A report this week that several key former staffers of the last official assassination investigations of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) have sued the CIA shows the continued vitality of such probes and the need for CAPA’s ongoing summary of political assassination news from around the world.
As amplified below, Courthouse News reporter Brandi Buchman reported on July 20 a significant development under the headline JFK Researchers Demand CIA Records on Themselves. “Investigators once tasked with examining the assassination of President John F. Kennedy claim in court that the CIA won’t respond to requests for records it might have on covert surveillance of them,” she reported. Among the plaintiff was former HSCA General Counsel G. Robert Blakey, shown in a file photo, and his former staffer Dan Hardway, now a director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC).
The big story is, of course, their lawsuit and its implication that the CIA, forbidden by its charter from domestic U.S. activities, might have illegally surveilled employees of Congress attempting to fulfill that body’s Constitutionally protected oversight functions. In this case, those congressional functions involved no less than reevaluating the true circumstances of the assassination of a president and of civil rights leader Martin Luthcr King, Jr., slain in 1968.
If the CIA continues to resist disclosure of its activities from the late 1970s and early 1980s when the HSCA was working, as last week’s news report implies, then these are current issues, not simply historical ones.
The updated “News and Views” feature of the Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) website publishes excerpts and URL links to such stories to help researchers, reporters, officials and activists stay current on such issues. Our reports fill a void created by the unwillingness of traditional mainstream media to provide more than highly sporadic and often slanted reporting such topics, which are usually ignored under the guise that only deranged “conspiracy theorists” might be interested in “political assassinations.”
In fact, even the official versions of the deaths of such iconic figures as the Kennedy Brothers would place them in the category of “political.” These the mainstream media’s denigration of the entire field of research as unworthy of notice for the most part smacks more of cover up than any principled and professional practices, at least regarding such a sensitive topic as elimination of political leaders.
This site thus invites reader participation to fill the void. Kindly submit suggested news items to CAPA’s website editor Andrew Kreig in the format reflected below. Shown below are CAPA’s introduction to the segment, which can be found here, at the section of the focused on July-December news and views during 2017. Shown below also are news links for July, as of today’s date July 22, 2017.
Editor’s Choice: This Month’s News & Views
This archive of assassination-related news and commentary for the calendar year 2017 from July through December is a joint project between CAPA and the Justice Integrity Project. The material below consists of selected excerpts from significant news stories or commentaries regarding alleged political assassinations or attempts. The materials are arranged in reverse chronological order and focus primarily upon news arising from the 1960s murders of President John F. Kennedy (shown in a file photo), his brother Robert Kennedy, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Included also are several reports regarding other alleged political murders of prominent international leaders, or attempts.
CAPA welcomes your submission of additional items or any comments (including corrections) of items listed below. It is requested that new items be submitted in the format below: Publication name, headline with hotlink to URL, author, date, and brief excerpt. Correspondence should be sent to this site’s editor, Andrew Kreig, via email.
OpEdNews, “I have a lingering desire to see justice”: Dr. William F. Pepper on the Murder of Three 20th-century Heroes, Marta Steele, July 21, 2017. Dr. William F. Pepper (shown in a photo by Marta Steele) believes that the best way to move forward is to learn from the past. He is working on a new book that traces assassinations of high-powered rulers from ancient Sumeria through to the present.
Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Pepper told attendees of a press conference he held July 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. His focus was what moderator Andrew Kreig called “an exceptional slice of history”: the assassinations of two of the prolific author’s close friends, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
The real story hasn’t been told, he said. The public doesn’t know it. But the immediate purpose this morning was to announce his 200-page petition to the Organization of American States (OAS) human rights body “to obtain under treaty rights a new trial for Sirhan Sirhan or the kind of evidentiary hearing that California and other U.S. authorities have denied him.”
Since 2007, Pepper has been working to have RFK’s alleged assassin, Sirhan Sirhan (shown in a California prison mug shot), exonerated. He has collected reams of evidence to prove that Sirhan’s shots did not kill Kennedy. The lethal shot was to the back of his head, by another culprit still not brought to justice, he said.
Similarly, the JFK assassination has been proved to have been carried out by others in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald. The “Camelot” president had, in his brief tenure, antagonized a host of powerful entities because of “radical” policies like wanting to vacate U.S. troops from Vietnam, overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba without using U.S. troops, force the resignation of war-mongering CIA and Pentagon leaders, promote desegregation, prosecute Mafia leaders, and review the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and oil depletion allowance.
He said to expect many books on the subject next year, which will contain but “a small hint of what happened.”
Hausfrauleaks, Sirhan Sirhan: A “Reel Bad” Arab? J. Michael Springmann, July 21, 2017. (Michael Springmann, shown in a portrait, is an author (“Visas for Al Qaeda” and this year’s “Chaos In Europe”), attorney and former U.S. State Department diplomat.)
On July 20, 2017, William F. Pepper, Ed.D., J.D., spoke at the National Press Club about his previous day’s filing of a 200-page petition regarding Sirhan Sirhan. Sirhan, jailed since 1968, is the alleged killer of Robert F. Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate. Organized by Andrew Kreig, J.D., editor of the Justice Integrity Project [and a CAPA board member and PR committee chair], the well-attended conference enabled Dr. Pepper to discuss his long-sought evidentiary hearing on behalf of Sirhan.
As Sirhan’s lawyer for many years, Pepper conceded that the legal remedies for his client in the United States have been exhausted at both the State and federal levels. California, where Kennedy had been murdered in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen, did not assure a fair trial. Essentially, ineffective assistance of counsel got the accused wrongly convicted. Grant Cooper, his attorney, under threat of a sealed felony indictment, did almost nothing to defend Sirhan. He failed to investigate the matter, obtain the autopsy report, or examine ballistics tests. He spent most of the court proceedings arguing that Sirhan was guilty and, that because of diminished capacity, should not be given the death penalty.
Despite Andrew Kreig’s extensive and most vigorous efforts, only a few members of the press turned up at the conference: an intern from the Washington Times, a representative from Al-Mayadeen TV of Beirut, along with a knowledgeable White House correspondent for an alternative news site. This appeared to validate Pepper’s view of the heavily-managed American media. And it bodes ill for what seems to be the attorney’s goal in filing with the OAS: to generate enough adverse publicity to force the United States to re-examine the questionable trial of Sirhan Sirhan. Indeed, a casual search of the Internet turns up a number of references about “conspiracies” revolving around the problematically convicted Sirhan.
Courthouse News, JFK Researchers Demand CIA Records on Themselves, Brandi Buchman, July 20, 2017. Investigators once tasked with examining the assassination of President John F. Kennedy claim in court that the CIA won’t respond to requests for records it might have on covert surveillance of them.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C. federal court, Dan Hardway, Edwin Lopez and G. Robert Blakey say they filed a Freedom of Information Act request in May, requesting “201 files” or “soft files” on themselves. Hardway, Lopez and Blakey also requested the CIA turn over any “p files,” or surveillance records, maintained at the Office of Security.
[Blakey, shown at left, was general counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) created by Congress to re-investigate the 1963 Kennedy assassination and the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hardway and Lopez were staff members who worked in part on especially sensitive matters related to claims involving accused JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s purported activities in Mexico.]
Specifically, the plaintiffs want records about surveillance on themselves conducted in Mexico, Cuba and the U.S., including any surveillance of interactions between them and “members or representatives of the Cuban Interest Section, or other representatives of the Cuban government,” according to the lawsuit.
In addition to records about surveillance on themselves, they also want CIA surveillance records on Gateon Fonzi. Asking for electronic, telephonic, mechanical, digital, video or any other physical observation, Hardway, Lopez and Blakey say their request is limited to files generated between 1976 and 1979. The request seeks “operational and non-operational files, records, information and materials including but not limited to counterintelligence and autonomous operations, regarding operations aimed at, targeting or related to the [HSCA],” according to the complaint, including “search slips, search instructions, routing slip and forms, memoranda, letters, telephone messages, email” and any other form of written communication about them.
Hardway (shown in a file photo), Lopez and Blakey – joined by the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Maryland that Hardway leads – claim the CIA has not responded to their May FOIA request. The plaintiffs want an inventory list describing all of the information and materials the CIA finds. They also seek a court order that any records deemed to be exempt from disclosure be preserved by the CIA until the court authorizes their destruction or release. They are represented by attorney James Lesar of Silver Spring, Md.
The CIA declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.
The 5th Estate (published in Jakarta and edited by Robert Finnegan), RFK assassination expert to speak at National Press Club July 19 and 20, Dr. Cyril Wecht (shown in a file photo), July 19, 2017. ” I strongly endorse and support the petition that Attorney William Pepper is submitting to the Organization of American States seeking a new trial for Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted for the 1968 killing of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
As an official consultant in forensic pathology to Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the Los Angeles Chief Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Senator Kennedy, I had the opportunity to visit the shooting scene at the Ambassador Hotel and subsequently review and analyze all the relevant forensic scientific evidence and investigative findings in this matter. Based upon all the objective, indisputable physical and forensic evidence, there can be no doubt that Sirhan did not fire the bullet that caused Senator Kennedy’s death.”
Justice Integrity Project, Andrew Kreig, July 16, 2017. Dr. William F. Pepper, the noted human rights lawyer, author, and attorney who has defended the convicted killers of his friends Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will speak July 19 at the National Press Club about the central responsibility of news organizations to report the news fairly and without self-censorship.
Pepper, shown with King in a 1967 photo conferring at a conference, will describe how the media have repeatedly failed to inform the public of the ongoing injustice in the Sirhan case, among others. Without a free, independent press, Pepper says, “the rule of law and an informed public cannot function” in a democratic society.
Pepper is filing a 200-page petition this week to the Organization of American States (OAS) accusing the California and U.S. governments of violating the due process rights of accused Kennedy killer Sirhan Sirhan, shown in a prison system photo after being held without parole since the killing on June 5, 1968.
Pepper is delivering a 7 p.m. lecture to the Sarah McClendon speaker society, which has been located at the club for more than a quarter of a century. The society is named after the pioneering and blunt-speaking White House correspondent from Texas, Sarah McClendon, who died in 2003.
Pepper’s lecture and a book signing are open to the press and public, and is preceded by an optional no-host, Dutch-treat dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the club, which is located at 529 14th St., NW near the corner of F Street in downtown Washington, DC.
Pepper is an American lawyer and English barrister. A 1960’s friend of Kennedy and King, he believes that their accused killers were wrongly accused for political reasons.
New York Times, Do Spy Agencies Hold Answer to Dag Hammarskjold’s Death? U.N. Wants to Know, Alan Cowell and Rick Gladstone, July 15, 2017. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in 1953. Mr. Hammarskjold (shown at right) and 15 others died in a plane crash in Ndola, Northern Rhodesia. After 56 years and many investigations, there is new hope that secrets lurking in Western intelligence archives could solve the biggest whodunit in United Nations history: the mysterious death of Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.
Whether the keepers of those archives will allow access remains an open question. Mr. Hammarskjold, an iconic Swedish diplomat who was the second secretary general of the world body, died with 15 others when their plane, a chartered DC-6, crashed just after midnight on Sept. 18, 1961, minutes from its destination: an airfield in Ndola, in what was then the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and is now Zambia.
The three official inquiries that immediately followed suggested pilot error was the cause, but the third of the reports, by the United Nations Commission of Investigation in 1962, said sabotage could not be ruled out. That possibility helped feed suspicions and conspiracy theories that Mr. Hammarskjold, 56 at the time of his death, had been assassinated.
Since then, independent investigators and academics have spent years collecting and scrutinizing evidence that had been dismissed or suppressed, bolstering the theory of foul play. In her 2011 book “Who Killed Hammarskjold?,” Susan Williams, a University of London scholar of African decolonization, concluded that “whatever the details, his death was almost certainly the result of a sinister intervention.”
Black Op Radio, 2017 Research Conferences, Host Len Osanic interviewed reporter, author and CAPA Director Andrew Kreig on July 14, 2017. The topic was recent and upcoming conferences featuring research on the assassinations of President John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. Other recent and upcoming Black Op shows, each featured for a week after launch at 6 p.m. Thursdays (Pacific Time), are:
845 Mark de Valk JFK Research July 28
844 Oliver Stone The Putin Interviews July 21
843 Andrew Kreig 2017 Research Events July 14
842 Jim DiEugenio JFK Research July 6
841 Scott Enyart / Randy Benson RFK / “The Searchers” film July 13
WhoWhatWhy, The FBI’s Increasingly Odd Silence on Boston Bombing, James Henry, July 10, 2017. As another mega-budget Hollywood movie about the Boston Marathon bombing nears release, the mainstream media are finally addressing the many unanswered questions concerning the mastermind of the bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And yet — four years after the bombing and two years after Tamerlan’s younger brother Dzhokhar was sentenced to death for his role — the feds still aren’t talking.
WhoWhatWhy readers will be familiar with most of these open questions:
How was Tamerlan able to travel back and forth to the country from which he sought asylum in 2012, despite being on multiple terror watchlists? Why was he not questioned about the 2011 murder of three of his friends? Was Tamerlan working for or manipulated by the feds for some purpose? Was the FBI or some other federal agency using Tamerlan’s desire to become a US citizen as leverage?
As we highlighted in April, ABC News investigative reporter Michele McPhee published a damning exposé which documents the suspicion in Boston’s local law enforcement that the FBI is covering up its interactions with Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the bombing. McPhee’s investigation led her to conclude that there is indeed an FBI cover-up afoot.
CAPA, Save The Date: CAPA Mock Trial On Oswald Nov. 16-17 In Houston, Lawrence Schnapf, July 6, 2017. A two-day mock trial State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald will be held on November 16th and 17th at the South Texas College of Law-Houston, Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) announced today.
Building on what has been learned from the Innocence Project and the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report on forensic evidence, the CAPA mock trial will apply 21st Century techniques to examine the physical evidence used by the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) to identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the alleged sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.
The HSCA concluded that a shot from the grassy knoll by an unknown person missed Kennedy. Oswald is shown in a New Orleans police mug shot taken in August, 1963 during a street disturbance and separately below in a file photo.
A senior judge from the Harris County Criminal Court will preside over the event with the jury selected from the Harris County jury pool.
Alec Baldwin (shown in a photo from a Cannes Film Festival) will be the keynote speaker for the Nov. 16th dinner following the first day of the mock trial. He will also participate in a book signing for registrants prior to dinner for his new book Nevertheless: A Memoir.
The mock trial will offer 7.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits including 1.5 of CLE Ethics credits.
Future of Freedom Foundation, Murder with Impunity in Russia … and the U.S., Jacob G. Hornberger (shown at right), July 3, 2017. Last Friday, the Washington Post published an excellent editorial about murder and the rule of law. The editorial described how Russian prosecutors secured convictions of five men for murdering Boris Nemtsov (below right), a popular critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, but criticized Russian officials for failing to pursue the people who ordered the killings.
The editorial, entitled “No Justice After the Cold Blooded Murder of a Russian Opposition Leader,” suggested that the assassination may have been orchestrated by Russian officials and criticized the judge presiding over the case for his lack of “curiosity” about who ordered the killing.
Even though the Post might not realize it, its editorial, however, says much more about the United States than it says about Russia. After all, if Russian officials did in fact orchestrate Nemtsov’s assassination, I don’t think many people would be surprised. That’s what oftentimes happens in countries ruled by authoritarian or totalitarian regimes.
What should be disconcerting to the Post and every American citizen is that state-sponsored assassinations with impunity have been made a permanent feature of the U.S. government ever since the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state in the latter part of the 1940s.
Here in the United States, U.S. officials engage in state-sponsored assassinations and other felonies with the same impunity that Russian officials presumably engage in. Nothing ever happens to U.S. officials who engage in such crimes. They’re certainly not prosecuted. If victims or victims’ families sue for damages, the federal courts summarily dismiss their cases, holding that U.S. officials have the power to assassinate anyone they want, so long as it relates to “national security.”