Recent Findings Regarding the JFK Assassination
John Delane Williams
Presumably, after more than 30 years past an event as well known as the JFK assassination, the advent of new information could be expected to be incremental. Yet several important bits of "new" information have emerged in the past year. Hosty1 finally published his story; "Tex" Brown2 described his having taught Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald how to shoot guns in the Fall of 1963. Walt Brown3 adds several interesting points including J.D. Tippitt having had a pregnant girlfriend, in his theory that the Dallas Police Department killed Kennedy. Ray and Mary LaFontaine4 reveal new information regarding Oswald talking to two inmates while imprisoned in the Dallas Police Station. Livingston5, in his fourth contribution as a conspiracy theorist, strongly implies much of the evidence in the JFK case has been faked, including the Zapruder film and the autopsy photos. Norman Mailer6 sides with the Warren Commission, adding details of Marina Oswald's promiscuousness in Russia. Peter Dale Scott's7 essays mainly serve as review but also include material on Richard Cain, an underling of Sam Giancana; Cain's implication in the assassination is of recent origin. The continuing work of Harold Weisberg8, who has specialized in investigating the Warren Commission evidence, relates his gleanings from his first look at 250,000 pages of newly released evidence. Details on the number of shots being more than three can be controverted by the new data. Claudia Furiati9 used previously secret Cuban files, implicates Hermino Diaz, Eladio DeValle, and Richard Cain as shooters. Furiati's contribution has been recently reviewed by Evans10.
In a more visual demonstration, Robert Grodin11 presents evidence against the Warren Commission conclusions, including a photo of Ruby at the questioning of Oswald. Dan Rather seems to have a yearly paean to the Warren Commission (now including Gerald Pozner12). The 1995 anniversary edition13 was shown on the cable Arts and Entertainment Channel on the 20th Century Program. Two far more interesting videos were produced during the past year. One, shown also on the History Channel, The Men Who Killed Kennedy - The Truth Shall Set You Free14, concludes that the fatal shot was likely to have come from the manhole in the street. The second, The Murder of JFK: Confession of an Assassin15, contains the confession of James E. Files to shooting Kennedy; Files is currently serving a life sentence at Joliet State Penitentiary. Taken together, the newer evidence is, at a minimum, striking--were it to have been presented three decades ago, it may well have been definitive. In the interim, we perhaps have become too skeptical to call any findings as definitive.
Hosty's16 book relates his personal view of the FBI in Dallas in 1963. The book represents his defense of his own behavior and his personal cost in following Gordon Shanklin's instructions (orders) in destroying Oswald's note to Hosty. Hosty thought Oswald incapable of planning and executing the assassination, but fully accepted the Warren Commission's findings. Interesting details include a threat given to the FBI to kill Oswald from an anonymous source, received at 2:30 AM, Sunday morning (11/24/63). The same threat was received by the Police; Sheriff Shanklin advised Chief Curry not to transfer Oswald on Sunday morning. Hosty also reports that Oswald's identification was found by J.D. Tippitt's body, and not on Oswald's person when he was arrested, according to official police records.
Hosty also reveals that dirty secrets within the FBI kept Hosty from being exonerated by Hoover's successor, Clarence Kelley. In contrast to other reports, Hosty (p. 218) states that Oswald was granted a travel visa to Cuba. He would have to have gone to Mexico City to pick it up.
Tex Brown's Story17
Ray "Tex" Brown was an 18 year old cowboy and a high school dropout in 1963. He worked for John Marshall, who was also a bounty hunter, bringing back bailbond jumpers. Brown accompanied Marshall in bounty hunting. Jack Ruby watched them bring in a fugitive and asked Marshall to teach him to shoot. The job was given to Brown, who gave lessons to both Ruby and Oswald. Oswald never got the hang of shooting, always blinking when he pulled the trigger. While working for Ruby, he met Carlos Marcello (11/6/63) at the Rodeo Cafe in Fort Worth. The Rodeo Cafe was also the place that Brown frequently met with Ruby and Oswald. Two days before the assassination, Brown was offered a million dollars "for one day's work," which Brown turned down. Years later, Brown realized that he saw Charles Harrelson in Dallas twice just prior to the assassination, and once near Waco months after the assassination.
Within two weeks of the assassination, Brown received an unexpected call from Lyndon Johnson, telling him to move to South Texas, where Brown met Johnson on several occasions; Brown continued working with bounty hunting and began undercover work for the Drug Enforcement Agency. Brown called the Warren Commission; they declined to interview him; they had their case wrapped up.
Other interesting details revealed by Brown included Ruby stating to Brown at 1:30 PM on November 23 in front of the Carousel Club, "And watch old Jack, too. I'm going to be a hero" (p. 168). Oswald denied being in Mexico (p. 177). The gun Ruby used to shoot Oswald was bought for him by Dallas police officer Joe Cody (p. 179). Ruby was paranoid when he was in jail (if not before). He heard them torturing Jews in the Dallas Police Department basement (p. 237).
Brown would seem to settle the argument as to whether Oswald had target practice prior to the assassination; Brown claims to have taught Oswald and Ruby to shoot in the Fall of 1963 at Lake Worth. Also, Oswald never learned to shoot well, almost shooting himself in the foot on one occasion. It is no wonder that LBJ and the Warren Commission wanted Brown's silence.
Did the Dallas Police Department Do It?
Walt Brown 18 relates that Todd Wayne Vaughan, an expert in fingerprint identification, told Brown that, in addition to Oswald, several Dallas police officers left fingerprints on boxes on the sixth floor of the Texas School Depository (TSD). Within hours of the assassination, the Stemmons Freeway sign was removed from Dealy Plaza by persons unknown. It was asserted by Geneva White, widow of Roscoe White (who began working in the DPD in the Fall of 1963) that her husband was a shooter on the grassy knoll. Further, White killed Officer Tippett (p. 147). Brown republished a Jim Murray film showing a person believed to be an FBI agent retrieving a stray bullet from the grassy area ten minutes after the assassination, surrounded by a Dallas police officer (J.W. Foster) and a deputy sheriff (Buddy Walthers). The daughter of J.D. Tippett (born of his girlfriend, pregnant at the time of his death) recently passed away (p. 197). A cigarette pack was found in the snipers lair on the sixth floor of the TSB building. Not only was Oswald not a smoker, no employee would likely have had a pack of cigarettes there; they were prohibited in the building. The inference is that the occupant of the lair was an outsider. An interesting point is that in the appendix are listed 28 possible shooters; unfortunately, the list is not exhaustive of those who have been nominated for this dubious task.
Brown relates the story of Mike Robinson (pp. 186-190), who claims to have been with a friend (who was the son of a Dallas police officer), who found access into the Dallas Police Department (DPD) shortly after the assassination. They overheard many conversations, including one in a basement restroom where one person admitting to screwing up and killing J.D. Tippett rather than killing Oswald. At the time, the boys were hiding in a stall; when they left the restroom, a police officer stopped them and asked if they had been in the restroom at the same time as the officers. That officer was Roscoe White. A review of Brown's book was done by Murray19.
Brown shows many flaws in the DPD investigative work, and also finds individual members of the DPD who may have had an involvement in the assassination. It is not unlikely that several such officers may have also been in the employ of other secretive organizations either public or private. It seems highly unlikely to me that the JFK assassination would be completely the work of persons from the Dallas Police Department without other loyalties.
The LaFontaine's20 took advantage of evidence made available in the Dallas files on the JFK assassination. Their findings are new, and perhaps for some, startling. They relate that an inmate, John Elrod, overheard Oswald talk about Jack Ruby, about a secret motel room meeting regarding money and guns and about another prisoner at the jail. Shortly after Oswald met with the Dallas FBI on November 16, a teletype was received in New Orleans at 1:45 AM on the 17th by William S. Walter describing a threat to kill JFK in Dallas, November 22-23. The text of the teletype is included (p. 300). No one within the FBI would corroborate Walter's story.
In Appendix B, a summary of the new information is given regarding the released DPD files, confirming (or tending to confirm) several theories regarding Oswald, including Oswald being directed by either the CIA or military intelligence in his defection to Russia, being an asset of the FBI and/or the CIA and controlled by George deMohrenschildt; Oswald knew of Ruby's gunrunning and may have participated in it, according to the LaFontaine's. The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was not found on the sixth floor of the TSBD, but rather on either the fourth or fifth floor (p. 374). While in the cell with Oswald, Elrod observed a third man, Lawrence Miller, who was involved in an auto accident where stolen guns and ammunition were found. Oswald talked about the relationship of Miller to Ruby and the arrangement to sell the guns in a motel. Perry21 has reviewed the LaFontaine's book, showing some degree of dissatisfaction with their story, and bristling at being called an "amateur sleuth" by them.
Weisberg's Never Again
Weisberg22 is rather unique in assassination researchers in that he restricts his informational base to governmental files from the Warren Commission. By his own statement, he has had .33 million pages of previously unreleased documents released through the Freedom of Information Act. He has only began sifting through this stack of information; Weisberg states flatly that there "...is an absence of relevant publications by other authors" (p. 453). Notwithstanding the limitations Weisberg places on his research, he continues to mine the Warren Commission documents that collectively continue to show the implausibility of the Warren Commission findings. Weisberg found that someone other than Oswald picked up the Fair Play for Cuba handbills in New Orleans. The magic bullet may have come from Kennedy's, rather than Connally's stretcher. There is evidence of more than three shots, cited by Weisberg.
The Cuban Connection
Claudia Furiati23 accessed the Cuban files on the Kennedy assassination, which also investigated plots against Castro. The Cubans thought those most responsible were Santos Trafficante and David Atlee Phillips. Cuban exiles (possibly including the Revolutionary Student Directorate [DRE]) were involved in the actual shooting. The source of this information, General Fabian Escalante, accused Eladio del Valle, Herminio Diaz Garcia (who as a paid assassin killed General Trujillo of the Dominican Republic) and Richard Cain (of the Chicago Mafia) in the assassination of JFK. Escalante believed the assassination to be a combination of the CIA, the Mafia, and anti-Castro Cubans, who were also involved in plots against Castro.
Confession of an Assassin24
James E. Files was James Sutton until just after the JFK assassination. He had been working with a radical Cuban group (unnamed, but perhaps the DRE) and wanted to keep secret this relationship; he also was getting married and wished to have a family. Sutton-Files became a stock car driver after returning from military service. Charles Nicolletti, of the Chicago crime family, saw him drive the racing car and felt Sutton-Files would make an excellent personal driver, bringing Sutton-Files into the periphery of organized crime. Though Sutton-Files claimed never to have become a member of organized crime, he nevertheless became a participant. He became involved in the training of Cubans for the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Prior to the assassination, Sutton-Files drove to Dallas, staying at a motel in Mesquite, taking with him weapons to be used in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald came to the motel, and showed Sutton-Files around the Dallas area. Sutton-Files tested the weapons in the Mesquite area.
Ruby took John Roselli to a pancake house near a major highway in Fort Worth (The Rodeo Cafe?). Ruby passed a manilla envelope to Roselli containing identification for the secret service, according to Sutton-Files.
Sutton-Files was in Dealy Plaza at 10:30 AM on November 22 when Nicolletti asked Sutton-Files to be a backup shooter. Nicolletti was supposed to be shooting from the Dal-Tex Building behind the motorcade. Nicolletti hit JFK perhaps 1/1000 of a second before Sutton-Files, causing Sutton-Files to hit JFK in the temple instead of the right eye, according to the Sutton-Files confession. Sutton-Files was using a Remington fireball with a bullet that would explode in the skull on impact. After the shooting, Sutton-Files switched his coat around, putting the gun in a briefcase. In an act of bravado, he says he made toothmarks on the shell casing, and left it on the fence as a trademark; the toothmarks were apparently identified as such in 1994.
He got into a 1963 burgundy Chevrolet with Nicolletti and Roselli. He later received $30,000 supposedly for his work in Dallas. Nicolletti later told Sutton-Files (now Files) that he should not have shot, because Nicolletti had already delivered the fatal shot.
Frank Sturgis and Eugene Brading were seen by Sutton-Files in Dealy Plaza. Mary Moorman's photograph included Sutton-Files behind the picket fence (presumably Badgeman), according to him. Sutton-Files said that J.D. Tippett was killed by a man who was thought to still be living (as of the interview in March, 1994).
The Truth Shall Make You Free25
Tom Wilson, using an imaging process technique on the Zapruder film, concluded Kennedy was assassinated from the front. The imaging allows looking inside the brain and observe the path of the bullet. It is Wilson's contention that the shooter was inside a storm sewer in Dealy Plaza. Jack Brazil, using the storm sewer identified in Wilson's analysis, demonstrated how an assassin could shoot at the presidential limousine, then, in 20-30 minutes, escape underground to the Trinity River. Wilson also used the imaging process technique and determined that the autopsy films had cosmetic alteration and manipulation of the actual photographs.
Lt. Colonel Dan Marvin was involved in specialist guerilla training at Ft. Bragg in late 1963/early 1964. The training used the Kennedy assassination for training for assassination. One CIA instructor told another, "Things really did go well in Dealey Plaza." Marvin was asked by the CIA official to kill William Pitzer, a naval officer who had taken the autopsy photographs. Although Marvin originally agreed to the assignment, he declined when he found he was to complete the killing in the United States. Wilson guesses that David Vanek, a co-trainee of his, accepted the assignment and was the actual killer of Pitzer. Wilson never heard from Vanek after he had heard that Vanek had been offered the assignment.
The video also contains the conjecture that Robert Kennedy, on the belief that his brother was killed by a secret operation (Operation Freedom) under Robert's direction, help restrict the autopsy at Bethesda. RFK oversaw the autopsy to keep from public knowledge this secret program, which was supposed to have killed Castro, but was instead turned on his brother.
If the newly reported evidence is taken together, the outline of the conspiracy becomes more clear. The conspiracy has two different components: first, the actual assassination appears to be sought by members of the CIA, coordinated by members of the Mafia, and accomplished by selected anti-Castro Cubans. The actual persons involved undoubtedly interfaced as being involved with two or more of these groups, with perhaps other relationships as well (including possibly persons in the DPD who might have been connected to either the CIA, Mafia, or anti-Castro Cubans).
The second part of the conspiracy is the coverup, which is more extensive than the original conspiracy, and continues to the present. And it contained, at one time, at least one Kennedy, Robert. (Though this last point is disputed by Folliard26.)
1.Hosty, J.P. (1996). Assignment: Oswald. New York: Arcade Press.
2.Brown, R., with Lasseter, D. (1996). Broken silence: The truth about Lee Harvey Oswald, LBJ, and the assassination of JFK. New York: Pinnacle Books.
3.Brown, W. (1995). Treachery in Dallas. New York: Carroll and Graf.
4.LaFontaine, R., & LaFontaine, M. (1996). Oswald talked: The new evidence in the JFK assassination. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publication Company.
5.Livingston, H.E. (1995). Killing Kennedy and the hoax of the century. New York: Carroll and Graf.
6.Mailer, N. (1995). Oswald's tales. New York: Random House.
7.Scott, P.D. (1995). Deep politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba. Skokie, IL: Green Archives Publications.
8.Weisberg, H. (1995). Never again. New York: Carroll & Graf.
9.Furiati, C. (1994). ZR rifle: The plot to kill Kennedy and Castro: Cuba opens secret files. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean.
10.Evans, M. (1996). ZR rifle: A review. The Fourth Decade, 3(3), 28-32.
11.Grodin, R.J. (1995). The search for Lee Harvey Oswald: A comprehensive photographic record. New York: Penguin Books.
12.Posner, G. (1993). Case closed. New York: Random House.
13.The Kennedy assassination. (1995, November 22. Twentieth-Century, Art and Entertainment (TV).
14.The men who killed Kennedy - The truth shall set you free. (1995). New York: New Video Group.
15.The murder of JFK: Confession of an assassin. (1996). New York: MPI Home Video, UTL Productions.
17.Brown, R. (1996).
18.Brown, W. (1995).
19.Murray, H. (1995). Treachery in Dallas: A review. Fourth Decade, 3(1), 7-8.
20.LaFontaine, R., & LaFontaine, M. (1996).
21.Perry, D.B. (1996). A few words from an "amateur sleuth." Fourth Decade, 4(1), 21-26.
22.Weisberg, H. (1995).
23.Furiati, C. (1994).
24.The murder of JFK: Confession of an assassin. (1996).
25.The men who killed Kennedy - The truth shall set you free. (1995).
26.Folliard, J. (1995). Blaming the victims: Kennedy family control over the Bethesda autopsy. Fourth Decade, 2(4), 5-13.
Unpublished Manuscript (1997).