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Roger Odisio
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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 6:23 am
I asked NARA what they were doing to update the JFK Collection and whether they accept requests for records to be added to it.   They said, yes, they did.  Here is the email I got today.

Roger Odisio:

This is in response to your request for information about the JFK Assassination Record Collection. I have an official answer for the question about the addition of new records to the Collection. The short answer is: yes, we do accept recommendations. See below.


If an agency locates assassination records that should have been transferred to the ARRB, it must transfer them to NARA.  If you believe that there may be records outside the custody of NARA that belong in our holdings, we ask that you provide the details to NARA's General Counsel.  



Gene Morris
Archives II Textual Reference Branch (RR2RR)
Room 2400

...
[size]
From: Alexis Bucher Date: Mon, Nov 7, 2022 at 8:57 AM Subject: Fwd: JFK Assassination Records Collection To: College Park Textual Reference Inquire , …
… new information has emerged since 1998. What has the National Archives  been doing to keep the Collection up to date?  Does NARA accept recommendations for records to be added to the Collection? Roger Odisio

Here is what I have written so far asking for the Darnell and Wiegman films to added to the Collection.  Comments?

What do we know about the Wiegman film and its whereabouts?  Should I include it with the Darnell request?
[/size]




I request that the films of Jimmy Darnell and Dave Wiegman, reporters covering the JFK motorcade on Novemebr 22, 1963, be included in the JFK Collection.  Both films clearly meet the definition of a JFK record and they belong there to satisfy the Collection's purpose "to provide the public with the opportunity to judge the surrounding history of the assassination for themselves".  


The 1992 JFK Act empowered the ARRB to define the term, record.  In publishing its final rule, the ARRB said that to implement the intent of Congress and achieve the fullest record of the assassination, it defined record as all information, including that is held by private institutions and individuals, not just government agencies, that could enhance understanding of the event.    
 
NARA has the original Zapruder film of the shooting.  The Darnell and Wiegman films capture the immediate aftermath on Elm St to provide a more complete picture of what happened
 
The ARRB set about collecting JFK Records (see Chapter 7 of the ARRB Final report detailing the non-governmental records it retrieved).  But it closed its doors in 1998.  Much new information has emerged since then.
 
NARA has James Hosty's initial interrogation notes of Oswald, in which Oswald said that after eating lunch, he "went outside to watch the P Parade".  


In 2013 Barry Ernest published "The Girl on the Stairs" which lends corroboration to what Oswald said.  Four women watched the motorcade from the 4th floor of the School Book Depository.  Two of them went shortly down the back stairs after the shots to see what was happening, and a third woman--their supervisor--remained on the 4th floor.  She was still there when Roy Truly and a policeman came up the stairs.  None of them saw or heard Oswald descend the stairs.

In 2015, Stan Dane published "Prayerman". In the Darnell and Wiegman films, on the top steps stands a shadowy figure back in the corner that resembles Oswald.  Dane included a meticulous accounting of all persons who could have been that figure.  He concluded it was mostly likely was Oswald.

Together these bits of information focused many researchers back on the Darnell and Wiegman films.  But extant copies are not clear enough to identify who that person was.
 
It is my understanding is that NBC Universal, the entertainment conglomerate now owned by Comcast, has the original Darnell film but has refused requests of researchers to see it.  Modern enhancement techniques might allow us to identify that figure.  The importance of the question is obvious.  The answer appears to depend in the first instance on NARA declaring the films to be JFK records and including them in the Collection for all to see. 
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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 10:10 am
Very interesting Roger. Thanks for sharing. Is it just me or is the Archives at MD being overly helpful in recent times? Anyway please keep us posted.

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Roger Odisio
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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 11:44 am
I'm late to the game as far as NARA is concerned, but, for instance one of the lawyers on the MFF lawsuit filed a FOIA request to see the correspondence between the parties during the last go round with Biden, NARA, and the agencies.  He says NARA was pushing strongly for more disclosure until they were beaten down by the CIA, etc.

Biden did order NARA to go back and look at the material again and they have now completed what was almost a  year long review--saying they looked at every page in dispute !--and have already conveyed their response for the Dec 15 decision to Biden.

The NARA employee I mentioned, Gene Morris, has been attentive, and pretty fast by NARA standards. He is mentioned as helpful in the acknowledgements of Malcolm Blunt's The Devil is in the Details.

I was especially glad to see NARA say they accept recommendations for new records to add to the Collection.  That is something I have been trying to convince the MFF lawyers that they should be pushing for.  There is enough wording in their suit to allow them to do that.
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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 4:13 pm
Thanks for the reply Roger, I have been dealing with Gene at the archives as well and has been extremely helpful. I'm also dealing with Steven, who is just as attentive...quick to respond and go the extra yard to help out. 
It's extremely interesting that you've had them respond regarding new material being considered to add to the archive collection - that sounds very promising.

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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 4:20 pm
Oh and Roger, I meant to add, there's not too many other JFK related forums where the sharing of information is such an accepted practice. I just wanted to say how grateful we are that you'd share a private email response from NARA with us on such an important topic. This is why this site is so fantastic - the willingness here to share material freely and openly is the greatest asset we have. So well done mate .

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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 8:14 pm
I concur with Mick, excellent work Roger!

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Fri 18 Nov 2022, 9:13 pm
Wonderful job, Roger.

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Sat 19 Nov 2022, 9:46 pm
Well done Roger. May they exercise their authority to acquire the films, which also appears to be their assigned duty. Thanks for bringing this to their attention and to that of this forum.

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Sun 20 Nov 2022, 11:04 am
late to the party. Been busy, but I agree with the others. Great work. Prompted me to try and find some of the correspondence I had with them.
--------------------------------
To: historyhub@nara.gov
Subject: history hub questions
 
Thank you for providing this valuable resource. and for giving me access to it.

However, the questions you posted for me, were not the questions asked.

You posted: 

NBC Cameramen Darnell and Weigman filmed scenes in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination. Should the films be designated as JFK records under the JFK Act? Are they still held by NBC?

The problem is, I already know the answer to both of those questions.

From Wikipedia
The definition of "assassination record" was left broad by the Act and determined in practice by the ARRB; a final definition was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 1995.[4] The basic definition was:

An assassination record includes, but is not limited to, all records, public and private, regardless of how labeled or identified, that document, describe, report on, analyze, or interpret activities, persons, or events reasonably related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and investigations of or inquiries into the assassination.

Both of those cameramen swept their cameras across the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository within seconds of the shooting.

Myself and a team of others have identified the majority of those on the steps using statements given by workers from that building to the police and FBI.

There is one person stubbornly unidentified. He is a young white male with thinning hair, dressed in workers clothes and standing in the back corner.

The tall person near him is Buell Frazier. Frazier has been asked if he knows who the person is, but he claims not to - despite telling the FBI during the initial investigation that he saw no strangers around the building that day. 

We also know those films are being held by NBC. We have tried in several ways over the years to talk them into allowing a scan of frames showing this individual. Cameramen with lengthy experience have advised that scans from the original films would have enough clarity to allow a proper identification. What we are stuck with are many generations removed from those originals.

So my original question is the one that needs to be answered - why haven't those films been deemed assassination records under the Act and placed in the archives where they can be examined?

One further thing: FBI Agent James Hosty made notes during the initial interrogation. In those notes, he states clearly the Lee Oswald told his interrogators that he had gone outside to watch the presidential parade.

I have attached a montage showing the person in question as seen in the Darnell film, along with the relevant section of Hosty's notes.

I am not trying to prove a conspiracy theory. I don't care if it is ever proven beyond doubt Oswald did it alone. I DO care that there is substantial evidence (including, but not limited to this), that Oswald's alibi was ignored and he was framed in the same, almost routine manner so many have been before and since. 

Please do the right thing. Obtain those films and make them available for study.

Yours sincerely,
Greg R. Parker
---------------------
I think it was in reponse to this that I was told that can't obtain records themselves.

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Roger Odisio
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Mon 21 Nov 2022, 2:44 am
"Mr. Paker":  I'm pasting the answer you got from the anonymous person in the bowels of NARA, that you posted in the other thread, so that everything is in one place.


Here was the reply

Dear Mr. Paker,

Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the depository of the permanently valuable non-current records of the Federal Government.  Our mission is to preserve the records and make them available to the public. When The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection was transferred to the legal custody of the National Archives, NARA staff may not add to, subtract from, or change in any way the contents of the Collection unless directed by law.

For access to the film, please contact the NBCUniversal Archives.


Its apparent from the very first sentence of the NARA answer that they're feeding you bullshit.  In your request, you explained what a JFK record is.  Probably the clearest way to think about it is a JFK record is a piece of information that helps a person understand what happened that day.  It doesn't matter who possess the information. Whether its the CIA or your grandmother. 

In Chap 7 of the ARRB Final Report, the Board discusses records it had collected from non-governmental sources before it closed its doors. For example, in November 1995, 3 months after it published the definition of a record in the Federal Register, the ARRB "launched a special initiative in Dallas, appealing to residents to consider donating any film or or photographs they may have related to the assassination".  One result:  getting outtakes from the daughter of a friend of a KTVT photographer who had retrieved them from the trash at KTVT and spliced them together!   But no Darnell or Wiegman.

It's true that the 1992 JFK Act is written in terms of releasing federal government records into the JFK Record Collection.  But that was only a working definition.  Congress created the Collection to be housed in NARA and the ARRB to identify and retrieve records.  It empowered the ARRB to come up with a final definition of the term, record.  Congress realized they needed the help of the experts they expected to employ at the Board to make the project work.  Chap 7 begins with a statement of Judge Tunheim, head of the Board, at his nomination hearings, about the importance of seeking records from all sources, public and private.

Despite all of this, the NARA answer begins with the incomplete and misleading statement with respect to the Collection, that NARA is the depository of federal government records.  It ends with the false statement that NARA has no authority to add records as information becomes available.

The NARA statement relayed to me by a staffer corrects that falsity.  I sent my request for inclusion of Darnell and Wiegman to NARA on Friday (with a few changes to what I posted here).  In retrospect I probably should have referenced that NARA statement, so that they know I know their policy.  In any case, I'll have the statement in my pocket in case I get more BS from them.    

There are reasons to hope (expect?) we get a better answer this time, said the optimist.

I sent my request to a specific person at NARA, the General Counsel (i.e., their top lawyer) as suggested by the staffer.  There is reason to believe I'll get a better answer this time, more coherent, less garbage, at least.  The GC knows the law and its requirements and I think his office would be reluctant to put false statements in writing. But also in part because of the context.  Times are a bit different now.

Since expiration of the 25 year period for collecting records in 2017, two presidents have blatantly ignored the JFK Act requirements for delaying record release.  But last year Biden also required NARA to do a thorough review of what it has done with the Collection.  NARA has completed it (looking at every page in the dispute with govt agencies, they said) and has already sent its conclusions about remaining records to Biden for his Dec 15 decision.  

One of the lawyers on the MFF lawsuit filed a FOIA request for the deliberations before Biden's decision last year.  He believes the information shows that NARA initially pushed hard for the release (of many of) the remaining records, but were eventually beaten down by the CIA, etc, and Biden sided with the latter.  Its been 59 years since the murder and the CIA's nonanswer of national security keeps getting thinner.

For our purposes, however, the MFF lawsuit too narrowly focuses on the records held by govt agencies.  It appears to rely too much on the JFK Act definition of record, rather than the real, final, much broader ARRB definition that is supposed to guide NARA's work today.

IMO, it is the information uncovered by researchers over the years, not records hidden by govt agencies, that, if collected in one place at NARA, offers the best chance of resolving the "false mystery" of the JFKA.
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Wed 23 Nov 2022, 11:50 am
LOL. Thank you Mr Odio. My regards to Sylvia.  

Well done on cutting through with this. Can't find it right now, but somewhere in one of these threads you said something like the assassination is more likely to be solved through records outside the agencies that those agency records yet to be released. Sorry if I am misinterpreting what you said, but I hope I got it right because I really wish others would "get" that and at least put as much effort into identifying and obtaining those records as they do in finding moles in rabbit holes. 

My wish list

The Darnell and Weigman films (obviously!)

Police and FBI records on the drug/prostitute/stolen goods & cars circuits

Bureau of Narcotics records on informants pertaining to Texas, New Mexico and Mexico, especially those working the sporting circuits.

COINTELPRO records pertaining to actions against Latino groups in Texas and New Mexico

State, Federal and local studies (eg any undertaken by Ole Miss) of the Mississippi Mau Mau (Medgar Evers and his supporters who fashioned their struggle on that of the Mau Mau against the British)

Records on the REDCAP program especially those pertaining to Mikhail Platovsky wo was dropped into Minsk.

Records on the REDSKIN program especially those pertaining to Ed Keenan who was present for Oswald's attempted defection and who most likely operated as an "orientation" officer for those about to stay lomg-term.

Records of all the RED hunting programs operating in New York during the time Oswald lived there. 

Records of the New York Port Security Unit in which John Pic worked. This was the intelligence unit of the Coast Guard and they worked with ONI and FBI informants on the ports.

USAF and Naval medical experiments conducted at the various base hospitals at which Pic worked inside the pathology units. 

These records would answer a lot - A LOT of questions.

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Roger Odisio
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Thu 24 Nov 2022, 9:04 am
You got that right, Greg.  In fact you need look no further than the last sentence of my post to see it.  I've said it several times both here and at EF.   

Assuming they get past the first hurdle (showing they have standing to sue) the MFF lawsuit should have ample chance, in discovery and after, to press NARA on making the JFK Collection into what the JFK Act intended. By collecting all JFK records in one place and digitizing them.  

I'm not sure the lawyers on the case are willing to do that as yet.  They started off, it seems, mostly thinking about records they think they know about at the CIA and FBI.

I don't know anything about the records on your wish list which gives some indication of the vastness of the terrain out there.
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Thu 24 Nov 2022, 11:30 am
Roger Odisio wrote:You got that right, Greg.  In fact you need look no further than the last sentence of my post to see it.  I've said it several times both here and at EF.   

Assuming they get past the first hurdle (showing they have standing to sue) the MFF lawsuit should have ample chance, in discovery and after, to press NARA on making the JFK Collection into what the JFK Act intended. By collecting all JFK records in one place and digitizing them.  

I'm not sure the lawyers on the case are willing to do that as yet.  They started off, it seems, mostly thinking about records they think they know about at the CIA and FBI.

I don't know anything about the records on your wish list which gives some indication of the vastness of the terrain out there.
To me, the ones that should already be there, but are not, are the ones on Platovsky (how the hell is a CIA agent being dropped into Minsk at the time Oswald lived there NOT pertinent????)

Ditto records on Keenan. HSCA records shows that at least one REDSKIN agent (legal traveller program) had the task of "orientation". Russian life was Keenan's specialty and on his return, it was his entire career.  He was in the SU as an exchange student but was kicked out for spying in 1964. The story broke in the US in the following year, but like all good agents, he denied the charge. However, long after the end of the cold war, he has given speeches at Harvard saying how tricky it was meeting up with his contacts etc... basically an admission. He was a student at Harvard when Snyder was acting as a spotter for the program at that institution. He has admitted to two authors, one being John Newman, that he was present when Oswald attended. Unfortunately neither author was aware that he had been kicked out of the SU as a spy, let alone connected him to the REDSKIN program. Needless to say, his name appears nowhere in the  volumes.

John PIic testified that he was with the Port Security Unit when Lee arrived in NY. Yet no exploration was done into that by anyone until I did it.  That unit damaged more lives than any other commie hunting effort in US history, including the work of HUAC. They did this by using FBI and ONI informants. No investigation was done on anyone named resulting in many innocent people losing work and being blackbanned.

The others are in regard to the Tippit murder and the fake-ass trip to Mexico City but do not connect in any obvious way. Yet, trust me - they are essential to getting to the bottom of those pieces of the puzzle. 

Keep hammering at the lawyers. I think some of them actually have Oswald as part of the plot and that rabbit hole stops them from caring about anything but tying both Oswald and the assassination to the CIA.

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Roger Odisio
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Sat 26 Nov 2022, 4:39 am
I'm guilty of having tunnel vision here.  I don't think any discussion of what really happened, and who did it, will ever gain any traction, until It is proven that Oswald didn't do it, and that proof gets wide dissemination.  Big obstacles, obviously, particularly the second as things now stand.  Which is why I'm focused on Darnell and Wiegman.  Undeniable proof may be there.
 
I'm also thinking of the guy who enhanced some of the moon shots to stunning effect.  Including uncovering a person where there appeared to be nothing.  Someone here contacted him and he said he had still too much to do with other moon photos to help.  But maybe down the road.
 
Just heard an interview with Larry Schnapf, one of the lead lawyers on the MFF lawsuit.  When asked directly who he thought did it, he said the mafia.  Why?  Because Joe Kennedy, the elder, told them they would have a friend in the White House with JFK, and Bobby double crossed them. Oswald may have had some role, tho probably not as a shooter; he wasn't sure.  Brilliant!  
 

Just another reason not to care about that loser, Oswald.
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Sat 26 Nov 2022, 6:50 am
Roger Odisio wrote:I'm guilty of having tunnel vision here.  I don't think any discussion of what really happened, and who did it, will ever gain any traction, until It is proven that Oswald didn't do it, and that proof gets wide dissemination.  Big obstacles, obviously, particularly the second as things now stand.  Which is why I'm focused on Darnell and Wiegman.  Undeniable proof may be there.
 
I'm also thinking of the guy who enhanced some of the moon shots to stunning effect.  Including uncovering a person where there appeared to be nothing.  Someone here contacted him and he said he had still too much to do with other moon photos to help.  But maybe down the road.
 
Just heard an interview with Larry Schnapf, one of the lead lawyers on the MFF lawsuit.  When asked directly who he thought did it, he said the mafia.  Why?  Because Joe Kennedy, the elder, told them they would have a friend in the White House with JFK, and Bobby double crossed them. Oswald may have had some role, tho probably not as a shooter; he wasn't sure.  Brilliant!  
 

Just another reason not to care about that loser, Oswald.
Agreed that the films should be the focus. But when the case is reopened, the things on my list will be far more relevant than the shit they think the CIA iis withholding. 

As for Schapf, why am I not surprised?

Like I said, they don't care about the films. While some of them are after connections to the CIA, looks like Larry is no different. Just substitute the mob for CIA and there he stands. 

Don't expect these guys to lift a finger to help get the films without a massive, collective kick up the arse. 

They fucking  epitomize why we are where we are.

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Sat 26 Nov 2022, 11:54 am
I'm also thinking of the guy who enhanced some of the moon shots to stunning effect.  Including uncovering a person where there appeared to be nothing.  Someone here contacted him and he said he had still too much to do with other moon photos to help.  But maybe down the road.


Roger, I think from memory those photos which you've referred to were high res copies which had degraded. They still had a lot of information contained within and he used AI to extract the info...

We still need a good base line from which to start - the Darnell frame copy we see online doesn't cut it, at least not at the moment. That's just my opinion of course.

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Sat 26 Nov 2022, 7:59 pm
Getting a good copy of both films in 8k plus detailed scan of PM and then deblur through AI
Job done.

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Sun 27 Nov 2022, 7:45 am
Bart, how easy is it to convert the Darnell and Wiegman films in whatever resolution they were shot in to 8K?  If NARA takes the films from NBC Universal, are they likely to allow that kind of enhancemant to be done?  Is there substantial cost involved?
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Sun 27 Nov 2022, 11:59 am
Roger, I'm dealing with NARA about this same issue now. My understanding is as long as the film has no restrictions placed on it when it is entered into the archives I imagine there would be no issue with copying the exhibit. However should I or anyone else wish to produce high quality copies of the film then it would be at the researchers own expense and they would have to either attend themselves or have a professional attend (one from the archive vendor list) with the authorised scanning device. 

As long as it is for educational purposes and the exhibit has no restrictions placed on it then the cost would be in the copying (onsite) and processing (offsite). Because both Weigman and Darnell are strips of film my guess is we would need to copy all the material from whatever reel they have been spliced and  inserted onto. If that's the case, it may be that we would need to copy the entire reel as per NARA's current requirements on their website. We also cannot rely on NARA for any high end copies should these films ever become available - it would be up to the researcher pursuing the copies. The films will be treated as motion pictures and not as photographs so there is a possibility that NARA will demand that the films are copied by an authorised vendor (offsite) I can check what that cost would be - but like i said if the entire reel has to be copied it may be quite expensive....

I'm sure others here will have more to add 

Of course stating the bleeding obvious this all depends on the original films condition - if it has survived, and has remained in reasonable shape.

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NARA says yes it does Byp_211
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