Unfortunately, Dana Milbank has gone ‘full Grassy Knoll’

Dana Milbank

Dana Milbank, pundit

This morning I was swimming in the warm liberal bath that is the daily Washington Post. I was thoroughly enjoying Dana Milbank’s take down of Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity. Milbank was demolishing Hannity’s foolish claim that fellow gasbag Glenn Beck could “go to jail” for criticizing former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. (One of the few pleasures of the 2016 presidential campaign is watching these jackasses bicker among themselves.)

Milbank quoted Beck’s unusually astute interpretation of the 1rst Amendment.
“That’s my point,” Beck replied, adding: “Donald Trump has people chanting, ‘Put them in jail, put them in jail,’ about the press. When is someone’s opinion on a public figure something that is jail-worthy and not First Amendment protected?”
“Such a question,” Milbank went on, “might have troubled Hannity during those occasions when he fancied himself a journalist over the years. Instead, he has gone full Grassy Knollin a manner reminiscent of Beck…”

Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity, gasbag

And there I paused out of concern for a colleague.

I’ve heard that phrase before. It is used by football fans and Washington pundits alike. It has probably even been said about me, though never to my face. I don’t think its use discredits Milbank, an energetic reporter who pulls few punches while retaining a healthy sense of humor. But his use the phrase “going grassy knoll” indicates that he suffers from a common psychological malady known as JFK Panic Syndrome, a form of “cognitive dissonance” that is pervasive in the Washington press corps.
What is JFK Panic Syndrome?
Grassy knoll aftermath

A cop runs toward the grassy knoll on November 22.

Psychologists define “cognitive dissonance” as “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions.” JFK Panic Syndrome manifests itself when journalists (or pundits or historians) abandons their usual standards of professionalism when dealing with the fact pattern around the assassination of President Kennedy. The unfortunate victims of this affliction change their usual behavior–reporting and assessing facts–in favor of suppressing or distorting or ignoring facts.

Milbank’s case is illustrative. For those mercifully innocent of the JFK assassination story, the term “grassy knoll” refers to a tree-shaded, fence-lined parking lot area overlooking the Dallas street where President Kennedy was shot to death on November 22, 1963.
Milbank seems to believe that it is patently ridiculous to think a gunshot came from the area–just as ridiculous as believing Hannity’s yarn that Secret Service agents accompanying Hillary Clinton carried a syringe. As a factual matter he is wrong. There is no evidence the Secret Service agent was carrying a syringe (it was flashlight). By contrast, there is lots of evidence that a gunshot came from the grassy knoll.
Here’s what the facts show.
* Most of the police officers at the scene of Kennedy’s murder–at least 21 of them–thought a gunshot had come from knoll area. These trained law enforcement professionals included Dallas police chief Jesse Curry who immediately ordered his men to search the area, and Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman who was seated a few feet in front of JFK in the presidential limousine.
* Other eyewitnesses at the scene said the same thing. Merriman Smith, the UPI reporter who coined the term “grassy knoll,” discerned a gunshot had come from the front. So did bystander Bill Newman who was less than 15 feet away from Kennedy when the fatal shot hit. (Newman is an especially impressive witness, as learned when I did something that victims of JFK Panic Syndrome assiduously avoid: I interviewed him.)
Grassy Knoll 11/22/63

Bystanders converge on the grassy knoll

* Dr. Robert McClelland, the doctor who stood over JFK in the last moments of his life examined the head wound for ten minutes. He says, without equivocation, that Kennedy was hit by gunfire fired from in front of the motorcade. Here is an excellent interview in which Dr. McClelland tell the story himself.

* No gunman was ever found there. Within a few minutes of JFK’s assassination, bystanders searched the parking lot and found footprints (never analyzed by police) and cigarette butts (ditto).
* No grassy knoll gunmen has ever been conclusively identified, as investigative reporters at The Onion have confirmed.
Reasonable intelligence people acting in good faith draw different conclusions from this body of conflicting evidence. JFK researchers note that a few minutes was plenty of time for a gunman to put a gun in the trunk of a car and walk away. JFK anti-conspiracy theorists conclude there was no gunman there.
What causes JFK Panic Syndrome?
If those were all the facts we had, Dana Milbank and other could fairly use the phrase “going grassy knoll”  to describe people who had a strong but unfounded suspicion.
Giamatti as Zapruder

Abraham Zapruder, eyewitness (as played by Paul Giamatti in the movie “Parkland.”

But we do have other facts besides earwitness testimony. We have the home movie of the assassination, taken by Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder. The famous and gruesome film shows Kennedy’s head and body blasted backwards, as if by a gunshot from the front.

(Please note the conditional language. I am not “going grassy knoll” here. I’m not asserting as a factual matter that a gunshot came from the front. Life is too short and JFK discussions are too long. Watch Zapruder’s film here, and decide for yourself where the shot came from. My opinion is unimportant.)
Like the Warren Commission itself, those who use the phrase, “going grassy knoll,” prefer not to think too hard about the evidentiary value of Zapruder’s film. The Commission’s report did not attempt to describe or explain what is seen on the film. The report merely stated that  Kennedy “fell to his left” after being shot.
That was factually inaccurate, if not deliberately misleading. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the first person to show the film in public, had a much more fuller and more precise description, which Oliver Stone immortalized in “JFK, the movie. As Garrison rewound the film for a jury in 1969, he intoned what the Warren Commission dared not say. The fatal shot blasted Kennedy “backwards and to the left.”
Geraldo Rivera

Geraldo Rivera, ABC News

I think a serious epidimological study would show that the Zapruder film is the primary cause of JFK Panic Syndrome. I’m sure Milbank has seen it. I’m sure he know that the government suppressed Zapruder’s film for twelve years. He probably knows that the film was shown on national TV for the first time by ABC New reporter Geraldo Rivera in March 1975. And he may even know that the government’s first attempt to explain the suppressed evidence came from the Rockefeller Commission.

It is here that Milbank abandons his usual journalistic skepticism in favor of an odd credulity. Milbanks knows the Rockefeller Commission was very much like the Warren Commission: a group of Washington insiders, selected to pass judgment on and defuse a controversial issue. He may even know that Rivera’s airing of the Zapruder film forced the Commission to attempt to explain the evidence that the government had been suppressing for twelve years.
This is what the Commission had to say in June 1975.
“the backward movement resulted both from a neuromuscular reaction and a ‘jet effect’ from the explosion at the right front of the head where the bullet exited.”
Milbank accepts this theory as a fact, which is a unfortunate failure of his usual professionalism.
The problem with the jet effect theory is that it was just that: a theory.  The “jet effect” was not subjected to the normal peer review required by scientific procedure. There was no review of the claim by doctors expert in neuromuscular reactions or physicists familiar with kinetic energy.
Later the author of this theory, Dr. Luis Alvarez, would cite as confirmation of the jet effect an informal experiment in which several cantaloupe melons struck by bullets flew towards the source of the gunfire. But of course, scientific observers are fairly certain that JFK’s head was not a cantaloupe. And Alvarez’s experimental results were never reproduced. So the scientific value of the Rockefeller Commission’s belated theory were nil. Yet Milbank seems to accept it.
Head Shot (The best treatment of the issue that I have ever read is a short book called “Head Shot,” by G. Paul Chambers, a government scientist with a PhD in physics. He demolishes both the jet effect and the neuromuscular anti-conspiracy theories while wisely abstaining from JFK theorizing himself.)
What causes Milbank to manifest the “inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes” demonstrated by his strident defense of an unconfirmed theory? The answer, alas, is JFK Panic Syndrome.
Is there a cure? 
If we take the “full grassy knoll” epithet literally, it would describe people who voice an unproven opinion (that there was a grassy knoll gunman) grounded in credible eyewitness testimony (some four dozen people) and some supporting evidence (the Zapruder film).
In this vein, we might say that people who think OJ Simpson is guilty of murder have gone “full grassy knoll.” Their opinion, of course, is unproven–no one has ever been found guilty of the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman–but there is some witness testimony and other evidence to indicate that Simpson was responsible.
Of course, that is not what Milbank is saying about Sean Hannity. Milbank is saying that Hannity’s thought process is ludicrous and paranoid– which is entirely accurate, so far as it goes. But by using the rhetoric of “full Grassy Knoll” to make his point, Millbank inadvertently discloses that he suffers from JFK Panic Syndrome. He is demonstrating that he is either unfamiliar with the evidence of happened on November 22, 1963 or that he is unwilling or unable to accurately describe it. He suffers from a mild form of the extreme irrationality that he rightly attributes Hannity.
This doesn’t mean Milbank is a bad journalist or a bad person. It just means that has an affliction that is epidemic in Washington.  The good news is that JFK Panic Syndrome, while common and lamentable, is also curable. You just have to collect the facts and describe them accurately, and bingo, you are cured.

———

Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account yet of the JFK records that the CIA is still concealing in 2016 and why they should be made public in October 2017.

CIA & JFK

27 comments

  1. Dan says:

    In light of the historical record of “false flag” operations, it may be journalistic malpractice to not consider that an act of political violence such as the JFK assassination contains a hidden truth. William Shirer in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” describes the Reichstag Fire as such an operation by the Nazis in which the Brownshirts chanced on a young Dutch communist prone to acts of arson. The Nazis encouraged him to set fire to the Reichstag, while they provided the manpower to fully light the fires that burned the building. The Nazis then quickly blamed the fire on the communists and seized dictatorial powers. As the engraving on the wall of the National Archives says, “Past is Prologue”.

  2. Stephen Dale says:

    Good points. I tend to believe that if someone shot from the knoll he missed.

  3. J.D. says:

    For some reason, the subject of the JFK assassination has a brain-scrambling effect on otherwise laudable people. I’ve lost track of the number of smart, sensible liberals I’ve seen sneering about grassy knolls and magic bullets. They generally haven’t read much on the subject, but they’ve gotten the message that it isn’t a “serious” subject, and that serious people should stay away from it. (Imagine taking such an attitude toward Watergate or Iran-Contra.)

    Visit any number of mainstream progressive websites and blogs, from Democratic Underground to Slate to Lawyers, Guns and Money, and you hear the same things, over and over, without much variation: that Oswald’s guilt is unquestionable, that conspiracies don’t happen because nobody can keep a secret, and that we only believe in conspiracies because we can’t accept the cruel randomness of life. You also hear that Kennedy was a mediocre president and an immoral womanizer with a reckless foreign policy and a lousy record on civil rights, and that we should quit talking about him.

    How do they “know” these things? They don’t, of course. These are establishment-friendly opinions that they’ve absorbed without really thinking about them. The same people who insist that the government would never lie to them about something as consequential as a president’s death have no trouble perceiving that George W. Bush deliberately deceived the public about Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons stash. A minute’s reflection would reveal the foolishness of the idea that a lone crackpot is scarier than a vast, unaccountable plot. But these platitudes never go away, and the conversations about JFK’s death never get any smarter.

  4. ed connor says:

    The Washington Post has a long history of suppressing dissenting views on the assassination and supporting the conclusions of the Warren Commission at all costs.
    In 1979, when the HSCA released its report and concluded that JFK was probably shot as the result of a conspiracy, the Post published an editorial suggesting that two gunmen fired at the president in Dealey Plaza from two different directions COINCIDENTALLY; the two gunmen had no knowledge of each other, hence no conspiracy.
    They are in the bag for the Washington intelligence community.

  5. DB says:

    Not disagreeing with some of the thoughts here but most do put JFK is a the good president category. Of course not all but the bias is generally positive with him IMO.

    Then his decisions were heavily criticized to the point of some calling him traitor (and IMO to the point of removing him to change back to a general pro military engagement policy) but over time people have realized his decisions were very sound as the alternative would have been such needless pain and suffering and for what? We thoroughly beat Russia and Cuba in the long game without needless years of disaster.

    I give him credit for bucking the general foreign policy playbook at the time (and even today).

    Its hard to imagine how much better we would be today without that ridiculous Iraq war and the aftermath we are still in. We threw away trillions upon trillions that could of went to funding our pensions, amongst other things- tax cuts etc., and for what’s now 15 years of a middle east mess. JFK seems to have done very good on the big country changing decisions.

    • James says:

      Totally agree. There is a vast amount of ‘information’ out there which attacks JFK, both his personal life and political, really some of it is venomous stuff-why? Retorical question of course as i already know the answer to that question.

      JFK was a rich boy who was highly privileged yet he volunteered for action and lost good friends to war not least his brother. During those times he wrote to his friends expressing his frustration at the leaders of the time and what he viewed as the waste of life and unnecessary conflict. He held those beliefs but still fought for his country.

      JFK literally travelled the world and learnt the way of the world. I believe this gave him an imeasurable advantage over the likes of Nixon and LBJ. He understood there is a world beyond America and he’d been there and for me this made him one of your best presidents. You certainly wouldnt have lost 58,000 or so Americans in Vietnam for a start and dropped agent orange etc. JFK was a modern outward looking leader who quite frankly was deemed a threat to national security for many reasons money included. After his removal, from there-forth America has had leaders too ready to engage in warfare and vast destruction and loss of life with the exception of Obama perhaps. Many would say JFK was weak for his lack of desire for war, however i say he was wise beyond his 47 years and his death affected the globe not just America and those effects are still felt now.

  6. Jake says:

    This whole thing could be cleared up in two seconds if people would simply advocate for a clear scan of the Darnell film. What could possibly be the harm? Nobody’s making any money off it anyway, nor could they ever, so what’s the deal? Call for the scans. Make people like me who have gone Grassy Prayer Man look like the fool I must surely be 😉

    • Avinash says:

      Unfortunately Prayer Man seems to be toxic for many researchers.

      • Jake says:

        All too true. However, that sort of unpleasantness has never been, is not, nor shall it ever be, a legitimate basis for not supporting advocacy for the procurement of a clear scan of the Darnell film.

        What significant meaning would the identification of this singularly unknown person either as Oswald on the steps or as some other heretofore unknown person at that particular moment on the steps appearing in Darnell (and just to avoid any confusion, also seen in the Wiegman film standing in frame concurrently with Lovelady) reveal?

  7. Yes. I too cringed when Milbank resorted to using the “Grassy Knoll” metaphor with respect to Hannity’s ongoing and journalistically unethical advocacy of Trump (I won’t stoop to calling it “nutty” though I’d like to). One only wishes that Dana (an excellent and often very funny columnist)was as cynical about the Warren Commission’s conclusions as he is about the way federal institutions and politicians operate today. There were a lot fewer fact-checking media watchdogs back in 1963 than there are now and much more falsehood and corruption was missed then as a result. Even the biggest and most far-reaching falsehood of all.

  8. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Oh what a load of horse**** Milbank is full of it if he can’t recognize the Fact that he is being taken in relation to the grassy knoll. SOMEBODY shot from there. Watch the Zapruder film. Again, Back and to the Left. WHY didn’t they look in the trunks of the cars in the parking lot if they were Investigating the Shooting of the President?

  9. Ken Rogers says:

    Mr. Morely seems to be unaware of the highly credible confession of the grassy knoll shooter, Mafia hitman and CIA contract killer, James Files.

    From his prison cell, decades after the fact, Files describes his biting down on the shell casing from the CIA-issued weapon with which he shot Kennedy in the right temple.

    Years after 1963, a shell casing of the caliber Files said he used, complete with human teeth marks, was found close to the grassy knoll’s picket fence, on which Files said he had placed it.

    His full description of his participation in the assassination, including his brief relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald pursuant to it, is readily available online.

    • jeffmorley says:

      My name is Morley and I’m not unaware of Files. I’m skeptical. It’s possible he’s telling the truth. But from what I’ve read its also possible he is bored convicted criminal who has read the JFK literature and likes to manipulate people. I don’t see much corroborating evidence for his story. I was struck by how he spoke of “David Atlee Phillips.” The middle name mostly occurs in the JFK literature. Its not a name Phillips or his his CIA colleagues used. (It was his daughter’s name.) Judyth Baker does the same thing.
      The bitten bullet story is a tad theatrical and isn’t corroborated by the evidence provided on the Files site. To nail the story down, you’d need to know when and where Files first told the story of the bitten bullet.
      The one thing in File’s favor is that Zach Shelton believes his story. That’s not proof he’s telling the truth but Shelton, as a career FBI man, has some credibility in assessing the story of a convicted criminal and no vested interest in vouching for Files. To the contrary. So I say case unproven. Which is why I don’t mention it. “Might be true” isn’t good enough for a JFK story outside of a barroom.

      • Ken Rogers says:

        Jeff,

        To make me aware of what I may be missing, please indicate what evidence makes you skeptical of the veracity of Files’ videotaped confession of his being one of the assassins of JFK.

        I trust you have more than the evidence of how he referred to his alleged controller, David Atlee Phillips. Even if that were other than the wispiest tangential smoke, it’s a documented fact that Files has referred to Phillips both with and without saying Phillips’ middle name.

        Regarding the critically important claim of Files that he bit down on the spent cartridge from the Remington Fireball supplied to him by Phillips and with which he says he shot JFK in the right temple, then placing the cartridge on the grassy knoll’s fence, you assert: “The bitten bullet story is a tad theatrical and isn’t corroborated by the evidence provided on the Files site. To nail the story down, you’d need to know when and where Files first told the story of the bitten bullet.”

        Here’s what Jim Marrs has written about Files’ bitten cartridge remark:

        “TO JAMES FILES CONFESSION CRITICS: ANSWER ME THIS

        “First off let me set the record straight. I have not — nor am I now –taking any particular position on the truthfulness of the James E. Files confession. I was not on the Grassy Knoll on November 22, 1963, so I cannot
        state with any 100 percent assurance what really happened.

        “All I have ever said on this matter is that I am aware of much more to this story than simply a talking-head videotaped confession and that I feel it deserves more serious attention than it has received in the past. Those who have been so quick to dismiss Files as a hoax do not know the full details of this issue. Others have personal problems with one or more of the researchers who have brought the Files story public. Let’s not toss out the
        message just because we don’t like the messenger.

        “Never forget that the whole Files story came about due to a tip from an FBI agent, not from mere speculation by some researcher.

        “Despite what I feel to be an honest and open-minded attitude toward the Files story on my part, I, along with anyone else who dares to admit interest in this issue, have suffered much abuse on the Internet and other
        places from some critics who, after superficial or no research, branded the Files story a hoax.
        [My emphasis]

        “Without making a long, involved story even longer, I would simply like the answers to the following three simple questions [I cite only one of the three, here] regarding James Files:

        “HOW DID JAMES FILES KNOW THAT HUMAN TEETH IMPRESSIONS WOULD BE FOUND ON A .222-CALIBER SHELL CASING FOUND ON THE GRASSY KNOLL IN 1987?

        “It is a fact that John C. Rademacher of Granbury, Texas, discovered a.222-caliber shell casing on the north Grassy Knoll in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza in 1987. He brought the casing to my class at the University of Texas at
        Arlington in 1990. I recall asking him about strange marks on the casing because at the time I was very interested in the sabot or husk bullet issue.
        Rademacher said the mark was on the casing when he found it but that he had no idea what it was.

        “On May 3, 1993, researcher Bob Vernon along with TV executive Barry Adelman first interviewed James E. Files in prison. Files claims to have used an unusual and expensive single-shot match pistol, a .222-caliber Remington XP-100 ‘Fireball’, to shoot President Kennedy from behind the wooden picket fence on top of the Grassy Knoll. Toward the end of the interview, Files casually mentioned that he had left the .222-caliber shell casing behind on the Grassy Knoll and that if anyone was to find it they would know it was his. When asked how it could be identified, Files said he had bitten down on the empty shell casing and left it behind on a cross piece of the wooden picket fence. ‘It will have my teeth marks on it,’ he explained. [Emphasis added]

        “Reflecting on this information, Vernon recalled seeing something about a man finding a shell casing on the Grassy Knoll, in the files of the late Texas researcher Joe West. After locating the story in West’s material, Vernon along with Mrs. Joe West visited Rademacher in July, 1993, and first saw the shell casing with the markings on it. After about two months of correspondence, Vernon finally obtained the shell casing in late September, 1993, and sent it for study by Dr. Paul Stimson of the University of Texas at Houston, a member of the American Boards of Oral Pathology and Forensic
        Odontology. About Oct. 4, 1993, following days of microscopic examination, Dr. Stimson reported, ‘Opinion: The indentations are oriented on the shell casing in a pattern that would be consistent with the maxillary right
        central incisor making the larger mark and the two smaller marks would be consistent with the lower right central and lateral incisors. It is my opinion that the marks are consistent with having been made by human
        indentation.’

        “It is highly unlikely that this whole story could be a gigantic hoax involving such diverse people as Dr. Stimson, Vernon, Joe West (who died before ever learning of the casing connection between Rademacher and Files)
        and his wife, Adelman, Files, myself and others over a period of more than six years.

        “Having rejected the complicated hoax theory and considering that apparently no one in the world knew of the casing/teeth issue prior to Dr. Stimson’s
        findings in October, 1993, I am left with the question — If he had no first-hand knowledge, how did James Files know that human teeth impressions would be found on a .222-caliber shell casing [the caliber of the weapon Files says he used] discovered on the Grassy Knoll
        in 1987?”
        [Emphasis added]
        http://forum.jfkmurdersolved.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1392

        I trust that you regard Jim Marrs as a serious and accomplished JFK assassination researcher, rather than a mere barroom speculator, but if that’s not the case, please let me know.

        Thanks in advance for your response.

        Ken

        • jeffmorley says:

          Sure, Jim Marrs in credible. What I want to know is this:

          Rademacher finds a .222 shell in 1987. The discovery receives some press coverage. Seven years later, Files tells a story about a .222 shell.

          Do you have copies of newspaper articles about Rademacher’s discovery in 1987?

          • Ken Rogers says:

            No, I don’t have any copies of any newspaper articles regarding Rademacher’s discovery of the shall casing.

            Why, specifically, do you ask?

          • jeffmorley says:

            Well if Rademacher discovered the bullet in 1987 and details were published, then Files’s statements in 1993 could have been based on those news reports. Do we have evidence that Files made his comments about the .222 shell before 1987?

        • Ronnie Wayne says:

          Jim Marrs was investigating a lead in the case at the time many found intriguing. I’ve not read anything about him supporting, or denouncing Files since. He has since gone on to Rule By Secrecy and Rise Of The Fourth Reich. Without Crossfire at the time it came out some of us might not have pursued our interest.

  10. Ken Rogers says:

    Here’s a good place to start with regard to evaluating the credibility of James Files’ testimony:

    “Is James Files telling the truth?
    Why do I believe James Files is telling the truth? Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons in random order:

    “When I first learned about James Files some three years ago, I was rather amazed that I didn’t know his name. After all, I had been studying the Kennedy assassination for over 12 years. I was more astonished because Files had made his confession in 1994 and I was told the website had been up since 1995. When I searched for the name ‘James Files’ on the Internet, I found that 9 out of 10 articles attempted to completely discredit Files’ story. I then set out to closely investigate these criticisms and came to the conclusion they were all superficial and didn’t hold water.”

    http://jfkmurdersolved.com/filestruth.htm

  11. James says:

    I’ve watched the whole interview with files and I’m not convinced by him. He tells a good story but I found there to be too many holes in his fairy tale. He’s very matter of fact also after so many years and shows zero remorse. The sheer number of people killed by those responsible, the mysterious deaths, the plenitude of heart attacks in those directly linked to killing of JFK yet they miss out Files, the only one who shouts from the roof tops and names important people. He was also somewhere else during the killing was he not?

  12. dan clark says:

    I’m skeptical on James Files:
    A. he’s alive
    B. his name never came up as far as I can remember in any of the JFK or Mafia books I’ve read over the years and one would think some mob guy or some researcher along the way would have identified him. I mean it’s certainly *possible* he was there but,…see point A
    C. Two people who I believe to have been shooters in Dealey Plaza (based on anecdotes I’ve read and also the story of one of these families coming into a large sum of money immediately after the murder) they are: Roscoe White (picket fence, Mandarin) and Malcolm Wallace (tsbd, Lebanon). Let’s find out who the 3rd shooter or even 4th was/were. When did they die? Lucien Sarti died in 1972 (I don’t have an opinion as to whether this guy was there but I’m mentioning it as I find the deaths of those witnesses and/or people who may have had some knowledge or involvement all seem to come in clusters and his death would fit that timeline)…White and Wallace perished in 1971 and 1972 respectively (and they died of “natural causes”, correct? jk).

    Side note – I read today about an LHO mural in Dallas that is causing consternation with city officials. AP described LHO in this story as the “assassin”. A not so subtle change from decades of his being referred to as “alleged assassin”.

  13. Ken Rogers says:

    @jeffmorley September 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

    “Well if Rademacher discovered the bullet in 1987 and details were published, then Files’s statements in 1993 could have been based on those news reports. Do we have evidence that Files made his comments about the .222 shell before 1987?”

    Jeff,

    Isn’t the more appropriate question, “Do we have any evidence that any news article(s) referred to Rademacher’s discovery in 1987?”

    And isn’t it even more appropriate to ask if there were any such news article which mentioned indentations in the shell casing?

    Nonetheless, even if we’re able to find such a news article, (I personally haven’t been able to do so via a cursory online search) isn’t the burden of proof on us to disqualify Files’ testimony, i.e., it’s we who need to present evidence that Files had access to such an article and, more to the point, evidence that he read it?

    If O.J. Simpson were to have confessed to an investigator, years after the fact, that his knife had struck a paving stone in the area in which he stabbed to death Nichole Simpson and Ron Goldman, chipping out a quarter-sized piece of the stone, which chip he was unable to find in the dark in his haste to get away from the murder scene, would you ask if there were news articles or police reports to which Simpson may have had access prior to this aspect of his confession? If not, why not?

    Moreover, even if knowledge of such self-incriminating evidence had been available to Files via a news article, the examination of the shell casing by orthodontist Dr. Paul Stimson, identifying the indentations as being consistent with human teeth marks, was not performed until October of 1993 after Files had stated in an interview on May 3, 1993 that he had bitten and left the casing on the Grassy Knoll Fence in 1963.

    Here, again, is what Jim Marrs wrote:
    “It is a fact that John C. Rademacher of Granbury, Texas, discovered a .222-caliber shell casing on the north Grassy Knoll in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza in 1987. He brought the casing to my class at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1990. I recall asking him about strange marks on the casing because at the time I was very interested in the sabot or husk bullet issue. Rademacher said the mark (sic) was on the casing when he found it but that he had no idea what it was. [My emphasis]

    “On May 3, 1993, [Emphasis added] researcher Bob Vernon along with TV executive Barry Adelman first interviewed James E. Files in prison. Files claims to have used an unusual and expensive single-shot match pistol, a .222-caliber Remington XP-100 “Fireball”, to shoot President Kennedy from behind the wooden picket fence on top of the Grassy Knoll.

    “Toward the end of the interview, Files casually mentioned that he had left the .222-caliber shell casing behind on the Grassy Knoll and that if anyone was to find it they would know it was his. When asked how it could be identified, Files said he had bitten down on the empty shell casing and left it behind on a cross piece of the wooden picket fence. “It will have my teeth marks on it,” he explained. [Emphasis added]

    “Reflecting on this information, Vernon recalled seeing something about a man finding a shell casing on the Grassy Knoll in the files of the late Texas researcher Joe West. After locating the story in West’s material, Vernon along with Mrs. Joe West visited Rademacher in July, 1993, and first saw the shell casing with the markings on it. After about two months of correspondence, Vernon finally obtained the shell casing in late September, 1993, and sent it for study by Dr. Paul Stimson of the University of Texas at Houston, a member of the American Boards of Oral Pathology and Forensic
    Odontology.

    “About Oct. 4, 1993, following days of microscopic examination, Dr. Stimson reported, ‘Opinion: The indentations are oriented on the shell casing in a pattern that would be consistent with the maxillary right central incisor making the larger mark and the two smaller marks would be consistent with the lower right central and lateral incisors. It is my opinion that the marks are consistent with having been made by human indentation.’
    http://forum.jfkmurdersolved.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1392

    After seeking immunity from prosecution for his crime, James Files has reluctantly confessed to first-degree murder of a sitting US President.

    When someone confesses to having committed a heinous crime, particularly at great peril to himself vis a vis the judicial system and from agents of the Underworld and the Deep State, isn’t it clearly incumbent upon anyone who doubts the veracity of that confession to produce relevant evidence that contradicts one or more aspects of it?

    JIm Marrs has also called attention to corroboration (by CIA contract pilot Tosh Plumlee) of Files’ contention that mobster and CIA asset Johnny Roselli had backed out of his assigned role as a second JFK shooter on 11/22/63, for fear of being killed in Dallas by a CIA “abort team”:

    “Tosh says he flew Roselli into Dallas on a military plane and Roselli tells Files he arrived on a military flight. Tosh said the flight was to bring in an ‘abort team’ and Roselli bows out of his part in the assassination confessing fear of an ‘abort team.’ Since Tosh and Files are the only two people I have ever heard mention an ‘abort team’ and since by all research Tosh and Files never met, how could Files have known about an ‘abort team’ unless his story of Roselli’s statements are true?”
    http://forum.jfkmurdersolved.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1392

    None of the evidence I’ve seen undermines in the least what Files has admitted to. On the contrary, his confession is consistent with and/or actively supported by a wealth of evidence that Files has been in no way whatsoever able to produce or control.

    Please share with me (and your other readers) any evidence that you’re aware of that credibly casts doubt on the veracity of Files’ confession.

    Ken

  14. Ken Rogers says:

    @Jeffmorley September 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

    “Well if Rademacher discovered the bullet in 1987 and details were published, then Files’s statements in 1993 could have been based on those news reports. Do we have evidence that Files made his comments about the .222 shell before 1987?”

    You’re grasping at straws, Jeff.

    Yes, it’s logically possible, i.e., not self-contradictory, that there may have been a news article published about Rademacher’s discovery in 1987 while Files was in prison in Illinois. Can you produce such a news article, let alone evince evidence that Files was likely to have read and remembered it?

    Even if you are able to produce such an article, for it to have any evidentiary value, wouldn’t it need to refer to teeth marks on the shell casing?

    Remember Rademacher’s response to Marrs question about the markings on the casing: “I [Marrs] recall asking him about strange marks on the casing because at the time I was very interested in the sabot or husk bullet issue. Rademacher said the mark was on the casing when he found it but that he had no idea what it was. [My emphasis]

    Now, if Rademacher had been interviewd by a reporter (and we don’t know that he was), how likely do you think it is that this hypothetical reporter would have gotten a different answer from Rademacher, even if he were to have asked Rademacher what the marks were?

    I note that you didn’t even respond to what Marrs said about the independent testimony of both Files and CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee regarding the JFK assassination “abort team” sent in by the CIA on 11/22/63. Why is that?

    You’re willing to admit that many witnesses rushed toward the Grassy Knoll in response to gunfire from there, but when someone with a wealth of knowledge supported by corroborating evidence confesses to having been that Grassy Knoll shooter, your feet get cold and you become “skeptical,” while avoiding confronting the evidence corroborating that shooter’s confession.

    Is it possible that you, yourself, are suffering from a case of what you’ve described as “JFK Panic Syndrome”?

    There is, after all, as you say, an epidemic of it.

    Ken

    • jeffmorley says:

      Its not panic, Ken. It’s called due diligence. As a convicted criminal who waited decades to tell a sensational story and has little evidence to support his claims, Files has a credibility deficit. The evidence that he does produce deserves scrutiny. I’m not invested one way or the other in the answers. If the evidence supports Files, I’ll say that. But we don’t have much evidence and what we do have is problematic.

      First, you’re the one who said Rademacher’s story was covered in the press. If that’s the case, that coverage needs to be found and compared to File’s statements. That still needs to be done. Convicted criminals make sh*t up. They use facts to concoct bullsh*t. The possibility that Files learned of Rademacher’s bullet and wove it into his self-aggrandizing tale is real.

      Second, the story of biting the bullet is, as I said, a tad theatrical. Why would a killer leave such incriminating evidence at the crime scene? This isn’t grasping at straws. It’s asking the questions any cub reporter would ask. Files’ answer is hardly convincing.

      Third, Tosh Plumlee is not the most reassuring of witnesses. He says he was on the South Knoll during the shooting. Maybe you can point him out to me the photographs of that area. I can’t see him. In any case. Plumlee says he was on a mission to abort the assassination, which doesn’t exactly confirm Files’ story.

      You say Files has a “wealth of knowledge.” I think he has a wealth of unproven assertions.

      Fourth, Tosh Plumlee has credibility problems of his own: an obvious hunger for the spotlihgty

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