May 15, 2006 Press Conference:
Prepared Remarks by Douglas P. Horne,
Former Chief Analyst for Military Records, Assassination Records Review
I served on the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board for just
over three years, from August 1995 through September 1998. During that
period of time the Review Board granted permission for the staff to take
the depositions of 10 persons involved in the autopsy on President
Kennedy: as a result, today any American citizen can go to the
II" facility in College Park, Maryland and obtain copies of the
transcripts of the sworn testimony of the 3 autopsy pathologists; both of
the official Navy photographers; both Navy x-ray technicians; a Navy
photographer's mate who developed some of the post-mortem photography; and
both of the FBI agents who witnessed the autopsy.
The Review Board's charter was simply to locate and declassify
assassination records, and to ensure they were placed in the new "JFK
Records Collection" in the National Archives, where they would be
available to the public. Although Congress did not want the ARRB to
reinvestigate the assassination of President Kennedy, or to draw
conclusions about the assassination, the staff did hope to make a
contribution to future 'clarification' of the medical evidence in the
assassination by conducting these neutral, non-adversarial, fact-finding
depositions. All of our deposition transcripts, as well as our written
reports of numerous interviews we conducted with medical witnesses, are
now a part of that same collection of records open to the public. Because
of the Review Board's strictly neutral role in this process, all of these
materials were placed in the JFK Collection without comment.
I have been studying these records for 10 years now. The reason I am here
today is because contained within our deposition transcripts and interview
reports is unequivocal evidence that there was a U.S. government cover-up
of the medical evidence in the Kennedy assassination, yet most members of
the public know nothing about this. Let me sound a cautionary note here:
no single statement of any witness stands alone. Before it can be properly
evaluated, the recollections of each witness must be compared to all of
his own previous testimony, and to that of other witnesses-before the
Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, and even
with independent researchers-as well as all available documentary
Having said this, after considerable study of all of these records, I am
firmly convinced that there is serious fraud in the medical evidence of
the Kennedy assassination in three areas:
(1) The autopsy report in evidence today, Warren Commission Exhibit # 387,
is the third version prepared of that report; it is not the sole version,
as was claimed for years by those who wrote it and signed it.
(2) The brain photographs in the National Archives that are purported to
be photographs of President Kennedy's brain are not what they are
represented to be; they are not pictures of his brain, but rather are
photographs of someone else's brain. Normally, in cases of death due to
injury to the brain, the brain is examined one or two weeks following the
autopsy on the body, and photographs are taken of the pattern of damage.
Following President Kennedy's autopsy, there were two subsequent brain
examinations, not one: the first examination was of the President's brain,
and those photographs were never introduced into the official record;
second examination was of a fraudulent specimen, whose photographs were
subsequently introduced into the official record. The pattern of damage
displayed in these 'official' brain photographs has nothing whatsoever to
do with the assassination in Dallas, and in fact was undoubtedly used to
shore up the official conclusion that President Kennedy was killed by a
shot from above and behind.
(3) There is something seriously wrong with the autopsy photographs of the
body of President Kennedy. It definitely is President Kennedy in the
photographs, but the images showing the damage to the President's head do
not show the pattern of damage observed by either the medical
professionals at Parkland hospital in Dallas, or by numerous witnesses at
the military autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital. These disparities are
real and are significant, but the reasons remain unclear. There are only
three possible explanations for this, and I will discuss these
The Autopsy Report
The evidence that a draft autopsy report-as well as a first signed
version-existed prior to the report in evidence today is both easy
understand, and undeniable.
The First Draft
On November 24, 1963 the chief pathologist at President Kennedy's autopsy,
Dr. James J. Humes, signed a typed statement he had prepared that read as
"I, James J. Humes, certify that I have destroyed by burning certain
preliminary draft notes relating to Naval Medical School Autopsy Report
A63-272 and have officially transmitted all other papers related to this
report to higher authority." [Author's emphasis]
On two occasions before the HSCA, in March of 1977 and in September of
1978, Dr. Humes maintained that he had destroyed notes. He repeated this
claim in an interview published by the Journal of the American Medical
Association in May of 1992. The reasons given in each case were that the
notes were destroyed because they had on them the blood of the President,
which Dr. Humes deemed unseemly.
The ARRB General Counsel, Jeremy Gunn, had reason to suspect that an early
draft of the autopsy report had also been destroyed, based upon an
analysis of inconsistencies between Dr. Humes' previous testimony about
when he wrote the draft report, and existing records documenting its
transmission to higher authority. After extremely thorough and persistent
questioning by the Review Board's General Counsel in February of 1996, Dr.
Humes admitted, under oath, that both notes from the autopsy, and a first
draft of the autopsy report (which had been prepared well after the
autopsy's conclusion and had no blood on it), had been destroyed in his
The First Signed Version
A simple study of the receipt trail for the transmission of the autopsy
report reveals that the first signed report is missing as well.
On April 26, 1965 the Secret Service transferred the autopsy photographs
and x-rays, and certain vital documents and biological materials to the
custody of the Kennedy family at the request of Robert F. Kennedy. That
receipt lists, among other things:
"Complete autopsy protocol of President Kennedy (orig, & 7
signed by Dr. Humes, pathologist."
Evelyn Lincoln, secretary to the late President Kennedy, signed for
receipt of all of the items the same day.
Incredibly, on October 2, 1967 the head of the Secret Service signed a
letter transferring the original of CE 387, the autopsy report placed in
evidence by the Warren Commission, to the National Archives; the National
Archives signed a receipt for CE 387 the next day, October 3, 1967.
Warren Commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin, in a declassified
transcript of a January 27, 1964 Executive Session of the Commission,
discusses details of the content of "the autopsy report" which
consistent with the details of the report in evidence today, CE 387, thus
confirming that the first signed version contained different conclusions.
The dilemma presented here can best be summarized by the following
rhetorical question: How could the U.S. Secret Service transfer the
original JFK autopsy protocol to the National Archives (or to anyone else,
for that matter) on October 2, 1967 when they had previously given it to
the Kennedy family on April 26, 1965? The answer, of course, is that there
were two separate reports. The first smooth, or signed version, was given
to the Kennedy family at the specific request of Robert Kennedy, and has
disappeared. The second signed version is in the National Archives today.
The destruction of both the first draft and the first signed version of
the autopsy report are clear evidence of the ongoing malleability of the
autopsy report's specific conclusions during the initial 2 weeks following
the conclusion of the post mortem examination. Furthermore, it is clear
that when Dr. Humes testified under oath to the Review Board that there
was only one autopsy report, and that he only signed one autopsy report,
he committed perjury.
[For those interested in obtaining copies of the relevant documents in the
receipt trail, or in studying the likely content of the first two versions
of the autopsy protocol, I will make copies of the relevant research memo
available at the end of the press conference.]
Two Brain Examinations
My most remarkable finding while on the Review Board staff, and a totally
unexpected one, was that instead of one supplemental brain examination
being conducted following the conclusion of President Kennedy's autopsy,
as was expected, two different examinations were conducted, about a week
apart from each other. A thorough timeline analysis of available
documents, and of the testimony of autopsy witnesses taken by the ARRB,
revealed that the remains of President Kennedy's badly damaged brain were
examined on Monday morning, November 25, 1963 prior to the state funeral,
and that shortly thereafter the brain was turned over to RADM Burkley,
Military Physician to the President; a second brain examination, of a
fraudulent specimen, was conducted sometime between November 29th and
December 2nd, 1963-and it is the photographs from this second examination
that are in the National Archives today.
Pertinent Facts Regarding the Two Examinations are as follows:
First Brain Exam, Monday, November 25th, 1963
Attendees: Dr. Humes, Dr. Boswell, and Navy civilian photographer John
Events: John Stringer testified to the ARRB that he used both Ektachrome
E3 color positive transparency film, and B & W Portrait Pan negative
both were 4 by 5 inch format films exposed using duplex film holders; he
only shot superior views of the intact specimen-no inferior views; the
pathologists sectioned the brain, as is normal for death by gunshot wound,
with transverse or "coronal" incisions-sometimes called
incisions-in order to trace the track of the bullet or bullets; and after
each section of tissue was cut from the brain, Stringer photographed that
section on a light box to show the damage.
Second Brain Exam, Between November 29th and December 2nd, 1963
Attendees: Dr. Humes, Dr. Boswell, Dr. Finck, and an unknown Navy
Events: Per the testimony of all 3 pathologists, the brain was not
sectioned, as should have been normal procedure for any gunshot wound to
the head-that is, transverse or coronal sections were not made. The brain
looked different than it did at the autopsy on November 22nd, and Dr.
Finck wrote about this in a report to his military superior on February 1,
1965. The color slides of the brain specimen in the National Archives were
exposed on "Ansco" film, not Ektachrome E3 film; and the B &
are also on "Ansco" film, and originated in a film pack (or
duplex holders. The brain photos in the Archives show both superior and
inferior views, contrary to what John Stringer remembers shooting, and
there are no photographs of sections among the Archives brain photographs,
which is inconsistent with Stringer's sworn testimony about what he
Further indications that the brain photographs in the Archives are not
President Kennedy's brain are as follows:
Two ARRB medical witnesses, former FBI agent Frank O'Neill and Gawler's
funeral home mortician Tom Robinson, both recalled vividly that the major
area of tissue missing from President Kennedy's brain was in the rear of
the brain. The brain photos in the Archives do not show any tissue missing
in the rear of the brain, only in the top.
When former FBI agent Frank O'Neill viewed the Archives brain photographs
during his deposition, he said that the photos he was viewing could not be
President Kennedy's brain because when he viewed the removed brain at the
autopsy, the damage was so great that more than half of it was
gone-missing. He described the brain photos in the Archives as depicting a
'virtually intact' brain.
Finally, the weight of the brain recorded in the supplemental autopsy
report was 1500 grams, which exceeds the average weight of a normal,
undamaged male brain. This is entirely inconsistent with a brain which was
over half missing when observed at autopsy.
The conduct of a second brain examination on a fraudulent specimen, and
the introduction of photographs of that specimen into the official record,
was designed to do two things:
(1) eliminate evidence of a fatal shot from the front, which was evident
on the brain removed at autopsy and examined on Monday, November 25th,
(2) place into the record photographs of a brain with damage generally
consistent with having been shot from above and behind.
Until I discovered that the photographs in the Archives could not be of
President Kennedy's brain, the brain photos had been used by 3 separate
investigative bodies-the Clark Panel, the Rockefeller Commission, and the
House Select Committee on Assassinations-to support the Warren
Commission's findings that President Kennedy was shot from above and
behind, and to discount the expert observations from Parkland hospital in
Dallas that President Kennedy had an exit wound in the back of his head.
In my opinion, the brain photographs in the National Archives, along with
Dr. Mantik's Optical Densitometry analysis of the head x-rays, are two
irrefutable examples of fraud in this case, and call into question the
official conclusions of all prior investigations.
[For those who wish detailed verification of this hypothesis, the 32-page
research paper on this subject that I completed in 1998 will be made
available at the end of this press conference.]
The Head Wound in the Autopsy Photographs
I would like to conclude with some brief closing remarks about the autopsy
photographs at the National Archives.
The images of the President's head wound are inconsistent with both the
Parkland hospital observations, and the Bethesda autopsy observations of
almost every witness present in the morgue, as follows:
The blowout, or exit wound in the right rear of the head seen in Dallas is
not present in the autopsy images, which show the back of the head to be
intact except for a very small puncture interpreted by the HSCA as a wound
of entry. Furthermore, the autopsy photographs of the head show extensive
damage to the top of the head, and to the right side of the head, which
was not seen in Dallas during the 40 minutes that the President was
observed in trauma room one at Parkland hospital.
Bethesda Naval Hospital
Most witnesses from the autopsy also recall a very large wound at the back
of the head, which, as stated above, is not shown in the autopsy
photographs. The additional damage many autopsy witnesses recall at the
top of the head, and on the right side, is present in the photographs-but
not the damage they remember at the rear. One prominent witness, Dr.
Ebersole (the radiologist at the autopsy), testified under oath to the
HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel in 1978 that the large head wound in the
autopsy photos is more lateral and more superior than he remembered, and
said that he recalled the back of the head being missing at the autopsy.
Three Possible Explanations
There are 3 possible explanations for these inconsistencies:
(1) Photographic forgery-i.e., "special effects"-to make the
rear of the
head look intact when it was not;
(2) Major manipulation of loose, and previously reflected scalp from
elsewhere on the head by the pathologists, so as to make it appear that
the back of the head was intact when it was not; or
(3) Partial reconstruction of the head by the morticians, at the direction
of the pathologists, followed by photography that created the false
impression that there was no exit defect in the back of the head.
Many JFK researchers have long suspected photographic forgery, but extreme
caution is warranted here because all analyses of the autopsy photographs
done to date have used "bootleg" materials, and not the original
in the Archives. The "bootleg" photographs do represent the
of the body in the Archives collection, but they are badly degraded,
suffer from contrast buildup, and are photographic prints-whereas any true
scientific study of these images for authenticity should use the color
positive transparencies and B & W negatives in the Archives as
not multi-generational prints of uncertain provenance.
I personally examined magnified and enhanced images of the Archives
autopsy photographs at the Kodak lab in Rochester, New York in November of
1997, and I saw no obvious evidence of photographic forgery; but I am the
first person to admit that I am not an expert in photographic special
effects techniques circa 1963.
I am of the opinion that it is likely that the back of the head appears
> intact in the autopsy photographs either because the loose scalp was
manipulated for photographic purposes, or because the photos in question
were taken after a partial reconstruction by the morticians. I was steered
toward this opinion by the ARRB testimony of the two FBI agents who
> witnessed the autopsy. Both men found the images of the intact
back-of-the-head troubling, and inconsistent with the posterior head wound
they vividly remembered. Frank O'Neill opined under oath that the images
of the back-of-the-head appeared "doctored," by which he meant
head had been put back together by the doctors. James Sibert testified
that the head looked "reconstructed" in these images-he actually
word "reconstructed" at his deposition.
No final conclusions can yet be drawn about exactly why a large defect in
the rear of the head is not shown in the autopsy photographs, when one was
seen by so many witnesses. It is sufficient to say that something is
terribly wrong here, and that it is an area that requires more study with
the original materials. Thank you for your attention.
I also have some interesting declassified FBI documents for anyone that is
By Douglas Horne
Sealing of assassination records'
"Just before the 1964 presidential election, President Johnson
Commission documentations to be sealed against public availability
for 75 years (until 2039). However, in 1992 Congress enacted the
John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. Congress
questioned the legitimate need for continued protection of such records
after three decades of secrecy. The purpose of the Act was to gather and
accelerate the public release of assassination related documents.
The Act requires all documents related to the assassination that have
been destroyed to be released to the public by no later than 2017.
From 1992 until 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board gathered
unsealed many documents. However, tens of thousands of pages of other
documents will remain classified and sealed, away from the public until
* 3+% of all Warren Commission documents
* 21+% of the House Select Committee on Assassinations documents
* An undeterminable percentage of CIA, FBI, Secret Service, National
Security Agency, State Department, US Marine Corps, Naval Investigative
Service, Defense Investigative Service, and many other US government
Additionally, several key pieces of evidence and documentation are
to have been lost, cleaned, or missing from the original chain of
(e.g., limousine cleaned out at hospital, Connally's suit dry-cleaned,
Oswald's Marine Corps service record file lost, Connally's Stetson hat
shirt sleeve gold cufflink missing, forensic autopsy photos missing,
On May 19, 2044, the 50th anniversary of the death of Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis, if her last child has died, the Kennedy library will release to
public a 500-page transcript of an oral history about John F. Kennedy
by Mrs. Kennedy before her death in 1994."
Is all this 43+ years-now-with-another-11-more-years-to-go secrecy what
would have normally been done if the killing really was as simple (as
WCR and its apologists have repeatedly described it) as an act of a
nut" (Oswald) the only assassin?
ALSO SEE>>> http://whokilledjfk.net/autopsy_photos.htm
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