Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Single Bullet Theory Cannot Be True

As seen from the above frame from the Zapruder film, Governor John Connally does not appear in distress. In fact he is doing exactly what he said he did—turning to see the President in obvious anguish, after hearing what he thought was a shot. Connally always maintained, as did his wife Nellie, that he heard the first shot and turned around to see Kennedy in trouble. As he started to turn to his left he heard the second shot and knew he was hit. He was still conscious when he heard the third shot that would kill the President.

In the official story Connally is supposed to be shot at this point in the frame, his fifth rib shattered in two places, the radial bone in his wrist broken, with the bullet ripping through his thigh. Yet here he is, turning 180 degrees around to see what is going on behind him. This one blurry frame of the Zapruder film proves his testimony and that of his to wife Nellie to be accurate and the Warren Commission wrong. It simply didn’t happen the way we were told. Perhaps the powerful men that set all of this up thought we would never have access to the film. It shows the solution to the problem was a political answer. That bullet was going to do double duty and by golly, nothing was going to stop it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dale Myers and Pat Speer Duke It Out

Dale Myers (left) and Pat Speer (right)

I’ve been following Pat Speer’s web site for a while now. I admire his work. His web site is laid out like an online book (which it is) with chapters loaded down with illustrations and photographs. As an independent researcher he is thoughtful and well reasoned in dealing with the confusing mess that makes up the Kennedy assassination. He delves into that happened rather than conspiracy theories.

The fur started to fly when Speers did a chapter on his site entitled, Chapter 12c: Animania. Here, he takes on Dale Myers, an Emmy award winning animator who is most famous in recent years for his recreations of the Warren Commission’s SBT—single bullet theory for network TV documentaries. Myers has been at this for years starting out with test dummies and moving on to computer simulations. You can see Myers work in Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet.

Frankly, I would not want to be in Myers’ position here. There are numerous conflicts in the evidence from over 40 years ago and that carries over into the animation as well. For example in one animation, which is supposed to be correct in every detail, we are shown a red line depicting the bullet passing through Kennedy’s back and entering Connolly’s back. However, the line exits Kennedy’s chest, not the neck, which is an error Myers never addresses.

Pat Speer’s analysis of Myers’ animations have led him to conclude that his work fraudulent. Strong words. Myers has issued several rebuttals on an Internet forum and on his web site and the fur has flown. The resulting tit-for-tat is far too involved to go into here; see both men’s sites (see links below) for the blow-by-blow details.

Speer does bring up some valid issues with Myers’ work. The placement of the jump seat relative to the door, the relative seat heights, the exact positions of both men to allow the passage of the single bullet, and how much foliage was present on Elm Street that Oswald had to shoot through. He does a decent job of finding flaws with animations and raises some valid issues.

Speer however, does falter on one issue and that is Myers’ placement of Kennedy and Connally in the limousine. Myers has Connally sitting low enough to be the floor. Myers’ response is to blame it on the distortion of the digitally generated camera wide-angle view. I am a photographer and have used wide-angle lenses for years. This simply cannot happen. Oddly, the side view from the animation showing Connally seated well below Kennedy. Myers’ explanation is odd, as he could have made a better response here. There are numerous photographs shot that day showing Connolly seated lower. Other photographs at apparently different angles show them seated on the same level (see examples below). In fact there is one I found of the limo door opened showing the jump seat positioned much lower than the rear seat. All Myers has to do is show the photos. Obviously, the President should sit taller, right?

Conversely, Speer had to know these photographs exist as well. But for the sake argument, or whatever, chooses not to address them.

In Dale Myers defense, I do not think he is out to deceive the public. Pat Speer does and calls him a liar. I think Myers’ intentions are sincere though he seems content with what data is at hand, which is a flawed mess to begin with. For example, what we know as the SBT comes to us from a lawyer—not ballistics experts or engineers. Myers seem unconcerned with that and ends up doing what the original investigation did, which in some areas is to jury-rig the evidence to fit the theory. What Myers does is no different than Gerald Ford moving the President’s back wound to the back of the neck to be more “precise” in the final report. That way, everything works out right for the narrative. (And ironically, Myers does position the back wound in his animations inches above where the autopsy photos and measurements show the injury.)

I think a lot serious researchers such as Myers goes for the lone gunman theory because the bad reputation that conspiracy researchers have been pegged with. Even with Pat Speers who is reasonable and not a conspiratorialist, with his simple questioning of the official scenario, finds himself placed in that camp.

At last count Myers has retired from the field of debate with Speer. Good for him. He needs to heal up from the bruises. Speer lets Myers have the final word:

“Forget about convincing Mr. Speer that one cannot draw a rational conclusion from an irrational premise; I’ve tried. Suffice it to say that Mr. Speer prefers to live in a land of illusion where physical realities don’t hold a candle to obsessive conspiracy theories.”

Myers only rejoinder is that he has tried to talk sense to a mule. As if that is smart to begin with. What Speer has done is to carefully dissect Myers’ recreation of the STB in painful detail. Speer paints Myers in a corner due largely due to his own numerous errors in his data. Of course in time, the paint will dry and Myers will escape to find a friendly venue for his theories and recreations. A stage where he will not be asked hard questions and be allowed to promote his version of what happened on that tragic day in November.

Addendum 1.20.14
Review of the updated version of Myers' book With Malice.

Sources: Video, Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet. Web sites: Speer, www.patspeer.com and Myers, http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When The Going Gets Weird…

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Hunter S. Thompson

The words of a wise man. It is one of my favorite quotes. As I make my way down the rabbit trails of the Kennedy Assassination, it becomes even more appropriate. As somebody once said it is not in the solving of a mystery, as it is the dancing with the mysterious. And you’ll find plenty of dance partners in Dealey Plaza.

Those familiar with the legend know that Lee Oswald in the summer of 1963 was fronting as a member the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. A pro Castro organization. After an altercation on Canal Street in New Orleans with an anti Castro Cuban √©migr√©, he was arrested. While in jail, Oswald gave a handwritten note to police lieutenant Francis Martello. In the margins of the note was a number. For decades nobody knew what this number was or represented. Apparently it was not investigated at the time. Oswald was, after all, a nut. Declassified CIA documents years later eventually cleared the fog. It was the ID number of a CIA operative. It belonged to Michael Jelisavcic the manager of American Express in Moscow at the time Oswald was there. Oswald’s address book also contained Jelisavcic’s phone number as well.

Wake up now. For if Oswald is not a CIA operative, then how does he know Jelisavcic’s ID number? Conversely, if he is a CIA operative then how does he know a fellow CIA asset’s number? This incident is the equivalent of one employee at the shop knowing another employee’s Social Security number. It simply does not happen. The going just got weird.

The number now becomes a flag and Oswald is waving it. He’s letting the other players know what type of player he is and what team he is on. How else do you explain it? His mother was evidently correct when she huffed to the world that her son was an intelligence agent. She was written off as a kook. In this late day, his widow Marina implies the same, a blind kitten no more, saying he was being used by other groups. But she won’t say who those groups are. People like Marina, that are close the action, seem to keep it even closer to themselves. She leads us halfway down the rabbit trail and leaves us stranded there to find out way home. As if the truth would destroy our world. If it even could.

One of my favorite stories is the meeting, told by Antonio Veciana, head of anti Castro group Alpha 66, about his meeting in Dallas in 1963 with his CIA handler Maurice Bishop (alias for David Atlee Philips). As Veciana approached Bishop/Philips he noticed he was talking to a slim young man. Part of Veciana’s training was to memorize faces. A few months later he saw that face again when the news flashed around the world. It was Lee Oswald’s mug and Veciana knew instantly how deep he was in. Perhaps the CIA handler forwarded Jelisavcic’s ID number to Oswald? Oswald is not going to get the number on own. It is on file in the belly of the Beast. He could have been given the number to let everybody know who they were dealing with. Not just some malcontent having an altercation with people he argued with.

This whole incident grows from a seed planted here. Whatever information Oswald told the police lieutenant, and a bit later to the FBI agent Quigley, that we are not allowed to know, they both forwarded the information to military intelligence. Another mystery! For Oswald is the disconnected guy, the ultimate Nowhere Man. What is he in on that the Office of Naval Intelligence should alerted of? It is all like a dream now. The weird have turned pro.

And now the pro needs to go to work schooling everybody else. For after this incident Oswald tries to hook up with two different anti Castro, anti communist outfits. One outfit in particular, the DRE, trained and financed by the spooks at Langley, rebuffs Oswald’s attempts to offer his services to help train them. They issue a press release demanding a congressional investigation of Oswald—mind you this is months before the assassination. This is likened to killing a fly with a shotgun. A bit too much on the buckshot. Just how offended are these people and why make such an odd protest? Or for that matter, why does the pro Castro guy want to help train the anti Castro outfit to overthrow his man?

There are all kinds of theories on this. Obviously, the official story is at odds with the truth. That is to be expected here. After all, that experience is all over the place. What is of interest here is the strangeness of it all and what is precisely going on. And this is why the Kennedy assassination is such a fascinating thing to study! For you never know for certain, other than the President’s death occurred and Governor Connolly was wounded. It has been bandied about that Oswald could have been doing research for somebody to see if these anti Castro groups had any commies in them. Maybe. But then, who is the “somebody”? The usual suspects most likely. At any rate, none of that worked out and Oswald made his merry way to Dallas to fulfill his destiny, turning his back on the Fair Play for Cuba Committee forever.

But before that comes to fruition, Oswald mails a letter to the FPFC headquarters in New York City describing the scuffle and arrest. The letter is postmarked five days before the event actually occurs. Maybe after the weird turn pro they grow into something else even stranger. It did here with the letter. Perhaps it is too eerie to contemplate—Oswald turned psychic.

So we come back to the ID number. It is still sitting there, plain as day, staring us in the face. A steady reminder that things are not quite right here and there is something hidden from us. What we need is somebody to lead us on the right rabbit trail and not leave us stranded in an endless loop.

“I’m just the patsy,” he said. Well, we are all just a nation of patsy’s now.

Sources: Russell, On the trail of the JFK Assassins; McKnight, Breech of Trust; www.history-matters.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

Conspiratorialist…To Be Or Not To Be...

As I have delved into this I am not so much interested in the multiple phantom shooters laying down crossfire in Dealey Plaza, or the loser that gets lucky with two out of three shots, to an interest in how both sides, conspiracy and non, arrive at their conclusions. Both sides run down the same rabbit trails seeing different things, or missing them entirely. For me, the truth must lie somewhere in the middle.

Ultimately, we all see what we want to see as Vince Bugliosi does in Reclaiming History, where he accuses Nellie Connelly of having a faulty memory of the shooting sequence. Never mind that the Zapruder film verifies her testimony and that of her husband, John. To their dying day, both said that all three shots hit their targets—Kennedy first, then Connelly, then Kennedy last. In the mind of the Bugliosi’s out there, that first shot has to miss no matter what, because after all, that shot may indicate another shooter. That is the bullet that bounced off the curb at Commerce Street wounding James Tague on thee cheek. And never mind the bullet is passing 18 feet over Kennedy’s head, a sure sign that Oswald did not have the rifle pointing at his intended victim. Nowhere close. Surely, a dubious start for the former marine on his mission of infamy. But why? We’ll never know. Here, the conspiratorialist can lay claim to a second shooter. Of course it is laughable to assume a second gunman is going to be a bad a shot as Oswald is alleged to be. In ballistic terms it is a hell of a miss.

So herein lies the dilemma. The witnesses closest to the action have three shots fired at them and they know it as keenly as those close to death know it. But there is that other bullet that strikes the curb. Who do you believe? How do we resolve it?

The conspiracy believer says there is another unnamed shooter. The Warren Commission believer opts to ignore the witness testimony and go with the errant shot, bringing in the dubious Magic Bullet scenario—the bullet that does double duty wounding both Kennedy and Connelly.

And neither scenario is any good, leaving one with a sense of unfinished business. It is to accept one and deny the other, even when it is burning a hole in your head. And no, I don’t have an answer. I’ll post it if I ever do.

The conspiracy crowd tends to treat Oswald as the “innocent” patsy framed for the crime. As much as I love Jim Mars book Crossfire, he never addresses Oswald’s guilt when he lies to the police numerous times denying even the simple things, or his attempt to kill a police officer in the movie theater. All of these are the actions of a mind with a murderous intent. Also, Oswald’s path and timeline goes put him on a collision course with slain policeman Tippit, though the conspiratorialist believes him to be framed for this crime. Mars does not even suggest that Oswald may have been an accomplice to the crimes.

On the other hand, the Lone Nut crowd, offended at the notion of a conspiracy—will not have any sub conspiracies for side dishes either. In their worldview Oswald is an outsider incapable of fitting in, yet there is plenty of evidence to point him being just the opposite. He did join the Marines after all, hardly an anti social act. He was in the Civil Air Patrol as teenager. Pictures of him in Minsk show him laughing and enjoying himself at parties with the lovely Marina.

The sticky part is Oswald’s motivation to do the crime. He is not like Sirhan Sirhan with a notebook full of Robert Kennedy tirades. Oswald never speaks ill of Kennedy to anybody. Even his widow Marina says, to this very day, that Lee loved Kennedy. She now thinks he is innocent of the crime, and says that other groups were using him. Disappointedly, she will not say who those groups are but in our heart of hearts we know. The usual suspects. Just pick one out of the hat. The Cubans, the CIA, or the Mob. They all have more motivation to kill the President than Oswald ever did and everybody knows that.

Mind reading. The Warren Commission apologist’s notion of Oswald’s motivation is easily explainable once you try mind reading. A practice they are not embarrassed to practice. They place themselves in Oswald’s tormented psyche filled with delusions of grandeur, awful childhood memories, and constant failure at life. Norman Mailer claims to know Oswald, a man he never met, because he had studied his character in absolute detail and knows what his motivations are—delusions of greatness and fame, of course. It works for them like the crazy Magic Bullet does zig-zagging through space and time. If they would bend a little bit and bring Silvia Odio to the party they would have a more solid footing for motivation to kill Kennedy. But they cannot because Oswald is doing the unexpected. He is associating with an anti Castro group when he is pro Castro. Besides being a social butterfly. Speculation works here for them like the second shooter does for the conspiracy buff. It is still not tidy.

I guess I am not much of a conspiracy theorist. I’ve broken too many cardinal rules, two of which are Oswald being guilty and the cannon of the faith, the Grassy Knoll. I know, people heard shooting from there, they saw smoke, they smelled gun smoke. The angle is still off. A diversionary shooter maybe? What is his name? It probably does not matter because all that remains after the smoke clears (sorry) is the dilemma. The dilemma of so many witnesses (I’ve read over fifty) that experienced something that did not happen. And if it did, you have another shooter as lousy as Oswald is. How is that for a professional hit?

I guess I am not much of a “lone nut” theorist either. Oswald is more than he seems to be. He speaks Russian so well he can fool the locals with his regional accent, but flunks his language test before he gets there. He crafts an alias for himself, an Alek Hiddell. Then when he is arrested he has the alias ID card in his wallet along with another one with his real name on it. Dumb. When the police question him if he uses this alias he lies and says no. Even dumber. When he arrives in New Orleans and opens up a pro Castro support group, he is the only member. Then he goes about trying to help out anti Castro Cuban factions in town. He is fronting, obviously. But for whom? Whoever they are, they are not going to be admitting anything any time soon. Some have suggested he was playing “secret agent man” all by himself. That makes about as much sense as anything else making the rounds.

Richard Helms, former CIA director, and one of the foxes guarding the hen house, once said, “No one will ever know who or what Lee Harvey Oswald represented.” Except Helms of course, the ultimate insider and doer of dastardly deeds. Or, maybe he was revealing a tiny truth to us. That the Insiders did not really understand who Oswald was or how he slipped through. Whatever. It all lies buried in the ground now. They are all dead.

So I am wandering out in the no man’s land of this event. I want to believe in a conspiracy in the death of John Kennedy as much I want to believe in whatever crashed at Roswell came from intelligent life from outer space. We cannot have either. Evidence for both, if they happened the way the witnesses said, is locked up in a government warehouse along with the Ark that Indiana Jones found. And what an accurate metaphor that is for the current condition of the National Security State with its labyrinth of secrets.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Long Knives of November

One thing that keeps me interested in examining the Kennedy assassination is the weirdness of it all. I have found that to be true in other events such as 9-11, TWA 800, or the assassinations of RFK and MLK. So much of the official story does not make any sense in any of these cases. Getting to the truth is impossible as long as political machines are doing the investigating. They are not digging for the truth anyway. They are instead, seeking a solution to a narrative as a fiction author does when his character is in trouble and needs to find a path out. Only, in the instance of real events, it never seems quite right. Like any good story, it is believable to a point, but it is still a story.

You cannot find a weirder character in this than Lee Oswald. He is at the crux of the whole thing. Oh sure, David Ferrie with his greasepaint eyebrows, his apartment lab with cages of white rats, is out there as well. But he was not pegged with a crime of killing a President, though he did associate with Oswald. You know the saying, show me who you run with and I will tell you who you are. Oswald the perpetual loner, effective Russian speaker, lost in his delusions of greatness, who just happened to be the most sociable loner ever. One with a wife and kids. A man who was all over the place leaving a trail as he went.

Oswald early on was playing fast and loose with all sorts of characters. He was a nobody that after he was arrested for a Canal Street altercation demanded to speak to an FBI agent. One did bother to show up for something that amounted to a misdemeanor, not normally on an FBI agent’s to-do list. Agent John Quigley, upon chatting with Oswald forwards the information to the Office of Naval Intelligence. Later, he gives vague testimony to the Warren Commission about this incident. Being a good G-Man, he only tells what they ask, not what he knows. In the early 70s the ONI destroys their files on Oswald. At some point in time so does the CIA. It’s all tidy now. As tidy as the eighty-six pages missing out of John Wilkes Booth’s diary.

You want to know why we can never get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination? Because of affairs such as this. It is the gleaming of something out there, just outside of your field of vision. There are those who are powerful enough keep it that way and their ways are mysterious. Just as mysterious as Oswald’s letter describing the Canal Street altercation he mailed to the FFFC headquarters in New York. It just happened to be post marked five days before the incident actually took place. Another one of Oswald’s trails, or else he was showing his masters just how big of a screw-up they had hired? It is all part of the legend now.

Meanwhile, the handsome young President has his own legend. He stepped on too many toes. He governed as if he was the only King with no others about. Tragically, he found out that he was not the only King in Camelot. The Long Knives were not about to let this usurper appear and rearrange the chairs at the table. We know who they are and they mock us to this very day because they know we cannot catch them. Many have since passed on, but they left behind their machines to live after them.

Lyndon Johnson was a brute but he knew how the real game was played. He outplayed the Kennedy boys only to have the Long Knives outplay him and leave him stranded in the swamps of Vietnam. All of that lusted after power gone to waste. All of that blood on his hands, the same hands he used to grope women in the presence of his wife. How is that for a “thank you” Lyndon? You made a deal with the devil and he rigged your roulette table. A savvy player like you should have known that. You can’t trust anybody in this game, not even yourself.

The Discovery Channel is out there pumping out documentaries proving the Warren Commission’s conclusions over and over. The truth seekers are publishing their conspiracy books doubting Warren Commission’s conclusions over and over. The two sides will never come to terms. It has been a forty-five year head-butt that will never end. The truth is out there but only for a select few.

Just bear in mind ye Long Knives, we do not believe you and never will. Irksome, is it not?