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Both Sides Now

Cue Joni Mitchell...

There are areas of the JFK case that both sides are desperate to keep on the table as part of the canonical time-line. Some examples...

Both sides want to keep the Truly-Baker-Oswald 2nd floor lunchroom encounter. To the Lone-Nutters, it was theoretically possible for Oswald to have shot JFK and gotten to the 2nd floor in time for such an encounter. Keeping it also maintains the integrity of Truly and Baker. The Conspiracists want to keep it because they deny it was theoretically possible for Oswald to have shot JFK and get to the 2nd floor in time.

The fact is that there was no 2nd floor encounter. The evidence clearly shows Oswald was on the 1st floor and out on the steps at all relevant times.

Both sides want to keep the wallet displayed on TV at the Tippit site as belonging to Oswald. Ron Reiland, who provided the commentary for the footage he himself had taken, mistakenly assumed it was Tippit's wallet. To the Lone-Nutters, the wallet is absolute proof that Oswald shot Tippit. To the Conspiracists, the wallet was planted and proof that Oswald was being framed.

Ex-FBI Agent Farris Rookstool claims his analysis of the wallet shows it to be Oswald's. Conspiracists have Kenneth Croy, the officer who was first on the scene, stating in a 2002 interview that an unknown witness handed the wallet to him, but that other witnesses saw no such wallet on the ground - thus indicating that the witness was introducing fraudulent evidence containing incriminating evidence.

The facts are that Rookstool entered the case with a pro-guilty bias against Oswald, and it obviously colors anything and everything he says about the case. Croy on the other hand, testified to the Warren Commission that his sole actions were in passing three witnesses to other police when they arrived (Croy was a Reserve Officer and not authorized to act alone). One of those witnesses was described as a taxi driver. This was William Scoggins who was one of two witnesses who had set off after the killer, taking Tippit's revolver with them. The other man was Ted Calloway. Both Scoggins and Croy assumed Calloway was a detective. Here is what Croy said in testimony:

Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you talk with the taxi driver?
Mr. CROY. Yes; I did. I talked to the taxi driver.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Now, did you talk with him on the scene of the crime?
Mr. CROY. Yes.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Do you remember what his name was?
Mr. CROY. No; I didn't get his name. There was a private detective agency. There was a report that a cabdriver had picked up Tippit's gun and had left, presumably. They don't know whether he was the one that had shot Tippit, or whether the man, I think it was he, brought someone out there, something. Anyway, he saw it and he picked up Tippit's gun and attempted to give chase or something like that.
Mr. GRIFFIN. There was a detective who was an eyewitness?
Mr. CROY. No; he brought the taxi driver back to the scene.
Mr. GRIFFIN. But the taxicab driver was an eyewitness?
Mr. CROY. As far as I know.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you talk to the taxicab driver?
Mr. CROY. No; I took Tippit's gun and several other officers came up, and I turned him over to them and they questioned him.

From Scoggins' testimony:

Mr. BELIN. What did you see him do? This man came up and picked up the policeman's gun. He picked it up and said, "Let's go see if we can find him?"
Mr. SCOGGINS. I thought the man was a kind of police, Secret Service or something, I didn't know, and I take him and we drove around over the neighborhood looking, and I still didn't know what kind--I still thought he was connected with the Police department in some way.

Nowhere in his testimony did Croy say anything at all about a witness handing him a wallet of any description - let alone any containing Oswald ID. The most logical explanation using the testimony of Scoggins and Croy, is that other witnesses at the scene assumed Calloway was a detective or a private detective or some other security agent who had commandeered Tippit's weapon, Scoggins and Scoggins' cab to try and catch the murderer. Croy also assumed that Calloway was a private detective. He further assumed he had taken Scoggins into custody as the killer or driver of the killer.

In any event, because of the gung-ho actions of Calloway, Scoggins was briefly, a potential suspect. In that light, police would most definitely be checking his wallet for ID. In short, the wallet being checked by police and filmed for the TV coverage, was not Tippit's, not Oswald's and not a throwdown to frame him. It was the wallet of witness and initial suspect, William Scoggins.

Both sides are happy to agree that Paraffin tests have been shown to be junk science having no probative  value and therefore Oswald's paraffin results can be thrown out. The actual results obtained was a positive on hands and a negative on the right cheek.

Some general facts: paraffin tests are never conducted on cheeks because it only tests for nitrates and nitrates cannot escape a rifle chamber. Also, nitrates are found in a range of common materials apart from gunpowder residue and therefore, the presence of nitrates on the hands only means it is possible you fired a handgun - not that you must have. Usually police also test clothing for nitrates.

Some specific facts: Oswald was given the Paraffin Test immediately after having palm prints taken with an inkless pad which uses iron trichloride to make the print, leaving very little visible presence on the hand. This was done in Fritz's office on Fritz's orders. There were no handwashing facilities available between the two procedures. This means that the iron trichloride from the pad would give a false positive on the Paraffin Test for the hands. Additionally, Oswald's clothes were not tested. The Atomic Energy Commission later conducted Neutron Activation tests on the paraffin casts. These tests have greater scope for detection of minute metal particle. The NAA (Neutron Activation Analysis) showed traces of barium and antimony on both sides of the cheek cast, indicating contamination.

Conclusion: the debate over the validity of the Paraffin tests is a complete "red herring". The palm print followed immediately by Paraffin tests had a twofold aim.

The palm print was planted on the metal part of the barrel which is covered by the wooden stock. It could not be planted in a more visible place because it had already been checked for prints by both DPD and the FBI. The palm print would also ensure a positive result on the hands for the Paraffin test. The now "found" palm print and the positive Paraffin Test would be used to try and scare a confession - and to try Oswald through the media, which was informed that the Paraffin test was positive - without the additional and essential information that nothing had been found on the cheek. This left the false impression Oswald had fired a rifle and a pistol.

The fact is, he had fired neither - and the police knew it.