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Survivor's Guilt by Vince Palamara


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On November 22nd of this year, Vince Palamara paid a generous tribute to JFK research. Vince has spent many years researching the Secret Service and why they failed to protect the President. The result is his book Survivor's Guilt, which he has now made freely available online:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1.html

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On November 22nd of this year, Vince Palamara paid a generous tribute to JFK research. Vince has spent many years researching the Secret Service and why they failed to protect the President. The result is his book Survivor's Guilt, which he has now made freely available online:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1.html

I think it was Penn Jones Jr. whose advice to new researchers was to choose a subject that interested them and then research the hell out of it. When it comes to the U.S. Secret Service, Vince Palamara has done exactly that.

This internet version of Survivor's Guilt is vastly improved over the self-published 1998 edition, both in terms of organization and content. One has to respect the quality and depth of Palamara's research, whether or not they agree with his conclusions. This internet version of Survivor's Guilt really is more befitting of Vince and his findings.

Thanks to J. Raymond Carroll for posting the link.

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Thanks J. R

Exellent.

With regard to Agents being ordered not to ride on the back of the Limo.

I think that agents were to use there own discretion when it came to mounting the back of the Limo.

Clint Hill said that he did it 4-times during the motorcade each time the motorcycles fell back which left a security gap at the rear of the car.

Was Hill repromanded for doing so. ?

NO, He was honoured for his courage under fire.

IMO. THIS MAN HAS DONE A FINE JOB, AND SHOULD NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT.

Seldom seen photo, showing Clint Hill riding the bumper of the limo on Main st.

He is seen hanging out to his "left" scanning the crowds.

Edited by Robin Unger
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IMO. THIS MAN (Clint Hill) HAS DONE A FINE JOB, AND SHOULD NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT.

The following is excerpted from Palamara's section on Clint Hill: (Extensive footnotes have been deleted)

Despite riding on an automobile that was only a scant five feet away from JFK's slow-moving car (less than 12 mph) at the start of the shooting, Hill could only arrive in time to "protect" Mrs. Kennedy, the person to which he was assigned to protect. Mrs. Kennedy thought highly of Hill, regarding him as the brightest agent on the White House Detail and "one of us." In fact, "Hill had not been scheduled to make the Dallas trip, but came only after Mrs. Kennedy made a personal request." Although Hill was the only agent to overtly respond to the shooting of JFK, and in spite of the award he received for this action, the agent had much survivor's guilt. Mike Wallace asked Hill in 1975: "Is there anything that the Secret Service, or Clint Hill, could have done to keep that [the assassination] from happening?" After a long pause, Hill answered: "Clint Hill, yes." Wallace: "’Clint Hill, yes?’ What do you mean?" Hill, speaking somewhat in the third-person, responded: "If he had reacted about, oh, five-tenths of a second faster, maybe a second faster, I wouldn’t be here today." Wallace: "You mean you would have taken the shot?" Hill: "The third shot, yes, sir." Wallace: "And that would have been alright with you?" Hill: "That would have been fine with me." Wallace: "…you surely don’t have any sense of guilt about that?" Hill: "Yes, I certainly do. I have a great deal of guilt. It was my fault…if I had reacted just a little bit quicker, I could have, I guess…[sigh]…and I’ll live with that to my grave." Hill added: "[The doctors said] I have a severe neurological problem…they recommended psychiatric help…they trace it all back to 1963."

The year 1993 saw a renaissance for Agent Hill---as previously mentioned, the movie "In The Line of Fire" was released, which was a somewhat veiled ‘tribute’ to Hill (and, in the movie, he gets to redeem himself for his failings on 11/22/63). In addition, Clint Hill did an "update" of sorts for the 25th anniversary special for "60 Minutes" during November 1993. Like his appearance on the 1995 documentary "Inside The Secret Service," Hill mentioned that he struggled with guilt for almost 30 years. It was here that Hill picked up the story, the same one he revealed in November 1993 to "60 Minutes": he and his wife went to Dealey Plaza in 1990 (straight from a nearby annual Secret Service reunion, according to Agent Sam Kinney). He walked it for about 2 hours, studying every angle and every possibility. Hill let everything run through his mind. He then came to the conclusion that he did the best that he could, and that he didn't have a chance. Well, regardless of Hill’s newfound feelings on the matter, the real question is: what about agent John Ready’s actions, responsibilities, and feelings? He was unnamed---he was the one responsible for JFK, NOT Hill, assigned to Jackie. The song remains the same.

Many people have empathy for Hill, including many of his colleagues. Agent Lawson wrote to the author: "The thing I am confident of is that, although there were no more shots, Clint saved Mrs. Kennedy’s life by vaulting up on the back of the car using the steps and hand holds and keeping her from falling off. I’m still amazed at how quickly he got up there, didn’t fall and get run over by the heavy Cadillac follow-up car and, more amazingly, how he managed to hang on during that frantic high speed race to Parkland Hospital." However, through photo analysis of the Zapruder film and the Altgen's photo, the author has discovered that Agent Hill was looking directly at JFK upon the moment of the first shot: his guilt is well-founded, for he let several crucial seconds (at least five) go by before belatedly coming to the President's "aid". As author James Hepburn wrote: "Clint Hill, who was later decorated, was the first to move, and it took him 7 or 8 seconds to react. In eight seconds, the average sprinter can cover 80 yards." In addition, photo analysis reveals that Hill did not even push Mrs. Kennedy back into the limousine—she crawled back into the backseat on her own. Also, like Agent Ready, Hill was involved in the drinking incident the night before.

However, in Hill’s defense, at least he tried to do something, Roberts and Boring notwithstanding, and on more than one occasion: 1) his four brief appearances on the back of JFK’s limousine, on Jackie’s side, albeit well before the motorcade reached Dealey Plaza and 2) his attempt to help Jackie and, by extension, JFK, by running to the limousine on Elm Street. Also, Hill later wrote shortly after the assassination: "As I lay over the top of the back seat I noticed a portion of the President's head on the right rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone. I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat…[during the autopsy] I observed a wound about six inches down from the neckline on the back just to the right of the spinal column. I observed another wound on the right rear portion of the skull." In addition, Hill later testified to the Warren Commission’s Arlen Specter on 3/9/64: "The right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the rear seat of the car. His brain was exposed. There was blood and bits of brain all over the entire rear portion of the car…one large gaping wound in the right rear portion of the head…[later, during the autopsy] I saw an opening in the back, about 6 inches below the neckline to the right-hand side of the spinal column." From Hill’s description of the wounds, it would appear that a shot from the front killed JFK (entrance wounds make small holes while exit wounds make larger holes) AND that a wound too low to come from Oswald’s rifle hit the president in the back, not the neck.

That said, Hill later said on national television: "There were only 3 shots---one gun, 3 shots." Interviewer: "Are you satisfied that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?" Hill: "Completely."

Hill’s White House Communications Agency (WHCA) code name was Dazzle.

Conclusion – Like Kellerman, Hill was a "patsy," set-up via the security test of 11/22/63.

In my opinion, the above typifies the splendid quality of Palamara's research.

Edited by Michael Hogan
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Ray,

Thanks for that, much appreciated. Palamara is one of the great researchers, IMO. Even more so for the fact that he has dared to investigate an area which many researchers seem reluctant to touch. I've never understood why the SS should be regarded as a protected species when other agencies like the FBI and CIA are (rightly) subjected to rigorous scrutiny. The Secret Service are entitled to the same protection as they afforded to JFK in Dallas---bugger all.

Notwithstanding Clint Hill's criticism of Vince, I agree with Robin that Hill's performance in Dallas was beyond reproach, ditto Henry Rybka and others. However, it's clear that something was wrong with the SS that day and the actions of all the agents, and everyone else involved in the motorcade, should be critically analysed without fear or favor.

It's great to have Palamara's entire text in one place, rather than searching through bits and pieces.

Robin and Richard, thanks for the photo and closeup.

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...

That said, Hill later said on national television: "There were only 3 shots---one gun, 3 shots." Interviewer: "Are you satisfied that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?" Hill: "Completely."

Hill’s White House Communications Agency (WHCA) code name was Dazzle.

Conclusion – Like Kellerman, Hill was a "patsy," set-up via the security test of 11/22/63. [/indent]

In my opinion, the above typifies the splendid quality of Palamara's research.

Well I'm really puzzled here. I've read a fair amount of Palamara's research and I disagree with his conclusions about Kellerman. So many sources show Kellerman's behavior to be beyond suspicious that I just have to wonder if Palamara saw these sources. He gives a brief review of about every JFK assassination book on Amazon, so I doubt he missed seeing the books.

And he gives a glowing review to "Ultimate Sacrifice," which I consider the official bible of the mob dunnit sect bent on advancing the official post HSCA mythology, which also makes me wonder. Here's part of what he wrote:

""Ultimate Sacrifice" is THE ultimate book on the JFK case (with a nod to Larry Hancock's "Someone Would Have Talked" as a very nice companion volume)!

Not only is it very well written and put together (and lengthy: over 900 pages!), it is extremely well documented and thought out. There is no other way to put it: forget all the many "theories" on the case put forward by others, however well meaning---"Ultimate Sacrifice" puts forward solid FACTS via HISTORIANS, utilizing a vast trove of (new) documents and unique-to-the-authors' knowledge obtained from Kennedy insiders, among many others.

There WAS indeed a conspiracy involved in the death of JFK...and "Ultimate Sacrifice" lays out the 'who', the 'what', and the 'why' better than any book I have ever seen. Get this book asap! ""

Yup, the mob dunnit. :ph34r:

Kellerman, in particular, seems dirty as hell. In "Trauma Room 1" he's consistently shown as the "thug" who is in charge of stealing President Kennedy's body from Parkland. He actually pulls a machine gun on the doctors and officials attempting to prevent the theft, and Dr Crenshaw, the author, feels certain he would have killed anyone in his way.

In "Body of Evidence" Kellerman is shown, in a transcript, to be actively arranging the diversion of the body to Walter Reed (for alteration) as the empty casket goes to Bethesda.

Kellerman's behavior during the Dallas trip was outrageous. He sat and watched Kennedy die as his counterpart SS agent in LBJ's SS car supposedly shielded his charge.

Do you guys agree with Palamara's assessment of Kellerman as a "patsy"?

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...

That said, Hill later said on national television: "There were only 3 shots---one gun, 3 shots." Interviewer: "Are you satisfied that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?" Hill: "Completely."

Hill’s White House Communications Agency (WHCA) code name was Dazzle.

Conclusion – Like Kellerman, Hill was a "patsy," set-up via the security test of 11/22/63. [/indent]

In my opinion, the above typifies the splendid quality of Palamara's research.

Well I'm really puzzled here. I've read a fair amount of Palamara's research and I disagree with his conclusions about Kellerman. So many sources show Kellerman's behavior to be beyond suspicious that I just have to wonder if Palamara saw these sources. He gives a brief review of about every JFK assassination book on Amazon, so I doubt he missed seeing the books.

And he gives a glowing review to "Ultimate Sacrifice," which I consider the official bible of the mob dunnit sect bent on advancing the official post HSCA mythology, which also makes me wonder. Here's part of what he wrote:

""Ultimate Sacrifice" is THE ultimate book on the JFK case (with a nod to Larry Hancock's "Someone Would Have Talked" as a very nice companion volume)!

Not only is it very well written and put together (and lengthy: over 900 pages!), it is extremely well documented and thought out. There is no other way to put it: forget all the many "theories" on the case put forward by others, however well meaning---"Ultimate Sacrifice" puts forward solid FACTS via HISTORIANS, utilizing a vast trove of (new) documents and unique-to-the-authors' knowledge obtained from Kennedy insiders, among many others.

There WAS indeed a conspiracy involved in the death of JFK...and "Ultimate Sacrifice" lays out the 'who', the 'what', and the 'why' better than any book I have ever seen. Get this book asap! ""

Yup, the mob dunnit. :ph34r:

Kellerman, in particular, seems dirty as hell. In "Trauma Room 1" he's consistently shown as the "thug" who is in charge of stealing President Kennedy's body from Parkland. He actually pulls a machine gun on the doctors and officials attempting to prevent the theft, and Dr Crenshaw, the author, feels certain he would have killed anyone in his way.

In "Body of Evidence" Kellerman is shown, in a transcript, to be actively arranging the diversion of the body to Walter Reed (for alteration) as the empty casket goes to Bethesda.

Kellerman's behavior during the Dallas trip was outrageous. He sat and watched Kennedy die as his counterpart SS agent in LBJ's SS car supposedly shielded his charge.

[qoute]Do you guys agree with Palamara's assessment of Kellerman as a "patsy"?

[/qoute]

I am confused by Palamara's "conclusion". Kellerman was a trained agent and soon became the thug at Parkland Hospital when the body was illegally taken to Washington from Texas. No matter what silly story ( security stripping) is floated about that day, all bets were off! Shots were fired. It was the real thing, it was time to do one's job of protecting the President. Kellerman just sat in his front seat for over 6 seconds until he was sure Kennedy was dead. The Secret Service Agents were active participants in the killing. Hill had plenty of time to get to JFK. It was just a show. Greer could have driven away, and Rybka and another Agent were left behind AT THE AIPORT. And although there were eight agents in the follow up car, none came to the aid of the President, none were jogging beside him, and not one Agent moved until it was too late. While at the same time, LBJ's people were ALL over him.

Let's not gloss over this.

In the famous picture of Hill on the back of the car , do you see all those people on the triple overpass? What are they doing there? Is it within the guidelines of protection to have these people in this position? In the Altgen's pictures , we can see the motorcade " boxed in" , I mean there are people on fire escapes in front of and behind the motorcade! They seem to be just watching, and a what a view indeed!

Edited by Peter McGuire
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Myra, I don't believe anyone in the SS was in on the killing, per se, but I do believe that a number of them helped cover-up some things, e.g. the clean-up of the limo outside Parkland. This may have been done to save the administration some embarrassment, but either way it was wrong. The main reason I don't believe any of them was in on the killing is that the earliest statements of the agents in the motorcade almost all suggest a second shooter. Most, including Kellerman, heard the last two shots on top of each other. They knew enough about weapons to know that Oswald could not have made these sounds with his bolt action rifle. The real shame is that, to help protect the new president, they kept quiet for so long afterwards. I would prefer to live in a world where the president's bodyguards would do their utmost to make sure his assassins were brought to justice, and not just role over when the new president puts the squeeze on them to shut up. Sadly, this is not that world.

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That said, Hill later said on national television: "There were only 3 shots---one gun, 3 shots." Interviewer: "Are you satisfied that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?" Hill: "Completely."

Hill’s White House Communications Agency (WHCA) code name was Dazzle.

Conclusion – Like Kellerman, Hill was a "patsy," set-up via the security test of 11/22/63.

In my opinion, the above typifies the splendid quality of Palamara's research.

Well I'm really puzzled here. I've read a fair amount of Palamara's research and I disagree with his conclusions about Kellerman.......

Do you guys agree with Palamara's assessment of Kellerman as a "patsy"?

Hi Myra,

I just want to make it clear that when I referenced "the above," I was referring to Palamara's actual research on Clint Hill more than his conclusion (which I separated by putting in bold).

In a previous post in this thread I wrote:

One has to respect the quality and depth of Palamara's research, whether or not they agree with his conclusions.

Ultimate Sacrifice, Best Evidence and Final Judgement are three works that come to mind (there are plenty of others), where the author's conclusions may or may not stand the test, yet much of their research may still be valuable.

As I'm sure you're aware, Palamara has reviewed dozens of books on Amazon, almost always mentioning Ultimate Sacrifice in the most glowing terms. In my opinion, this has no bearing on his Secret Service research. Even Larry Hancock cites Waldron's work in his acknowledgements. Larry writes:

....Vince Palamara's dogged research on Secret Service protection of the President and his recording of what the agents would and would not say [and] Lamar Waldron's work on the supression of Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden's information.

Palamara did not absolve Clint Hill. In the part of my post you didn't reproduce, he wrote:

....his [Hill's] guilt is well-founded, for he let several crucial seconds (at least five) go by before belatedly coming to the President's "aid". As author James Hepburn wrote: "Clint Hill, who was later decorated, was the first to move, and it took him 7 or 8 seconds to react. In eight seconds, the average sprinter can cover 80 yards." In addition, photo analysis reveals that Hill did not even push Mrs. Kennedy back into the limousine—she crawled back into the backseat on her own. Also, like Agent Ready, Hill was involved in the drinking incident the night before.

I'm going to go back and read what Palamara had to say about Kellerman.

I just did. This is some of what Palamara writes about Kellerman:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1/v4n1chapter10.pdf

Palamara modestly includes what others say about him:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1/v4n1praise.pdf

Edited by Michael Hogan
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I just want to make it clear that when I referenced "the above," I was referring to Palamara's actual research on Clint Hill more than his conclusion (which I separated by putting in bold).

Yes, it's clear. Thanks. And it's this very assessment of Kellerman that makes me wonder why Palamara ignored the the transcript of Kellerman arranging for the body to go to a different hospital than the casket, in "Best Evidence." On Amazon Palamara claims that Best Evidence has been largly debunked, but doesn't give specifics. He cites Livingstone as the debunker, but doesn't name the book, and Livingstone has many books on President Kennedy's killing.

Ultimate Sacrifice, Best Evidence and Final Judgement are three works that come to mind (there are plenty of others), where the author's conclusions may or may not stand the test, yet much of their research may still be valuable.

I don't need convincing that Ultimate Sacrifice lacks value. And, in fact, Palamara's endorsement of Ultimate Sacrifice is one of the red flags about him. I consider that book to be out and out disinformation, a mob dunnit smokescreen.

I'd love to hear why you think Best Evidence and Final Judgement are getting obsolete, if it's not too much work for you. Can you name just a couple of specifics that have been debunked? No point in wasting time reading Final Judgement if there's a negative concensus about it's worth.

Do you accept Lifton's premise that the President's body was hustled off to Walter Reed for alteration while the empty casket went to Bethesda? That's one of his more significant conclusions, and I accept it. I can't think of a better explanation for the changes to the body. And it certainly explains why they wouldn't start the oath until Jackie was there... away from the coffin.

Palamara did not absolve Clint Hill. In the part of my post you didn't reproduce, he wrote:

I do appreciate his criticisims of Hill, and in fact it's impacted my opinion of Hill. I've come away with a negative assessment of all the SS guys, even Rybka for his cover up work after the fact. And the fact that Hill went on the drinking binge makes him totally scummy in my view. There's no excuse.

I'm going to go back and read what Palamara had to say about Kellerman.

I just did. This is some of what Palamara writes about Kellerman:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1/v4n1chapter10.pdf

Thanks for the link. I did read it and I appreciate the good compilations of pros and cons for each agent. In fact I'll probably read some more. He does compile some good info, though it's hardly exhaustive (based on his ommission of the transcript testimony from Best Evidence.)

In fact one reason why I care about his verdict on Kellerman is that I think he's dirty so he's sort of a litmis test for Palamara's credibility. But Palamara rattles of a laundry list of contradictions in Kellerman's testimony and remarks, then gives a terse conclusion that he's a patsy without any explanation. I think there's enough there to conclude the opposite. At the very least I'd think Kellerman is inconclusive. But stating he's a patsy seems overly generous. Granted it's likely just a difference of opinion, but since Palamara doesn't explain his verdict it's hard to debate.

I'm relieved to see that Palamara concluded that Emery Roberts was dodgy. Roberts is the biggest litmus test. If someone tried to tell me he was clean they'd lose all credibility.

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And it's this very assessment of Kellerman that makes me wonder why Palamara ignored the the transcript of Kellerman arranging for the body to go to a different hospital than the casket....

In his chapter entitled Motives, Palamara lists 30 summary points that support his thesis of a "security stripping test." Then he continues:

In addition to the 30 summary points listed above, the following 18 summary points also deserve attention:

1. JFK's body in Dallas - stolen by the Secret Service against the wishes of the Coroner, Chief Curry, and most importantly, Texas law.

2. JFK's body at Andrews AFB - stolen by the Secret Service from the U. S. Army.

3. JFK's body at Bethesda - attended to by an unwarranted Secret Service chauffeur (Greer) and an equally unwarranted supervisor (Kellerman) who were not relieved despite being on duty since early that morning. The chauffeur gave an unqualified thesis to the doctors, and the supervisor biased the examination by pointing out the number of shots fired.
I'd love to hear why you think Best Evidence and Final Judgement are getting obsolete, if it's not too much work for you. Can you name just a couple of specifics that have been debunked? No point in wasting time reading Final Judgement if there's a negative concensus about it's worth.

I think Best Evidence and Final Judgement are very important books and consider them essential reading. I chose them as examples, because in both cases the authors make strong, controversial claims. As you probably know, there have been extensive discussions about Piper's alleged views, with little emphasis on what he actually wrote in his book. Mark Stapleton is in the midst of posting his summary of Final Judgement elsewhere on this Forum. I have always considered Best Evidence a classic. I do not know if all of Lifton's claims are accurate, but in general, his theory makes sense to me. In summary, I do not think either book is obsolete. Far from it.

Do you accept Lifton's premise that the President's body was hustled off to Walter Reed for alteration while the empty casket went to Bethesda?

I tend to accept that premise. Did it happen? Of course, I don't know.

Palamara rattles of a laundry list of contradictions in Kellerman's testimony and remarks, then gives a terse conclusion that he's a patsy without any explanation. I think there's enough there to conclude the opposite.

I think there may be information contained elsewhere in the book that explains why Palamara reached the conclusions that he did.

Myra, your post was thoughful and reasoned and I don't specifically disagree with anything you wrote.

Well, maybe one thing - I think Ultimate Sacrifice does not lack value, even though I don't agree with the authors' final conclusion(s).

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