Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Suspicious Minds: A Son Defends His Father – David Atlee Phillips

by DALE K. MYERS

Ten months back, I got a telephone call from Jacob M. Carter, a young man who said he was working on a book he hoped would straighten out the “complete mess” that the JFK assassination had become for his generation.

Carter, a social media manager and counselor at a drug and alcohol treatment house, acknowledged that most of his generation couldn't give two hoots about the deeds of November 1963 – ancient history to them – most of them put off by the really wacky conspiracy theorists or seeking to avoid the informed, elite researchers who have carved out a niche for themselves and refuse to let anyone intrude into their kingdom.

I consented to an interview and so did ten others. I’m glad I and they did.

The result is Before History Dies: The stories surrounding the JFK assassination that stripped America of her innocence (Wordcrafts Press, 2015), an engaging collection of conversations with researchers from both sides of the assassination debate that could sit alongside Larry Sneed’s No More Silence: An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy (University of North Texas Press, 1998) – one of the five best books on the subject, in my opinion.

On pages 146-47 of Carter’s book is something every conspiracy theorist should read before they point an accusatory finger at another person whom they never met and know literally nothing about, yet accused of being responsible for such a heinous crime as the one committed in November, 1963.

David Atlee Phillips is only one such character in the conspiracy theorist’s quiver these days but one that is tossed out again and again without any real evidence – certainly nothing remotely close to the mountain of physical, forensic, and eyewitness testimony that permeates the case against Lee Harvey Oswald – or any thought about the repercussions that such accusations have on his children and grandchildren.

It’s easy to charge the dead who can neither sue nor defend themselves and so I’ve often wondered what close relatives of those accused thought about it all.

Jacob Carter does us all a favor by giving us a peek at just one such individual. And I have it on good authority that there are many others – a long conga line of relatives and descendants of those who have been accused over the years who would like to give those theorists who are quick to point a finger a piece of their mind – and maybe even a poke in the nose.

With Mr. Carter’s kind permission, I’ve reproduced below the entire response he received from Dave Phillips, son of David Atlee Phillips, when he was approached about the subject of his father and the allegations made against him.

Simple food for thought for a new generation of researchers:

Dave Phillips

In light of the talk about David Atlee Phillips, and his possible role in the JFK assassination, I wanted to give his son a chance to give his views on his father. Here is what he had to say. 

You’re not the first person to contact me, and my attempts at dialogue have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The usual contact is from a conspiracy theorist who is looking to validate his theory, and who refuses to accept any fact that detracts from his intellectual package. You will have to do with a brief statement, and here it is.

My dad thought of his life as an adventure, and I think his autobiography captures that side of him well. He was also a caring father, and a good and fair man in general. He admired John Kennedy and was appalled to have been named as part of the supposed assassination conspiracy. Like other CIA employees I grew up around, he didn’t join to be part of a government mafia; they were there to continue serving the United States, the way they had during World War II. The weakness in their devotion was the quasi-military sense that they should do what the president ordered them to do, even when they thought it was the wrong course of action. Which is how one winds up with the Bay of Pigs, for example. But, if you think about it, this devotion to the commander-in-chief is the polar opposite of the idea that the CIA would do in the commander-in-chief. If there was a conspiracy to do in John Kennedy, my guess would be that it was orchestrated by Havana. But my actual guess (nothing more) is that Oswald really did act on his own, after getting the polite brush-off from the Cubans. We’ll never know until the Cuban intelligence files are declassified.

As for why my dad got tagged: for any horrible, incomprehensible act, there are those who make it comprehensible by turning to a conspiracy theory. (And what satisfaction there is in constructing a neat, tidy answer to something that had been so messy and disturbing.) The conspiracy theorists needed someone to hang the conspiracy on, and when my father retired and went public he inadvertently provided them with a target. Interesting how quick people are to defame someone they never met, and about whom they know nothing.

End of statement. Good luck with your book.

Dave Phillips

10 comments:

LSchnapf said...

i agree one has to be very careful before accusing a person of murder-be it Phillips, LBJ or yes-even Oswald. At the worst, Phillips may have run an operation that was highjacked by some rogues and the government had to cover up the malfeasance. No one knew in 1963 we were working with the exiles and mafia to assassinate Castro. As for Oswald, a group of lawyers will be filing a court of inquiry petition next year to expunge Oswald's arrest on the grounds of no probable cause. Much of the forensic evidence used to pin the assassination on him would have been inadmissible in court. It was the original junk science case as we have learned from the Innocence Project.

Barry Ryder said...

Many thanks for the alert on this new book, Dale. It sounds like it could be a good one. Anything which compares well with Sneed's 'No More Silence' certainly grabs my attention.

Allowing people to speak for themselves is infinitely better than any author editing and selectively presenting only the words which suit their preconceived notion: Think, Mark Lane, here.

Your own work with the Tippit family has done much to 'humanise' J. D. and history is better served because of it. For too long he was just a cardboard, cut-out figure who was moved around the assassination 'game board' at the whim of the legions of 'researchers' who sought to portray him as they saw fit. Placing him within the context and fabric of his family and friends shows him as he really was.

McMillan and Mailer accomplished much the same with Oswald in their books. Wills and Demaris captured the real Jack Ruby; as did Hunter & Anderson in 'Jack Ruby's girls.

More recently, Thomas Mallon shone a much-needed light on the real Ruth Paine.

The Dave Phillips segment which you quoted is concise and revealing. 'Night Watch' - by the man himself (which his son alludes to), is well worth a read, too.

Thanks again for the 'heads-up'; I'll be buying my copy in the new year. Speaking of which; may I offer you, your family and the many visitors to this outstanding blog, a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

best as always
Barry Ryder
(London)

Anonymous said...

It’s easy to charge the dead who can neither sue nor defend themselves and so I’ve often wondered what close relatives of those accused thought about it all.

Exactly.No wonder Oswald keeps getting blamed.After all he is not able to defend himself.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous - Oswald was no innocent. He was charged by Dallas police with murdering Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit and President John F. Kennedy because he left the murder weapon - his own rifle - behind on the sixth floor of his workplace along with three spent cartridges, fled the scene, armed himself with his own 38-caliber revolver, then used it to murder Tippit who stopped to question him, and finally pulled the same pistol minutes later in a darkened theater and attempted to shoot arresting officers as they closed in.

The physical evidence against him is overwhelming and has stood the test of time - fifty-two years to be exact.

David Atlee Phillips, on the other hand - along with many, many others, has been "charged" by conspiracy advocates without any believable evidence whatsoever that links him to the crimes in question.

The blame rests solely with Oswald because the evidence demonstrates his guilt and his guilt alone.

Mark OBLAZNEY said...

Cold Warrior, like Mother. Saved us many times.

jqb said...

As for Oswald, a group of lawyers will be filing a court of inquiry petition next year to expunge Oswald's arrest on the grounds of no probable cause. Much of the forensic evidence used to pin the assassination on him would have been inadmissible in court. It was the original junk science case as we have learned from the Innocence Project.

Good lord but you nuts are intellectually dishonest.

Barry Ryder said...

attn: L. Schnapf

Included in your posting of December 23, 2015 at 12:02, was the announcement that , "..a group of lawyers will be filing a court of inquiry petition next year [2016] to expunge Oswald's arrest on the grounds of no probable cause. "

Three months of 2016 have now passed and I was wondering what progress the 'group of lawyers' has made.I'm particularly interested to hear how these lawyers will attempt to "..expunge Oswald's arrest.." when three reasons for arrest are glaringly obvious.

1) Entering into a public assembly with a concealed weapon.
2) Assaulting a police officer.
and
3) Threatening a police officer with a weapon.

All of these offences would give 'probable cause' and all would permit summary arrest. All of these infractions were within the Texas Penal Code of 1963.

Please advise of developments - should there be any.
Barry Ryder
(London)

Barry Ryder said...

Calling L. Schnapf

Half of 2016 has now passed and, as yet, your prophecy regarding the 'court of inquiry petition' is unfulfilled.

Should you be unable to offer any news or explanation, I'll make a note to check back again at the end of September.

Barry Ryder
(London)

Barry Ryder said...

Last call for L. Schnapf,

Nine months of 2016 have now passed and you still offer no word about the progress that your 'team of lawyers' has made regarding the arrest of Lee Oswald.

Perhaps the three 'probable causes' for his arrest that I cited are proving to be insurmountable problems for 'the team'.

In addition to the Articles mentioned, there was another one on the statue in 1963 that 'the team' will have to overcome if they are to succeed in expunging Oswald's arrest:

Article 212 of the Texas State Code of Criminal procedure provided that, "..a peace officer may without a warrant arrest an offender when the offense is committed in his presence or within his view if the offense is one classed as a felony or as an offense against the public peace."

Oswald, of course, assaulted McDonald and drew a weapon on him in full view of more than half-a-dozen police officers.

I won't wish your team 'good luck' with their task, but they're sure gonna need it.
I'll check back at the end of the year.

Barry Ryder
(London)

Barry Ryder said...

L. Schnapf, you've run out of time. It's 'game over'.

Your 23, December, 2015 assertion that "..a group of lawyers will be filing a court of inquiry petition next year [2016] to expunge Oswald's arrest on the grounds of no probable cause.", has come to nothing. The year has ended and Oswald's arrest remains a matter of legal and historical record. The arrest warrant has not been expunged by 'a group of lawyers', the tooth-fairy or anybody else. The announcement that you made on this thread more than a year ago has fallen flat on its face.

There was no "junk science" required in order to demonstrate that Oswald murdered two men. The evidence - despite what you've been told by the goons who promote the innocence project - would have been both admissible and damning.

The only "junk" that you have "learned" of, is that which is being fed to you by people whose "..ignorance of the law is equalled, if not surpassed, by disregard of facts.", to quote Donald Carswell, the eminent Scottish barrister (1882 – 1940).

Barry Ryder
(London)