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Steve Jaffe

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Everything posted by Steve Jaffe

  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.

  15. David: Thanks for the mention of Executive Action. I was impressed by both Blow-Up and The Parallax View. Warren Beatty has always had a keen understanding of politics and been a fine filmmaker in every respect. I even talked to Antonioni, in 1966 when he was in LA, about considering doing a film on the JFK assassination. He was most interested but shared his reticence about it because he thought it was so much a part of American culture that he thought an American director should do it. EA was on VHS and is now on DVD.
  16. "Executive Action" was produced for a company called National General that made low budget films. Edward Lewis made the deal. I was asked to write a report documenting what was said in the script in order for us to get E&O Insurance which I did. We purposely held back on advance press. We kept the film a secret until days before the openings. I held the ads to a minimum and hoped we could get a good opening based on "word of mouth." We did. We made our money back the first weekend. It helped that we had Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan as stars. They both deferred any salary up front. In terms of advertising we had great trailers. The flyers, which were newspapers I produced in an "as if" format (i.e., "as if" the press had reported the truth on 11/23/63 instead of the lies), proved to be a major plus as people who saw the movie and were overwhelmed with information could read them at home and discuss them. 50,000 copies of them were gone in a couple of days. The movie did very well but was reviewed as "average" without any real indications that Hoover or Dulles and their men were worried about it. Later, when National General's film catalog was sold to Warner Bros. we hit our first snag. Long story short, I had a sworn statement from N. J. Daniels (former DPD who was with officer Roy E. Vaughn when Ruby entered the basement 11/24/63). It was a trick. I was hoping that Vaughn would file a lawsuit against us so we could get into court on the JFK case. He did! However, Warner Bros., who later told us they were afraid of litigation, settled with him. I was furious but Warner Bros. wanted no problems. Had we gone to court, the film would have done double the business but we would have had ourselves a trial. Imagine Mark Lane representing the film in a lawsuit. In fact, years later, when I was working with the Warner's brass on another movie, I learned that there had been communications from D.C. along the way, before the release from National General (specifically, Hoover and others).
  17. "Executive Action" which I have not seen in many years, was way ahead of it's time. Dalton Trumbo did the shooting script. Just look at the trailer. Those of you in the research community understand that even now, the topic of the JFK assassination is still under the cover of those who planned the murder. The MSM refuses to report important findings. Mark Lane and I made a documentary, not released as yet, narrated by Martin Sheen. In it, Stone, Mark and Robert Tannenbaum have a talk in Stone's office about the incredible resistance they each encountered. Mark wrote a book called, A Citizen's Dissent about it which I highly recommend if you can find it. Tannenbaum talks about the reason he had to resign from the HSCA and Stone talks about the tidal wave of negative press he got about "JFK" even before the film was even finished. I have encountered similar resistance writing articles which is why I'm writing for the National Enquirer. My seventh piece runs next Friday. The brains behind the cover-up were brilliant in predicting how the media would react and swallow quick release of fake news about Lee Harvey Oswald. The cover-up still holds today. So just having been a part of the production team behind "Executive Action" is something I'm very proud of.
  18. Time out: I have a question and a request of all who are technically adept at using this forum to communicate. How can we continue this dialogue under a new heading which is not such a continuous slam at such a fine filmmaker and ally as Rob Reiner? Yes, "LBJ" may not have been a box office hit but is that really important to us? I would like to know how we can get rid of this horrible headline that continues the more we converse.
  19. JFK's clothes. His tie and shirt are consistent with the entrance wound in his neck.
  20. Regarding the motorcade route, it seems clear that the Secret Service was in charge, not the White House (see Jerry Bruno's book on "Dallas"). That the actual route was Main St. or Elm was something known internally. Garrison thought it had been known but not published intentionally. It broke all Secret Service rules. Slow down the target for the triangulated crossfire. The removal of agent Lawton from the back of the presidential limo at the airport by Roberts speaks volumes.
  21. Jim: Although I had been Donald Sutherland's rep for pr during the years prior to the making of JFK, I first heard of Stone's plans prior to his shoot. I got a copy of the script from Walter Matthau and read it, elated to know that such a great filmmaker would do Garrison's story. Sutherland is a great guy and deserves credit for his early participation re "Executive Action." The Brando stories are legendary. In a scene with a woman late in his career, he demanded that one of his lines be typed on a tiny piece of paper and stuck to her tongue so he could read it. Sutherland was far better for that role in every way. And yes, I meant Don Freed. I don't consider him honorable on that project since he breached a book contract we had and left my name off the book after I contributed chapters as required. He said the covers had already been printed (with his name even before Lane's), and said the publisher would put my name inside the second edition. I was paid off which I didn't mind. I realized that my taking legal action for the credit would just hurt the project. Got to know when to foldem'.
  22. ROB REINER'S "LBJ" WAS NOT A FLOP! As someone who has spent five decades in two very relevant areas about films and as a former NOLA DA's assistant I know about this topic. Just because a film doesn't ring the money bell is no reason to call it a flop! Not if you really care about history and truth. Rob Reiner is one of our greatest living filmmakers, and one of the greatest of all time. It's not about the money at the box office. He told a story that had never been told in that way on a big screen. Reiner is developing something now on the subject of JFK's assassination with Paramount Pictures. For people who have been waiting for over 50 years to see the historical record corrected -- No more Oswald Lone Assassin Bull xxxx -- Rob Reiner is preparing to tell that story and what did happen as it has never been told before. When we made "Executive Action" in the early 78's I couldn't get anyone interested. Not because it wasn't commercially sound, but because it was considered poison for anyone who wanted to differ with the OSWALD-LONE ASSASSIN bull xxxx. People were actually afraid their careers were in jeopardy. Some worried about their lives. You can imagine how it was after RFK was also assassination in downtown L.A! However one major star, Donald Sutherland who was Canadian and who had just become a major star, had the guts to challenge the status quo. Sutherland paid for the development of the project. He sent me a check each month for my partner, Mark Lane. Lane, who was writing the "Executive Action" script with a friend. Lane's "Rush To Judgment" was the beginning of the breakthrough for critics. He was the first and his impact was powerful. He had worked for JFK's election. And Lane and his friend were rewritten by Dalton Trumbo. I spent about six weeks with Trumbo, after he asked me to "teach him everything." Edward Lewis was a big name producer. He got Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Will Geer involved. Sutherland just paid to make the first step. With that cast Lewis managed to make a deal for the money to make the film. It had to be around $500K with the cast and director deferring any payment. I imagine even Trumbo didn't see any money from it until later, maybe even after he died. Lancaster made millions! Our film came out in December, 1973. I did all the poster art and marketing materials. I have written here but I also wrote a newspaper we would publish which was as if a true, honest and factual report was done about the assassination. It's articles are all true! It was a great success all over the world and people liked that we were telling the true story of JFK's assassination, "at last" (!). We really had to pull the wool over so many people's eyes but the film got out and was an instant hit and then we started to have trouble. The studio and the producer, Lewis, made millions. The picture probably grossed $18 million but most of us had only a small percentage of the net profits. With that you can't buy groceries. But what troubled me was that a former or current Dallas cop, Roy Vaugh, sued. I had interviewed DPD officer (off duty on 11/24/63), N. J. Daniels was at the top of the ramp with Ruby entered. He was off duty but Vaughn was there to guard, Oswald, the most important suspect in the world. But they let underworld, mob capo, Ruby in. The only people in the basement were cops and press. And Vaughn let Ruby in and he murdered Oswald seconds later. Daniels told me the truth. Vaughn has lied from that day on. Not surprising, he'd be legally culpable. --- Anyway, if you are reading this or anyone else, I'll answer any questions as I'm putting this in my book.
  23. Joe: I'm just getting used to this forum format. I was wondering what "quote" means below your comments with the plus sign in front of it. In any event, I don't have any general comments on the assassination of President John Kennedy other than, as a journalist, I hope history will record the truth and not bury the lead. I hope that Oswald will one day be relegated to his rightful place as "scapegoat" and "patsy" and the real assassins will be put in the books as they should be. As for me, I'll try to finish my book as soon as possible and make my modest contribution to the history of this, as yet, unspeakable crime. There are so many really courageous investigators, researchers, authors and filmmakers who have devoted so much time and blood sweat and tears to this. I want them to get the respect of historians. And I want Garrison to get the respect he deserves. I believe he gave his life for justice in this case. I was at home getting ready for a class a film class at UCLA after breakfast.
  24. Garrison's book, Mellen's book and Di Eugenio's book are all extremely accurate on the facts, valuable and informative.
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