Much of the information that surrounds the JFK assassination entails stories of eye witnesses whose input was ignored, altered or alleged to have been rescinded. Sometimes that involved what witnesses called intimidation and threats, and sometimes it pivoted on mistakes by authorities — or just poor police work.
As OCC’s JFK class focused on such documentation and testimony, some witness provisions jumped out at conspiracy skeptics.
- David Simmons, whose input in the event was connected to that of also-accused-of-plotting-to-kill-JFK Clay Shaw, was recorded as being so overworked making key decisions that he fell asleep in the 23rd hour of a 24-hour shift.
- Secret Service Agent Robert Bouck, who signed for the “JFK missile possession” (the magic bullet), was usually assigned to protect the president, and had a renowned propensity to block his ability to recall even basic info during testimony. He said he was told to uncharacteristically “stand down” the day of the motorcade when it came to protecting the president and was also part of a Secret Service group that partied heartily the night before at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club.
- Cab driver William Wayne Whaley, an important Commission source, merely provided a litany of inconsistencies. He logged a different time into his company cab records than that he testified to, and when it came to identifying Oswald in a police lineup, his credibility was further plagued by bureaucratic mistakes. Pointing to Oswald as the third lineup man, the police department’s overhead numbering as Number 2 was not consistent, resulting in his affidavit differing remarkably from his testimony, and neither one consistent with his real story. He also signed the affidavit before data was typed into it, another accountability problem.
- Parkland Hospital nurse Patricia Hutton was ordered to “put pressure on the wound of JFK’s head” although the size of the gaping head wound — which she testified to as an “exit” wound, and not entrance wound as is commonly described by the Commission — said it was so large, it was bigger than her hand. • Julia Mercer, a motorist stuck in pre-JFK motorcade side traffic, I.D.’d Jack Ruby as being the driver of a truck with a passenger carrying a rifle case and said they headed toward the grassy knoll area. The day after the killing, she voluntarily went to the Dallas Police Station to share with CIA agents what she had seen, but her info was later changed and falsified — and signed with a fake signature, she said.
- Nellie Connally, the wife of then-governor John Connally, wrote a book in the early 1990’s about that day and being in the limo with the Kennedys when her husband was also shot. Using what had begun as personal memories for her own family members, she only published it after her husband’s death. Among her contentions is that Connally was hit by a separate shot than the one that first hit JFK, the second shot fired instead od the one designated as The Magic Bullet, she said. She turned to look back after the initial shot to see Kennedy holding his throat, and before she could turn forward again, her husband was hit and fell into her lap. A third shot, said Nellie, rained Kennedy’s brain matter on them when it sprayed it forward into the jump seat of the limo where she and John sat. Nellie also maintained that her husband, who changed political parties and then worked with Republican President Richard Nixon, researched “secret documents” and concluded it was Lee Harvey Oswald who shot them.
- Jack Ruby had a definitive connection with Cuba in 1959, and per veteran newsman and JFK author Seth Kantor, was an FBI informant. Ruby’s presence was never questioned in the Dallas police department and he frequently wandered in and out without issue. Authorities also frequently partied at his establishment/s.
Surprise witness “Lee Harvey Oswald” was played for the 2013 class by former class member Bob Dodd. Hailing from OCC’s very first class on the subject, Dodd’s continuing study has subsequently made him a Kennedy assassination expert. That expertise provided him with factual Oswald input for the class.
Appearing in character,Dodd identified himself by occupation as “an order-filler at the book depository and an FBI informant.” Having thoroughly researched Oswald, Dodd further revealed LHO connections to the Marcella crime family through a stepfather, as well as an attachment to the TV show “I Had Three Lives.” Oswald was a devoted fan of the production, which centered on an FBI agent who infiltrated communist groups.
Dodd enacted that it was Oswald who discovered the Chicago plot to kill JFK — a plan eerily parallel to what finally occurred in Dallas. It was during his investigations of pro-Castro groups in New Orleans that Oswald became privy to the Chicago plot, which was later scuttled when JFK’s trip to the Windy City was cancelled.
The New Orleans meetings LHO attended during the summer of 1963 discussed various assassination plots. While those plans were discussed at group gatherings, Oswald was arrested for handing out pro-Communist leaflets as part of what appears to have been his undercover disguise. Following his arrest, and after he asked to speak with an FBI agent, Oswald was subsequently bailed out of jail by the FBI.
Oswald revealed all planned assassination details to Dallas officials, with the hope of fending off the killing. Oswald also maintained that the original shooters assigned the assassination attempt in Chicago were sent to Dallas to finish the job. He was particularly vexed that the Chicago assassination scoop he handed the FBI “was never acted on” and a Dallas scenario was subsequently created instead.
As time passed and no preventive action was taken by Dallas law enforcement officials, Oswald realized he was to be targeted as the Dallas patsy for JFK’s murder. Meanwhile, he named who the intended Chicago patsy was to have been: Thomas Arthur Vallee.
Kennedy’s murder was part of a more elaborate plan that included killing the twin brother leaders of Vietnam, says James Douglass. In the months and years to come, in fact, more than 18 pivotal people (and dozens more second-tier individuals) connected to the Kennedy death also died of sudden or tragic means — some of which are revealed in the OCC class.
There is also proof that on November 22 and just prior to his arrest, Oswald called an FBI agent from the book depository lunchroom!
Class member Judith Ellison of Royal Oak — and a retired administrative law judge — was impressed by the class and its revelations. “I never (originally) questioned the Warren Commission,” said the 71-year-old, who admits to having her eyes -- and mind -- opened by the class content and surprising clarity of its revelations.
Ellison played more than one role in the class presentations that focused on testimony details to flesh out the crime and results, including her role in the cross examination of witness Ruth Paine.
Daniel Blaski, 27, of Troy, is an undecided major in his second year at OCC. He played more than one character role, and says he found the class by accident, but is glad he did.
“My mom shared her memory with me of when the assassination happened, while she was in junior high school,” Blaski said. “She stressed always the implications of Kennedy’s death and the importance overall to all Americans.”
The result of the jury deliberations found Oswald not guilty from all class members but one. Detoi McKinney held tight to his contention that Oswald was part of a conspiracy. Even Seward decided in the end that there is not enough evidence to convict Oswald and voted with the rest.
Another JFK assassination class is already scheduled for the Fall of 2014, and has elicited public interest among newcomers, ranging from teens to people their 70’s who are talking about enrolling. Meanwhile, Burda and Vollbach continue to work their magic, enhancing each class with authenticity, surprise “guests” and entertaining moments, such as when Vollbach charged at Dodd after his testimony. Vollbach, wearing a Jack Ruby fedora, lunged forward with a trick “BANG!” flag gun, enacting the shot Ruby used to kill Oswald with on November 24, 1963.
But, it’s the educational moments that get the best review from students and experts alike.
The general overview as the OCC history department moves forward is expressed by Sherry Underwood. “I think that the U.S. government should simply release everything being held on the assassination, rather than re-open the official case or continue to destroy evidence and documentation,” she said.
Although it’s not certain how many will be enlightened by such openness, some of the public may find the release of information refreshingly honest. After all, as Underwood says, “Everyone has already formed an opinion, anyway,”
See part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series for more in-depth info. For additional reading on the subject, check out: http://phillipkay.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/the-jfk-murder/
Receive more news about history, education and other subjects; subscribe by clicking above for email notifications of new articles.