See No Evil
Hear No Evil
Marina & "Hidell"
Problems with Marina's testimony against her husband
The "Misfired" Round
Bullets in the Pocket
The WC alters timing
More evidence that Oswald was on the first floor
Evidence the "Gunsack was never on the 6th floor
Evidence the "Gunsack" was made on the afternoon of 11/22/63
Evidence the rifle was never in the "Gunsack"
Evidence the bag Oswald brought to work contained his lunch
Evidence Oswald had not fired a rifle
Evidence Oswald had not fired a handgun
Evidence the Depository rifle was not part of the February shipment to Klein's
Evidence that Oswald was at work when the money order for the rifle was purchased and the envelope mailed
Evidence that the "$ 21.45" entry on Klein's bank account statement was not the "Hidell" money order
Evidence that Oswald's handwriting was easily forgeable
Evidence the rifle in the "Backyard Photos" is not the Depository Rifle
Evidence that the Depository Rifle had not been fired on 11/22/63
Evidence that Klein's Sporting Goods did not mount the scope on the Depository Rifle
Evidence that Oswald could not afford to order the weapons
Proof the bullets recovered from Tippit's body did not match the bullets in evidence
News video shows the jacket was white
Problems with the gray jacket's chain of custody
Evidence that the witnesses described the jacket of the Tippit murderer as white
Evidence that the police radio description of the jacket found was white
Evidence that the witnesses refused to identify the gray jacket as the jacket the killer wore
Skeptical witness identification of the gray jacket as the jacket the killer wore
More problems with the evidence
Problems with the Chain of Custody of CE 573
Spectrographic evidence that CE 573 was not the same ammunition fired at JFK
Gen. Walker to HSCA: "Walker bullet" not Walker bullet
The Paraffin Tests
One of the most obvious indicators of Oswald's innocence are the results of the paraffin tests which were done both on Oswald while he was alive and on others after his death.
In its report, the Commission wrote:
"During the evening of November 22, the Dallas Police Department performed paraffin tests on Oswald's hands and right cheek in an apparent effort to determine, by means of a scientific test, whether Oswald had recently fired a weapon. The results were positive for the hands and negative for the right cheek. Expert testimony before the Commission was to the effect that the paraffin test was unreliable in determining whether or not a person has fired a rifle or revolver. The Commission has, therefore, placed no reliance on the paraffin tests administered by the Dallas police." ( Report, Chap. 4 pg. 180 )
The Commission explained how the test was administered:
"To perform the paraffin test, layers of warm liquid paraffin, inter-leaved with layers of gauze for reinforcement, are brushed or poured on the suspect's skin. The warm sticky paraffin opens the skin's pores and picks up any dirt and foreign material present at the surface. When the paraffin cools and hardens it forms a cast, which is taken off and processed with diphenylamine or diphenylbenzidine, chemicals which turn blue in the presence of nitrates. Since gunpowder residues contain nitrates, the theory behind the test. is that if a cast reacts positively, i.e., if blue dots appear, it provides evidence that the suspect recently fired a weapon. In fact, however, the test is completely unreliable in determining either whether a person has recently fired a weapon or whether he has not. "
The reader should keep in mind that the test being described as unreliable is the CHEMICAL TEST using diphenylamine or diphenylbenzidine.
There were other tests which were performed later and did not use chemicals and it is THOSE tests that cast a reasonable doubt that Oswald fired a rifle on November 22, 1963.
But let's look at the chemical test that was given by the Dallas Police first.
EVIDENCE OSWALD HAD NOT FIRED A RIFLE
The DPD's Chemical Test
Exhibit 1 was the cast of the right side of the face of Oswald
Exhibit 2 was the cast of the left hand of Oswald.
Exhibit 3 was the cast of the right hand of Oswald.
As the reader can see from the report of the lab, the cast of the right side of the face ( Exhibit 1 ) had NO nitrates on it. Needless to say, this conclusion posed a HUGE PROBLEM for the Warren Commission which got even bigger once the other tests were done.
But before we get into the other tests, let's take a look at the casts of the hands, of which the conclusion was that the nitrates were "consistent with the subject having discharged a firearm". ( above lab report )
EVIDENCE OSWALD HAD NOT FIRED A HANDGUN
The Hand Casts
The dispersion of nitrates on the hands would seem to be more likely patterned on the exposed parts of the hand rather than the covered parts of the hand. In firing a revolver, the palm side of the hand is covered by the weapon, while the back of the hand is really the part that is exposed. We would expect to find MORE nitrates dispersed on the BACK of the hand rather than the palm, but in the drawings the DPD lab did for the Oswald test, we see that on BOTH hands, the nitrate dispersion is heavier on the PALM SIDE.
Because there are almost NO nitrates on the back of the hand and most of the nitrates are on palm side of the hand. It would seem from these drawings that the source of the nitrates was something that Oswald had touched.
More on what Oswald touched later.
The reason why the chemical test is considered unreliable is because the chemicals used react with other items, making it impossible to determine whether the residues came from gunpowder.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. ...... the reagents used in these two tests are not specific for gunpowder residues. Now, it is true that the nitrates and nitrites in gunpowder residues will react positively with diphenylamine and diphenylbenzidine, but they are not specific. They will
react--these two reagents will react with most oxidizing agents.
Mr. EISENBERG. Can you give us a few examples?
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Yes. Urine, tobacco, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, soil, fertilizer--I have a list here of the different families or classes of compounds that will react. In addition to nitrates and nitrites, substances such as dichromates, permanganates, hypochlorites, periodates, some oxides, such as selenium dioxide and so forth. Also, ferric chloride and chromates and chlorates. The list of oxidizing agents is so large that will react--that you cannot specifically say it was a gunpowder residue.
( 3 H 486-487 )
In other words, it was unreliable because the test gave false positive results.
The chemical test given Oswald by the Dallas Police seemed to indicate that not only did Oswald not fire a rifle that day, but the positive reading on his palms and the near absence of nitrates on the back of the hands, indicated that the source was something he touched and probably did not come from firing a revolver. In addition, a positive reading was not proof of gunpowder residue because the test was not gunpowder-specific.
As far as the law was concerned, the source of those nitrates could have been almost anything.
Faced with the possibility Oswald fired neither weapon that day, the FBI was forced to turn to a more sophisticated, yet fairly new method of detecting nitrates in its quest to prove Oswald's guilt.
The FBI's Neutron Activation Analysis ( NAA )
In accordance with President Johnson's orders for all government agencies to cooperate in the investigation, the Atomic Energy Commission came to the FBI and offered to perform Neutron Activation Analysis on the evidence against Oswald in its facilities in Oak Ridge Tennessee.
The FBI was not eager to engage a test that would underscore to a greater degree of scientific probability that Oswald had not fired a rifle on November 22nd. It was also not eager to have another agency involved in the examination of its evidence. But the Bureau feared that if it refused the offer, that elements in the AEC eager to show off this new analytical technique would publicly raise questions as to why the FBI had declined.
This was stated on page 2 of an 11/27/63 memo from Jevons to Conrad.
Since there would be no courtroom examination of the evidence and test results ( "Oswald is dead and there will be no trial" ) and with the assurance that "the information and dissemination of the results will be under complete FBI control", Jevons recommended that the FBI go ahead with the NAA testing.
In December 1963, the FBI contracted with a New York firm to do NAA testing on the paraffin casts and other items. The New York firm ( Union Carbide ) did the testing in secret at the Atomic Energy Commission's facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The FBI's spectrographic expert John Gallagher brought the samples to Oak Ridge personally and remained there with them until the testing was completed.
The purpose of this test, was to determine if the deposits found on the casts taken from Oswald matched the nitrates in the gunpowder of the three shells found on the sixth floor of the TSBD by authorities after the assassination.
When Hoover wrote Rankin on March 10, 1964 discussing the NAA testing, he was aware of the results of the Oak Ridge tests on the casts of Oswald's cheek and hands. Hoover tried to downplay the NAA test results, knowing full well that those results were unable to detect any deposits from the Oswald paraffin casts as having been "specifically associated with the rifle cartridges". Hoover declared the test inconclusive, saying that it could not differentiate between nitrates in the .38 shells allegedly fired by Oswald and the nitrate in the 6.5 rifle shells.
But Hoover lied to the Commission and his lie was revealed in a report done in independent testing. The NAA test wasn't inconclusive because it couldn't differentiate between gunpowders ( the FBI knew that it couldn't before the testing was even done ), but the samples had been contaminated by a person or persons who handled them.
Page 11 of a report by Dr. Vincent Guinn for the Atomic Energy Commission notes the contamination issue and takes issue with Hoover's excuse that the test failed because of its limitations.
Needless to say, the FBI was left with another test that could not prove that Oswald had fired a rifle that day.
The Gulf General Atomic NAA tests
At the end of February 1964, Dr. Vincent Guinn, head of the NAA section of Gulf General Atomic Incorporated, called Gallagher about the research his division was doing for the Atomic Energy Commission. In the past few years, he and his colleagues had been using the NAA to test residues from discharged firearms. He sought out Gallagher in order to report the results of their tests on a rifle "similar to the one reportedly owned by Lee Harvey Oswald."
The Guinn tests showed that when a chemical was NOT used on paraffin casts made from the shooters of a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, the weapon left "detectable gunshot residues on BOTH HANDS AND BOTH CHEEKS of persons firing this rifle."
Equally stunning were the conclusions that a.) even after the chemical treatment, the amount of antimony (Sb) was still well above normal levels and b.) the chemical itself did not remove significant amounts of antimony, meaning that if antimony had originally been on the cheek of Oswald, it should have showed up on the DPD paraffin test, even though they had used a chemical reagent.
But Guinn's study didn't end there.
Guinn's tests were quantitative: they measured the amount of Barium (Ba) and Antimony (Sb) in both the chemical and non-chemical tests.
As the reader can see from the above chart, in BOTH tests, NEVER was there an absence of antimony on the right cheeks of any of the shooters, as had been the case with the Oswald cast examined on 11/23.
In fact, even after using the chemical on the paraffin cast of the right cheek, it STILL RETAINED MORE THAN HALF OF THE ANTIMONY DEPOSITED AFTER ONLY ONE SHOT ( .037 to .020 ) AND ABOUT 1/3 OF THE ANTIMONY AFTER THREE SHOTS. ( .095 TO .028 )
In using the maximum values ( .048 barium and .006 antimony ) found on normal hands and applying that to the cheek, after three firings, the Guinn cheek cast had almost FIVE TIMES the maximum level of antimony one would expect to see even after being treated with the chemical and SIXTEEN TIMES the maximum without the chemical treatment.
Can you say, "heavy deposits" ?
The quantitative tests showed that the blowback from one or three shots deposited heavy powder residue on both cheeks of the shooters.
They also showed that the residue remained on the cheek as long as 4 1/2 hours after firing the rifle.
Neither the DPD chemical test nor the NAA test was able to conclude that Oswald had fired a rifle on November 22, 1963.
And at least one Commission staffer knew that.
Nearing the Deadline
The issue became a problem for Commission staffers Norman Redlich and Melvin Eisenberg, who were responsible for this area of the report. By July, when the staff lawyers were putting together the final draft of the Report, Redlich found himself in a quagmire with the test results that seemed to point more towards Oswald's innocence than guilt.
He wrote Commissioner Dulles on July 2, 1964, referring to the results of the NAA tests on the Oswald casts, saying that " At best the analysis shows that Oswald may have fired a pistol, although this is by no means certain". But what was even more damaging to the Commission's case was a fact that Redlich recognized----- that "there is no basis for concluding that he also fired a rifle."
Absent a test or tests that could a.) differentiate between rifle gunpowder and handgun powder and b.) put that rifle gunpowder on the paraffin cast taken from Oswald's cheek, there was NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE that Oswald had fired a rifle. Redlich knew this and he knew time was running out to "debunk" scientific evidence from the testing on the Oswald casts that failed to prove that a.) Oswald had fired a rifle and b.) left inconclusive whether or not he had fired a handgun.
So in the 11th hour, he deposed the man who had supervised the FBI's NAA test at Oak Ridge.
The Final Witness
On September 15, 1964, Redlich deposed John Gallagher, the FBI's Spectrographic and NAA expert in the privacy of the assistant counsel's office. There were no Commissioners present, no other counsel present, just Redlich, Gallagher and the stenographer. It was Gallagher's last-minute testimony---he was literally the last witness to give testimony---that was imported into Volume 15 of the Hearing and Exhibits to explain away all of the conflicts in the nitrate evidence.
Gallagher's testimony was needed to show that the paraffin test was completely unreliable and to neutralize the Dallas Crime Lab report that showed that there were no nitrates found on the cheek cast of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In the afternoon session on April Fool's Day, 1964, FBI expert Cortlandt Cunningham told the Commission that a control paraffin test of the cheek of an FBI shooter who "HAD NOT FIRED A GUN THAT DAY" and had not fired the depository rifle, resulted in "NO REACTION ON THE CHEEK." ( 3 H 493 )
Sound familiar ?
Cunningham had previously testified that:
"I personally wouldn't expect to find any residues on a person's right cheek after firing a rifle due to the fact that by the very principles and the manufacture and the action, the cartridge itself is sealed into the chamber by the bolt being closed behind it, and upon firing the case, the cartridge case expands into the chamber filling it up and sealing it off from the gases, so none will come back in your face, and so by its very nature, I would not expect to find residue on the right cheek of a shooter. ( 3 H 492 )
Cunningham then went on to describe a test where the Depository rifle was fired and twice failed to leave nitrates on the cheek or hands of the shooter. ( 3 H 494 )
But Cunningham may have been surprised at the NAA results reported by his FBI colleague, Gallagher.
Gallagher told Redlich that when subjected to NAA testing, nitrates WERE found on the cheek cast. He went on to say that NAA testing was done to the outside ( the side away from the cheek ) of the cast as a control as well as the inside ( side facing the cheek ) of the cast.
The NAA test showed that there was MORE barium and "slightly less antimony" on the OUTSIDE of the cast than on the side in contact with the cheek.
Having found MORE barium and antimony on the INSIDE of the hand casts, Gallagher could not explain why there was LESS barium and only "slightly" more antimony on the INSIDE of the cheek cast than the outside. ( 15 H 751 )
Short of determining that Oswald had fired a rifle that day, Gallagher was forced to admit that "no significance could be attached to the residues found on the casts other than the conclusion that the barium and antimony in these residues are present in amounts greater than found on the hands of an individual who has not recently fired or handled a recently fired weapon." (15 H 748 )
Gallagher testified that the NAA test was specific for barium and antimony, two ingredients in gunpowder ( primer residue ) but admitted that both elements were present in commercial products.
Gallagher Exhibit 1 ( below ) is a list of items that contain barium, antimony, and both barium AND antimony together.
For the sake of this narrative, we'll concern ourselves with only the items that contain BOTH barium AND antimony together ( Item # 3 ) .
Notice that one of those products is printed paper.
Now compare this to the FBI interview of Charles Givens.
Givens originally told the FBI that he saw Oswald reading a newspaper at 11:50 am on the morning of November 22, 1963 in the Domino Room. This, of course would have explained the presence of barium and antimony on his hands, since BOTH barium and antimony were present on printed paper.
And if he rubbed his cheek with one of those hands, well you get the idea.
It certainly would explain why there was more barium and antimony present on the cheek and hands than would be for a person who had NOT fired a gun.
It would explain why the chemical test showed more nitrates on the PALM side than on the back side of the hands.
And it would explain the dispersion of nitrates on the hands as depicted by the Dallas Crime Lab. The nitrates on the hands ( drawing above ) are consistent with someone handling a newspaper.
Needless to say, this FBI report was never mentioned in the Commission's Final Report. It was never accepted as an Exhibit, but instead was buried with the Commission Documents.
In order to hide this fact, the Commission out of the blue asked Givens if he had seen Oswald reading a newspaper in the Domino Room of the TSBD on the morning of the assassination.
Givens denied it. ( 6 H 352 )
And THAT'S what got into the 26 volumes.
The Commission also, through its expert Gallagher, claimed that the barium and antimony in the items listed in Gallagher Exhibit 1 "are usually not present in a form which would lead to their adhering to the skin of a person who had handled such items." ( WCR, Appendix X, pg. 562 )
Paint ? Ink ? Gunpowder from firecrackers ?
None of these adhere to the skin ?
The Commission's last witness, Gallagher, was unable to provide it with the evidence that it needed to prove once and for all that Oswald had fired a rifle on November 22, 1963.
But the final straw would not come until a lawsuit was filed.
MORE TO COME