Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 1 Num. 13

("Quid coniuratio est?")

RESOLVED: President Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy.

[Continuation of my transcription of a radio debate which took place in the Fall of 1993 between Peter Dale Scott and Gerald Posner. Today, Mr. Posner gives his rebuttal to Mr. Scott's opening remarks.]

MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Scott. Mr. Posner, you have 6 minutes for rebuttal.

GERALD POSNER: The... Some of the points that Mr. Scott mentions I think are absolutely critical because it's [a] fundamental difference between the two of us. And it deals, again, with the evidence and an analysis of what is the credible evidence.

In the instance of the Walker shooting: Did Lee Harvey Oswald in fact shoot Edwin Walker? Which to me is a key point because nobody has ever satisfactorily explained to me why the CIA or the mafia or the KGB or the anti-Castro Cubans wanted Walker dead. But here's Oswald shooting at Walker in April of '63.

Mr. Scott says a moment ago (It's in April), the bullet is described as fully copper-jacketed. That's correct. That's the ammunition that Oswald used, is copper-jacketed bullets. Matter of fact, we have something better than just what was described by the Dallas police: there's the bullet. You can go to the National Archives. You can examine it. I've been down to the National Archives. It is a copper-jacketed bullet.

But more importantly, I'm willing, with Mr. Scott, to throw out all the testimony from 1963. That bullet is too mangled to determine ballistically if it matches Oswald's rifle. But science intervened. In 1978, Dr. Vincent Guinn, the nation's leading expert in neutron activation, a scientific test which compares the base element of metals, came in for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, took the mangled bullet and did neutron activation tests. Now he could have proven that that bullet had nothing to do with the ammunition that Oswald used later in the Kennedy assassination. But guess what? Lo and behold, it turns out that that bullet comes from the same batch of Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 mm shells, made by the Western Cartridge Company, used in the Kennedy assassination. So there's no question anymore where the bullet comes from. It's very interesting. The questions could have existed in '63, but they've been solved by science since.

One thing that we do agree on. Mr. Scott says, "Look at Oswald's links." I think that's key. I don't just give a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald. What am I doing through the entire time? I'm looking to see if, in fact, there's a trail of money, if there are telephone calls, if there are acquaintances. And what's the key period? The key period is October and November of 1963. Oswald has just returned from being rejected by the Cubans. His life is literally spinning out of control. His wife is separated from him. He can't hold a job. Um, he's been turned down by the Cubans. He's been turned down by the Soviet Union. And the FBI's harassing him. He's a time bomb ready to explode. On September 26, when he was on the bus on the way down to Mexico, the White House announced that Jack Kennedy was visiting Dallas. Everything that happened in Lee Harvey Oswald's life before September 26th took place before anybody knew that Kennedy was coming to Dallas in November.

So the key period is what happens in October and November of '63. Where's the conspiratorial contact between Oswald and the plotters at that point? And this is key: He's not living on his own. We know what he's doing. He's staying in a rooming house at 1026 North Beckley and he has a whole host of rooming house members and partners there with him; other people in the house, including a housekeeper. And what do they say he did? Every night he's home by 5 or 6 o'clock and he never left a single night -- except on Fridays when he would disappear for the weekend. Sounds interesting, until you find out he was in Irving, Texas, visiting his wife, Marina.

He never received a single telephone call, except for one, the weekend before the assassination. Check the telephone records. It comes from... it comes from his wife's house. He made a telephone call, one a day, in a foreign language. That turns out to be to his wife, Marina. He never received a single visitor. Where's the opportunity for the conspiratorial contact at a time that the plotters supposedly know that Kennedy's coming to Dallas. It doesn't exist.

What happens is, what Mr. Scott does (and other conspiracy theorists) is they have very good evidence to show you that people hated Jack Kennedy. I agree with that and that there may even have been a plot brewing. I wouldn't be surprised if Marcello and Trafficante sat around the table and said, "Let's kill that no-good President." What I'm saying in my book, the challenge that I'm essentially making to conspiracy theorists, is to show me the credible evidence that brings Lee Harvey Oswald into the plotters. That's what doesn't exist. If there was a plot to kill Jack Kennedy and it was afoot in '62, it didn't involve Oswald. And that's the key point. At the critical junction when Oswald would have had to be part of it, he's just not.

And when you look at Jack Ruby (and I think this is very important), Mr. Scott talks about the fact that Jack Ruby knew a lot of police, and he knew a whole host of gangsters, and he was "dirty" "up to his eyeballs." Guess what? I agree with most of that. There's no doubt about that. It just has nothing to do with why he killed [...tape runs out...]

[...tape continues...] Oswald. And that's the point. People take one existence of facts about Ruby's connections and they say, "Therefore, he killed Oswald and they must be related." And that's where the story falls down.

Two final points: In terms of Mr. Scott's view of this case, he also says in his book something I fundamentally have to disagree with: that McCarthyism and the assassination in Dallas and Watergate and Contra-gate are all connected, with some of the same people involved. He says he doesn't have a conspiratorial view of the world, but I have to disagree.

And I think that what's important in this: he has a very unusual way of proving some of the elements that he makes in his case -- sort of linking people up by who knew who, by who knew who -- but also something he calls the "negative template," which is, if you look at a piece of paper that has lists of names, and one of the names you think should be there is not actually there, that indicates maybe it had been removed as part of a cover-up or conspiracy. The "negative template" means, in my view, that you can prove anything you wanted to. If I was looking for a piece of paper that said Oswald had been employed by the CIA and I took a CIA document and Oswald's name wasn't there, it must mean that they had removed his name because, in fact, he'd been an agent. The "negative template" does not, in fact, prove what he says.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Posner.

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to "The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, A Formal Debate," from the Virtual Radio Network. The proposal is that President Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy. Taking the "pro" position is Peter Dale Scott, author of Deep Politics and the Death of JFK. Taking the "con" position is Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. Your moderator is David Mendelson.

MODERATOR: You are listening to "The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, A Formal Debate," with Gerald Posner and Peter Dale Scott.

Each of you will now ask alternating questions of the other participant. Mr. Scott, you have one minute to ask a question.

(to be continued)

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9