- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 23, 2002

DALLAS They came from far and wide Britain, Indonesia, Germany, Japan, Ecuador all searching for the answer to the same question.
"Who killed John F. Kennedy?"
They may return home with more questions than answers.
Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of the assassination of Kennedy in 1963. Along with Pearl Harbor and September 11, it's perhaps one of the most emotion-filled occurrences of the past century.
At 12:30 p.m. on a brisk, sunny day reminiscent of the 1963 presidential visit hundreds stood on what has become known as the "grassy knoll" to pray, sing and recite poetry.
Several conspiracy theorists used the opportunity, as they have for many years, to espouse their latest "news" and theories.
"The Pentagon ordered it," said John Judge, leader of the Washington-based "Coalitions on Political Assassinations," where for $55 you can attend the group's annual conference at a local hotel.
Mr. Judge said his mother, whom he described as a top Pentagon official at the time, gave him adequate information to understand the conspiracy.
A competitor, "JFK Lancer," has a three-day conference under way here, called "November in Dallas Research Conference." Several attendees were at the assassination site as Mr. Judge led a two-minute moment of silence.
"I've been studying this for years," one man no older than 20 said, "and can you imagine I get to meet all these people, all these people who know so much."
He was referring to, among others, three former FBI agents whose stories and accusations have become noteworthy over the years.
One is James Hosty, Lee Harvey Oswald's "case agent," the man who visited Oswald's wife in Irving, Texas, earlier that November but didn't mention to Dallas police security that her husband worked along the motorcade route.
Another is former agent James W. Sibert, who witnessed the Kennedy autopsy and says it is impossible that one of the shots from Dealey Plaza could have hit both Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connolly.
A third is William Turner, who has written numerous articles purporting conspiracy for more than three decades.
"Won't matter how many people they get to tell these stories," said Martin Johnson, a Midland, Texas, businessman. "There's usually earlier statements they have to ignore. People will do, and say, anything to be someone, won't they?"
Gary Mack is the 56-year-old curator of the Sixth Floor Museum. Housed in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building where Oswald is said to have fired the fatal shots, the museum offers exhibits and information about the assassination.
Once a conspiracy theorist, Mr. Mack has in recent years become one of the most reliable in debunking theories that spring from wishful thinking.
Though he keeps his investigation factual, he has always felt there is still evidence to answer two of the biggest remaining questions: Where did the shots come from, and how many were there?
Mr. Mack said yesterday that based on what he knows about the subject, the acoustics from an open microphone on a police officer's motorcycle could answer those questions.
The intellectual, the curious and the informed aside, Dealey Plaza teemed with opportunism yesterday.
Vendors sold hot dogs, slides and tabloid newspapers. One man was hawking a tape he said introduced Kennedy's "real killer." At $25, he wasn't getting much business.
Another tried to sell pictures of Oswald's body on his slab after autopsy.


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