JFK Murder Part 20
Sat Jan 27, 2007 18:16

Commission criticism and they were, in fact, so criticized. In addition, the Secret Service was directly responsible for the President's welfare and safety, and he was killed while they were protecting him. Besides its normal duty of aiding the Secret Service, the FBI had Oswald under surveillance or investigation at the time the President was killed. He was what might be called an "active" case.

Therefore, both agencies and their employees had personal involvements in the investigation that amounted to conflicts of interest. On one hand was the need for a complete, impartial and exhaustive investigation regardless of where it led and what it showed. On the other, the reputations of the agencies and their employees could have been at stake, for any error, no matter how innocent, could have made the Dallas tragedy possible. This situation was unfair to the agencies, which did not create it, and could have burdened them with impermissible conflicts and temptations, no matter how unconsciously. Further, the Dallas representatives of these agencies had ties of friendship and sometimes long association with the local police and, when the investigation of the assassination was over, faced the need for continuing, day-to-day working associations with them. Contemporarily and historically, it would have been better if the Commission had had its own staff of investigators in the field and had restricted its use of the FBI and Secret Service to technical services.

(5) Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993)

FBI documents released in 1979 show other instances in which key information was either altered before it reached the Warren Commission, or else withheld altogether. For example, judging from Warren Commission records, the FBI covered up Jack Ruby's connections to organized crime. The Commission did not receive an important interview with Luis Kutner, a Chicago lawyer who had just told the press (correctly) about Ruby's connections to Chicago mobsters Lennie Patrick and Dave Yaras. All the FBI transmitted was a meaningless follow-up interview in which Kutner merely said he had no additional information.

Apparently the FBI also failed to transmit a teletype revealing that Yaras, a national hit man for the Chicago syndicate who had grown up with Ruby, and who had been telephoned by one of Ruby's Teamster contacts on the eve of the assassination, was about to attend a "hoodlum meeting" of top East and West Coast syndicate representatives, including some from the "family" of the former Havana crime lord Santos Trafficante.

(6) Gaeton Fonzi, speech on receiving the Mary Ferrell-JFKLancer Pioneer Award (21st November 21, 1998)

Like most other Americans, after the initial shock of President Kennedy's assassination had dimmed, we fell into the comfortable assumption that the Government was handling the matter judiciously, that the prestigious panel of respected individuals, headed by the most prestigious member of the American judicial system, would provide us with a thorough and valid appraisal of exactly what had happened when President Kennedy was killed. What led me to clip the article by Vincent Salandria is that it ran counter to that assumption.

It dealt with only one aspect of the report - the sequence of events surrounding the number and direction of the shots. But that just happened to be the area assigned to another Philadelphia lawyer, a young assistant district attorney whose quick intelligence and impressive record had landed him a staff job on the Warren Commission. His name, of course, was Arlen Specter.

I didn't initially understand some of the technical and complex points Salandria made in his article, but I did grasp the fact that what Salandria was implying was that the Warren Commission Report was wrong...

Local reporters had, of course, asked Specter about the Warren Report when it was released. He was vigorous in defense of its conclusions. He called the Commission's investigation the most exhaustive and complete in history. The single bullet theory, he insisted, was the only possible way to explain how Lee Harvey Oswald had shot President Kennedy. The reporters dutifully reported what he said.

Amazingly enough, even after all those months had gone by since the release of the Warren Report, I was the first journalist to ask Specter about specific details and about the Report's inconsistencies. I apparently caught Specter off guard.

I was shocked by his confusions, his hemming and hawing, his hesitations and evasions. This from someone who was the epitome of the always cool, collected and verbally masterful lawyer, the former star of the Yale Law debating team. I was even more shocked by his inability to provide valid explanations for some of the most blatant inconsistencies in the Report.

I believe the most crucial was the discrepancy between the levels of the so-called "exit" wound in Kennedy's throat and the holes in the back of Kennedy's jacket and shirt. Why were the holes in his back lower than the hole in Kennedy's throat? I still remember Specter hesitating, stuttering, making a few false starts in attempting to answer that question. Finally, he got up from his desk and came around to stand behind me. Well, he said, it was because the President was waving his arm, and then, trying to illustrate why the jacket would ride up, Specter pulled my arm high over my head - far higher than the Zapruder film showed Kennedy waving his hand. "Wave your arm a few times," Specter said, "wave at the crowd." And then jabbing a finger at the base of my neck - not six inches below my collar, where the holes in Kennedy's jacket and shirt were - Specter said, "Well, see, if the bullet goes in here, the jacket gets hunched up. If you take this point right here and then you strip the coat down, it comes out at a lower point."

"A lower point?" I repeated, wondering if Specter were trying to confuse me or was confused himself.

If the entrance holes were at a lower point than the exit hole, how could Oswald have shot Kennedy from the sixth floor window of the Book Depository?

In the end, Specter admitted they had what he described as - quote - "some problems with that."

My interviews also revealed that the Commission had "some problems" with other troublesome evidence, including the so-called "pristine" bullet, the angle of Governor Connally's wounds, the timing of the shots. "Some problems," indeed.
I'll never forget the numbing disbelief I came away with after my interviews with Specter. Vince Salandria was right, the Warren Report was wrong, there had to have been a conspiracy.

We were young once and not so brave. We wanted to cling to the myth of a mystery. We wanted to hang onto the questions of motivation and parade the usual suspects and the illusion of a dilemma before the American people. Could the Mob have killed President Kennedy? Could the KGB have killed President Kennedy? Could Castro have killed President Kennedy? Could anti-Castro Cubans have killed President Kennedy? Could the CIA have killed President Kennedy?

I suggest to you that if it ever becomes known what specific individuals comprised the apparatus that killed Kennedy, those individuals will have some association with any or all of the above. And still the emergence of such individuals, dead or alive, will add but inconsequential detail to the truth about the assassination. Because we have known -- and have long known - who killed President Kennedy.

Could any but a totally controlling force - a power elite within the United States Government itself - call it what you will, the military-intelligence complex, the national security state, the corporate-warfare establishment - could any but the most powerful elite controlling the U.S. Government have been able to manipulate individuals and events before the assassination and then bring such a broad spectrum of internal forces to first cover up the crime and then control the institutions within our society to keep the assassination of President Kennedy a false mystery for 35 years?

Is there any doubt that the Warren Commission deliberately set out not to tell the American people the truth?
There is a brief glimpse, an illustration of the level at which that deceit was carried out, in an incident that occurred during the Warren Commission's investigation. Commission chairman Earl Warren himself, with then Representative Gerald Ford at his side, was interviewing a barman, Curtis LaVerne Crafard. Crafard had worked at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club before he was seized by FBI men as he was hightailing it out of town the day after the assassination, having told someone, "They are not going to pin this on me!"

In the interview, Warren asks Craford what he did before he was a bartender.

"I was a Master sniper in the Marine Corps," Craford answered.*

The next question that Warren immediately asked was: "What kind of entertainment did they have at the club?"

(7) Edward Jay Epstein, The Warren Report: Part 4, CBS Television (28th June, 1967)

Well, there were three, I think, levels of complaint. The first one was the institutional, you might say: the general problem that a government has when it searches for truth. The problem of trying to have an autonomous investigation, free from political interference, and at the same time, it's dealing by its very nature with a political problem.

The second level might be called the organizational level of - was the Warren Commission organized in a way that prevented it from finding facts? And here my findings were that by using a part time staff and by the Commission's detaching themselves from the investigation - in other words, not actively partaking in the investigation - it raised some problems as to whether the Warren Commission's investigation went deep enough, so that if there was evidence of a conspiracy, they would have in fact found it.

The third level of my criticism concerned the evidence itself, and this concerned the problem of when the Warren Commission was come - confronted with a very complex problem. For example, the contradiction between the FBI summary report on the autopsy and the autopsy report they had in hand - how they solved this problem, whether they simply glossed over it or whether they called witnesses, and - and this - this, of course, brought up the questions of - of a second assassin.

(8) John J. McCloy, The Warren Report: Part 4, CBS Television (28th June, 1967)

There have been a number of suggestions that the Commission, for example, was only motivated by a desire to put - to make things quiet, so as to give comfort to the Administration, or give comfort to the people of the country, that there was nothing vicious about this. Well, that wasn't the attitude that we had at all.

I know what my attitude, when I first went down, I was convinced that there was something phony between the Ruby and the Oswald affair, that forty-eight hours after the assassination, here's this man shot in the police station. I was pretty skeptical about that. But as time went on and we heard witnesses and weighed the witnesses - but just think how silly this charge is.

Here we were seven men, I think five of us were Republicans. We weren't beholden to any Administration. Besides that, we - we had our own integrity to think of. A lot of people have said that you can rely upon the distinguished character of the Commission. You don't need to rely on the distinguished character of the Commission. Maybe it was distinguished, and maybe it wasn't. But you can rely on common sense. And you know that seven men aren't going to get together, of that character, and concoct a conspiracy, with all of the members of the staff we had, with all of the investigative agencies - it would have been a conspiracy of a character so mammoth and so vast that it transcends any - even some of the distorted charges of conspiracy on the part of Oswald.

I think that if there's one thing I would do over again, I would insist on those photographs and the X-rays having been produced before us. In the one respect, and only one respect there, I think we were perhaps a little oversensitive to what we understand was the sensitivities of the Kennedy family against the production of colored photographs of the body, and so forth.

But those exist. They're there. We had the best evidence in regard to that-the pathology in respect to the President's wounds. It was our own choice that we didn't subpoena these photographs, which were then in the hands of the Kennedy family. I say, I wish-I don't think we'd have subpoenaed them. We could have gotten - Mr. Justice Warren was talking to the Kennedy family about that at that time. I thought that he was really going to see them, but it turned out that he hadn't.

(9) Sylvia Meagher and Gary Owen, Master Index to the John F. Kennedy Assassination Investigations (1980)

Study of the Hearings and Exhibits has destroyed the grounds for confidence in the Warren Report. Study has shown the Report to contain (1) statements of fact which are inaccurate and untrue, in the light of the official Exhibits and objective verification; (2) statements for which the citations fail to provide authentication; (3) misrepresentation of the testimony; (4) omission of references to testimony inimical to findings in the Report; (5) suppression of findings favorable to Oswald; (6) incomplete investigation of suspicious circumstances which remain unexplained; (7) misleading statements resulting from inadequate attention to the contents of Exhibits; (8) failure to obtain testimony from crucial witnesses; and (9) assertions which are diametrically opposite to the logical inferences to be drawn from the relevant testimony or evidence.

(10) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)

Several former Warren Commission staff members stated that had they known about such matters as ClA-sponsored assassination plots against Fidel Castro, they would have looked into the possibility of a conspiracy much more carefully. The CIA assassination papers also include many censored documents concerning such topics as Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie, Cuba, and Russia.

Faced with a "definitive" five-hundred-page FBI assassination report, pressured to meet its deadline, and hampered by the lack of complete evidence, the Warren Commission failed to accomplish its prescribed duty of ascertaining all the facts about the assassination. The commission operated in secret and under procedural rules that virtually guaranteed a biased investigation. Presuming Lee Harvey Oswald guilty, the commission simply ignored evidence to the contrary.

(11) Ronald F. White, Apologists and Critics of the Lone Gunman Theory, included in Assassination Science (1998)

Based on their examination of the bolt-action, clip-fed, Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, firearms experts for the Warren Commission established that at least 2.3 seconds per shot would be required for Oswald to execute the assassination. The shutter speed of Abraham Zapruder s Bell and Howell movie camera operated at about 18.3 frames per second. After numbering each individual frame, tracing the movement of the vehicle, and taking into account other factors, the Commission hypothesized that since the view from the snipers nest would have been obscured by the foliage of an oak tree between frames Z-167 and Z-210, the earliest the president could have been shot was Z-210. Zapruders view of the motorcade was blocked by a road sign between frames Z-207 and Z-225, but when Kennedy appears from behind the sign he is beginning to react to the throat wound. The commission therefore reasoned that the President was shot in the neck between frames Z-210 and Z-225. Based on Connally's reactions in the Zapruder film, he was apparently struck between Z-236 and Z-238. These observations, however, were puzzling. If Kennedy was struck in the back at Z-225 and Connally at Z-238, that would entail a 13-frame time span or 0.71 seconds. But that would have been impossible since Oswald would have needed at le


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