Woody Woodland Interviews Bill Kelly on “Between the Lines” Live Radio Program on
WSMN - AM1590,
. Nashua, New Hampshire Wednesday, Dec. 29, 1999 - Transcript.
[Background Music] Women’s voice: “It is in the afternoon on a Wednesday and you are listening to “Between the Lines” with Woody Woodand.
Woody Woodland: Okay...we’re back here folks and we will be talking momentarily with Bill Kelly, who is down in
. He is a JFK researcher who came to my attention because he wrote
....an article for the Fourth Decade, a journal of research on the JFK
Assassination, and we’ve had the editor of the Fourth Decade, Jerry Rose, on
this program before. Bill wrote a story for the November issue called “Jose
Rivera - The Story That Will Not Die,” a fascinating story. Somers Point, New
WW: Bill are you there?
Bill Kelly: Yea, I’m here Woody. How are you?
WW: I’m okay. Tell us first how long you have been involved in research on the Kennedy assassination?
BK: Well I began my interest in the case when I started to study history at the University of Dayton, Ohio in 1969. I did my first thesis on the
Bay of Pigs invasion of , and from there realized that a lot of
participants in the Watergate as well as the Kennedy assassination were
involved in the Cuba Bay
of Pigs and the
Cuban adventures, so I focused my research on that area. Then around 1989 I
became co-founder, with John Judge, of the Committee for an Open Archives
(COA), that lobbied Congress to pass the JFK Act, which was passed in 1992 with
the help of Oliver Stone and his movie “JFK.”
The COA helped form the non-profit Coalition On Political Assassinations (COPA), which garnered the resources of professionals involved in the research, held a half-dozen conferences, and tried to focus on the JFK assassination and the newly released records, but also was involved in investigating the RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations.
WW: A couple of weeks ago a jury said there was a conspiracy in the Martin Luther King case.
BK: Yes, some COPA lawyers testified at that trial and worked on that case [including Judge Joe Brown, who was the featured speaker at the Dallas COPA conference in 1998 and Jim Lesar, a co-founder of COPA from the Assassination Archives and
in Research Center ]. We’re glad there was some legal action
in that case and showed how the official prosecutors failed to do their job. Washington
WW: They assisted William Pepper in that case?
BK: Yes. [William Pepper addressed the D.C. COPA confernce in 1997].
WW: I had Phil Melanson on the show when that trial was going on; he was an expert witness.
BK: Phil is a member of COPA and is active on both cases.
WW: There’s no question that when you look at the John F. Kennedy case, the interaction of the whole policy of the United States and Cuba plays in with what happened there?
BK: Without a doubt the Cuban situation played a direct role in the murder of President Kennedy, and you can’t take the two out of their historical context.
WW: Now I’d like to talk about the article you wrote in the Fourth Decade, and then we’ll go into what you said about solving this case. This is an interesting story that I’m sure most of our listeners will not have heard. The article Bill wrote “Jose Rivera - The Story That Will Not Die” involves a women doctor, medical researcher named Adele Edisen, who is still alive. She describes an encounter she had with Dr. Jose Rivera, someone she got to be friends with. Bill, I’ll let you tell the story, it’s an interesting story.
BK: To give a basic synopsis, she first went public with her story in an article in the Third Decade back in 1992, so it’s not a new story, but rather one we’ve been working on for quite some time now. At first it was looked upon very skeptically, especially by experienced researchers, but it turns out that most of her allegations have checked out.
She said she first met Dr. Rivera at a National Institute of Health medical convention in Atlantic City, and since I’m from Atlantic City, the first thing I did was to check with the Convention Hall authorities and I confirmed that such a conference actually took place and they were there. So that’s how I first go involved with the Edisen-Rivera story.
WW: She said she met this guy in April, 1963.
BK: Yes, the conference took place in the first week of April, 1963. She was a research scientist from
. She attended New Orleans and won a fellowship award to do research
from the National Institute of Health (NIH). Rivera was the NIH administrator
who notified Edisen that she was awarded the grant and invited her to the LSU Medical School conference. So it was in Atlantic City where they met. Rivera then invited her
to visit him in Atlantic City on her way home to Washington D.C. . When she met Rivera in New Orleans she was given a tour of the NIH and a
tour of the town. Washington
To get to the gist of the matter, over dinner on
April 20, 1963, Dr.
Rivera asked Edisen, when she got back to , to look up Lee Harvey Oswald, and he
gave her Oswald’s telephone number. She was told Oswald had recently returned
from New Orleans with a Russian wife who was moving to Russia . She believed Oswald was a research
scientist like herself. New Orleans
When she got back to
she called the number three times. At first she talked with the
landlord, then she talked to New
Orleans and finally to Oswald himself. The
problem is, when Dr. Rivera gave Edisen Oswald’s Marina phone number on New Orleans April
20, 1963, it
would be two weeks before Oswald himself knew where he would be living and what
his landlord’s phone number would be.
Therefore, if we believe Adele Edisen, we must also believe that this military doctor, who is also a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves in Washington D.C., had foreknowledge of Oswald’s movements in New Orleans and possibly Dallas, and this presents evidence that Oswald’s behavior was monitored and controlled, at least to some extent, by military officers in Washington D.C.
WW: This fellow Rivera was active in the military?
BK: Yes, he was a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was born in
WW: It is interesting, in the article, according to Dr. Edisen’s story, this guy made some bizarre comments over dinner and during their time together, about the White House, when they drove by the White House.
BK: Yes, in the course of the two days they were together in
, Dr. Rivera made some very bizarre
comments, such as making references to the Carousel Club... Washington
WW: Jack Ruby’s club.
BK:.....He made references to Kennedy dying, references to the baby Patrick dying prematurely before it happened, he had foreknowledge of about a half dozen things that wouldn’t take place for weeks or months to come. Edisen also believes that Rivera surreptitiously gave her some drugs- a Mickey Finn, possibly an LSD type of psychotic drug, and she believes he was testing some sort of drug on her and was involved in some sort of experiment or secret operation. For some unknown reason Rivera gave Edisen advance knowledge of Oswald. We don’t know what his motives were, he’s dead now, but we are looking at his files and trying to find a correlation between Rivera and Oswald.
WW: When you mentioned the Carousel Club, that’s the club Jack Ruby owned, and this guy mentions that she should go there when she visited
BK: Yes. Here we have a Colonel in
WW: I did have a chance to talk with Adele Edisen, thanks to you asking her to call me, and she sounded like a very credible lady who obviously has a lot of trust in you. I mean, you found no reason not to believe what she says, correct?
BK: I tried to check out everything she says that I can, and she gives us a lot of information - times, dates, places, documents,...and everything I’ve checked out so far appears accurate. I believe her and other researchers who have talked with her and tried to verify her story believe her, such as Mary Ferrell, one of the most esteemed researchers. She talked with Edisen at length and she told me that she believes Adele is honest in what she is saying.
WW: So you found her very credible, she’s not writing a book, she not going on national talk shows, not looking for money...
BK: At the request of Mary Ferrell she did meet with and made a presentation before a conference of 300 researchers in
last November and submitted herself to
all their questions. People who came out of there were pretty much agreed that
she is sincere. But we are still having trouble documenting her story from
government files. There’s no record of her being interviewed by the Secret
Service and FBI after the assassination, when she had a four hour interview
with them. So the records that should be there aren’t there. Dallas
WW: She did call them when Oswald was on television in
? New Orleans
BK: Yes, she actually called the Secret Service in
before the assassination and tried to
warn them, and they asked her to come for an interview, but she backed out and
didn’t go. But the Secret Service had a record of that phone call because when
she did go in for a four hour interview after the assassination, the agents
made reference to the warning call...She didn’t know if they would believe her
or not, because it is a bizarre story, almost out of the Twilight Zone. New Orleans
WW: It is, you would wonder why, if this guy Rivera was involved in planning the assassination, why he would tell this person who he just met, anything about something like that?
BK: Yes, when Secret Service Agent John Rice and FBI agent Orrin Bartlett interviewed her in New Orleans, she gave them all the evidence, she gave them the notes she wrote Oswald’s phone number on, she gave them the documentation, and she believed they were sincere, she trusted these agents, and she still doesn’t believe there is no record of her interview. But the agents themselves were incredulous too, they didn’t believe that this guy Rivera told her that she would come to them and give them the evidence. So maybe she was some sort of security test to see if the system was in line and secure.
[MUSIC - Break]
WW: Welcome back to the Talk of New Hampshire, Between the Lines. My name is Woody Woodland and we’re talking with JFK assassination researcher Bill Kelly and talking about a story told my Adele Edisen. She says she met a Dr. Jose Rivera from the National Institute of Health, who knew about Lee Harvey Oswald in April of 1963. In a couple of bizarre visits, Dr. Rivera led Edisen to believe that President Kennedy would be killed, she reported the incidents. She actually phoned a number Rivara gave her in
to find out that Oswald wasn’t there yet.
She phoned back a few weeks later and sure enough, he moved into a place that
he even didn’t know he didn’t he was going to move to, but this fellow Dr.
Rivera did. New Orleans
Bill what were you able to find about Dr. Rivera? He wrote a couple of books, was apparently a well established doctor? Anything that you found out about him that’s suspicious?
BK: Well, we now have his military file, and while it isn’t complete, it gives us some insight into his background. It appears he was involved in some of the MKULTRA style mind control research, and was affiliated with the U.S. Naval Biological Warfare Institute in
. He was also at Berkeley, California in Tulane University when Oswald was there just before he
defected, so we do have that point where their careers crossed paths. New Orleans
WW: Do you have any indications or suspicions that Dr. Rivera may have known an amateur medical researcher named David Ferrie in
? New Orleans
BK: Dr. Rivera was associated with
and the National Institute of Health
Hospital in Tulane University . Ironically, David Ferrie was there at the time, and there
is no apparent connection other than those brought out by Ed Haslem in his
book, “Mary, Ferrie and Monkey Virus.” Haslem looks into the murder of Dr. Mary Sherman and her possible
connection to Ferrie,....but these are all obscure links that we can’t pin any
evidence on but we can see some of the connections. New Orleans
BK: Dr. Rivera was associated with
WW: Your research has at least so far revealed no reason not to believe Dr. Edisen’s account. She wrote an article a few years ago for the Third Decade in which she used a pseudonym, right?
BK: Yes, she did; she didn’t know if Rivera was still alive at the time, and she was fearful for her life, as she should still be today, because she is a living witness to what was not only a conspiracy to commit a homicide, but a coup d’etat to take over the government of the United States.
WW: Now let’s talk about the bigger picture here for a moment. Now that’s a fascinating story, but there’s others.
BK: Dr. Edisen’s story is one of a dozen examples of evidence and leads that should be followed up, and because the government is not interested in following them up, independent researchers are and will be continuously following them up on their own. It is my contention that this case can be solved and will be solved in our lifetime.
WW: Now that’s what I’d like to talk about. That’s a great claim, and I’d like to believe it’s true. One of the great stories of the Kennedy assassination, are the independent researchers like yourself, who for no personal profit, and instead, if you look at the finances, I’m sure you spent a lot of money on this, and time researching this, but have kept this case alive, when the government has no interest in following up on any of this. And this is true about the other assassinations of the 60s - the RFK assassination, about which we still have a lot of unanswered questions, and the Martin Luther King case.
BK: Yea, without a doubt, although I haven’t focused any of my energy on the other two cases, it’s sort of like, let’s solve one at a time, but it’s not just me, there are hundreds of other independent researchers out there doing work similar to my own, and following up the leads that the government investigators should have, but haven’t and won’t because the facts indicate that the origin of the conspiracy to kill President Kennedy stemed from within the government itself.
WW: So now you reach the conclusion that this case can still be solved. What gives you the optimism that that could happen?
BK: Well there are a number of lines of inquiry that are currently being pursued that could lead to evidence that can stand up in court. Now I don’t believe that those who were responsible for the assassination can be brought to justice, since most of them are dead, but there used to be a fifty year period in which the assassination documents were not to be released. Because of the JFK Act, the files were released 35 years after the assassination, rather than 50 years. The reason for the 50 year delay on the release of the records is because that is the amount of time it is reasonably assumed that the people named in the documents would be dead. So we have this 15 year window of opportunity to read the documents and still find live witnesses to testify. We also have the documents themselves. When they wrote these documents the authors never expected that they would see the light of day and be released to the public. Now we’re reading them, everyone can read them, and they’re telling us a lot. And together, with courageous witnesses and people like Adele Edisen along with the work of other researchers, we are learning the truth, and I believe we will know the total truth in the next year or two.
WW: You believe that this was a coup d’etat, that the government was changed and it was people within the government who were responsible?
KB: Yes, without a doubt.
WW: Do you believe there were people in organized crime involve?
BK: Well, it certainly was an organized crime, but if the Mafia were involved, they might have been technicians, the Mafia were involved in some of the failed plots to kill Castro, but if they were involved in the successful assassination of the President, they weren’t responsible for the cover-up and the other crimes related to the assassination.
The FBI agent that interviewed Adele Edisen, Orrin Bartlett, the FBI liaison to the Secret Service, who on the night of the assassination, found bullet fragments in the Presidential limousine and turned them over to the FBI lab. Only recently was it realized that these fragments also had organic flesh matter attached to them that could be tested for DNA, which would indicate whether the bullet fragments came from the bullet that killed JFK or the one that hit Connally. There’s also new analysis of fingerprints found on the boxes by the so-called sniper’s nest, where fingerprints other than Oswald’s were found and can still be identified. My point is that there are dozens of lines of inquiry that lead me to believe, that if they are followed and pursued honestly, will give us a legal, if not a moral determination of the truth.
WW: Interesting. How do you think this should be presented in a way that people would pay attention to it?
BK: You don’t need everyone to pay attention or believe it. If you have an honest assistant attorney general in any significant jurisdiction - Dallas, D.C. even Philadelphia, who will evaluate the evidence and agree to present it to a grand jury of ordinary citizens, they can order the remaining withheld files released to them, they can order a proper forensic autopsy of the victims - JFK, J. D. Tippitt, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Connally, and they can compel the sworn testimony of the witnesses like Adele Edisen. A grand jury of ordinary citizens could have a big impact on this case, and that’s where I think it should go. We can’t trust the government to conduct another investigation, but we can take the evidence to a grand jury and ask them to determine if there is enough evidence that could lead to indictments.
WW: Would you have to have somebody you want to indict?
BK: Well, you can indict those who tampered with evidence, individuals who destroyed evidence, there’s perjury for lying under oath, there’s crimes related to the assassination that can and should be pursued. For example the penalty for non-compliance with the JFK Act is perjury. If you can indict the President of the
WW: I think that in a sense this is what Jim Garrison was trying to do when he indicted Clay Shaw. To produce evidence that there is more to this case than Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone nut up in that window shooting the President of the
. United States
BK: Well the Garrison case....was very instrumental in our educational process of how these things work. Garrison was trying to show us what was going on down there in
, and Adele Edisen is now redirecting our
attention to New Orleans again. She’s just saying something was happening there.
She doesn’t know what was happening, but she was there, Oswald was there,
Rivera was there and all she’s saying is she wants the truth. And that’s all
I’m saying too. We want the truth, we can get it, we just have to ask the right
questions and go for the answers. New Orleans
WW: Another question is, if this goes to a grand jury, a grand jury can actually order President Kennedy’s body to be dug up?
BK: Of course, grand juries routinely do this, whether the victim is a bum found murdered on the street without a name, or the President of the
. And the victim’s family has no say in
it. They’re not going to Ted Kennedy and ask him if he minds if they dig his
brother up. A grand jury can order a proper forensic autopsy, which not only
determines the cause of death, but how it occurred, which hasn’t happened, yet. United States
WW: We’re back with Bill Kelly, independent researcher in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination case. So Bill, if you look at this kind of vision of getting this case before a grand jury at some point,....who do you think, I’m asking you to name names if you could, knowing you’re not accusing them, but just in your research, you’ve been researching this for a long time, who do you think may have been involved in planning something like this?
BK: I don’t know the names of the people involved in the planning of it, but I know and recognize the MO - the Modus Operandi behind the assassination was that of a covert operation and therefore not the act of a lone, deranged gunman. It was a well-planned out and successfully executed military-style covert operation and coup d’etat.
The JFK Act has given us, the public, access to the government files so we can learn now, what they knew then. Plus we have this window of opportunity to interview living witnesses to learn the details that the files don’t tell us. So between those two avenues, if we focus on them and the evidence they provide, we can get a grand jury to subpoena the documents they still won’t allow us to read, and compel the testimony of those reluctant to be interviewed, I think within a year or two we can get grand jury to come to a conclusion as to whether there is enough evidence to indict individuals for crimes related to the assassination.
Whether or not those responsible will be brought to justice is another thing, but I think the truth is there and we have to face it. It’s the crime of the century and it’s being held over our whole national consciousness, and until we face the total truth, we won’t get our democracy back. That’s just my opinion and why I do what I do.
WW: I tend to agree with you. Many people say, why should we keep digging at this thing after nearly forty years? And I think what you just stated is exactly the reason to keep digging at it, because our democracy is not at full strength until we face the truth as to what happened here, especially if people in the government were involved in removing the President of the United States.
BK: People will try to do it again if those responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy are not exposed and forced to face justice. I’d like to point out that shortly after the article I wrote was first published on the internet [http://www.pir.org/edisen.html ], the National Institute of Health, the agency that Dr. Jose Rivera worked for as an administrator, announced that it was going to name the NIH Library after Sen. Arlen Specter [R. Pa.].
WW: That’s interesting and ironic since he’s the attorney on the Warren Commission who came up with the single-bullet-theory. That is interesting.
BK: It’s just they’re gratefull for Specter’s assistance in getting them funds over the years, but I would have never suspected that a federal agency like the NIH would be involved in something like this, but yet, these two items came together there at the same time. I’d also like to mention that other independent researchers deserve a lot of credit for the work they are doing all across the board, on all facits of the assassination. Because of them, I’m quite confident that we can come to some legal conclusions to this case in the next few years.
WW: Let’s go back to Dr. Edisen some more. You’ve interviewed her, have you met her?
BK: Yes, I met her in
WW: Was there any attempt to discourage her from talking about what she knew?
BK: She was told not to talk to anyone about it by not only Rivera, but by the Secret Service and FBI agents who interviewed her - John Rice and Orrin Bartlett. But she did talk about it with her husband, other doctors, lawyers and even an FBI agent who was a personal friend. So even thought he public didn’t know about it until the Third Decade article in 1992, she had talked with other people, even researchers such as Mary Ferrell. We have records of their correspondence, but when we ask for the original reports from Rice and Bartlett on their four hour interview with Edisen in
on New Orleans November 24, 1963, it’s not there.
We know there should be a record of it, the JFK Act ordered them to release the documents and they’ve not been released. “The three biggest lies,” as my friend John Judge likes to say, is that the files are free, the case is closed and we’ll never know the truth.”
WW: People want to know how they could have possibly controlled the investigation, but I think a lot of the cover-up, I think, is people covering their own rear ends, so to speak, like the FBI agent Hosty, who had a note from Oswald and flushed it down the toilet so there would be not record of it. Maybe they said, “we really missed the boat here, this lady called us in advance, and it’s going to make us look bad so we should get rid of all of this.”
BK: Yes, and Mr. Hosty should have been indicted for destruction of evidence, but he wasn’t and won’t be. But that’s a good example of the types of crimes related to the assassination that can still be brought before a grand jury - destruction of evidence, fabrication of evidence, perjury, failure to comply with the JFK Act....
WW: And they would be used as a vehicle to get at the bigger questions?
WW: That’s an interesting approach. Where do we go next?
BK: The internet seems to becoming the major means for researchers to communicate with each other and we’re all learning a lot from each other by sharing information. And that’s part of the reasons for my optimism, because we not only now have access to the government files on the assassination, but private files through the internet.
[Break for Commercail]
WW: We are back here with Bill Kelly, who has not only talked about the story of Dr. Edele Edisen, but has also provided an overall view of the JFK assassination, which he believes can be solved, and I hope he is right. I think that is an exciting view and I hope he is correct.
I’d like to return to Dr. Edisen’s story for a moment. Bill, in your article you published the obituary of Dr. Jose Rivera, the man Edisen mentioned told her of the possibility Kennedy would be killed and gave her a number of Oswald to call. I noticed that he has family, daughters still around. Do you expect these folks would be helpful witnesses at all?
BK: Well the researcher who provided us with Rivera’s obituary, Dick Russell, who wrote the book “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” he’s talked to some of the doctors in
who worked with both Edisen and Rivera,
and he’s also contacted Rivera’s daughters. New Orleans
I haven’t received any report from him on what he’s learned, but this is still a research in progress, a breaking story, and it isn’t any where near completion. We haven’t given up on the government documents. We know the Secret Service and the FBI have documents on Edisen and Rivera but they won’t share them with us, and we will sue them, initiate court action if we have to, in order to get the official side of the story. The American people demanded the assassination files be released, Congress passed the law and ordered the government to released all of their files on the case, and they haven’t done it. When the presidential candidates come on your show I hope you ask them what their opinion is on this, because we’re going to make it a campaign issue. We want to know why the JFK Act has failed to release all of the files and why they aren’t moving to enforce the law?
WW: Since most of the people at the time of the assassination are out of government, I don’t understand the reluctance with government people now, to get to the bottom of this case. I found the same thing with King case. Yet the government drags its feet, they aren’t interested.
BK: Well the way government works, it seems, is that every agency is connected to another, and they try to protect their flanks, and for whatever reason, they aren’t going to confess to the fact that the President of the United States was murdered by an internal coup d’etat that included members of their agency. I think agencies are like people or communities, they take on a life of their own. The CIA is an agency that grew out of a small seed and may have gotten out of control at some point. But agencies don’t want to die, the people that work for them don’t want to lose their jobs, they want to maintain their funding and can’t be threatened by the fact that people who worked for them decades ago were responsible for such crimes.
WW: It would seem that if the CIA was somehow involved in this, nobody is going to blame the people at the CIA now?
BK: Well the CIA is often the scapegoat for other agencies. Anybody can conduct covert operations, it doesn’t even have to be a government agency or the military. It could be a private corporation, but you can’t accuse or indict government agencies or corporations for homicide. We’re looking at individuals who are affiliated with agencies and departments, but at the same time they have names, birthdates, backgrounds...
WW: The King case that got to a jury was the result of a civil case, is that how this would work?
BK: It’s like the O.J. Simpson civil case, or the Ira Einhorn case in Philadelphia. We could do that. There’s many ways we can approach this case legally, and it’s my attitude is that we should try them all, not just one way. A Washington D.C. grand jury would consist primarily of a few professionals, but primarily black women, so the case would have to be simple. You couldn’t present them with a complicated murder mystery, but rather one that ordinary people can understand, and I think that’s important and possible.
WW: Well, Bill, this has been a fascinating hour and I appreciate you coming on with us, and we hope you will do it again sometime. I wish you luck and we thank you for your work. We think you and those folks who research this are doing a great service to the country because we need to find out the truth. And we’d like to have Adele Edisen as on as well. We’ll send you a tape of this show that you can send along to her.
BK: That would be great. All right, bye now.
WW: That’s William Kelly, a gentleman from