Electronic Assassinations Newsletter
Like any author, Posner is, of course, entitled to his opinons and conclusions. He is not entitled, however, to provide his readers with incorrect information as compared to the facts on record from official documents. And that is exactly what he does time and again. That is the only thing I criticize him for, debating his conclusions is a whole other bowl of beans. You want some examples? Here's a few.
One of my personal favorite Posnerisms is his treatment of the death of Mary Sherman. While I do not see her death as having had anything to do with the assassination, Posner chose to include her in his chapter on debunking mysterious deaths, so he has to live with what he wrote.
This is all Posner has to say about Sherman's death, from page 496 of Case Closed :"Dr. Mary Sherman (house fire) had no connection to the case, though she was acquainted with David Ferrie. Marrs says she was 'possibly shot'. According to medical records, she was killed in an accidental fire, and there was no gunshot wound on her body."Well, he's got it partly right, no gunshots. But I am left wondering just what "medical records" he got his information from when he wrote that she died in an accidental fire! According to her autopsy report she died of multiple stab wounds, then, her bedding was placed on top of her body and set afire in her own house! Now that is SOME accident! Maybe Posner should have checked old issues of the New Orleans papers if he was confused by the "medical records." Her murder was front page news.
Here's another assertion of Posner's that is blatantly opposite of available testimony. On page 223 of Case Closed , Posner says:"The following morning when the alarm sounded, it was Marina, half-asleep, who urged him to get up. USUALLY, MARINA PREPARED BREAKFAST FOR HIM, but that morning she remained in bed." [emphasis mine]Marina's testimony to the Warren Commission, from Vol. I, page 66:"In the morning, he got up, said goodbye, and left, and that I shouldn't get up -- AS ALWAYS, I DID NOT GET UP TO PREPARE BREAKFAST. THIS WAS QUITE USUAL." [emphasis mine]Posner plays it fast and loose with the facts. And all in a way that leads the reader to see things the way he wants.
Posner also makes it seem odd and unusual that Oswald came to the window at the Randle home that morning. "He never came up to our house before," he quotes Frazier. What he doesn't quote is the part of Frazier's testimony where he says that generally, Frazier was already out by the car before Oswald came down the street. Frazier was running late that morning. And when he saw Oswald, he looked at his watch and realized that. But that wouldn't make it sound like Oswald was acting out of character that morning, now would it?
From Frazier's Warren Commission testimony, Volume II: [emphasis mine]
FORD: Did this different method of him meeting you raise any questions in your mind
FRAZIER: No, sir, it didn't. I just thought maybe, you know, he just left a little bit earlier BUT WHEN I LOOKED UP AND SAW THAT THE CLOCK WAS, I KNEW I WAS THE ONE RUNNING A LITTLE BIT LATE because, as I say, I was talking, sitting there eating breakfast and talking to the little nieces, IT WAS LATER THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS.
Those on the news groups have seen how Posner mangled the testimony of Linnie Mae Randle and Wesley Frazier on how Oswald allegedly carried the "bag." This was the bag presented by the Warren Commission, allegedly used by Oswald to sneak the rifle into the building where he worked. Posner, by merging parts of two people's testimony into one, serves to make readers (unfamiliar with the actual testimony) believe that the package was actually long enough for Lee Harvey Oswald to have concealed the murder weapon that he supposedly brought into the Texas School Book Depository on the morning of the assassination.
Posner adds an interesting footnote on page 225, where he claims that Frazier:"later admitted the package could have been longer than he thought,"
and quotes Frazier as saying:"I only glanced at it... hardly paid any attention to it. He had the package parallel to his body, and it's true it could have extended beyond his body and I wouldn't have noticed it."
Hmmmm. Posner cites that from London Weekly Television, "Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald". The problem, and error, is that unless that show changed Frazier's *original* testimony to the WC, what Frazier was talking about there was NOT the LENGTH of the package, but the WIDTH. They had quite a discussion about that during his testimony before the WC and they certainly clarified the point. Frazier said the package could have extended out IN FRONT of Oswald's body.... beyond the width of his hand... and Frazier would not have been able to see that because Oswald was walking in front of him. They got into this discussion because the bag the WC showed him was a bit wider than Frazier remembered.
Why did Posner choose to cite a television mock trial (from many years later) rather than Frazier's original testimony to the Warren Commission? It seems he broke his own rule here about the earliest being the best. Not only that, but someone posted the exchange Frazier had at the "trial" on the news groups, and he said nothing remotely similar to the quote Posner gives his readers. That quote is from Frazier's WC testimony and refers to the width of the bag, not the length. Only a reader very familiar with the evidence would be aware of that. Here's the exchange from Frazier's testimony, Volume II, pg 241: [emphasis mine]Continuing along with Frazier..... How did Posner do on how he presented what Frazier said happened upon arrival at the TSBD that morning??
Mr. FRAZIER. Like I said, I remember I didn't look at the package very much, paying much attention, but when I did look at it he did have his
hands on the package like that.
Mr. BALL. But you said a moment ago you weren't sure whether the
package was longer or shorter.
Mr. FRAZIER. And his hands because I couldn't see that about the
Mr. BALL. By that, do you mean that you don't know whether the
package extended beyond his hands?
Mr. FRAZIER. This way?
Mr. BALL. No; lengthwise, toward his feet.
Mr. FRAZIER. NO; NOW I DON'T MEAN THAT.
Mr. BALL. What do you mean?
Mr. FRAZIER. What I was talking about, I said I didn't know where
it extended. It could have or couldn't have, out this way, WIDTHWISE NOT LENGTHWISE.
Mr. BALL. In other words, you say it could have been wider than
your original estimate?
Mr. FRAZIER. Right.
Mr. BALL. But you don't think it was longer than his hands?
Mr. FRAZIER. Right.
In Case Closed, Chapter 11, page 224, Posner says:"When they arrived at the Book Depository, Frazier parked the car in the employee lot behind the warehouse. Usually, they went in together, but on that morning, though they were early, Oswald quickly left the car and walked ahead."
That does sound sinister, doesn't it? But what did Frazier actually say? There's a BIG difference!
From Warren Commission, Vol. II, page 227:
FRAZIER: He got out of the car and he was wearing the jacket that has the big sleeves in them and he put the package that he had, you know, that he told me was curtain rods up under his arm, you know, and so he walked down behind the car and STANDING OVER THERE AT THE END OF THE CYCLONE FENCE WAITING FOR ME to get out of the car, and so quick as I cut the engine off and started out of the car, shut the door just as I was starting out just like getting out of a car, he started walking off and so I followed him. [emphasis mine]
What Frazier does not mention in that exchange, but does state elsewhere in his testimony, is that he sat there for a few minutes with the engine running to charge up his battery. And, remember, he testified, that Oswald was WAITING for him during this time. When Frazier got out, Oswald started walking and got further and further ahead of Frazier, not because Oswald was in a hurry, but because, as Frazier testified, he had plenty of time and was watching the trains and switching going on in the railroad yard.
Here's that exchange from Frazier's testimony, VolumeII: [emphasis mine]
FRAZIER: So, eventually there he kept getting a little further ahead of me and I noticed we had plenty of time to get there and because it is not too far from the Depository and usually I walk around and watch them switching trains because you have to watch where you are going if you have to cross the tracks.
One day you go across the track and maybe there would be some cars sitting there and there would be another diesel coming from there, so you have to watch when you cross the tracks, I just walked along and I just like to watch them swith the cars, SO EVENTUALLY HE KEPT GETTING A LITTLE FURTHER AHEAD OF ME and by the time we got down there pretty close to the Depository Building there, i say, he would be as much as, I would say, roughly 50 feet in front of me BUT I DIDN'T TRY TO CATCH UP WITH HIM because I knew I had plenty of time SO I JUST TOOK MY TIME WALKING UP THERE. Posner's presentation has Oswald practically bolting from the car and leaving Frazier in the dust. Obviously, from Frazier's own testimony, that is not the case. Oswald didn't rush ahead, Frazier lagged behind to watch the trains!
Here's the bottom line. Posner attempts to make it appear that Oswald was acting out of character that morning, and Posner used, in every sense of the word, selective, misapplied and misstated cites from the documentary record to lay that foundation. With the exception of the Mary Sherman debacle, the rest of the errors presented here all appeared on just three consecutive pages in the original hardback edition of Case Closed (pgs 223-225). Personally, I expect better from someone purporting to close the case.
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