Belzer misses the mark with ‘Hit List’

[Editor’s note; Note the byline on this story. It is not written by Jefferson Morley. JFK Facts welcomes contributions from readers, which are published every Saturday. Articles should be 750 words or shorter and should deal with recent developments or publications about JFK’s assassination, presidency or related issues of secrecy and national security.. If you want to contribute, email me your submission here.]

Imagine you are a high school student and you are writing a paper on some contentious historical issue — say, whether Barack Obama was born in Kenya, or whether Dick Cheney mounted the 9/11 attacks. And imagine you simply surf the web for information and believe pretty much anything you find on a web page. One can imagine the results.

Now suppose you are a grown up celebrity, and are writing an entire book, but your research methods are the same. You get a book like Richard Belzer’s Hit List, which claims to expose the “mysterious deaths” of people who were “witnesses to the JFK assassination.”

Of course Balzer uses books for sources too, but many are fringe books. While some writers and witnesses are believed by conspiracists and disbelieved by lone assassin theorists, what is peculiar about Belzer is that he uses so many sources that are considered unreliable (if not downright wild) by the vast majority of active conspiracy researchers.

He accepts, almost entirely at face value, the claims of Judyth Baker, James Files, James Fetzer, Dan Marvin, Chauncey Holt, Robert Morrow, Robert Morningstar and Tosh Plumlee.

As one might expect, given that list of witnesses and sources (and some with wider support among conspiracists, such as Jim Garrison and Richard Case Nagell), the book is a mish-mash of factoids.

But worse than the factoids is the intellectual slovenliness of the entire enterprise – something that Belzer inherited from his predecessors Penn Jones (father of the “mysterious deaths” list) and Jim Marrs (who extended the list to 103 people in his 1989 book).

The “mysterious deaths” are supposed to be from among “witnesses” in the case, but in the vast majority of cases it’s not at all clear that they “witnessed” anything important, and in none of them is it clear that the “witness” had any knowledge dangerous to any conspiracy. For example, Deslesseps Morrison, the mayor of New Orleans, is the subject of a short chapter. How is he connected? Well, Belzer explains, New Orleans was “the center-staging location for the assassination.”

The real criterion for being in the book seems to be that some conspiracy author, somewhere, considered you suspicious. Therefore, an absurdly large and diverse cast of characters gets a place. It includes mobsters, FBI people, CIA people, journalists, anti-Castro Cubans, Jack Ruby’s strippers, an orthopedic surgeon, the daughter of a fellow who knew Jack Ruby in Chicago decades before the assassination, and country singer Jim Reeves.

We don’t know how Patsy Cline failed to make the list. Has anybody investigated the Grand Ole Opry?

The result is an extremely large number of supposed victims. If all of these people, or even a substantial minority, knew things dangerous to conspirators, the conspiracy must have been very large indeed, or else it leaked like a sieve, with a small army of assassins being needed to knock off everybody who might “blow the whistle.”

Then, of course, another small army of assassins would be needed to eliminate the first members of the “clean up squad.”

Once we concede that this is implausible, we have to question the entire list. If we know that most of the people on the list must have died for reasons unrelated to any conspiracy, we begin to understand that no solid, objective criteria went into making it. Rather, it’s pretty much free association in the minds of conspiracy-minded researchers.

Forget the book’s ability to wow innocent neophytes. When it falls into the hands of people reasonably critical-minded (a mainstream media producer, journalist, textbook writer, or such) it tends to discredit conspiracy-oriented research.

John McAdams teaches political science at Marquette University.  He’s the webmaster of the Kennedy Assassination Home Page.


107 thoughts on “Belzer misses the mark with ‘Hit List’”

  1. Wow. I just stumbled on this thread to research my response to another board discussion just on “conspiracy theories”. But I’m glad it’s still up to read and reply too.

  2. John, are you really going to claim that ALL of the 120 convenient deaths listed in the JFKCalc spreadsheet database are not connected to the assassination? I have pointed out to you time and time again that 63 of the 120 were relevant enough to be sought to testify in four investigations: Warren Commission, Garrison/Shaw, Church Senate and HSCA. You have blinders on and your head is permanently in the sand.:

    1. McAdams says that another group of hit squads would take out the people who did the killings and says that that isnot plausible. That is a lie, you are given an order, nothing more, case of national security, very compartmentalized, on a very need to know basis, you don’t ask questions

      You really have no idea why you are doing the hit, pay me and it’s done, don’t be so naive John. The math doesn’t lie!

  3. The bottom line is this Mr McAdams see’s the JFK assassination from a basic point of view.
    It is my belief that the mountains of info both released and what is still being withheld says as much as the Physical evidence as well as all the photographic evidence that there was a conspiracy.
    When I started researching this seriously I tried to look at the info from a different light i.e. the fear and reluctance on the part of the commission members to be a part of the investigation. Also I looked for patterns from witnesses researchers and the different theories that have been put forth.
    What I’ve come up with is in spite of all the sub plots the same individuals continue to come to the forefront time and time again! That my friends is where the truth is. Bottom line from my perspective is there’s too much evidence too suggest a lone gun man period.

  4. Christopher Caudill

    Jim DiEugenio wrote a devastating take-down of McAdams that can be found on, “John McAdams and the Siege of Chicago,” that really should be required reading for anyone sincerely interested in the assassination. McAdams is clearly a counterintelligence and disinformation agent trying to obfuscate the hell out of this subject.

    1. McAdams is clearly a counterintelligence and disinformation agent trying to obfuscate the hell out of this subject.

      Do you have any idea how mainstream people (journalists, TV producers, professors, etc.) view statements like that?

      They think they put you in the company of Alex Jones.

      1. Christopher Caudill

        J. Edgar Hoover ordered the FBI to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” movements and individuals deemed to be subversive during the infamous COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) of 1956 – 1971. Such programs continue today. Whether you’re actually on somebody’s payroll or not, your purpose regarding Kennedy assassination research is clear: the attempt to neutralize the subject entirely. Because uncovering the truth of what happened to President Kennedy is indeed subversive – subversive not only of the Warren Report, but also of the “mainstream” story of American history in the 20th and 21st centuries. Lump me in with Alex Jones, David Icke, Ron Paul, or the tooth fairy if you want – your idea of the mainstream is passing away.

        1. You are confusing well-proven abuses of power by Hoover with the notion that the CIA (or FBI or whomever) is not engaged in a campaign against you conspiracists.

          Do you think you can invoke any evil action of the U.S. government as proof of any other supposed evil action?

          Is it “government is evil, thus any evil thing we accuse government of must be true?”

        2. Great point Chris the problem with folks like Mr McAdams and his so called main stream media is that if you don’t subscribe to they’re way of thinking and don’t tow the line then you must be crazy! Bottom line is this anyone with an ounce of common sense looks at the jfk assassination and knows the official govt position is false and can’t possibly be legit!
          Lastly the Mountain of evidence vs the ant hill of govt evidence is plain to see.

      2. With all due respect, I don’t think that reference to “mainstream People (journalists, TV producers, professors, etc.)” is going to carry much weight. Those people, with some exceptions, have done little or nothing to move this case forward. Independant researchers have done the lion’s share of the work in trying to get at the truth.

  5. John McAdams’ review and inadequate replies to the thread comments read like a screed or tract, as opposed to a carefully considered and well-supported analysis. The reviews on Amazon for Belzer’s “Hit List” are more thoughtful and insightful than McAdams’ brief critique. There is no clear indication to me that McAdams has even read Belzer’s book.

    I would call the attention of readers to the reviews posted on Amazon for McAdams’ 2011 book entitled “JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy.” There is an especially detailed review by Joseph L. Williams entitled “An Insult to the very notion of ‘critical thinking’”. Amazon reviewers are typically fair-minded. I have rarely seen a string of reviews as negative as those posted on Amazon about McAdams’ book.

    John C. McAdams has the title of Associate Professor of Political Science at Marquette University, where he teaches a course entitled “Logic of Social Inquiry: The Kennedy Assassination.” His Fall 2012 course syllabus is posted on his university website, as follows:

    In reading the syllabus, I was unable to find any assigned reading on the JFK case after the publication date of 1994. His required readings on the medical evidence include three sources: (1) excerpts from the flawed and incomplete HSCA report; (2) an online article written by Warren Commission apologist Dale Meyers, and (3) one of the notorious JAMA articles published in the wake of Oliver Stone’s film “JFK.” There is no reference in the syllabus to the five volumes of Douglas Horne’s synthesis of the ARRB findings, which were published in 2009. For the benefit of Professor McAdams’ students, I would observe that the “logic of social inquiry” should include keeping current in one’s field.

    The clear indication is that McAdams has not kept up with the major research developments into the assassination of JFK over the past twenty years. His deficiencies are clearly apparent in his superficial review of “Hit List.”

  6. I agree with Jim Fetzer that the extant Z-film is a forgery, for several reasons.

    First, Doug Horne (with help from Peter Janney) has established that two sets of briefing boards were prepared on successive nights by two different NPIC teams, each using a different version of the Z-film. The first team, headed by Homer McMahon, worked with a copy of the camera-original film on the night of November 23; this film, 8 mm wide, had been flown to D.C. from Dallas. The second team, unaware of the first team, was headed by Dino Brugioni and worked on the night of November 24 with a 16 mm wide, unslit version of the Z-film that had been flown to D.C. from Rochester, NY, where it had been prepared by the CIA-Kodak Hawkeyeworks. Neither team knew of the other, at least until 2011, when Brugioni learned from JFK researchers of McMahon’s team.

    Second, the extant Z-film, the one Dino Brugioni and Life Magazine worked with, is inconsistent with sworn testimony of Clint Hill and Jesse Curry and is inconsistent, insofar as Curry’s testimony is concerned, with Altgens 6. This has to do with the fact Z fails to show DPD officer James Chaney riding his motorcycle at any time after the presidential limo emerges from behind the Stemmons sign.

    Third, the extant Z-film has internal inconsistencies. The most obvious perhaps is the segment after JFK is first hit that shows the Connallys and the two Secret Service agents being thrown forcibly forward in the limo, as if Greer has braked the car; yet Jackie and Jack are completely unperturbed by what’s going on with the car, completely.

  7. The fire & brimstone I am witnessing in this topic comments section is almost like a real trial atmosphere that I find good & healthy in educating the public in both facts & ‘factoids’ about JFK’s mysterious ambush & murder 50 years ago. I’d like to see a fuller table for both the prosecution & defense sides, both in utter contempt of the other, represented as the comments grow. It’s better than simply throwing our hands in the air following the lynching of Lee Oswald & saying, ‘Oh, that’s too bad’ isn’t it?

    I’m looking for the likes of DiEugenio, Posner, Myers, Russo, Bugliosi, Marrs, Stone, Rivera, Mellen, Pease, among others to join the ruckus in the near future. Great job, Jeff!

  8. Excellent posts by Ronnie Wayne, James Norwood and Jacob Hornberger effectively eviscerate the article by John McAdams. He has to know that calculations of the statistical improbability of these dead witnesses have appeared in several places, including in CROSSFIRE and at the end of “Executive Action” and of “JFK”, as I recall. Which means that McAdams doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I am concerned because Jefferson Morley has displayed very peculiar and unwarranted opinions here.

    Not only does promote the website of John McAdams but lists as “one of the worst” because I support the conclusion that the Zapruder film and other home movies have been subjected to extensive alteration, in substantiation of which I have published many articles and a book, THE GREAT ZAPRUDER FILM HOAX (2003). According to Morley, “This claim is not supported the facts or logic.” That is absurd, because precisely the opposite is the case.

    We even know when it was altered and by whom and when the substitution was made. See “US Government Official: JFK Cover-Up, Film Fabrication”, “JFK: Who’s telling the truth: Clint Hill or the Zapruder film?”, “Nix film contradicts Zapruder: More proof of JFK Film Fakery” and Vol. IV of Doug Horne, INSIDE THE ARRB (2009). Egad! The film is not even internally consistent, since the blow-out at the back of the head has been painted over in black in early frames but can be seen in Frame 374.

    Something is terribly wrong with what is taking place right here on a site that claims to deal with “facts”! Morley claims,”The film is potent evidence of a shot from the front. That’s why it was suppressed for twelve years.” But that’s a remarkably tolerant attitude to adopt toward a provably fabricated film. We know from the medical evidence that JFK was hit four times, including twice in the head once from behind and once from the right/front. There are reasons they had to change it.

    Indeed, we know from around 60 witnesses that the limo slowed dramatically as it was brought to a complete halt after bullets had already been fired. This was such an obvious indication of Secret Service complicity that it had to be taken out. The blow-out at the back of his head was painted over and “the blob” was painted in. Either Morley doesn’t know any of this and was not competent to list on his “worst website” list or he knows and the situation is actually worse.

    For an easy introduction to lines of proof that the film has been altered, see either “The JFK War:The Challenging Case of Robert Groden” or “JFK at 50: The Who, the How and the Why”. Some of those who argue for its authenticity ignore that witnesses who took them are required to vouch for the authenticity of photos and films for them to be admissible in courts of law. Those who murdered our 35th president, altered his body and fixed the X-rays were prepared to fake photos and films.

    1. Thank you for your posts on this thread Mr. Fetzer. While I don’t believe in wholesale alteration, I do agree with certain alterations to the Z film, as well as autopsy photos and x-rays. I will check out the other sources you cited here. I’m in agreement with many of your other writings on this case.

  9. It really doesn’t matter whether a JFK assassination-related death was unusual or not because it was never going to be aggressively investigated or prosecuted anyway.

    For one thing, any murder secretly committed by the CIA or, for that matter, the Mafia, the CIA’s secret assassination partner during the Kennedy administration, is going to be too good to be easily uncovered. If anyone is capable of committing the perfect crime, it’s these two institutions. Consider the Johnny Roselli murder. Or Jimmy Hoffa. Or Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi.

    Moreover, since murder is a state crime, that would ordinarily mean a state criminal prosecution. What state district attorney is going to take on the CIA by accusing it of murder? What state detective is going to be able to do come up with the evidence that points to the CIA? What state judge is going to enforce state grand-jury subpoenas on the CIA?

    Moreover, every state prosecutor in the land surely knows what happened to New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison after he accused the CIA of assassinating JFK. The feds retaliated with an indictment and prosecution for bogus bribery charges. (He was acquitted and later elected by the citizenry to the state court of appeals.) Or consider what happened to Richard Sprague and Robert Tannenbaum, the attorneys for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. When they refused to exempt the CIA from a targeted investigation into the JFK assassination, they were quickly forced to resign and run out of town.

    If Kilgallen or the other JFK assassination-related people were actually killed by the CIA, there was never any possibility that the malefactors would be brought to justice. Consider Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi, two American citizens living in Chile during the Pinochet coup. For some 25 years, the CIA indignantly denied participating in their murders, only to be betrayed by a secret State Department report that suddenly surfaced that indicated that the CIA had been lying and, in fact, had played a role in the murders of these two young American men. Yet, to this day there have been no congressional investigation, Justice Department investigation, or federal grand jury investigation or indictments. (A few years ago there was a Chilean indictment issued against a former U.S. military official for the murders.) To this day, we don’t know the identity of the CIA agents who participated in those murders or even the identity of the State Department people who wrote that report or the evidence on which it was based.

    Consider the CIA’s recent assassinations of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman. No congressional investigation. No subpoenas. No grand-jury investigation. Instead, total acquiescence and submission to the CIA’s (and President Obama’s) assassinations of these two Americans.

    In fact, for all practical purposes, ever since the advent of the national-security state the CIA has been immune from prosecution for any crime committed in the name of “national security.” Thus, it didn’t surprise anyone that the U.S. government refused to send those CIA agents who were convicted a few years ago of the felony crime of kidnapping (with intent to torture) back to Italy to face justice. Since they committed the crime pursuant to a “national-security” operation, they were held immune from criminal prosecution.

    And then there is always what I call the “inconceivable doctrine” that we have to contend with, which holds that the CIA would never do anything bad to an American, unless he deserved it.

    Therefore, let’s face it. No matter how unusual Kilgallen’s death was or any of the other JFK assassination-related deaths may have been, if the CIA did in fact commit any of the dirty deeds, there was never really any reasonable possibility that it would be held to account for them.

  10. What I believe is happening here with Professor McAdams short essay appearing at JFKfacts is Jeff Morley is teaching civility to one who routinely attacks & insults him at another JFK forum (alt.assassination.jfk google groups)& allowing him the space to express his educated opinion on this book. This in itself is typical of Mr. Morley’s courage & ethics & a 360 degree turn from the typical insulting, bashing and banning of JFK researchers found at other Forums & blogs. Such conduct detracts, not adds to understanding the circumstances of the crime of interest here IMO.

    I happened upon Jeff’s website one day in the middle of a huge crucifixion effort underway against him. His crime? Jeff had included McAdam’s personal website as one of the 10 best to visit. After getting to understand the direction Jeff is taking his work & his website I have come to realize that in the long run he will bring some of our history to us that otherwise will stay enslaved in secrecy. I doubt those who attack him publicly will be able to say the same. It should be obvious who is the bigger, more civil & intelligent man. I stick with him for those reasons.

    1. Brad, I agree with you 100% regarding Mr Morley’s courage and ethics.

      I feel that this is the best JFK site, and that Jeff is a genuine, open minded man who pursues the truth regarding the assassination.

  11. At the time of the 50th anniversary of the death of President Kennedy, I taught a course on the assassination. Many of the students became interested in the topic of how individuals with important knowledge about the assassination died under suspicious circumstances. I read and recommended to the students the book “Hit List” by Richard Belzer and David Wayne. Therefore, I must challenge every point the author is making in the review.

    In fact, the review is so brief that it is impossible for the writer to develop and support his contention that there is an “intellectual slovenliness” to the scholarship of “Hit List.” The reviewer casually uses the term “factoid” to diminish the value of the true stories of people’s lives which were changed forever because of what they knew about the JFK assassination. For example, the book provides a discussion of eyewitness Warren Reynolds, who saw the man running from the scene of the Tippit shooting. Reynolds was at first unable to identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the man he observed. Later, after Reynolds miraculously survived a gunshot to the head, his memory was refreshed, and he changed his testimony to implicate Oswald as the shooter of Tippit. That “factoid” tells us a great deal about the widespread and fully-documented intimidation of eyewitnesses that occurred for many years after the assassination.

    “Hit List” is a good starting point for the students to learn how and why the truth about the death our thirty-fifth president has been suppressed for over a half century. The book serves as an introduction to the lives of such individuals as Dorothy Kilgallen, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Lee Bowers, and William Bruce Pitzer. The lurid circumstances of their deaths are less significant than the explosive first-hand information they possessed about the truth of the death of President Kennedy. In this area, Richard Belzer and David Wayne have made an important contribution in “Hit List.”

  12. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    The problem is that usually a factoid is debunked with another one, let´s say those which appears in the printed Warren Commission Report. It’s clear that the research must not be conspiracy-oriented, but simply research, and it´s the case that some conspiracy facts have been discovered. For instance, is it a factoid or not that:
    1. The CIA concocted a “conspiracy of silence” around Oswald in Mexico City, as it was revealed by the CIA cable traffic itself?
    2. The 40.2 inch short rifle in evidence is not the 36-inch carabin that, according to WC, Oswald had ordered?
    3. There is no paperwork for the transaction regarding the rifle sent by Klein’s Sporting Goods in Chicago, Illinois, to a box office rented in Oswald’s name, although the mail order was in Alex J. Hidell’s name?
    3. There is also a similar lack of paperwork regarding the pistol sent by Seaport Traders in Los Angeles, California, and delivered by the Railway Express Agency (REA)?
    4. No copper was found on the curb where a bullet ricocheted and the bystander Jim Tague was hit, although all the bullets supplied by Western Cartridge Company for the Mannlicher Carcano were literally coated in copper metal?
    5. Kennedy’s personal physician, Dr. George Burkley, signed the death certificate and placed the back wound at the level of the third thoracic vertebra, and in the autopsy at Bethesda, the malleable probes inserted into Kennedy’s back were all too low to exit the throat? [The factoid is rather that WC staffer Jerry Ford moved the location upwards for allowing it].
    6. The so-called magic bullet [CE 399], allegedly fired from six stories up, must have entered Kennedy’s back at such steep angle that it would be impossible to exit at the throat level, moreover if it did not hit any bony body structures?
    7. Dr. Burkley’s placement was corroborated by the holes in Kennedy’s shirt and jacket, the observations by FBI and Secret Service agents, the autopsy face sheet, and the FBI reenactment in Dallas?
    8. The Bethesda pathologists —James Humes, Thornton Boswell, and Pierre Finck— did the autopsy of the XX century for officially stating that the victim was hit by two bullets, but yet neither of their tracks was dissected?
    9. The chairman of the Army’s Wounds Ballistic Board, Dr. Joseph Dolce, concluded that the magic bullet could not have shattered the governor’s wrist and remained the way in evidence, in virtue of the tests at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, with the Mannlicher-Carcano, a hundred 6.5 mm bullets, and ten cadaver wrists, because the bullet was “markedly deformed” after firing in each and every instance?
    10. The FBI lied about agent Elmer Lee Todd placing his initials on the magic bullet, because Todd’s initials are not on CE 399 at the National Archives?
    11. The FBI was not in receipt of CE 399 from the Secret Service until 8:45 pm, but the FBI lab had already checked in the “stretcher bullet” at 7: 30 pm? [Which is the factoid: too many bullets or one replaced for another?].
    12. Even “Oswald did it” story tellers like Philip Shenon and Larry Sabato talk about a severely damaged brain overlooking that the official story told by the WC photos —that John Stringer deny he took— and the Ida Dox drawing is about an almost intact brain?
    13. The Dallas Police reported three Oswald’s wallet and FBI agent Bob Barrett was filmed handling one at the scene of Officer Tippit murder, which Barrett said it had the Oswald-Hidell identification? 14. Dallas Police suppressed the film at Tippit scene as evidence to avoid the inescapable suggestion (factoid?) that an Oswald-Hidell wallet had been planted after the fact?
    15. The Lopez Report (1978) revealed both Oswald’s impersonation in phone calls in Mexico City and the CIA inexplicably failure for taking at least a photo of Oswald entering o exiting the Soviet or the Cuban embassy?
    16. CIA officers David Phillips and Ann Goodpasture were covering up, but Blakey abstained from charging them with perjury in a murder investigation?
    17. The Secret Service Report by Charles Kunkel put Marina Oswald denying her husband had ever told her he was in Mexico, but she changed her testimony before the WC?
    18. A week before her WC hearing, Marina had signed a contract with Tex-Italia Films and $132,500 (about a half million dollars today) were transferred to her and Tex-Italia was actually a font that made no film at all about Marina and/or Oswald?
    And son on. What we can’t do is dismissing something as factoid, for instance, that the FBI in Dallas did not received a tape of Oswald’s himself or his impostor from Mexico tape, but only transcripts, since the very fact of transcripts without tapes, together with the infamous photos of the Mystery Man, indicated that something is going wrong since the CIA “did not” detect Oswald in Mexico City as a security risk.

  13. I must confess that I am a bit surprised that JFK Facts is allowing John Mcadams to write articles here, even in light of the opening note that other readers can do the same.
    I am a supporter of people of all views being permitted to post their comments here, as I feel that reasoned debate from both sides can contribute to the pursuit for truth, but I feel that maybe the people who run JFK facts should do the actual articles themselves.
    My fear is that the site may deteriorate to be like so many other sites, with people just hurling insults at each other.
    I feel that the people writing the articles should have a more open minded nature, and have a greater genuine willingness to pursue the truth, whatever that might be.
    When I came on here today, under the headline, “What people are saying” 2 out of the 3 comments were from John Mcadams, and under the headline “recent comments”, 3 out of 5 were from John Mcadams. Can the people who run JFK facts not pick out other peoples comments too?
    I just feel it may be a good idea if JFK facts keeps a healthy distance from people who run other sites in order to maintain its independence, and is maybe more careful as to who is allowed to write the actual articles.

    1. George,

      A restricted marketplace of ideas is no marketplace. Jeff has the right formula.

      Note, by the way, John McAdams hasn’t responded yet to Walt Brown, Bill Kelly, Jim Fetzer — acknowledged JFK researchers. That tells me McAdams prefers easier challengers.

      And that should tell everyone here a whole lot.

    1. Excellent Ralph (are you on my list of FB friends? I should check)!

      BTW, the side-by-side photo comparison of Oswald and the man by the doorway is the best one I’ve seen – the faces look similar!; but I still believe that it’s Bill Lovelady on the basis of the shirt. If I recall correctly, Oswald changed his shirt before being arrested, so what he’s wearing in the arrest photo is not the shirt he wore to work. Plus if you look at other photos of Lovelady afterwards, the pattern on his shirt is consistent with what you vaguely see in the blow-up. I don’t think the faint lines in Oswald’s shirt would be discernible in a similar blow up). HOWEVER, I do think that Prayer Man could be Oswald!

  14. If there was a conspiracy behind the assassination of JFK, then I would imagine the last thing the people responsible for it would want to be doing is picking off further potential victims afterwards. Only if they thought it was absolutely necessary to cover the murder up. I would say those who believe in the lone assassin narrative are largely right about the mysterious deaths list. Normal life continued after the 22 November 1963. People would continue to die from cancer, unrelated murders, car accidents, suicide etc. That said, there is still a small number of deaths that could well be relevant. These include Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, and maybe a few others.

    1. GM remember those were different times with very limited ability to do legitimate research and the expense alone was astronomical compared to today. Further it’s important to remember these people thought they understood what was in the best interest of the country and the average person had no idea. Lastly these people had control of the press and there were almost no avenues like there are now to challenge or question what was happening in those days!
      Thank God for YouTube and the Internet!!!

    2. GM,

      Covering up such an important event means eliminating people who might sway a jury. Lee Bowers, for example, might sway a jury because he was a witness who had firsthand knowledge.

      Mark Lane, for example, had a good conceptual grasp of the case. But he wouldn’t even be admitted as a witness. All he had at rock bottom was inadmissible hearsay.

      You should understand the cover-up was controlled by those who knew the law of evidence.

      1. @Brian H, Jonathan

        Yes, I can see your arguments. However, I still think there is a danger that the subject of the mystery deaths can led to a considerable amount of speculation. It seems as though the progress over the last 20 years has come from the release of the files into the assassination. This has allowed books to be published by John Newmann, Jeff Morley, Jim Douglass, David Talbot, Gerald McKnight etc.

    3. People who really cared about the assassination of JFK back then were in the minority (it’s worse now). Deaths took place at different locations in different times, nobody probably would pick out a connection unless you had a Jim Garrison in each city. I think it happened, but only in very important situations or with those originally connected to the case.

  15. Imagine you are a college profession who has devoted his life to obfuscating the truth about the death of JFK. You would target easy pickings, such as books about “mysterious deaths”, which fall into that category because some, possibly most, are actually “mysterious” and don’t have obvious explanations. Lampoon the idea and take swipes at those who have published on this subject before, such as Penn Jones and Jim Marrs. (I am curious that you omitted mention of John Armstrong and Craig Roberts, JFK: THE DEAD WITNESSES, which preceded Belzer’s book.) All of them are more responsible students of JFK than the author featured here by Jefferson Morley. And by all means ignore the statistical improbability of these deaths having occurred by chance in comparison to that if they were targeted because of their links to the death of JFK. And by feigning that Lee Harvey Oswald did the deed alone, you can imply that virtually none of them had any significant tie to or knowledge of the assassination.

    Hope, too, that no one will remember the latest History Channel program in which you appear with Max Holland, Gerald Posner and even Jefferson Morley–with token appearances by the likes of Cyril Wecht and Robert Groden to convey the pseudo-impression of being “fair and balanced”. Since I have not written about the “mysterious deaths”, but have published extensively on the scientific evidence that contradicts the claims presented there, mention me in passing and hope that no one will notice that none of the scientific evidence–about the alteration of the X-rays, the substitution of another brain and the alteration of the Zapruder film–was even mentioned, much less discussed, and where those on the opposing side were feeble representatives of the evidence in this case, where I have published on them both. (See “The JFK War: The Challenging Case of Robert Groden”, which also summarizes the lines of proof that the Zapruder film has been revised, which he (Robert Groden) denies); and “The JFK War: The two Cyril Wechts, the ‘magic bullet’ and the HSCA”.)

    Taking a cheap shot at me is the most this man would dare, because he knows too well that science trumps fiction and enables us to sort out the difference. That Jefferson Morley not only appears with this cast of Warren Commission apologists (where Groden and Wecht are incapable of bearing the burden of defeating them) should come as a revelation to those who know no better, but where I have had my suspicions about Jefferson Morley for some time now. (See “RFK: Outing the CIA at the Ambassador”, where I explain how he and David Talbot subverted evidence confirming the presence of David Sanchez Morales at the scene of Bobby’s shooting.) McAdams makes a single swipe, which he apparently could not resist, about “unproven science”, as though optical densitometry were not an established branch of physics and that David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., were not the world’s leading expert on the medical evidence in this case, which Cyril, alas, has never really understood. The Mafia, for example, could not have extended its reach into Bethesda Naval Hospital to alter X-rays under the control of officers of the US Navy, agents of the Secret Service and the president’s personal physician. Neither pro- nor anti-Castro Cubans could have substituted another man’s brain for that of JFK. And even if the KGB had capabilities comparable to those of the CIA for altering films, it could not have obtained a copy of the Zapruder. Nor could any of these things have been done by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was either incarcerated or already dead. (See “JFK at 50: The Who, the How and the Why”, YouTube.)

    If you, John McAdams, believe you can prove me wrong, then show the courage of your convictions by engaging me in a public debate about the assassination of JFK. Since you are in Milwaukee, not far from where I reside near Madison, and have access to the facilities of Marquette University, let’s do it on your turf, which should give you some kind of home field advantage. Let’s see what we can do to arrange for it to be televised, since your position, as champion of THE WARREN COMMISSION, will be of enormous interest to the American public. What a splendid opportunity for each of us to present the evidence that supports our side for the benefit of the citizens of the United States. Just say the word and we can set it up. We can show the Zapruder film and I will make a series of brief (10-minute or less) presentations on setting up the hit, the “magic” bullet, framing the patsy, the impossible shooter, faking the Z-film and how it was done. You would respond to each in turn with replies of comparable length, where the whole exchange runs about two hours. Just let me know you are “good to go” and we can work out the details. I look forward to the debate.

    1. Mr Fetzer I have read a lot of your work and watched a few of your seminars I have been researching a theory that the Warren report may have been more the result of fear on the part of its members than a blatant attempt to just cover up the assassination after all its hard for me to believe they looked at the facts and thought if the people who did this got the president with the level of security how safe were any of them to be truly honest?
      I would love to get your thoughts on this if you get time thanks!
      Btw I’m headed to Dallas tues 11th to further my own research any suggestions.

      1. You” have to do a lot of research to get over the 800 pound gorilla in that room…Allen Dulles was appointed for very good reasons…

    2. Jim Fetzer,

      McAdams isn’t likely to respond to you in my estimation. Which is too bad. I’d like to see a debate on these pages. In writing.

      John McAdams knows a lot about the case. I believe he is heavily selective in his weighing of the record. I also believe he employs logical fallacies; he made you a straw man and purported to dismiss you. With a view toward dismissing Warren critics. Classic logical fallacy.

      Inasmuch as Jeff Morley has afforded both of you a platform here, I strongly urge Jeff to issue an invitation to both you and John McAdams to have a free debate here.

    3. And by all means ignore the statistical improbability of these deaths having occurred by chance in comparison to that if they were targeted because of their links to the death of JFK.

      You are begging the question. Nobody has established any “statistical improbability.”

      The HSCA went to actuaries (you know, people with real expertise) and they said it was impossible to work out the probability, since the list is drawn from a huge and undefined population.

      As I pointed out in my article, the vast majority of the “connected” people have only the most absurdly distant “connection.” And there is no evidence of the need for any conspiracy to “silence” them.

    4. If you, John McAdams, believe you can prove me wrong, then show the courage of your convictions by engaging me in a public debate about the assassination of JFK.

      You made this challenge before. I told you that, if you want to set up a debate, I would debate David Wrone.

      I’m certainly not going to debate you.

      I did, in fact, debate Wrone at SIU during the week of the 50th Anniversary.

      If you want to see up a debate in Madison or Milwaukee between me and Wrone, I’ll be happy to do that.

      Wrone is (more or less) a worthy opponent.

      1. So, your PhD is better than his. He did graduate manga cum laude from Princeton.
        You should debate on why we should not FREETHEFILES.

  16. Wait a minute. This is Horse Crap. Hit List deals with Tippit, O, Ruby, and Rose Cheramie in the 1sr 50 pages. Stockdale, Kilgallen, McDonald and Benavides in the next 50 are all important to the case. Banister, BOWERS, Meyer. Eladio del Valle. I’ read elsewhere the former Cuban Senator was left chopped in the head with a hatchet in his white convertible Cadillac after shooting in the chest and beating in Miami. But the picture in this book and description show it was “only” with a machete. On the same night Ferrie died mysteriously in New Orleans. BTW, Garrison was looking for him too.
    Ferrie, Hoover, Cain, several top FBI agents. Giancana, Roselli, Nicoleti, DeMorenschild, RFK.
    Amazing all these death’s are irrelevant.
    For review’s of Dr. McAdams book see:

    1. Hit List is where I first encountered this (I missed Geraldo Rivera). “Bowers confided in his minister that he had seen “more than he had told publicly””. “began receiving death threats after WC testimony, and, “after giving further evidence to attorney, Mark Lane” . Probably/Possibly drugged beforehand by his own statements and others. Wreck investigated by his friend Texas Department of Public Safety Officer Charles Good (per Hit List and others). Elsewhere Officer Good concluded his friend was run off the road into the bridge abutment by the testimony of a witness and paint from the other car on the left side of his friends, among other details.
      “no autopsy…cremated soon afterward.” 344.
      Not important at all.

      1. Thank you Ronnie. I got the book and have only started reading it. So far it seems very informative. I don’t believe that the majority of these deaths are not connected in some way.

        The statistical discussion is also intriguing and Richard Charnin does good work in that area.

  17. Sorry, professor–I’ll take Belzer’s word over your’s anyday. As the true facts of the post-WWII era come out we are finding that President Eisenhower worried he was leaving JFK a “Legacy of Ashes,” which is an excellent book on the early history of the CIA (Tim Weiner, 2007). The Agency also drove Eisenhower to tell his secretary “I want to resign” after being caught in a CIA LIE regarding the U2 flights over the USSR. President Truman wrote a not-so-subtle letter to the Washington Post regarding out of control CIA actions and wanted the CIA to be restricted back to it’s original purpose as an “intelligence gathering arm of the president.”

    So, to recap, the first president to work with the CIA had serious regrets the CIA was out of control. The second president, Eisenhower, wanted to retire because of the CIA’s actions; he even made his last public statement a warning about the Military Industrial Complex (of which the CIA is surely part of). We all know what happened to the third president to work with the CIA…

    “…not wanting to go through with the Bay of Pigs and wanting to get out of Vietnam–that’s why he was murdered. Because there’s so much money that was made in Vietnam–tons of money–and that prolonged the war without reason. Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex and Kennedy understood it. He came in office and inherited the Bay of Pigs from Eisenhower and the CIA and some of the people in the military lied to Kennedy about what would happen in Cuba. So the reach of the CIA has gone beyond it’s charter. He fired Allan Dulles, the head of the CIA. He said I’m going to shatter the CIA into thousands of pieces because they went beyond their charter.

    They’re supposed to be covert–they’re not supposed to be starting wars. Even Harry Truman was appalled at what was going on because some elements of his government were getting nazi war criminals into our country illegally–subverting the will of the Nuremberg trials–because we wanted the neo-nazi scientists. There’s a lot of dark stuff–but it’s in the public domain. There’s thousands of pages that can’t be released until 2075. But there’s an interesting thing in 2014–England’s statute of limitations on certain things can come out. And what we’re going to find out from that is Allan Dulles–who was the CIA head fired by Kennedy–was later on the Warren Commission…Allan Dulles should have been hung for treason for what he did during World War Two. He worked for the nazis throughout the war–hid money for American and English bankers. He was one of the most contemptable people ever–Allan Dulles.”

    –Richard Belzer (last 3 minutes of 15 minute May, 2013 interview:

    1. You post really has nothing to do with Belzer and “mysterious deaths,” but I did notice this:

      The Agency also drove Eisenhower to tell his secretary “I want to resign” after being caught in a CIA LIE regarding the U2 flights over the USSR.

      Are you actually saying that Eisenhower didn’t know about the overflights?

      The CIA did tell Eisenhower that the Russians could not shoot down the plane. This wasn’t a lie, but what they really (but wrongly) believed. Actually, for quite a while it was true.

      1. Sorry for the mix-up. Obviously, Eisenhower knew about the U-2 overflights. On page 185 of Legacy of Ashes it reads: Eisenhower said his greatest regret of his presidency was “the lie we told about the U-2. I didn’t realize how high a price we were going to pay for that lie.”

        The LIE both Eisenhower and I were referring to was the LIE regarding the cover-up the U.S. attempted to make after the U-2 was shot down. First it was a weather balloon, then it was a story that the CIA had no authorization for the flyover. Finally Eisenhower, with mud on his face, had to come out and say he had authorized the flight.

        I am a bit surprised those are the words you would respond to–especially when my main point was that the CIA had caused so much trouble for Truman, Eisenhower and JFK in the Agency’s very short and very expensive 15 year history.

        1. I think the trouble you are talking about was mostly the result of presidential decisions.

          Eisenhower knew about and approved the U-2 overflights.

          Bobby Kennedy was pressing absurdly hard for the CIA to get rid of Castro.

          Certainly, the CIA had some monumental screw-ups, the biggest being telling JFK that the Bay of Pigs would work.

          But does that make them a bunch of evil conspirators, or just incompetent?

          1. I don’t buy into the idea that CIA is entirely incompetent (nor omnipotent) but if they were incompetent (as opposed to being just plain evil) shouldn’t we elect to prune them down so they don’t go on wasting our tax dollars on expensive, incompetent government boondogglery? Either way: evil or incompetent—I would agree with the late Harry Truman that they should have their “cloak and dagger” capabilities taken away.

            And we the taxpayers who fund CIA should be able to see what they were up to fifty years ago. All files related to Joannides and to the JFK assassination, to Oswald, etc. should be released to the public. To argue against this is to be a totalitarian who believes that ancient secrets held by bureaucracies trumps democracy and freedom of information.

            Do you support the release of the CIA files, John? Yes or no?

          2. Do you support the release of the CIA files, John? Yes or no?


            Now a question for you: when the files are released, and don’t show any evidence of conspiracy, are you going to accept that, or insist that the record has been sanitized?

          3. I think certain persons in the CIA were involved, but not the entire hierarchy or leadership.

            If Oswald was a lone nut, why are sensitive files involving some of the CIA’s most important covert operatives classified? (My guess is that the leadership might have known about certain operatives who went beyond their boundaries if you will, and that they had to cover things up to save their asses).

            [I’m not one to say that the CIA should be dismantled]

  18. Forget the mystery deaths. If the unsolved cold case homicides were reviewed and solved – like Giancana, Roselli, Mary Meyer, et al. – they would fill in some of the blanks in the Dealey Plaza puzzle.


    1. I think so. There seem to be a number of deaths in the mid ’70’s that occur at what I believe was a time of increasing re-interest in the assassination case. Giancana, Hoffa, Roselli, Masferrer,Charles Nicoletti, all got clipped in the same general time frame. Giancana, Rosseli, and Nicoletti died close to appearances before the HSCA. It’s possible that those were linked to JFK’s death, or could have led to those responsible for his death. Maybe not. But the timing is suspicious, given their association, in whatever measure, with the CIA and the Cuban business.

      1. Giancana, Rosseli, and Nicoletti died close to appearances before the HSCA.

        So far as I can determine, this is yet another factoid.

        Do you have a reliable source on that? And Marrs isn’t reliable.

        But maybe a primary source document on Mary Ferrell?

      2. I believe I should have said the Church Committee in reference to Giancana, Hoffa, Roselli and Masferrer. Nicoletti I believe was to appear before the HSCA. A primary source document for which?

        1. If it was “Church Committee,” nobody should have been saying HSCA.

          Primary source documents on any of them would be nice.

          I most certainly would expect (without looking it up) that the Church Committee interviewed mob types involved in the plots against Castro.

          That that had anything to do with the JFK assassination is a theory, not a fact.

          1. That’s why I said it’s possible that they were linked to JFK’s death, or could have led to those responsible. Maybe not. John Roselli was before the Church Committee three times I believe. His last appearance was in April, 1976. Transcript is on Mary Ferrell website. The committee planned to call Giancana. Not sure if he had a subpoena yet, but that was their apparent intention (per Walter Cronkite via Vanderbilt University’s website ( As to Nicolettti, a quick (very quick) look shows that he was included in a summary of an interview with Charles Crimaldi by HSCA people. Crimaldi said that he believes that Nicoletti was killed because of his knowledge of the CIA-Mafia assassination plots against Castro. That would certainly indicate an interest by the HSCA in Nicoletti. A more thorough look should reveal whether or not they subpoenaed him or intended to. As to a link to JFK’s death, I repeat, maybe not. But maybe it did.

          2. Sorry to take so long to reply.

            As for Giancana, I found the broadcast in the Vanderbilt archive.


            I don’t see anything about the HSCA. And indeed, he died over a year before the HSCA was authorized by Congress.

            I was aware that Crimaldi mentioned Nicoletti. But that’s far from the same thing as an intention to interview him.

            I think Rolling Stone was the source of the claim that Nicoletti was going to be called. You might or might not consider that reliable. I would want to see some primary source from the HSCA.

            There were plenty of reasons besides the JFK assassination why he might be offed.


          3. Well, Giancana’s Godson felt that it was not the Mob who did Momo but the CIA (to make it look like a Mob hit but Momo was no rat – he was old school).

            Back then, I don’t think the CIA wanted anyone to know more about plots to assassinate Castro with the help of the Mob. God knows what else that could lead to.

      1. You seem to be missing my point. The issue is whether any of these deaths really suggests a “clean up squad” of people going around killing people off.

        If you think there has been, post some real evidence. Not stuff like Belzer uses.

        1. I disagree in so far as the testimony of the tow truck driver who testified to seeing Mary P. Meyer being shot both in the forehead and then in the shoulder area by a man who then calmly walked away!!!

  19. Mr McAdams picking apart of Belzers book is typical of most of the small yet determined debunking community. It is likely that every person on Belzers and Marrs lists were not murderd I’m sure some died the way it was reported that said it is foolish to say that the lists aren’t credible there are too many questionable deaths surrounding the people that were connected to the JFK story!

  20. John McAdams,

    As of this comment, 4:54 EST, you’re receiving fairly gentle treatment here.

    I want to raise the treatment a notch. You use the term “factoid.” Please define that term.

      1. John McAdams,

        The definition you provide is nonsensical. There are no “invented facts”. There are facts and purported facts.

        That your definition is from a dictionary is at worst an appeal to authority, a logical fallacy.

        I suspected “factoid” has no meaning, in which case it’s not a fit term for honest debate.

        1. What term would you use for things that are assumed to be true, uncritically accepted by people, who aren’t true?

          As for “appeal to authority:” Websters is the authority on English vocabulary and usage.

          Could it be that you want to believe that everything in conspiracy books is true?

          1. How about this:

            Someone asserts, “Oswald went to Mexico City in the fall of 1963.”

            Fact? Or unproven assertion?

            I’d say an unproven assertion.

            But no matter. It’s always best to use traditional American English in debate and to avoid neologisms and other crud that has crept into written and spoken discourse. To me, traditional American English is that taught in an upper-level class in a good high school in 1963.

          2. Professor, I first came across that word on your newsgroup.

            I thought you coined it as a combination of the words “fact” with “void”, to mean a false or phony fact.

  21. Gobbling up some more low-hanging fruit.

    Write a review of Gerald McKnight’s BREACH OF TRUST, John, and just try to take it apart. Or the new edition of DESTINY BETRAYED.

      1. You’re careful in the choices of what you “have time for,” of course. Low hanging fruit, as others have said. You had time for Belzer, just not for a more serious volume. I think we can deduce why.

    1. Does McAdams give article space to pro-conspiracy writers on his own site?

      You probably don’t want to count David Lifton’s accounts of how deranged Garrison was, or Wrone debunking Lifton’s body alteration thesis.

      And probably not Jack White and Rich DellaRosa knocking Judyth Baker:

      But if you want real conspiracy articles, go here:

      . . . and search “Vince Palamara” and “Peter Whitmey.”

  22. Regardless of whether you believe all of what Belzer claims or not let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Some notable and mysterious deaths have occurred that suggest malicious intent. It may be 200, it may be 15, it doesn’t matter. If we can just stay focused and follow the most reasonable trails we will make more progress.

  23. I think it’s a fair point that the claims in this book are exaggerated, and that sources are used in an uncritical way. Many of the people on the list have at best a tenuous connection to JFK, and their deaths may in some cases not be all that mysterious. That being said, there are a core group of mysterious deaths. If that list is only 10 people say, the natural death of even that many people connected to a particular criminal event is extraordinarily unlikely.

    This is a common McAdams theme. Because someone took things too far, it discredits the whole thing. It’s like saying one exaggerated claim by a climate scientist (like the movie the Day After Tomorrow) negates the entire body of climate change research.

    The mysterious death of Oswald alone while in Dallas police custody is enough for a reasonable person to believe that something deeply dark was behind the JFK assassination. And Oswald was hardly the only one.

    1. It’s like saying one exaggerated claim by a climate scientist (like the movie the Day After Tomorrow) negates the entire body of climate change research.

      But extreme and overwrought claims about global warming (Al Gore said that the north polar ice sheet would be gone by 2013) prove that any such claim should be scrutinized, and not merely uncritically accepted.

      Likewise, stuff like the Belzer book proves that conspiracy claims need to be scrutinized. Maybe some can survive scrutiny. But none should be accepted uncritically.

      1. “But worse than the factoids is the intellectual slovenliness of the entire enterprise”

        John McAdams and factoids:
        “McAdams borrowed the propagandistic pejorative “factoid” from a panel discussion in Washington D. C. after the film JFK came out. The late Fletcher Prouty was on that panel. When Prouty tried to bring in matters that did not directly tie into the Commission’s case against Oswald, the moderator said that these were “factoids”.

        “But extreme claims about global warming (Al Gore said that the north polar ice sheet would be gone by 2013) prove that any ”

        Someone wrote a book titled JFK Assassination Logic. You need to examine your logic here – extreme claims prove nothing and Al Gore missing the mark(2013) by a decade or two does not even make his claim extreme.

        “conspiracy claims need to be scrutinized. Maybe some can survive scrutiny. But none should be accepted uncritically.”

        Straw man: Nobody proposed that conspiracy claims should be accepted uncritically.Identification of propaganda, misinformation is important for critical thinking.

        1. “McAdams borrowed the propagandistic pejorative “factoid” from a panel discussion in Washington D. C. after the film JFK came out. The late Fletcher Prouty was on that panel. When Prouty tried to bring in matters that did not directly tie into the Commission’s case against Oswald, the moderator said that these were “factoids”.

          Actually, no. I read that in Normal Mailer’s book on Marilyn Monroe in the early 70s.

          Mailer coined the phrase.

          So what you posted is in fact a factoid.

          1. “Invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print”. Is not much of your work factoids? It ignores many facts.

      2. Wasn’t the northern polar route open for the first trans-polar shipping in 2013…?

        If any single document deserves scrutiny and should not be accepted uncritically, it is the Warren Commission report. It is seemingly filled with “factoids”…

      3. Actually, the climate denial position which Mr. McAdams takes runs up against scientific proof that CO-2 levels are rising in our atmosphere, the oceans are becoming more acidic, and global mean temperatures continue to climb. But because McAdams is biased in favor of the carbon lobby (he is a contributor to the Heartland Institute), he cannot say any of this. So he cherry picks the data, going after some of the finer points where he can score points, like attacking some of Al Gore’s predictions.

        In the case of the JFK assassination, he does much the same thing, because he is allied with the CIA. Instead of looking openly at the evidence, as Mr. Morley and others have done, shooting down some outrageous JFK conspiracy theories while remaining open to others, McAdams’ entire gameplan is to cherry pick at the evidence, while attempting to “debunk” every “factoid” raised by “conspiracy buffs”. He’s not interested in keeping an open mind. His job (or hobby, I can’t tell which) is to debunk and deny, just as he does with the climate science. That’s not a good way to approach the historical record of the JFK assassination. It’s intellectually dishonest.

          1. Yeah, right.

            Let’s see…Saying that Dr. Charles Crenshaw’s recollections are all bogus. That’s one cherry factoid overlooked by Professor Intelligence Buff. Believing everything that Arlen Spector said, without question. Hmmm….Skip and Flip wrote a song about cherry pie. I think you provided the filling for it, doc.

          2. Crenshaw complained about co-writing with Gary Shaw, and later said that Shaw misquoted him. That could explain some of the discrepancies. I will have to dig up a letter that Crenshaw wrote to defend his position, which was attacked by JAMA. It was a case of attack the messenger.

            I have some major problems with the Warren Commission report, which I believe was political in nature, to get Colonel Cornpone elected in ’64 and stop the media (and buffs as you call them) from asking more questions:

            1. So at first there were three shots but then you discovered that a bystander was wounded so there were still 3 shots but the caused how many wounds?

            2. So you had 3 shots in how many seconds? And one missed wildly bit stilhe was able to hit a moving target. Wonder if the defence attorney hires his own sharpshooters to try to recreate that one. Also gets expert testimony to talk about the
            odds of that miracle shot.

            3. Did you offer my client the right to an attorney? Where is the documentation that he waived those rights. Oh, you destroyed all those notes?

            4. Can I get all the x-rays, notes etc. No, much is missing. In fact the head itself is missing.

            5. Can we examine the limo where the president was murdered. No, we had that cleaned while the president was still in the hospital and then completely rebuilt.

  24. Walt Brown, Ph.D.

    John McAdams only draws breath in the morning to discount conspiracy concepts, but he at least has taken reasonable aim in this effort. While hundreds of mystery deaths are cited, very few, if any, are provable as being deaths caused in a clean-up campaign after Dallas. I read Belzer with skepticism, but I published a 32,000 page JFK Chronology that you will not find here.

  25. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say yay or nay on it. I don’t think one has to look too far or wide, however, to see some glaringly suspicious deaths.

    Number one on the list is Lee Harvey Oswald’s. The fact he didn’t survive the weekend, and the fact neither the DPD nor the FBI nor the Secret Service nor the Bethesda docs followed procedures that could have been used in a criminal prosecution of Oswald, screams of bloody, conspiratorial murder. It seems pretty clear no one in charge ever expected Oswald would be tried.

    Number two on the list is Jack Ruby, who died 30 days after being diagnosed with cancer. Ruby, who was willing to tell all if he was taken from Dallas to D.C. and put into protective custody; Ruby, who believed he was being injected with cancer cells (a la the Mary Sherman sort…and she died a violent, mysterious death too).

    Number three on the list is Dorothy Kilgallen, who interviewed Ruby; announced she was going to blow the lid lid off the case; and then turned up dead in bed, clothed, from a drug overdose. Poor Dorothy. Her body contained three barbiturates, but her medicine cabinet only contained a prescription for one; she died in clothes she wouldn’t have worn to bed and in a bed in which she never slept; and she was reading a book she’d already read. Poor Dorothy. Funny thing is, her interview notes from her time with Jack Ruby disappeared.

    And there are some others. I might throw in Lee Bowers in addition to Mary Sherman. I might also recount incidents in which individuals having specific knowledge were threatened or harmed; there are plenty of those.

    So while Belzer’r book may miss the mark, as you maintain, it’s not as if there’s neither smoke nor fire to its pages, I imagine.

    1. On Dorothy Kilgallen, see:

      Just a couple of key points:

      The toxicology shows moderately high levels of barbiturates and alcohol. Not the massive dose that goons would have to force down her throat if they wanted to kill her.
      She claimed she was “going” to “break the case.” A lot of people thought that. There is no evidence she did or even was really “going to.”
      The medical examiners report shows “no signs violence.”

      On Bowers, see this:

      On Mary Sherman: there is really no evidence she had any connection to the case at all. This all went back to Garrison and Ferrie’s (absurd) interest in “cancer research.” Ferrie had no competence at all in that, and the notion that a reputable doctor like Sherman would let Ferrie within 15 miles of any research project of hers is wild.

      1. Mr McAdams in the series ” The men who Killed Kennedy ” Judith Baker who worked for Dr Sherman confirmed that Ferrie and Oswald were a part of Sherman’s research as couriers.

          1. Thank you for the link but the volumes of material on it is no different from the volumes of material that suggest the opposite honestly.

      2. John McAdams don’t you find it at all strange that Dorothy Kilgallen was given the just right amount to die from an overdose, ask any doctor i’m sure you know a few they will tell you that in typical suicide cases where drugs are consumed that the amount used far exceeds that of the amount needed to die. She had just the right amount maybe we should have given her an honorary posthumous medical degree. Stick to your day job

        1. Mark Shaw wrote a new book about Dorothy Kilgallen, including taped interviews with her hair stylist and personal friend.

          She was found dressed perched on her bed. She was supposed to have met someone. She thought her phone was bugged. The air-conditioning was left on (which her hair stylist thought was unusual). Whole bunch of things didn’t add up.

          In any event, maybe some people are killed in a way to make it look like they weren’t.

  26. There is a good probability that the ‘Hit List’ will grow larger as efforts are increased to find & interview witnesses to the crime or elements of its aftermath. Included here are the black couple sitting on a bench near Zapruder & Sitzman, the Dal-Tex fire escape onlooker, the man holding the ‘jack, SOB’ hand sign near the Franzen family & the C-130 pilots & load crew that flew JFK’s parade car out of Dallas in a still uncertain state.

    Part of Professor McAdams’ & those like him reasoning problems stem from stepping into the shoes & minds of unknown people & predicting what they might or should have done in any given circumstance of the crime; something no one outside the crime can possibly be able to do.

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