Myth 4: A second gunman shot Kennedy from the grassy knoll
Bugliosi claims there “is no substantive evidence that any shot was fired from the grassy knoll” but he is totally wrong. In fact, as we saw with 'Myth 3' (previous blog) if we take Jackie's actions and account for them as genuine (as seen in frame 313 of the Zapruder film) there is no wiggle room other than there had to be a second gunman. No other explanation accounts for a piece of JFK's skull being sent hurtling backwards over the limo trunk with Jackie in pursuit. Such a dynamic effect would never have come from a rear (to the limo) shot.
Indeed, the ONLY full governmental investigation (remember the Warren Commission was organized at the behest of LBJ, not congress!) by the House Select Committee on Assassination, concluded there was a 95% probability of two gunmen, one of which fired exactly from the grassy knoll based on the careful analysis of echograms from impulses retrieved off a dictabelt recording by Dr. James E. Barger and Mark Weiss. This original work was also later fully reinforced by the paper 'Echo Correlation Analysis and The Acoustic Evidence in the JFK Assassination Revisited' by D.B. Thomas, published in 'Science and Justice' , 2001, (Vol. 41, pp. 21-32)
Though the FBI, and a percussionist (Steve Barber, using a recording from a Gallery magazine) and the NSA under a team by Dr. Norman Ramsey, all attempted to refute the acoustic findings their efforts were basically for naught. A key impediment to the analysis of the latter was that: a) the team was not compromised of acoustic experts, and b) their conclusions could not be confirmed, nor did they offer any basis by which the results might be replicated - a necessary condition of good science.
On the other hand, the paper by D.B. Thomas went over all the acoustic data with much more refined analysis and arrived at the conclusion that the Barger-Weiss team was correct, and there were at least 4 shots as indicated by the telltale impulses, two of which were spaced 1.66 seconds apart .
Lastly, analysis of the Nix film as well as a print taken at the instant of the head shot by Mary Moorman, shows the face and figure outline of the grassy knoll shooter, now nicknamed “badge man” because a police uniform and badge stand out after the image is computer enhanced. Most of the work on this was due to photo-optic and film specialists Jack White and Gary Shaw. Their astounding results are visibly evident in the excellent Nigel Turner BBC documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy, Part 6. When witness Tom Arnold was presented with a photographic blowup of the enhanced image, he studied it, quickly perceived his own outline in the photo and also that of the shooter. At that point, he broke down and had to stop the interview. He added that if he had known in advance what he would be shown, he’d not have consented to the interview.
Bugliosi’s other claim in connection with this myth, that “the knoll would have been within view of all the people coming down Elm Street” is just factually wrong. Mark Lane’s video documentary- Rush to Judgment- wherein he actually walks from Elm Street to behind the picket fence on the knoll with S.M. Holland, clearly contradicts Bugliosi. The fence (at that time) is easily taller than either of the two men, and one could certainly crouch down and not be seen. If the prospective shooter wore a police uniform (or even a suit), he’d have the perfect camouflage and no one would ask questions. If they did, a response like “Security!” would trigger an instant backoff
We also know several Secret Service Commission books (equivalent to IDs) were stolen the night before and anyone operating behind the picket fence could have thenproduced one or more as cover, even if observed by a curious person. Hence, even if someone had observed anyone near or behind the fence, the encounter would be easily neutralized.
Myth 5: Oswald was timid and easily manipulated by the CIA or the Mob
Here, Bugliosi seems to be oblivious to the well-known CIA process of “sheep dipping”. 'Sheep-dipping' is a code word employed by the CIA to refer to the manipulation of a 'sponsor'(decoy) to be used in one or more covert operations. The goal of the manipulation is generally to associate with the sponsor some image, to enable the more ready belief later, that the decoy is solely responsible for a given course of action, including one leading to executive action (assassination of a head of state). In Oswald’s case, the sheep-dipping would have been initiated years in advance from the time of his fake defection (in the CIA’s Fake Defector Program). Thereafter, bogus communications and even body doubles would have been employed to advance and consolidate the ruse.
Military Science Professor John Newman gives the best documented instance in the case of an Athens, TX cattleman, Eldon Hensen, while attempting to make contact with the Cuban Embassy in July, 1963 (Newman,: 1995, Oswald and the CIA, Carroll & Graf Publishers, pp. 362-63.) According to Newman (ibid.):"What the CIA Station in Mexico City did to Eldon Hensen in July, 1963 was to 'step into' his reality and direct it in a way designed to achieve the Agency's objectives- in this instance to see what he was up to.
This CIA capability, to surreptitiously enter into someone's life to control or manipulate it, was made possible in this case by the telephone taps."
Henson isn’t the only example, and author James Douglass (JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, 2007, Orbis, p. 266.) also shows that Thomas Arthur Vallee, who was to have been the Chicago assassin for Kennedy’s proposed visit on Nov. 2, 1963, was also sheep-dipped, and likely selected for patsy-hood using a false defector program that the ONI set up in 1959. Had JFK traveled to Chicago, we’d likely only have heard of Vallee and never known a Lee Harvey Oswald. Vallee and Oswald were simply interchangeable pieces on the CIA’s chess board for executive action, yet Bugliosi professes not to have a single clue about it. Incredible then, how in 1,518 main pages, and over a thousand endnote-footnote others, he couldn't muster evidence that Douglass could in a book less than one third the size of Bugliosi's!
Frankly, if I needed a research assistant, and with this monumental display of inefficiency, Vince Bugliosi would be the last one I'd ask for!
Myth 6: Jack Ruby was working for the Mob when he killed Oswald
Here Bugliosi evinces just plain, unfathomable ignorance. An ignorance that might have been even mildly remedied had he simply been energized enough to try to locate the relevant, documented FBI files on Ruby’s past connections. But clearly it was too much trouble, or he realized finding such threatened to subvert his propaganda piece, so he elected to just write them off.
Mark North, using actual FBI files, documents many of Ruby’s Mob connections in his book, Act of Treason- including his reported “gangster connections in Dallas”, especially to Joseph Civello, the Mafia boss in Dallas The same files disclose that Ruby, on October 26, 1963, “placed a 12 minute person to person call to Irwin S. Weiner at Weiner’s Chicago home”.
It is further noted that Weiner was a “prominent Chicago Mafia associate” and “instrumental in coordinating the flow of cash between the Teamsters and Las Vegas casinos." (North, op. cit., pp. 333-34).
Of course, it is more than possible that Bugliosi’s Myth 6 is conveniently founded on “what the meaning of ‘is’ is”. That is, in restricting the definition of “working for” to a fully vested worker, as opposed to a contractor- temporary operative. This pseudo-difference also emerged in connection with Clay Shaw in New Orleans, and whether he worked for the CIA or not. Years after the (Jim) Garrison trial, with release of files, it would become evident that Shaw was indeed a CIA Contract Agent.
As CIA Doc. (JFK 1993: 6.28.16.07.26.560280) notes:
"A memorandum marked for files says that J. Monroe Sullivan, #280201, was granted a covert security approval as of 10 December 1962 so he could be used in Project QKCHANT [Clay L. Shaw has #402897]"
Was Shaw therefore “working for the CIA”? Well, if one is a word purist or pedant he’d likely say ‘No’, disavowing all contract agents (which likely would also negate Lee Oswald as a contract agent for the FBI or ONI despite his having operative numbers). However, I find these distinctions purely artificial, and to all intents, counterproductive. If one is a contract agent- then he or she is assuredly working for the agency that hired him or her as a contractor. Splitting hairs over these semantic nuances is a sterile game in the end, and a fool’s errand.
In the same way, whether Ruby worked for the Mob in the 50s, and was (by 1963) merely possessed of “Mob connections” – is neither here nor there. As a former Mob operative (for Santos Trafficante) in the 50s, gun-running into Cuba, all that was required for his operational re-emergence in late 1963 was an outstanding liability, with which he could be assisted.
Such a liability might well have been his outstanding owing of more than $40,000 in back excise taxes to the federal government, plus $20,000 in other back taxes. A phone call could then have assured Ruby his tax problems would “disappear” if he performed one more job: offing Oswald. (Particularly critical since Carlos Marcello – New Orleans Mob boss- was involved in at least one contract offer that Hoover knew about since September, 1962 – hence North’s insistence Hoover was guilty of treason. Eliminating Oswald would make even the more remote Marcello connections go away.)
Is Bugliosi’s book believable? Credible? Sure, if one has consciously ignored the multifold aspects of the assassination, and not ascertained the connections between all the players. Or, if one is a Hollywood-ish dilettante and looking for a new "gig" for the 50th anniversary of the assassination, and fancies that a monstrous tome of 2,646 pages is all that's needed to convince people (and himself) that history is "reclaimed". But those of us who have actually done the work, our own investigations, such as those I disclose in the Appendices of my book, will not be swayed.
The sad truth is that any major HBO series produced by Hanks and his Playtone buddy Goetzman, will merely add to the ambiguity and distortion matrix that’s prevented us from arriving at the truth for more than four decades. In the final analysis, all Bugliosi has succeeded in achieving is adding another layer of protective cover for those behind the “Unspeakable”. Sadly, Hanks and Goetzman will have been his accomplices if their specious series is televised. And no, Mr. Hanks, it will not "upset conspiracy types" so much as disappoint those of us who had taken you for a sincere truth-seeker, as opposed to a poseur and CIA media asset - like Max Holland.
Next: Bugliosi's Other Errors of History, Fact and Science.