City Hall's Kennedy Conspiracy

Kennedy assassination author and conspiracist Robert Groden says the city's out to get him. He may be right.

Across the street on the first floor of the building where Abraham Zapruder's company had its offices, The Sixth Floor has spawned a satellite operation that is perhaps unintentionally the city's oddest coffee shop—a place where one can sip a cappuccino at a chic white table while segments of the Zapruder film flicker by in an endless loop on a blank wall. It's a jarring juxtaposition, even though the head shot is tastefully edited out of the film.

Groden and the canvas-shoulder-bag men are convinced that the cyclical police mobilizations against them have been inspired by complaints from the Sixth Floor. Standing in a slice of shade on the plaza, Fred Browning, a weathered veteran of the assassination newspaper vending trade, thinks it's a matter of snobbishness and style. He says the Sixth Floor Museum people look down on him, literally and figuratively.

"When they put that store in over there," he says, jabbing a thumb at the assassination latte place, "that's when they really got everybody on us."

Every weekend at Dealey Plaza, Robert Groden sells books and
CDs based on the House Select Committee's finding that JFK was shot from the grassy knoll.
Mark Graham
Every weekend at Dealey Plaza, Robert Groden sells books and CDs based on the House Select Committee's finding that JFK was shot from the grassy knoll.
Vendors wander the plaza selling souvenir newspapers.
Mark Graham
Vendors wander the plaza selling souvenir newspapers.

But Browning and his fellow vendors look like a pretty tidy lot. The newspapers Browning sells are nicely printed, bagged in plastic, not really lurid at all, and instead, quite informative—not a bad buy for five bucks.

None of that is an accident, according to Ken Holmes, a Dallas native, local history buff and tour guide operator who publishes the most popular of the Dealey Plaza newspapers and wholesales them to the shoulder bags.

Seated at his desk in a home office in Oak Cliff where he also runs Bonnie and Clyde tours, Holmes says he puts out a good Kennedy product. "It's very well done," he says of his newspaper. "It's really not a conspiratorial thing. It's got one little page on theories. The rest of it is all factual. It's just a tourist thing. It's got a map in there."

He said he and the other publishers of Dealey Plaza memento newspapers have been successful in weeding out the crackhead vendors who were showing up occasionally on the plaza a few years ago offering to conduct tours.

But he thinks the Sixth Floor may sic the cops on the good vendors anyway. "Believe me, I love The Sixth Floor," Holmes says. "I know them, and they're friends, but I think they've complained, and that may have stirred some stuff up."

Groden says there is no doubt the museum is behind the efforts to run him off. He says museum security officials routinely have accompanied police in the past when police have arrived to ticket or arrest him.

The Observer made repeated requests over a period of weeks for comment from Sixth Floor Museum director Nicola Longford, who declined to be interviewed. Longford ultimately did respond with an emailed letter in which she declined to discuss the role of the museum in the prosecution of Groden.

"Concerning the city of Dallas and activities in Dealey Plaza, we are not party to the matters you have referenced, and it would thus be improper for us to comment," Longford wrote.

Some of Groden's gripe with the museum is clearly commercial. One does not find any of Groden's books on sale in the museum gift shop or at the latte place across the street, and that does not please him. But one does not find any conspiracy theory books at all—not even Case Closed, the 1993 Gerald Posner book shooting down all of the conspiracy theories—in the museum's two bookstores.

For Longford, it's all a question of taste. In her email to the Observer, she wrote that it was the museum's "mission to present presidential history within the context of contemporary culture" and to "offer tasteful reflections on the life and legacy of President Kennedy, as well as presidential, local and American history."

For Groden, it's not about taste. He says the Sixth Floor Museum is a partisan promoter of the Warren Commission and its finding that there was no conspiracy. He says the Sixth Floor wants him banished from Dealey Plaza because he champions the finding of the select committee—that Kennedy was shot from the Grassy Knoll as part of a conspiracy.

A tour of the museum exhibits doesn't exactly confirm Groden's accusation—the museum does make mention of the select committee finding—but a tour doesn't refute Groden, either. He is correct in stating that the overwhelming thrust of the museum's presentation endorses the Warren Commission.

A visitor who stops to carefully read the text panels might come to a line in a long text that says scientific experts working for the select committee found a "95 percent probability of the third shot coming from behind the fence at the grassy knoll." But the same text concludes, "These acoustical analyses were questioned in 1988 after testing by the FBI and discarded in 1992 by the National Academy of Science and the Justice Department."

It's true that later researchers came to conclusions refuting the conclusions of the team that had worked for the select committee. Other researchers have conducted peer reviews upholding the committee's conclusions. For a museum that prides itself on objectivity, The Sixth Floor does give short shrift to a major finding by an important official body in a very controversial matter.


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35 comments
chic ornaments
chic ornaments

-chic ornaments Let me just say this...I have been honored to have had many worldwide visitors allow me to show them the highlights of the Dallas we take for granted.

Bigbobkdallas
Bigbobkdallas

Let me just say this...I have been honored to have had many worldwide visitors allow me to show them the highlights of the Dallas we take for granted. I can absolutely say this: No matter if they were from Russia, France, China or Australia one common thread abounds between them all; they all want to see where that moment in time occurred and are still infatuated with the legacy in such a way that is disturbingly. The respect and interest is absolutely staggering for so many that had no sensable reason to exhibit any knowledge of, or deep reason for being there.

Jim Rich
Jim Rich

I like this guy ,standing on the facts of truth .has caused the death of many people,why not harrasment .Groden is doing a good job for all of us in America.

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

Here's the litmus test of 11/22/63: do you believe a mob-connected snake (Jack Ruby) was working or grieving when he stalked Oswald on 11/22, 11/23 and ultimately 11/24? Was Ruby so patriotic that he had to kill LHO to spare Jackie the torture of returning to Dallas to testify? Or was he working? Was he ordering red, white, and blue bunting with all the long-distance calls to Chicago and New Orleans in October '63? Or was he working? Figure out Ruby and the rest falls into place. Someday, the government will release it all...primarily to show future generations that they can, in fact, do what they want, when they want, to whoever they want. Up to, and including, killing the head of state in the middle of the day, in the middle of a major American city, in the middle of the street, in the middle of a crowd.

And lie about it.

justsayin
justsayin

A trained sniper is NOT assigned to embassy duty

symboy
symboy

You guys just like to spout off your mouth with out doing any research. Oswald was a very poor marksmen and his co-soldiers state he had "maggies drawers" meaning he often couldn't even hit the target at all. Look it up and quite spouting lies.

Kevin
Kevin

Google the National Guard for your zip code. No results. Directed to the national site.

The most covert org in the world. Right under your nose!!!

And you question the cover up?

Kevin
Kevin

Really? Do you belive the the US is the only country in the world that does not train 12 year olds to be assasins? Get a clue. Go stand on the grassy knoll and then tell me this was not a huge cover up.

Everyone is dead. Last time I checked dead people don't talk.

The National Guard is around the corner from where you live in any where USA. What do they do in there? Right under your nose?

Bywaye
Bywaye

Its been said "even the shooter don't know who killed the president".

Mac Wallace
Mac Wallace

DPD Chief Curry:

"We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand."

Frank James
Frank James

Who I am Doesn't Matter, but hear what I say here. I was in the 6th. grade when J.F.K. was "MURDERED" in Dallas that day. I've heard that Russia did it, the Mafia did it, and that L.B.J. had a hand in it. But both 6th. grade classes went to the cafeteria, turned on the T.V. and sat and watched the President get shot over and over as they replayed the scene. I remember Jackie crawling out on the trunk of the car,and the news report saying that "HE" was shot from behind. Well, even a child of 12 at that time knows you don't go TOWARD danger, you go away from it. It didn't take me long to figure it out....SHE was getting a part of his skull. I mean the NEWS did report that J.F.K. had been SHOT from behind. I didn't see any body part of any one fly forward.Like the film showed..JFK SLUMPED FORWARD..THEN SUDDENLY FLEW BACKWARD his head seemed to hit the back of the seat. I wasn't as smart as those on the Warren Commission at the time but LIVE COVERAGE can't LIE. So if you still want to believe people trying to cover up the facts that a whole nation watched LIVE on LIVE NEWS COVERAGE. Then you're either STUPID, or you didn't see it, or you hadn't even been born yet. NUFF SAID.......

Chris McPhail
Chris McPhail

Governments lie, people! When has the government ever told you the truth about anything? How long are you going to keep buying those same magic beans?

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

One of the more interesting aspects of someone like Robert Groden who believes in a conspiracy is the fact that they never subject the actual idea of conspiracy to critical analysis. As has been noted many times, including in comments here, you have to be fairly credulous to accept the existence of a conspiracy that has supposedly been air-tight (but for the valiant Grodens of the world) for almost half a century.

Gpolk78
Gpolk78

I am convience that Lee Oswald was involve with something but he didnt know what are who,he was just doing his part.you can tell this man was so confused in the dallas hallway's being led room to room,that all he saw was cameras and media he didnt even know the president had been shot! then when he had time to think,he realize he was being charge of shooting the president and this is when he started sayin he was just a (patsy).So in my mind the FBI, and secret service had a hand in it,ortherwise they(SS) would not "repeat" would not have called the agents off the back of Kennedy's limo comming out of the airport..I have watch all the viedos and all the witnesses testomy for years and it ashames me to think this country allow this to happen and to let the real killers get away with it.Realy how dumb can we pretend to be.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Jim, thanks for making the story as complex and multi-layered as it is. Clearly the City of Dallas is wrong but you opened it up in a fascinating way.

Wja1952
Wja1952

Mr. Groden is a good man who for a very long time has spoken out on the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. Is it because as he speaks about the case he is selling books and cd's? Is that not what is being done on the first floor of the Sixth Floor Museum?

Is it the selling of books or, is it his version of his story the city of Dallas is upset with?

Very true, Dealey Plaza is place of great pain for many people in my generation, but a greater pain is that after close to fifty years we still don't know the true facts of JFK's murder...

Leave Mr. Groden alone, is there not more important things for the City of Dallas to worry about....like crime.

Let Mr. Groden speak

Joshua
Joshua

When do we next get a Presidential open car parade in Dallas....maybe before 2012??

Kevin
Kevin

It is because everyone who knew is dead.

phe_75034
phe_75034

For years, I believed all the conspiracy stuff about the assasination. The Zapruder film is tough to argue with - it sure looks like the fatal shot came from the front.

But, secrets are hard to keep. The more people who know the secret, the exponentially more difficult it becomes to keep it. The conspiracy theorists themselves tell us the conspiracy was huge, the cover-up even huger. It's been almost 50 years.How is it we know (really KNOW) nothing more than we did then?

Maybe it's the 9/11 conspiracy nuts who have soured me on anything conspiracy-related. Maybe I've just grown intellectually lazy on the subject. I don't know. But I just can't believe the theories any more.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

"The wonderful thing is, his theory is not entirely implausible."

That's the wonderful thing about all crackpot hypotheses. They all have that grain of truth at the center that never holds up under the harsh light of day, no matter how many miniscule coincidences and questions crop up.

Look, the federal government can't even deliver the mail. What makes anyone think that anyone involved would be capable of orchestrating this kind of coverup, lasting for more than 40 years, and involving thousands of people? It's just not plausible.

Kevin
Kevin

It is too small of an area for someone not to know what happened. Huge cover up!!

Baywolfe
Baywolfe

Sorry, Bob, but there is definitive evidence done by experts to prove that Oswald, an ex-military sniper, could easily take the shots. And, once you position the respective parties in the limo at the height and angle they were really at, the "magic bullet" disappears.

Get over it and join us in the 21st century.

Oliver Tooley
Oliver Tooley

Get a life Don Abbott. You know so little about Jack Ruby, Oswald and the investigation of the events of that weekend.....Mob-connected snake? Ruby was NOT a nice person, but his connection to the mob was no more than yours Dufus. And I'll bet you are one of those fools who have wasted months claiming that President Obama is not a real American.

Gwcsr2002
Gwcsr2002

Very concise and TRUE! thank you.

OzDidIt
OzDidIt

Oswald qualified as a USMC Sharpshooter when he was in the Marines. Why don't YOU do a bit of research, symboy?

Peter Lawford Did It
Peter Lawford Did It

"LIVE COVERAGE can't LIE" but "Frank James" can. He could not have seen any film replayed "over and over" on live coverage because there were no TV news cameras rolling in Dealey Plaza, and the Zapruder film was only published later as still frames in Life magazine, and not shown on television until Robert Groden ran it on Geraldo Rivera's talk show back in the 1970s.

symboy
symboy

You are only stating your own opinion on this not any facts. Try reading what I recommended above and see if you think there has been no critical analysis applied to this issue. And the conspiracy was never "air-tight" - it leaks like a seeve, you just have to pay attention to those who talked, those who died because the talked, and those who were never listened to. Check out "JFK and the Unspeakable - Why He Died and Why It Matters" by James W. Douglas (pub 2010), available in paperback at amazon.com and amazon.ca.

Matt
Matt

"Maybe it's the 9/11 conspiracy nuts who have soured me on anything conspiracy-related. Maybe I've just grown intellectually lazy on the subject. I don't know. But I just can't believe the theories any more."

So you'd rather just buy what the government spoon-feeds you? Yeah, that's a brilliant conclusion... As for 9/11, there's a mountain of evidence that contradicts the 9/11 commission report.

Do some research before you get "soured on anything conspiracy-related". If you can't do that, you have no right to be soured.

Think for yourself:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

symboy
symboy

Try reading one of the newest and best JFK Assassination books - "JFK and the Unspeakable - Why He Died and Why It Matters" by James W. Douglas (pub 2010). It is one of the best over view texts. It will revive your interest no doubt. Plus with the help of newly released government documents (under the auspices of the Assassination Records Review Board) as mandated by the JFK Act which forced US government agencies to release many assassination related documents and allows you to get a chilling glimpse of the big picture. Try it - you won't be dissapointed. Available on amazon.com and amazon.ca.

shazam!
shazam!

yeah, listen: the cia ain't the FUCKING post office, pal. can you even begin to comprehend the dimensions of that FUCKING agency, or the nsa, for that matter? you wanna talk nothing's possible, when EVERYTHING is possible. come join the post-nuclear age, won't you?

Pat Speer
Pat Speer

I left something out of my first response that is quite important. Oswald was not a trained sniper. He was a radioman who'd been trained to fire a rifle as part of his basic training. The rifle on which he was trained was much easier to use than the rifle found in the building. He was never even trained to shoot at moving targets. After his initial training, moreover, Oswald fell out of practice, so much so that by his last test in 1959, he barely qualified.

When asked about Oswald's shooting abilities, a Marine Corps Colonel told the Warren Commission he was a"poor shot."

These are the facts. Look it up.

Pat Speer
Pat Speer

Baywolfe, if you'd actually look into the case, you'd find that the army test-fired the assassination rifle for the Warren Commission, and were not able to have ANY of their 14 rapid-fired shots hit as close to the center of their head and shoulders targets as two of the three shots supposedly fired by Oswald, even though they were allowed practice shots, when Oswald was not, and even though they were firing on stationary targets. In short, NONE of the top shooters to fire Oswald's rifle came close to replicating his supposed feat, and anyone telling you otherwise is blowing smoke.

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

Oliver, how did you know I'm a mobster? Phone tap? President Obama, unfortunately, is all to real to all Americans. Oh, and let me guess, you were probably born less than 30 years ago...in some economic backwater like Wichita or Corpus.

shazam!
shazam!

is that crack you're smokin' any good? any major dude could tell you that oswald was a first class marksman. of course he had help (whether he was even aware of this is'nt relevant) and that's really the crucible of this whole sorry episode. and yes, nixon was in town. but then was'nt bush in texas, or en route, when reagan blew the plan and survived? to say nothing of the lennon assassination. just sayin'..

 
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