"Here, everything pointed toward Oswald's guilt. All the physical evidence, all the scientific evidence. Everything he said, everything he did...Only in a fantasy world can you have 53 pieces of evidence pointing toward guilt and still be innocent." (Vincent Bugliosi)
His first assertion is incorrect, not all the physical and scientific evidence clearly incriminates Oswald and notably all the original medical evidence at Parkland hospital disputes the later determinations of the President's (Warren) Commission.i This implies a separate gunman to account for some original wounds, not Oswald. Some important pieces of physical and scientific evidence are contradictory and Bugliosi seems to have issue with only those doubting the Commission's findings. The official record contains repeated authorities and evidence disputing the President's (Warren) Commission and these "conspiracy theorists" include members of the President's (Warren) Commission.ii iii iv Thus, Bugliosi is not considering all the evidence.
"Oswald's Mannlicher Carcano rifle was the murder weapon. That's pretty heavy by itself."
Owning a weapon does not conclusively prove the owner subsequently used it and without a legal trial, this is mere contention from Bugliosi. Yet members of the Dallas Police instead contended the weapon was a Mauser rifle, not a Carcano and while this does not conclusively prove the weapon was a Mauser, it creates doubt and the shadows of incompetence or alteration.v The "murder" weapon, the Carcano, additionally has problematic distinctions, among them is a rusty firing pin, metal shims necessary for proper sighting of the scope, and the supplier states that some resold models were defective.vi vii
"Oswald was the only employee at the Book Depository Building who fled the building after the Assassination."
Oswald was one of dozens of employees not initially accounted for and just after the assassination Oswald did not flee, he allegedly was observed in the Depository lunchroom. Perhaps Bugliosi meant subsequent to that point and Oswald just needed a drink before he fled apparently. If Oswald was fleeing after he left the Depository, why did he never board a train, bus, or cab out of Dallas? Instead, he boarded a bus, cab, and remained in the city and then he allegedly retrieves his pistol and murders Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit. Yet this is not a man fleeing from a desperate act as Bugliosi subsequently contends and the entire point of fleeing is to escape.
"That murder bore the signature of a man in desperate flight from some awful deed. Thirty minutes later at a Texas theater he resists arrest, pulls a gun. During his interrogation Oswald told one provable lie after another"
After he allegedly kills Officer Tippit, Oswald does not take the car, he instead runs away. Despite Oswald's alleged motivation of "fleeing", he never makes a single reasonable attempt to escape Dallas and he "flees" around Dallas later absconding to a movie theater. As Bugliosi states, Oswald resisted arrest and was armed but Oswald does not fire into the crowd or take a hostage as a desperate man might. If Oswald murdered JD Tippit in cold blood, why did he not immediately shoot the arresting officers when they enter the theater? I agree with Bugliosi that Oswald lied repeatedly but this only proves he lied.
"...but no one is ever going to know for sure why Oswald killed Kennedy... He had been a failure everywhere. He was a failure in the Marines, [and] he was court-martialed. He was a failure with Marina, his wife. He had been a failure all of his life, and all of sudden now he had done something successfully..."
I disagree, with each modern declassification the truth gains power, and in time the agendas of both critic and advocate are discredited or affirmed. To call Oswald a failure ignores the exceptional things he did. He was able to gain security clearance while professing Marxist beliefs and only years after the Red scare this "Communist" receives military radar secrets. Oswald then defects from the United States and states at the American Embassy that he intends to offer all military secrets to the Soviet Union. Embassy security does not seize him, Oswald is allowed to leave and following his long stay in Russia as a traitor, he receives a loan by the American State Department to return with his Russian wife. Oswald's activities are exceptionally suspicious and not the work of a mere failure and he somehow remains free despite his intent to betray the United States. Bugliosi additionally fails to account for the subsequent exceptional shooting in Dealey Plaza; it was exceptional because Oswald had not practiced for months, and without practice how did he make the shots?viii ix
"All these theories and beliefs have turned out to be "moonshine." I am convinced beyond all doubt that Oswald killed Kennedy. I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no conspiracy. The Warren Commission and the FBI conducted a thorough investigation, and found no evidence that Ruby was ever a member of organized crime, or had any association with them....he (Jack Ruby) also liked to intimate that he had mob connections, but they found no evidence he was ever connected with organized crime."
The Warren Commission and the FBI did offer certain conclusions and some modern investigations with additional evidence concluded otherwise. The House Select Committee on Assassinations Report concluded a high probability of conspiracy existed and a possible fourth shot. x Additionally the Committee found the President's (Warren) Commission was deprived of some evidence.xi Despite Bugliosi's ringing endorsement of the FBI, officials called their investigation "deficient" regarding "organized crime, pro- and anti- Castro Cubans, and the possible associations of individuals from these areas with Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby."xii
Other investigations also determined the Central Intelligence Agency investigation failed the Commission as well. “This evidence indicates that the investigation of the assassination was deficient and that the facts which might have substantially affected the course of the investigation were not provided to the Warren Commission”. They stated “…the CIA inquiry was deficient on the specific question of the significance of Oswald’s contacts”.xiii To claim that the evidence against Oswald is overwhelming is quite inaccurate. Additionally, Jack Ruby did receive multiple calls from Mafia associates shortly before murdering Oswald.xiv
In fact, the President's (Warren) Commission itself acted despite the law and initially violated the jurisdictional authority of Texas officials. “Legally, the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald were within the jurisdiction of Texas State Authorities”xv Subsequently, Texas authorities eventually relented to federal jurisdiction. Yet due to Oswald's murder before trial, legally, he is presumed innocent and for all the condemnation and speculation, critics have not addressed these enduring official inconsistencies. Bugliosi seemingly came to his predisposition about Oswald long ago with less than definitive evidence to justify it.
i. Hearings of the President's Commission Volume VI, Dr. Paul Peters, Dr. Charles Carrico, Dr. Robert McClelland, Dr. Malcolm Perry, Dr. Ronald Jones, Dr. Marion Jenkins, Dr. William Clark, Dr. Don Curtis, Dr. Gene Akin, Dr, Kenneth Salyer, Dr. Charles Baxter, Nurse Diana Bowron, Nurse Pat Hutton
ii. President's Commission Executive Sessions transcript, December 16, 1963, p. 39
iii. President's Commission Executive Session transcript, January 21, 1964, p. 20
iv. President's Commission Executive Session transcript, January 27, 1964, p. 143
v. City of Dallas Municipal Archives, Office of the Secretary, The JFK Collection, Affidavit of Deputy Seymour Weitzman, Box 2, Folder 1, Document 8, jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us
vi. Hearings of the President's Commission, Volume XXVI, Commission Exhibit 2974, p. 455
vii. Hearings of the President's Commission, Volume XXV, Commission Exhibit 2559, pp. 797-98
viii. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter 4, the Assassin, Oswald's rifle Practice Outside the Marines, p. 192
ix. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter 4 the Assassin, Ownership and Possession of Assassination Weapon, p. 125
x. Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, Section I, Part B, subsection 6, p. 93
xi. Report of the House Select Comm., Section 1, Part D, subsection 3, the FBI p. 242
xiii. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities Report, Book 5, Part 1, Performance of Intelligence Agencies Summary and Findings, p. 6
xiv. Report of the House Select Comm., Appendix Volume IX, Section V, Possible associations between Jack Ruby and Organized Crime, Part D, prepared by Howard Shapiro research attorney and Michael Ewing staff researcher pp. 188-96
xv. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities Report, Book 5, Part IV, Intelligence Agencies, Summary and Findings, p. 45
Edited: March 2018