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HSCA testimony footage


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I was watching some footage of HSCA testimony the other day and decided to read the transcripts along with the testimony. I was surprised to find that the transcripts are far from precise; besides removing "hmms" and "uhs" and correcting bad grammar the sentences in the transcripts are often totally re-written. I didn't notice any substantive changes, however. Still, I think it's best to double-check.

If anyone has footage of Humes or Canning, or the complete footage of Baden and Sturdivan, and is willing to make me a copy, I will sit through and compare the footage to the transcripts, and report back. I'm particularly interested in the first part of Sturdivan's testimony. If someone has the beginning of his testimony, and is willing to send me a copy or re-watch it and double-check a few things for me, I would be most appreciative.

Thanks,

Pat

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Pat...very little of the HSCA hearings was televised...mostly just the opening week and

the final sessions on acoustics. I have all that was televised, but it is now all in Waco

being dubbed for the Penn Jones Baylor collection. After it is dubbed, it will be

available for public viewing at Baylor.

Regarding the changes you noted, I will relate something not generally known.

Everyone who testified before the committee was GRANTED THE "COURTESY" OF

REVISING THEIR TESTIMONY TO REMOVE BAD GRAMMAR, ERRORS, OR CHANGING

SOMETHING SAID. Or the option was given of returning the transcript WITHOUT

CHANGES by signing a return transmittal that the transcript had witness approval.

The published HSCA report was more important than what was actually said. If I

had said something I meant not to say, I could have simply xxxed it out, and that

would have been the record.

How do I know? I was sent a transcript of MY testimony. I made no substantive

alterations, but did make a few grammatical changes, as I recall.

Jack

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Pat...very little of the HSCA hearings was televised...mostly just the opening week and

the final sessions on acoustics. I have all that was televised, but it is now all in Waco

being dubbed for the Penn Jones Baylor collection. After it is dubbed, it will be

available for public viewing at Baylor.

Regarding the changes you noted, I will relate something not generally known.

Everyone who testified before the committee was GRANTED THE "COURTESY" OF

REVISING THEIR TESTIMONY TO REMOVE BAD GRAMMAR, ERRORS, OR CHANGING

SOMETHING SAID. Or the option was given of returning the transcript WITHOUT

CHANGES by signing a return transmittal that the transcript had witness approval.

The published HSCA report was more important than what was actually said. If I

had said something I meant not to say, I could have simply xxxed it out, and that

would have been the record.

How do I know? I was sent a transcript of MY testimony. I made no substantive

alterations, but did make a few grammatical changes, as I recall.

Jack

Thanks, Jack. If I can follow up, when you testified, you used exhibits, correct? I imagine the HSCA staff had a list of your exhibits, with descriptions, before you even testified. IF, however, you incorrectly identified one of your exhibits what do you think would have happened? Would the HSCA exhibit list reflect your incorrect testimony, (which you would subsequently have had the ability to change) or the description on the original exhibit list? Wouldn't counsel contact you before changing the description of your exhibit? Can you imagine a scenario where an exhibit would be listed correctly in the day's press package, be incorrectly identiified in testimony, and then be listed in the final report with an incorrect description? Who would be responsible for changing the description? Or were the final descriptions all pulled directly from testimony?

Any help appreciated.

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Pat...very little of the HSCA hearings was televised...mostly just the opening week and

the final sessions on acoustics. I have all that was televised, but it is now all in Waco

being dubbed for the Penn Jones Baylor collection. After it is dubbed, it will be

available for public viewing at Baylor.

Regarding the changes you noted, I will relate something not generally known.

Everyone who testified before the committee was GRANTED THE "COURTESY" OF

REVISING THEIR TESTIMONY TO REMOVE BAD GRAMMAR, ERRORS, OR CHANGING

SOMETHING SAID. Or the option was given of returning the transcript WITHOUT

CHANGES by signing a return transmittal that the transcript had witness approval.

The published HSCA report was more important than what was actually said. If I

had said something I meant not to say, I could have simply xxxed it out, and that

would have been the record.

How do I know? I was sent a transcript of MY testimony. I made no substantive

alterations, but did make a few grammatical changes, as I recall.

Jack

Thanks, Jack. If I can follow up, when you testified, you used exhibits, correct? I imagine the HSCA staff had a list of your exhibits, with descriptions, before you even testified. IF, however, you incorrectly identified one of your exhibits what do you think would have happened? Would the HSCA exhibit list reflect your incorrect testimony, (which you would subsequently have had the ability to change) or the description on the original exhibit list? Wouldn't counsel contact you before changing the description of your exhibit? Can you imagine a scenario where an exhibit would be listed correctly in the day's press package, be incorrectly identiified in testimony, and then be listed in the final report with an incorrect description? Who would be responsible for changing the description? Or were the final descriptions all pulled directly from testimony?

Any help appreciated.

That was a long time ago. My exhibits WERE SELECTED BY THEM from several hundred

of my slides I had shown them. They had giant enlargements made from slides they

selected. They controlled the exhibits and asked me questions about them. The night

before I testified, one of the junior counsels "prepared me" for testifying. I was shown

the large blowups and given the types of questions they would ask. None of your questions

fit what happened. There was NO incorrect testimony, and all exhibits were in order and

not misidentified. Everything was mapped out in advance by them. I was only allowed to

testify regarding TWO SUBJECTS of the many I showed them...the backyard photos and

the MC rifle. Attached is one of my slides they enlarged into a large easel exhibit and

asked me to explain. I WANTED TO TESTIFY ABOUT MY TWO OSWALD RESEARCH, which

I had showed them. I was told that if I tried to do so, BLAKEY WOULD HAVE ME HELD IN

CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. However, that was a bluff, because at the end of my testimony

I was ASKED IF THERE WAS ANYTHING ELSE I WANTED TO SAY BEFORE ENDING. I might

have changed history if I had the courage to speak up about the two Oswalds.

Jack

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Thanks again, Jack. The reason I'm so interested in this is because awhile back I realized that Larry Sturdivan's exhibit F-114 was not a bullet striking ballistics gelatin at 800 meters per second, as listed, but 800 feet per second. Since 800 feet per second is a subsonic bullet, I grew suspicious that maybe his testimony was changed to disguise the fact that he'd been testing subsonic ammunition. I contacted him in January, however, and he assured me that he'd simply mis-testified, saying meters per second instead of feet per second. That sounded reasonable. But then the other day while watching the end of his testimony at a friend's house, I noticed that at one point in his testimony Sturdivan got confused about the number of one of his exhibits, and asked a member of the HSCA staff named Matthews. Matthews looked down at a list and told Sturdivan the answer. Well, this made me realize that the exhibits and their descriptions were written down before Sturdivan ever testified, and would probably not have been changed merely because he'd testified incorrectly. When taken along with my realization that the transcripts of the witnesses fail to match their actual testimony, and that much of the transcripts have been re-written, the net result is that I'm once again suspicious that both Sturdivan's testimony and the description of his exhibit were changed. And so now I need to watch the beginning of Sturdivan's testimony and figure out if he says F-114 represents a bullet striking gelatin at 800 feet per second or 800 meters per second. My friend has the second half of Sturdivan's testimony, but Sturdivan only mentions F-114 near the beginning...

Any help appreciated...

Edited by Pat Speer
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Pat...

Every witness was "PREPPED". They did not want surprises.

Every exhibit was prepared by staff, not by witnesses.

I am surprised you say you WATCHED TESTIMONY. As far as

I know, only the first week and the final acoustics sessions

were televised, except for some local news clips and sound bites.

Am I wrong? Initially PBS was to show the entire proceeding,

but someone decided things could not be controlled enough.

If somebody MISSPOKE, they knew they could "clean up"

the transcript...with the witness's permission of course.

BUT THEY COULD NOT CLEAN UP VIDEOTAPES!

However, it WAS all broadcast on NPR. A priceless moment

occurred when Gerald Ford was testifying. His lawyer was

"Winky" Belin. After finishing, not realizing his NPR RADIO

MIKE WAS STILL LIVE, Ford whispered to Belin..."I HAVEN'T

COMPROMISED ANYTHING, HAVE I?"

The remark did not go ON AIR, but was recorded by

the control room, and reported on by NPR commentator

NINA TOTENBERG.

Jack

Edited by Jack White
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Pat...

Every witness was "PREPPED". They did not want surprises.

Every exhibit was prepared by staff, not by witnesses.

I am surprised you say you WATCHED TESTIMONY. As far as

I know, only the first week and the final acoustics sessions

were televised, except for some local news clips and sound bites.

Am I wrong? Initially PBS was to show the entire proceeding,

but someone decided things could not be controlled enough.

If somebody MISSPOKE, they knew they could "clean up"

the transcript...with the witness's permission of course.

BUT THEY COULD NOT CLEAN UP VIDEOTAPES!

However, it WAS all broadcast on NPR. A priceless moment

occurred when Gerald Ford was testifying. His lawyer was

"Winky" Belin. After finishing, not realizing his NPR RADIO

MIKE WAS STILL LIVE, Ford whispered to Belin..."I HAVEN'T

COMPROMISED ANYTHING, HAVE I?"

The remark did not go ON AIR, but was recorded by

the control room, and reported on by NPR commentator

NINA TOTENBERG.

Jack

Gary Mack sends this correction:

The PBS station in Washington, WETA, carried all the public testimony sessions live. KERA only

showed the first week and the final day.

KERA-FM carried all the publis sessions, including the Ford coment, which I have on tape and reported

in TCI.

Gary Mack

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Even though the audio tapes Gary mentions were dubbed from

originals I loaned to him to copy, I never have heard the Ford

faux pas. I first heard of the Ford comment from my friend

Seth Kantor, who heard it from his friend Totenberg. I referred to

the comment for years in my slide lectures. I had forgotten about

Gary mentioning it in TCI.

Jack

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[

Gary Mack sends this correction:

The PBS station in Washington, WETA, carried all the public testimony sessions live. KERA only

showed the first week and the final day.

KERA-FM carried all the publis sessions, including the Ford coment, which I have on tape and reported

in TCI.

Gary Mack

Thanks, Jack and Gary. My friend had a videotape that had parts of Connally's, Baden's and Sturdivan's testimony, and snippets of news stories about the hearings. Richard Helms is incredible in his arrogance; the man truly has to be seen to be believed. My friend also had footage of Stokes on Face the Nation, in which Stokes makes clear that the HSCA decision of "probable conspiracy" WAS NOT based on the acoustical evidence alone; he says the acoustical evdence/dictabelt only corroborated pre-existing testimony. He cites the many witnesses who heard shots from the knoll. He also mentions that Oswald was not nearly the loner that the WC had made out, and that he'd had extensive contact with anti-Castro Cubans and the underworld. He then suggests the Justice Department follow up by studying the acoustical analysis in more detail, (which, of course, they did). He also calls for a thorough study of the Bronson film. Did the FBI study the Bronson film as well? Was their report ever made public?

If someone with access to the audio tapes can listen to Sturdivan's testimony and tell me if he describes F-114 as 800 feet or 800 meters, I'd appreciate it.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Pat...very little of the HSCA hearings was televised...mostly just the opening week and

the final sessions on acoustics. I have all that was televised, but it is now all in Waco

being dubbed for the Penn Jones Baylor collection. After it is dubbed, it will be

available for public viewing at Baylor.

Regarding the changes you noted, I will relate something not generally known.

Everyone who testified before the committee was GRANTED THE "COURTESY" OF

REVISING THEIR TESTIMONY TO REMOVE BAD GRAMMAR, ERRORS, OR CHANGING

SOMETHING SAID. Or the option was given of returning the transcript WITHOUT

CHANGES by signing a return transmittal that the transcript had witness approval.

The published HSCA report was more important than what was actually said. If I

had said something I meant not to say, I could have simply xxxed it out, and that

would have been the record.

How do I know? I was sent a transcript of MY testimony. I made no substantive

alterations, but did make a few grammatical changes, as I recall.

Jack

Someone with whom I was discussing this made the point that this is standard operating procedure for depositions. The problem, of course, is that this was public testimony, and not a deposition. Does anyone know if people have the right or ability to go back and change their FINAL testimony? I woud suspect not.

Jack, sorry to be a pest, but do you remember when you received your transcript? I've made a couple of depositions, and it seems to me it was a good two weeks after my depostion before I received my transcript, and then I had a month or so to send it back. The bulk of the testimony occurred in September, 1978. Do you remember how long it was before you received your transcript, and how long you had to return it? Somehow I doubt that all the corrections were collated and brought to the attention of the committee members before the committte was disbanded in December. In other words, the testimony the committee saw and upon which they came to their conclusions could be substantially different than what remains in the record (even if there was no deliberate deception).

Edited by Pat Speer
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It’s unfortunate that there are no tapes of Warren Commission testimony, as there is a blatant discrepancy between the medical record at Parkland and the transcript of Dr. Charles Baxter’s testimony. The discrepancy is too significant to be an innocent error.

The wonderful Arlen Spector asked Baxter to read aloud from his handwritten statement of 11/22/63, which is contained in WC Exhibit 392, as it was, Spector said, “a little hard to read in spots.” Baxter dutifully read it, including this crucial passage: “The President had a wound in the midline of the neck. On first observation of the remaining wounds, the temporal and parietal bones were missing . . . ”

There is only one thing, one word, wrong with that reading. The handwritten statement says “the temporal and occipital bones were missing.” And I find it hard to believe that Baxter changed occipital to parietal as he came across it while reading his own handwritten words. Rather, I believe this was a change that the WC subsequently made in the transcript for obvious reasons. Which means that there is no WC transcript of any witness testimony in the case that is trustworthy.

The ARRB brought up this very discrepancy in its interview of the Parkland doctors. As luck would have it, Dr. Baxter was late in arriving and the interview had started without him. At one point the interviewer Mr. Gunn quotes the line from Baxter’s handwritten statement, and then quotes the line as it was presumably read to Spector, with occipital changed to parietal.

Only moments later, the ARRB transcript reads:

“(Dr. Baxter enters the deposition room.)

(Off the record discussion.)”

Baxter is sworn in, and then guess what. Gunn never asks him about the discrepancy! Just unbelievable.

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Pat...very little of the HSCA hearings was televised...mostly just the opening week and

the final sessions on acoustics. I have all that was televised, but it is now all in Waco

being dubbed for the Penn Jones Baylor collection. After it is dubbed, it will be

available for public viewing at Baylor.

Regarding the changes you noted, I will relate something not generally known.

Everyone who testified before the committee was GRANTED THE "COURTESY" OF

REVISING THEIR TESTIMONY TO REMOVE BAD GRAMMAR, ERRORS, OR CHANGING

SOMETHING SAID. Or the option was given of returning the transcript WITHOUT

CHANGES by signing a return transmittal that the transcript had witness approval.

The published HSCA report was more important than what was actually said. If I

had said something I meant not to say, I could have simply xxxed it out, and that

would have been the record.

How do I know? I was sent a transcript of MY testimony. I made no substantive

alterations, but did make a few grammatical changes, as I recall.

Jack

Someone with whom I was discussing this made the point that this is standard operating procedure for depositions. The problem, of course, is that this was public testimony, and not a deposition. Does anyone know if people have the right or ability to go back and change their FINAL testimony? I woud suspect not.

Jack, sorry to be a pest, but do you remember when you received your transcript? I've made a couple of depositions, and it seems to me it was a good two weeks after my depostion before I received my transcript, and then I had a month or so to send it back. The bulk of the testimony occurred in September, 1978. Do you remember how long it was before you received your transcript, and how long you had to return it? Somehow I doubt that all the corrections were collated and brought to the attention of the committee members before the committte was disbanded in December. In other words, the testimony the committee saw and upon which they came to their conclusions could be substantially different than what remains in the record (even if there was no deliberate deception).

Sorry. I do not remember. It probably was 2 to 4 weeks after I testified. I probably made a xerox

copy of it before returning it...but it would be impossible to find. I have about 30 storage cartons

of JFK materials. As I recall, I returned it almost immediately.

Jack

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It’s unfortunate that there are no tapes of Warren Commission testimony, as there is a blatant discrepancy between the medical record at Parkland and the transcript of Dr. Charles Baxter’s testimony. The discrepancy is too significant to be an innocent error.

The wonderful Arlen Spector asked Baxter to read aloud from his handwritten statement of 11/22/63, which is contained in WC Exhibit 392, as it was, Spector said, “a little hard to read in spots.” Baxter dutifully read it, including this crucial passage: “The President had a wound in the midline of the neck. On first observation of the remaining wounds, the temporal and parietal bones were missing . . . ”

There is only one thing, one word, wrong with that reading. The handwritten statement says “the temporal and occipital bones were missing.” And I find it hard to believe that Baxter changed occipital to parietal as he came across it while reading his own handwritten words. Rather, I believe this was a change that the WC subsequently made in the transcript for obvious reasons. Which means that there is no WC transcript of any witness testimony in the case that is trustworthy.

The ARRB brought up this very discrepancy in its interview of the Parkland doctors. As luck would have it, Dr. Baxter was late in arriving and the interview had started without him. At one point the interviewer Mr. Gunn quotes the line from Baxter’s handwritten statement, and then quotes the line as it was presumably read to Spector, with occipital changed to parietal.

Only moments later, the ARRB transcript reads:

“(Dr. Baxter enters the deposition room.)

(Off the record discussion.)”

Baxter is sworn in, and then guess what. Gunn never asks him about the discrepancy! Just unbelievable.

Thanks, Ron. I didn't remember that. Beyond the eyewitness testimony discrepancies pointed out by so many, the handling of the medical testimony by Specter was highly suspicious. Watching Baden's testimony the other day, I noticed several things which had previously escaped me. Baden actually presents one of his exhibits upside down!

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