Entries in Assassination (7)


Dallas Relives President John F. Kennedy’s Assassination

Library Of Congress/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Tuesday marked the 48th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

The 35th U.S. president was shot as his motorcade rode through downtown Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.  Although a 10-month investigation concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination, many Americans still believe there was a cover-up or conspiracy.

On Tuesday, the Dallas Police Department held a ceremony to honor John Brewer, the man credited with leading police to Oswald.  Even though he has received numerous awards throughout the years, Brewer was especially excited about this one.

”This one coming from the police department, the city of Dallas … is really something to me,” Brewer told ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV.

While managing a small shoe store on Jefferson Boulevard, Brewer heard about the president’s assassination on the radio.  He heard loud sirens and commotion in the streets.

”As I started to go outside, Oswald walked into the recessed area of my store, where the showcase was on the side, and I thought, ‘This is kind of funny -- all [of] this going on and you want to look at shoes,’” said Brewer.

When Oswald left the store, Brewer followed him.  He followed him into a theater where he alerted employees to call the police.

The Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, where Oswald was apprehended, commemorated that infamous day on Tuesday by re-creating it.

Previewing the reenactment, the theater said on its website that it would be “re-creating that day’s exact minute-to-minute programming at the historic theater, including opening doors at the same time and showing clips from the silent print of War Is Hell on a loop with a live soundtrack and a complete screening of Cry of Battle starring Van Heflin.”

The theater even sold tickets for $1, as that was the price nearly 50 years ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Charged With Trying To Kill President Obama

US Park Police(WASHINGTON) -- The man accused of shooting at the White House last Friday has been charged with attempting to assassinate the president of the United States.

Charges filed Thursday allege, “Oscar Ortega-Hernandez thought President Obama was ‘the anti-Christ’ and that Ortega-Hernandez ‘needed to kill him.’”

The suspect apparently was convinced the government was in a “conspiracy” against him.

The president was not at the White House at the time of the shooting.

Court documents filed against Ortega-Hernandez charge him with attempting to assassinate the president and note that FBI investigators “located several confirmed bullet impacts on the south side of the [White House] building on or above the second story.”

At least one bullet hit a window located outside the first family’s residence.  The round was stopped by bulletproof glass.

The incident unfolded just after 9 p.m. Friday after witnesses heard gunshots on the National Mall. Eyewitnesses heard approximately eight shots along Constitution Avenue just south of the White House grounds.

According to the eyewitnesses, the shooter was firing from inside a car.

Ortega-Hernandez allegedly fled the scene and abandoned his car by the National Institute of Peace by the State Department and fled on foot.

The criminal complaint filed in the case notes that investigators discovered a Romanian Cugir SA semi-automatic assault rifle with a large scope mounted on the weapon. Police who responded to the vehicle also discovered three magazines loaded with ammunition. The search for evidence reportedly took investigators to the Occupy D.C. encampment, where the suspect had spent some time.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators from the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Secret Service interviewed witnesses who know Ortega-Hernandez who noted that he has become “agitated against the federal government.” One witness allegedly told investigators that Ortega-Hernandez wanted to “hurt” President Obama.

In Pittsburgh at a hearing Thursday, federal Judge Cynthia Eddy ordered that Ortega-Hernandez be detained without bail. He is expected to be transferred to Washington, D.C., in the next several days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New JFK Assassination Tapes Revealed

Library Of Congress/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) –- Nearly 48 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, fresh audio evidence from that fateful day has surfaced.  The evidence comes in the form of the original reel-to-reel Air Force One radio recording containing conversations between officials on the plane, the White House situation room, and others.  The original tape was long thought to be lost or destroyed.

The tape contains never-before-heard conversations between the presidential aircraft and the White House, and immediately after the assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

It was held privately for years by President Kennedy’s military aide at the time, Chester Clifton. The tape was obtained by the Raab Collection of Philadelphia.

According to Nathan Raab, the vice president of the collection, the tape is the raw, unedited version of the edited audio tape from Air Force One that is in the National Archive.  The Raab Collection says the raw tape “is about 30 minutes longer than the edited version, predates it by years, and contains incidents and code names never before heard by the American public.”

“That this tape even exists will change the way we view this great event in history,” said Raab. “It took decades to analyze the shorter, newer version and it will take years to do the same here. This provides a concise ‘tale of the tapes’ and offers great insight into ongoing research.”

The tape contains a dramatic first-hand report of the president’s assassination, and the wounding of then-Texas Gov. John Connolly.  The recordings may fill in some important blanks for the assassination historians and conspiracy theorists – for example, the tapes locate Gen. Curtis LeMay at the time of the assassination.  LeMay, a member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, was a vocal critic of JFK and there has been speculation over the years that he may have had a role in the assassination.  The tapes also placed various other officials, allowing the public to learn where they were, at what time, and what they were saying.

Much of the recording involves logistical planning – whether to take the president’s body for autopsy to Walter Reed or Bethesda Naval Hospital; plans for where Mrs. Kennedy should be taken; and how many limousines should meet the plane when it touched down.

Raab said the collection is offering the original, reel-to-reel tape for sale at $500,000.  A digital file will be provided at no cost to the National Archives and John F. Kennedy Library.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Iranian-American Pleads Not Guilty in D.C. Assassination Plot

Nueces County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Manssor Arbabsiar, a Texas man accused of conspiring to kill the Saudi ambassador in a plot that U.S. authorities say was "conceived, sponsored and directed" in Iran, pleaded not guilty in a New York federal court Monday morning.

U.S. authorities say that Arbabsiar, 56, of Corpus Christi, Texas, plotted with members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards to kill Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir with a bomb attack at a D.C. restaurant. Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American, attempted to hire hitmen from Mexico's Zetas drug cartel, say officials, but was actually speaking to a DEA informant.

Arbabsiar pleaded not guilty to five counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to murder a foreign official.

Gholam Shakuri, whom U.S. officials describe as a member of the Quds force, part of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, is also charged in the alleged plot, but remains at large. He is believed to be in Iran. Arbabsiar was arrested in New York on Sept. 29.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed on Oct. 11 that the DEA and FBI had disrupted a plot "conceived, sponsored and...directed from Iran" to murder al-Jubeir, which potentially would have been followed up by bombings of the Saudi Arabian and Israeli embassies.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against five Iranians allegedly tied to the plot and additional sanctions against an airline company allegedly linked to the Quds force.

A lawyer for Arbabsiar did not return requests for comment, but the defendant's wife, Martha Guerrero, said he was wrongly accused.

"I may not be living with him being separated, but I cannot for the life of me think that he would be capable of doing that," she told ABC News' Austin affiliate KVUE, noting the two had been separated some time. "He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm sure of that."

Iranian officials have strongly rejected the U.S. accusations, calling them a "fabrication." The head of the Iranian mission to the United Nations penned a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing "outrage" at the allegations.

"The U.S. allegation is, obviously, a politically-motivated move and a showcase of its long-standing animosity towards the Iranian nation," the letter says.

The case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when Arbabsiar allegedly approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

Arbabsiar reportedly claimed he was being "directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government," including a cousin who was "a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform," according to a person briefed on the details of the case.

Arbabsiar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, expressed "utter disregard for collateral damage" in the planned bomb attacks in Washington, according to officials.

The complaint describes a conversation in which Arbabsiar was allegedly directing the informant to kill the Saudi ambassador and said the assassination could take place at a restaurant. When the informant feigned concern about Americans who also eat at the restaurant, Arbabsiar said he preferred if bystanders weren't killed but, "Sometimes, you know, you have no choice, is that right?"

U.S. officials said Arbabsiar met twice in July with the DEA informant in the northern Mexico city of Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and negotiated a $1.5 million payment for the assassination of the Saudi ambassador. As a down payment, officials said Arbabsiar wired two payments of $49,960 on Aug. 1 and Aug. 9 to an FBI undercover bank account after he had returned to Iran.

Officials said Arbabsiar flew from Iran through Frankfurt, Germany, to Mexico City Sept. 29 for a final planning session, but was refused entry to Mexico and later put on a plane to New York, where he was arrested.

Officials said Arbabsiar is now cooperating with prosecutors and federal agents in New York.

"Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would've been very real and many lives would've been lost," FBI Director Robert Mueller said of the foiled plot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


RFK’s Assassin: I Was Brainwashed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A lawyer for Sirhan Sirhan, the confessed assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, plans to present new evidence at a parole board hearing suggesting that he did not act alone, was potentially brainwashed and cannot remember anything about the 43-year-old shooting.

"There is no question he was hypno-programmed," lawyer William F. Pepper told "He was set up. He was used. He was manipulated."

Sirhan will appear before a California parole board on Wednesday for the 14th time since his May 1969 sentencing. It is the first time he will be represented by Pepper.

Pepper plans to introduce new evidence that suggests there was a second gunman who fatally shot RFK in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel, following his victory in the 1968 California presidential primary.

Pepper says he believes he knows who ordered Sirhan to shoot Kennedy, but won't yet say who it is. He said in addition to the parole hearing, he is preparing an appeal.

The image of Sirhan sitting in a California prison cell in 2011 regretting a crime he does not remember does not jibe with a defiant Sirhan sitting in a California courtroom in 1969. At his trial, Sirhan confessed to the crime and declared he had committed it "with 20 years of malice aforethought."

Kennedy, then a U.S. senator from New York, was making his way through the Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen on June 14, 1968, soon after winning the Democratic primary. Sirhan entered the kitchen, fired on Kennedy and was soon subdued as bodyguards smashed his hand against a steam table. Sirhan continued to fire, emptying all the bullets in his pistol from his immobilized hand as bullets ricocheted around the kitchen. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


JFK's Last Night Alive Caught on Tape

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- New footage from President John F. Kennedy's last night has resurfaced after sitting for years in a chest of drawers in Roy Botello's living room.

Kennedy and the first lady made an impromptu stop at the Rice Hotel in Houston Nov. 21, 1963, as part of a planned five-city visit to Texas that would have ended at a dinner in Austin. The Houston stop was to attend an event for the League of the United Latin American Citizens, replete with a crowd of photographers and a mariachi band.

Kennedy was assassinated the following day in Dallas.

Bottello, now 88, was the scholarship corporation chairman of the league in San Antonio at the time. He shot the silent color home movie on an 8mm camera from his seat in the front row. He not only captured Kennedy's and the first lady's speeches but also the arrival and welcoming of other dignitaries in extremely clear close-up shots.

The president spoke shortly before 9 p.m. in the hotel's grand ballroom.

"I'm glad to be here today," the president said in the original video.

The footage also shows the president -- all smiles -- leaving the dinner with a slew of photographers in his wake.

Botello donated the footage to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, which chronicles the assassination and legacy of President Kennedy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Intrigues, 47 Years Later

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Forty-seven years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but the man who served less than a full term in office still casts a long shadow over the American politics and culture even as his relatives have slowly retreated from it.

A new movie, as well as a documentary featuring Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when JFK was shot, ensure that the Kennedy assassination will not fade from our minds any time soon.

In January, when JFK's nephew Patrick leaves Congress, it will be the first time since 1944 that no member of the Kennedy clan is on Capitol Hill.

The retiring Rep. Kennedy was not even born when his uncle was killed, but the events of that day in Dallas still capture the interest of Americans.

The documentary about the Secret Service is set to air Monday night on Discovery.

Two agents appear in it. They have kept silent about the events of Nov. 22, 1963, up to now. But a new book by agent Gerald Blaine, The Kennedy Detail, has brought a new perspective to the story.

A new feature film is in the works to examine the Kennedy assassination. This one, adding to the canon of films that explore conspiracy theories, most notably by Oliver Stone and Clint Eastwood, will feature Leonardo DiCaprio and is based on a book by Lamar Waldron that used information from the National Archives to suggest that a mob boss ordered Kennedy's assassination.

That book was also the basis for a Discovery Channel documentary that aired one year ago, the 46th anniversary of the assassination. Last year's documentary was called Did the Mob Kill JFK?

The agents in this year's movie reject such theories as a "cottage industry" of conspiracy.

But the doubts persist. Why are Americans still so interested in a killing that occurred nearly half a century ago and has been studied more than any other?

"There are so many angles on President Kennedy's death, including the public killing of the murderer," said David Rehr, a former President of the National Association of Broadcasters who now teaches at George Washington University.

"A picture-perfect Presidency with so much hope is ended by a bullet -- the story line gets more complicated as time passes and others suggest various motives," said Rehr.

The Secret Service has grown exponentially since then, from 400 agents to ten times that with a budget of about $1.4 billion annually.

And while Kennedy, on that fateful day, was able to insist that he ride in an open convertible to wave and be seen by the people, presidential security is now as tight as the Secret Service can make it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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