The Paper Bag

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The Paper Bag

The Warren Commission (WC) should have been able to show clearly and unambiguously how Oswald carried and concealed his rifle from the Ruth Paine's residence, where Oswald's wife was staying at the time, to the Texas School Book Depositary the morning of the assassination. Instead we have a report, the Warren Report (WR), which falls well short of this and whose appendices offer confusing and contradictory testimonies from the investigating Plice Department and fellow TSBD employees of Oswald. And yet the WR somehow concludes that the evidence shows that Oswald carried his rifle into work, concealed in a long paper bag the morning of the assassination! Based on what?

Fact 1: There is no photographic evidence to show this long paper bag at the snipers nest.

Fact 2: It was never established who found the paper bag at the snipers nest.

Fact 3: Forensic investigation of the paper bag indicated no well-oiled rifle (as Oswald's was) had been placed in the paper bag.

Fact 4: Only two people claim they saw Oswald with a paper bag that morning (and it was too small to conceal a rifle), while others claimed he wasn't carrying any bag.

Lets deal with each of these.

Fact 1: A crime scene is preserved and photographed, promptly, before any evidence is moved or removed. This is normal standard police practice.

Commission Exhibit 1302: Paper Bag Drawn In!

Yet the so-called 'snipers nest', one crime scene of the assassination of the most powerful person in the world at the time was an exception! The 'snipers nest' would contain crucial evidence about the assassin. The three spent cartridges were photographed. But a long paper bag which (allegedly) lay on the floor, a very obvious piece of evidence, was never photographed! Suspicious, to say the least. Detective Studebaker, was responsible for photographing the snipers nest, and yet he never took a photo of the bag as it lay on the floor as he claimed, despite taking numerous other photos. Instead, at a later date at the request of the FBI he drew a 'dotted line' on one of the photos indicating where the un-photographed paper bag lay! (see Commission Exhibit E1302). But at least one could ask the policemen that first arrived at the 'snipers nest' about the location or even existence of the bag, couldn't we? Not quite!

Fact 2: Unfortunately the WC, most likely intentionally, never established who exactly found the paper bag. Perhaps nobody found the bag as

Commission Exhibit 729: No sign of Paper Bag?

the bag was never in the 'snipers nest'. Out of twelve police officers questioned by the WC, six claimed they hadn't seen the bag. Detective Studebaker, the guy with the camera is one who claims to have seen it, but didn't photograph it. Yet other Officers, Sheriff Mooney who first discovered the 'sniper's nest', Sergeant Hill, the first Dallas Police officer on the scene, Detective Hicks, Detective Sims, Sheriff Craig, who were on the scene before Detective Studebaker arrived, all testified that they never saw the paper bag on the floor.

Did Lieutenant Day find the bag? This was never clearly established either. He wrote on the bag 'found next to the sixth floor window gun fired from. May have been used to carry gun'. He claims he wrote this 'at the time the sack was found', but the WC didn't try and establish whether he found the bag or who found the bag. But what is clear is that Lieutenant Day recognised the potential importance of this piece of evidence but yet didn't ensure it was photographed prior to it been moved.

Fact 3: There is no evidence that the rifle was ever in the bag. Official reports stated that the rifle was 'well oiled'. Many experts conclude that if the rifle was in the bag there would be oil residue left in the inside of the bag, but after tests no oil residue was found. Why would there be no oil residue if Oswald carried his rifle to work in this particular bag that morning? And even if it was only the firing pin and spring that were 'well oiled', wouldn't forensic analysis detect some oil residue or some evidence that the bag had been recently used to carry a hard object that would inevitably leaves creases or marks? Yet there was no evidence to suggest that the bag was used to carry a rifle, in fact the evidence suggests the opposite!

Fact 4: On the evening before the assassination Oswald was driven by co-worked Wesley Frazier 15 miles from the TSBD to the Paine household where his wife Marina was then lodging. The WC alleged that Oswald took this journey was to collect his rifle from the Paine garage and bring it back to the TSBD the next morning. Wesley Frazier testified that Oswald did indeed have a bag, about two feet long, left it on the back seat of the car while being driven to work the next morning and then carried the bag the 350 meters from the carpark to the TSBD. His sister Mae Randle also testified that she saw Oswald carrying a similar paper bag to Frazier's car before departing.

Nobody else came forward to support these claims. Jack Dougherty, a co-worker of Oswald's testified that he saw Oswald arrive in work that morning and he didn't see any bag in Oswald's hands. In fact no other co-worker claimed they saw Oswald with a package that morning.

The length of the bag described by Frazier and Randle was about 24 inches. This was considered too short by the WC to carry his disassembled Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, so they tried to get the two witnesses to extend the length of the bag they claimed they saw, but to no avail.

Of course if Frazier and Randle were inventing this story we have to ask why. Were they part of the conspiracy?

Either way we still have reasonable doubt, unanswered questions and conflicting testimonies. And this was the way it was left by the WC, and yet they claimed they were satisfied Oswald brought his rifle to work that morning! And he walked 350 meters from the carpark to the TSBD and then up to the sixth floor!

What about the other mysterious bag linked to Oswald? Very odd! Was this an attempt to frame Oswald? On December 4, 1963, a postal worker noticed a parcel addressed to Lee Oswald in the dead-letter section of the Irving Post Office. The package was addressed to Lee Oswald at 601 W. Nassaus Street in Dallas, a non-existent address. According to the FBI it contained 'a brown paper bag made of fairly heavy brown paper which was open at both ends and was approximately 18" in length.