Here’s part one of this series if you happened to have missed it – it deals with JFK’s autopsy and the evidence that stems from it that perhaps indicates shots came from multiple angles:
The other Assassination plots
Prior to his murder in Dallas, JFK faced threats against his life in two other cities in the prior few weeks. Firstly, in Chicago JFK was set to appear at Soldier Field on November 2nd. This plan was called off three days beforehand due in part to the FBI contacting the Secret Service and alerting them of a plot to assassinate JFK on his way to the stadium.
The FBI fingered four right-wing extremists who had intended on attempting to assault the President’s car with rifle fire. Several men ended up taken in to custody after their landlady called the Chicago police to tell them about weapons she found in their room. They were eventually released without a charge when their guns couldn’t be located.
Another man named Thomas Vallee was also fingered as a would be assassin. He was known to have guns and a large stock of ammo. He was arrested only hours before JFK was set to land in Chicago. JFK would ultimately cancel his Chicago trip under the pretense of monitoring the military coup occurring in Vietnam. It is interesting to note that Vallee shares some similar traits with Lee Harvey Oswald as in both men are former Marines who were stationed in Japan, and both were involved with Cuban protests. The FBI was supposedly tipped off by an inside informant by the name of “Lee”. Oswald’s mistress Judy Baker would later claim Oswald admitted to “saving Kennedy” in Chicago.
Four days before meeting his end in Texas, an assassination plot was on the way in Tampa. JFK delivered several speeches there despite the Secret Service having alerts that two men were planning a sniper attack from tall buildings with the President as the target. The Secret Service left memos regarding this in official files for 30 years until the files were destroyed in the mid-90’s. According to law the files were to be given to the Government Assassination review board but that never came to pass.
One of the suspects in Tampa was a man by the name of Gilberto Lopez. Lopez also shared some common traits with Oswald as he had ties to pro-Castro groups, was also a former defector, had interests in Naval intelligence, made a trip to Mexico City the prior fall, had separated from his wife and had been involved in a physical altercation regarding his Castro support.
The concern for the threat of assassination was so great that Bobby Kennedy was making moves to make himself the head of Presidential protection along with his Attorney General staffers.
The Secret Service
Ultimately the Secret Service failed to heed the danger that was surrounding JFK as they made several glaring strategic errors in his protection in Dallas. Firstly, it was confirmed by the Warren Commission that the men stayed out all night at strip clubs drinking. Reports were many of the men didn’t go to bed until 5 am and had to get up only two hours later to begin prepping for the day.
Once the motorcade was preparing to leave later that morning other security measures were altered that would put JFK in harm’s way. For one the parade route was changed in the late stages of planning and the Secret Service hadn’t been able to properly secure all areas along the way, Secondly the motorcade’s defensive posture was altered at the last minute, with Secret Service agents being taken off JFK’s limo’s running boards and the motorcyclists surrounding the President were moved to the front and the back of the motorcade, leaving JFK a sitting duck. An infamous video caught a Secret Service member tossing his hands in the air upon receiving his orders to get off JFK’s vehicle:
The Warren Commission blamed Kennedy himself for ordering a scaled back security measure however, the President can’t overrule the Secret Service when it comes to security protocols. Once the actual assassination was taking place, Secret Service member Bill Greer seemingly froze behind the wheel of JFK’s limo and twice looked back at JFK instead of listening to his superior sitting next to him who was screaming for him to get them out of the hot zone.
How many shots?
As soon as the assassination occurred, accounts differed as to how many shots came toward JFK. The official number is three but Governor Connelly, who was in JFK’s limo- and others have claimed 4 or more.
A breakdown of the shots goes as follows:
- One shot missed and hit the pavement – it is believed to be the projectile that hit bystander James Tague.
- One bullet hit JFK in his back, four inches below his neck and to the right of his spine. A hole in the back of JFK’s clothes proved the shot came from the rear.
- Another shot hit JFK in the throat.
Governor Connally was sure the bullet that hit him wasn’t the same one that came through the President as the “magic bullet theory” states. Connally heard gunfire and turned toward JFK before he himself was hit.
Connally’s bullet pierced him, broke his ribs, came out his nipple, went through his wrist and ended up in his thigh. The bizarre trajectory makes many feel at least two bullets had to have struck him, not to mention the amount of shrapnel that was found in his body certainly hinted at more than one bullet.
Then JFK endured a headshot that blew his skull apart, a frontal shot if you wish to believe the conspiracy.
That would make for a final count of at least five bullets, not three as the official account goes. Some researchers have claimed as many as nine bullets were fired.
A police motorcycle had a sound recording device on during the shooting, and it picked up shots coming from two different locations and more than three shots fired. Many eyewitnesses including Ladybird Johnson and members of the Secret Service heard two different sounding guns go off during the assassination.
The Grassy Knoll
The grassy knoll is a popular theory as to where the second shots came from and a horde of people did make their way towards it in the aftermath of the assassination. Once they made it behind the fence there, they were ordered away by someone who flashed Secret Service credentials. This would be rational, except no Secret Servicemen were stationed there at the time.
Investigators ended up officially talking to roughly 200 people who were in Dealey Plaza, leaving about 400 eyewitnesses without a documented record of what they had seen. Of the 200 who went on record, 40 would state they heard gunshots, saw smoke, or smelled gunfire coming from the grassy knoll area. This included Abraham Zapruder, whose controversial film caught the assassination in living color. (More on him and his video next time).
The eyewitnesses in the Plaza gave conflicting information about the location of the shots. Emmett Hudson, who was standing on the steps by the grassy knoll said the shots all came from the direction of the book depository. Buell Frazier, Otis Williams and Billy Lovelady were all at the steps of the book depository right below the “sniper’s nest” and they all felt the shots came from the knoll. Arnold Rowland noticed a man in the sixth floor of the book depository holding a gun, but he felt that the shots had come from the knoll as well.
Some believe video and photo evidence exists of a possible grassy knoll shooter. You can judge for yourself here:
On another famous photo, taken by Mary Moorman, conspiracy buffs claim three or four figures can be seen in the background by the knoll however these photos to me seem to show what you want them to see. A lot of blobby human-like figures but hardly, pardon the turn of phrase, a smoking gun.
Lee Harvey Oswald: Guilty?
Oswald worked at the book depository that just happened to be along the motorcade route. The morning of the assassination, Oswald rode with a co-worker and carried a bag that he said contained curtain rods, but would later be “officially” assumed to be the rifle that ended JFK’s life. Another account says Oswald never claimed they were curtain rods, but instead was his lunch.
Many co-workers gave time stamps for Oswald’s location around the time of the assassination. He was last placed on the 6th floor (where the sniper’s nest was located) about 35 minutes before the assassination. The Warren Commission claimed he was not seen again until JFK had been shot. This ignored FBI reports that at least four or five of Oswald’s co-workers saw him over the next 20 minutes, including one man who was on the sixth floor eating lunch “alone”. One woman thought she saw Oswald on the first floor right before the motorcade was to drive by.
According to the official report, Oswald shot the leader of the free world 3 times, hid his rifle and descended four flights of stairs and walked to the break room for a Coke, where he was seen by his supervisor and a police officer. He was reportedly “calm” and didn’t appear out of breath. Oswald was told by another employee that JFK had been shot and he mumbled something under his breath. Within a matter of minutes, Oswald left the book depository and boarded a bus. The police sealed off the building soon after Oswald’s departure. It was noted that Oswald was the only employee to leave.
Oswald rode the bus for only a few blocks, then got off and hailed a cab back to his house. He put on a jacket there and left by foot – by this point was roughly 30 minutes after JFK had been shot.
An all points bulletin was put out on a very vague suspect and this description is what is believed to have led police officer J.D. Tippett to stop Oswald as he walked down the street. Oswald was then said to have shot Tippett (9 witnesses would collaborate this) and then he made his way up the street before ducking into a movie theater without paying. A watchful businessman saw this and alerted the theater.
A barrage of police men entered the theater and Oswald attempted to shoot his gun before being overtaken. 90 minutes after JFK’s shooting, his assassin was in custody.
Lee Harvey Oswald: Innocent?
In the chaotic aftermath many different stories came from eyewitnesses. Eyewitness Howard Brennan said he saw two men in the sniper’s nest window, one holding a gun. He didn’t think either of the men looked like the eventual suspect Lee Harvey Oswald. Another eyewitness, Arnold Rowland, saw a rifle in the sniper’s nest window at the same time as an employee of the book depository says they were near Oswald in the book depository. The Warren Commission simply fudged timing facts to give Oswald opportunity to get up to the sniper’s window. The chief of police in Dallas admitted that they had no proof Oswald fired the rifle, no one saw him with a rifle and no one could place him in the sniper’s nest.
After the assassination police found a 7.65 Mauser rifle hiding in between boxes in the sniper’s nest. Later for some reason the gun was changed to a Mannlicher. That gun was known to be faulty and rarely shot straight – gunsmiths even testified to this in front of the Warren Commission. The gun also had a defective firing pin, the sight wasn’t accurately set and no ammunition clip was found, which means Oswald would have had to hand reload each round making the rapid fire execution impossible. The Mauser found in the nest is an effective weapon for doing a deed such as what occurred to JFK, so why the official story was changed to give Oswald a worse weapon is a mystery.
Oddly more guns were claimed to be found in the building – ATF agent Frank Ellsworth was told a gun was found on the fourth floor, two floors below the sniper’s nest and this gun was a Italian Mannlicher-Carcano. Meanwhile NBC reporters claimed the police found a British Enfield .303 – they even announced the discovery on TV that day.
Furthermore, X rays of JFK’s skull showed fragmented bullet particles. Oswald’s rifle wasn’t capable of firing frangible bullets. This would mean a second gun had to be involved. I covered the autopsy cover-up in part one of this series, and part of that included falsifying X-rays to eliminate this obvious issue in the “official” narrative of that day.
As far as fingerprint evidence goes, the Dallas police were able to find a partial print they claimed was Oswald’s on the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle but it was only 3 point match (evidence generally needs a 6 to 12 point match to be considered valid). This was remedied after Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby two days later. Funeral home director Paul Groody says several “very serious” government agents came to see the corpse and insisted on being alone with the body. After they left, Groody found a lot of ink on Oswald’s hands that had not been there before. Then the announcement came that Oswald’s palm print matched one found on the rifle.
Oswald’s cheek was tested for nitrates and the test came back negative; that is a solid indication that he hadn’t fired a rifle recently.
The official story from the department of defense is that Oswald bought the murder rifle via mail order using an alias. Texas laws at the time allowed for easy access to over the counter gun sales, so the argument conspiracies theorists have is that the gun was ordered by whoever was setting Oswald up as a fall guy in order to establish a paper trail from the gun to Oswald.
Another theory goes that Oswald was actually a undercover government intelligence officer who infiltrated a pro-Cuba group and then bought the gun in such a matter to help the government track weapon movements that loose regulations had made very difficult. This ties in with the assassination as ATF agent Frank Ellsworth, who I wrote earlier found a rifle at the book depository, was running a sting operation in the Dallas area and had an informant inside the gun running circles – some believe that informant to be Oswald. On the day before the assassination, Ellsworth learned police had arrested John Thomas Masen, another Dallas gun dealer who bore a striking resemblance to Oswald. Ellsworth later admitted he found this too striking to be a coincidence.
The Backyard Photo
The infamous image of Oswald holding a rifle and posing with Marxist newspapers was deemed real by the “official” story but much evidence suggests otherwise:
Here’s a good interview explaining all the problems within the picture that shows that the photo was manipulated:
In short the shadows are wrong, the angles and background have major issues, his clothes are not the style Oswald would normally wear, his body proportions are different in two pictures that were supposedly taken back to back, the newspaper and his body are proportionally out of synch and the photographer Mariana Oswald told police flat out “Those aren’t the pictures I took”.
Oswald himself said while in custody that he could prove those photos were faked and once he had an attorney he might be willing to open up more on the subject.
Robert and Patricia Hester were working at the National Photo lab in Dallas at the time of the assassination. They claim that the night JFK was killed that FBI and Secret Service agents used their lab to doctor up the Oswald photos in question.
Lee Harvey Oswald: Government Agent?
CIA member William Plumtree admitted that he met Lee Harvey Oswald at an “Illusionary Warfare Training Camp” in 1959 where Oswald was being prepped to be part of an undercover defector program.
CIA officer David Phillips claims that Oswald’s mission was to establish himself as a Marxist with the long-term goal of executing Fidel Castro.
CIA finance officer James Wilcott told the Government’s Assassination committee that Oswald had been recruited from his post in the marines to participate in a CIA orchestrated double agent assignment looking to send Americans into the USSR undercover.
The site above links Wilcott’s testimony where he told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that Oswald was a “regular employee” of the CIA and that Oswald was receiving “a full time salary for agent work for doing CIA operational work.” The document was withheld for two decades from the general public.
Warren Commission learned from Texas Attorney general Waggoner Carr and District Attorney Henry Wade that Oswald had documented informant logs with the FBI and a CIA employment number.
When Oswald was 19 he was a Marine stationed in California with a security clearance and was assigned radar duty. Oswald began to play Russian language records loudly in his barracks, he would call his fellow Marines “comrade”, read Russian books and touted the benefits of Soviet Communism. Despite a sudden and obvious turn to Marxist thinking, Oswald kept his security clearance and his role where he would find out sensitive radar information. He went from failing a Russian language proficiency test administered by the marines in February of 1959 to being nearly fluent six months later. In 1974 legal efforts forced the Warren Commission to release a file that showed Oswald had attended the U.S. Army Monterey School of Languages, a special school that is a government prep school for special assignments.
Oswald is then granted an early release from the Marines due to an injury to his mother. A jar had fallen on her foot a year earlier and it was not healing properly. He was granted his release within a week, a remarkably fast time for such things. Oswald would defect to the USSR soon after. His trip was to cost $1500 and he found a way to pay that despite records showing his bank held only $203 in his account. Oswald had a private transport to Helsinki as no commercial flights were available.
Oswald then went to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and renounced his U.S. citizenship and apparently made it known he had lots of secrets to share with the Soviets. A few years later, when Oswald decided to come back, the U.S. state department paid for he and his wife’s travel expenses and he was given back his passport with full travel privileges allowed. Not exactly what you’d expect for treatment of a defector during the Cold War. Furthermore, his wife was exempted from the common immigration quotas and her involvement with the Soviet Komsomol was ignored. It should have led to her being blocked under U.S. law.
The Two Oswalds?
In June of 1960 FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover sent a memo to his field officers that a defector named Lee Harvey Oswald possibly had an impersonator in the US that was using Oswald’s birth certificate. Later, in 1961, a State Department official sent a memo warning that the next time Lee Oswald is issued a passport, make sure he gets it personally; that way the right Oswald gets the right passport as it was suspected he was being impersonated.
Other clues that a doppelganger was being used included: Oswald’s family noticed Oswald had rapid hair loss when he got back from Russia. The U.S. defense department listed Oswald as being 5’11, when he was arrested for JFK’s murder he was measured as being 5’9. Even more bizarre is the fact that as a teenager a doctor recorded Oswald as being 4’6, and a few weeks later a school record in New York has him listed as 5’4. The theory here is that the U.S. intelligence had followed the KGB’s lead and started to recruit teenagers into their programs, and Oswald and his double were already a part of this.
The Warren Commission showed Lee’s half brother John Pic a series of pictures of Lee. He identified Lee in pictures from the age of 2 to 12 but a picture taken of Lee in New York when he was 13 was deemed to not be the Lee Oswald that Pic called family. Pic also denied a picture of Lee as a marine was his brother. Pic also explained that after Lee returned from Russia, his look had changed dramatically and he even signed his name “Harvey” in Pic’s address book at that time.
After Jack Ruby killed Oswald…or his double… other inconsistencies came about. Mortician Paul Groody said a 3-inch surgery scar Oswald had on his arm was not on the corpse of the man shot by Ruby. His marine medical exam from a few years earlier confirmed that scar was on his arm at that point. Oswald had also shot himself accidentally with a .22 bullet while in the marines and the scar from that wound was also missing from the corpse.
Military records show Oswald had his tonsils removed while serving his country in 1957 – only problem is Oswald had his tonsils taken out 12 years earlier while living in Dallas. Those can grow back, but it’s rare. Oswald also had a tattoo on his arm that seemed to only remembered by some people who were around him – others didn’t recall it being there. The “imposter” Oswald was also said to have had a thinner neck to go along with thinner hair.
When his wife Mariana went to see her husband’s corpse. She lifted his eyelids and looked into them. A few months later she told a French journalist cryptically “I had two husbands, Lee, the father of my kids and Harvey, the assassin of the President”.
The rumblings of this “imposter” was great enough to have Oswald exhumed in 1981. His cement vault was found to have been broken open and his skull had been severed from his body. Oswald’s skull showed no evidence of a craniotomy (in which the skull bones are cut to allow access to the brain). Oswald was also missing a tooth when he died, yet the skull had a full set of teeth. Officially dental records were said to have confirmed this body was of Lee Harvey Oswald though.
Further evidence of the two Oswald theory comes from Senator Richard Russell, who had Army intelligence officer Phillip Corso look into Oswald’s records. Corso uncovered that Lee Harvey Oswald had two different birth certificates issued and two separate passports issued and two separate individuals utilized them.
Two different men named “Lee Harvey Oswald’ applied for work through a Texas job agency. Laurell Kittell interviewed both Oswalds in Dallas in 1963 and remembered they looked remarkable alike.
Oswald was reported to have test drove a car in Dallas, he drove dangerously fast with the dealer in the car with him, made cracks about going back to Russia, as well as having a large amount of cash coming his way soon. He left a business card with his name written on the back with the dealer. The problem with this is that Oswald was not in Dallas at that time as he and his family were in Irving visiting friends. Another issue is Oswald never learned to drive a car.
In October of 1963, Oswald made a stop with his newborn baby and wife to a restaurant in Alice, Texas where he learned of a possible job opening at a radio station. He made two stops at the radio station with family in tow over the next two days and filled out a job application. Only problem was Oswald was 400 miles away in Dallas on the dates noted by the application, and his “newborn baby” wouldn’t be born until three weeks later.
New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison heavily researched the Oswald double angle and learned Russian medical records and US State Department records both speak of “Harvey Oswald”. His prevailing theory was that the Oswald double assumed Lee’s identity in order to enter Russia for intel. The “real” Lee went into the CIA and was used in New Orleans, Texas and Florida as an operative. When captured for the assassination Oswald stated “Now everyone will know who I am” which some have interpreted as him expressing disappointment in his cover being blown. His past ties with the FBI and CIA were being quickly classified however and Oswald was simply going to be the pro-Communtist “lone nut” patsy they needed for blame.
Oswald knew Jack Ruby?
Garrison found “solid evidence” that Anti-Castro right wing nut David Ferrie, Oswald and Jack Ruby all knew each other. All three were paid by the CIA-Ruby to smuggle arms to the Cuban exile groups, Ferrie to train them and Oswald was to become entrenched as a Marxist and have the freedom to be used as a spy in Communist countries. Ferrie was questioned by the FBI and he denied knowing Oswald. Many years later a picture from the several years prior to JFK’s murder was uncovered that showed David Ferrie and other intelligence officers with Lee Oswald at an Anti Castro “training camp.”
A Dallas cab driver named Ray Cummings connected the dots further with his claims that he dropped both Oswald and Ferrie off at Jack Ruby’s nightclub on the same night a few weeks before the assassination. Oswald’s mistress claims that Jack Ruby visited David Ferrie’s New Orleans apartment and met Oswald and her there. Ruby recognized Oswald and stated he remembered meeting Oswald at parties when they were boys. Four dancers from Ruby’s strip club came forward after the assassination and claimed Oswald and Ruby would chat there. Ruby’s mechanic came forward to claim to have seen Ruby and Oswald together in Ruby’s car. One last damning piece of evidence that Oswald and Ruby were familiar with one another is that Oswald had Ruby’s unlisted phone number with him at the time of his arrest.
Evidence has been found that Jack Ruby informed for the FBI on at least nine occasions, which ties him further into the intelligence committee and hurts his claim that he killed Oswald “to spare Jackie the pain of a trial”. Ruby also made several long distance phone calls to Ferrie right after the assassination.
Some have speculated that Ruby was an unwilling participant in Oswald’s murder, as some Dallas police officers have claimed a voice that sounded like Ruby’s had called the station several times while Oswald was in custody and warned the cops that Oswald will die if they bring him out.
Jim Garrison also found that Lee Harvey Oswald, RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Martin Luther King Jr.’s supposed “assassin” James Earl Ray had all lived within a block of each other at a housing project in Dallas.
One last thing…
Kerry Thornley was stationed in the military with Lee Harvey Oswald in Japan where he claims LSD experiments took place. It’s Thornley’s contention that the purpose of these experiments was to create “Manchurian Candidates” – assassins on autopilot. This could be dismissed as a paranoid rant, but this book he wrote on the subject was written before Nov. 22, 1963!
I want to close out this article with a little levity. While compiling info and cross checking “facts”, I stumbled upon an incredibly LONG thread where the posters are claiming the JFK assassination was all a special effects hoax. I was gobsmacked and kind of found it to be so absurd that it’s funny:
I’ll share what Lee Oswald said and did while in custody, why he probably didn’t actually kill office Tippett, offer some photographic evidence of hit men who admit that they committed the JFK murder and try and debunk the Zapruder film’s value to the case.