JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY
35th President of the United States
b. May 29 1917, Brookline MA
d. November 22 1963, Dallas TX
Bill Mauldin’s November 1963 Post-Assassination Tribute to JFK
I’ll admit it: I find it difficult to watch the fury of JFK assassination-focused “news” reports and reflections on this, the fiftieth anniversary of that horrific event — a coup d’etat, in the words of former New Orleans DA Jim Garrison. I’ve also found it equally difficult to read the nonsense most portray as fact. Oswald did it, dontcha know. He was a commie. He acted alone. Conspiracy? Coup? Crazy talk. Here’s good example of the nonsense, courtesy of CNN’s Larry Sabato:
“After Oswald’s first bullet missed the car entirely, the so-called ‘magic bullet’ that struck JFK in the back was perfectly aligned to do substantial damage to Connally’s body. And the final bullet that hit JFK in the head came from up and behind him, not the front. There is a reasonable physiological explanation for the actions of the president’s body in the car once his skull was blown apart.” (underline added)
Sabato repeated a pair of myths that are intrinsic to the assassination coverup when he mentioned the “magic bullet” and the thesis that the fatal head shot came from above and behind — both, as will be shown below, verifiable nonsense.
On the brighter side, however, I’ve found that even within the never ending melange of faux-journalism it’s still occasionally possible to stumble upon a different voice, a reasoned voice that speaks of fact and does not simply regurgitate the old misleading and biased opinions. It was just a week ago, in fact, that I happened to run across an article by Mark Groubert on Crooks and Liars entitled Book Reviews: ‘Destiny Betrayed’ and ‘Reclaiming Parkland’. Groubert’s review of Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (Second Edition) by James DiEugenio captured my attention to the point where I immediately ordered a copy; it arrived a day or two ago and as of right now I’ve only been able to give it a cursory skim, but so far so good. That same C&L page also offered a link to DiEugenio’s web site, one named Citizens for Truth about the Kennedy Assassination. Once there I explored a link to one of DiEugenio’s refutations of what he considers to be errant opinion in re the Kennedy assassination. In it, he wrote his summation:
“The idea that JFK was killed as a result of a high level plot is not a theory. It is a provable fact. End of story. It was the Warren Commission that was one giant theory. And it was made up for political expediency by men who were well versed in subterfuge i.e. Allen Dulles, John McCloy, Gerald Ford and J. Edgar Hoover. And when one examines today what these men did, it seems even worse now than it did then.”
On November 19, another article by DiEugenio was posted on Consortium News.com entitled Where New JFK Evidence Points. It is here that DiEugenio points out that
“many influential people – from officials involved in the original investigation defending their judgments to a later generation of authors burnishing their reputations for probity – have fought fiercely to defend the Oswald-acted-alone narrative. They have done so despite nagging evidentiary problems, such as the “magic bullet theory,” which attributed the multiple wounds to Kennedy’s neck and Texas Gov. John Connally’s chest, wrist and thigh to a single bullet found almost unscathed on a gurney at Parkland Hospital, and those troubling images from the Zapruder film showing Kennedy’s head being knocked backward by the fatal shot, although Oswald was behind him at the Texas Bookstore Depository.”
In re the so-called “magic bullet” DiEugenio writes, in a segment titled “The Autopsy Mystery”
“one of the myths circulated by the Warren Commission was that they did not have the actual autopsy exhibits . . . a pretense exposed by the declassification of the Commission’s Jan. 21, 1964 executive session hearing. In that transcript, Commissioner John McCloy asked Chief Counsel Lee Rankin if they had the raw materials of the autopsy, and Rankin replied that they did.
“In a transcript from the next session on Jan. 27, Rankin talked about actually seeing an autopsy picture and wondering how the bullet could exit Kennedy’s throat from an entrance point that low in the back. Rankin’s puzzlement about the back wound segues neatly into one piece of information that the ARRB [Assassination Records Review Board] did manage to get into the mainstream U.S. media, namely that Commissioner Gerald Ford changed the draft of the Warren Report to move the location of this back wound that so puzzled Rankin up into Kennedy’s neck.” (underline added)
So much for the “magic bullet” theory. One can only wonder why Gerald Ford wasn’t severely reprimanded by the Warren Commission for tampering with the evidence. Or maybe, since Ford’s modification of the entry wound made it at least possible to blame the shot on Oswald the Commission went along?
Finally, there’s the fatal head shot. DiEugenio notes that further ‘nagging evidenciary problems’ are
“those troubling images from the Zapruder film showing Kennedy’s head being knocked backward by the fatal shot, although Oswald was behind him at the Texas Bookstore Depository.”
Below is another photograph, a Polaroid snapped by civilian bystander Mary Ann Moorman at the exact moment of the fatal head shot. Moorman was on the opposite side of the road from Abraham Zapruder when the limousine passed her, so in the background is the ‘grassy knoll’. The Texas School Book Depository is to the rear of the car, to her right; the bullet entered Kennedy’s right forehead, then blew out the back of his head. As Moorman notes, “I saw his hair jump. But it wasn’t just his hair, it was part of his head.”
So: Why the steady dismissal of the obvious in favor of a thesis that fails on multiple fronts?
Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty (1917-2001) — Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President John F. Kennedy — spoke of large numbers of incriminating inconsistencies including “FBI skullduggery” in his book JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy. He noted that J. Edgar Hoover, in a memorandum dated November 29, 1963 wrote of a discussion he’d had on that date with President Lyndon Johnson. Included was this:
“The President . . . indicated our conclusions are:
1. He [Oswald] is the one who did it;
2. After the President was hit, Governor Connally was hit;
3. The President would have been hit three times except for the fact that Governor Connally turned after the first shot and was hit by the second. . . .”
Prouty notes that the content of that memorandum, written just one week following the assassination, essentially “throws out the validity of the Warren Report” He adds that “ample evidence proves beyond the slightest doubt that neither the Warren Report nor even this Hoover memorandum was correct. The stories are equally invalid. Both were contrived.”
Prouty also points out that he was in Christchurch New Zealand on the day that Kennedy was shot. He notes that on New Zealand time, “the Kennedy assassination took place at seven-thirty on the morning of Saturday, November 23, 1963.” The news of the assassination soon appeared in an Extra edition of the Christchurch Star which hit the newstands before noon on the 23rd. Prouty notes that
“almost one-quarter of that front page in Christchurch was taken up with detailed news items about Lee Harvey Oswald. [The article also included] an excellent photograph of Oswald in a business suit and tie . . . on page 3. This odd photograph appeared in no other files.
“At the time this edition of the Star went to press, the police of Dallas had just taken a young man into custody and had charged him with the death of . . . J.D. Tippit. They had not accused Oswald of the murder of the President and did not charge him with that crime until early the next morning. . . .
“By what process could the wire services have acquired, collated, evaluated, written, and then transmitted all that material about an unknown young man . . . even before the police had charged him? . . .
“There can be but one answer: those in charge of the murder had prepared the patsy and all of that intimate information beforehand.”
Yet to this day the popular attitude persists that the Warren Report was accurate, that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole shooter, and there was no conspiracy, no subterfuge of any kind involved. So now, fifty years have passed and the truth is still buried. Somewhere. Will it ever become known exactly who was really behind the assassination, who carried it out, and WHY? I’m not prepared to hold my breath in anticipation, but one can always hope, I guess.
Frame 320 of the Zapruder film, approximately 1/3 of a second after the fatal shot entered JFK’s forehead.