Judyth Vary Baker presents a fine book review by Prof. Edward Curtain -- of the groundbreaking book by James Douglass: JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE: WHY HE DIED AND WHY IT MATTERS. Waking up America to how she is being deceived and destroyed today begins with this book. Proving that Oswald was framed, and providing evidence as to how America was lied to and how Unspeakable forces have come to rule a once-free nation, now burdened with greed, corruption, cruel police and an alarmingly sleepy population of sheeple who just roll over and 'take it' -- this review should impel everyone to buy Douglass' extraordinary book,and to start a ground-roots revlution for a better America and a better world.
The key is learning that Oswald was framed--and understanding that JFK was murdered by our own government...
Visit http://www.judythvarybaker.com on how to help spread the word. Read the review--and send it to others!
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
Review of James Douglass' Book
by Prof. Edward Curtin
Global Research, November 25, 2009
Despite a treasure-trove of new information having emerged over the last forty-six years, there are many people who still think who killed President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and why are unanswerable questions. There are others who cling to the Lee Harvey Oswald “lone-nut” explanation proffered by the Warren Commission. Both groups agree, however, that whatever the truth, it has no contemporary relevance but is old-hat, history, stuff for conspiracy-obsessed people with nothing better to do. The general thinking is that the assassination occurred almost a half-century ago, so let’s move on.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as James Douglass shows in his extraordinary book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008). It is clearly one of the best books ever written on the Kennedy assassination and deserves a vast readership. It is bound to roil the waters of complacency that have submerged the truth of this key event in modern American history.
It’s not often that the intersection of history and contemporary events pose such a startling and chilling lesson as does the contemplation of the murder of JFK on November 22, 1963 juxtaposed with the situations faced by President Obama today. So far, at least, Obama’s behavior has mirrored Johnson’s, not Kennedy’s, as he has escalated the war in Afghanistan by 34,000. One can’t but help think that the thought of JFK’s fate might not be far from his mind as he contemplates his next move in Afghanistan.
Douglass presents a very compelling argument that Kennedy was killed by “unspeakable” (the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s term) forces within the U.S. national security state because of his conversion from a cold warrior into a man of peace. He argues, using a wealth of newly uncovered information, that JFK had become a major threat to the burgeoning military-industrial complex and had to be eliminated through a conspiracy planned by the CIA – “the CIA’s fingerprints are all over the crime and the events leading up to it” - not by a crazed individual, the Mafia, or disgruntled anti-Castro Cubans, though some of these may have been used in the execution of the plot.
Why and by whom? These are the key questions. If it can be shown that Kennedy did, in fact, turn emphatically away from war as a solution to political conflict; did, in fact, as he was being urged by his military and intelligence advisers to up the ante and use violence, rejected such advice and turned toward peaceful solutions, then, a motive for his elimination is established. If, furthermore, it can be clearly shown that Oswald was a dupe in a deadly game and that forces within the military/intelligence apparatus were involved with him from start to finish, then the crime is solved, not by fingering an individual who may have given the order for the murder or pulled the trigger, but by showing that the coordination of the assassination had to involve U.S. intelligence agencies, most notably the CIA . Douglass does both, providing highly detailed and intricately linked evidence based on his own research and a vast array of the best scholarship.
We are then faced with the contemporary relevance, and since we know that every president since JFK has refused to confront the growth of the national security state and its call for violence, one can logically assume a message was sent and heeded. In this regard, it is not incidental that former twenty-seven year CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, in a recent interview, warned of the “two CIAs,” one the analytic arm providing straight scoop to presidents, the other the covert action arm which operates according to its own rules. “Let me leave you with this thought,” he told his interviewer, “and that is that I think Panetta (current CIA Director), and to a degree Obama, are afraid – I never thought I’d hear myself saying this – I think they are afraid of the CIA.” He then recommended Douglass’ book, “It’s very well-researched and his conclusion is very alarming.” [i]
Let’s look at the history marshaled by Douglass to support his thesis.
First, Kennedy, who took office in January 1961 as somewhat of a Cold Warrior, was quickly set up by the CIA to take the blame for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The CIA and generals wanted to oust Castro, and in pursuit of that goal, trained a force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Kennedy refused to go along and the invasion was roundly defeated. The CIA, military, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy. But it was all a sham.
Though Douglass doesn’t mention it, and few Americans know it, classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance, had informed Castro, but – and here is a startling fact that should make people’s hair stand on end - never told the President. [ii] The CIA knew the invasion was doomed before the fact but went ahead with it anyway. Why? So they could and did afterwards blame JFK for the failure.
This treachery set the stage for events to come. For his part, sensing but not knowing the full extent of the set-up, Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles (as in a bad joke, later to be named to the Warren Commission) and his assistant General Charles Cabell (whose brother Earle Cabell, to make a bad joke absurd, was the mayor of Dallas on the day Kennedy was killed) and said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” Not the sentiments to endear him to a secretive government within a government whose power was growing exponentially.
The stage was now set for events to follow as JFK, in opposition to nearly all his advisers, consistently opposed the use of force in U.S. foreign policy.
In 1961, despite the Joint Chief’s demand to put troops into Laos, Kennedy bluntly insisted otherwise as he ordered Averell Harriman, his representative at the Geneva Conference, “Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
Also in 1961, he refused to concede to the insistence of his top generals to give them permission to use nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia. Walking out of a meeting with top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and said, “These people are crazy.”
He refused to bomb and invade Cuba as the military wished during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Afterwards he told his friend John Kenneth Galbraith that “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.”
Then in June 1963 he gave an incredible speech at American University in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of the Cold War and the “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” and movement toward “general and complete disarmament.”
A few months later he signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev.
In October 1963 he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year and a total withdrawal by the end of 1965.[iii]
All this he did while secretly engaging in negotiations with Khrushchev via the KGB , Norman Cousins, and Pope John XXIII , and with Castro through various intermediaries, one of whom was French Journalist Jean Daniel. In an interview with Daniel on October 24, 1963 Kennedy said, “I approved the proclamation Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we will have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.” Such sentiments were anathema, shall we say treasonous, to the CIA and top generals.
These clear refusals to go to war and his decision to engage in private, back-channel communications with Cold War enemies marked Kennedy as an enemy of the national security state. They were on a collision course. As Douglass and others have pointed out, every move Kennedy made was anti-war. This, Douglass argues, was because JFK, a war hero, had been deeply affected by the horror of war and was severely shaken by how close the world had come to destruction during the Cuban missile crisis. Throughout his life he had been touched by death and had come to appreciate the fragility of life. Once in the Presidency, Kennedy underwent a deep metanoia, a spiritual transformation, from Cold Warrior to peace maker. He came to see the generals who advised him as devoid of the tragic sense of life and as hell-bent on war. And he was well aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with those generals and the CIA. On numerous occasions he spoke of the possibility of a military coup d’etat against him. On the night before his trip to Dallas, he told his wife, “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it.” And we know that nobody did try to stop it because they had planned it.
But who killed him?
Douglass presents a formidable amount of evidence, some old and some new, against the CIA and covert action agencies within the national security state, and does so in such a logical and persuasive way that any fair-minded reader cannot help but be taken aback; stunned, really. And he links this evidence directly to JFK’s actions on behalf of peace.
He knows, however, that to truly convince he must break a “conspiracy of silence that would envelop our government, our media, our academic institutions, and virtually our entire society from November 22, 1963, to the present.” This “unspeakable,” this hypnotic “collective denial of the obvious,” is sustained by a mass-media whose repeated message is that the truth about such significant events is beyond our grasp, that we will have to drink the waters of uncertainty forever. As for those who don’t, they are relegated to the status of conspiracy nuts.
Fear and uncertainty block a true appraisal of the assassination - that plus the thought that it no longer matters.
It matters. For we know that no president since JFK has dared to buck the military-intelligence-industrial complex. We know a Pax Americana has spread its tentacles across the globe with U.S. military in over 130 countries on 750 plus bases. We know that the amount of blood and money spent on wars and war preparations has risen astronomically.
There is a great deal we know and even more that we don’t want to know, or at the very least, investigate.
If Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to the intelligence community, the FBI and the CIA, then we can logically conclude that he was not “a lone-nut” assassin. Douglass marshals a wealth of evidence to show how from the very start Oswald was moved around the globe like a pawn in a game, and when the game was done, the pawn was eliminated in the Dallas police headquarters. As he begins to trace Oswald’s path, Douglass asks this question: “Why was Lee Harvey Oswald so tolerated and supported by the government he betrayed?” After serving as a U.S. Marine at the CIA’s U-2 spy plane operating base in Japan with a Crypto clearance (higher than top secret but a fact suppressed by the Warren Commission), Oswald left the Marines and defected to the Soviet Union. After denouncing the U.S., working at a Soviet factory in Minsk , and taking a Russian wife - during which time Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union - he returned to the U.S. with a loan from the American Embassy in Moscow, only to be met at the dock in Hoboken, New Jersey by a man, Spas T. Raikin, a prominent anti-communist with extensive intelligence connections, recommended by the State Department. He passed through immigration with no trouble, was not prosecuted, moved to Fort Worth, Texas where , at the suggestion of the Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Service chief, he was met and befriended by George de Mohrenschildt, an anti-communist Russian, who was a CIA asset. De Mohrenschildt got him a job four days later at a graphic arts company that worked on maps for the U.S. Army Map Service related to U-2 spy missions over Cuba. Oswald was then shepherded around the Dallas area by de Mohrenschildt who, in 1977, on the day he revealed he had contacted Oswald for the CIA and was to meet with the House Select Committee on Assasinations’ Gaeton Fonzi, allegedly committed suicide. Oswald then moved to New Orleans in April 1963 where got a job at the Reilly Coffee Company owned by CIA-affiliated William Reilly. The Reilly Coffee Company was located in close vicinity to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and Office of Naval Intelligence offices and a stone’s throw from the office of Guy Bannister, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Bureau, who worked as a covert action coordinator for the intelligence services, supplying and training anti-Castro paramilitaries meant to ensnare Kennedy. Oswald then went to work with Bannister and the CIA paramilitaries.
During this time up until the assassination Oswald engaged in all sorts of contradictory activities, one day portraying himself as pro-Castro, the next day as anti-Castro, many of these theatrical performances being directed from Bannister’s office. It was as though Oswald, on the orders of his puppet masters, was enacting multiple and antithetical roles in order to confound anyone intent on deciphering the purposes behind his actions and to set him up as a future “assassin.” Douglass persuasively argues that Oswald “seems to have been working with both the CIA and FBI,” as a provocateur for the former and an informant for the latter. Jim and Elsie Wilcott, who worked at the CIA Tokyo Station from 1960-64, in a 1978 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, said, “It was common knowledge in the Tokyo CIA station that Oswald worked for the agency.”
When Oswald moved to New Orleans in April 1963, de Mohrenschildt exited the picture, having asked the CIA for and been indirectly given a $285,000 contract to do a geological survey for Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier, which he never did , but for which he was paid. Ruth and Michael Paine then entered the picture on cue. Douglass illuminatingly traces in their intelligence connections. Ruth later was the Warren Commission’s chief witness. She had been introduced to Oswald by de Mohrenschildt. In September 1963 Ruth Paine drove from her sister’s house in Virginia to New Orleans to pick up Marina Oswald and bring her to her house in Dallas to live with her. Thirty years after the assassination a document was declassified showing Paine’s sister Sylvia worked for the CIA. Her father traveled throughout Latin America on an Agency for International Development (notorious for CIA front activities) contract and filed reports that went to the CIA. Her husband Michael’s step-father, Arthur Young, was the inventor of the Bell helicopter and Michael’s job there gave him a security clearance. Her mother was related to the Forbes family of Boston and her lifelong friend, Mary Bancroft, worked as a WW II spy with Allen Dulles and was his mistress. Afterwards, Dulles questioned the Paines in front of the Warren Commission, studiously avoiding any revealing questions. Back in Dallas, Ruth Paine conveniently got Oswald a job in the Texas Book Depository where he began work on October 16, 1963.
From late September until November 22, various Oswalds are later reported to have simultaneously been seen from Dallas to Mexico City. Two Oswalds were arrested in the Texas Theatre, the real one taken out the front door and an impostor out the back. As Douglas says, “There were more Oswalds providing evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald than the Warren Report could use or even explain.” Even J. Edgar Hoover knew that Oswald impostors were used, as he told LBJ concerning Oswald’s alleged visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. He later called this CIA ploy, “the false story re Oswald’s trip to Mexico…their ( CIA’s) double-dealing,” something that he couldn’t forget. It was apparent that a very intricate and deadly game was being played out at high levels in the shadows.
We know Oswald was blamed for the President’s murder. But if one fairly follows the trail of the crime it becomes blatantly obvious that government forces were at work. Douglass adds layer upon layer of evidence to show how this had to be so. Oswald, the mafia, anti-Castro Cubans could not have withdrawn most of the security that day. The Sheriff Bill Decker withdrew all police protection. The Secret Service withdrew the police motorcycle escorts from beside the president’s car where they had been the day before in Houston; took agents off the back of the car where they were normally stationed to obstruct gunfire. They approved the fateful, dogleg turn (on a dry run on November 18) where the car came, almost to a halt, a clear security violation. The House Select Committee on Assasinations concluded this, not some conspiracy nut.
Who could have squelched the testimony of all the doctors and medical personnel who claimed the president had been shot from the front in his neck and head, testimony contradicting the official story? Who could have prosecuted and imprisoned Abraham Bolden, the first African-American Secret Service agent personally brought on to the White House detail by JFK, who warned that he feared the president was going to be assassinated? (Douglass interviewed Bolden seven times and his evidence on the aborted plot to kill JFK in Chicago on November 2 – a story little known but extraordinary in its implications – is riveting.) The list of all the people who turned up dead, the evidence and events manipulated, the inquiry squelched, distorted, and twisted in an ex post facto cover-up - clearly point to forces within the government, not rogue actors without institutional support.
The evidence for a conspiracy organized at the deepest levels of the intelligence apparatus is overwhelming. James Douglass presents it in such depth and so logically that only one hardened to the truth would not be deeply moved and affected by his book.
He says it best: “The extent to which our national security state was systematically marshaled for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains incomprehensible to us. When we live in a system, we absorb and think in a system. We lack the independence needed to judge the system around us. Yet the evidence we have seen points toward our national security state, the systemic bubble in which we all live, as the source of Kennedy’s murder and immediate cover-up.”
Speaking to his friends Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell about those who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, JFK said, “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
Let’s hope for another president like that, but one that meets a different end.
[ii] Vernon Loeb, “Soviets Knew Date of Cuba Attack,” Washington Post, April 29, 2000
[iii] See James K. Galbraith, “Exit Strategy,” Boston Review, October/November 2003
Edward Curtin teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A Paper Bag (described as having hidden the killer rifle used to slay President Kennedy) was used to frame Lee Harvey Oswald. Remember, if Oswald is proven innocent, that means we had a conspiracy -- and that the government participated in a massive cover-up, even as the media today (for lots of big bucks) trumpets that Oswald killed Kennedy, when in fact, he was an innocent man. To those who state that Vincent Bugliosi's huge book 'proves' Oswald's guilt, I can say, personally, that Bugliosi may be a lawyer, and a prosecutor, but the million dollars he received to write that book did not, apparently, include phone call expenses to call new witnesses who have come forth, such as myself, who can state unequivocably that Lee Harvey Oswald was framed -- viciously so. Bugliosi never interviewed me, even though the History Channel aired the documentary TMWKK - THE LOVE AFFAIR- JUDYTH VARY BAKER on multiple occasions in November, 2003. I stated I'd known Lee Oswald for seven months, that we had a love affair, and that Oswald had been in contact with me less than 38 hours before the assassiation. Bugliosi knew how to find me. But he didn't bother. He took the word of the "Oswald did it" webmasters and talked to THEM, though they had NEVER MET ME.
Based on the third-hand information obtained from men who got THEIR information second-hand, Bugliosi stated I was a kook, a "poor puppy" and "deluded." My book, ME & LEE, which Trine Day publishes this November-- Bugliosi heard of the edition preceding it and opined that somebody else had to have written it, since I wasn't intelligent enough to have done so, being only a hamburger-flipper (with several degrees?).
Some people have been pre-purchasing the book at my website, which helps me, since I live in exile, far from my beloved country, due to threats and harassment. But my books, and CDs available at http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com provide living witness statements backing up my own statements. Bugliosi never spoke to any of these witnesses, either. Nor did he ever speak to the several fine researchers who made the effort to contact me, and who in fact have helped me in this fight to exonerate an innocent man -- a man I loved.
So much for the "extensive research" Bugliosi did for his massive effort to equal The Warren Commission's equally massive, if emasculated efforts to flood the field with statements made only for the purpose of convicting Oswald. A plethora of exhibits and words that misinterpret what various pieces of evidence meant have only obscured the truth.
The PAPER BAG, for example, is shown as evidence 'proving' Oswald's guilt. After all, it held the 'killer rifle' and had blanket fibers inside it that were like the blanket fibers belonging to the blanket in which the 'killer rifle' supposedly belonging to Oswald was wrapped -- before it was removed from the blanket and placed, said the Warren Commission and Bugliosi--into the paper bag.
Interestingly, the paper bag had some fibers in it, supposedly from the blanket belonging to Oswald, but somehow the RIFLE ITSELF had NOT A SINGLE BLANKET FIBER ON IT. The rifle had a rough texture throughout and should have been covered with fibers if it had actually been kept inside tthe blanket for months, as stated. This rifle, described also as "well-oiled" incredibly left not a single droplet or trace of oil inside the paper sack. And finally, this miraculous paper bag did not show any signs of having ever held a rifle--no bulges, no scratches from the heavy metal, no nothing.
If this interests you, and you have an open mind, read on. Once you realize the paper bag was just planted evidence--something the Dallas police NEVER EVER did, right?--- then you must conclude that other evidence might also have been planted against Lee Harvey Oswald. Hopefully, that will change your life, because then you'll realize who took over our country, and what damage and evil has been done, since then, by those who killed Kennedy.
Visit http://www.judythvarybaker.com and http://www.doctormarysmonkey.com to see more information. And learn the truth about Lee Harvey Oswald by looking at the evidence--not the conclusions made by the wrren Commission--a group of men whose work is now known to have been prejudiced, and incomplete. In the decades since JFK's murder, much new evidence --ignored by the mainstream press until recently-- proves Oswald was framed. The information below, about the paper bag, can be accessed in full by going to google groups and typing in "Lee Harvey Oswald"
You'll then see "Lee Harvey Oswald Fact-Check Committee -- a compilation by researchers of the truth about Lee Oswald that doesn't hide facts from you but presents all the problems and factors ignored by the "Oswald did it" Company.
To get you started, here are some facts about THE PAPER BAG used to convince people that Oswald sneaked a rifle into his workplace on the morning of Nov. 22nd, 1963. He did no such thing! Read the truth, which you won't find in Oswald Did It" websites:
"What's inside the bag, holding it up, as it's being removed from the TSBD?"
Hope you asked yourself that question when you saw the photo at the top of this article. The 'killer rifle' had already been removed from the building. Strangely, a MAUSER rifle had been described by two experienced Dallas policemen as having been found FIRST. But the hulls, found right in front of the 'sniper's window" didn;t match the Mauser. Those hulls were from an Italian carbine. The Mauser vanished and an Italian carbine was 'found' to take its place. Even more interesting is the fact that NOBODY saw Oswald enter the building that day with a package. And that bag is BIG.
Contents (photos and more information is at the LEE HARVEY OSWALD FACT-CHECK COMMITTEE GOOGLE NEWSGROUP):
1. Material by Jim Marrs from his book, CROSSFIRE, THE PLOT THAT kILLED KENNEDY (shortest, summarizes best)
2. Material from Ian Griggs' essay on "The Paper Bag That Never Was"
(contains important witness statements)
3. Material from Tom Rossely's essay, "The Bag" (provides physical evidence information)
JIM MARRS WROTE:
Another major piece of evidence against Oswald was a brown paper bag reportedly discovered in the Texas School Book Depository on the afternoon of the assassination‑although it is not depicted in any of the crime scene photographs. The Warren Commission claimed the bag was used by Oswald to transport the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a home in Irving, Texas, to the Depository on the morning of November 22, 1963.
If this bag indeed belonged to Oswald and if it could be traced to the Depository, it becomes strong evidence of Oswald’s guilt. But again, upon closer inspection, this piece of evidence becomes highly questionable. First, while the Oswald rifle was found to be well oiled, there is absolutely not trace of gun oil on the paper bag.
Second, federal authorities claimed to have found cloth fibers on the bag that matched those of a blanket used to wrap the rifle at the Irving home. However, a Dallas police photograph of assassination evidence shows the bag touching the blanket, thus producing the incrimination fiber evidence. To add credence to this idea, the FBI found no traces of paper bag particles on the rifle.
When the Dallas evidence was shipped to the FBI laboratory early on November 23, there is no mention of the paper bag. Instead, Dallas FBI agent-in-charge J. Gordon Shanklin mentioned the blanket, which he suggested was used to carry the rifle into the Depository.
Both Wesley Frazier and his sister, Linnie Mae Randle, testified that Oswald took a paper bag to work with him on the morning of the assassination. However, both said they did not believe the bag they saw was like the one showed them by the Warren Commission. Frazier said Oswald told him the bag contained curtain rods for his room in Dallas. Frazier also said Oswald carried the package into the Depository tucked under his arm, with one end cupped in this hand and the other under his armpit.
Since the disassembled rifle measured thirty-five inches long, it would have been impossible for someone of Oswald’s height to carry it in this position.
Jack Dougherty, a Depository employee who saw Oswald arrive for work, said he had seen no bag.
Yet the paper bag was a necessary piece of evidence, for if Oswald did not carry the rifle into the Depository on November 22, then it must have gotten there in some other manner. This possibility opened too many areas of investigation. But if Oswald fashioned the bag from wrapping paper at the Depository—as the Warren Commission concluded—how did he get it to the Irving home, where he spent the night before the assassination?
Frazier, who drove Oswald to Irving, repeatedly said Oswald had no package with him at that time. The Commission decided Oswald must have hidden the paper bag in his jacket, although there was no reason to do so and despite the discomfort and rustling noise sure to have been made by a 42-inch-by-18-inch folded paper bag.
This whole issue is further clouded by the discovery of a duplicate FBI report that claims two opposite facts concerning the paper bag.
In a November 29, 1963 report released with other FBI documents in 1968, Agent Vincent Drain wrote:
This paper was examined by the FBI laboratory and found to have the same observable characteristics as the brown paper bag shaped like a gun case which was found near the scene of the shooting on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.
This paper was examined by the FBI laboratory and found to have the same observable characteristics as the brown paper bag shaped like a gun case which was found near the scene of the shooting on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.
In 1980, researcher Gary Shaw discovered what appeared to be this same FBI report in the National Archives. It bore the same dates and the same identification number—Dallas 89-43.
However, in this version of Drain’s report, it stated: “This paper was examined by the FBI laboratory and found not to be identical with the paper gun case found at the scene of the shooting.”
When pressed for an explanation of the two opposite versions of the same report, William Baker, the FBI’s assistant director of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, told researcher Edgar F. Tatro the version that states Depository paper and the paper bag are not the same was “inaccurate.” Baker said the inaccuracy in Drain’s original report was caught at FBI headquarters and the Dallas office was instructed to “make corrections at that time.” He added that the “inaccurate” report was mistakenly passed along to the Warren Commission. Baker concluded: “We hope the above explanation resolves the problem.”
Far from resolving the problem of identical FBI reports that state opposite facts, this incident raises the question of how many other assassination documents stated one thing and were subsequently “revised.” And if there do exist “revised” documents in federal files, how would anyone know’ unless the originals accidentally slip out, as in this case?
Considering all of the above and considering that not one of the lawmen who searched the Depository mentioned finding the bag in their testimony, the evidence of the paper bag must be viewed skeptically.
2. excerpts from: THE PAPER BAG THAT NEVER WAS
by Ian Griggs
An examination of the evidence which suggests
that the paper bag in which Lee Harvey Oswald
is alleged to have brought a rifle into the
Texas School Book Depository never existed
Mr Ball: "Did you ever see a paper sack in the items that were taken
from the Texas School Book Depository building?"
Detective John Hicks (DPD Crime Lab): "No, sir; I did not." (7H 289)
Mr Belin: "Was there any long sack laying in the floor there
that you remember seeing or not?"
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig: "No; I don't remember seeing any." (6H 268)
Mr Ball: "Does the sack show in any of the pictures you took?"
Detective Robert Studebaker: "No; it doesn't show in any of the pictures." (7H 144)
"The Dallas police did an extremely capable job of documenting with photographs
the crime scene that had just been discovered." (Extract from "First Day Evidence"
by Gary Savage: The Shoppe Press, Monroe, Louisiana; 1993 - pages 145/146)
Mr Ball: "Did you see Oswald come to work that morning?"
Mr Jack Dougherty (TSBD employee): "Yes - when he first come into the door."
Mr Ball: "Did he have anything in his hands or arms?"
Mr Dougherty: "Well, not that I could see of."
Mr Ball: "In other words, you would say positively that he had nothing in his hands?"
Mr Dougherty: "I would say that - yes, sir." (6H 376/377)
"Lt Day recalls that on evening of 11/22/63, about 11.30p.m. one of Captain FRITZ'
officers requested that he show this thick brown sack to a man named FRAZIER.
Lt. DAY said that FRAZIER was unable to identify this sack and told him that a sack
he observed in the possession of OSWALD early that morning was definitely a thin,
flimsy sack like one purchased in a dime store." (FBI memo, 29 November 1963)
One of the most questionable of all Warren Commission exhibits has to be CE 1302. This is the photograph which purports to show "Approximate location of wrapping-paper bag ... near window in southeast corner." The index to Volume 22 of the Warren Commission's 26 Volumes of Hearings and Exhibits, in which this appears on page 479, describes this exhibit as "Photograph of southeast corner of sixth floor of Texas School Book Depository Building, showing approximate location of wrapping-paper bag and location of palmprint on carton."
From those positive and uncomplicated descriptions, we would expect to see a photograph showing a bag made out of wrapping-paper. In reality, the photograph shows no paper bag - just a dotted-line rectangle which has been printed on the photograph and which bears the legend: "Approximate location of wrapping-paper bag."
In accordance with normal police practice, other items of potential evidential value were photographed where they lay - for example the rifle, the spent cartridges and the book carton with the palm print on it. Why, then, was the paper bag not afforded this attention? May I be as bold as to suggest that this most vital piece of 'evidence' did not actually exist at the time? It is my earnest belief that it was made up (in both senses) some time later.
In this paper I will examine the reasons for the bag becoming such a vital piece of evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald, the circumstances under which it was allegedly found, my unsuccessful attempts to establish who found it and the method by which Oswald is alleged to have used it to bring a rifle into the building. I will also address the infamous 'curtain rods' story, discuss where the bag is claimed to have been made and question why those investigating the case felt it necessary for a 'replica' bag to be constructed.
The importance of the paper bag to the Warren Commission
The final verdict of the Warren Commission (and I use the word 'verdict' deliberately) was that "the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald." (1) An essential part of the Commission's conclusion revolves around Oswald bringing his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle into the Texas School Book Depository unnoticed on the morning of the assassination.
The sworn testimony of two people, Buell Wesley Frazier (2) and Mrs Linnie Mae Randle (3), was enough to satisfy the Commission that Oswald had concealed the rifle in a long paper bag (or sack) which he had carried to work that morning when he was a passenger in Frazier's car. No other means of bringing the rifle to the book depository was ever suggested or explored, either by the Warren Commission or by anybody else in the official investigative field. Had the matter ever come to court, that paper bag would have been as essential an item of real evidence as anything else in the entire case.
Without the paper bag as a means of transportation and, as importantly, of concealment, the prosecution would have been hard-pressed to suggest how Oswald could have brought the rifle from its alleged hiding place in the Paine garage at Irving to the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. The evidential value of the paper bag was equal to that of the rifle itself. Perhaps it was of even greater value. I feel that we can confidentially go as far as to say that without the paper bag, there would be no rifle - certainly no rifle in the possession of Lee Harvey Oswald. Where would that have left the prosecution case against him?
Dallas Police Lieutenant J C Day and the finding of the bag on the sixth floor
The fact that there is no photograph of the paper bag in situ immediately raises suspicion as to whether or not it was found where the Warren Commission said it was found. On the face of it, this should not prove an insurmountable problem. It is surely a simple task to refer to the testimony of the police officer who first saw it. Here, however, we encounter another problem. There is no way of establishing exactly who that may have been. According to the Warren Commission Report: "At the time the bag was found, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas police wrote on it, "Found next to the sixth floor window gun fired from. May have been used to carry gun. Lt. J.C.Day"" (4).
There is nothing in that brief statement to indicate either when the bag was found or, more importantly, by whom. As is so often the case, however, there is far more information to be gained from a study of the 26 Volumes of Hearings and Exhibits than from the incomplete and often ambiguous conclusions of the final Warren Report.
....Mr Belin...showed Lieutenant Day a photograph of the interior of the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository - that area which later became known as the 'sniper's nest' (7). Mr Belin said: "I will first ask you to state if this picture was taken before or after anything was removed from the area." Lieutenant Day dutifully replied: "The sack had been removed." No explanation was offered - and none was sought.
Who actually found the paper bag?
The simple truth is that we do not know who found the paper bag. Furthermore, there was only one person who has said that he saw the bag where the dotted outline on CE 1302 says it was. That person was Detective Robert Lee Studebaker - the man who, at the request of firstly an unidentified FBI Agent (8) and then of Warren Commission Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball, actually drew that dotted outline (9). More of Detective Studebaker later.
Let us examine the testimony of some of the other law enforcement officers (Dallas Police Department and Dallas County Sheriff's Department) who would have been in a position to have seen the bag.
Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Luke MooneyThe Warren Report describes a very important find as follows:
"Around 1 p.m Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney noticed a pile of cartons in front of the window in the southeast corner of the sixth floor . Searching that area he found at approximately 1:12 p.m. three empty cartridge cases on the floor near the window. When he was notified of Mooney's discovery, Capt. J.W. Fritz, chief of the homicide bureau of the Dallas Police Department, issued instructions that nothing be moved or touched until technicians from the police crime laboratory could take photographs and check for fingerprints. Mooney stood guard to see that nothing was disturbed. A few minutes later, Lt. J.C. Day of the Dallas Police Department arrived and took photographs of the cartridge cases before anything had been moved." (10).
Those few sentences inevitably raise a series of relevant questions, each of which seems to have two possible answers:
(1) Why is there no mention of Mooney finding or seeing the paper bag during his search of that area? Two immediate possibilities spring to mind: either Mooney failed to notice it because he was standing on it - or perhaps it was not there.
(2) Captain Fritz ordered that nothing be disturbed but when that scene was photographed, why does the bag not appear in any photograph? Again there are two possibilities: either the photographer (who may or may not have been Lieutenant Day himself) failed to realise its relevance and moved it himself (an unlikely possibility) - or perhaps it was not there.
(3) Is it possible that one of the police officers present either ignored or misunderstood Captain Fritz' orders and did remove the bag? The two possibilities are that either someone committed one of the most serious errors ever in the history of crime scene preservation - or perhaps it was not there.
Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Roger Dean Craig
When Deputy Sheriff Craig gave his testimony to Assistant Counsel David W Belin in Dallas in the early afternoon of 1st April 1964, there was some initial confusion as to which bag (or sack) was being discussed. This was not a unique situation. We have already seen it in the case of Lieutenant Day's testimony. The testimony of several witnesses was subject to similar problems. Remember, there was supposed to be a large paper bag (said to have contained a deadly rifle) and a small paper bag (said to contain the remains of a dead chicken).
Mr Belin established that Craig had gone to the southeast corner of the sixth floor immediately after the finding of the spent cartridges. Craig confirmed that he had noticed: "the kind of paper bag that you carry your lunch in" laying on top of a box. Mr Belin then asked: "Was there any long sack laying in the floor there that you remember seeing, or not?" Craig's reply was both instant and uncompromising: "No; I don't remember seeing any." (11).
Perhaps because Craig's answer to that had been so positive, Mr Belin did not press the point and he never returned to the question of the longer bag during the remainder of Craig's questioning.
Dallas Police Sergeant Gerald Lynn Hill
Sergeant Hill testified before Mr Belin in Dallas on the afternoon of 8th April 1964. Like Deputy Sheriff Craig, he described seeing a "paper sack which appeared to have been about the size normally used for a lunch sack" on top of a stack of boxes in the southeast corner of the sixth floor (12). He did not mention any other paper sack or bag in the area and the subject was not reintroduced until much later in his testimony when Sergeant Hill came out with the following in reference to a previous conversation with Mr Belin:
"You were asking Officer Hicks if either one recalled seeing a sack, supposedly one that had been made by the suspect, in which he could have possibly carried the weapon into the Depository, and I at that time told you about the small sack that appeared to be a lunchsack, and that that was the only sack that I saw, and that I left the Book Depository prior to the finding of the gun.
Or the section, if it was found up there on the sixth floor, if it was there, I didn't see it." (13)
Dallas Police Detective John B Hicks
Since he had been mentioned by Sergeant Hill, it is logical to examine what Detective Hicks, a member of Lieutenant Day's Crime Scene Search Section, had to say about the finding and existence of the long paper bag. Detective Hicks worked in the Crime Laboratory and he testified before Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball in Dallas on 7th April 1964.
Towards the end of his testimony, during an examination of his actions and functions within the Crime Lab, the following exchange took place:
MR BALL: "Did you ever see a paper sack in the items that were taken from the Texas
School Book Depository building?"
DET HICKS: "Paper bag?"
MR BALL: "Paper bag."
DET HICKS: "No, sir; I did not. It seems like there was some chicken bones or maybe a
lunch; no, I believe that someone had gathered it up."
MR BALL: "Well, this was another type of bag made out of brown paper; did you ever
DET HICKS: "No, sir; I don't believe I did. I don't recall it."
MR BALL: "I believe that's all, Mr Hicks." (14)
Dallas Police Detective Richard M SimsDetective Sims was a member of the Homicide & Robbery Bureau. His Warren Commission testimony, taken by Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball, in Dallas on 6th April 1964, contains much valuable peripheral information concerning the search of the sixth floor of the book depository.
In my introduction to this paper, I stressed the significance of the fact that no photograph exists to show exactly where (or whether!) the large paper bag was found. Whilst discussing Deputy Sheriff Mooney's part in the finding of various items of evidence, I quoted the Warren Report as saying that Lieutenant Day had photographed the scene. Detective Sims' answers to Mr Ball's questions, however, offered some very revealing information regarding who actually took the crime scene photographs in the area of the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the building.
The exchange was as follows:
MR BALL: "Did you see the picture taken of the hulls?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir."
MR BALL: "You saw Day take the pictures, did you?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir."
MR BALL: "He was the cameraman, was he?"
DET SIMS: "Well, there was another one there too. Actually, it was Detective Studebaker
that works for him."
MR BALL: "Studebaker and Day?"
DET SIMS: "I believe it was Studebaker." (15)
A minute or so later, the following exchange of questions and answers took place:
MR BALL: "Did you ever see a paper bag?"
DET SIMS: "Well, we saw some wrappings - a brown wrapping there."
MR BALL: "Where did you see it?"
DET SIMS: "It was there by the hulls."
MR BALL: "Was it right there near the hulls?"
DET SIMS: "As well as I remember - of course, I didn't pay much attention at that time,
but it was, I believe, by the east side of where the boxes were piled up -
that would be a guess - I believe that's where it was." MR BALL: "On the east side of where the boxes were - would that be the east?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir; it was right near the stack of boxes there. I know there was some
loose paper there."
MR BALL: "Was Johnson there?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir; when the wrapper was found Captain Fritz stationed Johnson and
Montgomery to observe the scene there where the hulls were found."
MR BALL: "To stay there?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir."
MR BALL: "That was Marvin Johnson and L.D. Montgomery who stayed by the hulls?"
DET SIMS: "Yes, sir; they did. And I was going back and forth, from the wrapper to the
Detective Sims then went on to describe how the three hulls (empty cartridge cases) and the rifle had been photographed, preserved and taken into police possesion. However there was no further mention of what he had called a 'wrapper' - indeed it was never mentioned again in the rest of his testimony, which was not completed until the following day.
The late Sylvia Meagher, that most-respected of researchers, commented that Detective Sims' action in "going back and forth, from the wrapper to the hulls" was a clever trick on his part as they were separated by a distance of perhaps two feet (17).
Detective Sims' testimony has, however, provided the names of two further police officers who may be able to help us - Marvin Johnson and L.D. Montgomery.
Dallas Police Detective Marvin Johnson
A fellow officer of Detective Sims in the Homicide & Robbery Bureau, Detective Johnson gave testimony before Assistant Counsel David W Belin in Dallas on the afternoon of 6th April 1964. On the surface, his testimony appeared to go a long way to confirming the existence of a long paper bag. As we shall see, however, it was greatly at variance with that of Detective Montgomery, his partner, who was with him at the time. In fact, very little of Detective Johnson's evidence is supported by any corroboration.
After being questioned at length about the small paper bag, the remnants of fried chicken and a pop bottle, Detective Johnson stated: "We found this brown paper sack or case. It was made out of heavy wrapping paper. Actually, it looked similar to the paper that those books was wrapped in. It was just a long narrow paper bag." He added that his partner (Detective Montgomery) picked it up from the floor and unfolded it. He stated that it was right in the corner of the building and had been left in a double-folded condition (18).
Mr Belin showed him a photograph on which Detective Studebaker had drawn an outline of where he claimed the bag had been located (19). Detective Johnson responded: "It looks like somebody penned that in to show the sack was laying there. That would show it unfolded."
Detective Johnson was never asked his opinion of the dimensions of the paper bag. When asked by Mr Belin if there was anything else he could remember about the bag, he volunteered
a very intriguing remark: "No; other than like I said, my partner picked it up and we unfolded it and it appeared to be about the same shape as a rifle case would be. In other words, we made the remark that that is what he probably brought it in. That is why, the reason we saved it." (20).
Considering the near-clairvoyant gifts he demonstrated with those remarks, it is difficult to imagine why Marvin Johnson, in his ten years police service in Dallas, had risen no further up the promotion ladder than mere Detective!
Dallas Police Detective L.D. Montgomery
Detective Montgomery testified twice before the Warren Commission but it is only his second appearance which concerns us here. On this occasion, his testimony was taken by Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball in Dallas on 6th April 1964, immediately after Detective Johnson. His testimony represents one of the best examples of confusion between the two paper bags. At one stage, as Detective Montgomery studied a photograph of the southeast corner of the sixth floor, the dialogue went like this:
DET MONTGOMERY: "Right over here is where we found that long piece of paper that
looked like a sack, that the rifle had been in."
MR BALL: "You found the sack in the area marked 2 in Exhibit J to the
Studebaker deposition. Did you pick the sack up?"
DET MONTGOMERY: "Which sack are we talking about now?"
MR BALL: "The paper sack?"
DET MONTGOMERY: "The small one or the larger one?"
MR BALL: "The larger one you mentioned that was in position 2."
DET MONTGOMERY: "Yes."
MR BALL: "You picked it up?"
DET MONTGOMERY: "Wait just a minute - no; I didn't pick it up. I believe Mr
Studebaker did. We left it laying right there so they could check
it for prints." (21)
There the exchange ended. It does, however, tell us much. Detective Montgomery, as an operational homicide detective, should have been accustomed to cross-examination in court and would have undergone training in that area. Here, however, he appeared to become totally confused. It has to be said that there are distinct indications that he had been coached as to what he was expected to say. Having said that, however, I also recognise what appear to be signs of stress and uncertainty under some less than vigorous questioning.
Detective Montgomery totally failed to corroborate Detective Johnson's claim that he (Montgomery) had picked up the large paper bag and unfolded it. He stated that they did not touch it but that perhaps Detective Studebaker did. The mention of fingerprints is interesting. It was later claimed that Oswald's fingerprints had been found on the bag - but there was no mention of any others.
A very interesting photograph showing Detectives Johnson and Montgomery removing the paper bag and a Dr Pepper pop bottle from the book depository has been published (22). Detective Johnson does not appear to be exercising much care as regards the safeguarding of any evidential value the bottle may have. In the case of Detective Montgomery, one has to say that two things are blatantly obvious about the bag he is carrying. Firstly, it appears to be over four feet in length and secondly, it is being held in a vertical position by means of something rigid inside it. A Mauser rifle perhaps?
Continuing to follow the trail from one named officer to another, we must now return to Detective Studebaker, the man whom Detective Montgomery claimed had picked up the paper bag.
Dallas Police Detective Robert Lee Studebaker
As already mentioned, Detective Studebaker was a man with a vital role in the matter under discussion here. He may or may not have been the person who first came across the paper bag and he may or may not have picked it up. What is indisputable, however, is the fact that he did not photograph it.
According to Dallas Police Department records for November 1963, Detective Studebaker was a member of the Auto Theft Bureau, part of the Criminal Investigation Division (23). From his Warren Commission testimony before Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball in Dallas on 6th April 1964, it becomes evident that on the day of the assassination he was attached to the Crime Scene Search Section of the Identification Bureau. In view of some amazing testimony on his part, it appears that he was not only a newcomer to that Section - but also a virtual trainee!
That being the case, it is almost inconceivable that the responsibility for photographing the so-called 'sniper's nest' should become his. Unfortunately, however, that is exactly what happened. As is shown in the following exchange, Detective Studebaker's photographic qualifications were sadly lacking.
MR BALL: "But you have had photography in your crime lab work?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Yes."
MR BALL: "For how long?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Was about two months."
MR BALL: "How long have you done photography altogether?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Two months. I went to the crime lab in October, the 1st of
MR BALL: "You did - have you done any photography before that?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Just home photography." (24)
Together with Lieutenant Day, Detective Studebaker photographed the three hulls and he then took photographs of the rifle in situ before it was moved. One of these is the infamous picture in which Detective Studebaker demonstrated his photographic skills by getting his own knees into the photograph (25). In his own words, when asked who took that photograph: "I know it's mine because my knees are in the picture." (26)
Detective Studbaker failed to photograph any large paper bag despite the fact that it cannot have been more than a few feet away from the hulls - or perhaps it was not there. The bag became the subject of the following exchange:
MR BALL: "Now, did you at any time see any paper sack around there?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Yes, sir."
MR BALL: "Where?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Storage room there - in the southeast corner of the building -
MR BALL: "In the southeast corner of the building?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "It was a paper - I don't know what it was."
MR BALL: "And it was folded, you say."
DET STUDEBAKER: "Yes."
Mr Ball showed Detective Studebaker a photograph of the so-called 'sniper's nest' area in the southeast corner of the sixth floor. No paper bag could be seen on the photograph but a dotted-line rectangle had been added to the photograph (27). When asked by Mr Ball if he had drawn that diagram, Detective Studebaker replied: "I drew a diagram in there for the FBI, somebody from the FBI called me down - I can't think of his name, and he wanted an approximate location of where the paper was found." (28).
Detective Studebaker confirmed that the dotted line indicated the approximate position of the 'paper wrapping' and when asked how long it was, the following exchange ensued:
MR BALL: "How long was it, approximately?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "I don't know - I picked it up and dusted it and they took it down
there and sent it to Washington and that's the last I have seen of
it, and I don't know."
MR BALL: "Did you take a picture of it before you picked it up?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "No."
MR BALL: "Does that sack show in any of the pictures you took?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "No; it doesn't show in any of the pictures." (29)
A short while later, Mr Ball returned to the question of the unphotographed paper bag and offered Detective Studebaker a photograph identical to the first one but without the added dotted-line rectangle. He then asked: "Can you draw in there showing us where the paper sack was found?" and Detective Studebaker complied (30).
The last minute or so of Detective Studebaker's testimony was again concerned with the size of the paper bag and the exchange was as follows:
MR BALL: "Now, how big was this paper that you saw - you saw the wrapper
- tell me about how big that paper bag was - how long was it?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "It was about, I would say, 3 and a half to 4 feet long."
MR BALL: "The paper bag?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Yes."
MR BALL: "And how wide was it?"
DET STUDEBAKER: "Approximately 8 inches." (31).
At that point, probably to the relief of both men, Detective Studebaker's testimony ended.
Summary of the testimony pertaining to the finding of the paper bag
In the period immediately following the shooting in Dealey Plaza, one of the principal functions of the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department was to seek, find and preserve anything of evidential value. In the case of items such as the rifle and spent cartridge cases found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, they appear to have carried out these duties correctly. As is obvious from the testimony of the various law enforcement officers involved, however, that this was not the case with another vital piece of evidence - the large paper bag.
Despite considering the position in the most favourable manner possible, the testimony quoted above gives me no confidence in the claim that such a bag was found at the crime scene. As I have repeated several times in the foregoing paragraphs, it is my earnest belief that the paper bag never existed - certainly not until later, when it became apparent that some means of conveying a concealed rifle into the building had to be established.
We must now consider another important aspect of the affair and study the testimony of the only two people who claimed to have seen Lee Harvey Oswald with the paper bag in his possession - Buell Wesley Frazier and his sister Mrs Linnie Mae Randle.
Buell Wesley Frazier - testimony before the Warren Commission inquisitionResearchers concerned with this matter are aware that on the morning of the assassination of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald was driven the 15 miles to the Texas School Book Depository by fellow-worker Buell Wesley Frazier. Frazier lived at no. 2439 West 5th Street, Irving, just half a block down from no. 2515 where Oswald's wife Marina and their two daughters were lodging with Mrs Ruth Paine. Frazier had worked as an order filler at the book depository only since 13th September. Although Oswald had cheap lodgings in Oak Cliff, a southern suburb of Dallas, he spent the night of 21st/22nd with his family at the Paine house.
The 19-year-old Frazier appeared twice before the Warren Commission and his initial testimony was obviously considered to be of great importance. It was taken not in Dallas but at the offices of the Commission at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Building, 200 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC. Furthermore, instead of being questioned by just one of the Assistant Counsel, he was honoured by receiving the full works.
Frazier was recalled by the Commission four and a half months after his first examination but on that occasion he attended in Dallas and was asked less than a dozen questions by Assistant Counsel Wesley J Liebeler. Since those questions were concerned with the journey to work on the morning of the assassination they are relevant to this paper and will be dealt with in due course.
Frazier's principal testimony was taken on 11th March 1964 in the presence of Chief Justice Earl Warren; two full members of the Commission (Senator John Sherman and Representative Gerald R Ford); General Counsel J Lee Rankin; five Assistant Counsel (Joseph A Ball, David W Belin, Albert E Jenner, Jr., Wesley J Liebeler and Norman Redlich) and two observers (Charles Murray and Lewis E Powell, Jr.) (32).
One can but speculate on the unfortunate Frazier's state of mind when, alone and many miles from home, he found himself confronted by this august gathering!
Mr Ball led most of this interview and after a considerable amount of preamble, he got around to asking Frazier about his drive home from the Texas School Book Depository after he finished work on the afternoon of Thursday 21st November 1963. Frazier stated that he had agreed to give Lee Harvey Oswald a lift to the Paine house in Irving that day and he had asked Oswald: "Why are you going home today?" Oswald's reply, as remembered and quoted by Frazier, represents one of the major cornerstones in what would have become the prosecution case: "I am going home to get some curtain rods. You know, put in an apartment." (33).
It is vital to note that Frazier is the one and only person ever to attribute the words "curtain rods" to Oswald. Less than half a dozen other people used those words - Linnie Mae Randle, when quoting her brother Frazier, Oswald himself when he denied that he ever made that remark to Frazier plus, of course, some of those questioning him (34). We have only Frazier's word that Oswald gave that as his reason for wanting a lift on that afternoon and on the following morning. Both Ruth Paine (35) and Marina Oswald (36) denied that Oswald had said anything to them about curtain rods.
As agreed, Frazier drove Oswald back to Irving that afternoon, leaving the book depository at 4.40pm and arriving at Irving (as far as can be determined) sometime between 5.20pm and 5.25pm. Mr Ball asked Frazier if any conversation had passed between them during the journey and Frazier could not remember anything being said. It is important to note here that no questions were put to Frazier as to whether Oswald was carrying anything or whether it appeared that he had anything concealed about his person. As we shall see later, if it was Oswald's intention to bring a rifle to work in a large paper bag the following morning, this would be his only opportunity to take the empty bag to Irving.
In reply to a question from Mr Ball, Frazier stated that his sister, Linnie Mae Randle, who lived at the same house, had asked him that evening why he had brought Oswald back to Irving on that particular day. Frazier said: "I told her that he had rode home with me and told her he said he was going to come home and pick up some curtain rods or something." (37).
According to Frazier's testimony, he and Oswald walked to Frazier's car which was parked just outside Frazier's house at a minute or so after 7.21am the following morning. (38). I find it odd that Frazier's very precise recollection of the time - literally to the exact minute after an interim period of three and a half months - was never queried.
Mr Ball asked what happened when they got into the car, and the dialogue continued:
MR FRAZIER: "Let's see, when I got in the car I have a kind of habit of glancing over
my shoulder and so at that time I noticed there was a package laying on
the back seat, I didn't pay too much attention and I said, "What's the
package, Lee?" And he said, "Curtain rods," and I said, "Oh, yes, you
told me you was going to bring some today."
That is the reason, the main reason he was going over there that Thursday
afternoon when he was to bring back some curtain rods, so I didn't think
any more about it when he told me that."
MR BALL: "What did the package look like?"
MR FRAZIER: "Well, I will be frank with you, I would just, it is right as you get out of
the grocery store, just more or less out of a package, you have seen some
of those brown paper sacks you can obtain from any, most of the stores,
some varieties, but it was a package just roughly about two feet long."
MR BALL: "It was, what part of the back seat was it in?"
MR FRAZIER: "It was in his side over on his side in the far back."
MR BALL: "How much of that back seat, how much space did it take up?"
MR FRAZIER: "I would say roughly around two feet of the seat." (39).
Buell Frazier's nervous state of mind can be judged by those answers. Note, however, that without any prompting, he twice volunteered his impression of the length of the package as being about two feet. That, of course, was not the estimate which Mr Ball was seeking.
Buell Wesley Frazier - the attempted 'sting'
Perhaps it would be appropriate at this point to refer in some detail to the very beginning of this particular session of the Commission's investigation. At 9.45am, immediately prior to Frazier being called, Chairman Earl Warren had opened the proceedings and the following exchange ensued:
MR BALL: "I would like to assign Commission Exhibit No. 364 to a paper sack which
the FBI has identified as their C-109 Exhibit. That will be the
Commission's Exhibit No. 364 for identification at this time."
CHAIRMAN: "All right."
(The paper sack referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 364 for identification.)
MR BALL: "Also for the record I would like to announce that prior to - this morning,
Mr Cortlandt Cunningham and Charles Killion of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation laboratory, the Ballistics Division, Firearms Division, I guess
it is, broke down, that is unscrewed Commission Exhibit No. 139, an Italian
rifle, and that rifle has been placed in, after being disassembled, has been
placed in Commission's No. 364 for identification, that paper sack."
CHAIRMAN: "All right."
MR BALL: "We have also here before the Commission, Commission No. 142 which is
a paper sack which is identified as the FBI's Exhibit No. 10. I think that
has its number, exhibit number on it.
I have been informed that was 142. My notes show that the brown sack is
I think we can call the witness now."
CHAIRMAN: "All right; would you call Mr Frazier, please." (40).
Mr Ball's comment "We have also here before the Commission ........" clearly indicates that both the alleged original paper bag (CE 142) and a replica bag (CE 364) were physically present in the room at that time. Furthermore, note that it was the replica bag into which the disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano was placed!
Does anybody share my opinion that the unfortunate Buell Wesley Frazier was being deliberately set up here? As his admittedly halting testimony indicates, he twice stated that the package he saw on the back seat of his car was only two feet in length. Can it be that the carefully-laid plan was too complex for him and despite having two paper bags before him (including one containing a disassembled Mannlicher), he has produced his "two feet" estimates of its length?
Buell Wesley Frazier - testimony continued
At this point, Mr Ball did not press Frazier to reconsider his estimate of the length of the package. Instead he led him through an account of the drive into Dallas that morning, only once producing questions about the mysterious back seat cargo.
MR BALL: "Anything else said about curtain rods?"
MR FRAZIER: "No, sir; there wasn't."
MR BALL: "Anything else said about the package?"
MR FRAZIER: "No, sir; there wasn't." (41).
In response to Mr Ball's questioning, Frazier said that Oswald did not take his lunch in with him that day. He then went on to explain that after parking his car, he watched as Oswald preceded him towards the Texas School Book Depository. He said that Oswald was carrying the package in his right hand "parallel to his body" with one end of it "under the armpit" and the "other part with his right hand." (42). In an affidavit made on the day of the assassination, Frazier had stated that he had followed Oswald as he entered the book depository through the back door at the Loading Dock (43).
To carry a package about two feet long in this fashion would present no problem. The shortest length which can be achieved with a broken down Mannlicher-Carcano identical to CE 139 (the alleged assassination rifle), however, is 34.8 inches (44). To carry something that long in the manner described by Frazier would require a body height in excess of seven feet and arms like an orang-utan - hardly an accurate description of the 5'9" Lee Harvey Oswald, a slim man who weighed an estimated 150 pounds (ten stone ten pounds) (45).
During the rest of Frazier's testimony, Joseph Ball returned to the question of the length of the paper bag again and again. Frazier, however, refused to be browbeaten and even when the replica bag (CE 364) was specifically shown to him, he stated "No, sir" when asked if it appeared to be the same length as the package on the back seat of his car. He was also a little more explicit concerning the way that Oswald had held the package, saying that "he had it cupped in his hand" (46).
A few minutes later, in respect of what was claimed to be the 'original' bag (CE 142), Frazier repeated what he had said earlier: "I told them that as far as the length there, I told them that it was entirely too long." (47).
It has long been my belief that Buell Wesley Frazier had been 'coached' prior to his appearance before the Commission. I also believe that he became totally confused during his ordeal and that the answers he gave were not the ones which had been expected of him. A man from whom so much had been expected in the quest to confirm the guilt of the deceased Oswald had, instead, proved a severe embarrassment.
Frazier testifies again
As mentioned earlier, Buell Wesley Frazier was called to testify again. This took place on 23rd July 1964 and this time he was spared the long journey to Washington, DC. He attended at the US Attorney's Office, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas. Only Assistant Counsel Wesley J Liebeler was present. His sole object was to confirm that Frazier had seen Oswald "carrying a large brown package from the car into the Texas School Book Depository Building and that also you saw the package in the car." Frazier agreed.
Frazier also confirmed that he had never seen Oswald with a similar package (48).
I remain at a loss as to why this brief question-and-answer session was felt necessary. I can only suggest that it may have been an example of what is today known as 'Damage Limitation'.
If Mr Ball and his Commission colleagues were disappointed at Frazier's lack of agreement with their hoped-for estimates of the paper bag's length, imagine how they must have felt when he stated in his testimony that it had been his impression at the time, from the front entrance steps to the book depository, that the shots had been fired from "down there, you know, where that underpass is" (49)
Corroboration of Frazier's testimony?
Perhaps we should now seek some sort of corroboration of this part of Frazier's testimony.
Was there anybody who could confirm that Oswald left Frazier's car and walked into the book depository carrying a package that morning? That walk, from TSBD Parking Lot No. 1, was a distance of about 350 metres (50). The lot was located on the northeast corner of the Broadway and Munger Street intersection but it has since disappeared under the West End development scheme.
Jack Edwin Dougherty
Dougherty was a fellow TSBD worker (a shipping clerk) and he testified before the Warren Commission in Dallas on 8th April 1964. He stated that he had seen Oswald arrive for work on the morning of the assassination. As his testimony indicates, however, he was unable to confirm that Oswald was carrying anything. After telling Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball that he (Dougherty) was inside the building by 7.00 am, his testimony on this point went thus:
MR BALL: "Did you see Oswald come to work that morning?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Yes - when he first come into the door."
MR BALL: "When he came in the door?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Yes."
MR BALL: "Did you see him come in that door?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Yes; I saw him when he first come in the door - yes."
MR BALL: "Did he have anything in his hands or arms?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, not that I could see of."
MR BALL: "About what time of day was that?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "That was eight o'clock." (51).
At this point, it should have been obvious to Mr Ball that this line of questioning was unlikely to elicit the replies he was seeking. After a brief diversion to confirm exactly where Dougherty had been at the time, he returned to it in a very unsubtle way. In my opinion, the following brief exchange represents one of the very worst examples of witness harrassment in this investigation.
MR BALL: "Do you recall him having anything in his hand?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, I didn't see anything, if he did."
MR BALL: "Did you pay enough attention to him, you think, that you would
remember whether he did or didn't?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, I believe I can - yes, sir - I'll put it this way; I didn't see
anything in his hands at the time."
MR BALL: "In other words, your memory is definite on that, is it?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Yes, sir."
MR BALL: "In other words, you would say positively he had nothing in his
MR DOUGHERTY: "I would say that - yes, sir."
MR BALL: "Or, are you guessing?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "I don't think so." (52).
Aware at last that Dougherty was either unable or unwilling to confirm that Oswald had carried a package into the building, Mr Ball moved on to other matters before unexpectedly returning to the subject. Dougherty, however, was not only ready for this - he was also becoming increasingly unhappy with the way he was being harrassed. Now he sought an escape route.
MR BALL: "Did you ever see Lee Oswald carry any sort of large package?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, I didn't, but some of the fellows said they did."
MR BALL: "Who said that?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, Bill Shelley, he told me that he thought he saw him carrying
a fairly good-sized package."
MR BALL: "When did Shelley tell you that?"
MR DOUGHERTY: "Well, it was - the day after it happened." (53).
It is surely obvious to anybody reading that passage that Dougherty had grown tired of his treatment and was anxious to remove the pressure being exerted upon him. We must ask why he did not mention Shelley earlier. As becomes plain when we study Shelley's version of events, Dougherty probably just blurted out the first suitable name which came to mind.
William Hoyt Shelley
Shelley, the Manager of the Miscellaneous Department, had been examined by Mr Ball on 7th April 1964 - the day immediately prior to the Dougherty testimony. Part of that testimony concerning Lee Harvey Oswald was as follows:
MR BALL: "On the 22d of November 1963, did you see him come to work that
MR SHELLEY: "No, he was at work when I got there already filling orders." (54).
Other TSBD employees
You will search in vain for any employee of the Texas School Book Depository (other than Buell Wesley Frazier of course) who said that Oswald had been in possession of any sort of package when he arrived at work that morning. Furthermore, nobody ever stated that they had seen him with a package inside the building.
Mrs Linnie Mae Randle
Frazier's married sister, Linnie Mae Randle, testified immediately after him - before the same powerful gathering of Warren Commission 'heavies' and like her brother, she was questioned by Assistant Counsel Joseph A Ball.
After the usual preamble and a few questions about Lee Harvey Oswald and the way he had obtained employment at the book depository, Mr Ball reached the point when Frazier had brought Oswald back to Irving on the Thursday evening. Mr Ball went on to the attack in a very positive way:
MR BALL: "Do you remember anything about curtain rods?"
MRS RANDLE: "Yes."
MR BALL: "What do you remember about that?"
MRS RANDLE: "He had told Wesley - "
MR BALL: "Tell me what Wesley told you."
MRS RANDLE: "What Wesley told me. That Lee had rode home with him to get some
curtain rods from Mrs Paine to fix up his apartment."
Mr Ball quickly switched to the following morning as Frazier was preparing to leave for work. He asked Mrs Randle if she had seen Lee:
MRS RANDLE: "I saw him as he crossed the street and come across my drive-way to
where Wesley had his car parked by the carport."
MR BALL: "Was he carrying any package?"
MRS RANDLE: "Yes; he was."
MR BALL: "What was he carrying?"
MRS RANDLE: "He was carrying a package in a sort of heavy brown bag, heavier than
a grocery bag it looked to me. It was about, if I might measure, about
this long, I suppose, and he carried it in his right hand, had the top sort
of folded down and had a grip like this, and the bottom, he carried it
this way, you know, and it almost touched the ground as he carried it."
MR BALL: "And where was his hand gripping the middle of the package?"
MRS RANDLE: "No, sir; the top with just a little bit sticking up. You know, just like you
grab something like that."
MR BALL: "And he was grabbing it with his right hand at the top of the package
and the package almost touched the ground?"
MRS RANDLE: "Yes, sir." (55).
Possibly unaware of whether or not he had obtained the answer he was seeking, Mr Ball went on to another minor matter before suddenly returning to the package. He showed the replica bag to Mrs Randle and, according to the record, asked a strange question:
MR BALL: "Now, was the length of it any similar, anywhere near similar?"
MRS RANDLE: "Well, it wasn't that long, I mean it was folded down at the top as I told
you. It definitely wasn't that long."
MR BALL: "I see. You figure about two feet long, is that right?"
MRS RANDLE: "A little bit more."
MR BALL: "Is that about right? That is 28 and a half inches."
MRS RANDLE: "I measured 27 last time."
MR BALL: "You measured 27 once before?"
MRS RANDLE: "Yes, sir" (56).
At this point, perhaps satisfied that he had got Mrs Randle to increase her original estimate of the bag's length from two feet to 27 inches, Mr Ball asked a few inconsequential questions before the witness was dismissed.
Some facts about the disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano
The 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano Model 1938 (91/38) rifle found half-hidden on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository (CE 139) has an overall length of 40.2 inches. As already explained, its longest component when disassembled, the wooden stock, is 34.8 inches long (57). It follows that any paper bag in which it is carried must be longer than that. The disassembled rifle consists of 12 components and to that figure we must add such things as ammunition, an ammunition clip and the sling.
It is not a simple matter of sliding the parts of the rifle into a paper bag. My own practical experiments in this field, using a Mannlicher identical to CE 139 plus a reconstructed paper bag, are very revealing (58). The second longest individual component consists of the barrel, the trigger mechanism, the chamber, the scope, etc. All these are predominantly metal and they do not make a smooth, easily-handled item. Several parts, particularly the trigger itself, the foresight, the rearsight, the scope, the safety catch and the rear mounting screw of the tang all protrude at different angles. The length of this assembly is 29.5 inches.
The most practical way to place the disassembled Mannlicher into a suitable paper bag is to put the metal barrel assembly on top of the wooden stock and then slide them into the bag together. This is best done with the barrel pointing rearwards towards the butt plate. The smaller components (wooden top stock, metal collars, sling swivel, trigger guard and five screws) are best dealt with by placing them into a large envelope or something similar and putting that into the paper bag last. I have done this several times with a rifle identical to CE 139 plus a reconstructed paper bag (40 inches long, including a four inch flap).
Something very important results from this treatment - something which I have never seen mentioned in any published work on the Kennedy assassination. When the components of the rifle are removed from the bag, it is found that the first seven or eight inches of the stock show obvious signs of severe scoring and scratching. This is caused by the protruding parts of the barrel assembly - principally the trigger - rubbing against it as the bag is carried or moved. It does not require much imagination to work out the result if the bag has been carried a total of something like 400 metres and has undergone a car journey of 15 miles.
So what is the significance of these facts? Quite simply, no such scratches have ever been reported on the CE 139 rifle. Furthermore, they are not evident on any of the photographs taken of that rifle. To me this provides irrefutable physical evidence that the rifle was never transported in a disassembled state in a long paper bag as has been claimed by the investigative agencies and the Warren Commission!
Would Oswald have had the opportunity to make the bag?
The answer to this question is simple. No, he would not! Let us examine the facts.
Commission Exhibit 142 (or, if you prefer, CE 626 - for some unexplained reason the 'original' bag was assigned two exhibit numbers) purports to be the paper bag found by the Dallas Police in the southeast corner of the sixth floor. As we shall see, there is no dispute that it was constructed from wrapping paper and tape available at the Texas School Book Depository (59). For Lee Harvey Oswald to have brought a rifle into the building inside that paper bag it would have been necessary for him to have constructed the bag there. As we can learn from the testimony of FBI Special Agent James C Cadigan and TSBD employee Troy Eugene West, however, he had neither the time nor the opportunity to do this.
FBI Special Agent James C Cadigan
SA Cadigan was based at the Washington, DC FBI laboratory as an examiner of questioned documents. A major part of his expertise was in the field of paper. He testified before the Warren Commission as an expert witness on 3rd and 30th April 1964. On the first occasion, it was in connection with the long paper bag.
He told Assistant Counsel Melvin Aron Eisenberg that he had examined CE 142/626 (the paper bag) in the FBI laboratory on 23rd November 1963, together with samples of paper and tape obtained from the Texas School Book Depository on the day of the assassination (60). An FBI Report sent by J Edgar Hoover to Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry on 23rd November 1963 includes the paragraph: "The paper of the wrapping and the tape, Q10, were found to have the same observable physical characteristics as the known brown wrapping paper and tape, K2, from the Texas Public School Book Depository." (61). That statement obviously pertains to SA Cadigan's examination (FBI exhibit Q10 was the paper bag). Although we have the professional opinion of an accepted expert witness here, the actual significance of his conclusion is worthless if, as I surmise, the paper bag was manufactured from material in the book depository not by Oswald but by somebody else!
He also commented on a series of marks running down the centre of the tape: "I might explain that these are made by a wheel in the paper-tape dispenser ...... As you pull the operating handle that pulls the paper tape from the roll through the machine and over the wetting brush, the wheel, in the process leaves these markings on the tape." (62). As we shall see shortly, these marks are significant.
SA Cadigan goes on to throw some valuable light on why it was felt necessary to construct a replica bag. In fact, he does not wait to be asked about it - as the following exchange shows:
MR CADIGAN: "Do you want me to discuss this replica sack yet?"
MR EISENBERG: "You mentioned a replica bag?"
MR CADIGAN: "Yes."
MR EISENBERG: "Could you explain what that is?"
MR CADIGAN: "Yes; this is Commission Exhibit 364. It is a paper sack similar to
Commission Exhibit 142. It was made at the Texas School Book
Depository on December 1, 1963, by special agents of the FBI in
Dallas to show to prospective witnesses, because Commission's
Exhibit 142 was dark and stained from the latent fingerprint
treatment and they thought that this would - it wouldn't be fair to
the witness to ask "Did you see a bag like that?" So they went to
the Texas School Book Depository and constructed from paper and
tape a similar bag."
MR EISENBERG: "This was made December 1?"
MR CADIGAN: "December 1, of 1963." (63)
I am astounded at this action on the part of the FBI - and by the fact that one of their agents should openly (almost eagerly) admit what happened. In my eyes, this is tantamount to attempting to pervert the course of justice. What is the point of showing a 'replica' or 'copy' exhibit to a witness? How many similar occurrences were there during this case? How can we be certain that any of the exhibits were really what they purport to be?
SA Cadigan's explanation that the replica bag was needed because the original had been stained during its fingerprint examination does not say much for the forensic skills of those who examined it! His account of the visit to the book depository to construct the bag omits one important fact. 1st December 1963 was a Sunday - a non-working day - so they very conveniently had the place to themselves.
Another part of SA Cadigan's expert testimony concerned his opinions regarding any contents the paper bag may have ever had. This important exchange was as follows:
MR EISENBERG: "Mr Cadigan, did you notice when you looked at the bag whether
there were - that is the bag found on the sixth floor, Exhibit 142 -
whether it had any bulges or unusual creases?"
MR CADIGAN: "I was also requested at that time to examine the bag to determine
if there were any significant markings or scratches or abrasions or
anything by which it could be associated with the rifle, Commission
Exhibit 139, that is, could I find any markings that I could tie to that
MR EISENBERG: "Yes?"
MR CADIGAN: "And I couldn't find any such markings." (64).
SA Cadigan was not alone in failing to associate the rifle with the paper bag. There is no testimony or hard evidence to suggest that anybody else could. The aforementioned FBI Report (Hoover/Curry, dated 23rd November 1963) even contained the sentence: "The inside surface of specimen Q10 did not disclose markings identifiable with the rifle, K1." (Q10 was described as "Wrapping paper in shape of a large bag") (65).
An official letter from FBI Director Hoover to J Lee Rankin (General Counsel to the Warren Commission) on 20th August 1964 states, among other things, that the rifle was in a "well-oiled condition" (66). Marina Oswald testified that when they were living at 214 Neely Street, Dallas, she had seen her husband clean his rifle "about four times - about four or five times, I think" (67). Nowhere, however, was it ever reported that any oil-stains were found on the paper bag. The inference behind that is obvious!
Troy Eugene West
One of the most important facts about the paper bag is thast it could only have been made inside the book depository, at the work bench where the materials were kept. It was not possible for Oswald (or anybody else) to smuggle the materials out of the building and make the bag elsewhere. The reason for this becomes obvious with the testimony of the full-time mail wrapper employed at the Texas School Book Depository.
West gave his Warren Commission testimony before Assistant Counsel David W Belin in Dallas on 8th April 1964 (68). West explained that he was the only full-time mail-wrapper employed in the building and that his permanent place of work was at what he described as a "mail wrapping table" on the first floor. All the materials he required - wrapping paper, tape and string - were kept at this table and he never had occasion to leave it. It seems that he even made his coffee and ate his lunch at this table. As he said to Mr Belin: "I never did hardly ever leave the first floor. That is just I stayed there where all my work was, and I just stayed there."
Not even a Presidential motorcade passing the building tempted him away from it. When that happened, at 12.30pm on 22nd November 1963, West was sitting at his work table, halfway through his lunch! (69)
West explained to Mr Belin that the gummed tape was dispensed through a special machine and that the tape was automatically moistened as it was pulled through. There was only one way to obtain unmoistened tape - as would be necessary for the paper bag to have been made elsewhere.
MR BELIN: "If I wanted to pull the tape, pull off a piece without getting water on it,
would I just lift it up without going over the wet roller and get the tape
without getting it wet?"
MR WEST: "You would have to take it out. You would have to take it out of the machine.
See, it's put on there and then run through a little clamp that holds it down,
and you pull it, well, then the water, it gets water on it."
MR BELIN: "Is this an electrical machine or is it just kind of a little apparatus for just
pulling it through by hand?"
MR WEST: "Well, it is not electric, no, sir." (70).
Since we know from SA Cadigan's testimony that the tape on the original paper bag showed markings from the tape dispenser, it follows that the bag was manufactured at West's place of work. It was not a case of the materials being removed from the building and the bag being assembled somewhere else.
West's replies to Mr Belin's questions established several vital facts: he knew Oswald by sight; Oswald had never helped him to wrap mail; he was unaware that Oswald had ever borrowed or used any wrapping paper for himself; he had never seen Oswald around the wrapper rolls or the wrapper roll machines (71). Furthermore, he stated that he usually arrived at his place of work around 7.50am - earlier than was normal for Oswald (72).
It would be extremely difficult to suggest any opportunity which Lee Harvey Oswald would have had to put together a long paper bag at Troy Eugene West's table - and that task cannot have been done elsewhere.
1 Warren Commission Report, page 19 (hereafter cited as WCR 19)
2 Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits (26 Volumes), Volume 2, pages 210-245 and
Volume 7, page 531 (hereafter cited as 2H 210-245 and 7H531) (Buell Wesley Frazier)
3 2H 245-251 (Mrs Linnie Mae Randle)
4 WCR 135
5 4H 249-278 (Lieutenant John Carl Day)
6 4H 266 (Lieutenant John Carl Day)
7 Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits (26 Volumes), Commission Exhibit 729
(hereafter cited as CE 729)
8 7H 144 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
9 7H 145 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
10 WCR 79
11 6H 268 (Deputy Sheriff Roger Dean Craig)
12 7H 46 (Sergeant Gerald Lynn Hill)
13 7H 65 (Sergeant Gerald Lynn Hill)
14 7H 289 (Detective John B Hicks)
15 7H 161 (Detective Richard M Sims)
16 7H 162 (Detective Richard M Sims)
17 Sylvia Meagher: Accessories after the Fact, published by Vintage Books, New York,
1976; page 59
18 7H 103 (Detective Marvin Johnson)
19 Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits (26 Volumes), Studebaker Exhibit G
(hereafter cited as Studebaker G) (21H 647)
20 7H 104 (Detective Marvin Johnson)
21 7H 98 (Detective L D Montgomery). See also Studebaker J (Nos. 1,3 and 4 are plainly
visible but No. 2 cannot be seen. Its location must be in the dark area immediately to the
right of the dark-shaded box at top left)
22 Richard B Trask: Pictures of the Pain, published by Yeoman Press, USA, 1994; page 552
- also 13H 105 (testimony of Ira Jefferson "Jack" Beers, Jr., Dallas Morning News)
23 Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits (26 Volumes), Batchelor Exhibit No. 5002,
page 29 of exhibit (DPD Personnel Assignments, November 1963) (19H 146)
24 7H 138 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
25 Studebaker C (21H 645)
26 7H 140 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
27 Studebaker F (21H 647)
28 7H 144 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
30 7H 145 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker) also Studebaker G (21H 647)
31 7H 149 (Detective Robert Lee Studebaker)
32 2H 210 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
33 2H 222 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
34 WCR 604 (Report of Captain J.W. Fritz, Dallas Police Department), 621 (FBI report by
SA James W Bookhout, 23rd November 1963) and 626 (Report of Inspector Thomas J
Kelley, U.S. Secret Service). These apparently relate to the same interrogation/interview of
Oswald at 10.25am on 23rd November 1963
35 3H 75-76 (Mrs Ruth Hyde Paine)
36 1H 68-69 (Mrs Marina Oswald)
37 2H 224 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
38 2H 226 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
40 2H 210-211 (Preamble to Buell Wesley Frazier testimony)
41 2H 227 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
42 2H 228 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
43 CE 2003, page 26 of exhibit (Affidavit of Frazier, 22nd November 1963) (23H 209)
44 Physical measurements made by this paper's author. See also my article The Mannlicher-
Carcano - a practical experiment in its reassembly, published in The Fourth Decade,
Volume 2, No. 1, November 1994
45 CE 1981 (opening page of exhibit) (Autopsy Report - Lee Harvey Oswald) (24H 7)
46 2H 239 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
47 2H 240 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
48 7H 531 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
49 2H 234 (Buell Wesley Frazier)
50 CE 361 (Diagram showing the Texas School Book Depository and the
immediate area with relation to the parking lot used by employees)
51 6H 376 (Jack Edwin Dougherty)
52 6H 377 (Jack Edwin Dougherty)
53 6H 381 (Jack Edwin Dougherty)
54 6H 328 (William Hoyt Shelley)
55 2H 247-248 (Mrs Linnie Mae Randle)
56 2H 249-250 (Mrs Linnie Mae Randle)
57 3H 395 (SA Robert A Frazier, FBI Laboratory, Washington, DC)
58 Carried out using a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle identical to CE 139 and a large paper
bag made as closely as possible to CE 142/626. Practical demonstration given at the
meeting of the national British research group Dealey Plaza UK at Sutton Coldfield, UK
on 11th February 1996.
59 FBI Report (FBI File No. PC-78243 BX), page 4; copy held at Dallas Municipal Archives
and Records Center, Dallas
60 4H 89 (SA James C Cadigan)
61 As 59 above
62 4H 91 (SA James C Cadigan)
63 4H 93 (SA James C Cadigan) also CE 2009, page 3 of exhibit (FBI report dated December 2, 1963, of interview of Buell Wesley Frazier at Irving, Tex.) (24H 409)
64 4H 97 (SA James C Cadigan)
65 As 59 above
66 CE 2974 (Letter dated August 20, 1964, from FBI to Commission, concerning certain
information regarding assassination rifle) 26H 455
67 1H 14, also 1H 93-94, 5H 597-598 (Mrs Marina Oswald)
67 As 60 above
68 6H 356-363 (Troy Eugene West)
69 6H 361 (Troy Eugene West)
71 6H 360 (Troy Eugene West)
72 6H 357 (Troy Eugene West)
73 10H 293 (Mrs Arthur Carl Johnson)
74 10H 297 (Mrs Arthur Carl Johnson)
75 10H 302 (Arthur Carl Johnson). See also Robert S Groden: The Search for Lee Harvey
Oswald, published by Penguin Studio Books, 1995; page 97, on which the photograph at
top left shows the four adjacent windows from the outside.
76 John R Woods II: J.F.K. Assassination Photographs: A Comprehensive Listing, self-
published, 1993; pages 108-109. See also Daniel photographs 1-34 and 1-36 which show
Mrs Johnson making the bed in Oswald's room and also show a major part of the
wall in which the windows were located and the curtains hung from what appears to be
one long curtain rod.
77 Howard Roffman: Presumed Guilty, published by A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1976; page
78 Woods - see note 76 above.
79 ibid; page 10.
80 Basic information supplied by The Collector's Archive, Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
81 See note 33 above.
I would acknowledge the help so willingly given to me by fellow researchers, particularly Melanie Swift, Chris Mills and Russell Kent (members of Dealey Plaza UK) and Dr Jerry Rose (The Fourth Decade). I would also commend the research of Kathy Mulligan (Tucson, AR) and especially her self-published work The Perplexing Curtain Rods (1993). I am also grateful for expressions of support and encouragement from Harrison Edward Livingstone...
24 Walton Gardens
Essex EN9 1BL
3. "The Bag" by Tom Rossely ....from http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/forum/
http://whokilledjfk.net/ by Tom Rossely
FBI EVIDENCE TAMPERING
Bugliosi Was Wrong
Proof the FBI Changed Documents, and Vincent Bugliosi Was Wrong by Pat Speer
13 Apr 2009
In 2007, the legendary true crime writer Vincent Bugliosi released Reclaiming History, a Bible-sized book designed to answer all the questions regarding a possible conspiracy in the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, his “answers” provoked more questions. This short essay examines both the way Bugliosi dealt with one controversial matter, and the truth about this matter, as recently discovered by the author.
Although it is not mentioned in the text itself, on Reclaiming History's accompanying CD-ROM Bugliosi tackles a particularly troublesome question related to a pair of conflicting FBI reports. Intriguingly, these reports were written on the finding of a paper bag in the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), the workplace of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The Warren Commission had concluded that Oswald had made this bag from paper materials available in the shipping room of the building, (Warren Report, p. 136)and had then used this bag to carry his rifle into the building. But the Commission had failed to uncover and reveal an important problem with the purported match between the paper used to create this bag, and the paper then in use in the building. Bugliosi compounds this mistake. On page 405 of his endnotes, Bugliosi discusses this problem and offers an explanation:
In a 1980 article in Penn Jones Jr.’s conspiracy newsletter, Continuing Inquiry, critic Jack White claimed that the FBI had “sanitized” a document relating to the FBI’s examination of the paper and tape used to construct the bag found in the Depository, and hence, was part of the “cover-up” to hide the truth about the assassination. White reported that two nearly identically worded FBI documents, found by a researcher at the National Archives, offered two opposite conclusions regarding the source of the paper Oswald allegedly used to construct the bag. One version stated that paper samples obtained from the Depository shipping area on November 22 were found to have the same observable characteristics as the brown paper bag recovered from the sixth-floor sniper’s nest. A second version said that the paper samples were found “not to be identical” with the paper gun sack discovered at the scene of the shooting. (Jack White, “The Case of Q-10 or the FBI Cover-Up Is in the Bag,” Continuing Inquiry, February 22, 1980, pp.1–2)
Paper bag being carried from TSBD.
Although White crowed that the documents “cast doubt on the credibility of the official story,” and his allegations have subsequently been used by a parade of critics in many conspiracy books, magazine articles, and Internet postings as “proof ” of the FBI’s willingness to alter evidence in the Kennedy case, the two documents are no doubt examples of a misunderstanding that was cleared up by the Warren Commission in early 1964. In a March 12, 1964, letter, Warren Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to settle the two ostensibly contradictory FBI reports. Rankin wrote, “We are in doubt. Please submit a report . . . as to the tests made and the conclusions drawn.” (FBI Record 124-10045-10081, Letter from J. Lee Rankin to J. Edgar Hoover, March 12, 1964, p.1;
see also FBI Record 124-10022-10200) A week later, on March 19, Hoover responded that both reports were correct. The first report, dated January 7, 1964,
referred to samples obtained from the Depository on December 1, 1963 (nine days after the assassination). By then, the shipping department had replaced its roll of wrapping paper with a fresh roll, since the fall period was its “heavy shipping season.” Consequently, the samples obtained by the FBI in December did not match the characteristics of the paper bag found on the day of the shooting. The second report, dated January 13, 1964, related to samples taken from the Depository on November 22, the day of the assassination. These samples were found to be “similar in color to [the bag recovered from the sixth floor]” and were “similar in appearance under ultraviolet fluorescence, as well as in microscopic and all other observable physical characteristics.” However, Hoover noted that while the paper bag found on the sixth floor could have been made from the materials available at the Depository, the paper and tape did not contain any watermarks or other significant, unique, identifying features. Consequently, the paper bag could have been constructed from similar materials “obtained from many paper dealers, or from other users.” (FBI Record 124-10022-10199, Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to J. Lee Rankin, March 19, 1964, pp.1–2; see also FBI Record 124-10045-10082; CD 897, pp.157–168; CE 1965, 23 H 816)
Bugliosi's explanation is both incredibly deceptive and incredibly wrong.
This is easy to see, once you know where to look. The article to which Bugliosi refers is a February 22, 1980 essay on the probable changing of a document provided the Warren Commission as part of an 11-30-63 FBI report (see Commission Document 5, p. 129).
What Bugliosi either fails to notice or fails to tell his readers, however, is the first thing he should have noticed: the date on the document. As displayed on the cover of the 1980 article dismissed by Bugliosi, and therefore presumably read by Bugliosi, both versions of the document were dictated on 11/29/63. This date is problematic. By Bugliosi's own account, the paper samples that did not match the characteristics of the paper bag were obtained on 12-1-63. So...how can a report refer to the results of a test that has not yet been performed, on an object that has not yet been procured? It can't. One might venture then that Bugliosi's "explanation" is little more than smoke, and that he really has no clue how to refute Jack White's article.
(view the original article to see the document mentioned here).....Alternate 11/30/63 FBI report discovered in National Archives by
Gary Shaw, stating that the TSBD-furnished paper was "found
not to be identical with the paper gun case."'
Reprinted in Henry Hurt's "Reasonable Doubt."
But, if so, he's not the first to run from this issue. Although it's widely presumed the document saying the paper and bag were not identical was first discovered in 1980, it was actually found years earlier, and brought to the government's attention at a time when it could easily have been investigated. Courageously, the discoverer of this document, J. Gary Shaw, discussed the document’s existence at a 9-17-77 conference sponsored by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and suggested they interview FBI agent Vincent Drain, the author of the documents.
While the HSCA, sadly, failed to heed Shaw's request, we can still take comfort that Shaw found some outside interest, and that a series of researchers were able to ask and answer many of the questions the HSCA ignored. In 1981, researcher Ed Tatro, inspired by Jack White’s 1980 article on Shaw’s discovery, contacted the FBI seeking an explanation for the two conflicting documents. The Bureau's initial response explained nothing. In 1984, however, Tatro asked again, and this time received what is as close to an “official” explanation as we are likely to receive. As recounted by (Edgar) Tatro in an article in the January 1985 issue of The Third Decade,
the FBI’s Assistant Director of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, William Baker, offered that the document discovered by Shaw was found to be “inaccurate” upon review at FBI headquarters, and that “The Dallas office was instructed to make corrections at that time.” To the question of how Shaw was able to find an uncorrected copy in the files, Baker explained further that the FBI sent two copies of the 11-30-63 master report to the Warren Commission, one on 12-20-63 and one three days later, and that the first copy had the uncorrected copy of page 129 later discovered by Shaw. As Shaw confirmed to this writer that he found the document in the Warren Commission’s files, and not the FBI’s files, this actually makes sense.
But this explanation also raises some questions. In 1980, after the appearance of Jack White’s article in The Continuing Inquiry, journalist Earl Golz asked the supposed author of these reports, FBI agent Vincent Drain, about the two conflicting reports bearing his name. Now, if Drain’s words were consistent with Baker’s subsequent explanation, one might reasonably conclude that the “mystery” surrounding the conflicting documents had mostly been solved. As reported by Jerry Rose in the March 1985 issue of The Third Decade, however, Drain’s answers were at odds with what Baker told Tatro. While Drain, in order to align with Baker’s subsequent explanation, should have admitted something along the lines of “I screwed up, and was asked to rewrite my report” he instead “expressed shock at seeing” the documents and “said he was as ‘puzzled’ as Golz about them.” Even more problematic, in light of what Baker was to reveal, Drain “expressed certainty that the copy saying the materials tested were the same was the original document,” and speculated that the document discovered by Shaw, and subsequently acknowledged by the FBI’s Assistant Director to be the de facto original document, was a “fake.”
If Drain, who had no way of knowing what Baker was to tell Tatro, was deliberately deceiving Golz, he was at least consistent. In 1984, author Henry Hurt asked Drain about the documents a second time, and gave him a second chance to admit he’d mistakenly written an “inaccurate” report, as later claimed by Baker. But Drain once again held firm. According to Hurt, Drain responded "I am certainly as perplexed as you are" and then claimed the report saying the paper bag and paper sample had the same observable characteristics was correct. (p. 98 of Reasonable Doubt, by Henry Hurt, Henry Holt and Co., 1985). (As a conclusion that the bag and sample were not identical would have cast doubt on the "official story" holding that Oswald created the bag at his work, Drain's proposal that the correct document was the one claiming the bag and sample matched was not exactly a surprise.)
The smoking file: 12-18-63 airtel from Shanklin to HQ.
view full document page at original website).
Buried deep within the FBI’s files, however, there was a surprise. In the first part of Rose’s article in the March 1985 issue of The Third Decade he revealed that researcher Paul Hoch had uncovered a document demonstrating once and for all that Drain had indeed originally wrote that the paper sample and bag were "found not to be identical", and that this had later been changed upon orders from headquarters. This "smoking gun" document, so to speak, can be found in FBI File 105-82555, section 39, page 7. It is a 12-18-63 airtel from the Dallas Special-Agent-in-Charge, J. Gordon Shanklin back to FBI Headquarters, reporting that he is replacing page 129 of the FBI's 11-30-63 report with a different page, and is sending out additional copies of this page so that the page can be replaced in every copy of the report.
Should that document have not proved fatal to Drain’s story, however, two documents subsequently uncovered by Jerry Rose helped bury it completely. As revealed in the May 1985 issue of The Third Decade, the first of these documents, a 12-6-63 airtel from FBI Director Hoover’s office to Dallas, makes note that Drain’s report on page 129 of the 11-30-63 Report contains an “inaccurate statement” and orders the Dallas Special-Agent-in-Charge Shanklin to “handle corrections.”
The second document, from 12-11-63, is an airtel from Dallas back to Washington reporting Shanklin’s progress, and notes that the “necessary actions to correct inaccuracy” are “being taken.”
From these documents, then, one can only conclude that Drain, who’d only escorted the first day evidence from Dallas to Washington, and then flown it back, had either inaccurately represented the FBI Laboratory’s findings on an important piece of this evidence, or had accurately represented the Laboratory’s findings after a decision had been made not to do so. The former is suggested by reports and testimony claiming that the paper bag and sample had “the same observable characteristics.” The latter is suggested by the strange fact that Drain, for what would have to have been considered a monumental mistake, apparently received no reprimand, and that Hoover and Shanklin, in their correspondence on the “inaccurate statement” in Drain’s report, expressed no interest whatsoever on how he came to make such a statement.
While one could go on from here to discuss which version of Drain’s report was actually “accurate”, we’ll stop here instead and focus on the simple, unavoidable fact that the three documents just cited prove beyond any doubt that the FBI did, at least on occasion, change reports, even after they had been signed, dated, typed-up, and circulated.
For those studying U.S. history, this creates a problem. Historians, of all stripes and shapes, operate under the assumption the documents they are studying are written on the day they are dated, and are written by those signing the document. If Vincent Drain, when given the chance, had simply admitted he'd screwed up, and that his superiors had forced him to rewrite an inaccurate report, and that this was the only time this happened, perhaps we might still feel confident this holds true of FBI documents. Drain's initials, after all, appear on the revised document. But he did not. He either lied or forgot entirely about what would have to be considered a major mistake on his part. As a consequence, we are left to wonder...did the paper sample have the "same observable characteristics" as the bag, or were the paper sample and bag "found not to be identical"?
And, more importantly…what other archive documents have been re-written weeks or months after the fact, and re-inserted in the record as if they were the original documents?
We await Bugliosi’s “answer.”
Proof the FBI Changed Documents »
In a new essay entitled Proof the FBI Changed Documents, and Vincent Bugliosi Was Wrong, Pat Speer traces the history of an important finding which casts a question mark over the sanctity of the documentary record in the JFK assassination case.
The focus of the essay is a pair of FBI memos regarding tests made on a paper bag recovered from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD). In one memo, tests of paper taken from the TSBD's shipping area showed it to have "the same observable characteristics" as the paper bag, and this has been cited as evidence that Oswald fabricated the bag himself and brought the rifle into the TSBD in it.
But in 1977 researcher Gary Shaw found at the National Archives an almost identical memo, with the same date, in which tests showed the bag “not to be identical” with TSBD paper. In this essay, Speer retraces the work of Shaw and others, and finds the explanation offered by author Vincent Bugliosi to explain this discrepancy wanting. He also presents an FBI memo directing that all copies of a report featuring the "not to be identical" memo have that page replaced with the alternate version; proof that the FBI was not above altering its own reports after the fact.