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Tim Gratz

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  1. Thanks Tim, however, I should clarify... the whole Oswald/Baker/Truly encounter on the 2nd floor 90 seconds after the assassination just plain never happened. Unfortunately, the lie is deeply imbedded due to it being such a standout scene in Stone's "JFK". To explain as best I can, Truly and his boss, Cambell, spoke to the media on the afternoon of the assassination. They were quoted the following day as saying they had seen Oswald on the 1st floor after reentering the building. That same afternoon, Baker made his statement with Oswald in the same room -- giving a description that did not fit Oswald, and saying it happened on the 3rd or 4th floor. Since I have found no reason to believe Baker was a part of anything (though he would go onto change his story to fit what was needed), I have to conclude that such an encounter did take place -- just not with Oswald. Meanwhile, Truly did not get around to making his statement until the next day. This was the first time the 2nd floor story emerged. By then, it must have been realised that Truly's statements to the press could not get into the evidence. The solution was to merge Baker's statement -- which again, didn't describe Oswald or name him -- with the actual sighting of Oswald on the 1st floor as per Truly/Campbell to the press, and swap the whole scenario to the second floor to be in accordance with the statement of Reid. In essence, there were two sightings... one of Oswald on the first floor, and another of the possible real sniper on the 3rd or 4th floor. I believe that was the whole reason Truly rushed to "assist" Baker... to ensure the real sniper got out "He's okay, offficer. He works here." Oswald said in interrogation that he was having lunch in the domino room when he saw two men walk in. He named one as "Shorty". This puts the time 12:23 when Norman and Jarman reentered the building. From there, he went up to the second floor for a coke, walked past Reid who told him of the shooting. By now, he could hear all the commotion downstairs and went down to investigate. For sources, please refer to the Dallas Morning News of 23nov63, Baker's 22nov63 statement, and his his WC testimony confirming Oswald was in the room when he made that statement, the testimonies of Jarman and Norman in regard to coming back inside, the WC testimony of Holmes, and Fritz's notes. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Very interesting post. I know many people believe that Truly and Baker initially encountered LHO on the second florr, less than two minutes after the assassination, which makes it almost incredible that he had fired the shots from the sixth floor, hid the rifle and got to the second floor in that amount of time. In fact, although I have not read the book, I read an article that states that in Belin's book defending the WC Belin concedes that if when Truly and Baker encountered LHO LHO already had a Coke in his hand that then LHO could not have been the assassin--the timing was that close.
  2. There are people (Fletcher Prouty among them--I read an article he wrote about it) who believe the U2 mission was deliberately "blown" to sabotage the peace summit--not necessarily to elect JFK. If so, it is possible he played a part (wittingly or not) in that operation. I want to add that JFK did not campaign as a "dove" in the 1060 election. If anything, he was more "hard-line" than Nixon. Item: one of JFK's principal issues was that the Eisenhower-Nixon Administration had allowed a dangeroues "missile gap" to develop and a stepped-up military budget was needed (after the election it turned out there in fact was no missile gap). Item: JFK famously claimed (for instance, in a front page article in the October 21, 1960 New York Times) that the Eisenhower-Nixon administration was not doing enough to support the anti-Castro exiles. In his October 21, 1960 foreign policy debate he repeated the charge. Nixon was furious because he believed that JFK had been briefed by the CIA re the plans for the BOP invasion but Nixon could not reveal the secret plans. This does not mean the military supported JFK--most of them probably supported JFK. Interestingly, though, there was an element in the CIA that did support JFK. Among this group was Richard Bissell, who was not only the principal architect of the BOP but also, in August of 1960 directed Sheffield Edwards to enroll the Mafia in a plot to assassinate Castro. (Of course, after the BOP, JFK fired both Dulles and Bissell.) But it is important to note, for historical accuracy anyway, that on military policy JFK attacked Nixon from the right.
  3. Good post! I certainly agree that it seems beyond belief that Oswald was calm and on second floor within what-ninety seconds--of the assassination. With respect to post-assassination statements, how about two made by Santo Trafficante, Jr? 1) As I understand it, he was heard on an FBI wiretap, after Rosselli's murder, stating words to the effect, Now there are only two people who know (the truth of the assassination). 2) In his autobiography, Trafficante's long-time lawyer writes that shortly before his death Trafficante admitted to him his role in the assassination. (Such confession would have been protected by atty/cloient privilege.) I understand some people dispute Ragano's story, however.
  4. Very interesting verdict. Hope she can collect it! Re Hoffa quite: Strange little story. When JFK toured Key West in Nov 26 (to thank the military who had worked in Cuba missile crisis) he went by a hotel, the Casa Marina on Flagler Street, that was being used as military barracks. (The tourist business was in the dumps and hotel had been rundown.) Don't know whether JFK realized it but the Casa Marina was being leased to the govt by the Teamsters Union!
  5. Tim; I don't have any evidence to prove LBJ was behind JFK's assasination in any way. However, there apparently was a heated discussion regarding seating arrangements regarding the Presidential limousine in Dallas. As I recall LBJ and JFK took part in it, LBJ wanted Senator Yarborough to sit with the President instead of Gov. Connally and his wife. This discussion/argument was heard and reported by someone close to Kennedy. I may be mistaken, but I believe it might have been Kenny O'Donnell. Someone wrote about this in a book. Furthermore, as we know LBJ was friendly with Connally and not so with Sen. Ralph Yarborough. Why Dallas, and why when Connally was next to the President, in the line of fire? I don't know. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> I recall reading about the argument as well. There was a bitter dispute within the Texas Democtrat Party between Connally and Yarborough and supposedly one reasaon for the JFK Texas trip was to try to get the party together so the split would not jeopardize his re-election. But: if LBJ was behind it, what if JFK had insisted that LBJ ride with him? Seems like LBJ was taking a terrific chance to have the shooting in a motorcade in which he was a participant. In addition, I recall reading that LBJ was so afraid he was next on the list that he was hiding in a bathroom. He certainly benefited from JFK's death, of course, and there is the Malcolm Wallace fingerprint issue. Back to original topic of reasons for conspiracy: How about the accoustic evidence of more than three shots? What is the current status of the debate over the accoustic evidence? It seems additional shots fired would demonstrate two shooters beyond a reasonable doubt.
  6. Although many early reports had Fitzgerald with Cubela in Paris on 11/22/1963, apparently Fitzgerald was in the DC area having lunch when he heard the news. See the book, The Best Men by Evan Thomas re Fitzgerald's activities after the assassination. Do not know about Cabell.
  7. I will try and explain this in my online seminar "Lyndon Johnson and the Assassination of JFK". <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Looking forward to it. I was an avid follower of current events/politics even as a freshman in high school and I remember the developing Bobby Baker scandal but did not remember how close the investigation was coming to LBJ until the info developed on your forum. One point I would raise with respect to LBJ, though (and I was never a LBJ admirer) is that LBJ and Connally were very close (as the tapes also demonstrate). Somewhat hard to believe LBJ would orchestrate an assassination which would put his friend's life at risk. If LBJ had wanted to do it, couldn't he have found an opportunity other than the Dallas motorcade? And, didn't LBJ have enough info re JFK's sex life that it would have removed JFK from the ticket had it been released? As I recall, it was Baker who had introduced JFK to Ellen Rometsch. Looking forward to your paper.
  8. Curious how the telephone tapes prove a conspiracy. There is, of course, a reference in the telephone tapes to an Oswald impersonator in Mexico City. (LBJ's first reported phone conference with J. Edgar Hoover.) And I agree that a LHO imposter in Mexico is strong evidence of a "set-up" although one could conceive a scenario that an unrelated intelligence operation was being carried out. My reading of the telephone tapes is they tend to exculpate LBJ (unless he was a darn good actor). Re "CIA did it" scenario: it seems to me somewhat inconsistent that CIA did it and used as a patsy a CIA "asset". One could posit a "rogue element" or actor in CIA did it, assuming that LHO's ties to CIA would assure a CIA cover-up. An alternative scenario would say CIA or part of CIA did it but LHO not connected to CIA.
  9. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners....he is a joy to be around.." His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken." Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class." By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets." A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD. The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course she would and she wore that bracelet , the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you! .." (For those of you who don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.) I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? just "do it".
  10. I thought it would be interesting for members to post (in order) in their opinion the five most significant facts that tend to establish a conspiracy to kill JFK. Could then be used in arguments to persuade the dozen, two dozen people who still believe the lone nut scenario. I'm not yet ready to prioritize mine but one I think is the Odio incident (together with similar incidents of Oswald impersonators). HSCA found Odio credible and unless it really was LHO at her door, it certainly seems someone was setting LHO up. Another possibility could be the Oswald impersonator in Mexico City but someone has posited that this could have been a separate intelligence operation unrelated to the assassination. Final thought: why not list the reasons, then list the strongest LN reason to counter the argument (maybe from Posner opr MacAdams) and show the weakness of the counter-argument. We should end up with a nice, well-articulated list of the best pro-conspiracy arguments. I think it should be an interesting thread!
  11. Is this view based on the evidence or is it just a deep prejudice against Bush? It is important as serious researchers into the JFK assassination we must maintain high standards. This includes treating the evidence in the same way as academic historians or lawyers in a court of law. Therefore it is irresponsible to use the “guilt by association” approach. If we take this approach we deserve to be condemned by people like John McAdams and Dave Perry for sloppy research. You also have to be very careful about the way you use “confessions”. Any detective working on a high-profile murder case will tell you one of the major problems they have is the amount of time-wasting caused by people wanting to confess to the crime. There are a lot of sick individuals out there who want to be in the limelight, even if it means confessing to some horrible murder. You say that Bush is associated with Luis Posada Carrilles, Felix Rodriguez, Orlando Bosch and Guillermo Novo. Maybe so. But that only helps your case if you can show that these four people were involved in the assassination of JFK. Where is your evidence for that? Once you have done that, you need to show how the link between Bush and these men is related to the assassination. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Excellent points made! You are correct, in your first post here, about "guilt by association." Obviously if (IF?) there was a conspiracy the members needed to know (be associated with) each other (although all conspirators need not know all the others) but the mere fact of an association with a member of the conspiracy is not evidence of participation in the conspiracy. Assuming arguendo that LHO was part of a conspiracy (and I am not convinced he was) this does not mean that everyone who knew Oswald was part of the conspiracy. As you probably know, Professor Michael Kurtz witnessed LHO and Guy Banister together, but he does not believe Banister was part of the conspiracy.
  12. It was not Ed Clark's fingerprint. It was, reportedly, the fingerprint of Mac Wallace. Quite sure this is correct.
  13. Someone should try to contact Heymann (through his publisher if necessary) and ask him his basis for the statement re Ford and the documents. Heymann's latest book (if I recall the name correctly) is the Georgetown Ladies Social Club.
  14. I believe that Rivele thought that Trafficante had engaged the Corsican hit-men through his friend the head of the Corsican mafia. Apparently Trafficante was smuggling drugs into South Florida from Corsica through Cuba.
  15. The article has an interesting story about JFK's very brief visit to Key West in November of 1962. He was accompanied by every member of the Joint Chiefs of staff. Kennedy's Lincoln was borrowed from a Lincon dealer in Miami. Aside: Henry Flagler was a partner with John D. Rockefeller and he took a great interest in Key West and the East Coast of Florida. Before there was a highway into the keys, Flagler built a railroad from Miami to Key West. He also built a hotel in Key West called the Casa Marina (it is located on the west end of Flagler Street). The hotel had encountered hard times and in the 1960s its owner was leasing it to the military for housing. It was the US Army Command Post in Key West, and JFK drove by it on his motorcade into Key West. Don't know whether JFK knew this, but the owner of the Casa Marina who was leasing it to the Army was the Teamsters Union! Sheriff John Spottswood was in the motorcade with JFK. Spottswood owned an island (Munson Island) located twenty-eight miles north of Key West. In June and July of 1962 Spottswood had donated the use of his island to Warner Brothers for filiming a movie. The name of the movie: PT 109. The island had been used as a fishing island by Spottswood and his friend Harry truman but it has now been developed as a world-class resort, Little Palm Island. A curious connection: in the mid 1990s Little Palm Island was purchased by a closely-held Washington state company called Noble House. Noble House owns about twelve preium properties in the U.S. One of its hotels is the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.
  16. I believe her name was Carol Tyler and she died in a plance crash in 1965. Her rrommate's name was Mary Jo Kopechne. Kopechne died in a car accident in July of 1969. Both ladies were secretaries for U.S. Senator George Smathers.
  17. Typographical error in my last post: JFK used his 1957 visit to Ambassador Smith (not with Smathers) in his 1960 foreign policy debate with Nixon. (As noted, Smathers was with him on the trip to Havana.)
  18. I certainly know no evidence that Diosdado had any involvement in the assassination but he was certainly an active player in the Key West area. From what I have read, he would give the "green light" or "red light" to raids on Cuba from the Florida Keys. When Customs raided and arrested Hemmings and the No Name Key group in December of 1962, although the raid was organized by Miami Customs, Diosdado participated in the raid. I haven't read all of Hemming's various statements over the years, but I wonder if he had met Diosdado before the raid? We also found an old Key West Citizen article that states that shortly after the JFK assassination Diosdado went to inspect the No Name camp but there was no one there anymore. When JFK visited Key West in Nov of 1962 (to inspect the Hawk missiles still in place after the missile crisis, Diosdado's name was not on the original list of VIPS but it was inked or penciled in. An aside: my colleague Mark Howell is working on a story about JFK's November 1962 visit to Key West. In connection with that, we ran into a very interesting web-site called The Missiles of Key West that have some remarkable photos of JFK in an open car, with sunglasses, inspecting the missiles. I commend the site to members of the Forum. You may also be interested in knowing the current name of the Key West beach that once housed the Hawk missiles: Smathers Beach. Now back to topic at hand: I believe Fonzi once remarked in an interview that he thought additional investigative work should be directed re Diosdado's activities. I do understand that Diosdado denied ever interviewing Veciana. I also recall reading (I believe it was in Weberman's interesting web-site) that when Cuban exiles arrived in the Keys, Diosdado would help screen and make recommendations whether they should be recruited by the CIA. I want to go back to the Veciana story of his seeing Bishop with Oswald in Dallas. Let's assume he was CIA (and of course I have read Fonzi's HSCA report and his book) if 1) (again) he was CIA and (2) if Veciana was telling the truth about seeing them together, then it obviously follows that LHO had links to the CIA. Of course, there are many other reasons to suspect that but a sighting with Bishop ought to confirm it. It seems to me, however, that it tends to exculpate rather than inculpate Bishop (Phillips or whomever) in the assassination since it would be foolhardy indeed for Bishop to be seen with the "patsy". (I think someone has made this point on this forum before.) In fact, it is my understanding that it violates intelligence rules for a CIA officer to let one "asset" see another one. If LHO was doing secret work for the CIA, why would Bishop expose him to Veciana? The link between Veciana and the Odio story is interesting. Again, if I recall correctly, the Odio (parents) were jailed because they were sheltering on their estate Reynald Gonzales, who had been a participant in Veciana's attempted assassination of Castro. Veciana escaped to the US (quite sure he first entered the US through Key West) but the Odios (and I believe Gonzales) were arrested. What if (obviously speculation) Veciana was an agent provocateur? (Remember, his cousin's husband was a member of Castro's intelligence.) That could explain why the Gonzales assassination attempt failed--as did the 1971 attempt in Chile.) It could also indicate that the Bishop-Oswald story was disinformation by Veciana. I am not advocating this position but I think all possibilities ought to be considered. If Veciana was telling the truth, then Diosdado's 1963 interview with him helped start the CIA cover-up of an involvement with LHO. Only after the CIA had assured itself (through Diosdado) that Veciana was not going to report his seeing Bishop with LHO could the CIA decide to deny association with LHO. I want to skip to another subject but it may be of interest. Mark and I did a story re when Castro shut off the Guantonimo water supply in February of 1964 (it was because the Coast Guard had hauled some 38-40 Cuban fishermen to Key west jail because they violated US territorial waters. Turns out the Guantonimo base commander was a tough naval officer named Bulkeley and that, shortly before the assassination, it was JFK who had designated him for the position. RFK had given Bulkeley his marching orders: "Show that bastard (Fidel) who's in charge." Well, the interesting item we discovered was that JFK may have owed his political career to Bulkeley. According to Nigall Hamilton (who interviewed Bulkeley) Joseph Kennedy had lunched with Bulkeley and used his political influence to get JFK his position as PT boat commander. Bulkeley had gained fame by rescuing Gen MacArthur from the Phillipines. Bulkeley's WW II PT adventures were the subject of a John Ford movie called They Were Expendable. One last item (relating to another "thread") re Earl E. T. Smith. I assume most of the Forum participants know that JFK and his buddy George Smathers visited Smith in Havana in 1957 and that JFK used his visit to Smathers against Nixon in their October 21, 1960 debate. Enough for now! I really enjoy this forum and the level of discourse.
  19. Timothy Gratz. 55 years old. Resides in Key West, Florida. Holds political science and law degree from University of Wisconsin. Reinterest in assassination sparked by reading "Searching for Ghosts in Key West" in Gaeton Fonzi's book. Member of Gordon Winslow's Southern Florida Reserarch Group. Co-authored a series of five articles on possible Key West connections to the assassination, published in the Key West Citizen in November of 2003. (Co-author Mark Howell of the Key West Citizen.) Our articles are posted on the cuban-exile website. Really enjoy the Spartacus Educational website (and not just the JFK site and forum). Mark Howell, my co-author of the articles on the Key West connection to the assassination, hales from Wales and has a master's degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. We are interested in the recent postings that started on Cesar Diosdado. He is still alive, we located him, sent him a letter, tried to interview him by phone but he refused. His visit to Veciana shortly after the assassination was interesting. I have my theories what that was all about. Whoever Bishop was, I don't think he was involved in the assassination or he would have been foolish to be seen with Veciana. But it seems very clear that CIA sent Diosdado to interview Veciana to determine if Veciana would report the sighting. Veciana did not at that time. Because of the CIA's compartmentalization, I doubt if the CIA person who ordered Diosdado to interview Veciana told Diosdado why, but it sure would be interesting to know who at CIA ordered the interview
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