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If you could ask one living witness anything..

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John, I distinguish an "amateur researcher" from, for example, an assistant U.S attorney with at least ten years of practice or a trained police detective with equivalent experience.

I do not subscribe to the theory that Robert Blakey deliberately messed up the HSCA investigation but I think the other Sprague was hiring the right type of staff members rather than the "green" lawyers and law students who worked on the HSCA (Fonzi being an exception of course).

If I could run it and had the funds, I'd hire the most experienced district attorney who had actually personally litigated the cases and have that person question the witnesses who are still alive.

In saying this I do not mean to denigrate the contributions made by the members of this forum and other assassination researchers not so associated who have unselfishly spent their time poring over documents, etc. Indeed the research that has been so accomplished would be of tremenduos assistance should a trained experienced professional ever get on board.

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Tim, you surely must admit that many of the acknowledged experts on various areas of JFK assassination research began as "amateur researchers" who had the presence of mind to either ask the pertinent questions that weren't being asked or answered, or who questioned the answers that the public was initially given and found a way to dig a bit deeper.

As Jack White has noted, truth is usually the first casualty in interviewing many of these witnesses. As far as your suggestion of an assistant U.S. Attorney, I would have my doubts that he/she would elicit any different results. And why, you might ask, would I entertain these doubts?

Because, in the practice of law, the focus is on winning a case; arriving at the truth is a secondary or tertiary consideration. As a former attorney, you surely have seen a case or two where the complete truth may have been detrimental to the outcome of the case...so much so that the attorney had to control exactly how much of the truth was exposed in order to win the case. [The O.J. Simpson case readily comes to mind in this context.]

I do like your suggestion of a "trained police detective"...particularly one who comes in unbiased. Forty years ago, such an individual who hadn't made up his mind would have been rare; today, many people have no such predisposition to believe in any particular party's guilt or innocence...primarily because, to folks under age 30, this case is considered to be ancient history, with little or no bearing on their day-to-day lives.

To my way of thinking, that's quite the double-edged sword. While they may not have any preconceived notions, they may also bring aboard a hefty dose of apathy in their carry-on luggage.

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Mark, good to have a productive dialogue with you! About time, I should say.

Re attorneys, you miss the distinction that attorneys, through depositions or cross-examination, need to attempt to elicit the truth, and often from witnesses who are quite hostile. In addition, a good attorney is trained at immersing himself or herself in the details of the case.

But a trained detective would also work. I do not think you would need to worry about apathy. Any trained detective would love to be credited with cracking the case.

My point is we ought to try to get the sharpest possible person with years of interrogation experience and have that person question the still-living witnesses.

I also believe in lie detectors and suggest the witnesses ask to submit to polygraph examinations. It would be interesting to see which witnesses would decline.

I would start with the Paines and Marina Oswald.

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Tim wrote:

I would start with the Paines and Marina Oswald.

I concur. I believe they know a lot more than they have ever revealed.

But since I have never been an attorney, I can only base my conclusions upon what I've witnessed...and I stand by my previous statement, that winning the case is most often a higher priority that revealing the truth [note that I said "revealing," rather than "discovering"...important difference.]

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Dawn wrote:

I would like to ask Gerald Ford many questions, and have him answer with the truth as to :why he pardoned Nixon

He did it to get the nation over Watergate.  It was a courageous act and it did help heal the nation.  He knew full well it would probably cost him the presidency, which he did.

Dawn, I assume you know that a few years ago Sen. Edward Kennedy, who had once opposed the pardon, realized from the standpoint of history Ford's decision had been correct and so he and Caroline Kennedy presented Ford with a "Profile in Courage" award (at the JFK presidential library, if I recall correctly).

What is more difficult to understand, of course, is why (unless there were pay-offs involved and there is no evidence there were) Clinton pardoned all the crooks he did as he was leaving office.

Tim, you know where this leads. While Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich was probably the wrong thing to do, and may have been done in order to get a fat contribution for the Dems, his misuse of pardons PALES in comparison to that of Nixon and Bush I. Nixon commuted Jimmy Hoffa's sentence, in exchange for the support of the Teamsters, knowing full well this meant that Hoffa would be locked out of the Teamsters for a given time and the mob would hold onto absolute control as a result. Read Hoffa's memoirs and see what he says about the commutation.

It should also be pointed out that Bush I pardoned men whose upcoming trials would involve him as a material witness. These trials would have revealed that Bush had lied to the American public about his knowledge and involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. ln this way, Bush was even worse than Nixon, who had the opportunity to pardon Haldeman and the boys, but refused.

As for Ford, you're correct that Caroline mentioned him in her update of her father's Profiles in Courage. A close look at the history of his appointment and Nixon's pardon reveals that Ford was made VP precisely because he was middle-roader and would have the credibility to pardon Nixon, and that Haig repeatedly had conversations with Ford about the pardon before Nixon agreed to resign. According to Ford there was no quid pro quo, but this was plausible deniability. When Nixon appointed Ford veep he knew Ford might pardon him if worse came to worse, and when he left office he had every reason to believe this would come to pass.

To his credit, Ford has always insisted that Nixon's acceptance of the pardon was an acknowledgement of guilt--that he had committed crimes. Some Nixon apologists insist there was no such acknowledgement, but Ford disagrees. History will probably show Ford to be an honorable man, but it's far from black and white.

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Replying to Mark Knight's previous post:

I think he is tired of it (and I am concerned that he has a bias) but if Fonzi would agree to be the interrogator . . .His learning curve would be much less than anyone coming fresh to the case.

I also would like to know who sent Diosdado to interview Veciana. That might tell us something.

Mark, can't help myself here. I assume you are of no relationship to a bishop of some notoriety in this case?

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Guest Stephen Turner

I would ask GHW Bush just what he was up to in Dealy Plaza that day.

Am I allowed to use a truth serum,or perhaps a cattle prod?

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Guest Stephen Turner
Stephen, so where is his "familiar face"?  Or was he "badgeman"?

Why oh why would GHWB want to elevate his Texas rival LBJ to the presidency?

Joke Tim, a joke. I dont believe anyone who was involved in planning the assassination would have been in the Plaza, just to risky.

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In my opinion, telephone interviews by amateurs will not work.

How do you define a professional researcher?

However, to respond directly to the question posed, I would ask Raul who the shooters were.  As Dawn would say, if nothing else I am predictable!  Castro may not know; Raul does.

Where is your evidence for this statement? I hope it is not based on one of those amateurish phone calls.

I would ask a special prosecutor to make this list of witnesses to testify under oath in the last investigation of the assassination, and the first "real one."

George H.W. Bush

All living former heads of the intelligence agencies( without recourse to the plausible denial crap)

Ruth and Michael Paine

All living Dallas P.D. personnel on duty that day.

E. Howard Hunt

And I would order the same intel agencies to provide all films and secret documents that haven't already been destroyed. (Obviously I am fantasizing.)

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