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Thomas Buchanan: Did he solve the JFK case?

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Hi Marian,

I shall have to look up your Dad's "Big Brother" book also.


I think you have been exposed to these themes for some time due to your Dad's interests. Have you noticed any of these issues connected with William Seymour?


The Big Brother book is only available in French at the moment.

As far as what I've been exposed to because of my father's interests, you have to understand that I was a child during the time he was writing about the JFK assassination, so it's not like he discussed the facts or theories with me. Once I was adult, both he and I were focusing on other things -- not the same things as each other, I might add. Although I'm sure he followed any JFK-related news that might have arisen between JFK's death and his own, he didn't dedicate his life to the JFK story, he continued to write as a journalist about whatever new topics drew his attention at any given time.

I don't have more information about my father's JFK research findings than what he made public during his own life. If it turns out there's any thus-far-unrevealed information in any unpublished pieces that my stepmother might have in her possession, I will publish it on thomasgbuchanan.com. But don't hold your breath -- I won't be getting to France anytime soon to go digging myself, and I don't know how soon my stepmother will get around to doing a little searching and forwarding for me.

Much as I'd like to be helpful to anyone still doing research on the subject, my role here is not really to participate in the discussion of the theories, it's merely to set the record straight concerning my father's character, his writings, and the events of his life.

Having said that, I do take an interest in the assassination and finding out the truth of the matter, so thank you, Jim, for those links. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to read these kinds of materials at the moment, since my own life is full and my work on thomasgbuchanan.com and participation in the forum has to happen in my "spare" time. I do hope to eventually get a better feel for what other theories have been put forward and what other facts might have surfaced since the publication of Who Killed Kennedy?, but for the moment my higher priority is to contribute a more accurate picture of my father.

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There are a few posts in this forum that demonstrate a misunderstanding about the use of humor in my father's 1964 exchange with Léo Sauvage. John Simkin and J. Raymond Carroll show that misunderstanding in the short thread on Leo Sauvage, and in this thread we're in, John Simkin wrote:

Buchanan’s article (letter), In Defense of a Theory was published in the New Leader on 9th November, 1964. Buchanan points out that the article was not written by Savage at all. It was in fact written by his brother, K. O. Savage, who worked for the U.S. Information Service. Why did they use Leo Savage’s name? Because he was a well respected journalist (he worked for Le Figaro) who was one of the leading critics of the official explanation of JFK’s death. In fact, Buchanan acknowledges in his book that he has used some of this research in his own investigation.

K.O Savage, on the other hand, was a journalist for hire and probably a CIA asset. His attack is based on the articles that appeared in L’Express. Buchanan admits that some mistakes were made (based on information that appeared in the US newspapers at the time) and that these were corrected by the time they appeared in book form (the version I read).

I didn't respond to this right away when I first came across this thread, because I wanted to verify my facts first. Your statements, John, confused me into wondering if maybe you had factual information that I didn't. However, I now have confirmation from Léo Sauvage's son, Pierre Sauvage, that Léo did NOT have a brother named K.O., and that my understanding of my father's letter-to-the-editor was accurate. So I'd like to explain it here for John and anyone else here who misunderstood the humor and took the reference to “K.O. Sauvage” literally.

As you know from previous posts in this thread, the piece that started the exchange was an article by Léo Sauvage called “Thomas Buchanan, Detective” which was published in the Thinking Aloud column of The New Leader on September 28th, 1964. This wasn't a dispassionate explanation of why Sauvage disagreed with my father's methods of research, way of reasoning, and theories about what might have really happened. Although it addressed some of the points of disagreement, it was expressed in a derisive way that was a personal attack on my father's abilities and character.

In response, my father wrote a letter to the editor, titled "In Defense of a Theory," in which he used humor to take Sauvage's attack on him lightly while still getting his own points across. The tongue-in-cheek allegation was that the reader had been duped into believing this was the real Léo Sauvage when (so my father feigned believing) it couldn't possibly be, since the article's lowered quality of journalism and focus on attempting to disparage my father would seem to be a departure from the respectability of Léo's usual work and more in line with the tactics of the US Information Service.* And so, the mock accusation goes, this must point to it being "his brother" K.O. instead -- which I take to mean "knock-off" as in imitation, or "knock-out" as in someone throwing punches in a boxing match, or the other kind of "knock-out" as in the kind of alteration of behavior that lab mice suffer when they've had certain genes "knocked out."

* (FBI files obtained much later do confirm that the USIS was seeking information from the FBI for the purposes of discrediting my father so that his writings on the Kennedy assassination would be dismissed by the public.)

In the title of his article, Sauvage's use of the epithet “detective” was derisive. My father had never claimed to conduct any detective work, merely a logical analysis of the contradictory reports made by his colleagues in the media. In response to being given the mock designation, my father played along by appending it again to his name in his signature, and saying that, “in [his] capacity as criminal investigator,” he had detected a “crime” – which was basically that Sauvage was behaving like an impostor of his more reputable self.

I'm told by several readers that the humor was easy for them to detect. However, given that this was not the case for all who read the piece, I thought it best to clarify that the allegations were not to be taken literally. This will hopefully allow those who missed the point to re-read with a fresh perspective, and also set the record straight for the sake of historical accuracy about both my own father and the father of Pierre Sauvage.

P.S. It may be of interest to note that some of the other Warren Report critics, who had met Sauvage and had had some correspondence with my father, felt a distaste for this exchange, even when they agreed with Sauvage's position on the assassination. In a letter to Maggie Field in July 1965,** Sylvia Meagher wrote: “I decided against inviting Sauvage to see the photographs at this juncture; […] Furthermore, he made some very disparaging and unfair remarks about Mark Lane, which saddened me, as did his gratuitous published insults of Buchanan. So I continue to hesitate...” And in a letter to Sylvia Meagher in August 1965,** Maggie Field wrote: “Léo Sauvage has, somehow, seemed to me, at all times, to be the most responsible, the most logical and the most unemotional of the critics. […] But I must quarrel, nevertheless, with Sauvage on a few counts. To wit: I wish he would refrain from attacking Buchanan publicly, however much he may have cause to, and from lashing out at Lane, too. Surely, he should comprehend the folly of such pursuits and the harm he does not only to the very cause he seeks to champion but to all the rest of us who support his position.”

** source: John Kelin, author of Praise From a Future Generation.

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  • 6 years later...

This is a fascinating thread. I especially enjoyed the article by Ivor Montagu. That's some excellent analysis. Two things stood out for me:

On 8/28/2006 at 8:43 AM, Paul Rigby said:

Next, they take a rifle found in the book depository and arrange for three expert shots to try to shoot three targets arranged at intervals corresponding in angle and distance to the positions of the Presidential car in the probable interval of time. They succeed, but dangerously near the minimum. But why in the tests where the targets not moving? And, above all, why experts? The evidence the Commission itself cites shows that Oswald’s ability was nowhere near the expert’s. ‘Expert’ is the top category of three. Oswald in the marines had two tests. One gave him a bare two marks above the minimum for the second category. The other (later) placed him well down in the third (the lowest). The Commission’s comment on this latter test is characteristic. Without a shred of evidence it suggests that at the time it might have been raining. And yet now two, possibly all three of his shots were hits. Why do the tests with experts? They quote evidence from Oswald’s wife, that he had practised a dry run (loading and unloading) apparently with this rifle. They have no testimony that he ever fired a single practice shot with it. They argue that his task of aiming anew for each shot was made easier because the car was going down a slope of 3 degrees.

"Why experts?" This is a great question that hadn't occurred to me before. Why didn't they do tests with riflepersons of Oswald's skill level instead of using experts? The answer seems obvious. It couldn't be done. Also, why didn't the tests involve shooting at a moving target? The answer also seems evident: A moving target couldn't be hit as accurately by even expert shooters. When you add in the suggested possibility that Oswald was also shooting through the branches of a tree and a bullet deflected off a branch was the reason for the "the shot that missed", the lone nut theory becomes even more laughable.

And there's an additional point in the quote above that I rarely see addressed in debates. People seem to focus exclusively on the time it takes to pull the trigger and work the bolt three times, but completely neglect to account for the time it would have taken a shooter to re-aim at a moving target between those shots - a moving target, that, according to some, was also being obscured by the leaves and branches of a tree.

On 8/28/2006 at 8:43 AM, Paul Rigby said:

It is Marina, too, who helps to whitewash the most damning document admitted by the Committee; the notation of a local F.B.I. officer’s name and address in Oswald’s notebook. Explanation: the F.B.I. made a routine call on the woman with whom Marina was staying, told her Oswald was a suspicious character and left his name and address so she could report to him on his activities. So the woman promptly gave the name and address to Marina who gave it to Oswald who wrote it in his notebook. Really, there seems no limit to the credulity expected of the public by the Commission and the F.B.I.

The above quote is another good instance of demonstrating the absurdity of the official story in a way that hadn't ever fully occurred to me. I've personally never questioned why Oswald had Hosty's contact info. The implication is clear that the two were in contact. But it's startling to realize that anyone could find that official story chain of events described by Montagu plausible. Was Ruth Paine super-naive or just dumb? Was the call from the FBI to Ruth really that casual? "Eh, hi, it's the FBI just calling to check in. If you see or hear anything suspicious about your new roommate or her husband, give us a ring, willya? Sure, you can tell Lee and Marina that we called, no biggie." - "Hey Marina and Lee, guess who called? The FBI. Here's their contact info, just in case you guys want to confess to any illegal activity, or see yourselves doing anything suspicious, or anything like that." It's mind-boggling to try and imagine innocent events, conversations, and thought-processes that would have appeared remotely realistic to anyone, yet LN's have to accept this version as not only plausible, but what they think actually happened.

What would you do if you had a boarder or roommate that apparently wasn't paying rent, and soon after they moved in the FBI started sniffing around ? Wouldn't that be about the time you started planning on evicting this new roommate? What could possibly be the point of maintaining the status quo after that huge red flag? Wouldn't a normal, innocent person immediately think that this is clearly an unusual and potentially dangerous situation. and that it might be wiser to extract themselves from it rather than getting themselves in deeper by tipping off those under surveillance?

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I remember seeing this book around, but I never read it because I figured there was no way something published in 1964 would have any real answers. Sounds like it is worth finding and reading.

FWIW I have never believed that the head shot came from the grassy knoll, since from viewing the various movies of the assassination I didn't think the angles worked. For the first time in my life, last month on two consecutive days I got to walk around Dealey Plaza for hours and look at the areas I had only previously seen in pictures and on film. I spent a lot of time on the south knoll and the triple underpass. The opinion I left with was that if there was a shot from the front, it would have lined up with and come from behind the angled corner of the bridge, right where the bridge connects to the South Knoll. At that position the railroad men watching the motorcade would not have been able to see the shooter, and the shooter's escape into the parking lot that is behind the south knoll would have been effortless.

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In essence I think Buchanan was inciteful when he basically wrote that a rightest conspiracy killed JFK and Tippit was  part of that conspiracy. I’ve heard many explanations for Tippit’s death but this to me makes the most sense. Maybe he was a shooter, or maybe he put shooters in place. He was the first loose end, Oswald the second. 

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On 1/9/2005 at 12:14 AM, John Simkin said:

I have recently been investigating the Dorothy Kilgallen case. I was especially interested in finding out details of her contact within the Warren Commission and the private interview she had with Jack Ruby after the assassination. With this is mind I borrowed a book from the university library by a couple of journalists, John Kaplan and Jon Waltz, called The Trial of Jack Ruby. The book was extremely poor and was just an attempt to substantiate the idea that Ruby killed Oswald because he did not want Jackie to experience the pain of a trial.

It was the last chapter in the book that caught my attention. The authors included a brief attack on a book written by an American called Thomas G. Buchanan. It included the following sentence: “Buchanan asserted that the assassination had been the work of Texas oil interests who felt that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, once elevated to the presidency, would protect their favourable percentage depletion tax treatment more vigorously than the Kennedy administration.” As members will know, this is very much my position. However, I did not know of the existence of this book, let alone have I read it. The other thing that struck me was that Kaplan and Waltz’s book was published in 1965. Buchanan’s book must have been published earlier than that.

I looked through all the bibliographies of the books that I have on the JFK assassination. I have a large collection and was surprised that I could find no reference to the book. The only book that did refer to it was Michael Benson’s “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination”. His entry for Buchanan is just over two lines. It gave the title, publisher (Secker & Warburg, London) and date (1964) plus the claim that Jack Ruby was very impressed with the book.

I then did a search of the Abe Books database of second-hand books. Apparently the world’s bookshops have 191 copies of this book and I was able to buy a first edition for less than a fiver.

It came yesterday. I read it in a couple of hours. The book is mind-blowing. The book jacket includes a photograph and brief biography of Buchanan. It says he was born in the Deep South. For many years he worked as a freelance writer for magazines in Europe and Asia but was now living in Paris.

The publication date of the book was interesting. It was May 1964. In fact, it was based on a series of articles that appeared in L’Express in March, 1964. As you can see, this was before the publication of the Warren Report.

In the preface Buchanan writes that the reason he had written the articles was because he had been contacted by a staff member of the Warren Commission. This person had put him in contact with Ted Kennedy. He in turn had arranged for Buchanan to meet Nicholas Katzenbach “to whom Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy had delegated responsibility in recent months”. Buchanan therefore implies that the Kennedy brothers were behind this book. Buchanan goes on to explain that he has been informed that what he has said in these articles will be supported by Warren Commission Report when it is published.

What appears to have happened is that someone on the Warren Commission realised that a cover-up was about to take place. Therefore, they had decided to leak what the WC had really found out to a journalist. I suspect this is the same person also leaked information about Jack Ruby to Dorothy Kilgallen. Buchanan claims that the commission discovered that Ruby knew Oswald. In fact, Ruby lent him money to pay back the State Department for the $435.71 the U.S. had loaned Oswald when he returned from Russia. This happened soon after Oswald arrived back in the U.S. Ruby continued to lend Oswald money until shortly before the assassination of JFK. Buchanan claims that this information was already in the public domain as it had been published in an article by Serge Groussard in L’Aurore.

Buchanan is an excellent writer. He logically and clearly explains the whole conspiracy. He is extremely well-informed. For example, he knows about the secret meetings that were taking place on behalf of JFK in Cuba. I assume this information came from Jean Daniel, the foreign editor of L’Express. Daniel, along with Lisa Howard, had been carrying messages from JFK to Castro during 1963. In fact, Daniel was with Castro when he heard the news that JFK had been assassinated. I have for a long time believed that Daniel was in a position to know about the assassination of JFK. Whatever happened to Daniel? Whatever happened to Buchanan?

Buchanan explains that Kennedy was not the conspirators first victim. In October, 1962, they arranged the killing of a prominent Italian politician called Enrico Mattei. This is a complicated story and I will tell it in a future posting.

Buchanan argues that the assassination was funded by a Texas oilman. He does not name him but includes the clue that he was a well-known gambler. The one oilmen that I know who liked gambling was Clint Murchison (this was something he liked to do with his old mate, J. Edgar Hoover). The only oilman Buchanan names is Morgan Davis, the chairman of Humble Oil. This could be a clue but I have never seen Davis linked to the assassination. Maybe other members could help me with this one.


Buchanan claims that JFK was killed by two gunman. One fired from the railroad bridge. Another fired from the Texas School Book Depository. He wore a Dallas Police uniform. Oswald was aware of the conspiracy but did not fire any shots. Oswald believed that Tippit was going to help him escape. However, his real job was to kill him “while resisting arrest”. Oswald, realised what was happening and fired first.

Buchanan claims that Oswald had accomplices from within the Dallas Police Department. They helped him escape from the Texas School Book Depository and helped Ruby kill Oswald.

Buchanan’s account of the political situation in 1963 is masterly. So also his analysis of the Texas economy and the reasons why JFK had to die.

Who Killed Kennedy? by Thomas G. Buchanan is the best book I have read about the assassination. However, that is no doubt been influenced by the fact that I agree with almost every word in the book. If I am right, then we have one of the greatest ironies in history. The mystery was solved by the very first book published on the assassination.

Buchanan is already deceased

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