Tuesday, 01 October 2013 19:31

David Reitzes Meets Michael Shermer: Send In the Clowns

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Jim DiEugenio exposes the disingenuousness and silliness of the anti-conspiracy arguments of David Reitzes and John McAdams, comparing them to those of the media shill Michael Shermer.


Apparently, Dave Reitzes has an uncontrollable urge to make a fool out of himself. During those distant, far off years when he did not buy the Warren Commission fairy tale, he was in the Barr McClellan/Craig Zirbel camp i.e. Lyndon Johnson killed President Kennedy. When he inexplicably switched sides, he then became allied with John McAdams and began writing on a variety of subjects, including Jack Ruby. But he began to concentrate on the New Orleans scene and became McAdams' water carrier on Jim Garrison. The problem was, he was about as good in this area as he was when he was backing his LBJ Texas conspiracy theorem. Which means, he was not very convincing, because the quality of his scholarship and insights is quite shoddy.

But that did not matter to John McAdams. Because the professor isn't really interested in scholarship or accuracy. Therefore, Reitzes fit the bill. One of the silliest and stupidest projects that the Dynamic Duo worked on was something called "One Hundred Errors of Fact and Judgment in Oliver Stone's JFK." What clearly happened here was that McAdams and his gang (which included Tracy Parnell at the time) were upset at the web site exposing one hundred errors of fact in Gerald Posner's pitiful book Case Closed. A book they championed even before it came out. So they decided to put together a web site to counter this humiliation. The problem was two fold. In the Posner instance, the authors collaborated with experts in each area of the JFK field and therefore the exposed errors are actually accurate. On the Reitzes creation there is no evidence that the author consulted professionally with anyone. Secondly, Posner was writing a non-fiction book. Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar were writing a dramatic film. In the latter, one is allowed the use of dramatic license. One is not in the former. Yet Posner's book looks so bad today that it does look like he used dramatic license in the volume. (http://www.assassinationweb.com/audio1.htm.) Which is not what non-fiction writers are allowed to do. But which the Warren Report did all the time.

Stung by the exposure of a book they valued, McAdams and Reitzes decided to put together this moronic JFK web site. But even though they were working with a film that was allowed to use dramatic license, they had a difficult time getting up even close to a hundred. So they padded out their list with filler, the way a mover does by stuffing popcorn while boxing items. For instance, Reitzes tries to say that Guy Banister actually beat up Jack Martin over long distance phone calls, which is what the perpetrators told the police. And this is why Banister beat Martin so badly that Martin thought he was going to kill him? And this is why Delphine Roberts, Banister's personal secretary, had to intervene in order to save Martin's life? (HSCA, Volume X, p. 130) I don't think so Dave. In an ARRB declassified interview done by the HSCA, Roberts said that she thought Martin was trying to get at Guy Banister's file on Oswald. Since it was the day of the assassination, this is why Banister erupted. (HSCA interview of Roberts by Bob Buras, 8/27/78) This makes perfect sense in light of what Martin said to Banister when he accosted him: "What are you going to do, kill me like you all did Kennedy?" (op cit HSCA Volume X) Did Reitzes think that those involved were really going to tell the cops, "Well, see, we helped set up Oswald and this guy got a little too curious about seeing what we had on him while he was serving as an agent provocateur for us about the FPCC. But please don't tell anyone officer!" In the light of the ARRB, Stone and Sklar were being kind of conservative.

Or take another instance of Reitzian scholarship and logic: David Ferrie's interviews with Jim Garrison and the FBI on the weekend of the assassination. Garrison was suspicious of Ferrie since he took a trip to Texas on the day of the assassination and said he was going to go ice-skating and goose hunting. He did neither. Further he drove to Houston and Galveston to do neither one of those things through a driving rainstorm. Wouldn't this sound just a wee bit odd to anyone interested in inquiring into the Kennedy assassination?

How does Reitzes find a way around this? He quotes Ferrie who said to the FBI that he was interested in buying a rink for himself and that he laced up skates and skated there. Reitzes leaves out the fact that the owner of the rink said that Ferrie did not skate. He stayed beside a pay phone from which he made and received calls. (William Davy, Let Justice Be Done, p. 46). Apparently, to Reitzes, it was no big deal that Ferrie and his friends went to Texas to go goose hunting and didn't bring any shotguns. Happens all the time right?

But, as noted above, it's even worse than that. Reitzes does not include two other very relevant facts we know about today. First, Ferrie was deathly afraid of anyone connecting him to Oswald in the immediate aftermath of Kennedy's murder. Ferrie called a former Civil Air Patrol member to see if he retained any photographs showing himself with Oswald in the CAP. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, pgs. 81-82) He then approached a neighbor of Oswald's who had seen Oswald at the library. Ferrie wanted to know if he recalled Oswald using Ferrie's library card at the time. He then went to see Oswald's landlady to check if Oswald had left Ferrie's card behind. (ibid) As William Davy points out, that particular visit occurred before Ferrie left for Texas.

The second point Reitzes does not include is this: in the FBI interview that he utilizes, Ferrie lied his head off. For instance, he said he never owned a telescopic rifle, or even used one. But further, he would not know how to use one. This from a man who the CIA used to train Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs and Operation Mongoose. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, p. 177) He lied further by saying that he did not know Oswald and Oswald was not a member of his New Orleans CAP squadron. (ibid) This from a guy who is now going to be obsessed with eliminating any pictures depicting himself with Oswald in the CAP! As former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi would say, this kind of behavior – lying and covering up – denotes "consciousness of guilt." The fact that Reitzes surgically removed this evidence shows that the Bugliosian term also applies to him.

Again, all this shows that, in light of today's declassified files, the film JFK is actually conservative in its depiction of this incident. But the whole phony "hundred" list Reitzes has assembled is like this, in each and every regard: you can slice it and dice it with the new files. That is in relation to what Reitzes writes on the Paines, Jack Ruby, Clay Shaw, Kennedy and Vietnam, and even in regards to Lyndon Johnson. He is that bad. For example, it's incredible in light of what we know today, but Reitzes tries to imply that Johnson really did not want to go to war in Vietnam. Well Dave, can you answer this question: How did the USA eventually commit 535, 000 combat troops over there? Did someone forge Johnson's signature on all of those orders?

The newly declassified record – something which Reitzes avoids with the rigor of a vampire avoiding sunlight-reveals that not only did Johnson knowingly reverse Kennedy's policies in Vietnam, but that he then tried to cover up this fact afterwards. In other words, he tried to feign that he was not really doing so. (Transcripts of phone calls between Johnson and Robert McNamara of February 20 and March 2, 1964 contained in the book Virtual JFK by James Blight.) But beyond that, Johnson completely reversed Kennedy's overall policy in Vietnam after he took office. Kennedy's withdrawal memorandum was replaced by NSAM 288, which now drew up battle plans for a land war in Vietnam. In other words, something that Kennedy would not countenance in three years, Johnson had now done in three months. (Gordon Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster, p. 108) The reader is somehow supposed to think that Reitzes missed all this? If so what does this say about his scholarship? If he did not miss all this, then what does this say about his honesty? Either way, Reitzes is simply not credible.

II

But like John McAdams, Michael Shermer did not care about that fact. Michael Shermer has been exposed on this web site by the insightful work of Frank Cassano. (Click here and here.) As Cassano so aptly divined upon seeing him for the first time, Shermer's ultimate goals were twofold. First, he was going to do all he could to make those who bought into any kind of conspiracy theories looks silly. Second, he was especially interested in rendering the Kennedy assassination null and void. In fact, the film he made for CBC, Conspiracy Rising, is a little bit scary. When it showed on German television, Brigitte Wilcke wrote a letter to the TV station protesting against such venomous and divisive propaganda being shown on the airwaves.

Therefore, with the help of Cassano and Wilcke, it was easy to predict that Shermer would have something ready to go for the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. What was not so easy to see is that he would allow someone as shoddy and clownish as Reitzes to write the cover story for his magazine Skeptic.

And with that title-Fifty Years of Conspiracy Theories – both Reitzes and Shermer reveal that they are in full blown, pedal to the metal, diversionary mode. For there have not been 50 years of conspiracy theories in America on the JFK case. The first critics of the official story e.g. Mark Lane in The Guardian and Vince Salandria in Liberation, did not suggest any kind of alternative theory to the assassination of President Kennedy. What they were doing was questioning the circumstances of the crime itself and the rather baffling methods used by the Warren Commission to explain those circumstances away. And, in fact, that is what all the early critics of the case did: they pointed out the gaping holes in the work of the Commission. This includes not just Lane and Salandria, but also Harold Weisberg, Sylvia Meagher, Edward Epstein and Josiah Thompson. In none of those works is there any kind of alternative theory set forth to any serious degree. What these people did, very effectively, was to expose the incredible lacuna that the Warren Report tried to put forward as an airtight case. And the more people who read their work, the more people agreed with them: the Warren Report was an absurd fairy tale.

But it was not just the public at large who did not buy this fairy tale. It was people in power, in both Washington and Texas. As David Talbot and Robert Kennedy Jr. have both revealed, Bobby Kennedy, who was Attorney General at the time, did not buy the Warren Commission. As author Joe McBride reveals in Into the Nightmare, Governor John Connally did not buy the absurd conclusions of the Commission either. In 1982, he told journalist Doug Thompson that he thought the Warren Report was complete bunk. When Thompson asked Connally if he thought Oswald killed Kennedy, the former governor replied, "Absolutely not. I do not for one second believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission." (McBride, p. 418) The new president, Lyndon Johnson, in a phone call, said he did not buy the single bullet theory. The person he was talking to did not buy it either. And that person is quite significant to the matter at hand.

Because the person on the line was Senator Richard Russell, and he served on the Warren Commission. (Gerald McKnight, Breach of Trust, pgs. 283-84) This is a point that neither Shermer not Reitzes will touch. Namely that its not just people who write about the assassination, or parts of the public, who do not buy the Warren Report. Its people who were actual victims that day, and people who worked on the report, who also thought it was hokum. And, of course, Reitzes and Shermer will not tell the public that the Commission was so divided on this issue, the Magic Bullet, that the men actually in charge of the Commission, i.e, the Troika of John McCloy, Allen Dulles and Gerald Ford, tricked the Southern Wing i.e. Russell and Congressman Wade Boggs, and Senator John Sherman Cooper, into signing onto the document. (McKnight, Chapter 11) This bit of internal subterfuge was not exposed until years later. But after it was, Russell now went public with his objections. He was soon joined by Boggs and Cooper.

Further, it was later revealed that Russell so distrusted what the Commission was doing that he secretly helmed his own private inquiry into the Kennedy assassination . He looked askance at witnesses like Marina Oswald, as did people on his personal staff and the staff of the Commission. But further, he also questioned things like the accuracy of the rifle, if it could perform as the authorities said it did. He was also worried by the number of reported sightings of Oswald impersonators, and how easily that Oswald was allowed to leave the USSR with his Russian wife. Finally, Russell's private inquiry also showed that Oswald was associated with some anti-Castro Cubans. And he was puzzled by what Oswald's actual role with them was. (Dick Russell, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, pgs. 126-27) So here you have a member of the Warren Commission who is essentially discovering way back in 1964, many of the things about Oswald that the rest of the Commission will cover up in it report. But the Troika within the Commission was so intent on the report appearing to be a unanimous decision, that they would tell Russell that his objections were being recorded, when in fact, they were not. Somehow, Reitzes and Shermer did not think that was important. Maybe because it would reveal that the Commission itself was conspiring against one of its own members?

Another point about the Warren Commission that Reitzes and Shermer completely ignore is one of the most publicized scandals that the Assassination Records Review Board disclosed. Namely that Commissioner Gerald Ford changed the draft of the Warren Report by altering the position of the back wound up into Kennedy's neck. These kinds of things do not happen in the real world of medical forensics. At the last moment the supervising doctor in his office does not change the location of the entrance wound from the back into the neck of the victim. Ford did not examine the body. But if one reads the declassified records of the Commission, the Commission itself knew this wound was in the back. (McKnight, pgs. 190-92) But Ford understood that the public would have a hard time understanding how a shot fired downward from six stories up could enter Kennedy's back and then exit his neck. So he simply crossed out the word "back", and changed it to "neck". In other words, Ford lied. Just as he, Dulles and McCloy lied to Russell when they told him that his objections would be recorded.

Let us take one more instance that Shermer and Reitzes ignore about the character and morals of the Warren Commission. On the 20th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, David Belin appeared with Anthony Summers on Nightline. He said that the Warren Commission had seen every CIA document on Lee Harvey Oswald. If Belin was telling the truth, then this leaves us a host of problems about the Warren Report. Especially since the CIA is still withholding thousands of pages of documents today, over a decade after the ARRB closed down. For if Belin did see every single document the CIA had on Oswald, then why is the Warren Report silent on this very interesting and relevant information? For instance, why does the Warren Report not explain the incredible oddity of Oswald defecting to the USSR in 1959, yet the CIA not opening up a 201 file on him until over a year later? A 201 file is a very common file opened on any person of interest to the Agency. If a former Marine defects from the USA to the USSR at the height of the Cold War and threatens to give up radar secrets to the Russians, would he not be a person of interest? Yet, the reader will not see this curious fact noted in the Warren Report. Did Belin not think this was important? If Belin saw every document on Oswald, then why did he not tell us that there were no photos taken of the man in Mexico City, even though the CIA had ten opportunities to do so. Either Belin had a bizarre sense of what was important to know about Oswald, or he was lying. And neither Shermer nor Reitzes thinks this is important to acknowledge to the public.

III

To return to the title of the cover story, the first real alternative theory to the Kennedy assassination was constructed by New Orleans DA Jim Garrison. But it wasn't a theory. Garrison had uncovered many facts about Oswald's activities in the New Orleans area that the Commission and the FBI had endeavored to cover up. For the simple matter that if these had been revealed to the public, there would have been myriad questions about who Oswald really was. There would have been so many that the image of Oswald as the disaffected communist would have been brought into serious question. But Reitzes cannot mention all this since he has spent many years being in denial of it. After all, this is what he means to McAdams. (For more evidence of just how bad Reitzes is on New Orleans and Jim Garrison, click here)

So when looked at historically, Garrison's inquiry is really the beginning of the construction of the true facts about the Kennedy assassination. Because many authors have used his discoveries in their own books to show what Oswald was really doing in the summer of 1963 in New Orleans. In fact, even the compromised HSCA used Garrison's discoveries. As time has gone on, this effort has mushroomed in many other fields. Until today, it is actually possible to approximate what really did happen in the Kennedy case. In other words, if the gaseous Michael Shermer really wanted his magazine to live up to its title, he would have commissioned an article to show how initial skepticism about the Commission, plus the discoveries of the ARRB, have finally led some dedicated people to be able to demonstrate with facts just what the Commission was covering up. And if private citizens can do this now, imagine what the FBI could have done if J. Edgar Hoover was really interested in finding out who killed Kennedy. But as with the episode of Ferrie lying in his FBI report, Hoover was not so inclined. If he had been really interested in who killed Kennedy, he would not have been at the racetrack on the day after his murder. But the numerous episodes of the FBI covering up the case is not what Shermer hired Reitzes to do. Shermer knows that there is a small stable of internet denizens that those interested in concealing the facts of the JFK case can call upon from time to time. The (falsely named) Anton Batey knew it also. So he went to this stable when he wanted to arrange a debate on the subject. These men – Dale Myers, Gus Russo, David Von Pein, McAdams, Reitzes and Gary Mack – all know each other and communicate with each other. Like Reitzes, Myers, Russo and Mack are all flip-floppers. And like Reitzes, they have never bothered to explain why they did the pirouette.

But there is little doubt that in those three cases, there was much more to be had in a pecuniary sense by following the new path. To use one example, after reversing field, Dale Myers was paid by PBS, by ABC and finally Vince Bugliosi to do (execrable) work for them. And in the JFK case, the MSM is just about the only place where one can get paid any serious money. Give them what they want, you cash a nice check. So when Myers got on ABC TV in 2003, and through some hocus pocus, GIGO computer crap pronounced that the flight of CE 399 was not a theory anymore, but a fact, he got a sizeable stipend. And it didn't bother him that what he said was utter hogwash. He knew where the ABC program was headed. After all, another member of his stable, Gus Russo, was the lead consultant on the show. Therefore, Myers knew he had some considerable CYA protection built in. So no one was going to ask him questions about the provenance of CE 399, or its eventual evidentiary trail. If they had, they would have proved that not only did CE 399 not do what Myers said it did; it was not even fired in Dealey Plaza that day. (Click here.)

But it's not really fair to single out Myers. Because Russo and Mack have done the same. Russo had been trying to sell a TV special on the Kennedy case for years. At one time he was even trying to cooperate with Ed Tatro about doing a special outlining a Texas/Lyndon Johnson cabal. (Click here for Russo's long travail) In 1993, he finally found his holy grail with PBS and the late Frontline producer Mike Sullivan. Russo gave Sullivan what he wanted: an Oswald did it scenario. Russo then went on to work with CIA asset Sy Hersh on his hatchet job of a book, The Dark Side of Camelot. When that was sold as TV special, Russo now had an in with Jennings. So Jennings, who wanted to do a cover up piece in 2003, gave Russo the consultant spot on his show. What Russo did here was really kind of incredible. He actually presented people who had huge liabilities as witnesses – Priscilla Johnson, Hugh Aynesworth, Ed Butler – and presented them as if they were as clean as driven snow. In other words, they were allowed to speak unchallenged to the public with no questions asked or even presented about their backgrounds. In other words, Russo was rehabilitating clear intelligence assets.

I have already talked about the reversal of Gary Mack relatively recently and at length. As with the others, that reversal turned out to be quite lucrative for Mr. Dunkel. (Click here.) I bring all this up to show that this could be the opening curtain for Mr. Reitzes. He might now join the others as the MSM's new performing seal. After all, his friend John McAdams cooperated with PBS on their upcoming Nova show "Cold Case JFK." The paradigm is pretty clear is it not?

IV

There is no doubt that Reitzes came through for Shermer, who instead of being skeptical, is all too eager to be gulled by the Commission's cover up. Like many others, near the beginning of his essay Reitzes states that the Warren Commission confirmed about Oswald what the Dallas Police and FBI had concluded previously. Which is a rather nonsensical statement. For in the legal sphere you cannot have any conclusions if your case is not tested. And, as Reitzes shrewdly leaves out, the Dallas Police under DA Henry Wade and Detective Will Fritz had an abominable record of manufacturing evidence and framing people. For example, when FBI agent Vincent Drain picked up the rifle to bring to Washington, there were no traces of any prints on it reported to him. In Washington, FBI print authority Sebastian LaTona detected no indications of any prints of value. But, mirabile dictu, once the rifle was returned to Dallas, Oswald's prints were found on it. A little fishy perhaps? Especially considering that 29 people have now been exonerated in light of latter-day reviews of Dallas Police cases.

Concerning the so-called FBI verdict, again its what Reitzes leaves out that is the main point. The FBI officially took over the case after Oswald was dead. Therefore, there were no rules of evidence in play. Even considering that key fact, the FBI report was so bad that the Warren Commission did not even include it in their 26 volumes of evidence. But further, as many commentators have demonstrated, J. Edgar Hoover never endorsed the Magic Bullet. In other words, whereas the Commission stood by the Single Bullet Fantasy, Hoover did not. Hoover had three bullets hitting Kennedy and Connally in the limousine. The Commission had one bullet missing the car completely. Somehow, Reitzes does not think the elucidation of that point is important for his readers. Even though, the Commission itself said that to deny the Magic Bullet, is to admit to two assassins.

Reitzes then goes on to quote former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley:

The choices we make to accept the credibility of the Warren Commission ... or to believe eyewitnesses who heard gunshots coming from the grassy knoll, and so decide more people were involved-are shaped, consciously or unconsciously, by our premises about the U.S. government and the way power is exercised in America.

Does this mean that the aforementioned John Connally-who thought the Warren Report was bunk – was an unconscious revolutionary? No, it just means that Morley is wrong. There are many people of all political beliefs who think the Commission was simply full of it on the evidence. To use another example, when Jim Garrison began his investigation, he was not at all an extremist. He was a law and order moderate who was anti-ACLU and for the Cold War. (DiEugenio, p. 173) But he was an experienced criminal lawyer who understood how to prosecute cases in court. And it was solely on his examination of the Warren Commission's ersatz evidence that he began to doubt Oswald's guilt.

Reitzes now goes to the ear witness testimony in Dealey Plaza. He presents a chart by, of all people, Joel Grant, to indicate that the vast majority of witnesses heard three shots. The use of Grant, an inveterate Warren Commission defender, shows a real problem with the essay: Its reliance, not so much on evidence, but the uses of evidence by Commission zealots like Grant, Vince Bugliosi and Dale Myers. To illustrate what I mean by this: one of the huge shortcomings of the Warren Commission inquiry was its failure to find and interview all the witnesses in Dealey Plaza. In fact, researchers are still enumerating these witnesses today. There simply was no such thing done by the Bureau. Further, Pat Speer has done some extensive work in this field. Speer has noted that there was not even a rigorous effort by the FBI to ask all the employees of the Depository how many bullet sounds there were and where they came from. (E-mail communication with author by Speer of 9/29/13) Therefore, considering the approach the FBI did take to this case, to simply rely on the witnesses the FBI produced for the Commission on this point is both inconclusive and woefully incomplete. But secondly, it rules out a very distinct probability. Assuming there was professional hit team in Dealey Plaza that day, they very likely would have decided in advance to have at least one man use a silenced rifle in order to confuse directionality. And CIA associated weapons technicians like George Nonte and Mitch Werbell were very familiar with these types of weapons. (See footnote to section on Werbell in Jim Hougan's Spooks, p. 36)

But beyond that, in the historical sense, the doubts about the Commission did not begin with the ear witness testimony in Dealey Plaza. The real problems were posed by the murder of Oswald on live television while he was literally in the arms of the Dallas Police. This sent the rather subliminal message that whoever killed Kennedy did not want Oswald to talk. After this, the earliest articles on the JFK case – with one notable exception – did not focus on ear witness testimony. The one exception being an article in Minority of One by Harold Feldman entitled "51 Witnesses: The Grassy Knoll". On his ridiculous JFK site Reitzes tries to discredit this piece. He cannot. Feldman did a good job of culling witness statements to show that either they heard sounds from the railroad yards, or the knoll, or they instinctively ran in that direction. And he does produce 51 witnesses to that effect. Some of these people were Secret Service agents, sheriff's deputies, or policemen. This testimony is collaborated by films produced by Bob Groden. The mass of spectators runs in that direction also. But even beyond that, the best evidence of the sound of bullets in Dealey Plaza would be the acoustical tape of sound waves. This issue is hotly debated, but if one accepts the early HSCA analysis, it surely seems to indicate to many shots for the Warren Commission.

Reitzes now goes to the testimony of the doctors at Parkland Hospital. Since these doctors and nurses said that there was a large avulsive wound in the rear of Kennedy's skull, and that the wound in his neck was one of entrance, Reitzes has to say, well, these emergency room people often make mistakes. Which is more nonsense. What the author fails to mention is that the HSCA tried to say this also. It later turned out that the HSCA lied on this point. For the declassified ARRB files revealed that about 20 witnesses at Bethesda agreed with the Parkland witnesses: they also saw this large avulsive wound in the rear of Kennedy's skull. So what is Reitzes saying? That forty people in two different places were all wrong ? (For proof of this, see the chart in Murder in Dealey Plaza by Gary Aguilar on page 199.) The presence of that wound in the back of Kennedy's skull strongly suggests a shot from the front blasting out the rear. Further, and another key point about the cover up that Reitzes is careful to leave out, the Secret Service attached itself to surgeon Malcolm Perry and told him to be quiet about the neck entrance wound. (Murder in Dealey Plaza, p. 115)

Reitzes then shifts to the photographic evidence. After rather silly and pointless discussions of the three tramps and the Umbrella Man, he then segues into a discussion of the Zapruder film. His review of this is as antique and cliché-ridden as his review of the previous points. He tries to say that the very fast backward movement of Kennedy's body to his left – consistent with a shot from behind the picket fence atop the grassy knoll – was actually caused by a "neuromuscular reaction". Yawn. He fails to point out that this solution to this disturbing reaction originated with the Rockefeller Commission. And if you do that, then you can avoid mentioning who ran that Commission. It was created by Gerald Ford and the chief counsel was David Belin. 'Nuff said. He then brings up the very slight forward motion, for perhaps a frame or two, that precedes this. This shows that Reitzes is not aware of the latest work on this point. The man who first surfaced this issue in a big way was Josiah Thompson in his influential book Six Seconds in Dallas. Thompson has now reversed himself on this point. He now says that this forward lean is illusory in that it is caused by a smear on the film. If that is so, then there is one motion – straight back – and the game is over. But further, Thompson will present further evidence this fall of a shot after Z 313, the fatal impact headshot.

Incredibly, but logically for him, Reitzes avoids the issue of the previously missing frames. These are frames 208-211. Robert Groden found these missing frames from the Secret Service copy of the film. In his restored version, its obvious that Kennedy was hit before he disappeared behind the Stemmons Freeway sign. Which the Commission said could not happen since the line of sight from the sixth floor "sniper's nest" window was obscured by the branches of an oak tree at that time. (WR p. 98) The point that he was hit before 210 was reinforced by the testimony of photographer Phil Willis. He said he took his first photo at the time of the first shot. Which he said was before Kennedy disappeared behind the sign. In the film you can see Willis raise his camera to his eye around frames 183-199. He then lowers it at frame 204. Since Kennedy disappears behind the sign at 210, he was hit before then. (Probe Vol. 5 No. 6, p. 4) Whether one thinks the film has been tampered with or not, it proves conspiracy in any state. Only when one avoids the key issues, as Shermer had Reitzes do here, can one avoid that conclusion.

Reitzes then tries to say that the HSCA "authenticated" the autopsy photos and x rays. Again, this shows an antiquated and rather constricted view of the state of the evidence today. With an optical densitometer, David Mantik has scientifically proven that the x-rays in the National Archives have been touched up. (Assassination Science, pgs. 153-161) Autopsy photographer John Stringer denied to the ARRB he took the extant photos of Kennedy's brain. (Doug Horne, Inside the ARRB, pgs. 807-09) Further, undeniably, there are certain shots taken of Kennedy's body that do not exist today. (Ibid, pgs. 146-213) Also, in the sixties, when Dr. Humes and Stringer signed an affidavit saying the photographic collection was intact, they knew they were lying. (ibid, but especially 206-13.) Further, although the HSCA said they had a verified comparison with the autopsy photos to certify the photos were authentic, this turned out not to be true either. See, the HSCA tried to say that even though they could not find the original camera and lens; they therefore issued a qualified judgment about the photos. It turns out that the ARRB pieced together a different story. It now appears that the HSCA did find the camera. But the HSCA experts said it could not have been the one used to take the autopsy photos. It was suspected that the lens had been changed since. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, p. 279) Therefore, what Reitzes comes up with in regards to the autopsy authentication issues is simply a bunch of hot air.

Near the end, Reitzes joins forces with Gus Russo and Dale Myers by saying, hey there really was no dispute between the CIA and President John F. Kennedy. So what is all this suspicion about the CIA based upon? For Reitzian silliness this takes the cake.

Maybe Dave forgot that President Kennedy thought that the CIA deceived him about the Bay of Pigs invasion? Maybe he also forgot that Kennedy commissioned his own internal inquiry into that disaster. And that after he read both Lyman Kirkpatrick's CIA Inspector General report and his own report by Max Taylor, he decided to fire the top level of the Agency: Allen Dulles, Dick Bissell, and Charles Cabell. And that before he did so two things happened. First, with the help of Howard Hunt, Dulles planted a story in Fortune magazine saying that it was Kennedy who was to blame for the debacle. Second, Kennedy called in Robert Lovett, who was a friend of his father's. Lovett told him that he and David Bruce had tried to get Eisenhower to fire Dulles several times. They even wrote a long report on this to Ike. They could not do this since John Foster Dulles, Allen's brother, was Secretary of State and provided cover for what Allen had done to the CIA. So Lovett recommended that Kennedy do so now. He did. (See, DiEugenio, Chapter 3.)

Reitzes also leaves out the fact that both Bissell and Dulles later on admitted that they had tricked Kennedy into going forward with the operation. And that they knew it had almost no chance for success. But they thought Kennedy would change his mind about committing American forces when he saw if failing. He did not. Dulles later ended up being quite bitter about the whole process of his discharge. He said, "That Kennedy, he thought he was a god." (ibid) Needless to say, when Dulles and Hunt switched the blame for the disaster to Kennedy in public, this was used to fire up the Cuban exiles against JFK. In fact, Kennedy so distrusted the CIA after this, that he installed Robert Kennedy as a sort of ombudsman over CIA operations. Something that Cold Warriors like Bill Harvey greatly resented. Which is why RFK dismissed him. (David Talbot, Brothers, pgs. 169-170) Again, all this is left out by Reitzes. I won't even go into his fruity discussion of Vietnam. Except to say, that again, Reitzes leaves out the declassified documents of the ARRB on this issue. These were released way back in December of 1997. They even convinced the MSM, like the New York Times, that Kennedy had a plan to withdraw from Vietnam. And there is no mention in those documents of this plan being contingent on winning the war. (Probe, Vol. 5 No. 3, pgs. 18-20) Again, if the author missed these, he is a poor researcher. If he is aware of them and did not tell the reader he is practicing censorship.

In sum, this is a worthless piece of work by a man who was not a good writer or researcher while in the anti-Warren Commission camp. He has now turned into an even worse writer and researcher now that he is in the Krazy Kid Oswald camp. Because while he was the former he just exhibited poor judgment and command of the facts. But Shermer's agenda is this: if one labels someone a "conspiracy theorist" then it automatically follows that whatever they say is improperly sourced and has no factual value. Yet, as the reader can see, the truth is quite the opposite. Its people like Shermer and Reitzes who are factually challenged, in both the quality of their information and the completeness of their presentation. Which means they are in a state of denial.

Shermer wanted Dave to snap on his red nose, whiten his face, and put fake freckles on to entertain the masses in his circus. To his everlasting shame, Reitzes did so. He then cashed his check. Probably in hopes of further gigs.

Last modified on Saturday, 15 October 2016 16:35
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and Reclaiming Parkland (2013/2016), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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