How to Research the JFK Assassination: The Preface and Mission
Those of us who have gone to graduate school know how many hours are spent online or in libraries. I am going to post a monthly blog here to share resources and ideas as how to better investigate the JFK assassination. There will also be entries in regards to civil debate, communication and critical thinking. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment or email me.
To begin, I want to let those of you who don’t know me to understand that having an open mind in this subject is key. There are many, many rabbit holes and detours along the way. There are also disinformationalists who are in place to distract from finding the truth from that time to modern day. Know the difference between propaganda, rhetoric and truth. (See the above Campaign memo from Nixon to Senator Kennedy).
Your quest will be to understand which information is real and which isn’t. It’s a harder task than you may think. People inject themselves into this horrible event for reasons I don’t understand, but I’m not a psychologist. Others, whether out of a misguided understanding of patriotism or worse, believe everything the tax-payer funded commissions tell them.
As a researcher, author and granddaughter of a witness, I feel it is my responsibility to find the truth then share that truth with others. I also feel that it is my job to nurture and to encourage researchers from younger generations as it is those younger generations who will keep going long after people like me are gone. I encourage my peers, fellow authors and others to join me in my education, mentoring and tutoring of these generations until the truth is found. Don’t just write a book…live it!
I believed my grandfather as a little girl. As a young adult, I questioned some of the authors and early researchers who I felt were beginning to further their personal agendas rather than the truth. As an older woman, I now know that it’s best to question everything, including this blog post before making a decision. I will share how I came to become a conspiracy realist (other than not understanding how an important piece of evidence like the camera original Nix film could be missing) because I questioned the events immediately during and after that horrible four days in November, and also began to see patterns in behavior; not only of the people who experienced that time, but in the people who investigated, wrote and researched that time. It is in those patterns one finds truth. Here is where I began and I urge you to begin here too. It is the genesis of the Warren Commission and why it was convened. Read it. Ask questions of it. Highlight areas that alarm you or that you agree with. Then we’ll move on to the next lesson in researching.
My suggested readings for this beginning in your journey of truth would be:
The Katzenbach Memo to Bill Moyers
The Assassinations by Jim DiEugenio, Lisa Pease and Judge Joe Brown you can buy this on Amazon by clicking the above link. Here is an excerpt:
Katzenbach’s own 1978 testimony before the Select Committee was part of the basis for the Committee’s account of the creation of the Warren Commission. Much of his testimony and deposition is consistent with that account. But some of it is not. And there were times when Katzenbach hinted at important undisclosed facts that the Committee staff did not bother to pursue. Katzenbach did imply that there was more to the story. The 1993 release of the White House telephone transcripts makes clear what Katzenbach hinted at.
The HSCA first asked Katzenbach to explain why he was “exerting tremendous pressure right after the assassination to get the FBI report out and to get a report in front of the American people.” A November 25, 1963, memo from Katzenbach to Bill Moyers is referenced as evidence of Katzenbach’s activities. Katzenbach explains that his concern was to quiet rumors and speculation about conspiracy. Katzenbach then added that his activities were related to the idea of creating a commission “such as the Warren Commission” and that he did not view the FBI investigation as the final or only investigation.
In his testimony Katzenbach represents the commission idea as his own several times. He also says, “I was never opposed to it.” This, of course, suggests that it was not his idea.
Later in the questioning, Katzenbach mentions that by November 25th he was aware of Oswald’s stay in Russia and his visit to Mexico. He says he was also then aware that the FBI had concluded that there was no conspiracy. It is beyond any doubt that such a conclusion was completely unfounded just three days after the assassination and one day after the murder of Oswald. There is no possibility that the FBI could have eliminated the possibility that Oswald, even if guilty, could have had assistance or direction from others.
A memo from Alan Belmont, an assistant director and number three man in the FBI, to Hoover’s assistant, William Sullivan, dated November 25th, refers to conversations between Katzenbach and Hoover about the assassination. The memo emphasizes that the FBI’s report should cover all the areas that might cause concern with the press and the public. Belmont wrote:
In other words, this report is to settle the dust, in so far as Oswald and his activities are concerned, both from the standpoint that he is the man who assassinated the President, and relative to Oswald himself and his activities and background, et cetera.
This and other information provided here establish Belmont as one of the primary forces in the FBI pressing for an immediate conclusion about the assassination.
The intertwining of Katzenbach’s actions and those of Belmont is indicated in a comment by Katzenbach in his oral deposition. A 12/9/63 letter to Chief Justice Warren suggested that either the Commission or the Justice Department release a statement saying that the FBI had established “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Oswald killed Kennedy and that the investigation had so far uncovered no information suggesting a conspiracy. Katzenbach had signed this letter, but in his deposition he said that this letter was probably drafted by the FBI. The fact that the Deputy Attorney General is signing his name to something this important that he didn’t write suggests how closely interconnected his actions were with those of Belmont and, perhaps, others in the Bureau. In this oral deposition Katzenbach also reveals, in contradiction to his testimony, that he was not acting on his own when he proposed a commission to investigate the assassination.
Katzenbach told the Committee that Hoover opposed the creation of a Commission and that President Johnson “neither rejected nor accepted the idea. He did not embrace it. I thought there was a period of time when he thought that it might be unnecessary.” As we shall see, this understates Johnson’s initial opposition.
We come now to what was an important set of statements which should have been followed by specific questions from the House staff. Katzenbach was asked who else (presumably beyond the President and Hoover) he talked to during the time he was arriving at the idea of a commission. Katzenbach said that he believed he “recommended it to Bill Moyers” and raised the issue with Walter Jenkins and President Johnson. Katzenbach was then asked about “people outside the President’s immediate circle” and he responded that he did talk to such people. He mentioned Dean Rusk and Alexis Johnson as two people he may have talked to. Katzenbach then said:
I am sure I talked about it with people outside the government entirely who called me and suggested old friends or former colleagues.
Katzenbach does not identify-and is not asked to identify-those people “outside the government entirely.” There is no naming of the “old friends” and “former colleagues.” Instead, the questioning shifted to the views of Rusk and others already mentioned by Katzenbach. Given an opportunity to actually find out how the Warren Commission came into being, the HSCA’s staff decided to go on to other things. Because of the release of the White House telephone transcripts, we will now be able to identify some or most of those people who were “outside the government entirely.”
…copyright Di Eugenio, Pease, Brown.
Read the Warren Commission on History.com.
For even more, my upcoming book will devote a chapter to an event that occurred as the Warren Commission was about to release its final report to president LBJ. This is the Odio incident and if had been investigated thoroughly, would have negated many of the Commission’s findings. Oddly, many of the still classified documents are related to the Odio incident.