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Gaeton Fonzi


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I'm sad to hear about his passing. He was a true gentleman.

Obit:

Gaeton Fonzi, 76, of Satellite Beach, died peacefully on Thursday, August 30 surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by Marie, his wife of 55 years, four children (Irene, Guy, Maria, and Christopher) and their spouses (Jeff, Dolly, Victor and Gina), eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Fonzi’s fame as an investigative journalist earned him a place on the Senate and House Committees which investigated the JFK assassination and subsequently resulted in the publication of his book The Last Investigation in 1993 which is highly critical of the Warren Commission Report. His book was considered by many critics as among the best books on the subject and he was recognized as a respected authority on those aspects of the assassination involving anti-Castro Cubans and the intelligence agencies.

Previous to his involvement investigating the assassination, Mr. Fonzi was Senior Editor of Philadelphia Magazine where he wrote over 100 major feature articles and won the magazine’s first national journalism award. During this time, he published Annenberg: a Biography of Power and was featured in Best Magazine Articles 1968. An honors journalism graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Fonzi served in the US Army Infantry and rose to Captain in a Civil Affairs reserve unit. Upon moving to Miami in 1972, Mr. Fonzi became editor of Miami Magazine and senior editor of its sister publication, Gold Coast. Throughout his career, Mr. Fonzi wrote for New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Penthouse, Avenue Magazine, the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune. He won numerous awards including two local Sigma Delta Chi Awards and a National Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Mr. Fonzi was an avid runner who completed numerous races and three marathons. His greatest joy was sailing with loved ones on his Mariah Jones. He has been called the best investigative reporter who ever drew breath, a man whose courage and judgment could be trusted without hesitation. So who could dispute this lifetime Yankee fan’s claim that he was indeed Joe DiMaggio.

Mass to be held at 11am on Tuesday, September 4 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 3050 North Hwy.

A1A, Indialantic, Florida. Luncheon reception at 1:00 p.m., at City Tropics Bistro, 249 Fifth Avenue, Indialantic, Fla. (321) 723-1300

Edited by David Boylan
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I was in Key West a few years back.. I was supposed to conduct a detailed interview of Gerry Hemming, and have a casual lunch with Gaeton Fonzi. Neither of these events came to pass, of course.

I mourn Fonzi as both the researcher he was and the friends we could have been.

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Very sad news. Gaeton Fonzi contacted me last year and asked me to add something to his biography. It says a lot about the man that he asked me to add details of how long he had been married and the number of grandchildren he had.

I thought members might be interested in reading what he said when he received the Mary Ferrell-JFKLancer Pioneer Award on 21st November 21, 1998.

Like most other Americans, after the initial shock of President Kennedy's assassination had dimmed, we fell into the comfortable assumption that the Government was handling the matter judiciously, that the prestigious panel of respected individuals, headed by the most prestigious member of the American judicial system, would provide us with a thorough and valid appraisal of exactly what had happened when President Kennedy was killed. What led me to clip the article by Vincent Salandria is that it ran counter to that assumption.

It dealt with only one aspect of the report - the sequence of events surrounding the number and direction of the shots. But that just happened to be the area assigned to another Philadelphia lawyer, a young assistant district attorney whose quick intelligence and impressive record had landed him a staff job on the Warren Commission. His name, of course, was Arlen Specter.

I didn't initially understand some of the technical and complex points Salandria made in his article, but I did grasp the fact that what Salandria was implying was that the Warren Commission Report was wrong...

Local reporters had, of course, asked Specter about the Warren Report when it was released. He was vigorous in defense of its conclusions. He called the Commission's investigation the most exhaustive and complete in history. The single bullet theory, he insisted, was the only possible way to explain how Lee Harvey Oswald had shot President Kennedy. The reporters dutifully reported what he said.

Amazingly enough, even after all those months had gone by since the release of the Warren Report, I was the first journalist to ask Specter about specific details and about the Report's inconsistencies. I apparently caught Specter off guard.

I was shocked by his confusions, his hemming and hawing, his hesitations and evasions. This from someone who was the epitome of the always cool, collected and verbally masterful lawyer, the former star of the Yale Law debating team. I was even more shocked by his inability to provide valid explanations for some of the most blatant inconsistencies in the Report.

I believe the most crucial was the discrepancy between the levels of the so-called "exit" wound in Kennedy's throat and the holes in the back of Kennedy's jacket and shirt. Why were the holes in his back lower than the hole in Kennedy's throat? I still remember Specter hesitating, stuttering, making a few false starts in attempting to answer that question. Finally, he got up from his desk and came around to stand behind me. Well, he said, it was because the President was waving his arm, and then, trying to illustrate why the jacket would ride up, Specter pulled my arm high over my head - far higher than the Zapruder film showed Kennedy waving his hand. "Wave your arm a few times," Specter said, "wave at the crowd." And then jabbing a finger at the base of my neck - not six inches below my collar, where the holes in Kennedy's jacket and shirt were - Specter said, "Well, see, if the bullet goes in here, the jacket gets hunched up. If you take this point right here and then you strip the coat down, it comes out at a lower point."

"A lower point?" I repeated, wondering if Specter were trying to confuse me or was confused himself.

If the entrance holes were at a lower point than the exit hole, how could Oswald have shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window of the Book Depository?

In the end, Specter admitted they had what he described as - quote - "some problems with that."

My interviews also revealed that the Commission had "some problems" with other troublesome evidence, including the so-called "pristine" bullet, the angle of Governor Connally's wounds, the timing of the shots. "Some problems," indeed. I'll never forget the numbing disbelief I came away with after my interviews with Specter. Vince Salandria was right, the Warren Report was wrong, there had to have been a conspiracy.

We were young once and not so brave. We wanted to cling to the myth of a mystery. We wanted to hang onto the questions of motivation and parade the usual suspects and the illusion of a dilemma before the American people. Could the Mob have killed President Kennedy? Could the KGB have killed President Kennedy? Could Castro have killed President Kennedy? Could anti-Castro Cubans have killed President Kennedy? Could the CIA have killed President Kennedy?

I suggest to you that if it ever becomes known what specific individuals comprised the apparatus that killed Kennedy, those individuals will have some association with any or all of the above. And still the emergence of such individuals, dead or alive, will add but inconsequential detail to the truth about the assassination. Because we have known -- and have long known - who killed President Kennedy.

Could any but a totally controlling force - a power elite within the United States Government itself - call it what you will, the military-intelligence complex, the national security state, the corporate-warfare establishment - could any but the most powerful elite controlling the U.S. Government have been able to manipulate individuals and events before the assassination and then bring such a broad spectrum of internal forces to first cover up the crime and then control the institutions within our society to keep the assassination of President Kennedy a false mystery for 35 years?

Is there any doubt that the Warren Commission deliberately set out not to tell the American people the truth?

There is a brief glimpse, an illustration of the level at which that deceit was carried out, in an incident that occurred during the Warren Commission's investigation. Commission chairman Earl Warren himself, with then Representative Gerald Ford at his side, was interviewing a barman, Curtis LaVerne Crafard. Crafard had worked at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club before he was seized by FBI men as he was hightailing it out of town the day after the assassination, having told someone, "They are not going to pin this on me!"

In the interview, Warren asks Craford what he did before he was a bartender.

"I was a Master sniper in the Marine Corps," Craford answered.*

The next question that Warren immediately asked was: "What kind of entertainment did they have at the club?"

http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKfonzi.htm

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Very sad news. Gaeton Fonzi contacted me last year and asked me to add something to his biography. It says a lot about the man that he asked me to add details of how long he had been married and the number of grandchildren he had.

I thought members might be interested in reading what he said when he received the Mary Ferrell-JFKLancer Pioneer Award on 21st November 21, 1998.

Like most other Americans, after the initial shock of President Kennedy's assassination had dimmed, we fell into the comfortable assumption that the Government was handling the matter judiciously, that the prestigious panel of respected individuals, headed by the most prestigious member of the American judicial system, would provide us with a thorough and valid appraisal of exactly what had happened when President Kennedy was killed. What led me to clip the article by Vincent Salandria is that it ran counter to that assumption.

It dealt with only one aspect of the report - the sequence of events surrounding the number and direction of the shots. But that just happened to be the area assigned to another Philadelphia lawyer, a young assistant district attorney whose quick intelligence and impressive record had landed him a staff job on the Warren Commission. His name, of course, was Arlen Specter.

I didn't initially understand some of the technical and complex points Salandria made in his article, but I did grasp the fact that what Salandria was implying was that the Warren Commission Report was wrong...

Local reporters had, of course, asked Specter about the Warren Report when it was released. He was vigorous in defense of its conclusions. He called the Commission's investigation the most exhaustive and complete in history. The single bullet theory, he insisted, was the only possible way to explain how Lee Harvey Oswald had shot President Kennedy. The reporters dutifully reported what he said.

Amazingly enough, even after all those months had gone by since the release of the Warren Report, I was the first journalist to ask Specter about specific details and about the Report's inconsistencies. I apparently caught Specter off guard.

I was shocked by his confusions, his hemming and hawing, his hesitations and evasions. This from someone who was the epitome of the always cool, collected and verbally masterful lawyer, the former star of the Yale Law debating team. I was even more shocked by his inability to provide valid explanations for some of the most blatant inconsistencies in the Report.

I believe the most crucial was the discrepancy between the levels of the so-called "exit" wound in Kennedy's throat and the holes in the back of Kennedy's jacket and shirt. Why were the holes in his back lower than the hole in Kennedy's throat? I still remember Specter hesitating, stuttering, making a few false starts in attempting to answer that question. Finally, he got up from his desk and came around to stand behind me. Well, he said, it was because the President was waving his arm, and then, trying to illustrate why the jacket would ride up, Specter pulled my arm high over my head - far higher than the Zapruder film showed Kennedy waving his hand. "Wave your arm a few times," Specter said, "wave at the crowd." And then jabbing a finger at the base of my neck - not six inches below my collar, where the holes in Kennedy's jacket and shirt were - Specter said, "Well, see, if the bullet goes in here, the jacket gets hunched up. If you take this point right here and then you strip the coat down, it comes out at a lower point."

"A lower point?" I repeated, wondering if Specter were trying to confuse me or was confused himself.

If the entrance holes were at a lower point than the exit hole, how could Oswald have shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window of the Book Depository?

In the end, Specter admitted they had what he described as - quote - "some problems with that."

This stuff changed my life. When I read The Last Investigation in the mid-90's I couldn't understand why the clothing evidence/T3 back wound wasn't more widely held as the best argument for conspiracy.

That's what propelled me into JFK assassination research.

In my life only two books have had as much life-changing impact -- Huckleberry Finn and On the Road.

Words cannot describe my admiration, Gaeton. RIP.

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I read The Last Investigation shortly after it was first published. I thought it pulled together so many of the missing elements (along with Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much) of the Kennedy assassination. I wrote to Gaeton Fonzi thanking him and asked a few outstanding questions that I had. I was surprised to hear from him a week later. This was via snail mail. We did correspond occasionally over the following years. He was a most gracious man.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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