Oswald and the KGB — shock revelations in the JFK files

Kennedy’s limousine, seconds after he was shot

The truth is out. The long-awaited JFK files are here and reveal that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. There really was a second shooter, firing from the grassy knoll. And as many of us have thought for decades, we finally know that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

Just kidding.

October 26th 2017 was the day scores of conspiracy theorists had been dreaming of for years. The day thousands of secret documents related to President Kennedy’s death would be released, as stipulated by the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.

The Act came into being because of the 1991 Oliver Stone movie JFK, starring Kevin Costner, which popularised the notion that agents inside the FBI, the CIA and the US military were all involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the president. The records were originally supposed to be sealed until 2029—as stated at the end of the movie—but because the US government was so concerned by the conclusions presented in the film, they pushed through the 1992 Act to release them early.

Of all the documents released, one in particular got tongues wagging: the previously classified 1975 deposition of former CIA director Richard Helms. Helms was asked about Lee Harvey Oswald, but the testimony suspiciously cut off right before the juiciest part, when Helms was being asked whether Oswald was working for the CIA. Naturally, UK newspaper The Sun got a serious stiffy over this and plastered “COVER UP!” across its front page.

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Karen Silkwood: How to silence a whistleblower and get away with it

Remember Erin Brockovich? She’s the file clerk who famously uncovered evidence that a huge Californian gas and electric company was poisoning people. Karen Silkwood’s story is similar, but the big difference is that Erin Brockovich’s story had a happy ending and Karen Silkwood’s… didn’t.

Karen Silkwood was hired to work for the powerful Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site plant in Crescent, Oklahoma in 1972, where she made plutonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods. There she met her boyfriend, co-worker Drew Stephens, who expressed concerns about working conditions at the plant, putting health and safety on Silkwood’s radar.

Just 3 months into her employment, she joined the local Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Union and took part in a strike at Kerr-McGee calling for better wages and safer working conditions. After the strike ended, she was elected to the union’s bargaining committee — the first woman at Kerr-McGee to achieve such a position — and was charged with investigating health and safety issues.

In 1974, Silkwood found numerous violations of health and safety regulations, including faulty fuel rods, exposure of workers to contamination, improper storage of samples, falsified inspection records, and more than 40 pounds of missing plutonium.

That’s when strange things started happening.

Was somebody poisoning Karen Silkwood?

On November 5th 1974, Silkwood performed a routine self-check and discovered that her body contained nearly 400 times the legal limit of plutonium. She was decontaminated at the plant and sent home with a testing kit. The following morning, she again tested positive for plutonium and was given a more intensive decontamination. But on November 7th, dangerous levels of plutonium were found in her lungs, and following an inspection, plutonium traces were found all over her home.

Questions arose over how she’d been contaminated. She believed Kerr-McGee was poisoning her because of her whistle-blowing efforts, while Kerr-McGee accused her of poisoning herself to add fuel to her accusations. What’s disturbing is that the soluble plutonium in her body came from an area of the plant she hadn’t been in for 4 months…

The meeting that didn’t happen

Silkwood decided it was time to go public with her evidence and contacted David Burnham, a journalist at the New York Times. On November 13th 1974, witnesses said Silkwood left a union meeting at the Hub Cafe in Crescent with a binder and a packet of documents and headed for Oklahoma City for her meeting with Burnham.

She didn’t make it.

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Avril Lavigne is dead

Yup, that’s right. In fact, Avril Lavigne’s been dead for years. A lookalike called Melissa Vandella has been impersonating the Canadian ‘Pop Punk Queen’ since 2002…

2002 was the year Avril Lavigne blew up the teen music scene. Her debut album Let Go was certified 6 x platinum in the US while hitting the number 1 spot in Canada, the UK, Australia, Argentina and a bunch of other places. She was winning awards left, right and centre. Meanwhile teens the world over were warbling the words to catchy smash hit singles Complicated and Sk8er Boi.

Ah, but that was the problem. According to a popular conspiracy theory that recently saw a wild resurgence online, Lavigne decided before 2002 was done that she just couldn’t handle the attention, the pressure, or the fame. And so her record label, Arista, hired lookalike and ‘best friend’ Melissa Vandella to pretend to be her in public.

Things went from bad to worse for Ms Lavigne. In 2003, she killed herself while at the very height of her fame. The money-hungry bosses at Arista Records weren’t about to let all that profit go down the crapper, so they decided to cover up her death and continue recording and releasing songs using Melissa.

Now where have I heard this before? Ah yes, a similar thing is said to have happened to Paul McCartney. Some people believe that he was killed in a car crash in 1966 and secretly replaced with a lookalike to maintain the Beatles’ continued success. They cite hidden clues in song lyrics and album covers, cryptic statements made by Heather Mills, and even the assassination of John Lennon as evidence for the conspiracy. (It’s a legend that forms the basis of my short story Paul, one of the Million Eyes Short Stories.)

There’s also the Hillary Clinton conspiracy from last year, in which it was alleged that she’d been replaced by a body double after collapsing and dying at a 9/11 Memorial ceremony.

But let’s get back to poor Avril and take a look at the evidence for her untimely demise…

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Trump fired Comey to cover up Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election

Donald Trump spent much of his election campaign propagating conspiracy theories. Now he’s right in the middle of one. A big one.

Hot off the press, ink still wet, is a theory that Trump fired FBI director James Comey because Comey was on the verge of unveiling a deep well of secrets about how America’s 45th president came to power.

Since the firing only happened on May 9th — literally days ago — new information is materialising every hour. Meanwhile the outlook’s growing bleaker and bleaker for Trump, whose first few months in office have already been saddled with controversies and court battles.

The theory goes like this. Russia illegally interfered with the 2016 election to secure Trump’s win, and Comey was fired because he was stepping up the FBI’s investigation into said interference. The Trump administration was afraid of what Comey might find, and took swift and decisive action to stop him.

To be fair, the part about Russia interfering with the election is a matter of fact, not theory. What remains a theory is the true extent of it, and how far the Trump administration was involved. What the US intelligence agencies have concluded so far is that the Russian government used disinformation, leaks and data thefts to advantage Trump over Hillary Clinton in the election. They’ve also concluded that it was part of a campaign personally ordered by Vladimir Putin. (Russia, of course, has denied everything.)

What’s also known is that British intelligence found evidence of suspicious “interactions” between Russian agents and Trump’s inner circle in late 2015, with more evidence of Trump-Russia links discovered by other European agencies in 2016. This led the FBI to launch an investigation.

Trump’s switcheroo

Trump fired Comey on May 9th. He stated in the dismissal letter that his decision was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

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Forensic evidence proves Hitler didn’t die in 1945

The official story is that Adolf Hitler, one of evolution’s biggest mistakes, blew his brains out on 30th April 1945. However, recent forensic tests have revealed that the skull we all thought was his was actually a woman’s, lending credence to the theory that he was secretly whisked away to safety…

In his subterranean bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler met an unsatisfactorily tidy end via a suicide pact he made with his wife, Eva Braun, just as Germany was about to surrender to the Allies. He shot himself while Braun swallowed a capsule of cyanide, less than 40 hours after they got married.

This is according to eyewitnesses, including two of Hitler’s most loyal military officers, Otto Günsche and Rochus Misch, who found the bodies. According to them and others, Hitler announced to his commanders his plan to stay in Berlin till the end and shoot himself. Right before doing the deed, he reportedly said farewell to all of his staff, before retreating into his private study with Braun. At 15.30, a gunshot rang out.

Like I said, though, this is according to the witnesses. Witnesses often aren’t reliable as it is. But witnesses loyal to Hitler? They wouldn’t be at the top of my trust list. That means we need some physical evidence to corroborate their stories. Some bodies would be nice. Those should be easy to get hold of, right?

A convenient burning

Er, perhaps not. According to Hitler’s instructions, his and Braun’s bodies were immediately removed from the bunker, doused in petrol and torched. Hitler wouldn’t have wanted their bodies falling into Allied hands, granted. But this is an awfully good way of hiding evidence that you’ve escaped, too (as any Game of Thrones fan will know).

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“If anything happens to me, investigate.” British UFO expert Max Spiers sent this creepy warning, days before his death

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An ever-deepening mystery surrounds the death of ufologist and conspiracy theorist Max Spiers, who was found dead while preparing to expose politicians and celebrities linked to a global conspiracy…

In July 2016, a 39-year-old UFO researcher, conspiracy theorist and father of two, Max Spiers, was found dead on a friend’s sofa in Warsaw, Poland. Originally from Canterbury, England, Spiers was due to speak at a conference in Warsaw that month, where it’s believed he was set to lift the lid on a global black magic conspiracy and a paedophile ring inside the US Army.

Just days before his death, Spiers sent a text to his mother, Vanessa Bates, saying, “Your boy’s in trouble. If anything happens to me, investigate.”

His mother, an English teacher, told newspapers, “I think Max had been digging in some dark places and I fear somebody wanted him dead.”

Polish authorities concluded that Spiers had died from natural causes, despite no post-mortem examination being carried out. After Spiers’ body was returned to the UK, British doctors at Margate QUQM Hospital in Kent did a post-mortem but were still unable to determine how he died. To this day, Spiers’ cause of death remains a mystery.

However, an inquest into Spiers’ death, which opened at Canterbury Coroners’ Court in December 2016, has added some disturbing clues to the mix. The inquest is ongoing, but it’s already been revealed that Spiers was puking up a mysterious black liquid shortly before his death. (Makes me think of the black oil—that nasty alien virus in The X Files!)

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Did the BBC cover up 5 decades of Jimmy Savile-shaped terror?

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Was DJ, TV presenter and predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile a lone wolf? Or was he aided and abetted by a cover-up at the heart of the BBC?

Jim’ll Fix It, the wish-granting BBC TV show that ran for nearly two decades, is nothing but a distant, awkward, besmirched memory. Before 2011, that is what Jimmy Savile, its host, was known for. That, and presenting Top of the Pops, getting an OBE and two knighthoods for charity work, and wearing those hilariously ugly tracksuits.

Today Jimmy Savile is known for having committed hundreds of acts of sexual abuse over the course of his career. 214 criminal offences have been recorded, including 34 rapes. The vast majority of his victims were under 18, and 28 victims were under 10, with 10 boys as young as eight. A total of 450 people have made complaints of sexual assault against him.

This campaign of abuse happened between 1955 and 2009, right under the nose of the BBC. For most of that time, Savile was in the employ of the broadcaster. And yet, Savile remained a national treasure right up until his death in 2011. Less than a year after his death, his exploits were finally exposed, quickly transforming him into a national disgrace.

It seems inconceivable that a figure as public as he was could get away with those levels of abuse in plain sight of the BBC… unless, of course, they knew exactly what he was doing and facilitated his campaign of abuse by covering it up.

Evidence that the BBC knew

In 1978, Sex Pistols front man John Lydon told BBC Radio 1:

“I’d like to kill Jimmy Savile. I think he’s a hypocrite. I bet he’s into all kinds of seediness that we all know about but are not allowed to talk about. I know some rumours… I bet none of this will be allowed out.”

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Abuse and conspiracy: the truth about the Catholic Church

Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, a central figure in the Boston scandal

Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, a central figure in the Boston scandal

The Roman Catholic Church calls itself “the universal sacrament of salvation for the human race” and “the one true religion”. It also says that its teachings on faith and morals are incapable of being wrong. It’s totally ridiculous that an institution making such claims would enable and cover up the sexual abuse of children. Ridiculous… and true.

The Catholic Church is the largest Christian church and one of the oldest religious institutions in the world. Funnily enough, for all its sanctimonious claims about its infallibility and having a direct line to God, it’s been in hot water before. In the 16th century, its extravagant wealth, corrupt popes, warmongering and sale of indulgences (i.e. church leaders extorting money from people, claiming it could reduce their punishment for sins) is what sparked the Reformation. The Reformation was basically huge swathes of people telling the Catholic Church to sod off and forming their own churches.

The Catholic Church would say it’s come a long way since then. The recent worldwide sexual abuse scandal proves that it flagrantly hasn’t.

Allegations came to light in the late 1980s involving priests who’d been abusing underage parishioners for decades. However, the revelation of a global horde of paedophile priests (estimated in 2002 to be around 6% of all priests) is one thing. The fact that church leaders were deliberately covering up this abuse and protecting these priests is something else entirely.

Instead of expelling them and handing them over to the authorities, bishops and archbishops were moving abusive priests from parish to parish and destroying evidence of their wrongdoing. In some cases, they were quietly settling cases with victims to avoid police involvement. And in many cases, moving the priests to different churches allowed them to continue abusing children for decades.

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