Photo: Doug Horne – November, 2009
Dick Russell’s Interview with Doug Horne
“Opening a new window through which the truth might emerge.” – Dick Russell
From: On the Trail of the Assassins – A Revealing Look at America’s Most Infamous Unsolved Crime – by Dick Russell (Skyhoruse Publishing, 2008), Chapter 41, (p. 363-389).
“Contained within our deposition transcripts and interview reports is unequivocal evidence that there was a U.S. government cover-up of the medical evidence in the Kennedy assassination.”
– Douglas P. Horne
Former Chief Analyst for Military Records,
Assassination Records Review Board.
In my many years on the assassination trail, I had never been especially interested in the questions raised by a number of researchers about the physical evidence indicating that someone other than Oswald must have been involved. I’d perused books like David Lifton’s Best Evidence, but always found the subject a bit too esoteric (and perhaps a little too grisly) for my taste.
My attitude changed, in the course of preparing this book, when it was suggested that I speak with Douglas Horne. He had been an integral part of the third, and last, government body to take witness testimony about the assassination. Established by President Clinton in the wake of Oliver Stone’s controversial movie, JFK, the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) was chartered to locate and declassify records still being kept secret by the CIA, FBI, and other government agencies, and to make them publicly available in a new “JFK Records Collection” in the National Archives. Although Congress did not want the ARRB to reinvestigate or even draw conclusions about the assassination, the staff did take depositions under oath from certain key individuals.
Analysis of the sworn testimony before the ARRB of ten people involved in the autopsy, and others interviewed previously by the HSCA, have led Horne to the inescapable conclusion that a high-level government cover-up was in place from the very afternoon of the president’s death. We spoke for more than two hours, in an interview tape-recorded with his permission over the phone. Horne’s revelations proved so stunning that I came to believe they should end this book – hopefully opening a new window through which the truth might finally emerge.
DICK RUSSELL: HOW DID YOU END UP GETTING ON THE REVIEW BOARD STAFF?
DOUG HORNE: I’d been with the Navy for twenty years, first as a surface warfare officer on active duty with the Pacific Fleet for ten years – those are the professionals who drive and manage our Navy’s surface ships – and after that served the Navy for ten more years in a civil service capacity in Hawaii.
I happened to be in Washington, D.C., on Navy business in ’94 when COPA [Coalition on Political Assassinations] was hosting a JFK assassination research symposium. One of the speakers there was Jack Tunheim, who was the head o the five-member Review Board that had been confirmed by the Senate and was about to begin its business. At the end of his talk, he was asked, “Are you hiring staff?” and he said, “Yes, we’ve just started, it’ll take quite awhile an we’ll have to get them clearances.”
(I should point out here that the Board appointed by President Clinton consisted of five VIPs who set matters of broad policy, but worked part-time and only convened about 3 days every month. The staff of 25-28 people hired to support the Board did the lion’s share of the work.).
The very next day, I submitted a letter to the staff’s executive director, David Marwell, saying I’d like to apply for a job. Getting that job turned out to be a very time-consuming process. Most of the people hired were living in the local area and were able to do in-person interviews, so living in Hawaii, I was at a distinct disadvantage. After undergoing a gauntlet of six telephone interviews, I finally received a job offer in March 1995, and started in August. I had to move at my own expense – this was a real test of my motivations – and I took a massive pay cut. I was able to swing it, but just barely. I basically beat the door down through perseverance, and felt the sacrifices were worthwhile because I had always been captivated by the mystery presented by the JFK assassination, and greatly admired Jack Kennedy’s presidency.
There were four groups of analysts that comprised the majority of the Review Board staff – teams that examined and worked to declassify military records, CIA records, FBI records, and finally, records of the Secret Service and all the remaining agencies. I was hired as a senior analyst on the military records team. About a year-and-a-half later, after my boss quit, they kicked me upstairs to take his job as chief analyst, or team leader for the military records team.
D.R.: HOW DID YOU THEN GET INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE MEDICAL RECORDS SIDE OF THINGS?
DOUG HORNE: The short answer is because the autopsy was performed by the Navy, and the autopsy report was therefore a ‘military record’ that came under the purview of my records team.
But that’s not the real answer. During the interview process, I learned that Jeremy Gunn – at the time the staff’s head of research and analysis (and destined to become its general counsel) – shared a common interest: a fascination with all the medical evidence, and specifically the conflicts within the medical evidence that seemed un-resolvable. Then, not long after I came onboard, the Board granted permission to take the first two medical depositions: sworn interviews of James J. Humes and “J” Thornton Boswell, the two Navy pathologists who conducted the autopsy at Bethesda Naval hospital. I became the research assistant to Jeremy Gunn, and helped him prepare questions for all ten medical evidence depositions related to the autopsy. I also prepared all the exhibits and assisted Jeremy with them during the questioning of each witness.
DR: WHEN DID THE LIGHT FIRST GO ON THAT SOMETHING WAS NOT RIGHT WITH WHAT THESE DOCTORS WERE TELLING YOU?
DOUG HORNE: It’s long been known that Dr. Humes, who was the chief pathologist at the autopsy, prepared a typed statement two days after the assassination saying that he’d burned his preliminary autopsy notes. He had repeated this several times in the years since, each time claiming he’s thrown the notes into his fireplace because they had on them the blood of the president, which he deemed unseemly. Jeremy had reason to suspect that an early draft of the autopsy report had also been destroyed, based upon an analysis of inconsistencies between Dr. Humes’ previous testimony about when he wrote the draft, and existing records documenting its transmission to higher authority. Humes had never admitted this before but, under persistent questioning by Jeremy in February 1996, he finally did so.
Jeremy and I were left with the conclusion at the end of the Humes deposition that he was a great liar. The question was, what was he lying about? There were so many times when he would try to deflect our questions with either arrogance or bluff, and other times he would try to play dumb, saying, “I’m an old man and I can’t remember.” We didn’t find that convincing.
The second pathologist deposed was Dr. Boswell. After that, there was no doubt about a major medical cover-up. (Boswell was much more forthcoming than Humes, and inadvertently, I think, “gave the store away” on a number of occasions.) It was my idea to use an anatomically correct model of the human skull, which I was allowed to purchase and construct myself, in an attempt to get Boswell to visually identify the true extent of the damage to President Kennedy’s skull. (There shouldn’t have been any doubt this 33 years after the autopsy, but unfortunately much eyewitness testimony disagreed with the autopsy photographs and x-rays, and many of the autopsy photos seemed intended to conceal, rather than to reveal the true nature of the head wounds.)
When Boswell had executed a famous two-dimensional sketch of the damage to the skull on the reverse side of the autopsy body chart on November 22, 1963, he’d indicated that a large area of bone was missing from the top of the president’s skull, but his diagram left unanswered whether any bone was missing from the back of the head. While he was still under oath, we asked Boswell to define where there was bone missing, in three dimensions, on the skull model with a marking pen. We wanted to know how much skull bone might have been missing in the back of the head, if any. Of course, we didn’t tell him that.
And when he soberly, but matter-of-factly marked the area of missing bone on the skull model, it included the entire right rear of the skull behind the ear. Jeremy and I almost fell out of our chairs. Now the autopsy photographs, which show the back of the head to be intact, made no sense whatsoever. Boswell’s annotated skull model implied that three must have been a shot that struck Kennedy from the front, a bullet that exited from the back of his skull. (Exit wounds are large and avulsive; entrance wounds are small and penetrating.)
So following these first two depositions, Jeremy and I knew that the medical evidence was suddenly of tremendous interest. We then pursued the third pathologist involved in the autopsy, Army pathologist Pierre Finck. Dr. Finck used forgetfulness as his defense, which was not convincing, because in a social context, he relayed to us vivid memories of what he was doing in 1938 and the early 1950s – but when it came to the Kennedy assassination, he couldn’t remember anything. Even when we showed him a document that he had signed or written and say, “Do you remember this?” he’s respond, “I don’t know.” We’d say, “Well, is this your signature?” And he’d respond, “Well, it looks like my signature.” He was really slippery. But on a couple of answers, Finck provided useful information.
DR: WHAT DID YOU ULTIMATELY CONCLUDE THESE THREE DOCTORS WERE UP TO?
DOUG HORNE: I am now convinced – and this insight didn’t really come to me until 2006, when I did much of the writing on the manuscript I’m putting together about all this – that Humes and Boswell, who were there at the morgue with the president’s body well before the autopsy started and prior to Dr. Finck’s arrival, were involved in a covert deception operation from the very beginning. I believe they were told, for national security reasons, to destroy or suppress any evidence that the president was shot from the front and to record only evidence that he was shot form the rear – even if they had to manufacture some of it.
I don’t think Finck was initially a part of the deception; the great irony is that even though he was a board-certified forensic pathologist, I believe he was a victim of the Humes-Boswell covert operation. At some point, after the fact, I believe Finck suspected this, but felt he was in so deep by this time, and realized he was so compromised, that he decided not to blow the whistle officially; instead he left a few clues in the record over the years for “CYA” purposes.
He was certainly timid and scared when we took his deposition; this was surprising at the time, since the 1992 interview published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) portrayed him as a “lion,” and a person with a good memory and great certitude about the autopsy’s events and conclusions. The main point I am trying to make here is that Humes and Boswell had possession of the president’s body much earlier in the evening than the official record indicates, and undertook activities to alter the evidentiary record that they did not reveal to Finck.
DR: CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT FURTHER?
DOUG HORNE: Let me jump ahead to someone we interviewed later. We were led by a researcher, Kathleen Cunningham, to an ex-Marine who was the sergeant in charge of the security detail at the morgue. Kathleen made clear to us that he was not someone who’d been part of the honor guard, with the white gloves and dress uniforms, whom we read about in William Manchester’s book Death of a President. The group this person supervised was not the joint service casket team, but was a physical security detail from the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., dressed in Marine Corps working uniforms, and carrying weapons.
We had an ‘ace’ investigator on our staff, Dave Montague, who specialized in locating people, and he and I interviewed this person. The sergeant’s name was Roger Boyajian, pronounced ‘Boy-gen.’ He had retained an original onion-skin carbon copy of the after-action report that he wrote on November 26, 1963, the day after JFK’s funeral, and had shared its contents with Ms. Cunningham. A document like this one that is contemporaneous is priceless, because it’s not distorted by fading memories, by time – or by anyone’s subsequent theories about the assassination.
So I interviewed Boyajian on the phone, and he then mailed me a photocopy of that document, and authenticated it with a letter written above his signature.
He’d gotten to Bethesda really early, before the president’s body arrived. One of the entries in his report reads: “1835 – President’s Casket Arrives.” That means 6:35 PM, and indicates that he took notes; every military man in those days had what’s called a “wheel book,” a little green U.S. government memoranda notebook that fits into your back pocket. The thing is, that’s a mind-blowing entry, because it is a well-documented fact that the light-gray Navy ambulance, with the president’s bronze casket from Dallas inside, didn’t arrive at Bethesda until approximately five minutes before seven, and it sat outside in front of the main building, for about 12 minutes or so before being driven around to the back of the morgue. HSCA interviews of FBI agents James Sibert and Francis O’Neill revealed that these two men, assisted only by two Secret Service agents, helped carry in this heavy bronze casket (using a dolly), without the assistance of the joint service casket team (which was not present when this happened); and a 1964 FBI report provides a time marker for this event of about 7:17 PM. Yet here was Sergeant Boyajian, four days after the assassination, placing the arrival time of the president’s body almost forty-five minutes earlier.
Now, back in 1979, Dennis David – a Navy petty officer who was standing duty that night at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center as “Chief of the Day” for the medical school – had told author David Lifton that he’d gathered up a group of sailors at the request of the Secret Service, gone to the back of the hospital to the morgue loading dock, and carried in a cheap, lightweight, unadorned gray (or dull silver-colored) aluminum shipping casket from a black hearse. (Not the four-hundred-pound formal bronze viewing casket delivered to Bethesda from Andrews Air Force Base in a light-gray Navy ambulance.) Lifton had asked David to estimate the time, and he’d day around 6:40 or 6:45 PM. This is undeniably a very early casket entry, and of a distinctly different type of casket than the heavy, ornate bronze viewing coffin the president was placed in at Parkland hospital after his death.
After lobbying Jeremy Gunn for months, I was finally allowed to conduct an unsworn interview of Dennis David on the phone. He told the whole story again to me, and nothing had changed form what he’d originally told Lifton seventeen years previously. He also said that he’d asked Dr Boswell early the next morning, after the autopsy was over, if the president had been in the casket that he and the sailors had helped carry in that night; he asked the question because although the Secret Service had told him to carry it into the morgue, he and his sailors were not permitted to stay in the morgue and see it opened. Boswell confirmed to Dennis David that he and his sailors had indeed carried the president’s body into the morgue that evening.
All of this corroborates the Lifton hypothesis that the heavy bronze casket that arrived about 45 minutes later that evening at the morgue loading dock, and was quietly carried into the hospital by the FBI and Secret Service at about 7:17 PM, had to be empty.
It also tells us that we should pay attention to the many people in the morgue who remembered the president’s body arriving in a zippered body bag, because those observations are consistent with, and in fact corroborate, the broken chain-of-custody demonstrated by the impossibly early casket entry. Jermey and I located one additional body bag witness. We interviewed one of the morticians, John Van Hoesen, and he independently recalled – we didn’t ask him – that the president’s body was in a black zippered pouch. He joins several other, previously known body-bag witnesses: Paul O’Conner, Floyd Riebe, Jerrol Custer, and Captain John Stover. This is extremely significant because when the president’s body left Dallas it was wrapped in two sheets, one around the body and one around the head, and was not placed inside a body bag.
Here’s what this all means: Every time we have a witness who says they saw the president removed from a body-bag, or arrive in a shipping casket, they are in audience one, the early arrival audience that was present during, or immediately after, the ‘early’ 6:35 PM arrival of the President’ body documented by Sergeant Boyajian’s report.
Every time a witness says the president’s body arrived wrapped only in sheets, in an expensive bronze casket, they are in audience two, which witnessed JFK reintroduced into the morgue at 8:00 PM by the joint service casket team. I know this sounds strange, but none of those people were making these stories up; they are all credible witnesses who simply saw different events at different times that evening.
The Secret Service, specifically Roy Kellerman, who had been the agent in charge of the Texas trip, was stage-managing these shenanigans as best he could, and attempting to keep the two audiences apart – with the exception of Humes, Boswell, and their Navy superiors, who clearly all knew what was afoot. There was a “shell game” going on with the president’s body between its initial arrival at 6:35 PM and the commencement of the official “autopsy-of-record” at 8:15 PM, when the y-incision was made in the chest. A preliminary medical examination and other manipulations – what Lifton had speculatively called the pre-autopsy autopsy – began about an hour-and-a-half before the official one.
Afterwards, the president’s body was then reintroduced into the bronze casket wrapped in the sheets that it had left Dallas in, was placed in a light gray Navy ambulance (for there was more than one in use that night), and was allowed to be ‘found’ by the joint service casket team. (The casket team, or honor guard, had admittedly lost track of the Dallas casket after its arrival at Bethesda, tearing off in chase of an apparent ‘decoy’ and getting lost in the darkness, on the unfamiliar grounds of the Navy medical complex). After finding the Dallas casket in front of the hospital in a light gray ambulance, it was formally and very publicly taken into the morgue by them at 8:00 PM – by these military men from all of the different armed services in their dress uniforms and white gloves – as recorded in the after-action report of the Military District of Washington.
It really happened that way. The evidence for three separate casket entries into the morgue (at 6:35 the aluminum shipping casket brought in by the Navy sailors, at 7:17 the bronze casket’s surreptitious entry by the FBI and Secret Service, and at 8:00 PM the official “ceremony” or delivery of the bronze casket by the military honor guard) is overwhelming and unimpeachable, and the honest researcher cannot simply be in denial about these events if he takes a scientific, empirical approach to the evidence.
So why was this necessary? Why the shell game?
Because the chain-of-custody of the body has been broken, and it had arrived in the wrong casket and in the wrong wrapping, in order that a clandestine examination (prior to the autopsy proper) and clandestine manipulations (unbeknownst to most autopsy witnesses) could be performed. This covert operation had to be successful completed, and then covered up, if the country was to buy the simplistic story of the assassination that the government was selling, and so to effectuate the cover-up, the president’s body had to be seen publicly arriving at the morgue in the Dallas casket and the Dallas wrappings.
Hence the 8:00 PM casket entry, performed by the joint service casket team – whose job it was to stay with the body and carry the casket – and dutifully record in the after-action report written by the Army. The size of audience number one, which witnessed the early entry and/or the first casket opening, was small and it was composed of either conspirators (Humes, Boswell, and their superiors), or very low level enlisted people who were muzzled after the fact by threat of court martial.
The varying casket and ambulance descriptions, and the serious timeline discrepancies about when the two caskets entered the morgue, prove there was a serious break in the chain-of-custody of the president’s body, which in any medico legal setting (such as a trial or inquest) would invalidate most, if not all, of the autopsy results.
I am absolutely convinced that Humes and Boswell were engaged in a deception that centered around getting the body early and performing certain manipulations on it. The two FBI agents on the scene – O’Neill and Sibert, wrote that they were initially barred from entering the morgue, and it is apparent that hence they recorded in their report dated November 26 that what they sincerely believed to be the first autopsy incision – the Y incision in the chest – happened at 8:15 PM. Dr. Finck didn’t arrive until about 8:30 at night (after the brain, lungs, and heart had been removed) and was also unaware of the Navy manipulations performed on the body between the 6:35 PM arrival of the shipping casket, and the 8:00 PM reintroduction of the body to the morgue in the bronze Dallas casket.
D.R.: WHAT SPECIFIC MANIPULATIONS ARE YOU REFERING TO?
DOUG HORNE: Well, here we go – this is the heart of my book, and it is where I differ significantly with the scenario laid out by David Lifton in best Evidence. Lifton believed at the time his book was published that the reason the Dallas wound descriptions by the treatment physicians at Parkland hospital (of a localized exit wound in the back of the head and an entrance wound in the throat below the Adam’s apple) are so different from the Bethesda wound descriptions ( of a much larger head wound encompassing additional, and massive damage to the top and the right side of the head, and of an exit wound in the throat and an entry wound in the high shoulder not seen in Dallas) is because the wounds on the body were tampered with – altered – while the body was in transit between Parkland hospital and the Bethesda complex in Maryland. He wrote in his book that he alteration of the wounds on the body – post-mortem surgery – was performed not only to remove bullets, but to reverse the apparent trajectories first noted in the throat wound and the head wound at Parkland hospital, and thus ‘fool’ the autopsy pathologists into believing that all of the shots came from behind, rather than from in front. Lifton’s view in his 1981 book was that the body of the president, the road map of the shooting, was altered to deceive the pathologists. He posited that the back of the head was also reconstructed prior to arrival at Bethesda and that its condition not only fooled the Navy pathologists, but also fooled the camera, resulting in the autopsy photos we have today of an intact back of the head.
I have reinterpreted the same body of evidence he examined, and married that body of evidence with certain key HSCA interviews (which are now open-in-full and available to the public), and new findings gleaned from the ARRB interviews and depositions, and have concluded that while the throat wound may possibly have been tampered with in transit, that it was the Navy pathologists, Drs. Humes and Boswell, and possibly one of their superiors, who performed the post-mortem surgery that so drastically altered the head wound – enlarging it to four or five times its original size in an attempt to make it appear more or less consistent with a large exit wound caused by a shot fired from behind.
In altering the head wound they not only dramatically expanded the size of the rather localized exit wound in the rear of the head seen in Dallas, to encompass the top of the skull and part of the right side, but also surgically removed from the body evidence of an entry wound in the right front of the head.
In doing so, they obliterated forensic evidence of a shot fired from the ‘grassy knoll.’
Numerous small bullet fragments – many more than the two mentioned in the record today – were removed from the brain, and disposed of, never to be seen again.
I also conclude, from a key HSCA staff interview report of an autopsy technician, that they removed a large bullet fragment from the president’s back – a significant portion of a bullet found lodged between two of his ribs. The evidence for these claims will be presented in great detail in my forthcoming book.
Furthermore, whereas Lifton believed that the autopsy photos we have today of an intact back of the head were taken immediately after the body’s arrival, I am now of the belief that the partial cranial reconstruction seen in these images was performed after the conclusion of the autopsy and that the deceptive photographic record of the back of the head that is in the archives today was photographed after midnight, after the conclusion of the autopsy, by a different photographer from the one who photographed the autopsy proper.
This is how we end up with “autopsy” photographs showing the back of the head intact, which are in stark disagreement with both the Dallas and the Bethesda eyewitnesses. A large portion of the rear of the cranium was observed to be missing by both Dallas and Bethesda eyewitnesses; the difference between their observations is that most of the Bethesda eyewitnesses who saw the body after 8:00 PM recall not only the back of the head missing, but also significant portions of the top and right-hand side of the skull, as well.
Most witnesses from the autopsy recall a very large area of missing bone at the back of the head – confirmed fro us by the skull diagram Dr. Boswell drew in three dimensions on a model skull. Because this damage does not appear in the autopsy photographs on file in the National Archives, most researchers have believed for many years that the discrepancy is explained by photographic forgery, “special effects” to make the unsworn ARRB medical witness interviews conducted by Jeremy and me, I no longer believe that photographic forgery is an explanation for the perplexing back of the head images.
The alternative possibilities – namely, major manipulation of loose and previously reflected scalp from elsewhere on the head, or partial reconstruction of the head by the morticians, a the direction of the pathologists – seem to be a much more likely explanation for these anomalous photos. To be sure, the photos are a lie – for they do create the false impression that the back of the head was intact when the body arrived from Dallas, and they do provide false “evidence” that all eyewitnesses to a blow-out in the right rear of the head were ‘wrong.’ But I am as certain as I can be that the are not photographic forgeries.
I was steered toward this opinion by the testimony of the two FBI agents, Sibert and O’Neill. We would never have deposed them if I hadn’t insisted on it and persevered. This was about two years into our medical effort, and Jeremy was beginning to doubt the value of the exercise, because the memories were so old and many witnesses’ stories kept changing over time. I mean, I was confused, too, but I knew these differing recollections were important. My attitude was, ‘once these guys are dead, they can’t be interviewed by anybody.’ So Jeremy finally gave the okay to make initial contact with the two FBI agents who had been present at the autopsy. And, to my pleasant surprise, the agents were not only willing to be deposed, they couldn’t wait. They were still offended by not having been deposed by either the Warren Commission or the House Select Committee on Assassinations. And what we got from them was a gold mine in some respects.
Both men found the images of the intact back of the head troubling, and inconsistent with the posterior head wound they vividly remembered. O’Neill opined under oath that the images appeared “doctored,” by which he meant that the head had been put back together by the doctors. Sibert testified that the head looked “reconstructed” – he actually used that word!
D.R.: CAN YOU EXPAND UPON WHY YOU ARE SO CERTAIN THE BACK OF THE HEAD IMAGES ARE NOT PHOTOGRAPHIC FORGERIES?
DOUG HORNE: I am virtually certain they are not photographic forgeries because I’ve looked at them in extremely close detail, and by this I mean I have studied the so-called camera-original color positive transparencies for hours at a time in Rochester, after they were magnified by enhancing software in the Kodak lab where we took them for digital preservation. We didn’t see any matte lines, or any discontinuities in the hair. We could see individual pores in the skin in between the strands of hair, and all of the grain and resolution seemed consistent across the board in the areas were looking at.
However, I’m convinced that, while not “special effects” forgeries, they are fraudulent and dishonest. They official Navy photographer, John Stringer, and his assistant Floyd Riebe, left the morgue after the conclusion of the autopsy at about 11:45 PM or midnight. Then a second photographer – Robert Knudsen, who was not a trained medical photographer, but a Navy chief photographer’s mate who was a social photographer at the White House – was employed to take the pictures of the head after its reconstruction.
And these photographs were later used to misrepresent the condition of the president’s head when the body arrived at Bethesda. The real photographs of the exit wound in the rear of the president’s skull would have been deep-sixed. It’s that simple.
Shortly after the assassination, on two separate occasions, Knudsen showed another government photographer, Joe O’Donnell, two sets of photographs, one with the back of the head intact (which must have been taken by himself, after midnight, following partial reconstruction of the cranium). So I believe Knudsen knew what hew as doing and what the intent was, but I do not believe he thought he was doing it for sinister reasons. His family described him to us as a very patriotic American who loved President Kennedy, so I conclude that he, too, like Humes and Boswell, was no doubt given a national security cover story to explain why he was engaged in subterfuge.
D.R.: YOU HAVE BEEN QUOTED AS COMING TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE AUTOPSY REPORT IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IS NOT THE ORIGINAL VERSION. CAN YOU COMMENT ON THAT?
DOUG HORNE: I’m positive the autopsy report in evidence today, Warren Commission Exhibit #387, is the third version prepared – not the sole version, as was claimed for years by those who wrote it and signed it. A careful study of the receipt trail for transmission of the report, the Humes and Boswell deposition transcripts reveals what happened.
First, Humes and Boswell met about mid-day on Saturday, November 23 (the day after the autopsy) and reviewed a draft of the autopsy report. It is both interesting, and significant, I think, that Dr. Finck was not present. The draft was also reviewed that day by the C.O. of the Naval hospital, Captain Robert Canada. Humes then destroyed both his own autopsy notes, and that first draft, in the fireplace of his home early in the morning of Sunday, November 24. He may have also destroyed the notes of Dr. Finck at that same time. (David Lifton led the ARRB to a very credible witness who signed an affidavit stating that he overheard Finck complaining in 1963 that his notes had disappeared the night of the autopsy, and that he had to reconstruct them from memory afterwards.)
So the first autopsy report – a draft that Finck did not see but which was reviewed by Humes, Boswell, and Captain Canada, was burned early Sunday morning before sunrise.
We also know that the three pathologists met, reviewed, and signed an autopsy report during the daylight hours on Sunday, November 24. But I do not believe the autopsy report signed November 24 – the second version – is the one in the archives today. I say this because Warren Commission staff director J. Lee Rankin is quoted in an executive session transcript from late in January 1964 as saying that the autopsy [report] sows a bullet fragment (by implication, from the headshot) came out the front of President Kennedy’s neck – a conclusion that is most definitely not in the autopsy report in the record today. So where is this second version of the autopsy report?
Apparently, the Kennedy family got a hold of it in 1965 and it has never been seen since. The evidence for this is a receipt prepared by Vice Admiral Burkley, the president’s military physician, on April 26, 1965 which transfers the original autopsy report and seven copies from the Secret Service to Evelyn Lincoln, in compliance with Senator Robert Kennedy’s orders to transfer all of the autopsy materials to his custody. So far, so good, but wait! Incredibly, there is a second receipt transferring shat is described as the ‘original’ autopsy report, only this time it is transferred from the Secret Service to the national archives on October 3, 1967. How could an original document be transferred from the Secret Service to Evelyn Lincoln, and then a second time from the Secret Service to someone else? This can only happen if there are two documents, two autopsy reports.
The first autopsy report transferred, the one passed to the Kennedy family in April, 1965, has disappeared along with various tissue samples and a brain specimen; it is almost certainly the version J. Lee Rankin refers to in the then – Top Secret Warren Commission executive session transcript. The second signed version of the autopsy report transferred by the Secret Service, the one they transmitted to the archives in October 1967, is the item in evidence today; therefore, counting the draft that Humes burned on November 24 in his fireplace, it is (at least) the third version of the autopsy report, overall.
Instead of describing a fragment of the head shot exiting the front of the neck, the report in the archives instead describes a bullet – what came to be known later as the so-called ‘magic bullet’ – transiting the body, from the rear to the front, entering high in the shoulder and exiting the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple. The autopsy report in the archives today is an undated document. Only the transmission letter is dated November 24, and if the report was rewritten as the receipt trail shows it must have been, then the new report could have been substituted in the official record without changing the transmission letter, giving the false impression that it was prepared on November 24.
All we know for sure is that the version in evidence today, CE# 387, was shown to Parkland hospital doctors in Dallas on December 11, 1963. Its conclusions that a bullet transited the body from back to front were used to get the Dallas doctors to doubt their own conclusions on November 22 that the president had been shot in the throat from the front.
D. R.: IN NOVEMBER 1998 THERE WERE TWO NEWSPAPER STORIES, ONE PUT OUT BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, AND THE OTHER BY THE WASHINGTON POST, WHICH QUOTED YOUR ARRB RESEARCH MEMO THAT CONCLUDED THERE WERE TWO SEPARATE BRAIN EXAMINATIONS AFTER THE AUTOPSY ONTEH BODY, INSTEAD OF ONY ONE, AS THERE NORMALLY SHOULD BE. THAT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE. HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THAT CONCLUSION?
DOUG HORNE: That insight, or rather epiphany, came to me fairly early in our investigation, in May 1996, right before the Finck deposition. Jeremy and I were working on the weekend to get ready for it. He asked me to do a study of all events surrounding the brain exam. (In cases of death due to head trauma, the brain is always examined separately after it has been removed from the body and has been fixed to some extent in formaldehyde).
I sat down and pulled out every piece of testimony and every document I could find. After I finished, I walked into his office and said, “Jeremy, if you just do a time-line analysis, it’s clear there were two events. This is really big, and it’s also frustrating because we’ve already deposed Humes and Boswell.”
He looked at me and said, “I also think there were two brain exams.” I was stunned, and asked how he’d come to the same conclusion. “By reading the descriptions of the damage,” he said, “and comparing those descriptions to the pattern of damage evident in the brain photographs in the archives. In my opinion, they don’t match.”
So when we deposed Finck a few days later, we focused in on this one subject, and this is where we got our one big answer from him. The examination of the president’s brain clearly took place on November 25, 1963, based upon the consistent testimony of Dr. Boswell and autopsy photographer John Stringer over the years, furthermore, a lab technician at Bethesda, Leland Benson, told the HSCA that he processed brain tissue on Monday, November 25, on the dame date identified independently by both Boswell and Stringer as the date of the brain exam. (Humes’ answers on this were all over the map, and veried, when he was pressed on the subject.) Finck was known to have been at a brain exam, and wrote in a 1965 report to his boss that he was first contacted about a brain exam by Humes on November 29. When we asked Finck at his ARRB deposition whether the exam he attended had transpired two or three days after the autopsy, or about a week later, he was emphatic in his belief that it occurred at least a week after the autopsy, and as I recall it was just about the only answer he was adamant about. This was consistent with the memorandum he’d written to Brigadier General J. M. Blumberg, his military superior, in February 1965.
We called the Navy photographer, John Stringer, to testify. To our amazement, he disowned the brain photographs in the Archives, for three reasons. First, they were taken on a type of film that he did not use. They also depicted “inferior” views of the underside of the brain that he was certain he did not shoot. And, finally, the photographs of several individual sections of brain tissue that he did photograph – brain tissue that he insisted had been serially sectioned – were not present.
FBI agent O’Neill also swore to us that the brain photos in the Archives could not possibly be of the president’s brain, because there was too much tissue present. O’Neill remembered clearly that more than half of President Kennedy’s brain was missing when he saw it at the autopsy, following its removal from the cranium. Both O’Niell and Tom Robinson, one of the morticians, told us that they recalled that a large portion of the rear of the president’s brain was missing, when they saw it outside the body at the morgue during the autopsy. And each man unequivocally demonstrated the location of the absent brain tissue in my presence, by dramatically placing his right hand on the back of the right side of his own head, behind the right ear. By contrast, in the brain depicted in the archives photographs, the right cerebellum is completely intact. Both John Stringer and many of the Dallas treating physicians recalled severe damage to the cerebellum, the structure low in the rear of the human brain.
There is absolutely no doubt that the second brain exam – on a brain not belonging to John F. Kennedy – occurred sometime between November 29 (when Humes contacted Finck) and December 2, because a Navy chief hospital corpsman named Chester Boyers told the HSCA that he prepared brain tissue slides on December 2. It’s also my firm belief that Dr. Finck – who had arrived late at the autopsy on November 22 – was used as a “dupe” so that he could “authenticate” the photographs of the second brain specimen, in the event that was ever required. I think Finck knew something was wrong by this time, because he engaged in very clever “CYA” by writing, in his report to Brigadier General Blumberg in February 1965, that the brain he subsequently examined looked different than it had looked at the autopsy – although he benignly attributed the change in its appearance in his written report to an arcane “fixation artifact.”
Summarizing, the photographs of President Kennedy’s brain, exposed by John Stringer on November 25, were never introduced into the official record because they showed a pattern of damage – missing tissue from the rear of the brain – consistent with a fatal shot form the front, and that evidence had to be suppressed. The photographs of a second brain, taken sometime between November 29 – December 2, 1963 by an unknown Navy photographer, were introduced into the official record because the brain employed in that exercise exhibited a pattern of damage – to the top-right-side of the brain – generally consistent with a shot from above and behind.
So where did that brain come from? I can only remind you that Bethesda was a teaching facility with a medical school alongside the treatment hospital, and specimens would have been on hand at the medical school for teaching purposes; furthermore, there were regular “brain cuttings” about once per week in the D.C. area that were attended by both Navy personnel at Bethesda and Army personnel stationed at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, or AFIP. So fixed brains would have been available, one way or another.
An accomplished forensic pathologist who viewed the brain photos in the archives at the request of the ARRB told us in 1996 that the brain in these photographs, which appears very gray in the color transparencies, was “very well fixed,” and that it had been in a formalin solution for at least 2 weeks before being photographed, since it showed no traces whatsoever of pink coloration. That ensures it cannot possibly be President Kennedy’s brain, which was examined only 3 days after his death.
Finally, the supplementary autopsy report indicates that the brain depicted in the photographs in the archives weighted 1,500 grams when weighted at the brain exam, which exceeds the weight of an average, normal male brain. This is completely incompatible with a brain that was missing over half its tissue when observed at the autopsy by FBI agent O’Neill, or a brain that was missing most of the right occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex and much of the right cerebellum, as observed by Dr. McClennand at Parkland hospital.
A short discussion on the autopsy x-rays of the skull is imperative here. I believe that independent researcher David Mantik, who is both an MD (a radiation oncologist) and who is also a Ph.D. in physics, has conclusively proven, with his exhaustive optical density measurements of the x-ray materials in the archives, that the three head x-rays in the autopsy collection are not originals but are forged complete copy films that are simply modifications of the authentic skull x-rays.
My own hypothesis and reinterpretation of the medical evidence necessitates that the original x-rays were exposed only after Humes and Boswell had completed their clandestine post-mortem surgery on the skull to remove bullet fragments form the brain and enlarge the head wound. The two lateral skull x-rays, Mantik has demonstrated, had a very dense optical patch superimposed on the copy films over the occipital-parietal area behind the ear to mask the blow-out or exit wound seen in Dallas in the back of the head. Mantik also claims that the single anterior-posterior (or “A-P”) skull x-ray has had a 6.5-millimeter wide artifact, which is intended to represent a bullet fragment – a ‘cross section’ of the ‘assassin’s bullet’ – imposed on the copy film as a special effect, to implicate the Oswald rife as the supposed murder weapon.
To reiterate, the skull depicted in each of the three head x-rays is that of JFK, but artifacts were added to the images during the copying process – through a relatively simple procedure involving applying additional light to specific areas on each film while other areas were masked off – which can now be easily detected using new technology, optical densitometry. I will be offering quite detailed explanation of Mantik’s findings in my forthcoming book.
In short: the autopsy photos are not altered photographically (and yet because of the manipulation of the scalp after completion of the autopsy, some of them present false and deceptive images of the head wounds). Many authentic autopsy images that are known to have been exposed at the autopsy are not in the collection today – they are missing and presumed destroyed. But Mantik’s work has persuaded me that the three skull x-rays are forgeries – altered copy films created from the original skull x-rays. Both sets of images together – the autopsy photographs and x-rays – present a distorted and intentionally dishonest depiction of how the primacy (in 1963, anyway if not today) – of photographs and image technology in our culture, and the assumption in those years that they always reflected ‘reality,’ these fraudulent collections have been used to fool three official investigations (the Clark Panel, the Rockefeller Commission, and the HSCA forensic pathology panel), and continue to present an enduring lie about what happened to President Kennedy in 1963.
D.R.: I UNDERSTAND YOU ALSO DID SOME WORK IN ANALYZING THE ZAPRUDER FILM. DID THAT TEND TO CONFIRM ANY OF THIS?
DOUG HORNE: We asked Roland Zavada of Kodak, a retired film chemist and a self-taught home movie expert, to do a major authenticity study of the Zapruder film, and he did a very professional job and put a lot of work into it. My own conclusions today about the Zapruder film are in opposition to Zavada’s; he thinks it is authentic and I do not.
My conclusion is the ‘minority position’ within the research community, and is very controversial, and a lot of people think I’m wrong. But I just don’t think his study is conclusive. All of the external indicators on the film are indeed consistent with authenticity – like the date code of when the film came out of the factory, the type of film used, and the processing markings from the lab in Dallas. Well, of course they are. Any conspirator who’s going to change a movie and screw up that kind of stuff isn’t worth two cents. But I don’t think that’s the end of the story, because we uncovered two crucial witnesses from a CIA photo lab who cast serious doubt on the provenance of the film in the archives today.
Here’s how it came about. The Review Board held a public hearing on the Zapruder film, which was televised by C-Span. One of the people watching happened to be one of the two people who actually magnified individual frames from the Zapruder film the weekend of the assassination and made prints for three briefing boards intended for use in briefing high officials in the government The individual who watched the Z-film hearing on C-Span was named Morgan Bennett Hunter, and his supervisor in 1963 was Homer McMahon: both were the CIA employees at NPIC, the National Photo Interpretation Center.
Homer McMahon was then head of the still photography color lab at NPIC, and Ben Hunter was his assistant. After Hunter contacted us and told us he had a story to tell us about the Z-film, we asked the CIA to proved clearance for the two men to speak with us and we then interviewed them multiple times.
The story that Homer and his assistant Ben told us was that, on the weekend of the assassination, they had a film brought to them by the Secret Service. The agent said his name was Bill Smith, which I firmly believe is a pseudonym because we ascertained from a roster of employees that the Secret Service had no special agent named ‘Bill Smith’ onboard in 1963.
The Z-film was brought to them at NPIC on either Saturday night or Sunday night after the assassination, because they were positive it was before the president’s funeral, which was on Monday. They said that Bill Smith brought what he represented to them as being the original Zapruder film. He did not come from Dallas. He came from Rochester, New York, where he said the film had been developed. And he used a code word for a classified film laboratory that the CIA had paid Kodak to set up and run in Rochester, their headquarters and main industrial facility.
The implications of this are off-scale. This assertion by the Secret Service to two CIA film professionals that the original Z-film was developed in Rochester at a secret CIA-sponsored facility, instead of in Dallas, runs contrary to the paper trail that had traditionally been accepted as ground truth since 1967. We therefore now have an almost-too-good paper trail of typed and signed affidavits prepared by Abraham Zapruder – signed by all the processing personnel involved with the film on the day of the assassination – which can no longer guarantee the authenticity of the film in the archives.
Let me explain what I mean by that. The processing affidavits which attempt to establish the film’s chain-of-custody are all dated November 22, the day of the assassination, when Zapruder was running around helter-skelter trying to get his film developed. He went first to a TV station and then some other place, where he was told that since the film’s chemistry was proprietary, it had to go to a Kodak lab to be developed. So, yes, these affidavits still do mean that the Kodak lab in Dallas developed the original film, they establish that Mr. Zapruder exposed three contact prints at the Jamieson film lab in Dallas; and they further establish that he then returned to the Kodak processing plant where the three copies were immediately developed. All of these things happened on November 22 – I don’t doubt that for one minute.
But I think the affidavits recording these events were probably really executed on Monday, November 25, and back-dated to the 22. (No one I am aware of saw Abraham Zapruder running around Dallas on November 22 with a manual typewriter under his arm.)
On Saturday, Zapruder signed a contract with Life Magazine for $50,000 for print rights only, permitting them to keep the materials for only one week. Then, on Monday, a new contract was signed for print and motion picture rights, and Life was to keep the materials forever. Zapruder got a lot more money – $150,000 total now, instead of $50,000 – when he renegotiated his deal on Monday. In support of his new contract, I believe he then had to prove the provenance of the film, so he created the appropriate paper trail in the form of the back-dated affidavits.
At the same time this was going on, you have the two men in the NPIC lab being told over that weekend that the original film came from Rochester. I’ll tell you why that’s important. If Kodak lab technicians in Dallas have developed the original film on the day of the assassination, which they surely did, you can’t take them another, altered and reconstructed film two days later and ask them to develop it again.
If someone had reconstructed a new, altered Zapruder film on an optical printer in a sophisticated lab, they could not blow their cover by taking the new film back to the same developing lab. So, if someone was involved in creating an altered film, they’d have to develop it at some other Kodak facility. And you didn’t have many choices. One choice was the Kodak plant in Chicago, and another was the main plant in Rochester, the choice for developing would be obvious.
If the authentic, original film was really shot in slow motion, at 48 frames per second, instead of using the normal speed setting on the camera of 16 fps, and you wanted to remove certain events such as the car stop on Elm Street that over 50 Dealey Plaza eyewitnesses testified to, you would need to remove several frames, and then recreate a film that runs at normal speed, and that is much shorter than the original in terms of total number of frames. Furthermore, if you wanted to eliminate evidence of shots from the front you would need to black out the exit wound in the back of the head in some frames, and even remove some frames showing exit debris in mid-air; and if you wanted the new Z-film to roughly correspond with the pattern damage in the autopsy photos, you would need to paint on large wounds at the top and the right side of the head in the appropriate frames. The image alteration in these frames would be done using the techniques called aerial imaging at a facility that possessed a sophisticated optical printer.
I know I’m speculating – I don’t know what equipment was in that Rochester photo lab – but this new chain-of-custody for what was represented by the Secret Service to be the original Z-film is very suspicious. All I’m saying is that anyone who believes that the so-called original film in the archives today may be an altered, reconstructed product, and not the true original mentioned in the Zapruder affidavit trail, has valid grounds to be suspicious of it. There are sound reasons, based upon the McMahon/Hunter interviews, to support this possibility.
Those who would create a false legend of the shooting by culling the autopsy photo collection and inserting manipulated photos that told a false story of the wounds and the shooting, would of necessity also have to either destroy, or alter, any motion picture evidence of the assassination that was inconsistent with the officially promulgated version of the assassination.
And if an original and seven copies of an autopsy report can be successfully switched out and substituted, then so can an original and three copies of a motion picture film.
Perhaps a “film switch” is even why Zapruder was allowed to renegotiate his contract with Life Magazine, perhaps that additional $150,000 (which was pro-rated over a six year period) bought his silence and future cooperation. After all, he did see the true original in the Kodak lab the day of the assassination, and did screen it for others (such as Dan Rather) on Saturday, November 23. (Perhaps this is why Dan Rather’s contemporaneous account of what he saw in the film that weekend, broadcast on the radio, differs from what we see in the film in the archives today!). It would have been imperative to reliably obtain Zapruder’s silence over the weekend. This scenario would also explain the accounts we have all heard over the years of others either seeing or possessing different versions of the Zapruder film from the one we know today, if the true original and the three true first-generation copies were not all immediately destroyed.
The reason so many people resist this idea is because the Zapruder film has long been used as a time-clock of the assassination, and considered to be the one thing we can count on in the evidence trail. Based upon the McMahon/Hunter interviews, that approach could now be meaningless.
When I study the film on DVD, and concentrate on the still frames associated with the head shot, and see the enormous head wound on the top of the head and the right side that looks ‘kind of like’ the autopsy photos but not exactly the same, and which seems to float and jump around a bit on the skull as you view the film, I wonder if the scenario I have laid out above could be true.
D.R.: WHAT YOU’RE IMPLYING, OF COURSE, IS THAT HIGH-LEVEL OFFICIALS WITHIN THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT KNEW, RIGHT FROM THE FRONT, THAT THERE WAS ANOTHER GUNMAN BESIDES OSWALD.
DOUG HORNE: ‘Shots from multiple directions’ is how I would put it. Because of the voice stress analysis work of George O’Toole in the mid-1970s, suggesting that Oswald was not lying when he said he was just a patsy and that he did not shoot anyone, I am not yet convinced that Oswald shot anyone in Dealey Plaza. He was certainly involved in something – up to his neck – and was probably being ‘run’ by intelligence operatives, and perhaps even engaging in a charade by posing as a leftist Castro sympathizer, but I am not convinced that he shot anyone himself. His shooting skills were below average by the time he was discharged from the Marine Corps, and the murder weapon of record – the war surplus carbine he ordered under an alias – was a terrible weapon in general, and the one he owned was in particularly bad condition, as the FBI later revealed.
D.R.: WHAT DOES THIS INDICATE TO YOU ABOUT THE FORCES BEHIND THE ASSASSINATION?
DOUG HORNE: Well, you can go two ways. If you accept a government cover-up as a given, then it’s either a benigh one or a sinster one. If it’s benign, then the people engineering the cover-up weren’t part of the murder plot, but they think that for one reason or another, they can’t tell the truth – the truth might endanger the country because it might trigger World War Three if it appears, rightly or wrongly, that there was foreign involvement in the assassination.
Or, there might be a real fear that he public would lose faith in our institutions, if we have to admit to our citizenry that ‘multiple people shot the president and we don’t know who they are and we can’t catch them.’
The other alternative, the sinister one, posits that the people performing the cover-up actions – lets say the actors on the ground, Humes and Boswell and the photographers involved – believe that they are doing a benign cover-up for national security reasons. But the people giving them their orders know better, and are part of the assassination plot.
I believe that the latter scenario detailed above is the most likely one. I’m sure as I can be that Humes went to his grave thinking that, ‘Yes, I lied and I obstructed justice, but I did it for the good of national security, and I’m not going to tell anybody because to do so would open the biggest can of worms in history and turn me into a target, so I did my duty and I’m a patriot and that’s the way it is.’ James J. Humes often acted and spoke over the years as if he was harboring some great secrets about the assassination that no one else was smart enough to figure out, and that he was not going to tell any of us what those secrets were because none of us had a need to know – that only he (and “J” Thorton Boswell) did.
D. R.: ARE THERE RECORDS THAT EXIST ANYWHERE OF WHO COULD HAVE CONTACTED DRS. HUMES AND BOSWELL AT BETHESDA AND TOLD THEM TO DO THIS?
DOUG HORNE: Yeah, several records, and they’ve been around a long time. The FBI agents, Sibert and O’Neill, made a list of who was present at the autopsy, at least the people who chose to voluntarily write down their names.
One of those is the surgeon general of the Navy, Vice Admiral Edward Kenney, the head of the Medical Corps. During the Clay Shaw trial in 1969, Finck revealed that Kenney had told everybody, “you will not discuss these events with anyone.” (Finck also testified at the Shaw trial that an unnamed Army general was in charge of the events in the morgue.)
So, in my view, the candidates for directing sinister activities, by name, are Admiral Kinney and Admiral Calvin Galloway, the head of Bethesda NNMC, as well as Captain John Stover, who was the head of the medical school and forced the Navy’s autopsy participants to sign those “letters of silence” after the autopsy which were so onerous, and which blatantly and openly threatened the Navy personnel with court martial if they were to discuss the events of the autopsy with anyone.
The people we deposed who testified about Stover’s attitude and demeanor, like the x-ray technicians and the photographer Stringer, were clearly still scared of this man over thirty years later.
And last, but not least, Rear Admiral George Burkley, the president’s military physician, tried all night long to limit the scope of the autopsy, and furthermore, appears to have been in charge of coordinating the development of all post-mortem photography. Burkley is almost certainly the person who was responsible for making the many bone fragments from the skull disappear: the 3 fragments brought into the morgue late in the autopsy by the Secret Service, and the Harper fragment and Burros fragment, from Dallas.
I don’t see any of these people as the masterminds of an assassination plot, but I believe some of them were knowing participants at the mid-level of the conspiracy, and others had probably been given a national security cover story to justify the cover-up they were involved in.
D.R.: IT’S STRANGE, IN ITS FINAL REPORT, THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS CLAIMED THAT NONE OF THE TWENTY-SIX PEOPLE PRESENT AT THE AUTOPSY HAD DIFFERING ACCOUNTS FROM THE GENERAL DEPICTIONS OF THE WOUNDS SEEN IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND X-RAYS.
DOUG HORNE: That statement in Volume 7 is a big lie. That was a major interpretive find by Dr. Gary Aguilar immediately following the release in 1993 of the HSCA’s own interview reports and depositions, and he’s ‘spot-on’ with his criticism. The House Select Committee’s own medical witness interview reports, and its transcript of the deposition of Dr. John Ebersole, the autopsy radiologist, reveal this statement to be untrue, but no one knew this until these reports were released in 1993 by the JFK Act.
Robert Blakey suppressed these reports by sealing them for 50 years, and we still would not know about this ‘big lie’ even today, if it had not been for Oliver Stone’s movie and the resulting JFK Records Act. This falsehood actually led David Lifton down the wrong path in 1979 and 1980 and caused him to believe that the back of the head was intact when the body was received at Bethesda, simply because he was told by the HSCA in Volume 7 that the photos were ground truth and that all of the autopsy witnesses agreed with what they showed.
So I say, “shame on you, Robert Blakey,” with the utmost invective I can muster, and ask the rhetorical question: “What were you up to in 1978 and 1979?” Your principal medical staff investigator, Andy Purdy, told the ARRB in 1996 that he did not know who was responsible for the statement in Volume 7 that none of the autopsy witnesses disagreed with the autopsy photos and x-rays, and he freely acknowledged that the statement was incorrect. He also told us that he had expected all of the HSCA staff’s medical witness interview reports and depositions to be published, and was surprised when most of them were instead, sequestered for 50 years.
By the way, Robert Blakey also suppressed a key August 1978 deposition transcript of photographer Robert Knudsen for 50 years because it presented recollections and assertions incompatible with the HSCA’s conclusions about the autopsy photographs; furthermore, no one mentioned anywhere in Volume 7 of the HSCA’s report that the deposition was even conducted! In my opinion, Blakey is someone who cannot be trusted to comment accurately or truthfully on the Kennedy assassination. It appears tat he was pursuing an agenda in 1978-79 that may have been incompatible with the truth, and if that assessment is correct, then he is undoubtedly still covering his ass today.
D.R.: AT THIS LATE DATE, DO YOU THINK WE WILL EVER KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED THAT DAY IN DALLAS?
DOUG HORNE: I think we can prove, based on the medical cover-up, that the official story is not true, and that the government knew that and suppressed what was true. Everything else then becomes speculation.
D.R.: WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING SINCE
DOUG HORNE: I’m now at the State Department, in a very non-glamorous, nose-to-the-grindstone job as a passport specialist. I review and approve thousands of passport applications every year. It is a way to pay the rent as I work my way toward retirement in about 10 years, and to simply keep me afloat while I try to complete my manuscript in my spare time. I have about 750 manuscript pages written already, and that represents only about 60% or so of the text.
It is my magnum opus, a book that will be so massive, and so detailed, that for me to get my message out unfiltered and in an unabridged fashion, it will have to be made available as a “publish on demand” specialty type item sold on the internet, and printed one copy at a time, as each customer pays for it. I will not submit my work to the arbitrary restrictions on length that are imposed by mainstream publishers, nor will I permit an editor to ‘tone down’ the political content of my manuscript.
I would rather say exactly what I want to say, in the way that I want to say it, and only sell a thousand copies, for example, than water down my life’s work into a three-hundred-page puff piece with inadequate detail and inadequate supporting documentation.
My goal is to tell the truth as I know it, without anyone watering it down – not to make money. My manuscript is a labor of love, and will be the sharing of an intellectual journey with those who are captivated by the medical evidence, and who have a love of detail.
With any luck I will finish the manuscript by the end of 2008, and I hope it will be available to purchase on-line, as “print on demand” item, by November 2009.
Dick Russell’s On the Trail of the Assassins – Buy it:
My review of DR’s OTTOTA: