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Did General Edwin Walker plot to kill President Kennedy?

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

"Some Researchers think so, and point to the John T. Martin Film as Evidence"

Updated March 12, 2023


Film Clip Still Credit: The Sixth Floor Museum, John T. Martin Film

"Oswald (on left) being arrested for leafletting in New Orleans"


Among the many JFK Assassination Conspiracy theories, every conceivable ''boogeyman" under the stars gets an honorable mention. Besides the more popular CIA, Mafia, Militant Anti-Castro Cubans, etc., one theory emerged involving former Major General Edwin Walker. Proponents of this theory often point to Walker's conflicts with the Kennedy brothers and to a relatively obscure film known as the "John T. Martin" film.


We will take a further look into this film, its origin and content and explore a little history concerning John T. Martin.


Background

In August 1963, a John T. Martin from Minnesota took a airplane trip from Minneapolis to Dallas, and then to New Orleans. Along the way he took an 8 mm film of the trip. The film can be viewed here: https://emuseum.jfk.org/objects/36908/john-t-martin-film


As you can see, the film clip is of poor quality, with lighting issues making certain frames almost impossible to see and make out. Here's a general description of what the film shows.

  1. The film starts at the airport in Minneapolis depicting what appears to be a Braniff Airways Boeing 707.

  2. As the airplane gets airborne, several shots of the sky and clouds were taken.

  3. The next scene is somewhat up to interpretation. It appears to be taken inside the Walker home on Turtle Creek Blvd, with the window frame where Oswald's failed shot hit, being raised. Then a white or light-colored station wagon is seen in the background. If this is true, then the original lattice fence that bordered the Walker home in the alley, was torn down. I believed that fence was torn down sometime after the assassination attempt. This author is not sure if a cyclone fence was installed or not. The quality of the film makes this difficult to determine. Perhaps some film buffs can work with it and enhance the lighting.

  4. From there is a scene of the front exterior of Walker's home showing his American Flag (flying in normal position, often Walker flew it upside down in protest of something) and Walker's mailbox.

  5. The next scene is of a high-rise building, apparently still under construction on the upper floors. Some researchers have speculated this could have been the Apartment Building noticed in one of Oswald's photos from the alley behind the Walker home, but adjacent to the LDS Church parking lot. Again, the quality of the film makes it hard to determine that, however it could very well be that building known as "21 Turtle Creek Square".

  6. Moving forward there is a dark, poorly illuminated scene (perhaps near dusk) with a couple of unidentified individuals. It's possible that it was some of Martin's family, although that is speculation.

  7. Back in another airplane, most likely from Dallas to New Orleans, there are various scenes of the sky and clouds.

  8. On the ground again, the film shows trees, perhaps Cyprus, and a scene from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. That zoo had a Seal Lion exhibit.

  9. The film then depicts the famous Andrew Jackson statue upon his horse in Jackson Square, New Orleans.

  10. Now to the most interesting part, the film briefly captures Oswald near the end of his famous leafletting adventure, where he encountered Carlos Bringuier and the ensuing heated argument. Torn Fair Play for Cuba leaflets are seen scattered on the sidewalk. Oswald was arrested and spent the night in jail. The incident took place on the corner of Canal and St. Charles Streets, in front of the Ward Discount House on August 9, 1963.[1}

Speculation on who was John T. Martin

Over the years, many researchers have wondered about this odd event captured on film. On the surface it does appear "suspicious". Here is a film of General Walker's home and then Oswald in New Orleans. What's going on here? Many theories popped up including some connection between Oswald and Walker, through knowledge that Walker found out who took that shot at him, and framing Oswald for the Kennedy Murder. Then as the theories go, a John T. Martin was sent to New Orleans to capture Oswald on film distributing Fair Play for Cuba leaflets. That of course would frame him as a Castro loving Commie.


As we explore further, things will become clearer. First, let's start with John T. Martin and his initial contact with the FBI.


On December 17, 1963, John T. Martin contacted the Minneapolis FBI by telephone stating he had a film of Oswald in New Orleans with a group of Cubans. Martin stated he personally took the film. On December 23, 1963, the Minneapolis FBI office contacted the New Orleans FBI office to see if they wanted to view the film, in conjunction with their investigation. They did and the Martin film was sent to New Orleans. Upon review in New Orleans, they found nothing of value or significant in identifying individuals. As you can see when you view the film, there really wasn't much to see other than backs of individuals, police officers and littered FPCC leaflets on the ground. The film was returned back to John T. Martin after being reviewed on January 21, 1964.[2]


Naturally the question arises, what about General Walker? The plot thickens as John T. Martin is identified as a "Minute Man" follower in a separate FBI ongoing investigation.


On October 28, 1964, Forrest Thompson a Postmaster in Richmond, Missouri, contacted the FBI on 217 pieces of mail deposited by Robert B. De Pugh, noted head of the national "Minutemen" organization based in Missouri. As most researchers know, the "Minutemen" organization was a very Anti-Communist group, noted for militant leanings and considered dangerous. In that mail was a list of instructions and a mailing list of followers, or subscribers to the Minutemen organization. Dues were regularly collected to be in this organization.[3]


In that FBI Internal memo was John T Martin's name under the Minnesota member listing.[4]

Now links between Martin and Walker fueled speculation. Some believed Martin was a former Army soldier, who served under General Walker in Germany.


In this FBI document, footnoted below, of 400 index cards recovered from the Minutemen Headquarters, that were to be discarded in 1965, Martin's name shows up.{5]




Page 60 of FBI "Minutemen" Index Cards of Members[5]


Weisberg and Schoener view the Martin Film

In 1968, Gary Schoener invited Harold Weisberg to speak at the University of Minnesota about the JFK Assassination. Weisberg recounts the encounter with John T. Martin in the following link on page 368. http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/HW%20Manuscripts/Inside%20the%20Assassination%20Industry/Itai-18.pdf



The Minneapolis Star Newspaper, May 15, 1968

"Harold Weisberg Speech on the Assassination where he met Martin"


Reading through the many correspondences of Weisberg and Schoener, they mention that Martin turned a pacifist. In other words, he grew tired of the Walker and Extreme Right-Wing way. Perhaps he was influenced on the campus of the University of Minnesota by the growing Anti-War movement in the mid to late 1960's.



Minneapolis Star Newspaper, September 30, 1966

"Wedding of John Timothy Martin" Updated: This is not the John T. Martin I originally thought.


It has now come to my attention by Greg Doudna that I got the wrong John T. Martin as pictured in the wedding announcement above. Researcher Tom Scully has identified another John T. Martin that lived in St. Paul, Minnesota and it appears Mr. Scully has correctly identified him.


John T. Martin, 1963 Cretin High School (St. Paul, MN), ROTC, Credit: Tom Scully


The above John T. Martin matches the profile of the John T. Martin film maker as per the Minutemen Index Card. Mr. Scully has proposed he did live at the 1752 Iglehart Avenue, Apt 4 address in 1963. A check of that address shows it was ~2 miles away from the Cretin High School. This John T. Martin graduated in 1963 and that corresponds with the summer vacation film footage of Oswald in New Orleans on August 9, 1963.


Likewise, the John Timonthy Martin that was my original candidate, is now disproven by another researcher, Tom Graves.


John Timonthy (Tim) Martin, Credit: Tom Graves


As per the above article on Tim Martin, he enlisted in the Navy in 1962. Therefore, that rules out the 1963 Family Summer Vacation trip as he was in the Service. Also, it mentions his wife "Jerri" who was Jerilyn Miller as per the wedding announcement.


Conclusion

John T. Martin as a teenager, was into the Anti-Communist, Minutemen movement. He had an interest in General Walker and that's why he made a film clip of Walker's house during a family vacation. He was not in General Walker's 24th Infantry in Germany (too young).


It was mere coincidence he caught Oswald and the Walker home on film.


It's possible that Martin was influenced by another Minnesotan who was speaking around town about the Anti-Communist movement, Richard A. Landkamer (also on the Minutemen list).


I'd like to thank Tom Scully for correctly identifying the real John T. Martin and Tom Graves for providing the article on John Timonthy Martin.


1 - New Orleans Historical, "Arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald: August 9, 1963" by Connie Gentry https://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/1471


2 - FBI Airtel, December 21, 1970, "FBI response to Harold Weisberg on the Martin and Doyle films of Oswald in New Orleans, attempting to identify Cubans"https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=9966#relPageId=238&search=John_Martin%20Minneapolis


3 - FBI Internal Memo, December 18, 1964, "Minutemen" Information Concerning (Internal Security) https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=141125#relPageId=2&search=%22John_T.%20Martin%22


4 - FBI Internal Memo, December 18, 1964, "Minutemen" Information Concerning (Internal Security) https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=141125#relPageId=11&search=%22John_T.%20Martin%22


5 - FBI Internal Memo, January 17, 1966, "Minutemen" Information Concerning (Internal Security) https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=89629#relPageId=3&search=Martin





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