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Steve Jaffe

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About Steve Jaffe

  • Birthday 02/14/1944

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    Former staff investigator for N.O. DA Jim Garrison, forensics analyst exclusively assigned to JFK case, 1967-1968. Testified before Rockefeller Commission March, 1975. Currently writing forthcoming book. Produced yet to be released documentary with Mark Lane narrated by Martin Sheen, and was supervising producer/tech consultant for "Executive Action," starring Burt Lancaster (1974). Assisted, as associate prod./technical consultant, filmmaker John Barbour on his two "Garrison Tapes" documentaries.

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  1. Chris, I agree with your observation that the greatest miscalculation made by JFK and RFK was that the true seat of power was necessarily restricted to the presidency. JFK was wrong to so inflexibly take on the top brass of the long-time leaders of the CIA and be so outspoken about ultimate removal of a foreign policy influencing (albeit covert) agency of the federal government. In fact those who ran the intelligence community, such as it was, were far more adept at coups and covert actions than any other part of the government. Add to that the concept of why LBJ was an asset in the 1960 election -- it follows that for those "rich and powerful" people and "financial interests" who had been in charge of the levers of power for decades before, it was not great for JFK to have LBJ one heartbeat away from the Oval. The plot was masterful, JFK was on record as being "courageous" but also a believer in both his faith and fate. The idealism of JFK and RFK combined, was truly a profile in courage, but their assessment of the powers who opposed them was horribly flawed. And there were several. Jim Douglass is a marvelous investigator and an excellent writer. He would hold a jury's attention if he were to try this case. From what I learned as an assistant/investigator to Garrison and Lane, I don't think the evidence is ambiguous at all. Add J. Edgar Hoover, a master at writing reports based on his agents reports (i.e. cover-ups). He served LBJ, his longtime neighbor and friend. The cover-up was brilliantly planned and executed. The Warren Report was really the Dulles Report. The plot was not as brilliant but certainly very professional. And the plotters were not in such a hurry that it had to take place in Dallas. It just had to happen. -- Steve Jaffe
  2. Joe: Julia Ann Mercer, Roger Craig. We definitely took them seriously. Both gave statements under penalty of perjury. Both were extremely detailed in describing what they witnessed. Both were ignored by the Warren Commission.
  3. The more important question is why they used his middle name. Was this common for employees of the TSBD?
  4. In fact, I never read about a time clock. But I definitely read where Oswald left in the middle of the day to go to the movies! We even spoke to several witnesses who saw him leave, one who said he even got a ride from Jack Ruby.
  5. I have to agree with David Andrews about the alleged Oswald paycheck. In 75 years, I have never had a paycheck made out to me using my middle name. Has anyone else? I have often been asked questions about "Lee Harvey Oswald" and I normally ask, "Do you mean Lee Oswald?" That's what we called him in the DA's office. I doubt that the accountant for the TSBD was holding back Oswald's pay for Friday, though it says in the report I read that his check was for 4 days work. Was it because he failed to move the boxes to which he was assigned or did they feel he wasn't entitled to the Friday pay because he left early? I am also concerned to know how the payroll clerk missed the news of what happened at the TSBD, on Friday, November 22nd. It was widely covered in the press.
  6. This is an endless and interesting argument but of the doctors at Parkland who I talked to who saw President Kennedy when he was first brought in, they all referred to the throat wound as an "entrance wound." If one of those Parkland attending physicians changed that view, who was it and where is it written that they said it could have been an exit wound?
  7. Denis: I'm replying to your inquiry though I have not had time to review all these examples of correspondence and evidence. While I recall talking to Sprague by phone and writing a memo or two about our communications to Garrison, I did not keep any of that correspondence (that I know of at this time). I'm still working on my book and digging through old papers. I've seen my name associated with Sprague relative to some references in the National Archives. I am planning to go back there to review the Garrison files later this year. If I find anything, I'll be sure to let you know.
  8. In all my over a half-century of knowing Mark Lane and working with him, I never ceased to be amazed by the fact that he embodied what JFK had said about how one man could make a difference. I'm amazed that his courage was considered so dangerous to those in power that they had him followed, kept detailed records of his public appearances, private meetings and much of what he said, and then stamped it all, "Secret."
  9. I think that most scholars and authors of the assassination of President Kennedy would agree that James Douglass' book, JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE - Why He Died & Why It Matters, is one of the most important and enlightening of the well researched books on the case. From the opening chronology to the insights into the powerful, even lethal opposition experienced by both JFK and RFK from CIA and the Joint Chiefs, to the back channels created through the Pope and with author Norman Cousins to Chairman Khrushchev, this well written work merges perfectly with the extraordinary memoir by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., AMERICAN VALUES: Lessons I learned from my family, just published by HarperCollins (which I will review at a later date). If one is interested in learning a lot about the assassinations of the President and his brother, the Attorney General, these two books are certainly on the short list with those by James DiEugenio, David Talbot, Peter Janney, Dick Russell, William Davy, Joan Mellen, Fletcher Prouty, Gaeton Fonzi, Mark Lane and Jim Garrison. This is an important time for people to learn the truth about what happened and what was expertly covered up by the Dulles-Angleton-Phillips-Helms-Johnson group and others. What these books demonstrate so clearly is that the manipulation of the media in terms of nailing "patsy" Oswald was more masterful than the actual assassination plot itself.
  10. Jim: I agree. While the cover-up was clearly meant to be used to persuade people that Russia was "behind it" or, at least, that LHO was a Communist, that was simply not true. I think Jim Douglass' book, JFK and the Unspeakable, makes it quite clear that JFK and Khrushchev used their "back channel" to communicate in a very positive dialogue to find ways to reduce nuclear proliferation and pave the way for peace. Dick Russell's work shows how the KGB tried to upset the plot. And the work of those writers and yourself, supports such findings. No one needed to tell LBJ what was going to happen to be able to trust how he would react. RFK's ability to find out what happened to JFK was comprehensive and very quick. I know that there was very little that RFK didn't know about the facts of what happened, despite his decision with EMK and the others, to leave it alone until RFK could be elected.
  11. Jim: Can you explain what Capote meant and in what context he said this on the Tonight Show?
  12. Paul: I'm writing most of what my assignment was first to Paris and then Geneva because of a French labor strike. That will be in my book rather than here where I'm beginning to feel things get lost. Not that it's a big secret but I want that episode to be fully heard before it's judged. I can just tell you that because of Gen. De Gaulle, we got a bit of help from his government and from Interpole. Some say we were given bad information -- and to some degree there was some of that -- but what we really wanted we received. A very good copy of the Zapruder film which was hand carried to me after I returned to LA and which I delivered to Garrison. Sadly, RFK was murdered during that trip to keep him out of power and to prevent him from tracking down and prosecuting his brother's assassins. Though at one point we seemed to be getting interference from RFK, it turned out to be NBC more than the Kennedys which I later learned was true.
  13. Jim: Lowenstein's words about RFK's murder are particularly affecting. I'll never forget where I was on that day/morning because I was in Geneva on assignment for Garrison with an agent of French intelligence. I had no way of reaching Garrison for fear of being monitored. It was obvious that our fear that RFK might be assassinated by the same forces of the US power structure who killed JFK had come true. What was real to me was that what we expected might happen did happen. Clearly, had RFK been elected president, he would have used his power to prosecute those who murdered his brother. He had communicated that to Garrison privately.
  14. Vince: I have long admired your work. I wanted to raise a point which you and others have commented on regarding the motorcade route. It has always seemed to me that the planning of the route was actually based on one thing above all else, and that was the selection of the venue for JFK's lunch address. My sources are quite good on that and I've never discussed this, though I plan to write about it in my book. Were it not for the choice of the Trade Mart, the route through Dealey Plaza would not have happened. However, I've always known that the entire plan for the assassination (though there were several) was overseen by the most powerful men in and out of government. Therefore, when I learned of the details of how the Trade Mart was selected, even over the objections of JFK's staffers, I thought that pretty much dictated the route. Once that was set, despite the route that might have been (i.e. from Main to Industrial etc.), it was easy for individuals in key positions (i.e. Secret Service) to make the route work for the ambush. I'd like to know what others think. -- SJ

    1. Vince Palamara

      Vince Palamara

      Thanks so much, Steve! I am looking forward to your book; excellent.

      I agree with your premise...and the fact that the Secret Service would make the route work for the ambush.

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