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Thursday, 16 January 2020 21:48

Forensics Journal Unintentionally Proves Conspiracy in Cover-Up of JFK Assassination

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Peer reviewed forensics journal publishes decaying disinformation, and new fraud, all to sell the lone nut theory, at any cost. Apparently they didn’t even verify the most basic facts. Have they no shame?


Lucien C. Haag, BS, describes himself as a “former criminalist and technical director of the Phoenix Crime Laboratory, with nearly 50 years of experience in the field of criminalistics and forensic firearm examinations; president, Forensic Science Services Inc.” And he was an “expert witness” in the November 2017 mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, hosted by South Texas College of Law.

In the December 2019 issue of the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Haag demonstrates this “expertise” with his article, The Unique and Misunderstood Wound Ballistics in the John F. Kennedy Assassination.

When it comes to this case, his expertise seems to be in the specialty of propaganda.

His article demonstrates scholarship below the level of a junior high school term paper. The title, like the rest of his story, is misleading. The wounds were not unique, and would have been understood had they been properly explored, and truthfully explained in previous investigations. But Haag is correct when he says the evidence is misrepresented — and he himself grossly misrepresents the evidence in crude attempts to perpetuate the government-approved narrative. His techniques include the following:

  • Presents highly misleading and sometimes outright false information to support the Warren Commission.
  • Omits documented key facts that contradict it.
  • Provides almost no references to primary sources. Instead, he uses mostly his own articles as references. In other words, his “proof” of a particular statement is … that he said it before.
  • Litters the discussion with an obstacle course of “alternate facts” and distracting irrelevancies.

Haag focusses on promoting a slightly tarted-up version of the single bullet theory: a bullet entered high in the base of JFK’s neck, exited his throat — traveling around 1800 fps (feet per second) — struck Governor John Connally while “yawing” (tumbling), perforated his torso, then wrist, and finally created a puncture wound in his thigh.


Bullet Probably Not Yawing

Haag’s main “proof” the bullet first went through Kennedy is the 15 mm elliptical wound in Connally’s back.

Haag claims its size and shape prove the bullet struck Connally while turned somewhat sideways, that is, yawing (tumbling) — presumably a result of having first gone through JFK.

Haag does not tell you that the wound in the back of Kennedy's skull was also 15 mm long. No one claims that bullet had been yawing.

Obviously there are two possible explanations for an ovoid or elliptical wound:

The bullet strikes while turned sideways.

The bullet strikes nose-on — but at a slant, and the nose travels a bit on the surface before entering the body. This is a tangential hit.

Had the Connally hit been a tangential one, would the bullet have made a fairly straight path through his torso? Is this why Haag created this picture of a confused bullet tumbling around inside the governor?

There is an additional, critically important fact to understand, which is either not understood or deliberately dismissed by conspiracy advocates who draw straight wound paths through Governor Connally's torso … A yawing, tumbling, destabilized bullet entering the Governor's body is not at all likely to follow a straight path through his body. Because Governor Connally lived, we do not have the benefit of an autopsy report and autopsy photographs through which the actual wound path might be ascertained

Then why not report what Connally’s thoracic surgeon said about it?

Robert Shaw, MD testified to seeing indications of a straight path though the torso. Among his observations: the bullet created a small “tunneling wound … The bullet struck the fifth rib in a tangential way.” And it “followed the line of declination of the fifth rib.” Even more revealing was “the neat way in which it stripped the rib out without doing much damage to the muscles that lay on either side of it.” Apparently not the behavior of a tumbling bullet.

And watch how Haag tries to trick you into thinking the FBI said the bullet was tumbling:

The yawed entry of a de stabilized bullet was confirmed by FBI firearms expert Robert Frazier upon an examination of the governor's suit coat, which also showed an elliptical entry hole approximately 5/8 of an inch in length.

In fact, the FBI couldn’t even swear the hole was caused by a bullet, let alone whether it was destabilized. Here’s what Frazier actually said:

On the hole on the back of the coat although it had the general appearance and could have been a bullet hole, possibly because of the cleaning and pressing of the garment, I cannot state that it actually is a bullet hole nor the direction of the path of the bullet, if it were a bullet hole.

No wonder Haag gives no references to primary source materials.

(Nor does he mention that Frederick W Light, Jr, MD, Former Chief Wound Assessment Branch, Edgewood Arsenal, testified to the Warren Commission that he was not convinced Connally was struck by a yawing bullet.)


JFK’s Throat Wound

Haag mentions the well-publicized smallness and roundness of JFK’s throat wound, but says nothing about its lesser known but more compelling features. Malcolm Perry, MD who performed the tracheotomy said it was approximately 5 mm (originally he said 3-5mm, later he seemed to have been persuaded to say it was a bit larger), punctate, had clean edges, not punched out (i.e. not everted) and, more important, something considered by many to be definitive of an entrance — it had a contusion ring. And figures for its small size included this bruising. (Charles Baxter, MD who assisted Perry, supported this observation.) To see more on contusion rings, please go here; and to see my own work on the throat wound, go here.

No one can say for sure whether the wound was an exit, but I cannot find any record of an exit wound associated with such bruising. And the back wound was never proven to connect with the throat wound. It was never dissected, and could not be probed with a finger. And, while viewing the open chest from the front, an autopsy technician said there was no entrance into the chest cavity from behind, and the bullet seemed to have stopped at the apex of the right lung.

Haag tries to sell the wound as an exit:

There is a common expectation that exit wounds from high-velocity rifle bullets will be larger than the entrance wound … The 6.5-mm Carcano bullet is not at all likely to behave this way. As will be shown, it is extremely stable as it penetrates soft tissue, resulting in exit wounds that are little different, to no different in dimensions, from entry wounds. This was, in fact, the case insofar as President Kennedy's first gunshot wound.

Further below, I present reasons for why Haag’s research proves no such thing. But first you should take a look at this next specimen. But don’t step in it. Step around it:

The Carcano bullet, and others like it, are essentially a cylinder with a blunt, hemispherical nose. In such bullets, the CG [center of gravity] and CP [center of pressure] nearly coincide so the distance between them is very small. Any destabilizing force applied to the blunt, rounded nose when such a bullet deviates slightly from its nose-forward penetration into soft tissue is quickly counteracted by a much greater correcting force aft of this bullet's CG … many, many shots have been fired by this writer into blocks of ballistic soap, 10% ordnance gelatin, 20% ordnance …These bullets consistently remain nose-forward throughout their journey …

The above may be true, but is a distraction from more relevant realities.


Relation of Wound Size to Exiting Velocity

The very small size of Kennedy’s throat wound suggested it was an entrance — but that’s not the biggest problem for the single bullet theory.

Here’s the biggest problem: a bullet, especially a 6.5mm FMJ bullet, exiting at 1800 fps, or even 1600 fps, does not create a 5mm wound — even if it exits straight out, that is, nose-on, and not sideways.

This was proven with experiments using steel spheres performed by Frederick W Light, Jr, MD, (mentioned above). Their shape eliminates such variables as bullet orientation (sideways vs nose-on) since the presented area of a sphere is always the same. Light said “the size of the wound at a given point in a given type of tissue depends basically on only two things: (1) the presented area of the missile at the point, and (2) velocity of the missile at the point.”

But what sort of wound would be created by an undeformed FMJ from a centerfire rifle, exiting straight out, without tumbling, at a velocity of ~1800 fps?

Larry Sturdivan, an Army wound expert consulted by the HSCA — and one of Haag’s sources — told me in an email that such a wound would be large with obvious lacerations radiating from the center (“stellate”). He described how these lacerations are formed:

Poke a finger through something flexible, such as cloth or saran wrap, and you will first see a “tenting effect,” a cone, with the tip of your finger at the small end. Push forward and you tear a hole in the material, and the tear grows into a laceration as you perforate the material.

Sturdivan said that Kennedy’s throat wound would have looked like a typical exit — i.e., much larger than 5mm, had it not been a “shored” wound.

Haag does not mention this argument about a shored wound, but you should be aware of it, lest he try to use it in the future: Sturdivan and the late John Lattimer, another favorite source of Haag, have spread the false claim that JFK’s throat wound was kept small and prevented from being stretched outward, because it was buttressed, or “shored,” by the collar and necktie. To understand why this could not have happened in this case, please take a look at what happens when shoring occurs:

Skin between the outgoing bullet and the buttressing material is crushed, and it becomes stuck to the material. When that material is pulled away, it creates a wide abrasion collar consisting of skin tags that resemble a peeling sunburn.

More important — grossly visible skin is left behind on the material. (Am J Foren Med Path 1983; 4(3):199-204) The FBI closely inspected Kennedy’s shirt, inside and out, and did not report seeing any skin on it.

Another thing. The wound was reported to have been “right above” any material that might have shored it.


Haag’s Scam: Don’t Use Skin! Don’t Even Mention it!

Haag assassinated many blocks of gelatin in his quest to prove that a Carcano bullet does not tumble when burrowing its way through 7 inches of the stuff. That is the assumed distance between the alleged high entrance in back to the throat. But it tumbles after it exits.

Therefore, says he, the bullet would (1) create a small exit, and (2) then tumble its way to fulfilling its job as a magic bullet. And never mind the effect of velocity alone on the size of the wound. He won’t tell you about that, even if he knows.

But here is yet another reason to doubt Haag’s conclusions: The behavior of skin. Entrance and exit wounds are in skin. And, according to one study, gelatin “does not replicate the significant resistance that human skin provides in preventing penetration into sub-dermal tissue.” [And presumably out of such tissue.] According to another study,

Hydrogels prepared from water solutions containing 10-20 mass% gelatin are generally accepted muscle tissue simulants in terminal ballistic research. They, however, do not have a surface layer which simulates the effect of human skin.

Haag said the stable Carcano bullets went through gelatin without yawing. So of course their exit holes — in that simulant — were not much larger than the bullet’s diameter.

Haag makes much ado about this. Look, he says, no yawing during its course through the simulant, and that “proves” why Kennedy’s throat wound was an exit, though small. And look, he says, the bullet does tumble right after it exits through those 7 inches. This “proves” why Connally’s wound was the size of a tumbling bullet.

But in none of his experiments did Haag give the bullet the job of exiting skin.

And he does not mention the fact that when the Warren Commission had the US Army perform experiments to reproduce the assassination — they did use skin, animal skin — but they did not reproduce small exits. Most of the bullets began to yaw during their exit, after going through only 5.3 to 5.7 inches of gelatin.

But back to Haag’s penetration of 7 inches before the bullet yawed, how many more inches were between Kennedy’s throat — and the true location of his entrance in the back? Might that longer journey, plus an exit through skin, have resulted in more yawing? (See next section.)

In any case, if Kennedy’s throat wound had been an exit, its small size suggests the bullet that created it was nearly out of energy — and could not have gone on to perforate Connally’s torso and smash his wrist.

(And those who say a bullet exited Kennedy’s throat wound, but did not go on to strike Connally in the back should explain where it did go.)


Haagwash Regarding JFK’s Back Wound

A big problem for the government-approved narrative was, and still is, the location of the back wound. It was lower than the throat wound. How could a bullet from the sniper’s nest above come down, enter the back — then go back up again?

To solve the problem, the late John Lattimer — one of Haag’s main sources of “information” — raised the back wound to the sixth cervical vertebra (C-6), using deceitful props, false reporting on X-ray findings, and fraudulent representation of neurological implications.

If you want to see instant proof of how much of a fraud Lattimer was, just look at the picture below. It says it all.

lattimer skeleton

lattimer skeleton caption

And the caption that went with the picture demonstrates one of Lattimer’s techniques in conning people. Lattimer created this prop himself, then said — as if he were an independent observer — “It appears that the first bullet … grazed the tip of the transverse process of his sixth cervical vertebra.” Of course it did: he put it there. (Note: the fragments of bone he mentions were dismissed as artefact.)

Haag appears to have learned from past experience that some of Lattimer’s “research” is too blatantly fraudulent, so he would not likely want you to see Lattimer’s contrivance shown above. It is conspicuously at odds with the autopsy photo below:

backwound

Photo credit: JFK Lancer

 

Like Lattimer, Haag tried to use X-ray reports to sell the higher entrance wound: He said:

[There was a] possible graze to the right traverse [sic] process of one of the cervical vertebrae at, or adjacent, to C6.

As usual, he provides no reference to support this assertion. In fact, the graze, if it happened, was assumed to have occurred lower, at the first thoracic vertebra — T-1, not the higher C-6:

“There is an undisplaced fracture of the proximal portion of the right transverse process of T-1 … There is no evidence of fracture of the cervical spine or its associated appendages.”

And why doesn’t Haag mention what is in the autopsy report? It said the wound was “just above the upper border of the scapula.” (But numerous witnesses thought it was even lower. Kennedy’s own physician said it was at the T-3 level.)

Haag also recycles another Lattimer hoax — the “Thorburn position.” He repeats the false claim that JFK was struck at the C-6 level, based on the way he moved his arms after being shot for the first time. He said it was a reflex, tied exclusively to C-6, as described by the surgeon, Sir William Thorburn. As Haag put it:

When the President first reappears from behind this sign [on the Zapruder film], his arms are in a very odd position, and it looks as though he is reaching for his throat. This is not the case; rather, it has been attributed to a little-known, involuntary response first described by the English spinal surgeon and military doctor, Sir William Thorburn,1 in 1887 …

In fact, Thorburn described an entirely different position of the arms in response to damage at C-6. At no time did Kennedy ever move his arms in a way that resembled the position of Thorburn’s C-6 patient. That patient’s arms were abducted; Kennedy’s adducted.

(Many readers of KennedyandKings.com are already familiar with this scam. Those who are not can go here for my detailed report. And see also Donald B. Thomas’s fraudulent revision of Lattimer’s scam.)

Aside from using deceitful means for establishing a back wound at C-6 while omitting documented information that contradicts it, Haag pretends Kennedy’s back wound controversy concerns whether it is was an entrance or exit:

Regarding this matter of entry or exit for this singular perforating gunshot wound, it is definitively solved by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) firearms examiner Robert Frazier when he notes and documents the presence of bullet wipe around the margin of the small, circular hole in the upper back of the President's suit coat.


Kennedy’s Head Wound

Haag repeats the old government-approved line:

A massive exit site with expulsion of bone, tissue, and brain matter was produced in the upper right-front of the President's head.

Yes, the wound was in right front and right side — but also the right rear, which he omits. Even the autopsy report says so: the wound extended into occipital bone. According to Parkland Hospital’s former chief of neurosurgery, enough occipital bone was missing to reveal a great deal of missing cerebellum.

Haag also made this strange claim:

The WCC Carcano bullet's ability to totally change character into that of an expanding bullet once its nose area is breached by striking thick bone. In this situation, testing by this author and others (Lattimer2 and Sturdivan7) has shown that the nose of the full metal jacket Carcano bullet can be breeched [sic] upon striking skull bone, after which the bullet behaves much like a soft-point hunting bullet.

But Lattimer said that, in all experiments — his and those performed by the Army — there was a “complete separation” of the copper shell and the lead core. After that, much of the bullet’s energy has been spent. So how could the jacket alone go on to do the damage of a soft-point hunting bullet? That sort of bullet does its damage immediately on contact.

(Lattimer also claimed a complete separation of shell and lead core in the case of JFK’s head wound. But what was found in the front seat, and presumed to have been “the” head bullet, were two jacketed fragments, but that is another story.)

Regarding JFK’s backward head movement, Haag chose not to get into this issue. Instead, he referred readers to past articles on the jet effect.

Please go here to see my gallery of amazing scams related to this case, including my exposure of fraud — based on the omission of one fundamental fact — in all presentations of the so-called jet effect.


Conclusion

Haag published his article in a journal that makes the following claims about itself:

Drawing on the expertise of leading forensic pathologists, lawyers, and criminologists, The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology presents up-to-date coverage of forensic medical practices worldwide. Each issue of the journal features original articles on new examination and documentation procedures. (Emphasis added.)

Original? Haag is just a recycler. And what he recycles is crude pseudoscience.

New examination? He repeated experiments performed long ago by others, and they don’t back up his conclusions with respect to Kennedy’s wounds..

Documentation procedures? Haag violates the most basic principles of documentation. He provides no references to the primary sources that he pretends back up his misleading assertions. And he leaves out critical facts that challenge them.

How does such an unscholarly piece get into a peer reviewed journal? Obviously its vetting process has been corrupted by the deep, insidious contamination of politics.

Last modified on Friday, 17 January 2020 17:57
Milicent Cranor

Milicent Cranor is the co-author of over a dozen articles for peer-reviewed medical journals, an amateur paleographer, former staff writer for Applause Magazine, and former editor at E. P. Dutton; she is a member of the American Mensa Society. Milicent was a frequent contributor to Probe.

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