Letter to Secret Service Expert Vince Palamara

Letter to Secret Service Expert Vince  Palamara


by Cantara Christopher


Dear Vince,

First of all, I think you’re right to shift your attention from Gerald  Blaine’s memoir and focus instead on the film version of The Kennedy  Detail, as it will probably attract a larger audience than the book (though  this is far from a certainty). There are quite an interesting number of JFK  Assassination movies coming out this year. Let’s consider how The Kennedy  Detail stacks up against its competition:

Parkland is a major motion picture produced and starring Tom Hanks.  Its theme: Valiant Doctors Battle the Odds to Save the President. It follows the  no-conspiracy line, but audiences should warm to this movie easily. It’s got Tom  Hanks!

Legacy of Secrecy is another major motion picture that’s been in the  works for over two years and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. Its theme: The Mafia Did  It. Sounds more edgy and intriguing than the Oliver Stone movie. It’s got my  interest because it’s based on the books by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. And  while I think Waldron jumps to the wrong conclusions a little too often, I  appreciate Hartmann for doing his bit to exonerate Abraham Bolden, the former  Secret Service agent who Blaine smeared, in not-too-subtly racist terms, in his  own book.

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot is the working title for the  History Channel movie based on Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly’s book and produced  by top director-producer Ridley’s Scott’s outfit, Scott Free Television. Its  theme: JFK’s Assassination Changed the Course of History. I hear the book was  fairly lame, but the producers intend to fill out their two-hour movie with  recreated scenes, archival footage, and talking heads expounding their theories  of what Kennedy’s death has meant to America. I’m no fan of O’Reilly, and I’ve  heard these arguments before, but this project smells as sweet as a rose  compared to

The Kennedy Detail, produced by Achity Entertainment and Ramos &  Sparks, with absolutely no big names attached as of this moment, and I doubt  we’ll be hearing of any come March when the cameras start rolling. As my friend,  a Hollywood publicist who wishes to remain anonymous, pointed out, Achity  Entertainment spends an inordinate amount of time trawling around writing  schools and workshops in order to exploit hungry novice writers, while Ramos & Sparks primarily does public relations for sports personalities. The  production team though includes some competent below-the-line people; the line  producer, set designer, and casting directors all have good reputations, so the  look of the movie may turn out all right.

Unfortunately, they plan to show it first on the Discovery Channel, a basic  cable channel already notorious for offensively dubious “reality” programs like Amish Mafia.

Even if this movie had a serviceable script, I’d have reason enough to doubt  its success. But Stephen Gyllenhaal (mediocre director and way less than  mediocre screenwriter—check out his last effort Grassroots) seems to  consistently have writing problems. So it comes as no surprise that he has  enlisted his new young wife (who has absolutely no screenwriting credentials  whatsoever outside the academic world) probably to bail him out from an  embarrassing failure. Being no fool, she quickly seized the opportunity to  wangle her first Hollywood co-writing credit, as evidenced by the movie  poster.

Oh by the way, the theme of The Kennedy Detail: Yeah We  Fucked Up, But It’s Kennedy’s Fault.

All this is to say that if you want to nail Blaine on his questionable  account of What Really Happened, you won’t accomplish it by going head-to-head  with him armed with mere facts. Because at no point has Gerald Blaine ever  attempted to defend factually the truth of his case and he never will. He’s just  a shill—for his book and now for the movie. So no, you are never ever going to  get him to engage in an honest debate.

The best way to back him against the wall, in my opinion, is to question the  veracity of the film and to do it publicly and repeatedly. Here are a few points  you should make:

1. There Is No Disinterested Historian Attached to The Kennedy Detail  Film

Do you recall that TV moderator who dismissed your commendable research and  your offer to confront Blaine because you were “too young to remember the  assassination”? Well, Associate Producer McCubbin is also “too young to  remember” and so is co-writer Kathleen Gyllenhaal, Stephen’s new wife, who’s  around his daughter Maggie’s age (Maggie was born in 1977).

2. Blaine Was Not Present at the Assassination

Remember that TV moderator also sneeringly remarked that “you weren’t there”? Well, Blaine, who was supervising agent of the actual Kennedy Secret Service  detail, may have pretentions to being the absolute last word regarding the  president’s murder, but let’s not forget that HE wasn’t in Dallas either–he had  been sent on to Austin that day.

3. Not All Secret Service Agents Present At the Assassination Agree  with the Warren Report

And here’s another thing you ought to make clear again and again: Of the  three agents still living who were actually present at the assassination,  two—Win Lawson and Paul Landis—gave testimony that conflicted with the Warren  Report aka The Official Story. Never mind how much flattery or chicanery Achity  might have used to get them to sign releases to be depicted in this fiction.  Never mind what contributions Lawson and Landis may want to make to this story.  As I’ve said, this is Hollywood, they’ll be cute and irrelevant. Landis only  wants to talk about Caroline Kennedy’s horse Macaroni anyway. Hell, I remember  Macaroni.

5. Using CGI, They Plan to Interpolate Images of the Real JFK to  Interact with the Other Characters

Even with the disclaimers, there will be morons out there who will  nevertheless believe they’re watching the real President Kennedy really joking  anound with his real bodyguards. Wow, the story must be true ’cause Kennedy  himself is starring in it! I will bet a more than a dollar the producers are  counting on this.

Before the cameras even roll, this film already is destined to be more  offensive to more people than Discovery’s Amish Mafia is to the Amish.  Offensive to the memory of JFK, offensive to honest filmmakers, but most of all  offensive to admirers of the late president. You mention propaganda in your  writings a lot, Vince. Well, I agree wholeheartedly with your use of the term,  and this little Hollywood trick they plan to use is the smoking gun.

Best, Cantara

About vincepalamara

Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology. Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy. Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination. All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works. Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library. Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.
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