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JFK: Inside the Target Car, Part Two


Peter McGuire
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JFK: Inside the Target Car, Part Two

Or, The Discovery Channel's Idiot Conspirators

By James DiEugenio

See Additional Reviews

of Inside the Target Car

After his (planned?) false statement about Jackie Kennedy being in the line of fire, Gary Mack makes another observation. This one is more superficially credible—until one thinks about it. He observes that the bullet path from this particular position on the Grassy Knoll leaves an exit on the left side of Kennedy's head. He then says that this was not evident at autopsy. He then uses this to discount a shot from that position. (He will later unwarrantedly aggrandize this into discrediting any shot from the right front at all!)

He's correct about the autopsy not showing this kind of exit. But he is wrong in the deductive logic of this eliminating any shot from that particular point. Let me explain in detail what I mean. Since the program's Curtailed Alternative doctrine predictably ignores it.

Clearly, something was happening behind the stockade fence. All you have to do is review the record. Let's begin with the startling testimony of Lee Bowers, a worker in the rail yard adjacent to it and behind. From his vantage point in a 14-foot tower, he talked about the three cars he saw driving behind the fence about 25 minutes before the assassination. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 75) The first car looked like it was searching for a way out or checking the area. (ibid, p. 76) A second car came in about ten minutes later. The driver looked like he was speaking into a phone or a mike since he held something up to his mouth. This car probed a little deeper into the area than the first car. Then a third car came in: it was muddy up to the windows. It was occupied by what appeared to be a white male. This car spent a little more time in the area and then cruised back toward the Texas School Book Depository. At the time of the shooting Bowers saw two men standing between his vantage point and the mouth of the triple underpass. This would seem to approximate the spot, which I described in part one as being the best shooting venue. We all know what Bowers described next: "At the time of the shooting, in the vicinity of where the two men I have described were, there was a flash of light or ... something I could not identify ... some unusual occurrence—a flash of light or smoke or something which caused me to feel that something out of the ordinary had occurred there." (ibid p. 77)

It is interesting—compelling actually—to couple this testimony with that of Sam Holland. In a 1966 interview that will live as long as people study this case, Josiah Thompson talked to Holland in Irving, Texas. He was reluctant to talk to Thompson. Why? Because as I mentioned in part one of this review—and what Gary Mack leaves out—many witnesses complained about what the FBI or Warren Commission did with their testimony. Holland is one of them. He told Thompson that the Commission "had not transcribed his testimony as he had given it." (Thompson, p. 83) So now, three years later, he told Thompson his whole story. While standing in Dealey Plaza, he acted out what he did on 11/22/63. And those photos are memorialized in Six Seconds in Dallas. To anyone looking at them, they become almost seared into one's sub-conscious. Holland told Thompson that he was originally standing on the overpass as he watched the motorcade come toward him. He then heard four shots, with the last two very close together. (ibid) Holland said the third shot sounded like it was from a different class of weapon than the others. Holland also said he saw a puff of smoke beneath some trees on the knoll area. (ibid, p. 121) Thompson then notes seven other witnesses who saw a puff of smoke in that area. (ibid) Three of these—Holland, James Simmons, and Richard Dodd—were so sure the shots came from over there that they ran off the overpass to an area behind the fence. When Holland got there, he could see scores of footprints in the soft ground behind a car. Looking at their pattern, it didn't make sense to him. Why? Because they were all concentrated in a very narrow area, like a lion pacing in a cage. (ibid, p. 122) To cap this fascinating story, Thompson noted another witness named J. C. Price. Price saw someone running from this area with something in his hand, which he said could have been a headpiece. (ibid p. 123) This reminds us of the driver of the car Bowers saw, holding what he thought was a phone or a mike.

Need more? A woman told Dallas Patrolman Joe Smith that the shots came from the bushes up on the knoll. Smith ran behind the fence and smelled gunpowder. While he was there he had his gun pulled. As he was replacing it a man in the area showed him Secret Service credentials. Yet, as Thompson notes, every Secret Service agent had gone to Parkland Hospital with the motorcade. (ibid, p. 125) So who was this guy?

Finally, as more than one author has noted e.g. Richard Mahoney, John Davis, and Lamar Waldron, there exists an FBI report which states that two police officers saw some men standing behind the wooden fence on the knoll on November 20th. The men were engaged in what appeared to be mock target practice. They were aiming what looked like a rifle over the fence. When the patrolmen made their way up the knoll, the men disappeared in a nearby parked car. The policemen thought little of this episode until after the assassination. They then reported it to the FBI. The Bureau made a report on this that is dated November 26th. Yet this report was never made part of the official FBI record of the assassination. And it was not declassified until 1978. (For a depiction of the episode, see Ultimate Sacrifice, p. 704).

Of course, this program notes the Warren Commission evidence for there being a sniper's perch on the sixth floor of the Depository e. g. the boxes and shells near the window. And, at first, the show implies it was Oswald at this post. Then later—when all semblance of objectivity has disappeared—it calls the shot from this position "Oswald's shot". Yet, further indicating its agenda, when it comes to the stockade fence on top of the knoll, the program mentions none of the above. Not Bowers, not Holland, not Smith, not Price, not the policemen. Not one word about any of it.

Because Gary Mack and the narrator are strangely mute about all the above, let us give voice to it. One obvious way to interpret it all is like this:


  1. Two days before the assassination, a hit team was testing out a firing point behind the fence.

  2. On the morning of the assassination, the team was transported behind the fence via a staggered three car caravan, leaving two men in place who were being communicated with by radio.

  3. This ended up being one of the firing points in Dealey Plaza as evidenced by gunshot sounds, a flash of light, and a puff of smoke.

  4. The hit team was furnished with fake official ID to protect themselves after the fact, because they knew their shot would attract witnesses to the area.

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