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The Trach Incision -


Tony Frank
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Question for David Lifton

Hi David,

Could I get your opinion on the theory that a high speed rifle bullet "glanced" off the lower rear of JFK's skull and its trajectory was deflected downward at least 45 degrees from its initial trajectory angle?

Certainly this could happen if the skull had the strength of  steel, but according to forensic data a high speed bullet would lose 400 fps in velocity when perforating the occipital area of the skull. I have been unable to find any data stating the force required to accomplish this, but this 400 fps velocity reduction indicates that a "glancing" impact could not alter the initial velocity vector by the necessary 45 degrees. Approximately half of the velocity along the initial velocity vector (approx 1000 fps) would have to be eliminated. Given a 400 fps reduction for a perforation a "glancing" impact could not produce a 1,000 fps reduction. All of this is of course a *highly* simplified explanation.

Thanks for any thoughts!

Tom

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23 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

According to Sam Kinney he found what he described as 'the back of his head' in the limo during the C-130 flight back to DC. It was on the back seat as described by Clint Hill. Kinney say he turned this bone over to his 'very good friend' Adm. Burkley. Kinney has no idea what happened to the bone after that.

The bones brought to the autopsy were too small to have been this occipital bone as described by Hill and Kinney.

You're incorrect. The largest of the three bone fragments x-rayed on the night of the shooting (the Kinney fragment) was much larger than the Harper fragment, and was probably too big to have been part of the occipital blow-out presumed by so many researchers. Its size relative to the Harper fragment is presented in an HSCA exhibit, here:

fig_h4_lrg.jpg

Edited by Pat Speer
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3 minutes ago, Pat Speer said:

I suspect the bullet heading down the neck was not a high-velocity bullet. The angle to the throat was not 70 degrees, but 45 degrees.

The 45 degree angle would produce a trajectory to the throat wound, not to the tracheal wound. Also, the tracheal wound to the throat wound was horizontal as stated by Perry et al. Your 45 degree trajectory does not allow for this, nor does it explain what caused the bullet trajectory to become horizontal PRIOR to the tracheal wound site.

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Just now, Pat Speer said:

You're incorrect. The largest of the three bone fragments x-rayed on the night of the shooting (the Kinney fragment)

What evidence is there that the largest bone fragment x-rayed was the Kinney fragment?

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17 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

The 45 degree angle would produce a trajectory to the throat wound, not to the tracheal wound. Also, the tracheal wound to the throat wound was horizontal as stated by Perry et al. Your 45 degree trajectory does not allow for this, nor does it explain what caused the bullet trajectory to become horizontal PRIOR to the tracheal wound site.

Perry and Clark initially wondered if the same bullet didn't cause both the throat wound and head wound. In other words, Perry thought the throat wound consistent with a bullet's heading up the neck. He was later asked about this by Specter. Here was his response: "Since I observed only two wounds in my cursory examination, it would have necessitated the missile striking probably a bony structure and being deviated in its course in order to account for these two wounds...It required striking the spine."

At the time, neither Specter nor Perry knew that the transverse process of the spine had in fact been damaged. They thought that Perry's testimony ruled out that a bullet had ascended (or descended) within the neck. But we now know better.

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7 hours ago, David Lifton said:

I have not visited the London Forum in quite some time, and I see --Pat Speer--that not much has changed.  This post is a good example.

"I studied the case full-time from 2004 - 2006 or so. . "  you inform us; well, that says something, or should.  Then you state:  "While much has been made of the large size of the trach incision, from studying old textbooks I came to realize that there was nothing that surprising about the size of the trach incision."

"Nothing that surprising"? 

Really! How selective we are, when the need arises.  Buried in all the erudition that you cite is what you fail to mention. So. . for those who wish to be informed, here are the basic facts. (All of this is "elementary" but I'll state it here, from memory).

1. I interviewed Dr. Malcolm Perry on October 27, 1966.  I was a student in Prof. Liebeler's UCLA Law class on the Warren Commission, and told him exactly that--that the course title was "Legal Problems in Areas of National Security."  I said I was assigned a paper, the purpose of which was to get the flavor of what "fact finding" was all about, and my topic was the length of the tracheotomy incision.  Perry was perfectly polite, and answered without hesitation.  The incision he made, he said, was "2- 3 cm."  Of course, I knew, before I made this phone call, that the Bethesda autopsy reported the incision as being 6.5 cm; and that when Commander Humes, the autopsy surgeon, testified, he said it was "7 - 8 cm." That's in his testimony.  Look it up.

2. So, upon hearing Perry respond "2-3 cm" I raised the ante a bit, and asked Perry is it might be 4 cm.  As I write this, I don't recall his exact response, but he doubted it.  Then, whatever Perry's answer was, I then raised the ante again, asking if it perhaps was 5 cm. With each increase, Perry grew more uncomfortable, and concerned, explaining that it wasn't necessary to make an incision that large etc.

3. It was obvious to me that the incision that Dr. Perry recalled making was considerably smaller than the one reported in the autopsy, and certainly much smaller, by at least 50%, than the one to which Humes testified.

The story of my Perry phone call is laid out in detail, in Chapter 11 of Best Evidence, titled: "The Tracheotomy Incision: Dallas vs. Bethesda."

4. Immediately after the call, I realized it had historical significance, and that the only record I had was my own memory and notes. I promptly went out and purchased a reel-to-reel tape recorder, resolving that henceforth, I would always tape such calls.

5. Over the following weeks, I studied the record closely, and began calling the other doctors.  One of the more important phone calls was with Dr James Carrico, the first to treat Kennedy upon his arrival at ER-1, and the physician who inserted the endotracheal tube.  So he saw the wound, before any cutting had been done, and before any tube --with its flange--had been inserted. Without hesitation, and without any prompting from me, Carrico provided a response that was identical to what Perry had said: "2 - 3 cm."

6. Sometime during the course of these interviews, I became aware of another important medico-legal indicia: the edges of the incision. The Bethesda autopsy reported that defect as having "widely gaping irregular edges."   Once I was aware of that, I added that question to my repertoire, and one doctor after another responded by saying the edges were "smooth" (and one said "Smooth,  of course").

7.  Another indicia of alteration concerns the question of whether the original bullet hole was visible, along the edges of the so-called "trach incision" at the time of autopsy.  Renowned medico-legal expert Dr. Milton Helpern said, in his  book Where Death Delights, that it ought to have been.  But Dr. Finck testified at the Shaw trial in New Orleans that it was not: "I examined this surgical wound. . and I did not see the small wound described by the Dalas surgeons along that surgial incisio., I did not see it."  And: "I don't know why it is not there." (Best Evidence, p. 278, original hardcover or Carrol & Graf edition).

All of this is discussed at length, and in detail, in Chapter 11 of Best Evidence--which was published in January 1981, was republished by three more publishers, and was in print for 17 years. (And yes, I'm planning another edition. Details not yet finalized).

But . . lo and behold. . along comes Pat Speer, in December 2016, over fifty years after I made these calls, and purports to define for us what is (supposedly) important. He informs us that he has looked up a bunch of books about tracheotomy incisions, and finds some contrary data.  But . . so what?  The issue is not what Pat Speer can dig up in some book: the issue is whether the tracheotomy incision changed between Dallas (at Parkland) and Bethesda (at the morgue). That's the important issue. And, of course, had a photograph been taken of Dr. Perry's incision (and one was not of course taken), then the difference between Dallas and Bethesda would be immediately apparent, there would be no debate; it would be a fact, and the issue would be: What happened to the body?

Of course, if Speer was around to deal with such an eventuality, he would probably come up with some excuse to explain that, as well.

Based on the head wound "before" and "after" data (See Chapter 13 of Best Evidence; the neck wound data (Chapter 11) and the words spoken at the time of autopsy (Chapter 12), by Humes (that it was "apparent" that there had been "surgery of the head area, namely, in the top of the skull"), plus the clear evidence of covert interception of the body (i.e., the body arriving at Bethesda in a shipping casket, a good 20 minutes before the Dallas coffin arrived with Mrs. Kennedy and Bobby), it seems clear that the body was covertly intercepted and altered.

Medical facts were changed. The story of how Kennedy died was changed.

Some of the details can be debated, but that basic fact cannot. Its stlll there, i the legal and historical record, that the body looked one way in Dallas; and another in Bethesda.

That's what Best Evidence was (and still is) all about.

What must be done to persuade you of this data, Pat Speer?

Must I send flowers?

DSL

Los Angeles, California

12/7/16 - 3:17 a.m. PST

 

Dave, what do you say about the windpipe incision indeed being 2-3 cm, however the neck incision being a completely different thing the doctors didn't know you were talking about?

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Just now, Pat Speer said:

Perry and Clark initially wondered if the same bullet didn't cause both the throat wound and head wound. In other words, Perry thought the throat wound consistent with a bullet's heading up the neck. He was later asked about this by Specter. Here was his response: "Since I observed only two wounds in my cursory examination, it would have necessitated the missile striking probably a bony structure and being deviated in its course in order to account for these two wounds...It required striking the spine."

At the time, neither Specter nor Perry knew that the transverse process of the spine had in fact been damaged. They thought that Perry's testimony ruled out that a bullet had ascended (or descended) within the neck. But we now know better.

Your 45 degree traj doesn't impact the spine where it could deflect to cause the horizontal traj from trachea to throat wound. The damage to the spine is minimal at most and disputed by many. Which cervical vertebra are you saying deflected the bullet as at least two locations have been stated, as well as bullet fragments present on x-rays.

State the entire traj. EOP entrance; to WHICH cervical vertebra?; to where? the trachea?

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21 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

What evidence is there that the largest bone fragment x-rayed was the Kinney fragment?

Kinney claimed he found a large bone fragment on the plane ride back from Dallas. He handed this over to his superiors. A large bone fragment was brought to the autopsy by the Secret Service after Kinney's arrival in Washington. If you want to believe they pulled a switcheroo, go ahead.

People have been arguing about this fragment almost since the beginning. The autopsy doctors said it came from the top of the head, in the parietal area, and that the beveled exit on this fragment suggested, when taken in combo with the hole they'd discovered by the EOP, that the fatal shot came from behind. The HSCA hired the top forensic anthropologist in the world to analyze the fragment, based on the x-ray, and he concluded it was frontal bone, from the top of Kennedy's head, just back of his forehead. But there was a problem with this. The HSCA pathology panel was desperate to believe the mystery photo showed the forehead, and a bullet's exit, and the exit on the large fragment failed to match up with this if it was in fact frontal bone. So they decided that their anthropology expert, Angel, was looking at the x-ray the wrong way, and that the fragment was bottom side up when the x-ray was taken. This allowed them to flip the fragment over in their reconstruction, so that it was now parietal bone, not frontal bone. The problem with this is that it failed to leave enough room in the parietal area for the Harper fragment. Oh well, never mind. Dr. Baden decided the Harper fragment was really on the side of the head (where it failed to come close to fitting).

This was first put together by John Hunt. Kudos, John.

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1 hour ago, Pat Speer said:

Kinney claimed he found a large bone fragment on the plane ride back from Dallas. He handed this over to his superiors. A large bone fragment was brought to the autopsy by the Secret Service after Kinney's arrival in Washington. If you want to believe they pulled a switcheroo, go ahead.

Kinney is clear that he turned it over to Berkely, not the SS, and whatever happened to it is unknown. Kinneys and Hills size and shape descriptions of the occipetal bone do not match the fragments depicted in the photos and x-rays.

Whatever the source of the bones brought to the autopsy, I don't believe any one of them is the piece described by Hill and found by Kinney "right where [Hill] said it was."

Can you produce a photo or x-ray of the bones brought to the autopsy? Are all of those bones available today of have some of them vanished? Kinda indicates "they" didn't want them examined...

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20 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Kinney is clear that he turned it over to Berkely, not the SS, and whatever happened to it is unknown. Kinneys and Hills size and shape descriptions of the occipetal bone do not match the fragments depicted in the photos and x-rays.

Whatever the source of the bones brought to the autopsy, I don't believe any one of them is the piece described by Hill and found by Kinney "right where [Hill] said it was."

Can you produce a photo or x-ray of the bones brought to the autopsy? Are all of those bones available today of have some of them vanished? Kinda indicates "they" didn't want them examined...

x-ray of three fragments

Note: these fragments were purportedly used in the reconstruction of Kennedy's skull, and buried with him.

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On 12/7/2016 at 11:32 AM, Pat Speer said:

I suspect the bullet heading down the neck was not a high-velocity bullet. The angle to the throat was not 70 degrees, but 45 degrees. One of the many curious circumstances I've discovered is that Humes put on the record that he thought the bullet exiting the neck had descended 45 degrees within the body. Are we to assume he was just bad at math?

Pat,

I find this interesting because the official story is that Humes wasn't even aware of the throat bullet wound until the morning after the autopsy. (Something which, BTW, I don't believe.) Do you recall whether this 45 degree angle business as reported by Humes was told to the WC or the HSCA? I'd like to know how he made the 45 degree determination given that he supposedly wasn't even aware of the bullet wound when he inspected the body.

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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On 12/7/2016 at 10:03 AM, Pat Speer said:

 

On 12/7/2016 at 2:39 AM, Sandy Larsen said:

I have added a sentence (in bold) to my hypothesis to account for Pat's comment about the x-rayed fragment (in red, above).

The occipital fragment was found on the rear seat of the limo and sent to Washington. The autopsists discovered that the fragment was from the occipital area of the skull. This didn't fit the narrative of all the shots coming from behind. So the x-ray image of the occipital fragment was destroyed and the fragment was flown back to Dallas. It was dropped on the grass ahead of where the limo was at the time of the shots so that its location would support the narrative. The fragment was shortly thereafter found by Mr. Harper. He had it examined and it was identified as likely being occipital bone. Harper gave the fragment to the FBI, which conveniently lost it.

The large fragment Pat speaks of came from the top of the head. The large fragment I speak of came from the back (occipital). And so, of course, he is correct in saying the two fragments are not the same.

I'm confused. Are you saying Ebersole x-rayed TWO large fragments on the night of the shooting? Because there's an x-ray of a large fragment (presumed to have been parietal bone or frontal bone) in the record. Are you saying this x-ray is a hoax? Or are you acknowledging there was a hole on the top of the head?

Pat,

I think it will be best to explain from the start how it is I developed the above hypothesis. It's really quite simple.

In his HSCA testimony, Dr Ebersole made the following statement:

"....a large fragment of the occipital bone was received from Dallas and at Dr. Finck's request I X rayed these."

Note that he's talking about the occipital bone... a single fragment. Yet he said he x-rayed "them," which implies he x-rayed more than one skull fragment. It is my belief that in his mind Ebersole was thinking of the multiple skull fragments he had x-rayed, and that explains his use of the word "them" instead of "it." Yet at the first part of the sentence he names only the occipital fragment. He did so because that is the fragment he had been asked about.

Dr. Ebersole also x-rayed the three other skull fragments, all of which came from the top of the head.

Now, one has to ask how it is that the doctors at Bethesda had the occipital bone the night of the autopsy when it wasn't even discovered till the following day (according to the official story). The answer, according to my hypothesis, is that the autopsists disavowed knowledge of that fragment the night of the autopsy, and it was sent back to Dallas. They (the Bethesda folks) rejected it because its presence suggested a shot from the front (grassy knoll).

In addition, at some point the x-ray of the occipital fragment -- taken by Ebersole -- was discarded. So there was no evidence remaining that the fragment  was ever in Bethesda the day of the autopsy.

The SS or FBI returned the fragment back to Dealey Plaza so that it could be "found" in a location ahead of where the limo was when the shots to the head occurred. That way the location of the fragment would support a shot from behind.

Mr. Harper subsequently found the fragment. He had it evaluated in Dallas where it was determined to be occipital bone. Photos were taken and the fragment was given to the FBI. I believe it was you who said that the FBI also took photos and x-rayed the fragment.

The FBI subsequently lost the fragment. And that concludes my hypothesis.

 

Now, you say that the HSCA tried to figure out where the Harper fragment fit in at the top of the skull. That being the case, it must have been understood that Kennedy's body was buried with a large piece of skull bone missing at the top of his head. (But not at the back of his head.) I'm not sure if the mortician's testimony agrees with that or not.

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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I am not real familiar with the medical testimony as it mostly goes over my head and I have to do additional research on the terminology sentence by sentence in order to understand it.  But, in a cursory reading of Dr. Ebersole's testimony, I get the impression he is throwing out bait trying to see if there is someone who will question his answers more deeply so that he can reveal more information without breaking his security vow.  Each time he throws out strange/contradictory information, NO ONE questions the terms he uses (even though some know they are nonsense) and most of the time, the questioner either backtracks or changes the subject.  I have no idea if my impression is correct or not.  Hopefully someone here can give me additional info.  Is this a possibility, or did he continually obfuscate and lie at each opportunity?

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Image result for skull trachea and cervical spine

If you lay a straight edge on this drawing, with one end touching the base of the skull and the other end passing between the 2nd and 3rd tracheal rings, you will find the edge passes through cervical vertebrae C3 and C4. The vicinity of C3/C4 is precisely where the Bethesda x-ray technician Jerrol Custer told the HSCA he recalled seeing "many fragments" on the x-rays of JFK's neck he recalled seeing.

Skull bone is tough. A bullet could easily strike a tangential blow along the bottom of the skull, be deflected a few degrees and go on to hit the vertebrae. A bullet struck a tangential blow on John Connally's 5th rib; following the surface of that rib for 10 cm. (4 inches) before exiting Connally's chest and making a round 3/8 inch diameter hole in the front of his suit coat.

Image result for glaser safety slug

 

Abov e is the Glaser Safety Slug,

first introduced on the market in 1974. A custom made bullet similar in construction to this may have been what hit JFK at the base of his skull. If the blue plastic ball remained intact and managed to pass through the vertebrae it would make a round exit hole in JFK's throat regardless of what angle it exited. It would also leave no metallic traces on the shirt slits below JFK's collar.

Image result for glaser safety slug

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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20 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

Pat,

I find this interesting because the official story is that Humes wasn't even aware of the throat bullet wound until the morning after the autopsy. (Something which, BTW, I don't believe.) Do you recall whether this 45 degree angle business as reported by Humes was done so in front of the WC or the HSCA? I'd like to know how he made the 45 degree determination given that he supposedly wasn't even aware of the bullet wound when he inspected the body.

During the autopsy Humes announced that the bullet seemed to be descending from the back wound at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees within the body. He later had a drawing prepared in which the bullet descended within the body and exited the throat. When asked in his testimony the angle of descent in the drawing he testified "Mathematics is not my forte. Approximately 45 degrees from the horizontal." (The actual angle of descent in the drawing is more like 15 degrees.) Curiously, however, Arlen Specter later asked Dr. Finck "Do you concur in Dr. Humes' statements and opinions regarding the point of entry C, point of exit D, and general angle on the flight of the missile?" (in the drawing). And Finck responded "I certainly do." Now, defenders of officialdom will say they were both really bad at guessing angles, and were mistaken about the angle of descent both at the autopsy and in their testimony.

But another possibility is that Humes thought the bullet descended to a location below the throat wound, and was simply lying when he created a drawing showing the bullet exiting the throat, and told Specter he thought the angle in this drawing depicted the 45 degree descent he'd told the FBI about at the autopsy.

And still another possibility is that Humes measured a 45 degree descent from the EOP entrance to the throat wound at the autopsy, and realized there was now too many wounds. And that he then made some comments to the FBI suggesting the 45 degree descent related to the back wound. And that he then tried to cover his tracks by playing dumb in his testimony.

I don't know, but I find the repeated reference of this 45 degree angle--when the angle of decent within the body from the EOP to the throat wound was 45 degrees--mighty curious.

Edited by Pat Speer
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