JFK Assassination Spells Intrigue
Planners of President Kennedy's assassination could have won a "bad guy" Oscar Award at the 1964 awards ceremonies in Los Angeles. It would be pretty difficult to come up with a better script for a mystery/crime plot than what they presented to the world. There are so many plots and subplots branching out from the scene of the crime that the viewer is seemingly lost in a maze of evidence and suspicion: it is a master of intrigue.
"Intriguing" would be the word to explain much of the fascination in the John Kennedy assassination. Since official investigations have chosen not to use their subpoena and/or legal/political clout in this case, many questions remain to be answered, if they ever will. Everyone likes a mystery, so the saying goes, and this episode in history has certainly drawn much of its attention on this fact alone.
Ironically, if people are asked to and accept the official version of what transpired in and around Dallas in late 1963, many links to our recent history will be ignored. By accepting "history" we are ignoring history, and on a grand scale. Within the backdrop to the assassination exists a virtual gold mine of recent American history. The JFK assassination is a good starting and central point to any study of recent history.
However, if the lone-nut version is accepted, then much of the backdrop history loses its significance here. If Lee Harvey Oswald is accepted as acting alone, then what good is it to know that anti-Castro Cubans, rightwing groups, racist organizations, certain Teamster officials, organized crime leaders, etc. had a strong motive for eliminating JFK from the American scene? What good is it to learn anything about the history of these groups in this respect? Accepting the lone-nut theory cuts the roots to a lot of information and history.
This, I believe, has been a positive point, if there can be one, of the Kennedy assassination. In the search for the real killers, researchers have turned history inside out for the past 50 years and actually forced many Americans to take a good, hard look at themselves and their institutions. JFK's murder is strongly embedded in the web of history that followed World War II. By examining the forces that guided us in those years we can understand more the evolution from public servant(politician) to assassin's target that Kennedy went through. JFK did not die in vain in this regard.
No matter where you look in the JFK assassination story, there is plenty of intrigue because of the multitude of unanswered questions.. The following are a couple aspects of the case that mystify me the most.
Double Arrest(?) at Texas Theater
Were there two people brought out of the Texas Theater under arrest on November 22, 1963? Not much has been written about this particular possibility, even though it presents some ominous ramifications if in fact it did happen. Many of us know the official story of Oswald's "flight" from the Texas School Book Depository after the assassination.
Select witnesses were chosen in the official rendering that tended to give credibility to Oswald's post-murder "guilt". This included his former landlady, Mary Bledsoe, who testified to Oswald's presence on a bus immediately after the assassination. Then there is William Whaley, the taxi-driver who brought Oswald close to his roominghouse. Next is Earlene Roberts, the caretaker of the roominghouse who saw Oswald come and go around 1PM. After this, the story gets totally muddled.
Roberts last saw Oswald standing at a bus stop, an action that generally translates to a person waiting for a bus. Let's just stop and consider for one moment and put yourself in his place. Somehow and in some way(short of firing a rifle at the Presidential motorcade itself), Oswald was heading somewhere in an action that was related to the assassination. He had picked up a 38 caliber pistol at his roominghouse. Personal protection must have been on his mind.
Oswald's very trip to his roominghouse seems contingent, and barely that. If he could smuggle a rifle into the Texas School Book Depository, as the official version asserts, why didn't he take the trouble to place his 38 pistol in a more convenient location to be retrieved after the assassination? He could have had a box for the curtain rod bolts! There are many places that a pistol can be tucked away, to be picked up later, that are fairly safe from discovery.
Obviously it would have been unwise to have had the pistol on him in the TSBD, but Oswald could have hidden the pistol in the path of a more direct and safe route to where he was headed after the assassination. The Warren Commission Report concluded, based on Marina Oswald's testimony, that Oswald had hidden his rifle near a railroad track after the "attempt" on General Edwin Walker's life on the evening of April 10, 1963.
It certainly appears that something did not go according to Oswald's expectations, necessitating his "desparate" trip to the roominghouse to get a jacket and his pistol. It was more out of desparation than contingency planning, apparently. The official version uses this "desparation" to bolster Oswald's guilt, but as can be seen here, it can also be used to show his innocence.
Basically, anyone planning to assassinate a president, with a post-assassination weapon in the planning for personal protection, would certainly place that weapon in a more convenient location than where Oswald had to travel to get his pistol.
What would you do if you felt threatened like Oswald apparently was? What better way to insure one's saftey than by staying in public where there are always possible witnesses? Taking a bus to his destination would have been Oswald's best bet to remain in a semi-secure public setting, especially if he suspected that any fellow conspirators wouldn't risk blowing there cover to eliminate him.
A single man walking through a neighborhood electrified and sensitized by the assassination would certainly be a sure way to arouse suspicions and draw the police. Further, a man who might have suspected that he was in a "patsy" zone, like Oswald, would be less likely to take such a route. Even if he was just a co-conspirator and on his way to a meeting point with someone, this would seem to hold true: stay in public and act normal.
The official version, of course, has Oswald walking along 10th Street, after leaving his roominghouse, where he is stopped by Officer JD Tippit. When Tippit gets out of his police car and starts around to the curb side, Oswald pulls out his gun and blasts away, killing the officer immediately. A final shot to the head makes sure Tippit is dead. This action took place around 1:15, based on a call-in , using Tippit's car radio, by Domingo Benevides. Benevides was just a few feet from the shooting in his truck and immediately called the Dallas Police dispatcher.
Two Places At Once?
Lee Harvey Oswald walked into the Texas Theater, after paying, just after the beginning of a 1:00 movie. Theater concession attendant Butch Burroughs saw Oswald enter the theater at this time. The "historical" Oswald supposedly entered the theater without paying at around 1:35. Burroughs stated that he remembered hearing someone enter at this time, but he didn't see that person. Since no one passed his concession stand, that person had to have gone to the balcony section of the theater, Burroughs asserted.
If the police were going to converge on Texas Theater and any suspect, it made sense to create a scenario where they were drawn there by a suspicious fleeting-like person. If Oswald had gotten to the Theater under perfectly normal circumstances(taken a bus and paid like everyone else, and in a calm manner), then the convergence of a massive fleet of Dallas police cars on the theater would certainly have aroused suspicions of inside knowledge.
Even if a description or picture of Oswald had been shown to the police and public immediately after the assassination, the conspirators could not count on his being detained in a conventional manner, getting noticed and reported by some citizen. Time was of the essence in catching him before he escaped the patsy net. It leads me to wonder just how obvious the 1:35 "Oswald" made himself look to shoe-store manager Johnny Brewer as a suspicious, fleeing man in light of the circumstances in the immediate neighborhood. Brewer was the one who got the ball rolling as far as notifiying the police(see below).
According to further Burroughs testimony, the "1:00-1:05" Oswald came back to the concession stand to buy popcorn at 1:15, then returned to the theater and sat next to a pregnant woman. Another witness in the theater that day was Jack Davis, who saw a man enter the theater and sit right next to him just after the opening credits of the 1:00 movie. Davis thought this action a bit peculiar since there were only about 20 people in the 900-seat theater.
After sitting next to Davis for a few minutes, the man got up and moved across the aisle to sit next to another person. Shortly after this, the man got up and entered the lobby, returning to the center section of the theater a little afterwards. When the house lights came on about 20 minutes later, Davis went to the lobby to inquire about it and saw policemen rush in the front door and into the theater. The man they brought out was the man who had sat next to him, according to Davis. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald. The recollections of Burroughs and Davis rip the official version of the "roominghouse to Texas Theater" Oswald trip to shreds.
If another man had entered the theater at around 1:35, then where did this man go? The later-arriving Texas Theater "Oswald" was spotted by shoe-store attendant Brewer when the suspect slipped into the store's foyer as a police car sped by. Brewer had heard on the radio of the assassination and a policeman being murdered just shortly before in the Oak Cliff neighborhood just several blocks away. He watched the man enter the Texas Theater without paying and immediately notified ticket clerk Julia Postal. Postal called the police.
When Brewer entered the theater he asked Burroughs if he had seen someone enter. Burroughs said he had heard someone enter but had not seen him. This corroboration of Burroughs non-sighting of the 1:35 "Oswald" is ignored by the official version of events, and for obvious reasons. Someone entering the ground level of the theater had to pass right by the concession stand and Burroughs: Oswald was arrested on the ground level, not in the balcony.
Throwing further suspicion on the arrest episode at the theater was the testimony of Bernard Haire, who had a hobby shop just two doors away. Haire, unaware of the assassination, was startled by the appearance of so many police cars in front of the theater at once and went outside to see a man being brought out under arrest. Haire proceeded to walk through his store and back into the alley, where there were more police cars.
Just as he got to the theater a door opened and police bought out another man who appeared to have been in a struggle and under arrest. This was a young white man dressed in a pull-over shirt and slacks. The man was put in a police car that quickly left the scene. Haire said he was shocked when he learned the real Oswald had been brought out front.
If we are to trust or at least give some credence to Haire's account, why hasn't this lead been further pursued? Everything here seems to point to two "Oswalds" entering the theater, the first one in an apparent attempt to establish some sort of contact and the second to provide an excuse for police convergence on the scene. It smells of an obvious trap. And it also raises a lot of suspicions about the Dallas Police Department.
Haire's account adds credibility to the accounts of Burroughs and Davis, but only Brewer has become cemented in the official version's historical lineup of major witnesses because he did not witness the "1:00-1:05" Oswald. And being so close to the assassination epicenter it is easy to see why Haire, Davis and Burroughs didn't press their stories further for fear for their lives.
What happened to the "1:35" Oswald? Who knows? With all of the attention directed to the front of the Texas Theater, little focus existed on what was transpiring in the alley. The decoy "Oswald" if that's what the man actually was, could have very easily been driven somewhere and dropped off, or even released as a mistaken-identity arrest. The first possibilty is far more likely. The latter scneario would have drawn even more unwanted attention. Of significance here, of course, are the officers and car that sped away with the alley arrestee and the other people in the alley that witnessed this episode.
The lack of attention given to this part of November 22, 1963 stands out like a Texas longhorn in a pack of sheep to me! Anytime there is a conspiracy there are points in its execution that come dangerously close to the publics' eye, and this was certainly one of those points. If there indeed were two suspects brought out of the Texas Theater under arrest around 1:45-1:50PM that day, then whatever happened to the alley arrestee and what was he being detained for? There is a vast ocean of scrutiny in this case, and the conspiracy whale, so to speak, came to the surface, I believe, at the Texas Theater!
I have further suspicions about the famous picture of Oswald(below) being led out of the Texas Theater under arrest between a plainclothes cigar-smoking officer and another policeman. When Oswald was being cornered on the ground floor of the theater, a scuffle ensued in which he supposedly tried to shoot arresting officer M. N. McDonald. After a click was heard, supposedly of a gun not firing, Oswald shouted "I am not resisting arrest, I am not resisting arrest!"
If he had just tried to kill a police officer, would he have changed horses so fast and taken the non-resistance approach to his situation? Or was that "click" from a police officer's gun instead, prompting Oswald to advertise his non-resistance to the witnesses in the theater so as to forestall any further attempts on his life during the arrest?
The Oswald in the picture below is a man who is still apparently in a resistance mode of mentality, not one who has become subdued by his situation. It just doesn't appear to be the same man that many of us saw during that weekend, being led from one interrogation seession to another in the halls of the Dallas Police Department. That Oswald was calm and subdued, almost in a confident way.
Take a close look at the facial demeanor of the man in the picture and compare it to the one of Oswald below . It is like two different people! Was this picture taken in the front of the Texas Theater or the back? Was the picture touched up a bit to add a little more deviousness to Oswald's demeanor? And why is this picture so dark: it was 1:45 when Oswald was arrested, not night time? The Texas Theater faces more south than east, so there should be more light here.
(Above)Texas Theater Arrest of Oswald?
If anyone reading this has any information, I would sure like to know. This picture is actually historically captioned as Oswald being led out of the front of the Texas Theater.
The pictures below are from the Dallas Police station. The left one is obviously the Oswald that Jack Ruby killed two days later. The right one is supposedly Oswald, but at 5'10-11", the Oswald in this photo makes the plainclothes officers well over six feet. I see facial dissimilarities between the two Oswalds in these pictures. Also, the right photo looks like a posed-for picture. What were these officers actually doing when this photo was taken . . . waiting for a bus? Or was it a sort of "hunting" picture? (More information on the Tippit case.)
Two Oswalds(?) at Dallas Police Dept.
At a Parkland Hospital news conference, moments after the announcement of President Kennedy's death, Doctor Kemp Clark described the throat wound in the front of Kennedy's neck as one of entrance. A tracheotomy tube had actually been placed in this wound, after slight incisions on the sides of it.
By the next day, this wound had officially become one of exit. The autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital on Friday night didn't even notice or mention a wound in the front of the throat. The doctors assumed that the hole was there because of the tracheotomy performed earlier in the day at Parkland. When Dr. James Humes talked to Dr. Clark on Saturday, however, he became aware of the frontal wound.
Four main things became accountable to Humes. The wound itself had to be included in his autopsy report. Second, was it an exit or entrance wound? Thirdly, since Oswald was pretty much conceded at this point to be the assassin, and his shots came from above and behind, any autopsy revisions would be influenced by this. Finally, Humes, being a naval officer, was accountable to his superiors.
What came out of all this, of course, was the "magic bullet" theory. This official scenario has been rehashed countless times throughout the years, so I won't delve into it in detail. President Kennedy's front-neck wound became an exit wound, caused by a neck-transiting bullet shot from above and behind which entered the back lower neck area. This bullet continued on to strike Governor John Connally and pass all the way through his chest and wrist, finally coming to rest in his thigh.
Even the Bethesda autopsy, as inadequate as it proved to be, did not stipulate a wound in the back of Kennedy's neck. There was nothing in the back of Kennedy's body to account for the front throat wound. This was why the Bethesda autopists assumed it was a tracheotomy incision, "knowing" that the shots had come from behind. The only wound in the back was about 6 inches below the neck and it couldn't be probed more than an inch.
For anyone beginning a study of the Kennedy assassination, this is a good place to start, along with a look at the Dealey Plaza layout and a viewing of the Zapruder film. The official version of the assassiantion rests totally on the "magic bullet" theory, incredible as it seems! Orson Wells had many of us believing in martians 60 years ago too.
Two more things make the "magic bullet" untenable- 1) angle of flight and 2) post-wound appearance of the bullet. The alignment of Kennedy and Connally during the shooting makes the "wounds" incurred impossible from a 6th floor sniper's perch. Second, the condition of the bullet was near pristine when found in a stretcher at Parkland Hospital. A bullet causing 7 separate wounds in two adult men would certainly be deformed badly after inflicting such damage.
This theory became necessary only when the Zapruder film indicated that the first and second shots were too close together to have been both fired from Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. If Kennedy and Connally's wounds are from separate shots, it indicates conspiracy(two shooters). To make Oswald the lone-nut assassin, one bullet had to go through both men. I think the destruction of this theory by common sense is old news among Kennedy researchers and its resurfacing only tends to distract from the real facts of the case. People should be aware, however, of why this theory is so ridiculous, studying the position of the motorcade, Kennedy and Connally with respect to the alleged sniper's perch during the shooting.
I would like to make one more observation about the "magic bullet" before moving on. If Kennedy was hit in the back of the neck and the bullet exited in the front-center, why wasn't there any spinal cord damage? The presidential limousine was moving almost directly away from the 6th floor sniper's perch, so a bullet going straight out the front(or almost thereof) would most certainly have made major contact with the spinal cord. A bullet to the right of the cord puts Connally almost in the middle of his seat, next to his wife. A bullet to the left of the cord puts the shooter somewhere in the Dallas County Records building on Houston street.
The obviousness of the impossibility of the magic bullet scenario has me wondering whether someone who had a final say in the editing of the Warren Report was trying to send a message to the American people. It is hard for me to accept that the Warren Commission staffers who shaped the final statement could think the public was that stupid! Maybe it was their confidence in the power of government confidentiality, something most government agencies base their lives on.
Another explanation put forward for the front-throat wound is a frontal shot. In a film taken from behind the presidential limousine a "black dog" like figure appears behind a cement embankment in front of the grassy knoll at the time of the first shot. It then quickly disappears. A shooter at this position would have been in the right position as far as the angle to Kennedy's neck was concerned.
But the shooter here would have also been in view of several witnesses who were in that immediate area. There is not enough cover at this possible firing point for a conspiracy of this type to have taken such risk. If a 6th floor patsy was in store, then why give away the scenario by advertising a shooter from the front? A shooter from the "black dog" position would have had to run up the knoll in plain view of hundreds of people, and this just didn't happen.
When Kennedy reacts by putting his hands up to his throat, the limousine is still about 200 feet from the "black dog" point and even further from the picket fence and beyond it. Any shot from these points would have had to rely on a high-velocity projectile to insure accuracy. This bullet would have almost certainly passed through Kennedy's neck, maybe even causing extensive spinal cord damage and instant paralysis. Of course, there was no hole in the back of Kennedy's neck and his spinal cord remained intact. Kennedy remained sitting upright as he grasped for his throat with both hands.
A high-velocity projectile striking Kennedy in the front of the throat would have also driven him back discernably in his seated position.. The presidential limousine is behind the freeway sign in the Zapruder film when the front-throat wound is incurred, so the film is useless in this regard. However, the bullet velocity required to insure accuracy from 200 feet and beyond would have made a sudden backward jolt of Kennedy's head obvious to many witnesses standing within feet of the limousine. No one has ever testified to such a movement.
Even a shot from one of the storm drains on the North side of Elm street would have created more damage to Kennedy's neck, unless such a shot wasn't intended to be fatal. This shot could have been fired concurrent with a diversionary shot from behind the motorcade, and with a silencer to further hide its origin. A shooter in the storm drain would have had plenty of time to sight Kennedy in. The drain is about four feet in width and the limousine was coming almost directly towards it.
I have always wondered why JFK, a World War II veteran who earned medals for heroism in saving men after a Japanese Destroyer plowed his PT boat in two on a dark South Pacific night, didn't duck down into the limousine after he incurred the throat wound. He had about five seconds in which to do so and certainly a man of JFK's intelligence would have had the presence of mind to do so.
Kennedy was well aware of the dangers of a motorcade in a city like Dallas, and this precautionary state of mind would have made a self-protective action even more likely. One would even have expected him to take action to shield his wife from harm. Who knows what first entered his mind when he felt something strike his throat? Something obviously kept him from exercising self-preservation, an act that would have been quite simple under the circumstances. Governor Connally got down after he was hit, and his initial wound was far more debilitating than Kennedy's initial wound.
In 1967 Josiah Thompson put forth a theory in "Six Seconds In Dallas" to explain the throat wound. Thompson stated that the small wound and the hole in Kennedy's necktie could very well have been the result of a piece of the President's skull blasting downward through the brain and out through the neck. There was no metallic residue in the wound or tie. This indeed might have occured during the fatal head shot, but Kennedy had his hands raised to his throat well before this point, obviously reacting to something that had struck him in this area, not in the back, as Thompson suggests.
In "The Taking of America"(1975) author Richard E. Sprague claims that a drug/poison dart-like projectile had been fired in to Kennedy's neck to immobilize him for the last fatal shots to the head. He attributes this role to the so-called "umbrella man", who was in a good position to have inflicted such a wound. This spectator, standing on the curb to the front right of the presidential limousine and right next to the freeway sign, was only about 30 feet from the President when the "throat clenching" action began.
No one else had an umbrella in Dealey Plaza that day. The skies had long cleared after early-morning showers, allowing the presidential limousine to go through Dallas without its "bubbletop" cover . The skies were clear and non-threatening.
After the first shot was heard, the "umbrella man" opened his umbrella and raised it up and down in a sort of symbolic gesture. There has been speculation that this was just that, a symbolic gesture reminding Kennedy of his refusal to provide an "umbrella" cover(US air strikes) for the Bay of Pigs invaders in April, 1961. A man standing beside the "umbrella man", and apparently with him, raised a black-gloved fist into the air at this point, furthering the appearance of some sort of political gesture.
These two mysterious men were not questioned after the assassination. They sat down on the curb for awhile and then just calmly walked away in opposite directions. It wasn't until 1978 that the world got its first glimpse of the "umbrella man" and his "weapon" during the House Select Committee on Assassinations hearings. However, there is no way to corroborate that this was the same person with the same umbrella as on November 22, 1963! Obviously, even if it was the same person, he wouldn't be foolish enough to bring a dart-firing umbrella onto Capitol Hill! (HSCA "Umbrella Man" testimony)
I don't know what type of bullets/darts/projectiles were available in 1963 that could have accomplished the purpose of immoblizing someone like Kennedy seemed to be before the head shot. However, the Sprague scenario is far more believable to me, combined with either some exotic "umbrella gun" or storm-drain shot, than any high velocity bullet frontal shot. The nature of the wound strongly suggests something other than a high-velocity bullet entered the throat.
If it was a chemical-carrying projectile that struck Kennedy's throat, would it have immobilized him so quickly as he seemed to be? If an immobilizing chemical was introduced to the throat this way, it would still take a couple of seconds for the agent to reach the brain and take effect, despite its short journey in the blood system. Also, would conspirators take a chance that a foreign substance might somehow be detected in Kennedy's blood?
Even an injection of the chemical right into the jugular vein would have a slight delay before taking effect. Kennedy's wound was in an area where the veins are quite miniscule. No one in the car who glanced back at JFK noticed any blood on him as he grasped for his throat. This includes the First Lady, who was seated next to her husband, and Nellie Connally, seated in the seat ahead of the Kennedys. If a projectile did cause Kennedy to be momentarily immobilized, it had to carry with it something quicker-acting than a chemical agent targeted to the blood.
There is an experience quite common to all of us that Kennedy may have experienced in the last seconds of his life, right up to the fatal head shot. Obviously, something entering the front of your throat would be painful and shocking to you, whether it be a beebee pellet or a bullet. JFK undoubtedly felt something sting his throat. There is another possibility, however, to account for Kennedy's sudden stunned immobility as he reached for his throat.
How many times have you "had the wind knocked out of you," to use the phrase? When this happens, whether from falling down awkwardly, being blind-sided or whatever, you go through a momentary period of shock and immobility as your respiratory system attempts to get back into rhythm. There are certain things in our environment that can also cause us to lose our breath, such as dust, pollen, exhaust, strong chemicals, etc.: things that the respiratory system rejects automatically to protect us. It is quite possible that Kennedy could have had the "wind knocked out of him" by whatever struck him in the throat combined with what that projectile transported..
When a person is aware of and prepared for a sudden change to an environment that can cause loss of breath, all he has to do is hold his breath to protect himself. However, when a person is surprised and unprepared for such a sudden change, that environment(substance) can cause the respiratory system to seize up in an automatic, self-protective state: you lose your breath. I am sure all of us have experienced this situation many times. Some allergic reactions can also tie up the respiratory system, causing a person to instantly lose their breath. People with asthma can also attest to this shocking sensation. The respiratory tract is very sensitive: how many times have you had food "go down the wrong pipe," to use the age-old phrase?
It seems more plausible to me that the throat wound may have been caused by a chemical-carrying projectile of some sort that caused an instantaneous lockup of Kennedy's breathing: it literally knocked the wind out of him. This caused him shock and immobility long enough for a clear head shot to be attempted. He was trying to regain his breath when the last shot was fired.
The throat shot must have been fired from a close range, probably within 50 feet of the limousine. A lower velocity projectile had to be fired at closer range to insure accuracy. I base this, as stated above, on the lack of extensive damage to Kennedy's neck that a high-velocity bullet would have caused.
Of all the shots that were fired on the motorcade that day, the fatal head shot has received more attention because of its gruesome damage and the obvious direction from which it came, the front right. The puzzling aspect of the throat wound only obscures what is apparently another key player in Dealey Plaza. And unlike the magic bullet, the "magic" throat wound described here was very much a realistic consequence of the presidential ambush!
Sources: (1) Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy; Jim Marrs (2) The Taking of America; Richard E. Sprague (3) Six Seconds In Dallas; Josiah Thompson (4) Report of the Warren Commission On the Assassination of President Kennedy; New York Times Paperback edition (5) The Last Investigation; Gaeton Fonzi