Friday, January 27, 2012

JFK: Was Oswald in the doorway, after all?

JFK: Was Oswald in the doorway, after all?

James Fetzer

After publishing "JFK: What we know now that we didn't know then", I encountered the remarkable work of Dr. Ralph Cinque, who had seen something that no one else had noticed in nearly 50 years of study on the assassination of JFK, namely: that, in relation to the long-standing debate over the identity of the man in the doorway in the famous Altgens photograph, usually referred to as "Doorway Man", between Lee Oswald, the accused assassin of JFK, and Billy Lovelady, a co-worker who looked a great deal like him, it is not the FACES in the Altgens that matter, but their SHIRTS! I had noticed that the face of a figure in the Altgens had been obfuscated, which led me to infer that this must be Oswald, but his detailed and painstaking analysis of the differences between the shirt that Doorway Man was wearing and the shirts that Oswald and Lovelady were wearing persuaded me that he was right and that, unless Lovelady was wearing Oswald's shirt, the man in the doorway was Lee.

In the Altgens, you can see (1) the through-and-through hole in the windshield; (2) Doorway Man; (3) the broom-closet window of a uranium mining company that was a CIA asset, from which three shots appear to have been fired; and (4) the open door of the LBJ security detail, suggesting prior knowledge of what was to come. The man to the left of Doorway Man, wearing a fedora, resembles Jack Ruby; while the face and shirt of another figure to DM's left/front (right/front facing him) have been obfuscated or removed. A debate of long-standing has endured over whether DM was Lee Oswald or his co-worker, Billy Lovelady. We believe the face was "tweaked" or even moved to Doorway Man to obfuscate Oswald's presence, but the shirts tell the tale.

For those who review our more extensive study and look at all the evidence, if they scroll down to "Once more, with feeling!", where we have Doorway Man on the left and Lovelady on the right, where above Doorway Man is Oswald, I think anyone can see that the shirt on Doorway Man has been "touched up" but still does not resemble the checkered shirt on Lovelady; and it is obvious that Doorway Man is NOT wearing the striped shirt he (Lovelady) told the FBI he was wearing that day. But it very strongly resembles the shirt on Oswald, which was loose-fitting like Doorway Man and unlike Lovelady in either shirt. Lee tugged at the neck of his shirt, which gave it a "vee" like appearance, which is more visible in some photographs than in others. Lovelady's has no "vee".

Here is a diagrammatic summary of the witness reports that I take to be credible. There are lots of inconsistencies in the record, where some witnesses were intimidated, others had their testimony changed, and still others were never called at all. While we all know that there can be endless debate about exactly who said what when, these are the three that I take to be accurate reports, where I have overlaid the witness reports of his locations on a drawing from Gerald Posner's CASE CLOSED (1992):

We also have the handwritten and typed notes of Detective Will Fritz interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald, which reflect that he told Fritz he was "out with Bill Shelley in front", which I believe for several reasons, including that Lee was working for the FBI as an informant and had a history with ONI and the CIA, where I am inclined to believe that he expected he was going to be exonerated. During his interview, he also told Fritz, when shown one of the backyard photographs, that it was his face on someone else's body. Jim Marrs and I have written about this in "Framing the Patsy: The Case of Lee Harvey Oswald", which appears on Veterans Today with other recent JFK articles of mine.

In addition, in relation to the time line, an excellent, concise post has appeared by Richard Hocking:

Posted Yesterday, 04:14 PM

"From a Timeline perspective, it was possible for Oswald to be on the
front steps at the time of the shooting (as he told Fritz). Carolyn
Arnold's interview with Anthony Summers (1978) places Oswald behind
the double doors at the entrance as late as 12:25. The next sighting
in the testimony is Baker and Truly in the 2nd floor lunch room at
about 12:31:30. That leaves open the possibility that Oswald could
have been on the steps at the time of the shooting and then gone
inside after the shots were fired.

"On a side note, Oswald said he was on the steps with Shelley. That
raises several interesting points:

1. If Oswald was not on the steps, how did he know where Shelley was?
Oswald may have seen him there at 12:25, but that is no guarantee that
Shelley would have stayed there.

2. Oswald is giving Fritz information that can be cross-checked with
another witness. He is now relying on Shelley to provide verification
for his alibi at the time of the shooting. Why would Oswald put
himself in this position unless he thought Shelley would back him up?

If, otoh, Oswald was making up a story, why not say he was behind
everyone on the steps where no one noticed him? That would have
eliminated the possibility of being contradicted by another witness."

Finally, when I learned about the Fritz interrogation notes--which had actually been released by the ARRB back in 1997 but which I had only discovered a few months ago--I took another look at the Altgens and discovered that the face of the man to his left/front (right/front, viewing the photograph) had been obliterated, I inferred that this must have been Oswald. That was my position when Ralph and I came into contact. When, in the course of our exchange, I discovered that THE SHIRT AS WELL AS THE FACE of the other man had been obliterated it was obvious that there had to have been features of the shirt that need to be obscured, which led me to reconsider my position. As he and I began discussing his research on the shirts, I realized that he had noticed something that no one else had noticed before him--that the shirts, not the faces, were the key to resolving the issue.

As we all know, virtually nothing about the assassination can be known with certainty. It is almost always a matter of probabilities and likelihoods. When you put together the timeline with what Lee told Fritz (about being out front with Bill Shelly), given Richard Hocking's observations, especially in light of the obfuscation of the Altgens, the likelihood that he was there is the reason why the had to change the photograph becomes very strong. Why else, after all, would they have bothered with a crowd shot--unless someone was there who should not have been, where the only person who fits that bill is Lee Harvey Oswald. So the key to appraising this situation is to ask, "What is the probability of altering this photo and obfuscating images if Oswald had not been there?" Approximately zero.

The features that Ralph has identified in the style, the lapel, the lay, the fit, and the buttons have convinced me that he is right and that the man in the doorway IS wearing Oswald's shirt. Lovelady, of course, turned out to have a checkered shirt and a vertically striped shirt, both of which were rather distinctive. The complementary argument that I have advanced is that Doorway Man is also NOT wearing Lovelady's checkered shirt, much less his vertically striped shirt, which may have been on Lovelady but cannot have been on Doorway Man. DM's shirt has a rather loose fit and unusual features. Oswald's shirt has a rather loose fit and unusual features. Lovelady's shirt fits snugly and has no unusual features--other than its pattern. So they had to try to make Oswald's shirt look more like Lovelady's, but did so with only limited success, which was how Ralph could detect their differences and fashion his argument. Others may disagree, but he has convinced me.

Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is the editor of Assassination Science (1998), Murder in Dealey Plaza (2000), and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax (2003).