Friday, November 22, 2013

"Dead Kennedys" Reprise

The fiftieth anniversary of an assassination that changed history is here. US Person first posted a series about JFK's murder in Dallas seven years ago. Because it is a fact that a majority of Americans rightly do not accept the Warren Commission's erroneous conclusions about the ambush in Dealy Plaza, he chooses to reprise his series, "Dead Kennedys" now. The government's own forensic medical experts who examined the emergency room reports from Parkland Memorial Hospital and the autopsy record at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland for the United States House investigating committee concluded Kennedy was hit three times, twice in the head and once in the back. One of the fatal head shots came from in front of the presidential limousine as it rolled down Elm Street. That forensic conclusion alone is enough to totally negate the theory sprouted by Arlen Specter that Lee Harvey Oswald, an average Marine marksmen, operating an inexpensive, war surplus, bolt-action rifle was solely responsible for killing the President of the United States with two bullets fired from the Texas Schoolbook Depository located behind the presidential limousine at the fatal moment.

US Person concluded, and no information fifty years later has surfaced to dissuade him, that Oswald's ulterior role in the ambush was as a decoy, whose pursuit by the Dallas police allowed the other professional assassins (perhaps one or two others) to escape detection. Oswald's previous association with both intelligence agents and organized crime figures made him unusually suited for this role. "Lone nut" defenders have produced numerous computer animations supposedly verifying the incredible trajectory of the "magic bullet" by moving Governor Connelly's position in the limousine. However, equally plausible results are achieved if the bullet's trajectory is changed to originate not from the sixth floor of the School Book Depository but across the street from the DalTex building. Then Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry told an interviewer he believed there could have been another assassin based on evidence at the scene. As Oswald himself told the press in the central police station: he was a "patsy". He was telling the truth. This first post in the series appeared on November 26, 2006. Subsequent additions or corrections are bracketed, [ ]. "CE" refers to Commission exhibit. Original hyperlinks can be read by choosing the original post in the blog archives:

Recent television programs in the US have prompted [US Person's] opinion on perhaps the most compelling murder mystery in American history: the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It has been the subject of two Congressional inquiries since the Warren Commission rendered its dubious verdict of a lone assassin, besides numerous books and several films concerning the events. Cultural regurgitation of the spectacular motorcade ambush and ruthless elimination of the alleged shooter appear as each anniversary of November 22, 1963 passes. Yes, [US Person] recalls where he was that day. The announcement of the president's death came over the school loudspeaker as he sat in his [5th] grade class at Fort Crook Elementary school.

The blurry frames of the Zapruder home movie [since enhanced in clarity] seem burned into the collective consciousness of Americans. Despite the limitations of its technology, that film remains the best physical evidence of what actually happened in Dealey Plaza. Abraham Zapruder filmed the assassination taking place in front of him with his Bell & Howell 8mm camera set to record at 18.3 frames per second from atop a masonry wall on the grassy knoll. His film shows the President being hit three times in the space of about 6 seconds. Why there should remain so much interest sixty three years later in how the President was murdered reduces to this fact: a majority of Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the only shooter in Dallas and that JFK was the target of a conspiracy which the Warren Commission tried to cover up.

[US Person]does not consider himself an assassination buff or a sucker for conspiracy theories, but [he] agrees with those Americans who are convinced that Oswald did not act alone. His opinion is admittedly based on published studies of the assassination which vary greatly in degree of objectivity and rigor. But he has examined several authoritative studies and forced himself to look at the grisly autopsy photos. Josiah Thompson's "Six Seconds in Dallas" first published in 1967 stands out in his mind for its forensic approach to evaluating the available evidence. Thompson's work as a consultant for Life Magazine, which purchased the Zapruder film, has stood the test of time. Several salient facts stand out from the many that make up the historical collage of the autumn day in Dallas that changed America forever:

  • There where some 190 eyewitnesses to the murder. 172 gave an opinion on the number of shots. 90% of these reported hearing at least three shots that afternoon. Of the Secret Service agents reporting an opinion, 87% said there were three shots. This is a probative amount of unanimity. The Warren Commission concluded that two bullets caused all the wounds to JFK and Governor Connelly and that one shot missed. The Commission could not say which shots hit. [The US House Assassinations Comiittee found that scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two shooters and acoustic evidence collected from police radios very probably supports two assassins.]

  • The "magic bullet", so-called because it was found at Parkland Hospital in near pristine condition (slight longitudinal flattening) and [allegedly] followed a bizarre theoretical trajectory, hit the President in the upper back , passed through his body [Frame 238] and hit Connally in his shoulder, breaking his 5th rib, and shattering his wrist. A [subsequent] bullet caused the massive, fatal wound to the President's head that the Zapruder film captured in horrifying detail [Frame 313]. [Even if the bullet entering his back was slowed considerably by JFK's body, there should be more deformation than there is on CE399 if it also caused Connally's wounds.]

  • Forensic evidence such as JFK's clothes, the Bethesda autopsy notes, reports and photos show a bullet entered the President's upper back (O'Connor: "about three inches down and and an inch or two to the right of the seventh cervical vertebra") and did not exit the body. (Jenkins: "The probing I saw indicated that there was a dead end behind the plural cavity." O'Connor: "Dr. Humes took his finger and poked it into the hole and said it did not go anywhere.") Since this bullet (Commission Exhibit 399) did not hit bone, its possible that the relatively undeformed bullet found on a stretcher at Parkland fell out of the [President's] back wound during rigorous cardiac massage. [The other explanation advanced is more sinister, that the "magic bullet" was planted on a gurney sitting in the hallway outside the emergency operating theater at Parkland.]

  • Test bullets of the same type--6.5mm metal jacket--showed significant deformation when fired into bone. (CE 856, 853) Two Army ballistic experts as well as physicians testified to the Commission that CE399 could not have caused Governor Connolly's wounds. Metal fragments recovered from Connolly were not matched on an atomic level with CE399. If two different bullets hit JFK and Connally, then Oswald was not alone since it is physically impossible to operate his bolt-action, war surplus Mannlicher-Carcano fast enough in the time frame (1.6 seconds) established by the film. [Computer simulations are only cumulative evidence since they are based on parameters collected from other available evidence such as scene measurements and witness testimony, then entered into a program.]

  • Close study of the Zapruder film shows that a head shot drove the President's body to the rear and to [his] left indicating the kill shot came from the right front of the President's limousine consistent with the physical law of conservation of momentum and inconsistent with the Commission's conclusion that the shot came from the Texas School Book Depository to the rear of the motorcade. Head wound location and extent first seen by the Parkland attending physicians and lay eyewitnesses are consistent with this trajectory.

  • Several credible eyewitnesses (one with a panoramic view of Dealey Plaza in front of the motorcade, two sitting in the car directly behind the President's, and two standing on the curb fifteen feet from the President--Bowers, Powers, O'Donnell, Newmans) reported a shot from a stockade fence behind the grassy knoll about 40 yards from the motorcade. An easily concealable weapon loaded with high speed, hollow-point [fragmenting] ammunition could have caused the massive head trauma at short range. Brain matter exploded from the impact spraying the First Lady and motorcycle outriders (Hargis, Martin) following the limousine. A piece of the President's occipital bone was found in the median grass to the left of his motorcade's path, a debris field consitent with a bullet path from [his] front right to left rear. [Oswald, nor anyone else in the Schoolbook Depository, could physically be responsible for a shot coming from in front of the limousine. To further complicate the lone assassin scenario, an eyewitness statement made by Officer Roger Craig long after the assassination says another rifle, a German 7.65mm Mauser not Oswald's Italian Carcano 6.5mm carbine, was found on the sixth floor near the "snipers nest". {20.10.13, Witness to a Hit}]

  • Medical and photographic evidence shows another head shot from the rear (perhaps from the Dal-Tex Building or Records Building) entering the right occiput of the President's skull, moving toward the midtemple, crushing the volmer bone and fracturing the floor of the skull at the right eye. (CE 386) (Lipsey: "...absolutely and unequivocally yes, they [the Bethesda autopsy doctors] were convinced he had been shot three times.", quotes from Law, In the Eye of History) Perhaps this shot drove a bone fragment from the bottom of JFK's brain case through the neck causing an exit wound in the throat that was later obscured by a trachecotomy. This possibility is suggested by two deep mid-brain lacerations that connect and the absence of copper traces from a bullet on the shirt front hole. [Accepting that the shot in the President's back exited through his trachea and hit Connoly, the material fact is that there were too many forensically distinct wounds on two men to be plausibly caused by only two bullets, one of which is in near undeformed condition. Bullet fragments were found in the limousine and Connoly's wounds. So the question begged is why CE 399 is not missing any appreciable mass? Magic indeed. Experienced trauma physicians who first examined the president's body at Parkland Hospital all had the same impression, that the President suffered three bullet wounds.]

  • As early as 1966 the Warren report was criticised in public. Sylvia Meagher extensively cateloged the Commission errors, omissions and inconsistencies in her 1967 book, Accessories after the Fact. At a 1967 pretrial hearing for Clay L. Shaw, alleged to be an Oswald co-conspirator by then New Orleans District Attorney, Jim Garrison, the judge refused to admit the Warren Report into evidence, saying it was "fraught with hearsay and contradiction". Research into the US archives since then shows that the Warren Commission had good reason to stick with then Commission Counsel Arlen Specter's lone gunman theory regardless of its lack of credibility. Those reasons had to do with this country's clandestine war against Fidel Castro and are the subject of another post. Links to websites do not indicate an indorsement of their content, but are for illustrative purposes only.

    Contrary to some author's assertions, the Kennedy assassination is far from a closed case, but the crime becomes colder with each passing year. So why would the Warren Commission want to deny the existence of a conspiracy? The answer to that question lies in the excesses of the American security state. Upcoming: "Dead Kennedys II"