. . .To paraphrase Mr. Churchill
Conspiracy survives, indeed thrives, on innuendo. One cannot make light of innuendo. Clues are themselves an innuendo. The Warren Commission repeatedly said that it could find “no evidence” for conspiracy. I do not know how doctrinaire they were in their use of language, but in the real investigative process clues and evidence are far from the same thing.
In the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a series of “coincidences” clearly indicated conspiracy; and the Warren Commission admitted it, sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. They actually did not seem shy about reference to the fact, but it is how they pursued these “coincidences” that often did not satisfy those who have read the report. These “coincidences” were never advanced far enough to even be declared clues and, of course, neither clues nor coincidences are evidence. So to say “there is no evidence” begs the question, how much did you look beyond the clues?
Let’s look at a few here.
The Warren Commission detailed how Elm Street from the direction of the Texas School Book Depository was not only the best but the most ideal place for an assassin to strike. This seems far more than coincidence. We have already looked at the route here from Love Field, noting how only from the Texas School Book Depository could a mediocre gunman get a perfect line of sight on a target and be assured of striking his victim.
But let’s let the Warren Report get specific:
What the WCR fails to mention is that not only was Elm Street and the Depository ideal, it was the only practical location along the entire route from Love Field to the Trade Mart from which a mediocre gunman could strike.
This seems like quite a coincidence, that is, that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was most certainly a mediocre gunman, should achieve employment at such an ideal and only location. It seemed too far fetched to the Warren Commission too, and they had to look into just how Oswald achieved his employment there.
On October 14, 1963, his wife and their friend Ruth Paine hear of a job there through a mutual friend. When Ruth Paine returns home she called the Depository and spoke to the manager. When Oswald called later that evening, Ruth told him about the opportunity. He went there the next day and achieved employment, October 15. He began his job on October 16.
When the Texas Employment Commission called that day to let him know they found a job for him as a baggage carrier, apparently it was too late and Oswald was usefully employed as a book checker. The luggage job paid $100 more per month. This would seem enticing. Yet Oswald didn’t switch jobs. This is curious, but the Warren Commission declared that “It is unlikely that he ever learned of this second opportunity.” This doesn’t sound like they truly investigated much, though they were able to uncover that the employment commission called Oswald at 10:30 a.m. on October 16 to tell him. They apparently didn’t get through or nobody knows and nobody asked.
Certainly this angle should have been pursued. Oswald desperately needed money. He had one child and his wife was expecting their second in a few days. His unemployment benefits expired on the 8th. Yet on October 14, 1963, he rented his room at 1026 N. Beckley in Dallas, and did so under an assumed name — O.H Lee. It is from here, apparently, that Oswald called the Paine’s house in Irving, Texas, that night where his wife was living, and then was told of the Depository job. He received employment right away.
The Trade Mart today. The luncheon guests awaited the president.
Oswald kept a map with him, which was uncovered in his room after the assassination. It bore X’s on it along certain roads. The police asked him why, curious specifically as to why there was also an X at the School Book Depository location. He said it indicated places where he heard of jobs or tried to get one. Oswald said most of the marks should have been along Industrial Blvd.
The press reported it otherwise, saying that Oswald had marked up the parade route, the implication being that he was trying to find the best location from which to shoot the president.
The press (and indeed some police told them this) assertion is understandable considering how perfect the Texas School Book Depository was for a sniper. It had to take some honing and refining of the entire route to select it. It couldn’t be coincidence. Or was it?
Today, we are left to accept that it was, that it was the most perfect and uncanny coincidence.
Little has changed since then. A man stands on Elm looking at the X that marks where the limousine was when the second bullet struck the president.
In support of coincidence, the Warren Commission noted that the motorcade route wasn’t even fixed until long after Lee Harvey Oswald had the job at the Depository. Although there were news articles as far back as September indicating President Kennedy was coming for a visit to Dallas, no indications of an itinerary were given. It wasn’t until November 4 that the Secret Service was even told of the visit. The responsible parties on the host committee (Texas) and White House were not told of the motorcade route until November 18, 1963, only 4 days before the president’s visit.
However, the Warren Commission also noted that the planning of the trip was largely on the Texas side. This planning had begun much earlier. They also admitted that there was really only one ideal way for a motorcade to go from Love Field to the Trade Mart, and it was impossible that it could have bypassed the Depository since that was the only route through Dealey Plaza to get to the highway and from there to the Trade Mart.
In essence, from this, we see that in Texas the plans began much earlier than November, and although 2 Secret Service men doped out the motorcade route it was largely an arbitrary route from Love Field to any location downtown and beyond the highway. All any group of potential local conspirators needed to know was that the destination would be beyond the old downtown area.
The president’s visit had been agreed upon as early as June 5, 1963, and all the initial preparations were decided to be left to Texas. By October it was no secret within government circles the president was coming in November, and a motorcade from Love Field would automatically require passing under the Depository.
The Warren Commission’s suspicions were justified. But how could they really probe further? If there was conspiracy, it would have to be on the Texas side, and it is highly unlikely the Warren Commission could even probe into it.
Secret Service knew Dallas could be a problem. Adlai Stevenson had been spat on and hit on the head recently by anti-UN protestors led by General Edwin Walker. An ad had just been placed in The Dallas Morning News by a supposed fact finding committee that was actually just a couple of men. The ad had a black border, which is rather tasteless. Now just before the president’s arrival there was the infamous handbill “Wanted to Treason” being circulated along the motorcade’s route.
There is no question that the radical General Edwin Walker had a hand in this sorry bit of political theater. All those associated with it had connections to him.
Amazingly, Walker had been Oswald’s first target after he had gotten his Mannlicher Carcano rifle in the mail. This has always been a curious point. Curious. Curious that Oswald should strike at 2 opposite poles– Walker the right winger and Kennedy the left winger. . . . And needless to say many do not believe it. Even those who think that Oswald was the lone gunman in the Kennedy assassination find it hard to believe he tried to kill Walker months before.
It’s a great plot line to think that in April, m0nths before Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, that General Walker staged his own attempted assassination in conspiracy with Oswald, guaranteeing Oswald that he would not be pursued or suspected. What would it take? Fire a bullet through a window and through a wall. Walker need only claim he was sitting there and that the bullet missed his head by inches. Who is to say there was truly a sniper by his fence out back?
The purpose of the plot, of course, would be to make an alibi. If Walker and his radical right wingers were staging an assassination, an attempted assassination on himself months before by the assassin is the perfect cover. If Oswald is caught and implicates Walker, all Walker and his conspirators need do is suddenly link Oswald to the April attack on him at his house. How could he, an intended victim who narrowly escaped, be in cahoots with the assassin? It is the perfect alibi.
From the “patsy” theorizing point of view, Oswald makes perfect sense. He was a shadowy left winger. He was really a radical, a loner unto himself. On paper and history he was left, but currently his associations were right. He unquestionably had more friends on the right wing than the left. If Oswald and Walker were involved together, even through intermediates, any attempt Oswald might make to implicate Walker would never wash. It would be ludicrous on the face of it. Despite his right wing friends, a paper trail said lefty.
But like all great conspiracy theories, strategy is easy and logistics is difficult. To believe this is to believe that Walker was already preparing himself the perfect alibi for being the instigation behind the president’s assassination.
Burt Lancaster based his character of General James Matoon Scott from “Seven Days in May” on General Walker. Sterling Hayden’s General Jack Ripper was also based on him in Dr. Strangelove.
Though it is a perfect alibi, it also presupposes that Walker saw the need to provide himself with one 2 months before there was any certainty that the president would come soon. Texas Dems were certain a formal visit to Dallas was needed, but until June 5 none of them had even a rough date that it would be this year.
Only Oswald’s wife is the source that her husband shot at Walker. Nevertheless, photos were found in his things that showed General Walker’s house from the back fence, even from a location near where the rifle would be fired a Walker. This all seems rather damning that Oswald was the attempted assassin. However, the pictures supposedly date to before Oswald even had ordered his rife. This would mean Oswald was setting up his logistics and trajectory before even having a rifle. Cart seems to come before the horse here. The police originally thought that the bullet was a 30.06. It was only later that the forensic man said the fragment recovered was similar to a 6.5 mm bullet, like that fired from Oswald’s Carcano.
There are reasons why many do not believe Marina Oswald. According to her, Lee Harvey came back the night of the General Walker assassination white and out of breath. This sounds like a beginner assassin, which Oswald would have been. Yet by the time that Oswald shot Kennedy, he hadn’t had any more experience. How then could Oswald be so calm here? (After he is approached in the Depository cafeteria only minutes after the assassination, he is calm and cool.) This is an interesting contradiction. After a single shot fired in the night, he is white and flustered by it all. After 3 shots at the president, in a very public display, Oswald is calm.
There are more than a few, of course, who do not believe that Oswald shot at General Walker on April 10, 1963. And, indeed, the witness to the two men “fleeing” that night was later shown pictures of Oswald. He denied that either looked like Oswald. We only have Marina Oswald’s word that her husband was the Walker shooter. But then the FEDs did find those pictures in Oswald’s residence that were taken from Walker’s back fence and from the approximate location of where the assassination bullet had been fired. It seemed that he had been the man and had taken careful consideration as to the best angle and trajectory.
But was he the gunman? Or was his job to map out the attack? Did he simply walk away with a rifle and was never seen? Then those 2 men and the 2 cars might merely be another “coincidence.” Or was there somebody else? It is believable that a radical left winger would try to kill Walker, but then months later why kill a left winger?
There is a compromise that is a little more logistically believable. If Walker was involved in some radical right winger plot to kill the president, or learned he might have been unknowingly ephemeral to it, he and his co-conspirators might have latched onto a botched and still-unexplained assassination attempt the April before to give himself an alibi. All they need do is accuse Oswald.
Was Edwin Walker or his associates that clever? He had not shown any subtlety in his political views. He also did a pathetically poor job at covering his hand in the tactless “WANTED” handbill that was distributed throughout Dallas. How could he be so clever setting himself the perfect alibi and then botch his part in a tasteless handbill?
It’s a great plot. I like it. It instinctively appeals.
However, what are the logistics?
They aren’t believable. The only thing that might be is that Walker seized the opportunity to convince others or himself that Oswald had fired at him the April before.
Oswald’s actions after the presidential assassination show he had an escape route. He knew he had just gotten out of the Depository in time and would be the only employee missing when the police checked. He knew they would come for him. Why then did he leave incriminating photographs of Walker’s house to be found at his home? The only logical answer is that he knew he was going to escape and it didn’t matter what they discovered he had been up to for the last 6 months.
In addition to this coincidence we have a Dallas police car honking in front of Oswald’s residence after he arrives after the assassination. Shortly thereafter he leaves. Jack Ruby, a man with many police contacts, later kills Oswald. The Warren Commission admitted millions saw it on TV and the whole scene suggests conspiracy. But in the end it all seemed coincidence. They could find no evidence Oswald was assisted or could have been assisted.