Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

November 23, 2008

The JFK Assassination: Your Theories Please

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 1:34 pm

Okay I spent all of yesterday remembering two tragedies–one cruel and profound, one trivial and yet still hurtful: the JFK assassination and the 1968 Harvard Yale Game now immortalized in a film . I still can’t understand–or get over–either.

it seems I’ve spent a lifetime immersed in the former. Ever since as a high-school kid I heard Mark Lane lecture–I know much discredited. Then at Yale I had a philosophy professor who represented the respectable side of dissent–Josiah Thompson, who authored Six Seconds in Dallas as well as a brilliant work on Kirkegaard The Golden Labyrinth.

For two decades I was a conspiracy believer, then I came to believe that Oswald fired alone, although he may not have acted alone. That is, he may have been aided or encouraged by others. I thought the real unsolved mystery was Oswald’s motive.

I didn’t rule out the lone psychopath theory, but for a long time I leaned toward the Mob hit (or Mob plus Cuban exile hit) theory, which seemed almost over determined. Then recently I came to suspect the DGI, Cuban intelligence, in revenge for the assassintation plots that JFK and his brother were endlessly generating against Castro with the help of the CIA. (I never really took the CIA too seriously because they were so incredibly incompetent at EVERYTHING). Once I published (in Time magazine the name of the man Jim Garrison claimed fired the fatal shot, but I didn’t believe it for a moment, I think it was a name he just pulled out of his….hat. (a real person an employee of Jack Ruby’s strip club who, I made clear I believed was totally innocent) . And I still think Garrison didn’t know what he was talking about, but may have been right about the New Orleans connection.

Now the two massive books by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, most recently Legacy of Secrecy have me going back to the Mob hit theory although I just don’t buy their unnecessary post-assassination cover-up theory which involves a supposed coup against Castro. Like that was more shameful than the murder of a president. But they’ve done a service by digging up the deepest, darkest, most disturbing archival evidence to support their Mob hit theory.

Anyway, I’m interested: what do people think, those of you who still think about it? Some may say, who cares we’ll never know, it’s old news, but I’m not satisfied with that. Historical truth means a lot to me. At one point LBJ said nuclear war was at stake. I want to know if there was someone behind Oswald and why. It’s more important than how Yale could allow Harvard to score two touchdowns (and two two-point conversions) in 42 seconds–though I still can’t reconcile myself to that either.


  1. I like the mafia theory and the LBJ theory (any news on Mac Wallace’s fingerprint in the TSBD?).

    But I’s also struck by how most of the people who knew Oswald well (e.g. Ruth Paine) never doubted that he acted alone.

    Comment by Andrew Dabrowski — November 23, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  2. Go on YouTube and view interviews with the first black Secret Service agent on the Presidential detail, Abraham Olden, about the attempt on JFK’s life 3 weeks before Dallas. Also, check out the interview with LBJ’s mistress about Johnson’s violently telling her the night before Dallas that “after tomorrow I will never be humiliated by the Kennedys again.” The Delphic “deathbed confession of E. Howard Hunt” distributed by his son St. John Hunt (also on Youtube) says that LBJ tasked Cord Meyer of CIA to organize the hit on Kennedy. We know from Olden and the Milteer tapes that Dallas was one in a string of opportunities, including Chicago and Miami to get Kennedy. I believe Meyer himself met with the Cuban operatives who fired the shots amd that the famous sketch of the Cubans’ CIA contact looks more like Meyer than David Atlee Phillips, whom it is purported to be. The motive to kill JFK stemmed from his sexual liaisons with the wives and lovers of many powerful people, including those in CIA and the Mob. A few final points: l) The Zapruder film clearly shows a frontal shot 2) Oswald brought the gun into the building, but did not fire the shots from the Depository; his indecisive behavior after the assassination shows that he realized he was being setup 3) If you believe that events such as the murders of Mary Meyer, Roselli, Giancana, RFK and even the shots fired at Warren Commissioner Gerry Ford were unrelated to the JFK assassinationm there’s a road to Oz awaiting you. When Bill Clinton entered the White House, the first thin he requested was to look at the National Archives files on the Dallas hit (sealed until 2029), He was refused. From Sylvia Meagher and Harold Weisberg to those putting new discoveries about Dallas on YouTube every day, those seeking the truth have been harassed and vilified. We may not be around to see it, but our day will come.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 23, 2008 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  3. Sorry, I have no theory to offer, just the testimony of a dead man:

    Comment by Wim Dankbaar — November 24, 2008 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  4. K.G.B.

    think about it, you idiots.

    Comment by dan — November 24, 2008 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  5. Let’s look at Oswald’s behavior, based on the Warren Commission Report with some supplemantation from Sylvia Meagher’s “Accessories After the Fact”, after the shootings. One minute after the shots were fired, Officer Marion Baker ran up the stairs of the Book Depository and pointed a gun at Oswald on the second floor as Oswald was getting a soda from the Coke machine. Oswald showed the officer is employee ID and was allowed to proceed out of the building. He tried to get into a taxi, but yielded it to an elderly woman. He then boarded a bus going in the wrong direction from that of the boardinghouse where he lived, got off the bus, and boarded the correct bus, which was stuck in traffic due to the pandemonium around it. When Oswald arrived at his boarding house, he went into his room, where he changed his shirt and took his pistol, during which time his landlady, Earlene Roberts, spotted a police car outside her window, which stopped in her driveway, honked its horn once, waited and then left, Oswald then left the rooming house and stood at a bus stop for a few minutes, looking confusedly in both directions (according to Roberts). He then began walking down the street. At this point Tippit is shot. According to Dallas police radio dispatch recordings on that day, every police car patrol, except Tippit’s, was headed in the direction of either the Book Depository or Parkland Hospital. Only Tippit’s car was headed in the opposite direction. Oswald proceeded into a shoe store and then entered a movie theater without purchasing a ticket, which reportedly prompter the ticket taker to notify the police. When the police arrived, a civilian in the back row pointed Oswald out. When Oswald was arrested, he shouted out, “I am not resisting arrest.” This narrative indicates that Oswald was involved in the plot, that what he thought was supposed to happen afterwards (a prearranged meeting leading to an escape) did not, that he acted in a state of confusion suggestive of his being setup as a patsy, and that there was involvement in the plot by either Dallas police officers or men posing as them. No reasonable interpretation of these facts, nor of any of the cornucopia of bizzaro facts associated with the day of the assassination can lead to the conclusion that Oswald acted as a lone nut. The question is why the mainstream media from “Life” magazine right after the assassination, through the various CBS news and Time magazine “investigations” has continued to advance the lone nut theory. The answer is that CIA has had a continuing powerful interface with the establishment media and has actively advanced the lone nut theory. Time was this influence was hidden, but the emergence of so many CIA and ex-CIA officers in recent years as talking heads ( a relationship which would shock old boys like Helms and Angleton) shows the strength of this interrelationship. In sum, CIA and the MSM have been, in the last 45 years, essentially one and the same.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 24, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  6. As a newspaper reporter I once spoke to David Belin, who was a staff attorney for the Warren Commission. Belin told me the commission got some things wrong in its investigation–how much time elapsed for the three shots fired by Oswald, for example–but that its biggest mistake was not holding televised hearings. This failure, he said, spawned dozens of conspiracy theories. He also was irritated that commission investigators were never told of the CIA assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. Belin told me that he and the other young lawyers and investigators working for the commission started out believing there probably was a conspiracy. Each wanted to be the man who solved the Kennedy assassination. But the evidence, he said, led to Oswald and Oswald alone.

    I recommend two resources for those interested in the assassination–“Case Closed” by Gerald Posner, a book that in my opinion demolishes the various conspiracy theories, and “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?” a Frontline documentary from many years ago. Frontline, for example, uncovered film of the motorcade that shows the barrel of a rifle on the sixth floor of the book depository.

    Neither the book nor the documentary answer all the questions. For example, did Oswald have an association with David Ferrie, the shadowy figure from New Orleans? Frontline demonstrated that they were once photographed together. And why was Oswald never debriefed by the FBI or CIA upon his return to the United States, after he had defected to the Soviet Union? That seems an amazing bureaucratic foul-up considering it was the height of the Cold War. There are many other unanswered questions about Oswald, not the least of which was motive. But the physical evidence points to him, and if there were a conspiracy it seems highly implausible that it could hold for 45 years.

    Comment by Joe Brennan — November 24, 2008 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  7. There is another theorie.It said that JFK was not the original target but yes his vicepresident,LJ.

    Comment by Carlos — November 24, 2008 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  8. Try reading Oswald’s Tale, Norman Mailer’s biography of Lee Harvey Oswald. This was undoubtedly Mailer’s greatest work, but because he betrayed his core audience, it was rapidly forgotten. There is no more mystery in why Oswald shot Kennedy than in why Ruby shot Oswald: a insatiable desire for fame and for revenge against the world, for not having been able to acquire fame in any other way. Oswald was not a candidate for a conspiracy for one simple reason: he couldn’t get along with anybody, and was utterly unreliable. When all who knew him growing up, and the KGB who monitored him when he lived in the USSR, come to the same conclusion, maybe there’s something to it.

    Comment by huckledude — November 24, 2008 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  9. Charlie Finch….Excellent summation of my thoughts. LHO acts like someone betrayed. The DPD squad car in front of the rooming house which stops during LHO’s brief visit there has always been strange and unexplainable. Additionally, the route and direction he took after he left the rooming house was on a straight line to Jack Ruby’s apartment. I don’t think that Oswald fired a shot that day. I think he THOUGHT that he was doing something for someone in the Depository and then when he found that JFK had been shot outside his place of employment, realized that he had been set up………the perfect patsy.

    Comment by Scott C. — November 24, 2008 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  10. I don’t think about it much – even though my birthday is November 22! But I will say this – I’m pretty certain it was Oswald after all. Reason: money. There’s a fortune to be made by someone who spilled the beans. Hasn’t happened. Won’t happen.

    Now about Elvis…

    Comment by Roger L Simon — November 24, 2008 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  11. Those who wanted to “spill the beans” were murdered, as meticulously documented by the courageous Penn Jones 40 years ago

    Comment by charlie finch — November 24, 2008 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

  12. I always wondered about the JFK assassination. I read about two dozen books on it and for about 20 years I believed the JFK assassintion was a conspiracy, exact details unknown.

    However, after reading Bugliosi’s mammoth and immaculate tome, Reclaiming History, in which he lays out the case against Oswald and refutes the major conspiracies and a fair number of the minor theories, I’m convinced that Oswald acted alone out of his confused politics and personal vainglory.

    Comment by huxley — November 24, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  13. go to YouTube and type in “JFK Assassination: Secret Service Standdown”

    Comment by charlie finch — November 24, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  14. Those who dismiss “the conspiracy theorists” as lacking common sense and airily assert that Oswald acted alone are, in fact, the ones who are deluding themselves. There is a frontal shot on the Zapruder tape, Ruby did hit Oswald and dozens of people great and small with direct connections to the JFK assassination were murdered, died by their own hand or died violent, suspicious deaths: witnesses at Dallas, strippers at the Carousel Club, David Ferrie, mob bosses, Cuban cutouts, Robert Kennedy. To say that all these “coincidences” stem from a random act by one man, in which no others were involved, is the real fantasy!

    Comment by charlie finch — November 24, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  15. I, personally, believe Oswald acted alone and made a very lucky (for him, not us) shot. However, the most interesting theory I have come across was in a book called “By Way of Deception”. The JFK assassination was only briefly covered as it was not the primary subject of the book. It was proposed that, whoever the assassin was, he FAILED! The primary target was Gov. Connelly and had something to do with the mob trying to move in on the Texas oil industry. The reason it stuck in my head was that, if it were true, it would sent the investigators on the ultimate wild goose chase. I don’t believe it, but I always thought it was interesting.

    Comment by James S. — November 24, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  16. I for one do not dismiss those who advocate conspiracy theories in the JFK assassination as lacking commonsense. I was such an advocate for about 20 years. There are many troubling and bizarre aspects to the assassination. I understand.

    However, I am saying that I read Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History and was convinced by his careful and deeply thorough arguments backed up by voluminous notes. Maybe those arguments would persuade others; maybe not. Bugliosi did persuade me.

    Comment by huxley — November 24, 2008 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  17. The Connally theory would be buttressed by the angry letters Oswald sent to the Navy Dept., thinking that Connally was still JFK’s Naval Secretary about the status of his discharge, so that Oswald would have been targeting Connally, without even realizing that JFK was in the motorcade, has a certain wacked-out plausibility. Another theory is that Oswald fired one errant shot, similar to the one he fired at General Walker, and one shot from the Book Depository did hit the street, a fragment hitting bystander James Tague. Under this theory, Oswald was tasked by his handlers into a series of improbable actions, including passing out the Cuban literature in New Orleans and going on TV with Carlos Bringuier, who had thought that Oswald was anti-Castro. One of the more bizarre theories was advanced in James Reston Jr.’s book that JFK was accidentally killed by the discharge of a Secret Service gun from the car directly behind him and that this accident accounted for the appearance of a subsequent cover-up.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 24, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  18. I’ve long argued against conspiracy theories of all types, but the JFK case is my lone (lone nut?) exception to the general rule.

    Even here, after immersing myself in every book I could find on the subject for years and years, I found myself persuaded by Gerald Posner’s Case Closed that, in all likelihood, Oswald did indeed act alone. I experienced some sadness and a sense of loss as I laid aside the case and quit obsessing about it.

    Comment by Richard — November 24, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  19. Phillip Baur

    Comment by first history — November 24, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Reply

  20. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the argument advanced by James Piereson in his Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. It is overwhelmingly clear that Lee Harvey Oswald was a convinced Communist angry at the president’s opposition to the totalitarian ideology. However, this was the very last thing the Left wanted to believe. They were already upset by our “fanatical” anti-Communism. The bizarre myth that Kennedy was somehow murdered on behalf of civil rights therefore seemed more attractive. Ultimately, America’s left-wing establishment blamed its own country for the assassination.

    Comment by David Thomson — November 25, 2008 @ 12:47 am | Reply

  21. No matter who shot Kennedy, we got the Gun Control Act of 1968 as a result. Could it be that those who would destroy the 2nd Amendment were behind it?

    Comment by 2foot — November 25, 2008 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  22. Clearly it was the CIA — including George Herbert Walker Bush who was a CIA operative at the time and in Dealy Plaza that day — cavalierly taking out an uncooperative president.

    On the Watergate tapes when Nixon says ‘we have to be careful not to open up “the whole Bay of Pigs thing,”‘ he is referring primarily to the JFK assassination.

    Comment by Sam Adkins — November 25, 2008 @ 7:46 am | Reply

  23. John Kennedy was having multiple affairs with the wives of powerful men in Washington, not just Cord Meyer’s wife, but others. These affairs had specific biological consequences which had further reason to alienate powerful men in the CIA. He had an affair with Sam Giancana’s mistress and another with an East German spy Ellen Rometsch, particularly dangerous in the wake of the Profumo Scandal. He had an affair with Marilyn Monroe which led to complications with the Mafia and CIA and cause her death. Monroe, in 1962, was threatening to expose her affairs with JFK and RFK. Phil Graham, under the influence of booze and drugs, tried to expose JFK’s affairs at a convention in Hawaii, right before his presumed suicide. Let us not forget that this was a far more conservative time, meaning that JFK’s behavior, to those in the know and especially coming from a President, was that more dangerous and surreal. Of course, the press, which has a conformist streak apparently well preserved right up to the present day, covered all this up. John F Kennedy was murdered by the same people he had cocktails with in Georgetown because the peccadiloes he committed with their very wives morphed into a serious risk of public exposure and consequences of national security. What his murderers did not anticipate, because their closeness to JFK’s sleaziness blinded them, was the glamorous national wound that has festered eve since and which even the sainted hack Gerald Posner cannot salve.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 25, 2008 @ 8:15 am | Reply

  24. Ron, I can’t believe you would be enticed by conspiracy theories when you have written so insightfully about the Nazis, who owed their existence to the so-called stab-in-the-back-theory, and the Islamists, who rely on even more demented conspiracy theories. Not a shred of actual evidence has ever turned up that Oswald acted at anyone else’s behest. He committed murder because he sympathized with Castro and was furious that JFK tried to overthrow him. As Vincent Bugliosi says, case closed. (and you don’t need to write a doorstop like his to say it!)

    Comment by Martin Berman-Gorvine — November 25, 2008 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  25. Let’s see: the CIA had set in motion plots with the Mafia (via Bob Maheu) to kill Trujillo, Castro, General Schneider, Lumumba. CIA cutout was George de Mohrenschildt was birddogging Oswald. Oswald engaged in a series of public acts, including portraying himself as both pro and anti Castro, going on television, passing out leaflets, bragging about firing at General Walker, posing for photos with guns. Jack Kennedy’s father was the champion appeaser when Meyer, Angleton, Harvey and their confreres were cutting their teeth with OSS. But, there’s no evidence, Oswald acted alone and lives on in the dreams of ostriches.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 25, 2008 @ 10:06 am | Reply

  26. To reconstruct Oswald’s actions on the fateful day, let’s examine the movie “Vertigo”. Jimmy Stewart, afraid of heights, pursues his inamorata Kim Novak up the tower stairs. He can’t, due to fear, make it all the way up to save her. Unbeknownst to Stewart, a pal of his is concealed in the shadows, Novak steps aside, and the guy pushed his wife’s corpse over the edge, while Novak screams, leaving Stewart believing ttha he has killed Novak who has been portraying the dead woman. Now, Oswald: he WAS involved. Oswald left his wedding ring behind; his co-worker takes Oswald to the Book depository that morning. Oswald is carrying a brown parcel, which he describes as “curtain rods” but which is the disassembled Manlicher-Carcano. Oswald sets up at the window and fires one errant shot; his target is Connally against whom he has a personal vendetta (he was a fan of JFK, even checked out “Profiles” from a New Orleans library. The one shot exactly mimics the errant show whiich Oswald fired through General Walker’s window, before fleeing like a scared rabbit. After firing the one shot, Oswald runs down the stairs in the amount of time required to appear at the Coke machine when Officer Baker draws his gun on him (if Oswald had fired the single action rifle, reloading it, twice more, he could not have made it downstairs to the soda machine in the allotted time). A la “Vertigo”, another man, a Cuban steps from the shadows and fires Oswald’s gun twice more, hitting Kennedy in the shoulder and Connally (Connally always maintained he was hit by a separate bullet). The picket fence shot kills Kennedy. Incidentally Senator and Warren Commission member Richard Russell, like Fulbright and Ervin a total seg, but also a brilliant man, dissented from the Warren Report, vociferously objected to the single bullet theory and only allowed his protegee LBJ to bully him into silence. (see Russell’s exchanges with LBJ on the LBJ audiotapes) But I guess Russell is bagging groceries with Elvis now at some Piggly Wiggly.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 25, 2008 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  27. Man, I’m betting Mr. Rosenbaum is wishing he hadn’t brought this whole subject up. I can’t remember seeing more fringe wackiness in one place, except perhaps in response to black helicopter/Ruby Ridge/Branch Davidian posts. Mr. Finch’s comments seem particularly…um…odd.
    “These affairs had specific biological consequences…” What could that possibly mean? And that’s one of his more lucid observations. I remember that my parents, both good catholic dems, were certain that there was a conspiracy, and it sure seemed plausible that some grand force was behind the assassination. Most of the myths about Kennedy’s death come from some half baked assumtions: That he was a 60s peacenik (he was strongly anti-communist) that he was committed to civil rights (Bobby and even LBJ were far more interested in that issue), and that he was felled by some grand right-wing cabal. Joe Kennedy was mob connected and helped buy the 1960 election for his son through those ties, only to have RFK turn against them as AG. JFK badly botched the Bay of Pigs, which probably angered the CIA, exiled Cubans, and even Castro himself. These are some likely sources for a move to assassinate him. What is unlikely, though perhaps mildly plausible, is that a bunch of right wing wack jobs decided to bump JFK off because he supported civil rights or was going to yank us out of Viet Nam (not likely since he had recently had Diem killed, which would indicate a commitment to an outcome favorable to the US). Kennedy is bathed in 60s mythology, but his position on communism and his tepid approach to civil rights just won’t square with those assumptions. LHO ensured his place in history by his actions. That was his goal, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

    Comment by Joe T — November 25, 2008 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  28. The Kennedy Assassination fascinates me, as I suspect it does Mr. Rosenbaum and others. One of the reasons it fascinates me is the number of different theories, all essentially mutually contradictory, which still float around 45 years after the event. I don’t think the CIA could have carried it off successfully, for one simple reason: as the Cold War fades into history, historians are discovering that all of the assassinations “The Company” carried off during the era were actually done by someone else, or accidents, etc. Last I looked they were actually down to 0 in terms of the number of people successfully killed. I don’t believe in Cuban military intelligence or anything like that for similar reasons. Though they, and the Soviets, did assassinate people over the years, they were terrible at concealing their complicity in the long run. Nowadays, we know about most people they had killed, and I think if Kennedy had been the victim of a Soviet or Cuban plot we’d know about it for certain.

    The Mafia is more attractive to me. We know they killed people they didn’t like, regularly. We know that Kennedy’s father was at least familiar with mob people during the Depression. The story (denied by the family and his supporters) is that he made a lot of money during Prohibition by importing liquor illegally into Boston, which would have meant the elder Kennedy either working with mobsters, or becoming one himself. In any case, we also know that Chicago, in 1960, was ballot-stuffed for Kennedy, and that the mob was at least involved in this. After his Mafia-assisted election, Kennedy appointed his little brother Robert Attorney General, and set him on the Mafia. They’d been essentially unpoliced during the ’50s, apparently because they had something on Hoover, so this was a shock to them. It’s also assumed they felt betrayed by Kennedy because of their links to his father. Of course, they’d know they couldn’t kill Bobby, that would have directed the suspicion towards them pretty sharply. Bobby wasn’t going to (and didn’t) survive in a Johnson administration, and everyone could guess that in about 30 seconds. Though they killed people all the time, they had to go outside their normal ranks for a patsy, to divert attention from themselves. Since the CIA had recruited them to kill Castro, they could redirect the people involved in that towards Kennedy relatively easily. This would account for all of the involvement of people associated with Cuba. Officer Tippit was at Oswald’s house to kill him, and then announce that he’d just shot Kennedy’s assassin, but Oswald was smart enough to guess what was going on, kill Tippit, and surrender. He then *announced* that he was a patsy. Ruby killed him two days later. This closed the circle, the assassin dying without explaining his actions, but being believable enough that many people dismiss the idea of someone else being involved, thus giving the real conspirators cover.

    Another theory, debunked but not completely convincingly dismissed by Bugliosi, is that of Howard Donahue. Donahue believed that Kennedy’s attempted assassin, Oswald, was inadvertently helped by the Secret Service, who accidentally shot him from the chase car, with a rifle that shot fragmenting bullets, rather than the more solid ones that Oswald used. He asserted that the shot of Oswald’s that *did* hit Kennedy (the one that entered his back) was much more damaging than earlier thought, and could have killed him anyway. The whole thing has been dismissed by most conspiracy buffs, because the actual killing of Kennedy would have to be attributed to a freak accident, something that most buffs find anathema.

    Either (or both, I suppose) of the above theories could have merit. There’s also the possibility that Oswald was just the lone crazy who shot the President, getting “lucky” and hitting him when it was difficult (though not impossible). We’ll probably never know for certain.

    Comment by DavidN — November 25, 2008 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  29. For myself, I never really paid much attention to the conspiracies, even though I grew up in Dallas. In that, I was like the average American: never really buying that Oswald did it alone, but not really giving the matter that much attention unless I was stumbling across a documentary on it while channel-flipping, or happened into a conversation at work or with friends.

    Last spring, I discovered Waldron’s first book, Ultimate Sacrifice, and in my opinion, he just about nails it. It really is the definitive work on the subject, and as much a historical reading of early ’60s America as it is about an assassination. Take Ultimate Sacrifice, throw in a dash of knowledge about Reagan, Goldwater, LBJ, and the broad trends present in society at that time, and one could have reasonably predicted America’s course over the last half-century. Truly thought-provoking.

    But to answer your question: the reason for the cover-up was two-fold. First, any earnest investigation would have uncovered a lot of horrendous mistakes,corruption, and outright insubordination at the mid and lower levels of some agencies in government. And that became a powerful motive to stop any fact-finding by investigators, for reasons that had nothing to do with the assassination.

    Secondly, the top levels of government didn’t know what happened that day in Dallas, but the more they investigated it in secret, the more confusing it became, and the leads all seemed to have dark and frightening implications. Was there a Russian connection? A Castro connection? Was it done with help from the CIA? Latter-day conspiracy theorists weren’t the only ones with those questions, LBJ, RFK and many others at the head of government worried over the same things. The more they found out-or thought they found out-the more they became scared of finding out more. And so they quickly shut down most of the investigations, and papered over the problem. Finding the answer could have easily catapulted the country into a shooting war, only a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis almost stopped the “Doomsday Clock” forever. As much as I hate cover-ups, its hard to say that I wouldn’t have done the same, faced with that choice.

    What’s not mentioned in the book is how this-the fear that foreign elements were involved, but that if we striked back overtly, we would never be able to pull back from the brink-how this may have impacted the decision to go into Vietnam in a creeping but increasingly robust fashion. We needed to strike back at “the enemy” to demonstrate our strength, but in a way that would not lead to all-out nuclear war, which meant diverting the nation’s eyes as far away from Cuba as possible…

    And that changes our whole understanding of the sixties.

    Comment by Zach — November 25, 2008 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  30. The oldest books are the best: Sylvia Meagher “Accessories After the Fact”: she devoted her life to the Warren Report. As Ron mentioned, Josiah Thompson’s “Six Seconds in Dallas”, which argues the triangle theory, with another shooter in the Dal-Tex building. Carl Oglesby has a small chapbook on JFK Assassination theories, about as precise a compendium as there is. On Oswald, “The Second Oswald” is a marvelous compendium of the “Oswald” sightings and the problematic Ed Epstein’s “Legend”, because of its access to James Jesus Angleton, is the best of all the Oswald books. Above all, the National Archives DVD of the Zapruder Tape remains the one essential document: you will believe your lyin’ eyes, because there is a frontal shot that cannot be denied.

    Comment by charlie finch — November 26, 2008 @ 11:39 am | Reply

  31. No doubt that it was a conspiracy…Oswald was certainly involved as was Ruby. Can’t help but feel that LBJ and the mafia in combination with Hoover and some elements in the CIA wanted both Kennedys gone.

    I read Barr McClellan’s book and I think he has a piece of the truth…Johnson and Sam Rayburn forced Lyndon on the ticket…Bob Kennedy was completely opposed…McClellan quotes Johnson as saying after his selection as VP in 1960…”well, we lost this battle but we will win the war”…meaning that in the end LBJ would be POTUS.

    Take a look at the famous picture of Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force 1, with his hometown congressman caught winking at him and smiling. Something WAS going on there.

    I’ve read all of Caro’s books about Johnson…they are wonderful reads…but Caro has a blind spot for the assassination. How did Oswald get a job in the Depository? He was a new employee added AFTER Kennedy’s trip to Dallas was announced. Who was Oswald? Read LEGEND…by, I forget who…also Madeline Brown’s book (Johnson’s mistress) TEXAS IN THE MORNING. She says conclusively, that LBJ had told her JFK was to die.

    The thing that REALLY convinces me that there must of been a conspiracy is the way our mainstream media…yawns…and looks the other way…everytime one of these books comes out. Let’s face it…our media…I mean Cronkite, Rather, Huntley, Brinkley, and other big names simply took the official line and ran with it for years.

    Why was NOBODY interested in looking into Ruby’s background…say…in 1964-65? He was covered with mob contacts.

    I think our media is a joke. I’m still waiting for them to vet Obama…and I know they never will.

    Comment by Increase Mather — November 26, 2008 @ 12:31 pm | Reply

  32. No “theories.”

    In terms of the “how” of the JFK assassination, the truth is long-established and may be expressed simply:

    Anyone with reasonable access to the evidence in this case who does not conclude that President Kennedy was killed by conspirators is cognitively impaired and/or complicit in the crime.

    I might add that there is not a scintilla of valid evidence to support the theory that the historic Lee Harvey Oswald fired at — let alone hit and killed — JFK.

    Charles Drago
    Co-founder, the Deep Politics Forum

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — November 27, 2008 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  33. The problem with ALL of the conspiracy theories regarding JFK’s death is that they require that a large number of people keep a sensational secret for (to date) 45 years.

    Comment by Richard A fay — November 28, 2008 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  34. Once we move from consideration of the established and incontrovertible “how” of the JFK assassination (killed by criminal conspirators) we deal with the questions of “who” and “why.”

    To reverse-engineer the “how” is to close in on the “who.”

    Who had access to the top secret intelligence records that identified LHO as the perfect patsy?

    Who had the ability to set the motorcade route, strip motorcade security, and otherwise control the crime scene pre- and post-shooting?

    Who had the means and motive to control the autopsy and control and fabricate medical evidence?

    For starters.

    The mob? Anti-Castro Cubans? Texas oilmen? Birchers? Fidel? Nikita?

    Answer my questions and you’ll have the “who.”

    And, by extension, the “why.”

    As for the two most commonly raised and wholly unsupportable objections to conspiracy fact — “someone would have talked” and “no sane conspirators would have chosen the insane LHO as their trigger man” — neither can challenge the incontrovertible physical, eyewitness, earwitness, medical, photographic, and other forensic evidence that proves conspiracy beyond all doubt and to the degree of physical certitude.

    Conspiracy in the death of JFK is fact.

    Besides, more than one someone did talk.

    And the dizzyingly circular “who’d pick LHO” argument is pure sophistry.

    JFK was shot from at least two directions simultaneously. Barring the possibility of multiple lone nuts choosing the same place and time to keep their dates with history, we are confronted with conspiracy fact.


    Comment by Charles R. Drago — November 30, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  35. Yes it definately WAS a problem for those with information who did talk: they died…
    Murder has a way of causing silence, the others caught on very quickly, but some continued to speak in the 70’s and they too died, and this pattern just continued.

    And there is no secret to any of this.
    Your statement is just the media’s way of covering up.

    Dawn Meredith
    Co-founder DPF

    Comment by Dawn Meredith — November 30, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  36. One book that hasn’t been mentioned here is JFK and the Unspeakable – Why He Died And Why It Matters by James Douglas. Brilliant book. He spent over 12 years researching and writing this book. I strongly recommend everyone read this book to get a clearer understanding not just of the assassination, the who dunnit, but what it means, the why dunnit. Once you see the shift in policy, particularly industrial policy, immediately after the death of JFK you get to see a different picture than the one in the MSM (who are themselves deeply involved in activities other than media).

    As a non-American I find it odd that many Americans can’t see the JFK (and other) assassinations for what they are – power shifts in the ruling elite and policy implementation by other means. All the evidence is there, so is the cover up. No conspiracy theory. Just fact. Why, if they are happy enough to kill or remove heads of state in other countries (Castro, Mossadegh, Lumumba, Allende, the list is long) why not their own? The US is obviously prepared to cross the line when it comes to legalities before and after the JFK assassination.

    Also check the detailed research of Don Roberdeau here: Professionally surveyed map of Dealy Plaza, trajectories, positions etc.

    Oswald was so not a lone nut it is hard to understand how this myth got hold. He was totally surrounded by people and nearly all of them were from military and intelligence backgrounds. I’m sure he longed for a bit of time to himself.

    Why is this even debated today? Everyone not involved the fantasy of American mythology knew what happened the day it happened.

    Comment by Maggie — November 30, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  37. I came to Dallas at age 13 three years before the assassination. I recall an article in the paper about General Walker being fired on, was it a year or so before Kennedy’s assassination, and just missed. ‘He had leaned down to get a closer look at something in his library.’ General Walker was an odd icon of a right wing militarist who I believe ran for Governor. The route that the attempted murderer, took in leaving a vantage point near his property in the area between Oak Lawn and Highland Park was a year or two ago explained again in the paper. Apparently, Oswald attempted the ‘assassination.’ Then there were the incidents of a crowd attacking LBJ and Adlai Stevenson subsequently if I recall correctly. One of the governors of Texas in the fifties had said that Texas needed to bring in more intellectual talent and this happened. But then there was the strange mix of Southern revanchism added in reaction to a growing liberalism. So when I turned on the radio at home; we had the day off I believe for the visit, but I was doing my homework, and I heard that the president had been shot, I was not surprised and recalled that I had felt something ‘would happen.’ How strong that feeling was was probably influenced, as in my view the ‘conspirator believers’ are, by a truth that Clausewitz observed when he said ‘that the social importance of a solution did not increase the difficulty of a problem but did increase the merit of a solution.’ And so also was Oswald advanced to his repetition compulsion.

    Comment by MichaelH — December 1, 2008 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

  38. Ok, I spent all day yesterday arguing with a colleague about this. There is no convincing the believers. There just has to a conspiracy, however amorphous, however vast, however flimsy – and most importantly- however unsubstantiated. After 45 years, its still “they” who killed him.
    And you Ron, I planned to praise you on your Slate magazine column debunking the Hitler one-testicle nonsense; unfortunately, I surfed over to your blog for any other material and immediately bumped into your doppelganger: the Kennedy conspiracy theorist. Thanks for reminding me that no one is perfect.

    Comment by Ian Crerar — December 2, 2008 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  39. Some more thoughts on the basics. The US government itself has since rejected the Warren Commission findings and there was far from unanimous agreement about the SBT and other of its findings among its members. The official US government position is that it was a probable conspiracy as there was a second shooter though they were dragged kicking and screaming to get to this position and they have not followed anything up. Then there is the most interesting finding of Mac Wallace’s print on a box on the 6th floor of the TSBD [snipers lair]. And many people have talked before and since. It is no secret. There was foreknowledge by some (Madeline Browne, Colonel Jose Rivera, Richard Case Nagel, Jorge Soto Martinez, John Martino, Rose Cheramie, and the Oxnard and Cambridge phone calls just for some) and after the fact by others. Then there are eyewitnesses to the event and the direction of gunshots. “They’re going to kill us all” said Connally. “Were any of them shooting at me?” asked LBJ of Hoover. Then the intimidation of some witnesses and alteration of testimony but only witnesses who reported versions inconsistent with the lone nut scenario (Hill, Mercer, Nix and more). Why all the secrecy? Why the classified documents? If it is just a lone nut with a grudge why is any of it a secret? Including LHO’s tax records, school records, drivers licence and autopsy pictures and documents. Why no state Texas autopsy and trial as required by law? Why all the foot dragging about an investigation in the first place? Why stack the investigation with a who’s who of the intelligence world? None of it makes real sense. There was no motive. No opportunity. What ever he carried into work on the morning of 22nd Nov was not the MC. It was too long even disassembled for him to carry it as described by his neighbour. His shooting success based on the SBT has never been replicated to this day even by experts. And there was a whopping big tree in the way besides. Why not a new investigation? It’s still an unsolved crime (as is Tippet’s murder) and there is no statute of limitation on murder. An open inquiry without barriers of any kind in to any area it may lead. Yeah, dream on.

    Comment by Maggie — December 3, 2008 @ 3:58 am | Reply

  40. Gaeto Fonzi’s “The Last Investigation” details the House Assassinations Committee Investigation. We need to declassify the House investigation records, sealed until 2029, and those of the Warren Commission, sealed until 2039. This will take an act of Congress. What is stopping a majority Democratic Congress from doing so is the Kennedy family, which since RFK and Jackie successfully censored parts of William Manchester’s “Death of a President’ which originally, in a Homeric manner, pointed the finger at LBJ, has resisted the truth. Perhaps all the violent deaths, and near misses, of the Kennedys are not some “curse” but the casualties of US government intelligence establishment which never forgave the father Joe for his appeasement of Hitler.

    Comment by charlie finch — December 3, 2008 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  41. Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, killed JFK and wounded Gov. Connolly. His rifle was found in the snipers nest, and bullet fragments fired from that rifle were found in the limousine.
    There was no big conspiracy because who would use a “piece of junk” rifle to pull off the crime of the century?
    It’s irrationality, rather than reason, that lead people to believe in conspiracy.

    By the way, A lot of the supposed “facts” mentioned in the above posts have already been discredited/debunked. Most of them decades ago.

    Comment by Rex — December 4, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  42. Historical truth matters to me as well. Oswald left evidence – solid and quantifiable – gathered at the time of the crime indicating that he was a man with the means and opportunity to commit the crime. (He also had the personality to do it). It was his rifle, with his palm print, and three spent cartridges that were found at the sniper’s nest. He was unaccounted for at the time of the assassination. He was the only employee to leave the depository after the assassination. It was his handgun – with which he resisted arrest – which was used to shoot and kill Officer Tippet; it was Oswald who tried to assassinate General Walker. Good, solid evidence.

    On the other side, we have groups who seem to be able get away with the most investigated single crime in history and then (how many 10, 20, 50 conspirators?) keep their involvement secret for decades, all the while doing away with troublesome witnesses by framing them or murdering them. They can choose Jack Ruby’s cell location, they can set up assasination teams in multiple cities as if on a rock tour. And take your pick on which organization ordered and/or carried out the assassination: the mafia, the CIA, the military, Cuban nationals, Cuban communists, the KGB, Lyndon Johnson. It sometimes feels like picking out your favorite ice cream. My choice? I’ll stick to plane, old vanilla: Oswald acted alone.

    Comment by ian crerar — December 4, 2008 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  43. Mr. Crerar, et al,

    There is no viable evidence whatsoever that Lee Harvey Oswald ordered or owned the alleged JFK murder weapon. The essay below, written by the late George Michael Evica (author of “And We are All Mortal” and “A Certain Arrogance”) and posted with permission of his estate, should help relieve you of the burden of your misconceptions.

    FYI, I am in the process of updating and otherwise expanding the Evica oeuvre by utilizing, among other resources, his personal research archives.


    “Thomas Dodd and Lee Harvey Oswald”

    By George Michael Evica

    (from “Agent LHO,” a chapter in a work in progress, The Iron Sights)

    Lee Harvey Oswald, a member of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee, made contact with a group of anti-Castro individuals and organizations, most of whom Carlos Bringuier (an FBI informant) was either working with or knew well. Oswald’s actions and Bringuier’s assessment of those actions suggest an attempt by Oswald, a self proclaimed Marxist and one-time defector to the Soviet Union, to penetrate the New Orleans anti-Castro movement on behalf of some yet to be identified U.S. government group.

    Bringuier reportedly informed his conservative associates about Oswald, including Edward Butler, a political propagandist for the local anti-Castroites. Butler, with U.S. intelligence links, worked at radio station WDSU in New Orleans. While distributing leaflets for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Oswald was arrested, with media coverage in excess of the event’s importance, after a “fight” which might have been staged with Butler’s friend, Carlos Bringuier, the former media secretary of the CIA supported Cuban Revolutionary Council in New Orleans. (2)

    Oswald’s subsequent trial was covered (again, beyond even its local significance) by WDSU-TV; and his second leaflet distribution, five days later, was also covered by WDSU-TV. This series of media events set up still another: Bringuier and Oswald “debated” on WDSU with Butler as “host.” Butler “exposed” Oswald as a defector to the Soviet Union recently returned to the United States, and the radio material was transformed into a so-called “truth tape” for the intelligence associated Information Council of the Americas: INCA (whose hierarchy included New Orleans individuals with powerful Organized Crime connections). Under pressure from this publicity and other negative news coverage and harassed by government agencies and Congressional committees, the national Fair Play for Cuba Committee dissolved itself. (3)

    Was this result precisely the object of one of Oswald’s covert jobs? (4)

    Oswald as a government provocateur and agent in both New Orleans and Dallas can be most accurately defined by examining the richly-varied activities of Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd.

    Graduating from Yale Law School in 1933, Thomas Dodd was asked by Roosevelt’s Attorney General to visit J. Edgar Hoover in Washington. Carrying heavy political recommendations, Dodd impressed the FBI boss, who hired him as an FBI special agent. Assigned to St. Paul, Minnesota, Dodd reportedly was an active member of the elite Bureau team that attacked Dillinger’s Little Bohemia roadhouse in Wisconsin.(5)

    After only a year in the FBI, however, Dodd resigned, going home to develop a powerful political base in Connecticut.(6)

    Deeply involved in youth programs and social welfare activities, Dodd was evaluated for both state and national offices. But in 1938, the U.S. Attorney General appointed Dodd his special assistant, and when a new civil rights section was organized in the Justice Department, Dodd became one of its earliest agents, successfully fighting crooked cops and corrupt sheriffs in the South in support of persecuted Afro Americans.(7)

    The threat of war brought significant changes to the Justice Department: Dodd entered counterespionage. Not much is known of this early Dodd entry into U.S. intelligence work, but Dodd’s more public role as a key prosecutor of Nazi spies and war-effort profit mongers brought him deserved fame. His greatest triumph, however, was his work as a member of the American Nuremberg team, part of the four-power group trying Nazi war criminals. Dodd became the tribunal’s executive trial counsel, its second-most powerful position. According to all historical accounts the most important member of the U.S. Nuremberg effort, Thomas Dodd became an international hero. 8

    Years in both national and state political arenas developing a reputation as a fierce anti-Communist and stalker of labor racketeers (embodied in Jimmy Hoffa), Dodd was eventually elected a U.S. Senator, joining the Senate in January, 1959. He swiftly became a major D.C. power player. (9)

    Dodd was acting chair of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, where his outspoken anti-Communism brought him in close contact with :

    1. conservative members of the U.S. intelligence community;

    2. highly vocal members of both the China and Cuba Lobbies, and

    3. Anti-Communist defectors, informers, and double agents, domestic and foreign. Dodd also chaired the Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee (called popularly the “Dodd Committee”); in that role, he battled the evil he and his staffers found on television and built a national reputation. (10)

    But two other areas of political concern brought Thomas Dodd directly into the territory of the JFK assassination: “…as a crusading foe of narcotics traffickers…[and] as the leader of a national effort to control the indiscriminate interstate sale of firearms.” (11)

    Just four months before the JFK assassination, Senator Dodd had presided over a Senate Internal Security subcommittee investigation of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (to which, of course, Oswald belonged), calling it “…the chief public relations instrument of the Castro network in the United States.” (12)

    Dodd had taken testimony from several important Castro defectors, including Frank Sturgis’ friend, Pedro Diaz Lanz (Sturgis himself later admitted to having intelligence connections to the Internal Security subcommittee). According to an earlier FBI report on the FPCC, the proCastro group had been “…heavily infiltrated by [both] the Communist party and the Socialist Workers party.” The House UnAmerican Activities Committee made identical findings. (13)

    A curious combination: Stalinist Communists and anti-Stalinist Trotskyites burrowing into a pro-Castro organization. While Lee Harvey Oswald was in the custody of the Dallas police and still alive on November 23rd, 1963, news reports on the FPCC stated that it had been “…the subject of a series of investigations by Congressional committees [including those of Senator Thomas Dodd] and the Justice Department over the last three years [1961-1963].” (14)

    The apparently contradictory political acts of Lee Harvey Oswald, therefore, make logical sense measured against these Dodd/Internal Security/FBI materials. Oswald had, in fact, contacted
    1. the Fair Play for Cuba Committee;
    2. the (anti- Communist) Socialist Workers Party, and
    3. the (anti-Socialist Workers) Communist Party.
    Oswald could not have set up a more consistent pattern had he been working (whether directly or indirectly) for Dodd’s Senate Internal Security subcommittee.(15)

    Why was Lee Harvey Oswald, dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Marines as a known defector to the Soviet Union, reading rifle magazines at Alba’s Garage in New Orleans? And why was he collecting coupons for mail-order weapons?(16)

    The Dodd connection was the answer.

    Senator Thomas Dodd commanded the Senate’s Juvenile Delinquency subcommittee and its interest in “gun control,” specifically mail-order weapons control. Beginning in January, 1963, Dodd held committee hearings on the unrestricted delivery of weapons through the U.S. mails. One of the companies Dodd was interested in was Klein’s of Chicago, and one of the weapons about whose unregulated traffic the Senate in 1963 was agitated was the Italian Mannlicher Carcano. “Hidell,” of course, allegedly ordered a Mannlicher Carcano from Klein’s of Chicago, reportedly found in the Texas School Book Depository on November 22nd, 1963, becoming a major part of the FBI/Warren Commission lone-assassin theory in the JFK killing. (17)

    Seaport Traders of California was still another mail-order weapons’ distributor the Dodd Committee was examining, the very company from which “Hidell” ordered the revolver reported to have been used in the Tippet murder on November 22nd, 1963.(18)

    A “Communist,” pro-Castro, Fair Play for Cuba Committee member with ties to both the Communist and Social Workers parties had been able to order at least two lethal weapons (both of great concern to the U.S. Congress) apparently under a fake name (“Hidell”) through the United States mail. Was someone associated with the Dodd Committee trying to connect a mortal threat to the president with the committee’s anti-weapons work?

    A series of incidents involving the son of a Dodd friend who was hired as a Dodd staff investigator strongly suggests precisely that conclusion. Reportedly investigating juvenile delinquency on the U.S. Mexican border, the young sleuth created a major disturbance at the living quarters of a local stripper. Mexican police had to break into a locked bathroom to apprehend the Dodd investigator, found packing a hidden revolver. Dodd had been informed that the FBI reported this same Dodd staffer had been taken into custody wearing a weapon and impersonating a law officer. (19)

    But the most serious incident featuring the young man occurred exactly at the time Dodd was writing his mail-order weapons legislation. The troublesome investigator had been apprehended attempting to transport three weapons and an enormous amount of ammunition to Hyannisport, Massachusetts, a deadly combination.(20)

    What made the incident so ominous? President John F. Kennedy was at Hyannisport for the weekend.(21)

    A young man associated with a committee inquiring into youthful criminal offenders and the transportation of weapons had been involved in a strange incident in Mexico, had impersonated a law officer, and had attempted to send lethal weapons to the same town where the president was visiting: weapons, the Dodd Committee, and a possible threat to President John F. Kennedy.

    Did some of Thomas Dodd’s allies, people in the State Department’s Office of Security (Otto Otepka, for example), or in the Justice Department (Hoover’s FBI, for example), or in the Treasury Department (in its Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division or in its Bureau of Narcotics), direct Lee Harvey Oswald (with a “delinquency record”) to contact two splinters of the American Left; “join” a pro-Castro committee allegedly infiltrated by both splinters; then order a rifle and a pistol through the mails under an assumed name, proving just how dangerous the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and its outlaw members were?

    If Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed being used by someone associated with the Dodd Committee as a double agent to infiltrate various “subversive” groups and, at the same time, order weapons to illustrate Dodd’s mail-order thesis, and if those manipulators of Oswald/”Hidell” were U.S. intelligence agents or assets, how did they have access to the Dodd Committee?

    As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Dodd had a passkey to Justice Department materials and agents. Senator Dodd himself was a staunch defender of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and “…the FBI…made itself so much at home in Dodd’s [Senate] office that staff members joked about assigning the Bureau a desk.” (22)

    The Senator was so well known as an anti-narcotics crusader he was one of the few Congressional participants in Kennedy’s national anti-narcotics conference. In his role as a scourge of drug traffickers, Dodd was in direct contact with the conservative Federal Bureau of Narcotics and its anti-Communist agents. As acting chairperson of the Internal Security Subcommittee, Dodd was able to call on his connections to such characters as Frank Sturgis, Pedro Diaz Lanz, J.G. Sourwine, and Paul Bethal, just a few of the many intelligence associated people linking Dodd to a small army of spies and counterspies. And, of course, his acting Internal Security chairmanship “…gave him access to the security and loyalty files maintained by both his own subcommittee and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, as well as the raw [report] files…provided [to Dodd and his staff] by the FBI on request.”(23)

    But access, of course, was a two way street: members of U.S. intelligence were also able to utilize Dodd’s Senate staff and his committee files, files containing material on both the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and mail order weapons.

    Strong circumstantial evidence supports the conclusion that Senator Thomas Dodd (or someone close to Dodd with access to his Committee files) ordered weapons in the name of either Oswald or “Hidell.”

    On Monday, November 25, 1963, Senator Dodd made an interesting error, if, indeed, it was an error. The Connecticut senator stated that Oswald acquired the alleged assassination rifle for $12.78. (24) But $12.78 was the price of a 40-inch Carcano, minus the scope, in November, 1963. “Hidell” (Oswald using an alias, according to the Warren Commission) purchased a Carcano (40.2 inches, again, according to the Commission) for $19.95, with scope, months earlier. But, of course, the rifle that was actually ordered, at least according to the mail-order coupon allegedly used, was a 36-inch “carbine” with scope.

    Given the cross-breeding between various U.S. intelligence agents and assets and the Senator Thomas Dodd’s committee, the persuasive argument developed by the former CIA Chief of Problems Analysis, George O’ Toole, discussing the possibility that Oswald sold a rifle to Buell Wesley Frazier the morning of the assassination as part of a police-intelligence plot–for $12.78. (25)

    Beyond speculation, however, I have learned that according to two unimpeachable sources, Senator Thomas Dodd indeed caused at least one Mannlicher Carcano to be ordered in the name of Lee Harvey Oswald (or in the name of “Alek Hidell”) sometime in 1963. (emphasis added by Drago)

    Whether that rifle was ordered before November 22nd, 1963, as part of the scenario discussed above: a left-wing former Marine defector buying mail -order weapons to support concretely Senator Dodd’s gun control position, or ordered immediately after the JFK assassination to make the same point ((but even more chillingly), the same post-assassination effect was apparently achieved.

    Did the facilitators of the JFK murder plot, with convenient entry to Senator Thomas Dodd, use the Dodd connection–the Oswald/”Hidell”/FPCC/Communist/Weapons links–to frame Lee Harvey Oswald?

    And through those links, and with the certain knowledge that at least one weapon had been ordered in either Oswald’s or Hidell’s name by either Dodd himself or someone with access to Dodd, were Senator Thomas Dodd and his anti-communist allies made mute on any Dodd committee access to Lee Harvey Oswald in the aftermath of the JFK assassination?


    1. Sometime between 1964 and 1967, Sylvia Meagher, author of Accessories After the Fact (New York: Vintage Books, 1976 [reprint of the 1967 edition], hereafter cited as Meagher) was apparently in contact with several (unnamed) fellow researchers (Meagher – 194) who “pointed to two related factors” suggesting reasons for “Oswald’s otherwise inexplicable mail-order purchases of firearms” (Meagher 194):

    • Oswald was working for some “federal investigative agency” (Meagher 194);

    • Oswald was involved with a “Senate committee” attempting “to introduce legislation curbing the mail-order sale of firearms” (Meagher 194). Developing this hypothesis in 1977, I made a note (“Oswald and gun-control”) intending to credit Meagher–and promptly forgot it. I therefore did not give Sylvia Meagher credit for her “Senate committee” and “gun control” insights. The pages in my book, And We Are All Mortal, are 252-254. I now set the record straight: Sylvia Meagher was my original source.

    • The Dodd connection, developed on those same pages and extended in this article, however, was my own.

    Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (New York: Henry Holt, 1985, hereafter cited as Hurt), in his version of this Oswald story (300-302)

    • gives credit to Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (most probably two of the several researchers Meagher does not name) in their unpublished manuscript, Murder From Within (Hurt 300), but does date the latter work;

    • cites one page of Meagher in a buried credit;

    • echoes And We Are All Mortal throughout his discussion of Oswald and mail-order weapons (Hurt 300-302) but does not cite the latter work specifically; and

    • lists the book in his bibliography as And We Are Still All Mortal, a funny error. I have adopted Hurt’s error as the title of this article.

    Paul Hoch anticipated some of the analysis in the present study: “…Oswald [might have] thought he was placing the gun orders as part of [the Dodd]…effort, on the instructions of whoever he was working for.” “Echoes of Conspiracy,” 11/30/77, page 3. Hoch’s speculation was not available to me when I was drafting And We Are All Mortal.
    2. For Oswald and Bringuier, see Meagher 384.
    3. For Oswald’s activities as planned media events, and for Oswald and Bringuier, see Scott, Crime and Coverup (Berkeley, Cal: Westworks, 1977) 13-14, hereafter cited as Scott; see especially Scott’s citations.
    4. Anthony V. Bouza, Police Intelligence (New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1976), pointed out the Fair Play for Cuba Committee’s “association” with Oswald’s name resulted in the group expiring “as its members scattered” (149).
    5. Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, The Case Against Congress (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968) 34-35; hereafter, cited as Pearson.
    6. Pearson 35.
    7. Pearson 35.
    8. Pearson 35-36.
    9. Pearson 36-37.
    10. Pearson 38-53.
    11. Pearson 54, 63, 66.
    12. Pearson 54.
    13. Dodd, in I.F. Stone, The Haunted Fifties (New York: Random House, 1963) 348. See also Scott 8, and I.F. Stone’s Weekly, February 8th, 1960, June 27th, 1960, and April 24th, 1961.
    14. Dodd, the Internal Security Subcommittee and the FPCC, in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963. FBI report and UnAmerican Activities Committee cited in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963.
    15. FPCC subject of inquiries, in Hartford Times, November 23rd, 1963. See also 26 H (CE 3081-3085) 689-693.
    16. See Martha Moyer, “The Rifle,” The Assassination Chronicles, Volume II, Issue 1, March 1996; cited hereafter as Moyer.
    17. See, for example, Washington Post January 27th, 1963; see also Washington Post, November 26th, 1963, in 24 H (CE 2180) 852. See also Congressional Record-Senate, August 2nd, 1963, p.13945, and November 27th, 1963, pp. 22868-22869. For Congressional interest in the Mannlicher Carcano, see Henry S. Bloomgarden, The Gun (New York: Bantam, 1976 [reprint of 1975 edition]) 66-67.
    18. Seaport Traders, in R 174.
    19. Hurt 301.
    20. Hurt 301.
    21. Hurt 301.
    22. Pearson 94.
    23. Pearson 63.
    24. 24H (CE 2180) 852.
    25. The Assassination Tapes (New York: Penthouse Press, 1975) 204. For still another police-associated “$12.78” rifle, see 24 H (CE 2145)761.

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — December 5, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  44. Furthermore, Mr. Crerar, Professor Evica expounds upon LHO’s non-ownership of the alleged JFK murder weapon:

    From “And We Are All Mortal: New Evidence and Analysis in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (1975; University of Hartford), by George Michael Evica.

    Chapter One, pages 7-10

    Did Oswald Ever Possess Any Rifle?

    Marina Oswald was the [Warren] Commission’s sole witness cited for the Report’s conclusions that Oswald possessed a rifle before the alleged attack on General Edwin Walker and that the alleged rifle was moved from Dallas to New Orleans and from New Orleans to Irving, Texas. The Commission’s own records help to establish that no piece of the Oswalds’ luggage or any other container used in moving the Oswalds was large enough to hold the Commission’s disassembled rifle.

    The Commission attempted to prove that a rifle was stored in the Paine’s garage prior to the assassination: it failed. Marina Oswald testified to the Commission that she had entered the Paine’s cluttered garage to look for parts to a baby crib; lifting a corner of a folded blanket on the floor, she said she saw part of a rifle stock (in another version of this incident Marina decided it was the barrel she had seen). But Marina’s testimony was not corroborated; she could not distinguish either between kinds of rifles or between kinds of pieces (rifles and shot-guns, for example) … When shown a rifle on November 22nd, at about 9:00 p.m., she was unable to identify it:

    “Marina Oswald advised an Agent of this Bureau on November 22, 1963, that she had been shown a rifle at the Dallas Police Department … She advised that she was unable to identify it positively as the same rifle kept in the garage at [the] Paine residence … ”

    Three months after the assassination, Marina’s memory improved so that on February 6th, 1964, when shown what the Commission alleged to be the same rifle, she said, “This is the fateful rifle of Lee Oswald.” But Sunday, September 6th, 1964 … the following odd exchange occurred:

    Senator Russell: Did you testify that you thought this [CE 139] was Lee’s rifle that was shown to you?

    Marina (translation): No – I’m sorry. As far as she knows about the arms, the rifle which was shown to her looked like the one he had.

    Translator (Peter Gregory, an important member of the Dallas/Ft. Worth White Russian community) in English: Yes; That’s right.

    Senator Russell: That’s all I asked her. That’s just exactly what I asked her.

    Translator (in English): Yes, that’s right.

    Most crucially, Marina’s testimony on the alleged assassination weapon was coached, altered, or corroborated by individuals associated with Jack Ruby, the Great Southwest Corporation, George de Mohrenschildt (who admitted consulting with a Dallas C.I.A. agent concerning Oswald), and two of de Mohrenschildt’s associates (the co-founders of a C.I.A.-subsidized Russian Orthodox church in Dallas). The F.B.I. reported that a Marina Oswald interview had taken place on February 18th, 1964, in the office of attorney William A. McKenzie, who had been recently associated with the law firm representing both the Great Southwest Corporation (owned by the Murchisons’ lawyers, the Bedford Wynne family, and the Rockefellers) and George de Mohrenschildt. The F.B.I. reported that:

    “Marina said to her knowledge Oswald had only one rifle and that rifle is the one he maintained in the Paine Garage.”

    But Mrs. Declan Ford (another member of the White Russian émigré group) admitted:

    “… Mr. McKenzie didn’t know what they would talk about but he advised her [Marina], ‘They will ask you if there were two guns, you tell them there was one gun that was used … ’”

    Peter Dale Scott found this involvement of the intelligence-oriented Russian émigré group in the transmission of Marina’s testimony ominous enough to suggest a House Select Committee investigation, pointing out that Peter Gregory altered Marina’s testimony on the rifle and supplied other details which were corroborated by Marina’s second interpreter – who, with Gregory, helped found an Agency-supported Orthodox parish. Details of Marina’s coached and altered testimony were echoed in statements given the F.B.I. by Charles Camplen and James F. Daley, employees of the Great Southwest Corporation.

    William A. McKenzie, in whose office the February 18, 1964 Marina Oswald interview as recorded, and who Mrs. Declan Ford asserted had supplied Marina with the Line “ … there was one gun that was used,” had resigned from the Wynne family law firm to represent Marina Oswald. McKenzie had been a law partner of attorney Bernard Wynne whose law firm represented the Wynne/Murchison/Rockefeller Great Southwest Corporation – at whose motel Marina Oswald was hidden by the Secret Service.

    While acting as Marina’s lawyer, McKenzie was associated with attorney Peter White, who in 1954 arranged for the dismissal of charges against Jack Ruby. The Warren Commission ignored the fact that Peter White’s name, address, and phone number all appeared in Jack Ruby’s notebook – Peter White, the office mate of Marina Oswald’s attorney and representative – though the Commission questioned Ruby’s roommate George Senator about other entries in that same notebook.

    With evidence available of coached and altered Marina Oswald testimony on the very existence of a weapon and on that weapon’s characteristics, directly traceable to individuals associated with an organized crime figure (Jack Ruby) and with the C.I.A. (George de Mohrenschildt), Marina’s uncorroborated testimony on a “rifle” must remain dubious and suspect.


    Oswald neither owned the Carcano nor carried any weapon to the Texas School Book Depository.

    Case, as they say, closed.

    In Mr. Rosenbaum’s memorable phrase, your tour of the stations of the crossfire is a tad misguided.

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — December 5, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  45. There’s another memorable phrase that could applied here- methinks thou doth protest too much.

    The last line of Gerald Posner’s Case Closed sums it up best:

    “Lee Harvey Oswald, driven by his own twisted and impenetrable furies, was the only assassin at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. To say otherwise, in light of the overwhelming evidence, is to absolve a man with blood on his hands, and mock the President he killed.”

    Comment by Rex — December 6, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  46. Why would the mob choose a hit man who had a significant likelihood of being outed, and a disaster for the mob, even before an assassination took place? An FBI man in Dallas was contacted by phone or written message prior to the assassination by Lee Oswald. The FBI had been to see Marina looking for Lee because Lee had become a Soviet citizen for a time. This FBI fellow didn’t f/u on Lee’s rantings but it seemed to me when I heard them that he was tone deaf not to have done so. Subsequently this agent was transfered to the FBI office in Oklahoma, probably not a plum posting, where he ended his career. If this FBI officer had been better at his job, he might have prevented the assassination and moreover, have rolled up a Mob operation while revealing it if that had been going on. The MO for the mob doesn’t seem to be to take cute risks.

    Comment by Michael Brophy — December 6, 2008 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  47. For “Rex” —

    Only in contemporary America can one be taken to task for thinking, researching, drawing informed conclusions, and sharing the results of one’s academic rigor.

    Only in contemporary America can a probable purjurer (he almost certainly lied under oath to a committee of Congress about his research) and dishonest academic (he wilfully misrepresented the context of the “scientific” testing of the SBT in “Case Closed”) the likes of Posner be celebrated and looked to as a champion.

    A champion of deceit.

    Either attempt to refute Professor Evica and support Posner by presentation of fact, or be blissful in the ignorance that prompts you to protest too little.

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — December 7, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Reply

  48. Don’t you just love the psychiatrists who “disprove” conspiracy in the JFK assassination by psycho-analyzing Oswald and/or “conspiracists?”

    None of that pesky eyewitness, earwitness, medical, or ballistic evidence — for starters — matters.

    LHO was nuts!

    “Conspiracists” are emotionally incapable of accepting that a “nobody” killed a “somebody!”

    Physician, heal thyself.

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — December 10, 2008 @ 6:26 am | Reply

  49. When a person says that somebody has slipped into their apartment and changed a bookmark in a book, I don’t consider that I can prove it didn’t happen but might consider that their aren’t unusual circumstances in their life that make that a reasonable possibility. That isn’t a psychoanalysis; I’m not considering why they might be making a false assertion which would be psychoanalysis. People don’t decide likelihood of truth on the basis of the logical consistency of a story. There is nothing logically impossible in the vignette I offered. A psychiatrist does however get used to looking for hypotheses that contain an absurd assumption. I am merely offering what to me is a hypothetically ‘absurd’ assumption in the mob theory. People also decide what is worth learning about and what they might stay pragmatically ignorant about. The truth likelihood based on this initial consideration gets the ‘mob theory’ in the category of something I might preserve my present state of ignorance about.

    Comment by MichaelH — December 10, 2008 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  50. MichaelH,

    “The Mob” is one of the so-called false sponsors of the JFK conspiracy.

    For the sake of clarity let’s focus on the early 1960s: During that period the connective tissue linking elements of organized crime, big business, big oil, the militant far right and anti-Castro Cubans, and civilian and military intelligence assets was so thick and so richly engorged by shared interests and profits that to attempt to compartmentalize these forces within this investigatory context is to cite distinctions without a meaningful differences.

    The mob benefited from the assassination. And the true sponsors benefited from the scapegoating of Messrs. Giancana, Marcello, Trafficante, et al in the roles of the plot’s prime movers.

    (Other false sponsors: LBJ, JEH, the Soviets, the Cubans, H.L. and E.H. Hunt and companies, the JCS, CIA, etc.)

    As for the LHO-as-crazed-assassin canard: From day one to the present, pseudo-psychoanalyses of the official assassination patsy (all based on false premises, and thus sophistic) have been offered to deflect attention from valid evidence proving conspiracy and to placate many in the academic/intellectual classes by appealing to their own cognitive infirmities and vaulting egos.

    Lee Harvey Oswald’s mental state — whatever it was on 11/22/63 — has ZERO IMPACT on the evidence that proves multiple shooters/killers acted in Dealey Plaza and eliminates LHO as a suspect in both the Kennedy and Tippett slayings.

    Comment by Charles R. Drago — December 15, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  51. Any possible connections between Jack Ruby and the State Line Mob? (made famous by Buford Pussar)

    Comment by joe edmon — January 1, 2009 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  52. The fact of the matter is, that after 45 years, not one piece of “evidence” is indisputable. How many murder cases do you know where nothing is indisputable- much less the murder of a US President? The Warren Commission purposely ignored anyone’s testimony that didn’t collaborate the “official” predetermined lone nut explanation. Look it up. So to say that no one talked is absurd. Also, how do any of you explain that EVERY doctor that saw JFK testified that he had a large wound in the BACK of his head? They must have all been quacks, huh? Ask yourself this one as well…how come Jack Ruby- a well known STRIP CLUB owner w/police connections isn’t referred to in that way in the WC? He is mentioned as a “night club owner” and they found NO evidence of him being a mobster (which has since been shown that he was). The list goes on and on and on. LHO may have been involved, but he was where he said he was that day- on the 2nd floor lunchroom w/a coke in hand (he told this to the Dallas police chief). The HSCA proved that there was a 2nd gunman on the knoll. So what is the big question about a conspiracy? It’s been proven already. What we don’t know is all of the specifics and exactly why. People in a position of power can conceal that in the USA you know? Just like in any country in the world. Wake up people!!!

    Comment by donald rush — March 12, 2009 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  53. I read few times that the Dalls cop who arrested Oswald for street-fighting w/anti-Castro Cuban Carlos Brigeur (or a simiar spelling) put in his arrest report the fight seemed phony & he suspected it was staged. It’s supposed to be in the WR but I can’t find it. Anyone know anything about it?

    Comment by robert forte — April 7, 2009 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  54. Oswald was arrested in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 during what likely was a staged confrontation with anti-Castro activist Bringeur.

    The cop was very perceptive.

    Comment by Charles Drago — July 11, 2009 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  55. It seems the LHO was a contract agent or at least an informant for the FBI or CIA or both.
    LHO didn’t kill anyone,not JKF or Officer J.D.Tippit. He may have infiltrated the organiztion that killed JFK but did not pull the trigger. If he had infiltrated that group then it would have to appear that he was going to take part in the assassination. That would probably explain the so-called “curtain rod story” where he told his friend that he had curtain rods when hs friend, Leslie Frazier dropped him off at work on the morning of the assassination. It had to appear that he was involved so he ostentatiously took a rifle into the TSDB on the morning of the murder,( in case anyone was looking from afar to make sure he would play his role). After the shooting, LHO realized that the people that he had been reporting on and the people he had been reporting back to were working together. Afterwards, both the CIA and the FBI claimed he did not work for either of them. Oswald then had to be elimnated because he had “dirt” on the organization that killed JFK and the CIA/FBI. A pristine bullet that passed through two men with no blood on it?

    Comment by Milton — February 3, 2010 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  56. Let us assume that LHO acted alone. It still does not explain how he acted so rationally from June 1962, on returning to the US with a wife, small baby and then suddenly changed, probably with ordering the first gun in January 1963 under a false name.

    Between June and January he was able to get a job in Fort Worth, renting a house there, then moved to Dallas for a better job and saved enough money to pay back his brother and the US government for passages to the US for himself and his wife by the end of the year.

    Then there are a series of unexplained events..buying the mailorder rifle, shooting at Walker, getting himself fired. Some things may not be so strange. His wife applied to the Russian Embassy in February with monthly correspondence thereafter, after finding herself pregnant in February (possibly hoping for Russian health care for the delivery).

    I think that someone should try to explain LHO’s thinking processes, not calling him a “nut”. Read his speech on the radio in the summer of 1963. He has a grasp of the economic effect of the blockade on Cuba and includes China in his comments.

    While this is not an explanation of what happened, it is simply amazing how few “degrees of separation” are between LHO and so many well known Americans, including intended correspondence with the former Secretary of the Navy who the shooter (assuming it was him) really did hit, and others. He put himself in line of so many agencies including the CIA, KBG (monitored for almost 3 years on a daily basis) and of course the FBI.

    Comment by Elizabeth — February 9, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  57. The deaths of JFK and RFK were both cospiracies.LBJ was the head.The CIA,FBI,Mafia,Dallas police,and others were involved.Cord Meyer shot and killed JFK from the grassy knoll.THE LIMO TURNED and LBJ WAS IN AIR FORCE 1 WITH A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE TO SWEAR LBJ INTO THE PRESIDENCY.These 2 facts make it clear that it was a conspiracy When Sirhan Sirhan started shooting Cord Meyer ducked down low .He shot RFK in the back of his head,piercing his brain.THE KEY HERE WAS THE FACT THAT RFK AND HIS BODYGUARDS SPLIT. The deaths of Joe,Jr.and JFK,Jr. were also conspiracies.It was said that Joe,Jr. rode the bomb to the ground.JFK,Jr. was investigating his father’s death The deaths of all of the Kennedys were Conspiracies.Something was done a long time ago to make low people in high places extremely angry. JFK and LBJ used illegal voters to defeat Nixon.Many times I cry myself to sleep wondering how great this country would be if Nixon had won.Six days before the election they made Nixon and Kennedy sign an agreement that neither wold contest the election.This turned all of the illegal voters loose

    Comment by James Sarver — March 3, 2010 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

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