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Guest Stephen Turner

Three Tramps.

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Guest Stephen Turner   
Guest Stephen Turner

Seems this matter splits the camp..

For those who belive that the "Tramps" presence had a sinister motive can I ask two questions? 1. What was their role in the assassination. 2. Under whose orders where they acting.

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Good questions, Stephen!

If the tramps were indeed "players" the answer to your question may depend on who the researcher thinks they were. As you know, there is broad disagreement on this subject as well.

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Guest Stephen Turner   
Guest Stephen Turner

Good questions, Stephen!

If the tramps were indeed "players" the answer to your question may depend on who the researcher thinks they were. As you know, there is broad disagreement on this subject as well.

Hi Tim.

Your correct, in that I dont expect everyone to offer the same names, or organisations. It would just be good to see what members think,& allow others

to judge accordingly.

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I agree with Ron. They were three tramps. If they were connected to the assassination in any way, the planners of the crime would have to have been idiots and we would have solved this crime a long time ago. I mean, what kind of an escape plan is "go run out to a train and hope it heads out of town before you're discovered" when you can calmly walk out the back of the TSBD and get in a Rambler or sneak down the back stairs of the Dal-Tex or County records Building? As much as I've enjoyed reading Weberman's website, his obsession with the tramps has crippled the progress of his research.

It just amazes me that the same people who blindly accept there were three or more shooter teams, signal men, and radio men in Dealey Plaza, also seem to think these men would try to escape by running off and hiding in a train car. It's just weak. It's a single-bullet theory of the conspiracy crowd--it only makes sense because people want it to make sense. Just because the WC and the Posnerites desperately cling to the idea that Oswald would kill without an escape plan doesn't mean we have to assume the real killers were equally as stupid. I believe the real killers were smart. They got away with it didn't they?

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Another example of Pat's excellent reasoning! Very well stated, Pat. I may have been an agnostic but you have convinced me (even if they did not smell like tramps and had clean shoes!).

Edited by Tim Gratz

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I agree with Ron. They were three tramps.  If they were connected to the assassination in any way, the planners of the crime would have to have been idiots and we would have solved this crime a long time ago.  I mean, what kind of an escape plan is "go run out to a train and hope it heads out of town before you're discovered" when you can calmly walk out the back of the TSBD and get in a Rambler or sneak down the back stairs of the Dal-Tex or County records Building?  As much as I've enjoyed reading Weberman's website, his obsession with the tramps has crippled the progress of his research. 

Great post. I know people have had a great deal of fun trying to identify the three tramps. But as Pat points out, it makes no sense at all for the assassins to dress up as tramps. It is very unfortunate that so many researchers have got hooked by this story. We now know who the tramps were. To ignore this evidence is to make ourselves look foolish. It also provides ammunition for people like John McAdams to use in a way that enables him to discredit the whole research community. It is well worth exploring McAdams' website. There are some researchers who he never attacks. Instead he concentrates on people like Wim, who is an easy target.

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Guest Stephen Turner   
Guest Stephen Turner

Pat, & John's thoughts mirror my own..

I have noticed in other area's of research that I have undertaken, the tendency for certain "legends" to attach to the crime and assume,against all logic, a life of their own. As Pat points out, what sort of foward planning allows your men to be captured & marched though down-town Dallas, whilst having a whole portfolio of photo's taken. The only way an assassination works is if those "in the know," are few & those "on the ground" are fewer still. Its also the only way a cover-up works

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I recently heard a joke that I believe parallels the purpose of the "tramps":

A policeman always watched a certain tavern as closing time neared, and in this manner he always seemed to get his quota of arrests for driving while intoxicated. One night, as he surveyed the crowd leaving the bar, he spotted one fellow who was having particular problems with walking upright as he staggered to his car. The cop watched, his interest growing, as the obviously inebriated fellow struggle to unlock the door, and as the other bar patrons left around him, the man finally was able to start his car. After revving the engine a few times, the man haltingly edged the car into the street, where he was almost immediately stopped by the officer. After asking the man to produce his drivers license, the officer had him blow into the handheld breathalizer...and was incredulous when the machine registered NO alcohol in the man's system

"How can this be?" the cop mused aloud.

"Easy," the quite sober man replied. "I'm the designated decoy."

And so I believe the case of the tramps in the rail car may be a similar matter...meant to occupy the time and personnel of the police departments, probably in order to help facilitate the escape of the actual triggermen. And the resemblance of these men to Hunt and other operatives may not have been a coincidence, either.

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Guest Stephen Turner   
Guest Stephen Turner

Mark,

This theory only works if the "Tramps" are found almost similtaneous to the assassination, If, as I belive is the case, they are disscovered some time after said events, they serve no useful purpose, as the real culprits will be long gone, by simply mingling with the crowd, before making a low-key escape.

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Not a very good escape plan indeed.... especially when you get into the micro details and find that Bowers 1) observed the train coming back though the yard from the East e.g. downtown, which means the tramps placed themselves on a train with the engine pointed to go back through DP where all the cops in the world would be, 2) Bowers stopped the train because he was looking down from his tower and saw a tramp in an open hopper car - not three tramps hiding in a fake locked freight car (if so then there should have been four tramps taken in) and 3) per Holt once they got in they saw the car contained a good amount of explosives (which might make you think twice about using it for an escape). And of course there are a few other parts of the story such as showing up in DP with a stack of ID to hand out only an hour or so ahead of time... pretty tight schedule... which seem a little questionable.

On the other hand, all this seems to have prevented anybody from doing a real investigation of Holt. His daughter give an extensive amount of detail about her fathers contacts including names and companies at one of our Lancer conferences and in the past 4 years I have seen nobody actually investigate what she produced. She passed on a lot of solid data that could be validated one way or the other (not just cited but investigated) - and none of them have really been pursued because the tramp story gets all the attention instead, it even did a great job of misdirection on Garrison and chewed up resources for him and the HSCA. Sometimes disinformation can be a cover - and like Fonzi points out, you can also defeat investigation by ensuring all the time and money gets spent on false trails. Heck, it might even make sure that nobody spent any time on photos of people in DP seriously except for the tramps....

Why would Holt give out disinformatin and even fool his family.....possibly to protect them and as trade for a retirement package for himself? Forget the tramps, dig into who Holt really worked for and the timing of his information becoming public if you want to judge his story.

-- Larry

I agree with Ron. They were three tramps.  If they were connected to the assassination in any way, the planners of the crime would have to have been idiots and we would have solved this crime a long time ago.  I mean, what kind of an escape plan is "go run out to a train and hope it heads out of town before you're discovered" when you can calmly walk out the back of the TSBD and get in a Rambler or sneak down the back stairs of the Dal-Tex or County records Building?  As much as I've enjoyed reading Weberman's website, his obsession with the tramps has crippled the progress of his research. 

It just amazes me that the same people who blindly accept there were three or more shooter teams, signal men, and radio men in Dealey Plaza, also seem to think these men would try to escape by running off and hiding in a train car.  It's just weak.  It's a single-bullet theory of the conspiracy crowd--it only makes sense because people want it to make sense.  Just because the WC and the Posnerites desperately cling to the idea that Oswald would kill without an escape plan doesn't mean we have to assume the real killers were equally as stupid.  I believe the real killers were smart.  They got away with it didn't they?

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Given the time frame and what seems like a very poor escape plan, I agree that logic suggests the Tramps are innocent of being connected to the assassination.

Having said that, there is one sticking point. Fletcher Prouty and Victor Krulak have identified a man in one of the tramp photographs as being Ed Lansdale (two men who would know).

Now if this is Lansdale, then that surely sheds a new light on things. If it is not Lansdale then we have another excellent look-a-like present in Dealey Plaza. Add that frustrating aspect to two of the Tramps themselves being excellent look-a-likes to men who feature heavily in assassination literature, and I for one am not quite ready to put this one to bed.

FWIW.

James

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Given the time frame and what seems like a very poor escape plan, I agree that logic suggests the Tramps are innocent of being connected to the assassination.

Having said that, there is one sticking point. Fletcher Prouty and Victor Krulak have identified a man in one of the tramp photographs as being Ed Lansdale (two men who would know).

Now if this is Lansdale, then that surely sheds a new light on things. If it is not Lansdale then we have another excellent look-a-like present in Dealey Plaza. Add that frustrating aspect to two of the Tramps themselves being excellent look-a-likes to men who feature heavily in assassination literature, and I for one am not quite ready to put this one to bed.

FWIW.

James

Excellent point James. The scenario is even more curious when viewed in context below. Now, if the police are toting shotguns (albeit quite casually) and escorting these three characters, would Joe Pedestrian put himself in such close proximity to this motley crew, trapped and confined between these non-cuffed arrestees and a wall/fence? I would think most people would give them a wide berth. And most people would not place themselves in what appears to be a trapped position. Not unless that person KNEW the detainees and knew he would be in no danger.

I don't know, but Fletcher Prouty was adamant that it was definitely Ed Lansdale.

If he was right, then I'm with James- this sheds a whole new light on the Tramps and the liklihood of their involvement.

Edited by Greg Wagner

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James,

Several things have to be considered in Prouty’s ID of Lansdale in one of the tramp photos. First, it’s apparently true that Lansdale was somewhere in Texas at the time of the assassination. It’s also true that there is a resemblance to Lansdale in the photo, as far as a man walking away from the camera can be said to resemble someone. The resemblance is mainly in the man’s bearing as photographed. But there is also dissimilarity, in the hair which appears too long or wavy on top. There is also a photo that may show the same man, walking the other way on the Elm Street extension (p. 495 in Pictures of the Pain, the first man on the left), and he doesn't look like Lansdale.

But assuming it’s Landale in the tramp photo, it should be noted that he appears to be paying no attention to the tramps. He is walking past them toward the rail yard, as he might do if he were hanging around the scene to see that there were no loose ends or whatever, though one would think he would have long departed the scene by the time these photos were taken. By around two o’clock, what more was there for a manager of the assassination to see? But assuming he was still hanging around, looking everything over, there is no evidence that he ever looked at the tramps or said a word to them. This could mean he was acting like he didn’t know them, but was reassuring them by his presence. But it could also mean that they were just three tramps who meant nothing to him.

Prouty expressed certainty that this man was Lansdale. But at the risk of offending any Prouty fans here, he was often just full of BS. Prouty talked, for example, about how he was sent out of the country in November 1963 so that he could not take part in presidential security in Dallas, and he told how Army Colonel Reich in Texas got upset when he received a stand-down order for his unit to provide no security in Dallas. But the fact is that Prouty’s job at the Pentagon had nothing to do with presidential security, and there would have been no reason for him to be in Dallas had he not gone off on his trip. Colonel Reich told the ARRB that there was no stand-down order, that his unit had no presidential security responsibility to begin with, and that Prouty was “smoking something.”

In his own ARRB interview Prouty said that Lansdale is seen in the photo, and implied that Lansdale and others were engaged in a distraction tactic with the tramps. When asked if anyone could confirm Lansdale's presence in Dallas, Prouty cited Stone's book of the film JFK saying that Lansdale was in Texas. Prouty also said that he sent the photo to an acquaintance who also knew Lansdale, and that this person corroborated that the man in the photo was Lansdale. When asked if he could identify this person so the ARRB could talk to him, Prouty said, "No. No, that's a personal matter." So who was he talking about? What happened to Krulak?

On the other matters Prouty's ARRB interview was an embarrassing fiasco. An ARRB memo dated 10/23/96, from Tim Wray to David Marwell and Jeremy Gunn, says that Prouty “either contradicted, dismissed, or could not verify what he has elsewhere asserted to be historical fact.” The memo says that a summary of Prouty’s interview would not do it justice because no one would believe it: “We need to do a full transcript of his interview with us because – given the fact that it is so full of retractions, contradictions and disqualifications of his other statements – there’s no way we can fairly represent the interview in summary form without it looking like a hatchet job.” Wray then says “we should do a ‘Wrap Up Memo’ explaining why so much of what he says is not worth further investigation.”

Ron

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The scenario is even more curious when viewed in context below. Now, if the police are toting shotguns (albeit quite casually) and escorting these three characters, would Joe Pedestrian put himself in such close proximity to this motley crew, trapped and confined between these non-cuffed arrestees and a wall/fence? I would think most people would give them a wide berth. And most people would not place themselves in what appears to be a trapped position. Not unless that person KNEW the detainees and knew he would be in no danger. (Greg Wagner)

Hi Greg,

This is indeed a curious and rarely considered point. Thanks for your thoughts.

Hi Ron,

I do take your points very seriously and I am in general agreement. Call me a cynic, but something just doesn't add up here. I have swayed back and forth on this issue over the years and I just can't find any solid ground to take a stance.

Frustrating to say the least.

James

Edited by James Richards

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James,

Several things have to be considered in Prouty’s ID of Lansdale in one of the tramp photos. First, it’s apparently true that Lansdale was somewhere in Texas at the time of the assassination. It’s also true that there is a resemblance to Lansdale in the photo, as far as a man walking away from the camera can be said to resemble someone. The resemblance is mainly in the man’s bearing as photographed. But there is also dissimilarity, in the hair which appears too long or wavy on top. There is also a photo that may show the same man, walking the other way on the Elm Street extension (p. 495 in Pictures of the Pain, the first man on the left), and he doesn't look like Lansdale.

But assuming it’s Landale in the tramp photo, it should be noted that he appears to be paying no attention to the tramps. He is walking past them toward the rail yard, as he might do if he were hanging around the scene to see that there were no loose ends or whatever, though one would think he would have long departed the scene by the time these photos were taken. By around two o’clock, what more was there for a manager of the assassination to see? But assuming he was still hanging around, looking everything over, there is no evidence that he ever looked at the tramps or said a word to them. This could mean he was acting like he didn’t know them, but was reassuring them by his presence. But it could also mean that they were just three tramps who meant nothing to him.

Prouty expressed certainty that this man was Lansdale. But at the risk of offending any Prouty fans here, he was often just full of BS. Prouty talked, for example, about how he was sent out of the country in November 1963 so that he could not take part in presidential security in Dallas, and he told how Army Colonel Reich in Texas got upset when he received a stand-down order for his unit to provide no security in Dallas. But the fact is that Prouty’s job at the Pentagon had nothing to do with presidential security, and there would have been no reason for him to be in Dallas had he not gone off on his trip. Colonel Reich told the ARRB that there was no stand-down order, that his unit had no presidential security responsibility to begin with, and that Prouty was “smoking something.”

In his own ARRB interview Prouty said that Lansdale is seen in the photo, and implied that Lansdale and others were engaged in a distraction tactic with the tramps. When asked if anyone could confirm Lansdale's presence in Dallas, Prouty cited Stone's book of the film JFK saying that Lansdale was in Texas. Prouty also said that he sent the photo to an acquaintance who also knew Lansdale, and that this person corroborated that the man in the photo was Lansdale. When asked if he could identify this person so the ARRB could talk to him, Prouty said, "No. No, that's a personal matter." So who was he talking about? What happened to Krulak?

On the other matters Prouty's ARRB interview was an embarrassing fiasco. An ARRB memo dated 10/23/96, from Tim Wray to David Marwell and Jeremy Gunn, says that Prouty “either contradicted, dismissed, or could not verify what he has elsewhere asserted to be historical fact.” The memo says that a summary of Prouty’s interview would not do it justice because no one would believe it: “We need to do a full transcript of his interview with us because – given the fact that it is so full of retractions, contradictions and disqualifications of his other statements – there’s no way we can fairly represent the interview in summary form without it looking like a hatchet job.” Wray then says “we should do a ‘Wrap Up Memo’ explaining why so much of what he says is not worth further investigation.”

Ron

Hi Ron-

Here is a comparison shot of the Lansdale figure and the man in the photo you refer to. In my opinion, it's not the same guy- we have two different people here. But like the "Lansdale" figure and so much else in this case, it's difficult to know for sure.

Thanks for the scoop on Prouty. I was not aware of the problems with his credibility. Still, how long had he known Lansdale? Seems like he would have been in a position to make the ID.

Thanks Ron... good observations.

Edited by Greg Wagner

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