In 1997, the CIA declassified a number of documents related to the 1954 coup in Guatemala. I've recently spent some time pouring through these documents, Among them are redacted lists of purported communists who were to be assassinated (how do we know they weren't?) after the coup took place. On the cover note on one of these lists is the name Rip, which is listed as being illegible on the National Security Archive, but which is clearly a reference to Rip Robertson. On an earlier report, most likely prepared by Albert Haney, co-ordinated with Tracy Barnes, there is a logistics list including a mention of 21 .22 caliber rifles with silencers. Also included in the documents is a CIA STUDY of ASSASSINATION, found in the training file of the Guatemalan operation. This is the manual one would have to assume was used by Robertson and David Sanchez Morales while training the exile army of Carlos Castillo-Armas. The manual says, in part:
f) Silent Firearms
The sound of the explosion of the proponent in a firearm can be effectively silenced by appropriate attachments. However, the sound of the projective passing through the air cannot, since this sound is generated outside the weapon. In cases w here the velocity of the bullet greatly exceeds that of sound, the noise so generated is much louder than that of the explosion. Since all powerful rifles have muzzle velocities of over 2000 feet per second, they cannot be silenced.
Pistol bullets, on the other hand, usually travel slower than sound and the sound of their flight is negligible. Therefore, pistols, submachine guns and any sort of improvised carbine or rifle which will take a low velocity cartridge can be silenc ed. The user should not forget that the sound of the operation of a repeating action is considerable, and that the sound of bullet strike, particularly in bone is quite loud.
Silent firearms are only occasionally useful to the assassin, though they have been widely publicized in this connection. Because permissible velocity is low, effective precision range is held to about 100 yards with rifle or carbine type weapons, while with pistols, silent or otherwise,
are most efficient just beyond arms length. The silent feature attempts to provide a degree of safety to the assassin, but mere possession of a silent firearm is likely to create enough hazard to counter the advantage of its silence. The silent pisto l combines the disadvantages of any pistol with the added one of its obviously clandestine purpose.
A telescopically sighted, closed-action carbine shooting a low velocity bullet of great weight, and built for accuracy, could be very useful to an assassin in certain situations. At the time of writing, no such weapon is known to exist.
This is significant in that the CIA is asserting that rifles firing a sub-sonic charge are still accurate up to 100 yards. More importantly, on the logistics list they specifically request .22 caliber rifles, when they have their pick of rifles with a much-larger caliber. This indicates that there were advantages to a .22. Since the .22 was the rifle requested and was given to the Guatemalans along with the Study in Asssassination, it only makes sense that the "100 yards" comment apllies to the .22. This is in direct contradiction to the writings of Al Carrier, who insisted a .22 firing a sub-sonic charge would be essentially worthless as a sniper rifle. While Carrier may have been right, the CIA undoubtedly led their assassins-in-training to believe otherwise.
Shockingly, elsewhere in the assassination manual it states "public figures or guarded officials may be killed with great reliability and some safety if a firing point can be established prior to an official occasion. The propaganda value may be very high."
This brings up the question of who in the CIA were the propaganda specialists for the Guatemalan operation. And we have our answers in the names of E. Howard Hunt and David A Phillips. So here we have Robertson, Morales, Hunt, Phillips, and Barnes all tied up in this. J.C. King proposed assassinations as part of his original plan PBFORTUNE. so he's tied up in it as well.
On the CIA's own historical review of the assassination plots, declassified in 1997, it notes that "According to (a four letter name's) draft memorandum, after creating a story that BLANK (obviously Arbenz) was trying to oust the communists, he could be eliminated."
Since this was in 1953, this could have been King, who in 1953 was still over-seeing the project, but it could also be Hunt, since he was admittedly involved in seeking out support for Armas' upcoming coup around this time. Intriguingly, Castillo-Armas himself was assassinated by someone who was immediately identified as a communist, but with evidence so flimsy even Allen Dulles was skeptical. While the real story was never unveiled, the man who rose to power shortly thereafter, Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, was the U.S.'s main ally in the training of the Bay of Pigs, an operation run by the same CIA men involved in the 1954 coup and the CIA study in assassination. Jake Esterline, the operational planner for the Bay of Pigs, told a CIA interviewer in 1977, when discussing Carlos Alejos' suggestion that the CIA deal with the growing unrest in the training camps by either shipping them or shooting them, "and if you shoot them, bury them deep," said "that is how Ydigoras conxxxxxed his position for forty years, so he must have buried them deep. I think he buried that piece of paper, too, along with (word missed--Basset's barking.)" If the word purportedly missing is Castillo-Armas, then we have a CIA agent with extensive experience in Guatemala stating his belief that Ydigoras Fuentes killed Castillo-Armas. That Castillo-Armas was in the process of throwing the gambling interests ouf of Guatemala when he was killed, and that he was killed in a manner that would implicate the communists, along the lines of a CIA plan to kill his predecessor, and that the co-ordinated message of the U.S. media and the Guatemalan military was that his assassin was a communist, makes this whole incident disturbing. One might rightfully wonder if a rogue element of the CIA in league with the gambling interests didn't help Fuentes gain power.
So far this has been a history lesson. Now comes my application of these facts to the JFK mystery.
For those familiar with my seminar, it should not be a shock that I believe a bullet striking Kennedy in his hairline at 224 went down his neck and quite possibly hit Connally after its exit. It struck me that both of Kennedy's wounds, the wound in the hairline as measured by the autopsists, and the neck wound as measured by Dr. Perry in Dallas, were smaller than should be expected for a 6.5 mm bullet traveling at 1800 fps. It occurred to me that perhaps this was in fact a sub-sonic
.22 bullet fired from a similar trajectory as the TSBD, most probably from the roof or upper floors of the Dal-Tex. It occurred to me as well that such a bullet would lack the energy to create both JFK's and Connally's wounds. So I decided to look into .22 automatic rifles available in 1963, as a silenced burst of gunfire could account for both wounds, and found that the only one widely used, by the U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, no less, was the M-16.
In reading about the M-16 and silencers I came across the creepy coincidence that much of the early research on M-16's and silencers took place at Edgewood Arsenal, the home of both the Warren Commission's ballistics expert Alfred Olivier and the HSCA's ballistics expert Larry Sturdivan. The bullet wound expert present at the autopsy, Dr. Pierre Finck, was also an Edgewood employee, although his stint there seems to have come shortly after the assassination.
Even creepier, when reading about the history of the M-16 in Mortal Error, I came across a photo of the exhibit list of Sturdivan's HSCA testimony and it showed that exhibit number 114 was of an "m-193 bullet at 800 fps velocity." M-193 is the cartridge used in M-16s. Since Sturdivan testifed that exhibit 113 was of an m-16 bullet travelling at 3000 feet, which would be the speed of an M-16 bullet upon impact with Kennedy, it seems clear that an 800 fps bullet would be a test of a subsonic m-16 bullet striking Kennedy after being fired around 1000 fps, just under the sound barrier.
My paranoia set in however when I realized that the official list of this exhibit lists it as 800 MPS, not fps, and that Sturdivan's testimony is 800 mps, not fps. Mps would be meters per second, a reference neither Sturdivan nor his predecessor Olivier ever use anywhere else in their testimony. Combined, they make well over 30 references to fps, however. I then noticed that the exhibit list on the McAdams website mislabels both 113 and 114 and completely disguises that they represent gelatin blocks fired into by an m-16. Upon studying the wound ballistics of an M-16, I found that it does the most damage after becoming instable and that this usually occurs at 2700 fps, and that bullets travelling in the range of 2500-2700 fps may or may not become instable. Since 800 mps is 2625 fps, I momentarily thought it was all just a misunderstanding. But, after staring at 113 and 114, I found myself unable to accept that 113 represented a bullet releasing only 20 percent more energy. (Since energy is mass X speed squared and the mass is the same between the two then the only difference is the percentage difference in speed being squared .) It looks to me more like the 15 times or so more energy that would be the difference between a 3000 fps and an 800 fps bullet.
Anyhow, I've come to suspect a silenced automatic weapon was fired at Kennedy from the DAL-TEX and that our government for purposes of National Security has been covering it up, perhaps unwittingly. The book Silencer History and Performance by Alan C Paulson makes note that there are many things associated with silencers which are still considered classified information bv the government. Perhaps Sturdivan unwittingly entered something into evidence whic was "classified." Or perhaps someone knew the significance of the 800 fps M-16 bullet and "silenced" it from his testimony.
I'll come back and edit this and maybe add some links but I just wanted to get the word out before I get side-tracked. I think this could be an important area of research. Maybe John Ritchson or Al Carrier can chime in with their impressions of 113 vs. 114?
Edited by Pat Speer, 12 February 2005 - 02:44 AM.