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JFK Umbrella Man—More Doubts

Umbrella Man and Dark Complected Man: Two big question marks

If you read my recent piece on the New York Times’ credulous video about the “Umbrella Man” and his curious behavior at the scene of the JFK assassination, you’re ready for what follows. If not, please take a few minutes and get up to speed, by clicking here.

The article has struck a nerve, and generated considerable interest. With that in mind, I’d like to offer some additional thoughts on the subject.

NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN

As you’ll recall, the New York Times’ preferred explanation for why a man opened an umbrella on a sunny day, just as JFK’s limousine passed—and just as the bullets poured into the car— was an entirely benign one. Strange, but benign.

Recap: Fifteen years after the assassination, as the special House Select Committee on Assassinations was taking the first serious look at the death of JFK (and others), a man came forward to identify himself as the so-called “Umbrella Man” and to explain his bizarre behavior.

The man, Steven Louie Witt, said that, no, it was not someone signaling the shooters, and no, it had nothing at all to do with the assassination. Instead, he said, it was a message against appeasement of enemies. He hoped to signal his disapproval of what he considered JFK’s forbearance of America’s enemies.

How to signal that? Here’s where it gets complicated. Witt claimed he held up the umbrella as an icon symbolizing the treachery of Neville Chamberlain, the 1930s British prime minister. Chamberlain, who tried to preserve peace with Hitler by ceding him a part of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland), became a reviled symbol of appeasement. The self-described Umbrella Man said that he had been identifying appeasement with Chamberlain’s trademark umbrella. The connection to JFK came via his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, ambassador to Britain at the time and an anti-war isolationist.

Only a very unusual 15-year-old American (Witt’s approximate age in 1938) would have strong feelings about a British prime minister’s behavior, and still harbor those feelings a quarter century later. It is even harder to accept that he could believe JFK, himself a young man in 1938, might “get” the message somehow via the umbrella.

Even if we are to accept that Witt really was the man pumping the umbrella on the Grassy Knoll, and even if he was cognizant of Chamberlain, and even if he did think he could get a message to JFK via the Chamberlain affair, we still have a big problem with this claim.

According to John Simkin, a retired British history teacher and textbook author who runs the historical website Spartacus Educational, the umbrella was never the symbol of Chamberlain that the “umbrella man” claimed it was.

“In Britain, there was never any association with an umbrella at all,” Simkin told me. “Everyone had umbrellas and bowlers in those days.” According to Simkin, the only proper symbol for Chamberlain and appeasement was a piece of paper. That was the document he held aloft, with Hitler’s signature to the so-called Munich Agreement—in which Hitler agreed not to seek any further territorial gains in Europe—as Chamberlain famously declared that he had secured “peace in our time.” (In this old newsreel, you can see Chamberlain hold aloft that document.)

Simkin finds the New York Times video’s assertion that the purpose of opening the umbrella and pumping it in the air to signal Munich simply laughable.

More likely, it was exactly what it appeared to be: a method of signaling shooters, perhaps that JFK had been hit, perhaps that he still seemed to be alive, perhaps to keep shooting. Although it was a sunny day, it had rained the night before, and there was a wind, so it would not have been operationally illogical to move forward with using an umbrella. The fact that the New York Times and the establishment in general have never considered the umbrella worthy of real, serious inquiry, tells us that if the umbrella was part of a plot, it was not so bad a choice.

RIO GRANDE BUILDING

In the last article, I mentioned that Witt, the self-proclaimed “Umbrella Man,” worked for Rio Grande National Life Insurance in the Rio Grande building. I mentioned that the same building housed the Immigration office frequented by Lee Harvey Oswald, and the local office of the highly negligent Secret Service. I mentioned that Rio Grande wrote a lot of insurance for the military. And, separately, I noted the strong military intelligence connections to key figures connected with 11/22/63.

One thing I did not mention, but should have, was that Military Intelligence itself had offices in that Rio Grande building.

Now, all of that could be coincidence. But there’s a reason certain entities signed leases with particular landlords and not others—especially so in Dallas circa 1963 (more on this in Family of Secrets.)

DARK COMPLECTED MAN

Some of our readers wondered why I did not mention another figure who acted strangely as Kennedy’s limo passed. This was the so-called “Dark Complected Man”—so named because his complexion was his most readily identifiable feature in photos from November 22.

I left him out of the initial piece because I wanted to focus solely on Umbrella Man, who, after all, was the sole subject of that New York Times video I was considering.

Nevertheless, Dark Complected Man is without question an extremely important character. Maybe even more deserving of scrutiny than Umbrella Man.

Dark Complected Man (DCM), like Umbrella Man, was on the Grassy Knoll, and, like Umbrella Man, appears to reasonable observers to have been signaling. At the precise moment that JFK’s car passed, as Umbrella Man opened and pumped his umbrella repeatedly, Dark Complected Man shot his fist up into the air. To some, DCM seemed to be calling for a halt to the presidential limo, which did in fact either come to a complete halt or slowed down to a crawl.

It’s not just their actions at the moment that Kennedy’s head is blown apart. It’s how they behave afterwards.

Instead of reacting with horror and springing into action, these two purported strangers sit down together, on the curb, and calmly survey the chaos. In their icy nonchalance, they exhibit an almost professional detachment.

Another intriguing thing about DCM is that in photos, something that looks like a radio or walkie-talkie appears to be protruding from his back pocket.

Taken together, Dark Complected Man and Umbrella Man add real bulk to the mountain of circumstantial evidence for a conspiracy in the death of JFK.

Maybe we do have The Times to thank, after all. Although that whimsical video was intended to discourage inquiry, it has had exactly the opposite effect. It goads us to focus diligently on long-ago events that “the paper of record” will not scrutinize—and that cast a shadow over democracy to the present moment.

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  • http://twitter.com/Bamftiger Bamftiger

    What I’ve found over the years in the JFK plot is that the pictures show so much- more than the CIA ever wanted them to, that’s for sure.

    For instance- note that the huge crowds are not present on Elm Street as they had been round the corner. There were comparatively few in the kill field, and those that there were have been hassled, killed or silenced pretty effectively- or been subjected to bogus Warren Commission testimony, or simply ignored. The one thing the ignored witnesses all have in common is that their evidence- equal to or better than the favoured witnesses- totally destroys the official version.

    Evidence of Revision is a magnificent documentary that lays all this out so that only the most moronic, close minded or mind controlled individual in modern western society can’t understand it.

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      You have to keep in mind that the route was changed at the last moment and wasn’t announced in the newspapers. So anyone there who didn’t have a good reason for being there is a suspect.

  • Russ

    Jackie didn’t love Jack? Really? She scooped his brains off of the trunk of the car and tried putting them back into his head. You can’t script that.

    • Morocco Bama

      People do odd things when they are in shock. Maybe she was a huge fan of Humpty Dumpty, and when this event threw her into shock, her first thought was to put the King back together again. I always thought that nursery rhyme was some kind of mind control device, and here we have it.

  • Conrad C. Elledge

    In the one grainy photo of DCM and Umbrella man sitting, DCM is turned away and appears to be talking to his radio/walkie talkie.  Pretty cool cucumbers those two.   

    Never have been able to fathom the political assassination mentality.  Winning at all costs is the closest thing I can apply and then it is certainly an admission that you are wrong.  When you are down to killing to win, it is pretty clear you don’t have many other alternatives or very broad support for you ideas. 

    The NYT as an organization can’t be this stupid.  What do they think when they are together looking at each other and knowing they are all part of something so ugly and low.  Could you imagine how hollow a “I love you man” would sound in that group.

    Rot in hell you bastards.

  • Justin Haulley

    If the man of dark complexion and the umbrella man were indeed in cahoots, why would they stand right next to each other to signal?  It’s redundant.

    Unless!  They were conspirators, just not of the same conspiracy.  Two signal men, choosing the same spot to signal two unrelated triggermen!  It just keeps getting bigger…

    • Anonymous

      Any story on the Kennedy assassination is troll bait.

  • Hruhs

    As more and more people look around and ask themselves “what happened to my country,” the answer is turning out to be “What country?”  The country I can claim as a birthright is no more, really hasn’t been around as a substantial thing at least since Kennedy’s assassination.  Only the ghost remains to wail and rattle its chains in the streets.  It is understandable that so many would still be in denial about this, rejecting any and all evidence to the contrary, unwilling to exercise adult critical judgement.  It was a death in the family after all.  If and when we come out of the fog of grief we will need to establish a new country so we can all be from somewhere other than a fiction.

    A sincere stateless person with a phony pass port,
    herb

  • Jmorley

    The story of Umbrella Man was told by Tink Thompson, one of the first and best JFK assassination researchers who has since gone on to distinguished career in forensic investigation. Thompson–not anyone from the New York Times–effectively dismantled the notion that Umbrella man had anything to do with the assassination.  People who are skeptical about the official JFK story can and should accept Thompson’s point here without sacrificing their skepticism that we have the whole truth. 

    The story is important, as Thompson notes, as a cautionary tale about interpreting the evidence in the JFK story. When you are skeptical it is tempting to read evidence  as sinister but it is not always justified. The test is what is credible based on the evidence. There is no evidence that the man with the umbrella (or Dark Complected Man) was involved in the assassination. Not in the forensic evidence, not in eyewitness testimony, not in the investigative record. None 

    Thompson (not the New York Times)  presents the eyewitness testimony of Steven Witte, the man with the umbrella. WWW presents no evidence contradicting his account. There is no evidence that the gunmen coordinated their actions via signals from the umbrella. None.

    John Simkin’s claim that “everybody had a bowler and umbrella” in those days reflects his Anglo-centrism more than anything else. He is unacquainted with the iconography of Munich in the American mind in which the tap-tap-tapping of Chamberlain’s umbrella on the cobblestones was important. To dismiss Witt’s eyewitness account in favor of Simkin’s speculation is unjustified.

    To play up the Umbrella man story as relevant to the causes of JFK’s death is worse than a distraction. It undermines the effort to get the full story that began with Tink Thompson’s seminal work “Six Seconds in Dallas,” and continues to this day. 

    • toni Parker

      Whilst I usually find myself agreeing with Jeff on all major JFK related issues, I have to make this the exception. Jeff may be right that the so-called Umbrella Man is a non-issue, but he is dead wrong for accepting Thompson’s piece as going any way near demonstrating that. The SOLE reason he could muster for dismissing TUM was that Witt’s story was so weird it just had to be true. On that basis, we may as accept Harvey & Lee, Judyth Baker and the Gemstone Files.  When pressed by WWW for anything else which convinced him, all Tink could come up with was that another “respected” researcher had told him that someone had mentioned that Witt had told his dentist he was the Umbrella Man.  What???? So now we are accepting 3rd or 4th hand hearsay as solid evidence. 

      But it gets worse. The “respected” researcher turned out to be David Lifton – he of body alteration fame and a one time proponent of shooters from fake trees. Mr Lifton has been repeatedly asked for the name of his informant as well as the name of Witt’s dentist, but will not respond. In any case, the story has been debunked through the location of a 1978 article in which Witt was quoted a saying he had not followed any assassination stories and was totally unaware of any controversy over the course of the previous 15 years. Another factor is that Witt claimed, not that he remembered anything about Chamberlain himself, but that he had heard from co-workers that JFK (and/or family members) had been heckled in Arizona protesters using umbrellas as signifying Chamberlain/Joe Kennedy appeasement policies. But there is NO verification of this story anywhere. I have searched newspaper archives and simply cannot find any mention of any such heckling of this type anywhere, nor any mention in any book on the Kennedys that they had any weird umbrella phobias traceable to Chamberlain, Mary Poppins , or any other Brit or Non-Brit. 

      So to recap — to accept Witt, we have to agree to accept a whole raft of supporting claims that don’t seem to exist in this world at least, as well as take the word of a former supporter of shooters from fake trees. 

      If you cannot bring yourself to accept TUM as part of any ambush based on lack of evidence, you should not be accepting Witt as TUM for the very same reason. 

      One last thing (for Russ), the Rio Grande Building also housed the law office of Mr & Mrs Grier Raggio. Who were they? Louise Raggio was Ruth Paine’s divorce lawyer – a member of the AFSC (but later joins the Unitarian Church with her husband) and a former WH intern who befriended LBJ during that period. Grier had allegedly been rejected by Army Intelligence after Pearl Harbor because of his “leftist” background. As a member of the ACLU, it was Grier who suggested to Greg Olds that they form a delegation to check on Oswald’s “rights”. The result? They reported Oswald’s rights were being respected – without even talking to him. Were the Raggios, given especially Grier’s past (alleged) rejection by Army Intel, really the sort of people you’d expect to be saying “good morning” every morning to those same spooks as they entered the Rio Grande and took the elevator to their office? More here: 
      http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t16-send-lawyers-guns-money-pt2

      This is Greg Parker, btw. For some reason, it defaults to my wife’s name…

    • toni Parker

      Whilst I usually find myself agreeing with Jeff on all major JFK related issues, I have to make this the exception. Jeff may be right that the so-called Umbrella Man is a non-issue, but he is dead wrong for accepting Thompson’s piece as going any way near demonstrating that. The SOLE reason he could muster for dismissing TUM was that Witt’s story was so weird it just had to be true. On that basis, we may as accept Harvey & Lee, Judyth Baker and the Gemstone Files.  When pressed by WWW for anything else which convinced him, all Tink could come up with was that another “respected” researcher had told him that someone had mentioned that Witt had told his dentist he was the Umbrella Man.  What???? So now we are accepting 3rd or 4th hand hearsay as solid evidence. 

      But it gets worse. The “respected” researcher turned out to be David Lifton – he of body alteration fame and a one time proponent of shooters from fake trees. Mr Lifton has been repeatedly asked for the name of his informant as well as the name of Witt’s dentist, but will not respond. In any case, the story has been debunked through the location of a 1978 article in which Witt was quoted a saying he had not followed any assassination stories and was totally unaware of any controversy over the course of the previous 15 years. Another factor is that Witt claimed, not that he remembered anything about Chamberlain himself, but that he had heard from co-workers that JFK (and/or family members) had been heckled in Arizona protesters using umbrellas as signifying Chamberlain/Joe Kennedy appeasement policies. But there is NO verification of this story anywhere. I have searched newspaper archives and simply cannot find any mention of any such heckling of this type anywhere, nor any mention in any book on the Kennedys that they had any weird umbrella phobias traceable to Chamberlain, Mary Poppins , or any other Brit or Non-Brit. 

      So to recap — to accept Witt, we have to agree to accept a whole raft of supporting claims that don’t seem to exist in this world at least, as well as take the word of a former supporter of shooters from fake trees. 

      If you cannot bring yourself to accept TUM as part of any ambush based on lack of evidence, you should not be accepting Witt as TUM for the very same reason. 

      One last thing (for Russ), the Rio Grande Building also housed the law office of Mr & Mrs Grier Raggio. Who were they? Louise Raggio was Ruth Paine’s divorce lawyer – a member of the AFSC (but later joins the Unitarian Church with her husband) and a former WH intern who befriended LBJ during that period. Grier had allegedly been rejected by Army Intelligence after Pearl Harbor because of his “leftist” background. As a member of the ACLU, it was Grier who suggested to Greg Olds that they form a delegation to check on Oswald’s “rights”. The result? They reported Oswald’s rights were being respected – without even talking to him. Were the Raggios, given especially Grier’s past (alleged) rejection by Army Intel, really the sort of people you’d expect to be saying “good morning” every morning to those same spooks as they entered the Rio Grande and took the elevator to their office? More here: 
      http://reopenkennedycase.forumotion.net/t16-send-lawyers-guns-money-pt2

      This is Greg Parker, btw. For some reason, it defaults to my wife’s name…

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      “John Simkin’s claim that ‘everybody had a bowler and umbrella’ in those
      days reflects his Anglo-centrism more than anything else.”

      Not exactly.

      I have a photograph of my Jewish great-great-grandfather taken in Lithuania in the late 19th Century–full orthodox beard and all–and HE’S wearing a bowler hat:
      http://www.lordbalto.com/Franklin/SamHurwitz.jpg
      And I’m pretty sure he owned an umbrella as well, though I have no direct evidence of that.

  • Anonymous

    I am currently reading JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE by James W. Douglass….it seems to me that the CIA and its shadow government operations need to be looked at very seriously by “We, the people” as the catalyst behind JFK’s assasination and other despicable acts worldwide.  Next, the CIA needs to be dismantled and probably many other aspects of our national security need to also be done away with.

  • D.D. Guttenplan

    Dear Russ,

    I hope you know that although I may not be convinced, I always take what you say seriously. So I hope you will forgive me for saying you are simply mistaken in relying on John Simpkin’s claims about the currency of the umbrella as a symbol of appeasement. Simpkin may indeed be right about the UK (though I am skeptical) but the inference that the umbrella was therefore not seen as a symbol of appeasement in the US is just plain wrong.  I could furnish lots of examples from the 1930s onwards, but perhaps two will suffice:

    “I would not hand a black check signed ‘Uncle Sam” to the umbrella man from Birmingham.” –I.F. Stone, “Liberals Never Learn,” The Nation, March 18, 1939

    “…during the 18 months when the umbrella flew over the Kremlin.”–I.F. Stone, “The CIO and National Defense,” 1941. This as a pamphlet distributed to CIO members and to the general public. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions,  of copies were printed; Stone’s co-authors included both Philip Murray and James Carey.

    with best wishes,

    Don

    • Russ Baker

      Don, thanks. My take is that, given the precise location and behavior of “Umbrella Man” and his pumping the umbrella exactly as the shots were fired, and other indications from the photos below, as well as statements Witt made to the committee that did not match the umbrella man’s behavior at the time, that the appeasement statement is still just cover. I also dont see Witt as knowledgeable about or interested in erudition along the IF Stone lines, nor that as a 15yr old in 1938 that he would know of the symbolism, nor that he would reasonably expect that he could message JFK about appeasement that way, when all he had to do was hold up a sign to that effect. I DO agree that someone with real knowledge could have told Witt to say that, and that this would give his claim credit in some eyes. 

      • FranklinD

        As a 17 year old, and living near Tampa, FL I knew the importance of JFK’s visit to the Tampa Bay area on 11-18-63, and the problems he had with regard to his Cuba policies. Witt, whatever his reasons for testifying, is believable regarding his learning experience from 1938.

      • FranklinD

        As a 17 year old, and living near Tampa, FL I knew the importance of JFK’s visit to the Tampa Bay area on 11-18-63, and the problems he had with regard to his Cuba policies. Witt, whatever his reasons for testifying, is believable regarding his learning experience from 1938.

        • Morocco Bama

          Except that Witt, considering what little we know of him, would most likely have been happy with Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. Remember, Dallas, Texas, and Texas in general, even though it was largely ignored by the Eastern Elitist Establishment, was, and still is, a hotbed of Fascism, so they had no problem with Hitler up and until the point he began stepping on their toes…..which really wasn’t until well after the war began.

        • Morocco Bama

          Except that Witt, considering what little we know of him, would most likely have been happy with Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. Remember, Dallas, Texas, and Texas in general, even though it was largely ignored by the Eastern Elitist Establishment, was, and still is, a hotbed of Fascism, so they had no problem with Hitler up and until the point he began stepping on their toes…..which really wasn’t until well after the war began.

        • Morocco Bama

          Except that Witt, considering what little we know of him, would most likely have been happy with Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. Remember, Dallas, Texas, and Texas in general, even though it was largely ignored by the Eastern Elitist Establishment, was, and still is, a hotbed of Fascism, so they had no problem with Hitler up and until the point he began stepping on their toes…..which really wasn’t until well after the war began.

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  • http://www.politicalassassinations.com John Judge

    Steven Witt is clearly not the Umbrella Man or is lying about what he did that day, regardless of his contentions about Neville Chamberlin and his alleged protest that day. Compare any photos from the HSCA testimony by Witt that demonstrate his open umbrella to the photos of Umbrella Man in Dealey Plaza. They are not the same umbrella even on the gross characteristic level of how many spokes they have coming from the shaft. While Tink may be right about giving sinister explanations to events at times, he has picked the wrong one to be skeptical about in my view. Researcher Robert Cutler, who he dismisses unfairly as a “wingnut” did an exhaustive study in “The Umbrella Man” and also countered Witt’s claims at the time of the HSCA. The lack of response after the shooting by the two men, the use of the walkie talkie, one of several seen in the photos of Dealey Plaza that day, and their indifferent walk back up Elm Street, backs to the Grassy Knoll when they stand up may not make them assassins, but any good prosecutor would have identified them and brought them in for questioning well before 1978. The actions and reactions of everyone present in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, including the politicians, press and Secret Service in the motorcade, are important to examine closely, and hardly irrelevant to a solution to the murder on the first level, ballistics and forensics, and the larger level of the failure of protection and the cover-up that ensued. Many key witnesses are no longer with us, and far too many died in a short time, had their testimony altered by the Commission, were threatened by authorities not to come forward, or were just ignored. The early work of Tink Thompson includes witness maps and testimony in great detail. And other researchers, including Penn Jones, Jr. Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, Richard Sprague and Robert Cutler focused fruitfully on the witnesses and the players visible in the scene from photos and films. Government files and records are only snapshots as well, and far more limited in terms of revelations for analytical purposes. Cuter may in fact have been right about the umbrella being a possible weapon, whether used or not, because the intelligence agencies had created, tested and used such weapons since the 1950s. Col. Fletcher Prouty, depicted as Mr. X in the Oliver Stone film, saw one demonstrated in his office, shooting darts accurately into the wall. Russ does no disservice to the case or to truth by scrutinizing these two men, whoever they were.

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      Thanks for your knowledgeable comments.

      Just speaking hypothetically, I have to wonder what government agencies at the time had black and white agents working together, especially in a place like Dallas. One’s attention is naturally drawn to the military, which was way beyond the civilian world in this area at the time.

      • Anonymous

        You raise  some interesting points about these two characters:

        In racist, segregationist Dallas of the early 1960s, I suspect it would have been unusual to see this kind of casual, interracial socializing in public. Moreover, given their different dress styles, they don’t look like co-workers or buddies taking a lunch break together to watch a motorcade.  All this is secondary to their highly suspicious and coordinated behavior around the time of the gunfire.  But it’s another reason to believe these were not typical, curious locals.

        What if  an anthropologist or expert in racial
        identification were to take a stab at guessing the national, ethnic,  or specific geographic origins of the dark-skinned man?  Everyone assumes he’s “Cuban,” but where’s the evidence?  Given his facial features, why couldn’t he be African or Middle Eastern, perhaps, from Yemen?

        Your  suggestion of a military connection brings to mind information from the book, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King,” by attorney William F. Pepper.  He writes that African-American  military intelligence operatives were assigned to infiltrate and spy on civil rights leaders because civilian secret police organizations at the time, like the FBI, were virtually all white.  (Pepper concludes that the U.S. military didn’t kill Dr. King — it was a sharpshooter working for the Memphis Police Dept. –  but special forces undercover sniper teams were in place, as a backup, and were  prepared to shoot if orders were given.)

  • http://www.politicalassassinations.com John Judge

    Steven Witt is clearly not the Umbrella Man or is lying about what he did that day, regardless of his contentions about Neville Chamberlin and his alleged protest that day. Compare any photos from the HSCA testimony by Witt that demonstrate his open umbrella to the photos of Umbrella Man in Dealey Plaza. They are not the same umbrella even on the gross characteristic level of how many spokes they have coming from the shaft. While Tink may be right about giving sinister explanations to events at times, he has picked the wrong one to be skeptical about in my view. Researcher Robert Cutler, who he dismisses unfairly as a “wingnut” did an exhaustive study in “The Umbrella Man” and also countered Witt’s claims at the time of the HSCA. The lack of response after the shooting by the two men, the use of the walkie talkie, one of several seen in the photos of Dealey Plaza that day, and their indifferent walk back up Elm Street, backs to the Grassy Knoll when they stand up may not make them assassins, but any good prosecutor would have identified them and brought them in for questioning well before 1978. The actions and reactions of everyone present in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, including the politicians, press and Secret Service in the motorcade, are important to examine closely, and hardly irrelevant to a solution to the murder on the first level, ballistics and forensics, and the larger level of the failure of protection and the cover-up that ensued. Many key witnesses are no longer with us, and far too many died in a short time, had their testimony altered by the Commission, were threatened by authorities not to come forward, or were just ignored. The early work of Tink Thompson includes witness maps and testimony in great detail. And other researchers, including Penn Jones, Jr. Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, Richard Sprague and Robert Cutler focused fruitfully on the witnesses and the players visible in the scene from photos and films. Government files and records are only snapshots as well, and far more limited in terms of revelations for analytical purposes. Cuter may in fact have been right about the umbrella being a possible weapon, whether used or not, because the intelligence agencies had created, tested and used such weapons since the 1950s. Col. Fletcher Prouty, depicted as Mr. X in the Oliver Stone film, saw one demonstrated in his office, shooting darts accurately into the wall. Russ does no disservice to the case or to truth by scrutinizing these two men, whoever they were.

  • Morocco Bama

    For those of you who have not yet obtained a copy of Family of Secrets, you really must. I’m currently reading it and it’s a deliciously rich and dense layer cake…..not the sort of thing you read in one sitting….it must be eaten in moderation over a period of time and savored for its tantalizing depth. Russ is like an artist with this book. He paints an impressionistic picture on canvass. There are discernible patterns in the murky, ambiguous history of the Bush’s……and you’re left with the feeling that the one-percent, whilst not a monolithic and cohesive group, operate by a separate set of rules and standards from the rest of society.

    That being said, some of the whitewash shows they now air on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and ABC, oftentimes will inadvertently deliver an unintended perspective and/or conclusion……it’s sloppy on their part, for certain, but then again, consider their highly limited audience….it doesn’t take much to convince those with no capacity for critical thought. It’s clear from this perspective that if there was a shooter in the Texas School Book Depository, the ideal shot would have been taken whilst the motorcade was ending it’s time on Houston Street, and yet it wasn’t.

    Also, it’s quite clear the later released Zapruder film had been modified to support a shot from behind. It shows a substantial explosion of brain tissue exiting from the right front of Jack’s skull and that does not square with any of the other evidence, be it from Parkland Hospital physician accounts as well as eyewitness accounts.

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      The red blood from that supposed blast lasts a grand total of ONE frame. Quite an amazing camera that Zapruder had!

  • Steve Osborn

    First-time visitor here, Russ; thanks for a nice article.
     
    I’d have to find my copy of Witt’s testimony, but I think he said he had heard at the office that the umbrella was a sore spot with the Kennedys, and then decided to use it to heckle the president.  I don’t think his supposed reason had any connection to his memory as a young man, at least not going by what was supplied in testimony.
     
    That said, I don’t think he was the umbrella man, either.  My impression, based purely on gut feeling and nothing scientific or otherwise demonstrable, was that he was “asked” to come forward and make those statements from someone in the military.  I had the chance to interview him (I think the order of his name, at least in HSCA, is Louie Steven Witt) for about an hour in late summer 1991.  While he really wouldn’t discuss the matter directly, I got the impression he did not do this for his 15 minutes of fame, which only leaves that he was instructed to appear.  He probably bore a resemblance to the real umbrella man in 1963, and if the committee were to have dug deeper into the subject and requested photos of him circa 1963, he likely would have passed the straight face test.  He always declined to offer any explanations outside of official investigations, and was hounded by researchers quite a bit.  He was ex-military, not uncommon for a man of his age, so it is conceivable he would act out of prior pledge should he be called upon to do so.  It would also explain the resources used to pick him out as a suitable candidate (military photos with intelligence selection processes).
     
    His testimony of coming down the hill and the umbrella blocking his view isn’t supported by the available photographic evidence.  He appeared to be in place and ready by the time the president approached.  Other researchers have noticed that the umbrella he presented to the HSCA as having been the actual umbrella did not match the number of support spokes as someone else pointed out in a previous post.  That he was instructed to be there is the only explanation of which I can think.

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      Keep in mind, this is 15 years later. In my experience, unless you keep it in a closet and never use it, umbrellas do not last that long, and if they do, they get all faded and raggedy. And when they wear out, you toss them. Unless it’s some kind of assassination souvenir–”This is the umbrella I pumped at JFK before they blew his brains out!”–I can’t imagine why this character would still have it.

    • Mike Brown Vydeo Ynkhorne

      can any human keep an umbrella for more than a season?  I can’t find any of the 200 umbrellas I’ve owned

    • James Hall

      I don’t see how you guys can keep this thing “alive” after reading the witt testimony as well as errol morris analysis. Really seems like you’re doing everything under the sun to create new doubts just to not let it die.  TRy and get outside once in a while, a walk in the sun, some fresh air… do you good ;-)

      • HCTReditor

        Here is the reason to keep it alive, James. It is naive to think we will always have sunshine and fresh air to walk in if we forget 11/22/63, the day the Constitution was voided and our country changed forever. The only way to get back our freedom and our Founders’ ideals is to find out who was behind the JFK assassination and remove them (their successors, actually) from power.  

        The JFK murder was the realization of Eisenhower’s warning, in his farewell address to the nation, to beware of the Military/Industrial Complex. These are the people who profit from perpetual war and will stop at nothing to make sure there is a new war in every generation. JFK challenged them…and lost. 

        Since that day, every Democratic President has been called to a meeting with the real U.S. powers somewhere between election day and inauguration day, when they explain to him how he is to behave if he does not want to meet JFK’s fate. They do not need to have this meeting when a Republican is elected because these men are already members of their team. 

        Who are this generation’s Military/Industrial Complex members?  Read Baker’s book. The Bush’s, Cheney, Rumsfeld, ExxonMobil et al, Halliburton, Koch Brothers, and their employees in the CIA. 

        Fresh air is nice. Freedom is better.

  • Gary Severson

    After watching DCM actions about 50 times I am convinced he is holding up 2 fingers as in a victory sign.  In fact I would say that it is also a ref. to the need to shoot again since it is clear if your are standing where DCM is you know the 1st shot has missed its intended spot.  IOW why would you shoot the Potus in the neck if you meant to kill him.  It was a miss a & a signal was needed  to indicate that.

  • Free4fun107

    Is it common far an assasination team to use a signal man? This seems thin to me…

    • Morocco Bama

      That’s why I mentioned “benchmark” versus “signal” in regards to Umbrella Man alone, although, if you think about it, these dopes were putting themselves right in the line of fire. Some of the shots missed that day, or went clear through, so if they were involved in the conspiracy, they were really laying their life on the line for whatever reason.

      Either way, their behavior is just too damn suspicious to rule them out as inconsequential. It’s just as likely, if they were involved in some way, that their function was something we will never think of or imagine, rather than what we’re conjecturing here. In the least, we know, at least most of us reading Russ and these comments, that what we’ve been told by the Warren Commission as to what occurred that day is complete and easily refutable rubbish.

  • Free4fun107

    Is it common far an assasination team to use a signal man? This seems thin to me…

  • roger morris

    a 15 year old? The man in the photo is supposed to be  15 ?

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      In 1938.

  • Steven Berry

    Why would trained assassins need someone to tell them what they would see assuming they had telescopic sites?..So if this theory is accurate..you are going to risk additional non combative”spotters”to do something unnecessary..? If this was a well thought out team event,assassins generally worked in teams of two..The shooters only responsibility was to kill the target..The other was to there to do whatever nec. to either break down the weapon and carry it away ..or to stash it where they agreed to do sol..and if complications arose like being observed or detained..he was to eliminate that problem..in this case..he had proper Security service credentials which the police would not question..elimination complete..That is exactly what happened when a police officer confronted who he thought was a suspect..a man behind the wooden fence at the grassy knoll..What the cop  didn’t know..was the credentials were real..and the confronted man walked..it was very probable that he was one of the assassins as the secret service later stated that they had no agents on detail that day  in the Plaza..I just don’t think the additional people in the crowd makes sense, two more witnesses to who you are and where to find you..is not a good place to be..if you just murdered the President of the United States…

  • Steven Berry

    I wasn’t going to do another but in response to morocco bama’s  (love it)  post I would suggest everyone read it..I think he hit one out of the Plaza as it were by bringing the event into a simple and much more plausible conclusion..It is not to discount those who disagree with keeping it simple..but put yourself into the John Browns of the hired assassins..You are about to commit the crime of murder..in broad daylight..with a thousand -give or take- ear and eye witnesses within spitting range of where one of the teams is set up. You had damn well better be the experienced and pro killer that would take on this nerve wracking gut churning ..nervous as a prostitute in church.. assignment with none of the aforementioned problems accompanying you..Oswald had none of those killer for hire experiences nor would he have been hired by the architects of this kill to do anything but what he did to perfection..he became “Patsy”..as Mr bama so adroitly pointed out..if I am the killer up 6 floors in a bldg where the elevator doesn’t work…and having to do what they claimed an inexperienced book handler was to do in the next 5 minutes of his soon to be former life I would have killed JFK when the Limo made that wide turn on to Elm..right in front of me..and than ran down 6 floors ..after planting the rifle.’.after leaving the spent shells..after …see where I am going with this..There was no need for the umbrella whatever..why involve more than what is needed.?.You all are thinking like what an inexperienced Lee Oswald would think like or do if he was the killer..and if you are the architect of this improbably successful hit..We are doing exactly what they are wishing for..chasing shadows and imagination to hell and back and wasting almost 50 years of our lives….Read Mark Lanes new book “Last Word”..it answers these question and I believe is the best and most accurate book on perhaps who carried out the kill..why it was done.and what it means today..and makes Mr bama look like a prophet..or an accomplice..LOL…lastly..I promise..If you will read and listen to the complete “secret society” tape and understand who JFK was addressing that night as an audience(they knew exactly who Kennedy was referring to)
    Than read the entire Executive order11110and ask who would be most adversely effected if this happens…Than find out what was one of LBJ’s most important tasks when he took over Kennedy’s job..and ask yourself..in light of a world very close to tossing nuclear bombs at each other..because of what they perceived as Washington DC being a victim of a coup-de-tat(sp)..Why was it so absolutely urgent to destroy $4.5 Billion of our money..and perhaps you will discover who were the brains behind Kennedy’s murder…

  • Anonymous

    I always thought Swarthy Man was Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch.

    http://www.copweb.be/images/oba-comp.jpg

    • Frank

      Eric, how tall was Orlando Bosch?

  • Modaloperator

    The most plausible explanation of the Umbrella man’s appearance and behavior, (due to Gary Shaw) is that by opening and twirling his umbrella, he meant to give a last minute signal to Kennedy, on behalf of the conspirators, regarding who he was being assasinated by and why.  ‘Umbrella’ was a euphemism commonly used by veterans of the failed bay of pigs invasion to refer to the air support which Kennedy called off at the last minute, leaving their brothers in arms to be slaughtered en masse on the beaches of Cuba.

  • Staffanhw

    Dark complected man (or radio man) was possibly Orlando Bosch. And when you see the Richard Bothun photo, you can also see behind the white wall behind them as they are sitting down, possibly the grassy knoll shooter walking away.

  • Morocco Bama

    Here’s a consideration. Umbrella Man and Dark Complected Man are part of the conspiracy, but not present to aid in the shooting in any way, but rather to serve as photographic decoys for any unofficial post-assassination research and inquiry. If “they” were as thorough as we believe them to be, then “they” would have planned for unwarranted researchers and inquirers, so it would be to “their” advantage to place decoys of false evidence around and about in order to misdirect and confound well-meaning investigators. If you have several of these decoy dead-end evidence trails laying about, eventually, when they’re aggregated, it serves to undermine the credibility of honest and objective research because it makes the honest researcher who is just being thorough and following all leads and anomalies look like a lunatic chasing his/her tail.

    Also, in support of Umbrella Man being a potential benchmark for the shooters, keep in mind that in order for the triangulation to work effectively, the shooters had to be quasi synchronized in pulling the trigger…..meaning they had to fire at approximately the same time, or the killing window would close and they would have missed their opportunity. With an easily identifiable benchmark on the ground and in their field of vision, once the benchmark comes into view, they commence their shooting, and all do so at approximately the same moment, disabling Jack’s compromised protection from taking any protective/preventative measures in time.

  • Gary Severson

    Some have suggested Zapruder was more than an innocent photographer that day because of his relationship to the Dallas White Russian  community  & membership in an anti-communist org. related to the same group of immigrants.  The kill shot should have been the 1st & only shot needed.  It happened as JFK was behind the Stemmons Freeway sign.  How convenient to have Zap as the quasi official photographer filming &  timing the kill shot so as to have a record but not to show the true frontal origin of the shot.  When it was apparent it was a miss, signals were given by UM & DCM to fire again.  The intent was to not have to use them except as a “plan B”. 

  • lisa

    Cuban seems to be wearing a right-side shoulder holster, indicating that he’s left handed.

    Claim of  “circumstantial evidence” (of conspiracy) is too mild. Ok, it’s rhetorically desirable to avoid cognitive dissonance, but the matter of whether or not there was a conspiracy is a priori – it’s obvious. Further, eye-witness reports, LBJ’s girlfriend for example, say that there was [is] a conspiracy.

    • Hassan i Sabbah

      Not to mention the total absurdity of the official theory. Listening to Jim DiEugenio on Black Op Radio this evening, I was struck by a couple of points, the second of which I was not aware of before.

      1) Why would Oswald not shoot Kennedy right between the eyes as he came toward him down Houston St., but rather wait till he had cleared a tree and was riding away from him down Elm? and

      2) Why would he use a clip (of which there is no real evidence in any event) that was not even full? Was he so confident of his own abilities that he would only fill it with 3 or, at most, 4 bullets?

  • lisa

    is Orlando Bosch right or left handed? Just wondering…

  • Rob

    Russ,

    Have you seen this article? The claim here is that there is a photo of Oswald in the doorway of the Texas Schoolbook Depository as Kennedy’s motorcade was passing by.

    Thought you might be interested.

    Here’s the link to the article and the follow up:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/cinque7.1.1.html

    http://lewrockwell.com/orig11/cinque8.1.1.html

    • Gary Severson

      See U. of Wis., Whitewater  Dr. David Wrones 2003 book THE ZAPRUDER FILM.  He goes into detail about the Altgen’s photo showing LHO in the doorway of the TSBD.

      • Rob

        Thanks Gary & Morocco,

        Yeah, the plea is a bit much. It was just the evidence that I found interesting and compelling.

        I’ll have to put cracking open that book to the part about the Altgen photo on my to do list. 

        Rob

        • Morocco Bama

          And Rob, something to consider is how this photo, if it indeed is Oswald, squares with some of the other evidence that contradicts it. For example, the whole Oswald in the lunchroom prior to, and subsequent to, the assassination.

          All the reports we have—including the
          statements by Wade and Curry on television and those given to individual
          reporters—place Oswald in the lunchroom an extremely short time after the
          crime. Bob Considine of the Hearst Press, for example, was told that Oswald had
          been questioned inside the building “almost before the smoke from the
          assassin’s gun had disappeared.” As for me, I have the direct testimony of
          one of the two witnesses, Mr. Roy Truly. When I asked him whether it had taken a
          long time for him and the motorcycle policeman to reach the lunchroom, he
          answered (apparently not realizing what I was driving at): “Oh, no! It was as
          soon as the last shot was fired when I saw the officer come running. As a matter
          of fact, it was so soon afterwards that I don’t believe he was riding in the
          motorcade. He must have been off his motorcycle, standing nearby. Anyhow, it was
          right away after the shots. I knew they were shots, but had no idea they were
          fired from the building. I thought the officer wanted to get to the roof for a
          better look and I immediately offered to show him how. We ran to the freight
          elevators in the back of the building because the front elevators do not go
          beyond the fourth floor, but the two freight cars had both been left somewhere
          up in the top floors and we took the stairs, the officer ahead of me. When I
          reached the second-floor landing, the officer was already at the open door of
          the lunchroom, some twenty or twenty-five feet away. No, I couldn’t tell you
          exactly how much time it took, all this, but it wasn’t long…”

                The obvious question, then, is whether
          there was enough time for Lee Oswald—if he fired the shots from the front
          window on the sixth floor—to run to the staircase in the back (that is, on the
          opposite side of the building), hide the gun, and go down four flights of stairs
          to the lunchroom before the motorcycle policeman and Mr. Truly saw him
          there, not panting, not looking suspicious, and probably sipping a Coke (which
          means additional time for getting it out of the vending machine and opening it).

          http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/the_critics/Sauvage/The_Oswald_Affair/Oswald_Affair.html

        • Mike Brown Vydeo Ynkhorne

          the photo of the man, possibly oswald, had the body posture of someone glancing out the door, ready to go back inside

      • Hassan i Sabbah

        The gentleman in the doorway in the photo, at least as it stands today, is almost certainly Roy Truly. The problem with all the photographic “evidence,” including and especially the Zapruder Film, is that a good deal of it may very well have been fabricated in the hours, days, and weeks after the assassination. So that drawing any conclusions from it is pretty much a waste of time.

        • HCTReditor

          I believe it has been long established that the person in the doorway who vaguely resembles LHO was Billy Lovelady, a TBD employee.

    • Morocco Bama

      Rob, that is certainly compelling and intriguing, and as Gary has noted, it’s been covered already in a published piece, however, this little plea at the end of your second link is absurdly ridiculous.

      We need to
      work together to take this video viral. To paraphrase Lee Harvey
      Oswald, I need someone to come forward and provide me with networking
      assistance. I need someone who is really savvy at using the social
      networking sites, such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter. We need
      to appeal to the young. They are the ones who will be most receptive.
      And realize that exposing the lies about Kennedy’s murder, which
      have been shoved down our throats for almost 50 years, will challenge
      the honesty and legitamacy of not only the government but also the
      media, that is, the mainstream media. And think of what it could
      do for Ron Paul’s campaign. Who are people going to trust after
      this? Gingrich? Romney? Obama? Heck no! This will stamp in people’s
      minds that the only honest, decent person among the presidential
      contenders, the only one worthy of trust, is Ron Paul. Help me.

      I don’t think I can provide the kind of help this individual needs. This guy’s yelling fire in the theater when he’s stumbled upon a piece of charcoal remains from a building that’s burned down several hundred year’s prior. Give me a break.

  • Al

    Russ, this is a very interesting article.  I’m sure that you know that Jim Garrison used a photo of a man in the doorway to try to prove that Oswald did not kill JFK.  Your article certainly raises more doubts. 

  • Anonymous
  • tom

    I have to assume you’re familiar with the british documentary “The men who killed Kennedy” and especially the so called badge man who was revealed during an extreme ‘blow-up of a photo. It’s sounds fantastic but appears nevertheless to be compelling evidence that a man in cop uniform is shown firing a weapon from the grassy knoll. This stuff is on You-tube.

  • Urizen1

    Russ presents yet again more logical and persuasive evidence of the highly orchestrated assassination of JFK. Given that these men were involved, the next step would be to pursue an investigation of the man who came forward claiming to be the Umbrella Man. Interestingly, his absurd claim that he was protesting Chamberlain’s appeasement may reveal some  justification on the part of JFK’s assassins, some of whom were hardened Cold Warriors who felt betrayed by Kennedy. 

  • Anonymous

    Hi Russ, I recently heard you on KGO out of San Francisco, and I must say was riveted with your insights about the Kennedy assassination.
    I’ve been studying the Kennedy assassintion for quite some time. It seems that for the first 30 years after the assassination, most of the speculation was that intelligence and anti-Castro Cubans were behind the assassintion. In the last 20 years, after the books of Madeleine Duncan Brown, Barr Mc Clelland and the deathbed confession of E. Howard Hunt, LBJ has been singled out as being party to the assassination. It certainly works out elegantly, as it explains the all encompassing scope of the coverup.
    I noticed you concur with Madeleine Brown as to the existence of this Murchison meeting which at first seemed to me to be too incredible to believe. I notice MDB at first mentioned this meeting but didn’t include Jack Ruby’s presence at the meeting until later. This being the greatest smoking gun, I tended to discount that any such meeting took place. I was very impressed with your speculation, if I understand it correctly that LBJ called Nixon and Hoover to the meeting in order to compromise them before the assasination was to take place. Did I understand correctly?
    Outside of the” Men who Killed Kennedy” interview with the Meg Newmann, the Murchison seemstress, I have never come across any other witness corroboration that such a meeting took place, and  Newmann  by her own admission, didn’t even attend the event at Murchisons. In her hour long interview, Brown is asked the other attendees, she mentioned Helen Thomas was there and said she believes Thomas has sworn an affadavit that she was there. I wonder what would be the reason, she would at this time in her life, not have come out publicly about attending such a meeting? I’ve found no record of that, and I have never found any record of anyone else claiming to have been there. I’ve read many other accounts that LBJ was with JFK campaigning in Houston that night and the flight arrived too late for LBJ to ever have made the Murchison meeeting.I also heard Nixon was reported to have been photographed with Joan Crawford too late in the evening to have attended as well.
    Can you guide me to other sources who have attested to have been present at the Murchison meeting? If such a meeting took place, and it was for the purpose of compromising Nixon and Hoover, under what pretense do you suppose LBJ could call such a meeting and draw such a distinguished group?
     
    Thank You Russ,
    Kirk Gallaway

    • Russ Baker

      I have NEVER said that I believed that gathering took place. And I have no reason to think it did. No idea where you might have gotten that, certainly not on KGO. Sorry….

  • Guestahoy

    Hi Russ – it might be nice to delete SkipBaker’s comment. It doesn’t benefit the discussion to leave this hate speech up. Thanks.

    • Russ Baker

       thanks, somehow we missed that one. Sigh… deleting.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GNVDRE72ESBKFAD4JCRM4V6KEQ RachelR

    I might as well post this for everyone.  I am assuming the data I have from the Ferrell database is the same thing everyone else has access to.
    Russ:Regarding your story on the umbrella man.This is what Mary Ferrell gave me in July of 1998. She would often print me off pieces from her database and play a little cat and mouse with me to see what I knew.In regards to your Umbrella Man piece.Witt, Louie Steven7209 Embassy Rd. Dallas, TXHSCA Vol 4, pp 429-453, Dallas Morning News, Sunday 9/24/78 P. 22-ADOB 10/20/24 POB Omaha, TX SS# 455-30-6630 issued in Tx.Army Serial # 38477220. Induction Date May 1943 Honorable discharge Feb. 1946Entered Airforce Reserves in 1949. Claimed he was umbrella man in Willis slides,Muchmore film and Nix Film.I always believed that the Umbrella man was a signal of some sort.  Sorry I don’tbelieve that ” white minute man” types would put an important person (white)in the line of fireso most likely blacks were used to do the signals in the line of fire.  I also suspect they weretaken to the river bottom and disposed of later.   HLHunt’s driver disappeared.I was told that years ago by Mr.  Hall who worked for the Gambling fellas.I believe myself that the Jack Crichton was the Dallas coordinator when it came tothe after effects but right wing/Milteer-political worker bee’s mafia connected white boys and girlsdid the actual coordination of the hit.   I have always been disturbed by the photo of Mary’s carin the motorcade picking up the guy with the big bag.   So many researcherseither didn’t know about her personal car or just blew it off… Willis 14 I think is the number.Groden knows the number for sure.  I made Jimmy her son a large blow upwith the help of Mrs. Willis and Mr. Groden.  The lady that is squatting andthe black guy with what looks like a “apron” walking against the flow are also myfavorites. I believe the guy with the “apron” was signaling on the other side. Love your book.  Rachel RendishEven more fun, the gentleman that was in the car was suppose to havecared a great deal for Jackie. Even dated her before Jack swept her away.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GNVDRE72ESBKFAD4JCRM4V6KEQ RachelR

    I might as well post this for everyone.  I am assuming the data I have from the Ferrell database is the same thing everyone else has access to.
    Russ:Regarding your story on the umbrella man.This is what Mary Ferrell gave me in July of 1998. She would often print me off pieces from her database and play a little cat and mouse with me to see what I knew.In regards to your Umbrella Man piece.Witt, Louie Steven7209 Embassy Rd. Dallas, TXHSCA Vol 4, pp 429-453, Dallas Morning News, Sunday 9/24/78 P. 22-ADOB 10/20/24 POB Omaha, TX SS# 455-30-6630 issued in Tx.Army Serial # 38477220. Induction Date May 1943 Honorable discharge Feb. 1946Entered Airforce Reserves in 1949. Claimed he was umbrella man in Willis slides,Muchmore film and Nix Film.I always believed that the Umbrella man was a signal of some sort.  Sorry I don’tbelieve that ” white minute man” types would put an important person (white)in the line of fireso most likely blacks were used to do the signals in the line of fire.  I also suspect they weretaken to the river bottom and disposed of later.   HLHunt’s driver disappeared.I was told that years ago by Mr.  Hall who worked for the Gambling fellas.I believe myself that the Jack Crichton was the Dallas coordinator when it came tothe after effects but right wing/Milteer-political worker bee’s mafia connected white boys and girlsdid the actual coordination of the hit.   I have always been disturbed by the photo of Mary’s carin the motorcade picking up the guy with the big bag.   So many researcherseither didn’t know about her personal car or just blew it off… Willis 14 I think is the number.Groden knows the number for sure.  I made Jimmy her son a large blow upwith the help of Mrs. Willis and Mr. Groden.  The lady that is squatting andthe black guy with what looks like a “apron” walking against the flow are also myfavorites. I believe the guy with the “apron” was signaling on the other side. Love your book.  Rachel RendishEven more fun, the gentleman that was in the car was suppose to havecared a great deal for Jackie. Even dated her before Jack swept her away.

  • Mdevalk

    I posted this in comments for article but should have posted, here, as it is relevant…
    From Richard E. Sprague’s book,  ‘The Taking of America, 1, 2, 3′ 

    Exhibit L  - August 3, 1978 
     
              Mr. Robert Blakey
              Select Committee on Assassinations
              U.S. House of Representatives
              Washington, D.C.  20515
             
              Dear Bob:                   Following our telephone conversation on Tuesday August 1, I checked with Bob Cutler, my co-author on the Umbrella Weapon System article in Gallery June 1978.  Bob told me he left with Mr. Preyer and with you, photographic material showing that The Umbrella Man (TUM) was quite probably J. Gordon Novel.                   Your news photo of him reinforces that belief for both of us.  I did not have that portion of the Couch film from WFAA and so had never seen TUM’s face as clearly as it appears there.  The Bothun photo of him has a light reflection around his nose, as I’m sure you know.                   We have a 1962-3 photo of Novel taken from the same angle as the Couch, film of TUM and a photo comparison convinces us more than ever that Novel is TUM.  Mr. Preyer no doubt told you back in April that Novel is in a jail in Georgia, framed for a crime he and Jim Garrison, his former lawyer, both claim he didn’t commit.                Best regards,       Dick Sprague       DS/mc                 P.S.  I am still waiting for a response to my letters to Louis Stokes about attending the hearings beginning August 14.          cc:   L. Stokes                  R. Cutler

  • Mdevalk

    Here are Sprague and Cutler’s original findings published in Gallery … please post a link if someone can trackdown this article for all to read.

    “The CIA’s Secret Weapon’s Systems & the Umbrella System: Prelude to an Assassination (Gallery, June, Vol 6, No. 7)

    by Stark, Andrew, Sprague, Richard E., Cutler, Robert

  • AS

    It is pretty clear that Russ Baker has not read the testimony of Witt. He never called himself the umbrella man. Also, Witt only used the umbrella because he did not like “liberal” views of Kennedy and a colleague at work told him that this symbol has been used before to heckle the president. I repeat, his main motivation was to heckle the president based on what he learned from a colleague at work. Nowhere does Witt say that he had strong views about the appeasement issue. Gimme a break.

    • HCE

      Really? Can you point the rest of us to the statements, or lack thereof, in the HSCA records. I for one would like to see evidence of your claim. also, if what you say is true, then why did L.S. Witt show up with an umbrella, and open it up in the room in front of the HSCA panel. And I know he did, because I’ve seen the photos.

      And heckle the president based on what he was told by someone else? That makes it even more silly that he’d go to Dealey Plaza to make an attempt to heckle the president by such obscure means. Means that at least one qualified historian has demonstrated to be wildly inaccurate.

      And while L.S. Witt may never have called himself the Umbrella Man, he did state that he was in fact present in Dealy Plaza at the time JFK was shot and killed.

      Your argument is beyond weak, and fails to undermine the thrust of Russ’s argument as outlined in his article here.

  • larry

    very strange for a man to walk out to the curb and extend his arm almost fully straight when the car level is much lower for a simple wave. and then to just sit on that little sidewalk curb looking around with interest in what happened, and not react. then the bulge in his back belt area and they appear to be together. has anybody asked witt who his buddy was?

  • Imperator

    The argument that Mr. Witt’s explanation of trying to heckle President Kennedy is dubious because Mr. Witt was too young at the time to have had a vested interest in the issue of appeasement, and that President Kennedy wouldn’t have understood a reference to a matter of historical import that he wrote a thesis about while attending Harvard, for the same reason seems to rely on a curious point of view in which people cannot have strong opinions about past political issues if they were too young when they happened to really care about them. (I am two generations removed from the interwar years and I am still upset about appeasement.) This line of reasoning is fallacious at best.

  • LBJ did it

    If you will study a copy of Don Roberdeau’s plat you will discover several interesting things.
    1 – there really were multiple shooters.
    2 -the umbrella man was moving the umbrella around to try to get Kennedy to look at him so the shooter standing in the car truck behind the picket fence – to the left of the Stemmons sign when looking from the limo-could hit Kennedy in the right side of his head – as he and the other shooters were all obviously told to aim at. This bullet missed Kennedy’s head and struck him in the front of his neck. It may have nicked the Stemmons sign before hitting Kennedy – which would explain why it slowed down enough not to come out the back of Kennedy’s neck. This is the shot that was hidden to Zapruder behind the Stemmons sign. The shooter was to Zapruders right and Arnolds Left behind the fence The bullet must have just whizzed by Arnold. The man sitting in front of Umbrella Man was timing the shots I think and the two men were also acting aslimits for the Grassy knoll shot-fire between these two shots. All the evidence you need to prove there was more than one shooter-five probably- is all on Roberdeaus plat.

  • LBJ did it

    I meant to say, fire between these two points.”

  • Russ Baker

    Pending DELETION. Apologies for this….

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