Monday, August 16, 2010

The Death of John F. Kennedy: Problems with Physicial Evidence

The official story of the Kennedy Assassination is that Lee Harvey Osawald fired three rounds from a Mannlicher-Carcano bolt-action rifle in 8.3 seconds. The weapon was considered crudely made, inaccurate, and dangerous. Many witnesses heard three shots. Few considered that silencer fitted guns could have been used. Recently, Italian experts were unable to do the same in less than 19 second. The Warren Commission said that two bullets hit Kennedy while the first, the “magic bullet” also hit Governor John Connolly. The second bullet missed, and the third disintegrated after it hit Kennedy’s head. The Commission did not reveal where in the head Kennedy was hit. Oswald was only 80 yards away, so the Italians think it could not have disintegrated. Two of the spent cartraged found at the scene could not have been used in a Carcano rifle. The unspent cardradge was for the Italian rifle.

Army rifle experts reported that they were able to duplicxate what Oswald was supposed to do with an identical rifle. It later turned out that they did not do it in 8.3 seconds and they had to add three shims to the sight before they could hit the target.

Basic problems still surround Kennedy’s wounds. The official story is that Oswald was hit by two bullets from above and behind. One is supposed to have exited through the throat and the other hit the head and was fatal.


Originally, the autopsy doctors found two lacerations in the mid brain, positioned as though the entry wound or wounds were coming downward and on the right and rear. Much has been said about a jerking motion on the part of the President. He seemed to first move forward and then back and to the left. Some have suggested he was first hit in the back of the head and then almost simultaneously from the front. Some witnesses thought they heard four shots, the last two coming almost at the same time. The jerking back, could suggest a fourth shot coming from the wall or stockade atop the famous grassy knoll. Many witnesses thought they heard a shot come from there and several saw a wisp of smoke at the stockade. A policeman checking the parking lot behind it found a Secret Service man there with the proper credentials. The problem was there was no Secret Service man up there. With the loss of Kennedy’s brain and the confusion over photographs, this matter cannot be cleared up.

There was unanimity among the Parkland doctors and the agents who saw Kennedy’s body that there was a “rear skull/scalp defect.” Vincent Bugliosi dismissed the views of the Parkland doctors because some of them were young and inexperienced, but this was not true of all of them. Even the younger ones had seen their share of gun wounds. Other witnesses included Jackie Kennedy and agent Hill, who first saw the wound.

Two of the Bathesda doctors insisted in 1978 that that the wound in the back of the head was an an entrance would. The Parkland doctors said it was an exit would, which seems to make more sense. If the Parkland doctors were correct, at least that shot came from the front. Of course, Oswald was behind the limousine, on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Analysis of four frames of the Brennan pictures clearly show a square object in Oswald’s window. The first fram showed it fairly large; it got smllaer in the third frame and still smaller in the fourth frame. It is unclear what this could mean

The measurement of Kennedy’s head wound at Bathesda was considerably larger than the Dallas measurement. Zapruder frame 374 shws a massuve head wound. The autopsy record shows that Dr. Holmes found a hole in the back and below the shoulder, just two inches on the right of the spine. He probed it with his finger and found that the trajectory went down. But Dr. Finck later testified before Congress that an admiral forbade him to probe the would, which is now called a neck would. The bullet in the neck had no exit wound, and the doctors were unable to find it. It came in at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Two of the Bathesda doctors, Boswell and Burkley, probed for it, and Burkley said that no one ordered them not to look for it. The doctors were also unable to find the bullet that entered the right sholder blade. It would have been going upward and could have exited through the neck, but that possibility ws ruled out. . Nor was the bullet from the back wound found. This is partly why there were whole body x-rays.

They believed that one bullet entered the back of the head and went out the right side. Forty witnesses said they saw a massive blow out on the head. That has prompted people to thing there was more than one shot there. So much of the head was taken away that there was discussion of two bullets hitting it simultaneously.However, Dr. Marshall Nichols, a University of Kansas pathologist testified that the bullet to the head might have come from the front.

James Angleton, a C.I.A. deputy director, had Nichols checked out for giving this testimony. The six Parkland doctors said the shot came from the front, as the Kennedy’s press secretary’s comments. .

Gurney bullet
Another bullet was found at Parkland on a guerney or table. The official story is that this bullet passed through both Kennedy and Connally. However, Governor Connelly was holding his Stetson hat after Kennedy was hit by the bullet that was supposed to also hit Connally’s hat hand. He and his wife Nellie insisted that ghe was not hit by the same bullet that entered Kennedy. A close examination of the Zapruder film makes it clear that Connally was hit by another bullet a second after Kennedy was first hit.

We also know that a metal fragment was taken out of Connally’s arm. Some suggest thatr due to its size, it did not come from Oswald’s rifle. Yet the government produced scientific evidence that this fragment came from the spent cartrage on the Parkland table. That argument is not convincing to this writer because the smashing process would have made it larger than the barrel of that rifle. The more interesting question is, how does this fit with the magic bullet theory? The government used Neutron Activation Analysis to claim that all metal fragments came from the same rifle, but subsequent research has called into question these findings. Connally said, “There were either two or three people involved, or more, in this – or someone was shooting with an automatic rifle."

Back bullet

Some believe the second bullet went from the chest to the throat. Using that theory, people studied the photos in the seventies, and the experts said the upward trajectory of the bullet from the chest to throat was 11 degrees. So Oswald, shooting from the sixth floor somehow lands a shot that enters the back and moves upward? The Select Committee in 1978-1979 tried to solve the problem by claiming the president was leaning forward. But the Zapruder film showed JFK sitting erect.
Agent O’Neill thought that the bullet that entered the back somehow came out the back. O’Neill and some of the doctors discussed the possibility that the bullet that hit the back was an “ice” or plastic bullet that dissolves after contact. There was no exit would, and this was the bullet that was supposed to hit Governor Connally. There was even talk of getting a metal detector to find the missing bullet.

The Magic Bullet
Autopsy notes show that the alleged exit would in the throat was higher than the supposed entry would in the back. How could that be? This magic bullet made seven wounds in two men and did not disintegrate. Another bullet, allegedly fired from the same gun, disintegrated in Kennedy’s head. John Connally maintained he was not hit by the same bullet that hit Kennedy. Nellie Connally saw Kennedy hit and then heard another shot that, she believed, hit her husband.

The Warren Commission, determined to prove the single bullet theory, solved the problem by showing the back wound as being in back of the neck. Gereald Ford corrected the final draft to eliminate the last reference to back wound, changing it to neck wound. The Magic Bullet theory depends on the bullet coming in there—at the base or bottom of the back of the neck and to the right of the spine. The hole in Kennedy’s jacket was five inches below the collar, and the shirt hole lined up a little more than 5 and a half below the collar . The diagram done by Lt. Commander J. Thornton Boswell shows the same thing. Admiral George G. Burkley, Kennedy’s physi C.I.A.n, said the bullet entered “between the third and fourth thortic vertebra.” The reports of the two F.B.I. men at the autoposy are consistent with these findings. The Dallas morti C.I.A.n, Thomas Evan Robinson, said the wound was five or six inches below the neck. If all these reports are true, the Warren report is wrong and the magic bullet did not strike Connally.

We know that the bullet did not enter at the base of the neck. If it entered where there was a hole in the back it could not have come even near the path that the Warren Commission suggested. It would have been anatomically impossible because cervical vertebrae intervene. Very simply the bullet entered too far down the back ( 5 ½) inches for it to come out the throat.

Some go a step farther, hypothesizing that JFK was hit four or more times from three directions. We will not go that far.

The official account states that Kennedy was hit by high velocity bullets fired from a high velocity weapon, and the Mannlicher–Carcano does not fall into that category. The weapon was not high velocity; but the weapon was not. This poses a problem.

Pierre Finck, then a lieutenant colonel and consultant at the Bathesda autopsy, later ridiculed the single or magic bullet theory saying there was more lead left in John Connally’s body that was missing from Exhibit 399, the Magic Bullet. One shell, that of Arlan Specter’s magical single bullet theory, passed through the president—hung in midair for a second—then went through the front seat of the car and into Governor John Connelly’s back., and then into his wrist, shattering a bone. It left behind bullet freagments that were picked up on x-rays. This bullet was found in pristine condition on a stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital. At one time, some thought the bullet was planted on the stretcher. Now it is said it may not be the same bullet that was found there. The two secret service agents who were given the bullet later were unable to state definitely that Exhibit 399 was the one they found. Further digging revealed that the claim that they thought it similar to the one they were given was not true. Moreover, the agent who was said to have heard one of them say it was similar has denied ever interviewing the subject or hearing any such thing. A written report states they could not identify it. O.P. Wright, one of two men who received the bullet , was to state that a picture of #399 was not the bullet he found. He was to become Deputy Chief of Police and it can be assumed he had learned to distinguish one bullet from another.

Three co-workers at the Texas School Book Depository gave evidence that they saw Oswald in the first floor lunch room withing minutes before and after the shooting. They changed their testimony after visits from the F.B.I.

The Bathesda radiologist insisted that the bullet had to exit from behind. Two of the Bathesda doctors said they were forbidden to probe the neck wound, and they refused to answer some questions before Congress. They were still in the Navy and were probably under orders. In 1968, a panel appointeed my Ramsay Clark believed the head wound came from behind. The Clark panel also raised the location of the wound. This made the would more consistent with the single shooter theory.
One of the Bathesda doctors found a second wound in the head, which he first called a punctore and then a laceration. There is no way to check this out as the relevant photos were stolen from a House of Representative safe in 1978. The Dallas mortitcian also spoke of a second head wound , a small one in the right temple. This could have been the entry wound for the projectile that caused the big blow out.
None of the people at Bathesda recall photographs being taken of the president’s head wound, and they do recall other pictures that are now lost, along with the president’s brain. But the most puzzling problem is that there are now pictures of Kennedy’s skull that are thought to conflict with what people originally saw. From the beginning, of course, the Parkland doctor impressions of what they saw were sharply at variance with what the Bathesda doctors insisted was true.

The problem comes when their testimony is compared with the photographs and X-Rays taken at Bathesda. Most of the doctors involved agreed that the main head would was on the right, and the Zapruder film shows this. One of the Parkland physi C.I.A.ns thought it was on the right and made a drawing that day. None of the Parkland evidence was consistent the hypothesis that the shooter was behind and well above the president. Later, there was much confusion as to whether two of the Parkland physi C.I.A.ns changed their views to fit the Bathesda photographs and X Rays that showed the wound being much higher than they found it.

Sometimes the analysis of the photos and the recollections of the doctors involved suggests there were two different sets of photographs. There is also evidence that Kennedy’s body was brought into Bathesda in a simple casket and body bag before a ceremonial casket was brought in the front door. Witnesses noted that the president was not wrapped in a cloth or “additional wrapping” as he was at Dallas. Two F.B.I. agents, James Sibert and Francis O'Neill, at Bathesda later said the head was now rapped in a nother cloth that was soaked in blood. It was apparent that there had been ‘surgery of the head area, namely, in the top of the skull." Former Warren Commission attorney Wesley Liebeler wrote a memorandum on this for Robert Kennedy, the president, and the commission members.

Several Bathesda personnel thought the body in the ordinary coffin was being brought from Walter Reed. Perhaps the body went from the airfield to Walter Reed to Bathesda, but this contradicts the official account. David Lifton, usually a good researcher, thinks the body was altered somewhere between Parkland and Bathesda because it was important that it not appear that JFK was hit from the front.

There is also a question of who took the pictures. The records do not show Lt. William Pitzer being present at the autopsy, but several said he was there filming. However, he never claimed to be actually in the room, and his name was not listed among those present.

Pitzer was working that night, but we don’t know where. It is true that he was often at Walter Reed, doing medical photography. Lt. Commander Pitzer later showed Dennis David, an assistant, motion picture film and color slides of Kennedy’s body that made it clear that JFK’s head was shot from the front. It is known now that there was a closed circuit television system in the NNMC morgue, and that tape could have been put onto motion picture film. Pitzer had done that on other occasions.

In any case, he committed suicide at Bathesda on October 29, 1966. His death took place at the same time that the Kennnedy family agreed to give the National Archives the records of the autopsy. His family has never been given the autoposy result or any other material on his death. For some reason, his left hand was somangled they could not give his wife his wedding ring. Though left handed, he had the gun in his right hand. There prints on the gun “are not identical with the finger and palm prints of victim Pitzer.”

Later, a Dr. David W. Mantik, a physics Ph.D. and radiation oncologist, thought there were two wounds in the head—one coming from the front and one from the back. Mantik studied the X Rays and suggested that a patch had been added to the right cranial picture to reduce the size of the blow-out. He believed there were separate wonnds in the back and throat, making four shots. If the Zapruider film is correct, the shot to the back of the head must have come from a slightly upward trajectory, thus it did not come from above where Oswald was.

Dr. Robert B. Livingston, a prominent expert on the head, insists that the X Rays now claimed to be of JFK’s head cannot be images of the slain president.

If Kennedy was shot twice in the head, it is likely it occurred when his limo pulled to the left and stopped for about two seconds. Some think it only slowed down. Either move was in contravention of official policy. The accepted version of the film shows the stop so sudden that the occupants were jolted forward. Those who study the Zapruder film closely believe this is what happened and point to the fact that driver William Greer’s two head turned faster than is humanly possible. Studies, using a tennis pro, indicate that Greer’s head turned twice as fast as humanly possible. That is to say a few frames must have been removed. There has also been a study of Frame 323, which must have been sloppily recreated because it includes a lamppost and sign that actually belong on another frame.

Geer’s stopping the car makes little sense, but much that the Secret Service did in connection with the event accords with common reasoning. Manhole covers were not welded down. And two agents was left behind at Dove Field. They would have been covering the rear of the vehicle. Motorcycle police were kept away from the front of the vehicle being told to go farther forward than the rear wheels. The 112th Military Intelligence unit was told to stand down. And of course, there is the matter of a route that was not secure and included the long slow turn that was an assassin’s delight. But there is no evidence that any of this was anything more than coincidental, even in view of the two known attempts planned for Chicago and Tampa.

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