The following is my review of Don Thomas’ 700 page plus book Hear No Evil, published in 2010 by the Mary Ferrell foundation. Although there are two excellent reviews of the book on the CTKA.net website by Dr David Mantik and Martin Hay; which I highly recommend researchers to read, my views on the assassination differ to those of both Mantik and Hay in many ways. Thomas is well known as a foremost expert on the often overlooked acoustics evidence. In fact, my primary reason for purchasing the book was to learn all I could about the acoustics evidence.
After reading through Thomas’ comprehensive work on the acoustics evidence, I was very impressed (my discussion of the acoustics evidence can be found in part 3 of this review). Thomas has also provided much valuable information concerning both the medical evidence and the ballistics evidence. Unfortunately, there are also many shocking omissions of facts, contradictions and utterly absurd statements throughout the book. I should also note that Thomas’ book focuses strictly on the evidence and investigations of the assassination, and is not a book concerning who was behind the assassination.
In the introduction to his book, Thomas writes; “The JFK case has come to be the epitome, the granddaddy, of all conspiracy theories”. I frankly don’t think that any rational person would disagree with that point of view. Thomas also writes that President Lyndon Johnson, and Warren Commission members Hale Boggs, John Sherman Cooper, and Richard Russell (although Thomas doesn’t actually name them) all expressed doubts about the Warren Commission’s conclusions – a fact which diehard Warren Commission defenders don’t want to acknowledge. Thomas also briefly explains how the first Police and media reports claimed that the shots had emanated from the direction of the infamous Grassy Knoll/railroad tracks.
In Chapter one of his book, Thomas discusses the crime scene, which of course was the 6th floor of the TSBD. Thomas begins by explaining that; “…eleven [witnesses] reported seeing a gunman, or a gun protruding from, a window on the upper floor of a building on the northeast corner of the plaza at or near the time of the shooting.” The building to which Thomas is referring to is the TSBD. The witnesses who reported seeing a gunman were Howard Brennan – the man who would eventually “positively” identify Oswald as the sniper, James Worrell, Amos Euins, Robert Edwards, Ronald Fischer, Arnold Rowland, Carolyn Walther, Robert Jackson, and as British researcher Ian Griggs explains in his book, possibly Samuel Paternostro.
If Paternostro is included, there were actually nine witnesses who claimed to see a gunman and/or a gun protruding from an upper floor of the TSBD. Perhaps Thomas also included Lillian Mooneyham and Ruby Henderson as witnesses to seeing the gunman/gun protruding. However, according to the FBI interview with Mooneyham:
“Mrs. Mooneyham estimated that it was about 4 to 5 minutes following the shots fired by the assassin that she looked up towards the sixth floor of the TSBD and observed the figure of a man standing in a sixth floor window behind some cardboard boxes. This man appeared to Mrs. Mooneyham to be looking out of the window, however, the man was not close up to the window but was standing slightly back from it, so that Mrs. Mooneyham could not make out his features. She stated that she could give no description of this individual except to say that she is sure it was a man she observed, because the figure had on trousers. She could not recall the color of the trousers.”
Although there is every reason to believe the man Mooneyham observed was indeed one of the conspirators, there is nothing in her interview with the FBI about her seeing the man with a gun. Like Carolyn Walthers, Ruby Henderson informed the FBI that she observed two men on one of the upper floors of the TSBD (one of whom she claimed could have been a Mexican), but never mentioned seeing either one of them with a gun.
Now if Thomas knew the identities of the eleven witnesses to whom he was referring, then he should have cited their names. There were of course no witnesses who claimed that they observed a gunman in one of the windows of the Dal-Tex building or the Dallas County records building, both of which are located at the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets.
Thomas makes it clear that he believes Oswald actually owned the Mannlicher Carcano rifle allegedly used to murder the President, and which he allegedly purchased via mail order. He also believes that Oswald had the fake Selective Service card bearing the name Alek James Hidell (which is misspelled as Alec James Hidell). Thomas also believes that Oswald did in fact have a bus transfer from Cecil McWatters’ bus in his possession when he was arrested at the Texas theatre.
However, in light of all the evidence we have today, to believe the above is completely absurd. Both John Armstrong and Gil Jesus have proven that Oswald could not have ordered the rifle from Klein's sporting goods in Chicago. Among the evidence they have cited, is Oswald’s work timesheet from Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall which shows that he was at work when the Money order for the rifle was allegedly mailed on March 12, 1963.
As Gil Jesus further states on his website, the money order is missing the necessary financial endorsements from the financial institutions which allegedly processed it, and the actual order was for 36 inch rifle, with the rifle in evidence being 40.2 inches long (even though Klein’s had 36 inch rifles in stock at the time, and didn’t sell 40.2 inch rifles until April). In addition, the FBI informants at the post Office who were monitoring Oswald’s mail never claimed that Oswald received the rifle. In fact, there are no witnesses at the Post Office who claimed that Oswald took possession of the rifle.
There was also no certificate of good character issued to Oswald by a judge for the purchase of the rifle – even though one was required by law. Also, Kleins didn’t mount scopes on the 40.2 inch rifles, even though “Oswald’s” does have one. For much more information, I strongly advise you to read through Gil Jesus’ work on his website here. By implication, Thomas also believes that the so-called backyard photographs of Oswald holding the rifle are authentic (I will return to this issue in part 2 of my review).
Thomas apparently didn’t believe it was odd that Oswald would use the Hidell alias to purchase the rifle; and then have it shipped to his Post Office box which was under his actual name. The entire purpose of Oswald allegedly using the Hidell alias to purchase the rifle was obviously to hide the fact that he ordered it. So why the hell would he then have it delivered to his Post Office box which was under his real name? It makes no sense at all, yet lone gunman zealots have no qualms about it.
Perhaps more significantly, why the heck would Oswald be carrying the Hidell ID in his wallet when arrested if he had planned on shooting the President with the rifle he allegedly used to purchase it? Furthermore, if the backyard photographs were truly authentic, then why didn’t Oswald destroy them? One must believe that Oswald was an incredibly stupid assassin to have the Hidell ID in his wallet, and for him not to destroy the photographs. As I explained in this post, the Hidell ID was by all likelihood discovered inside a wallet at the murder scene of DPD Officer, J.D Tippit (I will return to the issue of the wallet during my discussion of the Tippit murder).
However, I would like to point out that on the day following the assassination, when DPD Chief Jesse Curry was informing reporters that the Money order for the rifle had been tracked down by the FBI (here), and that the order was under the Hidell name – he never bothered to tell them that the fake Selective Service card bearing that very name was discovered inside Oswald’s wallet when arrested! Surely, if the Hidell ID was really was inside Oswald’s wallet when he was arrested, Curry would have mentioned it.
On a further note, on the day following the assassination, when Curry was asked by a reporter how “Oswald got to the other side of town”, and whether Oswald had travelled by a bus, he responded: “We have heard that he was picked-up by a Negroe, in a car” – and made no mention of the bus transfer being discovered inside his shirt pocket! British researcher Lee Farley has spent a considerable amount of time proving that Oswald never boarded Cecil McWatter’s bus, and that he never travelled towards his rooming house inside William Whaley’s cab (my own discussion of these issues can be read here).
Thomas also discusses the brown paper bag which was allegedly discovered in the Southeast corner of the 6th floor of the TSBD, and which was allegedly used by Oswald to carry the rifle into the building on the morning of the assassination. Thomas actually believes that Oswald carried the rifle into the building inside the brown paper bag! As “proof” of his claim, Thomas cites the single brown delustered Viscose fibre and green cotton fibres allegedly discovered inside the bag, which could have originated from the blanket in Ruth Paine’s garage in which the rifle was purportedly stored.
However, on page 137 the Warren report, the FBI’s hair and fibre expert Paul Stombaugh, who examined the fibres, was cited as being unable to positively determine if the fibres had originated from the blanket. Although Thomas does explain that the rifle was well oiled, and that the FBI was unable to find any traces of gun oil or abrasions from the rifle inside the bag, he never explains how they could be missing. Lone gunman zealots such as Vincent Bugliosi have argued that Oswald wrapped the rifle inside cloth, which prevented any traces of abrasions or oil being found inside the bag. Now unfortunately for their claim, no such cloth was ever discovered inside the TSBD.
During his discussion of the paper bag, Thomas makes some of the most startling omissions I have ever seen. Although he does mention that both Buell Wesley Frazier and his sister Linnie Mae Randle (the only two witnesses to Oswald carrying a package on the day of the assassination) described the package Oswald was carrying as being too small for even a disassembled Mannlicher Carcano rifle, not once does he mention that Frazier described the package as being similar in appearance to one obtained from a grocery store. Not once does he also mention that Frazier’s sister informed the Warren Commission that she saw Oswald place the package into Frazier’s car – despite the fact her view was blocked by the carport wall.
Thomas also inexcusably neglects to mention that Jack Dougherty, the only witness to seeing Oswald enter the building, claimed that he didn’t see Oswald carrying any sort of package. Keep in mind that no other person inside the TSBD ever claimed they observed Oswald with any type of package! We should also keep in mind that in order to make the paper bag, Oswald had to obtain the paper and tape from the TSBD which was used for wrapping mail. Troy Eugene West, a TSBD mail wrapper, testified before the Warren Commission that he never observed Oswald take any paper and tape; nor did any other witness. However, Thomas never mentions this pertinent fact.
Thomas also discusses the “discovery” of the Paper bag near the Sniper’s nest. Keep in mind that there are no photographs by the DPD showing the bag where it was discovered! Although Thomas does mention the conflict in testimony of who allegedly discovered the bag, and also mentions that Captain Will Fritz, Dallas deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney, and DPD Officer Gerald Hill claimed they didn’t see the bag, he nevertheless uses the testimony of Motorcycle Officers Clyde Haygood, E.D Brewer, and detectives L.D Montgomery and Marvin Johnson as proof that the bag was actually discovered on the 6th floor of the TSBD.
However, Thomas neglects to mention that several other DPD Officers and deputy Sheriffs such as Elmer Boyd, John Hicks, Eugene Boone, Roger Craig, and Jack Faulkner also neglected to see the Paper bag near the Sniper’s nest. Furthermore, researcher Pat Speer has performed a photographic analysis of the bag on his website (here), where he demonstrates that the width of the bag in the famous Allen photograph of detective L.D Montgomery carrying a bag outside the TSBD is 10.75 inches, whereas the width of the bag entered into evidence is 8.5 inches. Hence, they are the not the same bag.
In my opinion, the paper bag was never discovered on the 6th floor of the TSBD. It simply defies belief that no photographs of the bag in-situ were taken by Lt Carl Day or his assistants, Robert Studebaker. I should give credit to Thomas for mentioning that Buell Wesley Frazier was arrested and interrogated on the day of the assassination for his ownership of a British Enfield rifle. Many researchers have argued that Frazier was threatened by the DPD and the FBI to be charged as Oswald’s co-conspirator. Given that Frazier had driven Oswald to the TSBD on the morning of the assassination, it is certainly plausible that he was threatened to be charged as a co-conspirator.
As is the case with the overwhelming majority of JFK assassination researchers, Thomas also believes that Oswald’s alleged encounter with DPD Officer Marrion Baker, and TSBD superintendent Roy Truly inside the 2nd floor lunchroom actually occurred. However, consider the fact that in his first day affidavit, Baker made absolutely no mention of encountering Oswald in the lunchroom; claiming instead that he encountered a man walking away from the stairway on either the 3rd or 4th floor! (Please see here for my discussion of this issue).
Like many other researchers, Thomas also accepts that TSBD employee, Bonnie Ray Williams, was on the 6th floor of the building eating his lunch until approximately 12:20pm. During his Warren Commission testimony, witness Arnold Rowland claimed that he saw an “elderly Negroe” man in the South-eastern most window of the 6th floor, from where Oswald allegedly fired the shots at President Kennedy.
Although Thomas and others believe the “elderly Negroe” man seen by Rowland was Williams, there is good reason believe that it was in fact the TSBD janitor, Eddie Piper. As researchers such as Greg Parker and Richard Gilbride have explained, Piper’s alibi of viewing the President’s motorcade from the 1st floor of the TSBD lacks credibility. Bear in mind that at the time of the assassination, Williams was only 20 years of age, whereas Piper was 55 years of age – and therefore much more likely to have been recalled as an “elderly Negroe” by Rowland.
In his affidavit to the Dallas Sheriff’s Office (here), Williams made no mention of going to the 6th floor to have his lunch, claiming instead that “We rode the elevator to the 1st floor and got our lunches. I went back on the 5th floor with a fellow called Hank [Harold Norman] and Junior [James Earl Jarman], I don’t know his last name”. Williams’ statement implies that he went directly to the 5th floor with Norman and Jarman. I encourage any serious researcher to read through Greg Parker’s fascinating discussion of Piper’s presence on the 6th floor just prior to the assassination on his website here.
Despite Thomas’s omissions of certain facts and my disagreements with him, let me state that I think he done a terrific job in his discussion of the “gun rest” allegedly formed by Oswald using the boxes located on the 6th floor. As Thomas explains, only two of the boxes contained prints from Oswald, and that they are of no evidentiary value since Oswald worked on the 6th floor as an order filler (my own discussion of Oswald’s prints on the boxes can be found here).
Thomas further explains that Dallas deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney, who discovered the spent shell casings in the sniper’s nest, testified before the Warren Commission that one of the boxes had a crease on top of it, which could have been made from a rifle resting on it. Thomas then cites the testimony of Lt Carl Day, where he explained that he could find no evidence that the box was used as a gun rest. Thomas then discusses the famous Dillard photo, taken just a few seconds after the last audible shot was fired by Dallas morning news photographer Tom Dillard, which shows that the boxes were in a different orientation to the photograph of the DPD’s reconstruction of the crime scene. In my opinion, the boxes were moved into such as position by the DPD to ensure that any of Oswald’s prints on the boxes would link him to that window.
Thomas also explains that the eye witnesses who observed the 6th floor shooter were consistent with their description of the shooter as wearing a light coloured shirt. When Oswald was arrested at the Texas theatre, he was wearing a white T-shirt, with a dark brown long sleeved shirt on top of it (which Thomas describes as a burgundy plaid shirt). There has been much debate amongst researchers on whether or not Oswald changed his clothes when he returned to his rooming house following the assassination, and I have no firm opinion on whether or not he did. Now Oswald could have removed his dark brown shirt while shooting at the President. However, it can’t determine whether or not he did – and the evidence clearly indicates that Oswald was not the 6th floor assassin.
Thomas also discusses the dark fibres “discovered” by the DPD on the butt of the rifle, and examined by the FBI’s hair and fibre expert, Paul Stombaugh. Thomas explains that:
“The dark fibers from the butt plate of the rifle could have come from Oswald’s dark colored shirt, and if so, they add to the compelling evidence that the sixth floor weapon belonged to him”
However, as discussed previous, the evidence indicates that Oswald never owned the rifle; and apart from the dubious statements by Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine, there is no compelling evidence whatsoever that Oswald owned the rifle (my discussion of the credibility of both Marina Oswald and Ruth Pained can be found in part 2 of my review). Therefore, the fibres “found” on the butt of the rifle were most likely planted by the DPD. When we take into account the fact that the bus transfer and revolver bullets allegedly discovered in Oswald’s pockets were actually fabricated evidence by the DPD; the above explanation makes perfect sense (be sure to check out Gil Jesus’ discussion of the bullets here).
In his summary of chapter one, Thomas wrote what I can only describe as a totally absurd statement. Namely that:
“Oswald may have been left holding the bag, but the evidence is overwhelming that he was actively and materially involved in the assassination”
In reality, as I have explained above and previously on my blog, the evidence is not overwhelming that Oswald was actively and materially involved in the assassination. One of the biggest dilemmas amongst conspiracy advocates is whether or not Oswald knew that President Kennedy would be assassinated, and whether or not he was a willing conspirator. Although I do believe that Oswald may have had prior knowledge that President Kennedy would be assassinated, I don’t think he was willingly involved in the conspiracy. Think about it, why would the conspirators take the risk of having their designated Patsy inform the DPD and the FBI of who was involved in the conspiracy?
Many conspiracy advocates are of the opinion that Oswald was to be killed in the Texas Theatre prior to his arrest. Although I believe this may have been the case, I think that the conspirators would want Oswald to be paraded before the media as the President’s assassin on the behalf of Fidel Castro, after his connections to the FPCC were exposed. As far as Jack Ruby shooting Oswald is concerned, I believe that was done to ensure that Oswald would never be tried in a court of law, and possibly acquitted as the President’s assassin.
Suffice it to say, I was thoroughly disappointed with chapter one – and I honestly believe this was the worst chapter in the book. However, after reading through Thomas’ discussion of the fingerprint evidence in chapter two, I was quite impressed with what he wrote. Thomas begins with a discussion that fingerprints are not as unique as most people have been led to believe, and provides a quote from the book co-authored by legendary forensic scientist Henry Lee entitled Advances in Fingerprint Technology, concerning the individuality of fingerprints, which reads:
“From a statistical viewpoint, the scientific foundation for fingerprint individuality is incredibly weak”.
Lone gunman zealots often cite the presence of Oswald’s finger and palm prints on the boxes in the sniper’s nest and the rifle as positive proof of his guilt. Of course, to any rational researcher, this is an incredibly narrow minded interpretation of the finger and palm print evidence, and the fact that recent studies have proven that finger and palm prints are not as unique as commonly believed, has weakened the case against Oswald.
One of the highlights of this chapter is Thomas’ discussion of the all too familiar palm print, which was allegedly discovered by DPD Lt Carl Day on the underside of the barrel of the rifle. As Thomas explains, the palm print lift was not turned over to the FBI on the night of the assassination, nor was it ever photographed (even though the fingerprints on the trigger guard of the rifle were), nor did Carl Day bother to cover the prints with cellophane as he did with the trigger guard prints.
As Thomas further explains, Day claimed that there was still a remnant of the palm print visible on the rifle. However, when the FBI’s fingerprint expert Sebastian Latona examined the rifle, he could find no trace of the print. There was also no mention of the palm print until Sunday November 24th when it was announced to the media by Dallas district attorney Henry Wade. Finally, Thomas explains that Day had refused to sign a sworn affidavit for the FBI claiming that he had in fact lifted the print from the barrel of the rifle!
Despite all these problems with the print, Thomas nevertheless concludes that since Oswald owned the rifle, it was in fact his palm print. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Oswald did not own the rifle. Now if Oswald had handled the rifle prior to the assassination, he could have left a palm print on it. However, my own opinion is that the print did not belong to Oswald.
In his summary of chapter two, Thomas explains referring to the palm print that “it does not seem plausible that an effort would have been made to plant evidence that is so minimally incriminating”. By “Minimally incriminating” Thomas is referring to both the fact that Lt Day claimed the print was dry (therefore not a recently made print), and that he claimed it was found on the underside of the barrel – and not, for example, near the trigger housing.
Thomas does indeed make a good point. Although some researchers will scoff at my explanation, I believe Day claimed it was dry and found on the underside of the barrel as a way to explain why there was no mention of an insignificant palm print until two days following the assassination. In other words, I believe Day was merely covering his backside. Thomas also cites the “discovery” of flaws traced in the surface of the lift, which allegedly matched those etched in the surface on the underside of the rifle’s barrel. However, Thomas apparently never thought that the same FBI who did everything they could to hide the fact that a missed shot may have struck the commerce street curb, and the same FBI which altered the statements of many witnesses (see here), would also lie about the prior presence of the palm print.
On a further note, I’m very grateful to Thomas for his discussion of the fingerprint and palm print which Oswald allegedly left on the paper bag discussed above. As Thomas explains, the DPD failed to discover the prints using the black powder method, but the FBI managed to discover them using the silver nitrate method. Thomas argues that the significance of this is the prints were not fresh – and therefore not incriminating as upheld by lone gunman zealots. Thomas also explained that the prints on the boxes in the sniper’s nest were also only developed through the silver nitrate method.
Thomas believes the prints on the paper bag did in fact belong to Oswald. However, there is absolutely no convincing evidence that Oswald ever made the paper gun sack. Furthermore, as Dr David Mantik explains in his review of John McAdams’ book on the CTKA.net website (here), positive identification of fingerprints is unreliable. Mantik cites the conviction of Gilbert McNamee for the infamous Hyde Park bombing in London as an example of the unreliability of fingerprint identification.
One of the other highlights of this chapter is Thomas’ brilliant discussion of the print discovered on the foregrip of the stock of the rifle. Before reading Thomas’ discussion of this issue, I was not aware that such a print was ever discovered. Thomas quotes the following from Vincent Scalice’s HSCA report concerning the print:
“Lift from rifle….from the underside of the foregrip at the gun barrel end of the foregrip”
As Thomas explains, Scalice claimed that he identified five points of identity between Oswald’s known print, and the lift of the print from the foregrip (Thomas further notes that Scalice failed to mention whether the print was a fingerprint or a palm print!). As a rebuttal to Scalice’s claim, Thomas cites both the testimony of DPD Lt Carl Day, and the FBI’s latent fingerprint examiner Sebastian Latona. Day never claimed that he had discovered any print on the foregrip of the rifle, and Latona explained that he had been unable to locate any print of value on the rifle. Therefore, both Day and Latona have proven Scalice’s claim to be a lie.
Thomas also cites the fascinating interview of former FBI agent Richard Harrison by researcher Gary Mack. Harrison explained to Mack that he had driven the FBI agents to the morgue where they had fingerprinted Oswald’s corpse – allegedly for comparing the prints to the ones already in evidence. Thomas speculates that the FBI may have planted a print from Oswald’s corpse onto the foregrip of the rifle. I should also note that Thomas explains the Warren Commission were undoubtedly aware of the print’s existence, and chose to ignore it since it could prove that the rifle was handled by somebody other than Oswald – and that Oswald was not the 6th floor sniper.
As I’ve explained many times previously on my blog, Oswald had to be found guilty of the President’s murder. Otherwise, the DPD and the FBI would have to explain with severe embarrassment to the entire United States and the rest of the world that they were unable to locate the President’s assassin(s). Now, does any rational person truly believe that the DPD and the FBI wouldn’t ensure that a viable suspect such as Oswald would be found guilty? The evidence that Oswald was framed for the assassination is simply overwhelming; as countless researchers have demonstrated.
Overall, Thomas’s discussion of the finger and palm print evidence was brilliant. Equally brilliant was Thomas’ discussion of the Paraffin casts performed on Oswald’s hands and right cheek. For those who are unaware, the paraffin test involved applying liquid paraffin to a suspects hands to check for the presence of gunshot residues. Once the paraffin would harden and form a cast, the cast would then be removed and analysed for the presence of Barium and Antimony (bear in mind that the paraffin test is used specifically for determining the presence of Barium and Antimony from gunshot residue).
The paraffin test was performed on Oswald’s hands and right cheek by DPD detectives John Hicks and Sgt W.E “Pete” Barnes at the request of Captain Will Fritz. In fact, during his Warren Commission testimony, Barnes explained that the first time he had ever performed a paraffin test on a person’s cheek was when Fritz requested he perform one on Oswald’s right cheek. Like FBI agent Courtlandt Cunningham, Barnes explained that he didn’t believe the test would show whether or not Oswald had fired a rifle on the day of the assassination. Barnes also explained that the casts were sent to the city-county laboratory at Parkland hospital on the morning following the assassination for analysis.
As Thomas explains, the Warren Commission avoided publishing the results of the Paraffin tests in its 26 volumes of evidence, and claimed in its report that although the cast for Oswald’s right cheek tested negative for gunshot residues, the test was unreliable for determining whether or not a suspect had recently fired a rifle. Thomas informs the reader that both the Diphenylamine Dermal Nitrate test, and the Neutron activation analysis performed on Oswald’s paraffin casts, should be considered unreliable.
Concerning the paraffin casts on Oswald’s hands, Thomas explains that the palms of Oswald’s hands contained more Barium and Antimony than the back of his hands. If Oswald had fired a revolver at Officer J.D Tippit, and a rifle at President Kennedy, then the back of his hands should have contained a greater amount of Barium and Antimony than the palms of his hands. Yet, they didn’t.
Thomas also discusses the fact that the DPD had palm printed Oswald – before the paraffin had been applied to his hands. The significance of this is that placing ink on Oswald’s hands, and then subsequently washing them, would have rendered the test useless for determining whether or not Oswald had fired a gun. As evidence for his claim, Thomas cites the report by DPD detectives Richard Sims and Elmer Boyd (here), in which it is claimed that the paraffin casts of Oswald’s hands were made after he had been fingerprinted! Thomas also explains that Sgt Barnes initially claimed during his Warren Commission testimony that he had made the casts after Oswald had been palm printed; only to quickly reverse himself and claim that the casts were made before Oswald was palm printed.
My own belief is that the paraffin casts made from Oswald’s hands are meaningless for determining whether or not he had fired the revolver or the Mannlicher Carcano rifle; and as I have argued on my blog, I don’t believe Oswald assassinated the President or killed Officer Tippit. Thomas also discusses in detail the Neutron activation analysis applied to Oswald’s right cheek cast to determine whether there were traces of Barium and Antimony (this was done after the Diphenylamine Dermal Nitrate test failed to yield a positive result).
First of all, Thomas explains that the Neutron activation analysis is extremely sensitive, and can detect even very minute traces of Barium and Antimony which doesn’t necessarily mean the suspect had fired a rifle. Thomas does a fine job in explaining the deliberate vagueness of the FBI’s chemist, John Gallagher, who responded as follows to the following question by Counsel Norman Redlich;
Were you able to make determination as to whether the barium and antimony present on the inside cast was more than would be expected in the case of a person who had not fired a weapon or handled a fired weapon?
I found that there was more barium and antimony on the inside surface of the cast than you would find on the cheek of an individual who had recently washed his cheek. However, the significance of this antimony and barium on the inside of the cheek [cast] is not known.
Although Gallagher claimed that the significance of Antimony and Barium on the inside of the cheek cast was unknown, Neutron activation tests performed by Vincent Guinn on the cheeks of FBI agents who fired a rifle similar to “Oswald’s” revealed that Barium and Antimony were always deposited. This therefore dispels the belief by W.E Barnes and Courtlandt Cunningham that they wouldn’t expect to find deposits on Oswald’s right cheek after allegedly firing the Mannlicher Carcano rifle. Thomas quotes Guinn who co-authored an article in which it was stated;
“Deposition of residues on both hands and face was detected subsequent to rifle firing, but this subject was not extensively pursued.”
Furthermore, Thomas states that Guinn informed reporters in August 1964 that the result of his tests with the Mannlicher Carcano rifle was affirmative in all eight replicates. Although the Neutron activation tests indicate that Oswald didn’t fire a rifle at President Kennedy, I think it would be foolish to consider the tests to be completely reliable.
I should also point out that Thomas explains how Dallas district attorney Henry Wade mislead the media by claiming; “Paraffin tests showed that he [Oswald] had fired a rifle recently”. As explained in this article on the CTKA website, Wade was notorious for convicting innocent people. One final point I’d like to make is that Thomas believes that Oswald was actually carrying a revolver with him when arrested at the Texas Theatre. However, as I explained in this two part article, DPD Sgt Gerald Hill had by all likelihood framed Oswald for the murder of Officer J.D Tippit with the revolver.