Tuesday, November 4, 2014


When JFK met spy fiction writer Ian Fleming at a Washington dinner party, he asked Fleming what James Bond would do with Fidel Castro, and Fleming responded, "Ridicule," - make fun of him and destroy his persona and public appeal. Assassinate his character with satire and ridicule.

That's what Boston Globe columnist tried to do to JFK assassination researchers by making fun of them, and that's what Joel Achenbach tried to do to COPA - the Coalitions on Political Assassinations, when he wrote this attempt at satire in 2001. 

Also included is COPA director John Judge's response. 

JFK II: What REALLY Happened
By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 28, 2001; 12:53 PM

Here at the Conspiracy and Assassination Research Project (CARP), we've had some difficult times of late. The mainstream media showed absolutely no interest in our groundbreaking revelation that Lee Harvey Oswald was the youngest of identical triplets. Our so-called "three Oswalds" theory rocked the assassination community, but the major newspapers and TV networks ignored us as though we were a bunch of nuts.
So, too, did we get zero publicity for unearthing compelling evidence that the real target in Dallas in November 1963 was the driver of the limousine. Total news blackout on that one. And did anyone give us any pub when we demonstrated that at least one of the shots came from high overhead? Didn't our theory of the "stealth blimp" deserve SOME attention?

Even our non-controversial work -- such as our three-volume analysis of the Zapruder film's influence on the early work of Martin Scorcese -- was dismissed as (to quote Assassination Conspiracy Daily) "bizarre."
Why has CARP been shunned? Because we don't just challenge the Status Quo, we dynamite it and then ground the fragments into powder. No one wants to know the truth: That the tragedy in Dallas was a conspiracy involving the FBI, the CIA, the Mob, Lyndon Johnson, Ho Chi-Minh, anti-Castro Cubans, pro-Castro Cubans, the John Birch Society, the Audubon Society and the Friends of the National Zoo.

I'm not saying we've got the whole story figured out. That'll never happen. If that happened, I'd cry. There will always be an incremental new development to report, another blurry photograph to analyze, another bullet flight-path to triangulate. I have 32 overflowing filing cabinets and there's something under the pile of papers on my desk that smells.

Much of what you hear in this business is, I'll be the first to admit, truly outlandish. I think the UFO-invasion connection to the Kennedy assassination remains unconfirmed, if highly suggestive. The notion that the aliens were hoping to obtain Kennedy's DNA for use in a hybridization experiment strikes me as a bit of a leap.
In any case, this week the whole field of assassinology got a tremendous boost. You probably read about it: The grassy knoll theory has been proved.

D.B. Thomas, an assassination researcher, has re-analyzed the controversial dictabelt recording that captures the sound of gunfire in Dealey Plaza. He has concluded that there were four gunshots that day, and that one, the killshot, came from the grassy knoll. Read it. This refutes a previous analysis by the National Academy of Sciences, which itself refuted a previous analysis by the famous House Select Committee on Assassinations back in the late 1970s.

There are sounds on the dictabelt recording that could be gunshots. Thomas says there is a 96.3 percent chance that one of the sounds is a gunshot from the grassy knoll -- and that this was the shot that killed Kennedy. Thomas's report states, "One of the sounds matches the echo pattern of a test shot fired from the Grassy Knoll. The shock wave precedence associated with this pattern is consistent with the muzzle velocity of a .30 calibre rifle." G. Robert Blakey, the general counsel for the House committee, said this week, "We thought there was a 95 percent chance it was a shot. He puts it at 96.3 percent. Either way, that's 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'"

I know what you're thinking: "How could someone possibly listen to an old tape recording full of ambient noises and say that there is precisely a 96.3 percent chance that one sound is a lethal gunshot from a specific place?" The answer, my friends, is "Science." There are scientific methods that we researchers employ. Indeed, I have a special bit of explosive information I would like to impart at this time:

If you listen closely, you can tell the shooter was LEFT-HANDED.

The confidence level of this conclusion is, I should note, 93.25 percent.

There is also a 71.9887 percent chance that the shooter was wearing a hat.

I'll admit that I'm a bit jealous that Mr. Thomas got so much publicity with this latest scoop. Times have been so lean here at CARP that we've had to move our headquarters four times in the last six months, to ever more humble surroundings. I'm incredibly grateful to Vern and Bob, the owners of Vern & Bob's Body Shop in Arlington, for allowing me to use the shed back by the scrap heap. It's a modest location, but a lovely fringe benefit is that, whenever I get stressed out, I can purge my anxiety by pounding on metal with a sledgehammer.

Whatever you do, I urge you to be on guard against disinformation. Ask yourself: How solid is this evidence? Are there other explanations? What is this person's agenda? I have put my own credibility under scrutiny and can tell you that I am not entirely persuaded that I can trust my own judgment.

These thoughts that I have -- are they mine, or are they somehow planted in my brain?

Who do I really work for?????

(Rough Draft appears every so often at washingtonpost.com and is a little knoll, a mound, a knob of rationality in a limitless plain of illogic. Please join Joel today at 2 p.m., right HERE, for a Live Online discussion.)

© 2001 The Washington Post Company


What follows is my reply to the author of the Post piece, sent to his
email, and the article that appeared making fun of all of us and the new
revelations on the dictabelt.


I don't know you, but I do head up COPA, which is the national association of researchers who actually work on political murders, the Coalition on Political Assassinations. 

We are a network of ballistics and forensic experts (including Dr. Cyril Wecht, former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences), medical doctors and academics, independent researchers and interested citizens who have studied the major political assassinations of the 1960s. We don't much resemble
CARP, except through the distorted lens of the media which likes to pretend that all conspiracies are created equal (and equally incredible). Your parody seems to be a parody of that straw man the media itself created, but ends up discrediting the serious and scientific work that has been done in these murder cases. I know, you were only joking.

I don't believe in any Unidentified Flying Objects, especially not the single bullet that Arlen Spector claims exists. I don't think aliens killed JFK, unless you count certain German nationals imported here at the end of WWII. And the only kind of conspiracy I believe in is the one that can be proven in a court of law, an illegal act planned and taken in concert by more than one person. I was glad to see the Post article conclude that even Oswald could not be in two places at once, no matter how ambivalent he might have been about being an assassin that day.

That's a step up from the New York Times, which actually tried to suggest that a second gunman on the Grassy Knoll did not prove a conspiracy, because it could have been two lone nuts arriving at the
same time and location by coincidence. I am not a coincidence theorist, either.

There is such a thing as a fact of conspiracy, legally, scientifically and historically. They happen, ask any good lawyer. But the media can't seem to separate conspiracy and theory into two words.

The dictabelt tape is, in my view, the flimsiest piece of evidence in the case, and Lardner tries to suggest that the proof of the case comes down the to percentage of probability that a sound can be identified on
the tape as a gunshot and located in relation to the events. There is lots of unequivocal evidence of a gunshot from the Grassy Knoll that day, visual, audible and causal. Eye and earwitness accounts of that location far outnumber any other reputed location. Crowds and police converged there first to look for the shooter. Railroad workers saw smoke rise from that location. The physical damage to the limousine could only have been done by a shot from the front. The physical reaction of President Kennedy and his actual wounds as described by aides and doctors in Texas that day can only be explained by such a shot. Several films document that reaction, back and to the left at over 100mph. The location of the brain fragments recovered from the trunk and the street also show a shot must have hit from the front of the limousine. Officer Hargis, to the left rear, was hit so hard with bone fragment that he got off his motorcycle and asked if he had been hit,
seeing blood all over his jacket. The timing of the reactions visible to the various wounds in JFK and Governor Connally requires a second gun to be firing at them. The single bullet THEORY falls apart upon simple examination.

Of course, taking real evidence into account of an actual event makes me a "conspiracy theorist" since the government officially pronounced the killer as a lone nut in an upper window. The same best evidence
exonerates Oswald, who was not at the window, did not own the rifle, and did not fire a weapon that day. But even if you think him a guilty party, he cannot do it all by himself, which means conspiracy.

I know as well as anyone that there are wild theories abounding, and not just in this area. I also know some of them are spread by the government itself. The study by Thompson, which is worth the reading that Lardner fails to give it in his article, does support the work of two separate scientific teams that listened to the dictabelt tape for the HSCA, which makes it three to one against the NSA panel, who do not make a very\ vigorous defense of their position. But in the end, none of that debate matters. 

I was glad to see the article in the Post. I called to see why AP was not moving it, and they assured me they were editing it for distribution that day. It never appeared anywhere but the Post, save for a piece in
USA Today with an editorial to boot. To those not alive at the time, perhaps it seems ludicrous to try to solve these murders so many years after the fact. But history and justice have their claims. And it's not
that I can't laugh about it or even at myself and other researchers, believe me I have. There is just something ironically strange about your piece, which relies on mocking the very situation those who print you
have helped to create over these many years. I wish we could trade a serious item on the still emerging evidence in the JFK case for every snide reference to conspiracy theories or Oliver Stone that has appeared.

Our organization led the way for the creation and implementation of the JFK Assassination Records Act, which secured public release of over 6 million pages to date, with more to come. It was the largest release of
classified documents to date, just surrounding the JFK assassination and it's historical context. The independent board that reviewed the files 
for release noted in their final report that several key agencies had
not complied with the act. The papers relating to Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are still not fully released. And no one has read the whole JFK release, but new interpretations are coming out in books
(Oswald and the CIA by John Newman for example) and films (13 Days was based on the new files about the crisis). And there is new evidence supporting Garrison's investigation and the critics there as well.

If you have time and want a different perspective, maybe you could contact me and talk about what is really known in these cases. After all, humor is nothing but a shift of paradigm. And I have a sense of
humor, I have to. I hope that the media will someday open to serious consideration and coverage of new evidence as it emerges, instead of damage control for the official theorists. Of course, it won't be without repercussions. Tom Wicker got it right when he said that if you believe Oliver Stone's version, you had to change your whole perspective on America and the government. But, then, what is a brain for?

In any case COPA is not CARP, and there was a conspiracy on November 22, 1963 to kill President Kennedy. We laugh so as not to cry.

John Judge
Coalition on Political Assassinations
Washington, DC

Gary Mack of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas responded negatively to John Judge’s complaint to Joel Achenbach, the author of the Post satire mocking COPA.



Actually, Joel wrote back a positive and civil response and sent his
phone number for me to call. You are the only researcher who responded
negatively to my letter. As hostile as you seem to the community, I'm
glad you still think there was a conspiracy, I guess. Lardner has
consistent done the dirty work spin for the CIA at the Post, in my view.
I don't claim reporters have any such biases if they are honest, but the
media as a whole does, and that cannot be blamed on "nutty theorists".

To say that Cyril Wecht resembles the CARP profile based on his
statements regarding the alien autopsy stretches credulity if you know
him or his background. I asked him about the appearance too, and he told
me they edited his comments to make it seem he believed it was a real
alien instead of real autopsy of something else, like a radiation
victim. I won't try to defend Jim Marrs, who is a populist more than he
is a researcher. As to Oswald in two places, read the Post version
again, the exact quote is in there, maybe it didn't make the truncated
DMN story. And no matter how many are wrongly named as assassins, an
exercise I have not participated in, you can't seriously think a
two-lone-nut thesis is more credible. Maybe the two loners shared the
single bullet too, catching and refiring it?

As to the spin of the Lardner piece, I sought reactions from
non-researchers and reported their impressions. I still contend that by
focusing solely on the acoustic tape evidence, and dismissing the other
physical and visual evidence, both the HSCA and Larnder put the focus of
proof in the wrong place. If this dicatbelt analysis, which is beyond
most of the Post readership, is the only place we can hang our hat, we
had better go home. Lardner may believe it, but he made a point to
mention and quote the NAS scientists who had refuted it (a point which
did not miss the sarcasm of Auchenbach). When experts disagree, we throw
up our hands. You may say this is journalistic "objectivity" by Lardner,
but you know damn well that if analysis shows no conspiracy, they don't
come running after us to counter it in print, they just ballyhoo it.

I find it very strange that you dispute Holland and Bowers who saw smoke
and a flash by talking about cigarette butts and saying it only proves
someone was there earlier in the morning. Did the smoke from their
cigarettes linger until noon and rise? It is also significant to know
that this was a locked Dallas police parking lot at the time. And there
is other evidence, including film, of phony "Secret Service" agents in
this area, and footage of men in trench coats directing the crowd away
from the lot after the shooting. Something went on up there and it was
noticed by more than an open microphone on a police motorcycle. And I
don't even think the fatal shot came from the Knoll, but I do think
shots were fired from there.

The eye/earwitnesses who pointed to shots from the Knoll were the
majority of those who testified to the Commission, or gave affadavits.
See the lists in Rush to Judgment from years ago. There was certainly
disagreement between Parkland and Bethesda about the wounds, but not at
Parkland itself. Humes did so much to control and destroy original
findings there that we cannot know what the first impressions were. I
still contend that the visible/physical evidence of JFK's reaction and
Hargis's response, and the location of the brain and bone fragments
found afterwards can ONLY be explained by a frontal shot. I once showed
Zapruder's film to a room full of Vietnam combat veterans who had seen
people killed with shots to the head and body. I asked them which
direction the fatal shot came from, and to a person they said "the
front". Neither Jackie, "jet-effect", car brakes, nor muscular spasms
can send you slamming back at that speed. Your attitude is exactly the
one I am saying is fed by Lardner in the Post piece, that outside of
this noise analysis there is no hard evidence of a shot from the front.
That's ridiculous.

In fact, the dictabelt anaysis falls more into the area of what you call
"an indication" to me than the other evidence I have seen over the
years. If the work of all the researchers who have looked at the
forensic and ballistic evidence in this case "proves nothing" to you, I
am hard put to see how Lardner convinces you.

I am glad to hear that AP did run it. I searched the site in the
afternoon and Dan Alcorn told me he could find nothing there later, so I
concluded they had not. If they did, then I will take some of the
credit, because the woman I spoke to thanked me for pointing them to the
piece and said they were only then editing it. It's news relevance
should have been obvious to them. And I wonder how many papers outside
the DMN picked it up?

As to taking a warning, I have taken many. I am sure that Joel has never
met a serious, credible researcher nor one of the sort he parodies in
CARP, which is clearly based not on those you seem to despise but on the
false media image of a "conspiracy theorist" that has been fostered
without a breather since Oliver Stone's film came out and threatened
their consensus again. 81% still believe there was a conspiracy in the
case, despite clear efforts by the corporate owned media to push them
the other way.

You remind me of the Black sargeant in the film Soldier, who ends up
hating other Black soldiers who act as buffoons more than he does the
white racists who foster and encourage them because they meet
stereotypes that whites created. While some spin wild theories, the
presentations at COPA went through peer review and reflected the best of
the new evidence. Clearly a cut above the standardless tripe presented
at the Lancer gatherings, and without the disinformation of the likes of
Mailer and Ed Butler that marred the JFK/ASK meetings. The press was not
turned off by the nature of what we presented annually, they just
ignored us Gary, and intentionally so. Presenting the false claims is
much more sensational and easy to refute. So, stop blaming the serious
researchers who keep looking for the truth, and put the blame on the
system that killed JFK and the press that is subservient to its demands
and ownership.

I will send your letter and my reply to those who got the original piece
from me. I can only shake my head at it. And I did NOT alienate Joel, he
wrote and asked me to talk to him further.

John Judge

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