Often times conspiracy books claim that several people stated something and thus, it must be independent corroboration, when in actuality, the people making the claim are actually just repeating what they heard. Below are three examples of claimed independent corroboration.________________
It seems like iron clad proof of a conspiracy: three people; Seymour Weitzman, Eugene Boone, and District Attorney Henry Wade (1), claimed that the weapon found in the Texas School Book Depository that fateful November 22, 1963, was a 7.65 German Mauser, not the 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle the Warren Commission claimed killed President Kennedy. Is this independent corroboration?
Mark Lane believes it is, as he claims in his book, Rush to Judgment, "It [the Warren Report] also ignores the fact that his [Weitzman's] identification of the weapon as a Mauser was supported by the testimony of a number of other officers" (119-120).
Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman was one of the police officers on the sixth floor of the depository. Upon glancing at the rifle, he thought the rifle looked like a 7.65 Mauser. He later made a statement to the Dallas police on November 23, and the FBI on November 23(page 1 and 2) and November 25 (page 1 and 2) stating the rifle he saw was a 7.65 Mauser.
In his Warren Commission testimony, he explained how he thought it was a Mauser, but he only glanced at it.
Mr. BALL. In the statement that you made to the Dallas Police Department that afternoon, you referred to the rifle as a 7.65 Mauser bolt action?
Mr. WEITZMAN. In a glance, that's what it looked like.
Mr. BALL. That's what it looked like did you say that or someone else say that?
Mr. WEITZMAN. No; I said that. I thought it was one .
. . .
Mr. BALL. I understand that. Now, in your statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, you gave a description of the rifle, how it looked.
Mr. WEITZMAN. I said it was a Mauser-type action, didn't I?
Mr. BALL. Mauser bolt action.
Mr. WEITZMAN. And at the time I looked at it, I believe I said it was 2.5 scope on it and I believe I said it was a Weaver but it wasn't; it turned out to be anything but a Weaver, but that was at a glance (7H108-9 emphasis added).
Eugene Boone, a Dallas sheriff on the sixth floor that fateful day, later wrote a police report claiming that the rifle he saw was a 7.65 Mauser. He explained in his Warren Commission testimony that he thought he heard Captain Fritz say this and because of that, he assumed it was a 7.65 Mauser.
Mr. BOONE. Yes, I did. And at first, not knowing what it was, I thought it was 7.65 Mauser.
Mr. BALL. Who referred to it as a Mauser that day?
Mr. BOONE. I believe Captain Fritz (3H295).
District Attorney Henry Wade stated in a press release late that evening that the rifle found was a Mauser. He later claimed that he got all of his information second hand.
Mr. WADE . . . But I think you have that--it was a situation, I don't contend I was right on that because it was a situation somebody asked me that and that is what I thought I was telling them and I never--all my information came from the police and actually somebody said originally it was a Mauser but it turned out it was not (5H250).
The officers that examined the rifle on the scene claimed that the rifle was a Mannlicher-Carcano and some later wrote reports to that effect, including Lieutenant J. C. Day (November 22, 1963 evidence report and memo and January, 8, 1964 page 1 and 2) and Detective C. N. Dhority (page 1 and 2). In addition, the rifle was photographed in place by Robert Lee Studebaker (Trask, Richard. Pictures of the Pain. Danvers: Yeoman Press, 1994, pp. 530). Tom Alyea filmed the rifle in place, Lieutenant J.C. Day removing it from the floor, through the initial examination on the sixth floor, and the dusting for fingerprints (Trasck 530-3). William G. Allen and Ira D. "Jack" Beers photographed Day carrying the Mannlicher-Carcano out of the Depository (Trasck 549).
The House Select Committee on Assassinations studied the known photographs taken of the Mannlicher-Carcano. They determined that "based upon this system of identification, the rifle in these photographs can be positively identified as the same rifle that is presently in the custody of the National Archives" (HSCA VI paragraph 240 pp. 107).
Both Boone and Wade admit that they heard this information second hand, most likely from Weitzman, and thus they do not support Weitzman's claim, but simply repeat it. This is not independent collaboration but repetition of an honest mistake by Weitzman._______
The story of Oswald in Mexxico City is an important key to the Warren Commission's description of the JFK assassin. If it turned out that Oswald was impersonated in Mexico City, it could prove that Oswald was set-up. Oswald would look like the public enemy, going to Mexico City to try to get a Cuban visa, making him the perfect patsy. The FBI proves this conspiracy in its own memos. The FBI has several memos stating that tapes of someone claiming to be Oswald in Mexico City, is not actually Oswald.
On November 23, 1963, J. Edgar Hoover wrote a memorandum to James Rowley claiming that the individual on tape who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City and claimed to be Lee Harvey Oswald was in fact not him.
The Central Intelligence Agency advised that on October 1, 1963, an extremely sensitive source had reported that an individual identified himself as Lee Oswald, who contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring as to any messages. Special Agents of this Bureau, who have conversed with Oswald in Dallas, Tex., have observed photographs of the individual referred to above and have listened to a recording of his voice. These Special Agents are of the opinion that the above-referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald (HSCA Report p.249-50).
Former FBI Agent Eldon Rudd was aboard the Navy airplane that carried a package from Mexico City to Dallas and landed about 4am, November 23, 1963. Rudd told The Associated Press "There were no tapes to my knowledge. I brought the pictures up and it was my understanding that it was just pictures."
But Debra Rightman disagrees with Rudd and claims that "documents contradict Rudd's understanding." She further claims that many of these CIA and FBI documents have recently surfaced because of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). She implies that all of these documents are independent soruces of corroboration.
Hoover wrote the above memo after his conversation with President Johnson at 10:01 am. Hoover received his information through lower level agents, which is documented in memos (2). This information either came from Special Agent in Charge (SAC) in Dallas, Gordon Shanklin, or FBI agent Belmont's misunderstanding of their conversation. Shanklin either misunderstood what his own agents told him or Belmont's question. It is improbable that Shanklin or any other Dallas agent would have called Hoover directly, since the FBI works on chain of command. It is also improbable that Hoover would have called Dallas directly.
From this original error, throughout the next few days, several memos were written claiming that there were tapes. This was a repetition of an earlier mistake by either Belmont or Shanklin. The error was later cleared up by Shanklin who wrote a memo stating, "there appears to be some confusion in that no tapes were taken to Dallas . . . [O]nly typewritten [reports were] supplied" (HSCA Report, p.250). These were all either internal FBI memos or memos with the Secret Service, CIA or Mexico City trying to clarify if there were tapes.
Shanklin later told HSCA that FBI officials in Dallas never received recordings of Oswald (HSCA Report p.250). Dallas FBI special agents James Hosty, John Fain, Burnett Tom Carter, and Arnold Brown informed HSCA that they never listened to recordings of Oswald (HSCA Report p.250).
The HSCA looked into the possibility of Oswald being impersonated based on these supposed tapes. It determined that CIA headquarters never received the tapes and thus concluded "that the information in the November 23, 1963, letterhead memorandum was mistaken and did not provide a basis for concluding tthat there had been an Oswald imposter (Report p. 250).
This is again not an independent source of corroboration, but rather a repetition of a mistake._______
On November 22, 1963, JFK's motorcade made a turn onto Elm Street, taking the President in front of the Texas School Book Depository, from where the fatal shots came. In 1964, Joachim Joesten, wrote a book entitled, Oswald: Assassin Or Fall Guy?. In the book he claimed that the motorcade parade route was changed. Since his book, several conspiracy books have repeated this claim.
Among these conspiracy authors is Jim Garrison, who in his book, On the Trail of the Assassins, claims that the motorcade route through Dealey Plaza was changed. He claims that this put the President in direct line of the sniper's bullet.
"Here on Main Street, continuing through the open meadow," he said, "they couldn't have hit him. Are you telling me that at the last moment they just moved the President of the United States off of his scheduled route to here where the Depository is?" p.
Two contemporary witnesses, Jean Hill and James Files, tell stories of how they had knowledge of the parade route conspiracy. Do they independently corroborate the parade route conspiracy?
Jean Hill claims that her boyfriend, policeman J. B. Marshall, told her the following story about a changed parade route.
"Well, while Kennedy was busy shaking hands with all the wellwishers at the airport, Johnson's Secret Service people came over to the motorcycle cops and gave us a bunch of instructions. The damnedest thing was, they told us the parade route through Dealey Plaza was being changed."
"It was originally supposed to go straight down Main Street," J. B. [Marshall] said, "but they said for us to disregard that. Instead, we were told to make the little jog on Houston and cut over to Elm."
Jean felt her mouth drop open. "My God," she said in amazement, "if you'd stayed on Main, Kennedy might've been completely out of range of whoever was shooting at him. My 'shooter' behind the wooden fence definitely wouldn't have had much chance to hit him from there."
J. B. stared at her with a straight face. "Maybe that's why they changed the route," he said bluntly, . . .
JFK: the Last Dissenting Witness p. 113
James Files claimed in an interview, later a movie entitled, The Murder of JFK: Confession of an Assassin, that he was told of a changed parade route before the asssassination.
"He [Johnny Rosseli] opened the envelope up and there was, ah identification in there for Secret Service people and we got a map in there of the exact motorcade route that was taken through Dealey Plaza and Johnny Rosseli said, 'Well, they only made one change' and that was when he informed me that they was coming off ah Main Street onto Elm or onto Houston there. They made the zigzag, that little turn that they never should have made, but when they made that, that was the only change in that."
While they could be independent sources of corroboration, because the parade route was never changed, they are taking a conspiracy factoid and incorporating it into their own accounts. The fact that the route was not changed is well documented by the Warren Commission and explained in another essay on this website._______________
1. Roger Craig has also claimed that the rifle was a 7.65 Mauser, but that is not what he claimed in 1963. In 1968, Craig told the Los Angeles Free Press that there was a Mauser found on the roof of the Book Depository. Years later, Craig claimed that the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository was a Mauser. For more information on his Mauser claims, look at this page.
2. It is important to note that it is unclear as to how Hoover knew at 10:01 in the morning anything about the tapes. It is, however, implausible that Hoover would either come up with this information on his own or that anyone besides Tolson would have discussed such an issue with Hoover. It is certainly implausible that Dallas agents would have called and talked to Hoover, even Special Agent in Charge, Shanklin. So even though the HSCA claimed that the original claim of tapes came from a conversation between Belmont and Shanklin at 11:50 am, it is implausible that Hoover knew this information at 10:01 am, separate from his lower agents, and thus the knowledge of the tapes must have been passed onto him at an earlier time. The HSCA was also disadvantaged by not having knowledge of the conversation in the morning between Hoover and President Johnson.