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John Simkin

Josiah Thompson: Six Seconds in Dallas

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Len, you and Hobo, have done such a brilliant job of exposing the "Fetzering" of the Great Wind from the North, I regret that it can't be just moved over to this board. No, I believe you.

I hold the copyright to "Six Seconds" and the rights to publish the Zapruder film deriving from Judge Wyatt's decision back in 1968. I'm sort of old-fashioned and would like a new edition to published like a regular book by a kind of standard publisher. I would write an update section. I think the project is viable. I just haven't found a publisher yet who would want to take it on. But I'm still trying.

I wish Hobo could be persuaded to move over and join us.

Edited by Josiah Thompson

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Len, you and Hobo, have done such a brilliant job of exposing the "Fetzering" of the Great Wind from the North, I regret that it can't be just moved over to this board.  No, I believe you.

I hold the copyright to "Six Seconds" and the rights to publish the Zapruder film deriving from Judge Wyatt's decision back in 1968.  I'm sort of old-fashioned and would like a new edition to published like a regular book by a kind of standard publisher.  I would write an update section.  I think the project is viable.  I just haven't found a publisher yet who would want to take it on.  But I'm still trying.

I wish Hobo could be persuaded to move over and join us.

Hobo would love to join but he really has a need to keep his name and image from being placed here on the forum. He told me he contacted the mods but I have not heard back from him since. Of course it is their forum and if they require his name and picture then it might be impossible for him to join.

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I'm sort of old-fashioned and would like a new edition to published like a regular book by a kind of standard publisher.

An "e-book" could be a good intermediate step. Amazon sells lots of downloadable books. The format has two advantages 1] the text is searchable which is a lot more effective than an index for finding what you want, 2] It would make it a lot easier for people who do not live in North America to get it, Amazon and BN etc charge a fortune to send books overseas.

The downside is that it might he harder to get a publisher interested if the book is out in digital form. I'm surprised you can't find a publisher, there are so many CT/alternative houses (Amok, Re/Search etc). You could even try the people who've put out Fetzer's stuff - they'll publish anything it seems! So will other publishers; I saw on Amazon that there is a slick new hard cover edition of "SCUM Manifesto" by Valerie Solanas the nut job who shot and tried to kill Warhol*.

I wish Hobo would rejoin us too, but the anonymity issue is a problem for him. Have you been following the thread recently? Fetzer is taking a beating again.

Len

* Apprently she was friends with 'Squeaky' Fromme the Manson acolyte who tried to kill Ford, they must have made quite a pair!!

Edited by Len Colby

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Fetzer claims I want to return things to their 1967 basis.  This, of course, is nonsense.  Let me rebut it by pointing out a major mistake I made in "Six Seconds."

I measured there that JFK's head moved forward about two inches between Z312 and Z313.  This forward movement followed by the obvious left, backward snap suggested to me that he had been hit in the head from the rear and then, almost instantaneously, from the right front.  Within the last few years, Art Snyder of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory, was able to show me how this involved a serious mistake in measurement. 

As you all know, Z312 is quite clear while Z313 is smeared from movement of the camera.  Using fairly complicated math, Snyder was able to demonstrate to me that I was measuring the smear on frame Z313 and not the movement of Kennedy's head.  That socalled "two-inch movement" was an illusion; it came from the smear.

David Wimp and Joe Durnavich came to much the same conclusion.  Wimp, however, has gone futher.  He has shown that JFK's head begins moving forward about Z308 and that everyone else in the limousine... Kellerman, Greer, Jackie, Mrs. Connally, John Connally... also begin a moderate movement forward at that time.  After Z314, JFK flips backward and to the left while all the rest continue moving forward.  The explanation:  When Greer turned to look in the back seat at circa Z302 his foot tapped the brake, decelerating the limousine and throwing forward all the limousine's occupants.  There is no longer any clear evidence in the Zapruder film of Kennedy being hit in the back of the head.  (I say "clear" because there may be some evidence of a hit from the rear at Z327/328) The Z312-Z317 sequence... the bowling over of JFK to the left rear....  is the unambiguous result of a shot from the right front.

This is wonderful progress by careful research.  Because of it, I am delighted to admit... even proclaim... that I made a mistake in 1967.  This kind of research requires more than the National Enquirer method of research espoused by Professor Fetzer.  In fact, such research would never have have been undertaken had anyone paid any attention to Fetzer's now bankrupt obsession with proving the Zapruder film a hoax.[/b]

Interesting comments. Did you make any other mistakes?

If you were writing another book on the Kennedy Assassination today, what areas would you focus on? What characters need more research? In other words, who do you think organized, carried out and paid for the assassination of JFK.

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Len, you and Hobo, have done such a brilliant job of exposing the "Fetzering" of the Great Wind from the North, I regret that it can't be just moved over to this board.  No, I believe you.

I hold the copyright to "Six Seconds" and the rights to publish the Zapruder film deriving from Judge Wyatt's decision back in 1968.  I'm sort of old-fashioned and would like a new edition to published like a regular book by a kind of standard publisher.  I would write an update section.  I think the project is viable.  I just haven't found a publisher yet who would want to take it on.  But I'm still trying.

I wish Hobo could be persuaded to move over and join us.

Hobo would love to join but he really has a need to keep his name and image from being placed here on the forum. He told me he contacted the mods but I have not heard back from him since. Of course it is their forum and if they require his name and picture then it might be impossible for him to join.

And so -- ANOTHER legend begins, the LEGEND of HOBO!

WOW, not even, good theater!

Edited by David G. Healy

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Sure, there are minor mistakes. I think I got the Z frame number of Willis 5 wrong. The research Gary Aguilar has done on the medical evidence adds a lot of material to that area. I could go on and on in this vein. A new edition of "Six Seconds" with an update section would permit me to remedy not just these mistakes but bring things up-to-date. I'm trying to figure out how to do that now.

Thanks for the inquiry.

Fetzer claims I want to return things to their 1967 basis.  This, of course, is nonsense.  Let me rebut it by pointing out a major mistake I made in "Six Seconds."

I measured there that JFK's head moved forward about two inches between Z312 and Z313.  This forward movement followed by the obvious left, backward snap suggested to me that he had been hit in the head from the rear and then, almost instantaneously, from the right front.  Within the last few years, Art Snyder of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory, was able to show me how this involved a serious mistake in measurement. 

As you all know, Z312 is quite clear while Z313 is smeared from movement of the camera.  Using fairly complicated math, Snyder was able to demonstrate to me that I was measuring the smear on frame Z313 and not the movement of Kennedy's head.  That socalled "two-inch movement" was an illusion; it came from the smear.

David Wimp and Joe Durnavich came to much the same conclusion.  Wimp, however, has gone futher.  He has shown that JFK's head begins moving forward about Z308 and that everyone else in the limousine... Kellerman, Greer, Jackie, Mrs. Connally, John Connally... also begin a moderate movement forward at that time.  After Z314, JFK flips backward and to the left while all the rest continue moving forward.  The explanation:  When Greer turned to look in the back seat at circa Z302 his foot tapped the brake, decelerating the limousine and throwing forward all the limousine's occupants.  There is no longer any clear evidence in the Zapruder film of Kennedy being hit in the back of the head.  (I say "clear" because there may be some evidence of a hit from the rear at Z327/328) The Z312-Z317 sequence... the bowling over of JFK to the left rear....  is the unambiguous result of a shot from the right front.

This is wonderful progress by careful research.  Because of it, I am delighted to admit... even proclaim... that I made a mistake in 1967.  This kind of research requires more than the National Enquirer method of research espoused by Professor Fetzer.  In fact, such research would never have have been undertaken had anyone paid any attention to Fetzer's now bankrupt obsession with proving the Zapruder film a hoax.[/b]

Interesting comments. Did you make any other mistakes?

If you were writing another book on the Kennedy Assassination today, what areas would you focus on? What characters need more research? In other words, who do you think organized, carried out and paid for the assassination of JFK.

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(1) If you were writing another book on the Kennedy Assassination today, what areas would you focus on? What characters need more research? In other words, who do you think organized, carried out and paid for the assassination of JFK.

(2) On another thread it has been stated that you received considerable help from Life Magazine with your investigation? Is that true.

(3) In Bill Turner’s excellent book, Rearview Mirror, he refers to a CIA campaign entitled Operation Nightingale (Countering Criticism of the Warren Report). He adds that “Nightingale was a companion piece to the older Operation Mockingbird, which proselytized journalists, writers and broadcasters to act as covert assets manipulating public opinion.”

It seems that the way the CIA and FBI controlled the media response to the JFK assassination was extremely important in the cover-up.

People in Europe saw the assassination of JFK very differently to those in America. Our press was allowed to report the event based on the evidence available. It is no coincidence that the first books that appeared suggesting a conspiracy were published in Europe and not the United States: Thomas G. Buchanan’s Who Killed Kennedy? (1964) and Joachim Joesten’s Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? (1964). It is also relevant that the American media portrayed Buchanan and Joesten as communists working on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Were you aware of any attempts by the CIA to stop your book, Six Seconds in Dallas, being published?

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Interesting questions. Thank you. My replies are in bold-face.

(1) If you were writing another book on the Kennedy Assassination today, what areas would you focus on? What characters need more research? In other words, who do you think organized, carried out and paid for the assassination of JFK.

It has seemed to me from the beginning that three questions had a kind of logical order: (1) What happened? (2) Who did it? (3) Why did they do it? I don't think that (2) or (3) can be satisfactorily answered before (1) is answere. I'm still working on (1). If I were to write another book on the Kennedy assassination, I guess I would try to write "Six Seconds" all over again based on everything we know at the present. That, in itself, is a big order.

(2) On another thread it has been stated that you received considerable help from Life Magazine with your investigation? Is that true.

Yes, of course. I was hired by LIFE as a consultant in October 1966. From then until the late winter of 1966-67 I worked with Ed Kern and Dick Billings on LIFE. We put together the November 1966 article entitled "Grounds for Reasonable Doubt." Later, I could draw on the material and interviews arranged by LIFE for use in "Six Seconds."

(3) In Bill Turner’s excellent book, Rearview Mirror, he refers to a CIA campaign entitled Operation Nightingale (Countering Criticism of the Warren Report). He adds that “Nightingale was a companion piece to the older Operation Mockingbird, which proselytized journalists, writers and broadcasters to act as covert assets manipulating public opinion.”

It seems that the way the CIA and FBI controlled the media response to the JFK assassination was extremely important in the cover-up.

People in Europe saw the assassination of JFK very differently to those in America. Our press was allowed to report the event based on the evidence available. It is no coincidence that the first books that appeared suggesting a conspiracy were published in Europe and not the United States: Thomas G. Buchanan’s Who Killed Kennedy? (1964) and Joachim Joesten’s Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? (1964). It is also relevant that the American media portrayed Buchanan and Joesten as communists working on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Were you aware of any attempts by the CIA to stop your book, Six Seconds in Dallas, being published?

No. LIFE tried to stop it and, for several hours, persuaded Random House not to distribute it. Dick Salant of CBS News contacted the President of Haverford, John Coleman, in an attempt to soften what I said about CBS News. We have documents obtained from the FBI under FOIA which showed how closely Hoover was tracking the reception of the book but I have no direct evidence that the FBI carried out any efforts to discourage the reception of the book.

Prior to the assassination, the CIA tried to hire me in Europe because of my knowledge of beach reconnaissance. But this had to do with my earlier training and service in Underwater Demolition Team 21. If the CIA was working to trash the book, I probably would never have learned of it anyway.

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I was hired by LIFE as a consultant in October 1966. From then until the late winter of 1966-67 I worked with Ed Kern and Dick Billings on LIFE. We put together the November 1966 article entitled "Grounds for Reasonable Doubt." Later, I could draw on the material and interviews arranged by LIFE for use in "Six Seconds."

LIFE tried to stop it and, for several hours, persuaded Random House not to distribute it. Dick Salant of CBS News contacted the President of Haverford, John Coleman, in an attempt to soften what I said about CBS News. We have documents obtained from the FBI under FOIA which showed how closely Hoover was tracking the reception of the book but I have no direct evidence that the FBI carried out any efforts to discourage the reception of the book.

What did you make of Dick Billings? As you probably know, he appears several times in this story.

He took part in Operation Tilt in June 1963 with William Pawley, John Martino, Eddie Bayo, David Morales, Rip Robertson and Terry Spencer.

In November, 1963, Billings was a member of the Life Magazine team in Dallas that purchased the Zapruder Film.

In November 1966 Billings and Life offered to help Jim Garrison with his investigation. According to Garrison "The magazine would be able to provide me with technical assistance, and we could develop a mutual exchange of information".

Garrison agreed to this deal and Billings was introduced to staff member, Tom Bethal. In his diary Bethal reported: "In general, I feel that Billings and I share a similar position about the Warren Report. He does not believe that there was a conspiracy on the part of the government, the Warren Commission or the FBI to conceal the truth, but that a probability exists that they simply did not uncover the whole truth." Billings managed to persuade Bethal that Clay Shaw was innocent. Later it was revealed by W. Penn Jones that "Bethal made the entire trial plan, a complete list of State's witnesses and their expected testimony and other materials available to the Shaw defense team."

In September, 1967, Billings told Jim Garrison that Life Magazine was no longer willing to work with him in the investigation. Billings claimed that this was because he had come to the conclusion that he had links to organized crime. Soon afterwards, Life began a smear campaign against Garrison. It was reported that Garrison had been given money by an unnamed "New Orleans mobster".

The House Select Committee on Assassinations was established in September 1976. Billings was recruited by G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel, as editorial director. Later Billings and Blakey were the co-authors of The Plot to Kill the President (1981). In the book Billings and Blakey argue that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Billings claims that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved but believes that there was at least one gunman firing from the Grassy Knoll. Billings comes to the conclusion that the Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, organized the assassination.

It seems to me that Billings was working for the CIA during these events. Do you think that was the case with your investigation. Did he seem very interested in blaming the assassination on Oswald and the Mafia?

Why did Life try to get you from publishing Six Seconds in Dallas? Did it have anything to do with Billings?

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My replies are in bold-face.

I was hired by LIFE as a consultant in October 1966. From then until the late winter of 1966-67 I worked with Ed Kern and Dick Billings on LIFE. We put together the November 1966 article entitled "Grounds for Reasonable Doubt." Later, I could draw on the material and interviews arranged by LIFE for use in "Six Seconds."

LIFE tried to stop it and, for several hours, persuaded Random House not to distribute it. Dick Salant of CBS News contacted the President of Haverford, John Coleman, in an attempt to soften what I said about CBS News. We have documents obtained from the FBI under FOIA which showed how closely Hoover was tracking the reception of the book but I have no direct evidence that the FBI carried out any efforts to discourage the reception of the book.

What did you make of Dick Billings? As you probably know, he appears several times in this story.

When I worked with Billings in 1966 and 1967, he has chief of investigative reporting for LIFE. He struck me as a very smart and aggressive journalist... a real pro.

He took part in Operation Tilt in June 1963 with William Pawley, John Martino, Eddie Bayo, David Morales, Rip Robertson and Terry Spencer.

In November, 1963, Billings was a member of the Life Magazine team in Dallas that purchased the Zapruder Film. I rather doubt this. It thought the team that purchased the Zapruder film was Dick Stolley, Tommy Thompson and Patsy Swank. I didn't know that Billings was in Dallas on the 22nd.

In November 1966 Billings and Life offered to help Jim Garrison with his investigation. According to Garrison "The magazine would be able to provide me with technical assistance, and we could develop a mutual exchange of information". Actually, I told Billings about the Garrison investigation. I had heard of it on the grapevine and passed along the information not in November but in December 1966 or January 1967.

Garrison agreed to this deal and Billings was introduced to staff member, Tom Bethal. In his diary Bethal reported: "In general, I feel that Billings and I share a similar position about the Warren Report. He does not believe that there was a conspiracy on the part of the government, the Warren Commission or the FBI to conceal the truth, but that a probability exists that they simply did not uncover the whole truth." Given what I know of Billings' views, this does not surprise me.

Billings managed to persuade Bethal that Clay Shaw was innocent. Later it was revealed by W. Penn Jones that "Bethal made the entire trial plan, a complete list of State's witnesses and their expected testimony and other materials available to the Shaw defense team."

In September, 1967, Billings told Jim Garrison that Life Magazine was no longer willing to work with him in the investigation. Billings claimed that this was because he had come to the conclusion that he had links to organized crime. Soon afterwards, Life began a smear campaign against Garrison. It was reported that Garrison had been given money by an unnamed "New Orleans mobster".

The House Select Committee on Assassinations was established in September 1976. Billings was recruited by G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel, as editorial director. Later Billings and Blakey were the co-authors of The Plot to Kill the President (1981). In the book Billings and Blakey argue that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Billings claims that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved but believes that there was at least one gunman firing from the Grassy Knoll. Billings comes to the conclusion that the Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, organized the assassination.

It seems to me that Billings was working for the CIA during these events. That's all very nice. But where does this sort of discussion go? I say, 'No, it doesn't seem to me he was working for the CIA during these events.' You say the opposite. Do we then continue to gossip back and forth? I just don't think these sort of discussions are productive.

Do you think that was the case with your investigation. No.

Did he seem very interested in blaming the assassination on Oswald and the Mafia? No. Circa 1966/67 the Mafia never came up in our discussions. He was certainly not an exponent of Oswald the lone nut. Most of our talks were quite specific in terms of how to interpret particular pieces of evidence and how to take our investigation further.

Why did Life try to get you from publishing Six Seconds in Dallas? Did it have anything to do with Billings?

LIFE was very unhappy about our use of the Zapruder film. They believed we were infringing their copyright on the film. That's why they sued us all. That unhappiness had nothing to do with the assassination in general or with Billings in particular.

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I think any answer to this sort of question has to be speculative and my speculations are no better than yours. I was working fairly closely with Steve Rivele for several years on what became the Marseille mafia story. He could not confirm the location of the alleged shooters on November 22nd and the whole theory crashed and burned with the French government's announcement that one was in jail and the other on a French warship on November 22nd. So I guess we can believe whatever we want to believe. It's all speculative.

Mr Thompson,

I believe that the French mafia was hired to assassinate john F. Kennedy because the american Mafia could not be relied upon --having failed to assassinate castro.

Is there any truth here:

http://geocities.com/mobaster/corsican.htm

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I think any answer to this sort of question has to be speculative and my speculations are no better than yours. I was working fairly closely with Steve Rivele for several years on what became the Marseille mafia story. He could not confirm the location of the alleged shooters on November 22nd and the whole theory crashed and burned with the French government's announcement that one was in jail and the other on a French warship on November 22nd. So I guess we can believe whatever we want to believe. It's all speculative.

That's fascinating. But the French connection keeps coming up in many sources including the following, and I wonder whether you can find ANYTHING to poke a hole into the following theory:

http://www.geocities.com/matwilson_2000/ch9.htm

Now I do have a question about the person on the warship, is that conclusive or was it his alibi?

What kind of evidence were you able to find, to "prove" that he was on a warship? Official records

that relate to November 22nd 1963 are less than reliable, but you may be correct, perhaps he was on a warship.

Perhaps, the possibility that it was some other Fenchman and the ones we suspect are Oswald-like patsies, is also worth considering. The details do not change my over-all sense of what happened.

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Hello Mr Thompson

It would be nice to see your book released a with a update.

Back in the early 80' i found i found a copy of Six Seconds and paid $10.00 for it and i had to sell my collection in 2000 and i decided to get back in the the JFK assassination and was looking for another copy and i saw one amazon going for $100+.

I think it is such an important book on the assassination it would be a great help to new persons looking into the JFK assassination if it could be released.

I for one would like to have another copy to rebuild my collection and i would say that there are others out there that would like to have one also.

Mark

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