Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today on  Thanksgiving, I am taking time to reflect back to the fall of 1963 and the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, this country’s first Catholic president. 
We simply cannot forget this tragic event. Do you remember where you were when the news came out of Dallas?  I was in an Eastern Oregon school, in a conservative community (Lakeview) where some people cheered.

I remember how my parents supported his campaign – something so different for these staunch Eisenhower followers who until then always voted Republicans (just like their parents).
I remember my mother making small  net hats for my sister and me to wearto church, hats like Jackie wore. She sewed me a sleeveless shift dress,also like Jackie’s. We were not Catholics, but the new look worked just fine for the Episcopal Church.
I remember earlier watching the marchers in Montgomery on television as the civil rights movement progressed, and how these brave men and women made my grandmother (with southern roots) so angry, and not really understanding what was happening or why.
And I remember when our president was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas and learning immediately from the Dean of News, Walter Cronkite  the name of the man who took our president's life.
Case closed.
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Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
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Friday November 22, 1963 news bulletins hit the airwaves as rifle shots interrupted President John F. Kennedy's Dallas motorcade. The resulting three-day news marathon concluded only after our young president was buried.
Reporter smoved on to the investigative phase of JFK's assassination but finally left the topic for fresh news. Yet Kennedy assassination researchers ("conspiracy" theorists) and others have kept the debate alive over what happened forty-two years ago, who was involved, and why.
Thank God for their efforts, and interestingly,there are numerous asides to Mississippi's civil rights story but perhaps none quite so compelling (and less known) as this: Seven years before JFK was assassinated, the magnolia state's Sen. James O. Eastland met for the first time with Guy Banister, a controversial CIA operative and retired FBI agent ic harge of the Chicago bureau.
Banister-- remember him as the man who "pistol-whipped" David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's film "JFK" -- was later linked to Lee Harvey Oswaldand Mississippi's senator through Eastland's Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee or SISS (sometimes called "SISSY").
The NewOrleans Times-Picayune on March 23, 1956, reported that RobertMorrison, a former chief counsel for Sen. Joseph McCarthy's House UnamericanActivities Committee or HUAC, and Banister traveled to Greenwood, Mississippi,to confer personally with Senator Eastland for more than three hours.Describing the conference as "completely satisfactory," Morrison toldthe reporter that "Mr. Banister has complete liaison with the committee'sstaff which was the main object of our trip."
Apparentlycozying up to Eastland and "SISSY" was Banister's goal. And it may have worked.
Knownas a notorious political extremist who was later described as the impetus forJames Garrison's 1967-1970 Kennedy assassination probe, Banister earlier becamea brief focus of Mississippi's secret spy agency, the Sovereignty Commission,when it was suggested Banister should be hired to set up an "eventighter" domestic spying system throughout the state.
Asecond Eastland operative, private investigator John D. Sullivan of Vicksburg,made this suggestion to the commission just months after the JFK assassination,according to released Sovereignty Commission records.
FormerFBI agent Sullivan had worked under Banister (both inside the FBI andprivately) and as a private self-employed investigator who often did work forhire for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission; the private white CitizensCouncils, of which he was an active member; and for SISS, as had Banister andLee Harvey Oswald.
WhenSullivan reportedly committed suicide following the assassination (by accidentally shooting himself in the groin with his own hunting rifle while cleaning it after a hunting trip), SovereigntyCommission investigators tried to acquire his library and files, but most ofhis confidential files were either reportedly burned by his widow or they hadbeen lent out, and she "could not remember" who had them, SovereigntyCommission files disclose.
Thensome twenty-nine years later, in testimony before the Kennedy AssassinationRecords Review Board during a Dallas hearing on November 18, 1994, the lateSenator Eastland was directly implicated in the president's assassination byone of the author/theorists invited to testify.
"LeeHarvey Oswald was quite possibly an agent of the Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee and he was doing the bidding of [Sen. Thomas J.] Dodd and Eastlandand Morrison," author John McLaughlin swore.
Pretty damned interesting stuff, even if this testimony never got anywhere.
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Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
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Documentationthat could support or even discredit such assertions could perhaps be presentin the Eastland archives at the University of Mississippi, but (perhaps) until very recently no objectivescholar has been allowed to search these archives since the day they arrived oncampus. Instead, Eastland's records were managed on site for years by a formerassociate and devoté who followed the papers from Washington, D.C. to tiny Oxford, Mississippi.
Finallyin 2005, after an unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request bythis author, a historian was hired to organize the archives based in the JamesO. Eastland School of Law at Ole Miss. But there would still be a waitingperiod before any of the files could be viewed, according to the school's dean. And the good ones had already walked away...
Theplan was to release first all press releases, according to the historian whoalso confirmed that"many important files" were probably missing --that the files looked "cleaned out."
(TheDean of the law school, when presented a FOIA for access to Eastland archives,asked while laughing if he could "just show the rejection letter writtento the last person who asked for this information." Later it came back tothis author that "people at Ole Miss were really angry" over the FOIArequest.)
[1]"Banister, FBI Chief Since February, to Leave Post Nov. 30," ChicagoDaily Tribune, Nov 19, 1954, Part 2, Page 12.
[2]Citation for this newspaper article ("NOTP, March 23, 1956, p. 1")comes from the online Jerry P. Shinley Archive "Re: Jim Garrison and theSCEF Raids."
[3]William Davy, "Let Justice Be Done," (Jordan Publication, May 12,1999), 1. On the weekend of the assassination, Banister pistol-whipped hisemployee Jack Martin, after Martin accused him of killing Kennedy. Martineventually spoke to authorities.
[4]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 7-0-8-89-1-1-1 and SCR ID #2-56-1-20-1-1-1.
[5]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 99-36-0-2-1-1-1 SCR ID #1-16-1-21-1-1-1, SCR ID # 1-26-0-5-2-1-1, SCR ID # 2-2-0-19-1-1-1, SCR ID #1-24-0-11-1-1-1
[6]After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, A. J. Weberman, a"Dylanologist," "garbologist" and Kennedy conspiracistwrote that he received this communication from Sullivan's grandson, JeremySullivan: "I was told that he committed suicide but my dad didn't thinkso. He told me there was an investigation and the FBI was involved. They deemedit suicide. The story I heard had changed depending on who told it, I believethat they had been out fishing all day and John Daniel had been drinking. Afterthey got home, he was alone in his room and there was a gunshot and he wasfound dead." Also, Weberman stated that Jim Garrison had an undisclosedcase against Sullivan in 1961. Per a "Memo for the Director" by BetsyPalmer on April 19, 1978, regarding the "HSCA." From A.J. ajwebermanand Michael Canfield, "Coup D'Etat in America, The CIA and theAssassination of John Kennedy," (New York City, The Third Press, 1975)Nodule II.
[7]Online minutes of testimony before the Assassination Records Review Board,November 18, 1994. Dallas, Texas. Testimony of John McLaughlin aka JohnBevilaqua, Harvard University graduate and systems analyst, also a Kennedyassassination theorist. McLaughlin was testifying why he needed to seedocuments from HUAC and SISS. He had also requested military records of WycliffP. Draper, head of the Draper Committees and Pioneer Fund. Mississippi had beenthe benefactor of Draper money in its fight against the Civil Rights Act of1965 and in funding of private white academies per Sovereignty Commissionreports.
[8]Eastland's name has also been associated with the murder of civil rightsleaders Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, U. S. Senator Robert Kennedy andwith the mass murder at a U. S. Army base located in Mississippi of potentially1,000 black soldiers during World War II.
[9] Theformer Eastland aid has since retired.
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Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
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 Susan Klopfer is the author of Who Killed Emmett Till? and other books on the history of the modern civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Her new book, The Plan, is a historical fiction novel based on the murders of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and other less known civil rights heroes. Readers are taken on a journey that starts in Montgomery, Ala. and weaves through the Delta south to Ecuador and back. Publication is set for the summer of 2013 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Click HERE for more information on this author.

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