Thursday, April 22, 2021

My Final Word on Wynne Johnson

There have been several examples through the years of individuals inserting themselves into the JFK story including James Files, Beverly Oliver and Gordon Arnold. The most egregious of these may be Judyth Vary Baker whose claim that she was the girlfriend of Lee Harvey Oswald and worked with him, David Ferrie, Guy Banister and Clay Shaw on a top-secret bio-weapons project has earned her a position as the head of a JFK conference. The only confirmation for any aspect of her story comes from a pay stub from the Reily Coffee Company which shows she was employed there shortly after Oswald was. In his article, “The Making of a Fantasist,” author and researcher Greg Parker refers to the works penned by Baker and those like her as “creative non-fiction.”

A recent entrant into this group related to Veciana and the Bishop story may be one Wynne Murphey Johnson who says he was a witness to the alleged meeting of Veciana, Bishop (who Johnson predictably believes is David Phillips) and Oswald. Johnson admits that he did not “remember” the meeting of the three men until he read Fonzi’s book in 2014. In April of 2017, I published a blog article that was critical of Johnson’s story and included some questions for him. Since Johnson and I were both members of the Education Forum, I had some expectation that he would respond. More than two years later, Johnson finally replied to the original questions as well as some follow-up concerns for a total of 33 responses. My interaction with Johnson is documented here. The following account of Johnson’s story is based on a series of videos he posted at and his responses to my questions.

Johnson insists that he is a “witness, not a researcher” and that he “made a deliberate decision” to forget his story at the end of 1963. Johnson says that in 1963, he was a 15-year-old student at Jesuit High School in Dallas, an all-boys Catholic Prep School. Johnson had a girlfriend named Vicki who was a student at another Dallas school and the same age. Johnson now says that he “stupidly” believed Vicki was the “love of his life.” Johnson states that he and Vicki had been to the Southland building at least twice before the fateful day of September 7, 1963. Their routine was to visit the Dallas Library before venturing to Southland. The attraction for the two youngsters was apparently the 360-degree view afforded by its observation deck.

In his very first video, Johnson says that he used several “facts” to determine the date of the alleged meeting. But comparing these facts with statements made by Veciana in his earliest interviews and testimonies reveals some problems. The first of Johnson’s facts is that “it had to be a Saturday or Sunday because school had started” and the youngsters “could not get downtown during the week.” But in his 1978 HSCA testimony, Veciana was specifically asked what part of the week the meeting occurred, and he stated that it was a weekday.

Another of Johnson’s facts is that Veciana described the incident as “happening toward the end of the first week in September.” But as I have previously documented, in his interviews with Fonzi, Veciana (after first saying the meeting occurred “around ‘62”) indicated through his interpreter that “his memory isn’t certain, but he thinks it was in the summer of ’63 in August. But he can’t give [a] specific date.” In a subsequent interview with Fonzi, Veciana said the date was “July or August.” In a June 1976 interview with Dick Russell, Veciana again said the meeting happened in August.

It was only after being influenced by Fonzi’s theories that Veciana “said” the date was specifically at the end of the first week of September. Not coincidentally, this was a time frame that Fonzi incorrectly believed that Oswald had a window of opportunity to travel to Dallas from New Orleans. But evidence places Oswald in New Orleans during that time and there is no indication that he traveled anywhere either by car, bus or air as would be necessary. When confronted with these inconsistencies, Johnson told me that “what you wrote does not change my mind.”

Johnson says that the Southland Building was normally referred to as the “Southland Life” building because “big white letters on two sides of its top said, “SOUTHLAND LIFE.” Johnson told me that except for the name, “Fonzi was right” in his identification of the building. But Johnson is apparently unaware that Veciana told Fonzi in their March 2nd interview that the meeting between Veciana, Bishop and Oswald took place in a building with a “big bank or insurance company” that could have been “blue or white.” Veciana’s description apparently made Fonzi think of Southland and during a follow-up interview on March 11th, he specifically asked Veciana if the meeting took place there. Veciana replied through his interpreter “he doesn’t remember.” Veciana only recently (2017 as near as I can determine) began saying that the building where the meeting with Phillips and Oswald took place was the Southland building. Evidently, Veciana was unable to recall the large and obvious white letters that Johnson describes (and photographs confirm) or the building’s unusual height. Southland, at 550 feet, was the tallest building west of the Mississippi river from 1959-1964 according to Wikipedia.

Johnson says that he heard a rebroadcast of Oswald’s interview by a New Orleans radio station in August of 1963 although he was “not fascinated” by it. Johnson states that he reveals this “relevant” fact to the viewers of his video because it proves that Oswald was known to the public at large before the assassination although he was not yet “extremely famous.” Johnson adds that he did not commit Oswald’s name to memory, nor does he recall seeing a photograph of him before the assassination.

On September 6th, Johnson’s sisters told him that he had missed a phone call from an unidentified male. Johnson says ominously that he has “never known for sure who the caller was.” Johnson’s video then shows a frame of a 1963 calendar with Saturday, September 7th highlighted as a prelude to his story of the meeting. Vicky called that morning and wanted to know if Johnson had received a call from “some people.” Johnson, somehow forgetting the previous day’s missed call despite having what he refers to as a “gift” for memory, replied in the negative. In his video reply to me, Johnson says, “Vicki knew something beforehand, and I cannot deny the indications for this. But exactly what she knew, and how much, and especially from whom, I do not know to this day.” The fact that Vicki was aware of the call is the first example among several of what Johnson considers to be Vicki’s foreknowledge of the events that were to occur.

Vicki asked if Johnson would take her to the Southland building and he readily agreed although he was surprised since the two had been there so often. Vicki also asked Johnson to bring a camera. Although he is not sure on this point, Johnson guesses that the “source” who provided her with foreknowledge asked her to do this. Johnson’s video goes on to show several maps and photographs to try to add legitimacy to his story including a picture of the “old Statler Hilton Hotel” where he says portentously that “Richard Nixon stayed … the night before the assassination.”

Johnson goes on to describe the journey from the library where the two met to Southland in excruciating detail saying that they met and briefly talked to a classmate of his. He says that a taxi revved its engine behind them on Live Oak Street and “careened left onto Olive Street” and this is “an important detail.” When the taxi passed them, Vicki said, “Did you see that?” After Johnson said that he had, Vicki said, “There is something I need to tell you. There will be some people in the building.” Vicki did not elaborate, and Johnson did not ask what she meant by the remark. Johnson says he “cannot now rule out Vicki’s having been told that [Oswald] might be among the aforementioned “some people.” Johnson does not say who could have told Vicki this or how this instance of foreknowledge on her part could have occurred.

As they continued walking, Johnson remembers the “distinct sound of a car door slamming shut” and observed the taxi discharge a young man at the corner of Live Oak and Olive. This young man, according to Johnson, was Oswald. The “fact” that Oswald took a taxi to Southland is one of several realities that only “lately” occurred to Johnson, but he does not regard this as detrimental to his credibility.

Interestingly, Johnson has developed a new theory about the taxi. He now believes that the encounter was planned and that the taxi had been waiting for the teenagers and had followed them for a short distance. Johnson believes that the taxi was rented by the plotters and the driver was none other than perennial conspiracy favorite David Ferrie. Johnson is sure of this because Judyth Baker has reported that Oswald and Ferrie were friends by this time and since both men were CIA operatives, they would have known how to rent a taxi without a driver. Additionally, Ferrie would have wanted to help Oswald during his meeting with Phillips in any way possible according to Johnson.

Johnson believes that the reason for all of this was to have “friendly witnesses” in place at Southland who could be identified and found later. Johnson has no idea why two 15-year-old kids were picked as “witnesses” nor does he explain why the conspirators never called on the duo to confirm the meeting. According to his video reply to me, Johnson does not see his late occurring memory of the taxi or his theory about David Ferrie being the driver as significant factors when evaluating his believability.

After entering the building, Vicki asked Johnson if he would walk more slowly at first and then, at some point, she told Johnson to resume his normal pace. Johnson apparently did not find this behavior strange enough to ask about and still does not know why Vicki did this. He does admit that the effect of her action was to give Oswald, Veciana and Phillips enough time to encounter them in the lobby, again suggesting foreknowledge on the part of 15-year-old Vicki. Johnson observed the three men near the wall to their right. The youngest of the men, who Johnson believes was Oswald, was the same man he had observed getting out of the taxi. “Somehow,” Johnson claims, “I was surprised to see him again so soon and my surprise must have shown involuntarily on my face as I was soon to find out.” Johnson does not say why he should be surprised to see an admitted total stranger or why he would pay any attention to him at all for that matter.

The oldest man “turns out” according to Johnson, to be David Atlee Phillips of the CIA. Again, Johnson does not explain how after forcing himself to forget for years and years he was able to remember the details of a chance encounter such as where each man was standing, where other passersby were located and what they all did. Inevitably, Johnson says the third man was Antonio Veciana, but he admits that he knew none of these “facts” before reading Fonzi’s book in 2014. Johnson claims that Phillips asked the youngsters where he could find a coffee shop and Vicki gave him directions.

Johnson’s claims here disregard several commonsense facts. Harold Weisberg, a researcher and former OSS operative who Johnson quotes in his videos and seems to respect, said that Phillips would never bring together two of his clandestine contacts. Johnson answers this criticism by saying that Weisberg was noting what “would have been normal.” But since the JFK assassination “was unique in human history” that “nobody should be surprised that unusual events were a part of it.” But Johnson’s logic asks us to ignore the fact that if Phillips were to inexplicably try such an ill-advised maneuver it seems logical that he would know the layout of the building rather than calling attention to himself and his assets by asking directions in public.

It was at this point, according to Johnson that Oswald spoke up and said, “he recognized me.” Johnson speculates that Oswald said this because before the two youngsters arrived Phillips might have asked him if he had been seen entering the building. Oswald would have told Phillips, Johnson speculates, that two teenagers had indeed seen him. When Vicki replied, “We saw you outside” Phillips’ demeanor “suddenly changed” from “friendly” to “the opposite” and he intoned, “does he [Johnson] have a camera?” After Vicki assured Phillips that Johnson did not, the clueless Phillips asked, “Is this the way out?” as he gestured to a door behind Vicki. Oswald interjected, “There is another way out here.” The three men left, but Johnson was “sufficiently distracted by what he had just witnessed” to the point that he started toward the wrong door to the observation deck elevator even though there was a sign for it. Why Johnson was “distracted” at all by an innocuous conversation with three strangers he does not say.

A brief digression is needed before continuing the evaluation of this part of Johnson’s story. In 2014, Johnson began contacting prominent researchers and other relevant individuals to alert them to his story. One of these people was Gaeton Fonzi’s widow, Marie. According to Mrs. Fonzi, Johnson sent her “an abstract of about a hundred pages.” Mrs. Fonzi instructed Johnson to prepare a two-page summary of his story, and she gave out copies of this at the 2014 AARC conference. This action by Mrs. Fonzi was probably responsible for Johnson’s story becoming more widely known among researchers. During her 2014 AARC presentation, Mrs. Fonzi said that Johnson was “very valid” and was surprised that others, such as Jefferson Morley, did not feel the same way. Mrs. Fonzi also expressed “regret” that her husband “had not lived long enough to know” about Johnson and Vicki. For more detail about Mrs. Fonzi and Johnson from her perspective in 2014, see the AARC video “Dr. Marie Fonzi-On the Home Front” starting at the 22:00 minute mark.

Ultimately however, Mrs. Fonzi began to sour on Johnson and later told him that she had reservations about “late-occurring” memories. Additionally, Johnson admitted to me that one of the last things Mrs. Fonzi told him was to “leave me out of it.” The trouble between the two may have started when Johnson was forced to admit that some of the dialog that he reported to Mrs. Fonzi did not appear in his very first video. Evidently, some astute researcher (or Mrs. Fonzi herself) caught on to this fact and confronted Johnson. While admitting that his omission of these lines is “puzzling” Johnson goes on to relate them as an integral part of his story anyway.

In his latest version of events, Johnson says that the dialog between Vicki and Phillips was slightly longer with Vicki repeating the directions to the coffee shop twice. Johnson also now remembers thinking that he should suggest to Phillips that the men follow them up to the observation deck restaurant but ended up saying nothing while Vicki did the talking. Finally, in this new version Oswald has an additional line. After Phillips became unfriendly, he said “I thought he [Johnson] was on our side” to which Oswald replied, “That’s what you’re going to find out.” The rest of the conversation was as Johnson previously described.

Johnson evidently was caught in another sticky situation during his conversations with Marie Fonzi. Johnson firmly denies this, but it is possible that he may have tried to further embellish his story for Mrs. Fonzi’s benefit. In this questioned conversation, Phillips asked Veciana in Spanish, “Is it him?” (referring to Johnson). Veciana then replied, “yes younger.” Johnson acknowledges that this exchange implies that Phillips and Veciana already had knowledge of him, a very unlikely situation to say the least. Johnson now says that this had to be a “vaticinal” dream that occurred in the late 1963 to 1965 time period rather than a real event and attributes it to “some kind of deep sleep time warp.” Johnson seems to understand that this incident adds to his diminished credibility and may cause some to think that he dreamed the entire Southland incident.

After the encounter, Johnson showed Vicki that he did have his camera and he believes this fact somehow proves his claims about the conversation with the three men. After pushing the button for the elevator, Vicki told Johnson she would be “right back.” When she returned, Vicki, who acted like she had seen a celebrity, told Johnson, “I think I just saw …” and then repeated a three-part name with “Lee” included. Inevitably, Johnson is sure that she said, “Lee Harvey Oswald” rather than “Jerry Lee Lewis” or any of a hundred other names. How or why a fifteen-year-old girl would be interested enough in Lee Harvey Oswald, a name unknown to likely 99 percent of Americans at that point in time, to recognize him on sight is not satisfactorily explained by Johnson. It is obvious that Johnson has received a great deal of flak from researchers about this claim since he devotes much time in a later video talking about it. But ultimately, Johnson stands by this assertion and insists that it was “possible” for Vicki to know the name. After a brief time on the observation deck, the youngsters took their time returning to ground level to give the “peculiar” and “suspicious” men time to leave the area.

The pair walked past the Library to where Johnson’s car was located so that he could drive Vicki home but sat in the car and talked for a time before leaving. Vicki told Johnson that the men they had seen in the lobby “wanted to kill Castro and Kennedy,” the first of two times before the assassination that she would divulge this startling information. Vicki suggested that they call the police, but Johnson did not want to do anything since he did not think that she “had any real information” and believed she was reacting to the fact that they were “right-wingers.” How Vicki was able to ascertain this in such a short time is not explained, but perhaps Johnson again chalks this up to Vicki’s foreknowledge of the situation. Johnson, in one of the more sensible claims he makes, was “already forgetting” about the men and considered them a “forgettable interruption” in their day and would remain so for 51 years.

Before leaving the area, Vicki told Johnson that she wanted to see a woman at Titche’s Department Store, and he waited in the car while she went in. When Vicki finally emerged, she told Johnson “You may need to know this name. Ruth Ann.” Evidently, Johnson had no curiosity then about “Ruth Ann” and asked no questions. However, Johnson now believes that “Ruth Ann” ties into the Loy Factor conspiracy theory, a fact that seems to again indicate Vicki’s foreknowledge of assassination related matters. "It is not unthinkable," Johnson maintains, that Malcolm Wallace was there at Southland to meet with David Phillips, although he concedes “that does not make it so.” Under this unlikely scenario, Phillips would be at Southland to meet with, not one, but three assets in the same day.

After arriving at Vicki’s house, she invited Johnson inside. Vicki then told an unseen person in an adjacent room that the woman she went to see at Tiche’s was not there. Johnson now assumes this hidden individual was probably Vicki’s brother who may have been made aware of other relevant events. In any case, Johnson departed shortly thereafter. Sometime later, Johnson and Vicki went on a date to the Texas State Fair and Vicki again brought up the mysterious men in the lobby. Johnson, understandably, had to be reminded about the unextraordinary incident with the men that he now recalls in excruciating detail. Vicki again wanted to go to the police, but Johnson once more saw no reason for such action. Johnson now blames himself for not taking Vicki seriously.

After the assassination, Johnson visited Vicki’s home and she informed him that her mother needed to speak to him. Vicki also said in a somewhat worried tone of voice that she believed she had, “run into Lee Harvey Oswald” who by now was known to Johnson and the rest of the world. Johnson says he still did not associate Vicki’s revelation with the meeting of the mysterious men at Southland although Oswald “seemed familiar” to him. Presently, Vicki’s mother came into the room and confirmed her desire to talk to Johnson but not just then. Johnson says that “importantly” Vicki’s mother did not seem upset.

On November 24th, Johnson attended mass and upon returning home was informed by his sister that Oswald had been shot and killed. Johnson admits that he still did not recall having seen Oswald at this point. On the 26th, Johnson decided to see Vicki’s mother after school as she had asked. Again, Johnson’s remarkable memory for detail is on display as he recalls specifics such as where the members of Vicki’s family were positioned in the home as the meeting began. Vicki’s mother exclaimed, “Vicki tells me that you and she ran into Lee Harvey Oswald downtown.” Johnson still did not remember seeing Oswald but when Vicki told him it was at Southland he finally remembered. Vicki’s mother, who was now clearly worried, instructed Johnson not to talk to anyone about the incident since “they could kill Vicki.”

Johnson and Vicki pacified her mother somewhat by assuring her that the incident with the men had taken place in September and not recently. Vicki’s mother told Johnson that her admonition to not speak did, of course, not include the police. Johnson understood that he was primarily not to speak to their “stupid friends” and agreed with Vicki’s mother “in the short term.” It should be noted that Johnson’s father did not believe the story and suspected that one or both teens had “made it up.” Johnson does not find his father’s skepticism significant and says that he “thought that the authorities would get to the bottom of the matter.”

Johnson feels that the only other member of Vicki’s family that was aware of the situation would have been her brother. The following day, Johnson’s mother told him that she had spoken with Vicki’s mother and agreed with her assessment of the situation. “Let the authorities handle it” she advised her son, although Johnson is now doubtful that his mother could have “had an adequate idea of what happened” during their observation of the men at Southland. Nevertheless, after this conversation, Johnson decided to forget “the men in the lobby” unless he was contacted by authorities, which he never was.

At a subsequent visit to Vicki’s house, she spoke to Johnson privately regarding rumors of an “atrocity apparently committed by people suspicious of the official story” or unhappy with Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. Johnson says that this “dark rumor” kept him from talking freely about the JFK assassination until 2014. Johnson also claims that this rumor was a “factor in my forgetting the relatively trivial encounter at the Southland building.” Johnson, who often mentions race in his videos, speaks of past lynchings as an example of a “general breakdown of order” that could occur in the wake of certain revelations regarding an event such as the assassination. Johnson has consistently refused to talk about the “dark rumor” and declined again when I specifically asked him about it.

One morning not long after the assassination, Vicki called and asked Johnson to meet her at the library. Johnson was waiting when Vicki arrived, and she greeted him but then immediately excused herself to speak to a stern-looking middle-aged man in a business suit nearby. Johnson has since determined, through undisclosed means, that this individual was “a G-man” probably from “the FBI” and working for the Warren Commission. Like before, Johnson remembers minute details such as where the principals were situated and provides a diagram to prove his point. Evidently oblivious to Johnson’s presence, the pair spoke for “a long time.” Finally, the “G-man” left the library and Johnson understandably questioned Vicki about the man and their conversation. But she told him that she regrettably could not tell him the nature of their conversation. Undaunted by this revelation, Johnson proceeded to escort Vicki to the classical music section of the library. Johnson now believes that diligent researchers might be able to unearth an FBI report of the incident, although they will have to endure the “badly programmed websites” where such documents reside to do so.

Two and a half years later, Johnson learned more about the meeting between Vicki and the “G-man” in a private conversation with her. She told him that the conversation had been about one word- “Oswald.” Johnson immediately “realized” that their discussion had been about the Southland meeting. Johnson later surmised, although Vicki did not say this, that her family responded to public calls by authorities for information on the assassination. That is why Johnson believes that the “G-man” wanted both him and Vicki present at the library, although he chose not to speak to Johnson. Why Vicki could not tell Johnson about the meeting right away is never explained. Nor is it explained why the “G-man” would not want to speak with Johnson as it is a standard practice in law enforcement to compare witness statements. If the story of the meeting with the man is true and he was from the FBI, Johnson has apparently never considered the possibility that he listened to Vicki and did not believe her information was relevant.

Johnson next discusses an alleged incident from 1965 that occurred at a party that a friend invited him to. His friend said that Vicki, who Johnson was not permitted to see at this time, would be at the party and Johnson was keen to attend for this reason. His friend also mentioned that “an important government man” would be there. At the party, Johnson did speak to Vicki outside, but their conversation was “disappointing” which seems to mean that she refused his advances. After going back inside, Johnson observed the “government man” arriving through the front door. This man looked like David Phillips and Johnson is now “convinced” that he was. This man was immediately surrounded by young people who told him that an individual they had discussed was at the party. “I want to meet him” Phillips told the youngsters. Although Johnson was sure that he was the man Phillips wanted to meet, he had “a bad feeling” and left through a side door before Phillips spotted him.

Johnson defends his dubious recollections regarding this incident by saying that the people at the party were either finishing high school or already in college. And since most were into the humanities and especially drama, it is not “unthinkable” that Phillips would be at the party recruiting for the government. Johnson says that Phillips, who was stationed overseas in a high-level CIA post at the time, “just happened to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.” Johnson argues that a spy is an actor at heart and Phillips’ background as an actor is not in dispute. Johnson apparently believes that Phillips wanted to speak with him and that his intentions could have been “benevolent.”

Eventually, Johnson attended college and served in the military. He married a woman named Beverly who filled him in on the details of the “dark rumor” Johnson had first heard from Vicki although he refuses to say what those specifics were. In 1973, Vicki’s husband told Johnson that he was concerned that she might be subpoenaed during any new investigation about the assassination. By 1990, Johnson learned that Vicki “seemed to be under stress” but could not pursue the matter. Johnson followed news reports about the HSCA investigation in the late seventies and learned of Veciana’s Bishop story but did not connect it with his experiences. Johnson admits that this lack of recognition might “be hard to believe” but says that he “put the topic out of his mind” in 1963 and “developed a further aversion to it” after his wife’s 1971 revelation about the “dark rumor.”

By the year 2000, Johnson was working as an English teacher. In his leisure time, he began what was obviously an intense study of the conspiracy literature of the JFK assassination. As Johnson learned more, it became “clearer and clearer what a fraud the Warren Commission had been.” By 2014, Johnson had read Fonzi’s book and learned of two key points of information; that the meeting was at the Southland building and that Phillips and Veciana went to a coffee shop. That was enough to “start bringing back the memory to me” Johnson says. What followed was his attempt to get “corroboration from Vicki and Veciana.”

The fact is Johnson has gone to considerable lengths to make his story known in the conspiracy community. In addition to his interaction with Mrs. Fonzi, Johnson contacted well-known researcher James DiEugenio sometime after the 2014 AARC conference. In 2015, DiEugenio told members of the Deep Politics forum that Johnson “deserves a fair hearing” (DPF, “The Southland Center Revisited”). Additionally, Johnson contacted Judyth Baker, who, as mentioned, spins her own dubious tale of an experience with Oswald. However, Baker told Johnson that Oswald never said anything about two teenagers at Southland.

In 2015 Johnson traveled to Miami to see Veciana himself. Veciana gladly used Johnson’s story in his book as “confirmation” of his own tale and claimed to remember him and Vicki. This is surprising since in his initial interviews with Fonzi, Veciana could not remember simple details such as exactly where and when the meeting took place-a fact that Johnson seems unaware of or chooses to ignore. Johnson believes that although Veciana never told Fonzi or anyone else about seeing him and Vicki, that Veciana may have simply forgotten this aspect of the story. But speaking to Johnson possibly triggered Veciana’s memory in the same remarkable way that Johnson’s own memory was rekindled by reading Fonzi’s book. Johnson notes that Veciana made several “mistakes” in his book when recounting his tale. Johnson feels that he remembered some of Veciana’s story “better than he did” and seeks to correct these blunders in a recent video. The biggest disagreement seems to be that Veciana remembered that Oswald never said a word while Johnson says that Oswald uttered, “he recognized me.”

At some point, Johnson became aware that many in the conspiracy research community did not believe his claims and therefore he made a few videos to answer questions from skeptics. Johnson says that he “cannot help” the fact that his story is hard to believe but he is obliged to tell it. Johnson says it is “hard to know what to say” about negative reactions to his videos but adds that he has “no motive” to lie. Johnson adds that he can “hardly keep track of waves of skepticism” and says that money is not a motive since he has received little renumeration for his efforts, which is undoubtedly true.

Johnson counters those who think his reason for coming forward with his story is to insert himself into history by saying that his motive is instead “patriotic” and “religious and moral.” For those who say he is seeking attention, Johnson says that is “rubbish” and a “dismissive insult and smear used on many witnesses in this case starting with Lee Oswald himself.” Johnson adds that “a truthful witness CANNOT AVOID (emphasis in original video subtitles) that attention except through silence.” However, Johnson admits that discussions with conspiracy researchers caused him to “remember more” of his story.

Johnson hopes that Vicki, which he insists is her real first name, will see his videos and come forward to confirm his story. However, Vicki’s husband wrote to Johnson saying that she does not remember anything regarding the incident, which would be hard to believe if Johnson’s story is true. Johnson is doubtful that Vicki, “really does not remember beyond recall,” but adds that if she doesn’t, he would “not hesitate to call it an innocent case of amnesia.” Johnson believes that such an instance of amnesia might be “commonplace” in the case of an individual who was acting out of a need to “safeguard the lives of loved ones or their own life.” Vicki’s husband also told Johnson that he hoped he would not write again and that they do not want to be contacted by him or anyone regarding his videos. Since Vicki’s husband is a career military man, Johnson suspects that his refusal to speak with him is because of the military’s “conformity of political opinion” regarding the “coup of 1963.”

Editor's Note

Researcher Tom Scully advised me that Johnson himself revealed Vicki's full name on the Internet. Her identity will not be revealed by this blog out of respect for her privacy.

What to make of Johnson’s claims? First, it is significant when evaluating Johnson’s allegations to note that he believes several of the popular JFK and 9/11 conspiracy theories. Johnson says that “evidence uncovered by private citizens” shows that Lee Harvey Oswald was “not guilty of the charges” of killing JFK and JD Tippit. Johnson adds that Oswald “was not on the sixth floor of [the book depository] when the motorcade passed by and never shot at Kennedy.” Johnson cites the “Prayer Man” conspiracy theory as proof of Oswald’s innocence in this regard. According to the video he made in response to my questions, he also believes that Robert Kennedy was assassinated because of a conspiracy and that “World Trade Center 7 was not brought down by office fires” and this fact is made “perfectly obvious from the video evidence, including from a nearby camera showing detonations within the building as they happened.”

Although he denies it, a possible motive for Johnson is a desire to insert himself and his story into the JFK case, a subject that he cares deeply about and has studied extensively. Despite his protestations, Johnson has gone to considerable trouble to contact researchers and make his story known and has spoken at two JFK assassination conferences. It is entirely possible that Johnson had some of the experiences he has described. Perhaps he and the girl did visit the Southland building and did see a group of men together. Perhaps Vicki did later convince him that they had seen Lee Harvey Oswald and they told her parents about it contemporaneously. Conceivably her family did take the extra step of reporting what they knew to the authorities and an investigator went to the library to interview Vicki. But even if all of this is true, it would not be unusual. Dozens and dozens of other people thought they had seen Oswald or had other information that they believed was relevant to the assassination. The FBI, who had no choice, spent hundreds of wasted hours chasing down these leads and found that most of them were without foundation.

In my opinion, Johnson has projected a series of events he believes he witnessed onto the historical record. Johnson does not seem to realize that most of the skepticism regarding his claims comes from the fact that he only “remembered” these events after reading and falling under the sway of conspiracy books. He also seems to be unaware that much of the information in these books, specifically about Veciana, is demonstrably false. Johnson admits that he “easily forgot” about the alleged incident at Southland by the time of the assassination. Indeed, that is what would have happened in any normal situation-the mind forgets what it has no need to retain. Johnson believes that he “made a conscious decision to forget” the incident and it “receded far into his subconscious memory.” Later, the memory came back to him “naturally” and, according to his own analysis, “reliably.” But it just would not work that way in real life. After all, Johnson is not claiming that he recalled the incident through therapy or hypnosis. You do not experience an incident and then just happen to remember more and more detail after reading conspiracy books and talking to conspiracy-oriented researchers.

Johnson, who is obviously intelligent and probably a sincere and well-meaning man, has exactly one relevant individual who is willing to support his claims. Vicky, wherever she may be, will not support him. Evidently, neither will anyone in her family. Marie Fonzi was polite to Johnson but firmly skeptical. Even Judyth Baker would not help him. Only Antonio Veciana, whose story is now being exposed by myself and others as a gross distortion, “confirms” his tale.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tribute to John McAdams

Dr. John C. McAdams, one of the world’s foremost experts on the JFK assassination, has died unexpectedly at the age of 75. A friend and champion of this blog, Dr. McAdams was considered by me and others to be the “Dean” of lone assassin researchers. As such, he was known to help researchers on both sides of the JFK debate. Fred Litwin, author of two books on the JFK case, expressed the feelings of many by noting, “He patiently went through articles, and manuscripts, and always had ideas for improvements. His book, JFK Assassination Logic, is a manual on how to think about evidence and conspiracy.”

Dr. McAdams’ website, which is hosted by Marquette University where he was an Associate Professor of Political Science for nearly 45 years, was his pride and joy and contained his work as well as the efforts of other experts in the JFK field. His site was recommended by no less than PBS as an authoritative source of information. Dr. McAdams founded his website in 1995, which was about the time that he began to appear in debates on Internet forums. He ran his own Usenet forum for many years called alt.assassination.jfk which could be accessed through Google Groups. Additionally, he actively participated in a private email group managed by noted researcher Paul Hoch.

Dr. McAdams was a frequent guest on radio and television programs and was sought out by print journalists for his opinion on JFK matters. In 2011, he participated in an oral history for the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. In 2013, he appeared in the PBS Nova presentation of Cold Case JFK. Dr. McAdams ran a personal blog called Marquette Warrior and was active politically in several capacities including as a writer for the conservative Heartland Institute. Dr. McAdams was the author of two books-the aforementioned JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy and the non-JFK title The New Class in Post-Industrial Society which was published in 2015.

Dr. McAdams was born in Kennedy, Alabama. In the late sixties, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Alabama. In 1970-71, he received a master’s degree in Social Studies Education at Columbia University. He completed his Ph. D in Political Science at Harvard University in 1981. He taught at both Harvard and Boston University before moving to Marquette. Simply put, his death is an incaluable loss for all JFK researchers.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Obituary

John McAdams Cirriculum Vitae

Article on McAdams and the Cheryl Abbate Matter

John McAdams: The Kennedy Assassination

John McAdams' Review of Faustian Bargains

John McAdams' Review of JFK and the Unspeakable

John McAdams' Review of The Road to Dallas

David Von Pien-Radio Debates Featuring John McAdams

David Von Pien-Interviews Featuring John McAdams

John McAdams-Wikipedia Page

Fred Litwin Article on McAdams

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