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November 22, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-22

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 22, 1999



Students mourn deaths of 12 killed at Texas A&M

Thousands of classmates, families and friends
gathered in churches across Texas on Sunday,
quietly sobbing and praying for the 12 people
killed when a four-story pyramid of logs col-
lapsed at Texas A&M University.
"I'm here to help the Aggie family from what
has been a tragic situation in the state of Texas,"
a somber Gov. George W Bush said before an
evening memorial service at Central Baptist
Church near the campus. "It is a time to pray
and a time to hear the word."
Bush, who did not speak during the service,
signed the guest books of all 12 victims, three of
whom were buried yesterday.
The leaders of their congregations and others
tried to comfort the mourners during services
throughout the day, and they addressed the sur-
vivors of Thursday's tragedy.
"The reason you are here this morning is not
luck," said Dwight Edwards, senior pastor of
Grace Bible Church. "God is not through using
you for his purpose."
The logs have'been stacked annually for 90
years as part of the runup to the football game

"A lot of people don't understand Texas A&M, and the deeper
things people don't understand about Texas A&M are the values that
we embrace"."
- Bill Anderson
Memorial Student Center president

against rival University of Texas. The bonfire is
a deeply held tradition on this football-mad cam-
pus of 43,000 about 90 miles northwest of
Local, state and federal officials planned to
map out an investigation strategy this week to
determine how the 40-foot pile collapsed. But
Charles Anderson, pastor of A&M United
Methodist Church, said the answers would do
little to comfort those left behind.
"Answers won't hold your hand," he said.
"Answers won't hold you in their arms, and
answers will not sit by your bedside on a sleep-
less night."
A busload of students attended the funeral
Sunday of Jamie Hand, 19, an environmental

design major and artist who sang at her church
and was buried near her home in Henderson.
Many of the group gathered in front of her cas-
ket to sing the "Aggie War Hymn."
"If Henderson was a magical kingdom, Jamie
Lynn Hand was without a doubt its princess,"
Rev. Ron Barney told about 1,500 mourners.
Services were held in Austin for Christopher
Breen, 25, an A&M graduate who had returned
to help pass on the bonfire tradition. Breen's
family kept the ceremony private, but in a state-
ment recalled his love of the outdoors and
thanked those who offered support.
"He loved people, and we thank all of his
friends for letting us know how much he meant
to you," the statement read. "Sharing your mem-

ories broadens our knowledge of Chris and the
many facets of his character."
In Katy, near Houston, a funeral was held for
Christopher Lee Heard, 19, a pre-engineering
major and a 1999 graduate of the Marine
Military Academy, a private military prep school
in Harlingen.
Almost 100 young men in uniform from the
academy and the A&M Corps of Cadets attend-
ed the service. Heard's drill instructor recalled
him as a prankster who would fill boots with
shaving cream. Others remembered his love of
hunting and fishing.
At First Baptist Church in Bryan, about 50
students knelt around the altar and prayed
during a moment of silence. At least eight of

the students killed in the accident attended
the church in the last month, said minister
Tim Owens.
Owens invited people to speak about what
they were thankful for. One man replied:
"Thank you for giving me and my fellow co-
workers the ability to rescue some of the Aggi
from the bonfire."
One of seven people still hospitalized was
released Sunday. Of the remaining six, two were
in critical condition.
About 70 people were stacking the logs when
the pile gave way. Some students were hurled
from the structure; others were trapped in the
shifting logs.
Bill Anderson, student president of the
Memorial Student Center, a campus building
that honors fallen Aggies, said the university
spirit of honor, integrity, faith, hope and fame
is essential now.
"A lot of people don't understand Texas
A&M, and the deeper things people don't under-
stand about Texas A&M are the values that we
embrace," he said. "We're going to survive this
because of those values and I know that."

FBI tape shows call to
Soviet Embassy following
assassination not Oswald's

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hours after President
Kennedy was assassinated, FBI agents reportedly lis-
tened to a tape of a phone call that a man identifying
himself as "Lee Oswald" had placed to the Soviet
Embassy in Mexico City.
They made a startling discovery: The voice on the
tape was not Oswald's, government records say.
This controversial tape has been a question mark in
the assassination investigation since Kennedy was
killed Nov. 22, 1963. Only now - 36 years to the day
after the murder - has the government released a
flurry of new details about it.
The CIA said years ago that the tapes on which it
recorded the call were erased. Documents released in
recent years said otherwise. The latest and newest of
declassified documents offer more evidence that the
tapes survived.
The discovery that the voice on the tape was some-
one other than Oswald was a "disquieting discovery
because the man who impersonated Oswald was still
at large," said John Newman, an ex-military intelli-
gence analyst, author and professor at the University
j of Maryland.
Oswald was in Mexico City in September and
October 1963. During his one-week stay, he contact-
ed the Soviet Embassy and the Cuban consulate,
inquiring about visas needed to go to the Soviet
Union via Cuba.
It is widely known that the CIA bugged tele-
phones and took surveillance photos at both the
embassy and consulate. But the agency maintained
that it had routinely erased and reused tapes of the
phone intercepts. A message from the CIA's
Mexico City station to headquarters on Nov. 24,
1963, said: "HQ has full transcripts all pertinent
calls. Regret complete recheck shows tapes for
this period already erased."
It was also known that while he, was in Mexico
City, Oswald had contact with Valeriy Kostikov - a
man that one CIA memo described as a "case officer
in an operation which is evidently sponsored by the
KGB's 13th Department responsible for sabotage and
It was the caller who is thought to have imperson-

ated Oswald who links him to this Soviet spy unit
known as Department 13.
Newly declassified documents - some released in
the past six months - say that after the president was
shot, a Navy plane carried a top-secret package from
Mexico City to Dallas and landed there about 4 a.m.
EST the day after the murder.
Former FBI Agent Eldon Rudd, later a Republican
congressman from Arizona, was aboard the plane.
"There were no tapes to my knowledge," Rudd said
in a telephone interview.
"I brought the pictures up (from Mexico) and it was
my understanding that it was just pictures."
Documents contradict Rudd's understanding. A
newly released memo dated Nov. 27, 1963, from FBI
headquarters to its office in Mexico City, stated:
"If tapes covering any contacts subject (Oswald)
with Soviet or Cuban embassies available, forward to
bureau for laboratory examination and analysis
together with transcript.
Include tapes previously reviewed Dallas if they
were returned to you."
And a transcript of a telephone call FBI Director J.
Edgar Hoover made to President Johnson just six
hours after the plane arrived in Dallas supports the
belief that FBI agents listened to a tape that suggest-
ed an impersonation.
"We have up here the tape and the photograph of
the man who was at the Soviet embassy using
Oswald's name," Hoover told Johnson, according to a
transcript of that call released in 1993.
"That picture and the tape do not correspond to
this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other
words,it appears that there is a second person who
was at the Soviet embassy down there."
While they would not speculate about the identity
of the caller, several assassination researchers veri-
fied more explanations: could have been impersonat-
ed by a CIA officer who called the Soviet Embassy
simply to furnish details about Oswald was doing in
Mexico City.
Or, maybe someone was trying to link Oswald to
the KGB's assassination unit before Kennedy's mur-






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