compiled by Patrick H. Moore

John F. Kennedy was arguably our first “rock star” President. He and his glamorous wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Jackie) were much younger than the presidents and first ladies that had preceded them, and both were embraced by the media in a manner more reminiscent of pop singers and movie stars than politicians. They influenced fashion trends and were the subjects of numerous photo spreads in popular magazines. Although Kennedy’s predecessor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, had allowed presidential press conferences to be filmed for television, Kennedy was the first president to request that they be be broadcast live. Mrs. Kennedy brought new art and furniture to the White House, and directed its restoration. In addition, they invited a range of artists, writers and intellectuals to White House dinners, thus raising the profile of the arts in America.

ST-C22-1-62Kennedy was closely tied to popular culture, emphasized by songs such as “Twisting at the White House”. Vaughn Meader’s First Family comedy album—an album parodying the President, the First Lady, their family, and his administration—sold about four million copies. On May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at a large party in Madison Square Garden, celebrating Kennedy’s upcoming forty-fifth birthday. The charisma of Kennedy and his family led to his administration being dubbed Camelot after his assassination.

President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. He was shot once in the throat and once in the upper back, with the fatal shot hitting him in the head. He was only 46 years old at the time of his death. Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the Texas School Book Depository from which the shots were suspected to have been fired, was arrested on charges of the murder of a local police officer, but was never subsequently charged with Kennedy’s assassination. Oswald denied shooting anyone, claiming he was a patsy, but was killed by Jack Ruby on November 24, before he could be indicted or tried. Ruby was then arrested and convicted for the murder of Oswald. Ruby successfully appealed his conviction and death sentence but became ill and died of cancer on January 3, 1967, while awaiting his new trial date.

jack8President Lyndon B. Johnson created the Warren Commission—chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren—to investigate the assassination, which concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. The results of this investigation are disputed by many and a 2004 Fox News poll found that 66% of Americans thought there had been a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, while 74% thought there had been a cover-up.

jack6Historians differ as to Kennedy’s effectiveness and competence during his brief 1,000 day Presidency. He probably blundered by following through on President Eisenhower’s plan to invade Cuba, our island neighbor to the south (the botched CIA-led Bay of Pigs invasion), yet stood firm during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and is credited by many with backing down Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and convincing him to remove the nuclear warheads from Cuba. In return, Kennedy promised that we would never again invade Cuba.

Kennedy stepped up our disastrous involvement in Southeast Asia and particularly Vietnam, and is considered to have been somewhat soft on civil rights, which was a huge issue during that period in American history. We will never know how effective a President he might have been had he been re-elected for the simple reason he was shot and killed instead while only three years into his first term.

jack3Kennedy was buried on Nov. 25, 1963, at Arlington National Cemetery, but according to a new book by James F. Swanson entitled  “End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” which comes out Nov. 12, HIS BRAIN WAS NOT BURIED WITH HIM. In fact, in his book Swanson claims that Kennedy’s own brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, may have been responsible for the theft. Gary Buiso of the New York Post has the story:

“Not all the evidence from the assassination is at the National Archives. One unique, macabre item from the collection is missing — President Kennedy’s brain,” writes James Swanson in, just a few weeks before the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death.

In his book, Swanson explains that during JFK’s autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, his brain was placed in a stainless-steel container with a screw-top lid.

“For a time, the steel container was stored in a file cabinet in the office of the Secret Service.”

The brain was later placed in a footlocker with other medical evidence and taken to the National Archives, where it was “placed in a secure room designated for the use of JFK’s devoted former secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, while she organized his presidential papers.”

“In October 1966, it was discovered that the brain, the tissue slides and other autopsy materials were missing — and they have never been seen since,” Swanson told The Post.

jack7According to Swanson, an investigation was ordered at the time by then-Attorney General Ramsey Clark, but the probe failed to recover the missing brain — which remains unaccounted for today. Swanson claims, however, that the investigation did “uncover compelling evidence suggesting that former Attorney General Robert Kennedy, aided by his assistant Angie Novello, had stolen the locker.”

Conspiracy theorists are claiming that Robert Kennedy pilfered Kennedy’s brain in order to conceal evidence that the president was shot from the front — perhaps from the famous grassy knoll — rather than from the rear, from the Texas School Book Depository, which is, of course, the official version of the events.

Swanson, however, rejects the notion that Kennedy’s brain vanished as part as a nefarious plot to hide the facts of the assassination.

“My conclusion is that Robert Kennedy did take his brother’s brain — not to conceal evidence of a conspiracy but perhaps to conceal evidence of the true extent of President Kennedy’s illnesses, or perhaps to conceal evidence of the number of medications that President Kennedy was taking,” he said.

jack4There have been many rumors that Kennedy, whose health problems included severe colitis and Addison’s Disease, took amphetamines while President. A recent Atlantic article states definitively that Kennedy received injections of amphetamines and painkillers from “Dr. Feelgood,” a.k.a. Max Jacobson, who was a sort of underground celebrity doctor to the “stars” during that period. Kennedy allegedly dismissed concerns about the injections, saying, “I don’t care if it’s horse piss. It works.” Jacobson’s medical license was revoked in 1975. Previously, in 1969, all controlled substances in his possession were confiscated by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Thus, it is certainly possible — assuming that Robert Kennedy did steal his big brother’s brain following the autopsy — that RFK did not want the degree of Kennedy’s more or less illicit drug-taking made public, as could have been demonstrated by brain tissue deterioration revealed in an autopsy. Of course, until the book is out and is digested, it is difficult to know if there is any truth to the author’s claims.

 

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