At the Kennedy Center: ‘You turn that camera on, you’re going to get locked up’

On December 8, Karl Golovin crashed the party for the Kennedy Center awards with a full JFK disclosure message. For his trouble, he and his cameraman were threatened with arrest.

David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press makes a cameo appearance.

Golovin wants to use civil disobedience to pressure the U.S. government to release still secret JFK assassination files before their scheduled October 2017 release.

What do you think?

39 comments

  1. Karl Golovin says:

    Mr. Moderator, I would prefer characterization of “peacefully assembling to petition” for this “redress of grievances,” that the CIA/JFK files be immediately released – holding our government accountable to transparency – not as “disobedience,” but a necessary and beneficial process of very “Civil OBEDIENCE!” It is rather those suppressing the exercise of First Amendment rights as a “protest,” or “disobedient” who are being uncivil. That’s why threats of arrest were made for doing things that were neither wrong nor disruptive, standing with a sign and recording the act with a video camera. Being arrested, or threatened with arrest (as actually occurred), was really disobedience towards Constitutional freedoms and justice by those making the threats. It may even have been a violation of Title 18 U.S. Code Section 242, “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law.” I do acknowledge “white tie” and tails as having been over dressed by Kennedy Center Honors fashion requirements, but not towards the end of honoring JFK:).

  2. Karl Golovin says:

    It’s interesting that while returning to our car, neither the Kennedy Center security official, Mr. Jackson, nor Park Police Officer Spencer, said even a word about my holding up the sign while walking through the “Hall of States,” rather than carrying it at my side (as was done upon first coming up through the hall from the parking garage on that snowy/rainy night). Neither Officer Spencer nor Mr. Jackson, however, wanted video recording of the entire, arguably improper “ejection” process. Upon first questioning the legality of their preventing display of the sign or video-recording its presence, we were told “tonight, it doesn’t matter,” – explicit acknowledgement that, legal or not, they were going to suppress these First Amendment activities on this particular night of the Kennedy Center Honors! I don’t think John Kennedy himself would have approved or felt “honored” by this situational contempt for the rights of assembly and free speech!. As your readers may note from correspondence I’ve posted on “Scribd.com,” accessible by automatic web forwarding by clicking http://www.JFKvigil.com (also from local NBC News coverage on 11/22/13, part of this video), the U.S. Park Police, Kennedy Center and D.C. government officials were well aware, in advance, of the “vigil” for CIA/JFK records release that began at the public plaza/terraces of the Kennedy Center on the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Display of the sign continued thereafter, on a daily basis, with actual encouragement from Kennedy Center security personnel that this was recognized and accepted as First Amendment protected activity – until the night of Kennedy Center Honors – when apparently decisions had been made to “protect” those arriving from seeing the message displayed outside the main entrance, calling for release of the still secret CIA/JFK records, to “Honor John F. Kennedy.” We were actually told that, even the night of Kennedy Center Honors, we could still display the sign on the plaza/terrace, far from the main entrance, where it wouldn’t be seen by those arriving for the event. What’s very good news about that is the Kennedy Center and Park Police thereby confirmed, as implicit since 11/22/13, that the plaza/terraces of the Kennedy Center are indeed an accepted, recognized venue for First Amendment activities – such as on July 4th, 2014 at 12:30 pm. If there are enough Americans who want the records released and are willing to make the trip and peacefully assemble on the public terraces of the Kennedy Center that day, I believe success may quickly follow.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      Outstanding work. Getting it on MSM inside the Beltway is great progress. Might make Jeff feel a little less lonely inside the beltway.

      • Ronnie Wayne says:

        P.S. They don’t want to take you to jail. That could be MSM news (on a back page probably).

        • Karl Golovin says:

          Ronnie,

          In retrospect I believe the Park Police’s stated intent to arrest may have been a bluff – or again, maybe not?

          The evening before (Saturday), videographer Bill Dumas and I were at the State Department’s Truman Building (HQ building) where there was a dinner for those to be recognized the next evening, at the Kennedy Center Honors. Upon first arriving and asking at the front door how close the sign could be displayed, I spoke with both uniformed and plain clothes personnel. They huddled, left, then then returned to say: “We’re requesting that you move across the street, GSA Police are on the way.” There was a subtle inference that my presence would not be welcomed by the GSA Police. I waited for a while, began to leave, returned to be told I had missed the GSA Police, so then I called GSA Police dispatch and was basically lead to believe: GSA Police don’t have jurisdiction on the sidewalk adjoining the Truman Building – that is an area covered by Metropolitan D.C. Police.

          Long story short, although it was officially “requested” that I move across the street with the sign, it wasn’t actually mandatory or ever required that I do so. The officials acquiesced to my holding the sign on the sidewalk on the same side of the street, immediately in front of the State Department’s Truman Building, very close to the main entrance and driveway – something I gather most other persons who have tried to hold signs in the area have been bluffed out of doing.

          This brings to mind the interesting perception embedded by the news and film media in our minds, that exercising our First Amendment rights is some form of disobedience or a protest for which we should be punished, beaten or arrested – rather than just peacefully communicating, even about things our elected and appointed officials should WANT to know! Arrest shouldn’t be threatened towards those peacefully assembling, communicating and petitioning for a redress of grievances, the process provided for in the Constitution. To threaten, bluff or intimidate people into surrendering exercise of their Constitutional rights is arguably “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law” – a criminal offense, 18 U.S.C 242. I believe that law carries the potential for civil penalties, as well. I’m starting to suspect it is a common violation and we’ve gotten used to the idea that trying to peacefully, Constitutionally seek to keeping our government on track is something for which we must expect to be punished. That shouldn’t be the case.

          At the Kennedy Center on the evening of December 8th, to paraphrase/ consolidate statements of both the Kennedy Center Security’s Mr. Jackson and Officer Spencer: “You are going to be arrested unless you leave, take down the sign or move it where it won’t be seen – to the plaza area, where you’ve had it before – and NO, you can’t just step into the cordoned-off area with all the other, non-ticketed “autograph seekers” and hold the sign there, even waiting for Billy Joel to autograph it, either. You’ve got 30 seconds…”

          What on earth was I really doing that merited arrest? For several nights before, I actually held the sign IN THE SAME SPOT BY THE KENNEDY CENTER MAIN ENTRANCE where, on this particular evening, it was deemed an arrest-able offense .Possible charges were suggested to include “demonstrating without a permit” and “failure to obey a lawful command.” I spoke with Officer Spencer later, upon returning to the Kennedy Center after the initial “removal,” and was told he may have “just removed and detained, but not actually arrested me” – getting me and more importantly the sign – the MESSAGE – out of sight – without having to later explain in court what crime allegedly took place meriting arrest. In my law enforcement training and experience, that would have constituted “false arrest” – physically restricting freedom without any intent or apparent lawful basis for making an arrest.

          It is curious, in retrospect, how Kennedy Center Security and even U.S. Park Police objections ceased to our filming, even inside, next to the “Kennedy Center Honors” wall hangings, once arriving officials and/or celebrities were either out of sight, in the performance, or had already left after the show.

          I can’t second guess whether news coverage of an “arrest” at the Kennedy Center Honors that evening while advocating CIA/JFK records release would have benefited that cause more than the way things have unfolded. We withdrew, preserved video already recorded, returned, filmed some more, and the edited result is the YouTube message now in circulation. I hope it will prove beneficial to prompting release of the records.

    • Warren says:

      The spirit of the sixties lives!!!

  3. Hans Trayne says:

    I find intellectual civil disobedience a far better option for expressing unhappiness over perceived injustices as opposed to creating a public scene & risking being arrested or beaten (or both). It can be said that when one comments on the Internet those comments, once published, reach an intended audience globally in an instance without the risk of physical harm occurring to anyone.

    Regardless of if Jeff Morley publishes anyone’s comments online or not, we make him aware of how we feel about different aspects of the murder of President Kennedy & what upsets us the most. The comments he does publish can be seen and read by anyone with Internet access & the appropriate electronic device. The message is sent & received without violence.

    I find that avenue far more effective than crashing someone’s party, something sure to end in an unnecessary, ugly scene with nothing really accomplished in the long run.

    • Karl Golovin says:

      Hans,

      There was not actual or intended “party crashing” in a physical sense. I never intended or went into any ticketed venue of the Kennedy Center Honors event. We came up from the public parking garage, instead of trying to park free a few blocks away, due to rain/snow that evening. Secret Service and/or colleagues actually opened the car, ran bomb dogs on it, opened the trunk – same treatment as everyone else arriving in the parking garage that evening. Going back to the car the way we came from it was not “crashing.” I did have a spontaneous impulse to hold the sign up, mostly for the photographers I had seen first walking in – but such was the reaction to feeling unjustly removed from just standing outside with the sign, in a public space. As mentioned in a prior message, I had even held the sign right by the Kennedy Center’s main entrance for brief periods on several of the preceding evenings, so it seemed reasonable it would be allowed this evening as well. Since the “vigil” began on 11/22/13, the sign had only been held up in the public spaces – the plaza, or terrace, on the north end of the building – and along the sidewalk in front of the building, near the main entrance.

      I testify that it has been a great experience to be physically out there, speaking about the CIA/JFK files issue with those people who’ve wanted to, but not imposing it upon those who have preferred walking by. It has been a pleasure to even quietly witness for the issue by being physically present with the sign, even when nobody has wanted to discuss the issue.

      I share with you a tendency I think all of us share in contemporary American culture – to believe that if we can craft the perfect argument/ analysis of an important political issue in writing, it will gain attention, acceptance and prompt the change we believe necessary. It is, in fact, absolutely necessary to research and construct well reasoned and explained intellectual arguments. But their purpose is to prompt physical action – whether voting, constitutionally assembling to petition, or otherwise. In the absence of intellectual analysis ultimately focused towards or leading to political action, I suppose the result might just be the political equivalent of safe sex:) – I wonder if that will pass moderation?!

  4. Karl Golovin says:

    FYI, technically the quote is: “You turn that camera on, you’re getting locked up”

    • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

      Karl…if you find yourself needing a person to turn the camera on, let me know…LOL. I won’t have a problem with doing it.

  5. pete johnson says:

    great idea….

  6. Bob Truitt says:

    I’ll put July 4 2014@ 1230 on my schedule right now.

  7. Jonathan says:

    I think police today have been trained to suppress legitimate dissent and protest.

    I think if a million persons showed up at the Kennedy Center on July 4, 2014 to demand release of the files congress would be forced to act.

    I think the film “Rush to Judgment” gives the lie to the Warren Report.

    • SRV says:

      @Jon… Could not agree more… the first and the best of all on the subject!

      Not positive, but I don’t believe it’s ever been aired on US TV (what a shame). I saw it on the CBC in the mid eighties and was floored by the simplicity (it was really just interviews for the book of the same name thrown together in documantry form.. of course the book is THE case against the Warrren Commission and stands alone as the most thorough and effective disection of the whitewash) of ordinary eyewitness testimony (taken not much more than a year after the assassination) either ignored or twisted by the commission to fit the party line.

      Anyone who hasn’t taken the time to watch every minute simply must… it tells the truth, even as it was professional (and often literal) suicide to dare to speak it… Mark Lane has no pier in his work on the subject early on and against all odds!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAnX7atkpyA

  8. Thomas says:

    You’d think at the Kennedy Center they’d be fighting for the truth more than anybody. You’d think.

  9. Melvin Fromme says:

    Contemplating any type of demonstration or protest at an event containing the President & the First Lady is a recipe for disaster in any country. Bad idea.

    • Karl Golovin says:

      You bring to mind a variation on the theme of a tree falling in a forest: “If we have a First Amendment but are only allowed to exercise it outside the presence of those we wish to communicate with, do we really have a First Amendment?” Using the Constitutionally provided means to peacefully assemble, communicate with and thereby seek redress of grievances from even our highest elected official is the epitome of “Civil Obedience.” We shouldn’t feel shy or worthy of punishment for applying our First Amendment rights in the real world.

  10. GM says:

    Why was the trial in the middle of the 1980s in Miami never reported by the mainstream media in America?

    • Karl Golovin says:

      A best example is the forewoman of the jury stood on the courthouse steps after the libel verdict went against E. Howard Hunt and to paraphrase, said “Mr. Lane made his case by proving to us that the CIA assassinated President Kennedy.” That just wasn’t going to make the network news. Mark Lane’s book, “Plausible Denial,” recounts the trial and most important testimony in detail.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Second thoughts. I don’t know who Karl Golovin is, but I applaud him for his Gandhi and King-like efforts. We need a thousand more like him. He reveals the face of indifference and oppression on the part of the insiders. The oppression being carried out through lowly agents, the police.

    The police are understandable. The insiders, who shield themselves from the reality of JFK’s assassination, are also understandable. They are a threatened, insular species of deniers, who live high on the hog within their emerald city. Someone has written this book.

  12. Alan Dale says:

    I’m impressed by Mr. Golovin’s courage and by the the quality of this modest but well produced video.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  13. John Kirsch says:

    One question: who narrated the piece?
    The most chilling part: the mention of the anti-Castro Cubans and their trip to Dallas and Frank “Mr. Watergate” Sturgis telling Hunt he should have been in Dallas.
    The contempt for free speech and inquiry reminds me of a clip I saw in an “underground” film about the 68 convention in Chicago where a reporter for an alternative news organization tried to interview Roger Mudd, who ignored the young journalist and showed nothing but contempt for him.
    The vigil on July 4 reminds me of “The Armies of the Night,” Mailer’s brilliant account of the march on the Pentagon during Vietnam. The times now are more perilous than then. We are losing our democracy, or maybe have already lost it, just as Jim Garrison predicted.
    I congratulate Golovin for his brave efforts. We are losing our democracy, people. It’s time to take to the streets. The Kennedy assassination and coverup are directly relevant to what’s happening now. Wake up before it’s too late.

  14. Ronnie Wayne says:

    “telling Hunt he should have been been in Dallas.” Some believe he was. Angleton wrote a memo to Hunt to the effect of “We never did have a story about why Hunt was in Dallas that day.” We digress from FREE THE FILES, or do we? I wonder if those 1100 plus files might contain anything relating to this statement. As an American Citizen I’d like to know.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      Memo was to Helms.

    • Karl Golovin says:

      Even in his taped confession, near death, Hunt confessed to have been in Dallas on 11/22/63 as a “benchwarmer” on the assassination plot. Testimony recounted in “Last Word” and “Plausible Denial” provides that he dispersed cash in furtherance of the assassination, as would a “paymaster.”

    • Karl Golovin says:

      As per prior comments, Sturgis was speaking to the witness who testified to his words, Marita Lorenz. Details in “Plausible Denial” and “Last Word” by Mark Lane.

  15. George Simmons says:

    I believe that Karl Golovin should be congratulated for his efforts.
    Files being illegally withheld by the CIA ( eg the George Joannides files ) is a national disgrace.
    It is one thing for us to sit at our computers and post these messages, but another to get out there and have the courage to do this in person, openly, and with a willingness to accept the risks.
    Peaceful civil disobedience has been used before to great effect by great men such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King. It could help bring attention to the issue of releasing the files. It reminds me of a Martin Luther King quote when taking about civil disobedience, “It seeks so to dramatise the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”

    Could a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience dramatise the issue of the release of the files to an extent where the media and the government no longer ignore it the way they do today?

  16. leslie sharp says:

    At the risk of introducing too much controversy, Mr. Golovin’s position might be compared to an ongoing legal case in Ireland relating to citizens positioning themselves at Shannon Airport to demand that the Irish Government “adhere to the law of their country” … that of neutrality in that particular instance …. rather than allow US Government rendition planes and drones access to Shannon for service and refueling. In brief, the contention of Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell is that their physical interference with the landing and take off of US military planes at Shannon was their CIVIC DUTY, and by no means an instance of civil disobedience.

  17. Bill Kelly says:

    I’m sure Dick Gregory would be up for getting arrested to free the JFK files but I think the venue is misplaced, and the NARA or the CIA are more suitable targets of value, and we shouldn’t try to antagonize the Kennedy family but try to get them on the side of opening I’ve records.

    Instead of protesting there I suggest it be used as a staging area for protests at the doors of the real culprits.

    While July 4 is also a bad date because its hot in DC then and school is out depriving you of the biggest contingent – college kids who missed the sixties.

    We should consider leasing the Kennedy Center small theater or cafe and have a show with stand up comics and musicians who support opening the files and keep the issue focused on that one issue.

    BK

    • John Kirsch says:

      What this puts me in mind of is the 1967 March on the Pentagon. This time it would be a March on the CIA, perhaps? Good luck trying to get a permit.

  18. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Mr. Morley, since you asked. I think it’s an excellent approach, especially in conjunction with the objective of the website.
    The place is spot on. Where his Memory is Honored but it is also free to attend without the restrictions of Dallas on 11/22/13.
    I would love to be there but cannot afford it this year.
    Could this concept be expounded on on a major city basis?
    Especially cities like Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, Dallas and Washington/Boston and L,A as they are relevant. Though support throughout the Nation should be of utmost importance.
    This should involve regional conferences before a National Conference to FREE THE FILES for the sake of authenticity of purpose.

  19. Andrew Kreig says:

    Congratulations for a bold initiative, with good footage!

  20. Bill Simpich says:

    Congratulations, Karl Golovin! You are showing the way forward. I particularly agree with your enforcement of the First Amendment by seeking redress in a public venue. The Kennedy Center is a great location.

    I hope you adopt even more creative ways to build this campaign, so that July 4 is not a one-off event. You might consider encouraging the public to join you on the 22nd of each month, or the fourth Friday of each month (the 22nd was the fourth Friday. You might consider having a guest speaker each month.

  21. Linda says:

    Thank you Karl Groven for doing this you are not alone in your beliefs !!! 50 years is way to long we the people want the truth

  22. Jim Phelps says:

    Excellent Video! The main force behind the JFK was Masons. Think Hoover, LBJ, Mechison, Dulles, Mandel, McCone, et al.

    A good site that speaks to this being the case is here. Ignore all the garbage comments and read the MagnumOpus details—just read them in reverse order and the case against Masons is all there:

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread991176/pg24

    • Karl Golovin says:

      I think the CIA is as representative of a truly “secret society” as need be imagined. It even has us agreeing with expressions of secrecy and allowing operational functions beyond those Truman warned against, when he recommended in December 1963 that CIA be returned to its original, “intelligence-only” mandate.

  23. Jim Phelps says:

    Also—-More Concisely on this site the JFK Mason theme is put forth:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/170006093054239/

  24. JSA says:

    I applaud the effort, and hope that Americans sign on in droves to get these files released.

    A few thoughts after watching the YouTube clip:
    -The clips of Mark Lane interviewing witnesses were excellent. Despite naysaying by some on this blog’s comments, most witnesses in Dealey that day thought at least one shot came from the fence on the knoll and not from the Book Depository. We have, thanks to Mr. Lane, video testimony on the record from many of these people who were there.
    -Mentioning Harry Truman’s OP/Ed to the Washington Post is important, because we have as FACT that the president who oversaw the creation of CIA went on the record to say publicly via his opinion piece that he felt the Agency had overstepped its original charter of intelligence gathering.
    -I liked that Mr. Golovin dressed neatly and respectably in coat and tie. It sends a message that you can protest but you don’t have to look like a hippie. He dresses like he is on a job interview, and I think he makes a better impression by dressing well.
    -It would be nice if Mr. Golovin could get his one-man movement to grow into something bigger. Even Jesus had disciples. The original Colonial Americans worked pragmatically to get support from France and Holland in opposing King George, and to win you need to gain the support of powerful allies.
    -I wish the clip didn’t include WTC 9/11 footage, as I don’t think that has anything to do with the JFK case, and in fact there is very valid evidence supporting the case that hijackers did the Trade Towers and Pentagon damage with just the hijacked airplanes. The YouTube clip should have stayed focussed on JFK. Piggybacking (what I think are bogus) 9/11 conspiracy theories just dilutes the strong case against the Warren Commission and CIA in the JFK assassination cover up.

    Is there going to be a national or international campaign on July 4 of this year?

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