Fact check: Nitpicking JFK point

Another nit to pick with Wedneday’s JFK story in the WSJ, by Anna Campoy.

She wrote: ”The Sixth Floor Museum, housed in the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired [emphasis added], gets more than 300,000 visitors a year,” she wrote.

That is not quite right by old fashioned journalism standards.

While two investigations concluded Oswald fired a gun from the 6th floor of an office building overlooking the president’s motorcade route, there is also credible evidence that he did not.

The contrary evidence: After his arrest Oswald denied that he had shot the president and described himself as “a patsy.” The only eyewitness to place Oswald on the 6th floor at the time of the assassination came from a man standing more than 100 feet away who was not able to pick Oswald out of a police line-up. Oswald was then killed in custody, lending credence to his claim that he was a “patsy” for others.

Supporters of the official story emphasize that a mail-order rifle bought by Oswald was found on the 6th floor, Oswald answered questions evasively or inaccurately when questioned by police, and no more plausible gunman has ever been identified.

So with the facts are in dispute, Campoy would have served her readers better if she had written:

“The Sixth Floor Museum, housed in the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired, …

Nit picked.

24 comments

  1. John Kirsch says:

    Question: Did the witness who claimed to have seen Oswald on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting say that he saw Oswald with a rifle in his hands firing at the president?

    • Bill Kelly says:

      No one saw Oswald on the Sixth Floor at the time of the assassination. Witnesses saw a man with a rifle in the Sixth Floor windows fifteen minutes before the assassination when Oswald was seen on the first floor. Oswald was next seen by a Dallas motorcycle policeman in the second floor lunchroom less than two minutes after the last shot. Both of the men who saw a gunman in the Sixth floor window described a man wearing a white shirt (Oswald wore a brown shirt) and one said the man had a bald spot on the top of his head, a very specific description that does not describe Oswald.

  2. JSA says:

    I agree with Jeff Morley. There is absolutely no proof that Oswald fired the gun, was in the window, or shot at the President. All we have is some very VERY sloppily acquired circumstantial evidence, which isn’t very credible, and a conveniently killed alleged assassin, whose interrogation wasn’t recorded on tape or film. The folks at the Sixth Floor Museum who claim with assurance that Lee Oswald killed Kennedy are basing their claims entirely on faith-based criteria. It’s about as credible as a three dollar bill.

  3. D jon Davies says:

    What was Oswald to do ? Claim he did it and send himself to the chair ? There was overwhelming evidence he owned the gun, brought it to work and was seen in the window with it. You CTs just will not believe any evidence.

    • Tbar says:

      D jon,

      The lone nutter buffs don’t have anything conclusive to prove Lee Harvey Oswald was in the window. But please enlighten us “CTs” as to what proof you can give us that proves otherwise.

    • John Kirsch says:

      We don’t have to believe Oswald was telling the truth when he said he was just a patsy. But the fact that he didn’t claim responsibility, when the eyes of the world were upon him, undercuts the official portrait of Oswald as a loner in search of attention.

    • greg parker says:

      Well, that type of generalization leads us where, exactly?

      Here’s some evidence to chew on:

      Detective Ed Hicks told the London Free Press (11/23/63) that as Oswald came out “A policeman asked him where he was going. He said he wanted to see what the excitement was all about.”

      The Sydney Morning Herald (11/23/63) reported that “Oswald walked through the door of the warehouse and was stopped by a policeman. Oswald told the policeman that ‘I work here’, and when another employee confirmed that he did, the policeman let Oswald walk away.”

      Postal Inspector Harry Holmes sat in on the November 24 interrogation, took notes, and testified that Oswald had stated that “a police officer stopped me just before I got to the front door, and started to ask me some questions, and my superintendent of the place stepped up and told the officers that I am one of the employees…” (VII p. 302)

      Unless Oswald had psychic powers, he had no way of knowing what was being printed around the world, so the fact that his story closely resembles the earliest police reports to the press, should be considered gold in the way of corroboration.

      If one accepts the above, as one should, it follows that Oswald was not a shooter, so unless there was a REAL lone nut on the loose, this was a conspiracy.

      To get to the “who” you really have to do something akin to an archaeological dig around “ground zero”. In this case, actually two GZs one being Lee Harvey Oswald, and the other being the Texas School Book Depository.

      Oswald’d older half brother, John Pic, was working for the intelligence unit (PSU) of the Coast Guard which was tasked with keeping the ports clear of subversives. They did this in partnership with the FBI, ONI and a network of informants. Pic actually testified to the WC that he worked for the PSU while yound Lee was living with him in NYC, but no explanation was given of what the PSU was – and in 40 years of researchers on the case – not one of them ever looked into it. Had they done so, they would have discovered that the PSU inflicted more damage and pain to innocent workers and there families than any other witch hunting body – including senate and congressional committees – during the whole of the cold war.

      Two prominent authors interviewed Ned Keenan, as Keenan was somehow discovered to have been in Dick Snyder’s office when Oswald was there attempting to “defect”. Keenan readily admitted he was there – due – he said to visa problems. Keenan, a Harvard graduate, was studying in Leningrad under the student exchange program. What those interviews with Keenan amounted to was a lost opportunity to crack this case. Why? Because neither bother to do any digging on him. Had they done so, they would have found he was at Harvard at the same time Snyder was their doing some recruiting for the CIA REDSKIN program – and that Keenan was eventually made persona non grata by the Soviets for spying. The HSCA learned from the head of embassy security in Moscow during the period (cover for CIA) that there were some students being used in operations helping in orientation. That fits Keenan to a “t” as his field was Soviet history and culture.

      It should come as no surprise that Oswald starting making plans to leave Russia at the same time that CIA operations aimed at Russia created by NSC 143/2, were countermanded.

      And that’s without going into what can be found with a little digging around the other ground zero.

      Anyone who wants to use the WCR to hang Oswald is either living in fantasy land, or has some kind of axe to grind – whichever it is, the horse they’re beating never had any life in it to start with.

      • jeffmorley says:

        Intriguing stuff that could use documentation. Could you send scans of the Times-Herald and London Press articles to info AT JFKfacts.org? And is the Holmes testimony online anywhere? If so, send a link.

        The fact that the PSU did a lot of damage is important and the fact Robert Oswald worked for it is intriguing, but I’m missing a beat here: how did that effect the chain of events that led to JFK’s assassination?

        The Keenan story is likewise intriguing. Who were the two authors who interviewed Keenan? Why do you say their interviews are “lost”?

        And what do you think Keenan’s role was in Oswald’s defection?

        • greg parker says:

          Jeff,

          this has all the documentation re Keenan and Snyder:

          http://www.reopenkennedycase.net/parker5.html

          It also answers your question about who the two authors were.

          The interviews with Keenan were a lost opportunity. Whilst one author is a lone nutter who probably already knew Keenan from Harvard and probably did know exactly who – and what – Keenan was, had the other author done some digging on Keenan before speaking to him, he could have perhaps drawn a few admissions from him. Instead, his cover story about a visa problem was taken at face value.

          What was Keenan’s role? Orientation. He was a Russian specialist and I believe he was there to brief Oswald on what information to look out for, what living conditions would be like etc etc should he be succcessful in staying in Russia. He would have also been briefed on the White Russians who had been dropped into the Soviet Union under the REDCAP/REDSOX programs.
          http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t46-mikhail-platovsky

          How did Pic working for the PSU affect the chain of events? Well, at the very minimum, it is a direct family link to the intelligence community. Beyond that is speculation… and my speculation is that Oswald was brought to New York for mental tests – as stated by Marguerite’s housemaid. Those tests were related to ongoing research on military recruitment flowing from the Korean POW studies. Pic is the link into that through his intelligence connections. I do find it intriguing that Oswald’s delinquency commenced straight after his 13th birthday and ceased the moment Pic left the PSU. Delinquency was one of the major concerns regarding the background of POW collaborators… and as I understand it, some studies were looking at kids 13 to 17 years of age…

          This is some of what Naval History Magazine said in an article on the PSU
          ———————
          “In July 1950, maritime employers and the noncommunist maritime unions attended a conference in Washington to address “questions of national security,” specifically, ways to prevent communists from remaining active in the U.S. Merchant Marine. The ILWU and Marine Cooks and Stewards claimed the objective of this conference was to crush them. (In fact, three anticommunist locals of the ILWU attended the conference and signed the agreement.4) All agreed to a plan whereby the Coast Guard would determine, on the basis of information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Office of Naval Intelligence, who in the Merchant Marine were security risks.

          By 4 August, a Seattle steamship company had fired 65 members of the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union for refusing to submit to the screening test. Early in September, Captain Theodore R. Weitzel arrived on the West Coast to head a 28-member team that would screen stevedores. Even before the voluntary program was adopted, Senator Warren G. Magnuson (D-WA) introduced a bill to amend the Espionage Act of 1917. Magnuson’s speech mentioned the danger of foreign-flag vessels smuggling an atomic bomb or bacteria into the country and the need for giving the President authority to control such vessels in U.S. waters without declaring a complete emergency.8 President Truman signed it into Public Law 679 on 9 August.

          On 20 October the President issued Executive Order 10173, which directed the Secretary of the Treasury to carry out the necessary safeguards and not only superseded the voluntary program for the seagoing trades but also included waterfront employees in the screening program. Access to vessels and waterfront facilities was limited to people who carried a Coast Guard Port Security Card. The order also provided for an appeal procedure.”
          ———————

          Before joining the PSU, Pic had been at the Bainbridge Naval Training Station.

          Here is why, from the same Naval History Magazine article:
          ——————-
          “… the peak of World War II, the Coast Guard had 172,000 men to maintain port security. At the beginning of the Korean War, it had fewer than 30,000. The Coast Guard needed men who could undertake port security duties without extensive training, so the petty officer complements of ships and stations had to be reduced. To provide replacements, classes at petty officer schools were expanded to maximum size, and larger numbers of men went to Navy schools.”
          ————————
          Among the things one could learn at Bainbridge Naval Training Station was intelligence work.

          The PSU subversive program relied upon informants. These informants were recruited by the FBI and ONI, and their identities were protected vigorously. Additionally, the PSU did not employ its own investigators in this program, nor did it attempt to verify information that had been reported by other agencies.

          The Coast Guard during this period came under the Treasury Department.

  4. D Jon Davies says:

    Once again CTs want us to believe that it was impossible for Oswald to do the shooting and wind up face to face with the officer but it’s been proven over and over again that he had time. Also a CTs is making the case more difficult with his story regarding John Pic, it’s typical of what goes on with this story,maybe interesting but does it really matter ? No, just more intrigue for the buffs… I often wonder what the ulterior motives are for not wanting Oswald to be the assassin ? To bring the CIA down ? To push back on the right wing and enemies of Kennedy ? Plus there are just a lot of USA haters out there too. Madness.

    • Tbar says:

      I can only speak for myself, as I don’t belong to any organization of “CTs”. My motive for finding out what happened is to get the historical record straight, regardless of where the chips fall. D Jon, are you saying that if you knew that our government (or agencies of it) did something wrong or criminal that, in the interests of “not being a USA hater” you would sweep it under the rug, or turn away and not try to find out the truth? Following your logic, if you found out that Japanese Americans were put into internment camps, or that Blacks were enslaved and then discriminated against after they were freed, that you would rather not dig those things up, because you don’t want to stir up any “madness”? That sounds crazy to me!
      You know, my ancestors fought in the American Revolution for separation from Great Britain, even though it was a controversial thing to do at the time, not an easy stand to take. But they would roll over in their graves if they thought I would listen to people like you who are afraid to question OUR government, which belongs to WE THE PEOPLE—not to J. Edgar Hoover, not to Allen Dulles, or some police state entity. It’s absolutely the patriotic thing to do, to ask the difficult questions about the killing of one of our presidents. If the CIA was involved, they should man up and confess it, not try to squirrel the facts away like a bunch of cowards.

    • greg parker says:

      You started out in a previous post by making the broad generalization that your mythical CTs don’t like evidence. When I point some evidence out to you, what is your reaction? Not to address the specifics (something you will never attempt) but to throw out more cant.

      Seems like it is you who doesn’t like evidence if it doesn’t bend to your wishes.

      As for questioning my motive… I’m surprised that passed moderation since a post I made a few days ago is still “awaiting moderation” despite meeting all posting criteria. A number of posts have since made it through, including yours.

      My motive is to get to the facts – whatever they may be. I, for one, when first starting out, had no fear of finding Oswald did it any more than I feared finding Castro, the CIA, KGB, Birchers, or Bugs Bunny did it. The Facts rule Oswald and Bugs Bunny out. It’s still wide open from there.

      Jeff, if you could contact me as to why my previous post is being held up when it does no more than answer your questions,I’d appreciate it.

  5. Lisa Pease says:

    There’s actually no evidence Oswald shot a rifle, either. No nitrate was found on Oswald’s cheek. Lots of substances give off false positives, so the nitrate on his hands could have come from the cardboard boxes he worked with. But the FBI was unable to duplicate Oswald’s alleged feat of firing Oswald’s rifle without getting nitrate on their cheeks except in the one scenario they told the Warren Commission about: TWO people were used – one to shoot, and one to clean the rifle between shots. That was the only way to create a false negative. Check out Courtlandt Cunningham’s testimony on this point. Just ridiculous that people haven’t focused on this, over the years. See Breach of Trust for the detail of the FBI’s tests of Oswald’s rifle. (So all those stories put forward saying the chamber was “sealed” and therefore particles couldn’t escape are also bogus.)

    Btw Jeff – remind me after the holiday, I’ll scan a copy of the FBI document for you where the FBI traced the bullets to an order from the Marines for weapons they did not possess, leading the memo’s author to speculate the CIA ordered the bullets under USMC cover.

  6. Lisa Pease says:

    Here’s the link to Cunningham’s testimony – specific scenario – cleaning the rifle for the shooter – is described on printed page 494 (PDF page 44): http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh3/pdf/WH3_Cunningham.pdf

  7. D jon Davies says:

    More CTs…Oswald was linked to the rifle with prints, his mail order receipt to his po box, there’s even a picture of him with it but of course it’s all fabricated to frame Oswald in tne mind of the CTs. Someone killed JFK but that someone jut can’t be oswald , Why ?

    • jeffmorley says:

      Hey D Jon. You need to pay closer attention and respond the arguments that people are making here, not the arguments that you think “CTs” are making.

      Who said the prints on the rifle were fabricated? When you make a charge like that, you should back it up with a quote and a link.

      Who said the mail order receipt was fabricated? Same point. Share your sources.

      There is a debate over whether the so-called backyard photos were fabricated but that wasn’t started by CT’s. It was started by Oswald who, under interrogation, said the photos were fabricated. (For the record, I tend to think the backyard photos are authentic and I’m not a “CT.”

  8. D jon Davies says:

    “the facts rule oswald and bugs bunny out” I can’t participate here with CTs kooks, I thought Jeff was thinking the way I thought about it but this is just another hang out for kooks. I suggest the kooks get a check up from tne neck up. Adios.

    • jeffmorley says:

      No, its not a hangout for “kooks” Jon. Its a place where we report the latest in JFK news and people express differing points of view. Our comment policy (read it here) forbids ad hominem comments. I’m making an exception here to underline the point and to urge you contribute your views without language like “kooks.” If you have the facts on your side, you don’t need to go ad hominem

    • greg parker says:

      Humorless too, I see, Don. Or looking for any excuse to get out of addressing actual issues raised.

  9. PLV says:

    Dick Billings, former LIFE reporter who went on to work with Robert Blakey and the HSCA, told me that when he bought the infamous photo of Oswald with the rifle, it appeared to be an authentic negative that had not been manipulated. The photograph was airbrushed when it was prepared for the cover of LIFE, and Billings suggested that this common practice was the cause of all the later doubt. The HSCA later validated the authenticity of the photo. All that said, Billings was quite aware that many in the assassination community are suspicious of him and his connections, however tenuous, to the CIA.

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