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Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 22:53:08 -0500
Subject: Dallas Regional Meeting Report
Our annual regional meeting in Dallas was a success on several levels. The Hotel Lawrence was compeletly refurbished, with modern bathrooms and facilities, a great breakfast bar, free newspapers and shuttle service locally. We booked our hotel block a month before the meeting and a few people who waited had to find another hotel. We were surrounded by hundreds of high school journalism students, some of whom attended our meetings. We spoke to a crowd of hundreds on the Grassy Knoll and actually got local TV coverage of the event this year. For the first time, we got press coverage, both from Dallas and from out of state.
Our speakers and presentations were informative and well received. Our keynote speakers, Walt Brown and Bill Turner led off the meeting with both humor and insight. Panels on JFK, RFK and MLK brought new light to current research and historical findings on these cases. Our president, Dr. Gary Aguilar and others presented an excellent critique of the counter-critics. Joe Biles did a great job on recently released documents that support Jim Garrison's work. Lisa Pease presented her ongoing research on the RFK matter, and Larry Teeter outlined current legal efforts on behalf of Sirhan. T. Carter and Lyndon Barsten updated us on the MLK assassination. We had a debate on the authenticity of the Zapruder film, as well as brand new information on the Minox camera at the National Archives.
Our panel on 9/11 included T. Carter, an airline attendant on American who barely avoided dying that day on her regular Dulles to LAX Flight 77 run, Bill Kelly, Mike Nurko, myself and Dick Gregory. We missed having Ralph Schoenman, Peter Dale Scott, Jim DiEugnio and Philip Melanson, who had to cancel at the last moment.
We were able to show Chris Cox's slide presentation on the families of covert operations agents in Cuba in the early 1960s and videos of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's Congressional Black Caucus national legislative conference panel on the assassination of Dr. King, with the latest from Dr. William Pepper, Judge Joe Brown and Martin Luther King, III, and of early critic and author Paris Flammonde, who promises to attend next year's conference.
Andy Winiarczyk, as always, brought his Last Hurrah display with the best and most current in print or on CD. Special thanks go to T. Carter, Bill Kelly, Julie Wiedler, Gene Case and Dr. Aguilar for help in the organizing. And thanks to all of you who attended and made the meeting such a successful gathering.
The Dallas Observer ran an ad for the gathering in advance, with a photo of LBJ being sworn into office on Air Force One the day of the assassination, with the headline "Talk About Regime Change", and we mailed out postcards to previous attendees and asked Robert Groden to pass them out in advance on the Grassy Knoll. The Observer sent a reporter, whose piece ran in the next issue about the meeting. The piece had the usual cynical tone that the press has adopted in recent years, but it gave me an opportunity to respond with a letter to the editor which was more positive. KPFA, the Pacifica radio network affiliate from Berkeley covered the whole event, and some will be aired soon. In addition, the events were videotaped professionally by DemocracyU, and will be distributed by them in a three-tape set, eight hours per tape, for $15 total. Contact them at DemocracyU@aol.com or send for the tapes to Justice Vision, 1425 W. 12th Street, #262, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Larry Teeter, Sirhan's current attorney, is bringing court actions in his behalf to force a new trial. He asked that researchers assist him with public petitions to the US Attorney General and Department of Justice to reopen the investigation of certain aspects of the case. That petition is attached and can be filled out and returned to him.
COPA has an ambitious agenda for the coming year and we need your support to make it happen. We are planning four separate gatherings -- April 4-6 in Memphis, June 6-8 in Los Angeles, June 10 American University, Washington, DC, and November 21-23 in both Pittsburgh, PA and Dallas. Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Gary Aguilar will be at the Wecht College of Forensic Sciences at Duquesne University on November 22 to debate Sen. Arlen Spector and Dr. Michael Baden on the single bullet theory, and we will be videoconferencing the event into our Dallas meeting. In addition to that we are working to produce a tabloid that will cover what is known about the major assassinations and link people to our work and other resources. Bill Kelly and others are working to set up a mock grand jury in Dallas on the JFK case. If you live near these cities and can help us with arrangements, please be in touch.
COPA is no longer a coalition of the three organizations (AARC, CTKA and COA), but a coalition of individuals and organizations interested in resolving and acting on the true history behind the political assassinations of the 1960s and the present day. Thank you for being a part of it or join us if you have not.
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