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Assassination

Assassination image Assassination image
Parent Issue
Day
6
Month
December
Year
1974
OCR Text

The Warren Commission filled 25,000 pages with testimony from 552 witnesses, but a Gallup Poll shows that 65% of the people in this country don't believe its verdict. In this case as in others, a lone assassin was blamed for the killing and the possibility of conspiracy ignored. Evidence, and logic, which contradicted the official verdict has been ignored, discredited or eliminated. THE CASE AGAINST LEE HARVEY OSWALD The findings of the Warren Commission rely totally on Oswald's ability to fire three shots in six seconds. The Commission concluded this was possible if the bullet struck Kennedy in the back, passed through the President, hit Texas Governor John Connally in the back, went on to shatter his wrist, and lodged in his thigh. The complex bullet route proved so controversial that several members of the Commission hesitated to sign the report. They sensed the American public would not accept the theory as credible. In tact, then Congressman Gerald Ford was instrumental in persuading the reluctant commissioners that the theory should be endorsed. The most startling evidence against the "magie" bullet theory is the six-second interval of a home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder. Purchased immediately after the assassination by Time-Life, Inc., the film has never been released for private viewing on the grounds of "horrifying and revolting" the American public. A few prints have been obtained, although even these have a brief flaw. (While some frames were reprinted in Life and Look magazines in 1963, the crucial frames were omitted from the public's sight. In fact, as short as two years ago, the only copy was in the National Archives, for "authorized" researchers only.) The film shows the motorcade rounding a corner, led by the car carrying the Kennedys and Connallys. It is momentarily obscured by a traffic sign, and as the car emerges. Kennedy's hands move towards his tliroat, indicating the first shot has hit. Connally begins to turn, and moments later, his cheeks bulge as he reacts to the shot which hits his respiratory system, forcing out his breath. The pause between Kennedy's reaction and Connally's indicates two separate bullets were involved, not in line with the Warren Commission 's single bullet finding. This is followed by a longer pause, probably the point where a bystander was grazed by a bullet bouncing off the curb, and then comes the most dramatic hit. A bullet strikes Kennedy's head, throwing him violently backward, spraying blood and brain matter outward. A rifleman located behind the motorcade could not have fired a shot causing that reaction, yet the Warren Commission maintains all three bullets carne from Oswald, stationed in the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building behind the car. Also intriguing in the Zapruder film is an umbrella in the corner of the frame, which opens at the first shot, then closes after Kennedy's head explodes. Other pictures gathered from Deaiey Plaa that day show a man carrying an umbrella on a doudless day, carefully opening and closing it as though signalling someone during the shooting. While he stands calmly. doing the umbrella trick, everyone around him scatters for cover. He has never been identified, and pleas for him to come forward have proven fruitless. MISSING BRAIN, MISSING AUTOPSY REPORTS Evidence for a shot coming from the front is backed by the doctors at Dallas' Parkland Hospital who tried to save Kennedy's life after the shooting. The Parkland doctors agreed the throat wound had come from the front, contrary to the Warren Commission. They listed the cause of death as "a massive head and brain injury from a gunshot wound of the left temple," another frontal wound whicli also contradicts the Warren Commission. But by the time of Kennedy's formal autopsy later that day in Bethesda, Md., military doctors were supposedly discovering that the President's wounds had been inflicted from behind - or at least according to their Warren Commission testimony. Five years later Jim Garrison, the New Orleans District Attorney who conducted a private investigation of the assassination, managed to bring one possible conspirator, Clay Shaw, to trial. During that trial, Colonel Pierre Finck, an army pathologist conducting the autopsy, admitted he had not even examined the bullet track through the neck. Asked why he hadn't examined the neck wound, which the earlier Parkland doctors claimed was an entry wound, Finck told the questioner: 'As I recall, I was told not to, but 1 don't remember by whom." Finck also admitted the doctors were ordered not to discuss the autopsy, but could not remember who was in charge. Another military doctor. James Hume, who was the chief physician at the autopsy. told the Warren Commission he burned his first draft of the autopsy two days after the assassinaiion. The autopsy reports, X rays and Kennedy's preserved brain were all classified secret following the autopsy, and finally locked away in the National Archives until the year 203-. These documents, which could conclusively prove the bullets' paths, were not even available to the Warren Commission. Yet despite the eontradictions between military and Parkland doctors, the Commission concluded all the bullets struck Kennedy from behind, thus proving the lone assassin guilty- Dr. Cyril Wecht, a coroner from Pittsburgh, was the first Warren Commission critic to see the medical evidence in the Archives in l-72. According to Wecht, at least two gunmen, firing from different positions, had to be involved. Wecht also found that key evidence, including Kennedy's brain, microscopic slides which would indícate whether wounds were entry or exit type, and Dr. Hume's handwritten autopsy notes have alldisappeared. A two-year appeal to government officials failed to track down the missing material. THE MAGIC BULLET The magie bullet purported to have passed through Kennedy and Connally was discovered lying on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital. This bullet, listed as Warren Commission Exhibit 399, is the only one ballistics tests proved was fired trom the Manlicher-Carcano rifle attributed to OswalrJ,. The bullet is in near perfect condition, with only a single fragment missing from the tip. Researchers claim that the bullet cuuld not have , made all the wounds, and may actually have been planted on the stretcher by Jack Ruby, whom two witnesses claimed to have seen at the Dallas hospital. In fact, in a test fíring similar bullets shot into cotton batting were more damaged. In another test, a bullet fired into the wrist only of a corpse was crushed to half its original size. Dr. Wecht has discovered two letters from J. Edgar Hoover, which were previously classified. These indícate tliat two "neutron" tests done on the bullets and fragments recovered indícate that fragments do not come from the same bullet when the Warren Commission says they should. If true, it once again indicates more than one gunman, as Oswald could not have fired more than three bullets in the time alloted. FROM THE WITNESS CHAIR The majority of witnesses whose testimony appears in the Warren Commission claimed the shots came from the Grassy Knoll, an area to the side of the motorcade. William Norman, who was standing on the curb one lane from the Kennedy car when the shots were fired, told federal officers he and his family threw themselves to the ground to avoid being hit. He said the shots came directly from behind him. Norman was never called to tesify before the Warren Commission. Another witness, Julia Ann Mercer, saw a man carrying a long object, which could have been a rifle, get out of a truck near the grassy knoll about an hour before theshooting. She identified the driver of the truck as Jack Ruby two days before he shot Oswald in the Dallas pólice station. Mercer told Garrison during the New Orleans' investigation that her affidavit, submitted to the Warren Commission, had been revised without her knowledge. Deputy Sheriff Roger D. Craig also found his testimony altered in 14 places. He saw a man he identified as Oswald leaving the Depository Building long after the Warren Commission had decided Oswald must have left. Witness Richard Randolph Carr said he heard four shots and saw a man leave the Grassy Knoll in a station wagon. Carr told Garrison he was'instructed by the FBI to keep his mouth shut. Acquilla Clemons, who witnessed the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit (the Dallas pólice officer supposedly killed by Oswald while fleeing from the assassination site), testified the killer was short and dark. Dallas pólice told her not to teil the Warren Commission,or she might be killed. James R. Worrell was not so lucky. He told the Warren Commission he saw a man who did not resemble Oswald fleeing the Depository immediately after the Kennedy slaying. Worrell died in a car accident two years later. Warren Reynolds, who chased the Tippit killer for two blocks, told the FBI he could not positively identify Oswald. He managed to survive a bullet wound in the head, and later changed his mind about Oswald. Within three years, eighteen material witnesses died - six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes. The London Sunday Times concluded the odds of all these people being dead by 1967 were one hundred thousand trillion to one. EVIDENCE OF A CONSPIRACY A number of people have given testimony to indícate a conspiracy was behind the Kennedy assassination. For example, pictures taken in Dealey Plaza immediately following the shooting showed a man with what appeared to be a radio antenna. Later identified as Jim Hicks, lie told Garrison he had been radio coördinator for the assassination. Hicks is now being held in an Air Force mental institution. One of the most amazing stories is that of Richard Case Nagell, who walked into an El Paso bank on November 20, 1963, shot a hole in the ceiling, and sat on the steps waiting to be arrested. Nagell claimed at the time he wanted an airtight alibi when Kennedy was killed. He also said he sent the FBI a registered letter warning of a plot. The FBI says it never received the letter, but according to agency records, interviewed Nagell the day before the bank job anyway. Nagell reportedly told them he only knew Oswald "socially." Nagell claims to be a CIA agent sent to investígate a plot by anti-Castro Cubans to kill the President. He found himself pulled into the plot, and was selected to kill the "patsy" following the assassination. He got cold feet, and pulled the bank shooting, a first offense. Nagell was sentenced to ten years, which he has spent being shuttled between Leavenworth and the federal mental institution in Springfield, Illinois. Early in 1964, Richard Giesbrecht overheard two men in a Canadian airport restaurant discussing Oswald and an assassination plot. When Giesbrecht went to cali the pólice, a third man stopped him. In speaking with the FBI later about the incident, he was told "Forget what you heard. U's big." The FBI investigated his report, but the results are classified. Giesbrecht later indicated one of the men was David Ferrie, a man Gairison suspected of being one of the major plotters behind the assassination conspiracy. Ferrie himself died four days after a newspaper report that Garrison was investigating him. JACK RUBY AND THE CONSPIRACY Jack Ruby also is reported to have told of a conspiracy. As early as 1964, Ruby told Chief Justice Earl Warren he would like to talk, but couldn't as long as he was locked in a Texas jail. Warren ignored Ruby's request for a transfer to a Washington jail in exchange for open testimony. Dr. Warren Teuter, a psychiatrist who examined Ruby in 1965 as preparation for a new trial, was told by Ruby of a conspiracy. Ruby admitted to killing Oswald following a cali from Fort Worth. He suggested the assassination could be understood by reading a book by Thomas Buchanan, "Who Killed Kennedy?" Teuter found Ruby sane except for his views on the Kennedy killing. Ruby died of cáncer in 1966 while awaiting that new trial. Although portrayed as a loyal, patriotic American, Ruby owned a sleazy nightclub, and was implicated in gambling, gunrunning and narcotics. Rose Chermi, thrown from a car in Louisiana on November 20, 1963, reported to attending physicians that she was a Ruby employee on her way to Florida from a narcotics pickup. She claimed a plot was brewing to kill Kennedy on his Dallas visit, and after the shooting, maintained Oswald and Ruby knew each other well. Chermi was killed by a hit and run motorist in 1965. In fact, the coverup did not end with the Warren Commission. Over 100 people in some way related to the assassination have died since 1963. Most notable was continued on page 27 The coverup of the Kennedy assassination is not limited to the Warren Commission. Ruby, Oswald and over 100 witnesses and researchers have died since 1963 from gunfire, karate chops tothe neck, hit and run accidents, suicide, cut throats and a variety of other causes.