No Evil

Three different rifles; as many as six riflemen; ten bullets with four hits; fake Secret Service agents; one patsy and one patsy killer; mishandled, misplaced, lost and magically appearing evidence; manufactured backstories; official negligence, misconduct and complicity; and an “official” white wash investigation – are the history and legacy of the JFK assassination.

The Warren Commission hands Report to LBJ

The Warren Commission Hands Report to LBJ

The Warren Commission’s official non-conspiracy theory is that a lone, deranged and possibly politically-motivated gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, used a cheap and low-quality mail-order Italian bolt-action rifle with an ill-fitted and misaligned scope to fire three shots in five seconds at a moving target nearly 100 yards away, and that one “magic bullet” caused seven wounds in two people, emerging unscathed.

This theory is not only physically impossible but requires that almost all the investigative evidence be ignored, and that the American public be entirely gullible and trusting of their government. Of course, this was before the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy; the Watts, Newark and Detroit riots; the anti-war movement, the Pentagon Papers; Watergate, and the Church Committee.

Magic Bullet

The “magic bullet” theory goes like this: A bullet fired from the 6th floor easternmost window of the Texas School Book Depository strikes the President in the upper back near his spine; changes from its 45°-60° downward trajectory to a flat or rising trajectory to exit his throat just below the Adam’s apple; pauses in mid-air to turn right, then left, then downward to enter Governor Connally’s back below the right shoulder blade near the armpit; continues through his chest, shattering his fifth rib below his right nipple; then enters his forearm near the wrist, splintering the large radius bone; exits his arm and embeds itself into Connolly’s left thigh; then finally dislodges itself, clean of any trace of blood or tissue, and in near-perfect condition buries itself into the mat of an emergency room stretcher (later to be discovered after Jack Ruby was seen in the hospital). The perfection of the bullet was also inconsistent with the bullet fragments removed from Governor Connally’s wrist. (See addendum for the evolution of the “magic bullet” theory.)

But, even ignoring this fanciful tale of a “magic bullet”, the proponents of the theory were forced to ignore (or bury) an overwhelming amount of contradictory evidence, including the sightings of multiple shooters with rifles in several locations; the discovery of a variety of bullets of various calibers in various locations; bullet marks and holes that could not have been caused by the “official” trajectory; the majority of witnesses seeing and/or hearing shots from the grassy knoll; and several witnesses seeing or encountering men with guns, arriving at, standing at the fence in, or fleeing from the grassy knoll area; as well as encountering Secret Service agents guarding the fence area who were not Secret Service agents.

Rifle #1 (7.65 mm): Among the files released by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was an FBI evidence envelope (FBI Field Office Dallas 89-43-1A-122). The cover indicated it had contained a 7.65 mm rifle shell that had been found in Dealey Plaza after the shooting. The envelope is dated December 2, 1963, so the shell was found sometime between 11/22/63 and 12/2/63. Nothing was known about the discovery of this shell until the FBI evidence envelope was released along with other assassination-related files. The envelope, however, was empty.

7.65 Mauser 1909 sniper rifle

7.65 mm Mauser – the Gun that a Police Affidavit Indicated was Found in the Book Depository (until the story was changed to a 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano)

Rifle #2 (30.06 cal): Other documents released by the ARRB discuss a Johnson semi-automatic 30.06 rifle that was apparently found in Dealey Plaza soon after the shooting. The documents strongly link this rifle to two men who have long been suspected of being involved in the assassination plot, Loran Hall and Gerry Patrick Hemming (founders of Interpen, which trained anti-Castro guerillas with CIA and mob funding). This rifle was used in anti-Castro raids in Cuba. Loran Hall and an unidentified Hispanic man took the weapon about a week before the assassination. Hall’s associate, Gerry Hemming, is known to have been in Dallas on the day of the shooting, and Hall himself told Hathcock, the CA owner of the rifle, five days prior to the assassination that he had to catch a flight to Dallas (HSCA 180-10107-10440).

Johnson 30.06 with scope

Rifle #3 (6.5 mm): The rifle that Oswald is alleged to have fired from the eastern 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) was an Italian 6.5 mm bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano with a 4×18 scope.

HSCA Exhibit F276

Rifleman #1 (Records Building Roof): In 1975, a maintenance man named Morgan, while working on the roof of the County Records Building in Dealey Plaza, found a 30.06 shell casing lying under a lip of roofing tar at the base of the roof’s parapet on the side facing the plaza, according to his son, Dean Morgan. The shell casing is dated 1953. One side of the casing has been pitted by exposure to the weather, suggesting that it was on the roof for some time. The casing, which is still in Morgan’s possession, has an odd crimp around its neck (Marrs 317; Roberts 80-81).

Bullet #1 (miss): A bullet apparently struck the south Main Street curb in Dealey Plaza during the shooting. It landed about 25 feet from James Tague (cut on the face by a concrete fragment), who was standing next to the triple underpass. The bullet made a visible scar in the curb, and the mark was immediately recognized by those who saw it as a fresh bullet mark.

South Side Main Street Curb

Bullet #2 (miss): Dallas policeman J. W. Foster, who was positioned on top of the triple underpass, saw a bullet strike the grass on the south side of Elm Street near a manhole cover, about 350 feet from the TSBD. He reported this to a superior officer and was instructed to guard the area (Shaw and Harris 72-75; Marrs 315).

Blond Man Picks Up Bullet

An unidentified blond-haired man in a suit was photographed bending down, reaching out his left hand toward the dug-out point on the ground as if to pick up something, standing back up, apparently holding a small object in his hand, and then putting his hand in his pocket (Shaw and Harris 73-74). The hole made by the bullet was photographed, and the picture appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on 11/23/63. Contemporary press accounts reported that a bullet was retrieved from the dug-out hole in the grass near the manhole cover (Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Times Herald).

In the photos taken of this event, one can see Officer Foster and a civilian-clothed Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers standing over the spot where the bullet landed, along with the unidentified man in the suit. Dallas police chief Jesse Curry believed the man was an FBI agent. The identity of the blond-haired man is unknown, the recovered bullet was never entered into evidence, and its present whereabouts are not known.

Bullet #3 (miss): Officer Foster also reported that a bullet struck the concrete part of the above-mentioned manhole cover (near where the bullet struck the grass). About two and a half hours after the shooting, Dealey Plaza witness John Martin came across the mark on the manhole cover concrete (Trask 573). Researchers have noted that the photo of the mark indicates it did NOT come from the TSBD, but that it does line up with the County Records Building (where a 30.06 rifle shell casing was years later found on the roof).

manhole cover 2011 - 2

Photo from 2011

Bullet #4 (miss): Just after President Kennedy’s limousine passed the front steps of the TSBD, five witnesses saw a bullet strike the pavement on Elm Street near the right rear of the limousine. Witnesses saw this bullet kick up concrete toward the car (Weisberg 187-189; cf. Posner 324; Moore 198).

Bullet #5 (miss): Within a day or two of the assassination, Dallas resident Eugene Aldredge saw a dug-out, four-inch-long bullet mark in the middle of the sidewalk on the north side of Elm Street, which is the side nearest the TSBD. Aldredge did not tell the FBI about the mark until shortly after the release of the Warren Commission Report because he assumed that the mark had been noticed by law enforcement officials. When he realized that the mark had been “overlooked”, he immediately contacted the FBI (Weisberg 383-390). Aldredge related to the FBI that Carl Freund, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, had also identified the mark as a bullet mark. Less than a week later, Aldredge took a friend to see the mark, but found that it had been filled in “with what appeared to be a mixture of concrete and asbestos”.

North Side Elm Street Sidewalk

North Side Elm Street Sidewalk

In its report, the FBI admitted to locating it and described it as being approximately 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and “dug out”. The FBI dismissed the significance of the mark because, explained the Bureau, it could not have been made by a shot from the window from which Oswald allegedly fired.

Bullets #6 – #9 (hits): An evidence-based assessment of the wounds of President Kennedy and Governor Connally would require a minimum of four bullets. One that entered Kennedy’s back below the shoulder and right of the spine; one that entered his throat at the Adam’s apple; one that exploded his skull moving front to rear; one that passed through Connally’s right shoulder, exited at his fifth rib, passed through his right wrist shattering his radius, and embedded into his left thigh.

Zapruder Frame #313 - The Head Shot

Zapruder Frame #313 – The Head Shot

The FBI Summary Report states only that “two bullets struck President Kennedy, and one wounded Governor Connally” (p.1), and that “one of the bullets [that struck Kennedy] had entered just below his shoulder to the right of his spinal column at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees downward … there was no point of exit” (p.18). The report gave no description of Connally’s injuries, and entirely failed to mention Kennedy’s throat wound and James Tague’s wound. It implies that at least one more bullet was fired, making at least four that caused wounds.

James Tague’s wound (Warren Report, p.117) demanded its own bullet because he was too far away for his injury plausibly to have been caused by a fragment of a bullet which had struck Kennedy or Connally. President Kennedy’s head wound demanded its own bullet because it clearly occurred later than at least some of his and Connally’s non-fatal wounds. That left a single bullet to create all the other wounds. The single-bullet theory had been proposed by Arlen Specter a few weeks earlier, but it was the publicity attached to Tague’s wounding that forced the Commission to adopt the theory, since it is alleged that only three shots were fired from Oswald’s rifle.

In Connally’s testimony (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.4, pp.135f), he was quoted in the Washington Post, November 21, 1966, saying that “there is my absolute knowledge that … one bullet caused the president’s first wound and that an entirely separate shot struck me. It is a certainty. I will never change my mind”. It was Connally’s testimony that persuaded one of the Warren Commissioners, Senator Richard Russell, that the single-bullet theory was untenable.

Nellie Connally: “I turned over my right shoulder and looked back, and saw the President as he had both hands at his neck … Then very soon there was the second shot that hit John” (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.4, p.147). James Chaney was one of four police motorcyclists who had a close-up view of the shooting. None of the four was invited to testify before the Warren Commission. Chaney’s opinion is known from the testimony of another policeman, Marrion Baker: “I talked to Jim Chaney, and he made the statement that the two shots hit Kennedy first and then the other one hit the Governor” (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.3, p.266). Chaney, incidentally, was filmed on the afternoon of November 22nd stating to a reporter that the fatal shot had “hit him [Kennedy] in the face” (David Wrone, The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK’s Assassination, University Press of Kansas, 2003, p.184).

Zapruder Frame #262 - The Throat Shot

Zapruder Frame #262 – The Throat Shot

Riflemen #2 & #3 (Railroad Overpass): Julius Hardie, an employee of a Dallas electrical equipment company, was going east on Commerce Street near Dealey Plaza’s triple underpass the morning of November 22, and noticed three men on top of the overpass, two of whom were carrying “long guns”. Hardie called the authorities after the assassination and was visited by two FBI agents, but never heard from them again and the FBI has no record of such a report.

Rifleman #4 and Accomplice (Grassy Knoll – Oswald & Ruby?): At 10:50 AM on November 22, twenty-three year old Julia Ann Mercer, driving west on Elm Street, enters Dealey Plaza. As she passes the Texas School Book Depository, heading towards the triple underpass, an illegally parked pickup truck is blocking traffic in the right lane with its right wheels on the sidewalk. While Mercer is behind the truck waiting to pass, she observes a white male wearing a plaid shirt stepping out of the passenger side and walking around to the truck’s side-mounted tool boxes, where he removes what appears to be a rifle wrapped in paper and proceeds to walk up the grassy knoll toward the picket fence. Finally, upon being able to pass the truck, she locks eyes with the driver. Later that day, Mercer gives an affidavit at the Dallas County Sheriff’s office where she was interrogated for several hours by uniformed officers and plain-clothed personnel whom she assumed to be federal agents. Early the next morning, FBI agents came to her apartment, requesting that she accompany them back to the Sheriff’s office, where she is shown approximately a dozen photographs. She selects two that matched the men she had seen at the truck, but was given no information about their identities. The next day, after viewing television coverage of the Oswald shooting, she immediately identified Ruby as the driver and Oswald as the man with the rifle – the same men she had identified from the pictures. When this came up before the Warren Commission, Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrells testified that he decided not to investigate the claim because “I had gotten information that the rifle had been found in the building and shells and so forth”.

Rifleman #5 (West 6th TSBD): Carolyn Walther, on her lunch break from a nearby dress factory, is standing in a position catty-cornered to the Texas School Book Depository in front of the Dallas County Records Building. She sees two men, one holding a rifle, in the southwestern-most window of the Depository’s sixth floor. High-schooler Arnold Rowland, a few feet south of Walther, also notices the rifleman in that window (which is on the other end of the street facade from Oswald’s alleged perch). Meanwhile, unemployed steelworker Richard Carr is job hunting on the seventh floor of the new courthouse building at the corner of Houston and Commerce, just southeast of Dealey Plaza, and also notices two men on the sixth floor of the Book Depository.

Rifleman #6 (East 6th TSBD): Five minutes before the shooting, C. L. Bronson sees an ambulance arriving to pick up 23-year-old newspaper employee Jerry Belnap, who had fainted, and records the commotion with his home movie camera, capturing what appears to be the movement of two or possibly three people in the easternmost sixth floor Depository windows (Oswald’s alleged position). Bronson’s film is never analyzed by the authorities.

shooter locations

Oswald on 1st Floor of TSBD: At 12:25 PM, Depository employee Carolyn Arnold sees Oswald on the first floor near the front door of the building. At 12:29, the only employee on the second floor of the Depository, Geneva Hine, notices the electrical power and telephone system go dead. The Dallas police radio system’s channel one, reserved for officers participating in security of the president, is suddenly out of service.

Rifleman #6 (East 6th TSBD): At 12:30 PM, shots rang out at Dealey Plaza as the president’s motorcade slows down passing the Depository. Pipe fitter Howard Brennan and 15-year-old Amos Euins, from their positions on the south side of Elm Street opposite the Depository, see a man fire from the sixth floor easternmost window.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): S. M. Holland, railroad track and signal supervisor, along with several fellow employees, is standing on the tracks overlooking Elm Street. Each sees a puff of smoke from the area of the wooden fence, as does Lee Bowers in the nearby railroad tower. Cheryl McKinnon, a college journalism major planning to write about the president’s visit, standing on the north side of Elm Street, and school teacher Jean Hill, positioned opposite her across Elm, each witness the smoke from the area of the fence. Ed Hoffman, from his vantage point on Stemmons Freeway, watches a man fire a rifle over the fence toward the approaching motorcade.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): Dress manufacturer Abraham Zapruder, from his position atop a low concrete pedestal located on the north side of Elm Street near the wooden fence, records the president’s assassination on his home movie camera. He hears shots coming from in back of him, and watches in horror as the president’s head explodes in a shower of blood and brain matter and sees him slammed violently backwards and to the left. This movement, estimated to be between 80 and 100 feet per second, is consistent with a shot from the fence to Kennedy’s front right, not from behind from the Depository.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): Nightclub singer Beverly Oliver is standing on the south side of Elm Street across from the wooden fence and films the entire assassination with her 8mm camera. She also observes a puff of smoke from the fence. Her film, however, was confiscated by men who identified themselves as government agents and then disappeared. It would have offered the most comprehensive coverage of the entire assassination, scanning the Depository and the wooden fence at the precise times of the shots.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): In all, 277 of the more than 700 witnesses to the shooting have been identified. 107 of these 277 have given their statements as to the origin of the shots that killed the president. Seventy-two percent, or 77 of those 107, reported seeing at least one shot from the President’s right front – the area of the wooden fence.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): Building engineer J. C. Price is on the roof of the Terminal Annex Building on the south side of Dealey Plaza, and sees a man run from the area behind the wooden fence with something in his right hand and “running very fast”.

Rifleman #4 (Grassy Knoll): Richard Carr, still on the seventh floor of the new courthouse building, watches as two men run from behind the Depository, enter a waiting station wagon and speed off north on Houston Street. Meanwhile, teacher Jean Hill, who has just seen the president’s head explode just a few feet in front of her, notices a man running from the area of the wooden fence (in her Warren Commission testimony, she would state that the man looked like Jack Ruby).

Fake Secret Service Decoy: Jean Hill quickly crosses the street in pursuit, but a man identifying himself as a Secret Service agent stops her. Hill is one of several witnesses who encountered men producing Secret Service identification in that area.

Fake Secret Service Decoy: Several feet west of Jean Hill, mail-service owner Malcolm Summers drops to the ground as the shots ring out. Crossing Elm Street to the area of the wooden fence, he’s stopped by a man in a suit with an overcoat over his arm. The man reveals a small automatic weapon under the overcoat and tells Summers “Don’t you’all come up here any further. You could get shot”.

Fake Secret Service Decoy: Dallas policeman Joe Smith is directing traffic at the intersection of Elm and Houston at the time of the shooting. Believing that the shots came from the area of the wooden fence or overpass, he races past the Depository and also comes face-to-face with a man who identifies himself as Secret Service.

Fake Secret Service Decoys: Moments later, Police Sergeant D. V. Harkness, while assisting in sealing off the area, observes several “well-armed” men dressed in suits who tell him they are with the Secret Service.

No Secret Service Agents in Area: The official record firmly establishes that none of the 28 Secret Service agents present in Dallas that day were ever on foot in Dealey Plaza before, during, or immediately following the shots. All of the agents in the motorcade continued to Parkland Hospital and only one returned to the area later in the afternoon.

Rifleman #4 and Accomplice (Grassy Knoll): Still on the Stemmons Freeway overpass, Ed Hoffman continues to watch as the rifleman behind the wooden fence runs westward, passes the weapon to another man, then turns and walks calmly in the opposite direction and disappears. The man taking the weapon quickly breaks it down, places it in a case, and proceeds slowly northward along the railroad tracks and disappears.

Rifleman #4 Accomplice (Jack Ruby?): Sergeant Tom Tilson, an off-duty Dallas policeman, and his daughter are in his car just west of the triple underpass a few minutes after the shooting. They watch as a man in dark clothing comes down the railroad embankment to a black automobile, throws something in the back seat, hurries around to the front, gets in the car and speeds off westward. Thinking this suspicious, they pursue the vehicle but lose it in traffic. Tilson later says the man looked and dressed like Jack Ruby.

Changing Rifles: The alleged assassination rifle, a low-quality Italian carbine, was purchased by Oswald under an assumed name. Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade told the press that the weapon found in the Book Depository was a 7.65 Mauser, this was reported by the media, and a sworn police affidavit named it as such. The next day, the FBI said that Oswald had purchased a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano and then the murder weapon became that model.

Oswald was in possession of false identification at the time of his arrest, but this was announced only after the FBI said that Oswald had bought a Mannlicher-Carrcano under an assumed name, Alek.

In the ’50s, Oswald was in a Counter-Intelligence Operation Codenamed “Hidell”

According to author and attorney Mark Lane: “The strongest element in the case against Lee Harvey Oswald was the Warren Commission’s conclusion that his rifle had been found on the 6th floor of the Book Depository building. Yet Oswald never owned a 7.65 Mauser. When the FBI later reported that Oswald had purchased only a 6.5 Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, the weapon at police headquarters in Dallas miraculously changed its size, its make and its nationality. The Warren Commission concluded that a 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano, not a 7.65 German Mauser, had been discovered by the Dallas deputies.”

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig Saw the Mauser Stamping on the Barrel

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig Saw the Mauser Stamping on the Barrel

Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig never changed his story, and went to his grave insisting that the gun found that day on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was unquestionably a 7.65 German Mauser. Craig’s refusal to change his story about the Mauser, as all the other officers had done, caused him to be ostracized by his peers. He was fired from the Dallas Police Department in 1967, ostensibly for discussing sensitive information with a journalist. Roger Craig never found steady work again, he lost his wife, and then began suffering a series of bizarre accidents which left him severely injured. He was shot at, driven off the side of the road, and at one point his car engine mysteriously exploded. The injuries induced by these incidents left Craig in almost constant physical pain. In 1975, Roger Craig took his own life.

Doctored Photograph: The day after Oswald’s arrest, at 12:35 PM and again at 6:00 PM Oswald is shown the soon-to-be famous picture of himself holding a rifle and Communist newspapers with a revolver on his hip. The second viewing was of an enlargement and Oswald denied it was him, as the “face is mine” but the body is not.

LIFE-Oswald-rifle

Oswald Did Not Fire a Rifle: At 8:55 PM on November 22, three crime lab technicians take paraffin casts of Oswald’s hands and right cheek to test for gunpowder residue. The tests come up positive for his hands but negative for his cheek, suggesting he may have shot a handgun, but not a rifle.

According to an FBI memo, “The results show punctate traces of nitrate found in the paraffin on the right and left hands consistent with that of a person who handled or fired a firearm. The paraffin of right check [sic] showed no traces of nitrate.” (FBI HQ JFK Assassination File, 62–109060–8).

Oswald’s paraffin casts were subjected to two analyses. Spectrographic analysis, the method normally used by the police, showed evidence of barium and antimony on Oswald’s hands, but not on his cheek.

Spectrographic analysis was considered sufficiently reliable for criminal investigations, but in this case a more incisive test was also used. Neutron activation analysis, which is capable of identifying the presence of substances in quantities much too small to be captured by spectrographic analysis, also showed no incriminating quantities of residues on Oswald’s cheek. The result was reported in an internal Warren Commission memo: “At best, the analysis shows that Oswald may [emphasis added] have fired a pistol, although this is by no means certain. … There is no basis for concluding that he also fired a rifle.” (False positives can be caused by exposure to other materials, such as book printing ink.)

In order to check the validity of the neutron activation analysis of Oswald’s paraffin casts, a controlled test was made. Seven marksmen fired a rifle of the same type as that found on the sixth floor. The standard paraffin test was administered, and the paraffin casts were subjected to neutron activation analysis. All seven subjects showed substantial amounts of barium and antimony on their hands and, more importantly, on their cheeks.

The absence of significant quantities of residues on Oswald’s cheek meant that he almost certainly had not fired a rifle that day.

Before the neutron activation analyses were made, it had been decided that “any such examinations will, of course, be with the strict understanding that the information and dissemination of the results will be under complete FBI control” (FBI HQ JFK File, 62–109060–5). The results of the NAA controlled test were made public two decades after the assassination as the result of a court case.

In the police report, Oswald’s palm print appeared on the rifle. But the FBI later stated that “no palm prints were found on the rifle”.

An Impossible Task with a Near-Useless Rifle: The FBI and the witnesses agreed the elapsed period for all the three shots was five or possibly five and one-half seconds. Life magazine hired the director of the National Rifle Association to fire a similar rifle. The best he could do was “three hits in 6.2 seconds” at a fixed target. Lee Harvey Oswald was not known as a competent rifleman.

Experts from the US Army and the FBI, who had tested the rifle, discovered that it was actually not usable in its original state. Shims had to be applied to the telescopic sight before the rifle could be aimed. Even after the telescopic sight had been repaired, it proved unreliable and inaccurate. The condition of both the bolt and the trigger pull meant that the rifle could not be aimed accurately.

Problems with the bolt and the trigger mechanism: “There were several comments made – particularly with respect to the amount of effort required to open the bolt … There was also comment made about the trigger pull … in the first stage the trigger is relatively free, and it suddenly required a greater pull to actually fire the weapon.” (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.3, p.449). “The pressure to open the bolt was so great that that we tended to move the rifle off the target.” (ibid., p.451).

Three Army marksmen, shooting six shots each, failed to hit the head or neck of a fixed target, with shots scattered 12″ at the distances presumed for the shots from the “sniper’s nest” – 175′, 240′, 270′ – because of the inherent inaccuracy of the rifle.

Army Targets

“They [the US Army marksmen] could not sight the weapon in using the telescope, and no attempt was made to sight it in using the iron sight. We did adjust the telescopic sight by the addition of two shims, one which tended to adjust the azimuth, and one which adjusted an elevation” (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.3, p.443).

According to the FBI’s firearms specialist, “Every time we changed the adjusting screws to move the crosshairs in the telescopic sight in one direction it also affected the movement of the impact or the point of impact in the other direction … We fired several shots and found that the shots were not all landing in the same place, but were gradually moving away from the point of impact.” (Warren Commission Hearings, vol.3, p.405).

Mishandled Evidence: At midnight of November 22, the limousine, which had been flown to DC and brought to the White House garage, was examined by FBI and Secret Service agents. Several bullet fragments and a three-inch piece of the President’s skull were removed as evidence. A small hole just left of center in the windshield, as well as a dent in the chrome molding above the windshield are noted. FBI agents state that the dent was made by a bullet fragment. The bullet fragments are not marked for identification but were allegedly linked to Oswald’s rifle six months later by a Secret Service agent and a White House staffer. Such broken chain of custody of evidence makes it inadmissible in any court.

Violating Forensic Law: Walking up to, but not through, the door of Trauma Room 1 where Kennedy’s body lay, Texas Justice Theron’s Secret Service escort, Agent Kellerman, asked him to release the body into Secret Service custody. Theron called Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade, who told him that a “missile” (bullet) must be taken into custody, and then called Dallas Police Chief Curry to confirm that.

Hiding Evidence: While JFK was being declared dead and illegally removed from Parkland Hospital and the state of Texas before an autopsy could be performed, a medical student at Parkland had been outside the emergency room entrance with another student and noticed a bullet hole in the windshield of the President’s limousine. Upon overhearing her comment about the hole, a Secret Service agent jumped in the car and sped away. A hole in the windshield would suggest a shot fired from in front of the motorcade and would conflict with the lone gunman story. The vehicle had also been partially cleaned while parked there, a clear violation of the rules of protection of evidence.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations determined that, among the many deficiencies in the Bethesda Naval Hospital autopsy, performed by inexperience pathologists:

  • The bullet tracks were not dissected to determine their course through the body.
  • The angles of the bullet tracks were not measured relative to the body axis.
  • The wounds were not precisely located in reference to fixed anatomical landmarks.

Missing Evidence: Two FBI agents present during the President’s autopsy, James Sibert and Francis O’Neil, received and signed a receipt for a “missile removed during the examination of the body”. The receipt is in the official record, but the bullet itself has never been entered into evidence.

Magically Appearing Evidence: Captain David Osborne, Chief of Surgery at Bethesda, was also present during the autopsy, and recalls seeing an “intact slug” fall out on to the autopsy table as the President’s clothing was moved. If the “magic bullet” passed through the President’s neck to injure Connally, and another had enough momentum to shatter his skull and produce a major exit wound, it’s not apparent which “intact” bullet this one might be.

Planning a False Flag Assassination: In November, 1961, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans, Richard Bissell, directed his longtime associate William Harvey to develop an assassination program known as “ZR/RIFLE” and to apply it to Cuba, as the Senate’s Church Committee later discovered. Among the notes for ZR/RIFLE that Harvey then scribbled to himself were: “planning should include provisions for blaming Sovs or Czechs in case of blow. Should have phony 201 [a CIA file on any person “of active operational interest”] to backstop this, all documents forged and backdated.”

In the mid 1970s, the Senate’s Church Committee discovered that Angelton’s Special Investigation Group (SIG) in CIA Counterintelligence held a 201 file on Oswald in the three years prior to JFK’s assassination.

Kennedy Foreknowledge: President Kennedy was well aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with Pentagon generals and the CIA. On numerous occasions he spoke of the possibility of a military coup d’etat against him. On the night before his trip to Dallas, he told his wife, “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it.”

Addendum: Single Bullet Theory Evolution

from UK JFK Blogger Martin Hay, December 19, 2010 

When it began its work the Commission believed that, as far as the facts of the shooting were concerned, the FBI had handed it a simple case. The Bureau’s report, Commission Document [CD] 1, concluded with little elaboration that there had been one shooter (Oswald), three bullets and three hits; Kennedy had been struck by the first and third bullets fired and Connally by the second. The Commission members proceeded under this assumption until June of 1964 when they had originally hoped to wrap up their investigation. But when the Bureau’s director J. Edgar Hoover elected to leak the contents of CD 1 to the press, he unintentionally forced the Commission to confront the evidence of a missed shot in Dealey Plaza.

Soon after the details of the FBI’s report appeared in the papers, United States attorney for northern Texas Harold Barefoot Sanders contacted the Commission to inform them of facts he had learned from Dallas Morning News photographer, Tom Dillard. Dillard had publicly confronted Sanders with information that proved the Bureau’s conclusions were wrong – or at least incomplete. He explained that on the day of the assassination Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers had directed his attention to a spot on the south side of Main Street where a bullet had apparently struck the curb and wounded bystander James Tague.

Dillard had taken a photograph of the chip in the concrete that had appeared in the following day’s edition of the newspaper with the caption “Concrete Scar”. Walthers filed a report with the Sheriff’s Department and told Tague that he should report his minor injury to the Homicide Branch of the Dallas Police Department. But despite his experience being common knowledge, the FBI did not contact Tague and did not bother to interview him until December 14, 1963, after he contacted their Dallas office. Even then the Bureau did not see fit to examine the curbstone until July 1964 when it was directed to do so by the Commission. Apparently still preferring to pretend that the Tague shot did not exist, and attempting to hoodwink the Commission, the Dallas field office quickly reported back that “The area on the curb…was carefully checked and it was ascertained that there was no nick in the curb in the checked area, nor was any mark observed” (21H474). It concluded its report with the implausible claim that “since this mark was observed on November 23, 1963, there have been numerous rains, which could have possibly washed away such a mark and also that the area is cleaned by a street cleaning machine about once a week, which would also wash away any such mark” (Ibid). In the end, FBI Supervisor Lyndal Shaneyfelt was dispatched to Dallas to locate the damaged area of curbstone which was promptly dug up and transported back to Washington for spectrographic analysis. According to the FBI this analysis “disclosed metal smears” which were “spectrographically determined to be essentially lead with a trace of antimony” (R116).

Even before Sanders had his assistant write the Commission, it was already fully aware that a shot had likely missed the Presidential limousine and its occupants – it had been quietly noted in a December 23, 1963 report from the FBI’s Dallas field office and the Commission itself had taken testimony from witnesses like Virginia Baker who remembered seeing “a shot or something hit the pavement” (7H508). Nonetheless, for as long as they were able, the Commission fully intended to ignore the Tague shot and stick with a three-shot, three-hit scenario. However, with a United States attorney and a newspaper reporter publicly drawing attention to the evidence, the Commission could no longer play dumb. Accepting that a shot had missed placed the Commission in quite a quandary. The time constraints imposed by the Zapruder film and the mechanical firing time of Oswald’s rifle left little possibility for a fourth shot without necessitating a second gunman. This, of course, was unacceptable because it would prove a conspiracy the Commission was not looking to find. It was now forced to rely upon an already controversial theory being proposed by Commission lawyer and future senator Arlen Specter.

It had been established in early 1964 through frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film and physical re-enactments conducted by the FBI and Secret Service in Dealey Plaza that the shots had all been fired in less than six seconds. The FBI re-enactment disclosed that an assassin on the sixth floor of the TSBD would have had his view blocked by the foliage of an oak tree between frames 166 and 210 of the Zapruder film (R98). In a rare display of logic, the Commission concluded that the first shot was probably not fired before frame 210 “since it is unlikely that the assassin would deliberately have shot at him [the President] with a view obstructed by the oak tree when he was about to have a clear opportunity” (Ibid). The final shot – the shot which exploded President Kennedy’s head – struck at Zapruder frame 312.

Since the film was found to run at 18.3 frames per second (Ibid 97) this established a time frame for the shooting of 5.6 seconds. FBI examination of Oswald’s rifle found that the time required to fire a shot, work the bolt, and squeeze off another round was a minimum of 2.3 seconds or the equivalent of 42 Zapruder frames (3H407). As the lawyer responsible for “the basic facts of the assassination” this was a cause of serious concern for Arlen Specter because the Zapruder film showed Kennedy and Connally reacting to being hit at different times but well within the 42 frames necessary for a lone gunman.

When Kennedy reappears from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign at frame 224 he is already reacting to the impact of a shot fired somewhere between frames 210 and 223 but Connally is showing no sign of being hit at all. The precise moment of impact on the Governor is unclear but Connally’s doctors testified that he was probably struck around frame 236 (5H114, 128) and it was decided that he was no longer in a position to receive a shot from the “sniper’s nest” after frame 240 (5H170).

The Zapruder film, therefore, established that Connally was hit after Kennedy but within 30 frames, which was much too soon for Oswald to have recycled the bolt on his antique Mannlicher Carcano rifle. With this major discrepancy in mind, a lawyer working on an honest, “let the chips fall where they may” investigation would have likely conceded the probability of a second gun. But for Specter, who was committed to maintaining the Commission’s preordained conclusion that Oswald acted alone, this was simply not an option, regardless of what the evidence showed. Luckily for the Commission, the cunning and resourceful Specter found a way to shoehorn the evidence into a hypothesis that facilitated the inevitable outcome of its inquiry. Specter proposed that if there was not enough time for Oswald to have fired two shots, then Kennedy and Connally must have been hit by the same bullet. Connally, he claimed, had simply suffered a “delayed reaction”. The seven members of the Warren Commission were not in unanimous agreement about the validity of Specter’s theory but they had to accept it, because if one bullet had missed the limousine and one had shattered the President’s skull, without admitting to a second assassin, they only had one round left to account for the seven non-fatal wounds.

The SBT as advanced by the Warren Commission has a bullet, dubbed Commission Exhibit (CE) 399, enter the back of JFK’s neck heading downwards and leftwards. Hitting no bony structures, it exits his throat just below the Adam’s apple and strikes Connally in the back of his right armpit. The bullet sails along Connally’s fifth rib, smashing four inches of it before exiting his chest below the right nipple, and then pulverises the radius of his right wrist – one of the densest bones in the human body. It then enters his left thigh just above the knee, depositing a fragment on the femur, before miraculously popping back out to be found in near-pristine condition on an unattended stretcher in Parkland Hospital. The problems with the SBT are myriad and they start near the very beginning of CE399’s alleged journey.

No bullet, CE399 or any other, could have entered the back of Kennedy’s neck and ranged downward out of his throat – because there was no bullet wound anywhere in the back of his neck. The President’s rearward entrance wound was in the upper back, below the shoulders and, most importantly, below the wound in the throat. In its desperation to legitimize the SBT, the Commission simply moved the wound up to the neck! And in an attempt to ensure they got away with it, the Commissioners suppressed the autopsy photos and published inaccurate drawings prepared by a navy artist who did not have access to the pictures (CE385). The rear-entry head wound also required a hyper-flexion of the neck which was not observed in the Zapruder film.

CE385CE388

Schematic drawings made at Bethesda Naval Hospital

from description of what Comdr. James J. Humes

observed at time of autopsy

Neck Wound Trajectory

Even more perplexing is that the FBI Summary Report on the Assassination, dated Dec. 9, 1963, states, “Medical examination of the President’s body revealed that one of the bullets had entered just below his shoulder to the right of the spinal column at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees downward, that there was no point of exit, and that the bullet was not in the body”. On Jan. 13, 1964, the FBI Supplemental Report states, “Medical examination of the President’s body had revealed that the bullet which entered his back had penetrated to a distance of less than a finger length”.

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by Robert Riversong: may be reproduced with attribution for non-commercial purposes

Go to Turning the Tide HOME (bottom of page) for more articles on the JFK Assassination.

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2 Responses to “JFK – The Assassin’s Rifle & The “Magic Bullet””

  1. Very nice webpage! I liked the way you laid out the missed shots and testimony regarding them. However it appears you left off one off a couple accounts: the stories of Roy Skelton who reported seeing 2 different missed shots, and DPD motorcycle cop, Stavis Ellis reported looking back and seeing a bullet strike in front of the limo on the south side of the street – throwing up debris. It would be nice if you added these two accounts to your otherwise excellent page.

  2. Riversong said

    As I have described all the missed shots, their trajectories and their points of impact, there is no need to add additional testimony to corroborate them.

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