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Gary Cornwall and the JFK Assassination


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Thought members would be interested in reading this interview with Gary Cornwell. I will try and persuade him to discuss his book on the Forum.

http://thecelebritycafe.com/interviews/200...y_cornwell.html

Cornwell, Gary - Author, JFK Conspiracy Theorist

By: Dominick A. Miserandino

DM) You were on the committee investigating Kennedy's assassination. What in your career led up to being invited to be on this committee?

GC) For the preceding seven years I had been with the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. During the later years of that period, I served as the Strike Force Chief in Kansas City. In that capacity I handled all of the Justice Department's investigations, trials and appeals of cases against the Mafia in a multi-state region surrounding Kansas City. Many of the statutes that we used during those years were written by Bob Blakey, while he served as Senator McClellan's Chief Counsel in the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1969-70. From 1970 to 1977, I frequently visited with Blakey about the legislative history and other legal issues surrounding those statutes. In the summer of 1977, I decided to leave the Justice Department and was passing through Houston on my way to a vacation in Alaska -- I had taken no vacation for the preceding seven years -- and, Blakey, coincidentally, at the same time had been appointed chief counsel for the Select Committee on Assassinations. Blakey tracked me down in Houston and asked me to come to Washington and run the Kennedy investigation for the Committee. Although I initially turned down the job, a few weeks later I agreed, and ultimately I started work as the Deputy Chief Counsel for the Select Committee on Assassinations on Sept. 1, 1977.

DM) Why did you initially turn down the job?

GC) Primarily because I am really not politically inclined, and I wasn't interested in having to struggle with the political process to be able to conduct an effective investigation. I changed my mind only after Bob Blakey assured me that if I took the job, I would be free to conduct the investigation and would receive all of the support I needed to do it right, and that he would handle the committee and political end. There are, obviously, very few people who could make such a promise and keep it, but Bob is one of them, and in the end, he did.

DM) Why was the investigative committee not made as public as the main investigation?

GC) There are probably several explanations, but the main reason seems to be that the major news media did not like the most significant finding of the Select Committee, which was that the "blue ribbon" Warren Commission deliberately failed to investigate the issue of conspiracy in 1963-64. That finding was not popular, even though the evidence supporting it was overwhelming, and even though the fact deserved to be recognized and understood by the American public. In fact, the Kennedy case has become folklore and fiction, because the Warren Commission did not solve the case when the opportunity to solve it existed. Rather than reporting this truth, the media have generally opted to criticize the "wild theories" that have been developed over the years to fill the void left by the original investigation, instead of honestly placing the blame where it belongs, on the Warren Commission and the FBI.

The Select Committee also found that there was scientific evidence proving to a reasonable probability that there was a conspiracy. That finding was also not very warmly greeted.

Even today, 35 years after the fact, significant irrational acceptance of the Warren Commission report remains in the major media. The Posner book of some years ago (Case Closed) received rave reviews from the established media, even though the basic premise of the book is totally unsupportable nonsense. Anyone who tells you the case is closed, and that there was no conspiracy, assumes the obvious burden of identifying the investigation that was competent and thorough enough to negate the possibility of conspiracy. Proving a negative is always difficult. It is one thing to muster the evidence and create a reasonable argument that Oswald was involved. That's relatively simple (in spite of the many disagreements over even that issue). It is quite another thing to disprove the very real possibilities of conspiracy that undeniably require resolution in the Kennedy case in order to say with any confidence that there was no conspiracy. The one thing that can be said about the Kennedy case with absolute certainty is that the Warren Commission's so-called "conspiracy" investigation was a farce: When they told us they had conducted a thorough and complete investigation, that was a blatant lie. And since the only other major investigation that has ever been conducted, that of the Select Committee, certainly did not negate the possibility of conspiracy, the proposition "case closed" remains as completely unsupportable today as it was when originally announced in 1964.

In contrast to the widespread acclaim for Case Closed, the major news media have been relatively uninterested in Real Answers. To cite but one example, Texas Monthly did a cover story on the Kennedy case last November. One of the two senior editors who put the piece together read Real Answers, interviewed me for four hours, said he loved the book and that it was one of the best books on the Kennedy case he had ever read, and he wrote it up to be the center piece of the Texas Monthly story. Then, the editor-in-chief of the magazine cut every word about Real Answers from the article. Even the senior editor's threats to quit the magazine in anger over the issue did not prevail. In the end, Real Answers was never mentioned in the article because Real Answers tells the real story about the Warren Commission, and that has never been a popular story with the major news media in our country.

DM) Still, it would seem that there is pretty strong opposition to your book. I'd have to imagine that some major news outlets would be dying to publicize it more?

GC) I have received quite a bit of media coverage. I have been on over 100 radio and TV talk shows and news programs all across the country, and that was in spite of the fact that my book was competing with the impeachment coverage during November, December and January, when I was promoting it. In addition, Dateline NBC is working on a piece that they still plan to run sometime this year. But what I said is still true: there has always been, and obviously still is, a reluctance in much of the major media to admit that the Warren Commission report was a lie.

DM) I've heard stories that there is a conspiracy telling the media what to report on and what not to report on. Do you think that's true?

GC) If you mean "conspiracy" in the sense of a criminal agreement to commit illegal acts (its usual meaning), then I would say no. However, I do believe that the media is, unfortunately, often driven more by its own self-interests than by a search for the truth --just as most people, and most businesses unfortunately see the world through the myopic view of their own self-interest. Thus, reporting often is more a reflection of the media's perception of what will sell, of the views of their owners and of their major advertisers, and of the views of the world that the reporters and editors desire to promote. In that sense, the process of "reporting the news" gets distorted by the informal, tacit agreements to promote the "views of the truth" that are of benefit to the news media and those who financially support it. Such informal, tacit agreements between groups of people can also be legitimately described as "conspiracies." In Real Answers, I talk a lot about this phenomenon, because I believe that it is one of the greatest lessons about life that we can learn from studying the Kennedy case.

DM) When do you think the public will learn the truth about the Kennedy assassination?

GC) The Assassinations Records Review Board has just recently completed its review and declassification of hundreds of thousands of additional federal government records relating to the case. Those records, over time, will undoubtedly shed new light on the case. In addition, further analysis of the Dallas Police Department tape recording, upon which the Select Committee concluded that four shots were fired, may shed new light on the question of what really occurred in Dealey Plaza. But realistically, the ultimate answers are not likely to be uncovered by any amount of additional private investigation. The hundreds of books that have been and continue to be written on the subject do not tell "the truth" primarily because the case is just too big and complicated to be effectively investigated, other than through the resources possessed by the government (subpoena power, search warrants, massive investigative resources and expertise), and after all these years, even an official investigation would face probably insurmountable obstacles. What sells books, understandably, is everyone's desire for ultimate answers, so almost every new book purports to "finally solve the case" -- either some new conspiracy theory, or some new "Oswald did it alone" rationalization. But the honest truth is that we will probably never "solve" the case. The case should have been solved in 1963 and 1964, and because the government decided not to look for the real answers when it had the chance, the opportunity was probably lost forever. That sobering truth is not what most people want to hear -- not the private researchers, not those whose buy books about the Kennedy case, and not the news media. In that sense, it may be hard to say when the public "will learn" the truth, but for those who are willing to listen, "the truth about the Kennedy assassination" is available now.

DM) But I didn't think it was known yet who is responsible for the conspiracy.

GC) You are right, and that is "the truth" that I am talking about--that is "the truth" that most people simply do not want to hear. "The truth" is that we don t know the scope of the conspiracy; we will in all probability never know the scope of the conspiracy, and the shocking reason is that our government secretly decided not to discover the scope of the conspiracy when it had a chance to do so. What most people (and the media) prefer to hear is not the truth, but simply what makes them feel better. They would rather watch movies like "JFK", pure Hollywood imaginings devoid of any evidentiary support, because they offer a "solution" to the case, and often also because they "confirm" a preconceived view of the world that we have developed quite independent of any study of the Kennedy case. Those who for their own independent reasons want to believe that our government is composed of criminals readily accept Oliver Stone's irresponsible suggestion that the government conspired to kill our President, and really couldn't care less that there has never been any evidence to support that conclusion. Even for those who want to believe the worst about the officials who run our government, however, you would think that the real story (the one based on actual evidence) about what our government did in 1963-64 would be a sufficiently shocking story for Hollywood to tell. The real story, however, falls short of satisfaction because it is, in the end, inconclusive. It may teach us about life, it may be something we can learn from, it may be reality, but it is not satisfying. Only movies like "JFK" and the many new books that come out every year "solving" the case, sell really well. Whether it is some new conspiracy solution or a lie like Case Closed, which "solves the case" with the conclusion that Oswald acted alone, it is the conclusion to it all that makes us feel better.

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Thought members would be interested in reading this interview with Gary Cornwell. I will try and persuade him to discuss his book on the Forum.

"The truth" is that we don t know the scope of the conspiracy

I was impressed by Cornwell's presentation at the 2003 Duquesne conference. It showed a degree of humility that is very rare. Cornwell told the Duquesne audience that "the only thing we know for certain is that JFK was murdered in Dallas on Nov. 22nd 1963."

That is almost verbatim what Leo Sauvage cabled his editor in Paris after concluding his intial investigation in Dallas in November 1963.

We've come a long way, no doubt, but it seems we have a ways to go.

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In that very interesting interview (The interviewer Dominick A. Miserandino asked great questions) Gary Cornwall confirmed that he is astute, informed, reasoned and articulate. I found myself agreeing with most everything he said.

But near the end of the interview Mr Cornwall allowed: ".....we will in all probability never know the scope of the conspiracy, and the shocking reason is that our government secretly decided not to discover the scope of the conspiracy when it had a chance to do so.....

.....Those who for their own independent reasons want to believe that our government is composed of criminals readily accept Oliver Stone's irresponsible suggestion that the government conspired to kill our President, and really couldn't care less that there has never been any evidence to support that conclusion."

Two things occur to me. It was criminal that elements within our government did what Mr. Cornwall said they did. Therefore, by definition, elements of our government were "composed of criminals."

I only thought that Oliver Stone suggested that elements within our government conspired to kill President Kennedy. And I believe that there is evidence that supports that conclusion.

If the HSCA did not solve the riddle of President Kennedy's murder in 1978, Stone could hardly be expected to do so 14 years later. Stone often said in so many words that his work was fiction, a confluence of many divergent theories. Cornwell also said that "JFK was pure Hollywood imaginings devoid of any evidentiary support."

Even if one concedes the above to Mr. Cornwell, Stone's artistic vision of President Kennedy's murder was, in my opinion, a major positive event in the search for answers in this case. The ensuing publicity, both pro and con, made it financially viable for books to be published and re-released and politically viable for records hidden by our government to be released. In addition, Stone's movie helped inspire a new generation of researchers. Stone could never have satisfied everyone's versions of the truth, and he was smart enough not to try.

In his excellent book Real Answers, Gary Cornwell says:

"In short, the Kennedy case is perhaps the greatest murder mysteries(sic?) of all time because of the extraordinary magnitude of evidence and plausible possible solutions ---"a solution for everyone"---and the inability to narrow the possible theories down to probabilities upon a basis of motive, means, and opportunity and means analysis. In fact the principal result of continued investigation and the search for better and more definitive evidence has been the expansion of possible solutions, not the elimination of them. This may be the final irony of the Kennedy case, the explantion for its continued life, and the reason that interest in it will never die. In most murder cases, more evidence is a help in solving the case, since it tends to eliminate possible suspects, and produce probable answers about the identity of the true perpetrator. In the Kennedy case, as more evidence is gathered, more theories will always be forthcoming, because the number of suspects that had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to kill the president---even if not actually infinite---is certainly interminable."

Edited by Michael Hogan
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"What most people (and the media) prefer to hear is not the truth, but simply what makes them feel better."

Amen. Blessed are those who have made peace with their ignorance -- and those who cannot be aroused from their dogmatic slumber by facts, however incontrovertible they may be. The rest of us poke, with compasses good and bad, poke around for "the truth" in the night in which all cows are black.

Thank you Uncle Sam -- and you too, Uncle Walter.

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"... In the Kennedy case, as more evidence is gathered, more theories will always be forthcoming, because the number of suspects that had the motive, the opportunity, and the means to kill the president---even if not actually infinite---is certainly interminable."

I'm reminded of something Fletcher Prouty said in TMWKK - along the lines, that - although many would have had the means and the motive to kill the President - only a select few would have had the power, authority and ability to orchestrate and implement such a massive cover-up.

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I have just finished reading Real Answers. It is one of the most rational books I have read on the assassination with only one major flaw (the way he deals with the evidence that Oswald was one of the gunmen). I think it is probably the best book available to give someone who believes in the "lone gunman" theory. I have invited him to answer questions on the book on the Forum.

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