As a JFK assassination historian, I am watching all the 50th anniversary specials and documentaries with skepticism as I fully expect most investigations to be dishonest attempts to prolong the cover-up. If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I do not trust the American media to tell the truth of JFK’s murder. As actor Richard Belzer, author of Hit List: 50 Mysterious Deaths after the JFK assassination, puts it, “90% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The 10% who don’t, work for the media or the government.” Those figures are slightly exaggerated, but you get the point. Don’t expect CBS, NBC, PBS, or ABC or any other network to suddenly name the grassy knoll shooters.
However, one investigation which surprised me aired the other night on the Travel Channel of all places. It’s called “America Declassified,” and it’s hosted by ex-CIA operative Mike Baker. Given his intelligence background I was shocked that Baker delivered an honest report. He interviewed Belzer and pro-conspiracy author Jim Marrs. He also talked to a former Texas School Book Depository employee who said Oswald was not where the Warren Commission said he was during the shooting.
But the most fascinating segment was the recreation of a shot at JFK’s limo from behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza. This is where most eyewitnesses placed a shooter on November 22, 1963. One especially critical witness named Lee Bowers, who worked in the Terminal Railroad tower just 100 yards north of the picket fence, had a clear view of a shooter that day. He testified that he saw a puff of smoke and a flash of light from behind the picket fence as Kennedy was shot. Baker placed a camera in the railroad tower and recreated the shot. Thus, viewers can see what Bowers saw. There is clearly a puff of smoke when the rifle is fired, indicating Bowers was telling the truth.
Bowers was killed in a mysterious one-car accident near Midlothian, Texas, in August 1966. A witness claimed Bowers’ car was forced off the road by another car driving in the adjacent lane. Bowers died of multiple head and internal injuries, much more than one would expect from a single-car crash. He was cremated the same night, and an autopsy was never performed.
Fast forward to my current book, The President’s Mortician, which exposes the truth of how Kennedy’s murder was covered up. A Dallas mortician and “reconstruction artist” named John Liggett is the eponymous villain. His actions on November 22-24, 1963, speak to the sinister role he played in altering JFK’s wounds post-mortem. He worked for Restland Funeral Home in Dallas, a notoriously disreputable establishment with CIA/Mafia ties. Inconvenient deaths, murdered informers, secret embalmings, and quiet underworld burials were commonplace at Restland. A portion of its graveyard was sarcastically nicknamed the “Field of Honor,” because it was the resting place of corpses who died under mysterious circumstances. If one wanted a body disposed of without any questions asked, Restland was the place to do it.
Back to “America Declassified.” One of the documents presented by the Travel Channel program was Bowers’ death certificate. I hit the pause button and took a good look at the document. And there it was—Place of Cremation and Burial: Restland Funeral Home!