Continued from Part 1
In chapter four of his book, Thomas deals with the alleged murder weapon – which of course was the Mannlicher Carcano rifle entered into evidence as Ce139. Thomas discusses four key issues with the rifle. Namely the misidentification of the rifle as a German Mauser, the spent shell casing with the dented lip (Ce543) which was allegedly discovered in the Sniper’s nest of the 6th floor of the TSBD, the accuracy of the rifle, and the spectrographic tests by FBI agent John Gallagher on the bullets and bullet fragments to determine whether they had originated from “Oswald’s” rifle.
Thomas begins with a discussion of the misidentification of the rifle as a German Mauser, referring to the misidentification as “One of the many red herrings in the lore of the JFK assassination”. As Thomas explains, Dallas deputy Sheriffs Seymour Weitzman, Eugene Boone, Roger Craig, and DPD Captain Will Fritz all initially identified the rifle as a 7.65 mm Mauser. Thomas believes that the misidentification of the rifle arose due to the fact that German Mausers were also manufactured as 6.5 mm calibre rifles, and that both Mausers and Carcanos were manufactured as bolt action rifles. Thomas explains that since the MC rifle didn’t have the words “Mannlicher Carcano” stamped on it, with only “CAL 6.5” stamped on the barrel; this then led to the false reports that it was a Mauser.
My own belief is that the MC rifle entered into evidence was in fact the rifle used to shoot the President from the 6th floor of the TSBD. If the conspirators were trying to frame Oswald for the assassination (as the evidence indicates) it makes no sense that they wouldn’t use the MC rifle, as Oswald allegedly ordered the MC rifle via Money order, and the so-called backyard photographs depict “Oswald” holding the rifle.
As Thomas explains, TSBD employee Warren Caster had brought two rifles into the TSBD two days before the assassination. One of them was a 0.30 -06 calibre (7.65mm) Mauser. It is therefore quite possible that deputy Sheriff Seymour Weitzman had merely confused the MC rifle with Caster’s Mauser when he wrote in his affidavit the day following the assassination (here) that “This rifle was a 7.65mm Mauser bolt action equipped with a 4/18 scope, a thick leather brownish-black sling on it.” It should be noted that Caster testified before the Warren Commission that his rifles were at his home on the day of the assassination.
Where were those guns [rifles] on November 22, 1963?
The guns were in my home, 3338 Merrell Road.
Although both Roy Truly and William Shelley confirmed during their Warren Commission testimonies that Caster had removed the rifles from the TSBD before the assassination, it is quite possible that the rifle(s) were present inside the TSBD on the day of the assassination. Realising that the presence of the Mauser had led to the misidentification of the MC rifle, the DPD and/or the FBI had likely suborned Caster, Truly, and Shelley to claim that Caster’s rifle had been removed from the building prior to the assassination. It’s important to keep in mind that photographs and film footage of the rifle on the 6th floor and outside the TSBD clearly show that the rifle is the MC rifle entered into evidence.
Thomas also explains that FTA agent Frank Ellsworth, who was present inside the TSBD during the DPD search of the building following the assassination, claimed that the MC rifle was actually discovered on the 4th floor. However, the Tom Alyea footage (here) clearly shows DPD Captain Will Fritz, and Lt Carl Day examining the MC rifle on the 6th floor of the TSBD. There are many conspiracy advocates who are of the opinion that the President was assassinated from a floor below the 6th floor. This is based mainly on the fact that there were false reports of the shooting, such as DPD inspector Herbert Sawyer’s transmission on Channel 2 of the DPD radio, in which he remarked;
“On the 3rd floor of this book company down here, we found empty rifle hulls and it looked like the man had been here for some time. We are checking it out now.”
First of all, it makes no sense that the conspirators would use a lower floor of the building for assassinating the President, as they would logically want to be higher above the ground. Secondly, the witnesses on the 5th floor of the TSBD claimed that the shots were fired from directly above their heads. Thirdly, several witnesses in the Plaza reported seeing a gunman in an upper floor of the TSBD – with none claiming that it was from a lower floor. Finally, it makes no sense that the DPD would move the spent shell casings from a lower floor of the TSBD to the 6th floor. In my opinion, the TSBD sniper was located in the South-eastern most window of the 6th floor where the spent shell casings were found.
I should also point out that Dallas deputy Sheriff Roger Craig insisted until the day he died that the rifle was a Mauser. Now although I believe that Craig did see a man resembling Oswald enter a Nash rambler station wagon on Elm Street, as it was corroborated by four other witnesses, and DPD chief Jesse Curry provided indirect corroboration during this Press conference, he should not be considered a totally credible witness. For example, Craig claimed that when he heard the news of Tippit’s murder, he looked at his watch and it read 1:06 pm. However, this is contradicted by the fact that T.F Bowley claimed he looked at his watch when he arrived at the Tippit murder scene, and it read 1:10 pm (see here for a detailed discussion of the time Tippit was most likely shot).
Thomas also explains to the reader that deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone testified before the Warren Commission that it was Captain Will Fritz who first identified the rifle as a Mauser. He also explains that Fritz would only admit that he “might” have identified the gun as a Mauser. Thomas also explains that the Warren Commission would not admit that Fritz; who was in charge of the investigating the assassination, would have made an error in identifying the rifle. Thomas then does a brilliant job in highlighting how incompetent (and deliberately negligent) Fritz was in his investigation of the President’s assassination. For example, Thomas explains that Fritz had no formal training in forensics, that he had failed to tape record any of his interrogations of Oswald, and that he had no interest in Rose Cheramie’s claim of a conspiracy to assassinate the President.
As most researchers are aware, conspiracy advocates have argued that the dented shell casing (Ce543) could not have been dented after it was allegedly fired from the MC rifle. In his discussion of the dented shell casing, Thomas explains that the shell casing could simply have been dented by the mishandling of the shell by the DPD; inferring that there actually were three shots fired from the MC rifle. However, Thomas inexcusably omits that Bonnie Ray Williams (one of the three witnesses on the 5th floor of the TSBD at the time of the assassination) claimed in his affidavit to the Dallas Sheriff’s Office on the day of the assassination, and informed the FBI the following day, that he had heard only TWO shots fired above him (please refer to this post for more information).
Thomas does what I think is a good job in explaining the problems with the chain of possession of the dented shell casing. Thomas cites the report by DPD detective C.N Dhority (here) in which Dhority claimed that Captain Fritz had given him the three spent shell casings to take to Lt Carl Day. Thomas then cites Fritz’s testimony where Fritz explained that he had kept possession of one of the shell casings, before turning it over to the FBI on November the 27th, 1963. FBI agent James Hosty wrote out a receipt concerning the shell casing which can be read here.
Thomas explains that Lt Day had testified that his mark didn’t appear on Ce543, only to claim in an affidavit to the Warren Commission (here) that he now remembered marking the shell, and now claimed that it was Ce545 (one of the other spent shell casings) which was retained by the DPD and that it contained Captain George Doughty’s initials (Doughty was Day’s immediate superior in the DPD identification bureau). The following is from Day’s testimony concerning Ce543:
Now, I am going to ask you to state if you know what Commission Exhibit 543 is?
That is a hull that does not have my marking on it.
Do you know whether or not this was one of the hulls that was found at the School Book Depository Building?
I think it is.
What makes you think it is?
It has the initials "G. D." on it, which is George Doughty, the captain that I worked under.
Was he there at the scene?
No, sir; this hull came up, this hull that is not marked came up, later. I didn't send that.
That was retained. That is the hull that was retained by homicide division when the other two were originally sent in with the gun.
Despite the fact that Captain George Doughty had marked the spent shell casings; and was Lt. Day’s immediate superior, he was never called to testify before the Warren Commission! Thomas believes that Ce543 was dented by the DPD when experimenting with chambering the spent shell casings in the rifle, and that they possibly retained it because they had damaged it. My own belief is that Ce543 contained an unfired round, from which Ce399 (the so-called magic bullet) originated. I will elaborate on this theory in a future post on my blog.
Thomas also does a nice job explaining the markings on the spent shell casings. Both Ce543 and Ce545 contained a mark from the magazine follower of the rifle, although Thomas doesn’t actually mention that Ce545 contained the mark. Since the magazine follower only marked the last bullet in the clip of the rifle, both these shells had previously been loaded into the rifle and ejected. Thomas also writes that Ce543 contained three marks which indicated that it had been loaded and extracted from the rifle at least three times – possibly due to practicing with the bolt of the rifle with live ammunition. Thomas also explains that Ce543 had a deeper firing pin impression; which could only have occurred by attempting to fire an empty shell casing (see here for information on the dented shell casing).
In his discussion of the accuracy of the rifle, Thomas notes that the scope was misaligned. Many conspiracy advocates have argued that since the scope was misaligned, the rifle could not have been used during the assassination. However, with all due respect, I consider this to be a narrow minded interpretation of the evidence. As Thomas explains, it is quite possible that the 6th floor assassin had collided with one of the columns of the TSBD, thereby misaligning the scope. However, Thomas then contradicts himself by claiming on a later page; “…if the four-power scope had been perfectly aligned, which we have every reason to believe was not the case…”
Thomas does a good job exposing the fraud of the shooting tests conducted by the US Army on “Oswald’s” Mannlicher Carcano. As Thomas notes, the 6th floor window of the TSBD was 60 feet high, whereas the three shooters enlisted for the test fired from a 30 feet tall tower, and the target was placed in a straight line from the tower instead of on an angle as was the case with the 6th floor window. The targets were also stationary, and the three shooters were all top sharpshooters, whereas Oswald had barely qualified as a Marksman in the Marines in 1959.
Thomas also does a good job in explaining how the Warren Commission, the FBI, and HSCA’s chief counsel Robert Blakey, were deceptive in their evaluation of the accuracy of the rifle. For example, Thomas notes that Blakey claimed the following in a memorandum to the HSCA;
“It is apparently difficult, but not impossible – at least with only minimal practice with the firearm used – to fire three shots, at least two of which score “kills”, with an elapsed time of 1.7 seconds or less between any two shots, even though, in the limited testing conducted, no shooter achieved this degree of proficiency”.
The 1.7 second elapsed time is derived from the DPD Dictabelt recording, which allegedly proves that two shots were fired from the TSBD only 1.7 seconds apart. As Thomas explains, the MC rifle used during the testing was not the one allegedly used to shoot the President from the 6th floor of the TSBD; instead, it was a substitute rifle! The reason the MC rifle discovered in the TSBD wasn’t used was because it was in poor condition (bear in mind that the FBI determined that it required a minimum of 2.3 seconds to fire consecutive shots from “Oswald’s” rifle) . As far as I’m concerned, using a substitute rifle to prove that the shots could have been fired 1.7 seconds apart is completely and utterly ridiculous. Why anyone should believe otherwise is beyond me.
Thomas then moves on to a discussion of the spectrographic tests performed by the FBI lab on the bullet fragments recovered from President Kennedy, Governor Connally, and the limousine. As Thomas explains, the FBI hid from the Warren Commission the results of its spectrographic tests. When the late Harold Weisberg filed a freedom of information suit for the release of the results, he was met by heavy residence from the FBI and the courts, but the results were eventually released.
Upon their release, Weisberg discovered that the results from the analysis of the President’s clothing, the windshield of the President’s limousine (where it is purported there was a through and through bullet hole), and the Commerce Street curb where a bullet or bullet fragment had struck and the injured bystander James Tague, were missing from the released results.
Thomas explains that the so-called Walker bullet; which was allegedly recovered from the home of former Army General Edwin Walker after the failed attempt on his life on April 10, 1963, had distinct metallurgical characteristics than the MC bullets fired at President Kennedy. Thomas notes that the “Walker” bullet had a lead core with Tin as its major impurity, whereas the bullets used in the assassination of the President had a lead core with antimony as its major impurity.
Thomas argues that the “Walker” bullet and the “Kennedy” bullets were from different manufacturing batches; with the former being from World War 2, and the latter bullets from the post-war period. It’s important to keep in mind that Walker had informed HSCA chief counsel Robert Blakey that the bullet which was recovered from his home was not an MC bullet! Walker claimed that it was a steel jacketed bullet. The fact that the MC bullet allegedly recovered from Walker’s home had distinct metallurgical characteristics is evidence that the actual bullet recovered was not ammunition that Oswald allegedly purchased, and then allegedly tried to murder Walker with.
A highly fascinating revelation made by Thomas is that the MC bullets used to assassinate the President were manufactured at the behest of the CIA! As Thomas explains, four lots of MC bullets were manufactured by the Western Cartridge company following World War 2, under contract with the U.S Marine Corp. Thomas then cites an interview which FBI agent Robert Frazier gave to David Fisher, during which revealed that he believed the CIA had provided Italy (where the MC was manufactured) with four million rounds of MC bullets, which was then sold back to the U.S since Italy didn’t use them.
Thomas argues that the Government had gone to great lengths to hide the spectrographic test results, as it would reveal that President Kennedy was assassinate by bullets which were manufactured at the behest of the CIA, as part of an assassination plot directed at French President Charles De Gaulle. Now, does anyone honestly believe that the FBI and the US Government wouldn’t go to great lengths to try and hide the fact that the President was assassinated using CIA bullets? I am very grateful to Thomas for providing this information in his book. I think this is crucial information, which serious assassination researchers should not ignore, as it indirectly implicates the CIA in the assassination.
After my disappointment with Chapter one, I was very pleased with what Thomas had written in the following three Chapters. Unfortunately, I was also very disappointed with some of the things Thomas wrote in Chapter five, which he entitled Photogrammetry. In this Chapter, Thomas discusses the so-called backyard photographs of “Oswald” posing with the MC rifle, the photograph taken of Edwin Walker’s home, the photographs taken of the TSBD before and after the assassination, and photographs of the infamous Grassy Knoll.
Thomas begins with the so-called backyard photographs (designated Ce133-A, B, and C), claiming that the photographs are in fact genuine as lone gunman zealots have been vehemently arguing. As evidence of their authenticity, Thomas cites the determination by the FBI’s photographic expert, Lyndal Shaneyfelt, that frame edge markings unique to the Imperial reflex camera (which was allegedly used by Marina Oswald to take the photos), matched to the negative of Ce 133-B to the exclusion of all cameras. Thomas also cites the study by the HSCA’s photographic panel which came to the conclusion that the photographs are authentic.
Although Thomas does inform the reader that the photographs were discovered in the home of Ruth Paine by the DPD on the day following the assassination, he apparently didn’t believe it was odd that they were not found on the day of the assassination, when Paine’s home was initially searched by the DPD. Thomas also doesn’t inform the reader that the Imperial reflex camera was mysteriously discovered by Ruth Paine, and given to Oswald’s older brother, Robert, on December 8th, 1963; instead of to the DPD or the FBI.
Thomas also never informs the reader about the serious lack of credibility of both Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine (who helped Oswald get his job as an order filler at the TSBD). There is also no mention of Michael Paine, the “estranged” husband of Ruth Paine, who arrived at Ruth’s house at approximately 3:45 pm on the day of the assassination generously offering his help to Ruth (see here). Keep in mind that Marina Oswald was inconsistent concerning when she had taken the backyard photographs, including how many she had taken. In her affidavit to the DPD on the day of the assassination (here), Marina made the following claim concerning Oswald’s ownership of the rifle;
“Today at the Police station they showed me a rifle. This was like the rifle my husband had. It was a dark gun. But I don’t remember the sight on it. It could be the same rifle but I’m not sure.”
During her testimony before the Warren Commission – after her memory had miraculously improved, she now claimed that the MC rifle entered into evidence was the "fateful rifle of Lee Oswald”! She also initially claimed that she didn’t know that Oswald allegedly used the alias, Alek James Hidell. During her testimony before the Warren Commission in February 1964, she claimed that she first heard the name during Oswald’s radio debate with Ed Butler and Carlos Bringuier (see here). Unfortunately for her claim, there was no mention of the Hidell named during the entire debate!
It is also crucial to bear in mind that according to Robert Oswald, the FBI had implied (in so many words) that she would possibly be deported back to Russia if she didn’t co-operate with them! In fact, Marina Oswald herself claimed that she was advised that “it would be better for me if I were to help them.” (See here). Why anyone should believe that she actually did take the photographs of Oswald holding the rifle is beyond me. The one final point I would like to make concerning Marina’s credibility, is that the HSCA wrote a 29 page report questioning her credibility.
As far as Ruth Paine is concerned, many researchers, such as Jim DiEugenio, have noted that both her sister and father worked for the CIA; and that Ruth Paine herself worked for the CIA! Dallas deputy Sheriff Buddy Walthers wrote in his report to Sheriff Bill Decker (here) that “A set of metal file cabinets containing records that appeared to be names and activities of Cuban sympathizers” was discovered, after searching through Ruth Paine’s home. One must ask what Ruth Paine was doing with metal filing cabinets containing the names of Cuban sympathisers – unless of course, she was spying on them at the behest of an intelligence agency such as the CIA.
It’s crucial to note that during her testimony before a New Orleans grand jury for the indictment of Clay Shaw, Marina Oswald claimed that she was advised by the Secret Service to keep away from Ruth Paine – because they believed she was sympathising with the CIA! (See here). Furthermore, in this article by researcher Steve Jones, it is stated that a friend of Ruth Paine’s in Nicaragua claimed she believed Ruth was working there in some sort of intelligence gathering capacity, since Ruth would be taking copious notes of everything she heard and saw, and that she would be asking many people inappropriate questions etc.
It’s also crucial to note that Ruth Paine claimed the reason she wanted Marina to move into her home was so that she could learn the Russian language. However, as Jim DiEugenio explains in his updated book Destiny Betrayed (2nd edition), Ruth Paine had studied Russian since 1957, and she had a Russian tutor in Dallas named Dorothy Gravitis. Most importantly, Ruth Paine taught Russian at St Mark’s School for boys. Now, why on Earth would she need Marina Oswald to teach her Russian? The fact is she didn’t need her! So why would she lie; and more importantly, why would she need Marina Oswald to move in with her – if not to help frame Oswald for the assassination?
As far as Michael Paine is concerned, consider the fact that his mother, Ruth Forbes Paine, was a close friend of CIA agent Mary Bancroft. Bancroft was involved in a 20 plus year affair with the notorious CIA director, Allen Dulles. There was therefore an indirect relationship between Michael Paine and the CIA. There is also evidence that Michael Paine was also some type of intelligence agent/asset. As Jim DiEugenio explains in his book, Michael Paine had accosted several students from the Southern Methodist University, at Luby’s cafeteria in Dallas. He had told them that he praised the revolution of Fidel Castro, and that he knew an ex-Marine who had returned from Russia with wife. There can be no doubt that this was Oswald.
One of the students identified Michael Paine to the FBI as the man who had been accosting the students. One interpretation of this incident is that Michael Paine had been setting Oswald up for the assassination as a Marxist sympathiser. Another important point to keep in mind is that it was Michael Paine who informed the DPD that the so-called backyard photographs of Oswald holding the rifle were taken at 214 West Neely Street in Dallas. As researchers such as Greg Parker have explained, the evidence that the Oswalds actually lived at the Neely Street is simply not convincing.
Finally, and most importantly, Anthony Summers wrote in his book The Kennedy conspiracy, that Michael Paine was overheard on the telephone telling his wife that he was sure Oswald shot the President, and also added: “We both know who is responsible”. Now how could Michael Paine have known who was responsible, unless he was involved in the assassination himself! It’s also worth mentioning that two friends of the Paines’, Fred and Nancy Osborn, had vouched for their innocence. Fred’s father, Fred Osborn senior, was a friend of Allen Dulles. It is my firm opinion that both Ruth and Michael Paine were involved in framing Oswald for the assassination.
Shockingly, Thomas mentions none of the above concerning Marina Oswald and the Paines. Thomas also never mentions the fact that David Eisendrath, who headed the HSCA PEP fake photo panel, claimed in his report that the HSCA’s photographic panel were fooled by fake photographs he had prepared! In light of that information, it is simply ridiculous to uphold the HSCA photographic panel as being credible.
Thomas also discusses the destruction of a photograph of Oswald allegedly holding the MC rifle above his head by Marina Oswald and his mother, Marguerite Oswald, allegedly done to hide evidence of Oswald’s guilt. Thomas believes that this photograph also depicted Oswald with the MC rifle. However, many researchers have explained that this was most likely a photograph of Oswald in Russia, holding a shotgun. Apparently, Thomas didn’t think it was odd that Marina and Marguerite would only destroy only one of the backyard photographs of Oswald – instead of all of them. This strongly suggests that the photograph which was destroyed was not of Oswald holding the MC rifle. Thomas also didn’t seem to think it was odd that Oswald wouldn’t destroy the backyard photographs; if he really did deliver the rifle to the TSBD.
Thomas also briefly discusses the Walker shooting, and is of the opinion that Oswald did actually shoot at Walker. However, not once does Thomas mention that Walker informed HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey that the bullet fired at him was not a MC bullet, but rather a steel jacketed bullet. Thomas also believes that the so-called Walker note, mysteriously “discovered” by Ruth Paine, and verified by Marina Oswald as being left by Oswald is actually authentic. Of course, Thomas believes that both Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine are credible witnesses, something which in light of everything mentioned above (and more) is utterly absurd.
Thomas cites the FBI’s questioned document examiner, James C Cadigan, who claimed that the handwriting on the note was Oswald’s. First of all, handwriting analysis is not an exact science. Secondly, the handwriting could easily have been forged by someone like Ruth Paine. Furthermore, as researcher Gil Jesus demonstrated here, Marina Oswald initially denied having any knowledge of the note.
It is my opinion that the photographs of the Oswald impersonator was made using a higher quality camera, with Oswald’s head then pasted into the photos to incriminate him (if you look closely at each of the backyard photographs, the head appears to be the same, with only the expression being slightly different). I believe the conspirators had enlarged the original photos with Oswald’s pasted in head, altered his facial expression with an air brush, and then took snapshots of the photographs with the pasted in head, using the imperial reflex camera. Keep in mind that the photographs of General Walkers home also contained the markings from the Imperial reflex camera. Given that the bullet fired at Walker was a steel jacketed bullet, it stands to reason that the conspirators had taken snapshots of the original Walker photographs using the Imperial reflex camera to incriminate Oswald.
It is also my opinion that Michael Paine had brought the photographs with him to Ruth Paine’s house on the day of the assassination. With the DPD detectives and Dallas Sheriff’s deputies already there when he arrived, the photographs had to be discovered the following day. Let’s also bear in mind that a copy of Ce133-A was discovered amongst the possessions of George deMohrenschildt. This copy of Ce133-A contained a greater amount of background than the copy entered into evidence by the Warren Commission. It was also of a higher quality. It has been argued that this copy was made using a higher quality enlarger and a higher quality lens. The HSCA allegedly determined that this was also a first generation print from the Imperial reflex camera.
Despite my misgivings with Thomas concerning the backyard photographs, I should praise him for explaining that a photograph of Walker’s home with a 57 model, two tonne, Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, was damaged to hide the identity of the license plate of the car. Thomas also discusses the apparent movement of boxes on the 6th floor of the TSBD from the time that Dallas morning news photographer Tom Dillard took his famous photograph of the TSBD, until the time that freelance photographer James Murray took his photograph of the TSBD approximately 12 to 14 minutes following the assassination. Although I tend to believe that boxes were moved, it can’t be stated as a fact that this wasn’t simply due to an optical illusion, or due to the fact that the photographs were taken from different locations.
Thomas also discusses the so-called black dog man, and the so-called badge man who was allegedly shooting at the President from behind the picket fence. In my opinion, the “badge man” is nothing more than an optical illusion. As for the “black dog man”, there is compelling evidence that this was a Negroe man who was eating lunch with his wife at the time of the assassination. Abraham Zapruder’s secretary, Marilyn Sitzman, who was standing behind Zapruder on top of the pedestal as he filmed the motorcade, informed Josiah Thompson that she saw a young Negroe couple eating lunch in the area of the Grassy knoll where the black dog man figure was photographed.
Thomas surmises that the purpose of the “black dog man” may have been to ensure that witnesses didn’t approach the picket fence from where a shot was most likely fired. I believe that this could have been the case. Thomas also mentions the fact that there were men in Dealey Plaza who identified themselves to DPD Officers Joe Marshall Smith, and Sgt David V. Harkness as Secret Service agents. Of course, there were no genuine Secret Service agents assigned to Dealey Plaza, and that these men were by all likelihood conspirators (please see here for my discussion of this issue).
In chapter six of his book, Thomas discusses the Zapruder film. Issues discussed include the wounding sequence of President Kennedy and Governor Connally, blurring of the film, and Abraham Zapruder’s startle reaction to the shots. Thomas notes that the flapping of Governor Connally’s jacket at frame 224 of the Zapruder film establishes that this was the point in time at which Connally was shot through the chest. Simultaneously, Connally’s torso can be seen to twist slightly to the left, most likely due to the transfer of momentum from the bullet to his body. Following this, we can see a look of pain on Connally’s pain, and his right hand holding the Stetson hat flips up probably due to a reflex reaction of the bullet shattering his wrist. If you look at the Zapruder film closely, after his Stetson hat flips up, Connally moves his left hand near his right wrist where the bullet struck him.
We then see Connally slump and turn to his right by Zapruder frame 236 with a look of pain on his face. It’s blatantly obvious that he has been wounded. Like many researchers, Thomas also believes that Connally’s rapid head snap to the right at Circa Zapruder frame 162, was due to his hearing a gunshot. However, Thomas neglects to mention that Dallas morning news reporter Mary Woodward and her three friends had called out to the President to look towards them. Therefore, Connally had most likely turned his head to look towards these women; just as the President had done so. Thomas also neglects to mention that none of the witnesses to the assassination recalled seeing the President wave after the first shot. He can be seen waving after Zapruder frame 160 (please see here for my own discussion of the first shot).
Thomas argues that the jiggling of Zapruder’s camera at frame 227 was due to a shot from the South eastern most window on the 6th floor of the TSBD. However, Zapruder testified before the Warren Commission that he saw the President lean over and grab at himself after the first shot. These actions can be seen after Zapruder frame 224, when Kennedy grabs at his throat and leans forward and to the left. As I explained here, there is much evidence that there was a shot prior to Zapruder frame 224. Therefore, Zapruder’s testimony indicates that he didn’t hear a shot fired at circa Zapruder frame 224, and that he couldn’t have jiggled the camera in response to hearing a shot.
Let me state that I think Thomas done a good job in exposing the lies and deceptions of lone gunman zealots, such as Luis Alverez, who claim that the blurring of the Zapruder film at frame 313 (the moment of the head shot(s)) was due to a startle reaction by Zapruder from a shot fired from the TSBD. Thomas explains that the sound of a shot from the TSBD sniper’s nest would have arrived at Zapruder’s location in 0.24s, and that it would therefore have not arrived in time to cause the blurring at Zapruder frame 313.
However, Thomas explains that the muzzle blast from a rifle near the corner of the stockade fence, where a figure which appears to be a person’s head can be seen, would have caused blurring of Zapruder film at frame 313. The distance of Zapruder from near the corner of the fence is approximately 52 ft. The air temperature in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination was 65 degrees Fahrenheit (as indicated by the Hertz sign on top of the TSBD), which means the sound speed of sound was about 1123 ft./s. Therefore, the sound of a shot from that location would have reached Zapruder in about 0.046 s.
Thomas mistakenly writes that it would take 0.045 s for the sound to reach Zapruder, as he uses 50 ft. as the distance from the rifle to Zapruder, instead of 52 ft. However, it’s only a very minor mistake. Thomas claims that the sound of the shot (and the shock wave) would reach Zapruder 0.019 s prior to frame 313 of the Zapruder film, where it is blatantly obvious that the President has been shot in the head. However, it would actually arrive 0.020 s prior to frame 313. Thomas explains that there would have been a 0.025s to 0.040s delay for Zapruder to react to the sound.
With the speed of the Zapruder’s camera at 18.3 frames per second, Zapruder would be reacting (assuming a full 0.040s delay) at circa frame 313; just as the blurring indicates. I should note that Thomas is firmly of the opinion that the head shot originated from behind the picket fence. As I explain below, it had actually by all likelihood originated from the 6th floor window of the TSBD. I nevertheless commend Thomas for demonstrating that the shot which caused the blurring of the Zapruder film at frame 313 had originated from behind the picket fence.
In chapter seven, Thomas discusses the President’s neck and back wound; concluding that the back wound was caused by a bullet which then exited his throat. Contained in this chapter are some of the most startling omissions of fact which I have seen. When discussing the back wound, not once does Thomas explain to the reader that the wound was measured 7 by 4mm in diameter at the autopsy, and that it was measured as 14 cm from the tip of the right mastoid process. When discussing the throat wound, not once does Thomas explain to the reader that Dr Malcolm Perry, who had performed a tracheostomy incision on the President at Parkland hospital, informed the chief autopsy pathologist, James Humes, that the throat wound was 3 to 5mm in diameter. Thomas merely states that Perry claimed it was a “few” millimetres in diameter.
Thomas explains that the autopsy Doctors and witnesses were placed under a gag order to not discuss what occurred during the President’s autopsy; and that the autopsy doctors were shamefully not permitted to dissect the President’s back wound to trace the path of the bullet which allegedly entered there! He also explains the deceptions by the media concerning the throat wound, such as the claim by LIFE magazine in its December 6, 1963 issue that:
“…the 8mm film [Zapruder film] shows the President turning his body far around to the right as he waves to someone in the crowd. His throat is exposed – toward the Sniper’s nest – just before he clutches it.”
Yet as Thomas explains, the Zapruder film depicts no such thing. Thomas also explains how Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford altered the description of the President’s back wound from “A bullet entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.” to instead read “A bullet entered the back of his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine.” Ford would later admit to having done so “only in an attempt to be more precise”. However, this was not precise in the least, since the autopsy photo of the President’s back clearly shows the wound to be below the neck!
Thomas also explains the lie by the Warren Commission that “The [autopsy] doctors traced the course of the bullet through the body”. The truth of the matter is that the autopsy doctors weren’t even aware during the autopsy that there was a throat wound, due to the fact that Doctor Malcolm Perry had performed a tracheostomy incision over the wound, during the desperate attempt to try and save the President’s life. So how on Earth could they have possibly traced the path of the bullet? The fact is they didn’t.
Despite Thomas’ insistence that the bullet which entered the President’s back exited his throat, this simply can’t be true as I explain in my two part discussion of the single bullet theory here. Given that the diameter of the wound in the President’s back measured 7 by 4mm, whereas the diameter of a Mannlicher Carcano bullet is 6.8mm, it is highly unlikely that even with elastic shrinkage of the wound, it could have been caused by a MC bullet. Furthermore, as I explain here, the shot to Governor Connally was almost certainly a silenced shot which could not have originated from the 6th floor of the TSBD.
Thomas explains that the reason the autopsy doctors were unable to connect the back wound to the throat, via a surgical probe, is because President Kennedy had his arms raised at the moment he was hit in the back. Given that Governor Connally was almost certainly shot in the back at frame 224 of the Zapruder film, Thomas believes this was when the President was also shot. Apparently Thomas didn’t believe that if Kennedy had his arms already raised by frame 224 – then he was almost certainly already hit by a bullet. I mean, why else would he have his arms raised?
My own belief is that the President was hit in the back by a fragment from a MC bullet which deflected upwards off the road. This would explain why the President’s back wound had an upwards abrasion collar, why the wound was an irregular oval shaped wound, and why the wound was shallow and did not penetrate to the throat. In the autopsy report prepared by FBI agents James Sibert and Frank O’Neill, it is claimed that the bullet had entered the back at a 45 to 60 degree downward angle (although Thomas neglects to mention this to the reader).
If the back wound was caused by a bullet fragment from the road, then it would surely have entered at an upwards angle of 45 to 60 degrees. I believe the autopsy doctors knew this, and lied to Sibert and O’Neill by telling them that a bullet entered at a downward angle. I should note that my experimentation with raising arms has shown that the skin in the area of the back, where President Kennedy’s wound was located, is pulled slightly upwards. However, keep in mind that witnesses to the autopsy, such as Paul O’Connor and James Jenkins, claimed that a surgical probe had penetrated two to three inches into the wound.
Now in order for Thomas’ theory to be true, the hole in the back muscles would have to be at the same level as the hole in the skin at the time the wound was inflicted; and during the autopsy when Kennedy’s arms were not raised, but by his side. Thomas doesn’t cite any evidence to support this claim. However, I don’t think that such a theory should be ruled out completely.
Following his discussion of the back and throat wounds, Thomas moves onto a discussion of the President’s massive head wound. Thomas claims that this was a wound inflicted by a bullet fired from behind the picket fence on top of the infamous Grassy knoll area. Thomas believes the bullet entered Kennedy’s right temple near the hairline (with an angle of approach of about 50 to 60 degrees), where a small hole was discovered, and where assistant White house press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff indicated to reporters where the bullet had allegedly entered. Thomas believes that upon sharply deflecting to the left, the bullet then blew out a large hole from the right rear of the skull.
However, the laws of physics, and a close examination of both the Zapruder and Muchmore films reveal that this can’t possibly be the case. First of all, we should keep in mind that in his discussion of the acoustics evidence, Thomas claims the rifle fired from behind the picket fence had a muzzle velocity of approximately 2350 to 2550 ft./s. Yet for his calculation of the flight time of a bullet fired from that location, he had assumed a muzzle velocity of only 2,200 ft./s. For the sake of this discussion, let’s use the conservative velocity of 2,200 ft./s. Thomas claimed that the impact velocity of the bullet fired from behind the picket fence with a muzzle velocity of 2,200 ft./s, would have been 1,900 ft./s.
In order for the bullet to deflect to the extent that Thomas would have us believe, a large amount of force would have been exerted on the bullet upon impact, towards the direction of the Grassy knoll. According to Newton’s third law of motion; every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, the impact of the bullet would have spun and knocked the President’s head violently to the left, and would likely have also snapped his neck. However, such reactions can’t be seen in either the Zapruder or Muchmore films. There is also no evidence that the President’s neck was broken.
To support his deflection theory, Thomas cited a study by Karl Sellier in which Sellier had come to the conclusion that deflections of up to 65 degrees were obtained in experiments with bullets striking metal plates. Thomas should know as well as anybody else that the President’s head wasn’t made of a metal plate, but rather human bone; and wasn’t fixed into place, but allowed to pivot on his cervical vertebrae. As far as physics is concerned, Thomas’ deflection theory simply cannot be true.
Thomas begins his discussion of the head wound by explaining that the HSCA and Clark Panel were unable to locate the bullet wound discovered during the autopsy, which was 2.5 cm and slightly above the EOP (External occipital protuberance). However, as I demonstrate here, the wound can be seen! The autopsy doctors weren’t alone in their claim that the wound was located near the EOP. Four other witnesses to the autopsy; autopsy photographer John Stringer, Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman, Lt. Richard Lipsey, and mortician Tom Robinson also indicated that the wound was near the hairline where the EOP is located.
In fact, as Pat Speer explains on his website, Tom Robinson claimed that he saw the autopsy doctors insert a surgical probe “near the base of the brain in the back of the head” and that he also recalled seeing “the tip of the probe come out the tracheotomy incision in the anterior [front] neck”. As Speer further explains, the HSCA’s medical report stated the following concerning Richard Lipsey’s recollections of what transpired during the autopsy “He [Lipsey] also concluded the entrance in the rear of the head corresponded to an exit in the neck”. I discussed the issue of the bullet exiting the throat in this post.
Speer also explains that despite popular belief amongst conspiracy advocates that the back of the President’s head was blown out, in actual fact, it wasn’t! I concur. Although Thomas does believe the right rear of the skull was blasted out, he also believes the autopsy photograph taken of the back of the head doesn’t depict a hole because the scalp was pulled back by one of the autopsy doctors when the photograph was taken. There have been all sorts of theories pertaining to the head wound, with lone gunman zealots arguing that the entry wound to the rear of the skull was actually 4 inches higher in the cowlick region. The most credible (and only) explanation in my opinion is Pat Speer’s argument that a bullet fired from the 6th floor window of the TSBD struck the President tangentially on the top right of his head.
Speer cites several key pieces of evidence to support his claim, which I will discuss briefly here. First, there is no back spatter of blood from the rear of the President’s head seen in the Zapruder film, where the bullet which allegedly caused the massive gaping head wound had entered the skull. As a bullet enters the skull, the transfer of energy from the bullet to the inside of the skull pressurises the brain and blood matter, resulting in the spattering of the blood from the entry hole. The fact that no back spatter is evident from the rear of the President’s head is strong evidence that the bullet which caused the gaping hole did not enter the back of the head.
As most researchers are aware, a piece of the President’s skull referred to as the Harper fragment was discovered in the Dealey plaza lawn to the front and left of the President’s position at the time of the headshot. Ironically, it was discovered by a medical student named Billy Harper. At Zapruder frame 313, the Harper fragment can be seen shooting upwards and slightly forwards from the top of President Kennedy’s head as a white streak. When the HSCA asked Dr Lawrence Angel, a world renowned Forensic anthropologist, to identify the location of the Harper fragment on President Kennedy’s skull, he drew a diagram showing it to be immediately anterior to the large cracks seen posterior to the large gaping hole on the lateral skull X-ray.
In a memorandum by Angel to the HSCA medical panel, he explained the following concerning the Harper fragment:
“Its [Harper fragment’s] postero-inferior pointed angle appears to fit the crack in the posterior section of the right parietal and its slightly wavy lower boarder can fit the upper edge of the loose lower section of right parietal.”
Speer explains that the underside of the Harper fragment shows internal bevelling (associated with entrance wounds) towards the back, with external bevelling (associated with exit wounds) towards the front. The presence of both internal and external bevelling in the Harper fragment is evidence that the bullet struck the top of the President’s head tangentially from rear to front. Furthermore, Speer explains that a greyish discolouration on the outside of the Harper fragment; caused by lead from the core of a MC bullet, suggests that the bullet broke up whilst entering the skull; and not whilst exiting the skull.
Let’s keep in mind that two fragments of the bullet’s copper jacket, from the nose and base of the bullet, were discovered inside the limousine. The nose fragment (Ce567) is severely mangled, and the base fragment (Ce569) is flattened, and devoid of its lead core (keep in mind that the middle portion of the bullet’s copper jacket was never recovered). Many conspiracy advocates argue that MC bullets don’t fragment when they strike human skulls. However, in this book entitled Medical response to terrorism (page 364) the following information is provided:
“High -velocity lead core and jacketed bullets generally break up into hundreds of fragments, called a lead snowstorm, upon entering tissues, creating significant damage.”
An examination of the lateral skull X-ray reveals such a lead snowstorm in the area of the large gaping head wound. The presence of the large skull fractures immediately posterior to the hole strongly suggests that the bullet had impacted tangential on the top of the head, since the impact of a bullet will fracture the skull due to the transfer of energy. Also, information contained in this book which is entitled Forensic Neuropathology: A Practical Review of the Fundamentals (page 215), includes a discussion of tangential bullet wounds, where it is claimed that:
“A gunshot wound that penetrates the scalp and subcutaneous tissue may be angled sufficiently to graze or groove the skull but not enter it. Such a wound has also been termed a tangential wound or gutter wound. It may involve the skull external table only; may produce in addition, a linear non-displaced inner table fracture; or may perforate the skull and cause fragments of bone to be displaced inwards. A slightly deeper penetration may be accompanied by the deeper portion of the bullet being sheared off by the skull and entering the intracranial cavity, often with skull bone fragments, while the remainder of the bullet continues on an extracranial path. The latter situation may result in a keyhole skull fracture, with its characteristic combination of external and internal bevelling of the wound edges. Rarely has a keyhole would pattern been described in skull exit gunshot wound. When even a portion of the bullet perforates the skull, it is no longer classified as a tangential wound.”
It is readily apparent from photographs that the base of the bullet has been sheared off. It is also easy to imagine that as the nose portion strikes the top of the head, the bullet will start to deflect slightly upwards, and shear apart due to the upwards force exerted on the bullet from the top of the skull. The downwards force exerted by a bullet striking the top of the head will undoubtedly cause the head to move downwards. As Pat Speer demonstrates on his website, this is precisely what is seen between frames 312 and 314 of the Zapruder film! In my opinion, this is positive proof that the bullet hit the top of the head.
Speer also explains that the discovery of skin on the nose fragment of the bullet is positive proof that the bullet struck the President’s head tangentially (see here for a discussion of the discovery of skin). Speer cites Dr Vincent J.M DiMaio’s book Gunshot wounds (here, page 46) in which it is claimed that skin is the least commonly encountered tissue on bullets.
If the bullet did actually enter the back of the skull, it makes no sense that skin would remain attached to its nose as it travelled through the brain. Furthermore, it makes little sense that skin from an outward exploding exit wound would attach itself to the nose of the bullet. However, if the bullet did strike tangentially, it makes sense that the nose of the bullet would scrape off skin from the scalp as it broke off.
It is crucial to bear in mind that Dr William Kemp Clark, the chief neurosurgeon at Parkland hospital, had informed reporters that he believed the head wound “could have been a tangential wound, as it was simply a large, gaping loss of tissue." Clark confirmed during his testimony before the Warren Commission that he did in fact believe the head wound was a tangential wound.
What, if anything, did you say then in the course of that press conference?
I described the President's wound in his head in very much the same way as I have described it here. I was asked if this wound was an entrance wound, an exit wound, or what, and I said it could be an exit wound, but I felt it was a tangential wound.
I think the fact that the chief Neurosurgeon of Parkland hospital believed the wound was a tangential wound is quite significant. According to the HSCA’s medical report, Richard Lipsey informed the HSCA that “He [Lipsey] believed the massive defect in the head represented an entrance and an exit when it was only an exit”. Whilst lone gunman zealots will undoubtedly argue that Lipsey was mistaken, or even lying, FBI agent Frank O’Neill drew a diagram for the HSCA in which he wrote the words “entrance” and “exit” on opposite sides of the diagram depicting the head wound. In other words, O’Neill was depicting a tangential wound.
Finally, in a book co-authored by legendary Forensic scientist Henry Lee entitled The real World of a Forensic Scientist, it is claimed: "[The] shot entered Kennedy's right temple and exited through his skull.", therefore implying the wound was of a tangential nature. For those of you interested in the truth behind the President’s head wound, I strongly recommend you take the time to carefully read over everything Pat Speer has written on his website.
The one final issue I would like to address is Thomas’ claim that the bullet fragments found inside the limousine were not associated with the head wound, but rather with Governor Connally’s wounds. In chapter nine, Thomas explains that the bullet broke in two when it struck Governor Connally’s rib, and then one of the fragments struck his right wrist shattering the radius bone. In the first place, the bullet did not break in two. As explained above, Ce567 was identified as the nose portion of the bullet’s copper jacket, Ce569 as the base portion of the copper jacket, with the middle section missing. Therefore, the bullet broke into at least three fragments.
Pat Speer’s analysis of the shooting has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the shot(s) to Governor Connally was fired by a rifle equipped with a silencer/suppressor. Also, Thomas ignores the crucial testimony of Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman, who claimed that he heard a “flurry of shells” come into the car after he observed the President clutching at his throat. Without a doubt, Kellerman was referring to the nose and base fragments of the bullet which damaged the interior of the limousine.
In this report by Lt Colonel Pierre Finck to his superior, Brigadier Generally J.M Blumberg, Finck explains the following:
“There is a parasagittal laceration of the right cerebral hemisphere, extending from the frontal to the occipital lobes and exposing the Thalamus. The Corpus Callosum is lacerated. No metallic fragments are identified but there are numerous small bone fragments, between one and ten millimetres in greatest dimension, in the container where the brain was fixed.”
As explained on page 215 of the book Forensic Neuropathology: A Practical Review of the Fundamentals:
“A slightly deeper penetration may be accompanied by the deeper portion of the bullet being sheared off by the skull and entering the intracranial cavity, often with skull bone fragments, while the remainder of the bullet continues on an extracranial path.”
The fact that “numerous small bone fragments” were found in the container where the President’s brain was fixed, strengthens the case that the head wound was a tangential wound. Think about it, with the bullet striking the top right of the head tangentially, it would shatter the skull into small fragments, with the fragments being carried downwards into the brain. Besides, it makes no sense that tiny bone fragments would be carried into the brain if the large gaping hole was an exit wound, since the fragments would logically be blown outwards.