Jump to content
The Education Forum
Mike Rago

How did Zapruder know of Single Bullet Theory at time of testimony?

Recommended Posts

Of course you will not debate. But you sure waste a lot of time attacking me. Regardless of what you say Lee, all this "hate" (and it is hate )that you direct at me is evidence of something that you need to be aware of and me to.

It is "hate" speech you are directing at me.

This thread was a good thread until you started attacking me.

Edited by Mike Rago

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some things are self evident Lee, no matter how much you deny it.

You do not have the cajones (or maybe the knowledge) to argue the technical issues. All you have done is spew hate.. You attack the messenger when you are not capable of attacking the message. That is what a little kid does when they do not get their way.

Edited by Mike Rago

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

That is an intriguing article on RFK's alleged statements (in such uncharacteristic detail) endorsing the Warren Report. The fact he spoke in Poland makes me all the more suspicious. I didn't know that RFK, or any other Kennedy family member, had publicly even uttered the word "Oswald," let alone gave such an intricate breakdown of his character and background. I sense that you are skeptical of Talbot's thesis regarding RFK's doubts about the official story. I am skeptical of this speech in Poland.

I wouldn't call Jackie's testimony an endorsement, however tepid, of the single bullet theory. In fact, her telling line, "I used to think there were three" shots, indicate how thoroughly indoctrinated she'd become, like most of America, to the official line by that point.

Thanks for a fascinating, thought provoking post.

Don,

Thanks for the compliment(s).

First things first: No, I am not all that skeptical of David Talbot’s central thesis: that the Bay of Pigs was JFK’s trial by fire; and that after that, he was extremely skeptical of military advice from the so-called “experts”—and further, as the book (and film) “Virtual JFK” amply demonstrates, he turned down the key advice he was receiving from the hawks some half dozen times, from Vietnam to Berlin. And, finally, that he and Bobby were, to some extent, virtually at war with some of those in the national security apparatus.

FYI: I used to keep a “JFK/Premonition” file, and it seemed clear, from the number of items in that file, that JFK sensed that something was afoot, and that his days were numbered, although (and this is easy for me to say in retrospect) he never really suspected the magnitude of what that “something” was. Nor did he suspect the Secret Service (because if he had, I think that he (and/or Bobby) would have seen to it that there was a complete re-shuffling of the White House Detail). That would have been one way to bust up a brewing plot—just shuffle the deck so that any “inside people” were simply no longer in positions of power, even if you can’t identify exactly who “they” are. But none of that happened, so instead there was a situation in which the Secret Service was "all smiles" and "Yes, Mr. President" and "Of course, Mr. President" and "Anything you say, Mr. President" and any rotten apples in the barrel remained well concealed.

On the subject of premonition, I published one of the most striking ones as an epilogue of sorts to BEST EVIDENCE. It is the report of James Reston, which appeared in the New York Times of November 23, 1963.

Did [Kennedy] have a premonition of tragedy—that he who had set out to temper the contrary violences of our national life would be their victim?

Last June, when the civil rights riots were at their height and passions were flaring,he spoke to a group of representatives of national organizations. He tolled off the problems that beset him on every side and then suddenly, to the astonishment of everyone there, suddenly concluded his talk by pulling from his pocket a scrap of paper and reading the famous speech of Blanche of Spain in Shakespeare’s King John:

The Sun’s o’ercast with blood;

Fair day, Adieu!

Which is the side that I must

Go withal?

I am with both; each army

A hand,

And in their rage, I having

Hold of both,

They whirl asunder and dismember

Me.

* * *

But now. . back to your main point (re Talbot): my chief criticism was not with his overall thesis, but that he could write the book he did, and not include the “RFK-in-Poland” matter, which was page one news in the New York Times (on June 30, 1964) and which I’m sure received comparable wire-service coverage all over America and the world.

That's like ignoring the 500 pound elephant in the room. (No?) Yet he apparently did just that and no one "called" him on it.

Anyway, here’s my question to you. You write: “I am skeptical of this speech in Poland.”

". .. skeptical. . . "? In what sense?

Could you please elaborate?

Do you mean that you are “skeptical” that the event occurred—at all? Or that you are skeptical (as I am) that it was all that “spontaneous”?

DSL

9/6/12; 10:10 AM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is absolutely nothing in that post that indicates I am a lone nutter. By the way, the correct term is Lone Gunman. Jack Ruby was the Lone Nut.

Boy oh boy. . the more you talk, the more your various agendas become visible.

What makes you think Jack Ruby was a "lone nut"? (Oh, pardon me, "the Lone Nut").

Who are you going to put on the grassy knoll - - the Lone Ranger?

But back to Ruby. . .

Do you think he just showed up, at that time and place, by coincidence?

And then lunged forward after multiple, unrelated blasts, on a car horn?

And what about that provocative interchange with Chief Justice Earl Warren, asking that he be flown to Washington, so that he could talk freely?

Do you think that was all an act? That he was just playing games? Just adding drama "for drama's sake"? Just trying to be mysterious?

Please do expand on your views.

Inquiring minds want to know.

DSL

9/6/12; 10:25 AM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is absolutely nothing in that post that indicates I am a lone nutter. By the way, the correct term is Lone Gunman. Jack Ruby was the Lone Nut.

What makes you think Jack Ruby was a "lone nut"? (Oh, pardon me, "the Lone Nut").

Please do expand on your views.

Inquiring minds want to know.

DSL

9/6/12; 10:25 AM PDT

Los Angeles, California

The media called him the Lone Nut.

There was a Lone Gunman and Lone Nut.

There cannot be two "Lone" nuts.

The emphasis is on the word "lone", not gunman or nut.

I am not saying either one of them acted alone, quite the contrary.

Edited by Mike Rago

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My understanding, Mike, is that the "lone nut theory" entails a lone nut killing a lone nut, not a lone nut killing a lone gunman. Much of the Warren Report was devoted to painting Oswald as a nut. Most supporters of their report continue to call him a nut. This makes it bizarre, in my opinion, for you to claim he is not the lone nut in the lone nut theory, if that is indeed what you are claiming.

But that's besides the point.

I'm posting to let those with an interest know that this thread, and Lifton's post in particular, has led me to add a section on RFK's article to my website. (Lifton is, by the way, incorrect. David Talbot does deal with RFK's statements in Poland on pages 279-280 of Brothers.)

Here is what I've added:

On 6-29-64, the Warren Commission meets and deliberates over the submitted chapters of its report. (Intriguingly, little was known of this meeting until 1997, when General Counsel J. Lee Rankin’s private papers were donated to the National Archives following the JFK Records Act. Rankin’s notes reveal that this meeting consists of his running down a list of questions, and the Commissioners’ deciding whether the proposed chapters adequately answer these questions. Over and over, on the questions of the number of the shots, the order in which the wounds were inflicted, etc, they answer “Treatment in proposed draft satisfactory.” This indicates that by June 5, Specter’s conclusions were written in stone, and that the subsequent testimony of crucial witnesses such as Jacqueline Kennedy, James Altgens, Phil Willis, Abraham Zapruder. Emmett Hudson, and James Tague was taken entirely for political reasons, i.e., to convince the American people that the words of all the prominent witnesses had been considered, when in fact they had not.)

An AP dispatch from later that day only confirms that the investigation is over, and unlikely to meet any public resistance. It reads:

KRAKOW, POLAND, JUNE 29 CAP)-U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ROBERT F. KENNEDY SAID TONIGHT LEE HARVEY OSWALD KILLED HIS BROTHER, PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, AND "THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT HE DID IT ON HIS OWN AND BY HIMSELF."

"I BELIEVE IT (THE ASSASSINATION). WAS DONE BY A MAN NAMED OSWALD WHO WAS A MISFIT IN SOCIETY," KENNEDY TOLD A GROUP OF CIVIC LEADERS AND STUDENTS IN THIS SOUTHERN POLISH CITY.

AIDES SAID IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE HEAD OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS SPOKEN PUBLICLY ABOUT WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER IN DALLAS, TEX., LAST NOV. 22. OSWALD WAS SHOT BY JACK RUBY, DALLAS CAFE OWNER, BEFORE HE COULD BE BROUGHT TO TRIAL, THERE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTIONS IN EUROPE, ESPECIALLY COMMUNIST COUNTRIES SUCH AS POLAND, THAT THE SLAYINGS OF KENNEDY AND OSWALD WERE PART OF THE SAME CONSPIRACY.

KENNEDY SAID IT WAS NOT OSWALD'S PROFESSED BELIEF IN COMMUNISM THAT PROMPTED HIM TO MURDER THE PRESIDENT.

"HE WAS A PROFESSED COMMUNIST BUT THE COMMUNISTS--BECAUSE OF HIS ATTITUDE--WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM," KENNEDY SAID. "IDEOLOGY IN MY OPINION DID NOT MOTIVATE HIS ACT, IT WAS THE SINGLE ACT OF AN INDIVIDUAL PROTESTING AGAINST SOCIETY."

KENNEDY WAS REPLYING TO A QUESTION BY HIERONYM KUBIAK,25-YEAR-OLD HEAD OF, THE POLISH STUDENT UNION IN KRAKOW, WHO HAD DECLARED:"WE ALWAYS GREATLY RESPECTED PRESIDENT KENNEDY AND WE ARE VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR VERSION OF HIS DEATH, WE HOPE YOU WILL FORGIVE US FOR ASKING SUCH A DIRECT QUESTION BUT WE REALLY WOULD LIKE YOUR VIEW."

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL REPLIED "IT IS A PROPER QUESTION WHICH DESERVES AN ANSWER." HE CALLED OSWALD "A MISFIT IN SOCIETY WHO HAD LIVED IN THE UNITED STATES AND WAS DISSATISFIED WITH OUR GOVERNMENT AND OUR WAY OF LIFE. HE TOOK UP COMMUNISM AND MOVED TO THE SOVIET UNION BUT WAS DISSATISFIED THERE. HE CAME BACK (TO AMERICA), WAS ANTI-SOCIAL AND FELT THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE OUT HIS STRONG FEELINGS AGAINST SOCIETY AND DISSATISFACTION WITH THE WAY HE WAS TREATED WAS BY KILLING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."

On 6-30-64 the New York Times carries its own version of this story. It takes the opportunity to throw in that the Attorney General's conclusions reflect those of the Warren Commission. It reads:

"Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said today that his brother had been assassinated by Lee H. Oswald, “a misfit,” who took out his resentment against society by killing the President of the United States. Answering questions at a meeting of the City Council of Cracow, the Attorney General said that Oswald was "a professed Communist" but had not been motivated by Communist ideology when he shot the President last Nov. 22. It was in response to a hesitant question put by a Communist youth leader of Cracow, who attended the council's meeting, that the Attorney General spoke about Oswald and the assassination. It was Mr.Kennedy's first public discussion of the accused assassin, aides said... The Attorney General briefly sketched Oswald's life story, describing him as a man who had embraced Communism, and had gone to the Soviet Union, but found no place for himself there. He was a professed Communist," but the Communists, because of his attitude, would have nothing to do with him," he said. "What he did he did on his own, and by himself."

Discredits Plot Theories

Mr. Kennedy said that the assassination was not a racist plot, such as some persons had speculated.

"Ideology in my opinion did not motivate his act," the President's brother said. "It was the single act of one person protesting against society." The Attorney General is known to be fully acquainted with the findings of the Warren Commission. It is presumed by persons close to him that the Commission's report will reflect the views expressed by Mr. Kennedy today."

Between the Lines: a Discussion of RFK's Comments

It is intriguing that Robert Kennedy's first and only public comment on the assassination during the Warren Commission's investigation comes on a goodwill trip to a communist country, where he was pretty much boxed in. If, in such a setting, he said anything suggesting he had doubts about the Warren Commission's findings, and thought a domestic conspiracy responsible for his brother's death, it's almost certain he would be crucified back home, and accused of encouraging communism worldwide. If, in such a setting, he said anything suggesting he had doubts about the Warren Commission's findings, and thought a foreign conspiracy responsible, on the other hand, he would be crucified by his fellow liberals for spreading fear of World War III, and providing fuel for the right-wing fanatics back home. It was a lose-lose proposition. This, then, left him little alternative but to pin the tail on Oswald, and claim everything he'd seen proved Oswald to be a lone nut.

The possibility exists, for that matter, that Kennedy's being asked this question in this setting was no coincidence. While it's perfectly possible Hieronym Kubiak, who would rise within the ranks of the Polish Communist Party and become the member of its Central Committee in charge of Science and Education--only to resign in 1982 after voicing his support for Solidarity, the movement which led to the end of Communism in Poland--had a sincere interest in Kennedy's answer, or that he knew Kennedy would disavow a conspiracy and was anxious that he do so, it seems possible as well that he was convinced to ask this question by the CIA, who had a number of assets in Communist youth organizations. If so, their operation was successful. A July 6 Airgram from the American Embassy in Rome found in the CIA's files reports that Kennedy's statements "were given particular prominence in the Italian Press." As the CIA had a number of assets in the international press, this could very well have been bragging. There is a note of discord, however. The Airgram also reports that the Communist paper L'Unita has chosen to comment on Kennedy's comments, and has noted "Kennedy's declarations about the death of his brother and about the personality of Oswald seem disconcerting and...are in striking contrast not only with numerous facts but also with Robert Kennedy's attitude, declarations, and initiatives after the Dallas tragedy." While it's unclear which "declarations" and "initiatives" are being referenced in this article, it seems possible that Russian Premier Khruschev or one of his emissaries has been indiscreet about Robert Kennedy's private communication in December via William Walton, and has told Communist organizations and newspapers worldwide of Kennedy's private suspicion his brother was killed by a domestic conspiracy.

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David,

That is an intriguing article on RFK's alleged statements (in such uncharacteristic detail) endorsing the Warren Report. The fact he spoke in Poland makes me all the more suspicious. I didn't know that RFK, or any other Kennedy family member, had publicly even uttered the word "Oswald," let alone gave such an intricate breakdown of his character and background. I sense that you are skeptical of Talbot's thesis regarding RFK's doubts about the official story. I am skeptical of this speech in Poland.

I wouldn't call Jackie's testimony an endorsement, however tepid, of the single bullet theory. In fact, her telling line, "I used to think there were three" shots, indicate how thoroughly indoctrinated she'd become, like most of America, to the official line by that point.

Thanks for a fascinating, thought provoking post.

Don:

You are not the only one who --for reasons I have never understood--was not aware of Robert Kennedy's detailed statement in Cracow, Poland, and the manner in which it was a page one news story in the New York Times of June 30, 1964. Recently, I provided that NY Times clip to another author, who I believe is going to be using it in a book.

However, please do re-read my "Post #5" on this thread, for I have posted an important correction, and added some other information.

#1: I was wrong in stating that Talbot did not mention the RFK statement in Poland, in BROTHERS. (How I missed that, I do not know).

#2: I have taken the opportunity (in this Correction" that I posted), to dwell on a particular matter of vocabulary; and to elaborate on the difference between the statement that Oswald was a "confessed" Communist (which is the way Talbot incorrectly quoted the Times, or AP dispatch) and the word Robert Kennedy actually used (as reported in the New York Times, and in the AP dispatch): that Oswald was a "professed Communist."

Anyone sensitive to language will see the difference, and recognize the importance of Bobby using "professed," which leaves open the door to the possibility that Bobby knew (or suspected) that Oswald's October, 1959 defection was phoney.

This is an interesting subject, and can be pursued further another time.

DSL

9/6/12; 5 PM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike, I cover all this in chapters 3-3c on my website, the link to which is at the bottom of my posts.

When Eisenberg and Specter, etc, realized the eyewitnesses suggested a scenario at odds with Oswald being the lone shooter, they made a deliberate decision to ignore the witnesses, and disregard their accounts of the shooting. As a result, many of the closest witnesses were not called until June and July, AFTER Specter had completed his chapter on the shooting,

The SBT was written in stone after the May 24 re-enactment, and the WC's conclusions were provided Anthony Lewis and the NY Times in early June, long before the report had been completed.

FWIW: You talk of a "deliberate decision" to ignore the witnesses, etc. Is that your own opinion? Or do you have a document from the office files?

I ask because it has always been my understanding--and this comes from conversations with Liebeler back in the period 1965/1966--that he undertook his trip to Dallas, and the depositions that he took, more or less out of personal curiosity, than anything else.

Remember: his area (and that of Jenner) was Oswald's biography--and the writing of Appendix 13 to the Warren Report. So why, in July of 1964, did he suddenly go to Dallas, and interview Dealey Plaza witnesses? (And remember: if it wasn't for the fact that Mary Moorman had suffered some sort of personal injury, she would have been deposed, too.) If there's a Warren Commission internal memo bearing on this question, I'd be interested. All I can say, for now, is that when I went through all the WC attorneys "office files" (in the summer of 1970 or 1971)--and I went through every single file-- each of them had, say, one or two boxes; Liebeler had a dozen, maybe twice that many. (I don't recall just now). But the difference was huge. There was just no comparison. So it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he put in for "permission" (whatever that amounted to) to go and depose Zapruder, Altgens, Emmet Hudson, etc. Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't depose even more of them: e.g., Brehm, Sitzman, Mr. and Mrs. Franzen, the Newmans, Hester, Summers, the two motorcycle cops on the right hand side of the limo, and others. . etc.

As I described in BEST EVIDENCE (See Chapter 1), when I first met him (May, 1965), he was very interested in the shooting, as well as his nominally assigned area--Oswald's bio. And the extremely detailed 13 page memo he wrote to Chief Justice Warren (11/8/66) which followed the 10/24/66 multi-hour meeting we had (see Chapter 9 of BEST EVIDENCE) --when I showed him the FBI report about there having been pre-autopsy surgery on JFK's body--demonsrates how fluent he was not just in matters pertaining to "Oswald's biography" but to many of the intricasies of the medical evidence, as well.

DSL

9/7/12; 5:15 PM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[snipped. . to save space]

I'm posting to let those with an interest know that this thread, and Lifton's post in particular, has led me to add a section on RFK's article to my website. (Lifton is, by the way, incorrect. David Talbot does deal with RFK's statements in Poland on pages 279-280 of Brothers.)

DSL INSERT: I added a "Correction" to my post - - see Post #5 on this thread.

Here is what I've added:

On 6-29-64, the Warren Commission meets and deliberates over the submitted chapters of its report. (Intriguingly, little was known of this meeting until 1997, when General Counsel J. Lee Rankin’s private papers were donated to the National Archives following the JFK Records Act. Rankin’s notes reveal that this meeting consists of his running down a list of questions, and the Commissioners’ deciding whether the proposed chapters adequately answer these questions. Over and over, on the questions of the number of the shots, the order in which the wounds were inflicted, etc, they answer “Treatment in proposed draft satisfactory.” This indicates that by June 5, Specter’s conclusions were written in stone, and that the subsequent testimony of crucial witnesses such as Jacqueline Kennedy, James Altgens, Phil Willis, Abraham Zapruder. Emmett Hudson, and James Tague was taken entirely for political reasons, i.e., to convince the American people that the words of all the prominent witnesses had been considered, when in fact they had not.)

An AP dispatch from later that day only confirms that the investigation is over, and unlikely to meet any public resistance. It reads:

KRAKOW, POLAND, JUNE 29 CAP)-U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ROBERT F. KENNEDY SAID TONIGHT LEE HARVEY OSWALD KILLED HIS BROTHER, PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, AND "THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT HE DID IT ON HIS OWN AND BY HIMSELF."

"I BELIEVE IT (THE ASSASSINATION). WAS DONE BY A MAN NAMED OSWALD WHO WAS A MISFIT IN SOCIETY," KENNEDY TOLD A GROUP OF CIVIC LEADERS AND STUDENTS IN THIS SOUTHERN POLISH CITY.

AIDES SAID IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE HEAD OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS SPOKEN PUBLICLY ABOUT WHO KILLED HIS BROTHER IN DALLAS, TEX., LAST NOV. 22. OSWALD WAS SHOT BY JACK RUBY, DALLAS CAFE OWNER, BEFORE HE COULD BE BROUGHT TO TRIAL, THERE HAVE BEEN SUGGESTIONS IN EUROPE, ESPECIALLY COMMUNIST COUNTRIES SUCH AS POLAND, THAT THE SLAYINGS OF KENNEDY AND OSWALD WERE PART OF THE SAME CONSPIRACY.

KENNEDY SAID IT WAS NOT OSWALD'S PROFESSED BELIEF IN COMMUNISM THAT PROMPTED HIM TO MURDER THE PRESIDENT.

"HE WAS A PROFESSED COMMUNIST BUT THE COMMUNISTS--BECAUSE OF HIS ATTITUDE--WOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM," KENNEDY SAID. "IDEOLOGY IN MY OPINION DID NOT MOTIVATE HIS ACT, IT WAS THE SINGLE ACT OF AN INDIVIDUAL PROTESTING AGAINST SOCIETY."

KENNEDY WAS REPLYING TO A QUESTION BY HIERONYM KUBIAK,25-YEAR-OLD HEAD OF, THE POLISH STUDENT UNION IN KRAKOW, WHO HAD DECLARED:"WE ALWAYS GREATLY RESPECTED PRESIDENT KENNEDY AND WE ARE VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR VERSION OF HIS DEATH, WE HOPE YOU WILL FORGIVE US FOR ASKING SUCH A DIRECT QUESTION BUT WE REALLY WOULD LIKE YOUR VIEW."

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL REPLIED "IT IS A PROPER QUESTION WHICH DESERVES AN ANSWER." HE CALLED OSWALD "A MISFIT IN SOCIETY WHO HAD LIVED IN THE UNITED STATES AND WAS DISSATISFIED WITH OUR GOVERNMENT AND OUR WAY OF LIFE. HE TOOK UP COMMUNISM AND MOVED TO THE SOVIET UNION BUT WAS DISSATISFIED THERE. HE CAME BACK (TO AMERICA), WAS ANTI-SOCIAL AND FELT THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE OUT HIS STRONG FEELINGS AGAINST SOCIETY AND DISSATISFACTION WITH THE WAY HE WAS TREATED WAS BY KILLING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES."

DSL INSERT: Could you please tell us how you obtained this individual AP dispatch? Is there a file of this stuff, somewhere?

On 6-30-64 the New York Times carries its own version of this story. It takes the opportunity to throw in that the Attorney General's conclusions reflect those of the Warren Commission. It reads:

"Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said today that his brother had been assassinated by Lee H. Oswald, “a misfit,” who took out his resentment against society by killing the President of the United States. Answering questions at a meeting of the City Council of Cracow, the Attorney General said that Oswald was "a professed Communist" but had not been motivated by Communist ideology when he shot the President last Nov. 22. It was in response to a hesitant question put by a Communist youth leader of Cracow, who attended the council's meeting, that the Attorney General spoke about Oswald and the assassination. It was Mr.Kennedy's first public discussion of the accused assassin, aides said... The Attorney General briefly sketched Oswald's life story, describing him as a man who had embraced Communism, and had gone to the Soviet Union, but found no place for himself there. He was a professed Communist," but the Communists, because of his attitude, would have nothing to do with him," he said. "What he did he did on his own, and by himself."

Discredits Plot Theories

Mr. Kennedy said that the assassination was not a racist plot, such as some persons had speculated.

"Ideology in my opinion did not motivate his act," the President's brother said. "It was the single act of one person protesting against society." The Attorney General is known to be fully acquainted with the findings of the Warren Commission. It is presumed by persons close to him that the Commission's report will reflect the views expressed by Mr. Kennedy today."

Between the Lines: a Discussion of RFK's Comments

It is intriguing that Robert Kennedy's first and only public comment on the assassination during the Warren Commission's investigation comes on a goodwill trip to a communist country, where he was pretty much boxed in. If, in such a setting, he said anything suggesting he had doubts about the Warren Commission's findings, and thought a domestic conspiracy responsible for his brother's death, it's almost certain he would be crucified back home, and accused of encouraging communism worldwide. If, in such a setting, he said anything suggesting he had doubts about the Warren Commission's findings, and thought a foreign conspiracy responsible, on the other hand, he would be crucified by his fellow liberals for spreading fear of World War III, and providing fuel for the right-wing fanatics back home. It was a lose-lose proposition. This, then, left him little alternative but to pin the tail on Oswald, and claim everything he'd seen proved Oswald to be a lone nut.

The possibility exists, for that matter, that Kennedy's being asked this question in this setting was no coincidence. While it's perfectly possible Hieronym Kubiak, who would rise within the ranks of the Polish Communist Party and become the member of its Central Committee in charge of Science and Education--only to resign in 1982 after voicing his support for Solidarity, the movement which led to the end of Communism in Poland--had a sincere interest in Kennedy's answer, or that he knew Kennedy would disavow a conspiracy and was anxious that he do so, it seems possible as well that he was convinced to ask this question by the CIA, who had a number of assets in Communist youth organizations. If so, their operation was successful. A July 6 Airgram from the American Embassy in Rome found in the CIA's files reports that Kennedy's statements "were given particular prominence in the Italian Press." As the CIA had a number of assets in the international press, this could very well have been bragging. There is a note of discord, however. The Airgram also reports that the Communist paper L'Unita has chosen to comment on Kennedy's comments, and has noted "Kennedy's declarations about the death of his brother and about the personality of Oswald seem disconcerting and...are in striking contrast not only with numerous facts but also with Robert Kennedy's attitude, declarations, and initiatives after the Dallas tragedy." While it's unclear which "declarations" and "initiatives" are being referenced in this article, it seems possible that Russian Premier Khruschev or one of his emissaries has been indiscreet about Robert Kennedy's private communication in December via William Walton, and has told Communist organizations and newspapers worldwide of Kennedy's private suspicion his brother was killed by a domestic conspiracy.

DSL RESPONSE:

FWIW: I think your calling attention to the above information is very interesting.

Specifically, the Airgram which you quote is indeed significant (could you please supply a reference to that, at the Ferrell site? Perhaps you can email me, or just amend your post) :

QUOTING FROM YOUR POST:

A July 6 Airgram from the American Embassy in Rome found in the CIA's files reports that Kennedy's statements "were given particular prominence in the Italian Press." As the CIA had a number of assets in the international press, this could very well have been bragging. There is a note of discord, however. The Airgram also reports that the Communist paper L'Unita has chosen to comment on Kennedy's comments, and has noted "Kennedy's declarations about the death of his brother and about the personality of Oswald seem disconcerting and...are in striking contrast not only with numerous facts but also with Robert Kennedy's attitude, declarations, and initiatives after the Dallas tragedy."

While it's unclear which "declarations" and "initiatives" are being referenced in this article, it seems possible that Russian Premier Khruschev or one of his emissaries has been indiscreet about Robert Kennedy's private communication in December via William Walton, and has told Communist organizations and newspapers worldwide of Kennedy's private suspicion his brother was killed by a domestic conspiracy. UNQUOTE

I think you're correct. Here is independent corroboration --from a Soviet source--of what Walton is reported to have conveyed to the Soviet government, as first reported by Naftali and Fursenko, in their book One Hell of a Gamble.

So basically, what appears to be going on (by early July, 1964) is this: reading what RFK is supposed to have said in Cracow, Poland, some of the high-level Soviet officials (who were aware of what Walton had told them, some 7-8 months earlier) were probably wondering: "What is it with this fellow [RFK]? That's not what he told us in November/December, 1963! Why is he now saying it was "Oswald alone" when he was telling us, via Walton, that there was a high level domestic plot?!"

Also. . . : Please read the "CORRECTION" notice I posted in my post #5 on this thread, and the discussion there about the difference between what the NYT (and the AP) reported--that Bobby referred to LHO as a "professed Communist"--and how that statement was incorrectly stated by Talbot (i.e., that RFK said LHO was a "confessed" Communist, not a "professed Communist"). Big difference. And an important one, I think, in terms of evaluating Bobby's (possible) knowledge (and/or awareness) about who Oswald was.

DSL

9/6/12; 5:40 PM PDT

Los Angeles, Ca

Edited by David Lifton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, when I looked at Talbot's book, I realized he'd quoted a Washington Post article on RFK's statements. It's possible then that this article said Oswald was a "confessed" Communist. When I looked for this article online, moreover, I found the AP dispatch.

It's in the Weisberg Archives, here:

http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/White%20Materials/White%20Assassination%20Clippings%20Folders/Kennedy%20Family%20Folders/Kennedy%20Robert%20F/RFK%200004.pdf

A slightly abridged version can be found in a google newspaper search, here:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pjlWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HukDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3882,4869934&dq=there-is-no-question+oswald&hl=en

The Airgram was on the Mary Ferrell site, here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=96489&relPageId=3

The document which proves the WC had decided to dismiss the witnesses is a 3-7-64 memo from Eisenberg to Rankin in which he says the upcoming testimony of Kellerman and Greer should not be taken seriously, and then discusses the unreliability of witness testimony.

I think I first read this memo in a Weisberg book. There is, however, a transcription of it in Mary Ferrell's notebooks, here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=40392&relPageId=40

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your statements about Liebeler are of great interest, David. When I created my timeline for the WC, it was clear to me that almost all the nearby witnesses were brought in to testify AFTER Specter had written his chapter on the shooting, and the commissioners had signed off on his chapter. It seemed clear to me that someone--perhaps Liebeler himself--then realized that their not even interviewing men like Altgens, Zapruder and Willis was an embarrassment, and a gaping hole in their investigation. They then went back and interviewed these people--purely as window-dressing.

If you know of any documents that prove this to be the case, or statements by Liebeler supporting as much, I would be appreciate your sharing them with me.

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David Lifton said:

Anyway, here’s my question to you. You write: “I am skeptical of this speech in Poland.”

". .. skeptical. . . "? In what sense?

Could you please elaborate?

Do you mean that you are “skeptical” that the event occurred—at all? Or that you are skeptical (as I am) that it was all that “spontaneous”?

David,

First, I am astounded that I'd never heard of this RFK statement before, especially since it appeared in The New York Times. Guess I don't know as much as I thought. What I mean by skeptical is that the statement is so different than anything else uttered on the subject by RFK. The Kennedy family, nearly 50 years after the event, remains extremely reluctant to even mention the assassination. RFK never spoke in detail about it on any other occasion, to my knowledge.

I am more paranoid than most people, so perhaps this is just another manifestation of that. Still, I am struck by the unnatural tone of RFK's quotes here. They just don't reflect how he approached the subject publicly at any other point during the five years between the Kennedy assassinations. He appeared to want to avoid any mention of it at all times, and thus I am dumbfounded that he would analyze Oswald like that. As I said, I don't believe he ever mentioned his name otherwise.

I'd be interested in knowing if there was some kind of recording of his remarks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your statements about Liebeler are of great interest, David. When I created my timeline for the WC, it was clear to me that almost all the nearby witnesses were brought in to testify AFTER Specter had written his chapter on the shooting, and the commissioners had signed off on his chapter. It seemed clear to me that someone--perhaps Liebeler himself--then realized that their not even interviewing men like Altgens, Zapruder and Willis was an embarrassment, and a gaping hole in their investigation. They then went back and interviewed these people--purely as window-dressing.

If you know of any documents that prove this to be the case, or statements by Liebeler supporting as much, I would be appreciate your sharing them with me.

Pat,

Do you or anyone else for that matter, know, if Altgens ever gave a statement or affidavit before his WC testimony?

thanks,

chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, here are some of Altgens' statements made prior to his testimony. There was an FBI interview in early June, 1964, a month and a half before he testified.

James Altgens can be seenin Zapruder frame 345 just to the east of Malcolm Summers. (11-22-63 eyewitness account, presented as an AP dispatch and published in Cover-Up) "There was a burst of noise - the second one I heard - and pieces of flesh appeared to fly from President Kennedy's car. Blood covered the whole left side of his head. Mrs. Kennedy saw what had happened to her husband. She grabbed him exclaiming, "Oh, No!". The car's driver realized what had happened and almost as if by reflex speeded up towards the Stemmons Expressway. There seemed to be utter confusion. One motorcycle officer ran his cycle into the curb, almost falling off. Police came from everywhere as the President's car disappeared from sight. At first I thought the shots came from the opposite side of the street. I ran over there to see if I could get some pictures. But it turned out to be just more confusion. Police ran in all directions in search of the assassin. I did not know until later where the shots came from. I was on the opposite side of the President's car from the gunman. He might have hit me. The motorcade was moving along in routine fashion until there was a noise like fireworks popping. I snapped a picture of the motorcade at just about that time, still unaware of what was happening. I cranked my camera for another shot. The procession still moved along slowly. Then came the second burst of noise." (11-22-63 AP report preceding the announcement of Kennedy's death and found in the Frederick Maryland News) "AP Photographer James W. Altgens said he saw blood on the President's head. Altgens said he heard two shots but thought someone was shooting fireworks until he saw the blood on the President. Altgens said he saw no one with a gun." (11-22-63 news bulletin on WBAP, shortly after the AP report) "The Associated Press reports from Dallas that President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left the downtown section. Mrs. Kennedy is said to have jumped up and grabbed her husband and cried "Oh, no!" as the motorcade sped off. Photographer J.W. Altgens of the Associated Press said that he saw blood on the President's head. The photographer said he heard two shots but thought someone was shooting fireworks until he saw the blood on the President. He said he saw no one with a gun." (11-22-63 announcement on WFAA that the President had been shot) “An Associated Press photographer, James Altgens…reports he saw blood on the President’s head. The AP man said he heard two shots but that he thought someone was shooting fireworks until he saw blood on the President.” (5-24-64 article in the New York Herald-Tribune) "I was about 30 feet in front of the President's limousine on Mrs. Kennedy's side. I remember hearing what I thought was a firecracker at the instant I snapped the picture. I was going to make another picture, the one I was really set up for, when I realized what had happened and I froze, aghast." (6-5-64 FBI report, CD 1088 p.1-6) “at about the instant he snapped the picture, he heard a burst of noise which he thought was firecrackers… he does not know how many of these reports he heard…After taking the above photograph…he heard another report which he recognized as a gunshot. He said the bullet struck President Kennedy on the right side of his head and the impact knocked the President forward. Altgens stated pieces of flesh, blood, and bones appeared to fly from the right side of the President’s head and pass in front of Mrs. Kennedy to the left of the Presidential limousine. Altgens stated Mrs. Kennedy grabbed the President and Altgens heard her exclaim “Oh, no!” as the president slumped into her lap. Altgens said he also observed blood on the left side of the President’s head and face.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In all this hullabaloo, I don't think anyone ever answered Mike Rago's question--where did Zapruder read about the single-bullet theory. I suspect it was either this nationally-syndicated article by the Associated Press, or the radio report it's based upon.

5-30-64 "DALLAS, Tex. (AP) - Television station KRLD said Friday it has learned the Warren Commission's report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will show that the first bullet hit both the president and Texas Gov. John B. Connally, and that the third shot went wild. In a copyright story, KRLD said this information came from a highly placed source to the Warren Commission following last Sunday's re-enactment of the assassination. Previous thinking had been that the first bullet hit the president, the second hit the governor, and the third fatally wounded Kennedy. KRLD said it also had learned the commission's report, which it said was to be released in a few weeks, will show the following: The first bullet entered the president's body slightly above the right collar bone and exited just to the left of the tie knot, then entered the body of Connally just above the fifth rib. The second bullet struck the president in the back of the head. The third bullet followed a much flatter trajectory than the first two, because the motorcade was moving down a sloping street, and it struck a manhole cover, then ricocheted off the curb and never was found. Medical opinion in the commission's report will show that chances for the president's recovery from the first wound would have been excellent. Also, had the first hit been a fraction lower, the force of the bullet probably would have knocked the president to the floor of the car and removed him from the line of sight for the second— and fatal — shot. The first bullet traveled 168 feet before it hit, the second 207 feet. There was an interval of 4 1/2 seconds between the first and second shots, and about 2 1/2 seconds between the second and third shots, and experts contend a crack marksman could have fired all three in the time it took the assassin to fire the first two."

P.S. I find this report very interesting. Someone had enough sense to realize that the second shot was the head shot and that the last shot missed. Who was this person? Who shot him down?

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×