jump to navigation


Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights, US Politics.

Bob Ellis recently claimed in his provocative way Lee Harvey Oswald did not have a motive to kill President Kennedy.

In this drama, as may be generally true, motivation and casual understanding for behavior it not obvious, or at least closely related to autobiography and social context.  As alleged, why did Lee Harvey Oswald attempt to kill the right wing extremist, General Edwin Walker which his wife, Marina, reported at a later date? And why, and we must say allegedly again, did he he kill Officer J D Tippett, who was responding to the suspect description given over the police radio? Why did Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Osward? Both Oswald and Ruby came from deprived emotional and material backgrounds, where at a critical phase in their development they may have deeply learnt, “you are not wanted, you are not unconditionally loved”. This was J Edgar Hoover’s opinion. Of these two protagonists in this drama, Lee Harvey Oswald is the more politically insightful and construct. He was a rarity, a person who read books and had developed political opinions. They are both making their way on the margins of society. 1960’s America was more socially inclusive than it is now. People would look out for one another and take care of strangers, as Ruth Paine, from her interest and kindness, does in taking in the pregnant Marina Oswald. There were jobs and unions – if some were corrupt and had links to the Mafia. The Depression remained a living memory.(I may be wrong in these assertions, but that is how it seems to me.)

Bob Ellis in his post alludes to the presidential assassination as a turning point. He wrote:

In fifty years no investigative historian has come up with a plausible motive for Lee Oswald to have elected, with two bullets, Lyndon Johnson President.

Of course, if Lee Harvey Oswald fired just two shots from a sixth floor of The Texas School Book Depository building (a building without lifts/elevators its seems), given the time constraints, it was very doable. With about three years in the Marines, his training would have thorough enough, and he did not need to be a top marksman. to allow him sight and fire with accuracy. He would know how to use a bolt loading rifle. I don’t think that Lee was spending time in Minsk going off each weekend to the local gun club. For the other bullets, collusion is on balance more probable as assessment of uncertainty than coincidence, as suggested by the hypothesis that there was a wayward shot from a misused secret service weapon resulting from partying and drinking by the Secret Service the night before.

The assassination of the President did change the United States and the world. Perhaps the deaths in South East Asia and Vietnam might have been avoided and the rapprochement with the Soviet Union, based on the good faith between Kennedy and Kruschev may have been extended. The military industrial complex may have restrained, allowing other constructive social priorities to develop, although the “deep secret state” would have remained in tact prior to the age of IT and the aftermath of 9/11. Whenever democratic politics is merely the shroud for the machinations of the rich and powerful, including the Mafia freed from the tyranny of the Justice Department led by a formerly determined and confident Robert Kennedy, the active components of the political system are always, and everywhere, a conspiracy against the interests of the population.

So could it be that the lone assassin hypothesis and the conspiracy theory may not be inconsistent? Lee Harvey Oswald may have acted independently for his own reasons, but in doing so he was doing so in politically changed environment. Conspiracy can explain, as it often does by inference of the particular scenes of the play and stages of the protagonists lives, and those standing off stage who, like Jack Ruby enter the fray and those that don’t. If true, the report that Jack Ruby corrected the reference to “Fair Play for Cuba” which had been made earlier during Oswald’s time in the Dallas Police Station suggest he knew Lee Harvey Oswald.

The frustrating thing about the police investigation is the failure to nail down facts. The record of the Warren Commission shows that during the hours Oswald spent at the Police Station he was interviewed five times.The interviews which extended usually for over two hours proved unproductive, and no records were kept. The Marines were in effect, his high school education, and Lee Harvey Oswald would have both learnt, and following the experience of American soldiers in Korea, been taught something about interrogation (although the Warren Commission account does not support this contention).

There are other scenes in this drama, and it is useful for analytical purposes to identify them. Firstly, there events at Dealey Plaza, including the Texas Book Depository. I don’t have knowledge about crime scene investigations, but one imagines it would be obvious to interview and record the responses of as many people who were in the Plaza and in adjoining buildings as possible, and all the employees of the Book Depository. There are related questions of the sound environment and the number of bullets fired, and the direction from which they came. The Zapruder film suggests there was a shot from the front. (There are different accounts.)

The Second Scene then unfolds. Lee Harvey Oswald leaves his work (was he the only one?), goes back to his boarding house, and does not appear to be in a desperate hurry allowing somebody to get in a taxi before him, and then he is reported leaving at 12 noon before meeting and as reported murdering Police Officer Tippit. He then enters the movie theatre, without paying and jumping over the turnstile. This attracts a large police presence of fourteen squad cars. Who knows whether a more patient and deliberative arrest process might produced the same result with more concrete evidence. Perhaps it would have been possible to identify the suspect was the person without a ticket.

The Third Scene relates to the events at the police station, including the interviews and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Why were the television cameras and commentators, and Jack Ruby allowed access. What was the role played by the FBI, and in particular its political head, J Edgar Hoover, who was caught on tape discussing the membership of the Warren Commission with President Johnson.

J Edgar Hoover gives a good account of events. There were some good men, but that links to Scene Five. “The angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble”. So there are players and scenes occurring off the main stage. “Ruberstein has a lawyer from the West Coast. He is a shyster.” He should have moved Oswald at night, J Edgar Hoover says in relation to the Dallas Police Chief – perhaps a notable statement given the involvement of the FBI in he questioning and charging of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Lee Harvey Oswald made his own statements, including his claim he was “a Patsy”. His calmness was remarkable. He said the following in the corridor as captured by the television cameras and retained by You Tube:

“I Know nothing about this situation. I would like to have legal representation. (Responding again to a press question) Well I was questioned by a judge, however I was not allowed legal representation during that very short and sweet hearing. I really don’t know what the situation is about. Nobody had told me anything. I am accused of murdering a policeman. I know nothing more that that and I do request someone to come forward to give me a legal assistance.

Question: Did you kill the President. No. I have not been charged with that. Nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I knew about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question.”

Lee Harvey Oswald was given the opportunity to call John Abt in New York, but he had gone on holiday, and said he would not have been available anyway. He was visited by the head of the Dallas “Law Society”. The ACLU offered help but the police said it was unnecessary. So much for the concept of innocent until proven guilty.

Scene Four occurs at Parkland Hospital, in which the surgeons identify JFK’s throat bullet wound as an entry, rather than an exit. wound. Soon after, the body is transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.

As mentioned Scene Five includes the organization of the Warren Commission by the newly installed President Johnson. LBJ has demonstrates some political skills in this exercise. The following  video includes a final segments from a 1964 BBC Special:

Whatever Senator Russell knew about the doings of the CIA he learnt from his chairmanship of the Senate Committee in relation to the Kennedy Assassination he carried to his grave. He was the Warren Commission dissenter.

According to this testimony , J Edgar Hoover invested in the single assassin hypothesis and did not allow the possibility of any alternative explanation. Conspiracy theorizing does not require too much incentives to be framed as explanations, particularly if the evidence is not complete, including for instance, the autopsy reports.

There is a time line of events from Answer.Com:

Nov 22, 1963

11:10 a.m. — After staying overnight in Fort Worth, Kennedy leaves Carswell AFB onboard Air Force One to fly to Love Field in Dallas.
11:30 a.m. — The presidential motorcade leaves Love Field.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — The motorcade follows a route through Dallas, during which the president stops the car several times to talk to citizens who approach his limousine.
12:30 p.m. — President Kennedy is shot and taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
1:00 p.m. — President Kennedy is pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital.
1:08 p.m. — Officer J.D. Tippit calls in to the police dispatch. By 1:16 p.m., he is dead.
1:22 p.m. — A rifle is found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.
1:55 p.m. — Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff for the murder of Officer Tippit.
2:04 p.m. — John F. Kennedy’s body leaves Parkland Hospital and is taken to Love Field to be carried to Washington, D.C. on board Air Force One.
2:25 p.m. — Lee Harvey Oswald is interrogated for more than an hour and a half, taken to a lineup, interrogated for another hour and forty-five minutes, taken to another lineup, then a third lineup, then interrogated again. At 11:00 p.m., there is a fourth interrogation by an FBI agent.
7:05 p.m. — Oswald is charged with the murder of Officer Tippit.
11:26 p.m. — Oswald is charged with the murder of President Kennedy.
Nov 23, 1963

10:30 a.m. — A fourth interrogation lasts for two hours and forty minutes.
1:10 p.m. — During the day, Oswald speaks with family and friends.
5:30 p.m. — Oswald speaks to H. Louis Nichols, President of the Dallas Bar Association, for five minutes.

Nov 24, 1963

9:30 a.m. — A fifth interrogation.
11:21 a.m. — Jack Ruby shoots Oswald during a transfer from the Dallas Police Department to the County Jail. Jack Ruby died in prison on Mar 1, 1967.

There were phases in the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, who had turned twenty-four on the 18th of October. Firstly, his mother denied he had an especially deprived childhood, although his father had died before he was born. The Warren Commission (Appendix 13) provided a detailed biography of his early life, his schooling, his time in the Marines, the time spent in Russia and his return to the US.

Norman Mailer had written Oswald’s Tale. Mailer had said in an interview he was 75% confident Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Oswald lives on like a ghost after his death, according to Norman Mailer.

It is easy to see Jack Ruby’s action as a mob hit. He seems to have the links with the mob. His business depended on them. He had close and corrupt links with the Dallas police. The documentary that runs for over 45 minutes has the merit of putting forward conflicting accounts of the events of 22 November 1963:

Technically Lee Harvey Oswald remains, I believe a suspect. True he was charged by the Police for the murders of J D Tibbit and John F Kennedy. He is innocent until proven guilty in court, and even then as occurred with Jack Ruby the verdict could be overridden by a higher court.

One of the issues that emerged from the Presidential Commission and the Congressional Commission is the fact that the CIA on its own volition choose to withhold evidence. The “Secret State” in the age of the internet has acquired more discretion with respect to privacy, and by inference the ability to surreptitiously the power to leak and destroy reputations. Inevitably this power will be, and probably has been used, and yet the complaint is that secrecy of illegally acquired information is necessary for national security. The Australian Attorney-General recently described Edward Snowden as a “traitor”.

Of course, had Lee Harvey Oswald been acquainted with example of Martin Luther King the world might have changed in more positive ways. But MLK, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy had to be assassinated in turn. Or so it might seem. Violence led to greater violence. For some, it is a result of the search for material outcomes in conformity to system parameters and egotistical unreality with incidental cruelty for the many. For others, a fundamental failure and disbelief in what human is, and what human beings are capable of when the apply themselves.

If Lee Harvey Oswald shot John Kennedy then others were quick to benefit and it had long term repercussions. While he denied it, and he was not subject to the scurtiny of the judicial process, Oswald may also have killed Police Officer JD Tippit which is equally grevious a crime. The Rule of Law makes not distinction between the one person and another, despite the magnitude of the apparent consequences. When Officer Tippit hugged his son, before going on duty, he was conscious of the danger of his job, which is consequential for any society.


Inevitably, I suppose, I got some facts wrong. There were elevators in the Texas Book Depository. Three shots were counted by a person on the fifth floor of the building. According to the timing of the Zapruder Film this took eight seconds.

Then their is the question of when and how Lee Harvey Oswald entered the Texas Theater. There is one witness who says that Lee Harvey Oswald “slipped in” with specific times. Different eye witnesses give different accounts.

Lee Harvey Oswald was denied a trial and legal representation – so there was no judicial testing of the evidence. This mock trial is favorable to Oswald, but other investigation including the Mexico City appearance might not have been.

The case for the Conspiracy is conducted by author and Kennedy assassination expert and author, Robert Groden. (Look at the second video. There are four shots.)

Fifty years later what is changed. I suggest the Snowden revelations make people more aware of the deep secret state and its’ dangers – although that awareness does not have reached Australia, and if it has it has not reached the Attorney-General, who like all others that occupy the office are there political nominations. This 1966 interview between William Buckley and author and lawyer, Mark Lane is interesting.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: