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[info]insidethearrb


insidethearrb


The "CLIFTON" Version of the Air Force One Tapes Yields Important Information

[info]insidethearrb

February 26th, 21:24

On November 15, 2011, AP reporter Joann Loviglio posted a story of major interest on the AP wire about a new version of the Air Force One tapes of in-flight conversations with the ground, recorded the day of President Kennedy's assassination by the White House Communications Agency, on 11/22/63, as the Presidential aircraft (SAM 26000) was enroute from Love Field in Dallas, Texas to Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland. This new version was found in the effects of former Military Aide to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Army Brigadier General Chester V. Clifton, who retired in 1965 (and took the reel-to-reel tape recording with him into retirement). Clifton died in 1991; his widow died in 2009; and the tape recording and various papers were acquired by the RAAB Collection in a public sale, conducted by Clifton's heirs. The article stated that the RAAB Collection, in addition to selling the original tape recording purchased from the Clifton estate, was going to donate a digitized copy to the National Archives.

That was appropriate, since the tape was government property---indeed, was a historically significant archival record of the American government in crisis---which had been purloined by a government official when he retired. (This was common practice in the mid 1960s, but is prohibited by law today.) What made this story so interesting to so many people is the fact that the earlier version of the Air Force One tapes, released by the LBJ Library in the 1970s, was known to have been edited and condensed (since the disclaimer admitting this preceded the actual recording). Its contents were about 110-115 minutes long. It contained much provocative and interesting material about the in-flight planning for JFK's autopsy: namely, differing opinions about where it should be conducted, and about how the body should be transported to the autopsy site. This may have seemed to many of only mild historical curiosity in the mid-1970s when the tape was first released, but questions about how the autopsy site was selected, and how the body was transported to the site, took on major importance after David Lifton published his 1981 book Best Evidence, which provided convincing evidence for multiple casket entries into the Bethesda morgue that evening. Following the release of the HSCA's staff interviews in 1993 (thanks to the JFK Records Act), and through the work of the ARRB staff (in deposing retired FBI agents Frank O'Neill and James Sibert; and in acquiring the written report of Marine Corps Sergeant Roger Boyajian, dated 11/22/63), the evidence for three different casket entries into the Bethesda morgue on November 22, 1963---as posited by David Lifton in 1981---has become fact, and is now unchallengeable. Those three casket entries, which make the Air Force One tapes so historically significant and relevant even today, are summarized below:

The Three Casket Entries (Summarized):

(1) 6:35 PM/casket delivered was a cheap aluminum shipping casket/mode of delivery was a hearse (a black Cadillac mortuary-style ambulance). The hearse was offloaded by Navy Petty Officer Dennis David and his Navy working party of about 8 sailors, wearing Navy working uniforms (not dress uniforms). [Supporting evidence: David's recollections to a newspaper in 1975 and to David Lifton in 1979 and 1980; and the subsequent recollections of Donald Rebentisch (a member of his working party), circa 1981. The time of this casket entry (1835 hours, or 6:35 PM) was reported contemporaneously by USMC Sergeant Boyajian in his 11/26/63 typed after-action report; he authenticated a copy he sent to the ARRB staff in 1997.]

(2) 7:15-7:17 PM/casket delivered was a bronze, ceremonial viewing casket furnished by the Oneal Funeral Home at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. It was taken into the morgue anteroom by four Federal agents (using a wheeled conveyance, likely a "church truck"): FBI agents James Sibert and Frank O'Neill, and Secret Service Agents Roy Kellerman and William Greer. [Supporting evidence: HSCA staff interviews of Sibert and O'Neill from the late 1970s; ARRB depositions of Sibert and O'Neill taken in 1997; and an FBI internal memorandum from 1964 that helped to approximate the timing of this casket entry as about 7:17.]

(3) 8:00 PM/casket delivered was the same bronze, ceremonial viewing casket from Dallas that had entered earlier---with no one inside it (empty)---at 7:17 PM. It was taken into the morgue again at 8:00 PM (this time with JFK's body having first been reintroduced into the casket) by the Joint Service Casket Team, or "honor guard," composed of US Navy, US Army, US Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel wearing dress uniforms and white gloves. [Supporting evidence: the written report of the Military District of Washington provided the time of 2000 hours; and extensive interviews by authors David Lifton and William Manchester established the unique nature of this ceremonial second entry for the Dallas casket.]

Each time the bronze, ceremonial viewing casket from Dallas was brought to the morgue, it was delivered to the loading dock by a light gray, Navy mortuary-type ambulance. The bronze Dallas casket in the light gray Navy ambulance did not even arrive at Bethesda Naval Hospital (from Andrews AFB) until 6:55 PM, or 20 minutes AFTER JFK's body was delivered to the morgue (via a simple aluminum shipping casket, in a hearse, or mortuary-style black Cadillac). The Dallas casket was not driven away from the front of Bethesda Naval Hospital, around to the morgue loading dock, until about 7:07 PM, and was then not offloaded until about 7:15-7:17 PM or so. The upshot? The publicized, televised removal of the bronze Dallas casket from Air Force One about 6:10 PM, immediately after Air Force One was "on the blocks" (at 6:04 PM), was a sham, for by definition that casket had to be empty when it was offloaded, since JFK's body first arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital twenty minutes prior to that ornate viewing coffin from Dallas. The first entry of the Dallas casket into the Bethesda morgue was of an empty coffin. As I documented in my book, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board, the early arrival of JFK's body in the shipping casket, at 6:35 PM, provided time for key medical personnel at Bethesda Naval Hospital to perform a preliminary inspection of his head wounds, and to grossly expand the President's cranial wounds---by illicit, clandestine post-mortem surgery---in order to remove evidence of shots from the front and right front, prior to the formal commencement of the autopsy at 8:15 PM. The second entry of the Dallas casket at 8:00 PM allowed the honor guard to carry JFK's body---his cranial wounds, unknown to them, now altered and dramatically different in appearance---into the morgue, which was their primary function that night. After earlier "losing" the casket while chasing a decoy ambulance around the grounds of Bethesda in the darkness, it was imperative to those orchestrating the cover-up that night that the confused and mortified Joint Service Casket Team be allowed to "find the casket" shortly before 8:00 PM, and perform their duly authorized function. It was the "impossibly early" arrival of JFK's body, in a different casket from which it left Dallas (an aluminum shipping casket), and in a different ambulance from that in which the Dallas casket left Andrews AFB (namely, in a hearse, a black Cadillac), that broke the chain-of-custody of the body and therefore, by definition, invalidated the results of the Bethesda autopsy. The broken chain-of-custody was evidence of a covert operation that was underway---in short, obstruction of justice.

It is this context, summarized above, which makes the Air Force One tapes, containing undisputed audio evidence of a powerful tug-of-war over the forthcoming autopsy, so important today, almost 49 years after JFK's assassination. I Iistened to the earlier, edited-and-condensed LBJ Library version of the tapes at the National Archives in October of 1995---and wrote a 7-page ARRB staff memo on October 17, 1995, about why they were so relevant and interesting to historians and researchers. I also wrote about the Air Force One tapes on pages 1660-1664 of volume V of my book, Inside the ARRB.

This brings us to the point of this essay, which is that I have found three items of particular interest in the new "Clifton" version of the Air Force One tapes that is now available to the public (for free) from the National Archives. The "Clifton" version can be downloaded from a GPO/NARA website at this address:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-NARA-JFK-ASSASSINATION-AUDIO/content-detail.html

(You can cut-and-paste the above address into your search engine, or simply Google the following phrase---"Post JFK Assassination Air Force One Flight Deck Recordings"---and you will be led to the webpage that allows you to download the new version of the Air Force One tapes.)

The "Clifton" recordings can be downloaded via two MP3 audio files: one is called "side 1" and is 70.1 MB in size; the other is called "side 2" and is 66.3 MB in size.

It appears that the audio has been digitally cleaned up as much as possible already. There is still considerable static in places, and there is still some audio distortion on occasion in some conversations, but overall the quality of the audio in these digitized recordings is far superior to that in the LBJ Library versions, released in years past on audiocassette.

Furthermore, the "Clifton" recording of the Air Force One conversations from 11/22/63 is 2 hours and 22 minutes long---about 27 or so minutes longer than the LBJ Library version.

Here is my report on three aspects of the "Clifton" recording which are different from the LBJ version---i.e., new material---and worthy of note:

I. A "black Cadillac" is clearly mentioned in the new recordings. Download side 1 (the 70.1 MB MP3 recording), and fast forward to the segment that begins at time 1:02:20, and which ends at time 1:03:13. What you are listening to here is "back chatter" (i.e., background conversation) from the White House Situation Room ("Crown"), which was picked up inadvertently in an "open mike" situation, in which AF1 was temporarily off the line due to communications problems, and the "Crown" microphone remained "hot." The following snippets of conversation by unidentified background speakers can be heard, as follows: "...black car...[followed by faint, garbled conversation]...that Cadillac is the...[followed by faint, garbled conversation]...black Cadillac...[followed by faint, garbled conversation]...I'd get him out there anyways, regardless! And then get him out there [garbled] regardless, then maybe, then maybe...[followed by faint, garbled conversation]..."black Cadillac." This final use of the phrase "black Cadillac," ending at time 1:03:12, is the loudest and clearest use of that phrase during this overheard, "hot mike" conversation. The phrase "black Cadillac" could barely be heard (and just once) on the LBJ Library tape when I reviewed it at the Archives in 1995, but was extremely faint and the context was uncertain, which I pointed out in my 1995 ARRB memo. Now, in the "Clifton" version of the Air Force One tapes, the phrase "black Cadillac" is unmistakable, and its overall context is clear---it is preceded and followed by discussions about where the autopsy site should be, and about how to get JFK's body to the autopsy site (i.e., the tug-of-war over whether to use an ambulance or a helicopter). The immediate context of the speaker's comments above is clearly about getting the body to the autopsy site as fast as possible, and matches the general context, which is the aforementioned ongoing discussion about where the autopsy should be held and how the body should be transported there. This mention of a "black car" and a "black Cadillac" strongly corroborates Dennis David's consistent account (for more than three decades now) about how his working party met a hearse (a black Cadillac) and unloaded a shipping casket---the first of three casket entries that night at the Bethesda morgue. [It is important to note that Dr. "J" Thornton Boswell, the Navy pathologist who assisted the chief prosector, Dr. James J. Humes, confirmed to Dennis David later that evening after the conclusion of the JFK autopsy that the President had indeed been inside the casket that David's working party offloaded from the black Cadillac, or hearse, at 6:35 PM.] If any more evidence was needed as to Dennis David's veracity, it has now been amply supplied. Many of the speakers using the "Crown" handle that night were national security officials (such as Chief of the Secret Service White House Detail Gerald Behn; and McGeorge Bundy, the National Security Advisor to the President). They surely had their staff assistants with them. The "black Cadillac" remarks cited above were probably spoken by Secret Service agents, or by persons working for McGeorge Bundy. Someone with sensitive sound equipment may, in the future, be able to recover more of the conversation cited above. I have quoted for you here what I could glean myself from turning my speakers up to maximum, and through the use of studio headphones.

II. General LeMay's aide, a Colonel Dorman, urgently attempted to contact General LeMay by radio shortly before his inbound plane from Canada landed. This conversation is recorded on "side 2," the 66.3 MB MP3 recording, between times 11:05 and 12:04. Why have I declared this to be of such interest? Why is it more than just a passing, random, historical curiosity? Because: (1) General LeMay, returning from Canada to the United States following learning about the assassination, disobeyed the orders of the Secretary of the Air Force (his nominal superior), Mr. Eugene Zuckert, and instead of landing at Andrews AFB as he was directed, landed at Washington D.C.'s National Airport adjacent to downtown Washington, D.C., instead; and (2) because Paul K. O'Connor, a Navy corpsman who assisted the Navy pathologists with the autopsy on JFK, stated many times before his death that General LeMay attended the autopsy of President Kennedy on 11/22/63. I documented the great antipathy that LeMay (Air Force Chief of Staff) and President Kennedy had for each other---as well as LeMay's disobedience toward the Air Force Secretary the day of the assassination---in volume 2 of Inside the ARRB, on pages 481-488. The real question here is, "Why did the editor of the LBJ Library version of the Air Force One tapes decide to remove this conversation from that version of the recordings?" Perhaps the whole subject of General LeMay, particularly whether or not he was present at JFK's autopsy, was "radioactive" when the tapes were edited in the 1960s. General LeMay did not retire from the U.S. Air Force until 1965; presumably he was still Air Force Chief of Staff when the edited and condensed tapes were assembled, and perhaps he had personally ordered the removal of that conversation from the record. Alternatively, someone else may not have wanted LeMay's name even remotely associated with the events surrounding the autopsy, especially if he had been present at JFK's post-mortem examination. More than one third of the air time on the Air Force One tapes is devoted to the autopsy arrangements, and "someone" may have been quite uncomfortable about the urgently expressed desire of LeMay's aide to contact him early that evening. LeMay landed at National Airport 52 minutes prior to the "on the blocks" time for Air Force One, and 83 minutes prior to the arrival of JFK's body at Bethesda (at 6:35 PM). He had plenty of time to be driven to Andrews if he had wanted to be there; and he certainly had plenty of time to drive from National Airport (or the nearby Pentagon) to Bethesda Naval Hospital, prior to the body's arrival.

III. The takeoff time of Air Force Two from Dallas, Texas and its prospective arrival time at Andrews AFB is conclusively provided on the new Air Force One tapes. (This information is not present on the LBJ Library version of the Air Force One tapes.) Go to "side 2," the 66.3 MB MP3 download, and you can find this short exchange between "Liberty" and "Andrews" beginning at time 12:35, and ending at time 13.11. Why is this important? Because previous to this, the only known record of when Air Force Two (SAM 86970) took off from Dallas (at 2115 Zulu time, or 3:15 PM local) was its mention in the reports of two Secret Service agents. The same takeoff time in these two written reports (2115 Zulu time) is present on the "Clifton" Air Force One tape, corroborating the times given by the Secret Service agents. Similarly, previous to the public release of the "Clifton" tapes, the only known record of the landing time for Air Force Two---2330 Zulu time, or 6:30 PM local in D.C.---was contained in the "Chuck Holmes Logbook" donated to the ARRB by an Air Force civil servant who "rescued it from the trash." The anticipated landing time for "970" of 2330 Zulu given on the new recording is identical to, and thus corroborates, the actual landing time of 1830 local (6:30 PM in D.C.) recorded in the "Chuck Homes Logbook" from Andrews AFB. The importance of these two times cannot be overstated, for they completely dispell and disprove theories that JFK's body was actually transported to D.C. on Air Force Two, instead of Air Force One. We know that JFK's body arrived at the Bethesda morgue at 1835 local (6:35 PM), per the Boyajian report. Since AF2 landed at 1830 local time (per the Chuck Holmes Logbook, as corroborated by the new Air Force One recording), it is therefore impossible for JFK's body to have come east on that airplane and then, to have also arrived at Bethesda at 1835 hours, local time. (Those implementing the JFK medical cover-up did NOT have access to Starfleet "transporters," a la Star Trek, in November of 1963!) I disposed of one such theory in the Epilogue to my book, Inside the ARRB, in volume V, pages 1777-1796.

WHY WE CANNOT ACCEPT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA'S ASSUMPTION THAT THE "CLIFTON" TAPES ARE THE COMPLETE, UNEDITED AIR FORCE ONE RECORDINGS

In my October 17, 1995 memo, and in my book, Inside the ARRB, I explained that Master Sergeant John Trimble, USAF, the AF1 radio officer, had written in his after action report that he "...had three phone patches going simultaneously most of the time" during the flight from Dallas to Andrews AFB. Examination of the Air Force One tapes reveals that there were four radio circuits actually in use on the flight, and Trimble's report explains that three of them were in nearly full time, simultaneous use. The duration of the flight was 2 hours and 17 minutes---Air Force One took off at 2047 Zulu time and was "on the blocks" at Andrews at 2304 Zulu time. If we shave 17 minutes off of the flight time, just to be conservative, and then multiply the remainder (2 hours) by the number of circuits in nearly full time simultaneous use (3), we get the following sum: 2 X 3 = 6 hours. That is, assuming all three radio circuits in full-time use were recorded, the Air Force One tapes should actually be at least SIX HOURS LONG. The "Clifton" tapes are two hours and twenty two minutes long, which means that as much as three and one half hours could still be missing from history.

There are two reasons to believe that this may actually be the case. The first is the fact that the radio dispatcher and facilitator at Andrews who is heard so often on the Air Force One tapes, "Airman Gilmore," explains numerous times on the recording that Air Force One and "Crown" (the White House Situation Room) had two radio patches going simultaneously with each other, and that this was why so many other entities could not contact Air Force One when they desired. One gets no sense of two patches going simultaneously from listening to the Air Force One tapes. It is as if one whole "track" of conversation was missing from the recordings. If so, what might have been on that "missing track?"

I explained what may still be missing today from the Air Force One tapes on pages 1660-1664 of volume V of my book, Inside the ARRB. What I wrote then about the LBJ Library version applies equally today to the "Clifton" version. Both journalist and author Theodore White (in his book The Making of the President, 1964), and Assistant Secretary of State Robert Manning (who was onboard the Cabinet plane bound for Japan, SAM 86972, when JFK was assassinated), both unequivocally stated that the President's assassin was identified to the occupants of both Air Force One and SAM 86972 by radio---and by implication, therefore, from the White House. "Crown," the White House Situation Room, is the font of all knowledge on the Air Force One tapes---there is no other reasonable candidate for who would have passed this information to the passengers on the two aircraft. Anyone who listens to the Air Force One tapes will understand that. White wrote on page 48 of his book, "On the flight the party learned that there was no conspiracy [and] learned of the identity of Oswald and his arrest...". Manning told the authors of the 1993 oral history, Let Us Begin Anew: An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency (p. 450-451), "The news then came in [after Pierre Salinger had been informed of JFK's death] that someone named Oswald who had been in the Soviet Union had done this."

The two accounts corroborate each other quite nicely. The only problem here is that Oswald had only been arrested on suspicion of shooting a policeman, and had not been charged with the murder of the President while Air Force One was in flight. Air Force One landed at 5:04 PM Dallas time, and Lee Harvey Oswald was not charged with the murder of the President until near midnight. It appears, from the accounts of White and Manning, that someone in the White House Situation Room ("Crown") jumped the gun, and prematurely incriminated Oswald, and blamed the assassination on a lone nut, well before the Dallas Police Department had even come to that conclusion. (And we know now that it was pressure from LBJ that caused Will Fritz, the Chief of Homicide at the Dallas Police Department, to stop blaming the assassination on an international Communist conspiracy, and blame it all on the lone suspect in custody. As LBJ told Fritz on the phone, "You have your man.") Furthermore, as quoted on Saturday morning in the Dallas papers, late Friday afternoon and early Friday evening, District Attorney Henry Wade was openly proclaiming that the assassination could not have been the work of one man. If this was Wade's tentative conclusion on Friday afternoon and early Friday evening, then how could the passengers on SAM 26000 and SAM 86972 be told that Oswald had done the assassination all on his own, unless they were being fed a cover story by the conspirators themselves?

If the accounts of White and Manning are correct---White either spoke to someone who had listened to the complete, unedited Air Force One tapes, or someone who had been aboard Air Force One; and Manning himself was aboard SAM 86972 with Salinger and Rusk and personally heard the premature announcement of Oswald's guilt with his own ears---then the serious nature of this gaffe---blaming Oswald for the crime before evidence had been developed to support that contention---would explain why so much of the Air Force One recording still appears to missing.

I encourage everyone reading this essay to download the "Clifton" tapes themselves, and focus anew (or perhaps for the first time, if you have not yet done so) on the disastrous spoken record of the JFK autopsy arrangements that were recorded for posterity by "Liberty" in the American midwest. (It was "Liberty's" job to monitor and record all Presidential communications while in-flight.) Even if it is true that three and one half hours of national security discussions about the purported lone assassin are still missing from the "Clifton" recording, the conversations we do have are a damning indictment of a poorly organized cover-up "on the fly," with those involved working at cross-purposes with each other. The "Clifton" tapes have only made this sorrowful record a bit more interesting, and a bit more definitive.

Postscript: Researcher Bill Kelly has prepared and posted a transcript of the "Clifton" version of the Air Force One tapes on his blogsite, "JFK Countercoup," as well as much illuminating background information that will better inform anyone interested in this subject---information about Curtis LeMay and JFK; Colonel Dorman, LeMay's Aide; and "Liberty," the Collins Radio facility whose job is was to record air-to-ground Presidential communications, beginning in 1962. Here is the link to Bill Kelly's Air Force One transcript: http://jfkcountercoup.blogspot.com/2012/02/air-force-one-radio-transmission.html END

[info]insidethearrb

November 22nd, 2011

AN OPEN LETTER TO Mr. Chris Matthews of MSNBC's "Hardball," Written on 11/22/2011, On the 48th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Chris Matthews of MSNBC still "doesn't get it" regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. He proclaimed yet again today on his cable-TV program (as he has many times in the past) that Lee Harvey Oswald killed our 35th President 48 years ago today, and that he did it all by himself. He further opined that the reason so many "liberals" in America refuse to accept this, is because they have an emotional shortcoming: that they find it difficult to accept "that a nobody killed a somebody," and then blamed that shortcoming on William Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, by explaining that these great authors have trained us, with their great works of literature, to always expect to find that a Great Evil Force, or a sinister cabal, or an evil nemesis, was behind the murder of the Good, and that only a "Dr. Moriarity" could bring down a hero like Sherlock Holmes. In other words, Chris Matthews was telling the American people that we are not grown up enough to accept the truth.

I am writing this piece to intentionally and publicly challenge Chris Matthews by stating that it is HE who cannot accept the truth. There are only two possibilities here: either (1) Chris Matthews is such a "Pollyanna" about our country, so desperate to love it totally and without reservation, that he cannot accept the fact that our national leadership and our major institutions (the new 36th President, the Warren Commission, the FBI, and the Fourth Estate to which he belongs) failed us so completely in 1963 and 1964 by covering up the truth that JFK was killed by a crossfire in Dealey Plaza, and the more important truth that his public execution was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between JFK and his national security establishment over America's place in the world and the future of American foreign policy and the Cold War; or (2) he is willfully acting under the marching orders of others in promoting a position that he knows is untrue. For quite a long time I assumed it was option number one above---namely, that Chris loved America so much that he had a blind spot, and refused to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of conspiracy and cover-up in JFK's assassination because he just could not bring himself to believe that the America of his childhood was that badly flawed. But now I am not so sure that there is a benign explanation for Matthews' continued behavior every November when this dark anniversary rolls around again. For today, who was his guest on "Hardball" helping him to proclaim Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt and the "obvious" truth of the lone assassin hypothesis of the discredited Warren Commission? None other than Max Holland, a man recently outed by Mark Lane in his latest book, Final Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK, as a CIA third party surrogate whose primary job for years has been to sell the lone assassin hypothesis to the American people (who stubbornly still refuse to accept it, and in large numbers). Mark Lane makes this claim about Max Holland in his new 2011 book, with evidence that I have found persuasive. I encourage the readers of this piece to read Mr. Lane's book---if you wish to learn more about Max Holland---and to judge for yourself.

During the carefully orchestrated interview with Chris Matthews, Max Holland today likened Lee Harvey Oswald to the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. And Matthews scolded all of us poor misguided Americans who believe there was a conspiracy to kill JFK by accusing us of willful blindness, since as he claims, we are unable to accept that "a nobody" had killed a popular President.

I've got news for you, Chris Matthews: I have no trouble believing that Timothy McVeigh was an angry lone nut who blew up a Federal Building and killed many innocent people, and furthermore I have no trouble believing that Mark David Chapman, for instance, killed John Lennon all by himself, or that President Ford was stalked by a lone nut who attempted to kill him but failed. I have no trouble believing those things because the overwhelming weight of the evidence points in that direction in each case. In spite of my love for the Beatles, I did not have a strong emotional need that forced me to construct a conspiracy theory around how and why John Lennon was murdered. Get real, Chris---spare us the psychobabble.

If the evidence for Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt was as simplistic and as overwhelming as you and Warren Commission apologists like Max Holland claim it to be, I would have had no problem concluding many years ago that a lone assassin killed JFK. But instead, the reverse is true; there are numerous overwhelming reasons not only to doubt, but to disbelieve the lone assassin hypothesis, as follows:

(1) JFK's autopsy report in the National Archives is at least the third written version of that document; the first written draft was burned, and the first signed version is now missing. The autopsy report is therefore now impugned as evidence and would not be admitted as evidence if there were a trial proceeding.

(2) Numerous autopsy photos that are known to have been taken are missing, and many of the autopsy images in the existing collection in the National Archives have been repudiated by both the Parkland Hospital medical staff who treated JFK in an attempt to save his life, AND by key witnesses who were present at JFK's autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital, including the official photographer and the two FBI agents present. Two skull x-rays are missing, and there is very robust scientific evidence (empirical, testable evidence) that the three remaining skull x-rays in the National Archives are altered copy films, not originals. The official collection of autopsy photos and x-rays, therefore, have been impugned as evidence and would not be admitted as evidence if there were a trial proceeding.

(3) The chain of custody of the so-called "Magic Bullet," Commission Exhibit 399, was impugned by a devastating FBI fact summary written in July of 1964 and published in the Warren Commission's 26 volumes of evidence. Its provenance is extremely suspect and it would not have been admitted as evidence at a trial.

(4) The contemporaneous eyewitness and earwitness testimony from Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that JFK's limousine was driven into a crossfire on Elm Street---an ambush---and that he was shot at from the front, from the side, and from behind. Kenny O'Donnell and Dave Powers, both beloved and trusted JFK aides, believed this, and they were present in the followup car, directly behind the limousine. (You were not there, Chris, and neither was Max Holland.) This strong evidence, along with the primary pattern of the exit debris (from the head explosion) noted in Dealey Plaza that day, is prima facie evidence of conspiracy. The acoustic dictabelt tape recorded by the Dallas Police Department, analyzed for the HSCA by two different consulting firms, is also proof of conspiracy since it unequivocally proves that at least one shot was fired from the right front.

(5) Lee Harvey Oswald was not an authentic Communist as you claimed on your show today; rather, he was almost certainly part of a "fake defector program" run by the CIA in the late 1950s, and he was without a doubt masquerading as a leftist lover of Fidel Castro when he was in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. In short, he was a patriotic U.S. ex-Marine who was being run as an intelligence agent both when he was in the Soviet Union, AND following his return to the United States in 1962. Most disturbing of all is the fact that during his infamous trip to Mexico City in late September and early October of 1963 (during which someone identifying himself as Lee Harvey Oswald visited both the Cuban and Soviet embassies), there is very persuasive evidence that he was impersonated by someone pretending to be him, both at the Cuban embassy (in person), and subsequently, on the telephone to the Soviet Embassy. This impostiture was clearly part of an attempt to "set him up" for the forthcoming murder of JFK, by providing a superficial link to both Castro's Cuba and to the officer in charge of Western Hemisphere assassinations at the Soviet embassy.

(6) Oswald did not get his job as the Book Depository in Dallas by chance, as you claimed today on your program. Ruth Paine (with whom his wife Marina was living in Fort Worth) was instrumental in helping him obtain that job---and in preventing him from taking an alternate job instead---and as author Jim Douglass has demonstrated in his book JFK and the Unspeakable, both Ruth Paine and her husband Michael had strong ties to the CIA. They took over the mentoring/babysitting of Oswald once his first handler following his return to the U.S., George DeMohrenschildt (a friend of LBJ's, and an agent of U.S. intelligence), left the U.S.for a clandestine assignment in Haiti in the spring of 1963.

(7) No credible witness saw Lee Harvey Oswald firing his rifle that day, and furthermore, the paraffin test designed to determine whether he had done so, produced a negative result. In fact, Oswald was seen in the second floor lunch room only 5 minutes prior to the assassination (not on the sixth floor), and based on the most careful analysis of the famous Altgens photo, Oswald was in fact standing in the front doorway of the Book Depository when JFK's motorcade went by. He was discovered calmly drinking a coke at the second floor lunch room soda machine less than 90 seconds after the assassination by Dallas motorcycle patrolman Marion Baker. Not only was his WWII surplus Italian carbine "junk," with a defective firing pin, but the rifle's scope was also junk, and was misaligned.

(8) Analysis of Oswald's denials of shooting anyone and his denial that he killed JFK, recorded during his brief captivity after the assassination, were subjected to PSE machine (psychological stress evaluation) analysis circa 1975, and he was found unequivocally to have been telling the truth when he made those two denials.

(9) Recent analysis in Hollywood of digitized frames from a high quality duplicate negative of the Zapruder film (purchased from the National Archives) have revealed crude black patches---visual effects, or artwork---superimposed over the back of JFK's head in key frames of the extant Zapruder film. These special visual effects---state of the art in 1963 but now clearly discernible using today's technology---were designed to hide the exit wound in the rear of President Kennedy's head (evidence of a fatal shot from the front) that was seen by all of the treatment physicians and nurses who assisted him at Parkland Hospital.

(10) The CIA and Secret Service had joint custody of the Zapruder film the weekend of the assassination (on Saturday and Sunday evenings, 11/23 and 11/24) in Washington, D.C. at the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center (where briefing boards were made from frame enlargements of two different versions of the film---first, from the camera original, and then, from an altered film masquerading as the original); the camera original film was not in the hands of LIFE magazine Saturday evening in Chicago (as has previously been claimed). All indications today are that alterations to the Zapruder film (to hide evidence of frontal shots) were commissioned by the CIA and were performed by Kodak at a state-of-the-art lab at its headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. on Sunday, 11/24/63. LIFE magazine, at the request of the national security establishment, ensured the film was suppressed as a motion picture for 12 years, out of fear that the film's alteration would be discovered if it were to be closely scrutinized by experts. For this reason, LIFE only published selected still frames, but never loaned it or licensed it to be shown or studied as a motion picture, even though the magazine had paid Zapruder an additional $ 100K for motion picture rights above and beyond its original offer of $ 50K (for still picture rights only). After a bootleg copy of the film was shown on ABC television in 1975, LIFE sold it back to the Zapruder family for one dollar, never having exploited its huge investment in the motion picture rights. (The original intent---suppression of the film as a motion picture---had been circumvented in 1975, so LIFE no longer had any use for the film.)

(11) The "wrong rifle"---a 7.65 Mauser---was the first weapon found in the Book Depository, not the 6.5 mm Italian carbine that is so infamous today. This is another strong indicator of conspiracy, for Oswald did not own a Mauser. The Mauser was probably one of the weapons actually used in the assassination, whereas the Italian carbine was a "stage prop."

I could go on and on, but that is enough for now.

Let me conclude by making this public challenge to Chris Matthews: Chris, I just bought a copy of your book Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero---and I look forward to reading it and learning even more about the life and style of our beloved 35th President. I commend you for your ongoing praise of his life, his courage, and his political skills. That praise is well-merited.

I challenge you to read just three books on the JFK Assassination:

My own five-volume work on the medical cover-up and the alteration of the Zapruder film, Inside the Assassination Records Review Board (published in 2009 and available at Amazon.com); JFK and the Unspeakable, by Jim Douglass; and Brothers, by David Talbot.

That is all I ask---that you read these three books, and then tell us on the 50th anniversary, two years from now, whether or not you still believe that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy. Don't be churlish and dismiss this challenge out of hand: read all three books. I suspect that up to now you have been cherry-picking the evidence and consulting only those books that support your own predetermined conclusions. Show some intellectual honesty here, and read these three books. And then tell us whether your views about the assassination have changed.

I served as a U.S. Naval Officer for 10 years, and was later the Chief Analyst for Military Records for the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB); I worked for that small, independent Federal Agency from 1995 until it shut down in 1998. I am the first U.S. government official to work full-time on an official body involved with the assassination's aftermath to have the courage to allege a medical cover-up in JFK's assassination, and I explain why in explicit detail in my book. You owe it to yourself to grow intellectually, and to seriously study JFK's death in the same detail that you have studied his life. Studying JFK's death informs the reader about how much was wrong with our government in 1963 and 1964, and indeed with our media. Many of those faults are sadly, still with us today.

John F. Kennedy's assassination was not the random act of a lone malcontent, devoid of political import or meaning. His assassination was the culmination of the ongoing "war" between President Kennedy and his own national security establishment, that lasted throughout the entire term of his Presidency. The stresses and fears of the Cold War (and our internal debate and conflict over how to manage it) warped our domestic politics to an unprecedented degree---to such a point that JFK, whose re-election appeared imminent, was eliminated before he could institute changes to the world order, and America's place in the world, that would be irreversible. He wanted to end the Cold War, and his frustrated opponents at the CIA and the Pentagon wanted to win it---on the battlefield. Part of the legacy of his assassination was not only the tragedy in Vietnam, but an extremely dangerous and potentially fatal, and expensive, nuclear arms race with the USSR, and a continuation of the Cold War for another generation. Another part of the legacy of his assassination was, unfortunately, the triumph of secrecy over openness, and of the Big Lie over Truth in this country, which all good Americans are still attempting to overturn today.

Chris Matthews, I say to you that it is not the members of the independent JFK research community who have an "emotional problem and cannot handle the truth"---rather, it is people like you who engage in knowing blindness and willful denial of the facts, and who prefer to deny conspiracy and cover-up rather than study facts which would conflict with your own ideas of what kind of country you grew up in, and are living in today. Please prove to me that you still have an open mind, and read the three books I cited above. And I really mean READ THEM, FROM COVER TO COVER---don't just peruse them, and don't depend on others like Max Holland to characterize them for you.

Read them yourself---and then I would like to appear on your show on the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, for a 30-minute debate, and ask you, face-to-face, whether you have changed your opinion about his assassination. For in this story, there really was Great Evil confronting the Good, and unfortunately, Evil won out over Good, to the detriment of our country. It is my belief that only by facing the truth and admitting what really happened in 1963 (and later on in the 1960s, in the two assassinations of 1968), can our nation regain its self-respect, and the respect of other nations. END

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The JFK Assassination: Still a Taboo Subject for the Mainstream Media in the United States

[info]insidethearrb

September 30th, 2011

Almost 48 years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, the mainstream media (MSM) in this country still treats it as a Taboo Subject. This is a strange state of affairs, given the MSM's propensity to tout its own courage and independence, and its important role as the Fourth Estate in our democracy.

Let me provide just two recent examples.

Last year, as MSNBC "Hardball" host and moderator Chris Matthews interviewed the author of a book about the JFK assassination, he employed a sneering, dismissive tone toward all persons who are convinced there was a conspiracy to murder the 35th President---by implication, tarring all such people as misguided idiots, and irresponsible. As usual, he characterized such persons as nuts, cranks, crazy people, and conspiracy theorists (the ultimate insult employed by anyone still supporting the Warren Commission's seriously flawed and unsupportable findings), and in a rather brutal and intellectually overbearing and arrogant manner, proclaimed that Lee Harvey Oswald was a crazy person, a lone nut, who killed JFK all on his own. In doing so, he was disagreeing with (and insulting) over 75% of the American people, but this didn't seem to bother him. The real question is, WHY does he continue to proclaim this stance in such an insistent manner? Aside from this issue, Matthews appears to be a pretty bright and well informed guy. How, I asked myself, could he so loudly and insistently proclaim that the Warren Commission got it right, when there is so much overwhelming evidence that its conclusion cannot possibly be true? On this one issue he has consistently shown a very ugly, and obnoxious side of his personality---a "dark side," if you will. I wondered last fall if he really believed the nonsense he was spouting, or whether he was reflexively adopting a stance he had been instructed to adopt in public. And if he had been so instructed, who provided him with his JFK assassination marching orders? Was it the management structure at MSNBC, or was it a cadre within the American intelligence community that remains fixated on this subject (and others that are crucial to the attitudes of Americans toward their own governmental institutions)? Sadly, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow, two MSNBC journalists whom I highly respect most of the time, have also spoken derisively about "conspiracy theorists" and have painted anyone who believes that JFK was assassinated by a conspiracy with this overused tar brush.

This past week, a new public opinion poll was released showing that the number of Americans who now trust the American government to "do the right thing all or most of the time" is at an all time low---it is now down to only 15% of those polled. CNN, in reporting this story and providing context, then proceeded to promote inaccurate history about the polling numbers in its background pieces on the story. CNN stated that under President Eisenhower, in the late 1950s, this trust figure was as high as 73% (which is true), and then falsely implied that this was as high as the trust figure had ever been. THIS WAS UNTRUE. In his 1994 book "Arrogant Capital," conservative author Kevin Phillips wrote that in January of 1964 this figure was 78%, and that this was the all-time high watermark for trust in the American government. He published a graph showing that from 1960 through January of 1964, the figure was continuously rising, and therefore, it is clear that the figure rose from 73% to 78% during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, America's 35th President: a rationalist who touted openness in government, who opposed withholding information from the American people, and who even gave a speech against secrecy and secret societies. (I published the graph used by Phillips as Figure 71, in my own book, "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," published in 2009 and still available at Amazon.com). Study of the graph reveals that this trust starting dropping precipitately after January of 1964.

The CNN talking heads and anchors proclaimed this past week that the primary reasons for the sharp decline of the high numbers seen in the late 1950s were the Vietnam War and Watergate. But this is only a half truth, at best. They conveniently omitted mentioning when the figure was at its highest (at the end of JFK's Presidency), and also conveniently chose not to mention that the rapid decline in confidence in the U.S. government began very shortly after the JFK assassination. It is clear to me when studying this graph (you can access it in either Phillips' book or in mine), that the American people began to lose faith in the American government immediately after the JFK assassination; no doubt people smelled a rat when LIFE magazine, and later the Warren Report, began to blow smoke up our collective asses about how (and why) JFK was murdered. The sharp decline on the graph accelerated in 1968. And what happened that year? Three things: the Tet Offensive in Vietnam (when the American people finally realized the USG had been lying to them about the conduct of the war and the prospects for victory); the Martin Luther King assassination; and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. These two assassinations, like JFK's, were all blamed on lone nut individuals acting on their own---and in each case, there is strong evidence that the official story is not true. The next sharp drop in confidence in the graph occurs between 1972 and 1976, and almost certainly reflects the Watergate scandal, and America's unceremonious ejection from Vietnam, after losing a war for the first time. The nosedive in confidence continues at a rapid rate through 1980, and it is likely that one contributor was the unsatisfactory way in which the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) handled the JFK and MLK assassinations. The HSCA stirred up the muck of bad memories and feelings about those two events, and the electrified public which had demanded the Congressional investigations into the JFK and MLK murders was more than a bit nonplussed about the HSCA whitewash of both events.

So what happened this past week with CNN? I explain it in this way: if the high watermark for faith in the U.S. government during JFK's presidency is event A, and the rapid decline in faith in government after January 1964 is event B, then the MSM could not mention A, without mentioning B and WHY it occurred. Event B (the loss in confidence in government) began immediately after the assassination, clearly caused by the government's attempt to calm public opinion with soothing lies after JFK was murdered. NBC, CBS, and ABC (most of the time, but not all of the time) have all been participating in the same collective "groupthink"---namely, that Oswald was the lone assassin who killed JFK and that he did it all on his own---since December of 1963. The MSM would have us believe that that JFK's assassination was the work of a lone malcontent, devoid of any political significance. CNN has now joined the club. FOX news is...well, FOX news; one week before air time, the network removed my interview clips (containing explosive new material which the producer had promised me would be used) from its 2003 documentary about the JFK assassination after network officials objected to the content. The anchors and reporters employed by the mainstream networks have obviously been instructed by managing editors and company vice presidents that you do not mention the JFK assassination, unless it is to (1) blame Lee Harvey Oswald for the event; and (2) disparage any contrary views as the unstable thinking of "conspiracy theorists." (A corollary to this pack mindset is that you don't mention JFK in a historical context unless it is to disparage him or tear down his reputation---since doing so tends to make people not care as much about his assassination.) Event A could not be reported because it would have forced CNN to report event B. If CNN had reported event B, it would have highlighted the fact that the American media had missed the story of the century---had either been asleep at the switch, or muzzled by the government---from December of 1963 throughout 1964. (And indeed, for the most part, it has kept its head in the sand, like an ostrich, ever since the Warren Report came out as well.) The American media is not fond of reporting on its own failures. Doing so, in this case, would raise the ugly specter of why the mainstream media continues to aggressively promote an editorial position on this subject which is diametrically opposed to the opinions of over 75% of the American people.

So in my view, CNN could not mention the truth---that the trust in government was continuously going up (above Eisenhower's numbers) during JFK's presidency, and that it fell precipitately after his assassination, because to do so would attract attention to the positive aspects of JFK's presidency (certainly not in vogue within either conservative or mainstream circles), and would also show, in a way that ANYONE in the viewing audience could understand, that there was a linkage between the corrosion of trust in the USG and JFK's assassination. The continuous government and mainstream media assassination spin from December of 1963 through the summer of 1964, and the public conclusions of the Warren Report---issued in September of 1964---were clearly the proximate cause of the sharp decline in trust in government, which began in 1964. CNN (and no doubt other networks reporting the same story) could not tell the whole truth about the confidence polling because the whole truth would have contravened the wishes of their corporate and intelligence community masters.

In 1975 reporter Carl Bernstein (in a "Rolling Stone" article) and the New York Times (in a series of piggyback articles) both reported that the CIA had used over 400 media "assets" (both abroad and domestically) to promote its spin on world events to the publics of the world---in other words, for propaganda purposes. Author John LeCarre (British master of spy novels and a former MI 6 agent himself) recently stated in an interview that in the 1960s, when his book "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" was about to be made into a film, he was flown to America and questioned about his loyalty to the West by American intelligence. (They were not happy that the theme of his book, at the height of the Cold War, was "a plague on both your houses.") In his interview (on the Criterion bonus DVD about that same film), LeCarre stated that most people would be absolutely amazed if they knew how many people in the American intelligence community were sitting around doing nothing but thinking about ways to influence public opinion. (This is clearly against the CIA's charter, by the way---and unlawful---since it is not supposed to participate in any domestic activities.)

If you think this activity has stopped just because of the Church Committee Hearings in the mid-1970s, then I have a bridge to sell you in the Gobi desert.

There are things that we know and believe, and then there is the much smaller universe of things that can be proved in a court of law. There is no doubt in my mind that the MSM's blindness about the true facts of the Kennedy assassination and the ensuing government cover-up (and its continued denigration of his reputation) is self-willed, not inadvertent---and that the media's collective groupthink about the Kennedy assassination (namely, blaming it on a lone nut in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) is evidence that the CIA is still playing the "Great Wurlitzer" of the media like an impresario. The CIA has in the short term succeeded brilliantly, in that it has gotten the MSM to think and speak in unison, tarring all JFK researchers as "conspiracy theorists" in an effort make them a subject of ridicule, and thereby marginalize their work. When it can, it orchestrates media blackouts of serious new research and new books (such as mine, and Phil Nelson's), for fear that the general public would learn about them and read them, even if they were to be trashed by a hostile reviewer.

In the long term the CIA/MSM propaganda war against JFK researchers is counterproductive and has failed, because lying to the citizenry of a democracy "to protect its institutions," in an attempt to bolster trust in the government, only ends up destroying respect for those institutions, when the lies are eventually revealed. And they are all (or most, anyway) eventually revealed, since as Shakespeare noted, "The Truth Will Out."

Individual reporters dare not report about the overwhelming evidence of conspiracy in the JFK assassination, or the ensuing government cover-up, if their editors forbid them to file such stories, and if they know they will lose their jobs if they attempt to do so. This has been going on since December of 1963; everyone in the MSM knows it; and most of them will not even try anymore for fear of losing their jobs.

This is what we all face as the 50th anniversary approaches. When you are bombarded by even more bullshit and government spin about the assassination of the 35th President two years from now, do not be surprised. Learn to think critically and independently; read as many books as you can; and make up your own minds about what happened in America in November of 1963. If you do not, there is a vast disinformation and propaganda machine out there that will be happy to tell you what to believe on the 50th anniversary of JFK's murder.

The national security spinmasters, Obama's information CZAR Cass Sunstein, and the corporate media would prefer that you spend all your time obsessed with game shows, singing and dancing contests, so-called "reality shows" that are cheap to produce (and are, in reality, garbage), and modern age gladiatorial contests in large outdoor stadiums and indoor sports arenas. When you do focus on history from time to time they want you to accept the vanilla, mainstream, and simplistic interpretations of events ground out like sausage by mainstream historians and the MSM. They want you to engage in Goodthink, and think Goodthoughts. "But don't think too deeply, please." They don't want the American people to think too much about deep politics or historical trends; when we do focus on politics every two years or so, they want us to focus on "the horserace" each election cycle, and not on substantive issues. They definitely don't want us to focus on what has gone wrong in this country since the end of World War II---after all, if we all really get mad as hell, we might demand basic structural changes to our society and our system of government. These controlling elements of our society prefer that we adopt a "father knows best" mentality, and simply trust the national security elite to manage this nation's international affairs and military policies. They depend upon their allies and assets in the corporate mainstream media (whores, actually) to keep us distracted with pablum, and to define for us, on a daily basis, the bounds of what is "acceptable" for us to publicly discuss, and what is "not acceptable." [This is the game Chris Matthews of MSNBC, and CNN and the other major networks on television, are engaged in.] The loss of independence by the MSM and its failure to ever seriously oppose the nation state with any really hard-hitting investigative reporting on substantive issues (such as war and peace, and why people get assassinated) should be of very serious concern to us all. Once an independent media is lost, tyranny is only one step away. END

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Where Are the Large Format LIFE Magazine Transparencies of the Zapruder Film?

[info]insidethearrb

April 9th, 2011

SUMMARY: In April of 1997 I personally located the large format LIFE magazine transparencies of individual Zapruder film frames---the transparencies that had featured so prominently in Josiah Thompson's 1967 book "Six Seconds in Dallas"---in the office of attorney Jamie Silverberg, who at that time was representing the film's owners, the LMH Company. At the time I was a Senior Analyst on the ARRB staff, and was conducting an official ARRB examination of the LMH company's holdings. On December 30, 1999 the LMH Company transferred both the copyright to the Zapruder film, and reportedly, all of its film holdings, to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. (After obtaining a windfall profit of 16 million dollars, plus interest, from the U.S. government---in just compensation for the taking of the film by the Review Board---the LMH company had decided it was time to get rid of the troublesome political albatross around its neck.) On January 26, 2000 the Dallas Morning News published an article about the LMH Company's donation to the Museum, which indicated all of the associated film items had been physically transferred to the museum "nine days ago," and which further stated: "Gary Mack, the Museum's Archivist, was all but whistling Tuesday as he examined what may be the gem of the bunch---oversized transparencies of each Zapruder film frame believed to have been made in 1963 or 1964." It seems reasonable to conclude that this statement by the article's author can only have referred to the same LIFE magazine transparencies which I had discovered in the office of Jamie Silverberg on April 10, 1997. In November of 2010, in response to a question about the whereabouts of the LIFE magazine transparencies made by a visiting researcher, Megan Bryant---the Sixth Floor Museum's Director of Collections and Intellectual Property---said that the Museum did NOT POSSESS the LIFE magazine transparencies. When she was asked a follow-on question by the same person about the January 2000 article in the Dallas Morning News, she stated that the article had been in error. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I present the details of this mystery below.

DETAILS:

(1) I visited the Washington, D.C. offices of Jamie Silverberg, ESQ., on April 10, 1997 to examine the LMH company's Zapruder film holdings at the request of my boss, Jeremy Gunn (who was General Counsel and head of the research staff for the Assassination Records Review Board). Silverberg was wary of my visit, for he no doubt suspected that the Review Board might engage in a legal taking of any items we found worthy of preservation. (Indeed, the ARRB effectuated a formal "taking" of the so-called "original" Zapruder film---on storage in the National Archives---on April 24, 1997, just 14 days after my visit. To my regret at the time---now my profound regret---the Review Board's taking did not include the LIFE magazine transparencies.) The first time I showed up at his office a few days previous to this---by appointment---I had been rebuffed by one of Silverberg's secretaries; I was told he was too busy and that he would be unable to meet with me, in spite of the fact that I was appearing at a specified time set up by an appointment engineered with him by Jeremy Gunn. Jeremy registered his displeasure over this rebuff, and Silverberg did indeed meet with me the second time I appeared, on April 10, 1997. During the course of this long visit, I made two significant discoveries. First, I discovered that the LMH Company possessed the (at that time) missing first-generation copy of the Z film: the third of three first-generation copies known to exist. Second, I discovered that Silverberg possessed the famous LIFE magazine large format (4" x 5") color positive transparencies, which Josiah Thompson had written about so extensively in his book, "Six Seconds in Dallas." Not only were these transparencies crucial for study of the behavior and reactions of the occupants of the limousine during the assassination, but they were of historical interest because they were clearly the source material used to generate the beautifully clear color picture spreads of the Zapruder film in LIFE magazine in late 1963 (the Memorial Issue), and in 1964 and 1966 editions, as well. Silverberg did not readily produce the large format transparencies; as I now vividly recall, they were not on his typed inventory list, and he produced them as the very last item he removed from his safe, and did so only after repeated and persistent inquiries on my part. I recall thinking that this was odd behavior. On April 11, 1997 I wrote a memo detailing the items I discovered during the inspection the day before in his office. That memo is now on file at the National Archives, and was also published by Rollie Zavada in the Appendices to his report on the Zapruder film. By this time I was accustomed to looking at 4 x 5 inch transparencies, because the color positive transparencies of the JFK autopsy were also of this size. The transparencies of the Zapruder film that I saw in Silverberg's office were of an identical size. I do not recall whether they were Ektachrome or Kodachrome---I believe I failed to make this determination at the time. But they were definitely 4 x 5 inch color positive transparencies of a very high quality, and they were made from frames of the Zapruder film. I still vividly recall looking at the image content in many of the transparencies---and that image content was consistent with the sketches in Josiah Thompson's book (i.e., I recall frames of the limousine close to the Stemmons Freeway Sign). As I now recall, there were scores of transparencies---too many for me to count, at the end of a long day with an unfriendly attorney. (I now wish I had counted them, and had recorded the type of film used.)

(2) On January 26, 2000 the Dallas Morning News published an article written by Mark Wrolstad, titled: "Zapruders Donate JFK Film, Rights." I have a copy of this article today. I attempted to access the article online today by going to the link: dallasnews.com, but could not do so because the article is over ten years old, and the online archives appear to go back only ten years, to calendar year 2001.

I will therefore now quote verbatim from the passages in this article which are germane to this journal entry:

The author explained that the Zapruder family had donated "...its last original duplicate of the film and the copyright to its coveted images to the Sixth Floor Museum."

Items donated, the article explained, included "...the copy of the 26-second film clip itself---as well as other film, frame-by-frame slides and stills."

The article continued: "Mr. Zapruder ordered three so-called first-generation copies of the film when it was processed the day of the assassination. The two he gave to the Secret Service...now rest at the [National] Archives. The third copy, the only one still privately owned, became the Sixth Floor's property when an agreement was signed December 30, capping four months of discussions."

"Mr. West [Sixth Floor Museum Executive Director] and an associate carried the film in an archival box on a flight to Dallas nine days ago, along with other materials."

"Part of the 1,900 item donation may be exhibited later this year, but the material must first be cataloged."

"Gary Mack, the Museum's Archivist, was all but whistling Tuesday as he examined what may be the gem of the bunch---oversized transparencies of each Zapruder film frame believed to have been made in 1963 or 1964."

The reader of this journal entry will note that the article's author states as a FACT that Gary Mack had examined the oversized transparencies made in 1963 or 1964. (Presumably, Mark Wrolstad witnessed this examination himself.) Wrolstad then directly quoted Gary Mack, in direct reference to this examination: "These may be in better condition than the original film is today," he said. "We may have something that is better or sharper. Who knows?"

And with this significant quote, the article ended. The article makes it very clear that in January of 2000, the Sixth Floor Museum possessed the large format Zapruder film transparencies made by LIFE, and that Gary Mack had examined them. I find it difficult to believe, and extremely unlikely, that the author, Mark Wrolstad, made up this story out of whole cloth, or was mistaken about such an important fact.

(3) In November of 2010, over ten years later, in response to a question posed by a Museum visitor, the Sixth Floor Museum's Director of Collections and Intellectual Property, Megan Bryant, claimed that the Sixth Floor Museum did not possess the transparencies, and that the article in the Dallas Morning News had been in error.

Something is terribly wrong here. If you want to know why the question posed by this journal entry is so important to me, keep reading.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

The ad hoc Hollywood Research Group (a label given to that ongoing, informal research effort by me alone, not by its participants) that is studying a 35 mm dupe negative of the extant (so-called "original") Z film (obtained from the National Archives) has discovered startling visual anomalies---what I have described in my book as a "black patch" seen in several frames on the back of JFK's head---that strongly imply that the images in the film have been severely (and crudely) altered. [See chapter 14 in Volume IV of "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," pages 1352-1363.] Since the publication of my book, some in the JFK research community have stated that they see no such anomalies in other versions of the Zapruder film, or in other still images of the Zapruder film. The unseemly insinuations of many of these critics and skeptics are that the Hollywood Research Group may have manipulated or altered its own evidence, in an attempt to prove there was a government coverup of the true facts involved in the assassination (namely, that JFK had a large exit wound in the rear of his head caused by a shot from the front). Unfortunately, many of the critics of my book's reportage fail to understand that the 6K digital scans of the dupe negative frames are "flat" or neutral scans, and have not been manipulated to make them more pleasing to the human eye---and that they therefore reveal much more information than, for example, Z film images from a multi-generational bootleg copy of the Z film that suffers from contrast buildup, or than some manipulated video version of the Z film shown on television, or presented on a DVD.

The best way for interested Americans to resolve this issue for themselves is to ask to see the LIFE magazine large format transparencies, and to compare what they show to the image of frame 317 (from the 35 mm dupe negative) published in volume I of my book. Frames 313, 321 and 323 of the dupe negative also show a large black patch extraordinarily well. Once the LIFE magazine large format color positive transparencies are located, the frames that should be studied most closely are 313, 317, 321, and 323. The "black patch" should appear in each of these first-generation transparencies, if LIFE did not unduly manipulate the contrast when they were created. (Remember, if these transparencies are suddenly produced, to check their provenance: they should exist on film stock made no later than 1963.)

Perhaps Megan Bryant made a mistake when she claimed that the Sixth Floor Museum does not possess these materials. Who knows? I prefer to place my trust, for the time being, in the unbiased Dallas Morning News reporter who wrote his article in January of 2000.

I will never be traveling to Dallas again---it's too upsetting for me to go there, and in any case, I can't afford the trip. But those of you who wish to take on this issue could ask the Sixth Floor Museum, in writing (hint: use the Museum's website), whether it possesses large format transparencies of the Zapruder film made in 1963 or 1964, approximately 4 x 5 inches in size (and unmounted when I saw them in 1997).

If the Museum still claims that it does not possess them, researchers who visit the Museum might ask to review both the Deed of Gift signed between the LMH Company and the Museum on December 30, 1999; and much more importantly, the full inventory or catalog made in 2000 of the items received. That inventory would have been made 11 years ago, before there was any controversy associated with what those images might reveal.

I will sum up this entry by simply repeating the question posed at the beginning of this journal entry: "Where are the large format color positive transparencies of the Zapruder film made by LIFE magazine in 1963 or 1964?" The LMH Company, presumably, had no motivation to hold onto them when it transferred the film's copyright, and all of its film elements, to the Sixth Floor Museum on December 30, 1999. The evidence contained in the Dallas Morning News article---the best evidence I have at this writing---indicates that the Museum DID IN FACT receive these transparencies from the LMH Company. All members of the JFK research community deserve an honest, and accurate answer to this question. END

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SHAME ON THE CIA

[info]insidethearrb

March 30th, 2011

SUMMARY: On September 12, 2009 I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, about the famous Zapruder film of JFK's assassination, to the CIA. This FOIA request of mine was an attempt to determine whether any documents still existed today which might verify that the Agency had ordered, and sponsored, the alteration of the film's visual imagery; and had studied---and subsequently suppressed---its original, authentic image content. I wanted to know whether such documents still existed, and if so, to compel their release.

I wrote extensively about the Zapruder film in volume IV of my book, "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," in chapter 14. On pages 1363-1377 of that chapter, I wrote about the process which led to the generation of my FOIA letter, and reproduced copies of the FOIA request, and of letters of concern about that FOIA request that I wrote to President Obama, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and Senator Jim Webb.

I'm sad to have to report here that on February 7, 2011---15 months after the submission of my FOIA---the CIA signed out what it calls a "final response" to my FOIA, which embodies all of the arrogance and official stonewalling for which that Agency has been well-known since its creation in 1947. This letter was intentionally non-responsive, and constitutes an insult to my intelligence, to the intelligence of all members of the JFK research community, and to the honorable intentions which motivated my request.

The CIA sent me 19 documents which had all previously been released, and most of them pertain to the Rockefeller Commission Zapruder film documents from the mid-1970s, which I specifically told the CIA (in my FOIA request of September 2009) I was NOT SEEKING. The remainder of these previously opened records pertain either to the Warren Commission's interest in the Zapruder film, or to my own work when a member of the ARRB staff. Nothing in these 19 open records was new to me, and in fact some of the documents are so poorly written, and so imprecisely worded, that they were likely conscious attempts at obfuscation when they were written back in the mid-1970s.

But the real insult was contained in the following two sentences from the CIA's "final response" of February 7, 2011:

"We also located records originated by other government agencies, but only the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or the specific agency has the authority to release those records. Additional material on this subject has been transferred to NARA in compliance with this Act [the JFK Records Act] and to obtain this material you should submit your request directly to them...".

In other words, if I may translate from bureaucratic language to plain English, the CIA was telling me: "We found other records responsive to your request, but we are NOT going to tell you how many records; who originated them; when they were created; the subject matter of each of these records; or how many pages constitute each of these records. Furthermore, we are not even going to give you the redacted (i.e., blacked-out or censored) copies of these records."

This constitutes a new low in the annals of CIA responses to JFK information requests. In the past, as JFK researchers well know, at least the blacked-out (i.e., redacted) copies of records were provided in response to FOIA requests. This time, I am told that other records were found, but I was not even given the blacked-out copies of these partially withheld records! Furthermore, punting the political football to another Agency---to NARA, in this case---is the bureaucratic equivalent of giving someone the middle finger.

The story recounted above explains all too clearly why the media in the United States has given up on FOIA, and long ago was forced to resort to leakers to obtain information about what is going on inside our own government. The FOIA process, originally designed by the Congress to provide Americans with accurate information about the workings of their own government, contains so many loopholes and exclusions---most of them added at the insistence of the intelligence community---that it is ironically now used as a means to withhold information from U.S. citizens, while at the same time giving the outward appearance of compliance with the FOIA law. The FOIA law is now a travesty---a joke. In fact, this was recognized by Congress back in 1992, and is the very reason why the JFK Records Act was passed in October of that year---because FOIA was not working.

THE DETAILS OF MY EXCHANGES WITH THE CIA OVER MY FOIA ARE PROVIDED BELOW:

I. On September 12, 2009 I mailed my FOIA request to the CIA. It requested records pertaining to the following subjects: (1) handling and analysis of the Zapruder film at the CIA's NPIC during the weekend immediately following the assassination of JFK [reason: as revealed on pages 1220-1239 of my book, two distinct events revolving around the Zapruder film, both compartmentalized operations, occurred at the National Photographic Interpretation Center on November 23-24, 1963]; (2) a listing of any and all motion picture processing equipment installed at the CIA's secret photo lab at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. ("Hawkeyeworks"), as well as any and all records of the Zapruder film's handling or processing at that Kodak facility; (3) any and all records pertaining to the briefing of CIA Director John McCone by the NPIC Director (Arthur Lundahl) on Sunday, November 24, 1963; and (4) a brief excerpt (approximately one page) from the official history of NPIC (written by Dino Brugioni) which purportedly pertained to some of the handling of the Zapruder film at NPIC on November 23-24, 1963.

II. On January 27, 2010 the CIA responded to my FOIA and indicated its intention to search only for records originated by the CIA. This letter also stated that "The CIA Information Act...exempts CIA operational files from the search, review, publication, and disclosure requirements of the FOIA." The implications of this statement---that my FOIA was a waste of time---were chilling, and obvious.

III. On February 1, 2010 I responded that I objected to the CIA searching only for CIA-originated records (i.e., only for records originated by U.S. government employees of the CIA). I pointed out that the secret photo lab run for the CIA in Rochester, N.Y. had been staffed by Kodak contractor employees, and I therefore requested that the CIA also search for contractor-initiated records in response to my FOIA.

IV. On March 4, 2010 the CIA agreed to my request to search for contractor-initiated records as well as records generated by the CIA, saying "We have notified the appropriate component of your request and will search for all records regardless of origin."

V. On February 7, 2011 the CIA signed out what it called its "final response," as discussed above in this journal entry.

A POINT WORTHY OF NOTE:

What was formerly known as the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) is no longer a part of the CIA---it is now a part of another agency. Therefore, the unidentified records from "other government agencies" which the CIA has deposited with NARA, in response to my FOIA, may very well be some of the NPIC records I was seeking. Presumably, all records related to the NPIC may now fall under the aegis of the governmental entity under which that former facility is now included.

CLOSING THOUGHTS---WHERE WE GO FROM HERE:

Someone younger than I, with more energy than I now possess, and perhaps imbued with less cynicism and more optimism than I am at this stage in my life, should approach NARA formally, in writing, and ask for a listing of all records deposited with the JFK Records Collection by the CIA during the years 2010 and 2011, in response to Doug Horne's 2009 FOIA about the Zapruder film. Such a request should ask for each document to be identified by: (1) its originator; (2) the date it was created; (3) to whom it was sent; (4) a page count; and (5) the subject matter of the document.

Surely some energetic researcher or journalist has the patience to undertake this quest with NARA. My understanding of the JFK Records Act is that any person making such a request is entitled to receive from NARA both a Record Identification Form (RIF) for each of these recent Zapruder film records deposited by the CIA, as well as a redacted copy of said record, releasing those portions which are not subject to third party equities (i.e., declassification).

I have retired from active participation in JFK assassination research, but someone who is still "in the arena" will be doing all of us in the community a favor if they will pursue such a request with those who manage NARA's JFK Records Collection. Diligence and patience will be required. NARA may not even create RIFs until or unless such a request is received; and pressure from the research community will no doubt speed up NARA's declassification efforts. END

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RETHINKING the Question: "Why Was the First Draft of JFK's Autopsy Report Destroyed?"

[info]insidethearrb

June 13th, 2010

In Volume III of my book "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," in Chapter 11, I wrote in the text on page 866, and summarized in a data table on page 872, that the proximate cause, or stimulus, for why the unsigned, draft version of the JFK autopsy report (reviewed on Saturday, 11/23/63 at Bethesda Naval Hospital by CDR Humes, CDR Boswell, and CAPT Canada) was abandoned, and subsequently destroyed by Humes in his fireplace on Sunday, 11/24/63, was the fact that James Tague's wounding on Main Street in Dealey Plaza (as a result of the ricochet of a bullet off of the Main Street curb) was evidence of a missed shot. BACKGROUND FOLLOWS: The three shot scenario---the conclusion that there was only one assassin, and that he was above and behind the limousine, and that he fired only three shots---was adopted by the Dallas police department and the U.S. government on Friday afternoon; Richard Lipsey, the Aide to General Wehle (Commandant of the Military District of Washington), recounted to the HSCA staff with great certainty that he heard the pathologists discussing a three-hit scenario---that is, three hits on JFK without any discussion of what had happened to Connally---in the autopsy morgue; and yet the version of the autopsy report entered into evidence by the Warren Commission (CE 387) concluded that there were only two hits on President Kennedy. Clearly, at least one change to the autopsy conclusions had taken place between the time Lipsey heard the pathologists discuss three hits on JFK, and the time CE 387 was entered into evidence during the testimony of James J. Humes before Arlen Specter in March of 1964.

At the time I drafted this chapter it seemed obvious to me that public knowledge of James Tague's wounding, and therefore of a missed shot which had struck the curb on Main Street, had forced Humes, et. al. to abandon the 3-shot, 3-hit scenario arrived at inside the Bethesda morgue in front of Richard Lipsey late Friday evening (after the FBI agents had departed at 11:00 PM).

It is now apparent, as a result of an astute question asked of me by a friend, that the James Tague wounding could NOT have been the proximate cause, or stimulus, for junking the first draft of the JFK autopsy report. WHY? Because as James Tague clearly stated in his own book, published in 2003, there was no widely available public mention of his wounding until newspaper journalist Jim Lehrer published the results of his interview with Tague in the Dallas Times-Herald on June 5, 1964. This was followed by an FBI interview and subsequent Warren Commission testimony. While it is true that Deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers spoke to Tague about the wounding on the very afternoon of the assassination, and photographer Tom Dillard photographed the curb strike (and Tague himself) the afternoon of the assassination, there is no evidence that this information was publicly available on November 23rd, or that it was known within the confines of Bethesda Naval Hospital by Humes, Boswell, or Canada.

The error is mine and I am solely responsible for it.

However, IT REMAINS A FACT THAT THE 3-HIT SCENARIO SURELY RECORDED IN THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE JFK AUTOPSY REPORT ON SATURDAY (3 HITS ON JFK) WAS ABANDONED IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS, AND REPLACED WITH A 2-HIT SCENARIO THE VERY NEXT DAY (WHICH EXPLAINED THE WOUND SEEN IN THE THROAT AT PARKLAND HOSPITAL AS HAVING BEEN CAUSED BY A FRAGMENT FROM THE HEAD SHOT). [It is this version of the 2-hit scenario that apparently disappeared while in the custody of Robert F. Kennedy between April of 1965 and October of 1966.]

So if James Tague's wounding was not the stimulus that caused Humes to rewrite the autopsy report Saturday night and then burn the first draft in his fireplace Sunday morning, what was?

Actually, the answer is remarkably simple. The official conclusions of both the Secret Service and the FBI, although not yet published, had clearly already been reached late Friday night (after the two FBI agents left the morgue, having heard a 2-hit conclusion arrived at by Humes), namely: THAT PRESIDENT KENNEDY WAS HIT BY TWO SHOTS, AND GOVERNOR CONNALLY WAS HIT BY ONE SHOT. The official conclusions of both the Secret Service and the FBI were that 3 shots were fired by the assassin; the first and third shots hit President Kennedy; and the second shot hit Governor Connally. [And what is truly remarkable, in hindsight, is that in spite of the public's eventual knowledge, in the summer of 1964, of the missed shot that wounded James Tague, and the recognition of a missed shot by the Warren Commission in its late September 1964 report, neither the FBI nor the Secret Service ever changed their official positions that two shots hit JFK from behind, and one shot hit Connally from behind. Neither the Secret Service nor the FBI have ever publicly acknowledged a missed shot, even though the evidence for it is quite strong.] In summary, it was clearly the simple fact that Connally had been seriously wounded (and indeed, had almost died), that caused Navy officials to abandon the 3-hit scenario on JFK that the pathologists had inconveniently arrived at about 11:30 PM Friday night at Bethesda, in response to Humes' phone call with Dr. Perry shortly after 11:00 PM.

Before the FBI agents (Sibert and O'Neill) left the Bethesda morgue at 11:00 PM on November 22, 1963, they heard Dr. Humes soberly intone his conclusion that the pattern was clear, and that two shots and only two shots had struck JFK, and that both of his wounds (a high shoulder wound and a head shot) had been inflicted from behind. This information led to the conclusions of the Secret Service and the FBI reported above. But Humes then spoke to Dr. Perry in Dallas shortly after the FBI agents left the Bethesda morgue, and was confronted with the fact that the Dallas treating physicians had noted a bullet wound in JFK's throat. This fact caused the prosectors to change a 2-hit conclusion to a 3-hit conclusion, as witnessed by Richard Lipsey, and recounted to the HSCA staff, both orally and in a very precise diagram, in 1978. Lipsey obviously witnessed the revised conclusions reached AFTER the FBI agents left the morgue---conclusions reached based upon the new information from Dallas that President Kennedy had a bullet wound in the anterior neck. It is surely this late-Friday night conclusion that JFK was hit 3 times, that went into the first draft reviewed on Saturday, November 23, 1963 at Bethesda.

Obviously, after reviewing the first draft on Saturday, someone in authority over Humes at Bethesda---either CAPT Canada, or CAPT Stover, or RADM Galloway---said "Wait a minute! Connally was wounded too, wasn't he?" And because the U.S. government was already imprisoned in its evidentiary straightjacket of "one assassin, three shots," this necessitated that the number of hits on JFK was reduced back down to the two hits originally postulated by Humes in front of FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill, so that the third bullet could account for Connally's wounds. It is my belief that the next version of the autopsy report, the first signed version (which later went missing), explained the throat wound seen in Dallas as having been caused by a fragment from the head shot. (The remarks of Warren Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin, recorded in a then-Top Secret transcript of conversation by a court reporter at an Executive Session hearing in January, is the evidence for this conclusion.)

In short order---probably within a day or two after the first signed version was executed on Sunday, November 24th---the Zapruder film had revealed to anyone who looked at it that the throat wound could not have been caused by a fragment from the head shot, since the film showed JFK reacting with distress to a throat wound PRIOR TO the head shot. The Zapruder film was therefore clearly the cause for the abandonment of the FIRST SIGNED VERSION of the autopsy report, and its replacement with the SECOND SIGNED VERSION, no later than December 11th, 1963. But the Zapruder film had not yet been seen by those who abandoned the 3-hit scenario on Saturday afternoon, and replaced it with a 2-hit scenario that postulated the throat wound was caused by a fragment from the head shot.

Summing up here, it is still evident to me that the autopsy prosectors changed a 2-hit conclusion re: JFK to a 3-hit conclusion late Friday night (11/22/63), and then abandoned the 3-hits on JFK in favor of a modified 2-hit conclusion late on Saturday (11/23/63). The cause for this change was almost certainly NOT the knowledge that James Tague had been wounded, however; the cause was the simple necessity to account for Governor Connally's wounds.

To those who wish to more completely understand this change in thinking on my part, and the evolution of the autopsy report's conclusions during the hours and days following President Kennedy's assassination, I refer you to Chapter 11 of my book. END

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THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

[info]insidethearrb

May 29th, 2010

My long chapter on the history of the Zapruder film, and the evidence for its apparent alteration (in order to hide the fact that President Kennedy was killed by multiple shooters in a crossfire, as he was driven into an expertly arranged ambush on Elm Street, on November 22, 1963), is Chapter 14 of my five-volume book, "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," and appears in Volume IV of that work, which can be purchased at Amazon.com (keywords "Horne JFK").

In Chapter 14 I take to task many of the conclusions reached by retired Kodak employee Roland J. ("Rollie") Zavada, who was rehired as a consultant by Kodak to perform pro bono work for the ARRB during 1997 and 1998. That work included a limited authenticity study, of which I am quite critical in my Chapter 14.

I just received from Rollie himself a 33-page rebuttal to my Zapruder film chapter, in which he takes exception to many of my criticisms, arguments, and assertions. In his cover letter, dated May 26, 2010, Rollie states that he has mailed copies of his 33-page report to many of those mentioned in Chapter 14, which surely must include Josiah Thompson, David Wrone, and Gary Mack. With the sure knowledge that his rebuttal will soon appear on the internet in various venues, I hereby offer my own comments on his paper.

Rollie's need to defend himself is not an unexpected development, and came as no surprise. What does surprise me is that it is so weakly argued, and incomplete.

Much of his paper consists of hairsplitting, in a feeble attempt to defend the flawed methodology he employed in the report he delivered at the eleventh hour to the ARRB in late September of 1998.

Most of it appears to be a grandfatherly scolding, in which Rollie says, essentially---I am paraphrasing here---"You must trust me, I know more than you, and the technology did not exist to successfully alter the Zapruder film without detection, and create an undetectable forgery or facsimile of it or any other 8 mm films in 1963; and even if the film was altered, it would have required a lot of equipment and a lot of personnel."

Experienced film editor David Healy presented a stimulating and convincing lecture at Duluth in 2003 proving that the technology did exist in 1963 to alter 8 mm motion picture films by removing frames, and altering image content; and Professor Raymond Fielding, who discussed in depth the commonly used Hollywood techniques of traveling mattes and aerial imaging in his seminal 1965 film textbook on special visual effects in cinematography, have both provided evidence that the Zapruder film could have been altered in 1963 using existing technology. The only question remains, would such alteration have been undetectable, or would the alteration have left detectable artifacts? This question will be addressed in detail below, near the end of this essay.

In his rebuttal, Rollie presents a list of equipment that he believes would have been essential to alter the Zapruder film at the Hawkeyeworks facility in Rochester, N.Y.---and then implies that no such equipment was present at the facility because of his belief that its sole purpose was in support of the "Corona" spy satellite program. But this is disingenuous. My September FOIA request filed with the CIA, asking for a list of equipment installed at Hawkeyeworks in November of 1963, is as yet unanswered. The CIA has already told me, in writing, that it refuses to search for the information I requested in "operational records," and is currently apparently stonewalling, trying to give the appearance of cooperation, while in effect doing nothing to answer my request.

Rollie's claim that Hawkeyeworks at Rochester was supporting the "Corona" satellite surveillance program is a truthful one, but I suspect that it is only part of the story. I do not believe that "Corona" activity was the only activity supported by that highly classified joint CIA-Kodak film lab in Rochester. Why do I say this? Because Dino Brugioni, the former Chief Information Officer at NPIC in Washington, D.C. (a co-founder of NPIC, and the right-hand man of its first Director, Arthur Lundahl), told researcher Peter Janney in 2009 that at Hawkeyeworks, "they could do ANYTHING" with motion pictures. Dino should have known---for he had visited the place personally on more than one occasion, and knew the CIA official who ran the place. There is nothing Rollie Zavada can say that can refute Dino Brugioni's personal and professional knowledge of what Hawkeyeworks was capable of, for as Rollie said to me in his 33-page rebuttal: "I was not aware of any government activities conducted at the Hawkeye Plant during the time of my Zapruder film study or prior." Well then---Dino Brugioni visited the facility, and Rollie clearly didn't, so whatever Dino Brugioni was personally aware of trumps any later speculation of Rollie Zavada's that the facility was solely dedicated to "Corona." Rollie also wrote the following to me: "In recent discussions with principles [sic] in the Corona Project, none are aware of a motion picture film entering the lab; further, it was reported to me that the Corona Project lab had no motion picture or color film processing capability." This is nothing but an attempt by a Kodak surrogate to issue a statement that sounds like a denial---but which really denies nothing. All Rollie has said here is that (based solely on his discourse with the limited number of persons he spoke to about "Corona") the Zapruder film did not enter the "Corona" lab---he does NOT say it did not enter the Hawkeyeworks facility. Remember, Secret Service agent "Bill Smith," who delivered a 16 mm wide unslit double-8 mm format Zapruder film to Homer McMahon at NPIC on Sunday night, November 24th, told McMahon that it had been DEVELOPED AT HAWKEYEWORKS IN ROCHESTER, AND THAT HE HAD COURIERED THE FILM TO NPIC IN WASHINGTON D.C. FROM HAWKEYEWORKS. Rollie's attempt to define Hawkeyeworks as solely a "Corona" facility is nothing, in my view, but a modified, limited hangout, to use the expressive language of the Watergate era. It is exactly what I would expect the CIA (or Kodak, the prime contractor which ran the facility for the Agency) to say, in an attempt to confuse readers and fuzz-up the issues here.

In an attempt to fuzz-up the Hawkeyeworks issue by identifying that classified lab solely with the "Corona" project, Rollie speculated in his report that "Corona" may have been the codeword that the CIA demanded the ARRB delete from its interview reports with NPIC officials, and from the interview audiotape released to the public. I will state unequivocally now that "Corona" was NOT, repeat NOT, the code word that the CIA wanted expunged from our public records of the interviews we conducted with NPIC employees. The word they wanted expunged was "Hawkeyeworks," NOT "CORONA." At the time of our interviews of NPIC employees in 1997, "Corona" was no longer a classified code-word, and in fact an exhibit was already on display at the Air and Space Museum which told the public all about "Corona," by name, and in great detail. This is a pretty lame attempt by Rollie to confuse the issue of the full range of activities that Hawkeyeworks was capable of tackling, and it won't fly.

Sadly, Rollie Zavada expects us to believe that neither Dino Brugioni (the NPIC's Chief of Information), nor Homer McMahon (the Head of NPIC's Color Lab), was capable of distinguishing the difference between an original 8 mm film, and a copy. He suggests that both Brugioni (who said he handled a slit, 8 mm original Zapruder film on Saturday night, Nov. 23rd), and McMahon (who had delivered to him an unslit, 16 mm wide double 8 film on Sunday night, Nov. 24th, and was told it was an original) were mistaken---and that instead of handling originals, they handled first generation copies. No doubt this dismissive opinion of Zavada's will make Josiah Thompson, David Wrone, and Gary Mack happy, but it is not a persuasive way of addressing the serious import of the NPIC evidence of the film's interrupted chain-of-custody, and of its likely alteration. (If this sounds too much like "inside baseball" to the uninformed reader, I will simply say you must read Chapter 14 of my book, and then Rollie's rebuttal, if you wish to make sense of this journal entry. There is no way around this.) Besides, if Rollie's explanation is correct, then why were two different teams of NPIC officials assembled on two successive nights, to make two entirely different sets of briefing boards, showing what the Zapruder film depicted, and then forbidden to talk about it to anyone? Rollie doesn't address this, because there is no benign answer to this question. The real answer is that the two sets of briefing boards prepared on two successive nights at NPIC were the products of two compartmentalized operations, because briefing boards were being made from two different versions of the Zapruder film: the unaltered original on Saturday night, and the altered (sanitized) film on Sunday night.

THE MOST IMPORTANT STATEMENT in Rollie's paper is this: "The medium is the message." Rollie contends throughout his paper that the Zapruder film could not have been altered using 1963 technology without creating detectable artifacts of forgery. He even quotes Professor Raymond Fielding as saying: "...In my judgment there is no way in which manipulation of these images could have been achieved satisfactorily in 1963 with the technology then available; if such an attempt at image manipulation of the footage had occurred in 1963 the results could not possibly have survived professional scrutiny...".

I couldn't agree more. And there IS EVIDENCE of film alteration in the image content of the extant Zapruder film, as I discussed in some detail in the Epilogue to Chapter 14, titled "The Zapruder Film Goes to Hollywood." The best images we have today of the film have NOT WITHSTOOD PROFESSIONAL SCRUTINY. I even published a black and white image of the most egregious example of this alteration (frame 317) in Volume I of my book. This, I believe, is why Rollie Zavada did NOT discuss the most important section of my chapter---namely, the fact that numerous Hollywood motion picture film experts have developed a strong consensus that the Zapruder film exhibits artifacts which are not like anything they have seen exposed inside a camera when shooting the natural world, and that the film is an altered film. He didn't discuss this important new development in Zapruder film research because he could not refute it. So he just pretended it did not exist. But the problem does exist, and members of the public can see this for themselves by asking for access to the large format (4 X 5 inch) MPI transparencies (made in 1997 from the original film), and the large format (4 X 5 inch) LIFE magazine transparencies (made in 1963 by LIFE) that are held by the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. If you go to the Sixth Floor Museum's website, you can complete a form electronically and request to see these transparencies during a personal visit; all that is required is the money to make a trip to Dallas. (See the frame numbers cited below.)

At this point in time---these are the updated figures reflecting the current state of play---over 30 experts in the motion picture industry in Hollywood have examined the 35 mm dupe negative of the extant Zapruder film being studied by the informal, ad hoc "Hollywood research group," and all of them have expressed serious disquiet about the blacked-out areas on the back of JFK's head---specifically in frames 313, 317, 321, 323, and 329---stating that they have never seen apparent artifacts like these filmed in nature, and that they strongly suggest artificiality, or tampering. Six of these people have flatly stated that the film has been altered, and that the blacked-out areas on the back of JFK's head are all the proof they need. Those who have viewed the film in Hollywood are either editors, restoration experts, or colorists. Even the somewhat degraded black and white images of frame 317 that I published in Volume I of my book are pretty damning; the jet-black trapezoid with the remarkably straight edges on the back of JFK's head in frame 317 just happens to be located exactly where the medical staff at Parkland hospital says there was an exit wound---evidence of a shot from the front. (In my view, it was a crude and blatant attempt to hide the true exit wound---from a frontal shot, not from a shot fired from behind, in the Book Depository---from the public.) When the high definition digital scans of the 35 mm dupe negative are seen on an HD color monitor---and not in a degraded black and white illustration printed on non-glossy paper---they are truly stunning. Eventually, they will be publicly released, but the timing and venue for that release is under the control of the Hollywood research group, and their research is continuing at the present time. Meanwhile, as I stated above, the public can request in-person viewings of the large format transparencies---made directly from the extant film---on the Sixth Floor Museum's website.

Let us also not forget that the late Dr. Roderick Ryan, a former Kodak employee who was Los Angeles/Hollywood based for much of his career, told author Noel Twyman during the 1990s that the large head wound seen in frames 335 and 337 on JFK's skull was, in his opinion, a painting, i.e., artwork. (No such wound was seen at Parkland hospital, either.) Now, Dr. Ryan worked for Kodak also---which is just one more reminder that experts disagree, and that we need not trust what Rollie Zavada says just because he was a Kodak employee. My basic point about Rollie Zavada in Chapter 14 remains unchanged: he never worked in the Hollywood motion picture visual effects industry, and therefore is not qualified to state definitively that the Zapruder film could not have been convincingly altered.

His current position is that it could not have been altered without leaving evidence of alteration---artifacts---that would have given the game away. And yet this is precisely what today's pre-eminent Hollywood film restoration experts and colorists and editors see when they examine the 35 mm dupe negative of the Zapruder film: ARTIFACTS THAT INDICATE ALTERATION. In my opinion, this is why the Zapruder film was purchased lock, stock, and barrel by LIFE magazine in 1963, and then suppressed as a motion picture for 12 years. (LIFE showed the extant film---portrayed as the original---to the Warren Commission on one occasion in February of 1964, and the Commission staffers saw it on a shaky, flexible movie screen without the benefit of the frame by frame, high resolution examination made possible by today's digital scanning technology. LIFE never once licensed it commercially for use as a motion picture, and only published selected frames when it was deemed desirable.) The versions seen today in most documentaries are dark versions that come from less-than-desirable substandard "bootleg" film elements. The MPI video sold in 1998 suffers from aspect ratio problems, and the images of the back of the head are unusually dark since MPI altered the contrast of the images it marketed. But the large-format MPI transparencies at the Sixth Floor Museum, when viewed in person, clearly reveal the artifacts that I discuss here.

I believe in the primacy of empirical evidence. The best empirical evidence available today---the 35 mm dupe negative being studied in Hollywood, the MPI large format transparencies owned by the Sixth Floor Museum, and the extant film itself (in cold storage at the National Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland)---bears evidence that the film was indeed altered. The medium is INDEED the message---but Rollie Zavada does not want to discuss the evidence of alteration (artifacts) that exist in the extant film today. Instead, he wants us to trust him when he says that the Zapruder film was not altered, without discussing the blatant evidence we now have that it WAS altered.

The small comfort that people like Josiah Thompson, David Wrone, Gary Mack, and John McAdams will derive from Rollie Zavada's rebuttal of Chapter 14 of my book will be short-lived, and their crowing will only persuade the limited audience which has not read my book, and those who have not yet seen the evidence of alteration in high definition: frames 313, 317, 321, 323, and 329.

The medium IS the message, and the day will soon come when frame 317 of the Zapruder film will be a major icon of American history, representative of the deceit, lies, and falsehoods sold to us for almost 50 years now about one of the most shameful events in American history. END

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AN ERROR CORRECTION

[info]insidethearrb

May 29th, 2010

I said in the front matter of my book that all authors who write about the JFK assassination inevitably make mistakes, and that I would be no exception.

I was right.

In Volume V of my book, in Chapter 16, on page 1468, I stated that former Navy Secretary Fred Korth had committed suicide following his resignation, in the wake of the TFX fighter-bomber procurement scandal.

This was an inadvertent error. It is reportedly Fred Korth's daughter who committed suicide, not he. "Wikipedia" states that Fred Korth died in 1998, and one of my readers has informed a friend of mine that Mr. Korth died of natural causes. [The "Wikipedia" article does not mention the cause of death.]

While any error is regrettable to an author, fortunately this one was not a major gaffe, and does not impact in any way the central themes of my book. Nor does it alter the reasons for Fred Korth's resignation as Secretary of the Navy in October of 1963; this former Texas banker was adversely affected by the TFX fighter plane procurement process, in which favoritism appeared to have been shown to the Fort Worth-based defense contractor General Dynamics, and he was part of the taint of scandal surrounding Lyndon Johnson during his Vice Presidency. As President, LBJ shut down all public investigation into the TFX contract award. END

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A Matter of Epistemology

[info]insidethearrb

April 17th, 2010

There is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to read "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," the five-volume book I have authored, documenting my personal journey while on the staff of the ARRB, and my subsequent conclusions about the nature of the medical coverup of President Kennedy's assassination.

It has recently become apparent to me that some recent readers and reviewers are approaching the book, and my treatment of the evidence, in the wrong spirit and without understanding how I myself approached the evidence, and reached my conclusions. One disgruntled reader has attempted to summarily dismiss much of what is in my book, calling me a "Liftonite;" and a recent reviewer has viewed with dismay the fact that my book is a reinterpretation of David Lifton's seminal 1981 work, "Best Evidence," and has called my conclusions that President Kennedy's wounds were indeed altered (just as Lifton postulated in 1981)---severely tampered with by illicit post-mortem surgery, prior to the commencement of the autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital---"extreme." Both of these approaches are seriously flawed, epistemologically.

Let me first address the charge that I am a "Liftonite." This implies that the hypothesis that President Kennedy's wounds were tampered with following his death (to alter the crime scene, and thereby the official view of what happened, and how) is some kind of cult belief or religion; implies that David Lifton is the leader of this cult or religion; and furthermore, implies that I am blindly following the tenets of this (presumably) incorrect or flawed "belief system," and that therefore my views have no real validity, and that I have offered nothing new in my recent book. All of this is wrong, in a number of ways, and demonstrably so.

First of all, David Lifton is not the leader of a cult or religion. He is a remarkably intelligent guy who formulated a paradigm shift of how we should examine the deeply conflicted medical evidence pertaining to the assassination of President Kennedy. His 1981 book really shook things up; change disturbs; and it sometimes takes a generation---or several generations---before new ideas are accepted as the "new orthodoxy." Martin Luther once called Nicholas Copernicus (the Polish monk who challenged the Ptolemaic model of an earth-centered solar system) a "fool"---and the work of Copernicus was argued about heatedly for many decades---but in the end, Martin Luther and the Catholic church were both proven wrong, and Copernicus and Galileo were proven right. (Second---and on a personal note---I am an agnostic, and do not subscribe to any religion, formal or otherwise.) Third, I consider myself an "empiricist"---meaning that I am impressed by evidence, and my conclusions follow where the evidence leads me, even if the evidence leads me to conclusions that are politically unpalatable, or intellectually disturbing. David Lifton proposed in 1981 that JFK's wounds---both the throat wound, and the cranial wounds---had been altered prior to the commencement of the autopsy more than six and one half hours after his death; the interviews and depositions taken by the ARRB staff confirmed in my mind that this really did take place; therefore, I have stated so (and why) in my book. (I have also disagreed with David Lifton on the "where" and "when" of the post-mortem cranial surgery---more on this disagreement below.) While my book provides a confirmation of the basic thesis in "Best Evidence," using evidence unavailable when David Lifton published his book in 1981, it is unscientific to call me a "Liftonite." It would have been much more accurate to say, "Horne concludes in his book that Lifton's basic hypothesis---namely, that President Kennedy's wounds were altered prior to the Naval autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital---was correct, and he cites a mass of evidence gathered during the tenure of the ARRB to support his conclusions." Today, do we call those who believe that the earth revolves around the sun "Keplerites" or "Galileans" or "Newtonians" or "Copernicans?" No. We say, "modern astronomy (i.e., empirical evidence) has verified the current consensus that the sun, not the earth, lies at the center of our solar system." Similarly, we do not call those who accept the cosmological model of the Big Bang "Hubble-ites." Rather, we say, "empirical measurements of the universe we live in have repeatedly verified that the known universe is expanding at a rapid rate and that all of the mass in the known universe began rapidly expanding from an infinitesimally small point in space about 13.5 billion years ago." Rather than tag me a "Liftonite," it would be more accurate, and appropriate, to refer to the state of the medical evidence in the JFK assassination as we understand it today, and my conclusions about what the state of the medical evidence tells us about a U.S. government coverup, and about what happened in this country in 1963.

Moving on, a recent reviewer (Jim DiEugenio of CTKA) seemed to deplore my hiring by the ARRB, since he has concluded that I was determined to prove Lifton's theories correct before accepting employment. This is not at all true. I wrote in my book that while reading "Best Evidence" hooked me on the medical evidence, and captivated me intellectually, that I had no vested interest in either proving it correct, or incorrect, when I joined the ARRB staff in 1995. My sole goal was to learn what had really happened in 1963, to the extent that I could; Lifton had raised the most appropriate questions about the many conflicts within the medical evidence, and I simply wanted to know whether his hypothesis was correct or not. Wanting to know whether a hypothesis is correct, or incorrect, is a very different thing from attempting to validate a hypothesis ahead of time. I was anxious for the ARRB staff to perform all the interviews of medical witnesses, and all the depositions, that we possibly could before our sunset, in an attempt to learn all that I possibly could about the medical evidence. If many of the questions raised by "Best Evidence" defined the areas that Jeremy Gunn (the ARRB General Counsel) and I were interested in as we explored the medical evidence arena, then that simply reflects upon the high quality of the research and writing in that book. Gunn and I also pursued questions and issues raised by other JFK assassination researchers---among them Harold Weisberg, Cyril Wecht, Gary Aguilar, Randy Robertson, and David Mantik. Jeremy Gunn and I were collecting all of the information we possibly could, in an attempt to place all of the information we could in the National Archives before the ARRB shut down; we were content to "let the chips fall where they may," in relation to whether or not ANYONE'S pet theories or hypotheses were proven or disproven. I made this quite clear throughout my book, but perhaps not everyone reads carefully.

This recent reviewer (DiEugenio) also made much of his "discovery" that Lifton and I had once met (we met and briefly spoke with each other for about 3 minutes before a lecture he gave in 1992) prior to my employment at the ARRB, and that this somehow tainted my work effort. First, this is no "grand discovery;" I wrote about my intellectual journey in regard to the assassination evidence quite openly, in a spirit of complete transparency, in Volume I of my book, so that each reader would know exactly where I was coming from. My pre-ARRB journey was essentially a chronological trip through the Warren Report, and the works of Mark Lane; Harold Wiesberg; Sylvia Meagher; Josiah Thompson; David Lifton; and the HSCA report. In the illustration section, where I labeled my own book as both a "confirmation and reinterpretation" of Lifton's "Best Evidence," I was reporting on the results of 13 years of research and writing---I was reporting my conclusions---not on my intentions as I joined the ARRB staff. My intentions in 1995 were to learn all that I could, prompted by a spirit of curiosity that took no assumption, or hypothesis, for granted. Jeremy Gunn, my boss in the medical evidence arena, was prompted by the same open curiosity. Neither of us was going to automatically defer to authority in how to interpret the medical evidence; and neither of us came to our task with predetermined conclusions. Jeremy and I had many of the same questions and doubts about the medical evidence, but sharing many of the same questions does not imply an agenda or predetermined conclusions. After all, the witnesses provided the answers to the questions---not Jeremy and I---and in my book I am simply reporting what they told us, and what I believe their answers mean. Jeremy Gunn had also read "Best Evidence" and was captivated by the many questions and issues it raised; does this imply that the ARRB General Counsel was somehow also "tainted" and unfit for his role? I think not.

Perhaps the most dangerous and unsettling concept expressed recently about my book is the overt skepticism raised by Mr. DiEugenio about the hypothesis that JFK's wounds were altered by post-mortem surgery prior to the autopsy; he labeled this hypothesis "extreme," and with that one phrase attempted to cast severe doubt upon my entire book---its hypothesis, its findings of fact, and its conclusions. This is not science---it's simply namecalling. Real science does not worry about political labels reflecting whether or not someone's sensibilities are offended---real science only asks: "Do the facts support the hypothesis or not? Are the author's conclusions consistent with the evidence, or not?" Just as the results of a lab experiment in chemistry or physics depend upon facts (not wishes), what we believe about the Kennedy assassination should be determined by the latest review of ALL the evidence (including evidence not available 15 or 20 years ago), NOT by someone's ideas of what is politically correct, or about whether the weight of the evidence challenges our own political mythology about what did or did not happen in this country almost 50 years ago.

So what does the weight of the evidence tell us about the post-mortem surgery/wound alteration hypothesis? It tells us that it has been established as a fact (as recognized by David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., in his 25-page review of Volume IV of my book). For simplicity's sake, I will limit the discussion here to the head wound(s):

(1) The Dallas doctors and nurses consistently observed a blowout---an avulsed wound which they interpreted as an exit---in the right rear of JFK's head. They described this in detail in both their contemporaneous treatment reports, and in their sworn testimony in March of 1964.
(2) These descriptions were visually reinforced by the wound diagrams made by Nurse Audrey Bell and Dr. Charles Crenshaw for the ARRB in 1997.
(3) Mortician Tom Robinson, who was present at Bethesda from the time the body arrived until the time it departed, also drew a diagram of a head wound (for both the HSCA staff and the ARRB staff) which was virtually identical to those drawn by Bell and Crenshaw.
(4) Three physicians at Bethesda Naval hospital the night of JFK's autopsy (Burkley, Canada, and Ebersole) who saw JFK's body either immediately after its arrival at the Bethesda morgue (shortly after 6:35 PM, for Canada and Ebersole)---or, as in Burkley's case, earlier, in Dallas, at Parkland hospital---have all described an avulsed exit wound about the size of a baseball in the right rear of the head.
(5) Dr. Boswell drew a sketch at the autopsy (sometime after 8:00 PM) showing a much larger wound---about 5 times larger---which indicated that virtually all of the bone from the top of the head was missing---and leaving unanswered whether or not bone was also missing from the rear of the head. At his ARRB deposition in 1996, Boswell was asked to render on a 3-D skull model the true extent of the area of missing cranial bone, and he did: at the autopsy proper, after 8:00 PM, the bone was missing from the top of the skull, part of the right side of the skull, and from the right rear of the head. The damage depicted by Boswell included the avulsed exit wound seen in Dallas, but was five times larger and extended to include the top and right side of the skull, as well. The differences between the Boswell diagrams and the diagrams made by Bell, Crenshaw, and Robinson are startling, and imply post-mortem surgery at Bethesda Naval hospital. Even today, 14 years after Boswell's deposition, many researchers refuse to deal with the implications of these differences; they are not comfortable with the implications of the gross differences between the two descriptions, so they simply choose to ignore them.
(6) Two witnesses---mortician Tom Robinson and x-ray technician Ed Reed---told the ARRB that they saw the autopsy pathologists perform surgery on JFK's skull. [I infer that the reason was to suppress evidence of crossfire, by removing bullet fragments and brain tissue.] This contradicted Dr. Humes, who stated under oath to the Warren Commission and to the ARRB that he did not have to perform a craniotomy in order to remove the brain. (Humes also relayed this lie to Dr. Finck, the Army pathologist, after his late arrival.) Humes himself stated at the autopsy (as recorded by the FBI) that someone had performed surgery to the top of JFK's skull, and then lied about this under oath---denied it---before the ARRB. Mortician Tom Robinson examined the autopsy photos taken of President Kennedy's skull, and stated that the gross damage to the top of the cranium in those photographs "was what the doctors did," not "the bullet(s)."
(7) The early arrival of JFK's body at Bethesda at 6:35 PM (in the wrong casket, the wrong wrappings, and the wrong vehicle) prior to the arrival of the official motorcade from Andrews AFB (a light gray ambulance transported the ornate, heavy, bronze Dallas casket), provided those in charge of the medical cover-up time to perform the desired surgical manipulations prior to the beginning of the autopsy proper shortly after 8:00 PM. The body's early arrival is documented not only by eyewitnesses who handled the cheap shipping casket that arrived in a black hearse, but its time of arrival (6:35 PM) was recorded by a Marine Sergeant in a document obtained and authenticated by the ARRB staff.
(8) The wound descriptions provided by most Bethesda eyewitnesses include an area that was missing in the right rear of the skull (consistent with the damage seen in Dallas), but also reflect a much larger skull defect, which was fronto-parietal-occipital in nature. That is, the wound seen by most Bethesda witnesses INCLUDED the damage seen in Dallas, but was considerably larger, reflecting the results of clandestine post-mortem surgery to expand the cranial wound. (These witnesses include Paul O'Connor; James Jenkins; Jerrol Custer; and Pierre Finck.) The autopsy photos of the cranium were taken after the post-mortem surgery, and therefore show an extremely large, expanded skull defect. Inadequate analysis of eyewitness testimony performed by others often cites the similarities between the Parkland and Bethesda wound descriptions (namely, an occipital-parietal exit wound in the right rear of the head) while IGNORING that fact that most Bethesda witnesses (namely, the morgue audience after 8:00 PM) saw a cranial defect that was five times larger overall than the wound seen in Dallas, and included damage to areas other than the rear of the skull.
(9) In short, I conclude that while the body may have been tampered with enroute Bethesda (particularly the throat wound), that the exit wound in JFK's skull was substantially the same when the body arrived at Bethesda as it was when it left Dallas. Shortly after arrival, however, post-mortem surgery altered the shape and size of the cranial defect so that evidence could be removed from the body prior to the start of the autopsy. All of the existing skull photographs and cranial x-rays were taken after the post-mortem surgery.

Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." What many have found objectionable over the years---the claim that President Kennedy's wounds were altered by post-mortem surgery, in what amounted to obstruction of justice (a crime)---is strongly supported by the overwhelming evidence of the body's early arrival at Bethesda; by the two witnesses to cranial surgery (Tom Robinson and Ed Reed); and by the startling differences between the descriptions of the head wound seen in Dallas (and upon the body's initial arrival at Bethesda), and the greatly enlarged cranial defect sketched by Boswell after 8:00 PM. When viewed as a whole, the evidence supports my conclusions.

The brain photographs in the Archives cannot be used to support the lone assassin conclusion because as the ARRB's key witnesses (photographer John Stringer and FBI agent Frank O'Neill) demonstrated, the brain photos in the Archives cannot be, and are not, images of President Kennedy's brain---but rather, are images of a substitute brain.

The autopsy report in the Archives (CE 387) cannot be used to discount any part of my hypothesis because it is (at least) the third written version of that document, and is therefore without any medico-legal standing whatsoever. If there were a trial today, it would be thrown out of court by the judge. [The first draft was burned by Dr. Humes in his fireplace, and the first signed version of the report disappeared after it was given to Robert F. Kennedy.]

To those who would call me a "Liftonite," I would simply point out that while I believe the essential points in David Lifton's hypothesis published in 1981 have been verified---the chain of custody of the body was broken enroute Washington, and JFK's wounds were surgically altered prior to the autopsy---I have disagreed with him on some important points. Specifically, I take issue with Lifton's conclusions (as published in "Best Evidence") in the following ways:

(1) I do NOT believe that post mortem surgery was conducted on JFK's head wounds before the body arrived at Bethesda Naval hospital;
(2) I do NOT believe that President Kennedy's brain was removed prior to the body's arrival at Bethesda;
(3) I do NOT believe that JFK's cranium was "reconstructed" at Bethesda, after the body arrived, to fool the camera and the x-ray machine. (Instead, I believe the photos of the intact back of the head are authentic photographic images exposed after midnight---after the FBI departed the morgue---by grossly manipulating and re-arranging the scalp; and I believe the Dallas occipital-parietal blowout was obscured by visual effects in the two modified lateral skull x-rays, which are in reality altered copy films, not originals.)

So much for the claim that I am a blind adherent to another's published views. I have gone where the evidence has led me; in some cases this has meant I have agreed with Mr. Lifton, and in other cases it has meant that I have publicly disagreed with him, based upon my view of the expanded evidence in this case. There is much evidence available now that he did not have access to in 1980 when he completed his manuscript: specifically, the staff reports and deposition transcripts of the HSCA's interviews of autopsy witnesses; and the ARRB's medical witness deposition transcripts and interview reports.

In summary, David Lifton's basic hypothesis---that an assassinated President's wounds were altered by illicit, clandestine, post mortem surgery---has been verified by me in my book not out of blind loyalty, but because the weight of the evidence supports that conclusion.

An historical conclusion cannot be denied simply because one person, or a group of like-minded individuals, finds a conclusion "extreme" any more than a scientific hypothesis can be refuted simply because it challenges an orthodox view prevalent at the time the new hypothesis is introduced.

I encourage anyone interested in the epistemological issues mentioned above to read my book yourself, and then make up your own mind about what the conflicts in the medical evidence mean; don't depend upon any one review or any one internet posting or so-called "discussion thread" for an assessment of my five-volume work. The subject is too important for you to depend upon someone else's opinion, when forming your own evaluation of the medical evidence in the JFK assassination. (And all too often, strong opinions expressed within the so-called JFK "research community," about the work of other researchers, reflect more about pre-existing bias, closed minds, and long-established personality conflicts, than anything else.) Study the evidence yourself, and make up your own mind. END

My good friend David Lifton just pointed out to me, this past week, a small error in Volume III of my book, "Inside the Assassination Records Review Board," in Chapter 8, on pages 670-671.

In footnote number 2 on page 671, I incorrectly attributed a quote of something Dr. Malcolm Perry said (to others) on the weekend following the assassination to journalist Jimmy Breslin. (I also failed to cite where Breslin's article was published, and when; if I had looked up the Breslin article anew, and re-read it as I was drafting the chapter, instead of relying upon my memory, I would have avoided this mistake altogether.)

In footnote number 2 on page 671 I incorrectly stated that Dr. Perry told Breslin the small puncture in the front of President Kennedy's neck remained "inviolate" after he conducted his small, transverse tracheostomy incision.

Journalist Jimmy Breslin interviewed Dr. Malcolm Perry on Saturday, November 23, 1963, the day after JFK's assassination, and Breslin's article about the wounds observed and treatment administered at Parkland hospital in Dallas was published the very next day on Sunday, November 24, 1963 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper---and was then subsequently republished in the Saturday Evening Post magazine. Here is what Jimmy Breslin actually wrote related to the wound seen in the President's neck, and Dr. Perry's tracheostomy:

"The wound in the throat was small and neat. Blood was running out of it. It was not running too fast...Dr. Perry called for a scalpel. He was going to start a tracheotomy, which is opening the throat and inserting a tube into the windpipe. The incision had to be made below the bullet wound."

As David Lifton reminded me this past week, it was he (David Lifton) who informed me during the 1990s that Dr. Perry had told at least two different people on the weekend of the assassination that the small puncture wound in the throat remained "inviolate," even though he (Perry) had made a small transverse surgical incision (an estimated 2 to 3 cm in length) in the neck so that a breathing tube could be inserted into the windpipe to aid in respiration. But Perry, apparently, did not use the word "inviolate" with Jimmy Breslin when interviewed by Breslin on Saturday, November 23rd.

My mistake was to conflate accurate information provided to me by David Lifton (about what Dr. Perry said to others) with the fact that Perry had been interviewed by Jimmy Breslin the day after the assassination.

Now clearly, as David Lifton pointed out to me this past week, if what Jimmy Breslin wrote was correct---namely, that Dr. Perry's tracheostomy incision was actually JUST BELOW the puncture wound in the throat---then of course, that wound would have remained "inviolate!" IF DR. PERRY NEVER EVEN CUT THROUGH IT IN THE FIRST PLACE, the wound would of course have remained untouched and undisturbed.

The point I was making in Chapter 8 is still valid: the 7-8 cm wide gash seen in President Kennedy's throat at the Bethesda morgue (with "widely gaping, irregular edges"), that Dr. Humes described under oath in 1964, bore no resemblance to the small, neat incision made in Dallas, which closed automatically after the tracheostomy tube was removed following JFK's death. According to both Dr. Perry and (years later) Dr. Crenshaw, the character and appearance of the small puncture seen in the anterior neck was undisturbed by the tracheostomy incision, and was still clearly visible, even after attempts to save the President's life had ceased. The markedly different character of the large, gaping wound with irregular edges described at the autopsy---which Dr. Humes told the ARRB had "obliterated" the bullet wound in the neck---from the small, closed incision seen on JFK's body when it left Dallas, still constitutes dramatic proof that the throat wound was surgically tampered with sometime after JFK's death, and prior to the 8:15 PM start of the autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital.

In the near future, I expect David Lifton to write much more extensively about the throat wound; the procedures performed at Parkland hospital; and the interviews Dr. Malcolm Perry gave to Jimmy Breslin and others the weekend after the assassination, when his memory was still quite sharp, and before the Parkland physicians were informed of an "official government position" recorded in a Navy autopsy report.

David Lifton is the expert on this subject, and I wish to publicly thank him for correcting the error I made in Chapter 8 of my book, in which I (unfortunately) conflated the contents of Breslin's article with statements Perry reportedly made to others that weekend. END

         Add to Memories

         The "CLIFTON" Version of the Air Force One Tapes Yields Important Information

         Chris Matthews of MSNBC Still "Doesn't Get It"---WHY?

         The JFK Assassination: Still a Taboo Subject for the Mainstream Media in the United States

         Where Are the Large Format LIFE Magazine Transparencies of the Zapruder Film?

         SHAME ON THE CIA

         RETHINKING the Question: "Why Was the First Draft of JFK's Autopsy Report Destroyed?"

         THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

         AN ERROR CORRECTION

         A Matter of Epistemology

         One Small Correction...to Chapter 8 of "Inside the ARRB"

 

  Contact Information  tomnln@cox.net

 

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