by Stephen E. Lewis



In SILENCING THE LONE ASSASSIN, The murders of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald, John Canal takes yet another look at the evidence supporting the lone assassin premise and shares with us his theory that Jack Ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald for the Mob. From the Preface through the Epilogue there are a mere 120 pages of text and photos in this tome. Do not let this deceive you, though, because there is an abundance of "goodies" waiting within.





The first section is comprised of six chapters of evidence that again establishes Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin in Dealey Plaza. Conspiracy buffs should have a heyday with this one. As I wove my way through Part I (Chapter 5 in particular), I was constantly bombarded with the proclamation of "no conspiracy!" after each revelation. Mr. Canal avoids long, drawn out explanations (thankfully) and presents the material in no nonsense, "let's get through this quickly" style. The author makes frequent reference to the work of Gerald Posner and, in fact, much of Part I gives the pretense of being a synopsis of the national bestseller that conspiracy buffs love to hate. Part I of this offering is an excellent primer for newcomers to the wonderful world of "Who killed JFK?" Serious students and researchers of the assassination will not find anything new here.





The second section is comprised of a "disclaimer", and five chapters that detail the author's theory that Oswald was silenced by the Mob. Mr. Canal states up front that the case he presents is speculation and that is a refreshing twist. Most authors (particularly the conspiracy folks) state their case as if it were "the gospel according to me." The author makes a good argument, but I have difficulty believing Oswald was involved with the Mob. Remember, our boy was a loner and didn't have enough money to even pay attention. One might think that if he were in cahoots with organized crime that he would at least have access to cash and maybe even a decent job arranged through Mob connections. Now it sounds like I'm speculating. The most interesting item in Part II is the photograph of David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald together at a Civil Air Patrol camp in 1955. The author uses this photo as part of the evidence that they had a relationship. As Mr. Canal states, many non-conspiracy theorists refute a Ferrie-Oswald connection (particularly Gerald Posner[1]). I had only heard about this photo and I want to publicly thank Mr. Canal for sharing it in SILENCING THE LONE ASSASSIN. I have trouble believing that Ferrie and Oswald were longtime associates or friends as the author speculates. There is just too much gray area between 1955 and 1963. These two characters were not even in the same country much of the time and documented evidence of their association just isn't there. According to Mr. Canal, Lee Harvey Oswald was "the man who knew too much". He had deceived Ferrie and infiltrated the anti-Castro Cuban exiles; he had dealings with Guy Banister; he knew about the gunrunning (of which Jack Ruby was affiliated); and local Mob leaders were worried that he would "talk" after his arrest about their involvement in the Castro assassination attempts. This is where Jack Ruby enters the scene. He is the man selected to make the "hit" because he needed money; he could be trusted to keep his mouth shut; he had connections in the Dallas Police Department; and he was afraid he too could be implemented as a player in the gunrunning business if Oswald talked. This theory is feasible, but it reads like a dime store novel. There is no doubt in my mind that Ruby was capable of murdering someone for the Mob, but not in a room full of policemen. It's obvious that he was mentally unstable, but I don't think he was completely bonkers (yet). I still believe that Ruby killed Oswald because he was distraught and the opportunity presented itself. Nonetheless, Mr. Canal has given us a new look at an old subject that is both intriguing and entertaining. That's not a bad combination.


Mr. Canal spends three and a half pages of the Epilogue lambasting the FBI and CIA for withholding information from the Warren Commission and the Secret Service for their dereliction of duty on November 22, 1963. He doesn't pull any punches here and justifiably so. He then goes on to predict that interest in the assassination will slowly decline because the part of society that remembers those tragic events will gradually cease to be represented by active writers. Unfortunately, I believe he is right.




Appendix I details why the author believes Ruby murdered Oswald for the Mob as previously discussed. Appendix II is a chronology of the life of Oswald provided by none other than, ta-da, ROBERT J. GRODEN! We all know who he is and what he believes. I just can't understand why Mr. Canal would spend the entire first part of his book establishing Oswald as the lone assassin and then fill an appendix with information provided by one of the most influential and outspoken conspiracy researchers in the world. He even goes so far as to put a disclaimer at the end of the appendix telling us that Groden doesn't believe in the lone assassin theory. Really? I can only assume that the disclaimer is for novices. The chronology is chock full of innuendo (as expected). My point here is this - why mix apples and oranges in this book? Mr. Groden is certainly entitled to his own beliefs, but I just don't think they belong in this volume. That is like Oliver Stone writing the Foreward for CASE CLOSED. Appendix III is a chronology of Jack Ruby's life and it isn't attributed to anyone. Appendix IV is a two-part article from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The first is a report on the autopsy of JFK by the doctors who performed it and the second is recollections of the doctors who tried to save Kennedy's life in Dallas. These articles are fascinating and a welcome supplement to the book. Appendix V is an overview of the mock trial of LHO and Failure Analysis testing and Appendix VI is an analysis of the assassination bullet fragments. There is a wealth of research information to be found here.


Mr. Canal has obviously done his research and this book does not disappoint. All in all, I found SILENCING THE LONE ASSASSIN easy to read (I finished it in less than two hours), refreshingly (and tastefully) humorous at times, and informative. Whether you accept his theory about the death of Lee Harvey Oswald or not, it is a good read and would be a valuable addition to your library.

[1] I personally discussed the Ferrie/Oswald photograph with Gerald Posner regarding its authenticity. His response was, and I quote, "So what? All it shows, if real, is that Oswald and Ferrie may have met in 1955 when Oswald was fifteen years old. The more pertinent issue at least regarding the assassination of JFK is whether the two rekindled any association in the summer of 1963, only months before Kennedy's murder. For that, there is no credible evidence at all."


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