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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 109 ] --

``It’s the image of yellow roses and red roses and blood all over the car... all over us,’’ she said. ``I’ll never forget it.... It was so quick and so short, so potent.’’ Her son Mark, a Houston investment banker, says the family’s proximity to the Kennedy assassination was not a major topic of conversation over the years. “It wasn’t something that anybody avoided if someone else brought it up, but it just wasn’t something that we would sit around and discuss,’’ he said Monday. Nellie Connally waves off the myriad conspiracy theories regarding the assassination and wants to persuade her readers that Oswald acted alone. ``I want them to know what I know because, you see, now nobody knows this story except me,’’ she said. ``You can’t argue with me because all I have to say to you was, ‘Were you in that car?’ and you’ll have to say, ‘No.’’’ The book recounts that she was furious when Oswald, a former Marine sharpshooter, was brought to Parkland Hospital after being shot by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. ``I wish I could have been more charitable, or at least appreciated the irony of the situation, but all I felt was uncontrollable rage,’’ she wrote. ``Here was the man who probably killed our president and tried to kill my husband... being treated to the finest emergency care our city had to offer.... I simply couldn’t believe it.’’ The couple had 30 more years together before John Connally died from a lung ailment in 1993 that some doctors believe may have been a result of the chest wound he suffered in 1963. Those years saw many political and personal successes and also major setbacks, including Nellie Connally’s bout with breast cancer and financial woes that led to the family declaring bankruptcy in the 1980s. ``There’s few women who have had all of the triumphs and the tragedies she’s experienced,’’ said Julian Read, an Austin public relations executive who was riding a few vehicles back in the press bus when Kennedy was killed. “But through it all she’s a delight.’’ November 5, 2003 Washington D.C.- A White House tape of President Kennedy and his advisers, published this week in a new book-and-CD collection and excerpted on the Web, confirms that top U.S. officials sought the November 1, 1963 coup against then-South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem without apparently considering the physical consequences for Diem personally (he was murdered the following day). The taped meeting and related documents show that U.S. officials, including JFK, vastly overestimated their ability to control the South Vietnamese generals who ran the coup 40 years ago this week. The Kennedy tape from October 29, 1963 captures the highest-level White House meeting immediately prior to the coup, including the President’s brother voicing doubts about the policy of support for a coup: “I mean, it’s different from a coup in the Iraq or South American country; we are so intimately involved in this….” National Security Archive senior fellow John Prados provides a full transcript of the meeting, together with the audio on CD, in his new book-and-CD publication, The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President (New York: The New Press, 2003, 331 pp. + 8 CDs, ISBN 1-56584-852-7), just published this week and featuring audio files from 8 presidents, from Roosevelt to Reagan. To mark the 40th anniversary of the Diem coup, a critical turning point in the Vietnam war, Dr. Prados also compiled and annotated for the Web a selection of recently declassified documents from the forthcoming documentary publication, U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, to be published in spring 2004 by the National Security Archive and ProQuest Information and Learning. Together with the Kennedy tape from October 29, 1963, the documents show that American leaders discussed not only whether to support a successor government, but also the distribution of pro- and anti-coup forces, U.S. actions that could be taken that would contribute to a coup, and calling off a coup if its prospects were not good. “Supporting the Diem coup made the U.S. responsible for the outcome in South Vietnam in exactly the way Bobby Kennedy feared on October 29,” said Dr. Prados. “Ironically, though, as the conversation continued, he and the other doubters abandoned these larger considerations and concentrated only on whether a coup would succeed - nothing else mattered.” The posting today also includes the transcript of Diem’s last phone call to U.S. ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, inquiring “what the attitude of the U.S. is” towards the coup then underway; Lodge dissembled that he was not “well enough informed at this time to be able to tell you.” November 18, 2003 A television documentary claiming Lyndon B. Johnson helped plot the Kennedy assassination is condemned as an absurd smear by Johnson’s family and former staff members. A History Channel film that aired Monday alleges that then-Vice President Johnson and members of his staff were responsible for President Kennedy’s 1963 killing, said LBJ Foundation Chairman Tom Johnson, no relation to the former president. “I do not know of a greater injustice to the reputation of a former president

- especially to be on The History Channel,” Tom Johnson, who worked in the Johnson White House, says in an interview. He and Jack Valenti, another former Johnson staff member and current president of the Motion Picture Association of America, issue a joint statement on behalf of the Johnson family and others. “Sadly, President Johnson and the staff members who are wrongly smeared by the conspiracy theorists are no longer alive to defend themselves,” the statement says. “In televising this production, The History Channel has distorted history beyond recognition.” November 22, 2003 The shooting of President John F. Kennedy was not a political conspiracy but an almost spontaneous act by a troubled man who wanted attention, the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald says. Oswald had been depressed, feeling since childhood that he was unwanted, and was looking for a way to grab the spotlight, Robert Oswald says in interviews on NBC’s ``Today’’ show Saturday, the 40th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, and with ABC News. “There was no conspiracy,’’ Robert Oswald tells NBC. ``He made those decisions within himself.’’ Thousands of mourners, conspiracy theorists and the just plain curious gather along the downtown street in Dallas where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 40 years earlier, with many of them recalling where they had been at the very moment they heard the news. A makeshift memorial with dozens of bouquets, signs and flags of the U.S. and other countries was assembled nearby





- one of several memorials around the country for the fallen president. ``John F. Kennedy has been gone nearly as long as he lived, yet the memory of him still brings pride to our nation and a feeling of loss that defies the passing of years,’’ President Bush said in a written statement.

Kennedy family members gather at Arlington National Cemetery early in the day to pray beside the eternal flame that marks the president’s grave. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, her husband and children, and Kennedy’s brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., are joined by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington. The cemetery opens to the public after the family leaves.

December 17, 2003 A diverse group of authors and legal experts announce their support for a lawsuit demanding the release of secret CIA records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At issue in the suit, filed Tuesday in Washington, are records on the unexplained role of a Miami-based undercover CIA agent named George Joannides in the months prior to Kennedy’s murder on Nov. 22, 1963. The authors supporting the suit include anti-conspiracist Gerald Posner, author of the 1993 book “Case Closed,” and Norman Mailer and Don DeLillo, two leading novelists who have explored the mysteries surrounding accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Also backing the lawsuit are legal experts G. Robert Blakey, the former chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which in the late 1970s investigated Kennedy’s death, and John Tunheim, a federal judge who chaired the Assassination Records Review Board in the mid-1990s. The authors and experts differ on who was responsible for the president’s murder, but all agree that the CIA must now come clean about Joannides, a career spy who died in 1990.

January 30, 2004 HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro accuses President Bush of plotting with Miami exiles to kill him, and says he would die fighting if the United States ever invaded to oust him. ``I don’t care how I die,’’ Castro said at the end of a 5 1/2-hour speech that began Thursday night and continued into early Friday. “But rest assured, if they invade us, I’ll die in combat.’’ February 20, 2004 Researcher Mary Ferrell dies at her home, from cancer. She has been home for a week after n a prolonged hospital stay.

April 7, 2004 LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former aides to former President Johnson welcomed a History Channel investigation that has found allegations of his involvement in the Kennedy assassination to be ``stuff and nonsense.’’ “The shameful and despicable lie that President Lyndon Johnson killed President John F. Kennedy was dumped into the trash bin of irresponsible history tonight,’’ the four prominent men say in a statement. They include Tom Johnson, chairman of the LBJ Foundation; Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America; Larry Temple, president of The LBJ Foundation; and journalist Bill Moyers. A panel of historians assert that claims against Johnson made in a History Channel program last November were wrong, the former Johnson aides note in a joint statement. “It was a victory for truth and fairness, brought about when The History Channel bowed to urgent requests from Mrs. Lyndon Johnson and former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter that such a panel be formed and its conclusions made public,’’ according to the statement. The allegations against Johnson and others were contained in the documentary “The Guilty Men,’’ which aired in November as one of a series of programs exploring conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s 1963 murder. In a letter protesting the program, Johnson’s widow, Lady Bird Johnson, 91, says: “It saddens me beyond words that such an outrageous charge without foundation could be aired when the men so libeled can no longer defend themselves.’’ The historians asked to review the allegations are author Robert Dallek, considered an authority on the presidency; Stanley Kutler, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin and a leading authority on 20th-century American political and constitutional history; and Thomas Sugrue, an award-winning teacher and author at the University of Pennsylvania. The November program was based in part on a book published in 2003 by Barr McClellan, who claims the law firm he quit a quarter-century ago was involved in convoluted plots that link Johnson to at least 11 deaths, including Kennedy’s.

The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin involved in Kennedy’s death in Dallas.

April 13, 2004 DENVER (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest causes a stir on the House floor Tuesday when he urges lawmakers to let religious faith guide their votes and ``be the antithesis of John Kennedy.’’ While delivering the chamber’s morning prayer, the Rev. Bill Carmody says too many politicians have followed the example of the nation’s first Catholic president by pledging to separate their faith from politics.

April 22, 2004 George Austin Thomason, a Dallas police officer for 25 years was a rookie detective when President n John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Mr. Thomason, 73, dies today of multiple health problems at Columbia Hospital in Palm Beach County, Florida. In 1980, Mr. Thomason who supported senior detectives during the JFK investigation retired from the Dallas Police Department as a sergeant, his wife said.

May 6, 2004 President Bush announces new measures to crack down on Cuba, including restrictions on money transfers and family visits, increased efforts to transmit anti-Castro television to Cuba and the appointment of a coordinator to plan a transition from socialism to capitalism.

May 22, 2004 HAVANA (AP) - Antonio Zamora was a teenager when he fled his native Cuba and joined a U.S.-led effort to topple the island’s communist government. Now 63, the Miami-based lawyer is back on Cuban soil this week attending a ceremony to restore his citizenship and that of six other Cuban exiles who participated in the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. ``After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that dialogue was the best way to deal with Cuba,’’ Zamora says. He says he doesn’t agree with the way many things work under Castro, but he resents the United States’ meddling in Cuban affairs. He has come to the immigration conference, the third of its kind in a decade, to show support for an independent Cuba and make suggestions for change. The first step, he believes, is to put politics aside and focus on improving the lives of regular Cubans.

May 29, 2004 Archibald Cox, ’Loeb University professor emeritus at Harvard Law School (HLS) and the special n prosecutor whose vigorous investigation of the Watergate scandal brought about the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, dies of natural causes today at his home in Brooksville, Me. He is 92.

June 1, 2004 William Manchester, who wrote biographies of Winston Churchill and Douglas MacArthur and n chronicled John F. Kennedy’s assassination, dies early this morning at his home in Middletown, Connecticut. He is 82.



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