The critics of the Warren Commission claim there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. If we assume they are correct, then exactly how big was the conspiracy to kill JFK? Are we talking about one assassin with an accomplice or are we talking about something larger? If one were to believe the current literature, we are faced with not just "something larger" but a monster conspiracy that consists of several assassins, several accomplices, and the destruction and forgery of vital evidence. The critics have constructed a conspiracy so massive that it ultimately falls of its own weight.
From this page you can:
Where did such a monster conspiracy come from? In the sixties, the critical literature pointed out the many failings of the Warren Commission. The most effective book of that decade, Accessories After the Fact by Sylvia Meagher, highlighted the many inconsistencies in the evidence and the many unanswered questions about the assassination.  Her book quickly went out of print and became an underground bestseller -- photocopies were widely sold within the assassination research community. Meagher went out of her way to ask more questions than to provide answers. In the seventies, the critical literature started to look at the political undertones of a possible conspiracy (especially after Watergate and the revelations of CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro) that ultimately led to a new investigation. That investigation, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), emphasized the scientific side of the assassination and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had indeed fired and killed Kennedy. In addition, the HSCA concluded, largely on the basis of the acoustics evidence, that a gunman on the grassy knoll fired at Kennedy (but missed).
The HSCA addressed many of the issues raised by the critics in the sixties. Since then, the literature has taken on a disturbing tone -- one that rejects any piece of evidence contrary to findings of conspiracy. If the autopsy X-rays and photos show evidence of a single head- shot from the rear, well, they must be fakes.  If the wounds on Kennedy's body are consistent with a single-gunman, well, the body must have been altered.  If the neutron activation analysis shows the single- bullet theory to be correct, well, the evidence has been tampered with.  And, if you do not like the conclusions of a professional panel, well, they must have ties to the government.  One could go on and on. This is extremely dangerous. This development is exactly opposite to the legitimate process of theory-building and testing. In the clash between evidence and theories, theories have to be discarded. It's true that evidence is often weak and open to multiple interpretations, but to argue that evidence is fraudulent is to undermine the possibility that any theory might turn out to be "true". . . To argue in such a style is to cause the collapse of the entire empirical edifice of assassinology. However weak, evidence could at least refute theories; now the evidence can't even do that.
So, the critics are doing two things. They are rejecting many pieces of evidence. This rejection then forces them to paint a monstrous conspiracy and cover-up. The table below examines the conspiracy that stares us in the face. The list, while incomplete, attempts to delineate the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Has there ever been such a conspiracy in history?
1. The autopsy x-rays and photos of the Kennedy autopsy have been forged |
2. Backyard photos of Oswald holding his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle were forged.
|EVIDENCE TAMPERING||Numerous pieces of evidence have been tampered with which "points clearly to a conspiracy by elements within the government to cover up the origins of the assassination."|
|MURDER||Witnesses are still dying of strange circumstances.|
|PLANTING OF EVIDENCE||
1. Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was planted in the TSBD
after a Mauser was found. |
2. The palmprint of Oswald was planted.
3. The Hidell identification was planted on Oswald
4. CE399 was planted at Parkland Hospital.
|MULTIPLE ASSASSINS||Assassins can be seen in various pictures and films of the assassination. Some conspiracy theorists feel there are up to five assassins at work in Dealey Plaza.|
|POLICE COMPLICITY||The Dallas police, besides being sloppy, helped plant evidence and hide evidence of conspiracy.|
|EVIDENCE DESTRUCTION||Several bullets that were found have been destroyed.|
|IMPERSONATION||A second Oswald roamed Dallas and Mexico City.|
1. JFK's corpse was altered before the autopsy.|
2. Oswald's body was switched.
As you go down the rows in the table above, the conspiracy becomes bigger and bigger. But there is no need. The House Select Committee on Assassinations conducted many tests that answered or debunked many of the above allegations. Not surprisingly, it is indeed extremely difficult to find references to these important studies in the critical literature. The time has come for the critics to jettison some of their sacred cows.
1. The Backyard Photographs The photographs of Oswald holding the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in his backyard have been analyzed for forgery ever since Oswald claimed the photos were composites. As more photos have emerged over the years  , the critics have been forced to find more examples of forgery. This has clearly made their task more difficult. The HSCA took these allegations very seriously and had the photographic panel spend a considerable amount of its time examining the backyard photographs. The panel conducted many tests -- all of which showed the photos to be authentic (see Table 2). The panel went to great lengths to answer all of the supposed "inconsistencies".
STEREOSCOPIC ANALYSIS: Two of the photos were taken a short
distance apart of a single scene. This allows the pictures to be
inspected with stereoscopic techniques. It is virtually
impossible to retouch one or both images of a stereo pair without
escaping detection. No evidence of retouching was found.
PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ANALYSIS: Photometry is the science of ascertaining the positions and dimensions of objects from measurements of photographs of these objects. No evidence of fakery was found.
|Unnatural Lines in Oswald's Chin||Microscopic analysis showed no evidence of fakery.|
|Unnatural and Inconsistent Shadows||Varying exposures indicate that the shadows are indeed normal. The shadows were also determined to be directionally consistent.|
|Identical Backgrounds||Photos contained such different shadow patterns that the time sequence in which these photos were taken could be determined.|
|Camera Identification||Most cameras leave particular frame edge markings on negatives and pictures-- typically in a pattern unique to a particular camera. Oswald's camera was positively identified as the camera that made the one existing negative and one of the photos (only one photo showed the frame edge markings).|
Yet, the critics have continued with the exactly the same criticisms as before the panel. Groden spends three pages in The Killing of A President analyzing the backyard photos, but just mentions that the photographic panel found the photos to be genuine -- with no explanation. What's worse, the photographic panel actually addressed particular concerns raised by Groden in one of his earlier books. Marrs, in his book Crossfire, spends four and a half pages on the photos. While he mentions the HSCA conclusions, his text makes it clear that their analysis was on very narrow grounds: This conclusion rested primarily on studies that showed markings on the edges of the negative of one of the original photographs were identical to markings on other photographs made by the Imperial Reflex camera. This ballistics-type evidence convinced the panel that the photos must be genuine. Marrs neglects to tell the reader that the edge markings analysis was only one of many tests done by the panel (see Table 2). Marrs then brings up many of the same concerns that had already been addressed by the panel (sameness of backgrounds, conflicting shadows, etc.) -- without telling the reader that they had been addressed.
Marrs quotes Maj. John Pickard, commander of the photographic department at the Canadian Defense Department, as saying the photos "have the earmarks of being faked." Yet the Photographic Panel noted that "he (Pickard) had performed no scientific tests on the photos and that he had spent less than an hour examining the 'very poor copies' that were submitted to him." Marrs chose to leave that detail out. Perhaps there is a conspiracy after all.
|Anthropological||Premortem x-rays of Kennedy were compared to the autopsy x-rays. A number of unique anatomic characteristics confirmed that the x- rays were of the same individual.|
|Dental||Dr. Lowell Levine examined three skull autopsy x-rays and compared them with premortem dental x-rays. He concluded that the x-rays were of the same person.|
|Stereoscopic||Several stereo pairs of photographs were analyzed. There was no evidence of alteration in the stereo pairs of the back of the head, the top of the head, the large skull defect, and the back of the head from the front right.|
|Radiological||Dr. Gerald McDonnel examined the premortem and postmortem x-rays for alteration. He particularly looked for any differences in density, any discontinuities of bone structure, and any abnormal patterns. He found no evidence of alteration.|
|Metric & Morphological||The person in the autopsy photographs are indeed John Kennedy. |
In addition, four of the Parkland Hospital doctors (Jenkins, Delaney, Peters, and McClelland), the original autopsy doctors and John Stringer (the autopsy photographer) and John Ebersole (the autopsy radiologist) have all said the materials in the National Archives are authentic. But, if you don't believe that the autopsy X-rays and photographs are forged, then how about body alteration (see section 9). I hesitate to think what next.
Further, the autopsy x-rays and photographs show that the back of Kennedy's head was intact with a large gaping exit wound in the right parietal area of the head. This is consistent with a shot from the rear. And, if you watch the Zapruder film, you will notice that the back of Kennedy's head does remain intact and that there is a rather noticeable exit wound exactly where the autopsy materials show it to be.  The Moorman photograph, taken seconds after Kennedy was hit in the head, also shows the back of his head to be totally intact.  Thus, the photographic evidence is consistent with the autopsy materials -- all of which support a shot fired from behind Kennedy. This has led some critics to claim that the Zapruder film was doctored by the CIA at the NPIC right after the assassination (see Section 4). Of course, if the film was doctored, why not also change the head-snap?
Canning's analysis supported the single-bullet theory and found that the bullet would have had to have been substantially deflected by passing through the President in order to miss the Governor. It seems almost inevitable that the Governor would be hit with the alignments that we have found.  Of course, it is not hard to believe that a bullet exiting Kennedy's throat could travel on and hit Connally. In addition, Calvin McCamy of the Photographic Panel testified that the positions of the two men were examined on these films just prior to the time that the limousine went behind the sign, and it was agreed 15 to 1 that the men were in positions that were consistent with the single- bullet theory.  The HSCA trajectory analysis and the testimony of Canning and McCamy have been largely ignored by the critics. Groden, in his book The Killing of a President, says that "the single bullet theory, when depicted in pictures or diagrams, can seem plausible, the effect of angle or trajectory can be easily manipulated or obscured."  Yet Groden goes on to show not one, but three separate mutually-exclusive diagrams of the single-bullet theory (see Table 4). What Groden doesn't show is the HSCA diagram of the single-bullet theory -- and it clearly shows that Kennedy and Connally were in alignment.
1.) Diagram shows a bullet totally missing Connally (pp. 126).
Improper angles and improper positioning of Kennedy's wounds.
2.) Diagram shows a bullet zigzagging into Connally (although in this diagram, the bullet would not have missed Connally). (pp. 129)
Once again, improper positioning of the bodies and wounds make it appear the bullet had to change flight paths.
3.) A connect-the-dots diagram that shows CE399 changing direction several times (pp. 139).
Totally incorrect positioning of Kennedy's neck wound
Marrs, in his book Crossfire, and Cyril Wecht, in his book Cause of Death, also show the same third "connect-the-dots" diagram that Groden uses. Cyril Wecht should know better -- the diagram positions the Kennedy's entry wound as being 5 3/4" below his collar which is not where the forensic pathology panel positioned the wound (and with which he agreed). There is absolutely no mention of the HSCA trajectory analysis in either books. Groden is certainly correct in his assertion that diagrams can be misleading. Secondly, while the Zapruder film appears to show Kennedy and Connally reacting at different times, we must remember that the speed of the film can render misleading judgments. Each frame of the Zapruder films represents only 1/18th of a second -- so a delayed reaction of just one second (well within the realm of possibility) translates into 18 frames of the Zapruder film. This begs the question of [how] far apart was their reactions. Even Groden admits that "the Zapruder films shows both men reacting to being shot three-quarters of a second apart." That translates into 13 frames of the Zapruder film. Is it impossible for two men to react to different wounds within three-quarters of a second (and possibly even less).  The forensic pathology panel of the HSCA certainly didn't think so, saying that "the majority of the panel believes that the interval is consistent with the single-bullet theory."  Human reaction to bullet wounds are incredibly varied -- it is not a "hard physical science".  Why do critics refuse to explore such a simple explanation? Lastly, Cyril Wecht has continually challenged his fellow forensic pathologists to come up with just one bullet that has done as much damage as CE399 without being damaged. Well, Michael Kurtz, in his book Crime of the Century has come up with one. 
It is indeed possible for a bullet to remain relatively unscathed. However, according to Dr. Michael Baden, Chairman of the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel, it is not surprising that there are few other examples: The problem is that although in New York City we see more than 1,000 gunshot wound deaths a year, in a civilian population it is most unusual to encounter military ammunition; and in military practice where people are killed by rifle bullets, autopsies and follow-up correlations are not performed as in the civilian death situation. Very few people, if any, have any autopsy experience with the Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 millimeter ammunition in a civilian population. The final clincher to the argument came through neutron activation analysis which proved that the fragments removed from Connally's wrist came from CE399. The critics must realize that there is quite a bit of difference between the impossible and the possible.
|ZAPRUDER FILM (1)||Documents show that the film was at the CIA's National Photo Interpretation Center (NPIC) after the assassination. Lifton claims this compromises the film's value as evidence.||It is unclear exactly when the Zapruder film was at NPIC. Even there is no objective evidence of any tampering.|
|ZAPRUDER FILM (2)||Groden writes that "the film has again been tampered with at frame 207 and it is spliced, with four frames removed to frame 212 where the Warren Commission placed the first shot. Why? We now know that frames 208-211 have all been removed."||Life magazine accidentally damaged six frames (207-212). Before that happened, Zapruder had ordered three prints. The so-called missing frames were printed in Josiah Thompson's book, Six Second in Dallas, which was published years before Groden's book.|
|AUTOPSY X-RAYS AND PHOTOS||Autopsy material has been forged to hide a gunshot to the head from the front||
See section 2.
|BACKYARD PHOTOS||Photos are composites with Oswald's face and somebody else's body.||
See section 1.
|NIX FILM||Livingstone quotes a critic who claims a frame is missing after the head-shot which would show a "large piece of skull fragment in the air coming from the back of the head." Jack White also thinks the film was altered.||There is no evidence that a frame is missing from the Nix film.|
|OSWALD SIGNATURES||Groden writes that "The Oswald signatures on so many documents could have been easily forged and in fact, to any amateur, do not appear to be by the same man."||The HSCA handwriting panel gathered 50 documents and concluded that "the signatures and handwriting purported to by Oswald are consistently that of one person."|
Besides directing an "incredible" cover-up, the conspirator also planted lots of evidence to incriminate Oswald (see Table 6). Instead of concluding that Oswald was guilty (a simple explanation), the critics have spun a tale of sinister conspirators successfully planting evidence to fool the police and FBI. If you don't like the evidence, just question its legitimacy!
|OSWALD'S PALMPRINT||After Oswald's death, a palmprint arrived at the FBI lab, supposedly taken from the assassination rifle.||The HSCA confirmed that Oswald's palm print was on the rifle and that Oswald's fingerprints were found on the paper bag used to bring the gun into the Texas School Book Depository. Not one witness has every come forward to say that the palmprint (or the fingerprints) were planted.|
|HIDELL IDENTIFICATION||Identification card with the name Alek Hidell was planted on Oswald by the police.||Oswald admitted having the card. The signature on the card was proved to be Marina Oswald's (and she admitted signing the card).|
|ASSASSINATION RIFLE||There are reports of more than one rifle found on the day of the assassination.||The photographic evidence panel compared the relative lengths of parts of the alleged assassination rifle with that in many photos and films. The panel found the dimensions to be entirely consistent. Further, the panel compared identifying marks which indicate that both the rifle in the Archives is the same weapon that Oswald is shown holding in the backyard picture and the same weapon, found by Dallas police, that appears in various post assassination photographs."|
|SINGLE-BULLET (CE399)||The bullet found at Parkland hospital was planted. Some have even suggested it was planted by Jack Ruby.||An absurd theory. How could the conspirators have known the nature of the wounds to take such a chance to plant "another" bullet?|
To date, not one witness has come forward who can provide any evidence of forgery or planting of evidence.
Check out a detailed analysis of the "mysterious" deaths connected to the assassination.
Another person on his list (and Penn Jones' list) is Earlene Roberts who died in January, 1966. Roberts was Oswald's landlady and died of a heart attack. Jacqueline Hess, a researcher for the HSCA testified that: He [Penn Jones] then states that she had important evidence to contribute. The implication is that Mrs. Roberts death is mysterious. While it is clear that Mrs. Roberts did indeed have important evidence to contribute, there is no indication in the records relating to her death, or in Mr. Jones' book, as to what exactly was mysterious about a 61-year-old woman with large calcium deposits and a case of pneumonia, dying of acute heart failure.  Hess's conclusion was that the "available evidence does not establish anything about the nature of these deaths which would indicate that the deaths were in some manner, either direct or peripheral, caused by the assassination of President Kennedy or by any aspect of the subsequent investigation."
Marrs does quote the above conclusion but rejects it saying that "these deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public."  Perhaps Marrs' theory would carry more weight if he himself was on the list. In The Killing of a President, Groden presents sidebars on many pages on the "HSCA Mysterious Death Project". Many of the deaths (like Earlene Roberts above) seem decidedly non-suspicious: David Goldstein, who has assisted the FBI in tracing the revolver used in the Tippit killing, died in 1965 of seemingly natural causes.  What exactly is one to make of such "assertions"? Why add the adjective "seemingly" without any clarification? Groden also includes a side-bar on Earlene Roberts. Like Marrs, Groden quotes the conclusions of Jacqueline Hess -- yet by including 43 such sidebars, Groden tilts the weight of his book against Hess' conclusions. One would think both authors could find better material.
Of course, the critics still publish and refer to the photos originally supplied by the CIA. Groden prints the pictures and writes that "The CIA was aware of at least one impostor using the name Lee Harvey Oswald. The photographs of the same man (right), posing as Oswald, were taken by the CIA on two separate occasions at the Cuban and Soviet embassies."  A CIA mistake is thus transformed into a CIA "conclusion" that Lee Harvey Oswald was being impersonated.
|ALTGENS PHOTOGRAPH||Man on fire escape appears startled after shots. "Was it close proximity of gunshots that startled the man on the fire escape?"||Impossible to investigate. Lots of people in Dealey Plaza were startled by gunshots.|
|WILLIS PHOTOGRAPH||Groden writes that the figure shown in the Willis photo was "crouching behind the retaining wall, perhaps to fire upon the President."||The photographic panel concluded that there was indeed a human standing behind the wall. However, the panel was unable to conclude that there was any rifle or any other weapon associated with the person.|
|MOORMAN PHOTOGRAPH||A photo taken by Mary Ann Moorman shows Kennedy within half a second of being shot in the head. Numerous researchers have claimed there is an image of a policeman firing a gun (known as the Badgeman). ||The photographic panel sent a high-quality negative copy to the Rochester Institute of Technology. A series of photo enlargements were made. No evidence of a person on the retaining wall could be found. No enhancement work was carried out in the area of the stockade fence because the photo was so underexposed. |
|NIX FILM||Groden writes that "the important things about this film is that you can see what appears to be one of the gunmen aiming a rifle at Kennedy."||Object in the Nix film was not identified as a human being. No evidence of a puff of smoke was found. So-called classic gunman was not a gunman since there was no evidence of human flesh tones. |
|ZAPRUDER FILM||Groden includes a drawing of Frame 413 that shows a helmeted man with a rifle. ||Analysis shows the head is indeed human but not in the bushes. The so-called rifle was only one of a number of twigs in the bush. |
|HUGHES FILM||Robert Hughes filmed the motorcade as it turned onto Elm Street. Groden claims his film reveals movement in several windows on the sixth floor. ||Eighty-eight frames were processed for computer enhancement and motion analysis. Motion in the films is random and is not consistent with human motion, but is attributable to photographic artifact. |
|BRONSON FILM||Charles Bronson filmed the Texas School Book Depository about six minutes before the shooting. According to Groden, "his film caught the movements of figures in the alleged sniper's window and two adjacent windows on the sixth floor." ||Apparent motion seems to be random.  Tests run for the special Frontline show on PBS also show the movement to be random.|
As such, the HSCA concluded that "There is no definitive visible evidence of any gunmen in the streets, sidewalks, or areas adjacent to Dealey Plaza. Nor was any evidence discerned of a flash of light or a puff of smoke." The panel also concluded that motion in the windows adjacent to the open sixth-floor windows of the TSBD can be "attributed to photographic artifact." However, these conclusions have not stopped the allegations -- allegations that are made without telling readers of the HSCA conclusions.  Never before have "dots" or "checks" been entered as evidence of conspiracy.
One of the best stories is told by Bill Gurvich who worked for Jim Garrison before quitting: "He (Raymond Marcus) came in the office and he had some large blowups of what he said was the picket fence area in Dallas, in Dealey Plaza. And these photographs would support what Garrison was saying about multiple assassins. Behind the fence. Behind the wall. So these photographs had been enlarged so many times that they looked like a checkerboard - they were black and white squares. Which was a printer's screen, enlarged. You couldn't distinguish anything. I joked with them when they showed it to me, and I said it looked like a Purina checkerboard sign."  To get people to see these "multiple" assassins, critics have resorted to painting in assassins to aid the eye. On page 200 of Groden's book, there is a colour picture of the "Badgeman". The caption reads "An extreme enlargement of a portion of Mary Ann Moorman's photograph shows a distinct image of a man in a uniform, especially when the shadowy images are colored in as in the illustration above" (emphasis added). Because if you don't add that assistance, well, you can't see nothing.
Is the Case Closed? The critics are practising intellectual dishonesty on a massive scale. The conspiracy they paint is too big. One must remember that the Watergate cover-up failed despite being run by a sitting President. Iran-Contra also failed despite a sitting (albeit sleeping) President that gave free rein to his administration. Yet, we are to believe that a conspiracy of multiple gunmen, massive forgery and tampering of evidence, impersonation, planting of evidence, etc. could survive without a single crack. It belies belief. This doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate areas of inquiry. The major problem is that the critics have not yet developed a talent to filter out the unwarranted charges and focus on the more important issues. This need to throw out some sacred cows and begin to focus on the real issues cannot be overstated. Posner's biggest mistake was in claiming that the case was closed. It's not. Dr. Gary Aguilar sums up some of the outstanding medical issues in a cogent article in the Fourth Decade. There are still questions on the acoustics evidence.  Oswald's possible relationships with various intelligence agencies are in question.  So, the case is still very much open.  However, just as the "lone-nutters" must admit there are areas that remain to be investigated, the "conspiracy freaks" must start discarding some of their many sacred cows.
* * * Fred Litwin, 39 Birch Avenue, Ottawa Canada K1K 3G5 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Mark Lane's book Rush to Judgment was the first book to gain a wide popular audience with a critical analysis of the 26 volumes of evidence released by the Warren Commission. Other early books like Whitewash by Harold Weisberg also critically examined the evidence and found numerous examples of sloppy investigation by the Warren Commission. By the end of 1967, many analyses had appeared and a majority of the American population did not believe the Warren Commission.
2. Sylvia Meagher produced the first subject index to the 26 volumes which allowed her to present a well-documented critique of the entire investigation in Accessories After The Fact. Meagher's strength was her method --she presented the conclusions of the Warren Commission and then set out all the evidence -- both pro and con. Edward Jay Epstein said that Meagher's book "completes the Warren Report by supplying the contradictory evidence the Commission ignored or missed" (Book World, 26 November, 1967).
3. The acoustics evidence has since been questioned by the Ramsey Panel which was commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences. The panel found evidence of "cross-talk" on the tapes which rendered the conclusions of a second gunman highly suspect.
4. A large number of recent books, High Treason II and Killing the Truth by Harrison Livingstone, Crossfire by Jim Marrs, The Killing of a President by Robert Groden, Best Evidence by David Lifton all charge forgery of evidence. Crossfire is notable since it formed the basis of the movie "JFK".
5. Harrison Livingstone has written an entire book (High Treason II) alleging massive forgery of the autopsy x-rays and photos. Livingstone alleges that the autopsy X-rays and photos have been altered to hide proof of a head-shot fired from the front. The fact that he has not seen the original x-rays and photos and is not a doctor is not an impediment to his analysis. In addition, Livingstone's erratic writing style makes it extremely difficult to follow his arguments.
6. Best Evidence, David Lifton, Carroll & Graf edition, 1988, originally published in 1980.
7. The weights of the fragments tested by the HSCA do not exactly match the weights of the fragments tested by the FBI in 1964. This has led many critics to totally dismiss the neutron activation analysis (NAA) findings (and to charge that fragments had been switched) instead of asking why the weights are different. The fact is that the FBI conducted emission spectrography on the various samples in 1963 -- a techniques that uses up specimens of the samples. The FBI also subjected the samples to NAA and they did not return the specimens (cut from the samples) they used. See "Innuendo Versus Science" an unpublished research paper by Joel Grant that rebuts criticism of Dr. Guinn's NAA.
8. Cyril Wecht's testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassination is highly revealing. He dismisses the conclusions of his fellow forensic pathology panelists by claiming that they all had ties to the US government. "There are some things involving some present and former professional relationships and things between some of them and some people who have served on previous panels. In fact, two of the members of this panel have been previously involved. One under the auspices of CBS with the government's implied permission and delight, if not expressed sponsorship, and another one with the Rockefeller Commission." HSCA, Volume 1, pp. 354. This, despite that the fact that Dr. Earl Rose was on the panel. Rose was the forensic pathologist in Dallas who was not allowed by the Secret Service to do the original autopsy (which he was required to do under Texas law). In Wecht's current book, Cause of Death, he states that, "If Dr. Rose, a well-qualified and respected forensic pathologist had been permitted to do that autopsy, we might know a lot more about the wounds than we do today" (pp. 23). Wecht also dismisses the Clark Panel, "all of the individuals that Clark chose had close professional ties to the federal government, and all were sympathetic to the Warren Commission's findings" (pp. 31). And, Wecht also dismisses the Rockefeller panel, saying that "each of these men had ties to the Warren Commission; one had even been an employee of that panel." (pp. 41) Yet, in 1967, Wecht wrote that "within one hour's flying time [of Washington D.C.] were some of the greatest forensic pathologist's in the world. Dr. Russell S. Fisher in Baltimore, Dr. Milton Helpern in New York City, Dr. Joseph W. Spelman in Philadelphia, Dr. Geoffrey T. Mann in Virginia, and Dr. Alan R. Moritz in Cleveland." (Six Seconds in Dallas, pp. 363 of the paperback edition). Both Moritz and Fisher served on the Clark Panel!
9. "Major Trouble in Conspiracy Land" by Dennis Ford, Fourth Decade, March, 1994, pp. 26.
10. One of the most incredible assertions was contained in Lincoln Lawrence's (pseud.) book, Were We Controlled, which suggests that Oswald had two devices implanted in his brain while in Minsk. Dick Russell also discusses this possible Manchurian Candidate in his book The Man Who Knew Too Much (see pages 674 to 682). There are many other crazy theories -- Bonar Menninger wrote a book (Mortal Error) saying that a secret service agent fired the fatal head-shot from within the motorcade. Robert Morrow wrote a book (First Hand Knowledge) claiming that he participated in the assassination plot. Michael Eddowes wrote a book (The Oswald File) claiming that the KGB switched an impostor for the real Oswald. Hugh McDonald wrote a book (Appointment in Dallas) claiming to have met one of the gunmen (named Saul). Probably the most bizarre hypothesis was put forward by R.B. Cutler who has "theorized that the umbrella [of a bystander holding an umbrella during the motorcade] was used to fire a paralyzing dart into Kennedy immobilizing him for marksmen with rifles. . . . Cutler's theory cannot be completely dismissed." (Crossfire, pp. 30). The fact that Marrs cannot dismiss this ridiculous theory says quite a bit. This paper attempts to go over some of the more "legitimate" areas of concern in the Kennedy case.
11. High Treason, pp. 117.
12. Robert Groden takes the cake. His latest book, The Killing of a President postulates that there were eight shots (and perhaps ten) fired in Dealey Plaza by a total of five assassins! Groden also alleges widespread forgery and tampering of the evidence. He leaves no conspiracy stone unturned.
13. Most people reading the critical literature are probably unaware of the many tests conducted by the HSCA. And, the fact that the tests debunked many allegations. However, they are probably aware of the acoustics evidence -- the one test that did show evidence of a second gunman. Paul Hoch puts it best when he says that "the House Committee took a stab at the tests the critics wanted -- not completely, not perfectly, but we expected that any one of the tests would demolish the WC reconstruction -- neutron activation analysis, trajectory analysis. And they didn't" (Echoes of Conspiracy, 3 November, 1993, pp. 5).
14. Captain Will Fritz quoted Oswald from his interrogation, "He said the picture was not his, that the face was his face, but that this picture had been made by someone superimposing his face the other part of the picture was not him at all and that he had never seen the picture before . . . He told me that he understood photography real well, and that in time, he would be able to show that it was not his picture, and that it had been made by someone else." (Warren Commission Report, pp. 608-609)
15. Two negatives were found in Oswald's personal possessions at the Paine residence (although one negative is now missing). Another photo was given to the HSCA by Mrs. Geneva Dees which had been acquired by her husband, Roscoe White, of the Dallas Police force. Another first generation print of one of the first two were obtained from the widow of George de Mohrenschildt (HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 350-361)
16. The photographic panel addresses concerns raised by Groden in his book JFK: The Case for Conspiracy written with F. Peter Model (see HSCA Volume VI, pp. 192-198).
17. Crossfire, pp. 453
18. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 177.
19. The autopsy x-rays and photos were deposited in the National Archives by the Kennedy family in October, 1966. Immediately thereafter, Representative Theodore R. Kupferman of New York City requested to examine the autopsy materials with Dr. Milton Helpern, Dr. Cyril Wecht, and Sylvia Meagher. The request was turned down because the National Archives had agreed to a five- year waiting period imposed by the Kennedy family. The materials were first examined by independent doctors in 1972.
20. The Medical Evidence in the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Cyril H. Wecht and Robert P. Smith, Forensic Science 3, 1974, republished in The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond, edited by Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch, and Russell Stetler, Vintage Books, pp. 239-240.
21. Mr. PURDY. Dr. Wecht, does the present state of available evidence permit the conclusion that to a reasonable degree of medical certainty there was not a shot from the side which struck the President? Dr. WECHT. Yes, with reasonable medical certainty I would have to say that the evidence is not there. I have already said it is a remote possibility and I certainly cannot equate that with reasonable medical certainty (HSCA, Volume VII, pp. 346). Mr. PURDY: Dr. Wecht, what evidence is there which supports the possibility that there was a shot from the side or from the lower right rear? Dr. WECHT. Very meager, and the possibility based upon the existing evidence is extremely remote. There is a small piece of some material that is present at the base of the external scalp, just above the hairline, which has never been commented on before except by me following the 1972 investigation of the material at the Archives, and later commented upon by this forensic pathology panel. (HSCA, Volume VII, pp. 346).
22. Wecht still argues that head shot was fired from the rear, but . . . perhaps the use of frangible ammunition, synchronized with the shot from behind, destroyed evidence of a frontal shot. Thus we have the bizarre situation of a theory that can never be tested since there is no evidence. This ridiculous theory was totally refuted by Dr. Charles Petty in testimony before the HSCA, "if such a bullet were fired into the side of the head, through the aperture caused by the exiting large bullet, I would expect those pieces of the frangible bullet to have continued over to the left of the head and these would be metallic material easily identifiable seen in the left side of the brain . . there are no such fragments in the x-rays of the late President's head (Volume I, pp. 379)." Petty is the author of one of the few texts on frangible ammunition.
23. Livingstone charges that the X-rays show a complete loss of frontal bone which is not supported by the photographs. Not one doctor who has examined the autopsy materials have reported any such discrepancy, not even Cyril Wecht. See "Insight on the X- Rays" by Jerry Organ in The Third Decade, March 1993, pp. 17 for a good explanation of Livingstone's supposed discrepancy.
24. Dr. David Mantik, a radiologist, believes that some of the x-rays may have been tampered with. In an affidavit submitted in a case to open the x-rays to the public (Mark Katz. v. National Archives and Records Administration, Civil Action No. 92-1024 TAF) he writes that "My analysis of the x-rays indicates that, although most portions of these x-rays are authentically those of JFK, certain critical areas have been altered, most likely by the superposition of more than one image on the same film. This is indicated by the fact that on both lateral skull x-rays, the optical density of a large white posterior parietal, occipital area implies remarkably dense bone equivalent tissue, nearly equal to the entire skull width. A correspondingly dense object is nowhere evidence on the anterior-posterior (AP) skull x-ray. Moreover, the density of this posterior area is distinctly different on the two lateral x-rays, in a manner not explicable by difference x-ray exposures." (pp. 2 of his affidavit) Mantik has yet to publish but will be presenting a paper at a conference in October, 1994 in Washington D.C.
25. See HSCA Volume 7 pp.40.
29. See Volume VI of the HSCA -- The Photographic Panel -- Paragraph 512+.
30. Luis W. Alvarez, "A Physicist Examines the Kennedy Assassination Film", American Journal of Physics, Sept. 1976.
32. Killing of a President, pp. 33.
33. HSCA, Volume VII, pp. 178, paragraph 485.
34. The consistency between the Zapruder film and the autopsy photographs is striking. I sat in a critic's house for a half-hour watching the Zapruder film (backwards, forwards etc.) and it was evident that the back of Kennedy's head remains intact.
35. Groden publishes the Moorman photograph on page 34 of The Killing of a President. Groden does not comment on the clear lack of an "exit" wound in Kennedy's head.
36. Warren Commission Report, pp. 105-110.
37. See the testimony of Thomas Canning (Volume II of the HSCA volumes) regarding the trajectory analysis. His analysis puts Connally sitting to the left of Kennedy, thus putting him in alignment. The photographic panel found that "Connally was sitting 10.2 to 20.3 centimeters to the left of a line extending straight forward from Kennedy. See HSCA Volume VI pp. 49.
38. See HSCA, Volume II, pp. 155-157.
39. Testimony of Thomas Canning, HSCA, Volume II, pp. 192.
40. Wecht admits that 6.5 mm. copper-jacketed bullet fired from a Mannlicher-Carcano had enough power to cause several wounds in multiple bodies: Mr. CORNWELL. Directing your attention, next, to the single-bullet theory, as I understand your testimony, it is not that one bullet of the Mannlicher-Carcano type would not have been powerful enough to go through the neck, the chest, the wrists and imbed itself in the thigh, is that correct,as a matter of mere power? Dr. WECHT. Yes; I believe that it is possible for that kind of ammunition to go through those several portions of human body. (HSCA, Volume I, pp. 348)
41. Testimony of Calvin McCamy, HSCA, Volume II, pp. 143. Robert Groden was the lone dissenter.
42. The Killing of a President, pp.124.
43. Exhibit F-144 of the HSCA, Volume II, pp. 189.
44. Crossfire, pp. 4 of illustrations, Cause of Death, pp. 3 of illustrations. Only Wecht places a source for the diagram (Josiah Thomson), although Wecht captions it as "the remarkable path of the "magic bullet", as shown by the Warren Commission." That is quite a misleading caption.
45. The Killing of a President, pp. 125.
46. It is quite possible that Connally is reacting to his wounds by frame 224. It is more difficult to determine exactly when Kennedy first reacts. It is probable that he was hit between frame 210 and frame 225 (when the view of Kennedy is obscured by sign on the road). It is thus possible that their reactions are no more than a couple of frames apart. The photographic panel of the HSCA thought that Kennedy was reacting to a gunshot (but not necessarily wounds) at frame 190.
47. See HSCA, Volume VII, pp. 179, paragraph 488.
48. Testimony of Cyril Wecht before the HSCA, Volume I, pp. 357.
Mr. DODD: To what extend is there a body of medical knowledge with regard to the predictable movement of a human body when shot?49. Wecht testified before the HSCA that "for the past 12 or 13 years, I have repeatedly, limited to the context of the forensic pathologist, numerous times implored, beseeched, urged, in writing, orally, privately, collectively, my colleagues; to come up with one bullet, that has done this. (HSCA, Volume I, pp. 337)" Michael Kurtz, in his book Crime of the Century, has unearthed such a bullet. He states that "A shooting incident occurred in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, in June 1976, an incident which strongly reinforces the Warren Commission's claims about Bullet 399. A man was shot wit a .25 caliber copper-jacketed bullet. The bullet penetrated through his wrist and caused a compound fracture of the right radius. The bullet entered the victim's chest, breaking his right sixth rib, and was deflected upward and backward until it smashed against the man's clavicle, severely fracturing it. The bullet then was deflected downward along the spinal column and broke four different vertebrae before finally coming to rest in the neural canal. This bullet caused far more severe damage to bone structure than Bullet 399 allegedly did to Governor Connally. Yet its copper jacketing is intact, and no more than .7 grains of lead are missing from its base. This case belies the assertions by such Warren Commission critics as Milton Helpern and Cyril Wecht that bullet cannot strike bone and emerge unscathed(pp. 81)." In addition, Robert Artwohl wrote on CompuServe on 25 March, 1994 that "Martin Fackler, MD, FACS, current head of the International Wound Ballistics Association, and unquestionably one of the leading wounds ballistics experts in the world has absolutely no problem with the SBT with CE 399. In fact, he was able to fire a full metal copper jacket round nosed 6.5 bullet through a radius, fracturing it, without the bullet suffering ANY damage whatsoever. Vincent DiMaio, MD, PhD, author of GUNSHOT WOUNDS: Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, has no problem with the SBT and CE 399. In fact, he has recovered completely undeformed UNJACKETED lead .22 bullets embedded in vertebral bodies."
Dr. WECHT: . . . I would say that it definitely could not be considered as a hard, physical science. There are biological variation, no question. (HSCA, Volume 1, pp. 359)
50. HSCA, Volume I, pp. 308.
51. See the testimony and report of Dr. Vincent Guinn in HSCA, Volume I, pp. 490-567. The silver and antimony content of CE399 were virtually identical with CE-842, the three fragments removed from Connally's wrist (pp. 504). Michael Kurtz criticizes the results saying that there was a mis-match in the copper, chlorine, sodium and aluminum content. Guinn addresses all of those alleged mis-matches in his testimony.
52. Paul Hoch writes that "the single bullet theory is not a joke. Despite its well-known flaws, the Warren Commission/House Committee reconstruction may be in better shape than any other single detailed reconstruction. At least, it has to be taken seriously." (Echoes of Conspiracy, 3 November, 1993, pp. 5).
53. Lifton writes that "an altered film might also explain why the occipital area, where the Dallas doctors saw a wound, appears suspiciously dark, whereas a large wound appears on the forward, right-hand side of the head, where the Dallas doctors saw no wound at all" (Best Evidence, pp. 557). Of course, the Zapruder film is entirely consistent with the autopsy photos which show the occipital area of Kennedy's head to be intact. Lifton goes on to claim that this "previously unreported" CIA possession of the film compromises its value as evidence (Best Evidence, pp. 556).
54. High Treason, pp. 217. What's most interesting is that Groden supplied frames 208-211 to the HSCA which were obtained from the Secret Service copy of the Zapruder film (see HSCA, Volume II, pp. 143). Nowhere in Groden's books does he correct his sinister implication in High Treason.
55. Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, Berkley Medallion edition, pp. 271-275.
56. Killing the Truth, pp. 77.
57. Fourth Decade, March 1994, pp. 35. White is "puzzled. . . regarding the apparent differences in the upper left hand corner of the frames."
58. High Treason, pp. 120
59. HSCA, Volume VIII pp. 233.
60. Killing the Truth, pp. 87.
61. HSCA, Volume VIII pp. 248.
62. Killing the Truth, pp. 87.
63 HSCA, Volume VIII pp. 236., Warren Commission Report, pp. 578.
64. Killing the Truth, pp. 88.
65. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 66.
66. Killing the Truth, pp. 88. The film "JFK" shows Ruby planting the bullet. Ruby was indeed at Parkland hospital after the assassination but there is absolutely no evidence that he planted a bullet or that a bullet was planted.
67. Some evidence has indeed been destroyed. A note that Lee Oswald left at the FBI for Agent James Hosty was destroyed after the assassination on orders of his boss Gordon Shanklin. The note supposedly contained a threat about what would happen if Hosty continued to bother Oswald's wife. However, this destruction of evidence is consistent with a theory that both the CIA and FBI did cover-up after the assassination (the CIA so that investigators did not find out about CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro; the FBI to cover many of its pre-assassination blunders).
68. Penn Jones began the trend by publishing details of mysterious deaths in 1966 in his book Forgive My Grief. Other researchers then picked up on this angle.
69. Crossfire, pp. 555-566.
70. Crossfire, pp. 558.
71. Crossfire, pp. 557.
72. Testimony of Jacqueline Hess, HSCA Volume IV pp. 466.
73. HSCA, Volume IV pp. 467.
74. Crossfire, PP. 556.
75. The Killing of a President, pp. 99
76. Passport to Assassination, Oleg Nechiporenko (New York: Birch Lane/Carol, 1993).
77. In an essay entitled "The Lopez Report and the CIA's Oswald CounterIntelligence Secrets" dated February 1994, Scott notes that "Having since both read the book and spent hours with Nechiporenko himself, I am now convinced that both the man and the book have to be taken seriously." (pp. 8)
78. Echoes of Conspiracy, 3 November, 1993, pp.2.
80. The Killing of a President, pp. 137.
81. Most notably Howard Brennan, Amos Euins, Robert Jackson (a staff photographer for the Dallas Times Herald), and Malcolm Couch. (Warren Commission, pp. 63-68)
82. The Killing of a President, pp. 184-185.
83. The Killing of a President, pp. 192
84. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 124.
85. The Killing of a President, pp. 204.
86. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 126
87. High Treason, pp. 225.
88. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 130
89. The Killing of a President, pp. 195.
90. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 133.
91. The Killing of a President, pp. 206.
92. HSCA, Volume VI, pp.. 120.
93. The Killing of a President, pp. 206.
94. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 120. The photographic panel did not apply digital image processing to the Bronson film (because of time and money constraints) and advised the Justice Department to undertake such tests. To date, the Justice Department has not performed any tests on the Bronson film.
95. PBS Frontline special, "Who was Lee Harvey Oswald?" shown in the US on 16 November, 1993 and also on BBC-2 in November, 1993.
96. HSCA, Volume VI, pp. 109.
98. All of the allegations in the table were taken from various books that either did not reference the HSCA conclusions, or did not answer the substance of their conclusions.
99. American Grotesque, pp. 536. Ultimately, Marcus took the photo out onto the street so that they could look at the photo from the window. That didn't help, either!
100. Best Evidence , Carroll & Graf edition, 1988, originally published in 1980.
101. The emergency room doctors at Parkland Hospital initially described the wound in Kennedy's throat as an entrance wound. However, they never examined his back. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that "the odds that a trauma specialist will correctly interpret certain fatal gunshot wounds are no better than the flip of a coin." The study looked at 46 cases and found there were 16 errors in differentiating between entrance and exit wounds. See "Clinicians' Forensic Interpretations of Fatal Gunshot Wounds Often Miss the Mark" JAMA, 28 April, 1994, pp. 2058-2061. This is one of the reasons why forensic pathologists conduct autopsies.
102. Best Evidence, pp. 692.
103. Posner quotes Wecht as saying, "Lifton gets away with crap, and no one challenges him. I could assemble a whole team of the best surgeons in the country and still not be able to accomplish in a day what Lifton says what done in a few hours. I have never bought his stuff. It can't be done." (Case Closed, pp. 297).
104. Letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association by Drs. Gary Aguilar, David Mantik, Wayne Smith, Anthony White, and Patricia James. There are a total of 20 questions regarding the medical evidence. Most noticeably, the autopsy x-rays and photos show the head wound entry to be 10 cm. higher than the point where the autopsy doctors placed it. This discrepancy has never been adequately explained (Fourth Decade, March 1993, pp.28)
105. New tests addressing the concerns of the Ramsey Panel could be conducted. The Ramsey Panel itself contained a list of 13 studies that could help clarify the evidence. James Barger of Bolt, Beranek & Newman still believes the acoustics evidence shows evidence of a gunman from the front. In a letter to Robert Blakey (published in High Treason II, pp. 612-617) in 1983, Barger outlined several tests that can advance our knowledge.
106. It should be noted that evidence of Oswald's involvement with a US intelligence agency may or may not have anything to with the Kennedy assassination.
107. Paul Hoch has one of the more plausible theories about the assassination -- "One possibility - ironically - is that Oswald did it alone but so many people had things to cover up that the reaction of the government made it look like the assassination resulted from a conspiracy" (Echoes of Conspiracy, 3 November, 1993, pp.7). One could easily see the CIA not wanting to help an investigation that could possibly lead to exposure of its plots against Castro with the Mafia. Similarly, the FBI and Secret Service quite possibly wanted to cover some their tracks as well.