Tour of Tragedies - Dealey Plaza

The Alamo, Dealey Plaza, Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

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3a_23.jpg On Monday evening, July 5th, 2004 we decided to stop at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas to see where President John F.Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated. It was a late addition to our trip itinerary. We concluded our visit with my step-son and drove from San Antonio to Dallas to get some miles in on the long drive home. We reached Dealey Plaza near nightfall, so the quality of these pictures is not that great. Also, some of the pictures I took are, quite frankly, not done well from the photographic perspective. But I include it all just for the sake of documentation. We found Dealey Plaza to be very sobering. There is a museum in the former Texas Schoolbook Depository Building (TSDB) that is supposed to be very good, but it was closed when we got there.

We are walking down Elm street toward what was the TSDB, which is the last building on the right on the end of the street way up ahead (it's just visible if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it). The presidential motorcade did not come down this part of Elm street,

A site with many claims about the assassination here and a site that claims to debunk claims about the assassination here - I recommend them both. Read them both, however, with skepticism.

dealeyoverview.jpg This picture gives a great overall view of the assassination area. The fatal shot occurred when Kennedy's limousine was in the red circle. Probable locations of the assassins - in the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building and along the picket fence that runs along the back of the grassy knoll - are noted by yellow circles. Look at the parking lot and railroad yard to the bottom and bottom left of the grassy knoll - not much of an escape route for someone planning to kill the President and get away from the area.

The three streets that converge to go under the Triple Underpass are (left to right) Elm, Main and Commerce. The three acre area where the streets begin to combine is cumulatively known as Dealey Plaza. You can see several white monuments dotting landscape. Dealey Plaza commentates the birthplace of Dallas. It is named for George Bannerman Dealey (1859-1946), the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, who had campaigned for the area's revitalization.

My crackpot Kennedy Assassination Theory (Well, everybody else has one ...)

Theory: The pre-World War I assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand is the corollary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Let's examine another assassination of a prominent world leader that also occurred during a motorcade:

On the morning of June 28, 1914, while traveling in a motorcade through Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the visiting Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie were assassinated. As Francis Ferdinand and his party proceeded through Sarajevo, the first of the conspirators operatives tossed a bomb at the Archduke's automobile. To avoid capture and interrogation, the unsuccessful assassin, nineteen-year-old Nedjelko Cabrinovic, swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the river. However, he was hauled out of the river and detained.

As the Archduke's entourage resumed its tour of Sarajevo, the Archduke's chauffeur took a wrong turn and drove within ten feet of another conspirator, Gavrilo Princip. Princip stepped up to the car and fired two pistol shots. One bullet hit Archduchess Sophie, killing her instantly. The other hit Francis Ferdinand, who died within minutes. Like Carbinovic, Princip attempted suicide, but was captured before succeeding.

Similarities between the killing of Archduke Ferdinand and the killing of JFK.

  1. From their view, World situation compels conspirators' to act.
  2. Commitment to assassinate target so high they are willing to also kill target's wife.
    (Jackie not killed in Dallas, but she could have been)
  3. Assassination principals see need to immediately silence actual killers.
    (Need to conceal who is really behind the assassination)
  4. Plotters have a history of plotting and committing regime-changing murders.
  5. After the fact "legitimate" government feels obligated to use it's power to hide from view those groups and individuals behind the assassination.

I. From their view, World situation compels conspirators' to act.

Pre-Archduke-Ferdinand-assassination Europe was poised for major geopolitical upheavals, having already experienced minor ones. Central and Eastern Europe had just been through the Balkan Wars (1912-13). In these wars, Serbia - joined with fellow Slavic countries Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro and known as the Balkan League - fought the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan League armies succeeded in capturing most of Ottoman Empire's European territory for themselves. That caused Austria to have regional security concerns which grew from the near-doubling of neighboring Serbia's territory.

The major European powers had been competing against one another over colonies in Africa and Asia. These parties had also been engaged in an arms race for well over a decade. They had formed not-so-secret alliances with each other in preparation for an anticipated war of national existence. England, France, Italy, and Russia were aligned, counterbalanced by the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and Germany.

The threat to neophyte Slavic countries came from Austria-Hungary, from whom they sought the protection of Russia and her allies. You can be sure Slavs who held power, and more importantly Slavic patriots who were powerful but not in the public eye, were willing to commit desperate acts against those forces they perceived as working against their aim of one nation for all Slavic peoples. Given a spark, this complex alliance system would begin a political-military chain reaction that could erase the existence of any combination of nations. By mid-1914, there prevailed a feeling in Europe that something monumental was about to occur.

Now consider the United States of America circa 1963. It was a time not far removed from the world-destabling effects wrought successively by World War II and Korea. With the advent of nuclear weapons and the rise of the power of Red China and the Soviet Union, now not only were wars of national existence threatening, but also a new kind of total war that risked the very existence of mankind itself. Not too long ago the world stage had heard Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev say, in reference to capitalism, "We will bury you". JFK had already been faced with the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, where he had been called upon to face down the threat of Soviet offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. Everyone realized that the world had come perilously close to being destroyed.

The same looming fear of what Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary might do held by Slavic nationalists was also felt by the yet unnamed group that kills JFK. The nature of the fear of JFK was either that his perceived ineptitude vis a vis the communist block would lead to the annihilation of the United States, or that his future action against the conspirator's governmental agency would leave the conspirator's suddenly powerless, unable to influence events at this critical moment.

II. Commitment to assassinate target so high they are willing to also kill target's wife.

It is one thing to demonize a leader and oppose his policies to the point that you come to the conclusion that you must murder him to make an end to these policies. Adolph Hitler comes to mind. It is, however, beyond the pale to include his wife in the assassination. Archduchess Sophie, wife of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, was shot prior to her husband's being shot. That she was shot first because she was sheltering her husband might understandable. But a bomb was also thrown into the motorcar to try and kill Ferdinand. Planners could not discount the possibility that Sophie might die too. And they didn't care. You have to find trigger-men - assassins - who are so committed to kill the target that it doesn't matter if his spouse dies too. The trigger-pullers in this case were youthful fanatical Slavic nationalists.

It is true that Jackie Kennedy was not wounded in Dallas. But anyone viewing the Zapruder film cannot but conclude that is was lucky that she was not killed. Sitting there beside her husband - her hand on his arm as the fatal head shot occurs - the assassins had to know prior to the attempt that a errant shot could kill her. Jackie was a popular first lady - probably even more popular than her husband. The assassins had to have taken into account that she might die, and decided to proceed anyway. The triggermen in this case were hardened veterans who had seen combat in either WWII or Korea. They might have been Cuban-Americans who knew friends who had died in the Bay of Pigs invasion, or low level right wing Dallas police officers. Organized crime was not involved, or else over the years we details would have been leaked as prosecutions of mobsters occurred over the years and more and more mobsters talked. Offering up details of the Kennedy assassination would have curried favor, yet no hint of mob envolvement ever surfaced.

III. Assassination principals see need to immediately silence actual killers.

Both assassination groups wanted to hide from view their involvement in the killing. The group responsible for assassinating Archduke Ferdinand had trained a small group of teenage operatives to infiltrate Bosnia and carry out the assassination of the Archduke. Moreover, they had actually talked these fanatic teens to swallow cyanide tablets after the killing, so if captured alive they could not be tortured into revealing what they knew about the men who asked them to kill.

During the Dallas motorcade, the killers could not get close to Kennedy without his police escort and secret service guards trying to prevent the killing. This might explain the need to kill him at a distance with rifles. Why not walk up to him and kill him outright as close range? Because those behind the murder could not risk the apprehension and arrest of the actual killers. The men who assassinated presidents William McKinley and James Garfield were quickly subdued. Franklin D. Roosevelt was nearly assassinated in a motorcade, but his assailant was also quickly subdued. The Kennedy killing was a stand-off affair to avoid having the trigger-men being traced to the head conspirators. Although the world didn't know about it for many years, it was ultimately revealed that because the assassin and would-be assassin of the Archduke were apprehended, the head conspirators behind that assassination were traced and subsequently paid for it with their lives.

This fate did not apply to the head conspirators in the JFK assassination. I believe that the trigger-men were killed shortly after the murder so they could never reveal what they knew. If Lee Harvey Oswald was a trigger-man, the world bears witness to the ability of the lead conspirators to have him killed. I believe officer Tibbit was a trigger-man, then he was executed shortly after the killing. He may have been sent to kill a trigger-man, and been killed instead. Any Mafia or CIA contract killers could easily be killed behind the scenes so they would never be tempted to tell what they knew. The trigger-men who killed JFK have never been identified and to me it seems the case that they were in turn killed.

IV. Plotters have a history of plotting and committing regime-changing murders.

In 1903 Serbian Captain Dragutin Dimitrijevic and a group of junior officers planned the assassination of the autocratic and unpopular king of Serbia. It had been learned that the weak-willed Serbian King Alexander (Obrenovic) 1st and his dominating wife, Queen Draga, intended to form an alliance with the hated Hapsburgs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The group stormed the royal palace and killed both King Alexander and his wife Queen Draga.

Backed by Dimitrijevic's cabal, Peter 1st (Karageorevic) assumed the Serbian throne and he repaid the chief assassin by promoting him to the rank of colonel and putting him in charge of Serbia's espionage operations. He actually ran two espionage organizations, one for the Serbian government and one for his own secret nationalist organization, which came to be known in 1911 as the Black Hand Secret Society. The main objective of the Black Hand was the creation, by means of violence, of a Greater Serbia. Its stated aim was: "To realize the national ideal, the unification of all Serbs. This organization prefers terrorist action to cultural activities; it will therefore remain secret." Dimitrijevic went by the code name Colonel "Apis" which meant "Bee".

The Black Hand was intent on sabotaging Austrian police and military installations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and assassinating Austrian officials in those states that had been peremptorily annexed by Austria. The Society was also designed to make sure that Serbians followed the nationalist course planned by Dimitrijevic and his henchmen. Dimitrijevic, as its head, busied himself with the assassinations of monarchs or heads of state who stood in the way of the unification of the Slavic peoples. He plotted the deaths of King Constantine of Greece, King Nicholas I of Montenegro, King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria. He even planned to murder Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

By 1914 there were around 2,500 members of the Black Hand. The group was mainly made up of junior army officers but also included lawyers, journalists and university professors. The Archduke was chosen as a target because Serbians feared that after his ascension to the throne he would continue and even heighten the persecution of Serbs living within the Austro-Hungarian empire. Alternately, Ferdinand's rumored plans to grant concessions to Southern Slavs caused Dimitrijevic fear that an independent Serbian state would be more difficult to achieve. Having already plotted and killed to further their aims, the Black Hand organization was well versed in assassination.

Let us turn again to late 1963. Who devised the plan to this American group of and what was the basis of their fear of Kennedy? Why would their existence be threatened by this American president? Based on the history of the period, one group comes to mind - the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Their leader was director Alan Welsh Dulles.

Under Dulles's direction the agency succeeded in its first attempts at removing foreign leaders by covert means. Notably, the elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran was deposed in 1953, and President Arbenz of Guatemala was removed in 1954 . These covert operations constituted an important part of the Eisenhower administration's new Cold War national security policy known as the "New Look". Dulles has also been accused of promoting Operation Mockingbird, an alleged program with a goal to influence American media companies.

During the Kennedy Administration, Dulles faced increasing criticism. The failed Bay of Pigs Invasion, and several failed assassination plots (the majority of which also utilized CIA-recruited operatives from the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans) directly against Fidel Castro undermined the CIA's credibility, and pro-American but unpopular regimes in Iran and Guatemala were widely regarded as brutal and corrupt. Dulles was finally fired by Kennedy for his part in drafting the audacious Operation Northwoods document, which called for the CIA to stage real or simulated attacks and frame Cuba for them, in order to gain popular support for a war with that country.

Kennedy also took steps to bring discipline to the CIA's Cold War and paramilitary operations by drafting a National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) which called for the shift of Cold War operations to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and The Pentagon as well as a major change in the role of the CIA to exclusively deal in intelligence gathering.

After the John F. Kennedy assassination President Lyndon Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission . Despite his knowledge of the several assassination plots by the CIA/mafia/anti-Castro-ites against Castro, Dulles never once is documented to have mentioned these assassination plots during the 1963 to 1964 Warren Commission investigation to any investigating authorities.

So, to sum up, what exactly do we have occurring in the early sixties? The President has acted against the head of a large, Black Hand-like secretive organization - an organization with a history of bringing about regime change. Those in the CIA not upset with Kennedy directly can be persuaded to be concerned about him because he is a treat to let the Soviets or Chinese to get the best of us.

V. After the fact "legitimate" government feels obligated to use it's power to hide from view those groups and individuals behind the assassination.

Unknown to the chief conspirator Dimitrijevic, Major Voja Tankosic, was informing Nikola Pasic, the prime minister of Serbia about the plot to kill Archduke Ferinand. Although Pasic supported the main objectives of the Black Hand group, he did not want the assassination to take place as he feared it would lead to a war with Austro-Hungarian. He therefore gave instructions for Gavrilo Princip, Nedjelko Cabrinovic and Trifko Grabez to be arrested when they attempted to leave the country. However, his orders were not implemented and the three man arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina where they joined forces with fellow conspirators, Muhamed Mehmedbasic, Danilo Ilic, Vaso Cubrilovic, Cvijetko Popovic, Misko Jovanovic and Veljko Cubrilovic. This assassination speedily led to the onset of World War I.

King Peter (Karageorevic) I of Serbia, however, was wary of Dimitrijevic, and believed that he, too, might be earmarked for death by the spy master and his Black Hand. He abdicated at the beginning of war and named his son Alexander Karageorevic as prince regent of Serbia. When the mighty armies of Germany and Austria marched into tiny Serbia, the Serbian monarchs fled with the General Staff to Albania and later to Greece.

In 1916, Alexander had Dimitrijevic brought to his headquarters in Salonika and accused the spy master of plotting to kill him and his father. In a secret trial, the spy master and his top aides were condemned and then shot by firing squads at sunrise on June 24, 1917. Alexander felt at the time he turned on Dimitrijevic that Germany might win the war and that his dynasty would be blamed for the Sarajevo shootings. By eliminating his espionage chief and his the brutal Black Hand, he thought to placate the Kaiser's wrath. It was all for nothing since Germany lost the war.

Following Dimitrijevic's execution, the Black Hand ceased to exist. So fearful was King Alexander of its being revived that all records and documents regarding Dimitrijevic's secret trial were suppressed and it was decreed illegal to have copies of these records. Teachers uttering a single word about the Black Hand, or the names of Dimitrijevic / Colonel Apis were subject to immediate arrest. Newspapers, book publishers, radio stations were also proscribed from ever mentioning the Society or its founder who was to be forgotten in his unmarked Macedonian grave.

Not until 1953 was the identity of this spy master and dreaded assassination chief revealed and by none other than Marshal Tito, head of Yugoslavia. Tito proclaimed Dimitrijevic a national hero, restoring his "good name" to the honor rolls of Yugoslavia.

Much has been made about the Warren Commission that investigated the killing of Kennedy. Many people have written about what a whitewash it was. This is my thinking. Suppose it becomes clear very early on that a rouge faction of the CIA has brought about the killing of President Kennedy. Does the Warren Commission loudly proclaim that an organ of the U.S. government has just killed the leader of the free world? To dismantle the CIA now is to leave the United States partially defenseless against the Soviets. How would the American people react to the news that our own CIA has killed Kennedy? I think it would have shook the nation - to tell them the man they voted into office to lead them could be taken out by a disapproving element in his own government.

I think it wasn't the CIA as a whole that set up the killing of Kennedy - but rather a small rogue element who felt their actions would be understood should they be discovered. And, by killing the actual assassins of Kennedy, they hoped never to be discovered. What the Warren Commission did was to cover up the trail that might lead to the CIA, not because they agreed with what it did, but because they (patriotically) wanted to save the United States. That was the conspiracy of the Warren Commission - to cover up the trail of the assassins. Given the times, it was their call, plain and simple. Who knows if the rogue elements who killed Kennedy were liquidated at some point like Dimitrijevic was. It is unlikely that we will ever know.

3b_24.jpg 3d_26.jpg Here is the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building. I put a black circle around the "Oswald window", which you can see better if you enlarge this photo by clicking on it. The motorcade came from just to the left of where this picture is taken, turned left, and went past the building down the hill.
3c_25.jpg A close up of the window.
3e_27.jpg 3f_28.jpg The view looking down past the TSDB.
3g_29.jpg Across the street now, on the same side as the TSBD, we are on the grassy knoll. This is the approximate view of the person taking the shot from the grassy knoll. I will show the exact view shortly.
3h_30.jpg The only mention of the event that occurred here on November 22, 1963. It does not mention President Kennedy by name. How sad ...


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