Into the Rabbit’s Hole with John Judge – By Bill Kelly
John Judge usually celebrated his December 14 birthday over dinner with friends at one of his favorite DC restaurants, often at an old Italian bistro near DuPont Circle.
Sometimes there would be as many as a dozen people – T. Carter, Marty Bragg and Lenny Lapan, his oldest and closest friend who once gave John a car, are a few I remember. Once it was just the two of us.
I first met John Judge outside the University of Dayton cafeteria in September 1969 where he had set up a table to distribute anti-war literature next to a USMC recruiting table. He had just graduated and I was a freshman who picked up a Playboy magazine from his table and he referred me to the interview with Jim Garrison, that sparked my interest in the Kennedy assassination and began our long and exciting adventure together. It was then I followed John Judge through the Looking Glass and into the Rabbit’s Hole.
At the time I was also friends with John’s girlfriend Kathy Engro, who was elected the first female student body president, and we engaged in anti-Vietnam war activities together.
Even though he had graduated the previous year John Judge stayed around campus to pester the administration, who he had fought to eliminate mandatory Army ROTC – Reserve Officers Training Corps, that all male freshmen were required to take, until my class. Thank you John.
While my four years at Dayton were interesting, I met Van Cliburn, the Texas pianist who won the Russian competition, Norman Mailer, Paul Krasner and Ken Kesey, a personal friend of John Judge who gave a lecture in the Kennedy Student Union theater and then slept on John’s couch rather than take a hotel room. After the Kesey lecture I went over to John’s apartment and sat around with them in the living room as they talked and I just listened. Kesey recounted how he got his first LSD from a Stanford professor who was doing interrogation research for the CIA, and how he sold the movie rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest to Kurt Douglas for $10,000 on a deal that was sealed on a bar napkin. He said he used the money to buy the bus called FURTHER and drive cross country to meet Tim Leary. Kurt Douglas, he said, then gave the movie rights to Cuokoos Nest to his son Michael as a birthday gift. But that was just one of many interesting nights spent with John Judge and his wide consortment of interesting friends.
Young JFK researchers want to hear the story of meeting the real Lee Harvey Oswald in Dayton. It was after Mae Brussell gave a long talk in the same Kennedy Union theater as Kesey, and I carried her books as she walked across a parking lot to John’s car. It was just the three of us, and I was anxious to get along with my Friday night on campus when we were approached by a man who asked for Mae.
He introduced himself as Don Norton, who was then living in Canton and came to hear her lecture.
“Why Don, it’s good to meet you,” Mae said, “thank you for your support of my work.”
“That’s my conscience money,” Norton said.
Norton then joined John and Mae as they went back to John’s apartment and sat around the living room talking into the night, as Kesey had done. While I wasn’t there, John said that Norton began talking in idelogical terms and reminded him of Oswald. Mae said she thought Norton was Oswald – the other Oswald who wasn’t killed by Jack Ruby. They tried to compare handwriting samples and Mae tried to keep in contact with Norton but he just slipped away.
John’s girl Kathy moved to New York City after graduation and I once crashed on her couch in an apartment across the street from the Dakota, where she said she often saw many celebrity residents including John Lennon. When Lennon was murdered I called her she said she arrived home in a taxi at the same time Lennon arrived in a limo. She said she heard the gun shot as she opened her apartment door and ran to the window and witnessed the arrest and first responders. The next day my story quoting her ran on the front page of the Atlantic City Sun newspaper.
John and I attended one of the first JFK Assassination conferences in the mid-1970s at NYU Law School in the Village in New York City. Walking down the street we ran into Kevin Keefe, the tall thin radical hippie and student body president at Dayton when I was a freshman. Keefe was now an assistant to the spiritual advisor to the United Nations.
At the NYU conference John introduced me to Penn Jones and Mae Brussell, and I met Sylvia Meagher and attended a lecture by Fletcher Prouty, who explained how intelligence agencies were organized and how covert operations were conducted, “something you have to know before you can understand what happened at Dealey Plaza,” he said.
I often visited John in DC and he stayed at my house in Ocean City, always sharing the latest books and research. For a few years John lived in the Germantown section of Philadelphia with some college friends while working for Quaker war resisters and we got to see each other more often, sometimes listening to Mae Brussel radio tapes, and I recall her saying something remarkable – that the Warren Commission Report was written by a US Army Pentagon historian, which I later found out was true. I finally caught up with Alfred Goldberg on his last week at the Pentagon before he retired, talking with him on the phone for awhile.
When Mae died she had asked, on her deathbed, for John Judge to continue her work. So I drove a U-Haul Truck of books from DC to California when John took over Mae’s archives and we set up the Mae Brussel Research Center.
After the HSCA folded and sealed their files for 50 years John and I co-founded the Committee for an Open Archives (CIA) that lobbied extensively and unsuccessfully to get Congress to release the HSCA records. We did research at the old archives where I met Mr. Johnson, who responded to my early FOIA requests and answered my question as to why 50 years, and not 25 or 75, and he said because that is the estimated time that the people mentioned in the records would be dead.
When Oliver Stone gave a speech at the National Press Club before his JFK film was released John and I met with him at his hotel room and discussed the idea of a trailer at the end of the movie calling attention to the sealed records much like the Executive Action film ended with the mysterious deaths of witnesses.
At that time the Assassinations Archive and Research Center was in an old building on 14th street where we would conjugate. It was there where I worked closely with Tony Summers on his book Not In Your Lifetime. Jim Lesar referred me to the Investigative Journalism Project that gave me a $3,000 grant to interview JFK assassination witnesses and researchers, that I used to buy a round trip cross country AMTRACK train ticket and spent two months traveling around the country, the only money I ever made on the assassination and put to good use.
After the second ASK conference in Dallas John discussed the idea of forming our nonprofit organization to put on conferences instead of us paying a for profit group to do it, and we held a lunch meeting at the West End bar that included Bill Turner and about a dozen researchers.
We reconvened at the Capitol Hill Quaker meeting house, arranged by John that lasted two days and included Jim Lesar, Peter Dale Scott, John Newman and Bill Davis, a former priest affiliated with the Cristic Institute. We decided on the name Coalition on Political Assassinations – COPA and would include Lesar’s AARC and our COA and after another meeting at a Chinatown hotel we were joined by Jim Deugenio’s Citizens for Truth Kennedy Assassination.
COPA had two major national conferences at the Sheraton where I met Debra Conroy and George Michael Erica, who expressed their desire to form another group “to educate the next generation of researchers,” that became Lancer.
COPA played a major role in the passage of the JFK Act and Judge Tunheim of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) addressed COPA conferences and COPA is mentioned in the AARC Final Report.
Members of the Kennedy family would visit JFK’s grave at Arlington cemetery every November 22nd, but Senator Ted Kennedy was quoted in the newspaper saying that the family would prefer people remember JFK for his policies and accomplishments rather than his death, and in that spirit, over dinner together one night, we decided to hold a short vigil on June 10th, the date of JFK’s “Peace Speech” at American University, where there is an historical marker at the end of the sport’s field where he gave that speech.
Sometimes there were a dozen people, taking turns reading excerpts from the speech and saying something nice about JFK and how he affected people, other times it was just me and John and one or two others, who would stay at the monument for an hour and then go to lunch. We did this every June 10th for over a decade, but I don’t think anyone who claimed to continue John’s legacy kept this tradition going except for Randy Benson, who has promised that he will be there every June 10th if it is within driving distance, and I will too.
John Judge at the JFK Memorial at American University on June 10
On June 10, 2002 Randy Benson and his friend Lance showed up at the monument when we were there and began filming Randy’s documentary “The Searchers,” after which we went to the National Press Club for a 9/11 press briefing, and John began The 9/11 Citizen’s Watch, monitoring the work of the 9/11 Commission. We attended every public meeting of the Commission and issued our own separate report on the day the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report came out.
COPA continued holding a regional Dallas conference every November, but instead of joining the Coalition on Political Assassinations, Lancer began holding their own conferences, and it was John Judge who continued Penn Jones’ tradition of holding a minute long moment of silence on the Grassy Knoll every November 22nd, a tradition that continues today.
At some point in time, the exact year escapes me, the COPA board of directors held a meeting in Dallas over the weekend of the annual regional conference, and someone had made a motion to dissolve COPA, as there were many differences of opinion among the members, especially the leadership, but I tried to keep it together and pleaded with the board to keep COPA going. While they discarded all of my reasons for keeping the organization together, it was COPA attorney Dan Alcorn who did it by calling attention to an important FOIA appeal for the US Army After Action Reports of the week Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. Alcorn said that COPA was the name on the legal documents and if the organization disbanded the case would be thrown out of court.
COPA continued, and the appeal was heard in US District Court in Washington, and it was COPA’s best moment when Dan Alcorn made the oral arguments for the release of the records. The Department of Defense had the top Justice Department lawyers make their case before a three judge appeals panel. While COPA lost the case, the Army was so embarrassed that it leaked an After Action report summary to a friendly Memphis reporter, a document that proved that the US Army Reserves had kept a close eye on King and had him under surveillance as he was murdered.
After that case Jim Lesar pulled the AARC out of the COPA coalition, and shortly thereafter Jim DiEugenio did the same with CTKA, but John and myself, Dr. Wecht and others kept the organization together, with the tax documents listing John Judge as director and myself and T. Carter as associates, and the annual Dallas conferences were held, in competition with Lancer.
John was familiar with Congress from his work with the COA and COPA and worked for Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), and later with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D. Ohio). With McKinney we worked hard to put on a Congressional Briefing on 9/11 with serious speakers like Peter Dale Scott and a former CIA analysts that went deeper than the official 9/11 Commission.
John often visited me at the Jersey Shore sometimes bringing a friend – T. Carter, John Geherity and he either stayed at my family house in Ocean City or the Flanders Hotel on the boardwalk where I worked at the time and arranged for him to stay in the penthouse on occasion.
- Carter wrote a book with James Earl Ray’s brother and Geherity, a young Irishman, worked as a summer intern with Jim Lesar at the AARC, which had moved from the historic building on 14th street to a series of offices near Chinatown. Geherity went back to Ireland and started a web site Publin, that profiled each of the pubs of Dublin, specializing in identifying the ones with the best price of Guinnis for the cash strapped college students.
Although John Judge no longer had a tight romantic relationship with his old college flame Kathy, he continued to visit her on holidays, mainly on Thanksgiving and Christmass. But then, heading towards the 2013 Wecht conference in Pittsburgh he told me he had a new girlfriend he met on-line, a poetress, who I met at the conference. John and I usually shared hotel rooms at any conference we arranged or attended, including the Chicago Third/Fourth Decade conference and many in Dallas. But this time he brought his new girl along to Pittsburgh so I stayed with my old college roommate. I was glad John found her as he was looking for love and companionship and finally found it, again.
While I was glad he found a new girlfriend I was surprised to hear her say that she had no interest whatever in John’s “Hidden History” and political side. That conference was also weird because COPA, Lancer, Walt Brown and Mary Ferrell all had tables set up outside the conference room, and John and his girl at the COPA table had to sit and look at the Lancer table with Debra Conway and her sister Sherry Feister, a forensic investigator who specializes in blood splatter analysis and wrote a book applying her knowledge to the JFK assassination.
John Judge also had a “falling out” with Walt Brown, who has written a number of books on the assassination, but wasn’t talking to Judge, so they all had to sit silently in the same room glaring at each other. Dr. Wecht couldn’t see the damage Lancer had done to COPA, and wanted to make peace, cooperate with them and bury the hatchet, but John couldn’t work with Debra.
Debra gave me a copy of her sister’s book, and asked me to autograph my byline in the conference program, as she had done with everyone who made a presentation, and later told me that she had politely asked John Judge to also sign her program and he did, so maybe that was their last sign off.
At that time I was also taking care of my 90 year old mother and could not get to D.C. or Dallas, but others stepped up especially T. Carter and Joe Green.
Around 2005, around the time my mother passed away at 92 years, the Arab Spring revolutions began and dictators started falling in Tunesia, Egypt and eventually Libya.
I had a special interest in Libya as I had written 300 Years at the Point – A History of Somers Point, N.J., home of Master Commandant Richard Somers, one of the first three mid-shipman of the US Navy who died in the explosion of the USS Intrepid in Tripoli harbor while fighting radical Islamist pirates, and is buried on the shores of Tripoli.
I started a blog Revolutionary Program keeping track of the Arab Spring revolts, especially Libya. Familiar with Quadafi I had corresponded with the Quadafi Charitable Foundation and an American professor who counseled Quadafi’s son as a college student in London.
While the son appeared to be leaning towards a more open society and experimenting with democracy, when the revolt began he sided with his father, who had executed 1,000 political prisoners in one day. The revolution began in Benghazi when the mothers and widows of those executed protested, seeking the remains to bury.
When Quadafi violently surprised the revolt in the beginning, his army’s march to Benghazi was stopped by NATO air strikes, shifting the momentum away from Quadafi.
I was pretty surprised when John and Cynthia came out in public support of Quadafi, though I understood his opposition to NATO intervention, Cynthia went to Tripoli to see Quadafi, and issued news interviews from there in his support. She apparently viewed him as a benevolent dictator like Castro and Chavez of Venezuela, saying a free college education was available to all Libyan girls, and toured that on international TV.
I told John Judge that all the free education was not going to absolve Quadafi of being a ruthless violent dictator and mass murderer.
Apparently it was at that point that John said “I am tired of Kelly’s shit!,” and removed me as one of the three officers listed on the official COPA tax forms, along with him and T. Carter. It was said I was replaced by Joe Green, a young and impressionable researcher who would do John’s bidding, as by now John was COPA and COPA was John Judge.
While it has been said over and over that I had a “falling out” with John Judge, we continued to talk at length over the phone every week until a few days before his debilitating stroke, which was similar to the one suffered by my father.
Our last conversation was about a former federal agent who had taken up the free the JFK files cause and was holding regular protests at the Kennedy Center, and had appropriated COPA’s JFK half dollar with bleeding gunshot hole in the head, designed and given to COPA by the late Gene Case. We decided to tell him to desist using the copyrighted image and ignore him.
When John had his stoke from my father’s experience I knew it would be difficult to recover and was saddened to read the frequent emails from his girl describing his condition. After he died I read his last will and testament in which he left his personal effects to his girl and the archive of books and COPA papers to the Hidden History Museum, which was still being developed.
When I asked his girl what became of John’s remains and the name of the attorney of the Hidden History museum she said I was being too inquisitive. And I still don’t know what became of John’s remains – was he buried with his family in Virginia, or was his ashes sitting on a shelf somewhere?
John’s girlfriend and execitpr of his estate then organized a tribute to John at the National Press Club, but when I asked her if Lenny Lapan – John’s oldest and closest friend would be there she said he wasn’t welcome because John and him had a “falling out,” which is quite preposterous.
John had a falling out with Jim Lesar, Jim DiEugenio, me, Lenny and apparently most of the ex-leaders of COPA so we weren’t invited to his memorial service?
Randy Benson filmed the service and after viewing it I was touched by everyone’s remarks though found Ben Murray’s tribute closest to my own, as we both knew John from college days.
I had a flashback to when Ben -who we then knew as “Bernie,” – a tall strapping guy, pick up the Marine Corps recruiting table in the hall outside the cafeteria and kicked them out.
John was non-violent but we thought that was in good form in those anti-Vietnam war days.
After the memorial service for John I learned that his girl had taken over the Hidden History Museum and COPA and combined their assets even though they were different types of non-profits – one tax deductible and the other not.
Joe Green was quoted as saying he was going to dissolve COPA even though he didn’t have the legal power to do so, but with the co-mingiling of the COPA and Hidden History funds COPA no longer existed. Green apparently thought he was doing what John Judge would have wanted him to do.
A number of former COPA members discussed these events at the 2013 Wecht conference in Pittsburgh and I reached out to others at the Bethesda conference in order to get a new organization together and talked with a number of people including Mike Nurko, Gary Aguilar and Dr. Wecht. Ben Wecht offered to host a series of twice monthly conference calls beginning in 2014 that resulted in the creation of CAPA – Citizens Against Political Assassination.
And so we are back to where we were in 1992 – twenty five years later, just getting organized to oversee the execution of the JFK Act and ensure that the last of the still sealed records on the assassination are released to the public so everyone can judge for themselves as to who killed the president and what to do about it.
As Chief Justice Earl Warren said, the last remaining records on the assassination will be released, “but not in your lifetime,” – which is the title of Tony Summers’ book, and reflects on the fact that not everyone who began this fight to free the JFK files is still around to see them.
As Jim Garrison said, he wasn’t going to be around when that happens, but he asked his son to be there and to see what they say.
And so it is with those of us who are still here, we have to be there on October 26, 2017 when the last remaining assassination records are released, and we must ensure they are, not only in the name of John Judge and Penn Jones and Phil Melanson and those who aren’t here, but for those who are yet to come. And we have to figure it all out – put the pieces of the puzzle together into a believable narrative, so the story is told and such crimes can be prevented from ever happening again.
JFK: Impossible timings
I. Oswald Superman: Descends unseen from the 6th floor to the 2nd in 75 seconds https://richardcharnin.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/10851/
Oswald told Will Fritz of the Dallas PD that he was “out with Bill Shelley in front” of the TSBD. The Fritz notes were not mentioned by the Warren Commission and were hidden from the public until 1997.
If Oswald was lying to Fritz, what was his motive? After all, he already had an alibi: he was seen on the second floor 90 seconds after the shooting by TSBD manager Roy Truly and policeman Marion Baker. He was holding a coke and not out of breath. If Oswald was not on the 6th floor, why would he not be out front watching the motorcade? And how would he know Bill Shelley was out in front unless…
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The 50th Anniversary in Dallas
John Delane Williams
Friday November 22, 2013
The 50thanniversary of the JFK Assassination conferences in Dallas were a special occasion-there were three conferences, The Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA), November in Dallas (NID), and the 50thAnniversary of JFK’s Assassination, held in Arlington. At least one speaker appeared at all three conferences, Dick Russell. Beyond the conferences, there were the other attractions, at least to JFK researchers.
First, there was the overwhelming police presence preceding the observance at Dealey Plaza. Every road near the Plaza was blocked to traffic. Some four blocks away, there at least 25 motorcycle policemen visable. One couldn’t help but think, if only there was this kind of protection in 1963. I didn’t have a ticket to the observance, and had last seen it when Walt Brown was the master of ceremony. I went to my room and slept for two hours, having gone from Portland (OR) to Dallas by way of Atlanta on a red eye flight. I did get to meet persons I had only had e-mail correspondence with previously. I was to meet Ernst Titovets at the “meet and greet”, which I slept through due to the red eye flight. I met him just before the buffet banquet. He did look very similar to his picture on his recent book, Oswald: Russian Episode. It was upon reading his book that I made my first e-mail query almost two years previously. Titovets wrote the book about his being Oswald’s best friend while Oswald was in Russia. Titovets completed the manuscript in 2000, but got it published in 2010. At the time Oswald was in Russia, Titovets was in medical school. After receiving his M.D., Titovets received a Ph.D. and later, a D.Sc. His work has been in medical research with an emphasis on brain chemistry, and how the chemistry of the brain affects a person’s functioning. With us also was Gary Severson, a good friend and a person I’ve collaborated with in previous JFK research. Gary had a friend with him, Mark Newman, who I learned was quite knowledgeable about the events in Dallas 50 years ago. As it happened, the four of us spent a lot of the next three days together.
After the banquet, three keynote speakers addressed the COPA audience: Cyril Wecht, a renowned pathologist who has been a contributor to investigations of the JFK assassination as well as numerous other celebrity deaths. Just one of his numerous books is Cause of Death. He has held many conferences near his home. He is one of the best known and respected investigators of the JFK assassination, and a vigorous 88 year old, seemingly in the prime of his life. Yet he had the presence to note the need to pass the torch to a new generation of searchers for the truth. It was a pleasure to get a chance to shake Wecht’s hand and thank him for his many efforts.
Titovets’ book is a straight forward account of Titovets experiences with Oswald. He describes Oswald’s early difficulty with the Russian language. It was clear to Titovets that Oswald would have to think through his responses to Russians speaking by first thinking through the response in English and then giving his response in Russian. Titovets’ interest in Oswald was to give Ernst a chance to practice his English with a native English speaker (albeit Southern American). Oswald also had interests that corresponded to Titovets own, particularly the opera. Oswald had at least two tutors in Russian, one of them assigned by the Communist Party. In Titovets’ presentation, he wondered how John Armstrong would conclude that Oswald would not have spoken a word of Russian in Russia. It is true that Armstrong’s book came out before Titovets’ book did, but Titovets would have been available to be interviewed, as well as any number of people who Oswald had conversed with in Russian (most of whom, however, did not speak English).
Mark Lane appeared through a video feed from his home. Lane is a longtime, and perhaps the best known critic of the Warren Commission. His Rush to Judgment is a seminal work on the failings of the Commission. Lane particularly spoke of the failings of the Secret Service in Dallas. He also authored Plausible Denial.
I also met Judyth Vary Baker for the first time. Judyth seems to be a controversial person in the critical community, though she seems to be an honest reporter of her experiences and of the things she has been told. If the persons telling her information are less than honest, she can only report what she was told, and what she has experienced. She is vigilant in trying to resurrect Lee Harvey Oswald’s reputation, and some might find that offensive. She is the best witness for Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities in New Orleans for May to September, 1963. She is the author of Lee Harvey Oswald (2006), Me & Lee(2010) and the forthcoming Ferrie. I might add that she is also a sincere and giving person.
Saturday November 23, 2013
The COPA morning session began with Robert Groden’s presentation regarding his new photo book, JFK: Absolute Truth. The book did seem to have enhancements that were interesting. Perhaps just as interesting to me is how Groden’s appearance has changed. I first saw him in 1999 at a conference in Minneapolis. More recently, I saw him selling his books in Dealey Plaza. When he was introduced by John Judge, I turned to Gary Severson and said, “That’s Robert Groden?” One might suppose the continual harassment by the Dallas police regarding his selling his books in Dealey plaza had taken some degree of toll on him. I thought about buying his book until I found out that it’s price was $75 on a cash only basis. I never carry that much cash on me. I take the view that anyone who tries to rob me would find it had very little payoff.
Gary Aguilar has always impressed me as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. He has addressed the medical evidence in several forums and was a consultant to the Assassination Record Review Board. In his presentations he described how the magic bullet was even more magical than reported by the Warren Commission.
Daniel Sheehan has a long history as a lawyer in some of the most interesting cases in the past 40 years, including suing The U.S. government to get the Watergate Papers published, the Karen Silkwood case, the Watergate burglary case, and the Iran/Contra case. He has turned his attention to the JFK assassination, and his Rulers of the Realm: “The Wise Men”: The Assassins of President John F. Kennedy.” This book is to be published by Counterpoint Press in 2014.
Stan Weeber has researched the rather lengthy number of persons connected to Denton, Texas and their relationship to the JFK assassination. Joan Mellen, author of “Farewell to Justice”, a critique of governmental interference in Jim Garrison’s investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw. She is updating that book and planning one on Mac Wallace. Wayne Smith reported on the machinations at the Journalof the American Medical Association (JAMA). The editors of JAMA were apparently trying to resurrect the conclusions to the Warren Report. With time, the editors lost their credibility and were replaced at JAMA. Smith wrote an article, JAMA Knows Best, which of course, was NOT published in JAMA
Russ Baker, the author Family of Secrets, a book about the Bush crime family, related in particular about the strange meanderings of George H. Bush on November 22, 1963. Though he had been in Dallas, he drove to Tyler, Texas, and contacted the FBI to inform on a seemingly unsuspecting acquaintance, but more likely, to establish he was not in Dallas. Though Baker did not discuss this, apparently George H. Bush was at a meeting, that included Richard Nixon, J.Edgar Hoover, and Clint Murchison (the party was at Murchison’s home) when LBJ waltzed in and announced that Kennedy would be eliminated the next day. This act by LBJ made each of the person’s present required to report the threat to the president, which apparently none of them did. Bush’s actions, first to report to the FBI that he was in Tyler, might render him not to be a suspect. Later, he apparently forgot where he was on November 22, 1963. Funny how certain dignitaries all had amnesia about a day that is embedded in the memories of the rest of us.
Saturday Evening (The 50th Anniversary Conference at Arlington)
This conference was arranged by Judyth Vary Baker, a seemingly enormous undertaking. She is to be thanked for her efforts. It seemed to be a very credible conference. The conference was a wonderful gesture for her. She definitely deserves a “Thank You” from the critical community.
The first speaker was Dick Russell. Russell discovered Richard Case Nagel who was the person about whom The Man Who Knew Too Much was written. Nagel was the person who walked into a bank in El Paso on September 20, 1963. He took two shots into the plaster of the wall in the bank, without endangering anyone in the bank. He drove off in his car, but seeing the policeman who was inside the bank he pulled over, onto the sidewalk and said “I guess you got me. I surrender.” In the next several weeks, he would only say that he didn’t want to go to Dallas, because he didn’t want to be found guilty of murder and treason. Nagel reportedly was directed by the KGB to kill Oswald to get the Soviets off the hook in case anything happened to President Kennedy. Nagel wanted to avoid murdering Oswald; in the case that Oswald were suspected of killing Kennedy, Nagel wanted to be in jail at the time of the assassination. Nagel had sent a registered letter to J. Edgar Hoover about the reasons for his actions just prior to his shooting in the bank. Russell also discussed three planned attempts on President Kennedy’s life in 1963. The attempts were planned in Miami, Tampa, and Dallas.
John Delane Williams and Ernst Titovets addressed the language proficiency of Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia. Williams had read Titovets’ book, Oswald: Russian Experience, which unbeknownst to Titovets, basically destroyed John Armstrong’s (Harvey and Lee) conclusion that Oswald spoke no Russian during his stay there, 1959-1962). It was Armstrong’s view that Oswald was actually someone who originated from Eastern Europe and was a false Oswald. The language proficiency of this “fake” Oswald would give him away as a spy. Titovets book gives a history of Oswald’s learning Russian. The Communist Party assigned an instructor to teach Oswald Russian. The instructor used a book based approach, which was ineffectual. Oswald struggled with the language; for some time, he appeared to think in English, before attempting to talk in Russian. Over time, he gradually became more proficient. Oswald’s apartment was bugged by the KGB, so they would have noticed if Oswald would revert to his “native” Russian language. Titovets emphasized that Oswald has been misrepresented as being a proficient shooter and a person capable of the acts attributed to him. Titovets saw Oswald as a peaceful and likable young man who seemed most unlikely to be capable of the actions described in the Warren Report.
The last speaker of the evening was Gary Severson, a retired social science teacher from John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, MN and an investigator into JFK assassination issues. His presentation regarded his own experiences when attending a speech at The University of North Dakota Fieldhouse as a 16 year old high school student. He and a friend, Bruce Folsom, arrived at the Fieldhouse just prior to the speech, and their being quite familiar with the Fieldhouse, they found four sets of doors open. After they got into the mens locker room after having gone through the first three open doors they then entered a third floor access that to the upper balcony seats. From the balcony, they could see that two seats were vacant in the front row, so they continued through a crowd of 12,500-15,000 persons and proceeded to the two seats directly in front of the podium in the first row. Gary was rather surprised that no one attempted to stop him. He often wondered, who was supposed to have the seats that they occupied. He learned that they were assigned to Thomas Clifford, then a Vice-President and Dean of the College of Business at the University of North Dakota, and his wife. He was scheduled to be representing the University at a meeting in Western North Dakota. He also learned from his readings that persons involved in plotting the JFK assassination (the committee, according to James Hepburn, Farewell to America (1968) p. 298) were present during JFK’s conservation tour through the Midwest and West from Wisconsin to California, September 24-29, 1963, which included JFK’s time at the University of North Dakota on 9/25/1963. As they came near the Fieldhouse, Severson and Folsom noted snipers on the roof. Later when Severson saw the movie Executive Action (1973), the movie had a scene similar to the one he saw that day, with snipers on the top of a building. Were the snipers he saw sent there by the “Committee” (from Farewell America) sizing up a possible means to assassinate President Kennedy?
There should be a word spoken about the uncooperativeness of the weather. Temperatures remained around freezing from Saturday through Monday. Judyth had scheduled a memorial service for Lee Harvey Oswald at his grave on Sunday afternoon. I had intended to attend, but no travel was advised on the local highways. I understand that 50 brave souls withstood the weather for the ceremony.
Sunday November 24, 2013
Two archivists discussed their holdings. Rex Bradford, works with The Assassination Archives and Research Center and the Mary Ferrell Foundation, whose site can be accessed at http://www.maryferrell.org. Ben Rogers, Director of the W. R. Poage Legislative Library contains the papers of Penn Jones, Jr., Mary Ferrell, Jack White, John Armstrong, Gary Shaw, John Kelin, Roy Schaeffer, Paul Hoch, Dick Russell, Gus Russo and others. Much of this is available at www. baylor.edu/lib/poage/jfk/ .
Abraham Bolden, the first black to be a member of the White House Secret Service detail, appeared through a video feed. Bolden is the author of Echo from Dealey Plaza, a telling of his being derailed when trying to be allowed to testify before the Warren Commission. Bolden helped foil a purported attempt of assassination of JFK in Chicago in November, 1962. One interesting detail that Bolden revealed during his presentation was that just prior to the Dallas trip, 11 Secret Service agents resigned.
Joseph McBride, the author of the book Into the Nightmare, looked into the murder of J.D. Tippet. McBride contends that Tippet was an underperforming policeman whose wife was on the verge of divorcing him because of his infidelities. All this has been swept under the table, and Tippet has been accorded hero status.
Dawn Meredith appeared on behalf of John Armstrong, reading Armstrong’s article, Harvey, Lee and Tippet: A New Look at the Tippet Shooting. This article has been published at least twice, once in Probe (1998, Vol. 5, No 2) and The Dealey Plaza Echo(2012, Vol. 17, No.2, pp. 8-22), as well as being available on the web at http://www.ctka.net/pr198-jfk.html. No update has been done since its original publication.
John Judge did make an intriguing comment. The interaction described here occurred at the time of an Assassination Symposium on JFK (ASK) Dallas, which Judge was directing. On addressing Oswald’s purported attempted shooting of a police officer at the Texas Theater, Judge asked two police officers who were present during Oswald’s arrest, “Did the police use a gun drop with Oswald?” A gun drop occurs when the police sometimes drop a gun and then use it as evidence against the person being arrested (or worse, killed). The gun drop allows the police to claim self defense to their actions (in Oswald’s situation, being beat up by the police). One of the police officers, replied, “Well, MAYBE.” One could argue the Oswald likely neither used nor attempted to use a firearm on that fateful day.
Two unusual things then occurred. First John Judge, noting that 11/24/2013 was the 50th anniversary of Oswald’s murder, asked that those in attendance to observe a moment of silence. Afterwards, Ernst Titovets took the podium and announced that copies of his book, Oswald: Russian Episode, which was selling for $60 a copy, would be given free to anyone interested at the conference. Titovets gave away over 100 copies, and was busy autographing them for over an hour.
That afternoon, blustery and just above freezing, Ernst Titovets, Gary Severson, Mark Newman, Christian Allgood (a young former student of Gary Severson), and John Delane Williams planned to lunch at Campisis Egyptian Lounge. But first, Ernst and John went to the Adolphus Hotel, the site of the Lancers November in Dallas Conference. We went to see Andy Winiarczyk, of the Last Hurrah Bookshop. Ernst was going to get the remainder of his books, and John went to visit with Andy. The Lancers program had more than doubled in price since 2006, making the COPA all the more attractive. But there was one presentation that seemed very interesting. Barry Ernst had sought out Victoria Adams, who was on the stairs at the Texas Book Depository; she did NOT see Lee Harvey Oswald walk past her, even though she was there at the critical time. Adams decided that it was best to take a several year powder, in the hope of living a somewhat longer life. John has since ordered Barry Ernst’s book, The Girl on the Stairs: The Search for a Missing Witness to the JFK Assassination (2013).
The five conference attendees then proceeded to Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge. The previous night they’d erroneously gone to the other Campisi establishment, only to find out that the original Campisi’s was on Mockingbird. As might be expected, Campisis was a large but traditional Italian restaurant, with its own intrigue. Jack Ruby was a frequent patron and had his own favorite booth to sit in, which of course we had to try out. It was after 3 PM on a blustery Sunday, and we were among the few diners. Before ordering, we had the waitress take our group picture. Most of us had cameras, so several shots were taken. Ernst was unfamiliar with the cuisine so we made our suggestions. As The manager came by (he was married to a Campisi), Gary inquired how did Campisi’s have the additional Egyptian Lounge in its name? The manager explained that in 1946, when the Campisi’s bought the restaurant, they weren’t long on cash. The place had been called the Egyptian Lounge. They just added the Campisi sign to it. It became a source of pride. They had started with almost nothing, and had become quite successful. Their name for the restaurant reminded them of how far they had come. After dinner/lunch, noting the lack of patrons, Gary then asked the manager to give us a tour and let us know something of the lore. He gladly obliged. One room was reserved for the VIPs back in the day. The manager proceeded to tell us some of the luminaries. Many of them were athletes or coaches from the Dallas Cowboys. Another huge room was filled with pictures. One picture was a large photograph of Rocky Marciano, given to them on a visit less than a week before his fatal plane crash. A picture of Jack Ruby, in his arrest mug shots (an odd choice), adorned another wall. Again many of the other pictures were entertainers, athletes or movie stars. Among the athletes were many boxers, several relatives of the manager. Two of his nephews were outstanding boxers in the 50’s and 60s. An uncle was on the boxing commission. At the conclusion of tour, Ernst gave the manager an autographed copy of his book. Then, though it was getting dark, we went to Dealey Plaza and went to various locations and recalled what had happened (or possibly happened) at each of them going through the various theories. It was a great time.
Published in JFK-E/ Deep Politics Quarterly, Vol 1, No. 1, 14-22, January 2014.
I have thought, and thought, and thought……and thought on just how to write the second part of this story. I wrote several pages, several times, and deleted as many. You see, I was writing to include and examine every minor detail related to Tippit’s murder. In the process of all that thinking, it occurred to me, every little detail wasn’t necessary to identify a prime suspect in Tippit’s murder. So often, in any crime, resolving the crime
is a matter of perspective. If I were to follow the footsteps of previous investigators and
researchers, I would likely end up with the same results….which is not my goal, nor
should it be, as there is no need for me to accomplish what they already have.
In part I, it was determined that between 1:00pm and 1:03pm, Lee Harvey Oswald
was present at his rooming house. Prior to 1:00pm relates to JFK’s…
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Fifty years ago today two great men died. JFK is on all of our minds. C.S. Lewis was the other. Had he died on any other day than November 22, 1963, the world would have taken notice of C.S. Lewis’s death. Click HERE for a piece on C. S. Lewis.
I remember the assassination of JFK like it was yesterday. I didn’t know then that C.S. Lewis had also died. May they both rest in peace. They both live on in a world of woe and hope.
“Hello. NSA?” “Hello, CIA.“ “Hello, Homeland Security.” “Hello, whoever you are, listening in on my phone conversations.”
I’m on the phone with the Church Administrator of the little church I serve. A loud whining noise suddenly over-rides her voice. I try to talk with her; she keeps talking as though everything is fine. I hang up and call again. She wonders what happened. I tell her. “It’s the NSA,” she says. We both laugh.
But it’s no laughing matter.
The timing of the unexplained noise on the phone coincided with arrival of an email from a JFK assassination researcher who is providing overnight lodging for another critic of the Warren Commission Report, Judyth Vary Baker. Judyth is Lee Harvey Oswald’s former lover, controversial author of Me and Lee: How I Came to Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald. Ms. Baker makes the case that President Kennedy was assassinated by…
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Words are POWERFUL! Timothy Egan’s “Deconstructing a Demagogue” in the NY Times reminds us of just how powerful they are:
Back in 1994, while plotting his takeover of the House, Gingrich circulated a memo on how to use words as a weapon. It was called “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.” Republicans were advised to use certain words in describing opponents — sick, pathetic, lie, decay, failure, destroy. That was the year, of course, when Gingrich showed there was no floor to his descent into a dignity-free zone, equating Democratic Party values with the drowning of two young children by their mother, Susan Smith, in South Carolina.
Today, if you listen to the PAC ads flooding our television sets, you’ll hear the innuendoes and strategies from the “Language: a Key Mechanism of Control” memo
And that’s just the beginning of the story of how language is used for social manipulation…
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