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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 97 ] --

“My own guess is that a great many things that he becomes involved in with respect to the FBI and CIA were benign. They were really legitimate intelligence operations. I’m not so certain that everything falls into that category, however, especially in Mexico City.” November 10, 1998 The Washington Post reports: Doctors who conducted the autopsy on President John F. Kennedy may have performed two brain examinations in the days following his assassination, possibly of two different brains, a staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board said. The report, summarizing perplexing discrepancies in the medical evidence, was among more than 400,000 pages of internal records that the now-defunct board compiled in its effort to make public as much information about the assassination as it could find. The papers were released yesterday at the National Archives. The five-member panel, which closed down Sept. 30, was not set up to make findings about the assassination and did not take a position on the hypothesis set out in the 32-page report by Douglas Horne, the board’s chief analyst for military records. The central contention of the report is that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained when he was shot in Dallas and brought to Parkland Hospital on Nov. 22, 1963. The doctors at Parkland told reporters then that they thought Kennedy was shot from the front and not from behind as the Warren Commission later concluded. “I am 90 to 95 percent certain that the photographs in the Archives are not of President Kennedy’s brain,” Horne, a former naval officer, said in an interview. “If they aren’t, that can mean only one thing -- that there has been a cover-up of the medical evidence.... The second brain was consistent with a shot from behind. The first one was not.” The report points to, for instance, the testimonies of former FBI agent Francis X. O’Neill Jr., who was present at the Nov. 22, 1963, autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and of former Navy photographer John T. Stringer, who said he took photos at a supplementary brain examination two or three days later, probably on the morning of Nov. 25. O’Neill told the board in a 1997 deposition that at the Nov. 22 autopsy “there was not too much of the brain left” when it was taken out of Kennedy’s skull and “put in a white jar.” He said “more than half of the brain was missing.” Shown the brain photographs deeded to the Archives by the Kennedy family, which were taken sometime after the autopsy, O’Neill said they did not square with what he saw. The “only section of the brain which is missing is this small section over here,” O’Neill said of one photograph. “This looks almost like a complete brain.” Stringer said the photos he took at the “supplementary examination” conducted by J. Thornton Boswell and James Humes did not resemble those at the Archives. He said they seemed to be on “a different type of film” from the one he used. He said he also took photographs of “cross sections of the brain” that had been cut out to show the damage. No such photos are in the Archives collection. Stringer has also said that some photos he took at the autopsy itself were missing. He said he “gave everything” from the brain examination to Humes, who gave the film to Kennedy’s personal physician, the late Adm. George Burkley. Now ill and unavailable for comment, Humes testified in a 1996 deposition that Kennedy’s brain was not serially sectioned in the way Stringer described “because the next thing you know George Burkley wanted it.” He said Burkley told him “flat out” that the Kennedy family wanted to inter the brain with the president’s body and that Burkley said he was going to deliver it to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The president’s casket was buried on the afternoon of Nov. 25. However, a third autopsy physician, Pierre Finck, said in a 1965 report, based on earlier notes, that Humes called him on Nov. 29, 1963, to “examine the brain” at Bethesda. “Humes, Boswell and myself examined the formalin fixed brain,” Finck wrote. “A U.S. Navy photographer was present.” He said the photographer took pictures of the brain from below. Stringer, by contrast, said he did not shoot such “basilar, or inferior, views.” Horne said in his memo that this “second hypothesized examination” may have taken place as late as Dec. 2, 1963, in light of the recollections of Chief Petty Officer Chester H. Boyers. The officer in charge of the pathology department at Bethesda, Boyers told the House Assassinations Committee in 1978 that he processed brain tissue and prepared paraffin blocks “of eight or 12 sections of the brain” on Dec. 2. Boswell told a reporter yesterday that the brain was “examined in detail” at the Nov. 22 autopsy and once more “a few days later” after it had been “put in form and fixation.” “It was the same brain,” he said of the Nov. 25 examination. “We decided it was destroyed enough that we didn’t need to take sections.” Asked about Stringer’s recollection of photographing sections, Boswell said, “He’s full of [expletive].” Jeremy Gunn, former executive director and general counsel of the review board, said he thought it “highly plausible” that there were two different brain examinations. Gunn took the testimony of Parkland doctors in August but could not show them the photographs. Steve Tilley, custodian of the JFK collection at the Archives, said there wasn’t enough time to provide security for the photographs to be taken to Dallas.





Also on this date: (The Tampa Tribune) A multimillion-dollar collection of Kennedy’s personal artifacts will be showcased permanently at a museum. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, St. Petersburg, Florida is acquiring the most extensive private collection of JFK memorabilia in the world. “It is the collection,” said Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Sheen Todd, who will attend a 10:30 a.m. news conference today in downtown St. Petersburg with Mayor David Fischer. Robert L. White, the collection’s owner, and Kennedy family members are expected at the news conference to be held by the Florida International Museum and St. Petersburg Junior College, Todd said. The collection will be housed at the museum. Museum officials would not discuss details of the collection, citing a confidentiality restriction. But Carl Kuttler, president of St. Petersburg Junior College, confirmed the renowned White collection would become a permanent exhibit at the museum. Kuttler said White and the museum are negotiating a financial arrangement. It was Kuttler who encouraged White to consider St. Petersburg for his collection of Kennedy’s personal possessions and documents. He called White in the spring inviting him to consider Pinellas County as a home for the collection after watching “Collecting Camelot,” a “Dateline NBC” profile of White. In the profile, White said he was storing the collection in the basement of his mother’s Baltimore house but was seeking offers from places where it could be showcased for public viewing. Kuttler told White about SPJC’s success in acquiring the collection of the esteemed modern artist Abraham Rattner, which includes pieces by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore. In November, White came to Pinellas County to take a look. “I think this community won his heart, and that’s why he’s coming here,” Kuttler said Monday. Kuttler also noted that Tampa was Kennedy’s last stop before Dallas and his assassination. And he said Florida has a natural connection to the Kennedys because Palm Beach became the first family’s “winter White House” while he was in office. Although the collection will be owned by the museum, Kuttler said SPJC and the University of South Florida will have “educational tie-ins.” Janice Buchanan, director of SPJC’s Foundation, said the White collection is made up of thousands of personal family items. One prized item expected to be on view at the news conference is Kennedy’s rocking chair, which still shows the indentation of the brace he wore to support his bad back. A similar rocker, but without the indentation, that his widow, Jackie, had reupholstered fetched $440,000 during an auction. According to the “Dateline NBC”

profile, White’s artifacts include some 100,000 items. Among the objects to be displayed:

Flags and the presidential seal that decorated Kennedy’s car the day of his assassination;

Notes for his Dallas speech scribbled during his flight there;

Kennedy’s doodle of a sailboat;

Flowers drawn by his daughter, Caroline, at age 5;

The last two wallets Kennedy owned, including his Massachusetts driver’s license.

Todd said other items include handwritten and signed notes and letters as well as clothing and legal documents. The president’s secretary, Evelyn Norton Lincoln, bequeathed White a trove of Kennedy’s personal items when she died in 1995. But Kuttler said the White collection includes far more than the Lincoln artifacts. Kennedy’s children have said they felt betrayed by Lincoln. Earlier this year, White reached a legal agreement with Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. to return some of their father’s more “intensely personal” items in exchange for their relinquishing claims to the rest of the collection. Among the items White agreed to turn over were two of JFK’s handwritten journals and a clock he kept in the Oval Office.

November 22, 1998 [ARLINGTON, Va.] -- On the 35th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, hundreds of people visited his grave site Sunday in Arlington National Cemetery. The late president’s brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, his wife, Vickie, and Ethel Kennedy, the wife of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, arrived in midmorning to pay their respects. About 200 people stepped aside as the senator walked forward and lifted the metal chain that protects the grave and the eternal flame that has burned since he was buried. The family prayed and placed white roses and purple flowers on the grave of the president, who would have been 81 last May. Afterward, the senator thanked the crowd for coming and said he appreciated that so many people still remembered his brothers. More than 1,000 people had filed past Kennedy’s grave by midmorning. Mary Hall, a 62-year-old from Baton Rouge, La., braved the cold weather to pay her respects. “I’m surprised at the dedication after all these years,” she said. “Everybody liked him,” said Andrea Garcia, a 17-year-old high school senior from San Antonio.

November 23, 1998 A civil suit filed in U.S. District Court today challenges the government’s plan to acquire the film Abraham Zapruder took of the assassination of President Kennedy. The suit takes issue with the “fair price” negotiations between the Department of Justice and Zapruder’s heirs. Zapruder’s heirs desire to maintain the copyright and retain control of the film. “The current negotiations give the public no benefit because the copyright is not part of the package that the American people will own,” says Mark Zaid, an attorney for the Assassination Archives and Research Center, a nonprofit Washington organization that maintains one of the largest private collections of records on the assassination. “The taxpayers are going to spend millions to gain possession of the film, but it’s not going to give the public any greater use or control over it,” Zaid said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s just plain ridiculous.” In the suit, Zaid argues that the Justice Department had no right to exclude the copyright from the negotiations. If the government acquired the film

-and- copyright, the public would be better able to access the film. The suit also challenges the validity of the copyright itself. Zaid contends the Zapruder family abandoned claims to the copyright when it did not always pursue legal action against those who infringed upon it. And the plaintiffs argue that the Zapruders charge excessive fees - as much as 50 times the industry standard -- that restrict use of the film. Washington “super lawyer” Robert Bennett, having completed defending President Clinton in the Paula Jones case, is representing the Zapruder family. He expectedly denounced Zaid’s charges as “grossly unfair” and “false.” The ARRB - Assassination Records Review Board - declared the Zapruder film the permanent possession of the American people, beginning in August of 1998. The Zapruder family has not yet been compensated, because those negotiations have broken down. In October, the Zapruders and the Justice Department agreed to arbitration - with the price not to exceed $30 million. In addition to the ASSASSINATION ARCHIVES & RESEARCH CENTER, a firm named PASSAGE PRODUCTIONS, L.L.P. is listed as a Plaintiff. They claim they cannot afford the current fee for use of the Zapruder film in a proposed documentary film. The fee could amount to $15,000. every time the film is broadcast.



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