JFK denialism limits PBS’s Cold Case

The PBS NOVA show, “Cold Case JFK,” which aired Wednesday night, had a very  limited agenda: proving that Single Bullet Theory (SBT) is plausible and show that a grassy knoll shot was impossible. The show’s focus on ballistics served to exclude the context of JFK’s assassination, and thus distorts the event’s importance by ignoring its political meaning.

I’ll leave aside a couple of big problems with the ballistic presentation on Cold Case JFK. The Haags claim that a competent marksman could easily repeat Oswald alleged feat of arms — but we never see anyone do it.  And the recreation of the magic bullet makes no attempt to show the effects of a Carcano bullet hitting bone as happened with Gov. Connally.

But even if one accepts the show’s conclusions as accurate, the focus on the ballistic evidence serves to limit understanding of the event. It extracts JFK’s assassination from the reality in which it occurred. This simplification enables the kind of narrative closure that makes for satisfying television. But it requires avoiding mention of the troubling facts that have emerged in recent years such as the CIA’s deep and continuing interest in Oswald before JFK was killed.

I was interviewed for the show and talked extensively about what has been learned in recent years. None of my on-camera comments about continuing CIA secrecy were included. The result is a show that is more reassuring than reality warrants.

 

 

82 comments

  1. Thomas says:

    Why am I not surprised.

  2. Mike Rush says:

    I agree.

  3. Rick Anderson says:

    The show seemed to have some experts in the field of ballistics that knew their discipline very well, but when they began to make pronouncements on LHO and the reasons why people don’t accept the conclusions of a unaided lone gunman they stepped away from their field of expertise – where they were not qualified to state anything more than an opinion.

  4. JSA says:

    I missed this show. Did they talk about the bullet hole in the front windshield of the limousine? Did they mention James Tague’s cheek being grazed by a bullet that hit the curb where he was standing?
    They probably didn’t bother to mention how the limousine got washed at Parkland, the cover put up, and then spirited out of town and away from the public, then refitted with a new windshield and interior—tampering with major evidence of the crime.

  5. Alex says:

    I watched Fox News documentary and the PBS Nova documentary. In the Fox News doc, Orr mentions the doctor who examined Connally testified the bullet did not appear to be tumbling when it entered his back. NOVA doesn’t deal with this fact at all although the entire thrust of their argument is a Carcano bullet would tumble after it exited JFK. Seems like a glaring oversight.

    • Photon says:

      Please document the Shaw quote that the round was not tumbling. By describing the wound on Connolly’s back as elliptical 1 1/2 cm long he confirmed that the round entered Connolly sideways, not nose on.
      In his Warren testimony of March,1964 he stated that all of Connolly’s wounds were caused by one bullet and that same bullet could have passed through JFK prior to striking the Governor. That is a matter of public record.

      • jeffc says:

        Dr Shaw always stated that he believed the wound of entry on the back was caused by a bullet that was “slightly tumbling” or by a tangential strike. This has been pointed out to you before.

        He also says, to the Warren Commission on April 24, 1964: “I thought I knew just how the Governor was wounded until I saw the pictures today and now it becomes a little bit harder to explain…this is still a possibility. But I don’t feel it is the only possibility…we had not seen the bullets until today..”

        Shaw had been just been shown CE399 and he is therefore backing away from considering that one bullet had done the damage because of it. He goes on to say it is possible that three bullets explain the damage.

        Most medical and ballistics experts consulted by the Warren Commission rejected the SBT – and in many cases because of seeing CE399, the magic bullet no one can believe could look like that after causing so much damage. Most of the early researchers noted Arlen Specter’s lawyerly skills as appears in the transcripts as he maneuvered witnesses into agreeing that the SBT, although highly unlikely, wasn’t absolutely impossible – which was all Specter needed.

    • Photon says:

      Dr. Shaw’s March 23, 1964 Warren testimony clearly states that he thought that the bullet was tumbling when it hit Connolly.
      Why make stuff up when it can be so easily disproved?

  6. Paulf says:

    Jeff, I agree 100% with your comments. They made a leap from what is possible to suddenly confirming that Oswald was the shooter. First, their tests showed some preliminary possibilities, but that is a far cry from proof that the single bullet acted as it did. Second, it made no mention of body angles, or any of the other things that would need to be lined up right for the SBT to be true. Third, it assumed Oswald was the shooter, but presented no evidence for that.

    BTW, you look very young for someone whose been writing so long!

  7. Photon says:

    If the Single Bullet Hypothesis is possible (as this program clearly shows) that hypothesis,as the simplest explanation that accounts for the forensic and ballistic evidence in this case becomes the most likely explanation.
    I have always found that the objections to the SBT are based almost uniformly on the concept that the Carcano round could never do what it did without being damaged more than #399 appears to be. In other words, critics “know” that #399 could never be nearly pristine. And yet experimental evidence clearly states that assumption is in error. The unfortunate thing is that so few people have any real concept of what firearms and modern ammunition can do and even fewer have any concept of the ballistic characteristics of the Italian 6.5 mm round.
    Claiming that something is impossible doesn’t make it so.

    • Jason L. says:

      Photon – you are using straw man arguments. No one thinks that the SBT isn’t theoretically possible. Obviously, a military rifle could fire a round that penetrates one person and goes into a person behind the first person.

      There are problems though with the evidence, which you just dismiss with a wave of the hand. Like:

      -50+ witnesses who heard a shot from the front
      -Doctors who first saw JFK’s body described the throat wound as a wound of entrance
      -Sibert and O’Neill report describe the back wound as not traversing JFK’s body
      -The state of CE 399 – just because it might have caused 7 wounds and come out like this 1 in a million times doesn’t mean this is the most likely explanation

      With the hypothesis of only 2 bullets in the car, I think a neglected part of this story is the ding on the inside of the limo windshield and the dent on the upper metal molding of the window. I just find it hard to believe that bullet fragments from a head shot fired from behind from the 6th floor of the SBD could make this damage. The angles just aren’t right. The head is like a melon and seems unlikely to deflect a shot upward. Also, why would the same type of 6.5 mm ammo fragment so badly on striking a skull (see pattern of fragments in JFK skull x-rays) after it didn’t after causing 7 wounds?

      A show that tries to prove the SBT is also misleading in a big picture sense. It doesn’t address the Tague wounding, evidence of an early miss, the evidence that the final head shot came from the front, the Ruby hit on Oswald, etc, etc. It’s the overall series of events and context that gives a critical thinking person pause here. The explanation we have now just doesn’t fly.

      And even if somehow you are correct, and Oswald did it alone, it still probably was a conspiracy. Oswald had intelligence fingerprints all over him. There’s more to him than “loser” lone nut. That is crystal clear.

      • Photon says:

        #1 -the program clearly demonstrates the unreliabilty of ” ear witnesses”- when is the last time that you heard of a trial admitting “ear witness testimony”? That fact is that unbiased research shows as many or more witnesses claiming shots from behind. If you actually review what many witnesses said they often prefaced their comments with “I don’t know” or “I can ‘t be sure” or similar qualifying comments.
        #2- doctors in the ER have been proven to be correct about bullet wound trajectories about half of the time by studies done at some of the top medical institutions in the country. If you wish to ignore documented medical studies your argument becomes invalid. Besides, the Parkland doctors never did a complete exam on JFK and never even turned him over. The doctors themselves later stated that the wound could just as easily have been an exit wound, but that their hurried resuscitative efforts precluded anything but a brief, incomplete exam. The original wound was not seen by many of the ER team, including at least one physician who later claimed to have seen the original wound although he arrived after the tracheostomy incision.
        #3- the FBI agents were not pathologists ,never came in contact with the body and were so clueless that they claimed that surgery had been done on the head, despite never having any medical training or ever being in an operating room or having any concept of what a craniotomy was.
        #4- as for the bullet, the pine board demonstration was evident.What are you going to believe- your theories on what a bullet SHOULD look like, or your lyin’ eyes?

        • JSA says:

          Photon,

          Please document your proof that Oswald was actually up in the window of the 6th floor at the Book Depository, firing off those rounds.

          Thank you.

          • Photon says:

            Howard Brennan saw Oswald shooting from the sixth floor.He also accurately described the fact that while he was shooting Oswald was wearing a shirt different from the one he was wearing when he was arrested in the Texas Theater.
            Oswald admitted to the Dallas Police that he changed his shirt when he went to his room following the assassination.
            Brennan could not have known that.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Photon, how do you know that Brennan could not have known that?

            This is the man who required extreme corrective lenses as I recall, and this is the man who worked in iron and metal construction for a Birmingham, AL firm with a contract relating to the Republic National Bank building at the time. I wonder how many other construction workers at the Republic Bank site found themselves in Dealey Plaza on November 22nd.

          • JSA says:

            One witness is all you got Photon? That’s pretty inconclusive.

          • JSA says:

            You’ll have to do better than that, Photon. There are serious problems with Howard Brennan’s testimony:

            Brennan’s eyesight was so poor that he could not determine how many people were in the lineup.

            Brennan’s eyesight was so poor that he “couldn’t remember” if all of the men in the lineup were white.

            Brennan’s eyesight was so poor that he saw Capt. Fritz at the lineup when Fritz wasn’t there.

            No Dallas Police officer ever made a reference in testimony to a lineup viewed by Brennan.

            Brennan’s name does not appear on any witness list as having viewed one of the Oswald lineups.

            I have a witness who saw a man with a rifle behind the knoll fence. He was ignored by the Warren Commission, but he testified to Mark Lane that he saw what he saw. Does this mean that I too have some documentation on a shooter, or does it only count when people support the Warren Commission version?

          • Photon says:

            His vision was excellent on Nov. 22,1963.
            He had a clear view of the TSBD.
            There is absolutely no doubt that Brennan was where he claimed to be.
            His description was accurate enough for the Dallas Police Dept. to put out an all points bulletin. J. D. Tippit stopped Oswald because he matched that description- and Oswald shot him dead.

          • leslie sharp says:

            “His vision was excellent on Nov. 22,1963.”

            A new student of the assassination might or might not question how you can make such a declamatory statement.

  8. Aster says:

    Watched it and thought the presentation was skewed.
    The theory that the bullet yawed after exiting Kennedy still does not explain the delay in the reaction of Connolly.
    It was interesting that they showed the Warren Commission test shots of Carcano bullets through human skulls, but conveniently neglected to show the bullets that were fired through the wrists of cadavers.
    Somehow we are supposed to believe the opinion of a university professor who is basing his findings on a drawing of Kennedy’s brain over the eyewitness testimony of nearly a dozen doctors, nurses and medical personel. We are also asked to believe that the bullet found on the stretcher is authentic, even though there is a video posted on you tube of Connollys surgeon (Dr. Shaw) clearly stating “the bullet is still in the leg”.
    I suppose he was mistaken just like all the ER doctors and all the witnesses who saw anything that did not fit the Warren Report hypothesis.

  9. william Pucci says:

    All these specials are stuck with the “Official” evidence from the warren report. They don’t even cite HSCA and their finding that it was a conspiracy.
    As far as ballistics go the Connallys both said publicly that Gov.Connally was hit by a separate bullet that was left in his leg. Dr Malcolm Perry said he left the bullet in Gov Connally’s leg.
    With all these specials I am finding myself yelling at my TV.

    • Photon says:

      Dr. Malcolm Perry never said anything of the sort- he wasn’t Connolly’s surgeon. This statement is typical of the superficial knowledge of many conspiracy believers- if the facts don’t fit, make them up. Most of those poorly educated in this matter will never catch on.

      • Jason L. says:

        Photon – this kind of thing clearly goes both ways. Many of the people writing op-eds ridiculing the “conspiracy theorists” don’t seem to even be familiar with the early criticisms of the Warren Report, much less the developments of the past 20 years.

        I’ll tell you one thing, the doctors that treated Connally didn’t believe that CE399 caused his wounds. I guess we can add these folks to the hundreds of people who were “mistaken” that day.

        • Photon says:

          We’re those doctors experts in the ballistics of the Italian 6.5 mm round?
          Please document your claim.

          • Jason L. says:

            I don’t have to document “my claim” since it’s already documented in sworn testimony, all you have to do is google it. Fact is, Doctors Humes, Finck, and Shaw (Dallas) are all on record as not believing CE399 could cause all these wounds. FBI firearms expert Frazier agreed with them, also in sworn testimony.

            It’s also pretty clear when you look at Frazier’s testimony about how much weight was lost from CE399, that there are too many fragments left in Connally’s body for CE399 to be the bullet that wounded him.

          • Photon says:

            But none were experts on the ballistic qualities of the 6.5 mm Italian round.
            Frazier never weighed the unfired #399 round . He estimated the weight at 160-161 grains. The fired round weighed 158.6 grains. The Connolly wrist fragments weighed 2.3 grains. 158.6 + 2.3=160.9, which is well within Frazier’s estimate.
            Frazier did say it was possible for #399 to have been the missile that caused all of the wounds. As he and most ballistic experts were not aware of the stability of the 6.5 mm round their perceptions of what condition the round should have been in we’re in error.
            Subsequent firing tests have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Italian 6.5 round can very definitely cause significant damage with little deformation. Why this continues to be an issue is beyond me- the pine board test on the CNN program should put this misconception to rest.

      • Snake Arbusto says:

        …whereas the MO of the Warren Commission was “If the facts (and witnesses) don’t fit, bury them.”

  10. Hans Trayne says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Jeff. Probably the biggest problem with the evidence & analysis of it besides the single bullet theory is explaining the Parkland medical personnel (and others in Dallas & Bethesda)seeing a large blow out wound at the back of President Kennedy’s head. He would have had to be facing towards the Texas School Book Depository for that wound to have been caused by a sniper there (something Life magazine lied about in its 29 Nov 1963 issue when it published frames from the Zapruder film & a description of what the frames indicated for the 1st time).

    Thus far advocates of the government’s 2 primary investigations (the latter debunking the 1st on the issue of conspiracy) cannot get the medical evidence to balance with the witnesses that saw that horrific wound on the back of our late President’s head (some still living & speaking about what they saw in videos & public speaking engagements); nor can they get the injuries suffered by John Connally to balance with the evidence they have, the limitations of the weapon used and all the additional problems associated with the damage inflicted on JFK & Texas Governor Connally. Factor in all the missing & suspect evidence & it’s no small wonder the global public rejects the official explanations & finds them both equally suspect.

    • Photon says:

      As all of the Parkland physicians who examined the autopsy photos in the 25th anniversary NOVA program agree that they show the same wounds that they saw in the ER your statement is not accurate.

      • DRB says:

        Photon, that is not true. The doctors were shown innocuous photos, they were NOT shown the intact-back-of-head photo. When they were shown that photo LATER they said that photo was not correct, that there was a large defect in the back of Kennedy’s head. All doctors and in fact all witnesses, includiing Siebert and O’Neill saw a large wound behing Kennedy’s right ear. Autopsy doctor Hume admittedly destroyed his first report and his original notes to produce a false autopsy report.

        • Photon says:

          That is simply not correct DRB. Obviously you never saw the program. The only doctor to claim later that the photos did not agree with his memory was Dr. McClelland months later.All doctors and all witnesses did not see a wound behind the ear; read some of the transcripts of the witnesses. At any rate, please tell us how you can see the right ear of JFK in the Zapruder film if the head wound is not anterior to the pinna .

    • M Nelson says:

      Take a careful look at the frames of the Zapruder film following the fatal head shot (frame 313). The back of the head is clearly visible and not blown out.

  11. Thomas says:

    Now’s as good a time as any to ask. Since this is the 50th anniversary and you’d think with all the stuff on TV there’d be at least one or two excellent programs that investigate the mystery in an even-handed way. Were there any? I haven’t watched any of the shows and am interested in knowing.

    Though it didn’t get into conspiracy theories I enjoyed JFK: A President Betrayed which implicitly laid the groundwork for a conspiracy without ever outwardly saying it. It’s the only show I’ve seen. I avoid them, I hate the party line stuff.

    • Roy H says:

      A major TV network (can’t recall which one) did a report years ago where they packed human skulls with gelatin to simulate brain matter and shot them from behind using Oswald’s rifle. There was slow-mo film of the tests. In each test, without exception, the sudden expulsion of bone and “brain matter” coming from the exit wound out the right-front of the skull created a jet effect that caused the skull to jump backwards toward the rifle. Every time. The people doing the tests concluded that the explosive nature of the exit wound was far greater than the penetration force of the entry wound, which was a small hole. I am surprised that NOVA did not mention these tests, but instead offered the explanation that the stronger back muscles twitched due to the exploding brain firing all the spinal nerves.
      At the time I saw the telecast years ago, I was struck by the network’s willingness to refute the popular conspiracy theories. But I have never seen this report again. Maybe the network caught hell for it… the way PBS is getting it now.

  12. Norma Susan Smith says:

    It may well have been Lee Harvey Oswald who fired the shots but that does not mean he wasn’t part of a larger conspiracy to take down President Kennedy. Who hired Lee Harvey Oswald to work at the Texas School Book Depository just one month before President Kennedy was assassinated? How did Lee Oswald know the details of the motorcade route one month before President Kennedy drove past that site even though motorcade route details were not released until 72 hours before the assassination. I read (I think it was part of the Warren Commission) that the fact that Oswald happened to be working at the Texas School Book Depository was just “happenstance”. That was the word they used. Happenstance!!!

    • Roy H says:

      If you are familiar with Dallas, as I am because I lived there, it was very easy to guess what the most likely motorcade route was going to be in advance of any announcement of those details. Once you know that there will be a motorcade through downtown and then a speech at the Trade Mart — and these general facts were probably known to a lot of people as early as September — then the motorcade route is obvious: down Elm Street or down Main Street. If using Main, jog a block north to Elm Street at Dealy Plaza, then through the triple underpass, onto the ramp to Stemmons freeway, and then north to the Trade Mart. You MUST jog north from Main to Elm Street at Dealy Plaza because the only ramp to Stemmons is from Elm. Coming down Elm or Main, they would have passed in front of the depository. The depository building is ideal for a sniper position, and, if there was a conspiracy, they knew well ahead of time where the best place to be was. Plenty of time for Oswald to get to Dallas and “find” a job at the depository.

  13. Neil says:

    As someone from the Progressive end of the political spectrum, I rarely ever praise Fox News but their JFK assassination special hosted by Bill Hemmer was one of the most objective and informative news shows on this topic that I’ve seen in quite a while.

    Sadly, PBS and National Geographic have chosen to run more one-sided documentaries on the Assassination evidence. Hopefully the History Channel documentary that airs next week balances things out the way Fox News did…

  14. Bill Cleere says:

    As they have over the years, they keep the BS in PBS.

  15. Photon says:

    The Zapruder film clearly shows that the head wound is anterior to the right ear .The last frames of that film where JFK’s head is visible clearly show the right pinna .

  16. Angela says:

    I watched this and it convinced me that it was a single gunman from behind. Of course I’m just starting to read up on this stuff… I also just read Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 and watched the CNN/tom hanks doc on the assassination, and they all are pretty anti-conspiracy… So those I’m sure have influenced me too. But even if there was one shooter from behind, I’m not convinced there wasn’t a conspiracy.

    I’m curious to know what the problems were with the analysis on Nova. I was very impressed with their explanation of the head shot and why JFK’s body/head reacted that way.

    • Jason L. says:

      I think even conspiracy minded people must admit that all the shots might have come from behind (though I think the weight of evidence suggests a shooter from the front also).

      This doesn’t mean, however, that we have to believe there was a single shooter. If a shot did traverse JFK’s body, it seems as if it hit him lower in the back than the lone nutters believe, which would imply a shot from a lower floor of a building like the Dal-Tex. The entry angle was also simply too shallow for a shot from the SBD, at least according to the FBI Sibert/O’Neil report. I think a shot on this lower trajectory would also better explain the damage to the windscreen/molding of the limo.

      Lone nutters often ridicule this kind of conjecture by stating that no one can point the finger at anyone else specifically, something that is really a logical fallacy and shows you the weakness of their position. The fact is, Oswald was at large from the SBD for an hour or so after the shooting, so it stands to reason others could have easily gotten away. But there’s plenty of evidence suggesting other shooters, both from the front and back. A lot of this evidence would have had to be followed up on, had their been a trial of Oswald. The fact that Ruby eliminated him is highly suspicious, and made virtually everyone suspect a conspiracy when they saw him do the deed live on national TV.

      • Paulf says:

        Jason, your posts are refreshingly sensible. I think the SBT is extraordinarily implausible, but even if it is true that says nothing about whether Oswald was the shooter or if he was part of a group or even a patsy.

        There are too many coincidences involving the plethora of right-wing Kennedy haters, CIA assassins, mafia, bitter Bay of Pigs vets and so on to ignore, especially when combined with the secrecy and purposefully incompetent investigation and the big giant red flag — Oswald’s murder before he could talk.

    • Aster says:

      One tactic in getting someone to believe a falsehood is to surround it with truths.

    • Photon says:

      Keep an open mind, Angela. The simple explanations are almost always the correct ones. Every conspiracy theory is vastly more complex than Oswald acting alone;many also have to deny clearly proven facts, such as Oswald shooting Tippit or trying to shoot another cop in the Texas Theater.
      After months on this blog I have yet to get an explanation as to why Oswald was the only male employee to have fled the TSBD before anybody in the building even knew JFK was shot.

      • Paulf says:

        If Oswald acting alone was so simple, it would have been proven by now. Instead, it became the story before any investigation was even done.

        If Oswald was a communist glory hound, he simply would have admitted it and basked in his notoriety. Maybe he told the simple truth to the press.

        If Oswald was a lone nut, he wouldn’t have had so many connections to the intelligence community.

        If he was acting alone, there simply would have been no need to eliminate him.

        Yet he was silenced, his contacts and surveillance were hidden, and evidence was altered and lost. Things that don’t happen in homicide investigations of drug dealers. Only the simple-minded would ignore or deny all those things. No, the simple explanation isn’t that Oswald acted alone, it’s that more or other people were involved.

        • Photon says:

          Please name one single connection Oswald had to the intelligence community aside from his threat to FBI agent Hosty to leave his wife alone.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Do you disregard the implications that George deMohrenschildt had a sporadic relationship with members of the intelligence community?

          • Photon says:

            There is no evidence that deMohrenschildt had any significant connection with any intelligence agency in 1963.

          • Jason L. says:

            There are a lot more than one:

            -Oswald’s active CIA files in the months prior to the assassination
            -Oswald impersonation in Mexico
            -His encounters with known CIA agents in Russia during the time of his defection
            -Stood in line with William Gaudet in New Orleans getting his travel visa
            -Spotted with David Phillips in Dallas prior to the assassination (as reported by Gaeton Fonzi)
            -Contacts with the FBI while in New Orleans (after arrest in altercation with pro-Castro Cubans, association with Guy Bannister)
            -Contact with DeMohrenschildt and Paines in Dallas
            -No question he had intel associations while in Marines at Atsugi
            -Possible Russian language training in Monterrey, CA (WC own documents raise this)

            Morely, McKnight and others can probably make a more thorough list. Claiming he has no links to the intelligence community is pretty indefensible at this point. It’s an area that has been developed a great deal in the past 20 years.

          • leslie sharp says:

            My purpose in naming only deMohrenschildt was to determine just how obstructionist Photon can be. I have never before read that anyone questioned deM’s intelligence ties.

          • Snake Arbusto says:

            You ARE joking, aren’t you?

          • Snake Arbusto says:

            My comment: “You ARE joking, aren’t you?” applies to Photon’s comment that Oswald had not “one single connection” to the “intelligence community.”

    • George Simmons says:

      Hi Angela.
      What leans me towards conspiracy is the suspicious activities of senior CIA operatives both before and after the assassination which is yet to be explained.
      If you haven’t already done so, read up on George Joannides and his relationship with the DRE and HSCA and the excellent work Jefferson Morley is doing in this area. It proves that the CIA lied to and misled the official investigations into the murder. Why would they do that? And why are they still fighting to keep these files hidden 50 years later?

      There is, of course, plenty of evidence to suggest a head shot from the front. 21 cops ( yes 21!) thought the shot may have come from the grassy knoll area.
      And you have the testimony to the Warren Commission of the motorcycle cop who went up behind the picket fence right after ths shooting and was confronted by a man who flashed him a secret service id card. But the secret service state that had no agents up there. So, one logical conclusion is that somebody was impersonating a secret service agent on the grassy knoll in the aftermath of the shooting. Why?

  17. John Bagnole says:

    I wonder if Jeff feels that viewers will now “associate” him with the ultimate conclusions of the show. Isn’t that always a risk when interviewees have their comments seriously edited? Intended? Unintended?

    • leslie sharp says:

      I walked away from the segments with a similar concern. Following this site closely, one could not possibly conclude that Jeff Morley was aligned with anything other than those who aggressively dispute the official record of the assassination. However, if I had watched either the Geraldo or the Haag rifle re-enactment without knowing Morley’s position, I might walk away thinking that Morley was passively endorsing the conclusions of both. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” Or of greater concern, “dance with the devil …. “

  18. John Kirsch says:

    A lot of the discussion here has been about this, that or the other bullet and what path it took and where it hit the president and on and on and on.
    My suggestion is to step back and look at the weapon itself. JFK was the only U.S. president who was assassinated by a person using a rifle. The other three assassinations were up close and personal. The assassin used a handgun and got close to the president and started firing.
    I’m not a firearms expert but why would an assassin use a rifle and not a handgun to kill the most powerful person in the world? Could it be because the assassin wanted to fire from a place of concealment? And if the assassin wanted to do that, it follows that he would also want to escape in the confusion following the shooting.
    Yet the actions of Oswald, JFK’s alleged assassin, after the shooting appear erratic. I won’t go into the “planes, trains and automobiles” aspect of his journey back to his rooming house. It seems sufficient to say that his actions after leaving the TSBD are so puzzling that they raise the question, in my mind at least, of whether the person who fired the rifle round that killed the president was the person the police took into custody.

    • Photon says:

      Why did he use a rifle? Because he obviously was comfortable and capable with a rifle. He was a hunter. He was a trained Marine marksman. His place of work offered an ideal shooting site.
      You forget that several attempts at shooting Presidents with handguns were unsuccessful.
      And when all is said an done he DID escape from the scene of the shooting.

      • John Kirsch says:

        You have a way of not getting the point. I think I made it clear that I was talking about actual presidential assassinations, not attempted assassinations. They are 2 separate things. In one scenario, the president dies of his wounds. That’s an assassination. In the other scenario, the president is either not hit at all or survives his injuries.
        I assume your claim that Oswald did escape the scene of the shooting is based on the fact that he did leave the TSBD,which I assume is the place where you believe the shooting took place from. But that misses the larger point. When I said I thought it was odd that Oswald didn’t flee the scene, I meant that it struck me as odd (and significant) that he didn’t get out of Dallas as fast as possible.
        After shooting Lincoln, Booth got on a horse and got out of Washington. Why didn’t Oswald get on a bus and get out of Dallas?

      • leslie sharp says:

        “And when all is said an done he DID escape from the scene of the shooting.”

        A new student of the assassination would see that word “escape” and envision a person fleeing out the back door of the depository building, hiding under bushes along the railroad tracks, crossing Stemmons or racing North to warehouses or abandoned buildings, hiding until nightfall. But that is not how Oswald “escaped.” He walked out of the building, and according to the official record, walked in an easterly direction where he would use public transportation and eventually return to his room – the address held by Roy Truly of the TSBD – change his shirt, no rush there, grab a pistol which he didn’t have with him for his mad “escape” from the depository building, and allegedly shoot a police officer, Tippett (who, according to the current Texas Theater website, was an off-duty security officer for their movie theater at the time), enter a public theater in broad daylight and calling attention to himself, and wait to be arrested. That is NOT an escape, students.

        • Photon says:

          Wait to be arrested by attempting to murder the arresting officer?
          So your belief in what Oswald should have done trumps what he actually did?
          People have claimed that I have posted claims of knowing what Oswald was thinking- and yet people above claim to know what he SHOULD have thought.
          It seems rather specious to claim that Oswald should have conformed to the prior use of handguns in Presidential assassination just because that was how it was done in the 19th Century.Nobody that I know of claims that JFK was killed with anything but a rifle. So obviously the fact that JFK WAS killed with a rifle makes that whole line of reasoning pointless.

          • leslie sharp says:

            My facetious remark “wait to be arrested,” was clearly lost on anyone so convinced of Oswald’s guilt. Is there any aspect of this escape scenario that seems absurd, Photon?

      • Mazoola says:

        “You forget that several attempts at shooting Presidents with handguns were unsuccessful.”

        And you undoubtedly recall, but intentionally obfuscate, at the time every successful attempt at shooting a president had used a handgun; the only known attempt using a rifle had failed. For that matter, in 1963, the would-be presidential assassin’s weapon of choice was actually the bomb, with at least three failed attempts of some degree of believeability.

        Fundamentally, though, this is a portmanteau of two of the three main types of ‘arguments’ I’ve come to expect from a Photon post: A baldfaced assertion with no supporting documentation, and an irrelevant or tangential point offered in rebuttal of a claim you actually never address. (The third? A demand for a previous commenter to document a claim — which, ironically, is something you rarely deign to do.)

        There is a type of dissent whose primary purpose is to further discussion towards, optimally, a generally agreed-upon consensus. Alternatively, there is a dissent style seemingly drawn from competitive debate, not real life, where the quality of *arguing* takes precedence over quality of *argument*.

        Life’s too short to indulge in the latter….

        • leslie sharp says:

          Many who are of an age to value the real significance of this debate will thank you, Mazoola, for your insight.

          This is not a sideshow; however, freedom of speech ensures that those who argue simply for the sake of arguing may be afforded space, even on quality sites such as jfkfacts.

          As far as I can determine, most comments made by Photon and Davison in particular are made with total disregard to context, and when challenged in the specifics, they either bully or retreat into silence. That is their prerogative, but their tactics are transparent and represent a style of commenting that surely Jeff Morley and his team find unproductive as we approach the 50th.

          Their collective voice is archetypal of those in OUR government who continue to withhold JFK documents. Like errant children, we are admonished by parents: “how could you challenge the official version?” Healthy children, when told “no” almost always ask “why not?” Dysfunctional parents frequently respond “because I said so.”

          Dear Mr. President: “at least please tell us, why can’t we see those documents?”

  19. Thomas says:

    The weight of evidence suggests that Oswald was involved in the assassination of JFK, from the package he took to work to leaving the scene to getting caught in a theater with a handgun, his actions are suspicious to an objective observer. I’m not arguing what his involvement was, only that he’s not merely an employee that showed up to work that day and was framed.

    It is conceivably possible that someone (please note I say someone because it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Oswald) could have fired from behind and killed JFK, but I agree with those that say that this is still not the crux of the matter.

    Here are the troubling issues (to name a few): Who was Oswald really? To what degree were intelligence agencies observing him and why? Why was he impersonated several times in his life? Why did the CIA and FBI mislead the Warren Commission and why did the Warren Commission produce such a biased report? Why does the CIA work so diligently to this day to prevent more facts from being known?

    Where are the quality TV specials that probe these topics?

    As the saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and it’s why the majority of people don’t buy the lone gunman theory.

    • Photon says:

      But the problem is that there is no fire.
      There is absolutely no physical evidence of any shots except from behind
      There is absolutely no physical evidence that anybody ever impersonated Oswald.
      There is absolutely no physical evidence that any named person other than Oswald took a shot at JFK.
      After 50 years.

      • Jason L. says:

        -There is physical evidence of the Oswald impersonation, in the form of call transcripts of “Oswald” speaking “broken Russian.” There is also transcript evidence of one of the “Oswald” calls to one of the consulates on a date/time when it was closed.

        -There is also plenty of physical evidence suggesting the SBT isn’t true and that there was more than one shooter, as we’ve been through ad nauseum. Whether the additional shooter(s) were in front or behind really makes no difference.

      • JSA says:

        The fires got put out before they could properly be investigated.

        When people destroy the evidence (limousine, JFK’s brain and head entry wounds, x-rays missing, audio tape of Oswald impersonator in Mexico City erased, files from CIA hidden because of “national security”)—it’s difficult to track the evidence. I might add however, that the “sniper’s nest” in the TSBD was very badly handled, and evidence that should have been kept pristine was not, that it would have been difficult in a court of law (not an O.J. trial but a good trial) to prosecute Oswald. That also got taken care of as he got conveniently removed by someone with Mob ties who stated that in order to get at the truth of his actions, he would have to be given protection and taken to Washington to testify. THAT wasn’t about to happen.

        The HSCA should have done more but got stonewalled and railroaded by Joannides, the fox guarding the henhouse.

        The Kennedy Assassination had all the honest inquiry of the phony baloney lead up to the 2003 Iraq war, with the testimony of weak players like “curveball.”

  20. Jon Claridge says:

    I highly recommend Gerald Posner’s book “Case Closed.” It build on the science and addresses conspiracy theories. There are explanations for all the eyewitness testimony. You’ve got to address the science; that’s where the truth lies.

    • JSA says:

      I highly recommend Donald Thomas’ book “See No Evil” which examines from a truly objective, scientific basis the acoustic evidence for more than one shooter. To learn more about this book, which is much more up to date (and scientifically accurate) than Posner’s, go to http://www.maryferrell.org and scroll down to the bottom of the current homepage.

    • leslie sharp says:

      I highly challenge anyone who recommends Posner’s “Case Closed.” The book is full of holes, and anyone who studies Posner’s history will understand why his perspective on the Kennedy assassination may well be skewed.

      • John Kirsch says:

        This is from the Wikipedia entry on Posner: “In 2010, Posner was the chief investigative reporter at the Daily Beast. Following the revelation that a number of Posner’s stories for the Beast contained portions plagiarized from articles in other publications, Posner resigned from the Beast.[27][29][30][31][32] According to Posner, the plagiarism was inadvertent and the result of the “compressed deadlines” of the Beast and confusing his assembled research with his own writing in the “master files” he assembled on each story.”

  21. Dave says:

    I had the pleasure to speak with Jeff at the Wecht JFK conference in Pittsburgh last month. The final panel discussion of the event was about why the mainstream media, even 50 years later, still can’t bring itself to properly analyze the assassination, except from the Warren Omission’s incomplete perspective. Seeing how “Cold Case JFK” gave Jeff’s comments extremely short shrift, proves just how pervasive this corporate media “denialism” really is.

  22. antonio mitchell says:

    After 50 years, NOBODY has confessed his participation in a suppossed conspiracy. This alone is proof enough that Oswald was the lone killer. No regrets, no death bed confessions, no interest in making millions out of a story??. No way. I may go as far as saying that Oswald may have been pushed to kill Kennedy by his ”friend” de Mohrenschild, which is not the same as beeing a participant in a conspiracy. The problem is that Americans (I am from Argentina), still cannot reconcile with the fact that Camelot was destroyed by a deranged guy, but remember that the First World War was started by a guy as deranged as Oswald.

    • Roy H says:

      Thank you for your excellent discernment, Antonio. Mix Kennedy worship with a fascination for conspiracy theories, and the result is a perfect storm of pugnacious nonsense.

    • Snake Arbusto says:

      The “conspiracy theory” is the theory that Oswald is the lone assassin.

  23. PaulC says:

    Besides the so-called institutional phenomenon you call “JFK Denialism” stripping out the potential political context and meaning of the assassination, there is another institutionalization at work that I think of as evidentiary “oversimplification” or “reductionism” or “compartmentalization.”

    In this case, the “possibility” of the SBT is severely limited to a convenient portion of relevant evidence, trajectory and ballistics. But there is a sea of “other” relevant physical evidence including, autopsy, clothing, tissue, and expert witness testimony.

    This huge body of physical evidence is consistent with the throat wound being a non-exit wound, and with the back wound and throat wounds being separate wounds.

    For example,

    -Weisberg claims, apparently from a taped interview with Malcom Perry, that Perry described a neck wound that was a narrow entrance wound, with a bruise collar.
    -If I recall correctly, Perry also described bullet fragments lodged in Connelly’s thigh.
    -On the day of the assassination, other Parkland doctors similarly described the throat wound to the press, as a small entry wound.
    -We also hear repeatedly about the autopsy doctor’s probing the back wound but finding no path to the throat, and we know the wound path was not dissected.
    -We know the FBI’s first solution to the crime, CD-1, posits a non-transitting back wound that blows a piece of bone out of JFK’s throat. The “pristine” bullet is alleged to fall out of JFK’s back on the stretcher, not to hit Connelly. The Tague wound is ignored.
    -We know that JFK’s clothing puts the back wound in both the coat and the shirt at about 5 3/4″ inches below the collar.
    -We know that there is NO corresponding bullet “hole” for the throat “exit” wound, but rather a “slit” in JFK’s shirt.
    -The exit “slit” has no ballistic markings from a passing bullet, rather its more consistent with the shirt being cut off with a scalpel by an attending nurse than by an exiting bullet.
    -We know that the tie also gets nicked by a passing bullet, but there is no further ballistic evidence of exit.
    -We know that if the clothing evidence is accurate, “coat bunching” aside, then there is NO downward arcing trajectory from 5 3/4′ below the shirt collar that exits the throat through a slit in the collar that nicks the tie, leaves a small round entry-like wound with a bruise collar and no ballistic markings. The clothing evidence doesn’t work.
    -We know that the Zapruder film shows delayed reactions between when JFK reacts to his throat and when Connelly reacts, particularly the cheek puffs, that are inconsistent with timing of a single bullet.
    -We know Connelly testifies that he is certain that he was not hit by the same bullet as the one that hit JFK, and his testimony is considered so significant that Life magazine calls for a re-opening of the case.

    And there is even more explosive facts that we don’t even dare mention
    -Autopsy photographers, photo technicians and xray technicians disavow existing materials and confirm that the photos and xrays they remember taking are no longer in the archives.
    -We (think we remember) the taking of neck tissue samples that should indicate tissue fusing during bullet exit, but that these tissue samples are now missing.
    -Robert Groden testifies that he is present at an unofficial HSCA meeting where Perry sees the autopsy throat wound with its massively enlarged tracheotomy and denies that the photo looks anything like the body he, Perry, left.
    -Humes finally admits that he destroyed first draft of the the autopsy along with the autopsy notes.

    Because this is the JFK case, each of these alleged facts I’ve made is controversial and fully litigated as to their veracity and meaning, but ….

    Under courtroom procedures, the government and NOVA couldn’t even get its evidence introduced into the court room.

    And, if any ONE of the facts I’ve mentioned are actually true then the Single Bullet Theory is simply impossible, the throat wound is likely an entry wound and JFK and Connelly were hit by separate shots.

    Programs like PBS NOVA isolate only a portion of the relevant evidence pertaining to the Single Bullet Theory’s veracity without considering the whole body of evidence.

    Yes, I fully understand the implications of separate shots hitting both men.

    • Photon says:

      But Perry never examined Connolly.
      Name one doctor on the day of the assassination besides Perry who even mentioned the throat wound.
      Connolly stated initially that he was not hit by the same round that hit JFK because he assumed that JFK was hit with the first shot- which was incorrect. He never saw JFK being hit, he later agreed that the second shot could have hit JFK- and he knew that was the shot that hit him.
      Connolly’s lapel flap proves that he was hit earlier than the puffed cheeks appear. As you obviously know nothing about respiratory physiology and pulmonary anatomy you don’t understand that such reaction is variable and is not a reliable sign to based the time of wounding on.

      • Snake Arbusto says:

        You should avoid using troll phraseology like “You obviously know nothing about…”. It discredits you to anyone who might be inclined to believe you. Either explain why puffed cheeks can be a delayed phenomenon or refrain from challenging the poster on that point. Or are we to simply assume that you are an expert in that area yourself?

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