Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Assassination Attempt on de Gaulle

Office of Security, Washington D.C.
September 27, 1962
Regional Security Office, Amembassy Paris
Attempted Assassination of President de GAULLE – August 22, 1962
Ref: Our Office Memorandum dated September 18, 1962

On September 21, 1962, Mr. E. A. STOCCANE, Chief, Local Investigation Unit, of this office, interviewed M. Andre DUCRET, Commissaire Divisionnaire de Police, Chief of the Security Services of the President of the Republic, for details concerning the attempted assassination of President Charles de Gaulle on August 22, 1962. Mr. Stoccane obtained the following:

The automobile in which the President was riding was a current model CITROEN DE without any protective devices. The tires were identified as Michelin “X”. An older model car but armored has been available for the President’s use but he had repeatedly declined to use it. His car was identified as a CITROEN (traction avant 13 CV) and has been stored for several years in the garage of the Prefecture de Police.

Until lately, President De Gaulle had proved to be a very difficult person to protect because of his aversion to security arrangements to ensure his personal safety. In fact, he actually dislikes being protected. In his private moves, he does not wish to see any policeman, in or out of uniform; nor does he want any motorcycle escorts. This was his attitude and the situation on August 22, 1962 when the latest attempt on his life was made.

There was no protection in front of his car and only a single police car was following the President’s vehicle at a discreet distance. Without the President’s knowledge M. DUCRET, as was his usual practice, had detailed two motorcycle policeman to follow the convoy at even a more discreet distance. They were to intervene only in case of a serious incident. Meanwhile, they had to maintain the appearance of traffic policeman who were not involved in the President’s movement. Thus the President’s vehicle was traveling in the same manner as any other on the highway, stopping at traffic signals and moving with the traffic flow. This was the manner in which President de Gaulle had been proceeding between the Elysee Palace and his private residence at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises on August 22, 1962.

It was only after the first attempt against his life at Pont-sur-Seine that the President made one concession to the staff in charge of his security: he agreed to use an aircraft as transport from Villacoublay to St. Dizier.
He had also been advised to vary the vehicles in which he rode, even to the extent of utilizing cars painted in colors other than black. However he refused, declaring that he always wanted to ride in the same black CITROEN DS.

The distance between the Elysee Palace and Villacoublay Airport is approximately twenty kilometers. While the route within Paris proper to the airport could have been varied, it was necessary once on the outskirts and in the vicinity of the airport to proceed via a crossing known as “Rond Point du Petit Clamart” or by a devious route using a road emerging from Versailles. The shortest route, however, is by way of the “Rond Point du Petit Clamart.”

Investigation of the August 22 attempt disclosed that the ambush had been organized and directed by a person with military experience and this was immediately noted. The tactics employed were similar to those used by the infantry in attacking convoys. One group comprising two men with machine guns had, it is believed, the mission of immobilizing the first vehicle in order to block the convoy. This was offered as an explanation why the assilants aimed low since it appeared that they had sought to neutralize the vehicle’s hydraulic system, and puncture the tires and gasoline tank. It further assumed that another group was to have attacked the President himself.

As it developed, the tires deflated slowly and the car was thus able to proceed to the airport in the vicinity.

M. Jean-Marie BASTIEN-THIRY, the aeronautical military engineer, who was recently apprehended and who admitted having organized the attempt revealed during the course of his interrogation that if the itinerary followed by the President had been known earlier and more important, the line-up of the vehicles, his tactics would have been different and more effective. He informed the authorities that the assailants three vehicles would have passed the President’s car and the last of these vehicles, a small delivery truck, would have had its rear door thrown own and fire directed at President de Gaulle.

On Sunday, September 16, 1962, President de Gaulle acceded to the request of his security staff and used a helicopter from the Ecole Militaire to his private residence at Colombay-les-Deux-Eglises. However, upon arriving at his destination, either because of wounded pride or because these measures ran counter to his usual attitude, he appeared to be extremely bad temper as a result of which he neglected to attend Mass on that day, an omission that astonished his associates.
M. DUCRET had subsequently forwarded to the President a list of security recommendations to ensure his safety. These were returned to him crossed with red crayon, indicating disapproval.

The combined security elements of the Ministre de L’Interier, Ministre des Armees and the Prefet de Police have agreed that henceforth all presidential moves, irrespective of what they might be, shall be considered as official movements.

Consequently, the itinerary will be carefully scrutinized, the convoy framed with motorcycles and the movement will be accompanied by suitable sound warnings to cause other traffic to halt. Further, a heavily armed car will precede the President’s vehicle and the entire convoy will travel at a rate of speed which, according to M. DUCRET, will be one of the most important security elements.

Since the foregoing and other material previously transmitted constitute the maximum data obtainable from the French authorities, the requirement levied on this office is considered as fulfilled. In the event of further specific request for additional information received from headquarters, efforts will be exerted to comply.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Acoustical Forensics

The Importance of Audio Forensics from JFK to Trayvon Martin

The relatively new but growing discipline of audio forensics, which involves the acquisition, analysis and evaluation of sound recordings was the focus of a September 9, 2016 Forensic Fridays seminar at the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

The Audio Forensics from JFK to Trayvon Martin seminar was held at the Institute in Pittsburgh and was offered online.

"Are you sure that isn't Trayvon Martin heard screaming on the recording of George Zimmerman's 911 call? Are you curious what the missing audio from the Chicago Police dash-cam in the Laquan McDonald shooting reveals?" asks Ben Wecht, program coordinator for the institute. "How about the fully-restored Air Force One recordings of the real-time reaction of U.S. government officials to the news of JFK's assassination or, what a journalist's tape recording during the shooting of RFK reveals about the number of shots fired? These case studies and the field of audio forensics will be at the center of this week's seminar."

The seminar provided insight into the uses of acoustic evidence, including the importance of audio in a video recording, how that evidence is interpreted through scientific theories and subjective opinions, and the role of acoustic evidence in litigation.

Presenters at the seminar included:

Ed and Mike Primeau, national forensic experts
Don Maue, sound designer
Tom Kikta, audio forensic expert witness.

Audio Forensics from JFK to Trayvon Martin was approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for 6 hours of substantive CLE credit and by the Pennsylvania Coroners Education Board for 6 hours of Coroners Continuing Education credit. Scholarships are also available.

Message to the White House: Full JFK Disclosure in 2017

Message to White House: Full JFK Disclosure in 2017

In an open letter to the White House, a diverse group of JFK authors and investigators are calling on the president's lawyer to endorse complete declassification of thousands of pages of still-secret government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

November 18, 2016

The Hon. W. Neil Eggleston
Counsel to the President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20502

Dear Mr. Eggleston,

October 26, 2017 will mark the 25th anniversary of the JFK Records Act, one of the most successful full disclosure measures in the annals of open government law. We write to ask your support for effective enforcement of the Act now and under the next administration.

The JFK Assassination Records Act was approved unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on October 26, 1992. The Act resulted in the declassification of some 4 million pages of records related to the assassination of President Kennedy. The Act also serves as a model for other open government measures that have made public key chapters in the nation's history without compromising legitimate secrets. As President Obama said in August, "we have a responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency."

The JFK Records Collection is now the single most-requested body of records at National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. Scholars, journalists, historians, and students have found these records invaluable for writing the history of the Cold War, Kennedy's presidency, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Warren Commission, Vietnam, the counterculture, and Watergate.

The final test of the law will come on October 26, 2017. That's when all of the redacted documents in the collection, as well as nearly 3,600 JFK records still withheld in full, are scheduled to be declassified in their entirety. The staff of the National Archives is now preparing for the online release of all material before the statutory deadline, an ambitious goal that we hope will be fulfilled.

One provision of the Act gives federal agencies the right to request continued postponement of JFK records after 2017, if release would result in "identifiable harm" that outweighs the public interest. As authors, historians and investigators, we believe, withholding any portion of any JFK records would result in identifiable harm to the public interest. After 53 years, continuing JFK secrecy would provoke unnecessary suspicion and flout Congress's clear preference for full disclosure within 25 years of 1992. And it would deny the American people access to portions of our history.

We ask you, as White House Counsel, to affirm and uphold the spirit and language of the JFK Records Act, and to instruct all U.S. government agencies to fully release all assassination-related records on or before October 26, 2017.


G. Robert Blakey, general counsel, House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)
Russ Baker, author
Rex Bradford, president, Mary Ferrell Foundation
Deb Conway, publisher, JFK Lancer
Dan Hardway, HSCA investigator
Dan Ellsberg, author
Doug Horne, Assassination Records Review Board analyst
Brian Latell, former CIA Cuba analyst
Jim Lesar, president, Assassination Archives and Research Center
Ed Lopez, HSCA investigator
Joan Mellen, author
Jefferson Morley, author
John Newman, author
Gerald Posner, author
Dick Russell, author
Larry Sabato, author
Peter Dale Scott, author
Phil Shenon, author
Oliver Stone, filmmaker
Anthony Summers, author
Robbyn Swan, author
David Talbot , author
Howard Willens, Warren Commission assistant counsel