Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Arrest of Jack Lawrence

Before I get into the mess that is the case against Oswald for the shooting of police officer J.D. Tippit, there is one other strange arrest from November 22 that I wanted to point out. Jack Lawrence was arrested in the late afternoon after the assassination because he exhibited some suspicious behavior after he showed up late to work. The story goes, according to Marrs, that Lawrence got the job a month before based on what turned out to be fake references from an alleged previous job in New Orleans. He never sold a car in the month leading up to the assassination, but the night before he borrowed one to use on a date. The next morning, Lawrence was late to work, showing up without the car, clothes muddied, and out of breath. It was reported that he rushed into the bathroom where he threw up. When asked about the car, he told his boss that he had to park it because of all the traffic. The car was later found to be parked behind the wooden picket fence on top of the Grassy Knoll. Lawrence was subsequently arrested for his behavior but released later that day.

More after the jump...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Executive Session: January 22, 1964

I have read in a number of sources that the Warren Commission was doomed from the start and there were meeting notes to prove it. So, thanks to History-Matters.com, I was able to obtain a copy of the official declassified transcript from the executive session meeting on January 22, 1964. The executive sessions were the closed-door meetings of the members of the Commission, and on this day, they were discussing what to do about rumors that Lee Harvey Oswald was an agent of US intelligence. You can read the 13-page transcript here.
It is on this date, in my opinion, that the Warren Commission's desire to seek the truth died. This meeting, which took place before the first witness was ever called, begins with general counsel James Lee Rankin alerting fellow members that rumors are surfacing in Dallas that Oswald was an undercover agent of the FBI. The Attorney General of Texas had called Rankin that morning because an unknown former FBI agent had told the defense counsel for Jack Ruby about Oswald and the FBI. The members discuss the means of proving or disproving this, concluding that even if it were true, the FBI would never admit it. Since the FBI was conducting the investigation, they controlled the flow of evidence. If this rumor were true, or even leaked to the public, the implications would be devastating for the Commission and the FBI. However, there were a number of members on the Commission expressed an interest in researching this further because there were elements of Oswald's life that didn't quite add up. For example, Gerald Ford pointed out that Oswald was "playing ball, writing letters to both the elements of the Communist parties. I mean he was playing ball with the Trotskyites and with the others. This was a strange circumstance to me." Rep. Dale Boggs suggested, "It is conceivable that [Oswald] may have been brought back from Russia." Even former Director of the CIA Allen Dulles thought there was more to this than meets the eye. He stated, referring to the FBI, "They have some people, sometimes American Communists who go to Russia under their guidance and so forth and so on under their control." I find this last quote odd, because the CIA had been running the false defector program. Was Dulles trying to turn the focus away from the CIA? Was Oswald working for both agencies without the other knowing about it?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comrade Oswald: Agent or Defector?

There is no shortage of material on Lee Harvey Oswald's journey to the Soviet Union at the peak of the Cold War. As I wrote before, John Newman's Oswald and the CIA is on my to-do list, though I probably won't get to it anytime soon. Jim Marrs does discuss Oswald's trek into the heart of communism and the strange details about his entry, life, and return home.

For the years leading up to his defection, Oswald was a low-level Marine who, despite openly professing a support of the United States' greatest enemy, worked on a base in Japan where top secret U2 spy plane operations were underway. Oswald returned home in September of 1959, and by 1960 he was beginning his new life in Moscow. To this day, what Oswald was doing remains a mystery. Marrs points out that US intelligence, which by this point may have already recruited Oswald in some capacity, was running a "false defector" program. This program, as the name surely gives away, would plant US agents posing as communist sympathizers in an effort to gain valuable information on the inside. Was Oswald a part of this program? While we may never know for sure, let's examine the actions of the young defector.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marine Lee Harvey Oswald(skovich?)

The next chapter of Marrs' book delves into the mysterious life of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. I'm going to pass on discussing this in too much detail because I have another book that focuses solely on this issue. Yet, I will give an overview of the case that Marrs makes and the troubling questions he raises about Oswald's possible connections to US Intelligence and what that means about the assassination.

  • When Oswald was sixteen years old, he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he met a Captain named David Ferrie. Ferrie was a known right-winger, and had connections with various anti-Castro groups as well as the CIA and FBI. It was after meeting Ferrie that Oswald began sharing his procommunist feelings, which many researchers have taken to mean that Ferrie may have influenced Oswald to act in such a way as a means of creating a cover to later be used as a US agent. 
More after the jump...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Orville Nix Film

This is some video shot by Orville Nix, who was standing on the south side of Elm near Main Street. Two things stick out to me when comparing this to the Zapruder film: first, notice how Kennedy's limo nearly comes to a stop as the final headshot is delivered. This was reported by a number of eye witnesses, yet is not see in the Zapruder film. Second, notice where the crowd begins to run after the motorcade exits Dealey Plaza: the grassy knoll. One would certainly expect a part of the crowd to gravitate that way simply because it's the same direction the motorcade was going, however there are a few in the background seen running towards the area of the fence.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Kill Zone: Reactions (Part 4 of 4)

This final post on the first chapter of Marr's book will cover a number of accounts, descriptions, events and evidence ignored by the Warren Commission and the FBI when conducting their investigation. In this case there are a number of instances so I will try to point out those that, to me, seemed the most relevant and convincing.

The first issue is that of smoke on the grassy knoll. Sam Holland, a worker at the railyard behind the knoll, was watching the motorcade from atop the triple underpass. He heard four shots and was certain the third had come from behind the picket fence the separated the railyard parking lot from Dealey Plaza. Right in that very spot was a puff of white smoke lingering in the air. James Simmons, another railyard worker, gave a similar account. In a filmed interview in 1966, Simmons told the interviewer that "there was a puff of smoke that came from underneath the trees on the embankment directly in front of the wooden fence." Despite telling the same story to the FBI, his official FBI report from 1964 is vague and incomplete. Re-enactments carried out by the HSCA confirmed that puffs of smoke were both possible and common from rifles that would have been used in 1963.

More after the jump...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Warren Commission and HSCA

It occurred to me that I hadn't provided anyone who reads this blog (if in fact such a person or persons exist) with a benchmark by which to judge the findings of these independent researchers. There were two major federal investigations into the assassination: there was the Warren Commission in 1964 and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978 following the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

More after the jump...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Kill Zone: Reactions (Part 3 of 4)

One of the most confusing aspects of the events that took place in Dealey Plaza surround the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas School Book Depository. Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry said it best when he admitted to newsmen "We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand."

I'll start with the account given by a fellow depository worker, Bonnie Ray Williams. Williams claimed that he went to the sixth floor of the depository where he thought other workers were going to watch the motorcade. He sat down and began eating his lunch. After nobody else showed, he said he put down his lunch and left at approximately 12:20. He then joined two other workers on the fifth floor, directly below what was later determined to be the "sniper's nest." As the President's limo turned onto Elm, these three men said they heard three shots and that they "came from practically right over our heads." One of the three men even said he heard the sounds of the bolt-action rifle and "shells hitting the floor." Marrs, the author of Crossfire, immediately points out the major concerns regarding their testimony given to the Warren Commission. He notes that if the ceiling was thin enough for them to hear the shells as well as the bolt action of the rifle, how come they had not heard anyone moving around beforehand? Also, if Williams really was on the sixth floor until 12:20, how does one explain the multiple accounts that a man with a rifle was seen on the sixth floor at 12:15?

More after the jump...

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Kill Zone: Reactions (Part 2 of 4)

This second post will deal primarily with some of the oddities that occurred that afternoon but were never fully explained or examined by the Warren Commission or the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

More witnesses claim to hear more than three shots.
  • A.J. Millican, who was standing on the north side of Elm reported that he heard eight shots: three from the depository, two more from between the underpass and the depository (in other words, the fenced area of the knoll), and then finally three more shots from the same direction, but further back. A co-worker of Millican's claimed he heard at least five shots. Jesse Price, who was watching the parade from the Union Terminal Annex on the corner of Houston and Main, said that "there was a volley of shots, I think five and then much later...another one."
More after the jump...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Photos Added

I just added three more relevant photos taken during the assassination.
  • The Mary Moorman Photo: Taken right before the fatal headshot. 
  • The James Altgens Photo: Taken just after Kennedy is first hit. Looking through the windshield, you can see the President's arms up by his throat. The Secret Service are looking back towards the depository. 
  • The Phillip Willis Photo: Taken in conjunction with Z202, this shows Kennedy right before he disappears behind the Stemmons Freeway sign in the Zapruder Film. 
  • Umbrella Weapon: Diagram of possible weapon used by the unidentified "umbrella man."

The Kill Zone: Reactions (Part 1 of 4)

The first chapter of Crossfire is entitled "The Kill Zone" and, as you would expect, it deals with the events that took place within the confines of Dealey Plaza (Note: there is a link on the right-hand side that will show a map of Dealey Plaza for reference) before, during, and after the assassination. The main points that I wanted to focus on while reading this chapter are nothing new; they are the same questions that people have been asking since the first shot was fired. How many shots were there? Where did they come from? Who pulled the trigger?

With those thoughts in mind, my initial reactions are after the jump...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stabilized Zapruder Film

This is a stabilized version of the famous film shot by Abraham Zapruder. Many experts believe that the film has been tampered with and is therefore not a reliable depiction of events. I will discuss these claims further when I get to the book The Great Zapruder Film Hoax. But for now, see if you can spot anything out of the ordinary...

My Reading List

What really happened in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963? Growing up, I was taught that President Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, from a window on the sixth floor of the Dallas School Book Depository. At the time, which was many years ago, I saw no problem with this; after all, Kennedy wasn't the first president to be assassinated. As time went on, I began to realize it was not so cut-and-dry. There was talk of a conspiracy, of a second or even third gunman on an area that would become famously known as the grassy knoll. Some say it was the Cubans; others say the Russians. Some would even go so far as to say that the CIA and Lyndon Johnson had a hand in it. With all this information being tossed around, I decided that if I wanted to really understand what happened to our 35th President, I would need to research it on my own from a number of different sources spanning all the different theories and controversies. I began by picking up Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. This book was the basis for the Oliver Stone film JFK . As of now, I'm about 200 pages into it and there is so much information in just those 200 pages that I haven't really been able to absorb it all. It's decidely pro-conspiracy, and I will be breaking down my thoughts on the first chapter of the book, "The Kill Zone," later this week.

In addition to Crossfire, I will be reading the following books: Never Again, Oswald and the CIA, Murder in Dealey Plaza, Falling Chips: A Deconstruction of the Single-Bullet Theory of the JFK Assassination, The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax. I picked these books because each of them deals with a different aspect of the assassination, which hopefully will allow me to piece together as much information as possible in order to form an educated opinion on what really happened that day in Dallas.

And while I don't have them yet, Grassy Knoll Witnesses and Someone Would Have Talked are two more that I would like to add to my collection before all is said and done.

In addition to the books, I will be posting and discussing clips from documentaries, specials, and other video resources.