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The Mystery of the West Elevator

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The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 10:21 am

This finally came back from the Archives. It's SSCIA 157-10008-10062. Credit to Lee Farley for making me aware of the document's existence. Here is the text, verbatim, skipping the cover page. Interesting.


March 25, 1964

MEMORANDUM

TO: Messrs. Ball, Belin, Craig

FROM: Norman Redlich

SUBJECT: The Mystery of the West Elevator

This memorandum results from a discussion between Mr. Belin and myself on March 24, following Roy Truly's testimony.

Roy Truly has testified that when he and Patrolman Baker ran to the rear of the first floor, neither elevator was there. Truly pressed the button for the west elevator and shouted up the shaft asking that the elevator be released. It was necessary to do this since the elevator would not work if the gate was open. Once the gate was closed the elevator would come if the button was pressed. Truly did not try to get the east elevator, because this operates only by hand and can be run only by a person who is in it.

Truly claims that he looked up the shaft and saw that both elevators were together on the same floor.

As part of this picture we should also remember that approximately 15 minutes before the assassination Jarman and Norman took the west elevator up to the fifth floor.

Truly and Baker started climbing the stairs no more than two or three minutes after the assassination. (Mr. Belin timed it at less than two minutes.) At each landing Truly and Baker looked to see whether an elevator was present and they did not see one. They certainly would have noticed the west elevator because this was most directly in line with their vision at each landing.

It was only when they reached the fifth floor that they saw an elevator, but, surprisingly enough, it was the east elevator which they saw. The west elevator was not present on the fifth floor where Truly thought he had seen it from below, and where it could have been expected to be found since Jarman and Norman had taken it there to have their lunch.

-2-

Truly testified further that he and Baker took the east elevator to the seventh floor. The west elevator was not on the seventh floor when they reached that floor. He cannot say that the west elevator was not on the sixth floor at this time.

Truly and Baker then looked around the roof and took the east elevator back down from the seventh floor. On the way down he noticed that the west elevator was on the fifth floor again.

There are several alternative explanations for the movements of the west elevator.

First, let us assume that Truly was correct in his first observation that the east and west elevators were both on the fifth floors of approximately two minutes after the assassination. This means that by the time Truly and Baker reached the fifth floor, it was gone. We know that someone would have had to close the gate during this period, because Truly was unable to get the elevator by pressing the button when he was on the first floor. This person then might have taken the elevator up the sixth floor while Truly and Baker were running up the stairs. At this moment, however, we have Jarman, Williams and Norman who say that they didn't hear any elevator. Moreover, they have never admitted that anyone else was on the floor.

It is also possible that someone got on the elevator on the fifth floor at this time and headed down while Truly and Baker were running up the stairs. Here again, Jarman, Norman, and Williams didn't hear anyone and it is quite unlikely that Truly and Baker would not have noticed the elevator moving as they reached each landing.

While it is possible, therefore, that a worker moved the west elevator either up or down from the fifth floor during this period, we don't know the name of such a worker and we have the problem of Jarman, Williams and Norman who have to be questioned again as to whether they heard anyone on the floor and whether they heard the elevator move.

The second possible assumption is that the elevator was not on the fifth floor at all, but was on the sixth floor with the gate open at the time that Truly rang for it on the first floor. This would mean that someone on the sixth floor would have had to close the gate and take the

-3-

elevator down-- either directly to the fifth floor where Truly saw it after he was on the roof, or to some lower floor and then back up to the fifth floor. In either case, it would mean that someone got on the west elevator on the sixth floor just a very short time after Oswald left the floor via the stairway. Significantly, none of the investigations appears to have turned up anyone who admits to being on the west elevator at this time.

Truly thinks that Dougherty was working there at this time. I know that Messrs. Ball and Belin plan to question Dougherty, who would have to explain why he was up there working so soon after the shots were fired. A previous memorandum on Dougherty, written by Mr. Eisenberg, raises questions about Dougherty which should be looked into on the next trip to Dallas.

If Oswald was not acting alone, it is very likely that an employee of the TSBD building was his accomplice. It is also possible that an employee of the TSBD might have information and for some reason be afraid to come forward. Through persistent questioning on such matters as the elevator locations we might be able to locate the person or persons who may know more than they are telling.

I have discussed this matter with Mr. Belin and he shares my feeling that this matter will be the subject of questioning when Messrs. Ball and Belin travel to Dallas again.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 10:27 am

"If Oswald was not acting alone, it is very likely that an employee of the TSBD building was his accomplice."

WOW!  From the Warren Commission staff. WOW!

"I know that Messrs. Ball and Belin plan to question Dougherty, who would have to explain why he was up there working so soon after the shots were fired."

Shame they didn't ask him.  I guess they weren't counting on a "retard" turning up to the deposition?

"A previous memorandum on Dougherty, written by Mr. Eisenberg, raises questions about Dougherty which should be looked into on the next trip to Dallas."

When is their next trip to Dallas?

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 10:41 am

When is their next trip to Dallas?


Aren't they going to observe the festivities there on the 50th?? tongue 

The date of this memo, March 25, is the day after the testimonies of Jarman, Norman & Williams. They wouldn't get to Dougherty until April 8, and Ball evidently didn't have the kahunas to question Dougherty further once he learned he came downstairs by using "that push button elevator on the west side" or that Jack was on the 6th floor before the shooting "just long enough to get some stock". cat 

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Hasan Yusuf on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 11:02 am

Thanks for posting the memo, Richard.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by beowulf on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 3:14 pm

Good stuff Richard, thanks for ordering this from National Archives. I think Redlich went off the rails very early:
"Roy Truly has testified that when he and Patrolman Baker ran to the rear of the first floor, neither elevator was there..."

Back on pages 22 & 23 of this thread, we were chewing over the FBI building survey from a week after the shooting.
Its curious the FBI timed Oswald's supposed exit by an elevator waiting on 6th floor  as well as exiting by an elevator called up from 1st floor. In none of the Bureau's 10 timed scenarios do they mention either elevator on the 5th floor.  Perhaps in the first week after the assassination, Truly was telling the Feds something else.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Colin Crow on Thu 14 Nov 2013, 10:02 pm

This is my analysis of the WC version of the elevator movements. It includes the Givens' cigarette trip that I believe was inserted by the WC staff in order to get Oswald back to the 6th floor. I do not believe it occurred.


1. Around 11.50 am the west elevator is taken by Shelley from the 6th Floor to the 1st Floor leaving floor crew behind. The east elevator is left on the 6th Floor. On the 1st Floor he sights Oswald as he walks to his office. Oswald may be on his way to the elevators.


2. Oswald takes the west elevator to the 5th Floor. He shuts the gate allowing it to be called. Travel time 20 seconds.


3. Around 11.52 am one of the floor crew calls the west elevator from the 5th Floor to the 6th Floor for the race.


4. The elevator race with Williams, Lovelady, Givens, Arce and Norman. Both east and west elevators go from the 6th Floor to the 1st Floor. Oswald calls from 5th Floor as they pass. He has just arrived on the floor and is not far from the lifts as they pass. Maybe he hears the lift called up for the race.


5. Around 11.53 am Oswald calls up the west elevator from the 1st Floor. Oswald takes the elevator back down to the 1st Floor. He is seen by Givens in the domino room just after.


6. Oswald takes the west elevator back up to the 6th Floor.


7. Givens takes the east elevator to the 6th Floor to retrieve his cigarettes. Walking back to the east elevator from the south west corner he notices Oswald walking towards him from the east wall. He claims Oswald repeats the leave the gates closed on the west elevator demand. The problem is, the west elevator is already on the 6th Floor. If Oswald is concerned about the availability of the west elevator, why hasn't he left the gates open just before? Alternatively, if he is in the process of assembling the gun and preparing the snipers nest boxes, why shut the gates after arriving allowing others to arrive?


8. Givens takes the east elevator back down to the 1st Floor. when he arrives the west elevator is not there. Either someone goes up when he is coming down or Oswald has called it up. It is possible it was on the 6th Floor all the time and Oswald's call to shut the gates is a ruse. However, if it is a ruse to maintain the west elevator on the 6th Floor why would Oswald shut the gates after allowing Jarman and Norman to call the elevator later?


9. Bonnie Ray Williams takes the east elevator from the 1st Floor to the 6th Floor to meet up with Lovelady and Arce. He takes his chicken on the bone sandwich, Dr Pepper and a bag of Fritos. I believe the time he ascends is between 12.10 and 12.15 pm. Interestingly in the 10 or more minutes he is there, Williams does not initially wander down as far as the sniper's nest in search of his co-workers or open the window in front of the trolley like others who watch the motorcade do. If he was in the sniper's nest he would hear Norman and Jarman below more easily.


10. About 12.15 pm Arnold Rowland sees a man holding a rifle in the south west corner of the 6th Floor. He saw the man only briefly and on one occasion. He also claimed he saw a negro in the sniper's nest window around this time and that man was there for about 10 minutes.


11. Between 12.15 and 12.25 Carolyn Arnold sees Oswald on the lower floors, either on the 1st Floor or in the 2nd Floor lunchroom.


12. About 12.22 pm Norman and Jarman arrive at the west elevator and notice it is on the 6th Floor. The gates are shut and they can call it down.


13. Norman and Jarman take the west elevator to the 5th Floor. They close the gates on the elevator and walk to the south east windows facing Elm. They open the windows after arriving about 12.24 pm.


14. About this time Williams likely hears someone below and takes the east elevator down to the 5th Floor. He joins Norman and Jarman at the windows about a minute later.


15. Howard Brennan takes up position on the wall opposite the TSBD about 12.25 pm. He scans the windows of the TSBD and notices a white man in the snipers nest. He also notices two black men in the window one floor below and to the left. He later identifies Williams and Jarman as they are leaving the building.


16. Jack Dougherty calls the west elevator from the 5th Floor and takes it to the 6th Floor. He leaves the gates open and collects some stock.


17. Dougherty takes the west elevator down to the 5th Floor and continues collecting stock. He leaves the gates open. At this point a short time before the shots both elevators are on the 5th Floor.


18. The shots ring out at 12.30 pm. Dougherty hears what he thinks is a backfire. Howard Brennan sees the gunman at the time of the last shot in the SN window. Baker sees birds fly from the roof of the TSBD and heads for the entrance. He is followed by Truly and they head for the elevators.


19. At 12.31 pm Truly and Baker arrive at the elevators. Truly calls up twice and rings the bell to release the west lift. After a short time they proceed up the north west stairs.


20. Arriving on the 2nd Floor Baker encounters Oswald in the lunchroom. After a few seconds Truly and Baker continue up the stairway.


21. Dougherty decides to take the west elevator to the 1st Floor. He is told by Piper the President has been shot.


22. Truly and Baker arrive on the 5th Floor vis the stairs and Truly heads for the elevators. The west elevator is not there and he leads Baker to the east elevator. They go to the 7th Floor.


23. Dougherty takes the west elevator to the 5th Floor and continues collecting stock.


24. After a brief search of the 7th Floor and roof of the TSBD Truly and baker return to the east elevator and descend. The time now is about 12.37 pm. Truly notices Dougherty on the 5th Floor on the way down.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 11:21 am

This is nice work, Colin, and obviously you've put a lot of careful thought into it. I have a couple disagreements which I might as well air. But you've put together a good framework for following the movements of the freight elevators.

I put Dougherty in the elevator race. His statement to the Secret Service the first week of December trumps anything else he might have said about this, in my view. (WCD 87, p. 781). "Dougherty was working with the crew laying the new floor on the sixth floor, and descended in the elevator with them to the first floor a few minutes before noon."

I put Williams as accompanying Jarman & Norman to the 5th floor. He said so in his 1st-day affidavit, and Norman said so to the Secret Service on December 4 and in his HSCA interview. Jarman also said so in WCD 87 and in his HSCA interview. Anything Williams says about going to the 6th floor is happy horse manure.

I had the impression that the west elevator was already on the 1st when this trio arrived from the back of the warehouse to take it up, but can't find any evidence right now to corroborate that. It's a long-term impression and corroboration will hopefully turn up.

From Jerry Dealey's Dealey Plaza Echo article "Giving the Dealey Plaza Sewer Troll a 'Lift'" which he sent to me before publication; I think it made it to the August 2009 issue:

The freight elevators were a dual gate system. The gates were slats of wood, with gaps between them held together by linkage. The outer gate was a full one, which rolled into the holder that is seen above the elevator in photos 6 & 7 of CD496. The inner gate was a 3/4 gate, standing about 4 feet from the floor. It lifted into the shaft to open, and the elevators would not move unless both gates were closed (for safety reasons). Additionally, the gates on any other floor would not open if the elevator was not on that floor. (I suppose they could be "jimmied" in some way)

The north wall of the elevator was a complete wall, and the lifting mechanism was attached within that wall. As can be seen in the photos, the south wall was a 3/4 wall, and the interior of the elevator shaft could be seen from within it. Additionally, the 2 freight elevators shared a single elevator shaft, and the elevator walls between them was also a 3/4 wall, with a wire mesh on the remaining 1/4 to the roof. This means that the shaft and the elevator could be seen from within each elevator. ...

...The ceilings of both elevators are a metal roof, with a close pattern of 1/4 inch holes (Perforated metal roof). In addition, each elevator has a hole of about 10" in the center, with a single light bulb within it. This means that anyone in the elevator can clearly see the elevator shaft above him, and would detect if the other elevator were on a higher floor.

*********************************************************************

So, to my mind, even though Redlich & Co. examine the possibility that the west elevator went up to the 6th (from the 5th) once Truly & Baker ascended the stairs, it would be tough to miss while T & B were riding up to the 7th in the east elevator. Truly even said so much in his testimony (III, p. 228)

TRULY:... I could not see the west elevator while operating the east elevator... I didn't notice it anywheres up there. I really wasn't looking for it, however.

I'm still of a mind that the west elevator went down while T & B were going up the stairs, even though this Redlich document terms it "quite unlikely that Truly and Baker would not have noticed the elevator moving as they reached each landing."

As Truly phrased it p. 229): ...I think one of my boys was getting stock off the fifth floor on the back side, and probably moved the elevator at the time- somewheres between the time we were running upstairs. And I would not have remembered that. I mean I really wouldn't have heard that with the commotion we were making running up the enclosed stairwell.

So the noisy wooden stairs drowned out the squeaks and groans of the 50+ year old freight elevator.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by beowulf on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 3:05 pm

20. Arriving on the 2nd Floor Baker encounters Oswald in the lunchroom. After a few seconds Truly and Baker continue up the stairway.

Of all the points Sean has made in his EF thread, the most persuasive is that the 2nd floor lunchroom encounter didn't happen.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Colin Crow on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 4:02 pm

Perhaps I wasn't clear with my analysis. This was using the best interpretation of the WC testimonies. It is not neccessarily my belief of the events, but if you go with them, Dougherty has to take the west elevator up after Jarman and Norman and lock it on 5 after visiting 6. 

I included Givens' account although I am convinced it never happened. I also included Carolyn Arnold although the WC ignored her.

My interpretation of the movements of many of the employees "evolved" to counter aspects that arose over time that tended to preclude Oswald from the 6th floor at the time of the shots. 

It is interesting to see that WC staff had concerns about Dougherty early on but simply used him as a pawn to resolver the elevator issue if notihng else. The Eisenberg and Redlich memos simply confirm the suspicions of anyone who has looked at the movements at the critical time.

PS. I don't know if Dougherty was in the race or not. The testimonies are a puzzle on that to me. I didn't include him on the basis that the WC did not.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by greg parker on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 5:20 pm

PS. I don't know if Dougherty was in the race or not. The testimonies are a puzzle on that to me. I didn't include him on the basis that the WC did not.
Colin, I think the elevator race is another of those things that maybe didn't happen. IIRC, it wasn't mentioned by anyone early on.

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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 6:13 pm

It is interesting to see that the WC staff had concerns about Dougherty early on but simply used him as a pawn to resolve the elevator issue if nothing else.The Eisenberg and Redlich memos simply confirm the suspicions of anyone who has looked at the movements at the critical time.

These memos at least show that behind the scenes the WC staff was puzzled about Dougherty and about the movements of the west elevator. Understanding that puzzle was going to be the key to understanding what happened on the 6th floor. And whatever was going on in terms of informal questioning leading up to formal testimony, no one had admitted yet to being on the west elevator (at the critical time).

This Redlich memo evidences the failure of the Commission to pursue the Jarman, Norman and Williams angle, to bring these guys back for further questioning to see what else they witnessed (or participated in) on the 5th floor. And the failure of the Commission to pursue the Dougherty angle, once they got him to admit he'd taken the west elevator down at the critical time. Anything that didn't fit into the LN solution was going to be completely ignored.

Because any trace of employee complicity would lead to a further puzzle- did they plan this by themselves or was someone behind them? The latter was the only plausible scenario. And now they're staring into the abyss of a domestic coup.

So, at this critical time period in the investigation, late March/early April, the WC lawyers opted to nip this thing in the bud. No further questions about this west elevator business.


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Re: The Mystery of the West Elevator

Post by Guest on Fri 15 Nov 2013, 6:36 pm

Norman Redlich obviously thought the Warren Commission was convened to establish the truth.  As did Melvin Eisenberg.

As far as matters connected to the TSBD his memos give us real insight into the ground work that was being done at a lower level at Commission HQ and how his work was then used to bypass sticky wickets, knit together new and fraudulent pieces of the narrative, and also how the likes of Joseph Ball probably used Redlich's information to prepare his deposition questions and the witnesses themselves.

I think we could as a group start a thread that identifies all of the Redlich-Eiseneberg memos that are held at NARA - work out which ones we currently have access to and which ones we don't and begin a concerted effort to get as many of them online as possible.  

Well done, Richard, and thank you for getting us access to this.

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