I hope that you all had a happy and pleasant Thanksgiving, ideally with your families. I am aware, having been invited into an American home for the holiday and shared a Thanksgiving meal with an American family, how symbolic a day it is for Americans. I must say I rather enjoyed the turkey and trimmings, not to mention the pie for afters!
I had a Steve Martin moment on the way home though. It was back in 1999, and I was flying home from Denver. Unfortunately there is only one British Airways flight a day from DIA and the captain became unwell, possibly having eaten too much turkey, or drunk too much wine. The incoming pilots were of course out of hours (as in pilot hours – nothing to do with shopping). So, no flight home on Thanksgiving weekend, and as I recall I was sitting as an immigration judge on Tuesday!
You guessed it – every flight out of Denver “booked solid” and an apologetic offer of an hotel for the night, only it was more likely going to be a motel, and probably somewhere near Boulder, if we were lucky, Steamboat Springs if we weren’t. I say nothing against Steamboat Springs – I saw an ice-hockey match there once and it’s a charming place – but it’s a ways out of town.
Thankfully, for us at any rate, Frontier Airlines (remember them – Southwest without the jokes) had a policy of not stocking spare parts at Denver, or anywhere, so far as we could tell. They had a 73’ headed for the Big Apple, which was over ten hours late.
Unbeknown to BA they had offloaded most of their passengers onto other flights, or they had left the airport in disgust, or despair, or both. It’s an ill wind. I negotiated a block booking for the first and business class passengers (I was just a humble business passenger) on the morning Concorde, the only plane out of JFK with a wodge of spare seats. An enterprising first class passenger sussed out the spare seats on the Frontier plane, which BA thought had left, so on board we trooped.
We hit La Guardia at about 3 am, having had a ball on the Frontier flight, where we were minor celebrities and were looked after very well. It wasn’t usual to have Frontier passengers transferring for the morning Concorde to Heathrow apparently.
The big white bird saved us about 18 hours. It was my first time on Concorde (sadly I only got one other chance), and a wonderful experience. It was a crisp, clear fall morning, and New York City looked fabulous. The combination of afterburners and noise abatement procedures made for a fun take-off.
Response to Comments
Many thanks for the kind comments on last week’s article. There seems to be a bit less abuse now, and more nice comments. Perhaps I am doing something right, or maybe the trolls are just on Thanksgiving break.
There is no need for any American to feel shame about the American Government over the Kennedy Assassination. Yes, high officials, including Vice-President Johnson, were implicated, but it was a German plot, planned in West Germany and carried out by German intelligence officers or assets, even if none of the actual shooters was German.
I hear what was said last week about the ramming of PT-109 by the IJN Amagiri. Of course having a 40 ton PT boat rammed broadside by a 2,000 ton destroyer at speed is only going to lead to one outcome, and it’s not the destroyer breaking in two.
Elco built ‘em tough, but not that tough. I respectfully agree that getting rammed is not usually a career move for naval officers, but there extenuating circumstances. Having your unlit boat rammed at night by an enemy warship dimmed for night combat is not quite as bad as being rammed in harbor in peacetime in broad daylight.
Even then the officer of the watch of the boat doing the ramming is usually in more trouble than the skipper of the boat he has rammed. Those Packard V-1650 Merlins were noisy, and having the engines at idle was tactically defensible.
More than that, Donovan (PT-109: John F. Kennedy in World War II) concluded, after extensive research, that the ramming was deliberate, in effect that the 109 had been targeted. I respectfully agree. I suspect that ONI, who had some good people, and knew about Admiral King, or at the very least had their suspicions, concluded that the Jap target that dark August night wasn’t the boat, it was her skipper. I am not surprised that Kennedy was allowed to emerge as a hero. He was.
Lt Kennedy showed great devotion to the men under his command and displayed high courage in the way he got the survivors back safely. We’ve had years of having his reputation tarnished. It’s time to take the battle to the revisionists and state in terms that here was a great man, and a great American, who for three too short years was a truly inspirational leader of the Free World.
One advantage of the spate of documentaries on the History Channel and elsewhere about the assassination has been a further opportunity to review the contemporaneous footage. I have also seen some new footage in recent weeks.
I can now state that it is highly improbable that the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was seized with a clip. One point I had missed was that the clips were advertised separately from the rifle, and were sold with the ammunition. That would make sense.
A bolt-action rifle, which can easily be manually loaded, would not necessarily be sold with a clip. They tend to be regarded as accessories, unlike a semi-automatic pistol, where the clip is usually seen as an integral component of the gun and the weapon, in normal use, is always loaded from the clip.
In turn that means that the photo in circulation, of the rifle with a clip, is a demonstrable fake. That in turn implicates Dallas Police Department in the cover-up, a fairly elaborate one at that.
Dallas PD in 1963 was nowhere near as corrupt as say Thames Valley Police is today, but there was corruption. Sadly, their main role was not to investigate the assassination, but to keep Oswald in custody, provide access beforehand to his assassin, to make sure that he did not shoot the wrong man, and deliver him into the hands of that assassin (Ruby). The timing of that was very precise by the way.
There is no record of Oswald ever having purchased a clip for a Mannlicher-Carcano, and no reliable evidence that he ever had a clip in his possession. Given the timeframe, the maximum number of properly aimed shots that anyone could have got off with that rifle, in the state that it was in, was one. Not two, let alone three.
I keep coming back to these. It really is extraordinary that anyone could ever have asserted that the weapon handed over by the FBI to the Warren Commission was the assassination weapon when its sights were not zeroed in. All of the tests since showing that three aimed shots in eight seconds is possible, and so on, are worthless, given that they were conducted not just with a clip, but with zeroed in sights, probably also with a cleaned-up rifle.
There is by the way no credible evidence that the Mannlicher-Carcano had been recently fired as of November 22nd 1963.
The Murder of Officer 848 J D Tippit
Lee Harvey Oswald can be excluded beyond reasonable doubt as the killer of John F. Kennedy. It’s not just that he could not have acted alone, as the rifle attributed to him could not have fired that number of shots (I suggest five, but four is the lowest credible starting point) in the time available in the condition in which it was found, he simply wasn’t involved. In his own words, he was a patsy.
We can also go further and probably rule him out as the killer, or one of them, of Officer Tippit. One of the points against him being involved in the Tippit murder is the apparent absence of any powder stains on either of his hands. There is no reliable evidence that Oswald fired any gun on November 22nd 1963.
It is clear that Oswald had a .38 caliber revolver with him when arrested, but again there is no reliable evidence that the weapon had been recently fired. That is damning. It is perfectly clear that poor J D Tippit was murdered with a .38, but if the intent was to set Oswald up of course they would use the same type of weapon.
Since Oswald was CIA (there is documentation about that in the public domain) and COREA Group assets inside CIA were involved, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Oswald was advised to get his gun. He may even have been handed it, or for that matter another 38. There isn’t a whole lot of evidence tying him reliably to that particular gun.
More to the point no ballistics comparison was ever done between the 38 on Oswald when he was arrested in the Texas Theater and the rounds which killed Officer Tippit. The Warren Commission obsessed with respect on a comparison with the cartridges. Why, when they had the bullets, or should have had?
The untested ID evidence is almost worthless. The most it shows is that one of the men who murdered Tippit looked like Oswald. Wow wee. They were hardly going to use one-legged African-Americans to impersonate a two-legged white man, were they?
On the balance of probabilities Lee Harvey Oswald did not murder Officer Tippit.
I have been asked to comment on this tragedy. Intelligence analysts (I am not and never have been an intelligence officer, but I am an intelligence analyst, as well as an intelligence lawyer, author and commentator (that’s what I’m doing now!), and have been an intelligence academic) are trained to look for anomalies. Haiyan was anomalous. It was right at the upper end of the range for a natural storm.
We know that the DVD has the ability to boost storm cells. The weapons system is officially known as a Scalar High Energy Weapons System, but is commonly referred to as HAARP, after the acronym of a cover project for one of the ground stations, in Alaska. Weaponized storms can be targeted, within limits – that’s the whole idea.
Whether Leyte was hit by a SHEWS attack is a question of fact. SHEWS attacks leave ELINT traces and typically cause cellphone and other radio interference in the target area. I’ve not seen any reports of such interference, but equally it has not been ruled out. The NSA now know what to look for. The scuttlebutt suggests that it was a SHEWS attack, but the jury is still out. Watch this space.
Talking about anomalies, there was a bit of a one in an episode of Magnum PI this week, Mac’s Back (I love reruns!). Set in the mid-1980s there was a shot of a Fletcher class destroyer entering Pearl! Closer inspection revealed her to be no less a ship than the USS Wedderburn (DD-684), a gallant girl with many battle stars to her name, from the Pacific to ‘Nam.
I am open to suggestions, but my guess is the shot was taken on Wedderburn’s April ’67 visit to Pearl Harbor. TV and movie producers please note – I am reasonably good at picking up stock footage errors of this sort! I doubt the great Ivan Dixon produced that episode.
Classic Movie of the Week – We Dive At Dawn (1943)
Recently shown again on British TV, and rightly so, the Daily Telegraph reviewer was a bit sniffy about it, suggesting there wasn’t much action. I don’t know which movie he saw, but it can’t have been We Dive at Dawn, directed by Anthony Asquith and starring John Mills, Eric Portman and Jack Watling.
Of course the action sequences are constrained by wartime exigencies, but that is more than made up for by real footage of the submarines portraying the fictional Sea Tiger. She sinks an equally fictional German pocket battleship, the Brandenberg. Mills plays the hero, Lt Taylor, and plays him very well too. He bags his ‘Jerry’ in the end and after all that is what we want to see in a war movie – dead ‘Jerries’.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence, and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.