( PDF | text-only formats )
Editor’s note: the PDF
source for this extended hypertext version is at:
<http://www.everythingology.com/coalition-on-political-assassinations/> which also highlights the film of John Judge speaking on April 11, 2012 at
the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
“Political Assassinations & Their Relevance Today”
(1:42:44). Following the essay are excerpts of Ms. McKinney speaking
in her introduction of John on April 11 and her
description of her decision to write this case study
as part of
her PhD studies at Antioch
University PhD Program in Leadership and Change,
resulting in her 2015 Dissertation,
“‘El No Murio, El Se Multiplico!’ Hugo Chávez: The Leadership and the Legacy on Race”. Following this is copy written
About Cynthia McKinney
by Eva Seidelman, Juris Doctor Candidate - 2013 at UDC-DCSL.
Political Assassinations & Their Relevance Today
John Judge and Cynthia McKinney
Wednesday, April 11th, 2012; 12-2pm (Room LL105)
UDC-DCSL, 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW WDC 20008
mp3 file (98+ MB) of film (1:42:44)
This is a case study of an individual by the name of John Judge. John lives in Washington, D.C. and devotes his life to truth and transparency in government. John is worthy of such in-depth investigation because of what he does, who he does it with, why he does it, and the vision that motivates his actions. You see, John Judge is a researcher: inside John’s brain is a compendium of government policies, programs, and actions that have profoundly affected the way our government works. Ignorance of what John researches impedes the fullest exercise possible of citizenship in this country. Every U.S. citizen should be aware of what John researches. But because John is not a Member of the academy, and does not publish in academic journals, John Judge is perhaps one of the most important unknown historians of our generation.
Mindful inquiry into why a John Judge exists as he does will inform us of the practice and role of effective civil society when a government and its governed are in distress. Mindful inquiry into what John researches will extend the body of knowledge on how governments become corrupt as well as how civil society can protect itself from the acts of a rogue government and/or restore the government to the values of the governed. Mindful inquiry into how John does what he does could shed light on the publicly hidden limits to government transparency currently being erected. Mindful inquiry could tell us what John has accomplished and the vision that guides the conduct and content of John’s research. However, in this Case Study, we will only touch briefly on these matters. Honestly, an entire book could be written on John Judge and what someone like him means to society. Perhaps my next project could utilize the biographical research methodology to explore, even more, the impact John Judge’s activities on government and civil society.
I say, because of his vision that guides the content of his research, John Judge is a change agent. In this Case Study, John Judge will speak for himself—eloquently, I might add—of the vision that moves him to do what he does. But every encounter with John is saturated with “disorienting dilemmas:” everything you thought you knew about something just flies out the window—if what you “know” is based on information provided by the popular press and the topic is a “deep event” about which governmental authorities want the public to know little, nothing, or only its unenlightening, but tailor-made explanation. John Judge seeks and follows only the evidence of the matter in question. So he seeks out those individuals who have first-hand evidence because they were at the scene or did scientific analyses of the particular issue under investigation.
I say that John Judge is a leader, not only because of what he does, but how he does it and with whom he does it. John Judge wants government to be open, transparent. and responsive to the needs and values of the governed. John shares his research product openly and tries to make the information available widely and affordably. John is respected by researchers inside and outside of the academy and some of the most important researchers in his field were pleased to participate in this Case Study, when asked, feeling that John Judge deserves the attention and recognition of his work and its contribution to knowledge. And the very leaders interviewed for this Case Study, including this author, are also followers of John Judge. John Judge is a leader who, most importantly, has followers.
John Judge is also a servant. What John does is not for personal gain, not even for personal “knowledge.” What John Judge does, he does for you. He asks nothing in return for what he does except that to those whom the knowledge is shared, that they do something meaningful, for the common good, with it. What John Judge does, he does with much conviction and very little fanfare.
John Judge is transformational because he not only changes individuals, he seeks to change society. And the change he seeks is second-order change. John Judge is honest, committed to a world without poverty, racism, and militarism—the vision that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out in his now renowned yet rarely quoted 1967 speech against the Vietnam War, “Beyond Vietnam.”
I have now shared with you some of the reasons that I think John Judge is worthy of being the headliner in this Case Study about someone or an entity Leading Change. I hope you agree and look forward to the following chapters, mere representations in what I consider a remarkable and giving life.
Case Study Methodology [↩]
I have adopted Mindful Inquiry as my preferred research method. According to the proponents of this research philosophy, Valerie Bentz and Jeremy Shapiro, mindful inquiry is “a new context and a new approach” to research. “[M]indful inquiry is a synthesis of four intellectual traditions: phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical social science, and Buddhism.” Phenomenology, a qualitative research methodology used when a particular lived experience is being investigated, because the context of the researcher should be at the core of research; hermeneutics involves text analysis in context where the interpretation is not just of a text but also of the culture that produced it and examination of oneself as interpreter of that text and its context; critical social science “often involves the critique of existing values, social and personal illusions, and harmful practices and institutions; and Buddhism because the goal of the inquiry, as is the case with both the teachings of Buddha and the religion of Buddhism, is to contribute to or be a part of positive social action.
Therefore, in this Case Study I will place John Judge in context—the context of his times, his culture, his way of being both before he began his current journey; the trigger that started this part of his life journey; and what he does now as tribute to his journey. I will position myself within this particular context as a part of my mindfulness on the subject matter. Making this “positionality” of the researcher known is called “bracketing” and is one way to deal “with bias in qualitative research.”
Because this Case Study involves human participants, two requirements must be met, one institutional, the other “mindful:” approval by the Institutional Review Board of Antioch University and an approach to the research participants that is “decolonized.” Linda Tahiwai Smith proposes “disrupting the rules of the research game toward practices that are more respectful, ethical, sympathetic and useful vs racist practices and attitudes, ethnocentric assumptions and exploitative research.” Tahiwai Smith asks a searing question in her book, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples: “What happens to research when the researched become the researchers?” She answers her own question when she writes, “the activity of research is transformed. Questions are framed differently, priorities are ranked differently, problems are defined differently, people participate on different terms.” Certainly, not only the work that John Judge does has the effect of turning the tables as it were on those accustomed to researching others, but this Case Study on John’s work should have the same effect and could certainly be classified as “decolonized” inquiry.
This Case Study is about the life story of John Judge. And it, as is the case with successful case studies, is at its heart, just a story. Therefore, to be successful, this case story seeks “to provide the reader with a vicarious experience, that is a strong sense of being there.” I hope you will feel John’s angst at certain moments in this story, and that you will feel the thrill of victory when a small victory has been achieved. I note “small” because we are yet to achieve the goal and that is of a more just and peaceful society. Jerome Bruner proffers that writing a compelling case story is like writing a piece of literature. Literary fiction, he says, “offers alternative worlds that put the actual one in a new light” and case stories (in this instance he is talking about legal cases, but the analogy holds) should “honor the devices of great fiction if they are to get their full measure from judge and jury.” (In our case study, the judge and jury is Professor Wergin, and in the academic world, the judge and jury are the academy and our peers.) My intention is to write a story that is engaging, compelling, dramatic, and true. Hopefully, when the reading is done, one will also be compelled to act.
Finally, this Case Study is about serious research. It will be judged on its credibility and its transferability. “Credibility is the extent to which the design is rigorous, the researcher’s positioning clear, the analysis of data transparent and open to cross-examination, and the results accurate and trustworthy.” Transferability is the usefulness of this Study in other contexts and settings. Although this is an intrinsic case study, that is, because the interest in the case is John Judge, himself, the hope is that the information is transferable to other situations. In fact, I believe, as a result of the interviews, that this Case Study will be transferable to other contexts and situations. This Case Study is built on the results of structured interviews. Participants were selected based on their knowledge of John and their membership in the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA). Each of the participants was interviewed at least once; some interviews were by telephone and recorded (19, 22, and 29 December 2011 and 7 February 2012), others were questioned and answers were received by e-mail (12, 14, 15 December 2011). Interviewees were given questions in advance and interviews were based around those questions. However, interviewees were not limited to those questions and additional questions that were prompted by the flow of the conversation were asked and answered. Member checking for quote and context accuracy will be completed before final submission. All quotes of the individuals listed below in this case study are from these interviews. Questions asked of the interviewees are included at the end of the Case Study findings. Interviewees were:
Researcher Positionality [↩]
I chose to research the story of John Judge because he startled me into not one, not two, but many, disorienting dilemmas. I became so fascinated with John that I wanted to pierce deep down inside his world. John is a 60-something year-old White male who is anti-racist, anti-militarist, and anti-imperialist. He recognizes the genocide of Native Americans on which the United States was built. He understands the creation of wealth in the United States for individual families, institutions, and as a country built on the backs of stolen, imported, enslaved Africans. And his insights have impelled him to spend his life and to do his best to ensure that his country never participates in such activities again. Unfortunately, in order to stop racist or imperialist or genocidal behavior, one must be able to recognize it when it is present. Even under the cloak of “perception management” (the official term used by the Pentagon for its activities in the area of leading public opinion), John has developed a keen eye for the “invisible” and the mostly unseen and a brain quick enough to tabulate and categorize seemingly innocuous policies and actions against the appropriate unseen backdrop. Amazingly, out of something so ordinary came someone so extraordinary. What gives me hope is that John is so normal in so many ways. There is a piece of each one of us, including me, inside this very special man. Imagine if we could flip the switch and have a little of John inside each and every one of us. And while I might not agree with John on every issue, I say that if we had even just a few more John Judges in this country, not only our country, but also our world, would be a vastly different and much-improved place. I want that different place and I hope John can succeed in helping more people understand and work to create it.
In this paper, I give the floor to John and the other participants. I give them the opportunity to be heard in full context. The opinions stated herein represent their own assessments, based on their experiences, and based on their relationship with evidence not often openly admitted to even existing in public either by the media or by state authorities. I do not filter their statements in any way, but leave the fullness of their presentations to the reader. The official government explanation of events is amply heard in public spaces; as noted radio personality Paul Harvey used to say to open his shows: and now, the rest of the story. I present to you, John Judge and the men and women of COPA.
“What makes me dissatisfied, and what should make any body that has two neurons, a synapse, and a cerebral cortex reject these things—if you just stop for one moment [and think about the kind of ‘nonsense’ we are asked to believe].”
—Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D.
What is the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA)? [↩]
Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist who investigated the medical aspects of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, and accused killer of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Earl Ray, served as the first President of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA). COPA brought together three organizations that were dedicated to investigating the truth about assassinations in the United States: the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), the Committee for an Open Archives (COA) and Citizens for Truth in the Kennedy Assassinations (CTKA). COPA’s first Governing Board consisted of Gary Aguilar, MD; Daniel S. Alcorn, Esq.; Walter Brown, Ph.D.; Jim DiEugenio; James Lesar, Esq.; Phil Melanson, Ph.D.; John Judge; Janette Rainwater, Ph.D.; Josiah Thompson, Ph.D.; Professor Peter Dale Scott; and Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D. COPA’s Advisory Board included Gaeton Fonzi; Patrick Fourmy; Robert Groden; Ed Lopez Soto; David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.; Sarah McClendon; Wallace Milan; John Newman, Ph.D.; Michael Parenti, Ph.D.; Dick Russell; Wayne Smith, Ph.D.; Oliver Stone; Robert Tanenbaum, Esq.; William Turner; and, Jack White. COPA was an assortment of Freedom of Information Act experts, academicians, lawyers, medical doctors, and researchers willing to stop—freeze—and use their neurons, synapses, and cerebral cortexes, to search for truth when their own government refused to provide it. John Judge was one of the researchers present at the very first meeting that spawned COPA and he was selected to serve as the group’s Executive Director. That was in 1994.
COPA was viewed as the necessary next step by one segment of assassination researchers after:
To these assassination researchers gathered in Washington, D.C., 1994, if the truth were going to be known about the most important assassinations in at least two generations, it would have to come from them because it was now clear to them that it would not come from the U.S. government. They also supported release of the government files as the logical next step in re-opening the JFK case and worked to implement the law passed in 1992 to effect their release.
As Executive Director, John Judge stepped forward to lead an organization that was long on expertise, enthusiasm, and earnest dedication. And from that moment in 1994 until this day, John Judge, for political assassinations, has been the constant, the staple, in the search for truth after U.S. national leaders decided to lie.
Who is John Judge? [↩]
Squirreled away in the stacks of the Yellow Springs, Ohio library of Antioch College, John Judge fed his voracious appetite for the truth about the murder of President John F. Kennedy. But John didn’t start there or stop there. He started at his own undergraduate institution of the University of Dayton and didn’t stop until he was at the Library of Congress! And even then, he didn’t stop. Like everyone in my generation, and before September 11, 2001, just about everyone could tell you where they were on the afternoon of November 22, 1963 when snipers’ bullets stole a President from the United States of America.
John was no different. But what makes John Judge different from the rest of us now is that he was determined to get to the truth, even if it would take the rest of his life to do it. So, as a full-time pursuit, John Judge has pursued the truth of the Kennedy assassination and most other political assassinations since November 1963. As a result, John Judge knows more about political assassinations that have occurred for the convenience of powers inside the United States than any other person not directly involved in the acts. As a result of this single-minded pursuit, John has become a walking encyclopedia of every U.S. government covert operation that threatened the Republic or its Constitution.
The only child in a middle class family where both his father and mother worked at the United States Department of Defense, the Pentagon, John was a precocious child. And sometimes, rebellious. During civil defense drills, he refused to get underneath his student desk as a way to protect himself from nuclear attacks deeming such a solution from those entrusted to protect him as “not rational” for an event as horrific as the launching of an atomic weapon against the United States. John got sent to the Principal’s Office for that one, but he made his point.
John also remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis. And remembers President Kennedy as the President who pulled us back from the brink of disaster. John could compare that to how he felt as he watched President Eisenhower’s Administration lie before the world and to U.S. citizens, insisting that the United States had not lost a U2 spy plane and pilot when in fact it had, that the United States was not spying on the Soviet Union when in fact it was. What stands out in John’s memory, even today, was the stinging sensation he felt as he watched with embarrassment as the Soviet Union unveiled the pilot and the wrecked plane after the strongest denials had been publicly made on order from President Eisenhower.
This was the same sinking feeling that John had as he read Mark Lane’s book about the Kennedy assassination, Rush to Judgment. According to John, “It raised so many questions about the validity of the case against Oswald and the conclusions of the Warren Commission. I felt that if even half of what he said was accurate, the government had seriously failed to get the truth or had intentionally lied to us.”
Something in John’s world had drastically changed after reading that book. Perhaps it was the innocence of childhood that was lost. For President Kennedy represented Hope and Change. And to John, “the whole mood of the country shifted from optimism to despair.” So, John decided to go directly to the evidence: at that time, 26 volumes of the Warren Commission Report; he compared the evidence to the footnotes and the conclusions of the Report. His conclusion: little matched.
At the Antioch College Library, and the Library of Congress, John found authors who were critical of the Warren Commission Report. It was through this effort that he “came to know Penn Jones, Jr., Griscom Morgan, Bud Fensterwald and Jim Lesar at the Committee to Investigate Assassinations, and corresponded with Jim Garrison in New Orleans.”
In the mid-1960s, the United States was engaged in a controversial war that was broadcast on the nightly news into millions of U.S. homes. Anti-war fervor was at a fever pitch, particularly among the young people. John was also anti-war. He wanted to register at Selective Service (the draft board) as a conscientious objector, but did not know how to do so. So, he investigated for himself and then became a draft counselor for others. He opposed mandatory ROTC at his college, and began to study and “table” and take part in a weekly vigil against the war in Vietnam. So John Judge, the child of Pentagon employees, began to question everything about his life and his country, including its wars, its “enemies,” its “way of life,” and its presumptions. In his own life, he saw racism, he saw sexism, he saw white privilege, and he saw what President Eisenhower warned against, the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex. And most importantly, he saw a President murdered, and along with him, something of the democratic institutions that elected him died, too.
Precocious. Rebellious. Serious. Patriotic. Heroic. I see these attributes in John Judge today. Imagine how it must have been for John to grow up with Pentagon parents in a Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agency (D.I.A.), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), and Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) neighborhood. A “fly on the wall” could just as easily have been a mini-drone equipped with camera and listening device. On second thought, maybe it was!
It was in this environment that John developed his “meta-sense” about the true nature of his country and the world. John was able to discern two systems—or maybe one big system with two components—at work. He says he came to see “that there were two governments operating in America, one visible if not honest, and one invisible and unaccountable.” Sadly, as covert operations both domestic and foreign were publicized, John began to realize that the rise of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex and the National Security State were intertwined. And the assassinations he was studying were an important part of this rise. According to John, “Those who stood up to this emerging form of government, which was not democratic in nature, became the targets and the victims of its operations and agents.” John’s own words are more eloquent and poignant on this point:
Indeed, Dr. Cyril Wecht adds, “I believe that there have been conspiracies to kill three great men who could not be dealt with any other way ... The only way to deal with them was to eliminate them.”
Nurko says that the assassination of President Kennedy was “a public execution for people to see” and is convinced by the evidence that the 1968 Democratic Party ticket for President and Vice President would have been Robert F. Kennedy, President Kennedy’s brother, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nurko does not stand alone in holding that belief.
Another COPA co-founder. University of California at Berkeley Professor Emeritus and author of several books, is Dr. Peter Dale Scott, who has given us the appropriate language to describe these and similar “Deep Events” arising from “Deep Politics.” Initially characterizing these events as “para-politics,” that is, covert politics. Dr. Peter Dale Scott refined the characterizations of these types of actions into a field of study called “Deep Politics.”
Deep Politics, according to Dr. Scott, describes the way the United States is managed “as part of a systemic right-wing campaign to maintain the 1% in power and to limit the possibility” of democratic resistance. Deep Politics is the part of government policy and practice that intentionally suppressed or that contains deceptive information about government activities. Perception management techniques are used by the State alongside its practice of Deep Politics.
Dr. Scott has been interested in the Deep Politics of the drug traffic for many years because of his interest in the origins of the Vietnam War. Dr. Scott is convinced that “the origins of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and C.I.A. actions with drug traffickers in South East Asia constitute the beginnings of a concerted anti-communist effort in that part of the world which grew into a war in Laos instigated by a CIA-funded, CIA-created army in Thailand that had drug support.” And for the same reason, he has been interested in the Kennedy assassination “because a significant escalation of the US presence in Indo-China occurred on November 24, 1963—only two days after President Kennedy was assassinated.” Dr. Peter Dale Scott links these two issues—the drug trade and the murder of President Kennedy—and looks at these events in the context of an entire field of inquiry called “Deep Politics.” Therefore, he looks at the origins of the Vietnam War as beginning with the assassination of President Kennedy.
Tamara Carter, known in the COPA family as just “T,” is a loyal friend and follower of John and is a founding member of COPA. She is a self-described “lifelong independent researcher” of the JFK and MLK assassinations and the author of A Memoir of Injustice by the Younger Brother of James Earl Ray, Alleged Assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., as told to Tamara Carter. The central importance of the book revolves around one aspect of reality that few would recognize as true today. She writes, “It is at once a plea for correction of a long-standing injustice – the failure of the U.S. government to this day to rigorously test the alleged murder weapon; a counter-narrative that indicts the mainstream media for its uncritical coverage of the official story; and an absorbing oral history.” She maintains that the perpetrators of the murders of JFK and MLK “are intentionally veiled in secrecy” as one would expect with such “deep events.” She concludes that those “poisonous power structure” perpetrators continue to exist and operate today.
Michael Nurko has read by his estimate about one thousand books on the subject of political assassination. He makes presentations and learns from the presentations of others at COPA meetings and serves as one of the dedicated “housekeepers” for COPA, keeping the books. He notes that “John is pretty good at figuring things out” and feels a sense of responsibility to “his fellow citizens” to get the information out and to add to the existing body of knowledge in this area.
Joe Green is perhaps the newest member of COPA among those interviewed. He says:
Green is the author of. Dissenting Views: Investigations in History. Culture. Cinema. & Conspiracy [I and II], and is active in COPA because, as he says, “Our history is not as it is presented in official academic texts, but is much darker, and filled with ‘deep events,’ as friend Peter Dale Scott puts it.” In his book. Green covers the Patriot Act, the murder of Fred Hampton, the Alger Hiss episode, and most particularly a piece called “‘The JFK 10-Point Program’ which seeks to unite researchers in an effort to find ten points we can agree on.” Green participated in the November 2011 COPA Conference in Dallas, Texas by focusing on the murder of 21-year-old Black Panther Party Chicago Chapter Chairman Fred Hampton, murdered in his bedroom, shot by the Chicago Police Department, while sleeping and after having been drugged by a paid FBI informant.
Indeed, Dr. Scott says, “If you’re interested in the politics of assassination, then COPA is the place to be.”
Thus are the comments of the people who are a part of John’s extended family. This is his capable COPA coterie consisting of among the brightest people in this country who also had the courage to ask the tough questions and go wherever their intellect, the evidence, and the facts would take them. They all landed in Deep Politics, USA.
A little bit of each of these remarkable individuals is inside John Judge and a bit of John Judge is inside each of them. Thus, in answering the question, “Who is John Judge?” I have given a small profile of each of the people most important to his work in COPA and who consider themselves to be John’s friends. In the end, however, it is John who best speaks for himself, and here is what John has to say about what motivates him to do what he does every day for the last 50 or so years: and what I know he will do tomorrow and each day that the sun awakens him until the truth is reached:
John Judge, indeed, employs his neurons, synapses, and cerebral cortex for the common good—for all of us, including for the people who don’t even know he exists.
Why is John Judge a Transformational, Quiet Servant Leader? [↩]
According to Amir Levy, transformational leadership is “capable of providing new vision, aligning members with this vision, and mobilizing energy and commitment to the realization of this vision.” John has done that through his selfless work with COPA. In addition, the kind of change that John is working toward could be called a paradigm shift that changes the rules of the system. This is what is called paradigmatic change and is known in the leadership literature as “second-order change.” According to Levy, the content of second order change involves change in all four identified elements:
Now, what is important about this kind of change, according to Levy, is that change in only one (or more, but not all four) of these elements constitutes “first-order” change. First-order changes in organizations can be seen all the time. Second-order change is far more difficult. And most importantly for our purposes, according to Levy, “the less visible the dimension, the deeper the change and the greater the possibility that the change will be irreversible.” Hence, the importance of Dr. Scott’s interest and development of theory in the field of Deep Politics. Nurko describes these Deep Events that COPA deals with as “a power grab.” It is impossible to return power to the people if the people do not know who actually has the power or where the power currently resides. It is only through an understanding of Deep Politics that the “power grab” can be reversed and deep change made possible.
At this point, I would add that John Judge, in my opinion, is an authentic leader, too. Not only does John exhibit the necessary traits of authentic leaders, that is, self-acceptance, self-awareness, authentic actions, and development of authentic relationships, John Judge develops authentic followers.
In my opinion, John Judge is first-and-foremost a practitioner-researcher. He is engaged in action research. However, as is the case with many action-researchers or practitioner-researchers, his knowledge has not made it into “officialdom” as “knowledge” and therefore, what John does and who John is, remains in the realm of information for only the few lucky enough to know of him. John’s research is not “defined as research by the research community.” His vast menu of information is, at this stage, unable to be drawn upon as widely as deserved, by students or scholars. It is my hope that this small case study will serve as the beginning of a change in that circumstance and will add to the scholarship of doing.
For some, meeting John is a life-changing event. Joe Green puts it this way:
“T” Carter puts it this way:
Michael Nurko lists the “devastating” foreign policy changes that occurred as a result of the Kennedy Assassination and is convinced that the President’s American University speech made his murder a matter of urgency for those so interested. Those devastating changes included the prolongation of the Cold War, usurping the idealism of the Peace Corps, and ending the Alliance for Progress. According to Nurko, domestically, President Kennedy was about to tackle the problem of the Federal Reserve by issuing U.S. currency instead. He exclaims, “We’re killing the planet.”
Dr. Peter Dale Scott says that “we all have a responsibility to the truth and we must have vehicles through which the truth can be disseminated and that is what John is doing.” Dr. Cyril Wecht agrees that John has served COPA in a wonderful and unselfish, basically unpaid way in all these years. Dr. Wecht states further that he considers John a great friend and, in his opinion, without John, it would have been difficult to hold COPA together. Dr. Wecht goes further and admonishes the community at large:
The bottom line, according to these experts, is as Joe Green put it: “if we get down to specifics, we can see with just a few hours of digging that Sirhan Sirhan did not shoot Bobby Kennedy, or that James Earl Ray did not shoot Dr. King, or that Malcolm X was not killed solely by the Nation of Islam.”
Add to that the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and the “official” explanation of its cause and culprits.
These Deep Events can be viewed as malignant tumors on the “body politic” of the United States of America. These are the Deep Events that have turned the world upside down; they have hollowed out whatever value system the United States once had such that even the Constitution could be referred to by U.S. President George W. Bush as “just a gosh darn piece of paper.” These Deep Events constitute the Deep Politics that currently shape U.S. economic, social, and political life. A failure to understand the role of Deep Politics in the U.S. polity will allow the cancers to grow and eventually overtake and kill the U.S. body politic. Understanding these deep events is the key to unlocking the true power of the people, the power of civil society to turn the United States and the world right side up again. This is the work that consumes John Judge: to expose what is wrong and then transform it into good.
John’s next project is a Museum of Hidden History to house all of the volumes of government documents, books, manuscripts, and historical collections that the researchers have compiled over these last 40 years. He envisions the Museum would act as a library, a tourist attraction, a place for students to intern and learn about an alternative historical analysis, and a place for the community to gather to discuss strategies for policy change. He is currently working with other libraries and archives to digitize COPA’s holdings so that information can be more easily disseminated. Once again, John’s future plans involve giving truth to the interested community—service in the truest sense of the word.
I have characterized John Judge as a servant leader and am reminded of the Preface of the book by Kent M. Keith (author of The Paradoxical Commandments appended below) entitled, The Case for Servant Leadership. In it, Keith writes:
Keith gives us some attributes of servant leaders, from his own observations and as written by others:
“Servant-leaders have a way of attracting other servant-leaders.”
“The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.”
“The best leaders are almost invisible.”
“A servant-leader is simply a leader who is focused on serving others.”
And finally, “A transforming leader may be a servant-leader, a ‘servant-first’ because he or she satisfies higher needs, and converts followers into leaders and leaders into moral agents.”
John Judge is one of the most important historians of a U.S. history that even many members of the interested public never heard of. John is a leader for leaders and a servant to both leaders and followers. John is servant also to the idea that the United States can be a better country for its residents, the global community, and the planet. John Judge is a transformational leader seeking second order change. John Judge is a quiet servant leader, leading change.
“The tragedy of it is that I can’t do a damn thing about it. The only thing we can do is to keep hammering and pounding at the door. It’s not going to happen in my lifetime.”
—Cyril Wecht, M.D., J.D.
Deep Events, Unpunished,
Create New Leaders in the Search for Truth [↩]
Michael Nurko says that people in other parts of the world think that the average U.S. citizen is “stupid because we’re accepting all of this.” He goes on to say that others with potential have also been killed. (Anyone who doubts this should read The COINTELPRO Papers available online or the book by the same name written by Ward Churchill.) Knowing about it is one thing, but the main question is or at least should be, “What can we do about it?”
The assassination of President Kennedy was one of those Deep Events that triggered second-order change in the United States of America. This affected both its domestic and foreign policies. However, even as momentous as the act was, it was the cover-up that spawned COPA. It was the government’s refusal to conduct a real investigation, to tell the people the whole unvarnished truth, that led the founders of COPA and other groups that were formed to become a community of citizen-researchers. Nurko points out that in the matter of the murder of President Kennedy, “no evidence was released, just conclusions.” He goes further to state that he read all 26 volumes of the government’s report and that the government told “outright lies.” He concludes by saying that nowhere does the Warren Commission Report technically say that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy.
Each Deep Event of the government, accompanied by the government’s refusal to tell the truth, produces manna that feeds a population starved for truth from their officials. And according to John, political assassination takes many forms and the future is growing more ominous. He says:
John was deeply affected by the events of 1963, 1965 (the assassination of Malcolm X), and 1968 (the murders of both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidential Candidate Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy). But unlike most who worked to hold back tears, John worked to find the truth—work that would become his life. He says:
Yes, even transformational, quiet servant leaders have heroes and role models. And for John, Mae Brussell is pivotal:
John credits his mother for his brains and his antipathy toward violence. And because she worked at the Pentagon, he was able to learn more about its inner workings than most children his age, or for that matter, most U.S. citizens. Of course, one doesn’t have to have such access to understand when one is being mislead or lied to or when a huge crime is being covered up. Of John’s mother and his formative years he says:
Deep Events and their cover-ups or flaccid cover stories create truth researchers like John and the COPA community. Dr. Peter Dale Scott laments the “ignorance of the highly educated” and Dr. Cyril Wecht maintains that the government’s “evidence” on the President Kennedy assassination just doesn’t fit “from a forensic standpoint.” Dr. Wecht insists:
John Judge represents a tremendous body of untapped knowledge. His dedication to truth makes him remarkable. He has read all of the government documents, relevant books, and knows all of the experts on the subject. He readily shares his information with anyone willing to learn. Of his experience, John goes on to say:
The events of September 11, 2001 also constitute a Deep Event that led to second-order change and an intensification of the national security state. Many people, who were not yet born during the series of assassinations during the 1960s, felt the same kind of sense of urgency after September 11th. Many of them know exactly what they were doing at the time the planes hit the World Trade Center Towers. And again, the visible power grab and evidence of a cover-up have given birth to an entirely new generation of Truth Seekers like John Judge and the members of COPA. I will let John have the last words before I present my conclusion:
“Can you mount a popular resistance, a movement in civil
society that can be more powerful still? I think the answer is,
‘Yes, it’s possible.’”
A Tough Row to Hoe [↩]
According to the February 2, 2012 Huntington, West Virginia Herald Dispatch, high school English teacher, Colleen Sexton still thinks the Kennedy Assassination is worth debating. She “assigned 25 college prep English students to read a book about the assassination, research the question on the Internet, and then debate the issue before a jury comprised of high school juniors.” The bottom line for the students: “we all believe there was a conspiracy.”
Sexton, and her team for these students, History teacher Tyler Markum, and Assistant Principal Chris Smith are doing what Judge calls “transcending the paradigm” by helping others to become more critical in their thinking. Judge believes that merely providing people with information is not enough to evoke change; what is necessary is to change their consciousness and only through a change of consciousness can there be a change of action. We understand that “disorienting dilemmas” are situations that force an individual “into a different place than where [they] are through critical reflection or an external trigger.” According to Wergin, the Disorienting Dilemma is where it begins. He recommends that one “follow the disorientation to find true transformation; it requires dialogue and trying on the way others see things.” This is exactly what the students at Chesapeake High School did, and with very little additional information, arrived at one conclusion similar to that held by COPA co-founders. Will these students now see things differently than before their yearlong English/History lesson? Judge surely thinks they will. And with their critical thinking skills enhanced, he hopes that they will also become better, more active and informed citizens. Judge laments that so little is known about these activities that transformed the United States and the world. The magic that happens in Sexton’s English class is truly one in a million.
Given the media treatment of Judge, COPA, and the topic of these assassinations, it is a wonder that anyone still cares or rather, dares to care.
Judge gives as an example of media negligence an account of an encounter in Dallas on the Grassy Knoll at one COPA event. Judge recounts:
Interestingly, Judge notes that there is free access to the Book Depository, but that COPA has experienced restricted access to the Grassy Knoll:
Judge notes that there has been more press attention lately, but the group still faces obstruction in communicating to the public:
Of the special interest, corporate media, Judge says:
Further, Judge relates a little-known fact of intelligence infiltration into what average citizens innocently regard as their “mainstream” news outlets and, moreover, disregard for news that truly informs and empowers the public. Speaking specifically of the instances of the “Pentagon Papers” and of Rolling Stone, Judge says this:
While Judge observes of the lack of coverage of real news stories, especially surrounding Deep Events like these assassinations, that “it doesn’t matter how explosive it is if they don’t want it to explode,” Nurko states succinctly that the “mainstream” media cooperate and collaborate with the enemy.
Judge recalls the Sonoma State University’s media project, Project Censored and his efforts in general with the press:
Even when journalists and historians should know better, but choose instead to tread on safer ground, because of the internet. Judge and COPA have been able to take them to task, thereby creating space for another view. Judge and COPA would count this as a success, but they would surely much rather have journalists and other opinion makers just follow the evidence that is available in the public domain. Judge adds: “Or take, for instance, this recent item from the mainstream media, combining both media and academia with a historian’s commentary on the assassination and my posted response from the evidence:
Clearly, despite the push away from considerations of the evidence by the popular media, the effort to obscure the truth is working less and less. The February 7, 2012 Government Computer News (GCN), a magazine for government IT (information technology) professionals, reports that the “Government Printing Office’s online site for official government documents received a record number of visitors after the January 30,  release of recordings of radio traffic aboard Air Force One in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination.” The GCN goes on to report:
In line with the writings of Michel Foucault and Paolo Freire, Judge observes that in the end, cultural forces make it very difficult to work for any kind of change and skills developed in academia are designed to fit the graduate into the existing machinery not to fulfill his or her potential.
Unlike teachers Sexton, Markum, and Smith, Judge notes that by and large Academia treats these assassinations in the same manner as the corporate media. Judge writes:
Judge goes on to chronicle his experience operating a COPA booth at an academic conference:
Challenging the United States government explanation of a Deep Event is not going to win many friends, and so it has been with COPA. From known COINTELPRO tactics of bad jacketing to media smears, COPA has also had to deal with infiltration, threats, intimidation, as well as a lack of resources.
This behavior indicates to Judge that COPA was and remains on the government radar. According to Judge, this is borne out by documents in the Mary Ferrell Library, a digital archive of thousands of government assassination files also disclose government efforts to “go after” specific “critics” in specific ways.
Judge says he raises the kinds of questions about issues that are fairly well known so that COPA doesn’t have to start from scratch. “Humor doesn’t work if the joke has to be explained.” However, as Judge puts it, his approach is to “get the door open, throw the dirt on the carpet and then show the people how a magnifier works.” Although both Judge and Nurko admit that COPA has not been able to get the government to reopen these cases and investigate them, they reject the idea that COPA has not been effective. And, for a small, poorly financed organization, COPA has racked up some remarkable successes.
Judge and Nurko list some COPA successes:
John Judge and COPA have been able to accomplish a lot with precious little. They continue to demonstrate courage in the face of contempt from government authorities, but are developing a growing following because of their work product.
In another overlooked, but incredibly important news story, carried online without exploration by CNN.com on February 4, 2012, the California Attorney General, in a trial introducing new evidence of Sirhan’s innocence in killing Robert Kennedy first unveiled to the public at a COPA Conference in Los Angeles, admits that the evidence might point to the presence a second shooter. CNN reports: Harris, who is asking a federal court in Los Angeles to dismiss Sirhan’s request, conceded in court papers filed Wednesday that his lawyers may be able to show two guns were involved in Kennedy’s assassination. The case is going on right now with silence from the media, but a bombshell admission from the California Attorney General that completely negates the government theory of a lone gunman. Dr. Cyril Wecht was present at the autopsy and witnesses confirm that Sirhan Sirhan was never at any point fewer than two to three feet from Kennedy who was shot, according to the coroner’s report, from two to three inches away.
It is a pity that John Judge and the COPA researchers remain unknown to the vast U.S. public. That does not in any way imply that they are at fault; it is, however, an indictment on every U.S. institution dedicated to information, education, and democratic values. Despite the clear successes and the record of effectiveness, John Judge and COPA are mining for truth one document and one author at a time. Their effort is to deliver truth to us now because it is their conviction that so much of what is happening in the world today started with these acts of murder for which the real perpetrators remain shielded from prosecution. However, to Judge’s and COPA’s great satisfaction, new generations of researchers are being born every day to continue the work that COPA has started. To which COPA and Judge would say, “No Truth, No Justice; No Justice, No Peace.”
The greatest lesson to be learned from the story of John Judge and the COPA researchers is that 50 years later, they are still searching for that elusive truth without which there can be no justice.
“I don’t want to perpetuate a system that has racism,
sexism. Instead, I try to be self-aware. I try to practice a
different leadership style. Traditional leadership styles promote
and protect privilege. I choose to live a life of principle.”
In this Case Study, we have covered transformative leadership, authentic leadership, servant leadership, second-order change, critical social science, and more. New concepts that have been introduced center around “Deep Politics,” a theoretical formulation of Dr. Peter Dale Scott. In terms of leadership, we can say that the “Deep Events” that are the result of Deep Politics generate intense interest on the part of a select few as evidence of a government cover-up or of government lies is revealed. It is clear that the direct result of the Deep Event of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, coupled with the government’s explanation that ignored crucial evidence that contradicted its explanation, and the compromised investigation of the actual murder, was the founding of an organization by truth seekers who would put the evidence together and let the evidence point to the explanation. What is more, it can be theorized that for as long as Deep Events continue to be committed, there will arise Truth Seekers who will challenge the government’s explanation and mount their own investigations to find the truth.
This is exactly the set of circumstances that led to the founding of COPA, which has become a hardened corps of truth seekers and truth tellers. Put another way, when leaders decide to kill and lie about it, people like John Judge will emerge.
The most dedicated of these Truth Seekers will become leaders in their circle. Michael Nurko reported that his friends even ask him about candidates for whom to vote. And among the Truth Seekers, new leaders will emerge. John Judge is one such leader. I would suggest that the next phase of this leadership development as an attack on the Deep State should include pursuit of policymaking positions for this new breed of leader. While this Case Study was an intrinsic one, focused solely on John Judge, it is clear that the issues that arose here could be cause for further study to help us understand other phenomena, such as the nature of Deep Politics and Deep Events and their development of transformative, authentic, servant type leadership seeking second-order change—or any of the sub-components.
Additional issues that might arise include:
Dr. Wecht is clear that, while it might not be in his lifetime, the truth will be told. In a conversation with a prominent former Republican economist. Dr. Peter Dale Scott remarked about the resilience of U.S. civil society, even with its faults, and states that it is still his belief that U.S. civil society can overcome the Deep State. The Republican noted that the great income and wealth disparities that exist in the U.S. now could very well propel a popular movement.
In this Case Study, I hoped to convey the “ordinariness” of John Judge. As a source of inspiration for others, it should be clear that John could be you and John could be me. Yet, John has been able to accomplish quite an extraordinary feat! I hope that by telling John’s story, that every one who reads it will be able to find a part of him- or herself in it. Imagine if others could find in John’s quiet leadership, a bit of their own, and in so doing, become the change agents for truth and dignity that humankind needs now more than ever.
Some people engage in research merely “to satisfy their own curiosity.” I must admit that the antecedents of this Case Study find their roots in just such an ambition. However, the more I understand the true depth of John Judge and the people around him, it is clear that a non-traditional, but real contribution to the field of Leadership Studies and Political Science can be made with this Case Study.
McKinney Case Study Interview Questions [↩]
Questions for the John Judge Servant Leadership Case Study
Questions for John Judge:
Questions for COPA members:
Second Set of Questions for John Judge
Second Set of Questions for COPA Members
The Paradoxical Commandments [↩]
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have
and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
About.com. U.S. Military. From Department of Defense.
Gardner, W. L., B. J. Avolio, F. Luthans, D. R. May, and F. Walumbwa. “Can you see the real me? A self-based model of authentic leader and follower development.” The Leadership Quarterly 16, no. 3, 2005.
Jackson, William. “Kennedy assassination tapes a hit on FDsys site.” GCN.com. Feb 07, 2012.
Jarvis, P. The practitioner-researcher: Developing theory from practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 1999.
Judge, John (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition on Political Assassination, COPA) in discussion with the author. December 2011 - January 2012.
Levy, Amir. “Second-order planned change: Definition and conceptualization,” Organizational Dynamics 15, no. 1. 1986.
Malloy, David E. “Chesapeake Students Researching Kennedy Assassination,” The Herald-Dispatch, February 02, 2012,
Nurko, Michael (COPA member) in discussion with the author, December 2011 - January 2012.
Schön, D.A. “The New Scholarship Requires A New Epistemology.” Change 27, no. 6. 1995.
Scott, Peter Dale (Co-Founder of COPA) in discussion with the author, December 2011.
Wecht, Cyril (Co-Founder of COPA) in discussion with the author, December 2011.
Wergin, J. F. Antioch University Cohort 11 Lecture (Yellow Springs, August 2011).
Cynthia McKinney on Writing this Case Study [↩]
The following is an excerpt from the film at the beginning of this file, “Political Assassinations & Their Relevance Today – John Judge and Cynthia McKinney”. Cynthia McKinney begins at 01:40 and John Judge begins at 26:33. Her remarks here begin at 18:24.
[F]or some reason, the people of this country don’t want to accept the facts that will be presented here to you in this short time today. Part of the reason that there’s a lack of acceptance is because there’s a lack of the will to teach. And if there’s a lack of a will to teach, why is that and whose interest does it serve?
I decided that because of the brilliance and the dedication of this gentleman, that in my own PhD leadership studies I would write a paper on him and the type of leadership that he demonstrates. It’s called Servant Leadership. I will end up probably writing my dissertation, which I always thought I would write on targeted assassination and I will write it on a targeted assassination but I think I’m going to write it on, probably a whole lot more than just that.
What happens, what kind of leadership takes place, when the government—when authorities that we rely on—lie to us? The pushback that came from my professor, from the content of my case study, was unimaginable. Particularly at an institution that prides itself on allowing freedom of thought and critical analysis. So I was stunned myself at the attitude that I received from my professor which was not really substantive in terms of, ‘Well, you did this incorrectly, you did this incorrectly, this doesn’t conform to academic standards.’ It wasn’t that. It was, ‘Boy these people, they don’t believe anything. I sure would like to see the evidence for that.’ These were the comments that were on the side of the paper and that I was supposed to somehow change the whole tone of the paper based on the lack of information that my professor was demonstrating.
Well, of course, it didn’t happen. And the paper was made better by his critique. So the paper will be published once it becomes a little bit more full-bodied with more biographical information on John and the other people who were interviewed....
I’ll end with this. These assassinations that have taken place have cost every one of us. These are not just instances of a government gone rogue. This is in its essence a theft of our future. A theft of our values. A theft of the spirit of our country, of what our country could be today in the world. When you think about the fact that Bobby Kennedy was including MLK on his potential running list then you imagine that we could have been referring to President Kennedy and Vice President King. Imagine the kind of coming together as a country that we could have had. And it was stolen from us. And it was stolen at a time when young people were facing incredible odds. They did not want you to take a stand. But high school students, elementary school students, university students, they were turning this country upside down because they wanted more for the United States of America and they wanted more for their fellow citizens of the world.
They didn’t just kill Bobby Kennedy. They didn’t just kill Martin Luther King Jr. They killed something of our spirit because we’re not doing the things that we did in the 1960s and the 1970s when we almost won.
The last thing I’ll say is this: in my paper I interviewed Dr. Peter Dale Scott, professor emeritus of University of California at Berkeley. He is one of the founders of COPA. I asked him: Is it possible for civil society, now to win? Can we win, can we replicate the near-victory that we had back in my youth? His response was, that the people of this country show a remarkable resilience and he still believes that it is possible for us to win.
We will not even begin the battle that is necessary, or we will not even know how to fight, unless we understand the full array of policies and forces that are there against us. And with that, I will introduce John Judge who will tell you the rest of the story on targeted assassinations, political assassinations, what this country almost was, and what you can help make it to be.
About Cynthia McKinney [↩]
“In the fight against bigotry, we stand together, and we must. In the fight against injustice, we stand together, and we must. In the fight against intimidation, we stand together, and we must. After all, a regime that would steal an election right before our very eyes will do anything to all of us.”
Cynthia McKinney has made a career of speaking her mind and challenging authority. Her political career began unofficially in 1986 when her father, Billy McKinney, a Representative on the Georgia State House, put her name on the ballot as a write-in. She garnered a large percentage of votes without even trying. Cynthia immediately began making her own mark, defying House dress codes for women by wearing trousers instead of dresses. She spoke out against the Persian Gulf War, and despite being in the House with her father, she often disagreed and voted against him.
In 1992, McKinney won a Democratic seat in the US House of Representatives in the newly created 11th district, drawn from Atlanta to Savannah. She was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the US Congress. During her second term, her district was re-drawn and re-numbered the 4th district. McKinney protested the new boundaries, but was still re-elected to the seat. She earned even more distinctive assignments with the National Security Committee and the International Relations Committee’s International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee. She was a supporter of a Palestinian State in Israel-occupied territory, and sparked controversy by criticizing American policy in the Middle East, including President Bush’s policy regarding Iraq before 9/11. After the attacks, McKinney suggested the President perhaps had prior knowledge of 9/11. The criticism she received from these ideas may have contributed to her defeat in the 2002 election; however, she ran for the seat again and was re-elected in 2004. McKinney was also very active in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a vocal critic of the government’s response.
Cynthia McKinney has never been afraid to speak her mind, and stand up for what she believes in. Late in 2007, she left the Democratic Party to bring her energy and ideas to the whole country by becoming a Green Party Presidential Candidate.