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Norman Redlich

John Simkin

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I would have expected that at least one staff member of the Warren Commission member would have done his job properly and actually researched who really killed JFK. I have just discovered that there was one. His name was Norman Redlich. He was a professor at the New York University School of Law faculty.

However, Gerald Ford tipped off Hoover what Redlich was up to. Hoover ordered that Redlich's past should be investigated. He discovered that Redlich was on the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, an organization considered by Hoover to have been set-up to "defend the cases of Communist lawbreakers". Redlich had also been critical of the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

This information was passed to a group of right-wing politicians. On 5th May, 1964, Ralph F. Beermann, a Republican Party congressman, made a speech claiming that Redlich was associated with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Beermann called for Redlich to be removed as a staff member of the Warren Commission. He was supported by Karl E. Mundt who said: "We want a report from the Commission which Americans will accept as factual, which will put to rest all the ugly rumors now in circulation and which the world will believe. Who but the most gullible would believe any report if it were written in part by persons with Communist connections?"

Gerald Ford joined in the attack and at one closed-door session of the Warren Commission he called for Redlich to be dismissed. However, Earl Warren and J. Lee Rankin both supported him and he retained his job.

However, he now agreed to behave like the other staff members. As Seth Kantor was to point out in his book, Who Was Jack Ruby?:

The Belin Theory was that the city bus transfer in Oswald's shirt pocket might well have been his basic "passport" to Mexico. Oswald had been reported to have been in Mexico two months earlier and having gotten there by bus. Belin also was aware of the Warren Commission testimony given by Nelson Delgado, who had served in the Marine Corps with Oswald. Delgado had recalled Oswald once telling him that the best way to escape from authorities in the United States to Russia was by way of Mexico, where a plane could be caught to Havana, and then another plane to Moscow.

The Belin Theory was innovative and extremely logical but suffered a fatal axing within the Warren Commission when Belin figured out that Oswald probably was in the act of escaping to Mexico when encountered by officer Tippit on Tenth Street. That injected a foreign connection into the escape which blew the Warren Commission's mind. Mexico. Cuba. Russia. Belin had practically invented World War III.

It was Norman Redlich who put the ax to the Belin Theory. Redlich had a great deal of control over what would appear in the Warren Report. Redlich, remember, had survived the communist witch-hunt aimed at him on Capitol Hill three months earlier when the granting of his security clearance had been threatened. And now Redlich wanted to keep from stirring up any more problems for Earl Warren, so he argued that Belin had come up with nothing more than supposition, which had no place in the Warren Report. Belin argued in return that the Commission had a public obligation to disclose the existence of Oswald's possible escape plan, even if it were removed from chapter six of the Report and relegated to the 31-page section in the appendix of the Report, entitled "Speculations and Rumors." But Redlich instead saw to it that the Warren Report made no attempt to explain why Oswald, the fast-moving young man on the lam, appeared to be heading directly toward Jack Ruby's apartment with a gun. Instead, the Warren Report simply said, "There is no evidence that Oswald knew where Ruby lived."

Redlich is still alive and is currently a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. I have his contact details if anyone is interested in talking to him.

An interesting footnote to this story. Ralph Beermann died in an airplane crash on 17th February, 1977. Another one to die during the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation.


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