Wednesday, April 4, 2018

MLK Fifty Years Gone

MLK - 50 Years Gone

                                                                                                                       Patrick Duff inspects the MLK House in Camden
Michael King

There's a lot to be said on this 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr..

As James Douglas concluded in his book "Why JFK Was Killed and Why It Matters," the nation, including you and me were in denial over the murder of President Kennedy, and blandly accepted the government's cover-story, which set the stage for the subsequent murders of MLK and Robert F. Kennedy.

Douglas contends that if the accused assassin lee Harvey Oswald wasn't himself killed while in police custody, and JFK's murder was properly investigated and prosecuted, MLK and RFK would not have been killed in the way they were, with set-up patsies to take the fall while we all look the other way.

And I will take that a step further as I believe that if Brian DeBeckwith didn't shoot Medgar Evers in the back as Evers got out of his car after watching JFK give a civil rights speech, and get away with it for decades, then JFK would not have been killed the way he was.

King was killed as he leaned over the railling of a second floor balcony of the Loraine Motel in Memphis, where King was supporting a sanitation workers strike. Well King would be glad to know that those municiple sanitation workers were just awarded $70,000 each when it was noticed that they were the only municiple employees who didn't get a pension. One guy, eighty some years old, who was on strike when King was killed, is still driving a truck today because he didn't get a pension.

King's last words, as he called them down to the band and choir director in the parking lot, was a request for a favorite gospel song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," that Elvis even covered.

Take My Hand Precious Lord

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When my way grows drear, precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home


When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my…

All I remember of MLK's death is the riots where young blacks took to the streets, turned over cars, set fires and stores as my father, a Camden policeman, carried my grandmother out of her North Camden house, and she lost everything she had.

While the official investigators continue to blame James Earl Ray, another deranged loner framed for the crime, Loranne Motel cafe proprietor Loyd Jowers has testified in a Memphis trial that the real sniper was a Memphis police lieutenant. Former Oxford professor and British barrister William Pepper brought that trial to court, and wrote a book "Act of State," that sets much of the record straight.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded there was a conspiracy, and then locked away their MLK records for fifty years, records not included in the JFK Act of 1992 that freed the HSCA JFK records, though many of the MLK records are among the batches of JFK Act records released in 2017.

There are a number of MLK connections to South Jersey. King's personal attorney Clarence Jones, was the song of the cook and servants of the wealthy Quaker Lippincott family who owned the Chalfont-Haddon Hall and lived in Longport, where the future attorney for King recalls his first racist experience as a child.

In 1958, as King was studying Ghandi's non-violent civil disobedience tactics in freeing India of British colonial rule, MLK gave a speech to a Cape May, NJ conference of Quaker Friends on using non-violence techniques in the Civil Rights movement to end segregation. On April 4, 1968 Walter Cronkite began his national news cast announcing the death of King, who he called "the Apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement."

King's first civil act occurred in South Jersey in June 1950 when he was refused service at Mary's Place in Maple Shade, where when King and three friends refused to leave when they were refused service, and the bar owner, a German World War I veteran Ernest Nichols, pulled out a gun, opened the door and fired the gun in the air. That was enough and King and company left but went to the police station where they pressed charges against Nichols for refusing service and weapons violation.

King was assisted in he case by Camden Dr. Ulyssis Wiggins, but the case was dismissed when the parents of three college students who were sitting at the bar pressured their kids not to testify. Today, MLK boulevard in Camden ends at the Delaware River waterfront park named after Dr. Wiggins.

Patrick Duff, a South Jersey car salesman, deserves much of the credit for researching the published records of MLK's time in South Jersey, especially the incident in Maple Shade, where the site of Mary's Place will soon have an historic plaque to recognize what occurred there.

Duff found a copy of the original report signed by "Michael King," as he was yet to be known as Martin Luther King, Jr., and they called him Mike.

That report also lists King's legal address as 753 Walnut Street, Camden, New Jersey, where King and his best friend, fellow Crozier seminary student Walter McCall lived as the row house was owned by McCall's uncle and his cousins lived there.

That row house was boarded up and slated for demolition until Duff called attention to its historical significance and King's friend Rep. John Lewis (D. Ga.) said the house should be preserved for future generations, so they will know the story behind it.

Duff interviewed a number of people who also lived at the house at the same time and they recalled Michael King living there, but that was before he was famous and he was just another guy passing through, a friend of their cousin. King also gave sermons at the local Baptist Church when he lived in the small bedroom in the back of the second floor while one of the sons was away in the Army.

Duff recently came up with a newspaper story about King''s time in Camden that included an interview with the young man who said he just got out of the Army that very day in June 1950 and was still in his uniform when King told him they were going to Maple Shade to get something to eat. The young soldier warned King that he wouldn't get served in Maple Shade, but King replied, "We'll have to change that so we can go anywhere."

So King and his friends went to Maple Shade because they knew they wouldn't get served, and they provoked that incident and wanted to test the relatively recently passed New Jersey state civil rights law that ended segregation.

One of the old houses still standing on MLK Boulevard is the Walt Whitman house, owned and run by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Agency - Parks and Recreation Department. It is still standing today despite the race riots of the sixties and seventies because of its late caretaker Elizabeth Ray. Ray was a local neighbor who graduated from Rutgers and worked at the Whitman House, where during the height of the riots she stood out front swinging a broom stick at any rioter who came near the place.

Now the NJ state DEP is taking nominations for the 28th annual NJ Historic Preservation Awards [ nj.gov/dep/hpo ], that should be named after Elizabeth Ray and I intend to nominate Patrick Duff for the 2018 Award as I can think of no one more deserving.

As Acting DEP commissioner Catherine R. McCabe has said, "We look forward to honoring the many projects being done in communities across the state to preserve priceless pieces of New Jersey's legacy. Our history is being preserved because of the efforts undertaken by people who are moved to action because they care so much about the indelible mark these places and people have had on their communities. These efforts have contributed significantly to the preservation and understanding of our treasured past."

And nothing fits that description better than MLK's Camden house and the role Patrick Duff played in preserving it and calling attention to an important chapter in King's life that has so far escaped his biographies and the history of the civil rights movement.







Monday, March 26, 2018

Grandmother is on the Roof! Today is the Day of the JFK Act

Grandmother is on the Roof – Head’s Up!

Image result for AOTUS David Ferriero
Archivist of the USA David Ferriero with the Constitution 

If David Atlee Phillips were alive today I’d give him a call and tell him “Grandmother is on the roof!,” and he would laugh, and ask what’s up?

“Grandmother is on the roof” is the punchline Phillips would tell as a joke to his newly recruited agents. As the joke goes, a newly arrived immigrant to America who received a letter from home that informed him that his beloved cat had climbed on the roof, fell off and died.

The immigrant responded with a letter that asked not be give so much bad information all at once, and break it down, first sending a letter saying the cat went on the roof, then later say she fell off and then that she died, so as to ease the impact.

He then received a letter that simply said: “Grandmother is on the roof.”

Phillips used that as a way of an intelligence analysist recognizing some seemingly insignificant piece of information and recognizing it as something that was going to develop into something big and significant.

As Phillips explains in his novel The Carlos Contract, "That's what you must look for - that one new piece of information, perhaps a single line in a report, some awareness which gives you a funny feeling at the back of the neck - the suspicion that suddenly becomes a conviction that something important is in motion, that grandmother is on the roof."

Well Monday, March 26 is here - Todays The Day - the deadline date President Trump prescribed for the Archivist of the United States David Ferriero 



So heads up! 

The NARA should, though anything can happen, they should identify the agencies that have requested JFK assassination records be continually withheld, announce how many records there are on that list, and release those previously released records that are not being requested to be continually withheld, a motherload of the best stuff.

Now I don’t know what will happen, but I suspect, since the archivist I communicated with two weeks ago, that it will take two weeks to process the records that have been requested to be continually withheld, so to me that says there are a lot of them.

We should have been lobbying David Ferriero AOTUS these past to weeks to recommend full disclosure and not continually withhold anything – as the law – the JFK Act of 1992 prescribes – so now we will have to lobby Donald Trump POTUS – who has one month to decide whether or not to continually withhold anything and if so, what records on the assassination of JFK are so sensitive our national security is impearled. He is also required to identify those records, and explain the reason why they must be withheld from the public and citizens of the United States.

Whatever happens, we must come up with a reasonable and sensible response, and mobilize the troops to get what we want and is needed – total and full disclosure.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Debunking Dave Perry

MY PROBLEMS WITH DAVE PERRY


Dave Perry 

Even before he was quoted on the CNN story, “One JFK conspiracy theory that could be true,” I had a number of problems with Dave Perry.

First off, in dealing with the CNN report, the question isn’t “Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone when he shot the President?” – the question Vincent Bugliosi asked my associate John Judge, who correctly responded, yes he acted alone, he just didn’t kill anybody.

As Bugliosi went on to write “various conspiracy theorists have accused 42 groups, 82 assassins and 214 people of being involved in the assassination,” but the bottom line is the event only happened one way in real life and that is the full truth we are trying to determine.

I have three issues with Dave Perry, though I know there are probably more if I paid any attention to him, but I have a few bones to pick with him, including his knowledge of the Bledsoe police report, the stopwatch video and his attempts to denigrate the late Jim Marrs and the eminent Dr. Cyril Wecht.

The Bledsoe Dallas Police arrest report of October 1963, says that “Alex Hidell” and Jack Ruby were arrested for an altercation at Bledsoe’s rooming house, the day before Bledsoe actually evicted Oswald. The document was found among the effects of Oswald’s mother at a major university library some years ago, and considered genuine by some, even Dallas police officers and court clerks.

Perry however, says that it’s all a hoax, a prank by some people he knows who wanted to embarrass conspiracy theorists. If that is the case then it wasn’t a joke but a crime, as tampering with evidence in a homicide is itself a felony, and obstruction of justice as well, and if he knows those who committed this forgery and crime, he too is guilty of obstruction of justice.

Like the Monroe-Killgallon wiretap report and the Secret Service – CIA memo that says Oswald was trained by the CIA at Camp Perry (no relation to Dave), the Bledsoe document is a very detailed and professionally crafted document that is either genuine or designed to deceive. If a deception, it was meant to link Oswald and Hidell, Ruby and Oswald and both of them to Castro, who was being set up to take the fall for the Dealey Plaza operation.

As Bob Fox’s detailed analysis of the Bledsoe arrest report concludes: , “Genuine or not, there is a lot more to the Bledsoe arrest report than Dave Perry ever let on. Perry’s writing is so incomplete, so one-sided, so agenda-driven is to be misleading,” as he parodies Dave Perry as Naked Gun’s Lt. Frank Drebin/Leslie Nelson when he says amid the calamity and chaos - “Nothing to see here.”

My second problem with Dave Perry is the deceptive video he shot with the late Gary Mack that was broadcast on the Discovery Channel a few years ago and shown again by prosecutors at the CAPA Mock Trail of Oswald recently held at the Texas College of Law in Houston.

In this video Perry and Mack attempt to prove that Oswald could have been the sixth floor sniper because someone could leave the sixth floor southwest corner of the building, move across the full length of the building, ditch the rifle, descend four flights of stairs, walk across the room and through the second floor lunchroom door in less than ninety seconds, when Dallas Policeman Marion Baker saw Oswald through the closed door window of the lunchroom.

No one I know contends that the distance couldn’t be done in the time allotted, but the four facts that exonerate Oswald are not even addressed, as you can’t dance around them as Mack and Perry do with the bogus timing issue.

1)     At 12:15, when the motorcade was supposed to be at Dealey Plaza, but was running fifteen minutes late, a number of people on the street saw the man with a rifle on the sixth floor, at a time when Oswald was seen on the first floor. If not Oswald, who was that guy?

2)     None of the four witnesses on the stairs and fourth and fifth floor landings saw or heard anyone go down those stairs in the two minutes after the last shots were fired, and would have if anyone descended those steps at that time.

3)     Ninety seconds after the shooting Marion Baker arrived at the top of the steps on the second floor landing and saw Oswald through the square foot window of the closed lunchroom door. The door had to be closed or Baker would not have been able to see through the window, as physics and geometric law prescribes. And if Oswald had gone through that door a few seconds before Baker saw him, then building manager Roy Truly, who was a few seconds in front of Baker, would have seen him go through the door, and didn’t. But alas, there is another door to the lunchroom, one from the secretary’s office, the one Oswald left through, and the one he came in, coming up from the first floor, where he was last seen.

4)     Four minutes after the last shot, two minutes after the second floor lunchroom encounter, as Oswald was leaving the building, a court clerk from across the street saw a man in the sixth floor sniper’s nest window, not Oswald but someone who was in no hurry to get away, and confident that he would.

But Gary Mack and Dave Perry ignore those four established facts that exonerate Oswald as the sixth floor sniper.

The third beef I have with Dave Perry is his attempts to discredit Jim Marrs and Dr. Wecht. While I knew when Jim Marrs wrote the book on UFOs that it would be used to discredit his JFK work, we now know that the whole UFO phenomenon was used as a pretext to cover the U2 and other experimental technology like drones. In fact, the UFO project Bluebook was run by USAF General Charles Cabell, the brother of the mayor of Dallas, a documented CIA asset.

Perry tries to flip Dr. Wecht’s statement about the bogus Alien Autopsy film that he’s never seen an autopsy like that one, and he’s performed thousands of them, which Perry misconstrues as an endorsement of aliens. 

It isn’t Jim Marrs or Dr. Wecht who need to be exposed for misrepresentation of the truth, it’s Dave Perry whose the fraud.

There’s a lot of problems with the CNN story, but biggest fallacy is: “So, when reporters, producers, or amateur historians want to check out the latest JFK conspiracy theory, they call Dave Perry.”

At the time of the passage of the JFK Act in 1992 the Go-To Guy was the now discredited serial plagerist Gerald Posner, who garnered headlines a few days after the law was passed saying that the files are free and there’s nothing in them, even before anyone could read them. Then it was John McAdams, the fired university professor. Max Holland is also a favorite of the media, and more recently Phil Shenon has been given a lot of ink and airtime to promote his attempt to revive the original fake cover story that Castro was behind the assassination.

The difference between Lone Nut Debunkers like Perry and Real Researchers is real researchers take what we know and try to answer the outstanding questions that can be answered, while debunkers like Perry poke holes in silly conspiracy theories. I’ve debunked more conspiracy theories than Perry but I know that one of them is right, and that’s the way it really happened.

Rather than Perry, Posner, McAdams or Holland, those who really want answers to the outstanding questions surrounding the assassination should go to the best independent researchers working full time on the case – Professor Peter Dale Scott, Dr. John Newman, Paul Hoch, David Talbot, Dick Russell, attorneys Jim Lesar, Bill Simpich and Larry Schnapf, or any of the good researchers – Larry Hancock, Jim DiEugenio, Lisa Pease, Len Osanic, Larry Haapanen,….there are dozens who know  more than Perry but are not asked.

Another misleading statement is: “Conspiracy theorists often gather to compare notes at special symposiums, like one in 2012 at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. The event, which included (Oliver) Stone as a panelist, seemed more like a revival meeting at a Sunday house of worship than an academic conference, according to a reporter who was there. "Replace 'Amen' for 'That's right!' and it would have basically been a church," recalled Rebecca Nuttall. It’s a shame neither CNN nor Dave Perry were there, or they would have learned something.

Nuttall, a reporter for the Pittsburgh free weekly, is a newbee to JFK research, and must have gone to the wrong church. I was there and saw no such display of ferver, but rather a series of serious presentations that anyone can view on line and judge for themselves, including many of those named above. My presentation was on Ed Primeu's combination and cleanup of the two existing Air Force One radio transmission tapes and my transcript of them, for which I earned the 2013 Mary Ferrell Award for research. But of course CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post didn’t bother covering that conference.

Perry then goes on to list the five top suspects:

1)     LBJ did it. Not based on Madeleine Brown, who was, despite all of Perry’s attempts to debunk her, was LBJ’s mistress and what she knew and said carries much more weight than Perry’s biased opinions. That LBJ did it, as Trump confidant Roger Stone attests, is because he benefited the most by taking over the reigns of power. We know LBJ wasn’t the mastermind behind the Dealey Plaza operation because he rejected, on the early evening of the assassination, the original cover story that was falsely devised to blame Castro for the assassination, and he decided to go with the Phase Two deranged lone nut scenario.

2)     That the military industrial complex was responsible does not rest on the fact that JFK wanted to avoid a ground war in Vietnam, something the military brass wanted, but rather on the fact that many of those involved were associated with US Army Reserves Intelligence. And the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their intelligence arm (the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence – ACSI) had an intelligence net over Dallas and Dealey Plaza and were the first to finger Oswald as the assassin and patsy. And the framing of Oswald and Castro was a black propaganda ploy similar to the Northwoods operations they wanted to use against Cuba.

3)     The mob didn’t do it because the mob doesn't use snipers (Bugsy Seigal excepted) or black propaganda though they were in bed with the CIA in the attempts to kill Castro, William Harvey was Johnny Rosselli’s case officer, and Rosselli was known as “Colonel Roselli”who co-sponsored, with the CIA, one of the anti-Castro Cuban commando teams at JMWAVE, while Harvey went to work for a book company that had an office in the TSBD.

4)     “Oswald acted alone as part of an unknown conspiracy” is not possible because Oswald did act alone but wasn’t the assassin and didn’t plan anything.

5)     That the CIA did it can only be considered in light of the plots to kill Castro, their associations with the Mafia, and the connections between other known covert operations and Dealey Plaza. The idea the assassination was a coup d├ętat assumes that all of the major institutions of government were either made a part of the coup or compromised by those who were.

It’s commendable that Perry wants all of the records released, and CNN is right in that we already known the truth. But it isn’t either Oswald acted alone or we will never know the truth – we know the truth and it won’t set us free but make us mad.

We know that whether Oswald was the lone assassin as Perry attests, or the patsy, as Oswald himself claimed, the MO-modus operandi of whatever happened at Dealey Plaza was that of a covert intelligence operation, one planed, organized and executed by a domestic, anti-Communist government connected intelligence network that also ran such operations in Cuba. And  that network continues today to utilized psychological warfare techniques to deceive the public and protect the guilty, and so far they have gotten away with it.

For more on Perry: 







Friday, March 16, 2018

Sen. Patrick Leahy Calls for Full Disclosure

Leahy Joins In Pressing For Full Public Disclosure Of JFK Assassination Documents
October 4, 2017


 Congressman Walter B. Jones and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley are calling for full public disclosure of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Today, Jones and Grassley introduced companion resolutions to accomplish just that. The first, H. Res. 556 in the House and S. Res. 281 in the Senate, calls on the President of the United States to allow the release of all remaining documents currently held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and reject any efforts to postpone their release.

The second, H. Res. 557 and S. Res. 282, commends NARA and its employees for working to release those records by October 26, 2017, the date established by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.

“To me, the tragedy that took place in Dallas continues to raise many questions that go unanswered,” said Jones. “After 54 years, there is no reason, for the sake of honesty and integrity in America, that the facts of the JFK assassination should not be made public. Virgil once said, ‘Evil is nourished and grows by concealment.’ It’s time to reveal what happened that awful afternoon in 1963.”

“Transparency in government is critical not only to ensuring accountability; it’s also essential to understanding our nation’s history.  The assassination of President Kennedy occurred at a pivotal time for our nation, and nearly 54 years later, we are still learning the details of how our government responded and what it may have known beforehand.  Americans deserve a full picture of what happened that fateful day in November 1963. Shining a light on never-before-seen government records is essential to filling in these blank spaces in our history,” Grassley said.

“I am proud to cosponsor Chairman Grassley’s resolutions calling on the Trump Administration to publicly disclose all government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – as required by a 1992 law authored by my good friend, the late Senator John Glenn,” responded
Senator Patrick Leahy, Senate cosponsor.  “The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history.  Americans have the right to know what our government knows.  Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions.  Chairman Grassley and I both believe that a government of, by, and for the people simply cannot be one that needlessly hides information from them, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to make our democracy ever more transparent to the American people.”  

"Twenty-five years ago, both Houses of Congress unanimously passed a bill mandating that these records would be released this month. It is time for the National Archives to do what it was directed to do and release these documents," said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, an original cosponsor.
Several academics with research interests in the life of President Kennedy are also calling on the release of all classified documents.

"Historians and political scientists have been patiently waiting for this information for many years.  If the full true story is to be told, then the full release of these files is essential," said UVA Professor Larry J. Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "Surely, 54 years of hidden secrets is more than enough.  It's time to bring all the facts into the bright sunshine of public disclosure." 

Additional House cosponsors include Representatives Dana Rohrbacher, John Conyers, Matt Gaetz, Gerald Connolly and Marcy Kaptur.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693

Lawmakers call for Release of JFK Assassination Files

Lawmakers Push Trump to Release JFK Assassination Files

Bipartisan group introduce resolutions ahead of October deadline


October 2017'

Senior lawmakers are calling on President Donald Trump to allow the release of remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Resolutions introduced in the House and Senate would call on the president to allow release of documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and for the Archives to work to meet a statutory deadline that arrives later in October.

The deadline occurs because it will be the 25th anniversary of the signing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act.

The leaders of the Senate resolution are Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who is a former chairman of the committee.

“The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the most shocking and tragic events in our nation’s history,” Leahy said in a statement. “Americans have the right to know what our government knows. Transparency is crucial for our country to fully reckon with this national tragedy, and that is the purpose of these resolutions.”

Grassley expressed a similar sentiment in his statement.

“Transparency in government is critical not only to ensuring accountability; it’s also essential to understanding our nation’s history. The assassination of President Kennedy occurred at a pivotal time for our nation, and nearly 54 years later, we are still learning the details of how our government responded and what it may have known beforehand. Americans deserve a full picture of what happened that fateful day in November 1963,” Grassley said.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones and New York Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter are leading the House versions of the resolutions.

The Kennedy assassination and related conspiracy theories made an unexpected appearance in the chaos of the 2016 presidential race.

Trump made a bizarre accusation highlighting the National Enquirer’s publication of a photo the tabloid purported to be of the father of campaign rival and Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz with Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.


“To me, the tragedy that took place in Dallas continues to raise many questions that go unanswered,” Jones said in a statement. “After 54 years, there is no reason, for the sake of honesty and integrity in America, that the facts of the JFK assassination should not be made public. Virgil once said, ‘Evil is nourished and grows by concealment.’ It’s time to reveal what happened that awful afternoon in 1963.”

Rex Bradford Open Letter to AOTUS

Open Letter to the US Archivist, March 11 2018


Rex Bradford, President
Mary Ferrell Foundation
March 11, 2018

Mr. David Ferriero
Archivist of the United States

Dear Mr. Ferriero,

The Mary Ferrell Foundation (MFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization engaged in an ongoing effort to bring accessible and interactive history to a new generation of critical thinkers. As host to the Internet's largest collection of JFK assassination records, accessed by thousands of persons daily, MFF seeks fulfillment of the letter and the spirit of the JFK Assassination Records of 1992 mandating disclosure of all government records on the events of November 1963.

The Foundation wants to express concern about the ongoing declassification process, offer our expertise in support of improving it, and recommend four actions for you and your staff.

We have conducted an analysis of the state of the JFK records releases based on these four sources:
2016 Listing - A 2016 Archives-produced listing of 3,571 documents that at that time were withheld in full (FOIA NARA-NGC-2016-000132).

Releases - Six sets of document releases in 2017 on 7/24, 10/26, 11/03, 11/09, 11/17, and 12/15 (see https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/2017-release).

2018 Listing - A 2018 Archives-produced listing of 798 withheld and 21092 redacted documents still to be released (FOIA NARA-NGC-2018-000072).

JFK Database - The official Archives database of metadata for JFK records (available online at https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/search).

While over 35,000 documents have been released in 2017 before and since the statutory deadline of October 26, 2017, a great deal of material remains withheld or redacted. The 2018 listing indicates that 21,890 documents, comprising over 368,000 pages, are still withheld in full or in part. Based on our analysis, we believe the true number is even higher, as will be discussed in this letter.

The JFK Records Act mandates disclosure of virtually all of this material. The view of Judge John Tunheim is that this material can and should be released in full; we concur and share his disappointment that it did not happen by the statutory deadline. President Trump has expressed the view that only the names of living informants should be withheld from released JFK files after April 28, 2018. Our view is that the names of living informants should be disclosed as well, and in any case current withholding is far beyond that limited scope.

Recommended Action #1: Release all JFK files in their entirety.

To that end, we are concerned that the release of partially redacted JFK material has not been accompanied by explanations for continued withholding, as required by Section 4 (3)(e) of the JFK Records Act.

This law requires the ARRB to "publish in the Federal Register a notice that summarizes the postponements approved by the Review Board or initiated by the President, the House of Representatives, or the Senate, including a description of the subject, originating agency, length or other physical description, and each ground for postponement that is relied upon."

Section 5 (g) (2) (D) (i) and (ii) requires any postponement to be justified by "identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations"; and (ii) "the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure."

While the ARRB no longer exists, this provision is still in force. The failure to provide explanation for the current postponements constitutes non-compliance with the Act.

Recommended Action #2: We believe it is your duty, under the law, to require all agencies to provide and publish in the Federal Register explanations for each and every postponed document (or portion of a document) before you certify that all JFK records have been released.

The JFK Records Act also states "no portion of any assassination record shall be withheld from public disclosure solely on grounds of non-relevance," unless the ARRB decides otherwise. Since the ARRB no longer exists, non-relevance cannot be grounds for continued postponement.

The MFF is concerned about anomalies found in our analysis of the 2016 and 2018 listings, as compared with the 2017 listings and the JFK Database. Of several issues and anomalies discovered, two data points in particular require your attention:

MFF has identified 375 JFK records that seem to have fallen through the cracks. These are records that were listed in the 2016 listing but not released, and yet not present in the 2018 listing. Was this an error in the 2018 listing, or are these documents no longer scheduled for release?

Recommended Action #3: MFF recommends full disclosure of any and all JFK documents identified as JFK records by the ARRB, in particular those 375 which appeared in the 2016 listing but are no longer referenced.

We have identified 795 documents that have been released but do not appear at all in the official online NARA database of JFK records. For example, the National Security Agency released 244 JFK records in 2017 that are not listed in the database. Our question: are there other non-disclosed JFK documents from NSA or other agencies that are not in the 2018 listing or scheduled for release? The JFK Records Act (section 4) requires that "The Archivist shall prepare and publish a subject guidebook and index to the collection"; no complete index currently exists.

Recommended Action #4: MFF recommends that the database be updated with the latest information from all government agencies to ensure accountability and public confidence in the disclosure process.

We would be happy to supply further details, including listings of which record numbers are being referenced in the counts above.

In closing, we thank your and the Archives staff, led by Martha Murphy Wagner, for your diligence in making the JFK Records Collection available to the public. As the most popular and studied body of records in the Archives, the JFK collection deserves your closest attention.

Respectfully,

Rex Bradford
President, Mary Ferrell Foundation

Dear AOTUS Re: JFK Act

March 2014

Dear David Ferriero,

As the Archivist of the United States - "the Collector in Chief," you are responsible for the protection and maintenance of America's historic records, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the evidence and official records of the assassination of President Kennedy.

As a fellow blogger, Archives researcher and Walt Whitman fan I was struck by your blog post -"Calling all Whitman Fans," [
http://blogs.archives.gov/aotus/?p=5342] as I found it hard to believe that over 3,000 previously unknown Whitman records could have secretly existed among the stacks at the Archives I also wrote about it.[ Whitman Treasure Trove Discovered at Archives | KellysCafe and JFKcountercoup: JFK Research At An Impass]

Their discovery gives me hope that more such historic records exist and await being found, especially among the many lost, missing and still with held records of the assassination of President Kennedy, the subject of much of my research.

As you are a former Navy corpsman - thank you for your service in Vietnam, you say you have an
interest in Navy records, so you should be interested to know of the sorry status of the ONI  records of the assassination - many lost, missing and wrongfully withheld today.

The Archives II where the Whitman  documents were found, is also where the JFK Records Collection is located, and the building was financed by the overwhelming  Congressional support for the JFK Act. Yet Congress has not held an oversight hearing on the JFK Act in 17 years.

As the AOTUS you are responsible for the implementing of the law - 44 U. S. C. 2107 [
FKCountercoup2: 44 U.S.C. 2107 - JFK Act] which states: "The remaining provisions of this Act shall continue in effect until such a time as the Archivist certifies to the President and the Congress that all assassination records have been made available to the public in accordance with this Act."

So the law remains in effect until such a time when you have determined all the records are released, an event that should have already happened.

Therefore I have started this petition to request that you fulfill your responsibility as Archivist and ensure that the law of the land - the JFK Act of 1992 and see that Congress does its duty and holds oversight hearings to determine what became of the missing evidence and records [
JFKCountercoup2: The Last Congressional Hearing on the JFK Act - 17 Years Ago].

 And that you, and not some unknown successor, will at such a time, and in our life time, inform the President, Congress and the American people that the last withheld JFK assassination record has been released.

William E. Kelly, Jr. 

Dear Mr. Kelly

Thank you for your recent e-mail raising your concerns about the sufficiency of the JFK Assassination Records Collection database that is available on archives.gov at the following url: http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/seach.html

The Archivist forwarded your e-mail to me for direct reply to you.

As I’m sure you know, the JFK database was created in response to the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. In section 5(d) of the Act NARA was required to create “a uniform system of electronic records” comprising identification aids created for each record transmitted to the Archivist. The Act did not stipulate what data fields should be included on the identification aid.

NARA met the obligations of the Act when it created a uniform system and made it available to the agencies that were transmitting the assassination related document to the NARA for inclusion in the Collection. The originating agencies entered the data fields for each document prior to transfer and transferred the data at the same time the records were accessioned by NARA. NARA then entered the data into the JFK Master System and has maintained that system, as well as the public use version on archives.gov since that time.

Accordingly, we believe that NARA has fully complied with the requirements of the Act.
NARA has freely acknowledged, however, that the “current status” field is out of date, and we realized that this frustrates you and other researchers.

The Special Access and FOIA unit that is responsible for the constitution of the Collection and maintenance of the database has extensive responsibilities for records outside of the Collection. Updates have unfortunately been delayed due to other FOIA review and access policy demands on their limited resources.

I am pleased to inform you that the Special Access and FOIA unit has consulted a team to process all of the JFK documents that are being withheld for release by 2017 in accordance with the JFK Act (the only basis to withhold records beyond that time would be if the President personally certifies continued postponement, under section 5(g)(2)(D) of the JFK Act).

As part of that process, the team is currently updating the JFK Collection Master System. 
We then intend to update the public use version once the data has been corrected, although we do not expect the update to be complete until 2017.

We welcome any additional input you would like to provide us about deficiencies in the database, so that we can be sure to correct them.

Sincerely,
Martha Wagner Murphy
Chief, Special Access and FOIA Staff
National Archives at College Park 

BILL KELLY RESPONDS: 

Dear Martha Murphy,

Thank you for inviting me and other researchers to provide additional input on the deficiencies in the JFK Collection database as well as the opportunity to comment on matters of NARA policies and procedures regarding the JFK Act.

A number of speakers commented on the data base t a recent conference in Washington D.C. on the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report, one saying it just “didn’t work” and another saying it is “basically useless,” so your acknowledgement that the “current status” of the database frustrates researchers is an understatement.

The idea that the CIA could accelerate the release of thousands of documents in 2003 that were due for release in 2010 proves that such acceleration is possible and there’s no excuse why the remaining sealed JFK Assassination records can’t be processed by the 2013 National Declassification Review system already in place. It’s also hard to imagine how hard it would be to update the Master System and the public access database at that time.

Beyond the basic frustration of an un-useable public database, we have found that Secret Service records reportedly destroyed have folders that are marked “withheld,” and that some thought destroyed have been located among the private papers of former agents (Blaine), while other government assassination records have been located among the private papers of former chief counsel Richard Sprague, Esq. and former WC attorney Howard Willins, and there appears to be little attempt to acquire these records for inclusion the JFK Collection as required by the law. 

Why aren’t the JFK Assassination records in the hands of former government employees being pursued, acquired and included in the collection? I believe Blaine and other Secret Service agents have more records and I suspect so does DOD historian Dr. Alfred Goldberg.

Why can’t you scan and post on line the most frequently requested documents rather than continuing to manually respond to the same requests over and over?

Why can’t you tell us how many documents are still being withheld, but you can’t even though Congress required the Review Board to publish a list of such records in the Federal Register?

Why can’t you provide a printout of all 1,100 CIA NBR records that are postponed until 2017?

Why can’t you remove the remaining redactions in the records previously released?

Why can’t you tell us the number of assassination records that have been destroyed and are missing? 
It is frustrating to have NARA say “We cannot confirm any ONI records are in fact missing from the collection,” when we know of many that aren’t in the collection now, and we know how determined ONI was to exclude all of its assassination records from the collection. You must acknowledge they are missing before you even start to look for them.

It would be good for the NARA JFK Collection staff to meet with or continue a dialog with a focus group of researchers that we have informally formed so we can continue to advise you as we get closer to 2017.

Giving select researchers access to the Master System directory would help, especially those researchers who are compiling lists of records withheld, destroyed and missing, as well as those who are creating a guide and index to the collection, something that Congress and the JFK Act requires the Archivist to do:'

Final Report ARRB p. 184-5 - Section 4: President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration. (a) In General (1)….The Collection shall consist of record copies of all Government records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which shall be transmitted to the National Archives in accordance with section 2107 of title 44, United States Code. The Archivist shall prepare and publish a subject guidebook and index to the collection….”

It doesn’t say anything about an unuseable searchable data base or Master System that the public can’t have access to. So here we are decades after Congress passed this law – and there is still no prepared and published subject guidebook and index, something that researchers themselves are apparently going to have to do. 

Besides preparing our own guidebook and index, and continuing the on-going dialogs between the NARA staff and researchers, the only thing we can do is to file FOIA requests and appeals and ask Congress to conduct its required oversight of the JFK Act – hold hearings and obtain the testimony of those responsible for the implementing the law and destroying and wrongfully withholding records.
Why hasn’t NARA requested Congress to oversee the JFK Act and enforce the law despite the reticence of almost all of the government agencies who waited out the ARRB?

Final Report – “Section 4: (e) Oversight – The Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate shall have continuing oversight jurisdiction with respect to the collection.”

Why aren’t these committees doing their job and overseeing the enforcement of the JFK Act, which according to the law, “…continue in effect until such time as the Archivist certifies to the President and Congress that all assassination records have been made available to the public in accordance with this Act.”