Tableau of disaster

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline arrive in Dallas on November 22, 1963. As captured by White House photographer Arthur Rickerby, the first couple exude a charismatic style that did not impress or deter his enemies. The handsome head, the red, white and blue palette, the exploding roses, the uniformed onlookers compose a tableau of imminent disaster. The breakdown in presidential security is almost complete, thanks in part to the CIA’s mishandling (or manipulation) of a man named Oswald. Their limousine awaits.

The photo is part of an archival photography exhibition about JFK that will go up in Little Rock, Arkansas, on March 25.

Assembled and annotated by collector John Rogers, many of the photographs came from Rickerby, as well as the archives of major newspapers around the country.

The exhibition runs through March 30 in the Argenta Arts District galleries and exhibition space in downtown North Little Rock, home of Rogers Photo Archive and Argenta Images. Eight North Little Rock galleries and restaurants will serve as hosts of the approximately 120 JFK images.

41 thoughts on “Tableau of disaster”

  1. As a individual living through this at the time the events were stated quickly and put to rest quickly and as time goes on the belief than someone could use that rifle to shoot a moving target 3times in 6seconds. Is highly un likely . The truth will never be known and the individuals connected with this will never be found out. Case in point the magic bullet theory put out by the warren commission . Complete fantasy and cannot be fully questioned.

  2. How could the CIA “mishandle” Oswald when the FBI was responsible for domestic security and the local FBI agent was already threatened by Oswald? Since when does the CIA do the Secret Service’s job?

  3. If Oswald was a spy, or any sort of government agent for that matter, and following the assassination he was going to the Texas Theatre to meet a contact or something to that effect, why in the heck would he not have had .85 to buy a ticket?

    If Oswald was guilty as sin, and did indeed shoot the president and a police officer, why did he decide to duck into a theatre only blocks from the scene of the Tippit shooting? It just doesn’t seem like something you’d do after having committed a double homicide. And, Oswald’s either taking public transportation or he’s on foot. It just doesn’t add up.

    And, the same if he’s completely innocent, why on earth did it occur to him to sneak into the theatre without paying? He had money to ride the bus and presumably he had cab fare. He stopped off at his apartment on the way.

    Under any of the proffered scenarios regarding Oswald’s role in the assassination the whole sneaking into the Texas Theatre thing just doesn’t make sense.

    1. <<Oswald’s role in the assassination the whole sneaking into the Texas Theatre thing just doesn’t make sense.<<

      Shane: Suppose Oswald was confronted by Tippit as Oswald was trying to meet his contact located somewhere in the vicinity of Ruby's apartment. Forget Martino's comment about the Texas Theatre and go with the "fact" about Oswald's location when he met Tippit.

      Apparently Oswald anticipated a potentially dangerous situation. He armed himself. Between the time that he was seen on the second floor of the TSBD acting calm and relaxed – and his arrival at his rooming house – Oswald's demeanor seems to have changed. It's all speculation, isn't it?

      I think Tippit, perhaps unwittingly, on orders from Ruby, tried to change the rendezvous plan. Oswald sensed a setup and panicked.

      After killing Tippit, Oswald fled to the Texas Theater, an impulsive decision dictated by events rather than a pre-planned rendezvous.

  4. Eric Hollingsworth

    It’s possible that the CIA dropped the ball on Oswald, but I have a hard time believing they were complicit. In addition to manipulation or mishandling, I think another possibility is that the CIA was outmaneuvered by persons who knew the agency’s ins and outs and had a significant source of funding.

    Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem too pat — he would have been a godsend to the crowd pushing for war with Castro and the Soviet Union, had the government not put the lone gunman lid on the case. That’s why I’m skeptical about the “blowback” theory.

    1. James Jesus Angleton and Bill Harvey (both from CIA) leave me still in the camp of suspecting that the CIA did have something to do with the hit on JFK. I don’t think they were the only ones however. I think we had a rare convergence of military (JCS), CIA, FBI, and Lyndon Johnson, working together, to get rid of Kennedy. Later, to protect the Agency, George Joannides was the man working to help fend off Congress, when they tried to reopen the case, in the late seventies. Plus, the entire ‘Oswald in Mexico City’ ties fabricated with false voice recordings that were not Oswald, false photos too, show that there was an attempt (in my opinion) to have a cover story of Soviet/Cuban ties just in case the planners needed this, to keep the investigation from going too deep. Remember, the assassination took place almost one year after the Cuban Missile Crisis. That was a very scary escalation. The brilliant use of possible (later shown to be false) possible ties to the USSR and Cuba would have shut down most of the US investigators of that time, for fear that it could trigger a nuclear war. LBJ seemed to play this card well, and seemed to threaten to pull it out and put it on the table if need be. THAT was set up by CIA. Allen Dulles almost certainly helped come up with that ruse.

      1. The elephant in the room is the possibility of a co-optation of the CIA. Not all CIA agents were corrupted. Given his history, Dulles’ allegiances had to have been to the private sector over and above his duty to democracy.

        1. Hello Leslie,

          Regarding CIA allegiances to the private sector, we may need new terminology to sufficiently explore some of the complexities, alliances and entanglements which are the fabric of not merely the national security state, but also constitute the mechanism by which power is acquired, utilized and maintained on a global scale in the modern world. I believe Professor Scott refers to this as Deep Politics.

          For the past year I have contemplated the plausible influence of one shadowy figure whose presence may have been felt but not seen during the consequential decade that began with the CIA’s proposal to collaborate with the Mafia for mutual benefit in their efforts to dispose of Fidel Castro and was then book-ended by the disruption of the Nixon administration’s executive authority during Watergate.

          That figure is Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.

          For those who may not be aware, it was Hughes’ trusted executive assistant, Robert Maheu, to whom the CIA turned in their original request to establish dialogue with the Mob to assassinate Castro.

          I’m sure it is understood by many that a number of very serious students of President Kennedy’s assassination have speculated that this alliance between CIA/Mafia/Cuban exiles may have been a crucible of the plans that altered our history.

          I believe Howard Hughes would have been uniquely situated to sponsor the assassination of the president. His access to and possible influence over an ultimate Machiavellian figure such as James Angleton is not something I can prove. The fact that Angleton delivered the sole eulogy at Hughes’ small memorial service is certainly intriguing to me.

          I believe Hughes’ proximity to figures and centers of despicable action makes my speculation plausible. For the CIA, Hughes was both beneficiary and benefactor; a military industrialist who profited from the pursuit of war and an unlimited source of hundred dollar bills. I am deeply suspicious that he may have made or received the first call to set in motion our nightmarish chain of consequence.

          Just a thought.

          1. “The fact that Angleton delivered the sole eulogy at Hughes’ small memorial service is certainly intriguing to me.”

            Wow! I had never heard that before. That certainly is intriguing.

          2. AD: I missed this post so I hope that you pick it up. Hughes is certainly another pandora’s box. His early association with Farish in Houston opens the portal. From there his rise to wealth and fame is notorious, and the Maheu angle is significant. I have been in the company of the daughter of his lieutenant, Pat Hyland, who at one time said – half jokingly – “when you are rich, you can get away with murder.” I’m not suggesting that she was referring to Kennedy’s, but I came away feeling that she was exhibiting the ethos of her background.

    1. Very funny!

      If there will be irresolvable problems in a marriage, they will usually surface in the honeymoon.

  5. jay sutherland

    So all the witnesses who saw a rifle being fired from the TSBD are in on the crime ? That includes the employees below the sixth floor who heard the bolt action of a rifle. Oswald was involved ,whether he had help and or enablers is the question that I thought this website was about. Jeff , you are going to lose credibility by encouraging the ” there is no proof we really landed on the moon” crowd

    1. No, I would say that all the witnesses who saw a rifle being fired are in in on the crime. I’ve never said that and I don’t think that.

      Oswald was almost certainly witting that an attempt would be made on JFK’s life–why else would he go to his boarding house residence and get a pistol?

      I don’t understand your reference to the moon landing. For the record, I think that U.S. astronauts landed on the moon in 1969.

    2. jay,

      You belong to government-funded basement group that attacks those who are vulnerable. You are 25 years old, I guess. Maybe a little older.

      Notice how jeff is quick to the defense. He knows the deal. jay is no mere blogger. He represents the evil force all here oppose.

      1. Jay, I don’t know you so I don’t assume anything about you, except that you want to debate the JFK story in good faith.

        1. I have difficulty with understanding how the court of public opinion ways in a debate of this gravity. There was a time when only 20-30% believed that there was a conspiracy but that did not change the facts nor did it deter good researchers, it simply meant that a lot of us suffered ridicule for a few decades.

          The general public also believes that Oswald was the only person that was pursued in the immediate aftermath, which is simply not the case. I believe the entire argument proves just how effective the propaganda was.

          I also don’t understand how Oswald’s being arrested represents proof that he was guilty.

          The evidence you have enumerated does not address the plausible argument that Oswald was set up. Wouldn’t that be an obvious consideration before settling on his guilt. Perhaps you have gone through that process so my apologies if I am jumping to a conclusion.

    3. Jay, there may have been a shooter or multiple shooters on 6th floor TSBD. But US intelligence agent Oswald as one of them? Probably not. And the head kill shot to JFK almost certainly came from the front and JFK absolutely was hit by bullets from both the front and the back (multiple shooters, an obvious conspiracy).

      Jesse Curry, the Dallas Police Chief at the time, later wrote no one has ever been able to put a rifle into Oswald’s hand on the 6th floor TSBD. I personally think Oswald *was* involved in the JFK assassination due to the ultra-right crowd he was running with in New Orleans, Guy Bannister, David Ferrie & crew.

      I suggest you read 2 books: “LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination by Phillip Nelson” and “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James Douglass. Read together, those 2 books are a pretty good introduction to the realities of the JFK assassination.

    4. The comparison made about Moon landing speculation is so way off base as to be laughable, like believing in UFOs, or like believing that J. Edgar Hoover was a heterosexual.

      As for Oswald, I believe he was involved, but as a stooge. I can’t prove this; it’s speculation on my part, based on what we now know about him today. As for the shooting, it’s pretty obvious to me that there were shots fired from both behind the car and in front of it. I base this not just on ballistics speculation from the scene of the crime, but from testimony given by the doctors at Parkland Hospital, and from FBI agents Sibert and O’Neil, who saw Kennedy’s wounds up close and told a different story from that of the “shots only fired from behind” story that the Warren Commission told. Some of the doctors in Dallas changed their story afterwards, but I believe they were pressured to do so, as Dr. Charles Crenshaw later stated on the record. Add to this the fact that Governor Connelly said before he died that he always thought that the bullet that struck him left pieces in his arm that couldn’t have come from the ‘magic bullet’ and the Warren Commission story of one shooter firing from behind evaporates.

      If there is one problem I find with most Americans, it is that there seems to be an almost intellectual laziness, a desire to see the “emperor clothed” to take from a H.C. Andersen fable. People need to exercise critical thinking and not take things at face value, no matter who tells them—be it Arlen Specter, Lyndon Johnson, Allen Dulles or any of the numerous conspiracy theorists. Everybody’s word has to be checked carefully. The idea that the government couldn’t keep a secret isn’t good enough. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can’t. Smearing people with Moon landing hokum doesn’t work either.

    5. The moon landing reference was to some of the crowd who claim Oswald was no way involved . They remind me of people who claim the moon landings were staged. Your work on this and the CIA connections to Oswald have been the most relevant FACTS revealed in the last 20 years. For the record I am open to any facts or hard evidence in the case and I am 54 yeaars old. Keep up the good work Jeff

  6. “The breakdown in presidential security is almost complete, thanks in part to the CIA’s mishandling (or manipulation) of a man named Oswald.” Oswald is the red herring, the shell game and not the key to the JFK assassination. The key is to understand who hated JFK, who had the means to kill him and who had the keys to cover it up.

    And that guy is VP Lyndon Johnson and his friends in military/CIA and add in the men in the shadow government of Texas oil exeutives who were used to manipulating the inside of governement for decades. Key players in all those categories were at war with the Kennedys in fall, 1963.

    Oswald is significant in that he was US intelligence, not that he was shooting anyone in the head from 88 yards to the rear.

  7. This is what bothers me most about the assassination and provides the “plausible deniability” cover that higher-ups needed. Whether “mishandled” or manipulated, either one gives Oswald (and perhaps others) a shot. A conspiracy of manipulated negligence, just “errors” and things “overlooked.”

  8. Footnote: It’s clear to this writer the JCS approved if not initiated the hit.

    Think about this: the one-hour failure of the telephone system in Washington, D.C., immediately following the assassination. The NSA, a military intelligence-type operation, caused this. Without doubt, IMO. This one-hour failure was a signal to LBJ and other insiders that the top of the military stood behind the coup.

  9. Same question as leslie sharp’s about the meaning of: “The breakdown in presidential security is almost complete, thanks in part to the CIA’s mishandling (or manipulation) of a man named Oswald.”

    The SS and DPD failed to provide security.

    1. I only recently realized that the Dallas County Sheriff’s office was in the County Criminal Courts building cattycornered to the TSBD building on Dealey Plaza. The Secret Service final survey report for the Tampa visit on Nov. 18 states that the sheriff’s office provided men with rifles on the roofs of all major buildings in downtown and suburban Tampa. Is there any indication this happened in Dallas?

      1. Roger Craig in a taped interview with Mark Lane (c. early 1974) says he and other foot officers were ordered (I believe by Bill Decker) not to provide security.

  10. It’s curious to me that such an exhibition has been endorsed in Little Rock given the prevailing politics in the South in 1963. Assuming that the intention is honorable and not part of the “shock doctrine,” this is a good sign for our country.

    I’m also curious about this statement: “The breakdown in presidential security is almost complete, thanks in part to the CIA’s mishandling (or manipulation) of a man named Oswald. Their limousine awaits.”

    Does this suggest that Oswald was responsible for shooting Kennedy, or does it mean that had he been investigated appropriately prior to November 22, he might have been one to interrupt the operation?

    1. It means we can’t be sure. We don’t have any clear idea of who was firing a gun in Dealey Plaza. The most plausible candidate is Oswald, though it is implausible to say that he alone was responsible for the death of the president. The point is that even if you think Oswald alone fired a gun that day, top CIA officials reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton knew far more about Oswald’ travels, intentions, and politics than they ever admitted to investigators and Helms and Angleton prevented investigators from examining this fact.

      1. I don’t see why Oswald is the most plausible candidate. The Mannlicher doesn’t fit the crime; nor does its ammunition. A half-decent defense lawyer could have convinced a jury there was no tying Oswald to the particular Mannlicher beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Is Oswald the most plausible candidate because the Warren Report is the point of departure in analyzing this case?

        1. I said “plausible.” There were shots fired from the Depository. He was arrested. A Mannlicher Carcano that he ordered and possessed was found in the Depository. Mannlicher Carcano bullets hit the occupants of the limousine. You can dispute this evidence and say it wouldn’t stand up in court and I would agree. Nonetheless it remains true that there is more evidence that points to him firing a gun on that day than anyone other individual.

          1. Well, Jeff, what really has not sunk into your thinking is that the murderers of JFK were running the non-investigation into his death. When that lightbulb goes off you might figure out that the entire evidentiary record of the JFK assassination is corrupted and cannot be trusted.

            It is *exactly* like getting a report from John Gotti on a mob murder.

            And that means what you think is “evidence” against Oswald is not *evidence* at all because the murderers of JFK were destroying real evidence and fabricating phony evidence from the second they put a bullet into JFK’s head. It was being warped at the highest levels by Lyndon Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover and at lower levels by their minions in DPD who sent all their evidence to the FBI on Day 1. Dallas, TX oil executives, tops on any “hate JFK” list had a finger on local law enforcement.

            Honest men in DPD, FBI, Secret Service and CIA (“Our Man in Mexico”) were immmediated stymied by the perps at the very highest levels. (This was not merely mid level, “rogue” CIA plot.)

            That is why someone like Connie Kritzberg is so important. The FBI that night (11/22/63) was editing her story by adding a sentence “A doctor admitted that it was possible there was only one wound.”

            Now why would the FBI being doing that, Jeff? Because LBJ, Hoover were sending the word out immediately that it was to all be pinned on Oswald. And within 48 hours of JFK’s death, Oswald was murdered in Dallas police custody. Oh, I think LBJ had him killed. (Or the Dallas oil men, or the CIA and their mafia friends – all so chummy.)

            I think it is reasonable to assume the word went out that Oswald was to be killed. And while this was going on Lyndon Johnson was telling anyone of significance behind the scenes that Castro murdered John Kennedy and we had to cover this all up or there would be nuclear war.

            The title of Kritzberg’s article was “Neck Wounds Bring Death to President” and that surely pointed towards a shooter from the front. But the perps knew Oswald was in the back. Kritzberg had gotten that from Dr. Perry.

            In December, a Secret Service agent Elmer Mooore, who hated JFK was specifically sent to Parkland to tell the Parland doctors to shut up and quit talking about the Presidents’ wounds. Moore later told a JFK researcher that SS agents to go along with the JFK cover up or quote “get their heads chopped off.”

            So putting any faith into the evidentiary record that LBJ, Hoover and the DPD present to us is a big mistake indeed.

            Another good example would be Oswald’s Minox spy camera. Put it into the hands of the FBI and *poof* it magically turns into a less incriminating Minox light meter. Or Beverly Oliver’s film of the JFK assassination – *poof* gone, not in the phony evidentiary record. There are 100 examples of this chicanery.

            Not to mention the critical suppression of the Zapruder film which I think in and of itself is prima facie evidence of a coup d’etat.

            The murderers were running the non-investigation.

          2. “There were shots fired from the Depository….A Mannlicher Carcano that he ordered and possessed was found in the Depository. Mannlicher Carcano bullets hit the occupants of the limousine.”

            These are assertions, not statements of fact.

            Researchers, I’ve found, vigorously dispute that shots were fired from TSBD, in part because of the Live Oak and in part because of the four SS agents standing on the follow-up car, all of which presented an obstructed view from the TSBD. In any event, the jury’s out on this one.

            As for the rifle found in the TSBD, it’s only fair to ask, which rifle? The 7.65 Mauser as to which Seymour Weizmann provided an affidavit and Roger Craig spoke? Or the rusted-barrel Mannlicher the FBI’s expert Robert Frazier testified appeared not to have been fired? Big questions here.

            As for M-C bullets hitting occupants of the limousine, C.E. 399 is too unbelievable to be what it’s purported to be — the Magic Bullet. Apart from the highly dubious depiction of a 6.5 mm fragment on the back of JFK’s skull, there’s nothing in the medical record to establish JFK was hit by a copper-jacketed bullet of any type.

          3. >>Nonetheless it remains true that there is more evidence that points to him firing a gun on that day than anyone other individual.<<

            I suggest that any novice exploring the assassination start with the FACT that the FBI
            (1) destroyed evidence: Oswald's note;
            (2) lied about evidence: the Minox camera;
            (3) almost certainly planted evidence: CE399;
            (4) intimidated witnesses and changed testimony: too numerous to list here;
            (5) purposely failed to investigate important leads: Camp Street and Banister;
            (6) purposely suppressed, opposed and stonewalled any evidence that Oswald had accomplices: Odio episode;
            (7) purposely suppressed and denied rumors of Oswald's relationship with the FBI.

            One of the Commissioners stated, "Hoover lied his eyes out to the Commission".

            That the main investigatory agency was interested in cover-up and framing Oswald rather than fact-finding is absolute reality. Against this backdrop, it's really difficult to know exactly how Oswald fits into the crime and it is impossible to trust the evidence that points to him firing at Kennedy.

          4. Response to John Kirsch: Marina Oswald in her W.C. testimony is very clear that she saw Oswald “fondling” (my term) “the rifle” in New Orleans but never knew of his going out and practicing with the firearm.

            When Marina and Lee moved back to Dallas, Marina shortly took up residence with the Paines and testified that Lee kept his rifle rolled up in a blanket in the Paine garage.

            Even though Marina was a most cooperative W.C. witness, she said she was unaware of Lee’s practicing with the weapon in Dallas.

            Oswald, we’re told, ordered neither ammunition nor a clip for the rifle from Klein’s in Chicago.

            The rifle we’re told was recovered at the TSBD was scoped for a left-handed shooter; Oswald was right-handed. I could go on, as could others here.

            Point is: Plausible? Well, perhaps, if by plausible one means superficially reasonable but quite possibly specious.

        2. My point is that Oswald is, for all the disputed and questionable evidence, more plausible than any other individual.

          Public opinion reflects this reality. Most people don’t believe Oswald acted alone but more people assign responsibility to Oswald than to any other individual.

      2. I assume that when you say “‘we’ can’t be sure,” you are including the collective of those deeply committed to securing the truth about the assassination? I believe that there are a number of skilled researchers in that collective who are quite certain that either Oswald was not guilty or Oswald did not act alone, and they base their conclusions on sound facts that are difficult to refute. Choosing to disregard those facts does not make them go away.

        Relying on government documents as a significant source of proof is somewhat a contradiction – one believes that the CIA was responsible but one trusts that the CIA will reveal their culpability if only they would release the withheld documents.

        It’s disconcerting to think that credible authors will present a portion of the story that could lead the uninformed down yet another “case closed” dynamic – Oswald shot Kennedy, Joannides ran Oswald, Angleton and Helms ran Joannides, Dulles ran them all, end of story. Meanwhile those who operated in the shadows are either in the grave or they and their descendants are still functioning in a similar fashion as they did in the 1960’s with impunity.

        1. I know that many people don’t believe that Oswald acted alone. I am not disputing their analysis.

          I’m saying no one has come up with a more compelling individual candidate for gunman than Oswald. As measured by public opinion this is true. More people blame Oswald than they blame any other alleged gunman. Many more people reject the lone gunman theory but those people do not agree on the identity of any one gunman.

          1. Jeff says:
            >>Public opinion reflects this reality. Most people don’t believe Oswald acted alone but more people assign responsibility to Oswald than to any other individual.<<

            Believe it or not, the public knows virtually nothing about the assassination . . . or even American history for that matter.

            This is supposedly a "fact" forum, not a place that caters to the crude beliefs of the ignorant public. (The government convinced 80% of gullible Americans that Iraq possessed WMD and sophisticated, mobile bio-weapons labs that were, in fact, fertilizer trailers.) Here are some facts. There were no fingerprints on the alleged murder weapon. The scope was badly out of alignment. No one witnessed Oswald (or any other assassin) on the stairs. No one saw Oswald carry a rifle into the TSBD. When confronted on the second floor less than two minutes after JFK's murder, Oswald acted calm and relaxed. Oswald's alibi had some support.

            The official story putting Oswald in the sniper's nest is based solely on the discovery of his gun on the sixth floor. Witnesses gave a number of descriptions of the assassin(s). There's even some grainy photographic evidence supposedly showing that the sniper's nest boxes were being moved while Oswald was ghosting down the stairs.

            I'm not interested in clearing Oswald's name – I think he killed Tippet, for example – but we don't need to ignore the facts for the sake of appeasing the public's uninformed perception of the event. JMO.

      3. “… it is implausible to say that he [Oswald] alone was responsible for the death of the president.”

        My sentiment exactly.

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