Pursuing Truth on the Kennedy Assassinations

Recently by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD: The X and Y Generations and Ron Paul: An Alliance for Our Age

Everyone over the age of 60, and many over age 55 who were in grade school at the time, remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard what happened to President John F. Kennedy, on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 PM (CST). I was finishing lunch with other students in the dining room at Harvard Medical School's Vanderbilt Hall lined with portraits of past professors when a student ran in and yelled, "President Kennedy has been shot."

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I began studying and collecting books on the Kennedy assassination after reading Josiah Thompson’s Six Seconds in Dallas, published in 1967. My interest in the subject is heightened by having personally known two physicians involved in President Kennedy's care whose observations are pivotal to the case, Admiral George G. Burkley (1902-1991) and Dr. Malcolm Perry (1929-2009). Admiral Burkley was the President's personal physician. He was the only physician who was with Kennedy in Dallas and also at the autopsy, done at a Navy hospital in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Perry performed a tracheotomy on Kennedy shortly before he died. He was the first physician to speak publicly about the President's injuries in a televised news conference an hour after his death.

My family lived next to Dr. Burkley and his family on the grounds of the Newport Naval Hospital in Newport, Rhode Island when I was a teenager, sharing a duplex that housed its Chief of Medicine, Dr. Burkley, and Chief of Surgery, my dad. His teenage son, George W., and I became friends. (We once sailed up Narragansett Bay in his Snipe sailboat and camped out on an uninhabited island. This adventure was cut short the next morning, however, when a Navy launch arrived to tow us back home, sent by our fathers after a hurricane warning was issued.)

Dr. Perry and I worked together at the University of Washington (UW). He moved to Seattle in 1974 with Dr. Tom Shires, Parkland Hospital's Chief of Surgery, who came to Seattle to be Chairman of Surgery at the UW School of Medicine. Dr. Shires brought a group of surgeons from Parkland Hospital with him, which included Dr. Charles James (Jim) Carrico, who, as a surgical resident, was the first doctor in the emergency room to examine Kennedy after he was shot. Dr. Perry and Dr. Shires operated on Lee Harvey Oswald, but the bullet Jack Ruby shot into Oswald's abdomen tore his aorta and vena cava and he bled to death on the operating table before they could save him. Dr. Perry was a vascular surgeon. We would perform surgery together on patients with a thoracoabdominal aneurysm. (I was the last UW faculty surgeon that Dr. Shires hired before he moved to Cornell in 1975. Drs. Perry and Carrico stayed, with Dr. Carrico becoming the UW's Chair of Surgery in 1983, to 1990).

The President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren assured the American public and the world that there was no conspiracy. It said a lone assassin shot three bullets at the President from a window in the Texas School Book Depository, above and behind the Presidential limousine as it proceeded down Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. No one else planned or participated in the attack, not the Russians, Castro, anti-Castro Cubans, or organized crime – or any officials in the U.S. military-industrial-intelligence complex either, for that matter.

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The Warren Commission concluded that one bullet hit Kennedy in the back, exited out through his neck, and went on to inflict all the injuries Governor Connally sustained sitting in a jump seat in front of the President. This bullet, as postulated in the Commission's "single bullet theory," went through Connally's chest, in-and-out of his wrist, and landed in his thigh. A second bullet missed the limousine, ricocheted off a curb and grazed a bystander. The third bullet the sniper shot hit the President in the head, killing him. The Commission concluded that the evidence compiled in its 888-page Report and 17,816 pages of Hearings and Exhibits (in 26 volumes) proves that a 24-year-old ex-Marine with Marxist sympathies, Lee Harvey Oswald, was the assassin. Likewise, the Commission found that nightclub owner Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald two days later.

At the first press conference after Kennedy died, a newsman asked Malcolm Perry, "Where was the entrance wound?" Dr. Perry informed the American public and the world that, "There was an entrance wound in the neck…It [the bullet] appeared to be coming at him…," which on repeated questioning he twice more affirmed and the world's press duly reported. This did not sit well with the Warren Commission's view of the matter. Testifying before the Commission several months later, however, Dr. Perry supported its contention that the bullet shot into Kennedy's back had exited his neck, not entered it. Accepting the proposed one-bullet, two-victim hypothesis as true, Dr. Perry agreed that the bullet wound he observed in the neck "certainly would be consistent with an exit wound."

Fifteen years later Dr. Perry told me in a surgeon-to-surgeon private conversation that the bullet wound in Kennedy's neck was, without question, a wound of entrance, irrespective of what he had told the Warren Commission. This seasoned attending trauma surgeon had seen a lot of gunshot wounds at Parkland Hospital and knew what he was talking about. Dr. Perry also told this "off the record" truth to another physician, Dr. Robert Artwohl, in 1986, who writes, "One of the biggest regrets in his life was having to make the incision for the emergency tracheotomy through the bullet wound, because he was certain that it was an entrance wound. He remembered making a very good mental note of the wound since he was cutting through it." (Reference in "Malcolm Perry, MD Falls into the Kennedy Vortex" by Gary Aguilar, MD, here).

Given "marching orders from Washington" with instructions to "tell Dr. Perry to change his testimony," Secret Service Agent Elmer Moore went to Dallas and "badgered" Dr. Perry into "making a flat statement that there was no entry wound in the neck." Agent Moore confided this in 1970 to Jim Gochenaur, a friend in Seattle who was a graduate student at the University of Washington (!). Moore told him, "I regret what I had to do with Dr. Perry." So threatened, this otherwise bold surgeon backed down and obligingly changed his testimony to suit the politically ordered truth that Oswald did it. (Refs. here, pgs. 309-10; and here, vol. 2, pgs.651-654.)

Dr. Burkley's observations are equally damaging to the lone gunman scenario. He filled out and signed President Kennedy's Death Certificate (see here). It describes a bullet wound in Kennedy's back adjacent to the third thoracic vertebra (T-3). This is 5 inches below the neck. Dr. Burkley places the wound in the back far too low for the bullet to have exited through the throat at neck-tie level. The death certificate, alone, renders the single bullet theory ballistically and anatomically impossible.

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The lead autopsy pathologist at the JFK autopsy, Commander James Humes, burned his notes and the first draft of the autopsy. A second pathologist (of three performing it), Lt. Cmdr. J. Thornton Boswell, made a diagram of the wounds and scars he observed on the body. It places the bullet wound in the back at the same level, T-3, like the death certificate. Dr. Burkley signs the diagram (on the lower left side) and above his signature writes, "Verified." Having escaped the autopsy-record flames, the original diagram containing Dr. Burkley's signature was secreted in locked up government files.

My teenage buddy George W. Burkley (both of us are now age 72) writes, "Dad never voiced much of an opinion about a conspiracy but frequently questioned why the Warren Commission never asked him to testify. Dad was [a] very close hold when it came to his professional life."

Drs. Burkley and Perry put the lie to the official truth of President Kennedy's murder. But their findings are only the tip of the iceberg. Five books published in the last 10 years prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a state execution, a political murder carried out to achieve political-military ends. They are:

Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (461 pages) by Gerald McKnight (2005).

Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK (1807 pages, in five volumes) by Douglas Horne (2009).

Harvey and Lee: How the CIA framed Oswald (983 pages) by John Armstrong (2003).

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History (527 pages) by Joan Mellen (2005).

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters (488 pages) by James Douglass (2010).

In Breach of Trust, Gerald McKnight shows how the Warren Commission orchestrated its cover-up of JFK's murder. He shows how the Commission cherry picked evidence to support its prearranged conclusion that Oswald was the lone assassin and how it discounted, suppressed, excluded, and even altered eyewitness testimony and evidence pointing to a conspiracy. Truth was not its goal.

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The way it dealt with Dr. Boswell's autopsy diagram demonstrates the chicanery the Warren Commission practiced in its investigation of the assassination. The Commission published Boswell's diagram as Commission Exhibit 397, but Admiral Burkley's signature validating it is gone! It has been erased. The bullet hole's location as placed on CE 397 disproves the single bullet theory, the lynchpin of the Commission's case against Oswald. But like with Dr. Perry, when Dr. Boswell came before the Commission he also had a change of mind and testified that he had drawn the bullet hole in the back too low, saying now that it was actually considerably higher than shown on the diagram, high enough for the bullet to have come out and left an exit wound in the neck. With his signature not there, the Commission would not need to question Admiral Burkley about it.

Former CIA director Allen Dulles largely ran and controlled the Warren Commission's deliberations. President Kennedy had fired Dulles as director of the CIA in early 1962, after the Bay of Pigs invasion, letting it be known that he intended to "to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." Three of the Commission's seven members, Senator Richard Russell, Senator John Copper, and Representative Hale Boogs rejected the single bullet theory (see here), but Dulles, with members John McCloy, former head of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), forerunner of the CIA, and Rep. (and future President) Gerald Ford persuaded them to sign the Report.

The Warren Commission did not include President Kennedy's Death Certificate in its Report or as an exhibit. Among the exhibits, one will find instead a certificate of smallpox vaccination for Oswald's daughter, June (CE 73A); Jack Ruby's income tax returns (CE 713-719) – but not Oswald's tax returns, said to be withheld for "national security;" a fragment of an aria from Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades (CE 53); and the condition of Marina Oswald's teeth (CE 1403).

Equally disturbing, as his son points out, the Commission chose not to interview the President's personal physician.

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With regard to the Warren Report, Mark Lane, the dean of assassination researchers notes, "The only way you can believe the Report is not to have read it."

Criticism of the Warren Report, published on September 27, 1964, was quick to come, beginning with Vincent Salandria's "The Warren Report Analysis of Shots, Trajectories, and Wounds: A Lawyer's Dissenting View" in The Philadelphia Legal Intelligencer five weeks later (see here) and Mark Lane's “Oswald Innocent? A Lawyer's Brief” in the National Guardian less than three months later (see here). This prompted the government to carry out four subsequent investigations into the JFK assassination: one by the Justice Department (1966-67), the Clark Panel (1968), the Rockefeller Commission (1975), and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA, 1976-78). All agreed that the Warren Commission was correct in concluding that the medical/autopsy evidence proved Oswald's guilt. After the HSCA issued its report the case seemed closed – that is, until Oliver Stone's film JFK was released in 1991. Accusing the CIA of complicity in Kennedy's death, the film created a furor and reopened the case. With public pressure mounting, in 1992 Congress passed the JFK Records Act, releasing more than 2 million CIA, FBI, Secret Service, and other agency records related to the assassination.

An Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB, 1994-1998) was established to catalogue and study these newly released records. Inside the Assassination Records Review Board by Douglas Horne, its Chief Analyst for Military Records, reveals what the Board found and throws new light on the medical and autopsy evidence, among other things.

Some 26 medical personnel, including my future UW colleague Dr. Carrico (on the second row, second from the left) at Parkland Hospital saw a large gaping hole the size of a baseball in the back Kennedy's head. The Warren Commission discounted and ignored this eyewitness testimony because a skull x-ray and autopsy photograph it had showed the back of JFK's head – skull, skin, and hair – to be intact. They are forgeries. The ARRB also found, in documents released by the JFK Records Act that the autopsy personnel in Bethesda had also observed the same big hole in the back of the head that the medical personnel in Dallas had seen, including the mortician who prepared the body for burial, Thomas Robinson. He described it as a circular defect in the back of the head about three inches in diameter, where "a good amount of bone had been blown away." (Vol. 2, pgs. 598-600.)

Additional evidence supports this finding, which proves that an assassin positioned in front of the President shot him. Two Secret Service agents riding motorcycles to the rear and left of the Presidential limousine were splattered with blood and brain tissue, and Jacqueline Kennedy is filmed crawling out onto the trunk of the limo behind her husband reaching out to retrieve pieces of bone and brain blown out by a bullet exiting the back of his head.

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One subject that Douglas' Inside the Assassination Records Review Board explores, which I found of particular interest is the Presidential limousine's windshield (Vol. 5, pgs. 1439-1450). Six witnesses observed a bullet hole in the windshield, in Dallas and Detroit, where the limousine was flown to have the windshield replaced three days after the assassination. Photographic evidence confirms this eyewitness testimony. More recently, Douglas Horne addresses the "evidentiary landscape" on this issue in an article on (see here). A bullet hole in the limo's windshield provides further evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that one or more snipers positioned in front of the limousine fired shots at President Kennedy.

John Armstrong's Harvey and Lee is a singularly important work, one that, at first, seems unbelievable. Uncovering much new evidence, John Armstrong makes a compelling case that there were two Lee Harvey Oswalds. Likely part of a secret project known by its cryptonym MK-ULTRA, the CIA found a boy born in New Orleans who looked very much like a Russian-speaking refugee from Eastern Europe living in New York. The agency moved 12-year-old Lee Oswald and his mother to New York to meld his identity with this boy. By age 19, the process completed and their identities merged, this European-born "Oswald" carried a government identification card (DD1173) containing a composite photo of the left half of Lee Oswald's face combined with the right half his face. The CIA sent this Oswald, fluent in Russian (something not easily acquired by most English-speaking Americans, particularly one, like Lee Oswald, with an IQ of 103 who dropped out of high school), to Moscow, to "defect." This is the "Oswald" that Jack Ruby shot in Dallas.

Using doubles in intelligence work is a centuries-old practice. Mata Hari used a double to impersonate her on dancing tours throughout Europe while she slipped away and spied for the Germans. Working together, the public sees the double going about his or her business innocently establishing an alibi while the "Mata Hari" commits a covert act. The two Oswalds did not work together. Harvey went to Russia alone posing as a native American. When he returned to the U.S., through a loan from the State Department, the CIA used the other Lee Oswald to help set-up Harvey to take the fall for Kennedy's murder. Harvey Oswald was telling the truth after he was arrested when he said, "I am a patsy."

Having two Oswalds explains why Lee Harvey Oswald kept being seen in two places at once. He, for example, visited Sylva Odio at her house in Dallas (Harvey) when he was also in Mexico (Lee); Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig observed him (Lee) getting into a Dodge Rambler on Elm street in Dealey Plaza right after the shooting, while other eyewitnesses saw him (Harvey) on a bus; and when (Lee) Oswald was stationed in Japan in the Marine Corps, from October 1957 to May 1958, the other (Harvey) Oswald was documented to be working at the Pfisterer Dental Laboratory in New Orleans.

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People who saw the wrong Oswald at the wrong time or had the wrong kind of dealings with him at the wrong time put their lives in jeopardy. Sheriff Roger Craig was unwavering in his testimony that he saw Oswald get in a Rambler on Elm Street after the shooting. He died the victim of a gunshot wound. Albert Bogard was a car salesman who accompanied (Lee) Oswald on a test drive of a new Mercury Comet, but (Harvey) Oswald's wife Marina and her house host Ruth Paine testified that Oswald could not drive and was somewhere else on that date. Bogard was found dead in his car, from carbon monoxide delivered from a hose attached to his exhaust pipe.

In his book (pgs. 438-481), published in 2003, John Armstrong proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Oswald did not purchase the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that he is alleged to have used to kill Kennedy. Harvey and Lee lives up to its subtitle and shows clearly "how the CIA framed Oswald." The book was published in China, is out of print and hard to get. Few libraries have it and copies, when available, are expensive.

(A striking synchronicity: When researching this article and writing about what the CIA did to Oswald, I performed heart surgery on 84-year-old Edwin Wilson. Wilson was a CIA officer who ran CIA front companies that supplied funds for its covert operations. He had a 2,000-acre ranch in Virginia, next to that of Elizabeth Taylor, where he entertained colleagues and top government connections. President Carter, in 1977, chose Admiral Stanfield Turner Director of Central Intelligence. He decided to "clean house" at the CIA and curb its covert activities. Turner cashiered Wilson's close friend Ted Shackley, the Deputy Director of Covert Operations, who was slated to become DCI instead of Turner had President Ford won the election and remained in office. And the government, with the tacit approval of the next Reagan administration, accused Wilson and put him on trial for, among other things, selling 40,000 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya "without permission." A false affidavit signed by the CIA's third-ranking officer, Executive Director Charles Briggs, declared that the CIA had no contact with Wilson after he officially retired from the Agency in 1971, which was instrumental in convicting him. Investigative journalist and LRC columnist Eric Margolis has followed this case closely. He calls Edwin Wilson "America's Man in the Iron Mask," after Eustache Dauger, a French convict in the 17th century that Voltaire claimed was Louis XIV's brother, who kept him locked up in isolation with his look-alike face hidden by an iron mask. This prisoner is the king's identical twin brother in the 1998 film Man in the Iron Mask, where Leonard DiCaprio plays both roles. Dauger spent 34 years in prison. The CIA's "Brother Wilson," at the time considered to be "the regime's top political prisoner," spent 22 years in prison, 10 of them in solitary confinement. In 2003, Federal District Court Judge Lynn Hughes threw out Wilson's conviction, concluding from evidence obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that the CIA had lied and framed him. In her brief [p. 11, here], Judge Hughes asserts, "Honesty comes hard to the government." Both Oswald and Wilson were CIA pawns.)

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Oswald never had his day in court. Jack Ruby saw to that. Following the government's lead, the print and television media right away started referring to Oswald as the "assassin," inappropriately withholding the word "alleged" when saying he was the assassin. This inconsequential ex-Marine, who was a FBI informant and undercover agent for the CIA, who had checked out JFK's Profiles in Courage from the public library, was set up to take the blame for the President's murder. Kennedy had cancelled a trip to Chicago at the last minute three weeks earlier after learning that conspirators were plotting to assassinate him there. Had Kennedy been killed in Chicago, another ex-Marine, Thomas Arthur Vallee, would have been the Oswald of the piece. Like Oswald was in Dallas (should the Chicago attempt fail), Thomas Vallee was set up to be the scapegoat in Chicago (see here pgs. 202-218).

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was the only U.S. public prosecutor who has dared to say publicly that the government has not told the truth on the JFK assassination. And he is the only prosecutor to indict and bring to trial an alleged conspirator in Kennedy's murder – Clay Shaw, a prominent New Orleans businessman. Garrison said he did this for two reasons: First, Oswald had lived in his jurisdiction, New Orleans, for several months before he moved to Dallas and shortly thereafter allegedly killed the President. And he read the Warren Report and its 26 volumes of additional material. That was the clincher that got him to investigate the case.

Garrison explained: "It's impossible for anyone possessed of reasonable objectivity and a fair degree of intelligence to read those 26 volumes and not reach the conclusion the Warren Commission was wrong in every one of its major conclusions pertaining to the assassination." As he and his team investigated the matter, "We interviewed people the Warren Commission had never questioned, and a whole new world began opening up."

Joan Mellen shows in A Farewell to Justice that the Clay Shaw trial is the case that should have changed history, as the subtitle of her book states. Garrison charged Shaw with being a CIA operative who helped ready Oswald to take the blame for a crime he did not commit and thus was one of the conspirators in the case. Witnesses testified that they saw Clay Shaw with Oswald, but the jury acquitted him for a lack of sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he worked for the CIA.

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Garrison commented, "When we arrested [Clay] Shaw, the United States government awakened like an angry lion." The FBI infiltrated Garrison's investigation and tried to thwart it, governors refused to extradite witnesses living in their states to testify in Shaw's trial in New Orleans, and key witnesses died suddenly before their testimony could be taken, most importantly David Ferrie and and Guy Bannister. (David Ferrie was a cohort of Clay Shaw, a former commercial airline pilot and a captain in the Civil Air Patrol where Lee Oswald had been a member of his squadron, and was, among other things, a cancer researcher, with 2,000 mice housed in his apartment. Guy Bannister was former head of the FBI office in Chicago who engaged in nefarious activities and was connected with Shaw.) After the media learned his name and sounded off about him, David Ferrie told Garrison, "I'm a dead man." (He died soon thereafter under suspicious circumstances, his death ruled, oddly enough, an apparent suicide from a brain hemorrhage.) Years later, newly released files confirmed that Clay Shaw had, indeed, worked for the CIA.

In a postscript to the 1973 film Executive Action, a fictionalized treatment of the JFK assassination, 18 photographs appear on the screen. They are photos of the faces of actual witnesses to JFK's murder who died between November 1963 and February 1967, many of them under mysterious circumstances. A text scrolled over the photos and narrated says, "In the three years after the murders of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, eighteen material witnesses died, six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, and three from heart attacks, and two from natural causes. An actuary, engaged by the London Times, concluded that on November 22, 1963, the odds against these witnesses being dead by February 1967 were one hundred thousand trillion to one." (A YouTube video of the movie's final scene with this postscript is here.)

In their book JFK: The Dead Witnesses (1995), Craig Roberts and John Armstrong identify 10 more deaths of witnesses that occurred between November 1963 and February 1967, for a total of 28 witnesses who died during this time period, most of them violently or under suspicious circumstances, like Dorothy Kilgallen and Mrs. Earl Smith. (Dorothy Kilgallen, a newspaper columnist and panelist on the TV show What's My Line?, was found dead in her apartment after letting it be known that she had discovered information that would blow the government's JFK assassination story "wide open," her death deemed a "heart seizure due to drugs," age 52. Mrs. Smith was Kilgallen's confidant. She died three days later, also at home, from a "fatal cerebral hemorrhage," age 45.) Other important witnesses died in the 1970s before they were scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, like George DeMorenschildt, Oswald's CIA handler when he returned from Russia, from a shotgun wound to the face, ruled suicide. When asked about all these deaths, Garrison replied, "All I know is that witnesses with vital evidence in the case are bad insurance risks."

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Jim Garrison is a modern-day Paul Revere. He warns Americans that their lives and freedoms are threatened by a force more malicious than what our forebears faced in 1775 against British troops. Garrison prophetically tells us, "Fascism will come to America in the name of national security."

He warns, "We are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state… based on power and the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state" (see here).

With regard to truth and its pursuit, Garrison notes, "In our incipient super state it really doesn't matter what happened. Truth is what the government chooses to tell you." Jim Garrison deals with this subject in A Heritage of Stone (1970). He dedicates the book:

To the Younger Generation.

May its members have the insight to see the deceptions of the warfare state. May they have the courage to stand on the side of humanity.

Labeling Jim Garrison a "publicity seeker," like Robert Caro does in his biography of Lyndon Johnson, is the same as calling Paul Revere an "alarmist."

It is now clear, a half a century later, that the CIA choreographed the assassination of President Kennedy, making it look like a lone-nut Marxist was solely responsible for the act. But the specific "powers that be" in the U.S. military-industrial-intelligence network who ordered the CIA hit remains unknown. Nevertheless, in JFK and the Unspeakable, Jim Douglass masterfully explains why Kennedy was killed.

Elements in the military-industrial-intelligence complex wanted Kennedy killed because he was threatening to put them out of business! The Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war, spurred him to do this. A decorated World War II veteran, JFK worked to end the Cold War. He sought reconciliation with the USSR and Castro's Cuba and in that effort set up private lines of communication with Khrushchev and Castro. He engineered a nuclear test ban treaty. And to make matters worse for the warfare state, he announced, in National Security Action Memoranda 263, his intention to pull U.S. troops out of Vietnam. These efforts to pursue a peaceful foreign policy were not greeted kindly by arms manufacturers and the military.

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The red flag of JFK's foreign policy intentions flew high in his signal June 10, 1963 American University Commencement Address promoting nuclear disarmament and peaceful co-existence with communist nations. He said, "Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union… If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. And we are all mortal." (The text and video of this speech is here and here.) John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, at age 46, was a state execution designed to keep the military-industrial-intelligence complex in business, unabated.

The same thing happened to Robert Kennedy. Assassins shot RFK and killed him on June 5, 1968, fifteen minutes following a victory speech he gave after winning the California Democratic primary, which made him the Democratic nominee and thus, in all probability, the next President. In addition to following a peace-seeking foreign policy path like his brother, he told the people that "I would like to reopen the Warren Commission."

The "lone assassin" in this case was said to be Sirhan Sirhan, who fired a pistol at Robert Kennedy standing several feet in front of him. The autopsy, however, showed that a bullet fired from a pistol placed 1 to 2 inches behind Kennedy's head is what killed him, not any of the bullets coming from Sirhan Sirhan's gun in front of him. RFK was 42 years old.

After Robert Kennedy was killed, Jacqueline Kennedy is reported to have said, "If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets." John F. Kennedy, Jr. died when a Piper Saratoga private plane he was piloting crashed, on July 16, 1999, one week after it was leaked that he planned to run in the 2000 Presidental election, which he most likely would have won. Jacqueline Kennedy was spared the anguish of losing a second son. She died in 1994, from cancer.

(Ted Kennedy's automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969 shielded him from assassination. When his companion Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in the accident and her death was not immediately reported, this eliminated any chance that he would ever be elected President. Ted Kennedy died in 2009, age 77, from a brain tumor.)

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There is evidence that an instructor accompanied JFK Jr. on the flight, along with his wife and sister-in-law, who all perished in the crash. An instructor had been with him all previous eight times he had flown this newly purchased aircraft. He had broken his ankle and was using crutches when he made this flight. Kennedy had communicated with the Martha's Vineyard Airport control tower and was making his final approach when the plane suddenly plummeted into the ocean (from an altitude of 2,500 feet). A small bomb placed on the aircraft that exploded in mid-air may have caused the plane to dive into the ocean. Although authorities had a radar track of the flight and the Martha’s Vineyard communication, there was nevertheless a 15 hour delay in "finding" the plane. When authorities finally announced that the plane had been located and retrieved, the copilot's seat was gone, a fourth (flight instructor's) body was not found, and the flight log listing the persons on board the aircraft was missing. The media reported and the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the crash occurred because JFK, Jr. was a "reckless pilot" who wanted to "do it alone," without a flight instructor (see here). John F. Kennedy, Jr. was 38 years old.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the first Kennedy assassination. Warren Commission loyalists and the national TV and print media will be out in force trumpeting the imperial state's Oswald-did-it-alone narrative. Loyalists take comfort in two books written by attorneys defending the Commission's findings, Case Closed by Gerald Posner (1993) and the more recent 2,600-page (with its CD) Reclaiming History (2007) by Vincent Bugliosi. These lawyers cite evidence that supports their client's case and discount or ignore culpatory evidence of a conspiracy. Posner and especially prosecutor Bugliosi employ ad hominem attacks to dismiss assassination researchers who do not adhere to the government line, labeling them "conspiracy theorists," and worse, "conspiracy buffs." Bugliosi writes, "Most of them are as kooky as a $3 bill." Researcher Mark Lane is "unprincipled" and a "fraud." The New York Times approves and gives Reclaiming History an enthusiastic review, agreeing that "these people should be ridiculed, even shunned [italics in original]." 

One blogger puts it this way: "Having been tossed a lone assassin and presented with an acceptable fable, the press will not go farther and try to digest the indigestible, to think the unthinkable and to question Brutus about the removal of Caesar."

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The Oswald-centered Sixth-Floor Museum in the Texas School Book Depository has reserved and will rope off the grounds in Dealey Plaza for its exclusive use during a planned week-long 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the JFK assassination. People there already have been seen wearing T-shirts that say "Oswald Acted Alone." The education Americans receive has reduced them to dutifully wearing T-shirts like this. The state indoctrinates us and does not teach its citizens to think critically. H.L. Mencken recognized this early on in the American century of big government and the warfare state. He wrote, "The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same level, to a breed of standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality." For people so inclined, it would be more accurate for that T-shirt to read, "The state reigns and tells us what is true."

The year 2013 will be the 100th Anniversary of the Federal Reserve and the Income Tax. A progressive personal income tax and a central bank – the (non-federal, non-reserve) Federal Reserve – that prints unlimited amounts of legal tender currency, touted as money, has provided the funds necessary to run a warfare state. As Ron Paul points out, "It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking."

With President Kennedy killed and, for good measure, eliminating any possibility of a peace-pursuing Kennedy dynasty with RFK's assassination and JFK Jr.'s airplane crash, the military-industrial establishment was free to pursue its interventionist, pro-war goals unencumbered. There were less than 17,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam with less than 90 deaths when JFK was assassinated. Had he lived and withdrawn all U.S. troops from Vietnam as he intended, an additional 58,000 American soldiers would not have died there, 200,000 suicides in soldiers who had tours of duty there would have been avoided, and 3.8 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians would not have been killed. Not much has changed. Soldiers fighting and being traumatized in the U.S. Empire's current wars continue to have a high rate of suicide. A recent issue of USA Today blares, "Army suicide rate in July hits highest one-month tally."

Americans are entering "a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act," our modern-day Paul Revere, Jim Garrison, warns us. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Cold War, originally directed against communism and the "Soviet threat" has morphed into Cold War 2.0, focusing on terrorism and the "Muslim threat." This keeps money flowing into the U.S. war machine, sporting its latest generation of pilotless drones. The power that the powers that be in the American warfare state possessed to kill the Kennedys is now being employed on a weekly basis by President Obama, who meets each Tuesday morning with his generals and advisers to pick the people they plan to kill that week, as revealed here.

Following Ron Paul's lead, the best thing Americans can do in John Kennedy's memory on the 50th anniversary of his death, and to restore the fiscal health and sanity of the nation, is end the Fed, repeal the income tax, radically reduce military spending, and seek peace between nations, a peace President Kennedy envisioned in his American University speech half a century ago.

Recommended Reading, Listening, and Viewing on the Kennedy Assassinations

In addition to Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why by Gerald McKnight (2005), three noteworthy books on this subject written after the Commission issued its findings are: Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report (1965) by Harold Weisberg, Rush to Judgment (1966) by Mark Lane, and Accessories After the Fact: The Warren Commission, the Authorities & the Report (1967) by Sylvia Meagher.

Two books worth reading along with Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK by Douglas Horne (2009) are Assassination Science: Experts speak out on the death of JFK (1998) and Murder in Dealey Plaza: What we know now that we didn't know then about the death of JFK (2000), both edited by James Fetzer. Two essays that nicely summarize the medical and autopsy evidence in the case available online are "How Five Investigations into JFK's Medical/Autopsy Evidence got it Wrong" by Gary Aguilar, MD and Kathy Cunningham and "The JFK Autopsy Materials: Twenty Conclusions after Nine Visits" by David W. Mantik, MD, PhD.

Harvey and Lee: How the CIA framed Oswald by John Armstrong (2003) stands alone.

A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History by Joan Mellen (2005) is a thoroughly researched and riveting account of how a New Orleans District Attorney and his team took on the CIA and the Federal government in attempting to bring the real murderers of President Kennedy to justice. Read also Joan Mellen's more recent companion volume to A Farewell to Justice titled Jim Garrison: His Life and Times, the Early Years (2008). One is also well rewarded by reading the two books Jim Garrison wrote, A Heritage of Stone (1970) and On the Trail of the Assassins: My investigation and prosecution of the murder of President Kennedy (1988). Two other noteworthy books on this subject are Let Justice Be Done by William Davy (1999) and Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison case by James DiEugenio (1992). A revised and updated version of Destiny Betrayed will be published in November, 2012.

Maryu2019s Mosaic: The... Peter Janney Best Price: $5.39 Buy New $11.09 (as of 06:15 UTC - Details)

Along with reading JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters by James Douglass (2010), I recommend History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian control, public denial, and the murder of President Kennedy by E. Martin Schotz (1996).

Other Books

Cover-up by Stewart Galanor (1998). A succinct, well written 107-page summary of the JFK assassination, along with 63 pages of photos, documents, diagrams, and a witness list. Especially recommended for readers new to the case. Dr. Aguilar writes, "Stewart Galanor's eloquent spare volume is a treasure for novice and expert alike. With understated prose and well-chosen images, Galanor dissects the core issues that hobble the single assassin thesis."

At the other end of the spectrum, read, if you can obtain a copy, the 1,771-page Assassination of America: The Kennedy Coups d'Etat, having this subtitle: The End of an Era, an Examination of the Jim Garrison Investigations, and the Effects of the Growing Totalitarianism in the Expanding Hegemonic American Empire. It is divided to three books, separately titled The Deaths in Dallas, The Masques of New Orleans, and Barren Harvest (all published in 2006). A fourth volume contains miscellaneous material and an index (2007). Regarding the Warren Commission Flammonde writes, "The only thing rarer than honesty in the investigation was competence." A captivating read. This book is out of print and available copies are scarce and, like with Harvey and Lee, expensive.

The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm X edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease (2003). A classic work edited by two leading assassination researchers, which contains material written by various authors that appeared in their Probe magazine.

Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA conspiracy to murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and their vision for world peace by Peter Janney (2012). Described (by Timothy Leary) as "good looking, [with] flamboyant eyebrows, piercing green-blue eyes, fine-boned face. Amused, arrogant, aristrocratic," Mary Meyer was a free spirit whose former husband was a high-level CIA officer. Lisa Pease and James DiEugenio trash this book. Nevertheless, I am convinced that Peter Janney is largely right: JFK did have an affair with Mary Meyer and the CIA killed her. See Janney's response to these researchers' criticism here. Mary Meyer was with JFK at his American University Commencement Address (Jacqueline was not). This book is worth reading.

Brothers: The Hidden H... Best Price: $2.53 Buy New $33.93 (as of 09:40 UTC - Details)

Brothers: the hidden history of the Kennedy years by David Talbot (2007). Well written and informative. Scratch the surface of the Kennedy murders and you'll find the CIA.

Two books on the RFK Assassination: The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: the conspiracy and coverup by William Turner and Jonn Christian (1978) and The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination: New revelations on the conspiracy and cover-up by Philip Melanson (1994).

Article: "Reasoning about Assassinations: Critical Thinking in Political Contexts" by James Fetzer (2006). An excellent 10-page analysis of the JFK case by a philosopher of science and leading assassination researcher and, published in the International Journal of the Humanities.

Interview: Don't miss Jim Garrison’s January 31, 1968, appearance on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” on NBC-TV (audio only, available here). As one can hear, Garrison outshines Carson. Although Carson obviously was well coached in his effort to discredit Garrison and his investigation. As one can hear, the audience sides with Garrison and Carson is not happy about it.

Video: The Men Who Killed Kennedy by Nigel Turner (Parts 1 and 2, 1988; 3-5, 1991; part 6, 1995; and parts 7-9, 2003).

Parts 1 and 2 of this series were first shown in England. A U.S. corporation, Arts and Entertainment, purchased them and produced four more parts. Parts 7-9 followed and were aired on the History Channel in November 2003 and then quickly withdrawn and suppressed. Parts 1-6 are available on DVD but not parts 7- 9. The entire nine-part series, however, is now available on YouTube. Part 1, "Coup D'Etat," covers the events in Dallas on the weekend of the shooting; Parts 2 and 3, "The Forces of Darkness" and "The Cover-Up" present a variety of witnesses and commentators; Part 4, "The Patsy," focuses on Lee Harvey Oswald; Part 5, "The Witnesses," on James Hosty and Ruth Paine, among others; and Part 6, "The Truth Shall Make You Free" interviews Marina Oswald and the HSCA's first deputy counsel Robert Tannenbaum, and others.

Banned segments:


Part 7, "The Smoking Guns," discusses Secret Service complicity in the assassination, the integrity of the medical evidence, and the bullet hole in the windshield. The bullet hole is not visible on the low resolution YouTube video, but Douglas Horne says that one can see it on a high-quality DVD of this segment (which I do not have). One witness, Dr. Evalea Glanges, tells an interviewer that, as a medical student, shortly after the assassination she saw a well-defined round, through-and-through bullet hole in the windshield of the Presidential limousine parked at the hospital.

Part 8, "The Love Affair"features Judyth Baker talking about her relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald and their connection with Dr. Alton Oschner, David Ferrie, and Guy Banister. In her book Me and Lee: How I came to know, love, and lose Lee Harvey Oswald (2010), Judyth Vary Baker tells how they worked together at the Reily Coffee Company in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. She recounts how Oswald worked with her as a courier on a covert CIA project to develop a cancer-causing virus, to be used to kill Castro in what would be a seemingly natural way and not arouse suspicion. Baker's account becomes more fanciful when she says that (her) Lee Harvey Oswald went to Mexico and drove places with her; but the Oswald she worked with at the Reily Coffee Company and who allegedly shot JFK was Harvey Oswald. He did not go to Mexico and didn't drive. Having Oswald carry a cancer-causing monkey virus to Mexico to kill Castro right before Kennedy is assassinated beggars belief.

Part 9, "The Guilty Men," indicts Lyndon Johnson on questionable evidence for allegedly conspiring to kill President Kennedy. It is generally thought that these last three segments were banned because Part 9 accuses President Johnson of playing a role in the crime. But seeing a bullet hole in the Presidential limousine's windshield in Part 7 is perhaps the main reason why the History Channel was persuaded to ban these three 2003 segments and not make a high-quality DVD for commercial release.



The Plot to Kill JFK: Rush to Judgment (1967) by Emile de Antonio and Mark Lane (available on VHS and YouTube). Mark Lane interviews witnesses crucial to the case.

Executive Action (1973) with Burt Lancaster (DVD and Amazon Instant Video) is based on Mark Lane's book Rush to Judgment. The plotters who order JFK's assassination in the film are "business titans and cast-iron traditionalists," powers that be who are disgusted with the way Kennedy is steering the country by promoting civil rights, intending to withdraw American troops from Vietnam, and seeking to end the Cold War.

The Parallax View (1974) with Warren Beatty (DVD and Amazon Instant Video). A chilling account of what happens to people who witness a political assassination and see too much.

JFK: Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition, 1991) Oliver Stone, Director; with actors Kevin Costner (playing Jim Garrison), Gary Oldman, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland, Jack Lemmon, Joe Pesci, Walter Matthau, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kevin Bacon. Be sure to watch the 207-minute Director's Special Edition, with its extra footage of "X" (Donald Sutherland playing Colonel Fletcher Prouty) talking to Garrison and telling him why the powers that be in the military-industrial-intelligence complex ordered Kennedy's assassination and an uncut version of Garrison's courtroom summation of the CIA's complicity in the case. This film is a crucial historical document. Scorned by the establishment media and government, it identifies the true murderers of President Kennedy. As Oliver Stone makes clear in JFK, President Kennedy's death was a state execution. JFK: The book of the film contains the screenplay by Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, reactions and commentaries, and research notes used for the film.


Two sites focus on the JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King assassinations:, CTKA: Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination and, The Mary Ferrell Foundation: Preserving the Legacy.

And then there is, where every Thursday night for a couple of hours Len Osanic, in Vancouver, B.C., interviews assassination researchers. Listeners can download the latest show on their iPods and access archived shows dating back to 2000. The interviews with Joan Mellen (shows 264 and 382), Gerald McKnight (355), and Jim Douglas (369, 372, 374-5, and 377) are especially notable and well worth listening to.

August 21, 2012

The Best of Donald Miller