Friday, September 12, 2014

Newsweek exposes C. David Heymann as a lying bastard.

WOW, IS THIS A GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's better late than never but I lived long enough to see C. David Heymann, finally, called out as a liar.  Everything he wrote was one lie after another.

David Cay Johnston wrote this!  Yes, that guy, the guy who knows taxes and tax law like nobody else, that guy.

He had been dead for over two years, but he still had a magic touch with readers.

When best-selling author C. David Heymann’s latest (and last) book, Joe and Marilyn: Legends in Love, came out in July, it received the kind of reviews most authors would kill for. The Columbus Dispatch called it an “engrossing portrait.” The Christian Science Monitor and the New York Post raved. Kirkus Reviews said it was “a well-researched story” revealing the “profoundly unethical behavior of the medical and mental health professionals who dealt with [Monroe].” The popular Canadian magazine Maclean’s praised Heymann’s research, finding “his sources credible.”
The publisher, a subsidiary of media behemoth CBS, says Joe and Marilyn tells “the riveting true story” of the lusty, tempestuous and brief marriage between the Yankees slugger and the iconic actress. In this and his previous 10 books, Heymann served up intimate details no other celebrity biographer could match. It was often titillating and sometimes shocking stuff. In Joe and Marilyn, Heymann wrote that DiMaggio beat Monroe, wiretapped her home and stalked her by skulking around in disguises, wearing a fake beard and for hours holding up a copy of The New York Times so no one would notice him in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
In May 2012, Heymann fell dead in the lobby of his New York City apartment building, but that presented no problem for his publisher, according to Emily Bestler, who edited his last four books. She told Newsweek during a phone conversation in July that Heymann was “a true professional” who “finished the book before he died.” Still, Bestler said, she paid to have the book thoroughly fact-checked just to make sure all was in order. Nothing troubling turned up, she told me, not even a misspelled name.
Bestler’s mood changed when I told her I wanted to discuss numerous fabrications Newsweek had uncovered in Joe and Marilyn. She cut me off in mid-sentence, shouting that such questions were improper because she had thought I was calling only to ask about the marketing of a book by a dead author. She then declared that “this is getting ugly” and hung up.
When Paul Olewski, a spokesman for CBS’s Simon and Schuster publishing division, called me back, he was very polite but said he did not want to hear what Newsweek had found about any of the books by Heymann CBS had published, and that Bestler would not agree to an interview with Newsweek.
It’s too bad CBS didn’t want to hear more, because all the celebrity bios Heymann wrote for them and other publishers—dealing with JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe—are riddled with errors and fabrications. An exhaustive cataloging of those mistakes would fill a book, so a sampling from his long career will have to suffice.

Cooking the Books
His given name was Clemens Claude Oscar Heymann. He was a large man, known for chomping on cigars, boasting that he liked to write in the nude (wearing socks) and talking up women about his kinky sexual predilections—just the kind of biographical details that would play so well in his books. He earned a degree in hotel management from Cornell, a master’s in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and did work on a doctorate in English literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
He then embarked on what he no doubt hoped would be a long, respectable career as a literary biographer. His first nonfiction book, Ezra Pound, The Last Rower: A Political Profile, was published by Viking Adult in 1976. The reviews were pretty good, but sales were pretty poor, and Heymann got cuffed by the respected scholar Hugh Kenner, who revealed that an interview Heymann claimed he had conducted with Pound had been done by someone else and had appeared in an obscure Venetian publication. Heymann denied any impropriety and said Kenner was motivated by spite because he had once criticized Kenner in a review.

Heymann’s second book, American Aristocracy: The Lives and Times of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell (1980), got savaged by reviewers. Kirkus said it was “studded with outrageous bits of gaucherie, bad taste, and ignorance,” and another, strangely prescient reviewer said, “Written with neither grace nor insight, and in information largely derivative and too often in error, the book is kin to those tawdry, revelatory biographies that make for today’s best-selling, non-fiction list.”
American Aristocracy did claim one literary prize: The Village Voice’s “Most Mistakes Medallion” in 1980.

Heymann learned his lesson about the art and craft of writing a biography, but not the one you might expect. Speaking of this experience, he told The New York Observer in 1999 that he realized one should “never write a book about a poet if you want to sell books.”
That was one mistake he never made again.

Recanting and Kantor
Heymann switched from poets to celebrities, scored big in 1983 with Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton and then ran off a string of best-sellers that included A Woman Named Jackie (1989), his depiction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s life; Liz: An Intimate Biography of Elizabeth Taylor (1995); RFK: A Candid Biography of Robert F. Kennedy (1998); and Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story (2009).
For 30 years, I watched with astonishment and then bemusement as major publishers gave Heymann big advances, and respected media outlets—The New Yorker, The New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, USA Today and NPR—praised and promoted his books. I had exposed his first celebrity bio as a fraud on the front page of the Los Angeles Times back in 1983, and I knew his methods hadn’t changed over the years.
Random House gave him a $70,000 advance for Poor Little Rich Girl, big money back then for a little-known writer. Heymann said the book would be based on diary-like notebooks Hutton kept and extensive interviews Heymann conducted with the dime store heiress about her seven husbands and rapidly diminishing fortune—picture a Paris Hilton who dies a near-penniless recluse.

As promised, the book was salacious and gossipy. As might have been predicted, it was also riddled with errors, exaggerations and shameless fabrications.
My investigation of Heymann’s work began the day Random House withdrew the best-seller, vowing to pulp as many of the 58,000 printed copies as it could recover. That drastic action came after Mickey Rudin, a top Hollywood entertainment lawyer, threatened litigation. Rudin represented Dr. Edward A. Kantor, whom Heymann accused of prescribing excessive drugs for Hutton as far back as 1943. Kantor was just 14 years old in 1943.
The book spun out lurid tales that collapsed with just a phone call or two. Without much effort, I found nine people named in the book or known to have been involved in events mentioned in the book, including the legendary actor Cary Grant, who was once married to Hutton. All disputed Heymann’s account. One example: Heymann claimed that in 1965 Hutton was flown from Mexico to San Francisco Presbyterian Hospital, where Dr. Lawrence Nash treated her with “a nutritious soybean protein mixture” and warm Coca-Cola to wean her off alcohol. The hospital told me that no doctor by that name had ever worked there and that no such treatment would have been allowed.
When I got Heymann (and his lawyer) on the phone, he insisted he had interviewed Hutton many times but had no tape recordings, only handwritten notes. He could not describe the hotel suite where he said he repeatedly interviewed her. He told me he had flown out to Los Angeles from New York many times for these interviews and stayed in hotels, so I asked for his plane tickets and lodging receipts, which would be a paper trail supporting his claim. “Why would I have those?” Heymann asked. I explained that without receipts he could not deduct those expenses on his tax return.
I then asked him about a group of people in his book who were also mentioned in an earlier book by Philip Van Rensselaer, a sometimes companion of Hutton. Van Rensselaer had already confessed to me that he had invented these people after his publisher complained that his book needed to be livened up or it would not sell. In his book, Van Rensselaer attributed the names to a 1920s New York Sun newspaper article, which he also made up.
When I laid all this out for Heymann, he insisted that Van Rensselaer was lying about lying and that these people and the Sun story were real. Heymann said he had obtained a copy of that article from a Staten Island warehouse that had a complete collection of old Suns. When I asked for a photocopy of the article, Heymann told me he had only taken notes during his many visits to the warehouse, because the old newsprint was too fragile to put on a copy machine.
I told Heymann that this was the first thing he had said in our interview that could be independently verified and that I would immediately jump on a red-eye from L.A. to New York, pick him up the next morning and drive us to that warehouse. Heymann’s response: He wouldn’t know how to find it again.
At that point, his lawyer told him not to say another word and declared the interview over.
A few weeks later, Heymann found a new publisher for Poor Little Rich Girl. He rewrote huge chunks of the book, and the work paid off. In addition to the money he got from his new publisher, Lyle Stuart, he cashed a reported $100,000 check for the dramatic rights to the book, which became an NBC television movie that won three prime-time Emmys and a Golden Globe.

Jackie O, No!
Heymann claimed he didn’t escape the Random House fiasco unscathed. He later said he attempted suicide (a dozen Valium and half a bottle of scotch) in the aftermath of his book being pulled off shelves and pulped, and he moved to Israel for a few years. (He later boasted he worked for Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, but there is no independent confirmation of that.) But he wasn’t through with books. He aimed much higher with his new one, writing about the life and loves of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, one of the most famous and fascinating women in the world.
In A Woman Named Jackie and later in Bobby and Jackie, Heymann quoted the savvy Democratic Party strategist Larry O’Brien spilling his guts about the Kennedys, including a supposed incident in a Nebraska diner where, “four of the roughest, toughest-looking hombres I’d ever seen…were looking for a fight” with O’Brien and Bobby Kennedy. In a 1989 Miami Herald interview, O’Brien denied making various comments Heymann attributed to him, and pointed out that his own memoir contradicted many of the things attributed to him by Heymann.
Both O’Brien’s namesake son and Michael Gillette, the Texas historian who spent weeks recording oral history interviews with O’Brien, found the quotes unbelievable. “Even when he was off-tape—and O’Brien and I spent a lot of time at dinner in New York when he would let his hair down—this is not the sort of thing he would have ever said.”
Supporting Gillette’s claim is the fact that the quotes attributed to O’Brien bear no relationship to his well-documented speaking style, which was formal and specific, as opposed to the crass vulgate Heymann put in quote marks. Indeed, all of Heymann’s books feature long quotes from people that evidence a consistent speaking style. In other words, they read as though they were all said—or written—by the same person.
Heymann tells another wild story in A Woman Named Jackie. A teenage Irish girl, who had just been released from a Dublin mental hospital and “had a 14-inch butcher knife in her shoulder bag,” was brought into the Oval Office at JFK’s insistence. Heymann attributed the story to his interview with Kennedy confidant Lem Billings, who died in 1981, years before Heymann started working on the book.
No matter. A Woman Named Jackie was No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for five weeks, and People magazine named it the “best book” of 1989. It sold more than a million copies in hardback and was turned into a 1991 NBC miniseries.
Heymann followed that with Liz: An Intimate Biography of Elizabeth Taylor (1995). He claimed he had secured Taylor’s cooperation for the book, in which he wrote that she was beaten by two of her husbands, popped pills like candy and had a fling with Frank Sinatra. Her lawyer filed a lawsuit to block the NBC miniseries based on the book, declaring that none of that was true and that, contrary to Heymann’s claims of cooperation, Taylor had never spoken to Heymann or anyone working for him. A judge denied her request to block the broadcast, saying the proper approach was to sue after it aired.
Heymann went back to the Kennedys for RFK: A Candid Biography of Robert F. Kennedy (1998) and scored again. While Heymann at times emphasized that he taped interviews, he often refused to let those he interviewed make their own tapes. In 1988, Kristi Witker, the longtime WPIX news anchor in New York, gave Heymann some prosaic photographs for RFK and granted him an interview, which he refused to let her tape. She said she told Heymann that soon after she graduated from college, American Heritage sent her, a 21-year-old cub reporter with an affinity for miniskirts, on the 1968 campaign trail with Bobby Kennedy, who was then vying for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
When RFK came out, Witker was besieged by reporters who had read Heymann’s claim that she had been Bobby Kennedy’s “last great romance.” An exasperated Witker told me, “Of course reporters believed it, because it was in a book.”
She was outraged. “Why did you make up these awful quotes,” she asked Heymann, who, she says, replied that he did it because “everything you said was too banal.”
Witker’s lawyer threatened to sue. In a letter to his publisher’s lawyer, Heymann took a contemptuous tone. “I told Kristi to send me a better way of putting it if she could find one. Readers will know what it means, and anyway…there were so many goddamn women in RFK’s life, nobody’ll really care. What’s one more or less? It even begins to bore me.” 
Heymann may have found this line of inquiry boring, but he directed the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he’d bestowed his archive, to seal the part of the archive dealing with Witker.

The Sexiest Bisexual Alive
Heymann invented so many people and events for his books that he wasn’t able to keep them straight. In American Legacy he wrote of “Susan Sklover, a graduate student at Brown during JFK Jr.’s years at the university”—1979 to 1983— who talked about the women JFK Jr. supposedly dated while he was there.
Two years later, in Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story, Heymann described a Susan Sklover who worked as a White House masseuse while JFK was president, a job title that was a cover for her real job: prostitute. Heymann wrote that Sklover quit after six weeks and that Pierre Salinger, JFK’s press secretary, sent her on her way with a $5,000 check—which would have created a paper trail—and an ominous warning to keep quiet. Heymann also describes President Kennedy’s evaluation of Sklover’s technique—“ordinary lover”—without any indication of how Heymann could have known this.
Heymann wrote that Sklover’s name was kept out of Secret Service logbooks, a variation of an assertion in his other books to explain his reliance on people for whom no records exist.
Brown University, in an email, said it has no record of any student named Susan Sklover.
An exhaustive search of public records turned up two women named Susan Sklover, who are aware of each other, but know no one else with that name. Both said they never spoke to Heymann or any researcher. Neither attended Brown, knew JFK Jr. or worked at the White House. The women were born in 1954 and 1960, which meant they were both children during the Kennedy administration.
Heymann’s Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story, which Bestler also edited, has many anecdotes that are incredible but hardly credible. The astounding claim, central to that book, is that Bobby and Jackie were in love and became lovers soon after JFK was assassinated. Another intriguing bit of pillow talk was that Bobby Kennedy also had an affair with Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, who boasted several times that he was “the sexiest man alive.”
Who told Heymann this? He said in the book that his source was journalist Jack Newfield, who died in 2004. Yet back in 1994, when Heymann first made those claim in his revised A Woman Named Jackie, Newfield wrote a column in the New York Post denouncing Heymann for “libeling the dead” with this claim. Whether Heymann was getting revenge on the late journalist or simply could not keep his stories straight is not clear.
Heymann also wrote in that book about a time Bobby Kennedy abandoned a picnic in Virginia and hopped onto a motorcycle with a woman; Heymann says the two were soon observed, “copulating in public.” Heymann attributed this debauched tidbit to a “McLean, Virginia, police report…filed on May 25, 1965, signed by Patrol Officer Charles Duffy,” who chased after but did not catch the freshman United States Senator from New York as he ran off buck-naked.
There are a few problems with that fantastic tale. Among them: There is no McLean Police Department. The Fairfax County Police, which patrols the area Heymann described, stated in an email that it has no record of an officer named Charles Duffy ever serving on its force. The department also asked 10 officers from that era if they remembered a Charles Duffy. None did. The department also checked its numbered police reports from 1965 and found no such report by any officer.
Then there’s the knife that morphed into Champagne in Joe and Marilyn.
In both A Woman Named Jackie and RFK, Heymann recounts Marilyn Monroe’s last afternoon alive, August 3, 1962. (Keep in mind that Heymann maintains that both JFK and Bobby Kennedy had affairs with Monroe.) In both of those books, Heymann wrote that just a few hours before Monroe killed herself, Bobby Kennedy and the actor Peter Lawford visited her home in L.A.’s tony Brentwood neighborhood. Heymann said that at one point Monroe pulled a knife and lunged at Kennedy, and that the two men wrested the weapon from her.
When he later told that tale in Joe & Marilyn, Heymann wrote that Monroe tossed a glass of champagne in Kennedy’s face.

In the back of that book, Heymann explained how the knife had turned into bubbly. “In an interview with the author, Peter Lawford originally claimed that Marilyn threatened RFK with a kitchen knife; he then revised the anecdote to indicate instead that she threw a glass of champagne at him.”
Unexplained is when Lawford changed this story. Lawford died on Christmas Eve 1984, long before any of the three books were published. Putting the best possible spin on things, that means Lawford revised his story before the first book was published. And if that’s the case, why did Heymann tell the knife story in the first two books?  
The answer, according to Lawford’s widow, Patricia, is that Heymann made it all up. She told Newsweek Heymann could not have interviewed her husband on any of the occasions he cited because he was under her care around the clock. Asked if Heymann could have somehow gotten past her, she said Lawford was close to death and hardly able to make coherent statements, much less conduct a lengthy interview.
The Heymann archive at Stony Brook includes his handwritten notes of the purported interview with Lawford. The dying man’s supposed words flow smoothly, the way a writer’s do after polishing. Most people in interviews meander off-topic, digress and revise their stories as they draw on their memories, especially those who are sick and dying.
A handwriting expert said Heymann’s handwritten notes of the purported Lawford interview bore a striking resemblance to the writing in Heymann’s purported Hutton notebooks.
Quoting the Dead
In Joe and Marilyn, Heymann drew heavily on the rich trove of books about the Yankee Clipper and the iconic blonde. He also cited interviews with writer George Plimpton; Salinger, the Kennedy White House press secretary; and Newfield. All three men were dead by 2005. Plimpton, in a tape recording in Heymann’s own archive, declined to be interviewed. Salinger, in a letter also in the Heymann archive, said Heymann wrote “dramatic lies” and refused to cooperate. We already know that Newfield wrote a column in the Post denouncing Heymann. Despite this, Heymann “quoted” all three men in his book… long after they had been buried.
Among the many statements presented as fact in Joe and Marilyn that might have raised eyebrows at CBS was the one on Page 315. Heymann quoted the late actor and masseur Ralph Roberts as saying that Marilyn Monroe called the White House and “actually told the First Lady she wanted to marry the president,” and that Jackie Kennedy, humoring the actress, said “she had no objection.”
Yet years earlier, in 1989’s A Woman Named Jackie, Heymann attributed that story to Lawford. Only in that version “Jackie wasn’t shaken by the call. Not outwardly. She agreed to step aside. She would divorce Jack and Marilyn could marry him, but she [Monroe] would have to move into the White House.”
When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in 1994, Heymann rushed out a revised and expanded version of A Woman Named Jackie that fueled a hefty spike in sales, in part because he added a torrid secret affair between the former first lady and her late husband’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968.
In Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story, he expanded on this theme. He wrote of their supposed tryst on October 18, 1964, at the Manhattan apartment of one of Robert F. Kennedy’s sisters, adding that the president’s widow and his still grieving brother also shared a “suite occupied by Peter Lawford” at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in Manhattan. “Although several of the Secret Service files referred to in this chapter are currently available through the National Archives,” Heymann cautioned readers, “the majority are not. They were shown to the author by a confidential source.”
Donna Morel, a San Diego lawyer whose skepticism about passages in Heymann’s books prompted this Newsweek investigation, filed an expansive and carefully crafted Freedom of Information Act request for those files Heymann said were at the National Archives. Morel was notified that “there are no records pertaining to your request.” It is possible the National Archives was concealing records. It is also possible that no such archives exist.
Bestler, Heymann’s longtime editor, insists that independent fact-checking established the reliability of Joe & Marilyn, but most of Chapter 3 is fabricated. It consists primarily of long quotes attributed to “Rose Fromm, a German Jewish refugee” who Heymann said treated Marilyn Monroe as a therapist. Heymann writes that Fromm told him:
I have to stress that I work as a psychotherapist in Europe but not in the United States and I made that perfectly clear to Marilyn. My doctorate in clinical psychology had been awarded abroad and I had no interest in going through the process all over again.
Heymann wrote that Fromm moved to Los Angeles for six months in 1952, when she treated Monroe, whom she met through two Hollywood journalists she describes as friends, James Bacon of The Associated Press and Sidney Skolsky, then a syndicated Hollywood columnist.
Fromm was born in Sztetl, Poland, not Germany. She arrived in America at age 17, according to her 2007 autobiography. She graduated from the Dante School in Chicago in 1931 and the University of Illinois medical school in 1938, facts supported by photographs and her medical licensing records. Nowhere in her autobiography did Dr. Fromm mention Marilyn Monroe, James Bacon or Sidney Skolsky.
In Joe and Marilyn, Heymann cites Joe DiMaggio Jr., the slugger’s only son, as a source on more than 50 of the book’s 393 pages. Joe Jr. died in 1999, long before Heymann started work on the book, and he routinely turned reporters away. Public records contradict many of the quotes attributed to him in the book – Heymann wrote that he left Yale for San Francisco, almost immediately married a woman he barely knew, quickly divorced her and joined the Marines. In fact, records and interviews with his friends show, he moved to Los Angeles, joined the Marines before Monroe died (he was photographed in uniform at her funeral) and nine months after her death married a 17-year-old San Diego woman in Southern California.  George Milman, a Beverly Hills lawyer who was Joe Jr.’s roommate back then, and Tom Law, a contractor who worked with him, said Joe Jr. was circumspect about his father and devoted to his stepmother.
Heymann also wrote that Joe Jr.’s mother, Dorothy Arnold, took her son and Milman on overnight trips to Mexico where, panty-less, she would do handstands in an apparent effort to channel Monroe’s sexual allure. Milman, chuckling, said he recalls a few trips to Baja, but not the rest of that tale.
Earlier, in RFK, Heymann quoted Marie Ridder, a well-known Washington journalist, speculating that Bobby Kennedy “had an affair” with actress Candice Bergen. She says that’s not true. Heymann quoted a woman as saying “RFK and Candice made little effort to hide what they were doing.” But in a taped interview in the Heymann archive, that source says she saw nothing, knew nothing and asked not to be identified.
When I asked Bergen about this, she exploded with outrage, and then calmly said that none of it was true. She asked of one passage from Heymann’s book, more puzzled than angry, “How can he write that?”
The Errors of His Ways
Long after his Hutton book was shredded by Random House, Heymann defiantly defended his work in an interview with The Washington Post. “There’s a great degree of difference in the amount of accuracy required between a book about Ezra Pound and a book about Barbara Hutton,” he said. “She’s not a historical personage—she was a social figure. What I wanted to do was a mise en scène of a life.”
He added, “I may have made an error or two, or three, or four, or five—but at least I tried to write an accurate biography.”
On its website, CBS urges teachers to assign to schoolchildren Heymann’s book about the alleged affair between Bobby Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. CBS says the book is based on “impressive sources and impeccable insight” so that readers “finally get behind-closed-doors access to the emotional connection between these two legendary figures. An open secret for decades among Kennedy insiders, their affair emerges from the shadows in an illuminating book that only” Heymann could have produced.
The last clause of that statement is true, but in a way they surely don’t intend.

Given the abundant evidence that C. David Heymann was extraordinarily reckless with the truth, why does CBS continue to sell his books, and push them on teachers? Most publishers rely on their authors to be truthful, and diligent in their research, and most nonfiction books are not fact-checked by publishers. But when a red flag is raised, publishers have an obligation to their readers to investigate. And when a sea of red flags floods their lobby, they need to start pulping the fiction.

Burn in Hell you little prick.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ft. Worth remembers

I wish we could have done more.  

Margaret Hinchliffe will never forget Nov. 22, 1963.
A nurse at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas that day, she hurried to help when word came that two gunshot victims were about to arrive.
As she rounded a corner, she saw the first victim — a man with a bloody face — being rolled in on a stretcher.
“I saw this man on the cart, blood on him, flowers … near his head,” said Hinchliffe, now 82. “I picked those up and threw them in the trash.”
She went to Trauma Room 1 and did what she would normally do: She helped start an IV and placed an oxygen mask on the patient.
As doctors and other nurses began other IVs, performed a tracheotomy and inserted a catheter, she left the room to get O negative blood, as one of the doctors requested.
That’s when she heard the name of the patient: President John F. Kennedy.
“I almost passed out when I found out who it was,” she told the Star-Telegram in an interview at the Elmcroft Senior Living center in Irving, where she now lives. “I wasn’t expecting that.
“I just couldn’t believe it.”
Hinchliffe’s memories of that fateful day, when Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a Dallas motorcade after an overnight visit to Fort Worth, are among those expected to be revisited Wednesday during “Fort Worth Remembers JFK,” a sold-out program at TCU that is geared toward remembering the president nearly 50 years after his death.
Video clips of area residents sharing their recollections are expected to be shown.
‘Hard to believe’

Hinchliffe said she knew there was nothing left for medical personnel to do when she brought the blood into the trauma room for Kennedy.
“We [had] done all we could do,” she said softly. “I wish we could have done more.”
Minutes later, doctors formally pronounced the president dead.
“For a few moments everyone just stood, not really believing the President was really dead,” she was quoted as saying in a 1963 report prepared by hospital officials.
Soon a priest arrived to administer last rites, and Jacqueline Kennedy, who had been sitting in the hallway near the room, was allowed to see her husband. Doctors and nurses left the room.
After the priest and Mrs. Kennedy stepped out of the room, Hinchliffe and others cleaned the president — washing the blood from his face, draping a clean sheet over his body.
They stayed with him until a casket arrived.
“Mrs. Kennedy entered the room and removed a gold ring from her finger and placed it upon the ring finger of the President’s left hand,” the report stated. “When Mrs. Kennedy had left we placed the President’s body on a plastic sheet in the casket. We all left the room and Mrs. Kennedy entered alone and stayed with the body until it was removed a short time later.”
“It was hard to believe,” Hinchliffe said of that day. “It’s still hard to believe.”
Also hard to believe was the argument that took place in the ER hallway as officials arrived to take the president’s body to Air Force One. The local pathologist tried to stop them, because an autopsy was required.
Earl Rose, then the Dallas County medical examiner, demanded to do the autopsy, saying he was legally required to. But he was overruled by White House officials who were determined to have the official autopsy performed at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
“We almost had a fight out in the hall,” Hinchliffe said. “They was taking him and that was that.”
After the president’s body was removed from the hospital, Hinchliffe said, she and others cleaned the ER for other patients but learned later that the room wouldn’t be used again that day.
Some time later, Hinchliffe said, she learned that she had thrown away the pink pillbox hat that Jacqueline Kennedy wore that day. It was with the flowers she removed from the president’s stretcher when he was wheeled into the hospital.
Lee Harvey Oswald sighting

Hundreds of people have contacted the Star-Telegram to tell their JFK stories — they heard the president’s last speech, shook the president’s hand, admired Jacqueline Kennedy in her pink suit and hat, or waited somewhere along the route to what was then Carswell Air Force Base for a glimpse of the motorcade. Others saw the president somewhere along the motorcade route in Dallas.
Gary T. Yancy was in Dallas that day, a 21-year-old working in the zoning department at Dallas City Hall, near the motorcade route.
On a coffee break with co-workers that morning, he saw leaflets falling from the top of a building that featured Kennedy’s photo with the words “Wanted for Treason.”
Shortly before noon, he and others gathered outside City Hall to watch the motorcade. When Yancy saw Kennedy, he said, the president was not smiling. “I made the comment, ‘He looks like he is going to his funeral.’”
After that, Yancy and others went inside City Hall for their lunch break and soon heard a voice on the intercom system announcing that Kennedy had been shot. A second announcement soon reported that the president had died.
Most people began leaving, but Yancy said he couldn’t because he had to keep an appointment at City Hall.
During that appointment, “a police cruiser hit the hump at the basement entrance at such a high speed that I thought it would jump through the window,” Yancy said. “We immediately headed for the Police Basement.
“Just as we got there, they were pulling Lee Harvey Oswald out of the cruiser,” said Yancy, now 71, who lives in Arlington. “We watched them take him down the hall and then left.”
Two days later, Oswald, the assassin, was shot to death by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby on live TV.
‘Women crying and men wailing’

Ellis Kirk Gabbert Jr. is among those who saw the president while he was in Fort Worth.
Gabbert was a young letter carrier, covering a route that delivered mail three times a day to downtown businesses.
After finishing the first round, he realized that he had time to stop by the Hotel Texas to listen to the president’s speech.
“I had heard a lot about the charisma that he seemed to have, and I was curious,” said Gabbert, a 72-year-old Fort Worth man who retired after more than 40 years with the Postal Service. “I have to say that everything I had heard was true. His presentation was very inspiring.
“I do not remember a lot of the content of his words, but I do remember how impressed I was with the way he made you feel.”
After the speech, Gabbert continued along the mail route. By 1 p.m., he was on his third delivery of the day.
Suddenly, he said, it seemed as though most radios in downtown Fort Worth were turned on and a popular radio anchor, Porter Randall, was announcing that the president had died.
“Downtown Fort Worth was eerily quiet and the sounds of women crying and men wailing was echoing through the streets,” he said. “I had never experienced anything like it before or since.
“It was difficult to imagine that the lively, vibrant person that I had just witnessed a few hours before was gone.”
Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

Folks, it's just not true

I was very disappointed that Doug Campbell who referenced me in the beginning of his podcast show, "The Dallas Action," where I explained that what some folks were getting agitated about was not true at all went ahead and read a part of Mr Aid's article as though the CIA had recently raided the Kennedy and Johnson libraries and that thousands of pages of documents were removed.

It's not true.

There is no "loophole," in FOIA that the CIA is using to reclaim declassified documents so that they can mark them as classified and withdraw them from the public.  This is not true.

The show description says, "Today we explore how the CIA has, for two decades, been using a FOIA loophole to take back thousands of pages of previously declassified material, INCLUDING material housed in both the Kennedy and Johnson presidential libraries."

This is not true.  There is not a word, not a syllable, not a vowel, not a consonant of truth to this.

This crap came from Deb Galentine and others in the Facebook private group "JFK: Uncensored."

These idiots took a Bush - Cheney era policy, as outlined in Executive Order 13292, signed on March 25, 2003 and an article about this by Matthew Aid  published in 2006 titled, "Declassification in Reverse," and then they looked at the CIA's success in blocking release of Volume 5 of a 5 Volume study on the Bay of Pigs by claiming the fifth FOIA exemption, known as B-5, and then they took information from The Marry Ferrell Foundation ( see below ) in which Withdrawal notices appeared in the very first release of documents in August of 1993 on the JFK Assassination pursuant to the JFK Act and ahistorically, and in total ignorance tied them all together into a belief that the CIA was using FOIA to remove declassified records from Archives I and Archives II, as well as the JFK and LBJ Library, and they are doing this now, that this is currently happening.

It's not.

There is nothing in FOIA granting any agency the right to reclaim a declassified document.  The power to do this was in the Bush E.O.  But it was a completely stupid thing to do as Mr. Aid showed because you cannot unpublish a Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) volume.  Nor can you make them or their content classified.  Mr. Aid showed the enormous stupidity of the Bush era E.O. by showing a scan of the withdrawal form and then the relevant page in the FRUS.

Bush's executive order amending Clinton's executive order 12958 was made null and void by Obama's executive order 13526.

The claim that the JFK and LBJ libraries have been raided is completely false as a careful reading of Aid's article demonstrates.

The withdrawal notices in the Aug 1993 JFK records release were current in 1993. They are not current now.  So, let's look at the documents highlighted in yellow

101.) If you put in the RIF number they give - 1993.07.17.09:58:12:430560, you will get 1 hit.
So, click on "Display search results," and you'll get

Click on Full

And it's Open In Full

104.) If you put in the RIF number they give - 1993.07.17.09:01:36:310560, you will get 1 hit.
So, click on "Display search results," and you'll get

Click on Full for full result

And you get this.  And you'll see it's Open In Full

105.) If you put in the RIF number they give - 1993.07.17.09:13:08:780560, you will get 1 hit.
So, click on "Display search results," and then "Full" you'll get

It's Open In Full, too.

106.) If you put in the RIF number they give - 1993.07.17.08:39:39:870560, you will get 1 hit.
So, click on "Display search results," and you'll get this.  So, it's released with some deletions, this is considered Postponed in Part.

109.) Following the steps above this one is Open in Full.

110.) And this one is Open In Full

So, all have been released with only one of them having some redactions.

I asked Deb Galantine and others since they started this to repost my information that demonstrates that a their story was not true.  She wouldn't do it.

I went into great detail showing that there is no truth to the alarm bell Deb Galentine was sounding.  They even had one of their precious moderators ask me, well, how do you know it's not true, and that it's not going on?

I was stunned.  Are they kidding? I'm still stunned.

I gave him a listing of at least half a dozen agencies, watchdog groups, and professional organizations, both historical and archival that would be screaming about this if this was going on now.  They're not, and the reason they're not is because it's not going on.

That didn't register with this dim bulb, Brian Hendrix

To get it this wrong and not own up to it just amazes me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Censorship at JFK: Uncensored

It appears that the folks at JFK: Uncensored are as wedded to the idea that documents are indeed being withdrawn to be reclassified as classified documents as Ralph Cinque is wedded to the idea that the Altgens photo shows Oswald in the doorway.  And they think that this is happening now despite all of the evidence I produced that it's not.

Why let facts undermine a sensationalistic claim?

This is yet another example of why you have to have your own voice.  And it's why I have my own blog.

I have no tolerance for people who are advocating something that is not true, especially when I have painstakingly pointed out that what they believe is true is not true. They totally disregard the evidence that disproves their beliefs and continue to act, like Ralph Cinque, as if it is true.

Apparently, I've wasted my time trying to tell them they're wrong because they are above criticism.

This is a joke.  I've got the facts on my side.  The folks at JFK: Uncensored want to live in a fantasy bubble world of their own creation.  Go ahead.

I've got better things to do than to counter your false claims.

Brian Hendrix asked how can I be so sure?

Why am I so sure? What makes me so sure that reclassifying of declassified documents, in other words making them secret again is not happening now? Because I pay attention to this.

A lot of people would be complaining about it, that’s how.  NARA itself would complain about this. The presidential libraries would be complaining about this.  The Federation of American Scientists would be complaining about this. The National Security Archive would be complaining about this. The Amerian Historical Association would be complaining about this. The State Department folks involved with the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) would be complaining about this.  The Society of American Archivists would be complaining about this. The National Declassification Center would be complaining about this 

A lot of people would be complaining about this.  And they’re not.  If it was happening today all of the above groups and agencies would be complaining about it so loudly I'd hear about it.

President George W. Bush's Executive Order 13292 ammended Clinton’s Executive order 12958.  

Wikipedia says, "Executive Order 12958 and the amendments incorporated into it, including Executive Order 13292 were revoked by President Barak Obama in the issuance of Executive Order 13526.  That E.O. created The National Declassification Center."

Folks, it's not happening today.   

A follow up on the erroneous story that declassified records are being reclassified.

Some folks on a Facebook group, JFK: Uncensored, started a discussion that records that have been declassified were being secretly taken back by the CIA and they reclassified them as classified.  This was also a topic of discussion by Doug Campbell on his podcast "The Dallas Action." Part 21 August 31, 2014.

Deb Galentine, the creator or an administrator of the Facebook group, JFK Uncensored, read three articles on the National Security Archive website and conflated a Bush-Cheney era attempt to reclassify, i.e., "hide" some records that just happen to cover a period when Cheney was Secretary of Defense and a time when Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense together with the withdrawal forms present in the very first JFK records Act release from Aug of 1993 and thought that "they," whoever you want they to be, are currently taking away JFK assassination documents and reclassifying them.  No.  No, no, no, no, no. This is not true, not correct, not happening.

I need to stress right away that the National Security Archive is not, is not, a federal intelligence agency. They are a private group associated with George Washington University in Washington, D.C. They are the good NSA.  The other NSA is the National Security Agency.  They are the folks who spy on everybody.

One article Galentine read was titled, "Declassification in Reverse: The Pentagon and the U.S. Intelligence Community's Secret Historical Document Reclassification Program."  It was written by Matthew M. Aid.  It was written, or I guess I should say published, on the ( good ) NSA website on February 21, 2006.

So, it's 8 years old. Who was President of the United States in 2006? George W. Bush.  Bush, and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, did not like President Bill Clinton's Executive Order 12958 which was an effort to declassify all classified records that were held as classified and were 25 years old or older in 1995, so, that by the year 1999 they would all be released.

This Act was seen as being very helpful by the ARRB.  But, I vividly recall attending an open meeting of the ARRB in their offices and we were all shocked and surprised to learn from an article in The Washington Post that the FBI somehow got a waiver and the order would not apply to them.

So, when Bush and Cheney came in they were receptive to the intelligence community's complaints that some of their material, though declassified and sitting on shelves for years, copied by the general public, and even published in books, including the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, were, they claim "inadvertently" declassified under President Clinton's Executive Order 12958. Additionally, there was a cultural shift favoring secrecy after the attacks on September 11, 2001.  So, Bush amends E.O. 12958 on March 25, 2003 with E. O. 13292.

So, there was this effort to reclassify CIA records in particular that were "inadvertently" declassified in State Department records.  This effort was driven by an ideology and undermined the legal authority of the FRUS which not only records and publishes volumes on U.S. diplomatic history but is itself a declassifying authority. So, the IDIOT Bush zombies decided to withdraw the original document, regardless of the fact that ANYONE could see and read the exact same information published in a FRUS volume. You simply cannot unpublish a FRUS volume.

So, the gang at JFK: Uncensored are about 8 years late to the party on this and not up-to-date on what has happened since.  This is a problem of reading information on a website today without knowing the true chronological order of what happened when.  It's easy to see all these websites and it is hard to follow the course of events if you're just going from site to site from a Google search.

Okay, next President Barak Obama comes in.  He orders a review of Clinton's E.O. 12958 on May 27, 2009.  Obama issues Executive Order 13526.  Section 3.7 creates the National Declassification Center (NDC).  The NDC wants to release this enormous backlog of documents awaiting declassification.

I got folks to attend an open meeting of the National Declassification Center to try to get JFK records released.

In Jefferson Morley's quest to get CIA records pertaining to George Joannides he got an official to state that there are about 1,100 CIA documents still being withheld.  This became something called "The Dorn Declaration."  I forget the exact origins of this but I have a screen grab image that I'll reproduce.

IV. Search of Records Released to NARA

    40. The Dorn Declaration describes the JFK Act and the Assassination Records Review Board ("ARRB") created thereunder. See Exhibit A ?? 26-30.  With the exception of approximately 1,100 documents withheld in their entirety until 2017, all of the CIA's JFK related documents were released in full or in part to NARA.

So, that's "The Dorn Declaration."  And it's pure bullshit.  It's bullshit in the statement that only about 1,100 documents are held back in their entirety. It's also bullshit that all of the CIA's JFK assassination related documents were released..  Jefferson Morley is seeking CIA documents that the ARRB did not know about, and that the CIA did not come forward with under the JFK Act. These documents fall outside the parameters set by the ARRB and the JFK Act.

So, that brings me, or us, to the present.  I have all of the information from the ARRB as published in The Federal Register up to April, 1998 and the document by document information only published as a summary in the Federal Register after April 1998.  The ARRB had to pay out of their own budget what they were required by law to publish in The Federal Register.  They had to list their decisions on a document by document basis.  They could not afford to do this anymore by April of 1998 as the list of numbers now were exceeding 70 to 80 pages and more. Also, they were going out of business by the end of September 1998.  So, they produced summaries of their decisions. The listing of their decisions on a document by document basis could only be obtained directly from the ARRB at the time or in their files at Archives II.  I finally obtained all of this this year.

The project I'm working on now is to cull from all of this data the documents marked as Postponed in Full, or Postponed in Part, until 2017.  I will give a presentation on this at the ARRC conference this month.  There is an assumption in the JFK research community that there are only 1,100 documents still being withheld, and those are all CIA and we got everything from everybody else.  Boy, is that wrong.

So, going back to Doug's podcast, he reads parts of the Matthew Aid article.  Unfortunately, Mr. Aid uses sensationalistic language in his article. Mr. Aid's use of the word raid, actually "raiding," makes it sound like people broke into the libraries and confiscated whatever they wanted.  It's just a stupid hook to keep you reading his article.  One subsection is entitled "Raiding the Presidential Libraries."  And the two libraries mentioned are the Kennedy and Johnson libraries.  However, the language of this paragraph make it clear that no raid actually took place.  People from the Dept. of Energy, and the Air Force went to the JFK and LBJ libraries and reviewed open State Department documents but they found nothing to concern them.  So, nothing was taken and reclassified from either presidential library according to Nancy Smith.

"Nancy Smith, of [NARA's Office of Presidential Libraries, noted that DOE and AF [Air Force] reviewers were going to presidential libraries to review information from the open stacks for quality control. Smith said that a problem has arisen occasionally when the Presidential Libraries have documents that were previously published in Foreign Relations and the same document may no longer be able to remain declassified. NARA cites FRUS as a declassification authority, if the DOE or AF reviewers have a concern. So far the Kennedy and Johnson libraries have not alerted Smith to any problems."  ( emphasis added by me)

Mr. Aid is also a poor writer.  Look at this non-sentence, "The results of the multi-agency reclassification effort since it began have dramatic and disturbing."  That should say "have been," the verb is missing. 

Most of the records reclassified are from the State Dept. and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Hmm, what previous office did Dick Cheney have in a presidential administration? He was the Secretary of Defense under President George H.W. Bush.  And what position did Donald Rumsfeld have in a previous presidential administration? He was Secretary of Defense under President Ford. 

But, that doesn't really mean anything, right? It's just coincidence.  

You see, you have to go back to this time, 2003, or earlier, and read from that time forward newspapers, and magazines, and editorials, to know more about this, how it was received, who was opposing it, what some thought the real reason why this was going on. Bush and Cheney had total contempt for any law, or any previous understanding of the nation's checks and balances. There was this ultra-right wing idea of the unitary executive theory. One can get a flavor of the time with this article in The Daily Kos on what Cheney thought the Vice Presidency really is.  And the New York Times reported on this new Cheney interpretation of what the Vice President's office is.  

Do you remember Attorney General Gonzales? He had to speak before a congressional committee and a senate committee and he arrogantly recited his opening statement what he said, word for word. Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC show Countdown had the two videos of Gonzales' opening statement side by side.  That's how much contempt they had for congress.  Gonzales couldn't even bother to write, or to have someone write for him a different opening statement. 

You also saw some of this total contempt toward the idea that anyone could tell anyone in the Bush administration that they have to comply with the law, or abide by any congressional oversight.

We saw this with the 9/11 Commission hearings when Condoleeza Rice thought her high position in the Bush administration exempted her from appearing before or complying with anything the 9/1 commission wanted from her.  They sent a Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage.  And if the committee didn't like it, well F the committee.  I could go on and on and on about the Bush-Cheney years. 

So, back to the main subject here, the idea that "they raided" presidential libraries is not accurate at all.

Doug states that they are going through the JFK and LBJ libraries and are reclassifying declassified material. NO! THEY ARE NOT DOING THAT.  This article was published in 2006.  It's about a Bush-Cheney thing.  This is not a current thing, and even under this Bush-Cheney stupidity nothing happened at the JFK or LBJ library.  This did not happen and is not happening now nor is it going to happen in the near or far future.  Doug did not properly read and understand what he was reading.

Doug Campbell reads parts of the article, often not reading the whole sentence, and gives the listener incorrect information, sometimes the exact opposite of what the article actually says.  He says, "They raided the Kennedy and Johnson libraries.  Did you hear that?" NO.  Because that's not what the article actually says.

The documents Doug reads from are mentioned in Aid's article. Document 7, and Document 13 have links that show the Bush-Cheney era of stupidity.  If you wanted to go to the specific document directly you would see a Withdrawal form.  However,  Mr.Aid then shows you that the document Bush and Cheney didn't want you to see has already been published by the FRUS.  So, you will see the withdrawal form and then the page from the FRUS.

This rescreening of declassified documents in an attempt to reclassify them was to continue until 2007.  So, it's not happening now. It was under Bush and Cheney. But, not now.

The second article by Aid, published on May 21, 2014 "CIA successfully conceals Bay of Pigs history." talks about how the B-5 exemption of the Freedom of Information Act under which the CIA was able to continue to hide Volume 5 of a 5 volume study by the CIA of the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

There is a website from NARA that will tell you all about FOIA.  The good NSA has a page on FOIA.

There are a number of exemptions to FOIA and these exemptions are overused. There are current attempts to strengthen FOIA and I encourage folks to look into that.

Then Doug reads an article written by Peter Kornbluh "History Held Hostage."

Warning, we are now off the NSA website.  There is a page on the NSA website with the title "History Held Hostage," that is about the CIA's refusal to release records on Chile.  Doug should have prefaced the "History Held Hostage," by saying the following is not on the NSA website, but is written by Peter Kornbluh

What Doug reads is "History Held Hostage" on The Daily Beast's website about the CIA's refusal to release Volume 5 of the Bay of Pigs report.

I hope I've cleared some things up here.  Studying our government's classification and declassification  systems is a good thing to do.  But, you must get the chronology right.  If you see something on the internet about this topic look at the date it was written, then look for newspaper, magazine, even blog posts about the specific item and the specific date to get the correct historical context.

I highly recommend visiting the NSA website.  Bookmark it and view it, at least once a week.  And subscribe to their Secrecy News email.  You'll learn a lot about the constant battle to get documents declassified.