Conspiracy claims don’t sway former Secret Service agent

FILE - In this footage taken by presidential aide Dave Powers and photographed from a television screen, President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife, Jacqueline, waves from his limousine in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. According to an AP-GfK survey done in April 2013, about 6 in 10 Americans say they believe multiple people were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F, Kennedy, while only one-fourth think Oswald acted alone. Belief in a conspiracy, though strong, has declined since a 2003 Gallup poll found 75 percent said they thought Oswald was part of a wider plot. The Powers film, uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board and released Thursday, Nov. 21, 1996, shows Kennedy’s trip to Texas Nov. 21-22, 1963, prior to the assassination. Powers ran out of film before the motorcade entered Dealey Plaza where the fatal shots where fired.



John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy

FILE - In this footage taken by presidential aide Dave Powers and photographed from a television screen, President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife, Jacqueline, waves from his limousine in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. According to an AP-GfK survey done in April 2013, about 6 in 10 Americans say they believe multiple people were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F, Kennedy, while only one-fourth think Oswald acted alone. Belief in a conspiracy, though strong, has declined since a 2003 Gallup poll found 75 percent said they thought Oswald was part of a wider plot. The Powers film, uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board and released Thursday, Nov. 21, 1996, shows Kennedy’s trip to Texas Nov. 21-22, 1963, prior to the assassination. Powers ran out of film before the motorcade entered Dealey Plaza where the fatal shots where fired.

John F Kennedy’s grave site at Arlington National Cemetery, VA.



John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy

John F Kennedy’s grave site at Arlington National Cemetery, VA.

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MORE ON THE JFK ASSASSINATION ANNIVERSARY INSIDE

Former reporter Mary Louise Giblin Henderson recalls the scene in The Daily Sentinel newsroom on Nov. 22, 1963, PAGE 6A.



Jerry Blaine has heard just about every conspiracy theory put forward about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 years ago today.

He isn’t buying any of them.

“I went through 23 volumes of evidence, including the Warren Commission report,” Blaine said last week during an interview at his home in Grand Junction. “There’s ironclad evidence it was the work of a lone, mentally unstable gunman who wanted attention,” Lee Harvey Oswald.

Blaine speaks with more than a little authority. He is the coauthor of “The Kennedy Detail,” the story of the Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect the president and his family in 1963.

Equally important, Blaine was a member of that detail, and one of the Secret Service special agents who accompanied Kennedy to Texas on that fateful trip in November of 1963. But Blaine wasn’t in Dallas the morning of Nov. 22, when the president and First Lady Jackie Kennedy joined Texas Gov. John Connally in an open limousine to drive through the city.

Early that morning, Blaine and another agent had flown to Austin, Texas, to prepare for what was to be the next stop on the presidential swing though Texas.

For more than 40 years, Blaine and his colleagues who were members of the Kennedy detail didn’t discuss what occurred in Dallas that day. It was just too painful.

But, after Blaine retired from security work for large corporations and moved to Grand Junction, and as conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination continued to pile up — in books, films and on the Internet — he decided he needed to get the agents’ story out.

“The reason we wrote the book is that we didn’t want to see history kidnapped by a bunch of theories that ignore the facts,” he said.

Blaine is not alone in standing up for the single-gunman theory. Many others have also done so, including public figures and private observers.

Just this month, Fred Kaplan, an author and foreign policy expert, wrote an article for the online magazine Slate, explaining why he switched from an early believer in some sort of conspiracy to an “Oswald acted alone” guy.

Kaplan talked of reading a number of different books “that argued the case for a dark plot.

“Then one day, I looked up the footnotes in those books, most of them leading me to the multidocument hearings of the Warren Commission,” Kaplan wrote. “I was shocked. The authors had taken witnesses’ statements out of context, distorted them beyond recognition, and in some cases cherry-picked passages that seemed to back their theories while ignoring testimony that didn’t. It was my first brush with intellectual dishonesty.”

Additionally, Blaine noted, “Not one White House representative ever mentioned any conspiracy.”

Eager to tell the story from the Secret Service perspective, Blaine began to contact other surviving members of the Kennedy detail. All but one of them agreed to speak with him. And he began working with a family friend, newswoman and author named Lisa McKubben to put all the information in book form.

“The Kennedy Detail” was released in 2010 by Simon and Schuster, and has since sold more than 100,000 copies, according to Blaine’s wife, Joyce.

“We have had so much interest from people all over the world,” she said. Some of the most interesting trips they have taken to discuss the book have been at the invitation of high school teachers and college professors who want their students to understand what occurred 50 years ago, long before most of them were born.

“I hope this book will become part of our history,” Blaine said.

The same with another book, released this week and written by McKubben and fellow Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill, who was also part of the Kennedy detail. Hill was assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy and was walking next to the presidential limousine when the assassination occurred. He jumped onto the car and protected Mrs. Kennedy after the shots were fired that killed her husband.

Blaine said the Hill-McKubben book, “Five Days in November,” will feature more photos and provide more information to debunk some specific conspiracy theories.

In a world of so many theories about what really happened, it’s not surprising that some proponents of conspiracy theories are not fans of Blaine and his book. One author wrote a book claiming some members of the Kennedy detail were complicit in a CIA-led plot to kill Kennedy, or in the cover-up. He didn’t include Blaine or Hill among those he accused, but he referred to Blaine as the author of “a blame-the-victim” book because Blaine reported Kennedy didn’t want Secret Service agents riding on the presidential limousine in Dallas or other locations.

Other conspiracy proponents have posted pictures on the Internet of Adolf Hitler, surrounded by smaller photos of Jerry Blaine.

Blaine shrugged it off. “I made an enemy,” he said.

His greater concern is not for the personal attacks on him, but for damage he believes the conspiracy theorists have done to our political discourse and trust in government.

“In the long run, I think the conspiracies have increased the divide in our country,” he said.

They also made it easier for later conspiracy buffs to claim intentional government involvement in events such as the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Blaine hopes his book and Hill’s will help people understand the truth of what occurred 50 years ago today. But he is under no illusion the conspiracy theories will simply disappear.

“There’s still new theories all the time about the Lincoln assassination,” he said.



COMMENTS

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With all due respect, I prefer to believe people like retired FBI agent Don Adams, author of “From an Office Building with a High-Powered Rifle”, who claims that Lee Harvey Oswald “absolutely” did not kill JFK. Adams’ exact words were “Lee Harvey Oswald never fired a shot.”
Dr. Robert McClennan, who personally worked on JFK at Parkland Hospital, (and who believes the fatal bullet unquestionably came from in front of JFK), said, “We saw this huge hole in the back of his [JFK’s] head that blew out probably a circular hole, it was something like maybe five inches in diameter and blew out most of the back part of his brain so that I could look down into the empty part of his skull there. I could look down into the empty skull. There was nothing there. And as I stood there, in fact, the right half of his cerebellum fell out through the wound onto the guerney in front of me there.”
JFK assassination researcher, author Robert Groden has said, ““The people themselves want to know — [who killed JFK and why] — the news media and politicians apparently don’t. They’re the ones that have the power to do something about it. But the people do want to know….The press bought into the cover-up from the very beginning. Without the cooperation of the American press, the conspiracy never would have succeeded. Right now it’s embarrassing for them to admit they were wrong.”
Suggested reading material for those interested in the truth:
Published March 30, 1979: Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives — Summary of Findings and Recommendations — “Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy.” “The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”
The Man Who Killed Kennedy - The Case Against LBJ, by Roger Stone
Who Really Killed Kennedy?: 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination, by Jerome Corsi
From an Office Building with a High-Powered Rifle: A report to the public from an FBI agent involved in the official JFK assassination investigation, by Don Adams
They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK, by Jesse Ventura
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass
JFK: The Case for Conspiracy: Assassination and Medical Evidence, by Robert Groden
The Assassination Films: The Case for Conspiracy, Volume II, by Robert Groden
JFK On the Trail of the Assassins, by Jim Garrison
JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, by L.Fletcher Prouty
Killing JFK: 50 Years, 50 Lies: From the Warren Commission to Bill O’Reilly, A History of Deceit in the Kennedy Assassination, by Lance Moore

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