Tag Archive for assassination

November 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy gunned down in Dallas. The Crime of the Century. Or at least last century's Crime of the Century. What really happened, and does it matter today?

Why the Warren Commission got scared with Castro

The Warren Commission didn’t get scared with Fidel Castro because of Lyndon B. Johnson’s chilling warning to Chief Justice Earl Warren about rumors that “if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives.”

The day after the JFK assassination, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called Johnson around 10:00 a.m. — the recording was erased, but a transcript survived at LBJ Library — and said about Lee Harvey Oswald: “We, of course, charged him with the murder, [but] the case as it stands now isn’t strong enough to be able to get a conviction.”

The Strange Case Against Oswald

In the evening of that very Saturday, Castro delivered a kind of speech-commentary on Cuban radio and TV. For him, “the most unexpected thing, as unexpected as the assassination itself, was that immediately a suspect appeared who, by a coincidence, had been in Russia, and — what a coincidence — he is related to a Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”

Through content analysis of AP and UPI cables, Castro noted: “It was neither logical, nor reasonable” that an American citizen “taught to shoot and kill in the Marine Corps, [became] a Castro-Communist, [and] that this former marine should go to the Soviet Union and try to become a Soviet citizen, and that the Soviets should not accept him, that he should say at the American Embassy that he intended to disclose to the Soviet Union the secrets of everything he learned while he was in the U.S. service and that in spite of this statement, his passage is paid by the U.S. Government [and he] simply returned peacefully to the United States without being arrested, tried, [and] sent to jail.”

Just after Jack Ruby killed Oswald on Sunday, Hoover reported to LBJ aide Walter Jenkins: “There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead.”

Hoover remarked the need to have “something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.”

Three days later, at the traditional memorial ceremony to honor eight Cuban medical students executed by Spanish colonial authorities on November 27, 1871, Castro addressed “a number of strange things which every day become more strange.”

The Castro Allegations

Castro found no rational explanation to close the case once the alleged assassin was eliminated,

“As if it were a matter not of the President of the United States, but of a dog killed in the street.”

The case was closed within 48 hours, when it was “more worthy of investigation from the judicial and criminal point of view.”

From this standpoint, Castro argued some motions to the court of the public opinion. They actually became sound research issues:

  • “It is implausible that a marksman equipped with a repeating carbine with a telescopic sight can hit the target three consecutive times in the lapse of five seconds, when he fires at a target that is moving at a distance of 80 meters [with a] rifle with telescopic sight, the target gets lost because of the shot, just because of the shot, and it is necessary to find it again quickly, moreover if the rifle has to be levered (…) In order to fire quickly, it’s much better with a rifle (…) with Lyman sight.”
  • “All this seems to indicate that the rifle may have appeared there as part of the plot (…) This rifle should have been placed there; it is precisely a gun neither for shooting at 80 meters nor for firing three shots (…) It is really strange that anyone willing to kill from a distance of 80 meters, from a window, would purchase a rifle with telescopic sight, since any other without telescopic sight would have been more appropriate.”
  • “It is supposed that an individual wants a rifle with telescopic sight in order to fire safety and accurately from a distance against a fixed target, not against a moving target (…) By using a telescopic sight, the individual would have been trying to get accuracy and safety. In this case of a moving target at 80 meters, the individual wasn’t seeking accuracy and the curious thing is that he wasn’t seeking safety either.”
  • “Here we have the curious case that the accused, or the alleged assassin, fires from his workplace. Nobody who intends to escape (…) is willing to kill from his very workplace, where he is going to be identified and fiercely pursued within five minutes. He would have sought a roof on another building, or rented an apartment along the route, for positioning himself with his rifle with telescopic sight rifle at a distance which would have allowed him to escape.”
  • “All these contradictory, illogical and inexplicable things lead to the alternative that either this individual is not guilty and was turned into guilty by the police, or this individual was actually the one who fired and then all his actions have no other logical explanation[:] An individual who kills and hopes to escape, but at the same time would be perfectly identified as the perpetrator.”
  • “The latter would make sense only if the individual was perfectly trained to perpetrate the crime, under promise of escape from prosecution, in order to put the blame on others (…) It’s quite clear the thread here. Why did Oswald go to the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City? What pretext did he use? Asking for an in-transit visa to go on to the Soviet Union, although it would have been quicker and easier to go via England or France. If this man is the real assassin, it’s clear the masterminds were carefully planning the alibi[:] The sitting President of the United States murdered by an individual just after he went to the Soviet Union via Cuba and returned. It was the ideal gambit for making up the mind of the American public with a suspect who was a Commie, a Cuban and Soviet agent.”
  • “Why did he have to come to Cuba, except for the only and exclusive purpose of leaving a trail, of spinning a web? Why did he get angry when he was told that it was impossible to get an in-transit Cuba visa if he didn’t have the Soviet visa? Why did he slam the door? Why did he leave? No friend of Cuba, no Communist does this while visiting our consulates. Nobody behaves in such a rude manner.”
  • “He did not confess. He denied everything. [But] the surprising, the incredible, what increases the suspicion that the entire world has, is that barely 36 or 48 hours later, in the basement of a jail surrounded by police agents, he was murdered. This shows that the ones responsible for Kennedy’s death needed — they were compelled at all costs — to eliminate the accused.”
  • “How can one believe anyone had tried to take justice into his own hand? This only happens when there is no justice, when the guilty party in a crime that arouses indignation is not punished. In this case they murdered a man for whom the electric chair was waiting. In effect they murdered a dead man. How could he make anyone believe that he did it for emotional reasons?”

The WC Reluctance

The WC got scared with Castro not because of the intimidation by LBJ, but because of the body of evidence pointing to Castro’s allegations. In 1964 Castro insisted on them both directly though WC staffer William Coleman, who secretly interviewed him, and indirectly through FBI informant Jack Childs, who visited Cuba in May 1964 and talked with Castro about the issue.

Childs reported back to Hoover, who downplayed the key Castro’s allegation against the lone gunman who shot a magic bullet in a letter dated on June 17, 1964, to WD General Counsel J. Lee Rankin (Commission Exhibit 1359):

“The source [Childs] commented that on the basis of Castro’s remarks, it was clear that his beliefs were based on theory and result of Cuban experiments and not on any firsthand information in Castro’s possession. In this connection, it should be noted that the FBI Laboratory firearms experts made tests and determined that three shots could be fired with the kind of rifle and sight used by Oswald in the five to six seconds which were available. The Laboratory noted, however, that the timing did not begin until after the firing of the first shot.”

A Crucial Experiment

Castro’s credentials as expert are beyond any reasonable doubt. The young Castro used to hunt with firearms before going to college in 1945. He intensively practiced shooting before attacking the Moncada barracks in 1953. Just after going to exile in Mexico, he restarted the practice at the training camp of his expeditionary force against General Batista’s government. He personally prepared half a hundred rifles with telescopic sights before landing in Cuba on December 2, 1956. He perfectly knew all the characteristics of that type of rifle, because he had assorted sights with different powers. He also spent two years in guerrilla warfare using a rifle with telescopic sight in Sierra Maestra and even personally training his troops in shooting.

By definition, an experiment with firearms must be accurately reproduced. Thus, the best U.S. sniper could be used for firing an identical rifle as the one in evidence against an identical moving target at Dealey Plaza, instead of the well-known and flawed live shooting recreations from Michael Yardley et al.

In his November 27, 1963, speech, Castro had foretold: “Only at an extraordinary loss of prestige for the U.S. can those guilty of the assassination be concealed, nor can the true reasons, the true purposes, and the guilty intellectual and organizing actors of the crime remain in secret and in mystery.”

The WC did enough for fulfilling this prophecy.

JFK 3.0: Why the Warren Report is obsolete

From my new piece on Medium: “If data wants to be free, as some say, JFK assassination data insists upon it.”
 

The hit man and the mobster: Jack Ruby and Santos Trafficante

Why did Jack Ruby kill Lee Oswald?

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Credible witness: Bill Newman’s story

One perennial question people have about the JFK story is, Who do you believe? One credible witness is a man named Bill Newman. He was there, about 15 feet from JFK, when the gunfire rang out. His testimony is important. Read more

H.R. Haldeman: “We would be in a position to get all the facts “

“An investigation of the Kennedy assassination was a project I suggested when I first entered the White House [in 1969]. I had always been intrigued with the conflicting theories of the assassination. Now I felt we would be in a position to get all the facts. But Nixon turned me down.”

- H.R Haldeman, chief of staff to President Richard Nixon, from his book, The Ends of Power (p. 39).

Help find the JFK Most Wanted

The JFK Most Wanted series identifies key CIA documents related to JFK’s assassination that remain secret. These records won’t be released until October 2017 — at the earliest.

This week we highlighted Bill Kelly’s call for 84 NSA records related to JFK’s assassination.

JFK Facts is leading the fight to make all of these records public, as soon as possible.

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JFK Most Wanted: the Bill Harvey file

After much informed discussion of William K. Harvey in the comment board, I would say the following:

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Castro predicted Cuba would be blamed for JFK’s assassination

“Now,” Fidel said, “they will have to find the assassin quickly, but very quickly, otherwise, you watch and see, I know them, they will try to put the blame on us for this thing.”

The story comes from “When Castro Heard the News,” by French journalist Jean Daniel writing in The New Republic, Dec. 7, 1963.

Castro was right.

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The welcome mat at JFK Facts

JFK Assassination Scenarios is the Facebook page for a closed group that proclaims it is dedicated “solely for the purpose of putting forward YOUR strongest theory regarding WHY JFK was assassinated, What conspiratorial faction was involved, and How the assassination was pulled off.”

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Ken O’Donnell on grassy knoll shots

“I told the FBI what I had heard [two shots from behind the grassy knoll fence], but they said it couldn’t have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn’t want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family.”

- Kennedy aide Kenneth O’Donnell, quoted by House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. in “Man of the House,” p. 178. O’Donnell was riding in the Secret Service follow-up car with Dave Powers, who was present and told O’Neill he had the same recollection.

Charles De Gaulle: “Cowboys and Indians!”

“Vous me blaguez! [You're kidding me.] Cowboys and Indians!”

- French President Charles DeGaulle, on being briefed by a reporter on the lone-nut theory of the Kennedy assassination. Quoted by David Talbot in The mother of all coverups.”

Lady Bird Johnson was delighted by Jefferson Davis

A glimpse of another time in America. This is a tour of the University of Texas campus as conducted in 1943 by Future First Lady of the United States, otherwise known as Lady Bird Johnson.

(From Home Movie #9:  YouTube.)

Privatized history: Oswald letter going for $95,000 on Amazon

A historic letter written by accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is selling for l $95,000 on Amazon.com in the Entertainment Collectibles Market.

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Gorbachev on JFK

“He looked far ahead and he wanted to change a great deal. Perhaps it is this that is the key to the mystery of the death of President John F. Kennedy.”

- written by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in a Sixth Floor Museum memory book in 1998, according to archivist Gary Mack in the Kennedy Assassination Chronicles.

Autopsy of ‘Parkland,’ the JFK movie that was DOA

Last month, in an empty movie theater in Washington, DC, I saw “Parkland,” the Tom Hanks-Peter Landesmann film about the assassination of President Kennedy. I was so underwhelmed I didn’t know what to say.

The fact that the movie tanked at the box office and puzzled critics indicated its presentation of JFK’s murder as a fairly ordinary homicide in Texas had no resonance, even with elite media organizations imbued with a cultural affinity for the lone gunman theory. So I decided I would write something after the 50th anniversary and I never got around to it.

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