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17 March, 2010


A Key Chapter from "Justice For JFK"

by Robert D. Morningstar

One of the early victims of the JFK conspiracy of silence, better yet "silencing" in the aftermath of JFK'S murder, was the noted reporter, columnist and television celebrity, Dorothy Kilgallen. I had watched her for years on "What's My Line?", not realizing that she had any involvement with the JFK story. Years later, I learned that she had broken the convention of silence in the press and written openly in her column about discrepancies in the official story. Suddenly she was dead.

On November 8, 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen, was found dead in her apartment shortly after returning from Dallas where she had interviewed Jack Ruby and had conducted her own investigation of the JFK murder during several trips to cover the Ruby trial.

She had revealed secret transcripts of Ruby's testimony in her column. Kilgallen had met with Ruby. She had learned of a meeting three weeks before the assassination at Ruby's "Carousel", the Dallas underworld's merry-go-round where the "Big D" mobsters wheeled around.

Present at the meeting were Ruby, Officer J.D. Tippit, Bernard Weismann and, she would later learn, a fourth party.

Lee Israel, author of "Kilgallen", reports that that Ruby, himself a TV fan of Dorothy Kilgallen, had taken a liking to her during the trial. According to Israel, he respected her more than any other reporter. She had gained his confidence and had several conversations with him in the courtroom. She was given a five minute session alone with Ruby. Some writers have stretched this to a half-hour, others deny it.

Regardless, it is a fact that when Dorothy returned to New York, she told friends that she had discovered that Ruby and the slain Officer J.D. Tippit had been friends. They had been seen together in Ruby's Carousel Club at a meeting 2 weeks before the assassination in the company of Bernard Weissman, who had placed the "JFK-Wanted for Treason" newspaper ad in Dallas newspapers on November 22nd, 1963. Studying the Warren Commission Report, Killgallen deduced that the meeting had also been reported to Chief Justice Warren AND that the identity of "the fourth man",which she had been unable to ascertain, had been reported to Warren as "a rich Texas oil man", as Earl Warren described him in the official transcript.

She told Israel that she had discovered something that was going to break the whole JFK assassination mystery wide open. She told the same story to her next door neighbor, her hairdresser, her agent, her publisher, and the producer and host of "Nightlife".

Kilgallen had told Israel about a very mysterious and sinister player in the JFK assassination to whom she gave the code name "ferret man". From the description of the individual, it is clear that "ferret man" was none other than David Ferrie, another known associate of Jack Ruby involved in gun running, the Marcello mob and other anti-Castro operations from Florida to Texas. At one time, Ruby and Ferrie were co-owners of an airplane.

Nightlife's producer, Nick Vanoff, pleaded with her not to broach the subject on the air. She had arrived at the studio with a folder full of pertinent and explosive notes documents. She kept the folder closed throughout the interview. Vanoff, asked her agent, Bob Bach, to send her "a dozen long-stemmed roses."

On Sunday November 8, Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead, sitting fully dressed, upright in bed, early in the morning. The New York City Police investigated and the coroner found that Dorothy Kilgallen had died from ingestion of a lethal combination of alchohol and barbituates. All her notes and the article on which she had been working to "blow the JFK assassination wide open" also disappeared.

What did Kilgallen know? The convention of silence continued. The New York Times noted the coroner's report. The Daily News noted it as well. Of course, the Journal American took note but nowhere did you read any reference to her Dallas trips nor her investigation into the murder of JFK at the high point of her own career. Every nostalgic memory of her in the Press was a fond one of "What's My Line?".

They all abandoned her, no one asked a question publicly. Not John Daly, not Bennett Cerf. No one in the press could be bothered about someone, even someone famous, who had died nearly by her own hand. Indeterminate causes can mean many things and "causes" is plural.

It was only the year before the murder of JFK that no one had questioned the death of Marilyn Monroe on the other side of the continent, who had also died of a barbiturate overdose, by her own hand. Neither her diary, nor her notes for her press conference, nor her "suicide note" were ever found. Only Joe D. cared, courageous enough to say, "Those bastards, they killed her."

Recent reports indicate that whoever sent "those bastards" apparently killed Marilyn by mistake. Many believe she was going to reveal the government's Castro assassination attempts (divulged to her by RFK) or the Kennedy mob connections or her love affair with JFK, when, according to recent reports (Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1996), she was actually going to announce her remarriage to Joe DiMaggio.

The press continued its pseudo-patriotic posture, in today's parlance, "politically correct" posture, benign neglect by design. Things were getting eerie for the Fourth Estate. The Fourth Estate had been transported to "The Twilight Zone". Both reporters and witnesses were dying. The Press hardly noticed.

Things were getting bad. Penn Jones wrote "Forgive My Grief" to chronicle the continuing string of strange deaths which followed the freight train of the Warren Commission Report, which railroaded Oswald, with its strong box of secrets sealed till the year 2039.

We could still watch "What's My Line?" but there was something strange about the show. John Daly was stiff, Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and others were just as wooden and flat. Forced mirth is not worth watching.

It's painful living in fear, says Leon to Deckker in "Blade Runner."

A dark cloud, a shadow, if you will, hung over the show.There was a Void: hollow, empty, voiceless. TV fans missed her. Things got yet worse! Penn Jones had to write "Forgive My Grief II". Witnesses were still dropping like flies as Jones recorded No. 5, No. 56...No.67, No. 68. Some of us didn't believe The Official Story, even without knowing of her trips to Dallas for another 20 years. It was too incongruous to believe that the person I had seen just the night before and again that very afternoon, so alive, so intelligent, so bright with life, could have died so pitifully, so quickly.

I beg to differ with the disinformed current opinion of those today who never saw her, but to my TV eyes, Dorothy Kilgallen was not some stupified, alcoholic lush addicted to barbiturates. In all those years on television, I never saw her manifest any signs of slurred speech, sluggishness, lethargy, or uncoordinated speech or movement, though others may differ on this. She always spoke with the utmost courtesy, composure and graciousness. She had a way of asking one question which could extract three pieces of information.

The Media's Convention of Silence

"On a need to know basis" came into our vocabulary and an apparently craven press was caving in to "higher powers". The press now written with a little "p", neutered and rechristined "The Media", really didn't "need" to know, it was learning how not to ask the right questions.

Broad and broader flowed a whole brook of Warren Commission "white lies" and unanswered questions, which soon wound its way to another bend, then a twist of the facts, finally, widening into a whole river allowed to flow unimpeded and unquestioned.

Things got still worse! Penn Jones had to write "Forgive My Grief - Part III."...No.77, No. 78... As more and more people died or disappeared, a bridge of silence was erected over the river of questions which proceeded from the brook of the Warren Commision's "white lies". The press, politically correct as always, developed a polite disinclination to know. The press preferred to take the long way around.

The press, under duress after Dorothy's death, had learned ("been taught" may be more apt) to avoid even approaching The Bridge of Silence for, as Dorothy Kilgallen had shown, the toll for crossing it was very high.

And so, fellow Americans...Ask not......For whom the bell tolls for us.

Not a murmur was heard much less a dissenting word from the myrmidons of political correctness. They had all abandoned Dorothy. In 1964, CBS had televised "The Wizard of Oz."

"Ignore the man behind the curtain! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken" screamed the Wizard of Oz, and the press obeyed.

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