COALITION ON POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS – COPA
In April, 1994, three national, non-profit organizations – the Assassinations Archives Research Center (ASRC), the Citizens or Truth About the Kennedy Assassination, and the Committee for an Open Archives (COA), and members of the assassination research community formed the Coalition on Political Assassinations in Washington D.C. The call for such a national organization, based in Washington, came from meetings held in Dallas, Texas on the 30th anniversary of the murder of John F. Kennedy.
The Coalition is united in the belief that no lone assassin was responsible for the death of President Kennedy, that serious questions remain in the murders of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, that the official investigations into these murders were flawed, and that all U.S. and foreign government records relating to these murders should be made public immediately. The inability of past and present government agencies to resolve public doubts and distrust concerning these murders requires full disclosure and public scrutiny of the history and events surrounding them.
Public doubts about the assassination led to public mistrust of the government, which Congress attempted to mollify with the passage of the 1992 JFK Act, which was signed into law by President Bush and created the temporary Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB). The ARRB was responsible for locating, defining and facilitating the release of all JFK assassination records, and depositing them in the JFK Assassination Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration.
The records were to be given the presumption of release unless there was clear and convincing evidence of harm to current intelligence sources and methods, or harm to individuals outweighs the public right to access the information in all government files.
Under the watchful oversight of COPA, the Review Board completed it’s job and disbanded in 1998 with the release of it’s final report, but the JFK Act continues to function under the law and will continue to do so until the Archivist of the U.S. reports to the president that the last official government records on the assassination of President Kennedy has been declassified and released to the public, estimated to be sometime in 2017.
Membership in our Coalition is nationwide and global, and our contacts have grown from the hundreds to the thousands since we began. The Coalition has intervened with Congress to extend the funding for the Review Board, and to support their efforts to release documents that have been challenged by the FBI and other agencies. We serve as a public watchdog in the ongoing process of release of the records, and we work to make public new revelations based on those files.
The Coalition holds annual, national conferences in Washington D.C. and occasional regional conferences in Dallas, Texas, and other major cities. Organized as public, semi-professional gatherings, these events allow researchers to present the best and most recent results of ongoing inquiries. Following a call for papers and peer review by the many medical, legal, academic and forensic experts in the field, these conference presentations have revealed significant new information that have altered the way we look at the assassination.
Abstracts of our Conference presentations and videotapes of the events also available.
The Advisory and Governing Boards of COPA include Cyril H. Wecht, MD.; Gary Aguilar, MD; Daniel S. Alcorn, JD; James Lesar, JD; Peter Dale Scott, Ph, D.; John Newman; Walt Brown, Ph.D.; Judge Joe Brown; Janette Rainwater, Jim DiEugenio; Oliver Stone; Josiah Thompson; John Judge; Professor Phil Melanson;
Among those who have received COPA Lifetime Achievement Awards are:
Harold Weisberg, Joshia Thompson, Mary Ferrell, Penn Jones,