Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 6 (8 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

JFK Umbrella Man -- More Doubts

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 4   Interesting 3   Must Read 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 12/6/11

This article cross-posted from WhoWhatWhy


Umbrella Man and Dark Complected Man: Two big question marks

If you read my recent piece on the New York Times' credulous video about the "Umbrella Man" and his curious behavior at the scene of the JFK assassination, you're ready for what follows. If not, please take a few minutes and get up to speed, by clicking here.

The article has struck a nerve, and generated considerable interest. With that in mind, I'd like to offer some additional thoughts on the subject.

NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN

As you'll recall, the New York Times' preferred explanation for why a man opened an umbrella on a sunny day, just as JFK's limousine passed -- and just as the bullets poured into the car -- was an entirely benign one. Strange, but benign.

Recap: Fifteen years after the assassination, as the special House Select Committee on Assassinations was taking the first serious look at the death of JFK (and others), a man came forward to identify himself as the so-called "Umbrella Man" and to explain his bizarre behavior.

The man, Steven Louie Witt, said that, no, it was not someone signaling the shooters, and no, it had nothing at all to do with the assassination. Instead, he said, it was a message against appeasement of enemies. He hoped to signal his disapproval of what he considered JFK's forbearance of America's enemies.

How to signal that? Here's where it gets complicated. Witt claimed he held up the umbrella as an icon symbolizing the treachery of Neville Chamberlain, the 1930s British prime minister. Chamberlain, who tried to preserve peace with Hitler by ceding him a part of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland), became a reviled symbol of appeasement. The self-described Umbrella Man said that he had been identifying appeasement with Chamberlain's trademark umbrella. The connection to JFK came via his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, ambassador to Britain at the time and an anti-war isolationist.

Only a very unusual 15-year-old American (Witt's approximate age in 1938) would have strong feelings about a British prime minister's behavior, and still harbor those feelings a quarter century later. It is even harder to accept that he could believe JFK, himself a young man in 1938, might "get" the message somehow via the umbrella.

Even if we are to accept that Witt really was the man pumping the umbrella on the Grassy Knoll, and even if he was cognizant of Chamberlain, and even if he did think he could get a message to JFK via the Chamberlain affair, we still have a big problem with this claim.

According to John Simkin, a retired British history teacher and textbook author who runs the historical website Spartacus Educational, the umbrella was never the symbol of Chamberlain that the "umbrella man" claimed it was.

"In Britain, there was never any association with an umbrella at all," Simkin told me. "Everyone had umbrellas and bowlers in those days." According to Simkin, the only proper symbol for Chamberlain and appeasement was a piece of paper. That was the document he held aloft, with Hitler's signature to the so-called Munich Agreement -- in which Hitler agreed not to seek any further territorial gains in Europe -- as Chamberlain famously declared that he had secured "peace in our time." (In this old newsreel, you can see Chamberlain hold aloft that document.)

Simkin finds the New York Times video's assertion that the purpose of opening the umbrella and pumping it in the air to signal Munich simply laughable.

More likely, it was exactly what it appeared to be: a method of signaling shooters, perhaps that JFK had been hit, perhaps that he still seemed to be alive, perhaps to keep shooting. Although it was a sunny day, it had rained the night before, and there was a wind, so it would not have been operationally illogical to move forward with using an umbrella. The fact that the New York Times and the establishment in general have never considered the umbrella worthy of real, serious inquiry, tells us that if the umbrella was part of a plot, it was not so bad a choice.

RIO GRANDE BUILDING

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Author, investigative journalist, editor-in-chief at WhoWhatWhy.com

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Real Reason For The Afghan War?

The Military and Those Strange Threats to Obama

CloseReading: Are Joe Biden's "Gaffes" Accidental? Or Brilliant?

Tea Party Types say: Next Overboard, Lifeguards!

NY Times' Umbrella Man Exposed

JFK Umbrella Man -- More Doubts

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Verrrrrrrrrrry interesting.... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 7:28:08 AM
...a complete and honest appraisal of all the absu... by Philip Zack on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 4:47:15 PM
on the "umbrella man" since Harold Weisberg's Whit... by Richard Girard on Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 at 5:06:36 PM