Prof. Josiah Thompson, an assassination researcher and author of “Six Seconds In Dallas,” said it best when he summarized the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:
“A president of the United States is shot down, at high noon, in a public square, with some 400 or 500 people looking on, with maybe at least 38 of them taking film and photos, and now over 40 years later, uh … we don’t know what happened,” Thompson said, in the 2007 documentary film “Oswald’s Ghost.”
In September 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone on Nov. 22, 1963, when he assassinated President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, and the only Roman Catholic elected to the office.
The commission said that at about 12:30 p.m. Central Time, Oswald fired three shots from behind the presidential motorcade on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building, using a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle as the motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
The commission concluded the following: One shot struck Kennedy in the neck, exited through his throat and then hit Texas Gov. John Connally, creating five wounds in Connally’s body. A shot after the aforementioned one struck Kennedy in the rear portion of his head, killing him. Another shot missed the motorcade, ricocheted and injured bystander James Tague in the cheek, 200 feet west of the motorcade at the Stemmons Freeway Overpass; the commission did not specify whether the missed shot was the first or third shot.
Who Is Correct?
However, rather than close the JFK assassination case, the Warren Commission’s work and conclusions did just the opposite. Questions about the commission’s failure to interview some Dealey Plaza witnesses; review the discrepancies between the conclusions of the Parkland Hospital physicians’ examination and the Bethesda [Maryland] Naval Hospital’s autopsy photos; investigate the destruction of the presidential limousine, a vital piece of forensic evidence; evaluate the Dallas Police Department’s interrogation of Oswald; and other concerns, have led many assassination researchers to reject the Warren Commission’s conclusions, either in whole or in part, and argue that more than one person fired gunshots at President Kennedy that day as part of a conspiracy.
Lone-gunman supporters maintain that not enough hard evidence exists to undermine the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone. Most assassination researchers argue that the hard evidence exists, and that the government lacks 100 percent transparency on the issue. As a result, they are seeking the full disclosure of all government records in the case.
Who is correct? Of course, what you choose to believe is up to you, but consider this: For any argument to be valid for the events in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, it has to answer a lot of questions, including dozens of anomalies. Here are six anomalies, ranked from least to most important:
6) George de Mohrenschildt Befriends Lee Harvey Oswald
Of all the anomalies in the assassination of President Kennedy -- and there are many anomalies in regard to the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone -- the friendship between George de Mohrenschildt and Lee Harvey Oswald is a glaring one, if not the most egregious.
De Mohrenschildt, then age 52, was a conservative, sophisticated White Russian émigré and petroleum geologist/professor who settled in Dallas and established many contacts in the city’s oil, business and conservative circles, including the very conservative Texas Crusade for Freedom. In 1957, De Mohrenschildt had been de-briefed by the Central Intelligence Agency after traveling to Yugoslavia to conduct a geological field survey for the U.S. State Department, a trip that had been sponsored by the International Cooperation Administration. During the trip, de Mohrenschildt had been accused by Yugoslav authorities of making drawings of military installations and fortifications. Upon returning to the U.S., the CIA debriefed him, both in Washington, D.C., and in Dallas.
De Mohrenschildt, in a summary: He was a conservative, accomplished, oil sector-based, Russian émigré who had at least one interaction with the U.S. intelligence community.
In the summer of 1962, after Oswald and his wife, Marina, moved to Dallas, de Mohrenschildt and his wife, Jeanne, befriended the couple, introduced them to the Russian community in Dallas and gave Lee assistance with his Dallas-area job search. Lee had previously been employed in Fort Worth, Texas.
The anomaly is glaring: De Mohrenschildt -- why would a conservative, business-oriented, sophisticated geologist in Texas’s prime oil sector, who was active in right-wing political circles, strike up a friendship with a pro-communist, non-middle-class, malcontent outsider earning slightly more than the minimum wage? And why would this occur in the conservative, freedom-rabid, commerce-oriented hotbed that was Dallas in the early 1960s?
From one perspective, the de Mohrenschildt / Oswald relationship symbolizes the essence of the United States, a place where friendships can form regardless of politics, social status or income level. Similarly, the pair’s friendship can also be seen as an example of “opposites attract.”
From another perspective, the notion that de Mohrenschildt -- a conservative -- would befriend Oswald -- a Marxist drifter and malcontent -- is a contradiction: There is something about their lives intersecting that suggests de Mohrenschildt was not just trying to help Lee and Marina integrate into Dallas’ Russian community.
In Dallas, a very class-based city in the early 1960s (as it still is today), it’s highly unlikely that a conservative, sophisticated White Russian would welcome with open arms Marina, whom he knew nothing about, nor Lee -- an inconsequential, low-income, low-social-status loner. To use a Facebook/social media analogy, given their differences, Lee Harvey Oswald was probably the least likely person George de Mohrenschildt would have listed as a “friend” on his Facebook page. The anomaly suggests that the interactions between de Mohrenschildt and Lee Harvey Oswald were more substantive; that those interactions dealt with an aspect of Lee Harvey Oswald’s life other than finding a job; or a combination of both. There had to be a reason the accomplished de Mohrenschildt associated with the low-achieving Oswald.
5) Oswald Didn’t Fire When The Presidential Motorcade Was Close
Oswald, the alleged sixth floor sniper in the Texas School Book Depository’s east window, didn’t fire the rifle when the motorcade was close. He waited, the Warren Commission concluded, and instead of firing when the president was at point-blank range just before and just after the presidential limousine turned onto Elm Street from Houston Street -- roughly 60 feet away, unobstructed by trees -- he withheld his first shot until the president was more than 100 feet away.
To repeat: Oswald had a clear, close, point-blank opportunity to shoot at the presidential limousine just before -- as it approached Elm Street -- and just after it turned from Houston Street on to Elm Street -- a more than 90-degree turn that left the president, seated in his limousine’s right rear seat, totally exposed, but he didn’t fire.
How many assassins give up an easier, clearer, close shot for a much harder, and longer, shot? It doesn’t make sense – that is, if Oswald was the only shooter.
Waiting did make sense, however, if the goal was the triangulation of fire. After the first rifle shot, the motorcade was more likely -- but not guaranteed -- to immediately speed away to a presumed safer location. Hence, to ensure the maximum probability of killing the target, the initial shot would have had to have been delayed until the spot where two, three … even four gunmen from different angles could site and kill the target. And the reason triangulation makes it more likely to kill the target is obvious enough: Assuming a motorcade sped away after a first rifle shot, a target strike is more likely with three or more shooters firing at a target, as opposed to just one shooter. If the target can be killed in several spots within a zone by triangulated shooters, it’s called a kill zone. The first rifle shot occurred when the motorcade was on Elm Street, where the triangulation of fire potential was very strong: It was at the beginning of the kill zone.
4) Texas Gov. John Connally Never Heard The Shot That Injured Him
Three spent cartridges -- or bullet shells -- were found in the Texas School Book Depository’s sixth floor east corner window area that the Warren Commission concluded was the sniper’s nest. The commission concluded Oswald fired three gunshots from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, which was purchased by Oswald, and which he brought to work at the TSBD that Friday. Most Kennedy assassination researchers, but not the Warren Commission, concluded that the first shot missed the presidential motorcade (but it ricocheted and injured spectator James Tague); the second shot struck Kennedy, passed through the president’s neck and throat and also struck Texas Gov. John Connally, seated in front of him, injuring the governor in five places; the third shot struck the president in the head, killing him. In the interpretation of the commission, the three spent cartridges from the rifle, located within 10 feet of the window where the shots were fired, represented hard evidence that the shots came from the TSBD’s sixth floor and from Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano.
Three cartridges found: from one perspective, it’s strong evidence. Three rifle shots were fired, three shells from a rifle used that day were found, and the trajectory of the bullets, the commission concluded, fit with angle of attack in the assassination.
From another perspective, the three cartridges found look like an anomaly -- too neat -- like they were planted there. However, the biggest reason the shells are an anomaly is that although Connally reacted to a first rifle shot as the motorcade was near the beginning of Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, Connally said he never heard the shot that hit him as the motorcade was in the middle of Elm Street in Dealey Plaza. (Source: Warren Commission testimony by Gov. Connally.) That’s an anomaly of the most egregious sort because it was impossible for Connally not to hear and react to the gunshot that hit him. Connally, like Kennedy, was less than 300 feet away when the rifle shots were fired, traveling in an open-top limousine, which means he would have heard the bullet’s shock wave (130 decibels) or muzzle blast (115-135 decibels), according to the House Select Committee on Assassinations’ calculation of the decibel levels for the rifle shots.
Rifle shots at those decibel levels would have been heard above any car/motorcycle engine and crowd noise. But if Connally’s recollection that he never heard the shot that injured him is accurate, that suggests at least one shot was fired with a gun that used a suppresser/silencer. And because the Warren Commission’s conclusion does not allow for “unheard shots,” but only for shots that were heard, that suggests there was a second gunman during the attack.
That anomaly -- the failure to react to a loud noise when the Warren Commission concluded a rifle was fired -- technically, in ballistics/acoustics it's called an involuntary startle reaction -- is significant, according to assassination researcher Bob Harris. Connally’s statement that he never heard the shot that hit him suggests, contrary to the Warren Commission, that something in addition to a rifle shot occurred at the outset of the attack -- suggesting that at least one shot was fired by another shooter with a silencer-enhanced gun. Moreover, although it's physically possible for the Texas School Book Depository sniper to have fired a silencer-enhanced gun after the first rifle shot, no such silencer gun or silencer apparatus was found on the sixth floor by investigators.
3) Authorities Arrested Oswald In About 90 Minutes
In about 90 minutes -- not, say, three days, the amount of time it took authorities to identify the April 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombing suspects -- the police already knew who did it. In 90 minutes they arrested Oswald in the Texas Theatre in Dallas. Ninety minutes.
The president of the United States is gunned down in broad daylight in a public square and 90 minutes later the authorities have their suspect. Ninety minutes -- that’s less time than it takes to see a typical American movie.
Further, although Oswald did work in the Texas School Book Depository, his arrest occurred despite these facts:
- Not one witness in Dealey Plaza or in the TSBD could accurately identify Oswald as the man in the sixth floor’s east corner window with a rifle. A man was seen in the sixth floor’s east corner window with a rifle, but not one witness could specifically attest that it was Oswald.
- Not one witness could confirm that Oswald was on the sixth floor at 12:30 p.m.
- Despite the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald left the sixth floor of the TSBD immediately after the 12:30 p.m. shooting and descended the stairs to reach a second floor room, TSBD employee Victoria Adams, "the girl on the stairs,” said she never saw Oswald when she descended the stairs at the same time. The Warren Commission also concluded that Oswald reached the second floor room in 90 seconds after firing the final rifle shot, where he was spotted by a witness.
- Not one witness who was not exposed to Oswald’s picture on a television news report was able to identify him as the man in the TSBD’s sixth floor east corner window with a rifle.
From one perspective, Oswald’s presence in the TSBD and the fact he left the building is very relevant, if not hard evidence.
From another perspective, the fact that no witnesses could accurately identify Oswald as the man with a rifle in the sixth floor’s east corner window, along with the fact that none could confirm that Oswald was on the sixth floor at 12:30 p.m. or even confirm that Oswald descended the stairs immediately after the shooting to reach the second floor, as the Warren Commission concluded – together, these facts comprise an anomaly.
There was a man in the sixth floor’s east corner window at 12:30 p.m., but to-date there’s no hard, incontrovertible evidence that it was Oswald, and if it wasn’t, it suggests someone else may have been there.
2) After An Earlier Arrest In April 1963, Who Did Oswald Call?
After being arrested for an incident involving the Fair Play For Cuba Committee in April 1963 -- anti-Fidel Castro demonstrators had interfered with Oswald’s handing out pro-Castro leaflets in New Orleans -- Oswald was arrested and placed in jail.
After being jailed, Oswald was allowed to make a phone call. Who did he call?
His wife, Marina Oswald?
His mother, Marguerite Oswald?
No. He called none of them. Instead, he called a specific person at the FBI.
The anomaly here is obvious: How many arrested individuals placed in jail would, with their free call from jail, call the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
From one perspective, Oswald’s arrest amid an altercation at a pro-Castro leaflet distribution event that he led is another sign of his pro-communist beliefs.
From another perspective, Oswald’s decision to call the FBI from a New Orleans jail is an anomaly of the very worst sort. Why would Lee Harvey Oswald call the FBI from jail? Did Oswald have prior contact and/or a relationship with the FBI that the Warren Commission did not thoroughly investigate or reveal in its report?
1) Two Days After Kennedy Is Killed, Jack Ruby Kills Oswald
Two days after Oswald was arrested, on Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963, at 11:21 a.m. Central Time, Jacob Rubenstein, known as Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub/strip club operator and a person who had a significant number of direct/indirect contacts with underworld figures, broke past police lines and shot Oswald in the abdomen with a .38 revolver as Oswald was being transferred from Dallas police headquarters to a county jail. Oswald was pronounced dead from the gunshot wound about an hour later at Parkland Hospital, the same hospital that attempted to save President Kennedy’s life two days earlier.
Known as “Sparky” for his impulsive behavior and violent outbursts, after his arrest, Ruby said his murder of Oswald would spare, “[President Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline] Kennedy the discomfiture of coming back to trial” and that his act helped the city of Dallas “redeem” itself in the eyes of the public.
Again, the anomaly here is obvious, and it’s even more conspicuous when one considers the Warren Commission’s subsequent action.
From one perspective, the murder of Oswald by Ruby, a person with a history of violent outbursts and physical altercations with various individuals (club patrons, strippers) at his Dallas nightclub / strip club, the Carousel Club, is just another violent act by a man prone to them, and to erratic, unpredictable, impulsive behavior.
From another perspective, Ruby’s originally stated motive for the murder is an anomaly: Ruby’s murder was not spontaneous, but involved some premeditation. (Ruby’s association with many Dallas police officers -- some of whom visited Ruby’s nightclub / strip club -- meant that he could slip through police lines without drawing their concern or their knowing about his intentions.) And Ruby’s underworld ties suggest that he was told by some person or organization to murder Oswald / see that he was killed, in a classic witness elimination act of a person who was a ‘loose end’ in a conspiracy. Ruby’s elimination of Oswald suggests Oswald knew information that others did not want publicized.
Moreover, Ruby’s initial statement that he murdered Oswald because he was “morally” distressed by Oswald’s alleged killing of President Kennedy strains credulity, to say the least. Ruby’s decades-long involvement with organized crime figures and management of strippers is hard to reconcile with a personal sense of morality.
Further, Ruby certainly later wanted to tell the Warren Commission more. Ruby asked Commission Chairman / U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren several times to take him to Washington, D.C., saying his life was in danger in Dallas and that he wanted to tell the truth. The Warren Commission refused to bring Ruby to Washington, D.C. to testify.
Anomalies Require The Making Public Of More Classified Documents
-The conservative, accomplished George de Mohrenschildt befriends the communist-favoring, blue collar Lee Harvey Oswald.
-Oswald didn’t fire when the presidential motorcade was close.
-Three spent cartridges from rifle shots were found in the Texas School Book Depository’s sixth floor east corner window, to account for three shots fired, but Texas Gov. John Connally didn’t hear the shot that hit him, despite the fact that the bullet’s muzzle blast would have been about 130 decibels unmuzzled and the shockwave 115-135 decibels.
-Authorities arrested Lee Harvey Oswald in about 90 minutes.
-After an earlier arrest in April 1963, Oswald’s first phone call from jail was to the FBI.
-Two days after President Kennedy is killed, Jack Ruby kills Oswald.
The Warren Commission concluded that the disgruntled, low-achieving, communist-favoring Oswald, a member of the social fringe, acted on his own, firing three shots with a rifle and murdered President John F. Kennedy to achieve historical significance and notoriety.
But the aforementioned anomalies contradict that conclusion. Further, the anomalies described here and others suggest Oswald was not the person portrayed by the Warren Commission.
For the above reasons, and others, the case of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy cannot be considered closed, and much more information, including all JFK assassination documents -- as well as all documents on Lee Harvey Oswald -- must be released and made public, un-redacted.
These documents must include the making public of a handful of long-suppressed CIA records related to the assassination of President Kennedy: These CIA records are not scheduled to be released until 2017 at the earliest, and perhaps not even then, according to the Mary Ferrell Foundation, an assassination research center. In other words, there must be a 100 percent transparent and honest investigation of the assassination and its aftermath -- something many argue the American people have not received to date.
All documents must be made public. For the good of the democratic process. And for the good of the nation.
Joseph Lazzaro, U.S. Editor, served as Managing Editor of New York-based financial news web sites WallStreetEurope.com/WallStreetItalia.com, 1999-2004, and as Economics...