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The Umbrella Man

Duke Lane

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I was looking at Robin Unger's photo gallery and I saw a good frame of "construction worker man" as the motorcade passed him (near DCM/UM)...

He appears to be giving Kennedy the full, two armed "finger" with both elbows up and one forward.

We have discussed his unusual posture elsewhere, and what I see is an emphatic gesture of contempt, you know "stick it up your @$&" which really ties him to Umbrella Man, who was supposedly making a point about appeasement and Neville Chamberlain with his prominent (signal) umbrella......

I happen to be reading a book unrelated to the assassination - Peter Wyden, Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story, Simon & Schuster, 1979 - apparently one of the first (if not the first) in-depth analysis of the "fiasco" (a generous description, given what Wyden describes) and my attention was drawn to the repeated mentions of - and emphasis on - an "umbrella" of air protection covering the Brigade, with or without the Brigade's own B-26 air cover.

Immediately prior, I read through the LaFontaine's Oswald Talked, which postulates involvement of the "betrayed" Brigade Cubans (probably as much or more by the Dallas mayor's brother than the President), and as I read the passages in BOP, the thought suddenly struck me: whoever came up with the "Neville Chamberlain" idea?

No, I would say that if indeed TUM was trying to make any kind of a statement (besides "bang, you're dead!"), it had nothing to do with Chamberlain, but rather a reference to the "umbrella" of air protection that never materialized over the BOP.

The location of TUM - and the complexion of his companion - better suggest a case of "in case you're wondering in the next few seconds what's happening and why, here's your answer." It would - in theory at least, if he had ever heard the term or indeed if he had any idea of what had been promised to the Brigade by the men on the ground with them prior - mean more to Kennedy in that respect than any vague reference to Neville Chamberlain ever would.

Unless, of course, it really was just Louie Steven Witt making sure all the rain had dried off his raingear.

In any case, BOP does make interesting reading, and I recommend it to anyone interested in that aspect of history: if you ever wondered why "fiasco" got attached to it so firmly, you won't wonder anymore after reading this!

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