Memories

What a senior KGB officer said about Lee Harvey Oswald

Nikolai Leonov

Insider: Fidel Castro, Nikolai Leonov, and Nikita Khrushchev

Nikolai S. Leonov has an interesting perspective on the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Leonov joined the KGB in 1958 and retired in 1991 with the rank of Lieutenant General. In the spring of 1963, his fluency in Spanish gained him the job as the Russian interpreter for Cuba president Fidel Castro during his first visit to the USSR in the spring of 1963, In the photo above he is the man standing between and behind Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Read more

‘People went shopping and there wasn’t a sound’ 

Seventeen year old Lyla Krol interviews her grandfather, Robert Krol, about November 22, 1963: JFK assassination with poppy – StoryCorps

‘We should not all be painted with the same brush’

Sandra writes:

Now reading “The Ghost . . .”.On page 145, Jefferson Morley states, “In Columbus, Mississippi, high school students cheered the death of the liberal president . . . ”

Sandra wants to make an important point about the South and JFK’s assassination. Read more

Ex-CIA officer Robert Baer on JFK records: ‘Release them’

From the Fernand Amandi Show, WIOD radio, Miami, May 2, 2017.

Q: Bob Baer, do you think the CIA should release all of the CIA files on the JFK assassination as mandated by law later this year?

A.”Absolutely. There’s no sources and methods involved. Release them and let’s clear this up.”

 

Want to be marginalized? Talk about your ‘conspiracy theory’

My approach to the JFK assassination is that it was “an operation”.   When I’m feeling down to earth, I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”If I was looking for employment, I would go with “analyst.”
 David Talbot refers to people like us as “people’s historians”.  That’s good too.
When discussing the events of November 22, 1963, I ted to use terms like “Joint action”, “concerted action”, or “acted in concert.”  Don’t forget the simple word “plan.”
I don’t often use the word “conspiracy.” I think that when talking about the JFK case or similar events, the c-word is counterproductive and marginalizing.  Why describe those of us that challenge the lone gunman story as “conspiracy theorists”?  Or, in reductive bumper sticker terms: CTs?

Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”.  All perfectly good words, unlike “CT,” “LN,” or  “theorist,”  Theory of what?

‘JFK buff’ is an insult

The term “buff” is — how do i say this politely? –repellent.  A buff is a hobbyist.   What we’re doing has great value, but it would be a pretty sick hobby.    Remember how John Kerry did some good work on the contra-cocaine story?  Newsweek labeled him a “randy conspiracy buff”, invoking the trifecta of nudity, sex, and high adventure.  No thanks.

I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”I

“Lone nut” is also in poor taste, often used in the context of the “LN crowd”.  The terms “Lone wolf” or “single gunman” are respectful ways to refer to one’s adversaries in a case like this.

The people fighting AIDS had to deal with “victim”, “sick”, and similar metaphors.  Those in danger of infection were not “shooters” or “junkies” but “injection drug users”, or IDUs.  The challengers of the anti-immigrant forces have spent many years using the phrase “undocumented worker” rather than “illegal alien”.  Words matter.
The romance of conspiracy

I believe that many of us use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” because it seems practical, romantic, or titillating.

The last two reasons are bad ones.   Real bad.  Two of the many reasons the word has been marginalized.

Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”.  All perfectly good words, unlike “theorist”.  Theory of what?

If we want to not be seen by anyone as “on the margins”, there is a simple fix.  Admit that the phrase has been abused by our adversaries and the mass media.  It is now used as a red flag.  The design is to put the target in a box.  It can no longer be used by us in a practical sense.

I think the romantic and titillating aspects of the word “conspiracy” are enticing.  “They killed the President!  We have to call it what it is – conspiracy!”  It’s fun to be wrapped up in a world of high adventure, fighting the forces of Mordor with the energies of truth and light.

I understand it — I like romantic stuff and have a rebel nature.  But, I have to admit, it makes me blue.  We’re in the midst of an important conflict about how history will be written.  We need to share good stories, not needless drama.  I’d rather win.

Peter Lawford on JFK: ‘You’ll never know the truth….’

Chuck Pick has been Hollywood’s go-to parking valet for decades. Most recently his company handled the exclusive Vanity Fair Oscars party. In his time he’s interacted with not only film personalities, but also presidents, including JFK.

Pick recounts that when working an early 1960s Hollywood event at which the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe were present, Secret Service men told him: “You have eyes but you can’t see, you have ears but you can’t hear and you have a mouth but you can’t speak. You’re going to see a lot of things, but you have to keep quiet.”

That party was held at the home of JFK’s British-born brother in law, Peter Lawford, according to James Spada’s 1991 Lawford biography, “The Man Who Kept the Secrets.”

On November 22, 1963, Pick was working as a personal assistant to Lawford, who was doing a show with Jimmy Durante at the Harrah’s resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Pick and Lawford were up until dawn that night and had just got to bed when a Harrah’s representative woke them with the news that JFK had been shot in Dallas. Lawford, who was reportedly instrumental in arranging JFK’s presidential “affairs” such as his alleged liaisons with Marilyn Monroe, immediately prepared to travel home to Los Angeles on Harrah’s private plane, which had been made available to them.

As Pick told Spada, it was when they were frantically packing to leave that they heard Walter Cronkite’s tearful announcement that Kennedy was dead. Lawford collapsed on to the kitchen floor, beyond consolation, vomiting between sobs.

The assassination was the beginning of a downward spiral for Lawford, who, already estranged from JFK’s sister Pat, descended into drink, drugs and a series of brief marriages. He died at age 61 in 1984.

Pick told Spada that he later mustered up the courage to ask Lawford what “had really happened” in Dallas.

“You’ll never know the truth of what happened in Dallas,” Lawford replied. “You’ll never know the truth.” Pick pushed further to no avail. “I interpreted it as meaning that he knew what happened and few other people ever would.”

Spada also quotes Paul Wurtzel, a Lawford friend who was the assistant director on the films “Dear Phoebe” and “The Thin Man.” Wurtzel had become “a student” of the assassination, and asked Lawford to answer a single question: “Did Oswald kill Kennedy or was it higher up?”

“It was higher up,” Lawford answered.

“I let it drop,” Wurtzel told Spada, “and I never asked him what he meant. I’m sure he wouldn’t have said anything more to me. He still had kids and the family.”

New Orleans picks up on Politico’s JFK story

On May 12 I reported bout the 3,600 JFK-related documents that remain out of public view.

On Monday, Politico picked up on the story and added a host of new details and comments.

Yesterday the story was picked by NOLA.com, the Web site of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

What JFK researchers need to do

A reader writes:

“I am 60 years of age and was in the 5th grade on 11/22/63….”

Read more

‘A charismatic president lives on’

From MSNBC, a piece about Kennedy’s unique place in American memory.

JFK memory: In suburban St. Louis

I was born in 1958 so I was five years old when JFK was killed. I was living in St. Louis, the third of four children. My father was a minister in an Episcopal Church near our our house. My mother was in graduate school. I recall Kennedy’s assassination as my first public memory, my first recollection of an event that Read more

JFK memory: My Catholic aunts

I was 7 years old when Kennedy was killed. The only memory I have is spending that Christmas in Rhode Island, with my mother’s big Catholic Italian family. My aunts were still talking about it and crying on and off.

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