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“In March 1964, one hundred days after the assassination of President Kennedy, Rydberg was summoned to the office of Captain John Stover, the Commanding Officer of the Navy Medical School. It was explained to him that Commanders Humes and Boswell, two of President Kennedy’s autopsy surgeons, were about to testify before the Warren Commission and they were in need of his special talents. He was put under secret orders to prepare medical illustrations of the wounds sustained by President Kennedy.”
Amid the glut of 50th anniversary JFK coverage, NPR’s interview with Jeremy Gunn, former general counsel for the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) from 1994 to 1998, stands out as one of the best recent pieces of journalism on the case of the murdered president.
Gunn is a quality witness. While largely unknown to both mainstream reporters and JFK conspiracy theorists, he was among the first people to see the vast body of JFK records made public by the ARRB in the mid-1990s.
The first newspaper accounts of JFK’s autopsy, published on December 18, 1963, gave a consistent account of the gunfire that was widely believed at the time (and became the basis for the postcard from Dallas reproduced here). But these accounts, published in the Washington Post and New York Times, vary dramatically from what pathologists later said. This version of the gunfire that struck JFK would be abandoned and forgotten by the two newspapers and defenders of the official story, all of whom later settled on a very different ballistic theory.
One possibility for this major discrepancy is that the Post and the Times stories were based on the original autopsy report that was later rewritten surreptitiously.
The Times story came from the Associated Press and was attributed to “a reliable source familiar with the autopsy findings.” The Post story was based on “the unofficial report of pathologists,” The stories were consistent with each other, both asserting that: …