“Some say I’ll be better without you, But they don’t know you like I do, or at least the sides I thought I knew. I can’t beg this time, It drags on as I lose my mind, Reminded by things I find, Like notes and clothes you left behind. But I won’t go, I can’t do it on my own, If this aint love, then what is? I’m willing to take the risk.” -‘He Won’t Go’ Adele
The remnants of essential evidence come by way of two 1/4 inch reel to reel tape left in a box, some personal effects of General Chester Ted Clifton Jr. I easily downloaded (a first for me) these two MP3 files, which ended up on my iTunes recently added, as if I had just purchased a new double JFK record! Odd I know, since this is an experimental record (with lots of radio transmission hiss) along the lines of John Cage.
Let me see if I can get this right? The two-part reels are given the title: GPO NARA JFK Assassination, which stands for Government Printing Office, National Archives Records Administration etc., which you may prefer to jot down on a notepad somewhere, so as to remember yet another lengthy government acronym which are not usually worthy of future recollection, but this one is an exception.
I’ve only played the double record through once (this is not the White Album by any means), and I doubt it will win a Grammy such as the mesmerizing Adele likely will secure at this year’s Grammys. But one thing that Adele and this new JFK tape have in common is they both make you feel a tremendous amount. It may be personal or it may be some random projections or reflections on the most pertinent issues imaginable on our history.
The President was a great lover of history and knew it well; was fully aware of how and why we came out of the Great Depression and what WWII meant, as well as the impact of Soviet aggression after Europe was divided up between Western Capitalist nations and the Communist run USSR. Not to run with a labyrinthine tangent on JFK’s legacy, but rather just to point out the President would probably appreciate we 21st Century Urchins getting his historical records in proper order (some time).
But what new information can we harvest from these chaotic audio tapes, as incomplete as they are? And where were the tapes made? What kind of audio equipment was used by the White House to make the tapes? And why did the LBJ Library leave out 40 minutes of what we have with General Clifton’s reels? Is there a specific reason why archivists at LBJ Lib. omitted some segments of the audio transmission?
Roger, Roger, I just activated Reel 1. Let me give it (Radio Traffic involving AF-1 in flight from Dallas, TX, to Andrews AFB on November 22, 1963) a second consideration. This is the pristine title of the tapes, as labeled on the box (I do believe) by none other than General Chester Ted Clifton Jr. himself. What strikes me, is that the pilots and the White House staff attempt to remain cool in the face of a very scary situation, where perhaps the government was about to topple.
The initial AP wire is just as shocking today as it was when made public 49 years ago. The scratchiness of the audio signal alone will be carrion crow fodder for the conspiracy theorists. Much of the focus of unsettlement will be directed towards Curtis LeMay, who hated Kennedy since he thought he was too soft on Communism. LeMay’s aide makes an undecipherable comment: .” ..If you can’t work him now, it’s gonna be too late, because he’ll be on the ground in a half-hour.” What did he mean exactly?
One comment made by Lady Bird to Rose Kennedy struck me as a little odd. “We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did.” Not that Lady Bird is being condescending, but it’s just somewhat awkward, as if JFK had served out enough time already as commander-in-chief. Not particularly the right thing to say to Rose, but we have to remember, Lady Bird was probably inundated with shock, and may have been functioning with a reduced awareness.
Was it all over with? We can’t even imagine the levels of fear present in the parties involved in the actual flight back to Washington! And yet lots of convincing acting was going on, as these professional try to maintain their composure, in the face of a major juncture in American history. This is the ambience of the tapes, without referencing the specific bits and pieces of sound data, that show us people getting the final news that our President has been assassinated.
Procedures were improvised on the spot. There wasn’t any protocol. Bureacrats wrote the rule book as they went. Jackie didn’t even change her bloody clothes for the swearing In of LBJ. It just occurred to me, this was crime scene evidence, which wasn’t secured, so here’s one gaff we can identify immediately. Taking the President’s body away from Dallas and to DC is another obvious gaff.
Naturally, we know that J. Edgar Hoover confiscated all the evidence from Chief Curry just a few days after JFK shot. The investigation should have been conducted by the Dallas Police, but we know now, the FBI bypassed such proper protocol. This new tape itself shows how strongly the transitional administration of LBJ were changing the wheels, almost before they knew JFK was definitely deceased. See if you agree, when listening to the tapes.
You feel it more than know it from any words. I’m not postulating any conspiracy was in affect from the new administration, but the radio transmitters are icy and duty-bound to excess; no sorrow can be detected in their voices for the President’s death, or the fact that they were flying with his body aboard Air Force One. Maybe some of them weren’t so sad JFK was gone?
‘Body choppered to Bethesda Naval Hospital?’ Did the body go by ambulance or by chopper? Was there a pre-autopsy autopsy, just as David Lifton has previously asserted? This tape gives us some good clues about this important matter. We know the casket was changed! This tape seems to reaffirm these suspicions. Was it a fake casket that was placed in the ambulance, as seen in stills and black and white news footage?
Listen to the latter part of Reel 1 very carefully. Confusion between using chopper to lift the casket, verses a cosmetic transfer by ambulance for the TV cameras. The Switch-a-Roo is present on the tape. I’m not making it up. Listen for yourself! *(Link for GPO NARA JFK Assassination tapes on this piece) *Note: This is a pristine transmittal. No edits!
AFP: New audio tape sheds light on JFK assassination