Russell Ford in Dallas.
Those that know me know that I’m not a researcher. More an avid reader and collector.
Still, I’m lucky enough to be able to follow my interest and support people who are researchers by buying and reading their work and also attending conferences if possible. This includes those in Canterbury and in Dallas if I can. My visit to Dallas this year was my third to a conference, my fourth in total.
This one in Dallas felt totally different to the last time I was over there in 2013.
As you probably know 2013 was the 50th anniversary and my visit that year felt like I was making a statement. It felt to me to be a significant time to stand up and be counted. To help to counter the rubbish and propaganda that was being put forward by the MSM and Dallas big wigs. Also to be part of a meaningful conference where academics would present the real truth to people who would go out and share it. . The temperature when I arrived in Dallas on the Thursday evening was a balmy 23C. Wearing only a T-Shirt I took a cab from my hotel over to the Texas Theatre and watched ‘Rush To judgement’ before having a few beers and a chat with the owner in the newly refurbed lobby. All very exciting.
Overnight though the weather changed…. The temperature plunged to 2 degrees C with a biting wind and rain.
Those that were able to enter Dealey Plaza for the official event made their protest by standing in their COPA T-shirts and pointing at the Grassy Knoll during the speeches that all failed to make any mention of the true circumstances of John Kennedy’s murder it all.
Due to the ongoing Conspiracy between the Sixth floor museum and Dallas Council, no organised groups such as COPA were allowed into the plaza until after the official ceremony had finished so there were individuals and groups of stragglers wandering about in the freezing cold weather trying to work out how to pass the time until being allowed into the Plaza for a moment of silence and John Judge’s usual powerhouse speech.
If the day itself was strange then the COPA conference was too. The absolutely steller speaker line up meant that time would be at an absolute premium. Unfortunately that transferred into a problem at the conference. Too many speakers meant that apart from the keynote speakers – Mark Lane, Cyril Wecht and John judge himself etc – almost all of the rest of the speakers only had 20 minutes each.
20 minutes is never enough! I know from my previous attendances that sometimes one follow up question can take that long. How could someone who has studied that case for decades be expected to distil their knowledge down into a fun-size 20 minute delivery. Well the majority struggled with that kind of a handicap and everyone ended up losing.
Maybe after all 50 years was a good time for everyone to call it a day.
The feeling that 2013 may indeed be the end of an era was also signified when shortly into 2014. John Judge had a stroke and died. This meant the end of COPA and their annual conferences in Dallas. The other option for the Dallas conference, JFK Lancer, always seemed to me to be JFK-Light. COPA had the heavy-weight authors and academics presenting whereas Lancer just didn’t seem to cut it. Perhaps with everything that happened 2013 would be my last conference too.
Nah….. who was I kidding!
My interest increased if anything I carried on buying more books than ever. My collection is already too much for my newly bought bookcases. Every year I kept looking at the line-up of speakers at Lancer and thinking that perhaps one year I’ll give Lancer a chance. In fact in an amusing turnaround Lancer, in my eyes at least, had now become the more serious conference with the other one in town being run by a self-confessed “witness” to the events leading up to the assassination called Judyth Baker.
So when I received an email confirming the dates and preliminary line-up for Lancer at the end of august I decided to take the plunge and book. Work leave – booked, Flight – booked, Hotel – booked, Lancer ticket – booked. I was going to Dallas again. The line-up was looking good John Newman, Bill Kelley, Bill Simpich, Larry Hancock all very interesting – I bet they get more than 20 minutes I thought to myself – very exciting indeed. All of a sudden departure day was here. Minimum prep was required form me. Just pack my copy of john Newman’s last book to get signed, quick check of the weather (see above) and Heidi and I were on our way to Dallas.
Arrival on Thursday 15th.
The Hotel Lorenzo was too cool for words, at least it thought it was. The type of place you’d expect to find in Shoreditch..
Once you got over the strange décor choices though (*see above) it was actually quite a nice hotel. The staff were very friendly and the facilities were great. The conference room was on the 12th floor with great views and there was more than enough space for the attendees (approx. 120 or so?). The bedrooms were great if a little weird (décor again). Once we had dropped off our stuff it was time for an evening walk around Dealey Plaza.
In fact if we had arrived a little earlier we were going to go to the CAPA event in the Old Red museum but decided to pass as there was only about 40 mins left when we got there. Still , Dealey plaza looked awesome at night and is obviously a must-see whenever you’re in town.
The conference itself started on the Friday morning and was brilliantly MC’d by Alan Dale.
Debra Conway – Debra Conway who runs JFK Lancer indicated that this would be the last conference as it’s all becoming a bit too much work for her every year. That would have meant that coincidentally my last two conferences would be the final COPA and the final Lancer. (Later in the weekend someone offered to help out so Lancer will be back in 2019 after all).
Bill Kelley – Bill was one of the founders of COPA and is now part of CAPA. He spoke about the recent document releases and whether there was a smoking gun to be found. He said that there were, however, a few smoking documents. Check his blog where he discusses this.
David Mantik followed by Michael Chesser.A double-header of medical evidence that tested the concentration of all in attendance. It was very interesting to those that stuck with it though as Mantik basically showed that the X-rays in evidence are fakes or incomplete and Chesser showed that there were three distinct head shots. Here’s a link to an earlier presentation of Dr Chesser.
John Orr and Larry Schnapf
I’m really not sure about these guys. Orr seemed to me to be saying that all the shots came from the back… in fact they all came from Oswald in the alleged Snipers nest except the head shot that came from the roof of the records building.
Although he wouldn’t say who it was on the roof of the records building I think most of us know that the person he is implying took the shot is a Police officer called Harry Weatherford who was not a very pleasant person at all and has indicated that he was on the roof at the time. Still… it all sounds a bit off to me, his version of the single bullet theory.
Who let these guys in?
As far as I’m concerned Oswald wasn’t shooting at anyone from that window or indeed in the window or indeed in the building, bullets not only came from the back but from the grassy knoll and other locations and the neck wound wasn’t an exit wound.
There were so many things wrong with this presentation that I don’t think it’s really worth going into any more but if you’d like to read up then feel free. Orr presented at the mock trial of LHO in Houston last year so you should be able to find a link to that somewhere… I was just surprised he was able to present at a conference like this.
Friend of DPUK Larry Hancock was always around and ever approachable to discuss his work and ideas. He gave a very interesting chat about the “Wheaton Names” ie the people that Gene Wheaton would have been hearing about that he discussed in his interview on You tube. Please check all this out as it is very interesting.
There were obviously more people presenting than just the above. John Newman was extremely interesting,
DPUK’s Malcolm Blunt was omnipresent talking at different times about trips to NARA and Pete Bagley. Lots of knowledge was learnt.
Even the Curator of the 6th floor museum popped up to tell all present that there were great research facilities available there and that they were making digital copies of the Darnell film available etc. it seemed to me that they are trying to separate themselves from the Gary Mack era and maybe trying to change the way they are perceived by the research community. It might take a little more than one visit to a conference to achieve that.
There was also a nicer than-you’d-think meal on the Saturday night followed by an underwhelming talk by the lady whose Grandmother owned Oswald’s rooming house.
I sneaked out to the bar at that point…..
Sunday was another trip to Dealey Plaza followed by bloody Mary’s in a packed bar around the corner near Wild Bill’s western shop for those that know the area.
We flew back on the Sunday afternoon and I was back in work on Tuesday.
All in all a very memorable, enjoyable but exhausting visit.
Will it be my last conference though…. When do the speakers get announced for 2019?
All photos by Russell Ford.