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Author Topic: A Very Early Review Of The WC  (Read 519 times)

Offline Rob Caprio

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A Very Early Review Of The WC
« on: December 03, 2018, 10:37:33 PM »
This article originally appeared in the June 13, 1964, issue of The New Republic. It was entitled:

May We Have Some Facts, Please?
by Murray Kempton

I will not paste the whole article but rather give the areas that are intriguing as they were written prior to the release of the Warren Commission Report (WCR).  Mr. Kempton refers to the unrest in Europe about the assassination as most in that continent did not (and still do not) believe it was just one man who committed the crime.

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And so, that June 1 on the front page of The New York Times, there appeared this headline:

 "PANEL TO REJECT THEORIES OF PLOT IN KENNEDY DEATH. Warren Inquiry Is Expected to Dispel Doubts in Europe That Oswald Acted Alone."

This banner described a report composed by Anthony Lewis, the Times' specialist in the processes of federal justice.

"The commission's report," Lewis wrote, "is expected, in short, to support the original belief of law enforcement authorities in this country that the President was killed by one man acting alone, Lee H. Oswald." The commission, he went on, is troubled by those speculations, general in Europe if infrequent here, that Oswald could not have acted alone and that Mr. Kennedy was the victim and Oswald the pawn of a conspiracy.

"A spokesman [italics added] for the commission said that none of these critical works, foreign or domestic, had come up with any new factual information. He said the commission had found 'just a rehash of the same material. The same questions and each man's conclusions'.

"The commission spokesman expressed the conviction that its report, when issued, would completely explode the theories published [abroad]. He said that not even the authors of these theories would stand by them.

" 'We'll knock them out of those positions', he said."

What we know about Anthony Lewis' own discretion gives us the right to pronounce the harshest judgment possible on the discretion and fairness of the official who uttered the statements he quotes. Lewis has a reputation for care and honor special even for the Times. That honor would not permit him to use the word "spokesman" except to describe a source both official and prepared to speak for the entire body he serves. The vulgar and aggressive tone of these statements must be taken then as an official voice of the Warren Commission; and it is the voice of a court which has not yet finished hearing the case.

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The source would go on to tell the Times the number of shots (3) and where they came from without producing any proof, and Mr. Kempton notes this injustice.

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This spokesman tells Mr. Lewis that there were just three shots fired upon Mr. Kennedy and that all "unquestionably" came from the Texas School Book Depository. He does not, of course, feel that he has yet the liberty --- or, more seriously, seem to recognize the necessity --- of giving any of us the hard-and-fast medical and ballistic evidence which we must have to decide whether these are statements of fact or mere assertions. No declaration, however official, which is unaccompanied by the release of tangible, relevant evidence, could serve to allay the doubts of Europe. The character and the tone of this particular performance can, in fact, do nothing better for our country than to arouse the distrust of those great numbers of us who until now, have held to their faith in Mr. Justice Warren and in that system of equity he has so delicately and bravely represented for the last 10 years.

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This is fascinating stuff for me since it shows that the WC reached its conclusion before it even finished its ?investigation?. Here is what the American people still did not know in June 1964.

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We do not yet know --- without a medical finding we have only allegations from what direction Mr. Kennedy was shot, or with what sort of bullet, or in precisely which parts of his body or even how many times. We do not know these things because, for six months, the Warren Commission has kept the direct physical evidence secret. It is hard to understand why this is necessary; still most of us take the necessity on faith because most of us trust the commission, although that faith might be stronger than it was in the beginning if members of the commission had not so consistently breach decorum in discussing the evidence it withholds.

The pattern has been to say what this evidence shows without ever showing the evidence. The commission spokesman tells Anthony Lewis, how many shots were fired and where two of them landed without offering the medical report upon which I certainly hope and would like to believe any statement from an official source would be based.

Another commission source tells the New York Herald-Tribune that "FBI specialists on hairs and fibers have told the panel that scientific deductions point to Oswald as the gunman."

Dulles observed one afternoon that the commission had just learned that the putative murder rifle had upon it "the finger prints of Lee Oswald, among others." It is a problem with this case that, when a commission source offers this sort of canape of information, he so often raises more questions than he settles. Who, to take a case, are these "others" whose finger prints show up on Oswald's rifle?

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Great question, who else had fingerprints on the rifle found in the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD)?  Why was this NOT shared with us in the report? Furthermore, when did they find LHO's fingerprints on the alleged murder weapon? I don't recall this happening.

He looks at the WC's assertions about LHO's movements now.

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What do we really know about Lee Oswald's movements in his errant progress across Dallas? There seems, for example, to exist in print nowhere a direct quotation from a witness who saw Oswald arrested in the movie theater. The police said there were 20 persons in the audience, and they were unusual persons indeed if not one of them rushed to the Dallas News with his memory of this historic moment. We may assume in fairness that the FBI swore every witness to silence pending his appearance before the commission; it is a sound rule that the more a witness relates his experiences to reporters, the less useful he is to courts of inquiry. But that rule would seem all the more to place upon the commission the restraint of issuing all the case testimony about Oswald or gossiping about none at all.

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In regards to the shooting of J.D. Tippit (JDT).

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For what we really know of official police findings so far is the extraordinary exposition District Attorney Henry Wade delivered of the case against Oswald a few hours after Jack Ruby killed him. The flavor of hard fact in the police case is conveyed by Wade's answer to the reporter who asked him if Oswald was in front of his boarding house when he "shot" officer J. D. Tippit.

"No," Wade answered, "it's not in front of the boarding house. I don't have it exact. It's more than a block." The District Attorney of Dallas was prepared to arraign a man for a murder whose precise location he had not bothered to find out. After that, one of the Warren commission's assignments would be to raise the police work on a crime likely to touch more of us than any in our life time to the level prevailing in an ordinary slum murder in New York.

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Mr. Kempton then shares his thoughts on how the case was being handled up to this point.

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The ghost of Lee Oswald represents one violation of the public order not only because he was murdered while in custody, but because he was convicted by the Dallas police before he had even been arraigned.

That is not the smallest among the wounds we had a right to expect the Warren Commission to mend. And now a spokesman for the commission has been quoted in The New York Times as convicting Lee Oswald before its decision is written. And we have not even the small consolation we had in the case of Henry Wade. We cannot declare that this thing was licensed by a man alien to us. Mr. Lewis' spokesman represented himself as licensed to do what he did by the Chief Justice of the United States; and those of us who had hoped that here at last we could witness the restoration of the dignity and tradition of the great republic must now see that the main result of this process so far has been to bring down the dignity of, among all persons, Chief Justice Warren.

The report of the commission is still to come, and when it does, we shall have for the first time at our disposal the material upon which we can approach some judgment on what happened in Dallas. But the prelude to that report, I am sorry to say, in no way suggests that Justice Warren's commission can write a report which, by itself, will relieve us of all further thought about this case. There is in me a devil which makes me want Lee Oswald alone to be guilty, because I do not want to think of my country in the image any other explanation at once evokes. That devil, I am afraid, sat at the elbow of Anthony Lewis' source when he displayed his conviction that his duty was not to the public order but to our international image. And so all of us are alone now, and we have to try to read all those 12,000 pages of testimony to come, and remember that this devil will sit always beside us and we have to try not to listen to him and be careful not to neglect any evidence of his presence beside these judges in their courtroom. And from this process we must try alone to come to a judgment each of us trusts.

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« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 04:22:53 PM by Rob Caprio »


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