This is an introduction to the book The Taking of America, 1-2-3, by Richard E. Sprague, self-published by the author first in 1976, revised in 1979, and updated in 1985. There will be eleven posts following this one that will comprise the complete 1985 updated third edition which I will be sending out with the permission of the author. From the book's own introduction,
This book is not about assassinations, at least not solely about assassinations. It is not just another book about who murdered President Kennedy or how or why. It is a book about power, about who really controls the United States policies, especially foreign policies. It is a book about the process of control through the manipulation of the American presidency and the presidential election process. The objective of the book is to expose the clandestine, secret, tricky methods and weapons used for this manipulation, and to reveal the degree to which these have been hidden from the American public.
Assassinations are only one of many techniques used in this control process. They have been important only in the sense that they are the ultimate method used in the control of the election process. Viewed in this way, an understanding of what happened to John or Robert Kennedy becomes more important because it leads to a total understanding of what has happened to our country, and to us, since 1960. But the important thing to understand is the control and the power and all of the clandestine methods put together.
Two men named Richard Sprague have been involved in examining the assassination of John F. Kennedy and its ensuing cover-up through the years. Richard A. Sprague, the former district attorney from Philadelphia, and the fearless prosecutor of the Yablonski murderers, was named on October 4, 1976, by Congressperson Thomas Downing, to be chief counsel of the just-then forming House Select Committee on Assassinations. Richard E. Sprague was a pioneer in the field of computers starting in the 1940s. His involvement studying the photographic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy goes back to 1966:
From the day it happened I was skeptical about what was being said on the TV and radio with regard to how the president was killed. But when the Warren Report was issued I became non-skeptical and accepted it pretty much as it was. However, when the 26 volumes became available in late 1964 and I started reading through them, I became skeptical again because I could not find confirmation of most of the so-called facts presented by the Warren Report and purported to be backed up by the evidence in the 26 volumes, or any other evidence.
So I started work again, which caused me to need an index to the 26 volumes. This in turn lead to my contacting Sylvia Meagher and asking where I could get her index having discovered that she had created and published one that the Warren Commission hadn't seen fit to provide. She told me where I could get it and suggested we have lunch. This was in early November, 1966. She asked, "Why don't you do some real research?" and I said, "like what?" and she responded "how about the photographic evidence? A couple of people have started work on it but haven't finished." I asked her who and she said "Harold Weisberg and Ray Marcus." I contacted both men and that's more or less how I stuck my foot in the quicksand.
At the time the 26 volumes became available there were only 8,000 copies printed for the whole country. The time I managed to get hold of one of these sets of all 26 volumes was when I had moved to the University Club in New York City and they had a complete set donated to the University Club by non other than John J. McCloy. So I was using John J. McCloy's personal copies for the beginnings of my research.
Now, the most important thing initially that happened in finding the photos was discovering a number of photographs -- films and still photos -- that showed the sixth floor window empty with nobody in it. This is what originally convinced me that we had a different sort of conspiracy going than one involving Lee Harvey Oswald, because if he wasn't in the window -- and nobody was in the window -- then what happened? Who fired the shots? And where from?
Confirming that the films and photographs I was looking at were taken at the critical time the shots were fired, or immediately before or after that, involved a lot of work: work with plat maps, other photos, and other materials. I got hold of a map made by the surveyor for Dealey Plaza (I believe his name was Clarence West) which was drawn to scale, and Bob Cutler helped me draw onto it all of the various things that happened including all the vehicles that were moving through. And I managed to lay a set of films end-to-end starting with one rounding the turn onto Houston Street all the way through Dealey Plaza so I could track any vehicle that was in view eighteenth-of-a-second by eighteenth-of-a-second (Zapruder film speed) all the way through Dealey Plaza. This enabled me to determine where Kennedy was at all times and where anybody else was that showed up in any of the photos -- particularly moving pictures -- at times Kennedy was at spot so-and-so or spot such-and-such.
By doing this, with some triangulation, I was able to pin down the exact timing of two particular sets of photos: a film -- the Hughes film -- the last frame of which shows the sixth floor window empty and ends 5.7 seconds ahead of the first shot -- the first shot being fired/tied down at frame 189 of the Zapruder film; and two photos taken after the shots were fired by Dillard and, believe it or not, an intelligence man from Navy intelligence named Powell. Powell's and Dillard's photos were taken almost at the same time, 3.5 seconds after the fatal and last shot (Z-313).
So that total time span is less than 17 seconds -- if you add up the 5.7 seconds after the end of the Hughes film, plus the 6-plus seconds while the shots were being fired, plus the 3.5 seconds before Dillard and Powell's photos were taken -- of blank, non-coverage of that window and there's no way Oswald could have gotten into the window, aimed, fired three shots, and gotten out of the window so you that couldn't see him in 17 seconds.
But anyway there was another film taken by Beverly Oliver otherwise known as the Babushka lady that was confiscated by News Orleans FBI agent Regis Kennedy, and a still photograph taken by Norman Similas, confiscated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from Liberty magazine (which was going to publish the photo), who then turned the photo and its negative over to the FBI. I interviewed Similas and the Liberty magazine editor both of whom told me they had carefully examined the photograph and had seen no one in the photograph appearing in the eastern-most sixth floor window, which I calculated had been taken about half-way into the 17-second interval.
I made two attempts soon after the Freedom of Information Act "viewing room" in the FBI office in Washington, D.C. was created, to request to see the Similas photograph and Beverly Oliver film, but each time the FBI person assigned to me was not able to find these photograhs. But the testimony of the people involved was good enough for me to conclude that there was nobody in that window ever.
Once I got to that point I started looking for other evidence that would show where the shots did come from and I started finding all kinds of evidence of shots from the grassy knoll, and from the Dal Tex building, and from the roof or the seventh floor of the western end of the depository building -- both photographs as well as witness testimony -- and that lead me to decide that this was a powerful conspiracy which had involved at least four gunmen firing shots. This then lead me to decide that I should pursue the whole pattern of conspiracy including, eventually, the Martin Luther King assassination, the Bobby Kennedy assassination and the George Wallace attempt. And that led to the book.
Through all of this, I just know I never would have concluded that it was a powerful and well-planned conspiracy if I had not determined that Oswald wasn't in that window -- nobody was in that window. That was the first key.
There's one other thing I'd like to point out. The title of the book has more than just simple significance and it shows up in all the chapters that link all these assassinations and their cover-ups. Namely, our country has been taken from us. Us being the citizens of the United States as of 1963, and any time after that, by robbing us of our capability of electing a president we wanted for at least three, and more likely four, elections. One way of taking the country away, is to control the elections and that's really, at least part of the essence of the book. It's close to what Henry Gonzalez proposed in his original bill. He wanted the Congress to look into all four of the major assassinations -- the fourth being the attempted assassination of George Wallace -- and find the links between and among them, and the cover-ups, and particularly the links between the intelligence agencies and the cover-ups that he was sure were involved in all of them. And if we had had a committee which had done that, well then, we'd have been a lot further along than we are 13 years later.
-- phone interview with the author, June 3, 1992
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the most photographed murder in history. Approximately 75 photographers took a total of approximately 510 photographs, either before or during or within an hour after the events in Dealey Plaza, and either there or nearby or related to those events. The word "photograph" in this context includes both still photos and movie sequences. The number of frames in a movie sequence ranges from about 10 to about 500; and in the count of 510 photographs, given above, the 10 to 500 frames of a single movie sequence are counted just as one photograph. The total number of frames is over 25,000.
The Warren Commission examined 26 photographs, about 5 percent of the 510. The FBI examined about 50 photographs, or about 10 percent. The most famous of all the photographs is the Zapruder film, which had over 480 frames.
Many of the photographs were taken by professional photographers. About 30 of the photographers were professionals who worked for newspapers, television networks, and photographic agencies.
The Warren Commission did not interview a single one of the professional photographers, nor did the Warren Commission see any complete, uncropped copies of their photographs.
Fifteen of these professionals were actually in the Kennedy motorcade, no further than 6 car lengths behind the Kennedy car. Five of these photographers were television network cameramen. The Warren Commission looked at none of their photographs.
Because the professionals used movie cameras of professional quality, their films are exceedingly revealing and valuable as primary evidence. The Warren Commission looked at none of these films.
During the past several years, I have collected copies of over 200 of these photographs, and I have looked at and taken notes of another 200 of these photographs, without obtaining copies of them. Some of the remaining 100 have either not been found or have been locked up or destroyed by the owners, who are fearful of the information they show. Or they have been locked up by the FBI, who have either placed them in files inaccessible to the public or possibly have destroyed them.
from "The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: The Application
of Computers to the Photographic Evidence" Richard E. Sprague,
Computers and Automation, May, 1970, p. 34.
for those interested, a PostScript version of the complete book is available to anyone who has access to a PostScript-saavy printer for "prettified" hardcopy output. the combined size of the two PostScript files comprising the book is 1055954 bytes (1007753 and 48201 bytes for the main portion and appendix respectively).
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ko.yan.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi Language) n. 1. crazy life. 2. life
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