The professor I had for English Composition II was really caught up on the JFK assasination conspiracy. We watched the Oliver Stone movie ‘JFK’ in class. We read Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy by conspiracy nut Jim Marrs. Beleive me, for an English class the subject material could have been much more painful. I liked the class. Eventually, I will probably post more papers I wrote for this class. What brought this paper back into memory was all the media attention that Pennsylvanian Sentator Arlen Specter is getting these days for switching political parties, oh you know, to which ever side is going to keep supporting him. Mr Spector co-authored the controversial “single bullet theory,” which suggested the wounds to Kennedy and non-fatal wounds to Texas Governor John Connally were caused by the same bullet. Most people agree today that the single bullet theory is rediculous. I’ll admit, I did get a little carried away with this paper, but a glimpse into the big world of lies surrounding Kennedy’s murder has that affect on people.
Blood Stained Camelot
November, 1 2007
You may remember him for his looks, wit, and charm, or even his thick Boston accent, or maybe by his glamorous wife, or by his not so glamorous extra marital affairs. But you all definitely know him for his role in the greatest conspiracy of all time, and by his appearance in such films as, “The Zapruder Film.” But in all honestly this isn’t supposed to be funny; I will take you into a world of treachery, deceit and greed. This isn’t just a movie. A real man, husband, and father lost his life in an absolutely horrid way. The death of this one man had stronger long term implications for our country than originally planned. Kennedy was an avid supporter for the destruction of the Berlin Wall for a united Germany, he wanted American soldiers out of Vietnam, and most importantly he wanted to focus on American social issues. Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy author Jim Marrs reminds us that Kennedy was the youngest president at the time and first Catholic elected to that office, and his desires to negotiate with the communist world to avoid war, his attacks on tax havens of wealthy corporations, and his attempts to regain civilian control over the Pentagon and its intelligence agencies also provoked hatred and fear among the most powerful cliques of this country (5). We live in a society where too many corrupt government officials. Politicians work for their own personal agendas and not the greater good-and they have been allowed to get away with it. Over forty years later, the deep seated distrust of our government has grown just as much as our own evil empire emerged to tackle the world. The seeds of that evil go back to 1963 when the American public witnessed the murder of a president and the birth of a new era for our Military Industrial Complex.
There were several very powerful and dangerous men whose hatred of President John F. Kennedy manifested into a murderous conspiracy. Men from all walks of life were united by this hatred. From top politicians, to our very own national security agencies, to rich oilmen, to the mafia, and all the way to Cuban militants, this assassination and cover-up was made possible by a large group of unlikely friends. A closer look into their associations makes these dubious relationships fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. I agree with author Jim Mars who said, “I seek not only the killers of President Kennedy, I seek the persons who killed Camelot-who killed the confidence and faith of the American people in their government and institutions. I seek elementary justice-for both the accused assassin and for the United States of America.”
Undeniably, Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson had the most to gain from Kennedy’s death, and at the same time stood the person with the most to lose if Kennedy stayed in office. According to Noel Twyman’s book Bloody Treason, Johnson had gotten himself tied up with the shady dealings of Bobby Baker, which included a prostitution ring, and Johnson was worried that Kennedy was going to expose him (807). Public knowledge of his involvement with this scandal would be disastrous to his political career. The fact that he was even appointed to the Vice Presidency was by sheer luck. Kennedy beat Johnson at the Democratic National Convention and as a conciliatory move offered him the Vice Presidency. “Kennedy never really believed that Johnson would swap his Senate power for the empty honor of being Vice President” (Marrs 294). Almost immediately the two distrusted each other. Lyndon’s brother Sam wrote that as Vice President Johnson felt humiliated time and time again and was treated as “the lowest man on the totem pole” (Marrs 295). The day before the assassination Kennedy said that Johnson “just could not tell the truth. I’m telling you, he just lies continuously, about everything. In every conversation with him he lies, even when he doesn’t have to” (Twyman 805). Interviews like this regarding Johnson’s character would surely hurt his political career. Johnson knew in order to advance to the Presidency he would have to get Kennedy out of the way, and quickly before he was exposed as truly unfit to hold any office.
The scam involving Billie Sol Estes and Lyndon Johnson was labeled the “most gigantic swindle and scandal in the history of Texas,” and it included “acquiring millions in federal cotton allotment payments on land which was underwater or actually owned by the government.” (Twyman 800-801). In 1961 the department of Agriculture official Henry Marshall who was investigating the scandal, and was particularly interested in Estes’ connection with Johnson, was shot five times in the stomach. Without an autopsy the death was ruled a suicide. After years of protest by Marshall’s wife, the body was exhumed (several years after JFK’s death) and showed to have a severe blow to the head and that he was asphyxiated with carbon dioxide. During testimony before a Grand Jury, “Estes linked Vice President Johnson and two other men to the execution of Henry Marshall.” The Official cause of death was rightly changed to homicide (Twyman 801). Johnson was terrified his connections with Billie Sol Estes would be exposed. He wanted the investigation stopped, and after he ordered the execution of Marshall he was successful with covering up the initial homicide investigation. Johnson would do anything to stay in office, including murder.
“By the fall of 1963, rumors were rife that Johnson would be dumped from the democratic national ticket. In fact on the day he left for Dallas President Kennedy told his secretary that Johnson would not be the Vice President during Kennedy’s second term” (Twyman 804). This was even more motivation for Johnson to dispose of Kennedy.
Johnson’s long term friend and neighbor, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, also shared a “mutual fear and hatred of the Kennedy’s” (Marrs 223). According to federal law Hoover would be forced to retire in January 1964 once he reached the age of 70. Staying in office would require Kennedy to write an executive order on his behalf exempting him from forced retirement. Hoover knew he would never write the letter and that Kennedy was actually looking forward to his retirement. The mutual distrust started back in 1943 when Hoover crossed paths with a young Naval Intelligence Officer who had been sharing an apartment with a suspected Nazi agent, Inga Arvad. During a wire tap Hoover claimed to have picked up a few remarks by Kennedy concerning sensitive security matters. Young Kennedy was quickly transferred to combat in the South Pacific (Marrs 221). It must have been a slap in the face when Kennedy returned a war hero which helped him launch a successful political career. Hoover retained files of Kennedy’s relationship with Inga into Kennedy’s presidency as leverage (Marrs 214). “It is said that no man has held so much power for so long in the history of the United Sates as John Edgar Hoover.” “FBI abuses under Hoover’s leadership had become widespread” (Marrs 213) and he would actually leak sensitive information for his own political interests. The two men who benefited the most from Hoover’s carelessness were Johnson and Nixon (Marrs 222). Hoover didn’t want to retire; he loved the power of his job. The only option was to have his old buddy Johnson in the Presidency to exempt him.
Richard Nixon gladly took gossip and other personal information the FBI had collected to smear his political opponents. Playing by the rules wasn’t included in Nixon’s game plan. Most of his campaign money came from mobsters around the country (Marrs 268). “During the Nixon years, his friends in organized crime were not forgotten. The Nixon administration intervened in at least twenty trials of crime figures, ostensibly to protect “intelligence sources and methods” (Marrs 269). It was obvious Nixon had very strong mafia ties.
While Eisenhower’s Vice President, Nixon was directly involved in planning a Cuban invasion with the CIA “Before the invasion could be launched a serious snag occurred for Nixon and his backers-he lost the election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy” (Marrs 269). Nixon wasn’t the only one banking on the Cuban invasion and after Kennedy’s actions during the 1961 Bay of Pigs disaster it was clear to Nixon and the CIA that Kennedy wasn’t on the same side.
Thousands of Cuban exiles had been working and training in small groups under CIA authority. The plan was to assassinate Castro and control Cuba to rid the western hemisphere of communist threat. Kennedy ordered a minimum scale invasion. The first air strike was a partial success and the second strike which had been planned would probably have completely destroyed Castro’s air force. Kennedy began to hesitate growing frightened the entire world would realize he had ordered an invasion of another country (Marrs 141). Because the “international noise level” had risen to an intolerable degree, [Secretary of State] Rusk argued no further air strikes be attempted until it could be made to look like planes came from captured Cuban airfields. Kennedy concurred and ordered a halt to any air strikes (Marrs 141). Kennedy authorized U.S. Navy ship sitting offshore to help evacuate the Cuban brigade on the beach, the same Cubans the CIA had trained. The Cuban commanders didn’t want evacuation; they wanted ammunition, naval support, and the “umbrella” of air cover that had been promised to them. It never came and 114 of the 1600 Cubans were killed and the rest captured by Castro’s forces. One of the CIA officers involved in the operation, Robert Davis, said “if someone had gotten close to Kennedy, he’d have killed him, oh, they hatred him” (Marrs 141)! “Kennedy believed he had been led down a primrose path by optimistic CIA officials. He felt betrayed. The CIA planners felt betrayed that the actual invasion has been scaled down on Kennedy’s orders… and the Cuban exiles felt betrayed most of all because they had been led to believe they had the full support of the U.S. government” (Marrs 141).
In addition to that fiasco, “no one-especially in the CIA, the military, organized crime or in the Cuban exile community was to forget” Kennedy’s reaction when the ongoing tension with Cuba took a more serious tone. When a U-2 spy plane “photographed offensive missile sites with nuclear capability being constructed,” Kennedy called for a “quarantine” for Cuba and vowed war “against Russia if a nuclear war head was launched” (Marrs 143). “As Soviet ships carrying missiles approached the U.S. Naval blockage of Cuba, the world watched and trembled. Nuclear holocaust seemed imminent. Then the Soviets blinked. Their freighters turned back and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.” Only much later did the American people learn that Kennedy had accepted a proposal from Khrushchev that included a pledge not to invade or support any invasion of Cuba. “But even Kennedy’s diplomacy that ended the missile crisis earned him further rebuke by many military and CIA officials who believed the presence of missiles justified a United States invasion of Cuba and the elimination of the Castro regime. These suspicions only made the military and intelligence officers along with their Cuban protégés more convinced that Kennedy was “soft on Communism” (Marrs 143).
Kennedy’s role in the Bay of Pigs disaster and the fact that he spared the country from a horrible war through negotiations with communists, gave many people the passion to organize the assassination of what they felt was an unfit leader. Not only was the country at the peak of its anti-communists sentiments but war with Cuba or Russia would financially benefit top oil executives. Men with more money and power than the young President ever imagined. “The mystery of oil is replete with stories of unbounded greed, business chicanery, and even violence” (Marrs 276). Before Kennedy came into office “the oil industry felt secure, (Marrs 276) “but President Kennedy then began to assault the power of the oil giants directly” (Marrs 277). Due to the Kennedy act of 1962 profits and profits reinvested abroad would both be subject to taxation, “preventing taxable income from being hidden away in foreign subsidiaries” (Marrs 277). Oilmen estimated their personal earnings to drop up to 50%, needless to say oilmen both in Texas and elsewhere felt threatened by Kennedy and his policies” (Marrs 277). The oil executives wanted Kennedy out and a fellow Texan and friend, Johnson, into the Presidency. War is big business, and with it comes big money, especially for oilmen. Since war with Cuba was off, and Kennedy was pulling troops from Vietnam, there was no question to these powerful and connected men that Kennedy needed to be replaced. They benefited by the exploding Vietnam war once Johnson took office. According to “The Road to Texas” documentary, oilman H. L Hunt, the richest man in the world at the time, hosted free vacations for Hoover, Nixon, and mob boss Marcello at his luxury hotel.
The mafia also hated Kennedy. Organized crime syndicates have worked with Nixon, Johnson, and even the CIA for decades. Greedy politicians got caught up with money, bribery, and scams. “Attorney General Robert Kennedy, as backed by his brother the President, waged war against organized crime as never before, causing great fear and hatred in the ranks of crime leaders” (Marrs 175). But unfortunately, a large mafia ring through money and gambling-was able to pick up some powerful government contacts. Like the mafia used government officials to protect them from persecution, the CIA planned on using mafia connections to assassinate Castro and regain control of Cuba with hopes that any trace of a conspiracy would be traced back to the mafia (Calder).
According to Michael Calder’s book JFK, the struggle for control over the CIA, “By the time Kennedy took office, the agency (CIA) had become a god unto itself. Its top executives had decided on their own that the use of assassination for political purposes could serve the interests of the country.” Kennedy, unhappy that the CIA didn’t have to ask for permission before they carried out these missions, fired the top three men involved in plotting assassinations against foreign leaders, Richard Bissell, General Cabell, and Allen Dulles. Displeased with the power of the CIA, Kennedy “planned to ask Congress for legislation that would have reorganized the CIA, taking away its cover ability, putting it on an information-gather footing only.” “The CIA realized this and decided that JFK had to be assassinated before the 1964 election. Unfortunately for JFK, the CIA had already organized an “Executive Action” (execution) squad that was being used to foreign leaders. The CIA merely turned the squad inward on Kennedy.”
It was clear to the most powerful men in the country that JFK had to go, and they weren’t afraid to discuss it either. Soon the assassination of JFK and cover-up were coordinated, and also a patsy to take the blame for the murder was chosen. In all reality Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person who was knowingly involved in this conspiracy who didn’t have a motive to kill Kennedy.
The plan to set Oswald up was complex and involved many people. Oswald was involved with the CIA since he was a Marine in the late 1950s. He definitely wasn’t chosen for CIA work because of his shooting skills. In fact, “his marksmanship on the rifle range was less than what was desired by his fellow Marines,” (Marrs 101). Oswald was only in the Marines for a short time when his intelligence training started. He was granted a security clearance and transferred to a base in Atsugi, Japan where secret spy flights were being launched. Proof of his work comes from testimony from a former CIA Finance Officer that “Oswald was a secret operative for the spy agency in Japan” (Marrs 104).
On September 20, 1959 Oswald was sent to Russia for a large undercover assignment. His cover was an American who defected, or gave up loyalty to the U.S., to embrace Soviet Communist ideology. It seems clear that the CIA probably tried to set Oswald up in a position to get recruited by the KGB as a double agent (Marrs 117). A fellow Marine even said Oswald fully expected to return home an American hero for his work in the Soviet Union (Marrs 110).Because it’s difficult to get information from Russia or the CIA, the details of his stay will probably never be known. However, it’s very odd that a supposed American traitor would be able to effortlessly obtain passports for himself and a Russian-born wife and get back into the country at this time (Marrs 190). Also the fact that Marina, Oswald’s wife, believed him to be a native Russian by his speech (Marrs 123) indicates that he was thoroughly prepared for undercover work in Russia. “The Monterey school, now called the Defense Language Institute, is one of the government schools for giving sophisticated and rapid language courses, and this is believed to be where Oswald learned to speak Russian (Marrs 105).
Back in the United States, several conspirators began positioning Oswald where they wanted him-and soon he was tight within their grasp. Like planting evidence, Oswald was “planted” in several places to get the specific public persona they wanted him to have. It’s unclear exactly when the plot to kill Kennedy was first organized, but it seems that as soon as Oswald got back into from Russia he was targeted as the pasty. Shortly after arrival, a CIA-connected man George DeMohrenschilt befriended Oswald. Being an oil geologist, George also had connections to Dallas Oil millionaires H. L. Hunt and Clint Murchison (Marrs 280). I don’t think it was coincidental for him to have introduced Oswald and Marina to Ruth Paine (Marrs 282) and eventually help them move to Dallas (Marrs 281). Paine was conveniently separated from her husband at the time, which was most likely to appeal to Marina being left alone so often. Ruth’s husband worked for Dell Helicopter, which would profit off a large Vietnam War, and his father was a CIA operative. It was probably not a coincidence that Marina had a friend to stay with while Oswald was shipped off to New Orleans the entire summer of 1963.
New Orleans is the place Oswald got severely manipulated into living several different lives. But working undercover and following orders was his job. “It was at 544 Camp Street in an old three-story office building that the paths of Lee Harvey Oswald, the FBI, the CIA, anti-Castro Cubans, and organized crime figures all crossed” (Marrs 147). The side entrance to this building was 531 Lafayette Street which was the address of Guy Banister Associates, a private detective agency. Banister “helped supply munitions to the Bay of Pigs invaders, was a former FBI man with connections reaching into the Bureau, the CIA and organized crime as well as the Cuban exiles” (Marrs 148). Through Guy Banisters office Oswald took most of his orders. He was ordered to sign up as a pro-communist and pro-Castro supporter with the group Fair Play for Cuba Committee. On pamphlets that he handed out in public, was the address of 544 Camp Street, which the FPCC leader in NYC thought was an office Oswald rented for the purpose of promoting Castro. In reality, “Hidell” the president of the New Orleans chapter was a fraud and the office he “rented” was anything but for pro-Castro activists. This is clear evidence that Oswald was not really a communist but living a double life (Marrs 145).
On August 9, 1963 Oswald was approached by furious Cuban militant Carlos Bringuier, who saw him handing out pro-Castro literature. A fight ensued and both men were arrested. Later, Lt. Francis Martello said the whole incident seemed set up (Marrs 146). “After his brush with the law, Oswald’s pro-Castro stance became even more public. He was soon on New Orleans radio and television telling his pro-Castro story to a wider audience. The radio interview is significant in that it was widely used after the assassination to “prove” his pro-communist credentials” (Marrs 146).
It’s not a coincidence that the man who shot Oswald also had some of the same connections in New Orleans. Not only was Jack Ruby a gun runner for the mafia with some pretty serious connections with mob hierarchy, (Marrs 387) but also at one time worked for the only and only Richard Nixon (Marrs 269). Ruby was involved in illegal dealings with several Cuban elements, and it’s thought that Oswald had worked with him in New Orleans through Guy Banisters office (Marrs 403). However, it’s not just in New Orleans Oswald associated with Ruby. The Carousel Club was a Dallas nightclub owned by Ruby, and on several occasions people witnessed Ruby and Oswald together (Marrs 408). One Dallas taxicab driver claimed to have even driven both David Ferrie and Oswald to the Carousel Club, indicating that they all knew each other (Marrs 404).
Without a doubt the oddest man Oswald was associated with was David Ferrie, he’s been described as “a character straight out of some fictional novel, but he was frighteningly real. Ferrie looked like a clown with his painted eyebrows and reddish wig… [he] worked for both the CIA and reputed New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello.” He was also a pilot involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion and often badmouthed Kennedy in public over the events that took place (Marrs 501). Ferrie was deeply involved with Cuban exiles working out of Guy Banister’s office. In fact, he actually took Oswald to an anti-Castro guerilla training camp (Marrs 189) and it was understood that Oswald’s pro-communist persona was only true while undercover.
According to the documentary “The Love Affair” directed by Nigel Turner, Ferrie got Oswald involved in far more serious work. It was Judyth Baker who finally told her story in 2003 that she had been Oswald’s mistress that summer in New Orleans. Judyth was a young scientist who got caught up in Ferrie’s underworld of cancer Research, and even turned the kitchen in Ferrie’s apartment into a lab. Judyth was led to believe that her research was to create a fast killing form of cancer to be administered to Castro-a death of this kind would look natural. According to Judyth they spent the entire summer working at Ferrie’s apartment and running the research materials to another CIA doctor involved, Mary Sherman. She believed to be working for the CIA and that her work would be in the interests of our country, and it had to be kept top secret. Judyth Baker claims that she met Jack Ruby at Ferrie’s apartment because he was interested in the research, proof that Ruby knew Oswald.
Both Ferrie and Shaw were civilian CIA contractors; Clay Shaw had actually organized the Trade Mart in order to gather intelligence (Marrs 499). Shaw was most likely involved in advising Oswald how to create a pro-communist public persona. He also encouraged Oswald and Judyth to spend time together; he reportedly would put them up in expensive hotels. Guy Banister, Shaw, and Ferrie worked together to arrange Oswald to be the fall-guy for a much larger plan.
Judyth Baker sheds light on why Oswald went to Mexico City in September of 1963. Apparently he was delivering scientific materials (the cancer virus) to a CIA contact in a souvenir shop. However, the agent never showed up, so Oswald went to the Cuban consulate and tried to get into Cuba as a pro-Castro supporter. His objective was to administer the lethal cancer himself. But he wasn’t granted access and returned back to the States (Turner). This whole scenario was probably set up to make Oswald look like a communist, when in reality he was just a misled and very naive CIA agent. By this time he was only in his early 20’s.
Oswald moved back to Dallas where Ruth Paine gets him a job at the Texas School Book Depository (Marrs 41). According to Judyth, she and Oswald kept in contact and Ferrie even set up a secure phone line between the two. Oswald admitted he knew about the assassination and wanted to try and stop it. He said there were several other rogue agents on his side who wanted to stop the assassination, their names never were revealed (Turner). Ferrie claimed that Lee Oswald was a CIA agent who had been well taken care of until he made some mistakes that necessitated his death (Marrs 502). What those mistakes were is not known. In a conversation between Oswald and Baker a few days before the assassination, Oswald said he knew he was set up to be the patsy and that it was a large conspiracy, he then name two people he learned were involved. Bobby Baker and Billie Sol Estes- both men were also involved with scandals with Lyndon Johnson (Turner).
On November 20, 1963, two days before the assassination, the police were tipped off to the plot to kill the president during his upcoming trip to Dallas. Melba Marcades, also known as Rose Charamie, was brought to the State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana after being thrown from a car. Marcades claimed to have worked for Jack Ruby and was driving with mobsters from Florida to Dallas to “pick up money” (Marrs 401). State Police Lt. Francis Fruge contacted the Dallas Police Captain who told him he “wasn’t interested” However, what I find interesting is that the FBI also admitted to have received the tip from Marcades (Marrs 402) and obviously it wasn’t followed up. On September 4, 1965, Marcades was found dead in Louisiana by being thrown from a car and then driven over (Marrs 402). Her death remains a mystery.
There was an interesting series of events that occurred in Texas the night before the assassination. In the documentary the “Road to Texas,” we learn that oilman Clint Murchison hosted a large party that night. All the big shots were invited, except President Kennedy. Several men met for a private meeting in a back room during the party to discuss final details of a devious plan. The meeting included Clint Murchison, H. L. Hunt, Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, and several other unidentified men. Johnson’s mistress Madeleine Brown claimed it was after Johnson walked out of the meeting he whispered in her ear that President Kennedy would never humiliate him again. Why would he say this had they not been discussing plans for the next day? The meeting must have been important because Johnson flew to Dallas a day early to attend and Hoover flew from Washington just for the party and was home without anybody noticing. Evidence that this meeting was supposed to be secret was Nixon’s initial testimony that he wasn’t in Texas the day before the shooting. Later he “remembered” that he was (Marrs 274). How do you forget that you were in the same town around the time an American president was assassinated? You don’t. And this is my first point that the entire cover-up was sloppy. To almost every story regarding the homicide investigation there are government reports that have contradicting details or explanations.
While the conspirators were planning, the Secret Service agents, who were vital to Kennedy’s security, were getting drunk at the Cellar, a bar in Dallas owned by a friend of Jack Ruby’s (Marrs 246). Funny, that this bar didn’t even have a liquor license, but gave away booze to the agents at no charge (Marrs 277). “There’s cause for suspicion that the Secret Service was somehow involved in the assassination” (Marrs 250). It is possible the intoxication at the night club was a planned excuse to act sluggish the next day.
If all testimony I’ve reported thus forth is truthful, the shared motives and intense connections indicate a massive conspiracy involving high ranking government officials and all the way down the totem pole to street wise mafia gun-runners. The scheme was large enough and included so many people that it was only inevitable that warnings would have leaked out. However, the murderous rage was so intense it could not be stopped. The hardest part of the plan was setting up all the details of the actual assassination at Dealey Plaza. Several agencies had to be arranged in exact locations to at least try to make it look like anything but an inside job, and the people that weren’t involved had to be place where they couldn’t react fast enough to save the President.
Within just a few weeks prior to the Dallas trip there were two motorcade cancellations due to death threats. The threats in Miami and Chicago were not filtered down to the Dallas Police or any other agency (Marrs 242). Despite the fact that a month prior “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Aldai Stevenson had been pushed, spat on, and hit in the head with a picket sign while Visiting in Dallas,” (Marrs 8). Kennedy was allowed to ride in a convertible. In fact, security was extremely lax, not the heightened level of security a president should get in a hostile city. It seemed like the security plans were purposely tampered with. “Almost two dozen deputies and other lawmen stood on the sidewalk watching. All had been ordered not to take part in the motorcade security” (Marrs 11). Initially the presidential limousine was supposed to be flanked by eight Policemen on motorcycles, four on each side of the car. However, the number was reduced to two on each side and were told to stay by the rear of the car (Marrs 244). It’s interesting to note that the man who could make the Dallas Police force do whatever he wanted was Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, brother to General Cabell of the CIA who Kennedy had personally fired.
Both Johnson and Texas Governor John Connally were completely adamant to control the motorcade and the direction it wanted it to go. “The journey through Dealey Plaza itself was made necessary because of the selection of the Dallas Trade Mart as a site of the noon luncheon for the Kennedy entourage” (Marrs 243). If Kennedy’s route had been going to the initial ending destination, the Women’s Building, “he would have been traveling two blocks further away from the Texas School Book Depository-and at a much faster rate of speed” (Marrs 243). The unusual zig zag route that the motorcade had to take through Dealey Plaza violated the Secret Service procedures and placed the “president in a small park area surrounded by tall buildings on one side and shrubs and trees on the other” (Marrs 7). Turning from Houston onto Elm Street, the limousine had to slow to a crawl in front of the Depository to make a 120-degree turn. “Turns of more than 90 degrees were prohibited by the Secret Service (Marrs 11). It’s very odd for these measures to have been blatantly ignored, especially after several recent death threats.
Conveniently, a press car, designated to be spot 5 in the motorcade (it actually had that # taped to its side) was shoved farther back, this “prevented the media photographers from witnessing the assassination or capturing it on film” (Marrs 10). In similar motorcades in the past Police Captain Will Fritz and other Dallas detectives were to ride in a car immediately following the Presidential limousine. However, on this particular day Fritz and his men were not allowed to take part in the motorcade (Marrs 244-245). Fritz later said, “I believe had we been there we might possibly have got that man before he got out of that building or we would have maybe had the opportunity of firing at him while he was still firing” (Marrs 245). Jim Marrs responds to Fritz’s,
“And certainly the Dallas detectives could not have moved any slower than Kennedy’s Secret Service protectors when the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza. Photos taken several seconds after the first shots show almost a total lack of response by the agents riding in a backup car behind the presidential limousine. While Kennedy is clutching at his throat, two of his guards have begun looking toward the road while the others are looking directly at the President. The only agent to react with speed was Clint Hill, who was not even supposed to be on the Dallas trip. Assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy, Hill had been brought along at the last minute due to a specific request by the First Lady” (Marrs 245).
Dozens of witnesses were interviewed and almost all had the same initial reaction to the first gun shot and thought it was a firecracker or a car backfiring, and almost everyone agreed that the Secret Service seemed to be reacting and slow motion during and after the shooting. The testimonies differ on where the shots were fired from depending on where the person was standing. Many people gave testimony that was sometimes changed in the FBI reports or the Warren Commission either ignored their report, and didn’t call them to testify during the investigation or they tried to prove these witnesses wrong. The Warren Commission, the “official” federal investigation into Kennedy’s death, was led by a panel appointed by Lyndon Johnson to prove Hoover’s FBI investigation reports were accurate and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole-conspirator. “In reviewing the experiences of the people in Dealey Plaza the day Kennedy died, it is apparent that not one single person saw the assassination as it was described by the Warren Commission,” (Marrs 86) which was obviously used to cover-up the truth. Besides, unaltered witness testimony is much better.
What wasn’t revealed in the Warren Commission was that several people saw strange men carrying rifles in cases and assumed them to be Secret Service dressed in civilian clothes undercover (Marrs 18-19) or that many people witnessed multiple men on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository holding rifles out of windows, again assuming them to be Secret Service protection (Marrs 20). This gets corroborated by several witnesses. An 8mm home movie, which was shot by Robert Hughes, “shows movement in both the corner window and the window next to it.” The FBI claimed the figure in the second window was simply a stack of boxes, but made no reference to the movement (Marrs 21). Several inmates on the 6th floor of the Dallas county jail, located just across the street and level to the 6th floor of the Depository, saw the pair of men, including one man with a rifle. None of the inmate’s names ever appeared in any report, and they were never sought by federal investigators (Marrs 22). Canadian journalist Norman Similas took a picture of two men, including one holding a rifle out the window, on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository building. He submitted his photograph (including negatives) to a newspaper, when the pictures were not used in the newspaper he asked for the negatives to be returned. They were, except for the one picture of the “assassin’s nest,” which he was told was “lost” (Marrs 22-23).
Most people on the upper side of Dealey Plaza said shots came from the Depository, and people near the lower side of Dealey Plaza believed shots came from the Grassy Knoll. Most likely a gun man was standing behind the 5ft wooden fence which separated a parking lot and a rail yard from the Grassy Knoll and Dealey Plaza. Several people saw the flashes of light on the Grassy Knoll which Orville Nix caught on camera. These might be muzzle flashes from rifles. Nix was never called to testify for the Warren Commission (Marrs 35). Several witnesses saw smoke and smelled gun powder near the vicinity of the wooden fence (Marrs 58-59).
Jean Hill claims to have actually seen a man fire a rifle from behind the wooden fence and then a puff of smoke (Marrs 38). She was standing next to her friend Mary Moorman who took the famous picture of the “badge man” behind the fence. Shortly after the shooting Jean was approached by two men who did not show identification but claimed to be Secret Service. They grabbed her arm and told her to “keep smiling and keep walking,” they took her to an interrogation room at the Sheriffs Office right there at Dealey Plaza and asked her questions about what she saw. The Secret Service men involved were never located, but upon releasing her they took her friend Mary’s snapshots of the shooting. All were returned, but the background on two of the pictures was mutilated (Marrs 322-323). One of Mary Moorman’s Polaroid’s at first glance doesn’t look like much, but in 1982 using programs not available in the 60s, Gary Mack and Jack White began to study the photograph. What they discovered after they blew up the on section of the picture was startling. Two figures can be seen, and one of them appears to be firing a rifle. “The main figure has been dubbed “badge man” because he appears to be wearing a dark shirt with a semicircular patch on the left shoulder and a bright shiny object on his left chest- the exact configuration of a Dallas police uniform” (Marrs 79-80).(http://www.jfk-online.com/jfk100badge.html for a photo analysis for a photo analysis)
After the shooting several people ran in the direction of the wooden fence to hopefully apprehend a shooter, all they found was foot prints in the mud (Marrs 58). Gordon Arnold, a young soldier, said he was chased from behind the wooden fence by a man showing Secret Service identification, He said he went around to the front of the fence when a shot came from right over his shoulder, he said immediately after the shooting a police officer took film from the camera he had (Marrs 88).Ed Hoffman claimed he saw a man running behind the wooden fence with a rifle. He then witnessed the man toss the rifle to a second man, who was wearing light coveralls and a railroad worker’s hat, he then disassembled it and put it into a tool bag and then walked towards the railroad tracks. Meanwhile the first man walked back along the fence. Hoffman went to the local FBI office to file a report; he left his name and number with the receptionist, but the FBI never responded. In 1967 Hoffman visited the FBI office again and finally spoke to an agent who wrote a report that was completely different than what Hoffman had witnessed. He than claimed an agent told him to keep quiet about what he had seen or “you might get killed” (Marrs 82-84).
All of these claims by these witnesses clearly indicate shooting came from at least two totally separate locations and there were multiple men involved. Witnesses also claim to have seen other men doing strange things. Lee Bowers, a railroad employee who was in a railroad tower looking at the back of the Knoll, saw men with radios in cars that were circling the parking lot just prior to the assassination. He also reported seeing a flash of light and smoke from behind the fence on the Knoll at the time of the shooting (Marrs 88). After the shooting, Lee saw three men sneak into an empty railroad car in the train yard, he ordered the train stopped and called the police. An officer marched the men to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. The men disappeared; no names or any other information is known about them except the photographs of them being arrested (Marrs 332). Lee Bowers died in a car accident on August 1966 (Marrs 560).
The best evidence for the theory that the assassination was carried out by crossfire of bullets coordinated by radiomen was the presence of two strange men on the street watching the motorcade. The first man had an umbrella, which was very bizarre on this beautiful November day. He opened and closed the umbrella several times for no apparent reason. Through analysis of photos taken during the assassination researchers have concluded that the man opens the umbrella when Kennedy’s limousine began the descent into Dealey Plaza. When Kennedy is directly in front of the man he pumps the umbrella up another two feet in the air way above his head, then immediately after the shooting the umbrella is closed. At the same time the other man appears to have his arm raised in the air and making a fist. After the assassination while everyone fell to the ground in fear or began running, these two men casually sat down next to each other and the second man then appears to be speaking on a walkie-talkie. Evidence suggests that these men could have been using signals to indicate more shots were needed to fatally wound Kennedy (Marrs 30-31).
According Kennedy and Connally’s wounds and witness testimony there were at least three more shots fired than the Warren Commission claimed. Policeman Foster saw a bullet hit the grass on the south side of Elm Street, (Marrs 56) which was then taken away from a man who was identified as an FBI agent (Marrs 316). Sheriff Decker saw a bullet hit the pavement on Elm Street; he was never questioned by the Warren Commission (Marrs 14). “James Teague was a third man wounded in Dealey Plaza when his cheek was bloodied by cement sent flying by a bullet striking the curb just east of the Triple Underpass (Marrs 87). Teague called the Dallas FBI office later that afternoon, but they weren’t interested in his story. In fact, the Warren Commission tried to ignore it for as long as possible, there was even an effort to eliminate the evidence by repairing the curb (Marrs 61-62). According to bystanders, the “Stemmons Freeway” sign was hit by a bullet and then disappeared later that day. It is missing in Dealey Plaza photographs the next day; no explanation for its disappearance was brought forth (Marrs 317).
According to the Dallas Secret Service office, none of their agents were on duty that day anywhere near Dealey Plaza either before or just after the assassination” (Marrs 320). The only Secret Service agents accounted for were those involved in the motorcade. If most of the Dallas Police force was told to stand down that day, where was the security? And who were the men impersonating Secret Service agents? Probably fakes, maybe even the assassins disguised as agents to get into position, and most importantly to get away faster. Although many policemen were told to stand down before the assassination, most of them were in the crowd watching the motorcade pass through town. Dallas Policeman Joe Smith claimed to have run into the parking lot behind the Grassy Knoll shortly after the shooting. He encountered a man who displayed a Secret Service badge. He doubted his credentials because he looked like an auto mechanic with dirty hands of one, not like the regular attire of a suit and tie. But because he furbished credentials, Smith let him on his way (Marrs 320). Testimony by another Policeman D. V. Harkness said he ran to the rear of the Texas School Book Depository and ran into two well armed Secret Service agents, but didn’t see identification; the agents left the scene (Marrs 321). It was later written off that because there was no evidence of Secret Service agents in the area, most of the sightings were by people mistaking plain cloths policemen for agents (Marrs 324). But that doesn’t explain the fact that men referred to themselves as Secret Service or why they were able to show identification.
Not all film taken by these mysterious Secret Service men was lost. The Zapruder film is the most widely known JFK assassination film. “No one who has viewed the Zapruder film has been unaffected by the final, gory head shot followed instantaneously by Kennedy’s violent fall rearward. Most researchers consider this moment in the film as obvious evidence of a shot from Kennedy’s right front (the area of the Grassy Knoll). Yet when published by the Warren Commission, the critical frames that depict the rearward motion of Kennedy’s head were transposed to indicate a forward motion. In 1965 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover explained this reversing of the Zapruder frames as a “printing error” (Marrs 67). (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G_Zxup7esU Zapruder film analysis)
A shocking film has shined light on the driver of the limousine Kennedy was riding in. Secret Service agent William Greer testified that once he saw Governor Connally slump over, he accelerated the car. However film shows he looked back towards the President for several seconds after braking the car when the shots started, he kept the brakes on until the fatal head shot and then accelerated (Marrs12). Also catching Greer in another appalling lie was a film taken by Jack Daniel that shows the limousine exited from the west side of the Triple Underpass and entered Stemmons Freeway. Greer said he didn’t know the way to Parkland Hospital and was led by a “siren escort.” However, the film clearly shows Greer pull out in front of the lead car and was leading the race to the hospital (Marrs 361). Greer obviously lied. What was he hiding? (view the film here)
President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. A small autopsy was performed, but was stopped short to get the body back to D.C. “After Kennedy’s body was returned to Air Force One at Love Field, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as thirty-sixth president of the United States” (Marrs 367). “It has been well documented how Kennedy’s body was wrapped in a sheet in Dallas and placed in an expensive bronze ceremonial casket for shipment to Washington. Yet [assassination researcher] Lifton found Bethesda [Naval Hospital] technicians who said they removed Kennedy’s body from a black zippered body bag that was inside a cheap, gray military-style shipping casket, similar to those used to transport bodies from Vietnam” (Marrs 373). Just as startling was an interview with Bethesda X ray technician Jerrol F. Custer who said he had already taken X-rays of Kennedy’s body when a blood stained Jacqueline Kennedy reached the hospital with a bronze casket supposedly containing the President’s body (Marr 373-374). To add a very gruesome note regarding Jackie’s traumatic experience: After her husbands head was blown open next to her she panicked, and as seem in the Zapruder film she actually climbs onto the trunk of the limo to grab a piece of Kennedy’s head. She held it until at Parkland hospital when a nurse took the bloody skull fragment (Marrs 13). Lifton believes that the autopsy doctors lied about their observations and that Kennedy’s body had been altered. He discovered a brief time period during the swearing-in ceremonies for Johnson that Kennedy’s body was left unattended. It was during this time the body was switched into another casket and was taken off the right side of Air Force One upon a helicopter that took off right next to it. At Bethesda Naval Hospital “someone altered the President’s wounds to conform to the shots-from-behind thesis” (Marr 373-374).
According to Dr. Humes’ official report, Kennedy was shot in the back which exited the throat and also a bullet to the back of the head that exited from the top of the skull. Mysteriously he burned the original autopsy materials (Marrs 374-375).There is much controversy over Kennedy’s autopsy. The doctors working on Kennedy weren’t allowed to do their job. Army Generals who had no right to direct this autopsy were telling doctors not to examine certain wounds. For instance, one doctor was told to stop what he was doing when he was trying to determine the path a bullet took through Kennedy’s back (Marrs 368-369). Dr. Fink was denied his request to examine Kennedy’s clothing (Marrs 369). X-Rays and inspection revealed there was no point of exit for some wounds, but the doctors could not figure out why they could find no bullets (Marrs 371). “Autopsy photos of the back of the President’s head were altered immediately after the autopsy to cover up the fact that the President received two bullets in the head, one from the rear and one from the front” (Marrs 377). Evidence such as x-rays, photographs, tissue samples, and Kennedy’s brain, have gone missing from the National Archives. These are things that could give definitive proof of his wounds (Marrs 377). The key to understanding the JFK assassination is to know who had the access to the evidence and the capability tamper with it (Marrs 378).
It was in Parkland that the “magic bullet” was found. Apparently a hospital worker found a bullet that somehow managed to give Kennedy and Connally a total of seven shared wounds, however the slug was in near perfect condition, possibly only fired through water, (Marrs 319) and had no trace of blood or tissue on it. The bullet was planted because it was in great condition, and a lot of metal was in Connally and Kennedy’s wounds (Marrs 362), and because the stretcher it was found on belonged to another patient (Marrs 362). Arlen Specter created this “single bullet theory” for the Warren Commission to claim that only three shots were fired from a lone-shooter. This “magic bullet” has since disappeared (Marrs 485). According to witness testimony there were at least 4 shots that missed (the curb on Elm, the grass, the freeway sign and the bullet that hit another curb near the underpass that wounded Teague). Kennedy was definitely hit with at least three bullets. One to the back and two to the head, and its very possible there were more. Connally had several wounds on his back, chest, wrist and thigh which to me indicate at least 3 hit him, possibly one in his back, and another in his wrist, and a final through the other side of the wrist which traveled into his thigh. Many more than 3 shots were fired, and probably more than I can account for during my research.
Within minutes of the assassination Dallas Police were scrambling to find Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s killer. Although at the time there was no evidence Oswald committed murder, he was already deemed guilty. During the time of the motorcade, Oswald was inside the Texas School Book Depository building, where he worked, on the 2nd floor lunch room. He was spotted by several employees drinking a coke and appeared to be waiting to a phone call. Oswald was not on the 6th floor with a rifle shooting the President (Marrs 50-53). After the assassination Oswald left the building, he was probably trying to figure out what to do because he knew they were trying to set him up. In all probability if he thought there were other rogue agents who wanted to stop the assassination and they told him to wait for a phone call for instructions on his next move, which would be a perfect way to get him to stay in the building.
Allegedly J. D. Tippit was shot was while trying to arrest Oswald. However, several witnesses to his murder described a man who didn’t look like Oswald; one woman said she was threatened into silence by a man with a gun. Witnesses failed to pick Oswald out of a lineup as the killer. Another indicator Tippit’s death was also framed on Oswald was the problem with identifying the empty shells found at the scene. Policeman J. M. Poe initialed two cartridge cases at the scene, when later showed the cases there were no initials on them indicating the bullets had been switched (Marrs 340-345). It’s interesting to note that JFK researcher R. D. Morningstar of www.jfkresearch.com believes the identity of the “badge man” was officer Tippet. Which is unlikely, but it would shine light onto why he was killed as part of a cover-up.
“Dallas police and federal authorities quickly lost interest in any information, evidence, or detained suspects that did not fit in with the presumed activities of Lee Harvey Oswald,” (Marrs 355) the man they had arrested shortly after 2pm. Within hours news was released of the pro-Castro nut that killed the President, the same man who loved communism so much he defected to Russia for a while. The same man who was on TV promoting communist ideals. Oswald wasn’t going to get out of this trap without revealing his CIA past. Back in the 60’s accusing someone of being a communist would almost surely make him guilty of anything; people didn’t think to ask “why”? Besides, this was the same man caught on video surveillance camera at the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. His palm print mysteriously appeared on a rifle found in the depository after his death, and is thought to have been planted by an FBI forensics team (Marrs 444). Case Closed. Oswald was guilty in the eyes of American public.
On November 24, 1963, while Police were moving Oswald to another location, Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, most likely to keep him silent He was indicted for the murder and sent to prison where he begged to be transferred to Washington to testify further. He said his life was in danger in Dallas. Ruby wrote several letters from prison, including one that said Johnson gained the most from Kennedy’s death and another said he was framed to kill Oswald. Ruby died January 3, 1967 from severe lung cancer, which he believed was injected in him (Marrs 414-434).
Other mysterious deaths surrounding Oswald’s associates include, Guy Banister was shot to death June 1964, David Ferrie was murdered February 1967, Dr. Mary Sherman was possibly shot and died in a fire in March 1967, around the same time the Warren Commission rolled into town (Marrs 559-561). Clay Shaw died August 1974, neighbors saw men carry his body out of the house covered in a sheet, by the time the police and coroner responded Shaw was already buried. Cause of death was lung cancer, but there was never an autopsy preformed (Marrs 511). Maybe to keep them quiet? A bizarre story of a Dealey Plaza witness Richard Carr, who saw a man near the window of the 6th floor of the Depository and then saw men speed away in a car after the shooting, said the FBI went to his house and told him if he didn’t see Oswald he didn’t witness anything and told him to keep his mouth shut. Not long after this, his home was raided by more than a dozen Dallas policemen looking for “stolen articles,” while holding him and his wife at gun point. After that incident he got an anonymous phone call telling him to get out of Texas, so they moved to Montana where he found dynamite in his car on one occasion and actually got shot at on another. After testifying at the New Orleans Clay Shaw trial, Carr was attacked by two men in Atlanta and stabbed twice. The government used scare tactics quite a bit, Depository superintendent Roy Truly (who Ruth Paine convinced to give Oswald a job) was intimidated by federal authorities, and was scared for his life if he discussed the assassination with anyone (Marrs 318-319).
After the Warren Commission, two more investigations opened up to research the assassination. In 1967 New Orleans District attorney Jim Garrison began investigated the odd dealings of 544 Camp Street. What he found was shocking and it led to an investigation into the Trade Mart’s Clay Shaw. He convinced a jury that a conspiracy had indeed occurred but could convince them that Clay Shaw was a part of it. By this time his witnesses, Banister and Ferrie had been murdered (Marrs 515-516). The second investigation was the opened by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the mid-70s. They could not recreate the lone-assassin theory with an expert marksman and concluded that the assassination was probably a result of a conspiracy (Marrs 538).
To date, no one has been sentenced for their part in the conspiracy. Unfortunately, people have died and evidence has been lost or destroyed, and we may never know the complete story. It’s obvious this assassination and sloppy cover-up caused an irreconcilable distrust of the government. It’s unfortunate that many of these murderers were allowed to live out their lives without being convicted of this heinous crime. When the murder of a president is not in the name of justice but instead for greed and self interest it’s treacherous to the entire nation. They not only killed a good president but also a piece of the American spirit. Handing this great nation into the hands of corrupt politicians was the worst thing that could have happened to us as a country. Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam, and Robert Kennedy ran for President on an anti-war campaign. Blood runs red for the Kennedy clan. Bobby was gunned down on live television because he was just another Kennedy that had to be stopped. When you dissolve Camelot down to brain matter, blood, and tears like it meant nothing, what does that imply for the American people? That was the final blow to the American dream; a nation where its government can pick and chose for the people is no free country.
The Military Industrial Complex has won, for now. What happened in the 1960’s is happening again. Our nation is fighting an unpopular war, does Iraq sound familiar? The CIA basically has free reign to spy, does the Patriot Act ring a bell? War profiteers lobby for war with no regards to the death toll, does Blackwater or Halliburton make you angry? The United States of American world police is now the ultimate Military Industrial Complex: Eisenhower would roll in his grave if he knew how our country was run. Kennedy was the last great president who cared about real social reform, compared to President Bush who just vetoed health care bill for uninsured children, but then asked for more money and troops for war. Kennedy’s most famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” still ring loud and clear in our ears. As cliché as it is, the most important think to do is be a part of the voting and election process. If we don’t stand up and demand change, our country is doomed to repeat the same nightmare again and again and again, because apathy is death. Will you sit there while they continue to take away our freedom? Corrupt politicians will continue to make bad decisions that will affect us negatively in the future. Edmund Burke’s verse will sting hearts into action forever, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”