by Philip Coppens
In 1991, Milton William ‘Bill’ Cooper was one of the trendsetters of what became a whistleblower movement, with a book called “Behold a Pale Horse”. A former member of Naval Intelligence, he offered information about the government’s inner secrets – or so he claimed – including their attitude towards UFOs. Specifically, he claimed that Kennedy was assassinated because he was about to reveal the truth about UFOs – that we had been visited by extra-terrestrial beings and that this was a secret the government had kept for too long.
When Cooper made these claims in the early 1990s, I was investigating the Kennedy assassination myself. Though I had heard about UFOs and had of course seen such movies as “ET” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, I knew little to nothing beyond that. I did know, however, things about the Kennedy assassination and so it was clear to me that I could explore the truth and depth of this whistleblower’s claims based on that knowledge. If his information about the Kennedy assassination was correct, then the same would likely apply to the UFO aspect of his revelation.
Cooper claimed that Kennedy learned portions of a truth about how the CIA was involved in an international narcotics empire. This is quite possible, considering that those most deeply involved in the plots to kill Castro – an operation run by the CIA for many years, without any real effect no matter how inventive some of the scenarios to kill Castro were – had been equally ferociously involved in the drug trade. Kennedy apparently also learned that part of the profits of this trade was used to continue a cover-up about alien crashed disks whose crash sites had been ‘cleaned up’ by the military. In short, there was a section of the US government, which was a rogue operation: though apparently government employees, their money came from international organized crime and because they did not rely on Washington for money, they were out of reach of the Administration. That is what Kennedy found out.
Some of the details of these UFO crashes were more than interesting. Apparently, alien bodies (one possibly alive) had been recovered from these crashed disks. Kennedy forced the CIA to end their involvement in this drug trafficking network and threatened to reveal the truth about the presence of aliens and alien technology to the people within the next year (before the summer of 1964) if they did not comply. He apparently commissioned a plan to implement this decision. MJ-12, which according to Cooper was a group of people that had been installed as ‘supervisor’ over the ‘alien cover-up’, had been confronted with this ultimatum and, again according to Cooper, decided they had to get rid of Kennedy. It would be another few years before I understand that there was no MJ-12, that this had been part of a disinformation campaign against UFO researcher Paul Bennewitz, who had stumbled upon secret communications the government did not want anyone to know about. To make sure he did not learn the truth of the nature of these communications, he was fed a series of lies, claiming the communications were to do with alien intelligences and UFOs.
On page 27 of “Behold a Pale Horse”, Bill Cooper claimed: “On the day that I learned that the Office of Naval Intelligence had participated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and that it was the Secret Service agent driving the limo that had shot Kennedy in the head, I went AWOL with no intention of ever returning.” It seems no-one ever charged Cooper with this desertion, though.
In the early 1990s, I knew little about Cooper, UFOs, and MJ-12. But I did know about the Kennedy assassination. Cooper claimed that the man who killed Kennedy was the driver, Secret Service agent William Greer. He somehow turned around, to shoot the president. When confronted with the fact that the Zapruder film doesn’t show this is how Kennedy was killed, Cooper claimed that the Zapruder film had been doctored. Of course, the theory presented by Cooper failed, as even if the Zapruder film was somehow changed, at no point on the film is there a means to remove such an event. The extent to which the film had supposedly been doctored, simply was impossible. And there are several logistical problems too. For one, Governor Connally sat between the driver and Kennedy, and how he could the shot reach Kennedy as a result? It is a question Cooper never was able to answer.
Cooper came to this conclusion: “When I saw Operation Majority while serving in the Navy I believed the alien threat was real just like everyone else. It was not until I had performed many years of research that I was able to fully understand exactly what it was that I had seen. It was extremely difficult for me to believe that my government and the United States Navy had used me, especially since I had dedicated my life to government and military service. Most government and military personnel cannot and will not believe such an idea.”
Operation Majority was MJ-12 – more commonly known as Majestic 12. But as it was clear that Cooper was totally wrong on the means through which Kennedy had been murdered, it meant that even if he somehow had stumbled upon the right motive for the assassination, there was no evidence in his claims to prove this. If anything, Cooper’s claims did the UFO possibility a discredit, as Cooper was exposed as a mythmaker. It seemed that he had combined two popular conspiracy theories, the Kennedy assassination and UFOs, and had quickly tied them together.
So what was Cooper’s alleged evidence? Originally, he “claimed to have read documents” about multiple races of alien beings the US government had encountered or signed treaties with, but he never provided the documents or gave any other useful information. For seven years, he spoke about the UFOs to anyone who wanted to listen, then said the government had given him bogus information and that nothing was true. It seems Cooper had found out that the MJ-12 papers were being exposed as a disinformation campaign, and he distanced himself from the entire story. Of course, after seven years of spreading this “information” about, today, Cooper’s claims continue to influence the conspiratorial minds.
But is there a UFO connection to the Kennedy assassination? Cooper’s story is in marked contrast with that of Dorothy Kilgallen. Kilgallen was a major reporter hanging around the Kennedys and she had also been interested in UFOs and crashed disks, particularly the controversial story about a UFO crash in Aztec, New Mexico. Kilgallen identified General George C. Marshall, Secretary of State in 1947, as one of the major key persons behind the cover-up. Cooper, meanwhile, alleges that it was McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s Secretary of State, was part of the Alien Study Group.
Having known the Kennedys, she was obviously interested in the President’s assassination and showed her interest when Jack Ruby went on trial. During his trial, she had asked Judge Brown whether she could deliver a message to Ruby from a personal friend, “who could be a singer” – none other than Frank Sinatra, it is assumed. The judge consented Kilgallen and Ruby enjoyed each other’s company for about eight minutes, eight minutes in which none of Ruby’s four body-guarding deputy sheriffs were sitting next to him. The result of her meeting appeared in her column of April 14, 1964, in the “New York Journal American”. Though she apparently did ask some embarrassing questions, she only discussed the true nature of her conversation with Ruby with some close friends. She told them that “this has to be a conspiracy! I’m going to break the real story and have the biggest scoop of the century”.
She never did. In March 1965, Kilgallen fractured her shoulder, officially caused by “a fall”, and was hospitalized twice, once for three weeks.
Her doctors declined to comment, but it is possible she was on drugs and alcohol at that time and that the fall was a result of being intoxicated. Of course, whether this was the result of the information she had just received or whether she was a drunk before and hence fabricated wild claims about Kennedy, is another matter.
She had told Mark Lane, who tried to defend Oswald in front of the Warren Commission, that her phone was tapped. Recovered from her fracture, she published her last item on the assas¬sination on September 3, 1965, in which she wrote that “even if Marina explained why her late husband looked so different in an official police photo and the widely-printed, full-length picture featured on the cover of Life Magazine, it would cause a sensation”.
Perhaps she had found out more about the assassination, she surely hinted she knew more.
On November 8, 1965, her 52 year-old, dead body was found in her home. The first conclusion was that she had died of a heart attack, but this was changed to an overdose of alcohol and pills. Her death certificate, dated November 15, listed “acute ethanol and barbiturate intoxication”, but they couldn’t determine the circumstances in which this had occurred. Detective John Doyle says she had taken a maximum of two Seconal pills. She and her husband, Richard Kollman, had separate bedrooms and she was not found in her own, but in the master bedroom, sitting, not lying, in bed.
Shortly before her death, she said she was going to New Orleans to “open this case”: “They’ve killed the President, the government is not prepared to tell us the truth and I’m going to do everything in my power to find out what really happened.” Two days after her death, her close friend, Mrs. Earl Smith, was also found dead, of “undeterminate causes”. Did someone fear that Kilgallen had said something to her? Possibly.
Even though Kilgallen was very much interested in both the Kennedy assassination and UFOs, at no point in time did she connect the two together, for the likely reason that there is no connection between the two topics. Though there are conspiracies on both subjects, it does not mean that all conspiracies are interrelated, as the likes of Cooper and a few others since have argued. Kennedy was killed for a number of reasons, but UFOs was not one of them, or at the very least, not the main one.