«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, ...»
January 27, 1995 Phillip L. Willis, 76, dies of leukemia at his Dallas home. Willis, his wife and two daughn ters witnessed the JFK assassination. His amateur photographs of the event were studied by government and private researchers. He and his daughter Kinda Kay later testified before the Warren Commission. (The photographic movements of his daughters Rosemary and Linda Kay have been used in interpretation of the shot timing in Dealey Plaza.) February 11, 1995 L.C. Graves, 76, the homicide detective who wrestled the gun away from Jack Ruby after n Ruby shot LHO in the basement of the Dallas police station on Nov. 24, 1963, dies of heart failure at a hospital in Kaufman, Texas.
Graves was one of three officers detailed to escort Oswald, who had been charged with the assassination of JFK, as the suspect was being transferred to the county jail. Graves remains on the force for 21 years and retired in 1970.
February 12, 1995 Irving L. Golberg, dean of Texas federal jurists, dies today at his Dallas home. He is 88 n years old. Judge Goldberg was appointed a federal judge in 1966 to the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals, a post he held for almost three decades. On November 22, 1963, Judge Goldberg advised LBJ on the transition of power. Judge Goldberg said that LBJ called him at home following the assassination and said: “Now, I want some answers to hard questions right away. First, you need to know that Kennedy has been assassinated. I need to know how I become president. Do I get sworn in here, or do I go to Washington?” Goldberg answered: “If I remember the Constitution of the United States, you are now the president by what I would call constitutional evolution.
It says you shall become the president upon the death of the president.” LBJ asks: “Don’t I need to be sworn in?” Goldberg: “Well, you are president right now, but it is right that it should be memorialized by some formality with witnesses.” LBJ: “Who can do it?” Goldberg: “It could be anybody who can take an oath, but it shouldn’t be a Republican. You want someone who’s an officeholder, judge, someone who has an office with some stature.” LBJ: “Well, whom do you suggest?” Goldberg: “How about Sarah Hughes -- a woman, a Democrat, a supporter of yours and a fine judge.” February 20, 1995 Today a large scale model of Dealey Plaza prepared by the FBI for the Warren Commission goes on public display in The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas. The model, measuring 10 feet by 10 feet is put on display as part of the museum’s sixth anniversary observation.
March 4, 1995 A fire heavily damages the historic Texas Theatre in north Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas. No one is injured in the five-alarm blaze, which destroys the movie screen and burns a hole in the roof of the 64-year old structure on West Jefferson Boulevard.
Damages are estimated at $350,000. Most of the theatre’s seats appear undamaged in the fire that starts about 2:50 a.m., including one particular seat near the back - marked as the place Oswald sat before his arrest.
March 15, 1995 (Washington, D.C.) In unpublicized sessions before the President’s Committee on Radiation, New Orleans therapist Valerie Wolf introduces two of her patients who have uncovered memories of being part of extensive CIA brainwashing programs as young children (in one case, starting at age seven). Their brainwashing included torture, rape, electroshock, powerful drugs, hypnosis and death threats. According to their testimony, the CIA then induced amnesia to prevent their recalling these terrifying sessions. Both Wolf and her patients state that they recovered the memories of this CIA program without regression or hypnosis techniques.
In other words, these patients spontaneously discovered this information about themselves and their pasts. Although the committee is mainly concerned with radiation, they permit Valerie and her patients to testify because, astonishingly, several doctors who had administered the mind- control experiments have also been identified by other Americans secretly exposed to radiation. Apparently there is a crossover. Prominent names surface in today’s testimony: Richard Helms, former head of the CIA, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, who ran MKULTRA and Dr. John Gittinger, Gottlieb’s protege. These men and others were directly accused of participating in grisly mind- control efforts on children. Predictably, this testimony receives no media attention. (Article by Jon Rappoport) March 24, 1995 The Assassination Records Review board (ARRB) takes public testimony today from researchers in Boston, Massachusetts. The Coalition arranges for a press conference featuring Daniel S. Alcorn, Esq., Philip Melanson, Ph. D., and author Dick Russell.
March 30, 1995 More than 10,000 pages of previously secret documents relating to the JFK assassination are declassified and released to the general public today. The documents are primarily concerned with whether LHO had connections to the Cuban or Soviet governments. Both governments thought Oswald was unstable, according to the information revealed. Soviet officials felt it was not the work of one man, and felt that LHO was under the influence of “ultra-right” elements.
Arlen Specter formally announces his bid for the Presidency.
April 17, 1995 Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, silent for nearly 30 years on the Vietnam War he helped engineer, admits in an upcoming memoir that the United States was “wrong, terribly wrong’’ in its decisions during the bloody conflict. “We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam... were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why,’’ the book begins, according to its publisher. McNamara, in a telephone interview with Reuters Monday, said Newsweek magazine will publish a 6,000-word extract from the book, “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam,’’ in its April 17 issue. “The subtitle tells you a lot about the themes of the book,’’ said McNamara, a key architect of America’s failed war effort under presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He declined to discuss the war, saying he did not want to “scoop’’ himself or breach any exclusivity arrangements. McNamara, 78, has been frequently blamed for not doing more to end the conflict despite his early, documented conclusion that the United States and its South Vietnamese ally could not defeat Hanoi-led communist forces militarily.
McNamara said he would begin a 12-city month-long publicity tour of the United States and Canada on about April 20, 10 days before the 20th anniversary of the communist capture of Saigon. Historians expect McNamara’s account to shed light on his early realization that U.S. ground forces, introduced in 1965, had little chance of defeating their enemy. “As early as the autumn of 1966, McNamara was saying ‘Uh-oh this isn’t working. We’ve got to find a way out politically,’’’ said Kai Bird, a Washington author who is an expert on the Vietnam War. “But he wasn’t saying it publicly. Publicly, he was saying the war was going well.’’ April 17, 1995 President Bill Clinton signs an executive order today overhauling government secrecy rules and requiring, with certain exceptions, that even the most highly classified documents be made public after 25 years. The directive, issued after two years of debate within the administration, establishes the least secretive policy on government records since the beginning of the Cold War. It will allow the head of an agency, like the director of Central Intelligence, to exempt some documents, but only with the approval of an appeals panel. The current rules, established in 1947 and last refined by the Reagan administration, allow vast vaults of documents to be kept classified even beyond the 30-year period after which they must be surrendered to the National Archives. Clinton promises that his order will “lift the veil” on millions of those documents and keep many new documents from being classified in the first place.
But he leaves little doubt that the new rules, spelled out in a 25-page directive, will still allow the government to protect the most sensitive of documents from public disclosure. In a statement, he says the new policy will “maintain the necessary controls over information that legitimately needs to be guarded in the interests of national security.” Administration officials concede that the new policy is less open than one the National Security Council proposed a year ago. They say the version reflects White House efforts to accommodate complaints of officials at the CIA, the Pentagon, the National Security Agency and elsewhere, who have argued vigorously that the automatic release of certain documents will be foolhardy. The administration officials say it is impossible to say precisely how many documents might be ultimately exempted from Clinton’s order, which is to take effect over the next five years. They say it will depend in part on how vigorously the CIA and others strive to protect their secrets. But the officials say this step will require that the vast majority of national security documents be subject to automatic disclosure. When they take full effect at the turn of the century, the new rules will have made available all but exempted information from 1975 and earlier, including millions of pages related to the Vietnam War. Steven Aftergood, who directs a project on government secrecy for the Federation of Independent Scientists, describes Clinton’s directive as representing “a distinct improvement over the current system.” But Aftergood, a leading advocate of greater openness, argues that the new rules would still permit the intelligence agencies to keep unnecessary secrets. Nothing in Clinton’s order will force the government to make public the size of the intelligence budget, Aftergood notes, even though it is common knowledge in the capital. Administration officials say the directive will allow the director of Central Intelligence, the defense secretary and other agency heads to protect any document that reveals information from at least one of nine specified categories, including the identities of human intelligence sources and the details of U.S. war plans still in effect. But the order requires that all such exemptions be reviewed by an Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, which will have the power to deny or amend all exemptions. It also authorizes government employees to make public even documents eligible for protection if they decide that the public interest outweighs national security concerns. White House spokesman Michael McCurry concedes that the overhaul might not satisfy some historians who have been pressing for swifter and more complete access to government documents. But he and the president both portray the step as striking an appropriate balance.
Clinton first promised an overhaul in April 1993, shortly after he took office. But the process proved more controversial than he or his aides expected as the CIA and other agencies fought to make it less restrictive while members of Congress put forward proposals of their own. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement making clear that he shares Clinton’s concern that too much information has been kept secret through over classification. But Specter indicated that he is reserving judgment about Clinton’s solution, saying that the intelligence committee will follow closely the implementation of the directive to determine whether further steps are needed. Clinton’s order reverses current policy by directing government officials to err on the side of openness when weighing whether a document should be classified in the first place. It will also require officials to justify their decisions to designate a document as secret. But the president elects to maintain the current system of four separate categories of classification, even though members of Congress have proposed that they be narrowed to secret and top secret. A senior administration official is frank in conceding that several exemptions from the 25-year disclosure requirement have been added to satisfy particular government agencies. Among them is a provision drafted by the National Security Agency that will protect documents that “reveal information that would impair U.S. cryptologic systems or activities.” A State Department-backed provision will protect documents that “reveal information that would seriously or demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government.” The official says the Secret Service has pressed for the exemption from automatic disclosure of documents that “reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of United States government officials to protect the president, vice president and other officials for whom protection services, in the interest of national security, are authorized.” May 3, 1995 At a public meeting in Washington, DC, the Assassination Records Review Board unanimously adopts the final definition guidance on an “assassination record.” The definition guidance will be published in the Federal Register following the completion of the Office of Management and Budget’s review.
May 11, 1995 Evelyn Lincoln dies today in Washington of complications after cancer surgery. She is 85 years old.
n Lincoln was JFK’s devoted secretary from 1953, his first year in the U.S. Senate, until his assassination. Although Lincoln published two best-selling memoirs, My Twelve Years with John F. Kennedy (1965) and Kennedy and Johnson (1968), the loyal secretary once said that much of what she had written in her diary about JFK would remain secret.