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CTKAformerly published Probe Magazine. Most of the articles on this site first appeared in Probe.

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“BILLBOARD”

New Articles/Reviews

JFK: The French Connection,  by Peter Kross  Review by Seamus Coogan

Notes on Lunch with Arlen Specter on January 4, 2012
By Vincent Salandria

Part 1: Review of Peter Janney’s "Mary’s Mosaic"
By Lisa Pease

Part 2: Entering Peter Janney’s World of Fantasy
By James DiEugenio

The Awful Grace of God, Religious Terrorism, White Supremacy
and the Unsolved Murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Martin Hay

MRS. KENNEDY & ME: A Very Good Book With A Few Pages of Trouble
by Vince Palamara

Jim DiEugenio analyzes and summarizes Larry Hancock's interesting and unique new book Nexus: The CIA and Political Assassination

Jim DiEugenio reviews the work of Chris Matthews on the life and death of President Kennedy, including his latest biography, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive hero".

Reviews of John McAdams' book JFK Assassination Logic by:
— Pat Speer

David Mantik

Frank Cassano

Gary Aguilar

BETRAYAL IN DALLAS: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy
Reviewed by William Davy

The Second Dallas,
a DVD Robert Kennedy documentary produced, written and directed by Massimo Mazzucco. Reviewed by Jim DiEugenio

The Connally Bullet Powerful evidence that Connally was hit by a bullet from a different assassin, by Robert Harris

Journalists and JFK,
those who were in and around Dealey Plaza that day and those who made a career of the case afterwards.
Intro By Gary King.

Joseph Green on the late Manning Marable's new full scale biography of Malcolm X.

JFK and the Majestic Papers: The History of a Hoax by Seamus Coogan

- and -

LBJ and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of InterestsSeamus Coogan on Joseph Farrell's new book

Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination
by Donald Byron Thomas
A Comprehensive Review by David Mantik
of

The Real Wikipedia? by JP Mroz and Jim DiEugenio (3 part series)

Sirhan and the RFK Assassination
Part I: The Grand Illusion
Part II: Rubik's Cube by Lisa Pease

Who is Anton Batey?
CTKA takes a close look at a most curious radio host who is a JFK denier, Chomskyite, and yet happens to be in league with John McAdams and David Von Pein. Yep, its all true.
Part 1
Part 2

Inside the ARRB
Reviews of Douglas Horne's multi-volume study of the declassified medical evidence in the JFK case. Reviewed by
Jim DiEugenio, David Mantik and Gary Aguilar.

 

COMING SOON:

Exclusive excerpts from Mitchell Warriner's long awaited new book on
the Jim Garrison investigation

 

 

JFK: Inside the Target Car, Part One

Or, How to Rig an Experiment

By James DiEugenio


of Inside the Target Car

Whenever I hear of a new scientific approach to the John F. Kennedy case, my first reaction is to shudder and then run for cover. I don't think it is hard to understand why I feel that way. Actually, it's quite simple. Its because whenever someone says they are going to treat this case with scientific rigor, sooner or later, the rigor dissipates and the so-called natural laws of the universe somehow fail. So suddenly, as with President Kennedy's violent rearward reaction, Newton's laws of motion don't apply anymore. Or as with the trajectory of the Single Bullet Theory through Kennedy's body, gun shot projectiles don't move through soft tissue in straight lines anymore.

Further, alleged "authorities" suddenly get thoroughly confused and confounded by the evidence. As Pat Speer has shown, Dr. Michael Baden didn't even know how to orient one of the most important autopsy photos. NASA scientist Tom Canning moved Kennedy's back wound up to make the Single Bullet Theory (SBT) work, and then shrunk Kennedy's head to make the head wound trajectory work. Dr. Vincent Guinn "proved" the SBT theory with his Bullet Lead analysis—which we now know, through the work of Pat Grant and Rick Randich, is nothing but "junk science". Its so junky that the FBI will not use it in court anymore.

At other times, we even get the spectacle of people who should not be approaching the case at all acting as if they were qualified in a certain field of scientific endeavor. Vincent Bugliosi used a chiropractor whose office offered massage therapy—Chad Zimmerman—as an authority in radiology. Robert Blakey hired statistician Larry Sturdivan to show films of goats being shot to illustrate the so-called neuromuscular reaction. (And then they both failed to tell us that Kennedy's reaction does not match what happens in the goat films.) Urologist John Lattimer was the first "independent" doctor admitted to the National Archives to report on the extant autopsy materials there. He somehow missed the fact that the president's brain was missing. Lattimer then gave us the Great Thorburn Hoax, which was thoroughly exposed by Milicent Cranor. And, of course, who can forget Dale Myers' computer 3D simulation, which turned the SBT from theory to "fact". A "fact" that was ripped to smithereens by Milicent Cranor, David Mantik, and Pat Speer.

The point of this partial list is simply to show that when the scientific method encounters the Kennedy case, it somehow loses all semblances to what most of us expect about that rubric. So for people like me who have become jaded by the above hijinks, I was not excited about another heralded and pretentiously headlined story. Especially after what ABC said in advance about the "indisputability" of the Myers debacle back in 2003. (See our critique of this fiasco.)

I

The latest installment in this sorry pseudo-scientific lineage took place at the 45th anniversary of Kennedy's murder. That is on November 16, 2008 on the Discovery Channel. The show was called JFK: Inside the Target Car. One of the problems I had with the show was that it had contracted out with Adelaide T & E Systems to do much of the technical work for the show. This is a large engineering company with strong ties to the Australian Defense industry. In fact, over half of Australian defense companies are located in the Australian city of Adelaide. The city relies on billions of dollars a year in contracts to make its economy hum. And hum it does. Both the population and economy has grown significantly since the nineties. Another interesting thing about the city of Adelaide is this: Rupert Murdoch's giant media conglomerate News Corporation was founded in, and until 2004, was incorporated in that city. In fact, Murdoch still considers Adelaide the spiritual home of News Corp. Adelaide sounds roughly like the Australian equivalent of Langley, Virginia—with the Washington Post and all. As we shall see, there are dubious aspects of the show to support this interpretation. (This information was garnered from the Wikipedia entry on the city.)

Further, The Discovery Channel, which hosted this special, is fast becoming the new CBS. If one recalls the work of people like Jerry Policoff, CBS was probably the most rabid defender of the Warren Commission from 1963-1967, and even beyond. In 1964, they put together a special almost immediately after the Warren Report was published. In other words, it was almost impossible for them to have read, digested, and analyzed the 26 volumes in time for the broadcast. But that didn't bother them at all. They went ahead and coronated that disgraceful document. In 1967, they actually used Warren Commissioner John McCloy as a consultant to their multi part series—without informing the audience of that fact! Both these programs are embarrassing to look at today. But both Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather had their marching orders from above. And like good corporate foot soldiers, they did what they were told.

Today, the cable version of CBS on the JFK case has become Discovery Channel. In 2003, they did a show called The JFK Conspiracy Myths. In this program, the producers used the same sharpshooter that Inside the Target Car used: Michael Yardley. The aim was to show that Lee Harvey Oswald could do what the Warren Commission said he did: That is fire three shots in six seconds getting at least two direct hits. Except for Yardley the time span was magically and conveniently expanded to almost eight seconds. Further, his rifle was hooked up to a laser switch which, of course, eliminates rifle recoil, making it easier to shoot and re-aim. As Pat Speer noted, Yardley was later honest about his ersatz experiment. He told a British journalist that he did not think Oswald could have pulled off the feat of marksmanship attributed to him. End of story.

In 2004, the Discovery Channel was at it again. They ran a new program called JFK: Beyond the Magic Bullet. This one tried to prove that the Magic Bullet was not really magical. In other words, it could have traversed the storied path through two bodies, two dense bones, three body parts, and still drive itself into John Connally's thigh. And then reverse trajectory and plunk out. As Pat Speer notes in his review, this show was riddled with so many factual errors that it looked like it was being made up willy-nilly. For instance, the entry point on the president's back was wrongly situated. The narrator said that the Magic Bullet hit Kennedy in the neck. Which is a lie made up by Gerald Ford. We know today through autopsy photos that the bullet entered in Kennedy's back. Further, when they fired this bullet from an elevated platform, it emerged from the simulated torso of JFK at his chest. Not his throat. Another problem was that their bullet failed to explode the simulated wrist of John Connally as the Warren Commission said it did. And then when they found this bullet after a search in the brush, it was clearly deformed. Not in nearly pristine condition as in the Warren Commission version. I could go on and on, but for those interested in all the details, read Speer's article at his website.

The third aspect of JFK: Inside the Target Car that gave me pause was the participation of the Sixth Floor Museum through the presence of curator Gary Mack. The Sixth Floor Museum, since its inception, has been dedicated to preserving the Warren Commission deception about Oswald. For instance, when I visited there in 1991, their version of the Zapruder film was cut off before frame 313, when Kennedy's body rockets backward off the rear seat. When I saw that piece of censorship to the Z film, I was reminded of the old joke about the Lincoln assassination, "Well Mrs. Lincoln, outside of your husband's murder, how did you like the play?" (I am told this has been changed since. I hope so.) Further, they sell all kinds of pro-Warren Commission volumes, like the works of Richard Trask; but few, if any, Warren Commission critiques. Not even the works of Sylvia Meagher, Philip Melanson, or Gaeton Fonzi. Gary Mack—who I will discuss at length in part three of this review—makes up all kinds of weak excuses for this biased expurgation. But I have the real reason from a source in Dallas who asked someone on the board of the museum about this issue. The member answered that this was simply a set policy. Unlike Mack's pronouncements it has nothing to do with timeliness or updated versions etc. They just don't want people who go there to be exposed at any length or depth to the critical community that does not buy the Krazy Kid Oswald stuff.

So the combination of Discovery Channel, Adelaide T & E, the Sixth Floor Museum, and the dissimulating Mack did not look promising to me. In fact it was downright unappetizing. I actually felt lucky when Milicent Cranor and David Mantik reviewed the show for our site. When it comes to the medical and ballistics evidence, it does not get much better than those two. While reading their thorough and precise critiques, I began to watch the show repeatedly at my leisure. I have now seen it three times. It is clear to me that the show had an agenda from the beginning. And just about everything they did hewed to that agenda, thereby creating the preordained end result. But unlike in the other two Discovery Channel misfires, the producers learned from their previous amateur errors. This time around they were slicker. They tried to keep the trickster's hand ahead of the viewer's—read "the mark's"—eyes. But to anyone familiar with the evidence in the case, the show collapses fairly easily. And therefore is exposed as another jerry-built propaganda piece for the pitiful Warren Commission. And like any apologia for that sorry panel, its self-contained, inherent shame transfers onto its defenders.

II

When one stops and analyzes this show one understands what it actually does. And that is this: it conflates, condenses, oversimplifies and therefore falsifies three complex areas of study in the Kennedy case. These are 1.) The medical evidence 2.)The ballistics, and 3.) The condition of the limousine after Kennedy is transported to Parkland Hospital. When I say "areas of study" I mean just that. A beginning student of the Kennedy case could take over a year to study the medical evidence. And even then he would not have mastered it. And it would not be his fault. The problem is not one of retention or reasoning. The problem lies quite clearly in the twists and turns of the evidentiary record. I mean, Michael Baden is a forensic pathologist. As I said earlier, he could not orient the back of the skull photo, the only one with Kennedy's scalp refracted. Baden also embellished exhibits when he got desperate to prove his particular version of the evidence. He had his artist alter photos and drawings to create fractures that are not on the x-rays, and raised edges around wounds not on the former. One can understand his dilemma: How many gunshot murder cases have two different autopsies? How many have two wounds which dramatically move their locations in less than five years? How many have x-rays which change fragment patterns and in which large fragments not observable during autopsy x-rays, miraculously materialize on those same x-rays a few years later? But yet, on these new and changed x-rays, the fragment trail does not match up with either the alleged entry wound or alleged exit wound? All of these bizarre inconsistencies are documented in the JFK medical evidence. We can measure this show's honesty with what it does with these provable facts.

The ballistics evidence in the JFK case is almost as puzzling. For instance the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined that the wound in the back of President Kennedy had an abrasion collar on the bottom. This usually indicates a shot with an upward trajectory. Yet how could this be if Oswald was firing from six stories above? Were there two assassins? Was the photo touched up? Or is the scientific deduction faulty? As I wrote in Part Four of my review of Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History, the Warren Commission stated that the shot to Kennedy's head came in low on the rear skull. But it exited above the right ear and forward of it on the right side. This created problems with both the horizontal and vertical trajectory of this bullet. For the angle from the so-called sniper's nest of the Texas School Book Depository is right to left on the horizontal plane. So did the bullet alter direction inside the skull? And per the vertical, the bullet would seem to have exited too high for its entry point. Also, although the type of military jacketed bullets attributed to Oswald are tough to break apart, in this case, the bullet to the head did. For there were fragments found on the x-rays and in the automobile. The problem though is that the fragment evidence as attested to by the HSCA says that the middle of the bullet stayed on the outside of the skull, while the nose and the tail hurdled through the head and landed in the front seat. Yep, that is what they say. Somehow, the back of the bullet magically levitated at the precise nanosecond over the middle section and then scooted through the skull. As we shall see, this is a major problem for this show.

Finally, of late, the condition of the president's limousine has also become a controversial area of study in this case. Just what was the condition of the car when it arrived back in Washington DC? What happened to the car when it arrived at Parkland Hospital? Photos indicate that a Secret Service agent actually scrubbed down the inside of the car. But why would he do that? And what else did he do while he was inside the auto? When were photos taken of the inside of the car and were they in color or black and white? Was there a hole in the windshield indicating a shot from the front? And if there was, was that piece of evidence tampered with? Was the car then driven on a 500 mile mysterious, voyage westward after its stay in Washington? And if so, why was it driven and not flown?

The above only scratch the surface of how difficult it is to fully comprehend any of the above complex areas of this case. So when writers like Vincent Bugliosi call the Kennedy case a simple one, I don't know what they are referring to. And I never will. But my point in regards to this program is this: This special tries to conflate all three of these maddeningly complex areas of study into a sixty-minute program! That is the bottom line of this show. The reality is that you could spend one hour on just the condition of the limousine after the assassination until the point it was rebuilt. One hour would not do justice to the ballistics evidence in this case. As for the medical evidence: it's safe to say that two hours would only give you an introduction to the material. Consequently, when you place them all together and rush through them in what amounts to—at best—speeded up motion, you have to leave out huge chunks of crucial information. And here's a major problem with that: In the JFK case, a crucial aspect of the story is in how the details changed over time. In real life "simple" murder cases, this does not happen. And if it does, the court will entertain a motion to throw out the case on the basis of evidence tampering. This is one of the major aspects of the JFK case that the authors of this show do not reveal to the audience. Which is why its honesty should be questioned.

Another serious problem is that of the Curtailed Alternatives. That is the experiment and the deductions are limited and controlled by the authors. This means that the variables seem arbitrarily chosen to produce a desired result. Cranor and Mantik have already shown this was so in the choice of firing points. But I should point out here, Gary Mack argued strongly for the so-called Badge Man location of the grassy knoll assassin for about twenty years. Yet that particular location was never even pointed out in this ersatz demonstration. Not even to critique it. Yet in his earlier incarnation as a fierce Warren Commission critic, Mack was at pains to show its validity for British documentary producer Nigel Turner. In fact, it was actually one of the highlights of the multi-part series The Men Who Killed Kennedy. (I will deal with the Mack metamorphosis in the third part of this essay.)

This Curtailed Alternative method continued even after the show was (mercifully) over. Mack went online and answered some questions from viewers. His viewpoint on these answers was remarkably limited for someone who has been studying this case for over thirty years. I never considered Gary Mack a front rank, top of the line writer/researcher. But he was not a dumb or rigidly inflexible person. In fact, when he contributed to The Continuing Inquiry, he wrote a few good and valuable pieces. But today, he comes off about as mentally agile as, say, Robert Blakey. When someone asks him what happened to the bullets fired in the experiment, Mack admits they did not fragment like the ones attributed to Oswald did. Got that: Oswald's did but Yardley's did not. He then adds that he doesn't know why that occurred and then drops the issue. But as Milicent Cranor points out, and I will discuss later, the matter should not be dropped at that point. Because this is where it gets really interesting. When someone later asks him if it was wise to use the alleged assassin's rifle and ammo for a front shot, Mack's reply is equally superficial. He says that if Oswald had been a "patsy" it seems likely "that another gunman would use the same ammunition. If a different weapon were used, investigators would find evidence and conclude there were two guns. A conspiracy to frame Oswald would want investigators to think there was only one gun." Read that twice, and carefully: If the investigators found two guns, that would equal a conspiracy and the investigators would announce the frame up of Oswald.

When I read that in my downloaded version of Mack's online talk at the Discovery Channel web site I wrote in the margin, "Absolutely stupid." Yet, I don't think Gary Mack is stupid. But just to point out one problem with this response: It imposes on the reader the supposition that the investigators themselves were honest i.e. the only conspiracy that existed was the one that killed President Kennedy. The investigators actually tried to uncover the true circumstances of the assassination. Therefore if there was a conspiracy, they would have located it. Mack's bottom line here is this: There was no cover up.

Anyone who studies this case knows this view deserves the utmost scorn and derision. Here is how preposterous it is: even two members of the Warren Commission understood the fix was in early. They were Senator Richard Russell and Representative Hale Boggs. As author Dick Russell shows in On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, the senator so distrusted the investigators that he conducted his own investigation—at the time the Commission was ongoing! His private inquiry came to the conclusion that Oswald did not do it. (pgs. 126-127) Representative Boggs said that J. Edgar Hoover—chief investigator for the official inquiry—"lied his eyes out to the Commission—on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the gun, you name it." (Texas Observer, 11/98) But more to Mack's specific point about the two weapons: on November 23, 1963 Deputy Constable Seymour Weitzman executed an affidavit. He swore that on the previous day he discovered on the sixth floor of the Depository a 7.65 Mauser equipped with a 4/18 scope, and a thick leather brownish-black sling on it. (The actual affidavit is in Mark Lane's Rush To Judgment, p. 409) This is not what the Commission later said was Oswald's rifle. They said it was a 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano. But further, Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig was standing near Weitzman at the time of discovery. He said that Weitzman thought it was a Mauser at first. But then he looked at the rifle at close range and saw that it was stamped "7. 65 Mauser". This is what confirmed the ID for the constable. (This testimony can be seen in the film Evidence of Revision on You Tube, Part IV.) So this directly contradicts Gary Mack's assumption about the assassins using the same weapon and the investigators exposing that fact and therefore blowing up the conspiracy. The show's main talking head is not telling the whole story. And the viewer should ask: Why not? I will get to the 'why not" later and it goes to the very heart of the show's credibility. (I should add here, Mack once published his own journal, which was called Cover Ups. But that's all forgotten now. Today he says we can trust the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, and the Dallas Police. Yeah sure Gary.)

III

Very early, the show reveals an agenda. Gary Mack is hard at work to discredit the evidence of witnesses hearing shots from two directions. Sounding like Lawrence Schiller, he dredges up the old Dealey Plaza is an "echo chamber" argument. Therefore directionality was confused. But as Josiah Thompson has noted, if about the same amount say the shots originated from the Grassy Knoll as from the Texas School Book Depository, what does this argument really amount to? (Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, p. 25) He then says that some witnesses later altered their stories. Revealingly, he does not add that many witnesses were forced by the authorities to change their testimony to conform to the official line. Or actually had it changed without their knowledge. (This fits the show's agenda: don't reveal the cover up.)

After this the show picks up one of its main threads: the condition of the car once it arrived at Parkland Hospital. The narrator intones that evidence that was wiped away there, plus some other evidentiary points, have given Warren Commission critics reason to doubt the official story and has therefore spawned a huge controversy. He is referring to the blood spatter pattern inside the car—and he greatly overstates the case. Very, very few people have had their curiosity piqued by this issue. And even less have used it to attack the Commission. But, again, it shows the program's unwinding agenda.

The producers next reveal the fact that a Secret Service agent actually wiped the interior of the car with what looks like a bucket and sponge. I say they have to because there are pictures that reveal this fact. Yet they ask few questions about this incredible incident. Making nothing of some obvious questions : Who told him to do this? Why? What else did he do besides wipe anything up? Was this a cover story to plant evidence? And how do they know it's a Secret Service agent? If it was, did they try and track him down? They avoid almost all of this and then say they have two witnesses who saw the car before the bucket brigade arrived. Yet it is not revealed how they can be certain about this timing. And further, as limousine expert Pamela McElwain Brown has written, no one had a really good chance to look inside the limousine once it got to Parkland to make a measured assessment. Because the convertible top was raised quickly upon its arrival there. But the show considers this important, a keystone actually, so we will return to it later because the producers do the same. But I should note an apparent contradiction here: Mack had just been trying to discount direct testimony by eye and ear witnesses. He now reverses course on that issue.

From here the show now goes to a second main thread: Searching Dealey Plaza for possible firing points to the front of the car. I thought this little walking tour quite interesting. The first point that Mack and Yardley visit is what they call the south Grassy Knoll, which would be in front of the car and to President Kennedy's left. Yardley says it is a possible shot distance wise, but the angle would only give the assassin about three inches of Kennedy's head to fire at. As Milicent Cranor has pointed out, Mack and Yardley never noticed that there is a rise about ten feet back which would probably eliminate that problem. Moving clockwise around Dealey Plaza, Yardley and Mack now go to what they call the south end of the triple underpass. They eliminate this firing point because Yardley says the shot would necessitate firing through the windshield of the car. The supposition here is that there was no hole in the windshield. Again, the producers are not telling the whole story here. Because this statement is questionable. There is evidence on both sides of this windshield bullet hole issue. Another authority on the limousine is Doug Weldon. Weldon wrote an interesting thirty page essay for the anthology Murder In Dealey Plaza (pgs 129-158) Weldon raises serious questions about what happened to the car afterwards. For instance, about that 500 mile trek to Dearborn, Michigan that James Rowley told the Warren commission happened on December 20, 1963. (See p. 133) But more to the point, Weldon produces six witnesses who saw a hole in the windshield at Parkland Hospital. (ibid pgs. 139-140) He also produces evidence that the windshield was then switched to conceal this hole. (ibid pgs 136-138) But none of this is mentioned, and this firing point is quickly dismissed.

We then move to what is called the north end of the triple underpass. What happened here was notable. This point intersects with what is the end of the famous stockade fence atop the Grassy Knoll. When I visited the area in 1991, I went to the end of the picket fence where it corners and then juts out. I thought this was the best firing point along the knoll area because the car was coming at you at a distance where you could track it for several seconds before squeezing off your shot. In fact, Yardley says words to that effect in this show. Then, he and Mack walk away from this point because there is shrubbery there today, and go a few steps downward on the slope. (Since they had Dealey Plaza cordoned off, why didn't they pay a gardener sixty bucks to trim the shrubbery?) How good is this shot? When they showed it from the shooter's angle, they moved Jackie Kennedy into the line of fire to try and discredit it. (I will return to this "mistake" later.) Mack finally dismisses this site because witnesses in the area could see the assassin. Yet one could say this about almost any firing point in the Plaza. Because as Mack intoned earlier, there were hundreds of witnesses in the area. What a precision hit team would be banking on is that they would be distracted by the president's car and looking in that direction at the time of the fusillade.

The reader should note at this point: The show has been all too eager to dismiss these three alternative sites. And further, Yardley has not taken one shot from any of them. This should be kept in mind as the show progresses forward.

Yardley and Mack now move to a position further down and behind the stockade fence. This particular point brings you closer to the car, but you have much less time to track the target from this venue. This is why when I visited Dealey Plaza, I thought the previous point would be a better venue than this one. Yardley notes the tracking problem, but Mack decides on this point. We will see why later.

The scene now shifts down under to Australia. The narration states that previously there had been no technology which could simulate a human head. But today "an exact replica of the human head" is possible. Further, there was only one place which could produce such an exact replica. That place is, of course, in Rupert Murdoch's spiritual home of Adelaide. And the company is Adelaide T & E Systems. When I listened to this segment I began to smell some snake oil cooking. Why? Because I just don't think its possible to produce an "exact replica" of a human head. I mean maybe you could create a reasonable facsimile. But not an exact replica. It's just too complicated of a phenomenon: the muscles, tendons, nervous system, blood circulatory system, hair and scalp etc. So I thought this was overstated in the extreme. You know, Dale Myers and ABC country. And as we shall see, it was.

What is even more interesting of course is that Adelaide T & E Systems also builds replicas of the human torso. So it would have been easy to attach the head to a torso which fit Kennedy's dimensions. But they did not. The excuse was that it would have added another variable. This rationale was kind of smelly. The real reason I suspect this was not done is that in the Zapruder film, upon the bullet's impact, Kennedy's body rockets backward in the car and bounces off the back seat. Yet this is supposed to be a shot from behind. The producers probably suspected that when they simulated the shot from the Depository, Oswald's alleged firing point, no such reaction would follow. And Gary Mack didn't want to have to explain this. That would mean getting into the Luis Alvarez/Larry Sturdivan mumbojumbo about "jet effect" and "neuromuscular reaction". He had enough problems already.

IV

He immediately went about fixing one of them. As everyone knows, one of the largest, most insurmountable problems in the Warren Commission is that all the evidence says that Lee Harvey Oswald was a poor marksman. Yet Michael Yardley is not. He has won many sharpshooting competitions. By all accounts, the shot Oswald supposedly took from the Texas School Book Depository which killed Kennedy was very difficult. Now Michael Yardley is the opposite. He is a contest winning sharpshooter. Further, the weapon Oswald allegedly used had a cheap scope which was not properly mounted. But Yardley placed a modern telescopic site on the rifle and then sited it in i.e. he took practice shots to make sure it was perfectly aligned. How does any of this duplicate what the Warren Commission said happened? But clearly, the producers were not going to risk proving the critics correct. Namely, they were not going to risk a miss by Yardley.

Not only were they not going to risk a miss, they were going to ensure it not happening. Because when the show moves up to Sylmar, California where a shooting range simulating the dimensions of Dealey Plaza is put together, Yardley is not shooting at a moving target. The car is stationary. Mack remembered what happened when many others tried to duplicate Oswald's alleged feat of marksmanship. They couldn't do it. Realizing that would jeopardize the show, he was removing all those troublesome "variables". The problem is if you remove too many variables, what conditions are you actually duplicating? Ones that weren't there?

Yardley then took his first shot from the spot he and Mack decided on from behind the stockade fence. . This was with a soft nosed hunting round, which is not the kind of ammunition Oswald was supposed to be firing. He hit the target, but something weird happened. The entire skull literally exploded to the point where nothing was left on the platform. When I saw this, my antennae went up. Outside of some cheap Hollywood horror movie, I had never seen or heard of such a thing happening. And I remembered how the show had said so fervently stated that these were exact replicas of the human skull. I don't think so. As Milicent Cranor wrote, they appeared too frangible. Why?

Yardley then fired again from that spot behind the fence. This time with the type of ammo Oswald was allegedly using. This time he hit the target with a more controlled damage pattern. Mack then went to the car and observed this closely. He then said something that was quite startling at the same time that it was revealing. He said that this shot would have also hit Jackie Kennedy. I then thought back to what had happened when the show had lined up the other shot, from the better position further down the fence: they had the models lined up wrong then also. At that time they were not in Sylmar, but were in Dealey Plaza. No one noticed this mistake and corrected it? Very hard to believe, because what Mack said is easily exposed as false. All you have to do is look at the Zapruder film, which Mack has done hundreds of times. Jackie Kennedy in Z frame 312—right before the fatal shot—is clearly ahead of her husband,. So a shot coming from a mostly side angle—as this one was—would not have hit her. And this point gets very interesting. Mainly because it is so hard to believe that no one caught it. Which is what Mack wants the pubic to believe.

In fact in the aforementioned online discussion, Gary Mack admitted that he, and the show, were wrong about this. He then added this: "We didn't catch it at the time." But yet, according to Robert Groden, this is a lie. He was in Dealey Plaza at the time the show was filming the limousine simulations with models in it. He said that he pointed out to the show's director and Gary Mack that the "positions and locations of both the actors portraying President and Jackie Kennedy were completely wrong." Then Groden added something that is really important in understanding the program's genesis and ultimate purpose. In that regard, it actually sounds like something J. Lee Rankin would write to his assistant counsel about the true position of the bullet that entered into Kennedy's back. Groden posted that both Mack and the director replied that "the positions and locations were not important to the points they were trying to show." But if this were so then why did Mack misrepresent that specific point to the public on the air! He actually said that the shot would have hit Jackie. I have an idea as to why. Because that was an easy visual way to discredit a shot from that angle. Almost like the show did focus groups, they understood this would easily register with the public. I know this because a colleague from work said this to me the day after the show aired. Knowing my interest in the JFK case, he came up to me at lunch and said, "Jim, the shot couldn't have come from the front. It would have hit Jackie." And we all know it did not. So the evidence Groden produces from behind the scenes, says that the producers knew they were wrong and went ahead anyway for propaganda purposes. And Mack then tried to conceal this when he said they didn't catch it in time. Further, the quote by Groden that I am using was posted on February 5, 2009. Way after the show's initial broadcast. He said he was reposting it at this time. Why? Because his initial post of the information had been removed!

If I was Gary Mack in his present incarnation, when Mack said he didn't catch the error in time, I would have posted something like this: "Gary, you're a damned liar!" I will explain that quote in part three of this review.


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