Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.
In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and participated in the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.
“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you seen the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”
A recent Daily Mail article on JFK’s assassination highlighted James Johnson’s new book, Murder Inc.: The CIA Under President John F. Kennedy which argues Cuba government may have been involved.
There are many reasons to doubt this conspiracy theory, which I detailed in this 2012 article for Salon. Those reasons still apply. But Johnson is right about one thing: The central role of James Angleton, CIA counterintelligence chief in obstructing the JFK investigation is highly suspicious. Those suspicions, in fact, reached the highest levels of the CIA itself.
George Joannides, now deceased, was an undercover CIA officer based in Miami and New Orleans in 1963.
His actions provides strong evidence that certain Agency personnel manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald for propaganda purposes before and after President Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.
After JFK Facts recounted Jack Ruby’s pursuit of an exotic dancer named Gail Raven in January 1963, I received a message from a woman who identified herself as Raven’s daughter. She told me that her mother was still alive, and she confirmed that her mother and Jack Ruby were close. I asked her if her mother would share her memories of the man who killed accused assassin Lee H. Oswald. She said yes.
In 1963 Gail Raven was the stage name of a precociously mature 20-year-old woman who danced on the national nightclub circuit that included Ruby’s Carousel Club in Dallas. Ruby (born Jack Rubenstein) was a Chicago tough guy who took a shine to her, and they became friends.
Now close to 70 years old, Gail Raven is living in the southern United States. I have confirmed her real name but have agreed not to publish it here to protect her privacy.