It is my mission in life, to stand on Dealey Plaza. I want to understand the setting for myself. I want to stand at the picket fence. I want to, quite morbidly, stand on the cross in the road. I want to stand where Abraham Zapruder stood.
The assassination of Jack Kennedy in Dallas in 1963 is a subject of which I take great interest. I have read book after book by credible authors like Mark Lane who concludes that the assassination was a CIA lead conspiracy. He doesn’t ask why, or how. He simply concludes that the Warren Commission and the aftermath including the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations were incredibly flawed, with much effort being made to divert attention away from the intelligence agencies.
I don’t think anyone had considered the possibility that someone would film the entire event. Zapruder managed to get a spot at Dealey Plaza that a Hollywood film director could not have chosen so perfectly. We have all seen the Zapruder film, and that violent moment when Kennedy’s head is struck by the bullet that ultimately killed him. The film is one of the key elements casting doubt on the official story.
The story goes; Lee Harvey Oswald, an ex-Marine corps Marxist who defected to the Soviet Union briefly before coming back to the States, shot President Kennedy, from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book depository window. He fired three bullets in six seconds, killing Kennedy and injuring Governor Connalley. 90 seconds later, Oswald had apparently ran down to the ground floor and onto a bus, heading home. According to his landlady, he was in a rush as he grabbed his jacket and ran out the door. Here, he was seen walking along a street near his home when Office Tippit pulled along side him to ask him questions. Tippit got out of his car, and Oswald shot him four times, before fleeing to a nearby cinema.
After his arrest he was interrogated for two days. He said he had not known a man named A.Hiddell. This is significant because on his person at the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of a fake draft card bearing his picture with the name A.J Hiddell. Similarly, the Commission notes, the rifle found in the Texas bookstore depository had been bought using the mail order name “A.Hiddell“. Oswald denied owning a rifle at all, but the police uncovered the now famous photo of him holding the rifle. Oswald said the picture was faked. A day later, whilst being walked through the basement of the Dallas police station, night club owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Oswald live on TV. And so the theories began.
The physical evidence, when weighted up, seems very much to point to Lee Oswald as the lone assassin of President Kennedy. But I cannot for the life of me explain away massive discrepencies in the story. I will outline a few now.
Why did the police officer on the second floor of the depository, along with Oswald’s supervisor, say that he seemed relax and not at all out of breath? The man had apparently just killed the President, hid the gun, ran down four flights of stairs, and he looked relaxed and calm, and drinking a soda? He only started to panic, after he had been told of the assassination. Why was that?
Why did E.Howard Hunt (ex-CIA who was involved in the Bay of Pigs) confess on his deathbed to his son, that he was involved in the assassination, implicating Frank Sturgis (another CIA member, arrested at Watergate) as the shooter; the same Frank Sturgis implicated by his ex-lover (and ex-lover of Fidel Castro) Marita Lorenz. The same Frank Sturgis, clearly pictured dressed as a tramp coming out of the Dallas police station after the assassination, and whose records of police questioning have never been found.
Here are two photos of Sturgis (right and left) and one of the supposed “tramp”.
Here is a photo comparison of E.Howard Hunt, and a man in the same hat and overcoat as E.Howard Hunt (a long buttoned up overcoat on a 50 degree day) pictured strolling slowly across the street in Dallas, just after the shooting. Same guy?
Remember, E.Howard Hunt confessed to his son on his deathbed, that he was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. He says he was a “bench warmer”. This confession came thirty years after Hunt claimed he was actually in Washington on the day of the assassination. Hunt implicates Vice President Lyndon Johnson as the man responsible for ordering the assassination. But then, if it were Johnson, why would he be so dismissive of the Warren Commission report, which effectively drew suspicion away from a conspiracy? Surely he’d be supporting the findings? He is recorded from the White House airing his doubts about the magic bullet theory. Why draw attention to the possibility of a conspiracy, if you’re involved in that conspiracy? But then, why would a dying E.Howard Hunt, lie to his son on his deathbed, and be so specific with the details?
Why did Oswald run to a theatre? It makes very little sense. If he had planned this assassination meticulously, to the point of being able to walk into a room with a rifle, and shoot the President of the United States, surely he would have planned a getaway?
Why would a Communist shoot the left-leaning President, in the most Right Winged state in America? Oswald was pro-civil rights, and Kennedy was the hope that the pro-civil rights movement had gambled on. A leftie taking out a leftie? Really?
Why after Oswald’s connections to CIA members, had the question not surfaced that Jack Ruby was once an FBI informant, and later in prison, why did Ruby say:
“Everything pertaining to what’s happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.”
Why did the Commission not question deeply, the head of the CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans (the CIA’s assassinations and covert operations department)Richard Helms when he told the Commission that:
“the commission would have to take his word for the fact that Oswald had not been an agent”
If that was the case, what would possess Antonio Veciana – a Cuban exile who created the Alpha 66 group, a group of anti-Castro Cuban exiles who had conducted many raids against Castro targets and whom were funded primarily by the CIA – to just invent a story in which he claims to have met a man he refers to as “Bishop“, and whom he considers his counterpart in the CIA, along with Oswald, to discuss the raid on the Soviet Shipping Docks in Cuba in 1963. He also provides back up for the claim that Oswald was in Dallas two weeks before the assassination, by saying that he, Veciana had met with “Bishop” and Oswald in Dallas in September 1963. The House Select Committee on Assassinations ignored the claim back in the 1970s because there was no evidence that this “Maurice Bishop” ever existed. But, a document released by the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board shows that the intelligence community said that a man named “Bishop” :
“has contact with the Alpha 66 group”
Alpha 66 were responsible for the blowing up of Cubana Airlines Flight 455. 73 people died.
Why did the CIA provide no real substantial documents to prove that Oswald had been to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico? The CIA minutes of the meeting between Helms and the Commission, itself claims the “most significant gap appeared in the Mexican phase“. The Mexican part of the story was just taken as fact, because the CIA said it is true. They offered no substantial evidence.
Why was Eugene Brading in Dallas, and specifically, in the Dal-Tex building opposite the depository? Brading had a history of Mafia involvement. He was arrested for acting suspiciously in the Dal-Tex building, but claimed he’d only gone in to make a phone call. He then went back to his room in the Cabana Hotel and met with Jack Ruby. Ruby was in that same hotel the night before the assassination. Brading was later in Los Angeles, the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated. Brading claims he was in Dallas to meet with Oil Tycoon H.L Hunt. In his book “Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K”, Barr McClellan claims that a smudged fingerprint on the rifle belonged, almost certainly, to a man named Malcolm “Mac” Wallace. Wallace was a good friend and associate of Johnson. McClellan claims that the assassination was funded…… by oil Tycoon H.L Hunt. This claim is further backed up by Lyndon Johnson’s ex-mistress, Madeleine D. Brown who claimed Johnson and H.L.Hunt had met prior to the assassination in private, and that the night before the assassination, Johnson had been in a meeting with the Kennedy brothers, and had stormed out, grabbed her by the arm, and said “After tomorrow, those son’s of bitches wont embarrass me again.”
Why do we not question Oswald’s ability as a sniper? He supposedly shot a moving target, with three bullets, in six seconds, obstructed by a tree. Not only that, but the pressure of killing the President must have been intense. How did he do it? Well, his buddy, Nelson Delgado in Marines who saw him shoot weren’t that impressed with his ability when he spoke to the Commission:
Commission: Did you fire with Oswald?
Nelson Delgade. Right; I was in the same line. By that I mean we were on line together, the same time, but not firing at the same position, but at the same time, and I remember seeing his [shooting]. It was a pretty big joke, because he got a lot of “Maggie’s drawers,” you know, a lot of misses, but he didn’t give a darn.
Commission. Missed the target completely?
Delgado. He just qualified, that’s it. He wasn’t as enthusiastic as the rest of us. We all loved–liked, you know going to the range.
Similarly, in an interview with Mark Lane, Delgado said:
Lane. Was Oswald interested in guns?
Delgado. They [the Warren Commission] say he was a gun enthusiast, but I recall many instances where we stood inspections, and he was constantly being gigged for having a dirty weapon and for taking improper care of his weapon. He was always reminded when he had to clean the weapon. He never took it upon himself to do so.
Lane. Do you have personal knowledge of Oswald’s ability with a rifle?
Delgado. At the range he couldn’t prove by me that he was a good shot.
As any person who has ever served in the armed forces could tell you, there’s a part in the qualification that calls for rapid firing. This is done with ten shots, eight in the clip and two that you load by hand. They give you forty-five seconds to fire these ten rounds. Well, when you fire these, then you stand you stand away from your firing position, till everyone has finished firing. Then the targets are brought down and scored. The targets are run back up, and there are disks for the number that you have hit–fives, fours, threes, or misses.
Well, in Oswald’s particular case, it was quite funny to look at, because he would get a couple of disks. Maybe out of a possible ten he’ll get two or three Maggie’s drawers. Now, these [the Maggie's drawers] are a red flag that’s on a long pole, and this is running from left to right on the target itself. And, you don’t see this on a firing line too often–not a Marine firing line. You can’t help but noticing when you’re seeing disks, round cylinder things, coming up and down, and farther on down the line you see a flag waving [i.e., a Maggie's drawer]. Well, that was gonna catch your eye anyway. And we thought it was funny that Oswald was getting these Maggie’s drawers so rapidly, one after the other. And this is why I can’t think that he could be a good shot, because a good shot doesn’t pull this. He’ll pull a three, but he won’t pull a Maggie’s drawer– that’s a complete miss.
Lane. How did the FBI react to your statement that Oswald was a poor shot?
Delgado. They tried to disprove it. They did not like the idea when I came up with the statement that Oswald, as far as I knew, was a very poor shot.
Lane. Do you feel that the agents of the FBI actually tried to get you to change your statement that Oswald was a poor shot.
Delgado. Yes, sir, I definitely do.
Sherman Cooley who also worked with Oswald in the Marines was quick to verify Oswald’s impotence with a rifle:
If I had to pick one man in the whole United States to shoot me, I’d pick Oswald. I saw the man shoot. There’s no way he could have ever learned to shoot well enough to do what they accused him of doing in Dallas.
But most damaging to the official story of Oswald’s immense skill with a rifle that day in Dallas, comes from Monty Lutz, an expert rifleman and ballistics expert who served on the firearms panel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. When conducting a mock trial of Lee Oswald, trial attorney Gerry Spence cross examined Lutz:
Spence: Let’s do this right. You don’t of anybody that has ever duplicated what Lee was supposed to have done, do you?
Lutz: I do not.
Spence: Not even master marksmen. Isn’t that true?
Lutz: I do not.
Lutz himself tried to recreate the conditions of the assassination, and could not pull off what Oswald supposedly did.
Why did future President, and member of the Warren Commission, Gerald Ford change the description of Kennedy’s wounds, to make the single bullet theory sound more plausible? What motives a man to change such important details, when your Commission is supposed to be establishing facts? And why did Ford secretly advise the FBI that two members on the Commission doubted that Oswald acted alone? Even more damagingly, for Congressman Ford’s reputation, was a memo he secretly sent to FBI’s Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach, and its date:
December 17, 1963:
Two members of the commission brought up the fact that they still were not convinced that the President had been shot from the sixth floor window of the Texas Book Depository”
“These members failed to understand the trajectory of the slugs that killed the President. He stated he felt this point would be discussed further but, of course, would represent no problem.”
- Still not convinced? Why would it represent a problem if they didn’t believe it? In December 1963? Less than a month after the assassination? This was 11 days after the Warren Commission was set up and months before they’d seen the Zupruda film. Why had they already begun from the premise that Oswald was the lone assassin, and why was it considered a problem to dispute that?
Why did they arrest Silvia Duran? Duran was working at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico at the time Oswald apparently visited. After the assassination, she was questioned about Oswald’s visit and she made a statement (as she did to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the 1970s) that the man who was being accused of shooting the President, was not the same Lee Harvey Oswald that had arrived at the Cuban embassy that day in 1963. Similarly another man at the embassy, Eusebio Azcue, said that the blonde haired short man he met in the embassy called Oswald, was not the same as the man arrested in Dallas. Duran was arrested and beaten by the Mexican police department on instruction by the CIA. Mark Lane, in his book “Plausible Denial” says:
The cable sent by the director of the CIA reads:
“With full regard for Mexican interest, request you ensure that her arrest is kept absolutely secret, that no information from her is published or leaked, that all such information is cabled to us, and that fact of her arrest and her statements are not spread to leftist or disloyal circles in the Mexican government.” It is reasonable to conjecture that the “statements” that so concerned the CIA had to do with Oswald’s appearance – or nonappearance – at the Cuban embassy
Duran, bruised and beaten and scared, signed a statement agreeing that she had seen Oswald that day at the embassy and that it was the same Oswald as the one arrested in Dallas. She was ordered never to speak of the subject again. A year later she began to disobey that order, and spoke out against the fact that she had been beaten and made to signed a lie. She was rearrested, after a CIA cable to the Mexican police department, demanded that:
to be certain that there is no misunderstanding between us, we want to ensure that Silvia Duran gets no impression that Americans are behind her rearrest.
The CIA wanted her arrest to seem entirely motivated by the Mexicans and no one else. Subsequently, she was not called as a witness before the Warren Commission and in fact, the only testimony of hers the Commission bothered to listen to, was the signed lie. They referred to the signed lie as being from sources of “extremely high reliability“.
Those are just a few of my issues with the official story. I usually don’t bend to wild conspiracy theories, but this one seems full of holes. The 1960s were crazy for assassinations. The creation of CIA convert Operation 40 by Eisenhower in the late 1950s was set up to arrange political coups and assassinations in order to stop the spread of Communism. Frank Sturgis was a member of Operation 40. Felix Rodriguez, the man who was responsible for the execution of Che Guevara, and played an important role in the Bay of Pigs invasion, was part of Operation 40. Felix Rodriguez was indicted on charges of perjury and false statements to Congress for a separate matter. He was pardoned by President Bush in 1992. President Bush was also ex-CIA. E.Howard Hunt was also a member of Operation 40. Theodore Shackley was involved in Operation 40, by training Cuban Exiles to direct psychological warfare together with acts of sabotage against the Cuban government in the 1960s. America has always had designs on Cuba. Operation 40 was the height of that obsession with the island. For decades previous, America had not cared for the appalling treatment of the Cuban citizens by regimes like that of Batista, because the Batista regime opened its markets to American business opportunities. The lack of healthcare, education, and the horrific abuses of power by Batista were irrelevant to America. America has always wanted Cuba. The Cuban Project of Operation 40, like the Bay of Pigs, was a complete failure. Air Force Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who worked in the Pentagon, as a military liaison to the CIA, and later worked for as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Kennedy, said:
“I have no doubts that the murder was a carefully planned job. Remove the protection and you’re going to have someone assassinated. And it was evident in the area of Dallas. Secret Service coverage either did not exist or was at minimum…it was absolutely effective.”
Whilst there is ample evidence to suggest that Oswald acted alone. But there is so much speculation, so much secrecy, so many little details that come out to the contrary. Can we really say we believe Hunt, Sturgis, the CIA, Cuban exiles had no idea this was going to happen? That Hunt, lying on his deathbed just invented an elaborate story for no reason? That in a decade when political assassinations were rife, and for each one it takes less than a minute to establish a connection to the CIA, it isn’t possible Kennedy was another victim of that program? That Silvia Duran lied originally and told the truth after being beaten? Why would she lie? Do we really believe that Jack Ruby killed Oswald for the sake of sparing Jackie Kennedy the pain of having to go through a trial, as he claimed? Do we really believe that 35 people who testified that they heard shots fired from behind the picket fence, were just deluded? Do we refuse to accept that the methods used to assassinate Diem, and to attempt to assassinate Castro and more could not have been used to assassinate Kennedy? Do we really believe that Oswald (who had qualified as a military marksman – the lowest rank) carried out three shots in six seconds, obstructed by a tree, with precision that even the very best shooters could not replicate? Do we honestly think that the assassinations of the 1960s was not an attempt to halt the progressive movement that taken shape in America? That there was no method to the madness? Is that what we have chosen to believe?
Personally, I cannot say with any certainty what happened that day in Dallas in 1963, but I am convinced that it would be vastly ignorant to ignore the evidence that appears to contradict the official findings of the Warren Commission. It is a supremely fascinating subject that runs into deep, murky waters, but no matter what angle to look at it from; be it the CIA, the Cubans, the Soviets, the Mafia, or just the lone nut, the same names crop up within minutes of research, and that cannot be ignored. Kennedy was assassinated at the height of the power of the intelligence community. Whatever official title you want to give them, the CIA was a terrorist organisation in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and it is not inconceivable that that same group of terrorists could conspire to assassinate the President of the United States.