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Douglas Caddy

Video: Pat Speer on JFK's fatal head shot and the autopsy

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In suppressed testimony, Jackie Kennedy told the Warren Commission:

" I was trying to hold his hair on. From the front there was nothing --- I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on."

This testimony squares with what Clint Hill told the Commission:
"The right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the rear seat of the car. His brain was exposed."
James Humes told the ARRB that there was a hole remaining in JFK's head after reconstruction. It's pretty clear from his dodgy testimony that the hole was in the rear of the skull.
None of this testimony is at odds with a tangential shot entering the skull from the right front, as Pat Speer postulates. The testimony is at odds with the Rydberg drawing and the left lateral skull x-ray, which depict a blow-out of the right top front of JFK's skull. A blow-out not mentioned in first reports from the Parkland doctors or revealed in any supposed autopsy photo.

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I have a number of chapters on the head wounds on my website, Jon. Chapters 18c and 18d explain why I think the supposed blow out wound low on the back of the head supposedly seen at Parkland is a myth. One of the reasons I'm afraid is that people thinking the wound was on the far back of the head disregard and misrepresent the words of Jackie Kennedy and Clint Hill.

From chapter 18c:

Let's remember the words of Mrs. Kennedy. While many have used her statement "from the front there was nothing" as evidence the bullet erupted from the back of her husband’s skull, they largely ignore the context of her statements. When describing the fatal shot, she told the Warren Commission “just as I turned to look at him, I could see a piece of his skull, sort of wedge-shaped like that, and I remember it was flesh colored.” (The words "sort of wedge-shaped like that" were in the court reporter's transcript but never published. They are presumably a reference to the bone flap visible in the right lateral autopsy photos.) She then described cradling her husband in her arms, and getting a closer look at the wound. She said: “from the front there was nothing. I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on.” Her words do not describe the wound's exact location, and suggest merely that the gaping wound on President Kennedy's head did not extend as far as his face. They do not detail an exit on the back of his head, as mistakenly purported by Dr. James Fetzer in his January 12, 2010 radio interview of Doug Horne, in which he claimed she had testified that "she had a terrible time holding the back of his head and skull together," an assertion, by the way, to which Horne readily agreed. Still, one might wonder about the exact location of this wound.

Fortunately, only a week after the assassination, in a conversation with historian Theodore White, Mrs. Kennedy was far more descriptive. According to White's notes, released to the public in May 1995 and subsequently published in the September 1995 Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, she said: “I could see a piece of his skull coming off…this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from his head; then he slumped in my lap.” Now, this would seem to be a reference to the detachment of skull seen in frame 314 of the Zapruder film, and can be taken as an indication of the film's legitimacy.

But that's not all she had to say. According to White's notes, she also said: "All the ride to the hospital, I kept bending over him saying, 'Jack, Jack, can you hear me, I love you, Jack.' I kept holding the top of his head down trying to keep the..." White's notes then detail that when discussing her husband's condition at the hospital, Mrs. Kennedy said "From here down"--and here she made a gesture indicating her husband's forehead--"his head was so beautiful. I'd tried to hold the top of his head down, maybe I could keep it in...I knew he was dead." Thus, according to White, she said the wound was at the "top" of her husband's head--not once but twice...

And that wasn't the last time she described the wound in such a manner. In her interview with White Mrs. Kennedy worried that the history of her husband's Presidency would be written by the likes of AP correspondent "Merriman Smith, that bitter man," who, irony of all ironies, would soon thereafter win a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the assassination. This no doubt contributed to her subsequent decision to hire an historian of her own, William Manchester, to write an authorized book on the assassination. She was interviewed by Manchester on 4-7-64, 5-4-64, 5-7-64, 5-8-64, and 7-20-64. While Manchester's notes on these interviews have never been released, it's clear she told him, as White, that the fatal wound was at the top of Kennedy's head. In late 1966, she had a falling out with Manchester over his use of these interviews. His book could not be released without her approval. This, then, led to her reading a draft of his book, The Death of a President, and giving it her personal approval. Here is how the final draft described her husband's death: "The First Lady, in her last act as First Lady, leaned solicitously toward the President. His face was quizzical. She had seen that expression so often, when he was puzzling over a difficult press conference question. Now, in a gesture of infinite grace, he raised his right hand, as though to brush back his tousled chestnut hair. But the motion faltered. The hand fell back empty. He had been reaching for the top of his head. But it wasn't there any more."

Now this can't be any more clear. Mrs. Kennedy had told Manchester that the fatal wound she saw was at the top of her husband's head.

As far as Hill, he has repeatedly demonstrated where he thought he saw a wound.

thefogofwar3.jpg

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Pat

And how would you go about dismissing Clint Hill's WC testimony, in which he describes a large gaping wound in the right rear of JFK's head?

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Let me guess.

1. He was confused about the location of the back of JFK's head, as JFK was lying down.

2. He was not a qualified medical expert, and could not determine where the back of the head was.

3. He misremembered the location of the wound.

4. He was seeking 15 minutes of fame.

5. He was seeking to get rich quick from the notoriety.

6. All of the above.

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Pat, you write:

"The words "sort of wedge-shaped like that" were in the court reporter's transcript but never published."

If they weren't published, they aren't part of any record. They are just hearsay.

Your focus in your response to me is on Jackie Kennedy. What about the rest of the record?

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And how would you go about dismissing Clint Hill's WC testimony, in which he describes a large gaping wound in the right rear of JFK's head?

No witness (or series of witnesses) can trump the autopsy pictures and X-rays.

So, Bob P., tell us how you go about the daunting task of totally dismissing the best evidence available regarding the true locations of JFK's head wounds---i.e., the photographs below?

JFK-Autopsy-Xray-And-Photograph-Side-By-

Edited by David Von Pein

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Oh, no, I've fallen back into that twilight zone where I'm forced to argue on the same side as David Von Pein! LOL

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Let me guess.

1. He was confused about the location of the back of JFK's head, as JFK was lying down.

2. He was not a qualified medical expert, and could not determine where the back of the head was.

3. He misremembered the location of the wound.

4. He was seeking 15 minutes of fame.

5. He was seeking to get rich quick from the notoriety.

6. All of the above.

The words "right rear" are pretty vague, Robert. If someone hit me above the right ear from behind I would tell people he hit me on the back of the head. Hill has consistently claimed that by "right rear" he means above the right ear. I see no reason to doubt him, seeing as virtually every witness to the wound (outside the Parkland staff) placed the wound at the top of the head (or by the right temple) from the beginning, and most of the Parkland staff in time deferred to the accuracy of the autopsy photos.

So, NO, I don't believe Clint Hill, Jackie Kennedy (and/or Theodore White and William Manchester) were liars. And NO, I don't believe the vast majority of the Parkland staff to defer to the accuracy of the photos were liars, or weak sisters, or whatever it is people think they are. I mean, to me, there is nothing as NAUSEATING about the bulk of the research community as the recurrent claim they support the Parkland staff, when, in fact, they think most of them caved in to pressure and lied about what they saw.

Edited by Pat Speer

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Pat, you write:

"The words "sort of wedge-shaped like that" were in the court reporter's transcript but never published."

If they weren't published, they aren't part of any record. They are just hearsay.

Your focus in your response to me is on Jackie Kennedy. What about the rest of the record?

Pretty silly, Jon. Some of Mrs. Kennedy's words in the transcript of her testimony were not published by the Warren Commission (for the purposes of "taste"), and were only made public after researchers studied the original transcript. The original transcript, btw, is available online on the archives' website.

As far as the rest of the record.... I suggest you read chapters 18c and 18d... I wrote them for you.

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You not only argue on the same side as David Von Pein, you sound just like him.

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Where would you describe the front of your head to be, Pat?

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The words "right rear" are pretty vague, Robert. If someone hit me above the right ear from behind I would tell people he hit me on the back of the head. Hill has consistently claimed that by "right rear" he means above the right ear

Above the right ear would be "right mid" or "right side" not "right rear"

Funny how one can make things mean what you want them to mean.

Edited by Ray Mitcham

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Quote by PatSpeer.

" But that's not all she had to say. According to White's notes, she also said: "All the ride to the hospital, I kept bending over him saying, 'Jack, Jack, can you hear me, I love you, Jack.' I kept holding the top of his head down trying to keep the..." White's notes then detail that when discussing her husband's condition at the hospital, Mrs. Kennedy said "From here down"--and here she made a gesture indicating her husband's forehead--"his head was so beautiful. I'd tried to hold the top of his head down, maybe I could keep it in...I knew he was dead." Thus, according to White, she said the wound was at the "top" of her husband's head--not once but twice..."

It is important to note "According to White's notes.."

Hearsay doesn't count.

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It may be hearsay, Ray. But the notes of a respected historian granted an exclusive interview with Jackie Kennedy--and quietly released after her death--rank among the most credible sources we have to go by---far more credible, for example, than supposed interviews conducted in the 60's but never reported until the 00's because someone supposedly promised a witness he wouldn't tell anyone else what was said until the witness was dead for 25 years.

I've personally spoken to three people who saw Kennedy's head wound, and one who felt it. In 2004, I spoke to Aubrey Rike, and he said he never saw Kennedy's wounds but felt the hole in the skull on Kennedy's wrapped head...on what he thought was the back of the head. I have spoken to Robert McClelland; while I didn't ask him the details he has spoken at two conferences in 2009 and 2013 which I have attended, and he described a large wound on the back and top of the head. He also claimed, strangely, that there was nothing about this wound that suggested the shot came from the front, and that his suspicion the shot came from the front came from his study of the Zapruder film. I spoke to James Jenkins extensively last year. He insisted there was no blow out wound low on the back of Kennedy's skull, and that the occipital bone was shattered but still extant beneath the scalp at the beginning of the autopsy. And I spoke to William Newman a few weeks back, and he confirmed his many previous accounts of seeing a large gaping wound by Kennedy's right ear. Now, to me, this suggests that there was no large gaping hole on the far back of Kennedy's head--where so many conspiracy theorists wish to believe the wound was located.

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