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Monday, 15 August 2011 19:04

JFK and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax, Part 1

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The Wood’s family’s Majestic Documents group, their use of the bogus documentation surrounding Marilyn Monroe, and their attempts to link her death to Kennedy and UFOs and vice versa.



Part 1: Majestic Documents & Marilyn

“And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
’Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.”

-Eric Idle, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, 1983

Before we embark upon discussing Marilyn Monroe and the Majestic document fallacies surrounding her, let us take a look at how the new wave of MJ-12 related stories re-emerged this year thanks to a fellow by the name of William Lester and some extremely bad journalism.


AOL, The Daily Mail, & The 2011 MJ-12 Tale

When the FBI recently published details of a purported UFO crash in New Mexico in 1947, word abounded that it was the infamous Roswell crash. It garnered a good deal of attention, in particular from David Wilcock and other extremely dubious people who believe it is part of a new form of government disclosure preparing us for Alien co-existence. In reality, the document has been around since 1977 and the incident that occurred in Aztec, New Mexico is believed by those who seriously study flying saucers to be a hoax (as noted here).

This story was promptly backed up in the press that ‘JFK’ was killed because of his belief in Aliens’ headlines in the AOL News (April 18, 2011) and Daily Mail (April 19, 2011). What amazed me was the exceptionally poor journalism in both articles. While the AOL piece was somewhat more critical of the documents, it still used the ever gullible Linda Moulton Howe (examined in Part IV) for a critique, and it never once questioned the absurd claim of author William Lester in the Daily Mail which said “The CIA released the documents to him under the Freedom of Information Act after he made a request while researching his new book 'A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier.’”

William calls himself a ‘Doctor’, yet he earned this after apparently doing only three years of an undergraduate degree. Using his questionable Ph.D. status, Lester charges people to do a correspondence course via his website The American Institute of Metaphysics. In fact he runs a bunch of them. Unfortunately for Willie, I caught up with him on his aptly titled Game ‘Con’ Radio site which is dedicated to a niche of gamers and the paranormal community (and likely what ever game he’s running at any particular time). In fact I suggest anyone go have a chat with him about his dubious documents. You can see what happened when I did.

Slick Willie Table!


The Lester-Waring Con Game

No one, and I repeat no one, has ever heard of William Lester in JFK circles till these two articles. These tried to insinuate that people like John Newman and Fletcher Prouty and Jim Douglass were wrong. Kennedy was not killed over his foreign policy. He was killed because of his outer space policy. It is doubtful Lester will ever front on any forum again. For a giggle I suggest you check out his pipe smoking musings on his At my Desk YouTube commentaries on ‘Bigfoot’.

With logic like this it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lester never, ever, received the documents from the CIA via the FOIA. They had in fact been peddled around since the nineties and deemed a hoax by all bar the worst cranks in all manner of conspiracy circles. Indeed another equally formless and empty boaster named Scott Waring (who never got the joke) claims he was the first to publish it. Lester’s proclamations, led one over-exuberant fellow by the name of Mark Bermann, to exclaim “It's taken nearly fifty years, but someone has finally tied the JFK assassination to UFOs”. Oh really? If that wasn’t funny enough, Bermann’s next line will have you cringing: “While the separate UFO and assassination conspiracy theorists will likely join forces to say that Kennedy was knocked off to prevent him from learning the truth about aliens and UFOs, Lester said there is a more rational explanation for JFK's requests for information.” As we can see from Bermann’s wild musings, with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination looming there seems to be very real attempts by cheap hucksters like Lester and unnamed sinister government forces to once again try and link JFK researchers with the UFO field, thereby reducing Kennedy’s murder to absurd mush.


The Majestic Documents Website

If any one group are responsible for continually encouraging the likes of Lester and Waring, it is this group of MJ-12 devotes and their so-called ‘Majestic Documents’. headed up by the father and son team of Bob and Ryan Wood. The initial impression one gets from their website is that it is well organised, and I have to give top marks to the Woods in this regard. Thanks to the smooth feel to the site one gets the sense that the Woods and their team, which includes Stanton Friedman, Jim Marrs, Nick Redfern, Jim Clarkson and Timothy S Cooper (the father of the ‘new MJ-12’ documentation himself and no relation to Bill), have rigorously checked and authenticated the documents and other articles that they have come across from a diverse array of opinions. They even rate the documents there on an “authenticity meter”.


A Dickensian Twist

But it is not all happy families. This fine website is in reality something akin to Miss Havisham’s Mansion from Dickens and feels as if it too is overgrown with weeds, moss and ivy. This is because, like Havisham’s, the clocks have been well and truly stopped, as the site hasn’t been updated since 2009. I then got my first queasy ‘Pip’ like feelings when I noticed that all of the MJ-12 articles on the website pertaining to the Kennedys had a suspiciously high authenticity rating. Indeed, I noted that very few of the documents the Woods’ have ranked dip below halfway and on the rare occasions they do, the glowing comments about their ‘potential’ use as anecdotal evidence essentially invalidated their entire ratings system.

But things get even stranger for the Woods in their house of Havisham. While Jim Clarkson believes the MJ-12 documents on the page endorse his research into the June Crain abduction, and the Woods and Jim Marrs have actively supported a document unearthed by Cooper linking Marilyn Monroe to Kennedy and UFOs, one would think that the rest of their ‘Investigative Team’ would hold similar views. But this is not a true investigative team. In reality, it’s more or less a collection of contacts. Because were these individual members truly consulted as to the validity of the documents in question, the ratings for many (if not all of them) would be extremely poor.

While Marrs appeared to indulge in much of the MJ-12 mystique, he never believed that Kennedy for instance was killed by MJ-12 over UFOs. Nick Redfern believes MJ-12 to be a hoax, and Friedman emailed me stating that he believes the ‘new MJ-12’ documents to also be fake. But the real reason for the sombreness is that in 2009 the person who brought forth the 1992 batch of documents, Timothy S. Cooper, denounced Friedman and the Woods. Claiming that the papers he peddled were likely frauds. This came amidst mounting suspicion by Bob Hastings that Cooper and others wittingly forged them. Thus, much like Miss Havisham, it appears the groomsman stood them up, and they’re still getting over it (http://www.rense.com/general85/m12.htm).


Marrs & Monroe

On that note any aspiring ‘Pip’ would thus do well enough to stay away. In particularly if ‘Estella’ in the form of a UFO and JFK obsessed Marilyn Monroe is part of the mix. One of the many things that caught my eye on the ‘Majestic Documents’ website was an article by the rather rabid anti-Kennedy MUFON high-up Donald Burleson. In one of them, the concerns are the fraudulent Monroe tryst with JFK and some pillow talk they purportedly indulged in about Cuba and UFOs -- supposedly this juicy gossip had come via James Angleton, the notorious CIA head its counter intelligence operations. Burleson had ignored the critiques of the document’s authenticity at the time he wrote his article, and his claim to fame in this sad tale is that the routing sheet for the document, upon closer examination, contained the signature of a one General Schulgen. Schulgen is important to Burleson because he was supposedly involved in the Roswell crash, and he tried to enlist FBI support in covering up the story and blaming the communists. Sadly for Burleson, the much more studious ufologist Barry Greenwood has effectively proven those Schulgen memos were fakes, seemingly cooked up by one Bill Moore, a notorious figure within the halls of UFOdom and a central figure in the original MJ-12 tomfoolery. Greenwood and Brad Sparks presented this paper at MUFOn Symposium 7 which effectively expsoed these documents as suspect.

Another interesting aspect of Burleson’s article, published two years before he worte a book, is that he championed Monroe biographer Donald Wolfe’s hatchet piece which claimed – incredibly – that RFK was present when Monroe was ‘murdered’. Well, one would expect that of an individual with an antipathy to the Kennedys and little understanding of the case. In other words, where the whole ‘MM was murdered’ stuff ties into what Jim DiEugenio has called “The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy”.

Jim Marrs’s endorsement of the JFK-MM-UFO evidence, which can be seen in his book Alien Agenda, entertained this redundant angle. He later cemented his stance by giving something of a favourable review to the document, which brought the issue to light in his 2000 article “JFK, Marilyn and UFOs: An astounding but likely combination”.

What made this report credible for Marrs is that, as seen on the document, in Dorothy Kilgallen’s conversation with Howard Rothburg, she mentions that she’d had discussions with English authorities about UFOs. According to Marrs this is vindicated by Air Marshall Dowding’s comments about them. I’d like to point out that she never spoke to Dowding, for what good it would have done her anyway, and the fact she had a piece published in the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper on the 23rd of May 1955 concerning UFO sightings in Britain. Marrs never once stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, someone clever could have gone back and found that very article and used it? Well maybe he did. When interviewed by Robert Wilonsky in a notorious hit piece instigated by Dave Perry Marrs said he “didn’t buy into it”. Yet in 2002 Marrs was again discussing many of the dodgey MJ-12 documents we shall cover in this study, and endorsing Richard Dolan’s utterly banal After Disclosure. Dolan, like Joseph Farrell, Kenn Thomas, David Icke and others is yet another tragic example of ufologists deciding ‘they know it all’ and drilling the unwitting out there with utterly worthless and banal work.


Milo & Moon Unit

In the Preambles I-II, one can see that well before the current dirge of tabloid Monroe-UFO madness. Miss Monroe had been tied to UFOs via Life Magazine. On the 7th of April 1952 the pouting starlet appeared on the cover in a stylish black and white spread. Near the top of the page was the small but stark headline “THERE IS A CASE FOR INTERPLANETARY SAUCERS”.

Just as Life sought to cash in on the UFO craze (that hit its peak shortly after in July of the same year with the mass sightings in and around Washington), the timing of the Monroe MJ-12 document couldn’t have been better. If 1991 and Bill Cooper’s rants were the beginnings of a new age in Kennedy disinformation, 1992, the year after Stone’s JFK, heralded a golden age for any charlatan trying to cash in on renewed interest in the Kennedy murder. And this was when the MJ-12 documents linking Kennedy and Monroe appeared. The plethora of conspiracy fantasies was matched all the way by the anti-Kennedy gutter penmanship of the era, culminating in the most famous piece of anti-Kennedy trash of the era- Seymour Hersh’s 1997 The Dark Side of Camelot, for which the author attempted to hock bogus documents pertaining to Kennedy and Monroe prior to the publication of his book, before the fake documents were exposed as crude forgeries.

No doubt adding to Hersh’s sleaze fest was Milo Speriglio’s Crypt 33: The Saga of Marylin Monroe (co-authored with Adela Gregory). This came out in 1993. Cooper, an ‘unwitting recipient’ of the MM documentation (or one of his associates), knew precisely whom to turn this supposedly ‘sensitive’ information over to. Not well established figures in JFK research at the time, not on your life. But none other than well-known tabloid celebrity sleuth Speriglio who had been writing turgid Monroe biographies since 1982. Speriglo, for all the hoopla he’d garnered, was considered (away from his decidedly studied and softly spoken demeanour) something of a tall story teller and a ‘gloryhound’ (bare this in mind in regards to Cooper later on).

Much has been made by defenders of the document, including Marrs, that Speriglio was an avid document authenticist and not easily fooled. Yet judging by the tall tales he was willing to make on on behalf of notorious Monroe leach and con man Robert Slatzer (besides Speriglio, one of the single most loathed individuals in all of ‘Marilyndom’ ). Speriglo’s endorsement of the document obviously means very little. So little, Monroe researcher Marijane Gray (one of the more sober and responsble writers in that field) responded to my questions about the document in an extremely direct fashion:

The basis of all science is evidence. UFO aficionados are already viewed with incredulity, but when they attempt to tie themselves in with the death of Marilyn Monroe they remove any credibility they may have had. Claiming that Miss Monroe was killed by a chupacabra has about the same amount of merit.

Gray’s full work on the myths surrounding Monroe’s murder can be seen here. Indeed, we’ll see her work again very shortly.


Another Stucco Veneer

Tim Cooper, as we have seen (despite his disassociation with the Woods), is still the centrepiece of the ‘Majestic Documents’ group and looking at his resume one is initially impressed (or suspicious) of the variety of military positions and experiences he claims he has had. His treatise on the documents at his MJ-12 peak in 1999 which speculated that it had less to do with aliens than nuclear powered weapons systems and transport was intriguing, as was his claim that some of the documents now available may well have been written by some disgruntled ‘ufologists’ seemed vaguely sensible.

His article “Paradox: Contradictions in Reality — Questions Regarding UFOs, Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the Future of Ufology” which I tried to track down, seemed to also follow the same vein. Sadly, because none of the links to it seem to go any where, it received a rather nice write up: “It is the hope and desire of the author that the reader considers the topics mentioned as part of the paradox in which human society exists and what serious UFO research must address if the phenomena is to be taken seriously by science and religion”.

Continuing on with his mild guise, and quite interestingly, our friend Mr. Cooper later signed two affidavits in an attempt to state in the case of any forgeries being discovered that he was uninvolved with the production and distribution of the articles sent to him in any way.


Her Again

But just as Speriglo’s quiet demeanour masked a pernicious and irresponsible agenda, the rational MJ-12 skeptic Cooper seen in the above articles (and the one championed by the Woods) melts under the microscope. In the link below we can clearly see him endorse the hoax documents he was actively advocating for at the time in the June-July 2000 edition of Nexus Magazine. And we also see him take a very careful and rerespectful attitude towrards and approach to the CIA’s counter intelligence guru James Angleton. The person (if you recall) to whom the Monroe-JFK-UFO memo is credited. And clearly, Cooper is trying to make some kind of connection between these documents, Angleton, and Kennedy’s death.

Moving on from Angleton, we can clearly see that ‘Timmy’ enjoyed the notoriety. Just look at this link below supplied to me by Richard J Smith on the JFK Lancer Forum. One of his many email addresses around 2000 was majestictim@earthlink.net. And at that time Cooper was indeed given to wild theories about all manner of UFOs and conspiracies concerning Monroe and Kennedy. He was more than pleased to publicize the fact it was he himself who discovered the Monroe memo and that he was saddling her death on the Kennedy brothers:

I am convinced that Marilyn Monroe was silenced and RFK was seen in a car with Peter Lawford by L.A.P.D. speeding to LAX on the day she was killed. And I bet he wanted to make sure she didn't talk to the press regarding what she wrote in her little red diary, which disappeared from the L.A. Coroner's office the day after her body was brought in for autopsy.

Mr. Cooper really let himself and the credibility of his documents down here. There’s no evidence according to the most well known and respected Monroe biographer, Donald Spoto, that RFK was anywhere near Brentwood at the time. Furthermore the ‘little red diary story’ is a complete and utter myth as the aforementioned Marijane Gray writes:

Myth Number Six: The Red Diary and The Press Conference- One of the most repeated rumours regarding Marilyn's death was that she kept a 'red diary' where she jotted down the things she spoke about with John and Robert Kennedy, and that she was murdered either because of the contents of it or because she was threatening to hold a press conference to divulge everything about the 'affairs' after being rejected by both brothers. Both of these stories originate from Robert Slatzer, who met Marilyn once for about ten minutes but stretched that into a decades long career about lying about a relationship with Marilyn, going so far as to claim he secretly married her despite documents proving otherwise. He has been thoroughly and soundly discredited as a conman by every reputable Monroe scholar, yet the lies that took root in his 1974 book continue to grow. He claims that Marilyn kept a red diary where she would jot down national secrets supposedly told to her by the Kennedys. Although Marilyn was not a diary keeper, she did frequently jot down questions that came to her, lists for herself, and other random thoughts. However, as the recent book Fragments shows us in Marilyn's own hand, she was not organized in her writings, nor was there any discipline or consistency to them. Her thoughts were written on hotel stationary, scraps of paper, and receipts. Even the closest thing to a diary that she had- a spiral notebook- is filled with thoughts with no cohesion or time consistency.

The claims about a press conference 'to reveal everything' is even more outlandish. Marilyn was not a vengeful or spiteful woman; she was discreet and tactful to a fault. She never spoke ill of anyone publicly, no matter how they had wronged her. She never said a cross word about any of her ex-husbands, about co-stars who had vilified her, she was always proper and discreet. Her character simply does not coincide with a vengeful woman who would spill secrets to the press, but moreover, this rumour was started by the insufferable Robert Slatzer in his nearly completely fictionalized account in his book.

Now if that wasn’t enough of a slap for Cooper’s logic at the time I don’t know what is. But the man was clearly on a roll! The next statement he made was a nothing short of a Hankeyian misrepresentation of Britain’s ‘Mr X-Files’ Nick Pope’s work. Read this mouthful:

On that same note, Nick Pope has CIA files on Dorothy Kilgallen which relate how she was asked to find out what she could on the UFO scene and probably talked to Monroe about what JFK knew. She was found dead in her NY apartment shortly after she interviewed Jack Ruby in prison. Is it coincidence? I think not.

What article of Pope’s did Cooper read? I could find nothing from Pope saying anything of the sort. In fact, Pope’s a pretty conservative kind of guy and is a bit of a let down for the ‘believers’ out there and shows a great deal of interest and cynicism with regard to conspiracies of all shades. Thus Pope saying this sort of thing is completely out of character. In his article discussing Kilgallen, all Pope does is confirm that she had likely heard the UFO story (which we have already discussed) from Lord Mountbatten. But note what Tim has done: Kilgallen’s mysterious death now is solved. It was all about UFOs and it jibes with the Angleton memo. But Cooper trips the light fantastic with the next sip of the conspirahypocritic Kool-Aid:

The August 3, 1962 CIA/Monroe wire tap document given to me in 1992 draws some powerful connections to JFK, RFK, the Roswell 1947 incident, and NASA (which Kilgallen is mentioned talking about Monroe and the Kennedy brothers). There's a connection somewhere in all of this and I am working on it right now. I do know this, the FBI and the CIA kept records on Monroe, the Kennedys, and Kilgallen (Monroe had a DOD ID card).

That anyone took Cooper seriously then is bad enough. That people still take Cooper seriously today is terminal. There’s no denying at all that the FBI kept records on these individuals. But as for Marilyn’s DOD card, it’s no big secret every entertainer who performed for the USO had to have one as can be seen with this example from one of the Bell Sisters DOD ID card.

If you have come to this article from a UFO background and know little of the assassinations of the Sixties, in particular President Kennedy’s, be warned the internet is awash with numerous myths about Monroe, JFK and RFK. Of which the UFO angle is the most recent arrival in this morass. Monroe may well have been intimate at some point with JFK as Spoto notes, but the clincher is that it was not ongoing, nor did Robert have anything much to do with her or her death. Let’s also be mindful that practically all serious Monroe researchers (not all of them Kennedy fans by a long shot), note there is no evidence that she was obsessed with either Kennedy brother to the point of suicide, or that she kept a tell all diary of their liaisons.

I hasten to add that The Posthumous Assassination of JFK, Parts I and II by Jim DiEugenio in regards to the Kennedy-Monroe subject comes highly recommended. Also, if you have come from my review of Joseph Farrell’s sorry book you may want to consider combining the Monroe-JFK rumours in DiEugenio’s article with the James Angleton sponsored Farewell America and the likely Angleton product, the Torbitt Document. Angleton died in 1987, but his legacy lives on. To the point his story is now entwined in the very sort of disinformation campaigns he later helped Allen Dulles perform. By mixing up the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe and UFOs, he was constructing a design that was bound to be pounced on by the likes of Cooper and Speriglio. Thereby creating a phony sideshow, distracting many people from the real point.

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 17:49
Seamus Coogan

Seamus Coogan is one of a number of JFK assassination researchers hailing from New Zealand and Australia.  He has devoted considerable effort to ferreting out and exposing unfounded and sensationalistic or far-fetched conspiratorial hypotheses.  His most notable contributions include those on John Hankey's JFK II, on Alex Jones, and on the Majestic Papers.  He  has also reviewed numerous books for this site.

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