Belzer: JFK assassination ‘the work of magicians’

At the National Press Club on Monday, comedian, actor and author Richard Belzer offered a compelling and often hilarious case for doubting the official story behind the JFK assassination.

“There are those in positions of power who malign the pursuit of justice by intentionally associating the word ‘conspiracy’ with the delirious hallucinations of unbalanced minds. Well, they’re wrong,” Belzer said.Belzer was promoting his new book, “Hit List,” already a NYT besteller, in which he investigates the butcher’s bill in the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination — the dozens of witnesses who died via murder, suicide or in just plain strange circumstances; from accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald himself, to his executioner Jack Ruby, to Dorothy Kilgallen (the only journalist granted a private interview with Ruby) and others like George de Mohrenschildt and Mafia/CIA go-between Johnny Rosselli.

Belzer has dared to enter this territory before, in such books as “Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups,” and “UFOS, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies you don’t have to be crazy to believe.”

Comedian and activist Dick Gregory, one of the original Warren Commission critics who was instrumental in bringing the Zapruder film to the public in the mid-70s, was at Belzer’s side throughout the Press Club presentation.

Belzer offered his opinion that the assassination was the work of an unholy alliance between the Mafia and elements of the FBI and the CIA; he also suggested that there were in fact two Oswalds.

At the outset of the program, Belzer quoted a book called “Farewell America,” written under the pseudonym James Hepburn. He said some think the book was really written by French intelligence.

“President Kennedy’s assassination was the work of magicians. It was a stage trick complete with accessories and fake mirrors, and when the curtain fell the actors and even the scenery disappeared. The plotters were correct when they guessed that their crime would be concealed by shadows and silence that would be blamed on a madman and negligence.”

Belzer said he doesn’t worry that he’ll be added to the list of those knocked off for delving into the dark secrets. He said he even inquired with a Secret Service friend, who agreed that as a semi-famous personality, he’ll just be “marginalized.”


15 thoughts on “Belzer: JFK assassination ‘the work of magicians’”


    In prior JFK witness death analyses, the focus has been on unnatural deaths (homicides, accidents, suicides and unknown causes). This post will examine the likelihood that there were many more homicides than officially reported in the period from 1964-78. The analysis assumes a base case of 1400+ JFK-related witnesses noted in “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination”.

    Unnatural Deaths
    Some have questioned the assumption that there were more homicides than officially reported. The 1964-78 national average annual homicide rate was 0.000084 (or 8 per 100,000). Among an estimated 1400+ JFK-related witnesses, only two (1400*15*.000084) homicides would normally have been expected in the 15 year period.

    Among the 122 suspicious witness deaths from 1964-78 in JFK Calc, 78 were officially ruled unnatural (34 homicides, 16 suicides, 24 accidents, 4 unknown). The other 44 deaths were natural (25 heart attacks, 6 cancers, 13 other). But mortality rates for each cause of death buttress the suspicion that many accidents, suicides and natural deaths were homicides.

    There was a ZERO probability of at least 30 unnatural deaths in 1964-78 based on unweighted U.S. unnatural mortality rates. But there were 78 officially ruled unnatural deaths. Using unweighted national mortality rates, the conservative probability is E-27 (1 in a trillion trillion). Using JFK-weighted mortality rates, the probability is E-62 (1 in a trillion^5).

  2. One of Mssr’s Belzer & Wayne’s chief sources for this book was a man named Tosh Plumlee. He has muddied the waters for JFK assassination researchers with his claims that he flew an Abort Team, starring Johnny Roselli, to Dallas on that fateful day.

    Plumlee has claimed a mountainous paper/electronic trail for his bonafides, and the only problem with those bonafides is that, beyond his own word, there’s not a single, solitary document that indicates that he’s ever been involved in any covert activity. He often points to his numerous interviews – “debriefings” – by the FBI as proof of his involvement with the covert world. But every one of those reports was initiated by him. Yes, that’s right. In every instance he contacted the FBI, explained that he has information about this or that, is interviewed, and then the FBI files a report. When that report is routinely declassified, he points to it and says, “See? I was involved.”

    But the truth is he was never involved in anything having to do with the assassination.

    William Robert “Tosh” Plumlee joined the military when he was 15 years old, in March, 1953. He was processed for discharge for being underage four months later, returning to Dallas, Texas – his home – in July 1953. That is the extent of his military service.

    He attended North Dallas High School that same year, 1953, as a sophomore, using the name of Billy Bob Morgan. His stepfather’s name was Morgan.

    He returned to North Dallas High School in 1954. There are three photos of him in the 1954 North Dallas High School yearbook and yet another one in the 1955 yearbook. On page 145 of the 1956 yearbook there is a very nice head shot of Bill Morgan that looks very much like the young photo of Tosh Plumlee with slicked back hair.

    In a subsequent FBI interview he claimed that his first pilot gig was with Riddle Airlines in Miami, FL from July 1954 to July 1955, then with Delta Airlines from July 1955 to July 1956.

    Other places on the internet, he has claimed that he joined the military in April 1954. This is impossible mainly because he was a high school student then, and also because he didn’t reach 17 years of age until November 1954. According to his FBI file he was born 11/25/37. Seventeen is the earliest you can join the military, and even then it requires parental approval.

    So, he was either a student, or a commercial/covert pilot, or he joined the military. I vote high school student.

    He subsequently has claimed (in yet another FBI interview) that he flew a P-52 Mustang fighter for our side at the Bay of Pigs. The only problem is, there were no P-52 Mustangs in the Exile Air Force. They didn’t have the range necessary to fly from Guatemala to Cuba. In all of the combat reports, CIA reports, narratives, interviews, articles, etc. about the Bay of Pigs operation, the only claim of a P-52 Mustang in the skies over Cuba then is Tosh Plumlee’s.

    Just check the record. It constantly amazes me that people are so anxious to believe this guy that they don’t even read the bonafides he points to as credentials. Just read them. You’ll see they don’t stand the light of day.

  3. JFK Mysterious Witness Deaths: London Sunday Times and HSCA Cover-up

    In 1964, the Warren Commission ignored the testimony of 51 eyewitnesses who claimed that the shots came from the Grassy Knoll area. Just 32 said they came from the Texas School Book Depository. In 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was forced to conclude that there was a “probable” conspiracy based on acoustic evidence – a 96% probability of at least four shots (including at least one from the Grassy Knoll). The physical evidence indicates more than four shots. Some shooters probably used silencers.

    Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the HSCA was not about to refute the Warren Commission’s outrageous Single Bullet Theory. It still maintained that Oswald fired from the TSBD – and the other shooter(s) must have missed. Incredibly, the HSCA floated the canard that the shooters may have acted independently – and therefore there was no conspiracy.

    So it is not surprising that prior to the presentation of the acoustic evidence, the HSCA would use obfuscation and factual omission in an attempt to refute an actuary’s calculation of 100,000 trillion to 1 odds of 18 material witness deaths in the three years following the assassination. If the odds were essentially correct, it would force the HSCA to conclude a conspiracy.

    My comments and links (in red) are in bold font. This is a sensitivity analysis of unnatural witness deaths.

    There were at least 118 unnatural and suspicious deaths in the 15 year period from 1964-1978. Notice the spikes in 1964 (Warren Commission) and 1977 (HSCA).

    A line by line debunking of HSCA and Warren Commission apologists follows….

  4. Jonathan,

    I am not sure it is established that Florence Prichett Smith was Kilgallen’s best friend. One problem is that Kilgallen’s biographer Lee Israel has fraud and forgery convictions. It is established from newspaper reports that Florence suffered from a terminal illness and her death was not sudden, as in a surprise, and her cause of death was publicly reported in her obituary. IMO the untimely deaths of scores of persons linked to the assassination or investigation of it is easy to successfully challenge in too many instances. It is an option to avoid. There are much easier and more compelling points to publicize and support. There is no proof Kilgallen even interviewed Ruby other than briefly and publicly in the courtroom.

  5. Belzer’s belief in two Oswalds has merit, I believe.

    One Oswald (LEE) was strong, had a bull-like neck and loud voice, liked to fight as as youngster, was a southerner, did OK in school, had an attractive mother, and showed no interest in politics.

    The other was slight, was quiet, was a northerner with a middle-European background, was often truant, had a “dumpy imposter” mother (according to John Armstrong), and was interested in communism.

    The second Oswald is the one Jack Ruby shot. Yet his “official” background, as found in the Warren Commission 26 volumes, contains chunks — inconsistent chunks — of the first Oswald’s life story.

    The FBI and Warren Commission found out about the two Oswalds and tried hard to suppress the details. But lots of the details are there in the 26 volumes, which Allen Dulles said no one would read.

  6. Belzer appears to be using his celebrity to publicize an issue of public importance. Belzer makes mistakes about the details, and the “mysterious deaths” angle on the case may not be the most substantive line of attack. Then again, O’Reilly makes mistakes in his “NY Times Best Seller.” When O’Reilly’s mistakes on the Lincoln assassination were roundly criticized by historians, the Ford Theatre museum declined to carry his book. In an interview in GQ magazine, actor Bruce Willis says that O’Reilly’s research for the JFK case is great. (“Bill O’Reilly is a great researcher.” So, whereas Belzer may not make the most erudite spokesperson, in this year of the 50th anniversary, bringing the matter to the forefront of public attention may be a sufficient benefit, as Oliver Stone’s movie helped result in the disclosure of documents that otherwise would probably have remained classified.

  7. In another setting, Belzer makes an astute point about the Z-film.

    He agrees the extant Z-film exhibits sign of tampering, sinister signs. He says, so what — there are plenty of signs of conspiracy in plain sight. Beginning with the deaths he describes in “Hit List.” His point: it’s easy to get lost in the weeds, easy to get distracted, delving into the JFK assassination.

  8. “Farewell America” is actually a very important book and btw, Chapter 15 is entitled “Spies” which implies US intelligence was involved in the JFK assassination. “Farewell America” also points the finger at Texas oil men who I think were involved in the JFK assassination.

    Chapter 10 is “Oilmen.” Chapter 11 is “Texans.” “Farewell America” was printed abroad and was prevented from coming into the USA by the FBI and even 15 years later in the early 1980’s there were people in Canada (presumably intelligence) who were trying to prevent its entry into the USA.

    Here is a web link for “Farwell America:”

    1. “Farewell America” was printed abroad and was prevented from coming into the USA by the FBI and even 15 years later in the early 1980′s there were people in Canada (presumably intelligence) who were trying to prevent its entry into the USA.

      This is simply untrue. A shipment was held pending the payment of duty, but Bill Turner paid the duty, got the books, and sold them out of his garage for years.

      See Warren Hinckle: If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade

      As Hinckle makes clear, the book is a disinformation project by some foreign intelligence agency. Perhaps a pro-Soviet faction within French intelligence.

  9. Belzer is a former journalist who is aligned with researcher-writer Walt Brown. Belzer does his research and writes well.

    “Hit List” looks at 50 deaths in detail: official cause, inconsistencies.

    Dorothy Kilgallen, for example: Found dead in bed wearing full make-up. Had a book she’d already read and no reading glasses. The bed was a guest bed in which she didn’t sleep. Her body contained three barbiturates, only one of which had been prescribed.

    Day or two after her death, her best friend turns up DOA.

    Dorothy’s husband allegedly said some years later he knew she had been murdered. Said he destroyed her Jack Ruby notes because he didn’t want to be killed.

  10. Kilgallen is indeed an interesting case. She reported as early as 1959 that the CIA was working with the mafia to kill Castro, which of course made her sound like a nut at the time. Unless that was a lucky guess, she must have had a very interesting source.

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