- 24 Nov 23
In the final instalment of Paul Charles' gripping JFK feature, he looks at Dorothy Kilgallen's mysterious death; the Zapruder Film; and the unanswered Warren Commission questions...
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963. We know that Lee Harvey Oswald was considered the chief suspect – and that he was murdered a few days later by Jack Ruby. The fact that a trial was thereby stifled was clearly convenient for anyone that might have been held accountable for what was one of the most traumatic events in modern history. But it left the question: could it really have been a lone gunman who carried out the murderous attack? I have never been able to accept that.
The biggest problem with all the suspects, no matter how convincingly they are dragged into the frame, is that they can’t all be the one. The problem with conspiracy theories is: absolutely everyone can have one. The end result is that, while all the theories tend to trip over one another like chickens with their heads cut off, as they endeavour to disprove each other, the real murderers, or their heirs, can sit back in comfort smirking as though it was just an Olympic sport.
I am sticking with my theme of a Star Chamber.
They, it would appear, didn’t need to deny or confirm any of the JFK Assassination theories. All they needed to do was to say nothing – and the closer the media appeared to get to them, the more they needed to say nothing. Until that is, it reached the point where someone – say for instance, Dorothy Kilgallen – publicly announced she was getting so close to the truth.
Sadly, on 8 November 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen died in her Manhattan brownstone at 45 East 65th Street, in what can be described as mysterious circumstances. The previously healthy 52-year-old woman –ultra-successful and apparently with all to live for – confused the authorities, in that they seemed to be have trouble while debating whether she died accidentally or died by suicide. Quite a few people were convinced she was murdered; although no one was ever able to work out how. There was no debate, however, about the fact that on the night of her death, her bulging JFK Assassination File disappeared from her home.
The file – containing the facts she claimed were going to crack the mystery wide open – has never been discovered.
The other very important point to remember is that the Star Chamber needed to ensure all their ducks were lined up securely in a row and remained so. The execution of their execution needed to be flawless. They most certainly would have had to take into consideration the three main questions investigators are meant to ask as they endeavour to solve a crime. They are of course: Who did it? How they did it? And what they did it for? It says something about the architects of the crime that, coming up to sixty years later, we are none the wiser as to who it was who successfully committed the crime of the millennium.
In the “who did it” category, we also need a subsection where we have to work out if the people who planned the crime were also those who carried out the crime. I’d guess that following the money might actually help this part of the puzzle. Having said that, I don’t believe Jack Ruby was paid to shoot Lee Oswald; I believe he was ordered to do it. And even though he knew his own life must surely end shortly thereafter, any resistance was futile.
If you tell a lie, your lie becomes the truth until someone else can prove it is a lie by revealing the truth. One of the main problems with the JFK assassination is that they – the “they” both Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy referred to when proclaiming, ‘They’ve murdered him” – have never been put in a position where they’d have to reveal what their lie was.
THE UNOPENED FILES
I keep thinking, nonetheless, that someday the truth will be revealed. That the relevant documents will be released. But by this point, you’d have to think all the principals in that particular Star Chamber must have passed away, and you would have thought the public Freedom of Information act would have produced the TRUTH.
Since JFK’s term in the White House was interrupted on 23/11/63, there have been eleven presidents:
Lyndon B. Johnson
George HW Bush
George W Bush
You’d have to think that they would all have dug into the background sufficiently to know what actually happened on that fateful day, if only because they all would have had to read the material, before deciding if it was fit for declassification and to be released to the world.
Some have promised in advance of their term in office that they would make the information public.
None of the eleven presidents have approved the release of the material.
Even the Pentagon destroyed their JFK Assassination File!
Presidents come and presidents go, but the Star Chamber still rules.
THE KILLING OF RFK
“I want them to see what they have done,” a defiant Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, stated when she refused to change out of her pink blood-stained suit. These are her words but my italics. I always had the sense that she was referring to specific people. Not men of mystery, nor a single person, but, they, a group of people.
JFK’s murder really took the wind out of RFK’s sails. He was a broken man, following the fateful day in Dallas. For the rest of his life, he always looked like someone who knew something he just couldn’t tell. Maybe he was still too scared to accept the truth of the assassination of his brother. He openly stated that the organised crime bosses should have taken him out and not his brother.
“They should have shot me,” RFJ said several times (once again the italics are mine). RFK was the one who was on the mafiosi’s case. They were clearly more annoyed at Bobby Kennedy than they were with JFK. He felt they really hated him so much they wanted him gone. What RFK didn’t seem to realise or accept was that he was only secondary. One view is that LBJ, Hoover, Dulles and Marcello and his fellow mobsters actually hated RFK so much, they made a conscious decision to first take out his brother and force RFK to live with the pain of the death of his beloved sibling, before also taking him out, just before he was about to get himself elected as president.
Taking RFK out, also shot in cold blood, was so blatant and transparent it was off the Richter Scale. From 22/11/63 to the end of his life, RFK certainly looked and acted like his football had burst, the fun had stopped and he blamed himself for the death of his brother. He was obviously despondent and grieving. Had he realised and perhaps accepted that all he and his brother had been trying to do was to make the world a better place for the human race – and all it had taken for this to be derailed was maybe a dozen men of over-arching power and white-shoe money, scheming in the background. I use the word “men” there advisedly. In all the hundreds of books I’ve read on the subject, not even a single one hints, or even suggests, a woman being involved in history’s most infamous conspiracy.
What I am suggesting here is that there was a conspiracy. And that there is ample evidence to suggest that we should deliver the bucket loads of guilt right to the marble doors of an exclusive Star Chamber. I am also suggesting that the cast of players – not all of whom would ever have met or even necessarily been familiar – included the likes of the LBJ, Dulles, J Edgar Hoover, some American Imperialists who are so elusive they’ve never even been on the public radar, and add a few hoods who managed the dirty work. They in turn would have ensured they kept their hands clean by enlisting the help of organised crime.
Yes, I did say LBJ.
Lyndon Baines Johnson shocked everyone in American politics when he announced he would not run for a second term in the (1968) Presidential Elections. This would have been permitted and expected as American Presidents can run for a max of 2 terms. LBJ’s first short period in the White House, from 1963 to 1964, would have been considered the end of JFK’s term. He was first elected in 1964 – so LBJ would have qualified to be on the Democrats’ ticket in 1968. Why would he have meekly stood aside and not battled with Republican Richard Nixon for the White House?
Around the same time, RFK had picked himself up and was getting ready to step back into the fight on behalf of the human race. I always wondered if there was a connection between these two facts. Did RFK discover something? Something which could ruin a sitting president? Or, was LBJ’s surprise exit down to the simple fact that a sitting President knew the ex-President’s brother was going to wipe the floor with him in the next elections?
“So what exactly is your theory here?” I hear you ask.
It’s a fair question. It goes something like this:
The Kennedy brothers took over the White House. They made it crystal clear their priority was to deliver peace and eliminate corruption both at home and – where the US had been active militarily – abroad. Consequently it was decided by the elite, those with diverse vested interests, our Star Chamber, that this manager was not good for their team. This President wasn’t going to be good for what they considered their country. They clearly felt they needed to seize control of their team (or country) again. Their conclusion was that the Kennedys had to go.
As I have already stated, the Star Chamber might have amongst its members a man who was so desperate to be president he would literally stop at nothing to succeed. Perhaps there was another amongst the Star Chamber’s ranks who was a master of covert operations who had been humiliated when he’d been fired by JFK. Perhaps both these men on behalf of their Star Chamber set up a team under the direction of someone like E. Howard Hunt to carry out the assassination.
Hunt in turn would then enlist the frontline operatives – that is to say Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby and Officer JD Tippit, and, of course, Tippit’s killer. They would also have he’d put together a crack team of professional snipers to carry out the actual hit. In addition, they'dhave recruited backroom teams (all working in total isolation) on clean-ups, dealing with witness static and covering the tracks. Perhaps they also had access to CIA and FBI manpower and expertise to assist in all aspects of the plan.
In this configuration, Oswald really was the hapless patsy. The professional snipers did their work, efficiently and lethally. Were they labelled as “the three tramps”, as Hunt’s way of getting them off the scene and keeping them out of the legal system. Following the assassination, was Officer Tippit’s job to shoot Oswald “in the line of duty”? Did Oswald go rogue, because he didn’t know the full script, and shoot Tippit dead in “self-defence” before retreating to the cinema shootout? Perhaps once again, “experts” had shot Tippit, allowing the police a legit excuse to arrest Oswald. Oswald, as the decoy, was taken into custody and so back-up man, Jack Ruby, had to take care of business on worldwide, prime time television.
The Star Chamber, I believe, was pulling the strings. After the event they and their teams were even busier. Can you imagine how much fun they were having behind the scenes post-Dallas, with all the conspiratorial theorists doing their difficult PR spin for them? Perhaps the same Star Chamber were even planting some of the more bizarre solutions to the crime of the century and being brazen enough to go one step further by creating some back-up “proof.” I mean, come on, who had the audacity to leak the magic bullet theory?
If you put that in as part of your plot in a novel, you’d be laughed off the shelves. Then there was the keystone cops farce in the Dallas hospital, as serious doctors tried to carry out an autopsy only to be ordered this way and that by the top brass. These Pentagon generals, their chests puckered out and laden with multi coloured medal-ribbons, were crammed into an already confined and restricted space. Then there was the President’s body part, which went missing – and in fact is still missing.
You couldn’t make it up.
It was claimed that JFK’s crack security team had a late night, early morning, clubbing and drinking session on the night of 21 Nov 1963. They were not on the best form on the day – and some even suggest one of the team on the rear of JFK’s vehicle, a Mr James Hickey, accidentally fired off his rifle, fatally wounding the President. Then what about the theory that Officer Tippet was chosen because he bore more than a passing resemblance to JFK, and was taken out so his body could be switched for JFK’s at the hospital, in the attempts to tie the remains in with the lone assassin theory. Was all of this just more spin from Star Chamber?
THE ZAPRUDER FILM
And there’s more, including the legendary Zapruder Film, which was shot by Abraham Zapruder on his Bell and Howell Zoomatic, silent, 8mm colour movie camera. From his vantage point atop a concrete pedestal on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, Zapruder recorded the fateful moments of the passing Presidential motorcade. The film, which was confiscated immediately, was in the hands of the police and being examined in their lab later the same night. There have been claims about this film being doctored.
Experts for the conspiracy theorists swear to it. But then at the same time, the government’s expert’s cuss even more profanely to the opposite effect. Life magazine bought the rights to the film from Zapruder for $150,000 (equivalent to $3.8 million today). The Zapruder heirs eventually bought their (Abraham’s) rights back from Life magazine, following a dispute over ownership, for a single dollar. They later sold all rights to the US government for $16 million dollars in 1999. There have been claims and counter-claims as to what, if anything, went missing from the film. Equally, what might have been “added”...
THE UNANSWERED WARREN COMMISSION QUESTIONS
That’s all before we even consider the Warren Commission. What the heck was that all about? I mean really?
Surely the name should have given us the biggest clue. A warren is an underground network of connecting rabbit burrows. Each burrow being the ideal place to hide stuff you never want to be found.
The Warren Commission members were:
Earl Warren, Chief Justice of The United States of America (the chairman)
Richard Russell Jr., US Senator
John Cooper, US Senator
Hale Bloggs, US Representative House Majority Whip
Gerald Ford, US Representative House Minority Leader (future President)
Allen Dulles, former Director of Central Intelligence and head of the CIA
John J McCloy, former President of the World Bank.
1. Acting Attorney General Nicholas Kasenbach advised LBJ to form the commission to ensure the public believed Oswald was the lone gunman.
2. Senator Richard Russell didn’t want to serve on the seven-man Warren Commission because he felt disenchanted by the roles of Hoover and Kasenbach.
3. Richard Russell, John Cooper, Hale Bogg and members of the commission all publically criticised the Commission. They and John J. McCloy didn’t believe that Lee Oswald was the lone gunman.
4. Why would anyone involved in the highest profile ever assassination in the world ever, order a rifle with very convenient paper trails which led directly back to their door?
5. Future President Gerald Ford (who served on the Warren Commission) was the one who signed off on LHO as the lone gunman. Later Ford admitted to French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, that he in fact felt that the assassination was not the work of one man but that it had been set up – they just didn’t know who set it up. (“they were sure it was set up, they just didn’t know by whom.”)
6. Oliver Stone in his research into the Warren Commission’s findings claimed that the conspiracy theories became Conspiracy Facts.
7. When he was arrested LHO demanded legal representation. The authorities refused permission.
8. Attorney Mark Lee tried to represent LHO at the Warren Commission hearings.
9. His request was denied by the Warren Commission.
10. Mark Lee made the following statement: “The Commission has functioned in a fashion which totally disregards the rights. I don’t know that anyone is innocent. I know the case which has been presented against him (LHO) is full of falsehoods and contradictions, and I know that right now in the office of the Dallas District Attorney, there is a paraffin test which shows that Lee Harvey Oswald did not fire a rifle on November 22nd 1963.” He further stated that he had a photocopy of that document.
11. Both the CIA and the FBI took Oswald off their flash list (a list of people being suspected of being a potential dangerous threat to America, who would need to be continued to be actively monitored by the authorities), just two weeks before the assassination. Abraham Bolton - a Secret Service agent assigned to the White House detail – tried to report this to the Warren Commission and was blocked. Bolton then reported to the press that JFK’s protection was “very lax”
12. It is alleged the Warren Commission only considered evidence supplied to them by the FBI, which, if true, would mean they did no independent investigation of their own.
The Star Chamber even had the gall to parade the Warren Commission hearings out on Nationwide TV.
It is extraordinary the extent to which the various witnesses and persons of interest “passed away” or died in mysterious circumstances. We’re talking in addition to Lee Oswald, Jack Ruby and Dorothy Kilgallen of course. The conspiracy theorists list between 50 to 100 witnesses with vital information, but all conflicting with the LHO sole gunman theory, who have died in mysterious, or questionable, circumstances. Wasn’t there even a chap who bizarrely fell “asleep” in a barrel of wet cement? Was that actually a fact or have I just read one too many conspiracy books?
The main problem I have with the conspiracy theories is that they are all, to some degree, co-dependent and once one falls, the entire can collapse. Perhaps that was part of the Star Chamber’s masterplan?
Johnson’s potential career destroying Life magazine front page story, which had been ready to run, was pulled immediately when the news from Dallas broke.
Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 37th Vice President of The United States of America, filled a lifelong ambition-cum-obsession and became the 36th President of the United States of America. On the days after JFK’s funeral, Johnson announced that America would remain in the Vietnam War. The war lasted from 1955 to 1975. During this time, 58,200 American soldiers died. Estimates for fatalities of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians range from one million to 3.8 million, and an additional estimated 300,000 Cambodians, and 20,000 to 60,000 Laotians, lost their lives as a result of the conflict.
Hey Hey, LBJ, How many kids did you kill today? Yes indeed!LBJ appointed Allen Dulles to be a member of his hand-picked Warren Commission. Please note this is not fiction, this is fact. LBJ also picked Chief Justice Earl Warren and future president Gerald Ford to serve on the same Commission. The commission’s remit was to investigate
In a later investigation, CIA director John A. McCone (Allen Dulles’s successor) was reported as being ‘complicit’ in a CIA ‘benign cover-up’ of holding back information from the Warren Commission. The same report mentioned that the CIA ‘might’ have been in touch with Oswald before 1963. McCone, it appeared, had continued to be as anti-Kennedy as his mentor Allen Dulles.
There are somewhere been one and two thousand books on the subject, with the effect that even all the original smoke-screens are now hidden behind numerous failsafe smoke-screens.
Less than five years after the assassination of JFK, at 01.44 a.m. (West Coast time) on 6th June 1968, Senator Robert F Kennedy was shot dead. Had the Star Chamber, learning from some of their flaws of 22.11.63, and with new teams in place, been in action again?
This time the aftershock was just as damaging but the actual case was “tidied” up more efficiently.
RFK’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, and his legal team have always maintained that he was hypnotised. So here’s another conspiracy line for you: Allen Dulles, while head of the CIA, had pioneered and encouraged brainwashing procedures. Brian-washing is an extreme form of hypnotism, but might have been better labelled as brain-corruption. RFK’s third son, Robert Jr., has publicly stated he believes that Sirhan Sirhan was not responsible for the assassination of his father. Robert Jr. believes the fatal shots came from behind his father, and from the gun of a certain moonlighting, recently hired, security guard by the name of Thane Eugene Cesar.
In RFK’s final seconds, he turned and tore off Cesar’s clip-on tie.
Equally Robert Kennedy Jr. admits that the majority of his siblings believe and accept the official line, that is to say that Sirhan Sirhan was responsible for the death of their father.
Dulles died seven months after RFK had been gunned down.
My father, Rifleman Andrew Charles, M.M., fought in WWII. He killed some Germans on the battlefield. He never boasted about it. But did his actions on the Caen battlefield make him a murderer? I always felt not. He was fighting to protect his family, his country. He was obeying orders, when disobeying those orders could have resulted in some of his comrades on the battlefield dying and him being tried for treason or disobeying orders.
I remember when I was young, I’d keep asking my father why he had to fight in the war, what was the war about? How do you explain something as monumental as WWII to a pre-teen kid? But for some reason I still can’t fathom, I wouldn’t give up. Eventually, one day my father said a German tried to take an Englishman’s land and the Englishman refused to give it up, so they started fighting over it, and pretty soon the two countries were roped in to the fight. That was when it became a war – and the German was the baddie, only because he was forcefully trying to take something that wasn’t his.
A totally simplistic answer I know, but it satisfied my curiosity as a kid, mainly because the baddie had been nominated.
So, who do we look to be the baddie in the JFK and RFK assassinations? I most certainly believe the orders on both the Kennedy men came from the same desk. And the same Star Chamber. Just like the above case with my father, I don’t believe the foot soldiers should be held responsible. St John Hunt, E. Howard Hunt’s son, speaks very warmly about his father. St John describes him as a great father and a good husband.
The son grew up believing that the father worked, under the umbrella of espionage, at the government’s pleasure. Were E. Howard Hunt and his colleagues really bad men? His son says his dad was a good family man and his preoccupation was providing and caring for his family. E. Howard Hunt enjoyed the love of his son. Did the senior Hunt and his companions in this episode think they were bad men?
Apparently not. They merely thought they were serving their country and were part of a team responsible for making America a better place. Surely the foot soldiers always have to believe what they are being paid to do is for the good of their countries? It’s a trusting view I know, and in these more transparent days there are, most certainly, other options available.
The role of the CIA and the FBI and similar companies is a bit like the role we pick for our fathers and mothers when we are younger. We need to know they will be there to protect us in times of need. This comfort zone affords us a happy childhood. When we start to doubt our fathers and mothers, or the institutions put there to protect us, the foundations of our lives are washed away just as easily as the late night tide washes away the sandcastles on Portrush’s Curran Strand.
I’ve always felt, I will admit quite innocently, that if JFK have been properly protected and survived Dallas, then the entire USA political system would have been less selfish, less self-serving and more biased to the needs of the people all the politicians take an oath of allegiance to serve (along with their country) to the best of their ability. I believe on the 22 November 1963, the world lost what had been a golden opportunity to be a better place for its inhabitants. I live in hope it wasn’t our last chance.
Paul Charles was born and reared in Magherafelt, in Co. Derry and began his career in “music” managing a band called Blues By Five. He went on to become one of the leading music agents on the planet. Over the past 40 years, he has worked with some of the biggest names in music, at different times managing the careers of Van Morrison, Ray Davies of The Kinks, Gerry Rafferty, The Waterboys and Dexys Midnight Runners, and launching Tanita Tikaram into the world.
Earlier this year, he released his acclaimed memoir, Adventures In Wonderland – with the book hitting the No.2 spot on the Amazon music business chart.