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John Simkin

Josiah Thompson: Six Seconds in Dallas

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Josiah Thompson published Six Seconds in Dallas - A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, in 1967. In the book Thompson argues that four shots were fired by three gunman. Two shots were fired from the Texas Book Depository, a third, from the Dallas County Records Building, and a fourth from the grassy knoll. One hit Kennedy in the back, another hit John Connally, and the third and fourth hit the president in the head.

Josiah has agreed to answer questions on his book via this forum.

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Mr. Thompson, I am engaged in a similar study as your own, and am coming up with quite different results from yours. This is, in large part, a result of my understanding of the autopsy photos, which were not even available to you. I have a presentation explaining these views in the Online Seminars section of this website and will also present at Lancer in November, if you're interested. Question: have you changed any of your opinions as a result of your viewing the autopsy photos? Has other evidence emerged that has led you to change your findings in Six Seconds in Dallas? On another thread, Dr. Fetzer has related that you now claim to be an agnostic on the case, and yet you still seem skeptical of the case against Oswald, as proven by your recent collaboration with Dr. Gary Aguilar on the history-matters website. Are you in fact an agnostic? Or do you remain convinced that Oswald was not the only shooter?

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Here is an interesting article, vintage 1967, by Calvin Trillin, with an extensive discussion of Dr. Thompson:

http://karws.gso.uri.edu/JFK/JFK.html

(You need to scroll down on left hand side to "The Critics", then in the first paragraph there is another link to "The Buffs" which is the title of the article.

Edited by Tim Gratz

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Dear Mr. Speer,

Thank you for your questions and also for your reply to Professor Fetzer. I’ve been hiking in Wyoming for the last ten days and I just saw your post with its questions.

I don’t know exactly what happened in Dealey Plaza but I do know one thing: The claim that any single person (whether LHO or someone else) fired all the shots that day in Dealey Plaza is nonsense. That clearly did not happen. What exactly did happen is something we can approximate but not clearly know at this point. I guess both you and I are in the process of trying to narrow down that approximation.

Are there things in “Six Seconds” that I no longer back or believe in? Of course. Let me offer you an important example.

In “Six Seconds,” I claimed that JFK was hit in the head first from the rear and then from the front within two Zapruder frames (Z312-Z314) or one ninth of the a second. This claim was based on the autopsy data and the fact that JFK’s head moved about two inches forward between Z312 and Z313. Several years ago, Art Snyder of the Stanford Linear Accelerator demonstrated to me that my measurement was of the smear in Z313 and not of any movement of the head between these two frames. Within the last two years, David Wimp has demonstrated that JFK’s head begins moving forward about Z308 in concert with the forward movement of everyone else in the limousine. At Z314, JFK’s head and body begin moving backward at a high rate of speed while everyone else continues moving forward. Winp suggests that Greer’s foot may have touched the brake pedal when he turned around at Z302ff and that shifted everyone forward. In summary, I am now convinced that there is no evidence of a double impact on JFK’s head at Z312-314 of the Zapruder film. What we see there is a shot impacting from the right front and only a shot impacting from the right front. If he was shot in the head from the rear, that probably came later at Z327/328.

The kind of meticulous examination of the Zapruder film carried out by Snyder, Wimp and others shows what additional information responsible science (not assassinated science) can provide in figuring out what happened. That brings me to your suggestion that I should not have reviewed Professor Fetzer’s books as I did and thus discouraged others from reading them. You wrote in another thread, “As far as his going on to Amazon and trashing all of Dr. Fetzer's books, in an attempt to discourage people from even reading them, I do think that's a bit low... Mr. Thompson should apologize for publicly trashing Dr. Fetzer's books, while Dr. Fetzer should apologize for suggesting that Mr. Thompson, who put in a lot of work on the case in the 60's and was considered by many THE most convincing voice in argument for a conspiracy, was a disinformation agent on behalf of the CIA.... “

By his actions over the last decade, Professor Fetzer has shown himself to be a self-aggrandizing blowhard. You will be giving a talk at Lancer this November. I imagine that you will be talking about your reconstruction of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Am I right? For my part, on the same weekend I’ll be giving a talk at the ARRC conference in Washington. I’ll be pointing where we can find bedrock evidence in the Kennedy case. You and I have been invited to talk because, presumably, the sponsors of these conferences are convinced we may have something useful to say. Fetzer, because of his bilious style of attacking the character of those with whom he disagrees, will be appearing nowhere. Why? Because the critical community has gotten his number. As far as I can discern, he has made himself persona non grata.

I first tangled with him in 1998 when I expressed disagreement with his alteration claims and was told that I “was not qualified to have an opinion in these matters.” Later, we tangled at a Lancer Conference in that year which ended with the sponsor turning off the juice to Fetzer’s microphone. Since that time, he has proved incapable of answering any of the objections to his increasingly obsessive claims about the inauthenticity of the Zapruder film and has stooped to calling those like me who disagree with him “disinformation agents.” His socalled “assassination science” has turned out to be quackery.

His use of private remarks from Vincent Salandria fall in the same category. Vincent Salandria is one of the true heroes of the critical community concerned with the Kennedy assassination. His early articles in “The Minority of One” and “Liberation” still deserve respect as the first attempts to show that the evidence in the case failed to support the conclusions of the Warren Reportt. However, as you point out, his claim that the powers that be left a confused skein of evidence to bother us is just nonsense. It shows, again as you point out, that Salandria (like the rest of us) hasn’t been able to figure it out.

Fetzer’s various books have been refuted again and again. His style is that of the tabloid press and his conclusions no more probative than conclusions you or I would find in the “National Enquirer.” Claiming that untutored people are experts and that photos show what they clearly do not show is part and parcel of the Fetzer shtick. My reviews of his books are pungent but true. When I last checked Amazon re the Zapruder “Hoax” book, some nine or ten of the latest reviews from his readers were negative and much more scathing than mine.

One of his readers said, “Buy the book only for its entertainment value...” Another wrote, “On some pages it is like reading a weekend car ad... don’t waste money on it.” Another called it “pure nonsense.” Another said, “Fetzer’s theories are nutty and not worthwhile. It [the book] goes in the fiction section of the library together with the WARREN REPORT, CASE CLOSED and CONSPIRACY OF ONE.” Finally, one guy went so far as to say, “The fact that anyone, anyone at all (besides Jim Fetzer’s mother, found this book credible is evidence of the fact there are people out there who will believe ANYTHING. Fetzer in all his books, has yet to add anything of real historical value. Within the conspiracy world Fetzer is a god. [Nope! I don’t think so.] Within the legitimate academic circles of real historians, he is a carnival con man. This will eat at him forever.”

Why shouldn’t I warn others of the unreliable nature of these books? Isn’t that exactly what reviews are supposed to do? I pointed out what was wrong with his arguments. If they’re wrong this should be pointed out. If you want to save the Professor from criticism, you should persuade him not to publish such nonsense and then try to defend it so evasively with noxious bile.

However, it matters not to him. He has moved on to publishing even sillier claims about the plane crash which killed Senator Wellstone. If that doesn’t keep him in enough of a spotlight, I imagine he will turn his attention to claiming that Bush and his flunky Brown actually dynamited the levees in New Orleans!!! That’s all fine as long as he leaves those of us concerned with the Kennedy assassination immune to his tirades. All Fetzer’s tirades do is make it more difficult for the rest of us to get out the real truth concerning this incompetent national administration.

Please let me know if you have additional questions. I have not yet been able to figure out how to read your reconstruction of the event, something I would be very keen to do.

Josiah Thompson

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Mr. Thompson, thanks for your response. Your book is one of the reasons I became obsessed with this case in the first place. (While it's only been 2 and a half years it feels like a LONG time.) While I'd originally intended to write a book, I got sidetracked last year on the creation of a power point presentation, which debuted last year on this website. It can be found here. <http://homepage.mac.com/bkohley/Menu5.html>

For whatever reason I haven't been able to stop working on this presentation, and it has now ballooned to over 200 pages, representing my views on the wounds, trajectories, etc. I believe there are many fresh arguments included. I should have it online in the near future.

Nevertheless, I'd appreciate any comments on last year's presentation. While it represents a drastic new approach to the assassination, of the hundreds who've looked at it, none have argued with me on its merits. Consequently, I think I'm onto something.

In my appraisal, the evidence for conspiracy is right out in the sunlight. The autopsy report.. the trajectories...the autopsy photos...the Zapruder film... these all suggest that there was more than one shooter. It is only through the (deliberate?) misrepresentation of this evidence that the Warren Report, Clark Panel Report and Forensic Pathology Panel Report could be twisted into saying this evidence suggested one shooter firing from behind. My goal is to unravel these twists and show the evidence as it was and as it should have been interpreted. A vast CONSPIRACY including mass alteration of the evidence wasn't necessary, just people's willingness to please authority and tell the government what they knew it wanted to hear.

Larry Hancock and I have exchanged thoughts on this and have concluded that in many ways the idea of a VAST EVIL CONSPIRACY is more comforting than the possibility that a bunch of half-assed "experts" were unable to discern, or unwilling to divulge, the truth. The cult of expertise is such that people desperately want to believe that policeman, doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists, nuclear physicists, and supreme court justices are competent to investigate the death of a man and come to a non-political solution, i.e to hold that their only client is the truth. Consequently, it's easier for many to believe that Dr. No and the oil barons arranged a cover-up reaching into every corner of America, than it is to believe that Earl Warren was a sentimental boob and the media are basically lazy and easily fooled.

Anyhow, welcome to the Forum. With the history you describe, I understand your frustration with Dr. Fetzer. I don't think you should connect your annoyance with him with a general dislike of everything he touches. While I disagreed with many of the arguments in Assassination Science and Murder in Dealey Plaza, I found many of them provocative and interesting, and the books well worthwhile. Maybe when Bugliosi's book comes out you two can put the bad blood behind you and join in on a joint stomp and trashing. (But I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath for either his book coming out or you two working together.)

P.S. Is Six Seconds gonna be revised and re-issued? Or is that hoping for too much?

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Josiah Thompson wrote:

Dear Mr. Speer,

Thank you for your questions and also for your reply to Professor Fetzer. I’ve been hiking in Wyoming for the last ten days and I just saw your post with its questions.

I don’t know exactly what happened in Dealey Plaza but I do know one thing: The claim that any single person (whether LHO or someone else) fired all the shots that day in Dealey Plaza is nonsense. That clearly did not happen. What exactly did happen is something we can approximate but not clearly know at this point. I guess both you and I are in the process of trying to narrow down that approximation.

Are there things in “Six Seconds” that I no longer back or believe in? Of course. Let me offer you an important example.

In “Six Seconds,” I claimed that JFK was hit in the head first from the rear and then from the front within two Zapruder frames (Z312-Z314) or one ninth of the a second. This claim was based on the autopsy data and the fact that JFK’s head moved about two inches forward between Z312 and Z313. Several years ago, Art Snyder of the Stanford Linear Accelerator demonstrated to me that my measurement was of the smear in Z313 and not of any movement of the head between these two frames. Within the last two years, David Wimp has demonstrated that JFK’s head begins moving forward about Z308 in concert with the forward movement of everyone else in the limousine. At Z314, JFK’s head and body begin moving backward at a high rate of speed while everyone else continues moving forward. Winp suggests that Greer’s foot may have touched the brake pedal when he turned around at Z302ff and that shifted everyone forward. In summary, I am now convinced that there is no evidence of a double impact on JFK’s head at Z312-314 of the Zapruder film. What we see there is a shot impacting from the right front and only a shot impacting from the right front. If he was shot in the head from the rear, that probably came later at Z327/328.

The kind of meticulous examination of the Zapruder film carried out by Snyder, Wimp and others shows what additional information responsible science (not assassinated science) can provide in figuring out what happened.

hate to take you to task here, but a few of us aren't as impressed with DaveW. as you are, especially when it comes to science... readers can follow the 1st link below and see what John Costella has to say regarding his old "internet assistant" DaveW

That brings me to your suggestion that I should not have reviewed Professor Fetzer’s books as I did and thus discouraged others from reading them. You wrote in another thread, “As far as his going on to Amazon and trashing all of Dr. Fetzer's books, in an attempt to discourage people from even reading them, I do think that's a bit low... Mr. Thompson should apologize for publicly trashing Dr. Fetzer's books, while Dr. Fetzer should apologize for suggesting that Mr. Thompson, who put in a lot of work on the case in the 60's and was considered by many THE most convincing voice in argument for a conspiracy, was a disinformation agent on behalf of the CIA.... “

By his actions over the last decade, Professor Fetzer has shown himself to be a self-aggrandizing blowhard. You will be giving a talk at Lancer this November. I imagine that you will be talking about your reconstruction of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Am I right? For my part, on the same weekend I’ll be giving a talk at the ARRC conference in Washington. I’ll be pointing where we can find bedrock evidence in the Kennedy case. You and I have been invited to talk because, presumably, the sponsors of these conferences are convinced we may have something useful to say. Fetzer, because of his bilious style of attacking the character of those with whom he disagrees, will be appearing nowhere. Why? Because the critical community has gotten his number. As far as I can discern, he has made himself persona non grata.

I first tangled with him in 1998 when I expressed disagreement with his alteration claims and was told that I “was not qualified to have an opinion in these matters.”

everybody has opinion, does that mean your willing to discuss optical film printing - matting techniques circa. 1963? After all, IF the Z-film is altered, it happened with mattes!

Later, we tangled at a Lancer Conference in that year which ended with the sponsor turning off the juice to Fetzer’s microphone. Since that time, he has proved incapable of answering any of the objections to his increasingly obsessive claims about the inauthenticity of the Zapruder film and has stooped to calling those like me who disagree with him “disinformation agents.” His so called “assassination science” has turned out to be quackery.

just in case you forgot, comments re the above "incapable" is bunk, as were arguments your team put forth... see the 1st url below:

http://www.assassinationscience.com/johnco...hoax/index.html

http://www.assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/

His use of private remarks from Vincent Salandria fall in the same category. Vincent Salandria is one of the true heroes of the critical community concerned with the Kennedy assassination. His early articles in “The Minority of One” and “Liberation” still deserve respect as the first attempts to show that the evidence in the case failed to support the conclusions of the Warren Reportt. However, as you point out, his claim that the powers that be left a confused skein of evidence to bother us is just nonsense. It shows, again as you point out, that Salandria (like the rest of us) hasn’t been able to figure it out.

Fetzer’s various books have been refuted again and again. His style is that of the tabloid press and his conclusions no more probative than conclusions you or I would find in the “National Enquirer.” Claiming that untutored people are experts and that photos show what they clearly do not show is part and parcel of the Fetzer shtick. My reviews of his books are pungent but true. When I last checked Amazon re the Zapruder “Hoax” book, some nine or ten of the latest reviews from his readers were negative and much more scathing than mine.

One of his readers said, “Buy the book only for its entertainment value...” Another wrote, “On some pages it is like reading a weekend car ad... don’t waste money on it.” Another called it “pure nonsense.” Another said, “Fetzer’s theories are nutty and not worthwhile. It [the book] goes in the fiction section of the library together with the WARREN REPORT, CASE CLOSED and CONSPIRACY OF ONE.” Finally, one guy went so far as to say, “The fact that anyone, anyone at all (besides Jim Fetzer’s mother, found this book credible is evidence of the fact there are people out there who will believe ANYTHING. Fetzer in all his books, has yet to add anything of real historical value. Within the conspiracy world Fetzer is a god. [Nope! I don’t think so.] Within the legitimate academic circles of real historians, he is a carnival con man. This will eat at him forever.”

Why shouldn’t I warn others of the unreliable nature of these books? Isn’t that exactly what reviews are supposed to do? I pointed out what was wrong with his arguments. If they’re wrong this should be pointed out. If you want to save the Professor from criticism, you should persuade him not to publish such nonsense and then try to defend it so evasively with noxious bile.

I think you've sold more 'HOAX' books for him than any other source, third printing now...

However, it matters not to him. He has moved on to publishing even sillier claims about the plane crash which killed Senator Wellstone. If that doesn’t keep him in enough of a spotlight, I imagine he will turn his attention to claiming that Bush and his flunky Brown actually dynamited the levees in New Orleans!!! That’s all fine as long as he leaves those of us concerned with the Kennedy assassination immune to his tirades. All Fetzer’s tirades do is make it more difficult for the rest of us to get out the real truth concerning this incompetent national administration.

if it's not yet apparent, many have come to the conclusion, re the old JFK assassination research guard, the job isn't getting done... WHY? What's taking so long?

Please let me know if you have additional questions. I have not yet been able to figure out how to read your reconstruction of the event, something I would be very keen to do.

Josiah Thompson

Edited by David G. Healy

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Thank you for your reply. The following link doesn't work for me: http://homepage.mac.com/bkohley/Menu5.html. You mentioned that you were going to put your presentation online in a more finished mode. Let me know when you do that so that I can see it. Thanks.

Strange, I just clicked on the link in your post and it worked.

If this link doesn't work for anyone out there who's interested,you should be able to reach my original presentation by going to the JFK online seminars section of this Forum and clicking on the link provided.

I put it at the top so it's easier to find.

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I think you've sold more 'HOAX' books for him than any other source, third printing now...

So David are you implying that your book has some merit just because a lot of copies have been sold?

Case Closed (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #161,752 in Books

The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #273,313 in Books

Case Closed (Hardcover)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #329,563 in Books

Case Closed : Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #496,995 in Books

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I think you've sold more 'HOAX' books for him than any other source, third printing now...

So David are you implying that your book has some merit just because a lot of copies have been sold?

Case Closed (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #161,752 in Books

The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #273,313 in Books

Case Closed (Hardcover)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #329,563 in Books

Case Closed : Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (Paperback)

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #496,995 in Books

Len, this thread is supposed to be about Josiah Thompson's book and work. Please restrict your flame war with Fetzer and Healy to the thread on Fetzer's book.

While you make your point that book sales do not reflect quality, your choice of Posner's book is needlessly antagonistic. You may as well have said that the Warren Report sold well. No, scratch that. There is probably no recent book on the assassination as reviled, and as undeserving of respect, as Posner's. While I assume your mentioning of this book was done to annoy Fetzer, if you choose to defend Posner's book I suggest you go the JFK Forum and start a new thread. A number of us will be waiting to pounce.

If you really want to compare Fetzer to Posner, you should compare them by their behavior. While Fetzer is willing to go online and duke it out with you, and defend his work, Posner was a hired hack who has refused to defend his book outside of the occasional television appearance, where he'll field only softball questions. The man simply couldn't stand the heat if questioned by anyone who really knew anything. While you might believe the same is true of Fetzer, you gotta acknowledge that his coming here and arguing with you indicates he passionately believes what he's written.

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Len, this thread is supposed to be about Josiah Thompson's book and work. Please restrict your flame war with Fetzer and Healy to the thread on Fetzer's book.

I'm not the one who brought up 'Hoax' in this thread and I don't think Tink would object to my using the example of Posner's book sales to counter Healy's spurious point

your choice of Posner's book is needlessly antagonistic

Fetzer compared me to Hitler* on the thread about his book, wasn't that "needlessly antagonistic"? Especially since he should know I'm Jewish from our participation in another forum. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FETZERclaims...NK/message/1885

*http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4542&view=findpost&p=39724

no recent book on the assassination as reviled, and as undeserving of respect, as Posner's.

That's why I chose it what better book to counter his point with?

I assume your mentioning of this book was done to annoy Fetzer

No, I did it to counter Healy

if you choose to defend Posner's book

I'm not defending it, my whole point is that sales are no indication of quality

Edited by Len Colby

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Len, this thread is supposed to be about Josiah Thompson's book and work.  Please restrict your flame war with Fetzer and Healy to the thread on Fetzer's book.

I'm not the one who brought up 'Hoax' in this thread and I don't think Tink would object to my using the example of Posner's book sales to counter Healy's spurious point

your choice of Posner's book is needlessly antagonistic

Fetzer compared me to Hitler* on the thread about his book, wasn't that "needlessly antagonistic"? Especially since he should know I'm Jewish from our participation in another forum. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FETZERclaims...NK/message/1885

*http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4542&view=findpost&p=39724

no recent book on the assassination as reviled, and as undeserving of respect, as Posner's.

That's why I chose it what better book to counter his point with?

I assume your mentioning of this book was done to annoy Fetzer

No, I did it to counter Healy

if you choose to defend Posner's book

I'm not defending it, my whole point is that sales are no indication of quality

"... I'm not the one who brought up 'Hoax' in this thread and I don't think Tink would object to my using the example of Posner's book sales to counter Healy's spurious point..."

Tink would object? Why praytell would he object? His and Fetzer's disagreements are well known, some refer to them as the battle of EGO'S... both parties, well known. You on the other hand...

To close -- I for one could care less about your, or most, for that matter - "debates". Debates concerning the assassinatioon of JFK are the kiss-of-death in moving this investigation forward. Let debate happen in a courtroom...

There are too many coincidences regarding political deaths in America -- write a book, find a publisher, get your opinions, supported by known facts of the time, on bookstore shelves. Noel Tyman, Josiah Thompson, David Lifton, Jim Fetzer and many, many more paid the price for publishing the fruits of 'their' toils/investgiations. YOU, prepared to do the same, or will you continue to be part of the ever expanding [JFK in particular, amongst others] political assassination white noise, internet 'opinion' gallery?

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Fetzer is sort of like the guy who starts a fight in a bar and then crawls out between all the fighters' legs.

He left an earlier site because his attempted defense of his latest tabloid journalism effort was in the toilet. Len, Craig Lamson and Hobo had sent him skedaddling. He usually only appears on sites where he can be protected by his cronies like the moderator of JFKresearch.com, Rich Dellarosa. He won't reply to anything on Lancer. Usually, one can only coax him out by saying something about his books. So Len might well have sought if he made a reference to Posner Fetzer might show up.

Alas, it looks like Fetzer has skedaddled for good! Tabloid journalism in the form of faux scholarship is left undefended. And maybe that's the way it ought to end up.

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"So Len might well have sought if he made a reference to Posner Fetzer might show up."

Tink, it seems like even you don't believe me! :) My comment as stated was just to highlight the fallacy of Healy's 'point'. I think you do a much better job than me of smoking Fetzer out of his hole anyway.

I asked you this before in a private exchange but think it would be interesting if you could share your answer with the readers of this thread: Who do think killed JFK and why?

Have you looked into re-releasing a revised 'Six Seconds' as an e-book? Who has the rights to the book and frames from the Z-film?

Len

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