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The Culture of Conspiracy


Tim Gratz
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Does anybody have access to the WSJ who can post the article? It was published in the November 24, 2007 weekend edition of the WSJ.

Pierson is the author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of JFK Shattered American Liberalism".

One sentence summary of the article: "The evidence against [Oswald] was overwhelming."

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Does anybody have access to the WSJ who can post the article? It was published in the November 24, 2007 weekend edition of the WSJ.

Pierson is the author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of JFK Shattered American Liberalism".

One sentence summary of the article: "The evidence against [Oswald] was overwhelming."

Why should we pay any attention whatsoever to someone who believes JFK was killed by a "Marxist"?

You know he has a warped perception of reality from the get-go.

And using such buzz words as Camelot, Cultural Revolution, Assasssination and Liberalism in the same sentence tells me this guy is full of BS.

What the assassination of JFK shattered is our form of government, the public's confidence in their representatives and the very nature of our national security, none of which we will ever get back until the crime is resolved.

It seems like these guys - guys like this, including Bugliosi, blame the unresolved nature of the assassination on conspiracy theorists, when in fact it is the governmental system that has failed to adequately resolve the assassination.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Bill asks why we should pay any attention to one who believes JFK was killed by "my a Marxist". I am sure Bill means "by" not "my" and it is a slip of the finger but not a parapraxis. (I certainly do not believe he was inadvertently confessing that he was the Marxist control agent for LHO!)

The reason why we must pay attention to these articles is because there is a battle for the opinion of the American public re the assassination. It is important for us to understand the reasoning of those who propose that Oswald was the sole assassin and that we reply to it. In fact, I am composing a reply to his arguments that Oswald was the sole assassin. I believe that every time there is a LN article in a major media like the WSJ we should at least attempt a reply to it.

It is interesting that when Piereson recites his reasons why LHO was the sole assassin he is caregul to state only that witnesses saw a sixth floor shooter; he does NOT state that amy eyewitness identified Oswald as the shooter. I give him a chit for honesty there.

BUT--just as there are many among us who cannot conceive that a reasonable mind (one not "cognitively impaired") can accept the LN premises, Piereson argues that anyone who has weighed the evidence can have little doubt that Oswald was the sole assassin.

I would like to see Piereson and Drago locked in a room together arguing with themselves, to be released only when they each conclude that reasonable minds can look at the evidence and reach different conclusions. Piereson's proposition is as preposterous as Drago's, of course. Drago disproves Piereson and Piereson disproves Drago.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Does anybody have access to the WSJ who can post the article? It was published in the November 24, 2007 weekend edition of the WSJ.

Pierson is the author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of JFK Shattered American Liberalism".

One sentence summary of the article: "The evidence against [Oswald] was overwhelming."

IMO, it’s pure propaganda... nevertheless:

The Culture of Conspiracy

By JAMES PIERESON

November 24, 2007; Page A11

This week is the anniversary of the tragic day in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas. Looking back, we can see that Kennedy's death marked a turning point, when the political consensus of the time gave way to the confrontational politics that we associate with the 1960s. The upheavals that followed -- along with the bitter partisanship that disfigured political life in the last third of the century, and whose echoes we still hear today -- can be traced back to that day in Dallas.

The terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, is the only other event in the modern era that compares with the Kennedy assassination in terms of its shattering impact on public opinion. And there are parallels: The 9/11 attacks, like the Kennedy case, stimulated conspiracy theories claiming that either the U.S. government knew what was coming, or that somehow America itself was responsible.

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy riding in the backseat of an open limousine in Dallas, Texas, moments before his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

Both events were expected to have unifying political effects -- but both soon gave way to intensifying periods of political conflict. The extreme rhetoric of the 1960s, in which leaders were cast as "war criminals" and America was spelled with a "k," is echoed today in claims that President Bush or neoconservatives lied or manipulated the nation into war.

Opinion polls routinely show that more than two-thirds of Americans believe Kennedy was cut down by a conspiracy engineered by organized crime, the CIA or FBI, or right-wing groups upset by Kennedy's liberal policies. Most believe the Warren Commission covered up the truth by concluding Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Such suspicions encouraged the conviction that the national government is corrupt and untrustworthy -- and also that the nation itself was in some way responsible for Kennedy's death.

The reality is otherwise. As with the attacks of 9/11, events beyond the shores of the U.S. played a larger role in the Kennedy assassination than most Americans would like to believe; and President Kennedy, far from being a liberal idealist, was more of a practical reformer who never got too far out front of public opinion.

Consider the Cold War and civil rights, the two great issues of his presidency. Cuba was the flashpoint of Cold War politics during his term in office. The Cuban Missile crisis, during which Kennedy induced the Soviet Union to withdraw offensive missiles from Cuba, gave him a conspicuous diplomatic victory in a most dangerous nuclear confrontation. Violence against civil rights activists across the South was the most pressing domestic issue in the months leading up to the assassination.

In response to the escalating domestic tensions, Kennedy proposed a sweeping civil rights bill in June 1963. In response to the communist threat, he continued to look for ways to get rid of Castro in the wake of the missile crisis.

But the meaning of the assassination in light of these two critical issues was completely muddied in the immediate aftermath of the event. National leaders and journalists interpreted it in the context of the civil rights struggle -- rather than the Cold War. And this utter misinterpretation has had a damaging effect on Americans' image of themselves and their country.

Oswald was arrested by Dallas police within an hour of the assassination. The evidence against him was overwhelming. His rifle fired the shots that killed the president; spent shells from the rifle were found in the building where he worked; he was seen in that area before the shooting; witnesses on the street saw a man firing from a sixth floor window. Based on a description, a policeman stopped Oswald while he was walking in another section of the city. Oswald shot the policeman and then fled to a nearby movie theater, where he was captured. For those who weigh the actual evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin.

However: Oswald was a dedicated communist who had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 out of disgust with American capitalism. After becoming disillusioned with Soviet life, he returned to the U.S. in 1962. In early 1963, he bought a scoped rifle through the mail and soon used it to fire a shot (which missed) at retired general Edwin Walker, the head of the John Birch Society in Dallas. In the summer of 1963, Oswald was active in street demonstrations in support of Castro. In September 1963, he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City seeking a travel visa that would allow him to travel to Cuba.

Oswald was among the radicals of the time who saw Third World revolutionaries like Castro as the wave of the communist future. He was well aware of Kennedy's efforts to overthrow Castro's regime. As a Senate investigative committee suggested in 1975, Oswald shot Kennedy to interrupt his administration's plans to assassinate Castro or to overthrow his regime in Cuba.

Ignoring Oswald's communist links, journalists and political leaders quickly claimed the president was a martyr to civil rights. Earl Warren said that Kennedy had "suffered martyrdom as a result of the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots." Martin Luther King said the assassination had to be viewed against the backdrop of violence against civil rights marchers in the South. James Reston wrote in the New York Times that "something in the nation itself, some strain of madness and violence, had destroyed the highest symbol of law and order."

The consensus opinion was that Kennedy was a victim of hate and bigotry, a casualty of his support for civil rights. The Cold War and Kennedy's ongoing feud with Castro were rarely mentioned as factors behind the assassination. The reasons? Mrs. Kennedy wanted her husband remembered as a modern-day Abraham Lincoln. Lyndon Johnson feared complicating relations with the Soviet Union. Liberals feared a replay of the McCarthy period, when the Wisconsin senator inflamed public opinion about fears of domestic communism.

Among the other reasons: Robert Kennedy did not wish to call attention to the administration's clandestine efforts to overthrow or assassinate Castro. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, feared that his agency might be blamed for incompetence if the public believed that a communist subversive had found a way to assassinate the president.

This obfuscation -- which attributed the assassination to "causes" other than the real ones -- had far-reaching effects. The claim that Kennedy was a victim of the civil rights struggle gave rise to speculation about conspiracies that exonerated Oswald while pointing the finger of blame in other directions. The Soviet Union, along with the world-wide left, encouraged speculation that far right groups or the CIA were the true assassins.

The suggestion, no less than the fact, that the assassin was a communist was unwelcome in many circles. If Oswald had been a reactionary rather than a communist, there would not have been the kind of wild speculations about who or what was responsible for the president's murder.

Secretary of State Rice asked rhetorically a few years ago, "When will we stop blaming ourselves for 9/11?" A similar question might have been asked decades ago about the Kennedy assassination. In both cases the United States was attacked by avowed enemies, yet many were convinced that we had done it to ourselves.

Mr. Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism" (Encounter Books, 2007).

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Thanks, Greg!!!

This most rank as one of the most ridiculous statements ever published by the WSJ:

For those who weigh the actual evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin.

By the way, tonight I intend to send a reply/letter to the WSJ. I will concentrate on his "reasons" why the case against LHO is so "airtight". I welcome anyone's suggestions.

Or, send a reply of your one to the WSJ letters section.

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Here is a draft of my reply (again suggestions are welcome):

In "The Culture of Conspiracy" (WSJ, November 24, 1963), James Piereson states that "the evidence against [Oswald as the sole assassin] of JFK was overwhelming." His proof?

1. Oswald's "rifle fired the shots that killed the president." It is probable that a shot that hit JFK came from a Manlicher-Carcano rifle sent to Oswald's post office box. But recent study of the paraffin tests conducted on Oswald shortly after his arrest offers clear and convincing evidence that he had not shot a rifle on November 22, 1963 (the same test indicated he MAY have fired a handgun).

2. "Spent shells from the rifle were found in the building where [Oswald] worked." Well, so was the rifle itself but as indicated above there is now compelling evidence that Oswald did not fire a rifle that fateful afternoon in Dallas .

3. "He was seen in the area before the shooting." The last time Oswald was seen on the sixth floor was shortly before noon. There is no question he was encountered on the second floor by a policeman and the building superintendent only 90 seconds after the shooting, and he was not out of breath. It is possible but problematic that he could have completed the shooting, hid the rifle, and made it down four flights of stairs within that period. The timing and circumstance of his first sighting after the assassination suggests he was not the shooter.

4. "Witnesses on the street saw a man firing from a sixth floor window." Mr. Piereson is to be commended for his precision here; there was no credible eyewitness testimony identifying Oswald as the sixth floor shooter.

5. "Based on a description, a policeman stopped Oswald while he was walking in another section of the city." There is no evidence that Tippit stopped Oswald based on a description of the man who shot Kennedy. A recent book suggests Tippit stopped Oswald because Oswald turned direction after spotting the police car.

6. "Oswald shot the policeman [probably he did, but if in fact he was a framed "patsy" he could have shot Tippit in a desperate attempt to escape the frame he saw closing around him] then fled to a movie theatre where he was captured [true].

Piereson states: "For those who weigh the evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin." A preposterously false statement. There are many brilliant minds who have carefullly weighed the evidence (probably at far greater length than Mr. Piereson has) who seriously doubt that Oswald was the assassin. As noted above, the paraffin test conducted on Oswald the afternoon of the assassination and the neutron activation analysis of Oswald's paraffin casts strongly suggest that Oswald did not fire a rifle on November 22, 1963. (By the way, I have also argued strongly on an assassination-oriented forum against those who suggest that anyone who doubts a conspiracy is "cognitively impaired". It is clear that reasonable and intelligent persons who have studied the evidence can and do reach opposite conclusions on the conspiracy question.)

Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry told interviewer Tom Johnson that he was not convinced that Oswald had killed Kennedy, stating: "We don't have any porof that Oswald fired the riflle [as noted the evidence strongly suggests he had NOT], and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in the building with a gun in his hand." Given the statement of the man who sat through the two-day interrogation of Oswald, and who was intimately familiar with the evidence collected by his officers, how can Mr. Piereson state in good faith that no one who has studied the evidence can doubt the guilt of Oswald?

Does anybody spot any factual errors in the above?

Or anything that should be added to the rather limited reply I am making?

Edited by Tim Gratz
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FINAL DRAFT I INTEND TO SUBMIT TO WSJ. MAIN CHANGES ARE TO PAR 3

In "The Culture of Conspiracy" (WSJ, November 24, 1963), James Piereson states that "the evidence against [Oswald as the sole assassin] of JFK was overwhelming." His proof?

1. Oswald's "rifle fired the shots that killed the president." It is probable that one or more of the shots that hit JFK came from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle sent to Oswald's post office box. (The post office was never able to confirm that Oswald signed for the package.) But recent study of the paraffin tests conducted on Oswald shortly after his arrest offers clear and convincing evidence that Oswald had not shot a rifle on November 22, 1963 (the same test indicated he MAY have fired a handgun).

2. "Spent shells from the rifle were found in the building where [Oswald] worked." Well, so was the rifle itself but as indicated above there is now compelling evidence that Oswald did not fire a rifle that fateful afternoon in Dallas.

3. "He was seen in the area before the shooting." Only one person, Howard Givens, claimed he saw Oswald on the sixth floor--and that was at noon, a half hour before the shooting. Moreover, Givens' testimony was contradicted by two other TSBD employees, one of whom, William Shelley, was Oswald's immediate supervisor, each of whom testified they saw Oswald on a lower floor at around noon. There is no question that Oswald was encountered on the second floor by a policeman and the TSBD building manager only 90 seconds after the shooting, and he was not out of breath. It is barely possible that he could have completed the shooting, hid the rifle, and made it down four flights of stairs within that period. The timing and circumstance of his first sighting after the assassination suggests, however, that he was not the shooter.

4. "Witnesses on the street saw a man firing from a sixth floor window." Mr. Piereson is to be commended for his precision here; there was no credible eyewitness testimony identifying Oswald as the sixth floor shooter.

5. "Based on a description, a policeman stopped Oswald while he was walking in another section of the city." There is no evidence that Tippit stopped Oswald based on a description of the man who shot Kennedy, and logic suggests that if Tippit was stopping a man he suspected of being the presidential assassin he would have been more cautious.. A recent book suggests Tippit stopped Oswald because Oswald turned direction after spotting the police car. Of course why Tippit stopped Oswald has no relevance to whether Oswald shot the president,

6. "Oswald shot the policeman [probably he did, but if in fact he was a framed "patsy" he could have shot Tippit in a desperate attempt to escape the frame he saw closing around him; Oswald's murder of Tippit could as easily be the work of a fleeing patsy as the work of a fleeing assassin] then fled to a movie theatre where he was captured [true].

Piereson concludes: "For those who weigh the evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin." This must rank as one of the most preposterous statements ever published by the Wall Street Journal. There are many brilliant minds who have studied the evidence (probably at far greater length than Mr. Piereson) who doubt that Oswald was the assassin. As noted above, the paraffin test conducted on Oswald the afternoon of the assassination and the neutron activation analysis of Oswald's paraffin casts strongly suggest that Oswald did not fire a rifle on November 22, 1963.

Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry told interviewer Tom Johnson that he was not convinced that Oswald had killed Kennedy, stating: "We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the riflle [as noted the evidence strongly suggests he had NOT], and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in the building with a gun in his hand." Given the statement of the man who sat through the two-day interrogation of Oswald, and who was intimately familiar with the evidence collected by his officers, how can Mr. Piereson state in good faith that no one who has studied the evidence can doubt the guilt of Oswald?

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Does anybody have access to the WSJ who can post the article? It was published in the November 24, 2007 weekend edition of the WSJ.

Pierson is the author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of JFK Shattered American Liberalism".

One sentence summary of the article: "The evidence against [Oswald] was overwhelming."

IMO, it’s pure propaganda... nevertheless:

The Culture of Conspiracy

By JAMES PIERESON

November 24, 2007; Page A11

American Liberalism began to shatter when ultra-conservative Republican

and Democrats in 1962/1963 successfully infiltrated both political

parties. Liberalism was forever neutralized by the time of the JFK

assassination.

This week is the anniversary of the tragic day in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas. Looking back, we can see that Kennedy's death marked a turning point, when the political consensus of the time gave way to the confrontational politics that we associate with the 1960s. The upheavals that followed -- along with the bitter partisanship that disfigured political life in the last third of the century, and whose echoes we still hear today -- can be traced back to that day in Dallas.

The terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, is the only other event in the modern era that compares with the Kennedy assassination in terms of its shattering impact on public opinion. And there are parallels: The 9/11 attacks, like the Kennedy case, stimulated conspiracy theories claiming that either the U.S. government knew what was coming, or that somehow America itself was responsible.

President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy riding in the backseat of an open limousine in Dallas, Texas, moments before his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

Both events were expected to have unifying political effects -- but both soon gave way to intensifying periods of political conflict. The extreme rhetoric of the 1960s, in which leaders were cast as "war criminals" and America was spelled with a "k," is echoed today in claims that President Bush or neoconservatives lied or manipulated the nation into war.

Opinion polls routinely show that more than two-thirds of Americans believe Kennedy was cut down by a conspiracy engineered by organized crime, the CIA or FBI, or right-wing groups upset by Kennedy's liberal policies. Most believe the Warren Commission covered up the truth by concluding Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Such suspicions encouraged the conviction that the national government is corrupt and untrustworthy -- and also that the nation itself was in some way responsible for Kennedy's death.

The reality is otherwise. As with the attacks of 9/11, events beyond the shores of the U.S. played a larger role in the Kennedy assassination than most Americans would like to believe; and President Kennedy, far from being a liberal idealist, was more of a practical reformer who never got too far out front of public opinion.

Consider the Cold War and civil rights, the two great issues of his presidency. Cuba was the flashpoint of Cold War politics during his term in office. The Cuban Missile crisis, during which Kennedy induced the Soviet Union to withdraw offensive missiles from Cuba, gave him a conspicuous diplomatic victory in a most dangerous nuclear confrontation. Violence against civil rights activists across the South was the most pressing domestic issue in the months leading up to the assassination.

In response to the escalating domestic tensions, Kennedy proposed a sweeping civil rights bill in June 1963. In response to the communist threat, he continued to look for ways to get rid of Castro in the wake of the missile crisis.

But the meaning of the assassination in light of these two critical issues was completely muddied in the immediate aftermath of the event. National leaders and journalists interpreted it in the context of the civil rights struggle -- rather than the Cold War. And this utter misinterpretation has had a damaging effect on Americans' image of themselves and their country.

Oswald was arrested by Dallas police within an hour of the assassination. The evidence against him was overwhelming. His rifle fired the shots that killed the president; spent shells from the rifle were found in the building where he worked; he was seen in that area before the shooting; witnesses on the street saw a man firing from a sixth floor window. Based on a description, a policeman stopped Oswald while he was walking in another section of the city. Oswald shot the policeman and then fled to a nearby movie theater, where he was captured. For those who weigh the actual evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin.

However: Oswald was a dedicated communist who had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 out of disgust with American capitalism. After becoming disillusioned with Soviet life, he returned to the U.S. in 1962. In early 1963, he bought a scoped rifle through the mail and soon used it to fire a shot (which missed) at retired general Edwin Walker, the head of the John Birch Society in Dallas. In the summer of 1963, Oswald was active in street demonstrations in support of Castro. In September 1963, he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City seeking a travel visa that would allow him to travel to Cuba.

Oswald was among the radicals of the time who saw Third World revolutionaries like Castro as the wave of the communist future. He was well aware of Kennedy's efforts to overthrow Castro's regime. As a Senate investigative committee suggested in 1975, Oswald shot Kennedy to interrupt his administration's plans to assassinate Castro or to overthrow his regime in Cuba.

Ignoring Oswald's communist links, journalists and political leaders quickly claimed the president was a martyr to civil rights. Earl Warren said that Kennedy had "suffered martyrdom as a result of the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots." Martin Luther King said the assassination had to be viewed against the backdrop of violence against civil rights marchers in the South. James Reston wrote in the New York Times that "something in the nation itself, some strain of madness and violence, had destroyed the highest symbol of law and order."

The consensus opinion was that Kennedy was a victim of hate and bigotry, a casualty of his support for civil rights. The Cold War and Kennedy's ongoing feud with Castro were rarely mentioned as factors behind the assassination. The reasons? Mrs. Kennedy wanted her husband remembered as a modern-day Abraham Lincoln. Lyndon Johnson feared complicating relations with the Soviet Union. Liberals feared a replay of the McCarthy period, when the Wisconsin senator inflamed public opinion about fears of domestic communism.

Among the other reasons: Robert Kennedy did not wish to call attention to the administration's clandestine efforts to overthrow or assassinate Castro. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, feared that his agency might be blamed for incompetence if the public believed that a communist subversive had found a way to assassinate the president.

This obfuscation -- which attributed the assassination to "causes" other than the real ones -- had far-reaching effects. The claim that Kennedy was a victim of the civil rights struggle gave rise to speculation about conspiracies that exonerated Oswald while pointing the finger of blame in other directions. The Soviet Union, along with the world-wide left, encouraged speculation that far right groups or the CIA were the true assassins.

The suggestion, no less than the fact, that the assassin was a communist was unwelcome in many circles. If Oswald had been a reactionary rather than a communist, there would not have been the kind of wild speculations about who or what was responsible for the president's murder.

Secretary of State Rice asked rhetorically a few years ago, "When will we stop blaming ourselves for 9/11?" A similar question might have been asked decades ago about the Kennedy assassination. In both cases the United States was attacked by avowed enemies, yet many were convinced that we had done it to ourselves.

Mr. Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism" (Encounter Books, 2007).

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I would like to see Piereson and Drago locked in a room together arguing with themselves, to be released only when they each conclude that reasonable minds can look at the evidence and reach different conclusions.

I have to disagree with you here, Mr. Gratz.

I don't think anyone who has looked at the evidence can reasonably conclude that Lee Oswald, acting alone, killed the President. "Reasonable minds," if faced with all the evidence currently available, would have to conclude that Oswald did not kill the President.

Finally, I submit that Mr. Drago (and others) are correct in their assertion that we are at war. I was incorrect in disagreeing with that statement previously. Perhaps it was the word "war" that caused me to disagree--a word at this moment in time (based on events in Iraq and other places, I suppose) I find distasteful. But they are right and I was wrong. We are at war and this propaganda really sickens me.

Okay, I've grabbed my helmet and my resolve. Where do I sign up?

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FINAL DRAFT I INTEND TO SUBMIT TO WSJ. MAIN CHANGES ARE TO PAR 3

In "The Culture of Conspiracy" (WSJ, November 24, 1963), James Piereson states that "the evidence against [Oswald as the sole assassin] of JFK was overwhelming." His proof?

1. Oswald's "rifle fired the shots that killed the president." It is probable that one or more of the shots that hit JFK came from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle sent to Oswald's post office box. (The post office was never able to confirm that Oswald signed for the package.) But recent study of the paraffin tests conducted on Oswald shortly after his arrest offers clear and convincing evidence that Oswald had not shot a rifle on November 22, 1963 (the same test indicated he MAY have fired a handgun).

2. "Spent shells from the rifle were found in the building where [Oswald] worked." Well, so was the rifle itself but as indicated above there is now compelling evidence that Oswald did not fire a rifle that fateful afternoon in Dallas.

3. "He was seen in the area before the shooting." Only one person, Howard Givens, claimed he saw Oswald on the sixth floor--and that was at noon, a half hour before the shooting. Moreover, Givens' testimony was contradicted by two other TSBD employees, one of whom, William Shelley, was Oswald's immediate supervisor, each of whom testified they saw Oswald on a lower floor at around noon. There is no question that Oswald was encountered on the second floor by a policeman and the TSBD building manager only 90 seconds after the shooting, and he was not out of breath. It is barely possible that he could have completed the shooting, hid the rifle, and made it down four flights of stairs within that period. The timing and circumstance of his first sighting after the assassination suggests, however, that he was not the shooter.

4. "Witnesses on the street saw a man firing from a sixth floor window." Mr. Piereson is to be commended for his precision here; there was no credible eyewitness testimony identifying Oswald as the sixth floor shooter.

5. "Based on a description, a policeman stopped Oswald while he was walking in another section of the city." There is no evidence that Tippit stopped Oswald based on a description of the man who shot Kennedy, and logic suggests that if Tippit was stopping a man he suspected of being the presidential assassin he would have been more cautious.. A recent book suggests Tippit stopped Oswald because Oswald turned direction after spotting the police car. Of course why Tippit stopped Oswald has no relevance to whether Oswald shot the president,

6. "Oswald shot the policeman [probably he did, but if in fact he was a framed "patsy" he could have shot Tippit in a desperate attempt to escape the frame he saw closing around him; Oswald's murder of Tippit could as easily be the work of a fleeing patsy as the work of a fleeing assassin] then fled to a movie theatre where he was captured [true].

Piereson concludes: "For those who weigh the evidence, there can be little doubt that Oswald was the assassin." This must rank as one of the most preposterous statements ever published by the Wall Street Journal. There are many brilliant minds who have studied the evidence (probably at far greater length than Mr. Piereson) who doubt that Oswald was the assassin. As noted above, the paraffin test conducted on Oswald the afternoon of the assassination and the neutron activation analysis of Oswald's paraffin casts strongly suggest that Oswald did not fire a rifle on November 22, 1963.

Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry told interviewer Tom Johnson that he was not convinced that Oswald had killed Kennedy, stating: "We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the riflle [as noted the evidence strongly suggests he had NOT], and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in the building with a gun in his hand." Given the statement of the man who sat through the two-day interrogation of Oswald, and who was intimately familiar with the evidence collected by his officers, how can Mr. Piereson state in good faith that no one who has studied the evidence can doubt the guilt of Oswald?

Tim, I applaud your initiative in responding to this rather perfunctory review of the events "implicating" Oswald, even though a persuasive rebuttal would take more than a simple letter. Anyway, the biggest "issues" I see are with respect to paragraphs #4 and #6.

Regarding #4, did any witnesses actually see a man firing a rifle? If so, who? My understanding that all those who claimed to having seen a man with a rifle were referring to the period just before the assassination, and attributed it to police or secret service men and no one actually saw the gun being fired.

As to #6, I have difficulty in even allowing for your caveat, "probably". Maybe "possibly", but, there is so much contradictory evidence, including by the more credible witnesses (ignored by the WC, of course) that it's arguable that he wasn't even there, or if he was, he was only one of two or three involved in killing Tippit.

But, it's your letter, so it should reflect your views naturally.

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Phil, I appreciate your input--much.

I note that you are also a Badger alumni! In Key West, I ran into a very nice lady who was the head of the UW foreign students programs in the seventies. her husband was president of Wisconsin Brick and Block. She lived four houses from me. An amazingly small world!

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Piereson fails to explain why:

1. there was apparently enough doubt regarding the perpetrator(s) and plot to assassinate JFK that Congress organized a committee 12 - 13 years after the assassination to investigate the assassination;

2. we should ignore the conclusion of such Congressional committee that the assassination was likely perpetrated by 2 or more individuals (and, hence, a conspiracy);

3. we should ignore the fact that several of the key witnesses to such Committee were murdered or ostensibly (and strangely) committed suicide before testifying; and

4. a sleazy strip joint operator, who was not known for chivalry to ladies, would gratuitously throw his own life away to spare the First Lady the agony of testifying at Oswald's trial.

And several of the CIA agents and operatives whose names are most frequently mentioned in the context of the assassination were either convicted Watergate conspirators or people who were plotting to assassinate someone else (e.g. Castro).

Is Piereson saying that these people shouldn't be considered, because they are great Americans or that they would never assassinate someone with whom they disagreed on political matters?

I don't buy into a lot of the allegations of conspiracy which apparently bother Piereson, but you would have to be quite Pollyannish to ignore the evidence relating to the assassination, its cover-up, and the prevailing political dynamic at the time of the assassination.

And evidence is not a term which only includes facts which tend to support the theory you believe. It is all facts which should be considered to carefully assess all possibilities.

That is why more than 2/3 of Americans believe that LHO didn't act alone, if he acted at all.

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Mr. Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of "Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism" (Encounter Books, 2007).

Has Murdoch taken control of the WSJ yet? If so, did the WSJ regularly use writers from the Manhattan Institute?

It was a former MI fellow turned Bush speech writer who came up with the "Axis of Evil" line.

This is propaganda of the most insidious kind, and so full of error, it's difficult to know where to start.

Any response to the WSJ should not only point out the more egregious errors, but also make clear some of the Manhattan Institutes past efforts in "re-educating" the public on little things like the "Bell Curve" to name just one.

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