David Blackburst Archive:Subject: Thoughts on Clinton/Jackson
Thoughts on Clinton/Jackson
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Blackburst)
Date: 2/27/02 12:06 AM Eastern Standard Time
Several threads in these two newsgroups, and several email exchanges have concerned the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie and Clay Shaw visited the towns of Clinton and Jackson, LA in early September 1963. Most of us are familiar with the details of the story. Those who are not should consult Bill Davy's "Let Justice Be Done" for an argument that the visit did occur, and Patricia Lambert's "False Witness" for an argument that it did not.
(It should be mentioned that the putative visit does not bear directly on the assassination, but it does go to the credibility of denials by Ferrie and Shaw of knowing each other, or Oswald.)
To some degree, I have stayed out of the argument. But I decided to post my impressions of the controversy. In summary, while it is possible that the visit did occur, I personally have enough problems with the sighting to raise reasonable doubt in MY mind. In no particular order:
1) The Stranger Factor: All 3 men were strangers to the Clinton/Jackson witnesses, making a POSITIVE identification much tougher.
2) The Time Factor: It is possible to remember a stranger from 4 years earlier, but to identify them from a photo, beyond a reasonable doubt, is not an easy thing. I think back to incidents 4 years ago, and I would be hard pressed to make a positive ID of the rent-a-car guy at the airport, or the guy who cleaned the gutters on my house.
3) The View Factor: Some of the witnesses concede only seeing the men for a short time, or from an angle where viewing was difficult.
4) The Car Factor: Some of the early accounts describe different cars. In time, they came to agree on a black Cadillac. But none of the three men owned a black Cadillac. Some speculate that Jeff Biddison lent his car to Shaw, but there is NO evidence that he did. Only speculation. Why would Shaw borrow the car on this occasion alone? One of the accounts quoted Shaw as saying the car was registered to the International Trade Mart, but there is no evidence that a black Cadillac was registered to the ITM.
5) The Other People Factor: Some of the accounts included people who disappeared from later accounts.
*Anne Hundley Dischler was told Banister was one of the visitors.
*One witness said Oswald was accompanied by a woman.
*Several of the accounts include a man named Estus Morgan
*One of the accounts includes a man answering the description of Winslow Foster
6) The Ferrie Identification Factor: Ferrie was the least positive of the IDs. It is said that his appearance was unmistakeable. His 1961-2 police photos, showing him at his worst, are striking, but other early 60s photos show him looking very normal.
7) The Palmer Factor: Palmer insisted to HSCA that the white-haired man could not have been Banister because he knew Banister from the service in World War II. But Banister was in the FBI, not the service, in WWII. How could Palmer have been so mistaken? What does it say about credibility?
8) The Klan Factor: Speaking of credibility, the FBI said two of these guys were Klansman, which shows striking bad judgement in my opinion.
9) The Change Factor: Several of these accounts did change in significant details over the years: who, how many, what car.
10) The Time Factor 2: It is said that the car arrived in the morning, Oswald got out and got in the voter registration line, and the car left in the mid afternoon - several hours. But an email correspondent who checked the record for August-September 1963 tells me that there was no day in that period when there were enough registrants to account for a line which would cause so long a wait.
11) The Ineligibility Factor: Oswald was not a resident, and was thus ineligible to vote in Clinton. Why waste all that time in line?
12) Purpose 1 - ELSH: It is said that the pupose of the whole event was to get Oswald a job at East Louisiana State Hospital, where he would be switched over to become a patient. But Oswald did not raise the possibility of employment at ELSH; the barber he spoke to was the first to raise the possibility. It would be quite a coincidence if the barber happened upon the very possibility the plotters had intended.
13) Purpose 2 - Civil Rights Disruption: It is said that the purpose was to cause a Cointelpro-style disruption of the civil rights campaign then underway. But a civil rights Cointelpro program did not then exist. Further, all three men - Oswald, Ferrie and Shaw - puported to be supporters of the civil rights movement. Why would they involve themselves in such an operation?
14) The Visibility Factor: No matter how you cut it, Shaw and Ferrie went out of their way to be seen with Oswald. They could have parked around the corner and sent him in. They could have sent him in by bus or taxi. They could have worn disguises. But they did not. Why? Why go out of your way to be seen with someone who, by some accounts, was already slated to be picked up for JFK's assassination? Were Shaw and Ferrie stupid?
15) The Fruge/Sciambra Factor: The Clinton episode was developed by Francis Fruge and Andrew Sciambra. I have seen a lot of material from both men, and I have concerns about their objectivity as investigators.
And there are other factors, too. Taken individually, they do not disprove Clinton/Jackson. But taken as a whole, they raise enough reasonable doubt for me to prevent me from regarding the identifications as definitive. But others may disagree.
Something probably happened in Clinton and Jackson. Was it really Shaw, Ferrie and Oswald? Some ask: What motivation would the witnesses have to lie? I am only speculating here, but could they have simply talked themselves - and each other - into believing that a real event included these then-well-known figures?
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