“God is in the detail” (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German architect, attributed)
I have been watching old episodes of Columbo, a TV series that ran sporadically from 1968 through 2003, and starring Peter Falk. He was a wonderful character actor, and the shows are enjoyable even as the plots do not hold up. Columbo (first name: “Lieutenant”) always manages to piece together the big picture through tiny details that most of us overlook.
It is impossible to commit a large crime and control all the details. On 9/11, for instance, the only way we could possibly know that there were Arab hijackers aboard the aircraft was by a simple plot device: Cell phone calls from the aircraft. It was a huge oversight, as such calls are impossible without equipment not on those aircraft. They’ve been covering their tracks ever since. The official records now tell us that the phone calls were made from seat back phones. (Comedian Bob Newhart used to do a standup act in which he used his hand as a pretend phone. Life imitates art.)
Details, details. But fear not: The “conspiracy theorist” meme will keep you away, and if you are privately curious, “debunking” websites will reassure you that your government never lies to you.*
In the JFK murder, examination of details yields a cornucopia of incoherent details, so many that the plot quickly unravels. Lieutenant Columbo had better writers.
The Rosetta Stone, for me, is the abundant evidence we now have that there were (at least) two Lee Harvey Oswalds. On the day of the murder, while one Oswald left the book depository and made his way to the Texas Theater wearing a dark brown long-sleeved shirt, the other wore a white t-shirt. It was a huge oversight, allowing the Columbos of the real world access to the plot details.
Credible witnesses place him in two different places at once, for instance, numerous reports placing him in Cuba in 1961 even as he was in Russia. One had a tattoo, the other not, one had surgical scars, the other not, one spoke fluent Russian, the other not.
We could easily resolve the controversy, but of course would need truly independent investigators – perhaps the Russians or Iranians could do this for us, as Americans cannot be trusted. All it would take would be a comparison of the DNA of the man in the grave in Texas with that of the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, Robert, or his half-brother, John Pic.
Both are uncooperative. Who can blame them. Life is sweet.
Author James Douglass, in his book JFK and the Unspeakable, devotes a long section to the strange affair of Robert Vinson, a man who was merely looking to hitch a ride home to Colorado Springs on 11/22/63. He concludes,
“In a colossal CIA blunder, Robert Vinson’s providential presence on the second Oswald’s flight from Dallas has enabled us to see the planning for the Oak Cliff follow-up to the assassination.”
Tomorrow, or sometime soon, I will condense that to a few paragraphs. Vinson is perhaps the last civilian ever to see the real Lee Harvey Oswald alive, in Roswell, New Mexico of all places. It’s right out of the Twilight Zone.
“Debunking” sites are usually the first stop of people troubled by evidence, and serve as a barrier to prevent them from actually looking at that evidence. The are designed to provide psychological reassurance to people on the verge of using their noggins. They usually turn up at the top of search engine results.