THE ASSASSINATION OF
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
AUTHOR: VINCENT BUGLIOSI
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Reclaiming History Book Excerpts
DVP'S VIDEO AND AUDIO ARCHIVE
THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN F. KENNEDY: A LONE-GUNMAN VIEWPOINT
BUGLIOSI VS. WECHT RADIO DEBATE:
Assassination Debate via WPTT-Radio in Pittsburgh
INTERVIEWS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCES FEATURING VINCENT BUGLIOSI:
REVIEW BY DAVID VON PEIN:
I can remember thinking to myself many years ago....if I could choose just one person on the face of the globe whom I would want to have write an in-depth book on the JFK assassination, that one person would be Vincent T. Bugliosi.
"Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy" was published by W.W. Norton and released on May 15, 2007. (The release date was moved up two weeks from the originally-announced publishing date of May 29, 2007, which would have been JFK's 90th birthday.)
Written over the course of a 21-year period by former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, "Reclaiming History" was a daunting project indeed.
This massive 1,664-page book is accompanied by a CD-ROM, which contains an additional 958 pages of endnotes and another 170 pages of source notes. So the total number of pages adds up to a mind-blowing 2,792. (And that figure can be increased still further if the 32 unnumbered pages of photos are figured into the total; so that would put the final page count at 2,824.)
When counting the endnotes on the CD-ROM, this mighty publication logs in at 1,535,791 total words....an impressive stat by anyone's standards. (I didn't count every word myself, mind you; Bugliosi provides that statistic in one of the book's footnotes.) And what makes that seven-digit figure even more impressive is the fact that almost all of those 1.5-million words were written out in longhand by Mr. Bugliosi on Vincent's ever-present yellow legal pads.
In this era of computer word processors, I cannot imagine an author writing a gigantic book like this one (or any book, for that matter) in longhand with a #2 pencil. But evidently Mr. Bugliosi did just that....which, in my view, makes me respect Vince's dedication to this JFK subject all the more. (And the company that supplied Vincent with all those yellow legal pads must be in 7th heaven now. Because Vince probably kept that company afloat for two solid decades all by himself, with his large refill orders!) :)
The endnotes are essential reading, containing many excellent anti-conspiracy arguments put forth by the author. The nearly 1,000 pages of endnotes on the CD-ROM also include several "clickable" Internet weblinks, providing still more information about certain sub-topics, although some of the links are non-functioning ones, being broken via the line structure used on the PDF document on the CD, necessitating a copy-and-paste into a separate browser.
An Audio-CD edition of "Reclaiming History" is also available (produced by Simon & Schuster). The audio version includes 15 compact discs, which contain approximately 18 hours of abridged material from the book, very nicely read by actor Edward Herrmann. The CD-ROM full of notes is not included with the audio package, however.
A five-minute excerpt of the "Audiobook" version of "RH" can be accessed for free at this webpage.
And as of this writing [in 2007], Tom Hanks' production company (in conjunction with Home Box Office) is working on finalizing a deal that will bring "Reclaiming History" to the TV screen, in the form of a 10-part television miniseries.
In addition to the HBO miniseries, a companion documentary special is also in the works, wherein Mr. Bugliosi will appear on camera to thoroughly debunk all of the various conspiracy theories.
Bugliosi told "Daily Variety": "Many more people will see the miniseries than will read the book. With the integrity that Tom [Hanks], Gary [Goetzman] and Bill [Paxton] bring, I think that we will finally be able to make a substantial dent in the 75% of people in this country who still believe the conspiracy theorists."
[2013 UPDATE: The proposed 10-part miniseries did not get made, and was downsized into a 93-minute feature motion picture co-produced by Tom Hanks, entitled "Parkland". Watch the movie's trailer HERE.]
"HOME BOX OFFICE" AND "PLAYTONE" PLAN JFK MINISERIES
BILL PAXTON TALKS ABOUT JFK AND THE HBO MINISERIES (MARCH 16, 2009)
This book, which was originally going to be titled "Final Verdict", was delayed for several years after its November 1998 release date was postponed. As of 1998, the book was slated to have only 992 pages. Obviously, Mr. Bugliosi found a lot more to say about the case during those interim nine years....and found a few more conspiracy theories to destroy in the process.
If I were being forced to come up with a very brief two-word description of this book, I think I would probably choose the words "Staggeringly Comprehensive". For example, "Reclaiming History" contains more than 10,000 source citations, including 1,557 in the first chapter alone ("Four Days In November"), plus another 1,627 in the "Lee Harvey Oswald" chapter.
To illustrate the grandness of that number, the 888-page Warren Commission Report (which is stocked with an extremely large number of citations) has approximately 6,500 source references in it. But that number is dwarfed by Bugliosi's five-digit stat.
In addition to receiving many positive reviews in major U.S. newspapers and other publications, "Reclaiming History" became an award-winner on May 1, 2008, when Mr. Bugliosi's book won the "Edgar Allan Poe Award" for "Best Fact Crime" book of 2007. The "Edgars" are given out annually by "Mystery Writers of America".
This marks the third "Edgar Allan Poe Award" captured by Vince Bugliosi. His previous victories were for the 1974 best-seller "Helter Skelter" (which is still to this day the top-selling true-crime book in publishing history), and 1978's true murder mystery
"Till Death Us Do Part".
Mr. Bugliosi has meticulously examined and scrutinized the entire JFK assassination case here -- from Lee Harvey Oswald, to Jack Ruby, to J.D. Tippit (despite the lack of a specific chapter with Tippit's name attached to it; however, the details of the Tippit murder are chronicled very nicely in Chapter 1 and also over the course of several endnotes located on the CD-ROM disc), to all of the physical and circumstantial evidence, to the witnesses, to the autopsy, to the Warren Commission, to the HSCA, to the ARRB, and also to the enormous number of inaccurate conspiracy theories that have populated the landscape since 1963.
And Vince Bugliosi (who I'll refer to as "VB" many times throughout this review) has assessed this massive amount of information with his usual style of common sense, logic, thoroughness, and fairness....and has reached the conclusion (which I have fully agreed with for many years) that Lee Harvey Oswald, alone, shot and killed President Kennedy and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
Given the evidence that VB has sifted through (again and again), there is no alternate conclusion even possible, other than to accept the original 1964 conclusion of the Warren Commission, i.e., Oswald was the sole assassin that day in Texas so many years ago.
Mr. Bugliosi has done something that no one else has done prior to the release of "Reclaiming History" -- he has taken each major conspiracy theory (and many minor ones too) and has looked beyond just the SURFACE ALLEGATIONS of conspiracy to dig deeper into them and reveal the inherent illogic, inconsistencies, and internal contradictions that exist in EVERY THEORY (without a single exception). It's a magnificent accomplishment by Bugliosi, in my opinion.
I've been interested in the JFK assassination since reading the first book I ever owned on the subject, David Lifton's "Best Evidence" (1980), which is a pro-conspiracy book that Mr. Bugliosi so thoroughly demolishes in Chapter 21 of "Reclaiming History" that it will make everyone wonder how on this Earth Lifton's book ever made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list.
In any event, during those many years since perusing Lifton's nonsense-filled tome, I've amassed a pretty decent amount of knowledge with respect to the events of November 22nd, 1963. But even with a fairly vast amount of information stored up in my memory about the case, I still learned many additional details pertaining to that tragic day in Dallas by reading "Reclaiming History".
One such example being Vincent's "discovery" of a second soft-drink machine within the Texas School Book Depository (see pages 957 and 958 for details; and also check out this official Warren Commission Document: "CD496; Photo #7", which provides verifiable proof of the existence of this long-overlooked Dr. Pepper machine).
"Reclaiming History" could almost be considered more of a "John F. Kennedy Assassination Encyclopedia", rather than a mere JFK "book". The heft and all-encompassing scope of this tome are certainly "encyclopedic" in nature, to be sure.
For years to come, these individual chapters are bound to serve as useful reference material for researchers regarding specific sub-topics within the vast landscape of the JFK case. Hence, some redundancy can be found throughout the book's text. But, in my opinion, it's required repetition.
Vincent's extensive and far-reaching knowledge of this whole case, coupled with his rational mind and logical way of evaluating evidence, is pretty much akin to turning a kid loose in a candy store.
I get the sense that VB is having a ball as he works his way from one unsupportable conspiracy theory to the next in the second half of this book, thoroughly reducing each and every theory to a pile of dust. And in most instances, even the dust doesn't stand a chance, as Vince blows that away as well.
When conspiracists go about the formidable task of attempting to dismantle Mr. Bugliosi's 21 years' worth of lone assassin-favoring research, I get the feeling that those "CTers" will, in essence, be trying to put out the Great Chicago Fire with a Dixie cup full of hot water. Such meager conspiracy-rescuing attempts won't be of much use at all.
Bugliosi began writing this book shortly after he successfully "prosecuted" President Kennedy's accused murderer during a 21-hour "Docu-Trial" produced in 1986 for the Showtime cable-TV network, "On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald".
The webpage linked below features many interesting verbatim text excerpts from the "mock" LHO trial, including almost every single word of Mr. Bugliosi's "final summation" to the jury:
"ON TRIAL: LEE HARVEY OSWALD"
The Showtime TV Docu-Trial featured a real judge, a real jury from Dallas, two real lawyers battling it out in court (Bugliosi vs. famed defense attorney Gerry Spence), and real assassination-related witnesses as well, including Ruth Paine, Wesley Frazier, Marrion Baker, Cyril Wecht, Johnny Brewer, Charles Brehm, and many others.
Bugliosi believes that the '86 Docu-Trial is "the closest thing to a trial that Lee Harvey Oswald ever had or will have" (a VB quote from late 2005).
DVD REVIEW -- "ON TRIAL: LEE HARVEY OSWALD"
For me personally, another extraordinarily-informative and entertaining part of "Reclaiming History" is when author Bugliosi puts on display his amazing ability to (as the publisher [W.W. Norton] phrased it) "draw startling inferences" from certain facts surrounding the JFK case. I like to refer to these types of VB inferences as "Why Didn't I Think Of That?" moments. And Vince does this many times throughout the book, too (some examples provided below in my chapter-by-chapter analysis).
I'm a bit disappointed by the overall minimal number of photographs that appear in this massive book (there are two "slick" sections of pictures in the book, totalling 32 pages; and Vince has also included 6 extra pages of charts and diagrams as well, placed on unnumbered pages).
The JFK assassination was the most-photographed murder in history, and many hundreds of pictures were taken which would succeed, all by themselves, in telling a rich photographic tale. And I would have liked to have seen Vince augment his text here with more of the wealth of pictures that exist surrounding those four dramatic days in November 1963. Especially considering the author's boast about "Reclaiming History" being the "book for the ages" on the JFK case.
Although, to be fair to the author, I'm guessing that Vince probably didn't want to add still more girth to this heavy 6-pound volume; and filling up the book with pictures would obviously have tacked on many additional pages.
Another factor that might have kept the number of photos to a minimum is the very thin paper that has been used for these pages (the thin paper obviously also helping to minimize the volume's size).
I'm not an expert on such matters, but I'm guessing that printing photographs on extremely-thin paper stock is not a very good idea. And there are no assassination photos printed on any of the regular (numbered) pages within this stout publication. That's a shame, in my opinion. But it is understandable I guess, given all factors combined.
I do agree with Vincent, though, about this being a "book for the ages" on the assassination. But some more photographs within this tome would have, indeed, been nice, too. Although, the 32 pages of pictures and illustrations that are supplied do offer up a few rarely-seen snapshots.
TABLE OF CONTENTS/CHAPTER LIST
FOR "RECLAIMING HISTORY":
1.) Four Days In November
2.) The Investigations
3.) President Kennedy's Autopsy And The Gunshot Wounds To Kennedy And Governor Connally
4.) The Most Famous Home Movie Ever, The "Magic Bullet", And The Single-Bullet Theory
5.) Lee Harvey Oswald
6.) Oswald's Ownership And Possession Of The Rifle Found On The Sixth Floor
7.) Identification Of The Murder Weapon
8.) Oswald At The Sniper's Nest And "Evidence" Of His Innocence
9.) The Grassy Knoll
10.) A Conversation With Dr. Cyril Wecht
11.) Secret Service Agents On The Grassy Knoll
12.) The Zanies (And Others) Have Their Say
13.) Other Assassins
15.) Summary Of Oswald's Guilt
16.) Introduction To Conspiracy
17.) History Of The Conspiracy Movement
18.) Mark Lane
19.) Mysterious And Suspicious Deaths
20.) The Second Oswald
21.) David Lifton And Alteration Of The President's Body
22.) Ruby And The Mob
23.) Organized Crime
26.) Secret Service
28.) Right Wing
31.) The Odio Incident And Anti-Castro Cuban Exiles
32.) Cover-Up By The CIA And FBI In The Warren Commission's Investigation Of The Assassination
33.) Jim Garrison's Prosecution Of Clay Shaw And Oliver Stone's Movie "JFK"
34.) Conclusion Of No Conspiracy
35.) The Murder Trial Of Jack Ruby
36.) A Conversation With Marina
37.) The People And Groups Involved In The Plot To Kill Kennedy
38.) Lincoln-Kennedy Coincidences
40.) In Memoriam
Abbreviations Used For Citations
"RECLAIMING HISTORY" CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS AND
VERBATIM VINCENT BUGLIOSI QUOTES AND EXCERPTS:
I'd like to think of these excerpts as a kind of "The Best Of The Best" when it comes to Vincent Bugliosi's impressive literary achievement known as "Reclaiming History".
Some of my comments have been inserted as well, denoted by a "DVP" reference. Related Internet weblinks have been included in various spots too.
In addition, several of the photographs in this review contain bonus "easter eggs", so to speak (i.e., clickable links embedded in the pictures), with a few of these links providing access to some rarely-seen video and film clips pertaining to the assassination.
[NOTE -- The quoted passages from "Reclaiming History" that appear throughout this review are reprinted here with the express written permission of the book publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, N.Y.]
FROM THE 36-PAGE "INTRODUCTION":
- "I can assure the conspiracy theorists who have very effectively savaged [Gerald] Posner in their books that they're going to have a much, much more difficult time with me. As a trial lawyer in front of a jury and an author of true-crime books, credibility has always meant everything to me. My only master and my only mistress are the facts and objectivity. I have no others." -- VB; Pages xxxviii-xxxix
- "The conspiracy community regularly seizes on one slip of the tongue, misunderstanding, or slight discrepancy to defeat twenty pieces of solid evidence; accepts one witness of theirs, even if he or she is a provable nut, as being far more credible than ten normal witnesses on the other side; treats rumors, even questions, as the equivalent of proof; leaps from the most minuscule of discoveries to the grandest of conclusions; and insists that the failure to explain everything perfectly negates all that is explained." -- VB; Page xliii
- "Waiting for the conspiracy theorists to tell the truth is a little like leaving the front-porch light on for Jimmy Hoffa." -- VB; Page xiv
DVP: LOL. Vincent's brand of humor has always been a favorite of mine (in every Bugliosi book I've ever read). And I'm very glad to see that that humor is alive and well in "Reclaiming History" too, with the above jab at "CTers" being the first of many such witty remarks interjected by the author during his non-stop assault on the conspiracy theorists. That Hoffa one was a real goodie too. :)
- "When one removes the Dictabelt "fourth shot" from the HSCA findings, all that is really left is the HSCA's conclusion that Oswald killed Kennedy, and the fact that the committee found no evidence of any person or group having conspired with Oswald, the identical findings of the Warren Commission." -- VB; Page xxii
DEBUNKING THE ACOUSTICS EVIDENCE
- "The Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists have succeeded in transforming a case very simple and obvious at its core--Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone--into its present form of the most complex murder case, by far, in world history.
"Refusing to accept the plain truth, and dedicating their existence for over forty years to convincing the American public of the truth of their own charges, the critics have journeyed to the outer margins of their imaginations. Along the way, they have split hairs and then proceeded to split the split hairs, drawn far-fetched and wholly unreasonable inferences from known facts, and literally invented bogus facts from the grist of rumor and speculation.
"With over 18,000 pages of small print in the 27 Warren Commission volumes alone, and many millions of pages of FBI and CIA documents, any researcher worth his salt can find a sentence here or there to support any ludicrous conspiracy theory he might have. And that, of course, is precisely what the conspiracy community has done." -- VB; Page xxvi
"IS IT ANY WONDER THAT IT TOOK VINCE BUGLIOSI 21 YEARS TO 'RECLAIM HISTORY'?"
- "And, of course, we know that humans, for whatever reason, love mysteries (which, to most, the JFK assassination has become), whether fictional or real, more than they do open-and-shut cases. For example, who killed JR?" -- VB; Page xxvi
DVP: Oops. It seems that perhaps Vince isn't an avid fan of the TV series "Dallas". He thinks J.R. Ewing was "killed" by Kristin's bullets in March 1980. (J.R. was only wounded, of course; he wasn't shot dead.)
Vince should have said "Who shot JR?" above (instead of saying "killed"). That's one of only a handful of minor mistakes I found in "Reclaiming History", so I'm quite satisfied with the book's overall accuracy. (Conspiracy theorists will no doubt disagree with me on that point, however. No surprise there, though, huh?)
- "I am unaware of any other major event in world history which has been shrouded in so much intentional misinformation as has the assassination of JFK. Nor am I aware of any event that has given rise to such an extraordinarily large number of far-fetched and conflicting theories." -- VB; Page xxix
- "In my opinion, the Warren Commission's investigation has to be considered the most comprehensive investigation of a crime in history. Even leading Warren Commission critic Harold Weisberg acknowledges that the Commission "checked into almost every breath [Oswald] drew"." -- VB; Page xxxii
DVP: Mr. Bugliosi also points out in this extensive "Introduction" to the book that the 888-page Warren Report volume contains a "131-page chapter (by far the longest chapter in the report) dealing exclusively with the issue of conspiracy".
In addition, I was also glad to see Vince mention "the thirty-one-page appendix XII to the report", in which "the Commission responds to 126 speculations and rumors, some dealing expressly with the allegation of conspiracy, most dealing in one way or the other with the allegation".
To be perfectly technical, Vince has even slightly understated the matter (but by just a couple of pages). The lengthy chapter of the Warren Report titled "Investigation Of Possible Conspiracy" actually takes up 132 total pages (inclusively). While the "Rumors" appendix Vince mentioned is actually 32 total pages in length.
This means, by pure percentages, that almost ONE-FIFTH of the entire Warren Commission Report (18.5%) is devoted solely to the topic of possible conspiracy in the JFK case (164 of 888 pages). Most conspiracy promoters either don't have any knowledge of this impressive statistic, or they simply ignore it altogether.
- "Not the smallest speck of evidence has ever surfaced that any of the conspiracy community's favorite groups (CIA, mob, etc.) was involved, in any way, in the assassination. Not only the Warren Commission, but the HSCA came to the same conclusion. ....
"But conspiracy theorists, as suspicious as a cat in a new home, find occurrences and events everywhere that feed their suspicions and their already strong predilection to believe that the official version is wrong." -- VB; Page xlii
CHAPTER 1 (317 PAGES) -- "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER":
DVP: This book's first chapter is a spectacular one. It runs for more than 300 riveting pages and includes a comprehensive narrative of events, written in the present tense (for the most part). This extensive and ultra-detailed chapter has a palpable "as it's happening" feel to it.
The narrative proceeds chronologically, beginning at 6:30 AM (CST) on the fateful morning of Friday, November 22, 1963, and continues through those shocking "four days", culminating with JFK's funeral on 11/25/63.
Per the source notes on the CD-ROM, Mr. Bugliosi garnered much of the detailed information for this chapter from William Manchester's excellent 1967 book "The Death Of A President", which contains practically a minute-by-minute account of the last day of John Kennedy's life. Jim Bishop's book "The Day Kennedy Was Shot" (1968) was also a source for this chapter's richly-textured material.
In May 2008, this extraordinary first chapter of "Reclaiming History" was released by W.W. Norton as a separate stand-alone paperback book, entitled "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER: THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY".
MY REVIEW OF VINCENT BUGLIOSI'S "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER" PAPERBACK
The following section of this "Four Days" chapter is one I was particularly intrigued by, as Vince tells the story of the chaotic and confused scene at the assassination site, with NBC newsman Robert MacNeil desperately searching for a ride to Parkland Hospital:
- "Outside again, MacNeil rushes over to a policeman listening to the radio on a motorcycle. [MacNeil:] "Was he hit?" [Policeman:] "Yeah. Hit in the head. They're taking him to Parkland Hospital." ....
"MacNeil dashes out into the street, dodging the police cars whose wailing sirens are pulling up from all directions, bouncing over curbs, flowerbeds, and lawn. Not a taxi in sight. Traffic is beginning to jam. He sprints across Dealey Plaza to Main Street and leaps out in front of the first car that comes along. ....
"[MacNeil:] "This is a terrible emergency," he tells the driver. "The president's been shot. I'll give you five dollars to take me to Parkland Hospital." ....
"The driver, about thirty, not too swift, smiles and says, "Okay." The car is filled with packages that look like cake boxes. "Yeah, I heard something about that on the radio a couple of minutes ago," he says. ....
"[MacNeil:] "Where's the radio?" [Driver:] "I put it in the backseat." ....
"MacNeil grabs the little transistor and holds it out the window to clear the antenna. They are already bogging down in the rapidly jamming traffic. He begs the driver to speed, take risks, run red lights, anything--MacNeil will pay the fines. All the police cars are headed in the opposite direction, back toward the Texas School Book Depository." -- VB; Page 49
DVP: Click on the images below for extra-large, expandable views of these thumbnail pictures:
- "Officially, the president is logged into the hospital register at 12:38 p.m. as "No.24740, Kennedy, John F."" -- VB; Page 55
- "The oft-stated belief is that since the bubble top was plastic and not bulletproof, it wouldn't have made any difference if it had been used in Dealey Plaza. But that presupposes that Oswald would have shot Kennedy if the bubble top was on the car, and we don't know that. The limousine being a presidential one, he may have assumed the top was bulletproof and therefore concluded that he could not shoot and kill Kennedy." -- VB; Page 22 of Endnotes
DVP: This topic of the limo's bubbletop roof comes up in the following discussion I had with a conspiracy theorist in late April 2007, where I hint at the same thing VB hints at above:
HAPPENSTANCE OR CONSPIRACY?
- "Other than [conspiracy author Sylvia Meagher] and her colleagues' insatiable passion for pointing out normal (not to them) inconsistencies in the recollections of witnesses, nowhere does Meagher tell her readers what the relevance of these inconsistencies was.
"Was it her point that [Bonnie Ray] Williams was lying, that the chicken eater was the assassin in the sniper's nest (who wasn't, Meagher would assure us, Oswald), or Williams was not lying, but the assassin in the sniper's nest was also eating chicken while he waited to kill the president?
"I wish the theorists would tell us the relevance of the many inconsistencies they cite in the Kennedy case instead of feeling that the inconsistencies are an end in themselves and nothing else has to be shown or argued." -- VB; Page 23 of Endnotes
- "Critics have questioned whether Howard Brennan was really the source of [Dallas Police Inspector J. Herbert] Sawyer's detailed description [of the TSBD assassin] and the dispatcher's subsequent broadcast. .... The affidavit that Brennan gave at the sheriff's office within an hour of the shooting includes [a] description of the gunman...nearly identical in language to Sawyer's [12:44 P.M.] broadcast. .... There can be little doubt Brennan was, in fact, the source." -- VB; Pages 35-36 of Endnotes
HOWARD L. BRENNAN: EYEWITNESS TO A TRAGEDY
- "Hugh Aynesworth...covered the assassination story from ground zero [and] said that he went out to [Lee Oswald's] rooming house right after the police had searched Oswald's room on the afternoon of the assassination and interviewed [housekeeper Earlene] Roberts in depth. "She never said a word about any police car honking its horn outside the rooming house around the time Oswald was there earlier in the day."
"In fact, Aynesworth said he interviewed Roberts at least two more times thereafter and she never said a word about the alleged incident. [Jim] Ewell, he said, had also interviewed Roberts separately and she never mentioned the incident to him either." -- VB; Page 40 of Endnotes
DVP: It's also worth mentioning here, with respect to Earlene Roberts, that Roberts told the Warren Commission that it wasn't all that uncommon for a police car to stop in front of the Beckley Avenue roominghouse and toot its horn. Roberts claimed that such an event had occurred on other occasions prior to November 22, 1963.
So, the very fact that police cars had a pre-11/22/63 habit of stopping in front of 1026 North Beckley and honking the car horn should tell a reasonable person that even if a similar occurrence did take place on the day of the assassination, it probably wasn't any kind of a "conspiratorial" event. Instead, it can practically be considered a normal thing to have occurred at that location (assuming Roberts was being truthful about the pre-November 22 horn-honking incidents).
- "[Jack] Tatum sees a man in a light tan-gray jacket start off in Tatum's direction, hesitate at the rear of the police car, then step back into the street and fire one more shot, right into the head of the officer [J.D. Tippit] on the ground. .... [Mr. Bugliosi's Footnote:] I asked Tatum at the  London trial ["On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald"] if he got "a good look" at the man who shot Tippit and whom he identified at the trial. "Very good look," Tatum responded. I asked if there was "any question in your mind" that the man was Oswald. "None whatsoever," he answered. (Transcript of On Trial, July 23, 1986, p.200)" -- VB; Page 79
DVP: The above book passage turned out to be quite surprising to this writer, because I had no idea (until reading page 79 of this book) that Jack Tatum had testified at the TV Docu-Trial in 1986. And that's because my video copy of the 5.5-hour trial does not include Tatum's testimony at all.
But, considering the fact that nearly 75% of that 21-hour mock trial was not seen by the general public on television, it's not too surprising to learn of some portions of the trial that I had previously been unaware of.
- "The doors to the theater are slammed open as a wedge of officers bursts into the sunlight [with suspected police killer Lee Harvey Oswald in handcuffs]. .... The suspect complains that the handcuffs are too tight. Detective Paul Bentley isn't too sympathetic, thinking to himself that Oswald was in much better shape than Tippit was. He reaches back and tightens the cuffs even more." -- VB; Pages 106-107
- "[Dallas medical examiner Earl] Rose sees the casket bearing the president's body being pushed out of Trauma Room One, Mrs. Kennedy at its side. .... A crush of forty sweating men are clustered around the wide doorway as curses fly back and forth. One of them looks like he might belt the medical examiner at any moment. .... "In a homicide case, it's my duty to order an autopsy," [Theron] Ward says. .... Ken O'Donnell pleads with him, "Can't you make an exception for President Kennedy?" Incredibly, Ward tells him, "It's just another homicide case as far as I'm concerned." O'Donnell's response is instantaneous. "Go fuck yourself," he yells. "We're leaving!"" -- VB; Page 110
- "[Quoting LBJ:] "We'll get as many people in here as possible. If anybody wants to join in the swearing-in ceremony, I would be happy and proud to have you." .... UPI reporter Merriman Smith wedges himself inside the door, and for some reason begins counting. There are twenty-seven people in the room." -- VB; Page 117
- "The unmarked squad car pulls up in front of the rooming house on North Beckley in Oak Cliff and four men, armed with a search warrant, climb out. .... Over the next hour and a quarter, they nearly strip the room [that Lee Harvey Oswald rented under the alias "O.H. Lee"], using the pillow cases and one of Oswald's own duffle bags to carry everything to the waiting patrol cars. Only a banana peel and some uneaten fruit are left behind when they leave just after 6:00 p.m." -- VB; Pages 135-136
- "The doorbell rings [at Ruth Paine's home in Irving at 9:40 PM on 11/22/63] and two men from Life magazine appear unannounced. .... Marguerite [Oswald] is fuming...because she's beginning to realize that Life magazine is going to do a "life story" segment and she wants to be paid. In her paranoid mind, Marguerite is beginning to suspect that Ruth Paine invited Life magazine to come over and that she and Marina, while speaking in Russian, have conspired to sell Lee's life story without her." -- VB; Page 168
DVP: The above passage had me laughing aloud. I think Vince has probably hit the nail on the head here too. Marguerite Oswald was a strange and rare bird, to say the least.
The above speculation by VB re. the Life magazine thing puts me in mind of another classic "Marguerite Moment" -- her spectacularly-ludicrous (although tearful) "cemetery declaration" about her recently-murdered son, Lee Harvey. Mrs. Oswald actually said this to the rolling cameras and reporters at the cemetery:
"Lee Harvey Oswald, my son, even after his death, has done more for his country than any other living human being." -- Marguerite Oswald
(I'll understand if any readers need to take a five-minute laugh break after having read the above verbatim quote from the lips of Marguerite. If you'd like to see and hear Mrs. Oswald as she makes that statement about her son, you can click HERE.)
By the way, the remainder of page 168, and also page 169, of this book are also quite intriguing, as they reveal additional details I had never heard before regarding the visit of the Life magazine reporters to Ruth Paine's home on the evening of November 22, 1963. Marguerite evidently put on quite a show that night at the Paine residence. Go to pages 168 and 169 to read the rest.
ABOVE: RUTH, MARGUERITE, AND MARINA
(IN RUTH PAINE'S LIVING ROOM ON THE
NIGHT OF THE ASSASSINATION)
EXAMINING THE WARREN COMMISSION TESTIMONY OF RUTH PAINE
- "He [Jack Ruby] called his sister Eileen, in Chicago [on Friday afternoon, 11/22/63], and was crying. .... "Maybe I will fly up to be with you tonight," he suggested, but she reminded him that Eva [another sister of Jack's], who had just returned home from the hospital from abdominal surgery, needed him now more than she did. "You better stay there," she told her brother." -- VB; Page 172
DVP: Now, the above conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald's eventual murderer, Jack Ruby, and Ruby's sister is quite illuminating (in a "non-conspiratorial" sort of way). Because if Jack Ruby had been a "hit man" for the Mob (or whoever) and had been assigned to "rub out" Oswald (as many people firmly believe was the case), then why is he offering to fly to Chicago on the night of the assassination to be with his sister? It doesn't add up.
And, per page 172 of VB's book, Ruby might very well have gone to Chicago too, if his sister, over the phone, had not persuaded him not to make the trip.
DVP: Vincent Bugliosi's incredible attention to the smallest of seemingly-unknowable details concerning the events of November 22-25, 1963, borders on the supernatural.* Such microscopic details are utterly fascinating to me. Here's one such example, among literally hundreds sprinkled throughout this publication:
- "On an impulse he [Jack Ruby, at around 10:15 PM on November 22] stops at Phil's Delicatessen on Oak Lawn Avenue and tells the counterman, John Frickstad, to cut him ten corned beef sandwiches with mustard. And ten soft drinks--eight black cherries and two celery tonics. He chats a bit with the owner, Phil Miller. .... The sandwich bill only comes to $9.50 plus tax--Frickstad made only eight sandwiches instead of the ten Jack ordered." -- VB; Pages 174-175
CE2252 (viewable via the link provided above) also gives additional information about Ruby's late-night deli order that VB doesn't have in the book. Quoting from CE2252: "He [Ruby] also ordered three cups of butter, one-half loaf of bread, and some extra pickles. Potato salad and pickles were provided with each sandwich".
That is just one of many examples of the thoroughness of the Warren Commission's investigation (and, of course, exemplifies the comprehensive nature of Mr. Bugliosi's research for this book as well).
- "Conspiracy theorists, eager to find an extra fourth bullet...and hence a conspiracy, got very excited when they learned that the receipt for the two fragments turned over to FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill on November 22, 1963, and signed by the two agents, refers to a "receipt of a missle [sic]."
"But the HSCA concluded that "the receipt was in error." Chester H. Boyers, the navy corpsman who typed the receipt, gave HSCA investigators an affidavit under penalty of perjury that contained his handwritten notes at the time of the autopsy, in which he jotted down during the autopsy that "there were bullet missile FRAGMENTS recovered."
"Both Agents Sibert and O'Neill confirmed to the HSCA that they received two bullet fragments, not a missile." -- VB; Pages 76-77 of Endnotes
- "11:20 p.m. [Friday, November 22]...Chief Curry enters the Homicide and Robbery office and joins District Attorney Wade, Assistant DA Alexander, Judge Johnston, and Captain Fritz in discussions about the evidence against Oswald. "Have we got enough to charge Oswald with the president's murder?" Curry asks. All are in agreement that there is sufficient evidence to file charges. ....
"The Dallas police have done an incredible, some would even say a near-impossible job over just the last eleven and a half hours. In that short span since the president's murder, they have apprehended the man they believe is responsible, and amassed evidence against him that is destined to withstand years of intense scrutiny.
"Despite the thousands of government man-hours yet to come, the basis of the case against Oswald is collected and assembled by the Dallas police in these first crucial hours. It is a feat the world would soon forget." -- VB; Page 182
- "11:05 a.m. [Sunday, November 24]...Altogether, there are around 70 members of the Dallas Police Department in the basement [of the Dallas City Jail] to make sure there are no problems." -- VB; Page 265
- "11:10 a.m. [Sunday, November 24]...Fritz realizes that Oswald is only clad in a T-shirt. "Do you want something to put over your T-shirt?" he asks. "Yes," Oswald says." -- VB; Page 267
DVP: An interesting quote by DPD Captain Will Fritz there. I had always thought it was Oswald who had asked for the additional clothing, thus delaying his jail transfer just a little longer. But, evidently, per Mr. Bugliosi's chronology of quotes above, it was actually Captain Fritz who initiated the slight "clothing delay".*
Well, perhaps that will be something else for conspiracy theorists to sink their teeth into....as they can now claim (if they haven't already) that Captain Fritz deliberately delayed Oswald's transfer until "hit man" Ruby got into position in the basement.
But to think that 30-year police veteran J. Will Fritz was a part of some kind of conspiracy to "silence" his prisoner is to believe in a silly fairy tale that would have had Fritz intentionally subjecting his very own police department to public ridicule for years to come, due to a Presidential assassin being killed right inside the Captain's own police station while surrounded by dozens of armed officers.
That's a theory that doesn't sound very realistic to this writer.
* = On page 1073, Vince tells the flip-side to this clothing tale, with Oswald being the one who requests the wardrobe adjustment, instead of Fritz. In an endnote, however, Bugliosi acknowledges the ambiguity of the situation with the following remarks:
"The recollections of those present are in conflict as to whether Oswald was asked if he wanted to put something on over his T-shirt or whether Oswald himself made the request." -- VB; Page 104 of Endnotes
- "11:21 a.m. [Sunday, November 24]..."BANG! The shot [from Jack Ruby's Colt revolver into Lee Harvey Oswald's abdomen] reverberates through the basement garage. .... The Ike Pappas tape recording is available at the National Archives [and can also be heard HERE] and reveals that the shot was fired 1 minute and 58 seconds after Oswald left the third-floor Homicide and Robbery office." -- VB; Page 273
- "Are we just left with conjecture to reach a conclusion on the issue of how Ruby entered the police basement? No, there is evidence, common sense, and Ruby's knowledge of events that prove he entered through the Main Street ramp. ....
"The virtual proof that Ruby came down the Main Street ramp is that within a half hour of his arrest, and right after he was taken from the basement to the jail on the fifth floor (which was long before [DPD officers] Pierce, Putnam, Vaughn, and Maxey had been interviewed and given their statements), Ruby told Dallas police detective Barnard Clardy and other detectives that he had entered through the Main Street ramp and had seen Pierce driving out of the ramp.
"How could Ruby possibly have known this if he hadn't, in fact, been at the entrance to the Main Street ramp? I mean, Pierce himself didn't even receive instructions to drive out of the Main Street ramp until around 11:15 a.m., just six minutes before Ruby shot Oswald." -- VB; Pages 108-109 of Endnotes
HOW DID JACK RUBY GET INTO THE DALLAS POLICE BASEMENT?
DEBATING THE JFK ASSASSINATION (INCLUDING SOME TALK ABOUT JACK RUBY)
- "Approaching midnight [on Monday night, November 25th], Bobby Kennedy, alone with Jacqueline on the second floor of the White House, says quietly, "Should we go visit our friend?" .... They arrive at the cemetery at 11:53 p.m. in their black Mercury. .... The attorney general and former First Lady drop to their knees and pray silently. .... Together, they turn and walk down into darkness and into lives that would never be the same." -- VB; Pages 313-314
DVP: A "Four Days" Footnote --- Clicking on the three images below will link to a 3-part video that originated from the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth on the morning of 11/22/63, where President Kennedy delivered the last speech of his life:
DVP: Before I move on to Chapter 2, I'd like to add another semi-related footnote to this top-notch "Four Days" chapter of VB's book by putting in a plug for another production titled "Four Days In November", that production being the 1964 motion picture which features the exact same title as the first chapter of Mr. Bugliosi's book.
In fact, I was somewhat expecting Vince to use portions of that exquisite "Four Days" documentary film (which is an excellent chronicle of the events surrounding JFK's death) as reference material throughout his book, but the film isn't mentioned at all in VB's book.
That Academy Award-nominated movie, which is generally based on the Warren Report, could have been used by author Bugliosi to cite various quotes from witnesses, including unique references to Johnny Brewer, Wesley Frazier, Linnie Mae Randle, and William Whaley. Each of those witnesses provided information and direct quotes during the movie's intriguing "re-created" scenes.
None of the above witnesses said anything in the movie that could be considered a bombshell or something strikingly different from their Warren Commission testimony, but their individual statements made on film could have been cited by Vince as an extra source of information to back up certain lone-assassin-leaning assertions.
One good example: The scene where cab driver Whaley says in the film that he positively dropped Oswald off at "Neely and North Beckley" (instead of "Neches") on the day of the assassination. In earlier statements, Whaley was confused about the street names, as he mixed up the two similar-sounding streets, "Neely" and "Neches".
In any event, even though the Richard Basehart-narrated documentary feature film "Four Days In November" isn't referred to in "Reclaiming History", I'd still recommend it very highly to people who want to take a two-hour visual tour of the sad events of November 1963. The film was released by MGM on VHS home video in 1988 and again in 2000, and it was also made available on DVD by MediaOutlet.com in June 2008.
More "Four Days" stuff below:
MOVIE/VHS VIDEO REVIEW: "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER" (1964)
MY "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER" VIDEO SERIES
CHAPTER 2 (62 PAGES) -- "THE INVESTIGATIONS":
- "The [Warren] Commission [quoting Arlen Specter]..."chose men of outstanding reputation, like Joe Ball of California, a leader of the California bar for many years...Similar selections were made...from New York and Chicago and Des Moines and New Orleans and Philadelphia and Washington, so that every conceivable pain was taken to select people who were totally independent, WHICH IS HARDLY THE WAY YOU SET OUT TO ORGANIZE A TRUTH-CONCEALING COMMISSION"." [Bugliosi's emphasis.] -- VB; Page 342
DVP: I couldn't agree more, Vince. And another thing that goes to this issue of Commission credibility is the fact that the WC decided, at great cost*, to publish the WC's 26 volumes of supporting testimony and exhibits for the public to scrutinize.
And if Earl Warren's Commission had been engaged in a "cover-up" mission of some sort from Day 1, why on Earth would they have endorsed the release of those 26 volumes? Did the Commission want to be called liars and conspirators by the public in future generations?
The notion that the Warren Commission participated in one big "lie" with respect to its work in 1963 and 1964, but then just went ahead and published 26 volumes of material that they certainly didn't have to publish, is just simply ridiculous.
* = Per VB's book (page 356): "The cost of printing the [Warren] report and the first 1,500 copies of its 26 volumes eventually came to $608,000."
- "The conspiracy theorists have converted Katzenbach's and Warren's desire to squelch rumors that had no basis in fact into Katzenbach's and Warren's desire to suppress the facts of the assassination.
"But how could Katzenbach and Warren have known way back then that they had to spell out that only false rumors, rumors without a stitch of evidence to support them, had to be squelched for the benefit of the American public?
"How could they have known back then that there would actually be people like Mark Lane who would accuse men like Warren, Gerald Ford, John Cooper, and so on...of getting in a room and all deciding to deliberately suppress, or not even look for, evidence of a conspiracy to murder the president...or that there would be intelligent, rational, and sensible people of the considerable stature of Michael Beschloss and Evan Thomas who would decide to give their good minds a rest and actually buy into this nonsense?" -- VB; Pages 367-368
- "Did [Earl] Warren subsequently order the sealing of great numbers of Warren Commission documents? Not only didn't he do so, but instead he and his Commission encouraged the release of all the records to the American people. ....
"No special handling of Warren Commission documents was invoked to keep the truth about the assassination from the public. The records were sealed [for a mandatory 75 years] under a general [National Archives] policy that applied to all federal investigations by the executive branch of government. ....
"The belief that any alleged conspirators who plotted Kennedy's assassination would commit to paper anything that expressly, obliquely, or in any other way referred to the murderous plot is ridiculous on its face. ....
"If that were the case, these people would simply destroy these documents, not leave them in any file. If they were immoral enough to murder Kennedy, or do whatever they could to cover up for those who did, surely they would eliminate an incriminating document. ....
"Three things are very clear: First, after an unprecedented and historic four-year scavenger hunt by the ARRB for all documents "reasonably related" to the assassination, no smoking gun or even a smoldering ember of conspiracy was found. The reason is that no such smoking gun or ember ever existed.
"Second, if it did exist, it would never have been left in any file for discovery. And finally, assassination researchers and conspiracy theorists will never be satisfied, not even when the cows come home." -- VB; Pages 134-137, 140, and 149 of Endnotes
- "Apart from all the elegant and esoteric mathematical computations that [HSCA acoustic expert James] Barger and his associates used, simple common sense tells us that the open mike was not, as the HSCA concluded, in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination. ....
"Clearly, [Police Officer H.B.] McLain could not have been the one with an open microphone on his motorcycle, nor could anyone else in the motorcade, since both amateur films [Hughes and Dorman] prove that there were no other motorcycles at the location and time that the acoustic evidence demanded. ....
"In the final analysis, the validity of the HSCA's acoustic evidence collapses under the weight of its own requirements." -- VB; Pages 203 and 216-217 of Endnotes
Supposed Acoustic Evidence of Conspiracy in the Kennedy Assassination
CHAPTER 3 (68 PAGES) -- "PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S AUTOPSY AND THE GUNSHOT WOUNDS TO KENNEDY AND GOVERNOR CONNALLY":
DVP: This chapter brings about a "closure" (of sorts) for me with respect to the single biggest "question mark" that I personally have had regarding the entire JFK case -- that being: How could so many different witnesses claim to see a large hole in the back of President Kennedy's head on 11/22/63 (at Parkland and at Bethesda)?
I've scratched my head more than a few times when thinking about those back-of-the-head wound witnesses. But at the same time, I have also always realized that there is a bunch of evidence that totally contradicts those witnesses (regardless of how many of them there might be).
That contradictory evidence includes: The official autopsy report (signed by three doctors), the autopsy photographs and X-rays, the Zapruder Film, and the never-wavering testimony of all three autopsy doctors (with each doctor agreeing that President Kennedy was hit by only two bullets, with both of those bullets coming from "above and behind" John F. Kennedy). And all of this evidence is also pointed out numerous times by Vince Bugliosi in this chapter as well.
Vincent doesn't pull some magical rabbit out of a hat when he discusses this often-heated controversy about the head wounds of the late President. Instead, he relies on basic sound judgment and common sense (like always) to try and figure out a reasonable answer for why the many Parkland witnesses thought they saw what they said they saw.
And Vincent's primary explanation re. this matter is actually an explanation offered up by someone else, HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel member Michael Baden:
- "Dr. Michael Baden has what I believe to be the answer, one whose logic is solid. [Quoting Baden] "The head exit wound was not in the parietal-occipital area, as the Parkland doctors said. They were wrong," [Baden] told me. "That's why we have autopsies, photographs, and X-rays to determine things like this. Since the thick growth of hair on Kennedy's head hadn't been shaved at Parkland, there's no way for the doctors to have seen the margins of the wound in the skin of the scalp. All they saw was blood and brain tissue adhering to the hair. And that may have been mostly in the occipital area because he was lying on his back and gravity would push his hair, blood, and brain tissue backward, so many of them probably assumed the exit wound was in the back of the head. But clearly, from the autopsy X-rays and photographs and the observations of the autopsy surgeons, the exit wound and defect was not in the occipital area. There was no defect or wound to the rear of Kennedy's head other than the entrance wound in the upper right part of his head." [End Baden quote]." -- VB; Pages 407-408
DVP: The above explanation is one that I, too, have postulated as the probable answer to this enduring "head wound" mystery over the years, such as HERE, HERE, and HERE.
One other point that I think is worthy of mentioning here is the fact that (as far as I'm aware) there wasn't a single witness at Parkland or Bethesda who claimed to have seen TWO large wounds of exit in JFK's head on 11/22/63.
This fact would certainly suggest that there was, indeed, only ONE large wound in Kennedy's head, and that wound was located, per the autopsy and the authenticated autopsy photographs, "chiefly parietal" (i.e., the side and top of the head). .....
DVP: On page #410, VB provides some additional strength to the "No Exit Wound In The Back Of JFK's Head" rope, when he says:
- "Lest anyone still has any doubt as to the location of the large exit wound in the head...the Zapruder film itself couldn't possibly provide better demonstrative evidence. The film proves conclusively, and beyond all doubt, where the exit wound was.
"Zapruder frame 313 (when the president's head exploded) and frame 328 (almost a second later) clearly show that the large, gaping exit wound was to the right front of the president's head. The back of his head shows no such large wound and clearly is completely intact." [Bugliosi's emphasis.] -- VB; Page 410
DVP: Another excellent visual demonstration that pretty much proves that JFK was shot in the head from BEHIND is the following slow-motion clip from the Zapruder Film, which positively depicts the President's head being pushed FORWARD at the all-important moment of impact when Oswald's bullet strikes the back of Kennedy's head:
STABILIZED VERSION OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM (WITH CAMERA JITTER REMOVED)
ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER'S WFAA-TV INTERVIEW ON 11/22/63 (AND OTHER LINKS)
THE ZAPRUDER FILM AND THE FATAL HEAD SHOT
- "A popular theory in the conspiracy community is that the reason why a particular autopsy photo of the back of the president's head shows no large defect is that one of the autopsy doctors, before the photo was taken, took the flap of scalp that had come loose on the right side of the president's head and pulled it all the way backward to cover and hide the large defect, thereby making the back of his head look normal.
"I will not devote one word to responding to this insanity. But I will ask the zany conspiracists, Who was present in the presidential limousine after the president was shot to pull the flap back and make the back of the president's head look undamaged in the Zapruder film?" -- VB; Page 249 of Endnotes
DVP: I, too, would like to know the answer to that question that Vince asked. Naturally, the conspiracists cannot answer it (without making fools of themselves at any rate), because the back side of JFK's head is intact, per Mr. Zapruder's motion picture just after the head shot, and the large, gaping exit wound is located just where the autopsy report and the autopsists said it was (i.e., to the right-front of the head, above the right ear)....as is fully demonstrated by way of this Z-Film still frame.
DVP: In the endnotes located on the CD-ROM included at the back of the book, Bugliosi goes into additional detail with respect to the precise location of the exit wound in JFK's head:
- "On the issue of the locus of the head exit wound, perhaps the most overlooked piece of medical and scientific evidence in books on the assassination that proves the exit wound was in the right front of the president's head is the fact that of the three fragments of the skull found inside the presidential limousine, the HSCA forensic pathology panel said that autopsy X-rays show that the largest one, triangular in shape, contained "a portion of the right coronal suture." [i.e.:]...The juncture between the parietal (side and top) and frontal bone.
"Although the bullet fragmented upon striking bone in the president's head, the HSCA concluded that the main part of the bullet literally exited along the coronal suture line to the right front of the president's head.
"Dr. Michael Baden [of the HSCA's pathology panel] told me, "The autopsy photographs clearly show that the semicircular defect was half of a bullet wound with an exit beveling, and this caused most of the damage to Kennedy’s parietal and frontal bones" (Telephone interview of Dr. Michael Baden by [Vincent Bugliosi] on January 8, 2000). ....
"The fact that the largest fragment found of the president's skull was along the coronal suture, that this triangular fragment was one of three that, in the aggregate, lined up, on reconstruction, with the large defect to the right front of the president's skull, and that this large fragment of bone was beveled on its outer surface, rather than its inner surface, provide conclusive evidence of an exiting bullet to the right front of the president's head." -- VB; Pages 235-236 of Endnotes
- "The "Harper fragment" was discovered around 5:30 p.m. on November 23, 1963, by Billy A. Harper. .... Dr. [J. Lawrence] Angel...declared the Harper fragment to be "clearly parietal bone" that had come from "roughly the middle of the right parietal" area (i.e., above the right ear)." -- VB; Pages 236-237 of Endnotes
THE HARPER FRAGMENT
DVP: Lots more conversation about the location of President Kennedy's head wounds can be found HERE.
DVP: On the subject of the entrance wound in President Kennedy's head, we find this convincing passage:
- "What this means is that...SEVENTEEN PATHOLOGISTS, even Dr. [Cyril] Wecht, all agreed that the wound to the back of the president's head was an entrance wound." -- VB; Pages 394-395
DVP: With respect to the controversial bullet hole in the front of JFK's throat (a wound that so many conspiracists seem to think was positively an entry wound), Vince B. offers up this logical and perfectly-sensible observation:
- "Common sense tells us that seeing only the wound to the front of the president's neck [and not seeing the corresponding entry wound in Kennedy's back at any time], the Parkland doctors would instinctively have been more inclined to think of it as an entrance wound. Almost anyone would be so predisposed." -- VB; Page 414
- "Though conspiracy theorists are almost unanimous in believing that the president was shot from the front and his throat wound was an entrance wound, they are strangely silent as to what happened to this bullet after it entered the president's throat. .... It would be virtually impossible for a bullet entering the soft tissue of the neck at a speed of 2,000 feet per second to stop inside the neck and not exit the body." -- VB; Page 416
DVP: Gee, that excellent argument sounds very familiar -- CLICK .... CLICK.
- "Perhaps the clearest visual evidence of the fact that the entrance wound in the [President's] back was definitely above the exit wound in the throat appears in one of [the autopsy] photos taken of the left side of the president's head as he is lying on his back, his head on a metal headrest. Only the wound to the throat is visible, not the wound to his upper right back. However, it couldn't be clearer from this photo that the wound to the back was definitely above the exit wound in the throat." -- VB; Page 424
DVP: Here's the photo Mr. Bugliosi is referring to, turned sideways for better orientation.
The above Bugliosi quote provides yet another "deja vu moment" for me:
President Kennedy's Back Wound -- Where Exactly Was It Located?
NOTE -- To be perfectly fair and honest here, I feel I must point out the inconsistencies in this book with respect to the relative locations of President Kennedy's back and neck wounds. Just one page prior to the quote I cited above, Mr. Bugliosi seems to be arguing in favor of the HSCA's conclusion (which I vehemently disagree with), which is a conclusion that has JFK's throat wound being higher (anatomically) than the upper-back wound. ~shrug~
However, in Bugliosi's final analysis regarding this subject (on page 424), he positively endorses a scenario in which the back wound is "definitely above the exit wound in the throat" (VB's emphasis).
And Vince is surely of the opinion there (on page 424) that Kennedy's body was in an anatomically erect posture in that autopsy photo which VB refers to, since the deceased President was lying flat on his back on a table at Bethesda Hospital. Because if President Kennedy isn't in a "neutral" or "anatomical" position in that autopsy photograph linked above, I'd like to know what position he is in?
So, there's definitely some confusion on pages 421 to 424 of this book when discussing the relative locations of the back and neck wounds sustained by JFK. And VB adds a little more confusion to this subject when, on page 424, he quotes Dr. James Humes (one of JFK's three autopsy physicians) with respect to the wounds. Humes told the Warren Commission in no uncertain terms that "the wound in the anterior [front] portion of the lower neck is physically lower than the point of entrance posteriorly [to the rear], sir".
Now, I can only logically assume that Dr. Humes, when he made the above comment to the WC about the location of JFK's back and neck wounds, was referring to John Kennedy's body being in an "anatomical" (upright) position with respect to those comments about the wounds (although Humes didn't specifically use the word "anatomical" in his testimony).
But since JFK was lying flat on his back on a table during the autopsy, what other posture (other than the "anatomical position") could Dr. Humes possibly have been referring to when he said what he said in 1964? Humes, in that quote above, surely wasn't suggesting that Kennedy's neck (throat) wound was "physically lower" than the back wound only if the President's body was tilted or leaning in some strange fashion.
And yet, in total opposition to Humes' quote cited above (which is a quote that VB cites in this book as well), and directly contradicting Bugliosi's stance regarding the wound locations as depicted in the autopsy photograph previously mentioned and linked, we find Vince saying this on page 423:
"The...bullet track, which is going downward through the president's body, is traveling upward anatomically."
I can only shrug my shoulders and softly mumble three words: Curious, curious, curious.
An additional thought concerning this strange "higher" seems to also be "lower" contradiction:
Since Mr. Bugliosi has, himself, told us (through his various 2007 radio interviews and personal appearances) that "Reclaiming History" is essentially a "book of yellow-page inserts" (which were inserted into the book following the completion of the first draft of the manuscript), I have a feeling that the text we find at the top of page 424 could very well be the result of one of those many "yellow-page inserts" that Vince was talking about.
I.E., the portions of page 424 stating that JFK's upper-back wound was positively higher than the President's throat wound are portions of the book that were possibly written years after Vince wrote the contents of page 423. And, for whatever unknown reason, the contradiction that exists between the conclusions reached on those two pages was never noticed by VB, or by his secretary Rosemary Newton (who transcribed a goodly portion of the whole book), or by anyone at W.W. Norton Publishers.
I haven't the slightest idea if my above "insert" assumption is correct or not. It's just a guess on my part.
DVP: To add further confusion to the matter concerning the "downward vs. upward" flight path of the bullet through JFK's back and neck, Vince offers this in an endnote:
- "It would seem to be that by straightening Kennedy's body out into an anatomic position, not only does the bullet track (which is always downward) go upward anatomically, but since the entrance wound is a part of that track, it too is now abraded upward.
"If that's not the answer, then the language in 7 HSCA 87 is simply incorrect, which certainly would not be the first time for the HSCA. Indeed, when I spoke to two members of the HSCA forensic pathology panel about the language in 7 HSCA 87, their attempted explanations were so incomprehensible and incoherent that they don't lend themselves to repeating." -- VB; Page 255 of Endnotes
DVP: But I'll repeat my thoughts on this subject again -- I cannot disagree more strongly with the HSCA's determination that JFK's throat wound was "anatomically" higher than his back wound. And the reason I disagree so strongly is because the HSCA was so obviously wrong concerning this matter. And the previously-linked autopsy photo proves beyond all doubt that JFK's back wound was higher than the throat wound (even when Kennedy is placed in a ramrod-straight posture).
- "A point that conspiracy theorists have raised over and over in their books is that the entrance holes in the president's coat and shirt were more than 2 inches lower in the back than the actual entrance wound in his body. But even if there wasn't an explanation for this, so what?
"Like virtually all criticisms by...conspiracy theorists, it doesn't "go anywhere." The typical critic just points out the discrepancy and then moves on. But the discrepancy would only mean something if one were able to thereby conclude that the president was shot twice in the back, once where we know the entrance wound in the back was, and once below that where the holes in the coat and shirt were.
"But one can't conclude this because there is no evidence of a second entrance wound to the president's back, and no evidence of any holes to the back of the president's coat and shirt other than one to the coat and one to the shirt." -- VB; Page 241 of Endnotes
DVP: The photograph below depicts Dr. J. Thornton Boswell's original autopsy "Face Sheet" diagram documenting President Kennedy's wounds. This diagram includes the detailed anatomical measurements of the exact location of JFK's back wound -- "14 cm. below tip of rt. Mastoid Process". This important measurement is very often completely ignored by conspiracy theorists who would rather rely on the much-less-exacting "dot" that was drawn in by Dr. Boswell:
1 HOLE IN HIS BACK + 1 HOLE IN HIS SHIRT + 1 HOLE IN HIS COAT = SOMETHING FAIRLY OBVIOUS
DR. BOSWELL'S FACE SHEET
DVP: Among the many laughable theories that Vince systematically destroys in this tome is Doug Horne's "Two Brains" hunk of idiocy. A sampling:
- "My God. RFK somehow finds out that Humes and Boswell, as part of an apparent conspiracy to cover up the assassination of his brother, used a brain other than his brother's to conduct their examination. So he [RFK] goes out and finds, seizes, and then gets rid of his brother's substitute brain [instead of taking the proper action to prosecute these criminal autopsists to the fullest extent of the law]. Is there any end to this silliness?" -- VB; Page 443
So, just like all other crazy plots, evidently this "Double Brain" charade was being carried out by total morons who couldn't even simulate the size of Kennedy's real brain correctly. But, who's gonna notice that, right? (Only Mr. Horne evidently.)
The goofball plotters who messed with JFK's brain must have been the same ones who orchestrated the Jim Garrison/Oliver Stone-endorsed theory that has several gunmen firing at President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza within the pre-arranged context of a "Let's Frame Lee Oswald As Our Lone Patsy" assassination scheme.
Speaking of brains...it appears perhaps that the "second brain" that Horne thinks was substituted for JFK's probably belonged to one of those conspirators that CTers seem to think existed in 1963. Because I'm nearly positive somebody on that Conspiracy Team has lost theirs. ;)
- "How would this "fake 6.5 mm object," as [Dr. David] Mantik calls it, implicate Oswald? .... What possible advantage would the conspirators have gained by forging the object onto the X-ray film? The thought that they would risk getting caught doing this to implicate Oswald in a case in which he and his rifle were already overwhelmingly connected to the assassination is irrational on its face.
"One should add that if, indeed, Dr. Mantik's conspirators were willing to do something so extremely risky and completely unnecessary to frame Oswald, wouldn't they have found some way to bring it to the attention of the FBI or Warren Commission in 1964?
"Instead, if Dr. Mantik is correct, we have to learn about the sinister implications of the "cardboard artifact" for the first time 35 years later when he published his findings in the book Assassination Science? Isn't this silly, again, on its face?" -- VB; Page 222 of Endnotes
THE "6.5-MILLIMETER OBJECT"
- "The single most important discovery, and one that establishes with absolute and irrefutable certainty that the autopsy photographs have not been altered, is the fact that many of the photographs, when combined in pairs, produce stereoscopic images. ....
"The only way a forger can successfully alter a detailed stereoscopic image...without detection is to alter both images identically, which is, [photographic expert and HSCA panel member Frank] Scott said, "essentially impossible." ....
"The entire photographic panel of the HSCA concluded that "the autopsy photographs and X-rays were taken of President Kennedy at the time of his autopsy and that they had not been altered in any manner." This fact alone demolishes the conspiracy theorists' allegations that photographic fakery was used to conceal the plot to kill the president.
"It also destroys another prime conspiracy belief--that the eyewitness descriptions of the president's wounds that were offered by the Parkland Hospital doctors (and later by some eyewitnesses to the autopsy) are proof that the autopsy photographs had been altered.
"Obviously, if the autopsy photographs are genuine and unaltered (which all the experts agree), then eyewitness descriptions of the president's wounds that contradict those photographs are not proof of alteration, as some critics claim, but nothing more than examples of understandable, mistaken recollections, or if not that, then deliberate and outright falsehoods." -- VB; Pages 223-224 of Endnotes
DVP: With respect to President Kennedy's X-rays, I'd like to take a moment to highlight THIS PARTICULAR X-RAY (which comes straight from page #112 of Volume VII of the HSCA's supporting volumes of evidence and exhibits), which is, as just mentioned above, an X-ray that the HSCA's photographic panel determined "had not been altered in any manner".
That X-ray linked above shows the right side of John F. Kennedy's head during his autopsy at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on November 22, 1963. And it also shows the back portion of President Kennedy's head to be completely intact. The large "missing" area of skull is all located to the right front part of the head, while the entire back part of the skull is still there!
There is no large, gaping hole whatsoever to be found at the back of Kennedy's head via that X-ray, which should probably make a few conspiracy theorists stop and think, as they ponder the following question: Could those witnesses at Parkland Hospital have been mistaken about JFK's head wound after all?
It's food for thought at any rate. (Certainly based on that authenticated-as-unaltered X-ray I just linked above.)
IF THE PARKLAND WITNESSES ARE RIGHT, WHY DOES THIS X-RAY SHOW THIS?
LET'S BE "REASONABLE" (PART 1)
LET'S BE "REASONABLE" (PART 2)
- "For years conspiracy theorists have charged that the "missing" autopsy photographs are, in their minds, one more indication of a conspiracy in the assassination. .... But...with literally hundreds of people from various official investigative agencies...examining and working with the photos throughout the years, I not only don't find it suspicious, I find it completely predictable that one or more photographs ended up missing, misplaced, or expropriated by people through whose hands they passed." -- VB; Page 275 of Endnotes
- "In addition to the allegedly missing or doctored photographs, conspiracy theorists often refer to the missing "draft notes" that Dr. Humes burned in his fireplace in the early morning hours of November 24 after he handwrote a draft of the autopsy report. Critics see this act as highly suspicious, and consequently conspiracy books cite the burning of the draft notes as evidence of some cover-up. ....
"It apparently has not entered the minds of the conspiracy theorists...that since we're dealing with the same person, Humes, if one believes that Humes was willing to lie on his autopsy report (his draft notes reflecting the true and different situation), why wouldn't he likewise have been willing to lie on his notes, thereby obviating the need to destroy them?
"Did those behind the assassination come to Humes after he wrote the first draft and convince him, for the first time, to join the conspiracy, he agreed, and then they told him what they wanted his autopsy report to say? But what about Drs. Boswell and Finck? Did they join the conspiracy too? Because if they didn't, how is it that their conclusions just happened to coincide with Humes's new, conspiratorial conclusion?" -- VB; Pages 276-277 of Endnotes
DVP: The above is yet another very good common-sense inference brought forth by Mr. Bugliosi (among dozens of other such inferences sprinkled throughout this book and CD-ROM).
Along similar lines, I can offer up another non-conspiratorial inference with respect to the "Humes Burned His Notes" sub-topic, detailed in the links below (along with some other comments about the case and Dr. Humes).
Mr. Bugliosi, by the way, also mentions the very same thing I talk about in the weblinks provided HERE and HERE. I thought for a little while that Vince wasn't going to make that logical "Why Would He Admit To It?" inference concerning Humes' note-burning episode, but, yielding to his implacable CS&L (Common Sense & Logic), I was pleased to see VB bring it up at the very end of the Humes-related endnote on page 280 of the CD.
ABOVE: JFK'S AUTOPSY PHYSICIANS --
BOSWELL, HUMES, AND FINCK
DVP: Many conspiracy promoters love to cite the (false) notion that the majority, or at least a large portion, of President Kennedy's brain was "missing" at the time of the President's autopsy. But VB dispels such nonsense in an endnote attached to Chapter 3 of the book:
- "The answer is that the president's brain did not lose much brain matter. .... As [Dr. Michael] Baden said in his [HSCA] testimony, the [Ida Dox] diagram "represents extensive damage and injury to the right top of the brain." Note the words "damage and injury" as opposed to saying a large part of the brain was "missing." And, indeed, the autopsy report says nothing about any significant part of the brain being missing. ....
"[Baden said:] "Basically, the president's whole brain was still there. The right hemisphere was severely damaged and torn, but less than an ounce or two of his brain was actually missing from the cranial cavity"." -- VB; Pages 283-284 of Endnotes
DVP: VB's ability to process and logically present witness testimony in a fair and balanced way (and in the proper order and context) comes to the forefront in the CD's endnotes when Vince totally demolishes Dr. David Mantik's claim that Dr. Humes made an "astonishing confession" during Humes' 1996 ARRB testimony.
Go to page 285 of the endnotes and watch Mr. Bugliosi systematically wipe out Dr. Mantik's silly assertion with respect to Dr. Humes. It's brilliant.
DVP: If you want a rip-roaring laugh to lift your spirits, just go to page 271 of this book's endnotes on the Compact Disc and check out the hilarious set of fairy tales told by one Joe O'Donnell. That guy just might rival Aesop in the "fable" department.
After reading the part where O'Donnell supposedly altered the Zapruder Film himself after being ordered to do so by Jackie Kennedy, I thought I'd never be able to stop laughing.
To read more about Joe O'Donnell's crazy claims, go HERE.
CHAPTER 4 (63 PAGES) -- "THE MOST FAMOUS
HOME MOVIE EVER, THE 'MAGIC BULLET', AND
THE SINGLE-BULLET THEORY":
DVP: Mr. Bugliosi's Single-Bullet Theory timeline has me puzzled a little bit. The artist rendering pictured below appears in the photo section of VB's book, and shows the path of the "SBT" bullet from an overhead viewpoint. And while I believe that Vince is 100% correct about the SBT being an ironclad fact (as opposed to a mere "theory"), this illustration must also be viewed with a grain of salt, given the fact that VB is of the opinion that the SBT bullet struck the two victims "somewhere between Z frames 210 and 222" of the Zapruder Film, which is a 13-frame span on the film when both victims are completely hidden from Zapruder's camera lens by a freeway sign on Elm Street (except for frame 222, when Connally [but not Kennedy] can be seen just after emerging from behind the sign).
Therefore, we can't possibly know for sure the exact positions that President Kennedy and Governor Connally were in at Frame 210 (or even in the following dozen or so frames that follow 210, for that matter), because the darn sign is in the way.
Any specific Zapruder Film-based speculation about the SBT shot occurring at (or just after) Z210 is also strange in another way too, because frames 208 through 211 don't even exist on any high-quality versions of the Zapruder Film, due to the fact that those four frames were damaged by Life Magazine and removed from the film. Only poor-quality first-generation copies include frames 208-211.
I, myself, believe beyond all reasonable doubt that the specific "SBT" point-of-impact Zapruder Film frame can be established....and that frame is almost certainly Z224 (and not "somewhere between Z frames 210 and 222", as Bugliosi says in his book on page 463).
Although, VB says in an endnote (on page 25 of the notes) that the SBT shot occurs at "Z223-224"; so I'm not quite sure which exact Z-Film frame Vince totally endorses, if any.
Plus, on pages 325 to 327 of the CD's endnotes, Bugliosi acknowledges the very real possibility (via Dr. John Lattimer's 1994 "lapel bulge" tests) that a single bullet could have passed through both Kennedy and Connally at Z224.
Vince actually mentions a 3-frame range of Zapruder frames in this "lapel" regard, which seems a little strange to me; but at least VB admits the possibility of the bullet striking at the correct frame (IMO) of Z224, when he says this on endnote page 325: "A bulging of the right lapel of the governor's suit coat may pinpoint the moment Governor Connally is hit to be at Z222–224".
Another oddity is that even though Vince supports a "Z223-Z224" and/or a "Z222-Z224" SBT hit at various stages in the book's endnotes, in other portions of the main text he also seems to be endorsing the notion that Connally was reacting to already having been hit by a gunshot as early as Z222, which I totally disagree with.
I can't detect any such Connally "reaction" at Z222 at all. The first firm "reaction" on Connally's behalf comes later, at Z225, just after having been struck at Z224. Again, that's in my own personal opinion on the matter.
However, there's another indication in the book that VB advocates the exact same frame for the SBT that I, too, endorse (Z224). That occurs on page 40, when Vince says the second shot (the SBT shot) occurs "3.5 seconds" after the first shot which missed the limousine, a first shot which, elsewhere in the book, VB says comes at Z-Film frame 160.*
And the only frame that is precisely "3.5" seconds after Z160 is Z224 (given the "round-off" mathematics that VB is utilizing on pages 40 and 41 and Zapruder's camera speed of 18.3 frames-per-second).
[MAY 2008 ADDENDUM: In his follow-up paperback book, "Four Days In November", Bugliosi has amended the "3.5 seconds" figure that is found in "Reclaiming History". On page 61 of the "Four Days" volume, VB has changed the "3.5 seconds" statistic to "2.7 seconds", which would be consistent with the SBT shot occurring right at frame 210 of the Zapruder Film.]
* = A "First-Shot Footnote" -- I completely agree with VB's "Z160 first shot" timing. However, I disagree with him on the exact scenario of how bystander James Tague was wounded by this first bullet.
Vince thinks the probability is high that the Z160 missed shot hit the concrete on Elm Street and then the bullet (or a portion thereof) went on to strike yet another hunk of street pavement over on Main Street, which resulted in a bullet fragment or concrete fragment slightly injuring Tague's cheek. (See page 471.)
I just cannot quite believe such a scenario myself. I think it's much more likely that Oswald's first shot struck a portion of the nearby oak tree, with the bullet then probably fragmenting (at least partially), sending the majority of the lead portion of the bullet out to Main Street, resulting in Tague's wounding, while the metal jacket of the missile possibly struck the pavement on Elm near JFK's car, resulting in the "sparks" that a few witnesses reported observing.
But, of course, realistically, the only thing that can be done with respect to any "missed" shot is to simply guess about what happened, since no physical bullet was recovered with regard to the shot that missed the limousine's victims.
Another possibility concerning Tague's injury is that he was struck by a fragment of the bullet that hit JFK in the head. I, however, don't like that theory much either, since that bullet would have probably been pretty much spent and out of gas by the time it travelled the many additional yards from the limousine to Main Street to meet Tague.
Back to the subject of the SBT:
The Basic, In-A-(Lone) Nutshell Facts Surrounding The Single-Bullet Theory
Many things begin to happen to Governor Connally starting at Zapruder frame #224 -- too many things, in my opinion, to believe that the SBT bullet passed through both Connally and JFK at any other time.
Obviously, Bugliosi is simply placing on the table all potential "SBT" possibilities throughout his immense publication. I, however, would have preferred more consistency in this book with regard to the timing of the SBT bullet strike.
But VB evidently feels that the precise "impact" frame cannot be definitively established on the Zapruder Film for the SBT shot. But I believe it can be established on the film, via the downward and forward movement of Connally's right shoulder at exactly Z224 (visible in the toggling Z-Film clip provided below):
But even with a bit of ambiguity in his SBT timeline, at least Mr. Bugliosi knows (as do I) that a "Single-Bullet Theory" Z-Film frame positively DOES exist somewhere within Zapruder's 26-second home movie.
And I'm pleased to see that Vince doesn't endorse the notion that all three bullets fired by Oswald hit a limo victim, which is an unusual lone-assassin theory that was postulated by author and former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman in his 2006 book "A Simple Act Of Murder".
Fuhrman claims that the bullet that went through JFK's back and neck somehow missed Connally and then bounced out of the car. IMO, that theory is silly. And VB thinks so too (see endnote on pages 298 and 299 of the CD).
To be fair to Mr. Fuhrman, however, the FBI's initial report on the assassination (dated December 9, 1963) also came to the conclusion that each of Oswald's bullets hit a victim. But when the shooting was examined in more depth in the following months by the Warren Commission, it became obvious that the FBI report was incorrect.
The FBI, though, certainly wasn't perfect when it came to some other conclusions it reached in the early stages of its investigation either. Some further examples of errors made by the FBI with respect to the JFK case are discussed HERE.
And FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made several incorrect statements regarding the assassination during a telephone call with President Johnson on November 29, 1963 (the day the Warren Commission was created by LBJ). That phone call can be heard in its entirety HERE.
The exact moment when the controversial "SBT" bullet struck Kennedy and Connally has been debated for many years, of course. Even the two major inquiries into the assassination had differing views on this matter, with the Warren Commission offering up a 15-frame range of Z-Film frames when they said the single bullet struck the victims (Z210-Z225).
But the HSCA placed the SBT at approx. Z190, which, by the way, is the timing that was seemingly endorsed by Bugliosi at the TV Docu-Trial in which he served as prosecutor in 1986; although I strongly suspect that the reason for such a VB endorsement in '86 was due to the fact that Bugliosi's main "SBT" witness/expert at the London trial (Cecil Kirk) was a member of the HSCA, which itself endorsed the absurdly-early Z190 SBT timeline.
So, as we can see from the pages of this book, VB has gotten closer to the Z224 SBT hit in the intervening years.
Another thing that is worth mentioning here is the false accusation made by various people over the years concerning Warren Commission member Gerald Ford. Many conspiracists seem to think that Ford attempted to "move" JFK's back wound up into the "neck" in order to better accommodate the flight path of the SBT bullet.
But a person need only look at the picture shown below (CE903) to easily see that any "moving" of JFK's upper-back wound up into the "neck" would only serve to DESTROY the path and trajectory of the SBT.
Such a move certainly would not enhance the SBT's path at all, because moving the wound up to the neck would result in the bullet exiting the front of JFK's body in much too high of a location (rather than at the tie knot, where the bullet did exit).
Note -- Click on the image below to see a crystal-clear picture that shows an opposite angle view to that of Warren Commission Exhibit #903. In that opposite-angle photograph, Arlen Specter's pointer is positioned just a tad bit above the chalk mark that is simulating a bullet wound on the back of the JFK stand-in, but if the stand-in's suit coat had been bunched up a little more (as was the case with President Kennedy's jacket when he was shot), the chalk mark on the stand-in's jacket and Specter's pointer would merge perfectly.
To see that Arlen Specter got it right, just compare CE903 to this autopsy photo of JFK:
Commission Exhibit 903, without question in my mind, perfectly demonstrates the feasibility and workability of the Single-Bullet Theory. More "CE903" talk can be found at the links below:
The SBT And The Significance Of "CE903"
Gerald Ford, Arlen Specter, Jean Davison, And The Beauty Of The SBT
It turns out that I disagree (for the most part) with Vince Bugliosi with respect to the exact timing of the SBT, but certainly not by very much; so I'm not inclined to call a 0.77-second difference of opinion (the time interval between Z210 and Z224) a major or all-important disagreement.
And, as I mentioned, there are references in this book that seem to indicate VB's possible belief in a "Z223-Z224-Z225" SBT hit too (which will no doubt have conspiracists attacking Bugliosi's credibility and lack of consistency throughout the book on this "SBT timing" point, which, indeed, appears to be warranted criticism when you read the whole tome, plus the endnotes).
However, in my opinion, as stated previously, the most important point is the fact that Bugliosi supports the SBT, regardless of exactly when on the Z-Film the SBT is occurring. And this SBT support is due in large part to plain common sense....because the sum total of all the evidence in this case makes the Single-Bullet Theory a virtual certainty.
Or, to use VB's own words (from page 482 of this book) -- "The overwhelming evidence is that whenever Kennedy and Connally were hit, or first reacted to being hit, they were both struck by the same bullet."
See my website below for lots more SBT TALK:
- "The very fact that the Warren Commission, by its noncategorical language ("very persuasive evidence"), did not unequivocally rule out the possibility that Kennedy and Connally were struck by separate bullets (in effect, not ruling out the possibility of a conspiracy) is itself extremely powerful evidence that not only didn't the Commission, or any portion thereof, set out to suppress the truth from the American people, but that its conclusion of no evidence of a conspiracy was not, as conspiracy theorists believe, a predetermined conclusion." -- VB; Page 457
- "We can have all the confidence in the world, by an examination of the physical evidence and the utilization of common sense, that [a single bullet wounded both JFK and Governor Connally]. When you can establish the single-bullet theory by reference to evidence other than the [Zapruder] film, you necessarily know that the film itself cannot, by definition, show something else. .... Since we KNOW Kennedy and Connally were not hit by separate bullets, we know, before we even look at the film, that it CANNOT show otherwise." -- VB; Pages 457-458
DVP: The above VB quote is brimming over with still more common sense (with such common-sense observations flowing like water over Niagara Falls from every page of this book).
IMO, Mistake in the Anti-SBT Argument
A quote from my forum post linked above:
"Regardless of what exact Z-Film frame the SBT equates to, the point is: There IS a Z-Frame (somewhere on that film) that DOES equate perfectly to the "SBT". There is no way there's NOT such a Z-Frame given the totality of the evidence with respect to the initial wounding of both victims." -- DVP; May 23, 2005
- "In the final analysis, even if one were forced to rely only on the Zapruder film, we have seen that from the film alone, there is strong evidence of three, and only three shots, fired during the assassination. This is completely consistent with all the physical evidence in the case, and flies in the face of over four decades of allegations made by conspiracy theorists that the film contains conclusive "proof" of two or more assassins." -- VB; Page 489
- "With respect to the second shot fired in Dealey Plaza, the "single-bullet theory" is an obvious misnomer. Though in its incipient stages it was but a theory, the indisputable evidence is that it is now a proven fact, a wholly supported conclusion. .... And no sensible mind that is also informed can plausibly make the case that the bullet that struck President Kennedy in the upper right part of his back did not go on to hit Governor Connally." -- VB; Pages 489-490
DVP: I couldn't agree more, Vince.
DVP: On the crazy issue of "Zapruder Film Alteration", Vince provides these common-sense words:
- "The conspiracy alterationists are so incredibly zany that they have now gone beyond their allegation that key frames of the Zapruder film were altered by the conspirators to support their false story of what took place, to claiming that the conspirators altered all manner of people and objects in Dealey Plaza that couldn't possibly have any bearing on the president's murder. ....
"The alterationists have even claimed that at some point after the assassination, all the curbside lampposts in Dealey Plaza were moved to different locations and/or replaced with poles of different height. .... I know that conspiracy theorists have a sweet tooth for silliness, but is there absolutely nothing that is too silly for their palate?" -- VB; Pages 506-507
Unfortunately, the answer to that last question of Vincent's is probably "no". You can click here to find out what I mean.
For some just-for-laughs over-the-top insanity, the satirical newspaper "The Onion" offers up this 43-gunmen assassination scenario.
THE "Z-FILM HOAX" INSANITY
- "The reality is that even today, it is highly doubtful that any of the most modern technological advances available in film and photography could do what the buffs said was done [to the Zapruder Film] over four decades ago. It unquestionably could not have been done back then. ....
"But all of this is irrelevant, since the NPIC [National Photographic Interpretation Center in Washington, D.C.] was not equipped...to duplicate any kind of color motion picture film, which the Zapruder 8-millimeter home movie was. Over the course of well over 40 years, no evidence has ever emerged to dispute this fact." -- VB; Pages 352 and 355 of Endnotes
DVP: And I'm still waiting for a kooky "Z-Film alterationist" to tell me (with a straight face) why a band of sophisticated film-fakers decided to alter the Zapruder movie and yet NOT ALTER the very thing that spells out "conspiracy" to most people viewing the movie -- i.e., THE REAR HEAD SNAP?
Were the film-alterers simply too pre-occupied with the color of Mary Moorman's shoes and socks to worry about such trivialities like that head snap to the rear (which, more than any other single thing, was probably the prime catalyst that sparked the creation of the HSCA in the 1970s)?
Or: Were the film-fakers just plain idiots?!
Funny, the CTers who favor an "altered" Z-Film never seem to say.
DVP: Re. Warren Commission member Richard Russell (who went on record as having been opposed to the WC's pro-SBT conclusion):
- "What Russell essentially said [in a 1970 interview] is that there were too many things he had questions about, and because of these unanswered questions, instead of concluding he didn't know what happened, he tended to believe there was a conspiracy.
"Maybe if Russell had acted like a responsible public official, he would have learned the answers to his questions. But he did not. .... His attendance at the hearings where 94 witnesses testified before the Commission was nothing short of disgraceful, Russell only attending the testimony of 6 witnesses. And if Russell had a little more common sense, that would have also helped.
"Russell is the same person who on October 22, 1962, right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis...actually urged war rather than a peaceful resolution to the crisis. ....
"Can you imagine that? To Russell, possession of nuclear weapons wasn't a deterrent to war but a golden opportunity to blow up the planet. I must confess: when a mental giant like Russell says he believes there may have been a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, I listen." -- VB; Pages 297-298 of Endnotes
DVP: I've also had many of the same types of thoughts when it comes to Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia. Every time I ever heard him speak, the word "goofball" would immediately enter my mind. (I'm just glad there were six other more responsible people on that Commission.)
Two of Senator Russell's telephone conversations with President Lyndon Johnson can be accessed via the audio links provided below. The 11/29/63 phone call is the famous call that has LBJ strong-arming Russell into agreeing to serve on the Warren Commission (which was officially formed by Johnson that very same day).
The September 18, 1964, phone call is rather famous too (especially among conspiracy theorists), with both Johnson and Russell expressing their doubts about the validity of the Single-Bullet Theory.
But CTers who want to think that that 1964 phone call proves that LBJ and/or Russell were part of some kind of conspiracy or cover-up should ask themselves this question as well:
Why in the world would Johnson and Russell be openly talking on tape about the SBT being untrue if either man was involved in some kind of cover-up operation or "Let's Frame Oswald" plot following JFK's murder? It doesn't make sense. Do conspirators normally talk about things of a "suspicious" nature in tape-recorded phone calls? .....
RICHARD "GOOFBALL" RUSSELL
DVP: In the endnotes, VB offers up some interesting observations regarding the genesis of the SBT and the architect(s) of the Warren Commission's single-bullet conclusion:
- "From the first moment that I heard that [Arlen] Specter had come up with the single-bullet theory, it made very little sense to me since the theory was so obvious that a child could author it. ....
"Since [the members of the WC staff] all knew that the bullet, fired from Kennedy's right rear, had passed through soft tissue in Kennedy's body on a straight line, and that Connally was seated to the president's left front, the bullet, after emerging from Kennedy's body, would have had to go on and hit Connally for the simple reason it had nowhere else to go. How could it be that among many bright lawyers earnestly focusing their minds on this issue, only Specter saw it? ....
"When I asked [Norman Redlich on September 6, 2005] if, indeed, Arlen Specter was the sole author of the single-bullet theory, his exact words were, "No, we all came to this conclusion simultaneously." When I asked him whom he meant by "we," he said, "Arlen, myself, Howard Willens, David Belin, and Mel Eisenberg." ....
"I don't know about you folks, but I'm inclined to take what Redlich told me to the bank. My sense is that Redlich, who by almost all accounts worked harder on the case than anyone else, was a team player only interested in doing his job well. ....
"If I have done a disservice to Specter in what I have written above, I apologize to him. But I did give him an opportunity to respond to this issue [via a letter sent to Specter on June 24, 2005], and he declined." -- VB; Pages 302-304 of Endnotes
- "The big problem for the conspiracists is that if the head shot was fired, as they claim, from the grassy knoll, since their grassy knoll gunman was approaching being perpendicular to the president, using their law of physics theory the president's head should have been pushed much more to the left than to the rear. Yet we know the precise opposite happened, which argues strongly for the HSCA's neuromuscular-reaction theory, and against the shot-from-the-grassy-knoll theory." -- VB; Page 332 of Endnotes
DVP: I was pleased to see that assassination researcher Dale Myers is given some "air time" in VB's book, including a very nice overview of Mr. Myers' excellent computer animation project ("Secrets Of A Homicide: JFK Assassination") within the CD's endnotes:
- "As technology has continued to evolve, computers have been brought to bear on the concepts of the single-bullet theory. .... Neither the  Nova nor the  FAA computer studies attempted to create an animated computer model that matched the entire filmed record as captured by Abraham Zapruder's camera.
"Emmy Award–winning computer animator Dale Myers took on that challenge with the belief that the resulting computer re-creation of the Zapruder film would, for the first time, allow historians to examine the entire motorcade through Dealey Plaza in three dimensions. ....
"To ensure a high degree of accuracy, Myers based his three-dimensional computer models on the historic record. Blueprints of the [TSBD]...were used for the first time to create a finely detailed computer model of the infamous building. .... A survey map of Dealey Plaza, and calibration photographs taken by Myers, were used to build a model of Dealey Plaza, Elm Street, and its surrounding structures. The original blueprint of the modified 1961 Lincoln convertible in which the president was riding...served as a guide in modeling the presidential limousine. ....
"The result of Myers's efforts is a remarkably compelling view of the assassination of President Kennedy that is consistent with the Warren Commission's and HSCA's conclusion that Kennedy and Connally were, indeed, struck by the same bullet, Myers concluding at frame Z223." -- VB; Pages 346-347 of Endnotes
DVP: More information about Dale K. Myers' exacting and detailed work on the JFK case (including his exhaustive study of the J.D. Tippit murder) can be found in the links provided below. The photo below shows a still frame from Myers' 3D computer animation at the approximate time of the "SBT" shot, as seen from the point-of-view of Oswald's sniper's perch.
As can be seen, a bullet going through JFK's back and neck had nowhere else to go except into Connally's back. And keep in mind that this photo is an image that Myers has based almost exclusively on the Zapruder Film itself, with the Z-Film being "Key Framed" into Dale's three-dimensional computer animation:
VIDEOS FEATURING DALE MYERS DISCUSSING THE SINGLE-BULLET THEORY:
SECRETS OF A HOMICIDE (DALE K. MYERS' WEBSITE)
BOOK REVIEW: "WITH MALICE"
DALE MYERS, THE ZAPRUDER FILM, AND THE SBT
- "[Richard] Trask's magnificent 1994 book, Pictures of the Pain, which I've quoted from often in this book, was the result of ten years of meticulous research on the photographic history of the assassination. Presented in a coolly objective way, the book's 638 pages are chock-full of much information and detail Trask unearthed that had never been previously published. The book is an absolutely invaluable reference that has been widely relied upon by the assassination research community." -- VB; Page 358 of Endnotes
DVP: Hear, hear! I totally concur with Vince's assessment of Mr. Trask's fabulous book ("POTP"). In addition, Trask's follow-up volume to "Pictures" (1998's "That Day In Dallas") is also a very worthwhile addition to anyone's JFK library.
Plus: Trask's 2005 book all about the Zapruder Film ("National Nightmare On Six Feet Of Film"), which is also referenced several times in "Reclaiming History", is by far the best book I've ever seen on Abraham Zapruder's famous home movie.
And I defy any "alterationist" out there to read "National Nightmare's" 392 pages and still somehow work into the chronology a way for the Z-Film to have been spirited away from Dallas in order for massive fakery to be performed on the film. Such talk is just flat-out nutty.
More "Trask Talk":
Review: National Nightmare On Six Feet Of Film
Review: Pictures Of The Pain
Review: That Day In Dallas
CHAPTER 5 (276 PAGES) -- "LEE HARVEY OSWALD":
DVP: This lengthy chapter contains a wonderfully-written biography on President Kennedy's murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald. A more complete, detailed account of the 24-year life of this strange young man named Lee you'll not likely find anywhere than that which exists on these pages (although Jean Davison's "Oswald's Game", written in 1983, comes close).
After reading this engrossing chapter, I felt as though I had literally been right alongside Lee Harvey Oswald during his entire twenty-four years on this Earth.
As with all other parts of "Reclaiming History", the microscopic detail that exists inside this Oswald chapter is phenomenal, including a look at Lee's grades in various school subjects over a several-year period, plus a notation about a KGB report made on Oswald about his activities on May 1, 1960, wherein the KGB agents following Oswald around in Minsk (U.S.S.R.) actually noted the trivial fact that Lee had purchased "200 grams of vanilla cookies" at a local bakery.
I'm surprised the agents didn't record the brand name of the confections and the color of the box.
Bugliosi, on page 600, even pokes fun at the KGB's ultra-detailing of Oswald's movements -- "None of this escaped the notice of the KGB, whose dogged appetite for banality was insatiable."
We also find out that when Lee returned to the USA from Russia, he boarded Delta Airlines flight #821 for the last leg of his excursion, from New York to Dallas, on June 14, 1962.
Plus -- Did you also know that Lee shot a "ring-tailed cat" while hunting with his brother, Robert, during a two-week leave from the Marines in early 1957? (This is the level of detail this chapter and book contain.)
- "Perhaps the even greater incongruity was someone like Oswald, who was fiercely independent and resisted any type of authority, joining an organization [the U.S. Marine Corps] whose trademark and way of life was authority and regimentation." -- VB; Page 548
- "[On October 21, 1959, officials in the Soviet Union] stated that they had no interest in "American Citizen Oswald," and that "it was not advisable to grant him Soviet citizenship." The quickness of the reply can only be interpreted to mean one thing: they were so certain they would never have any interest in Oswald that there wasn't even any need to sleep on it, not even for one night." -- VB; Page 575
- "It is worth being reminded that on the same day, October 7 , that General [Edwin] Walker returned to Dallas...Oswald announced to the small group of Russian emigres at his Fort Worth apartment that he had decided, without giving them any explanation, to move to Dallas. .... What Lee had in mind very likely was his plan to murder General Walker." -- VB; Pages 673-674
DVP: The physical abuse that Marina Oswald suffered at the hands of this psycho and soon-to-be-murderer named Lee Harvey is documented at some length within this chapter. In fact, via these well-researched pages, I was surprised to learn of the frequency of the beatings that Marina was being subjected to. There are many references to Lee slapping and/or beating Marina during their stormy marriage (they were married in the Soviet Union on April 30, 1961). The February prior to the assassination was when Lee started to use his fists on Marina. (A nice, loving husband, wasn't he?)
- "Marina would tell [author] Priscilla McMillan that the month of February in 1963 was the worst month of her married life. The beatings grew more frequent and more savage. .... He [Lee] began to hit her with his fist five or six times. .... On one occasion he hit Marina so hard that she started bleeding from the nose." -- VB; Pages 674-675
DVP: Another fascinating part of this chapter is when VB tells the very odd tale of Albert J. Osborne (aka: "John Howard Bowen"), an elderly drifter who sat next to Lee Harvey Oswald on the bus that Oswald took to Mexico City in September 1963:
- "Osborne turns out to be even more committed to the romance of falsehoods and flightiness than Lee Oswald. .... Osborne became the eventual subject of a remarkable 95-page FBI report (with its own table of contents and eight-page index) to the Warren Commission investigating his tangled background and true identity. It seems that years earlier Osborne took on a dual identity. ....
"This resulted in his being interviewed on several occasions by different FBI agents, sometimes as Bowen, other times as Osborne, the bureau believing they were talking to two separate people. "Bowen" and "Osborne" said they knew each other and "each" sent the FBI on fruitless quests to find the other. ....
"It is ironic that Lee Oswald, who so clumsily fabricated his own fake identity as Alek Hidell, spent a day and a night in the company of a master in the art and undoubtedly never realized it." -- VB; Pages 750-752
CHAPTER 6 (16 PAGES) -- "OSWALD'S OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF THE RIFLE FOUND ON THE SIXTH FLOOR":
- "So, in addition to Oswald's palm print being found on the underside of the Carcano's barrel, we know that Oswald's fingerprints were found within an inch of the trigger of the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.
"The evidence is clear and unimpeachable -- Lee Harvey Oswald bought, owned, and handled the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor. And it was this weapon that was used to murder John F. Kennedy." -- VB; Page 804
- "If conspirators were to use a fake photograph to frame Oswald, why would they take all these [backyard] photos--thereby increasing the risk, by each photo, of their fakery being detected--when just one photo would accomplish their purpose? ....
"What reason would the conspirators have for taking multiple photos? Even if it was to ensure that they at least got one good photo, after they got their good photo, why wouldn't they destroy the others?" -- VB; Page 398 of Endnotes
DVP: I've asked some of those same questions myself. And many CTers even go so far as to say that multiple backyard pictures were faked even though they (the conspiracy theorists purporting such insanity) readily acknowledge the fact that Marina Oswald herself took ONE "REAL" PHOTO of her husband!
In other words, an authentic, bona fide backyard photo of Lee Harvey Oswald existed prior to 11/22/63, but the photo fakers decided to go ahead and fake additional pictures anyway....i.e., forgeries which depicted the EXACT SAME BACKYARD SCENE AS THE ONE "REAL" PHOTO!
Can the conspiracy-loving silliness get much crazier than that?
THE BACKYARD PHOTOS OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD: FAKE? OR GENUINE?
- "[Wesley] Frazier's statements that the rifle was tucked under Oswald's armpit is hardly as definitive as the critics claim. While Frazier's description of how Oswald carried the rifle was consistent in all of his statements to investigators, it was clearly inferable from his Warren Commission testimony that this was only an assumption on his part based on his limited view.
"Frazier told the Commission that "the only time" he saw the way Oswald was carrying the package was from the back, and that all that was visible was "just a little strip [of the package] running down" along the inside of Oswald's arm. ....
"Since he could only see this small portion of the package under Oswald's right arm, and because he didn't notice any part of the package sticking above his right shoulder...Frazier assumed that it must have been tucked under his armpit, telling the Commission, "I don't see how you could have it anywhere other than under your armpit."
"Although the critics have been quick to embrace Frazier's conclusion, it should be repeated that he told the Commission over and over (no less than five separate times) that he didn't pay much attention to the package or to the way Oswald carried it. ....
"In other words, and understandably, Frazier was confused. So we don't even know, for sure, how Oswald was carrying the rifle in front of his body, which Frazier could not see. At the London trial [in 1986] I asked Frazier, "So the bag could have been protruding out in front of his body and you wouldn't have been able to see it?" and he responded, "That's true."
"The most likely scenario was postulated well by Dan Rather [of CBS News in June 1967], who rhetorically told his audience, "You can decide whether Frazier, walking some fifty feet behind and, in his own words, not paying much attention, might have missed the few inches of the narrow end of such a package sticking up past Oswald's shoulder"." -- VB; Pages 409-410 of Endnotes
DVP: More "Paper Bag" conversation can be located HERE, HERE, and HERE.
CHAPTER 7 (14 PAGES) -- "IDENTIFICATION OF THE MURDER WEAPON":
- "So we know that Oswald's Carcano was the weapon that murdered the president." -- VB; Page 808
- "The movements and handling of President Kennedy's stretcher [at Parkland Hospital] negates the possibility that the bullet [controversial Bullet "CE399"] could have originated from the president's stretcher." -- VB; Page 811
- "The whole issue of what stretcher the bullet [CE399] was found on, Connally's or some unknown person's, is a giant nonissue. Since we know that the bullet was fired from Oswald's Carcano rifle, and we know it wasn't found on Kennedy's stretcher, it had to have been found on Connally's stretcher." -- VB; Page 431 of Endnotes
If CE399 Didn't Wound John Connally, Then What Bullet Did?
The Bullets, Darrell Tomlinson, Dr. Guinn, NAA, And Some Common Sense
- "WFAA-TV cameraman Tom Alyea...made a...claim about the shells being moved. Alyea said that [DPD Captain Will] Fritz picked up all three shells and held them in his hand while Alyea filmed them. But this part of the film Alyea claims he shot has never surfaced--a highly unusual circumstance considering that much of Alyea's film was broadcast UNEDITED over WFAA. .... In any event, if he in fact saw Fritz pick up the shells it probably was AFTER the crime scene photos had been taken. ....
"What perhaps is the strongest evidence against [Deputy Sheriff Luke] Mooney's contention that Fritz moved the shells...is that he [Mooney] said that once he discovered the shells he put his head out the window "and called down to Sheriff Decker and Captain Fritz...to send up the crime lab." So Fritz wasn't even there on the sixth floor at the time. ....
"When [DPD photographer Robert Studebaker] arrived on the sixth floor "they hadn't found anything" yet [per Studebaker's WC testimony]. Studebaker went on to say that as soon as they found the shells, "we went over there and took photographs," which we can assume would have been at least a few minutes before Captain Fritz even arrived on the sixth floor." -- VB; Pages 417-418 of Endnotes
- "A favorite theme of conspiracy theorists [is that] documents and photographs [have been] "buried" in the National Archives or in the Warren Commission's 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits.
"If we're to believe the theorists, it apparently never crossed the minds of the alleged conspirators who killed Kennedy to simply get rid of the evidence that could convict them. Unlike nearly all ordinary conspirators, Kennedy's killers intentionally and knowingly left evidence behind in the archives and the Warren Commission volumes that could expose them -- evidence that only the conspiracists are smart and industrious enough to uncover." -- VB; Page 418 of Endnotes
- "One can only wonder why Commission Exhibit No. 399 did not have any blood residuum on it. My only guess is that the blood traces that must have been on it were removed by someone early on at the Dallas crime lab or elsewhere almost as a matter of course. In all the evidence bullets I handled in court in murder cases during my prosecutorial career, none had any visible blood on them. ....
"Interestingly, [the FBI's Robert] Frazier testified that with respect to the two main bullet fragments found in the presidential limousine [CE567 & CE569], "there was a very slight residue of blood or some other material adhering, but it did not interfere with the examination. It was wiped off to clean up the bullet for examination"." -- VB; Page 425 of Endnotes
- "The bullet [from the 2004 "SBT" test performed in Australia during the "Discovery Channel" documentary, "JFK: Beyond The Magic Bullet"], though it directly struck two ribs, weighed 158 grains, meaning it lost just .6 grain more than Commission Exhibit No. 399...even though the latter bullet only struck a glancing blow to Connally's right rib.
"Certainly, the relatively intact Adelaide [Australia] bullet showed that the limited damage to Commission Exhibit No. 399 was not inconsistent at all with its having caused all of the wounds to Kennedy and Connally." -- VB; Page 430 of Endnotes
DVP: The "Beyond The Magic Bullet" program (in which Vince Bugliosi made an appearance, by the way) is one of the best documentaries on the JFK case.
The detailed SBT test performed by the Australian researchers proved that a Carcano bullet could positively take a very similar path through two "bodies", do approximately the same damage to the two "victims", and have that bullet emerge in a totally UNFRAGMENTED condition. Here's a picture of that test bullet:
I ask: What are the odds that such a test could mimic the SBT so closely (not perfectly, granted...but darn close to it) and yet have that purported ONE-bullet event actually being performed by two or three different bullets in Dallas on 11/22/63 (complete with the appropriate number of "vanishing" bullets after the shooting)?
Any odds-makers in the house?
More information concerning the "Beyond The Magic Bullet" program can be found HERE.
- "Even if the new findings [from 2002 to 2004, not the 2007 study] were to render NAA, and hence [Dr. Vincent] Guinn's conclusions, invalid, we do know that the stretcher bullet was fired from Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all other weapons.
"Since that is definite, what is the likelihood that a bullet found on Connally's stretcher, which we know was fired from Oswald's gun, is not the same bullet that deposited its missing fragments in Connally's wrist? Next to nothing.
"In other words, when all is said and done, what difference does it make if it turns out that the NAA tests are completely invalid? But there is a more important point to be made. Let's not forget that the NAA conclusions by Guinn...are completely consistent with all the other evidence showing that Oswald was at the sniper's nest window and it was his Carcano rifle that fired the only bullets that hit Kennedy.
"This other, independent evidence necessarily increases the likelihood that Guinn's separate NAA conclusions are accurate." -- VB; Pages 436-437 of Endnotes
DVP: In addition to VB's comments that I've quoted above (and probably even more important on the "common sense" and "sheer luck" scales):
What do you think the chances are that a multi-gun conspiracy took place in Dealey Plaza, with bullets from more than one gun striking the victims in JFK's limousine, and yet, after the bullets stopped flying and the missiles and fragments were examined, NOT A SINGLE BULLET OR FRAGMENT from any non-Oswald gun turned out to be large enough to be tested in order to positively eliminate Oswald's rifle as the source for ALL of the bullets and fragments that hit any victims on Elm Street?
Would anybody be willing to take those incredibly-low odds to Vegas?
In other words: If a multi-gun plot really did end the life of JFK, how is it possible that those conspirators got lucky enough to have none of the non-Oswald bullets (or even fragments thereof) discovered by anybody?
Food for thought, IMO.
The Head Shot, Bullet Fragments, And The NAA Analysis
- "Although the photographs of Commission Exhibit No. 842 in the Warren Commission and HSCA volumes are very poor reproductions and unclear, I was able to get a photograph from the National Archives that clearly shows four fragments, which the Warren Commission identifies as the fragments removed from Connally's wrist by Dr. Gregory. ....
"In my preparation of Dr. Guinn for his testimony at the London trial, he told me he was "under the impression" that in all the tests the bullet fragments were subjected to throughout the years, "one very tiny fragment may have somehow got lost."
"(Ah-ha, some conspiracy buffs might say. If we can someday, perhaps centuries from now, find this minuscule fragment, it will probably hold the key to the assassination, including microchip engravings on it identifying the names, even the Social Security numbers, of all those involved in the conspiracy to murder President Kennedy.)" -- VB; Page 440 of Endnotes
- "In support of his position, which I concur with, that the bullet fragments removed from Connally's wrist did not weigh more than the 2.4 grains lost from the stretcher bullet [CE399], Gerald Posner writes in Case Closed that Dr. Charles Gregory testified before the Warren Commission that the bullet fragments he removed from Connally's wrist were "flakes of metal" weighing "something less than the weight of a postage stamp."
"But Dr. Gregory was not referring to the bullet fragments he removed from Connally's wrist, which definitely were not flakes of metal, but to the bullet fragments left in Connally's wrist, which were never removed yet show up on X-rays." -- VB; Page 441 of Endnotes
DVP: I'm very nearly certain that Vince is incorrect regarding the above statement. Because when we look at Dr. Gregory's WC testimony, there is no question at all that when Gregory said this to WC counsel Arlen Specter --- "I would estimate that they [the metal fragments] would be weighed in micrograms, which is [a] very small amount of weight. .... It is the kind of weighing that requires a micro-adjustable scale, which means that it is something less than the weight of a postage stamp" --- Gregory was specifically referring to the fragments which are visible on two PRE-operative X-rays taken of Governor Connally's wrist (CE690 and CE691).
Which means that Gregory was referring to ALL of the metal fragments (or "flakes") that were in Connally's wrist BEFORE Gregory ever operated on the Governor to retrieve any bullet fragments.
Via comparison, when looking at CE692 and CE693 (which are POST-operative wrist X-rays that were taken after Connally was operated on), it can easily be determined that Exhibits 692 and 693 depict FEWER fragments within the X-rays than are shown in 690 and 691.
It's possible that Gregory misspoke when he said that ALL of the fragments visible in Exhibits 690 and 691 represented only "flakes of metal", which is positively what he said, and, as I mentioned, he was definitely referring to the PRE-operative wrist X-rays, even though Gregory said that he, himself, removed "two or three" metal fragments from Connally's wrist, and had a chance to determine at that time whether the term "flakes of metal" really applied to those removed fragments.
In any event, that is what the official record reveals with respect to Dr. Gregory's testimony in 1964 when he was looking directly at CE690 and CE691.
And to my (layperson's) eyes, the visible hunks of metal that can be seen in 690 and 691 (linked above) certainly don't look very big at all. Perhaps the word "flakes" would, indeed, describe them fairly well (at least when looking at the X-rays only).
Elsewhere in Gregory's testimony -- after Mr. Specter asked, "Approximately how large were those fragments [that were removed from Connally's wrist], Dr. Gregory?" -- we find these words being spoken by Gregory:
"Rather thin...their greatest dimension would probably not exceed one-eighth of an inch. They were very small."
Another important point to be made about the size of Connally's wrist fragments refers to a portion of Gregory's testimony where he, in effect, is saying that all of the fragments that were seen in Connally's wrist (including all of the fragments that were removed from that wrist) were located during surgery "by chance", and ALL of those metal fragments could have been left inside Connally's body without causing the Governor further physical problems in the future.
Here is exactly what Dr. Gregory said regarding this matter:
"We know from experience that small flakes of metal of this kind do not ordinarily produce difficulty in the future, but that the extensive dissection required to find them may produce...consequences and so we choose to leave them inside unless we chance upon them. And on this occasion, those bits of metal recovered were simply found by chance in the course of removing necrotized material [i.e., dead bodily tissue]."
Setting The Record Straight: Correcting A Few "Reclaiming History" Errors
More info regarding the "bullet fragment" controversy here:
Did Bullet CE399 Deposit "Too Many Fragments" Inside John Connally? Hardly
THE ABOVE PHOTO SHOWS JOHN AND NELLIE CONNALLY
AT THE WHITE HOUSE IN EARLY 1964. GOVERNOR CONNALLY'S
RIGHT ARM, INJURED BY OSWALD'S RIFLE BULLET IN DALLAS,
IS STILL IN A CAST AND SLING HERE.
DVP: When it comes to one of the favorite arguments among conspiracy believers -- i.e., the so-called "lack of a chain of custody" for much of the evidence in the JFK case -- VB offers up the following:
- "An argument frequently heard in the conspiracy community is that Oswald could not have been convicted in a court of law because the "chain of custody [or possession]" of the evidence against him was not strong enough to make the evidence admissible in a court of law. ....
"The first observation I have to make is that I would think conspiracists...would primarily want to know if Oswald killed Kennedy, not whether he could get off on a legal technicality.
"Second, there is no problem with the chain of custody of much of the physical evidence against Oswald, such as the rifle and the two large bullet fragments found in the presidential limousine.
"Third, and most important on this issue, courts do not have a practice of allowing into evidence only that for which there is an ironclad and 100 percent clear chain of custody, and this is why I believe that 95 percent of the physical evidence in this case would be admissible.
"I can tell you from personal experience that excluding evidence at a trial because the chain of custody is weak is rare, certainly the exception rather than the rule. The typical situation where the chain is not particularly strong is for the trial judge to nevertheless admit the evidence, ruling that the weakness of the chain goes only to "the weight of the evidence [i.e., how much weight or credence the jury will give it], not its admissibility"." -- VB; Page 442 of Endnotes
DVP: Here's an important addendum to the above VB quote, concerning the question of whether Warren Commission Exhibit #399 would have been an admissible piece of evidence in a court of law.
DVP: Next up -- The supposed Jack Ruby/Seth Kantor meeting at Parkland Hospital:
- "In any event, even if Ruby was at Parkland, to assume he was there to plant a bullet on Connally's stretcher to frame Oswald for Kennedy's murder, making Ruby a part of the conspiracy to murder Kennedy, is...too ludicrous for words. The philosophy of the zany conspiracy theorists is that if something is theoretically possible (as most things are), then it's not only probable, it happened." -- VB; Page 450 of Endnotes
DVP: Allow me to add this common-sense observation -- If Ruby had been planting a bullet on a stretcher at Parkland, would he have had any desire whatsoever to draw attention to himself around the very time he's engaging in this shady, conspiratorial activity by approaching somebody who knew him on sight--Kantor--who could then, in turn, tell the authorities, "Hey, I saw Jack Ruby out at Parkland on Friday"?!
That sounds like screwy behavior for a member of the proverbial "Let's Frame Oswald" conspiracy team...don't ya think?
VB adds a humorous addendum to this "Was Ruby At Parkland?" topic in the endnotes, by telling his readers about a "looney bird" witness named Wilma Tice (who was acquainted with two of Ruby's sisters). Per Wilma's account of events, she saw Jack Ruby at Parkland on 11/22/63 and claimed that Ruby was at the hospital in order to "give Governor Connally a kidney". [LOL break.] Jack Ruby was a busy bee that day, for sure....he was placing ads for his club, he was making a whole bunch of phone calls, he was driving a pick-up truck in Dealey Plaza (per Julia Mercer), he was running around the Grassy Knoll just seconds after JFK was shot (per Jean Hill), he was assassinating President Kennedy (per Tom Tilson), he was planting a bullet on a hospital stretcher (per Oliver Stone and other conspiracy-loving kooks), and he was attempting to donate one of his kidneys to the injured Governor of Texas.
Whew! It's a good thing Jack closed his nightclubs that night. He probably wouldn't have had time to oversee the Carousel Club (and toss his quota of unruly patrons down the stairs) anyway. ;)
- "One...problem that rises to the dignity of a true mystery .... a man's leather wallet [was supposedly found] near the puddle of blood where Tippit's body had lain. The wallet, per [FBI agent James] Hosty, was Oswald's. ....
"If I had to wager, I'd conclude it was Tippit's wallet, and the reason [WFAA-TV cameraman Ron] Reiland stated...that it was Tippit's wallet is that the police had informed him at the scene that it was. ....
"It makes no sense to me that the Dallas police and detectives, several of whom were Tippit's friends, would keep from the world that his killer's wallet was found near his body." -- VB; Pages 453 and 456 of Endnotes
CHAPTER 8 (26 PAGES) -- "OSWALD AT THE SNIPER'S NEST AND 'EVIDENCE' OF HIS INNOCENCE":
- "Conspiracy theorists rank Oswald's second-floor lunchroom encounter with Dallas police officer Marrion L. Baker near the very top of the list of reasons to believe Oswald didn't kill Kennedy.
"According to the critics, Oswald couldn't possibly have gotten from the sixth-floor sniper's nest to the second-floor lunchroom in the 90-second time frame estimated by the Warren Commission. .... Once again, however, the critics have exaggerated and misrepresented the circumstances surrounding this encounter in their curious zeal to exonerate Oswald of the crime he so obviously committed." -- VB; Page 837
Re-Constructing The Steps Of A Presidential Assassin
- "Oswald's declaration ["I'm just a patsy"] has been taken out of context by the conspiracy theorists, who want people to believe that when Oswald said he was just a patsy he was referring to being a patsy for the conspirators behind the assassination. But it appears from the context that he was not." -- VB; Page 841
EXAMINING OSWALD'S "I'M JUST A PATSY" LIE
- "The bottom line is that evidence of Oswald's innocence in the Kennedy assassination is about as rare as hundred-dollar bills on the floor of a flophouse." -- VB; Page 844
Solid Validation That Oswald Was In That Sniper's Nest On 11/22/63
- "Perhaps Oswald wanted only to confirm the exact route of the motorcade [when he talked to James Jarman on the morning of November 22]. .... On the morning of the assassination, the Dallas Morning News published a map of the route which seemed to show the motorcade entering the freeway from Main Street, without making the jog north on Houston to Elm, then west on Elm. .... (It was this map that led some to believe that the motorcade route had been changed when, in fact, the map was simply inaccurate in its detail.)
"Although there are no credible reports that Oswald read the paper that particular morning, if Oswald had looked in that morning's Dallas Morning News and seen the map, it might have raised questions in his mind about the precise route the motorcade would take, and hence, his question to Jarman." -- VB; Pages 460-461 of Endnotes
The Motorcade Route -- Was It Changed?
CHAPTER 9 (14 PAGES) -- "THE GRASSY KNOLL":
- "If, indeed, a fourth shot was fired that day, why did only 6 witnesses hear four shots according to two studies and only 8 witnesses according to another, whereas the vast majority of witnesses heard only three shots? .... If you had to wager your home on who is right, whose opinion would you endorse? Can there really be any question? ....
"[And] if a second gunman was firing at the presidential limousine that day from the grassy knoll, why is it that only 4 of [author Josiah] Thompson's 172 witnesses, 4 of the HSCA's 178, and 5 of London Weekend Television's 189 thought they heard bullets being fired from two directions?" -- VB; Page 849
DVP: Indeed. Those are questions that I, too, have asked many times as well. In my view, the answer is quite obvious. Those witnesses who said they heard ALL of the shots coming from the grassy knoll area (by the very fact they did not hear different sounds/shots coming from multiple locations) heard only Lee Harvey Oswald's shots from the Book Depository, and the acoustical environment in Dealey Plaza was playing tricks on them.
Assassination researcher John McAdams conducted his own poll with respect to the Dealey Plaza earwitnesses, and he arrived at the figures illustrated in the charts shown below:
WHERE DID THE SHOTS COME FROM?:
HOW MANY SHOTS DID THE WITNESSES HEAR?:
Per McAdams' poll, only 5 out of 104 witnesses (with a firm and clear opinion as to the source of the gunfire) thought that gunshots had come from more than just a SINGLE location within Dealey Plaza! In my opinion, that's a fairly-significant statistic, especially since McAdams' poll, like the ones VB cites above, takes into account a total number of witnesses that stretches into three digits.
Note: Detailed information about the witnesses who make up the above pie charts can be found HERE.
An Important Statistic Relating To Assassination Witnesses
- "Even though there's no credible evidence that any shot was fired from the grassy knoll, one could still have shouting rights if one could at least argue that logic and common sense dictate that one or more of the three shots emanated from there. But when you have no evidence and no common sense on your side, isn't it time to put the "Closed" sign on your door and go home?" -- VB; Page 858
CHAPTER 10 (6 PAGES) -- "A CONVERSATION
WITH DR. CYRIL WECHT":
- "The conspiracy theorists' leading medical forensic expert [Dr. Wecht] cannot even hypothesize a shooting from the right side or right front that is intellectually sustainable. Even with as fine a forensic mind as Dr. Wecht's, by definition no one can defend a position that is indefensible." -- VB; Page 864
DVP: On June 14, 2007, Vincent Bugliosi debated Cyril Wecht on Pittsburgh radio station WPTT. The debate, which can be heard at the link below, revolves around the Single-Bullet Theory:
CHAPTER 11 (7 PAGES) -- "SECRET SERVICE AGENTS
ON THE GRASSY KNOLL":
- "The probability is substantial that the person Dallas police officer Joe Smith encountered behind the picket fence whom he took to be a Secret Service agent was none other than James W. Powell [a special agent from the "112th Military Intelligence Group"]." -- VB; Page 869
- "From all the evidence it clearly appears that the Secret Service sightings on the grassy knoll and behind the Book Depository Building after the shooting are entitled to about the same weight as Oswald's statement in Captain Fritz's office about being confronted by a Secret Service agent in front of the Book Depository Building [as Oswald was leaving the building at 12:33 PM on November 22]." -- VB; Page 871
- "When I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for Oswald's military intelligence file on November 20, 1999 (made with the faintest hope that someone, somehow, had salvaged the file), I was informed by letter from the FOIA staff at the National Archives on January 18, 2000, that the file "no longer existed."
"It is nothing short of incredible that the federal government would destroy Oswald's file the same way it would that of any ordinary person. But government officials always feel it is incumbent upon them to live up to two well-earned reputations. One is that they are bureaucratic automatons whose bloodless daily activities do not admit exceptions to their rules.
"And two, as with law enforcement, even though normally innocent they insist on acting guilty so that conspiracy theorists will have more fodder for their charges. (They do so because being innocent, they have no guilty conscience and continue to be angered and shocked when they are later accused of a "cover-up.")
"For example, the Los Angeles Police Department in its investigation of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and the Memphis Police Department in its investigation into the assassination of Martin Luther King, destroyed evidence after a period of time that should have been forever preserved." -- VB; Pages 486-487 of Endnotes
CHAPTER 12 (29 PAGES) -- "THE ZANIES (AND OTHERS) HAVE THEIR SAY":
- "Comedy feeds on tragedy. And whenever there's a major catastrophe or tragedy, as sure as death and taxes a chorus of cuckoo birds will voice their bizarre observations." -- VB; Page 872
- "The conspiracy theorists are so impoverished in their desperate search for evidence to support their cause that they are compelled to descend to such whimsical, ever-changing, and obviously untrue accounts as that of Virgil [Ed] Hoffman." -- VB; Page 875
Ed Hoffman -- Telltale Changes in His Story
- "Although it would not be too easy to have any less credibility than Mrs. [Jean] Hill, conspiracy buffs, in their desperation, have elevated her to an iconic stature, Hill being one of the very brightest stars in the conspiracy theory constellation. .... [Hill's] Dealey Plaza observations are cited and accepted without criticism in virtually all the major conspiracy books on the assassination." -- VB; Page 877
DVP: Jean Hill is shown in the picture below, which is from a TV interview with Hill on 11/22/63. During the course of that interview (and contrary to her later claims), Hill positively said she did NOT see anyone firing any weapon from the Grassy Knoll. Here's a portion of that interview:
QUESTION: "Did you see the person who fired the weapon?"
JEAN HILL: "No, I didn't see any person fire the weapon."
QUESTION: "You only heard it?"
JEAN HILL: "I only heard it."
Jean Hill: Reliable Witness (Or Not)?
Jean Hill -- The Lady In Red
DVP: For another whopper of a laugh, check out the way VB dismantles the wholly-illogical story of famed pro-conspiracy witness Julia Ann Mercer. Here's an excerpt:
- "She [Mercer] said, "A man was sitting under the wheel of the car and slouched over the wheel." (I defy any student of the English language to explain, from these words, the position the man was in.)
"But why presidential assassins...would deliberately draw attention to themselves by parking illegally and blocking traffic on a busy street in the presence of three Dallas police officers as well as lay witnesses like Miss Mercer is not known. Of course, conspiracy theorists never let common sense get in the way of their hallucinatory theories." -- VB; Pages 883-884
Does Julia Ann Mercer's Story Make Any Logical Sense?
DVP: The incredibly-enjoyable CTer bashfest continues as Vince takes a look at the widely-believed, but ultimately "terribly silly" (per VB's footnote on page 888), "Badge Man" theory. The side-splitting hilarity of this chapter flows non-stop, as indicated by the following excerpt:
- "Apparently, Kennedy's assassin, instead of trying to...escape from behind the picket fence after shooting Kennedy, had much more important things to do -- mainly, climb over the fence (at which point he'd be in plain view of everyone on Elm Street) so he could beat up on that louse Gordon Arnold and take his film." -- VB; Page 888
DVP: Regarding witness S.M. Holland's claim of having seen "a puff of smoke" on the knoll during the President's assassination, Vince offers these eloquent and well-stated words:
- "If an ephemeral wisp of smoke -- even if it existed -- can overcome several mountains of solid evidence to the contrary, then the investigation into the truth in the assassination is more of an existential exercise fit for black coffee-sipping Left Bank philosophers who have always been more interested in asking questions than in getting answers to those questions." -- VB; Page 896
DVP: In an extensive endnote, VB provides many well-thought-out and reasonable observations when it comes to the various other "I Saw Smoke" Dealey Plaza eyewitnesses (besides S.M. Holland).
Vince systematically shreds each and every "smoke" witness (and takes a stab at good ol' Mark Lane, to boot). The "smoke" surgery can be found on pages 497-499 of the endnotes.
- "A puff of smoke: As with every other area of the case, the conspiracy theorists and Warren Commission critics...have distorted the official record." -- VB; Page 497 of Endnotes
DVP: Additional well-placed humor is inserted into VB's CD notes when talking further about the topic of smoke:
- "If what [Robert] Groden encircled [on a still frame of Dave Wiegman's film; linked here] were smoke, it would appear to be smoke from a small smokestack. If that's an exaggeration, what is not is that the image is probably 50 times larger than what could be expected from the muzzle of a fired rifle.
"Moreover, the large image is not anywhere along the stockade fence, being to the west of the fence near the Triple Underpass. And finally, Groden has also encircled the presidential limousine on the photo, and it is, as he acknowledges, "disappearing under" the Triple Underpass, meaning that Wiegman's photo had to have been taken at least a few seconds after all the shots were fired.
"What can Groden's response to this be? That the smoke originally came from a rifle fired behind the picket fence, that instead of vanishing in the wind it actually mushroomed into a large, cloudlike image that kept its form and was drifting west at the time of the frame from Wiegman's film?
"We know the image in the Wiegman frame is not smoke from any rifle." -- VB; Pages 500-501 of Endnotes
DVP: More Smoke Talk can be found HERE and HERE.
- "There's a strong reason to believe that what [witness Lee E.] Bowers said is not credible. .... [In Bowers' sworn 11/22/63 affidavit] he said absolutely nothing at all about the commotion and unusual activity behind the picket fence that attracted his attention." -- VB; Page 898
DVP: This is a very good "Why Didn't I Ever Think Of That?" moment that VB has offered up here. For years, CTers have propped up Lee Bowers as a top-notch pro-conspiracy witness, but Bugliosi's point above is an excellent one indeed.
I've checked Bowers' original affidavit online and, just as Vince said, that document doesn't mention a single word about Bowers having seen any men near the picket fence. In fact, practically the entire affidavit contains Bowers' observations about the three cars that circled the parking lot shortly before the shooting, with the assassination itself seemingly being a mere afterthought in Bowers' mind. The only reference to the actual shooting comes in the last two sentences of Bowers' affidavit, when he says:
"About 8 or 10 minutes after he left [i.e., the last of the three cars that toured the lot] I heard at least 3 shots very close together. Just after the shots the area became crowded with people coming from Elm Street and the slope just north of Elm."
LEE BOWERS' 11/22/63 AFFIDAVIT
But even if we were to fully believe Bowers with respect to what he told the Warren Commission in 1964 and Mark Lane in 1966, the sum total of Bowers' comments really makes him a pretty decent "lone assassin" type of witness. Here's why I say that:
LEE BOWERS: IS HE REALLY A "CONSPIRACY" WITNESS AT ALL?
DVP: VB sums up his thoughts about Lee Bowers this way (once again, to the delight of my funny bone):
- "If Bowers hadn't died...in August of 1966, it probably would have been just a matter of time before he had Jack Ruby with a machine gun on the grassy knoll." -- VB; Page 899
CHAPTER 13 (34 PAGES) -- "OTHER ASSASSINS":
- "Three alleged Corsican hit men hired by the mob to kill Kennedy were memorialized in the disgraceful documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy. .... For all its silliness, the American public can't get enough of the British film." -- VB; Pages 902 and 906
Amazon.com: David Von Pein's review of The Men Who Killed Kennedy
Amazon.com: David Von Pein's review of The Men Who Killed Kennedy [VHS]
- "Another alleged assassin is James E. Files, the Rodney Dangerfield of Kennedy assassins. .... Files has fallen on such hard times that few buffs will even talk to him. However, a few promoters and publicity seekers have tried to exploit Files's pathetic story." -- VB; Page 917
THE "JAMES E. FILES" SILLINESS
MORE ABOUT JAMES FILES AND HIS CRAZY TALE
DVP: Vince also does a nice job of forever destroying the theory that has Mac Wallace's fingerprint being on one of the book cartons in the Sniper's Nest. And VB does this by actually talking to the person (Nathan Darby) who supposedly positively identified the print in question as being Wallace's. But there's a big problem for those who want to buy into this Wallace theory -- the print on the box was a PALMprint, not a FINGERprint.
Bugliosi talked to Darby over the phone in November 2001, and Vince quotes Darby as saying: "I wasn't given any palm print. They were both fingerprints." ....
- "So much for Malcolm Wallace at the window and another desperate attempt by the conspiracy community to implicate anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald for Kennedy's murder." -- VB; Page 923
MORE ABOUT MALCOLM WALLACE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF "CE3131"
- "Fortunately, [the book] Mortal Error has not been mortal in its impact. Other than Howard Donahue and his biographer Bonar Menninger, I know of no serious student of the assassination who takes the book or its contents seriously." -- VB; Page 929
Did Secret Service Agent George Hickey Accidentally Kill JFK?
- "Perhaps the most famous...of the "other" assassins are the "three tramps". The fact that there never was any evidence at all of their guilt is irrelevant to the conspiracy theorists. To the buffs, there was one big piece of incriminating evidence against the tramps: THEY WEREN'T LEE HARVEY OSWALD! And in the balmy and unhinged conspiracy universe, no evidence of guilt is stronger against someone than that he isn't Lee Harvey Oswald." -- VB; Page 929
THE TIPPIT MURDER TRIAL AND THE HILARIOUS DEFENSE OF LEE HARVEY OSWALD
- "Remarkably, in one of the segments of the documentary ["The Men Who Killed Kennedy"] (Part 3), three "Dealey Plaza witnesses," not one of whom testified before the Warren Commission, are the stars of the film, telling their tales of conspiracy and grassy knoll hijinks.
"All three almost assuredly were never even in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination. All three came forward for the first time years later (Beverly Oliver, seven years later; Ed Hoffman, the deaf-mute, four years later; and Gordon Arnold, fifteen years later), and all three significantly changed their story every time they told it, although the viewers of the film were not, of course, told this.
"The stories of these three witnesses are so far-fetched and contradictory that it is easy to form the opinion that not one of them was even present in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination." -- VB; Pages 504-505 of Endnotes
CHAPTER 14 (16 PAGES) -- "MOTIVE":
- "[Oswald's] attempt, just seven months [before JFK's murder], to kill Major General Edwin A. Walker clearly showed his propensity for murder, at least where his target was political. ....
"When we couple his capacity for violence with his deep hostility for people and institutions, there can be little question that Oswald was a ticking time bomb, and it was only a matter of time before something like the Kennedy assassination occurred. ....
"Remarkably, many major books on the assassination by Warren Commission critics and conspiracy theorists don't even mention Oswald's attempt to murder Walker. Not one word." -- VB; Page 942
- "If anyone ever had the psychological profile of a presidential assassin, it was Oswald. He not only had a propensity for violence, but was emotionally and psychologically unhinged. .... His alleged act was completely consistent with his personality." -- VB; Page 949
DID LEE HARVEY OSWALD HAVE A MOTIVE FOR KILLING PRESIDENT KENNEDY?
CHAPTER 15 (19 PAGES) -- "SUMMARY OF
- "It is...remarkable that these conspiracy theorists aren't troubled in the least by their inability to present any evidence that Oswald was set up and framed. For them, the mere belief or speculation that he was is a more-than-adequate substitute for evidence." -- VB; Page 952
- "With respect to the Kennedy assassination, once you establish and know that Oswald is guilty, as has been done, then you also necessarily know that there is an answer (whether the answer is known or not) compatible with this conclusion for the endless alleged discrepancies, inconsistencies, and questions the conspiracy theorists have raised through the years about Oswald's guilt." -- VB; Page 953
- "Conspiracy theorists have attacked the case against Oswald as being weak because it was "only circumstantial," the implication being that any case based on circumstantial evidence is not solid. .... But nothing could be further from the truth. ....
"Not only was there physical circumstantial evidence against Oswald [e.g., guns, bullets, and fingerprints traced to the defendant], but there was an enormous amount of non-physical circumstantial evidence, including the very most powerful in this category: his flight from the murder scene, his resisting arrest, and his telling one provable lie after another upon his apprehension, all showing an unmistakable consciousness of guilt." -- VB; Page 528 of Endnotes
EVERYTHING LEE OSWALD DID SAYS "I'M GUILTY"
- "Predictably, conspiracy theorists have picked up the canard that [assassination eyewitness Howard] Brennan's eyesight was not good at the time of the assassination. ....
"Brennan told the Warren Commission that "both" of his eyes were "sandblasted" in January of 1964, two months after the assassination, and this trauma was responsible for his eyes being "not good" at the time of his Warren Commission testimony on March 24, 1964.
"It couldn't be clearer that Brennan said he had excellent eyesight at the time of the assassination but poor eyesight since the sandblasting incident. After an FBI interview of Brennan on the evening of the assassination, the interviewing agent wrote that Brennan had "volunteered he has been informed by his optometrist...that he [Brennan] has 'perfect vision' at a distance, or, in other words, he is farsighted. He advised he wears glasses for reading only"." -- VB; Pages 529-530 of Endnotes
MORE ABOUT HOWARD BRENNAN (INCLUDING A V.B. IMITATION, JUST FOR FUN)
CE477 & CE478 (PICTURED ABOVE) DEPICT HOWARD BRENNAN
IN THE SAME LOCATION HE WAS IN WHEN HE
WITNESSED THE ASSASSINATION ON 11/22/63
- "A myth that has taken hold among a great number of people outside the criminal justice system is the supposed unreliability of eyewitness identification. But don't tell that to any prosecutor. ....
"An eyewitness...pointing a finger at the defendant from the witness stand and saying, "He's the man who raped (or robbed, etc.) me" or "the man I saw shoot the victim" has sent countless defendants to prison and death row throughout the years.
"The basis for the value of eyewitness identification is that there is something incredibly distinctive about a human face. So unique that out of the over six billion people on the face of the globe, no two people, other than identical twins, look exactly alike. ....
"When a witness to a crime sees the face of the perpetrator, the image is stored in his mind, and far more often than not, when he sees the face again, a silent bell rings and he instantaneously knows "that's the man." That's just a reality of life." -- VB; Page 533 of Endnotes
DVP: In this "Summary" chapter, Mr. Bugliosi lists every one of his "53 pieces of evidence" that point toward Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt in the JFK assassination. The only item on Vince's list that I think really doesn't belong there is #41, where VB talks about the results of the paraffin test on Oswald's hands being positive.
[2015 EDIT: Since writing the above words in 2007, I've added one more thing that appears on Bugliosi's list that I don't think belongs there--item #23 about Oswald changing his pants. (Which is something I don't think happened at all anyway, but even if it did, it shouldn't be on Vincent's 53-item list, IMO.)]
In my opinion, it was a mistake for Vince to have placed that particular item on his list because he knows that paraffin tests are not considered very reliable. And VB even discusses the unreliability of such tests on page 164 of this book.
However, in VB's defense of including the paraffin test results on his 53-item list, I'd like to add this .... While it is, indeed, true that paraffin tests are inherently unreliable (since the presence of nitrates on a person's hands can be caused by various other things besides just gunpowder residue) -- I'd also ask this question with respect to Lee Oswald's "positive" paraffin results in this case:
What do you suppose the odds are of something other than gunpowder residue causing that "positive" result in his paraffin test when we also know that Lee Oswald was CARRYING A GUN ON HIM when he was apprehended in the Texas Theater on 11/22/63?
I'd say, given these circumstances (plus the fact that the very gun Oswald had on him when he was arrested was determined beyond all doubt to be the weapon that killed J.D. Tippit), the odds would be pretty doggone low that something other than gunpowder resulted in that positive paraffin conclusion.
I think Vince should have probably included the above "What are the odds?" type of argument as an addendum to his 41st item on page 965, but he did not include any such addendum.
But other than that one quibble I have with #41, VB's large list is excellent, with several "powerful new inferences" (as Bugliosi would say) emerging along the way.
Here's a sampling of some of the things listed on "The VB 53":
- "Before Oswald got into [Wesley] Frazier's car that Friday morning, the day of the assassination, he placed a long, bulky package on the rear seat, telling Frazier it contained...curtain rods." -- VB; Page 956
- "During Sunday's [11/24/63] interrogation Oswald slipped up and placed himself on the sixth floor [of the TSBD] at the time of the assassination. .... In his Sunday-morning interrogation he said that at lunchtime, one of the "Negro" employees invited him to eat lunch with him and he declined. .... He said before he could finish whatever he was doing, the commotion surrounding the assassination took place and when he "WENT DOWNSTAIRS," a policeman questioned him as to his identification, and his boss stated that he was one of their employees. .... WHERE WAS OSWALD AT THE TIME THE NEGRO EMPLOYEE INVITED HIM TO LUNCH, AND BEFORE HE DESCENDED TO THE SECOND-FLOOR LUNCHROOM? [Answer:] The sixth floor." [All emphasis Bugliosi's.] -- VB; Page 957
Lee Harvey Oswald's Ever-Changing Alibi(s)
- "There is another very powerful reason why we can know that Oswald, at the time of his confrontation with [Officer Marrion] Baker in the second-floor lunchroom, had just come down from the sixth floor, not up from the first floor [to get a Coke], as he claimed. ....
"Indeed there was a Coca-Cola machine in the [second-floor lunch] room. But to my knowledge, there is no direct reference in the assassination literature to a second soft drink machine in the Book Depository Building. ....
"Neither [Bonnie Ray] Williams nor [Wesley] Frazier expressly said what floor this [second soda] machine was on. .... Through a few phone calls I was able to reach Wesley Frazier, whom I hadn't talked to since 1986, when he testified for me at the London trial. Still living in Dallas, he told me that "there was a Dr. Pepper machine on the first floor." Where, specifically, was it? [Frazier:] "It was located by the double freight elevator near the back of the building." ....
"And indeed, I subsequently found proof of the existence of the machine, with the words "Dr. Pepper" near the top front of it, in an FBI photo taken for the Warren Commission of the northwest corner of the first floor, and it is located right next to the refrigerator. ....
"So we see that apart from all the conclusive evidence that Oswald shot Kennedy from the sniper's nest, and therefore had to have descended from there to the second floor, his story about going up to the second floor to get a Coke doesn't even make sense. Why go up to the second floor to get a drink for your lunch when there's a soft drink machine on the first floor, the floor you say you are already on, particularly when the apparent drink of your choice [Dr. Pepper by all accounts] is on this first floor, not the second floor?" -- VB; Pages 957-958
DVP: Via a source note Vince provides, I located the WC photo in question....and sure enough, there's the forgotten-about Dr. Pepper machine, in "Warren Commission Document #CD496; Photo 7" (linked here).
By the way, we KNOW that the Dr. Pepper machine on the first floor was definitely in working order on 11/22/63. How can we know this for certain? Because another Depository employee, Bonnie Ray Williams, positively purchased a Dr. Pepper from that very machine no more than 35 minutes prior to JFK's assassination.
I suppose a conspiracist can now speculate that Williams bought the last Dr. Pepper in that machine on November 22. Or the CTers can take a guess and claim that Oswald, who drank Dr. Pepper very often (per several people who knew him), had a thirst for only a Coca-Cola on that particular Friday in 1963.
Of course, either one of those arguments that can be used to counter Bugliosi's logical theory surrounding the soda machines can never be said to be conclusively false or incorrect. All we can do is guess when it comes to assessing such matters. But VB's guess is the best one, IMO.
Quite a bit more "Dr. Pepper Talk" can be found HERE.
- "There is yet another reason why Oswald's statement that he was on the first floor eating lunch at the time of the shooting makes no sense at all. If he had been, once he heard the shots and the screaming and all the commotion outside, if he were innocent, what is the likelihood that he would have proceeded to go, as he claims, up to the second floor to get himself a Coke? How could any sensible person believe a story like that?" -- VB; Page 958
DVP: This is yet another very good common-sense inference made by VB here. In fact, even from the point-of-view of Oswald being merely a "patsy" (as he is portrayed in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie), i.e., he knows SOMETHING about the assassination plot but Oswald, himself, wasn't one of the triggermen, his story about going UP to the second floor (a floor NEARER THE DEPOSITORY ASSASSIN) to get a drink at that critical time is totally unbelievable. Oswald was obviously telling a lie when he told the police he went upstairs to the second floor to get a Coke.
More on this sub-topic is discussed HERE.
- "Forty-five minutes after the shooting in Dealey Plaza, out of the close to three-quarters of a million or so people in Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald is the one who just happened to murder Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit. .... For all intents and purposes there were...ten witnesses who identified Oswald as the murderer [including the several witnesses who watched Oswald flee the Tippit murder scene, gun in hand]." -- VB; Pages 960-961
THE TIPPIT MURDER (PART 1)
THE TIPPIT MURDER (PART 2)
- "No one knew Oswald as well as his wife, Marina. .... Marina told [author Priscilla] McMillan that when she visited her husband in jail on the day after the assassination, she came away knowing he was guilty. .... She said she knew that had he been innocent, he would have been screaming to high heaven for his "rights," claiming he had been mistreated and demanding to see officials at the very highest levels." -- VB; Page 962
- "In a city of more than 700,000 people, what is the probability of one of them being the owner and possessor of the weapons that murdered both Kennedy and Tippit, and yet still be innocent of both murders? Aren't we talking about DNA numbers here, like one out of several billion or trillion? Is there a mathematician in the house?" -- VB; Page 964
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
- "When he [Oswald] was asked [by police] to furnish all of his previous residences since his return from Russia...he gave all of them...with one notable exception. He omitted any reference to the Neely residence, the residence, of course, where he knew his wife had photographed him with the murder weapon in the backyard. .... Oswald flat-out denied ever living there." -- VB; Page 966
- "Oswald told [Dallas Police Captain Will] Fritz he had bought his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver in Fort Worth, when he actually purchased it from a mail-order house in Los Angeles." -- VB; Page 966
DVP: Yes, indeed. Even though Oswald was caught red-handed with the Tippit murder weapon on him in the Texas Theater, he still felt the need to distance himself from the revolver he used to kill Officer Tippit (just as he had done by continuously trying to distance himself from the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle he had used to assassinate President Kennedy).
Lee Harvey Oswald's lies were almost non-stop from the moment he was arrested in the theater. If you want to see just how many more lies Oswald told, check out THIS ESSAY.
REBUTTING A CONSPIRACY THEORIST'S REBUTTAL RE: "RECLAIMING HISTORY"
ABOVE: THE TEXAS THEATER ON NOVEMBER 23, 1963
- "I can tell the readers of this book that if anyone in the future maintains to them that Oswald was just a patsy and did not kill Kennedy, that person is either unaware of the evidence against Oswald or simply a very silly person. .... Any denial of Oswald's guilt is not worthy of serious discussion." -- VB; Page 969
THE ABSURDITIES OF THE "OSWALD-AS-PATSY" CONSPIRACY PLOT:
CHAPTER 16 (16 PAGES) -- "INTRODUCTION TO CONSPIRACY":
DVP: This chapter begins what Vince Bugliosi refers to as "BOOK TWO: DELUSIONS OF CONSPIRACY: WHAT DID NOT HAPPEN".
This entire "Introduction To Conspiracy" chapter can be read for free, HERE.
Vince is quite smart in the way he's organized the book's material. In the first section (which is called "BOOK ONE: MATTERS OF FACT: WHAT HAPPENED"), Bugliosi proves beyond a shred of a doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy with Mannlicher-Carcano Rifle Number C2766.
Therefore, since we know by the end of "Book One" that Oswald murdered JFK beyond all reasonable doubt (based on a sum total of evidence that would make any prosecutor's mouth water), the only big-ticket question that really remains to be answered is: Did Oswald have anyone aiding him behind the scenes in any fashion?
And that's where "Book Two" takes over. And if you read all of these "Book Two" chapters in depth (plus the exhaustive and very important endnotes on the CD-ROM as well), the only reasonable and sensible answer that can be arrived at with respect to that question is -- No.
Let's begin "Book Two".....
- "In the Kennedy case, I believe the absence of a conspiracy can be proved to a virtual certainty." -- VB; Page 973
- "One of the principal frailties in the thinking processes of the theorists is that they rarely ever carry their suspicions, which are based on some discrepancy, anomaly, or contradiction they find, to their logical conclusion. If they did, they'd see the reductio ad absurdum of their position.
"But for them, if something looks suspicious, that's enough. Instead of asking, "Where does this go?"--that is, where does the discrepancy, contradiction, or whatever, lead them?--they immediately give their minds a breather and conclude that what they find is itself proof of a conspiracy (or proof that Oswald is innocent).
"The discrepancy or contradiction is the entire story. And being the entire story, it by itself discredits the entire twenty-six volumes of the Warren Commission. Nothing else has to be shown or even argued." -- VB; Page 978
- "A substantial majority of the conspiracy community is also extremely gullible, believing every story they hear without bothering to check it to see if it is accurate or makes any sense. As long as the story helps their theory, they buy it. They would improve the quality of their research appreciably by simply embracing rule number one of the journalistic profession: "If your mama says she loves you, check it out"." -- VB; Page 978
DVP: Judyth Baker's ridiculous fairy tale is discussed in an endnote on the CD, with the justified sarcasm being doled out in copious quantities, as VB lights into Judyth with all barrels blazing. A few examples:
- "The story Judyth [Vary Baker] came up with was so fraudulent on its face that even most conspiracy theorists have ganged up on her to debunk it. .... Judyth's story started when she saw Oliver Stone's fantasy film JFK in 1998 and decided she had an even bigger fantasy story to tell, partially through the technique of "recovered" memory.
"And as with so many of the fantastic tales told by nuts in the assassination saga, there's some small kernel of truth on which she built her fable: the fact that for a short period in the late spring and summer of 1963, she may have worked for the same company in New Orleans that Oswald did, William B. Reily and Company, Inc. ....
"Before she got her job there, Judyth...was on the fast track to a bright and promising future flipping hamburgers at a small White Castle chain restaurant in New Orleans. But because Judyth had shown promise [in high school]...for her amateur work on cancer research...she says she was recruited...into a clandestine project funded by the CIA and Mafia: developing a bioweapon with which to kill Fidel Castro. ....
"It was around this time that she met and fell hopelessly in love with Lee Harvey Oswald, who became a part of the project and with whom she had a torrid sexual affair.
"In an amusing footnote to the affair, Judyth said that their feelings for each other got "out of control," and they "were so desperate we even slept together in a red van that was being overhauled in Adrian Alba's garage." .... But she said that when Clay Shaw learned about their lack of money forcing them to make love in such places, he felt sorry for them and started paying for their trysts at nice hotels in the city." [It's definitely time to insert one of these ---> ] ....
"Just how does Judyth say she came by her knowledge? She claims she either personally met conspiracy icons like Jack Ruby, David Ferrie, Carlos Marcello, Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, et cetera, or Lee told her about them during pillow talk. So the remarkable 20-year-old, in just a few months, had more contact in New Orleans with the leading figures of conspiracy lore than perhaps any other known figure in the conspiracy community. I, for one, find this to be perfectly reasonable. [LOL time once more.] ....
"Judyth claims the National Enquirer offered her $600,000 for her story (an amount the publisher might offer if Jesus returned and his agent promised an exclusive), but Judyth apparently wasn't interested. Only British producer Nigel Turner, who has made a fortune peddling phony stories, gave Judyth national exposure, devoting a full segment to her on his television show The Men Who Killed Kennedy.
"It is an established fact that the CIA did do research...to develop some medical concoction to kill Castro. But what we didn't know until Judyth told us was that the CIA decided to also fund the motley group in New Orleans [consisting of Judyth, Oswald, and David Ferrie]. ....
"Judyth Baker has been called a "pathological liar." Although her story is a lie, this might be too harsh an indictment. From what I have read, she sounds more like a sick puppy to me. ....
"If anyone even had the smallest doubt that Judyth is a gold-plated phony, all he or she has to do to remove that doubt is to read (if you can withstand the pain) Baker's book ["Lee Harvey Oswald: The True Story Of The Accused Assassin Of President John F. Kennedy By His Lover"; Volumes 1 and 2]. ....
"Baker's book is a total, embarrassing failure. Is there any way to stop Judyth from continuing to propagate her fantasy? Two volumes of nonsense, at this late date, show that the answer to this question is no." -- VB; Pages 539-541 and 543-544 of Endnotes
More VB On Judyth
- "To say, as conspiracy theorists do, that the backyard photo of Oswald...is a composite photo is to also say that Marina Oswald was part of the conspiracy to frame her husband, since Marina says she took the photo.
"But the notion that Marina was part of any conspiracy to frame her husband for Kennedy's murder is absurd on its face, so the argument that the backyard photo is a composite "doesn't go anywhere"--that is, unless you are willing to say that Marina was, indeed, part of said conspiracy.
"If people want to use such absurdity and illogic as their guide in analyzing the assassination, I submit that they should not have a ticket into the theater of serious debate on the assassination. The price of admission to the debate, as it were, should be sense, not nonsense." -- VB; Page 979
The "Backyard Photos"
- "The dreadful illogic and superficiality of the conspiracy theorists' modus operandi has inevitably resulted in the following situation: Though they have dedicated their existence to trying to poke holes in the Warren Commission's findings, they have failed abysmally to tell us (if the Warren Commission was wrong) what actually did happen.
"In other words, other than blithely tossing out names, they have failed to offer any credible evidence of who, if not Oswald, killed Kennedy. Nor have they offered any credible evidence at all of who the conspirators behind the assassination were.
"So after more than forty years, if we were to rely on these silly people, we'd have an assassination without an assassin (since, they assure us, Oswald didn't kill Kennedy), and a conspiracy without conspirators. Not a simple achievement." -- VB; Page 982
- "It couldn't have been more obvious within hours after the assassination that Oswald had murdered Kennedy, and within no more than a day or so thereafter that he had acted alone. And this is precisely the conclusion that virtually all local (Dallas), state (Texas), and federal (FBI and Secret Service) law enforcement agencies came to shortly after the assassination. Nothing has ever changed their conclusion or proved it wrong." -- VB; Page 984
- "The notion that major federal agencies of government (or even one such agency) would decide to murder Kennedy because they didn't agree with certain policies of his is sufficiently demented to be excluded at the portals of any respectable mental institution short of an insane asylum." -- VB; Page 987
- "It's as if these [conspiracy] authors believe there's no need to connect Oswald to the CIA or the mob, or show that they got him to kill Kennedy for them. If, as I say, they can prove that one of these groups had a motive to kill Kennedy, then, if Oswald was the assassin, he must have killed Kennedy for them. This crazy, incredibly childlike reasoning is the mentality that has driven and informed virtually all of the pro-conspiracy sentiment in the Kennedy assassination from the very beginning." -- VB; Page 987
CHAPTER 17 (11 PAGES) -- "HISTORY OF THE
- "The conspiracy community, a potent and formidable body through the decades, has by sheer force of numbers clearly dominated the debate in front of a national audience, one which apparently hasn't minded hearing, for the most part, only one side of the story." -- VB; Page 999
CHAPTER 18 (12 PAGES) -- "MARK LANE":
- "Assistant Warren Commission counsel Wesley J. Liebeler says that..."if [Mark Lane] talks for five minutes, it takes an hour to straighten out the record"." -- VB; Page 1001
- "It is nothing short of incredible that Lane, who finds room in his book ["Rush To Judgment"] for 353 people who he claimed were connected in so the Kennedy case, couldn't find room for a single paragraph on people like [Robert] Jackson, [Johnny] Brewer, and [Police Officer M.N.] McDonald." -- VB; Page 1003
MOVIE/VHS REVIEW -- Mark Lane's "Rush To Judgment"
- "The transcript of the tape [a taped telephone call between Mark Lane and Helen Markham on March 2, 1964], revealing Lane's gross and tawdry effort to put words into the mouth of Mrs. Markham, shows why Lane desperately sought to prevent the Commission from hearing it. .... The tape had revealed [Lane's] blatant attempt to improperly influence, almost force [Markham] to say what he wanted her to say." -- VB; Pages 1008-1009
DVP: Here's a transcript of that taped phone call, with Mr. Lane's despicable handiwork on vivid display.
And here's my "simulated" courtroom session with Helen Markham on the witness stand, and Vincent Bugliosi doing the questioning:
VINCENT BUGLIOSI VS. MARK LANE
CHAPTER 19 (9 PAGES) -- "MYSTERIOUS AND
- "The vast majority of the witnesses on the various mysterious-death lists of the conspiracy theorists (e.g., Jim Marrs's book Crossfire lists 104 witnesses) weren't connected with the case in any known way whatsoever, and had absolutely nothing of any known value to say about the case. .... But of those who did have a connection -- such as Roger Craig, Earlene Roberts, Lee Bowers, and Buddy Walthers -- all of them, without exception, had already told their story, most of them on the public record, so what could possibly be achieved by killing them?" -- VB; Page 1018
- "The question is, if Kennedy's killers silenced [Naval Lieutenant Commander William Bruce] Pitzer to send a message to other autopsy witnesses to remain silent, why did they wait almost three years to do so? You mean they only started worrying about witnesses "talking" after over a thousand days had already passed?" -- VB; Page 561 of Endnotes
- "The only thing mysterious is how anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature could possibly buy into such ["Mysterious Deaths"] nonsense." -- VB; Page 1020
ARE THESE SO-CALLED "MYSTERY DEATHS" REALLY SO MYSTERIOUS?
CHAPTER 20 (36 PAGES) -- "THE SECOND OSWALD":
- "For those few who...want to believe [Irving Sports Shop manager Dial D.] Ryder's fable, if it were Oswald in the store [supposedly having a scope mounted on a non-Carcano rifle], his owning a second rifle would in no way militate against the evidence of his guilt in the Kennedy assassination. ....
"And the imposture argument here is even more inane than in those cases where the alleged impersonator does nothing that in any way would incriminate Oswald. Here...if the framers of Oswald know he owns a Carcano...why would they want to put a different rifle...in Oswald's hands? Predictably, the conspiracy theorists don't avail themselves of this logic and also have no trouble with Ryder's credibility." -- VB; Pages 1028-1029
DVP: As a footnote to the silly "imposter" nonsense regarding Dial D. Ryder -- Unbelievably, the Warren Commission felt that Ryder's scope-mounting story was important enough to waste two lengthy sessions of detailed testimony on this guy Ryder, with the transcript taking up many, many pages on each of his two days of testimony in March and April of 1964. You've got to give the Commission points for thoroughness indeed. Even the conspiracy believers of the world should recognize that fact...shouldn't they? ;)
Another fascinating yarn told in this "Second Oswald" chapter (in great detail, as per the VB norm, on pages 1030 to 1035 of this book) is the story of a possible "Imposter Oswald" taking a "reckless" test drive (at speeds of up to "75 to 85 MPH") in a new Mercury Comet in November 1963 at a local Dallas car dealership.
The believability of the testimony given by the man (Albert G. Bogard) who accompanied this "Oswald" individual on the wild test drive was such that VB thinks that it could very well have been the real Lee Oswald taking that car for a high-speed spin.*
* = Even though, by all accounts, Oswald couldn't drive very well, and had only taken a few driving lessons from Ruth Paine by that date in early or mid-November of '63. Paine, however, said that Lee's driving ability was improving and that Lee had "learned well".
Obviously, though, as Vince adeptly points out, the fact that Oswald possibly took a test drive in a new car doesn't in any way erase the evidence of LHO's obvious guilt in the Kennedy and Tippit murders.
The portion of the Bogard/test drive incident that I got a chuckle out of is when the FBI and two car salesmen took the time to rummage through the car lot's trash dumpster on 11/23/63, as they searched high and low for a business card that Bogard had supposedly thrown out...a card that Bogard said he had written the name "Lee Oswald" on the back of. However, the extensive dumpster search turned up no such card.
But that once again shows the extent of the investigation by the various authorities in the wake of JFK's assassination. We've got an FBI agent rooting around in trash barrels for a tiny business card and the Warren Commission questioning a Sports Shop manager for hours on end about a totally-unimportant matter.
That type of activity demonstrates a thorough investigation in my book, and certainly is not activity that is synonymous with the actions of authorities who merely wanted to sweep everything under the rug in order to paint Lee Oswald as a lone killer (or a lone "patsy").
RYDER AND THE RIFLE SCOPE: SOME ADDITIONAL INFO
- "It's always assumed, of course, that the imposter would impersonate Oswald [in Mexico City] without his knowledge, that he would be someone Oswald did not know. But [HSCA investigator Edwin] Lopez raises the possibility--are you seated?--that maybe the impersonator was "one of his [Oswald's] companions" in Mexico City. To think that our tax money went into the preparation of the Lopez Report." -- VB; Page 1053
DVP: With respect to this same silly "Oswald Imposter In Mexico" topic, another good-sized laugh can be obtained by reading VB's caption for a photo of the supposed Mexico City "Oswald Imposter", depicting a man who looks nothing at all like Lee Harvey Oswald:
"Shouldn't an impersonator at least resemble the man he's standing in for?" -- VB; Second Photo Section
And Bugliosi adds this laugh-out-loud moment at the end of the "Second Oswald" book chapter:
"The conspiracy theorists are so unhinged that they believe Oswald's framers would use an impersonator who looks as much like Oswald as Danny DeVito does." -- VB; Page 1056
- "John Armstrong actually went on to publish a 983-page book in 2003 called Harvey and Lee: How the CIA Framed Oswald, in which he carries his fantasy about a double Oswald to such absurd lengths that not only doesn't it deserve to be dignified in the main text of my book, but I resent even having to waste a word on it in this endnote. ....
"Obviously, if Armstrong had a source for any of the things he charges, he would be only too eager to give it. Instead, his only source is his exceptionally fertile imagination. ....
"On the day of the assassination, Armstrong has both Lee Harvey Oswald and Harvey Oswald, two people [per looney author Armstrong] who are spitting images of each other, in the Depository. .... At the moment of the assassination, HARVEY Oswald was in the second-floor lunchroom having lunch and LEE Harvey Oswald was on the sixth floor firing at Kennedy. ....
"Lee Harvey Oswald escaped arrest, but Armstrong doesn't tell his readers what happened to him thereafter, though...he tells them near the beginning of the book that he may be "very much alive"." -- VB; Pages 565-567 of Endnotes
DVP: Vince Bugliosi was right when he said on page 567 of the endnotes that the premise for Mr. Armstrong's whole book is "prodigiously ridiculous" and the book represents a "long tribute to absurdity". Incredibly, though, Bugliosi spends 14 full endnote pages (and part of a 15th) debunking many aspects of Armstrong's "Double Oswald" insanity. (Vince, though, was probably simply having too much fun destroying Armstrong's crazy theories in print to stop after only two or three pages of debunking. That'd be like trying to eat just one peanut.)
CHAPTER 21 (14 PAGES) -- "DAVID LIFTON AND ALTERATION OF THE PRESIDENT'S BODY":
- "One theory that perhaps "takes the cake" is set forth by conspiracy author David Lifton in his book "Best Evidence". .... Out of his 747 pages, [Lifton] unbelievably devotes no more than 6 or 7 full pages, if that, to Oswald." -- VB; Pages 1057-1058
- "One could safely say that David Lifton took folly to an unprecedented level. And considering the monumental foolishness of his colleagues in the conspiracy community, that's saying something." -- VB; Page 1066
MUSICAL CASKETS AND DAVID LIFTON'S "BODY-ALTERATION" SILLINESS
RELATED INTERNET MESSAGES CONCERNING DAVID LIFTON:
Debunking David Lifton's "Ghostwriting" Allegation
Ghostwritten, My Ass
CHAPTER 22 (74 PAGES) -- "RUBY AND THE MOB":
DVP: This chapter deals with Jack Ruby's so-called "Mob connections" (which are allegations that Bugliosi thoroughly destroys). Plus, this chapter contains an excellent and extremely-entertaining Jack Ruby biography, tracing Jack's life from his birth in Chicago in 1911 to the day before JFK's murder (Chapter 1 of the book picks up the Ruby chronology from there).
And when reading about Ruby's early days in the so-called "ghetto" of Chicago, the parallels between Jack Ruby's life and Lee Harvey Oswald's are rather startling in some ways. Jack and Lee had similar personalities and traits (e.g., they were each volatile, hard to get along with, disliked their mothers, and often skipped school). In fact, truancy was a direct reason for why both Ruby and Oswald were examined by psychiatrists as young boys.
Also, both Ruby and Oswald garnered identical "sharpshooter" rankings in their brief military careers (Ruby in the U.S. Army Air Force and Oswald in the U.S. Marine Corps). Ironically, each man's military service lasted approximately the same amount of time--three years (Ruby served from 1943 to 1946; while Oswald's Marine Corps duty was from 1956 to 1959).
Another interesting parallel in the lives of these two future assassins is that both Ruby's and Oswald's mothers were total kooks. Perhaps that fact, right there, gives us a hint as to why these two men ended up doing what they ultimately did in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas. (Maternal food for thought anyway.)
Several humorous anecdotes are weaved into the "bio" portion of this chapter, including this tidbit about Jack Ruby's earlier years:
"Eva [Jack's sister] recalls that her brother also worked as a singing waiter [in Los Angeles in the early 1930s], but apparently ruined a lot of good meals and, she says, "nearly starved to death"." -- VB; Page 1084
DVP: So much detailed info about Oswald's killer is packed into this fascinating 74-page chapter, it's absolutely amazing. Anybody who still thinks that Jacob Leon Rubenstein (aka Jack Ruby) was a member of "The Mob" after reading every one of the pages in this chapter is a fool. Simple as that.
- "The twistboard was the latest gadget Jack was selling, and he was very serious about it. .... In the last few weeks before the assassination, Ruby had been getting up...earlier than normal to visit department stores in Dallas in an effort to promote the [twist]board. .... Just, of course, what you would expect a big mob hit man to be doing in the weeks and days leading up to the biggest day of his mob career, when he would be "silencing" Oswald for them." -- VB (with his always-insightful sarcasm on full display); Page 1096
- "[Jack Ruby] was a terrible driver. His first of many tickets in Texas came in April 1950 as a result of speeding. .... It's interesting to note that on the morning he shot Oswald, Ruby admitted to making an illegal left turn on Main Street after he saw a bunch of people gathered around City Hall. If only an officer had been there to give him a ticket on the spot that day." -- VB; Page 1100
DVP: Too bad indeed. If that had occurred, Lee Oswald almost certainly would have lived to see the dawn of Monday, November 25th, 1963.
As a humorous footnote to the above topic of Ruby's bad driving -- It occurs to me that perhaps part of the reason Jack illegally ran so many stop signs and red lights (documented in detail by VB in the book) could have been due to the large quantities of junk that might have been piled about a mile high in Ruby's car. Maybe Jack had trouble seeing the stop signs due to the mounds of debris in his vehicle. (See the "Little-Known Facts" section of my review for more hilarious details about this "debris" statement.)
- "The fact was that Jack Ruby never saw a crowd that he didn't want to be a part of. On that fateful Sunday morning, what he saw at City Hall motivated him to take himself, with his hair-trigger temper, with his desire to right any wrong, with his penchant for taking the law into his own hands, into that basement." -- VB; Page 1120
- "Even if we were to assume the total invalidity of the polygraph test given to Ruby, his willingness--in fact, his insistence--that he be given one is strong circumstantial evidence of his innocent state of mind and the truthfulness about everything he said.
"Lay people, including Ruby, for the most part believe that lie detector tests can detect lies. It is a considerable stretch to believe that if Ruby were guilty of being involved in a conspiracy, he would insist on taking a polygraph test, supremely confident he could conceal his guilt and pass the test." -- VB; Page 645 of Endnotes
DVP: The tongue-in-cheek, "Dragnet"-like conversation between "Vito" (a mob henchmen) and Jack Ruby at the end of this chapter provides another smile....especially this segment:
Jack: Yeah, Vito?
Vito: One last thing before I go. We have to make real sure that Oswald is killed, in fact, right on the spot. We can't afford to have him last for even a minute. So make sure you don't aim at his head. In fact, don't even aim at his heart. Shoot him in the belly, Jack. That's the quickest way by far to kill him right on the spot.
Jack: Okay, Vito, anything you say. ....
"Because Ruby actually shot Oswald in the stomach, Oswald's dying wasn't a sure thing. In fact, he survived for almost two hours after the shooting." -- VB; Pages 1143-1144
DVP: In the endnotes section connected to this Ruby chapter, more amusing passages can be found when reading some of the "Ruby Knew Oswald" allegations made by CTers over the years, including this one:
"Did you ever hear of a man committing suicide by jumping through a plate glass window?"
For the full story of house painter Hank Killam (to whom the above quote pertains), check out the "Ruby And The Mob" endnotes.
JACK RUBY: THE SECOND "LONE NUT" ASSASSIN IN DALLAS
CHAPTER 23 (44 PAGES) -- "ORGANIZED CRIME":
- "In any criminal case, if you're going to accuse someone of a crime, you have to come up with some evidence that he committed it. There is no credible evidence of any kind that organized crime was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy." -- VB; Page 1161
- "To believe the mob would employ an unknown quantity like Oswald to carry out its most important murder ever turns logic completely on its head." -- VB; Page 1167
- "[Judith Campbell Exner's February 1988] story gets even funnier. .... The two mobsters [Giancana and Roselli] apparently had no way of communicating with each other, so Kennedy had to get Exner to deliver an envelope from one to the other.
"What could have possibly been in all these envelopes? Exner believes that she "was probably helping Jack orchestrate the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro with the help of the mafia."
"I see. .... I haven't met too many people who actually believe Exner's fairy tale. ....
"What prompted Exner to tell such a fable? She had terminal cancer...and she says she wanted to clear her conscience. The more likely reason is a sadder one: she understandably wanted to give some meaning and importance to what was probably only a physical relationship with her on JFK's part." -- VB; Page 662 of Endnotes
DVP: This Mafia chapter (plus its companion endnotes) provides us with the names of all kinds of colorful characters associated with organized crime. Some of my favorites include: Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, Antonio "Tony Ducks" Corallo, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and Murray "The Camel" Humphreys.
However, there isn't a single mention of Jack "The Buffoon" Ruby being connected in any way to the Mafia with respect to plotting a murder (or two) in Dallas in November of 1963.
CHAPTER 24 (26 PAGES) -- "CIA":
- "Since it has been established beyond all doubt that Oswald killed Kennedy, the conspiracy theorists who propound the idea of the CIA being behind Oswald's act are necessarily starting out in a very deep hole before they even take their first breath of air. This is so because Oswald was a Marxist, and a Marxist being in league with U.S. intelligence just doesn't ring true." -- VB; Page 1195
DVP: The way Bugliosi handles the "Joannides/DRE" matter is nothing short of sheer poetry, with massive doses of VB's CS&L (my little shorthand for Common Sense & Logic) on display throughout Vince's 15-page-long dismantling of the Joannides' conspiracy theory. Let's listen in to some pertinent excerpts:
- "If the [George] Joannides conspiracy theorists ([Jefferson] Morley and his inevitable band of followers) actually think that the only reason why the CIA is resisting the release of documents pertaining to Joannides is because the agency must have something to hide, they clearly haven't learned from years and years of experience. ....
"The CIA had nothing to hide in thousands of previous documents the agency initially refused to release voluntarily but ultimately did release under court order. The CIA specializes in always acting guilty, even when it is not, and always being, from a public relations standpoint, its own worst enemy. ....
"If one reads Morley's article literally, one can only conclude that Joannides, not the DRE [an anti-Castro group] with whom he dealt, may have been involved in the assassination. And this, of course, defeats the whole unstated premise of Morley's writing, because if the DRE didn't kill Kennedy or have him murdered, then what is Morley's point? That Joannides got someone else to murder Kennedy?
"But if so, why is he writing about Joannides and the DRE? What seems to have eluded Morley is that if he exonerates the DRE, which he does by default in his writing, he thereby also exonerates Joannides. ....
"Just two weeks before the assassination (when, if Morley's story makes any sense, DRE should be gearing up to kill Kennedy, under Joannides's direction), Joannides's superior, [Ted] Shackley, is assessing the group as unreliable and incompetent, and like children who should be sent back to where they belong--school.
"There seems to be nothing to the Joannides-DRE story, and I'm confused that someone like Morley feels there is possible merit to it. ....
"In Morley's quest to put the conspiratorial hat on Joannides and the CIA, there's one very staunch ally he can count on to help him in any way it can, the CIA.
"To the point, arguably, of perversity, the silly spooks at Langley--like the pathological liar who lies even when it would be to his benefit to tell the truth--will fight Morley and his lawyer every inch of the way, thereby helping them, every inch of the way, to convince everyone that it has something to hide--Joannides's and perhaps its own complicity in the assassination.
"But as I've said before in the book and these endnotes, it's all just sublime silliness. Joannides and the CIA conspired with Oswald to kill Kennedy as much as you and I did." -- VB; Pages 678-679, 682, and 684 of Endnotes
CHAPTER 25 (24 PAGES) -- "FBI":
- "No one, ever, has produced one piece of evidence connecting J. Edgar Hoover with Kennedy's death, and your more responsible conspiracy theorists don't devote any space to the charge. Indeed, the very thought that J. Edgar Hoover decided to murder President John F. Kennedy is too far-fetched for any but the most suspicious and irrational minds.
"Hoover had already proved ([via] the March 22, 1962, luncheon with JFK over Judith Campbell Exner) the power he had to blackmail the president, and it is therefore ridiculous to say that he would try to kill Kennedy--and thus expose himself to a sentence of death--in order to keep his job." -- VB; Page 1238
CHAPTER 26 (9 PAGES) -- "SECRET SERVICE":
- "Even if it could be shown that the Secret Service was responsible for the selection of the luncheon site and the motorcade route [neither of which the SS was ultimately responsible for], the notion that the Secret Service was behind the assassination is, like virtually all the conspiracy theories, ridiculous on its face.
"What conceivable motive would the Secret Service have had? In fact, even if Secret Service agents got away with it, it would only hurt their individual careers in the Secret Service that the president had been killed on their watch." -- VB; Pages 1241-1242
- "The Fromme, Moore, and Hinkley [sic] cases [re: the two 1975 assassination attempts against Gerald Ford and John Hinckley's 1981 attempt against Ronald Reagan] are far more egregious examples of a lack of adequate Secret Service protection than the Kennedy assassination, yet the conspiracy theorists remain silent about them." -- VB; Page 1245
DVP: See pages 1244 and 1245 for VB's excellent comments that fully support his "far more egregious examples" quote that I just cited.
WHY WOULD THE SECRET SERVICE WANT TO KILL PRESIDENT KENNEDY?
CHAPTER 27 (12 PAGES) -- "KGB":
- "While Oswald was in the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1962, the KGB, rather than conspiring with Oswald, initially thought he might be an American intelligence agent, and even when that appeared unlikely, its agents followed him everywhere, including opening his mail and bugging his apartment in Minsk. Such conduct by the KGB really sounds as if it were in a conspiracy with Oswald to murder Kennedy, doesn't it?" -- VB; Page 1249
DVP: The was inserted by this writer, not Vince. But I'm guessing VB's orbs were probably moving northward too, as he wrote those words on page 1249.
- "Even were we to imagine the unimaginable, that the Soviets wanted to murder Kennedy, they obviously would have employed someone who was stable, not completely unstable like Oswald. Also, to distance themselves from the vile deed as much as possible, they would have chosen someone with no known previous contact or association with them, not a Marxist who had defected to their country just a few years earlier. .... Such a proposition is too absurd to even comment on." -- VB; Page 1259
CHAPTER 28 (13 PAGES) -- "RIGHT WING":
- "Henry Hurt didn't tell his readers that immediately after [suspected assassination plotter Joseph] Milteer said, "They will pick up somebody within hours afterwards," his very next words were "IF anything like that would happen," words clearly showing that Milteer was not saying Kennedy was about to be murdered, but rather, what would happen if he were." -- VB; Page 1271
- "The argument that the right wing was behind Kennedy's assassination suffers, like all other conspiracy theories, from the inconvenient and stubborn reality that there is no evidence of its involvement." -- VB; Page 1272
CHAPTER 29 (8 PAGES) -- "LBJ":
- "The notion that LBJ would actually decide to have Kennedy murdered (or be a party to such a plot by others) is not one that, to my knowledge, any rational and sensible student of the assassination has ever entertained for a moment. But conspiracy theorists are not rational and sensible when it comes to the Kennedy assassination." -- VB; Pages 1274-1275
- "The [Presidential] limousine was not, as the buffs allege without any supporting authority, immediately rebuilt. The rebuilding of the car did not commence until over a year later in Detroit." -- VB; Page 1276
CHAPTER 30 (14 PAGES) -- "CUBA":
- "Three separate, independent bodies investigated the possibility of Cuban complicity in Kennedy's murder. In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded it could find "no evidence" that Cuba was "involved in the assassination of President Kennedy."
"In 1976, the Church Committee said it had "seen no evidence that Fidel Castro or others in the Cuban Government plotted Kennedy's assassination..."
"And in 1979, the HSCA concluded that "the Cuban Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy." Wherever President Johnson is today, he should defer to this collective judgment." -- VB; Page 1294
- "Unbelievably, out of...fabricated statements and nothingness, a reportedly well-credentialed German filmmaker, one Wilfried Huismann, directed a...documentary [in 2006], titled Rendezvous with Death. ....
"The entire thrust of Huismann's documentary is that Castro's Cuban intelligence people (G-2) used Oswald to kill Kennedy once he made the offer at the Cuban consulate to kill Kennedy. ....
"Remarkably, Huismann, for all his labors, was able to come up with only one new "face" to justify this "documentary," an alleged former Cuban G-2 agent who is the clear star of Huismann's flick. He is also a joke. .... His name, Oscar Marino, is not his real name. .... Marino has absolutely nothing to say. ....
"Marino knows...his story is fabricated nonsense that only nonsensical conspiracy theorists would have any interest in. .... This "documentary" [is] patently worthless." -- VB; Pages 731, 735-736, and 741 of Endnotes
REVIEW -- "Rendezvous With Death: JFK And The Cuban Connection"
CHAPTER 31 (41 PAGES) -- "THE ODIO INCIDENT AND ANTI-CASTRO CUBAN EXILES":
- "No one examining the evidence in the [Sylvia] Odio matter can feel too sanguine about the conclusion he reaches, yet I feel that the slight preponderance of evidence is that Oswald was, in fact, the American among the three men who visited Odio [in late September 1963]." -- VB; Page 1309
- "While admittedly the [Odio] incident does raise suspicions that go in that direction [i.e., toward conspiracy], the suspicions seem to be spontaneous and visceral in nature. A more sober analysis of what actually transpired and what was said would seem to substantially diminish the virility of the conspiracy conclusion." -- VB; Pages 1314-1315
DVP: In addition to a detailed look into the "Odio Incident", this chapter also includes a brief overview of the October 1962 "Cuban Missile Crisis", along with a very thorough and (IMO) immensely-satisfying chronology of the April 1961 "Bay Of Pigs" invasion, which was probably JFK's darkest hour as the 35th U.S. President, when the small brigade of 1,390 (mostly) Cuban exiles, men with little to no military experience who ranged in age from 16 to 61, were easily defeated on Cuba's beaches by Castro's much-stronger Army of 20,000.
DVP: While referring to John Martino's worthless allegation that anti-Castro Cubans had Jack Ruby snuff out Oswald, Vince provides yet another chuckle:
- "And here, all along, I thought Ruby killed Oswald for the mob. But I guess he did it for anti-Castro Cuban exiles, who must have somehow "owned" Ruby. That's what's nice about life. You learn something new every day." -- VB; Page 748 of Endnotes
DVP: Vince slices into "Ultimate Sacrifice" authors Waldron's and Hartmann's "C-Day" absurdities in depth during 8 pages of endnotes to the Odio chapter. And, once again, reading Mr. Bugliosi's reasoned arguments is kind of like watching a "Common Sense Machine" in action. Let's have a look:
- "From the [Top Secret U.S.] contingency invasion [of Cuba] plan, conspiracy author Lamar Waldron (with coauthor Thom Hartmann) has produced one of the most empty, vacuous books ever written about the assassination [2005's "Ultimate Sacrifice: John And Robert Kennedy, The Plan For A Coup In Cuba, And The Murder Of JFK"].
"Although it is well written, it makes incredible assumptions, the authors untroubled by the lack of support for these assumptions in the record. ....
"If the reader hasn't figured it out by now, all of this is much to-do about nothing, which would be a much more apt title for Waldron's book. Even assuming everything Waldron says is true, so what? It is common knowledge that the CIA had multiple plans to overthrow or assassinate Castro. If C-Day was one we hadn't heard of before Waldron told us, so what? What's the relevance?
"Listening to Waldron, one might believe that all the other well known attempts on Castro's life or to overthrow him were subsumed by his C-Day. But even if this absurdity were true, again, so what?
"Waldron knows he has to show the so what, and that's what he tries to do in the other half of his book. In this other half...Waldron makes one ludicrous assumption after another, never bothering to present a lick of evidence to support any of the assumptions. .... Waldron's theory could hardly be more ludicrous.
"One gets the definite sense from Waldron's book that the U.S. government, RFK, and the CIA were much more interested in protecting the secrecy of the attempt on Castro's life on December 1  than they were in bringing JFK's killers (the mob, per Waldron) to justice. ....
"Without bothering to present one tiny speck of evidence to support his allegation, Waldron says in several places in his book that [Mafia mobsters] "Marcello, Trafficante and Roselli planned the assassination" of JFK. ....
"The source for all this? You guessed it: Lamar Waldron. You see, he was present during all these meetings [involving Mafia kingpins as they planned JFK's demise]...and was nice enough to pass on what he saw and heard. And apparently no editor of Waldron's book was about to tell Waldron that his book was supposed to be nonfiction, not fiction, so he would have to have a source for all of this other than his own silly mind. ....
"One thing he [Waldron] knows. Oswald was innocent and just a patsy, Waldron totally ignoring the mountain of evidence against Oswald. ....
"Waldron started his book with nothing to say, added a whole lot of nothing to it, and ended up with nothing. So why have I wasted my time and space in this endnote talking about nothing? Because of a few things. Waldron's book is one of the longest (904 pages) [960 pages in its re-released 2006 paperback "Updated Edition", which promises "Dramatic new revelations"] ever written on the assassination and...gives the outward appearance of being a scholarly work. ....
"So to expose, as I believe I have, the ridiculous nature of a book like this demonstrates...the absolutely utter and total bankruptcy of the conspiracy movement in this country." -- VB; Pages 759 and 762-766 of Endnotes
CHAPTER 32 (11 PAGES) -- "COVER-UP BY THE CIA AND FBI IN THE WARREN COMMISSION'S INVESTIGATION OF THE ASSASSINATION":
NOTE -- This chapter was originally going to be titled "Cover-Up By Federal Agencies Of Alleged Conspiracy To Murder President Kennedy", but it was changed by author Bugliosi shortly before the book's release.
- "We can assume he [Fidel Castro] knew that if the separate and distinct Bay of Pigs invasion had succeeded [separate from the CIA/Mob plot to murder him], the U.S. plans for him did not include expatriating him to the United States and supporting his run for Congress." -- VB; Page 1345
- "The conspiracy theorists have tried to convert the FBI's attempt (in destroying Oswald's note to Hosty) to avoid the accusation it could have prevented the assassination, and the CIA's attempt to cover up its misdeeds on another matter (plot to kill Castro), into an attempt by both agencies to cover up their participation in [JFK's] assassination. This is the world of non sequiturs and enormous broad jumps in which the conspiracy theorists dwell and for which they are justifiably famous." -- VB; Page 1346
I say that because of the FBI's (James Hosty's) knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald's having been in Dallas at the time of Kennedy's murder. In other words, it seems logical (to me anyway) that Hoover, if anything, would be bending over backwards to clear the name of Oswald, who, after all, had been under Hosty's watchful eye (loosely) just days before JFK was killed.
If Hoover could somehow clear Oswald of the vile charges of murdering JFK, wouldn't it tend to give his own department (the FBI as a whole) a cleaner bill of health in the eyes of the public?
Instead, many conspiracists seem to think that Hoover did everything he could to falsely blame only Oswald for the crime. But that type of "Let's Blame Only Oswald (A Person We Should Have Been Watching More Closely)" thinking with regard to the FBI just doesn't make any sense, in my view.
CHAPTER 33 (90 PAGES) -- "JIM GARRISON'S PROSECUTION OF CLAY SHAW AND OLIVER STONE'S MOVIE 'JFK'":
DVP: I was very glad to see Mr. Bugliosi devote a lengthy chapter like this one (close to 100 pages) to the topics of Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone, two conspiracy theorists whom I would classify as "mega-kooks".
I think this chapter deserves this kind of length and detail due to the fact that so many people of today's generation have gotten virtually all of their information regarding the JFK assassination from Mr. Stone's wholly-inaccurate 1991 motion picture. And, obviously, VB thought this section of his book warranted a lot of pages too.
And upon seeing this fairly large chapter on Stone/Garrison, it made my February 2007 wish come true:
"Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy"
Bugliosi's scathing verbal assault on both Garrison's ludicrous 1969 trial against an innocent man (Clay Shaw) and Stone's fanciful movie is an assault that had me smiling from ear to ear as I made my way breezily through these ninety wonderful (and side-splitting) pages of "Reclaiming History".
My favorite segments from this chapter include the following:
- "In [Oliver] Stone's hands, the thoroughly discredited [Jim] Garrison became a courageous, Capraesque, American patriot fighting for justice and to save the country from dark and sinister forces out to subvert our American way of life." -- VB; Page 1353
- "The problem I have is this: Am I elevating Oliver Stone's movie by holding it to be worthy of denigration? Only theoretically. The denigration [within the pages of "Reclaiming History"] will be so complete that to say Stone and his movie have been elevated would be a contradiction." -- VB; Page 1355
- "[Oliver Stone] wanted his movie, he wrote with towering arrogance in the January 1992 edition of Premiere [magazine], to "replace the Warren Commission Report." Can you imagine that? A Hollywood producer wants his movie to replace the official and most comprehensive investigation of a crime in history. .... Arrogance thought it already had a bad name. That was before it met Oliver Stone." -- VB; Page 1358
- "Not one scrap of evidence has ever emerged that on February 24 , the day Garrison announced that he and his staff had "solved the case," he had any evidence connecting anyone, in any way, with the assassination. IF THERE WERE NOTHING ELSE AT ALL, THIS ALONE, BY DEFINITION, WOULD BE ENOUGH TO PROVE BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT GARRISON HAD NO PERSONAL CREDIBILITY WITH RESPECT TO THIS CASE." [All emphasis Mr. Bugliosi's.] -- VB; Page 1365
- "Newsweek magazine reported that "some of [Garrison's] staff became alarmed about his behavior. He would call meetings, then disappear into the men's room for awhile, emerge with a new theory and send aides to try to prove it"." -- VB; Page 1368
- "Garrison, of course, smelled a rat in [James] Braden's story and had his investigators pursue the matter. Remarkably and unbelievably for Garrison, he concluded that "after sustained analysis...it was clear that Braden's contribution to the assassination was a large zero." When you can be cleared of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination by the likes of Jim Garrison, you must be clean." -- VB; Page 823 of Endnotes
DVP: I'm surprised Jim didn't accuse members of his own DA's office of being involved in JFK's murder.
- "I personally know of no American prosecutor who has ever abused his office's power of subpoena and power to file unwarranted criminal charges against perceived adversaries to the degree that Garrison did in the Shaw case." -- VB; Page 1369
- "Playboy gave Garrison the longest interview in the history of the magazine in its October 1967 issue, 37 pages, and among other radio and TV appearances, Mort Sahl got him on the Johnny Carson show on January 31, 1968. "Johnny" may have been a comedian, but he had a good, solid head on his shoulders, and he could spot a phony, or at least an empty vessel, when he saw one." -- VB; Pages 1369-1370
DVP: Much more info about Garrison's 1967 "Playboy" interview (which is littered with hilarious and outrageous Garrison lies and fantasies) and Jimbo's 1968 appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson can be found at the following webpages, including two direct audio links to the complete Garrison/Carson interview:
JIM GARRISON WAS WRONG (PART 1)
JIM GARRISON WAS WRONG (PART 2)
THE 1968 JIM GARRISON/JOHNNY CARSON INTERVIEW
- "One can see why [Perry] Russo needed truth serum and hypnosis to recall hearing three people plot to murder President Kennedy four years earlier. Without truth serum and hypnosis, a plot to murder the president of the United States just wasn't important enough for someone like him to remember." -- VB; Page 1374
- "In the final, by far the most important addition to his story, Russo [said] in the truth-serum session that [David] Ferrie told him, in the presence of Bertrand and Oswald, that "we are going to kill John F. Kennedy." When Sciambra asked Russo whom Ferrie meant by "we," Russo responded, "I guess he was referring to the people in the room."
"In other words, Ferrie, for some inexplicable reason, wanted Russo to hear that he, Oswald, and Shaw were going to kill Kennedy. After all, Russo was a friend, of sorts, to Ferrie, and Russo (as, I imagine, all of Ferrie's other friends) was entitled to know all about such things." -- VB; Page 844 of Endnotes
DVP: Oh, my poor, weak bladder!
- "It had been reported in the New Orleans newspapers a week before [Kook Russo's] second hypnotic session that Clay Shaw was at the San Francisco World Trade Center on the day of the assassination, so Russo added another nice little touch to his fairy tale.
"Ferrie, he said, told his co-conspirators that they'd have to "establish alibis" for themselves by being seen "in public" on the day of the assassination. Bertrand said he would "go to the coast on business" that day, per Russo.
"You have to understand: Clay Shaw knew that he could only be seen in public in San Francisco, 2,500 miles away. Wherever he'd be in New Orleans...he apparently believed he'd be invisible to others and hence have no alibi.
"Obviously, Russo couldn't even make up a good lie. If a conspirator, say Shaw, needed to establish an alibi, the very best way to have done so would have been to stay right at his desk at the Trade Mart in New Orleans, where everyone knew him, not go to a distant city where he was largely unknown." -- VB; Page 847 of Endnotes
DVP: I wonder how this kook Russo was able to keep his own laughter under control while spouting such transparent tripe? A-ma-zing.
- "What the case boiled down to, Garrison told ["Saturday Evening Post" writer James] Phelan, was a homosexual conspiracy masterminded by David Ferrie." -- VB; Page 853 of Endnotes
DVP: Oh, yes. I see. Ferrie was the top dog. Which must mean, per Garrison, that Ferrie also must have orchestrated that fabulously-idiotic 3-shooter (or 4-shooter, or 5-shooter) "Patsy" plot that was supposed to have Lee Oswald take the lone fall for Kennedy's murder, too. Some mastermind, that Ferrie.
Who said Mr. Garrison didn't have a sense of humor? (Certainly not this writer.)
- "[Clay] Shaw would later say [after he was declared "Not Guilty" of the charges against him on March 1, 1969], "If a jury could convict me on such shoddy evidence as Garrison presented, I would gladly have gone to jail -- it would be the safest place in a world gone mad"." -- VB; Page 1376
- "Instead of referring to Shaw (or "the defendant") a great number of times as he tried to connect him to the conspiracy and murder, as any prosecutor would do if he believed the person he was prosecuting was guilty, unbelievably Garrison only referred to Shaw once in his entire summation [to the jury], and then not to say that the evidence showed he was guilty. Not once did Garrison tell the jury he had proved Shaw's guilt or that the evidence pointed toward Shaw's guilt." -- VB; Page 1380
- "[A] benefit to Garrison of only charging Shaw with conspiracy [instead of both conspiracy and murder itself] is that under Louisiana law...when conspiracy alone is alleged, only 9 out of 12 jurors must concur to render a guilty verdict. So Garrison only needed nine jurors to convict Shaw. He couldn't even get one." -- VB; Page 1380
New Orleans/Garrison JFK Assassination Investigation
- "OLIVER STONE, IN HIS MOVIE "JFK", NEVER SAW FIT TO PRESENT FOR HIS AUDIENCE'S CONSIDERATION ONE SINGLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT OSWALD KILLED KENNEDY!
"So a murder case (the Kennedy assassination) where there is an almost unprecedented amount of evidence of guilt against the killer (Oswald) is presented to millions of moviegoers as one where there wasn't one piece of evidence at all. There oughta be a law against things like this." [All emphasis Bugliosi's.] -- VB; Page 1386
- "Garrison's assistant...tells Garrison that it "takes a minimum of 2.3 seconds to recycle this thing [the Carcano]." .... Stone does not tell his audience that the HSCA concluded that the 2.3-second minimum was only if a shooter...used the telescopic sight on the rifle. .... [The HSCA] found that it was possible for two shots to be fired within 1.66 seconds [by using the open iron sights]." -- VB; Pages 1388-1389
DVP: Here's kind of an interesting thought I had while reading this chapter -- If we're to assume (for the sake of argument) that any of the incidents as depicted in Stone's film actually took place, then any such incidents would have been taking place, of course, in the 1960s, years before the HSCA made their "1.66 second" determination regarding Oswald's rifle.
So, from a purely "calendar" standpoint within the framework of a "period" movie taking place between the years 1963 and 1969 (as Oliver Stone's "JFK" does), Mr. Stone cannot (or at least he should not) have placed anything in his movie that occurred after March 1, 1969 (the date the Clay Shaw trial came to an end).
But Stone violates this chronology of events by throwing Beverly Oliver into his conspiratorial pot during the course of the motion picture "JFK". Miss Oliver, however, didn't pop up on anyone's assassination radar screens until the year 1970, one year after the Clay Shaw trial concluded.
Therefore, how can Stone possibly justify having Beverly, in the film, talking with New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison and his assistant in the late 1960s? It doesn't add up.
I initially was going to defend Mr. Stone to a certain extent with regard to Bugliosi's many "HSCA" references during this "Garrison/Stone" chapter of VB's book, by saying (in defense of Stone's 1960s period movie) that Vince was not justified in criticizing Stone for not telling his movie audience something that the HSCA said in the 1970s, because it stands to reason that Stone wouldn't be putting words in his actors' mouths relating to the HSCA investigation, since that occurred a full decade after the events in Stone's film.
But with Beverly Oliver's presence in the movie, that "1963-1969 timeline" rule can be thrown out the window, because Stone himself violated that rule. He has put a person in his film who wasn't even part of the 11/22/63 tapestry until a year after the Clay Shaw trial ended.
Getting back to the last Bugliosi quote I provided up above (about the Carcano's recycling capabilities) -- It has occurred to me that VB could have also added the following humorous piece of irony, with respect to this "recycling" discussion....
Inadvertently, Director Stone shoots himself in the foot RIGHT ON CAMERA when Jim Garrison's assistant (played by Jay Sanders) actually debunks one of the main contentions purported in the film: i.e., the contention that Oswald didn't have enough time to get off his three shots in the amount of time Stone, per the movie, says LHO had (5.6 seconds).
Indeed, we can clock Sanders' recycling of the bolt-action rifle he uses in the film, and guess how many seconds it takes Sanders (portraying investigator Lou Ivon) to dry-fire three shots? Answer: approximately 5.5 seconds.
Kevin Costner (playing Garrison) tells Sanders/Ivon that it took "between 6, 7 seconds", but he was wrong. Just cue up the DVD of the movie yourself and watch your player's time counter and see. (On the DVD which contains the longer "Director's Cut" version of the movie, the scene in question occurs at the 1:14:50 mark of the film.)
Irony at its finest indeed. More on this topic can be found at the link below:
OLIVER STONE'S BLUNDER
- "On July 17 ...the pathetic [Dean] Andrews called a press conference and not only confessed again that "Clay Shaw ain't Clay Bertrand," but finally admitted that Clay Bertrand "never existed," saying he made the whole story up to get attention for himself." -- VB; Page 1394
- "[Joan] Mellen's book [2005's "A Farewell To Justice"] is dreadfully bad on all counts. All the completely discredited witnesses, even mental cases, who had made bizarre allegations years ago in the Shaw case...were actually, per Mellen, telling the truth. ....
"There have been several pro-Garrison books before [Mellen's], every one of them lacking in credibility, but hers is the very worst. ....
"Where Mellen can't find some already well-known nut in the Garrison case to rely on or tell her what she wants to hear, she comes up with more obscure nuts. ....
"The Kennedy assassination has already been polluted beyond all tolerable limits by nuts and quacks and phony stories. Mellen is a university professor. How dare she publish such misleading material on so serious a subject." -- VB; Pages 910-911, 915, and 923 of Endnotes
- "Since we know that the conversation between 'X' and Garrison never took place and was invented by Stone for his movie, and inasmuch as no one has ever produced one single particle of evidence that the military-industrial complex was behind Kennedy's assassination, no further discussion of the issue is really necessary. However, even though the...theory is offensive to one's intelligence, because of Stone's movie...millions of otherwise intelligent Americans now subscribe to it." -- VB; Page 1410
- "If Stone had told [the whole story surrounding "National Security Action Memorandum [NSAM] Number 273"], his whole thesis would have crumbled. .... Even though NSAM 273 was issued under President Johnson on November 26, 1963, four days after Kennedy's death, the draft, containing the identical language in its relevant clauses, was prepared by McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy's special assistant for national security affairs, on November 21, 1963, while Kennedy was still president. So no inference can be drawn that after Kennedy died, Johnson, by NSAM 273, changed course. ....
"Not only was the draft prepared while Kennedy was still alive, but its language can only be interpreted as referring to President Kennedy, not LBJ. ....
"Moreover, NSAM 273 (November 26, 1963) does not, as Stone's audience was told, reverse NSAM 263 (October 11, 1963). In fact, it specifically reaffirms Kennedy's decision to withdraw 1,000 troops [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963. ....
"The main issue being discussed by [Kennedy] and his advisers during the period of the October 2  memo and the October 11 NSAM 263 was not the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, but whether to support a coup of [Vietnam's President] Diem.
"But we learned years later from a Hollywood producer and his daffy adviser, Colonel Prouty, that the real coup being contemplated at the time, and eventually carried out, was not against Diem but against the president of the United States." -- VB; Pages 1411-1414
DVP: Another excellent resource which reveals Oliver Stone's film for what it is (i.e., almost 100% fiction; or, as VB likes to say, "virtually one continuous lie"), is this webpage, authored by assassination researcher Dave Reitzes.
A few more Oliver Stone links:
MOVIE/DVD REVIEW -- Oliver Stone's "JFK"
MYTH, COUNTER MYTH, OR JUST PLAIN OL' MISINFORMATION?
OLIVER STONE'S MOVIE "JFK" AND THE BRAINWASHING OF AMERICA
CHAPTER 34 (25 PAGES) -- "CONCLUSION OF
- "No evidence plus no common sense equals go home, zipper your mouth up, take a walk, forget about it, get a life. Of course, the hard-core conspiracy theorists, who desperately want to cling to their illusions, are not going to do any of these things. ....
"If these conspiracy theorists were to accept the truth, not only would they be invalidating a major part of their past, but many would be forfeiting their future. That's why talking to them about logic and common sense is like talking to a man without ears. The bottom line is that they want there to be a conspiracy and are constitutionally allergic to anything that points away from it." -- VB; Pages 1437-1438
DVP: Three good examples illustrating VB's above points are provided below:
- "The purpose of this book has been twofold. One, to educate everyday Americans that Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone. .... And two, to expose, as never before, the conspiracy theorists and the abject worthlessness of all their allegations. I believe this book has achieved both of these goals." -- VB; Page 1461
CHAPTER 35 (20 PAGES) -- "THE MURDER TRIAL OF
DVP: The 35th chapter begins the final section of "Reclaiming History", subtitled "BOOKENDS".
- "On March 14 , the jury, after only 2 hours and 19 minutes of deliberation...reject[ed] [Melvin] Belli's insanity defense and [found] Ruby "guilty of murder with malice" and assess[ed] "his punishment at death." ....
"On October 5, 1966...Ruby's murder conviction [was reversed on technical grounds]. .... Before a new trial date could be set, Ruby died at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on January 3, 1967, the same hospital in which Kennedy and Oswald had died." -- VB; Pages 1477 and 1483-1484
DVP: This "Bookend" chapter includes the amazing tale of Vaschia Michael Bohan, an Iowa man who murdered his stepfather on the very same day that Ruby killed Lee Oswald. Read page 1483 to see how justice was served in the Bohan case. Unbelievable.
CHAPTER 36 (4 PAGES) -- "A CONVERSATION
DVP: Vincent Bugliosi interviewed Marina Oswald-Porter, in person, on November 30, 2000, in Dallas.
- "At what point in time, I asked her, did she come around to the belief that her husband [Lee Harvey Oswald] was innocent? "About 15 to 20 years later," she said. .... She was sure of one thing -- "Lee was set up as a patsy"." -- VB; Page 1486
CHAPTER 37 (11 PAGES) -- "THE PEOPLE AND GROUPS INVOLVED IN THE PLOT TO KILL KENNEDY":
DVP: In this humor-filled short chapter, VB provides some lists of the various people and groups who, per the conspiracy theorists of the world, were supposedly involved in JFK's murder. Vince comes up with 44 different organizations/groups/countries who (at one time or another) have had a finger pointed at them over the years, including NASA and "Martians and Venusians".
Vince also includes a "partial" list of 82 individual persons who have been implicated by one conspiracy kook or another since 1963 as having physically fired a weapon at JFK in Dallas or as having been "part of the assassination group", including (yes) Lyndon Johnson and J.D. Tippit. (The madness never ends, does it?)
And on another list, Bugliosi is able to provide 214 different alleged non-triggerman "co-conspirators", including Abe Zapruder, Marina Oswald, and ex-baseball great Joe DiMaggio (that Marilyn/JFK affair, remember....yep, that must mean that Joltin' Joe was in on the plot too). ;)
Additional LOL moment:
- "[Quoting author Edward J. Epstein]..."It would still be at least theoretically conceivable that the rifle was passed from the hands of one sniper to another between shots." .... Yes, and it is also theoretically possible that the assassin was a robed nun whose eyes were closed and who used her Catholic prayer book as a gun rest." -- VB; Page 1496
CHAPTER 38 (3 PAGES) -- "LINCOLN-KENNEDY COINCIDENCES"
CHAPTER 39 (4 PAGES) -- "EPILOGUE"
CHAPTER 40 (4 PAGES) -- "IN MEMORIAM"
Abbreviations (2 pages)
Acknowledgments (6 pages)
Bibliography (23 pages)
Index (71 pages)
LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS REVEALED IN
"Reclaiming History" is also worthwhile for the many "little-known facts" (or, in some cases it would seem, "completely unknown facts") that are weaved into the 1.5-million words of text that reside between the covers of this info-packed behemoth. A few such examples are provided below:
When reviewing all of the previous assassination attempts of U.S. Presidents in a lengthy footnote on page 118, author Vincent Bugliosi mentions the seldom-talked-about attempt against Richard Nixon. It occurred on February 22, 1974, when a kook named Sam Byck tried to hijack a Delta DC-9 jetliner in Washington, D.C., in an apparent plot to crash the plane into the White House and kill President Nixon.
Byck's crazy plan probably would have had a better chance at succeeding if he hadn't shot both pilots. After gunning down the only pilots on the jet, Byck grabbed a passenger out of the cabin, and ordered her to fly the aircraft. (Smart move there, huh?)
Byck ended up committing suicide on the plane, with the jet never taking off at all. The White House was spared.
Many people, however, don't classify Byck's attempted hijacking as an official "Presidential assassination attempt" at all, which is understandable (seeing as how Byck didn't get close to his intended victim, Nixon).
However, on the flip side of that argument, Byck's "attempt" on the President's life was actually initially implemented, with the shootings at the airport and Byck's attempted hijacking of the aircraft.
Bugliosi, on page 42 (via a footnote), reveals that "In a large-sample national poll in March of 1964, an astonishing 53 percent of those interviewed said they had wept when they heard the news of Kennedy's death. This percentage is remarkable by itself, and becomes even more so when you factor in the number of people who, though grieving as much, cannot bring tears to their eyes".
On page 896, a footnote tells us that the wind was blowing at a speed of "13 knots" (about 15 MPH) at exactly 12:30 PM on 11/22/63 in Dallas, Texas (at Love Field, where the measurement was taken).
Do you know exactly how many "Fair Play For Cuba" leaflets were found among Lee Oswald's possessions after the assassination? --- Vince Bugliosi tells us on page 938. The answer is: 358.
Another interesting fact, regarding Jack Ruby and his gun, pops up in a footnote on page 1077 (VB's footnote cites Larry Sneed's book "No More Silence" as the source for this information):
"The gun that Ruby used to kill Oswald...was registered to a friend of his, Dallas police detective Joe Cody! .... To save Ruby the eight or nine dollars in sales tax, a tax police didn't have to pay when they bought guns in Texas at the time, Cody paid the $62.50 purchase price himself and Ruby reimbursed him."
I certainly never knew this before reading page 1090 of this book (in the chapter highlighting the life of Jack Ruby):
"Ruby did occasionally have "first-class" entertainment [at one of Jack's Dallas nightclubs], including Tennessee Ernie Ford, the country western singer Tex Ritter, and big bands including Artie Shaw and other entertainers, many of whom he also, it seems, tried to shortchange. .... On one occasion Jack had considerable trouble when he tried to cheat Tex Ritter out of $200 that Ritter was owed."
The book's "Ruby And The Mob" chapter also provides readers with a "Trivial Pursuit"-worthy nugget about Jack Ruby's car. A footnote on page 1095 informs us that the license-plate number of the car that Jack drove into downtown Dallas on 11/24/63 just before he shot Oswald was "PD-768".
The car was a white, 2-door, 1960 Oldsmobile and was filled with an ungodly amount of junk when it was impounded by the police following the shooting of Oswald.
Vince, on page 1095, lists many of the assorted oddball items that were inside Jack's "rolling, lowbrow thrift shop" when the police took control of the vehicle.
Here's just a small sampling of the stuff found in Ruby's car, including the trunk (it's amazing that Jack had room for his dog, Sheba, at all):
Rubber tips for chair legs, a can of varnish stain, a paper sack containing $837.50, unpaid traffic tickets, a box of razor blades, bars of soap, hardware, stationery, an adding machine, sport coat and slacks, golf shoes and several golf balls, a roll of toilet paper, gobs of newspapers, an umbrella, a bathing cap, some bail bond cards, an empty wallet, a carton with hundreds of 8x10 glossy photos of Jack's nightclub stripper "Jada", and (my favorite) two pairs of aluminum knuckles.
As VB says in the book, looking over the seemingly-endless list of misc. items in Jack's car "conjures up visions of a homeless person's car overflowing with all of his life's belongings".
Ruby should probably have had a garage (or maybe "Oldsmobile") sale to get rid of some of his overstocked items, which wouldn't have been a bad idea at all, considering the fact that Jack owed the IRS $44,413.86 in back taxes as of December 9, 1963 (yet another hunk of trivia that can be found in this incredible book).
If you'd like to see the full list of items that weighed down Ruby's Oldsmobile on 11/24/63, you can peruse the many pages that comprise Warren Commission Exhibit #1322.
A very humorous anecdote and little-known fact pops up on page 1234 when the odd personality traits of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover are discussed:
"Hoover [was]...beset by obsessions, paranoia, and insecurities that would run off the edge of the paper of any psychiatric report analyzing him. Just one example: In 1959...Hoover's chauffeur-driven car was struck from behind while in the process of making a left turn, and he was shaken up. Thereafter, on instructions from Hoover, his drivers had to take him to his destination without making a left turn."
That must have been quite a cumbersome task for J. Edgar's drivers, indeed. They must have been forced to map out routes that had only right turns no matter where they carted the FBI bigwig. :)
If you ever have a burning desire to know what Ruth Paine's telephone number was in Irving, Texas, as of November 1963, Vince B. can tell you (and does, on page 1337). The number was BL3-1628.
Lee Harvey Oswald's last income-tax refund check was for the amount of $57.40. He received that check on April 2, 1963. This tidbit of data can be found in a footnote on page 1451 of "Reclaiming History".
Via a source note provided by author Bugliosi that leads the reader to "CD 107; Page 38", it can be seen that LHO dated his 1962 tax return "January 29", 1963.
In another money-related anecdote (on page 953 of the endnotes), Vince writes:
"To me, one of the most poignant of all Warren Commission exhibits, one that, in its smallness, speaks largely, is a December 13, 1963, FBI report that reads, "Records of the First National Bank of Fort Worth reflect Savings Account No. 8218 opened December 11, 1951...by Marguerite C. Oswald in the name of Lee H. Oswald with address 7408 Ewing. The account was opened with a deposit of $1.00 and additional deposits of $1.00 on December 14, 1951, and January 10, 1952. A total of $3.00 contained in this account was withdrawn July 1, 1952"."
In Paris, prior to the assassination, an astrological booklet predicted this: "For November 1963, the tragic end of the President of the United States". (Via an endnote on CD page 20.)
In case you're dying to know, Lee Harvey Oswald's Social Security Number was 433-54-3937. (Via page #76 of the book's endnotes.)
I found this next tidbit kind of interesting (in that it sort of "links" Vincent Bugliosi, Jack Ruby, and Melvin Belli together in a small, peripheral fashion). This comes via a footnote on page 944 of the CD's endnotes:
"In the Charles Manson murder case, before Manson settled on a lawyer to represent him, Los Angeles County jail records reflected that over 200 lawyers came to visit him, including [Jack Ruby's attorney] Mel Belli, who I later learned offered to represent Manson without payment of a fee."
Here's a real head-scratcher (and a great hunk of trivia, to boot):
Lee Oswald, after he was arrested, had a paycheck stub on him "for a James A. Jackson from American Bakeries Company dated August 22, 1960, or August 27, 1960, reflecting the amount of pay as $66.17, less federal income tax of $7.40 and Social Security tax of $1.99 for a net amount of $56.78. The FBI located Jackson, who confirmed this was his paycheck stub. He said that he had never met Lee Harvey Oswald and had no idea how Oswald came into possession of the stub, only conjecturing that perhaps he had accidentally dropped the stub on the street and someone picked it up. Why Oswald would have on his person a three-year-old paycheck stub of Jackson's is unknown". -- (From Page 76 of endnotes.)
In kind of a sad footnote to the history of the assassination, this tidbit of info is provided on page 340 of the endnotes:
"With respect to Marina's...lawsuit against the U.S. government to receive "just compensation" for all of her husband's personal effects (including the two weapons)...[in 1973] Marina received $17,729.37 (Porter v. United States)."
In December 2000, Dallas assistant DA Bill Alexander revealed to Bugliosi an interesting piece of trivia -- Alexander knew who Tippit murder witness Helen Markham was prior to 11/22/63. Bill told VB this:
"Helen Markham used to be a waitress at the Courthouse Cafe [before she moved to the 'Eat Well' Restaurant]. She served me a barrel of coffee throughout the years. She wasn't dumb, but she was a completely uneducated old country girl who was inarticulate and didn't understand people too well. And they didn't understand her, and that caused problems for her in communication."
Some interesting trivia about the disposal at sea of the casket that brought JFK from Dallas to Washington is revealed in incredible detail on page 612 of the endnotes:
"On February 17, 1966, 42 holes were drilled through the casket, 3 sandbags weighing 80 pounds each were placed inside the casket, the lid was locked into place, and the casket was bound with metal banding tape.
"The casket was turned over to Department of Defense representatives early on the morning of February 18. .... At 10:00 a.m. that same day, the casket was dropped from a height of 500 feet from a C-130E cargo plane into the Atlantic Ocean in an isolated area off the coast near...the Maryland-Delaware border [into] 9,000 feet of water."
A FEW ERRORS HERE AND THERE:
"Reclaiming History" author Vincent Bugliosi has, in my opinion, written a very factual book, with only a few mistakes cropping up here and there (that I noticed).
There are very few misspelled words within this mass of text, which I found impressive all by itself. There are some misspellings, though...."bullet" comes out "bulled" on page 480, and "Dealey" is missing its second "e" in at least two places in the book, but the total number of such spelling mistakes is extremely small for a publication of this length.
There are, however, a few small factual errors within the tonnage of information supplied to the reader on these many pages. But none of the errors in the book, in my opinion, are major enough to discredit (in any way) Bugliosi's bottom-line "Oswald Acted Alone" conclusion.
I've already discussed one of the errors that appears in the book (regarding the bullet fragments recovered from Governor Connally's wrist and the associated Warren Commission testimony of Dr. Gregory). And I've also detailed my thoughts about what I believe to be VB's error (of a subjective nature) with respect to the precise time on the Zapruder Film when the "SBT" bullet struck the two victims.
In this December 2007 article, which serves as an addendum to the Dr. Gregory/Bullet fragments topic, I talk about some additional points which I'm pretty certain Mr. Bugliosi has wrong in "Reclaiming History".
Below, I've catalogued a few additional very minor mistakes that pop up in this book. I did this for no particular reason; perhaps just to illustrate that not even the "King of Common Sense and Logical Thinking" (who is, IMO, Mr. Vincent T. Bugliosi) is totally immune to making a mistake every now and then.
Here's my short "Minor Errors" list:
1.) Vince tells us that the Secret Service follow-up car that was used in the Presidential motorcade on 11/22/63 was a "1955" Cadillac. (It was really a 1956 Caddy. In fact, Vince twice errs when talking about the model year of that vehicle, at one point labeling it a "1958" car.)
2.) VB has Eddie Barker located at Parkland Hospital when JFK's death was announced. (Barker was really at the Dallas Trade Mart at that time.)
3.) Patton Avenue is called "Patton Street" and Beckley Avenue is referred to as "Beckley Street" at various points throughout the book. But, to be fair, VB also mentions Beckley "Avenue" correctly, on page 765. (I'm really nitpicking now, huh?)
4.) In footnotes on pages 118 and 1475, Vince three times identifies the man who shot Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, as "William Hinckley". (He should have said "John Hinckley". Vince, though, correctly calls Hinckley "John" on several other pages in the book.)
5.) This one has me scratching my head a little bit (although it's only a very small issue and doesn't mean much at all) -- In Chapter One (on page 37), Mr. Bugliosi includes a very strange version of Nellie Connally's last words spoken to JFK that I had never heard before.
Just prior to the shooting in Dealey Plaza, Nellie turned and said to the President, "You can't say Dallas doesn't love you, Mr. President". But Bugliosi's version of this quote is quite different. In fact, it's not even close to the quote I just mentioned. I could be wrong I suppose, but I don't think VB's variant is an accurate one.
Upon looking up the source note attached to the text on page 37 (citation #181 for Chapter 1), I found that VB's source for the strange-sounding "Nellie statement" was the televised "bedside interview" with John Connally, which was taped five days after the assassination, on Wednesday, November 27, 1963. Here's the citation direct from the "RH" CD:
"181. Bedside interview of Governor John Connally at Parkland Hospital by CBS’s Martin Agronsky most likely on the Wednesday or Thursday following the assassination; see also 4 H 147, WCT Mrs. John B. Connally Jr."
I'm still a little perplexed, however, as to why Mr. Bugliosi chose that second-hand version of Nellie's statement to put in this book's "Four Days" chapter, when the video of Nellie Connally talking to the press from Parkland Hospital is readily available at a number of places (including the 1964 movie "Four Days In November"). And that statement directly from Nellie herself is completely different from John Connally's bedside variant.
Plus, there's Nellie's Warren Commission testimony (which VB cites as an alternate source in the above citation), wherein Nellie says exactly what she said in her November 1963 Parkland interview:
"I could resist no longer. When we got past this area, I did turn to the President and said, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you"." -- Via Nellie Connally's WC testimony
BTW, I caught another small error within that source note above. Bugliosi claims that Martin Agronsky worked for CBS as of the date of the bedside interview. But that's incorrect. Agronsky was an NBC correspondent in November 1963. He didn't join CBS until the following year.
6.) Vince has the date of Elvis Presley's death listed incorrectly on page 872. VB has it as August 17, 1977 (it was actually August 16th of that year).
7.) Page 897 contains an error with respect to Secret Service agent George Hickey. On that page, Bugliosi claims that Hickey was in the "vice president's car" during the motorcade. Hickey, however, was one of eight SS agents riding in the Secret Service follow-up car immediately behind JFK's limousine.
VB repeats this same oddball error on page 925. Oddly, though, Vince gets it right on the very next page (page 926) as he correctly says that Hickey was riding in JFK's Secret Service follow-up car.
8.) In a lengthy and excellent footnote on page 953, Vince makes a slip of the tongue when he says that Bullet CE399 caused the President's head wounds. Obviously, he didn't mean to say "Commission Exhibit No. 399" caused JFK's head wounds. It was an honest mistake.
But I'm guessing there are some rabid conspiracists out there somewhere who will contend that this error negates every argument in the ENTIRE book and, therefore, Bugliosi cannot be trusted.
9.) Vince gets his DPD officers mixed up on page 938 of the CD's endnotes, when he claims that is was "Officer McDonald" who stopped Oswald in the 2nd-Floor lunchroom. (It was actually Officer Baker.)
Mr. Bugliosi, of course, knows full well that it was Marrion Baker in the lunchroom, because of the many other times in the book when VB gets Baker's name right when referring to the lunchroom encounter with Oswald.
10.) More confusion about names crops up on page 942 of the endnotes, when VB says that Ralph Paul (a close friend of Jack Ruby's) had several telephone conversations with "Oswald" over the weekend of the assassination. Vince, of course, meant to say that Paul was speaking to Ruby, not Oswald.
(Note -- I noticed that the number and frequency of small mistakes like this increases during the last several pages of endnotes on the CD-ROM. I don't know if this indicates a lack of proofreading these pages in the days just before the book went to press or not; but I suppose that's one potential explanation for it.)
11.) Vincent B. tells us multiple times in the book that Lee Oswald started out the day on November 22, 1963, with "$13.87" in his pockets. But this has to be incorrect. Why? Because the $13.87 figure is the exact total that Oswald had on his person when he was arrested on that day. And we know that he spent $1.23 on bus and cab rides PRIOR to being arrested. So, Lee had to have started the day with at least $15.10 on him.
It was probably even a little more than $15.10, because LHO also bought that Coke, remember, from the TSBD soda machine (and I can only assume he didn't break into the machine and pilfer the beverage).
But even the Warren Commission must have forgotten about the Coke purchase, because it's not reflected in the WC's microscopic examination of Oswald's finances that is furnished in the Warren Report, but the odd amount of precisely "$1.23" is mentioned for Oswald's bus and taxi fares on 11/22/63.
12.) Page 25 contains what I think is an error regarding President Kennedy's 1961 Lincoln Continental limousine. I could be wrong about labelling this item as an "error", but I don't think I am. On page #25, Mr. Bugliosi says that JFK's limousine weighed "about seventy-five hundred pounds with its special build and heavy armor".
I think the comment about "heavy armor" is incorrect, because I don't think the limo was equipped with any "armor" until after the assassination of JFK.
Furthermore, according to the two source notes that Bugliosi provides on page 25 that relate directly to the "armor" issue ["2 H 66, WCT Roy H. Kellerman; 2 H 129, WCT William Robert Greer"], the word "armor" does not appear on either of those two pages of Warren Commission testimony.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT "ARMOR", THE LIMO, AND BUGLIOSI
13.) An error pops up on page 5 when Vince claims that Wesley Frazier's car was parked "in the carport" on the morning of 11/22/63. But, to be technical, Frazier's car was actually parked outside the carport that morning, as is illustrated in Warren Commission Exhibit No. 447.
Note -- The car that is parked outside Frazier's carport in CE447 is not the same car that transported Frazier and Lee Oswald to the Book Depository on 11/22/63. Frazier owned a 1953 or 1954 Chevrolet four-door sedan on the day of the President's assassination, but the car parked next to the carport in CE447 is a newer vehicle. I have no idea whose car that is, but the arrow in CE447 is pointing to the location outside the carport where Frazier said his car was parked when he and Oswald left for work on November 22, 1963.
ADDITIONAL CAR/CARPORT TALK
14.) Another trivial mistake concerning Wesley Frazier's automobile crops up on page 6 of "Reclaiming History", when Vince Bugliosi says that Frazier owned a "beat-up '59 Chevy four-door". But, as previously mentioned, Wesley actually owned a 1953 or '54 Chevrolet. I'm not exactly sure which year is correct. But it was either a '53 or '54 Chevy. It was definitely not a '59 vehicle. Here's a picture of Frazier's Chevy (parked in the Book Depository's parking lot).
15.) At least twice in the endnotes of the book (on pages 340 and 393), Mr. Bugliosi incorrectly states that Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was found "in the sniper’s nest". But Vince, of course, knew full well when he was writing his book that the gun was found on the other side of the sixth floor of the Book Depository, not in the "sniper's nest".
"LIES" OR "MISTAKES"? -- A CONSPIRACY KOOK WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE THE FORMER
THE FINAL "RECLAIMING HISTORY" VERDICT:
Per the "letter of the law", everyone who is accused of a crime is considered to be innocent until proven guilty....and this is just as it should be. However, even lacking the advantage of an official courtroom trial, Vincent Bugliosi, in my opinion, HAS definitely proven that Lee Harvey Oswald, alone, was guilty beyond all doubt of the two murders he was charged with in 1963.
And I also feel that any reasonable person who reads this incredible and comprehensive book will have no choice but to arrive at that very same "Bugliosi Has Proven Oswald Was JFK's Lone Assassin" conclusion.
Yes, the more rabid of JFK conspiracists are likely to be unimpressed by Mr. Bugliosi's all-encompassing body of work here. They will likely still balk and squawk about how Vince hasn't proved a darn thing and about how you can never prove there wasn't a conspiracy of one kind or another.
But it won't matter what the "zanies" continue to say. Because to any level-headed and sensible person, "Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy" represents the equivalent of Moses bringing the tablets down from the mountain. And each and every tablet says the same thing: "Oswald's Guilty" and "No Conspiracy".
Upon finishing this tome, it becomes even more obvious that the title of this book is, indeed, very appropriate and on target -- because Vince Bugliosi, within these pages, has done a more than admirable job of "reclaiming history" from the JFK assassination conspiracy theorists of the world.
David Von Pein
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