Birth of the HSCA
The HSCA had a rather awkward birth let's say. To date it's seen as and largely regarded as the second largest investigation ever undertaken on the JFK Assassination (this despite it investigating more than just the JFK case at length), second only to the famous Warren Commission I'm sure most reading know at least something about. For those who do not, as I'm sure not everyone reading this thread will be familiar with this case, here's some hopefully helpful links:
- Wikipedia - The Warren Commission
- MaryFerrell.Org - Warren Commission
- Archives.Gov - The Warren Commission Report
- Spartacus.Schoolnet - The Warren Commission
The Warren Commission first began on the 29th of November, 1963, a week after the assassination it was investigating. It finally published publicly It's final conclusions on the 24th of September, 1964, almost a full year later. Despite such an in-depth investigation which produced an 888 page report, many people have come to disagree with their conclusions. This being a far cry from the initial public reaction which was largely in support of their findings, ones which were far away indeed from any kind of possible Conspiracy-related conclusion.
(Members of the Warren Commission)
I've published a couple of thread's here on ATS criticizing their conclusions, one of my last being this one looking at their most famous and well known conclusion, the contentious single bullet theory: A Look at the Single Bullet Theory..
What does this have to do with the HSCA investigation however? Well, in the 60's, the vast majority of people seemingly subscribed to the Warren Commissions conclusions as I just mentioned above, conclusions which portrayed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, as a loner, communism sympathizer, ex-marine gone off the rails. They claimed he was solely responsible for the slaying of JFK, J. D. Tippit and had no ties to any other organisation with-in or outside of any government agency.
They also claimed Jack Ruby, Oswald's killer (pictured above seconds prior to the slaying) a few days after he is said to have killed the above mentioned 2 people, had no connections to any such mentioned above agencies nor did he have any connection to Oswald previously. Well, towards the end of the 60's and coming into the 70's, particularly the mid-70's, public support started to wane more and more and more..
On the 6th of March, 1975, the first ever public television showing of the famous Zapruder film (the only video showing the full assassination taking place), which can be seen below, and was shown a full 12 years after it was first recorded and was then locked away, was made on Good Night America presented by Robert Groden and Dick Gregory. Around this time, many Warren Commission critics also started to re-surface now gaining more and more publicity, as well as of course a following.
This then helped in setting up a new investigation to quell some of these new theorists and once and for all put to bed the JFK assassination. This of course did not happen as even today most people seem to reject the conclusions of the first official investigation. Before the HSCA investigation came about though another had emerged in 1975, the year of the showing of the Zapruder film. This is known commonly as the Church Committee, named after Frank Church leading the investigation. It was initially set up to investigate the way in which the CIA and the FBI had gained Intelligence, as well as investigate their illegal activities, particularly in wake of the recent Watergate Scandal which had come to surface a few years previously.
Some of their conclusions were genuinely fascinating and are still quite largely unknown:
Church comes up with this conclusion to his examination of this issue: “In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.”(Source)
The committee also reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had withheld from the Warren Commission, during its investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, information about plots by the Government of the United States against Fidel Castro of Cuba; and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had conducted a counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) against Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The Mafia boss, Sam Giancana was ordered to appear before the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. However, before he could appear, on 19th June, 1975, Giancana was murdered in his own home. He had a massive wound in the back of the head. He had also been shot six times in a circle around the mouth. At the same time Jimmy Hoffa, another man the committee wanted to interview, also disappeared. His body was never found.
Johnny Roselli was also due to appear before Church's committee when he was murdered and in July 1976 his body was found floating in an oil drum in Miami's Dumfoundling Bay. Jack Anderson, of the Washington Post, interviewed Roselli just before he was killed. On 7th September, 1976, the newspaper reported Roselli as saying : "When Oswald was picked up, the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S. crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald."
As a result of Church's report and the deaths of Sam Giancana, Jimmy Hoffa and Johnny Roselli, Congress established the House Select Committee on Assassinations in September 1976. The resolution authorized a 12-member select committee to conduct an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
For anyone interested, here are some sources on the Church Committee:
Wikipedia - Church Committee
Their documents can also be found here:
Full list is here
- Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders
- Volume 1: Unauthorized Storage of Toxic Agents
- Volume 2: Huston Plan
- Volume 3: Internal Revenue Service
- Volume 4: Mail Opening
- Volume 5: The National Security Agency and Fourth Amendment Rights
- Volume 6: Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Volume 7: Covert Action
- Book I: Foreign and Military Intelligence
- Book II: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans
- Book III: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans
- Book IV: Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Foreign and Military Intelligence
- Book V: The Investigation of the Assassination of President J.F.K.: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies
- Book VI: Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activities
Also, here are some useful links on some of the information found in the above external material posted:
- Biography: Sam Giancana
- Johnny Roselli
- The Mysterious Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa
- The Life and Times of John Hoover - Cointelpro Post
- Cointelpro: The FBI's Covert Action Programs Against American Citizens
- How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up
As well as the previous posted findings on activities by those who are supposed to be in positions to serve and protect the people, as well as some of the above links posted on said people, this is also worth more than a mention at this time as well:
Church's committee also discovered that the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation had sent anonymous letters attacking the political beliefs of targets in order to induce their employers to fire them. Similar letters were sent to spouses in an effort to destroy marriages. The committee also documented criminal break-ins, the theft of membership lists and misinformation campaigns aimed at provoking violent attacks against targeted individuals.(Source)
One of those people targeted was Martin Luther King. The FBI mailed King a tape recording made from microphones hidden in hotel rooms. The tape was accompanied by a note suggesting that the recording would be released to the public unless King committed suicide.
In September, 1975, a subcommittee under Richard Schweiker was asked to investigate the performance of the intelligence agencies concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
In its final report, issued in April 1976, the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities concluded: “Domestic intelligence activity has threatened and undermined the Constitutional rights of Americans to free speech, association and privacy. It has done so primarily because the Constitutional system for checking abuse of power has not been applied.” The committee also revealed details for the first time of what the CIA called Operation Mockingbird.
Cointelpro in particular was being uncovered much more at this time, particularly the suspicious death of Fred Hampton for which the Cointelpro program had an undercover spy working for them (William O'Neal) getting close to Hampton. A short while before his death he, O'Neal, gave them information on the whereabouts of Hampton, in particular the whereabouts of his bedroom inside his apartment. His apartment was then raided on the 4th of December, 1969. Hampton was shot in the head it's claimed at point blank range shortly after the raid and after being drugged by O'Neal (so he wouldn't wake up during the raid) and it was later found after an investigation that most of the gunshots were aimed in the apartment (as opposed to being shot from the apartment which was the original claims by those raiding), it's claimed by some witnesses in a direct effort to silence Hampton and the Civil rights movement.
(Fred Hampton Prior to his Murder)
Due to the overall findings by the Church Committee, which massively destroyed the reputation of the CIA, FBI or any other government agency, for which there yet to recover from, it was finally decided that a new investigation on the JFK Assassination, as well as the Martin Luther King assassination due to the uncovering of Cointelpro and it's rather aggressive use against him, would have to take place.
Some sources on the above claims can be found here:
- Operation Mockingbird
- The FBI’s Attempt to Blackmail Martin Luther King Into Suicide
- A Short History of FBI Cointelpro
After a year or so of "in-fighting", It was finally decided that the new investigation after the Church Committee would take place in 1976, a year later, and would be primarily under the guidance of G. Robert Blakey who was it’s Chief Counsel and Staff Director.
(Blakey in more recent times)
After a year or so of "in-fighting", It was finally decided that the new investigation after the Church Committee would take place in 1976, a year later, and would be primarily under the guidance of G. Robert Blakey who was it’s Chief Counsel and Staff Director. Originally chaired Thomas N. Downing, someone whom believed there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK, who was then, despite a not so bad reputation, treated horrendously particularly by the media, character assassination at it's very worst, this eventually forcing him to resign. Blakey then took over. It can perhaps be argued that if Downing continued to chair the committee, we may know much more about this case. Upon his resignation Representative Henry Gonzalez of Texas, who may be better known on ATS as being someone who introduced legislation calling for the impeachment of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, was quoted as saying "Strong Forces have combined to stop the Inquiry at any cost", Source: Book: Crossfire: Page 524, line 6-7.
He quickly set about organizing the committee; such as who would be appointed to investigate what, what they would be primarily focusing on while individually investigating and everything else of this nature too. Some of the main staff included:
- Thomas N. Downing
- Louis Stokes
- L. Richardson Preyer
- Walter E. Fauntroy
- Yvonne Brathwaite Burke
- Christopher Dodd
- Harold Ford, Sr
- Floyd Fithian
- Robert W. Edgar
- Samuel L. Devine
- Stewart McKinney
- Charles Thone
- Harold S. Sawyer
The HSCA investigation officially began in 1976 and was active for 3 years time publishing it’s conclusions in 1979.
edit on 28-3-2012 by Rising Against because: (no reason given)
edit on 28-3-2012 by Rising Against because: (no reason given)