50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

JFK assass colorcropHere’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – the Big Lie that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman, and that Kennedy’s killer was then killed himself – which wraps it all up rather nicely, – case closed. The Big Lie is the Warren Commission Report – and all its apologists and defenders.

The Big Lie includes the failure of government to adequately and fairly investigate the execution of America’s chief executive, it includes the dismissal, omission, suppression and misrepresentation of evidence, it includes the manipulation, dismissal and intimidation of witnesses – and ultimately elimination of witnesses.

The Big Lie represents the plot necessarily carried out by a conspiracy to eliminate JFK and then to cover it up; the Big Lie is the half century of a carefully calculated deception laid on the American people, a deception that allowed governmental policies involving getting the US out of Vietnam, restricting the war industry, ending nuclear brinkmanship with the Soviet Union, and reproachment with Cuba to be reversed. The Big Lie is treason incarnate.

But the Big Lie is also very personal, as many Americans of my generation – the Sixties Generation – were all individually deeply affected by Kennedy’s murder and the subsequent shenanigans involving Jack Ruby killing Oswald on live TV. And we were all affected as a generation, as a class of humans by what happened in Dallas.

Whether you’re a Sixties rep or younger, you’ve seen the films, the replays, the playbacks, the vids, the YouTubes on the assassination – so, by osmosis, you’ve been affected, culturally, psychologically, politically, …. with the point being that not only are Baby Boomers influenced by the killing, but everyone coming down the line since.

We Cannot Tell Lies to Our Children About What Happened in Dealey Plaza 50 Years Ago

So, with a half century under our belt, and with opinion polls consistently registering huge majorities of Americans who don’t believe the Warren Report conclusions that Oswald acted alone – consistent majorities since the time that the Warren Report was first released, we must come clean with ourselves. We must come clean with not only ourselves but with our children. And we must come clean to power.

For how can we tell lies to our children about this murder?

I have a child – a grown daughter – so I know I cannot tell her lies about what happened in Dealey Plaza 50 years ago. I cannot tell her lies especially about politics and the history of our country. So, I would turn to my daughter, who has only been alive for half of that half century, and I would say to her that I want her to know what happened and what didn’t happen so long ago – possibly an unimaginable time for someone so young – and I want to share an understanding of the gravity and significance of what happened from all the research I’ve done and all the research that others have done over these last five decades.

I would tell my daughter that it appears that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy – a conspiracy that reached into the highest levels of our federal government and the military, including players within the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA, the Secret Service.

This does not mean every member of every agency was involved, but enough key people were involved to make it happen, key and powerful people – people who had the power to shut down the entire Washington DC telephone system within minutes of the assassination; key and powerful people who had access to Kennedy’s X-rays, medical photos and reports in order to alter them; key and powerful people who had the ability to squash evidence and intimidate witnesses.

Okay, key players had ties to organized crime, the Mob, and to anti-Castro Cubans – but none of those outside government had the power to conduct a half century of cover-up, to conduct the Big Lie over the American people for so long. We know there’s been attempts to connect Oswald with the Cubans or the Russians – but again – neither one of these forces could have accomplished what was indeed accomplished.

And I would say to my daughter that it also appears that the Cover-Up is alive and well, that the corporate mass media wants us to believe the Warren Report – despite the fact that in the late 1970s Congress convened an investigation of the Warren Report, and created the House Select Committee on Assassinations. It concluded in 1979 that Oswald was not alone and that at least one shot came from the Grassy Knoll. But hardly any media source is bringing this up.

Between CNN, the History Channel, and National Geographic at least – as well as numerous books and current articles, it’s almost as if the Select Committee and its conclusions never existed.

Yet, one thing about time, it allows for continued research – and there’s been a mountain of research on the assassination and cover-up these past 50 years. Here’s what most researchers have concluded:

  • Oswald was involved in intelligence services on behalf of the U.S government;
  • There is an overabundance of evidence that demonstrates that Oswald was framed for the assassination;
  • that he could not have physically pulled it off – from firing a decrepit rifle within a few seconds, to hitting a moving target, through tree leaves, to getting down four flights of stairs to end up in the lunch room, to returning to his boarding house, to shooting officer Tippet.
  • There’s also evidence that someone was impersonating Oswald for months before the Dealey Plaza incident.
  • Oswald did not act alone;
  • The existence of a cover-up, of a conspiracy – is proved by a combination of the successful framing of Oswald coupled with successful attempts to suppress vital evidence;
  • Individuals within the federal government were involved and / or aware of the conspiracy;
  • Two very powerful men in government- besides JFK and his brother Robert, the Attorney General – , were Vice-President Lyndon Johnson and FBI Director J Edgar Hoover; both men were close friends of the other, and both were facing the probable ending of their careers either before or after the upcoming 1964 Presidential elections. Kennedy was going to fire Hoover after his re-election and probably remove Johnson as his running mate (also Johnson faced several significant scandals and even possible prison time).
  • Hoover, the FBI head, had nearly veto power of whom Johnson appointed to the Warren Commission. His agency was the only investigative arm of the Commission and controlled the flow of evidence to the Commission’s staff.

These conclusions have been formulated based on all the holes and loose ends of the case. I would like to address two that for me proved instrumental in pulling back the curtain.

Deaths of Material Witnesses

One of the most chilling aspects of this whole assassination thing is simply the extraordinary high number of mysterious deaths of material witnesses or people with information. Author and assassination researcher Jim Marrs determined that:

“In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, 18 material witnesses died – six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes.”

The London Times hired an actuary who concluded that on November 22, 1963, the odds against these witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one.

Even during the mid-1960s, there were whispers in Dallas about the number of strange and sudden deaths occurring to witnesses or to people with information about the assassination. Even into the 1980s, witnesses and others feared coming forward.

In a list below, people who had connections – even tenuous ones – to the assassination and are dead now, are listed by date of death. But remember as you peruse this list, it’s only dealing with deaths and is not dealing with at least four people who claim to have been attacked or even shot.

Marrs also states:

Because so many of the these deaths involve persons either working with or connected with the CIA or other domestic intelligence services, the Agency has gone to some lengths to discredit the idea of mysterious deaths plaguing assassination witnesses.

Also crucial to note is how the deaths are grouped. Much of the early ones occurred during the period that the Warren Commission was conducting their investigation – and just afterwards. Also some deaths came in the late 1960s as New Orleans DA Jim Garrison was doing his investigation. As Marrs says:

Other suspicious deaths occurred during the mid-1970s, as the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into assassinations by U.S. intelligence agencies. And finally, another spate of deaths came around 1977, just as the House Select Committee on Assassinations was gearing up its investigations.

The list has deaths in chronological order with an asterisk (*) signifying that the death is a particularly suspicious one. (Ed.: the 3rd list was short and is here intentionally omitted.)

JFK Ass deaths list 01

JFK Ass deaths list 02

The Backyard Photo

Another area that was instrumental in my own understanding as to the extent of the cover-up is the backyard photo of Oswald with guns, supposedly taken by Marina Oswald. While in custody, Oswald claimed his face was pasted onto somebody else’s body. And it sure looks that way.

When Life magazine published the following photo of Lee Harvey with a rifle in February 1964, most Americans were then convinced that Oswald was the culprit. Life mag helped convict him in the public’s mind.

JFK ass Oswald backyd Life

First, notice the differences in the direction of the shadows on the face – under the eyes and nose – the shadow is as if the sun is directly overhead. Now check the shadows of the body and other objects. Those shadows are elongated as it the sun was in the later afternoon or early morning.

Second, look at a close-up of the chin area of the face. You can make out a line across the upper chin, plus notice that the chin is square without a cleft.

JFK Ass Oswald backyd closeup

JFK Ass Oswald chinOswald had more of a straight chin and had a cleft.

JFK assass OswaldSee the differences? See the different angle of the shadows?

If you do, then you realize the photo is a fake. Oswald’s upper face is cut out and pasted onto someone else’s body.

A fake photo – supposedly found in his possessions after his arrest – shouts out CONSPIRACY!

Actually there were 3 backyard photos – and all had the exact same face despite the different postures of the body.

The Role of the Corporate Mass Media

This all raises the issue of the role of the mass corporate media. Certainly the cover-up had no more willing partner than the mass media. This can be seen in the above front cover of Life magazine published in February 1964. The mag’s caption to the photo was this:

“Lee Oswald with the weapons he used to kill President Kennedy and Officer Tippet.”

Life stated this, even while knowing there was contrary evidence. It had bought the rights to the Zapruder film, but withheld from the public key frames demonstrating a frontal shot taking Kennedy’s back head off – clearly not conducive and totally contrary to the Warren Commission’s conclusions. Was the publication aware of the problems with the photo? If it did, nothing was said about it 49 years ago.

Jim Marrs has been studying the role of the media for a long time. He stated:

From the moment the Kennedy assassination occurred, coverage of the tragedy involved government manipulation of a news media that appeared only too willing to be manipulated.

The big media praised the Warren Report when it was released in September 1964, and to this day, continues to obfuscate the public’s knowledge and understanding of the assassination and cover-up.

Marrs has observed over the years:

The one television network that continually backed the Warren Commission version of the assassination was CBS, where newsman Dan Rather served as one of the anchors on assassination reports since 1967. Rather was one of the only news reporters who managed to see the Zapruder film in the days following the assassination and falsely reported at the fatal head shot his head ‘went forward with considerable violence.’ “

In those days after the Kennedy killing – before the media changed – there were no independent investigations. And instead of following up on dozens of leads that the Warren Commission left dangling, the corporate media went after critics of the official story.

Even if individual reporters figured out that something was amiss, they were ordered by their employers to stay away from the scandal. The media networks figured that if there were wrongdoing at the top of the country’s political structure, they best shy away, as they sensed that the new Johnson era was not going to allow independent examination into what happened.

The top leaders feared war, war with Cuba, even war with Russia, the story went. The nation could not be allowed to panic and pressure the politicos to invade Cuba or start WWIII.

So the major press – the New York Times, the Washington Post, the 3 major networks – all got the message. Conflicting views on the Warren would not be tolerated.

The Cover-Up Leads to American Skepticism and Questioning of Government

The subsequent cover-up of the assassination pushed my generation into questioning our government – something that good people never did. And this led to a decade and half of the Sixties Generation rebellion against the war in Vietnam, opposing the intolerable treatment of African-Americans and other minorities, of changing the way women were treated in society, of being against the country’s mainstream culture and mores, and raising the issues of “peace” – something Kennedy was allegedly striving for with the USSR, with Vietnamese and with Cuba.

Sixties idealism did not fade with JFK’s killing. His death did allow many of us to oppose the Big Lies of our day – that our government was in Vietnam to help the people there – and not actually protecting corporate mining, rubber, tin and other economic interests in South East Asia.

One of the first things Johnson did when he assumed the White House was to reverse course in Vietnam, as Kennedy had ordered the first troop withdrawals. This allowed the military-industrial complex to prosper – for war is good business.

As long as the Big Lie continues, America cannot be itself, cannot live its ideals – those expressed in our founding documents.

Yet Kennedy’s assassination and the cover-up have become part of America, part of the American psyche – part of our national makeup.

And those who have striven over these last 50 years to try to understand what exactly happened and why in Dealey Plaza are owned a mountain of gratitude by their fellow citizens, for they are the real heroes. As long as they work, as long as they exist, and as long as others like us listen to them and understand what they’ve found, the Big Lie will someday die.

Maybe it will die with our children, for as long as we don’t lie to them about this national scandal and corrosion of our ideals, there’s a chance that in the next generation, no one will be around to lie to them about who and why Kennedy was murdered.


A lawyer and grassroots activist, I was finally convinced by Patty Jones to start the OB Rag, a blog of citizen journalists, after she got tired of listening to my rants about the news. Way back during the Dinosaurs in 1970, I founded the original Ocean Beach People’s Rag - OB’s famous underground newspaper -, and then later during the early Eighties, published The Whole Damn Pie Shop, a progressive alternative to the Reader.


  1. avatarAggie L says

    Anyone who sees the one critical frame, omitted for the public, cannot deny that the fatal shot came from the front. Thanks for the incredible list of mysterious deaths of witnesses. It speaks for itself.

  2. avatar says

    Dear Frank-
    Thank you for your comprehensive two part series on the J. F. Kennedy Assassination. It was very helpful in connecting the dots of what really took place. I will continue to look for the Peter Dale Scott book that you mentioned on Dem. Politics & the Death of JFK. If you have any hints about my finding it, I’d appreciate them.
    I wonder if you have seen the film “Executive Action,” which came out in 1973, and in which Dalton Trumbo drew heavily on the work of Mark Lane , and some of the evidence that the Warren Commission refused to hear.
    By coincidence with your listing, after the opening credits, it begins with the pictures of the people you have listed who were involved in some way with the assassination and who had died since it happened, and the odds of this happening by chance, it mentioned, were astronomical. It starred Robert Ryan, Burt Lancaster, and Will Geer, et al. It tried to show the type of preparation that would have been necessary in order to carry out such an assassination, including a double for Lee Harvey Oswald, and what it would take to pull it off. The parallels between much that was shown in that film and what you have indicated in your article above, are quite similar! Please respond. John.

  3. avatarAnne Barron says

    thank you…the list of witnesses’ deaths is scary, even ignoring the “natural causes” deaths.
    We cannot forget that Martin Luther King was assassinated after he began to publicly demand an end to the War, urging war resistance and making clear the links between poverty, war machine & our government.
    Nor the terrible harassment of Paul Robeson, who also refused to bow to the military-industrial power structure.
    This pattern continues today, with Chelsea Manning, Wikileaks founder, Edward Snowden, Lynne Stewart…all imprisoned or on the run due to confronting the war machine with truth.