Monday, 4 March 2013

Book review: No more silence, by Larry Sneed

This is my review of Larry Sneed’s book No more silence, published in 1998. Sneed’s book is an oral history of the assassination of President Kennedy, containing interviews with many witnesses to the assassination, such as Bill Newman, Charles Brehm, and James Tague. Also included in the book are interviews with former DPD Officers such as Carl Day, Gerald Hill, Paul Bentley, and William Ralph “Pinky” Westbrook. Former Dallas deputy Sheriffs such as Bill Courson, Al Maddox, Luke Mooney, W.W “Bo” Mabra, and Jack Faulkner were also interview by Sneed.
Former FBI agent, Vincent Drain, whom had confiscated much of the evidence from the DPD on the night of the assassination, was also interviewed - as was former Dallas assistant District attorney, William F. Alexander. In my opinion, this is an important book which I strongly recommend any serious assassination researcher purchase. In the introduction to the book, Sneed makes it blatantly clear that he has little respect for conspiracy theories, but doesn’t dismiss the notion that there was a conspiracy behind the assassination. Sneed also asks the readers to keep an open mind, as they read through the many interviews contained in his book.
When writing this review, it was not my intention to provide a comprehensive review of the book. The common belief amongst the former DPD Officers and deputy Sheriffs interviewed by Sneed was that conspiracy advocates, who have written books about the assassination, have done so only for money and fame. Of course, in some cases this is true. However, I honestly get sick and tired of reading this over and over again.
Now to be perfectly honest, my primary reason for purchasing this book was to compare the statements Gerald Hill made to Sneed, to his previous statements. As I explained in this two part article, Gerald Hill was very likely involved in framing Oswald for the murder of DPD Officer J.D Tippit!
During his interview with Sneed, Hill repeats the claim that he travelled to the Tippit murder scene inside DPD Sgt Calvin “Bud” Owens patrol car, along with William Alexander, and Dallas morning news reporter, Jim Ewell. Hill also repeats the claim that he travelled to the Texas Theatre with DPD Officer, Bob Apple. However, as I explained in my article on Hill, these were both demonstrable lies.
It’s significant to note that Hill failed to mention to Sneed that he had been searching for the Tippit murderer with a “witness” inside a DPD patrol car; just as he did during his testimony before the Warren Commission. In my article discussing Hill’s complicity, I expressed the belief that Hill had picked-up the Tippit murderer, and took the revolver from him to then frame Oswald inside the Theatre. The fact that Hill failed to mention the “witness” to Sneed, has reinforced my belief that it was actually the Tippit murderer whom Hill had with him inside the car.
Harold Russell, who was standing in the parking lot of Johnny Reynolds’s used car lot on the corner of Jefferson and Patton streets, observed the Tippit murderer come down Patton Street then turn West onto Jefferson Blvd. Russel advised the FBI in an interview with them in February 1964 that he had been put into a DPD Patrol car by Officers he was unable to identify. However, he made no mention of this during his initial interview with the FBI in January (see here). I believe the FBI knew that Hill was involved in framing Oswald, and had interviewed Russell and coaxed him to claim that he had been put into a patrol car!
During his interview with Sneed, Hill claimed that he had been confused when he claimed the shells at the Tippit murder scene were from an “automatic 38 rather than a pistol”. As I have explained previously, I believe Hill had deliberately reported the shells as being from an automatic to cover his backside. Think about it. If you’re going frame a person with a revolver, wouldn’t you report the shells as originating from an automatic in order to divert suspicion away from yourself? I sure would.
Incidentally, Hill informed Sneed that he had marked the empty shell casings found at the Tippit murder scene. However, this is not what he told the Warren Commission. During his testimony, Hill claimed that he had asked Officer Joe M. Poe to mark the shells and to “maintain the chain of evidence as small as possible”. Furthermore, no researcher who has examined the spent shell casings at the national archives has ever claimed that Hill’s initials were inside any of them. Without a doubt, Hill was mistaken.
When Sneed interviewed William Alexander, Alexander informed him that he travelled to the Tippit murder scene with Sgt Calvin “Bud” Owens, and Gerald Hill. During his Warren Commission testimony, Owens had claimed that he travelled to the Tippit murder scene with Alexander and Captain William Ralph Westbrook, but made no mention of Gerald Hill being in the car with him. As I also discussed previously, Hill had also claimed that Dallas Morning news reporter, Jim Ewell, was also in Owens’ patrol car. However, during his interview with Sneed, Ewell made no mention of travelling to the Tippit murder scene with Hill.
Despite alexanders claim that Hill was in Owens’ patrol car with him, there are many reasons to doubt his credibility. First of all, Alexander claimed that Owens told DPD inspector Herbert Sawyer that he would “take the call!” to go to the Tippit murder scene. However, Owens made no such claim during his testimony before the Warren Commission (although that doesn’t necessarily mean that Alexander was mistaken or lying).
Secondly, Alexander claimed that Hill told Sawyer “I can go if you can spare me!” This is not what Hill claimed during his Warren commission testimony! Hill claimed that Sawyer told him "Well, as much help as we have here, why don't you go with Sergeant Owens to Oak Cliff on that detail.", and never said that he told Sawyer; “I can go if you can spare me!” Also, Hill claimed that Alexander said "Well, if it is all right, I will go with you." Alexander on the other hand, informed Sneed that he actually said; “Well, I’ll go, so let’s go!”.
Thirdly, Alexander also informed Sneed that after he had crossed the Triple underpass and turned onto Beckley Street inside Owens’ patrol car, they had traversed a short distance when a description of Tippit’s killer was broadcast over the DPD radio. According to the transcript of the DPD radio Channel 1, Officer Roy Walker broadcast a description of the killer at 1:22 pm. Within the same minute following this, Officers Joe M. Poe and Leonard E. Jez reported that “we’re at the location [Tippit murder scene] now”. Immediately following this, someone from Owens’ patrol car reported “19’s code 6” (19 was Owens’ call sign). According to DPD terminology, a code 6 means an Officer has arrived at the location of his new assignment. Therefore, Alexander’s claim is consistent with the DPD radio transcript.
However, further on during his interview, Alexander claimed that Owens’ patrol car was the first to arrive at the Tippit murder scene – contradicting his earlier claim and the DPD radio transcript.  In actual fact, the first DPD Officer to arrive at the murder scene was reserve Sgt Kenneth Croy. Also, Alexander claimed that he had arrived at the murder scene “just as the ambulance was pulling away with Tippit’s body”. Not only did none of the occupants of Owens’ patrol car corroborate Alexander’s claim; Kenneth Croy testified before the Warren Commission that Tippit’s body was being loaded into the ambulance as he arrived.
As a matter of fact, Hill informed the Warren Commission that the ambulance carrying Tippit’s body had passed by Owens’ patrol car as they were headed to the Tippit murder scene – contradicting Alexander’s claim. The final point I would like to make is that Alexander failed to inform Sneed that Jim Ewell and Captain Westbrook were with him inside Owens’ patrol car (Incidentally, both Ewell and Westbrook failed to mention that Alexander was in the same patrol car with them).
Based on the above, Alexander’s claim of travelling to Oak Cliff with Gerald Hill should not be considered credible. I think it is quite likely that Alexander knew that Hill lied about how he travelled to Oak Cliff - and lied to cover-up for him. If Alexander and the DPD knew that Hill was one of the Officers inside the Police car which stopped in front of Oswald’s rooming house, then they surely wouldn’t have told the FBI or the Warren Commission that he had – as it would likely implicate Hill in the conspiracy to assassinate the President. But enough about Gerald Hill.
When Sneed interviewed former DPD Officer Paul Bentley, Bentley repeated his lie of possibly preventing “Oswald’s” revolver from firing a shot, as Oswald was allegedly trying to shoot Nick McDonald (see here for my discussion of this issue). Bentley also claimed that he had discovered an identification card bearing the name Hidell, upon removing Oswald’s wallet inside the Police car which escorted him to City Hall. Undoubtedly, Bentley was referring to the fake selective service card bearing the name Alek James Hidell – which Oswald was allegedly carrying inside his wallet.
Apparently, Sneed didn’t think it was important enough to ask Bentley why he didn’t mention that Oswald had the Hidell ID in his wallet when he was interviewed on the day following the assassination by WFAA- TV (see here). Sneed also apparently didn’t think it was important to ask Bentley why he also made no mention of the Hidell ID in his report submitted to DPD Chief Curry concerning Oswald’s arrest at the Texas Theatre (my discussion of the Hidell ID can be read here).
Paul Bentley’s memory had evidently improved by the time he was interviewed by Sneed. Other DPD Officers who were involved in Oswald’s arrest at the Texas Theatre who were also interviewed by Sneed included Captain William Ralph Westbrook, and John Toney. During his interview, Westbrook informed Sneed that Oswald yelled “This is it” after Nick McDonald ordered him to stand-up as he approached him inside the Theatre.
Westbrook also claimed that McDonald and Oswald were struggling, after Oswald allegedly pulled out “his” revolver, and that DPD Officer Bob Carroll had reached out and grabbed it away from them. However, Westbrook made absolutely no mention of this during his Warren Commission testimony! In fact, when he was specifically asked by Warren Commission counsel Joseph Ball if he heard Oswald say anything, Westbrook responded with the following:
“The word "brutality" or "police brutality" and I think that was just all he yelled--was said while I was in the aisle walking down to the group. There was about six or seven ahold of him at that time.”
Westbrook also testified that he heard one of the Officers shout out “Yes, I have the gun” after Westbrook allegedly yelled “Has somebody got his gun”. Without a doubt, Westbrook was lying to Sneed about what he had seen and heard during the scuffle with Oswald. During the interview, Westbrook failed to inform Sneed that a wallet was discovered at the Tippit murder scene; just as he and other DPD Officers had failed to do so in their reports and interviews.
As I have explained previously, a former FBI agent named Robert Barrett claimed that upon arriving at the Tippit murder scene, Captain Westbrook called him over, holding a wallet in his hand, and asked him if he knew who Lee Harvey Oswald and Alek James Hidell were. The only way Westbrook would have known about those names at that time, was if the wallet found at the Tippit murder scene had contained identification for those two names. The wallet was filmed by WFAA-TV cameraman, Ron Reiland (the footage can be viewed here).
Sneed argues in his book that the DPD would have announced the discovery of the wallet “to the world”, and would not have concealed its discovery. What Sneed doesn’t explain is that had the DPD claimed Oswald’s wallet was found at the scene, they would then have to explain why Oswald was carrying his own wallet after he was arrested at the Theatre. In any event, the DPD would surely have realised that Oswald was framed for the murder. As I’ve discussed many times previously, the DPD needed Oswald to be found guilty to inform the entire United States and the rest of the world that the President’s assassin had been caught (please refer to my discussion of the Hidell ID for more information on this issue).
During Sneed’s interview with John Toney, Toney informed Sneed that during the scuffle with Oswald inside the Theatre, he observed “a pistol in someone’s hand over someone’s shoulder, and someone was holding the arm”. However, in his report to DPD Chief Jesse Curry concerning Oswald’s arrest (here), Toney explained that it was in fact Oswald who had the gun in his right hand. Toney’s memory would have undoubtedly deteriorated by the time he was interviewed by Sneed. However, I have demonstrated in my prior posts regarding Oswald’s arrest, and Gerald Hill’s suspicious behaviour, that the allegations Oswald had pulled out a revolver from his belt, was a fabrication by the DPD – to ensure that he would be convicted for both the murder of Tippit, and for the murder of President Kennedy.
One of the most important topics discussed in Sneed’s book, were the suspicious individuals seen/encountered in Dealey Plaza immediately following the assassination. Former DPD Sgt, David V. Harkness, is well known for testifying before the Warren Commission that he had encountered men behind the TSBD who told him they were Secret Service agents. As most of us are aware; there were no genuine Secret Service agents assigned to Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination.
Harkness tried to explain to Sneed that he could have been mistaken on their identities; since he didn’t see their identification (this is consistent with what he told the Warren Commission). He further added that “I probably had an assumption that everybody that was with the parade was with the Secret Service”. However, when Harkness was specifically asked by Warren Commission counsel David Belin if there was anyone behind the TSBD when he went there, he responded with the following:
“There were some Secret Service agents there. I didn't get them identified. They told me they were Secret Service.”
As we can see, Harkness testified that the men he encountered had told him they were Secret Service agents - only to tell Sneed over 20 years later, that he had merely assumed they were. Now, why should anyone believe that Harkness’s latter claim to Sneed is more reliable than his claim before the Warren Commission? Common sense tells us that since a person’s memory deteriorates over time; we shouldn’t consider his latter claim as being reliable.
Another person who claimed he encountered suspicious individuals was witness Malcolm Summers. Summers is the man seen in the Zapruder film diving to the ground, following the shot(s) to President Kennedy’s head. Summers is also known for his claim that he and other witnesses to the assassination had been stopped by a man in a suit with a gun under his overcoat, as they ran towards the Grassy knoll area following the shooting. However, there were no plain clothed DPD Officers, FBI agents, or Secret Service agents in Dealey Plaza immediately following the assassination! Summers repeated this claim to Sneed.
Summers also related to Sneed that as he was leaving Dealey Plaza inside his truck, a car containing three men had pulled out in front of him at a high rate of speed. Although Summers had mentioned this incident prior to his interview with Sneed (see here for example), this was actually the first time I had read about it. Summers explained that at the time, he thought the men in the car were Mexicans.
Lone gunman zealots undoubtedly dismiss this as another irrelevant incident. However, I think it is highly suspicious that a group of men would drive out from the scene of the assassination at a high rate of speed – almost like they’re trying to escape. The “Mexicans” seen by Summers could very well have been Cubans. As researchers such as Jim DiEugenio and Larry Hancock have aptly argued, Cubans such as Sergio Arcacha Smith; who were opposed to the dictatorship of Fidel Castro in Cuba, were likely involved in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. I certainly believe this to be the case.
Although there are those who have dismissed Summers’ claims as being nothing but pure fantasy, indirect corroboration for the presence of the man with the suit and gun was provided by former Dallas deputy sheriff, Al Maddox. As revealed in the book, Summers’ son was married to Maddox’s daughter.
As Maddox explained to Sneed, the night before the assassination, he observed a man whom he described as wearing a light brown coat, standing near the Oak Cliff the bus stop on Elm Street. Maddox claimed that the time of his encounter with the man was around midnight, and that the man was standing and looking around. Maddox further claimed that the description of the man Summers encountered, was almost identical to the man he had seen the previous night. I find this “coincidence” to be both very interesting and suspicious.
Let me add that Maddox also claimed that Summers told him the man in the vicinity of the Grassy knoll showed him a badge, and had a Uzi type gun under his coat. As far as I’m aware, Summers never claimed the man had shown him a badge; and it would therefore seem that Maddox was mistaken on this point. However, Summers did claim during his interview in the documentary series The men who killed Kennedy, that the gun the man was carrying looked like a little machine gun.
There was also the encounter of man in the parking area behind the picket fence on top of the Grassy knoll by former Dallas deputy Sheriff, W.W “Bo” Mabra. In his report to Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker (here), Mabra claimed that the man he had encountered was a city Officer who had informed him "I was stationed in [the] rail yards and had this entire area in view. No body came this way." However, no DPD Officers were assigned to the parking lot area. In fact, if there had been, the Warren Commission and its zealous defenders would have used this as proof that there were no shots fired from behind the picket fence.
What makes Mabra’s encounter with the man all the more intriguing, is that shortly following the assassination, DPD Officer Joe Marshall Smith had encountered a man in the parking area who identified himself to Smith as a Secret Service agent (my discussion of this issue can be read here). As I mentioned above, no genuine Secret Service agents were in Dealey plaza immediately following the assassination.
During his interview with Sneed, Mabra repeated his claim of encountering the “Officer”, but added that he was wearing a uniform. Given that no genuine DPD Officers were assigned to the parking lot area, this cannot possibly be true. It therefore seems that Mabra had misremembered how the man was dressed. The distinct possibility exists that the man Mabra had encountered, was the same man whom Malcolm Summers encountered.
Mabra also explained to Sneed that he had also seen a puff of smoke originating from the direction of the Grassy knoll, just as witnesses such as Sam Holland, Richard Dodd, Thomas Murphy, James Simmons, Cheryl McKinnon, and other witnesses had seen.
In Sneed’s interviews with the former DPD Officers and deputy Sheriffs, there is much discussion concerning how Jack Ruby entered the DPD basement, after which he shot Oswald as he was being transferred from the City jail to the County jail. According to the official version, Ruby “probably” entered the basement via the main Street ramp, as DPD Officer Roy Vaughn who was guarding the ramp “stepped out” into the Street momentarily to halt traffic, as a car driven by DPD Lieutenant Rio Sam Pierce was exiting the basement.
Roy Vaughn was one of the Officers who were interviewed by Sneed. Vaughn adamantly denied that Ruby had gone down the ramp. One of the witnesses who claimed Ruby came down the ramp was a former DPD Officer named Napoleon Daniels. However, Vaughn explained to Sneed that he had phoned Daniels about the matter, and that Daniels had denied seeing Ruby go down the ramp. As a matter of fact, the Warren Commission considered Daniels to be an unreliable witness.
One of the former DPD Officers who strongly supported Vaughn was Sgt Donald Flusche. Flusche was standing on Main Street watching the ramp entry which Vaughn was guarding, but was never called to testify before the Warren Commission. Flusche told Sneed that he knew Jack Ruby on sight - and that he didn’t see Ruby go down the ramp. He also verified that Vaughn was a totally honest man. In fact, Paul Bentley, who at the time of the assassination was the chief polygraph examiner for the DPD, told Sneed that he ran a polygraph examination on Vaughn, with the results showing that Vaughn was being truthful when he said he didn’t see Ruby into the basement.
Lt Pierce was also interviewed by Sneed, and claimed that he didn’t see Ruby standing at the top of the ramp, as he was driving out the ramp onto Main Street. My own personal belief is that Ruby did not enter the basement via the ramp. Vaughn told Sneed that he believed it was Sgt Patrick Dean (one of the DPD Officers responsible for security in the basement) who had let Ruby into the basement, but claimed that it was merely because Dean was a friend of Ruby’s; and not because Dean was involved in a conspiracy with him.
Many conspiracy advocates believe that it was indeed Dean who allowed Ruby to enter the basement, and I think it’s quite possible that he did. Many of the former DPD Officers interviewed by Sneed were of the opinion that Ruby did in fact enter the basement via the Main Street ramp – although they didn’t doubt Vaughn’s honesty.
Many of the DPD Officers interviewed also vehemently asserted that Ruby couldn’t have been part of a conspiracy to shoot Oswald, because he would not have known exactly when Oswald was going to be transferred. For example, consider what former DPD Officer James Leavelle (who is well known for being the Officer handcuffed to Oswald as he was shot) told Sneed:
“There was no way he could have planned it because he didn’t know when the transfer was going to happen, and he didn’t know he could get into that basement.”
However, this ignores the fact that Billy Grammar, a DPD dispatcher, claimed he received a phone call on the night before the transfer, from a man whom he later recognised as Jack Ruby telling him that unless the plans for Oswald’s transfer were changed, Oswald would be killed. It therefore seems that Ruby knew of the plans.
As far as knowing exactly when Oswald was being transferred, someone such as Patrick Dean could easily have signalled Ruby to move into position for the kill, just as Oswald was being escorted down the elevator into the basement.
We should also bear in mind that just prior to entering the basement; Ruby had allegedly sent a telegram to one of his strippers in Fort Worth, Texas, from the Western union building located on Main Street. Lone gunman zealots have argued that if Ruby truly had a prior intention of shooting Oswald, why did he wait until the last minute to enter the basement to shoot him? Of course, it all depends on whether Ruby really did send the telegram, or whether it was just another fabrication by the DPD to denounce the notion of a conspiracy.
I have always been of the opinion that Ruby shot Oswald, so that Oswald would not be tried in Court and risk being acquitted for the President’s assassination. If Oswald had been tried and acquitted, then there would be a massive public outcry for the DPD and FBI to bring the real perpetrators to justice – something which the DPD, the FBI, and any rational person knows would have been an almost impossible task to achieve!
As far as whether there was DPD complicity in Oswald’s murder, I honestly can’t see how Ruby could have entered the basement without help. Let me put it to you this way; if Gerald Hill was involved in framing Oswald for the murder of Officer Tippit (as the circumstantial evidence indicates), then it stands to reason that DPD Officers were involved in allowing Ruby to shoot Oswald. Of course, this doesn’t mean the entire DPD was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President. Only the most delusional of Conspiracy theorists would advocate such as notion.
Many of the former DPD Officers interviewed by Sneed argued that DPD Chief Curry was not to blame for the presence of the media in the basement, which had given Jack Ruby the opportunity to shoot Oswald. In fact, many of them blamed Elgin Crull, who was the City manager at the time and therefore Curry’s immediate superior, and/or Earl Cabell, who of course, was the major of Dallas at the time. For example, consider what Paul Bentley told Sneed:
“I think Curry was given orders from the City manager. Curry gave the orders but he was told how to do so. That was the information we understood.”
Given that Oswald was charged with not only murdering a Policeman; but also the President of the United States, then I think it is very likely that Crull, Cabell and others would want to show the world that Oswald had not be mistreated whilst in custody, and that they had nothing to hide with transferring him to the County jail.
I think it is important to try and uncover the identity of the person/people who had possibly ordered Cabell and Crull to allow the media into the basement, which provided Ruby the opportunity to shoot Oswald – as they could very likely have been involved in the conspiracy to assassinate the President. Despite what one might believe about Oswald’s murder, there is no doubt that it was a severe embarrassment to the DPD and the City of Dallas – and that the DPD would do everything in its power to cover-up for the breach of security in the basement. Only a complete fool, such as David Von Pein, would honestly think otherwise.
Another highly controversial topic related to the assassination which was discussed in the interviews with former DPD Officers, was the acoustics evidence. As most assassination researchers are aware, the acoustics experts hired by the HSCA came to the conclusion that the microphone of DPD motorcycle Officer H.B McClain had become “stuck open” on Channel 1 of the DPD radio, and captured the sound of the gunshots in Dealey Plaza.   
Sneed interviewed McClain, along with the former DPD communications supervisor, James C. Bowles, who wrote a rebuttal to the HSCA’s acoustics evidence entitled “The Kennedy Assassination Tapes: Rebuttal to the Acoustical Evidence Theory” Both McClain and Bowles informed Sneed that McClain’s motorcycle could not have been the one with the open microphone; because the motorcycle in question was a three wheeler, whereas McClain’s was a two wheeler.
Although I don’t trust Bowles (see here for an excellent essay on why Bowles should not be considered credible), I nevertheless believe that McClain was telling Sneed the truth. During an interview with New Zealand researcher Seamus Coogan (here), McClain openly admitted that he believed there was a conspiracy behind the assassination, and that the Warren Commission “did not investigate anything”. So it stands to reason that McClain was not lying to cover-up for the Warren Commission’s lone gunman conclusion.
Although McClain had informed HSCA investigators that his mic. could have been the one that was “stuck open”, he told Sneed that he had not been allowed to listen to the sounds captured by the mic.. He claimed that after he returned from Washington following his interview with the HSCA investigators, James Bowles had asked him to listen to a tape copy of recordings of the sounds captured by the “stuck” mic.. After listening to the tapes, McClain determined that the motorcycle with the stuck open mic. was a three wheeler; since the sound of a three wheeler engine is distinct from that of a two wheeler.
Now, although I don’t believe that it was McClain’s motorcycle which had the open mic., I do believe the sounds of the gunshots were captured by the mic. of a three wheeler in the vicinity of Dealey Plaza. The most thorough and impressive analysis of the acoustics evidence is by Donald Byron Thomas, who authored the book, Hear No Evil: Social constructivism and forensic evidence in the Kennedy assassination. I have just recently finished reading through Mr Thomas’s book, and will be writing a review of it, in which I hope to write a detailed discussion of my own thoughts on the acoustics evidence.  
One of the most truly ridiculous claims by the former DPD Officers interviewed by Sneed is that the DPD was one of the most cleanest and efficient Police departments in the entire United States. Thanks to Craig Watkins, who was elected the District attorney of Dallas in 2006, we now know that the DPD was in fact one of the most corrupt Police departments in the United States (see here for a discussion of all the innocent people who were wrongly convicted under the regime of former Dallas district attorney, Henry Wade).
Another interesting topic of discussion was the miniature Minox spy camera which the DPD discovered in the home of Ruth Paine which allegedly belonged to Oswald – and which the FBI claimed was actually just a Minox light meter. When Sneed interviewed former DPD detective Gus Rose; one of the Officers who discovered it, Rose reiterated that it was in fact a camera, and that he had seen film inside it. William Alexander also verified that it was a camera. However, former FBI agent Vincent Drain boldly asserted to Sneed that he didn’t recall seeing the Minox Camera, and that:
“…the light meter would be easily mistaken for one by somebody that really didn’t know [about the camera] and, at that point in time, I never knew the Dallas Police Department to use them.”
Well, at least that’s what Drain believes. Keep in mind that this is the same Vincent Drain who told Sneed that he was a close personal friend of Robert Kennedy, and that Kennedy had “no question with the Warren Commission”. In light of what we know from the recent revelations of his son, Robert Kennedy Jr. and other sources, this claim is utterly bullshit!
Researchers such as Jim DiEugenio have argued that the reason Oswald had a Minox Camera, was because he was involved in espionage work for the CIA. William Alexander tried to dismiss the significance of Oswald’s ownership of the camera, by explaining:
“We had the Minox camera and that was all there was to it! In those days, a Minox camera probably cost around $200. What inference can be drawn from it?”
If there was no significance to Oswald’s ownership of the camera, then why the hell did the FBI do everything they could to hide the fact that Oswald had one? Alexander provided no explanation. The best answer, in my opinion, is that the FBI realised Oswald’s ownership of the camera would have led to speculation that Oswald was working for one or more US intelligence agencies – which could then have led to speculation that he had murdered the President at their behest!
I should also note here that almost all of the former DPD Officers and Dallas deputy Sheriffs interviewed by Sneed vehemently insisted that Oswald was guilty. Just consider detective L.C Graves’ statement to Sneed:
‘’As an Officer you don’t work on theory except when you’re trying to solve a case. But once you solve the case and get the facts together, then you stick to the facts, and that’s the way it is. The case against Oswald and Ruby is closed, absolutely, and I’ll defy anybody to prove otherwise. They haven’t yet and they never will!”
In light of all the evidence with have today, a statement such as that it completely and utterly absurd. More importantly; it is obsolete. Unfortunately, there will always be those delusional individuals who will maintain that Oswald – and only Oswald – was responsible for the President’s assassination.
Of course, for Graves and other former DPD Officers and deputy Sheriffs to claim that Oswald was in fact innocent, would be equivalent to claiming that the President’s real assassins had evaded them. Such a revelation would surely be a great embarrassment to them, since they were part of the Police/Sheriff’s department which investigated that tragic and unfortunate murder. Now does anybody honestly believe they wouldn’t have shared any embarrassment whatsoever?
One of the most interesting comments I read in the book was by former Dallas postal inspector, Harry Holmes. As most researchers are aware, Holmes was involved in Oswald’s interrogation on the morning of November 24, just prior to Oswald’s transfer to the County jail. He was also used by the Warren Commission to help incriminate Oswald for the assassination. Holmes made the following during his interview with Sneed:
“And then too, there was no skullduggery in setting him up at the School Book Depository because the people that recommended it had no interest whatsoever; they were just neighbours of Ruth Paine that had heard about the job.”
The “neighbours” to which Holmes was referring to in his interview was Linnie Mae Randle; the sister of Buell Wesley Frazier, the man who took Oswald to the TSBD on the morning of the assassination. For Holmes to imply that there was nothing suspicious about Oswald’s employment at the TSBD is a complete crock. The person who helped Oswald get his job as an order filler for the TSBD, was Ruth Paine.
As Jim DiEugenio writes in his seminal book Destiny betrayed (the 2nd edition), both Ruth and Michael Paine (Ruth’s “estranged” husband) had connections to the CIA. In fact, Ruth’s father and sister both worked for the CIA! It was of course in Ruth Paine’s garage where we were told that Oswald stored “his” rifle inside a blanket. It was also in Ruth Paine’s home where evidence such as the phoney backyard photographs of Oswald holding the rifle were discovered. It was also in Ruth Paine’s home where Dallas deputy Sheriff, Buddy Walthers, claimed in his report to Sheriff Bill Decker (here) that he discovered the following:
“Upon searching this [Ruth Paine’s] house we found stacks of hand bills concerning "Cuba for Freedom" advertising, seeking publicity and support for Cuba. Also found was a set of metal file cabinets containing records that appeared to be names and activities of Cuban sympathizers”.
In my opinion, the fact that Ruth Paine had the names of communist sympathisers in her home is positive proof that she had been working for the CIA. According to Ruth Paine, she had asked Marina Oswald to move into her home in April 1963, so that she could learn Russian from her. However, as Jim DiEugenio explains in his book, Ruth Paine taught Russian at the St Mark’s school for boys prior to this! So the obvious question is: Why the hell would Ruth Paine need Marina Oswald to teach her Russian? The truth is; she didn’t need her.
As I have discussed previously, Ruth Paine had allegedly telephoned Roy Truly, who was the super intendant of the TSBD, on October the 15th, 1963, enquiring about a job for Oswald. According to a former TSBD employee named Edward Shields, Truly had laid off eight black employees one day prior to hiring Oswald; presumably due to redundancies. Yet, Oswald was hired anyway (see here for my discussion of Truly’s complicity).
My belief is that both Ruth and Michael Paine, and Roy Truly, were involved in the assassination, and that the entire story about Ruth Paine calling Truly about a job for Oswald was nothing but a charade to set him up as the patsy for the assassination. If you want to learn all you can about the Paines, then I strongly recommend you read through a copy of Jim DiEugenio’s book. In the meantime, you can read through this informative article.
Another interesting statement which I read in the book was by assassination witness, Charles Brehm. Brehm is well known as the “clapping” man seen standing to the right of witnesses Jean Hill and Mary Moorman in the Zapruder film. Although Brehm is now deceased, he had always maintained that he observed President Kennedy react to the first shot by grabbing his throat, and that the head shot was the second shot. The following is what Brehm related to Sneed:
“There were no people [Snipers] hiding around with silencers, which in itself is laughable, because why should this person [Sniper] have a silencer and that person not have a silencer? And if there were nine people, as somebody advocates, why eight people with silencers shooting and only one without one?”
Although I’m not aware of any conspiracy theorist who believes there were nine assassins firing at the President, Pat Speer’s thorough and exhaustive analysis of the eye/ear witness statements regarding the shooting (here) has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that there was at least one assassin behind the President’s limousine using a silencer. As Speer has shown, the majority of eye witnesses to the assassination claimed that President Kennedy reacted to the first shot by grabbing his throat/leaning forward and/or leaning to the left. These reactions by the President are seen in the Zapruder film after frame 224.
Many of the witnesses to the assassination also claimed that the head shot was the second shot, and that the second and third shots were fired very close together. Yet, the available evidence clearly indicates that at least two shots were fired prior to the headshot(s) at Zapruder frame 313. The most logical conclusion based on Speer’s analysis is that the shot(s) at circa Zapruder frame 224 (where Governor Connally was shot) were fired from a rifle equipped with a silencer (See here for my own discussion about the silenced shot(s)).
Brehm himself was adamant that the second shot was the head shot. Little did he realise that his own recollections of the shooting helped prove that there was at least one assassin using a silencer. Brehm also seems to be implying that it makes no sense that the assassin on the 6th floor of the TSBD wouldn’t have used a silencer. However, when you take into account the fact that Oswald was framed for the assassination (as the wallet found at the Tippit murder scene proves), the 6th floor assassin would deliberately not have used a silencer – in order to draw attention towards that location.
I realise that the above statement may sound completely absurd, but when you take into account the likelihood that Roy Truly had accompanied DPD Officer Marrion Baker into the TSBD to identify any of the accosted assassins as employees of the building, then the above explanation makes perfect sense.
I would like to conclude my review of Sneed’s book with a discussion of Otis Williams; one of the most important but often overlooked witnesses to the assassination. At the time of the assassination, Williams was 64 years old, and was working at the TSBD as a credit manager. Williams provided Sneed the following crucial information.
“I entered the building [TSBD] immediately, climbed up the stairs back where the warehouse elevator was which led to the sixth floor and went up to the fourth floor, which was the first one I could see from to see the underpass….. I could have gone down the steps when Oswald came down, but he came down on the elevator. Anyway, I walked down the steps and didn’t see him or anything.”
As we can see, Williams said he immediately went into the TSBD following the shooting, and climbed the stairs from which Oswald allegedly descended from the 6th floor – but didn’t see Oswald. Williams also claimed that Oswald “came down on the elevator”. The problem with William’s explanation is that Oswald could not have come down the elevator! When Roy Truly and Officer Baker entered the TSBD shortly following the shooting, they discovered that both of the elevators leading from the 1st floor to the 7th floor were on the 5th floor.
If Williams’s recollection is accurate, then Oswald is positively exonerated as the 6th floor assassin! However, let’s bear in mind that at the time of his interview with Sneed, Williams was very old – and his memory would most likely have deteriorated by the time Sneed had interviewed him. I should also note that Williams had entered the TSBD following the shooting, because he believed the shots were fired at the President from the direction of the triple underpass, and wanted to take a look at the underpass from an elevation.
I could have gone on, but I want researchers to read through the interviews in the book for themselves. As I stated at the beginning of my review, I think this is an important book which I strongly recommend any serious assassination researcher purchase. For those of you who haven’t read the book, I hope you found my review to be useful. Please feel free to post any comments or questions you may have.


I wanted to discuss the following derogatory comments made about President Kennedy to Sneed by former Dallas deputy Sheriff, Bill Courson:

“I think that he was just as much a racist as anybody else, and being an opportunist, saw that issue [racial discrimination] as a way to make a big name for himself. Personally, I think John F. Kennedy, and all Kennedys, had the morals of an alley cat.”

Ironically, Courson made the above comments following his appraisal of President Kennedy for peacefully resolving the Cuban missile crisis. Presumably, when Courson stated that Kennedy “had the morals of an alley cat” he was referring to the allegations of his affairs in the Whitehouse. There is no firm evidence that Kennedy ever had affairs in the Whitehouse, and I personally don’t give a shit if he did; because it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.

The fact that Kennedy saved the world from almost certain nuclear annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis is good enough for me to consider him a great man and President! However, for Courson and other delusional people like him, it apparently isn’t.

As far as Courson’s utterly absurd claim that Kennedy was a racist is concerned, give me a bloody break! If Kennedy was truly a racist, then why did he befriend Ahmed Sukarno, the former President of Indonesia? Why did he stand-up for the rights of African Americans during the Civil rights movement? Why did he support the famous March on Washington which took place in August 1963? Also, why did he do everything he could to help out the Congolese during the Congo crisis? (Please refer to this brilliant essay by Jim DiEugenio for more information).

As far as Courson’s claim that Kennedy was an opportunist is concerned, he never cited one example to support his utterly ridiculous claim. Suffice it to say, if President Kennedy was truly a racist as Courson and other shameless Kennedy bashers have insinuated, then believe me, I would not be spending my time trying to uncover the truth behind his assassination.


  1. Hello,
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    Paulo Gonçalves

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    1. Hi Paulo,

      Thank you for your kind comments! I greatly appreciate the fact that you like my blog. I'm also impressed by your blog. Again, thank you for your kind comments.

  2. Please note:

    Just recently, I discovered that there was an interview with Otis Williams by DPD detective, W.E Potts. In the interview, Williams claimed that he went up the stairway, but didn't recall seeing anyone. The report is linked below.

  3. A fair review, well written. Thank you.


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