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horne rebuts costella with vigor


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Guest James H. Fetzer

Bernice provides the URL, but here is the content of Doug's rebuttal to Costella:

HORNE REBUTS COSTELLA---WITH VIGOR

April 7th, 18:05

On April 6, 2010, I became aware of a recent posting on The Education Forum, by Australian school teacher John Costella, attacking my five-volume book, “Inside the Assassination Records Review Board,” expressing his general displeasure about my writing style and the lack of an index, but specifically focusing upon his extreme unhappiness with my 200-page chapter on the likely alteration of the Zapruder film, Chapter 14, titled “The Zapruder Film Mystery.”

As I read the posting, I had a strange feeling of deja-vu; I felt that stylistically (not literally, certainly) I was reading a piece written jointly by Gary Mack and Vince Bugliosi. It resembles Gary Mack’s typical postings in that it is full of statements that attack my arguments peripherally, nit-picking over insubstantial details and creating “straw man” issues, and attempting to elevate them to issues of great import, while ignoring the most important aspects of my alteration hypothesis. In addition, it bears a remarkable resemblance to Vince Bugliosi’s writing style because it is full of pejorative invective, and attempts to destroy my character by the nastiest possible name-calling, innuendo, and over-the-top ridicule. (This tactic, of course, is always the last refuge of a scoundrel, employed by those who cannot refute your arguments---if your intellectual adversaries cannot successfully refute your reasoning or your evidence, they usually go after your character in an attempt to destroy your credibility. This tactic is a cheap lawyer’s trick employed in the courtroom every day, but does not sound like John Costella “the academic,” the man who made a very long, interesting, and provocative presentation at Jim Fetzer’s Zapruder Film Conference in Duluth in 2003. Perhaps John has been reading Bugliosi’s book, and has unconsciously picked up his attack-dog style.)

Rather than focus upon viewpoints that he and I share---namely, that the Zapruder film is not a camera-original film; has been altered by the U.S. government; and does not depict the true facts of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination---he chose to take umbrage with the fact that: “...Horne had completely ignored those findings of mine that I (and indeed, my critics) consider to be the most important...”. This was preceded by the passage: “My attention was drawn, naturally, to my own name. I was surprised by this: Horne had never contacted me, in any way, over the eight or nine years that I had been involved in Zapruder film research.”

The light bulb went on I my head when I read these two narcissistic passages. The lack of an index is undoubtedly irritating to Costella primarily because he couldn’t immediately and easily find the references to himself! And his obvious displeasure over my not “kowtowing” to him and letting him review my work and my ideas---clearly implied by his attitude---is all too apparent.

I think I can summarize what the principal problem is here, by paraphrasing a line from a famous speech by Winston S. Churchill in the autumn of 1940, during the Battle of Britain between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe:

“Never in the field of intellectual conflict, has so much professional jealousy been displayed so openly, to so few.”

I don’t usually bother to even read, much less respond to, the many “nattering nabobs of negativism” who attempt to inflate their egos by posting negative attacks on internet chat rooms---sites that are usually only read by a few hundred people on the entire planet. Most of these people are “a legend in their own mind.” Most of them cannot create anything, and routinely display their personality disorders and personal frustration by attempting to tear down the work of others. But John Costella has crossed the line here, for this rather eccentric fellow from the outback (who insinuated to the 2003 Zapruder film Conference audience in Duluth, and throughout pages 223-232 of “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax” that he suspected that the U.S. government had planted hidden microphones in Dealey Plaza disguised as “rain sensors,” and who also complained in both venues that there were small puncture holes on the left underarm of each of his shirts reminiscent of the claw marks made by small animals)---who would have us believe his professional sensibilities were offended by the lack of an index, and by my “compare and contrast” writing style, and the lack of “peer review” (as if my book were an article published in a professional journal, which it is not---has abandoned all pretense to intellectual objectivity and fair play by likening my work to “a cartful of fresh horse droppings,” and “a cesspool of garbage.” This is right up there with Vince Bugliosi’s most vicious shots against the JFK research community, in his doorstop “Reclaiming History.” John Costella has made it personal, and now he can reap the whirlwind. If his screed were to go unanswered, too many people might be tempted to believe that his criticisms had some merit. So I feel compelled to answer, just this once, and then be done with him.

Fortunately, the great mass of the American people do not have the slightest idea who John Costella is, nor will they ever. He is preaching about my book on the internet to a small audience of what I suspect is a mere few hundred people with his posting (probably not even thousands). While his articles in Jim Fetzer’s anthology “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax” are certainly familiar to some thousands of people (all of those who purchased that book), rather than mere hundreds, I suspect his “15 minutes of fame” has already reached its Zenith, and that is what truly rankles him.

I was, and remain, a very independent-minded and willful researcher, and I suppose my sin, in the eyes of Costella, is that I had the temerity to DARE to come at the subject of likely Zapruder film alteration from some new, independent angles that no one else had employed before. I do not consider myself part of some “cosmic JFK assassination research sewing circle,” and have never joined any chat rooms or discussion threads on the internet, and therefore did not feel obligated to place ANY of my ideas or research before other JFK researchers for “peer review” before I published my book. (Besides, that would have encouraged pre-emptive strikes by those who disagreed with me, and theft of my intellectual property by those who liked it.) The umbrage that Costella so obviously feels at my not contacting him to discuss my work (and his) prior to publication reminds me of a stern, forbidding tenured College professor---perhaps the Department Chair---who is chastising a Doctoral candidate whose dissertation topic he finds objectionable! The problem is, John Costella is not the pre-eminent expert on Zapruder film research, no matter how much he would like to think he is. (There is no such person, in my view.) He has a Ph.D. in electromagnetism, NOT in optics, and he has never been to film school at USC or UCLA, nor has he ever been employed by the motion picture industry. Like me, and most others studying the Zapruder film, he is self taught on this subject; the only difference between us is that he and I have focused on completely different areas of the evidence, and it does not sit well with him that my work disagrees with him on some things (i.e., the timeline available for film alteration), and does not give primacy to other aspects of his research. In short, he appears profoundly jealous---even hurt---that my approach to studying the film’s likely alteration did not first build on his work, and then lavishly praise his profound intellectual insight. I took a different approach to the subject of the Zapruder film, in the areas where it “grabbed me” intellectually, that’s all: namely, the film’s broken chain-of-custody; and the various aspects of the extant film in the Archives, and the three “first generation copies,” that do not appear as they should appear. I also focused on whether or not the technical capability existed to alter the Zapruder film in 1963, and in doing so was happy to repromulgate the great work of film editor David Healy in this area of research. Different people often approach intellectual challenges and mysteries citing different evidence, and also give varying weight to the same items of evidence; any true intellectual understands that.

Furthermore, I was writing my book for the American people, in what I considered an accessible style that the average reader would enjoy, not for a scholarly journal, so the occasionally heavy use of italics, underlining, and bold text was employed consciously by me because I am constantly comparing different, and conflicting evidence and data sets, and contrasting their differences, so I considered that stylistic choice an advantage. (I knew some would find it distracting, but in my estimation its advantages outweighed its drawbacks.) I am proud to say that my book offers something for everyone: it is replete with footnotes that cite my sources (which makes the historians happy), yet is written in an accessible style for the average reader. And in a book that I already considered 4 or 5 years overdue, I did not want to delay its publication for another six to nine months while developing an index for a book with 1880 pages of text. One of my advisors on the project, Rex Bradford of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, told me that computer-generated indexes were worthless, and that the only way to create a good index for a book is for the author (or perhaps its editor) to create one manually, making the myriad subjective choices about structure and identification with the human brain, not with silicon chips. A lot of judgment goes into creating a quality index, and the problem is compounded when the book is a five-volume work. I have a normal, full time job like most authors, and am not a full-time writer, so my only opportunities to write are on the weekends; at this pace developing an index of the same quality as the one in David Lifton’s “Best Evidence” will indeed take six to nine months. It will be done, eventually, but not for a year or two. Meanwhile, those who crave attention (and can’t wait to look up their own names), and who crave simple answers to the assassination, will continue to be frustrated for the time being. There is no “royal road to knowledge,” when it comes to my book, at the present time: you actually have to read it to find out what is in it.

So much for the silly aspects of John Costella’s hatchet-job on The Education Forum. Now, let’s move on to what he considers substantive criticisms, and then examine the mass of critical evidence in my Zapruder film chapter that he IGNORES.

Costella’s Criticisms:

First, Costella says that the audiotape of my interview of former NPIC employee Homer McMahon is “heavily edited.” This is a direct quote; it is not implied---rather, he makes this outright assertion with certainty twice in his attack piece, claiming that it was “heavily edited” either by me or by my boss, Jeremy Gunn, or the Archives, or by someone else who possessed the recording. This is specious nonsense, and a bald-faced lie. I have publicly written on more than one occasion that the only excision made from the original recording was one sentence, in which McMahon (the witness) described the delivery to him by the Secret Service courier of an assassination film from a secret lab in Rochester called “Hawkeyeworks.” (The CIA forced the ARRB staff to make this one excision to protect its codename; in the year 2017, the original, unexcised audiotape will be released in full, and the world will then learn that Costella has made an egregious error here, driven by his paranoia over the likelihood that I am a U.S. government disinformation agent. More on that paranoia later.) My research partner, Peter Janney, who made the copy of the interview to which Costella is referring while at the National Archives in 2009, has told me that the noises on the recording were caused by him adjusting the volume settings on his computer as he copied the recording at NARA. I welcome a forensic examination of Peter Janney’s MP3 recording of the July 1997 interview, or of my own personal audiotape of the interview; such an analysis will reveal that Costella is “full of it” on this issue.

Second, Costella is apparently outraged that I did not make a big deal out of the fact that McMahon said he believed President Kennedy was shot 6 to 8 times, based on his examination of the film. In my defense, I did report that statement in the Meeting Report I wrote for the ARRB, and I did report it in my book, as well. In the opinion of Jeremy Gunn and myself (after all, we were at the interview), that was the least credible thing McMahon said. I chose not to make a big deal about it in my book because I did not find it credible; and I still don’t. That was an entirely subjective opinion on McMahon’s part, and is not supported by ANY VERSION of the medical evidence. However, when McMahon spoke about matters involving film, and about what he did himself with the Zapruder film when making internegatives and prints for briefing boards, he was very, very, credible, in our judgement. I am free to make any personal judgment or assessment about any statement by any witness that I want to, and I need apologize to no one.

Third, he is outraged that Board Chair Jack Tunheim told a JFK researcher (Jones Harris, who is on fire about the “6 to 8 shots” quote) that he had never been told about the interview. Well, guess what? John Costella can’t pin that on me. That simply means that Executive Director David Marwell and/or Jeremy Gunn (the General Counsel, and my boss at the time) chose not to tell him. The Board Members only met in session 2 or 3 days a month; they were busy being briefed on old, classified records when they were in town and were charged with making crucial decisions about what records and portions of records should be declassified; and besides, we were not officially conducting a re-investigation of the assassination, and Marwell and Gunn were loathe---or at least hesitant---to inform the Board Members about anything that smacked of investigatory activity, lest they shut down that activity.

Fourth, I wish to point out that I interviewed McMahon three times, and the only interview I was allowed to record was the second one. (I wrote detailed reports on all three interviews; the second interview report was less detailed than the other two because I knew an audiotape was available for future researchers to listen to.) Throughout all three interviews, McMahon was very consistent in his observations and recollections, and independently raised all of the key issues about chain of custody during his first interview---namely, receiving an unslit double-8 mm film; having it couriered from a secret CIA lab at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, New York called “Hawkeyeworks;” and the fact that he and his assistant worked with the film “a couple of days after the assassination, but before the funeral.” [A couple of days after the assassination, but before the funeral, makes his event, NPIC Event # II, a Sunday night event.] Costella is just plain wrong when he speculates that McMahon’s event might have been on Saturday night. I know he is wrong because Dino Brugioni (the Chief Information Officer at NPIC) was absolutely positive that HIS event at NPIC, Event # I, took place on Saturday night, and he did not recall Homer McMahon’s presence, and was absolutely positive that McMahon’s assistant, Ben Hunter, was not there. Furthermore, Costella ignores the fact that the film viewed Saturday night by Brugioni was an 8 mm film (i.e., already slit in Dallas), and that the film brought to McMahon the next night was described as an unslit double 8 mm film, which was still 16 mm wide and contained opposing image strips going in opposite directions. I reduced all of this crucial information to a data table (one that even Costella should be able to understand), on page 1236 of Chapter 14. [John, apparently you need to read the Chapter a third time.]

Fifth, Costella states that the Zapruder family extorted 16 million dollars in “just compensation” for the ARRB’s legal taking of the film, in exchange for their silence about its real origins. But he doesn’t provide any evidence for this allegation of extortion. Sadly, Costella again displays his ignorance here. As I write in my Z Chapter, the Justice Department established an arbitration panel to recommend the amount of “just compensation;” the amount was arrived at independently in a split decision (2 to 1); and it was the Congress that voted to approve the award of $16,000,000.00. I don’t see any evidence of extortion here; I simply see a family that had already made enough money on the film in years past, now making a windfall profit, when they didn’t deserve to. In short, I see government incompetence. If John Costella can’t get simple facts like this straight, how can we believe ANY of his claims about the Zapruder film? (To his credit, ARRB Chair Judge Jack Tunheim made public his outrage over the amount of the award decided by the Justice Dept. arbitration panel, and over the fact that the U.S. government did not acquire the copyright to the film as part of that generous settlement.) Costella compounds his ignorance here with folly: he reports a rumor that the Zapruder heirs actually received $25,000,000.00, instead of the reported 16 million, as if it were a fact, and then speculates darkly about the meaning of his created “fact.”

Sixth, Costella demonstrates considerable ignorance of how the ARRB worked by stating twice in his attack piece that the Kodak retiree hired to do a limited authenticity study of the Zapruder film, Roland Zavada, was hired by ME (that’s right, by yours truly, Doug Horne). That is specious nonsense! I recommended that an authenticity study be done; Executive Director David Marwell approached Kodak and asked them if they would do the study; and Kodak, on its own, without any input by me or any member of the ARRB staff, rehired its own retired film chemist, Rollie Zavada, as a consultant to do the work. If John had ever studied the paper trail at the National Archives on this subject, he would know these things; but like all too many JFK researchers, he prefers to guess how things happened, and then make dark insinuations about the ARRB staff. Costella then flies off into flights of fancy by claiming: “But why did Horne introduce Zavada to the case at all? If his Chapter 14 is any guide, it was simply as a straw man for him to spar with, more than a decade later.” Huh? To use John’s own favorite expression, WTF? I did not “introduce Zavada to the case;” his former employer, Kodak, did. The ARRB did not tell Kodak whom to hire to work with the ARRB staff; Kodak made that decision independently. And Costella’s claim that I somehow selected Zavada in 1996/97 so that I could “spar with” him over the film “more than a decade later,” is right up there with his insinuation that the rain sensors in Dealey Plaza were really hidden government microphones planted so that the U.S. government could keep track of what the public was saying during its visits to the site of JFK’s death.

Seventh, Costella’s biggest objection to my hypothesis about the film’s alteration is that my timeline for alteration insists that all of the alterations to the head wounds—and perhaps to the entire film—took place on Sunday, November 24th, at Hawekeyworks. This is what rankles him the most, for that assertion of mine was the most direct challenge to his own hypothesis that the film is not just an altered home movie originally shot by Abraham Zapruder, but a total fabrication (made from combined elements of many other films shot in Dealey Plaza), that would have required many months to accomplish, at the very least. But of course he does not tell his readers what the evidence for my conclusion is! Here is what each reader of this piece needs to know (that John Costella won’t tell you), because it damages his own (necessarily) liesurely timeline for fabrication: Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter made prints on Sunday night, November 24th, for briefing boards, and the images of the head wounds on those four briefing board panels (which are in the Archives today, in flat 90A in the JFK Records Collection) are IDENTICAL to the images of the head wounds published in the Nov 29th issue of LIFE magazine, and are also IDENTICAL to what is seen vis-a-vis the head wounds in the extant film in the Archives today. Furthermore, the NPIC notes made on Sunday night, November 24th, detailing the frame numbers of the prints made by Homer McMahon and affixed to the four briefing board panels, are virtually identical with the frame numbers of the extant film---some are off by one frame number, but I consider this to probably represent an innocuous counting error made on Sunday night. In short, in proposing a timeline for the film’s alteration, I went where the evidence led me, rather than ignoring “the evidence on the ground,” as Costella has in regard to the timeline. To use one of Costella’s own earthy expressions employed at the Duluth conference, the evidence that most (or all) of the film’s alteration occurred on Sunday, November 24th, at “Hawkeyeworks” in Rochester, New York, is “as obvious as dog’s balls.”

Costella’s Omissions

Costella belittles the work I did in dismantling the errors, and indeed, the falsity, in Roland Zavada’s authenticity study of the Zapruder film. I sense jealousy here. He claims he did it all before me---this is reminiscent of Hooke's battles with Isaac Newton---yet I can assure the world that all of my analysis of the Zavada report was done by myself, and independently. Professor Jim Fetzer, who organized and chaired the 2003 Zapruder film conference in Duluth (and who invited Costella to that conference), interviewed me for two hours about my Zapruder film chapter on his streaming internet radio show, “The Real Deal,” in January of 2010. He called my chapter a “masterpiece,” and specifically cited my summary on page 1292 of the things Rollie Zavada got wrong in his 1998 report---in short, reasons to seriously doubt the authenticity of the Z film. Was Jim Fetzer wrong? [Jim taught philosophy and critical thinking for 35 years.]

Costella chooses not to discuss my major contribution to proving that the Zapruder film has been altered---namely, the chain-of-custody discrepancies represented by the two separate NPIC events on Saturday and Sunday nights, during the weekend immediately after the assassination. As stated above, these are summarized on page 1236 of Chapter 14. They are proof that (1) LIFE magazine did not have the original film commencing Saturday, as was previously believed; instead, it was in the joint custody of the Secret Service and CIA for two days (Saturday night through Monday morning); and (2) a new film, a 16 mm wide unslit double-8 film, was manufactured at the CIA’s highly classified lab at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, New York on Sunday, November 24th. David Mantik, Jim Fetzer, and Bill Kelly all consider this crucially important research which addresses, and answers, the “who, where, and when” of alteration.

Costella does not directly address, and only gives an indirect nod, to my reportage of the work of the Hollywood research group with a 35 mm dupe negative of the extant Zapruder film in the National Archives. At this juncture, about 30 Hollywood professionals in the post-production of motion pictures (editors, film restoration experts, and colorists) have stated (after viewing HD digital scans of each frame) that the blacked-out area on the back of JFK’s head in the Zapruder film (beginning with frame 313) looks extremely peculiar, and unlike anything they have ever seen exposed naturally in a camera. Six (6) of these professionals have flat-out stated that in their professional judgment, the frames of the blacked out back of the head are proof of the film’s alteration. These people DID either go to film school, or are employed in the motion picture industry (or both)---and are disinterested parties---so their opinions trump those of JFK researchers.

Paranoia

John Costella implies in several places in his attack piece that I am a government disinformation agent (apparently, simply because I have had the temerity to disagree with him on the extent of film alteration, and about how long it likely took). This is so absurd, that it is laughable. Indeed, if I may make an historical analogy, accusing me of being a government disinformation agent is tantamount to accusing the Catholic Pope of being “a secret agent of the Elders of Zion.”

Come on, John! I was informally considered the “official pain in the ass” on the Review Board staff, and was very unpopular with the leadership by the end of the Review Board’s lifespan, because I “pushed the outer edge of the envelope” so often (and so successfully) in an attempt to perform some quasi-reinvestigation of the medical evidence. Anna Nelson (and probably Jeremy Gunn) regretted hiring me by the end of the ARRB’s tenure, because I was so intellectually aggressive and independent-minded in my recommendations. I have written my book about the medical coverup of the JFK assassination in spite of the discomfort I have felt (and still feel) with going public about that coverup; it has not been done without personal and professional risk.

While I do agree that there have been (and still are) disinformation assets of the USG who are continuously spinning the media and public opinion on the subject of the Kennedy assassination, I am certainly not one of them. (Those who wish to read about "one of them" should read my book’s Epilogue; unlike you, John, they will understand exactly what I was writing about there. A witness fed me information about both himself, and about other events, which was demonstrably untrue, and which can be proven to be untrue. I stated what those untruths were, with great specificity. Furthermore, he demonstrated insider knowledge about ONI that no outsider should have known. Therefore, I concluded that he was not simply a pathological xxxx, but someone on the inside.) And in spite of my great disappointment in you, John Costella, I am not going to accuse you of being a “government disinformation agent” just because you have decided to “go after me” in a very personal way. I believe I understand what is really motivating you: it is jealousy, and anger over the fact that someone has publicly challenged part of your grand alteration hypothesis, with an alternative hypothesis. Accusing everyone who disagrees with pet theories or interpretations of the evidence of being a “government disinformation agent” is one of the reasons why mainstream historians and the media do not take the JFK research community very seriously. You do us a disservice, John, by indulging in this ad hominem paranoid fantasy. [in my book, I disagreed profoundly with Josiah Thompson and with David Wrone about Zapruder film issues, but did so without making it personal, and unlike you, I did not accuse them of being government disinformation agents, simply because we were intellectually at odds.] You wrote in your rip-job that my biography “reeks of intelligence assignments,” which is another unfounded, over-the-top allegation made by a foreigner with no real knowledge of the U.S. military or the Federal civil service in the United States. I welcome any investigation into my background by anyone; no evidence of ANY intelligence links will be found, because there are none. Period. So, “put up or shut up.” You only make yourself sound like a donkey by making such accusations of someone who happens to disagree with parts of your grand alteration hypothesis. Your true motivation is also self-evident---it is to attempt to destroy the credibility of someone whose ideas you cannot effectively counter.

And one more thing—I don’t need some paranoid Australian who is not even a U.S. citizen questioning my loyalty or my patriotism. All of my work on the JFK assassination, devoted to uncovering and exposing the medical coverup, I have done out of love of country, in the belief that the best way to protect our Constitution and our democracy is to reveal the ways in which they were subverted in the recent past. My political activism, and the sacrifices I have made for this cause (both personal and financial) were motivated by love of country. Don’t you have some home-spun scandal you can investigate, such as the ANZAC slaughter at Gallipolli in World War I, that you could better spend your time investigating? You know, something closer to home?

I Have Plenty of High-Profile Intellectual Support, of Which I Am Justifiably Proud

Professor Emeritus Jim Fetzer (who has previously called you the world’s leading expert on the Zapruder film) has just this year, in 2010, called my Zapruder film chapter---indeed, my entire book---a “masterpiece” of research, analysis, and exposition. Clearly, this temporary shift of the spotlight from you to me has made you profoundly uncomfortable.

David Lifton has consistently praised my analysis of the weaknesses in the Zavada Report, in postings about my 200-page Chapter 14 on Jim Fetzer’s discussion group.

David Healy, an experienced film editor who, according to you, gave the most important presentation on the Zapruder film’s probable alteration at the 2003 conference in Duluth, wrote me on January 4th, 2010, and said: “Thank you for producing a concise and sober piece concerning Zapruder film alteration issues and concerns.” He followed on January 7th by writing: “...we ALL owe you a debt of gratitude Doug, and the same to David Lifton...”, followed by: “...the medical-autopsy evidence will seal this deal—great job!”

David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., wrote the following to me about my 200 page Z film chapter in 2009: “This chapter is a seminal moment in [the] history of the film!” He also wrote: “Your chapter on the Z film is one of those rare events that truly matters in this case. It is a monumental advance in our understanding of the history of these bizarre events, and therefore in our understanding of twentieth century America.”

Need I say more, John? No, I think not---—except to remind anyone interested in this dust-up that they should read your articles in “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax;” should read my Chapter 14 on the Zapruder film; should then read your narcissistic attack piece on the (misnamed) Education Forum; and then make up their own minds about what to believe about the film’s alteration. There are several people in the research community who have made valuable contributions to Zapruder film research in the area of its apparent alteration: they include Roy Shaeffer, Jack White, David Lifton, Jim Fetzer, you, me, David Mantik, and the Hollywood research group, just to name a few. I don’t mind saying that I am just one of these folks, and unlike you, I don’t mind sharing the stage. In my considered opinion, there is NO pre-eminent expert on the Zapruder film’s alteration; different people have brought different things to the table here, and you should be focusing on what we can learn from each other, rather than behaving in a churlish way that gives aid and comfort to our intellectual enemies. END

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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Bernice provides the URL, but here is the content of Doug's rebuttal to Costella:

HORNE REBUTS COSTELLA---WITH VIGOR

April 7th, 18:05

On April 6, 2010, I became aware of a recent posting on The Education Forum, by Australian school teacher John Costella, attacking my five-volume book, “Inside the Assassination Records Review Board,” expressing his general displeasure about my writing style and the lack of an index, but specifically focusing upon his extreme unhappiness with my 200-page chapter on the likely alteration of the Zapruder film, Chapter 14, titled “The Zapruder Film Mystery.”

As I read the posting, I had a strange feeling of deja-vu; I felt that stylistically (not literally, certainly) I was reading a piece written jointly by Gary Mack and Vince Bugliosi. It resembles Gary Mack’s typical postings in that it is full of statements that attack my arguments peripherally, nit-picking over insubstantial details and creating “straw man” issues, and attempting to elevate them to issues of great import, while ignoring the most important aspects of my alteration hypothesis. In addition, it bears a remarkable resemblance to Vince Bugliosi’s writing style because it is full of pejorative invective, and attempts to destroy my character by the nastiest possible name-calling, innuendo, and over-the-top ridicule. (This tactic, of course, is always the last refuge of a scoundrel, employed by those who cannot refute your arguments---if your intellectual adversaries cannot successfully refute your reasoning or your evidence, they usually go after your character in an attempt to destroy your credibility. This tactic is a cheap lawyer’s trick employed in the courtroom every day, but does not sound like John Costella “the academic,” the man who made a very long, interesting, and provocative presentation at Jim Fetzer’s Zapruder Film Conference in Duluth in 2003. Perhaps John has been reading Bugliosi’s book, and has unconsciously picked up his attack-dog style.)

Rather than focus upon viewpoints that he and I share---namely, that the Zapruder film is not a camera-original film; has been altered by the U.S. government; and does not depict the true facts of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination---he chose to take umbrage with the fact that: “...Horne had completely ignored those findings of mine that I (and indeed, my critics) consider to be the most important...”. This was preceded by the passage: “My attention was drawn, naturally, to my own name. I was surprised by this: Horne had never contacted me, in any way, over the eight or nine years that I had been involved in Zapruder film research.”

The light bulb went on I my head when I read these two narcissistic passages. The lack of an index is undoubtedly irritating to Costella primarily because he couldn’t immediately and easily find the references to himself! And his obvious displeasure over my not “kowtowing” to him and letting him review my work and my ideas---clearly implied by his attitude---is all too apparent.

I think I can summarize what the principal problem is here, by paraphrasing a line from a famous speech by Winston S. Churchill in the autumn of 1940, during the Battle of Britain between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe:

“Never in the field of intellectual conflict, has so much professional jealousy been displayed so openly, to so few.”

I don’t usually bother to even read, much less respond to, the many “nattering nabobs of negativism” who attempt to inflate their egos by posting negative attacks on internet chat rooms---sites that are usually only read by a few hundred people on the entire planet. Most of these people are “a legend in their own mind.” Most of them cannot create anything, and routinely display their personality disorders and personal frustration by attempting to tear down the work of others. But John Costella has crossed the line here, for this rather eccentric fellow from the outback (who insinuated to the 2003 Zapruder film Conference audience in Duluth, and throughout pages 223-232 of “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax” that he suspected that the U.S. government had planted hidden microphones in Dealey Plaza disguised as “rain sensors,” and who also complained in both venues that there were small puncture holes on the left underarm of each of his shirts reminiscent of the claw marks made by small animals)---who would have us believe his professional sensibilities were offended by the lack of an index, and by my “compare and contrast” writing style, and the lack of “peer review” (as if my book were an article published in a professional journal, which it is not---has abandoned all pretense to intellectual objectivity and fair play by likening my work to “a cartful of fresh horse droppings,” and “a cesspool of garbage.” This is right up there with Vince Bugliosi’s most vicious shots against the JFK research community, in his doorstop “Reclaiming History.” John Costella has made it personal, and now he can reap the whirlwind. If his screed were to go unanswered, too many people might be tempted to believe that his criticisms had some merit. So I feel compelled to answer, just this once, and then be done with him.

Fortunately, the great mass of the American people do not have the slightest idea who John Costella is, nor will they ever. He is preaching about my book on the internet to a small audience of what I suspect is a mere few hundred people with his posting (probably not even thousands). While his articles in Jim Fetzer’s anthology “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax” are certainly familiar to some thousands of people (all of those who purchased that book), rather than mere hundreds, I suspect his “15 minutes of fame” has already reached its Zenith, and that is what truly rankles him.

I was, and remain, a very independent-minded and willful researcher, and I suppose my sin, in the eyes of Costella, is that I had the temerity to DARE to come at the subject of likely Zapruder film alteration from some new, independent angles that no one else had employed before. I do not consider myself part of some “cosmic JFK assassination research sewing circle,” and have never joined any chat rooms or discussion threads on the internet, and therefore did not feel obligated to place ANY of my ideas or research before other JFK researchers for “peer review” before I published my book. (Besides, that would have encouraged pre-emptive strikes by those who disagreed with me, and theft of my intellectual property by those who liked it.) The umbrage that Costella so obviously feels at my not contacting him to discuss my work (and his) prior to publication reminds me of a stern, forbidding tenured College professor---perhaps the Department Chair---who is chastising a Doctoral candidate whose dissertation topic he finds objectionable! The problem is, John Costella is not the pre-eminent expert on Zapruder film research, no matter how much he would like to think he is. (There is no such person, in my view.) He has a Ph.D. in electromagnetism, NOT in optics, and he has never been to film school at USC or UCLA, nor has he ever been employed by the motion picture industry. Like me, and most others studying the Zapruder film, he is self taught on this subject; the only difference between us is that he and I have focused on completely different areas of the evidence, and it does not sit well with him that my work disagrees with him on some things (i.e., the timeline available for film alteration), and does not give primacy to other aspects of his research. In short, he appears profoundly jealous---even hurt---that my approach to studying the film’s likely alteration did not first build on his work, and then lavishly praise his profound intellectual insight. I took a different approach to the subject of the Zapruder film, in the areas where it “grabbed me” intellectually, that’s all: namely, the film’s broken chain-of-custody; and the various aspects of the extant film in the Archives, and the three “first generation copies,” that do not appear as they should appear. I also focused on whether or not the technical capability existed to alter the Zapruder film in 1963, and in doing so was happy to repromulgate the great work of film editor David Healy in this area of research. Different people often approach intellectual challenges and mysteries citing different evidence, and also give varying weight to the same items of evidence; any true intellectual understands that.

Furthermore, I was writing my book for the American people, in what I considered an accessible style that the average reader would enjoy, not for a scholarly journal, so the occasionally heavy use of italics, underlining, and bold text was employed consciously by me because I am constantly comparing different, and conflicting evidence and data sets, and contrasting their differences, so I considered that stylistic choice an advantage. (I knew some would find it distracting, but in my estimation its advantages outweighed its drawbacks.) I am proud to say that my book offers something for everyone: it is replete with footnotes that cite my sources (which makes the historians happy), yet is written in an accessible style for the average reader. And in a book that I already considered 4 or 5 years overdue, I did not want to delay its publication for another six to nine months while developing an index for a book with 1880 pages of text. One of my advisors on the project, Rex Bradford of the Mary Ferrell Foundation, told me that computer-generated indexes were worthless, and that the only way to create a good index for a book is for the author (or perhaps its editor) to create one manually, making the myriad subjective choices about structure and identification with the human brain, not with silicon chips. A lot of judgment goes into creating a quality index, and the problem is compounded when the book is a five-volume work. I have a normal, full time job like most authors, and am not a full-time writer, so my only opportunities to write are on the weekends; at this pace developing an index of the same quality as the one in David Lifton’s “Best Evidence” will indeed take six to nine months. It will be done, eventually, but not for a year or two. Meanwhile, those who crave attention (and can’t wait to look up their own names), and who crave simple answers to the assassination, will continue to be frustrated for the time being. There is no “royal road to knowledge,” when it comes to my book, at the present time: you actually have to read it to find out what is in it.

So much for the silly aspects of John Costella’s hatchet-job on The Education Forum. Now, let’s move on to what he considers substantive criticisms, and then examine the mass of critical evidence in my Zapruder film chapter that he IGNORES.

Costella’s Criticisms:

First, Costella says that the audiotape of my interview of former NPIC employee Homer McMahon is “heavily edited.” This is a direct quote; it is not implied---rather, he makes this outright assertion with certainty twice in his attack piece, claiming that it was “heavily edited” either by me or by my boss, Jeremy Gunn, or the Archives, or by someone else who possessed the recording. This is specious nonsense, and a bald-faced lie. I have publicly written on more than one occasion that the only excision made from the original recording was one sentence, in which McMahon (the witness) described the delivery to him by the Secret Service courier of an assassination film from a secret lab in Rochester called “Hawkeyeworks.” (The CIA forced the ARRB staff to make this one excision to protect its codename; in the year 2017, the original, unexcised audiotape will be released in full, and the world will then learn that Costella has made an egregious error here, driven by his paranoia over the likelihood that I am a U.S. government disinformation agent. More on that paranoia later.) My research partner, Peter Janney, who made the copy of the interview to which Costella is referring while at the National Archives in 2009, has told me that the noises on the recording were caused by him adjusting the volume settings on his computer as he copied the recording at NARA. I welcome a forensic examination of Peter Janney’s MP3 recording of the July 1997 interview, or of my own personal audiotape of the interview; such an analysis will reveal that Costella is “full of it” on this issue.

Second, Costella is apparently outraged that I did not make a big deal out of the fact that McMahon said he believed President Kennedy was shot 6 to 8 times, based on his examination of the film. In my defense, I did report that statement in the Meeting Report I wrote for the ARRB, and I did report it in my book, as well. In the opinion of Jeremy Gunn and myself (after all, we were at the interview), that was the least credible thing McMahon said. I chose not to make a big deal about it in my book because I did not find it credible; and I still don’t. That was an entirely subjective opinion on McMahon’s part, and is not supported by ANY VERSION of the medical evidence. However, when McMahon spoke about matters involving film, and about what he did himself with the Zapruder film when making internegatives and prints for briefing boards, he was very, very, credible, in our judgement. I am free to make any personal judgment or assessment about any statement by any witness that I want to, and I need apologize to no one.

Third, he is outraged that Board Chair Jack Tunheim told a JFK researcher (Jones Harris, who is on fire about the “6 to 8 shots” quote) that he had never been told about the interview. Well, guess what? John Costella can’t pin that on me. That simply means that Executive Director David Marwell and/or Jeremy Gunn (the General Counsel, and my boss at the time) chose not to tell him. The Board Members only met in session 2 or 3 days a month; they were busy being briefed on old, classified records when they were in town and were charged with making crucial decisions about what records and portions of records should be declassified; and besides, we were not officially conducting a re-investigation of the assassination, and Marwell and Gunn were loathe---or at least hesitant---to inform the Board Members about anything that smacked of investigatory activity, lest they shut down that activity.

Fourth, I wish to point out that I interviewed McMahon three times, and the only interview I was allowed to record was the second one. (I wrote detailed reports on all three interviews; the second interview report was less detailed than the other two because I knew an audiotape was available for future researchers to listen to.) Throughout all three interviews, McMahon was very consistent in his observations and recollections, and independently raised all of the key issues about chain of custody during his first interview---namely, receiving an unslit double-8 mm film; having it couriered from a secret CIA lab at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, New York called “Hawkeyeworks;” and the fact that he and his assistant worked with the film “a couple of days after the assassination, but before the funeral.” [A couple of days after the assassination, but before the funeral, makes his event, NPIC Event # II, a Sunday night event.] Costella is just plain wrong when he speculates that McMahon’s event might have been on Saturday night. I know he is wrong because Dino Brugioni (the Chief Information Officer at NPIC) was absolutely positive that HIS event at NPIC, Event # I, took place on Saturday night, and he did not recall Homer McMahon’s presence, and was absolutely positive that McMahon’s assistant, Ben Hunter, was not there. Furthermore, Costella ignores the fact that the film viewed Saturday night by Brugioni was an 8 mm film (i.e., already slit in Dallas), and that the film brought to McMahon the next night was described as an unslit double 8 mm film, which was still 16 mm wide and contained opposing image strips going in opposite directions. I reduced all of this crucial information to a data table (one that even Costella should be able to understand), on page 1236 of Chapter 14. [John, apparently you need to read the Chapter a third time.]

Fifth, Costella states that the Zapruder family extorted 16 million dollars in “just compensation” for the ARRB’s legal taking of the film, in exchange for their silence about its real origins. But he doesn’t provide any evidence for this allegation of extortion. Sadly, Costella again displays his ignorance here. As I write in my Z Chapter, the Justice Department established an arbitration panel to recommend the amount of “just compensation;” the amount was arrived at independently in a split decision (2 to 1); and it was the Congress that voted to approve the award of $16,000,000.00. I don’t see any evidence of extortion here; I simply see a family that had already made enough money on the film in years past, now making a windfall profit, when they didn’t deserve to. In short, I see government incompetence. If John Costella can’t get simple facts like this straight, how can we believe ANY of his claims about the Zapruder film? (To his credit, ARRB Chair Judge Jack Tunheim made public his outrage over the amount of the award decided by the Justice Dept. arbitration panel, and over the fact that the U.S. government did not acquire the copyright to the film as part of that generous settlement.) Costella compounds his ignorance here with folly: he reports a rumor that the Zapruder heirs actually received $25,000,000.00, instead of the reported 16 million, as if it were a fact, and then speculates darkly about the meaning of his created “fact.”

Sixth, Costella demonstrates considerable ignorance of how the ARRB worked by stating twice in his attack piece that the Kodak retiree hired to do a limited authenticity study of the Zapruder film, Roland Zavada, was hired by ME (that’s right, by yours truly, Doug Horne). That is specious nonsense! I recommended that an authenticity study be done; Executive Director David Marwell approached Kodak and asked them if they would do the study; and Kodak, on its own, without any input by me or any member of the ARRB staff, rehired its own retired film chemist, Rollie Zavada, as a consultant to do the work. If John had ever studied the paper trail at the National Archives on this subject, he would know these things; but like all too many JFK researchers, he prefers to guess how things happened, and then make dark insinuations about the ARRB staff. Costella then flies off into flights of fancy by claiming: “But why did Horne introduce Zavada to the case at all? If his Chapter 14 is any guide, it was simply as a straw man for him to spar with, more than a decade later.” Huh? To use John’s own favorite expression, WTF? I did not “introduce Zavada to the case;” his former employer, Kodak, did. The ARRB did not tell Kodak whom to hire to work with the ARRB staff; Kodak made that decision independently. And Costella’s claim that I somehow selected Zavada in 1996/97 so that I could “spar with” him over the film “more than a decade later,” is right up there with his insinuation that the rain sensors in Dealey Plaza were really hidden government microphones planted so that the U.S. government could keep track of what the public was saying during its visits to the site of JFK’s death.

Seventh, Costella’s biggest objection to my hypothesis about the film’s alteration is that my timeline for alteration insists that all of the alterations to the head wounds—and perhaps to the entire film—took place on Sunday, November 24th, at Hawekeyworks. This is what rankles him the most, for that assertion of mine was the most direct challenge to his own hypothesis that the film is not just an altered home movie originally shot by Abraham Zapruder, but a total fabrication (made from combined elements of many other films shot in Dealey Plaza), that would have required many months to accomplish, at the very least. But of course he does not tell his readers what the evidence for my conclusion is! Here is what each reader of this piece needs to know (that John Costella won’t tell you), because it damages his own (necessarily) liesurely timeline for fabrication: Homer McMahon and Ben Hunter made prints on Sunday night, November 24th, for briefing boards, and the images of the head wounds on those four briefing board panels (which are in the Archives today, in flat 90A in the JFK Records Collection) are IDENTICAL to the images of the head wounds published in the Nov 29th issue of LIFE magazine, and are also IDENTICAL to what is seen vis-a-vis the head wounds in the extant film in the Archives today. Furthermore, the NPIC notes made on Sunday night, November 24th, detailing the frame numbers of the prints made by Homer McMahon and affixed to the four briefing board panels, are virtually identical with the frame numbers of the extant film---some are off by one frame number, but I consider this to probably represent an innocuous counting error made on Sunday night. In short, in proposing a timeline for the film’s alteration, I went where the evidence led me, rather than ignoring “the evidence on the ground,” as Costella has in regard to the timeline. To use one of Costella’s own earthy expressions employed at the Duluth conference, the evidence that most (or all) of the film’s alteration occurred on Sunday, November 24th, at “Hawkeyeworks” in Rochester, New York, is “as obvious as dog’s balls.”

Costella’s Omissions

Costella belittles the work I did in dismantling the errors, and indeed, the falsity, in Roland Zavada’s authenticity study of the Zapruder film. I sense jealousy here. He claims he did it all before me---this is reminiscent of Hooke's battles with Isaac Newton---yet I can assure the world that all of my analysis of the Zavada report was done by myself, and independently. Professor Jim Fetzer, who organized and chaired the 2003 Zapruder film conference in Duluth (and who invited Costella to that conference), interviewed me for two hours about my Zapruder film chapter on his streaming internet radio show, “The Real Deal,” in January of 2010. He called my chapter a “masterpiece,” and specifically cited my summary on page 1292 of the things Rollie Zavada got wrong in his 1998 report---in short, reasons to seriously doubt the authenticity of the Z film. Was Jim Fetzer wrong? [Jim taught philosophy and critical thinking for 35 years.]

Costella chooses not to discuss my major contribution to proving that the Zapruder film has been altered---namely, the chain-of-custody discrepancies represented by the two separate NPIC events on Saturday and Sunday nights, during the weekend immediately after the assassination. As stated above, these are summarized on page 1236 of Chapter 14. They are proof that (1) LIFE magazine did not have the original film commencing Saturday, as was previously believed; instead, it was in the joint custody of the Secret Service and CIA for two days (Saturday night through Monday morning); and (2) a new film, a 16 mm wide unslit double-8 film, was manufactured at the CIA’s highly classified lab at Kodak headquarters in Rochester, New York on Sunday, November 24th. David Mantik, Jim Fetzer, and Bill Kelly all consider this crucially important research which addresses, and answers, the “who, where, and when” of alteration.

Costella does not directly address, and only gives an indirect nod, to my reportage of the work of the Hollywood research group with a 35 mm dupe negative of the extant Zapruder film in the National Archives. At this juncture, about 30 Hollywood professionals in the post-production of motion pictures (editors, film restoration experts, and colorists) have stated (after viewing HD digital scans of each frame) that the blacked-out area on the back of JFK’s head in the Zapruder film (beginning with frame 313) looks extremely peculiar, and unlike anything they have ever seen exposed naturally in a camera. Six (6) of these professionals have flat-out stated that in their professional judgment, the frames of the blacked out back of the head are proof of the film’s alteration. These people DID either go to film school, or are employed in the motion picture industry (or both)---and are disinterested parties---so their opinions trump those of JFK researchers.

Paranoia

John Costella implies in several places in his attack piece that I am a government disinformation agent (apparently, simply because I have had the temerity to disagree with him on the extent of film alteration, and about how long it likely took). This is so absurd, that it is laughable. Indeed, if I may make an historical analogy, accusing me of being a government disinformation agent is tantamount to accusing the Catholic Pope of being “a secret agent of the Elders of Zion.”

Come on, John! I was informally considered the “official pain in the ass” on the Review Board staff, and was very unpopular with the leadership by the end of the Review Board’s lifespan, because I “pushed the outer edge of the envelope” so often (and so successfully) in an attempt to perform some quasi-reinvestigation of the medical evidence. Anna Nelson (and probably Jeremy Gunn) regretted hiring me by the end of the ARRB’s tenure, because I was so intellectually aggressive and independent-minded in my recommendations. I have written my book about the medical coverup of the JFK assassination in spite of the discomfort I have felt (and still feel) with going public about that coverup; it has not been done without personal and professional risk.

While I do agree that there have been (and still are) disinformation assets of the USG who are continuously spinning the media and public opinion on the subject of the Kennedy assassination, I am certainly not one of them. (Those who wish to read about "one of them" should read my book’s Epilogue; unlike you, John, they will understand exactly what I was writing about there. A witness fed me information about both himself, and about other events, which was demonstrably untrue, and which can be proven to be untrue. I stated what those untruths were, with great specificity. Furthermore, he demonstrated insider knowledge about ONI that no outsider should have known. Therefore, I concluded that he was not simply a pathological xxxx, but someone on the inside.) And in spite of my great disappointment in you, John Costella, I am not going to accuse you of being a “government disinformation agent” just because you have decided to “go after me” in a very personal way. I believe I understand what is really motivating you: it is jealousy, and anger over the fact that someone has publicly challenged part of your grand alteration hypothesis, with an alternative hypothesis. Accusing everyone who disagrees with pet theories or interpretations of the evidence of being a “government disinformation agent” is one of the reasons why mainstream historians and the media do not take the JFK research community very seriously. You do us a disservice, John, by indulging in this ad hominem paranoid fantasy. [in my book, I disagreed profoundly with Josiah Thompson and with David Wrone about Zapruder film issues, but did so without making it personal, and unlike you, I did not accuse them of being government disinformation agents, simply because we were intellectually at odds.] You wrote in your rip-job that my biography “reeks of intelligence assignments,” which is another unfounded, over-the-top allegation made by a foreigner with no real knowledge of the U.S. military or the Federal civil service in the United States. I welcome any investigation into my background by anyone; no evidence of ANY intelligence links will be found, because there are none. Period. So, “put up or shut up.” You only make yourself sound like a donkey by making such accusations of someone who happens to disagree with parts of your grand alteration hypothesis. Your true motivation is also self-evident---it is to attempt to destroy the credibility of someone whose ideas you cannot effectively counter.

And one more thing—I don’t need some paranoid Australian who is not even a U.S. citizen questioning my loyalty or my patriotism. All of my work on the JFK assassination, devoted to uncovering and exposing the medical coverup, I have done out of love of country, in the belief that the best way to protect our Constitution and our democracy is to reveal the ways in which they were subverted in the recent past. My political activism, and the sacrifices I have made for this cause (both personal and financial) were motivated by love of country. Don’t you have some home-spun scandal you can investigate, such as the ANZAC slaughter at Gallipolli in World War I, that you could better spend your time investigating? You know, something closer to home?

I Have Plenty of High-Profile Intellectual Support, of Which I Am Justifiably Proud

Professor Emeritus Jim Fetzer (who has previously called you the world’s leading expert on the Zapruder film) has just this year, in 2010, called my Zapruder film chapter---indeed, my entire book---a “masterpiece” of research, analysis, and exposition. Clearly, this temporary shift of the spotlight from you to me has made you profoundly uncomfortable.

David Lifton has consistently praised my analysis of the weaknesses in the Zavada Report, in postings about my 200-page Chapter 14 on Jim Fetzer’s discussion group.

David Healy, an experienced film editor who, according to you, gave the most important presentation on the Zapruder film’s probable alteration at the 2003 conference in Duluth, wrote me on January 4th, 2010, and said: “Thank you for producing a concise and sober piece concerning Zapruder film alteration issues and concerns.” He followed on January 7th by writing: “...we ALL owe you a debt of gratitude Doug, and the same to David Lifton...”, followed by: “...the medical-autopsy evidence will seal this deal—great job!”

David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., wrote the following to me about my 200 page Z film chapter in 2009: “This chapter is a seminal moment in [the] history of the film!” He also wrote: “Your chapter on the Z film is one of those rare events that truly matters in this case. It is a monumental advance in our understanding of the history of these bizarre events, and therefore in our understanding of twentieth century America.”

Need I say more, John? No, I think not---—except to remind anyone interested in this dust-up that they should read your articles in “The Great Zapruder Film Hoax;” should read my Chapter 14 on the Zapruder film; should then read your narcissistic attack piece on the (misnamed) Education Forum; and then make up their own minds about what to believe about the film’s alteration. There are several people in the research community who have made valuable contributions to Zapruder film research in the area of its apparent alteration: they include Roy Shaeffer, Jack White, David Lifton, Jim Fetzer, you, me, David Mantik, and the Hollywood research group, just to name a few. I don’t mind saying that I am just one of these folks, and unlike you, I don’t mind sharing the stage. In my considered opinion, there is NO pre-eminent expert on the Zapruder film’s alteration; different people have brought different things to the table here, and you should be focusing on what we can learn from each other, rather than behaving in a churlish way that gives aid and comfort to our intellectual enemies. END

BRAVO Sir, BRAVO, excellent.

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Whoa, Nellie!

Both Costella and Horne are too extreme!

Both Costella and Horne have made very valuable contributions!

Neither Costella nor Horne is as bad as painted by the other!

Horne does not address and apparently does not have the expertise to recognize

the CONTENT ERRORS in the Z film proved by Costella. Horne's personal attack

on Costella is ill-conceived.

Costella is not willing to grant the importance of the important discoveries re

the Hawkeye Works by Horne. Costella's suspicion that Horne is a government

plant seems unlikely.

Come on, guys. Neither of you is as bad as the other says!

Peace! Let's move forward.

Jack

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Whoa, Nellie!

Both Costella and Horne are too extreme!

Both Costella and Horne have made very valuable contributions!

Neither Costella nor Horne is as bad as painted by the other!

Horne does not address and apparently does not have the expertise to recognize

the CONTENT ERRORS in the Z film proved by Costella. Horne's personal attack

on Costella is ill-conceived.

Costella is not willing to grant the importance of the important discoveries re

the Hawkeye Works by Horne. Costella's suspicion that Horne is a government

plant seems unlikely.

Come on, guys. Neither of you is as bad as the other says!

Peace! Let's move forward.

Jack

Right on Jack, CTR'S are at times often their own worse enemies.....they are harder on each other than whom they should direct their attention to, too often it appears, of late..imo..thanks...b :ph34r:

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Guest James H. Fetzer

Jack and Bernice are of course correct. Doug's rebuttal is too strong in several

respects. Were I offering suggestions as to how it could be improved by editing,

I would observe there are too many ad hominems that affect the first impression

and render his effect less powerful. I would strongly recommend that Doug simply

delete the (to me and no doubt to others) most objectionable paragraphs, namely:

the second (beginning with, "As I read the posting, . . .") and the seventh (with

"I don't even usually bother to read . . ."). I wouldn't try to salvage them, but

simply delete them. They raise multiple problems, including that those "rain

sensors" almost certainly constituted an array for the purpose of listening in

to conversations in Dealey Plaza. But the key consideration is that they smack

of the very kind of character assassination John commits in attacking Doug,

which nullifies the moral stance that Doug would clearly like to represent. My

only other observation is that John is no longer a "school teacher" but has had

several rather more imposing positions since then. If Doug wants to preserve

himself from vulnerability, simply note that he has a Ph.D. in electromagnetism

and is an expert on the properties of light and the physics of moving objects.

Personal attacks distract from Doug's excellent objective grounds to rebut him.

Whoa, Nellie!

Both Costella and Horne are too extreme!

Both Costella and Horne have made very valuable contributions!

Neither Costella nor Horne is as bad as painted by the other!

Horne does not address and apparently does not have the expertise to recognize

the CONTENT ERRORS in the Z film proved by Costella. Horne's personal attack

on Costella is ill-conceived.

Costella is not willing to grant the importance of the important discoveries re

the Hawkeye Works by Horne. Costella's suspicion that Horne is a government

plant seems unlikely.

Come on, guys. Neither of you is as bad as the other says!

Peace! Let's move forward.

Jack

Right on Jack, CTR'S are at times often their own worse enemies.....they are harder on each other than whom they should direct their attention to, too often it appears, of late..imo..thanks...b :ph34r:

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Dr Jim, i did not say that Doug's reply was too strong, i think they both had the time and opportunity to post exactly what they wanted to express and did ,i only hope that now they both have had their say, that they can move on, and that others will allow them to do so...b

Edited by Bernice Moore
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Guest James H. Fetzer

Actually, Jack had it exactly right: they were both too strong. A bit of restraint would be better.

Dr Jim, i did not say that Doug's reply was too strong, i think they both had the time and opportunity to post exactly what they wanted to express and did ,i only hope that now they both have had their say, that they can move on, and that others will allow them to do so...b
Edited by James H. Fetzer
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Actually, Jack had it exactly right: they were both too strong. A bit of restraint would be better.
Dr Jim, i did not say that Doug's reply was too strong, i think they both had the time and opportunity to post exactly what they wanted to express and did ,i only hope that now they both have had their say, that they can move on, and that others will allow them to do so...b

I hope this lesson is not lost on yourself, Jim. I believe I am far from alone in noting that in your passionate desire to push the truth as you see it, you are a bit quick on the draw, and a bit sloppy in your aim. When I first started studying this case, I would have bet money that you and Josiah Thompson were friends, and shared a similar attitude that scientific evidence could be used to crack open the case. Finding that you guys hate each other, and that you in particular have spent much of the last ten years accusing him of being a disinformation agent, has been a major disappointment.

If Costella, who feels his research has been ignored by Horne so that Horne can push his own pet theory, can get over it, as well he should, then Tink and yourself should get along as well, don't you think?

I'd like to give credit to Mike Hogan for setting me straight on this. In the Costella thread, while noting that I thought Costella's review read more like a rant, I also indicated that I could relate to his rant, as Horne had ignored my research as well. Mike's response led me to realize that a mature response to a book on an issue as complicated as the Kennedy assassination should be based on 1) Did the writer provide any new information or insight? and 2) Was it an honest book, i.e. did the mistakes stem from the writer's failure to see information as I think it should be seen? Or the writer's deliberately misrepresenting or twisting information?

In my original response to Horne's book, I had assumed he had known Joe O'Donnell was worthless as a witness, as he'd been subsequently exposed as a serial xxxx, who'd made easily debunked claims about his connections to the Kennedy family, and was suffering from dementia. This led me to question the honesty of a book in which O'Donnell's statements about Robert Knudsen--a man there's no evidence he even knew--are used to prop up Knudsen's story about taking a (to my mind completely mythical) second set of autopsy photos. From reading Horne's response to Costella, however, it seems likely that Horne has not kept up with the latest research, latest news, etc, but has spent much of his spare time over the last few years trying to line up the information and insight he'd acquired years ago, so that he could finally tell "his" story.

As a result I now see Horne's book as "his" story, much as I saw Lifton's book as "his" story. Honest books where many of the conclusions are, to my mind, wrong.

Which means I can still appreciate them if I feel I've learned anything from them.

And I have.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Guest James H. Fetzer

Josiah earned my enmity over many years of interaction. When we first met in 1993, I told him how much I admired him. It took years of abuse from him for me to come to the traumatic conclusion that my idol not only had feet of clay but was actively undermining serious advances in research on JFK. He set me up for attack at Lancer one year; he has posted hatchet-reviews of my books, which he has never read; and he has sabotaged interviews with reporters, where I was providing them with block-buster information but where they tossed it and trashed me.

Unless you have studied philosophy and understand the principles of reasoning, you are not going to be sensitive to the innumerable abuses of logic and language that he has perpetrated in endless encounters between us. If there is anyone I have come to despise for his abuse of his background and training, it is Josiah Thompson. I have often tried to fathom what could have moved him to abandon responsible research and adopt the techniques of defense lawyers, politicians, and used-car salesmen, but it appears to have to do with resenting his status as a "has-been".

Just take a look at his "contributions" to some recent threads, where we have crossed swords. Take the Weldon thread, for example. His willing disregard of the convergence of medical, ballistic, acoustical and even experimental evidence in support of the through-and-through hole in the windshield is simply stunning. Or take his emergence on the Judyth Baker thread, where he has neither knowledge nor interest in what Judyth has to say but has shown up purely for the purpose of harassing me. And he has done this around a thousand times on yet another group site.

No one I have ever known has fallen as far in my estimation than has Josiah Thompson, and it has been fascinating for me to discover that Vincent Salandria, long ago, arrived at similar opinions to those I now hold. I am convinced that he is gradually disavowing every significant contribution he has ever made to serious research in order for him to announce, on the eve of the 50th observance, he has come to the conclusion there was no conspiracy, after all.

Your remarks about Knudsen are interesting to me, because David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., nailed down his role in relation to the photographs in his essay on the medical evidence in MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA (2000), which I have described on more than one occasion as the most brilliant synthesis of a complex body of technical information I have ever read in my life. Anyone who wonders about Knudsen could not do better than to read David's essay.

Actually, Jack had it exactly right: they were both too strong. A bit of restraint would be better.
Dr Jim, i did not say that Doug's reply was too strong, i think they both had the time and opportunity to post exactly what they wanted to express and did ,i only hope that now they both have had their say, that they can move on, and that others will allow them to do so...b

I hope this lesson is not lost on yourself, Jim. I believe I am far from alone in noting that in your passionate desire to push the truth as you see it, you are a bit quick on the draw, and a bit sloppy in your aim. When I first started studying this case, I would have bet money that you and Josiah Thompson were friends, and shared a similar attitude that scientific evidence could be used to crack open the case. Finding that you guys hate each other, and that you in particular have spent much of the last ten years accusing him of being a disinformation agent, has been a major disappointment.

If Costella, who feels his research has been ignored by Horne so that Horne can push his own pet theory, can get over it, as well he should, then Tink and yourself should get along as well, don't you think?

I'd like to give credit to Mike Hogan for setting me straight on this. In the Costella thread, while noting that I thought Costella's review read more like a rant, I also indicated that I could relate to his rant, as Horne had ignored my research as well. Mike's response led me to realize that a mature response to a book on an issue as complicated as the Kennedy assassination should be based on 1) Did the writer provide any new information or insight? and 2) Was it an honest book, i.e. did the mistakes stem from the writer's failure to see information as I think it should be seen? Or the writer's deliberately misrepresenting or twisting information?

In my original response to Horne's book, I had assumed he had known Joe O'Donnell was worthless as a witness, as he'd been subsequently exposed as a serial xxxx, who'd made easily debunked claims about his connections to the Kennedy family, and was suffering from dementia. This led me to question the honesty of a book in which O'Donnell's statements about Robert Knudsen--a man there's no evidence he even knew--are used to prop up Knudsen's story about taking a (to my mind completely mythical) second set of autopsy photos. From reading Horne's response to Costella, however, it seems likely that Horne has not kept up with the latest research, latest news, etc, but has spent much of his spare time over the last few years trying to line up the information and insight he'd acquired years ago, so that he could finally tell "his" story.

As a result I now see Horne's book as "his" story, much as I saw Lifton's book as "his" story. Honest books where many of the conclusions are, to my mind, wrong.

Which means I can still appreciate them if I feel I've learned anything from them.

And I have.

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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Jim, the Knudsen story never made much sense. No one at the autopsy recalls him being there. He was interviewed by the HSCA.and told them his only involvement was developing photos the next morning. And yet his family said he'd told them he'd taken photos.

Now, it would seem likely he was exaggerating his role to his family, or even lying to hide his being elsewhere on the night of the autopsy, but for one thing: a photographer named Joe O'Donnell claimed he was friends with Knudsen, and that Knudsen told him back in 63 about the photos. The whole "Knudsen took a second set of photos myth" thereby rests on the credibility of this photographer, Joe O'Donnell.

Now, if you were writing an honest book that presented a case for the "Knudsen took a second set of photos" theory, wouldn't you consider it relevant that when Joe O'Donnell died, and the New York Times and other newspapers ran a list of all the famous photos he'd taken in his obituary. it caused a national scandal, as he'd actually taken NONE of the famous photos he'd claimed to have taken, and had been selling autographed and numbered prints of photos taken by other photographers for years? Particularly as some of the photos he'd lied about involved the death of Kennedy? Particularly as his family excused his behavior by claiming he'd been suffering from dementia for many years, from far back before he was interviewed by the ARRB?

There is nothing linking O'Donnell to Knudsen and Knudsen to a second set of photos outside his say so, and he was suffering from dementia. If Horne was writing an honest book, and wanted to build a case around O'Donnell's statements, shouldn't he have done some digging, in order to find out if O'Donnell even knew Knudsen in 63? I would expect as much. So, when I looked through Horne's book, and saw no mention of the problems with O'Donnell's credibility, I was horrified. I suspected Horne had pulled a Bugliosi, and deliberately left out information casting doubt on the theory he was selling.

After discussing this with Jim DiEugenio, among others, and realizing that many very informed people were nevertheless unaware of the problems with O'Donnell's credibility, I changed my mind, and decided to give Horne the benefit of the doubt.

As far as your feud with Josiah, I think we're all gonna have to learn to accept that some of the veteran CTs are not open to new ideas.

If Costella can get over Horne's ignoring and/or mocking his research, it seems to me you ought to be able to get over Thompson's ignoring and/or mocking yours.

Or at least stop implying he's a spook.

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Guest James H. Fetzer

I've done my best to answer your questions, Pat. I am not the expert on Knudsen. I recommended the chapter by Mantik, who, in my estimation, has put the big picture together. DiEugenio has such antipathy for Lifton that he doesn't appear to understand that the massive documentation by the ARRB has verified Lifton's hypotheses about surgery to the head, the multiple casket entries, and other of his discoveries, including, of course, the alteration of the Zapruder film. What am I supposed to tell you about Josiah? You are using language I did not use, but I concede that his behavior is explainable if you infer as much. For whatever reason, he has been obfuscating and obstructing serious research on JFK for at least the last fifteen years, based on my personal experience. Just look at his interventions on the Judyth thread.

Jim, the Knudsen story never made much sense. No one at the autopsy recalls him being there. He was interviewed by the HSCA.and told them his only involvement was developing photos the next morning. And yet his family said he'd told them he'd taken photos.

Now, it would seem likely he was exaggerating his role to his family, or even lying to hide his being elsewhere on the night of the autopsy, but for one thing: a photographer named Joe O'Donnell claimed he was friends with Knudsen, and that Knudsen told him back in 63 about the photos. The whole "Knudsen took a second set of photos myth" thereby rests on the credibility of this photographer, Joe O'Donnell.

Now, if you were writing an honest book that presented a case for the "Knudsen took a second set of photos" theory, wouldn't you consider it relevant that when Joe O'Donnell died, and the New York Times and other newspapers ran a list of all the famous photos he'd taken in his obituary. it caused a national scandal, as he'd actually taken NONE of the famous photos he'd claimed to have taken, and had been selling autographed and numbered prints of photos taken by other photographers for years? Particularly as some of the photos he'd lied about involved the death of Kennedy? Particularly as his family excused his behavior by claiming he'd been suffering from dementia for many years, from far back before he was interviewed by the ARRB?

There is nothing linking O'Donnell to Knudsen and Knudsen to a second set of photos outside his say so, and he was suffering from dementia. If Horne was writing an honest book, and wanted to build a case around O'Donnell's statements, shouldn't he have done some digging, in order to find out if O'Donnell even knew Knudsen in 63? I would expect as much. So, when I looked through Horne's book, and saw no mention of the problems with O'Donnell's credibility, I was horrified. I suspected Horne had pulled a Bugliosi, and deliberately left out information casting doubt on the theory he was selling.

After discussing this with Jim DiEugenio, among others, and realizing that many very informed people were nevertheless unaware of the problems with O'Donnell's credibility, I changed my mind, and decided to give Horne the benefit of the doubt.

As far as your feud with Josiah, I think we're all gonna have to learn to accept that some of the veteran CTs are not open to new ideas.

If Costella can get over Horne's ignoring and/or mocking his research, it seems to me you ought to be able to get over Thompson's ignoring and/or mocking yours.

Or at least stop implying he's a spook.

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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I've done my best to answer your questions, Pat. I am not the expert on Knudsen. I recommended the chapter by Mantik, who, in my estimation, has put the big picture together. DiEugenio has such antipathy for Lifton that he doesn't appear to understand that the massive documentation by the ARRB has verified Lifton's hypotheses about surgery to the head, the multiple casket entries, and other of his discoveries, including, of course, the alteration of the Zapruder film. What am I supposed to tell you about Josiah? You are using language I did not use, but I concede that his behavior is explainable if you infer as much. For whatever reason, he has been obfuscating and obstructing serious research on JFK for at least the last fifteen years, based on my personal experience. Just look at his interventions on the Judyth thread.

The chapter by Mantik was written before O'Donnell's dementia had become common knowledge, and is therefore out-dated. Any discussion of Knudsen that fails to mention that the only support for his taking pictures came from O'Donnell, who was subsequently proved to be a serial xxxx, is hopelessly flawed. It's like accepting Nixon's claim "I am not a crook" without noting all the reasons we know it isn't true.

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For those who want to know what Pat and Jim are talking about, here's some of the revelant parts from Horne's Chapter 12. Since the existing autopsy photos are disowned by the official autopsy photographer, Horne suggests that they were taken by Knudson, the White House social photographer who claimed to family and media that he took photos at the autopsy. I agree with Pat that Horne should have known about O'Donnell's bogus claims to have taken certain historical photos, but I also think that Horne's suggestion that Knudson took the photos nobody else has claimed could be true. - BK

Chapter 12 IARRB - Doug Horne

And so ended our ARRB adventure with the autopsy photographs and x-rays. I attempted, and failed, to get the Review Board to agree to depose some of the key Parkland treatment physicians in the presence of the autopsy photographs and x-rays, as recounted at length in Chapter Nine. The remainder of this chapter will be devoted to my personal conclusions about how, when and why the autopsy photographs that made it into the historical collection were created on the night of November 22-23, 1963 at Bethesda Naval hospital.

HOW THE EXISTING AUTOPSY PHOTOGRAPHS AND X-RAYS WERE CREATED

At the commencement of this chapter, I summarized conclusions reached earlier in this book about what the autopsy photographs and x-rays in the National Archives represent . I will now address the how, when and the why questions surrounding the creation of the different subsets of images in the

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autopsy photographic and x-ray collections. I will employ a chronological approach below in discussing the operational context in which the various images were created.

Photographs Taken Immediately After President Kennedy's Body Arrived at Bethesda

We know for a fact that Navy Chief Photographer's Mate Robert Knudsen—the man who told his family for years (and a photography magazine in 1977) that he photographed the President's autopsy, but who is not the photographer of record—met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base and accompanied the motorcade that conveyed the Dallas casket to Bethesda Naval hospital. He told his son that he entered Bethesda Naval hospital from the rear at what was clearly the morgue loading dock, and that he was 'set up' and ready to go at the very beginning of the autopsy. (See Appendix

71.) This leaves open the possibility that he might actually have arrived at 1835 hours (6:35 PM) with the black hearse that contained the shipping casket. If not, then he arrived at 6:55 PM with the other vehicles from Andrews AFB, and proceeded immediately to the morgue loading dock.

We also know from the photographs Dennis David viewed in Bill Pitzer's office at Bethesda, and from the photographs that Knudsen showed to Joe O'Donnell (the USIA photographer), that someone took photographs at Bethesda showing both a large defect in the back of the head (the blowout, or exit wound described by Clint Hill and by the trauma team at Parkland hospital), and a small puncture (a likely entry wound) high in the right forehead. I believe Robert Knudsen may be the person who took those photographs. I believe that he was instructed to make a record of the actual wounds in the condition they were in when the body arrived early that evening; clearly, none of those photographs are in the autopsy photo collection today. However, they were seen by both Dennis David (in Bill Pitzer's office), and by USIA photographer Joe O'Donnell, shortly after the funeral. The likelihood that there really was a small entry wound high in the right forehead as described by Dennis David, Joe O'Donnell, and mortician Tom Robinson (to the HSCA), is reinforced by the gesture that traveling White House press secretary Malcolm Kilduff made at Parkland hospital when he placed his right index finger to his own forehead, when quoting Dr. Burkley as saying that JFK had been killed by a bullet "right through the head." Kilduff's gesture was also consistent with the wound in the 'right temple' seen by Texas State Trooper Hurchel Jacks (see Chapter Three). For this wound to have gone unreported by the Parkland trauma team, it must have been very high in the right forehead, almost in the hairline, and obscured by the President's bangs. President Kennedy not only had very thick hair, but had relatively long hair in front.

I envisage Knudsen as (unwittingly) being a part of the coverup team that night. I believe that this exact language would not likely have been expressed to him, and that he would dutifully have photographed any images that he was directed to photograph by the Secret Service or the pathologists. None of the photographs he exposed would have been recorded on the list of totals being kept by the Secret Service. Only photographs taken by John Stringer would have been recorded on that list. I believe he took his early photographs on November 22, 1963 prior to John Stringer and Floyd Riebe taking any pictures, and while they were not present in the morgue.

Photographs Taken Immediately After Clandestine, Post-Mortem Surgery

I explained in Chapters 6 and 8 that clandestine, post-mortem surgery was performed on President

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Kennedy's skull by Humes and Boswell after an initial examination was concluded. Obviously, this surgery was performed after the initial photographs—showing the small entry wound high in the right forehead and the Dallas exit wound—were taken. This illicit, post mortem surgery, constituting obstruction of justice, accomplished two purposes: (1) it surgically removed evidence of a bullet's entry high in the right forehead, resulting in the bright red triangle where the skin was removed high above the right eye (the "incised wound" recalled by Dr. Boswell before the ARRB in 1996, and recognized by Dr. Peters as "an incision" for the NOVA documentary "Who Shot President Kennedy?" in 1988); and (2) greatly expanded the Dallas exit defect, thus creating one enormous cranial defect that now included the top and right side of the cranium, which could be misrepresented as having been caused by the exit of a bullet fired from the Book Depository. In effect, this expansion constituted a de facto craniotomy, and permitted access to the brain by Humes and Boswell. I believe significant amounts of brain tissue (surely showing a bullet track from a frontal shot), and bullet fragments from a frontal shot, were then removed from the cranium, thus suppressing evidence that President Kennedy had been shot from the front as well as from behind.

Afterwards, the head brace now seen in many of the autopsy photos was erected, and the head was positioned in the head brace, or metal stirrup, for a quick series of photographs that would later be used to falsely represent 'the condition of the body when it was received from Dallas.' A fresh towel with a blue stripe and caduceus emblem on it was placed under the head brace as 'proof' that the body had 'just arrived' and to create the false impression that no incisions had yet been made.

The fresh, unsullied towel positioned underneath the chrome stirrup in the first round of autopsy photographs not only identifies the location as Bethesda Naval hospital, but creates the strong impression that no work has been performed yet on the body of JFK, and that this was a respectful series of photographs taken prior to any manipulations. This was a psychological masterstroke.

I believe Robert Knudsen took this series of photographs—Figures 59, 60, 61, and 62 in this book.

Neither he, nor Drs. Humes and Boswell (administrators), realized that they were making an error by using the metal head brace in these photographs; none of them knew that this device was never used at autopsies at Bethesda, and that a chock, or solid rubber block, was routinely used to support the head of decedents at autopsies instead. In fact, they found it convenient to use the head brace, because placing the President's head in the metal stirrup ensured that no revealing photos of the original (real) exit defect in the back of the head would be taken. The whole intent of this exercise was to make it appear as if all of the damage to the skull was in the top of the head and the right side of the head, and that there was none in the back of the head. This series of photographs, which constitutes most of the photographs in the autopsy collection in the National Archives, was designed to fool history—to conceal the original exit defect and to misrepresent the results of post-mortem surgery to the top and right side of the skull as damage caused by the assassin's bullet. This fiendishly clever subterfuge worked for four and one half decades, but has now been exposed.

In his 1992 book High Treason 2 (pages 308-310), Harry Livingstone revealed the results of his 1991 group interview of Bethesda and Parkland medical personnel, who had been brought together for the first time to share and compare their recollections. During the 1991 interview session, at one point Floyd Riebe, Paul O'Connor, and James Jenkins all expressed the opinion that the autopsy photos that depict the floor tile, and what appears to be an item of furniture made of wood in the background (Figure 60), were not taken at the Bethesda morgue. This impression of theirs was

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strengthened by their certainty that they did not recall seeing the metal head brace evident in many autopsy photos used at the formal autopsy which was conducted after 8:00 PM. In my view the presence of the head brace in the first round of the autopsy photos does not mean the photos were not taken at Bethesda; it simply means that they were taken in a quick set-up exposed immediately after the clandestine surgery when Riebe, O'Connor, and Jenkins were not present. If these three men were correct in 1991 in their joint assessment that the floor depicted in the image was not the floor in the Bethesda morgue in 1963 (which is by no means certain), then the body may simply have been moved to a nearby room, adjacent to the morgue, for the quick photographic setup. One thing that is clear is that this first round of autopsy photos was not taken at Walter Reed hospital or at the

AFIP on the grounds of Walter Reed; the timeline as we know it today rules that out. Sergeant Boyajian's report reveals that JFK's casket arrived at Bethesda at 6:35 PM, a mere 32 minutes after Air Force One rolled to a complete stop at Andrews AFB; and neuropathologist Dr. Richard Davis told me in 1997 that JFK's body never arrived at AFIP (see Appendix 50).

During the aforementioned 1991 joint interview session of Parkland and Bethesda witnesses, Navy hospital corpsman James C. Jenkins revealed that underneath the white sheet wrapped around President Kennedy's head, JFK's cranium was wrapped in two terrycloth bath-sized towels, and that underneath these were two so-called "barber towels" which had the same dark stripe down the middle of the towel seen in the unsullied towel in the autopsy photographs. All of these towels were soaked in blood. Nurse Audrey Bell immediately stated that Parkland hospital's towels had no dark stripe down the center, and Dr. McClelland interjected that Parkland did not use terrycloth towels at all. Paul O'Connor recalled that the caduceus seen on the towels in the autopsy photos was used on towels at Bethesda. This is the surest proof that the clandestine surgery hypothesis is correct: the towels that Jenkins saw removed from JFK's head at his autopsy (after 8:00 PM) could not have been put there at Parkland, and could only have come from Bethesda Naval hospital.

Stringer and Riebe were still not present in the morgue, but Knudsen may have used their equipment, which we know was set up early that night before the President's body arrived. This would have allowed him to use the same type of film (Ektachrome E3 color positive transparencies, and portrait pan black and white film, both in duplex holders, using the view camera on a tripod). This would explain the absence of identifying tags and markers in the photographs, for Knudsen was a social photographer at the White House, and was not accustomed to the protocols used in photographing autopsies.

Immediately after this series of photos was taken, the head brace was disassembled and never used again that night. This is why no one intimately involved in the autopsy that night who has been specifically asked—neither Paul O'Connor nor James Jenkins; neither Jerrol Custer nor Ed Reed; and neither Frank O'Neill nor James Sibert—recalls seeing the head brace used that night. It was only used for one quick setup, when none of these people were in the morgue, and was then taken down and never used again during the autopsy.

Edited by William Kelly
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