Jun 02, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The JFK Assassination and the Warren Commission: Things You Might Not Know

Make mention of the name Lee Harvey Oswald and most people will immediately – and quite understandably – think of the tragic events that occurred at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Oswald was killed two days later by a local nightclub owner with Mafia ties. His name was Jack Ruby. The fact is that because Ruby fatally shot Oswald, he – Oswald - never went to trial. It’s an assumption, a theory, that Oswald was the gunman (or one of several gunmen) at the Grassy Knoll when JFK was killed. A theory is all it’s likely to remain: given the large passage of time since November 1963. And, the fact that just about anyone with firsthand knowledge of the affair is now dead themselves, practically ensures that the mystery is almost certainly not going to be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone with an opinion on the matter.  Still on the matter of Lee Harvey Oswald, it’s a lesser known fact that some researchers suggest that Oswald was involved in an earlier assassination operation – albeit one that failed. Much of what we know of this other affair comes from the controversial Warren Commission that addressed the murder of the president and concluded that Oswald was the killer. On this other, intriguing issue the Warren Commission members began as follows, under the heading of “The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker”:

(Nick Redfern) JFK killed by Lee Harvey Oswald or by other assassins?

The Warren Commission said: At approximately 9 p.m., on April 10, 1963, in Dallas, Tex., Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker, an active and controversial figure on the American political scene since his resignation from the U.S. Army in 1961, narrowly escaped death when a rifle bullet fired from outside his home passed near his head as he was seated at his desk. There were no eyewitnesses, although a 14-year-old boy in a neighboring house claimed that immediately after the shooting he saw two men, in separate cars, drive out of a church parking lot adjacent to Walker's home. A friend of Walker’s testified that two nights before the shooting he saw ‘two men around the house peeking in windows.’ General Walker gave this information to the police before the shooting, but it did not help solve the crime.  Although the bullet was recovered from Walker's house, in the absence of a weapon it was of little investigatory value. General Walker hired two investigators to determine whether a former employee might have been involved in the shooting. To this day, the issue of whether or not Oswald attempted to kill General Major Walker remains unsolved. Now, let's look at something else the Warren Commission addressed:

Although the Warren Commission concluded that there was no conspiracy in the November 22, 1963 shooting of President John F. Kennedy, the fact is that the committee’s report does detail a history of other assassinations in the United States. It is well worth taking a look at what the commission had to say on (a) the killing of JFK; and (b) its observations on earlier assassinations. The committee’s words - on the death of President James A. Garfield - began as follows: "President James A. Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881, in Washington, D.C. Guiteau, a religious fanatic and would-be officeholder, had been denied access to the White House after he had asked to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria. When Garfield appointed James A. Blaine as Secretary of State, an incensed Guiteau apparently believed that the President had betrayed a faction of the Republican Party."

The commission continued: "In the ensuing murder trial, there was no suggestion that the defendant was involved in any conspiracy. Guiteau maintained that he had acted as an agent of God in a political emergency and therefore was not guilty of wrongdoing. Despite a history of mental illness in Guiteau's family, the insanity defense presented by his counsel failed. Guiteau was declared sane, found guilty and hanged before a large crowd. Contrary to events following the Lincoln assassination, no theories of possible conspiracy surfaced in the wake of Garfield's slaying." The committee then addressed the matter of a certain assassination in 1901: "While attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, N.Y., on September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot. He died 8 days later, the victim of assassin Leon F. Czolgosz, a factory worker and anarchist. Although an anarchist group had published a warning about Czolgosz 5 days before McKinley was shot and Czolgosz insisted he had acted alone, many believed that the assassination was the result of an anarchist plot Czolgosz refused to testify at his own trial which was held 4 days after McKinley's funeral. After 34 minutes of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of murder. Czolgosz did not appeal the verdict, and he was executed in the electric chair."

(Nick Redfern): The "Grassy Knoll" that still provokes so much controversy

We're also told: "McKinley's assassination came after a wave of anarchist terrorism in Europe. Between 1894 and 1900, anarchist assassins had killed M.F. Sadi Carnot, President of France; Elizabeth, Empress of Austria; and Humbert I, King Of Italy. Following McKinley's death vigilantes in the United States attacked anarchist communities. Anarchist leaders such as Emma Goldman were arrested. Responding to a plea by the new President, Theodore Roosevelt, Congress passed a series of restrictive measures that limited the activities of anarchists and added alien anarchists to the list of excluded immigrants. Despite a spate of frenzied charges of an anarchist conspiracy, no plot was ever proven, and the theories appeared to collapse shortly after the execution of Czolgosz." Then, there was this from the Warren Commission:

"Three Presidents who preceded John F. Kennedy were the target of attempted assassinations. On January 30, 1835, Richard Lawrence tried to kill President Andrew Jackson on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, but both pistols he carried misfired, and Jackson was not injured. Following the attempt, some of Jackson's supporters charged a Whig conspiracy, but this allegation was never substantiated. Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of his life in mental institutions. On February 15, 1933, in Miami, Fla., President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt was fired upon by Guiseppe Zangara, an unemployed Italian immigrant bricklayer. Zangara missed Roosevelt, but mortally wounded Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. Zangara was tried, found guilty of murder and executed. No conspiracy was charged in the shooting.  And, finally on this issue:

"Two Puerto Rican nationalists attacked Blair House, the temporary residence of President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C., on November 1, 1950, with the apparent intention of assassinating the President. A White House guard and one of the nationalists, Griselio Torresola, were killed in the ensuing gun battle. The surviving nationalist, Oscar Collazo, explained that the action against Truman had been sparked by news of a revolt in Puerto Rico. He believed the assassination would call the attention of the American people to the appalling economic conditions in his country. The two would-be assassins were acting in league with P. Albuzio Campos, president of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Truman was not harmed during the assault. Collazo was tried and sentenced to death, but President Truman commuted the sentence to life imprisonment."

As all of the above demonstrates, the Warren Commission addressed a lot of things that went far beyond just the question of  "Who shot JFK?"

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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