Saturday, November 27, 2010
Unexplained Mysteries Of The JFK Assassination
Actually, the killing of John F. Kennedy is one long, drawn out mystery. Because something happened here that was so far out of normalcy. Every single thing involved with it is problematic; even the simple things like Oswald buying a money order to purchase a mail order rifle is rife has problems. Conspiracy can be debated forever, but one thing is for certain–the reasons regarding the death of President Kennedy were covered up by a multitude of government agencies both Federal and State, the military, and the media. But why? Either they did it, or else somebody else did and they never could find out what happened and couldn’t tell the public they couldn’t figure it out.
Never the less, there was a swift rush to judgement to the point where Lyndon Johnson was being told by Joint Chiefs on the flight back to Washington that there was no conspiracy and the lone gunman was in custody. Amazing! How could they have known that so quick just hours after the event? Before any investigation had taken place? The Dallas police were still in the process of collecting evidence. This appears to be standard operating practice as this modus operandi would be repeated many times later, most notably the September 11 terror attacks where within hours of the disaster the government was relaying through the cable news networks that the crime was perpetrated by Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. Once again, no investigation had started, nor any evidence collected from the smoldering crime scene to arrive at this conclusion. But somehow, they came forward with this no matter how strange this looks. Then years later, when they had the official government investigation, they issue a report arriving at the same conclusion they established on the day of the disaster, within hours of it happening. Nothing changed! The exact same thing occurs on November 22, 1963. Perhaps this nonsense is an easier sell within moments of a national tragedy than days or weeks later. However, it’s a recurring pattern that occurs over and over again.
This is just one of many mysteries of the JFK assassination. Although there are enough to fill, and have filled, many volumes of books, what follows are a few more to consider.
Oswald’s Money Order
As with all things Oswald, this one episode is fraught with trouble too. In my article, Who Bought The Guns?, I chronicle the strange ends and outs of obtaining his guns. The problem is the money order he used for ordering the Mannlicher-Carcano from Kline’s Sporting Goods of Chicago is missing important routing codes. The routing codes are important as they trace the instrument through the banking system, insuring that each institution is only paying once.
Only the endorsement stamp of Klein’s is visible. Missing are the stamps from the First National Bank of Chicago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and finally, the Federal Postal Money Order Center in Kansas City where all good MO’s go for their final resting place. However, the money order was not found there in the but in the National Archives in Virginia.
Mystery: Why are the routing stamps missing? Where are Oswald’s fingerprints on the money order and the order form? Why was the money order purchased at one post office and then mailed from a different one miles away? How did Oswald’s MO arrive in the Federal Records Center in Alexandria, VA? Or for that matter, who thought to look for it in the National Archives in the first place?
The Otepka Incident
Otto Otepka, a successful security analyst for the Department of State’s Office of Security, had his career destroyed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Or rather, his interest in the man. One day in June of 1960, while viewing a routine security file on defectors to the Soviet Union, Otepka noticed that one of defectors was listed as a tourist. The man’s name was Lee Oswald. Curious, Otepka contacted both the CIA and the FBI requesting more information on the man. After all, it was odd to see a defector listed as a tourist. He also was interested in uncovering if this man was really a defector or possibly, someone working for intelligence.
This all sent ripples through the upper echelons of the government bureaucracy.
What Otto Otepka did was look too closely at an individual that was under a national security blanket. This resulted in John Francis Reilly being placed in charge of the Office of Security in 1962. He would later state under oath that Robert Kennedy had placed him there. In essence, Reilly was to keep an eye on Otepka who by then had started his own file on Oswald. By 1962 he had his office phone tapped. In June of 1963 Otepka’s office safe was broken into and guess what file got stolen? Of course, the Oswald file. In the same month he was removed from his job. By September he had ten criminal charges brought against him which he was eventually successful in fighting off.
However, this all has a genesis in Otto Otepka’s first and only meeting with Robert Kennedy which occurred in December of 1960. One of Otepka’s duties was issuing security clearances. There were several Kennedy appointees that he had denied. Bobby showed up late and agitated. Otepka calmly gave his reasons for denying the appointees and Bobby exploded. Otepka held his ground and Bobby, seeing this man was not easily rolled, left in a huff. For many years Otepka thought his troubles with Bobby began with the security clearances. Doing his own research years later he came to believe it was his curiosity in Lee Oswald that destroyed his career in government service. More powerful figures didn’t want him snooping around there and apparently, Robert Kennedy was one of them. By sending out inquires to other agencies Otepka inadvertently brought attention to himself–by those in the loop and those not in the loop. And he believed the Attorney General was behind it all.
Mystery: So what did Robert Kennedy know about Lee Oswald and when did he know it? As early as 1960-61? Certainly by 1962 to have sent his people in to keep an eye on Otepka. What is the basis of the interest in Oswald at this early date? And what brought this to Bobby’s attention? Who learned of Otepka’s Oswald file? Did Bobby not want Otepka researching Oswald? And to what end?
If you are a steady reader of this blog you will know I’ve done done a lot of writing on the Oswald as doppelganger theory. It’s an interregnal part of JFK assassination lore and possibility of Lee Oswald being impersonated runs deep. It is something that can be viewed as a fringe subject but a careful investigation of witness testimony and documents collected by the Warren Commission shows a wealth of loose ends and conflicts. There is a disparity in employment records, tax forms, school records, and medical records. Even his autopsy face sheet has conflicts. There are not a handful of people that interacted with Oswald when he should have been somewhere else. There are dozens of these encounters ranging from New Orleans to Montreal. Some of these loose fragments are tied up with having another Oswald in play but that by no means solves all the problems encountered here with this subject. Namely, who is running this and what happens to the other Oswald after the assassination?
As John Armstrong (Harvey and Lee) discovered through his research that if Lee Oswald is being impersonated the it starts as early as the age of 13. If he was impersonated that young, then his mother Marguerite must be impersonated as well. Suddenly things are greatly entangled–two moms and two sons. And both sets have to resemble each other, a seemingly impossible task. Add to that two more sons from previous marriages and a frightening path lies ahead for anybody wanting to develop this as an intelligence operation. And to what end? To be involved with an assassination somewhere down the road? Indeed, high strangeness is all over this. Indeed, I can see why many would dismiss this doppelganger legend outright.
However, the trail of this enigma does not start out with what Gerald Ford called “armchair investigators” but in the highest echelons of the government itself. J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo in 1960 to the State Dept. with a warning that a Lee Oswald was possibly being impersonated. In 1961 a State Dept. official sent a memo to another, warning that the next time Lee Oswald is issued a passport, make sure he gets it personally; that way the right Oswald gets the right passport as it was suspected he was being impersonated. The possibly of a second Oswald had apparently made the rounds. In September of 1963 Lee Oswald makes his fabled trip to Mexico City. CIA station chief Winston Scott believed that Oswald being impersonated after examining the tapes from the bugged Soviet and Cuban diplomatic compounds. Hoover had his agents, seven of them, review the tapes and they determined the man speaking on the telephone calls is not Oswald. Shortly after the assassination, Hoover related this information to Lyndon Johnson. The new President in turn, used this for the final arm twisting of Earl Warren to get him to serve on the Commission. Those in the loop knew Oswald was being impersonated from 1960 to 1963. And they kept this information to themselves. He was apparently more than just a malcontent with a delusions of grandeur. Other people were keeping track of him and his business for years.
Lee Oswald remains the biggest enigma of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A mystery in life he as well in death as uncovered by Dr. Earl Rose when he did the autopsy. His report of the autopsy leaves out numerous scars which the body of the real Oswald should have had. Such as the three inch long mastoid scar on the left side of the neck, the two wounds in his left arm from the accidental shooting in the Marines, and his small pox vaccination scar. Later, mortician Paul Groody who prepared Oswald’s body for burial was contacted twice by the Secret Service in regards to Oswald’s left arm and twice he told them he did not see any scars just as Dr. Rose had not documented them either.
Mystery: If Lee Oswald is being impersonated then what happens to the other “Lee” after the assassination? Or for that matter, his other mother? Are they put in safe houses or executed? Did the other Lee do the shooting leaving the real Oswald to be the patsy? Is this one of the fundamental secrets of the assassination and hence, the cover up?
One thing all investigations into the JFK assassination have in common is not what they uncover, rather, what they cover. They all add to the classified evidence pile. From the Warren Commission through the Clark Panel, the Rockefeller Commission, and lastly the House Select Committee on Assassinations, they all take information and classify it so the general public can never see it. The Warren Commission supporters come along and say, “See? They did all these investigations and they uncovered nothing new. The Warren Report stands.” I hear you Mr. Bugliosi.
Not really. New information is uncovered, it’s just buried through classification. Every so often a researcher will obtain documents through a FOIA request and it’s apparent why the files were classified to begin with. Researcher Harold Weisberg uncovered such gems as the 1/22/63 closed-door meeting where the Commissioners decided not to pursue any leads on Oswald being a government informant/agent (despite what they said to the contrary) and the CIA’s National Photographic Intelligence Center report, #1641-450, that examined the Zapruder film to determine the timing between shots one and two, which they determined to be a period of 1.6 seconds, which are impossible to do on a bolt action rifle.
To fire off shots that fast would require a second shooter and hence, a conspiracy. So one can understand why these records are kept secret. Any evidence that leads away from the Lone Gunman is to be covered up by any means. And classification does that.
After all of this time files are still classified from the beginning. Marguerite Oswald's tax returns from 1956 to 1962 are still sealed. They are marked, "referred...postponed in full." Of course many files on Lee Oswald are still withheld. Oddly, there is a John and Minnie Smith from the same exact time period, 1956-62 that are also classified and nobody knows who they are! Michael and Ruth Paine’s returns from 1956 to 1958 are classified as well, at time in their lives when they were listed as being employed as a farmer ad a farmer's wife. Lee’s cousin Marilyn Murret had all 23 pages of her testimony to the HSCA in 1977 classified. The list of classified information could fill many volumes–and goes deep in the belly of the Beast.
But don’t be surprised. The government has yet to release the autopsy photos of John Wilkes Booth, held in storage for 145 years.
Mystery: What is being covered up here? Could the tax returns being still being withheld from the public show just who Lee Oswald was working for during the 1956-62 period? Such as maybe the FBI, ONI, or the CIA? He’s in the Marines from 1956-59. So why hide his income from that? Also, many tax and employee documents on Lee Oswald are missing or withheld for various reasons. Just want kind of threat to National Security is there if Marguerite Oswald’s tax returns were released?
The connections to the Collins Radio corporation has threads that run throughout the JFK assassination. A major defense contractor, journalist William E. Kelly wrote the following about them:
“Collins Radio supplied and maintained the equipment used by the Voice of America, all manned NASA space flights, the Strategic Air Command (SAC), as well as all equipment used for the CIA’s Guatemalan and Cuban operations. Most significantly, Collins Radio was responsible for installing and maintaining all radio equipment aboard Air Force One, Air Force Two and the Cabinet’s plane."
Kelly further adds, “Collins Radio not only installed and maintained the radios aboard most military and executive branch planes, they also operated the station known as ‘Liberty’ at their Cedar Rapids, Iowa headquarters, which served as a relay station for all radio communications between the White House, the Pentagon, Air Force One, Air Force Two, the Cabinet plane and Andrews AFB in Washington.”
In one of the more stranger incidents recorded in the history of the assassination, mechanic T. F. White noticed a man sitting in 1958 two-tone Plymouth sedan. To White, he was acting suspiciously as the man watched a flurry of police cars speeding to the murder scene of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit. White exchanged glances with the man, who drove off. White wrote down the license tag number: PP4537. Later, as Lee Oswald’s image was broadcast on TV, White recognized him at the man in the Plymouth. Later, authorities would trace down the tag to a car belonging to Collins Radio employee Carl Mather of Garland, Texas. When contacted, Mather’s wife responded that her husband was at work the day of the assassination. The important point to consider here is that T. F. White says he saw a man resembling Oswald occupying and driving off in Mather’s car. It should be added that Mather was a close friend of J.D. Tippit and later that afternoon drove to the Tippit residence to offer condolences.
Even more peculiar, the FBI interviewed mechanic T. F. White later for additional details about his sighting but but do not interview Carl Mather. Even stranger, years later, The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) offered Mather immunity then never do question him under oath. It has since been uncovered through the JFK Records Act that investigators did talk to Carl Mather and discovered that he was responsible for installing the radio gear in Air Force Two, the Vice President’s aircraft. Nevertheless, this is basically a great lead that is never followed through on or adequately sussed out. Why? I think it is safe to assume that Mather possessed a high level security clearance for his work. I am not saying that Mather was a government informant but he does get the kind of coddling that an informant usually receives in an investigation.
Collins Radio’s involvement in Military-Industrial Complex and National Security State operations, runs deep. Everything from hiring Paper Clip Nazis to leasing a ship, the Rex, that was used to place assassins on the shores of Cuba to assassinate Fidel Castro. Lee Oswald, upon returning to America was introduced to a Collins Radio executive by Russian emigrant George de Mohrenschildt for possible employment. Though trivial, Oswald’s widow, Marina married a former Collins Radio employee, Kenneth Porter.
Mystery: What is the true Collins Radio link to the assassination, if any? Did T. F. White really see Lee Oswald in Carl Mather’s car? Did Mather know Oswald and loan him his car? The timeline is off–did White encounter an Oswald impostor? Why is Carl Mather treated so lightly to the point of being virtually ignored by investigators?
The Kennedy Family
One has the feeling at Kennedy family gatherings the death of John is the ghost in the room. Publicly, they support the Warren Commission’s conclusion. Privately, apparently not. David Talbot in Brothers, calls Robert Kennedy the first conspiracy theorist in the death of Presidential brother and told family confidants so. He did not believe in the Warren Report’s conclusion. In examining mysteries of the assassination I find nothing more mysterious than this large Irish-Catholic family’s silence on the issue. You would think somebody over time would break the hush. But so far, none have. It’s the job of the independent investigator to probe the depths of this thing. There is something deeply buried here that has insured their alliance to the myth. They won’t even speak up with John F. Kennedy is having his character trashed. Yes, Bobby okayed the wire taps on Martin Luther King. Yes, he was involved with the assassination plots on Fidel Castro. Bobby was very much involved with thwarting Garrison’s trial of Clay Shaw and had family henchman Walter Sheridan involved with all kinds of dirty business with that. One can only assume Bobby wanted to uncover the truth his way and on his timeline. Talbot in Brothers thinks it would be in another Kennedy administration in the oval office and hence Bobby’s fateful run.
In a way Ted Kennedy sort of strikes back by his involvement with the Freedom of Information Act legislation which resulted in a number of revealing files being released. And that is about all we’ll ever get out of the Kennedys. Perhaps that is enough since the FOIA could break the case open one day.
Mystery: What insures the Kennedy family silence to this day?
This is just a small sampling of mysteries in the Kennedy assassination. There simply is not enough space to list them all. I selected a few of my favorites. There are three main phases in the life of Lee Oswald: The Russian phase, the New Orleans phase, and the trip to Mexico City. Any one of these episodes have enough intrigue and weirdness to leave the mind wondering just what was this former Marine really up to? I think the intelligence angle is valid one and I return to it often in my research. Every single thing in the case gets more troublesome the deeper one delves in which makes it so difficult to decipher what is really going on here. No wonder, almost 50 years afterward, the search for the truth continues.
McKnight, Gerald, Breach of Trust; Proudy, R. Fletcher, The Secret Team; Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; Garrison, James, On the Trail of the Assassins; Mars, Jim, Crossfire; Bugliosi, Vince, Reclaiming History; Mellen, Joan, Farewell To Justice; Talbot, David, Brothers
Collins Radio Connections, by William E. Kelly