Conspiracies That Parallax: JFK’s Assassination & UFO Alien Abductions
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 12/21/03
'Can you prove that it did not happen?'- Criswell, Plan 9 From Outer Space
My friend Don
Moss, an excellent writer & poet, once commented to me on the abundance of
the terms within & without in my poetry. He felt that I relied
to heavily on such, especially in my Le Bestiaré poem series. I tended
to agree, but since the poems focused primarily on the differences between the
percipients’ inner & outer world, it was a motif I had accepted as part
& parcel of that particular series. However, in most of life’s endeavors
the real truth of the thing generally does not lie at such extremes, but-
rather- lies in the middle- call it Occam’s Area. Of course, most know
what Occam’s Razor is- it’s the generally accepted wisdom that the
simplest answer that best fits the known facts to a problem or inquiry is
usually the correct 1. I’ll delve into this apothegm later in the essay. I
start off this essay with this premise because I believe it to be true-
especially when used to describe mysteries & conspiracies from the Ancients
through Jack the Ripper through sightings of lake monsters & hairy bipeds
& all the way back, again, to the very origins of myth, itself. In this
lengthy jaunt I will hope to show that the Occam’s Area for these 2 greatest
& most enduring mythologies of the America of the last ½ century come down
on opposite sides of the fence for each 1- in the pro-conspiracy camp regarding
the murder of the 35th President of the United States of America-
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, & in the anti-conspiracy camp for the alleged
abductions of human beings by non-terrestrial entities. I will do so by vetting
the few known & agreed upon facts in each case, comparing the mythic &
psychologic elements in both, show their strengths & weakness vis-à-vis
conspiracies, show elements of each that seem congruent & incongruent to
each other, detail my own background in regards to forming opinions on both
myths, examine the role of the media in both myths, & then toss out some of
my own conclusions & opinions.
The reason for my essaying these topics is not only because of their intrinsic worth as bits of Americana, & human history, but because of my recent reacquaintance with both topics. On 11/20/03, at 8 pm CST, the ABC network aired Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination- Beyond Conspiracy, which posited that the Warren Commission’s finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of JFK was correct. The special was light on substance but heavy on rehash. The ‘supposed’ new evidence was a computer graphics specialist named Dale Myers who designed a supposedly accurate 3 dimensional computer reproduction of Dealey Plaza in Dallas at the time of the shooting. This simulation, it was claimed, decisively proves the ‘Single- or Magic- Bullet’ theory was correct, & that LHO was the lone gunman. Contrary evidence, such as audio evidence of a 4th shot, dissent from Naval coroners regarding the nature of the wounds that killed JFK, the manifest ties of LHO assassin Jack Ruby to the Mafia, & certain government agencies, were glossed over as gossip for the rather far-fetched scenario that a deludely patriotic JR did in LHO to spare Jackie Kennedy pain. Not to mention that Dale Myers’ computer simulation has, according to published & online dissenters, competitors, & cohorts, gone through a # of claimed permutations over the years, each 1 of which tended to get more anti-conspiratorial as he peddled it around to various media outlets. It’s almost as if he was willing to make the model, claim his detractors, go whatever way a prospective buyer asked him to make it go. Furthermore, even a cursory viewing of the simulation shows why online comments from dissenters are justified:
‘If George Lucas can make
$200+ million in what were basically bad computer created film(s), and an
abundance of CGI can trick people into thinking that Keanu Reeves is a good
actor, why should there be any reason to believe that this "truth" is
any more definitive simply because a computer simulated it.’
‘They expect me to believe a guy with a computer can take all the
data that's already been combed and re-combed by experts, and extract conclusive
evidence from it that those experts didn't find. Sorry, but I'm not that
credulous. This is not a recreation of the events as they happened. This is a
very pretty CGI animation of the events as Dale Myers believes they occured.
‘You cannot view an event from a location where there was no camera and derive meaning from it. If no camera on the scene filmed a second gunman, that doesn't mean one wasn't there. If you create your model without a second gunman, then move the virtual camera around and show that there is no second gunman, you have proved nothing. That is the dictionary definition of a tautology: assuming there was no second gunman, there is no evidence of a second gunman. Similarly every scrap of evidence presented by this re-creation which was not in the original evidence is worthless, because it has no basis in fact.’
‘I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am an agnostic in all things. All I'm saying is that this re-creation adds nothing to the debate. I can Photoshop myself into pictures with every celebrity on the A-list, and it doesn't prove I've left my parent's basement.’
Needless to say, I agree with these & many other comments & this
special did not sit well in my mind- for distortions of fact & the
condescending tone of anchorman Peter Jennings, was a bit much to take. As for
the other major myth I recently picked up & read 2 interesting books I got
at a used bookstore- the 1st was a pro-reality book on alien
abductions (AAs) called CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FOURTH KIND: Alien Abduction,
U.F.O.s and the Conference at M.I.T., by C. D. B. Bryan, published in 1995,
& the 2nd was an anti-reality book on AAs called ALIEN
ABDUCTIONS: CREATING A MODERN PHENOMENON,
by Terry Matheson, published in 1998. The 1st book purports to be a
journalistic look inside the mythos by a reporter who doubts the reality of the
myth, but soon comes to believe it due to the sincerity of the ‘abductees’.
It is not at all that well written, & after the 1st ½ summarizes
the conference the 2nd ½ becomes a farce. The 2nd book,
however, is a GREAT book- in every sense of the word. It’s
writing is direct & fact-driven, & the writer parses every bit of the
mythos to show how it has evolved through time (including detailing how tropes
such as the ‘skeptic’-cum-believer used in CDBB’s book is standard
fare in the seminal narratives of the mythos)- not unlike I do when dissecting
poetry or prose, & its conclusions seem so manifest that 1 wonders why TM is
the 1st to put all the pieces together- at least in the published
world; I have long advocated almost identical beliefs in my many conversations
with believers & skeptics through the years. I may just add TM’s Alien
Abductions to the quaternity of great books that influenced me in my life:
Loren Eiseley’s autobiography All The Strange Hours, Alex Haley’s The
Autobiography Of Malcolm X, Leonard Shlain’s Art & Physics,
& Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass. Needless to say I shall explore
the book’s excellence, & its posits within this essay. That’s enough for
now- let’s have some fun.
The idea of
‘conspiracy’ riddles every human society. The idea that shadowy factions
control aspects of life to a degree that few people can even dream of exercising
is in itself a myth. Most of the proven & alleged conspiracies,
conspirators, & underground societies- from Watergate & Iran-Contra back
to the death of Julius Caesar, the Lincoln Assassination conspirators to Leopold
& Loeb, the Freemasons & Rosicrucians to the Illuminati, Mafia, &
Yakuza- share this ideal of power. Some, such as the Holocaust or the Great Leap
Forward, prove to be monstrously true. Others, such as the sinking of the
Titanic or the McCarthyite Red Invasion of the 1950s, prove to be laughably-
albeit cruelly- untrue. Then there are ‘conspiracies’ that live in the dim
flickers between possibility & probability. Here nestle nicely this
essay’s 2 core myths. Both the JFK & UFO myths depend upon the idea that
‘shadow governments’ exist within our elected republic, & act ‘above
& outside’ the law. In the JFK version this entity (or entities) either
was wholly responsible for the President’s murder, or aided other entities
with assistance (Mafia Hitmen, pro-Soviet &/or pro-Castro groups, White
Supremacists) or benign neglect (the KGB, White Russians, LBJ, or a cabal of
generals). In the UFO mythos this faction has covered up the retrieval of
extraterrestrial vessels & occupants, reverse engineered many of the
scientific wonders of the last few decades, & has either looked the other
way or actively assisted in the abduction, testing, breeding, & sexual &
physical abuse of its own citizenry in exchange for either technology,
protection from even more sinister alien agencies, or mere power.
However, the evidence that each myth brings forth differs fundamentally in quality & quantity. Let me deal with the JFK side 1st. The major problem that most pro-conspiracists have in their credibility is that, just like the ABC special, they ignore facts that contradict their own theories- most notably that Lee Harvey Oswald undoubtedly was in the School Book Depository, on the 6th floor, & almost certainly did fire at the President. Most conspiracists see LHO as a ‘total’ patsy- a wannabe government spook that was setup to be a patsy. The problem is that alot of this ‘handling’ occurred before JFK became a real thorn in the side of the military powers. Not to mention that LHO had considerable ties with pro-Communist, anti-Communist, & organized crime elements, as well. Instead of admitting that LHO was ‘part’ of the conspiracy, most conspiracists resist that declaration. In fact, the conspiracy idea suffers in no way from that admission. I think it’s the need for all myths to have a hero that has led to most conspiracists looking to LHO to fill that role- after all, his killer was a slimebag, all of the supposed anti-JFK factions were reprehensible, & the act itself was sinister. So there must have been someone good?
But, the evidence contradicts that posit. Anti-conspiracists, however, are even more fanciful in their sticking to ‘facts’ that contradict known truths. For example, the idea that Jack Rubenstein (Jack Ruby’s real name) was a 2nd Lone Nut, who just happened to sneak in to the heavily secured garage to kill LHO, is preposterous. That JR seemed to be shadowing LHO after the assassination, that both men seemed to have known people in common if not each other, had ties to similar organizations, & indeed silenced LHO (& then maintained his own silence till his death 4 years later) being attributed to ‘patriotism’ & a ‘concern for the ‘1st Lady’ is almost laughable. But, instead of losing 1’s self in the labyrinth of claims & counterclaims, let me start off with a few of the undeniable facts that both sides can agree on, & see where Occam would come down.
1) Most importantly, Jack Ruby kills the alleged assassin of the President. Is it more likely that any person (much less 1 as shady as JR) who would do such an act would do it on a patriotic whim or to silence a co-conspirator?
2) There is audio evidence of 4- not 3- shots at Dealey Plaza that has still never been convincingly debunked. The Warren Report states there were 3 shell casings left at the ‘sniper’s nest’. The 4th heard shot was determined not to be an echo. That being true, where was the 4th shell casing at LHO’s nest? If that could not be found de facto, there was at least 1 other gunman. That means that either there was the incredible coincidence of 2 separate Lone Gunmen who just happened to shoot at the President at the same time, or there was coordination- hence, a conspiracy.
3) The lead coroner in the Dallas Parkland Hospital (or possibly the Navy’s coroner in Bethesda, Maryland) claimed for years that the photo of a small entry wound in the back of JFK’s head was actually altered from what he saw- which was a large exit wound in back. He claimed a large flap of skin that blew backward was pulled forward for the photograph. This was finally broadcast 25 years later on national television- but ignored. Even more odd, the notes of all 3 Naval coroners somehow disappeared- despite the highest of import. Were all the coroners involved lying? Or are they telling the truth? If so, what could be the motive for faking legal forensic evidence & destroying notes? Only a coverup fits that bill.
4) The Abraham Zapruder film remains the wildcard- a totally unexpected bonanza. I’ve seen this film many times on TV, in Oliver Stone’s film JFK, & on the Internet. JFK’s head, when shot, seems to go ‘back & to the left’ as the film famously mantras. Anti-conspiracists point to the fact that ballistic tests using melons show that a bullet makes a small entry wound & a large exit wound whose force pushes the melon forward as reaction to the action of the bullet’s forward passage. This, they say, accounts for JFK’s head’s backward motion. 2 problems crop up, however. 1st, a human head is not a melon, & the cranium is the heaviest bone in the body. It would not react exactly as a melon does. 2nd, even if it did both pro- & anti-conspiracists agree that the 6th floor sniper’s nest was behind & to the right of JFK, so even were a head to react like a melon it would go back & to the right, not the left! But I have seen people shot in the head- there are usually massive wounds at both entry & exit points. These vary according to weapon, bullet, & distance. But, the force of the bullet almost always forces the head or whole body backward. On his commentary to the JFK DVD Oliver Stone assents to seeing this in combat in Vietnam. So, which is the more likely- that the kill shot on the President came from the rear right & caused his head to jerk back & to the left, or that the kill shot came from the front right & forced his head backward & leftward? Occam leans toward the latter- which suggests a 2nd gunman & conspiracy. Forget about witnesses’ claims re the Grassy Knoll, because human witnesses are terrible (more on that later)- besides, the Zapruder film is a far better, & unexpected, witness to the actual.
The Rose Cheramie incident. This was where a woman was treated in a
Dallas area hospital hours before JFK’s killing, & claimed there was a
plot to kill the President. Her story has been generally ignored by anti-conspiracists
(& the ABC special) yet has never been disproved.
As for other
claims & counterclaims from both sides. Both are open for debate, & in
fact both sides have many websites that debunk & counterdebunk each other-
from a website that points out flaws & inaccuracies in Oliver Stone's film JFK
to 1 that does the same to errors, omissions, & untruths in
the Warren Report. The 5 above ‘facts’, however, are pretty
much agreed upon by both sides. That being the case, the pro-conspiracists have
the far more credible claim.
examine them & other aspects more closely, as well as how the Beyond
Conspiracy (BC) special glossed over them. Before I do, however, let me talk
about what I believe was an earlier ABC special on the assassination, which
aired, I believe, on the 25th anniversary of the killing- in 1988. I
believe it was also aired on ABC. I forget the host, but what I recall vividly
gleaning from that show was the audio evidence of a 4th shot- 1 which
was replayed several times on the broadcast, & which was clarion, & the
1st aired interview with 1 of the coroners who claimed the JFK
autopsy photos had been altered- this stuck in my mind, although I don’t
recall whether he was the Dallas or Navy coroner. Nonetheless his words were
powerful. Yet, ABC did not deal with its own past claims which countered its
newer special. As for point 1, Peter Jennings simply takes it as an agreed upon
fact that JR was a patriotic nut whose ties to the government & the Mafia
were severely downplayed- almost ludicrously so. As for point 2, the computer
recreator Dale Myers mentions the 4th shot, claiming it came from the
microphone of a certain Dallas motorcade officer. The cop later claimed it was
not his mike, & DM agrees because he claims the officer’s motorcycle would
have had to have been in some ‘pink circle’ in the recreation for it to have
recorded what it recorded. Since DM claims to show, via film, that the officer
was not in the ‘pink circle’, this ‘proves’ that the recording is
unreliable. Well, no. Even if we accept that DM’s simulation is accurate &
the film sources he reconstructed from were reliable, all it proves is that it
was not that officer’s mike which picked up the 4 shots. Whose mike it was is
irrelevant because it in no way disproves the 4th shot. In short, the
whole recreation’s being used is alot of high tech ado about not alot. &
the import of the ‘pink circle’ is never- conveniently- elaborated upon. The
3rd point about the hanky-panky with the coroner’s is ascribed to
‘paranoia’, while the computer simulation is again used to try to debunk the
actual shooting. It tries to show that the positions of JFK & Texas Governor
John Connally were consistent with the ‘Magic Bullet’ theory. Even if we
accept that as true (which pro-conspiracists do not) it still does not explain
the ‘kill shot’ to the head, which- no matter how long you debate it, still
goes back & to the left- not the right, which would have been consistent
with LHO’s alleged position. Again, the special focuses too much on the
‘Magic Bullet’ in an attempt to impress the audience- but the Magic Bullet
was not the 1 in the kill shot to
the head. The whole recreation fails to disprove both the 4th shot
heard on audio, & the kill shot from the Grassy Knoll- but it was cool to
look at. As for the Cassandran Rose Cheramie- the special did not address it at
all. I will, in a bit.
But, let me examine some of the more mythic elements of the JFK
Assassination by giving snippets from both sides, & multiple camps, &
relating them to the truth of the matter, & the need to mythologize.
Here’s a snippet that is pro-conspiracy. I will interject:
Instead of spending time reacting to the criticisms levied against the film [OS’s JFK], I will simply discuss the film itself and the history it portrays. The assassination of JFK was one of the most mysterious and tragic events in our country's history, and the explanation given to us by the Warren Commission of a single lone assassin is one of the most ridiculous theories ever presented. Tell me how a single lone assassin who was a marginal shooter could fire three shots from a manual bolt action rifle from a sixth floor window to a moving car below, causing nine wounds in two people from only three bullets, fire these three shots in 5.6 seconds when it required 2.1 seconds to recycle the rifle between shots (you can do the arithmetic), fire one magical bullet that goes through President Kennedy's neck and causes multiple wounds in Governor Connally while remaining completely intact, leave the firing shells lying neatly on the floor, hide the rifle on the complete other side of the sixth floor, run down six flights of stairs past two witnesses who claim to have never seen him, and end up on the second floor of the Depository within 90 seconds of the shooting looking completely calm.
Much of these assertions are disputed by the anti-camps. LHO has been defined by some as a bad shot, a medium shot, & a great shot- the ABC special claimed he scored an excellent 48 & 49 out of 50 on successive firing range tests, & also had an octagenarian fire 3 rounds from the type of gun LHO used, with time to spare. Conversely, OS claimed that while filming he hired expert marksmen who could not replicate LHO’s feat. Who to believe? When such a dispute occurs it’s best to call it a tie & look to more convincing proof elsewhere. As stated, ABC’s computer recreator supposedly accounts for the Magic Bullet- but, again, that’s not the kill shot bullet. As for claims of the sniper’s nest area, that’s not in dispute, but there is dispute as to whether LHO was actually seen in the break room of the Depository.
The Zapruder film shows Kennedy's head being thrust violently backward and to the left, completely inconsistent with a shot supposedly coming from behind - more consistent with a shot fired from the front and right, from the infamous Grassy Knoll. I could go on and on with the inconsistencies in the government's case, but the main crucial point is simple: If one bullet could not cause seven wounds in two men, there had to be a fourth shot - Oswald didn't have time to fire a fourth shot - therefore, a second gunman and a conspiracy.
Right on the kill shot; perhaps on the Magic Bullet.
Now try to contain your laughter, but this is the following explanation given to the American public by what were supposed to be intelligent individuals (Gerald Ford, Arlen Specter, and Allen Dulles among them) and just see how it has trouble even standing up on its own -
A single lone assassin was responsible for the assassination - Lee Harvey Oswald - he fired only three shots in 5.6 seconds from a manual bolt action rifle with a poorly aligned scope. The first bullet missed, wounding bystander James Tague. The second bullet was The Magic Bullet - it caused seven wounds - two to Kennedy and five to Governor Connally - not only did it do this, but it paused 1.6 seconds in midair before entering Connally. This single bullet, after entering and re-entering two men ends up INTACT on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital - the final bullet strikes Kennedy in the head - supposedly all shots came from behind the motorcade from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
The dispute over the Magic Bullet is noted, as for the ‘Pristine Bullet’ the 2 sides differ. The antis claim the bullet is far from pristine if viewed head on, while the pros claim that the almost total lack of frontal flattening is bizarre. That the bullet was found on a stretcher is not disputed, but bizarre in that such a crucial piece of evidence was so nonchalantly overlooked, although pros claim at least 2 witnesses saw Jack Ruby plant the bullet at the hospital JFK was taken to. If 1 can concede to the antis that the Magic Bullet could have done what was claimed (computer simulation or not), 1 has to concede that the Pristine Bullet’s lack of flattening, & sudden appearance hours later on a stretcher points to, at the least, High Strangeness, if not being planted.
villainous Lee Harvey Oswald walks from the building and supposedly decides to
kill a Dallas police officer, J.D. Tippit - police take Oswald into custody -
unlike all other political assassins in history, Oswald denies any crimes -
before he gets to tell his history, a patriotic nightclub owner, Jack
Ruby, shoots Oswald live on television while surrounded by cops in the basement
of the Dallas police station- Oswald's dead- the first rule of assassination -
kill the assassin.
LHO did not ‘decide’ to kill Officer Tippit. He supposedly only did
because he thought he was being stopped re: the JFK killing. This is the
antis’ stance, & it makes perfect sense if LHO was the killer. The problem
is (putting aside whether LHO was the killer of JFK) that there are
disputes as to witnesses, & what they claim to have seen. LHO did deny for
the 2 days till his death. The JR as hero angle is not credible, with even a
cursory scan of the man’s background & ties.
* Oswald does not shoot Kennedy
coming up Houston Street which was the easier shot - instead, Kennedy turns onto
Elm into a standard assassination triangulation of crossfire.
This is in dispute- some
claim the Houston shot was more difficult since less of JFK was exposed.
* The parade route was changed at
the last minute to bring it into Dealey Plaza.
Not in dispute, factually, although the reasons differ as to why.
* Someone told Colonel Reich of
the 112th Military Intelligence Group at Fort Sam Houston to have the group
stand down that day - there was very limited protection for the President.
This is debunked on a # of
anti- websites & I tend to see that POV as more credible.
The media van was placed 14th in the motorcade, where it could not cover the
They seemed to have done a
pretty good job that whole weekend, despite this (if true)- this is a standard
feint used by a side to lend heft, if not accuracy, to a claim.
The Zapruder film shows Kennedy's head being thrust violently backward and to
the left, which is inconsistent with a shot supposedly fired from behind.
Lee Harvey Oswald was discovered only ninety seconds after the shooting,
drinking a Coke calmly on the second floor of the Depository.
This is in dispute.
Several witnesses stated that they encountered people identifying themselves as
Secret Service agents all throughout Dealey Plaza - however, the Secret Service
has said that they had no agents on the ground in Dealey Plaza at any time.
Also disputed- antis note,
with some common sense, that human witnesses- especially in a panic, tend to
Lee Bowers, a watchman at the railyard tower behind the picket fence on the
grassy knoll, described two strange men behind the fence on the knoll- one
dressed in a policeman's uniform.
Another standard feint
that goes nowhere.
Several other witnesses, among them Gordon Arnold, told of the policeman behind
the picket fence - in addition, Gordon Arnold, who had served in the military
and knew the sounds of gunfire, stated that he heard a gunshot from behind him
while standing on the Grassy Knoll.
Human witness- not
reliable as many witnesses contradict him.
Photo enhancements of the Moorman photograph (original is below) show clearly a
man with a rifle dressed in a policeman's uniform.
There is evidence for several more shots fired in Dealey Plaza - witnesses and
even acoustical evidence prove at least four shots.
The last part is true.
Claims for more than 4 seem to be dubious, at best.
Immediately after the shooting, the entire telephone system in Washington went
out for a solid hour.
Disputed- the extent of
the SNAFU is disputed, but that the phone lines would be jammed & crash
after such a tragedy is not unreasonable, nor does it point to sinistry- a red
A third of the President's cabinet was in the air at the time of the shooting.
There is strong evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby knew each other
before the assassination.
Disputed, but the pros
seem to have the edge in credibility.
A telex was sent to all of the FBI offices around the United States a week
before the assassination warning of a possible attempt on the President's life
by a militant revolutionary group when he arrived in Dallas. After the
assassination, the Bureau instructed all the offices to remove the telex, as an
"embarrassment" to the bureau.
Not disputed, but threats
were received all the time. That 1 actually came true would seem a cause for
embarrassment. Its removal does not, however, imply a coverup of a national
murder, but of a local embarrassment.
Before the assassination, around 12:15, a man had an epilectic seizure in Dealey
Plaza - using up an ambulance that would later be needed for Kennedy - the
epilectic never checked into the hospital.
Not disputed, & 1 of
the oddities. But it does not imply any direct causal link.
Trained Dallas doctors observed and reported Kennedy's throat wound as an entry
wound, meaning he would have been shot from the front. The Dallas doctors
observed the massive wound in the back of the President's head - how can this be
an entrance wound of any kind? The wound measured about 5 cm across.
Disputed only in so far as
the antis doggedly insist on dismissing the coroners. The coroners did not
waver. Very strong in the pro camps.
The body of President Kennedy was essentially stolen from Dallas - Dallas
doctors should have performed the autopsy - instead, Kennedy's body was flown
back to Washington, for a military autopsy.
length contests are nothing new, even then. This does not imply coverup.
News reports around the globe reported that Oswald had killed Kennedy and had
background histories of this essentially unknown man in some cases hours before
he was even charged with the crime of killing the President.
This is the basis for
OS’s fictional Mr. X (based on Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty- a controversial
figure I’ll touch on later) having doubts about there being no conspiracy.
There is strong disagreement over what news was released when & to whom
globally. This element is very much a jump ball that needs more looking in to.
Doctors at the autopsy were told not to discuss anything told or seen in the
autopsy room- and Commander Humes was essentially told that Kennedy was shot
This is consistent with
what might go on during a reign of confusion- in & of itself it’s a red
herring, but context could shade it 1 way or another.
President Kennedy's brain has never been found.
In dispute. Its
whereabouts are not publicly known. Decide on your own its import or relevance.
Photos of Lee Harvey Oswald were clearly doctored and he was cleverly framed as
a Communist to cement the image in the minds of the American public as a
Much disputed- so much so
that to include it on a list of undisputed facts raises questions regarding the
writer’s motives- but not the spectrum of veracity & the techniques used
to effect by this pro- writer.
More than 75 witnesses or people who have had knowledge of this case, have died
Highly disputed- &
overstated. A few people retracted statements &/or disappeared, but many of
those claimed to have died ‘mysteriously’ did not. The man prosecuted by
filmic JFK hero Jim Garrison- Clay Shaw- for example, died of cancer- not the
mysterious ‘illness’ that pros have claimed. This claim is basically a wash,
with, perhaps, a slight edge to the pro side.
Four days after burying Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson signed National Security Action
Memo 273, which reversed Kennedy's Vietnam withdrawal policy, and began the
worst war in this country's history.
Yes. Connection to the
assassination- dubious, because the notion that a prescient JFK was gonna
withdraw from Vietnam completely is in much dispute
are undisputed- [Wrong.] I
hope every single person in this country will agree that there was a conspiracy
in the assassination of John Kennedy - we were lied to. I think most people can
agree with that - what most people can't agree about is who did it, the most
important aspect of this crime. [This last statement is undoubtedly true.]
Notice a pattern? This pro-conspiracy website easily mixes facts,
overreaches, & distorts- the same thing the pros claim of the anti-conspiracists.
What’s that about choosing your enemies well?
On The ABC Special
Let’s look at a bit from the other side on, specifically, the aforementioned ABC documentary. These snippets come from a tv critic named Verne Gay:
Yes, there's quite the TV industry in conspiracy theories - has been for
40 years, and will be for 40 more years - though not quite the TV industry there
is in their mirror opposite: the anti-conspiracy theory show. These tend to be
thoughtful, sober and terribly well-researched. Good journalism, certainly, but
"good" TV? Well....
Well, I’ve shown that the show relied less on research, much less anything new, & more on 1 overhyped computer simulation which did not deal with any of the relevant issues of the actual murder.
This may be a reason ABC has planted "Peter Jennings Reporting: The
Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy" on tonight's schedule (WABC/ 7,
9 to 11), where it's certain to generate an audience that will be counted in the
thousands. Worse luck for "Beyond" is the fact that
"Frontline's" first-rate "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?" will
air opposite (WNET/13 at 9). That program first appeared in 1993 and so
thoroughly and convincingly debunked the conspiracists that it's fair to ask:
Why the pile-on tonight?
I saw that documentary & it similarly was 1-sided & generally
ABC News will release a poll today in which a full 80 percent of
respondents say they still believe that some form of conspiracy led to JFK's
assassination, so the network appears to be on solid ground from a public
service standpoint. Also, Jennings does much of his best work for ABC these days
on the periodic "PJR" specials, which are produced by his own company.
And while he may not do most of the actual "reporting" - Mark Obenhaus
and Tom Yellin produced this program - he does lend an appropriate measure of
reportorial skepticism and distance. The conspiracists will find his tone
annoying and condescending - and Jennings does do condescension exceedingly
well. Everyone else should find it refreshing.
Refreshing only if you like snide news mannekinspeak.
Based on the limited material provided to the press, "Beyond
Conspiracy" - which claims to have interviewed 70 "friends and
family" of Oswald and Jack Ruby, as well as CIA, FBI, Dallas police and KGB
officials - is tonally different from just about everything else on the air this
week, and seems, for want of a better word, almost sympathetic. Why should most
of us continue to believe the conspiracy drivel out there? Simply put, we can't
help our sorry little selves, says "Beyond Conspiracy."
Perhaps only 20% of that # of people appeared- making 1 wonder what did the other 80% say? Would it contradict the overly simplistic portrait of the crime painted by ABC? This is not conspiracism, but a legitimate question of subjective editing.
….The writer William Manchester, Jennings adds, seemed to best explain
Americans' fixation on JFK conspiracies when he once used "an odd metaphor
that if you put 6 million murdered Jews on one side of the scale and the Nazis
on the other side, you have a rough balance - the greatest criminals equal the
greatest crime - but if you put Kennedy on one scale and this waif on the other,
there is no balance, so he says there's a tendency to add weight to
Oswald." As Jennings closes the program, he quotes Manchester's observation
that to add this much-needed psychic weight, "a conspiracy would do very
This little chestnut is often trotted out to damn people who see legitimate holes in the warren Commission’s report, but a different POV is as, or more, apropos: that is that the media puppets & their corporate masters want the dimwitted American public to doubt what they saw- a conspiratorial silencing of the most visible person involved in the assassination. It’s just as reasonable to suggest that many in the media want the public to accept LHO as the lone killer because it’s actually more comforting than the knowledge that there were (or still are) rogue forces that can remove political enemies & get away with it. The problem is the ‘conspiracy’ was so blatantly obvious that even the stolid average American cannot deny what they saw on their TV screens.
Tonight's "PJR" incorporates the work of Dale F. Myers, an
author (1998's "With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer
J.D. Tippit") and an animator who apparently has spent the past 10 years
creating a computer-animated reconstruction of those few seconds at Dealey
Plaza. His work is extraordinary, and almost certainly the highlight of
Well, not really.
Why "almost" certainly? Because ABC decided to send out only
the first 20 minutes of tonight's program. That's rarely a good sign, and
"Beyond Conspiracy" does reportedly spend the final act debunking
Oliver Stone's "JFK."
As if - you reasonably ask - Stone's "JFK" needed any further debunking.
The problem with such offhanded snideness, is that the Warren Report
allegedly contains even more errors & distortions than does
OS’s film. Yet, that fact is never mentioned by the anti camp. So, you can see
the real problem here is that both sides tend to dismiss the other & accept
nothing less than an all-or-nothing approach.
examine some bits that are far more hostile to the ABC special. So much so that
the website’s URL is actually http://www.abclies.com/.
This is from the Introduction to the site:
….How did it come to pass that ABC President David Westin, anchor man Peter Jennings, and writer and researcher Gus Russo met, approved and then decided to concoct a huge deception that is meant to recycle and resuscitate a forty year old deception that very few people believe? We try to do that here in order for the reader to fully understand what and why ABC is doing on November 20, 2003.
We trace and describe some previous network specials on the subject and how they were influenced and controlled by high officials inside and outside the government. Former Warren Commissoner John McCloy exerted enormous influence over a four-part 1967 CBS special on the assassination itself, and the CIA and Sarnoff family (owners of NBC at the time) had direct ties to a 1967 NBC special on Jim Garrison. We also trace the recent history of ABC, especially the momentous event that Andy Boehm and Jim DiEugenio describe in the 2003 Introduction and original 1987 article entitled "The Seizing of the American Broadcasting Company." This piece describes in detail an example of how the government can influence what is shown --- and not shown --- on the broadcast airwaves that are theoretically controlled by the citizens of this country. We suggest the reader read this bloc of articles first.
Note how it’s never suggested that these fellows, or ABC, could merely be dupes? They are immediately co-opted into the enemy camp. While everything above may be true the important thing to realize when dealing with extremists (a description the pro- & anti-conspiracists fit snugly in to) is their very extreme nature, itself; such as allowing no ethical wiggle room for their foes.
We then move on and show as directly as we can how ABC came to the lamentable decision to produce a documentary that is simply insupportable by the facts, circumstances, and evidence. This bloc of articles includes a profile of ABC News President David Westin, how he came to power and how his regime has differed markedly from his legendary predecessor Roone Arledge. We then describe the career of a reporter who sets a paradigm and precedent for ABC's actions on this case, reporter John Stossel who, although billed originally as a consumer advocate, is something short of that. We then examine aspects of the career of the chief consultant on this special, Gus Russo: his career in the Kennedy research field, his differing beliefs at times, and his dubious claim of a Pulitzer nomination. We then connect Russo to the main players behind the November 20th special, Jennings and Mark Obenhaus. We do this through the previous production of theirs based upon the controversial and specious book by Seymour Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot.
I’ll briefly examine some of these claims in a bit, to see if they live up to the billing.
Finally, we begin to dissect some of the work of Russo and his friend Dale Myers, upon whom ABC has relied. We especially try to examine the work of Myers on the computer simulation he has had for sale for about a decade, and Russo's work on the most important aspect of any murder case, the medical and autopsy evidence. These are the most important aspects of any serious inquiry into a murder case. If those conclusions are faulty, everything that follows from it must be wrong.
Note the sweeping generality at the end. Just because autopsy evidence may have been wrong does not necessarily imply conspiracy. It could be ineptness. The problem with most of the pro-conspiracists is they focus on too much extraneous minutiae, rather than actual relevant facts. The most blaring example of this is the Magic Bullet, which was not the kill shot.
But also, through this detailed inquiry we hope to posit some wider, broader, more universal queries about the media itself. Is it possible for any huge network which works so closely with the government to be expected to tell the truth about any highly controversial and influential event in which it plays a controlling role? Who do people at the top of the network ladder serve today? And if they do not serve the public, what alternative does the public have in pursuing factual truth about these events? And does this pursuit of facts not available through the mainstream media, automatically place them in opposition to the media and the government? The exploration of those questions based on accurate information are meant to encourage a democratic debate about the state of our media today.
Missing in this thesis, however, is the general ineptitude of corporate America. A vigilant dissent will always hold its own against the powerful because there is a natural distrust of the powerbroker. The trick is in retaining the vigilance of the dissent.
Here’s snippets from another essay on the ABC Lies website. It’s called JFK: How the Media Assassinated The Real Story:
….Original, enterprise reporting has been left almost entirely to alternative weeklies, monthly magazines, book publishers, and documentary makers. All such efforts over the last 29 years have met the same fate as Oliver Stone's movie: derision from the mainstream media. At first, the public bought the party line. But gradually, as more and more information slipped through the margins of the media business, and finally through the efforts of Congress itself, the public began to change its mind.
Actually, the moment JR nailed LHO the Conspiracy Theory took off.
Today, according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, an astonishing 77 percent of Americans reject the Warren Report's conclusions. How did such a tremendous credibility gap come about? And, assuming that the majority of Americans are right, how did a free press so totally blow one of the biggest stories of the century? To find out, Village Voice has reviewed hundreds of documents bearing on the media's coverage of the assassination, and has discovered a pattern of collusion and co-optation that is hardly less chilling than the prospect of a conspiracy to kill the president. In particular, The New York Times, Time-Life, CBS, and NBC have striven mightily to protect the single assassin hypothesis, even when that has involved the suppression of information, the coercion of testimony, and the misrepresentation of key evidence. The Voice has discovered that: Within days of the assassination, the Justice Department quashed an editorial in The Washington Post that called for an independent investigation; within two weeks the FBI was able to crow that NBC had pledged not to report anything beyond what the FBI itself was putting before the American people; only four hours after the murder, Life magazine grabbed up one of the main pieces of evidence --- the Zapruder film --- misrepresenting the content to millions of readers in its very first post-assassination issue and then continuing the lie with ever-changing captions and Zapruder frames in its special issue supporting the Warren Commission report; in 1967, a supposedly independent CBS documentary series on the assassination was in fact secretly reviewed and seemingly altered by former Warren Commission member John Jay McCloy, through a "Dad says" memo written by his daughter Ellen McCloy, then administrative assistant of CBS News president Richard Salant; within that same CBS series, the testimony of Orville Nix --- an amateur filmmaker who captured the "the grassy knoll" angle on tape --- was tailored to fit the requirements of CBS's Warren Commission slant. Much of this unethical and immoral practice was accomplished under the pretext of "sparing the Kennedy family."
Note the echoes to the motives of JR. Yet, much of these assertions produce counter-assertions, so the mooting of either side exists.
…if anyone was going to end Camelot, far better for the memories, far better for the family, that it be a lone psycho than a conspiracy. And if the media were solicitous to the Kennedys in this way, they were positively patronizing to the citizenry. It was Vietnam all over again: the war was good for the country, so don't report how badly it was going; a conspiracy to kill the president would be demoralizing at home and humiliating abroad, so sweep under the rug any evidence pointing in that direction. And then of course there was the national security issue.
Echoes of what I just stated above- a lone gunman is far more acceptable than a conspiracy.
memo from Katzenbach to Bill Moyers, then a top aide to Lyndon Johnson, spelled
out the Justice Department's strategy, a strategy that would prevail to a
shocking degree right through the end of the decade:
1) The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.
2) Speculation about Oswald's motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy or (as the Iron Curtain press is saying) a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists. Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat --- too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.). The Dallas police have put out statements on the Communist conspiracy theory, and it was they who were in charge when he was shot and thus silenced.
Katzenbach, whose memo sets out the Warren report results a year before the commission reached them, suggests that a "Presidential Commission of unimpeachable personnel" be appointed to examine evidence and reach conclusions. In closing he writes, I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now. We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.
Actually, this is typical bureaucratic fulmination. It does not, by
itself, point to anything damning- despite pro-conspiracists’ objections &
my distaste for the reprehensible Bill Moyers.
….The [New York] Times did not quit with the Warren report. Two
months after the Warren report was released, the Times collaborated with
McGraw-Hill and Bantam on The Witnesses, a book of testimony from the
Warren Commission hearings edited by the Times. The accounts of those
witnesses whose testimony deviated the slightest from the official story were
simply edited out. Not included, for instance, was one man's testimony to the
Warren Commission that on the day of JFK's murder he had seen two men on the
sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository, where the official line says there was
just Oswald. The FBI told this witness to "forget it." His references
to shots coming from the railroad yards in front of the president were also
Arguments rage over this-
but some of the witnesses were, upon further investigation, wrong or distorting.
The issue is not that the Warren Commission or The New York Times gave credit to
some witnesses over other- that’s common police & investigatory practice-
but the methods for determining credibility in the 1st place.
In addition, the
section of the transcript where three Secret Service agents' autopsy
observations contradict the official autopsy report was deleted. No wonder
readers of this expurgated version of the commission's report became true
believers. With the issuance of the Warren report, Oswald became the assassin.
(Although from the very beginning --- with a November 1963 Life article
on Oswald headlined, "The Assassin: A Cold Lonely Man Who Resented All
Authority" --- there was no presumption of innocence and little inclination
to consider other explanations.)
Much of this is true,
although the observations of agents does not hold the weight of the
….Life was in
Dallas making arrangements to buy the original Zapruder film only four hours
after the assassination. Of the four existing home movies taken that day in
Dealey Plaza, the 8mm film, shot by a middle-aged dress manufacturer, was
considered to be the best record of JFK's murder. According to Richard Stolley,
who is currently the editorial director of Time Inc. and who handled the
Zapruder transaction for Life, the order to acquire the film and
"withhold it from public viewing" came from Life's publisher, C.D.
And who was C.D. Jackson? A staunch anticommunist who played a crucial role in the direction of U.S. policy throughout the 1950s, both as "psychological war advisor" to Eisenhower and as a member of anticommunist front groups, Jackson's publication had long been known for "always pulling chestnuts out of the fire for the CIA," as the late Drew Pearson once put it. Having shelled out $150,000 for the film (the Zapruder family attorney claims the number was even higher), Stolley headed back to New York with the original print under his arm, leaving investigators with a copy that was next to worthless in terms of forensic analysis. By permitting the chain of custody to include Life magazine, and by accepting a mere copy of a crucial piece of evidence, the law-enforcement authorities were well on their way to compromising their investigation. The critical Zapruder film was kept exclusively in the hands of Time Inc. and out of the public's reach for the next 12 years, allowing Life to take the American people on one of the longest rides ever in American journalism.
In its very first issue after the assassination, Life seriously misrepresented the content of the Zapruder film, a practice that would continue until the film finally gained general release in 1975. The doctors at Parkland Hospital, who had worked on the president, had reported that he had suffered an "apparent" entrance wound to the throat. Since the book depository, from which Oswald had allegedly fired, was to the presidential limousine's rear, how, some were beginning to wonder, did the president suffer a frontal throat wound? Life's December 6, 1963, edition gave a simple and conclusive explanation, based on the Zapruder film, an answer only Life could provide. Wrote Life: "The 8mm [Zapruder] film shows the President turning his body far around to the right as he waves to someone in the crowd. His throat is exposed to the sniper's nest just before he clutches it." This description of the Zapruder film went a long way toward allaying fears of conspiracy in those early days, for it explained away a troublesome inconsistency in the lone assassin scenario. There was only one problem: The description of the Zapruder film was a total fabrication. Although the film shows Kennedy turning to the right --- toward the grassy knoll, that is --- at no time does he turn 180 degrees toward the book depository. Indeed, by the time he is hit, he is once again turning toward the front.
Herein is 1 of the central
forensic mysteries- has the Zapruder film been tampered with? If so, then
computer simulations like Dale Myers’ are utterly worthless, but, so too, the
pro-conspiracists’ claims of visual proof of a Grassy Knoll 2nd
Gunman. Like it or not both sides have top deal with that troubling question
& its implications. Both sides gloss over this fact by accepting the
Zapruder film face up.
….The October 2, 1964, issue underwent two major revisions after it hit
the stands, expensive changes that required breaking and resetting plates twice,
a highly unusual occurrence. That issue of Life was illustrated with
eight frames of the Zapruder film along with descriptive captions. One version
of caption 6 read: "The assassin's shot struck the right rear portion of
the President's skull, causing a massive wound and snapping his head to one
side." The photo accompanying this caption --- frame 323 --- shows the
president slumped back against the seat, and leaning to the left, an instant
after the fatal bullet struck him. The photo makes it look as though shots came
from the front --- the railroad trestle --- or the right --- the grassy knoll. A
second version of the issue replaces this frame with another, the graphic shot
of the president's head exploding (frame 313). Blood fills the air and all
details are obscured. The caption, oddly enough, remained the same ---
describing his head snapping to one side. A third version carries this same 313
slide --- frame 323 has been thrown on the dumpheap of history --- but now with
a new caption, one that jibes perfectly with the Warren Commission's findings.
"The direction from which shots came was established by this picture taken
at the instant the bullet struck the rear of the President's head and, passing
through, caused the front part of his skull to explode forward." Nice try.
Of course, as all the world would learn years later, it was the back of the
president's skull that would explode, suggesting an exit wound, and sending
Jackie Kennedy crawling reflexively across the trunk of the limousine to try to
salvage the pieces. But this would not be fully understood until the Zapruder
film itself had been seen in its entirety.
That question- why did
Jackie sprawl across the back of the car?- has never been answered. It sure
seems as if she were trying to recover something shot from the opposite
direction, or instinctively hide in the opposite direction.
….By 1966 The Times seemed to be moving away from its stance of
unquestioning support for the Warren report. In a November 1966 editorial, the
paper acknowledged that there were "Unanswered Questions."….That
investigation lasted for less than a month. The best look inside the brief
investigation came in a Rolling Stone interview with New York Times
reporter and assassination investigation team member Martin Waldron. Waldron
told Rolling Stone that the team found "a lot of unanswered
questions" that the Times did not choose to pursue….But finally,
the lid blew off in 1975 when activist Dick Gregory and optics expert Robert
Groden approached Geraldo Rivera with a newly unearthed clear copy of the
Zapruder film. Finally, the American public was to see the Zapruder film in its
entirety, unmediated by any editors or censors. ABC's Good Night America
show was the first national television airing of the film to include the deadly
frame 313. (Pirated copies had started to crop up in the mid '60s but were of
such poor quality they had no dramatic impact.) "It was one of those things
where I said [to ABC], 'It gets on or I walk,'" Rivera told the Voice.
ABC relented, but only after Rivera agreed to sign a waiver accepting sole
financial responsibility if Time or the Zapruder family sued. Rivera
maintains that Time-Life did not sue because "they were blown away by the
reaction to the program." The airing of the Zapruder film on Rivera's show
was a catalyst for renewed interest in the murder and ultimately culminated in
four congressional investigations into various aspects of the controversy.
It’s scary to realize
that at 1 time Geraldo Rivera had principles, ain't it!
Oliver Stone's movie JFK
relies on the Zapruder film to support the film's central contention that
Kennedy's fatal wound came from the front, and that therefore a conspiracy
existed. Referring to the 8mm film, Stone told the Voice: "It was
key. It is the best smoking gun we have to date." Despite the compelling
use of the Zapruder film in Stone's movie, the man who helped acquire it for
Time-Life remains convinced that the Warren Commission got it right and that
Oswald did in fact shoot Kennedy from the book depository. "There is
nothing in the Zapruder film which contradicts the Warren report," says
Dick Stolley. Oddly enough, the man who shot the film, Abraham Zapruder,
according to an article authored by Stolley in the November 1973 Esquire,
told the Life reporter, "My first impression was that the shots were
coming from behind me" --- that is, from the infamous grassy knoll
This claim is something that is consistently downplayed by the anti-conspiracists.
CBS decided to go ahead
with a documentary series in the fall of 1966, as the cynicism about the
assassination continued to mount. Books on the subject were starting to
stimulate a national debate. Reports on the suppression of crucial evidence ---
including the fact the Warren Commission never even saw the actual autopsy
photos and X-rays of JFK --- had became parlor talk around the country. Buzz
phrases like "magic bullet" were being used for the first time to
express a growing cynicism. Public opinion polls indicated that a majority of
the respondents had begun to doubt that Oswald was the whole story.
The CBS effort was nothing if not monumental. Whereas those who had come before had used fixed targets to test the magic bullet hypothesis, CBS went a giant step further, rigging up a moving target. But the money and manpower thrown at the project was undercut all along the way by errors in procedure and logic; if not motive. For instance, in trying to determine whether Oswald could possibly have fired all the rounds believed to have been squeezed off in Dealey Plaza, CBS used a rifle that was faster than Oswald's: capable of three shots in 4.1 seconds as opposed to 4.6 seconds for Oswald's. The 11 CBS marksmen fired 37 firing runs of three shots each; of those, an amazing 17 of the 37 runs were disqualified as Cronkite said "because of trouble with the rifle." And, even with their faster guns and time to practice, the 11 marksmen averaged 5.6 seconds to get off their three shots, with an average of 1.2 hits. Oswald, a notoriously bad shot firing with a slower gun, is alleged to have done much better --- three shots and two direct hits in 5.6 seconds, with no warm-up. CBS neglected to inform its viewers of the poor total average hit ratio. How did CBS interpret these rifle tests? "It seems reasonable to say that an expert could fire that rifle in five seconds," intoned Walter Cronkite. "It seems equally reasonable to say that Oswald, under normal circumstances, would take longer. But these were not normal circumstances. Oswald was shooting at a president. So our answer is: probably fast enough."
Such reasoning, applied to
other things, would probably have gotten Uncle Walter pink slipped years
….Danny Schechter's Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy,
features Walter Cronkite conceding that CBS News in 1970 censored Lyndon
Johnson's own doubts about the lone-assassin theory. Cronkite tells Schechter
that Johnson invoked "national security" to get CBS to edit out his
remarks long after they had been captured on film. Cronkite and CBS, of course,
But perhaps nothing revealed CBS's prejudice in the series more tellingly
than the network's treatment of Orville Nix, a man who was wielding a movie
camera across from the grassy knoll on that fateful day. Nix, who had worked for
the General Service Administration as an air conditioning repairman in the
Dallas Secret Service building, sold his footage to UPI for $5000 in 1963. But,
according to his granddaughter Gayle Nix Jackson, the film only brought him
"The FBI had
issued a dictum to all of Dallas's film labs that any assassination photos had
to be turned over to the FBI immediately," recalls Gayle Jackson. "The
lab called my granddad first and, like the good American he was, he rushed it to
the FBI." Nix had to turn his camera over to the FBI as well. "They
took the camera for five months. They said they needed to analyze it. They
returned it in pieces," recalls Jackson. In 1967 Nix dutifully turned out
for the CBS re-creation. Recalls his granddaughter: "His turn came to
reenact what he saw. They said, `Mr. Nix, where did the shots come from?' He
said, `From over there on that grassy knoll behind the picket fence.' Then it
would be, `Cut!' We went through this six or seven times and each time it was,
`Cut!' And then a producer stepped forward and said, `Orville, where did the
Warren Commission say the shots came from?' My granddad said, `Well, the Texas
Book Depository.' The producer said, `That's what you need to say.'" CBS
producer Bernard Birnbaum, who worked on the documentary, denies the exchange.
"We never tried to put any words in anybody's mouth, absolutely not,"
he told the Voice. Birnbaum says CBS did give Warren Commission critics
air time and cites a segment of the documentary where another eyewitness
contends shots came from the grassy knoll. "We were looking to disprove
everything," he insists.
He said/she said
bits like this only clog the real facts- interesting, but ultimately pointless.
….Throughout the early
1960s, when Walter Cronkite said, "That's the way it is ..." we had no
reason to doubt him. The bashing of Oliver Stone's movie JFK by the
bastions of the American media --- CBS, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek,
and The Washington Post --- is said to spring from the sincere desire on
the part of the keepers of America's memory to see that our sacred history does
not fall prey to revisionist charlatans. While Stone's film does take serious
liberty with history, the virulence with which the film has been attacked seems
to say more about a defensive press that missed and continues to miss a major
story than it does about any flaws in JFK.
Another interesting point- the attacks against JFK,
the film, are far out of proportion with its impact. In fact, the attacks lent
the film even greater weight- ironic, since OS has always stated the film was
not fact, but only a possible explanation- a counter-myth to balance the Warren
Commission’s seminal myth of the Lone Gunman. Let’s take a look at some of the attacks against that film.
another bit of reactionary virulence to OS’s film:
In discussing the media’s reaction to Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK, Sam Smith commented that, “It is one of contemporary journalism’s most disastrous conceits that truth can not exist in the absence of revealed evidence. By accepting the tyranny of the known, the media inevitably relies on the official version of the truth, seldom asking the government to prove its case, while demanding of critics of that official version the most exacting tests of evidence.”(emphasis in original) Nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than in Kennedy’s medical/autopsy evidence. The original, official findings are accepted without serious scrutiny, as if the government was institutionally incapable of anything but impartiality. Challenges, by contrast, are run through the most withering gauntlet, perhaps for the obvious reason that it is the government that sits in judgment of the merits of the challenge….If nothing else, the handling of JFK’s medical/autopsy evidence provides a case exemplar of how easily things can get started on the wrong foot, and why reinvestigations conducted by the original investigative authority may prefer to keep them on that foot.
The choice of three inadequate pathologists to perform the autopsy of the century was certainly a very bad step in the search for truth, but perhaps only the second error, after allowing the government to do Kennedy’s autopsy in the first place. The doctors’ having been told that, as already discussed, three shots had been heard before JFK fell forward to the floor of the limousine, and that a rifle barrel was seen being withdrawn from an upper floor window behind JFK, certainly influenced the findings of men whose clinical capacities to sort out complex injuries were well below par.
Other than the Zapruder film the autopsies remain the most central evidence pertaining to the question of a 2nd shooter. That so many questions abound is 1 thing- that no questions are raised in the mainstream media another, even more damning 1.
….Besides the President’s brain and tissue slides, the camera that took JFK’s “best evidence” autopsy photographs has vanished, as have the HSCA tests that revealed that the camera failed a test to match them with the official photographs. The skull fragments that ostensibly proved the bullet’s direction by their supposed beveling characteristics have disappeared. Original autopsy notes were vaporized by JFK’s chief pathologist, who followed that up by signing false affidavits about them, and then by giving the Warren Commission misleading testimony. Also, multiple lines of evidence suggest that crucial – what might fairly be described as “diagnostic” – autopsy photographs are also missing, if not falsified.
Again, the silence from the mainstream media is too much to ignore in this regard.
….Since the best scientific judgments cannot be rendered until all data has been analyzed, it is safe to say that the best scientific judgments are not yet in on the JFK medical/autopsy evidence. So does the evidence merit a reexamination by a new panel of experts? The reader will have to decide for himself how much suppressed, and contradictory, evidence it takes to justify a reappraisal. Or to justify lack of confidence in prior appraisals. But today it is not an exaggeration to argue that still, nearly 40 years later, there remain myriad unanswered questions.
Had JFK’s death been a simple matter of a sole, deranged act by a disgruntled loner, how likely is it that so much inconvenient evidence would have been suppressed or ignored?
This is a very good point. Why so many apparently covert maneuvers if LHO
was truly a singular wacko?
While the prior examples showed overreaching & distortion as pertains to the 2 camps’ presentation of the ‘facts’ they find relevant, the following excerpt, from an online piece by a Milicent Cranor called ‘Neck and Torso X-rays: Selectivity in Reporting’ vividly illustrates how peoples’ will to believe can be directed:
"Pick a number," says the gypsy, "any number from one to ten." Suppose you say "Seven." The gypsy then tells you to look beneath the big black book on the table. You do so and, magically, you find a small piece of paper contain a single message: "7." Proof of clairvoyance. If you had tried again and said "Ten," the gypsy would have asked you to look beneath the teapot. There you would have found a slip of paper with the number "10" written on it. But the gypsy quickly directs your attention to other matters – he dares not perform more than one demonstration of his clairvoyance per session, or even the most gullible would catch on.
The above scenario demonstrates the power of undetected selectivity. Once it is detected, it loses its power. There is a long history of selectivity in the reporting of images on the x-rays of the neck and torso of the late John F. Kennedy.
The piece then veers off in to far too technical terms which basically assert that the wounds on JFK’s body were inconsistent with shots fired from the School Book Depository. Yet, this technique has been equally applied to other aspects of the murder, which I have illustrated.
Suspects & Motives
An online article from the History Matters website by a Rex Bradford, Lasting Questions About The Murder Of President Kennedy, addresses the aforementioned issues, as well:
Government has gotten out of the business of answering these questions, having
done so twice (in 1964 and 1979, with different answers). But it doesn't take
much hunting in the national media, or any encyclopedia or school textbook, to
discover the official societal answers to these questions:
Who killed JFK? Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone (and Jack Ruby acted alone when he killed Oswald in the basement of a police station two days later).
Was there really a government coverup? No, although there was perhaps excessive secrecy and a desire to avoid inflaming the situation given Oswald's Communist background.
Are there any smoking guns in the new records? No (not that it is necessary to actually read them to discover this).
Will we ever know what happened? The Warren Commission figured it out in 1964, but irresponsible "conspiracy theorists" have misled a public all too willing to believe that such a larger-than-life figure as Kennedy could not be brought down by a single disturbed loner.
Does it matter anymore? Hey, it was almost 40 years ago. Get a life!
Note how these points echo through every bit of information put out by the anti-conspiracists- a group that, in comparison to the pro-conspiracists, are as homogeneous as milk. Later on some more questions of merit are pointed out:
Other aspects of coverup are so overt and open that they often escape comment. An example is the Warren Commission's treatment of Jack Ruby, the man who shot Oswald. An honest and aggressive investigation would have immediately hauled Ruby to Washington for several days of grilling. Instead, the Commission put off interviewing Ruby until June 7, 1964, when chapters of the Warren Report were already being drafted and edited. During his single interview, held in a jail cell in Dallas, Ruby begged several times to be taken to Washington where he could speak more freely. Ruby said at one point: "Gentlemen, unless you get me to Washington, you can't get a fair shake out of me." The supposed reason for not interviewing Ruby earlier was to avoid interfering with his trial, but even crediting that excuse, the trial was over months earlier. As Warren noted: "And I wish we had gotten here a little sooner after your trial was over, but I know you had other things on your mind, and we had other work, and it got to this late date." The Commission declined to take Ruby to Washington, leaving him in his cell, where he died in January 1967.
Further on is a summation whose many points we will see can be applied not only to the JFK assassination mythos, but the UFO mythos, & many others, as well:
Members of the general public, like the journalists and pundits who mostly live on the other side of the fault line, are not particularly well-versed on the particulars of the assassination. In both cases, shared assumptions and general belief systems matter more than detailed arguments over facts and evidence. In defense of the general public's belief in conspiracy, it can be argued that the populace "smells a rat" for many very good reasons, including basic commonsense ones like Jack Ruby's shooting of Oswald. In defense of the elite opinion, the Warren Report and modern versions of it such as Case Closed seem to effectively debunk many of the conspiracy arguments. The emphasis here is on the word "seem." The set of facts available for any author in this case is vast, and selective use of these facts can and has made for books which are persuasive to the uninitiated by scoffed at by experts of the case. Also, many of the arguments which seem so effective ultimately devolve to appeals to authority, and rely on the assumption that those in law enforcement and high political positions would not lie about such important matters. This is an issue of belief more than provable fact, and there is good reason to doubt its truth in many instances
….Any serious investigation of the Kennedy assassination quickly becomes an adventure in epistemology—the issue quickly becomes not "what does the evidence say" but "how do we know what we know?" One strategy that makes sense to many is to start first with the physical base of evidence: the films, the photographs, the bullet fragments, the rifle, and so on. But there is a paucity of such evidence to begin with, much of it having mysteriously disappeared. Furthermore, legal traditions and common sense dictate that there be a "chain of possession" for such evidence, in order that the veracity of the physical evidence be upheld. But most of the primary physical evidence in this case has no such chain of possession, or is of suspect origin in the first place.
The "magic bullet," for instance, tied to Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all others by its rifling marks, was found in Parkland hospital well after the shooting. It was found on a stretcher near some elevators by a hospital employee. The Warren Commission asserted that the stretcher was Governor Connally's, but more detailed analyses have shown it was probably that of a patient unrelated to the shootings. The bullet is slightly flattened at the base but otherwise unmangled, and looks remarkably similar to test bullets fired into tubes of cotton. In other words, it has all the earkmarks of a "plant," and the scene of confusion at Parkland Hospital provided ample opportunity.
….And what about the societal and historical view of the assassination, that which appears in history textbooks, encyclopedias, articles in the New York Times, or any other indicator of official opinion? These, with a few exceptions, have remained strikingly free of the grim reality which has come pouring out over the decades. Microsoft Encarta, based on the Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia, contains this in its brief description of the JFK assassination: "two shots were fired.....Kennedy fell forward..." In these few words alone there are two errors of basic fact. First, the Warren Commission found that three shots were fired (there may have been more, but there certainly weren't less). Second, the Zapruder film shows unequivocally that Kennedy fell backward rather than forward. That such mis-information appears in encyclopedias to this day is hardly a good omen for the future.
So who did kill JFK? The short and easy answer is that we do not know, the crime having never been honestly investigated by those who had, at least in theory, the judicial power to get to the bottom of it. That failure is a bitter legacy from which there is no escape….What follows, it should be obvious, is one person's overview analysis of the historical record; others can and do (vehemently) disagree.
Lee Oswald - It was proven long ago that one man did not fire all the shots in Dealey Plaza that Friday afternoon in Dallas. More than three decades of additional information has only confirmed this judgment, despite the ferocity with which it is still held in some quarters. This is not to say that Oswald was necessarily an innocent patsy—it seems quite possible that he was part of the murder plot. That too is uncertain. Oswald remains a true enigma, in many ways the most mysterious figure of the assassination landscape. The boy who watched "I Led Three Lives for the FBI," joined the Marines, served as a radar operator at a base in Japan which happened to house U-2 spy planes, learned Russian somehow and defected to the Soviet Union, came back to the U.S. with a Russian wife to work at menial jobs, occasionally passing out pro-Castro leaflets while also being seen in the company of serious anti-Communist crusaders, still defies easy analysis. Oswald remains a mystery, despite the attempts to flatten him into two-dimensional cartoons, whether that of the Crazy Marxist of the James Bond CIA Spy. The truth is likely stranger and more complex than either caricature, and may never be untangled.
Note how he rejects the either/or of the extreme anti- & pro- views re: LHO as victim. Yet he asserts that it was proven long ago that there was more than 1 gunman. Officially it’s a no, & even people who think a conspiracy likely- like me- have to admit the evidence is only circumstantial, however compelling. Unfortunately, as noted previously, too much corroborating evidence is not around anymore.
The KGB - The circumstantial case for Soviet involvement in the assassination was laid out by Edward Jay Epstein in a book called Legend, based on his conversations with legendary CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton. There are indeed some mysteries related to Oswald's sojourn in the Soviet Union, and the Soviet defector Nosenko who came to America in 1964 with the untrue story that the KGB never had any interest in Oswald. But why the Soviet government would want to kill Kennedy, other than to fulfill its reputation as the Evil Empire, has never been clear. In any case, the tapped phone calls in which Oswald was impersonated shatter any such notion. It is very unlikely, to say the least, that the KGB would fake evidence of an incriminating contact between Oswald and one of their assassination experts. The episode instead smacks of, as Katzenbach wrote in his memo, "a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists."
This is probably true, since any link to murder may have provoked Armageddon. But, rogue factions within the KGB or Soviet military cannot be discounted, especially when we have seen in recent years just how inept National Security really has been- from 9/11 to ex-CIA agents easily selling information for years; not to mention that ‘rogue’ elements in our own government are readily seen as possibilities.
Fidel Castro - While the public reports generated by the investigations have been careful not to point the finger at Cuba's Fidel Castro, behind the scenes a great deal of attention has been focused there. Virtually all of the relevant evidence came from the CIA's Mexico City station. Witnesses claimed to have seen Oswald take money to kill Kennedy at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City. Tapped phone lines produced ambiguous but sinister information. A defector from Cuba's intelligence service, DGI, claimed that Oswald had met with DGI agents on multiple occasions. Dissecting this and related evidence is well outside the scope of this essay, and will instead be treated under essays in the topic The Framing of Oswald. It is this author's strong view that the connection is ultimately false and indeed a setup, and has been used effectively to throw off track the various investigations, particularly the Schweiker subcommittee of the Church Committee.
Castro has long been suspect, especially with the motivation of ‘getting JFK before he gets me’, but Cuba had far more to lose than the USSR by assassinating JFK. & would Castro have believed LBJ would go softer on him than JFK?
The Mafia - The books promoting the "organized crime hit" theory are generally uncompelling to this writer, crystallized in the absurd depiction of a Mafia chieftain lamenting to near-stranger Edward Becker "Take the stone out of my shoe!" But there is abundant circumstantial evidence implicating certain mobsters, most particularly Johnny Roselli (one good source is Sons and Brothers by Richard Mahoney). And the HSCA took the veil off Jack Ruby and showed his deep mob ties. But Rosselli was at the nexus of the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro. And the emerging story of Ruby's involvement in gunrunning to Cuban exiles (see the LaFontaine's Oswald Talked and Peter Scott's Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, in addition to the account Nancy Perrin Rich told the Warren Commission) puts him into the same milieu. Rather than an organized crime hit, what seems more likely is a new use (by CIA officers or agents) of an existing relationship. The choice of the "hoodlum" Ruby to silence Oswald is perhaps a classic case of the use of "cutouts" to keep suspicion away from an operation's ultimate sponsors. As Peter Dale Scott has noted, Ruby's connections are broader than just the mob in other ways, extending via his Teamsters contacts into the political realm.
To me, most people who blithely dismiss the Mafia as a source of the JFK killing do not fundamentally understand the organized crime mentality. I will go on about that a bit later, but consider that since the end of Prohibition Organized Crime enjoyed almost 3 decades of unparalleled freedom to engage in illegalities. J. Edgar Hoover’s ties to mob figures is known, as well as both parties’ hatred for JFK & RFK (who was leading the anti-Mafia charge), not to mention the irrational aspects of many Mafia actions based on emotion. The RFK investigations smacked of betrayal by the scion of a man the Mafia made 1 of the 10 richest men in America, at 1 time. But, that the Mafia acted alone is not likely. More likely is that the mob found sympathizers in the government, & both found it much easier to kill a national leader when 1 of the parties controls the movement & protection of that leader. The Mafia also saw JFK as a weakling who could not even take out Castro- a man who cost the mob billions in illegal revenue annually. Weakness is a despicable trait in Mafia circles. The use of JR as a beard also seems quite possible, as he was in debt to Mafia figures for his very livelihood. Plus, unlike the young healthy LHO. JR was less likely to go pigeon on them, as he already knew he was dying of cancer. So there was no need to silence the silencer.
Anti-Castro Exiles - Another group known to hate President Kennedy were the anti-Castro exiles, for whom Kennedy's failure to provide support during the Bay of Pigs invasion was unforgivable. Oswald's 1963 summer in New Orleans put him in contact with members of exile groups, including DRE member Carlos Bringuier, who engaged Oswald in a possibly-staged fracas. The story of Sylvia Odio remains unresolved, as well. Ms. Odio, daughter of an imprisoned anti-Castro Cuban, told the Warren Commission that three men came to her door one evening in September 1963, two of them Latins and the third Lee Harvey Oswald. One of the men told her on the phone the next day that Oswald was "loco" and wanted to kill Kennedy. These and other stories possibly implicating anti-Castro Cubans have never been satisfactorily resolved. But even if members of these groups were involved with Oswald, or with the setup of Oswald, they hardly had the power or knowledge to conduct sophisticated operations like the Mexico City frameup. At most, such groups would have been working under the direction of their CIA handlers, who included among them David Phillips or Howard Hunt.
RB’s analysis is probably correct.
Lyndon Johnson - Que bono? Who benefits? The fact that Lyndon Johnson came from Texas provided for some an immediate circumstantial case for his involvement in the murder of his predecessor. Nearly forty years of subsequent research has never answered this question one way or another. Certainly it is true that Johnson was aware that the Oswald lone-nut story was untrue—he said so many times, including in a conversation with Warren Commissioner Richard Russell on the eve of the Warren Report's publication. But Johnson nonetheless used the false Communist conspiracy evidence to press Earl Warren onto the Commission against his will, as Warren noted in his memoirs and as evidence in LBJ's November 29 1963 phone call with Richard Russell. Johnson played an active early role in the coverup, but the charge that he was involved in the murder remains speculation.
Again, the author’s assessment seems the best interpretation.
The Right-Wing - In the Warren Commission's sole interview with Jack Ruby, Ruby dropped a giant hint about the involvement of the John Birch Society and right-wing ex-general Edwin Walker, and then declared "...me giving the people the opportunity to get into power, because of the act I committed, has put a lot of people in jeopardy with their lives. Doesn't register with you, does it?" Earl Warren answered "No, I don't understand that." Dallas, Texas, was in 1963 a hotbed of right-wing militarism and racism, and the behavior of the Dallas Police fueled suspicions of a Dallas-based right-wing plot. Wealthy oilman H. L. Hunt, whose son had met with Ruby just prior to the assassination, went into hiding for a time after the Kennedy murder. A locally-based right-wing plot, by itself doesn't begin to explain the sophisticated setup of Oswald in New Orleans and Mexico City. To the extent, however, that right-wing figures were enmeshed in the broader anti-Kennedy political landscape, their involvement seems much more plausible.
This faction might well include covert Klansmen inflamed as much by RFK’s involvement in Civil Rights as the Mafia’s hatred for the Kennedy family’s ‘betrayal’. But, as stated, they were probably marginal figures used by people with greater power.
The CIA - There has long been suspicion that Oswald was an agent of U. S. intelligence, probably the CIA, though no documentation to that effect has ever emerged from the files. An entire book, Spy Saga by Dr. Philip Melanson, explored many of the reasons for this conclusion. The release of Oswald's CIA "201" file shows that the CIA had a much more active pre-assassination interest in Oswald than previously admitted, and anomalies in the record add to, rather than reduce, the mystery of Oswald's intelligence connections. Dr. John Newman's Oswald and the CIA explores some of the new revelations in the documentary record released in the 1990s. But if Oswald indeed was some kind of agent of the CIA, that hardly makes him a CIA killer. In fact, it raises the likelihood that this association is what led to his selection as a "patsy." What better way to force the CIA into a coverup than to paint one of its own as the killer of the President? In any case, the CIA as an organization, vast as it is, is hardly a credible suspect in the assassination per se. But individual officers, and possibly a powerful cabal of them as opposed to merely a few "rogue" agents, may very well have been part of the plot. The Mexico City stories of a Soviet/Castro conspiracy were vigorously pushed by certain figures in the CIA. More importantly, the pre-assassination activities of some of these persons and the handling of the "Oswald" telephone taps has never been adequately explained. This includes the actions of counterintelligence officers in CIA headquarters, who opened the 201 file on a Lee "Henry" Oswald and created the deceitful October cables reporting falsely on the Oswald Embassy contacts. The CIA has lied for over 35 years about the taped Embassy phone calls, and its story of why a photograph of Oswald in Mexico City was never obtained by its photographic surveillance is hard to believe. This photographic surveillance became known to the Warren Commission, though only because Oswald's mother Marguerite complained loudly that she had been shown a picture of Jack Ruby before Ruby killed her son. She had in fact been shown a picture of the "Mexico City Mystery Man," which had been flown from Mexico City to Dallas on a Naval Attache plane, apparently mistaken for Oswald by the CIA Mexico City station itself. The identity of this person has never been determined, and the CIA expressed great concern about the Warren Commission's plan to publish the photo, even with the background cut out. One CIA memo even suggested that the face of the man might be altered in the published photo. If this idea was really promoted to protect the identity of an innocent bystander, it shows a touching sensitivity in an agency otherwise involved in larger matters such as overthrowing foreign governments. The stories of the telephone taps, photographic surveillance, the interrogation and handling of various Mexico City witnesses, and CIA files on Oswald, are far too complex to discuss adequately here—see The Framing of Oswald topic. In summary, it is clear that the CIA's involvement with and monitoring of Oswald has been covered up and lied about; furthermore a few individual officers engaged in highly suspicious actions which have never been adequately explained.
Likely the CIA had a hand in some matter of the assassination- be it providing a patsy or covering up info after the fact. Especially strong is the fact that they could have provided vengeful Mafiosi with valuable information as to where best take out JFK, plus a convenient stooge to distract attention from their involvement.
The Military - The U. S. military has never been the focus of any of the investigations, even though such a focus is warranted. The autopsy which has generated so much controversy over the years, and rightly so, was a tightly controlled military affair at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. One of the autopsy doctors, Dr. Pierre Finck, told jurors at the Clay Shaw trial that an Army General was in charge of the Kennedy autopsy, and that he had failed to dissect the neck (necessary to track the bullet's path) because he had been told not to. Autopsy participants were issued orders not to speak of what they had seen under penalty of court martial; these gag orders were not lifted until late the House Select Committee's tenure, and even then only after much exasperated prodding by that Congressional body. It was learned in the 1970s that the Army had maintained a file on Lee Oswald, but it was "routinely destroyed" in 1973. One witness, a Col. Robert Jones of the 112th Military Intelligence group, told the HSCA that Army intelligence personnel were in Dealey Plaza the day of the motorcade. The Committee members gingerly danced around the question of whether any of them might on or near the grassy knoll and might have shown identification which could be mistaken for Secret Service id's. This was because a man behind the "grassy knoll" apparently flashed forged Secret Service identification to a Dallas police officer moments after the gunfire, as that police officer told the Warren Commission. All Secret Service agents were in the motorcade at the time. In any case, the circumstantial case for military involvement in the assassination remains that, circumstantial, and includes the foreign policy motives discussed elsewhere on this website. Kennedy had initiated a withdrawal from Vietnam, and was actively pursuing accomodation with Cuba and the Soviet Union. Military leaders of the day were adamantly opposed to such moves, as is well documented in the transcripts of the Cuban Missile Crisis and elsewhere. New Vietnam records, explored in Newman's JFK and Vietnam and Kaiser's American Tragedy, show a military fiercely gung-ho on confrontation in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the point where there was repeated advocacy of the use of nuclear weapons in Indochina. But motive is hardly sufficient where a Presidential assassination is concerned, and the military autopsy is greatly disturbing in many respects but inconclusive. The most compelling evidence of military involvement is also the most controversial, and includes the notion first put forth in David Lifton's 1980 book Best Evidence that the military took control of Kennedy's body itself prior to the autopsy, in order to manipulate it and control the autopsy findings. Lifton interviewed Navy personnel who told him that the body had come in, before Jackie Kennedy arrived, in a grey shipping casket. Some recent evidence, including the revelation that many Bethesda witnesses observed a large rear head wound like that seen at Parkland Hospital, obviates the need for a complex head-surgery-prior-to-autopsy theory, which was always the most implausible part of Lifton's thesis. But other new evidence adds weight to the notion of military control of the body. The tapes of Air Force I en route from Dallas to Washington contains very curious discussion of the need for a special ramp to escort the "First Lady" off the plane on the right-hand side, which was enveloped in darkness (Mrs. Kennedy did not deplane by that route). The most compelling new evidence, though, is the untranscribed and previously-suppressed audiotaped interview of Richard Lipsey, the military aide in charge of moving Kennedy's body from Andrews Air Force Base to Bethesda for autopsy. Lipsey told the HSCA staffers that he had used a second "decoy" ambulance with a second casket to move the body, according to Lipsey to avoid possible problems with crowds. But if this account is true, the body would have had to have been removed from its original casket before the plane left the ground in Dallas, unless Jackie Kennedy herself knew of the switch. Lipsey's account, which goes to the heart of a military conspiracy to kill the President and cover up the evidence, was buried by the HSCA and never followed up.
The military loathed JFK for both the Bay Of Pigs’ refusal to send air support, & for sweeping aside their concerns during the Cuban Missile Crisis, not to mention numerous firings of generals & admirals JFK thought incompetent, bellicose, or deceitful. The evidence for the military’s involvement is compelling, but RB is correct- circumstantial. & guess what? Most of the points (even minutiae- far too numerous for me to detail when the Internet awaits your own investigation!) made in his essay are hotly debated. But, his following ‘thought experiment’ is 1 worthy of contemplating- & it is 1 that Oliver Stone used as the rationale for JFK. To me it, again, too easily dismisses other groups, just as the film did- but it is interesting & compelling:
A thought experiment may be helpful at this point. Imagine that it is 1963, the height of the Cold War, but it is not Kennedy who has been killed. It is Nikita Khruschev, leader of the Soviet Union, recently humiliated by the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this thought experiment, it is Khruschev, not Kennedy, who received a military autopsy whose results ran directly counter to the reports of the civilian doctors who first treated him. Imagine that later one of the autopsy doctors admitted that a Soviet general ran the autopsy, and that this doctor said he was ordered not to track the path of a bullet. That crucial autopsy photographs known to be taken went missing, that trained medical witnesses disputed what was shown in those that remained, that the official autopsy camera went missing after an investigation failed to match it to the photographs. Imagine it was Russia where the security services destroyed evidence linking themselves with the purported killer, who was declared to be a lone "rabid capitalist," but who seemed to be surrounded for the last year of his life by KGB operatives. That secret evidence finally revealed that the purported killer had been impersonated in a supposed phone conversation with CIA agents. But Khruschev's successor, without revealing the impersonation, had led those investigating the crime to think that the alleged assassin had indeed made these disturbing calls, and there might be nuclear war with America if this got out. And so on. Take the single bullet theory, the killing of the alleged assassin while in police custody, and all the rest of the JFK assassination story, including the fact that the murder was followed by a major expansion of a war, a war that secret documents years later showed Khruschev had ordered be wound down.
Everyone in the U.S., from the New York Times to the man on the street, would have a field day with this scenario. It would be completely obvious to everyone that Khruschev was killed by his own political enemies with the help of the KGB, for political reasons. It would be obvious that the "story" of the lone capitalist was just that, a story, propped by phony "evidence" that would be completely disbelieved. You wouldn't need 1/10th of the evidence pointing toward a high-level conspiracy that is present in the JFK assassination to convince just about anybody of this.
But just as you think that RB has avoided some of the most egregious sins, we get another dip into totally unsupported fantasy:
And what of Bobby Kennedy, the devoted brother of the slain President? As evidence has emerged that RFK suspected that a right-wing plot killed his brother, so evidence has also emerged that he aided the coverup. The missing brain, tissue slides, and other original autopsy materials, which could shed much light on the medical mysteries, disappeared while under his control. The casket used to transport JFK's body from Dallas, with unknown contents, was dropped from military aircraft into 9000 feet of water a few months later, on RFK's orders. The Garrison grand jury transcripts contain allegations from multiple sources that Kennedy was involved with the Federal government in obstructing Garrison's probe.
Bobby Kennedy? Coverup? Was the phony Communist conspiracy idea used against him as well? Perhaps, but doubtful. It is hard to believe that the Assistant Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach, was not privy along with Hoover, LBJ, and Rowley, to the fact that the Mexico City tapes were recordings of an imposter. Asked to comment for an AP story about these tapes in 1999, Katzenbach issued this lame denial: "Whether I knew anything about it at the time, or what I knew about it at the time, I don't recall." And if Katzenbach knew, would not his boss Robert Kennedy know?
So what stayed RFK's tongue? Was it some dark Kennedy secret, his or his brother's, that would be exposed, perhaps related to covert Cuban operations including the Castro assassination plots? Was it simply recognition that, despite the title of Attorney General, he was now powerless in the face of the new order?
All of the above assertions are just that. There has never been convincing evidence otherwise- & note the overtones of Kennedy blackmailability- Marilyn Monroe, too?
Mano A Mano
Let me now delve in to some of the more personal snipings & literary techniques used by both sides against their foes. As I stated earlier, there are websites from the pro- & anti-conspiracy camps that point out manifest errors & inaccuracies in each others’ takes. Here are 3 of the most thorough. This site, http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/home.htm, is very detail-oriented, but even a cursory examination of it (& I spent hours) reveals that much as the misdirected focus on the Magic Bullet distracts from the actual kill shot, much of this website practices similar sleight of hand (or word, or hyperlink?). For example, the fact that an innocent bystander, James Tague, was hit by 1 of the 3 bullets is not disputed. Yet here is a direct copy of what appears on the page (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dealey.htm) dealing with this:
-One of the ongoing mysteries of Dealey Plaza is the origin of the fragment that hit James Tague. Three graphics images, all rendered Autocad drawings, test two scenarios. First is Posner's theory that a shot at about Zapruder frame 160 was deflected off a branch of the Live Oak in front of the Depository and hit the curb in front of Tague. The other theory is that a fragment of the head shot hit Tague. TAGUE1.GIF, TAGUE2.GIF, and TAGUE3.GIF show the trajectories involved.
-TAGUE4.GIF deals with the same issue, but this time the drawing is from conspiracy author Josiah Thompson. The diagram, drawn on a map of Dealey Plaza, shows the path a fragment from the head shot would have to have taken to hit Tague. Warning: this file is extremely large for screen viewing, and you may prefer to download it and print it.
-Tague's own testimony is interesting -- although not capable of resolving all the issues his wounding raises. Bill Goggins interviewed Tague in 1997, and discusses his recent testimony and Warren Commission statements in "James Tague: Unintended Victim in Dealey Plaza." Goggins debunks one minor, but widely cited, error regarding Tague's wounding.
-A lead smear on the Main Street curb near where Tague was standing may -- or may not -- have something to do with the shooting.
Point 1 raises 2 plausible components & elaborates. This is a standard literary technique known as ‘grounding’. In order to decontext something, or make something inherently implausible seem plausible, or something banal seem extraordinary, 1st a writer- or storyteller, must give the audience a familiar footing. Point 1 does so because it reeks of science & authority. Point 2’s picture is not too different from Point 1’s 3rd picture. This is known as ‘reconfirming’. It attempts to show that what was initially stated is indeed so. Later on we’ll see how UFO alien abduction writers use this constant grounding/reconfirmation technique over & over to bolster witness credibility for outrageously sill claims. But here it’s wonderful to see such a visual representation. On to point 3. In it Tague is vague as to which shot hit him- the piece states: ‘When asked what overall theory he believes explains how he was wounded, Tague was very ambiguous and unclear. He did state that he felt there was more than just one shooter. He also seemed very suspicious of the government and how the FBI handled him and the pieces of related evidence around Dealey Plaza. He is amidst writing a book accounting his place in the Dealey Plaza assassination. He was considering the title "Wake Up America." It became quite clear that Tague distrusts the government.’ Yet, despite that the whole rest of the piece seems intent on ramming the 3 bullet thesis down both the reader & Tague’s collective throats. Yet, Tague’s assertations are glossed over as ‘interesting -- although not capable of resolving all the issues his wounding raises’. This is a classic feint. Someone’s assertion is effectively held up for ridicule even as it is supposedly shown in an unbiased light. After grounding & reconfirmation, a feint is next in line, to open up doors of doubt. Point 4 is a piece of evidence, presented as minutia, that is described as ‘A lead smear on the Main Street curb near where Tague was standing may -- or may not -- have something to do with the shooting.’ This is the last piece, which is the dangling end, the red herring. This is the final part of a process of discrediting & misdirection. Someone whose experience is central to determining if there was a 2nd shooter & coverup is ultimately marginalized in a seemingly logical fashion. Yet the conclusion & whole arc is itself a red herring. Why is Tague’s experience shown this way? Because the author, 1 John McAdams, wants to convince his reader that any possible evidence gleaned from this aspect of the case is not important. Otherwise, why lump him in with other more farfetched & disliked aspects in this manner?: