Jump to content
The Education Forum

First Generation Critics of the Warren Report


Peter McGuire
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am about 200 pages into this book and I can't say enough good things about it! Another must read, folks.

Thanks Dawn. I just ordered it; you convinced me to do it sooner than later. If you say it's a must read, I know I can count on that. And thanks to Peter for the heads-up that Kelin's book was available.

The First Generation Critics as they've come to be known were a small but remarkable group of men and women. Gosh, that seems such a long time ago....

I found this quote to be somewhat uplifting:

"This is an important book that exposes the worst of America, as represented by the murderous conspirators, and the best of America, as represented by those noble critics whose endeavors symbolize profiles in courage."

So, in seeking justice for our last great President we are also honoring the "noble critics."

There are so many reasons why The Assassination matters today, as much as ever, maybe more than ever.

100% agree. It's pivotal.

Having often said the USofA produces the worst, it also produces the best. Not necessarily including John K. in this, (haven't and likely won't, read the book), but the principle does characterise the UofA on numerous occasions. JFK is an excellent example and perhaps most significant in the world today and what happens when such a person rises to prominence. Most instructive. Lest we Forget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 108
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Hi Paul,

In my book, the Zapruder film is described and dealt with contemporaneously, primarily through the eyes of the critics. There is a passing reference to the question of authenticity, which is in the book's Epilogue. Authenticity was never an issue when the earliest critics were active and so I do not deal with it.

I disagree with the semantics of your remark that "the early critics you deal with omitted any reference to the early descriptions." The word "omitted" implies some deliberate behavior. You might feel, with hindsight, that this was an area that could have been explored at that time. Since, in the first years, the Zapruder film could only be seen at the National Archives, I don't think that was the case.

Happy New Year to you, John, and thanks for the response.

In principle, I agree with your refusal to impose upon the early critics the preoccupations of subsequent generations. Nor is it fair to expect prophetic powers in the former. But I’m not insisting upon either. What I find inexcusable in the work of the early critics with regard to the Zapruder film is something much more mundane – hypocrisy.

The point is that the early critics insisted the Z film was evidence. As such, it should have been treated in exactly the same way as, let us say, a pristine bullet alleged to have inflicted a series of wounds on two men. The early critics demolished the claims, manifestly ludicrous, advanced for CE399, yet remained mute when it came to the Zapruder film chain of custody.

So, was the latter evidence? And, if so, why was the film not subject to precisely the same kind of rigorous examination as the aforementioned CE399?

The early critics failure to deal with the basic question of the film’s veracity is even more curious given, among many other considerations:

a) the very early evidence of photographic manipulation (the backyard photos of Oswald obligingly posing with weapons and leftist papers);

B) the appearance of said photos in the pages of the same media conglomerate that ostensibly possessed the Zapruder film;

c) the known politics of Henry Luce and his media empire;

d) the utter incompatibility of much of the eyewitness testimony – which the early critics prided themselves on knowing better than the Warren Report’s compilers - with the Zapruder film;

e) the inconsistency of the film-photographic evidence (most notably, Altgens #5 v. Zapruder/Nix)

None of the above required “hindsight.” Nor easier access to the Zapruder film. It merely required the early critics to view and report accurately what was readily available to them.

Personally, I am not interested in the authenticity issue because I think it clouds things. As I noted earlier, I think there is only one way to interpret the Zapruder film as we have come to know it. I'm sorry to have to quote Ray Marcus again, but I did talk to him about this, and he said: "They’ve tried to take evidence that’s both clear and convincing that you get over to a lay public – that’s the crucial thing, they don’t care about a few people – that a lay public can understand, and to render them seriously arguable."

Is this the same Ray Marcus who, in Addendum B, solemnly opined of Truman’s December 1963 piece, “US should hold CIA to Intelligence Role,” that “according to my information, it was not…picked up by any other major newspaper”?. The claim is simply untrue: See Richard Starnes’ Scripps-Howard column, “Truman and the CIA” (New York World-Telegram & Sun, 24 December 1963, p.13). Still, hardly an earth-shattering mistake of the kind that caused Meagher to turn against Garrison and become an active supporter of Clay Shaw (the latter a nugget from your book that really did surprise me).

For more worthy of condemnation, however, is the authentic note of contempt for the general public that Marcus’ remark conveys. Don’t tell ‘em difficult truth, is the thrust, just give the unwashed sufficient to get them marching in step. Now that really is awful, not least because it allows the real perps to skip off scott free and land the crime on a different set of patsies (Cubans, the Mob, take your pick).

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[...]

Personally, I am not interested in the authenticity issue because I think it clouds things.

[...]

John

amongst other pieces of evidence, authenticity of the Zapruder film is paramount.... the entire case against LHO is built around the Zapruder film....Roland Zavada's investigation didn't cut it, and he knows it... WHO he (Zavada) needed to interview was a few optical 1960-1964 film lab techs and studio matte artists familiar with the optical film printing craft, NOT the cursory heads of companies that employ same....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul...an ADMIRABLE response.

But as someone who started my research on DAY ONE, I must point out

that we early researchers had available VERY LITTLE on the Z film...and

it was carefully spoon-fed to us by Life Magazine, which was allowed

to OWN and SUPPRESS critical evidence of a murder, in contradiction of

law and common sense. A few published frames were all we had till

much later when the WC volumes were published in small bw images.

It is not too remarkble that critics did not comment on something which

was withheld from them.

I agree that suspicions should have been raised IMMEDIATELY, but not

through study of the film itself, which did not become available until

Jim Garrison allowed Penn Jones to have it copied, and thereafter Robert

Groden pirated it from the lab which Life had entrusted to make copies.

I did not get my copies of the film to study till the mid-seventies. Even

then, I considered it EVIDENCE for nearly ten years, till I started seeing

discrepancies. Note that in Jim Marrs' CROSSFIRE (1989) I first mentioned

my belief of alteration...so I have been an alteration advocate for

about twenty years.

So it is difficult to fault the early critics for not knowing about something

they had no access to. But as you say, they SHOULD have been alert to

the suspicious circumstances surrounding the film.

Jack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jack :

If you go into Sylvia Meagher's book.."Accessories After the Fact ".....she and Tink did see the Zapruder film, not too long after, she speaks of seeing it several times ....

Now she was not into the photos as we know now, but I would have thought they, meaning she and Tink within their books, would have hopefully described what they saw....neither did...

I have in the past searched high and wide for eithers descriptions, and it simply is not there......though she stated it was horrendous, or some such wording....

So some did see it, early, they did have not a copy but did have access to viewing, through Life, yet for some reason there was no further information given......

B......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jack :

If you go into Sylvia Meagher's book.."Accessories After the Fact ".....she and Tink did see the Zapruder film, not too long after, she speaks of seeing it several times ....

Now she was not into the photos as we know now, but I would have thought they, meaning she and Tink within their books, would have hopefully described what they saw....neither did...

I have in the past searched high and wide for eithers descriptions, and it simply is not there......though she stated it was horrendous, or some such wording....

So some did see it, early, they did have not a copy but did have access to viewing, through Life, yet for some reason there was no further information given......

B......

Thanks...I did not recall that. But I assume they saw only a projected movie, not individual frames.

Jack

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jack :

If you go into Sylvia Meagher's book.."Accessories After the Fact ".....she and Tink did see the Zapruder film, not too long after, she speaks of seeing it several times ....

Now she was not into the photos as we know now, but I would have thought they, meaning she and Tink within their books, would have hopefully described what they saw....neither did...

I have in the past searched high and wide for eithers descriptions, and it simply is not there......though she stated it was horrendous, or some such wording....

So some did see it, early, they did have not a copy but did have access to viewing, through Life, yet for some reason there was no further information given......

B......

Thanks...I did not recall that. But I assume they saw only a projected movie, not individual frames.

Jack

*******************

Here it is Jack :

Apparently the did see the frames and the recoil was apparently noted but ignored...

I had posted this in the long past on JFKresearch found it in my files........FWIW......to you....

"Sylvia Meagher stated in her book Accessories After The Fact 1967.. about the film..

Subsequently, other researchers have viewed the Zapruder films ( thanks to the courtesy of Mr.Edward Kern of Life magazine...I was able to view 25 screenings of the film and excellent color transparencies of the individual frames )...clip....Vincent Salandria and Gaeton Fonzi

conclusively demonstrated the backward recoil by tracing the position of the body in successive frames, using two projectors and projecting one slide upon the other. clip...(some 6 months after that diagram was published no spokeman for the Warren Commission has

challenged the data or the accompanying conclusion that the fatal shot came from somewhere on the grassy knoll."".(printed in The Greater Philadelphia Magazine, Aug.66.p44)

B......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John, I have ordered your book but as I live in England it has not arrived yet. There are several questions I want to ask you. I am sorry if the answers are in the book.

I am very interested in the research carried out by Penn Jones. He seems to have come up with information that has not been duplicated in other books by JFK researchers. For example, this is what he wrote in the Midlothian Mirror on November 25, 1965:

I have a concern for the strange things happening in America in recent months. With the passing of the second anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy, we take not of some of the strange things which continue to plague those around the principals.

Miss Dorothy Kilgallen joins the growing list of persons who have died after a private interview with one of the two members of the Jack Ruby-George Senator team. We have printed the strange deaths of Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe after they had a private interview with George Senator and Ruby’s attorney, Tom Howard. Hunter and Koethe were murdered. Lawyer Tom Howard died under strange circumstances...

Now Miss Kilgallen dies under clouded circumstances. During the Ruby trial in Dallas, Judge Joe B. Brown granted Miss Kilgallen a privilege given no other newsman. She had thirty minutes alone in a room with Jack Ruby. Even the guards were outside the door. Miss Kilgallen told some of what went of during the interview in her columns. But was someone afraid she knew more? Is she another victim of possibly knowing the secret that still moves in the troubled mind of Jack Ruby?...

What is happening in our land? How many murders of persons connected in some way with the assassination principals can go unnoticed by our people? How many lies must we prove on The Warren Commission before a demand for reopening becomes a commanding one?

In his book, Volume II: Forgive My Grief (1967), Penn Jones added more to this story:

Shortly before her death, Miss Kilgallen told a friend in New York that she was going to New Orleans in 5 days and break the case wide open. Miss Kilgallen 52, died November 8, 1965, under questionable circumstances in her New York home. Eight days after her death, a ruling was made that she died of barbiturates and drink with no quantities of either ingredient being given.

Also strangely, Miss Kilgallen’s close friend, Mrs. Earl E.T. Smith, died two days after Miss Kilgallen. Mrs. Smith’s autopsy read that the cause of death was unknown.

Many skeptical newsmen have asked: “If Miss Kilgallen knew anything, surely as a journalist wouldn’t she have left some notes?” This is a legitimate question. Possibly Mrs. Smith was the trusted friend with the notes. No one will ever know now.

I have discovered that Mrs. Earl E. T. Smith was Florence Smith who was a journalist who was generally known as Florence Pritchett. What is really amazing about this is that JFK was involved in an affair with Pritchett that lasted from 1944 up until his death in 1963.

In June, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed her husband, Earl Smith as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cuba. FBI files reveal that over the next two years John F. Kennedy made more than a dozen visits to Cuba in order to meet Florence. Florence also met Kennedy in Miami and Palm Beach, where their homes were conveniently adjoined. Earl Smith held right-wing views and later accused the CIA of helping Fidel Castro to gain power in Cuba.

I believe it is highly possible that Kilgallen got secret information about JFK’s foreign policy via Florence Pritchett/Earl Smith. For example, she wrote about the Mafia/CIA plots on Castro in the New York Journal American as early as July 1959.

In your research on Penn Jones did you discover if he identified who Mrs Earl Smith was? Did you get the chance to read Jones’ unpublished papers during your research?

Could you answer this question on this thread and on the threads on Penn Jones, Florence Pritchett and Dorothy Kilgallen. This will make it easier for future researchers to access this information:

Penn Jones

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=3387

Florence Pritchett

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2358

Dorothy Kilgallen

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1615

I have also publicized your book on all these pages. As the all appear at number one at Google when you type in their names, it should help sales of the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the Introduction (emphasis mine):

My thanks also go to writer Gaeton Fonzi, who supplied me with a transcript

of his historic 1966 interview with Arlen Specter.

John, just got the book...A pleasure to see my research raison d'etre so introduced.

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul...an ADMIRABLE response.

But as someone who started my research on DAY ONE, I must point out

that we early researchers had available VERY LITTLE on the Z film...and

it was carefully spoon-fed to us by Life Magazine, which was allowed

to OWN and SUPPRESS critical evidence of a murder, in contradiction of

law and common sense. A few published frames were all we had till

much later when the WC volumes were published in small bw images.

It is not too remarkble that critics did not comment on something which

was withheld from them.

I agree that suspicions should have been raised IMMEDIATELY, but not

through study of the film itself, which did not become available until

Jim Garrison allowed Penn Jones to have it copied, and thereafter Robert

Groden pirated it from the lab which Life had entrusted to make copies.

I did not get my copies of the film to study till the mid-seventies. Even

then, I considered it EVIDENCE for nearly ten years, till I started seeing

discrepancies. Note that in Jim Marrs' CROSSFIRE (1989) I first mentioned

my belief of alteration...so I have been an alteration advocate for

about twenty years.

So it is difficult to fault the early critics for not knowing about something

they had no access to. But as you say, they SHOULD have been alert to

the suspicious circumstances surrounding the film.

Jack

Jack,

All points well-made and taken. But look at Meagher in 1967. She knew about Chaney, the left veer and the stop; she had an encyclopaedic grasp of the testimony:

“After the assassination, reports that the President’s car had stopped after the first shot was fired were interpreted in some quarters as evidence that the driver believed that the shot came from somewhere in front of the car. The Warren Report dismissed the allegation:

The Presidential car did not stop or almost come to a complete halt after the firing of the first shot or any other shots…Motion pictures of the scene show that the car slowed down momentarily after the shot struck the President in the head and then speeded up rapidly.

This passage is found under “Rumours and Speculations,” an appendix to the Warren Report which the Commission used as a graveyard for the claims of various early critics of the lone-assassin theory. One such critic, Mark Lane, testified on March 4, 1964 that he believed that the car had come to a halt when the shooting began, on the basis of statements by

“…various witnesses, including Mr. Chaney, a motorcycle policeman, Miss Woodward, who was one of the closest witnesses to the President at the time that he was shot, and others. I think that is…conceded by almost everyone, that the automobile came to – almost came to a complete halt after the first shot…” (2H 45)

According to Lane, reporter Mary Woodward had corroborated, in a telephone conversation, the statement in her story in the Dallas Morning News of November 23, 1963 that “instead of speeding up…the car came to a halt.” (2H 43)

Lane’s allegation about Chaney is corroborated in the testimony of another motorcycle officer, M.L. Baker. Baker testified on March 24, 1964 that his fellow officer, James Chaney, had told him:

“He was on the right rear of the car or to the side, and then at the time the chief of police, he didn’t know anything about this, and he moved up and told him, and then that was during the time that the Secret Service men were trying to get in the car, and at the time, after the shooting, from the time the first shot rang out, the car stopped completely, pulled to the left and stopped…Mr. Truly was standing out there, he said it stopped. Several officers said it stopped completely.” (3H 266)

When he testified on March 24, 1964, Roy Truly corroborated Baker’s statement.

Truly: I saw the President’s car swerve to the left, and stop somewheres down in this area…

Belin: When you saw the President’s car seem to stop, how long did it appear to stop?

Truly: It would be hard say over a second or two or something like that. I didn’t see – I just saw it stop. I don’t know. I didn’t see it start up…The crowd in front of me kind of congealed…and I lost sight of it.” (3H 221)

Various other witnesses said that the car had come to a complete stop or almost a standstill when the noise of the shot was heard – Senator Ralph Yarborough (7H 440), for example, and Mrs Earl Cabell (7H 487), among others. Policeman Earl V. Brown, who was stationed on the triple overpass farther down Elm Street, testified on April 7, 1964 that:

Brown: Actually, the first I noticed the car was when it stopped...After it made the turn and when the shots were fired, it stopped.

Ball: Did it come to a complete stop?

Brown: That, I couldn't swear to.

Ball: It appeared to be slowed down some?

Brown: Yes; slowed down. (6H 233)

In sum, at least seven witnesses to the assassination indicated that the President's car had come to a complete stop, or what was tantamount to a stop. Two of those witnesses (James Chaney and Mary Woodward) were not asked to testify before the Commission on this or on other observations of some importance reported to the Commission as hearsay (see, for example, 2H 43-44 and CE 2084). Apparently the witnesses were mistaken in remembering that the car had stopped; motion pictures, according to the Commission, contradicted them. Yet it seems clear from the way in which counsel led witnesses that the Commission had considerable resistance to inferences which might be drawn from evidence that the car had stopped at the first shot. “Stopped” was transformed into “seemed to stop” and then into “slowed down.” Such leading of witnesses, which would have been challenged in a courtroom, was facilitated by the Commission's closed hearings, to which there was only one exception, by request of the witness concerned. (2H 33)

The films of the assassination have not been released for public showing, although it is possible to see the most important one, the Zapruder film – taken by amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder – at the National Archives. That film does not seem to support the witnesses who said that the car stopped dead. This being so, it is baffling that counsel conducted the questioning somewhat improperly and why the Report presents this evidence with some lack of partiality (in a passage failing to indicate that some seven witnesses mistakenly believed that the car had stopped at the first shot). Yet in dismissing an allegation related to the source of the first shot, the same passage seemingly yields ground on the source of the third. The statement that “the car slowed down momentarily after the shot that struck the President in the head “ is consistent with other evidence, to be discussed later, that the fatal shot came not from the Texas School Book Depository, as the Report maintains, but from a point in front of the car and to its right.

Sylvia Meagher. Accessories after the Fact: The Warren Commission, the Authorities & The Report (NY: Vintage Books, June 1992 reprint, first published 1967), chapter 1, “The Motorcade and the Shots,” pp.3-5

So now we know - the true heirs of the Warren Commission are the anti-alterationists. Neither countenance(d) events such as the stop: both afford primacy to the film over the eyewitnesses. And neither were/are comfortable with questions about the film's chain of possession and early history.

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In sum, at least seven witnesses to the assassination indicated that the President's car had come to a complete stop, or what was tantamount to a stop.

According to physicist Luis Alvarez, this "stop" or "what was tantamount to a stop" CAN be seen on the Zapruder film for 10 frames or about half a second centered at about Z299. During that crucial half-second, according to Alvarez, the limo abruptly slowed from 12MPH to 8 MPH.

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk..._Vol1_0222b.htm

If Alvarez is correct (and I am not aware that anyone has so far proved him wrong on this particular issue) then the supposed contradiction between the film and the eyewitnesses is non-existent.

So now we know - the true heirs of the Warren Commission are the anti-alterationists.

Paul

I don't think this comment is very helpful, and I certainly do not believe it is true.

Edited by J. Raymond Carroll
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Alvarez is correct (and I am not aware that anyone has so far proved him wrong on this particular issue) then the supposed contradiction between the film and the eyewitnesses is non-existent.

As you well know, the differences between film and witnesses are not reducible to that one question; and Alvarez's "explanation" does not explain eyewitness testimony about a stop of longer duration during which SS personnel (plural) went both to the presidential limousine and up the knoll.

So now we know - the true heirs of the Warren Commission are the anti-alterationists.

J. Raymond Carroll:I don't think this comment is very helpful, and I certainly do not believe it is true.

It goes to the heart of the matter, which is why you don't like it.

It's also a direct riposte to a passage in the book under discussion. If you'd read it, you would have recognised that at once. I await your condemnation of the relevant passage in the book with interest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I await your condemnation of the relevant passage in [John Kelin's] book with interest.

I have not yet read the book, but from what I know of John Kelin's work, I doubt if I will be condemning anything in it.

I did not join this thread to comment on a book I have not yet read, but only to point out that the so-called contradiction between the Z film and the eyewitnesses seems to be a tempest in a teapot.

Based on your response, I gather you no longer dispute that the film does in fact show the abrupt

slowdown which is consistent with the eyewitness accounts. Some eyewitnesses thought the slowdown lasted longer, perhaps, than is shown on the film, but the eyewitness descriptions of a "stop" or "what was tantamount to a stop" simply do not support an argument that the Zfilm was altered. According to a Nobel-winning physicist, this "stop" can be identified and measured on the Zfilm itself.

Bear in mind that ALvarez was not trying to refute claims that the Z film was altered. The subject of Zfilm alteration had not even reared its ugly head when Alvarez was conducting his study.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the entire case against LHO is built around the Zapruder film....[

I must be missing something BIG here. LHO does not appear in any copy of the Zfilm that I have ever seen. If Mr. Healy has a copy of the ZFilm that implicates LHO in the assassination, then it is only Mr. Healy's copy of the film that has been altered, not the one authenticated by Abraham Zapruder.

The film authenticated by Zapruder does not implicate LHO in the assassination of JFK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on your response, I gather you no longer dispute that the film does in fact show the abrupt slowdown which is consistent with the eyewitness accounts.

An unwarranted assumption. It doesn't show "an abrupt slowdown."

Some eyewitnesses thought the slowdown lasted longer, perhaps, than is shown on the film, but the eyewitness descriptions of a "stop" or "what was tantamount to a stop" simply do not support an argument that the Zfilm was altered.

There's no "perhaps" about it. Several eyewitnesses describe a stop of sufficient duration for a number of secret servicemen to swarm upon the presidential limousine. That's a long way from a brief slow down, and Clint Hill's lone sprint. I note with amusement that you seem very keen to avoid moving beyond the issue of the stop. Very wise. But, yes, if sufficient eyewitnesses say it stopped, and the film shows no such thing, I am obliged to accept the former and must account the film a fabrication.

According to a Nobel-winning physicist, this "stop" can be identified and measured on the Zfilm itself.Bear in mind that ALvarez was not trying to refute claims that the Z film was altered. The subject of Zfilm alteration had not even reared its ugly head when Alvarez was conducting his study.

Alvarez's status and the timing of his study are irrelevant; and his conclusion worthless, as the film - his predicate - is a fake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...