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The Case Against Oswald


Photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald from August 1963, when he was arrested in New Orleans following a "scuffle" with Carlos Bringuier.

The following is an exceedingly brief summary of the main points in the case for Oswald as the lone assassin, and brief rebuttals of those arguments:

1. Oswald’s rifle was found near the "sniper's nest" in the Book Depository building, and a bullet involved in the shooting had markings proving it was fired from that rifle. But this bullet was found on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital under circumstances that suggest it was planted. The rifle also may have been planted – the story that Oswald carried the rifle into a building inside a paper bag has many problems. Further, a paraffin test on Oswald's cheek came out negative, indicating he hadn't fired a rifle that day.

2. Oswald was present on the sixth floor around the time of the shooting, and was even spotted in the window. The Warren Commissioner's "star witness" Howard Brennan didn't identify Oswald at a police lineup, and evidence indicates he could not have been the source for the description of Oswald that went out over police radio. No other eyewitnesses put him in the window, and there is contradictory testimony about Oswald's whereabouts including multiple witnesses placing him on a lower floor.

3. Medical evidence showed that all bullets striking the motorcade came from behind. The medical evidence is too tangled a tale to summarize, but there is much evidence for a shot from the front. The single-bullet theory required by the lone assassin scenario is beyond credibility.

4. Oswald’s flight from the crime scene indicates involvement, and his murder of Dallas Police officer Tippit proves his capacity for violence. Testimony suggests that Oswald aided a journalist to a telephone while exiting the building, hardly the behavior of a crazed killer in flight. The evidence that Oswald killed Tippit is hardly ironclad, and has problems of its own.

5. Since no one could have known that the motorcade would pass by the Book Depository building when Oswald got his job there in October 1963, no conspiracy could have placed him there. Dealey Plaza is a central access point to highways, and there are few locations in Dallas suitable for a Presidential visit; Commissioner McCloy himself argued that the building was likely to be along any route. And the "coffee klatch" account of how Oswald got the job may not be the full story. Further, a sophisticated plot would arrange for multiple possible "patsies," and indeed there are indications this may have been the case - Gilberto Lopez is one such example.

6. Oswald was a sociopathic loner and malcontent, and thus had no associates who would have aided him in the crime. Lee Harvey Oswald remains enigmatic, and evidence of his many contacts has emerged over the years. He certainly wasn't the two-dimensional figure depicted by the Warren Commission. Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union and later pro-Castro activities are indicative of an intelligence operative building a "legend," and several of his associates were later revealed to be intelligence-connected.

7. Jack Ruby did not "rub out" Oswald. The timing of his entry to the police basement was pure luck and could not have been planned, since Oswald was supposed to have been moved earlier. And it makes no sense to silence Oswald--then someone would have to silence Ruby. The timing of Ruby's entry simply needed the help of key Dallas police insiders; this appears to be exactly what happened. The "infinite chain of people to be silenced" argument is silly--some people can be trusted to keep their mouths shut more than others.


Books of Interest

    Case Closed
Gerald Posner
Random House, 1993
 
    Accessories After the Fact
Sylvia Meagher
Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 1967, 1976, 2006
 
    Presumed Guilty
Howard Roffman
Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1975
 
    Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy?
Joachim Joesten
Marzani and Munsell Publishers, 1964
 
    With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer Tippit
Dale Myers
Oak Cliff Press, 1998
 
    Rush to Judgment
Mark Lane
Thunder's Mouth Press, 1966, 1992
 
    Cover-Up
Stewart Galanor
Kestrel Books, 1998
 
    Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report
Harold Weisberg
Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 1965, 2006

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