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The Fix was in with the Clark Panel


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From patspeer.com, chapter 10:

A final point learned from (researcher Harold) Weisberg’s contact with (Clark Panel spokesman Russell) Fisher should come as no surprise. Fisher told Weisberg that, when completed, the Clark Panel’s report ”was transmitted by Mr. Bruce Bromley to Mr. Carl Eardley of the Justice Department.” Eardley, of course, had previously worked with the autopsy doctors, and was the Justice Department's point man on the medical evidence.

But who was Bromley? Well, in a curious twist, Bromley was a high-priced New York attorney, a former judge, brought in by the Justice Department to help the panel write their report. He attended Harvard Law School with future Warren Commissioner John McCloy, and worked with McCloy at the prestigious law firm of Cravath, Swaine, and Moore for a number of years. At the time he was brought in by Ramsey Clark to work with the Clark Panel, Bromley had already achieved legendary status as an anti-trust attorney, with a well-deserved reputation for stall tactics. On January 17, 1969, in the waning days of the Johnson Administration, and Ramsey Clark's run as attorney general, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against computer giant IBM. Well, guess who served as IBM's lead attorney for anti-trust? Bruce Bromley. And guess who was hired as IBM's chief counsel for what would become a 13-year fight against the government? Clark's predecessor, former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, who had led the initial investigation of Kennedy's death.

Oh, my. That is peculiar. Three days before President Johnson was to leave office, and the day after his justice department spat forth a previously secret report by a previously secret panel, which, in effect, confirmed the conclusions of his presidential commission and justice department regarding the suspicious murder of his predecessor, Johnson's justice department begins a lawsuit that will keep both the head of his justice department in its initial investigation of the murder of his predecessor--and the legal adviser to the secret panel who'd reviewed its findings--in clover for the rest of their lives.

Well, so what? You might ask. This could be a coincidence. Bromley was there to advise the four members of the Clark panel. There's no reason to believe he did anything more than check their grammar and spelling.

Uhh, no. A 4-16-70 letter from researcher Howard Roffman to Harold Weisberg, found in the the Weisberg Archives, suggests there may have been more to Bromley's actions than one might first suspect. Roffman had just spoken to Dr. John Nichols, and was telling Weisberg the substance of his conversation with Nichols, and what Nichols had told him about a recent conversation he'd had with Dr. Russell Fisher. Well, guess what? Nichols told Roffman that Fisher, the undisputed leader of the Clark Panel, had revealed that Bruce Bromley, who'd been present throughout the panel's discussions, was the primary writer of the panel's report. Hmmm...

Since when do highly-regarded professional pathologists and radiologists need high-falutin' New York attorneys to record their thoughts? Did Bromley put anything in the report? Did he cut anything out?

Because, if so, well, that would go a long ways toward explaining why no notes on the panel's discussions were kept, and no drafts of its report preserved.

And no, I'm not kidding. A 3-4-70 letter to Weisberg by Russell Fisher himself revealed that all interim versions of the report had been destroyed by either himself or Bromley. This proves that Bromley continued working with the panel for weeks if not months after their initial inspection of the photos and x-rays in February, 1968.

Why was Bromley forced onto the panel?

What were they trying to hide?

Edited by Pat Speer
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Its a really fascinating story about the Clark Panel.

I mean, Lincoln Gordon, part of the CIA coup against Brazil, who lied his head off about this role in that caper, should be allowed to nominate a pathologist to the Clark Panel?

For God's sakes, McCloy was in on the coup in Brazil also! Is that not a conflict of interest?

And they come up with Russ Fisher the guy who covered up the death of Paisley?

Nice touch Pat about the relationship between Bromley and Eardley. Eardely was essentially running the Justice Department cover up of the medical evidence.

Whenever you think this case cannot get any worse, it does.

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There's a lot more on the Clark Panel in the first part of this chapter:

http://www.patspeer.com/chapter13%3Asolvingthegreatheadwoundmyster

Here's an excerpt:

In late February 1968, even though it had been but a year since the autopsy doctors had signed a report saying the wounds in the autopsy photos confirmed the accuracy of the drawings they'd created for the Warren Commission, a four-man secret panel supposedly made of random experts but actually made of close colleagues (Dr. Alan Moritz had been a mentor to the panel's leader, Russell Fisher, at Harvard, and Dr. Morgan (and presumably Carnes) had worked with Dr. Fisher at Johns Hopkins University) re-reviewed the photos and x-rays on behalf of Attorney General Ramsey Clark. This was supposedly done at the urging of the autopsy doctors themselves, but there is reason to doubt this is true. (Dr. Boswell's testimony before the ARRB suggests that he was, in fact, manipulated by Clark's assistant Carl Eardley--the same Carl Eardley who'd forwarded the "talking points" to Dr. Humes in anticipation of his appearance on CBS--into making this request).

Edited by Pat Speer
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In other words, the whole review process was done at the request of Eardley.

Not Boswell.

At the time that Garrison was mounting a case in New Orleans. And controversy was swirling.

BTW, doesn't Gary Aguilar have ante from Libeler and Slawson where they themselves suggest mounting a Justice Department inquiry into the medical evidence to stop the controversy in its tracks, or something to that effect?

Edited by James DiEugenio
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In other words, the whole review process was done at the request of Eardley.

Not Boswell.

At the time that Garrison was mounting a case in New Orleans. And controversy was swirling.

BTW, doesn't Gary Aguilar have ante from Libeler and Slawson where they themselves suggest mounting a Justice Department inquiry into the medical evidence to stop the controversy in its tracks, or something got that effect?

I discuss the Liebeler and Slawson memo in a section of chapter 10 called The Boswell Incident:

The Boswell Incident

A little back-story (pun intended) is in order at this time...

By June of '66, people were talking not only about the books of Epstein and Lane, but articles critical of the Commission appearing in various magazines and newspapers. One of these, an article by Fred Cook in The Nation, revealed that the Warren Commission had not only failed to study the photographs and x-rays of President Kennedy's body in order to verify the accuracy of the Rydberg drawings depicting Kennedy's wounds, but had, even worse, prevented the doctors who'd created these drawings from studying these materials, and using them for reference.

This was powerful stuff. The impact of this information was such that Jacob Cohen, in a counter-point to Cook's article in The Nation, nevertheless agreed that "the x-rays and photos must now be made available for competent study and interpretation."

The net effect of these articles, even defenses of the Commission like Cohen's, then, was to raise doubts about the Commission's conclusions.

This, in turn, raised doubts about the legitimacy of Lyndon Johnson's presidency. As a consequence, it became politically desirable for the Johnson Administration to have the autopsy doctors do what they should have done in 1964--verify the accuracy of the drawings they'd presented the Warren Commission.

But there was a problem: the autopsy materials had been given to the Kennedy family the year before. Negotiations thereby commenced for their return.

Before this was done, however, Robert Kennedy had a talk with family friend, historian Arthur Schlesinger. According to Schlesinger's posthumously published journal, Journals 1952-2000, he spent the evening of October 30, 1966 discussing William Manchester's upcoming book on the assassination with Kennedy, and "this led on to a discussion of the autopsy photographs and then of the Warren Report. RFK wondered how long he could continue to avoid comment on the report. It is evident that he believes it was a poor job and will not endorse it, but that he is unwilling to criticize it and thereby reopen the whole tragic business."

The next day, October 31, 1966, the Kennedy family transferred control of the photographs and x-rays back to the National Archives and announced that, in but five years, in what those loyal to President Johnson undoubtedly hoped would be his second elected term as President, these photographs and x-rays would be subject to review...by independent experts, beyond Johnson's control.

Wasting no time, on November 1, 1966, the Johnson Administration arranged for autopsy pathologists Dr.s Boswell and Humes, autopsy radiologist John Ebersole, and autopsy photographer John Stringer to finally review the autopsy photographs and x-rays they'd taken on 11-22-63. They created an inventory list for these items. Under the guidance of Johnson's Justice Department, they signed this list on November 10. Suspiciously, the final version of this list included a statement that these photographs and x-rays represented all the photographs and x-rays taken at the autopsy, a statement all four men would later swear was untrue. More important for our immediate discussion, however, is that the inventory list signed by the doctors describes photo 11 as showing "a wound of entrance of missile high in shoulder" and color transparency 38 as showing a "missile wound high in right superior, posterior shoulder."

On 11-4-66, at a press conference, President Johnson was asked why the medical evidence had not been made available to the public. He responded:

"I think it has been available to the Warren Commission any time it wanted to see it. Second, I think it is available to any official body now. Third, I think that every American can understand the reasons why we wouldn't want to have the garments, and the records, and everything paraded out in every sewing circle in the country to be exploited and used without serving any good or official purpose. It is my understanding--all of this took place while I was away--that most of this has been over in the Archives stored all the -time. It has always been available to the Warren Commission and the Government, the Justice Department, the FBI. The late, beloved President's brother was Attorney General during the period the Warren Commission was studying this thing and I certainly would think he would have a very thorough interest in seeing that the truth was made evident. I believe he did have. I think that he, the FBI, and the entire Government made available everything that the Commission wanted. I think they made a very thorough study. I know of no evidence that would in any way cause any reasonable person to have a doubt about the Warren Commission. But if there is any evidence and it is brought forth, I am sure that the Commission and the appropriate authorities will take action that may be justified."

President Johnson had of course misrepresented RFK's role in the assassination investigation, which had been next to non-existent. He had also failed to appreciate that the Commission no longer existed. He was apparently unaware, moreover, that his long-time friend and former campaign manager, Texas Governor John Connally, had just been interviewed by Life Magazine, and would magnify the cries for a new investigation by asserting that he had serious doubts about the single-bullet theory, the cornerstone upon which the commission's case for a single-assassin had been built. (Johnson shared these doubts, but had never admitted as much to the public.)

Perhaps, then, Johnson thought he had things under control. The 11-14-66 issue of U.S. News and World Report, in anticipation of William Manchester's book, recounted in detail the day of the assassination. It took Johnson's side on a number of issues. It included as well a brief article on Humes' and Boswell's 11-1-66 review of the autopsy photos and x-rays. This article showed Dr. Humes to be quite careful: "Afterward, Commander Humes said 'the pictures showed just what we testified to' before the Warren Commission—that the assassin's bullets were fired from 'above and behind,' and that the fatal shot caused a 'massive' head wound." But the article showed Dr. Boswell in a different light. It claimed: "Commander Boswell said the pictures prove that 'the drawing we submitted' to the Commission 'was identical with the photographs.'"

Yes, he said "identical." If the Administration was looking for someone to issue a license to lie, they had their man.

They most certainly had cause for concern. Johnson's Daily Diary, available on the Johnson Library website, reflects that on 11-19-63 Johnson spent the bulk of a 2 hour flight "reading a proof" of William Manchester's book on the assassination, The Death of a President. Manchester's book was authorized by the Kennedy family. The early drafts of the book were purported to have been extremely hard on Johnson--not painting him as a conspirator to kill Kennedy, but as one unable to conceal his delight in his own rise to prominence. Reading this book, particularly at this point in its development, would no doubt contribute to Johnson's already stated belief that Robert Kennedy was out to get him, and willing to use the assassination to do it.

On November 21, 1966, and over the next few days, an AP article was published nationwide, in which long-time Kennedy family friend, historian Arthur Schlesinger, was quoted as having told an audience that "substantial facts and doubts do exist which would warrant a very intensive inquiry." In the eyes of Johnson, this could only be a message from Robert Kennedy. In this same article, moreover, one-time Johnson mentor and member of the Warren Commission, Senator Richard Russell, let it be known that he'd objected to the Commission's conclusion there had been no conspiracy, and only agreed to go along with the suggestion there hadn't been one because Chief Justice Warren wouldn't allow him to publish a dissent.

Between the Life article, the upcoming Manchester book, and this AP article, then, the Johnson Administration must have felt under siege.

They decided to fight back. Some time in this period (my efforts to establish the exact date continue) Johnson's former aide Jack Valenti wrote a memo to Johnson describing disbelief of the Warren Commission's findings in Europe. According to James Reston Jr.s book on Governor Connally, The Lone Star, Valenti noted, furthermore, that "This is not a lightly or rarely held view. It is widening among the peoples of Western Europe. It could become so malignant as to threaten seriously the very integrity of the American Government." Valenti then proposed the formation of a panel of prominent lawyers, led by Louis Nizer, an outspoken supporter of the Warren Commission's findings. Valenti then concluded "Nizer and others ought to be unleashed immediately to publish a counter defense that would nail the detractors and the irresponsible nuts against the wall. The key to the whole assault on the Commission is the so-called single-bullet theory. If this panel of distinguished lawyers could demolish the attack on the single-bullet theory, the slanderers would be laid to rest."

And Valenti wasn't the only one proposing the Administration do something to silence the critics of the single-bullet theory.

On November 21, former Warren Commission counsel W. David Slawson (now working for President Johnson in the Office of Legal Counsel) wrote a memo to Acting Attorney General Ramsey Clark regarding a telephone conversation he'd just had with former Warren Commission counsel J. Wesley Liebeler. According to Slawson's memo on this phone call (which can be found in the Harold Weisberg Archives) Liebeler claimed that he'd spoken to Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times the week before, and that Salisbury "was planning a series of articles on the criticisms of the Warren Report," and "believed the criticisms were serious enough to warrant a re-opening of the investigation." Even so, Liebeler felt:

"There is still a reasonable chance of spiking this thing by a re-investigation limited to aspects of the autopsy, but if public opinion continues to develop like it has over the past few months we may soon be faced with a politically unstoppable demand for a free-wheeling investigation of all aspects."

The political importance of this "limited" re-investigation was paramount, moreover, because, according to Liebeler: "The lunatic fringe already allege or broadly hint (involvement of) the highest echelons of Government in the assassination, and the Government's participation in the 'hiding' of the photographs and X-rays dangerously lends creditability (sic) to their hints and allegations."

According to Slawson, Liebeler then went on to relate that he (Liebeler) had tried to convince Richard Billings of Life Magazine to hold off on its current article on Connally, as it had "a responsibility not to publish" an article on Connally without asking "questions designed to elicit the other side of the issues on which he disagreed with the commission." According to Slawson, Liebeler then proceeded to discuss how at least one of the critics could be turned against the others, noting that Edward Epstein, the author of Inquest, "now feels satisfied on all issues raised in his book except those connected with the autopsy X-rays and photographs. He still believes that they should be examined by an independent group of pathologists. If they are so examined, and if the group contains a man acceptable to him, and if the result is to confirm the Commission's findings, Epstein will publicly state his satisfaction with the report--in effect, he will publicly repudiate the doubts and suspicions he himself cast in his book. And he will join with Liebeler and others in defending the report against Lane, who Epstein is now convinced is unscrupulous and dangerous."

This memo, then, suggests that the Acting Attorney General, President Johnson's legal advisers, and former Warren Commission counsel were all conspiring to prevent a new investigation.

What happened next is uncertain, but it appears that Johnson himself took the next step, and asked Governor Connally for his help. President Johnson's Daily Diary for 11-22-66 reflects that he talked to Governor Connally in the morning, and spent the entire evening with him at his presidential ranch in Texas. On 11-23, the very next day, Governor Connally, whose recent interview with Life Magazine helped fuel the crisis, called a press conference in which he read a prepared statement, reiterating his doubts about the single-bullet theory but nevertheless joining hands with the Johnson Administration by attacking the critics of the Warren Commission. A transcript of the statement published in the next day's New York Times reflects that he began by re-asserting his recollection of the shooting, in which the President and he were hit by separate bullets, but then added "I want to make It very clear, however, that simply because I disagree with the Warren Commission on this one detail does not mean that I disagree with the substance of their over-all findings." He then listed the members of the commission one by one, and described them as "men of unquestioned integrity of long and devoted service to their nation; men whose dedication to the tasks of seeking truth in these circumstances I would never question, and men whose patriotism has been manifested so many times in so many ways over such a long period that it now is somewhat shocking to me that in the backlash of tragedy, journalistic scavengers such as Mark Lane attempt to impugn the motives of these members individually, cast doubts upon the commission as a whole, and question the credibility of the government itself." He then pushed that rather than start a new investigation of "unfounded conspiracy theories" that is "neither warranted, justified, or desirable," "we (and by "we" he clearly meant members of the media, such as those working for Life Magazine and the New York Times, who'd proposed such an investigation) should turn our attention to doing a little research on and evaluation of the credentials of these self-appointed experts, who, with no new evidence, no new facts, nevertheless use distortion, inference, innuendo, in order to cast doubts and create confusion." He then offered "I suspect that a searching investigation into their own credentials will divulge that their motives have political overtones and that their views have been given prominence out of proportion to their value."

One can only speculate as to the actual author of Connally's statement. The President's diary for 11-23-66, however, reflects that at 3:34 PM he once again talked to Connally. One might venture this was a discussion of the press conference, and perhaps an expression of gratitude.

But that wasn't enough for some close to Johnson. As discussed in a November 16, 1988 article by Seth Kantor (found in the Henderson N.C. Times-News) an 11-23-66 memo to Johnson from John Roche, one of his "special consultants", took note of both Governor Connally's recent statements and those of former Warren Commissioner Richard Russell (who'd admitted, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal, reported nationwide by UPI on this very day, that he agreed with Connally in rejecting the single-bullet theory), and asserted: "The comments of Richard Russell and the Life Magazine article by Governor Connally are the two most serious blows which have yet occurred to the public credibility of the Warren Commission. Russell, in particular, by undermining the unanimity of the commission, has turned the cat loose among the canaries. Now the newspapermen are beginning the process of interviewing everyone listed in Who's Who on his view of the Warren Commission... Paranoia, regrettably, is more infectious than measles. We have enough problems already with the war in Vietnam, and to have the nation suddenly indulging in an orgy of sick speculation on events in Dallas could really poison the atmosphere." Roche then suggested that Johnson give "top priority to the problem, perhaps convening a group of your wisest counselors to work out a strategy." He then urged Johnson to instruct his aides to make no comment on the issue, a suggestion with which Johnson complied by dictating a memo to Robert Kintner, telling him to "instruct everybody accordingly."

Johnson, or "one of his wisest counselors" then, arranged for others to do their dirty work, and publicly support the single-bullet theory deemed necessary for the single-assassin conclusion. While it's just speculation that someone from the White House made some calls to bring about the news stories of the next few days, this speculation is more than reasonable given the circumstances. Consider...

An October 6, 1966 phone call between President Johnson and his most trusted adviser Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas has Johnson instructing Fortas to have a talk with FBI Assistant Director Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, whom Fortas claims is a "very close friend" to Johnson, and enlist him in their campaign to prop up the Warren Commission's conclusions.

An internal FBI memo dated 11-22-66 (Rosen to DeLoach, 11/22/1966, FBI HQ JFK Assassination File, 62-109060-4267), however, shows that this help was not readily available, for on this memo FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover has added “We don’t agree with the Commission as it says one shot missed entirely & we contend all three shots hit.”

But then something happened. On 11-25-66, Hoover issued a statement claiming "There is no conflict" between the FBI's position and that of the commission. He then explained the confusion, attributing it to the fact that the FBI agents at the autopsy had been told no exit wound could be associated with the entrance wound on the back, but that, unknown to these agents, "the physicians eventually were able to trace the path of the bullet through the body." (This, of course, never happened.) He then related "Meanwhile, the clothing worn by the President when he was shot was examined in the FBI Laboratory. This examination revealed a small hole in the back of his coat and shirt and a slit characteristic of an exit hole for a projectile in the front of the shirt one inch below the collar button. A nick on the left side of the tie knot, possibly caused by the same projectile which passed through the shirt, also was noted. These findings clearly indicated the examining physician's

early observation that the bullet penetrated only a short distance into the president's back probably was in error." (This, of course, fails to explain why the FBI continued to tell newsmen that the back bullet fell out for months after the shooting.)

So...someone--perhaps Johnson, perhaps DeLoach--got to Hoover, and got him to publicly support the single-bullet theory.

DeLoach suggests his own involvement. An 11-25-66 memo from DeLoach to Tolson recounts that DeLoach had called Chief Justice Earl Warren on 11-23-66 on an apparently unrelated matter, but that Warren had brought up some of the recent problems surrounding the commission during the phone call. According to DeLoach, Warren complained about former commission counsel Wesley Liebeler, and noted that Liebeler was a '"beatnik' type of individual who had proved to be very unethical." According to DeLoach, Warren was displeased that Liebeler had kept detailed notes on his disagreements with the commission, and that Liebeler's notes had formed the "basis" of Epstein's book. In closing, however, DeLoach revealed more about himself than about Warren and his obvious dislike of Liebeler. He wrote: "I informed the Chief Justice... that the Director, in the near future, planned to issue a statement defending the FBI's phase of the assassination investigation. The Chief Justice said he was glad to hear this and that the Director's name and prestige would be a great help in clearing the air."

Well, let's think about this. DeLoach told Warren on the 23rd--the day after Hoover claimed the FBI did not agree with the commission--that Hoover was about to issue a statement defending the FBI's phase of the assassination investigation. And Warren was pleased with this and felt this statement would help "clear the air." Well, seeing as a statement from Hoover defending the FBI in which he voiced his disagreement with the single-bullet theory would not be good news to Warren, it seems fairly obvious DeLoach knew Hoover was about to offer his support for the single-bullet theory...

And that he knew this because he was the one writing Hoover's statement... Now, this gets a bit slippery. In his book Post Mortem, Harold Weisberg recounts how he asked the FBI for a copy of the 11-25-66 statement Hoover provided the press, and how it took them nine years, and a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, to comply. He also presents the full statement sent the press. The statement purports that Hoover had been sent a letter by a (conveniently unidentified) newsman on 11-21-66, asking him to explain why the FBI's report on the autopsy differed from the official autopsy report, and that Hoover had responded to this newsman on 11-23-66. The rest of the statement then proceeds to recount what Hoover purportedly told this newsman.

Well, this is mighty suspicious, wouldn't you say? On 11-22-66, Hoover noted that the FBI and Warren Commission were in disagreement on the single-bullet theory. Three days later a press release was issued in which it was claimed Hoover had received a letter from an unnamed newsman asking about this disagreement on the 21st, and that he had responded to this letter on the 23rd, and that his letter had explained that there was NO disagreement between the FBI and Warren Commission on the single-bullet theory. Well, heck, why couldn't Hoover have told this to the press in a press conference? Why issue a written statement? And why hide the identity of the newsman?

And, oh yeah, while we're asking, does it make any sense whatsoever that Hoover would change his mind about this extremely important issue...overnight?

I think not. It's just speculation, but it seems likely DeLoach prepared "Hoover's" statement at Johnson's urging, and pretended the statement was in response to a letter from a newsman in order to hide its political nature.

No, scratch that. It's not just speculation. When testifying before the Church Committee on 11-25-75, DeLoach was asked if he could recall any conversations he may have had with President Johnson regarding the Kennedy assassination, beyond one in which President Johnson asked him to investigate the critics of the Warren Commission. Here is his response: "To the best of my recollection, Mr. Seidel, and I previously testified to this just a minute ago, the only other conversations I recall was when President Johnson called either Mr. Hoover or me, or it was Mr. Watson (Johnson's assistant) who called Mr. Hoover or me, and indicated that he wanted the FBI to issue a statement reflecting the findings of the FBI and the Warren Commission that it was Oswald and Oswald alone that committed the assassination. I think the Bureau files would reflect not only the call from the White House to either Mr. Hoover or me and will also reflect that a press release was written under Mr. Hoover's instruction and issued shortly thereafter in this connection."

While DeLoach insisted he couldn't recall the date of his or Hoover's conversation with Johnson or Watson, the 11-25-66 press release is the only press release in which FBI Director Hoover defended the findings of the Warren Commission. DeLoach had thereby revealed that this press release was written at President Johnson's request...er, command.

And that Hoover was displeased by this... As questioning continued, DeLoach revealed further that "I distinctly recall that Mr. Hoover, as he often did, was unhappy about the fact that the President of the United States was calling on the FBI to issue such a release. And while he had disagreements with the request, he buckled under and issued such a release." When then asked how he knew this, DeLoach replied "either Mr. Hoover told me this or Mr. Clyde Tolson, the Associate Director, who was my superior, told me this." He then continued "as I seem to recall, Mr. Hoover or Mr. Tolson or someone felt that we were being used and we had already submitted our findings and the FBI should not be used as a public sounding board in issuing such a release." He then clarified "The FBI had no dissatisfaction, Mr. Epstein, with the findings that Oswald and Oswald alone committed the assassination. But at the same time, our findings had been submitted some years previously and we felt that it was wrong for us to be used as a public relations sounding board at that time."

So now let's consider that on 11-24-66, a short spell after Jack Valenti wrote a memo urging that the single-bullet theory be defended, three days after David Slawson wrote a memo urging that a re-investigation of the medical evidence be used to cut off a new investigation, the day after John Roche wrote a memo stressing the importance of such an action, and the very day of a 10-15 minute phone call between President Johnson and Abe Fortas, the recording of which was destroyed under order of President Johnson (the only recording to be so destroyed), an AP article by Jack Miller emerged, in which Dr. J. Thornton Boswell took personal responsibility for much of the confusion over President Kennedy's wounds.

This article, as found in The Tuscaloosa News, where it was accompanied by a photo of CE 386 with the caption "Neck Wound Correct Here," claimed:

"A doctor who helped perform the autopsy on President John F. Kennedy said today he made a diagram error in a hasty 'worksheet' sketch which was not drawn for the final autopsy report. Some critics have used the sketch in challenging the Warren Commission Report.

Dr. J. Thornton Boswell said the diagram showed that the lower bullet wound was in the President's back. Actually, he said, the wound was at the back of the base of the neck.

The position of the wound was crucial in determining the trajectory of the bullet.

Boswell said the diagram was drawn quickly during the autopsy as 'rough notes' and was not meant to be exact. He pointed out that longhand notes he made on the sketch gave the correct, precise location of the wound...

In an interview, Boswell said that when he examined the autopsy photographs for the first time Nov. 1, the pictures showed clearly that the wound was in the neck. The photographs are in the National Archives and are not available to the public...

One of the critics of the Warren Report, Edward Epstein, used the diagram and the FBI reports to suggest the possibility that there may have been a second assassin.

But Epstein, author of the book “Inquest,” conceded in the current issue of Esquire magazine that if the autopsy photos showed the wound in the neck, there would be no further doubt about the autopsy report and that second assassin would be ruled out.

While Boswell's statement contradicts critics who have based their doubts on the sketch and the FBI reports, some use other arguments to attack the single-bullet theory and single-assassin finding.

Boswell, a former Navy doctor now in private practice, said of his sketch error: 'This was unfortunate. If I had known at the time that the sketch would become public record I would have been more careful.'

Its sole purpose, he said, was to indicate for the autopsy doctors 'right, left, front, back--things like that.' The photographs were to provide the exact visual description, he said.

As for the FBI reports, they were simply wrong. He noted that the FBI agents at the autopsy were not trained in medicine.

The autopsy report concluded that a single bullet hit both Kennedy and Connally, and Boswell said in the interview 'there is absolutely no doubt in our minds' now."

Well, hold it right there. The autopsy report said no such thing. It mentioned that Connally was sitting in front of Kennedy, but never discussed his wounds, other than that they came as a result of the same three shots fired into the car that killed Kennedy. The single-bullet theory propped up by the article was not, in fact, proposed for months after the shooting.

And should one think the timing of this article a coincidence, one should also consider that an 11-25-66 article by Peter Kihss for the New York Times quoted Boswell as asserting that, after he and Dr. Humes inspected the photos on November 1, 1966, there was “absolutely no doubt in our minds now” about the single-bullet theory, and then repeated the lie that measurements were used to create the Rydberg drawings. To be precise, the article related that:

"The Warren Commission published "schematic drawings" done by a Navy medical illustrator and based on measurements and verbal descriptions given him by the autopsy surgeons just before they were called to testify. The drawings include Commission Exhibit 385, which shows the downward path the bullet is thought to have taken through the President's neck, and they remain 'sufficient to illustrate the finding' Dr. Boswell said yesterday."

And, should one still have doubts that Dr. Boswell's interviews were being orchestrated by hands unseen, one should finally consider that in the extensive 11-25-66 article in the Baltimore Sun, in which a new and improved version of the face sheet was unveiled, Dr. Boswell was purported to have also claimed that:

  • the photographs and X-rays prove conclusively that the facts about the wounds as printed in the Warren Commission Report were consistent with the findings of the autopsy...
  • there was absolutely no doubt that the controversial neck and throat wound was caused by a bullet that entered the base of President Kennedy's neck, passed completely through the neck, and exited from the throat...
  • The wound in the back of the neck, was without any doubt, one of entrance and not of exit...
  • A report made by FBI observers present at the autopsy inaccurately referred to a 'back' wound rather than a neck wound and should be discounted...
  • the autopsy was routine in every respect and...included every activity which would accompany a medical-legal autopsy...
  • (At the commencement of the autopsy) The pathologists had already been told of the probable extent of the injuries and what had been done by physicians in Dallas...
  • the tracheotomy incision was examined and extensive trauma was noted on one side...
  • (The pathologists) "concluded that night that the bullet had, in fact, entered in the back of the neck, traversed the neck, and exited anteriorly'..."
  • a telephone call made to the hospital in Dallas by Dr. Humes the next morning merely confirmed what was already a certainty to the pathologists--that there was a bullet wound in the President's neck at the point of the tracheotomy incision...
  • (CE 385) was a scale drawing based on a photograph taken of the president when he was alive...
  • the bullet path (on CE 385) was drawn using data about the entry hole and the lung bruises obtained during the autopsy and the precise exit wound as defined by the Dallas physicians...
  • (The FBI report's reference to a back wound may have represented) "a laymen's observation of an area just below the shoulder line that, to a physician, is still the neck region..."

and then the standard line, pushed by Specter and Liebeler, that:

  • the President, according to movie films, had his arm raised, waving to the crowds, when he was shot. This movement would have raised his coat and shirt resulting in bullet holes lower in the clothing than were indicated by the wound.

Now, all of these claims were misleading or untrue. So...was it merely a coincidence that, just days after one of President Johnson's most trusted aides informed him that the single-bullet theory must be defended, and just days after a legal adviser to President Johnson called the acting Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark and proposed that a "re-investigation" of the medical evidence could hold off the calls for a thorough re- investigation of the murder of President Kennedy, the supposedly sworn-to-silence Dr. Boswell, who'd signed a document stating that the non-fatal wound was in the "right superior, posterior shoulder" barely two weeks before, suddenly granted interviews in which he claimed the non-fatal wound was “in the neck” and that the location of this wound left “absolutely no doubt” about the single-bullet theory? And was it merely a coincidence that Dr. Boswell's account of the autopsy contradicted Dr. Humes' sworn testimony about the throat wound? And that he instead claimed they'd assumed it was an exit while the body was still in front of them? And was it just a coincidence that this not-so-subtle tweak to the official story might help Johnson and his men fend off calls for an exhumation of the President's body?

No. I think not. The articles reek of an orchestrated lie. And a fairly successful one at that. While revelations about FBI and CIA activities not disclosed to the Warren Commission would, in time, lead the mainstream media to join the public in calling for a new investigation, the media would never again focus its attention on the location of Kennedy's back wound--and the problems it presented for the single-bullet theory and single-assassin conclusion. In November 1995, Max Holland, writing in American Heritage magazine, demonstrated this point perfectly. In the eyes of history, he explained, the wide-spread concern regarding the face sheet and back wound location was "a passing controversy over the President’s autopsy that had been fairly easily resolved."

Holland, of course, failed to mention that the controversy was "fairly easily resolved" via a propaganda blitz worthy of Nazi Germany.

If the November 1966 Boswell articles were an orchestrated lie, moreover, it's hard not to believe the upward migration of Kennedy's back wound between the night of the autopsy and the testimony of the autopsy doctors before the Warren Commission was similarly orchestrated, and was a migration spurred on by the climate in Washington, and not the incompetence of a couple of doctors.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Very well researched, Pat. Thank you.

It's so easy to understand - depending on who is testifying, on what day, in response to whatever documentation or discovery:

The Rydberg drawings are consistent with the findings of the autopsy and the autopsy photographs.

The Ida Dox drawings, are consistent with the findings of the autopsy, and the autopsy photographs.

The FBI states that all three bullets hit, but the FBI is in agreement with the Warren Report.

And in my opinion you have demonstrated this scenario goes on and on.

The Government made the rules of this game and still plays by them to this day.

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I will be talking about this on Len's show this week.

If anything shows how asleep at the switch the MSM was on the Kennedy case, it was the non reaction to the Clark Panel report.

The Clark panel was essentially another autopsy report. Why?

Because it substantially altered the Bethesda report. Not by a little. By a lot.

It raised the rear skull wound by about as much as possible. Four inches on the back of the skull is quite a bit.

It eliminated the particles in the first autopsy report connecting the lower posterior skull wound to the upper skull trail. (This almost never gets talked about. But its crucial.)

It lowered the back wound.

It mentioned for the first time the large disc like fragment that the pathologists" missed" at Bethesda.

See, in the real world, this stuff does not happen. Only in the JFK case, what I call the Bermuda Triangle of scientific evidence, does stuff like this occur--with regularity.

And the media sleep through it. While Dan Rather talks about Lincoln limo experiments which were never televised.

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I will be talking about this on Len's show this week.

If anything shows how asleep at the switch the MSM was on the Kennedy case, it was the non reaction to the Clark Panel report.

The Clark panel was essentially another autopsy report. Why?

Because it substantially altered the Bethesda report. Not by a little. By a lot.

It raised the rear skull wound by about as much as possible. Four inches on the back of the skull is quite a bit.

It eliminated the particles in the first autopsy report connecting the lower posterior skull wound to the upper skull trail. (This almost never gets talked about. But its crucial.)

It lowered the back wound.

It mentioned for the first time the large disc like fragment that the pathologists" missed" at Bethesda.

See, in the real world, this stuff does not happen. Only in the JFK case, what I call the Bermuda Triangle of scientific evidence, does stuff like this occur--with regularity.

And the media sleep through it. While Dan Rather talks about Lincoln limo experiments which were never televised.

Huh? The Clark Panel lowered the back wound? After Gerald Ford so cleverly raised it?

Why did they do that?

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I will be talking about this on Len's show this week.

If anything shows how asleep at the switch the MSM was on the Kennedy case, it was the non reaction to the Clark Panel report.

The Clark panel was essentially another autopsy report. Why?

Because it substantially altered the Bethesda report. Not by a little. By a lot.

It raised the rear skull wound by about as much as possible. Four inches on the back of the skull is quite a bit.

It eliminated the particles in the first autopsy report connecting the lower posterior skull wound to the upper skull trail. (This almost never gets talked about. But its crucial.)

It lowered the back wound.

It mentioned for the first time the large disc like fragment that the pathologists" missed" at Bethesda.

See, in the real world, this stuff does not happen. Only in the JFK case, what I call the Bermuda Triangle of scientific evidence, does stuff like this occur--with regularity.

And the media sleep through it. While Dan Rather talks about Lincoln limo experiments which were never televised.

While researching the Clark Panel, I came to realize that virtually every article published on the release of the Clark Panel's report was a rehash of a press release from the government claiming the report supported the Warren Commission's conclusions. It was more than three years, in fact, before ANY article of substance was published in which the migration of the head wound was noted. How could the media have missed this? It's simple. They read the press release put out by the Justice Department, and repeated it. Now that's journalism!

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I will be talking about this on Len's show this week.

If anything shows how asleep at the switch the MSM was on the Kennedy case, it was the non reaction to the Clark Panel report.

The Clark panel was essentially another autopsy report. Why?

Because it substantially altered the Bethesda report. Not by a little. By a lot.

It raised the rear skull wound by about as much as possible. Four inches on the back of the skull is quite a bit.

It eliminated the particles in the first autopsy report connecting the lower posterior skull wound to the upper skull trail. (This almost never gets talked about. But its crucial.)

It lowered the back wound.

It mentioned for the first time the large disc like fragment that the pathologists" missed" at Bethesda.

See, in the real world, this stuff does not happen. Only in the JFK case, what I call the Bermuda Triangle of scientific evidence, does stuff like this occur--with regularity.

And the media sleep through it. While Dan Rather talks about Lincoln limo experiments which were never televised.

Huh? The Clark Panel lowered the back wound? After Gerald Ford so cleverly raised it?

Why did they do that?

Well, Mr. Ford had plenty of time to explain his action (raising the wound to the neck) when he testified to the HSCA; from his statement below, seems to me he knew about the Clark Panel or the "individuals who investigated,,,,,,,,,," , but he must of forgot that he was an architect in raising the back wound to the neck, I mean he wouldn't knowingly omit this?

Seems it doesn't matter if there is a wound to the neck, or the back, it's still the same government conclusion, the evidence is conclusive - no conspiracy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

President FORD - As I recall, that was a recommendation of the Commission and Congress responded to it, so at least legislatively we probably have a better circumstance today than we did in 1963. And other things have improved after as you have indicated. I would like to make a comment so the record is clear. Even though there may have been some inadequacies, at the time the autopsy was undertaken in Bethesda, as I understand it, the individuals who investigated and actually reviewed the material on the autopsy, a very prestigious group from what 1 read, they have come to the conclusion which is the same as those who did it before, Kennedy was shot from behind.

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