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Who killed John F. Kennedy?


John Simkin
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I am currently working on some teaching materials on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In a few weeks time I will be asking for advice over the creation of activities for these materials. However, in the meantime, I think it might be worthwhile to discuss the content. You will find an early draft of the material at:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKindex.htm

I have to admit that I am a conspiracy theorist who believes that the act was carried out for political reasons. That the plot involved the Mafia, the John Birch Society, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and senior members of the CIA and FBI.

One thing that has always puzzled me is the behaviour of Robert Kennedy after the assassination. It must have been clear within hours of it happening that his brother had been killed by the Mafia with the support of rogue elements in the CIA and FBI. Yet, rather than calling for a full investigation into this possibility, he even took measures that attempted to cover up the conspiracy (taking control of the brain and autopsy X-rays that showed he had been hit in the front as in the back).

Robert and John Kennedy had both upset the Mafia with its policy towards organized crime in the United States. Therefore some historians have speculated that Robert knew the assassination had been carried out by the Mafia and was taking action to prevent himself being assassinated. However, I was not convinced by this portrayal of Robert Kennedy as a coward.

I came across some information yesterday that I think explains Robert Kennedy’s action after his brothers assassination. It concerns Kennedy’s attitude towards the CIA Executive Action programme.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKexecutiveA.htm

Executive Action was run by Richard Bissell and Richard Helms of the Directorate for Plans (a CIA organization instructed to conduct covert anti-Communist operations around the world). Executive Action was plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power. This including a coup d'état that overthrew the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 after he introduced land reforms and nationalized the United Fruit Company. Other political leaders deposed by Executive Action include Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, the Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, General Abd al-Karim Kassem of Iraq and Ngo Dinh Diem, the leader of South Vietnam. However, in the early 1960s the main target was Fidel Castro who had established a socialist government in Cuba.

In March I960, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States approved a CIA plan to overthrow Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action." The strategy was organised by Bissell and Helms. This eventually led to the Bay of Pigs disaster. Afterwards, Bissell, the head of Executive Action campaign, was forced to resign by Kennedy. It has been thought that was Kennedy’s way of showing he disapproved of the policy of Executive Action. However, there has always been doubts about this because Helms took over control of the Directorate for Plans. He continued to run the organization and was responsible for the killing of the democratically elected Marxist leader, Salvador Allende in Chile in September 1973.

Yesterday I discovered that John F. Kennedy did not in fact order an end to Executive Action. What he tried to do was to bring it under his own control. The plan to assassinate Fidel Castro now became known as Operation Freedom and was to be run by his brother Robert Kennedy. Of course he had to rely on people like Richard Helms to organize the killing of Castro but he insisted on being kept fully informed about what was taking place. I suspect that either John Kennedy, Richard Helms or J. Edgar Hoover (who was heavily involved with Execution Action) also told Lyndon Johnson about Operation Freedom.

This is what I think happened. Senior members of the Mafia and CIA involved in Operation Freedom decided to change their target from Fidel Castro to John Kennedy. By 1963 the Mafia had decided that you would not overthrow the socialist government of Cuba by assassinating Castro. The best way forward was by having a president who was willing to launch an invasion of Cuba. Kennedy would not do that (in fact he was at that time involved in negotiating a peace deal with Castro).

This is where the clever bit comes in. Helms tells Kennedy and Johnson that they have selected an agent to kill Castro. His name is Lee Harvey Oswald. They are told that efforts were being made to get Oswald into Cuba to carry out the killing. This is true although there is evidence that this was a man posing as Oswald.

John Kennedy is then assassinated. Lee Harvey Oswald is quickly announced as being the killer (the original plan was for J. D. Tippit to kill Oswald but this fails and Jack Ruby is brought in to do the job).

Now consider the reaction of Robert Kennedy to the news that the man he had arranged to kill Castro had killed his brother. Any full investigation of Oswald and the Kennedy assassination would reveal details of Operation Freedom. What the CIA had cleverly done was to implicate Robert Kennedy into the killing of his brother. He could now be guaranteed to join in the cover-up.

Lyndon Johnson could also be relied on to join in this cover-up. Hoover had full control over Johnson as a result of what he knew about his political career in Texas (Johnson was one of the most corrupt politicians in American history).

Under the Freedom of Information Act some of the transcripts of the telephone calls between Johnson and Hoover following the assassination have recently been published. These are fascinating to read as they show the political strategy being adopted by Johnson. He is willing to go along with the cover up but rejects the idea of Oswald being exposed as a Soviet agent.

As Johnson points out, if this became public knowledge, he would be under considerable pressure from the American people to go to war with the Soviet Union. This would, according to Johnson, “chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour”. In order that the world was not destroyed in a nuclear war, Johnson agrees with Hoover that it is important to establish that Kennedy had been the victim of a lone gunman and not part of a conspiracy. Johnson also refuses to invade Cuba as it would also probably lead to a nuclear war.

Well, that’s my theory? What do you think?

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Well it is a nice theory! However being someone who spent a long time studying the history of the united States and particular the history of the kennedy family, i do not agree with the theory put forward.

One thing that has always puzzled me is the behaviour of Robert Kennedy after the assassination. It must have been clear within hours of it happening that his brother had been killed by the Mafia with the support of rogue elements in the CIA and FBI. Yet, rather than calling for a full investigation into this possibility, he even took measures that attempted to cover up the conspiracy (taking control of the brain and autopsy X-rays that showed he had been hit in the front as in the back).

The behavior of RFK has been explained in many different ways. But the most convincing ,to me at least, is the one that states that he was in shock and first. After the initial shock went by he tried to protect his brothers image and of course his own. if a full investigation was launched against eg Hooovers fbi all the skeletons would come out of the closet!!! Vote fraud, assasinationplans, girlfriends et etc.

This would seriously hurt the image the kennedyclan had been able to cultivate with help of people like schlesinger, sorensen and salinger. To name but a few.

Over the years some books have been published who really destroy this image. One of the most 'horrible'books is the one by Seymour Hearst, The Dark side of camelot. Not really a balanced book but he still gets all the dirt. A more balanced view one finds in a book recently bought in a second hand bookshop. Writing this at my desk at school the title does not spring to mind :)

Jeff Shesol took a nice swing at RFK and his relation with LBJ in his book Mutual Contempt, the feud that defined a decade. Well doesnt the title says it all???

Of course for the main public Oliver Stones distorted view in JFK became the most 'real' one. Funny how movies seem to do that. :) However this film is full of factual errors, I have seen a documentary on that very recent around nov 22. I cannot recall that title either. perhaps i can better prepare these kind of replies in the future?

Over the last decades since the assasination a pendulum has been at work:

First very pro JFK books (Schlesinger, Salinger), then very negative and by now a more balanced view is surviving. However also the most extreme theories have surface over the years. People nowadays tend to believe rightly so that the lone gunman theory was a fake.

But because of all the trees it is very difficult to see the forest!

Who did it, I honestly have no idea. And actually I do not care. The question why is far more important (and yes this was also said in the oliver stone movie).

So why was he assasinated? Many theories on this as well.

the mafia did it

the fbi/cia did

it was castro

the sovjets

the army

and so on and so on

I think there is no big organisation left who at one point or another has not been accused of at least having some part in it!

For me the connection Cia/FBI/Vietnam makes the most sense. The industrial military complex was afraid of loosing its war, namely Vietnam. The JFK believers have always stated that JFk would witdraw the advisors after the re-election. Giglio in his book on the JFk administration states that this is a false believe. kennedy had no plans already drawn up for the withdrawel.

Ah! Lunch break almost over. If i have time i would like to pursue this debate furher on a later date.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am currently doing some research on Dorothy Kilgallen. She was a journalist who was investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Kilgallen managed to obtain the Dallas Police Department radio logs for the day of the assassination. This revealed that as soon as the shots were fired in the Dealey Plaza, the Chief of Police, Jesse Curry, issued an order to search the Grassy Knoll. However, up until that time, Curry had insisted that as soon as he heard the sound of the shots he told his men to search the Texas School Book Depository.

In September 1964 Kilgallen reported in the New York Journal American that Jack Ruby, J. D. Tippet and Bernard Weismann had a two hour meeting at the Carousel Club on 14th November, 1963. Later, Kilgallen managed to obtain a private interview with Jack Ruby. She told friends that she had information that would "break the case wide open". Aware of what had happened to Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe (two reporters who had both been killed after making such a claim), Kilgallen handed her interview notes to her friend Margaret Smith. She told friends that she had obtained information that Ruby and Tippet were friends and that David Ferrie was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

On 8th November, 1965, Kilgallen, was found dead in her New York apartment. She was fully dressed and sitting upright in her bed. The police reported that she had died from taking a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates. The notes of her interview with Ruby and the article she was writing on the case had disappeared. Her friend, Margaret Smith, who had been given the notes on the case, died two days later. The notes were never found.

I carried out a search on Kilgallen on the web. The first batch of pages contained information that I already knew about Kilgallen and were just recycled details that have appeared in various books about the assassination of Kennedy. However, I eventually came across an anti-Castro website. It included newspaper accounts revealing details of what Castro had been up to over the last fifty years. One account was a newspaper article written by Kilgallen for New York Journal American on 15th July, 1959. Like the other articles on the site it was highly critical of Castro. It also contained something else that surprised me a great deal. Kilgallen claimed that the CIA and the Mafia were involved in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. We now know this was true but it only became public knowledge during the Frank Church’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities in 1975. This article was written in July, 1959. Kilgallen was obviously well-informed about what was going on in the CIA at that time.

I continued my search and I eventually came across something that was even more interesting. It was the notes of a CIA report on Marilyn Monroe. Dated 3rd August, 1962, the actual report had been withheld but the notes themselves were very revealing. The report was based on the wire-tap of certain people’s telephone calls. This included those of Kilgallen, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy and Howard Rothberg, a lawyer working for Monroe. The CIA document claims that Monroe was threatening to tell secrets that she had obtained from her relationship with John F. Kennedy. This included the claim that Monroe "knew of the President's plan to kill Castro". It appears Rothberg was passing on information from Monroe to Kilgallen. The notes of course do not say what the CIA planned to do about this. That would have been in the report that is still being withheld. What we do know is that Marilyn Monroe was found dead two days after this report was written.

This raises a new question about the death of Kilgallen (she died in similar circumstances to Monroe). Was she killed because of what she knew about the Kennedy assassination or was it more to do with what she knew about the death of Marilyn Monroe?

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Johnson was a mass murderer by any definition. Peter Taaffe's new book "Empire Defeated" details the appalling crimes of Johnson and Nixon and how they were ultimately defeated.

People who had information about the Kennedy assassination generally took the view "if these ppl would not hesitate to kill the president then they would not hesitate to kill me". It is unlikely that evidence directly linking Johnson to the Kennedy assassination will come to light. It is obvious that he and the hawks in the administration benefitted.

They were prepared to wade through any amount of blood to break the spirit of the Vietnamese people and they failed miserably. Perhaps that, rather than the minutiae of the conspiracy, is the real lesson.

Derek McMillan

socialist

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Johnson was a mass murderer by any definition.

Excuse me!!!! LBJ a mass murderer by any defenition? Well if that is the case Lenin c.s. are also mass murderers and more than LBJ!!!

Prepared to wade to any amount of blood??? No, Vietnam became a debacle for the American military just because they were not allowed to wade to 'any amount of blood'. The politicians and public opinion restricted the use of military possibilities to an almost absurd level.

Yes attorcities did happen in Vietnam, could you name one war/conflict in which they did not happen? To call LBJ a mass murderer by any definition is a bit short sighted, I feel.

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(You would have a reasonably hard job convincing me that Lenin killed JFK but we will let that pass)

JFK was a mass murderer. He ordered the killing of women and children with napalm and he was instrumental in the killing of unborn children through the use of agent orange. That is not "simplistic" it is the simple truth.

Were the ppl of Vietnam threatening the United States?

Were there Vietnamese troops in America or American troops in Vietnam?

(Mutatis mutandi we could ask precisely the same questions about Iraq)

People who decry the "cowardice" of suicide bombers (Bush actually used that word) approve the actions of pilots who drop bombs on civilians at no risk to themselves.

Colin Powell talked openly about how civilians were shot by American troops in Vietnam. They shot at people. If the people they were shooting at moved it was taken as a hostile action.

Have a nice day.

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Getting more than a little off topic gentlemen.... do try and stick where possible to the thread in question. If you want to start outlining VI Lenin's appalling war crimes during "war communism" or indeed want to sloganise about the Vietnam war, please start a new thread and get it off your chest there! This thread is about the assassination of JFK :)

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(You would have a reasonably hard job convincing me that Lenin killed JFK but we will let that pass)

JFK was a mass murderer. He ordered the killing of women and children with napalm and he was instrumental in the killing of unborn children through the use of agent orange. That is not "simplistic" it is the simple truth.

Were the ppl of Vietnam threatening the United States?

Were there Vietnamese troops in America or American troops in Vietnam?

(Mutatis mutandi we could ask precisely the same questions about Iraq)

People who decry the "cowardice" of suicide bombers (Bush actually used that word) approve the actions of pilots who drop bombs on civilians at no risk to themselves.

Colin Powell talked openly about how civilians were shot by American troops in Vietnam. They shot at people. If the people they were shooting at moved it was taken as a hostile action.

Have a nice day.

Sorry for getting off topic :)

i would like to however reply to the posting of Derek. (last time in this thread i promise)

According to your definition virtually every government who ever waged war was a mass murderer???

Vietnam was a tragic disaster, let there be no mistake about that. Desastrous for the Vietnamese people (however knowing the track record of communistic regimes maybe not so desastrous) and for the American people. It is and was a tragic page in the history of both countries and yes the politicians made grave mistakes. However calling LBJ a massmurderer to the likes of eg Stalin goes a bit to far for my appetite.

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Nothing in my post or in Peter Taaffe's book "Empire Defeated" exonerates Stalin. Incidentally it is a funny old world in which I have one poster on this board fulminating about Trotskyists and another attempting to brand me by innuendo as a Stalinist :)

It was a matter for the Vietnamese ppl to decide what kind of government they wanted not for the American corporations and their representatives Johnson and Nixon.

Like Iraq this war was an imperial adventure. A big country was bullying a small country. Were Vietnamese ppl killing American civilians? Burning their homes and polluting their land for generations?

It is a vivid illustration of what kind of president followed Kennedy and what he was capable of. It is not "proof" that he ordered the assassination of course and I carefully did not make that claim. That he benefitted from it is obvious to anybody.

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Johnson was a mass murderer by any definition.

I suppose any leader of a country during a war could be described as a “mass murderer”. There is no doubt as a result of their policies large numbers of people are killed. However, would we describe David Lloyd George or Winston Churchill as “mass-murderers”?

To bring it back to the Kennedy assassination, there is some evidence that there is a connection between Kennedy's death and his foreign policy. This concerns his refusal to invade Cuba, his willingness to negotiate with Fidel Castro and his desire to withdraw from Vietnam.

The rabid anti-communists in the CIA and FBI and those getting wealthy from large arms contracts, were obviously concerned about this new foreign policy that Kennedy was developing (this new policy dates back to the Cuban Missile Crisis). The Mafia was also concerned by this new trend. They were relying on Kennedy to overthrow Castro in order they could return to Cuba (a source of great revenue in pre-Castro days). Kennedy also posed a threat to the deal that the Mafia had made with the CIA/FBI (Executive Action). If this deal collapsed Mafia leaders would be once again vulnerable to Kennedy plans to deal with organized crime in America.

The hawks in the FBI and CIA saw Johnson as a more malleable political leader. They definitely had more damaging information on Johnson than Kennedy (a man they were finding it difficult to blackmail). Johnson also had good reason to join in any plot to remove Kennedy. Johnson had discovered via Senator George Smathers that he was going to be dropped as Vice President. (An interesting aside, two women who worked as secretaries for Smathers, Mary Jo Kopechne and Nancy Tyler, both died in mysterious accidents involving water).

Johnson was also the representative of the Texas Oil barons. Kennedy was known to be considering taking a close look at the immense tax benefits that the oil industry enjoyed in America. It is probably no coincidence that the assassination has been linked to oilmen like Clint Murchison (a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover) and H.L. Hunt. According to Johnson’s mistress, he was told about the conspiracy the night before the assassination.

One of the most important aspects of the Kennedy assassination concerns the security arrangements of the motorcade through Dallas. According to the Warren Commission the event was organised by two men: Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President) and Special Agent Winston Lawson. Although O’Donnell decided the outline of the trip, Lawson made the important decisions. The fact that Lawson was given this task is in itself very strange. Lawson had been a milk product salesman until 1959 when he was accepted to join the Secret Service (he was far from being an outstanding candidate as he had been trying for three years to enter the service). Promotion was rapid and by 1962 he was organizing the security arrangements of the president. As the Warren Commission discovered, he totally ignored all the safety guidelines during the tour of Dallas.

This included the decision to use an open topped car for Kennedy. It was also Lawson’s decision to travel on that particular route and to publish details of it in the local press. Clearly, it would have been impossible for Oswald or anyone else to have carried out the assassination without these decisions being made and then publicized.

Another important factor concerned the seating arrangements in the cars. There were to be four important politicians in the motorcade. John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ralph Yarborough and John Connally. Yarborough is rarely mentioned in discussing the Kennedy assassination. However, he is an important figure. At that time there was a bitter dispute going on in the Democratic Party in Texas. Johnson and Connally were seen as the leaders of the right-wing faction, whereas Yarborough led the liberal wing committed to civil rights (so much so that Connally and Johnson accused him of being a communist). Conservatives were also concerned that Yarborough was having a growing influence on Kennedy’s views on civil rights. (Yarborough was the only member of the Senate representing a former Confederate state to vote for every significant piece of civil rights legislation during the 1950s and 1960s).

Johnson and Connally went back a long way. Connally had ran all of Johnson’s election campaigns. In 1948 Connally was accused of fraud when he discovered at the last moment the existence of 200 votes for Johnson from Jim Wells County. It was these votes that gave Johnson an eighty-seven-vote victory.

On the morning of the assassination Johnson attempted to get the seating arrangements changed. For some strange reason he wanted Connally to be in his car and for Yarborough to go in with Kennedy. This was a surprising idea as this would have given extra status to his political opponent. Connally clearly was not part of the conspiracy as he insisted in going in Kennedy’s car.

The next interesting issue concerns the behaviour of the secret service during the assassination. Roy Kellerman was the man responsible for protecting Kennedy. The president’s car was followed by a car containing eight more secret service agents.

Rufus Youngblood was responsible for Johnson’s safety. His car was also followed by a car containing eight more secret service agents. When the firing started Youngblood pushed Johnson to the floor and covered his body with his own (some witnesses claimed that Johnson went to the floor of the car before the firing started). The eight secret service agents in the car behind also ran forward to protect Johnson.

The situation in Kennedy’s car was completely different. Kellerman made no attempt to cover Kennedy’s body. He did call for the driver William Greer (also a Secret Service agent) to accelerate. Instead he put his foot on the break and did not accelerate until ten seconds later (by which time the shooting had finished). Also, only one agent in the car behind (Clint Hill) ran forward to protect Kennedy. He then laid over Kennedy but because of the distance he had to travel to get to the car it was too late to save him.

Although this is described in the Warren Commission report. However, surprisingly, the report fails to raise questions about why the Secret Service (except for Clint Hill) failed to act in the way they had been trained to act in these circumstances.

These events also suggest that Johnson probably knew about the planned attempt on Kennedy’s life. Although I suspect he was not involved in arranging the plot.

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They definitely had more damaging information on Johnson than Kennedy (a man they were finding it difficult to blackmail).

I think someone with a life like JFK's was very easy to blackmail. His liasons were in some circle public knowledge!

As for the conduct of the secret service agents: i do not think any trianing can prepare one for the actually thing. Perhaps they frooze, were stunned etc etc.

Johnson may have been privy to the assasination but perhaps it was only a feeling? i agree that the JFK assasination is very mysterious and that many things do not add up. But perhaps the most important question is not who killed Kennedy but why?

I think his reckless behavior back fired and either the mafia or some other disgrunteld person has taken his best shot :lol:

Perhaps it really was Oswald!!!!! Loooking forward to reactions on this! :lol:

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They definitely had more damaging information on Johnson than Kennedy (a man they were finding it difficult to blackmail).

I think someone with a life like JFK's was very easy to blackmail. His liasons were in some circle public knowledge!

Kennedy was in fact difficult to blackmail. His sexual exploits were never a problem. It rarely is. The problem comes when politicians lie about their activities. (Well it is in Britain – Clinton’s case suggests it does not bring down presidents in the United States.

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Kennedy was in fact difficult to blackmail. His sexual exploits were never a problem. It rarely is. The problem comes when politicians lie about their activities. (Well it is in Britain – Clinton’s case suggests it does not bring down presidents in the United States.

When I wrote Kennedy was easier to blackmail i reffered to the information Hoover had on him. This was for them ,both Kennedy brothers, a big problem and they had to deal very careful with hoover. RFK tried to take more and active control over the fbi but only achieved half of what he wanted to acomplish.

Furthermore, Kennedy's dealings with the mafia in the person of sam giancana also made him very vulnerable. Let alone the inumerous girlsfriends the secret service had no influence on in protecting him.

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Did anybody see ‘The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Love Affair’on the History Channel last night? It told the story of Judyth Baker. She claims that during the summer of 1963 she was recruited by Dr. Canute Michaelson to work with Dr. Alton Ochsner and Dr. Mary Sherman in a CIA secret project to kill Fidel Castro. This involved creating the means to insure Castro developed cancer.

In 1963 Baker moved to New Orleans where she worked closely with others involved in this plot. This included Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw and Guy Bannister. Later she claimed she began an affair with Oswald. The research into this biological weapon was carried out in the homes of Ferrie and Sherman. Oswald role in this conspiracy was to work as a courier. However, the project was abandoned in September, 1963, and Oswald was ordered to Dallas.

Oswald kept in touch with Baker and in November, 1963, he had been forced to join a plot to kill John F. Kennedy. Oswald believed that the conspiracy was being organized by Mafia leader, Carlos Marcello and a CIA agent, David Atlee Phillips. Oswald told her he would do what he could to ensure that Kennedy was not killed. After the assassination of Kennedy and the arrest of Oswald, Baker received a phone-call from David Ferrie warning her that she would be killed if she told anyone about her knowledge of these events.

The story is appealing and included a lot of facts known to conspiracy buffs. For example, Dr. Mary Sherman was a close friend of David Ferrie, a leading suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. She was also murdered soon after Kennedy and her laboratory was destroyed by fire. In the book, ‘Mary, Ferrie & the Monkey Virus : The Story of an Underground Medical Laboratory’, Edward T. Haslam argues that Sherman was involved in laboratory-made biological weapons.

I did a search of the Internet for information on Judyth Baker. I eventually arrived on John MacAdams excellent article on Baker:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/judyth.htm

His article led to other links. For example, a posting she made on her high school reunion website and on a forum on the Kennedy assassination. Her comments about the Mormons indicates she is a fantasist. The school website proudly states that she took a degree in creative writing at the University of Florida.

Further research revealed that she definitely lived in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. I suspect she began fantasising about what might have happened if she met Lee Harvey Oswald. This book probably began life as a novel. As she did her research (she seems to have depended to a large extent on the books by Edward Haslam and Jim Garrison (On the Trail of the Assassins).

If it was true that Judyth Baker knew as much as she did, she would have been killed at the same time as Mary Sherman.

The main reason I suspected she was lying concerned the section in the documentary where she describes the last time she spoke to Lee Harvey Oswald on the phone. She begins to cry and tells the director to stop filming. I am very tuned into emotion. However, I was completely unmoved by her comments. She was a very bad actor and it was clear she was lying.

By the way Marco, she runs the Lee Harvey Oswald Museum in the Netherlands (Haarlem). Maybe you should pay her a visit. I also have her email address if you are interested.

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