By Craig McKee
Josiah “Tink” Thompson, the author of Six Seconds in Dallas and a believer that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shot that killed John F. Kennedy, says that the key evidence in the assassination is the photographic record, because “it authenticates itself.”
You know, because you can see it; that means it has to be real. Just like we know that Sam Neill and Laura Dern have almost been eaten by dinosaurs on several occasions.
But wait. Is it possible that sometimes visual evidence is not authentic? Can we question what our own eyes have seen?
Veteran JFK researcher Jim Fetzer, in a Truth and Shadows interview, says this is absolutely what we must do to get to the truth about what happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. And he shares this view with a number of prominent researchers who have analyzed the “Zapruder film” and found it to have been altered if not entirely fabricated.
“That means all the years and years of toil based on the presumption that the Zapruder film is a reliable clock for the timing of the sequence of the shots has been largely unproductive, because so much of it has been removed,” he says.
With current advances in imaging and computer technology, the Zapruder film, easily the most compelling, dramatic, and iconic artifact from the assassination, can now be analyzed and scrutinized like never before. And as a result, its authenticity is being questioned like never before.
Fetzer, who has edited three books on the JFK assassination – Assassination Science: Experts Speak Out on the Death of JFK (1998); Murder in Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now that We Didn’t Know Then (2000); and The Great Zapruder Film Hoax: Deceit and Deception in the Death of JFK (2003) – says the key to figuring out the truth about what happened that day is determining which of the evidence is genuine and which is not.
He says it is clear that the film and other major pieces of photographic evidence, taken as genuine by the Warren Commission and many JFK researchers, were tampered with or faked to hide crucial details and to frame an innocent man.
“When I first came into JFK research in a serious way,” Fetzer says, “I found that there was a super abundance of evidence, but it was completely and hopelessly incoherent. It was contradictory; it was on both sides of every issue.”
He says that he and a number of collaborators who are experts in different fields found that it was necessary to start from the beginning and reconstruct the case “from the ground up.” This meant examining evidence like the autopsy X-rays, photographs, and supporting documents as well as going to the visual record of the assassination itself, the Zapruder film and other Dealey Plaza images.
In 1996, he organized and moderated the first JFK Zapruder Film Symposium in Dallas, which he says was the first time the authenticity of the film had been seriously challenged by a group of experts. He followed that in 2003 with “The Zapruder Film: Is Seeing Believing in the Assassination of JFK?” at the Unversity of Minnesota. This symposium featured presentations by John Costella, Jack White, David Mantik, David Healy, and David Lifton, as well as Fetzer. (I read Lifton’s essential book Best Evidence when it was first published in 1981. It makes the case that Kennedy’s body was altered after death to hide the fact that shots had come from the front, a conclusion that Fetzer’s research also supports.)
All the conference presentations can be seen on You Tube – and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to really know what happened in Dealey Plaza – and what didn’t happen. (For a 10-minute summary of some of the problems with the Zapruder film that might spark your interest to learn more, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Am4qdl9PTA A visual tutorial on film alteration by Costella is also archived at http://assassinationscience.com/johncostella/jfk/intro/)
The point made clear in the conference and still made by Fetzer today is that the film, allegedly shot by Dallas businessman Abraham Zapruder, was altered to hide the fact that Kennedy’s limousine came to a halt for several seconds after the shooting started before rapidly accelerating and speeding away. More than 60 witnesses, including all four motorcycle escort officers, reported that it slowed dramatically or came to a complete halt.
Fetzer says some have seen a more complete version of the Zapruder film, which he believes is the original. This version, it has been reported, shows the driver, Secret Service agent William Greer, pull to the left once the shooting begins before coming to an abrupt stop. For a full collection of witness accounts, compiled by John Costella, go to http://assassinationresearch.com/v5n1/v5n1costella.pdf
During the stop – which he now believes may have lasted as long as 14-15 seconds – JFK was completely vulnerable as he was hit twice in the head: once from behind and once from the right/front. The problem is that the Zapruder film does not show the limousine stopping at all – or even significantly slowing down.
Hill vs. Zapruder
Secret Service agent Clint Hill, who was assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy, has maintained since the day of the assassination that once he heard shots fired he jumped off the running board of the Secret Service limousine, ran forward, and climbed onto the back fender of the president’s limousine. For him to do this, the vehicle had to be either stopped or going very slowly.
There is another key discrepancy between Hill’s account and what we see in the film: Hill says he climbed across the back of the trunk and lay across the back seat, covering the president and Mrs. Kennedy. From this close-up vantage point, Hill was able to see that there was blood, a fist-sized hole in the back of his head, and brain splattered over the trunk. A piece of the president’s skull was sitting on the seat.
If Hill is correct, then the Zapruder film can’t be authentic, because it does not show him covering the Kennedys at all; it just shows him climbing onto the back fender of the car and reaching towards Mrs. Kennedy. In one of his most recent articles, Fetzer has explained that, although efforts were made to alter the other films using the Zapruder as the guideline, the Nix film shows Hill moving significantly closer and making contact with Jackie, which is not seen in Zapruder. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/12/03/nix-film-contradicts-zapruder-more-proof-of-jfk-film-fakery/
The Moorman Polaroid
Another important piece of evidence that calls the Zapruder film into question is the Polaroid shot taken by Mary Moorman an instant after the shot that killed Kennedy. Photo expert Jack White, who showed why the famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle in his back yard was a fake, has determined the exact spot where the Moorman photo had to have been taken from – not only considering the necessary line of site, but also the distance above ground level. His analysis backs up Moorman’s claim that both she and her friend Jean Hill were standing in the street when the photo was taken, with Moorman even calling out to Kennedy to look her way for a photo.
The problem with this is that in the Zapruder film, both Moorman and Hill are seen standing on the grass. White’s research has also shown that the spectators visible in the background as the limousine moves past Zapruder’s location appear disproportionately large in comparison to those in the limousine. The implication is that the film is a composite and that background was enlarged to eliminate troublesome details.
“They used the sophisticated techniques of optical printing and special effects, whereby you can combine any foreground with any background and introduce any changes you would like to make,” Fetzer says. “So they removed the limo stop, they actually blacked out the blowout in the back of his head, they added a blob to make it look like there was a bulging of brains to his right front.”
There are other anomalies with the Zapruder film, according to Fetzer. He says that bystanders supposedly watching the presidential motorcade pass by on Elm Street were actually filmed earlier. These bystanders do not appear to be reacting to Kennedy at all (the crowds on Houston Street were cheering and waving at the president and Mrs. Kennedy just prior to the motorcade turning onto Elm). Some are not even looking at the president as the limousine passes them. Instead they appear to be looking towards Houston as if still waiting for the president to arrive.
“Why they made that change is not completely clear,” Fetzer says.
A photograph by the Associated Press’s James Altgens shows a row of onlookers standing on Houston Street across the intersection of Elm as the motorcade goes by. The Zapruder film also shows a row of onlookers at that location. The problem is that they aren’t the same people. Given that these images would have been recorded at virtually the same moment, one or the other or both can’t be genuine. But the simplest proof, he says, is that the blow-out at the back of JFK’s head is visible in frame 374, but is blacked-out in earlier frames.
“They simply overlooked it.”
The Moorman photograph also shows a figure at the top of the grassy knoll who appears to be wearing a police uniform and who appears to be pointing an object towards the president’s limousine. This figure has been dubbed “Badge Man,” and Fetzer is convinced he is one of the shooters.
“There appear to be 8, 9, or 10 shots from 6 different directions,” Fetzer says.
Here is Fetzer’s summary of the shooting:
- The first shot came from the roof of the Dallas County Records Building. It was apparently fired by a Dallas deputy sheriff named Harry Weatherford. This shot hit Kennedy in the back, about five-and-a-half inches below the collar and just to the right of the spinal column. This shot may have been intended to implant a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet in the president, which is the type of rifle Oswald is accused of using.
- The second shot appeared to come from the south end of the triple underpass and was fired by former Air Force sharpshooter Jack Lawrence, who had been working in a local car dealership for a short time (the same dealership that provided the mismatched cars for the motorcade – making it easy for shooters to determine which limousine was the president’s) and who didn’t show up for work that day but later arrived with his pants covered in mud. A car he had borrowed from the dealership the day before was found parked behind the fence on the grassy knoll. Lawrence was arrested and questioned but later released.
- Fetzer also identifies CIA agent and mobster Frank Sturgis as having fired the explosive shot that entered Kennedy’s right temple and resulted in the rear head exit wound from the north end of the Triple Underpass. This was most likely the shot that the killed Kennedy. Sturgis would later be arrested for the Watergate burglary along with E. Howard Hunt, who has confessed to being part of the plot to kill Kennedy. Sturgis was arrested again several years later in New York by detective Jim Rothstein, Fetzer says, when he went there to murder Marita Lorenz who was a former lover of Fidel Castro and who the CIA had tried to enlist to kill Castro. This hit was intended to prevent Lorenz from testifying at hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Fetzer says Rothstein arrested Sturgis when he broke into Lorenz’s apartment. Sturgis admitted to Rothstein that he had been one of the JFK shooters. “Frank Sturgis was open about having shot JFK,” Fetzer says. “He said he had done it because Kennedy had betrayed the brigade at the Bay of Pigs and because he was cavorting with beautiful women who were foreign nationals who were spies and therefore posing a threat to national security.”
- Three shots were fired from the 2nd floor window of the Dal-Tex Building, which was across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, by an anti-Castro Cuban named Nestor “Tony” Izquierdo using a Mannlicher-Carcano, which Fetzer believes was the only unsilenced weapon. Given its unreliability, it scored two misses and one hit. One hit the sidewalk near the triple underpass injuring bystander James Tague; another hit the chrome strip above the limo’s windshield. But the third hit Kennedy in the back of the head.
- Another shot came from the grassy knoll, apparently from Dallas police officer Roscoe White (Badge Man), who appears to have missed because he did not want to injure Jackie Kennedy.
- Shots that hit Texas Governor John Connally were fired by Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, who was Lyndon Johnson’s personal hit man and who was under the false impression that he was shooting at liberal Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough, who was Johnson’s nemesis, rather than Connally. “The fact that Lyndon Johnson had been unsuccessful at getting Connally out of the limousine and Yarborough in actually worked to the benefit of the conspirators because it obfuscated the politics,” Fetzer says. Wallace fired as many as three shots. His fingerprint was later found on a cardboard box that had been place to create the impression of a sniper’s lair. He was actually firing from the other side of the building.
The magic bullet
The account of the assassination decided upon by the Warren Commission has just three shots being fired at the president. It was initially claimed that the first two shots had hit Kennedy with the third hitting Connally. But when it surfaced that one shot had missed, injuring Tague, then the theory had to be revised. That’s where the “magic bullet” theory came from, courtesy of Commission member Arlen Specter.
This theory suggested that one bullet hit Kennedy in the back, exiting his throat, hitting Connally in the back, passing through his body and entering his right wrist, and then his left thigh. And after all that, the bullet that is supposed to have done all of this ended up on a stretcher in the hallway at Parkland Hospital in virtually pristine condition.
This brings us to something “astonishing” that Fetzer learned during an interview with a former neighbor and close personal friend of Sam Kinney, who was driving the Secret Service limousine (the one that followed the president’s). Gary L. Loukes told Tuskin and Fetzer, who was also a guest on the show, that Kinney had told him in 1986 that he had found a bullet in the limousine and he had taken that bullet and placed it on a stretcher in Parkland. Loukes added that Kinney had asked Loukes to keep the secret until after Kinney’s death, which occurred in 2000. He decided to keep it in confidence until his wife also died, which took place in 2008. For the interview, see http://nwopodcast.com/fetz/media/jim%20fetzer%20real%20deal-gary%20leuchs.mp3
“This is very revealing because most of us had supposed that the magic bullet was a plant that Jack Ruby had left on the stretcher, so it is fascinating to learn that it was in fact Sam Kinney, the driver of the Secret Service limousine.”
Fetzer says it’s “very plausible” that the bullet that Kinney placed on the stretcher came from the shot that hit Kennedy in the back, because that shot did not penetrate far and the bullet could easily have fallen out. But, Fetzer adds, this may have been to divert attention from Ruby having actually planted it to undermine conspiracy theories about the assassination.
He says Loukes also confirmed that the agent seen in a photograph washing the blood from the back seat of the limousine was Kinney also. Loukes said that Kinney didn’t want people to remember the president that way, so he decided to clean the car.
A bullet hole from another shot can clearly be seen in the limousine’s windshield in another Altgens photo of the motorcade with the Texas School Book Depository in the background. Fetzer contends that this same photograph actually shows Lee Harvey Oswald standing in a doorway, proving he could not have fired any shots from the sixth floor. http://www.veteranstoday.com/2012/11/14/jfk-believe-it-or-not-oswald-wasnt-even-a-shooter/
Fetzer also points out that the presidential limousine was sent back to the Ford Motor Company three days after the assassination where it was stripped to the bare metal and rebuilt, including the replacement of the damaged windshield – a clear case of destruction of evidence.
Evidence in the autopsy was clearly falsified as well, he says, pointing to research done by David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., that proves that X-rays as well as some of the autopsy photos and reports were tampered with.
“What we found was that the autopsy X-rays had been altered to conceal a massive blowout to the back of the head,” Fetzer says. “There had been more than 40 witnesses reported this blowout, including all the physicians at Parkland Memorial Hospital.”
He adds that one post mortem photograph of the president shows no damage to the front of his head or face, which directly contradicts the apparently fatal head injury seen in the Zapruder film.
The theft of the body
In fact, he says the treatment of the body was unlawful and outrageous from the beginning. For example, Kennedy’s body was forcibly removed from Parkland Hospital, Fetzer says, against all legal precedent (it was, after all, a murder committed in Dallas) and altered to disguise the fact that shots had come from the front, including the fatal one that blew out the back of Kennedy’s head as it exited. Kennedy was loaded onto Air Force One in an expensive ceremonial casket but arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital in a pinkish-grey shipping casket.
A radiation technician at Bethesda, Jerrol Custer, was taking X-rays to be developed of the president’s body, which was already in the morgue being autopsied, when he looked out the window and saw the grey Navy ambulance pull up with the bronze casket in it (This is one of the facts I first learned of from Lifton’s Best Evidence).
It goes on and on – the falsification of evidence, the destruction of evidence, and the disregarding of witness statements that conflict with the official story. The holes and blatant falsehoods in the Warren Report seem endless. What’s most incredible to this author is that anyone still believes this blatant cover-up. I asked Fetzer what he thought that the perpetrators of 9/11 had learned from how the JFK assassination and subsequent cover-up had played out:
“It taught them how you can get away with practically anything,” he said.
“The American public is so gullible. You can assassinate the president of the United States in broad daylight in a major city in front of hundreds of witnesses, you can take the body, you can alter the body, you can alter the photographs, you alter the X-rays, and you can redo the home movie, and investigative journalists are such dullards and show such a lack of interest and are so willing to defer to authority that they won’t even pursue it.”
Not only did the mainstream media not pursue an investigation of the hundreds of facts that contradict the official story, but in the lead up to the 50th anniversary, they stood fast in supporting the cover-up as part of a barrage of disinformation that included a feature film, Parkland, which reinforces the entire fiction. Parkland star Paul Giamati said on The Daily Show that he thinks people still cling to conspiracy theories about JFK because it’s more comforting to believe there is order behind the chaos. It’s like the debunkers all read from the same script.
The initial comment I referred to by “Tink” Thompson was from an interview done by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris for the New York Times web site. Listening to Thompson smirk and joke through this is revolting but not surprising. Fetzer addressed the issues raised during that video interview, which was calculated to dispel the idea of conspiracy in the assassination of JFK, implying that “suspicious actions” almost invariably have an innocuous explanation, in http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/11/29/jfk-the-cia-and-the-new-york-times-2/
Similarly distasteful was watching Tom Brokaw on The Daily Show promoting a special he had done on JFK that included an interview with a man who says he saw Oswald looking in the window of the shoe store where he was working. He thought that was suspicious because who would be shopping for shoes when the president had just been shot? So he followed him to the movie theater where he was soon to be arrested. And who wouldn’t? A guy looking in a store window several miles from the assassination site is bound to be up to no good. Especially if his next move is to go to the movies.
In addition to being an editor and regular contributor to Veterans Today, Jim Fetzer is editor of the web sites Assassination Research http://assassinationresearch.com/ and Assassination Science http://www.assassinationscience.com/ He has written many articles and papers on the Kennedy assassination. Here are some additional links:
“Reasoning about Assassinations” http://www.assassinationscience.com/ReasoningAboutAssassinations.pdf
“Framing the Patsy: The Case of Lee Harvey Oswald” (with Jim Marrs) http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/08/19/framing-the-patsy-the-case-of-lee-harvey-oswald/
“Did George H.W. Bush coordinate a JFK hit team” (with Richard Hooke) http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/03/30/did-george-h-w-bush-coordinate-a-jfk-hit-team/
“The JFK War: The Challenging Case of Robert Groden” http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/04/14/the-jfk-war-the-challenging-case-of-robert-groden/
“JFK Part 1: A National Security Event – Oswald didn’t do it”
“JFK Part 2: A National Security Event – How it was done” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9eu7VI-ZGo
“JFK at 50: The Who, the How and the Why” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVCv3Yha4xw&feature=youtu.be