Kennedy Assassination

Kennedy Assassination

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What Physics Reveals About the JFK Assassination

When dressmaker Abraham Zapruder brought his camera to see President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade pass through Dealey Plaza in Dallas on November 22, 1963, he could never have suspected that he’d witness anassassination—or that his home movie would become one of the most watched more

The Fascinating Stories Behind 8 Famous Photos

1. “Migrant Mother,” 1936, California In 1936, photographer Dorothea Lange shot this image of a destitute woman, 32-year-old Florence Owens, with an infant and two other of her seven children at a pea-pickers camp in Nipomo, California. Lange took the photo, which came to be more

Lee Harvey Oswald: Plan, Chaos or Conspiracy?

While the police converged on the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas and doctors at Parkland Hospital began working on the mortally wounded President in Emergency Room No. 1, Lee Harvey Oswald was briskly walking the seven blocks from the depository to the bus stop at Elm more

JFK: Final 100 Days

Against the backdrop of fear and apprehension over the spread of communism, the Kennedy administration was constantly preoccupied with how to maintain U.S. power and avoid the catastrophic consequences that would follow from nuclear conflict. In the wake of the Cuban Missile more

What happened to the Zapruder film?

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder shot what has become the most famous home movie of all time: a chilling 26-second snippet of film depicting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Russian-born Zapruder was a clothing manufacturer whose office sat across the more

9 Things You May Not Know About the Warren Commission

1. Some members of the Commission were reluctant to serve on it.Lyndon Johnson initially resisted the idea of forming a federal commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination, preferring to allow the state of Texas to review what he called a “local killing.” But after more

The Other Victims of the JFK Assassination

1. The PoliticianBorn on a farm, John Connally earned both an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Texas prior to serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He got his political start as a legislative assistant to then-Representative Lyndon B. Johnson and later more

Jack Ruby

On November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby (1911-1967), a 52-year-old Dallas nightclub operator, stunned America when he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), the accused assassin of President John Kennedy (1917-1963). Two days earlier, on November 22, Kennedy was fatally shot more

Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald

At 12:20 p.m., in the basement of the Dallas police station, Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, is shot to death by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. On November 22, President Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in an open-car motorcade more

Jack Ruby dies before second trial

On January 3, 1967, Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled more

JFK buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Three days after his assassination in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy is laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was shot to death while riding in an open-car motorcade with his wife and more

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas more

Warren Commission report delivered to President Johnson

On September 24, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson receives a special commission’s report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which had occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Since the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed by a man named Jack Ruby more

LBJ forms commission to investigate Kennedy assassination

On November 29, 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints a special commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which had occurred a week earlier, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. According to his memoirs and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, more

JFK’s body moved to permanent gravesite

On March 14, the body of President John F. Kennedy is moved to a spot just a few feet away from its original interment site at Arlington National Cemetery. The slain president had been assassinated more than three years earlier, on November 22, 1963. Although JFK never specified more

JFK memorial album sets record for sales

On December 12, 1963, a vinyl long-playing record (“LP”) called John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Memorial Album sets a record for album sales. A total of 4 million copies sold in the first six days of its release. The album, released on the Premier label, included recordings of some of more

Earl Warren

Earl Warren (1891-1974) was a prominent 20th century leader of American politics and law. Elected California governor in 1942, Warren secured major reform legislation during his three terms in office. After failing to claim the Republican nomination for the presidency, he was more

Warren Commission

A week after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, his successor, Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973), established a commission to investigate Kennedy’s death. After a nearly yearlong investigation, the commission, led by Chief Justice Earl more

6. USS Ranger (CV 4)

When America was down to one carrier in the South Pacific in 1942, re-deploying America’s first purpose-built carrier, the USS Ranger (CV 4) was not considered as an option.

That tells you something about the ship. Her combat career was relatively brief, and she eventually was relegated to training duties. Still, she had a decent air group (mostly fighters and dive-bombers), so she is the best of this bad lot.

USS Ranger (CV 4) at sea. (US Navy photo)

Kennedy Assassination

On November 21, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy left Washington, D.C., for Texas to attend several official functions, to present his administration's views in personal speeches, and to help reunify the conservative and liberal wings of the Democratic party in Texas. He first flew to San Antonio to join Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson in dedicating the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, attended a testimonial dinner in Houston for United States representative Albert Thomas, and flew to Fort Worth to spend the night. On the morning of November 22 he addressed a breakfast sponsored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, flew to Dallas, and began a motorcade trip in an open car with his wife, Governor John B. Connally, and the governor's wife through town toward the Dallas Trade Mart, where Kennedy was to speak at a luncheon. At 12:30 P.M., as the car started down the Elm Street hill leading beneath a railroad overpass in Dealey Plaza, several shots were fired, and Kennedy and Connally were hit. They were rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where the president was pronounced dead at 1:00 P.M. from wounds in the neck and head. Connally, wounded in the back, wrist, and thigh, recovered. At 2:38 P.M. Johnson was sworn in as president by United States district judge Sarah T. Hughes at Love Field on the plane that returned Kennedy's body to Washington that evening.

Between 1:45 and 2:00 P.M. of the same day, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in the Texas Theatre in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and charged with the murder of policemen J. D. Tippit. On November 23 Oswald was charged with murdering Kennedy with a rifle fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. On November 24 Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas lounge operator, in the basement of the city jail while being transferred to the county jail. Ruby was indicted for murder on November 26, 1963, and was convicted on March 14, 1964. The conviction was appealed, and in November, 1966, a new trial with a change of venue was ordered. Ruby died on January 3, 1967, before the second trial could begin.

On November 29, 1963, President Johnson established the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, also known as the Warren Commission, which consisted of seven men representing the United States Supreme Court, Senate, House of Representatives, the public, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the commission met first on December 5, 1963, and submitted its multivolume report on September 24, 1964. From the moment of publication the report was both criticized and defended vigorously. Hundreds of books and articles have been written on the subject. Skeptics are critical of the commission's inquiry or offer alternate theories about the circumstances and events connected with the assassination. Conversely, many defenders of the Warren report have debunked a number of conspiracy theories. Although the commission concluded that Oswald acted alone, they also noted that it was impossible to prove conclusively that no conspiracy existed. In February 1975, Congressman Henry B. Gonzales introduced House Resolution 204 to convene a House select committee to reexamine the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The committee, which met several times between 1977 and 1979, concluded in its final report (July 1979) that JFK "was probably killed as the result of a conspiracy" but admitted that "the Committee was unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy." In 1992, as a result of increased public interest in the assassination, a law was passed ordering the further release of classified documents relating to the assassination. In September 1993 President William J. Clinton named a board to review those documents.

JFK's Assassination Video Was Kept From The Public For 12 Years. Here's What We Saw When It Aired.

Abraham Zapruder made the short trip from his house to Dealey Plaza in Dallas exactly 50 years ago on Friday, hoping to use his newfangled 8mm camera to film President John F. Kennedy as his motorcade passed through town. What the women's sportswear designer captured instead would be the tragic death of a man whom he admired, playing out on 486 frames over the course of just under 27 seconds.

The clip above would come to shape the ensuing evaluation and controversy over Kennedy's untimely death. While it wasn't the only recording of the episode, the Zapruder film was used as a centerpiece of the Warren Commission, an investigation mounted by President Lyndon B. Johnson to determine the details of his predecessor's killing. Using the film and a trove of other evidence and testimony, officials determined in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in the assassination.

But even after the controversial conclusion, the complete version of the Zapruder film remained shielded from the public for another 11 years, until 1975, when it aired live on ABC's Good Night America, then hosted by Geraldo Rivera:


The assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22nd in 1963 shocked, saddened, and bewildered American children. Girls and boys of all ages watched the funeral broadcast on television—including those who lived abroad during the 1960s. For many children, seeing their distraught parents and other adults in mourning undermined their sense of security. The meanings that Kennedy’s assassination had on a seven-year-old American girl can be gleaned from her elementary school essay.

Children’s cultural productions (whether written or drawn) present researchers with opportunities as well as obstacles to eliciting their understanding of past events. Even a handwritten source like this one cannot provide a thoroughly unmediated understanding of the assassination’s meanings to her. Although a descriptive source that recounts an occurrence, it is not necessarily free of partiality. (Consider, for instance, the ways in which she weaves the everyday lessons imparted by adults to children into her history.) In order to achieve an understanding of the past that is as precise as possible using a source like this, interrogate or "unpack" it by subjecting it to questions about authorship, audience, purpose, content, context, reliability, and meanings.

In what ways was this youngster struggling to make sense of the narrative of events surrounding the assignation? What events in her recounting of the past were based in fact and which were influenced by her imagination? What genres and rhetorical strategies familiar to a child might have influenced the narrative structure of her story? As with adults, reading informs writing. Also consider the issue of motivation. What difference might it have made if the child had been inspired to write this for herself rather than for to satisfy her teacher’s civic literacy assignment?

"Kenady's life," Unpublished manuscript, 1963, private collection.


In 1960 Kennedy was elected. He is a very good president. One day as he was going home from some place with the governor and his wife and the driver, Kennedy was told someone would do something now or later if we went in a[n] open car. But Kennedy wanted to be with his people. Someone shot [from] the top of a house. He shot at the governor and Kennedy. He left the gun and ran down the stairs as quick as a mouse. A policeman tried to catch him but the man shot him dead.

Now everyone new. They rushed to get him to the hospital but it was to late. He was dead. Mrs. Kennedy flew back to Washington D.C. By then the man got into the movies. But the policemen got him because he was standing up

The man’s name was Oswald. They took him to a place to ask him questions. On their way back a man named Ruby shot Oswald dead. They got hold of the man and took him to prison.

The Umbrella Man was a man named Louie Steven Witt.

Witt says he was at Dealey Plaza the day of JFK's assassination in 1963, with the intention of heckling Kennedy, not killing him. His umbrella, a curious accessory choice for a sunny day, was apparently intended as a reference to JFK's father Joseph, who supported British politician Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain, who often carried a black umbrella, was known for his policy of appeasement toward Hitler.

"Someone had mentioned that the umbrella was a sore spot with the Kennedy family," Witt said. "Being a conservative-type fellow, I sort of placed him in the liberal camp and I was just going to do a little heckling."

If JFK Lived: 5 Ways History Would Change

John F. Kennedy surviving his assassination has always been an irresistible twist for authors of alternate histories. Some of the best writers of the past 50 years have tackled this plot device since that fateful day in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Some are fanciful, such as the 1992 short story collection "Alternate Kennedys," which sent the clan to Hollywood. Others take a serious turn, reversing the 1960s' amazing progress in civil rights.

Here are five intriguing ways history may have changed if Kennedy had survived the assassination attempt, or if gunman Lee Harvey Oswald had never taken the shot.

1. The 1964 election

What if JFK had lived through the assassination attempt on Nov. 22, 1963? There may never have been a Warren Commission to investigate the crime, and the wealth of conspiracy theories that followed may have never arisen. But there would have still been investigations. [The 10 Wildest Conspiracy Theories]

And in the alternate history presented in Bryce Zabel's novel, "Surrounded by Enemies: What If Kennedy Survived Dallas?" (Publish Green, 2013), those investigations threaten Kennedy's ability to win re-election by revealing his personal and political secrets. Those include his affairs and ties to the mob. In Zabel's novel, the revelations trigger an impeachment battle.

Tensions were already escalating in Vietnam in 1963. Just a few months before Kennedy was killed, he supported a coup that ended with the death of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem. In the documentary film project "Virtual JFK," historians suggest Kennedy would have pulled out of Vietnam, resisting pressure to escalate the war.

Even so, after Kennedy's death, his brother Robert told reporters that JFK had no intention of pulling out of Vietnam historians, as well, aren't sure how the Vietnam War would have concluded with Kennedy in charge.

3. Civil rights

Historians describe the trouble Kennedy would have faced in building consensus in Congress had he continued on for another term. Rather, Lyndon B. Johnson gets credit for pushing through the landmark civil rights and poverty-busting legislation of the 1960s. In the novel "11/22/1963" (Gallery Books, 2012), by Stephen King, a high-school English teacher travels through a time portal to foil Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination attempt. When the time traveler returns to the present, he discovers the 1964 Civil Rights Act never passed.

4. The Cold War

John F. Kennedy won election by preying on fears of nuclear war, some have argued. But just before his death, the president pushed for a limited ban on nuclear weapons. In the book "If Kennedy Lived: An Alternate History" (Putnam Adult, 2013), by Jeff Greenfield, the author suggests Kennedy would have worked with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to reduce the world's nuclear weapons arsenal.

5. The space program

Would there be people on Mars by now if Kennedy had lived beyond 1963? In the science fiction novel "Voyage" (Harper Collins, 2011), by Stephen Baxter, the United States lands people on Mars in 1986, after Kennedy survives his assassination attempt. But JFK only serves as inspiration &mdash it's Nixon who approves the Mars mission. Another twist: All of the Apollo missions beyond Apollo 14 were cancelled. Historians have focused more on the outcome of the lunar program than a possible Mars launch had Kennedy lived. A few think the budding détente between Kennedy and Khrushchev could have even lead to a joint space program.

Some believe the effort was far less sophisticated than a federal conspiracy, but carried out by a group of rogue Cuban exiles who saw the failed Bay of Pigs invasion as sufficient evidence that Kennedy was unfit as president.

Between 1959, when the Cuban Revolution brought Castro to power, and Kennedy's assassination in 1963, his popularity among exiles had eroded considerably. In October of 1963, anti-Castro Cubans met with right-wing Americans to discuss frustrations with Kennedy.

Theorists speculate the meeting may have been a tipping point for the assassination a month later.

History Lesson: Guns of the JFK Assassination

— Arlen Specter, lawyer for the Warren Commission, 1964.

This is certain to be a very controversial subject, so let’s begin with the official, U.S. government conclusion regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. No, not the infamous and highly flawed, Warren Commission Report of 1964, but the official findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) on July 17, 1979, which formally overturned, invalidated, and replaced the bogus, Warren Commission findings. But, how many of us were ever told that? The news media did everything possible to bury that story.

The HSCA very clearly stated that, “The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy. organized crime. individual members may have been involved. four shots were fired. three gunmen fired.” So, that’s our own government’s (U.S. House of Representatives) latest, official word on this subject. Let’s at least give them credit for finally telling a very small part of the truth.

That being the case, there is really no such thing as a “conspiracy theory” in the JFK assassination case, because the government has already admitted that conspiracy was a fact, not a theory, an opinion, or speculation. The only remaining questions are, who else was involved, and how deeply did it all run? More than 2,500 books have been written on this sensitive subject, but none of them have covered it in the clear and definitive detail that the American public would like to see.

This article will focus exclusively on the firearms aspect of the assassination, including the direct, physical evidence of shots fired, shell casings and bullets recovered, weapons recovered, ricochet marks on pavement, and the testimony of alleged participants, in a detailed effort to reconstruct what really happened on that fateful day in Dallas, Texas, 57 years ago. Fortunately, Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder filmed the entire, gruesome assassination sequence from nearby with an 8mm Bell and Howell movie camera at 18.3 frames per second, in full color, and that film still exists.

Shot #1: Between Zapruder Frames Z152 and Z155, a shot misses and ricochets off the street behind the presidential limousine, causing sparks. Kennedy hears it and turns his head about 65 to 90 degrees to the right, directly toward the Grassy Knoll area ahead, by Frame Z160.

Shot #2: JFK is apparently hit in the throat at Frame Z189 from a frontal direction, and his hands move up to the front of his throat, as if he is choking. Emergency room doctors at Parkland Hospital, including Doctor Charles Crenshaw, later observe a clean, 3mm-to-5mm, puckered, entry wound. The president stiffens, he cannot talk, and can barely move, as if suddenly paralyzed, and his wife, Jackie, seated beside him to the left, said that there was “No blood or anything.” There was also no gunfire sound, and no rearward movement of his body consistent with a frontal, bullet impact, so this was extremely unusual. Doctor Crenshaw later wrote, “It was a bullet entry wound. There was no doubt in my mind.”

Shot #3: At Frame Z225, JFK is hit in the upper back from behind, and his body visibly lurches forward on the Zapruder film. Directly in front of him, Governor John Connally reacts to the impact behind him, and he flips his hat at Frames Z228-Z230. This was likely a defective round, or “dud” bullet, because it only penetrated the president’s back finger-deep, doing very little damage, and it was never recovered.

Shot #4: From the western end of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) at Frame Z237, Governor Connally is hit in the back, near his right arm. His shoulder suddenly drops on film, and he turns to look behind him.

Shot #5: At Frame Z312, from the direction of the Dal-Tex Building directly behind him, JFK is hit in the upper back of the head at a low angle by a grazing shot that apparently does not penetrate his skull, causing his head to momentarily snap forward about two and half inches. The bullet continued straight ahead, tumbled 180 degrees, and badly dented the top of the inner windshield frame of the limousine base-first, preserving the bullet tip. The smashed fragments of this bullet were recovered inside the vehicle as Commission Exhibit 567, clearly showing a pointed nose, like a .30-06 bullet, and not a rounded nose, like a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano bullet. Some later photos of CE 567 do not show the pointed tip, but it’s quite evident in the early photos.

Shot #6: From the Grassy Knoll at Frame Z313, a mere 1/18th of a second later, the president is hit in the right temple by a very-high-velocity shot, causing his head to snap violently toward the left rear, away from the Grassy Knoll, as his brain literally explodes in what is clearly the fatal shot. Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” and the president’s head was flung roughly backward at the rate of 100 feet per second, or 68 miles per hour, in that split-second. Motorcycle policeman Bobby Hargis, riding behind the limousine to the left rear, is sprayed so hard with JFK’s blood and brain tissue that he thinks that he himself has been hit, and stops his motorcycle.

Shot #7: Later, FBI Agent Robert Barrett, policeman J.W. Foster, and Detective Edward “Buddy” Walthers together recover a fired, .45 ACP pistol bullet near a manhole cover on Dealey Plaza, right beside the motorcade route.

Shot #8: Another shot misses the limousine, hits a curb near the underpass ahead, and ricochets fragments onto the cheek of bystander James T. Tague.

Shot #9: Yet another shot gouges a four-inch-long mark in the sidewalk on Elm Street, from the western end of the TSBD. Five eyewitnesses saw this strike occur. That section of curb was hastily repaired by the FBI, who said that it could not have come from the alleged, Lee Harvey Oswald window at the eastern end of the TSBD.

Shot #10: One witness saw a bullet hole in the Stemmons Freeway sign directly beside the shooting zone. This sign was hastily removed afterward, and was never replaced. Richard Bothun Photo #4, in black and white, shows what could possibly be a bullet hole in the lower corner of the sign, nearest to the street.

Shot #11: Another shot cracked and penetrated the windshield of the limousine left of center, making a hole “large enough to put a pencil through it,” according to Dallas police Sergeant Stavis Ellis. A typical pencil measures .303-caliber in diameter.

Shot #12: Another shot struck the concrete casing around the south manhole cover on Elm Street, and the gouge aims directly toward the roof of the County Records Building nearby.

While all of this direct, physical and photographic evidence of potentially 12 shots fired is alarming enough, that’s certainly not the end of it. There are still the seven “specimens” to be accounted for:

The Barbee Specimen: This was a .30-caliber, M1 Carbine bullet found imbedded in a rooftop near the Stemmons Freeway in 1966, only a quarter-mile from the TSBD, and examined by the FBI in 1967. They showed little interest at the time, due to the conclusions of the Warren Commission, and closed this case.

The Haythorne Specimen: This was a .30-06, jacketed soft point bullet found on the roof of the Massey Building, eight blocks from the TSBD, in 1967, and examined by the HSCA in 1978, probably manufactured by Remington.

The Lester Specimen: This was a 52.7-grain, rear bullet fragment found in Dealey Plaza, just 500 yards from the TSBD, in 1974, and examined by the FBI in 1976-77. It was a four-groove, jacketed soft point or hollowpoint, possibly in 6.5mm, but definitely nota Carcano bullet, as Oswald was suspected to have fired. Amazingly, the FBI showed no interest whatsoever in this specimen.

The Dal-Tex Specimen: This was a rusted, shell casing found on the roof of the Dal-Tex Building at the assassination site in 1977, with crimped edges, suggesting either a handload or a sabot round.

The Walder Bullet: This was a separate bullet listed as “Submitted for testing” to the HSCA, but it does not appear in any of the evidence listings. It simply disappeared.

The Belmont Bullet: FBI administrator Alan Belmont reported to FBI Deputy Director Clyde Tolson on November 22, 1963 that, “a bullet has been found lodged behind the president’s ear.” But, there was no further mention of it afterward.

The Luster Cartridge: The Dallas Morning News reported on November 23, 1978, that Hal Luster had found a fully-intact, unfired, .45 ACP pistol cartridge in 1976 beside the concrete retaining wall on the Grassy Knoll.

This is mind-boggling evidence, considering that the Warren Commission wanted us to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did all of this damage totally on his own, with a beat-up, World War Two-vintage, 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle with a cheap, badly-misaligned, plastic scope that consistently hit 14 inches high and to the right at 25 yards during actual testing, a rusted-out action, and a faulty firing pin. The rifle was entirely too defective to be fired safely until it was reworked by an expert gunsmith, and even then, the FBI’s top marksmen could not possibly fire three shots in just 5.6 seconds, as the Warren Commission alleged that Oswald did.

Then, there was the obvious problem that the “Oswald Rifles” recovered by the Dallas Police, National Archives, and Warren Commission/FBI were actually three separate and distinct rifles, with different features on the butt, bolt, scope alignment, and forend. One had bottom sling swivels, another had side swivels, and the list goes on and on. At least two of them even had the same serial numbers. How on Earth does thathappen by sheer coincidence, and who can make that happen?! While the Warren Commission said that Oswald fired three shots that day, the FBI’s evidence list and photos from FBI Exhibit 10-12B both show only two fired shell casings and one unfired cartridge, so their own, FBI evidence directly contradicts the Warren Report!

But it gets worse from there, much, much worse: The Warren Commission’s alleged, pristine, “Magic Bullet” (Commission Exhibit 399) that supposedly passed through both Kennedy and Connally virtually undamaged, bore the distinctive marks of six lands and grooves. The problem here is that all Mannlicher-Carcano rifles had only four lands and grooves in their barrels.

Magically, however, (after all, it was the “Magic Bullet”), by the time this bullet was examined by the HSCA in 1978, it had mysteriously been replaced by an actual, 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano bullet bearing just four lands and grooves. Fortunately for posterity, photos and exacting measurements of both bullets still exist, so the swap is easily proven. The new bullet is also .125 inch shorter.

An official, FBI memorandum dated December 2, 1963, with the subject line, “JFK Assassination,” described, “6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition used in the assassination. Western Cartridge Corporation. manufactured four million rounds of this ammunition for the United States Marine Corps during 1954. ammunition which does not fit and cannot be fired in any of the USMC weapons.

“This gives rise to the obvious speculation that it is a contract for ammunition placed by the CIA with Western under a USMC contract for concealment purposes.” All of the 6.5mm ammo and cartridge casings in the JFK case came from this particular batch in 1954, and here was the FBI officially pointing a finger at the CIA, since the alleged, “Oswald” ammunition was supplied from this apparent, CIA batch.

Furthermore, during the HSCA investigations in 1977 to 1979, CIA officials testified that they had acquired a dozen 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifles (which they apparently never used, except perhaps on the JFK operation) and a further one million rounds of ammo for Agency use through the U.S. Marine Corps, confirming the FBI’s 1963 suspicions. This was a very interesting development, indeed, shedding more light on Lee Oswald’s’ probable, true identity.

So, if it wasn’t a Mannlicher-Carcano that killed JFK (or was even fired at him at all), what were the weapons involved, and how many shooters were there? Were there really as many as 12 shots fired, and why didn’t we hear them? And if Oswald wasn’t shooting, who was?

Actually, three rifles were found inside the TSBD: the alleged, “Oswald” Carcano, a 7.65mm Mauser recovered by Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig, and a British .303 Enfield rifle. Craig specifically said that, “Stamped right on the barrel of the rifle was ‘7.65 Mauser,’” with Police Officer Seymour Weitzman signing a statement that said, “This rifle was a 7.65 Mauser bolt-action.” Walter Cronkite of CBS News reported on “the German-built Mauser with the sniper scope that was used to kill President Kennedy,” and a CIA report dated November 25, 1963 bluntly stated, “It was a Mauser.”

But then, newsman Tom Whelan of WBAP-TV reported that, “Police have recovered a British .303 rifle with a telescopic sight. found on the sixth floor. Texas School (Book) Depository. found three empty .303 cartridge cases.”

At that time, there was a very close, working relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and organized crime, because the CIA had utilized organized crime figures to help train Cuban exiles for the failed, Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, and the CIA blamed Kennedy, because he withdrew air support for the invasion at the last possible moment, leaving the CIA-trained rebels floundering on the Cuban beaches, where they were easily overwhelmed and captured. These strange and shady alliances continued through 1963, resulting in a sordid cast of characters with ties to both organizations.

Sam Giancana, the head of organized crime in Chicago, and really, for the whole nation then, apparently dispatched noted hitman Marshall J. “Shoes” Caifano and mobster Richard Cain (half-brother of actor Michael Cain) from Chicago to participate in the joint assassination effort, according to various underworld sources, and these were likely the two men with the Mauser and the Enfield in the TSBD.

There were three more men advising and assisting them, including a senior, CIA officer from Miami, who later smugly and chillingly bragged to his friends that, “I was in Dallas when we got the son of a b***h (JFK), and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bas***d” (Bobby Kennedy, in 1968),” but naming them all at this point would require lengthy, detailed explanations well beyond the limited scope of this article.

This brings us to the fascinating story of James Earl Files (also known as Jimmy Sutton), who is still alive, and has confessed several times to being the Grassy Knoll shooter who fired the fatal shot at JFK. The really interesting thing about Files is that he knew things that no one else knew, things that have since been corroborated by other sources, and despite numerous attempts to discredit him (why?), no one has everproven any part of his story to be wrong. He has been entirely consistent with the details, never claiming to know more about the assassination than he was told by his late, underworld boss.

In 1963, James Files was a young (age 21), organized-crime hitman, working as a driver for Chicago mafia figure Charles “Chuckie” (“The Typewriter”) Nicoletti. Files said that he and Nicoletti were sent to Dallas in November to participate in the JFK assassination on behalf of the Chicago mafia, and that Nicoletti was armed with a “semi-automatic, Marlin, .30-06 rifle.” His detractors angrily point out that Marlin never made a .30-06 rifle, or a semi-automatic rifle, for that matter, but they are completely wrong.

From 1937 to 1938, Marlin produced the excellent, Johnson semiautomatic rifle (later the M1941, in military terminology) in .30-06. They were actually stamped on the receiver: “Johnson Semi-Automatic, Cal. .30, Made by Marlin Firearms, New Haven, Conn.” The Johnson rifle was the primary weapon issued by the CIA to Cuban exiles being trained for the Bay of Pigs invasion, as was very clearly shown on the cover of LIFEmagazine at the time, so the CIA was definitely the principal source for these unusual, military-grade rifles.

Files stated that Nicoletti was on the second floor of the Dal-Tex Building, together with Johnny Roselli, a very-high-level, organized crime leader, who had just flown in from Miami with last-minute orders from the CIA to actually abort the hit on Kennedy. This interesting detail is readily confirmed by CIA pilot William “Tosh” Plumlee (also still alive), who flew Roselli from Miami to Dallas, even though Plumlee had never met Files, and didn’t know his story. But Nicoletti told Roselli that he took his orders onlyfrom Sam Giancana in Chicago, so he allegedly said, “F**k ’em, we go!” At that point, Roselli supposedly offered to assist Nicoletti as a spotter, and to retrieve his expended shell casings.

With Nicoletti shooting from low in the Dal-Tex Building, young James Files was sent down to the railroad yard bedside the Grassy Knoll, with a CIA-issued, prototype, Remington XP-100 Fireball pistol in .222 Remington (one of only 50 prototypes produced in that caliber from 1962 to 1963) inside a custom briefcase. This was essentially a compact, bolt-action rifle with a pistol grip, short barrel, and three-power scope attached, and it was incredibly accurate at short ranges.

This author has personally test-fired the more-powerful, .223 Remington version with a slightly longer barrel, iron sights, and no scope, and I easily hit just one inch right of the center of the bullseye at 50 yards. At 30 to 35 yards, with a scope, you literally cannot miss. Veteran gunsmith John Ritchson of Black Eagle Gun Works said of the original, .222 prototype version that, “It can thread a needle at 150 yards. a perfect choice for an assassination weapon.”

Files was ordered not to shoot unless Nicoletti missed, not to let JFK get past him, and not to hit Jackie Kennedy under any circumstances. “Just do the job, and tell nobody nothing,” Nicoletti concluded. So, Files stated that he positioned himself behind the wooden, stockade fence atop the Grassy Knoll, about eight feet back from the corner.

Interestingly enough, Frame Z475 of the Zapruder film, taken 8.9 seconds after the fatal shot was fired, doesshow the side profile of a man wearing a fedora hat, just as Files claimed that he did that day, with his arm extended forward to the top of the fence, standing precisely where Files said he was standing. This is clear, corroborating evidence.

Now, looking back at the evidence of up to 12 possible shots fired, we can see that Shot #4, hitting Governor Connally by mistake, when JFK was the actual target, was probably fired from the TSBD by either Caifano or Cain. Kennedy still had not sustained a fatal hit by this time, and he was swiftly approaching withing 100 feet of Files, who now assumed that everyone else had missed, and took his one and only shot, later stating that, “I was aiming for his right eye. like looking six feet away through the scope. roughly 30, 35 yards. his head moved forward. Mr. Nicoletti hit him at that point. I know I hit behind the eye. I hit him and blew his head backward.”

This is a very critical point to make, because Files realized in the instant that he pulled the trigger that Nicoletti had just fired within the same fraction of a second, hitting the top of JFK’s head from behind (Shot #5) at Zapruder Frame Z312, and driving it 2.3 inches forward. Thus, when Files’ high-velocity round impacted at Frame Z313 (Shot #6), it struck JFK in the right temple instead of the right eye. Files knewthis because he was the actual shooter. It wasn’t until after his first confession in 1994 that researchers went back, slowed the Zapruder film down for frame-by-frame analysis, and saw that Files was exactly correct, that the chilling credibility of his story began to sink in. In addition, in 1997 and 1998, he passed three separate, Voice Stress Analysis (VSA) tests, registering an 86-percent truth factor.

Immediately after shooting the president, Files claimed that he extracted the .222 shell casing from his weapon, and bit down on it with the right side of his mouth, denting the casing slightly. Feeling cocky and arrogant, he left it on the fence rail as his calling card. Astoundingly enough, in 1987, John C. Rademacher discovered two .222 shell casings in the Grassy Knoll area, and orthodontists identified tooth marks from the right side of a human mouth on one of them. The other casing remains unexplained today.

Modern testing of the .222 Remington cartridge in ballistic gelatin displays approximately 9.3 inches of penetration, and a dramatic, four-inch-wide, temporary wound cavity. This almost exactly matches the catastrophic wound to JFK’s head after Files’ fatal shot at Frame Z313, further corroborating his remarkable story.

Why were there as many as 12 possible shots fired, yet most of them missed, and only three or four were audible? The answers are very simple. Most of the participants who later told their stories talked of carelessly tossing their scoped rifles into the trunks of their cars, unaware of how sensitive rifle scopes are to the slightest bumps, and how easily they are knocked out of alignment. For the most part, they never checked their rifles or re-zeroed them prior to the assassination, with just one notable exception.

Also, in 1963, there was only one manufacturer of “clean,” non-traceable, firearms suppressors, SIONICS, run by Mitchell L. WerBell, III, a former, wartime, OSS (which later became the CIA) operative, known as the “Wizard of Whispering Death,” who produced nearly all of his products exclusively for the CIA. Most of the non-audible shots fired at Dealey Plaza were likely from suppressed, Springfield M1903A4 sniper rifles or suppressed M1 Carbines, both definitely known to have been used by the CIA.

Only one of the actual participants described taking the time to carefully and meticulously sight-in his weapon the day before the assassination, and he was the only man to make a solid, fatal, direct hit on JFK. James Files said that a CIA contract operative “showed up to take me around and show me the exit routes. I also went with him to test-fire the weapons, and aligned the scopes.” According to Files, this CIA operative’s name was Lee Harvey Oswald, but that’s an entirely different story altogether.

This now brings up to the strangest shot of all, the totally-silent, Shot #2 from the front, striking JFK in the throat as an entry wound of 3mm-to-5mm in diameter. The most-logical explanation for this wound is the mysterious “Umbrella Man,” standing on the Elm Street sidewalk a mere 10 to 15 feet from the presidential limousine as it passed by. His black umbrella was open for just 22 seconds, its panels actually turning on the Zapruder film to follow the movement of JFK’s head as he approached.

In 1960, Charles Senseney of the CIA’s Biological Warfare Section developed an umbrella weapon, which fired a 5mm, M1, black, plastic rocket with a platinum tip, coated in a paralyzing agent called “46-40,” which took effect in 1.5 seconds, paralyzing the victim and rendering him immobile. Only 50 of these black, umbrella weapons were made between 1960 and 1963, for selected individuals engaged in covert operations, and they were almost totally silent. Their existence was confirmed to Congress in 1975.

Researcher Robert Bradley Cutler obtained one of these rocket darts in 1988, and was able to identify the Umbrella Man as Gordon D. Novel, a former CIA operative and electronics expert, who later worked for President Lyndon Johnson on the JFK assassination investigation, and was a good friend of Mitch WerBell from SIONICS. Those were certainly intriguing connections, and Novel himself was later quoted as saying, “What’s the difference between the mafia and the government (CIA) if they’re trying to kill you? None.”

During JFK’s autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, Commander (Doctor) James J. Humes removed a pointed projectile from the front of the president’s throat, and turned it over to two attending, FBI agents. Special Agents Francis X. O’Neill, Jr., and James W. Sibert both signed an official receipt addressed to Navy “Captain J.H. Stover, Jr., Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Medical School, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland,” stating that “We hereby acknowledge receipt of a ‘missle’ (misspelled, but obviously meaning ‘missile’) recovered by Commander James J. Humes, MC, USN, on this date (22 November 1963.)” The “missile” (not a “bullet”) subsequently disappeared forever, and was never admitted into evidence, but the signed receipt was still retained.

Whether this type of CIA umbrella weapon was used to immobilize JFK or not, the immediate effects on his body were precisely what the weapon and its paralyzing agent intended, to immobilize the president for several seconds, so he couldn’t turn, move, or duck for cover, and its 5mm-diameter body would certainly leave a puckered, 3mm-to-5mm entry hole, as was observed on JFK’s body. The corroborating fact that a “missile,” and not a “bullet,” was recovered from his throat is extremely incriminating, and indicative that such a weapon, may, in fact, have been used in this very covert operation.

Finally, let’s take a look at what became of Sam Giancana, the organized crime boss whose orders to kill JFK overrode even the CIA’s belated effort to abort the operation. On June 19, 1975, Giancana was at home in Oak Park, Illinois, surrounded by FBI agents and policemen, since he was about to testify before the Church Committee of Congress, which was investigating ties between the CIA and the mafia. He had only two visitors that day, Johnny Roselli, his right-hand man, and notorious, CIA officer William King “Wild Bill” Harvey, who came to coach him on his upcoming testimony.

Giancana was shot in the back of the head while cooking food in his basement kitchen by someone that he obviously knew, and then his dead body was shot six more times around the mouth to send a clear message about the unwritten “code of silence.”

The murder weapon was a CIA-issued, suppressed, High Standard HDM pistol in .22 Long Rifle, traced to a Miami gun store, which was a CIA front operation. James Files later stated that, “The crime family did not have Sam Giancana killed. the government ordered it. a contract killing.” The most-likely suspect was Bill Harvey, who was variously described by his CIA associates as “an alcoholic psycho,” and “a loose cannon.” Harvey himself died the very next year, somewhat suspiciously, due to unspecified “complications from heart surgery,” just before Roselli was very brutally murdered in Miami in July 1976. These men clearly knew too much.

Giancana’s brother wrote a book called Double Cross, filled with notable quotes from his crime-boss sibling. Sam had once told him that, “On November 22, 1963, the U.S.A. had a coup it’s that simple. The government was overthrown by a handful of guys who did it so well, not one American ever knew it happened.”

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert T. “Crow” Crowley, who served as the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence in 1963, and willingly participated in “Operation Zipper” (the Agency had sarcastically referred to JFK as “Jack the Zipper,” due to his hundreds of extramarital affairs), as he said it was called, told author Gregory Douglas in 1997, after learning that he had terminal cancer and was dying, that the JFK assassination and its aftermath coverup were, “An endless circle of betrayal and death, but that’s how the game goes.”

On that not-so-cheerful note, let’s remember that the JFK murder investigation has been extremely lengthy and complex, and we’re certainly not going to solve the entire case here, in one brief article. But, we can, at least, shed some light on the actual weapons used, and the known shooters, in an effort to solve at least one tiny portion of this vast, enduring, and enigmatic puzzle.

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