Assassin or Fall Guy?

Book Reviews
Victor Perlo, American Journalist
New Times
, No. 38, 23 September 1964, pp. 30-31.

    Americans await the long-delayed report of the Warren Commission on President Kennedy’s assassination. Indications are that it will adhere to the FBI-police version that Kennedy was murdered by a lone operator, Lee Oswald, for no rational reason.
    Most Europeans, and many politically-oriented Americans, believe otherwise. They suspect Kennedy was the victim of a Rightist political plot. Unofficial investigators have done much research. The Buchanan book attracted much attention in Europe, but was kept from significant circulation in the United States. Attorney Mark Lane, former member of the N.Y. State legislature, has been the leading American advocate of a real investigation.
    Now, we have a book published in the United States, “Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy?” by Joachim Joesten.
    The manuscript was turned down by several publishers in the United States before it came to Marzani and Munsell. This firm deserves credit for publishing and promoting the book, so that thousands of copies were sold in a short time, despite a blackout by commercial reviewers. Publisher-editor Carl Marzani edited the manuscript brilliantly. The author skillfully obtained and assembled persuasive evidence. The pictorial exhibits are clear and pertinent.
    A “fall guy,” in American underworld slang, is a person selected by a criminal gang to be framed up as the guilty one, in order to shield the real perpetrators of a crime. This is Joesten’s thesis about Oswald. He writes in his preface:

“Oswald was a ‘fall guy,’ to use the parlance of the kind of men who must have planned the details of the assassination. I believe that he was picked as a fall guy precisely because, as a petty, and perhaps discarded, agent of the CIA, and later of the FBI, he was an ideal scapegoat; his provocative actions and movements were subject to specific knowledge by the conspirators; in particular his obtrusive display of ‘Marxist’ feelings stamped him as the kind of man who could be made to appear an irrational assassin and around whom a web of circumstantial evidence could be woven; a web sufficiently plausible on the face of it to convince the American people provided he did not live to have a trial, as indeed he didn’t…I am personally convinced that (a) Oswald was completely innocent of the assassination, and (b) it was the work of a powerful conspiratorial group” (pp. 11-12.).

    Most of the book is devoted to a systematic development of the evidence. A number of the points are sufficiently powerful to singly cast grave doubt on the official version; and in their cumulative impact to provide a serious basis for Joesten’s conclusion.

    1. The official theory claims Oswald saw a diagram of the President’s scheduled route in the newspaper, showing that he would pass under the windows of the Book Depository Building where Oswald worked. But the published route showed the motorcade passing a block and one half away, too far for accurate marksmanship. It was a last-minute change, never published, which took the route right under the windows of that building. The final route subjected Kennedy to murderous crossfire from the building on the side and from an underpass ahead. Joesten believes highly-placed conspirators picked this route for exactly this reason.
    2. Initial statements of the doctors who treated Kennedy, and other material evidence appear to prove that at least some of the shots came from in front, that is, from the underpass and not from the building.
    3. Almost all the evidence on which the Dallas police originally held Oswald, and arranged his execution, was later shown to have been invented by the Dallas police chief. Oswald’s slayer, Ruby, was a police-station hanger-on and operator of a night club at which the police procured prostitutes. It is not credible that such a man would be moved by righteous indignation to avenge the murdered President. It is quite conceivable that his police pals would have assigned him the job of executing Oswald without trial.
    4. The police showed two different guns, at different times, as those Oswald was alleged to have used. One was shown with and without a gunsight. More contradictions bedeviled the story of Oswald practicing at the firing range.
    5. A man carrying a rifle was arrested in the railway yards near the underpass from which some of the shots were fired. He was arrested minutes after the murder of Kennedy, long before Oswald was even suspected. The investigation against him was continued for ten days, and he was kept in jail on “city charges” for weeks thereafter. He was never publicly identified, and no data were published about the resolution of the suspicions about him. Others were arrested, with no details ever given out.

    On any major issue American newspapers print reams of copy, a mixture of fact, rumour, and invention. Paper A contradicts Paper B. The final edition contradicts the City edition. A skillful journalist, using mainly newspaper accounts, could make a case for almost any theory. Joesten, barred from access to official documents and material exhibits, had to rely mainly on press reports, supplemented by his own very pertinent physical observations and measurements in Dallas.
    This reviewer approached the Joesten book with skepticism. Despite my low opinion of the Dallas police and the FBI, I’ve had enough experience to know that utterly senseless things do happen in America. The politically “logical” explanation of an ultra-right organized assassin just might happen to be wrong.
    But the Joesten book erased most of my skepticism. The bulk of the evidence is highly convincing, and couldn’t be passed off as a cumulation of chance newspaper gossip. I concluded that the official theory is probably a police fabrication. I think it likely that Oswald was in fact a “fall guy,” who may or may not have participated in the assassination, but was not its sole executor or main arranger.
    I requested two conservative friends, who believed Oswald guilty as charged, to read the book. They were convinced by Joesten as thoroughly as I was, despite their predisposition to the contrary.
    A final chapter deals with the violent anti-Kennedy sentiments among the ultra-Right Texas oil tycoons, CIA opposition to Kennedy’s exploration of a possible settlement with Cuba, and other items of the political background. Undoubtedly there are forces in America who would stop at nothing to achieve their aims of fascistizing the country and initiating nuclear aggression overseas. The Presidential Commission is dominated by men like Allen Dulles, who would not want to expose the ultra-Right and solve the mystery of the assassination.
    But in a larger sense there is no mystery. Whether or not the murder was an organized assassination by the ultra-Right, it occurred in the main stronghold of the ultra-Right in America, where hate-Kennedy propaganda abounded. If a demented individual killed the President, he was inspired to the deed by this atmosphere. Regardless of details, the killing was used by the ultras to try to incite anti-communist hysteria, using the fabricated “Leftism” of Oswald.
    Politically, the assassination of Kennedy may rebound against its inspirers. The American public saw through the myth of Oswald as a “Communist,” and did not become hysterical. Seeing the assassination as a job of the ultra-Right, world capitals were alerted against new sorties and provocations from the United States, and rebuffs to aggressive American initiatives became more pronounced. The new President, Johnson, despite his Texas origin, proved responsive to essentially the same big business forces dominating the Kennedy administration, and continued on much the same course. Civil rights and welfare legislation with an uncertain outlook last November have been passed.
    In retrospect, the assassination may have awakened millions of Americans to the seriousness of the ultra-Right danger, so that this is openly discussed on a mass scale in the present election campaign.
    The German and Japanese militarists and fascists made effective use of political assassination  in their drive for world conquest. But with the present balance of forces on a world scale, it is only people prepared for any adventure who will risk using such a poisoned weapon.
    Political assassinations warn of the dangerous ultra-Right elements and of the need to curb them. Under some conditions such actions can critically aggravate the danger of thermonuclear war. That is why people all the world over, and not only in the United States, want to know the truth about the murder in Dallas.

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