«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, ...»
Since that time I have heard nothing further from the Telegram.”
September 17, 1964 One of the two investigating officers files a report on Norman Similas. This is his statement:
“During the course of this interview SIMILAS struck me as being a cocky, brash, individual who was quite anxious to create the impression of the “big-shot”. When we began to question him on specifics he lost some of his composure and became extremely nervous and unsure of himself. It was not until Nov. 23rd, 1963 when he and a Toronto Telegram reporter were examining the negatives of photos he took, that the idea that two persons may have been in the window came up. SIMILAS went on to say that it was this reporter who drew it to his attention, and SIMILAS is very careful to point out that the reporter said “two people”.
I have attempted to verify the loss of the negatives by the Toronto Telegram newspaper as alleged by SIMILAS and inquiries at the Photo Department have failed to produce them. The photographer who took this picture is one Colin Davis however, I have been unable to contact him to date, as he is on assignment and only reports in to the office when he has something for publication. [signed] C.A. Beacock RCMP Sgt.” September 18, 1964 In an FBI report dated this day, Special Agent Wallace R. Heitman reveals the identity of “George Perrel” (known to the FBI since before the assassination). Heitman explains that the reason “Perrel” -- aka Fermin de Goicochea Sanchez -- couldn’t be interviewed until the month the Warren Report is published is because Agent James Hosty was too busy investigating the JFK assassination.
During the fall of this year, JFK Jr. moves from Washington to New York, where he attends a Catholic private school then the Collegiate boys’ school.
September 19, 1964 RCMP Sgt. Beacock interviews the Toronto Telegram reporter regarding Norman Similas:
“Further to previous report in this regard I interviewed Mr. Colin Davies, reporter and photographer of the Toronto Telegram.
Davies stated that Similas was very excited at the time of this interview. While viewing the negatives Similas was said to have pointed out the window and asked Davies if he didn’t think there were two people there. Similas drew his attention to the article written by a Dallas reporter in which two people were mentioned as being in the window. Davies said he felt that it was the power of suggestion and that Similas wanted to see two people in the negative so badly that he actually believed that he did. It was Davies opinion that the negatives were worthless from a news standpoint, but due to Similas’ state of excitement he didn’t have the heart to disappoint him. Davies decided to take the negatives and let the Photo Editor decide what should be done.
During the next day or so, the negatives somehow became lost and the Telegram, feeling responsible, sent Similas a cheque to pay for them.
I questioned Davies as to his impression of Similas and his story and he replied that he had no doubt that Similas has witnessed the assassination, but “he was sure going to get a lot of mileage out of the story.” There appears to be a complete reversal of the roles played by SIMILAS and DAVIES depending on whose story you hear.
September 21, 1964 The body of Jim Koethe, a young Dallas reporter, is found swathed in a blanket on the n floor of his bachelor apartment. Police say the cause of death is asphyxiation from a broken bone at the base of the neck --- apparently the result of a karate chop. Robbery appears to be the motive, although Koethe’s parents believe he has been killed for other reasons.
Whoever ransacked his apartment, they point out, was careful to remove his notes for a book he was preparing, in collaboration with two other journalists, on the Kennedy assassination. Within a week a 22-year-old ex-con from Alabama named Larry Earl Reno will be picked up selling Koethe’s personal effects and held on suspicion of murder. Reno’s lawyers will be Mike Barclay and Jim Martin, both friends of Jack Ruby’s room mate George Senator. Martin and Senator were with Koethe at a meeting on the evening of November 24, 1963 in Ruby’s apartment. When the Reno case comes before the grand jury, District Attorney Henry Wade secretly instructs the jurors not to indict---an extraordinary move for a chief prosecuting officer with as strong a case as he has. The grand jury returns a no-bill.
Reno, however, remains in jail on a previous charge. When they finally spring him, in January 1965, he is rearrested within a month for the robbery of a hotel. This time the prosecution, led by a one-time law partner of Martin’s has no qualms about getting an indictment, and a conviction. Reno is sentenced to life for the hotel robbery. At the trial, his lawyers call no witnesses in his defense.
RCMP Statement by Kenneth G. Armstrong, editor of Liberty Magazine regarding Norman Similas:
“On our first meeting (with Similas) we discussed his visit to Dallas and the events leading up to the assassination. There were two subsequent meetings at which I got the remainder of the information that I wanted for my story. Similas offered to supply me with pictures which were taken prior to and during the assassination. These were to be used to illustrate the story. It was my understanding that one of these pictures was the one in which two persons and the gun barrel could be seen, and these were to be forthcoming when developed. I phoned Similas a day or so later and he said they had been mailed to me from a Post Office on Yonge St. After a week had gone by Albert Plock, Art Director of Liberty, and I went through the entire amount of mail received during the previous week but we found nothing. I mention this because it was so important to the story to have that picture which contained the two faces at the window. We still held out hope that they might arrive in time for the second installment, however, they never did arrive.”
September 22, 1964: Conclusion of report submitted by RCMP Stg. C.A. Beacock regarding Norman Similas:
“The foregoing statement indicates that SIMILAS knowingly deceived ARMSTRONG into buying the story by promising him pictures which he knew to be nonexistent. The paragraph of the July issue which states “a picture I took showed two figures beside a gun barrel” was actually the main point of interest of this story. From all the inquiries here I doubt that such a picture ever existed and it is a certainty that is does not now exist. It was pointed out to me that had SIMILAS taken the picture showing the assassin or assassins, it would have been an exclusive and every medium in the world would be after it. SIMILAS told ARMSTRONG that he mailed this photograph along with others to the Liberty Magazine fully three months after he had been paid for the pictures lost by the Toronto Telegram and which supposedly contained this picture.
SIMILAS’ story to me, and to both Davis and Armstrong contains too many inconsistencies and outright lies to be taken seriously. I feel he was an opportunist who saw a chance to cash in on the fact that he had witnessed the assassination and in order to do so he had to make the story as convincing as possible. It is unfortunate that by a coincidence the negatives which would prove the lie have been lost.” The RCMP sent their report down to the FBI and closed the books on Norman Similas.
q September 24, 1964 The Warren Commission’s report is submitted to LBJ by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Of the Commission’s members, Earl Warren will later conclude that never in our lifetimes will we know the entire truth of what happened in Dallas. Congressman Hale Boggs, a conservative on the panel, was intimidated by those members with strong CIA ties. At first, he bought the single bullet theory, but he later changed his mind, believing that the questions had not been adequately answered.
Senator John Sherman Cooper says, “I, too, objected to such a conclusion; there was no evidence to show both men were hit by the same bullet.” The lead story in The New York Times says that “the commission analyzed every issue in exhaustive, almost archeological detail.” A Times editorial says that “the facts--exhaustively gathered, independently checked and cogently set forth--destroy the basis for conspiracy theories that have grown wedlock in this country and abroad.” Of the $1.2 million allocated to the investigation, $608,000 went to the cost of printing the report and the 1500 copies of its 26 volumes.
September 25, 1964 THE STATE OF TEXAS vs. JACK RUBENSTEIN -- Defense counsel files second motion for extension of time to file statement of facts. Judge Brown grants thirty-day extension.
September 28, 1964 The Warren Report is made public. It is a 469-page document, supplemented by eighteen appendices. Although more than thirty persons had a hand in writing it, the work was mainly written by Norman Redlich and Alfred Goldberg.
A special request, on behalf of LBJ, is made to the Archivist of the United States that the seventy-five year ban on the Warren Commission files be waived wherever possible and that much of the material be opened to the public. Following approved guidelines, all the agencies involved in the investigation are to review their files and declassify everything except pages containing the names of confidential informers, information damaging to innocent parties, and information about the agencies’ operating procedures. There is to be a periodic review by all the agencies concerned. This request, made on behalf of LBJ and the approved guidelines are made by McGeorge Bundy.
In a telephone conversation with Mike Mansfield, LBJ says: “I wouldn’t have this repeated to anybody - my judgment is that they’re [the Secret Service] more likely to get me killed than they are to protect me... They’re just not heavy thinkers. They’re just like the average cop and they don’t plan. Hoover’s the one that’s put me in an [armored limousine]... [and] he doesn’t object to my shakin’ hands with high school kids or people along a fence at Billings, Montana.” TKAT October 2, 1964 Life magazine publishes more than one version of the stills from the Zapruder film. They withdraw the first version, substituting frame 313 of the film which shows JFK’s head exploding “forward,” as the picture is captioned, for frame 323 which shows him pushed back in the seat by the force of the shot an instant later. No explanation for this switch. Included in this issue is Gerald Ford’s “inside account” of the Warren Commission.
J. Edgar Hoover, stung by the Warren Commission’s condemnation of the FBI in its report, probably has Cartha DeLoach leak a copy of the FBI director’s May 1964 testimony before the Commission to Jerry O’Leary of the Washington Star. O’Leary writes a copyrighted front-page story that attempts to absolve the bureau and contradict the Commission’s criticism.
October 12, 1964 JFK mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer is murdered in Washington. Her private diary is reportedly taken n by CIA chief James Angleton after her death.
Mary Pinchot is the niece of that early conservationist hero Gifford Pinchot. She married CIA officer, and Allen Dulles protégé, Cord Meyer. Mary’s sister is named Tony and is married to Ben Bradlee. Mary and Cord divorced in 1956 and he later goes on to become a CIA — associated reporter for various papers including the Chicago Tribune. In the fall of 1964, while walking along the tow path of the C & O Canal in Georgetown, Mary Pinchot Meyer is murdered by being shot through the face. A suspiciously acting black man is apprehended nearby and is identified by a witness as being the nearest person to Meyer before she was killed. At the trial, the man was acquitted through the efforts of a very good defense attorney, mainly due to the circumstantial nature of the case. Many years after Mary’s death, the National Enquirer will reveal that she had been a girlfriend of Kennedy.
Ben Bradlee is the editor of the Washington Post in 1976 when the Enquirer breaks the story. The Post gives it its imprimatur by filling out certain elements of the story and giving it respectable, mainstream play.
The night of the Meyer murder, at his home, Bradlee gets a call from Anne Truitt, Mary’s artist friend and then the wife of Jim Truitt, Newsweek’s Tokyo correspondent. Mary has told Anne to retrieve her diary in case anything happens to her. The next morning, Ben and Tony go to Mary’s house. Once inside they discover James Angleton there (Bradlee provides no explanation as to why he was there). No diary is found. But later in the day the Bradlees decide to go to Mary’s art studio which is down the alley in their garage. They again discover Angleton there in the process of picking the lock. Embarrassed, the super spook walks off. The Bradlees make a pass through the studio and don’t find the diary. But an hour later, Tony secures it. In Bradlee’s telling, there is only a diary. Bradlee writes that, although Kennedy’s name is not in it, it is clear that he is the person having an affair with her. Bradlee decides not to make the diary public and a day or so later, gives it to Angleton because he feels he will be able to ensure that it will be permanently destroyed. Years later, when Tony Bradlee asks Angleton how he had destroyed the diary, Angleton admits he hadn’t. She demands it back. He gives it to her and she burns it with a friend (not named) as a witness.
October 13, 1964 Nikita Khrushchev is ousted from power. Former KGB chief Alexander Shelpin and his protégé, Vladamir Semichastny, reportedly instigate the action against Khrushchev. Although the Cuban missile crisis is not a major cause of Khrushchev ‘s fall--the majority of the formal charges leveled against Khrushchev reportedly deal with domestic affairs--his handling of the Cuban crisis may have contributed indirectly to his loss of support among the other high-level Soviet officials.
October 14, 1964 The news breaks that Walter Jenkins, LBJ’s closest aide, has been arrested in a YMCA toilet, two blocks from the White House, having sex with a retired Army soldier. Jenkins admits the offense, resigns and takes refuge in a hospital room, suffering from “exhaustion.” A rapid FBI inquiry concludes that Jenkins has never compromised national security. Jenkins has actually been arrested for a similar lapse, in the very same toilet, nearly six years earlier.