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«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»

-- [ Page 105 ] --

``Oswald made a phone call to the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, which we intercepted. It was only about a visa, however.

He also wrote a letter to the Soviet Embassy here in Washington, which we intercepted, read and resealed. This letter referred to the fact that the FBI had questioned his activities on the Fair Play to Cuba Committee and also asked about extension of his wife’s visa. ``That letter from Oswald was addressed to the man in the Soviet Embassy who is in charge of assassinations and similar activities on the part of the Soviet government. To have that drawn into a public hearing would muddy the waters internationally.’’ November 23, 1999 (Dallas Morning News) For the last 36 years, former White House spokesman Malcolm Kilduff has heard practically every conspiracy theory about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. No matter how plausible they may sound, though, he doesn’t buy any of them, he said. His reason is simple. “I was there,” Mr. Kilduff said Monday. “They weren’t.” Mr. Kilduff, 72, was the acting White House press secretary on Nov. 22, 1963, the day Kennedy was mortally wounded as he rode in a motorcade through downtown Dallas. Mr. Kilduff was riding two cars behind the president when the fatal shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository building. He now lives in Kentucky, but on Monday - the 36th anniversary of the assassination - he was back in town to join a panel discussion on the events surrounding the slaying. Earlier Monday, in an interview at The Sixth Floor Museum, Mr. Kilduff said he has long since gotten over the emotionalism of the time and many other circumstances surrounding the president’s death. He wishes others could do the same, he said. “The biggest misconception out there is that it was a massive conspiracy... to hide the facts,” Mr. Kilduff said. “I think the simplicity of the assassination is what boggles the mind. “People just don’t want to believe that you can assassinate the president of the United States that easily.” When the shots were fired, Mr. Kilduff said, the car he was riding in was directly under the sixth-floor window where Lee Harvey Oswald had been. “I immediately turned and looked up,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that’s where all the shots came from.” Mr. Kilduff admitted, though, that at the time of the shooting he didn’t believe the president had been wounded. Only when the president’s traveling party arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital and Mr. Kilduff “saw his condition” did he realize the seriousness of the situation. Even later, after being officially informed of Kennedy’s death, “my mind still did not comprehend it.” Mr. Kilduff was acting press secretary on the Texas trip because Kennedy’s regular press secretary, Pierre Salinger, was flying to Japan. It was Mr. Kilduff who unwittingly informed Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson that he was to become president when he went to speak to him in a Parkland room. “I didn’t know what to call him,” Mr. Kilduff said. “I sure as hell wasn’t about to call him Lyndon. So when I said ‘President Johnson,’ Lady Bird let out a shriek. “Nobody had bothered to tell the poor man” that Kennedy was dead. He said Johnson was “as cool as a cucumber” and calmly asked what the next step was. Assistant U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders, who later became a federal judge, looked for U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes to administer the presidential oath of office. That was ironic, Mr. Kilduff said, because Johnson had opposed her confirmation when he was a U.S. senator from Texas. With security still the top concern, Mr. Kilduff said, his announcement of Kennedy’s death to the public was delayed about 30 minutes until the new president was safely on board the presidential jet. “I waited until I got the signal,” Mr. Kilduff said.

“Then when I got the call that Volunteer - that was Johnson’s code name - was back aboard Angel - the code name for... [the presidential jet] - I went ahead and made the announcement to the press.” Mr. Kilduff stayed with the Johnson administration until 1965, when he went into public relations. He said he harbors no bitterness or ill feelings toward Dallas about the assassination, nor does he have nightmares about the tragedy. In fact, he said, he believes there has been “too much fuss” made about the events surrounding that day

- and Kennedy’s entire administration. “People can’t let it go because he was young and had a beautiful wife,” Mr. Kilduff said. “It’s been over-romanticized a bit. Nobody was more of a realist than John Kennedy.” Six floors below where Mr. Kilduff spoke, a mixed crowd of schoolchildren, tourists and interested locals milled around Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination.

December 8, 1999 In Memphis, Tennessee, jurors side with the family of Martin Luther King in a wrongful death suit brought by them against Loyd Jowers. In 1993, Jowers confessed to having been part of a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King. In that confession he also stated that James Earl Ray was not the real assassin.

–  –  –

This year, copyright of the Zapruder film is awarded to the Sixth Floor Museum (housed in the former Texas School Book Depository building in Dallas) by the Zapruder family, who also give them the last remaining copy in private hands of the Zapruder film made on November 22, 1963. The original and two other copies are stored at the National Archives.





January 18, 2000 James Avants confesses to taking part in the brutal shotgun murder of a black man in Mississippi in 1966.

Avants, the last living suspect in the case, confesses that the murder was part of a plot to lure Martin Luther King to Mississippi, where an assassination plot would take his life.

April 29, 2000 Shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, a top CIA official told an investigative commission that the Soviet Union had somehow learned the exact date of the amphibious landing in advance, according to a newly declassified version of the commission’s final report. Moreover, the CIA apparently had known of the leak to the Soviets--and went ahead with the invasion anyway. In an effort to oust Fidel Castro, the CIA organized and trained a force of about 1,400 Cuban exiles and launched the invasion on April 17, 1961. Castro’s soldiers easily repelled the landing force in less than 72 hours, killing 200 rebels and capturing 1,197 others in what became one of the worst foreign policy blunders of the Cold War. The investigative commission, chaired by Gen. Maxwell Taylor, was established almost immediately and held a series of secret hearings at the Pentagon before sending a sharply critical report to President Kennedy in June 1961. While portions of the Taylor Commission’s report were made public on two previous occasions, in 1977 and 1986, many pages had been blacked out for security reasons by the CIA. The newly declassified version, in contrast, is nearly free of deletions and contains a wealth of new detail. The National Archives released the document late Wednesday to the nonprofit National Security Archive, where senior analyst Peter Kornbluh has been working for years to prod the government to release all classified documents on the Bay of Pigs.

May 1, 2000 Francis Gary Powers, who flew the ill-fated U-2 when it was brought down over the USSR in 1960, is posthumously awarded the POW Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the CIA’s Director’s Medal for “extraordinary fidelity and essential service.” These medals are presented to the Powers family today during a formal U.S. Air Force and CIA ceremony. American Heritage Magazine / Sept. 2000 July 1, 2000 Associated Press reports today: MANZANILLO, Cuba: Fidel Castro defiantly warned the next U.S. president Saturday not to try to defeat his socialist revolution, as the Cuban government launched a new series of mass demonstrations after Elian Gonzalez’s return. ``Whoever may be the new president of the United States should know that Cuba is and will be here with its ideas, its example, and the unbendable rebellion of its people,’’ Castro wrote in a letter read before hundreds of thousands of people gathered to protest U.S. policies. ``All aggression and attempts to asphyxiate us and reduce us to our knees will be conquered.’’ Led by Gen. Raul Castro, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Fidel Castro’s younger brother, a sea of people vigorously waved small red, white and blue Cuban flags. ``Those who think we are ending should know that we are beginning!’’ Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told the Cubans who massed in this southeastern coastal city for the first large rally organized since Elian’s low-key homecoming Wednesday. Castro also wrote that Cubans don’t care who wins the coming presidential elections in the United States and said that candidates are wasting their time trying to win the Cuban-American vote. “It is useless to invest unnecessary time in the declarations and promises made against Cuba to obtain the vote of just a few people who have no country of their own, who even dare to step on and burn the American flag,’’ said Castro. He was referring to the angry actions of some Cuban exiles in Miami after the federal raid that reunited Elian with his father in April.

July 11, 2000 Associated Press reports today: Long before the Piper Saratoga that John F. Kennedy Jr. was piloting crashed off Martha’s Vineyard on the hazy night of July 16, 1999, Jackie Kennedy Onassis feared her son would die in a plane crash. “In the latter years of her life, Jackie had a recurring premonition that John would be killed piloting his own plane. She pleaded with Maurice (Tempelsman, her longtime companion) to do whatever it took to keep John from becoming a pilot,’’ says a new book, “The Day John Died,’’ which chronicles the fatal accident. Although she encouraged her son to live fully, his mother could not stand the thought of his piloting a plane, says the book by Christopher Andersen. It also says that an American Airlines jet changed course to avoid colliding with Kennedy’s plane that evening, that Kennedy and wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy had smoothed out their marital difficulties and were ready to start a family, and that as early as 1997 Kennedy expressed interest in running for the Senate. Kennedy did not follow through because he feared his wife might not bear the strain of a heated political campaign, the book says. Andersen, whose book is being released Tuesday by publisher William Morrow, said it is based on interviews with hundreds of family members, friends, lovers, journalists and others. It completes Andersen’s Camelot trilogy, which also includes ``Jack and Jackie’’ (1996) and ``Jackie After Jack’’ (1998). It also follows his 1998 book on Princess Diana, “The Day Diana Died.’’ Calls to Kennedy’s cousin, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, and to Sen. Ted Kennedy, a frequent family spokesman, were not immediately returned. Andersen said John’s sister Caroline and his wife’s family declined to be interviewed for the book. For anyone who watched the days of media coverage surrounding Kennedy’s death, most of the book’s material is familiar. There’s the flawed weather report Kennedy saw, indicating the weather was good when it was not. There’s the huge shrine of flowers, cards and other gifts left outside Kennedy’s Manhattan loft. And then there are the book’s 60 photographs, many of which are also etched in the public psyche, including Little John peeping out from under President Kennedy’s Oval Office desk. “There has been a lot of posthumous character assassination,’’ Andersen said. “But I’m a warts-and-all biographer and if John had any character flaws, I couldn’t find them.’’ July 28, 2000 Jerrol F. Custer, 58, dies today at Forbes Regional Health Center, Monroeville. Born Dec. 13, 1941, n in Pittsburgh.

November 7, 2000 Jean Hill, the “woman in red” made famous by her appearance in a bright red coat the Zapruder film n and Oliver Stone’s “JFK” dies early today after being rushed to the hospital from her home. A mother and school teacher at the time of the JFK assassination, Hill had been in poor health the last few years. Hill, standing on Elm Street next to her friend Mary Moorman, was only a few feet from the presidential limousine and was one of the closest witnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy and the wounding of Governor Connally.

Nov. 19, 2000 PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) - A polite dispute over a resolution against terrorism spiraled into an argument drenched in civil-war bitterness as Cuba’s Fidel Castro and El Salvador’s leader hurled allegations at the close of a summit on Saturday. “What you have done here is intolerable,’” Salvadoran President Francisco Flores told Castro, accusing him of “cruel, bloody responsibility’” for involvement in El Salvador’s civil war. Castro expressed anger that the anti-terrorism measure sponsored by El Salvador and Mexico expressed sympathy for Spain - wracked by violence associated with the Basque separatist movement - but did not mention Cuba, even though Panamanian officials had just detained a man Castro accused of trying to assassinate him. “None of you have had to run the risks that the president of the Republic of Cuba does each time he appears,” Castro lectured the leaders of 19 other Latin American nations, plus those of Spain and Portugal, who were attending the Ibero-American Summit. Castro later announced at a news conference that Cuba will ask for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles and three other men detained Friday by Panamanian police. He said the men had been plotting to overthrow his government, and were Cuban citizens.

January 5, 2001 It is announced today that the magazine, “George” will fold. The last issue will be printed in March of this year. John F. Kennedy, Jr. was president of the magazine up until the time of his death.



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