On November 22, almost all attention in Dealey Plaza was fixed on the President and First Lady as they rode slowly through the plaza in Dallas at under ten miles per hour. Only four claimed to have glimpsed a gunman in a window of the Texas School Book Depository, and not all agreed which window. But because this territory is so salted with spooks and rabbit holes, you never know whom to trust, if anyone. The youngest and most believable witness, however, was a 15-year-old named Amos Eunis who led the police at the scene to start searching the School Book Depository after seeing a man fire twice from its corner window.
Amos heard four shots that day, and was certain two had been fired by a bald-headed man in the southeast corner of the 6th floor. He saw a reflection off the head when the gunman leaned forward to take his second shot. The fact he could not identify any other characteristics may have saved Amos’s life for had he gotten a good look at the shooter’s face, he would have known it wasn’t Oswald, who was downstairs finishing his lunch. Many inconvenient witnesses died prematurely, the first wave right after the event and another when Garrison began his investigation.
Twenty-six years ago, when I began researching a cover story for High Times magazine on the assassination, the most illuminating book I discovered was Wilderness of Mirrors by David Martin, my first real look inside the CIA. The book revealed Bill Harvey and Johnny Roselli had been working with Ted Shackley and David Morales on a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, a project halted by the Kennedy brothers.
My immediate suspicion upon reading the book was that Harvey’s executive action project diverted to hit JFK after the President demoted Harvey, who had a purple hatred of both Kennedy brothers. When RFK suggested he could train some infiltrators on his estate, Harvey had snorted: “Train them as what? Babysitters?” Harvey, on the other hand, was the CIA’s most gung-ho, boom-and-bang cowboy, an assassin with many notches already on his gun, and certainly dreamed of killing JFK. Harvey had a serious drinking problem and issues with rage. The CIA takes orders from the National Security Council, which is chaired by the President. But what if the council decides the president is a threat to national security? Could the council then deploy the CIA to remove him? Because apparently that’s what actually happened.
Harvey was in Italy running the Rome CIA station at the time, a post that deployed a corporate front named Permidex to cloak covert ops.
Intel manufactures “influencers” on both sides of any wedge issue simply because people are easily influenced. Wedge issues are the fulcrums deployed to divide and conquer. The influencer makes sure his side of the wedge flows into a managed dialectic. These games are always presented as a choice between two alternatives. If you’re looking for proof of intel penetration into the emerging sixties counterculture, and the manufacture of influencers, look no further than Kerry Thornley.
Thornley became a major New Age influencer despite a strict Mormon upbringing. In 1963, he invented Discordianism, which became the primary influence on the Church of the SubGenius and other counterculture alternative religions.
In 1959, however, Thornley was stationed at a U-2 base in Japan along with Lee Harvey Oswald. The base was a notorious site for MK/Ultra experiments deemed too controversial for US soil and it seems Oswald and Thornley could have gone through some behavior modifications as their lives became forever entwined. When Oswald departed to Russia posing as a defector offering up the U-2 secret, Thornley moved to New Orleans and began writing a novel based on Oswald titled The Idle Warriors.
Thornley was subpoenaed by the Warren Commission and a copy of his unpublished manuscript entered into the National Archives. He gave a highly detailed deposition establishing what a devoted Marxist Oswald was. It included the following exchange:
THORNLEY: [Oswald] had gotten me to read 1984 and this was one of his favorites.
JENNER. Tell me what 1984 was.
THORNLEY. This was a book about…it is a projection into the future, supposed to take place in 1984 in England under a complete police state. It is, I would say, an anti-utopian novel, by George Orwell, a criticism of English socialism and what it might lead to, based upon Orwell’s experiences with Communism and Nazism, his observations about a society .in which a mythical leader called Big Brother dominates everybody’s life. Where there are television cameras on every individual at all times watching his every act, where sex is practically outlawed, where the world is perpetually at war, three big police states constantly at war with one another, and where thought police keep every, all of the citizens in line. Oswald would often compare the Marine Corps with the system of government outlined in 1984.
JENNER. By way of protest against the Marine Corps?
THORNLEY. Yes; humorously, satirically. One day we were unloading, moving a radarscope off the truck and it slipped, and he said, “Be careful with Big Brother’s equipment.”
Because of Thornley’s appearance in front of the Warren Commission, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison made Thornley a target of his investigation. From Garrison’s On the Trail of the Assassins:
Thornley had told me that he returned from his summer in California by way of Mexico City. This happened to be very close to the time that the Warren Commission said Oswald was in Mexico. By November 1963, according to his own account, Thornley was living in a New Orleans apartment he rented from John Spencer. We located Spencer, who turned out to be a friend of Clay Shaw’s. As he described it, sometimes Spencer visited Shaw, the director of the International Trade Mart, and sometimes it was vice versa.
Several days after the assassination. Spencer told us, he came to his house and found Thornley gone. In Spencer’s mailbox was a note from Thornley saying, “I must leave. I am going to the Washington, D.C. area, probably Alexandria, Virginia. I will send you my address so that you can forward my mail.” Spencer said it was quite unexpected because Thornley had at least a week left in the month before his rent was due. He went to Thornley’s apartment, number “C”, and found that paper had been left over the entire floor, torn up into small pieces like confetti. Before being torn up, the paper had been watered down so that the ink was blurred, making it unreadable. After the assassination Thornley told Spencer he was going to be a rich man because of the coincidence of Oswald having been the subject of his book. Thornley had wound up at Arlington, a Washington suburb, and had moved into Shirlington House, a first-class apartment building where he worked as doorman. Thornley stayed at Shirlington House for six months, until he testified before the Warren Commission. Oddly enough, his salary was less than the rent of his Shirlington House apartment.
In the mid-1970s when I was in the private practice of law, Thornley sent a lengthy, almost biographical, 50-page affidavit to me describing, among other things, evidence he had encountered in New Orleans of “Nazi activity” in connection with President Kennedy’s murder. It was apparent that even though I no longer was D.A. Thornley wanted to assure me that he had not been involved in Kennedy’s assassination. Although it did not accord with reality, as I recalled it, the affidavit had, in retrospect, one interesting feature. Purely gratuitously, it mentioned how Thornley had left Washington following his Warren Commission testimony and ultimately returned to California, where he and John Roselli happened to become friends.
Actually, the first place Thornley visited after departing Washington was Robert LeFevre’s John-Birch-connected Freedom School in Colorado, where he joined soon-to-be very powerful Charles Koch. Eventually Thornley came clean on the JFK assassination and confessed he’d been drawn into the plot by E. Howard Hunt.
But we know now that Hunt was not the instigator or anything close. After David Morales offered him a role in the assassination, which Hunt turned down (according to his deathbed confession), James Angleton seems to have selected Hunt as the official agency rabbit-hole-backstop. First, Weberman falsely ID’s Hunt as one of the three tramps. Then Angleton leaks a memo implicating Hunt as being in Dallas that day. Meanwhile, a handwritten note from Oswald to a Mr. Hunt is sent anonymously to Penn Jones, a leading researcher in the field before Lane shoves him off the national stage. Soon, Lane will focus all his attention on Hunt, culminating in a widely-covered libel trial. But all this million dollar trial proved was that Hunt could have been in Dallas that day. And by shepherding all eyes on Hunt, the real culprits at JM/Wave (Shackley, Harvey, Morales) were able to waltz free.
But the Thornley saga didn’t end there, not even close. In 1975, Antony Sutton published National Suicide detailing massive covert assistance from Wall Street to Russia. He was kicked out of the prestigious Hoover Institute and cast academically adrift. The John Birch Society seized on Sutton’s work to prove a thesis that Rockefeller and Rothschild were secret Communists working to integrate Russia and the US into one entity to rule the world. Interestingly, the leading polemicist for the Birchers, Revilo P. Oliver, was also called upon by the Warren Commission for a lengthy deposition, as was Mark Lane. It appears significant depositions might have been staged by CIA-connected spooks seeding rabbit holes and backstops.
While working as letters editor of Playboy, conspiracy researcher Robert Anton Wilson was inundated by Birch propaganda and decided to counter it by writing a satirical story about the Illuminati as if the society was an honest attempt to overthrow royalty and religion (and not some covert Jesuit plot to infect Freemasonry from within). Thornley immediately began corresponding with Wilson and worked his way into the pages of Playboy and eventually Discordianism became the foundation for Wilson’s trilogy, which began with a counterculture reporter’s investigation into the JFK assassination. Wilson’s fantasy, however well intended, served to make any Illuminati conspiracy less believable. Worse, it elevated Thornley to icon status instead of unmasking him as either a spook or MK/Ultra robot. Wilson’s book became launching pad for decades of nutty Illuminati conspiracies.
Meanwhile, despite the loss of academic credentials, Sutton soon published America’s Secret Establishment, revealing Yale University’s Order of Skull & Bones was deploying remarkably similar rituals as the original Illuminati. He never claimed a continuous order, only that the Boner playbook had lifted significant concepts from Adam Weishaupt. Meanwhile, the Birchers kept pumping disinfo memes alleging the Rothschilds and Rockefellers were secret Communist agents plotting the integration of the US and Russia into one massive socialist state, the beginnings of the one-world government conspiracy rabbit hole.
Eleven-year-old Mack White visited Dealey Plaza the day after JFK’s assassination with his father, a local newspaper editor who came equipped with a camera. When they arrived, Mack noticed two men standing on the Dal-Tex Building fire escape, one of whom was looking through a scoped rifle mounted on a tripod.
“Look,” Mack said to his father while pointing.
“I guess they’re detectives,” said his father. “They’re probably checking to see if there was another shooter.”
The idea of another shooter had not yet occurred to Mack. Later, he learned the two men could have been journalists using the gun as a prop for a photo of Elm Street that appeared the following week in the Saturday Evening Post. Or maybe they were something else entirely.
“In the years that followed, evidence emerged that there could have been a shooter in the Dal-Tex Building, as well as evidence for shooters all over the plaza, including the Grassy Knoll,” Mack wrote much later. Like many Americans, he remains haunted by the case.
The total number of shots is a great mystery, but it can be solved. The locations of the shooters can established at this point. Johnny Roselli was positioned in a storm drain inside the triple underpass and his only shot entered JFK’s throat.
There was a man with a rifle in the corner of the sixth floor window, but we know that man wasn’t Oswald, who was still eating lunch downstairs during the turkey shoot. There may be another shooter somewhere in the Dal-Tex Building, either on the roof or the fire escape, or deep inside some west-facing window behind a blind, or perhaps on the roof of the Depository. A shooter from the rear hit JFK in the back, and also Governor Connolly, and at least one rear shot missed everything and hit the curb, wounding James Tague. This means rear shots were fired a minimum of three times, while the other shooters seem to have only fired once. We know the kill shot came from the knoll, and it seems to have been the last, and adds up to a minimum of five shots. We just don’t know if all rear shots came from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository. Because two rifles were discovered inside the Depository (a Carcano and a Mauser), it’s possible both could have been fired, one from the sniper’s nest, and the other from the window farthest east or perhaps even the roof, both of which would have offered better locations from which to fire into the plaza. My best guess is there were four snipers, and two of them had to be in the rear because Kennedy and Connolly were hit almost simultaneously by bullets that could not have been fired by the same bolt-action rifle.
According to Dave Powers, who was riding in the trailing vehicle, the first two came close together, followed by a several-second pause, and the unmistakable headshot that sounded like a watermelon exploding. Powers described a bang, bang…..bang pattern, while other witnesses heard the opposite: a bang…..bang, bang, with the last two coming very close together.
Murders leave immense telepathic disturbances in their wake. Although Jackie Kennedy reacted instinctively by moving to retrieve JFK’s skull fragment from the trunk where it landed, she had no memory of doing so when testifying before the Warren Commission. Yet there are multiple photos and films showing her reaching across the trunk. This is why the testimony of those nearest the scene is often somewhat unreliable.
There had to have been five distinct shots that day, but some overlapped and/or may have emanated from a weapon with a sound-suppressor. Most witnesses heard three shots, which meant two must have overlapped or been taken as a fire-cracker or motorcycle back-fire instead of a rifle shot. The difficulty is the pattern of the shots seems to vary depending on the witness’s location in the Plaza.
In 1977, a cartridge was discovered by an air conditioning mechanic on the roof of the Dal-Tex building with crimped edges suggesting it had been hand-loaded or used in conjunction with a sabot, something deployed to fire lower-caliber bullets from a higher-caliber weapon. Strangely, one of the Carcano shell casing found on the sixth floor had a crimp according to Roger Craig, the first policeman on the scene. The last Federal investigation (HSCA) determined in 1978 that four shots were fired, one that missed, one at Zapruder frame 224, one at Zapruder frame 313, immediately followed by the 4th shot. The Warren Report’s published FBI analysis of the bullet that wounded eyewitness James Tague indicated it originated from a weapon that did not fire full-metal jacket ammo; unlike the Carcano carbine found in the TSBD that only fired full-metal jacket bullets. This alone should have been enough evidence to prove a conspiracy.
In 1987, John Rademacher found a shell casing buried underground near the picket fence in Dealey Plaza. Through a complex set of circumstances, this shell would soon be linked to a jailed and convicted assassin connected to the Chicago outfit named James Files, who claimed he was the grassy knoll gunman and had left his shell on the picket fence. Files also indicated he had a habit of biting his spent bullets (because he liked the taste of gun powder). And wouldn’t know you it, teeth marks were quickly found on the Rademacher cartridge.
Since there is such an intense effort to plant false evidence and false confessions into this story, it’s unlikely in my opinion Files is telling the truth, even though major parts of his story do correspond to something close to the truth. It’s far more likely the grassy knoll assassin fired once and never ejected the spent cartridge, much less put it between his teeth before setting it on top of the fence for all to see. The only shells left at the scene were the three intentionally planted on the sixth floor to incriminate Oswald. The main purpose of all these multiple fake confessions through the decades seems to be to engineer fakers into achieving widespread acceptance inside the research community before exposing them as frauds. Not only do these confessions put a cloud of mud in the investigative waters, they help brand the research community as conspiracy crackpots. I call these ops: “Time bombs salted in a rabbit hole.”
Everyone knows the story of the Zapruder film and have viewed it numerous times, on TV, in popular films, and on the internet. Yet few outside the research community are aware of an even more important film shot across the street at the same time, one that showed the picket fence on top the grassy knoll during the ambush.
The key to solving this crime is distinguishing important evidence from the avalanche of fake whistleblowers seeding rabbit holes salted with time bombs. The Nix film remains one of the most overlooked pieces of evidence, mostly because significant parts were removed, and the original fragments disappeared. We know the Zapruder film was likely worked over as well, but there was something in the footage Orville Nix shot that day that made it necessary to lower the veils completely with a magic disappearing wand.
Like many in Dealey Plaza that afternoon, Nix was convinced a shot came from behind the picket fence. After the shots rang out, most people in the plaza hit the ground. But when the shooting was over and the limo long gone, everyone raced toward the triple underpass, which was the only way to get behind that fence. All this was captured by Nix. After the assassination, the FBI visited film labs and requested assistance locating evidence. They seized the original from Nix, and when he got it back, it had been cut into several segments and crucial frames appeared to have been removed or destroyed in the process.
Strangely, Nix played poker with the head of the local Secret Service and had been told by him that the Texas School Book Depository was the best spot for filming the motorcade. One would have thought the media might have interest in that detail, but Nix never got any attention beyond the first wave, and refused to talk about the assassination in later years, yet always remained convinced there was a second gunman behind the picket fence. The disappearance of the original film while in government hands is evidence of a cover-up, and it seems possible an original Nix film could eventually have been used to prove the Zapruder film was tampered with as well.
Those seeking an understanding of the JFK assassination should take note of the framing of Steven Avery, because the Avery case provides a more modern illustration on why false convictions are so often manufactured. It’s not that everyone involved is part of a knowing conspiracy, just that law enforcement runs a straight line once an initial trajectory has been charted. Almost all scientific research papers are tainted by some agenda, which is why so much of today’s science is unreliable. Same thing as science deployed by law enforcement.
The Warren Commission cherry-picked eyewitness testimony to JFK’s murder, and even then, were forced to put tremendous pressure on witnesses to change their stories. It’s well-known FBI agents instructed the witnesses: “If you didn’t see Lee Harvey Oswald alone in the Sixth Floor with a rifle, it’s best you didn’t see anything at all.” Get in line or shut up. And suddenly a few of those who wouldn’t shut up, wound up mysteriously dead.
David F. Powers was JFK’s personal aide and the man who spent the most time with the President outside his own family. He was riding in the car behind Kennedy’s when they drove into the ambush and he never did shut up. Powers was standing up shooting 8 mm film in the backseat as the caravan departed Love Field.
On the way into town, the caravan passed a family holding a sign that begged JFK to stop and shake hands. The plea was so effective Kennedy ordered his driver to pull over. If you watch the film closely, you’ll notice that whenever the limo slows or stops, Secret Service agents immediately position themselves to shield the President from potential harm. Normally, the two primary agents for this duty ride a running board on the back of JFK’s limo, where twin handholds were installed. Strangely, the pair were called off their usual station and moved to running boards on the trailing vehicle, the one Powers was seated in. But whenever JFK’s limo slows, the two agents immediately jump off and run alongside. Unfortunately, Powers film ran out just before the caravan turned left on Elm Street, or he would have obtained the definitive recording of the assassination.
“I was assigned to ride in the Secret Service automobile which proceeded immediately behind the President’s car in the motorcade,” Powers told the Warren Commission. “I sat in the jump seat on the right side of the car and Kenneth O’Donnell sat in the jump seat on the left side of the car.
“At that time we were traveling very slowly, no more than 12 miles an hour…Shortly thereafter the first shot went off and it sounded to me as if it were a firecracker. I noticed then that the President moved quite far to his left after the shot from the extreme right hand side where he had been sitting. There was a second shot and Governor Connally disappeared from sight and then there was a third shot which took off the top of the President’s head and had the sickening sound of a grapefruit splattering against the side of a wall. The total time between the first and third shots was about 5 or 6 seconds. My first impression was that the shots came from the right and overhead, but I also had a fleeting impression that the noise appeared to come from the front in the area of the triple overpass. This may have resulted from my feeling, when I looked forward toward the overpass, that we might have ridden into an ambush.”
Powers delivered this testimony despite intense pressure to reverse and say the shots came from behind. Had these three bullets been whistling over his head, as suggested by the Warren Commission, he would have more likely felt he was riding away from an ambush than into one. Although O’Donnell had the same impression of shots from behind the stockade fence, he completely caved to the pressure and reversed his testimony to satisfy the official story. Both men were experienced veterans familiar with sounds of lethal firearms in action.
Tip O’Neill, who retired after serving five consecutive sessions as Speaker of the House, wrote in his 1987 autobiography, Man of the House, page 178: “I was never one of the people who had doubts or suspicions about the Warren Commission’s report on the president’s death, but five years after Jack died, I was having dinner with Kenny O’Donnell and a few other people at Jimmy’s Harborside Restaurant in Boston, and we got to talking about the assassination. I was surprised to hear O’Donnell say that he was sure he had heard two shots that came from behind the fence.
“That’s not what you told the Warren Commission,” I said.
“You’re right,” he replied. “I told the FBI what I had heard, but they said it couldn’t have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to.”
“I can’t believe it,” I said. “I wouldn’t have done that in a million years. I would have told the truth.”
Dave Powers was with us at dinner that night, and his recollection of the shots was the same as O’Donnell’s. Kenny O’Donnell is no longer alive, but during the writing of this book I checked with Dave Powers. As they say in the news business, he stands by his story. And so there will always be some skepticism in my mind about the cause of Jack’s death. I used to think that the only people who doubted the conclusions of the Warren Commission were crackpots. Now, however, I’m not so sure.”
So you have two of the nearest witnesses to the scene, located 20 feet behind the President, and both were convinced shots came from behind the fence, and possibly one from inside the triple overpass. And one of the most connected and powerful people in Congress believed they were telling the truth, which means O’Neill also believed the Warren Commissioned tampered with the evidence and made the wrong conclusions for some unknown reason.
John Garrett Underhill descended from Captain John Underhill, original commander of the Massachusetts Bay Colony militia and also the primary perpetrator behind the Mystic Massacre of several hundred Pequot. His grandfather (on his mother’s side) was a former general who’d played a leading role in creating the National Rifle Association.
Underhill studied linguistics at Harvard and graduated in 1937. With his blue blood, he was a natural fit into military intel and quickly rose to chief editor of the War Department’s Military Intelligence Division. Following the war, he became the military correspondent for Life magazine, no doubt working hand-in-glove with the newly-formed CIA, staffed mostly with his wartime buddies from G2 and OSS. He acquired one of the world’s largest collections of Soviet small arms outside Russia.
Beginning in 1949, he became an informant for the CIA. Two years later, he co-wrote a 6,500 word essay, “The Tragedy of the US Army,” for Look magazine, published February 13, 1951. According to the Harvard Alumni Bulletin, he was “recalled to brown suit service after finishing a 6,500 word article.”
He served as Deputy Director for the Civil Defense of Washington, D.C., and worked on setting up “Operation Alert” in 1955, although days before it was held he claimed the exercise was “so inadequate it couldn’t cope with a brushfire threatening a doghouse in a backyard,” comments that led to his dismissal from the alert moments before it began.
Immediately following JFK’s assassination, Underhill drove to Charlene Fitzsimmon’s house on Long Island in a state of panic, and conveyed a sudden overwhelming desire to leave the country and disappear. He claimed Kennedy had been killed by the CIA’s executive action team, and some people who were profiteering off drugs from the Far East. He knew the people involved, and he knew they knew he knew, which is why he feared for his own life. “Oswald is a patsy,” he said. “They set him up. The bastards have done something outrageous. They’ve killed the President! I’ve been listening and hearing things. I couldn’t have believed they’d get away with it, but they did!”
In 1966, when Jim Garrison began his investigation of the crime, he’d heard about a CIA informant with important information, a detail noted in Garrison’s lengthy interview in Playboy magazine. Garrison was eager to get a deposition from this person of interest, but before he could locate Underhill, his corpse was discovered in bed, a bullet hole behind the left ear.
A memo from the CIA to the Justice Department later uncovered through FOIA noted that Underhill had a connection to Harold Isaacs, who knew Oswald’s cousin Marilyn Murret. The memo also stated Underhill was not an employee of the CIA, had “infrequent contact with the New York office” and “committed suicide on May 8, 1964.”