President Trump fulfilled important goals of CAPA and other transparency advocates around the world when he announced on Oct. 21 his plan to release remaining classified documents pertaining to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted on early Saturday.
CAPA (Citizens Against Political Assassinations) has taken a leadership role in advocating those document releases in cooperation with other JFK research groups and freedom of information advocates.
CAPA’s board of directors convened by conference call Oct. 21 and, under the leadership of CAPA Chairman Cyril H. Wecht, the prominent forensic pathologist, consultant and author, reiterated its longstanding support for document release and the president’s “courage” in his action on behalf of the American people.
The day’s news was reported by, among other places, the Washington Post in Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents despite concerns from federal agencies, and by the New York Times in Trump Says He Will Release Final Set of Documents on Kennedy Assassination. Both news reports are excerpted below.
Leaders of the CIA, FBI and similar agencies have quietly argued for years behind-the-scenes that “national security” should prevent disclosure of what are estimated to be thousands of pages of remaining classified documents, including those thought to be highly embarrassing to intelligence and investigative agencies.
Most media outlets also have advocated since the shooting a simplistic story claiming that former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut who fired three shots to kill the president with no help from anyone else.
The Warren Commission led by then-Chief Justice Earl Warren issued a report in 1964 advocating that single-shooter theory, generating a long-standing debate that has resulted in more than 2,500 books on the assassination and vast numbers in the United States and around the world who do not believe the official story. Warren is shown at center left with other members of the commission and its chief counsel presenting their report to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In March, CAPA organized a unique conference at the National Press Club of JFK research experts and co-published with the Justice Integrity Project a comprehensive summary of the experts advocating compliance with the 1992 “JFK Act” unanimously passed by Congress mandating complete release of documents by Oct. 26 of this year. That summary, JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Release Deadline, showed an impressive array of document release supporters from across the political spectrum.
At issue are thought to be some 3,000 previously suppressed documents, and some 30,000 partially redacted documents, experts say. Some four million pages have previously been released. The CIA and to a lesser extent the FBI have been leading opponents of release through the decades.
In discussions Oct. 21, CAPA (whose chairman is shown at right) also extended its appreciation to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and House member Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) for their leadership in introducing S. Res. 281 and H. Res. 556 voicing congressional support for full document release.
CAPA thanked also other early and prominent supporters of the bipartisan effort, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), who is like Grassley a longtime leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Reps. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), who have been leaders for many years of relevant House committees.
Earlier on Saturday, CAPA board member Andrew Kreig, and public relations committee chair, posted a reader comment on the Washington Post story comment at 10:01 a.m. (EST), as follows:
Thank you, President Trump!
You have upheld values of transparency and democracy, and taken a courageous stand on the side of the large majority of Americans who for decades have expressed disbelief in the findings of the Warren Commission, according to public opinion polls on the topic consistently reporting such disbelief as ranging from the mid-60s to more than 70 percent of Americans.
Release of documents over the needless objections of those obsessing over bogus “national security” implications also conforms with the views of many experts of diverse political views. These include such conservatives as former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, progressives, and several surviving staffers of the Warren Commission itself. My news report earlier this year summarized that impressive array of experts supporting the release that was announced today (JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Release Deadline, published by the Justice Integrity Project and also by Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) at http://ow.ly/GQHW309IAGY).
Right now, every American patriot should applaud President Trump for this action.
Justice Integrity Project Editor and CAPA Board member
Author, attorney and political commentator
CAPA Board member Jerry Policoff (right), who has researched since the 1960s the assassination and the heavily biased coverage of it by the major news media, provided this additional comment on Trump’s announcement:
This is a fine development, but we must be vigilant and skeptical. Why, for example, have many previously available documents apparently disappeared from the National Archives JFK collection, and will they be among the documents made available in this new release? If not we need to demand an accounting as to what happened to those documents.
Most of all we need to be prepared for the inevitable mainstream media spin that is certain to accompany the release of these documents.
The media have propagated the lone assassin myth unrelentingly from the beginning in defiance of the actual evidence. This will undoubtedly continue regardless of what turns up in the newly released documents. The critical community will have a strong responsibility to get the word out about what is there and what it means — as well as to provide historical context.
Cyril H. Wecht, 86, was a county coroner in Pittsburgh for 20 years. A longtime medical school professor and attorney, he still undertakes hundreds of autopsies a year and is the author or co-author of more than 40 books and 500 scientific articles.
He among those who have described in books and lectures for decades the considerable scientific evidence that accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald could not possibly have fired the fatal shot killing Kennedy. His view opposes official reports by the FBI and Warren Commission parroted by the media since the day after the killing.
Wecht is shown at a CAPA forum March 16 at the National Press Club (in a photo by Noel St. John) describing the overwhelming scientific evidence discrediting the mainstream media accounts of the JFK killing and the vital importance for the American people of document release and informed commentary.
CAPA is planning a mock trial, The State of Texas v. Lee Harvey Oswald, from Nov. 16-17 in Houston in cooperation with the South Texas College of Law/Houston to present the last scientific evidence. Details have been previously reported, and are available via the CAPA website’s homepage.
This editor has been active through the Justice Integrity Project, CAPA and elsewhere in advocating for these JFK document releases in cooperation with other JFK research groups and freedom of information advocates.
Opposed are those claiming that “national security” should prevent disclosure of what are estimated to be thousands of pages of remaining classified documents, including those thought to be highly embarrassing to intelligence and investigative agencies that helped cover up the truth at the beginning and continuing to the present.
Most media outlets also have advocated since the shooting a simplistic story claiming that former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone nut who fired three shots to kill the president with no help from anyone else. At this point, most of those outlets appeared this weekend to be featuring for commentary only or at least primarily those analysts who claim that new documents will simply reinforce the Warren Commission’s original findings.
As suggested above, interpretation of released JFK documents and their significance remains a contentious field. CAPA and the Justice Integrity Project have published recent articles, including CAPA Challenge Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon, reporting how the mainstream media continually quotes University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato and his frequent recent co-author on columns, author and former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon.
They tend to pooh-pooh evidence that differs significantly with the Warren Report.
In response, all CAPA board members — and many of the advisory board and other members — are available more specific comments to the media about these historically important developments. Those CAPA board names are here.
Those in the media (including academia) seeking contact information should ask CAPA’s public relations committee chairman for specifics on how best to contact them. All CAPA members, which include many other experts and dedicated researchers, are encouraged to leave reader comments on media pages, keep CAPA informed of your efforts, and air views otherwise on social media, including CAPA’s accounts located at the top of the organization’s homepage capa-us-.org.
President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline (together in the limo’s rear seat), and Texas Gov. John Connally (waving his hand) are shown greeting crowds in Dallas shortly before the president and governor were shot on Nov. 22, 1963.
Related News, Commentary:
Washington Post, Trump plans to release JFK assassination documents despite concerns from federal agencies, Ian Shapira, Oct. 21, 2017. President Trump announced Saturday morning that he planned to release the tens of thousands of never-before-seen documents left in the files related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination held by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Kennedy assassination experts have been speculating for weeks about whether Trump would disclose the documents. The 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act required that the millions of pages — many of them contained in CIA and FBI documents — be published in 25 years, by Oct. 26. Over the years, the National Archives has released most of the documents, either in full or partially redacted.
But one final batch remains and only the president has the authority to extend the papers’ secrecy past the October deadline. In his tweet, Trump seemed to strongly imply he was going to release all the remaining documents. But he also hedged, suggesting that if between now and Oct. 26, other government agencies made a strong case not to release the documents, he wouldn’t. Also, Trump was not clear about whether he would publish all of the documents in full, or with some of them redacted.
In the days leading up to Trump’s tweet, a National Security Council official told the Washington Post that government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents. But Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars this week that he personally lobbied Trump to publish all of the documents.
Stone also told Jones that CIA director Mike Pompeo “has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.”
Kennedy assassination experts say they don’t think the last batch of papers contains any major bombshells. They do suspect the papers will shed light on the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin, while he was traveling in Mexico City in late September 1963, and courting Cuban and Soviet spies. Phil Shenon, who wrote a book about the Warren Commission, the congressional body that investigated Kennedy’s killing, said he was pleased with Trump’s decision. But he wonders to what degree the papers will ultimately be released.
New York Times, Trump Says He Will Release Final Set of Documents on Kennedy Assassination, Michael D. Shear, Oct. 21, 2017. President Trump has decided to release a final batch of thousands of classified government documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday morning.
Mr. Trump has the power to block the release of the documents, and intelligence agencies have pressured him to do so for at least some of them. The agencies are concerned that information contained in some of the documents could damage national security interests.
The president did not make clear what he meant when he said in his tweet that the release of the documents would be “subject to the receipt of further information.” A White House official did not immediately respond to emails seeking clarification.
JFK Facts.org, Opinion / Advocacy: What you can do to free the JFK Files, Jefferson Morley, Oct. 19, 2017.
You can do two things.
1) Call your Congressman and Senators and tell them to sign H. Res 556 and S. Res 281, introduced by Rep. Walter Jones and Sen. Charles Grassley, calling on President Trump to release all the secret JFK files and to reject any requests from the CIA and the FBI for continuing secrecy. These petitions, also signed by leading liberal Democrats such at Sen Pat Leahy and Rep. John Conyers, show that full JFK disclosure enjoys wide support.
Politico, The JFK Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco, Philip Shenon and Larry J. Sabato, Oct. 16, 2017. Later this month, the National Archives is set to release thousands of documents about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s likely to fuel conspiracy theorists for years.
The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos.
Within the next two weeks, the National Archives is legally obligated to release the last of thousands of secret documents from government files about the assassination, most of them from the CIA, FBI and the Justice Department.
And there is every indication that the massive document dump — especially if any of it is blocked by President Donald Trump, the only person empowered under the law to stop the release of the files — will simply help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories.
Trump, no stranger to conspiracy theories, including totally unsubstantiated theories about a link between Ted Cruz’s father and JFK’s death, has not yet revealed his plans for the documents. His friend and political adviser Roger Stone, the Republican consultant who is the author of a book claiming that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination, said last week that he has been informed authoritatively that the CIA is urging Trump to delay the release of some of the JFK documents for another 25 years. “They must reflect badly on the CIA even though virtually everyone involved is long dead,” Stone said in a statement on his website.
The CIA has not confirmed or denied reports that it has appealed to Trump to block the release of some of the files on grounds that the documents might still somehow endanger national security if made public. In a cryptic statement last week, the spy agency said only that it “continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information.”
As it stands now, the document release this month will be a logistical nightmare, with the public suddenly flooded with a huge online library of documents—tens of thousands in total—that will be, at first, mostly incomprehensible even to experienced students of the assassination. The National Archives, abandoning its plans to release the documents in batches over the course of several months, said this week that it will instead release everything at once—all on the same day—sometime between now and the deadline on October 26.
Future of Freedom Foundation, JFK and Regime-Change Conspiracies, Jacob G. Hornberger, Oct. 16, 2017. With the National Archives’ impending October 26 release of JFK-assassination records that the CIA has succeeded in keeping secret for more than 50 years, the mainstream media will undoubtedly obsess even more with the term “conspiracy theory,” the term that the CIA secretly came up years ago to discourage people from looking too closely at the circumstantial evidence in the Kennedy assassination.
That’s assuming, of course, that the National Archives proceeds with its plans to release those long-secret CIA records. Under the JFK Records Act, enacted in 1992, President Trump has the authority to extend the time for secrecy if the CIA makes a showing that “national security” will be threatened if the public is allowed to see its long-secret JFK-assassination records.
What is a conspiracy? It’s nothing more than an agreement between two or more people to carry out an illicit or illegal act. There’s nothing mysterious about conspiracies. They happen all the time, especially in the drug trade.
If you have any doubts about this, just walk into any federal courthouse in the land and ask the District Clerk to show you the federal criminal indictments that have been issued in the last year. Just look at the first count of the indictment because it’s the one that almost always alleges a conspiracy. I’ll bet that 95 percent of federal criminal indictments allege a conspiracy. What we are talking about in the Kennedy assassination is nothing more than a regime-change operation or, if you will, a regime-change conspiracy.
Interestingly, the mainstream media never refers to those regime-change operations with the terms “conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory.” For some reason, they limit that term to the Kennedy assassination. Yet, that’s precisely what all those regime-change operations were — regime-change conspiracies.
It is a virtual certainty that those records that the National Archives is set to release on October 26 will help fill out the mosaic, which is why it is also a virtual certainty that the CIA will ask President Trump to extend the time for secrecy.