Wednesday, October 28, 2015


                                                   Why Is Oswald Still Considered the Assassin?

                                                                John Delane Williams

Initially, Lee Harvey Oswald was labeled as the assassin of John F. Kennedy, first by Henry Wade, the Dallas District Attorney, but also by the media, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, along with the Presidential Commission handpicked by Lyndon Johnson.  Later, several well known  authors (well paid for their efforts) wrote books that continued to uphold the Warren Commission's findings, including Gerald Posner [1] and Vincent Bugliosi [2]. For the most part, the main stream media still considers Oswald to be the assassin.

 

A Post-Assassination Conspiracy-The Warren Commission


  John F. Kennedy's replacement, Lyndon Baines Johnson, immediately after taking office, appointed a Commission to investigate the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.                                                                           As is well known, that commission eventually delivered to President Johnson what apparently was his desired document, in time for the 1964 election. But what sort of investigation was it? Fortunately, we have several documents and writings that help address that question. We, of course, have the document itself, with its 26 volumes of Appendices. [3] We also have, through the Freedom of Information Act, a transcription of the January 27, 1964 meeting of the President's Committee on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (more commonly referred to as "The Warren Commission"). [4] This first meeting of the Warren Commission is telling in regard to the direction of the "investigation".  Harold Willens, a staff member for the Warren Commission, who came to the Commission from Bobby Kennedy's Justice Department, wrote a note following this first meeting of the Commission, "(W)hat the Commission was up to from the first (was) the search for a means of foisting off a preconceived conclusion, the deliberate hiding of what happened when JFK was killed." [5]

 

It is argued in Williams [6] that the Warren Commission was, in fact, operating in the arena of advocacy research, and from the prosecutorial viewpoint, arguing for Oswald's guilt as a lone assassin. That is, the evidence that pointed toward Oswald's guilt was, in the long run, the only evidence they wished to entertain. Most of the investigation was actually conducted by the FBI. The Commission's staff would choose which evidence to pursue and which evidence to file away. Some investigations and interviews were conducted by the Commission's staff. As we will see later, at least one staff member was entering deliberately falsified information. Also, the Warren Commission chose to not allow an advocate for the defense of Oswald to participate. Marguerite Oswald (Oswald's mother) asked attorney Mark Lane to represent her son's interests before the Warren Commission. The Commission denied Lane an opportunity to act as Oswald's defense counsel before the Commission. [7]

 

One Commission staff member, Wesley Liebeler, took issue with the nature of the report being written, which he viewed as a  "brief for the prosecution" against Oswald. Liebeler [8] chose to turn over most of his internal files to Edward Jay Epstein, who would eventually write Inquest. [9] In a remarkable book on the Warren Commission, Shenon [10] accepted Oswald as the lone assassin, but then proceeded to dissect the work of the Commission, pointing out many points of unethical conduct, the shutting out of the staff from exculpatory information regarding Oswald, and the "rush to judgment." It should be remembered that the investigation was proposed by Lyndon Johnson. Johnson picked the seven commissioners, and Johnson wanted (and got) the investigation completed in advance of the November 1964 presidential election. Is it any wonder that none of the Commission's interests included any investigation of Johnson himself? It would not be until 1998 when Walt Brown held a press conference in Dallas that would announce that Mac Wallace, a convicted murderer (who was sentenced to a five-year unsupervised probation by a Texas court; Wallace was also LBJ's hit man), was the person whose fingerprint was found on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository (TSBD) directly after the assassination. [11] Shenon bemoaned the unanswered questions about the assassination, and the failure of entities such as the CIA to share information; indeed, James Jesus Angleton swooped down to Mexico City in 1971 upon the death of the CIA station Chief Win Scott, collecting everything he could find regarding Scott's tenure in Mexico City (which included the time of Oswald's 1963 visit). [12]

 

Victoria Adams and her Three Co-Workers: Proof that Oswald wasn't on the Sixth Floor at the Time of the Assassination

 

Victoria Elizabeth Adams was an employee of the Scott Foresman  Co. in the TSBD, who along with three other women watched the Presidential motorcade from a fourth floor window on November 22, 1963. Directly after the last shot, she and another employee, Sandra Styles, went down the stairs to the first floor. They neither saw nor heard anyone on the stairs. The only person they encountered on their way out of the building was a large black man, who was also employed at the TSBD.  A third employee had situated herself in a chair by the stairs, where she would have noticed anyone going up or down the stairs. It was several minutes before anyone passed her on the stairs. Those persons were policemen going up the stairs to investigate. Collectively, the observations of these three witnesses would preclude Oswald from being on the 6th floor at the time of the assassination. Among the four women, only Vicky Adams was interviewed by the Warren Commission, though each had been interviewed by the FBI (CE 1381). The report of the FBI interview of Victoria Adams follows:

 

Victoria Adams was interviewed by David Belin, a staff member working for the Warren Commission, on April 24, 1964. In this interview, a curious sentence appeared to have been added, different from Victoria Adams' FBI statement, that she had encountered Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady on the first floor after coming down the stairs, directly after the assassination. Her encounter with Shelley and Lovelady actually occurred several minutes later, after she re-entered the building.

 

A pertinent part of the interview follows:

----------------------------------------------------

Mr. BELIN: When you got to the bottom of the first floor, did you see anyone there as you entered the first floor from the doorway?

Miss ADAMS: Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN: Who did you see?

Miss ADAMS: Mr. Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady.

Mr. BELIN: Where did you see them on the first floor?

Miss ADAMS: Well this is the stairs, and this is the Houston Street dock that I went out. They were approximately in this position here, so I don't know how you would describe that.

Mr. BELIN: You are looking now at the a first floor plan, or diagram of the Texas School Book Depository, and you have pointed to a position where you encountered Billy Lovelady and Mr. Shelley?

Miss ADAMS: That's correct.

Mr. BELIN: It would be slightly east of the front of the east elevator, and probably as far south as the length of the elevator, is that correct?

Miss ADAMS: Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN: I have here a document called Commission's Exhibit No. 496, which includes a diagram of the first floor, and there is a No.7 and there is a circle on it, and I have pointed to a place marked No. 7 on the diagram, is that correct?

Miss ADAMS: That is approximate.  (Excerpt from Victoria Adams' testimony, VI 386-393; also found in Ernest, B. (2013). The Girl on the Stairs. Gretna, LA: Pelican, pp. 284-294.

 

 

 

Though no one questioned this testimony at the time of the publication of the 26 volumes of Appendices to the Warren Report, on its face there appear to be inconsistencies in the interview. There are eight couplets of dialog between Mr. Belin and Miss Adams. The last couplet, where Belin introduces CE No. 496, would seem to precede the other couplets. But there is also an issue in the last couplet: how would Belin know where Victoria Adams encountered Mr. Shelley and Billy Lovelady to the point that he would have pinpointed the location on the first floor where Shelley and Lovelady were positioned already circled? Would it not have been more appropriate for Belin to ask Miss Adams to circle that place herself? The fourth couplet has Miss Adams looking at the first floor plan. It would surely seem this would have occurred after the last couplet. In retrospect, the unmistakable interpretation is that someone has significantly edited the testimony of Victoria Adams. She only saw the published transcript of her testimony years after it was published in Volume VI of the 26 volumes of Appendices. Later, she vehemently denied that the published transcript was accurate, when Adams was presented a copy of the published version of her testimony by Barry Ernst in 2002, the first time she ever saw it. She had previously only seen a typescript after the interview, at which time she made several corrections. Multiple changes were made in her deposition. The person she spoke to on the first floor was a large black man who was near the door as she exited. She never spoke to either Shelley or Lovelady, nor apparently did she even see them together. [13] She did not see either person on her way out directly after the assassination. In Shelley and Lovelady's depositions, Shelley said he saw Victoria Adams on the fourth floor (Adams' work station) somewhat after the assassination. Lovelady wasn't even sure he saw Victoria Adams. Neither Shelley nor Lovelady reported any conversation with her. [14]

 

It strongly appears Belin (or someone else within the Warren Commission staff) added changes after Vickie Adams had seen the typescript of her statement. Vickie was astonished by the changes, which she only became aware of years later. The changes of course, would have allowed Oswald time to come down the stairs, in that Shelley and Lovelady did not enter the building until five minutes after the shooting. It becomes clear that the evidence was being changed by the Commission staff to save the appearance that Oswald could have been the shooter. By not interviewing any of the other three women, and changing the testimony of Miss Adams, Belin was introducing a lie. Had a lawyer such as Mark Lane been able to rebut the information inserted by Belin, the Warren Commission might well have had a different outcome, apparently something not desired by the powers that be.

 

 

It can be seen that the testimony of Victoria Adams and her three co-workers would minimally place in doubt the conclusions of the Warren Commission, and cast David Belin as a person willing to bolster the case against Oswald and remove evidence that was exculpatory to Oswald.  Had her actual testimony, unaltered by Belin (or someone else in the commission staff), been included in the testimonies in the 26 volumes of Appendices to the Warren Commission Report,      the United States may have had a very different history since 1963; that history might have been much more truthful.

 

Highly Unusual Reports on Oswald Prior to November 1963.

 

a) Adele Edisen and her Encounter with Dr. Jose Rivera.

 

Here, two different accounts are reviewed that suggest Oswald was known reasonably well to persons employed by the United States government that render those within the government who claim Oswald was  not on the government's radar to be guilty of falsehoods. The first is regarding Adele Edisen, who was re-entering the workforce by applying for a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (NINDB) at Tulane University in New Orleans School of Medicine, working in neurophysiology; she was awarded a two year fellowship. She attended a meeting in Atlantic City, NJ in April, 1963, where she met Dr. Jose Rivera, who was in charge of grants at the NINDB, a subdivision of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They made arrangements to meet in Washington a few days later. Rivera, who had made reservations for dinner for the two of them, began talking about his travels with his work. Rivera said, "When you go to Dallas, you should go to the Carousel Club because it is a very nice night club." Rivera then said, "Do you know Lee Oswald?" Edisen replied she did not. Rivera told Edisen that Oswald had lived in the Soviet Union, was married to a Russian woman, and had a child. They were living in Dallas, and were moving to New Orleans. "You should get to know them, because they are a lovely couple."  From what was said, Edisen inferred that Oswald was a scientist and a friend of Rivera's. [15]

 

Later, as they were driving by the White House, Rivera, out of the blue, asked, "I wonder what Jackie will do when her husband dies?" When Edisen exclaimed, "What?", Rivera came back, "Oh. Oh, I meant the baby, she might lose the baby."  Shortly thereafter, Rivera said, "Write down this name: Lee Harvey Oswald. Tell him to kill the chief." When Rivera realized that Edisen had done precisely what he had said, he exclaimed," No, no, don't write that down. You'll remember it when you get to New Orleans. We are just playing a little joke on him."

Rivera then began to explain where "it" would happen. He explained there would be men on the fifth floor. Only after the assassination did Edisen understand that the assassination was referred to as "it". Rivera also stated, "Oswald was not what he seems. We're going to send him over to the library to read about great assassinations in history. After it's over, he'll call Abt [16] to defend him. Again, after it's over, someone will kill him. After it happens, his best friend will commit suicide. He'll jump out of a window because of his grief." Then Rivera continued: "When does the Shriner's Circus come to New Orleans? Oh, I remember, in November. It will happen after the Shriner's Circus comes to New Orleans." Then, "After it's over, the men will be out of the country."

 

Rivera dictated a number for Oswald, 899-4244. On her return to New Orleans, Edisen called the number and asked for Oswald. The man who answered said that there was no one there by that name. Thinking she might have misdialed, she called a week later, getting the same man. She again asked for Oswald. He said, "Oh, they've just arrived. Would you like to speak to his wife?" Edisen said yes, and a Slavic sounding woman said, "Hello." Edisen asked if she or her husband knew a Colonel Rivera. Marina Oswald didn't know but indicated Edisen could call back when her husband was home. The next time Edisen called, the man (landlord) got Oswald on the phone, Edisen asked Oswald if he knew of Colonel Rivera, who worked in Washington with the NIH. Oswald replied, "No, I don't." Edisen replied, "That's strange because he apparently knows you and your wife." Edisen then asked for the location of the phone, and Oswald gave the address at 4909 Magazine Street, which Edisen recalled was in a run-down part of town, a strange place for a scientist to live.

 

When Edisen called the  Secret Service in New Orleans after the assassination, she was asked to come down to the FBI office As she entered the room, she was told that Oswald had just been shot. She immediately remembered that Rivera had told her that, "After it's over, someone will kill him. They will say his best friend killed him." A liaison FBI officer joined the two of them. After Edisen gave her information, the FBI officer asked if he could have the note with Oswald's phone number on it. Edisen complied with his request. [17] It is clear that Dr. Rivera had considerable detailed information that would strongly suggest he was privy to detailed information known only to those planning the assassination.

 

It should be noted that researcher Bill Kelly interviewed Edisen extensively in 1999, after which he revealed that "Edisen also believes that Rivera surreptitiously gave her some drugs- a Mickey Finn, possibly an LSD psychotic [inducing] drug, and she believes he was testing some sort of drug on her and was involved in some sort of experiment or secret operation." [18]

'

 

 

b) The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald in Mobile, AL on November 21, 1963

 

A telegram was sent from Dallas to the New Orleans November 17, 1963, probably sent by Oswald to J. Edgar Hoover, which warned of an assassination attempt on the life of President Kennedy in Dallas, on November 22 or 23, 1963.  This telegram was likely the rationale for FBI agent James Ambrose, stationed in Mobile Alabama, to seek out Naif Michael Moore, Jr. (Junior Moore), proprietor of Jimmy's Billiards in Mobile, and a known gambler; being called upon by law enforcement to be a potential source of information was quite common for persons such as Moore, who made their livings outside the then current laws. Moore had been brought in and questioned numerous times previously. [19] Moore voluntarily walked the four blocks to the Mobile FBI office where he was questioned about Lee Harvey Oswald on the afternoon of  November 21, 1963, a time the FBI would maintain that they had at most minimal information on Oswald. This interview with Moore showed that such disclaimers by the FBI having no interest in Oswald was an outright lie. Further, when Moore tried to contact Ambrose in January, 1964, Moore was stonewalled about Ambrose's then current location.

 

As time went on, various things would be addressed in the media that would rekindle Moore's interest in the meaning of his experience. In 1975, Moore saw a Dan Rather television program, titled," The American Assassins." A segment of this program involved William Walter, the FBI agent in New Orleans who handled the teletype  on November 17, 1963, about a probable assassination attempt on JFK in Dallas. Moore would eventually get together with Walter. First, he tried again to tell the civil authorities about his 1963 experience in Mobile. At this  time (1975), Moore was living in Blythville, Arkansas.  Moore told his story to George Ford, Sheriff of Mississippi County (which contains Blythville). Ford turned the information over to Ed Cunningham, an FBI agent in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Cunningham passed the information onto his superiors, who in turn, asked Cunningham to get a statement from Moore. Eventually, an 8 page report was made, which included Moore's story and a denial by former FBI agent James Ambrose  that an interview of Moore regarding Lee Harvey Oswald ever took place. [20]  After moving back to Mobile, Moore then told his story to a reporter, Cathy Donelson from The Mobile Press Register. Donelson also contacted both Ambrose and Cunningham, who both denied talking to Moore about Lee Harvey Oswald. A few years later, the FBI report was released showing that such conversations had indeed taken place. Donelson's article [21] was published February 23, 1992. A few days later Donelson was fired. [22]

 

Moore contacted William Walter, the former FBI agent who received the November 17, 1963 teletype at the New Orleans FBI station with the JFK assassination warning for Dallas. They got together and a videotape was filmed by Ruby Moore, Junior Moore's wife. Moore and Walter told their respective stories, with a discussion between them about their respective roles. [23]  This is but another example of the lack of truthfulness in the Federal bureaucracy when it comes to the JFK assassination. 

 

 The Telegraph sent to the New Orleans FBI

 

A telegram was received by William  Walter and his wife Josey on Sunday morning, November 17, 1963 at the FBI office in New Orleans. They made a xerox copy of that telegram.  The telegram is reproduced herein:  

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 “According to William Walter, the security clerk on duty at the time of Oswald’s request, Quigley asked Walter to check the security indices to determine if there was an existing file on Oswald. Walter did indeed find a file on Oswald, which he recalled carried an informant classification. He also recalled that Special Agent Warren deBrueys’ name was on the jacket of that file. Amazingly, Walter would testify that he had also seen a Telex shortly before the assassination, warning that a "militant revolutionary group may attempt to assassinate President Kennedy on his proposed trip to Dallas." Since no other FBI employee could (or would) corroborate Walter’s revelations, the HSCA chose to disregard his testimony. But the HSCA could not provide any motive for Walter’s supposed subterfuge. He had no ax to grind with the FBI, he left the Bureau on good terms, and started a career in banking. He also did not seek notoriety or financial gain and believed the Warren Commission’s conclusions. Walter summed up nicely for the HSCA his thoughts about his colleagues’ silence, "I had gotten the [gut] feeling from everybody I talked to that ‘we know it is true, but we are not going to talk about it.’" From Walter’s Executive Session testimony to the HSCA, March 23, 1978, HSCA document #014029.” [24]

 

Oswald as a Covert Operator

 

We don't have many extensive firsthand accounts about Oswald, but we have at least two such accounts. The first was written by Ernst Titovets [25], regarding his interactions with Oswald in the then Soviet Union, covering 1960-1962. The second is by Judyth Baker [26], covering April 1963 to November 1963. Together, they render the interpretation of Oswald described in the Warren Report as highly untenable. What we can do is piece together Oswald's life circumstances for the critical period from Oswald's repatriation to the United States.

 

What was Oswald doing, or, more to the point, what did Oswald think he was doing? It seems a reasonable hypothesis that Oswald desired to be a spy. This probably did not go unnoticed by government agencies likely to have come in contact with him. [27] It is conceivable that Oswald was, in his view, getting a chance to live out this dream. His Russian episode has been interpreted as probably acting as a spy for some U.S. agency or agencies. Otherwise, after attempting to renounce his American citizenship in Moscow and living in the Soviet Union for 32 months (October, 1959 to June, 1962), his repatriation on his return, with a Russian wife and their Russian born daughter, without any apparent repercussions, seems inexplicable. [28] Apparently, the American agencies may have seen that, for a small investment, they might be able to use him in some future operation. Oswald's employment by the Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall Company (referred to by the Warren Commission as "a graphic arts company") could well have had a clandestine direction for Oswald; Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall did secret photographic work for the U.S. government. Oswald's employment there started (October 11, 1962)  just days before the Cuban missile crisis. [29]

 

 Perhaps both the CIA and the FBI may have had some relationship with Oswald. It seems that this became intensified (more likely with the CIA) when he returned to New Orleans in April 1963. Oswald was hired by the William B. Reily Coffee Company, though much of his actual time was spent as a courier for a clandestine research project headed by Alton Ochsner, M.D., presumably funded by the CIA. The project involved developing a fast acting cancer which might successfully be used on Fidel Castro. [30] As a courier, Oswald received biological tissues from David Ferrie and took them to either Mary Sherman, M.D. or to Alton Ochsner, M.D. or to the Communicable Disease Laboratory at the US Public Health Service. Oswald also was scheduled to take the developed cancerous materials to Mexico City to a drop where the cancerous material would then be taken to Cuba by another person. [31]

 

 Suggesting that this scenario is at least tenable can be deduced from information regarding Oswald's income in the two months preceding the assassination and by sightings of Oswald with David Ferrie and Clay Shaw in Clinton, LA. Warren Commission staff lawyer Richard Mosk and IRS supervisor Phillip Barson filed a report to the Warren Commission on Oswald's income and expenses for September 25, 1963, the day he left New Orleans for Mexico, until the assassination, slightly less than a two month period. "His [Oswald's] income, including salary and unemployment insurance, totaled $3665.89, while his expenses, including the cost of the Mexico trip, totaled $3,497.79. It was a difference of $168, and that money was apparently accounted for, since Oswald left the $170 in cash for Marina in a drawer in the bedroom dresser." [32]

 

That statement is astonishing. Oswald's only employment was at the TSBD, from October 16, 1963 until November 22, 1963, five weeks and three days. At a wage of $1.25 per hour, Oswald would have earned around $280 at the TSBD during his employment there. As to unemployment insurance, Oswald cashed his last unemployment check from the State of Texas on October 15, 1963, in the amount of $6. [33] Clearly, Oswald had other sources of income. A likely source of some of that income was the CIA financed research project in New Orleans headed by Dr. Alton Ochsner:  "...Lee Oswald secretly worked as a team member on Ochsner's bio-weapon project, that Oswald met with Ochsner personally, and that it was actually Lee Oswald who requested that Dr. Ochsner set up his media coverage to help position him as a pro-Cuban activist, so that he could get into Cuba more easily and deliver their bio-weapon to sympathetic doctors, who would use it to kill Castro." [34] The CIA, through the New Orleans research project, would likely have funded not only his employment through the clandestine project, most likely they funded his trip to Mexico as well. The FBI likely also paid Oswald money during this period for some of his activities (by some accounts $200 a month).

 

Was Oswald involved in a Conspiracy or Conspiracies to Assassinate JFK?

 

This is an interesting question. Insofar as Oswald is concerned, there are four different kinds of conspiracies he could have been involved with. The first is an actual conspiracy, where all participants were working together to effect the assassination of President Kennedy. The second is where Oswald was the only participant in the conspiracy actively pursuing JFK's assassination, with the other participants being informants to some other entity. The third possibility is that Oswald had infiltrated a group planning the assassination, and fourth, unbeknownst to the participants, ALL were persons who were seeing themselves as infiltrators to an actual assassination group, when in fact none of them were actually participating in any plan to assassinate the president.

 

 

The first scenario, that all participants were involved in an actual conspiracy, seems unlikely. If this were the case, they presumably were all being paid by the same entities. What Oswald would bring to such a group, other than as a patsy, seems questionable. The second scenario, while a possibility, seems ludicrous. Given that Oswald was in the lunchroom at the time of the assassination, or at least NOT on the sixth floor of the TSBD, this scenario can be discarded. The third scenario, that Oswald infiltrated a group planning the assassination probably seemed plausible to Oswald. It seems this is how he perceived the situation. Still, the last possibility seems the most attractive possibility. The actual planners of the assassination may have prepared each of the participants as potential patsies, while the actual assassination teams were going about planning the assassination. This scenario had to be discarded, at least by the Warren Commission, as the result the new president had in mind was a lone assassin. Finding a conspiracy was too messy. The so-called conspirators (the potential patsies) may be allowed to actually tell the truth, which could extend the Warren Commission's "deliberations" beyond the time of the November 1964 election; Johnson wanted the assassination removed as an issue prior to the November election. In fact, letting truth be known could have ended Johnson's presidency. Besides, to many in government, Oswald was conveniently dead. Any prior relationship between Lee Harvey Oswald and his assassin, Jack Ruby, could be denied.

 

Sorting out the Conspiracy Scenarios- A meeting of "Conspirators" in late August, 1963

 

We know from the work of Dick Russell [35] that, according to Richard Case Nagell, a meeting involving Oswald took place in an undisclosed location, but which might have been Houston.  The date of the meeting was between August 23 and August 27, 1963.  In attendance were Richard Case Nagell, Lee Harvey Oswald, "Angel", and a fourth unidentified person. Nagell claimed to have surreptitiously recorded the meeting; [36] Russell had never found the recording. Nagell was serving as a double agent, somewhat to his surprise. Nagell signed a contract in 1962, stating that he was employed by the CIA. [37] But it appeared that his orders were coming from the Soviet KGB. The Soviets were aware that there might be plots against President Kennedy; they wanted Nagell to "eliminate" Oswald because they feared that, were Kennedy to be assassinated, Oswald would be blamed and, by inference, because of Oswald's having lived in the USSR, Soviet Russia may be seen as directing his actions. Were Oswald dead, it would be much harder to blame the Soviets. [38]

 

Nagell was in a quandary of deciding what to do. Nagell had gone to New Orleans in mid-September trying to convince Oswald to abandon his efforts, particularly of going to Mexico later that month. Then Nagell returned to Texas. He was in El Paso on the night of September 19, 1963, when he decided on his course of action. He did not wish to commit murder (on Oswald) particularly as it was being dictated to him by Soviet Russia. Nagell felt he had been "given over" to the KGB by the CIA, and he thus felt abandoned by the CIA. On the morning of September 20, 1963, he mailed three letters: one, containing $500 and an airline ticket to Mexico City, was sent to Oswald in New Orleans. A letter was also sent to Desmond Fitzgerald, CIA, and a "nastier' note to another person in the CIA. [39] A question to be asked here, if Nagell was to eliminate Oswald if Oswald wouldn't change his plans, is, why then did Nagell personally pay Oswald's expenses and pay for the ticket to Mexico City? One explanation is, this change of mind for Nagell occurred when he visited Oswald in New Orleans. Likely, Nagell figured out that Oswald was also involved in another CIA project (the project involving developing fast acting cancers to be used on Fidel Castro), and in a manner somewhat similar to Nagell, was also a double agent (CIA & FBI) and also trying to prevent Kennedy's assassination. To this end, when Nagell showed up at the Consulate General's Office in Barcelona on March 10, 1969 to discuss his circumstances with Consul Richard C. Brown, Brown reported, "He [Nagell] said that the reason he was arrested in the first place [in El Paso] was he had worked with Lee Harvey Oswald in an assignment with a U.S. intelligence agency." [40] That would also mean that the August meeting was bogus. It would have seemed likely that perhaps all participants were playing a role for their separate handlers. Another possibility of course, is that if some entity wanted to get a patsy for the assassination, any one of the participants could have been used.

 

Nagell's plan was to have him enter a bank, carefully shoot into the ceiling so that no one was injured, and then walk out and wait to be arrested. Strangely, he thought his actions would result in a misdemeanor. Instead, Nagell was convicted of a felony, and he was imprisoned until 1968. [41]

 

Why Oswald?

 

In a word, Oswald was a convenient scapegoat. By focusing on Oswald, the machinations and manipulations in the background would go undiscovered perhaps indefinitely, for those involved in framing him. Perhaps one of the few blanket statements that could be made about the JFK assassination is that Oswald was not the shooter. But at this point, pinpointing the actual shooter eludes us. A likely scenario is that the shooter or shooters were themselves fairly quickly eliminated. Perhaps even those who eliminated them were eliminated themselves. What that suggests is that those planning the murder of President Kennedy hoped the truth would be skirted "long enough". Surely, long enough so that the principals would avoid exposure during their lifetimes.

 

The Maintaining of False Beliefs

 

One of the false beliefs which was disproven centuries ago, but still maintains adherents, is the concept of a flat earth. Even though disproven, there was concern that explorers like Columbus might fall off the edge of the earth. There still exists today a Flat Earth Society; their website is: http://flatearthsociety.org. There are still those who maintain, probably for religious reasons, that the earth is less than 11000 years old; geology can't be right. Geology has made some mistakes, but suggesting the earth is much older than 11000 years is not one of them. One of their mistakes which was still being taught when I was an undergraduate student, is that there was no such thing as continental drift, a theory proposed in the early 1900's, and dismissed as impossible by

the geologists of the day. In the middle 1960's, continental drift, under the new name "plate tectonics", replaced the concept of stationary continents. [42]

 

The idea that the earth was the center of the universe held sway even after the writings of Copernicus were published (shortly before and shortly after his death) in 1543. Galileo took up Copernicus' theory, and added his understanding of gravity. Still, Galileo was placed under house arrest for his final eight years, dying in 1642. By 1758 the Catholic Church lifted the ban on his books supporting Copernican theory. [43] And on November 4, 1992, Pope John Paul II announced that the denunciation of Galileo was a tragic error. [44] It took 358 years for an apology to be delivered.

 

How Does This Apply to Oswald?

 

It is clear that there can often be a long time interval before appropriate corrections get made regarding inaccuracies that have previously been accepted as true.  In Oswald's situation, a political dimension impinges on accurate reporting. In most of the other cited cases, either a political or religious/political dimensions was also present. Changing the verdict at the official level could be perceived by current stakeholders as endangering their position. Such a circumstance would lead to foot dragging or other delaying tactics. One such delaying tactic, if the  preponderance of opinion were to accept that Oswald was not the shooter, would be to implicate Oswald in some other way, e.g., reposition Oswald as being involved in a conspiracy.

 

 

So, when will Oswald be exonerated?  

 

Will it take as long as Galileo? That was 358 years. Perhaps an issue is that "solving" the assassination would be embarrassing to various parts of the government, and to influential families whose patriarchs participated in some way. Were we to know how parts of our government participated either in the assassination or the cover-up of the assassination, it would be likely that many of us would demand change. That change would likely be considered dangerous to the status quo, which seems always to have its defenders.  I would guess that the process for exonerating Oswald will remain slow. A difficulty for some is that not only is Oswald a poor candidate for being the assassin, there presently doesn't seem to be a good replacement. Likely, the JFK assassination will move to the unsolved list, and that would not sit well with many. But finding the actual killer is not our present direction, though also highly sought. Getting the person wrongly accused exonerated, however, is. It will take as long as it takes.

 

Notes:

1. Posner, G. (1993). Case Closed. New York: Random House. For those that posit a possible shot from the Dal-Tex Building, Posner inadvertently shows the constructed ballistic evidence would include the Dal-Tex Building as being in the cones of possible origin of the shots. Posner eliminated this possibility by simply removing the Dal-Tex building from the drawings, thus leaving a "gaping" hole in his evidence. See Posner's Appendix A.

2. Bugliosi, V. (2007). Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New York: Norton.

3. Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 26 Volumes of Hearings and Exhibits. (1964). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Incredibly, no index accompanied this voluminous work. Fortunately, an excellent index was eventually completed by Walt Brown: Brown, W. (1995). Referenced Index Guide to the Warren Commission. Wilmington, DE: Delmax.

4. Weisberg, H. & Lesar, J. (1974). Whitewash IV: JFK Assassination Transcript. Frederick, MD: Weisberg.

5. Willens, H.P. (1974). In Weisberg & Lesser, p. 25.

6. Williams, J.D. (2015). Advocacy Research. JFK-E/Deep Politics Quarterly, (in press).

7. Lane, M. (1966). Rush to Judgment. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, p. 9.

8. Shenon, P. (2013). A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination. New York: Henry Holt. p. 500.

9. Epstein, E.J. (1966). Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth. New York: Viking Press.

10. Shenon.

11. Brown, W. (1998). TSBD Evidence Places LBJ 'Hitman' in Sniper's Nest. Extra Edition of JFK Deep Politics/Deep Politics Quarterly, 3,3. A. Nathan Darby made a six point match of Mac Wallace's fingerprint to the previously unidentified fingerprint found in the sniper's nest at the TSBD. Later, a 34 point match confirmed Wallace's presence on the sixth floor of the Depository, reported in Brown, W. (2001). Malcolm Wallace Fingerprint: "It's Him!!" JFK/ Deep Politics Quarterly, 7,1,4-6. Among the critics of identifying Wallace from the fingerprint were Glen Sample and Mark Collom, who earlier wrote The Men on the Sixth Floor (1997). Garden Grove, CA: Sample Graphics. Sample & Collom had hypothesized that Wallace was present on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository at the time of the assassination. It seemed strange that they would question a finding that gave evidence that their earlier assertion was likely true.

12. Shenon, pp. 532-534.

13. Ernest, B. (2013). The Girl on the Stairs. Gretna, LA: Pelican. See also Williams, J.D. (2014).The Girl on the Stairs-Was Oswald Even on the Sixth Floor at the Time of the Assassination? JFK-E/Deep Politics Quarterly, 1, 2, 3-16.

14. The relevant parts of the depositions of Billy Nolan Lovelady and William H. Shelley are given in Ernest, pp. 295-297.

15. Turner, K.S. (1999). From April to November and back Again. The Third Decade, 8, 1, 2-5. K.S. Turner was a pseudonym for Adele Edisen. She had also reported her experiences on the then extant website, JFK Research. H.P. Albarelli conducted several interviews with Edisen for his book, which also includes CIA clandestine use of hypnosis. Albarelli, H.P. (2013). A Secret Order: Investigating the High Strangeness and Synchronicity of the JFK Assassination. Waterville, OR: Trine-Day.

16. John J. Abt was an attorney in New York City to whom Oswald attempted to place a collect call, but the call was refused; Abt was out of town at the time. Benson, M. (1993). Who's Who in the JFK Assassination. New York: Carol Publishing Group, p. 4.

17. Turner (1999), Albarelli (2013).

18. Woody Woodland Interview of Bill Kelly on "Between the Lines" live radio program on WSMN AM 1590, Nashua, NH December 29, 1999. See jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2012/10/bill-kelley-interview-1999.html

19. Moore, N.M, & Darring, W. (1992). Crossroader: Memoirs of a Professional Gambler. Mobile: Regency Press.

20. FBI File no. 62-109060-741; AARB record no. 124-10056-10063.

21. Donelson, C. (1992). Did the FBI ask Him about Oswald the Day before Kennedy Was Killed? The Mobile Press Register, February 23, p. 1A+.

22. A copy of that telegram can also be found in Williams, J.D. (2006). Was the FBI searching for Oswald in Mobile on November 21, 1963? Dealey Plaza Echo, 8, 2, 46-52.

23. Ruby Moore videotaped the meeting between Moore and Walter. Junior Moore sent me a copy of the videotape.

24. www://ctka.net/Let JusticeBeDone/notes.htm The copy of the telegram was provided by Judyth Baker.

25. Titovets, E. (2010). Oswald Russian Episode. Minsk, Belarus: Mon Litera Publishing House.

26. Baker, J.V. (2010). Me & Lee: How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald. Walterville, OR: Trine-Day.

27. Ibid, pp. 133-134.

28. Ibid, pp. 132-133.

29. Benson, M. (2002). Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination. New York: Checkmark Books, p. 179.

30. Baker, pp.165-187.

31. Ibid, p. 482, p. 486, pp. 491-496.

32. Shenon, p. 452.

33. Armstrong, J. (2003). Harvey & Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald. Arlington, TX: Quasar, p. 725.

34. Haslam, E. (2007). Dr. Mary's Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics. Walterville, OR: Trine-Day,

 p. 337.

35. Russell, D. (1992, 2003).The Man Who Knew Too Much. New York: Carroll & Graf. The page numbers in the references that follow relate to the 2003 edition.

36. Russell (2003), p. 275.

37. Ibid., p. 283.

38. Ibid., p. 283.

39. Ibid., p. 290.

40. Ibid., p. 437.

41. Ibid, pp. 1-3.

42. Henderson, B. (2014).The Next Tsunami: Living on a Restless Coast. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press.

43. biography.com/people/Galileo

44. lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVarticles/LearningFromTheVaticansReversalOnGalileo.html

 

.

                                       Advocacy Research-Revisiting the Warren Commission

                                                             John Delane Williams

 

In "typical" court proceedings, an advocacy research/presentation of the facts is envisioned. The advocate for the prosecution (the prosecutor) would present the evidence that the prosecutor thinks will present the best case for convicting the defendant. In a perfect world (which we DO NOT live in), exculpatory evidence which suggests that some doubt exists as to whether the defendant is guilty, would be at least be made available to the defense. The advocate for the defense is charged with defending his/her client, testing the evidence brought by the prosecution, and presenting countering evidence that can show, at least, that a reasonable doubt exists. The forgoing does not come anywhere close to the activities of the Warren Commission.  Hypothetically, the Commission and the staff were to examine all of the information (presumably facts), and without prejudice, render a report that fairly addressed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Prejudice can be simply be stated as prejudging. In fact, the Warren Commission functioned from the moment of its conception to be prejudiced.  The first meeting of The President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (the actual title of the Commission that has come to be known as The Warren Commission) took place on January 27, 1964. The entire transcript of that meeting was published with annotations and comments by Harold Weisberg, [1] courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act. Howard Willens, a staff member who came from Bobby Kennedy's Justice Department, wrote a memorandum for the record on the day following the meeting: "...(W)hat the commission was up to from the first, [was] the search for means of foisting off a preconceived conclusion, the deliberate hiding of what actually happened when JFK was killed." [2]  Willens early on made the case that  the Warren Commission was in fact prejudging the work before them.

The Relation of Bayesian Statistical Analysis to Prosecutorial Advocacy

A lesser known (but not less important) statistical analysis approach, is Bayesian analysis, after the British statistician Thomas Bayes. A Bayesian analysis [3] differs from a standard approach by allowing an individual's (or group's) beliefs about an event enter into the decision process. A natural analog is a horse race. In projecting the winner of a race, the odds of a horse winning is not based on an objective analysis of performance data (though persons may use objective information in assessing their subjective choices). The "odds" reported are pari-mutuel odds, that is, the "average" of people's subjective choices when they place their bets for the race. Of course, many times a favorite does not win the race. The race is the objective outcome, which need not correspond to the bettors choice. Bayesian analysis also allows for testing past events that have an unknown aspect. In particular, solving a murder case involves an outcome (the murder) with an "unknown" cause. In a murder case there may be several suspects. In the particular case of the JFK assassination, we might have the following suspects: (1) Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, (2) Lee Harvey Oswald, as part of a conspiracy, (3) members of the Dallas Police, (4) the CIA, (5) the FBI,  (6) Texas oilmen, (7) Cubans supporting Castro, (8) anti-Castro Cubans, (9) the Mafia, and (10) the Russians. This is by no means a complete list, and some might want combinations, such as the CIA and the FBI. What others might have preferred would have been the Warren Commission to have investigated each of the listed entities. The persons chosen by the Warren Commission to do their weighing of evidence to be a preliminary report were for the most part young lawyers, whose very training was to be an advocate for a position. And pointedly, no person was given the role of being an advocate for Oswald (Mark Lane volunteered for this role, but his volunteering was not accepted by the Commission). It would appear that only the first two options were considered by the Commission, and hence, considered by  the young lawyers they hired to sift the collected data. Most of the evidence was in fact collected by the FBI; any veering away from objectivity would taint whatever data was collected. The prior beliefs of certain principals could easily taint the data collection process. Further, if Oswald were considered to be in a conspiracy, the cleanness of the outcome could be politically problematic. Hence for some participants, the prior probability of Oswald's having acted alone likely would have been very near certainty (i.e. a probability of  near to 1). Some of the staff members entertained the second option (i.e., Oswald was the shooter, but also involved in a conspiracy). For most of the persons involved (the Commission, the Commission's staff, and the FBI), the expectancy was that the shooter was most likely Oswald. It would seem that the belief Oswald was the shooter was a given to most of the persons involved with the investigation. The lack of an advocate for Oswald left little doubt as to who would be blamed. The goal of the group seemed to be to find the facts that support "convicting" Oswald, and in some way, show that all exculpatory information suggesting Oswald wasn't the shooter was somehow in error. In simple words, the overall goal of the Warren Commission was to come to the conclusion that Oswald and no other person was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, and to come to that conclusion prior to the Presidential election in November 1964.

The Handling of "Data" - the Case of Victoria Adams

 

Victoria Adams was an employee at the Texas Schoolbook Depository (TSBD), who along with three other women, were watching the Presidential motorcade from a fourth floor window on November 22, 1963. Directly after the last shot, she and another employee, Sandra Styles, went down the stairs to the first floor. They neither saw nor heard anyone on the stairs. The only person they encountered was a large black man, also an employee at the TSBD, whom they saw on their way out of the building. A third employee, Dorothy Ann Garner, immediately situated herself in a chair by the stairs and the freight elevator, where she would notice anyone going up or down the stairs or elevator. At no time did she see Lee Oswald. It was several minutes before anyone passed her on the stairs. They included Roy Truly, TSBD Building Superintendent, and  policemen going up the stairs to investigate. Collectively, the four women's observations would preclude Oswald being on the 6th floor at the time of the assassination. Among the four women, only Vicky Adams was interviewed by the Warren Commission, and had that interview made public. Dorothy Ann Garner stated that she too was interviewed by the Warren Commission, though no record has yet been found of that interview. Perhaps after interviewing her, a decision was made NOT to do a deposition. Each of four the women had been interviewed by the FBI (CE 1381). Vickie Adams'  later interview with the Warren Commission was conducted by David Belin, a member of the Warren Commission staff investigator team. In Vicki Adams' testimony, a curious sentence was added, that she had encountered Bill Shelley and Billy Lovelady on the first floor. It strongly appears Belin (or someone else within the Warren Commission staff) added this statement after Vickie Adams had seen the typescript of her testimony. Vickie was astonished by the change, which she only became aware of years later. The change of course, would have allowed Oswald time to come down the stairs, in that Lovelady did not enter the building until five minutes after the shooting. It becomes clear that the evidence was being changed by the Commission staff to save the appearances that Oswald could have been the shooter. By not interviewing (and producing a record) of any of the other three women, and changing the testimony of Miss Adams, Belin was introducing a lie. [4] Had a lawyer such as Mark Lane been able to rebut the information inserted by Belin, the Warren Commission might well have had a different outcome, apparently something not desired by the powers that be.   

 

Oswald's Income

 

Before looking at the FBI's and CIA's involvement in the Warren Commission's workings, it is instructive to look at Oswald's income in the two months preceding the assassination.

Warren Commission staff  lawyer Richard Mosk and IRS supervisor Phillip Barson filed a report to the Warren Commission on Oswald's income and expenses for September 25, 1963, the day he left New Orleans for Mexico, until the assassination, slightly less than a two month period. "His [Oswald's] income, including salary and unemployment insurance, totaled $3665.89, while his expenses, including the cost of the Mexico trip, totaled $3,497.79. It was a difference of $168, and that money was apparently accounted for, since Oswald left the $170 in cash for Marina in a drawer in the bedroom dresser." [5]

 

That statement is astonishing. Oswald's only employment was at the TSBD, from October 16, 1963 until November 22, 1963, five weeks and three days. At a wage of $1.25 per hour, Oswald would have earned around $280 at the TSBD during his employment there. As to unemployment insurance, Oswald cashed his last unemployment check from the State of Texas on October 15, 1963, in the amount of $6. [6] Clearly, Oswald had other sources of income. A likely source of some of that income was the CIA financed research project in New Orleans headed by Dr. Alton Oschner:  "...Lee Oswald secretly worked as a team member on Ochsner's bio-weapon project,... Oswald met with Oschner personally, and that it was actually Lee Oswald who requested that Dr. Oschner set up his media coverage to help position him as a pro-Cuban activist, so that he could get into Cuba more easily and deliver their bio-weapon to sympathetic doctors, who would use it to kill Castro." [7] The CIA, through the New Orleans research project would likely have funded not only his employment through the clandestine project, most likely they funded his trip to Mexico as well. The FBI likely also paid Oswald money during this period for some of his activities.

 

The FBI and the Warren Commission

 

Prior to the first executive session of the Warren Commission, January 27, 1964, the FBI had issued a 400 page, five volume report on the assassination of President Kennedy on December 9, 1963. [8] They stated that Oswald was the assassin without accomplices. Three shots were fired, two hit President Kennedy and a third shot hit Governor Connally. Initially, the staff of the Warren Commission used this scenario as the description of the assassination. When it was discovered that one of the shots missed the limousine entirely, the magic bullet hypothesis was adopted, wherein a single bullet hit first President Kennedy, and then struck Governor Connally. Connally insisted that he was hit by a separate shot. The FBI did not revise their assassination scene to correspond to the magic bullet scenario. The FBI was assigned the task of collecting information from potential witnesses, including witnesses regarding Oswald's background. Presumably, they generally did a more honest job than David Belin. Which is not to say that the FBI  reported in a completely fair manner. A woman, Alma Cole, wrote a letter to President Johnson on December 11, 1963, regarding Oswald having been present in Stanley, North Dakota  for several weeks in the summer of 1953 and had spent quite a bit of time with her son. The FBI did several interviews in Stanley. Many Stanley residents were questioned as to whether the Oswalds resided there [Of course not; they were transients!] Many of the persons interviewed would have been adults at the time Oswald was reported to have been visiting there. Not surprisingly, most responded that they didn't recall anyone by the name of Oswald living there. Some of the persons interviewed who were close to Oswald's age did recall Oswald. [9] Still, what the FBI did report was accurate even if incomplete, although their choice of wording in their questions was misleading. [10]

 

The FBI and Oswald

 

Lee Rankin, the general counsel for the Warren Commission, effectively stated, regarding the rumor that Lee Harvey Oswald was a paid informant for the FBI, "We have a dirty rumor...and it must be wiped out." [11] It is clear that investigating this "rumor" was not even a consideration. From Rankin's view, and perhaps many of the Commission members' views, it was simply untrue (From a Bayesian point of view, for the Commission and its staff lawyers, the probability that Oswald was a paid informant was zero, there was no chance that it could be true, therefore they need not investigate it.) In simple terms this is the definition of prejudging. Were Oswald a paid informant, it would be most likely that the number of persons knowing this would be limited to his FBI handler and perhaps the handler's supervisor. All other personnel in the FBI could honestly claim that they were unaware of Oswald's being a paid informant. Yet there were circumstances that might suggest that Oswald was in fact a paid informant. Oswald's relationship with Guy Banister, a former FBI agent who had strong feelings against persons that he saw as "subversive", nevertheless was cordial to Oswald, even as Oswald stored his "Fairplay for Cuba" pamphlets  near Guy Banister's office in New Orleans. When Delphine Roberts, Banister's secretary, inquired about Oswald handing out pro-Castro literature, Banister replied, "Don't worry about him... He's with us. He's associated with this office." [12] On August 9, 1963, Oswald was arrested along with three Cubans who confronted Oswald for passing out the leaflets in favor of Castro and Cuba. The next day, from jail, Oswald called the New Orleans FBI office. Special Agent (SA) John Quigley took the call, and then went to the police station. The FBI would almost never have gone to a jail to interview someone who was there for disturbing the peace. When Quigley left the jail, he went back to the office and asked FBI employee William Walter to see if the FBI had a file on Oswald. A file was located, which had an "informant" classification. [13] William Walter was the employee present when the New Orleans office of the FBI received a telegram, Sunday morning, November 17, 1963 from Dallas (and presumably from Oswald), regarding a planned assassination attempt against President Kennedy in Dallas, either on November 21 or 22. [14]

 

We also know that the FBI was questioning a man, Junior Moore, in Mobile Alabama on November 21, 1963 regarding whether he was aware of a person named Lee Harvey Oswald in Mobile; Oswald had spoken at Spring Hill College in Mobile in July of that year. [15] The FBI might have been searching in Mobile because of Mobile's proximity to New Orleans, and the telegram sent to the FBI in New Orleans the previous Sunday.

 

The CIA and the Warren Commission

 

The CIA had one of its former Directors on the Commission, Allen W. Dulles. When asked at the first official session how the CIA handled its informants, Dulles, explained that if Oswald would have been an informant to the CIA, he would expect the CIA to deny it, and he  would expect the FBI to deny it were Oswald an informant to the FBI. In fact, an agent of the CIA might choose to lie under oath in circumstances that were deemed necessary. [16] The Commission then understood that the US clandestine agencies were not likely to produce information that they chose not to produce. These "alleys" would simply be blind alleys to the Commission. Basically, the CIA was given a "pass" regarding the Commission's investigation. This would be but another example that the government has a very difficult time trying to honestly investigate itself. It would fall to independent researchers to try to fill this void. John Newman is one such independent  researcher who has written a seminal book on Oswald and the CIA. Newman laments the amount of government misconduct in lying to governmental investigative bodies and in effect, the obstruction of justice, in particular by the CIA. [17]

 

The Staff of the Warren Commission

 

Phillip Shenon has written a very interesting book about the Warren Commission. [18] He begins with his belief in their conclusions, and then writes a book that exposes a large number of the foibles of the Commission and its staff. As indicated earlier is this writing, such behavior  is essentially the essence of a true believer; [19] they are unswayed by any evidence that they are wrong.  In Bayesian terms, there is a probability of 1 (i.e., certainty) that  Oswald was the shooter, and a high probability there was no conspiracy, from a true believer's viewpoint. Today, belief in the single bullet theory seems concentrated in the mainstream press (often controlled by right-wing owners). In this regard, Upton Sinclair's comment in the book he wrote about his losing the  1934 California gubernatorial election seems appropriate: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding." [20]

 

The staff were mainly young lawyers, some newly graduated from law school and others not too advanced in their careers. Their individual mindsets might sometimes be at cross purposes with the Commissioners. One of the young, but somewhat experienced staff members (he worked as a prosecutor and had significant contact with the FBI) was Burt Griffin, 31, who came to the Commission with the expectancy that a conspiracy would be found. Eventually, Griffin's estimation of the FBI was that if a conspiracy had even a smattering of sophistication, it would elude the FBI. He felt that several of the younger staff members were "downright excited" to the possibility that the Commission would find a conspiracy. Griffin's assignment was writing a biography of Jack Ruby. [21]

 

J. Lee Rankin was the general counsel and was the liaison to both the Commission, and initially, to the FBI. Because of past workings with the FBI, Rankin thought a cordial relationship could be established with Director Hoover. Hoover dispelled him of this foolish notion early in their first meeting. To Hoover, the FBI had already done the study of the assassination; all the Commission had to do was to accept his December 9, 1963 final report. This view set Hoover at loggerheads with the Commission and particularly with Rankin. Rankin began to understand that  the FBI was to be the Commission's main investigative arm, an investigative arm that would not likely produce evidence to the Commission in disagreement with the FBI's already finished report. Rankin would be the final editor of the Commission's report at the staff level. The Commission, of course, was the final arbiter. The major writer of the staff report was David Slawson. Slawson, who graduated from Harvard Law School, chose to begin his law career in Denver as a protégé of  Byron "Whizzer" White, a well known All-American football star at the University of Colorado, two time All-Pro halfback in the NFL, and later, a Supreme Court justice appointed by President Kennedy. Slawson remained at the Denver law firm, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, after White's departure to the Supreme Court. Slawson would be on the team investigating a foreign conspiracy. Slawson  determined that two persons whom it would be important to interview in this regard were Sylvia Duran, who in 1963 was a secretary in the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, and Sylvia Odio, a former Cuban living in Dallas. Earl Warren refused to allow an interview with Duran (supposedly because "We don't talk to Communists. You cannot trust a dedicated Communist to tell the truth, so what's the point?"). [22]  As to interviewing Sylvia Odio, that task would fall to Wesley James Liebeler, who managed to create a fiasco out of it. Slawson would find many impediments in attempting to find a foreign conspiracy. Slawson found out long after the Warren Commission had ended, that James Angleton of the CIA filtered the reports that went from the CIA to the Warren Commission. Further, Angleton swept down to Mexico City and removed all of Win Scott's (Mexico City CIA station chief) files and memoirs upon Scott's death in 1971. The files revealed just how much information was withheld from the Warren Commission. [23] Other later revelations were like bombshells- the CIA Mafia Castro plots, the revelation that Hoover suspected an Oswald impersonator, and that a file was kept by the FBI on Oswald, beginning in 1959. Slawson was calling for a new investigation of the JFK assassination. When Slawson's views were reported in the New York Times, he was called by James Angleton, then recently fired from the CIA. Angleton made it clear that he was monitoring negative information about the CIA in the media. [24]

 

Wesley James Liebeler was easily the most "different" of the staff members. A native North Dakotan, Liebeler was a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. Unlike his liberal colleagues, Liebeler was strongly politically conservative (announcing his support for Barry Goldwater), but socially, considerably more to the libertine. Though married, he announced that he would be chasing skirts in D.C. and afterword, would brag about his "successes". He didn't mind violating rules. He would take classified reports with him on weekends, flying to his home in Maine. He would read them on the plane in full view of other passengers, one of whom reported him. Liebeler was given the assignment of interviewing Sylvia Odio in Dallas. Liebeler interviewed Odio in the offices of the United States Attorney. When her testimony was completed, Liebeler asked Odio out to dinner. They ate at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Dallas, where Liebeler was staying. A third person joined them, supposedly a lawyer for Marina Oswald. Liebeler told the other man, "If we do find that this is a conspiracy, you know that we are under orders from Chief Justice Warren to cover this thing up." [25] Liebeler invited Odio to his hotel room, supposedly to view some assassination pictures. There, he attempted to seduce her. Liebeler wrote a report on Oswald's motivation in the assassination as his part of the writing of the Warren Report. The Commission completely rejected his writing effort.  

 

Arlen Specter and the Single Bullet Theory

 

Specter was allowed to chose the area that he would investigate. He chose to focus on the last hours of President Kennedy's life, and the murder itself. Specter was to be the junior partner of Francis Adams, the former Commissioner of Police in New York City, who later became a very successful lawyer with his own firm in New York City. When the two men met, they agreed that the investigation should be quite quick, given that Oswald was so obviously guilty. As time dragged on, Adams absented himself from the Commission, leaving Specter on his own in the investigation. Specter got his idea for the single bullet theory partly out of necessity. One of the shots missed the limousine entirely, hitting the curb in front of the limousine, and cement from the curb injured James T. Tague. [26] Something on the order of the single bullet theory would be necessary, though such a scenario was, according to some accounts, already being considered by Specter.

 

Important parts of the evidentiary base were, however, not made available to the Warren Commission staff. Warren was opposed to having the autopsy photographs made available to the Warren Commission, apparently so that the photographs of the autopsy would not be made public; the photographs were apparently in the possession of Bobby Kennedy. The autopsy photographs were also not available to Commander James Humes M.D. for his review before his testimony to the Warren Commission. Instead, a navy sketch artist, who also did not have access to the autopsy photographs but only Humes' faulty memory of the wounds and his verbal description of them, sketched the wounds. Also to be taken into account was the decision to have Humes, almost totally lacking in autopsy experience with gunshot homicides, as the lead pathologist in the autopsy; you'd think the President of the United States would have deserved better. Perhaps Humes inexperience made him more malleable to the military brass in attendance at the autopsy. Wouldn't it have been better to have had a non-military pathologist who had considerable experience with gunshot homicide autopsies who could have ignored the brass in the audience, and cleared them out if they continued to put themselves into the proceedings? Surely, a more experienced pathologist would not have burned his notes written at the autopsy. An experienced pathologist would have insisted on probing the trajectory of the bullets in the president's body. And the missing of the wound in the president's throat could have been avoided by talking to Dr. Perry at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Perhaps one of the first mistakes made with the autopsy was to hold it in a military hospital with military physicians doing the autopsy.

 

True Believers and the Warren Apologists

 

The book by Shenon is in some ways remarkable. He begins with a strong orientation to Oswald's guilt as a lone assassin and also guilty of Officer Tippet's murder. He then proceeds to show the foibles of the FBI, the CIA, but particularly of the Warren Commission and its staff. And yet he maintains his belief in Oswald's guilt despite all of the failures of the staff and the commissioners, in the manner of a true believer. As a research effort, the Warren Commission was an utter failure. The process was strictly advocacy research, but without an advocate for the other side. An advocacy approach without representation of the other side can have only one outcome, an unfairness so egregious that truth is the first casualty.              

 

Notes:

1. Wiesberg, H. & Lesar, J. (1974). Whitewash II: JFK Assassination Transcript. Frederick, MD: Authors. The Commission decided to stop having transcripts made of meetings as of  June 23. After that, only summaries were provided. See Shenon [5], pp. 425-426.

2.Willens, H.P. in Weisberg & Lesar, p. 25.

3. Phillips, L.D. (1974). Bayesian Analysis for Social Scientists. New York: Thomas Crowell.

 4. Ernest, B. (2013). The Girl on the Stairs. Gretna, LA: Pelican.

5. Shenon, P. (2013). A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination. New York: Henry Holt & Co., p. 452. Income at the level that Oswald was receiving during those two months could have supported a much higher lifestyle for him and his family. [Indeed Oswald was paid well over three times as much as this writer during that same time period, while teaching mathematics and  statistics at a junior college.] Perhaps Oswald was expected to appear to be almost penniless by his handlers.       

6. Armstrong, J. (2003). Harvey & Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald. Arlington, TX: Quasar, p. 725.  

7. Haslam, E. (2007). Dr. Mary's Monkey: How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans and cancer-causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics. Walterville, OR: Trine-Day,

p. 337.

8. Shenon, p. 80.

9.Williams, J.D. & Severson, G. (2000). Oswald in North Dakota? Part I. The Fourth Decade: A Journal of Research on the John F. Kennedy Assassination. 7,2, 21-26.

10. Shenon, pp. 77-79.

11. Wiesberg & Lesar, p. 26.

12. Marrs, J. (1989). Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy. New York: Carroll & Graf, pp. 235-237.

 13. Armstrong, p. 566.

 14. Williams, J.D. (2004). Was the FBI Searching for Oswald the Day Before the Assassination? 

  Dealey Plaza Echo, 8, 2, 46-52.

 15. Ibid.

16. Wiesberg & Lesar, p. 52.

17. Newman, J. (1995). Oswald and the CIA. New York: Carroll & Graf.

18. Shenon.

19. Hoffer, E. (1951). The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. New    York: Harper & Row

 20. Sinclair, U. (1934, 1994). I, Candidate for Governor, and How I Got Licked. Berkeley: U of California Press.

 21. Shenon, p. 124. 

 22. Ibid.,  p. 311.

 23. Ibid., p. 546.

 24. Ibid., pp. 537-538.

 25. Ibid., p. 417.
 26. Tague, J.T. (2003). Truth Withheld: Why We will never Know the Truth about the  JFK     Assassination. Dallas: Excel Digital Press. An unnamed member of the staff lawyers for the Warren Commissio