Post by BOZ
Brennan was a very impressionable, compliant witness!
Norman Redlich's tactics with Brennan call Commission testimony into
Warren Commission counsel Norman Redlich was not happy with the way
witness Howard Brennan was testifying re the location of Harold Norman and
James Jarman, at the depository's fifth-floor windows. Brennan was
putting the two of them in one window, or half-window, "B", as it was
marked on CE 477, while witnesses Norman, Jarman, and Bonnie Ray Williams
always put themselves in separate windows.
Jarman: "Harold raised the first window to the east side of the building,
and I went to the second rear windows and raised, counting the windows, it
would be the fourth one." (v3p203).
Jarman's recollection matched the Dillard photos. Brennan's didn't, and
Redlich meant to square Brennan and Dillard, even if it seemed to mean
putting words in Brennan's mouth. Redlich: "Mr. McCloy, may I have
permission to ask this question of this witness?" McCloy: "Very well."
Brennan had been going on about window "B" with David Belin. Belin: "I
hand you CE 477, where you marked a "B" at the point there you first said
you saw the Negro men. Is this the one you say now you might have been
mistaken?" Brennan: "Yes, I believe I was mistaken. I believe the two
men that I identified was in this window." Belin: "You are pointing to
the window to the east of where you have now marked "B"?" Brennan:
"That I am not positive of. I just remember that they were over one
window from below [the sniper], which at that time I might have thought
this was one window over." (v3p152) Indeed, the double windows are
Belin picks up where he left off in the afternoon session of 3/24/64:
"You believe you saw two people in this window here to the east of the
window that you first marked "B"?" Brennan: "Yes. I am not positive."
Redlich sees that Belin is not making any progress and it's here that he
asks to take over: "You are not prepared to state which of these three
possible windows?" Brennan: "That is right." Brennan, still not
positive. Redlich: "By three, I mean the two windows to the east, plus
the one window which is circled and marked with a "B". Brennan stands his
(shaky) ground: "Nothing makes me think that they were in this window,
but I am in question whether it was this window or this window." No one
clafifies what Brennan meant by "this window", "this window", and "this
Redlich closes his case: "And of the two people that you saw, it is
possible you are saying that one might have been in the window marked "B"
and another might have been in a window to the east?" Brennan folds:
"Yes." (v3pp185-6) But, to be clear, he was NOT saying that one was in
window 3 (or "B") and one was in window 2, the next window to the east.
He was, you'll recall, saying that both Norman and Jarman were in either
window 3 OR window 2. But Brennan apparently sees what Redlich wants, and
capitulates. You can almost see the light bulb click on over Brennan's
head. After all, it was he who, earlier, asked, of Belin--when Belin
said, "You thought it was Mr. Norman. And what about Mr. Jarman?"--"I
believe it was him, too. Am I right or wrong?" Who is poor Brennan to
believe, Belin or his own eyes, or memory?
Redlich--apparently exhausted by Belin's and his own attempts to get
Brennan to the "correct" answer--relents. But Brennan still has his men
in windows 2 and 3, where the Dillards show them in 1 and 4. (I specify
"2" because Brennan insisted that the two men were "over one window from
below [the "nest"]." Redlich's emendation of Brennan's testimony is still
off. Singly or together, Norman and Jarman never said that they were in
windows 2 or 3. It's almost as if Brennan did not even see Norman or
Jarman up there. Unaided, he puts them in 2; with Redlich's estimable
aid, he puts them in 2 and 3, respectively. Progress? Either way, only
Williams appeared in one of the Brennan-Redlich windows: window 2.
When this game of musical windows stopped, Norman (or was it Jarman?) was
in Williams' window. That would seem to be the only window in which
Brennan could have seen any of the three man, at least according to
Redlich's, or rather Brennan's testimony: The other Brennan-Redlich
window--3--remained closed at 12:30pm.
Of course, not all Warren Commission witnesses were as suggestible as
Brennan. ("Am I right or wrong?") But several--including Virginia Davis,
Cecil McWatters, and William Whaley--seem to have been eager, maybe too
eager, to please the authorities. Their willingness to comply--even if
mere compliance was not what was actually wanted--calls the entirety of
their respective testimonies into question. Did Brennan, for instance,
have help--a la Redlich--beforehand, locating the sniper's nest in what
would be designated window "A" (on CE 477)? (Was he right or wrong?)
Something was certainly awry here, because he maintained that the
sixth-floor "nest" window was "open just like... the windows on the fifth
floor immediately below" (v3p153). Unlike Redlich, however, counsel David
Belin let Brennan have his way, and did not suggest that maybe he really
meant "halfway open".