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Is there reason to question the autopsy report?

Well, Jeremy Gunn seemed to think so. Because he got Humes to admit that the whole thing about him burning his notes "because they were stained with the blood of our president" was bunch of BS. In two senses.

First, he did not write the report at the morgue with his bloody gloves on. I mean how could he do that anyway?

Second, he did not just burn his notes, he burned the first draft of the report. And Gunn got him to admit this three times. (Horne, IARRB ,Vol 1, p. 95)

Edited by James DiEugenio
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One of the most amazing things about Specter's incredible cover up of this whole part of the JFK case is this: He never asked any of the three doctors: Why on earth did you not dissect the back wound?

Check for yourself. He does not.

Now, we all know what happened to Finck when Garrison asked him this question at the trial of Clay Shaw. It broke open the whole charade that the autopsy was. Humes was not calling the shots, the military brass was. The Justice Department went crazy. They actually wrote in their memos, Pierre is screwing everything up. (See, in this case, when you tell the truth, that is "screwing things up".)

Well, what happened when Gunn asked Humes that question: Why did you not dissect the back wound. Listen to this pile of BS: "Well, it wouldn't make a great deal of sense to go slashing open the neck. What would he learn? Nothing you know. So I didn't."(Horne, op cit, p. 99)

Can you imagine if Humes had been on the stand at a real trial? He is saying it was not important to him to find out which direction the bullet entered the back or if it transited.

What makes that even more interesting is this: Karnei, Boswell and Finck all recalled that the malleable probe they put in the back did not penetrate through. In fact, Karnei said no exit was ever found. They finally gave up about midnight. (ibid, p. 128)

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Another point that came out during the ARRB: Stringer says he shot no basilar views of the brain.

Yet, there are such shots in the Archives today.

Who shot them if Stringer did not?

And Stringer said he saw cerebellum. (See Horne IARRB,Vol I pgs. 41, 43, quoting this transcript)

You better be careful, Jim. Milicent might be reading. And you know how she doesn't like it when we leave important stuff out.

Stringer always insisted he took the back of the head photos, and that they reflected what he saw on the night of the autopsy.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Now, as I said, the Justice Department lied about the fact that photos were missing, by getting people to sign off on a phony statement. In fact, Carl Belcher actually tried to keep his name out of the whole affair, even though he supervised it. (Belcher was the guy who went nuts when Finck told the truth at the Shaw trial.) He did this by ditching the preliminary draft of the statement, but the ARRB found it. (ibid, pgs. 146-47)

Gunn and Horne came to the conclusion that five photos were missing by the time of the HSCA.

One of the best witnesses that the ARRB ever interviewed was Karl McDonald. Who hardly anyone ever talks about. The ARRB found out about him by accident. He took their group photo. Executive Director David Marwell then found out he worked at Bethesda for eight years as a medical photographer. He then taught the subject at Bethesda. But even more to the point, he had been tutored by Stringer! He then worked with him.

When he saw the official photos, he was shocked. (ibid, p. 152) He said the following:

1.) Every photo should have an autopsy card, with identifying info and date, every one. (None of these had one.)

2.) There is always a battery of full body shots. (There is not one in this set.)

3.) For trauma shots, that is where lacerations of some type exist, you always take three shots: wide, medium, close up. (Those do not exist in this case.)

Recall, Stringer taught McDonald. So not only are there photos missing, the photos we have violate every major stricture taught by their own maker.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Another point that came out during the ARRB: Stringer says he shot no basilar views of the brain.

Yet, there are such shots in the Archives today.

Who shot them if Stringer did not?

And Stringer said he saw cerebellum. (See Horne IARRB,Vol I pgs. 41, 43, quoting this transcript)

You better be careful, Jim. Milicent may be reading. Stringer never once retreated from his assertion that he took the back of the head photos, and that they reflected what he saw on the night of the autopsy.

Pat,

Please look at my sources. These are all from transcripts before the ARRB, that one was from page 41 of IAARB Vol. 1.

And basilar does not mean back of the head.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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What is my point?

As I said, I don't really have a dog in this fight. This is not my area of expertise or interest. I only dug into it because of my book about Bugliosi. Since he wrote about it, I had to do enough study to understand him and contravene him.

I will say this though. It seems to me that, in some ways, Pat resembles the late Roger Feinman on this issue. Roger knew the medical evidence well, and he was a lawyer. He would say every once in awhile words to the effect: If I can beat the other guy with his own evidence, the case is won. Which, coming from a lawyer, makes sense. And, like Pat, he believed the evidence was genuine. HIs champion was Randy Robertson. Who is a radiologist. In my review of Horne, I staked out five different views of the medical evidence. This group feels the evidence is genuine and proves conspiracy.

But in my view, the JFK case is so extraordinary, so convoluted in its trails, so obviously obstructed as a murder case that I don't think we can treat it as simply a legal matter anymore. This is a problem I had with Bugliosi's book. It was written as a legal brief. (Albeit a long one. The Heaven's Gate of prosecutorial briefs.)

Almost everything I stated above was adduced from the work of Jeremy Gunn, the chief counsel of the ARRB. Jeremy did his homework. And if you look at his depositions, he never trapped, or led a witness. (Although I am not a lawyer, I have studied various questioning techniques since I have spent so much time reading legal documents.)

Yet,these are the results he got. So yes, you may be able to argue effectively that the evidence in and of itself proves conspiracy. But that is not the whole truth. There was fiddling with the evidence, there are missing photos, Belcher tried to cover up that fact, there are photos Stringer does not recall taking, Humes burned his notes and the first draft, the photos we have of the autopsy are, at least, incompetently posed and marked and incomplete--maybe worse. And the autopsy itself was manipulated from the military brass in the room.

Suffice it to say, there has never been an autopsy like this in the annals of medical science. And if anyone can contradict me, please show me where I am wrong in that statement.

And I forgot to add one more point. Why was the brain not sectioned, and why did Stringer not recognize those brain photos either?

Can one imagine a homicide case where the victim dies of two gunshot wounds, and neither one is dissected? I can't.

This is why when I interviewed attorney Al Lewis of the HSCA, he said he was stunned when he saw the autopsy materials. I said, Weisberg wrote that Kennedy got the autopsy of a bowery bum. Lewis replied, "Its worse than that." This is a guy who tried and defended felonies for about 30 years when I talked to him in his office. That is how bad the autopsy is in this case.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Another point that came out during the ARRB: Stringer says he shot no basilar views of the brain.

Yet, there are such shots in the Archives today.

Who shot them if Stringer did not?

And Stringer said he saw cerebellum. (See Horne IARRB,Vol I pgs. 41, 43, quoting this transcript)

You better be careful, Jim. Milicent may be reading. Stringer never once retreated from his assertion that he took the back of the head photos, and that they reflected what he saw on the night of the autopsy.

Pat,

Please look at my sources. These are all from transcripts before the ARRB, that one was from page 41 of IAARB Vol. 1.

And basilar does not mean back of the head.

When most "researchers" hear that Stringer failed to recognize the brain photos, they immediately jump to "Aha! The REAL brain photos showed a blow-out wound on the back of the head. But they were switched! And that's why Stringer failed to recognize them." But that is nonsense. Stringer DID recognize the photos of the back of the head, and acknowledged them as photos he'd taken.

You'd never know this, of course, from reading most of the articles in which Stringer's comments on the brain photos are mentioned. My point, then, is that there is a lot of misleading material in CT-land, and that Cranor's attack on me reflects her bias against my conclusions, and has little or nothing to do with my "tactics".

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That is not what I mean at all.

Stringer said he took no basilar photos of the brain. That is, from below. Yet there are basilar photos at NARA.

Further, Stringer said he did not take the other photos of the brain either. Because he did not use that kind of film, or photo process.

These are just facts adduced by the ARRB. They should have been adduced by the WC or the HSCA.

But let me conclude with my favorite anomaly of all. Gunn is showing Humes the x rays of the skull. This dialogue of 2/13/96 follows:

Gunn: Do you recall having seen an X ray previously that had fragments corresponding to a small occipital wound?

Humes: Well I reported that I did, so I must have. But I don't see it now.

As I wrote in Reclaiming Parkland, Bugliosi did not include this exchange in his book. Why?

Because in his autopsy report, Humes described a trail of fragments going from down low in the rear skull to up high in the front of the skull. Which could connect his low skull wound bullet entrance hole with its exit. Humes says he saw this trail on the x rays in 1963.

The problem is he did not see that trail for Gunn. As I wrote, "no such trail exists in the x rays we have today. And this is what Gunn was questioning Humes about. How could he have made such a grievous error?" (p. 129)

So does this impeach the autopsy report or the x rays?

This is not a CT vs LN issue. Its a fact.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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Pat Speer,

MY RESPONSE: Well, who decides who's qualified? This smells of cherry-picking. One of the main reasons I ended up siding with the authenticity of the autopsy photos was my reluctant discovery that the witnesses to the shooting itself (The Newmans, Zapruder, Hudson, etc.) overwhelmingly described the head wound as being by the temple, the ear, or right top of the head--where it s depicted in the autopsy photos and x-rays

Not the wound, Pat. The witnesses you quote, all (except Zapruder) describe the shot not the wound.

Bill Newman (Clay Shaw trial)

I caught a glimpse of his eyes, just looked like a cold stare, he just looked through me, and then when the car was directly in front of me, well, that is when the third shot was fired and it hit him in the side of the head right above the ear and his ear come off. Now, it is my opinion at the time --

(Affidavit.)

By this time he was directly in front of us and I was looking directly at him when he was hit in the side of the head.

Gayle Newman (Clay Shaw trial)

A: Yes, sir, that shot when it happened, the President's car was directly in front of us and it was about a lane's width between us, it wasn't in the lane next to the curb it was in the middle lane, and at that time he was shot in the head right at his ear or right above his ear.

(Affidavit)

Just about the time President Kennedy was right in front of us, I heard another shot ring out, and the President put his hands up to his head. I saw blood all over the side of his head.

Emmett Hudson (Warren Commission)

Mr. LIEBELER - You say that it was the second shot that hit him in the head; is that right?

Mr. HUDSON - Yes; I do believe that - I know it was.

Mr. LIEBELER - You saw him hit in the head, there wasn't any question in your mind about that, was there?

Mr. HUDSON - No, sir.

Zapruder describes the wound but not the position.

Zapruder (Clay Shaw Trial)

A: I saw the head practically open up and blood and many more things, whatever it was, brains, just came out of his head.

(Warren Commisssion)

I heard a second shot and then I saw his head opened up and the blood and everything came out and I started--I can hardly talk about it [ the witness crying].

As stated, I go through the Dealey Plaza witnesses in chapter 18c, and show how they overwhelmingly placed the wound on the right side of the head, by the temple or ear. They were not describing a small entrance wound which could be hidden by the hair that some presume existed. They were describing a big splash of blood and brain, which erupted from the location it erupts from in the Zapruder film.

Not to toot my own horn, because in this case (at least) I'm not, but it shouldn't have taken 20 years or so for someone (like me) to come along and list the statements of these witnesses, and note that they were much more consistent than the so-called Parkland witnesses. This should have been part of the discussion from the beginning.

But no, people had books to sell, and theories to push, and listing the statements of these witnesses would have created a problem. A big one, in my opinion.

corrobaratorsorcollaborators.jpg

Bill Newman.

In the photo you show he is actually pointing to his left temple- the photo you show is reversed.. He actually said on the video the second shot "hit the President on the side of the temple."

Malcolm Kilduff.

In the video of Malcolm Kilduff he said "a simple matter of a bullet right through the head." pointing to his right temple.

Zapruder on tape said he saw the " Presidents head erupt" and pointed to the side of his head.

Re Humes. I wouldn't believe what that guy said on his death bed.

Edited by Ray Mitcham
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No matter how many times Pat denies it, those of us who have been studying the evidence for decades are perfectly aware of what the Dallas medical personnel said. They described the same kind of massive blow-out to the back of the head, and this is something that is contradicted by the autopsy photos and x-rays

This is not true. Some of the doctors thought the wound was on the side or top of the head.

What Don Jeffries said is true, Pat. At Parkland, nearly every medical professional who saw the gaping wound said it was in the rear, or extended to the rear.

In your response to him, you picked the very few doctors whose recollections jibe most closely with what you believe.

But let's look more closely at the exceptions you pointed out to Don.

Salyer, for one, said [the wound] was on the side.

Dr. Sayler:

"I came in on the left side of him and noticed that his major wound seemed to be in his right temporal area, at least from the point of view that I could see him, and other than that--nothing other than he did have a gaping scalp wound-- cranial wound" (Warren Commission-V6:81)

I see that Sayler is a good first choice for you, because he places the wound squarely in the area of the right ear. But he also makes the point that he was on Kennedy's left side and didn't have a direct "point of view" to observe the wound.

Giesecke, for one, said it was on top.

Dr. Giesecke:

"...from the vertex to the left ear, and from the brow line to the occiput on the left-hand side of the head the cranium was entirely missing."

Specter, surprised that Giesecke claimed the left side asked: "That's your recollection?" Giesecke answered:

"Right, like I say, I was there a very short time--really." (WC-V:6:72-78)"

Giesecke is not a very good witness for you, Pat, because he says that the wound extends to the occiput (the very back part of the skull). But then, he isn't a good witness for ANYBODY given that he recalls the wound being on Kennedy's left side. Perhaps that can be explained by his comment that he was there for "a very short time--really."

So far, this makes two for two pro-Speer witnesses who didn't have a good view of the wound.

McClelland, of course, famously said it was a wound to the left temple.

Dr. McClelland:

"...I could very closely examine the head wound, and I noted that the right posterior portion of the skull had been extremely blasted. It had been shattered...so that the parietal bone was protruded up through the scalp and seemed to be fractured almost along its right posterior half, as well as some of the occipital bone being fractured in its lateral half, and this sprung open the bones that I mentioned in such a way that you could actually look down into the skull cavity itself and see that probably a third or so, at least, of the brain tissue, posterior cerebral tissue and some of the cerebellar tissue had been blasted out...." (WC--V6:33):

I don't know how you get "left temple" out of that, Pat. McClelland is a very poor witness for your side.

You are also wrong to say they uniformly thought it was a blow-out wound. A "blow-out" wound is an exit wound. Dr. Clark, the most qualified man in the room, said he thought the wound was a tangential wound. A tangential wound is a wound of both entrance and exit. It is a big sloppy mess. It is not a "blow-out" wound.

Actually Pat, what Dr. Clark said supports what Don said.

Dr. Clark:

"The head wound could have been either the exit wound from the neck or it could have been a tangential wound, as it was simply a large, gaping loss of tissue." ("At the White House with Wayne Hawks" news conference, 11/22/63, 3:16 PM, CST, Dallas, Texas)

As you said, a "blow out" wound is an "exit wound."

Your position on the blow-out wound seems very wrong, Pat. However....

mantikssemantics.jpg

The evidence you provide here is very compelling. You're right, the inside view of the Harper fragment does NOT have grooves and ridges like what we see in the photo of the occipital region.

I'd like to hear what Dr. Mantik has to say about this. This looks like a major problem for him and those with his view regarding the Harper fragment location.

(Since I'm convinced that the blow-out wound was on the back of the head -- the right side of the back of the head, to be more precise -- I'm betting that either 1) you've made some sort of mistake regarding the ridges on the occipital bone, or 2) the fragment placement by Mantik is wrong and should really be further to Kennedy's right. That would more closely fit the location of the wound as described by witnesses, and I don't see any big ridges there.)

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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As stated, I go through the Dealey Plaza witnesses in chapter 18c, and show how they overwhelmingly placed the wound on the right side of the head, by the temple or ear.

Pat, who do you think had a better view of the large skull wound... the Dealey Plaza witnesses or the Parkland Doctors?

Maybe an exploding bullet was used and the result was blow-back shooting out the entrance wound. If so, that could explain why Dealey Plaza witnesses saw blood shooting out the temple area.

Or maybe these witnesses got the wound location confused because, upon getting hit in the temple, Kennedy's head quickly snapped to his left in such a way that the back of his head -- with the gaping wound -- arrived almost instantaneously in the same position his temple had been. This happened so quickly that witnesses didn't realize the wound was in the rear of the head, not the side.

I just took another look again at Zapruder, and I now believe that what I just described is probably what happened.

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Stringer DID recognize the photos of the back of the head, and acknowledged them as photos he'd taken.

In 1972 Stringer told David Lifton, in a recorded interview, that the wound was on the back of the head:

Lifton: "When you lifted him out, was the main damage to the skull on the top or in the back?"

Stringer: "In the back."

Lifton: "In the back?...High in the back or lower in the back?"

Stringer: "In the occipital part, in the back there, up above the neck."

Lifton: "In other words, the main part of his head that was blasted away was in the occipital part of the skull?"

Stringer: "Yes. In the back part."

Lifton: "The back portion. Okay. In other words, there was no five-inch hole in the top of the skull?"

Stringer: "Oh, some of it was blown off--yes, I mean, toward, out of the top in the back, yes."

Lifton: "Top in the back. But the top in the front was pretty intact?"

Stringer: "Yes, sure."

Lifton: "The top front was intact?"

Stringer: "Right."

Lifton, unsatisfied with precisely what Stringer may have meant by the 'back of the head' asked if by "back of the head" Stringer meant the portion of the head that rests on the rear portion of a bathtub during bathing. Stringer replied, "Yes." (Best Evidence, p.516)

You can't get any more "back of the head" than that!

Stringer changed his testimony -- as did others -- once he realized that it didn't fit with the archived evidence. IMO.

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There are a lot of interesting issues on this thread, and I’m appreciative of the various points of view. I’d like to untangle some of the issues raised. An incomplete list would include the following:

1) To what degree did Mr. Speer mischaracterize witness testimony?

2) Does Pat Speer cherry pick witness testimony?

3) Does Pat Speer believe the skull defect was only on the top right and did not extend into the back of the head?

4) To what degree did the scalp wound and defect mirror the skull wound and defect?

5) What is the significance of the autopsy finding of fracture lines radiating from the vertex?

6) Was the 17x10 cm defect measurement pre or post addition of limo skull fragments?

7) How can the witness testimony be reconciled with the autopsy report, photos and X-rays?

8) What were the number of shots and trajectories which caused JFK’s head wounds?

I’ll take these issues one at a time, in the off chance that people want to comment.

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1) To what degree did Mr. Speer mischaracterize witness testimony?

Ms. Cranor accuses Mr. Speer of mischaracterizing Dr. Kemp Clark’s testimony. Mr. Speer noted that Dr. Clark placed the defect above the proposed EOP entrance and also noted that Dr. Clark testified that his observations were consistent with a hypothetical shot entering near the EOP and exiting the center of the skull. Ms. Cranor complains that Mr. Speer didn’t emphasize the hypothetical nature of such a shot. I don’t see that that matters. Ms. Cranor also complains that Mr. Speer’s conclusion that the wound was in the “top right” side of the head is unwarranted based on those two pieces of Dr. Clark’s testimony and I would have to agree; all we can conclude from those two pieces of testimony is that the defect was somewhere above the EOP and there was some sort of exit wound in the “center” of the head, wherever that is. I believe that Dr. Clark’s testimony and subsequent statements illustrate the difficulties associated with this type of witness testimony. Dr. Clark never makes a detailed description of the head wound, so we are left to infer what he saw by his comments. His description of brain damage to cerebellum, occipital and parietal lobes would allow you to infer damage to the back of the head. His acceptance of Specter’s leading question about the damage he saw being consistent with an in-shoot at the EOP and outshoot at the center of the head would be consistent with Mr. Speer’s hypothesis. His subsequent discussions of a tangential wound are also consistent with Mr. Speer’s hypothesis if one makes the assumption that the bullet was fired from the rear and hit the top of his head; Dr. Clark did not state that, so perhaps he viewed a tangential wound that hit the back of his head. Dr. Clark’s later statements affirming that his observations were consistent with the autopsy photographs were not made directly, but was hearsay through John Lattimer. The conclusion that I draw is that Dr. Clark’s statements can be interpreted in a variety of different ways and are inconclusive and should not be relied on too heavily to make a case either for a back of head blowout or top right of head wound. In Mr. Speer’s defense, he does not overly rely on Dr. Clark, but includes testimony and statements from many witnesses to make his point.

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2) Does Pat Speer cherry pick witness testimony?

Well, who doesn’t? When people make an argument they list the evidence that supports their case. Most of the JFK assassination books and discussion on these forums consists of people presenting an argument and giving the evidence to support it. One could go the other direction and list all the conflicting evidence and not draw a conclusion, but that’s not a satisfying endeavor. There is too much conflicting evidence throughout the case, not just among the medical evidence; this is why assassination researchers argue all the time and don’t consolidate one unified position to counter the Warren Report. It demonstrates the genius of the Warren Commission: publish 18,000 pages of conflicting evidence and it’s not, as Allen Dulles purportedly said, that people won’t read it, but that people will argue about it for 50 years. My personal opinion is that Mr. Speer has acknowledged the conflicts in the evidence and overall has tried to be intellectually honest in reconciling the evidence to form a conclusion about what really happened, but anytime anyone attempts this they will necessarily emphasize some evidence and discount other evidence and piss people off who like the evidence that has been discounted.

Edited by Ollie Curme
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