Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jones & JFK

Here are two classic examples of how Jones wildly miscontrues and/or distorts historical information so that it suits his own preconceived notions about an event, both dealing with the Kennedy assassination:

The Case of the Psychic Kiwis

On his Apr. 12/09 broadcast, Jones mentioned that New Zealand newspapers carried news of Lee Harvey Oswald's arrest hours before he was caught.

You probably recall the scene from JFK in which X (Donald Sutherland) tells Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) that he was in New Zealand when Kennedy was shot, and was startled to find that the newspapers contained detailed information about Oswald before he had even been charged with the President's murder. The implication, of course, is that someone at the CIA accidentally distributed a profile of their patsy to the international press (or at least the New Zealand press) a little ahead of the game. Oopsy doodle. "I dunno what happened, Chief. I guess my watch musta broke."

X is a character based largely, if not wholly, on the late L. Fletcher Prouty, who really was in Christchurch on November 22, 1963 and really did notice that the Christchurch Star's front-page article "Kennedy Shot Dead" contained a description of the suspected shooter, Oswald. He found it suspicious that the paper could have this information well before Oswald was charged with the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit (at 7:00 PM on Nov. 22nd Dallas time/2:00 PM on Nov. 23rd Christchurch time).

However, Oswald had been arrested hours earlier (at 1:50 PM Dallas time on Nov. 22nd/8:50 AM on Nov. 23rd Christchurch time), and arrived at the Dallas police station around 2:00 PM. The station was literally crammed with reporters by this time. Though major American news outlets didn't declare Oswald the prime suspect in Kennedy's shooting until 3:54 PM Dallas time, when NBC News announced it on national television, there was plenty of speculation.

In response to JFK, the Christchurch Star explained that the paper received the news of Oswald's arrest by 10:00 AM (3:00 PM on Nov. 22nd Dallas time). It was simple to get info on the guy - his defection to Russia in 1959 and his repatriation to the U.S. in 1962 had made international news. The Star was even able to obtain a photo of Oswald, taken on November 16, 1959, at Moscow's Hotel Berlin. As it was an afternoon paper, there was plenty of time and more than enough information to put together a piece on Oswald and the shooting of the U.S. President.

So this is what happened: Shortly after Oswald's arrest, papers worldwide (including the Christchurch Star) received the news via wire services. The Star gathered information on Oswald from stories related to his defection and repatriation, which were very detailed, and ran a story on him in the afternoon, sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 PM Christchurch time.

What's sinister about this? Nothing.

Does Jones have the story right? Absolutely not. He took a story that was already fact-free (Prouty's claim that overseas newspapers shouldn't have contained info about Oswald before he was formally charged) and twisted it into a complete fantasy (the papers carried stories about Oswald before he was even arrested). If this doesn't make you approach Jones' claims with caution, I don't know what will.

The Case of the Baffled Embalmer

During an interview of Jesse Ventura, Jones claimed he had spoken to the late Paul Groody, the Texas mortician who embalmed Oswald, shortly before his death. Groody told him that FBI agents had entered the Miller Funeral Home and placed Oswald's fingers on the rifle found in the Book Depository. Groody was willing to be on Jones' show to reveal this explosive information, but shortly after their meeting he was run off the road by a driver and was too shaken to go on the air.

When I heard this, I had recently watched the 1988 documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy, in which Groody talked about the 1981 exhumation of Oswald's body. He hadn't mentioned this blatant evidence-planting.

I learned that when Morgan Reynolds interviewed Jim Marrs in September 2006, Marrs also said that Groody had told him "how the FBI came in and placed Oswald's dead fingers on the rifle."

Groody had spoken, on several occasions, of government agents (not necessarily FBI) entering his funeral home and fingerprinting Oswald's corpse, leaving black residue on the fingertips. But he never publicly mentioned this highly incriminating hand-on-rifle story, even though he had many opportunities to do so: He was in at least two documentaries, the one already mentioned and a 2002 Travel Channel program, Infamous Grave Sites. As one of the guests on a special JFK Coast to Coast AM broadcast in 2006 he again shared his story of the exhumation without revealing any new details. Furthermore, Marrs' book Crossfire included Groody's original account of postmortem fingerprinting without mentioning the rifle.

What's going on here? Did Groody change his story? Was he senile (he was in his '90s when Jones supposedly spoke with him)? If Jones' story is true, why would Groody withhold such a damning piece of eyewitness testimony for 40 years? It's not as though he shied away from controversy and conspiracy theories, as his behaviour after the Oswald exhumation shows.

In the '70s, British writer Michael Eddowes developed a theory that the Oswald who defected to Russia wasn't the same Oswald who returned to the U.S. in 1962. He had been swapped for a KGB lookalike. To back up his theory, Eddowes led Dallas-area conspiracy theorists in a campaign to have Oswald's body exhumed. Strangely, Marina Oswald joined the fight, and it was her 1981 lawsuit that resulted in the exhumation.

As the embalmer, Groody was on hand to identify the remains. He declared them to be Oswald's. A forensic team later determined that the corpse's teeth were a match to those of the "original" Oswald. Not until the body was reinterred did Groody realize he hadn't noticed a craniotomy incision on the skull; Oswald's cranium had appeared to be intact, and its top didn't fall off. Groody concluded that he had embalmed somone other than Oswald, and that at some point someone dug up his grave and replaced the corpse's head with the real Oswald's head so that the teeth would match if he was ever exhumed.

However, the doctor who headed the exhumation exam, Linda Norton, said the body did have a cranial incision. Photos taken during the exam show it clearly. Also, the team had to remove the skull from the rest of the body because it was still connected by tissues. Despite the evidence, Groody continued to insist that the man he embalmed was not Oswald.

So as you can see, Groody was no stranger to controversy and was not afraid to speak up. It's highly unlikely that he would have stayed mum about a government frame-up he had actually witnessed. Now that he's gone, we may never know if Marrs and Jones are telling the truth or not. Unfortunately, given Jones' track record of exaggerating and distorting the facts, I can't give him the benefit of the doubt.

Paul Groody describes the fingerprinting of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Other Sources

Reclaiming History. Vincent Bugliosi. Norton, 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you got no more man???

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