NY Times’ Umbrella Man Exposed

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“Umbrella Man” Does His Thing at JFK Assassination Scene

More and more, one is struck by the extent to which the New York Times is disassociated from reality. One might judge the paper’s publishing of official falsehoods as the occasional and accidental byproduct of the pressure to produce so many articles, were it not for the consistency and rigidly sclerotic way it loyally foists patently untrue material upon the public.

I say this as someone who still reads the Times, still has friends working there, and still retains some isolated pockets of fondness for it.

But it is hard to overlook these constant transgressions. As we note here at WhoWhatWhy, these range from ignoring the real reasons for the invasion of Libya to apologizing for fraud perpetrated by its favorite Afghanistan propagandist (and the author of Three Cups of Tea). It surely includes the paper’s failure to share with its readers overwhelming and constantly refreshed documentation of an organized coup that resulted in the death  of President John F. Kennedy and the end of meaningful reform in America. I addressed that latter issue in the article,  “NY Times’ Ostrich Act on JFK Assassination Getting Old.”

Far from proper journalistic curiosity, the paper sees its job as enforcing orthodoxy, and shutting down consideration of anything untoward. According to the New York Times’s peculiar brand of journalism, coups and plots happen with regularity abroad, but never, never, in the United States.

It is important to include the pejorative phrase “conspiracy theorist” in every article, even those articles in which the Times acknowledges its concern about the health of democracy in America. It is important to have a good laugh at the expense of those poor souls who trouble themselves inquiring into the darker precincts of this country’s history.

So it is with the 48th anniversary of Kennedy’s death. Instead of assigning a single reporter to scrutinize the hundreds or thousands of meaningful, documented facts that do suggest more than “the lone nut did it,” the Times gets busy with the disinformation business.

Here are two Times “contributions” on this occasion:


On the 48th anniversary of Kennedy’s murder, the Times ran an op-ed piece and short film by documentary maker Errol Morris about another man’s research into “umbrella man.” Umbrella Man is the nickname for a fellow who famously brought an umbrella on a sunny day for the president’s visit to Dallas November 22, 1963, stood on the “grassy knoll,” and, just as the president’s car passed, he opened the umbrella and pumped it in the air.  Many have speculated as to the significance, or lack of significance, of this strange behavior. Some wonder if Umbrella Man was  part of the assassination scenario, perhaps signaling to shooters. There was even the September 1975 Senate intelligence committee testimony by Charles Senseney, a contract weapons designer for the CIA, that the agency had perfected an umbrella that shoots undetectable poison darts that can immobilize and kill, raising questions about whether this was in play that day.  (See P. 168 in the Senate committee testimony, where Senseney explains specifically about the agency’s use of a toxin and the ability to fire it from a modified umbrella.)

The self-described Umbrella Man, Louie Steven Witt, came forward to offer his testimony in 1978, or three years after the CIA expert provided this now forgotten testimony on umbrellas as weapon. Umbrella Man came forward just as a special House Select Committee on Assassinations was focusing on the possibility of a conspiracy (which, it concluded in its final report…was likely.) (You can order a video of a report on Witt’s testimony, by then ABC News reporter Brit Hume, here)

The counsel for the Assassinations Committee, remarkably, does not mention the prior Senate  testimony by the CIA weapons expert that such an umbrella device did exist, and instead quotes a more shaky claim by an “assassinations critic” regarding such a device.

Mr. GENZMAN. Mr. Witt, exhibit 406 is a copyrighted diagram

drawn by assassinations critic Robert B. Cutler which shows two

umbrellas with rocket and flechette attachments. Mr. Witt, do you

know what a flechette is?

Mr. WITT. I do now. I did not prior to our interview yesterday


Mr. GENZMAN. Did the umbrella in your possession on  November

22, 1963, contain a flechette, or a rocket or a dart?

Mr. WITT, No, It did not.

Mr. GENZMAN. Has exhibit 405, the umbrella, ever contained -a

flechette, rocket. or dart?

Mr. WITT. No. Not since it’s been in my possession.

Mr. GENZMAN. Did the umbrella in your possession on November

1963; contain a gun or weapon of any sort?


Mr. WITT. No.

Mr. GENZMAN. Has exhibit 405 ever contained a gun or weapon

of any sort?

Mr. WITT. This umbrella?


Mr. WITT. No.

Mr. GENZMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Witt.

Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.

Is the Times at all interested in the credibility of this purported umbrella-bearer? Absolutely not.

Instead, the Morris video presents the idea that sometimes, the most ridiculous scenarios are the truth. And so it presents the ridiculous, and asks us to believe it. Cutting to the chase, the man seen opening an umbrella comes forward to explain why he did it. Reason: in 1963, he was still mad at Britain’s pre-war Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his appeasement of Hitler, and held JFK’s father to blame as US ambassador to England in that period. Chamberlain was famed for carrying an umbrella. So—get this—Umbrella Man, hoping to make a statement about what happened in the late 1930s to JFK in 1963, pumped his umbrella at the time the fatal shots were fired…only for this obscure purpose.

The Times passes the responsibility for this travesty to Morris, who passes it along to Josiah Thompson, a former Navy underwater demolitions expert turned Yale philosophy professor turned private investigator, who appears on-screen to ruminate about “Umbrella Man.” He is happy to accept the Chamberlain story as “delightful weirdness.”

Watching this, one gets the sense that Thompson believes there was no conspiracy in JFK’s death. But what the Times implies with this little piece is false. In fact, Josiah Thompson is known for documenting the exact opposite. He wrote a serious investigative book in 1967, “Six Seconds in Dallas,” full of evidence and specifics, in which he concluded there was a conspiracy to kill JFK—involving three different shooters. But the New York Times is not interested in that, only in this new, droll dismissal of another piece of the puzzle.

I called Thompson to ask him about the Morris video, and he pronounced himself delighted with it. I asked him how he knew that the man who came forward to identify himself as Umbrella Man and present the Neville Chamberlain story was actually the same man in the fuzzy photo of many years earlier.  By way of explanation, he mentioned hearing a story from a well-respected JFK researcher who in turn had heard that Umbrella Man had told his dentist years earlier that he was umbrella man. Pressing Thompson, I learned that the man who came forward as Umbrella Man never provided proof that he was in fact the man with the umbrella. Even the dentist story is third, fourth, or perhaps fifth hand, not verified by Thompson or his researcher friend. All of which proves nothing, and all of which suggests that maybe, just maybe, the man’s improbable, “delightful” story of Neville Chamberlain is, indeed, fabricated.

Just because Errol Morris is a master of the documentary art does not make him any kind of authority on what should be the province of careful investigators. Just because a story is absurd does not make it real, or “delightful”, as the Times video would like us to consider—and many did, with thousands emailing the Times piece to friends. This is something well understood by the game-players of the covert operations house of mirrors: the jesuitical contortions that can be made to twist any credible scenario.

Here are some things you should know about the man who came forward to identify himself as Umbrella Man and tell this ludicrous Neville Chamberlain story:

His account of his activities that day don’t track with what Umbrella Man actually did, raising questions as to whether this man who volunteered to testify to the assassination inquiry is even the real umbrella-bearer, or someone whose purpose was to end inquiries into the matter.

The man who came forward, Louie Steven Witt, was a young man at the time of Kennedy’s death. How many young men in Dallas in 1963 even knew what Neville Chamberlain had done a quarter-century before?

In 1963, Witt was an insurance salesman for the Rio Grande National Life Insurance company, which anchored the eponymous Rio Grande Building in downtown Dallas. It’s an interesting building. Among the other outfits housed in the building was the Office of Immigration and Naturalization—a place Lee Harvey Oswald visited repeatedly upon his return from Russia, ostensibly to deal with matters concerning the immigration status of his Russian-born wife, Marina.  Another occupant of the Rio Grande Building was the US Secret Service, so notably lax in its protection of Kennedy that day, breaking every rule of security on every level.

A major client of Rio Grande was the US military, to which it provided insurance.

It’s worth considering the roles of military-connected figures on the day of the assassination. These include Dallas Military Intelligence unit chief Jack Crichton operating secretly from an underground communications bunker; Crichton’s providing a translator who twisted Marina Oswald’s statement to police in a way that implicated her husband;  and members of military intelligence forcing their way into the pilot car of Kennedy’s motorcade, which inexplicably ground to a halt in front of the Texas School Book Depository (where Lee Harvey Oswald’s employer, a high official with the local military-connected American Legion, managed to find a “job” for Oswald at a time when his company was otherwise seasonally laying off staff.) Oh, and it’s worth contemplating JFK’s titanic, if under-reported, struggle with top Pentagon officials over how the US should interact with Russia, Cuba, and the rest of the world. You can read more about all this in my book Family of Secrets.

Is this concatenation of facts too crazy to consider? More crazy than that Neville Chamberlain story?


Not content with having Morris, who is no Kennedy expert, put out this misleading video on Umbrella Man, the Times earlier featured Morris’s book review of Stephen King’s novel imagining Lee Harvey Oswald. So now you have a man who knows little about the real story, getting people to read the imaginings of one who also knows little of the real story. Another way to look at this is that the New York Times is really, really interested in an occult novelist’s take on the death of a president, but just totally uninterested itself in looking into that death.

You must read Errol Morris’s review of King’s book, and please explain to me what he is talking about, because I have no idea. One of the few things that registered at all from this confusing mess is a comment about Jack and Jackie:

King has said that he struggled with the idea for this book for more than 30 years. One can see why. In fiction, we can decide who did or did not kill Kennedy. Writer’s choice (and King chooses). But he pays his debts to history in other ways — by showing the machine and, at the same time, the simplest human knots, the love stories behind history: Sadie and George[characters in the novel], Jack and Jackie.

Um, “the love stories behind history…Jack and Jackie”?

This is part and parcel of the Times’s approach: to maintain a feeble, People Magazine-like focus on the JFK-Jackie Camelot love story—which never actually existed. Anyone who has read any of the books featuring interviews with close friends of the couple know that the marriage was a political match for the reticent JFK, never for a minute a fairy tale romance, and that by 1963 the duo could barely stand to be in each other’s presence. If this is news to you, come out of your New York Times cave and read….practically anything else. (One worthwhile account—including Jackie explicitly ignoring JFK’s request that, for appearances’ sake, the First Lady not take off to cruise on the yacht of the caddish Aristotle Onassis in the fall of 1963—can be found in Peter Evans’s book, Nemesis. By the way, Onassis hated—and I mean hated—the Kennedys; RFK had blocked a big Onassis business deal years earlier.)

Or read in Family of Secrets how, since childhood, Jackie had been a friend of George de Mohrenschildt, the “father figure” to Lee Harvey Oswald, or how, the night after de Mohrenschildt’s testimony to the Warren Commission, he was invited to dinner at Jackie’s mother’s house, along with the Machiavellian intriguer Allen Dulles, whom JFK had fired as CIA director and whom Johnson so shockingly appointed to the Warren Commission investigating Kennedy’s killing—a man who surely is at the top of most people’s lists of those behind the assassination.

If you appreciate these sorts of things, it is striking to learn that Onassis was a business partner in oil deals in the Caribbean prior to Castro’s revolution, with….Oswald’s best friend George de Mohrenschildt, and that Onassis’ brother-in-law was the cover employer of CIA coup plotter Al Ulmer, who just happened to be visiting the Dallas area the week of Nov 22 1963 from abroad.

So, please, can we get past this “love story” pabulum and at least do just a teensy bit of investigating these odd and flagrantly suggestive connections? Maybe they’re all odd coincidences, but at least they seem, intuitively, worth pursuing, at least as much as those  “delightfully weird” Neville Chamberlain umbrella stories.

The real danger of a video like the one about the Umbrella Man is that it encourages people to stop questioning, stop [pullquote]WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on it. But can we count on you? We cannot do our work without your support.  Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.[/pullquote]investigating. Just laugh it all off. There’s no trouble here in the land of the free, the home of the brave. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, move along.


It’s time to stop treating the New York Times as the slightly daffy uncle who is hard of hearing. There’s something more insidious going on, and every single person who works there and refuses to care bears some responsibility. Ditto with the rest of the media, which still takes this institution as its guide on what to cover—and what not to uncover.

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0 responses to “NY Times’ Umbrella Man Exposed”

  1. Pamela Rice says:

    Thank you, Russ Baker, for calling out the slightly daffy uncle who is hard of hearing. Eventually, no one will look to the mainstream media. We will indeed have a good laugh on them some day and perhaps laugh them out of any legitimacy and even out of existence. The NYT really is a joke. Unfortunately, this joke is very sad.

  2. SO says:

    Perhaps it is relevant to note that LBJ said at the 1960 Democratic convention, and no doubt JFK heard of it, “I was never any Chamberlain umbrella policy man. I never thought Hitler was right.” Perhaps the Umbrella Man in Dealey Plaza was arranged as a personal note to JFK from LBJ.

  3. MaatMenNefer says:

    Wow. According to FBI profiler Ed Sulzbach quoted by Patricia Cornwall in ‘Portrait of a Killer’ page 20: ‘There really aren’t many coincidences in life. and to call coincidence after coincidence after coincidence a coincidence is just plain stupid.’ And apparently you can’t fix stupid. Because if the ‘magic bullet ‘theory is true, along with the exploding buildings of 9/11-reduced to rubble by kerosene- I have a great deal on a bridge I’d like to offer you!

  4. Mark Strange Love says:

    This November will be the 50th year that idiots like you continue to believe this garbage of some sinister plot to kill the president. Oswald did it and acted alone. You probably think OJ was framed, Manson was framed, Aliens are among us, and lest I forget to mention, Bigfoot is the Boston Marathon Bomber.

  5. Shayne Chetcuti says:

    not to mention the guy that had a seizure & then is whisked off & no record of him ever checking into any dallas hospital..i beleive that to be nothing more than a clever diversion to get secret service lookin the other way.cant beleive the warren commission concluded the single magic bullet theory.its been many years & we still aint invented the bullet that can suddenly change direction so sharply & precisely as to cause several wounds & wound multiple people ie governor connelly.the sudden change in parade route astounds me too because the changed parade route saw kennedy heading towards the book depository,now if it were only ozwald ask yourself why not take the shot while hes directly in a kill zone heading directly at the supposed crows nest it would be impossible too miss or when the motorcade slowed down to take that unusual left turn onto elm st.and according to oswalds marine buddies he couldnt shoot the door off a barnhouse.also the evidence in the zapruder film suggests he was shot in the temple in the front right hand side of the presidents head,you`ll notice his head goes back & too the left which puts the tragectory in front of president kennedy & to his right,and that puts the grassy knoll in the right position,its geometry.

  6. Shayne Chetcuti says:

    so glad too see people investigating the umbrella man i noticed him many years ago & thought am i looking at one of the conspiritors & the dcm is new info too me im extrememly passionate about the jfk assasination.

  7. Mark de Valk says:

    From Richard E. Sprague’s book,  ‘The Taking of America, 1, 2,3’ 

    Exhibit L

    August 3, 1978 
              Mr. Robert Blakey
              Select Committee on Assassinations
              U.S. House of Representatives
              Washington, D.C.  20515
              Dear Bob:
              Following our telephone conversation on Tuesday August 1, I checked with Bob Cutler, my co-author on the Umbrella Weapon System article in Gallery June 1978.  Bob told me he left with Mr. Preyer and with you, photographic material showing that The Umbrella Man (TUM) was quite probably           J. Gordon Novel.
              Your news photo of him reinforces that belief for both of us.  I did not have that portion of the Couch film from WFAA and so had never seen TUM’s face as clearly as it appears there.  The Bothun photo of him has a light reflection around his nose, as I’m sure you know.
              We have a 1962-3 photo of Novel taken from the same angle as the Couch, film of TUM and a photo comparison convinces us more than ever that Novel is TUM.  Mr. Preyer no doubt told you back in April that Novel is in a jail in Georgia, framed for a crime he and Jim Garrison, his former lawyer, both claim he didn’t commit.
          Best regards,
         Dick Sprague
              P.S.  I am still waiting for a response to my letters to Louis Stokes about attending the hearings beginning August 14.
              cc:   L. Stokes
                    R. Cutler

  8. Mark de Valk says:

    Witt’s connection with the Rio Grande Building in Dallas is most instructive in terms of connecting Oswald with intelligence factions (e.g. his ‘201’ file).  Here, to, we can find none other than Ruth Paine’s lawyer also occupying an office in the Rio Grande; small wonder that on the morning of Nov 22/63, she received in the post her divorce petition mailed from Fort Worth (where her estranged husband, Michael, toiled at Bell Helicopter).  Mrs. Paine first met the Oswald family on April 2, 1963 at a gathering in the Dallas home of Edward Glover, with an introduction from LHO’s Dallas ‘mentor’ George de Mohrenshildt.  On April 24 Lee leaves Dallas for New Orleans, leaving Marina and his child to move in with her new ‘best friend’ Ruth Paine.  By May 9th, Lee rings Mrs. Paine’s Irving home (Blackburn 3-1628) to say he has found a new job at the Reilly Coffee Co. ‘greasing coffee machines’.  Ain’t life “Grande”!

    Mark de Valk
    Editor – Dealey Plaza Echo Journal

  9. Morocco Bama says:

    Well, according to our favorite publication, the NYT, and therefore must be taken with a grain of salt, her decision to be buried by his side wasn’t made until her last days when she was quite ill with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, so said decision doesn’t preclude the earlier conclusion, based off of facts, that she and Jack couldn’t stand to be in each other’s presence, and their marriage was a sham…..just as her marriage to the goon, Onassis, was a sham…..for different reasons, of course.


    Yes, I feel dirty and cheap providing a link to this sordid rag, but sometimes you have to get down in the mud with the slime in order to get rid of the slime.

  10. Tony says:

    why did Jackie choose to be buried next to JFK?

  11. Morocco Bama says:

    Prouty thought so? This undermines his credibility significantly, IMO.  He saw it demonstrated in his office does not equate to using it to hit a target in a mobile motorcade. It’s preposterous…..as preposterous as the Neville Chamberlain story Witt provided. It’s obvious that they, whoever they is, intended to get their target that day…..and to do so resoundingly so as to serve as an example for decades to come. Mission Accomplished. They blew JFK’s skull open like a ripe melon. The message was loud and clear. Dissent of any kind will no longer be tolerated.

  12. John Judge says:

    was not the Umbrella Man, and Cutler himself easily exposed this
    charade by comparing the umbrella caught in Dallas by many cameras and
    the one displayed in the HSCA hearings. For starters, they have a
    different number of spokes. Also the Dallas one appears to have a small
    hole in the cloth in the section facing Kennedy and Witt’s does not have
    any holes. This renders the whole line of questioning about his
    umbrella moot. The Chamberlin story is ridiculous. If Witt told the
    story to his dentist, maybe hems just an inveterate liar and publicity seeker, but more likely he was a plant, pure and simple.
    Thompson had no business calling Cutler a “wingnut” since he was highly
    educated, an architect and logical in his meticulous approach to the
    ballistics. Also, he does not mention the suspicious behavior of
    Umbrella Man following the shooting. With others ducking and running to
    the Knoll, UM sits down on the curb calmly, where he is joined by an
    Hispanic man in a cap with a large walkie-talkie device to his ear.
    While others search the fence area for a gunman these two get up, turn
    their back to it all and saunter up Elm Street to the east. The
    timing of his pumping suggests signals to the firing teams. On the
    other hand, given the tiny size of the throat wound, JFK’s response of
    fists to throat, and the wide cut across his neck to remove a “missile”
    from the chest cavity (FBI report, Bethesda), as well as the
    disappearance of all photos and X-rays of that cavity may indicate that
    Cutler was right after all. Prouty thought so, and he had seen the
    umbrella weapon demonstrated in his office in the 60s. The critics don’t
    have to get everything right, but the legal investigators of a murder
    of a president sure as hell should.

    John Judge, Coalition on Political Assassinations

  13. MC says:

    JFK was the initial wound, which is still scabbed and festering to this day.  Had we (the US electorate) insisted upon finding the real culprits in the JFK coup, 9/11 would never have happened.

  14. CzarNate1963 says:

    I order everyone to go to BlackOpRadio and remain there!  Great source on political assassination research that manages to avoid 94% of the disinfo and bs out there

  15. CzarNate1963 says:

    Everyone must repeatedly share this and send it everywhere.  We can no longer let the NYT off the hook.  What does off the hook mean in today’s media environs?  It means allowing the Corporate Media to reach a critical mass of readers.

     Its you… or this article will never matter — Czar Nate

  16. Kyle MacLaury says:

    There is another man in that photo who is as interesting as the man with the umbrella. Check out the Rich Delarosa interview on Black Op Radio from sometime in the last year or two. He discusses having seen another film of the assassination, that others have seen as well. In that interview he describes that man as stepping in to the street and raising his hand as if he were telling the driver of the car to stop, which about 60 witnesses said he did. As that happened he describes the man with the umbrella as pumping up and down several times until the President is dead. The clear implication being that they were signaling to the driver and the assassins.

  17. WarDepartment says:

    The New York Times’ putrid propagandizing for the lone-nut, Oswald-did-it theory of the JFK assassination might be explained in part by the paper’s documented role as a willing, longtime CIA mouthpiece. 

    The sordid history is detailed in “Spies in the Media,” a chapter in Herbert N. Foerstel’s book “From Watergate to Monicagate: Ten Controversies in Modern Journalism and Media.” Foerstel details complicity by the Times’ owners, the Sulzberger family.  He writes, “Of all the newspapers used by the CIA, the Times was probably its most valuable outlet.”I hope Russ keeps pursuing this story to the point where he can name names, reconstruct private conversations, and provide internal Times documents that shed light on who at the newspaper is responsible for directing this treasonous, transgenerational cover-up and why.  What is the newspaper’s stake in perpetuating the Big Lie?The Times has hardly acted alone in this  massive case of journalistic fraud.  But let’s confront one institutional enemy of the truth at a time.

  18. Edward Rynearson says:

    The New York Times also “missed” what really happened in their own backyard on September 11, 2001.

    • and don’t forget the apologies the new york times had to made for their pro-iraq war propaganda:
      ‘we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.’http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/26/international/middleeast/26FTE_NOTE.html?8dpc

      the commercial mainstream media are what they are: commercial mainstream media who support the powers to be. 

      this is what the influential american pundit, walter lippmann, wrote in the first half of the twentieth century:

      ‘public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press… Without some form of censorschip, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable.’ Indeed: ‘How small our proportion of direct observations is when compared to those observation that are conveyed to us through the media,’ according to this former presidential adviser.

    • Edward Rynearson says:

      September 11, 2001 events were the catalyst for the dissolution of our constitutional republic.

      What we did to Iraq was not war.  It more resembled what happened in the movie “Avatar” where the locals are mechanically slaughtered in order to consume their resources. 

    • edward, you are right. but still the empire is collapsing. for most people in the third world 9/11 means something else than it means in the west. 9/11 shows them that you can pull it of, meaning that the repressed are able to think they can attack the represser. and just that is the historical turning point, not the attacks themselves, as s been history shows time and again. in european history it was not the killing of royal families in france and russia, but the moment the people lost their respect for them, which was decisive. the moment the people were not afraid of them anymore. the same is true now for the arab world. they have nothing to lose, not even their dignity anymore. the west destroyed that by humiliating them and using the zionist state as a mercenary state like all colonial powers use local mercenaries, the dutch did it in indonesia, the english in india, the french in algeria, etc.

    • Edward Rynearson says:

      Not arguing with you but its important to me that people know that I don’t believe that Arabs attacked America on September 11, 2001.  The attacks were carried out by the west and used as a pretext for moving military forces into the middle east.  The main target was/is Iran. 

  19. Morocco Bama says:

    Will the real Umbrella Man please stand up. Here’s Umbrella Man offering us protection and security…..and he’s actually referred to as Umbrella Man…..making yet another mockery of this angle. Purely coincidental and unconscious on their part, I’m sure.


  20. gpfloor says:


    In reading the Executive Session transcripts, one thing is made perfectly clear. They wanted to find “The Umbrella Man” for one reason and one reason only – to shut the critics up. 

  21. Morocco Bama says:

    When you look closely at Umbrella Man in that photo, is it my imagination, or does he appear to be wearing a Derby Hat? I searched photos using Google for one with Chamberlain wearing something similar, and this is the best I could find. Umbrella Man was in full get-up, which makes this all the more bizarre….almost occult-like. Perhaps, in that sense, the testimony wasn’t completely far-fetched, meaning the Chamberlain angle wasn’t completely irrelevant, just not what the imposter testified it was.


  22. Morocco Bama says:

    Great critical analysis, and way to deliver that left/right combination to the NYT. They deserve more than that as punishment.

    If Umbrella Man was part of the conspiracy, it has nothing to do with the Umbrella being a potential weapon…..that part of the story, along with this imposter Umbrella Man’s testimony about Neville Chamberlain, is obvious misdirection, and that in and of itself leads to a possible conspiracy because why else would anyone, or any entity, or entities, go to such lengths, unless they were guilty of something?

    So, back to Umbrella Man. Umbrella Man’s significance could be as a target benchmark….meaning that the cross-shooters, and I do believe JFK was triangulated that day, could all commence when the limo approached and passed Umbrella Man.

    One thing’s for certain, Dealey Plaza, and Dallas in general, was crawling with who’s who that fateful day. Who would have thought that some little old Texas town, and remember, Dallas was not that big of a deal back then, would curry such favor and that all these people were such big fans of JFK that they just had to be in town for this otherwise insignificant campaign trip. It’s like it was an opera……..in fact, that’s exactly what it was.

  23. russ, you are absolutely right. and don’t forget that — of all people — it was adolf hitler who declared: 

    ‘All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
    —Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

    so when josiah thompson states that the explanation of the umbrella man is just wacky enough to be true, it shows how the big lie works.

  24. JimGlover says:

    Good article, Russ.

    I was told about the assassination plot about 2 months before it happened by my friend Phil Ochs, who was an observer for national security until he hung himself in 76 when Bush senior became CIA director. I have photos of Phil in the doorway of the Dal Tex Building where he told me he was being filmed.

    That afternoon I was abducted from the music tour I was on and forced onto a shadow charterd bus that afternoon near Houston. The bus went onto the landing field of a small airport where many men in suits, some plain clothes, para-military looking, got on plus two Dallas police who had a taller Oswald look-a-like in Custody.  Bush senior, who wanted me to spy on my family in the early 50’s, got on the bus sometime after others got on and was sitting on the aisle seat next to FBI Hoover talking together.  later they got off the bus and I thought I would be shot that night at an isolated area next to a National Guard armory and the Pines Motel near Point Blank and Sam Houston National Forest.

    I was told to not go outside my room as men were celebrating and I heard the shotgun that must have killed the Oswald Double and somehow I made it back to LA by keeping my mouth pretty much shut.

    It is a long story but more here:

  25. Hruhs says:

    Go Russ. The only thing worse than tyranny is stealth tyranny .


  26. Alex Cox says:

    Very good analysis. Unfortunately we can look forward to more of this lone assassin stuff from Morris & the NYT as the 50th anniversary of the assassination approaches.

  27. Kenn Thomas says:

    I can still rememeber, back in the pre-interet day of the zines, a small magazine called The Lies of The Times, specifically devoted to covering the NY Times’ distortions.

  28. Kenn Thomas says:

    As this recent Max Holland/National Geographic special went to great lengths to demonstrate that a bullet could have passed through JFK’s back and hit Connolly, it ignored that JFK was clutching his throat from that “back” wound, elbows up–possibly paralyzed that way by the flechette dart poison from the Umbrella Man, setting JFK up for the final fatal shot from the knoll. Another recent TV special on the killing of bin Laden seemed awed by the complexity of such a hit, as if it had never been done before…

  29. Lisa G. says:

    Thanks Russ,

    As you know, this is my favorite topic. There are so many answers to all of the government cover ups that we will never know. This one is extremely important to me. It’s my obsession. The people involved are still pulling the strings today. I hope one day there will be at least one credible source with real facts who can prove what happened that day. But I don’t see that happening so like all of the other conspiracies, we’ll never really know. Loved this article though. Thank you for once again pointing out the NYT’s popcorn journalism

  30. Kenn Thomas says:

    The Umbrella Man often appeared as a symbol of the wimpy liberal in rightist magazines like National Review even in the early 60s. It’s conceivable that Stitt was tapping that then-current visual meme. As I recall, though, Fletcher Prouty watched the presentation of Stitt’s umbrella during a televised report on the House committee and counted the spokes. The number didn’t match the number of spokes on the umbrella seen in the Zapruder film.

    • Eric_Saunders says:

      I don’t think that the point is t hat the umbrella was a weapon.  The point is that that was completely in the realm of possibility and we know that the CIA did have such a weapon and that they also has poison projectiles that could kill leaving no trace.  They had this in 1963.  This is a perfect method to kill any inconvenient person over 40 since the death will look like a heart attack.  The fact that the NY Times bothers to put this crap out shows just how important covering up the assassination is, especially after the last 48 years in which we have shifted to outright rule by banksters and their handmaidens in the military and intelligence services.

    • Morocco Bama says:

      Kenn, I watched that whitewash, as well, and what struck me, and certainly this wasn’t its intention, was how obvious and transparent it was that things were choreographed. The police and reporters were literally being led around by the nose by those who planned this fateful event. As a reporter, you’re desperate at a time like this to report the latest and juiciest details, and those who planned this knew that, and fed these desperate reporters, accordingly. Same goes fore the police action. At the lower levels, they were looking to be told what to do, because they were as dazed and confused as the rest of the rabble, and so they were easily misdirected. For those who planned this, there appears to have been multiple redundancies/fail safes in place to ensure proper misdirection took place and JFK didn’t get out of there alive. It reminds me of that video where the they’re passing the ball around and you’re told to count the number of people who touch it…whilst a gorilla passes right between them and in front of you and you don’t even see it….until you’re told it’s there. Same principle applies here….and many other places.

  31. CD67 says:

    Hey Russ.

    A website from a well-known Montreal Newspaper had just published a blog about that very same NY Times article (of course not mentioning the source).

    I was extremely upset about the way the subject was presented, and observed to myself that this article, although almost written as just an entertainment column, did not seem like a “McDonald’s-journalism (read and trash)” to me. I saw it as rather another propaganda piece, made to make all doubters in the official story look like cooks. The ending of the blog, made it sound like THAT settled the story once and for all…

    But again, I come here and find a good analysis of the article, not just the simple reprint of it.

    Most of your points I had in the back of my mind for the longest time as well concerning that Witt guy, so it kind of reconciles me with your profession to read you. Not just because I agree, but because you actually LOOKED into the questions.

    Well done and keep digging!

  32. JED says:

    Thanks Russ,

    Again the media(and film maker Morris) make light of political assassinations and completely ignore the consequences of the act.
    For all the funny shtick that the Seinfeld show gave us it bugged
    the hell out of me that they ridiculed the “magic bullet” theory
    from JFK movie – out at that time.  

    Gil – “….those involved will be dead and most don’t care less”. 

    Some of us do care deeply about the state of our nation and the events
    that define it.  I was only 3 in 1963 but when I came of age and started
    to study the assassination, it’s relevance became very important to our
    history and how we view our selves as Americans. The suppression of truth in this regard underlines the false premise of American exceptionalism. “….we don’t solve political disputes with assassination in our country….” blah, blah, blah.  This inward view of ourselves completely contradicts our aggressive war-making reality.

    The history of the CIA is documented enough to give us a clear pattern of violent repression and propaganda activity that occurred in other countries.  To say that those techniques were not used within the US is to
    join the march of folly that is our accepted history to date.

    I see JFK(MLK, RFK), Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, BCCI as part of a
    continuum that brought us to 091101.

    If we still consider this country a land of laws, we must examine the worst of these crimes.  We ignore them at our peril. 


  33. Dallas Green says:

    Has anyone ever owned and actually used an umbrella that lasted 30 years?
    Mine usually last about two to five.  Ten at best.

  34. Gil says:

    Something insidious going on?  If anything you’d have to be at least fifty years of age to care what “really” happened to JFK.  There will be a time when all the evidence is finally on  the table but all those involved will be dead and most won’t care less.

  35. Eric_Saunders says:

    Didn’t Umbrella Man go and casually sit down next to swarthy (Cuban?) Walkie-talkie man after Kennedy was shot right in front of him and all hell broke loose?

    • Eric_Saunders says:

      I have read it postulated that Umbrella Man was Gordon Novel and Swarthy Man was Orlando Bosch or Posada (can’t remember which).

  36. chazsanderson says:

    Thanks for clearing up this propaganda from the NY Times and
    Errol Morris about Umbrella


    In addition to all of your observations, I found it strange that
    when the alleged umbrella man testified before Congress in 1978, he brought what he claimed to be the very same umbrella which he supposedly displayed in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Also, looking at the photos from seconds after the assassination, umbrella
    man and another person just sat down, while there was pandemonium all around
    them. That too was strange.


    I encourage you to follow-up “Family of Secrets” (and
    the excellent examination of the suspicious behavior George H. W. Bush)
    with a book strictly about the assassination in an attempt to tie it all together.

    addition to Family of Secrets, others on the subject which I find compelling are “JFK and
    the Unspeakable”, Mark Lanes new book “Last Word” and L.
    Fletcher Prouty’s “JFK – The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to
    Assassinate John F. Kennedy.”


    A new book from you  on the assassination would be

    • WarDepartment says:

      Any objective, broad-minded person interested in the JFK assassination should read the astonishing and astonishingly controversial book  “Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy,” by Michael Collins Piper. 
      Piper has been called “anti-Semitic” and worse,  but that’s irrelevant.  He musters compelling  evidence for the involvement of the Israeli Mossad and Israel’s U.S. allies in organized crime, politics, the intelligence community, and the media. He sheds light on the New Orleans TV station that was instrumental in creating Oswald’s false image as a pro-Castro “leftist.”As for  the Dealey Plaza “umbrella man,” Piper notes a photographic resemblance between that individual and a  Mossad operative named  Michael Harari.

    • Guest says:

      was Jack Rubinstein a Mossad operative? How much research has been done into his dealings?

    • WarDepartment says:

      Ruby appears to have been part of a tangled web of organized crime and intelligence operations.  There’s  a tantalizing Mossad connection  in attorney William F. Pepper’s 2003 book, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.”  In unraveling the King assassination, Pepper uncovered evidence of an early 1960s gun-running operation in the Gulf Coast region involving the mob, crooked U.S. Army personnel, and special operations forces.  Weapons stolen from army bases and armories were  sold to foreign buyers.  Jack Ruby was once part of this operation,  according to Pepper’s informants.  So was  “a senior Mossad agent working in South America who acted as a senior liaison to the US military and the CIA.”

      Pepper doesn’t say it, but this individual might have been the aforementioned Michael Harari.  A February 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs called Harari “a former Mossad hit squad chief” and an  “international merchant of death.”   The article was not about U.S political assassinations but rather about the U.S. invasion of Panama and the surprising escape of dictator Manuel Noriega’s Israeli right-hand man and security advisor  Michael Harari, who apparently was tipped off to the invasion by allies in U.S. intelligence or the Pentagon.

  37. Don Cirelli says:

    So here’s the question I have, so far, heard no one bother to ask; Who is this Mr. Dewitt, and HOW DO WE KNOW FOR SURE he was the “Umbrella Man”? Any nut can come forward and claim to be the man in the film. What evidence, other than Mr. DeWitt’s say-so, is there that proves he was who he claims to be?

    Sorry, a thirty-year-old umbrella doesn’t count as “evidence” in my book. Still skeptical here.

    • Russ Baker says:

      Don, do you read articles before posting comments about them? As you can surely see, the issue of whether Witt (not DeWitt) was actually umbrella man was addressed with “raising questions as to whether this man who volunteered to testify to
      the assassination inquiry is even the real umbrella-bearer”–and more.

    • FDR says:

      I just stumbled upon this strand while researching The Umbrella Man, and I’ve got to tell y’all (collectively)…please don’t operate heavy machinery (including cars on public streets) and for God’s sake please don’t go near a voting booth.

      Many of these comments scare me more than any government conspiracies….