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Dr. Michael West and the 1993 Symposium on the Medical Evidence


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Those assuming that they need to play along with the "conservative" view of the assassination in order to get ahead in the medical profession miss that the medical professionals who have chosen to associate themselves with the single-assassin theory have been among the least credible individuals associated with the case. We have already discussed the failings of Dr. Michael Baden, and the many foolish and easily disproved statements he's made about the assassination. We have also discussed Dr. John Lattimer, a Urologist, with his strange belief Kennedy was a hunchback, and his odd diagrams presenting Kennedy's lung above his throat, and his long-time obsession with Nazis, and his odd habit of collecting celebrity genitalia. We have also discussed Dr. Chad Zimmerman, a Chiropractor, and the many flaws in his "experiments". But what we haven't fully discussed is that there has been virtually NO ONE from the world of medicine to publicly associate themselves with the single-assassin conclusion over the past 20 years, with whom other doctors would want to be associated.

If one gets the opportunity to view a video of the 1993 symposium on the medical evidence held in Chicago one will see precisely what I'm talking about.

First up was Dr. George Lundberg, then editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Thanks to researcher Dave Reitzes for posting Lundberg's statements online.)

Lundberg opened by admitting he knew next to nothing about the case, and then concluded:

"What then and whom then do I trust? I have known Dr. James Humes, the principal autopsy pathologist, personally since 1957. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, who was paraphrasing Lloyd Bentsen: I know Jim Humes. He's a friend of mine. I would trust him with my life.

Dr. Humes is an outstanding general pathologist, before and after 1963, acclaimed by his peers for thirty years -- forty years, perhaps -- but never was before, during, or after a fully trained forensic pathologist and never claimed to be. He didn't volunteer to do that job; he was assigned.

Moving from 1963 to 1968, the United States Attorney General appointed a four-person, blue-ribbon panel to study and reevaluate the JFK autopsy. The reason that was appointed was a request by the second autopsy pathologist, Dr. Jay Boswell, that there be such an independent investigation. This four-member panel had developed unanimous support for the autopsy report, results and interpretation.

A key member of that panel was the late Dr. Russell Fisher, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland, probably the world's top forensic pathologist of his time. I knew Russell Fisher. He was a friend of mine. I would trust him with my life. He concurred: two bullets from the rear. A simple story.

In 1979 the forensic pathology subcommittee of the House Select Committee on Assassinations included nine members. It voted eight to one in support of the autopsy findings and basic interpretation. One of the members was Dr. Earl Rose, a forensic pathologist in Dallas in November 1963 whose legal responsibility it was to autopsy President Kennedy and who tried to stop the illegal movement of the body from Dallas.

I have known Dr. Earl Rose since 1973. He is a friend of mine. I would trust him with my life. He concurs: two bullets from the rear.

Another member of that 1979 subcommittee was Dr. Charles Petty. Dr. Petty is Professor of Pathology at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He heads up the Forensic Science Institute there, which was built in large part because of the Dallas embarrassment over the assassination and their recognition of the need for outstanding forensic science.

Dr. Petty has been quiet on the JFK issue for many, many years. This year he volunteered to write for JAMA on this subject. Last week's JAMA has his editorial, which confirms and explains the Single Bullet Theory.

I have known Chuck Petty since 1968. He is a friend of mine. I would trust him with my life.

These are the keys to trust: Jim Humes in 1963, Russell Fisher in 1968, Earl Rose in 1979 and again in JAMA in 1992, Chuck Petty in 1979 and again in JAMA in`1993, and then there is me.

To imagine or state that somehow these people say we have been duped, misled, or are somehow part of the conspiracy to deny the truth on this issue for all ages, strains the vocabulary to find strong enough words to describe such absurdity. Such charges are somewhere among the descriptors: wild and crazy, off the wall, out in left field in Cubs Park, incredible, insulting, or worse."

Well, this was not exactly scientific, was it? In 1999, for reasons apparently unrelated to his controversial stance on the Kennedy assassination, Lundberg was fired from JAMA.

Next up was Dr. Lattimer, reciting material from his book, claiming he knew Kennedy and Kennedy had a big hump on his back, etc. Then came Dr. Michael West, reciting more stuff from Lattimer's book.

Well, what happened to Dr. West, you might ask?

The 1998 book Tainting Evidence notes that Dr. West was a forensic dentist from Mississippi who, up through 1996, appeared as a scientific expert more than 60 times in 10 states. The book notes further that other medical examiners began testifying against West when it became clear that he was seeing marks on bodies that others failed to see, and that at least 20 of his appearances were in murder cases in which a suspect's life lay in the balance. The 2008 book Forensics Under Fire fills out the story, and uses West as a case study of an expert gone awry. On multiple occasions, Dr. West testified that he saw bite marks on murder victims unseen by the pathologists at autopsy, and then matched these marks to the teeth of the police department's #1 suspect. Despite West's claims that a special blue light he'd personally developed had allowed him to reach these conclusions, the "science" of this light was never quite established. As a result other experts began to question West's conclusions, and he gradually fell out of favor. Within a year of his presentation at the 1993 Symposium, in fact, Dr. West was pressured into leaving the international Association of Identification and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He was also suspended by the American Board of Forensic Odontology. As a result, the convictions of two men against whom he'd testified were overturned, and the charges against still another were dropped. Word rapidly got out that his word was suspect. His court appearances dropped off considerably. In 2008, after the arrest of a man who'd admitted killing two toddlers in the early nineties, the lawyers for the two men previously convicted of these crimes--after West had testified that he'd found their bite marks on the victims--called for West's arrest. Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that examines questionable convictions and has won the exoneration of more than 200 inmates, declared in an ABC News report that West was "a criminal" and that he'd "deliberately fabricated evidence and conclusions which were not supported by the evidence, the data or the rules of science." Neufeld then explained "If you fabricate evidence in a capital murder case, where you know that if the person's convicted they are going to be executed — as far as I'm concerned that's the crime of attempted murder.'' He then concluded "These are not cases of sloppy forensic science. This is intentional misconduct. It's fabricated evidence to send people to death row.''

Pretty harsh words. Provocative words. Still, even though Neufeld's charges would seem a clear case of libel (should he not have been telling the truth), West refused to respond to his charges. West did, however, tell CBS' Steve Kroft that he stood by his prior testimony, and that if the DNA evidence implicated someone other than the defendants in the rapes and murders of the children they'd been convicted of killing, it meant only that someone else had raped and killed the children after the defendants had bitten them. Not willing to give an inch, West even stood by his absurd testimony that one of the defendants had bitten his victim 19 times--using only his upper teeth!

And from there things got even worse for West. In February 2009, Reasononline posted links to a 1993 video of West (http://reason.com/news/show/131527.html) rubbing a suspect's dental impressions on the cheek of a dead child, so that the man responsible for her apparently accidental death could be accused of deliberation, and receive the death penalty. Dr. Michael Bowers, a dentist and medical examiner for Ventura County, California, broke ranks with his colleague and told the writers of the article that marks appeared on the young girl's cheek after West rubbed the impressions because "Dr. West created them. It was intentional. He's creating artificial abrasions in that video, and he's tampering with the evidence. It's criminal, regardless of what excuse he may come up with about his methods...You never jam a plaster cast into a possible bite mark like that. It distorts the evidence. You take a photograph, or if there are indentations, you take an impression. But you don't jam plaster teeth into them."

Dr. David Averill, a former President of The American Board of Forensic Odontology, concurred with this appraisal. He told the Reasononline "The video is troubling. I don't know how you can explain where those marks come from. And there's just no justification for him to push the cast into the skin like that...That isn't an acceptable way to perform a bite mark analysis."

But that wasn't the end of it. The writer of the article, Radley Balko, reported that Forensic Odontologist Richard Souviron, who'd served as an expert for the defendant, Jimmie Duncan, was never shown the video prior to Duncan's trial and conviction, and had signed a new affidavit claiming the video showed "'Dr. West, violently and repeatedly, forcing a mold of Jimmie Duncan's teeth into Ms. Oliveaux's right cheek. In doing so, Dr. West creates a mark that was not previously present. Dr. West's behavior and methods are absolutely not supported by any scientific standards or protocol.' Souviron added in the affidavit that hospital photographs show that 'none of the marks were present when Ms. Oliveaux was at the hospital,' and that the abrasions that Reisner testified about for the prosecution 'were created by the flagrant misconduct of Dr. Michael West.'"

Is it any wonder then that single-assassin theorists have stopped citing West as an authority?

But Dr. West was neither the last to speak at the symposium nor the one to make the strangest claims. Shortly after West's presentation, Dr. Robert Artwohl, an emergency room doctor, took the stage and discussed his recent trip to the National Archives. He then flipped through the Kennedy autopsy photos available to the public and discussed his impressions of these photos after inspecting the originals. His impressions were eye-opening. Significantly, and amazingly, Dr. Artwohl insisted that the scalp in the mystery photo had been reflected over the left forehead. This was a unique interpretation. He also claimed that what appears to be neck lines in the photo was in fact a yellow block holding up Kennedy's head. Another unique interpretation.

This is almost laughable. There was not on that night, nor on any other night since Kennedy's death, a consensus among America's doctors on the locations of the President's wounds...even among those arguing that one sniper, firing from behind, killed Kennedy. There simply is no "established truth" or "established wisdom" to which one can defer. The doctors blindly "trusted" by Lundberg couldn't agree about the location of the head wound. The doctors on the stage with Lundberg disagreed with those he'd "trusted" on the location of the back wound.

This is not as it should be. While the case may never be solved, it's not nearly as solved as it could be, and ought to be. Certainly, with enough discussion, America's doctors can reach some sort of consensus on what can be observed in the President's autopsy photos and x-rays.

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Bump. I just thought people would be interested to know that one of the leading LN "experts" of the early 90's has been exposed as a total fraud, without any respect for science or decency.

Pat,

Was the Chicago conference you are talking about sponsored by Jerry Rose/Third/Fourth Decade?

Also, I would think the best resolution for all of the medical Parkland/Bathesda autopsy evidence is to just dig up the body and do it right with a proper Forensic Autopsy - with all of the new MRI, etc. advances in technology.

Why argue about stuff that has lost its ability to be entered into evidence, when a new, proper, independent autopsy would answer all the questions and end all the arguments?

And don't tell me that it will never happen because of the Kennedy family, as the family of the victim has no say as to procedures in the investigation of a homicide.

Thanks for all you do,

as I recognize the medical evidence is significant,

Bill Kelly

Edited by William Kelly
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Bump. I just thought people would be interested to know that one of the leading LN "experts" of the early 90's has been exposed as a total fraud, without any respect for science or decency.

Pat,

Was the Chicago conference you are talking about sponsored by Jerry Rose/Third/Fourth Decade?

Also, I would think the best resolution for all of the medical Parkland/Bathesda autopsy evidence is to just dig up the body and do it right with a proper Forensic Autopsy - with all of the new MRI, etc. advances in technology.

Why argue about stuff that has lost its ability to be entered into evidence, when a new, proper, independent autopsy would answer all the questions and end all the arguments?

And don't tell me that it will never happen because of the Kennedy family, as the family of the victim has no say as to procedures in the investigation of a homicide.

Thanks for all you do,

as I recognize the medical evidence is significant,

Bill Kelly

Yes, I think it was put on by Rose. He is one of the listed participants.

Midwest Symposium on Assassination Politics

April 1-4, 1993, Chicago, Illinois

The participants

Gary Aguilar, M.D. George D. Lundberg, M.D. Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D.

Daniel Alcorn, J.D. David Mantik, M.D. Ph.D. Wayne S. Smith, Ph.D.

Robert R. Artwohl, M.D. Philip H. Melanson, Ph.D. Dee D. Smith-Simmons

James A. DiEugenio Marc Micozzi, M.D. Ph.D. Eugene Sturges, J.D.

Roger Feinman, J.D. Wallace Milam Anthony Summers

Gaeton J. Fonzi Robert Morrow Robert Tannenbaum, J.D.

Jack Gordon, Ed.D. John M. Newman, Ph.D. Josiah Thompson, Ph.D.

Judge Burt W. Griffin Carl Oglesby William Turner

Paul L. Hoch Ph.D. Michael Parenti, Ph.D. Cyril H. Wecht, M.D. J.D.

John Judge Jerry Policoff Michael H. West, D.D.S.

Robert Blair Kaiser Jerry Rose, Ph.D. Leslie Wizelman J.D.

John Latimer, M.D. Sc.D. Jane Rusconi Mark Zaid, J.D.

James H. Lesar, J.D. Dick Russell

David S. Lifton Gus Russo

Edwin J. Lopez J.D. David E. Scheim, Ph.D.

West was pretty much the ringleader for the LN side in the debate on the medical evidence...

and he has since been proven a fraud, who would not hesitate to lie under oath...

Edited by Pat Speer
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