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A BRIEF LOOK AT EVIDENCE OF CONSPIRACY IN THE JFK ASSASSSINATION

Michael T. Griffith

2001

@All Rights Reserved

Revised and Expanded on 4/28/2001

1. There is ample evidence that it is highly unlikely that any one man, especially Lee Harvey Oswald, fired all the shots in the assassination. The results of the rifle tests conducted by the Warren Commission (WC), by CBS, and by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) make it indisputably clear that the alleged shooting feat would have been extremely difficult even for an accomplished marksman. Not one of the riflemen in those tests was able to go 2 for 3 against a target area the size of Kennedy's upper back and head on the first attempt.

The WC's rifle test is especially revealing. Three Master-rated riflemen took part. They fired at stationary--yes, stationary--target boards from a 30-foot tower. They missed the head and neck area of the target boards 17 out of 18 times, even though two of them took more than 6 seconds to fire, and even though one of those two shooters took 8.25 seconds to fire. Additionally, many of their misses were far apart on the target board. In the CBS rifle test, which was somewhat more realistic than the WC's test, not one of the eleven expert riflemen was able to go 2 for 3 on his first attempt, and seven of them were unable to do so on ANY attempt.

WC staffer Wesley Liebeler warned the Commission in an internal memorandum that critical people would never take the Commission's claims about Oswald's marksmanship seriously. Oswald was at best a mediocre marksman. The very best he did in the Marines was to barely qualify in the middle of three rifle qualification categories, even though he was firing at stationary targets with a semiautomatic rifle. Col. A. G. Folsom noted during his WC testimony that Oswald's score book indicated Oswald was lucky just to have barely qualified in the middle qualification category. Dozens of Oswald's former Marine colleagues later said Oswald was a rather poor shot. Russians who saw Oswald shoot in the Soviet Union said the same thing.

The lone-gunman shooting scenario now requires that the supposed single assassin completely missed, not just Kennedy, but the entire huge presidential limousine with his first and closest shot. This is the only way to expand the alleged lone gunman's firing tie to over 8 seconds, since there is now wide agreement that a shot was fired before the limousine passed beneath the oak tree. I can't imagine how even a mediocre rifleman could have missed the entire limousine from less than 140 feet away and from 60 feet up. Even the WC labeled the first-shot-miss scenario an "improbability." The limousine would have presented a target that was over 120 square feet in size. Can anyone fathom completely missing a target that size from less than 140 feet away, especially on the first and closest shot?

2. There is evidence that more than three shots were fired during the shooting. The lone-gunman scenario requires that only three shots were fired. I view as credible the several reports of extra bullets and/or fragments striking in Dealey Plaza, as I explain in my JFK web page article "Extra Bullets and Missed Shots in Dealey Plaza." Lone-gunman theorists must simply dismiss all of these accounts of extra bullets or fragments as "mistaken." Do these extra shots mean there had to be a veritable crowd firing at Kennedy, as some lone-gunman theorists suggest? Not at all. If there were three gunmen, and if two of them fired from a level position or from a relatively low elevation or from the County Records Building, they could have barely missed Kennedy's head, by just an inch or two, and the errant bullets would have sailed beyond the limousine and struck in Dealey Plaza.

A few years ago it came to light that a fourth bullet shell was found in Dealey Plaza and that it was placed in a marked FBI evidence envelope. The FBI suppressed the existence of this fourth shell. Several witnesses reported hearing 4 or more shots.

The Zapruder film clearly seems to show six separate episodes of reactions to gunfire. In other words, the Zapruder film shows that at least six shots were fired. I discuss this in the article "Reactions to Six Shots in the Zapruder Film" on my JFK web page.

I also view as credible the accounts of the dozens of witnesses who reported hearing gunfire coming from an area known as the grassy knoll, which was to the right front of the limousine during the shooting. Several witnesses saw a puff of smoke rise from the spot from which the gunfire seemed to be coming. Many rifles of that day emitted visible puffs of smoke. Some of the witnesses insisted they were positive shots were fired from the grassy knoll.

I am now inclined to accept the basic findings of the HSCA's acoustical experts, who concluded that a Dallas police dictabelt recording was made in Dealey Plaza during the assassination and that it contained impulses caused by four gunshots. Initially I rejected the Committee's acoustical findings. But the more I've studied the subject, the more I have begun to lean toward viewing the acoustical evidence as credible. The HSCA's acoustical experts also concluded, to a 95-percent degree of certainty, that one of the gunshot impulses on the dictabelt recording came from the grassy knoll.

3. The wounding of James Tague is evidence there were at least four shots fired. I don't believe the lone-gunman theory can explain the wounding of James Tague and the Tague curb mark. I discuss this in my JFK web page article "The Wounding of James Tague." I believe Tague was correct when he said he thought the fragment that struck him came from a shot that was fired after a shot had already been fired.

4. The Joseph Milteer tape, the Rose Cheramie incident, and Homer S. Echevarria's statement to a police informant prove certain people in ultra-right-wing and intelligence-connected circles knew Kennedy was going to be killed in the near future. I discuss these matters in my JFK web page article "Just the Facts."

5. It now seems clear that Oswald was being impersonated--both in Mexico City and in Dallas. I think the evidence of this is undeniable when judged by any logical, reasonable standard. These impersonations were designed to lay a trail of incriminating evidence against Oswald. I find it incredible that the CIA was never able to produce a single photograph showing the real Oswald entering or leaving the Soviet Embassy or the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City. Two good treatments of this subject can be found in Gaeton Fonzi's book THE LAST INVESTIGATION (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993) and in Anthony Summers' book NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME (New York: Marlowe and Company, 1998).

6. The 6.5 mm object on the outer table of the skull on the anterior-posterior (AP) autopsy x-ray of Kennedy's skull did not and could not have come from the kind of ammunition that Oswald allegedly used. That is, it could not have come from a fully jacketed bullet. The most likely explanation is that it was a ricochet fragment that came from a bullet that struck the pavement behind the limousine during the first second or two of the shooting.

There is no credible alternative explanation. The "acid drop" theory won't work because, for one thing, FBI agents James Sibert and Francis O'Neill noted in their report on the autopsy that there was a metal fragment in the back of Kennedy's skull.

Dr. David Mantik, a radiation oncologist with a doctorate in physics, studied the autopsy x-rays and discovered that the 6.5 mm object is a ghosted image that includes a genuine, smaller metal fragment. This fragment is the second largest fragment on the x-rays. This explains why Sibert and O'Neill said the back-of-head fragment was the second largest fragment. Dr. Mantik's findings and the fact that the back-of-head fragment didn't come from Oswald's ammunition prove the autopsy x-rays have been altered.

7. There is evidence the autopsy evidence has been tampered with. I've already mentioned the implications of the 6.5 mm object on the AP x-ray. Additionally, the back-of-the-head autopsy photos cannot be genuine. There was a large defect in the right occipital-parietal region of Kennedy's head, i.e., in the right rear part of his head. This defect does not appear in any of the extant autopsy photographs. The evidence of the right-rear defect is powerful. I discuss some of this evidence in two articles on my JFK web page, "The Large Wound in the Back of President Kennedy's Head" and "The Head Shot from the Front."

Another indication of fraud in the autopsy materials is the fact that the triangular skull fragment is clearly and only frontal bone. Dr. Lawrence Angel, the HSCA's hired expert in the identification of skull bone, identified the triangular fragment as being frontal bone, and Dr. Joseph Riley, a neuroanatomist, has noted that the features of the fragment clearly prove it is exclusively frontal bone. However, no corresponding frontal defect appears in the autopsy x-rays or photographs. So either the fragment did not come from Kennedy's skull or the autopsy skull x-rays and photos are not genuine.

8. I believe the single-bullet theory has been convincingly proven to be impossible. I have yet to see an even halfway credible response to Dr. Mantik's finding that no bullet could have gone from the back wound to the throat wound without smashing through the spine. Dr. John Nichols, a professor of forensic pathology at the University of Kansas, reached the same conclusion years before Dr. Mantik was allowed to study the autopsy materials at the National Archives. The WC's own wound ballistics tests discredited the single-bullet theory. The scientist who directed those tests, Dr. Joseph Dolce, later acknowledged this in a filmed interview. I discuss some of the problems with the single-bullet theory in my JFK web page article "Ten Reasons I Reject the Single-Bullet Theory." Without the single-bullet theory there can be no lone-gunman scenario.

9. There is evidence that a shot struck Kennedy in the front of the skull, in the area of the right temple. This bullet exited the back of the skull, creating the large right-rear defect that was seen by dozens of witnesses, to include doctors, nurses, and federal agents. I discuss some of the evidence of a frontal shot in my JFK web page article "The Head Shot from the Front." The autopsy x-rays and photos actually contain evidence of a frontal shot, though this evidence went unnoticed for many years. Historian Michael Kurtz points this out in his analysis of the autopsy materials and the HSCA testimony of wound ballistics expert Dr. Larry Sturdivan:

Sturvidan also stated that Kennedy was not struck in the front of the head by an exploding bullet fired from the grassy knoll. The reason, Sturdivan declared, was that the computer-enhanced x-rays of Kennedy's skull do not depict "a cloud of metallic fragments very near the entrance wound." In cases where exploding bullets impact, he asserted that "you would definitely have seen" such a cloud of fragments in the x-ray. Sturdivan's remarks betrayed both his own ignorance of the medical evidence and the committee's careful manipulation of that evidence. Sturdivan saw only the computer-enhanced x-ray of the skull, not the original, unretouched x-rays. Had he seen the originals, he would have observed a cloud of metallic fragments clustered in the right front portion of the head. Furthermore, the close-up photograph of the margins of the large wound in the head shows numerous small fragments. The Forensic Pathology Panel itself noted the presence of "missile dust" near the wound in the front of the head. One of the expert radiologists who examined the x-rays noticed "a linear alignment of tiny metallic fragments" located in the "posterior aspect of the right frontal bone." The chief autopsy pathologist, Dr. James J. Humes, remarked about the numerous metallic fragments like grains of sand scattered near the front head wound. The medical evidence, then, definitely proves the existence of a cloud of fragments in the right front portion of Kennedy's head, convincing evidence, according to Sturdivan, that an exploding bullet actually did strike the president there. (CRIME OF THE CENTURY, Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1982, pp. 177-178)

10. The facts concerning Jack Ruby and his killing of Oswald are key indicators of a conspiracy. Clearly, Jack Ruby had considerable Mafia ties. (Given the wealth of evidence on this point, it is amazing that lone-gunman theorists continue to deny Ruby's considerable Mafia connections.) Shortly after Kennedy's visit to Dallas was announced, Ruby began making numerous long-distance calls to Mafia contacts all over the country, and he was visited by a Mafia contact whom he had not seen in years. Also, the evidence strongly indicates Ruby lied about how he entered the basement of the Dallas Police Department (where he shot Oswald), and that his killing of Oswald was not, as he later claimed, an impulsive act. Ruby later admitted he lied when he said he shot Oswald because he wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy from having to testify at Oswald's trial. Shortly before he died, Ruby also said a conspiracy was involved and that the people who were behind it were powerful enough to keep the truth about his situation from coming out. Ruby's polygraph test suggests he lied when he denied he was involved in the assassination.

11. Most researchers are convinced Oswald associated with David Ferrie, Guy Banister, and Clay Shaw. I think the evidence of a Oswald-Ferrie-Banister link is persuasive. I believe Ferrie's unusual late-night trip to Houston on the evening of the shooting and his trip to Galveston the next day were related to the assassination. When Ferrie got to Houston, he went to an ice staking rink. But instead of skating, he spent his time at a pay phone, making and receiving calls. He then left for Galveston. Ferrie arrived in Galveston just before Jack Ruby's friend from Dallas, Breck Wall, arrived there. About two hours later, Wall received a call, in Galveston, from none other than Ruby himself.

Additionally, I don't think New Orleans attorney Dean Andrews was "mistaken" when he initially said a wealthy client named "Clay Bertrand" (i.e., Clay Shaw) called him soon after the assassination and asked him to see about providing legal assistance to Oswald.

12. Alpha 66 leader Antonio Veciana reported he saw Oswald meeting in Dallas with a CIA officer using the name of "Maurice Bishop" a few months before the assassination. There is evidence Oswald was not in New Orleans during the time frame in which Veciana said the meeting occurred. The HSCA found evidence that someone using the name "Maurice Bishop" did exist in the CIA. Investigative journalist Anthony Summers discovered a witness "who had acted as cutout" between Veciana and Bishop (NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME, p. 251). Adds Summers,

The Committee also established that, although the record was sparse, the CIA did have contact with Veciana in the early sixties. Army Intelligence, too, had an "operational interest" because of Veciana's role with Alpha 66. The CIA denied, though, having appointed a case officer to Veciana--a denial the Committee found difficult to accept because he was the dominant figure in a major exile organization. (NOT IN YOUR LIFETIME, pp. 251-252)

The HSCA investigator who handled the Veciana case, Gaeton Fonzi, is certain Veciana's story is true. He is equally certain the mysterious Maurice Bishop was really CIA officer David Atlee Phillips. When Phillips was questioned by the HSCA, he provided suspicious, unbelievable answers. For example, Phillips denied he had ever heard of Veciana. This was obviously false. Phillips was closely associated with the anti-Castro Cuban exile movement, and Veciana was the founder and leader of a major anti-Castro group, Alpha 66. Even the HSCA couldn't buy Phillips' denial.

For more information on Veciana's account, I would refer the reader to Noel Twyman's book BLOODY TREASON (Rancho Santa Fe, California: Laurel Publishing, 1997), pp. 349-357.

There are many more reasons I believe Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy. These are just twelve of them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael T. Griffith holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College in Albany, New York, and two Associate in Applied Science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force. He is a two-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, in Arabic and Hebrew. He is also a two-time graduate of the U.S. Air Force Technical Training School in San Angelo, Texas, and holds an Occupational Instructor Certificate from the Community College of the Air Force. He is the author of the book Compelling Evidence: A New Look at the Assassination of President Kennedy (Grand Prairie, TX: JFK-Lancer Productions and Publications, 1996). His articles on the assassination have appeared in several journals that deal with the case. In addition, he is the author of four books on Mormonism and ancient texts.

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