic that was taped and presented by ESPN. A similar program should accompany this festival, and each film can be previewed and reviewed by critics before and after their presentation.

Since a number of new books are expected to be published for the anniversary, a book fair can be held in an ajoining room, with writers making presentations of their work and signing and selling their books.

I suggest that this even be held in late September or October when college kids are in town, and before Nov. 22, to build up to the anniversary.

Since December 15, 2023 is the deadline President Biden had imposed on the release of the remaining JFK assassination records, a press conference should be planned for that day and possibly the day after, accompanied by a one day conference of serious critics who can detail the shortcomings of the JFK Act, how siginificant records were destroyed, are missing or kept out of the JFK collection.

I proposed to CAPA that we also push for Congress to hold hearings on the JFK Act around this time, hearings similar to the Watergate, 9/11 and January 6th hearings, as Congress should and is required to do by law.

But as Dr. Wecht responded, while he likes the idea of the film fest and book fair, he does not believe Congress will embaras itself for failing to oversee the JFK Act as it should have done, and no such hearings will be held.

I agree, but I suggest that instead of Congress doing its job, we hold a Mock JFK Act Hearing – with many of those key players making presentations and responding to questions – including Judge Tunheim, Oliver Stone, Doug Horne, G. R. Blakey, Bob Tannenbaum, Dan Hardway, Malcolm Blunt, and those most familiar with the JFK Act and how it was not properly overseen.

If Congress decides to hold JFK Act hearings – and they haven’t done so in over 20 years, they put the program together, decide who testifies, and makes up the questions. On the other hand, if we hold a Mock JFK Act Hearing, we call the shots, decide who makes presentations, and ask the questions, and maybe we can embaras the Congressional Oversight Committee to do its job.

In any case, these are my ideas for the 2023 – the 60th anniversary, and probably the last hurrah for public interest in the case, and I seek your suggestions and support. CAPA will be considering this soon, and to really make it work, I will be seeking the support of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), JFKFacts, Mary Ferrell, Kennedy sand King and any other organization that wants to participate.

If you have any other ideas, or want to volunteer your support, please contact me –

Billkelly3@gmail.com or 609-346-0229