If we had learned on November 22, 1963, that the premier of Russia had been shot from a Moscow office building by a lonely capitalist sympathizer, we immediately would have pierced the governmental lie and recognized that a coup d’état had been accomplished and that new hands had taken over in the Soviet Union. We would have recognized that it was not reasonable that a pro-capitalist, and a lonely one without any apparent motive, could have accomplished within seconds the transfer of leadership of the Soviet Union. Finally, if the assassin himself were liquidated within 48 hours while surrounded by armed policemen by a patriotic Moscovite, it would have become apparent that strong and well-organized forces had seized control of the Russian government.
We really would not have been greatly interested in examining the grade school records of the assassinated assassin or in studying his photograph as a boy taken during a visit to the zoo. We would have been more interested in knowing what forces were opposed to the late premier’s policies and what assassination machinery was available to these forces.
In short, we would have recognized that the news story disseminated around the world was an obvious fabrication by which the new Russian government sought to fool the Russian people, to legitimize its acquisition of power and to conceal the actual reasons for the coup.
It would have been predictable that a massive search for evidence by Russian investigators, all of whom now worked for the new government, would confirm that things had happened just as the new government had announced: that the savage assassin, his mind inflamed by reading capitalist literature, had accomplished the meaningless murder. Government investigators could be expected to produce truckloads of incendiary capitalist literature found hidden in the assassin’s apartment. A photograph would be produced of the lone assassin proudly holding aloft in one hand the murder weapon and in the other a copy of the Wall Street Journal. Positive evidence would be exhibited proving that he had lived for a period in Chicago. Anyone who had followed the developing Russian scenario would be asking a great deal of human nature to expect that later a group of Russian officials, each handpicked by the new premier, would announce that he had been placed in office by a coup d’état and that the government’s investigation was a fake.
The assassination of President Kennedy demonstrated that many people will believe the most unlikely inventions rather than confront the fact that their government is lying to them. These people have become conditioned to accepting official announcements as rocks of reality, and it is painful for them to consider that these rocks are without substance.
Washington could have announced that Lee Oswald, having received blimp training in Russia, had bombed the President’s limousine from a blimp. The X-rays of the President’s autopsy would still be unavailable. The Zapruder film, showing the President’s head being shattered by the bullet from the front, would still be concealed from the country. In September of 2039 citizens could view the blimp itself.
There would have been editorials, piercing to the heart of the matter, calling for stricter controls on blimps. Anyone who publicly questioned the official blimp story would be denounced as a politically ambitious seeker of attention. Congress would be debating daylight saving time and pretending that we were not at war. Nothing would be greatly different because the blimp story would be exactly as accurate as the one which we were given.
In Nazi Germany the professors at the universities and the intellectuals, those who would have been expected to perceive reality more effectively, waited as quietly as rabbits in a pen until, one by one, they were picked up by the ears and taken off to the crematoria, still unwilling to face the reality that their country would do this to them.
We fear rejection by our government just as, when we were children, we feared rejection by our parents. We do not want to learn that the country in which we have lived all our lives has changed. We do not want to find that we are alone in a strange land.
The planning of the assassination took full account of this. The timing and the adroitness of the government’s gradual release of the preplanned official fiction indicated confidence that it would be accepted by the press and by the public regardless of what the evidence indicated.
Kennedy’s assassination and the subsequent concealment of the facts by the government’s professional investigation also demonstrated that there is virtually nothing which men will not do once it becomes clear that their deeds have governmental sanction, the past childhood equivalent of parental approval. Brutality and injustice, once they are permitted, become accepted as routine. This is why in war ordinarily civilized men frequently commit the most uncivilized atrocities, although it is customary for the press of any nation to indicate that this is only being done by the other side.
In Dallas, once it became apparent that Lee Oswald was the officially designated rabbit, career law enforcement authorities shouldered aside the eyewitnesses and the evidence and concentrated their attention on the make-believe charges against him.
There are few things in the world of men which power cannot do. It can make men rich overnight, and it can destroy them. It can put billion dollar defense industries in rural areas and destroy the economy of major cities. It can turn ordinary men into powerful officials, and it can turn extraordinary men into cadavers.
Power can also change front into back and down into up. Front was changed into back when the Zapruder film and the autopsy X-rays were kept out of sight and the government announced that the President was shot from the back. Front was changed into back when the frontal neck wound, which had been identified as a probable entrance wound by the civilian doctors at Parkland Hospital,—was announced to be an exit wound by the military doctors in Washington. It was later learned that the military doctors never really examined the neck wound—because they were given orders not to probe it. This merely confirms the fact that it was power, and not medical knowledge, which changed front into back.
Down was changed into up when the government announced that Lee Oswald was on the sixth floor of the depository when the assassination occurred. There is no acceptable evidence to support the claim that Oswald was on the sixth floor during the period of the assassination. All witnesses who did not find it necessary to later change their stories describe men on the sixth floor, but it is plain that none of these men was Oswald. He was seen on the first floor at noon by Eddie Piper, a 55-year-old janitor at the Texas School Book Depository.
After the shooting, Oswald was observed on the second floor by Roy Truly, the 56-year-old superintendent of the Texas School Book Depository, and Officer Marion Baker, as they rushed up the stairs. Even had it not been he downstairs but, instead, someone who happened to look like him, Oswald could not have flown down the stairs to encounter Truly and Baker, because Victoria Adams, an employee at the depository at that time, was coming down the stairs from the fourth floor, and no one passed her. Nor could Oswald have come down the elevator, because it was on the fifth floor with its door propped open. Up to the time of his execution no one claimed to have seen Lee Oswald on the sixth floor, much less at the window with a gun. Nevertheless, power changed down into up and history now has him diabolically crouched at the sixth floor window.
Down was also changed into up when, in the official reenactment of the assassination, the window at the assassin’s lair was raised higher than it actually was at the time of the President’s murder in order to permit the reconstructors on the sixth floor to point the rifle without lying down on the floor. The official theory had the assassin crouched over the boxes at the sixth floor window, but the Dillard photograph of the building, taken within seconds of the murder, showed the window to be open only a short distance from the bottom. Thus, if the government’s story were true, unless the window was immediately lowered after the assassination, the assassin would have had to shove his rifle through the window glass or else fire through the glass to have fired on the President. It is possible that such irresponsible damage to property, had it occurred, might have impelled the Dallas police to a more aggressive inquiry. However, the problem of the low window was solved at the time of the official reenactment by simply raising it higher so as to conform to the official story of the assassination.
Power can make things which existed disappear as if they had never existed.
Because the assassination was planned on a need-to-know basis, most of the officers on the Dallas police force did not know it was going to happen and were under the initial delusion that they were really free to inquire into the murder of the President. During this exceedingly brief period of innocence, police officers encountered another rifle at the book depository which was not part of the approved scenario. Until control was obtained over the situation, this building which houses children’s schoolbooks more closely resembled the Alamo.
The rifle encountered was triumphantly brought down from the depository by Dallas police officers a few minutes after 1:00 P.M.
Its discovery was recorded on film by a cameraman named Mentesana and made available commercially in the Dallas Cinema Associates film of the assassination. In the film, the rifle is being held aloft by a policeman, and other officers and citizens are crowded around to stare at this nearly historic weapon. Beneath the filmed scene is the legend “The Assassin’s Rifle.” Unlike the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle subsequently produced as Lee Oswald’s murder weapon, “The Assassin’s Rifle” has no telescopic sight on it. This rifle has never been publicly seen since.
On the sixth floor of the depository, Officer Seymour Weitzman, searching through the crates of books, found a hidden rifle which he described as a 7.65 Mauser. In a sworn affidavit he also described the Mauser’s telescopic sight as being 4/18 power and also spoke of the gun strap. It should be added that Weitzman formerly was in the sporting goods business and knew guns. The 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano, later produced as Oswald’s, had “Made in Italy” boldly printed on the side. The 7.65 Mauser is as easily distinguishable from this cheap rifle as it is from a bowl of spaghetti.
When the official scenario finally filtered down through the Dallas ranks, the Mauser disappeared and the rifle without a sight disappeared, and all that remained was the Mannlicher-Carcano with which the lone assassin, legend now tells us, accomplished history’s greatest sharpshooting feat unaided by other rifles in the hands of other men. The other rifles became as nonexistent as unicorns, unworthy of attention in the government’s 26 volume summary of “the hearings” and “the evidence.”
The nice thing, for the official investigation, about the Mannlicher-Carcano was that three empty cartridges found by the famous window matched it and had, at some point in time, been fired from it. Two of the cartridges were lying next to each other and were not ejected ten to twelve feet out to the side as cartridges ordinarily are.
When the Mannlicher-Carcano was sent to the FBI laboratory, the technicians were unable to find any of Lee Oswald’s fingerprints on it.
Some nine days later—a week after Oswald’s murder—the Dallas Police Department rushed up to Washington a palm print of Oswald’s which it said it had found on the gun. However, even the stoutest defenders of the Dallas police, a most exclusive group by that time, did not put too much stock in the late-discovered palm print.
Although it is possible to determine by tests whether or not a rifle has been fired recently, there is no evidence that such a test was given to the rifle which was supposed to have killed the President. One can hardly blame the law enforcement authorities for not wanting to play Russian roulette at this point. It was bad enough that the paraffin test tended to exonerate Oswald from having fired a rifle without exonerating the rifle as well.
Power can cause unpropelled inanimate objects to move from one position to another.
The official photograph of the assassin’s lair in the depository was taken at the outset of the “investigation” which followed and is shown for all to see in the Warren Commission exhibits. You can see clearly the two stacks of book crates, each stack consisting of two large crates one on top of the other, and it helps to show how the killer, his mind ravaged by Marxist readings, built a comfortable shooting perch from which he could shoot at the President and strike a blow for leftism. A question exists, however, as to just who constructed the assassin’s lair, because this particular lair was built after the assassination.
As the middle section of the parade moved along Houston Street toward the left turn by the depository, Tom Dillard, a news photographer, took a photograph of the depository from his moving car. Instead of showing the official assassin’s lair constructed of two equally sized piles of crates, two on one side and two on the other, it reveals that at the time of the President’s murder the two piles of crates consisted of three crates on the left side and one on the right side—an arrangement not nearly as convenient for assassination as the official one thought up after the President’s murder.
Even in fictional murder cases it is considered to be in bad taste to alter evidence so as to create a picture more advantageous to the investigators. The men who shifted the crates after the assassination in order to create a structure at the window more suggestive of Oswald’s guilt plainly were unaware that their breach of etiquette would be revealed by the earlier photographs taken during the parade. As a result, however, anyone who examines the assassin’s lair as depicted in the official photograph and as depicted in the parade photograph in Exhibit Dillard B will find that he is looking at two differently constructed lairs in the same window. To give credit where credit is due, however, the lair of crate boxes constructed after the assassination is much more practical for shooting down on the street than the crate structure which existed at the window when the President was killed.
Fingerprints and palm prints were taken from these book crates. Three of them were identified as Lee Oswald’s. However, inasmuch as his job involved moving these book crates around on the sixth floor, these prints are not inculpatory at all. Another print was never identified and did not match that of any employee in the building, a fact which would be of some interest in most cases. Twenty-four prints were identified as belonging to two law enforcement agents, a circumstance really more inculpatory than the finding of Oswald’s prints, since these law enforcement officers did not work on the sixth floor as he did.
Of course, one might observe that because of the overwhelming evidence that the fatal shot came from the knoll in front of the President, it did not make too much difference how boxes were stacked in a window to his rear. The government had a reply to this. The eyewitness and medical evidence as to the shooting from the front were systematically ignored and thereby were rendered nonexistent. The vaporization of such distracting factors cleared the way for concentration on the impelling question as to why Lee Oswald had come out of nowhere to remove the Chief Executive of the United States. This historic hypocrisy was crowned by the posthumous study of Oswald made by a distinguished psychiatrist retained by the government. Calling attention to Oswald’s unusually poor spelling. Dr. Renatus Hartogs concluded that the frustrating effect of Oswald’s spelling disability would not be inconsistent with his having decided to murder the President.
Let us assume that Dr. McClelland had acquired his medical education from a correspondence course and was under the impression that the temple is in the rear of the head. Assume further that the witnesses on the first floor of the depository were not really looking at Oswald but rather at a young man who was his spitting image and happened to be dressed like him, while the real Oswald crouched at a window upstairs on the sixth floor. Assume further that the police had found neither Mausers nor a rifle without a telescopic sight and that the only rifle found was the Mannlicher-Carcano allegedly owned by Oswald. There still remains the critical question of whether it would have been possible for Lee Oswald to have accomplished the shooting feat credited to him. If it were impossible, for example, for him to have achieved the carnage at Dealey Plaza with that rifle, then it would not matter whether he were a Marxist or a vegetarian and the fact of his early death would not convert the impossibility into a possibility.
We know that while he was in the Marines, Lee Oswald’s last record in firing just barely achieved the minimum score for qualification. We know also from his fellow Marine, Nelson Delgado, that Oswald was known on the shooting range as one who very frequently got “Maggie’s drawers”—the waving of the red flag from the target pit indicating that he had missed the entire target sheet.
Yet the shooting feat credited to him by the government not only would have placed him on any Olympic rifle team but would have elevated him to the rank of one of the best riflemen in history. In the less than six seconds during which all of the shooting was done, he would have had to aim and fire the ancient bolt-action rifle three times (subsequent experiments showed that no one could fire the weapon any faster than that within the given time limit) and yet hit his quarry in the back (or back of neck, depending on which of the autopsy descriptions you accept) and the head. For the first shot from the window, as the Warren Commission had to concede, the obstruction caused by the foliage of a large tree would have allowed him less than eight-tenths of a second to aim his first shot. Furthermore, the commission had to ignore evidence of a shot impacting on the President prior to the emergence of the Presidential limousine from that area where it was shielded by that same foliage from the view of any gunman positioned in the Texas School Book Depository building.
The contradiction between Lee Oswald’s recorded mediocrity and the laurels posthumously placed on his brow by the American government were explained by Walter Cronkite, a defender of the commission, in a CBS documentary on the Warren Report. He admitted that under normal circumstances Oswald would have taken longer. But the circumstances were not normal. He was shooting at a President. It is not easy to reply to such compelling logic. Undeniably it was not the sort of opportunity the average citizen encounters every day, and it may be that the prestige of the target inspires more accurate marksmanship. It is entirely possible that, back in his Marine days, had Oswald been shooting not at an ordinary black bulls-eye but at a real live lieutenant general of the Marines he may have achieved a higher score.
In order to be completely thorough in its investigation, the government decided to duplicate the alleged assassination from the sixth floor window of the depository. Otherwise it was obvious that rumormongers and malcontents would spread the word that it could not be done, and such unfounded comments eat away at the very foundation of government by the people.
First, however, it was necessary to have shims, thin strips of metal, placed in the mounting of the telescopic sight of the Mannlicher-Carcano. This was necessary because the sight was not adjusted parallel to the rifle barrel, meaning that whatever one was seeing through the sight was not necessarily being pointed at by the rifle barrel.
Judging from its conduct of the duplication, the government seems to have recognized that the lone assassin was one of the great riflemen in history. It seems to have recognized this shortly after the assassination, if not before.
To duplicate the lone assassin’s feat, three professional riflemen, each a rated Master in the National Rifle Association, were selected. They shot from a platform 30 feet high, half as high as the sixth floor window. Their targets were not moving, as in the legend of the lone assassin, but were fixed. Their targets were also larger, consisting of a two-square-foot silhouette of the head and shoulders, rather than of the limited portions which would have been exposed had they been men riding in a car. They were allowed as much time as they needed for aiming for the first shot, whereas the lone assassin, as the Warren Commission later conceded, would have had less than eight-tenths of a second to aim his first shot.
The Master riflemen were unable to do it. Only one of them was able to get three rounds fired, as the lone assassin was supposed to have done, within the required time. With every conceivable advantage set up for them, it cannot be said that the professional riflemen came close to the marksmanship credited to the lone assassin. They were like blind men shooting at flies. All that the government tests did was to demonstrate what already was apparent: that the official fairy tale was not merely untrue but, like all fairy tales, impossible.
Ordinarily, when it becomes apparent that it is impossible for a suspect to have committed a crime, he is eliminated as a suspect and discharged from custody. However, America was no longer an ordinary place. It had become a place where truth was turned into lies and lies became the basis for the official version of the assassination.
In such a place the government need not fear that any of its agencies will do anything about the lie. Nor need it fear that there will be protests from the elected representatives of the people. Nor need it fear that the national press will raise any but polite questions.
Three years after the assassination, two-thirds of the American people did not believe the official conclusions of the government about John Kennedy’s murder. Nevertheless, the highest government officials continued to pretend that no serious questions existed, that nothing was wrong.
The United States government had mushroomed into a superstate. In the superstate it makes no difference what the people think because they are capsulated from the center of power of the government. Truth becomes a government-controlled commodity.
In Orwell’s 1984, history was merely chalk writing on a blackboard and it was erased and rewritten whenever it suited the government’s convenience. Original documents or evidence which contradicted new authoritative versions of history were destroyed by the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. After the falsification was completed, there was no way for the people to prove it had occurred, and the changes calcified into official truth.
When a powerful government takes a stand against the truth, other elements of the power structure may join in the defense against the common enemy. In France, the government, the military, the press and the church asserted with a single voice that Dreyfus was guilty and condemned those who suggested otherwise. Dreyfus had to be guilty, they said, for if he were not it meant that the generals of France were lying, and this was impossible. As it turned out, the impossible had occurred. The generals of France had been lying.
No matter how idealistic are the foundations of a government or how virtuous its previous history, its accumulation of excessive power transforms it into the superstate. The superstate is an organism committed to maintaining its tremendous power in the face of truth, in the face of history. The technicians of the superstate, ignoring morality and the lessons of history, will protect the superstate with whatever deception or destruction is necessary.
The superstate’s rationale for attacking the truth will always be national security, but the real reason is the preservation of power. Its use of authority to defeat reason is undoubtedly mankind’s oldest way of winning a feud. Such use of authority continues to be effective whenever the people have become isolated from the government and cannot control it.
The result is that the scapegoat in a coup d’état is presumed guilty because of his weakness. Those who question his guilt are presumed mentally unbalanced because of their irrelevance, and the government is presumed innocent because of its power.