Jump to content
The Education Forum

No dissent/minority report included in WC's final report

Recommended Posts

..and no evidence was preserved that it ever existed.

More than 3 years after the Warren Report was issued, investigator Harold Weisberg attempted to gain access to all of the WC transcripts. He was informed by the Archivist for the United States that there was no verbatim transcript of the Sept 18th meeting. It was at the Sept 18th meeting that Sen. Russell, with the approval of Sens. Cooper and Boggs, expressed in a dissent strong doubts concerning the so-called "magic bullet" theory. The official transcript record of these doubts was totally expunged from the historic record.

Mark Shaw author of numerous JFKA books only recently uncovered this.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Charles Blackmon said:

..and no evidence was preserved that it ever existed.

More than 3 years after the Warren Report was issued, investigator Harold Weisberg attempted to gain access to all of the WC transcripts. He was informed by the Archivist for the United States that there was no verbatim transcript of the Sept 18th meeting. It was at the Sept 18th meeting that Sen. Russell, with the approval of Sens. Cooper and Boggs, expressed in a dissent strong doubts concerning the so-called "magic bullet" theory. The official transcript record of these doubts was totally expunged from the historic record.

Mark Shaw author of numerous JFKA books only recently uncovered this.




What? This has been known for years. Weisberg befriended Russell and told him what had happened. Russell claimed there was a court reporter at the session, and came to believe that Warren and Rankin had arranged for a reporter to pretend to write everything down to make him feel like his dissent was being recorded. He was very upset by this and had a falling-out with LBJ shortly afterwards. 

So the working theory of Russell and Weisberg was not that the transcript was expunged, but that there was never actually a transcript. By design. 

(Note: this event is discussed in chapter 3c of my website, where it has been publicly available for 10 years or so.)

Here is that discussion: 

On 9-18-64, the Warren Commission has its final session. Its purpose is to resolve one outstanding issue--a big one. Did one of the three bullets fired hit both Kennedy and Connally? And, assuming one did, did one bullet miss both Kennedy and Connally? Because, if all three shots hit, the Zapruder film suggests they were fired too close together to have been fired by Oswald using his bolt-action rifle. And that means the rest of the commission's conclusions are suspect...

Now, Sen. Richard Russell is the main one to argue against the single-bullet theory. He’s prepared a dissent on this issue which he wishes to add to the commission’s report. It reads:

“I do not share the finding of the Commission as to the probability that both President Kennedy and Governor Connally were struck by the same bullet. The expert testimony based on measurements and surveys, including re-enactment of the motortrip of the Presidential party on that fateful November 22nd presents a persuasive case. However, the movement of one of the victims by either leaning forward or to either side or rising a few inches from his seat would have made a considerable difference in the mathematical computations.

I join my colleagues in the belief that three shots were fired but, to me, the testimony of Governor Connally that he heard the first shot fired and strike the President and turned before he himself was wounded makes more logical a finding that the first and third shots struck the President and the second shot wounded Governor Connally. Reviewing the Zapruder film several times adds to my conviction that the bullet that passed through Governor Connally’s body was not the same bullet as that which passed through the President’s back and neck.

In addition, from carefully examining the site where the tragedy occurred, I am convinced that any marksman firing from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building who could shoot with the deadly accuracy which caused the wounds suffered by President Kennedy would have been highly unlikely to have fired a shot that completely missed the other occupants of the President’s automobile or automobile itself. The fact that no trace of a third bullet was found either on the automobile or several feet of paved street on each side of the Presidential car is to me convincing evidence that all three shots fired by the assassin found their targets in the bodies of the President and the Governor of Texas.”

Of course, Warren wants a unanimous report, and refuses to accept this dissent. So, by golly, hijinks ensue.

In the end, Russell and Warren compromise. Russell's dissent is not published but a paragraph is added into the report acknowledging his doubts. It reads:

3. Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President's throat also caused Governor Connally's wounds. However, Governor Connally's testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President's and Governor Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.

After this session, President Johnson and Sen. Russell have an intriguing conversation. This conversation further illuminates Johnson's desire that the murder of his predecessor just disappear. The conversation reflects the dissent within the Commission over Arlen Specter’s single-bullet theory, as well as Russell and Johnson’s inability to understand the importance of the single-bullet theory to the single-assassin conclusion.

Senator Richard Russell: “No, no. They’re trying to prove that the same bullet that hit Kennedy first was the one that hit Connally, went through him and through his hand, his bone, and into his leg…I couldn’t hear all the evidence and cross-examine all of ‘em. But I did read the record…I was the only fellow there that…suggested any change whatever in what the staff got up. This staff business always scares me. I like to put my own views down. But we got you a pretty good report.”

President Lyndon Johnson: Well, what difference does it make which bullet got Connally?

Senator Richard Russell: Well, it don’t make much difference. But they said that…the commission believes that the same bullet that hit Kennedy hit Connally. Well, I don’t believe it.

President Lyndon Johnson: I don’t either.

Senator Richard Russell: And so I couldn’t sign it. And I said that Governor Connally testified directly to the contrary and I’m not gonna approve of that. So I finally made ‘em say there was a difference in the commission, in that part of ‘em believed that that wasn’t so. And, course if a fellow was accurate enough to hit Kennedy right in the neck on one shot and knock his head off in the next one—and he’s leaning up against his wife’s head—and not even wound her—why he didn’t miss completely with that third shot. But according to their theory, he not only missed the whole auto mobile, but he missed the street! Well, a man that’s a good enough shot to put two bullets right into Kennedy, he didn’t miss that whole automobile.”

This Russell/Johnson conversation (and no, I don't mean the professor on Gilligan's Island) becomes even more intriguing once one takes into account that the minutes of the 9-18-64 executive session of the Warren Commission fail to note Russell’s dissent, or even that the single-bullet theory was discussed. (When researcher Harold Weisberg pointed this out to Russell in 1968, Russell cut-off contact with his one-time protege Johnson. While this was probably not the only reason for his cutting Johnson off--he was also upset about Johnson dragging his feet on the appointment of a judge--it is symptomatic of most historians' refusal to understand the dark legacy of the assassination and subsequent investigation that they fail to mention it as even one of many reasons.)

(The Russell/Warren compromise, moreover, would later be criticized by a number of the commission's staff. In History Will Prove Us Right (2013), Howard Willens writes:

"Governor Connally had been adamant in testifying, based on his memory of the gunfire he heard, that he was not hit by the same bullet that struck the president. He was a man of considerable self-confidence and was obviously not persuaded by the expert testimony that his wounds would have been different and more serious if he had been struck by a pristine bullet...(Note: there was no such testimony.) The commission members held him in high regard...The commission members...were also concerned that Connally would criticize their report if it rejected his testimony, which might in turn adversely affect the report's acceptance by the public...

Out of deference to Connally and in pursuit of unanimity, the commission produced a compromise statement on the single-bullet question...The problems with the commission's equivocation are obvious. If the members were certain that all three shots came from the depository's sixth floor but also rejected the single-bullet theory, it left critical questions unanswered. If the first bullet to hit the president did not also cause Connally's wounds, and we knew an additional bullet that hit Kennedy did not hit Connally, then there must have been a further bullet (either second or third) that did hit Connally. Considering his wound and the trajectory of the bullet that hit him, the bullet necessarily came from behind. However, the assumption of a separate bullet hitting Connally raised a different question not considered by the members. Could Oswald have fired such a second shot within the assumed time interval between Kennedy showing a reaction to being hit and the point at which Connally could not have suffered the wounds he did incur?...

I was disappointed and angry--and most of us were--by this clumsy effort at compromise that endangered the credibility of the whole report. Rankin made an effort to explain it to Redlich and me, but we would not accept the excuses that he offered on behalf of the commission. It was incredible to us then--and to me some fifty years later--that the members would reject persuasive scientific and other evidence in order to avoid suggesting that a single prestigious witness may have been incorrect in assessing, from memories of a traumatic event, which bullet hit him.

In retrospect, Warren (and to a lesser extent Rankin) failed to exercise the leadership necessary to avoid this outcome. They--or perhaps Dulles or McCloy--should have ascertained long before September 18 that Russell was going to insist on not contradicting Connally. If they had done that, we could have urged our most knowledgeable lawyers to again present the evidence supporting the single-bullet conclusion and the problems inherent in any compromise like the one they adopted. It is unlikely that these discussions would have dissuaded Russell. But a powerful staff explanation to the commission might have persuaded Warren and other commission members that the single-bullet conclusion was the only supportable interpretation of all the evidence and...saying so might have led to a more defensible compromise.)

It's clear, then, that the fix is in. The commission's report and records are to indicate that Oswald did it alone, no matter what the evidence suggests, and no matter what the commissioners believe about this evidence. No dissent is acceptable, as it might reflect negatively on President Johnson, and the country as a whole.

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will have to go back and see exactly what Shaw said but he definitely attributed as his source a former legal assistant to Sen. Cooper. I am not wanting to be in the middle of dueling researchers here lol. Its an interesting angle to the Warren Report I was not aware of until today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read somewhere that Warren Commissioner Allen Dulles was responsible for the fake court reporter not transcribing Russell's dissent.  That Russell was quite upset when he found out some time after the report was published that his dissent was not in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just heard this clown on CoasttoCoast this morning while waiting for the Russ Baker interview.  I checked their listings to see who would be on.

Shaw gave the impression that he had made this discovery and 'other researchers had missed it' when it has been known for years.

He also stated that he's tried to interview Caroline Kennedy, sending her his books and a letter.  I guess he can't understand why she wouldn't want to speak with a guy who accuses her murdered uncle of murder.


Edited by Bill Fite
added Caroline K comment
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...