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My 1995 Interview of Michael Paine


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Posted (edited)
On 5/9/2022 at 7:26 AM, Greg Doudna said:

I can now see it as plausible and in character that Fritz could have slapped Michael, going that one only slight step beyond what happened with Frazier later that night, and Michael keeping it inside out of shame, then breaking down in sobs at the memory when telling Lifton thirty years later. I retract earlier disbelief thinking the slap could not be and Michael must have exaggerated. It is believable that it happened and I think it did happen.

Totally agree.

And think of the pressure on Michael Paine if he actually told the press about Fritz slapping him across the face during questioning in the middle of that whole tumultuous tornado of frantic news coverage emotions and suspicions everywhere.

Michael Paine also knew immediately that he and Ruth were under suspicion by Fritz and others, simply by their live-in association with Marina and Lee from time to time.

So, embarrassment, shame, fear, self-preservation all factored into MP's keeping his humiliating face slap by Fritz experience to himself for decades makes perfect sense.

Buell Frazier's recollection of Fritz raising a fist ( or at least a hand ) in a threatening manner to him, suggesting to Frazier that Fritz was about to plow him in the face, was an often repeated part of Frazier's public statements regarding his 11,22,1963 Dallas PD interrogation from the get go.

The only reason Fritz held back was because of Buell's warning to him ..."if you hit me, we's gonna have one hell of a fight!"

Which I believe Fritz instinctively knew country boy Frazier would carry out.

I don't need to read or hear anymore testimony besides Frazier's to totally believe Fritz did slap Michael Paine. And probably many other suspects in his interrogation career as well.

An unexpected slap in the face upon a man or woman by a person of authority in a heightened emotional and suspicion police interrogation situation ( and this one was unprecedented in this way ) would be an incredibly powerful "shock and humiliation" effect experience.

Illegal on the part of the police? Oh Gad ... blatantly! But with good ole boy Henry Wade as Dallas DA Fritz was never going to be called on this.

Probably the only reason Fritz didn't slap the hell out of Oswald during questioning was because with the FBI and who knows who always present during Oswald's interrogation, Fritz knew he couldn't get away with his personal intimidation, humiliation and shock interrogation actions MO.

Will "THIS CASE IS CINCHED!" Fritz.

Fritz's walking way ahead of Oswald in the police department building basement perp walk, looking as bewildered as an Alzheimer's patient and waving his arms to clear non-close others away from the incoming car and then not reacting at all to the ear-splitting loud Ruby gunshot blast always gave me a creepy suspicious feeling about him. As I am sure millions of others like me who also watched Jackie Kennedy avenging and protecting Jack Ruby whack Oswald on live national TV the morning of 11,24,1963.

 

 

Edited by Joe Bauer
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Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2022 at 10:52 AM, Greg Doudna said:

David Lifton, thank you for bringing forth your firsthand account of your interaction with Michael Paine in 1995. Since Michael Paine is forever gone now, your account or information is of much interest.

On Michael becoming upset and sobbing... in Michael Paine's probably last-ever recorded interview, a short clip in the Max Good film, "The Assassination & Mrs. Paine", a late-80s Michael Paine--filmed at the same retirement center where Ruth lives, and according to Max Good already showing signs at the time he filmed him of a decline in mental faculties due to age--said Oswald did it. In the film Michael speaks with emphasis.

Michael Paine: I think if Oswald did it I don’t have to know anything else. Here he has shot the President of the United States! The biggest so-called democracy in the world! That’s going to go down in history. And he was the one who did it.

Narrator: I was only able to talk to Michael Paine [late 80s] for half an hour. It was clear that he was already beginning to lose his memory. From what I was told, he became increasingly incoherent over the next few years.

David, do you remember what the subject or issue was over which Fritz was upset with Michael, or upon which there was disagreement, when Michael told you this?

Again thanks for this.

No, I do not. But here's what I think (again, this is speculation, based on what MP told me):  When in DPD custody, Michael probably (or possibly) made some comment indicating that he didn't believe that Oswald shot JFK (or would shoot anybody, for that matter); and that probably angered (or enraged) Fritz (who was operating on the "reality"-- i.e., the false reality-- that LHO was JFK's assassin).  Remember what Fritz said to the media  on 11/22/63, "This case is cinched!" (approx); and so, when confronted with a completely unwelcome "character witness" (in the form of Michael Paine), Fritz simply exploded in anger, and "vented" by striking Michael Paine.  That's my best guess.  If I remember more (or locate the audio tapes) I'll let you know. 

P.S.: I'm surprised that Paine did not relate this experience with Fritz to the Warren Commission.  Perhaps he was simply afraid. (Or possibly he did, and it was omitted in the published version. The original court reporter's transcript ought to be checked.)

PPS: Another thought: I'm surprised that he (MP) did not relate it to Ruth Paine.  Of course, Ruth (apparently) accepted LHO's guilt; I don't think that Michael did.  DSL (5/10/22_ 11:44 AM PDT)

PPPS: When I spoke with Michael, there was no sign whatsoever that he was "losing" his memory, or of any mental decline -- at least none that I could perceive.  I'm not an expert, but he seemed perfectly cognizant of what he was saying. (I don't think he ever said: "I'm so sorry, but I just don't recall.  Too many years have passed" etc.)  Another thing I should point out: As I recall, Michael very much admired Oswald for the worldwide travels in which he had been engaged.  (DSL, 11:55 AM PDT)

Edited by David Lifton
Clarifying.
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On 5/8/2022 at 10:04 AM, Mark Knight said:

If the tapes/transcript of the Paine interview shows any sign of exculpatory evidence about Oswald, I would fully expect the 6th Floor Museum to bury it/them.

It is my understanding that there are four possible places where one might contribute research material: 1. NARA; 2. Library of Congress; 3. Sixth Floor Museum; 4. JFK Library.  I cannot speak for any of these four places --i.e., whether they would accept any such donation or what they would do with it, once received. (DSL, 5/10/22_ 12 noon) 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/8/2022 at 10:52 AM, Greg Doudna said:

David Lifton, thank you for bringing forth your firsthand account of your interaction with Michael Paine in 1995. Since Michael Paine is forever gone now, your account or information is of much interest.

On Michael becoming upset and sobbing... in Michael Paine's probably last-ever recorded interview, a short clip in the Max Good film, "The Assassination & Mrs. Paine", a late-80s Michael Paine--filmed at the same retirement center where Ruth lives, and according to Max Good already showing signs at the time he filmed him of a decline in mental faculties due to age--said Oswald did it. In the film Michael speaks with emphasis.

Michael Paine: I think if Oswald did it I don’t have to know anything else. Here he has shot the President of the United States! The biggest so-called democracy in the world! That’s going to go down in history. And he was the one who did it.

Narrator: I was only able to talk to Michael Paine [late 80s] for half an hour. It was clear that he was already beginning to lose his memory. From what I was told, he became increasingly incoherent over the next few years.

David, do you remember what the subject or issue was over which Fritz was upset with Michael, or upon which there was disagreement, when Michael told you this?

Again thanks for this.

FWIW, I wasn't aware of the Max Good interview of Michael Paine until very recently.  But note (in that interview) how Michael Paine qualified his statement, with the word "if".  

Quote: "I think if Oswald did it. etc. "  I don't believe Paine used the word "if" in his FBI interviews (or WC testimony). But correct me if I'm wrong. Of course, I'd like to think that the publication of Best Evidence by multiple publishers may have affected MP's opinion (about LHO), but I don't know for a fact that it did. DSL

Edited by David Lifton
Correct error. Wrote "Oswald" when I meant "Paine."
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On 5/8/2022 at 11:34 PM, Greg Doudna said:

I have no problem with Fritz physically assaulting Michael Paine in terms of narrative. I found it difficult to believe that Fritz could assault witnesses and not get fired over it or have other cases of assault complaints on his record, or that Michael Paine would not file a complaint or speak of it before thirty years later.

This is Cops USA in the old days. This crap happened all the time. Don’t forget that Dallas district attorney Wade framed hundreds of people and never got caught. Police brutality was commonplace throughout the postwar era, and almost nobody was getting nailed for it. No social media, no exposure.

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Speaking of Cops USA in the old days, I found this which happened the very same day in Fort Worth. Secret Service agent Mike Howard from the Dallas office loved to regale audiences in later years with how on Nov 22, 1963, he got an arrested kid who wasn't talking, to talk by putting a loaded revolver into his face and threatening to kill him if he did not talk, in the presence of other officers. Howard telling it in later years thought it was just hilarious, chortled how that changed things in a hurry and the kid, scared, "sang like a canary". Law enforcement humor.

The setup to the story: the kid had done no crime. He had been heard responding to the news of the assassination by making a joke, "That's one way to get rid of a Catholic". That and a scoped rifle sitting openly in his car (picked up from a gun shop for delivery to his father) prompted someone to call the law to check that kid out. Turned out the kid was clean and OK, although he was married and had spent the previous night in downtown Dallas with a woman not his wife, which is why he was unwilling to talk about where he was last night. Because the hotel where the young man had stayed had overlooked the JFK parade route the Secret Service was alerted and Mike Howard sent out. Howard arrives to the Fort Worth police station and--

". . . they had already interviewed him. The police department, the homicide, had interviewed him, and a good friend of mine, who was an FBI agent, Carter, Agent Carter, he was--I refer to him as an old timer--I think he was 45 or 50--But anyway, he had already interviewed him, and he came out, when I walked up he said, 'Mike, this kid don't know anything. He won't tell us anything, but he's just a dumb kid.' I said, 'Well I'd better talk to him.' 'Yeah, go and talk to him.' 

"So I went in to talk to him, and I did a--uh, something that they should have arrested me right on the spot for. But I asked him what his name was. He said, 'I don't have to tell you that.' I said, 'No sir you don't.' So I took my ID out and I said, My name is Agent Howard. I'm from the US Secret Service. I've got to ask you a couple of questions. So I put my book back up and I said, So could you tell me where you were last night. And he said, 'No I don't have to tell you anything.' Now here's a kid--I was 31 years old at the time--I hadn't had any sleep, I'm hungry, I wanted to see my wife and family, I didn't like it because my president was on the way to Washington in a casket, and I didn't have time for this man. And so I just reached in my coat and I was carrying a .38 revolver and I stuck it right up against his face just as close as I could get it to his nose. I should have--that's a federal offense you know, you can't do that, that's violating their civil rights--but I didn't know that at the time. (smiling) But I didn't really care.

"So again I'm gonna ask you and you'e gonna answer these questions because you know if you don't I could blow your head off, and nobody would care. I said, nobody's gonna care. Our president has been killed, and you're making fun of it and you don't want to answer any questions. Now you let me know when you get through telling because, you know, if you haven't said what I want you to, you could, you could lose it.

"And boy, you talk about sweat. Now he broke into a sweat and he began to--I've heard the --"singing like a canary". Anyway I asked him who he was, he told me. I asked who'd you have with you. 'I picked up this girl over at the Blue Mirror.' And I said where'd you get the gun. 'Its my father's gun. I was sent to pick it up there at this gun shop and I was taking it back home.' Where's home? 'Ranger, Texas.' Are you married? 'Yes I'm married.' I said well what are you doing here now? So finally I took my gun and put it down and said, Thank you very much. You know you could have got this over with a long time ago.

"And I walked outside and--(chuckling turning into laughter)--Agent Carter, his name was Dan Carter, he says, Mike, would you really have shot him? I said, come on, I wouldn't, you know I wouldn't have done a thing like that. But this police sergeant that I'd worked several cases with there on counterfeiting and forgery, he said, 'Yes you would'. And I said, no really, I don't think I would have shot him. And again-- (laughing)--so anyway I got by with it."

(Starting at about 1:16)

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On 5/10/2022 at 7:21 AM, Joe Bauer said:

Buell Frazier's recollection of Fritz raising a fist ( or at least a hand ) in a threatening manner to him, suggesting to Frazier that Fritz was about to plow him in the face, was always a part of Frazier's public statements from the get go.

The only reason Fritz held back was because of Buell's warning to him ..."if you hit me, we's gonna have one hell of a fight!"

Which I believe Fritz instinctively knew country boy Frazier would carry out.

 

It would seem from Frazier's and Paine's experiences that Fritz started out actively looking for accomplices, and was later dissuaded by Washington from expanding the case into a conspiracy.

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On 5/8/2022 at 10:52 AM, Greg Doudna said:

David Lifton, thank you for bringing forth your firsthand account of your interaction with Michael Paine in 1995. Since Michael Paine is forever gone now, your account or information is of much interest.

On Michael becoming upset and sobbing... in Michael Paine's probably last-ever recorded interview, a short clip in the Max Good film, "The Assassination & Mrs. Paine", a late-80s Michael Paine--filmed at the same retirement center where Ruth lives, and according to Max Good already showing signs at the time he filmed him of a decline in mental faculties due to age--said Oswald did it. In the film Michael speaks with emphasis.

Michael Paine: I think if Oswald did it I don’t have to know anything else. Here he has shot the President of the United States! The biggest so-called democracy in the world! That’s going to go down in history. And he was the one who did it.

Narrator: I was only able to talk to Michael Paine [late 80s] for half an hour. It was clear that he was already beginning to lose his memory. From what I was told, he became increasingly incoherent over the next few years.

David, do you remember what the subject or issue was over which Fritz was upset with Michael, or upon which there was disagreement, when Michael told you this?

Again thanks for this.

My best recollection:  Michael probably made clear that he did not believe Oswald shot JFK.  (5/13/22 - 11:30 AM PDT)

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7 hours ago, David Lifton said:

My best recollection:  Michael probably made clear that he did not believe Oswald shot JFK.  (5/13/22 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Thanks David.

If that is Friday evening, I could see a juxtaposition of two things. Michael has no knowledge other than that Oswald has been arrested and is who police think did it. At that point the Dallas police are operating blind, they don't know how many others are involved or who, with Oswald. Therefore a third degree on Michael Paine, Michael refusing to incriminate Oswald beyond saying he doesn't know, Fritz getting increasingly furious, suspecting Michael may be holding out... the slap, but Fritz gets nothing out of Michael Paine (because there is nothing there to get). Same procedure with Wesley Frazier later that night. Trying to bully suspects into spilling beans on confederates, assume they are not telling all they know and try to break them.

But you are saying it may have went beyond Michael telling Fritz he didn't know, to actually telling Fritz he thought Oswald was innocent of shooting JFK. It does not quite make sense to me that Michael would have said that or had a firm position on Oswald's innocence, since he would have had no way of really knowing, and he was pretty rational in his thinking. Obviously if you are able to locate any tapes or contemporary notes of your interview with Michael Paine that would be of much interest. And I am looking forward to your book!

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On 5/11/2022 at 2:00 AM, Greg Doudna said:

Speaking of Cops USA in the old days, I found this which happened the very same day in Fort Worth. Secret Service agent Mike Howard from the Dallas office loved to regale audiences in later years with how on Nov 22, 1963, he got an arrested kid who wasn't talking, to talk by putting a loaded revolver into his face and threatening to kill him if he did not talk, in the presence of other officers. Howard telling it in later years thought it was just hilarious, chortled how that changed things in a hurry and the kid, scared, "sang like a canary". Law enforcement humor.

The setup to the story: the kid had done no crime. He had been heard responding to the news of the assassination by making a joke, "That's one way to get rid of a Catholic". That and a scoped rifle sitting openly in his car (picked up from a gun shop for delivery to his father) prompted someone to call the law to check that kid out. Turned out the kid was clean and OK, although he was married and had spent the previous night in downtown Dallas with a woman not his wife, which is why he was unwilling to talk about where he was last night. Because the hotel where the young man had stayed had overlooked the JFK parade route the Secret Service was alerted and Mike Howard sent out. Howard arrives to the Fort Worth police station and--

". . . they had already interviewed him. The police department, the homicide, had interviewed him, and a good friend of mine, who was an FBI agent, Carter, Agent Carter, he was--I refer to him as an old timer--I think he was 45 or 50--But anyway, he had already interviewed him, and he came out, when I walked up he said, 'Mike, this kid don't know anything. He won't tell us anything, but he's just a dumb kid.' I said, 'Well I'd better talk to him.' 'Yeah, go and talk to him.' 

"So I went in to talk to him, and I did a--uh, something that they should have arrested me right on the spot for. But I asked him what his name was. He said, 'I don't have to tell you that.' I said, 'No sir you don't.' So I took my ID out and I said, My name is Agent Howard. I'm from the US Secret Service. I've got to ask you a couple of questions. So I put my book back up and I said, So could you tell me where you were last night. And he said, 'No I don't have to tell you anything.' Now here's a kid--I was 31 years old at the time--I hadn't had any sleep, I'm hungry, I wanted to see my wife and family, I didn't like it because my president was on the way to Washington in a casket, and I didn't have time for this man. And so I just reached in my coat and I was carrying a .38 revolver and I stuck it right up against his face just as close as I could get it to his nose. I should have--that's a federal offense you know, you can't do that, that's violating their civil rights--but I didn't know that at the time. (smiling) But I didn't really care.

"So again I'm gonna ask you and you'e gonna answer these questions because you know if you don't I could blow your head off, and nobody would care. I said, nobody's gonna care. Our president has been killed, and you're making fun of it and you don't want to answer any questions. Now you let me know when you get through telling because, you know, if you haven't said what I want you to, you could, you could lose it.

"And boy, you talk about sweat. Now he broke into a sweat and he began to--I've heard the --"singing like a canary". Anyway I asked him who he was, he told me. I asked who'd you have with you. 'I picked up this girl over at the Blue Mirror.' And I said where'd you get the gun. 'Its my father's gun. I was sent to pick it up there at this gun shop and I was taking it back home.' Where's home? 'Ranger, Texas.' Are you married? 'Yes I'm married.' I said well what are you doing here now? So finally I took my gun and put it down and said, Thank you very much. You know you could have got this over with a long time ago.

"And I walked outside and--(chuckling turning into laughter)--Agent Carter, his name was Dan Carter, he says, Mike, would you really have shot him? I said, come on, I wouldn't, you know I wouldn't have done a thing like that. But this police sergeant that I'd worked several cases with there on counterfeiting and forgery, he said, 'Yes you would'. And I said, no really, I don't think I would have shot him. And again-- (laughing)--so anyway I got by with it."

(Starting at about 1:16)

Agent Howard is a man of dubious credibility, to put it mildly.

Former Secret Service agent Mike Howard is telling tall tales again:

Lee Harvey Oswald’s little green book shows JFK wasn't the real target - Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)

 

In the hours after the Kennedy assassination, after Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit and was identified as the president’s assassin, a Secret Service officer named Mike Howard was dispatched to Oswald’s apartment. Howard found a little green address book, and on its 17th page under the heading “I WILL KILL” Oswald listed four men: an FBI agent named James Hosty; a right-wing general, Edwin Walker; and Vice President Richard Nixon. At the top of the list was the governor of Texas, John Connally. Through Connally’s name, Oswald had drawn a dagger, with blood drops dripping downward.

 

This is the same guy who fabricated a story that a janitor saw LHO pull the trigger:

https://vincepalamara.com/2017/07/27/update-with-news-article-secret-service-agent-mike-howards-tall-tale-to-match-blaine/

Secret Service agent Mike Howard and brother Pat deliberately planted story that a janitor saw LHO pull trigger
25 H 721-722, 725, 844-850:re: Secret Service agent Mike Howard and brother Pat and the allegation that they deliberately planted story that a janitor saw LHO pull trigger [see the link to the pages quoted above from volume 25]

 

20294256_1374759665979128_8160907379404236575_n.jpg

Check out the scathing comments for Mr. Howard under this video on You Tube. Howard loves them tall tales to weave for the gullilbe!

 

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I totally agree Vince (and incidentally my "humorous" comment responding to your "humorous" potshot at me was not intended to apply to your Secret Service research work, where you are "the best").

That Mike Howard story of the address book with Oswald writing a list of four names he wanted to kill ... is just nuts. I have looked through the Oswald address book trying to reconstruct some mechanism of how he could have gotten that idea but a first problem is he cannot have seen the address book when he said he did because it was in the Dallas police station. Mike Howard says the address book was given to the Irving police from the Ruth Paine house. Mike Howard also claimed that Marina told them she saw Lee holding and aiming his rifle the evening before in the kitchen, without Lee noticing she saw him. (A story never before heard, and also not in the transcripts of the Secret Service interviews with Marina.) 

I don't know what Mike Howard was up to.

And wasn't it a buddy of Mike Howard who was supposed to be a "fireman" borrowed for security when the Secret Service had the Oswald women sequestered, who was actually ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)? And then Mike Howard of the Dallas Secret Service office, living locally, was suddenly no-notice reassigned effective immediately to Houston the next weekend (Nov 30-Dec 1), to do security for LBJ's daughter in college. What was that sudden transfer all about? Do you know?

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

From researcher Jeremy Bacon in a FB group:

Quote on

I just got off the phone with Elmer Boyd. I asked him about not only the alleged Paine slap, but also the Frazier incident…

He said… “Those are lies! In all the many years I worked with Captain Fritz, I NEVER saw him lay a hand on a prisoner or anyone else!”

This is coming from the Detective who was closer to Will Fritz than anyone else at the Dallas Police Department. This should put these matters to rest…

Quote off

Edited by Denis Morissette
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On 6/3/2022 at 3:51 PM, Denis Morissette said:

From researcher Jeremy Bacon in a FB group:

Quote on

I just got off the phone with Elmer Boyd. I asked him about not only the alleged Paine slap, but also the Frazier incident…

He said… “Those are lies! In all the many years I worked with Captain Fritz, I NEVER saw him lay a hand on a prisoner or anyone else!”

This is coming from the Detective who was closer to Will Fritz than anyone else at the Dallas Police Department. This should put these matters to rest…

Quote off

perhaps another source might of worked out better here? I doubt the matter will be put to rest...

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