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Monday, 15 December 2003 12:13

Russo, Myers and the Father of the Magic Bullet

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ABC's proclamation of the "Single Bullet Fact" would not have been possible if they had also aired Arlen Specter's performance at the Wecht 2003 symposium, writes Steve Jones.


specter 2Introduction

In his book, Gus Russo coined a fantastic new phrase that most people familiar with the Kennedy case would call an oxymoron: The Single Bullet Fact. On the ABC special, Myers used this same term. The phrase has its origins in the Warren Commission's theory that one bullet, Commission Exhibit 399, went through President Kennedy and Governor John Connally making seven wounds and fracturing two bones, gyrating side to side and up and down on vertical and horizontal planes, and then emerging virtually unscathed at Parkland Hospital, allegedly on the stretcher of Connally. Since the Commission said there were only three shells found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and one bullet injured a bystander named James Tague, and one killed Kennedy by striking his head, this left only one bullet to account for the rest of the wounds. Consider the language the Warren Report uses to express this idea and you will see why responsible people call it a theory: "...one shot passed through the President's neck and then most probably passed through the Governor's body..." (Page 111) The reason that most people find this hedged language offensive is that, as Cyril Wecht has stated, the SBT is the backbone of the Warren Report. Without it, the report collapses and you have a conspiracy.

Arlen Specter (pictured above), a young Philadelphia attorney, who handled the actual ballistics and medical evidence for the Warren Commission, put together the underpinnings of the Single Bullet Theory. In his book of memoirs he labels the SBT the Single Bullet Conclusion, thereby leaving the impression that the evidence he gathered pointed strongly only to that tenet. It is always good to revisit original sources. Which apparently, Russo and Myers and Jennings did not do in preparing their documentary. This is understandable considering Specter's public appearance on the 40th anniversary of the most important case he ever worked on. We render a description of his performance at the Unviersity of Duquesne's recent anniversary conference on Kennedy's assassination below.

In the interest of public fairness, we ask Mr. Jennings to get the video of this rather gentle colloquy and play it on his nightly news show. We would then like to have Mr. Russo and Mr. Myers respond to the very same questions. In evidentiary terms, those few moments would be worth more than all the "irrefutable" two hours of ABC's specious special.

The description below originated as an email; we present it with the permission of its author.


Hi,

The conference in Pittsburgh was fantastic! Have you heard about what happened to Arlen Specter? I would have gladly paid 5 times the admission fee just to see what I was so privileged to see --- Arlen getting publicly humiliated. Frankly I was absolutely amazed that he showed up in person. But after he gave a droning talk in which he mentioned how the single bullet theory has now been proven to be single bullet "fact" thanks to ABC, he actually stayed for the Q&A and was sitting on the panel with Mark Lane (who the whole time was grinning ear to ear like a kid in a candy store --- after 40 long years, he was finally getting a chance to challenge Specter in public), Jim Lesar, and a few others. People were lined up for a mile at the mike to ask questions. But they never had a chance (my friend Bob was going to ask him how he sleeps at night) because just the few preliminary questions by Lesar, who was the moderator, turned the former Yale debate champion into a babbling idiot.

Lesar first asked Specter how he would put the magic bullet into evidence. When Specter fumbled that one, Lesar pointed out that there was no chain of evidence that would have held up in court and Specter said, "I know a bullet when I see one, and that was a bullet." Then Lesar asked him who he would call as his witness to put Oswald in the sniper's nest. Specter didn't know! Then Lesar pointed out that not only was Howard Brennan their main witness, but he was their only witness, and that he changed his testimony 3 or 4 times and couldn't identify Oswald in a police line-up that evening. Specter said, "Well, I'll have to go back and look at the Warren Report again to refresh my memory on that one."

At this point Specter's assistant (bodyguard? office hack? whatever you call these people) jumped on the stage waving his arms like a referee stopping a boxing match when a boxer is getting pounded mercilessly, and says that Mr. Specter has to leave for another appointment. At this point Specter incredibly waved him off in a show of bravado and said that he had come to answer questions. Then Mark Lane asks him why he always asked leading questions of the medical witnesses and pointed out that, again, this would not have been permissible if Oswald had actually been tried in a court of law. Specter vehemently denied that he ever led any witnesses at which point Lesar mentioned that the day before they showed on the big screen many examples from the WC testimony where he actually did lead witnesses.

At that point Specter let out a huge sigh and let out a groan, slumped down in his chair, and literally turned white as a ghost. (My friend Greg sitting next to me jabbed me in the ribs and told me that he thought Specter was going to faint!) The place was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Then his bodyguard once again jumped on the stage and waved his arms repeating his prior assertion that Mr. Specter had to leave --- and this time Arlen gladly jumped off and they hustled out a side door.

This whole scene was absolutely incredible. The conference was open to attorneys for continuing education credits. I would estimate that of the 1,400 in attendance at least several hundred were sitting in the section reserved for lawyers. They learned more about their government in those 15 minutes than they ever could from any class they ever took. It was a priceless moment that I shall never forget. One of those extremely rare moments when the emperor is indeed stripped of his clothes and exposed naked for all to see. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who is interested in this who wasn't there. And make sure to get the video when it comes out.

Last modified on Sunday, 09 October 2016 17:07

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