This is an article in Look Magazine from 1967 that had lots of questions about the official report of the Warren Commission. No mainstream publication would ever question official dogma today. How come?
Jim DiEugenio has a good essay here about the state of the JFK assassination. Suffice it to say if you only get your information from the mainstream media you don't know Jack, or his killers.
What occurred at the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's murder was one of the most bizarre outbursts of controlled hysteria that the MSM has put on in years. Perhaps since its mad rush to protect the exposure of George W. Bush's transparently phony excuses for invading Iraq. In fact, the basic underlying tension was evident everywhere. The most blatant example was the cordoning off of Dealey Plaza with 200 police officers. The public, and most of the media, both knew that what was being broadcast was false. But in order to fulfill their function as tribunes for the Establishment, the media was going to put their heads in the sand again.
Another good example would be the Tom Brokaw/Gus Russo NBC special, Where Were You? This show interviewed several famous people about their initial reaction to the news President Kennedy was dead e.g. Jane Fonda, Steven Spielberg. But alas, if that is all the show had been about, Brokaw would not have needed Gus Russo. The big-name celebrities were there to pull in the ratings. The show made no bones about wanting to 1.) Reinforce the Warren Commission verdict that Oswald was the lone assassin, and 2.) insinuate fairly openly that all this residual affection the public has for Kennedy is misplaced. He really was not that good of a president. The ultimate proof of this was the interview done with film director Oliver Stone, the man who made JFK. His spot on the two-hour show ran about 15 seconds. Yet, when I talked to Stone about this program, he told me he was actually interviewed for about an hour. (Author interview with Stone, 12/20/2013.) The fact that almost all of this was cut shows that Brokaw and Russo had no intention of letting the other side have anything like equal time at this important point in the JFK assassination saga.
What makes that undeniable element of MSM control so unbelievably bizarre today is this: There had been no change in the media's attitude in this regard since 1964! To those old enough to recall, almost immediately after the Warren Report was issued, CBS News put together an evening specialhosted by Walter Cronkite. Now, this program was broadcast within hours of the report being issued to President Johnson. In other words, neither Cronkite nor anyone else on his production staff had read the 26 volumes of supporting evidence, which would not be published until the next month.
In 1967, due to the investigation by New Orleans DA Jim Garrison, the CBS network launched another special program on the JFK case. This ended up being a four night special. It again ended up siding with the Warren Commission in every significant aspect. There was a story behind this that CBS did not want anyone to know about. After a similar 1975 special, CBS employee Roger Feinman began writing letters to the network's Standards and Practices department about how Cronkite and Dan Rather had violated the company's code of ethics in both the '75 and 1967 programs. Executives at the company moved to terminate him, but Roger did not go quietly. In subsequent hearings he asked for certain documents that he knew existed since he heard of them through other employees.
Those documents showed that producer Les Midgley had originally planned for a real and open debate between the Commission counsel and some of the more prominent critics of the report. [Some of this is described in a 2009 CTKA article – Ed.] He even wanted to spend one night interviewing witnesses the Commission had ignored. Then a panel of law school deans would decide the case. But as this proposal was passed up the corporate ladder to executives like CBS President Frank Stanton and News Chief Dick Salant, this idea became diluted. When the executives passed the proposal on to two northern California attorneys, Bayles Manning of Stanford, and corporate lawyer Edwin Huddleson, both of them cited the "political implications" and "the national interest" in shooting it down. Manning suggested that CBS ignore the critics, or even convene a panel to criticize their books. When Midgley persisted in critiquing the Commission, Salant did something behind his back. He showed his memo to former Commissioner John McCloy. McCloy now fired back a broadside at Midgley's proposal. This was the beginning of Midgley becoming emasculated on the issue, and McCloy becoming an uncredited consultant on the program. Something CBS would keep secret. In fact, during Feinman's dismissal proceeding, both McCloy and Stanton would deny this secret relationship.
But some say, that was then. This is now. Surely with all the information that has surfaced in the intervening decades, the media would now grant the critics equal time. As Pat Speer showed in his valuable blog, "The Onslaught," such was not the case. (Click here for that report) Not by a longshot. What is most disturbing today is that even alternative media, like PBS, now joined in the mass denial exercise. Online journalists who had a reputation for being mavericks, like Fred Kaplan also turned tail.
What makes this all even more puzzling is the results of polls on the issue by first class professional Peter Hart. Done for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, the work of Hart essentially shows that, after decades of being pounded on this issue by both the MSM and the Establishment, the public still does not buy the official story. Either about the assassination, or about President Kennedy. A full 75% responded that they do not accept the Warren Commission verdict that Oswald acted alone. (Larry Sabato, The Kennedy Half Century, p. 416) That figure is stunning. Because since the last major poll by ABC in 2003, it has remained unchanged. Even though every aspect of the national media, has been unrelenting in their attempt to make the public believe the whole Commission propaganda tale about Oswald as the lone assassin. It hasn't taken. But further, and perhaps even more stunning, Kennedy is, far and away, the most admired of the last nine presidents. (ibid, p. 406) Perhaps the most stunning number of all was this one: 91% said that Kennedy's assassination altered the United States a "great deal." The general reaction described by Hart was that a "deep depression set in across the country, and the optimism that had mainly prevailed since the end of World War II seemed to evaporate." (ibid, p. 416) The respondents' reactions when discussing President Kennedy were "eye-popping" to political scientist Sabato. Kennedy was perceived as "the polar opposite of the very unhappy views they have of the country today. Whereas contemporary America is polarized and divided, Kennedy represents unity and common purpose ... as well as a sense of hope, possibility and optimism." (ibid, p. 417) Brokaw and Russo tried to attack this image also in their tawdry special.
So the question arises: Why is the country schizoid on this issue? Why does the Establishment and the MSM continue to hold these views of the Kennedy case, which the public simply does not believe, and have not since about 1966? What makes this even more puzzling now is the fact that the state of the evidence today is much more powerful with respect to the fact of conspiracy than it was back then in the sixties with Jim Garrison.
Due to the work of the Assassination Records Review Board, the database about the John F. Kennedy murder was greatly expanded. If one is talking only about sheer volume of paper, the document page count was doubled. But if one is talking about the actual knowledge base, the increase was much exponentially larger. Because as many people felt, what the government was hiding was of paramount importance. But secondly, the many authors who used these documents incorporated them with previous knowledge to create large advancements in the case. Some would call these quantum leaps.
For instance, the ARRB finally declassified the HSCA's Mexico City Report, commonly called the Lopez Report. Despite what Vincent Bugliosi has written, this legendary document has lived up to its reputation. The sheer quantity of information in the 400-page report was staggering. No one ever got inside a CIA operation – in this case the surveillance of the Russian and Cuban embassies in Mexico City – the way that authors Ed Lopez and Dan Hardway did. But besides the sensational disclosures in that report, at Cyril Wecht's recent Passing the Torch conference, we learned that the HSCA had prepared three indictments over their inquiry into Mexico City. There were two separate perjury charges for David Phillips, and one for Anne Goodpasture. One would have thought that this would have merited some kind of attention by the media during their three-week extravaganza over the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death. In their attempt to reassert the Warren Commission, it was bypassed. Even though, the credibility of Phillips and Goodpasture are of the utmost importance to the Warren Commission's story about Oswald in Mexico. For as Phillips himself later admitted, there is no evidence that Oswald ever visited the Soviet Embassy there. (Mark Lane, Plausible Denial, p. 82)
In fact, today, one can question each aspect of the original report assembled by the Warren Commission of Oswald's supposed purpose and itinerary in Mexico City. To the point that one can argue whether or not Oswald was there at all. And if that is the case to any degree – even if Oswald was only impersonated at the two compounds – then it is highly unlikely that there could be any benign explanation for such a deception. Which is why Phillips and Goodpasture risked going to jail. Mexico City looms more importantly today than it ever did. (Read the summary of these discoveries.)
The attempt to kill Kennedy in Chicago in early November was also ignored during the three-week exercise in denial. This is incredible. Because before the publication of Abraham Bolden's The Echo from Dealey Plaza, and Jim Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable, almost no one had done any real work on this very crucial topic. But thanks to the work of the ARRB and Douglass, Edwin Black's exceptional 1976 report about Chicago was finally recovered and placed online. As Douglass pointed out, it is very hard to exaggerate the importance of both Black's work, and the outline of the conspiracy in Chicago. Why? Because its outline unmistakably resembles the successful plot in Dallas. So much so that it is very hard to believe it could be a coincidence. If it is not, then it appears that the same forces that failed to kill Kennedy in Chicago, succeeded three weeks later. With a similar plan. Why would the MSM ignore such an important discovery dealing with the methodology of the crime?
In another aspect, what we know about Oswald today, and his associations with the CIA and FBI, completely vitiates the paradigm the Warren Commission tried to sell to the public about him. Its quite clear now, as John Newman and Jefferson Morley have pointed out, that both intelligence agencies had much more information about Oswald than they ever admitted to in public. In fact, this began as soon as Oswald defected to Russia in 1959. At that time both the FBI and CIA began to keep files on Oswald. According to John Newman's updated edition of his milestone book, Oswald and the CIA, counter-intelligence chief James Angleton was the man at the Agency who had access to all of the Oswald files. (Newman, p. 636) The fact that the CIA had so much paper on Oswald is something that the Agency had tried to conceal for three decades. One of these documents is quite tantalizing. Before Oswald returned from the USSR, the chief of the Soviet Russia division wrote, "It was partly out of the curiosity to learn if Oswald's wife would actually accompany him to our country, partly out of interest in Oswald's own experiences in the USSR, that we showed operational intelligence interest in the Harvey (Oswald) story." (Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 150)
Newman did much to rebuild this file on Oswald in his book and show what it revealed about who knew what about Oswald at both the FBI and CIA prior to the assassination. Along the way he revealed that the CIA and FBI had continually misrepresented what they knew about the man. This rebuilt file trail – which the Warren Report did not even approximate – raises the most compelling questions about Oswald, especially in conjunction with what happened in Mexico City. The surviving counsels of the Warren Commission have repeatedly said they saw these files. They most recently reiterated this antique plaint to Philip Shenon for his apologia, A Cruel and Shocking Act. Yet, none of those survivors, e.g. Howard Willens or David Slawson, has ever explained why they never noted the significance of this trail in the Warren Report. For example, why did the CIA not open a 201 file on Oswald until over a year after he defected? Why did it take over a month for the CIA to file its acknowledgement of Oswald's defection? And then, when it did, why did it go to the wrong place at the Agency? (DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, pgs. 143-44)
Today, the portrait we have of Oswald as an undercover intelligence agent is substantively more well-defined than when Philip Melanson published his important book on Oswald, Spy Saga, in 1990. This career began in the Marines with Oswald's language training as part of the CIA's fake defector program. (ibid, p. 139) To the KGB it was fairly obvious what he was up to in Russia. Therefore they shipped him out of Moscow and put up a security net around him in Minsk. (ibid, pgs. 145-46) After his return from Russia, he was working in New Orleans, out of Guy Banister's office, as part of the Agency/Bureau attempt to discredit the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. That effort was being run on the Agency's side by David Phillips and James McCord. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 155) Again, its truly remarkable that except for Shane O'Sullivan's documentary Killing Oswald, there was no serious attempt to deliver to the public any of this new information we have about the alleged assassin of President Kennedy during the 50th anniversary. ()
The ARRB conducted a rather lengthy inquiry into the medical evidence in the JFK case. Today, this is one of the most controversial areas of evidence in the case. The official story, as first assembled by the Warren Commission, is today riddled with so many holes it simply cannot be taken seriously. That spurious tale was assembled mainly by Commission counsel Arlen Specter, with help from chief pathologist James Humes. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 119) It is clear from Shenon's disgraceful book that he had help on it from the deceased Specter, and also Specter's former co-author and collaborator, Charles Robbins. One of the worst parts of Shenon's travesty is his failure to confront the problems with the autopsy in the Kennedy case. This surely must be the only autopsy in which the official story had the victim hit by two bullets – but yet neither of those two bullet tracks was dissected! And Specter never explained why this was not done in the Warren Report.
Further, the Warren Report never explains the crucial difference between the witness reports about the hole in the back of Kennedy's head and the failure of the autopsy photos to reveal this fact. Through the work of the ARRB we now know that the House Select Committee lied about this by saying this hole was not seen at Bethesda Medical Center, when in fact it was seen. The problem was, apparently no one took a photo depicting this wound. Probably because it would clearly suggest an exit wound. Which would mean Kennedy was hit from the front.
Then there is the problem with Kennedy's brain, perhaps the most important exhibit in the medical side of the case. Why was the brain not weighed the night of the autopsy? Why are there no photos of the brain sections in order to trace directionality? Why is there no written description of the sectioning process? Why did photographer John Stringer deny he took the official photos of this exhibit? And finally, if so many witnesses saw a brain with so much matter missing and damaged, why do the photos and Ida Dox drawing of the brain show pretty much an intact brain? (DiEugenio,Reclaiming Parkland, pgs. 136-41) This problem is so inherent in the case that "Oswald did it" writers – like Shenon and Larry Sabato – talk about a severely damaged brain, without understanding that these statements vitiate the official story they are upholding. Again, the reader should ask himself, was any of this absolutely crucial evidence discussed during the anniversary extravaganza?
Finally, as far as forensics goes, there are the questions surrounding the weapon and the ammunition. For many, many years the upholders of the official Commission mythology e.g. Tom Brokaw, would always maintain, that well, the rifle in evidence is the one that Lee Harvey Oswald ordered. Due to work by the late Ray Gallagher, and John Armstrong, this aspect of the case is also rendered dubious. In two respects. First, there are simply too many irregularities in the evidence trail of this rifle transaction – both in the mailing in of the money order, and in the sending and picking up of the rifle. Secondly, the rifle in evidence today is not the rifle the Commission says Oswald ordered. The Commission says Oswald ordered a 36-inch Mannlicher-Carcano carbine. The weapon in evidence is a 40.2 inch short rifle. The HSCA discovered that Klein's Sporting Goods placed scopes on the carbine. But not the short rifle. Yet the rifle in evidence has a scope. Not only did the Warren Commission not answer this question. They never even outlined any of these problems. (DiEugenio,Reclaiming Parkland, pgs. 56-63)
Then there is the shell evidence found at the alleged "sniper's nest" on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. We now know that the photos found in the Commission volumes depicting these shells scattered in a haphazard way were staged. Police photographer Tom Alyea was the first civilian witness on the sixth floor. He states for the record that when he first arrived on the scene, the shells were spaced within the distance of a hand towel. They were then picked up and dropped by wither Captain Will Fritz or police photographer R. L. Studebaker. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland,p. 70) Which suggests that the police understood that for forensic photographic purposes the initial arrangement was not credible. It was too indicative of the shells being planted.
What makes the shell evidence even worse is the condition of CE 543. This was the infamous dented shell. This exhibit cannot be explained away, and for multiple reasons. Unlike the other shells, it had markings on it indicating it had been loaded and extracted from a weapon three times before. The other shells did not have these markings on them. (ibid, p. 69) Further, of all the markings on this shell, only one links it to the rifle in evidence. And that mark comes from the magazine follower, which marks only the last shell in the clip. Yet, this was not the last shell since the clip contained a live round. This suggests that this shell had been previously fired from the rifle, it was recovered and then deposited on the sixth floor. (ibid)
To further that thesis, as Josiah Thompson, the late Howard Donahue and British researcher Chris Mills have all shown, the dent on CE 543 could not have been made during normal usage. That is, from either falling to the floor or from ejection. Mills has demonstrated that this dent could have only originated during dry loading, that is with only the shell in the breech. (ibid) Finally in this regard, and also exculpatory of Oswald, there was never any evidence entered into the record that Oswald purchased any of the ammunition that was used in the assassination. The evidence trail the FBI did produce indicated he had not. (ibid)
Finally, as we all know today, the evidence which the HSCA used as the "lynchpin" in its case against Oswald has now been thoroughly discredited. That would be the Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis, sometimes called Neutron Activation Analysis for bullet lead traces. That FBI procedure always had questions surrounding it. In fact, the first time it had been used was in the JFK case. Today, after the painstaking reviews by two professional teams of metallurgists and statisticians, it has been so vitiated that the FBI will never use it again in court. (ibid, pgs. 72-73) Unfortunately, that verdict came a bit late for Oswald.
When approaching CE 399 today, the so-called Magic Bullet, one wonders how Warren Commission defenders can keep a straight face discussing it. All the desperate schemes used in the past decade on cable TV shows with their preposterous computer simulations and numerous trajectories all avoid the main point. And it is the similar problem that we have with CE 543. Today, the adduced evidence trail indicates that CE 399 was never fired in Dealey Plaza. The work of people like Gary Aguilar and Josiah Thompson, John Hunt, and Robert Harris, clearly indicates that CE 399 is, and always was, a plant.
To quickly sum up this work, Aguilar and Thompson discovered that the FBI likely lied about showing CE 399 to the witnesses at Parkland Hospital, O. P. Wright and Darrell Tomlinson. Because the agent who was supposed to have done so, Bardwell Odum, said he never did. (ibid, p. 66) Secondly, Hunt discovered that the FBI lied again about this exhibit. The Bureau said that agent Elmer Lee Todd placed his initials on it. It turned out that Hunt discovered at the National Archives that Todd's initials are not on it. (ibid, pgs. 224-26) But beyond that, Hunt also found out that, although the FBI was not in receipt of the magic bullet from the Secret Service until 8:45 on the evening of the assassination, the FBI lab had already checked in the "stretcher bullet" at 7: 30. Which indicates that either there were too many bullets and one was deep-sixed, or that someone later substituted the present CE 399 for another bullet. If the latter, that would jibe with Wright's statement to Thompson in 1966 that the bullet in evidence today is not the bullet he gave to the Secret Service. Finally, Robert Harris has noted with quite compelling evidence that a separate bullet fell out of Governor John Connally's body and was picked up by nurse Audrey Bell. The FBI then covered this up, realizing it would create problems since this bullet was supposed to have been found on an empty stretcher. (ibid, p. 67)
As noted above, all this new evidence strongly indicates that there never was any Magic Bullet trajectory through Connally and Kennedy. Just as there never was any miraculous minimal loss of mass from the bullet. For the simple reason that bullet was never fired in Dealey Plaza. In fact, all this so-called "hard evidence" is clearly so suspect today that it does not deserve to be seriously considered. Because in a real court of law, with adequate defense counsels employed, it would all be skewered and roasted like hot dogs on a griddle. And without this evidence, where is the case against Oswald?
The above is the actual state of the evidence today in the JFK case. There is such a split between the above and what was broadcast and printed for the 50th anniversary that it seems that America is divided up into two countries: a reality based one and a mythological one. The MSM is clearly in the latter. But a veteran newsman like Tom Brokaw is smart enough to employ people like Gus Russo to help him navigate through the ponderous and complex evidence trail. They know people like Russo will keep them from stumbling, however accidentally, onto the truth. After all, that is what Gus Russo gets paid to do these days.
And this, as well as the above, shows a rather disturbing conclusion about the Kennedy case. Which is that even today, fifty years after the fact, there has never been a real investigation done of it by either the federal government of any MSM outlet. Today we know that the Warren Commission was a haphazard body at best. Most of the staff quit before the investigation was completed. Howard Willens then hired assistants that were barely out of law school, with no experience in criminal cases, to finish writing the document.
But even before that, we know today that the FBI investigation was severely compromised. Even before Nicolas Katzenbach typed his memorandum about satisfying the public that Oswald was the lone assassin and he had no accomplice, J. Edgar Hoover had expressed similar aims the day before, on November 24th. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, pgs. 252-53) But, as we have seen from above, Hoover actually was in a position to falsify the evidentiary record. And he did. We know this not just from the sorry chain of evidence, but also from people in the FBI who talked about the alterations later. This includes agents and employees like Harry Whidbee, William Walter, and most recently, Don Adams. Adams is especially interesting in that he was stationed in Dallas in the summer of 1964 while the FBI inquiry was still ongoing. He had an opportunity to see the Zapruder film with two other agents. Afterwards, he told them it was clear that Kennedy was hit from two different directions. They replied that they were aware of that but Hoover did not want them to go down that path. So they would not. (Ibid, p. 221) Since the Commission was overwhelmingly reliant on the FBI for their information, the Warren Report was doomed to be a counterfeit inquiry from the start.
Most people today know what happened to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. It began as a promising, open-ended inquiry into the case led by two veteran criminal prosecutors, Richard Sprague and Robert Tanenbaum. When the MSM saw this was going to be a real criminal inquiry, which would expose the fallacies of the Warren Commission, they began to attack, and eventually derailed, the committee. Both Sprague and Tanenbaum then resigned. The handwriting was now on the wall for the new chief counsel Robert Blakey. And he ran a much more controlled operation. In its published volumes we know that the HSCA never really challenged the crime scene evidence noted above. When the Assassination Records Review Board declassified its working papers we discovered that the HSCA was even worse than we imaginedsince it knowingly lied and manipulated evidence e.g. about the location of the wound in Kennedy's back, about the Zapruder frame where Kennedy was first hit, and, as described above, also about the condition of the back of Kennedy's head.
What we know today would indicate that, if anything, the first generation of critics on the JFK case did not go far enough. They erred in accepting pieces of evidence like Oswald ordering the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, and that Oswald had been in Mexico City. Things like this were allowed to enter the record for the simple reason that the Warren Commission never obeyed any kind of rules of evidence or the adversarial legal procedure. Which is startling since the body was overwhelmingly made up of attorneys, including the Chief Justice of the United States. And Earl Warren was primarily responsible for advocating for the rights of the accused to have sufficient counsel so that justice would not be denied to them. But in this case, Oswald was never represented by any counsel. As far as being a fact-finding commission, the HSCA criticized the performance of those duties by the Commission in no uncertain terms. (See especially Volume11 of the HSCA volumes.) In fact, every attorney who has looked into this case in any official capacity since 1964 has nothing but disdain for the work done by the Commission. (DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 315) The fact that almost none of this coruscating criticism was aired during he MSM's three week media blitz shows how deep the denial runs.
In fact, it has become so bad that two staples of the Commission's fraudulent case – Ruth Paine and Wesley Frazier – resurrected themselves for the occasion. They were revived, resuscitated and polished, as if there were no questions to be asked about their bona fides. When , in fact, in keeping with the mass ritual of denial, there were literally dozens of pointed questions that should have been posed to these two witnesses. But just like the prospective indictments of Phillips and Goodpasture, the MSM put up a sign saying, "Stop! Don't go there!"
The irony in all this is that the head in the sand attitude perfectly exemplifies the attitude of the MSM in "going down with the ship". We all know today that the MSM is dying. Newsweek recently sold for a pittance. As Jefferson Morley revealed at the Passing the Torch conference in Pittsburgh, he tried to get the Washington Post to cover the Kennedy case repeatedly. They refused. Even though as he noted, their circulation numbers continued to decline. The Post was recently sold to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com for the shockingly low price of 250 million dollars. The LA Times has also declined radically in circulation from a peak of 1.1 million to almost half of that today. The LA Timeswas purchased by Tribune Company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. There have been numerous reports about the precarious financial position of the New York Times. One of the problems of course has been a loss of readers to the Internet. Not just because it's mostly free, but also because it offers a wider variety of information. For example, this year, CTKA.net broke all of its records for readership, with over 3.5 million hits. Much of this was aided by the blackout by the MSM in November. But the MSM still does not get the message. Not only does hardly anyone else believe them anymore on this and related subjects, but with the competition from the web, they are now on the endangered species list as financial entities.
But that doesn't appear to matter to them. That is how wedded they are to the Commission's follies. Even when all the new evidence indicates they are wrong, they ignore it. In fact, as we saw with the case of Mayor Mike Rawlings in Dallas, he and the Power Elite did not even want to hear anything about it. Even if it meant violating the first amendment rights of American citizens.
That is the state of the JFK case today. There is more evidence now of what really happened than there has ever been. The problem is that the general public is not aware of it. Because the MSM refuses to countenance it. Even if it is to the detriment of themselves, this country, and democracy. The MSM and the Power Elite continue to deny it all. That death wish, of course, says much more about them than it does the Kennedy assassination.
Not that this is surprising to people who've followed the JFK assassination, but it turns out that high-ranking CIA official David Atlee Phillips, while using the cover name "Maurice Bishop," was seen talking to Lee Harvey Oswald.
When he first confirmed that David Atlee Phillips was the CIA contact known as "Maurice Bishop," Cuban exile leader Antonio Veciana did so tacitly. But Veciana's meaning was so clear, and his guile so transparent, there was no doubt; both he and House Select Committee investigator Gaeton Fonzi began laughing.
Now, decades later, Veciana has explicitly stated that Phillips (right) was indeed Bishop, and that he did indeed see Phillips with Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963 – thus formally linking a high ranking CIA officer with the JFK assassination.
Veciana's admission came in a written statementissued November 22, 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination. In a letter to Fonzi's widow Marie, Veciana, the aging, former leader of Alpha 66, said, "Maurice Bishop, my CIA contact agent was David Atlee Phillips. Phillips or Bishop was the man I saw with Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas on September 1963."
Fonzi wrote of his encounters with Veciana in his 1993 book The Last Investigation, which describes his experience with the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the 1970s.
At the time of his first meetings with Veciana, Fonzi was a staff investigator for Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-Pa.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Sub-committee on the John F. Kennedy Assassination. Fonzi told Veciana he was exploring links between government agencies and Cuban exile groups.
On March 2, 1976, Veciana told Fonzi that two months before the assassination he rendezvoused with his CIA contact "Maurice Bishop" in the lobby of a downtown Dallas office building. Bishop was already there when he arrived, Veciana said, and in the company of a young man he later recognized as Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged JFK assassin.
In subsequent HSCA testimony, however, Veciana did not identify Phillips as Bishop. But Fonzi independently determined that "Bishop" and Phillips were one and the same.
Phillips was also called before the HSCA, and under oath, denied both using the name Maurice Bishop and knowing Veciana. That ended the matter. Although Fonzi believed they could make a case for perjury, HSCA Chief Counsel G. Robert Blakey declined to bring charges against Phillips.
In the early 1960s Alpha 66 was a leading anti-Castro organization, funded by the CIA. During the course of their meetings Veciana never explicitly told Fonzi that Bishop was really Phillips. Fonzi believed that Veciana would not make the identification because he thought Bishop/Phillips could further aid him in his goal of toppling Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
David Atlee Phillips was a CIA officer for 25 years. At the time of the assassination he was Chief of Cuban Operations, based in Mexico City. He died in 1988.
Here is an interesting photo essay about people, unrelated, who look like each other. How much do they look alike? Like this:
John Armstrong, a JFK researcher, wrote a very compelling book, Harvey and Lee. You can read or download a PDF file here. The book makes the case that there were two Oswalds who, from a young age, were groomed by the CIA for an undercover operation, putting agents behind the Iron Curtain. Why two Oswalds? Read the book.
This is a collection of photos of "Lee Harvey Oswald" at various stages of his life. As you can see, the Oswalds on the top row aren't a great match with the ones on the bottom row. But if you only knew Oswald, say, as a guy working in the Book Depository you wouldn't know about someone being Oswald at the same time at, say, a firing range or test-driving a car.
(A tip of the hat to George Bailey for the link to the various doppelgangers.)
The Assassination Records Review Board finished its search more than a year ago—a search for records relating to the murder of a president thirty-six years ago. Surprisingly, the passage of time has not managed to erode or cover over all of the important evidence. On the contrary, the work of the Review Board has uncovered important new leads in the case. I will leave medical and ballistic forensics to others. I will confine myself to document forensics, an area for which the work of the board had been nothing less than spectacular. More specifically, I will confine myself to the documentary record concerning Lee Harvey Oswald’s 1963 visit to Mexico City.
In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) completed its work, including a report on Oswald’s activities in Mexico written by Eddie Lopez and Dan Hardway. Our first glimpses of their report began shortly after the 1993 passage of the JFK Records Act. Not even all the redactions of those early versions could hide the seminal discoveries in that work. While Lopez couched his words in careful language, he suggested that Oswald might have been impersonated while he was in Mexico City just weeks before the assassination. Lopez was more forthright when I interviewed him about this in 1995. Armed with more CIA documents and the first Russian commentary (Nechiporenko’s book, Passport to Assassination), I went further in my own Oswald and the CIA (Carroll & Graf: 1995) in advancing the argument that Oswald was impersonated in the Mexican capitol. Specifically, someone pretending to be Oswald made a series of telephone calls between 28 September and 1 October, allegedly to and from the Cuban and Soviet consulates in Mexico City.
I concluded then, that, based on the content of the CIA Mexico City telephone transcripts alone, the speaker purporting to be Oswald was probably an impostor. I will not repeat my lengthy discussion here, other than to summarize it in this way: the speaker’s words were incongruous with the experiences we can be reasonably certain Oswald underwent. For reasons still obscure, the CIA has lied consistently for these past several decades about the tapes from which those transcripts were made. The Agency concocted the story that the tapes were routinely destroyed before the assassination. It is perhaps true that some tapes were destroyed before the assassination. But Lopez uncovered FBI documents containing detailed accounts of how two of the tapes were listened to after the assassination by FBI agents familiar with Oswald’s voice.
More evidence would come in time. Shortly after the passage of the JFK Records Act, the public gained access to a telephone transcript the day after the assassination in which FBI Director Hoover informs President Johnson that it is not Oswald’s voice on the tapes. The Review Board diligently followed these leads and settled the matter when they found CIA documents in which the Agency itselfexplicitly states that some of the tapes were reviewed after the assassination. The CIA’s continued silence on the matter of the tapes stands, like a giant beacon, pointing the way forward to the investigator. The impersonation of Oswald in Mexico by someone who drew attention to an Oswald connection to a KGB assassination officer may prove to be the Rosetta stone of this case.
Before going further, I once again pay tribute to Peter Dale Scott, who wrote of these matters as early as 1995, advancing his "Phase I-Phase II hypothesis" on largely deaf ears. I will not repeat his lengthy discussion here, other than to summarize it in this way: In Phase I, immediately after the assassination, previously planted evidence of a Cuban/Kremlin plot surfaced in Oswald’s files; this, in turn, precipitated Phase II, in which a lone-nut cover-up was erected to prevent a nuclear war.
In Oswald and the CIA, I deliberately steered clear of the conspiracy-anti-conspiracy vortex in order to set out some of the facts concerning Oswald’s pre-assassination files. Since then, the cumulative weight of the evidence uncovered by the Review Board has led me to the conclusion that the Oswald impersonation can best be explained in terms of a plot to murder the president. I remain open to other interpretations and fresh analyses by fellow researchers, and I understand that new evidence could corroborate or undermine this hypothesis. What follows is a first stab at explaining, in a short and simple way, how those plotting the president’s murder may have left their fingerprints in the files.
Since Oswald would have no reason to arrange for his own impersonation, there are three possibilities concerning the purpose of this impersonation: it was only part of a legitimate intelligence operation; it was only part of a conspiratorial plot; or, the third alternative which combines both: it was part of a legitimate intelligence operation manipulated by a plotter or plotters. These are three distinct puzzles. Into which one do the pieces fit most easily?
For the purposes of this discussion I will reject the proposition that it was only part of a crude conspiratorial plot, carried out by schemers unfamiliar with the inner-workings of the U.S. intelligence community. By exposing themselves to such intense U.S. intelligence scrutiny, the conspirators would have put themselves at unacceptable risk and raised the chances that Oswald would not be in the Texas School Book Depository when the president’s motorcade drove by. Thus we are left with two puzzles: an intelligence operation or a legitimate operation manipulated by plotters. Before deciding, let us examine the characteristics of some of the more unique-looking pieces.
The weirdest, most gangly piece is the 28 September phone transcript. In addition to the Oswald impersonator, there are two more speakers on this one. The phone call is between the Cuban Consulate and the Soviet Embassy at a time when no one was in the Cuban Consulate and the Soviets were in the middle of preparing a report to KGB HQ on Oswald’s activities. The FBI confirmed that the Oswald character was played by someone else. Another speaker in this transcript, the secretary in the Cuban Consulate, Silvia Duran, had to have been impersonated if, as she and her colleagues have repeatedly claimed and testified, the Cuban consulate was closed at the time of the telephone call.
This only leaves one other person, the man allegedly in the Soviet Embassy. If he is truly in the Soviet Embassy, then one could advance the argument that this was some sort of CIA penetration operation. If the Soviet man, too, was impersonated, then there was no legitimate intelligence operation even though it was probably designed to look like one. We should bear in mind that the CIA has never publicly claimed these phone calls were part of any intelligence operation and the Russians have no recollection of such a call. In fact, at the very time this phone call was supposed to have been made to the Soviet Embassy, the three staff members with whom Oswald had visited for an hour were still in the building and in the process of assembling all of the details for a cable to KGB Central in Moscow. It is frustrating that, in 1999, when Boris Yeltsin handed over KGB files on Oswald to President Clinton, they did not include the Soviet Embassy cables that were sent at the time of this bogus 3-person telephone call. Those contemporaneous cables could provide corroboration for the later Soviet (Nechiporenko- Kostikov) account.
The second puzzle piece is the 1 October telephone transcript, wherein the Oswald impersonator mentions a meeting with Valery Kostikov—a man known to the CIA as the chief of KGB assassination operations for the entire Western hemisphere. In fact, according to CIA cables and Kostikov himself, the real Oswald did meet Kostikov in Mexico. What, then, was the purpose of this impersonation? When we hold this second piece side-by-side with the first piece, we are drawn to the possibility of a plot to murder the president, an integral part of which was planting—in CIA channels—evidence of an international communist conspiracy.
The third piece is a missing transcript. We know there was a 30 September tape because of the recollection of the CIA translator who transcribed it. Her name is Mrs. Tarasoff and she remembers not only transcribing it but also the fact that the Oswald voice was the same as the 28 September voice—in other words the same Oswald impostor. This piece is all the more unique because Mrs. Tarasoff remembers the Oswald character asked the Soviets for money to help him defect, once again, to the Soviet Union.
Finally, this piece has another side to it as well: it concerns what a CIA officer at the Mexico City station had to say about it. His name was David Atlee Phillips and, in sworn testimony to the HSCA, he backed up Mrs. Tarasoff’s claim about the tape and the request for money to assist in another defection to the Soviet Union. But the Phillips story has another twist. The day before his sworn testimony, Phillips told a different, more provocative version to Ron Kessler of the Washington Post. He told Kessler that on this tape Oswald asked for money in exchange for information. Why was this crucial transcript destroyed? What motivated Phillips to tell two different stories about this piece in less than 24 hours?
This third piece not only reinforces the likelihood that the plotters were seeking to ensure CIA sources would reveal a link between Oswald and the Soviets, but also invites us to ask questions about David Phillips. Indeed, one might ask, in view of the foregoing, what was Phillips doing during Oswald’s visit and the subsequent exchange of cables with CIA HQ concerning Oswald’s activities in Mexico?
John Armstrong's book Harvey And Lee is the most detailed book following the life (actually, lives) of the two men who shared the identity of the man eventually accused of murdering JFK.
It's an incredible book. If you have any interest at all about it you should read the book. Unfortunately, you'll find copies for sale for several hundreds of dollars on the internet.
I just happened to stumble across the PDF of the entire book, here:
URGENT 11-30-63 7-37 PM EST MB
TO DIRECTOR, AND SACS DALLAS AND NEW YORK
FROM SAC, NEW HAVEN /100-18158/
NEW YORK VIA WASHINGTON
LEE HARVEY OSWALD, IS - R
ON NOV. THIRTY INSTANT, JACK D. TIPPIT, SELF EMPLOYED
CARTOONIST FOR NATIONAL MAGAZINES AND WIFE, ONE SIX FOUR
NEW TOWN TURNPIKE, WESTPORT, CONN., ADVISED AS FOLLOWS. AT
APPROXIMATELY ELEVEN THIRTY AM ON INSTANT DATE MRS. TIPPIT
RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM UNKNOWN WOMAN WHO ASKED IF
MR. TIPPIT WAS A POLICEMAN AND IF HE WAS RELATED TO THE POLICE-
MAN TIPPIT WHO WAS SHOT IN DALLAS. MRS. TIPPIT REPLIED HER
HUSBAND WAS NOT A POLICEMAN, WAS DISTANTLY RELATED TO OFFICER
TIPPIT AND ASKED IDENTITY OF CALLER. ON ANOTHER EXTENSION
JACK TIPPIT LISTENED TO BALANCE OF PHONE CALL. THE WOMAN SAID
SHE COULD NOT GIVE HER NAME AS SHE WAS AFRAID OF BEING KILLED,
THAT SHE WAS FROM NEW YORK AND HAD TO COME "HERE" TO MAKE THE
CALL SO THAT SHE COULD NOT BE TRACED AS SHE WAS IN FEAR OF HER
END PAGE ONE
LIFE. THE WOMAN REQUESTED THAT NOTHING BE SAID TO THE PRESS
ABOUT A WOMAN CALLING AS THEY WOULD KNOW HER IDENTITY AND SHE
WOULD BE KILLED.
THE WOMAN SAID SHE KNEW OSWALD-S FATHER AND UNCLE WHO
WERE HUNGARIANS AND COMMUNISTS. THE WOMAN CONTINUED THAT
OSWALD-S FATHER AND UNCLE HAD LIVED AT SEVENTY SEVENTH AND SECOND
AVENUE, YORKVILLE, NYC, THAT WHILE LIVING THERE BOTH WERE
UNEMPLOYED, GOT THEIR MONEY FROM COMMUNISTS AND SPENT ALL THERE
TIME IN COMMUNIST ACTIVITIES.
THE WOMAN THEN BEGAN SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY, DISJOINTEDLY,
AND NERVOUSLY. SHE STATED SHE HAD TWO NAMES TO GIVE AND
MENTIONED THE NAME EMILE KARDOS AND SAID SOMETHING ABOUT A
BROTHER IN LAW. WHEN MRS. TIPPIT TRIED TO FIND OUT WHOSE
BROTHER IN LAW THE WOMAN KEPT REPEATING THE WORD BROTHER IN LAW.
THE WOMAN STATED KARDOS IS HEAD OF THE COMMUNISTS AND THAT THIS
GROUP IN NEW YORK NOW HAS CHARTS AND MAPS. THE WOMAN SAID
SOMETHING ABOUT WEINSTOCK THE EDITOR OF QUOTE WOMAN-S WORLD
UNQUOTE BUT DID NOT GIVE FURTHER DETAILS.. THE WOMAN SAID THE
END PAGE TWO
GROUP IN NEW YORK PLANS TO TAKE OVER THE GOVERNMENT, THAT OF
COURSE THEY WOULD DENY THIS BUT SHE KNEW IT TO BE TRUE.
SHE THEN HUNG UP ABRUPTLY. THE WOMAN NEVER GAVE ANY REASON
FOR HER CALL WHICH SOUNDED LOCAL. MRS. TIPPIT THOUGHT THE
WOMAN HAD AN AUSTRIAN OR GERMAN ACCENT WHILE MR. TIPPIT
BELIEVED IT WAS SPANISH. BOTH FELT THE WOMAN SOUNDED LIKE
A MATURE ADULT AND DID NOT HAVE A YOUTHFUL VOICE.
MR. TIPPIT EXPLAINED WOMAN MAY HAVE OBTAINED HIS IDENTITY
FROM AN ARTICLE ON PAGE ONE OF NORWALK, CONN. QUOTE HOUR
UNQUOTE FOR NOVEMBER TWENTYFIVE LAST, WHICH STATED THAT WE MAY
BE A DISTANT RELATIVE OF THE DALLAS POLICEMAN. TIPPIT SAID
ARTICLE RESULTED FROM TELEPHONE CALL FROM REPORTER WHO WAS
CHECKING ALL TIPPITS IN LOCAL TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES.
BUREAU REQUESTED TO COORDINATE ABOVE WITH ANY OTHER
INFORMATION TO DETERMINE IF PERTINENT AS NEW HAVEN HAS NO
KNOWLEDGE OF THE RESIDENCE AND ASSOCIATES OF OSWALD-S FATHER
END AND ACK PLS
7-45 PM OK FBI WA LLD FOR RELAY
6-47 PM CST OK FBI DL FL
TU PLSDISC M
John Armstrong is a JFK assassination investigator who has worked on the theory that there were two Oswalds. Here's just one piece evidence: Oswald's magical tooth.
Here's a picture, shown in Life Magazine, of Oswald clowning around in his 9th grade class.
This closeup shows the missing tooth.
However, when he was in the Marines he had his tooth back.
When Oswald's body was exhumed in 1981 it had the missing tooth.
So how did Oswald lose a tooth in high school (in a fight which was witnessed) and then get it back?