"...the Warren Commission was not, in some respects, an accurate presentation of all the evidence available to the Commission or a true reflection of the scope of the Commission's work, particularly on the issue of possible conspiracy in the assassination."
The Final Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations
Actually, I got this idea from Len Osanic of Black Op Radio when he called for 50 reasons why the Warren Commission is wrong in its final conclusion that Lee Oswald acted alone and was the sole killer of the President of the United States. I decided to slash it down to ten reasons for the purpose of brevity here, but certainly one could strive for many more than just ten.
Off we go....
#1. Dr. Joseph Dolce’s test disproves the Single Bullet Theory.
Dr. Joseph Dolce was the Army’s chief ballistic wounds expert and chairman of the Army’s ballistic wounds committee. He was tasked by the Warren Commission, along with another expert, Dr. Fredrick Light Jr., to test the single bullet theory using Oswald’s rifle to replicate CE399, the so-called “pristine” bullet. After shooting ten cadaver radial bones (the same bone struck and broken in Gov. Connelly’s wrist wound), the experiment did not replicate any bullet resembling CD399 at all. As Dr. Dolce stated in an interview in 1986, each of the ten test fired bullets were in his words, “markably deformed.” Dr. Dolce was not called to give testimony to Warren Commission, much to his surprise, and his findings were buried in a report, published by the U. S. Army Edgewood Arsenal in March of 1965, that was classified “confidential” for 8 years before being placed in the NARA.
Drs. Dolce and Light conclusively disproved and demolished the government’s case regarding the SBT, which resulted in the covering up of their findings. (If refusing to take the sworn testimony of Dr. Dolce, taking his and Dr. Light’s names off the final report, and classifying it for eight years is not a cover-up, then what is?)
Source: Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust, Chapter 8, p.187. Chapter notes page 417 (note 18) and page 418 (note 25).
Report: Wound Ballistics of 6.5- MM Mannlicher-Carcano, Drs. Oliver and Dziemian, NARA.
#2. 26 Volumes of collected evidence contradict the Warren Report.
During the course of the investigation, the Warren Commission was handed a wealth of material from various government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and so on. The report is based from this evidence and hearings they conducted and stored in the 26 volumes which constitutes over 50,000 pages.
At stated on History-Matters.com, “Volumes 1-5 are hearings conducted by the Commission members in Washington DC. Volumes 6-15 are hearings conducted by staff attorneys on location in Dallas, New Orleans, and other locations. Volume 15 also contains an index to names and exhibits. Volumes 16-26 contain photographed Commission Exhibits, usually abbreviated to CE.”
At least one Warren Commission member, Hale Boggs, expressed his concern about releasing this information to the public. But fellow member Allen Dulles told him not to be concerned as the American people would have little interest. For a time the 26 volumes were only accessible to a select few so that almost came to pass. With the arrival of the Internet, the volumes are all scanned and online (links below).
It should be noted that many investigations in recent years no longer include such an abundance of information. Because it shows how testimony is assembled and what is ignored to form a consensus for a report. There is for example, enough witness testimony gathered to form a conclusion of extra shooters and hence, a conspiracy. However, not enough evidence to name the shooters.
Numerous conflicts occur between the Warren Report and the included testimony. In same cases, the evidence collected contradicts itself. For example, two sets of educational records for Lee Oswald have him attending two different schools at the same exact time period. One set has Oswald enrolled in PS #44 in New York; the other set has him enrolled in Beauregard Junior High in New Orleans also in the fall of 1953. Which one is correct? If one is false then what is it doing here? Yet another mystery the WC never addresses.
A another glaring example of an evidentiary conflict between the complied evidence volumes and the Warren Report, is whether or not Lee Oswald could take delivery of any mail/packages under his alias, Alek Hidell. From the Warren Report: “It is not known whether the application for post office box 2915 listed ‘A. Hidell’ as a person entitled to receive mail at this box.” They even went as far to state that the application had been disposed of when the box was closed on May 1963 (WC Report p.78). This is a blatant deception. A copy of the application is published in Volume 19 in the 26 volumes. It listed Lee Oswald’s name only on the form. (Armstrong, pp.476-477; Vol. 19, p.286.)
Sources: John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee; The Warren Commission
#3. Single Bullet Theory created by lawyers, not ballistic experts.
The STB, long thought to be the invention of then staff attorney Arlen Specter, was in reality, cobbled together by the staff lawyers. This was admitted to in a telephone interview conducted by Vince Bugliosi with Norman Redlich on 9/20/05. Redlich stated that the meeting included, besides himself, Arlen Specter, David Belin, Howard Willens and Mel Eisenberg. It was decided to let Specter be the lead husky on the STB and ran with it he did. He also stated in his book Passion For Truth that when researcher Edward Jay Epstein declared Specter as the inventor of the STB that he was “glad to take on the mantle of authorship...” As Bugliosi points out in his End Notes, one doesn’t have to take on the mantle if one is truly the author of it. Indeed. (Bugliosi, End Notes, #461, pp.303 & 306)
So, a group of non-ballistic experts, lawyers, got together in a cabal of their own and came up with the Single Bullet Theory. This represents another flaw in the investigation because when it’s tested by experienced and qualified ballistic experts, such as those mentioned in reason #1 above, it cannot be replicated in any meaningful way. This in turn, has sparked the endless debate down through the decades, which lasts to this very day.
The single bullet in effect, never happened. But it makes for a good story.
Sources: Vince Bugliosi, Reclaiming History, End Notes; Arlen Specter, Passion For Truth, p.82
#4. Resolved early on not to investigate Oswald’s background.
Every so often a researcher will obtain documents through a FOIA request and it’s apparent why the files were classified to begin with–something needs to buried. Legendary researcher Harold Weisberg uncovered such gems as the 1/22/63 closed-door secret meeting where the Commissioners decided not to pursue any leads on Oswald being a government informant/agent (despite what they said in public to the contrary). Their fear–that if they discovered Oswald was a government agent, then the public might not believe the lone gunman story. This shows how politicized the investigation was at this point. Notice their concern about this issue and not any desire expressed to follow all leads wherever they may go (McKnight p.89).
The Commission members feared what they were discussing so explosive they ordered all records of the meeting to be destroyed. However, some good soul preserved the stenographer’s tape which lay hidden in the National Archives till Mr. Weisberg’s FOIA lawsuit dislodged it (McKnight pp.133-134; p.402, note 1).
Also of note, is seeing how much Hale Boggs feared J. Edgar Hoover finding out what they were talking about. Actually, unbeknownst to Boggs, Hoover had an
informant, Boggs’ fellow Commission member Gerald Ford (Gentry, p.557). And Hoover was so hacked off he sent the Commission a letter to read on the 27th informing them that Oswald was never used as a informant by the FBI. Hoover did this at the risk of exposing his inside man, Ford.
So if Lee Oswald was a spy or a government agent, as his mother said in her sworn testimony and to researchers in later years, the Warren Commission was never going find out.
Sources: Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust, Chapter 4, p.89. Chapter 6 note 1 (Harold Weisberg’s FOIA). Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, p.555; Ford as informant, p.557.
#5. Spent little time investigating a conspiracy.
As Gaeton Fonzi reported in his book, The Last Investigation, the Warren Commission lawyers had established six major areas of inquiry and four of them were centered around Lee H. Oswald (Fonzi p.18). As former staff attorney Judge Burt Griffen added, “We spent virtually no time investigating the possibility of conspiracy. I wish we had.” (See link below.)
The dogma of lone gunman was established early on FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and shortly after the assassination. As detailed in #7 Hoover strong-armed and guided the Commission on the path of lone gunman behind the scenes till it soon became ingrained in the deliberations of Warren Commission members. However, some never did get on board with the theory, with Sen. Richard Russell being chief among them. Later Lyndon Johnson would tell Walter Cronkite in an interview that he never believed in the lone gunman theory. After second thoughts he asked CBS is delete the comment, under the grounds of National Security. David Talbot in Brothers, recounts how many media insiders had their doubts as well, but they did little about it.
Later, a "hegemony" would develop in the mainstream press supporting the lone gunman concept as well, one that it would never recover from, no matter what facts are presented to the contrary. The CIA had developed and implemented Operation Mocking Bird in the late 1940s to control the media with shills planted in the mainstream press. They came in handy to with Warren Commission critics. Early on, there were opposing voices, but they were regulated to publishing books or writing articles for obscure publications. Only in the past 10-15 years with the advent of the Internet has a striking amount of dissenting views been allowed and widely discussed.
Sources: Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation; David Talbot, Brothers
Link: Burt Griffen quote. http://www.ctka.net/pr900-holland.html
Links: Ross Frank Ralston 1999 doctoral dissertation on hegemony in the media. http://www.geoarts.com/docs/jfk_dissertation.pdf
Operation Mocking Bird
#6 Did not utilize independent investigators.
Unlike Gaeton Fonzi, Eddie Lopez and many others that were hired as investigators for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the Warren Commission had no such investigators on staff. The Commission raised the ire of Hoover when lead council J. Lee Rankin floated the idea (McKnight p.93; Gentry p.553). After all, investigation was the modus operandi of the Bureau and Hoover was simply not going to allow that. This made the Commission wholly depend upon the FBI and other agencies to supply them all investigative materials who in turn, did not supply them with everything they needed. In some instances, the FBI edited out information (or ignored requests) that might be perceived as embarrassing to the Bureau and hence, Director Hoover personally. This compromised any attempt to uncover the truth as to what happened.
Sources: Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust; Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets.
#7. Warren Commission bullied and dominated by J. Edgar Hoover.
“From its inception, Hoover treated the Warren Commission as an adversary,” Curt Gentry observed in his biography of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. People today do not know how feared Hoover was. He was one of the meanest, vindictive public servants to ever serve in government. He was known to break many a man, using any means at his disposal, which were immense. Of course Hoover is famous for his blackmail files on everybody he considered a rival and that was part of his leverage he had over others, which included numerous
Presidents. He had plenty of dirt on all of the WC members and their staff.
Besides being under pressure to produce a report at a specified time for Lyndon Johnson, the Warren Commission had to contend with Hoover’s tactics which included stalling documents and other evidence and then as the deadline approached, deluging the materials at the last minute, knowing the staff wouldn’t have the time to adequately examine everything. He also instructed his agents not to volunteer anything other than what was requested by the Commission or their staff lawyers (Gentry p.552).
It was J. Edgar Hoover’s notion that Lee Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy. He determined this within 24 hours of the assassination and it remains a mystery as to how and why this conclusion was reached before the Agency had a chance to investigate the crime. It’s a common occurrence in many other tragic events like this. Remember Bin Laden being credited with the 9/11 attacks a few hours after they occurred? Whatever the reason, Hoover constantly bullied, intimidated and steered the the Warren Commission in the direction he wanted–away from any conspiracies and towards the sole culprit–Lee Oswald.
And in the end, he got the result he wanted.
Sources: Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets; Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust.
#8. Repeatedly used faulty or unauthenticated evidence.
Since the lone gunman is the only game in town, only evidence that completes the theory is allowed. And if that evidence or witness testimony is flawed it didn’t seem to matter to the Warren Commission. It starts out with Gerald Ford moving Kennedy’s back wound to the back of the neck to devise a believable single bullet theory, to the Ida Dox illustration (F-20) of a tiny hole in the back of the President’s head, supposedly drawn from the original autopsy photograph, that is not seen in the original image. She apparently used “artistic license” and made it up to please the Commission. We now know that something as simple as Oswald buying the alleged murder weapons can be shown to be based on a forged paper trail (Armstrong pp.431-486). Even the most famous piece of evidence, the so-called “pristine bullet” labeled CE399, has no FBI FD-302 file in existence (Bugliosi, Note 979, p.545).
Sources: John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee; The Warren Commission
Report; Vince Bugliosi, Reclaiming History End Notes.
Ida Dox Illustration.
#9 Allowed top government officials to exonerate themselves.
Top officials such as CIA Director John McCone and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover were allow to submit testimony first as pro forma affidavits and later in person with the Commission. Hoover’s appearance was the only session of a witness being filmed (150 minutes, McKnight p.148). Both were allowed to state that Lee Oswald had not been employed by either agency. The Commission made no effort to verify the truthfulness of these statements and to be fair, it would have been troublesome to do with no independent investigators on staff and little access to documents that both Agencies were dribbling out a drop at a time.
Sources: Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust.
#10. Concealed too much evidence from the press and public.
Despite the efforts of legislation such as the JFK Records Act, and the work of the ARRB in the late 1990’s, there are still a lot of files regarding the Kennedy assassination remain classified for reasons of “National Security.” It seems that every investigation from the Warren Commission, the various smaller ones down through years to the final one, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, adds to the growing hoard of evidence withheld from public scrutiny. This breeds suspicion among the citizenry and a growing sense of mistrust that they were not told the truth by the government. If people don’t believe their story of lone gunman, it is their own fault for being so secretive–and at times, unnecessarily so.
A few examples: Marguerite Oswald’s tax returns from 1956 to 1962 are still sealed (Armstrong pp.197 & 274). Lee Oswald’s tax returns are still being withheld from the years 1957, 1960 and 1961. So is his certificate of live birth. DA Jim Garrison discovered in his investigation that Michael and Ruth Paine’s tax returns from 1956 to 1958 were classified for reasons of National Security (during years of supposedly being farmers). Garrison also reports Some 29 files on Michael Paine’s family were classified by the Warren Commission as well as Ruth’s sister, a known CIA agent. Lee’s cousin Marilyn Murret had all 23 pages of her testimony to the HSCA in 1977 classified. (It should be noted that the HSCA had to get permission from the CIA before taking her testimony, an indication of previous involvement with the Agency.)
All of those hidden documents, including those just mentioned, are still concealed to this day. Oswald’s mother’s tax returns are still kept from public scrutiny. Why? Why is this necessary? Unless of course, her tax returns tell a totally different story of her actions and movements during the afore mentioned time period. Which would of course, breed more distrust if known.
Sources: Jim Garrison, On The Trail of the Assassins, p.315, note 63 -- Heritage of Stone, pp.115-116 (hardback, pp.134-135); John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee.
Links: LHO tax records. http://www.jfklancer.com/LHOtax.html
DPD file on the Michael and Ruth Paine.
Additional Notes and Errata
Some page numbers listed for references may not jibe between the paperback and hardback editions. For example, the quote from the Warren Report in #2, is from the large format paperback edition published in 2007 and may be in variance with hardback editions subsequently published. The same is true and noted in #10, in regards to Jim Garrison’s Heritage of Stone.