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16 Smoking Guns

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smoking gun [Colloq.] any conclusive evidence that proves guilt or fault.

—Webster’s New World Dictionary

During an interview shortly before a professional conference on “The Death

of JFK” that would be held on the Twin Cities campus of The University of Minnesota

on 14–16 May 1998, Federal Judge John R. Tunheim, who had served as

Chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), reported that no “smoking

guns” had been discovered in the course of its efforts to declassify assassination

records that had been secreted away for 50 years. The ARRB had come into

existence as an effect of the passage of “The JFK Act” by Congress during the

resurgence of interest in the assassination following the 1991 release of the Oliver

Stone film, JFK.

The JFK Act had been passed over the intense opposition of President George

Bush, a former Director of the CIA, perhaps in part because JFK implies that the

CIA, the FBI, and the Pentagon played important roles in planning, executing,

and covering up the death of our 35th president. Indeed, even after its passage,

President Bush refused to appoint any members to the board, which had to await

action by his successor, President Bill Clinton. As its own Final Report (ARRB

1998, p. xxiii) explains, this delay consumed the first 18 months of the existence

of the ARRB, which began with a three-year mandate that later would be extended

to four, during which it managed to declassify more than 60,000 records.


My concern, however, was less historical and more immediate. As the organizer

and moderator of the Twin Cities conference, I had invited more than a

dozen of the most accomplished students of JFK’s assassination to serve as speakers

and as commentators in an effort to broaden and deepen our understanding

of this event by taking into account new findings, especially those of the ARRB.


“Smoking Guns”

in the Death of JFK

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.

2 Murder in Dealey Plaza

It was my considered opinion—one I knew to be shared by virtually every other

invited speaker, including Douglas Horne, Senior Military Analyst for the ARRB

itself—that many records released by the ARRB not only substantiate previous

conclusions about conspiracy and cover-up but clearly qualify as “smoking guns.”

Judge Tunheim, whom I knew personally, was scheduled to speak at the opening

banquet Friday evening, which meant his talk would be the very first presentation

of the conference. I resolved to introduce him with a list of findings that,

in my judgment, were on the order of “smoking guns,” and drafted some notes as

guidelines for my introduction. I thereby hoped to induce him to confront these

issues directly. As luck would have it, he arrived nearly 45 minutes late, which

made it impossible for me to present my list of discoveries and still keep the

meeting on schedule. Although the opportunity was lost, I also resolved to pursue

this issue in the belief that the American people should know at least as

much as the Chair of the ARRB about its own findings. This book is meant to

serve that purpose.

The Warren Report

John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was murdered during

a motorcade as it passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas on 22 November

1963. The official government account of the crime, known as The Warren Report

after its Chair, Chief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren—but technically

entitled, The Report of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President

John F. Kennedy (1964)—held that JFK was killed by a lone, demented assassin

named Lee Harvey Oswald, who fired three shots with a high-velocity rifle

from a sixth floor window of the nearby Texas School Book Depository, scoring

two hits and one miss, which struck a distant concrete curb, ricocheted and

slightly injured by-stander James Tague. (A photograph of the injury may be

found in Robert Groden, The Killing of a President 1993, p. 41.)

The presumptive shots that hit, however, wreaked considerable damage. The

first is alleged to have entered the President’s back at the base of his neck, traversed

his neck without impacting any bony structure, exited his throat at the

level of his tie, entered the back of Texas Governor John Connally (riding in a

jump seat in front of him), shattering a rib, exiting his chest, impacting his right

wrist, and deflecting into his left thigh. The bullet supposed to have performed

these remarkable feats, moreover, is alleged to have been recovered virtually undamaged

from a stretcher at Parkland Hospital, where President Kennedy and

Governor Connally were rushed for treatment, and has come to be known as

“the magic bullet.” The other struck JFK in the back of his head and killed him.


Indeed, these findings were reaffirmed and refined by the House Select Committee

on Assassinations (HSCA) during its re-investigation of 1977–78 in its report

of 1979, with the exception that—on the basis of disputed acoustical evidence,

which it never adequately explored—it concluded that a fourth shot had been fired

from “the grassy knoll,” which made it probable that the President, after all, had

been assassinated by a conspiracy, possibly one of small scale, a matter that the

HSCA did not pursue. But, in relation to the major findings of the Warren Commis-

“Smoking Guns” 3

sion, the HSCA reaffirmed them. For the official government account of the death

of JFK to be true, therefore, at least the following three conjectures—“hypotheses,”

let us call them, to avoid begging the question by taking for granted what needs to

be established on independent grounds—have to be true:

(H1) JFK was hit at the base of the back of his neck by a bullet that traversed his

neck without hitting any bony structures and exited his throat at the level of

his tie;

(H2) JFK was hit in the back of his head by a bullet fired from the sixth floor of the

Texas School Book Depository, as its diagrams display, causing his death ;


(H3) these bullets were fired by a sole assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, using a highpowered

rifle, which was identified as a 6.5 mm Italian Mannlicher-Carcano .

As a point of deductive logic, if any of these hypotheses is false, then any account

that entails them cannot be true. Yet it is surprisingly easy to show that all three

are false.

Smoking Gun #1 : (H1) is an anatomical impossibility, because the bullet would

have had to impact bony structures.

Consider, for example, hypothesis (H1). David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., who

holds a Ph.D. in physics and is also board-certified in radiation oncology, has

studied X-rays of the President’s chest. He has used the cross-section of a body

whose upper chest and neck dimensions were the same as those of JFK and

performed a simple experiment. Taking the specific locations specified by the

HSCA for the point of entry at the base of the back of the neck and the point of

exit at the throat, he has drawn a straight line to represent the trajectory that any

bullet would have to have taken from that point of entry to that point of exit. Any

such trajectory would intersect cervical vertebrae. A CAT scan demonstrating

Mantik’s experiment has been published in a splendid study of some of the most

basic evidence in this case by Stewart Galanor, Cover-Up (1998). Here is a visual

representation of such a bullet’s trajectory:

Mantik drew a line through a CAT scan

4 Murder in Dealey Plaza

When the President’s head is properly positioned, the Commission’s own drawing

displays an upward rather than a downward trajectory. If the official drawing

of the injury to the head is correct, then the conjecture that the President was

hit from above and behind cannot be true; and if the President was hit from

above and behind, the official drawing of the injury must be false. Hypothesis

(H2) cannot possibly be true.

Zapruder Frame 312 The WC Drawing

It would have been anatomically impossible for a bullet to have taken the trajectory

specified by the official account. Hypothesis (H1) is not just false but cannot

possibly be true. (Mantik’s study may be found in Assassination Science 1998, pp.


Smoking Gun #2: The head shot trajectory is inconsistent with the position of his

head at the time of the shot, falsifying (H2).

Consider (H2), the hypothesis that a bullet fired from the sixth floor of the

Texas School Book Depository entered the back of his head and killed him. The

building in question was horizontally located to the President’s rear, while the

sixth floor of that building was vertically considerably above the President’s head.

Therefore, any such bullet must have entered the President’s head from above

and behind. That much is indisputable. No photographs of the President’s injuries

were published at the time, but The Warren Report (1964) did provide drawings

(copies of which may be found in Assassination Science (1998), p. 438). The

drawings of the head wound therefore appear to show a trajector from above

and behind, as the official account requires.

Stewart Galanor, Cover-Up (1998), however, has juxtaposed the official drawing

with frame 312 of the Zapruder film, which the Warren Commission itself

regarded as the moment before the fatal head shot incident to frame 313, with

the following result:

“Smoking Guns” 5

Smoking Gun #3: The weapon, which was not even a rifle, could not have fired the

bullets that killed the President, falsifying (H3).

Consider (H3), finally, which maintains that the bullets that hit their target

were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald using a high-powered rifle, which The Warren

Report (1964) also identified as a 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano. As other authors,

including Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965), Peter Model and Robert Groden,

JKF: The Case for Conspiracy (1976), and Robert Groden and Harrison E.

Livingstone, High Treason (1989) have also observed, the Mannlicher-Carcano

that Oswald is supposed to have used is a 6.5 mm weapon, but it is not high

velocity. Its muzzle velocity of approximately 2,000 fps means that it qualifes as

a medium-to-low velocity weapon. [Editor’s note: Indeed, strictly speaking, the

Mannlicher-Carcano is not a rifle but a carbine.]

The death certificates, The Warren Report, articles in JAMA, and other sources

state that the President was killed by wounds inflicted by high-velocity missiles.

(Some are reprinted in Assassination Science (1998).) The Mannlicher-Carcano

is the only weapon that Oswald is alleged to have used to kill the President, but

the Mannlicher-Carcano is not a high-velocity weapon; consequently, Lee Oswald

could not have fired the bullets that killed the President. Thus, hypothesis (H3)

cannot be true. This discovery is especially important, because the extensive damage

sustained by JFK’s skull and brain could not possibly have been inflicted by

a weapon of this kind. The major trauma the President endured had to have been

inflicted by one or more high-velocity weapons.

The Death of Deception

The hypotheses under consideration, (H1), (H2), and (H3), therefore, are not

merely false but are provably false. Moreover, these hypotheses are by no means

peripheral to the official account but the core of its conclusions. If (H1), (H2),

and (H3) are false, then The Warren Report (1964) cannot be salvaged, even in

spite of the best efforts of the Gerald Posners of the world. [Editor’s note: Some

problems encountered by his popular attempt to revive it have been dissected in

The 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano, which is not a high-velocity weapon.

6 Murder in Dealey Plaza

Assassination Science (1998), pp. 145–152.] Among the central findings of The

Warren Report (1964), therefore, the only one that appears to be true is the least

important, namely: that bystander James Tague was hit by a bullet fragment that

ricocheted from a distant curb and caused him minor injury.

There are many more, which may be found in this and other studies of the

death of JFK. Since Bertrand Russell raised 16 “questions” about the investigation

during 1964—even while it was still in progress—it seems appropriate to

contrast what we know now with what Russell knew then by offering 16 “smoking

guns” that complement his work. In some instances, these smoking guns

overlap with Russell’s questions, but discerning readers ought to have no difficulty

discovering others in the course of study of this book. I have found that

every access route to this subject—whether by means of the medical evidence,

the physical evidence, the eyewitness evidence, the Dallas police, The Warren

Report, the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Secret Service, or any other avenue of

approach—leads to the same conclusions we have reached here and in Assassination

Science (1998).

Other “Smoking Guns”

Smoking Gun #4 : The bullets, which were standard copper-jacked World War IIvintage

military ammunition, could not have caused the explosive damage.

The ammunition that Oswald is alleged to have used was standard full-metal

jacketed military ammunition, one round of which was supposed to have been

found on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital, a photograph of which appears as

Commission Exhibit 399 (elsewhere in this volume). This kind of ammunition

conforms to Geneva Convention standards for humane conduct of warfare and

is not intended to maim but, absent its impact with hard bodily features, to pass

through a body. It does not explode. The lateral cranial X-ray of the President’s

head (the image of his head taken from the side), however, displays a pattern of

metallic debris as effects of the impact of an exploding bullet, which could not

have been caused by ammunition of the kind Oswald was alleged to have used,

thereby exonerating him.

Axis of Metallic Debris Lateral Cranial X-ray

“Smoking Guns” 7

Smoking Gun #5: The axis of metallic debris is inconsistent with a shot from

behind but consistent with a shot that entered the area of the right temple.

The axis of debris appears to be consistent with a shot entering the area of

the right temple rather than the back of the head. Studies of this issue are found

in Joseph N. Riley, Ph.D., “The Head Wounds of John F. Kennedy: One Bullet

Cannot Account for the Injuries,” The Third Decade (March 1993), pp. 1–15, and

in Mantik’s research on the X-rays published in Assassination Science (1998), in

his comments on the recent deposition of James J. Humes, M.D., for the ARRB

(Appendix G), and in his new study of the medical evidence. In the autopsy report,

Humes had described this metallic trail as beginning low on the right rear

of the skull. The actual trail, however, lies more than 4 inches higher, much closer

to the top of the skull than to the bottom.

Confronted with this discrepancy, Humes concedes that the autopsy report is

wrong by some 10 cm. Humes here faced an impossible paradox, which he could

not honestly resolve. If he had described the trail correctly and simultaneously

reported the low entry wound to the back of the head, then the only reasonable

conclusion would have been two shots to the head—one from behind and one

from in front—which, in turn, would have implied the existence of at least two

gunmen. Humes had no choice but literally to move the trail of metallic debris

downward by more than four inches (10 cm), which is precisely what he did. As

Mantik explains, it took more than three decades for Humes to be asked to confront

this important paradox, which falsifies the lone gunman theory.

Smoking Gun #6: The official autopsy report was contradicted by more than 40

eyewitness reports and was inconsistent with HSCA diagrams and photographs.

Gary Aguiliar, M.D., has collated the testimony of more than 40 eyewitnesses,

spectators in Dealey Plaza, physicians and nurses at Parkland Hospital, Navy

medical technicians and FBI agents at Bethesda Naval Hospital, who report a

massive blow-out to the back of the head. Several physicans have diagrammed

this blow-out as it was observed at Parkland, which had the general character of

the wound depicted below. David Lifton, Best Evidence (1980), however, has diagrammed

what the wound resembled based upon the official autopsy report from

Bethesda. These may be labeled as “the heel” and “the footprint” due to their size

and relationship. When the HSCA reinvestigated the crime in 1978–79, its diagrams

and photographs now depicted a small entry wound, which is sometimes

referred to as “the red spot”:


(“the heel”)


(“the footprint”)


(“the red spot”)

8 Murder in Dealey Plaza

Smoking Gun #7 : These eyewitness reports were rejected on the basis of the Xrays,

which have been fabricated in at least two different ways.

As Mantik has discovered through the employment of optical densitometry

studies, the lateral cranial X-ray has been fabricated by imposing a patch over a

massive defect to the back of the head, which corresponds to the eyewitness

reports describing (what is called here) “the heel” shot. In effecting this deception,

the perpetrators used material that was much too dense to be normal skull

material, which enabled Mantik to discover what had been done. It turns out

that, although not common knowledge at the time, instructions that could be

followed to create composites were available in contemporary radiology publications.

He has replicated these results in the radiology darkroom, as he explains

here and in earlier studies in Assassination Science (1998).

Lateral Cranial X-ray The Patch (“Area P”)

The anterior-posterior (front-to-rear) autopsy X-ray, moreover, has been fabricated

by imposing a 6.5 mm metal object not present on the original, which

Mantik has established on the basis of additional optical densitometry studies

published in Assassination Science (1998). All three of the military pathologists

who conducted the autopsy at Bethesda have now confirmed to the ARRB that

they did not see this metallic object on the X-ray, no doubt because it was added

after the autopsy was finished. The addition of this metallic object appears to

have been done to implicate a 6.5 mm weapon, such as the Mannlicher-Carcano,

in the assassination of President Kennedy. The conspirators made mistakes due

to their lack of familiarity with this weapon, however, since it is not a highvelocity

rifle and could not have inflicted the damage that caused the President’s


Smoking Gun #8: Diagrams and photos of a brain in the National Archives are of

the brain of someone other than JFK.

Robert B. Livingston, M.D., a world authority on the human brain, has concluded

that credible reports of damage to the cerebrum and especially to the

cerebellum—numerous and consistent from the physicians at Parkland, as Aguilar

has explained—are incompatible with the diagrams and photographs that are

alleged to be of the brain of President Kennedy. As he summarizes his findings,

Livingston, who is also an expert on wound ballistics, states, “A conclusion is

“Smoking Guns” 9

obligatorily forced that the photographs and drawings of the brain in the National

Archives are those of some brain other than that of John Fitzgerald

Kennedy” (Assassination Science 1998, p. 164). This stunning inference has been

confirmed by new evidence released by the ARRB, which establishes the occurrence

of two distinct post-autopsy brain examinations involving two distinct

brains, as Douglas Horne, who was the Senior Analyst for Military Records of

the ARRB, explains in a contribution to this volume.

Smoking Gun #9 : Those who took and processed the autopsy photographs claim

that parts of the photographic record have been altered, created, or destroyed .

As a consequence of depositions by the ARRB, we now also have extensive

additional evidence that autopsy photographs have been altered, created, or destroyed.

One of the fascinating discoveries that has emerged from its efforts are

eyewitness reports from John Stringer, the offical autopsy photographer, that

the photographs of the brain shown in the official set are not those that he took

at the time; from Robert Knudsen, White House photographer, who has reported

having in his possession—at one and the same time— photographs that displayed

a major blow-out to the President’s head and others that did not; and from Saundra

Spencer, who processed the originals, who explains that she knows they are not

the same because they do not have the same physical features as other photographs

she processed using the same film, some of which she still possesses. The

importance of these and related discoveries for understanding the medical evidence

in this case is explored in studies by Aguilar and by Mantik elsewhere in

this volume.

Smoking Gun #10: The Zapruder film, among others, has been extensively edited

using highly sophisticated techniques .

Since The Warren Report (1964) published many of the frames of the Zapruder

film and placed heavy reliance upon its authenticity in arriving at its conclusions

about how many shots were fired and the time it took to fire them, if the photographic

evidence is flawed, then the Commission’s conclusions are equally in

doubt. And, indeed, there are many reasons to question the authenticity of the

Zapruder film as well as much of the other photographic evidence. In his major

study of the assassination of JFK, Bloody Treason (1997), Noel Twyman reports

consulting with Roderick Ryan, a leading technical expert on motion picture

film. Twyman had been puzzled by the discovery of numerous anomalies in the

film, including blurred stationary background figures but sharp focus of the limousine

in frame 302 versus the sharp focus of both in frame 303:

Zapruder Frame 303 Zapruder Frame 302

10 Murder in Dealey Plaza

When Twyman asked Ryan how this could be explained, he stated, “the limousine

is moving in 302 and standing still in 303” (Twyman 1997, p. 150). And

when Twyman asked him about the mysterious “blob” that seems to shift around

from frame to frame immediately after the fatal head shot at frame 313, Ryan

told him “it looked as if the blobs had been painted in” (Twyman 1997, p. 151).

[Editor’s note: The cover highlights ”the blob“ and Jackie’s face, which also seems

to be painted in.] Ryan’s opinions are all the more important insofar as they

corroborate conclusions about film alteration that had been drawn independently

by Jack White and by David Mantik, initially in Part IV of Assassination Science

(1998) and now in Part V of the current volume. Dr. Ryan received an Oscar for

his technical contributions to the motion picture industry during the April 2000

Academy Awards.

Among the most remarkable discoveries of the ARRB, moreover, was locating

two persons who worked on processing a home movie of the assassination at

the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) run by the CIA the weekend

of the murder. This movie, which appears to have been the “out-of-camera”

original of the Zapruder film, was studied by Homer McMahon, who was in

charge of the color laboratory at the time. He has reported that, after viewing it

at least 10 times, he had concluded that JFK was hit 6 or 8 times from at least

three directions, a conclusion subsequently dismissed by Secret Service Agent

William Smith, who declared that McMahon had to be mistaken because only

three shots had been fired from above and behind, an opinion he had reached

without studying the film at NPIC, a stunning episode recorded in a series of

interviews conducted for the ARRB by Douglas Horne and published here.

Smoking Gun #11: The official conclusion contradicts widely-broadcast reports

on radio and television about two shots fired from the front.

Descriptions of two wounds—of a small wound to the throat as well as a

massive blow-out to the back of the head caused by an entry wound to the right

temple—were widely broadcast that afternoon. If you look at television coverage

from that day, you will find that, at 1:35 PM, NBC reports both a shot to the

throat and a shot through the right temple, findings attributed to Admiral George

Burkley, the President’s personal physician. At 1:45 PM, another network reports

a shot through the head and a shot to the throat. Chet Huntley reports a shot

through the right temple. Robert MacNeil says it is unclear to him how the President

could have been shot through the throat and temple if the assassin was

firing from above and behind. Frank McGee calls it “incongruous.”

Malcolm Perry, M.D., who performed a tracheostomy in a vain attempt to save

the life of the mortally injured President, was so certain that a small wound to the

throat at the location of the tracheostomy had been fired from in front that—when

told that the assassin had been above and behind the limousine—he concluded

that JFK must have stood and turned to wave to spectators who were behind him.

During a press conference held at Parkland that afternoon, he stated three times

that the wound to the throat had been a wound of entry, not a wound of exit.

Through deceptive use of a series of hypothetical questions—that assumed the bullet

entered at the based of the neck, transited the neck without hitting any bony

structures, and exited at the base of the throat—the author of “the single bullet

theory,” Arlen Specter, was able to obfuscate these observations in support of the

official account, in which the trajectories of these wounds were reversed.

“Smoking Guns” 11

Smoking Gun #12 : The (fabricated) X-rays, (altered) autopsy photographs, and

even the (edited) Zapruder film were improperly used to discredit eyewitness


An important point of which most Americans are generally unaware is that

legal procedure permits photographs and motion pictures to be used as evidence

in courts of law only when a foundation for their introduction has been established

by eyewitness testimony, as Milicent Cranor has observed. According to

McCormick on Evidence, 3rd edition (1984), Section 214, for example, concerning

photographs, movies, and sound recordings:

The principle upon which photographs are most commonly admitted into

evidence is the same as that underlying the admission of illustrative drawings,

maps, and diagrams. Under this theory, a photograph is viewed merely

as a graphic portrayal of oral testimony, and becomes admissible only when

a witness has testified that it is a correct and accurate representation of the

relevant facts personally observed by the witness.

The practice of the Warren Commission and apologists for its findings appears

to be the exact opposite, where photographs and films—including X-rays—have

been used to discount the testimony of eyewitnesses, which is not only the better

evidence but is actually required to lay a foundation for the admissibility of evidence

of those kinds.

Some defenders of the official account have maintained that the Warren Commission

inquiry was not a legal proceeding but merely an advisory body offering its

findings and its recommendations to the President, which is technically correct.

The precise legal status of The Warren Report (1964) is therefore open to doubt. But

how could the interests of the American people—in truth, justice, and fairness—

possibly be served by failing to adhere to clear and established principles for the

admissibility of evidence? Alas, the question has only to be asked for the answer to

be all too obvious. As Harold Weisberg and Bertrand Russell already understood,

the Commission was not created to advance the interests of truth, justice, and

fairness, but to convince the American people that a lone gunman had assassinated

the 35th President of the United States, that the matter had been thoroughly investigated,

and that there had been no conspiracy or cover-up.

Smoking Gun #13: The motorcade route was changed at the last minute and yet

the assassination occurred on the part that had been changed.

Think about it. As Chief of Police Jesse Curry confirmed in his JFK Assassination

File (1969), which I discuss elsewhere in this volume, it was not until 18

November 1963 that the final motorcade route was settled at a meeting between

representatives of the Police Department and the Secret Service, when it was

agreed that the motorcade would take a right off Main Street onto Houston and

a very sharp left onto Elm en route to the Trade Mart, where JFK was scheduled

to present a luncheon speech. At the turn from Houston onto Elm, remarkably,

the motorcade was considered over and local security was no longer provided.

This appears to be such a transparent pretext for disavowing responsibility for

the President’s security by the Dallas Police as to be indicative of what is known

in the law as “consciousness of guilt” in failing to take or in taking measures that

ordinarily would or would not be taken—save for knowledge of the circumstances

of a crime.

12 Murder in Dealey Plaza

Indeed, the revised motorcade route was never published in the newspapers,

which raises a fascinating question, namely: How did the alleged assassin even

know that the President would pass by the Texas School Book Depository in

order for him to shoot him? In an interesting study, “The Mathematical Improbability

of the Kennedy Assassination,” The Dealey Plaza Echo (November 1999),

pp. 2–6, Ed Dorsch, Jr., has calculated that the probability of Oswald and JFK

coming within 100 yards of each other at random during his Presidency is approximately

1 in 1 hundred billion! This suggests an encounter by the two was

almost certainly no accident, yet Oswald had no reason to know he would only

have to show up for work to have the chance to shoot JFK—and his wife even

said that he had overslept! A more plausible explanation is that their proximity

was not a matter of chance but was coordinated by plans about which Oswald

had no knowledge and over which he had no control.

Smoking Gun #14: Secret Service policies for the protection of the President were

massively violated during the motorcade in Dallas.

More than a dozen Secret Service policies

for the protection of the President seem

to have been violated during the motorcade

in Dallas, including no protective military

presence; no coverage of open windows;

motorcycles out of position; agents not

riding on the Presidential limousine; vehicles

in improper sequence; utilization of

an improper route, which included a turn

of more than 90°; limousine slowed nearly

to a halt at the corner of Houston and Elm;

the limousine came to a halt after bullets

began to be fired; agents were virtually unresponsive;

brains and blood were washed

from the limousine at Parkland, even before

the President had been pronounced

dead; the limousine was stripped down and

being rebuilt already Monday, the day of

the formal state funeral; a substitute windshield

was later produced as evidence; and

so on—discoveries that are strengthened

and extended by Vincent Palamara and

Douglas Weldon, J.D., in this book.

As an illustration, consider the sequence

of vehicles. As the accompanying diagram

displays (see Richard E. Sprague, Computers

and Automation May 1970, pp. 48–49),

the Presidential limousine was the lead vehicle

in the motorcade, followed by the Secret

Service “Queen Mary,” the Vice-Presidential

liousine, the Vice-President’s security,

then the Mayor, some dignitaries, Press The Motorcade Sequence

“Smoking Guns” 13

Car #1, Press Car #2, and so on, which is completely absurd. A proper motorcade

would have the lower-ranking dignitaries early on, then those in between, and

finally the highest official, who would naturally be surrounded by the press, who

were there, after all, to cover a political event! In this case, however, everything

was wrong—even though, as Richard Trask, Pictures of the Pain (1994), p. 45, has

observed, the vehicles were identified with numerals, where the Mayor’s car, for

example, was marked with a number “1” on its windshield. Indeed, the President’s

personal physician, Admiral Burkley, was in the very last car!

This had to be deliberate, it had to be wrong, and everyone involved with

security had to know that it was wrong. In this regard, one of the most remarkable

paragraphs in the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board

(1998) is the following:

Here again we appear to be confronted with one more indication of consciousness

of guilt, which we must add to other indications of Secret Service complicity

in the death of JFK.

Smoking Gun #15: Neither the Mafia nor pro- or anti-Castro Cubans nor the KGB

could have done any of these things—much less Lee Oswald, who was either

incarcerated or already dead.

The complicity of medical officers of the United States Navy, agents of the

Secret Service, the President’s personal physician, and other representatives of

the Pentagon, the FBI, and the CIA provides powerful evidence that can serve as

a premise in the appraisal of alternative theories about the assassination of JFK.

Neither the Mafia, pro- or anti-Castro Cubans, or the KGB could have fabricated

autopsy X-rays; substituted the brain of someone else for the brain of JFK; created,

altered, or destroyed autopsy photographs; or subjected motion pictures,

such as the Zapruder film, to extensive editing using highly sophisticated techniques.

Nor could any of these things have been done by the alleged assassin, Lee

Oswald, who was either incarcerated or already dead.

From the ARRB Final Report (1998), p. 149

14 Murder in Dealey Plaza

The only theories that are remotely plausible, given these evidentiary findings,

are those that implicate various elements of the government. It was a crime

of such monstrous proportions and immense consequences that the clearly most

reasonable explanation is that elements of the government covered up the crime

because those same elements of the government committed the crime. For the

CIA to have brought these effects about on its own, moreover, would have required

medical officers of the U.S. Navy, agents of the Secret Service, and the

President’s personal physican, among many others, to have been working for or

otherwise under its control. While the CIA has repeatedly demonstrated its abilities

in bringing about changes in governments around the world—and no doubt

elements of the CIA were involved in planning and covering up this crime—it

looks as though it could not have done this one on its own.

Smoking Gun #16: Many individuals knew details about the assassination before

and after the fact, all of whom viewed Lee Oswald as no more than a patsy.

One of the more amusing events involved in assassination studies occurred

when Liz Smith, a syndicated columnist, apprised her readers that, although she

had always taken for granted that The Warren Report (1964) was right and that

Oswald had been a lone assassin, after reading Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason

(1997), she was no longer sure. This provoked an outraged response from Jack

Valenti, the Hollywood Czar and former aide to LBJ, who proclaimed that there

was a simple way to know for sure no conspiracy had been involved, namely:

that, if there had been a conspiracy, someone would have talked—and no one has

talked! The possibility of a small scale conspiracy or that most of the conspirators

might have been eliminated right away to keep things quiet may have escaped

him, but for a conspiracy of any magnitude—involving dozens and dozens,

if not hundreds of people—what Valenti said may have seemed to be right.

Of course, that presumes Valenti knew what he was talking about. On a single

page of Bloody Treason (1997, p. 285), for example, Noel lists eight names of

prominent persons who have talked, including Mafia Dons Carlos Marcello and

Santos Trafficante, Jr.; right-wing extremist Joseph Milteer; mobster Johnny

Roselli; high ranking CIA official David Atlee Phillips; his old boss, Lyndon Baines

Johnson; CIA contract agent and professional anti-Communist Frank Sturgis;

and Sam Giancanna, who confessed the complicity of the mob in collusion with

the CIA to his brother, Chuck. If Valenti cared about the truth in a matter of this

kind, then he might have wanted to read Twyman’s book before he set out to

trash it, or visited his local book store and picked up a copy of Double Cross


Other Sources

These are hardly the only persons to have talked about the assassination. Jim

Hicks, for example, who bears a striking resemblance to someone photographed

outside of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City impersonating Lee Oswald, was

photographed in Dealey Plaza with an antenna hanging out of his pocket and

claims to have been a communications coordinator for the killing. Charles

Harrelson, serving a life term for the assassination of a federal judge with a highpowered

rifle, once confessed to having killed Kennedy, by which I take it he

meant he had fired the fatal shot. Chauncey Holt, a counterfeiter who worked as

“Smoking Guns” 15

a contract agent for the CIA, has told me he was instructed to bring 15 sets of

forged Secret Service credentials to Dealey Plaza, which he dutifully prepared, but

that, in light of his extensive experience with the underworld, he thought it was not

a mob hit but rather a military operation. I now suspect that Chauncey was correct.

The role of the Pentagon in this affair certainly deserves further investigation.

And there are others. Perhaps the most interesting is Madeleine Duncan

Brown, a former mistress of LBJ by whom she had a son, who was not LBJ’s only

offspring out of wedlock but was his only son. Among the fascinating details she

conveys in a book of their affair, Texas in the Morning (1997), is that Lyndon told

her, at a social event the night before the murder at the home of oil baron Clint

Murchison, that after tomorrow he would not have to put up with embarrassment

from those Kennedy boys any longer. And that, during a New Year’s Eve

rendezvous at The Driskill Hotel in Austin, when she confronted him with rumors

(rampant in Dallas at the time) that he had been involved (since no one

stood to gain more personally), he blew up at her and told her that the CIA and

the oil boys had decided that Jack had to be taken out—which is about as close

as we are going to get to the font.

Then and Now

Having known Chauncey Holt and having talked with Madeleine Duncan

Brown, no doubt I have cognitive advantages that Jack Valenti does not enjoy,

simply because I know more about the case than he does. Although many

American know that there are excellent books on the assassination—including

Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965), Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment (1966), Josiah

Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas (1967), Sylvia Meager, Accessories After the Fact

(1967), James Hepburn, Farewell America (1968), George O’Toole, The

Assassination Tapes (1975), Gary Shaw, The Cover-Up (1976), Peter Model and

Robert Groden, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy (1976), David Lifton, Best Evidence

(1980), Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (1988), Jim Marrs, Crossfire

(1989), Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone, High Treason (1989), Charles

Crenshaw, JFK: Conspiracy of Silence (1992), Harrison Livingstone, High Treason

2 (1992), Robert Groden, The Killing of a President (1993), and Noel Twyman,

Bloody Treason (1997)—to mention 16 of the best—they do not realize how much

we know now on the basis of scientific findings.

In defense of Judge Tunheim, of course, the objection could be raised that he

had his hands full with more than 60,000 records and might not have had any

opportunity for reading other work on the assassination, even Stewart Galanor,

Cover-Up (1998), a work of less than 200 pages that conclusively refutes Warren

Commission and HSCA findings. Although he was Chair of the ARRB, it might

be argued, he cannot be expected to have read everything ever written on this

subject. And, indeed, that is not an unreasonable point to make for any American

citizen. Let me therefore close with a recommendation. Start with Galanor’s

Cover-Up (1998), as I have done here; then read the book you have in your hands;

and finally turn to Assassination Science (1998). You are entitled to know what

happened to your country on 22 November 1963. As Charles Drago has eloquently

observed, anyone sincerely interested in this case who does not conclude that

JFK was murdered as the result of a conspiracy is either unfamiliar with the

evidence or cognitively impaired.

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