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Howard L. Brennan


John Simkin
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Howard L. Brennan was standing at the corner of Houston and Elm facing the Texas Book Depository in Dealey Plaza when JFK was assassinated. Brennan claims he saw Lee Harvey Oswald at the window of the 6th Floor.

Howard Brennan died in 1984. Three years later his account of the assassination, Eyewitness to History was published.

What do members make of Brennan?

Namebase entry for Howard Brennan:

http://www.namebase.org/xbra/Howard-Leslie-Brennan.html

Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (89-90)

Fonzi,G. The Last Investigation. 1993 (17)

Furiati,C. ZR Rifle. 1994 (104)

Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (25-6)

Scott,P.D... The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond. 1976 (20)

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Guest Stephen Turner

Brennan is very important to the Warren commision, Posner accounts simply because he is the only eyewitness to place LHO in the sixth floor window at the time of the assassination, and as such Posner goes to extraordinary lengths to protect his evidence. Of course to do this with any credibillity, other witness testimony must be ignored, downplayed or rubbished, I refer to Carolyn Arnold, Ruby Henderson, Arnold Rowland, and others, Who see two, or more men on the sixth floor, one of whom is dark complected. This, for me, destroy's Brennan's testimony. Add the fact that he failed to pick Oswald out at a police line up, later giving the excuse that he feared for his life if the Communists wre behind the assassination, and you are left with a testimony you could drive a bus through.

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Brennan is very important to the Warren commision, Posner accounts simply because he is the only eyewitness to place LHO in the sixth floor window at the time of the assassination, and as such Posner goes to extraordinary lengths to protect his evidence. Of course to do this with any credibillity, other witness testimony must be ignored, downplayed or rubbished, I refer to Carolyn Arnold, Ruby Henderson, Arnold Rowland, and others, Who see two, or more men on the sixth floor, one of whom is dark complected. This, for me, destroy's Brennan's testimony. Add the fact that he failed to pick Oswald out at a police line up, later giving the excuse that he feared for his life if the Communists wre behind the assassination, and you are left with a testimony you could drive a bus through.

I agree. He was the WC's star witness in DP.

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I don't doubt that Brennan, like Amos Euins, saw someone at the 6th floor window at the time of the shooting. The question is, who did he see. As I recall, even Chief Curry admitted that they could not place Oswald at the window. That tells us what Curry thought about Brennan's ID of Oswald. Also, Brennan's credibility is hardly enhanced by the statement in his book that God had blessed him with such great eyesight that he could read a license plate hundreds of yards away. Whatever you say, Howard.

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From an internet search:

http://www.jfk-fr.com/en/bio_113.php

Problems concerning his testimony:

1) Brian [sic] admitted that his sight was poor and he was not wearing glasses on November 22, 1963.

2) His name does not appear in the DPD register (for J.D. Tippit and John F. Kennedy's murders) of witnesses having formally recognized Oswald. Brennan declared he did not do so because he feared retaliation.

3) Though claiming he saw two people at a 5th-floor window of the TSBD, he was unable to recognize them when they were introduced to him, and to say at which window these two men were standing.

4) In the minutes following the assassination, Brennan was among those who told the press that they thought the shots came from behind the wooden fence on the Grassy Knoll.

In 1966, the Commission's counsellors publicly admitted that this testimony was highly debatable. The HSCA totally ignored Brennan while investigating.

Brennan can be seen in an exhibit in the Warren Report which shows where he claims he was sitting at the time of the motorade. He can also be seen in the Zapruder film, and I think Dorman? Not sure, but I thought it was pointed out by someone that there is a discrepancy between the locations of the exhibit, vs the films.

He also said that he believed that the shooter was standing, which would be impossible for the 6th floor windows. The window on the 6th floor, if the films and photos are to be believed, was only partially open. The windowsill of this window is very close to the floor. As per statements made concerning the box that Oswald allegedly used to support the rifle, allegedly positioned as part of the 'sniper's nest' - I would have a hard time believing Brennan could have seen the man from the waist up - or given the kind of description that he did.

Mr. BRENNAN. Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to this right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot.

When Helen Markham was requested to observe Ivan Vaganov, who was relucantly sitting in a car, out in front of her house - many years after the assassination, she took a good look and said, 'Naw!!! That ain't Oswald!' :plane

Brennan on Connally

I saw Governor John Connally reacting to being wounded and the instinctive response of his wife to try and help him. I remember thinking, “Oh my God! He’s going to kill them, he’s going to kill them all!”
Gov. Connally: I thought it was a rifle shot...I was trying to see if anything had happened in the automobile...it was a bit later when I said "Oh, no, no, no." This was after I realized I had been hit, and then I said "My God, they are going to kill us all."

There's some interesting stuff in Brennan's whole story. Found this intriguing for example:

Kennedy's double

“That’s perfectly O.K. I don’t think I’m going to sleep very much tonight anyway. Why don’t you come in and have a cup of coffee?” Lish came in and seemed more informal and friendly than I had remembered while at City Hall. “I thought we might get better acquainted and maybe answer some of your questions,” he said. As we started to pass pleasantries, another man stepped from the shadows on the porch where I had only seen his figure and moved into the light. Louise gave an audible gasp that all of us could hear and I felt a shock run through me. There standing in our little hallway was John F. Kennedy, alive again. At least that’s what I thought at that instant. The man standing there was the exact double of the late President in every detail. Had I not known that the President was dead, I would have staked my life that I was being visited by him. Every feature about him, his face, his hair, his build, even his clothes looked exactly like the President. It was as if a ghost had suddenly appeared. Even his voice sounded so much like Mr. Kennedy’s. My mind simply couldn’t absorb it all and Louise was struck dumb, her eyes wide open in amazement. Lish introduced the double as a fellow agent and apologized for not preparing us for this shocking experience. We all sat down at the kitchen table. Later I would learn that many American Presidents have had doubles, including President Roosevelt. All my life I had heard that there is someone, somewhere who looks exactly like you, but until that night I’d never known it for the truth. The agent told us some of his experiences doubling for the President. They were fascinating.

The Mystery Car

While surveying the area, I glanced away to the side of the Depository Building and found something I could not understand. At that time there was a side entrance towards the rear of the building on Houston Street. At some point during the morning hours, the police had sealed off parking in that block and forced all cars to move. Saw horses were placed at Elm and Houston to block traffic. As I looked around I saw a lone car parked beside the Book Depository with a while male seated behind the wheel. The car was an Oldsmobile, a 1955–57 model. It is difficult to tell the exact year unless one is an expert because all those years looked nearly alike. I remember wondering why all the other cars had been made to move and this one had not.
One thing that interested me about the car was the way it was parked. The left front wheel was pulled sharply away from the curb and the driver had the door partially open. Later I wondered if the reason for this was so the car could make a quick U-turn in a speedy departure. As I was watching the man in the car I saw a policeman who was on foot walk over towards the car and begin talking to the man in a friendly, laughing manner. So far as I could see, there was no attempt made to get the man to move his car and after chatting for a minute or so, the policeman walked back to his post. It was this fact that made me think the police should have made some report about the presence of the car, but I have never seen any other account of this “mystery car.”
Many times since, especially in recent years, I have thought about the car parked alongside the Texas Book Depository and wondered where it came from and where it went. I have always wondered why the policeman allowed the car to be parked illegally beside the building with its wheels turned outward when other cars had been made to vacate the area. Of course, the paramount question in my mind was, “Who was the man sitting behind the wheel that day?”

As I watched the car, it never occurred to me that an assassination was about to take place and this might be the “get-away” car. Even though I could not have positively identified the man behind the wheel, I can say this for certain. The man was white, middle-aged and dressed in civilian clothes. I didn’t have an opportunity to study his face, so identification is impossible but I have always felt that somehow he was involved in the assassination.

Later, I would remember, “if that was a ‘get-away’ car, why didn’t it wait to pick up the killer?” Was it possible that he was being left on purpose? These questions and others tormented me for years after that experience and will never be fully answered. The one thing I knew for certain—there was a car there before the assassination and it disappeared before the assassin had time to get out of the building.

[Authors Note: Howard did not report the presence of the car beside the Book depository Building initially because he did not make an association. Subsequent to that time he had already made a formal statement and probably realized that to insert this new item might cast some doubt on his testimony. He thus determined not to say anything he could not verify absolutely. In retrospect, he acknowledged he probably should have reported it, but he wanted to be sure his testimony would stand since it was critical.]

The Line-up

The officer walked over to me sticking out his hand to shake. He greeted me by name and I knew if he knew who I was and what my connection with the case was, then others must know. He asked me, “Does the second man from the left look most like the man you saw?” He was talking about Oswald and I knew what he wanted me to say.

I felt even more angry and betrayed. I hadn’t agreed to make an identification to the local authorities. I knew that there were ways my identity could become known though the leaks in the police department and I didn’t want any part of it. I knew that they had Oswald on enough charges that he wasn’t going anyplace. He had been charged with resisting arrest and carrying a firearm without a permit. There was overwhelming evidence that he had killed Officer Tippit and so my identification in that moment wasn’t absolutely necessary. If they needed me later, I knew I could identify him.

I said brusquely, “He looks like the man, but I can’t say for sure!” I needed some time to think. I turned to Mr. Lish, who had detected my resentment and said, “Let’s go back to the office. We have some talking to do.” As we went, I commented that the man in the lineup wasn’t dressed the same way the man in the window had been.

“We forgot to tell you that he changed his clothes immediately after leaving the Depository, Lish said. When we reached the office I responded angrily, “You promised me anonymity. You people haven’t kept your word.” Sorrels looked genuinely puzzled. “What do you mean?” “If this Detective knows who I am and what my connection with the assassination is, then it won’t be long before everybody finds out.” Sorrels tried to be reassuring, “We’ll do everything we can to protect your identity, Mr. Brennan, but this isn’t entirely our jurisdiction.” I wasn’t sure just what he meant, and said so. “There isn’t anything we could do about it,” Sorrels explained. “The law is clear that murder, even assassination, is a state offense and must be turned over to local officials for investigation and prosecution!”

So it was out and I had to deal with it. No matter how hard they might try, it was only a matter of time before people would find out that the unidentified witness whose description had helped catch Oswald was really Howard Brennan. Suddenly, I didn’t feel very good. I felt very vulnerable, exposed to naked light, and I didn’t like it one bit. I knew I was going to be sorry that I decided to become involved.

While we were talking, Captain Fritz came in and asked me, “Can you make a positive identification of any of those we showed you in the lineup?” Having felt betrayed in my quest for anonymity, I was in no mood to hurry the process of exposure. I said, “You already have your man on enough charges to hold him for a long time. I’m not going to make a positive identification at the moment. If and when the time comes and you need it or have to let him go, we’ll deal with it then.” I wasn’t saying, “Yes, Oswald is the man,” nor was I saying, “No, he isn’t the one.”

Read an excerpt from his whole story here, where the above quotes were taken from:

http://karws.gso.uri.edu/JFK/history/the_d...really_saw.html

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