Sunday, October 27, 2013

Synopsis - Wecht Conference Presentation on AF1 Radio Tapes

Synopsis of Kelly's Presentation

A Forensic Analysis of the Air Force One Radio Transmission Tapes –
A presentation by William Kelly at the Wecht Conference in Pittsburgh on October 18, 2013 Amended with additional sources and references.

William E. Kelly, Jr.:
There are a number of audio tapes in evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy, including the Dallas Police dictabelt tape and the Air Force One radio transmissions tapes.

A thorough understanding of the acoustical evidence on the Dallas Police dictabelt recordings may require a good working knowledge of the underlying scientific principles involved in interpreting the data on the tapes – so you have to know math and be good at science and physics to argue about what is on the Dallas Police tape.
But that is not the case with the Air Force One radio transmissions, as anyone can listen to them and pretty much understand what they’re saying, though it helps to know what the codes they use actually refer to.

President Kennedy ordered all of the radio communications from Air Force One be recorded when the plane was airborne, which helps explain the fact that there are no existing recordings of the phone calls President Johnson made from a land line aboard the plane #26000, before it took off.
It is also a noteworthy fact that the first decision President Johnson made as president at Parkland Hospital was to return to Washington aboard Air Force One, rather than the plane he flew in on (Air Force 2), because, according to the Warren Report, it had superior communications equipment.

Before the LBJ Library released an edited version of the Air Force One radio tapes, three respected journalists – William Manchester, who was writing “The Death of the President,” T. H. White, author of “The Making of the President 1964,” and Pierre Salinger (“On Instructions of My Government”) were all given access to a transcript of Air Force One radio transmissions and quote from it, even though some of what they quote is not on the existing tapes. So we know that there is a lot edited out, and the eighty eight minutes we now have could possibly be as long as seven hours of tapes, given the fact that there were three radios going at once and the trip from Love Field in Dallas to Andrews in Washington was over two hours.
I became involved in the study of the Air Force One radio transmissions about twenty years ago when I visited Dallas in November for an annual COPA conference around the 1992 anniversary. While there I visited the Assassination Information Center which was then on the third floor of the mall in an old factory building in the West End Market Place behind the Texas School Book Depository. That’s where the late Larry Howard, who ran the place, gave me copies of  the cassette tapes of the Air Force One radio transmission recordings that he said came from the LBJ Library.

That same weekend, I met Wes Wise, a former Mayor of Dallas who was a radio and TV reporter at the time of the assassination, and he gave me a tour of Dallas assassination hot spots, one of which was a restaurant parking lot in Oak Cliff where Wise said he gave a talk on his experience reporting on the assassination a few weeks after it was over and things had died down a bit.
It was at this restaurant where Wise met T. F. White, who was a mechanic in a garage off the alley behind the restaurant. On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, Mr. White said he saw a man in a 1957 Plymouth acting suspiciously. When White walked closer, he got a good look at the man behind the wheel, who sped away after a few police cars passed by. White told Wise he wrote down the license number of the Texas plate on the car, and that driver was Lee Harvey Oswald. Although reluctantly, White gave the piece of paper with the license number written on it to Wise, with the understanding that he would not be identified or be involved in any way.

Wise then checked out the license plate number and learned it belonged to a Carl Mather, and passed it on to the FBI to investigate further. The FBI went to Mather’s house and saw the 1957 Plymouth in the drive way. They knocked on the door and met Mrs. Mather told the FBI agent that on the morning of the assassination her husband and the Plymouth were at Collins Radio Company in Richardson, Texas, where Carl Mather was employed.  But in the afternoon Mr. Mather came home and they went together to the home of their good friend, Mrs. J.D. Tippit, whose husband had been killed that day. 
So Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy, was seen driving a car owned by Carl Mather, a good friend of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit, in the immediate vicinity of Tippit’s murder. And Mather’s alibi at the time was that he was at work at Collins Radio Company in Richardson, Texas. According to a House Select Committee investigator in 1976, Mather also worked on the radios aboard Air Force Two, the Vice President’s plane. Mather worked on this plane at a special secret facility in Maryland called Brandywine.

Well the FBI didn’t investigate that line of inquiry any further, they did go back and intimidate Mr. White, even though Wise had promised they wouldn’t.
I had already heard of Collins Radio, a company because it had been identified by the November 1, 1963 New York Times (p.1) as the CIA cover company that leased the raider ship Rex, which had been involved in delivering commandos and arms to Cuba a few days earlier.

Later I read that some Collins employees had made a reservation at the Carousel Club in Dallas that was owned by Jack Ruby, who had killed Oswald while he was in the custody of the Dallas police.

Art Collins I learned, was only a teenager in Cedar Rapids, Iowa when he was the only person able to pick up the radio transmission of US Navy Admiral Byrd from his Antarctic expedition. Admiral Byrd was the cousin of the owner of the Texas School Book Depository.
An observant researcher also sent me a photo of Art Collins together with Air Force General Curtis LeMay, a short wave radio HAM buff, who enjoyed talking to people on the radio other side of the world. LeMay gave the radio contracts to Collins to equip the nuclear armed Strategic Air Command bombers, as well as the Special Air Mission (SAM) planes, including Air Force One.

Then I obtained the news clips on the unsolved Miami murder of a Cuban exile who had worked for Collins Radio, so my Collins Radio file was getting pretty thick.
I wrote a letter to Collins Radio, at their company headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, asking for copies of their annual stockholders reports for 1962, 1963 and 1964. Since the 60s, Collins Radio had merged with Rockwell International, a major defense contractor that became Rockwell Collins.

When I got the annual reports in the mail I learned that they were very proud of the fact that Collins Radio provided the side band radios used by the Strategic Air Command (SAC) bomber fleet as well as the Special Air Mission (SAM) of the US Air Force that included Air Force One and the fleet of planes that provided air transport for the President, Vice President, the Cabinet and major military officers of the highest rank.
From Collins Annual Report: “Air Force One, the Presidential airplane, was placed into service in 1962 using communications equipment developed and manufactured by Collins. The aircraft, a VC-137, military version of the Boeing 707 airliner, was modified to meet the special requirements of flying the President. In 1962, the station many remember as ‘Liberty’ was opened and operated from the new communications and data building (Building 121). The operators called the station the “fish bowl” because of the glass walls. The Cedar Rapids station became known as ‘Liberty’ during the 1960s when Communications Central was involved with Andrews (Air Force Base, Washington D.C.) VIP network. Collins had a contract with the Air Force to serve as either the primary communications station or as a backup whenever Air Force One, the presidential aircraft, or other aircraft in the VIP fleet carried cabinet members or high-ranking military officers. Over the airwaves the station’s call word was ‘Liberty’.”

So when listening to the Air Force One cassette tapes from the LBJ Library, you hear the “Liberty” station frequently, but the official transcript of the tape identified “Liberty” as the White House, and another reference said it was the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), when I documented the fact that it was the Collins Radio “Fish Bowl” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
I also found some other disturbing mistakes in the official transcript as I listened to it so I decided to create my own transcript, and stated my own list of codes and identifiers, and shared my transcript by posting it on the internet, first at Rich Delarosa’s JFKResearch Forum and later at the Education Forum (UK) and Deep Politics Forum, and now at my blog JFKCountercoup.

At a Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) conference in Washington in September 2004 I met Max Holland and obtained a copy of his then recently released book “The JFK Assassination Tapes,” which discusses some of the conversations on the LBJ Library tapes, but doesn’t include the references to “Liberty.” I asked Holland if he knew about the “Liberty” station at Collins Radio, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and he said he didn’t, so I told him that was the relay station that assigned the frequencies used and monitored all of the communications, not only of Air Force One, but all of the Special Air Missions and SAC.
Reading Max Holland’s book [The Kennedy Assassination Tapes, Alfred A. Knopf, 2004, p. 18] I found one fact I thought astonishing - the Navy officer assigned to the White House Situation Room on the day of the assassination – Lt. Oliver Hallet, the man who would inform Air Force One that Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested in the assassination (“and there was no conspiracy”), Navy Lt. Hallett actually KNEW Oswald – knew who he was, a former USMC defector, since Hallett had been stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow when Oswald defected. Hallet’s wife was Snyder’s secretary and escorted Oswald to Snyder’s office on the Saturday the embassy was officially closed. (As Bill Simpich discloses in his premier ebook – State Secret – Mrs. Joan Hallet, as Marina herself did, actually confused Oswald with another defector.) [ Read State Secret at].

Then the Raab historical auction house in Philadelphia announced that it had obtained two identical copies of a different version of the Air Force One Radio Transmission tapes from among the effects of the President’s Military Aide, General Chester Clifton, one of which they attempted to sell for a half million dollars and the other they donated to the National Archives, and put on line.
Listening to the new Clifton tape, it was quickly determined that it was about a half hour longer than the LBJ tapes, but much clearer, but it begins about ten minutes into the LBJ Library tape, and they are heavily edited so both tapes contain unique information.

After completing a transcript of the Clifton tape, I compared it to the earlier transcript of the LBJ Library tapes and then merged the two, identifying where and when there were edits.
When I read a news report of an acoustical analysis of the cell phone conversation in the Trayvon Martin murder case in Florida, by an acoustical forensic specialist - Ed Primeau, I called him and asked him if he was interested in helping do a forensic study of the Air Force One radio tapes. The idea was to create a single combined tape, using the best version of the two where they overlapped?

 Ed Primeau agreed and he and his staff, including son Mike and Brad Finegan, worked on the project for months, doing very tedious editing of the two different tapes, based on my combined transcript.
I told him when he was finished we would present the completed combined and refined tape at the Wecht Center conference on the assassination. Although he couldn’t make it due to some medical issues, Ed indicated he will be happy to answer any questions concerning the technical nature of this work sometime in the near future. []

Just to give people a feeling for what it is like, - I am putting together some highlights and a synopsis, including the call for “Liberty, Liberty,” seeking to keep radio frequencies open, and the attempts to reach the White House and Air Force One.
The most interesting issue at the beginning of the tapes is the response of the Cabinet’s plane - #86972, as it learns of the assassination while flying over the Pacific towards a conference in Japan, a few hours out of Hawaii. Because the sideband short wave radios use public airways, and anybody can listen in who has the right equipment and frequencies, they use code names for people and places.

On the tape we hear Pierre Salinger, whose code name is “Wayside,” as he gets the latest report on the events in Dallas from the White House Situation Room, where an officer identified only as “Stranger,” reads Salinger the latest bulletins. Then “Stranger” orders the Cabinet plane to turn around and return to Washington.
According to Salinger, the Press Secretary, Rusk didn’t like taking orders from a literal “Stranger,” and wanted to know who he was, but the code book aboard the plane, usually kept in the pilot’s safe, was inexplicitly missing. So Rusk had Salinger order the White House Situation Room to break the code and identify “Stranger.”

A few minutes later, - the radio crackles, “The answer to your question is Major Harold Patterson.”
Salinger knew Patterson from working at the White House and told Rusk that Patterson would not have ordered them to return to Washington unless he got it from the highest authority, probably McGeorge Bundy.

Now having Harold Patterson’s name, a good researcher found him and his phone number and I called him on the phone. Yes, he said, he was the Harold Patterson in the White House Situation Room at the time of the assassination. In fact he was the officer in charge of the WHSR that day, and yes, he worked closely with McGeorge Bundy and Navy Lt. Oliver Hallett, the Navy officer assigned to work with him.
I told Patterson I was listening to him on the Air Force One radio transmission tapes that I was transcribing and offered to send him the internet link so he could listen himself. Patterson confirmed that he told them to check the code book, but the code book was missing, so he had to break cover and tell them his real name.

Patterson said that he worked for the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) and they recorded everything, but didn’t edit the tapes, so the White House, he said, must have edited them, and he didn’t know where the unedited tapes would be kept today.
Nor was he aware, Patterson said, that there was a new book – “Nerve Center,” on the history of the White House Situation Room.

There are a number of other interesting and riveting communication “patches” on the combined tapes, including LBJ talking with JFK’s mother, Mrs. Rose Kennedy, and Nellie Connally back at Parkland Hospital, as well as plans for the plane disembarking at Andrews, the autopsy and funeral arrangements. The tapes also make a reference to a mysterious “black Cadillac” that is the subject of a detailed analysis by former ARRB staffer Doug Horne, I would refer you to Doug Horne’s work if you are interested in that subject.
Some of the conversations that are only on the Clifton tape, and were edited out of the LBJ tape released to the public, gives us some examples of the type of conversations that were edited out.

One such conversation concerns a Colonel Dorman, who identifies himself as General LeMay’s aide, who has a very important message for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, on his way to Washington aboard a SAM jet that was sent to pick him up at a SAC base in Canada.
There has been much speculation as to the whereabouts of LeMay at the time of the assassination. My current analysis is that he was probably hunting with his wife’s family in the lake country of upstate Michigan. He took a private plane, destination Toronto, when the SAM jet was sent to pick him up, but the destination was changed to a small SAC base in Canada that was apparently closer to where LeMay was located.

While we don’t know what the important message was that Col. Dorman wanted LeMay to know before he landed, we do know that LeMay disobeyed an order from Air Force Secretary Zuckert to return to Andrews, and instead landed at Washington National. And he arrived back in time that he could have made it to Bethesda to attend the autopsy, if indeed it was LeMay smoking the cigar in the autopy room.
While transcribing the Clifton tape, and first heard Col. Dorman identify himself as LeMay’s aide, I Googled Dorman and quickly learned that he had died tragically in Vietnam, when his jet plane shot down. His widow lived not far from me near Princeton, New Jersey. I obtained her phone number and called her. She confirmed that she was Col. Dorman’s widow and that he had been LeMay’s aid and died in Vietnam.

Mrs. Dorman said she was working at the White House that morning, as part of Mrs. Kennedy’s historic restoration of the building, under a Mr. Castro. She said that her husband called her at the White House from the Pentagon and told her that the President had been shot and for her to get out of the White House and go home immediately. Mr. Castro, she recalled, pulled down all the shades in their offices, and they all said a prayer before she went home. They lived on General’s Row in Arlington, adjacent to the cemetery, and she stopped in the cemetery chapel to say another prayer before going home.
Her husband she said, did not talk about work at home, and she didn’t know what the important message was they had to convey to LeMay before he arrived back in Washington.

She said she had three sons who were teenagers at the time, and I contacted two of them, and the eldest recalled that he and his friends watched the burials from a tree in the cemetery. It was very unusual, he said, for his dad not to be with LeMay in Michigan, because they were always together, stuck like glue. He also recalled going to work with his dad one day, and taking a tour of General LeMay’s plane, “Speckled Trout” which I looked up and is a Command and Control plane like “Silver Dollar,” for commanders to use during a nuclear war.
So the new tapes quickly led me to identify a number of new and important witnesses – Patterson, Dorman, Mrs. Dorman and her sons, who can help us put together some of the missing pieces to the assassination puzzle.

I am also quite confident that someday we will locate the complete and unedited Air Force One Radio Transmission tapes from November 22, 1963, sitting on a shelf somewhere, perhaps among the Cedar Rapids, Iowa archives of the Collins Radio defense contractor who were responsible for distributing frequencies, relaying radio transmissions and monitoring them.
After my presentation, and ten minutes of playing Part One of the tapes as an example of what they sound like, I took questions from the audience.

Someone wanted to know if the National Enquirer article that said “Milteer” was mentioned on the tapes.  Milteer was the Georgia racist who predicted JFK would be shot from a tall building with a high powered rifle. Although he is not mentioned on the existing tapes, it is possible that  he might be mentioned on the unedited tapes or on the transcript of the unedited tapes that once existed.
It was pointed out to me by an audience member that the “Farewell America” manuscript allegedly composed by French Intelligence, includes quotes attributed to the tapes – that aren’t on the existing tapes that may also be on the unedited transcript.

Jeff Morley said that he too had recently talked with Major Harold Patterson,but  now over 80 years old, he declined a formal interview saying couldn’t remember much, and Jeeff also emphasized the importance of attempting to identify, locate and interview these types of witnesses before it is too late.
Max Holland, who was there for my presentation, asked why they had to be merged if the Clifton tape is a half hour longer, and I explained that the Clifton tape begins about ten minutes into the LBJ Library tapes, so there is unique information on both.

John Judge, who was also present, then recounted his experience meeting some SAC B-52 pilots at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio, who related the fact that their code books were also missing on 11/22/63.


Andrews Log 11/22/63 Salvaged from Trash


Introduction by Doug Horne (Chief Analyst for Military Records ARRB)

…The ARRB received an Air Force log book literally rescued from the trash at Andrews Air Force Base by a civil servant named Chuck Holmes during an office clean-out. He had received an all-DOD message stimulated by one of the ARRB omnibus search requests sent to the DOD General Counsel, and was responding to that ‘dragnet’ military telegram.

The assassination record was an old large-format green military logbook with a cloth cover (i.e. hardbound), with the word “RECORD” printed on the cover, and “authenticated” by real coffee rings from coffee cups that had been placed on the cover and had sloshed their contents. It had the identifier “1254th ATW [Air Transport Wing] Command Post” stamped on the cover, and hand-printed on two labels were the words “JFK Assassination” and “RFK Assassination 5 June 1968.”

It really was an incredible find. The question was, did it contain anything important of an evidentiary nature, or was it just an interesting story; and yet, on the other hand, it may be a vital clue to what really happened inside the Bethesda morgue, and to the United States of America, on November 22, 1963.

The first 7 pages of the log are titled “Death of JFK, 22 Nov. 63,” and later the mostly empty logbook were 2 additional pages titled “Death of R.F.K. 05 June 68.” Presumably, someone had placed it aside after November 22nd, in the belief that it had historical significance and should not have routine entries placed alongside those of November 22, 1963 – and then someone else, who had custody of the log and was still aware of its significance in June 1968 when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, had put the logbook to use again, recording the details of official transportation associated with RFK’s assassination. (I become very sad whenever I look at my personal photocopy of this record; it is a grim reminder of the overwhelming tragedy that befell both the Kennedy family and this nation during the 1960s.)

The two logs contain the tail numbers of aircraft, and for the most part denote takeoff times, destinations, ETAs, and arrival times at destinations.

Andrews Log

RIF: 161-10002-10000

9 pages.




COMMENTS: Special Log of Events found by Air Force civilian employee, Mr. Chuck Holmes, and transferred to ARRB by USAF. Cover stamped 1254 ATW Command Post.


Special Unclassified
J.F.K. Assassination - 22 Nov. 63 & RFK Assassinations 5 June 68.
1254th ATW Command Post
Return to Chuck Holmes.
7530-222-3523 Federal Supply Service ICPO

Page 1

LOCAL Death of J.F.K.
Time 22 Nov 63 (FR.)

1400 [2 pm] Col Hornbuckle Heard News Report on the President being shot at Dallas.

Put Wing on Alert & Told Maint To Put Act T into. (C P Maintaining acft status)
Notified 98 & 99 To Alert Crews (Received Aircraft Availability Status)
Notified Air Police To Alert Flight Guards.
Notified Air Team.
D2Col Schwikert Concurs in Above Actions

1405 [2:05pm] Notified To Dispatch: 0912488 P/U Boston, Drop Dallas

1420 [2:20] 09 2488 & 2493 CANX. 4197 Set-up
To Dept To P/U Gen LemMay at Toronto, Canada. Trip #1602


{Horne Notes: The Air Transport Wing at Andrews is arranging for the Air Force Chief of Staff to return to the United States.}

1446 [2:46] 094197 Dept for Canada. ETA 1546

{Horne: LeMay’s aircraft has taken off for Toronto.}

Received word from 86972 - Returning To HIK, Min 6nd Time, Direct Dallas.
092489 inbound To Whitemn with ulsec McMillian Advised to Standby there for further instructions.


{H: 86972 is the tail number of the aircraft that Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Press Secretary Pierre Salinger were aboard, enroute Japan, when they heard about the JFK assassination This entry indicates the flight has turned around and is headed for Hickam AFB in Hawaii, will spend minimal time on the ground there (for refueling - & notes BK – to make secure land line phone calls to DC) and proceed directly to Dallas.}

1450 Set up MSN #1617 12490 To Take Sen Kennedy to Otis.


{H: Senator Ted Kennedy was being flown to Otis AFB in Massachusetts so that he could notify his father of his brother’s assassination in person.}

Crossed out one line. Undecipherable

Change Gen Lemays P/U from Toronto To Wawirton Canada 44.45 N 09 81.06W 

{H: The pick up point for LeMay has changed from Toronto to Wairton, Canada.}


Page 2


1500 [3pm] (C.F.) - WashARTC called with Flight Plan on AF1. ETD Dallas 22
1515 Hi. ALT to ADW, 2 + 10 ENROUTE


{H: The flight plan for Air Force One (tail number 26000) calls for the aircraft to leave Dallas at 1515 (2:15 Dallas Time), fly high altitude to Andrews AFB, and that the flight time would be 2 hours, 10 minutes.}

1505 [3:05] Contacted 24197 (UHF) to change Destination to Wairton.

1510 [3:10] Patch w/86972 EST ADW 23/0100

1515 [3:15] Change 12490 Destination Otis to Barnstable.


{H: Senator Kennedy’s flight will no longer land at Ottis AFB but at Barnstable instead.}

1525 [3:25] 912492 & 12493 Patrick to Ramey (Cong Group) Returning To ADW ETAs 1650 & 1700

1530 [3:30] 09 12490 (Sen Kennedy Departed For Barnstable. Crew ABD ACFT
when He arrived Sgt Pshney AFLP stated that the S.S. will Take Care of Body At ADW


{H: The Air Force Command Post has informed the 1254th ATW at Andrews that the Secret Service wil take custody of President Kennedy’s body upon arrival.}

1535 [3:35] =09=0912499 u/sec MsMillian Returning ADW

1540 [3:40]=09=0924200 OUT of Commission For TOC=D5s To FAR into PE.

Missions 1572/27 & 1573/01 CANX.

1545 [3:45] 9 6000 Returning ADW, Mr. Johnson ABD ETA 1725 (Returning as AF-1) Body & Mrs. Kennedy ABD


{H: Tail number 26000 (the brand new, permanent Presidential Boeing 707 jet), delivered in 1962, has “Mr. Johnson” aboard, along with Mrs. Kennedy and the body of the deceased Commander-in-Chief. No one yet considers LBJ as their President, even though by law he is.}

1547 [3:47] =09=09 AF 1 Dept DAL, ETA ADW 1805


{H: The actual takeoff time of Air Force Onewas 3:47 PM EST, or 2:47 CST (Dallas Time) The ETA at Andrews is 6:05 PM}

1600 [4:00pm] = 09 Quiet Hour 1745 To 1830.

1609 [4:09] = 096972 Dept AIK ETA 00240 


{H: The Dean Rusk/Pierre Salinger flight took off from Hickam AFB in Hawaii at 4:09 PM EST, and its ETA at Andrews AFB (now its next destination) is 24 minutes after midnight, EST.}

Page 3


1625 [4:25pm] 24197 Gen Lemay Dept Wairton 1604 ETA DCA 1715, Driver & Aide at DCA ETA charged 1710, Secy Zuckert Will Meet Lemay at ADW. (notified AC f t )


{H: General LeMay is going to land at Washington National Airport (DCA), adjacent to downtown Washington D.C., not at Andrews AFB, which is well south of the nation’s Capitol. The Secretary of the Air Force (nominally his superior) wants to meet him at Andrews AFB instead. The Air Transport Wing has notified the aircraft that Secretary Zuckert wants LeMay to land at Andrews AFB, not National Airport.}

1650 [4:50] =09=09 Call From 26000, need steps FWD Door, FWD Gally Door & Lift Truck AfT Pax Door, Body in Rear.


{H: Air Force One has called via radio and requested passenger steps at the forward passenger door on the left side of the aircraft; additional steps at the forward galley door on the right hand side of the aircraft; and a fork lift truck (for the Dallas casket) at the aft passenger door on the left-hand side of the aircraft, near the tail.}

1700 [5:00pm] =09 Gen Lemay Will land DCA not ADW. [emphasis is in original]

{H: LeMay has just disobeyed the wishes of the civilian who is supposed to be his boss, and has decided to land at DCA, Washington National Airport, anyway. (This speaks volumes.)}

1700 Alert Posture From Burleson: Immediate Alert till 1830 HR Alert till 1830 - 200 HR Alert 2000 - Till Advised Left Jetstar on 1 HQ

96000 Requested Ramps & Press Fence

1710 [5:10] =09=09Call From Duty Off @ Torrejon C.P. Requesting info on Sam
P/U of =09=09=09=09=09V.P. of Spain - None Sked By 1254th.

1712 [5:12] =09=094192 Gen Lemay ARR DCA.

{H: The Air Force Chief of Staff lands at a crowded civilian aviation airport in a military aircraft, in spite of being asked by the Secretary of the Air Force t land at Andrews AFB.}

1715 [5:15] =0912491 w/Cong Price at Burbank Alerted For Possible P/U of Lawford Family to Return ADW.

1730 [5:30] 096972 ETB A ADW 0030 . 32 PAX. Notified Mr Jackson – Home 9929-1298 For Transport Etc.

1735 12491 Possible P/U of Lawford Family CANX. Notified Alc @ Burbank. Maj Chappelle Advised thaat He is Returning ADW via FFUTT with Cong Cohelan.


Page 4.


1740 [5:40 pm] AF1 Reg Four A.P. Cars, 2 FWD & 2 ft of AcFt on Ramp Confirmed.


{H: Air Force One has requested four Air Police cars on the taxi ramp after the aircraft rolls to a stop: 2 forward of the aircraft, and 2 aft of the aircraft.}

1800 [6:00pm] AF1 ARR ADW, 12489 Slowing Down To ARR After ADW Opens, 42816 Still Holding


{H: Air Force One landed at Andrews AFB at 6:00 PM on November 22, 1963.}

1830 [6:30]=09=0986970 ARR ADW


{Air Force Two (which had been LBJ’s airplane for the Texas trip) landed at 6:30 PM)

1841 [6:41] =0942816 ARR ADW

1852 [6:52] =09=0912489 ARR ADW

2108 [9:08pm]=0912490 ARR ADW

2145 [9:45] From Col Burleson - AT 39 #493 will Dept Love Field arond 2345 ETA ADW 0230 W/ A CAPT & 2 PRESS. Arrange a car To Take Them To The White House immed - Confirmed w/TFC.

2324 09T39 ETA ADW 0136 - given To TFC.

0923 NOV 63 (Saturday)

0037L [12:37am] =0986972 ARRIVED ADW with Sec Rusk, etc.


{H: Various cabinet members who had been enroute Japan when the President was assassinated land at Andrews AFB after a very long flight from Hickham AFB in Hawaii.}

0950 [9:50am] = 09 Per Sgt Geiser - Gen Eisenhower to arrive at DCA at 1030L on a CBS Gulfstream.

Crossed out Line
1400 [10:00am] Per LCOL Burleson - Set up #1618 C131 42815 Drop Father Cavanaugh Barnstable. 09TRAF - RS 091299 - Johnson - Dec_____CAMRON – BECK SSC – RBC T/OPS - Hornbuckle W.H. - Pole


Page 5

23 NOV 63


1200 [Noon] = 09Per LCol Burleson SET UP MSN 1619
=09=09=09 VC140 12490 PU VICE PRES SPAIN

Johnson – Deceasre
W.H. -

1248 [12:48pm] =09SGT LARSON CONFIRMED GATE #21 (1AB Terminal) will be available for arrived MSN 1619.

1700 [7:00pm] = 09 MSN 1619 DELAYED ARRIVAL at Idlewild Due to Weather at Destination 2490 Landed. IDL 1645L Departure 10L 1756 L RTA ADW 1834 2490 Blocked in 1842

Notified Col Burleson
Col Hornbuckle
MX Beck
DET 3 Larson
Spanish Embassy

1710 [7:10] Sgt. Griser - Cx Mission # 1585
Baggage P/U at Patrick Henry
Wg Ops Col Hornbuckle
Maj. Hefner
MX Harding
T/C Wade

1825 [8:25] = 09 = 09 Per Sgt Griser Set up Mission #1621 VC - 140
P/U Prince Bernhard at IDL Drop ADW
Set up Mission #1620 C-131 42815
Drop Gen Fol__sc_ IDL wgOps. Col Hornbuckle
99th Maj Hefn
Mx. Beck
TFC Wade
Det. 3 - Sgt Larson


Beginning of Page 6


0900 [9:00am]=09Per Col Burleson - Mission # 1604 A/C 80608 will divert To Nellis AFB To P/U Mr Conlon after DV Drop at Hamilton. - 98th
Maj. Tul_ Wg Ops. -

2300 Per Col Burleson - Mission #1604 will also wait at Hamilton no longer than 24/1800- for P/U of Congressman Shelly and Return ADW via Nellis.

24 NOV 63 (Sunday)

1330L [1:30pm] ACFT 80608 MSN # 1604 DIV To TRAVIS Due Hamilton WX will P/U MR/CONLON At Nellis Per Col Tueful, Mr Conlon ARR Commercial

1436 [2:36pm] Per Col. Burleson - Set up Mission # 1622 VC-140 ADW To
IDL =09=09=09=09=09 drop Prince Philip - To connect with BOAC Flight #500 For
London Det 3 - Larson
MX. – Beck
99th - Bartels
SSC - Henry
WH - Chance

1645 [4:45] 80610 Mission # 1367 Enroute From Naples To Lajes diverted To Lisbon Due to shorted plugs on Rt x Lt side of #2 cyl #4 Eng. Possible Cyl. or Eng change - will advise after inspection
ETA Lisbond 24/17102 Per Col Burleson set up Mission # 1623
VC - 09137 86902 To Lisbon To P/U Gen. Hamlet on 80610 ETA AD
998th Mangold
Wg. Ops.
Col. Hornbuckle
SSC – Green
MX Harding
TFC Lynn


Begin Page 7


1827 [8:27pm] Per Col Burleson CX. Mission #1623
986972- Wg.Ops Col Hornbuckle
998. - Mangold
MX. Harding
TFC Lynn

2000 [10:00pm]Per Col Burleson - Set up Mission # 1624 VC-140 Pick up President Truman at DCA and drop at Kansas City.
Wg Ops Col Hornebuckle
MX. Harding
TFC Wade
SSC Grlla
99th Parker

1750 [7:50pm] 24197 called UHF and advised DV request 4197 make additionaltrip to Boston after Drop at Otis - Request approved - Sgt.Geiser

1845 [8:45] Chg OF ACFT ON MSN 1622 INST PANEL LIGHTS OUT D4ACFT 92490 Chg To 2493 approved - Col Hornbuckle

25 NOV 63 (Monday)

0930 [9:30am] Per Col HornBuckle Set Up MSN #1433 C140 To Take MRS Rose Kennedy To Cape Cod ETD 25/1500L
WG - Cesarid
99 - Bartels



Page 8 Re: DEATH OF R.F.K. 05 JUNE 68 = 20

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AF1 Tapes - Estimated Time Excised - Trimble AAR

Suddenly there's a spate of interest in the Air Force One radio transmission tapes from 11/22/63.

Since I made a presentation on the subject at the Wecht Conference in Pittsburgh last week, Jeff Morley blogged about it at, then in his talk to the conference the following day, he listed the unedited Air Force One tapes as the most important records still being withheld after the CIA records.

October 2013 Esquire Magazine published an article "Flight From Dallas" which draws heavily on the LBJ Library tape, while acknowledging they did not use anything from the recently discovered Clifton tapes.

Then Washingtonian Magazine published a really long article "Angel is Airborne," that also draws heavily on the Air Force One radio transmissions.

Now Jeff Morley has an article published in the OpEd section of the Dallas Morning News - Sunday, October 27, 2012 that mentions the Air Force One radio tapes and the new combined tape being prepared by Bill Kelly and Ed Primeau, which is something, as Morley said in his talk, that the government itself should be doing. Thanks for the Plug Jeff.

To estimate the amount of tape recordings that have not been released, the correct math is:

Time from Love Field, Dallas to Andrews AFB, Maryland = Two hours, seventeen minutes.

Number of radios "in continuous use" - according to AF1 radioman Master Sgt. Trimble = three.

According to Doug Horne, the staff member of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) assigned to review the Air Force One tapes (From his book "Inside the ARRB, Vol. V., p1662): Trimble's After Action Report: "I...had three phone patches goig simultaneously most of the time."). According to the Esquire article, Trimble is still alive.

Horne: "As an ARRB staff member I was very concerned with determining whether or not a significant ortion of time had been excised from the original recordings. Anyone concerned with the excise must begin with the flight time from Love Field to Andrews AFB: 2 hours and 17 is wise to take a conservative...which yields two hours times three radios...six hours of unedited voice conversations as the length of the unedited Air Force One tapes from November 22, 1963. Since the tapes at the Archives are a maximum of two hours in length, approximately four hours have been excised. It appears safe to say, then, that the amount of time edited out of the existing tapes is twice as long as the length of the information released by the LBJ Library. This is extremely disturbing."

Four hours is 240 minutes of tape is estimated to be missing.

But its not only the estimated length of the tapes that is important, its what's on them and what they tell us today about what happened on that day back then.

Here's Air Force One radioman John C. Trimble's After Action Report

"Somehow, it was all unbelievable."


After an overnight at Ft. Worth, Air Force One departed Carswell AFB at 1125 AM (Local Time) for Dallas. After a short flight we arrived at Dallas and blocked in at 1140 AM.

After the rain storm of the previous night the sun seemed particularly bright as the President and First Lady deplaned to the warm greeting of what was probably the largest crowd of the Texas tour. The Last we were to see of them together was when they departed the airport in their open car.
The first indication that anything was amiss came when one of the WHCA representatives, Theron Burgess, who was on duty at the airport, told me that someone in the motorcade had been hurt. My first reaction was that one of the Secret Service Agents had fallen from the car. About 15 minutes later we were told the ready the airplane for immediate take-off. At this time we were not told why we were leaving or what our destination would be. No information was forthcoming at this time and since we at least needed a destination for flight clearance purpose Col. Swindal asked me to check with the switchboard. After identifying myself to the switchboard operator he told me that the President had been shot and that no other information was available. This was relayed to Col. Swindal although he had just heard it himself from another source.
My communications equipment had been on since receiving the immediate take-off order. I had cleared a voice and teletype frequency with Andrews Airways. Even though I was using the call sign AF 26000 and could not tell the reason for clearing a voice frequency, Andrews cooperated fully. I was making periodic signal checks with Andrews when someone entered the airplane and said the President was dead.
All the chatter ceased and I think we were all numb and did out jobs automatically as we waited --- waited for the body to arrive from the hospital; waited for President Johnson; and finally for the judge to arrive and perform the swearing-in ceremony.
We departed Dallas at 1447 Dallas time for the three hour flight to Washington.
I was busy every minute of the trip and had three phone patches going simultaneously for much of the time. The normal HF air to ground communications had to yield to higher priority traffic. Some position reports were sent, some were not. Quite a bit of time was spent by Dr. Burkley and General Clifton in the air and General Heaton on the ground concerning removal and preparation of the body after reaching Andrews.
My circuits were in continuous use and Andrews always had a waiting list of various officials who wanted to communicate with the airplane. Due to the limited facilities on both ends, many times I had to decide who we would talk with next. I had a good knowledge of the Kennedy team and don’t think I made any mistakes in this respect.
We had been cleared to an altitude of 29,000 feet upon leaving Dallas. I was able to send one of the few position reports over Nashville and found that we were then at 41,000 feet because of winds and weather.
About this time I received a call from the rear of the plane saying that President Johnson wanted a phone patch with Mrs. Rose Kennedy. I immediately seized my best frequency and placed the call through Andrews and the WHCA switchboard. A short time later both the President and Mrs. Johnson offered their condolences to Mrs. Rose Kennedy. These Mrs. Kennedy accepted in a strong, clear voice.
A few minutes later I placed a call, again through the WHCA switchboard to the wife of Governor Connely in Dallas. Both the President and the First Lady talked with Mrs. Connely and assured her that the Governor would be all right.
The rest of the flight was about as hectic as the first. We landed at Andrews and blocked in at 1805 local time.
A large crowd and many bright lights were visible when the doors were opened. Mrs. Kennedy was scheduled to leave by another exit but insisted on being lowered to the ramp with the remains. She entered the ambulance and accompanied the body out of sight.
After President Johnson made his very short talk and departed, I remember thinking what irony that this terrible thing had to happen at all --- but to have it happen in the United States. Somehow it was still unbelievable.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wecht Program - AF1 Radio Tapes Synopsis

From the Program The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law 13th Annual Conference - Passing the Torch - An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. October 17-19, 2013 Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA. Program page 31. [ ]

By William E. Kelly, Jr. 

 There are a number of audio tapes of forensic value in high profile crime cases, including Kent State, the RFK assassination and the assassination of President Kennedy.
While the controversial Dallas Police tape has received the most attention because some acoustical experts say it contains evidence of a fourth shot from the Grassy Knoll, also of interest are the recordings of Air Force One radio transmissions from 11/22/63, including the LBJ Library cassette recordings released in the late 1970s and the more recently discovered reel to reel Air Force One tapes found among the personal effects of Gen. Clifton, the president’s military aide.

 Dissatisfied with the official transcript of the LBJ Library version of the tapes I compiled my own transcript, and when the Clifton tape was released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), I compiled a transcript of that as well, then compared the two. The Clifton tape is longer by about a half hour, but both contain unique information, so I put together a combined and annotated transcript that is still a work in progress.

 Ed Primeau, an acoustical forensic specialist, studied the quality of the tapes and with the assistance of his staff created a combined copy, using the better quality of the two where they overlapped, and added the transcript to an audio visual recording so you can read along as you listen to the tapes. And we now have a high quality combined tape that will be used to conduct a complete forensic analysis. This will include a scientific, technical analysis that will try to determine how many frequencies were used, what frequencies they were, how many edits there are, as well as eliminate noise and enhance background conversations.

 This forensic analysis will also include a review of the conversations – identify those who talk or are mentioned, translate all codes and technical language and compare it to what we know from other sources.

 Since the Clifton tape is longer than the officially released LBJ version, it includes conversations that were edited out of the publicly released version, which allows us to try to determine why key elements were deleted from the public version and others not.

The newly released tapes also include new and possibly significant characters, including Major Harold Patterson and the widow of Col. Dorman, Air Force General LeMay’s aide, both of whom can be heard on the tapes.

 Maj. Harold Patterson, also known on the tapes by his code name - “Stranger,” was in charge of the White House Situation Room at the time of the assassination. Shortly after the release of the tapes both Patterson and Mrs. Dorman were located and interviewed for the first time about what happened that day.

 Major Patterson confirmed that he was the officer in charge of the White House situation room that day, but hasn’t yet heard the tapes and didn’t know he was on them. He did recall talking with Pierre Salinger on the cabinet plane, and the affirmed the fact that the plane’s code books were missing.

Gen. LeMay’s aide, Col. Dorman, is heard on the newly released tape in a section edited out of the publicly released version, with an urgent message for Gen. LeMay, who was flying back to Washington from Canada, where he was said to be on a fishing trip with his family.

 Col. Dorman’s wife, who was working at the White House that day, recalled what happened at the White House when the president was shot.

 There are also riveting conversations among White House aides and the military officers on such subjects as the autopsy, the living arrangements of the new President and plans for the autopsy and funeral, and much to be learned from a complete forensic analysis of the tapes.

 The entire combined tape is over eighty minutes in length.

The discovery of the new version of the Air Force One radio transmissions from Air Force One cannot be underestimated, as it not only gives us a fuller picture of what happened that day, it has quickly led to the identification of a number of new and important witnesses, and gives us reason to believe that somewhere on the shelf of an archives other, even more complete and unedited tapes still exist and will one day be discovered so we will have an even better understanding of what happened that day.

 To Listen to the combined and refined AF1 Radio Transmission Tape: 

 Links to other blog posts and articles re: AF1:





Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wecht Symposium Saturday October 19, 2013

Wecht Symposium Saturday October 19, 2013


Wecht Symposium - Saturday, October 19, 2013

History and the Future

The first two days the audience included a lot of high school and college students who were eligible to receive academic credit for attending, but since that wasn't so on Saturday, the crowds were slightly smaller, and older.

After Ben Wecht welcomed everyone he began to introduce the speakers for the final day of the symposium, including David Talbot, who gave his talk on the subject of his next book, "Allen Dulles: Chairman of the Board of the Assassination."

Talbot was followed by Jim DiEugenio whose talk on "JFK's Foreign Policy: A Motive for Murder," was very persuasive.

I sat in the back of the room with Russ Baker while David and Jimmy gave their talks, and DiEugneio's detailing of JFK's African policy of supporting national revolutions against colonial rule took some doing with DeGaul in Algeria and Vietnam and came into play with the Cubans in the Congo and East Africa, and made me think of Jack Crichton's support of a group opposed to JFK's foreign policy in Africa.

While Sherry P. Fiester presented "Trajectory Analysis for the Fatal Head Shot" in the other room, Walt Brown, Ph.D. gave his talk on "The Assassination Sponsors."

Sherry was probably the only certified forensic investigator to make a presentation and while I missed it, I have read her reports and agree with her analysis.

In the afternoon session Jeff Morley gave his well received talk on "What the Government is Still Hiding and How to Find It, while Brian D. Litman did his talk in the other room on "Tourist Non Grata: The Soviet Experience of Oswald (and who the KGB Chairman Really Thought Who Did It.)

Morley explained how you can find out what is still being withheld by going to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - JFK Records Collection web site, and looking up a number of key individuals - and seeing how many documents from their files that are still being withheld. He took a sample of eight individuals and discovered that there were over 3,000 documents still being with held for reasons of national security on just those eight subjects.

When listing the most important records still being with held - he listed the CIA records first and the unedited and complete Air Force One radio transmission tapes as second - saying that they are extremely important because they give an accurate insight into the reaction to the assassination at the highest levels of government.

I was proud and honored when Morley said from the podium that "Bill Kelly is doing important and heroic work on the Air Force One tapes,"  and by combining them for easier study, he said we were doing something that the government itself should be doing. As I realize its importance, it means so much more coming from him.

While my good friend and colleague John Judge was giving a talk called "A Call to Action: Why it Still Matters and What Needs to be Done," Lisa Pease reported on "The Covert Corruption of Culture: How our Reaction to JFK's Assassination and Cover-up Determines our Future," which looks at the assassination from a unique angle that I will go into in more depth as it was a very illuminating presentation.

The final panel discussion on "Passing the Torch: The Future of JFK Assassination Research and Advocacy," included David Talbot, Jim DiEugenio, Robert Groden, Walt Brown, Jeff Morley, Lisa Pease and John Judge, and was moderated by Cyril Wecht, who took turns asking each of the panel pertinent questions before they took questions from the audience.

At the very end, the last question of the day was the most pertinent, as a 70 year old retired history teacher asked, "What do you want us to do?".

And the answer was to contact your representatives in Congress and ask them for oversight of the JFK Act, and hold congressional hearings on the destroyed, missing and still withheld records, ask President Obama to issue an Executive Order releasing all the remaining sealed records now, to seek a grand jury investigation into the crimes related to the assassination and to bring these issues back to your communities and as David Talbot suggested, use the social media - Facebook, Twitter and the internet to spread these messages.

Wecht Symposium Friday, October 18, 2013

Wecht Conference - Pittsburgh - Friday, October 18, 2013

Mark Lane opened the proceedings with his report entitled, "The Secret Service and the Assassination of JFK," but arriving late, I missed the Secret Service part, and the rest of his presentation was quite good and informative, coming from one of the first lawyers to step up and try to defend the defendant, his client who was murdered in police custody.

While I haven't had a chance to read Mark Lane's latest book, his first - Rush to Judgement, and his book on the Spotlight Libel Trial are required reading for any serious student of the assassination, and Dean B. Webb, a RICO attorney, told me that Lane calls for a grand jury to be convened in this case, which is what I first called for at the Dallas COPA conference in 1998.

Following Lane, Joan Mellen, Ph.D., the Temple University professor and author of Farewell to Justice, about the Garrison case, and a later biography of New Orleans DA Jim Garrison, has also published a trilogy of books on the assassination including the fascinating account of Lee Harvey Oswald's best friend "Our Man in Haiti," which contains some new and important information, and two upcoming books on the CIA in Cuba and the Texas Mafia.

The "Unsinkable Molly Brown" of JFK assassination researchers gave her talk on "Clay Shaw Unmaksed: The Garrison Case Corroborated," which Jeff Morley found interesting enough to blog about at right away, and John Simpkin has posted a link to the paper she wrote as the basis for her talk at the Ed Forum.

I had the pleasure of some relaxing conversation with Joan Mellen in the lounge and later at dinner at Cyril Wecht's home, and I'm looking forward to reading her new books, that always contain new and valuable information.

While Dr. Gary Aguilar presented his talk on "The Medical Evidence: You Don't Need to be a Physician to Understand How Wrong the Official Conclusions Are," I took in Rex Bradford's excellent slide show presentation on "Political Assassinations Revealed: The Church Committee."

I've known Gary Aguilar for over twenty years now, and highly respect his knowledge and activism on the medical evidence, I'm not a doctor or scientist and defer most of that area to those who understand it and really know what they're talking about.

And the Church Committee is one of those Congressional investigations - along with the Pike Committee and HSCA, that at least tried to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy, and as Rex Bradford pointed out, only those parts of the Church Committee records concerning the assassination of President Kennedy were released by the JFK Act, and most of the committee's records remain sealed, as well as some documents that do relate to the Kennedy assassination but are being withheld from the public for reasons of national security.

After lunch, I made my presentation on the Forensic Analysis of the Air Force One radio transmission tapes, which was in the Duquesne Union Africa Room at the same time Robert K. Tanenbaum gave his talk on "An Analysis of Government Misconduct: The House Select Committee on Assassinations."

I had transcribed RKT's talk to the 2003 Wecht conference and posted it at my blog - see:   - and thought that most of the 400+ people who were registered for the conference would choose to hear Tanenbaum, but the room where I gave my presentation was full and there was a lot of interest in the Air Force One tapes.

I will devote another post to the contents of my presentation, but was glad that Max Holland was there, as he is the author of the book JFK Assassination Tapes and a book on the LBJ White House tapes, both of which include the Air Force One radio tape transcripts. Esquire Magazine recently published an article "Flight From Dallas" that includes quotes from the LBJ Library tapes, but does not include anything from the recently discovered Clifton Tape, which is a better quality reel to reel tape of the Air Force One conversations, and is a half hour longer than the LBJ tapes. So my presentation on the contents of the new Clifton tape included the latest and most up to date research on the subject that has yet to be published anywhere.

While Jim Lesar gave a talk in the main room on "Reviewing the Assassination Records Review Board: An Uncertain Legacy," a subject that I was very familiar with, I stuck around the Africa Room to hear Dan Hardway, Esq. give his talk on "A View from the Trenches: The HSCA and the CIA."

Those who are familiar with the investigation of the assassination by the House Select Committee on Assassination, know that the first chief counsel, who brought in New York City prosecutor Robert K. Tanenbaum to head the JFK investigation, was fired for attempting to conduct a real homicide investigation, and was replaced by G. Robert Blakey, the Cornell University professor who was a primary author of the RICO Act which made it easier to prosecute organized crime conspiracies. Blakey brought in a number of his Cornell law students as interns, including Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway, both of whom worked together on certain CIA aspects of the assassination.

Hardway dissented from the conventional view that Blakey steered the committee's investigation away form the CIA and towards organized crime, and said that Blakey never interfered with his work. Hardway also said that Blakey should be commended for recognizing that George Joannides, the CIA officer called out of retirement to serve as liaison to the HSCA, obstructed justice and should have been deposed by the committee and questioned about his role of overseeing the anti-Castro Cuban DRE group that Oswald interacted with in New Orleans.

Hardway said that the oft quoted Inspector General report was a joke, and that the IG never properly investigated anything, but instead helped cover up CIA ties to the assassination.

The final program for the afternoon, before Oliver Stone presented a segment of his upcoming multi-part TV series Untold History, consisted of a Panel Discussion led by DC attorney Dan Alcorn entitled: "From the Warren Commission to the Assassination Records Review Board, What Have We Learned?"

This panel included Jerry Polilcoff, Jim Lesar, Robert K. Tanenbaum and Dan Hardway and produced some real fireworks, that I will get into in more depth later, as all the participants were invited back to Cyril Wecht's home for cocktails and dinner, where the "symposium" - to drink together and discuss important issues - continued into the night.

More To Come -

Wecht's JFK "Symposium"

“Passing the Torch” - The Wecht Symposium – October 2013 – Duquesne U. – Pittsburgh
Rather than another, typical, boring conference, it’s quite fitting they called this one a “symposium,” which stems from the ancient Greek “symposion” – which means to drink together and discuss important issues, and what can be more important than the assassination of the President? 

A unique aspect of this conference was the total lack of anyone to represent the radical extremist view that one lone nut killed President Kennedy alone, though there were some in the audience, including Marquette Professor John McAdams and official Warren Commission apologist Max Holland, both of whom were mentioned from the podium as untrustworthy CIA media assets.
Usually, as with the 2003 Conference when Warren Commission attorney Arlen Specter defended his “Single Bullet Theory” before a skeptical audience, there is at least one spokesman for the Lone Nut viewpoint, but this time it was a no holds barred attack on the official government position that JFK was killed by one man alone and he was murdered by another.

And the drinking part came into play twice and maybe three times during the three day symposium at the Wecht Center for Forensic Science and Law and held in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.
On Thursday night, after the first day of the symposium, they held a joint program between the Wecht Center and the Sen. John Heinz History Center was held at the HHC, a remarkable center city building filled with local history that is officially affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington.

The program included “Our Man in Mexico” author Jefferson Morley, David Talbot of “Brothers” fame, Lisa Pease, who co-authored “The Assassinations,” Bush family chronicler Russ Baker, Gerry Policoff, who first wrote “All the JFK Assassination News the New York Times Finds Unfit to Print” in Paul Krasner’s “Realist Magazine,” and film maker Oliver Stone.
The lack of any mainstream journalist or media asset on the panel left some questions unanswered, and I thought that Max Holland should have been invited to join the fray to balance things out, but he was relegated to sit silent in the audience and listen to what conspiracy theorists think of him and his “coincidence theories,” as John Judge later put it.

Having been preceded by a cocktail party amidst the historic artifacts like Trolley cars and jeeps, the program’s presenters were smooched as well as some of the impending audience, and a grand time was had by all.
Hosted by the beautiful and vivacious local TV anchor Sally Wiggin, Cyril Wecht introduced her by saying he still doesn’t understand why he didn’t hit on her when she first interviewed him a few decades ago, setting the tone for the entire evening.

I hope the program was recorded because although I took notes, it was certainly an evening I would like to later recount if the video is released or archived on the internet, as I hope it will be.
The following evening, after the symposium’s proceedings were completed, there was an interesting panel discussion on what can and should be done to advance the case – with Robert K. Tannenbaum, Jim Lesar and Dan Hardway, which began a conversation that continued over cocktails later that evening at Dr. Wecht’s modest but stylish home in the quaint and typically Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.

As recounted by one spectator, Tanenbaum was the passionate cheerleader, saying that we have to continue the good fight, have to bring new people into the battle, get beyond the partisan politics and at least try to get the government to do the right thing, and then Jim Lesar, the legal expert, quietly and carefully outlined what had to be done – free the remaining files, get Congress to hold oversight hearings on the JFK Act, and left unsaid were the possibilities of convening a JFK grand jury and getting a new autopsy. There seemed to be some momentum going, and the audience was willing to be seduced, but then Dan Hardway threw a cold bucket of water on the hole deal, a pessimistic,
Dan had earlier that day gave a presentation on his experiences as a young law school student who came to Washington with Cornell Professor G. Robert Blakey, who replaced Richard Sprague as the chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).

Dan, along with his equally young side kick, Ed Lopez, were assigned to review CIA, Cuban and Mexico City records and investigate certain leads, but they were repeatedly frustrated by CIA bureaucrats, who describe Hardway in their memos as “young, immature and arrogant,” but the CIA won and most of the records that Hardway and Lopez sought are still being withheld from the public for reasons of national security.
Hardway’s pessimisms were hard earned, and he objected to any attempt to get congress to reinvestigate the assassination because he’s already learned that congress is not the place to do that. But Lesar wasn’t asking for that, he is asking Congress to conduct the mandated and required oversight of the JFK Act, fifteen years after the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) had ceased to exist. The JFK Act and the work of the ARRB have never seen any oversight at all.

While Hardway objected to being cast as the one who put a damper on what really is needed to legally occur, his sober and straight pessimism does put things in the proper perspective in that it will be very hard to get truth and justice, but Hardway said that’s the order we have to get them. In his words, “the first necessary step is to reverse the government’s policy on secrecy,” and get all of the relevant records released.
That is a necessary first step before any other step can be taken, and that won’t happen overnight, or maybe ever.

And maybe if the order of their presentations were reversed, and Hardway went first, and described how difficult it will be go get the government to release the records, get Congress to hold oversight and getting the DOD to properly investigate political assassinations, then Lesar explained what has to be done, Tanenbaum’s pep rally speech could have put it over the top.
Tanenbaum did get a short rebuttal and reiterated the need, indeed he said it was our "responsibility" to finish the task at hand, whatever it takes, and Hardway said the first step is to end the government's policy on secrecy, and I agree with both of them.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday - Dr. McClelland's Report from Trauma Room One

Report from the Wecht conference - Thursday, October 17

After Dr. Wecht gave his spiel, in typically fine form and with good humor, we heard from Larry J. Sabato, the University of Virginia professor whose new book on JFK created some news with a new analysis of the acoustical evidence of a shot from the Knoll.

Then Josiah Thompson and Keith Fitzgerald gave their intense and detailed report entitled: Last Second in Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Assassination, in which Thompson shows how flawed the tests were that tried to prove the "Jet Effect" in which an object shot with a high powered rifle will move in the direction the shot originated, thus explaining the backwards movement of JFK's head when shot from above and behind.

Thompson went into the details of the original reports and photos of the experiments by Dr. Alveraz, and discovered that of the half dozen objects shot multiple times from different distances, only a mellen did what Dr. Alveraz said - fell backwards and every single other test object went forward, although Dr. Alveraz didn't bother to report on all of the failures before he obtained the one example he needed to prove his "effect."

Then Thompson and Fitzgerald went into their most recent analysis that led them to a new theory, that JFK was hit twice in the head, once AFTER the Z - frame that shows the head exploding.

Robert Groden, whose new book "Absolute Proof" will be published and released next week, and include a lot of new photographs and material, gave a good presentation on the areas he has been working on.

At the same time Groden was giving his slide show presentation, Timmothy A. Nicholson gave a concurrent report on "An Acoustic Analysis of Witness Reports in the JFK Assassination (A Gunman Near JFK?), which I missed but look forward to reviewing on video when they are available.

In the afternoon, Dr. Don Thomas gave his presentation on "Double Talk: Synchronization of the Acoustical Evidence and the JFK Assassination," and in conversation with Dr. Thomas over lunch, he said that he had obtained the Sabato review but had yet to read it, but promised to do so and report back on what he thinks of it.

Jeffrey Sundberg also gave a talk on "Imaging Properties of the Bell & Howell 414PD Camera and Implications for Authenticity of the Zapruder Film. Given Dr. Wecht's take on the Zapruder film alteration, it was surprising that this was even made part of the program, but it certainly is worthy of discussion, and while I don't yet understand the implications, I am going to look into this further.

While Dr. David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D. and Ed Forum member Patrick J. Speer gave their talk on "The Harper Fragment Redux: A Panel Discussion," Dr. Cyril Wecht made his presentation on "The President's Autopsy: A Forensic Pathological and Medical-Legal Critique."

Since he has been doing this for so long, Dr. Wecht could give this lecture in his sleep, but with typical humor laced descriptions of the autopsy, and all of its problems and mistakes, Wecht concluded that "if the autopsy doctors were Asians, they would have committed suicide, if they were Europeans they would have resigned, but since they were Americans, they bullshit their way out of it."

To end the program for the day, Dr. Robert McClelland gave a very detailed and fascinating account of his time in the Parkland's Trauma Room One via teleconference from Dallas.

Dr. McClelland said that he was on one of six surgeons at Parkland at the time (now there are over 60), and when asked to report to the emergency room, he was directed by the head nurse there to Trauma Room One, where there was already two surgeons working on the President, concentrating on the throat wound.

He went to the end of the gurney and stood by the President's head, and noticed the gaping hole in the back of the head and the fact that some of the President's brain was hanging, out and when he called this to the attention of the other two doctors who said they hadn't looked closely at the head wound. At that point, part of the brain fell off the gurney.

After working on the throat wound for a few minutes, the doctors noticed that JFK's heart, that was still beating, was slowing down and then stopped, and he was declared dead.

Dr. McClelland remained in the room, pinned against the wall by the gurney, as Father Huber performed the last rites, and he saw Mrs. Kennedy flinch when he gave a "conditional" absolution to the dead President.

He then watched Mrs. Kennedy exchange rings with JFK, and the battle between Dallas medical examiner and the Secret Service agents, one of whom had a Thompson submachine gun.

Years, later, McClelland said after watching the Zapruder film, he is convinced that the gaping hole in the back of JFK's head was caused by a bullet shot from the front from a gunman on the grassy knoll.

Someone in the audience stated that McClelland "arrived late" and didn't stay long and wasn't concentrating enough to notice the gaping hole in the back of JFK's head, to which McClelland replied that he arrived shortly after the two other doctors began to work on the first physical wound they noticed, the throat wound, and that by taking a position at the end of the gurney, he had very clear view of the head wound, for about eight minutes, and he was concentrating on what he was doing more than anything he had concentrated on before in his life.

Also see: Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette article on Page 7 of the Saturday, October 18th edition.

Surgeon in ER insists 2 gunmen shot JFK
Doctor first to see Kennedy's wound
October 18, 2013 4:00 AM

By Michael A. Fuoco Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A surgeon who half a century ago was among the doctors who tried to save President John F. Kennedy's life said Thursday that the Warren Commission got it wrong in determining a lone gunman assassinated JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Speaking via teleconference to a Duquesne University symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination, Robert N. McClelland said he was the first doctor in Parkland Hospital's Trauma Room One to notice the massive wound in the back of Kennedy's skull and that a trauma of that size had to be an exit wound.

"The whole right side of his skull was gone. I could look inside his skull cavity. Obviously, it was a mortal wound," he told a spellbound audience of legal, medical, forensic and investigative experts and the public who packed the university's Power Ballroom.

Dr. McClelland, now 83 and professor emeritus at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said that because it was an exit wound, it logically followed that it had been fired from in front of the president's limousine. And, in turn, that meant a second gunman was involved in the assassination, contradicting the Warren Commission's finding that there was but one assassin.

The Warren Commission determined that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he fired three times with a high-powered rifle on the president's motorcade in Dealey Plaza from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The commission said that one bullet missed, another went through the president's neck and also wounded Texas Gov. John Connolly -- the so-called "single bullet theory" -- and the third caused the fatal head wound.

But Dr. McClelland was resolute. "Having seen what I saw" in the emergency room and then viewing the Zapruder film of the assassination, he said, he believes JFK "was initially hit from a bullet fired from the sixth floor that went through his back and out through his neck. The next injury was caused by somebody behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll firing a shot that blew out the right side of his head."

Speaking on the first day of the three-day symposium sponsored by the university's Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, Dr. McClelland also recounted how two days after Kennedy's assassination he and other surgeons tried in vain to save Oswald's life after he was shot by Jack Ruby while being transferred from Dallas police headquarters to the county jail.

In his address, Dr. Wecht, the renowned forensic pathologist and longtime critic of the Warren Report, railed against what he called was the "inept, inexplicable, totally incompetent" autopsy performed on the president by Navy pathologists James J. Humes and J. Thornton Boswell. They concluded the president had been struck by two bullets, fired from above and behind, with the fatal shot being the one that struck his head.

"They had never done a single gunshot wound autopsy before. If you heard of this in another country, you'd say condescendingly and dismissively, 'What do you expect from that country?' but this was our country," Dr. Wecht said. "This should bother you so much; this should be so distressing, even 50 years later."

Dr. Wecht, who used a skull and dissected a brain during his address to illustrate his criticism of the autopsy and what wasn't done, said the "cold case" needs to be reopened.

"The Warren Commission Report is scientifically absurd," he said. The burden of the report's detractors is not to have all the answers about the assassination, he said, but to point out defects in the investigation, which they have done. He received a standing ovation.

Among the speakers today will be Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, director of the controversial 1991 film "JFK" and director/narrator of the Showtime docu-series "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States."

Michael A. Fuoco: or 412-263-1968. First Published October 17, 2013 8:00 PMc