Saturday, 12 June 2021 19:36

A Presumption of Innocence: Lee Harvey Oswald Part 1

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Johnny Cairns begins his multi-part reexamination of the key evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of JFK with an eye toward how it would have been handled by a proper defense attorney by evaluating the ownership of the rifle, the condition of the murder weapon, the ammunition, and the paper bag.


In criminal cases, such as the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the burden of proof is on those who proclaim that Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy. The standard required of them is that they prove the case against the defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whilst being a haven for countless unsubstantiated theories, is first and foremost a homicide case. With Oswald’s tragic murder by Jack Ruby, he and the American people were deprived of the right to evaluate his innocence or guilt in a court of law. Oswald was therefore also denied the constitutional rights which should be afforded every American: the right to counsel, the right to a fair trial, and the right to be held as innocent until proven guilty. The Warren Commission, whose report was really a prosecutorial brief, served as judge, jury, and executioner for the defenseless Oswald. Mark Lane petitioned the Commission to serve as Oswald’s legal representation, but was denied his request. (See Commission Exhibit 2033) Nowhere will you read in the Commission’s 26 volumes anyone representing Oswald’s legal interests. That includes during the hearings—the choosing or calling of witnesses or the examination of witnesses.

Nor was counsel on hand to object to leading questions, the authenticity of the prosecution’s evidence, or admit evidence into the proceedings which was exculpatory. As Sylvia Meagher noted, the participation of the head of the ABA, Walter Craig, ended up being utterly meaningless. (Accessories After the Fact, p. xxix)
In these articles, we will try and correct that wild imbalance. We shall examine some of the Commission’s main conclusions side-by-side with an appraisal of the known facts with regards to the evidence pertaining to Kennedy’s assassination. And by doing so, we can begin to see what a real defense of the late Lee Harvey Oswald would consist of.

I. Ownership of the Rifle

Commission Conclusion:

The Mannlicher Carcano 6.5-millimeter Italian rifle from which the shots were fired was owned by and in the possession of Oswald. (Warren Commission Report, p. 19)

The ownership of the Mannlicher being attributed to Lee Harvey Oswald can be seriously challenged at every stage of the mail transaction. Not only is there no credible evidence to substantiate the claim that Oswald owned the rifle in question, there is no credible evidence which would suggest he ever mailed a money order or picked up the rifle in evidence from his post office box in Dallas.

Let us begin to address this issue by asking this key question:
Can Oswald’s ownership of the rifle prior to 11/22/63 be proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

Lee Harvey Oswald had taken up the custodianship of PO Box 2915 in Dallas, on October 9, 1962. Upon such undertaking, Oswald would have been required to complete an application form to rent that box. Oswald’s application form for PO Box 2915 is available to view today, except it is not the complete form. The most important part of the application form, pertaining to the ownership question, is unquestionably Part 3 which asks for:

“Names of persons entitled to receive mail through box.” (Holmes Exhibit No–1A)

This part of the form is missing, presumed destroyed as testified to by Harry Holmes, Postal Inspector and FBI informant.

Mr. HOLMES: Until he relinquishes the box. They pull this out and endorse it so the box has been closed, and the date and they tear off 3 and throw it away. It has no more purpose. That is what happened on box 2915.

Mr. LIEBELER: They have thrown part 3 away?

Mr. HOLMES: Yes; as it so happens, even though they closed the box in New Orleans, they still had part 3 and it showed that the mail for Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell was good in the box. They hadn’t complied with regulations. They still had it there.

Mr. Liebeler: Now is this regulation that says section three should be torn off and thrown away, is that a general regulation of the Post Office Department?

Mr. Holmes: It is in the Post Office Manual instructions to employees, yes sir. (Testimony of Harry Holmes, VII p. 527)

It is clear that the Commission took the testimony of Holmes as fact with regards to the aforementioned postal regulations which allegedly existed in this case. This flawed approach led the commission to print in its own report:

In accordance with postal regulations, the portion of the application which lists names of persons, other than the applicant, entitled to receive mail was thrown away after the box was closed on May 14, 1963. (WCR, p. 121)

To put it mildly, the Commission was in error on this point. The following postal regulations pertaining to the Hidell/Carcano question were in force in March 1963:

Section 846.53h of the postal manual provides that the third portion of box rental applications, identifying persons other than the applicant authorized to receive mail, must be retained for two years after the box is closed.

Section 355.111b(4) prescribes that the mail addressed to a person at a post office box, who is not authorized to receive mail, shall be endorsed “addressee unknown” and returned to sender where possible. (Stewart Galanor, Cover-Up, Document 37)

So, if a package addressed to an “A Hidell” arrived at the postal box rented in the sole name of Lee Oswald, the package should have been stamped “addressee unknown”; and returned back to Klein’s, of Chicago, the shipper of the firearm.

The Commission asserted that “it is not known whether the application for post office box 2915 listed ‘A Hidell’ as a person entitled to receive mail at this box” (WCR, p. 121) However, information printed in the Commission’s own volumes indicate that the FBI knew that Oswald had not indicated that an “A Hidell” be permitted to receive mail through his box.

Commission Exhibit 2585 is a document from the FBI, dated June 3, 1963. Bullet point 12 states:

Claim:

The post office box in Dallas to which Oswald had the rifle mailed was kept under both his name and that of “A.Hidell.”

Investigation:

Our investigation has revealed that Oswald did not indicate on his application that others, including an “A.Hidell” would receive mail through the box in question, which was Post Office Box 2915 in Dallas. This box was obtained by Oswald on October 9, 1962, and relinquished by him on May 14, 1963” (Commission Exhibit 2585, Volume XXV, pp. 857–862)

In other words, Holmes and Liebeler were prevaricating about two crucial evidentiary points.

Yet even more inconsistencies arise in the form of the length of the rifle allegedly ordered by “A Hidell.” The Carcano allegedly placed into PO Box 2915 was supposedly ordered from the February 1963 issue of American Rifleman. (WCR, p. 119) It was listed as catalogue number C20–T750 and comes in at 36 inches long. The Carcano allegedly linked to Oswald and retrieved after the assassination is 40.2 inches long. There was no explanation offered as to this significant discrepancy of the ordered rifle to the rifle which sits in the National Archives today. The Warren Report does not recognize the difference, let alone explain it. (See WCR, pp. 119–22) The rifle in evidence is of a different length, different weight, and different classification: a short rifle as opposed to a carbine. (James DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, p. 59)

The money order for the Carcano was placed in the mail on March 12, 1963. Through Holmes, we find that this transaction took place early in the morning of March 12, no later than 10:30 am. (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 473; CE 773) Where was Lee Oswald at 10:30 a.m. on March 12, 1963? According to evidence in the Commission’s volumes, Lee Harvey Oswald’s time-card shows he was working at the graphic arts company Jaggars–Chiles–Stovall between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. (CE1855)

The question becomes: if Lee Oswald was present at the post office at 10:30 am or earlier on March 12, 1963, to purchase a money order for the rifle, then who completed his assigned tasks during the time he was accounted for at work? Without any credible evidence to the contrary, these time cards are strong exculpatory evidence that gives Lee Oswald an alibi for when the rifle was ordered.

Defenders of the report like to cite the conclusions of the Commission that the writing on the Hidell money order, envelope, and order form matched the handwriting of Lee Harvey Oswald (WCR, p. 569) In reality, the handwriting analysis is the only evidence offered that Oswald ordered the rifle as Hidell. On the surface, this may seem to be compelling evidence against the accused. However, in conjugation with the exculpatory evidence listed in document CE1855, how could Oswald be present at the post office to place the money order, but at the same time be accounted for completing various duties at Jaggers?

When taken into consideration, all the known facts and regulation violations pertaining to the mail transaction itself, a credible explanation for this conundrum is this: Oswald’s handwriting on the money order is a forgery. There are professional forgers who can replicate someone’s handwriting so well that it would prove extremely difficult to differentiate between the subject’s actual handwriting and a replication of it through an external source. In his excellent article on this case entitled “Problems with the Case Against Lee Harvey Oswald,” Mike Griffith touches upon this point quite well with the following:

The famous “Oswald” note to “Mr. Hunt,” signed by Lee Harvey Oswald, is a case in point, according to lone-gunman theorists themselves. WC defenders now claim the note was faked by the KGB. Yet, three renowned handwriting experts examined the note and concluded it was written by Oswald. The HSCA’s handwriting experts could not decide if the handwriting on the note was Oswald’s, but their doubts centered on the signature. They said the text of the note was in handwriting that appeared to be Oswald’s. So, if the “Mr. Hunt” note could have been faked, then the money order, order form, and envelope certainly could have been faked as well.

What makes this explanation even more plausible is the fact that the Warren Report says that Oswald mailed the money order on March 12th and it was received, processed, and deposited by Klein’s in Chicago in about one day. Chicago is nearly a thousand miles from Dallas/Fort Worth. Once Klein’s Sporting Goods was in receipt of daily deposits, they went through a sorting process to separate in-state checks and money orders from cash deposits and out-of-state checks and money orders. The particular deposit that Commission lawyer David Belin centered on as being Oswald’s with a Klein’s employee on the stand indicated a state check for $21.45. (Armstrong, pp. 474–75) Like the miraculous speed with which this money order arrived in Klein’s bank account, Belin never asked why it was in the wrong category.

Was Oswald’s box being monitored? This is an important question and, whilst there is no absolute proof that box 2915 was under surveillance, when you take into consideration that Oswald was officially recognized as a communist defector, that the FBI knew that he was receiving subversive mail through a subscription to The Worker, as well as the fact that the FBI knew that Oswald had indeed written to Vincent T. Lee of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, it is a valid deduction that his mail and box were being monitored. (Hosty Report CE 829)

We also find, contained in the report of FBI Special Agent James P. Hosty, quoted information which would only be known to any such recipient of Oswald’s letters.

Are we to believe that the FBI knew all about Oswald’s subscription to The Worker and the details of his dealings with the “FPCC,” but knew nothing of a rifle ordered to Oswald’s PO box under the name A. Hidell?

After the assassination, Postal Inspector Harry Holmes could find no one in the postal service who recalled handing a long package over to Oswald or anyone else. Warren Commission defenders would say this was because it was 8 months earlier in the year and mail clerks would handle a lot of mail and customers in that time-period. But the fact is, if one reads the pertinent section in the Warren Report, there is no date given as to when the rifle was given to Oswald. But if we accept the Commission’s scenario, then would not Oswald have had to prove he was Hidell? Could such an exception to the rule have been forgotten?

But further, if the FBI monitored things like Oswald’s subscriptions to leftist magazines, those who were tasked with such surveillance would surely have noticed such a large oblong box and, from experience, related it to a rifle. Yet, no one seems to have blinked an eye when a rifle arrived addressed to Oswald’s PO Box, albeit in someone else’s name.

II. Condition of the Murder Weapon

The operational condition of the Mannlicher Carcano also poses serious problems to the conclusions of the Commission. For, as told to me by weapons enthusiast Peter Antill of Dealey Plaza UK:

As far as the M38 Carcano found on the sixth floor of the TSBD goes, the question is not whether a Carcano could do the shooting, it’s whether that particular Carcano could do the shooting, given the state it was in.

The Carcano in question had a myriad of problems, both operational and mechanical, starting with its defective sight, as testified to by Mr. Simmons of the US Army: “We did adjust the telescopic sight by the addition of two shims, one which tended to adjust the azimuth and one which adjusted an elevation.”

With respect to the operation of the bolt, Simmons testified: “Yes, there were several comments made particularly with respect to the amount of effort required to open the bolt. As a matter of fact, Mr. Staley had difficulty in opening the bolt in his first firing exercise.”

Regarding the trigger pull:

There was also comment made about the trigger pull, which is different as far as these firers are concerned. It is in effect a two-stage operation where the first—in the first stage the trigger is relatively free and it suddenly required a greater pull to actually fire the weapon…In our experiments, the pressure to open the bolt was so great that we tended to move the rifle off the target. (WC, Vol.3, pp. 441–451)

It should also be noted that the Master riflemen, to whom the Commission relied so heavily upon in trying to establish if Oswald held the capacity to work the weapon, did not want to pull the trigger for fear of breaking the firing pin. (DiEugenio, p. 27) An FBI report dated August 20, 1964, from J. Edgar Hoover to chief counsel J. Lee Rankin of the Warren Commission stated that:

In connection, it should be noted that the firing pin of this rifle has been used extensively as shown by wear on the nose or striking portion of the firing pin and, further, the presence of rust on the firing pin and its spring may be an indication that the firing pin had not been recently changed prior to November 22,1963. (CE 2974, WC, Vol. 26, p. 455)

How could the alleged murder weapon be in such poor operational condition? Well, at the time of the assassination, the shipment of rifles which contained C2766 was the subject of a lawsuit. The rifles were claimed to be defective from the receivers Adam Consolidated Industries. CE1977 reads:

Concerning the shipment of those rifles to Adam Consolidated Industries Inc., there is presently a legal proceeding by the Carlo Riva Machine Shop to collect payment for the shipment of the rifles which Adam Consolidated Industries Inc., claims were defective. (CE 1977, WC, Vol. 24, p. 2)

Those rifles may have been defective, as Adam Consolidated Industries Inc claimed, because they were, in fact, cannibalized from other unusable rifles in poor condition. According to William Sucher, who had bought hundreds of thousands of rifles overseas from the Italian government surplus, “many of these rifles were collected from battlefields or places of improper storage.” Mr. Sucher further stated that “these weapons were in very poor condition.” According to his statements contained in Commission Exhibit 2562, “these rifles were bought by the pound rather than units. Upon arrival in Canada, defective parts were removed and salable rifles were sometimes composed of parts of three or more weapons.” (CE 2562, WC, Vol. 25, p. 808)

III. The Ammunition

It would be necessary for any prosecutor to try and establish Oswald’s procurement of the alleged assassination ammunition. Proving Oswald indeed possessed such ammunition would go a long way in proving his ownership of a Mannlicher Carcano prior to 11/22/63. The FBI made an extensive canvass of all the places of business which may have stocked the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano Western Cartridge Company ammunition. (See CE 2694) This search uncovered two stores in the Dallas/Irving area which stocked this specific ammunition. One was owned by John Thomas Masen, owner of Masen’s Gun Shop. The other was John H. Brinegarn, owner of The Gun Shop. The FBI furnished to Mr. Masen a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Mr Masen advised he was “unable to identify this individual as being a person to whom he had previously sold 6.5 ammunition.” Mr. Masen also stated that he bought some ten boxes of the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano Western Cartridge Company ammunition. He advised that if he had “sold more than a box or two to anyone person he would have remembered the sale” (CE2694, WC, Vol. 26, p. 63)

Masen gave a pretty definitive statement, saying he had never seen Oswald.  Further, he had no recollection of ever having him enter into his shop or sold ammunition to him. (CE2694, WC, Vol. 26, p. 62)

The FBI also furnished a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald to John H. Brinegarn. According to the Commission volumes, “A Photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald was exhibited to Mr. Brinegarn and he advised he was unable to identify this individual as being a person to whom he had previously sold 6.5 ammunition…Mr. Brinegarn stated he did not know Lee Harvey Oswald, had no recollection of ever seeing him, and did not believe he had sold him any of this type ammunition.” (CE2694, p. 63)

If Oswald had become proficient with this weapon, which was a must according to the testimony of Simmons, then without question he would have exhausted a steady supply of ammunition to achieve such expertise. He would have frequented the premises of Masen and Brinegarn out of necessity to replenish his ammunition stock. This point becomes even more of a puzzler when we take into consideration what transpired after the assassination. Searches were carried out on two properties with alleged links to Oswald. One was located at 1026 North Beckley, Dallas, Oswald’s rooming house. The other was located at 2515 W. 5th Street, Irving, where his belongings were held in Ruth and Michael Paine’s garage. The Dallas/Irving Police recovered not one single piece of ammunition for either the Mannlicher or the revolver. There was not a single filled or discarded box of ammunition, either Remington Peters or Winchester that was discovered. Another surprising absentee was that there was no oil to service the weapons or cleaning solution to keep the weapons clean and free from dirt, which can impact performance. As Sylvia Meagher postulates in her illustrious book Accessories After the Fact: “The alternative is that this singular assassin squandered more than $20 of his meager earnings for a rifle but—unable or unwilling to spend a small additional sum for ammunition—stole, borrowed, or found on the street five cartridges that just happened to fit the weapon; and that those five cartridges sufficed, from March through November 1963, for dry runs, attempted murder, and successful assassination.” (Meagher, p. 115).

The question of Oswald’s alleged procurement of any ammunition used in the crimes attributed to him, is one of these enduring mysteries that not one single person has ever offered a credible explanation for.

There is also a question of the reliability of the 6.5 Western Cartridge Company ammunition in circulation prior to 11/22/63.

This point was addressed in the Warren Commission’s Report. Under the heading of “Speculations and Rumors” on page 646 of the Warren Report we find the following:

Speculation—Ammunition for the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository had not been manufactured since the end of World War II. The ammunition used by Oswald must, therefore, have been at least 20 years old, making it extremely unreliable.

Commission Finding’s—The ammunition used in the rifle was American ammunition recently made by Western Cartridge Co., which manufactures such ammunition recently. In tests with the same kind of ammunition, experts fired Oswald’s Mannlicher Carcano rifle more than 100 times without any misfires.

This finding by the Commission was in stark contrast to the objections of the critics that the ammunition for the surplus WWII rifle was old and unreliable. In April of 1965, Sylvia Meagher wrote to Western Cartridge Company, the manufacturer of the Carcano ammunition. An official replied back to her query regarding the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano ammunition. The official confirmed to Mrs. Meagher that: “the ammunition had once been produced under a government contract, but was no longer available.” Meagher then sent further correspondence to Western regarding the ammunition. In a letter from Western dated April 20, 1965, “the manufacturer stated quite frankly that the reliability of the ammunition still in circulation today is questionable.” (Meagher, p. 113)

In reply to an independent inquiry regarding the ammunition, dated July 14, 1965, the Assistant Sales Manager for the Winchester-Western Division of Olin Mathieson wrote that concerning your inquiry on the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano cartridge, this is not being produced commercially by our company at this time. Any previous production on this cartridge was made against government contracts which were completed back in 1944.” (Mark Lane, Rush to Judgement, 50th Anniversary edition, p. 107) In light of this, what did the Commission mean by the phrase “recently made.”

The Commission’s conclusion regarding the reliability of the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano Western Cartridge Company ammunition is not substantiated. The ammunition was not recently made by Western Cartridge Company. The ammunition was in fact last made by Western in 1944, meaning the ammunition allegedly used by Oswald would have been 19 years old on 11/22/63. And as pointed out to Mrs. Meagher, “the reliability of the ammunition still in circulation today is questionable.”

IV. The Paper Bag

Commission Conclusion: “Oswald carried this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of November 22, 1963.” (WCR, p. 19)

Let us first take a look at the physical and scientific evidence pertaining to CE142. That exhibit is alleged to be a homemade paper sack comprised of the same material used in the Texas School Book Depository. The commission charged that Lee Oswald made the paper sack on 11/21/63 to conceal CE139 on his person on the morning of 11/22/63.

Some serious problems arise when talking about the validity of this charge. The most damning, of course, comes in the testimony of FBI Special Agent James Cadigan:

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?

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 rifle?

Eisenberg: Yes.

Cadigan: And I couldn’t find any such markings. (WC Vol. 4, p. 97)

CE142 cannot be scientifically or physically linked to CE139. Of course, this is not the only serious problem with regards to the conclusions about the sack outlined by the commission.

There is no pictorial evidence which depicts CE142 in situ around the south east corner window of the TSBD on 11/22/63. Warren Commission advocates desperately try to salvage the lack of pictorial evidence by asserting that a police officer must have prematurely removed the paper sack before the crime scene photographs were taken.

Question to the apologists: Doesn’t the removal of important key evidence from the scene of a crime—before any such scene is photographed for preservation purposes—constitute evidence tampering?

It gets worse when we find out that no evidence was removed until after “Lieutenant Day and Detective Studebaker came up and took pictures and everything.” (WC Vol. 7, pp. 97–98)

The Commission knew they had a serious problem with regards to the lack of any pictorial evidence depicting the bag in situ on the sixth floor, so out of necessity came CE1302. CE1302 is a manufactured depiction of where the paper sack was allegedly found on 11/22/63. Under the tag line “Approximate location of wrapping paper bag,” Studebaker of the DPD was instructed to draw a dotted line to simulate where the sack allegedly lay on the sixth floor as of 11/22/63.

Warren Commission Exhibit 1302

Mr. BALL: Do you recognize the diagram?

Mr. STUDEBAKER: Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL: Did you draw the diagram?

Mr. STUDEBAKER: 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. (WC Vol. 7, p. 144)

Not only does CE1302 hold little or no value as evidence, but the use of such an exhibit is legally and ethically questionable, especially in regard to the citation from Volume 7 quoted above. Namely, that no evidence was moved until after the pictures were taken. It’s inclusion within the exhibits of the report highlights the lengths the Commission went in order to place a “gun sack” on the sixth floor after the assassination.
Various officers who were present on the sixth floor testified to the presence of the paper sack. Below I have highlighted just some of the testimony pertaining to the subject.

Mr. BALL: Did you ever see a paper sack in the items that were taken from the Texas School Book Depository building?

Mr. HICKS: Paper bag?

Mr. BALL: Paper bag.

Mr. 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 see it?

Mr. HICKS: No, sir; I don’t believe I did. I don’t recall it. (Testimony of J.B. Hicks, WC, Vol. 7, pp. 286–289)

Testimony of Roger Craig:

Mr. BELIN: Was there any long sack laying in the floor there that you remember seeing, or not?

Mr. CRAIG: No; I don’t remember seeing any. (WC Vol. 6, p. 268)

Testimony of Gerald Hill:

Mr. HILL: The only specifics we discussed were this. 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 lunch sack, and that that was the only sack that I saw, and that I left the Book Depository prior to the finding of the gun. (WC, Vol. 7, p. 65)

As for the composition of the bag itself no eye witness ever testified that they saw the accused engage in the construction of the bag. In this regard, Troy West was a very important witness. He was the employee who dispensed paper and under who’s watchful gaze the materials for packing resided: paper, tape, and string. He told the Commission his station was on the first floor and he stayed there all day. (WC, Vol. 6, p. 362) He did not even leave to watch the motorcade on 11/22/63. He said that he knew who Oswald was. He testified that he had never witnessed Oswald attempt to make such a bag. (Ibid, p. 360)

Belin: Did you ever see him around these wrapper rolls or wrapper roll machines or not?

West: No, sir; I never noticed him being around.” (WC. Vol. 6, pp. 356–363)

As a British police investigator, the late Ian Griggs, noted, what makes this testimony rather bothersome are two other factors. First, West noted that it was not possible to take the tape out of the dispenser, since it was linked into a mechanical apparatus that applied water to it as it passed through. Secondly, as we shall see, the FBI claimed that the tape on the sack had the markings of this machine. (Griggs, No Case to Answer, p. 204)

I spoke to witness Buell Frazier regarding Oswald and the ride home to Irving on 11/21/63.

JC: On 11/21/63, prior to, during, or after you gave Lee Oswald a ride back to Irving, did you observe at any time Lee with a brown paper bag? Or materials to construct a brown paper bag?

BWF: No, I did not.

The materials for the paper sack were an exact match for paper materials which was used to construct a replica bag by the Dallas police on 11/22/63. This replica was designated by the tag CE677.

Exchange between staff lawyer Melvin Eisenberg and Commissioner Allen Dulles:

Dulles (to Eisenberg): Could we get—just before you continue there, would you identify what 142 is and 677 is?

Eisenberg: 142 is an apparently homemade paper bag which was found in the southeast corner of the sixth floor of the TSBD following the assassination, and which, for the record, is a bag which may have been used to carry this rifle,139, which was used to commit the assassination. 677 is a sample of paper and tape—and parenthetically, tape was used in the construction of 142. 677 is a sample of paper and tape obtained from the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963, that is, the very day of the assassination.

Please note the fact that CE 677 was taken on 11/22/63. Furthermore, when comparing the paper samples from CE142 and CE677, the FBI’s James Cadigan testified as follows:

Eisenberg: In all these cases, did you make the examination both of the tape and the paper in each of the bag and the sample?

Cadigan: Oh, yes.

Eisenberg: And they were all identical?

Cadigan: Yes. (WC, Vol. 4, p. 93)

Two of Oswald’s prints were found on the paper bag. A partial print of his right palm and a partial print of his left index finger. Now Oswald was supposed to have constructed this bag from scratch. He had been deemed to have placed the Mannlicher inside of it, carried the bag to work, hid the bag, retrieved the bag, and emptied the bag of its contents in order to carry out the assassination. All that alleged handling of CE142 and Oswald only somehow managed to get “part of a right palm print” and “part of a left index print” on it?

If Oswald made and handled CE 142 in the way outlined by the Commission, then undoubtedly his prints would have been all over it. The fact that only “part of a right palm print” and “part of a left index print” are alleged to have been found on the bag, is just not credible to me and is in itself indicative of a frame up.

But don’t take my word for it. Ian Griggs probably has the longest and most thorough analysis of this issue in the literature. It is 35 pages long and he examines the testimony of 17 witnesses. At the end of that essay, the former police inspector makes a series of conclusions about this evidence. Among them are that there is no photograph of the sack in situ since it did not exist at the time. The Commission actually used three exhibit numbers for it in order to confuse the matter: 142, 364, 626. The middle exhibit number was a replica bag to show to witnesses, since the original was damaged too much during testing. As Griggs writes, that excuse “is just too ridiculous to consider seriously.” (Griggs, p. 208)

That comment could be applied to everything discussed so far.

Last modified on Sunday, 13 June 2021 14:55
Johnny Cairns

Johnny Cairns is an electrician living in Edinburgh. He first got interested in President Kennedy through his father, Robert Cairns. Since then, he has held an undying admiration for Jack Kennedy and what he stood for. Through familiarizing himself with the facts of this crime, he has also became an advocate for the innocence of his alleged assassin, Lee Oswald. Through the various friendship’s developed with other researchers and making the trip to Dallas in 2018, he has spoken at JFK Lancer presenting the case for Oswald’s innocence and co-authored a book which is due for release at the end of 2021, titled “Case Not Closed.”

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