A Blah Blah Blahg About Bugliosi's Bugloney
In May 2007, Vincent Bugliosi released Reclaiming History, a massive book designed to close the case on the John F. Kennedy assassination for all times. He'd been working on it for 21 years. He announced on his website and to the press that anyone who could read his book and not conclude Oswald, acting alone, shot President Kennedy, was mentally challenged. The Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News, to name but a few, chimed in and said that yes, indeed, he'd pretty much single-handedly exposed all conspiracy theories as false, and all conspiracy theorists as terribly under-informed, frauds or wackos. In hopes that he'd re-investigated the case, and had come up with new evidence, I purchased his book, and anxiously awaited its arrival.
May 22, 2007--First Impressions
I finally received my Bugliosi book yesterday. So far I've just been reading small sections to get a feel. Unfortunately, the feeling so far is one of frustration. One source of frustration is Bugliosi's style. It's clear he thinks of this book as an endless courtroom argument. He thinks if he can talk long enough he can convince us of anything. Someone wishing to look at the evidence, and not just hear about it, will find ten times more to think about here at patspeer.com then in Bugliosi's entire volume, IMO. The second source of frustration is his tone. While I agree with his conclusions 90 percent of the time, his near-constant diatribe against conspiracy theorists is fairly juvenile. Where is this sense of outrage when it comes to the shenanigans of the Warren Commission and the Justice Department? Where is his outrage at the incredible incompetence of the doctors? Where is his sense of fairness? Hopefully, as I sink more into the book, I'll find some Bugliosi tirades against the mountain of official blunders (e.g. Earl Warren's refusal to let a doctor study the autopsy materials HE'D created for his own use) but so far I've seen bupkus.
There is also a question of Bugliosi's honesty. Like the experienced prosecutor that he is, Bugliosi has no problem neglecting evidence that runs counter to his point. That, after all, is normally the defense attorney's job. In the text Bugliosi refers to the single bullet theory as occurring at a point consistent with when most believe Connally was shot, frame 224. But he shows a Warren Commission photograph taken at the car's position at frame 210 to demonstrate that Kennedy and Connally are in alignment. When one looks at the alignment of Kennedy and Connally at frame 225 contained within the Warren Commission's exhibits (and as seen in Part 2 of the research video series here at patspeer.com) one can see that Kennedy and Connally are NOT in alignment. From this it seems clear he's pulled a switcheroo and is being deliberately deceptive. (He may think he's being honest by stating that the single-bullet theory shot was "somewhere around frame 210" and that the shot occurred "within a split second for frame 210" but if he'd caught a "conspiracy theorist" pulling this trick he'd nail 'em, and deservedly so.)
At another point, where he's trying to make the case that Oswald never came down for lunch before the assassination, he mentions that a Secret Service Report on an interview with Oswald's boss Billy Shelley said he saw Oswald at about 11:50 on the first floor and he appeared to be going about his normal duties. He then argues that this must have been earlier in the day BEFORE Shelley and the crew came down from the sixth floor to go to lunch (at around 11:45). He mentions that Eddie Piper also said he saw Oswald around noon but neglects to tell his readers that Piper specifically mentioned that Oswald said he was going to eat his lunch, thereby placing this occurrence at lunchtime. He neglects as well Shelley's later testimony that Oswald was standing near the phone, and not working. Meanwhile, in the same section, Bugliosi accepts Charles Givens' testimony that he saw Oswald on the sixth floor, and dismisses the FBI report where Givens said he saw Oswald on the first floor as "hearsay." Bugliosi's acceptance of Givens' testimony over the FBI's report in this instance is not only inconsistent with his dismissal of Shelley's testimony over an earlier Secret Service Report, but probably incorrect. A February FBI report on Givens, even before he'd changed his story, detailed that Givens had had a history of drug abuse and was the kind of guy that their sources in the Dallas Police said would change his story for money. (A more detailed examination of Givens' testimony is available in chapter 4 of the online book at patspeer.com,)
While I'm still reading the book, and learning a little bit here and there, the main thing I've learned so far is that you can't trust this book! It's too bad. Bugliosi had the opportunity to make some real headway but the prosecutor in him got in the way.
May 24, 2007--Second Impressions: Bugliosi’s Back Wound Blunder
While reading the chapter on President Kennedy’s autopsy in Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History, I stumbled across a series of incredible blunders. The sheer size and nature of these blunders is such that one should wonder just how many other blunders are scattered throughout the book’s 1600 pages. It should make one wonder, furthermore, if Bugliosi really has a strong grasp of the evidence he supposedly studied for 21 years.
On page 421, while discussing President Kennedy’s back wound, and its relationship to President Kennedy’s throat wound, Bugliosi cites the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel, and Dr. Charles Petty. Petty explains that even though the back wound was lower than the throat wound when President Kennedy was in the anatomic position, that this was still consistent with a bullet connecting these wounds’ being fired from above and behind Kennedy, should Kennedy have been leaning forward when struck. In support that Kennedy was leaning forward when struck, Petty cites the HSCA trajectory analysis of Thomas Canning, and its assertion that Kennedy was leaning forward 11 to 18 degrees forward when struck. (Bugliosi fails to note that this measurement was Canning’s estimate of Kennedy’s position more than 1.5 seconds before the HSCA believed Kennedy was struck and over 3 seconds before the point Bugliosi elsewhere theorizes Kennedy was struck.)
On pages 422 and 423 Bugliosi uses Kennedy silhouettes to demonstrate that the bullet track could have been upwards in the body should Kennedy have been leaning forward as proposed by Petty. He then states, “With the exception of Dr. Wecht, the HSCA understood this issue, and as opposed to the Warren Commission (see later discussion) dealt with it properly.” This statement includes two substantial errors. The first one is that Dr. Wecht failed to understand this issue. Dr. Wecht’s disagreement with the single bullet theory trajectory embraced by others is not based on a misguided belief that a bullet fired from above could not go upwards within the body should Kennedy have been leaning forward when struck, but that Kennedy was, in fact not leaning forward when struck. (The Zapruder film depicts no such lean until after Kennedy is clearly injured.) The second error is that the HSCA handled the issue of the forward lean “properly.” As mentioned, the HSCA trajectory analysis of Thomas Canning held that Kennedy was leaning forward 11 to 18 degrees when first struck. What Bugliosi conceals from his readers (at least at this point) is that Canning also concluded, after an extensive study of the Zapruder film, that Kennedy was leaning forward just 11 degrees when struck in the head at frame 313 of the Zapruder film, and that, therefore, Kennedy was leaning forward, got struck in the back, sat up slightly, and was then struck in the head. As anyone who’s ever watched the Zapruder film should know, this is absolutely untrue. (I go into this in great detail in The Tangled Web chapter at patspeer.com.)
But this blunder is just a lead-in to what follows. After agreeing that the wound was on the back, and not on the neck, and that it was slightly below the throat wound in the anatomic position, Bugliosi reverses himself, and fails to even notice! At the top of page 424, after explaining to his readers that he won’t stoop so low as to publish the autopsy photos unauthorized for public use, he totally misrepresents the autopsy photos already in the public domain. He states, “Perhaps the clearest visual evidence of the fact that the entrance wound in the back was definitely above the exit wound in the throat appears in one of these photos taken of the left side of the president’s head as he is lying on his back, his head on a metal headrest. Only the wound in the throat is visible, not the wound on the upper right back. However, it couldn’t be clearer from this photo that the wound in the back was definitely above the exit wound in the throat.”
This statement is both bizarre and incorrect. It’s bizarre because Bugliosi has already concurred with the HSCA pathology panel and argued that the back wound was below the throat wound, and now he’s siding with “single-assassin theorists” at odds with the panel’s conclusions. He can’t have it both ways. It’s incorrect because Kennedy is flat on his back in the photo and such a position would roll his shoulders outward and lift slightly the skin and muscle between the shoulder blades, distorting the location of the wound. A quick measurement of the President’s skull and proportions, moreover, demonstrates that the entrance location proposed by these anti-HSCA pathology panel “single-assassin theorists” and apparently accepted by Bugliosi, is barely half the distance from the back of the President’s skull measured at the autopsy, and confirmed by subsequent panels. (This is demonstrated in Part 3 of my video series available at patspeer.com and Youtube.)
There is much in Bugliosi’s book to make one scratch one’s head. Unfortunately, there is also quite a bit to make someone knowledgeable on the case shake his head, and yell “NO, NO, NO, I can’t believe you said that!” It seems clear to this researcher that Bugliosi bit off more than he could chew, and took shortcuts through the evidence in order to avoid sharp corners. In doing so, I fear he’s only added to the divide between those suspecting a conspiracy and those quite sure that Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy.
May 26, 2007--Bugliosi and the First Shot Miss Myth
On page 468 of his book Reclaiming History, Vincent Bugliosi cites six witnesses to support his contention that the first shot fired at Kennedy was fired around frame 160 of the Zapruder film. He claims there is “overwhelming evidence” in support of a shot at this time. It is my intention here to show that he cherry-picked words from the statements of these witnesses in order to misrepresent what they were actually saying, and to hide that most of their statements suggested a far different scenario than the one he has proposed. This “first shot miss at frame 160” is a myth first proposed by the House Select Committee on Assassination, in order to support its flawed analysis of the dictabelt evidence. In subsequent years, even as they rejected the dictabelt evidence, Dr. John Lattimer writer Gerald Posner, and animator Dale Myers, have used this proposed miss to stretch out the timeline for the three shots fired at Kennedy, so that Lee Harvey Oswald, their proposed culprit, would have more time to accomplish his task. The problem with this scenario is that it has virtually no eyewitness support. (From hereon, we will refer to their scenario of a first shot miss at frame 160, a second shot hit on Kennedy and Connally at frame 224, and a third shot hit on Kennedy at frame 313, as the LPM scenario.)
The first witness used by Bugliosi to support this myth is Governor John Connally. In the Jigsaw Puzzle chapter at patspeer.com I go over Connally’s statements in excruciating detail, and show how his statements are incompatible with a first shot miss at frame 160. Anyone disbelieving that Connally’s statements contradict the LPM scenario should go there and take a look.
The statements of Bugliosi’s other five witnesses relevant to how the shots occurred follow.
Lady Bird Johnson sat next to her husband in the middle of the back seat of the Vice-Presidential limousine. (Transcription from 12-2-63 tape recording, 5H564-567) “we were rounding a curve, going down a hill and suddenly there was a sharp loud report—a shot. It seemed to me to come from the right, above my shoulder, from a building. Then a moment and then two more shots in rapid succession. There had been such a gala air that I thought it must be firecrackers or some sort of celebration. Then, in the lead car, the Secret Service men were suddenly down. I heard over the radio system “Let’s get out of here,” and our Secret service man who was with us, Rufus Youngblood I believe it was, vaulted over the front seat on top of Lyndon, threw him to the floor and said “Get down.”
Analysis: Mrs. Johnson’s recollections are similar to those of two other passengers of her car, Hurchel Jacks and Rufus Youngblood. Her statements that they were “rounding a curve”—not “making a turn”--and “going down a hill” place the limousine further down the street than it was at frame 160. As to her statement that the shot came from her right (which Bugliosi takes to mean the sniper's nest), it should be pointed out that the Dal-Tex Building was directly to her right at frame 160 and that Senator Ralph Yarbrough, riding right beside her, specified that the shots came from their right rear. As they were just turning on to Elm Street at frame 160, his hearing a shot from the right rear suggests they were further down the street than at frame 160 when the shots rang out. Ladybird's assertion that the last two shots came in rapid succession, moreover, means she heard only one shot in the first half of the time span between the first shot of the LPM scenario at frame 160 and the last shot at frame 313. As Kennedy was undoubtedly wounded by a shot in the first half of this time span, this is an argument against the first shot miss proposed by Bugliosi.
Paul Landis stood along the right side of the Presidential follow-up car behind John Ready. (11-30-63 report, 18H751-757) “As the President's car continued around the corner, I continued to survey the crowd along the righthand side of the road and noticed that it was fairly scattered, with hardly enough people to form a single line. I continued to look ahead to an overpass over the route we were traveling. At approximately this point, I would say, the President's car and the Follow-up car had just 'completed their turns and both were straightening out. At this moment I heard what sounded like the report of a high-powered rifle from behind me, over my right shoulder. When I heard the sound there was no question in my mind what it was. My first glance was at the President, as I was practically looking in his direction anyway. I saw him moving in a manner which I thought was to look in the direction of the sound. I did not realize that President Kennedy had been shot at this point. I immediately returned my gaze, over my right shoulder, toward the modernistic building I had observed before. With a quick glance I saw nothing and immediately started scanning the crowd at the intersection from my right to my leftI observed nothing unusual and began to think that the sound had been that of a fire cracker but I hadn't seen any smoke. In fact, I recall Special Agent Jack Ready saying, "Oh, what was it? A fire cracker?" I remarked, "I don't know; I don't see any smoke." So far the lapsed period of time could not have been over two or three seconds. All during this time I continued to scan the crowd, returning my gaze towards the President's car. It must have been another second or two before the next shot was fired because, as I recall having seen nothing out of the ordinary, I then thought that maybe one of the cars in the motorcade had had a blowout that had echoed off the buildings. I looked at the right front tire of the President’s car and saw it was all right. I then glanced to see the right rear tire, but could not because the Follow-up car was too close. I also thought of trying to run and jump on the President's car but did not think I could make it because of the speed at which we were traveling. I decided I had better stay where I was so that I would at least be near the First Lady, to whom I am assigned. I think that it was at this point that I thought, "Faster, Faster, Faster," thinking that we could not get out of the area soon enough . However, I don't have any idea as to how fast we were then moving. I had drawn my gun, but I am not sure exactly when I did this. I did leave my suit unbuttoned all during the motorcade movement, thinking at the time that I could get to my gun faster this way, if I had to. I glanced towards the President and he still appeared to be fairly upright in his seat, leaning slightly toward Mrs. Kennedy with his head tilted lightly back. I think Mrs. Kennedy had her right arm around the President's shoulders at this time. I also remember Special Agent Clinton Hill attempting to climb onto the back of the President's car. It was at this moment that I heard a second report and it appeared that the President's head split open with a muffled exploding sound. I can best describe the sound as I heard it, as the sound you would get by shooting a high powered bullet into a five gallon can of water or shooting into a melon. I saw pieces of flesh and blood flying through the air and the President slumped out of sight towards Mrs. Kennedy. The time lapse between the first and second report have been about four or five seconds. My immediate thought was that the President could not possibly be alive after being hit like he was. I still was not certain from which direction the second shot came, but my reaction at this time was that the shot came from somewhere towards the front, right-hand side of the road. I did not notice anyone on the overpass, and I scanned the area to the right of and below the overpass where the terrain sloped towards the road on which we were traveling.”
Analysis: Landis only heard two shots: one early shot striking the President, and the head shot, which he thought may have come from the grassy knoll. Along with fellow Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who also heard but two shots, he makes note of the unusual sound of the last shot. The statements of the other earwitnesses suggest they heard two shots fired closely together, only blurred together as one. Bugliosi’s use of Landis is undoubtedly deceptive. Landis clearly believes that the shot which first drew his attention hit Kennedy, and yet Bugliosi uses Landis’ vague language to imply this shot was a missed shot fired more than three seconds before Bugliosi claims Kennedy was hit.
Barbara Rowland (11-22-63 statement to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, 24H224) “the President passed…and turned left onto Elm Street and started down towards the underpass when I heard a report and thought it was a backfire then in a few seconds another report sounded and in another few seconds the third report.” (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H177-191) “as they turned the corner we heard a shot, and I didn’t recognize it as being a shot, I just heard a sound, and I thought it might be a firecracker. And the people started laughing at first, and then we heard two more shots…the second and third were closer than the first and second…the people generally ran towards the railroad tracks behind the school book depository building, and so I naturally assumed they came from there.”
Analysis: while Rowland was asked to testify in order to discredit her husband’s testimony that there were two men on the sixth floor just before the shooting, and she obliged, testifying that her husband had lied about his high-school grades, she nevertheless confirmed his contention that the last two shots were bunched together. As the time differential between the purported first shot miss at frame 160 and the purported single bullet theory shot at frame 224 is far shorter than the time differential between the shot at 224 and the head shot at frame 313, her contention that the last two shots were closer together is at odds with the first shot miss proposed in the LPM scenario. Bugliosi’s use of the statement by Rowland that supports his contention while neglecting her contradictory statement is a typical lawyer trick. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised.
Kenneth O’Donnell rode in the back-up car behind the driver. (5-18-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 7H440-457) “We turned—I remember the overpass. And then the shots occurred--which, at that time, I did not know were shots. My first impression was it was a firecracker. And then either somebody said “He has been hit,” or I noticed the slump—he had been waving out the right side of the car and I noticed him slump over toward Mrs. Kennedy, and I realized then that they had been shots. But as fast as that realization occurred, I saw the third shot hit.” (When asked how close the back-up car was to the limousine) “My guess would be 5 to 8 feet…I would presume they were just about turning to step up the speed a little bit, because there would be no crowds from there. (When asked if the Secret Service car had completed its turn onto Elm Street) “My recollection is they had, just about. I don’t recollect a separation of this nature. It was a slight sloping turn, as I remember, and I thought we were right together.” (When asked what Kennedy was doing with his hands prior to the time of the shooting) “He was waving. We had just left the mass of crowds. But as we turned on the grass plot, there were four or five people there, and I believe he waved to them.” (When asked how many shots he heard) “Three” (When asked the time span of the shots) “I would say 5-6 seconds.” (When asked if the shots came in a pattern) “Yes. The first 2 came almost simultaneously, came one right after the other. There was a slight hesitation, then the third one.” (Asked his reaction) “My reaction is in part a reconstruction and is that they came from the right rear. That would be my best judgment.” (When asked how others reacted) “The agents all turned to the rear…I would think watching the President when the shot—the firsts shot hit—that it would be automatic it would have to have come from the rear. (When asked again about the agents’ reactions) “The reaction I note would be right rear. And again, looking at the manner of the President’s movement I would think you would have to feel the thrust of the shot was from the right rear…He was leaning out waving. He may have just been withdrawing his hand. And the shot him, and threw him to the left. He slumped on Mrs. Kennedy. (When asked which shot this was) “It was not the third shot. Whether it was the first or second, I would not know…If I had to pick one of the two, I think it might have been the second shot.” (A 1968 conversation between O’Donnell and Tip O’Neill as recounted in O’Neill’s memoirs Man of the House, 1987) “I was surprised to hear O’Donnell say that he was sure he had heard two shots that came from behind the fence. (O’Donnell explained) “I told the FBI what I had heard, but they said it couldn't have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn't want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family…The family--everybody wanted this thing behind them.”
Analysis: from his jumping to the third shot in his testimony, it seems likely that O’Donnell decided that the “firecracker” he’d heard was instead two separate shots. If he’d heard a shot at frame 160 followed by a second shot more than 3 seconds later, as in the LPM scenario, this would hardly seem likely. More concretely, his recollection that Kennedy was waving to a small group of people at the time he was hit suggests these first shots were heard around frame 190, where the crowd began to thin and where Kennedy suddenly stops waving and jerks to his left. His statement that Kennedy may have been hit by the second shot can not be interpreted to support the LPM scenario, as he said the shots rang out “simultaneously.”. Bugliosi’s use of O’Donnell is undoubtedly disturbing, as O’Donnell’s statements to O’Neill are well known and Bugliosi would have to know that using O’Donnell’s testimony to support that the shots came from the right rear, without mentioning O’Neill, would upset many. Bugliosi also inserts words into O”Donnell’s statements to get him to say what he wants him to say. Bugliosi inserts the word s “through” and “and had started” into O’Donnell’s statements, so that it reads “just about (through) turning (and had started) to step up the speed a little.” This insertion deceives his readers into thinking that the car was just turning onto Elm, and not winding down Elm, as implied by O’Donnell’s subsequent description of a “grass plot.”
Geneva Hine was manning the phones in the second floor offices of the Texas School Book Depository Building. (4-7-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 6H393-397) “I could see it from the east window of our office…I saw him turn the corner and after he turned the corner I looked and I saw the next car coming just at that instant…was when I heard the shots…Three…they came from inside the building…the building vibrated from the result of the explosion coming in.”
Analysis: Ms. Hine’s testimony, if taken at face value, would indicate a first shot miss somewhere back before the beginning of the Zapruder film sequence with the Presidential limousine, at a time when Tina Towner was still filming the turn onto Elm. Perhaps, by the “next car”, she simply meant the next limousine, the Lincoln holding Vice-President Johnson. If so, then her words are more compatible with the LPM scenario than with a first shot 190 scenario. Her statement that she could tell the shots were from inside the building is refuted by nearly every other witness in the building. Bugliosi’s use of Hine is reasonable in that she was one of only two witnesses whose overall statements were found by this writer to be vaguely suggestive of the LPM scenario.
In sum, the best support for the LPM scenario Buglios offers his readers are the vague statements of a secretary months after the shooting. Bugliosi cherry-picks his way through the rest of his witnesses and is guilty of deception (intentional or not) on numerous occasions. Beware this book.
(Note: Bugliosi's deliberately deceiving his readers in order to push a shooting scenario at odds with the statements of his witnesses is covered in excruciating detail here: Chapter 9b: Reclaiming History from Reclaiming History)
June 10, 2007--Bugliosi pulls another switcheroo
On Page 964 of Reclaiming History, as part of his list of evidence proving Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy, Vincent Bugliosi states "Dallas Police performed a paraffin test on Oswald's hands at the time of his interrogation to determine if he had recently fired a revolver, and the results were positive, indicating the presence of nitrates from gunpowder residue on his hands." This statement is incredibly deceptive. From including this statement in his list, Bugliosi is clearly suggesting that this evidence is indicative of Oswald's guilt, and this, even though he readily admits on page 164 that "the paraffin test is not conclusive...mere handling of a weapon may leave nitrates of the skin, even without firing it." Even worse, when one looks at the results of a second test performed on the paraffin casts of Oswald's hands and cheek--a test still held in high regard by the scientific community--one can only conclude they suggest that Oswald did not fire the shots that killed Kennedy. You see, while the tests of Oswald's hands were positive, the tests for Oswald's cheek can only be called negative, as the back side of the paraffin cast used in the testing had more gunshot residue than the side that actually touched Oswald's face. This suggests that he did not fire a rifle on November 22, 1963.
In a foot note on page 165, Bugliosi states "Predictably, the paraffin cast for Oswald's right cheek showed no reaction." He explains the "predictably" by asserting that there is no gap through which residue from a rifle could leak onto the cheek. He then cites the Warren Commission testimony of Cortlandt Cunningham to support this supposition. On page 79 of his endnotes (available on a separate cd rom) he acknowledges that former FBI agent William Turner reported that he'd spoken to Dr. Vincent Guinn about tests performed by Guinn, and that Guinn had found nitrates in abundance on casts of the cheeks of men who'd fired rifles like the one owned by Oswald. Bugliosi dismisses Turner's assertion, however, and basically calls him a liar, by stating "There is simply no way to square this with the testimony and experience of the Dallas Police and FBI." Bugliosi then proceeds to list the Dallas Police officers and FBI agents who testified that they didn't think a test of the cheek would read positive for a man firing a rifle, and that Cunningham testified that an FBI agent had fired the rifle three times but that tests for his cheek had come up negative. Bugliosi begs of his readers "Why in the world would these two Dallas officers lie under oath about something like this?" and that "No one could really believe this is perjured testimony, if for no other reason that no professional would lie under oath on a matter that he knows other experts could easily refute him on."
But what Bugliosi misses, or simply chooses to ignore, is that these men were discussing the standard paraffin test performed in the 1960's and that Turner asked Guinn about a different test entirely involving neutron activation analysis of the paraffin casts. Bugliosi, who elsewhere mentions having conversations with Guinn, never mentions discussing this with Guinn himself, nor of Guinn denying that he'd conducted such tests. He never mentions that, as discussed in Professor Gerald McKnight's Breach of Trust, Guinn wrote letters to the FBI in 1964 suggesting they conduct these tests, and that, per the testimony of the FBI's John Gallagher--the last testimony taken by the Warren Commission--the FBI had indeed conducted similar tests, and had found insufficient gunshot residue on the cast of Oswald's right cheek to state he'd fired a rifle, and that, in fact, there was more gunshot residue on the back side of the cast. Bugliosi also fails to state, even to refute, Harold Weisberg's assertion that he'd received Gallagher's controls as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, and that these controls revealed that gunshot residue was always present on the cheeks of men firing a rifle like the one owned by Oswald. (This confirmed what Guinn had told the FBI in his letter, what Guinn told an August 1964 conference, what Guinn published in an October 1964 article, and what Guinn later told Turner.) Bugliosi also ignores that, to this day, Neutron Activation Analysis is still conducted to detect gunshot residues on the cheek, and is considered to be a reliable indicator of whether a suspect has fired a rifle. Larry Ragle, a retired Director of Forensic Sciences for Santa Ana, California, in his 1995 book Crime Scene, explains: “By design, revolvers can leak…Rifles, depending on their construction and wear, can also leak. There is only one way to determine the leakage capacity of any weapon and that is to collect samples from the hands or face firing the weapon under controlled conditions while using the corresponding ammunition.” Of course, this is precisely the kind of test performed by Guinn and Gallagher in 1964.
In sum, the gunshot residue tests conducted by Guinn and Gallagher create real doubt that Oswald fired the rifle that killed Kennedy. Rather than acknowledge this, Bugliosi dismisses these tests as a William Turner pipe dream. That he is outraged that anyone might think the FBI's Cortlandt Cunningham a liar, while simultaneously calling Turner--a man who left the FBI after he'd had enough of J. Edgar Hoover's misuse of the agency--a liar, is outrageous, and suggests that Bugliosi's blind hatred of all suggestions of Oswald's innocence, has blinded his thinking. His research simply can not be trusted.
June 13, 2007--A review of Robert Stone's film Oswald's Ghost (originally posted on The Education Forum)
I attended a showing of the film Oswald's Ghost tonight at the William S Paley Museum
of Radio and Television in Beverly Hills. The name of the place was
appropriate as the film took a turn in its second half (the first half
was very good) and took an incredibly wrong turn at the end. (Paley was
of course the guiding light behind CBS' shoddy investigations in the
60s.) Bottom line (mouthed by a seemingly senile Norman Mailer): Oswald
acted alone because he wanted to become famous and welcomed a trial so
he could represent himself and preach to the world. (Oh, yeah? Then why
did he try to escape and get in a fight with a number of cops afterwards, taking a chance he'd
be killed? That's sure a strange way of welcoming a trial!)
Afterwards there was a discussion featuring the director Robert Stone and former Senator Gary Hart, moderated by Josh Mankiewicz, son of Frank Mankiewicz. Josh said he likes the movie so this probably means he's a recent convert to the LN cause. The director's stated purpose: to show how conspiracy theories have been an incredible distraction for the left, and have kept the sixties generation from achieving its promise. Senator Hart said he found the timing of the CIA/Mafia collaboration against Castro, and the subsequent timing of the deaths of Giancana and Rosselli (although he got the order of their deaths wrong) suspicious, and that as a result he could never be satisfied that Oswald acted alone for purely personal reasons. After the director chimed in that the HSCA confirmed the findings of the WC exactly, but that they'd been confused by the dictabelt evidence, I pointed out that this was not true, and that HSCA Chairman Stokes told Face the Nation the dictabelt evidence only confirmed what they'd already suspected due to Ruby's proximity to organized crime. I also pointed out that Rosselli had connected the assassination attempts on Castro with the Kennedy assassination shortly before he was murdered. A number of other nay-sayers followed, including David Lifton, whose presence in the audience and objections to the film caused the film maker to laugh. He was actually pretty rude to Lifton, telling Lifton "I'm well aware of how much money you made off your book" (or something like that) after Lifton mentioned that his book was a best seller. Thereafter, a history teacher chimed in that he liked the movie and found all the conspiracy theories off target, and the director of the 1964 film Four Days in November chimed in that Oliver Stone's film was a lie from beginning to end. I'd say that 20 people spoke from the audience, 12 complaining, and 8 applauding.
Outside in the lobby, after the showing, Lifton and I tried to talk sense to Stone and point out that he overlooks a lot of the evidence. He said "you win" and "My film is not about the assassination, it's about the effect the assassination has had on our society." I tried to be conciliatory and agreed that since the film is called Oswald's Ghost, and features Norman Mailer, I suppose he had to end with Mailer's conclusions, but that he should have said something at the beginning or end, such as "Based on Oswald's Tale by Norman Mailer." He quickly corrected me, however, and insisted that the conclusions of the film are purely his own. Since he'd opened up his discussion with the standard Bugliosi ploy "How many of you believe in the Warren Report?" (to which no one raises their hand) followed by "How many of you have seen JFK?" (to which everyone raises their hand) and then asked "Now how many of you have read the Warren Report?" (To which a good 30 percent of the crowd raised its hand and shocked the heck out of him) I turned the tables and asked him if he'd read anything from the last twenty years, in particular books based on the recently released documents such as Larry Hancock's Someone Would Have Talked. He said no and smirked a little and expressed no interest in Larry's book. He looked at me like I was the most pathetic creature on Earth. At this point Lifton pointed out that he didn't have anything about the critics post Josiah Thompson's Six Seconds in Dallas (the film does nevertheless get a dig in at Robert Groden, and shows him selling his stuff on the knoll, with a close-up of money changing hands). Stone responded by reiterating that his movie is about how the assassinations of the sixties, along with the misguided conspiracy theorists, helped cripple the left. As far as he was concerned, the investigation of the assassination stopped when Jim Garrison spewed some nonsense about Jack Ruby's phone number, and everything since has just been a distraction.
If you're a conspiracy theorist who wants to avoid the agony of watching old men spewing nonsense, you might want to avoid this movie.
P.S. I find it most interesting that PBS is pushing this film at the same time that HBO is getting behind Bugliosi. There's definitely something in the air and it's not marijuana from Tommy Chong's bong.
June 27, 2007-- Bugliosi Misrepresents the Medical Evidence
(This was originally a post on a forum, and repeats a lot of the material in the earlier post Bugliosi's Back Wound Blunder.)
As the mainstream press, by and large, has been giving rave reviews to Vincent Bugliosi’s massive book on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Reclaiming History, it is incumbent on those who know better to point out that the book includes some massive and misleading errors.
On page 422 and 423, Bugliosi explains that even though the entrance wound on Kennedy’s back was lower on Kennedy’s body than the exit wound on his throat, this is still consistent with this shot’s coming from above, as Kennedy was leaning forward at the time he was hit. To support this he offers his readers a drawing created for the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel. This drawing shows Kennedy leaning sharply forward when hit. Knowing full well that the Zapruder film of the shooting fails to show Kennedy in this position at the time he was first struck, however, Bugliosi proposes that Kennedy’s head was lifted upwards while he was leaning forward, and that this gave the illusion he was sitting upright. Bugliosi explains further that the analysis of the HSCA’s trajectory expert, Thomas Canning, demonstrated that Kennedy’s upper torso was leaning forward 11-18 degrees when first struck.
What Bugliosi fails to reveal to his readers is that Thomas Canning’s trajectory analysis has severe credibility problems. Not only was Canning allowed to move the wounds to bring them more in line with his proposed trajectories (he, in fact, moved the back wound slightly upwards) he actually concluded that the President was leaning further forward (14 degrees) when first struck then he was when he received his fatal blow to the head (11 degrees). This is exactly the opposite of what is shown in the Zapruder film.
After assuring his readers that the HSCA pathology panel and trajectory analyst had settled this issue, however, Bugliosi turns around and asserts that the back wound WAS above the throat wound, after all. This sudden twist in his argument is undoubtedly surprising, particularly as Bugliosi, who normally relies on the experts, relies upon his own interpretation of an autopsy photo to come to this conclusion, an autopsy photo, furthermore, that he readily admits does not even show the back wound. Bugliosi is not the first to interpret this photo in this manner. As revealed in my online video series, The Mysterious Death of Number 35, however, the most frequently imagined entrance location is barely half the distance from the back of Kennedy’s head as the wound measured at autopsy. Bugliosi’s use of experts to support that the bullet trajectory makes sense, only to abandon those experts without admitting they were wrong or offering one good reason why his readers should trust him and his understanding of anatomy, can only be considered bizarre.
But things get even more bizarre when Bugliosi discusses the autopsy photos of Kennedy’s head wounds. On page 261 of his endnotes, he asserts that the allegedly missing autopsy photo of the entrance on President Kennedy’s head is in fact in the collection. He asserts that this photo of the president’s skull with his brain removed was properly described in the November 1, 1966 inventory of the autopsy photos. This inventory holds that the photo depicts a: “missile wound of entrance in the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp.” In January 1967, however, the doctors changed their interpretation of this photo, and said it depicted an exit on the president’s forehead. While it’s clear to most that this change in description means the doctors changed their interpretation of the photo from being one of the back of Kennedy’s head, to the front of his head, Bugliosi refuses to acknowledge this, and instead asserts on page 238 and 262 of his endnotes that both descriptions were correct, and that the photo depicts the interior of the back of the head when viewed from the front, as well as the beveled exit on the frontal bone in the foreground of the photo.. To explain why there was no mention of the beveled exit on the skull prior to the January 67 review, Bugliosi suggests that the doctors, who’d only spent 6 hours or more staring at the president’s body, looking for bullet wounds, only discovered this exit during the 1967 inspection of the photos. He overlooks or ignores that the doctors failed to mention the entrance they’d previously seen in this photo in the January Review.
While refusing to acknowledge that the doctors believed the photo was taken from behind, on page 238 of his endnotes Bugliosi does nevertheless acknowledge that some conspiracy theorists believe the photo was taken from behind and shows the back of Kennedy’s head. He dismisses their interpretation with “the keys to the correct orientation of the images are a lip of a glass specimen jar on, and a drainage hole in, the autopsy table, which are both visible in the photographs and are located at the top of the autopsy table. These details show that the photographer was standing at the head of the autopsy table, looking down into the cranial cavity, with the president lying on his back.” (That this interpretation is incorrect is demonstrated in the Demystifying the Mystery Photo chapter at patspeer.com).
While Bugliosi’s contention that this photo was taken from in front of Kennedy is at odds with the views of most conspiracy theorists, including this researcher, Bugliosi goes on to make a statement that distances him from every single-assassin theorist I’ve ever encountered, and almost certainly, the truth. On page 261 of his endnotes, Bugliosi states “The HSCA forensic pathology panel subsequently concluded that the images depicted both the entrance wound bevel (in the background of the image) and the exit wound bevel (in the foreground of the image).” Bugliosi holds this statement as a confirmation of his earlier analysis of the autopsy doctors’ 1966 and 1967 reports. The problem is that the HSCA determined that the entrance on the back of Kennedy’s head was four inches higher than as determined by the autopsy doctors, and that this photo shows NO “semi-circled” entrance in the entrance location proposed by the panel. No semi-circled entrance in this location was ever mentioned in the testimony of the panel’s spokesman, and none was included on any of their drawings. As a result, it seems likely that the writer of the HSCA’s report incorrectly presented the semi-circle of bone apparent in the photo as both a bullet entrance (“a possible portion of the beveled inner table corresponding to the semicircular margin of the entrance wound at the back of the head” HSCA FPP Report p. 129) and as an exit (“the anterior bone fragment with the semicircular defect” HSCA FPP Report p.129). These interpretations are, of course, mutually exclusive.
Bugliosi’s discussion of the autopsy doctors’ and HSCA doctors’ photo descriptions is simply not credible. First of all, what doctors, of even marginal competence, would describe a photo taken from the front of the patient, with a beveled exit in the foreground, as a photo depicting a “missile wound of entrance on the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp” and fail to mention the easily identifiable exit in the foreground? Second of all, the autopsy doctors, who wrote the 1966 inventory, believed the entrance was low on the back of Kennedy’s head near his hairline. The HSCA FPP, writers of the 1978 report, and Bugliosi, conversely, assert that this entrance was really high on the back of Kennedy’s head, four inches higher. If the two groups shared an understanding of the exit location in the photo, as seems probable by the January 1967 discussion of the photo by the autopsy doctors and the 1978 description of the exit by the panel in its report, the entrance Bugliosi proposes they both believe is visible on the interior of the skull can not logically be the same entrance. When shown this photo by the Assassinations Records Review Board in 1996, and asked to set the record straight, none of the autopsy doctors could point out such an entrance. No one from the HSCA FPP has even tried to point out the supposed entrance on the interior aspect of the skull in this photo, furthermore, as there is simply NO SKULL in the entrance photo in that location at which they can point. Bugliosi, if he’s studied the photos enough to think he can second guess the HSCA FPP’s location of the back wound, certainly knows this, but keeps this from his readers...
That Bugliosi failed at times to remember or deliberately sought to conceal that the two sets of doctors were describing a wound at a different entrance location is further supported by an earlier discussion on page 230 of his endnotes. Here, he lists the November 1, 1966 description of the wound in the photo (“missile wound of entrance in the posterior skull, following reflection of scalp”) and then asserts “The entrance wound depicted in these photographs lines up with the entrance wound seen in the skull x-rays (7HSCA 105, 107).” By linking the autopsy doctors’ description of a wound they insisted was low on the President’s skull with an HSCA report claiming the bullet entered four inches higher, Bugliosi undoubtedly clouds the issue and misleads his readers into thinking an entrance wound is visible on this photo in the location proposed by the HSCA, an assertion without one scintilla of support.
In short, Bugliosi’s discussion of the autopsy photos is confused and confusing, and seems designed in part to hide that the interpretations of the photos by the autopsy doctors and the HSCA forensic pathology panel are in disagreement. His failure to adequately discuss this disagreement, and accept the likelihood that the autopsy doctors at any time could have believed the open-cranium photo of Kennedy’s head had been taken from behind, is indicative of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the depths of the problems with the medical evidence. Since his book is purportedly designed to answer these questions, this would have to be seen as a fatal flaw.
October 5, 2007--What's the Point and Where's the Outrage?
In the months since Bugliosi's book was released to critical acclaim and a popular yawn, he has refused to debate anyone about the assassination, or discuss any of his many mistakes. So what's the point of nit-picking a flawed work which no one, including its creator, is willing to defend?
While there are still many many single-assassin theorists, many of them willing to defend Bugliosi's conclusions, none of them have cared to rebut any of my earlier blog pieces. In this void, I have become my own worst critic. Spurred on by little more than my own curiosity, I have continued to research the NAA tests performed on the paraffin casts, and have changed some of the conclusions reached in my June 10 piece. (My current take on this info can be found in chapter 4c.)
There is still one more blog piece to come, however. When Bugliosi describes the shots that killed Kennedy, he cites witness after witness as support that the shots occurred as he claims. The problem is that almost every statement he uses is taken out of context. He uses Jackie Kennedy's statements about the first shot to describe what he claims was the second shot, etc. without acknowledging this to his readers. When someone like Oliver Stone does this kind of thing, single-assassin theorists and historians create websites devoted to showing the world what a "liar" he is. Where's the outrage? Where's the McAdams website essay on Bugliosi's deceptions and lies? Where's the L.A. Times retraction, admitting that they screwed up by praising such a blatantly one-sided book? The world is waiting.
January 9, 2008---Baden Blithers On
One of Bugliosi's biggest mistakes is his using the reports of "experts" to support his claims, even when these "experts" are certifiably out of touch with reality. Tonight, on HBO, Bugliosi's top expert on the medical evidence, Dr. Michael Baden, proved once again why his words are not to be trusted, and why Bugliosi was truly negligent in trusting his words.
In a segment on the Kennedy assassination produced for the HBO program Autopsy, Dr. Michael Baden made a number of claims that were certifiably false and/or extremely doubtful. Here are but a sampling of them:
1. At roughly 3 minutes into the program, Baden discusses the initial press conference given by Kennedy's emergency room doctors. Baden says "In fact, the doctors down in Texas, where the shooting occurred, indicated he'd been shot in the back and in the front." The doctors, in fact, indicated no such thing. They described an entrance in Kennedy's throat and a large wound on the back of his head. They presumed this to be an exit for the bullet entering his throat. They said nothing to indicate the bullet causing this wound came from behind Kennedy.
2. A few minutes later, the program's narrator discusses the initial autopsy and states "Because the pathologist's notes were stained with blood, he burned them. After he found out that a tracheotomy had been performed in Dallas, he tried to reconstitute his notes, based on what he could remember." This is nonsense. Dr. Humes, the pathologist in question, testified that he burned hs notes only after copying them, and that he burned these notes after he found out about the tracheotomy. The implication that the initial autopsy report was in error because Dr. Humes couldn't remember what he saw is unjustified and undoubtedly deceptive, feeding into Dr. Baden's eventual conclusion that the mistakes in the autopsy report were all "innocent."
3. Shortly thereafter, when discussing the autopsy photos, Dr. Baden repeats the story of Floyd Riebe, a Navy photographer whose camera was confiscated by the Secret Service. He then explains what he considers to be the poor quality of the photos by stating "The only one who was taking photographs was a Secret Service person who'd never taken autopsy photos before." This is frighteningly inaccurate. The lone autopsy photographer was John Stringer, the navy's top autopsy photographer, and Riebe's superior. In his memoirs, published nearly 20 years ago, Baden claimed the lone photographer was an FBI photographer. This incensed the original autopsists, Dr. James Humes and Dr. J. Thornton Boswell, to such an extent that they made a point of debunking Baden's claim and discussed Stringer's qualifications and abilities in a 1992 interview in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One would think Dr. Baden would remember his getting schooled in such a public fashion.
4. When complaining about the autopsy report, Dr. Baden goes on to claim that the autopsy doctors "did not make proper measurements of the bullet holes, did not properly describe the bullet holes as to entrance and exit." This last statement is a puzzle. The 1978 pathology panel led by Dr. Baden came to the exact same conclusions as the autopsy report, as to which holes were entrance and exit. Perhaps he was thinking of the original conclusions of the doctors on the night of the autopsy, as opposed to the report signed two days later.
5. When discussing the subsequent disappearance of Kennedy's brain, he injects "All the tissues from the autopsy...were all put into a steamer trunk and were given to Evelyn Lincoln, who was the President and Bobby Kennedy's secretary." This is a simple factual error. Evelyn Lincoln was never Robert Kennedy's secretary. Angie Novello was Robert Kennedy's secretary.
6. He compounds his error moments later, however, by discussing the subsequent movement of Kennedy's crypt and asserting "I later learned there was a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery around midnite, after the gravediggers were gone...at which time the brain and other tissues were placed next to the casket." This is pure moonshine. He "learned" of no such thing. While pictures have been published of a small box placed near the casket, researchers have demonstrated that this box most probably bore the remains of a daughter miscarried in the fifties, and re-buried next to her father.
7. The program then moves on to Dr. Baden's 1978 testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. When asked "Did the panel unanimously conclude that a bullet entered the upper right back of the President and exit from his neck?" in the testimony footage, Baden replies "Every member of the panel so concluded." This question and answer are deliberately deceptive, as they are meant to imply that everyone on the panel subscribed to the single-bullet theory. In fact, one of the panel's members, Dr. Cyril Wecht, staked his reputation that the single-bullet theory was false, and defied his colleagues to find one bullet purported to create as much damage as was purportedly created by the "magic" bullet, and has had no takers.
8. Finally, the segment of the show on the Kennedy assassination nears its conclusion. Baden pronounces: "There was only one shooter, Oswald. The Zapruder film on close analysis shows the first bullet miss and hit the curb of the road that the car was traveling." This is only the most IDIOTIC statement ever uttered by a supposed expert on the case. Not one analysis of the film, including those performed by the most zealous single-assassin theorists proposing Oswald acted alone, has claimed that a bullet strike on the curb is visible. Those holding that a first shot miss is detectable base their claims upon blurs on the film thought to coincide with rifle shots, and the behavior of a few of the witnesses. None have insinuated they could see the bullet hit a curb. Baden's contention therefore is indicative that he was making this stuff up as he went along, based on what he could remember, and that NO ONE at HBO thought to run this show by anyone with even a smidgen of knowledge about the case.
9. But he wasn't done. To combat the argument that Kennedy's back-and-to-the-left motion after the head shot indicated a shot was fired from the front, Baden argues "Subsequent experiments show, and subsequent experience with people being shot do show that when someone is shot from the front they can go front or back--sometimes front, sometimes back. It isn't predicatble what way the body is gonna go." Now I've read up on this issue extensively, and have not heard of any such experiments. As a result, I suspect Baden is just making it up. (If the reader is aware of such a study please bring it to my attention.) Perhaps Dr. Baden was thinking of the experiments conducted by Dr. John Lattimer, which showed that skulls shot off of ladders flew back towards the shooter. Many single-assassin theorists cite this to refute the frequent argument that the back-and-to-the-left movement indicates a shot came from the front. The problem is that this experiment was subsequently performed with the skulls nailed to the ladders, to eliminate the possiblity they were recoiling off the ladders, and the skulls and ladders thereafter always fell forward.
In short, Dr. Baden's latest attempt at closing the case was pathetic and embarrassing. Only adding to the circus-like atmosphere of the program was that he followed his examination of the Kennedy case with his examination of his role in the O.J. Simpson trial. In this segment, he spoke eloquently about the need for the government to prove its case beyond all shadow of a doubt, and how everyone deserves a fair trial. Perhaps if he'd received the hundred thousand dollars paid to him by Simpson from the Oswald family he'd have come to see how the government has failed to prove its case against Oswald far more than it ever failed to prove its case against Simpson.
June 8, 2008--Another Deliberate Lie?
I've spent much of the last month writing a long-promised expose on Bugliosi's deceptive use of eyewitness testimony to mislead his readers. It can be read in chapter 9b at patspeer.com. While reading back through the book, however, I came across another gross deception on his part.
This is what Bugliosi claims on page 405 of his endnotes:
In a 1980 article in Penn Jones Jr.’s conspiracy newsletter, Continuing Inquiry, critic Jack White claimed that the FBI had “sanitized” a document relating to the FBI’s examination of the paper and tape used to construct the bag found in the Depository, and hence, was part of the “cover-up” to hide the truth about the assassination. White reported that two nearly identically worded FBI documents, found by a researcher at the National Archives, offered two opposite conclusions regarding the source of the paper Oswald allegedly used to construct the bag. One version stated that paper samples obtained from the Depository shipping area on November 22 were found to have the same observable characteristics as the brown paper bag recovered from the sixth-floor sniper’s nest. A second version said that the paper samples were found “not to be identical” with the paper gun sack discovered at the scene of the shooting. (Jack White, “The Case of Q-10 or the FBI Cover-Up Is in the Bag,” Continuing Inquiry, February 22, 1980, pp.1–2)
Although White crowed that the documents “cast doubt on the credibility of the official story,” and his allegations have subsequently been used by a parade of critics in many conspiracy books, magazine articles, and Internet postings as “proof ” of the FBI’s willingness to alter evidence in the Kennedy case, the two documents are no doubt examples of a misunderstanding that was cleared up by the Warren Commission in early 1964. In a March 12, 1964, letter, Warren Commission general counsel J. Lee Rankin asked FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to settle the two ostensibly contradictory FBI reports. Rankin wrote, “We are in doubt. Please submit a report . . . as to the tests made and the conclusions drawn.” (FBI Record 124-10045-10081, Letter from J. Lee Rankin to J. Edgar Hoover, March 12, 1964, p.1; see also FBI Record 124-10022-10200) A week later, on March 19, Hoover responded that both reports were correct. The first report, dated January 7, 1964, referred to samples obtained from the Depository on December 1, 1963 (nine days after the assassination). By then, the shipping department had replaced its roll of wrapping paper with a fresh roll, since the fall period was its “heavy shipping season.” Consequently, the samples obtained by the FBI in December did not match the characteristics of the paper bag found on the day of the shooting. The second report, dated January 13, 1964, related to samples taken from the Depository on November 22, the day of the assassination. These samples were found to be “similar in color to [the bag recovered from the sixth floor]” and were “similar in appearance under ultraviolet fluorescence, as well as in microscopic and all other observable physical characteristics.” However, Hoover noted that while the paper bag found on the sixth floor could have been made from the materials available at the Depository, the paper and tape did not contain any watermarks or other significant, unique, identifying features. Consequently, the paper bag could have been constructed from similar materials “obtained from many paper dealers, or from other users.” (FBI Record 124-10022-10199, Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to J. Lee Rankin, March 19, 1964, pp.1–2; see also FBI Record 124-10045-10082; CD 897, pp.157–168; CE 1965, 23 H 816)
The problem with this is it's complete nonsense. The two reports in conflict were no doubt NOT related to the fact that the simulated bag made on 12-1-63 failed to match the bag found in the depository or the sample materials removed from the depository. You see... the FBI reports cited by White and others were written on 11-30, before this bag even existed. Here is the official version of the document in question:
And here is the alternate version of this document, discovered in 1980 by Gary Shaw and reported on by Jack White.
Now I have no explanation for this. It could have just been a typo. Although I doubt it, it could even have been a deliberate lie orchestrated by Shaw and White. The FBI reports from 11-23 all said the paper had similar characteristics. Were they all written at a later date and back-dated? I suspect not. But I don't know. What I DO know is that Bugliosi's explanation for this document is total nonsense, and almost certainly a deliberate LIE. Notice how he quotes the EXACT words of the document but never tells his readers the date of the document, and that it precedes the existence of the "misunderstanding" he uses as an excuse. I honestly suspect this is a deliberate deception on Bugliosi's part. If you have a rational explanation for his totally bogus "explanation" please let me know.
(Note: I ended up expanding this post into a much more detailed essay, which was then published on the Mary Ferrell website. It can be found here: Proof the FBI Changed Documents and Vincent Bugliosi Was Wrong.
February 15, 2010--Oh, Yeah!
Time has flown by so fast since Bugliosi's book was released that I almost forgot about this blog. But it should not be overlooked that as time has passed I have continued to uncover deceptions and mistakes in the book. Several months ago, after Jim DiEugenio, in a book review, pointed out something he thought Bugliosi got right--that the sniper's nest fingerprint identified by Nathan Darby as belonging to Lyndon Johnson crony Mac Wallace was a non-issue, as the only unidentified print in the sniper's nest had been a palm print--I wrote Jim an email, and told him Bugliosi had succeeded in fooling him.
You see, Bugliosi had tried to imply either that Darby was so incompetent he couldn't tell a palm print from a fingerprint or that Darby had been misled, and shown a fingerprint known to belong to Wallace, even though the only unidentified print in the sniper's nest was actually a palm print. But this was not true. According to Barr McClellan's book Blood, Money, and Power--a book Bugliosi claimed to have read before writing on this issue--Darby was shown all the prints found in the sniper's nest, and identified a fingerprint previously identified as belonging to Dallas Police crime scene investigator Robert Studebaker as a print in fact belonging to Wallace. Darby DID NOT identify the palm print previously unidentified, nor did McClellan claim as much. This shows that Bugliosi either failed to actually read McClellan's book, and pretended he did, or chose to lie through his teeth to hide the uncomfortable fact that a respected fingerprint examiner had identified a fingerprint found in the sniper's nest as belonging to a convicted murderer associated with Kennedy's Vice-President Lyndon Johnson.
BTW, after checking out what I had told him, DiEugenio chose to write an addendum to his original book review, and discuss this issue in detail.
You can read that here: DiEugenio's review of Dead Men Talking