The Cruz Story


           A PHOTOGRAPH OF MEN IN FRONT OF THE NEW ORLEANS  INTERNATIONAL TRADE MART AUGUST 16, 1963

           A PHOTOGRAPH OF MEN IN FRONT OF THE NEW ORLEANS  INTERNATIONAL TRADE MART AUGUST 16, 1963

Emerging from blogger Wayne Madsen and the pages of supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer is an unlikely story related to Senator Ted Cruz, presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump's political opponent. This story and prior accusations of infidelity were launched at Cruz by the Enquirer and subsequently repeated by Trump. The claims appeared while a series of contentious state primaries were underway. The Cruz story's timing bears due notice as does the substantial lack of evidence associated with the story. How it evolved and expanded reveals the serious problems associated with it. 

The Enquirer carried the Cruz assertion under the headline "Ted Cruz Father: Caught With JFK Assassin", yet the Enquirer offered not a single piece of definitive evidence to prove the claim. The story claims "Top D.C. insiders" have affirmed the story, but they are unnamed and thus unverifiable. The Enquirer itself states, "The investigation into the mystery man who might very well be Rafael Cruz..." provides itself with plausible deniability, and reinforces the actually indeterminate nature of the claim. Perhaps most troublesome is the photographic expert the Enquirer utilized dismissing Trump's claims.

Trump's comments on the Cruz and Oswald assertion was based on a single Enquirer photo expert who stated Cruz has more similarity than dissimilarity with the man in the photograph. Yet the same expert told the Washington Post "he never claimed the man in the picture with Oswald was definitely Rafael Cruz, only that comparing the man in the photo with a photo of Cruz as a young man revealed 'more similarities than dissimilarities'" He referred to Trump's claim of certainty as "stupid". To clarify, any similarity to the man in the photo only suggests they both have dark hair, dark eyes, they both are feasibly Latino males, and not identification of the person in the photograph. Possessing similar general traits does not imply they are the same person.

Unmentioned are dissimilarities by those who support the assertion. For instance Raphael Cruz was listed a six feet tall according to his Selective Service card featured in a Huffington Post article. Oswald is 5'9" and the person asserted to be Cruz in the pictures circulating is feasibly Oswald's height. This would indicate he is too short and dissimilar from Raphael Cruz. The man near Oswald and to the right of the unknown figure is taller than either of them are. This would indicate a possible similarity with Raphael Cruz, however this is not who some assert is Cruz. It also does not indicate this other man is Cruz, but that some base definite judgment upon general similarities and imperfect photography. 

The same photograph was submitted by the media for expert verification to the Kairos Corporation in Miami. Kairos is a facial recognition software company and its Chief Technology Officer Cole Calistra was skeptical about claims of a positive identification. After examination Calistra informed the press, the photographs are too grainy "to perform a proper match one way or the other." James Wayman, a former director of the United States Biometric Test Center offered that proper analysis requires two full-frontal facial images. Wayman stated, "Without such images, no professional face examiner will be willing to render an opinion".

Freelance programmer Lucien Gendrot tested the existing photographs with the Kairos facial recognition program. "The software could not verify a match between photos of the unidentified man next to Oswald and young Rafael Cruz, even at a low threshold of a 25 percent match." Author and Cornell University historian Maria Cristina Garcia stated "Top leaders of anti-Castro organization claim not to have met Cruz, and I have never came across his name in declassified records." 

Yet we can prove the identity of three others in the photograph and prior claims regarding the unidentified man that some assert now is Rafael Cruz. The man behind Oswald and to his left is Mr. J. Ehara of Kasuga and Company, Limited. The man behind Oswald and to his right is John Alice of John Alice Export Company, who states he threw Oswald's FPCC handbill back into his face. A media video offered by New Orleans Times Picayune identifies another of the flyer distributors as Charles Steele Jr. Steele was among the men who Oswald hired at the Louisiana Employment Commission.

                       Charles Steele Jr. handing out Lee Harvey Oswald's Flyers

                       Charles Steele Jr. handing out Lee Harvey Oswald's Flyers

The 1967 Garrison investigation of President Kennedy's assassination suggested the Cuban man in the photo was Manuel Garcia Gonzalez, a purported assassin. However, attorney Dean Andrews prior claimed he made up the name Manuel Garcia Gonzales in order to test Prosecutor Jim Garrison. Yet Garrison subsequently located a Cuban man from Miami with that exact name. Between the FBI's eventual investigation and media speculation, the man next to Oswald transforms into the man behind and to Oswald's right. Some then claim this is the man Garrison suggests, a clearly non-Cuban male. However, the Cuban male next to Oswald is feasibly not Rafael Cruz or Manuel Garcia Gonzales due to their height. An FBI file includes a photograph of Gonzales and lists him as "5'2". Unless new verifiable evidence is presented to support the Cruz or Gonzales stories they remain highly improbable and without primary evidence. 

The entire affair is a warning to those who rely on grainy or blurred photography to demonstrate a definitive claim. As photographic analyst Zachary D. Jendro prior warned, even members of a subject's family have misidentified them in photographs with a clear primary version. Multiple examples of such unproven ideas litter the Kennedy case. Some who make unproven photographic claims the basis of their ideas forget claims are not compelling based on reasonable standards of evidence. 


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