Longtime JFK Assassination Researcher: We May Never Know the Truth

But He Believes One Thing Is Certain: Oswald Was Innocent

Robert Groden speaking with tourists in Dealey Plaza. Photo credit: Russ Baker / WhoWhatWhy

Robert Groden was born on November 22, 1945 — exactly 18 years before JFK’s assassination. He has devoted his entire adult life to trying to uncover the truth of what happened. He went to JFK’s graveside and promised he would never give up. Now, about to turn 71, and 53 years later, he is starting to believe that we may never know the whole truth. Too much time has elapsed, too many people have died.

What he does consider certain, and the case that he has devoted his life to making, is that Lee Harvey Oswald did not fire any gun on 11/22/1963.

He believes Oswald was set up, that members of the Warren Commission lied outright, and that the Zapruder film, which Groden first showed to the public, is the single most important piece of evidence showing that the fatal shot came from the front.

Groden testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978. The chairman of the HSCA, G. Robert Blakey, stated concerning Groden that “the results of his study played no small part in convincing many Members of the Congress that the Kennedy case should be reopened.”

Groden is out in Dealey Plaza every weekend speaking to those who will listen. In this week’s podcast he talks to WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman.

[Note: the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of WhoWhatWhy.]

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Full Text Transcript:

Jeff Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy. I’m Jeff Schechtman.

50 years ago the nation experienced one of the seminal moments of the 20th Century – along with two World Wars, the dawning of the nuclear age, and the landing of men on the moon – the assassination of JFK was one of last century’s tentpoles. As such, it never ceases to fascinate us. What other event of the 20th century still conjures up as many unanswered questions? Is there anyone who still believes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that the Warren Commission was accurate? I say, probably the same number of people that believe Elvis is still alive. My guest Robert Groden has since the beginning been on the forefront of the effort to try and understand what really happened and why. He’s written extensively about conspiracy theories regarding the assassination. His books include The Killing of a President: The Complete Photographic Record of the JFK Assassination; The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald: The Comprehensive Photographic Record; and JFK: The Case for Conspiracy. He was a consultant to Oliver Stone on his film JFK and was responsible for bringing the Zapruder film to national attention. It is my pleasure to welcome Robert Groden to Radio WhoWhatWhy. Robert, thanks much for joining us.

Robert Groden: Thank you, Jeff. Appreciate being here.

Jeff: First of all in an overall sense and certainly this is something you’ve been with for a very, very, very long time, what is it about this story, this murder, this assassination, that still captivates us to this day?

Robert: Well for one thing, it’s an amazing murder mystery. Lee Harvey Oswald clearly did not shoot anybody but he was blamed for it and he was killed for it two days after President Kennedy. Why that happened, how it happened, is all part of the whole story and it’s been 53 years now since the assassination. Though there are many of us who want to find the truth, who like to know the truth while we’re still alive, that’s what I’ve been trying to do now for all of these years.

Jeff: Is it your belief after doing this for so many years that we will ever really know the truth?

Robert: I used to think we could; now I’m not so sure. The cover-up has been going on for so many years. So many legends and so much false information have been presented on both sides. It may be impossible at this stage of the game to find out who really did do it. So I’ve been focusing more lately the last couple years on who did not do it, and that’s Lee Harvey Oswald.

Jeff: In your research, who else have you concluded – and there have been so many theories of course over the years – who else have you concluded didn’t do it?

Robert: Oh my, well, Lee Harvey Oswald is the only one to focus on because he’s the one blamed for it. The Dallas police allowed him to be killed two days later so that there wouldn’t be a trial. Jack Ruby admitted that he shot Oswald so that there wouldn’t be a trial, but he said for a different reason. He said because of Mrs. Kennedy. I tend to doubt that Mrs. Kennedy had anything to do with why Ruby did it – that was a story created by Tom Howard, his lawyer. And again, it was to get sympathy.

There are two major issues we have to deal with here. Number one is, was there more than one shooter? And issue number two is, was Oswald one of the shooters? Clearly my feeling is that there was more than one shooter, especially since shots came from the front and the rear. And the sound recording shows up that up to 15 shots might have been fired including all the ones that missed, struck the street, and James Tague, a bystander, and so on and so on.

You had mentioned during your introduction that so many people don’t believe that Oswald was guilty and this is a massive change from the way it was back in 1963 and ‘64. Back then we had no evidence except what the Warren Commission released, much about which was falsified. Will we ever know the truth? I don’t know if we can at this stage of the game, so many of the people involved are now dead. It’s difficult to figure out all the answers.

Jeff: Talk a little bit about the rush to judgment towards Oswald.

Robert: Well, it appears from what we see that Oswald was set up before the shots were ever fired. He was given a job in the Texas school book depository. He would have had no way of knowing that the President’s motorcade was going to be going by the depository – this is like four and a half weeks earlier. He was working there, he never missed a day’s work. He was reliable, that he would be there, and he was set up.

When I worked for the government investigating all of this we found a two and a half page document from the director of the CIA, John McCone, to the head of the Secret Service, James Raleigh. And in this note he pretty much clears Oswald, saying Oswald didn’t do it, but that Oswald was in fact the CIA agent trained by the CIA and sent to the Soviet Union first and then later on sent to New Orleans all on different assignments.

And it’s quite a convincing letter. It’s very, very strong. It’s a little over two pages and it’s signed by John McCone. I published this in my latest book, JFK: Absolute Proof. And in that book, the review of the evidence of conspiracy, actually pointed a couple of fingers toward the guilty people involved in the cover-up like Gerald Ford who admitted that he had arbitrarily changed the location of the President’s back wounds to make it appear that the bullets entered into the back of the President’s neck when in fact it was actually about six and a half inches lower. But if he had admitted the actual entry point of this bullet it would have shown that the angle was totally wrong for a shot from the so-called sniper’s nest, going through the President’s neck and on to Governor Connally, it simply could not have happened. So he lied, just plain lied.

Jeff: If in fact there were multiple shooters, if in fact Oswald was set up long before the assassination took place, can one make the case that it was always the intent of whoever was responsible, whoever set it up to obfuscate as much as possible, to make it as confusing as possible to make it so that 50+ years later, we’d still be having this conversation?

Robert: That’s entirely possible. So much false evidence has been presented again for both sides, far more from the other side than the side that I’m on anyway, or we’re on, and I’m assuming from what you said that you are aware that there was in fact a conspiracy and Oswald didn’t do it. Though that’s an assumption, but still let’s assume that that’s the case. If so, then enough false evidence has been presented through the years from the very beginning to frame Oswald.

For instance, when the shots were fired and the investigation began there were only two empty shells found on the sixth floor. Just two. The FBI and the Dallas police files both show in writing and in photographic evidence that there were only two.

Well they realized after a while that wasn’t enough so they went back and added a third one to make it appear as if the shooting had all occurred from one spot by Oswald.

It wasn’t true. They knew it wasn’t true, but they presented and lied to us from the very beginning saying that three bullet shells were found and there weren’t, there were only two.

The published photographs and the documentary evidence in the new book are absolute proof. Again, that’s just one of the things, the withholding and the disappearance of the photographic evidence from the autopsy. The fact that the President’s brain autopsy which was done after the initial autopsy, it showed that apparently the bullet came from the opposite direction. With all of this you know we have a very, very strong case that everything we were told is a lie.

Jeff: Talk a little bit about the Zapruder film and what we really gain from that today even after further analysis?

Robert: Well, the Zapruder film is extremely important. I was honored to be the person who released the film to the public back in 1975. Up until that point no one had seen the film itself except a few people, Life Magazine, and a few people in the government. The public was not allowed to see it because it shows the President was shot from the front, not from the rear, and this is extremely important. We’ve gotten to the point now where defenders of the Warren Commission and attackers on both sides are saying the Zapruder film was fake. No, it wasn’t fake. It couldn’t be fake. Physically, the ability to fake that sort of a thing did not exist then. It would be most difficult even to do now. But once again people get these crazy ideas like the car stopped in the middle of the street, which it didn’t, you can see it just keeps going. Zapruder’s film, Orville Nix’s film, Muchmore’s film, all show that the car never stopped, but for people who want to think that the Secret Service stopped the car so the President could be a sitting target because of that they have to attack the Zapruder film. The Zapruder film is the single most important piece of physical evidence that we have and it’s absolutely genuine.

Jeff: Talk a little bit about your efforts to get this story out there to the public. I mentioned and we talked a little bit about you were the first to get the Zapruder film out there to the public but you’re still doing it, you’re still out there today from time to time in Dealey Plaza trying to get information out there.

Robert: Well, I made a promise to President Kennedy at his grave site that I would do everything in my power to try and find the truth no matter where it led. And for the last 53 years I’ve kept my word, I’ve tried to find the truth. I go down to Dealey Plaza every weekend, every Friday, every Saturday, every Sunday, every holiday and try to let people know that there is an alternative to the official fiction. And I’ve been doing it and I will be doing it as long as I’m breathing, as long as I can go down there, I will. The Dallas police, and the city of Dallas, and the Sixth Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza are all against what I’m trying to do and they’ve thrown me in jail a couple of times. I have broken no laws. 84 times. Fortunately I’ve won every time in court but they still kept doing it until the federal judge ordered them to stop.

Jeff: One of the ironies in all of this and we touched on a little bit before is that probably at no time in public opinion has there been more of a belief that that either Oswald wasn’t the shooter or that Oswald didn’t act alone or that there’s some broader conspiracy or framework for all of this. Probably more of the public believes that today than in any other time and yet because so much time has gone by, because so many people have died as you indicated before, it’s harder and harder to find out what the truth is.

Robert: Well, it may be impossible at this stage to find out all the truth so what we do is we focus on the physical evidence itself, that’s what I’ve done in the 14 publications that I’ve done through the years. I’ve gone out of my way to present the evidence that the government did not want us to see because it is the strongest evidence we have. I interviewed the Dallas doctors when the government wouldn’t do it, and I actually videotaped them and they were unanimous: the fatal shot came from the front. The Warren Commission says that all the shots came from the rear. It simply wasn’t true. They all knew it wasn’t true. I have found nearly 80 witnesses that have stated that the President was shot from the front, not from the rear. Although he had been shot from the rear as well, true, but the fatal shot came from the front. And we can deal with things like that and that shows us the correct direction, even though it doesn’t solve the case.

Jeff: Where does all of the physical evidence that you have amassed, where does all that physical evidence take us in terms of who actually might be responsible?

Robert: Well, I have to go with the report from the House Committee on Assassinations, which is a group I worked with in Washington DC in the House of Representatives for three years. During that period of time the evidence showed us that, yes it was probably organized crime. Now, organized crime could have killed the President, they could not have run this kind of sophisticated cover-up for all of these years. They wouldn’t have the power or the ability. So it’s a bit of both. If you want to know my opinion, my opinion is that organized crime, specifically the Chicago mob and it tentacles out into Dallas, New Orleans and all of that, and the covert actions branch of the CIA that was at war with President Kennedy over his wanting to end the Vietnam War. My feeling is that both of those groups are the most likely answer to who actually did it.

Jeff: Are you going to continue to make this your life’s work?

Robert: Yeah, well it is. This Tuesday I’ll be 71 years old. I’ve been doing this since I was 18. It’s already my life’s work and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can, as long some breathing and walking around. I joke that when I’m gone, when I’ve finally died, we’re going to have me stuffed and brought to Dealey Plaza, every weekend anyway.

Jeff: You mention your birthday. It’s no small accident I suppose that your birthday is on 22nd of November.

Robert: It’s fate I guess.

Jeff: Robert Groden, I thank you so much for spending time with us today

Robert: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for caring and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about it. I appreciate it and I wish there were more people like you.

Jeff:  Thank you very much. Thank you for listening and joining us here on Radio WhoWhatWhy. I hope you join us next week for another Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast, I’m Jeff Schechtman. If you like this podcast please feel free to share and help others find it by rating and reviewing it on iTunes. You can also support this podcast and all the work we do by going to WhoWhatWhy.org/donate


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from newspaper (Jon / Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0)

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  • Frank Smith

    Very good article. Amazing the Establishment had him arrested 84 time for free speech in Dealey Plaza. When they had the dog and pony show for the 50th, had to make sure all the Alternative Press was chased out of Dealey. These folks think we are deaf to the truth, not so. The assassination was a Coup in America, we still pay the price of that Coup.

  • James

    Oswald had such an unusual life it seems likely he was involved somehow

    • oller

      It is likely that quite a few young soldiers were set up to be “sleeper” patsies or useful idiots in coming operations. Highly likely that Oswald was one of them.

    • 0040

      A CIA agent.

  • Marv Sannes

    Lee was a patsy. We have seen this done so many times since, it shocks me that this is still in doubt. Two kids in Boston killed to cover a theatrical event, another sentenced to like. All those guys in Gitmo – patsies held there to continue the fraud.

    • james warren

      Yep. I have had first-hand experience with this. My real name is Patsy Lee Oswald.

  • Banquos Ghost

    Trump will have the power to deny any request by the CIA to keep the remaining JFK files secret. The law requires the release of these files in 2017…..only the President can stop it.
    Authors like David Talbot are breathing down the neck of the CIA with revelations that Allen Dulles was at the secret CIA command post called ” the farm ” in Virginia as bullets were ripping into JFK and he remained there for the whole weekend. He had no business being there as JFK had fired him as CIA director two years before. Also, CIA assassinations chief, William Harvey was seen flying to Dallas in November 1963. Dulles travelled there ,too…in October, around the time Oswald started at the depository.
    Much has been revealed. Highly decorated NYC detective Jim Rothstein has described how Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis confessed to him about being on the grassy knoll. Rothstein maintains that Sturgis gave a written confession to Cardinal Cook in the 1970s.
    CIA documents now show that Clay Shaw WAS a contract agent of the CIA and a photo has surfaced showing David Ferrie and Oswald TOGETHER at a civil air patrol meeting.
    The CIA killed JFK, likely involving the mob and certain corrupt police in Dallas. Police Chief Jesse Curry signaled he knew it was the CIA when he criticized not being allowed to investigate George H.W. Bush and Oswald buddy, George DeMohrenschildt.

    • Sarastro92

      You pretty much nailed the key details. Note as well, much of the same cast and crew turn up in Watergate. Nixon had a pretty clear idea what he was up against, but his only choice was to submit or be gunned down or sent to prison.

  • oller

    Dear Robert Groden; thanks to your work many people have felt encouraged to continue albeit all the resistance.

    I would like to point out a couple of things, Number one is the Gerald Ford moving the back wound.
    Actually; if you read the Warren Report carefully pp 96-107 about the Single Bullet, you can see that the Warren Commission has used BOTH locations but have tried to obfuscate that fact through deceitful wording. In p 96 the WC refers to the autopsy report for the location BUT in p 107 the refer to Rydberg´s drawing! They are covering their ass so to say.
    The reference to the first location makes up for autopsy photos and the face sheet, The second one, that obviously was used by Gerald Ford, covers the geometry of the shooting. In fact; they know from the beginning that the Single Bullet theory is fake and they admit it also by their own wording! Moreover this fake story is further confirmed by the interview that Dan Rather held with James Humes; where he holds up the two locations in front of Humes and asks him if they are identical. As anyone can see they are at least 5 inches apart! And Humes says yes!

    Number two is that the pattern used for the cover-up is almost identical when it comes to 9/11. This shows us that there is basically the same group of people who are performing these events. In my view; that is what makes the JFK murder into more than just a historical event. It is a vital part of our current political world. That is why it is so important to continue!

  • Brian Mumford

    Why does he say there were only 2 brass casings found in the sniper’s nest if Roger Craig said there were three? Is he suggested the swap happened before craig and others got there, or is he assuming they were mistaken or lying? Does anyone know?

  • Colt

    Oswald did it. I once believed otherwise but all of the evidence points to him. A Marxist loser looking to make a name for himself.

    • 0040

      Evidence produced by a lying government?

    • David S

      Then clearly you haven’t bothered to look at ALL the evidence. Just the “magic bullet,” the testimony from the first crew at the hospital, the folks who did the first autopsy, the two coffins, the two bodies, the altered body, the altered autopsy photos, the Secret Service guys being taken off the back of the car, the bulletproof cover being kept off the car alone should convince you that he was a patsy. But hey, maybe you lack the courage to face the truth about your government. I get it.

    • gustave courbet

      I encourage you to re-explore the JFK assassination and take a deeper look at the evidence, as your statement illustrates an unfamiliarity with the subject, particularly the life of Oswald.

      “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate,
      contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
      Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to
      a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without
      the discomfort of thought.” -John F. Kennedy, Yale University Commencement
      speech

    • straight shooter

      Mmmm….you may want to consider some evidence you’re obviously unaware of. There are many excellent docs on the subject but one of the best I’ve seen is “JFK to 911: Everything Is A Rich Man’s Trick.”

      I defy anyone to watch this without bias and afterwards still believe as you do now.

  • 0040

    Great article , thanks for it.

  • David S

    Much like with 9-11, the American public has NEVER been told the truth because the truth implicates too many people, exposes too many truths, and undermines the mythical LIE about a benevolent government that exists to protect them. Most Americans are perfectly fine being lied to because they lack the fundamental courage to face the abrupt destruction of the myth they have been fed since they began attending the government monopoly day prison/propaganda camps called schools and is unprepared to do what the evidence will force them to realize MUST be done to preserve their own freedoms and the future of America.

    • Sarastro92

      No. Americans are NOT fine being lied to. There’s just not a lot that can be done to stop it and change course.

  • Sarastro92

    The strongest evidence exonerating Oswald as the shooter comes from the WC itself. His rifle wasn’t an operable weapon. The rifle needed metal shims placed under the
    telescopic sight before the Army testing laboratory could determine the
    weapon’s accuracy. The metal shims had to be used because the telescopic
    sight was so unrelated to the rifle’s line of fire, and so inexpertly
    attached, that it could not even be adjusted.

    Obviously the entry and exit wounds attributed to shots from the Book Depository are impossible to explain; the wound pattern have never been reproduced in a simulation; and that FBI-stooge Gerald Ford tried to falsify,would exonerate Oswald. Add the fact that NO one has ever replicated Oswald’s alleged feat using a decrepit Carcano rifle, with broken sights, on a small moving target partly obscured by a tree in 6-7 seconds.

  • Picka Truth

    Read Peter Janney’s 2012 book “Mary’s Mosaic; the CIA conspiracy to murder JFK, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and their vision for world peace” pp. 287-292 which details possession of Zapruder film from John McCone to Arthur C. Lundahl, at CIA’s Photographic Intelligence Division on Sat Nov 23rd. Dino Brugioni and his crew “gasped in horror” at what they saw, prepared briefing boards under eyes of 2 Secret Service agents who took film with them next morning with list of 7 NPIC staff who viewed the “original” film. The film “had been developed the day before on Friday afternoon in Dallas right after the assassination”. My questions are, 1. Who were the Secret Service agents? 2. Who developed the film and who viewed it in Dallas, afternoon of Nov 22nd? 3. What alterations to the 16 mm film (unslit double 8 home movie) at CIA’s “Hawkeye” facility in Rochester, NY on Sunday Nov 24th were made by Homer McMahon and Morgan Bennett Hunter who worked on the version (they thought original) of the film which Secret Service agent “Bill Smith” delivered? 4. Is the original, uncut film in existence and who controls it?

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