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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Was there a Diversionary Action to Allow the Snipers to get into Position?

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Here is the excerpt from Jim Garrison's interview in the October 1967 issue of Playboy Magazine:

Garrison claims that the man "simulating an epileptic fit" drew people away from the grassy knoll. But this man was on the west side of Houston street, so I am not sure how that was supposed to work.

The man who had the seizure was Jerry Belknap. He was interviewed by the FBI:

Garrison never gave up on this incident. He wrote in On the Trail of the Assassins:

The incident involving the "epileptic" who had a seizure before the arrival of the President's motorcade aroused suspicion on several counts. First, it effectively made unavailable the ambulance that was on standby in case of injury to the President, which had to be used to take the epileptic man to Parkland Hospital. Second, the incident created a distraction and caused Dallas police officer Joe Smith to leave his post at the corner of the Depository, making it possible for men on the grassy knoll to move into position as the parade turned off Main onto Houston. Third, a number of witnesses who wrote to our office found it strange that the woman who was treating the epileptic until the ambulance picked him up -- he had bloodied his head slightly in falling -- and who had promptly appeared and identified herself as a nurse, was nevertheless dipping her handkerchief in the goldfish pond before wiping his head. Some of the correspondents described the epileptic as a Latin man wearing Army fatigues. Fourth, when our office followed up at Parkland Hospital, we found that once the ambulance arrived there the alleged epileptic walked off, refusing to be treated or to identify himself.

Really? If not for Jerry Belknap, the gunmen on the grassy knoll could not have been moved into position?

But Garrison went further. He had a lead on the identification of the man who had the epileptic fit:

The appearance and reappearance of "dark-skinned," "Spanish-looking" or "Negro" men in the descriptions of the witnesses intrigued me. Not only was the man in the lair identified that way, but the "epileptic" observed in Dealey Plaza was described as a Latin man wearing Army green combat garb. That description reminded me of the anti-Castro Cuban exiles who were constantly traipsing through Guy Banister's office on their way to guerilla training on Lake Pontchartrain.

And, the 'epileptic' man made an appearance in Oliver Stone's film, JFK: (page 7)


We see a massive overhead shot of the Plaza as it lay then. Credits conclude under shot -- and we have the subtitle "November 22, 1963."

A young epileptic screams and suddenly collapses near the fountain in front of the Texas School Book Depository. He has a violent epileptic fit that attracts surrounding attention. Dallas policemen run over to him. We hear the siren of an ambulance roaring up.

TIMECUT TO ambulance loading the epileptic man and taking off

AMBULANCE VOICE: We are en route to Parkland.

Later on in the film, Garrison gives his final summation: (Page 161)

JIM: So what really happened that day? Let's just for a moment speculate, shall we? We have the epileptic seizure around 12:15 P.M. ... distracting the police, making it easier for the shooters to move into their places. The epileptic later vanished, never checking into the hospital. The A Team gets on the 6th floor of the Book Depository ...

The book of the film cites Warren Commission Document 1245 -- the document shown above -- as a source for the claim that the 'epileptic' didn't check into the hospital.

The document didn't quite say that.


Dennis Moricet informs me that the picture used in the Berkeley Barb comes from the Amateur DCA/John Martin film.


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