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Bernice Moore
11-13-2009, 02:35 AM
Doug Horne's new Blog on the assassination of JFK.

"Inside the ARRB," a book 13 years in the making, should be available for sale next month. Over 2000 pages in five volumes.


Bernice Moore
11-16-2009, 06:40 AM
Doug Horne's new Blog on the assassination of JFK.

"Inside the ARRB," a book 13 years in the making, should be available for sale next month. Over 2000 pages in five volumes.


by bill kelly posted with permission


I’m pleased to report that my book about the medical coverup in the Kennedy assassination, Inside the ARRB, is finally completed, and will be published in the near future, hopefully in December of 2009.

The only real certainty we are left with about the events in Dallas in 1963 is that there was a massive coverup, and that the two official explanations about what happened --- offered up by the Warren Commission and the HSCA --- cannot be true. So much physical evidence was destroyed, and so much tainted evidence was introduced into the official record, that I am convinced the reason the evidence in the Kennedy assassination “doesn’t come together” like a normal homicide case is because there is fraud in the evidence. To continue to assume that all of the evidence held by the U.S. government is sacrosanct, and should be accepted at face value, will only guarantee that there will never be a consensus about what happened. Much of the evidence processed by the Federal government is suspect, and tainted.

If the tainted evidence can be identified, and separated from the more trustworthy evidence, we stand a much better chance of understanding the nature of both the murder, and more importantly, the coverup. The coverup tells us more about the assassination than endless arguments about how many shooters there were, or where they were located in Dealey Plaza.

I felt compelled to attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the medical evidence by taking a serious look at how much evidence was destroyed in 1963, and which evidence in the official record is likely tainted, and cannot be trusted (and why). It was no easy task; but neither was it an impossible endeavor.

Additionally, I closely examined the statements and testimony of key Parkland hospital and Bethesda autopsy witnesses over the years to see who had been consistent in describing events, and who had changed his testimony as time passed. I acted as a very curious citizen-detective, and made no starting assumptions about the presumed authenticity of any particular item of evidence.

What one believes about JFK’s assassination depends upon which data base one relies upon; there is so much conflicted evidence that one can “cherry pick” the evidence in the official record and come to almost any conclusion about the facts of the shooting. I attempted to examine the broad range of virtually all of the medical evidence, and tried very hard to avoid the limited and selective use of evidence, a mistake made by both the Warren Commission and the HSCA.

My conclusions are that neither the autopsy report (a document rewritten at least twice), nor the autopsy photographs and x-rays (which present dishonest and intentionally misleading images of the head wounds), can be relied upon to determine the reality of the event in Dealey Plaza, and that the original observations of the treating physicians and nurses at Parkland hospital remain the best single guide to the actual wounds sustained by President Kennedy --- but that they still must be judiciously married to certain other key facts, to ascertain what likely happened.

Once one accepts that JFK was killed by a crossfire, the focus shifts to the who and the why, and my book attempts to deal with this subject as well, for the assassination can only be understood in terms of the context in which it took place: at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

For more information on my book, please reference my blog: insidethearrb.livejournal.com.

Here's most of Dick Russell's interview with Doug Horne, which touches on many of the topics in his book. - BK

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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 national archives..b

Bernice Moore
12-23-2009, 04:06 PM
http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...mp;relPageId=15 (http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=48721&relPageId=15)

"It's possible that the film of the century is more intimately related to the crime of the century than we ever knew - not because it recorded the crime of the century, as we have assumed, but because it was itself an instrument of conspiracy." .....:motz:
- The late Professor Phil Melanson

Peter Lemkin
12-23-2009, 10:27 PM
Horne interview of about three hours - very good - here (http://www.blackopradio.com/black452a.ram) for part one and here (http://www.blackopradio.com/black452b.ram) for part two. Don't miss it! :marchmellow: