By Larry Rivera (with Jim Fetzer)
"The DeLoach memorandum provides 'smoking gun' proof that both the FBI and the AP were actively involved in altering the Altgens6 photograph. So much for the denials by pseudo-skeptics, who oppose the truth and continue to insist that Oswald fired the shots from the 6th floor, when the photo shows he was in the doorway at the time."--Jim Fetzer
Deep within the bowels of FBI 62-109060 JFK HQ File, Section 4, at the very end (page 187 of the 189 page pdf file available at The Mary Farrell Archive, we encounter an FBI memorandum from FBI Deputy Director Cartha D. DeLoach to John Mohr dated 25 November 1963 (with copies sent to Mr. Al Belmont, Mr. Al Rosen, Mr. Evans, Mr. Conrad, M.A. Jones and a Mr. Morrell). Don't let the poor quality of the image (published below) fool you -- and the location of this important document should not surprise you either.
The information that it contains is explosive and resolves many questions concerning the famous but also controversial Altgens6 photograph, which appears to have been subjected to multiple forms of alteration. Although the existence of these alterations establishes that there has to have been enough time available to make them, some skeptics -- including, but not limited to, those who tend to defend the "official account" of the assassination of JFK -- nevertheless claim that there was too little time for those alterations to have been made.
The identity of the man in the doorway -- which many have insisted was Billy Lovelady, a co-worker, and not the alleged assassin, Lee Oswald -- has been disputed from the earliest research on the death of JFK, especially by Harold Weisberg, Whitewash II (1966; which was reprinted in 2007 with an introduction by Professor David Wrone), who had already identified the most important moves that were being made to create the false impression that it had been Billy rather than Lee (on pages 250-251).
Billy was the right choice, under the circumstances, because he had also been there in the doorway, standing to the left of Doorman (to his right as we view the photograph), wearing a red-and-white, short-sleeved shirt and holding his hand up to protect his eyes from the sun in order to better view Jack and Jackie. So he was transformed into Doorman, his face was blacked out and Buell Wesley Frazier was substituted to stand in for him so Lee Oswald, the designated "patsy", could be on the 6th floor shooting at JFK.
Those who defend the indefensible insist that there was not enough time for the photo to have been altered. The DeLoach memorandum provides "smoking gun" proof that both the FBI and the AP were actively involved in altering the Altgens6 photograph. So much for the denials by pseudo-skeptics, who oppose the truth and continue to insist that Oswald fired the shots from the 6th floor, when the photo shows he was in the doorway at the time. Recent research by Ralph Cinque, Richard Hooke, Larry Rivera and others is not really a new discovery so much as a reaffirmation that Weisberg had it right!Thanks to the FBI's rigorous attention to detail and protocol, we can now piece this together and explain how and when it was done. We have tracked the first appearance of the Altgens6 on television, where it was shown by Walter Cronkite, and one of the first -- if not the first -- print to appear in a newspaper, The Oakland Tribune, which narrow the tim frame for its alteration. The upshot is we now have additional proof that the FBI and the AP were complicit in framing the patsy and were accessories after the fact in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States. First the photo, then some background.
The Saturday Evening Post's Altgens6Here is the Altgens6 as published by The Saturday Evening Post 14 December 1963. Everything marked in red is suspected of alteration, mostly blobs covering faces except for the entrance and the windshield which were given special attention. The broom closet in the Dal-Tex Building at the top -- about 1/3 of the way from the right-hand side -- is framed by the fire escape. (This is a Larry Rivera scan from original issue.)
The area of greatest interest is the doorway above the limousine, where a figure is extending himself to see what is taking place. Most research and discussion of this area has been based upon a scan made by the well-know student of the assassination, Robert Groden, who appears to have had a role in convincing Oliver Stone in the preparation of his film "JFK", that this figure was Billy Lovelady and not Lee Oswald.
As we are about to discover, the FBI and the AP were concerned that the public might be able to discern that the man in the doorway was Lee Oswald, the alleged assassin. Two Vice Presidents for ABC News debated over whether to run the photograph or not, in the knowledge that it could create "a sensation". They decided not to run it. They weren't experts on the assassination, but that was their take, which Harold Weisberg, Whitewash II (1966), included on page 153:
I have found it incredibly embarrassing, therefore, that so many who present themselves as "JFK experts" want to deny, not only that Doorman is not Oswald, but that the photo has not been fixed. Consider the Obfuscated Face of the man to his right/front (viewing the photo), his missing left shoulder, that Black Tie Man is in front of him and behind him, and the face of the man standing beside him has been turned into a black hole.
Proof that it was Oswald, after allOne proof that guarantees that a photo or a film has been altered or faked is for it to include physically impossible events. That a face has been obfuscated is already enough to impugn the photos authenticity, but when you have a figure who is missing a shoulder and another who is both in front of and behind him simultaneously, there is no room for doubt. The photo was altered--and the reasons are rather obvious:
Lee, for example, told Will Fritz, the homicide detective who interrogated him, that he had been "out with Bill Shelley" in front. And the man in the doorway certainly resembles him in height, weight, build and clothing, even apart from the facial resemblance. Lee was about 5'10" and weighed between 130-135 lbs. and was wearing a shirt that was spayed open and hung loosely on his body. They look a great deal alike.
Although the FBI maintained it had "conclusively identified" Doorman as Lovelady, Billy's subsequently conduct falsified that claim. He went to the FBI on 29 February 1964 and showed them the shirt he had been wearing, which was a red-and-white, vertically striped short-sleeved shirt. The FBI photographed him and reported back to J. Edgar. He would later confirm this was the shirt he had worn to Jones Harris.
The claim has been made that Billy was also photographed in the crowd following the assassination and that he was wearing a black-and-white checkered shirt. This man looks nothing like Billy and is far too robust to be Doorman. He is practically bursting out of his shirt, which is buttoned to the top, and must outweigh him by 30 lbs. While the faces are ambiguous, the clothing leaves no doubt. Not only did Doorman resemble Lee Oswald, but he cannot have been either Billy Lovelady or Checkered Shirt Man. Doorman was Lee Oswald.
The Altgens6 makes its television debut
Only three candidates have ever been offered as the person we are calling "Doorman": Lee Harvey Oswald, Billy Nolan Lovelady, and Checkered Shirt Man. The figure strongly resembles Oswald, as even the ABC executives could see. He is not wearing a short-sleeved shirt and can't be Billy, who later observed that he was 3" shorter and 15-20 lbs. heavier than Lee, and cit ertainly is not Checkered Shirt Man, who is also not wearing a comparable shirt ant must be 35 lbs. heavier than Doorman. So what's left to argue about?
Officially, James "Ike" Altgens had been Associated Press news photo editor in Dallas for 26 years. The AP owned all the Altgens' photos and it was up to the AP to disseminate them as appropriate. While two are suspected of alteration or forgery -- the Altgens6 and the Altgens7 -- according to the "official chain of custody", the Altgens6 was "on the wire" at 1:03 PM and circled the globe within minutes. There was no time to alter it. End of story.
We know that at approximately 6:34 PM/ET, (3:34 PM/PT) on Friday, 22 November 1963, Walter Cronkite presented for the first time ever on television, an extremely cropped version of the Altgens6 to the American public.
The glossy nature of the photograph shown by Cronkite suggests it had probably been hand-delivered by CBS's neighbor, The Associated Press in New York.
It appears to be one of the "glossy prints" printed by the AP that evening mentioned in the DeLoach memorandum (below).
CRONKITE (narration): "You see the secret service men, riding in back of the car, looking over their shoulder to the right rear where the shot came from."
These are snapshots taken from CBS footage of their JFK Assassination coverage the night of November 22, 1963.
The second of these images shows the reflection from the glossy surface, which reinforces the inference that it came from the AP and is one of those mentioned in the DeLoach memorandum.
No major newspaper, however, published the Altgens6 that day on the first page of their special afternoon editions. The New York Times did not even include it in its historic coverage on 23 November 1963.
But The Oakland Tribune appears to have published the Altgens6 on the 3rd page of it's EXTRA edition that day. Here is a portion of the newspaper, which shows the top of the Altgens6 at the bottom, where the more complete but still cropped image published there will be presented and discussed below:
We believe this is authentic, because Richard Hooke found it in the trunk of an elderly woman neighbor, who--like millions of other Americans--had kept the newspapers from those fateful days, especially those including photos related to the assassination. Notice the obfuscated face, the missing left shoulder, the man who is both in front of and behind him at the same time, and the man beside him has had his face turned into a black hole. So at least one Altgens6 seems to have been published the day of the assassination.
Alterations of the Altgens6 and fabricated newspapersRoy Schaefer, now a member of the OIC, was working for the Dayton Daily News at the time and took the Altgens6 off the wire-photo-fax at 7:00 AM/ET on Saturday, 23 November 1963. Because of a background in photography, Shaffer noticed immediately that alteration using masking and opaquing techniques had been done to the image that was received over the wire, especially in the background area of the doorway.
From there on, Roy embarked on research and discovered hidden aspects of the Altgens6 as well as many changes that are also to be found in the extant version of the Zapruder film. (See his 1998 article on this.) And Ralph Cinque has discovered the existence of bogus newspapers in minor market areas, which show the Altgens6 on the same day of the assassination but which turn out to be fabrications of special editions.
Here are the real and fake editions of the Benton Harbor News-Palladium (where Benton Harbor is a small community in Michigan of then-about 10,000 population) published their own bona fide issues that Friday, which were replaced by fake issues to create the false impression of having included the Altgens6:
This was a major find of US intelligence agency duplicity. Among the telling signs that one is real and the other fake is that local news items are interspersed in the original issue, while the fake has nothing but national news, highly improbably for a local newspaper, which did not publish TWO EXTRAS that day!
The Rigby Timeline for the Altgens6
Paul Rigby, a most respected JFK researcher from the UK, has provided the OIC with a detailed time line of the Altgens6 photo and has proposed at least a two to three hour "window of opportunity" for alteration. Mr. Rigby's work deserves discussion. He believes that there was a delay in the release of Altgens6 because it was initially wired to the AP headquarters in New York, but then appears to have been "cropped twice".
On the basis of the available evidence, we can -- provisionally at least -- draw the following inferences:
(1) Altgens did not develop his own photos; (2) Altgens6 went by fax, not to the world at large, but to the AP New York HQ, at just after 1:00 PM/CT; (3) The negatives were sent by commercial airline, ostensibly to the same destination but did not arrive until hours after the initial fax; (4) The dissemination of the image from NY did not occur until at least two hours after the fax arrived but before the arrival of the negatives; (5) Both the AP and Altgens appear to have sought to conceal this hiatus; (6) The AP acted against its own commercial interest in delaying release of Altgens6; (7) The version which first appeared in the final editions of newspapers in Canada and the US on the evening of 22 November 1963 was heavily, and very obviously, retouched; (8) Point (7) may not be the explanation, either full or partial, for the concealed delay; it is quite conceivable that obvious alterations were used to draw attention away from other more subtle stuff.
Since The Oakland Tribune afternoon EXTRA edition showing the cropped Altgens6 -- and other visible features beyond the now obscured windshield -- appears to have come out around 5:00PM/PT (or 8:00 PM/ET) and the photograph was taken at 12:30 PM/CT, the span between the photo's being taken and its first newspaper publication would appear to be a maximum of 7 hours, if we accept The Tribune as real. Since Roy took it off the wire-photo-fax the following morning, that suggests it was actually sent out twice.
What the FBI, the AP and ABC knewThe DeLoach memorandum of 25 November 1963, however, unequivocally claims that the AP did not disseminate the Altgens6 to subscribing newspapers until Saturday, November 23, 1963, which means that The Oakland Tribune got an earlier version than was nationally distributed the next day . Here is the memorandum (absent its addendum), which was added subsequently and is discussed below. Notice the language that is used to describe the photo and that he expected the FBI to further "experiment" with it:
So while Al Resch, the liaison between the Associated Press and the FBI and had informed Mr. DeLoach that the Altgens6 was not distributed until the following day, The Oakland Tribune photo Richard Hooke has found suggests that Resch was not quite right, since at least one newspaper appears to have published it on Friday, 22 November 1963. The language Resch uses in referring to it -- as the "rough photo" and to "experimenting with the [initial] glossy print" (since there is no point in "experimenting" with the finished glossy print ) -- implies they were going to make more tweaks.
The Memorandum's AddendumThe end of the FBI memorandum contains an interesting "ADDENDUM" by DeLoach (CDD) "A positive identification had been made by interviewing Lovelady at his home." So confident was the FBI that this was the end of the controversy generated by the Altgens6 that DeLoach expressed his opinion that "this matter had washed out":
This is probably the point in time where Billy Lovelady was taken to task and introduced to his new role as "Doorman" in the Altgens6. With his Federal conviction and court martial at Andrews Air Force Base for the theft of government property, gun running, as well as his felonious flight from Maryland in 1961-62 and subsequent arrest at his new job at the TSBD by the FBI in January 1963, he was ripe for the plucking.
The FBI, as they say in Dallas, "called in the markers" -- and made him an offer he could not refuse. They could not have anticipated that he would have a conscience and not only confirm to Jones Harris that he had been wearing the red-and-white, short-sleeved shirt that day but actually go to the FBI in Dallas and show them the shirt to set the record straight, which the would photograph and send to Washington, D.C.
Where was the Altgens6 altered?
So, where was the Altgens6 altered: in Dallas, in New York or even in Rochester, NY, where the CIA ran a secret photo lab known as "Hawk-eye Works"? The most efficient location to have done the alteration would have been Dallas. The fluidity of the situation would have dictated it. They had to have been aware of the problem because he had been in the doorway and had told Will Fritz he had been there. The level of alteration of the Altgens6 suggests that it was done with a first generation print, which was enlarged to facilitate the alteration. Opaquing, masking and airbrushing are techniques that seem to have been used.
So here is The Oakland Tribune's version of the Altgens6, which appears to reflect the first pass, where it would be subjected to additional alteration but where we can already see the features that prove it is fake. Note what appear to be trace marks around JFK, John Connally, both of the sun visors, and the rear view mirror in this very early rendition of the Altgens6. This version of Altgens6 almost looks like a caricature.
The resulting product was probably re-shot and processed with an optical printer to produce an altered negative, which was flown to New York with altered first generation prints. This new negative was then incorporated into the contact sheet which we see today. Had they used an image off of the unifax machine in New York, the resultant image would not have had the quality and resolution to pass on as an original.
According to Roy Schaeffer, all photo processing companies in Dallas were stocked and ready to receive the treasured snapshots and film of people who were lucky enough to see the parade. Among the companies that were available for business Schaeffer mentions the Kodak and Jamieson Printing companies. [Roy Schaeffer, "Was the Abraham Zapruder Film used to mislead the American Public?" (1998), p. 2]
Since we are contemplating alternatives, a company JFK researchers are familiar with, Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, did have the capability to alter photographs and re-generate negatives and was within easy walking distance of Dealey Plaza. Surprisingly, JCS has almost never been mentioned as a place where photo alterations could have been done or coordinated from. (See Jack White's reference to the Stovall Warren Commission Testimony)
Wouldn't it be ironic that the first place that Lee Oswald worked in Dallas in 1962, after his return from the Soviet Union, Jaggars-Chiles- Stovall -- a place which handled contract imaging work for Navy Intelligence and the CIA -- would also be the place where the image that could exonerate him from this heinous crime could have been altered to change his features in the doorway in order to frame him for an assassination that he could not possibly have committed?
Why the Altgens6 matters
As John Simkin reports, Cartha "Deke" DeLoach became friends with Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s. It was DeLoach who arranged with LBJ, the Senate majority leader at the time, to push through legislation guaranteeing J. Edgar Hoover, a salary for life. DeLoach would later recall, “There was political distrust between the two of them, but they both needed each other." However, he denied that the two men worked together to blackmail politicians, but it is important to observe that he had ties to both LBJ and J. Edgar.
In his book, Hoover's FBI (1995), for example, DeLoach claimed, "The popular myth, fostered of late by would-be historians and sensationalists with their eyes on the bestseller list, has it that in his day J. Edgar Hoover all but ran Washington, using dirty tricks to intimidate congressmen and presidents, and phone taps, bugs, and informants to build secret files with which to blackmail lawmakers." While DeLoach said this was not true, there are stunning books by Anthony Summers and by Mark North that show otherwise.
(1) Our current research indicates the Altgens6 was altered twice on November 22, 1963. The first revision, a very crude, caricature-like, extremely cropped rendition, which would be sent to the West Coast, was done in Dallas between 1 and 4 PM/CT.
(2) This timeframe allowed for the Lovelady/Oswald Doorman alterations to be done as well as others involving Buell Wesley Frazier, a crucial witness, where Frazier had disappeared for at least 5 hours, which is most unlikely to be coincidental.
(3) It was wired to the West Coast, to newspapers that had not yet reached their afternoon deadlines.This time frame confirms Paul Rigby's original estimate of 2-3 hours. And it is all too probable that these alterations were done at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall.
(4) From there, the now extant negative and altered Altgens6 were flown, possibly by private jet, to the AP in New York, where the "rough photo" was blown up and "cropped twice" to focus on the left side of the image and to support shots from the TSBD, mainly because it shows Secret Service Agents John Ready and Paul Landis' reacting and turning towards the building.
(5) That night, it was shown to a grieving nation, for the first time on TV, by Walter Cronkite at about 8:00 PM/ET (5:00PM/PT). The first wire photo published in The Oakland Tribune revealed the crude job done, which required further fine-tuning, probably with experts in New York or in Rochester.Bear in mind that there would have been no reason to alter images in the doorway area unless someone had been there who should not have been there, where the prime candidate is the designated patsy. Not only were his facial features changed to more closely resemble the face of Lovelady, but Lovelady's face (in the third of his FBI photos) was altered to more closely resemble that of Oswald:
To convert Billy into Doorman, Lovelady's head was blacked out and Buell Frazier was removed. Frazier was then available to replace Lovelady as the now "Black Hole Man". Lovelady was identified as "Doorman" in lieu of Oswald, who was standing there; and his face was also slightly altered to look like more like Lovelady. Lee, after all, could not be in the doorway watching the motorcade and also on the 6th floor shooting at JFK. By demonstrating that both the FBI and the AP were actively involved in altering the Altgens6, those who insist that the chain of custody did not permit it have been shown to have been wrong. Whether they were sincere in maintaining that position or not will now be tested by their willingness or not to admit that they were wrong and that Oswald was in the doorway, after all, and cannot possibly have even been among the shooters.
Detailing additional Alterations
In collaboration with other members of the OIC, I have now published a dozen articles about the Altgens6:
Dennis Cimino has demonstrates that the photograph was also altered extensively in the windshield area, which was appears to have been among of the refinements that were undertaken during the second pass; see "Tampering with the Limo in the JFK Altgens6";
Ralph Cinque has shown that, during the Warren Commission hearings, Joseph Ball performed a sleight-of-hand to convey the false impression that Lovelady had drawn an arrow on CE 369 to identify himself as Doorman, when he had pointed instead to himself;
Larry Rivera has explained why Buell Wesley Frazier, a key witness who incriminated Lee Oswald in a crime he did not commit by claiming he had carried "curtain rods" into the Book Depository, was taken out of the photo; see "Why Buell Wesley Frazier was erased from the Altgens6";
Richard Hooke has discovered why Bill Shelley's face had to be obfuscated in the Altgens6, since Lee had told Fritz he was "out with Bill Shelley in front" and his presence there would have raised too many very uncomfortable questions; see "The JFK Altgens6: Bill Shelley's Shrunken Head".
Indeed, Richard has done a brilliant job of analyzing the key moves that appear to have been involved:
So where does that leave the Josiah Thompsons, the Robert Grodens, the (surprisingly) David Liftons, the Robin Ungers, the JFK Assassination Research Bureau and other of their ilk, who persist to this day in the claim that Doorman was Billy Lovelady, as everyone has known for a very long time? There is an answer.
It appears they belong in the same category with John McAdams, who long ago published this composite, which represents the state of affairs before Ralph Cinque contacted me to explain that I was right in my conclusion (that Oswald was in the doorway) but wrong in my premises (because it was not Lee's face that had been obfuscated), where it was the clothing they were wearing that made the difference in sorting this out to exonerate an innocent man from the accusation that he was "the lone, demented gunman" who killed JFK.
Larry Rivera, the son of a career military man who served as CID officer in the Army and a Certified Network Engineer, has made a lifelong study of the JFK assassination. He has given interviews on the assassination to Spanish media and has the most complete dossier on Billy Nolan Lovelady ever done.
Jim Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer, is McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.