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SFSU Professor Joseph McBride Finds a New Angle on the JFK Assassination

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Whodunit: SFSU Professor Joseph McBride Finds a New Angle on the JFK Assassination

By Casey Burchby Wednesday, Aug 28 2013



Noted film historian, critic, and journalist Joseph McBride has quietly maintained a parallel career for decades. While he was writing acclaimed biographies of Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, John Ford, and Frank Capra, while he worked as a columnist and critic for Daily Variety, and while he taught in the Department of Cinema at San Francisco State University, McBride dedicated a separate track of his life to researching the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Last month, McBride released the product of his decades-long effort, Into the Nightmare. The book documents his investigation and focuses on a little-understood piece of the assassination's puzzle: the murder of Dallas police Officer J. D. Tippit, who was purportedly (according to the Warren Commission) killed by Lee Harvey Oswald 46 minutes after Oswald shot the president. McBride's research has led him to believe that Oswald could not have shot Tippit, which by extension would tend to cast doubt upon the validity of the Warren Report's other conclusions.

"To confront the truth is very disturbing because that means you have to do something about it," McBride says. And, in writing the book, "I confronted the truth. It wasn't easy for me, because I lost my faith in the American system. But I felt that I've made a contribution as an individual by shedding light on parts of the story."

McBride frames the book as a memoir, recounting his experience working for and meeting Kennedy during the 1960 Wisconsin primary (McBride is a Milwaukee-area native). He also recalls the sense of promise Kennedy embodied as president, and the jarring trauma of his assassination.

In the book, McBride discusses the development of his early suspicions, which he traces to the day of the assassination. These were primarily incited by Oswald's calm, rational denials in his brief television appearances after his arrest, and by Oswald's live, televised murder by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters two days later. McBride is equally frank about the temporary satisfaction of his suspicions by the Warren Commission, which released its findings in September 1964. But shortly after the release of that report, McBride became aware of independent assassination researchers such as Sylvia Meagher (author of Accessories After the Fact) and Mark Lane (author of Rush to Judgment), whose books identify crucial errors and omissions in the Warren Report and examine the likelihood of a conspiracy behind the assassination. They, and others, inspired McBride to revisit the creeping doubts he felt the day Kennedy was killed.

McBride describes his approach to writing Into the Nightmare by quoting the influential assassination researcher Penn Jones, former editor of the small-town Texas paper the Midlothian Mirror, who advised others to "take one area of the case that has been neglected and research the hell out of it." The idea being that, whereas no one person could tell the entire story of a case so expansive, a person who focuses on one area may uncover something significant..

McBride began to research the assassination in earnest in the late 1970s, after the Church Committee (the nickname of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church) "revealed that our government had been involved in attempts to assassinate foreign leaders," he says. "This possibly validated criticisms of the Warren Report." In 1982, McBride began to focus on the murder of Officer Tippit — per Jones's suggestion, an area of the case that had been neglected.

"Oddly," says McBride, "there was very little in the Warren Report on [Tippit]. The report relied entirely on ballistics evidence to say that Oswald killed Tippit, because their main witness, Helen Markham, was very unreliable. If you study the bullets and cartridges [that were entered into evidence], they don't link to Oswald's gun. An FBI expert testified that he could not link the cartridges to Oswald's pistol."

In addition, Dallas policemen in the vicinity testified that the killer used an automatic weapon, whereas the Warren Commission said it was a revolver. (When Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theatre 40 minutes after Tippit's shooting, he was carrying a revolver.)

Beyond the ballistics evidence is a suspicious timeline. Oswald was seen at his rooming house at 1:04, and that was nearly a mile away from the site of Tippit's shooting. McBride places the time of the shooting at 1:09; his basis for this includes a wide range of references, including the testimony of T.F. Bowley, an eyewitness who arrived on the scene at 1:10.

"There's no way Oswald could have walked that distance in five minutes," says McBride. "It takes anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes."

In his research, McBride examined witness testimony, Tippit's background, and the officer's other activities that day, and found that the "official" circumstances of his murder are misleading. One of the most significant interviews McBride conducted was with Tippit's father, Edgar Lee, who had never been interviewed before. The elder Tippit provided McBride with one of the book's biggest revelations.

"Mr. Tippit told me that a Dallas police officer had gone to J. D.'s widow, Marie, and said J. D. and he had been sent to hunt down Oswald in the aftermath of the assassination — but that this second officer had not made it because he was in a traffic accident," McBride says. "I found evidence there was indeed a traffic accident nearby around the time of the shooting. The significance of this is manifold, because at the time, Oswald's identity, officially, was not known to the Dallas Police Department, which indicates that Tippit was part of a plot to frame or perhaps murder Oswald."

McBride acknowledges the fact that Americans seem to be of two minds about the Kennedy assassination. On one hand, polls routinely show that a majority of the nation believes there is more to the story than what the Warren Report has to say. But, on the other hand, there is a stigma attached to assassination researchers, who are often referred to as paranoid, obsessed, or "conspiracy buffs."

"The public, as Noam Chomsky likes to say, is smarter than the politicians and the media," he says. "Most of the people who are wedded to the lone gunman theory are government and media people. They can get very vicious and dismissive. I describe in the book that there was a CIA memo issued in the '60s about how to deal with skeptics — how to imply that they're crazy and they're in it for the money. All these tropes they've put out have been very effective. You keep hearing them all the time, and they do filter down to ordinary people."

As with any investigation, McBride encountered his fair share of blind alleys, red herrings, and frustrating gaps in available documentation.

"It was a difficult book to write, because you'd like it to be less time-consuming," McBride wryly notes. "This is a 50-year-old cold case. They say in criminology that most murders are solved within a few weeks or a month. After that, it's hard to prove things because witnesses scatter and die; evidence and leads get lost. There are some things we will never know, as much as we might try."

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Okay, Mr. Caddy, I take back everything I said about the material you post being trivial.

This is most amazing, the interview with Tippit's father. If what he says is true, this means there would have been two DPD members searching for LHO possibly before LHO was "discovered" missing by Roy Truly. I wonder how difficult it would be to track down which other officer was involved in the accident and to track down how that officer was dispatched.

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I've always wondered:

Oswald was arrested at 1:40pm, his arrest warrent states he is the murderer of President Kennedy and Officer Tippit.

Between 1:40pm and 11:26pm when he is finally and supposedly formally charged with JFK's murder (although there is quite a bit of confusion regarding his "in-and-out" of the cell at 1:30 am for his arraignment, 2 hours after booking)

The TIPPIT complaint is signed at 7:05 and he is arrainged at 7:10 for TIPPIT murder... Not a single question appears to have been asked about the TIPPIT case to this point...

Is there a single evidenciary question asked about the Tippit murder asked between 1:40pm and 1:30am? It does not appear they cared much about asking or accusing him of the Tippit murder...


I asked him if he viewed the parade and he said he

had not. I then asked him If he had shot the President and he said he had wt.

I asked him if he had shot Governor Connally and he said he had not. He did

not intend to answer further questions without counsel and that If he could not

get Abt, then he would hope that the Civil Liberties Union would give him an

attorney to represent him. At that point Captain Fritz terminated the interview

at about 11:30 A.M.. 1-23-63.


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Okay, Mr. Caddy, I take back everything I said about the material you post being trivial.

This is most amazing, the interview with Tippit's father. If what he says is true, this means there would have been two DPD members searching for LHO possibly before LHO was "discovered" missing by Roy Truly. I wonder how difficult it would be to track down which other officer was involved in the accident and to track down how that officer was dispatched.

Are we quite sure this 2nd DPD member was not NELSON in car 87 who decided to go to ELM/HOUSTON instead of where he was assigned?

Here are the only references to an accident occurring. West Davis and 5700 Live Oak are about 8 miles apart in very different areas of Dallas...

Stanglin ??

1:11 Dispatcher: Signal 7, 817 West Davis. 1:11 (Accident)

1:11 45 (Ptm. N.L. Stanglin): There's a minor accident in the 5700 block Live Oak. Do you want me to stay here or answer my call?

1:12 Dispatcher: 45, Signal 9, manager's office, 4916 Live Oak. 1:12. (Theft)

1:15 Dispatcher: Handle the accident. Disregard Live Oak. 1:15

Edited by David Josephs
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Hi David

Good to see you on this thread. I'm sure Mr. Caddy's release of this gem has sparked your interest, too. What a shame that the senior Mr. Tippit has likely passed away some time ago, as the interview with him by McBride would have been conducted thirty some years ago, although there is the slim chance he may still be alive. Any Dallas sleuths out there?

Good work in tracking down the patrolman attending the accident, but didn't the post say that the patrolman was IN an accident, not AT an accident?

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Did Oswald Shoot Officer Tippit?

There are many books and websites that cast doubts over whether Oswald could have killed Officer Tippit including excellent research by Michael T. Griffith

The Warren Report needed to prove that Oswald killed Tippit to support their claim that Oswald killed Kennedy. So the 'change-of-direction' theory was created. This theory states that when Oswald was walking down the street he noticed Tippit's police car coming in his direction and suddenly spun around and proceeded to walk in the opposite direction. This allegedly is what alerted Tippit who became suspicious and stopped him and was subsequently shot dead. But all initial sworn statements from the eyewitnesses failed to mention this change of direction.

All initial sworn statements to police and secret service suggest that Oswald was walking along in a normal manner towards the police car, and since there was only vague descriptions on Kennedy's assassin circulating at that time, and tens of thousands of people would have fitted that description in Dallas, Tippit had no reason to stop Oswald. Oswald did not change direction and was not acting suspiciously. So why stop him? There is evidence to suggest that Officer Tippit was looking for Oswald before anyone could have known Oswald was a suspect!

Three of the main eyewitnesses, William Scoggins, Mrs. Markham and Jack Tatum leave their statements open to challenge. Scoggins and Markham changed their statements for the Warren Commission to include a change-in-direction. Tatum gave his statement around 1977 and included an incident (the killer walked over to Tippit as he lay on the ground and shot him in the head) that no other witness had seen! So can any of these statements be trusted? In fact Mrs. Markham described the killer as being short and somewhat on the heavy side. Oswald is neither.

And other witnesses have stated amongst other things that two men were involved in the Tippit murder, that one gunman made his getaway in a car, that neither gunmen resembled Oswald, that the gunman's jacket was light coloured and that it was dark coloured.

According to Dallas Police, Oswald's wallet was found on his person after he was arrested at the theatre. And yet at the Tippit murder scene FBI agent Robert Barrett insisted that he was shown Oswald's wallet with both Oswald ID and Hidell ID cards, found at the scene by a policeman. He was asked if he knew either of these two men. And FBI agent James Hosty confirms that Barrett told him about finding Oswald's ID at the Tippit crime scene. So who planted 'Oswald's wallet' at this crime scene and why?

In fact it looks like Oswald could not even be at the Tippit crime scene at the time of the murder if he was at his lodgings at 1pm (which everyone agrees with). Oswald had about 12 minutes to walk from his lodgings to the Tippit crime scene - this posed a problem, since it was nine-tenths of a mile to that location, 10th and Patton. The Warren Commission concluded that it would take Oswald over 17 minutes to make this journey. No witness has ever come forward stating that they identified Oswald on this route at that time. Could Oswald have got a lift? Again nobody ever came forward with this information.

Tippit's actions that day were strange. He reported that he was at the (Good Luck Oil Company) Gloco gas station at 12:45pm. Why did it take the Dallas Police four months to find the instruction to Officer Tippit (and Officer Nelson) to go to the Central Oak Cliff area. There was no instruction in the first Dallas Police transcript of the police dispatch tape. There is evidence that the tape was altered! Tippit was sitting in his police car watching cars coming over Houston Street Viaduct. He was there for about 10 minutes according to at least five witnesses and then sped up the street for no apparent reason, police radio logs showed no instruction to move, or reason for him to speed away.

He proceeded to the Top Ten Record Store in West Jefferson Boulevard, where at 1pm he parked his police car and entered the shop in a hurry, asked people to step aside, and asked the shop worker Louis Cortinas if he could use the phone at the counter. He dialled a number, which rang 7-8 times but no one answered. He seemed upset. He hung up and drove away at high speed. He then stopped James Andrews by passing him out and cutting in front of him. He gets out of his police car, runs back to Andrew's car and looks between the front and back seats of Andrew's car. No words were spoken. Tippit then returns to his car and sped away. Andrews stated Tippit appeared very upset and agitated.


  • There are certainly doubts over why Tippit stopped Oswald (his killer?) initially
  • Could Oswald even be at the scene of Tippit's murder at the time of the shooting?
  • Why was a fake wallet planted?
  • Tippit's actions and behaviour that day were very unusual and never properly investigated by the Warren Commission. See Tippit's timeline for that day.

But then again, if Oswald didn't kill Tippit, why did he pull a gun and try to use it as the Dallas Police moved in to arrest him in the Dallas Theatre? Why did he say 'It's all over now' and/or 'this is it'. Is this not incriminating himself. If he was innocent surely he would react differently. Do we know for sure if these statements he made are accurate quotes?

Source of document.


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I found the records of Edgar Lee Tippit, the father of J.D. Tippit. He was born in 1902 and passed away in 2006 at the age of 104. By all accounts, he was "sharp as a tack" in his later years and he attended, along with Dale K. Myers, the dedication of a monument to his slain son in 2001 just outside the town of Clarksville, Texas. He was 99 at the time of the dedication.

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Yes Robert... I believe he says "IN" an accident.... yet the only other DPD sent to OAK CLIFF was Nelson... and he had disobeyed the order and returned to ELM/HOUSTON without a words notice.

He is then ordered to 4340 W. Davis Street at 1:19, yet there are already a number of DPD cars in the OAK CLIFF area... and 4340 is EAST, as far east ast anyone seems to be going that day...

So WHY send him from ELM/Houston all the way out there unless Dispatch does not hear where he is and sends him anyway??

1:11 Dispatcher Signal 7, 817 West Davis. 1:11 (Accident) 1:11 91 (Ptm. W.D. Mentzel and Ptm. J.W. Courson) 817 West Davis?

This accident is 4 miles WEST of 4340 on W. Davis... and now we add Mentzel and Courson to the list.



  • There are certainly doubts over why Tippit stopped Oswald (his killer?) initially
  • Could Oswald even be at the scene of Tippit's murder at the time of the shooting?
  • Why was a fake wallet planted?
  • Tippit's actions and behaviour that day were very unusual and never properly investigated by the Warren Commission. See Tippit's timeline for that day.

1 - Unless OSWALD was indeed LEE and not HARVEY... since LEE, Ruby and Tippit were known to have been together... having LEE take care of Tippit (one of the few who was aware of H&L)

and lead the chase to the Texas Theater makes a lot of sense. IMO LEE is walking back from Ruby's place and down a street that TIPPIT had been seen many times before for some reason.

While Markham claims this person walked across PATTON going EAST in the same direction as the police car that soon followed... Scoogins on the other hand sees the police car and then sees it stop by someone heading WEST on 10th.

Is it really probable that Scoggins misses seeing OSWALD walk right past his car just seconds before Tippit arrives from the EAST??

Mr. SCOGGINS. Well, I first seen the police car cruising east.
Mr. BELIN. About how fast was it cruising?
Mr. SCOGGINS. Not more than 10 or 12 miles a hour, I would say.
Mr. BELIN. It was going east on what street?
Mr. SCOGGINS. On Tenth.
Mr. BELIN. All right. Did you see the police car go across right in front of yours?
Mr. SCOGGINS. Yes; he went right down the street. He come from the west, going east On east Tenth.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you see?
Mr. SCOGGINS. I noticed he stopped down there, and I wasn't paying too much attention to the man, you see, just used to see him every day, but then I kind of looked down the street, saw this, someone, that looked to me like he was going west, now, I couldn't exactly say whether he was going west or was in the process of turning around, but he was facing west when I saw him

So Scoggins tells us he sees TIPPIT every day... interesting. do we have any more info about Scoggins' familiarity with Tippit and that particular area...? Maybe the Gentleman's Club ??

2 - No, IMO HARVEY was taken to the Theater by the same car that honked and was at the theater before 1:10. HARVEY proceeds to move from seat to seat apparently in search of someone.

3 - WESTBROOK - if the analysis is correct - MUST have the wallet with him when he arrives at the scene... Not a soul sees this wallet next to Tippit while he's there or after he is taken away... this realization is terribly important.... it establishes fore knowledge of Oswald, the need to connect Hidell with Oswald with Tippit with the rifle.... (not a single question is asked of Oswald about the Tippit killing other than "did you do it?"

WHY is he even walking there given the information in reports by both Kelley and Fritz about OSWALD claiming to have taken a BUS to his ROOM and a BUS to the THEATER...

Does the following interrogation notes not just SCREAM set-up after the fact? Fritz is literally quoting Oswald - in order to establish that his story changed.... Kelly corroborates as expected. yet are we seeing a problem here with the times and date that needs correcting...

Bookout's report (CE1988) also states that OSWALD said he took a bus to his residence... and remember the cabby's name mix-up at the start...

Whaley's testimony is completely full of it... He tells us 15 times in his first appearance that he went to NECHES and N. BECKLEY.. (Which does not exist) and that he let his fare out at 500 N. Beckley

Mr. WHALEY. No, sir; that is not what I said, but that is the reason I didn't call one at the time and I asked him where he wanted to go. And he said, "500 North Beckley."
Well, I started up, I started to that address, and the police cars, the sirens was going, running crisscrossing everywhere, just a big uproar in that end of town and I said, "What the hell. I wonder what the hell is the uproar?"
And he never said anything. So I figured he was one of these people that don't like to talk so I never said any more to him.
But when I got pretty close to 500 block at Neches and North Beckley which is the 500 block, he said, "This will do fine," and I pulled over to the curb right there. He gave me a dollar bill, the trip was 95 cents. He gave me a dollar bill and didn't say anything, just got out and closed the door and walked around the front of the cab over to the other side of the street. Of course, traffic was moving through there and I put it in gear and moved on, that is the last I saw of him.
Mr. BALL. When you parked your car you parked on what street?
Mr. WHALEY. I wasn't parked, I was pulled to the curb on Neches and North Beckley.
Mr. BALL. Neches, corner of Neches and North Beckley?
Mr. WHALEY. Which is the 500 block.

Mr. BELIN. I will try to refresh your memory here. When did you come to Washington, approximately?
Mr. WHALEY. Well, it's been about 2 or 3 weeks ago, sir. I don't remember the exact date.
Mr. BELIN. You testified before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy in Washington, did you not?
Mr. WHALEY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. "Traveled Zangs to Beckley and turned left and traveled on Beckley until I reached the 500 block of North Beckley. When I got in the 500 block of North Beckley he said this will do and I stopped."
Now is that what you told them on that day?
Mr. WHALEY. Yes, sir; that is what I told them on that day
Mr. BELIN. Well, was that the fact that you drove until you reached the 500 block, or not?
Mr. WHALEY. No, sir, I didn't drive until I reached the 500 block. I drove until I reached Beckley and Neely. If you would be in my place when they took me down there, when they had to force their way through the reporters to get me in the office, they wrote that up, and I signed it, because I told them that the man said he wanted to go to the 500 block of North Beckley.
Mr. BELIN. All right. Now in here it says, "The No. 3 man who I now know is Lee Harvey Oswald was the man who I carried from the Greyhound Bus Station* * *"
Was this the No. 3 or the No. 2 man?
Mr. WHALEY. I signed that statement before they carried me down to see the lineup. I signed this statement, and then they carried me down to the lineup at 2:30 in the afternoon.


While Tippit's actions that day are indeed peculiar and important... I believe what he did in the 2-3 weeks prior is even more important in establishing the connections.

I also believe that Roberts is not truthful when describing his being in a jacket when he leaves after changing his clothes... Repeatedly we have the interrogation notes talk about the changing of his clothes but NEVER is there mention of his wearing a jacket, or the discarding of said jacket....

Which, in turn, leads us back to WESTBROOK who is credited with finding the Jacket... yet cannot remember the name of the officer who pointed the jacket out to him, nor do his initials appear on the jacket....

Westbrook (Hill and Sawyer) are seemingly ALWAYS in the right places at the right time to find evidence to incriminate Oswald....

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I think Westbrook and Hill are the key figures that - if fully researched - would become compelling evidence for the plot and planners. They are indeed controlling evidence and witnesses, and incriminating Harvey at every step of the way in the 90 minutes following the assassination. That includes at the TSBD, the Tippit murder scene, the Texas Theatre and later during Oswald's so-called interrogation and arraignment. If there were one or two people I could bring back and subject to truth protocols, these two officers are the ones.


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