JFK 50th Anniversary Will Be Hell in a Handbasket. Goody.
JFK assassination 50th anniversary news: City of Dallas releases video showing Dealey Plaza was occupied by Indians long before JFK assassination. Suburban library presents speech by guy who gave Lee Harvey Oswald ride to work. Boston auction announces it will hawk Oswald's wedding ring.
Mind if I slip something else into the narrative? The whole 50th thing is headed for hell-in-a-hand-basket. Just thought I'd mention it.
I've been working on a column about it for next week's paper. No meetings, no compromise, no accommodation whatsoever: That's the news on negotiations between the committee of private citizens running the 50th observations at Dealey Plaza and an array of assassination conspiracy study groups who say they will be banned by police cordon under current arrangements.
John Judge, head of the Coalition on Political Assassinations in Washington, confirmed to me this week that none of his group's requests for a meeting have even been responded to by the private outfit ruling the event with an iron hand. Meanwhile, COPA has its hands on an email stream -- evidence in an unrelated lawsuit -- showing that city officials started out a year ago seeking to banish anybody from the event who believes the assassination is an unsolved mystery.
"Classic content-based suppression of free speech," he calls it.
I caught the mayor just as he was leaving town on vacation. He told me sponsors of the planned event at Dealey Plaza November 22 are afraid conspiracy theorists will climb trees and shout like monkeys like the pro-life guy at the Obama inauguration. COPA has carried out solemn respectful moments of silence in Dealey Plaza at every 10-year anniversary of the assassination, and Judge told me they'll climb trees if that's the only option the city leaves them.
Meanwhile the ticketing process for the event is a mess. Members of COPA are complaining that the web page where you apply for a ticket is kicking them out, not even letting them complete the application process. I asked Paula Blackmon, the mayor's chief of staff, who was in charge.
First she told me in an email it was the Dallas Police Department. When I told the police department she had told me that, a public information officer on the other end of the line sort of suggested he thought nobody could ever have told me such a thing. A bit stung, I forwarded Blackmon's email to him. Not too much later Blackmon called me and corrected herself, saying this time that the web page for the tickets was being run by an ad agency, the name of which she couldn't remember off-hand. Then she left on vacation, too.
Later, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, whom I had not called, called me up to set me straight. The ad agency runs the web page where the names are collected. Once they have a list, the police department will vet that list against major terrorism watch lists. He said DPD will not be kicking anybody out because they belong to COPA. But, of course, nobody in COPA will be on the list if the mystery ad agency has already barred them from even applying.
I'm trying to think what the name could be for that ad agency. Hoover, McCone, Hunt, Castro, Trafficante and Dallas? Ah, just kidding, Big D. Keep your shirt on.
Judge tells me the groups being shut out will sue the city to get in. But even in federal court here, the local powers-that-be have a major home-fried advantage in the courts, so it's unlikely a judge of any stripe will mess with the mossbacks on the 50th committee before November 22.
Does that mean it's over and the mossbacks get their way? Oh, no, it means hell-to-pay on November 22. The people who have devoted a half century to solving this mystery are not going to allow Dallas to push them out of a public place that had become near-sacred to them.
People in trees could happen. And more. Now back to the regular news stream: Guy who took picture of JFK at Love Field, now 112 years old, will address audience at Sixth Floor Museum on topic, "Has Anyone Seen My Wallet?"
In news terms, this just gets better.
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